Republicans are mobilizing thousands of volunteers to watch early voting sites and ballot drop boxes leading up to November's election, part of an effort to find evidence to back up President Donald Trump’s unsubstantiated complaints about widespread voter fraud. Across key battleground states such as Pennsylvania, Florida and Wisconsin, Republican poll watchers will be searching for irregularities, especially with regard to mail-in ballots whose use is surging amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to more than 20 officials involved in the effort. The mission, the officials said, is to capture photos and videos Republicans can use to support so-far unfounded claims that mail voting is riddled with chicanery, and to help their case if legal disputes erupt over the results of the Nov. 3 contest between Republican incumbent Trump and his Democratic opponent Joe Biden.
TORONTO — A student found at her high school prom with cocaine in her purse has failed to have her case thrown out as a violation of her rights. In convicting the young woman, Ontario court Judge Amit Ghosh said there was nothing wrong with the mandatory search that turned up the drug. "Despite the absence of reasonable grounds, the mandatory security search of bags at a prom is reasonable in all the circumstances," Ghosh said in his recent decision. "This was a voluntarily attended prom party." The teen, Maria Calabretta, was charged with possession in June 2019 when she went to her prom at a banquet hall in Vaughan, Ont. She had a two-gram bag of cocaine in her purse. Evidence was that Calabretta had bought an entry ticket that stated drugs and alcohol were prohibited. She stood in a security line at the hall while school administrators briefly checked bags and purses for illicit substances, alcohol or weapons. Men searched the male students' belongings, women the females'. About 300 students attended the prom and about half were younger than 18, court records show. The mandatory bag searches and hiring of off-duty officers, the school said, were to ensure the safety and security of attendees, not to investigate criminal activity. When it was her turn, Calabretta opened her purse for the vice-principal, who, after spotting a small straw inside that could be used for snorting a drug, found the baggie. The teen quickly admitted it was coke. At that point, the vice-principal alerted nearby paid-duty officers, who arrested her for possession. Calabretta argued at trial the mandatory searches were done without reasonable grounds in violation of the charter. She wanted the cocaine evidence thrown out. Ghosh, however, was having none of it. He noted a charter search violation occurs when a person has a "reasonable expectation of privacy." While the accused did have such an expectation regarding her purse, it was lessened given the situation, the judge said. Calabretta, he said, could simply have chosen to leave the prom to get rid of the drugs, and then returned. The off-duty officers were not involved in the search, he noted. It was not, he said, similar to a situation in which police stop a motorist and demand a breath sample or search the vehicle. In this case, the vice-principal testified the student could have refused to open her bag when asked, and would then likely have just been asked to leave. Any impact on her charter rights, Ghosh said, was "negligible at best." Calabretta's lawyer said his client would have no comment. This report by The Canadian Press was first published on Oct. 7, 2020. Colin Perkel, The Canadian Press
The end is coming for plastic grocery bags, straws and cutlery after the federal government announced today which single-use plastics will be covered by a national ban coming into effect next year.Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson unveiled the list of soon-to-be-banned items Wednesday morning at the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, Que.As it was compiling the list, the government said it considered plastics that are harmful to the environment and hard to recycle, and whether there are readily available alternatives.The single-use plastics that will be banned are: * Grocery checkout bags * Straws * Stir sticks * Six-pack rings * Plastic cutlery * Food takeout containers made from hard-to-recycle plastics (like black plastic packaging)The regulations to introduce the ban will be finalized by the end of 2021, said Wilkinson."When a ban comes into effect, your local stores will be providing you with alternatives to these plastic products, like reusable or paper bags in place of plastic," he said."I know it is presently hard to come back from the grocery store without a single use plastic item ... You use it, you throw it in the recycling bin and more often than not, it ends up in a landfill. This has to change, which is why we'll be working with grocers and industry leaders and provinces and territories to keep more plastic in our economy through recycling."While Wilkinson emphasized the importance of reducing plastic waste, he also said the ban is only a small step."I would say to you, if you put up the number of plastic products we use, the ban is probably a fraction of ... one per cent of the products," he said.As part of its efforts to reach its goal of zero plastic waste by 2030, the federal government said it's developing new standards for other plastic items that will require them to contain a minimum amount of recycled material."What we're talking about is enhancing the rate with which we're recycling, reusing those products and keeping those materials in our economy," Wilkinson said.Watch | A more 'systemic approach' to how we make and use plastics needed, says ecologistAshley Wallis, the plastics program manager with Environmental Defence, said she's like to see more items added to the list and wants the government to set clear targets for plastic reuse and recycling. "We need to see the economy fundamentally shift away from this linear, disposable economy," she said.Changes coming for restaurantsWhen asked how small businesses — especially restaurants surviving on takeout sales during the pandemic — will handle the shift, Wilkinson said the government was careful to choose items with environmentally-friendly alternatives already on the market."We've been very sensitive to try and ensure this can be done in a very much affordable way for all businesses," he said. "I mean, most of the beer industry has already moved away from [plastic six-pack rings] and moved to hard caps on the top of them, which are recyclable "Restaurants Canada, a not-for-profit association representing Canada's food service industry, says it will keep pushing for policies that "avoid any undue burden on businesses continuing to rely on single-use items to safeguard the health and safety of staff and customers.""The COVID-19 crisis has made the critical need for single-use items very clear. Throughout the pandemic, restaurants have quickly and effectively adapted to evolving public health guidance," said spokesperson Marlee Wasser in a statement."Businesses are willing to adapt their practices and make investments to support progress toward the implementation of a Canada-wide Strategy on Zero Plastic Waste. But they want to ensure these investments are effective."Watch | Liberal government bans some single-use plastics to 'achieve zero plastic waste by 2030.'Paul Shufelt, a chef who owns five restaurants in Alberta, said he isn't too worried."I think it's a great initiative. I'm happy to see it," he said."Is it going to make things tougher for some? Perhaps. But I think we can all learn to live without plastic straws and those plastic grocery bags and things like that. We just have to adjust our life a little bit."Shufelt said that while the change likely will come with increased costs, he's happy to see it happen."Is this going to be the thing that breaks us? I don't think so. Is it going to cost a little more? Probably," he said."But in the grand scheme of things, I feel like this is something we can do for the greater good."Wilkinson said the ban will not include plastics used to make personal protective gear or medical waste. Report flagged wildlife concernsThe ban, which follows some local bans on single-use plastics, is happening under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, which required a scientific assessment of the problem first.That assessment report, released in January, said that in 2016, 29,000 tonnes of plastic garbage — the equivalent of about 2.3 billion single-use plastic water bottles — ended up as litter in Canada on beaches, in parks, in lakes and even in the air.The report looked at the impact of all types of plastics and pointed to evidence that macroplastics — pieces bigger than 5 mm — are hurting wildlife.Watch | 'We are not leading the world in this'Dead birds have been found with plastic in their intestines, whales have washed up on shore with stomachs full of plastic (including flip flops and nylon ropes). In one case cited by the study, an emaciated turtle was found with plastic in its digestive tract.The evidence was less clear about the harmful impacts of ingesting microplastics for people and wildlife, and the scientists recommended further study. At the time, Wilkinson said the evidence on the effects of macroplastics was enough to go ahead with the ban.
Victoria's iconic 112-year-old Empress Hotel will be out of commission this winter.Fairmont Hotels and Resorts announced late Monday that the hotel will close completely for 87 days, starting Jan. 3, to complete a necessary $3-million renovation to its heating system. A release from Fairmont Hotels and Resorts says there'll be "periods of time where the building will be without heat ... or hot water," as the project involves replacing the building's steam heating system with a high-efficiency hot water heating system, along with replacing two 1960's-era steam boilers and hot water tanks.The hotel's automation system, which controls things like heating, lighting and security features, will also be upgraded. The building is expected to reopen on April 1.The hotel's general manager Indu Brar said in a press release that "being able to leverage the slower season and reduced tourism due to COVID-19 travel restrictions gives us the opportunity to complete these necessary upgrades."Union 'disappointed,' as workers laid off yet againPublic Relations director Tracey Drake said employees will be laid off during the three-month closure, and the hotel is extending its recall time period from 12 months to 24 months, so 90 per cent of employees can return. "[These] are always our quietest months of the year, so many of our colleagues do not work during these months anyways," added Drake.She couldn't say how many employees will be out of work, as many remain laid off from when the hotel closed in March due to COVID-19.Stu Shields, a national representative of Unifor, the union representing the hotel workers, said he's upset that around 75 employees who'd returned to work when the hotel reopened will be out of work yet again. The workers are voting on whether to approve the one-year recall extension that would allow them to reclaim their jobs until March 2022. Results will be known next week. "They are understandably disappointed. They were really hoping that business would open up. It's back onto [Employment Insurance] for the vast majority of the workers there," he said, adding the union is skeptical that the hotel has to close entirely to complete its upgrades.A prudent time to renovate, say tourism advocatesPaul Nursey, CEO of Destination Greater Victoria, said it's a "prudent time" for the Empress Hotel to renovate, given the slow season expected."They're making a strategic investment ... and it shows a commitment to improve the guest experience," Nursey said.Anthony Everett, CEO of Tourism Vancouver Island said he's surprised the Empress will be closing completely, but expects tourism numbers to drop significantly in Victoria and across Vancouver Island this winter. "Successful businesses … have been using this time to do those things that they otherwise might not be doing, [such as] improvements," he explained. Nursey said he's sympathetic to those businesses who cannot afford to make improvements for the long-term this winter."There's a lot of anxiety as we're heading into the fall," Everett said, adding that "there are going to be some tough decisions this winter" as many businesses decide whether to keep their doors open.
The CBC is cutting more than 130 jobs across the country over the next three months, the Crown corporation said Wednesday."As a result of some necessary changes with respect to resizing our business, a number of positions from within the organization will no longer be a part of our workforce come the end of the calendar year," Barbara Williams, CBC's executive vice-president of English services, said in a note to staff.In a separate note to staff, an official said that 58 positions across news, current affairs and local will be cut.Subsequent to that announcement, CBC spokesperson Chuck Thompson said in an interview that there will be job reductions beyond the divisions outlined in the note to staff, and in total, about 130 positions across the CBC's English-language services will be cut by the end of the year.Most of the losses will affect positions based in Toronto, although the cuts will be spread among five centres across Canada.CBC/Radio-Canada currently employs roughly 7,500 people across the country.A "good portion" of the cuts to the 58 positions were achieved through attrition, collapsed vacancies and retirement, Williams said.The company cited higher costs, coupled with lower revenues, to explain the decision.Williams said the CBC began the fiscal year with a roughly $21 million budget deficit "due to declines in advertising and subscription revenues linked to our traditional television business and to inflation on a portion of our parliamentary allocation."Those financial pressures predated the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, which has exacerbated the situation for the CBC and other media organizations."This reset would have happened irrespective of COVID," Thompson said.The move comes as private-sector broadcasters are also cutting costs and staff In July, Global News laid off several dozen staff in a restructuring that saw the company significantly curtail its coverage of entertainment and lifestyle journalism and scale back its social media team."Like every media company, CBC operates in a challenging media landscape, a media landscape which is in constant disruption," Williams said."The next few weeks will be challenging as we go through the workforce adjustment process."
The special treatment President Donald Trump received to access an experimental COVID-19 drug raises fairness issues that start with the flawed health care system many Americans endure and end with the public’s right to know more about his condition, ethics and medical experts say. Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. revealed on Tuesday how rare it was for anyone to get the drug it gave Trump outside of studies testing its safety and effectiveness. Trump also received the antiviral remdesivir and the steroid dexamethasone, and it’s impossible to know whether any of these drugs did him any good.
Pompeo on Tuesday visited Japan and called for deeper cooperation with Australia, India and Japan to counter China's growing regional influence. "Pompeo has repeatedly fabricated lies about China and maliciously created political confrontation," the Chinese embassy in Japan said in a statement.
NEW YORK — Eddie Van Halen, the guitar virtuoso whose blinding speed, control and innovation propelled his band Van Halen into one of hard rock’s biggest groups and became elevated to the status of rock god, has died. He was 65. “He was the best father I could ask for,” Van Halen's son, Wolfgang, wrote in a social media post. “Every moment I've shared with him on and off stage was a gift.” With his distinct solos, Eddie Van Halen fueled the ultimate California party band and helped knock disco off the charts starting in the late 1970s with his band’s self-titled debut album and then with the blockbuster record “1984,” which contains the classics “Jump,” “Panama” and “Hot for Teacher.” Van Halen is among the top 20 bestselling artists of all time, and the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007. Rolling Stone magazine put Eddie Van Halen at No. 8 in its list of the 100 greatest guitarists. Eddie Van Halen was something of a musical contradiction. He was an autodidact who could play almost any instrument, but he couldn’t read music. He was a classically trained pianist who also created some of the most distinctive guitar riffs in rock history. He was a Dutch immigrant who was considered one of the greatest American guitarists of his generation. “You changed our world. You were the Mozart of rock guitar. Travel safe, rockstar,” Motley Crue's Nikki Sixx said on Twitter. Added Lenny Kravitz: “Heaven will be electric tonight.” The members of Van Halen — the two Van Halen brothers, Eddie and Alex; vocalist David Lee Roth; and bassist Michael Anthony — formed in 1974 in Pasadena, California. They were members of rival high school bands and then attended Pasadena City College together. They combined to form the band Mammoth, but then changed to Van Halen after discovering there was another band called Mammoth. Their 1978 release “Van Halen” opened with a blistering “Runnin’ With the Devil” and then Eddie Van Halen showed off his astonishing skills in the next song, “Eruption,” a furious 1:42 minute guitar solo that swoops and soars like a deranged bird. The album also contained a cover of the Kinks’ “You Really Got Me” and “Ain’t Talkin’ ’Bout Love.” Van Halen released albums on a yearly timetable — “Van Halen II” (1979), “Women and Children First” (1980), “Fair Warning” (1981) and “Diver Down” (1982) — until the monumental “1984,” which hit No. 2 on the Billboard 200 album charts (only behind Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”). Rolling Stone ranked “1984” No. 81 on its list of the 100 Greatest Albums of the 1980s. “Eddie put the smile back in rock guitar, at a time when it was all getting a bit brooding. He also scared the hell out of a million guitarists around the world, because he was so damn good. And original,” Joe Satriani, a fellow virtuoso, told Billboard in 2015. Van Halen also played guitar on one of the biggest singles of the 1980s: Jackson’s “Beat It.” His solo lasted all of 20 seconds and took only a half an hour to record. He did it as a favour to producer Quincy Jones, while the rest of his Van Halen bandmates were out of town. Van Halen received no compensation or credit for the work, even though he rearranged the section he played on. “It was 20 minutes of my life. I didn’t want anything for doing that,” he told Billboard in 2015. Rolling Stone ranked “Beat It” No. 344 on its list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. Jackson’s melding of hard rock and R&B preceded the meeting of Run-DMC and Aerosmith by four years. But strains between Roth and the band erupted after their 1984 world tour and Roth left. The group then recruited Sammy Hagar as lead singer —some critics called the new formulation “Van Hagar” — and the band went on to score its first No. 1 album with “5150,” More studio albums followed, including “OU812,” “For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge” and “Balance.” Hit singles included “Why Can’t This Be Love” and “When It’s Love.” Hagar was ousted in 1996 and former Extreme singer Gary Cherone stepped in for the album “Van Halen III,” a stumble that didn’t lead to another album and the quick departure of Cherone. Roth would eventually return in 2007 and team up with the Van Halen brothers. Eddie Van Halen was born in Amsterdam and his family immigrated to California in 1962 when he was 7. At one point, Eddie got a drum set, which his older brother coveted. “I never wanted to play guitar,” he confessed at a talk at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in 2015. But his brother was good at the drums, so Eddie gave into his brother’s wishes: “I said, ‘Go ahead, take my drums. I’ll play your damn guitar.’” __ AP Music Editor Mesfin Fekadu contributed to this report. ___ Mark Kennedy is at http://twitter.com/KennedyTwits Mark Kennedy, The Associated Press
The acclaimed new documentary "Time" tracks the story of Fox and Rob Richardson, using home videos taken over two decades to capture a family's struggles while a father and husband is imprisoned. (Oct. 6)
Regina police and the coroner's office are investigating after the discovery of a man's body in Wascana Park Tuesday morning.A police spokesperson says a call came in just before 7 a.m. CST about a man lying motionless on the ground.His body was found near Lakeshore Drive, between Avenue B and Avenue C, which is close to the Holodomor memorial.Paramedics confirmed he was dead. There is no word yet on what caused the man's death.Police say the man has been identified and his next of kin have been notified. They have not released his name.Police are asking anyone with information to contact the Regina Police Service at 306-777-6500 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.
Calgary motorists are enjoying the unseasonably warm fall weather, and with it a long stretch of clear, dry roads. But the city is already preparing for what must come next.Calgary's roads maintenance manager says the city is getting ready for an above-average snowfall this winter, and will be using a seven-day plan for clearing Calgary's streets, ensuring the busiest streets are tended to first."The last five years or so, we've averaged about 140 centimetres of snow per year," said Chris Hewitt at a press conference to outline the city's snow and ice removal strategy. "Last year was a little heavier, we had about 190. This year, while we don't know what to expect, we are prepared for a fairly heavy snowfall season."The seven-day plan means city crews will plow or sand most roads within seven days after a significant snowfall.The city will also be testing a new salt product this winter, in some controlled areas as a trial."It's a salt product that may work at lower temperatures than regular salt," he said. The new salt is different than adding aggregate to the roads, sometimes called pickle."When we're talking about salt, we're talking about a pure salt mixed for lower temperatures," Hewitt said. "Pickle is an aggregate that we use. It's mixed with salt, we use that at a much lower temperature to put down abrasives and to create traction on the street."Hewitt is asking that people start preparing for winter conditions."We know that when the snow comes, driving can be a challenge," he said. "We encourage people to plan a little more time, take a little more time for their routes, maintain a safe distance between vehicles, slow down, certainly winterize cars and then, you know, look for driving tips — we have driving tips on calgary.ca/snow."Hewitt says the city's snow budget is in good shape.The city spent $25 million on snow and ice control in the first part of 2020, leaving another $15 million to get Calgary through to the end of the calendar year.
The Fed adopted that approach in September with promises to keep interest rates near zero until its 2% inflation target and full employment are reached. The minutes showed continued worry over weak inflation globally, and a more acute emerging concern that the Trump administration and Congress might fail to deliver the fiscal support many central bankers say is needed – a point hammered home by the collapse in talks this week over a further stimulus bill. It also showed the opening of a debate over possible changes to the Fed’s current $120 billion pace of monthly bond purchases, but only that “some” participants felt it would be appropriate to assess that “in future meetings.”
U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence and Democrat Kamala Harris meet on the debate stage for the first and only time Wednesday night in Salt Lake City, Utah.Vice-presidential debates rarely move the needle in significant ways during a presidential election. But with U.S. President Donald Trump recovering from the coronavirus and his Democratic challenger, Joe Biden, trying to become the oldest president in U.S. history, the stakes are higher this time.CBC News will have special live coverage of the debate, with analysis before and after the debate — providing a Canadian perspective.Pre-debate coverage begins at 7 p.m. ET, hosted by Carole MacNeil in Toronto and Ellen Mauro in Washington. The debate itself begins at 9 p.m. ET and can be seen on CBC News Network, CBCNews.ca, on the CBC News app or on CBC Gem.The event is being held at Kingsbury Hall at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. Susan Page of USA Today will be the moderator. While the coronavirus pandemic will be a key debate issue, it is also influencing the night in other ways. It comes less than a week after Trump tested positive for COVID-19. Harris and Pence, who will not be wearing masks, will be separated by a see-through barrier to reduce the risk of transmission. They will be seated 3.7 metres apart from each other and will not shake hands. Only a "small number" of ticketed guests will be inside the hall, according to organizers. Anyone who refuses to wear a mask besides the candidates and moderator will be removed.A second debate between Trump and Biden is scheduled for Oct. 15 in Miami with a third slated for Oct. 22 in Nashville.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's minority Liberal government survived a confidence vote tonight as the House of Commons voted 177 to 152 to pass the speech from the throne.NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and his parliamentary caucus voted for the speech after winning some key changes to legislation last week.Those concessions included extending benefits for workers left jobless or underemployed by the COVID-19 pandemic and introducing ten days of paid sick leave for any Canadian who has to stay off work because of the pandemic.The Conservatives and Bloc Quebecois voted against the speech and the three MPs in the Green caucus joined them. Newly elected Green Leader Annamie Paul said earlier today that her party could not support the speech. Paul said that while there were good things in the Liberals' agenda-setting speech last month, the Green Party could not support it because it lacked a plan to protect those living in long-term care from COVID-19."I'm not just speaking of seniors. I'm also speaking of people with special needs and with disabilities," Paul told a news conference on Parliament Hill. "Those people are not protected." Paul also said the speech should have committed to a guaranteed livable income which would make Canadians more resilient to economic shocks.
If Alberta wants fish and wildlife officers to take on some of the most dangerous parts of police work, it should pay them accordingly, their union said Tuesday. Mike Dempsey of the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees said the United Conservative government is breaking its promise of more money for about 115 officers who will be first responders if police are unavailable. Last fall, the province announced fish and wildlife officers, along with commercial vehicle officers and sheriffs, would be used to increase law enforcement resources in an attempt to address concerns about rural crime.
The NDP has become the first party to release its platform in the B.C. election, promising direct payments to help people recover from the financial pain caused by COVID-19. The New Democrats are promising a one-time $1,000 recovery benefit for families and $500 for individuals if they win the Oct. 24 election. NDP Leader John Horgan said the party's platform unveiled in Vancouver on Tuesday builds on progress already underway during his government's 3 1/2 years in office.
U.S. stocks rebounded to close sharply higher on Wednesday after incremental stimulus proposals helped investors recover from the shock of President Donald Trump's announcement on Tuesday that he would halt stimulus talks until after the Nov. 3 election. Increased risk appetite also resulted in weaker Treasury prices and a steepening yield curve as markets were heartened that at least some fiscal aid measures to help an economy battered by the coronavirus pandemic were still on the table. While White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said he was "not optimistic for a comprehensive deal," Trump appeared to relent somewhat, urging Congress to pass a $25 billion airline bailout, a move also supported by U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Joe Biden says he and President Donald Trump "shouldn't have a debate" if he still has COVID-19. Biden said Tuesday that he's "looking forward to being able to debate him" but said they need to "follow very strict guidelines." (Oct. 6)