Governments have been pushing for Canadians to get a flu shot to avoid a winter “twindemic” of the flu and COVID-19, but it’s created overwhelming demand and flu shot shortages in some areas.
Governments have been pushing for Canadians to get a flu shot to avoid a winter “twindemic” of the flu and COVID-19, but it’s created overwhelming demand and flu shot shortages in some areas.
WASHINGTON — Disputing President Donald Trump’s persistent, baseless claims, Attorney General William Barr declared the U.S. Justice Department has uncovered no evidence of widespread voter fraud that could change the outcome of the 2020 election.Barr's comments, in an interview Tuesday with the The Associated Press, contradict the concerted effort by Trump, his boss, to subvert the results of last month's voting and block President-elect Joe Biden from taking his place in the White House.Barr told the AP that U.S. attorneys and FBI agents have been working to follow up specific complaints and information they’ve received, but “to date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election.”The comments, which drew immediate criticism from Trump attorneys, were especially notable coming from Barr, who has been one of the president's most ardent allies. Before the election, he had repeatedly raised the notion that mail-in voting could be especially vulnerable to fraud during the coronavirus pandemic as Americans feared going to polls and instead chose to vote by mail.More to Trump's liking, Barr revealed in the AP interview that in October he had appointed U.S. Attorney John Durham as a special counsel, giving the prosecutor the authority to continue to investigate the origins of the Trump-Russia probe after Biden takes over and making it difficult to fire him. Biden hasn't said what he might do with the investigation, and his transition team didn't comment Tuesday.Trump has long railed against the investigation into whether his 2016 campaign was co-ordinating with Russia, but he and Republican allies had hoped the results would be delivered before the 2020 election and would help sway voters. So far, there has been only one criminal case, a guilty plea from a former FBI lawyer to a single false statement charge.Under federal regulations, a special counsel can be fired only by the attorney general and for specific reasons such as misconduct, dereliction of duty or conflict of interest. An attorney general must document such reasons in writing.Barr went to the White House Tuesday for a previously scheduled meeting that lasted about three hours.Trump didn't directly comment on the attorney general's remarks on the election. But his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and his political campaign issued a scathing statement claiming that, "with all due respect to the Attorney General, there hasn’t been any semblance” of an investigation into the president's complaints.Other administration officials who have come out forcefully against Trump's allegations of voter-fraud evidence have been fired. But it's not clear whether Barr might suffer the same fate. He maintains a lofty position with Trump, and despite their differences the two see eye-to-eye on quite a lot.Still, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer quipped: “I guess he’s the next one to be fired.”Last month, Barr issued a directive to U.S. attorneys across the country allowing them to pursue any “substantial allegations” of voting irregularities before the 2020 presidential election was certified, despite no evidence at that time of widespread fraud.That memorandum gave prosecutors the ability to go around longstanding Justice Department policy that normally would prohibit such overt actions before the election was certified. Soon after it was issued, the department’s top elections crime official announced he would step aside from that position because of the memo.The Trump campaign team led by Giuliani has been alleging a widespread conspiracy by Democrats to dump millions of illegal votes into the system with no evidence. They have filed multiple lawsuits in battleground states alleging that partisan poll watchers didn’t have a clear enough view at polling sites in some locations and therefore something illegal must have happened. The claims have been repeatedly dismissed including by Republican judges who have ruled the suits lacked evidence.But local Republicans in some battleground states have followed Trump in making unsupported claims, prompting grave concerns over potential damage to American democracy.Trump himself continues to rail against the election in tweets and in interviews though his own administration has said the 2020 election was the most secure ever. He recently allowed his administration to begin the transition over to Biden, but he still refuses to admit he lost.The issues they've have pointed to are typical in every election: Problems with signatures, secrecy envelopes and postal marks on mail-in ballots, as well as the potential for a small number of ballots miscast or lost.But they've gone further. Attorney Sidney Powell has spun fictional tales of election systems flipping votes, German servers storing U.S. voting information and election software created in Venezuela “at the direction of Hugo Chavez,” – the late Venezuelan president who died in 2013. Powell has since been removed from the legal team after an interview she gave where she threatened to “blow up” Georgia with a “biblical” court filing.Barr didn't name Powell specifically but said: “There's been one assertion that would be systemic fraud and that would be the claim that machines were programmed essentially to skew the election results. And the DHS and DOJ have looked into that, and so far, we haven’t seen anything to substantiate that.”In the campaign statement, Giuliani claimed there was “ample evidence of illegal voting in at least six states, which they have not examined.”“We have many witnesses swearing under oath they saw crimes being committed in connection with voter fraud. As far as we know, not a single one has been interviewed by the DOJ. The Justice Department also hasn’t audited any voting machines or used their subpoena powers to determine the truth,” he said.However, Barr said earlier that people were confusing the use of the federal criminal justice system with allegations that should be made in civil lawsuits. He said a remedy for many complaints would be a top-down audit by state or local officials, not the U.S. Justice Department.“There’s a growing tendency to use the criminal justice system as sort of a default fix-all," he said, but first there must be a basis to believe there is a crime to investigate.“Most claims of fraud are very particularized to a particular set of circumstances or actors or conduct. ... And those have been run down; they are being run down,” Barr said. “Some have been broad and potentially cover a few thousand votes. They have been followed up on."___Associated Press writers Lisa Mascaro and Eric Tucker contributed to this report.Michael Balsamo, The Associated Press
The final decision lies with the Ministry of Health, but Grey Bruce Health Services has made its recommendation for the contractor for the new Markdale hospital. That name has not been released. The call for tenders from pre-qualified bidders was earlier this summer, and the bids have been reviewed locally. The Ministry of Health is expected to approve the bid within a few months, when the name will be made public. Site preparation should begin this spring, a press release from GBHS said. “We are checking off the milestones for this project, and getting ready to transition from the years of planning to physically building our new hospital,” said Gary Sims, GBHS President and CEO. Teams are working through the transition plans to co-ordinate the two-year project. The $70 million build will be about 68,000 sq. ft. with inpatient beds, a palliative care bed, 24/7 emergency care, lab and diagnostic imaging, as well as outpatient services. Two ambulance bays will be housed at the hospital. The community in the central and south Grey area was deeply involved in the project from the time of the public fundraising campaign in 2004. The hospital will replace an aging existing facility. Over more than 15 years since then, advocacy by locals including MPP Bill Walker has supported the new build, which is now close to seeing shovels in the ground. GBHS operates six hospitals in the Grey Bruce region. M.T. Fernandes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Dundalk Herald
FRANKFURT — The OPEC oil producers' cartel was to push ahead with a new round of discussions Tuesday about how much to pump next year as countries wrestled over whether to extend the production cuts that have been supporting prices depressed by the pandemic.Members adjourned a videoconference after a first day of deliberations Monday ended without an agreement. They also put off from Tuesday to Thursday a meeting with non-OPEC oil producers like Russia, who have been co-ordinating their actions with the cartel in recent years to increase their influence.Oil producing countries face a difficult situation. The pandemic has sapped demand for fuel across the economy, which induced them to cut back production this year to keep prices from sagging even more than they have. Yet the lower production means less revenue for governments that depend on oil sales to fill state coffers.And the outlook for demand is mixed across the globe; economies in the U.S. and Europe have been disrupted by a second upsurge in coronavirus infections, while activity and travel in China have rebounded more strongly.Oil traded 19 cents lower at $45.15 per barrel Tuesday on the New York Mercantile Exchange. That is off from $63 at the start of 2020.The sag in demand has been reflected in lower prices to consumers for auto fuel in the U.S. Gasoline prices at the pump dipped well below $2 per gallon in many parts of the country in May as the pandemic took hold, and have remained flat after a mild rebound. The U.S. average was $2.12 as of Nov. 30, down 45 cents from the same week a year earlier but little changed from this summer, according to the U.S. Energy Information Agency.Analysts at UniCredit bank said the oil producing countries were likely to agree to extend this year's production cuts of about 7.7 million barrels a day.“In our view, the delay should not be a concern and we still expect the current curbs to be extended into the first quarter of 2021,” they said, adding that it is not unusual for OPEC meetings to last longer than scheduled and virtual discussions slow the negotiation process.“Moreover, both Saudi Arabia and Russia – the two leaders of the group – favour an extension of the cuts and this should be enough to square the circle and finalize the deal on Thursday.” Saudi Arabia tends to take a leadership role within OPEC, while Russia is the biggest non-OPEC country to co-ordinate with the cartel.David McHugh, The Associated Press
It’s been a different year for Gander Fire Rescue. Normally, members’ calendar would be filled with things like handing out Halloween candy to children at the hospital or opening the fire hall for tours. However, things like that were scuttled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Still, the fire department was hoping to do something this year. With that in mind, some members of the department came up with the idea of collecting winter clothing for children. “We just thought we were going to get jackets and stuff, but people were asking if they could donate certain items and we said, ‘Certainly, go ahead,’” said Addison Quilty, Gander Fire Rescue’s assistant deputy fire chief. The department’s goal was to collect the same number of winter clothing as there are fire hydrants in Gander. That set their aim at 427 pieces of clothing. They didn’t care if it was mittens, gloves, toques, jackets or boots, as long as the department was able to get what they aimed for. It turns out they got all of those things in abundance — they’ve collected 432 pieces of clothing. “We’ve been really impressed,” said Quilty. “We’re still getting things now.” The pandemic has changed the way organizations handle donated items, and Gander Fire Rescue is no different. The department put a pair of bins outside the fire hall and once an item was placed in the bin, it stayed there for 24 hours. When it entered the building, the clothing was cleaned again. In the next little while, the department will start bagging up what they’ve collected and delivered it to the Salvation Army. From there, the church’s community and family services division in Gander will distribute the items where they are needed. “The Salvation Army is certainly very grateful for that kind of partnership with us, to be able to provide that kind of practical donation to help people for the cold winter months,” said Maj. Rene Loveless, public relations and development secretary with the provincial Salvation Army. “That's fabulous.” Loveless said he was impressed with the number of items the Gander fire department collected in a short period. Ensuring children have adequate clothes for the winter months, which can be harsh at times in central Newfoundland, was at the heart of the Gander Fire Rescue clothing drive. To see that effort to help children was something that stood out for Loveless. “It’s a beautiful thing, really,” said Loveless. The department isn’t done collecting clothing just yet. They’ve set a deadline of Dec. 6 and then they will stop collecting. In the meantime, their final number could be even higher by the time they call it off next week. “People are still not afraid to help others out,” said Quilty. “It is a good thing to see.” Nicholas Mercer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Central Voice
When council had its first look at the capital budget it discussed using outside consultants to complete some crucial planning projects. Southgate needs to do an industrial plan, urban expansion and updates to the official plan and zoning bylaw. Asked why outside help was needed, township planner Clint Stredwick told council it comes down to workload. Of course, subdivision proposals are now coming in regularly he said. “It’s not just residential any more. It’s commercial and industrial… They all require site plans, they require thought,” If he was to take up those extra projects, “you would have people breaking down your door asking where your planner is,” Mr. Stredwick said. Coun. Jason Rice posed the question about the pace of development, and the costs. Mr. Stredwick said that growth will come to an end unless the limits of wastewater capacity are solved. CAO Dave Milliner expanded on that. He agreed that you don’t want to spend money building capacity that isn’t used, and no one can predict if current interest in Dundalk will stay strong. But right now, he said, the demand is high, and he and the planner are fielding many, many calls from people who want to move their business out of Toronto. The new interest in living in Dundalk drives pressure on pricing in our community to almost unaffordable levels for some people, he said, but it also drives the economy. The budget also contains expenses to open up more land for development. About $1.7 million will be spent in 2021 on the first phase of construction of the Highway 10 Bypass, which was deferred to 2021. In 2022, an estimate of $2.3 million is given for the second phase of that construction. About $1 million from the sale of industrial land is expected in 2021, an amount that also was deferred from this year. Water and wastewater are budget categories that don’t come out of resident’s taxes. Money for big water and wastewater projects comes from reserves that are built up from user fees and from Development Charges. Design for the new Dundalk water tower is planned for 2021, with the tower to be built in 2022. Also, servicing will be changed to a loop rather than a dead end at Hagan and Gold Street . While 2021 will see pump replacements, in 2022 about $16 million is forecast for sewage treatment facility upgrades. Work will also have to be done within the next five years on pumping stations to move sewage.M.T. Fernandes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Dundalk Herald
IPSOS CEO Darrell Bricker shares insight on numbers released in a recent poll saying Canadians will change or cancel their holiday plans.
Two battleground states, Wisconsin and Arizona, certified their presidential election results in favour of Joe Biden, even as President Donald Trump's legal team continued to dispute the results.Biden’s victory in Wisconsin was certified Monday following a partial recount that only added to his 20,600-vote margin over Trump, who has promised to file a lawsuit seeking to undo the results.Gov. Tony Evers, a Democrat, signed a certificate that completed the process after the canvass report showing Biden as the winner following the recount was approved by the chairwoman of the bipartisan Wisconsin Elections Commission. Evers’ signature was required by law and is typically a procedural step that receives little attention.“Today I carried out my duty to certify the November 3rd election,” Evers said in a statement. “I want to thank our clerks, election administrators, and poll workers across our state for working tirelessly to ensure we had a safe, fair, and efficient election. Thank you for all your good work.”The action Monday now starts a five-day deadline for Trump to file a lawsuit, which he promised would come no later than Tuesday. Trump is mounting a longshot attempt to overturn the results by disqualifying as many as 238,000 ballots. Trump’s attorneys have alleged without evidence that there was widespread fraud and illegal activity.Biden’s campaign has said the recount showed that Biden won Wisconsin decisively and there was no fraud. Even if Trump were successful in Wisconsin, the state’s 10 Electoral College votes would not be enough to undo Biden’s overall victory as states around the country certify results.Earlier Monday, Arizona officials certified Biden’s narrow victory in that state.Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs and Republican Gov. Doug Ducey both vouched for the integrity of the election before signing off on the results.“We do elections well here in Arizona. The system is strong,” Ducey said.He did not directly address Trump’s claims of irregularities but said the state pulled off a successful election with a mix of in-person and mail voting despite the pandemic.Hobbs said Arizona voters should know that the election “was conducted with transparency, accuracy and fairness in accordance with Arizona’s laws and election procedures, despite numerous unfounded claims to the contrary.”Biden is only the second Democrat in 70 years to win Arizona. In the final tally, he beat Trump by 10,457 votes, or 0.3% of the nearly 3.4 million ballots cast.Even as Hobbs, Ducey, the state attorney general and chief justice of the state Supreme Court certified the election results, Trump lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Jenna Ellis met in a Phoenix hotel ballroom a few miles away to lay out claims of irregularities in the vote count in Arizona and elsewhere. But they did not provide evidence of widespread fraud.“The officials certifying have made no effort to find out the truth, which to me, gives the state Legislature the perfect reason to take over the conduct of this election because it’s being conducted irresponsibly and unfairly,” Giuliani said.Nine Republican state lawmakers attended the meeting. They had requested permission to hold a formal legislative hearing at the Capitol but were denied by the Republican House speaker and Senate president.Trump berated Ducey on Twitter Monday night, asking, “Why is he rushing to put a Democrat in office, especially when so many horrible things concerning voter fraud are being revealed at the hearing going on right now.”Elections challenges brought by the Trump campaign or his backers in key battleground states have largely been unsuccessful as Trump continues to allege voter fraud while refusing to concede.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 there were no serious irregularities.___Bauer reported from Madison, Wis.; Cooper and Tang reported from Phoenix.Scott Bauer, Jonathan J. Cooper And Terry Tang, The Associated Press
L'Institut Tshakapesh a annoncé qu'en collaboration avec les écoles membres de l'organisation, elle allait de l'avant avec le virage numérique. Cette démarche est notamment accélérée par les circonstances actuelles qui découlent de la pandémie et elle fait partie du plan d'action du ministère de l'Éducation qui a pour objectif d'outiller numériquement les élèves innus pour favoriser leur réussite éducative. Ainsi, l'Institut mettra en branle une série de mesures pour effectuer ce virage numérique. En ce moment, des iPad acquis par l'organisme au printemps sont distribués dans les écoles membres. Selon l'Institut, cet outil permettra de : « valoriser les méthodes d’enseignement innovantes qui favoriseront des apprentissages chez tous les élèves tant en classe qu’à la maison.» Les écoles membres auront aussi accès à la suite Microsoft Office 365. L’Institut Tshakapesh est convaincu de mettre en place des mesures des conditions gagnantes qui contribueront à la réussite des élèves. « C’est avec fierté que l’Institut Tshakapesh contribue à la transmission des savoirs traditionnels et contemporains. Nous encourageons les écoles à profiter du virage numérique pour adapter et intégrer des outils qui serviront à l’apprentissage de l’Innu-aimun et de l’Innu-aitun », affirme Alexandre McKenzie, président de l’Institut Tshakapesh. De son côté, la directrice générale de l'Institut, Marjolaine Tshernish, tient à souligner le rôle des directions d'écoles dans le virage numérique. Elle explique : « Ces dernières ont mobilisé leur équipe-école dans l'intégration de ces nouveaux outils pour soutenir les méthodes d'enseignement innovantes. Un modèle à promouvoir qui met de l'avant l'inclusion et la réussite des élèves innus et qui permettra des interventions adéquates auprès des enfants les plus à risque. » Formation L’Institut Tshakapesh offre aussi un plan de formation et de soutien pour s'assurer que ce virage numérique se passe dans les meilleures circonstances. Il y aura donc des formations autant pour les professeurs, les élèves et les parents pour que tous soient en mesure de bien maîtriser les nouveaux outils technologiques. D'ailleurs, l'Institut souligne l’apport de partenaires comme Écoles branchées, Apple et les ressources spécialisées de l'organisme qui ont partagé leurs compétences et leur expertise pour rendre possible ce projet. Les communautés membres de l'Institut Tshakapesh sont Uashat mak Mani-utenam, Ekuanitshit, Essipit, Matimekush, Nutashkuan, Unamen shipu et Pakua Shipu.Vincent Berrouard, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Nord-Côtier
The remains of a 17-year-old soldier were unearthed four years ago in Belgium — and it turns out they are those of a member of the Newfoundland Regiment, who fought in the First World War and died 103 years ago. The details of the discovery and identity were announced Tuesday at an event at The Rooms in St. John's, with the provincial archivist being acknowledged as having played a major role in the process. Pte. John Lambert died Aug. 16, 1917. He was born July 10, 1900, in St. John's, according to officials with the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces. His remains were discovered during an archeological dig near St. Julien, Belgium. There were three other sets of human remains found, but it's not clear if the others have been identified. Lambert's name was memorialized on the Beaumont-Hamel Newfoundland Memorial in Bowring Park, which commemorates soldiers from Newfoundland who died during the First World War and have no known grave. Lambert lied about his age to fight in warAccording to a biography on the federal government's website, Lambert lied about his age and claimed he was 18 years old when, in fact, he was 16. He joined the 2nd Battalion in Scotland, and made his way to France, where he joined the 1st Battalion of the Newfoundland Regiment in June 1917. Members served with the 88th Brigade of the 29th Infantry Division of the British Expeditionary Force.On Aug. 16, 1917, an attack was launched by the Newfoundland Regiment — in what become known as the Battle of Langemarck — with members successfully overtaking the enemy's trenches and bunkers. Lambert suffered wounds during the attack, and later died from them. Another 26 men were killed in that battle. N.L.'s provincial archivist played key roleLambert's remains were found alongside a number of artifacts in 2016. Those included a shoulder title of the Newfoundland Regiment, an Inniskilling Fusiliers cap badge, two Hampshire Regiment shoulder titles, general service buttons, British bullets and a few other small items.DNA samples from the soldier's descendants made it possible to confirm Lambert's identity — making it the first time a Newfoundland Regiment soldier has been identified by this process, according to the provincial government. It was Greg Walsh, the provincial archivist and director of The Rooms' provincial archives, who "provided vital archival research to locate Private Lambert's direct descendants," according to a Newfoundland and Labrador government media release. Walsh, speaking to reporters at Tuesday's event, praised Lambert for being "so courageous."When pressed about the fact that this was the first local case of its kind, Walsh acknowledged the significance, but noted it was a team effort. "I just feel like it was one of the most rewarding things I have ever done, I have ever been asked to do, and I'm so proud of the work I did, and the work we did as a team," he said. "I do feel like we have put a name to a face and that's a huge part of what we do as archivists and we don't get to do that everyday."Patience and tenacityHow Walsh got to the point of identifying the remains was a lesson in patience and tenacity. "Military records confirmed there were 16 Newfoundland Regiment soldiers who had fought in the vicinity, with no known grave. Walsh, began his year-long search with this list of 16 soldiers and proceeded to find living descendants for 13 of the 16," reads a statement. Walsh combed through many information sources, including vital statistics registers, census records, newspaper records, phone books and online search engines, to find anything that might help with the process. Ultimately, it was a combination of historical, genealogical, anthropological, and DNA analysis that helped the Casualty Identification Review Board identify Lambert, according to the government's website.Col. Perry Grandy, who is chairman of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment Advisory Council, said identifying Lambert, and the process that led to that, are both significant. "This has connected our modern day life with something that happened in history that we only read about," Grandy said. Burial to come at 'earliest opportunity'The Canadian Armed Forces have notified Lambert's surviving next of kin, and are providing them with ongoing support, according to the government. Lambert, who was born to Richard and Elizabeth Lambert, will be buried at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's New Irish Farm Cemetery in West-Vlaanderen, Belgium, as the "earliest opportunity," according to the federal government. It's expected that family members, along with representatives from the Canadian, United Kingdom and Belgian governments will attend, as will representation from the Canadian Armed Forces. Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
JEUNESSE. Dans l’attente du dépôt du rapport de la Commission spéciale sur les droits des enfants et la protection de la jeunesse en avril 2021, sa présidente, Régine Laurent a quand même présenté des constats, des orientations ainsi qu’une recommandation qui visant à créer dès maintenant un poste de directeur national de la protection de la jeunesse qui aura pour objectif de rendre cohérente l’action gouvernementale en cette matière. Une recommandation bien accueillie par Lionel Carmant. «Le bien-être de chaque enfant est au centre de nos priorités. La création d’un poste de directeur national de la protection de la jeunesse est intéressante et va dans le sens de ma réflexion. Nous entendons donner suite rapidement à cette recommandation», a déclaré le ministre délégué à la Santé et aux Services sociaux suite à la conférence de presse du 30 novembre. Ainsi, le directeur national de la protection de la jeunesse aurait pour mandat de : · De développer et d’harmoniser les pratiques en protection de la jeunesse; · De promouvoir les besoins des enfants et des familles vulnérables du Québec - rôle social des DPJ - et d’effectuer les représentations nécessaires pour y répondre tant au sein du ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux qu’auprès des ministères concernés par l’enfance en difficulté afin d’assurer une utilisation judicieuse du recours à la LPJ; · De déterminer les orientations et les normes de pratique clinique et de gestion applicables à la protection de la jeunesse; · D’assurer la mise en œuvre et le respect des orientations et normes de pratique dans toutes les régions du Québec; · D’exercer un leadership et de soutenir l’action des DPJ régionaux, des directions de programme jeunesse et des responsables de contentieux à l’égard d’une mise en œuvre cohérente de la LPJ; · D’exercer les contrôles requis pour assurer que les interventions en protection de la jeunesse respectent les plus hauts standards; · D’assurer une concertation efficace des ministères de la Santé et des Services sociaux, de la Justice et de la Sécurité publique, conjointement responsables de l’application des lois particulières - LPJ et la Loi sur le système de justice pénale pour les adolescents - LSJPA; · D’exercer un suivi rigoureux sur les parcours de services aux enfants et aux familles et de voir à mesurer les effets des interventions; · De participer au processus de sélection et de nomination des DPJ régionaux. Rappelons que la Commission Laurent a été créée par le gouvernement du Québec suite au décès d’une fillette de 7 ans à Granby, le 30 avril 2019. Devant cette tragédie, le gouvernement du Québec s’était engagé à entreprendre une réflexion qui porte non seulement sur les services de protection de la jeunesse, mais également sur la loi qui l’encadre, sur le rôle des tribunaux, des services sociaux et des autres acteurs concernés. Stéphane Lévesque, Initiative de journalisme local, L'Hebdo Journal
Council members told staff to keep the blended tax rate for 2021 low – with requests ranging from zero to “two or three” percent. As it presented by staff, the draft budget contained a three percent increase in the Southgate levy for capital projects, which would likely be a two percent in the blended tax rate. CAO Dave Milliner asked council for direction at the end of the special meeting on the proposed capital budget held on Tuesday, Nov. 24. Coun. Michael Sherson said his ideal would be to give residents a zero increase this year. Coun. Barbara Dobreen said she didn’t want to see township reserves depleted to keep the increase “artificially low.” She suggested a 1.5 percent increase – “keep it under two (percent) for sure.” Deputy-Mayor Brian Milne asked if the 2020 impact of growth was known. The more building in the township, the more property owners to share the burden of the tax levy. Treasurer Liam Gott said it would be a few weeks before he had final figures but he expected 2020 added about $159,000 in taxation dollars based on the value of building permits issued (lower than the $280,000 projected). The deputy-mayor said that while a zero increase is desirable – “I don’t think that it’s reasonable or even responsible.” “Our costs are going up,” he said, naming fuel, hydro, insurance and payroll. Given that, he said he’d like to see something around 2.5 to 3 percent. At that point, the treasurer asked whether councillors were talking about the increase for local use or the overall or “blended” increase that includes taxes Southgate collects and passes on to the county and the school boards. At this stage in the budget process, council has seen and discussed capital costs, with the operating budget still to be seen. Coun. Martin Shipston said that a 2.5 to three percent increase would be reasonable, and not leave residents paying more down the road to make up for a lower increase in 2021. Coun. Jason Rice said he would like to see a zero increase. Coun. Dobreen had mentioned the Cost of Living increase for employees, which would be based on the inflation rate of 0.7 percent. Coun. Rice said that maybe for one year, township employees could do without the COLA increase. ”I’m not going against them (staff) – they do a fantastic job,” he said. “It’s this year, this specific year – this pandemic we’re dealing with,” he said. “It’s not our money in this time of need,” he said. He said many Southgate residents never get a Cost of Living increase. Deputy-Mayor Milne said perhaps this was the year to pull back on COLA or “step” increases based on performance and years served. He said that council needs to see the operating budget estimates to make its final decision. To achieve zero would take cuts to services, he said. “What services are we going to cut back on?” “Fuel, hydro, insurance – other expenses like that we have no control over and we have to pay." Coun. Rice asked the CAO for his reaction. Mr. Milliner replied, “if I didn’t hear a comment from council like that I would be surprised.” He did speak in defence of merit or “step” pay increase, adding that he himself is not affected by that policy. Mayor John Woodbury said that council had to balance the need for restraint in the present moment with the risk of postponing needed changes and mortgaging the future. “Overall, two to three percent is acceptable,” he said.M.T. Fernandes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Dundalk Herald
Germany, France and Britain urged the Trump administration in late October to reconsider broad, new sanctions against Iran’s banks, arguing that the move would deter legitimate humanitarian trade and hurt the allies’ common interests, diplomatic correspondence shows. Germany’s Bundesbank also kept a multi-billion-euro deposit facility open for Iranian banks, including two that faced fresh U.S. sanctions, giving Tehran a much-needed banking lifeline at a time its access to the global financial system was largely cut off, according to central bank data and interviews with bankers, Western diplomats and officials. The behind-the-scenes pushback to Washington and the extent of Germany’s support to Iranian trade in the face of U.S. sanctions have not been previously reported, and shed new light on the divergent approaches to Iran taken by President Donald Trump and the U.S. allies.
Fines totalling more than $180,000 were issued to people accused of breaking Manitoba's COVID-19 rules in the last week, the province said Tuesday.Of the 100 tickets issued, nearly half were for not following various public health orders. In total, 20 per cent of the tickets were related to gatherings larger than five people, Premier Brian Pallister said at a news conference on COVID-19 enforcement."It's critical right now that we don't gather with people outside of our households, and we need the full participation of all Manitobans in order for these strict public health measures work," he said at a news conference.In addition, 22 fines worth $5,000 each were issued to businesses, for various offences. Of those businesses, Springs Church in Winnipeg was given four fines totalling $20,000 related to a large drive-in service held last weekend contrary to public health orders, according to data from the province.One person was also fined $1,296 over that service. Enforcement officers are still investigating and are expecting to hand out more tickets."There will be consequences for those who disregard public health orders," he said. "It's incredibly disappointing that anyone would blatantly disregard public health orders in place to protect Manitobans."The Superstore in Brandon, Man., was also fined twice, and now owes $10,000, the province says.In addition, 23 tickets worth $298 each were issued to people for not wearing a mask in indoor public places. The remaining seven were band bylaw tickets issued by Manitoba First Nations Police Service.In all, a total of $181,574 in fines was issued from Nov. 23 to 29, up from $126,082 a week earlier.The Church of God in Sarto, Man., near the city of Steinbach, was fined $5,000, and six people were given individual tickets of $1,296, after the church tried to hold a large drive-in service on Sunday. They were blocked by RCMP officers, which led to more than 100 cars lining the highway trying to get into the church's parking lot.Pallister said 30 tickets have also been issued to people who took part in a large demonstration in Steinbach on Nov. 14. Officers are investigating and are expecting to hand out additional tickets, he said.Pallister says if repeat offenders don't get the message, the province could find other ways to get people to stay home, including tougher fines. "The fact is, if you take $1,000 out of somebody's pocket, then that better be a deterrent. And if it isn't, $5000 will be," he said."And if it's a store and it does it again, you can close them. So the fact of the matter is we've got more serious steps we could take if we need to. I just obviously hope and pray we don't have to take those next steps."WATCH | Pallister's message to COVID-19 rule breakers:Asked about municipalities that aren't enforcing COVID-19 restrictions, Pallister said that if they won't do it, the province will. "We'll be enforcing in municipalities just as we did this past weekend, whether they have municipal officials there or not," he said."So I would emphasize to people who think that they can get away with something in one RM because there's nobody from the RM enforcing, that there are other people who are certainly willing to do that and are."The update comes after Manitoba hit a record high for COVID-19 hospitalizations on Monday with 342 people in hospital, 43 of them in intensive care units.On Tuesday, Manitoba reported a record 16 deaths in one day, as the province added 283 new cases to its total.Last week, Pallister said the province had issued close to 100 tickets from Nov. 16 to 22, totalling $126,082. It was a significant increase from the week before, when Pallister announced the province was hiring a private security firm to help crack down on COVID-19 rule breakers.Meanwhile, RCMP said they have issued 21 fines between Nov. 21 and Nov. 27.Of those, eight were issued for hosting a gathering, five were for failing to self-isolate, four were for having guests from outside of a household, three were for failing to wear a mask and one was for attending a large gathering, according to a news release issued Tuesday.Officers also gave 49 verbal warnings during this time, RCMP say.Since April, Manitoba RCMP have issued 188 warnings and 99 fines.WATCH | Update on COVID-19 enforcement measures:
SILVER SPRING, Md. — U.S. construction spending jumped 1.3% in October, the fifth straight monthly increase, again on the strength of single-family home building.The October gain follows a strong upward revision to 0.5% in September, from a previous estimate of a 0.3% gain, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday. It's the largest increase since a 2.8% jump in January, before the coronavirus pandemic all but shuttered the U.S. economy. Spending in October was stronger than economists had expected.Single-family home building has been a consistent bright spot for months as a lack of new homes has pushed builders to ramp up projects. Single-family home construction rose 5.6% in October, helping to boost a 2.9% increase in total private residential construction for the month.Nonresidential private construction fell 0.7%, with the category that includes hotels and other lodging falling 3.1%.Spending on government construction projects increased 1% after generally lagging for months, possibly due to budget restraints by state and local governments as the pandemic wiped out large amounts of tax revenue. Construction of roads, schools and public safety projects all increased.During the first ten months of 2020, construction spending is up 4.3% over the same period last year.Matt Ott, The Associated Press
A 45-year-old Saskatchewan man is facing impaired driving charges following a two-vehicle crash south of Fort Saskatchewan that killed two Alberta teenagers and left a third seriously injured. In a news release, Fort Saskatchewan RCMP stated that the accused was impaired on Sept. 17 when the pickup truck he was driving collided head-on with an SUV on Highway 21 near Township Road 542. The accident happened at about 9 p.m.Two of the three teenagers in the SUV — Kai Peters, 16, and Alexandra Ollington, 17, both of Sherwood Park — died at the scene.The third, 15-year-old Morgan Maltby, remains in hospital with "life-altering" injuries. Her family in Fort Saskatchewan is "hopeful that rehabilitation can be started soon in order for her to gain mobility," RCMP said in the Tuesday news release.Following the crash, officers launched an immediate investigation into the driver, stated the news release.The "complex investigation" included a collision analyst and forensic reconstructionist at the scene, witness evidence and a laboratory analysis of the driver's blood alcohol content. The accused — a resident of Caronport in southern Saskatchewan — is charged with operation of a motor vehicle while impaired causing death and dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death.He is also charged with operation of a motor vehicle while impaired causing bodily harm and dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing bodily harm. "The families of the three victims of this crash expressed their relief that this investigation has led to charge," Cpl. Devon Lafreniere said in a statement. "Waiting for this news has been hard on the families, and while they understand that the ongoing criminal process will continue to be challenging, it is finally a step forward."The RCMP with Victim Services Unit will continue to support the families through their long road ahead."
CALGARY — Suncor Energy Inc. is forecasting higher spending and production in 2021 based on benchmark U.S. oil prices staying near their current levels of around US$45 per barrel.It says it predicts daily oil and gas production between 740,000 and 780,000 barrels of oil equivalent in 2021, an increase of about 10 per cent compared with this year driven by higher bitumen output from its oilsands operations.It expects capital spending of between $3.8 billion and $4.5 billion, including sustaining capital of $2.9 billion to $3.4 billion, an increase of about nine per cent over 2020's expected spending of $3.6 billion to $4.0 billion.The Calgary-based company forecasts refinery throughput of 415,000 to 445,000 barrels per day based on a utilization rate of between 90 and 96 per cent.Suncor says it expects to repay between $500 million and $1 billion of debt and will introduce a $500-million share repurchase program.In reports, analysts said the guidance was in line with what they were expecting.Credit Suisse analyst Manav Gupta pointed out that Suncor cut capital and operating spending earlier this year and lowered its dividend payments."Suncor almost broke even in the third quarter of 2020, and now is getting ready to pay down portion of the debt it took on to navigate the crisis," he added.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 1, 2020.Companies in this story: (TSX:SU)The Canadian Press
KYIV, Ukraine — Belarus' opposition will compile a register of law enforcement officers accused of abuses against peaceful demonstrators protesting the reelection of the country's authoritarian leader, an opposition leader said Tuesday. Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, the main opposition challenger in Belarus' August presidential vote, said in a video call from Vilnius, Lithuania, that the “book of crimes” will include accounts of police abuse that will be verified by independent lawyers. “Impunity will not last forever,” said Tsikhanouskaya, who was pressured by Belarusian authorities to leave for neighbouring Lithuania after the vote. “No one will be able to deprive hundreds of thousands of people who are striving for justice from speaking out." Belarus has been swept by mass protests that were triggered by President Alexander Lukashenko's reelection to a sixth term in office by a landslide in the Aug. 9 election that the opposition said was riddled with fraud. Police have cracked down hard on the largely peaceful demonstrations, using stun grenades, tear gas and truncheons to disperse protesters. Thousands of people have been detained — and many of them badly beaten — since the protests began, human rights advocates say. The rallies, the biggest of which drew up to 200,000, have continued despite the increasingly tough police response. The United States and the European Union have introduced sanctions against Belarusian officials accused of involvement in vote-rigging and the post-election crackdown. Tsikhanouskaya said that the opposition will use the register of law enforcement officers accused of abuses to push for Western sanctions against them. ___ Read all AP stories about the protests in Belarus at https://apnews.com/Belarus The Associated Press
The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit reported 62 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday as officials warned that sharply increasing case numbers are bringing the public health system to the brink of collapse.The unit's capacity is being stretched to the limit as it also faces a range of outbreaks in schools, long-term care centres, and now hospitals —and tries to monitor a high number of possible contacts from them."We will be on the verge of collapsing the public health capacity and also the acute care system capacity now that we have two outbreaks in the hospital system," said Medical officer of health Dr. Wajid Ahmed in reference to outbreaks declared at Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare and Windsor Regional Hospital. The health unit is dealing with 14 outbreaks at workplaces, schools and health care facilities.WECHU CEO Theresa Marentette said nurses who are doing contact tracing are following about 1,000 contacts."Every outbreak that we report, every case is a further stretch of our resources," she said.There is also demand placed on public health resources due to cases in schools, Marentette said. There are 25 schools where cohorts of students have been dismissed due to COVID-19, she said.Ahmed said the region is at risk of entering the strongest stage of restrictions — a lockdown — though there is no specific threshold for entering that stage.He said he hopes to avoid further restrictions but action may be needed if cases continue to increase.7 days a weekThe health unit has been running seven days a week since March, adding new staff and trying to use every resource possible -- including from the province -- to handle the pandemic, Marentette said."All of that is helping but it continues to be a lot," she said."Sixty-two new cases in a day is incredible."The new cases of COVID-19 reported Tuesday bring the active case total in Windsor-Essex to 427.The health unit also announced the death of a man in his 90s who was living at a long-term care home. He is the 80th person in Windsor-Essex to die of COVID-19 since March.The figures come a day after Windsor-Essex entered the red "control" zone, the second highest tier in the province's COVID-19 restrictions framework.Testing capacityDespite the surge in new cases, Dr. Ahmed said that, according to the most recent epidemiological data, those tested for COVID-19 are receiving their results in about 24 to 48 hours.Windsor Regional Hospital's Ouellette Assessment Centre, one of two testing sites in the region, has a capacity of nearly 500 tests on weekdays and just over 300 daily on weekends. That capacity has been increased in the last two days by 66 swabs on weekdays and about 40 on Saturdays and Sundays, the hospital said in a statement. 17 cases connected to Hôtel-Dieu outbreakMeanwhile, the COVID-19 outbreak at Windsor's Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare has grown from five to 17 cases, hospital CEO Janice Kaffer told reporters Tuesday.Five of those who tested positive for the novel coronavirus are patients, while 12 are staff members. All of the cases are connected to an outbreak that was declared on Sunday in a section of the hospital's rehab unit. Kaffer said test results for all patients affected have come back and hospital officials don't anticipate more cases.Windsor Mosque closedWindsor Mosque announced Tuesday it is closed temporarily due to a COVID-19 case.The Windsor Islamic Association said in a Facebook post Monday night that someone who attended prayer Friday at the mosque on 1320 Northwood St. has tested positive for the disease.While the mosque is closed, the association said it will undergo a "thorough disinfection." Anyone who attended prayer at the mosque is asked to monitor for symptoms. Snapshot of COVID-19 cases in Windsor-EssexOf the 62 new cases announced region-wide Tuesday, 16 are close contacts of a confirmed case, 11 are local health-care workers, six are community acquired, one is an agri-farm worker and 27 are still under investigation. Overall in Windsor-Essex, there are seven workplace outbreaks: * Three in Leamington's agriculture sector. * One in Lakeshore's health care and social assistance sector. * One in a Leamington place of worship. * One in Leamington's finance and insurance sector. * One in Windsor's manufacturing sector.Two community outbreaks are still active: one at Victoria Manor Supportive Living in Windsor and another at Riverplace Residence in Windsor. Two schools — Frank W. Begley Public School and W. J. Langlois Catholic Elementary School — also remain in outbreak.There are five long-term care and retirement homes in outbreak: * Village of Aspen Lake in Tecumseh with one staff case. * Leamington Mennonite in Leamington with one staff case. * Chartwell Royal Oak Residence in Kingsville with one staff case. * Riverside place in Windsor with 17 resident cases and three staff cases. * Iler Lodge in Essex with 18 resident cases and three staff cases.
The COVID-19 pandemic made it harder for many to find and afford menstrual products. It also gave Isabela Rittinger and scores of other volunteers in and around Toronto time to do something about it. Rittinger, a first-year student at Queen’s University in Kingston stuck attending virtual classes from home in Pickering, jumped into the fray by creating an international chapter of a U.S.-based period movement in March. By the summer, she and a group of others, including many students, had split off to create Bleed the North and declare Canada’s first ever National Period Day, part of a campaign to fight menstrual stigma and period poverty, the inability to afford pads and tampons, which can cost between $75 and $150 a year. The group, now numbering 80 people, has since collected and distributed more than 10,000 period products, in kits of 11 pads and 7 tampons, enough to cover a typical menstrual cycle. It was all Rittinger could do to feel useful at a time of massive upheaval, and the community and team-building helped get her through the worst of those early days. “I don't know what I would have done with my time and how I would have faced the COVID lockdown if not for the people I had met at Bleed the North,” she said in an interview. “Those few months at the beginning were really, really dire and it was just like, if I didn't have this to pour all my time and my heart into I don't know where I would be.” Bleed the North started off collecting donated pads and tampons and delivering them to shelters and individuals in need in Durham Region outside Toronto, but has since eyed getting student trustees on school boards across Ontario to pitch for them to make period products freely available in all secondary school bathrooms. “We hear all the time from menstruators afraid to go to the bathroom holding a pad or a tampon,” said Mia Medic, who takes a lead on Bleed the North’s advocacy efforts. “That's stigma, that's period stigma.” “No one in school, no teacher, has ever told me to not be ashamed to have a period,” she added, noting the group plans to create a sex education toolkit for teachers in the coming months and recalling her experience learning the biological basics in grades 5 and 6. She said it was important to get products into all bathrooms “so every student who menstruates has access to products,” pointing out that “not all women menstruate and not all those who menstruate are women.” Independent of their efforts, Peel District School Board recently said it would provide free period products after a student trustee push, but there is no provincewide legislation. “Even sparking conversations within school boards and within authority figures is super, super important,” Medic said. “I would love to hear (Education Minister) Stephen Lecce talk about periods and talk about menstruation, even if we don't get anywhere, just to hear people in power speak about it is a win for us, because it's a start.” One-third of the under-25s in a Plan Canada survey of 2,000 cisgender women conducted in early 2018 said they struggled to afford menstrual products. (It did not include the specific experiences of trans men and non-binary menstruators.) Those in Indigenous and rural communities suffer acutely from a lack of affordable access, with a box of tampons costing between $16 and $40 in rural Indigenous communities that Bleed the North is trying to reach. “I think one for us coming into 2021 is figuring out how we can support communities that we don't necessarily live near because obviously a lot of us are young 17, 18-year-olds who in their cars go to different communities and drop off products to shelters,” Rittinger said, noting it might make more sense to fundraise and e-transfer to remote shelters and other sources. Bleed the North itself has largely subsisted on small individual donations of cash and goods to distribute, including a contactless drive-thru drop-off where it raised $500. A peer organization called Menstruation REDefined hosted a virtual art auction and sent them half the proceeds. The federal government proposed to make federally regulated workplaces provide workers with free menstrual products in May last year, while in Ontario a bill tabled by the opposition NDP’s Bhutila Karpoche at around the same time to declare a provincial menstrual hygiene day has stalled at first reading. British Columbia's government issued a first-in-Canada ministerial order requiring all public schools to provide free menstrual products for students in school bathrooms last April. Bleed the North’s monitoring of legislative efforts elsewhere show little to no movement. The group said it has received interest from advocates on university campuses and other sites in other provinces (it has a couple in Quebec already) and is looking to expand across the country next year. “We're hoping to expand nationally next year and having contacts all across the country that we can rely on to start this in their own communities and hopefully reach as many people as possible.”Alastair Sharp, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, National Observer
In a regulatory filing, Airbnb set a target price range of between $44 and $50 apiece to sell 51.9 million shares, which would pull in $2.6 billion. Of the shares being sold, Airbnb founders Brian Chesky, Joe Gebbia and Nathan Blecharczyk will together sell nearly $100 million worth of shares in the IPO launch. The San Francisco-based firm also gained from increased interest in renting homes away from major cities.