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WASHINGTON — It’s not just President-elect Joe Biden’s transition that’s under a microscope.President Donald Trump and his allies are harking back to his own transition four years ago to make a false argument that his own presidency was denied a fair chance for a clean launch. Press secretary Kayleigh McEnany laid out the case from the White House podium last week and the same idea has been floated by Trump's personal lawyer and his former director of national intelligence.The comparisons are part of a broader attempt by Trump and his team to undermine the legitimacy of Biden’s election and his right to an orderly transition by unspooling mistruths about both this election season and Trump’s treatment four years ago.“It’s worth remembering that this president was never given an orderly transition of power. His presidency was never accepted,” McEnany told reporters who questioned the Trump administration’s refusal to co-operate with the Biden transition.But the situations are far different.The day after her defeat in 2016, Democrat Hillary Clinton conceded.“Donald Trump is going to be our president,” she said. “We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead.”The next day, President Barack Obama, who had portrayed Trump as an existential threat to the nation, invited the president-elect to the White House and visited with him in the Oval Office. Obama's aides offered help to Trump's incoming staffers.“My number one priority in the coming two months is to try to facilitate a transition that ensures our president-elect is successful,” Obama said.During his inaugural address, Trump thanked Obama and his wife, Michelle, “for their gracious aid throughout this transition” and called them “magnificent.”Trump’s team is not wrong that his own transition was chaotic, but the disarray in many ways was of his own doing.Trump fired the head of his transition, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, and abandoned months of planning in favour of a Cabinet hiring process that at times resembled a reality show. His team ignored offers of help from the outgoing Obama administration.That's a far cry from the description issued by McEnany as pressure mounts for Trump to concede and for his administration to begin co-operating with Biden's transition team. Among other things, Biden is being denied access to the presidential daily intelligence briefing and to detailed briefings on the vaccine distribution plan as COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. eclipse 255,000.Trump has refused to concede, instead making baseless claims of electoral fraud and trying longshot legal challenges that risk undermining the nation’s democratic traditions.In 2016, despite his claims, Trump did receive standard co-operation during the transition.But Trump's team largely ignored advice from Obama staffers, leaving briefing books unopened and ignoring special iPads loaded with materials. The lack of preparation left aides clueless even about how to work the overhead intercom in the West Wing.A potential transition plan worked on for months by Christie was cast aside. He was dismissed from his post as part of a long-running feud with the president’s son-in-law and future senior White House adviser Jared Kushner.Some of Trump's hires were done on whim, as Cabinet candidates visited him in Trump Tower. The president-elect chose Michael Flynn for national security adviser after a recommendation from Trump’s children and despite Obama’s warnings. Flynn was out after less than a month in office.Christie, in his recent autobiography, wrote that 30 binders were discarded and that members of Trump's team “got rid of guidance that would have made their candidate an immensely more effective president” and “stole from the man they'd just helped elect the launch he so richly deserved.”McEnany and others have claimed that Trump was undermined by an FBI investigation that was opened in the summer of 2016 into possible election interference, a probe that was taken over by special counsel Robert Mueller the following May after Trump fired FBI Director James Comey.Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, in a news conference last week, claimed the FBI “made up the Russia collusion plot” that damaged Trump and “cost our country $40 million." Ric Grenell, Trump's former ambassador to Germany and acting director of national intelligence, has said that what Obama offered “was not a peaceful transition” because the FBI was already working to undermine Trump.After nearly two years, Mueller found insufficient evidence to charge anyone in the Trump campaign with conspiring with Russia to sway the election. Throughout his term, Trump has framed the investigation as part of a “witch hunt” meant to destroy his presidency and said it showed the federal bureaucracy was working against him.Obama had no role in directing the FBI’s investigation into ties between Russia and the Trump campaign or in impeding Trump’s transition to president. Though Obama was aware that his intelligence officials were investigating Russian interference, and had concerns about Trump and his background, the investigative decisions were made not by him but by his law enforcement and intelligence agencies.Since his loss to Biden, Trump has repeatedly challenged the fairness of the election with false claims about voting and he has looked for ways to block certification of the vote. The Trump administration has yet to formally acknowledge Biden’s victory, slowing the transition at a time when the nation is facing a confluence of economic and health crises.“The lack of the transition and co-operation is the most reckless and irresponsible thing he has ever done,” David Plouffe, a former senior Obama adviser, said in a recent interview. “We have an election in early November, the new president takes over in the third week of January. It’s no time at all, it’s over in the blink of an eye. The damage is severe.”___Follow Lemire on Twitter at http://twitter.com/@JonLemireJonathan Lemire, The Associated Press
EDMONTON — A member of Jason Kenney's cabinet is backtracking on a comment that seemed to suggest Alberta was waiting for hospitals to reach their limit before tightening COVID-19 restrictions. The move comes amid mounting calls for the premier to impose tougher public health measures. Jason Luan, the associate minister of mental health and addictions, says he was wrong to suggest that anyone is waiting until the system reaches capacity. In an online town hall on Friday, he said that the province was waiting to see where hospital capacity and intensive care units "will be pushed to our limit, and then gradually reduce more activities that way."In a social media post on Sunday, he said the government is "making evidence-based decisions" based on expert advice from the top doctor "to avoid getting to that point."COVID-19 cases have been rising at an alarming rate for weeks in Alberta, but it still has no mandatory mask directive and bars and restaurants remain open for in-person service.Luan said Sunday that he is not a spokesperson or involved in any decision making around introducing new restrictions or increasing hospital capacity."I truly regret any confusion my statement has caused. My responsibility during this pandemic has been to ensure that mental health and addiction services are available for all Albertans," Luan wrote."I encourage all Albertans to follow the public health restrictions. Wear a mask. Avoid unnecessary contacts. Together, we can get through this."NDP Opposition Health Critic David Shepherd responded that if Luan's remarks on Friday weren't true, Kenney needs to say what the real thresholds for action are.Shepherd also rejected Luan's claim that he is not a spokesperson.“This is an unforgivable attempt to duck responsibility by a cabinet minister,” Shepherd said. “As the associate minister of health, Luan is absolutely a spokesperson and a decision maker and he gave Albertans false information about the government’s response to COVID-19.”Another member of Kenney's United Conservative caucus was also criticized in recent days for a flyer that was mailed to constituents last week claiming the worst of the pandemic was over.Alberta reported 1,584 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, the fourth straight day the province announced a record-breaking number of new cases, and more than 12,000 cases were active.In a statement on her Facebook page on Saturday, Miranda Rosin said the newsletter was sent to print in early fall when Alberta's active cases were still below 2,000.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 22, 2020.The Canadian Press
DEER LAKE, N.L. — A small town in western Newfoundland and Labrador asked residents to stay home and called on businesses to shut their doors amid a weekend surge in COVID-19 cases in parts of the province.The town of Deer Lake, N.L., made the request in a news release on Saturday evening, saying the move was necessary due to rising case numbers in the area."The Deer Lake town council met over the weekend to discuss the recently-identified incidents of coronavirus within the community," the release read. "They decided, for the sake of public safety, to keep the town office and Hodder Memorial Recreational Complex closed for two weeks. ... As well, the town is asking all non-essential businesses to consider ceasing regular operations until that date."The release said the the closures will be in effect until Dec. 7 and urged residents — particularly those at higher risk of complications from the virus — to stay home as much as possible during that period. "The Town of Deer Lake is encouraging residents that must go out to wear a mask unless medical reasons permit otherwise," the release said.Businesses across the town of just over 5,000 residents promptly complied with council's plea on Sunday by posting two-week closure notices on social media.The town library was among those that opted to suspend operations until Dec. 7, according to a post on its official Facebook page. "All fines remain suspended and we ask you hold onto any items you currently have checked out," the post read.Newfoundland and Labrador reported eight new cases of COVID-19 over the weekend, with 21 infections now active in the province. Among them is a cluster of five connected cases in Newfoundland's western region, all of which were identified in the past week.It's the first time since May the province's active caseload has exceeded 20, putting many residents on high alert."People must remain vigilant and follow all (public health) measures to protect themselves, their families, and their communities from the spread of COVID-19," the provincial Department of Health and Community Services said in a release on Sunday. In St. John's, Memorial University put the brakes on a plan to bring some non-academic staff back to campus on Monday. The school said in a release Sunday the decision was made "due to rising cases" of COVID-19. Down the road from the university, The Bigs Ultimate Sports Grill announced it would close temporarily after getting word that someone who tested positive had eaten there on Monday. The business said it was taking the step as a precaution to protect staff and patrons.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 22, 2020.Sarah Smellie, The Canadian Press
A Grade 10 student was seriously injured during an assault on school grounds this week, according to Edmonton police. The boy was on J. Percy Page High School grounds near the rear of the school when he was attacked at about 12:15 p.m. on Nov. 18, police said in a statement. A video posted to Twitter on Nov. 18 purports to show the assault. In it, a teen is seen crouched on the ground as three men stand around him. One of the men repeatedly and aggressively punches and kicks the youth who appears to be trying to shield his head. The user who posted the video did not respond to a request for an interview. Police say they received a report that the attackers were three young male adults who had been taunting students from a red Ford truck. Officers arrived at the school to investigate, and spoke to several witnesses. In a statement, Edmonton Public School Board spokesperson Anna Batchelor said the school contacted police upon becoming aware of the assault, and that it is continuing to work with police during the ongoing investigation. "We know this incident is upsetting and concerning for families. All students and staff have a right to feel safe when they are travelling to and from school. We are taking the incident very seriously and the school is working to support their community," Batchelor said. She added that, in the meantime, the school has increased outdoor supervision during break times.
JANESVILLE, Wis. — U.S. Rep. Bryan Steil tested positive for COVID-19 on Sunday, according to a statement from the Republican lawmaker, who represents Wisconsin’s 1st congressional district.The congressman said he began experiencing mild symptoms over the weekend and contacted his health care provider while at home in Janesville, Wisconsin.Steil said he spent all of last week working in Washington, D.C.“Following CDC guidelines, I am immediately quarantining and will continue serving the people of Southeast Wisconsin from my home in Janesville,” he said.Steil was first elected in 2018 and held on to his seat in November for Wisconsin’s 1st congressional district, which includes Kenosha and Racine counties and portions of Milwaukee, Rock, Walworth and Waukesha counties.The Associated Press
LANSING, Mich. — President Donald Trump did not ask Michigan Republican lawmakers to “break the law” or “interfere” with the election during a meeting at the White House, a legislative leader said Sunday, a day before canvassers plan to meet about whether to certify Joe Biden's 154,000-vote victory in the battleground state.House Speaker Lee Chatfield was among seven GOP legislators who met with Trump for about an hour on Friday, amid his longshot efforts to block Biden's win.“There was this outrage that the president was going to ask us to break the law, he was going to ask us to interfere, and that just simply didn't happen,” he told Fox News of the highly unusual meeting. He did not elaborate on what was discussed, except to say the delegation asked for additional federal aid to help Michigan's coronavirus response.Michigan’s elections agency has recommended that the Nov. 3 results — including Biden's 2.8-percentage point victory — be certified by the Board of State Canvassers, which has two Democrats and two Republicans. The Republican National Committee and the state Republican Party want the board to adjourn for 14 days to investigate alleged irregularities in Wayne County, the state's largest and home to Detroit.Staff for the state elections bureau said that claimed irregularities, even if verified, would not significantly affect the outcome. The Michigan Democratic Party said the total number of Detroit votes implicated by imbalanced precincts — where the number of ballots does not equal the number of names on the pollbook — is at most 450, or “0.029% of the margin” separating Biden from Trump.“The certification process must not be manipulated to serve as some sort of retroactive referendum on the expressed will of the voters. That is simply not how democracy works,” chairwoman Lavora Barnes wrote to the board on Sunday.If the board does not confirm the results and the Michigan Supreme Court does not subsequently order it to do so, Chatfield said “now we have a constitutional crisis." He and other Republicans, however, have indicated that they would not undermine the voters' will.“Michigan election law clearly requires that the state’s electors must be those nominated by the party that received the most votes — not the Legislature,” says a stock email House Republicans are sending in response to people who contact their offices.Experts on Michigan election law have said the state board's authority is limited in scope and that it must certify the results now that all 83 counties have reported theirs to the state. There is concern, though, because Trump personally called the two Republicans on Wayne County's board last week and they said a day later that they were rescinding their previous vote — following an earlier deadlock — but it was too late.Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, a Republican who met with Trump, suggested in a Sunday tweet that the state canvassers might “take the full time allowed by law to perform their duties" instead of voting Monday and said “it's inappropriate for anyone to exert pressure on them."The deadline is Dec. 13, but that is five days after the federal “safe harbour” date — when Congress cannot challenge any electors named by that date in accordance with state law.There is no evidence of widespread fraud in the 2020 election. In fact, election officials from both political parties have stated publicly that the election went well and international observers confirmed that there were no serious irregularities.The issues Trump’s campaign and its allies have pointed to are typical in every election.Republican U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, Michigan's current longest-serving member of Congress, told CNN on Sunday that “the voters spoke" and the state had no razor-thin presidential race.“No one has come up with any evidence of fraud or abuse,” he said. He called the request to delay the certification “out of bounds.”The trip to the White House has come under heavy scrutiny. The lawmakers stayed at the luxury Trump International Hotel, and two of them were photographed with expensive drinks at the hotel bar after the meeting.Spokespeople for Shirkey and Chatfield said the legislators covered their expenses and that no taxpayer money was used. However, they did not say if the men paid for the trip themselves or if it was paid for in some other way such as by them tapping into their non-profit “administrative” accounts that can accept contributions from corporate or other donors.Finding out about who runs such lawmaker-connected organizations, who donates to them and what the money is spent on can be extremely difficult, according to a 2016 joint investigation by MLive and the Michigan Campaign Finance Network. Such accounts can be used to reimburse legislators for travel.___Follow David Eggert: https://twitter.com/DavidEggert00David Eggert, The Associated Press
Alberta's associate minister of mental health and addictions said he misrepresented government policy in a town hall when he said the province was waiting for hospital capacity to be pushed to the limit before announcing further restrictions to reduce the spread of COVID-19."Our criteria is measured against our hospital capacity to handle ICUs and hospitalizations. So we're waiting to see where that threshold will be pushed to our limit and then gradually reduce more activities that way," Jason Luan said during the virtual town hall for his Calgary-Foothills constituency, in a video posted to social media. However, Luan said in a statement posted to Twitter on Sunday that his comments were inaccurate."Yes, hospital capacity is a critical consideration in any COVID-19 response … but I was incorrect in suggesting anyone is waiting until we are pushed to the limit," he wrote.Luan said the government is making evidence-based decisions, based on recommendations of public health officials, to avoid getting to that point. He said he regrets any confusion his statement caused and said he is not involved in making decisions around new restrictions or hospital capacity.Luan's comments come as Alberta hits new record high COVID-19 case numbers, with some of the fewest restrictions but highest infection rates in the country. Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta's chief medical officer of health, had said Friday that the impact of the province's most recently introduced restrictions — put into place last Friday — would start to be seen this weekend. Instead, cases have continued to rise dramatically.On Sunday, the province saw 1,584 more people test positive, for a total of 12,195 active cases (both new records).That's more new cases than were reported in Ontario on Sunday, which has more than three times Alberta's population. Toronto and Peel region will introduce further restrictions Monday, including limiting retail to curbside pickup or delivering, closing indoor and outdoor dining, and prohibiting indoor gatherings. Alberta saw record hospitalizations as well with 319 people in hospital, 60 in intensive care (the province has 70 ICU beds for COVID-19 patients). A total of 471 Albertans have died.Opposition to seek emergency debateThe spiking cases and lack of new restrictions prompted a trending Twitter hashtag — WhereIsKenney — drawing attention to the fact Premier Jason Kenney, who is self isolating, hasn't made a public appearance by phone or video call in days. CBC News reached out to both the premier's office and health minister's office for comment Sunday, and did not receive a response. Alberta Health said Dr. Hinshaw would next be available to answer questions from media on Monday afternoon.Kenney had posted on social media Saturday asking Albertans to do their part and stay home if sick, wash their hands and wear a mask."As Dr. Hinshaw says, COVID-19 is deadly serious. Albertans, we can slow the spread and protect one another, but only if all of us together do the right things," he wrote. The Opposition said in an emailed release Sunday that it would be seeking an emergency debate Monday to call for action to slow the coronavirus' spread. "This is the greatest public health threat we have faced in our lives," said Alberta NDP Leader Rachel Notley in the release. "We have seen premiers across the country address the public in recent days and provide modelling and other information that makes it clear just how big of a threat COVID-19 is. In Alberta, we've seen nothing of the sort."Opposition Health Critic David Shepherd said that if Luan's remarks on Friday weren't true, Kenney needs to say what the real thresholds for action are.Shepherd also rejected Luan's claim that he is not a spokesperson."This is an unforgivable attempt to duck responsibility by a cabinet minister," Shepherd said. "As the associate minister of health, Luan is absolutely a spokesperson and a decision maker and he gave Albertans false information about the government's response to COVID-19."
VANCOUVER — A hearing continues today in the extradition case of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou, who was arrested at the Vancouver airport in 2018 at the request of American officials. B.C. Supreme Court heard last week the border officer who led Meng's immigration exam before her arrest doesn't believe RCMP asked him to collect the passcodes to her phones. Sowmith Katragadda told an evidence-gathering hearing he couldn't recall where the idea came from. The court has heard the passcodes were collected as part of the border exam process and shared with the Mounties by mistake, along with Meng's electronic devices. Meng is wanted in the United States on fraud charges based on allegations related to American sanctions against Iran that both she and Chinese tech giant Huawei deny. Her lawyers are collecting information they hope will support their allegation that Canadian officers improperly gathered evidence under the guise of a routine border exam. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 23, 2020. The Canadian Press
The Dukling, a traditional Chinese junk boat frequently spotted around Hong Kong's picturesque Victoria Harbour, has readjusted its tour routes to survive the coronavirus pandemic, now mainly catering to locals. Its 12 staff serve mainly foreign tourists looking to see Hong Kong's glitzy skyline from a different angle. "This disease has had a massive impact on the entire planet and Hong Kong is really dependent on trade and tourism,” said Li, seated in the wooden boat.
The Toronto Raptors' most stylish player is moving to the Los Angeles Clippers.
A small Indigenous-run production company has teamed up with Disney, to shed light on Indigenous youth through a mini-documentary series. CEO Jacob Pratt, who is from a Saskatchewan First Nation, hopes to put a bigger spotlight on Indigenous representation in the entertainment industry. Brady Ratzlaff has the story.
PHILADELPHIA — As they frantically searched for ways to salvage President Donald Trump's failed reelection bid, his campaign pursued a dizzying game of legal hopscotch across six states that centred on the biggest prize of all: Pennsylvania.The strategy may have played well in front of television cameras and on talk radio to Trump's supporters. But it has proved a disaster in court, where judges uniformly rejected their claims of vote fraud and found the campaign's legal work amateurish.In a scathing ruling late Saturday, U.S. District Judge Matthew Brann — a Republican and Federalist Society member in central Pennsylvania — compared the campaign's legal arguments to “Frankenstein's Monster,” concluding that Trump's team offered only “speculative accusations," not proof of rampant corruption.The campaign on Sunday filed notice it would appeal the decision to the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, a day before the state's 67 counties are set to certify their results and send them to state officials. And they asked Sunday night for an expedited hearing Wednesday as they seek to amend the Pennsylvania lawsuit that Brann dismissed.Trump's efforts in Pennsylvania show how far he is willing to push baseless theories of widespread voter fraud, even as the legal doors close on his attempts to have courts do what voters would not do on Election Day and deliver him a second term.The effort is being led by Rudy Giuliani, Trump's personal lawyer, who descended on the state the Saturday after the Nov. 3 election as the count dragged on and the president played golf. Summoning reporters to a scruffy, far-flung corner of Philadelphia on Nov. 7, he held forth at a site that would soon become legendary: Four Seasons Total Landscaping.The 11:30 a.m. news conference was doomed from the start.Only minutes earlier, news outlets had started calling the presidential contest for Democrat Joe Biden. The race was over.Just heating up was Trump’s plan to subvert the election through litigation and howls of fraud — the same tactic he had used to stave off losses in the business world. And it would soon spread far beyond Pennsylvania.“Some of the ballots looked suspicious,” Giuliani, 76, said of the vote count in Philadelphia as he stood behind a chain link fence, next to a sex shop. He maligned the city as being run by a “decrepit Democratic machine.”“Those mail-in ballots could have been written the day before, by the Democratic Party hacks that were all over the convention centre,” Giuliani said. He promised to file a new round of lawsuits. He rambled.“This is a very, very strong case,” he asserted.Justin Levitt, a Loyola Law School professor who specializes in election law, called the Trump lawsuits dangerous.“It is a sideshow, but it’s a harmful sideshow," Levitt said. “It’s a toxic sideshow. The continuing baseless, evidence-free claims of alternative facts are actually having an effect on a substantial number of Americans. They are creating the conditions for elections not to work in the future.”___Not a single court has found merit in the core legal claims, but that did not stop Trump's team from firing off nearly two dozen legal challenges to Biden’s victory in Pennsylvania, including an early morning suit on Election Day filed by a once-imprisoned lawyer.The president's lawyers fought the three-day grace period for mail-in ballots to arrive. They complained they weren't being let in to observe the vote count. They said Democratic counties unfairly let voters fix mistakes on their ballot envelopes. Everywhere they turned, they said, they sniffed fraud.“I felt insidious fraud going on,” Philadelphia poll watcher Lisette Tarragano said when Giuliani called her to the microphone at the landscaping company.In fact, a Republican runs the city's election board, and has said his office got death threats as Trump’s rants about the election intensified. No judges ever found any evidence of election fraud in Pennsylvania or any other state where the campaign sued — not in Michigan, Wisconsin, Arizona, Nevada or Georgia.Instead, Trump lawyers found themselves backpedaling when pressed in court for admissible evidence, or dropping out when they were accused of helping derail the democratic process.“I am asking you as a member of the bar of this court, are people representing the Donald J. Trump for president (campaign) … in that room?” U.S. District Judge Paul Diamond asked at an after-hours hearing on Nov. 5, when Republicans asked him to stop the vote count in Philadelphia over their alleged banishment.“There’s a nonzero number of people in the room,” lawyer Jerome Marcus replied.The count continued in Philadelphia. The Trump losses kept coming. By Friday, Nov. 6, when a state appeals court rejected a Republican complaint over provisional ballots and a Philadelphia judge refused to throw out 8,300 mail-in ballots they challenged, Biden was up by about 27,000 votes.Nationally, the race had not yet been called. But it was becoming clear that a Biden win in Pennsylvania, with its 20 electoral votes, was imminent.When it came, Trump quickly pivoted to litigation. It did not go well.A U.S. appeals court found Pennsylvania's three-day extension for mail-in ballots laudatory, given the disruption and mail delays cause by the pandemic. Judges in Michigan and Arizona, finding no evidence of fraud, refused to block the certification of county vote tallies. Law firms representing the campaign started to come under fire and withdrew.That left Giuliani, who had not argued a case in court for three decades, in charge of the effort to overturn the election.“You can say a lot at a driveway (news conference). ... When you go to court, you can't,” said lawyer Mark Aronchick, who represented election officials in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and elsewhere in several of the Pennsylvania suits. “I don’t really pay attention to the chatter until I see a legal brief.”___On Tuesday, Giuliani stepped into the courtroom. He was a late addition to the docket after election lawyers from Porter Wright Morris & Arthur had bowed out over the previous weekend. He had an entourage in tow, a show of force that had everything but a compelling legal argument.Giuliani asked Brann to hold up the certification of the state’s 6.8 million ballots over two Republican voters whose mail-in ballots were tossed over technical errors.“I sat dumbfounded listening,” said Aronchick, a seasoned trial lawyer.“We were ready to argue the one count. Instead, he treated us to an even more expanded version of his Total Landscaping press conference,” Aronchick said. “It didn’t bear any relationship to the actual case.”Giuliani, admired by some for his tough talk as Manhattan’s top prosecutor and his leadership as New York City’s mayor during the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, struggled to answer even basic legal questions.But he waxed on about a supposed conspiracy to rig the state election.“The best description of this situation is widespread, nationwide voter fraud,” Giuliani argued. Under questioning, though, he acknowledged their complaint no longer included a fraud claim.And then, just as it had at Four Seasons, reality came crashing down on him, when news broke in the courtroom that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court had rejected the campaign's appeal over observer access in Philadelphia. It was one of the campaign's last remaining claims.Even the dissent was crushing.“The notion that presumptively valid ballots cast by the Pennsylvania electorate would be disregarded based on isolated procedural irregularities that have been redressed ... is misguided,” Chief Justice Thomas G. Saylor wrote for the minority in the 5-2 decision.Brann, who sits in Williamsport, let the federal court hearing drag on past the dinner hour, and gave both sides time to file additional motions. The campaign filings were replete with typos, spelling mistakes and even an errant reference to a “Second Amendment Complaint” instead of a second amended complaint.The campaign took the opportunity to answer one of the more puzzling questions that its election challenge raised: It only wanted the presidential election results set aside, not votes on the same ballots for other offices. The briefs were filed by Giuliani and co-counsel Marc Scaringi, a local conservative talk radio host who, before he was hired, had questioned the point of the Trump litigation, saying “it will not reverse this election.”Aronchick balked at the campaign's core premise that local election workers — perhaps working for the Mafia, as Giuliani suggested — had plotted to spoil Trump's win.“You’re going to suggest part of them are in a conspiracy? How does that work?” Aronchick asked. “Who? Where? When? How?”Brann, in his ruling, said he expected the campaign to present formidable evidence of rampant corruption as it sought to nullify millions of votes. Instead, he said, the campaign presented “strained legal arguments without merit and speculative accusations.”The 3rd Circuit, based in Philadelphia, may have already tipped its hand. In its Nov. 13 ruling, the appeals court called it "indisputable in our democratic process: that the lawfully cast vote of every citizen must count.”Biden's lead in the state has expanded to more than 80,000 votes.“Our system depends on the possibility that you might lose a fair contest. If that possibility doesn't exist, you don't have a democracy,” said Levitt, the law school professor. “There are countries that run like that. It just doesn't describe America.”___Follow Maryclaire Dale on Twitter at https://twitter.com/MaryclairedaleMaryclaire Dale, The Associated Press
More than 2,000 people have signed an online petition demanding that students at Dawson College not be forced to do in-person exams at the end of term.Most of the school's end-of-term tests will be done online, but a handful of science programs have decided to schedule on-site exams.The student union has come out in opposition to the plan, saying it puts students at risk, especially as COVID-19 cases in Montreal continue to rise."It is in a red zone, we cannot possibly go in school in the centre of this pandemic," said Kevin Contant-Holowatyj, chair of the Dawson Student Union.The union released a statement saying that student health should come first."Finals are already a stressful time for students, and we believe that having to be in a room with other students can augment the stress to many of the student population. While we understand that some students and faculty may be concerned with academic integrity, this cannot outweigh in any way the risk of contracting the virus," reads the statement.The petition, which has a goal of 2,500, had more than 2,100 virtual signatures as of Sunday evening.Dawson students also circulated a petition asking for online exams in the summer term, which only garnered 500 signatures.For its part, Dawson said the decision to hold some exams in-person was made to protect academic integrity, and was done in consultation with public health experts.It said the decision could be revisited if new health concerns come to light.
Vaccine distribution, the inability to pull off a mass campaign that could spark crowds and the absence of a national immunization registry are among the top hurdles facing Canada's COVID-19 vaccine rollout, says the head of the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI)."To me the challenge is ... the distribution. So we make the recommendations, but between that and getting the vaccine into people's arms is going to be quite a challenge," Dr. Caroline Quach-Thanh told CBC's Chief Political Correspondent Rosemary Barton on Sunday.The independent committee is made up of experts tasked with advising the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) on the use of vaccines. One of its goals is to help provinces and territories determine who should first receive the COVID-19 vaccine, considering some populations have higher needs and initial supply will be limited.Key populations for prioritization include seniors, front-line workers and others at risk of contracting or transmitting the illness. The committee says other considerations, such as people who belong to multiple at-risk populations, the characteristics of approved vaccines and the severity of outbreaks should also be factored into the country's distribution plan.It's up to specific jurisdictions to hammer out the logistics of those plans, Quach-Thanh said, adding that strategies used during 2009's H1N1 pandemic won't work today."We're not going to be able to do the mass vaccination campaign like we were doing for H1N1, for instance, because ... putting people together increases the risk of spreading COVID," she said. The campaign was Canada's largest vaccination program and drew crowds and lengthy lineups from those seeking a vaccine. Promising week for vaccine candidatesQuach-Thanh's comments come after an encouraging week for COVID-19 vaccine candidates, with Moderna posting a 94.5 per cent success rate for its vaccine on Monday and Pfizer announcing a 95 per cent success rate two days later. The physician said the NACI has yet to see data from either pharmaceutical company regarding their Phase 3 trials, but added that she hopes to see that information soon.The federal government has agreements with the two companies, along with Novavax and Janssen, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson. It also has deals with Sanofi/GSK, AstraZeneca and Medicago.Canada is to receive 20 million to 76 million doses of each vaccine should they make it through clinical trials and get the green light from Health Canada.Another obstacle, Quach-Thanh said, is the fact that the country has no national immunization registry to oversee and track Canadians' vaccination records — something that could prove useful given that the Pfizer and Moderna candidates must be administered twice. "It adds a challenge to this issue," she said. "I think that most provinces have registries so that they're able to follow up on who gets what, and it's now the time to really be able to use it."On Tuesday, Dr. Howard Njoo, Canada's deputy chief public health officer, said Ottawa's goal is to cover the "vast majority of the Canadian population" by the end of 2021.Quach-Thanh said it's critical to keep that timeframe in mind."If people think that by March everybody is going to be out of the woods because we're all going to get vaccinated, that doesn't work," she said."We expect that those non-pharmacological interventions like physical distancing, mask wearing ... will likely need to still be in place for another year or so because we don't expect most ... Canadians to have been vaccinated before that time."WATCH | Ottawa gears up for vaccine distribution:Federal-provincial disconnectConfusion over early access to a vaccine prompted a disconnect between federal and provincial officials this week about how many doses each province can expect to receive — and when.PHAC officials told the House of Commons health committee on Friday that six million doses could be expected by the end of March 2021, but some provinces appear to have specific breakdowns for what they'll receive.Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott suggested Wednesday that her province could be handed up to 2.4 million doses for distribution between January and March. About 1.6 million of those would come from four million doses slated for Canada from Pfizer during that time, she said, while 800,000 would come from two million doses anticipated from Moderna.Alberta's Dr. Deena Hinshaw also shared the number of doses her province could expect to see.Federal officials, however, have kept mum on the details — dodging questions about provincial figures and refusing to confirm how many doses Canada might receive from Pfizer and Moderna by early next year. "I think the assertion of the various provinces around the number of doses that they are going to receive in their own jurisdictions is the area where we have not come to an agreement on yet," Federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu said Friday. "We will be working out, and are working out, with the provinces and territories a sharing agreement on the number of doses each province and territory can expect to receive when those vaccines arrive in Canada," she said. "There are a number of steps to continue to go through to receive those doses on Canadian soil."National criteria necessary, Manitoba premier saysIn an interview on Rosemary Barton Live, Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister called for "national criteria" to guide the country's distribution efforts."Vulnerable people, and, of course, front-line workers, are going to get it first. We all agree with that. But we need to also come to a national agreement on those criteria because it isn't going to be here all at the same time," said Pallister, whose province is currently experiencing the country's highest per-capita COVID-19 infection rate.Hajdu said Ottawa and the provinces and territories have negotiated agreements for everything needed for the pandemic so far, "whether it's personal protective equipment or testing," and said vaccines are no exception.But while external groups such as the NACI are working to identify who should get the first doses, it is still up to other jurisdictions to administer them."For heaven's sakes, it's a life and death thing to a lot [of people]. I'm a 66-year-old asthma sufferer. But I shouldn't get it first, right?" Pallister said. "I mean, there's a lot of other people that are going to need to get that vaccine ahead of me. I'm saying we need to have those criteria because people want to get this vaccine and they want to get it right away."WATCH | Manitoba premier on national vaccine criteria:
FRASERVILLE — A Fraserville resident has made it to the quarter-finals of a global baking contest. Michelle Laroche was nominated by a friend for The Greatest Baker competition, which was established and is hosted by Jen Barney, a two-time Food Network baking champion and the owner of Meringue Bakery and Cafe. From a field of 324 bakers, only 16 could advance to the quarter-finals and Laroche was one of the 16 to do so on Friday. Laroche said her mom knew she advanced to the quarter-finals before she did. “My mom is over the moon. She called me this morning and she said, ‘You did it, you did it, you did it,’” Laroche said. She said there’s the option of one daily free vote, or the option of unlimited paid votes, and there were people she didn’t know who bought votes for her. “It was so insane to see. As a contestant, every time a vote was purchased you could see. So, I was blown away by some of the amounts of money people were spending on me,” she said. The competition is based solely on work that contestants have already done. In the nearly 50 photos Laroche displays on her profile, they exemplify cake work she’s done throughout her career as a baker, ranging from a cake shaped like a Doritos bag, to a cake with an Eiffel Tower on it. Laroche, who owns From Scratch With Love, said she never thought she would make it this far in the competition. “I went through some of the profiles on there and …. wow. So, I’m pretty excited. There’s some amazing competition out there,” she said. Laroche said she’s received so much support from the community, along with friends and family. The contest’s grand prize for the first-place winner is $10,000, a year’s supply of Stuffed Puffs and the chance to be featured in Bake from Scratch Magazine. “I plan to put a deposit on our own home so we can stop renting. I have four children and if I got that, that would be a house,” she said. To keep up with the contest, visit greatestbaker.com.Marissa Lentz, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Peterborough Examiner
KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Tim Melia stopped all three of San Jose's shootout attempts and Sporting Kansas City converted all of its tries to beat the Earthquakes on Sunday after they finished overtime tied at 3 in the Western Conference semifinals.Top-seeded Sporting advanced to face play No. 4 Minnesota or No. 5 Colorado.Gianluca Busio scored in the first minute of stoppage time to give Sporting Kansas City a 3-2 lead, but Chris Wondolowski scored about six minutes later, heading home a high cross to the far post by Cristian Espinoza to force extra time. It was just the second career playoff goal for Wondolowski, who has an MLS-record 166 goals in the regular season.In the shootout, Johnny Russell opened the tiebreaker with a goal, Melia stopped Oswaldo Alanís, and Ilie Sánchez connected for Sporting. Jackson Yueill was stopped, Khiry Shelton scored, and Melia stopped Espinoza to end it.Melia is 6-0 in shootouts. The 34-year old goalkeeper went into the match allowing goals on just 54% (14 of 26) of the penalty kicks he’s faced, the lowest percentage in MLS history.Kansas City's Roger Espinoza opened the scoring in the fourth minute. Carlos Fierro answered in the 22nd, and Shea Salinas scored in the 34th minute to give the Earthquakes a 2-1 lead.Sánchez put away a corner kick by Busio in the 47th minute. It was the 10th goal off a corner kick by Sporting Kansas City this season, most in MLS.The Associated Press
CALGARY — The Alberta Liberal Party says its leader, David Khan, is stepping down.A news release from the party on Sunday evening says Khan is accepting a new job in law.It says the party's board of directors will meet shortly to decide on its next steps.Khan failed to win a seat in Calgary Mountain-View in the April 2019 vote, an election in which the Liberals failed to win any seats.A lawyer specializing in Indigenous rights and land-claims litigation, Khan won the party's leadership in 2017.The Liberals were once the province's official Opposition, but after a high of 32 seats in 1993, the party suffered from ups and downs until it fell to third-party status in the legislature in 2012 and elected only one member in 2015.“During my time as Alberta Liberal Leader, we were powerful advocates on significant issues including regulating Political Action Committees, remediating orphan wells, eliminating school segregation rooms, and addressing the 'red alerts' crisis with EMS," Khan said in the news release."We pushed the provincial government to take action on these matters of concern to Albertans. We also raised awareness and grew support for Universal Basic Income, and the necessity of a sales tax. I was proud to advance these forward-thinking ideas to improve the lives of Albertans."The party thanked Khan, noting in the news release he "developed bold new policies, modernized party operations and recruited a new generation of young Albertans to the Alberta Liberal Party."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 22, 2020.The Canadian Press
The Archbishop of Vancouver says he is "baffled" by the province's recent decision to suspend in-person worship while keeping restaurants and gyms open.J. Michael Miller said in a Sunday morning homily that "the restrictions placed on banning congregations, even limited ones, from attending Holy Mass are, of course, a matter of grave concern to us both as Catholics and as citizens of British Columbia."On Thursday, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie suspended all in-person faith-related gatherings in an effort to limit the spread of COVID-19.Worshippers have been told not to attend services at their gurdwara, synagogue, church, mosque or temple.Churches remain open for prayer, adoration and individual confession. Church basements can also be used for other purposes, like Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, which Miller said in his address that he is thankful for.But he called it "puzzling" that even limited prayer services are suspended, when he said none of B.C.'s 78 parishes have been the source of a community outbreak."Certainly we must pray that the situation will soon change, so that we can return to Mass with a congregation, even if reduced in number," he said."We all want to protect the health of British Columbians, but that burden should not — must not — fall unjustifiably or unequally on communities of faith."Health officials in B.C. confirmed another 516 cases of COVID-19 on Friday and 10 more deaths. Masks are now mandatory in indoor retail and public spaces. That includes malls, grocery stores, liquor stores, community centres, municipal buildings, libraries, common areas in hotels and restaurants and bars when not seated at a table.
It's been a record year at Canada Post — since the start of the year, postal service employees have processed almost one million packages in Quebec alone. The 955,000 packages represent a 50 per cent increase from the 650,000 envelopes and packages delivered in 2019."It's unheard of," said Karl Baillargeon, a letter carrier and union spokesperson. "These are volumes we've never dealt with."Letter carrier Marie-Ève Trudel is bracing for a demanding few weeks to cap off what has been a demanding year."We know we're going to work hard over the holidays. They're going to be busy days," she said.Canada Post is hiring 4,000 extra staff across Canada — including 210 in the Montreal area and 140 in Quebec City — to help with the period between Black Friday and Christmas.John Hamilton, a spokesperson for Canada Post, said that while the holidays are always the busiest time of year for package delivery, the pandemic has spiked an increase all year long.He echoed the agency's warning earlier this year to get Christmas presents in the mail sooner rather than later to avoid delays."We know how it important it is to deliver Canadians' online shopping and get it under the tree on time," Hamilton said.He said during the early stages of the pandemic and first months of confinement, many people were staying at home and doing more online shopping than usual.He also attributes some of the growth to smaller businesses who have been experimenting with online sales for the first time.Overall though, the growth is emblematic of a larger trend, wherein more and more people get their goods delivered right to their door."It was just a few years ago we delivered a million parcels in a single day during the holiday season. That was a record and we celebrated that and we were all very excited. Now that's a slow day," he said, saying Canada Post sometimes delivers twice that many packages in a single day.
TRANSPORT. Le ministère des Transports avise les usagers de la route qu'ils devront faire preuve de prudence au cours des prochaines heures alors que les conditions routières pourraient se dégrader rapidement dans plusieurs régions du Québec. Selon les plus récentes prévisions météorologiques, jusqu'à 20 centimètres de neige et de la pluie verglaçante sont attendus. Dans ce contexte, le Ministère invite les usagers de la route à consulter le www.quebec511.info pour connaître l'état des routes, incluant les conditions de la chaussée, la visibilité ainsi que les entraves et les fermetures de routes en vigueur. Cette année, le Ministère prévoit investir plus de 350 M$ en entretien pour un réseau de 31 000 kilomètres de routes à déneiger. En période hivernale, 1 660 camions sont affectés à l'entretien du réseau du Ministère. De ce nombre, plus de 260 sont des camions opérés par le Ministère et 1 400 le sont par les prestataires de services, les municipalités et les communautés autochtones. Également, notons qu’en 2019-2020, le Ministère a utilisé plus de 800 000 tonnes de sels de déglaçage provenant des Mines Seleine des Îles-de-la-Madeleine et plus de 1 000 000 de tonnes d'abrasifs sur les routes sous sa responsabilité. Stéphane Lévesque, Initiative de journalisme local, L'Hebdo Journal