Pincher Creek council met Nov. 23 to receive an update on the town’s economic development plan. In October 2019, council and administration contracted InnoVisions and Associates, a consulting firm specializing in economic development, to help address challenges surrounding the impending closure of the Shell Waterton Complex. The project has now shifted gears to helping local businesses and the regional economy navigate the tumultuous Covid-19 circumstances. While the development plan is still focused on utilizing the community’s assets to simultaneously support existing businesses and encourage new investment, retention is now the main focus, said InnoVisions president Natalie Gibson. “If you can’t keep the existing businesses you have,” said Ms. Gibson, the economic plan “would have not lent any value to the community.” As soon as the pandemic forced a provincial lockdown in March, the development planners put together a survey for local businesses to gather information on their immediate needs and concerns. The results were one of the first collected data sets on how Covid-19 was affecting small businesses in rural areas. Ms. Gibson said the feedback was instrumental in helping the Pincher Creek and District Chamber of Commerce organize the Business Recovery Support Plan and lovelocalPC campaign. “We’re hearing from some of the businesses that they are able to pivot, that they appreciate the coaching program,” she added. “They’re looking at the resiliency of can they hang on for x number of months, but more importantly can they diversify their business to lessen the ripple effect.” Results from a November survey are currently being gathered, with another potentially set to occur in February. A realignment of the Business Recovery Support Plan is planned for the start of the new year. Aspects of the town’s community economic strategy will also be finalized by March. A presentation will be made to council and the community at that time. Businesses interested in the program or in need of assistance are encouraged to reach out to the chamber at firstname.lastname@example.org or 403-627-5199. Passing on Santa Council voted not to attend the Bellecrest reverse Santa Parade planned for Nov. 26. With new provincial health restrictions announced Nov. 24, parade organizers ended up cancelling the event. Operations Q3 report The third-quarter operations report was the final topic of discussion. Highlights included the water main break repair at Veteran’s Street, and the Willow Street regrading and drainage project being completed. Inspections and repairs at the old RCMP building at 659 Main St. were also finalized so the site could be used by Alberta Health Services for conducting Covid-19 testing. Council did request a follow-up question be sent to operations regarding the ideal ratio between treated water sent out to residents versus water collected for treatment. 214,326 cubic metres of treated water was distributed from July to September while only 191,443 cubic metres was collected. Though the amount of water returning to be treated is typically lower, since not all water use is able to be captured by drains, past issues with water leakage made council curious what was considered a good ratio between water intake and distribution. Next meeting The next council meeting will be held virtually Monday, Dec. 14, at 6 p.m. The meeting can be accessed at https://www.gotomeet. me/TownofPincherCreekCouncil, and agenda packages are available online at https://bit.ly/ PcCouncil.Sean Oliver, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Shootin' the Breeze
A last-minute show of generosity by the Town of Penetanguishene will help out the Penetang Junior C Kings. The decision came out of Coun. George Vadeboncoeur’s persistence in finding a way to help out the team. That is why he came back to council at a recent meeting to propose that the Kings be offered a reduced ice-time rate. “We should charge the minor hockey rate that would end up saving the Penetang Kings about $1,900 in terms of their ice rates for the season,” said Vadeboncoeur, addressing council. “In the director's report, it was identified that three of the five teams that responded to the survey charged their junior C teams' minor hockey fees.” He said the Kings represented a great community asset, and that was why it was important to him that council support this move. “It is an important pastime in Penetanguishene and there's a lot of history with the Kings,” he said. “The town did receive a safe restart grant, so I think if we have a shortfall of revenue in the arena, some of that funding from the higher levels of government can be used to cover that deficit.” Jim Brown, president, Junior C Kings, said he was very pleased with the gesture. “This will definitely help out the bank account at the end of the day,” he said, adding, the team spends up to $25,000 per season for ice rentals. “I have to admit I was a little bit in shock to hear the great news. A very big thank you to the Town of Penetang. This will definitely help with the lost revenue from sponsors and fans, as we are a break even club at the end of the day.” Coun. Debbie Levy said she was in support of the motion, but wanted a clarification. “I think you did mention at the end of your motion that this is for 2021 as a COVID measure, or is this something you'd like to see ongoing?” she asked Vadeboncoeur. He elaborated that this request was just for this season. Mayor Doug Leroux said he could see the community value in the presence of the Kings. “The Kings have been with us for many many years,” he said. “They've been with us a long time and they bring a lot of entertainment and good to the community. I have no issue supporting this.” Sherry Desjardin, director of recreation and community services, wrote in an email that the rates for minor hockey for the 2020/2021 season are $128.26 per 50-minute session and will increase to $132.75 for 2021/2022.Mehreen Shahid, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, OrilliaMatters.com
A long-time familiar face in the Hudson’s Hope medical community has retired. Long-time resident and nurse Susan Worrall Soderstrom retired this summer after nearly 30 years serving the community. Soderstrom says her career has been a good one, and says she’s glad she stayed to practice in the small community, often filling much need gaps in medical services. “I’ve got good memories here, people growing up and moving on with their lives. It’s nice to see the generations come through and getting to know everyone,” said Soderstrom. “I went into it because I care about people.” Soderstrom started her career in the Prince George Regional Hospital, working in pediatric intensive care for several years, before moving back to Hudson’s Hope. “It was a big change coming from pediatrics to working with all the adults as well,” said Soderstrom. “But it was a good asset to have, with all the children in town here.” Soderstrom also worked in maternity and end of life care in Prince George. “Right from birth to holding their hands when they leave this world, I’ve done it all,” she said. “It was a great asset to have that experience.” Soderstrom says she’s seen a lot working in the small community — a sinkhole at the WAC Bennett Dam in 1996, fires in 1997, and working out of the District Office basement in 1995 while the current clinic was being built. “That was challenging, working out of the basement,” said Soderstrom, laughing. “The stairs. That was the hardest part, it wasn’t easy having to haul people up and down them.” Since then, Soderstrom has been a regular ‘Jill of all Trades’, stepping in over the years to help fill prescriptions and even taking courses to keep the heating system on at the clinic. Soderstrom says she’s looking forward to taking some time to work on some passion projects. “It’s been busy. You get in that work mode and it’s hard to get out of it, I’ve got to learn to relax and pace myself I think,” she said of retirement. “Once I get myself organized and sorted, I’d like to do some more watercolour painting and photography. Do some artsy stuff. I haven’t been able to do watercolours for six or seven years, just because it’s been too busy with work and home.” Northern Health is currently recruiting for a casual primary care nurse for Hudson's Hope. Email reporter Tom Summer at email@example.com.Tom Summer, Local Journalism Initiative, Alaska Highway News
LOS ANGELES — Native American tribes and advocates are condemning “Big Sky,” a Montana-set ABC drama, for ignoring the history of violence inflicted on Indigenous women and instead making whites the crime victims.They also have assailed the network and the show's producers for failing to respond to their complaints, which they first made known in a Nov. 17 letter. On Tuesday, the makers of “Big Sky” broke their silence.“After meaningful conversations with representatives of the Indigenous community, our eyes have been opened to the outsized number of Native American and Indigenous women who go missing and are murdered each year, a sad and shocking fact," the executive producers said in a statement to The Associated Press.“We are grateful for this education and are working with Indigenous groups to help bring attention to this important issue,” according to the statement. The producers include David E. Kelley ("Big Little Lies," “The Undoing”) and novelist C.J. Box, whose 2013 book “The Highway” was adapted for the series.Created by Kelley, “Big Sky” stars Katheryn Winnick and Kylie Bunbury as private detectives searching for two white sisters on a road trip who go missing and turn out to be part of a pattern of abductions.With a disproportionate number of American Indians among Montana’s missing and murdered girls and women, the fictional approach represents “at best, cultural insensitivity, and at worst, appropriation,” said the signers, including the Rocky Mountain Tribal Leaders Council that represents all of Montana’s tribal nations.“I’m not at all surprised that they’re doing this because Hollywood’s been appropriating our trauma and our lived experience for years and years and years,” said Georgina Lightning, an actor and longtime activist. “And we’ve always cried about it. We’ve always called it out. But nobody ever cared. Nobody ever listened and nobody cared.”In the November letter, ABC was asked to consider adding an on-screen message steering viewers to information about the entrenched peril facing Indigenous women in North America. They cited “Somebody's Daughter,” a documentary detailing the murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls crisis, as it's known to those fighting the scourge.“This is such an easy fix for ABC to make,” the film's director, Rain, said in a statement. “Indigenous leaders are reaching out to ally and inform, to open a dialogue. They’re not asking for ‘Big Sky’ to be taken off the air,” he said, but instead be used to inform.When no response was forthcoming, the coalition took its effort public and enlisted support from other tribal organizations, including Canada’s Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs and the Great Plains Tribal Chairmen's Association.“Two-thirds of this country doesn’t even know that Native Americans still exist," said Tom Rodgers, president of the Global Indigenous Council and a co-signer of the letter to ABC. “We thought, what a teachable moment.”In response to the producers' statement, a skeptical Rodgers said Tuesday he hadn't heard from anyone connected with the show and called for further details, including which Indigenous partners were being consulted.While more than 5,000 Indigenous women were reported missing in 2016 in the U.S., reporting by The Associated Press has shown the number is difficult to determine because some cases go unreported, others aren’t well-documented, and a comprehensive government database to track the cases is lacking.Advocates, including some lawmakers representing Native Americans, also link the long-standing problem to inadequate resources, indifference and a jurisdictional maze. The rise of the MeToo movement helped give the issue political heft, but Hollywood has lagged in paying heed.While Lightning said she was “a little bit shocked” when she saw a Native American tragedy mirrored in a story but without Native American characters, her years working in Los Angeles meant she wasn’t surprised. Now living in Alberta, she’s in the Canadian miniseries “Trickster,” about a dysfunctional Native family.“There's such resistance” to change in Hollywood, she said. "When you’re used to being one of the good old boys... there's no way they think they’re going to have to conform to the rest of society. It’s such an arrogance.”Native Americans are used to being routinely ignored by American popular culture, registering barely a blip on TV as they're usually seen on only one or two shows, such as Paramount Network's “Yellowstone.” A University of California, Los Angeles, study released this year found that Indigenous actors were cast in six of 1,816 broadcast and cable series roles for the 2018-19 season.But being slighted on the crucial issue raised by “Big Sky” is too bitter a pill to accept, said Rodgers, a Blackfeet Nation member whose Global Indigenous Council, an advocacy group for Indigenous peoples worldwide, helped organize the outreach to ABC.“The one thing we won’t be anymore is ignored. We’re not going to be made invisible, we will not be erased," he said.____Lynn Elber can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and is on Twitter at http://twitter.com/lynnelber.___This story has been corrected to use the accurate pronoun for filmmaker Rain.Lynn Elber, The Associated Press
A 33-year-old St. Margarets Bay, N.S., man will have a preliminary inquiry next June on a charge of second-degree murder.Nicholas Roland Rhyno was charged in the death of Zachery Jordell Charles Grosse, 25, in October.Police were called to 24 Primrose St. early on the evening of Oct. 22 to a report of an injured person in front of the building. Grosse was taken to hospital where he died of his injuries the next day. The medical examiner determined that Grosse's death was a homicide.Rhyno was arrested five days later and he remains in custody, although he has a bail hearing scheduled for January.Rhyno was a member of the Marriott crime family that in one point engaged in a violent gang war for control of the city's drug trade.According to documents from the Parole Board of Canada, Rhyno's criminal history dates back to 2006 and includes multiple convictions for drug trafficking, various weapons offences and failures to comply with conditions.The board noted in 2009 that Rhyno was accused of attempting to kill three men, but charges were withdrawn when the alleged victims refused to co-operate with the investigation."File information indicates that you have a low tolerance for frustration, poor anger management skills and are quick to act aggressively; you use weapons for intimidation and manipulation," the board wrote.The board noted Rhyno's violent behaviour continued while he was behind bars and included assaults on other inmates, aggressive behaviour toward staff and possession of drugs, weapons and contraband.In June 2012, police issued a warning after Rhyno failed to return to a halfway house where he'd been on parole for drug and weapons offences.At the time, police described Rhyno as armed and dangerous. He eventually turned himself in to police.The preliminary hearing on the murder charge is set for five days in June.MORE TOP STORIES
The images of Mississauga in years to come are stunning. The city’s waterfront has been opened up to the public and painted with modern architecture, while the wasteland of parking lots around Square One has spawned gleaming glass towers that rise to the sky. Hurontario Street boasts a sleek and modern LRT, while Dundas Street has its own rapid transit corridor shuttling residents from east to west and back again. The air is clean and Mississauga has become a destination for everyone. Those renderings of Mississauga in the next ten to twenty years are exhilerating, inspiring and creative, but they’re relatively easy to conjure. A talented graphic designer and an urban planner with half an imagination can easily create the beautiful mockups, specifically designed to draw pre-construction down payments and other investments into the projects. In the short term, there is a huge obstacle to this vision. Years of underinvestment in rapidly aging infrastructure have taken their toll and the city faces a laundry list of urgent problems it must tackle before it can really embrace its future. Nowhere is this neglect more apparent than the fire service. At $122 million, Mississauga Fire and Emergency Services (MFES) makes up 22 percent of the City’s net 2021 operating budget. The service is proposing a modest increase of two percent in its operating budget, driven largely by labour adjustments in its union contracts, which are already set. Despite its status as the single greatest expense Mississauga taxpayers bear, the service is woefully below its required response times and has buildings in a desperate state of repair. Difficulties as a result of COVID-19 mean education and enforcement plans designed to reduce call outs and offset terrible response times have also been delayed. Figures included in the 2021 budget refer to 2019, the last year for which a complete dataset is available. In 2019, the number of fires the City responded to grew, after falling slightly in 2018. Last year, there were 167 residential fires and 384 in buildings of all kinds. According to staff, a comparison of data from 2018 and 2019 shows a significant increase of 19 percent in unintentional fires related to mechanical or electrical failures. The risk of hard-to-fight fires will only increase in the years to come. Already, the city is home to 340 buildings exceeding a height of 18 metres, a point at which they are deemed “high risk” by firefighters. With massive high-rise projects on the planning horizon, such as Oxford Property’s 37-tower Square One development, that number is going to go up with every passing year. A risk assessment completed by MFES found industrial fires were another key worry for the city. Only 1.9 percent of property in Mississauga is industrial, yet 12 percent of fire loss takes place in these settings. “This is significantly higher than the provincial average and higher than expected given the actual number of industrial occupancies,” the budget says. Even with the increase in fires, the number of calls attended by the service was down in 2019. An unlabeled chart in the budget document shows calls significantly below 2018 levels, after years of consistent increases. Mississauga Fire’s central and well-documented failing is its response time. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) sets a target for the first vehicle to arrive at a fire within 384 seconds of a call coming in 90 percent of the time. To achieve this, the standard target is 240 seconds (four minutes) for travel time. For years, Mississauga has failed to hit this target. In 2019, the department admitted defeat and asked council to lower its target to 240 seconds 75 percent of the time instead of 90. On its internal metrics, MFES does better, but on both fronts 2019 saw travel times barely improved from the previous year and concerningly far from their targets. Mississauga’s plan to close the gap is two-fold. The first pillar is a capital program to add six stations over 12 years. The first of these was opened in 2019, with strategic locations identified to attempt to reduce callout times by targeting underserved areas and reducing how long trucks spend in traffic. The service’s 10-year capital plan includes $7.9 million to construct Fire Station 123 by 2023 and a further $14.9 million to build Station 124 by the same deadline. Further funds after 2023 will be set aside for Fire Stations 125, 126, 127 and 128. The Public Safety Reserve levy, designed to raise funds to buy land and build these new stations, was collected in 2020. For 2021, the City has put it on hold “to assist in managing the 2021 tax impact,” but says it will not have an effect on construction. A delay in acquiring land for Station 124 means the costs will fall into the 2022 budget instead. As The Pointer has previously reported in a three part investigation, the City’s problems go beyond its need for new infrastructure. Fourteen of Mississauga’s 21 fire stations are more than 20 years old and some are in desperate condition. Three cannot be upgraded to meet standards and will need to be rebuilt from scratch, while City documents also show at least nine stations have asbestos in them. The internal audit that informed The Pointer’s reporting estimated $31.4 million to get the 14 stations up to standard, excluding the cost of rebuilding the three unfixable stations. No money has been put into the 2021 budget for these projects, with promises to get to them eventually. The 10-year capital plan suggests funds will be put aside to renovate Fire Station 102, 108 and 115. However, Fire Station 108 is the only building included in the City’s damning audit slated for repair from 2022 onwards. Chief Nancy Macdonald-Duncan told The Pointer a plan to repair the other stations featured in the audit would be presented to council in January 2021. The move means funds can’t be set aside until at least 2022, when the City is already predicting a significant tax hike. “The plan is to return to Council in January on this topic,” Macdonald-Duncan told The Pointer by email. “The Fire Building Condition Audit study was completed in 2019, and with the disruption of COVID-19 in 2020, it was difficult to integrate the study’s recommendations into the capital plan in time for the budget presentation. This is still a work in progress.” The Pointer's Forgotten Fire Series: The second part of Mississauga Fire and Emergency’s plan is to increase targeted enforcement and education. The service hopes improved public awareness and safety can reduce the number of callouts, freeing up trucks and reducing response times as a result. This need for education and inspections is glaringly obvious. Data from the past four years show 62 percent of all fire calls are to locations that do not have a working fire alarm, despite it being a legal requirement to own one. Two elements are slated to make this change: a proactive fire inspection program and a public education program. The education program proposes 2 full time staff members for the 2022 budget, but does not draw on the 2021 finances. The proactive inspection element is set to hire seven staff in 2022 and have 13 in 2023. The Interim Chief says, while budget savings are a welcome bonus, the pandemic means the two programs would be difficult to deliver even if funds were flowing more freely. “COVID-19 closures and precautions did not allow for a normal public education program nor for the full implementation of proactive inspections,” she said. “Public education traditionally involves attending and hosting public events, meetings etc. Proactive inspections were difficult to conduct when businesses were closed or in the interest of limiting exposure between inspectors and the public. So this program would have been deferred or greatly reduced due to COVID19 anyway; the hiring deferral did help the City with its deficit situation, but the delays made sense from a program standpoint as well.” As strong as the pandemic justification may be, it doesn’t avoid the reality of the situation facing Mississauga fire. Response times remain well below their targets, fire stations are in desperate need of repair and inspections can’t yet take place. The plan? Wait until next year. Email: email@example.com Twitter: @isaaccallan Tel: 647 561-4879 COVID-19 is impacting all Canadians. At a time when vital public information is needed by everyone, The Pointer has taken down our paywall on all stories relating to the pandemic and those of public interest to ensure every resident of Brampton and Mississauga has access to the facts. For those who are able, we encourage you to consider a subscription. This will help us report on important public interest issues the community needs to know about now more than ever. You can register for a 30-day free trial HERE. Thereafter, The Pointer will charge $10 a month and you can cancel any time right on the website. Thank you.Isaac Callan, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Pointer
For the past two years, Diane Rood and her husband, Theo, would drive down to Florida so they could evade the bitter Canadian winters that bothered her “really bad” arthritis. With the US-Canada land border restricted to essential and commercial travel, the couple found a way to ship their car and take their black lab, Abby, along on a short, 30-minute transport from Hamilton to Buffalo. Their son Jeremy, a helicopter pilot at Great Lakes Helicopter in Cambridge, was able to arrange a car shipment like they wanted, and the snowbirds had an “easy, easy, easy” flight, said Theo. “Customs cleared us, and the car was right outside when we went through the terminal.” The reception from snowbirds so far has been warm, said Jeremy. “Nine out of ten people that get on the helicopter with me say, ‘I want to thank you so much for coming up with this service and providing it.’ Some of the people he drops off lived in hotels or mention they lack winter homes in Canada, he added. “They have trailers in the summer, and they’re not winterized. They have no option to go anywhere but to their investment home in Florida, where they’ve been doing it for 20 plus years.” A majority of their clientele are fixed income retirees seniors, said Dwayne Henderson, general manager at Great Lakes. “Eighty-five per cent of who we’re flying are senior snowbirds.” The company is up to 90 flights so far, each carrying two snowbirds on average, with over a hundred more on the books between now and late-January. Travellers are pre-screened by U.S. Customs and have their car trucked over and waiting for them when they land. People have driven down from as far as Nova Scotia, Quebec and Northern Ontario to take the trip. Helicopter rides cost $1200 and the vehicle crossing runs $700. The border-hopping system has been a welcome source of revenue for Great Lakes, at a time when the pandemic has triggered a 20 per cent downturn in its other sectors. Aside from charters, their services include flight school, aerial photography, sightseeing and crop spraying. Bill Leyburne saw a need for a helicopter flight training school in Southern Ontario and founded Great Lakes organically from Rotor services, an aircraft maintenance company he founded in 1988. “We ran that company for a number of years, and I thought it would be a great idea to start a flight training school at some point, I just needed to hook up with the right people,” he said. A number of years later, he met Great Lakes’ chief flight instructor, Nick Booth, just the man he needed, and acquired a license to start a helicopter flight training school in the Waterloo Region, then grew the company from there. Great Lakes operates ten helicopters and has ten company pilots. The snowbird chartering service is adding a third helicopter to meet demand. “It’s been great, I’ve managed to get introduced to a lot of good people and wonderful students, and it’s all been a great experience.”Swikar Oli, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Cambridge Times
SCUGOG: The Scugog Memorial Public library recently announced new safety measures for the facility. The new rules, announced recently, were in response to the Region of Durham moving into the red control zone, of the province’s response framework, on Monday, November 23rd. There will now be a screening and contact info interview held before any patron enters. Library staff are encouraging patrons to “keep their visits as brief as possible” or up to a maximum of 45 minutes. There was also one other change made. “No room bookings or study/lounge spaces are available at this time,” read a Scugog library press release. The local library will continue to require masks and social distancing, keep library shelves open to the public for browsing; with items used being isolated from shelves for 72 hours, the selfCheck kiosk will continue to operate and the library will continue to follow the patron limit inside. For more information, visit www.scugoglibrary.ca. Dan Cearns, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Standard Newspaper
Job cuts within Nav Canada, the company that owns and operates Canada's civil air navigation service, could lead to as many as one in five controllers in central Newfoundland out of work, according to Coast of Bays-Central-Notre Dame MP Scott Simms.The private company warned air traffic controllers job cuts were coming through a confidential memo last week, in which Nav Canada reported a $518 million drop in revenue compared to its budget due to COVID-19.Simms said he's heard from several of the estimated 200 controllers in areas like Gander, where Nav Canada serves as an important employer in the region."They're very worried for several reasons. They don't know at this point what will unfold," Simms told CBC Newfoundland Morning Wednesday. "As far as we know it's around 40 positions. That includes most of the air traffic controllers."Simms said job losses could also go beyond air traffic controllers, saying local flight service specialists and IT workers could also be facing cuts."These aren't small jobs by any stretch of the imagination," he said. "These are high-paying jobs, highly skilled. And right now the question has to be asked, where does one go from here?"He said a loss of jobs in the air traffic sector could bring similar effects to the economy as the drop seen in the oil and gas sector, comparing workers in both fields as highly skilled but not necessarily in demand right now."It's going to be hard for the town of Gander first and foremost," Simms said. "Then you're looking at other places around the area that also involve people who work at the centre … Appleton, Glenwood, Benton and throughout central really."Simms said COVID-19 has not only impacted those currently in the air traffic industry, but those looking to enter it as well. Most air traffic training has been either cancelled or put on hold due to the pandemic, with workers needed once air traffic returns to pre-COVID-19 numbers."There are a lot of young people getting into this business, and these are lifelong careers that support families throughout central Newfoundland," he said."This is an essential, essential service. What Gander does, it looks after North Atlantic air traffic all over. So to say it's an essential service is an understatement. It guides us through basically what is [coming] from Europe over to North America."Lost jobs a provincial issue, Gander mayor saysGander Mayor Percy Farwell said although the impact of lost work may be felt most in Gander, the cuts could have a ripple effect across the province."It should be a major concern to the province," Farwell said. "It's millions of dollars in salary we're talking about that could be eliminated."He said the lack of training impacts the ability to bring in new workers, and may affect the industry's recovery when things return to normal."Because they have big numbers and they have a fair amount of attrition and so on, there's almost a continual state of training and new people into that workforce," he said."My fear is with the reductions that they've had to make now, the situation they're creating for themselves is that once air traffic does resume, they're not going to be positioned to respond to it and to provide services to ensure the safety of that traffic," he said."It's not something you can just throw a switch on and when the traffic returns you can just call over to the job bank."Simms said he wants to meet with the Minister responsible on Wednesday to voice his concerns, but hopes Gander and other Newfoundland locations will remain a priority for Nav Canada, becoming a "centrepiece for aviation" in the North Atlantic."In this particular case, there are two centres here: there's Moncton and Gander. And I hope they decide not to do a centralization where a lot of these positions get moved to Moncton," he said."I may be putting the cart before the horse...[but] you gotta jump on this stuff right away."Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
ST. MARY’S – Stricter provincewide measures to protect people during the second wave of COVID-19 won’t derail at least some public displays of holiday cheer in St. Mary’s this year, say municipal officials. Plans are still afoot for the Municipality of the District of St. Mary’s Department of Community Development and Recreation’s annual carolling and fireworks event, though director Mallory Fraser says that could change at the last minute. “We will be monitoring the situation as it develops, and make a final decision closer to the date,” she says. For now, the event is scheduled to take place on Saturday, Dec. 19, starting at 6:30 p.m., at the St. Mary’s Education Centre/Academy’s parking lot, followed by fireworks and hot chocolate at the Sherbrooke Ball Field. To ensure safety, carollers must register and maintain socially safe distances from each other – and each other’s respective bubbles – before heading through Historic Sherbrooke Village. Something new this year is the Holiday Light Extravaganza. Between Dec 1 and 15, St. Mary’s residents, after filling out an entry form, may submit photos of their home seasonal displays to the community and recreation department’s Facebook Page. Voting will begin on Dec. 10, and the winner will be announced before Christmas. “The Holiday Light Extravaganza will go ahead no matter what,” Fraser says. “This is something that people can do without having to worry about social distancing.” Chief Administrative Officer Marvin MacDonald is not expecting trouble despite the worsening infection rate elsewhere in the province. “We haven’t relaxed our protocols here at the office,” he says. “We were going to look into opening the fitness centre at the school, but we’ve just put that back on hold until the new year.” As for the Recplex, he says it is operating for hockey and curling. “When we made the decision to open the rink, it was always based on the idea that if COVID heated up again, we would see how it played out. We’re going to keep the protocols we have in place. If the situation gets worse, we are either going to tighten the protocols, or close some facilities down. But, right now, we are just watching and monitoring.” MacDonald confirmed that the municipality has not reported any cases since the pandemic hit the province earlier this year. Last week, the provincial government introduced newer, tighter controls on public gatherings to staunch an increase in the rate of infection mostly in the Halifax area. “We must immediately change course on COVID-19. The virus is circulating rapidly in Halifax, and we must stop its spread across the province,” Premier Stephen McNeil says in a Nov. 24 news release. The new regulations in the capital include: limiting public gatherings to five people (or up to the number of immediate family members of a household); requiring masks in common areas of multi-unit residential buildings; restricting restaurants to take-out service; limiting the number of customers and employees of retail outlets to 25 per cent of their normal capacity; and suspending organized sporting, recreational, cultural and religious gatherings. On Nov. 29, the number of active COVID-19 cases in the province stood at 125, up from 119 at the end of last week.Alec Bruce, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Guysborough Journal
Arthur Schafer, Founding Director of the Centre for Professional and Applied Ethics at the University of Manitoba, explores the ethics behind the prioritization on who should get the COVID-19 vaccine first.
La microbrasserie gaspésienne Pit Caribou s’est illustrée à l’international, ses bières décrochant cinq prix au Brussels Beer Challenge, l’un des concours brassicoles les plus prestigieux de la planète. L’entreprise de l’Anse-à-Beaufils, près de Percé, peut se targuer de vendre parmi les meilleures bières du monde. Les microbrasseries ont remporté cinq prix au prestigieux concours Brussels Beer Challenge, où près de 1800 bières étaient inscrites. Il s’agit de la troisième participation au concours pour Pit Caribou, qui avait remporté respectivement un et trois prix lors de ses dernières participations. «On ne s’attendait vraiment pas à ça. Sur un maximum de six bières, on a remporté cinq prix. C’est fou raide», se réjouit le copropriétaire, Jean-François Nélisse. La Gaspésienne no 13, la Blonde du pêcheur, la Gose du Barachois et la Bonne Aventure se retrouvent sur la première marche du podium, toutes récipiendaires de médailles d’or. La Gaspésienne no 13, une bière noire «robuste à la texture crémeuse» en est à sa septième récompense internationale. La Conqueror, une IPA, a de son côté remporté la médaille de bronze. «Ça a été une surprise, surtout pour la Blonde du pêcheur. Normalement, c’est une bière d’été limitée pour la Maison du Pêcheur de Percé. On l’a mise en bouteille pour la première fois cette année pour aider les commerçants locaux. On savait qu’elle était bonne, mais c’était la première fois qu’on la comparait au niveau international», explique M. Nelisse Augmentation de la capacité Au cours des derniers mois, la microbrasserie gaspésienne, qui a aussi pignon sur rue à Montréal, a considérablement augmenté sa capacité de production afin de répondre à la demande. Les brasseurs ont produit près de 30% de bière de plus que l’année dernière, et les propriétaires comptent bien continuer à augmenter le volume de bière produit au cours des prochains mois. «On a reçu quatre nouveaux fermenteurs cet été, ce qui nous permet de produire 300 000 litres de plus par année. C’est non-négligeable et ça va nous permettre de développer de nouveaux marchés», note M. Nélisse. Au cours de la saison estivale, la brasserie Pit-Caribou emploie près d’une quarantaine d’employés dans ses succursales de Percé et de L’Anse-à-Beaufils, en plus d'environ 25 personnes dans son usine de production. Simon Carmichael, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Soleil
NORTH DURHAM/KAWARTHA: Local communities continue to report a number of active COVID-19 cases. On Sunday, November 29th, the Durham Region Health Department reported the highest number of new cases of the virus in the region, at 130. As of press time, the Durham Region Health Department is reporting Uxbridge continues to have the highest number of active cases in North Durham, with five people listed in isolation. The Durham District School Board reports three cases have been confirmed at Uxbridge public school, with two classes listed in isolation. The Uxbridge community has had 131 confirmed cases to date, with 105 listed as resolved and 21 deaths. Scugog currently has one case listed in isolation, and 28 resolved cases. Brock Township also has one case in isolation, and 20 resolved cases. Meanwhile, the Haliburton, Kawartha Pine Ridge District Health unit is reporting Kawartha Lakes currently has six unresolved cases of the virus, 174 resolved cases, and 32 deaths.Dan Cearns, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Standard Newspaper
Here’s a collection curated by The Associated Press’ entertainment journalists of what’s arriving on TV, streaming services and music platforms this week.MOVIES— Film history fans will get a meal out of David Fincher’s “Mank,” about “Citizen Kane” screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz who is masterfully played by Gary Oldman. Shot in gorgeous black and white, “Mank” transports you into the depression era studio system, Upton Sinclair’s bid for governor, William Randolph Hearst and Marion Davies’s elegant parties and to that bungalow in Victorville where the first draft of the classic Orson Welles film was composed. Available on Netflix on Friday, “Mank” is one of the year’s very best films and both a tribute to and searing critique of Hollywood’s golden age. Amanda Seyfried, as Davies, is one of the great performances of the year.— Another film full of excellent performances is “Sound of Metal,” starring Riz Ahmed as a punk metal drummer who experiences sudden severe hearing loss. The film, which is captioned in English, dives into the world of the deaf community with Ruben (Ahmed) in a way you’ve never seen or heard before. It’s the directorial debut of Darius Marder (a writer on “The Place Beyond the Pines”), who assembled an crack team of sound mixers and editors to create a unique auditory experience to simulate what Ruben is going through as he loses his hearing entirely.— If $30 was a little steep for your tastes to rent the new live-action “Mulan,” it’ll finally be free for Disney+ subscribers Friday. From director Niki Caro, this adaptation of the Chinese folk tale about a young woman who disguises herself as a man and takes her father’s place in the army, is breathtakingly beautiful, from the stunning landscapes to the colorful costumes. Although it may fall short on the kind of intoxicating story magic that the Disney label signifies, it is worth a watch and may just inspire some curious young viewers to delve into more Asian cinema classics. Also, if you find yourself missing the songs and Eddie Murphy, the animated 1998 version is also available on the service.— AP Film Writer Lindsey BahrMUSIC— A house is not a home during the holiday season if Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” is not blasting – daily! During a normal, non-pandemic year, Carey and her Christmas craziness would be on a holiday tour, bringing joy to fans and lambs in-person. Because live shows aren’t really a thing in 2020, she’s launching a holiday TV special on Apple TV+ on Friday. “Mariah Carey’s Magical Christmas Special” will includes a mix of musical performances and dancing with amination. Ariana Grande, Jennifer Hudson, Snoop Dogg, Tiffany Haddish, Misty Copeland and Carey’s 9-year-old twins, son Moroccan and daughter Monroe, will make special appearances.— Shawn Mendes released his debut album in 2015 and he’s dropping his fourth effort Friday. “Wonder” continues to showcase Mendes’ growth as a singer, songwriter and performer. The album features the singles “Wonder” and “Monster” with Justin Bieber, which debuted in the Top 10 of the Billboard Hot chart this week. Along with the album is the Netflix documentary called “Shawn Mendes: In Wonder,” which is available for streaming and follows Mendes’ rise and journey over the last few years.— Christmas came early when Carrie Underwood released her first holiday album in September, and on Thursday she’ll debut a musical TV special to accompany the album. On HBO Max’s “My Gift: A Christmas Special from Carrie Underwood” — conducted by award-winning musical director Rickey Minor — the country superstar is backed by a live orchestra, choir and her band. John Legend makes a special appearance and viewers will get a behind-the-scenes look at Underwood’s 5-year-old son, Isaiah, recording his vocals for their version of “Little Drummer Boy.”— AP Music Editor Mesfin FekaduTELEVISION— “Selena: The Series” is described by Netflix as a coming-of-age drama that follows Selena Quintanilla from talented youngster to musical phenom, aided by her family. A breakthrough star in male-dominated Tejano music, the singer was just shy of her 24th birthday in 1995 when she was fatally shot by a former business associate. The two-part series debuts Friday with Christian Serratos (“The Walking Dead”) as Selena and Gabriel Chavarria (“East Los Angeles’) and Ricardo Chavira (“Desperate Housewives”) among the cast members.— The 11th and final season of the Showtime dramady “Shameless” debuts 9 p.m. EST Sunday, weaving the pandemic, urban gentrification and personal pressures into the lives of the Gallaghers of Chicago’s South Side. Aging patriarch Frank (William H. Macy) is facing the toll of longtime alcohol and drug abuse, while and Ian and Mickey (Cameron Monaghan, Noel Fisher) struggle as newlyweds. Deb (Emma Kenney) stands ready to give her all to single motherhood and Carl (Ethan Cutkosky) feels the same about his nascent law enforcement career.— Two respected veterans are behind “A Suitable Boy,” a limited series directed by filmmaker Mira Nair (“Monsoon Wedding,” “The Namesake”) and written by Andrew Davies (“Pride and Prejudice,” “House of Cards”). An adaptation of Vikram Seth’s 1,300-plus page novel of the same name, the 1950s, India-set drama revolves around a university student who’s shaping her identity as the newly independent country does the same. The all-Indian lead cast includes Tabu (“The Namesake,” “Life of Pi”) and Tanya Maniktala. The series debuts Monday, Dec. 7, on Acorn TV.— AP Television Writer Lynn Elber___Catch up on AP’s entertainment coverage here: https://apnews.com/apf-entertainment.The Associated Press
A Windsor elementary school outbreak with 49 cases set the "precedent" for asymptomatic COVID-19 testing in the province, according to one expert.Biostatistician Ryan Imgrund, who is based in Newmarket, Ont., and works with a number of public health units across the province, told CBC Radio's Windsor Morning that the outbreak at Frank W. Begley Public Elementary School set the example of what should be done. "At the time that they found those cases, Windsor was not one of those super danger zones like Toronto, Peel and some other areas like that," Imgrund said. "So I don't think it was expected by anyone that a school that is in a lower-risk area would find up to 50 cases ... I think Begley set the precedent for the whole entire province what we should be doing." After three staff members tested positive for the disease, the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit dismissed the entire school on Nov. 17 and advised everyone to get tested. COVID-19 testing was prioritized for the entire school population, with a temporary testing site set up in the school's gymnasium. Overall, 40 students and nine staff members have tested positive. In the same week that Begley was declared an outbreak, W. J. Langlois Catholic Elementary School also went into outbreak and dismissed all students after two positive cases. Testing was prioritized for all members of this group, with a temporary testing site set up in the school, and seven people were confirmed positive. Despite this, and the fact that Begley is the largest school outbreak in the province, Windsor was not included in the launch of an asymptomatic testing pilot project announced last week. Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce said Thursday that the pilot is available for students and staff in the province's COVID-19 hotspots of Toronto, Peel, York and Ottawa. "Right now, the next four weeks are targeting the highest-risk regions," he said at the time. "We're following the advice of public health. If they determine, they provide a recommendation it should be expanded or we should augment the list, of course we will continue to follow that direction and implement it swiftly."Lecce told reporters that 99.85 per cent of students in the Windsor-Essex region remain COVID-free, and he and his staff are in contact with school board and public health officials to keep transmission down.Though Begley remains closed, superintendent of education at the Greater Essex County District School Board Sharon Pyke told CBC News Wednesday that the board is working with the health unit and hopes to announce a reopening date this week. A letter sent out to parents in regards to the outbreak had asked them to have their child tested, even if they were asymptomatic. When asked whether she'd like to see asymptomatic testing in schools available in the region, Pyke said it might be best to spare our resources. "I think that if we can keep on top of doing our self-assessments, I think that we perhaps may be better served in terms of our resources in our area, we want to make sure that we're able to test the people that need to be tested," she said."So do I agree? Any kind of preventative measure is good for anyone so of course I want the best for students, I want the best for our staff. I just want to make sure that they're allocated in the right space and the right spot." An investigation by the local health unit is still ongoing to determine how COVID-19 transmission was so widespread in Begley.
TORONTO — A coalition of about 50 retailers is calling on the Ontario government to lift COVID-19 restrictions for non-essential stores it claims is making things worse.In an open letter to Premier Doug Ford and Health Minister Christine Elliott, the retailers argue that shutting down Toronto and Peel Region to restrict the virus's spread hasn't reduced the number of shoppers.Instead, consumers are funnelled into fewer, crowded stores and adjacent communities, which potentially creates greater health risk.The retailers say the current policy pushes more consumers to big-box and discount stores that remain open after being deemed essential, while thousands of small, independent and local stores are closed despite selling many of the same products.They say they have been forced to lay off workers instead of employing thousands of temporary people to handle the holiday sales rush.The business leaders are calling on the government to immediately open all retail stores in the province and impose a 25 per cent capacity limit on non-essential stores in lockdown regions."Large and small retailers need each other to create a vibrant retail ecosystem," said the letter signed by the heads of companies including Hudson's Bay, Canadian Tire, Birks and Ikea."Collectively, we are asking that you join with us in common cause and a shared commitment to keeping Ontario families safe and secure through this extraordinarily challenging period."The provincial government responded by noting the restrictions are aimed at limiting the spread of COVID-19 to protect the health and well-being of Ontarians.Alexandra Hilkene, a spokeswoman for Elliott, said the government must limit opportunities for individuals to have close contact with others to help stop the spread of the virus.This includes allowing box stores to operate at half capacity."These necessary measures are being taken to limit community transmission of COVID-19 in order to keep schools open, safeguard health system capacity, and protect the province's most vulnerable populations," Hilkene wrote in an email Tuesday."To be clear, moving regions into a lockdown is not a measure this government takes lightly. However, as we have seen around the world, lockdowns are a difficult but necessary step to stop the spread, safeguard the key services we rely on and protect our health system capacity."She noted that the Ontario government is now providing $600 million in relief to support eligible businesses required to close or significantly restrict services due to enhanced public health measures.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 1, 2020.Companies in this story: (TSX:CTC.A)The Canadian Press
WELLINGTON, New Zealand — Australia's economy grew by 3.3% in the third quarter, rebounding from its first recession in nearly three decades as it recovered from pandemic-related shocks, according to figures released Wednesday.Treasurer Josh Frydenberg told reporters the country still has a lot of ground to make up from the coronavirus downturn.“Australia’s recession may be over, but Australia’s economic recovery is not,” he said.Despite the latest quarterly rise, the economy contracted at a 3.8% annual pace. That's after GDP fell by 0.3% in the first quarter and then by a record 7% in the second quarter.“But the Australian economy has demonstrated its remarkable resilience and Australia is as well positioned as any other nation on Earth," Frydenberg said. “Today’s national accounts represent a major step forward in Australia’s economic recovery.”Before this year, Australia had managed to avoid a recession for 28 years. The economy grew even during the global financial crisis thanks to strong demand for Australia's mineral exports and a robust domestic sector.The better-than-expected figures were encouraging, economists said.“The rebound in Q3 GDP reversed around 40% of the decline during the first half of the year and we expect output to return to pre-virus levels by mid-2021," Ben Udy of Capital Economics said in a commentary.Now on top of the pandemic, Australia is enduring a spate of rocky relations with China, its biggest trading partner.Frydenberg said the situation with China is “very serious” but his government is focusing on striking deals with other countries in Asia and beyond.“We have great produce, and we have great services, and we have great resource sectors, and I’m very optimistic about the opportunities for our exporters around the world," he said.Australia's relationship with China worsened this week after a Chinese official tweeted a fake image of a grinning Australian soldier holding a bloodied knife to a child’s throat.Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison called the image “repugnant” and demanded an apology from the Chinese government. But China has not backed down.The post took aim at alleged abuses by elite Australian soldiers during the conflict in Afghanistan.Tensions have been growing this year since the Australian government called for an independent inquiry into the origins of the pandemic. China has imposed tariffs and other restrictions on a number of Australian exports.Nick Perry, The Associated Press
A former Barrie surgeon has given up his licence to practise medicine and has promised his regulatory body to never apply to register as a physician ever again, anywhere. The agreement arose following a College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO) disciplinary hearing last week. “The agreement to never reapply for registration… is the maximum level of punishment available in this situation,” said CPSO communications advisor Josh McLarnon. The college had earlier launched investigations into Dr. Emad M. Guirguis and his now-defunct Lakeview Surgery Centre on Dunlop Street following complaints. He was found to perform cosmetic surgery that was outside his scope of practice as a physician, not having the proper training and certification. He also engaged in unprofessional conduct through online advertising and communications with a specific patient. In addition to the practice ban, he was ordered to pay $6,000. “Dr. Guirguis has been brought forward to the discipline committee on a number of occasions,” McLarnon added. An investigation was first launched in 2015 resulting in a caution three years later. Another caution was later issued relating to his compliance of the first issue. In one complaint, Guirguis tried to perform bariatric revision gastric band surgery, but decided not to complete the surgery because he encountered extensive scar tissue from previous surgeries. According to documents from the college’s compliance and monitoring department, he perforated the patient’s bowel during the surgery, resulting in ongoing complications. The complainant said he did not communicate or follow up with her after the surgery or provide a refund of her fee. “The committee... was of the view that the respondent’s pre-operative assessment was insufficient,” the decision of the inquiries, complaints and reports committee found. In another report, an independent assessor concluded: “Dr. Guirguis did not meet the standard of practice of the profession in some of the cases reviewed; his knowledge was adequate but basic; his surgical skills were adequate for his limited scope of practice; his judgment was not always adequate, mostly because the brief documentation does not allow a full understanding of his train of thought and exposes omissions or incomplete assessments; and in the reviewed cases his clinical practice, behaviour, or conduct had the potential to expose one patient to harm.” Other assessors, it added, found broad deficiencies in Dr. Guirguis’s practice. In a report from Dec. 14, 2018, Guirguis was cautioned about not providing a full explanation of a procedure to a patient and ensuring the patient had full clarity about what was going to be done following a complaint to the college about the outcome of a cosmetic surgical procedure. According to CPSO documents, Guirguis agreed he has engaged in an act or omission relevant to the practice of medicine that would reasonably be regarded by members as disgraceful, dishonourable or unprofessional. He was ultimately found to have committed an act of professional misconduct. Dr. Guirguis’s certificate of registration expired Sept. 4, 2020. In addition to the clinic, Guirguis was also once a staff general surgeon at Barrie’s Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre. Guirguis did not respond to requests for comment, but according to his Facebook page he is studying for his master's degree in theological studies at Tyndale University College and Seminary.Marg. Bruineman, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, barrietoday.com
Sherbrooke — Les plus petits producteurs en serre auront bel et bien droit à un rabais substantiel sur leur facture d’électricité, comme l’a demandé le gouvernement Legault. Mardi, la Régie de l’énergie du Québec a donné son aval à l’entrée en vigueur immédiate d’un tarif préférentiel de 5,59 ¢/kWh pour les cultures ayant un appel de puissance de 50 kW et plus, qu’elles produisent des aliments, des végétaux ornementaux ou du cannabis. Ce tarif, qui représente un rabais de près de moitié sur l’électricité pour certains producteurs, n’était auparavant disponible que pour les serriculteurs ayant un appel de puissance d’au moins 300 kW. La Régie élargit ainsi l’accès au tarif aux plus petites installations pour l’éclairage de photosynthèse, mais aussi pour le chauffage d’espaces destinés à la culture de végétaux, y compris les bâtiments. On stipule toutefois que l’admissibilité des productions de cannabis et des espaces chauffés pour la culture de végétaux devra être revue en 2025, alors que la consommation d’électricité risque d’avoir largement augmenté. On souhaite ainsi éviter une trop grande hausse du tarif pour l’ensemble des clients et donc de ne pas nuire à la visée première du décret gouvernemental : l’autonomie alimentaire. « La Régie est d’avis qu’il n’y a pas lieu d’exclure les producteurs de cannabis du domaine d’application du tarif proposé, pour deux raisons, soit le contexte de surplus énergétiques et le fait que le présent dossier ne visait pas à remettre en question l’admissibilité des producteurs de cannabis au tarif existant de l’annexe I de la Loi sur Hydro-Québec, lequel est incorporé dans le nouveau tarif », peut-on lire dans la décision. Durant les audiences, l’Union des producteurs agricoles avait plaidé pour que tous les types de culture en serre bénéficient du tarif et que même si le cannabis ne contribue pas à améliorer l’autonomie alimentaire directement, certaines serres pourraient éventuellement se convertir en serres de fruits et de légumes. Du côté des serres de plantes et fleurs, la Régie a pris en compte la contribution à l’autonomie alimentaire de celles-ci, étant donné leur grande production de végétaux qui sont ensuite plantés dans les jardins du Québec. D’autant plus que 156 des 900 producteurs en serre du Québec produisent à la fois des légumes et des plantes, selon les données du gouvernement. Plusieurs intervenants, notamment l’Association Hôtellerie Québec et Association des restaurateurs du Québec, le Groupe de recommandations et d’actions pour un meilleur environnement et le Regroupement CREE pour l’autonomie alimentaire avaient réclamé lors des audiences que le tarif préférentiel ne soit réservé qu’aux producteurs de fruits et légumes. Le tarif plancher s’élèvera à 5,66 ¢/kWh pour la période 2021-2022 et aura grimpé à 6,13 en 2025-2026, selon la tarification soumise par le distributeur. Par cette décision, la régie autorise également l’accès à ce tarif pour les très grandes serres qui bénéficiaient du tarif LG (tarif de grande puissance non liée à des activités industrielles). Effacement De nombreux suivis sont également exigés par la régie, notamment en ce qui concerne les périodes de pointes hivernales, où on demandera aux producteurs de réduire complètement leur consommation. Ceux-ci doivent s’effacer dans un délai de deux heures suivant la demande du distributeur, sans quoi ils recevront une facture salée de 50 ¢/kWh pendant cette période. Des installations d’appoint, qui utilisent d’autres types d’énergie, sont donc à prévoir chez les producteurs pour compenser ces périodes. Le gouvernement avait annoncé ce nouveau tarif par décret le 8 juillet dernier, mais devait obtenir l’accord de la Régie de l’énergie à cet effet. Si la production en serre se voit doublée comme le souhaite le gouvernement, une augmentation des ventes de 300 GWh pour le chauffage et de 150 GWh est à prévoir d’ici 2030, selon Hydro-Québec.Jasmine Rondeau, Initiative de journalisme local, La Tribune
The minister in charge of Saskatchewan jails says the province is unable to release prisoners from the Saskatoon Correctional Centre.Corrections and Policing Minister Christine Tell says the government is doing all it can to protect the inmates and staff at the jail.In the past 10 days, the number of staff and inmates testing positive for COVID-19 at the centre has gone from zero to 142.A variety of people, advocacy groups and support groups are calling for the targeted release of inmates from the centre. According to the government, such decisions would be made by Public Prosecutions.In the spring, Public Prosecutions moved to reduce the numbers in the province's jails. It instructed prosecutors to review all new arrests with an eye to keeping non-violent accused out of jail. Both orders were a response to fears about the COVID-19 coronavirus getting into the jail system."As new arrests come in, they will be assessed with the COVID-19 situation and the situation in the correctional centres in mind," assistant deputy attorney general Anthony Gerein said in March."But we will also be assessing people who are currently on remand to determine whether or not there should be any change to their status."On Tuesday, Christine Tell defended the government's role and said it doesn't know how the virus got into the jail. "We do quarantine everyone that comes into the facility. Why it came into the facility with all the precautions, I can't answer that," she said.She said the jail has been taking precautions to slow the spread, including mandatory masking, no longer charging inmates for soap and banning visitors.NDP MLA Nicole Sarauer said the province's handling and response should cost Tell her cabinet position.Tell said the government will not review how COVID-19 was able to get into the facility. Sarauer said that is not good enough."This is a minister who shouldn't be a minister anymore," Sarauer said.