Catherine McDonald speaks exclusively with the father of the victim who says the 2018 attack emotionally scarred his son.
Catherine McDonald speaks exclusively with the father of the victim who says the 2018 attack emotionally scarred his son.
For a man obsessed with winning, President Donald Trump is losing a lot.He’s managed to lose not just once to Democrat Joe Biden at the ballot box but over and over again in courts across the country in a futile attempt to stay in power. The Republican president and his allies continue to mount new cases, recycling the same baseless claims, even after Trump’s own attorney general declared the Justice Department had uncovered no widespread fraud."This will continue to be a losing strategy, and in a way it's even bad for him: He gets to re-lose the election numerous times," said Kent Greenfield, a professor at Boston College Law School. “The depths of his petulance and narcissism continues to surprise me.”In an Associated Press tally of roughly 50 cases brought by Trump's campaign and his allies, more than 30 have been rejected or dropped. About a dozen are awaiting action. Trump has notched just one small victory, a case challenging a decision to move the deadline to provide missing proof of identification for certain absentee ballots and mail-in ballots in Pennsylvania.Trump has refused to admit he lost, and this week posted a 46-minute speech to Facebook filled with conspiracies, misstatements and vows to keep up his fight to subvert the election.Five more losses came Friday. The Trump campaign lost its bid to overturn the results of the election in Nevada and the Michigan appeals court rejected a case from his campaign. The Minnesota Supreme Court dismissed a challenge brought by GOP lawmakers. And in Arizona, a judge threw out thrown out a bid to undo Biden’s victory there, concluding that the state’s Republican Party chairwoman failed to prove fraud or misconduct and that the evidence presented at trial wouldn’t reverse Trump’s loss. The Wisconsin Supreme Court also declined to hear a lawsuit brought by a conservative group over Trump’s loss.Thursday dealt another blow in Wisconsin, where a split state Supreme Court refused to hear Trump’s lawsuit seeking to disqualify more than 221,000 ballots in the state’s two biggest Democratic counties, alleging irregularities in the way absentee ballots were administered. The case echoed claims that were earlier rejected by election officials in those counties during a recount that barely affected Biden’s winning margin of about 20,700 votes. Trump filed a similar lawsuit in federal court late Wednesday.Judges in battleground states have repeatedly swatted down legal challenges brought by the president and his allies. Trump's legal team has vowed to take one Pennsylvania case to the U.S. Supreme Court even though it was rejected in a scathing ruling by a federal judge as well as an appeals court.After recently being kicked off Trump's legal team, conservative attorney Sidney Powell filed new lawsuits in Arizona and Wisconsin this week riddled with errors and wild conspiracies about election rigging. One of the plaintiffs named in the Wisconsin case said he never agreed to participate in the case and found out through social media that he had been included. The same lawsuit asks for 48 hours of security footage from the “TCF Center,” which is in Detroit.The issues Trump’s campaign and its allies have raised are typical in every election: problems with signatures, secrecy envelopes and postmarks on mail-in ballots, as well as the potential for a small number of ballots miscast or lost. Election officials from both parties have said the election went well, and Attorney General William Barr told The Associated Press on Tuesday that the Justice Department uncovered no evidence of widespread voter fraud that could change the election's outcome.Trump's lawyers responded by criticizing Barr, who has been one of the president's biggest allies.Greenfield says their criticism speaks volumes. “It goes to show how vehement their ability to overlook reality is," he said.Failing to gain any traction in court, Trump and his allies are now turning to events with Republican lawmakers and rallies in states like Pennsylvania, Georgia and Michigan where they can use unfounded claims of fraud to incite the president’s loyal base.At a rally in Georgia on Wednesday, Powell and another pro-Trump attorney, Lin Wood, suggested that Republican voters sit out of the two January runoff elections that will decide control of the Senate because of the potential for fraud. And in Michigan, Rudy Giuliani, Trump's personal lawyer, urged Republican activists to pressure, even threaten, the GOP-controlled Legislature to award the state’s 16 electoral votes to Trump despite Biden’s 154,000-vote victory.In his video posted Wednesday, Trump said there were facts and evidence of a mass conspiracy created by Democrats to steal the election, a similar argument made by Giuliani and others before judges that has been largely unsuccessful. Most of their claims are rooted in conspiracy theories about voting machines that are not true, and affidavits by partisan poll watchers who claimed they didn't get close enough to see ballots being tallied because of safety precautions in the coronavirus pandemic. Because they couldn't see, they argued, something untoward must have happened.“No, I didn’t hear any facts or evidence," tweeted Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, a Democrat, after watching the video Wednesday night. “What I did hear was a sad Facebook rant from a man who lost an election."___Associated Press writers Scott Bauer in Madison, Wis., David Eggert in Lansing, Mich., and Jacques Billeaud in Phoenix contributed to this report.Alanna Durkin Richer, The Associated Press
A resident from Berens River is speaking out against his community for limiting its citizens' freedom to travel in and out of the northern Manitoba community. Jon Anthony is currently residing in Berens River. He has a small grain farm south of Winnipeg as well as a child living east of Winnipeg. Due to this, he tends to travel back and forth. On Wednesday, he emailed several news outlets, including the Winnipeg Sun, about the snow blockade preventing its residents to travel in or out unless they have a medical appointment and can provide proof. “The hardest part of the roadblock has been not being allowed movement in or out. I sometimes wonder if we live in a free country anymore,” said Anthony. He believes that the people of Berens River have been held hostage due to the decisions of the Berens River band. Berens River is located on the east side of Lake Winnipeg, about four hours north of Winnipeg. Since the start of the pandemic, Berens River First Nations (BRFN) declared a state of emergency in their community and set up checkpoints at two main access points. In November, BRFN Chief Norman McKay mentioned the need for medical appointments to leave the community on the Berens Radio. The BRFN Chief and council have signed a Band Council Resolution regarding this. Anthony noted that other residents are being quiet about this, choosing to trust their Chief, though most people he talked to said they feel like they are in prison. “This had resulted in serious costs for residents trapped outside of the community including hotel stays,” he said. “It is also a safety issue as people travel to Berens River in the winter for four hours, only to find out they don't have enough gas to travel back to Pine Falls and are stuck in the wilderness with no cell signal or hope of rescue since traffic has been cut off in and out. This recently happened to me, and I was lucky to survive the night.” According to Anthony, the blockade is mostly made out of snow and rocks. It is situated approximately two kilometres from the checkpoint. A government official told him that even though the provincial road travels through there, the road is new and has not been surveyed on some parts yet, meaning a small part of the road still belongs to the BRFN. He was told by the province that they do not have authority on this matter, even though there are provincial roads on both sides. A provincial government spokesperson said the province spoke with the Berens River First Nations Band Council Wednesday evening and the council advised that they have voluntarily locked down the community to ensure the safety of their residents due to a new case of COVID-19. Previously, the BRFN had sent out a patient through medevac to Winnipeg. When the patient returned, he was symptomatic and tested positive for COVID-19 a few days later. An RCMP spokesperson commented that they are aware of the blockade. However, the blockade is not put in place by, enforced by, nor monitored by the RCMP. As of Thursday, there are currently three active COVID-19 cases in the BRFN. BRFN Councillor Glen Boulanger confirmed that there is a snow blockade on the reserve and that it is for the safety of the Berens River community. “Cases are rapidly climbing in Winnipeg. We are just trying to prevent residents from contracting the virus and bringing it back to the community,” said Boulanger. “We are not doing this to take anybody’s freedom away or make them feel like they are in jail. This is so the community is safe, and as soon as the number improves, we will evaluate the need of the blockade.” Nicole Wong is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the Winnipeg Sun. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.Nicole Wong, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Winnipeg Sun
A 35-year-old Dawson Creek man was killed Saturday, November 28 when he was caught in an avalanche while out snowmobiling north of Mackenzie. Police and rescue personnel were called to the scene in the Powder King-Bijoux Falls area beginning shortly before 2 p.m. They said two snowmobilers were in the area at the time and one was buried in the snow. The victim's name was not provided. "The BC Coroners Service has conduct of this incident and is currently investigating to determine the facts surrounding this death. No further details are available at this time," RCMP said in a statement. On the previous Friday, Avalanche Canada had issued its first forecast of the season and had put the danger rating for the North Rockies at high for treeline and above and considerable for below treeline. "There was a pretty big storm that pass through the area, almost a week long storm," Avalanche Canada warning service manager Karl Klassen said Monday. "And that storm just started breaking up on Saturday, there was a fair amount of wind and quite a bit of new snow. Temperatures were quite warm and then they cooled off and those are kind of classic conditions for pretty significant avalanche danger. "We rated the danger as high, we told people to expect large avalanches on all aspects and all elevations given the amount of wind and snow and the temperatures that were occurring at the time." The high rating is one level below extreme and is used when conditions are deemed to be very dangerous. Travel in avalanche terrain is not recommended when the rating is in place although Klassen said it can be done with proper training and experience. "Even when the avalanche danger is high or even extreme, there are places in the mountains where avalanches just don't occur so as long as you can recognize that terrain and stay on that terrain, you'd be fine," Klassen said. "But again, just to stress, it's not something you (should do) without getting some training, getting some experience and gaining some knowledge and making a good trip plan before they leave." Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, he said avalanche courses remain available. Theory is being learned online or in smaller class sizes and with greater physical distancing and masks once outside for the practical part. To find a class, go to avalanche.ca and click on the learn tab. Thanks to an influx of federal funding, a three-person field team has been working in the region during the winter months since December 2019. Klassen said forecasts for the region will be issued four times a week this season, up from three times a week last winter.Mark Nielsen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince George Citizen
South Korean authorities urged vigilance on Saturday as small coronavirus clusters emerged in a third wave, centred in the Seoul area, with infections near nine-month highs. The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) reported 583 new coronavirus infections, down from the 629 reported on Friday, which was the highest since the first wave peaked in February and early March. This wave of infections is different from the first two, which were driven by large-scale transmission, said KDCA official Lim Sook-young.
If he didn't know it before, Cariboo-Prince George MP Todd Doherty knows it now - they can come at the most unexpected times. Shortly before he was about to ask a question during Question Period in the House of Commons last Monday, Doherty received a text from his wife Kelly, notifying him that their pregnant daughter's water just broke. "I'm going to be a grandfather for the first time," Doherty told fellow MPs who responded with a round of applause. Still a little flustered, Doherty then said he had completely forgotten what he was going to say, which drew a round of good-natured laughter. Doherty was then able to gather his thoughts and ask health minister Patty Hadju about the extent of her commitment to bringing a 988 national suicide hotline to Canada. Earlier in November, Doherty had tabled a motion to establish the service, saying the easy-to-remember three-digit number could make the difference between a life saved and a life lost. "Does the minister support a national 988 suicide hotline in Canada, and if you don't, if the minister doesn't, just have the courtesy to say so," he said. Hadju, in turn, acknowledged the big news first. "I can't help but say congratulations to the member opposite, because that's pretty exciting news to break to the House of Commons," she said. Hadju went on to say she wants to continue to work with Doherty to bring the hotline to Canada and to find ways to make realize his proposal more quickly. On Wednesday, back home in his riding and taking part in House business remotely, Doherty proudly showed his Parliamentary colleagues a picture of his granddaughter, Ren Kathleen. Videos of both moments can be seen on Doherty’s Facebook page. Mark Nielsen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince George Citizen
Some Strathmore and area students have returned to at-home learning. Under new provincial rules, students in Grades 7-12 returned to at-home learning on Nov. 30, while students from kindergarten through Grade 6 will continue attending school in person for the time being. The changes were announced on Nov. 24, alongside several other public health measures aimed to address increasing COVID-19 case numbers across the province. Golden Hills School Division (GHSD) anticipated a possible shift away from the classroom, and prepared accordingly, said superintendent Bevan Daverne. “Now it’s just a question of getting the details worked out and making sure the students have what they need, for a really smooth transition on Monday,” he said on Nov. 27. Daverne said he appreciates the support of parents throughout the pandemic and hopes the new policies supports them. “Part of the rationale for K to six staying in school is a continued support for parents who need to attend to work in or out of the house,” he said. “Our junior (and) senior high students are a little more independent and are able to manage potentially without a parent in the household.” Following the two-week holiday break, all students, from kindergarten through Grade 12, will have a week of at-home coursework from Jan. 4 to 8. Then, as per the current plan, all students will return to physical school the following week, on Jan. 11. The week of at-home learning provides an isolation period for students who may have met with family and friends over the holidays. “Then if we return to school, we potentially avoid some of the disruption that positive cases and (subsequent) isolation might cause within the schools,” said Daverne. But given the changing nature of the pandemic, this plan could be adjusted. The Ministry of Health and Alberta Education could continue with Grades 7-12 learning at home, have all students continuing their education from home, or have everyone return to school, said Daverne. For the older students, learning at home will be different that last spring, when schools were shut down in response to the initial spread of the virus. “About a quarter of the work that we would normally do in school is what was being managed at home,” he said. “But this time, we will be covering everything at home that we would at school.” In the spring, as part of Alberta Education’s mandate, marks were not affected by the shutdown, and students who were on track to pass before the shutdown would pass. But now, students will be expected to do the work associated with their course load and will be assessed on that work, through marks and evaluation. “It all counts this time,” said Daverne. There will be a stronger link between students and the school this time around as well. “We’re going to have stronger virtual connections,” he said. “Students will hear from their teacher (and) connect with their teacher, doing what would be normally done in their scheduled class time.” For students with Christ the Redeemer (CTR) Catholic Schools, class will be live-streamed, with students going from online meeting to online meeting (on Zoom or Google Meets), instead of classroom to classroom, said superintendent Scott Morrison. CTR staff have gained expertise about conducting at-home learning after 150 teachers volunteered to pilot livestream teaching to start this year. “We’ve gained incredible knowledge about the dos and don’ts of live streaming and the technology, and how to support the teachers in doing it,” he said. “We’ve learned a lot and we feel quite prepared.” Both school boards have invested into technological materials and infrastructure. For example, CTR has used provincial and federal funding to purchase 500 new Chromebooks last year, and plans to do the same this year, said Morrison. Also, five full-time information technology (IT) positions are employed by CTR. “They offer direct support; we’ve got a hotline for parents if they’re having technological difficulties,” he said. “We also have online guides for parents and students on how to use both live streaming and Google classroom, the web-based system we use to organize documents.” GHSD and CTR have worked together to meet the challenges of the pandemic and the changing response to it, added Morrison. “The cooperation between our school boards is exemplary,” he said. “We’ve often had long discussions about decisions and come to conclusions together about the best way to support our kids.”Sean Feagan, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times
OTTAWA — Procurement Minister Anita Anand says that as soon as she knows when the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine will arrive in Canada, she will share that information with Canadians. But Anand told The Canadian Press in an interview this week that the original contracts to buy COVID-19 vaccines had to be vague about delivery dates because nobody knew at the time if the vaccines would be successful. It's only in the last few weeks, when the leading candidates from Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca reported such positive results from their large clinical trials, that the way forward became clear enough for Anand's department to start asking the companies to be more specific about when they can make good on their contracts with Canada. "We put these contracts in place in order to place Canadians in the best stead possible, of any country in the world, recognizing that we would need to negotiate additional terms such as precise delivery dates, once a vaccine was discovered, and regulatory approval was obtained," she said. "And that is what's happening now." As Canadians face a pandemic-plagued holiday season and dream that 2021 will not be the anxiety-laden and often tragic disaster that 2020 has proven to be, there is one gleaming hope dangling still just out of reach: a vaccine for COVID-19. Still, the federal government has yet to answer one big question: When will it get here? It is not that she doesn't want to tell Canadians when, said Anand. But the complexities of figuring out a specific date are linked to when Health Canada approves the vaccine, and when the vaccine makers can see that Canada is ready to receive and safely distribute the precious doses, some of which have to be stored at temperatures below -70 C. Those pieces are starting to converge now. Health Canada officials are days, maybe even hours, away from approving the COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech for use in Canada. Canadians got some more information on the logistics from a briefing of federal officials this week, including that Pfizer will ship its vaccine directly to 14 identified receiving sites in provinces. FedEx and Innomar Strategies were contracted Friday to oversee the delivery of other vaccines from a national receiving site to provinces. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization issued refined guidance Friday for who should get the vaccine first, including long-term care residents and workers, and people over the age of 80. The materials like syringes, gauze pads and bandages needed to vaccinate millions of people are in place. Ultralow temperature freezers have been purchased and nine new ones have already arrived. Provincial governments are lining up their own task forces. "We are going to have vaccines in this country, as expeditiously as possible," Anand said. Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole has been decrying the lack of clarity from the Liberals about the vaccine plan. A week ago he accused the Liberals of only starting to buy vaccines in a panic this summer after a collaboration with China on a vaccine fell apart. The partnership between the National Research Council and China's CanSino Biologics was announced in May to great fanfare. But the doses to be used in a Canadian clinical trial failed to arrive, when the Chinese government — in the midst of political tensions with Canada — refused to issue an export permit for them. “I would not have put all our eggs in the basket of China,” O’Toole said Nov. 29, adding the timeline shows it wasn't until that deal fell apart that Canada "started getting serious with Pfizer, Moderna, the other options." Anand said that is not the case. She said the CanSino deal fell within Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains' portfolio, not her own, and nothing about the project prevented her from negotiating with other companies. Her marching orders to negotiate deals with other vaccine makers came weeks earlier. A team of procurement officials in her department was assigned to the file in March, at the same time as those negotiating contracts for medical supplies, personal protective equipment and rapid tests. In June, the COVID-19 vaccine task force provided a list of vaccines for Canada to pursue. Anand said talks with manufacturers began in early July. The first deal, with Massachusetts biotech firm Moderna, was struck July 24. Canada was first to sign with Moderna. It signed a contract with Pfizer and BioNTech a week later, on Aug. 1. It was the fourth country to do so, after the United Kingdom, the United States and Japan. News of trouble on the CanSino deal first appeared in early July when the doses still hadn't been approved for export by China. Canada walked away from the deal at the end of August when it became clear it would not happen. By then, Canada had deals with four other vaccine companies, including Moderna, Pfizer/BioNTech, Johnson & Johnson, and NovaVax. It added deals with Sanofi/GlaxoSmithKline and AstraZeneca in September and then with Canada's own Medicago the next month. Anand said Canada approached every contract with a similar goal — to get 20 million doses guaranteed, and options to potentially buy more later on. In all, Canada is paying more than $1 billion to the seven vaccine makers for 194 million doses, even if those vaccines never get beyond the experimental stage. Another 220 million doses are available if Canada asks for them, a decision that will be made for the vaccines that are proving to be the best. Anand announced Friday another 20 million doses will come to Canada in 2021 from Moderna, for a total of 40 million. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 5, 2020. Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press
THUNDER BAY — A 62-year-old man who falsely claimed to be COVID-19 positive while under arrest for violating court orders was sentenced on Friday for one count of conveying false information, failing to provide a breath sample and failure to comply with conditions of an undertaking. Arnett Langfried appeared in a Thunder Bay Zoom courtroom on Friday, Dec. 4 where he was sentenced by Judge Peter Bishop to 50 days of pre-sentence custody, which was enhanced to 75 days for all three charges. During his sentencing hearing, Langfried told the court he had not been tested for the virus despite telling police during his arrest on Oct. 15 he had received a positive test result for COVID-19 days before. Langfried came to police attention after the vehicle he was driving was reported to police for erratic and aggressive driving, Crown Attorney Stella Vallelunga said Friday, Dec. 4. Police conducted a traffic stop on Highway 11/17 near Shabaqua where they informed the driver of the reason for the stop and requested his driver's licence. The driver provided an expired out-of-province licence which alerted police the motorist was under court orders to not be driving. Police also observed the vehicle had two different licence plates on it. Officers advised Langfried he was under arrest for breaching his recognizance and placed him in the back of a police cruiser. Officers then spoke with a woman who was seated in the front passenger side of the vehicle who was reluctant to give police her name. Court heard police were making efforts to arrange for an alternate ride for the woman but she insisted on staying with Langfried. Once she provided her name and date of birth, police were notified her name came back as a missing person from the Peel Region area. Officers notified police in Peel. The woman became extremely uncooperative with the police and began screaming at officers she wanted to stay with her husband, court heard. While Langfried was in the back of the vehicle, he told police he had tested positive for COVID-19 in Newmarket days prior. At one point, Langfried and the woman began to verbally abuse the police by using profanities, court heard. Langfriend also pulled his mask down while speaking with police and officers observed an odour of alcohol from his breath. While police were searching his vehicle they found a full can of beer. Police asked Langfried for a breath sample to which he refused. He was also on court-orders to have zero milligrams of alcohol inside his body outside of his residence. Langfried’s lawyer, Sharon Scharfe, informed the court her client's poor behaviour that day was partly be attributed to his concern for his girlfriend. The couple also had a cat inside the vehicle who had gotten out on the highway and both individuals were distracted and upset about what had happened, the lawyer said. Court also heard a background of Langfried's criminal history including a conviction of an attempt to commit murder using a firearm in 2011 for which he received four years and eight months at a Saskatchewan penitentiary. He was also ordered to pay a $2,000 fine and received a one-year driving prohibition for failing to provide a breath sample. Langfried apologized for his actions in court.Karen Edwards, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Thunder Bay Source
TORONTO — Midfielder Jonathan Osorio has been handed a one-game suspension and undisclosed fine for violent conduct in Toronto FC's 1-0 playoff loss to Nashville SC.Hacked to the ground in the 32nd minute by Nashville midfielder Alex Muyl, Osorio kicked up with his left leg while on the ground, catching Muyl in the groin area during the Nov. 24 match at East Hartford.While Osorio escaped punishment from referee Robert Sibiga, the play was subsequently reviewed by the MLS Disciplinary Committee.The committee is allowed to step in in cases where the Professional Referees Organization (PRO) acknowledges an on-field referee or video review error — and the committee is unanimous that the play warrants at least a one-match suspension as a "clear and unequivocal red card, is egregious and/or repeat behaviour in nature, and/or the committee must act to protect player safety or the integrity of the game."Osorio will serve his suspension in Toronto’s first match of the 2021 regular season. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 4, 2020The Canadian Press
In a reversal of an earlier vote, today Strathmore town council passed a mandatory face covering bylaw requiring residents to wear masks when visiting indoor public spaces. The bylaw takes effect immediately. According to Strathmore Mayor Pat Fule, council worked with administration to make the bylaw the best solution for the town. “They made adjustments and amendments to make this is a more palatable bylaw that will still protect a lot of people in Strathmore,” he said. “We’re regular people caught in a really irregular health crisis, and I just hope the public will support all the councillors who have tried to make the best decision they can for the community’s health and safety.” The bylaw requires masks to be worn in all indoor public places and public vehicles, unless the person is separated from other persons by an installed screen, shield or other barrier. Businesses must also display signage at their entrances requiring people to wear masks. Anyone breaking either of these rules is liable to a fine of not less than $50. The bylaw also notes that if circumstances represent a “marked endangerment” or “increased risk of endangering public health,” a larger fine is possible. Under the bylaw, a proprietor may refuse entry to his/her business or ask a person to leave an indoor public place or vehicle and may request assistance of a peace officer. The officer can also issue a violation ticket requiring a court appearance of the person breaking the rules. The bylaw will be enacted when the number of COVID-19 cases in Strathmore exceeds 20, as reported by Alberta Health Services. However, town council may activate the bylaw at any time by resolution. Once enacted, the bylaw will be reverted once the number of cases in Strathmore is less than 20 for 14 consecutive days. The bylaw has several exemptions. Children under five years of age are not required to wear masks. Additionally, people with medical conditions or disabilities preventing them from wearing a mask are exempt. Also exempt are people who cannot use or wear a mask safely without assistance. Under the bylaw, people are not required to provide proof to an employer, business operator or proprietor of any exemption. People are exempt during certain activities, such as eating or drinking while seated at a business offering food or beverage services, during athletic or fitness activities, or while receiving services impeded by masks. The bylaw does not apply to schools and businesses already undertaking face covering measures through provincial guidelines, corporate requirements and recognized provincial professional bodies.Sean Feagan, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times
ATLANTA — Ahead of President Donald Trump wading into two high-profile Georgia Senate runoffs this weekend, Vice-President Mike Pence on Friday urged Republicans to form a united front in the contests that will determine which party controls the Senate in January. Pence campaigned Friday with Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, with the GOP roiled by Trump’s continued denial of his own defeat and his baseless attacks that Republican officials in Georgia, including the governor and secretary of state, enabled widespread voter fraud on behalf of President-elect Joe Biden. There have even been suggestions from some Trump allies that conservative voters should sit out the Jan. 5 Senate runoffs in protest, a notion Pence took head on. “I know we’ve all got our doubts about the last election, and I hear some of you saying, ‘Just don’t vote,’” Pence declared in Savannah. “My fellow Americans, if you don’t vote, they win.” Democrats countered with their own show of unity, as former President Barack Obama appeared in a virtual rally with Democratic challengers Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock. Biden, meanwhile, confirmed to reporters in Wilmington, Delaware, where he has based his transition, that he will come to Georgia ahead of the runoffs, though he didn't say when. The flurry of top-flight surrogates underscores the stakes and why some Republicans remain concerned that Trump's emphasis on his own political prospects threatens the GOP's Senate majority. “We cannot just sit back and not vote,” Republican Rep. Buddy Carter told those gathered to hear Pence on Friday afternoon in Savannah. “We’ve got to get out.” Bubba McDonald, a Republican who faces a Public Service Commission runoff election in January alongside the senators, was more direct, imploring Republicans angered over the presidential election to “please get over it” and return to the polls. Talking to Democrats, Obama struck a different tone, celebrating Biden's Georgia win but warning it's not enough. “Georgia is going to determine ultimately the course of the Biden presidency,” Obama said, reminding Democrats how Sen. Mitch McConnell stymied his agenda as majority leader. Republicans to need one more seat to allow McConnell to maintain his majority leader post and block Biden’s priorities. Democrats need to win both seats to force a 50-50 Senate and set up Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris to tilt the chamber to Democrats as the tiebreaking vote. The main runoff pitch for Republicans is that a GOP Senate is necessary to keep Democrats from absolute control. But that's a delicate argument since it tacitly admits Biden's victory even as Trump refuses to concede. Pence, as he did two weeks ago when campaigning with the Georgia senators, tried to strike a balance. He told Republicans they could “stay in the fight for the integrity of our elections” while also fighting for Perdue and Loeffler. But this time, Pence's message comes as Georgia completes yet another recount of presidential ballots and in the wake of Trump escalating his attacks on Georgia Republicans. The president recently called Gov. Brian Kemp “hapless” and dubbed Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger “an enemy of the people.” Trump has tweeted in support of Perdue and Loeffler, but has spent more energy falsely suggesting that Kemp and Raffensperger have the legal authority to reverse Biden’s victory in Georgia. State law gives them no such option. Initial returns showed Biden with a lead of more than 14,000 votes out of about 5 million cast. An initial hand recount put Biden’s margin at about 12,500. As Pence arrived in the state, Georgia officials were in the final stages of a third count requested by Trump’s campaign. That leaves Republicans in Washington and Georgia concerned that Trump will use a Saturday rally in Valdosta, Georgia, to air his own grievances and conspiracies rather than stoke GOP enthusiasm about the runoffs. “They are hyper aware of Trump’s latest comments and latest tweets and the negative impact it could be having,” said Republican donor Dan Eberhart of the senators’ advisers. “And those folks go to bed every night hoping there’s no Trump tweet while they sleep.” White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany dismissed such concerns but embraced the idea that Trump can make or break the runoffs for Republicans. “The president’s presence in Georgia will push Sens. Loeffler and Perdue over the finish line,” she said Friday, crediting the president with Republican turnout that narrowed House Democrats' majority and delivered victories for several vulnerable Senate Republicans. A pall was cast over Pence’s visit after confirmation that a Loeffler campaign aide, Harrison Deal, was killed in an automobile accident. Loeffler and Perdue greeted Pence together late Friday morning at Dobbins Air Reserve Base north of Atlanta before the trio headed to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, where the vice-president and the senators discussed the coronavirus pandemic and the development of vaccines. But Loeffler changed her plans and did not attend the Savannah rally after learning of Deal's death. The accident also kept Kemp, who counted Deal as a family friend, from greeting Pence in Savannah. Earlier, the governor had noted that Friday marked one year since he named Loeffler as his choice to fill the Senate vacancy created by Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson’s retirement. “I’m proud of what Kelly has accomplished but there’s more work to be done,” Kemp said via his official Facebook page. “Let’s unite as Georgia conservatives and send Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue back to Washington.” __ Associated Press reporter Deb Riechmann in Washington and Jeff Amy in Atlanta contributed. Bill Barrow, Russ Bynum And Ben Nadler, The Associated Press
The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada (all times Eastern):7:15 pm.Yukon is reporting three more cases of COVID-19.Dr. Brendan Hanley, Yukon’s chief medical officer of health, says the new cases bring the territory’s total to 54.Twelve cases are active in Yukon.Hanley says the three new cases are in Whitehorse.\---5:50 p.m.Alberta is reporting 1,828 new cases of COVID-19.And again, the province has surpassed the daily case numbers in Ontario.Alberta has 533 people in hospital with COVID-19, with 99 of them in intensive care.The province says 15 more people have died, bringing that total to 590.\---4:18 p.m.Restaurants and bars in Yukon will soon be required to collect contact information from their patrons.The territory says in a news release that chief medical officer Dr. Brendan Hanley introduced the requirement to assist with COVID-19 contact tracing.It says beginning Monday, one patron from each party will be required to sign in, and the eating and drinking establishments must keep the daily lists for 30 days.The lists will only be shared with Yukon Communicable Disease Control if an exposure has been identified.\---2:43 p.m.Saskatchewan is reporting 283 new cases of COVID-19 and one more death.Health officials say the person who died was in their 80s and the province's death toll from the pandemic sits at 55.There are more than 4,000 active cases of the virus in the province, many of the infections concentrated in and around Regina and Saskatoon.Hospitals are treating 126 COVID-19 patients, with 25 of them in intensive care.The province's seven-day average of daily cases is 262.Premier Scott Moe hopes to see a dip in transmission of the virus so more visitation can be allowed in long-term care homes over the holidays.\---1:40 p.m.Manitoba is announcing nine more deaths from COVID-19 and 320 new infections Friday as health officials released new modelling showing the impact of the pandemic on the province.It shows that three people end up in hospital and one person dies for every 48 cases of COVID-19.Dr. Brent Roussin, chief public health officer, says if no public health measures had been put in place, there would have been up to 1,055 new infections a day by this Sunday.Daily cases have been tracking between 300 and 500 recently.\---1:29 p.m.Nunavut will look to get the Moderna vaccine once it is available in Canada.Chief public health officer Dr. Michael Patterson says Moderna is preferred because the cold storage and shipping of the Pfizer vaccine is too difficult in Nunavut. Patterson also announced today fewer than five Nunavut residents with COVID-19 were flown to a Winnipeg hospital this week and are in stable condition.Patterson would not comment on exactly how many people were in hospital or what communities they come from.\---1:22 p.m.Ottawa is increasing its order of prospective COVID-19 vaccines.Procurement Minister Anita Anand says Canada is exercising its option to obtain another 20 million doses of Moderna's two-dose candidate, bringing its total order to 40 million in 2021.That's expected to be enough to vaccinate almost 20 million people.Moderna is one of several manufacturers Ottawa has struck deals with for prospective COVID-19 vaccines, which will be delivered in batches.In early 2021, Canada expects a combined total of six million doses of the Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines, if authorized for distribution.\---1:07 p.m.The group instructing provinces and territories about who should be first in line for COVID-19 vaccines has updated its advice.The National Advisory Committee on Immunization says the first doses of authorized vaccines should go to residents and staff of congregate living settings for seniors.They should also go to older adults starting with people aged 80 and older, then decreasing the age limit to 70 as supply becomes available.Health-care workers and adults in Indigenous communities where infection can have disproportionate consequences are also on the list.\---12:45Public Health officials in Newfoundland and Labrador are reporting three new cases of COVID-19. There are now 27 active cases in the province, for a total of 343 cases since the pandemic began. Premier Andrew Fury says he will announce the province's position on the Atlantic travel bubble Monday.Newfoundland and Labrador withdrew from the arrangement on looser travel restrictions within the region last month.\---12:30 p.m.Nova Scotia is reporting 15 new cases of COVID-19.Health officials say 11 cases are in the Halifax area, including a case at Citadel High School in Halifax reported late Thursday.Three cases in the northern health zone are close contacts of other cases, and one case in the western zone is related to travel. A case has also been identified at Park West School, a primary to Grade 9 school in the health zone that includes Halifax.\---11:38 a.m.Nunavut is reporting eight new cases of COVID-19.The territory says all the new infections are in Arviat.The community on the western edge of Hudson Bay now has 44 active cases.Nunavut mostly lifted a two-week lockdown earlier this week but restrictions remain in Arviat where numbers are highest.\---11:18 a.m.Public Health officials in New Brunswick are reporting eight new cases of COVID-19.There is one new case in the Moncton region, two in the Saint John region, one in the Fredericton area and four in the Edmunston region.All the individuals are self-isolating and their cases are under investigation.The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in New Brunswick is 528 with 111 currently active. \---11:10 a.m.There are 1,780 new cases of COVID-19 in Ontario today and 25 more deaths linked to the virus.Health Minister Christine Elliott says there are 633 new cases in Toronto, 433 in Peel and 152 in York Region. She says that the spread of COVID-19 has "hit a critical point."The minister is asking Ontarians to wear masks and remain physically distant from each other.\---11:08 a.m.The Quebec government is reporting 1,345 new COVID-19 cases and 28 additional deaths linked to the novel coronavirus.The Health Department says of the five of the deaths occurred in the past 24 hours.The number of hospitalizations has increased by 24 for a total of 761 with 97 people in intensive care.The province has reported a total of 147,877 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 7,183 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic.\---This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 4, 2020.The Canadian Press
A trilingual 16-year-old budding baker has launched her own business in St. Albert. Valeria Fonseca is turning her passion for baking into a home business by offering her cakes for sale online. “I feel really happy. I am very happy because I have a new business and because the kitchen is my passion,” Fonseca said. Fonseca’s passion for baking and cooking ignited just one year ago after her parents separated. Fonseca lives with her mom, Catherine Varvas, who after the separation started to take over the family cooking and asked her daughter for help. Fonseca quickly took to cooking and discovered her passion for creating food with her own hands. Varvas said she loves baking and cooking with her daughter because it makes her happy and calm. "She dances, she sings – she's so happy," the mom said. Fonseca started watching baking and cooking shows, like Master Chef, and wants to be a chef when she grows up. The business really took off this year during COVID-19, when the teen had more time at home. Fonseca is doing online learning this year and makes time to bake on Tuesdays and Sundays. Making the cakes has been good for the teen's self-esteem. “People say, ‘A beautiful girl with delicious cakes,’ and I am so proud,” Fonseca said. Fonseca began her cake-making venture by baking one for a friend, who remarked that the cakes were delicious. The friend suggested the family make a video of Fonseca making the cakes to promote her baking skills, and after the video was posted to Facebook, the family got very positive feedback. "People had a very good reaction and liked the cakes," Varvas said. Fonseca said her favourite cake to make is a red fruit cake, with strawberries, blackberries and blueberries. The teen is also passionate about cooking, loves to make Mexican food and hopes to specialize in cooking that cuisine when she is older. Fonseca, who speaks English as a third language, moved to St. Albert two years ago. The family is originally from Columbia but emigrated to Montreal five years ago. Varvas said the family left Montreal to find more inclusive education for her daughter, who has Down Syndrome. Back home in Colombia, Fonseca was learning alongside all of the other children in a classroom and getting an inclusive education, but in Montreal they didn’t have that same experience. So Varvas moved the family to Alberta so Fonseca could have the very best education possible. "We came to Alberta and we've found the door open, and we are so happy here," Varvas said. To order Fonseca's cakes, you can visit Valecakes on Facebook.Jennifer Henderson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, St. Albert Gazette
VICTORIA — British Columbia's top doctor and the health minister are urging the public to slow the spread of COVID-19 this weekend by limiting any festive gatherings to immediate households. Dr. Bonnie Henry and Adrian Dix say 711 new infections have been recorded in the province and 11 more people have died, for a total of 492 fatalities. They say in a joint statement that B.C. is continuing to see a significant surge in community transmission so all public health orders must be followed as more than 36,000 people have tested positive for the virus. Henry has said it's important to remain vigilant in containing the virus for the next few months and that everyone in the province who wants to be vaccinated could be immunized by September. Nearly 11,000 people who have been identified as being exposed to the virus are being monitored and 25,658 people who tested positive have recovered. The latest public health orders have meant the cancellation of adult indoor and outdoor team sports, though children can continue participating in local games without spectators. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 4, 2020. The Canadian Press
WINNIPEG — Manitoba's premier is facing backlash from Indigenous leaders for comments criticizing Ottawa's planning for COVID-19 vaccine distribution among First Nations.“Instead of uniting Manitobans during a health crisis, Brian Pallister is purposefully sowing seeds of division and hate,” Southern Chiefs’ Organization Grand Chief Jerry Daniels said Friday.Pallister criticized the federal government's national vaccine rollout strategy during a news conference Thursday.The Progressive Conservative premier said Ottawa has plans to distribute the vaccine on a per-capita basis."They are also telling us that they are going to hold back the portion of our vaccine for Manitoba that they would then allocate to Indigenous and First Nations communities," Pallister said."What that would mean than is Manitobans who do not live in northern Indigenous communities would be the least likely to get a vaccine in the country." Manitoba has the highest percentage of Indigenous people in its population of all the provinces. The premier said the results would be unfair. "This puts Manitobans at the back of the line. This hurts Manitobans, to put it mildly," he said. The premier has since reached out to Indigenous leaders to arrange a meeting to discuss the rollout, Daniels said.The grand chief added that he has "no interest in meeting with a premier who race baits and plays loosely with the inter-governmental relationships."Opposition NDP Leader Wab Kinew called Pallister's comments unfortunate. "The premier is trying to divide team Manitoba and have it turn in on itself at a time when we are actually asking everyone to do the exact opposite," Kinew said. When asked about vaccine distribution plans Friday, federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu said there have been conversations with provincial and territorial leaders "to assess what their perspective is.""There is a federal role to play in protecting a certain amount of product — whether we're talking about vaccines or personal protective equipment — for federal populations that we're responsible for, as well as for urgent situations," she said.Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs Grand Chief Arlen Dumas also criticized Pallister for giving people the false idea that all vaccine doses would be going to people in the north.A significant surge of COVID-19 infections has disproportionately affected First Nations people in Manitoba during the second wave of the pandemic.There were 625 new cases in on- and off- reserve populations in the last seven days, according to data from the First Nations COVID-19 Pandemic Response Coordination Team in Manitoba. First Nations people make up 30 per cent of all people in hospital and 42 per cent of those in intensive care. The five-day test positivity rate among First Nations people in Manitoba is 20 per cent.Chief Eric Redhead of the Shamattawa First Nation posted online Friday that there were 117 active infections in the northern Manitoba community of about 1,100. Its five-day test positivity rate was more than 50 per cent. "We are literally at a breaking point," Redhead said.Redhead said health professionals with the rapid response team in Shamattawa have also tested positive or are isolating due to exposure. He has called on the federal government to provide military help. Manitoba released new modelling Friday that shows that three people end up in hospital and one person dies for every 48 cases of COVID-19. "We need to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our communities or we will continue to see these harsh effects," said Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba's chief public health officer.The province recorded nine more deaths from COVID-19 and 320 new infections Friday. There were also 361 people in hospital with 55 in intensive care. The province brought in tighter public health measures last month, with restrictions on public gatherings and business openings.Roussin said that if no measures had been put in place, there would have been up to 1,055 new daily infections by Sunday. Daily cases have recently been tracking between 300 and 500.But Roussin said the test positivity rate remains too high. The five-day test positivity rate was 13.4 per cent provincially and 14.6 per cent in Winnipeg."It’s too early to say we are changing trajectory."The restrictions expire next Friday, and Roussin said he expects the majority will stay in place.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 4, 2020. Kelly Geraldine Malone, The Canadian Press
The Trump administration on Friday suspended all federal student loan payments through the end of January and kept interest rates at 0%, extending a moratorium that started early in the pandemic but was set to expire at the end of this month. By extending payments by one month, the administration is effectively leaving it to the Biden administration or Congress to decide whether to provide longer-term relief to millions of student borrowers. The measure was included in a March relief package and the White House extended it in August, but its fate was in doubt amid stalemate over a new relief bill. In announcing the extension, DeVos rebuked Congress for failing to act. “The added time also allows Congress to do its job and determine what measures it believes are necessary and appropriate," DeVos said in a statement. "The Congress, not the Executive Branch, is in charge of student loan policy.” Under the measure, students will not be required to make payments, their loans will not accrue interest and all collection activity will halt until the end of January. DeVos won praise for using her authority to pause federal student loan payments in March. Congress later cemented the measure in legislation and Trump extended it through December, but the looming deadline stoked fears that millions of borrowers would be forced to resume payments even as unemployment rates soared. Last month, the American Council on Education and dozens of other higher education associations urged DeVos to extend the relief, saying the recent surge in COVID-19 cases would likely lead to even more economic turmoil. “Bringing millions of Americans back into repayment in the thick of this crisis will cause additional financial hardship and force borrowers to make difficult decisions about their limited resources,” the groups wrote in a letter to DeVos. Even DeVos' own agency warned of looming trouble if the moratorium lapsed. In its annual report last month, Federal Student Aid, the office that oversees student loans, said that without an extension it would face a “heavy burden" in moving millions of borrowers to active repayment at the same time. President-elect Joe Biden has not directly addressed the moratorium but on Tuesday called for immediate relief including "relief from rent and student loans.” He has also supported proposals to erase up to $10,000 in student debt for all borrowers as part of a future virus relief package. In Friday's announcement, DeVos said her agency is working to notify the loan servicing companies that the Education Department contracts with to manage collections. A federal lawsuit filed against DeVos in April alleged that thousands of overdue borrowers were still getting pay withheld despite the mortarium. The department blamed the error on its servicers. DeVos' Friday release says that any defaulted borrowers who continue to have wages withheld will receive refunds. Collin Binkley, The Associated Press
About 100 businesses in Windsor-Essex will be visited by provincial offences officers as part of a COVID-19 enforcement blitz this weekend. In partnership with the local health unit and city bylaw department, 16 officers from the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development will be visiting the region on Saturday and Sunday to ensure that big box stores, retail stores, bars and restaurants are abiding by provincial COVID-19 rules. Ontario's Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development Monte McNaughton told CBC News on Friday that the event is mostly to educate businesses in the region, though they will hand out charges if necessary. "This isn't about the government carrying a big stick, it's actually about working with businesses to keep people safe," McNaughton said. "I come from a small business background in southwestern Ontario — our family had a home hardware store — I know the challenges that businesses are facing. It's unprecedented times. This is about protecting the health and wellbeing of the people." During these visits, he said that officers will educate businesses and make sure the Occupational Health and Safety Act is being followed. "Ultimately the goal is to protect workers, but also to keep businesses open," McNaughton said. "It really is to reinforce that Businesses need to have a health and safety plan to prevent COVID-19 from coming into the workplace, ensuring that social distancing is happening and that masks are being worn." Fines to be handed out, if necessaryWhile he said this is to help businesses, McNaughton said they will also use discretion. "There are some bad actors out there and we will issue orders and fines if necessary," he said, adding that he understands Windsor-Essex has jumped from the province's 'green-prevent' category to the 'red-control' category in only a matter of weeks. The businesses being visited are ones that have been listed by local public health officials and the city, McNaughton said. Since the Thanksgiving weekend, McNaughton said more than 200 officers have attended different regions in the province. Of these, he said they have found that 86 per cent of businesses are in compliance with COVID-19 rules. The officers have handed out orders and charges, though McNaughton said he didn't know the exact number.
Ahead of a looming year-end deadline, only 1,785 out of about 20,000 short-term rentals in Toronto have registered with the municipality. With fines beginning at $1,000 for both property owners and host platforms, the race is on to come into compliance. Matthew Bingley reports.
Talk about Canadian, eh? Some Southwestern Ontario golf courses have done such brisk business through the pandemic, they’re opening through the winter, even in the snow. White Squirrel Golf Club, located outside Zurich, north of Grand Bend, is teeing off on winter golf for the first time to give house-bound and pandemic-weary folks a safe, outdoor activity. “It’s more about getting outside and swinging a golf club than taking your score seriously,” said Brittany Nigh, White Squirrel’s manager of golf operations. “It’s a bit more fun.” The fundamentals of the summer sport stay the same on frozen ground. Snowy golfers will still find the fairway in play, but there are no tee blocks and the green isn't used for putting. Instead, temporary greens have been crafted to protect the course. Nigh said COVID-19 pandemic safety restrictions have spurred creativity and the desire to keep the course open year-round. “We do try to always think outside the box and do things a little differently,” she said. “Let’s not focus on what we can’t do, let’s see what we can do within the restrictions and can do safely.” But what about tracking down a white ball in swaths of fluffy snow? Nigh recommends playing a fluorescent or coloured golf ball and still keeping the weather forecast in mind. “You can do it in some snow, but obviously if the entire course is covered in two feet of snow, it’s going to be pretty difficult to find a patch to hit the golf ball from,” she said. She also recommends wearing gloves and waterproof shoes, dressing in layers that still let you swing your arms, and packing a thermos. The club also has transformed its front nine holes into a hiking trail, free for the public to use, and is keeping its restaurant open year-round. Nigh said locals have warmed to winter golf. “It’s offered our community a nice outlet,” she said. Another course, the Fox Golf Club, just north of London near Granton, also is open for the winter, with similar snowy weather adjustments. The Fox is run by Waterloo-based company GolfNorth, which has set up eight of its Southwestern Ontario courses for winter play, including ones in Forest, Petersburg and Baden. “We thought golf was safe and fun and people felt comfortable doing it all summer, and in the winter this year, people need something to do,” said Doug Breen, GolfNorth’s vice-president. “It’s just a way to get outside, get some exercise, do something fun with your buddies.” He said any day that would be appropriate for skiing would be good for winter golf. If the pandemic brainchild of winter golf is popular, GolfNorth plans to keep running it in future years. And so far, the frosty conditions haven’t deterred any golfers. Breen said earlier this week, groups played their courses even after Tuesday’s storm, with snow up to their shins. “It’s absolutely a quintessentially Canadian thing to do to embrace the cold,” he said. firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter.com/MaxatLFPressMax Martin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, London Free Press
A portion of University Avenue is closed to traffic in both directions after a multi-vehicle accident.The accident happened at the intersection of University and Belvedere avenues and University is closed between Belvedere and the Indigo bookstore.Police say there are injuries.Firefighters, paramedics and police are on the scene.