WASHINGTON — Outgoing Attorney General William Barr's decision to appoint a special counsel to investigate the handling of the Russia probe ensures his successor won't have an easy transition.The move, which Barr detailed to The Associated Press on Tuesday, could lead to heated confirmation hearings for President-elect Joe Biden's nominee, who hasn't been announced. Senate Republicans will likely use that forum to extract a pledge from the pick to commit to an independent investigation.The pressure on the new attorney general is unlikely to ease once they take office. With the special counsel continuing to work during the early days of the Biden administration, it may be tough for the Justice Department's new leadership to launch investigations of President Donald Trump and his associates without seeming to be swayed by political considerations.Barr elevated U.S. Attorney John Durham to special counsel as Trump continues to propel his claims that the Russia investigation that shadowed his presidency was a “witch hunt.” It's the latest example of efforts by Trump officials to use the final days of his administration to essentially box Biden in by enacting new rules, regulations and orders designed to cement the president's legacy.But the manoeuvring over the special counsel is especially significant because it saddles Democrats with an investigation that they've derided as tainted. Now there's little the new administration can do about it.“From a political perspective, the move is so elegantly lethal that it would make Machiavelli green with envy,” Jonathan Turley, a professor of public interest law at George Washington University, wrote in an op-ed for USA Today.A special counsel can only be dismissed for cause. And as was the case during Robert Mueller's Russia investigation, such probes can sometimes stray from their origins.The Biden transition did not respond to a request for comment on the special counsel appointment.But Barr's decision could influence whom the president-elect puts forth as a nominee for attorney general. One leading candidate, Sally Yates, was already viewed skeptically by some Trump-aligned Republicans for her role in the early days of the Russia investigation. Her nomination could face even greater challenges because she's connected to some of the work that Durham is examining.As deputy attorney general, Yates signed off on the first two applications to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to monitor communications of ex-Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, a process that has been among the focuses of the Durham investigation.A Justice Department inspector general report found significant flaws and omissions in the four applications to the court, though it also found no evidence that Yates or any other senior Justice Department officials were aware of the problems.Some Democrats have privately expressed concerns – likely to deepen with Durham’s appointment as a special counsel – that nominating Yates would lead to a messy confirmation process that focuses on the Russia investigation, instead of focusing on reforms and shifting priorities at the Justice Department, people familiar with the matter have said. They spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations.Others potentially in the mix for the role include Lisa Monaco, a former homeland security adviser and senior Justice Department official in the Obama administration, and outgoing Alabama Sen. Doug Jones, who famously prosecuted Ku Klux Klan members who bombed a Birmingham church in the 1960s.The question for Biden, however, is how to balance top Cabinet picks as he attempts to fulfil his pledge for racial, ethnic and gender diversity. Many of Biden's leading nominees so far have been white, which could work against Yates, Monaco and Jones.Some Black Democrats are attempting to elevate former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, who is Black and led the Justice Department's civil rights division under President Bill Clinton, in discussions about potential attorneys general.Whoever emerges as the nominee will be pressed to demonstrate independence from the new White House after Biden campaigned on a pledge to depoliticize the Justice Department.That could be tough, however, if the future attorney general faces calls for new probes into the Trump administration. Some investigations into Trump have been frozen because of the immunity he enjoys as president. Others swirling around members of his family and associates have been simmering for years.On Tuesday, an unsealed court filing revealed an investigation into a potential plot to solicit political donations in exchange for the president using his pardon power.Barr, for his part, insisted that he was trying to keep politics out of the Durham probe, explaining that is why he delayed announcing the special counsel appointment until a month after the election.“With the election approaching, I decided the best thing to do would be to appoint them under the same regulation that covered Bob Muller, to provide Durham and his team some assurance that they’d be able to complete their work regardless of the outcome of the election,” Barr said in an interview with the AP on Tuesday.“I wanted to have the team, both Durham and his team understand that they be able to finish their work,” Barr said.Durham has already been a huge disappointment for Trump and his allies, and prompted a dispute with Barr over why things weren’t moving faster and why the investigation did not yield major prosecutions in the weeks before the election. The investigation wasn’t expected to result in many more criminal charges, and there has only been one so far — a former FBI lawyer who pleaded guilty to a single charge.But the investigation is worth more politically than practically.A nearly 500-page inspector general report chronicled in great detail the errors and omissions FBI agents made in a series of applications to surveil Page. Declassified documents released by congressional Republicans have raised additional questions while not undercutting the overarching legitimacy of the Russia probe. And the facts of the one criminal case Durham has brought so far, against an FBI lawyer who admitted altering an email, were already mostly laid out in the watchdog report.There’s also been a degree of turmoil within Durham’s ranks as one of the team’s leaders, Nora Dannehy, resigned months ago, a significant departure given the active role she had played.___Miller reported from Wilmington, Delaware. Associated Press writers Eric Tucker and Colleen Long in Washington and Bill Barrow in Atlanta contributed to this report.Michael Balsamo And Zeke Miller, The Associated Press
Dental services are resuming in six N.W.T. communities, the territorial government announced on Wednesday. Health facilities in Fort Providence, Sambaa K’e, Fort Simpson, Norman Wells, Fort Resolution, and Aklavik have been cleared to once again host visits from private dentists. On Wednesday, the GNWT said facilities in the six communities had met standards and been approved by the chief public health officer. Private dentistry clinics in Yellowknife, Hay River, Fort Smith and Inuvik had all kept services open throughout most of the pandemic, but all non-urgent dental travel to smaller communities was suspended by the federal government in March. "The remaining N.W.T. communities that previously received visiting dental services will be able to resume operations when facility upgrades are complete, contracts are in place, and facilities are inspected and meet COVID-19 safety protocols," read a statement from the territorial government. "The necessary assessments and required work are expected to continue throughout 2021-2022. Further updates will be provided as health facilities in additional communities are confirmed to be able to accommodate visiting dentists." In communities where dental services remain unavailable, the federal ageny Indigenous Services Canada will support travel for Non-Insured Health Benefit clients to receive services elsewhere.Sarah Sibley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Cabin Radio
Dysart et al council has signed off on a memorandum of understanding that will allow the Haliburton County Snowmobile Association (HCSA) to operate on the local trail this winter season, providing the organization comes to a separate agreement with the principal landowners along the site. In what turned out to be a hearty debate amongst council members, a recorded vote saw a majority of the municipality’s elected officials approve the HCSA’s request to amend an existing agreement that will, essentially, transfer a portion of the off-season liability from the snowmobile club to the town should an accident occur. Ward 4 Coun. John Smith was the sole vote against the request. He pointed to issues that Dysart’s legal counsel and insurance provider had with the wording of the new agreement as the main reason he voted to turn the application down. “I’m not trying to prohibit snowmobiling, but as our solicitor has pointed out, and as our insurance company has pointed out, these proposed changes put forth by the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs, (and presented by local associations), are transferring risk from snowmobiling clubs to municipalities. That is liability from snowmobilers onto taxpayers,” Coun. Smith said. He continued, “For us to proceed with this when our solicitor has written us a letter, and our insurance company have written a letter expressing their concerns over the agreement, and for us to adopt our own casual interpretation of those risks … It’s a concern, for me, that we would appear to dismiss these risks so casually.” Earlier in the meeting, Jeff Iles, Dysart’s director of planning and land information, informed council that the town’s lawyer said it was “not inherently a negative thing” that the snowmobile association was looking to limit its responsibility in the event an injury or damages occur during the late spring, summer and early months of fall, when there’s no snow on the ground. Mayor Andrea Roberts said she understands completely why the snowmobile club would want to initiate such a change. “Why would the snowmobile club want to be responsible if somebody is trespassing on property, or a tree falls, or somebody is hiking on (the trail). I see why they’re asking for this change,” Mayor Roberts said. Coun. Smith did not concur with the mayor’s opinion, pointing to other municipalities and organizations, such as the United Counties of Prescott and Russell, and the Grand River Conservation Authority, who have refused to sign off on their own snowmobile club’s requests. “I remain supportive of snowmobiling in general, but to take these risks on behalf of our taxpayers in the face of professional advice to the contrary… We’re being too casual about this. We need to better understand the potential consequences of putting in place an agreement like this prior to passing the motion that is before us.” While council voted in favour of the new agreement, they did include a clause that staff will continue to consult with legal representation and their insurance company on this file moving forward. It was suggested, by Ward 2 Coun. Larry Clarke, that the municipality simply up their liability coverage with their insurer to cover any potential lawsuit. “It may cost us a few extra dollars, but snowmobile associations bring huge amounts of business to this community, which is so important for our economic health,” Coun. Clarke stated. Although Dysart council signed off on the agreement, the HCSA will still need to negotiate an agreement with Fleming College before its members can use the trail. Should council, at a future date, decide it wants to go back on this agreement, it will need to provide 60 days written notice to both the HCSA and Fleming College.Mike Baker, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Haliburton County Echo
Waterloo Region council will vote Dec. 2 on whether to get rid of the five child-care centres it operates. Parents and advocates say the move would harm quality of care and leave hundreds of children in the lurch. Tania Gonzalez said her son Marcus has been well cared for since going to Christopher Children's Centre in Cambridge in mid-2019, when he was an infant. Caretakers at the centre recognized when Marcus was behind on his speech and made her aware of it. Marcus started talking around March, said Gonzalez, just before the province declared a state of emergency and closed all child-care centres. When Marcus returned to Christopher in July, they “lost all the progress,” Gonzalez said. “Not for lack of trying at home, but again, we ... don't specialize in children's development,” she said, adding, since returning to Christopher, Marcus is using easily up to 50 words. “It's not just a daycare. It's not just a babysitter. It's a whole system looking out for my kids.” Tania Resendes said her kids Leo, three, and Matteo, one, really love seeing their teachers at Christopher. Matteo, who has hearing loss, could only speak around three words when he started out and saw a “significant difference” within a month of being at the centre, using over 12 words. Resendes said parents should have “options,” and believes it would be hard to find care of the same calibre in a private daycare system, especially for children with special needs. She said she has tried calling around to child-care centres, but it has been hard to find available spots during the pandemic, when child-care centres are operating at a around 70 per cent capacity. “The prospect of closing or off-loading child-care centres during a pandemic is absolutely shameful,” Carolyn Ferns, policy co-ordinator at the Ontario Coalition of Better Child Care (OCBCC) stated in a media release. “The regionally-operated child-care centres play an important role in the child-care system in the Region of Waterloo. “High-quality, public child-care centres are a benchmark for decent wages, pensions, and benefits for educators who are predominantly women.” With the closures, the region would lose around $2.2 million in fees from parents and would free up $4.3 million in provincial financing earmarked for child care, a consultation review found. Closure would also, it found, require the region to immediately shell out up to $6.4 million in severance pay as the region is projected to be $25 million in the red. CUPE Local 1883, which represents workers in each of the five child-care centres, said the move would leave parents, caretakers and the children in the cold. “Hundreds of working families in the region are already at their breaking point during this brutal pandemic,” says Noelle Fletcher, president of the local. “Losing public child-care spaces due to closures or off-loading them to the community will result in a destabilization of care. “Many parents and caregivers may have to quit their jobs and rely on unlicensed, private care with exorbitant fees or be placed on lengthy wait lists in community-based centres.” Staff recommend eliminating Cambridge Children’s Centre, Kitchener’s Edith MacIntosh Children’s Centre, Kinsmen Children’s Centre and Christopher Children’s Centre, both in Cambridge, by mid-2021. Elmira Children’s Centre is recommended to be closed at a future date. As a result, around 250 children would lose support and 62 full-time staff would be permanently laid off. In 2015, council voted against the closure of all five centres amid public pressure. This time, Resendes said, parents were given too little time to prepare. “From the moment that we found out to when it's going to vote, we've been given three weeks to try and advocate, do our research ... and figure out exactly what's going on.” The meeting takes place at 6 p.m. Dec. 2 and will be livestreamed. Call 519-575-4400 to leave feedback.Swikar Oli, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Cambridge Times
This past summer of discontent against police has set the stage for Norm Lipinski, the new top cop in Surrey, who is vowing a slew of changes in one of Canada’s fastest growing and most culturally diverse cities. From more cops on bikes to walking the beat and welcoming soirees for new Canadians, Lipinski’s central goal revolves around creating a force that will police the plurality of Surrey with constant engagement and strident enforcement. “That will begin with creating a command structure that reflects the diversity of Surrey both in ethnicity and gender,” Lipinksi told NCM as he prepared for his new role that will begin later this month. “We can learn a lot from the anti-police sentiment that has swept many parts of the world this past summer, especially in the U.S. and from the great work of the RCMP has done in Surrey. But now is a time for change to remove tensions and rebuild confidence in police,” he said. “We can do it and build a more modern, inclusive, accountable, and community-based model,” said Lipinski, who brings 42 years of policing experience to Surrey, where close to half of residents are immigrants. Lipinski said the first order of business will be to hire a complement of senior staff and officers that will be reflective of the community with recruitment efforts targeting ethnic and Indigenous communities and women. The RCMP employs nearly three-quarters of B.C.’s 9,500 police with 18 per cent of its officers coming from visible minority groups and another five per cent comprising Indigenous persons. About 20 per cent of RCMP members across the country are women. While these numbers may be representative for rural communities, it is out of whack for places like Surrey, where 34 per cent of residents speak English as a secondary language and where females outnumber males in the general population. Statistics Canada said in a report last week that people designated as visible minorities report less confidence in police than non-visible minority people. Just over one-third (35 per cent) of Canadians belonging to population groups designated as visible minorities reported having a great deal of confidence in the police in 2019, compared with 44 per cent among non-visible minority people, the national number crunchers said. Confidence levels also varied among different visible minority groups. For example, Southeast Asian (25 per cent) and Chinese (26 per cent) Canadians were less likely to report a great deal of confidence in the police compared with non-visible minority people (44 per cent). Lipinski, a former assistant commissioner for the RCMP’s E-Division in B.C., said he will be reaching out to faith leaders, community groups, NGOs, neighbourhood associations and local media among others as he works on a strategic plan for the Surrey Police Force, which will have 1,150 employees — 805 police officers, 325 civilian positions and 20 Community Safety Personnel (CSP). Surrey currently is the only one of 19 major Canadian population centres with more than 300,000 people without a local police department. A self-described data geek, with a Master of Business Administration degree as well as a Bachelor of Laws degree, Lipinski plans to use the community consultations to draw up a delivery service model that will hinge on a $200 million budget annually. “If the data shows we can deliver better service by having officers out of their cars and walking the beat or on bikes, we will do it,” said Lipinski. The veteran cop also plans meet and greet sessions for immigrants and refugees as they settle in Surrey which is home to about a fifth of all new arrivals to B.C. “Our recruiting will be different, our tone will be different and our engagement will be different,” Lipinski added.Fabian Dawson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, New Canadian Media
YEREVAN, Armenia — Thousands of demonstrators rallied in Armenia's capital Wednesday to continue to pressure the ex-Soviet nation's prime minister to resign over a peace deal with neighbouring Azerbaijan that domestic critics see as a betrayal of national interests.The Russia-brokered agreement took effect on Nov. 10 and followed 44 days of fierce fighting over Nagorno-Karabakh, during which the Azerbaijani army routed Armenian forces and wedged deep into the separatist territory.Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has defended the deal as a painful but necessary move that prevented Azerbaijan from overrunning the entire Nagorno-Karabakh region.Some 4,000 protesters marched across downtown Yerevan Wednesday chanting “Nikol, you traitor!” and “Nikol, go away!” Police detained scores of demonstrators at a smaller protest on Tuesday, but didn't interfere with the larger rally.Nagorno-Karabakh lies within Azerbaijan but has been under the control of ethnic Armenian forces backed by Armenia since a separatist war there ended in 1994. That conflict left not only Nagorno-Karabakh itself but large chunks of surrounding lands in Armenian hands.The peace agreement Pashinyan signed saw the return to Azerbaijan of a significant part of Nagorno-Karabakh. It also obliged Armenia to hand over all of the regions it held outside the separatist region. Azerbaijan completed reclaiming those territories on Tuesday when it took over the Lachin region located between the Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia.Russia deployed nearly 2,000 peacekeepers for at least five years to monitor the peace deal and to facilitate the return of refugees. The Russian troops will also ensure safe transit between Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia across the Lachin region.Speaking Wednesday during a video call with the leaders of nations that are part of the Moscow-dominated Collective Security Treaty Organization, which includes Armenia, Russian President Vladimir Putin praised Pashinyan for his personal courage in making “painful but necessary decisions” to end the fighting.Pashinyan, in his turn, thanked Putin for mediating the peace deal and hailed the Russian peacekeepers as “the guarantors of peace and security in the region."Armenian opposition leaders hold Pashinyan responsible for failing to negotiate an earlier end to the hostilities at terms that could have been more beneficial for Armenia. However, Artur Vanetsyan, the former head of the National Security Service who leads the Homeland opposition party, has emphasized that the opposition wasn’t pushing for the annulment of the peace deal.“The current authorities that have suffered a complete failure must step down immediately and allow other political forces to try to at least improve the situation,” Vanetsyan said. “Pashinyan’s resignation would offer a chance to save our dignity.”The peace agreement has been celebrated as a triumph in Azerbaijan, where President Ilham Aliyev on Wednesday declared a new national holiday, dubbed Victory Day, to mark the day of the deal's signing.“The Azerbaijani people's will and determination, the country's economic power, the creation of a modern army and the national unity were the key factors behind our victory,” Aliyev said in his decree.Armenia’s Health Ministry said Wednesday that at least 2,718 Armenian servicemen were killed in the 44 days of fighting. Azerbaijan’s government said 94 Azerbaijani civilians were killed and more than 400 were wounded but refused to reveal the nation’s military losses.___Associated Press writers Vladimir Isachenkov in Moscow and Aida Sultanova in London contributed to this report.Avet Demourian, The Associated Press
La MRC de La Haute-Côte-Nord consacre la plus grande partie de son budget 2021 au développement pour la première fois en plus de 20 ans. Un montant de 4 038 837 $ est prévu pour ce poste budgétaire, soit plus du double qu’en 2020 alors qu’il bénéficiait de 1 846 393 $. C’est ce qui a été dévoilé le 25 novembre alors que le conseil des maires était réuni en assemblée ordinaire de façon virtuelle. « Il s’agit d‘une année exceptionnelle en terme de développement », a déclaré la préfète Micheline Anctil en parlant des prévisions budgétaires pour 2021. « Cette croissance en faveur du développement s’explique, entre autres, par une participation financière accrue des instances gouvernementales. Ce choix du conseil des maires en faveur du développement aura des impacts considérables au cours des trois prochaines années », explique le directeur général de la MRC, Paul Langlois. Effectivement, de nouveaux fonds verront le jour en 2021 et toucheront « à plusieurs domaines tant la relance économique, l’agroforestier que le culturel », dévoile Mme Anctil. Le Fonds pour le rayonnement des régions sera doté d’un troisième (Innovation et signature) et quatrième volets (Vitalisation et revitalisation). Ils bénéficieront respectivement de 197 000 $ et 977 000 $ annuellement pendant cinq ans. De plus, le nouveau réseau de transport mis en place par Hydro-Québec sur le territoire de la MRC permet la récolte de redevances d’un montant de 1 900 000 $ à dépenser sur deux ans selon un protocole d’entente qui sera signé en février. « Les MRC sont appelées à devenir des intermédiaires du gouvernement pour le développement économique des régions. Le ministère de l’Économie et de l’Innovation a d’ailleurs instauré de nouveaux comités de développement régional, qui auront à agir dans un avenir proche », de dévoiler le directeur général, en entrevue téléphonique. Les critères de ces nouveaux programmes d’aide financière ne sont pas encore fixés et la MRC n’est pas prête à recevoir des demandes. Ils seront établis au cours de l’année et « les fonds qui ne seront pas dépensés comme prévu, seront redistribués dans l’enveloppe 2022 », soutient M. Langlois. « Les efforts de la MRC porteront fortement sur la consolidation des entreprises, des organismes et des commerces des huit municipalités qui la composent, tout en cherchant à favoriser le développement du tourisme, de l’agroalimentaire et de l’innovation pour la création d’emplois », a précisé Micheline Anctil, lors de l’adoption du budget. Les secteurs social et communautaire feront aussi l’objet d’une attention plus intensive en 2021 « dans le but d’assurer des services de qualité, entre autres, par le biais de programmes sociaux, et de favoriser le mieux-être des personnes aînées et des moins favorisés de nos communautés », a dévoilé Mme Anctil. Revenus et dépenses En ce qui concerne les revenus, les municipalités de la Haute-Côte-Nord devront contribuer pour un total de 2 236 181 $ en quotes-parts, divisées selon la richesse foncière. La Ville de Forestville déboursera la plus importante quote-part, soit plus de 500 000 $ tandis que Portneuf-sur-Mer versera environ 99 000 $, la plus basse. Les transferts gouvernementaux totaliseront 6 213 314 $ et les services rendus procurent 1 645 595 $ à la MRC. Les autres revenus d’intérêts rapportent 31 000 $ dans les coffres et les revenus d’investissement 1 460 000 $. Quant aux dépenses, 1 710 228 $ seront décaissés pour l’administration générale, 863 624 $ pour l’aménagement, 4 038 837 $ pour le développement, 2 815 902 $ pour la gestion des matières résiduelles, 455 000 $ pour l’évaluation, 704 800 $ pour les baux, 460 700 $ pour le transport et, finalement, 40 000 $ pour la forêt privée. Les dépenses d’investissement atteindront 497 000 $. C’est donc un budget équilibré qui a été déposé par la préfète tout comme celui de l’an dernier qui s’élevait à 8 892 387 $, soit 2,6 M$ en moins.Johannie Gaudreault, Initiative de journalisme local, Journal Haute-Côte-Nord
Toronto poet and children's writer Dennis Lee is among the winners of this year's Writers' Trust career honours.The Writers' Trust of Canada doled out $25,000 apiece to four well-versed wordsmiths on Wednesday for their continued contributions to Canadian literature.Lee was named the winner of the Matt Cohen Award for a lifetime of distinguished work by a Canadian writer.His achievements include co-founding the independent publishing company House of Anansi Press in 1967, and penning the 1974 children's classic "Alligator Pie."Also recognized on Wednesday was Kerri Sakamoto, the Toronto-based author of three novels exploring the experience of Japanese-Canadians, who won the Writers' Trust Engel/Findley Award honouring a mid-career writer for their contributions to fiction.Queen's University professor Armand Garnet Ruffo, who draws from his Ojibwe heritage in his genre-spanning works, won the Latner Writers' Trust Poetry Prize recognizing a mid-career poet for mastery of the form.The $25,000 Vicky Metcalf Award for Literature for Young People went to Montreal-based Marianne Dubuc, a French-language author and illustrator whose picture books have been published in more than 25 languages.Organizers say the Writers' Trust Awards has given out a total of more than $300,000 to Canadian writers this year between its prizes for individual works, career achievements and emerging talent.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 2, 2020.The Canadian Press
SIOUX LOOK — Sioux Lookout Ontario Provincial Police have released the name of a woman who died in a house fire last month as they continue to determine the cause of the fire. Clara Ash, 37, of Sioux Lookout has been identified as the individual who died in a house fire on Nov. 19. In a news release issued Wednesday, Dec. 2, police say the cause of death was smoke inhalation. Police responded at approximately 6 a.m. on Nov. 19 along with fire and emergency crews to an apartment on First Avenue in the municipality of Sioux Lookout. Two individuals were extracted from the building and neighbouring units were safely evacuated, according to a news release. A third deceased individual was located by firefighters. OPP continue to investigate the cause of the fire under the direction of the criminal investigations branch, the chief coroner, and the Ontario Fire Marshal. Anyone with information regarding this investigation is asked to contact OPP or their local police service.Karen Edwards, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Thunder Bay Source
Mounties who were looking for a woman and her three children in southern Alberta say the family has been found safe.Bow Island RCMP asked for help Tuesday in finding the 41-year-old woman and her children, who are 12, 10 and five.They said a relative last spoke with the family during the first week of November.Police also said neighbours had not recently seen the family.RCMP say they have been located and thanked members of the public for their assistance.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 2, 2020.The Canadian Press
The death of a man at the corner of Robie Street and Lady Hammond Road in Halifax on Monday has been ruled not suspicious by the medical examiner.Halifax Regional Police were called to the area at 7:15 a.m. after the man was found dead near a beer and wine store. A news release Wednesday from the police said their "thoughts remain with the loved ones of the deceased at this difficult time."Police did not provide any further details about the man's identity.MORE TOP STORIES
Editor's note: This story was first published on Oct. 8, 2020 Barrie police has released an artist’s rendition of a sexual assault suspect and created a dedicated tip line. Investigators are looking for any information in connection with sexual assault in Hurst Park on Oct. 1 between 9 and 10 p.m. The tip line is 705-728-5629. Police say a woman was walking her dog in the park located at Hurst Drive near Pert Court when she was attacked by a male stranger. Police are releasing few details, including whether the victim was physically injured. Officers have already done a door-to-door canvas of the immediate neighbourhood looking for information. The suspect is described as: • A white male between the ages of 16 and 26, about 5-feet, 8 inches tall, with a slim build and shaved blond hair. • Wearing an Under Armour top of unknown colour. Anyone with information is asked to call 705-728-5629 or 705-725-7025, ext. 2700, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, by contacting Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477), or leave an anonymous tip online at www.p3tips.com. Rick Vanderlinde, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Barrie Advance
Councillor Goelbel Absent, Councillor Watson Participated by Phone Discussion on Recent COVID-19 Restrictions Lead by CAO Bill Lewis, Council discussed the recently announced COVID-19 health restrictions. Here are some highlights as to how these restrictions affect Swan Hills: · There had been some confusion about when the restrictions would be in place, with some people in town thinking that all of the restrictions were effective on Nov 27. CAO Lewis clarified that the restrictions on social gatherings were effective immediately across the province. · Local non-profit organization board meetings are classified as work or mutual support groups and can continue going forward, as long as health measures such as social distancing are followed. · The town pool and arena are already following the guidelines for our area and can continue to operate going forward, but this will change if Swan Hills becomes an enhanced status area. The pool and arena cannot be privately rented at this time. · The Community Club is going to close until the New Year due to the ban on social gatherings. · Swan Hills is not under any provincial masking requirements at this time. · In regards to Lite Up, the direction from AHS is that Lite Up can proceed as planned but it is very important for people to remain in their vehicles when visiting Santa. If people come out of their vehicles and begin to crowd around Santa, the event must end immediately. Budget Review and Discussion Cao Bill Lewis gave an extremely thorough review of the proposed budget for 2021. The proposed budget will be very lean due to attempting to balance significant losses in revenue with increased costs in some areas of expenditures. After discussing these issues, Council voted to table approving the budget until the next Town Council meeting. The Grizzly Gazette will be able to report on the 2021 budget in greater detail once it has been finalized for the next Council meeting. CAO Report · A pre-project meeting with the Fire Chief, Forestry, and Blue ridge Lumber was held on Nov 24th regarding the Fire Guard project. · Staff worked on preparations for the modified Christmas Lite Up event. · A Tax Auction was held on Nov 17th. · Had a conference call with the Premier, the Minister of Municipal Affairs, the Minister of Finance, and the Chief Medical Officer of Health regarding COVID-19 on Nov 18th. · Met with Sea Hawk Consulting (the group doing the Emergency Management Regional Audit). · Working on 2021 Budget preparation. · Working on the 5-year Capital Plan and 3-year operating plan. · Working on the new website upgrade. · Preparing for the strategic planning session with Community Futures Yellowhead East. · Working on the Municipality Accountability Program (MAP) Audit preparation. Operations and Infrastructure · The Flash Mixer at the Water Treatment Plant (WTP) is still awaiting parts. · Waiting for the Reservoir Fire Water Pump motor replacement. Hoping to get a start date for this project for early December. · The sewage lift station pump that is currently out for service should be back in the first week of December. When it returns, the second pump will be sent out to be serviced as well. · There was a heater failure in the sewage lift station. A heater that had been salvaged from the PRV was repurposed for this application. · The roofing contractor has indicated that all repairs will be complete the week of Nov 23rd. · The Arena will be open for business on Nov 20th. · All of the Public Works and WTP procedures are currently being re-written and re-formatted as the previous versions were antiquated. · Public Works has been focusing on snow removal. · Public Works and WTP staff are in the process of qualification for Basic Emergency Management as well as Incident Command System 100. Should be completed by Jan 30th, 2021. · All safety training for Public Works staff is now up to date. Reports · Councillor Carol Webster reported on the first meeting of the regional Chamber of Commerce on Nov 13th. Representatives from Mayerthorpe, Whitecourt, Swan Hills, Edson, Fox Creek, and Barrhead attended. The discussions included helping Barrhead with the closure of ADLC and Swan Hills with the closure of the SHTC. Ways of providing benefits to the regional Chamber members were also discussed. The next meeting will be on Dec 4th. · Councillor Carol Webster reported that GROWTH Alberta held two executive meetings, on Nov 18th and Nov 24th. The GROWTH chairman will be resigning, meaning that a new chairman will need to be appointed. The Village of Wabamun has voted to dissolve their municipality and will become a Hamlet on January 1st, so this alliance will be losing a member. The next GROWTH Meeting will be on Nov 27th. · Councillor Carol Webster detailed Community Futures Yellowhead East’s (CFYE) meeting on Nov 19th, which focused on succession planning. One of CFYE’s members is approaching their eight-year term limit and will need to step down within the next year. · Councillor Elizabeth Krawiec reported having a promising Zoom meeting with a member of Community Futures that is very interested in helping Swan Hills with our Economic development. They hope to meet again soon. · Councillor Terry Kuyek reported on the Nov 18th school council meeting. With the impending closure of the ADLC threatening a major reorganization of staff, 44 teachers have chosen retirement rather than “bumping” their coworkers. The school council will move from monthly meetings to meeting every two months due to a lack of participation from the community. Jenny Kilpatrick – Life &Health; Coach – has offered support services for staff and parents feeling excessive strain and stress during these times.Dean LaBerge, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Grizzly Gazette
Rotaract Haliburton Highlands is organizing a special festive scavenger hunt for local youth over the Christmas period. Starting this Saturday (Dec. 5), participants will have to scour the downtown area for hidden clues to complete the challenge. In total, 12 local businesses have signed up to play a part in the community scavenger hunt. Speaking to the Echo, Rotaract member Vivian Collings said the local club wanted to “do something a little special” this holiday season to help spread the Christmas cheer and put smiles on people’s faces. “We’re going to be handing out activity sheets at the Rotary Drive-Thru Christmas Party this weekend that explain what businesses participants will need to go to, and will also include Haliburton trivia and a colouring page,” Collings said. “As a group, we’re going to go around town and put up pictures of Christmas characters in the windows of participating businesses. Kids will then have to write down what character they find in which business.” Participants that successfully complete all three stages will be entered into a draw with a chance to win a prize. “We’ll have prizes for different ages groups,” Vivian said. “Right now, we have some outdoor games and activities, we have a kite, and some craft kits. Then we’ll also have some stuffed animals for younger children as well.” Rotaract is still a relatively new concept here in Haliburton. The local group was launched in January, and received their official charter from Rotary International in February. At present, the club boasts around 35 members. Rotaract Haliburton Highlands has close ties with the Rotary Club of Haliburton. As Vivian explains, “Rotaract is basically Rotary, just for younger adults.” The club is made up of individuals between the ages of 18 and 30, although allowances are made on a case-by-case basis for people who want to join, but are outside of that age bracket. “We formed the group because we wanted to help out our community in any way that is needed,” Collings said. “There’s a big social component too – being able to build more connections with other people in our age group. We found there’s a big gap between high-school age people in our community and Rotarians – there really wasn’t any other group in town [servicing] people our age, so we started one.” There are currently 10,698 registered Rotaract clubs in 180 countries. The local scavenger hunt is being offered at no cost to anyone wanting to participate. Activity kits will be handed out at the Rotary Drive-Thru Christmas Party this Saturday, and will be available for pick-up at Century 21, located at 191 Highland St. To be eligible for a prize, completed activity sheets should be dropped off at Century 21, or emailed to email@example.com.Mike Baker, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Haliburton County Echo
Saying federal aid promised for the tourism industry is missing key items, P.E.I. Tourism Minister Matthew MacKay says he will have programs to fill some of those gaps next month.Earlier this week federal Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland provided an update on how the federal government plans to cope with the ongoing pandemic, and part of that was low-interest loans that operators in the tourism industry would qualify for."There's still a lot of details that we don't know yet," MacKay told Island Morning host Mitch Cormier.He said he expects to hear more on the next national ministers call, but he does not expect to hear everything he would like."There's certainly some things that we've been advocating for that just aren't in this," he said."We plan to fill some of these gaps and roll them out in early January."Corryn Clemence, executive director of the Tourism Industry Association of P.E.I., said loan programs won't be enough for many operators."We certainly have quite a few of our small business operators who already have a big debt load," said Clemence."With the uncertainty of … the industry in the next 12 months there's a fear and a hesitation on taking additional debt load."Looking aheadThe 2020 tourism season saw business cut by more than half compared to 2019.There had been hopes that the opening of the Atlantic bubble might be an opportunity to salvage something of the season — New Brunswick and Nova Scotia accounted for 60 per cent of the market in 2019 — but Maritimers did not take advantage of the open border.While vaccine rollout is expected early in the new year, MacKay does not expect a full recovery in 2021. He does, however, believe the province can do a better job of marketing to the Maritimes."We know the Atlantic bubble can work," he said."We feel we can utilize that better than we did. By the time we rolled that out and got going it was July 1st. We've had numerous months now to plan for next year."P.E.I. has positioned itself as a safe destination, and that should help take advantage of any opportunities that do exist for the coming season, he said.More from CBC P.E.I.
The Kincardine Theatre Guild has devised a way to bring live, local entertainment to the homes of residents who are pining for theatre and a boost for their Christmas spirit, during the pandemic. The 2020 Advent Calendar – a gift of theatre, will showcase short video clips, submitted by the public, to help bring some holiday spirit to the community. Earlier this year, the Guild was in the midst of preparing for its production of Curse of the Silver Pharaoh, when the pandemic hit and restrictions were implemented. Bringing the play to the stage was put on hold and while it had hoped to resume rehearsals and reschedule performances for later this year or early 2021, the second wave of COVID struck, and all plans have been put on indefinite hold. “We were well into rehearsals for the spring 2020 show, Curse of the Silver Pharaoh, when the Covid lockdown happened,” said Debbie Deckert, a performer and Guild board member. “We kept hoping this would be a short term thing but sadly we have had to cancel the show, but plan to put it on at a future date. The way things are now, we’ve had to cancel our 20-21 season. We’re only allowed to have three to five crew members in the theatre for maintenance work, no public access.” “Theatre can get to feel like a family and it’s really tough when we can’t be together. We’re looking at alternatives and this “Gift of Theatre” gives us an opportunity to test online performances.” The initiative, which began on Dec. 1, offers a daily clip provided by members of the public. People were invited to send in a video of a song, a dance, reading a poem, or a skit, approximately three to eight minutes in length. The daily video is available for viewing on the Guild website, www.kincardinetheatreguild.com, its YouTube page or on Facebook. The performances are free to view. In lieu of an admission payment, a donation to the Food Bank would be appreciated. “If you enjoyed this presentation, please consider making a donation to the Food Bank,” said Deckert. Deckert hopes the Guild will receive enough clips to offer a new performance every day until Dec. 24. Questions regarding the clip content or format can be directed to Jim May by email, at firstname.lastname@example.org, and any late submissions should be directed to Deckert at email@example.com. Tammy Lindsay Schneider, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Kincardine Independent
Pro wrestling trailblazer Pat Patterson has died at the age of 79.WWE announced the passing of the Hall of Famer on Wednesday morning.Born Pierre Clermont in Montreal, Patterson rose to prominence as a wrestler in the Pacific Northwest and San Francisco territories during the 1960s and 1970s before moving to the New York-based World Wrestling Federation in 1979.He was the first-ever intercontinental champion for the WWF — now known as WWE — before transitioning to a behind-the-scenes role in the 1980s.Patterson worked with wrestlers to help them develop the narrative beats of their matches and specialized in coming up with memorable finales."Pat Patterson was the Yoda to my Luke," said former WWE champion Chris Jericho, who is from Winnipeg, in an Instagram post. "He taught me 90% of what I know about putting together a wrestling match."Beyond that he was a confidant, a mentor, collaborator, a sounding board, an oracle, a prophet, a genius, a comedian, a singer and most importantly.... a friend."Sami Zayn, who is also from Montreal, tweeted about how Patterson had looked out for him when he first signed with WWE."NO ONE was a bigger supporter, advocate, or believer in me than Pat Patterson," said Zayn. "NO ONE went to bat for me more often than him. I feel lucky to have had him in my life."Patterson was also the inventor of the Royal Rumble, a signature event on the WWE schedule that was first held in Hamilton in 1988.He rose to on-screen prominence again in the late 1990s, playing the role of a bumbling but villainous "stooge" to WWE owner Vince McMahon along with friend Gerald Brisco."I can count on one hand the people who had the deepest understanding of great psychology in pro wrestling, and perhaps Pat was the greatest ever," said Calgary's Bret (The Hitman) Hart in a lengthy Instagram post. "His ultimate contribution can never be properly measured, but to those who know, Pat will always stand the tallest."Patterson legally changed his name to Pat Patterson in 2008.Patterson was openly gay, having come out in the 1970s, but his sexual orientation was never directly acknowledged on television until 2014 when he spoke about it on a WWE-produced reality TV show. Louie Dondero, Patterson's longtime partner of 40 years, died of a heart attack in 1998.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 2, 2020.The Canadian Press
Indigenous Services Minister Mark Miller was asked on Wednesday about the results of an investigation that found an RCMP officer in Nunavut “did not intentionally strike” an Inuk man with his truck’s door over the course of an arrest in June. A reporter asked how Miller could describe the incident as “disgraceful” and “dehumanizing,” yet no charges have been laid at this time, to which he replied, “I saw what I saw,” followed by a long pause.
WELLINGTON, New Zealand — Australia's economy grew by 3.3% in the third quarter, rebounding from its first recession in nearly three decades as it recovered from pandemic-related shocks, according to figures released Wednesday.Treasurer Josh Frydenberg told reporters the country still has a lot of ground to make up from the coronavirus downturn.“Australia’s recession may be over, but Australia’s economic recovery is not,” he said.Despite the latest quarterly rise, the economy contracted at a 3.8% annual pace. That's after GDP fell by 0.3% in the first quarter and then by a record 7% in the second quarter.“But the Australian economy has demonstrated its remarkable resilience and Australia is as well positioned as any other nation on Earth," Frydenberg said. “Today’s national accounts represent a major step forward in Australia’s economic recovery.”Before this year, Australia had managed to avoid a recession for 28 years. The economy grew even during the global financial crisis thanks to strong demand for Australia's mineral exports and a robust domestic sector.The better-than-expected figures were encouraging, economists said.“The rebound in Q3 GDP reversed around 40% of the decline during the first half of the year and we expect output to return to pre-virus levels by mid-2021," Ben Udy of Capital Economics said in a commentary.Now on top of the pandemic, Australia is enduring a spate of rocky relations with China, its biggest trading partner.Frydenberg said the situation with China is “very serious” but his government is focusing on striking deals with other countries in Asia and beyond.“We have great produce, and we have great services, and we have great resource sectors, and I’m very optimistic about the opportunities for our exporters around the world," he said.Australia's relationship with China worsened this week after a Chinese official tweeted a fake image of a grinning Australian soldier holding a bloodied knife to a child’s throat.Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison called the image “repugnant” and demanded an apology from the Chinese government. But China has not backed down.The post took aim at alleged abuses by elite Australian soldiers during the conflict in Afghanistan.Tensions have been growing this year since the Australian government called for an independent inquiry into the origins of the pandemic. China has imposed tariffs and other restrictions on a number of Australian exports.Nick Perry, The Associated Press
It may sound obvious, but if you're arrested in Saskatchewan the easiest way to not spend time in jail is to not be sent there in the first place.The province's justice and corrections systems have a handful of checkpoints where someone charged with a crime may be released before going to a correctional centre.But once a person is remanded by consent, or after an unsuccessful bail hearing, the options for release dwindle dramatically.The primary tool for getting out at this point is a detention review."Every time a client of mine is remanded, I've been running their detention reviews after 90 days," said Saskatoon defence lawyer Aleida Oberholzer."The Supreme Court basically said it's mandatory that you take a look after 90 days whether or not this person should still be in custody, but especially now with what's going on at Saskatoon Correctional, people really want to want to get out of there and they really do want to run their detention reviews."These reviews take place at Court of Queen's Bench.Oberholzer said there are several points after an arrest but before remand when a person may be released, thus keeping them out of jail at least until their trial: * Immediately after their arrest, police have the discretion to release a person with a promise to appear in court. * Failing that, the person may appear off-hours (weekends or evenings) before a Justice of the Peace and be released. * A person held until their first appearance may be released by a provincial court judge that same morning. * A person not released after that appearance may then have a bail hearing, at which point they could be released.Two other programs also come into play that — if they don't lead to release — at least speed up the process.The Sunday Project and the Rapid Response to Remand (RRR) both aim to reduce the amount of time a person must wait to find out what's happening.For example, on Wednesday there were eight new arrests on the 9 a.m. docket at provincial court in Saskatoon.Three of the accused were referred to the RRR program. One person was released in the morning. Four were remanded.The Sunday Project intends to get people arrested on the weekend into court by Monday afternoon. The RRR applies the same principle to weekdays, said prosecutor Frank Impey."The idea of the (RRR) program is to pick those files where something more meaningful can happen on that very first appearance, therefore sentencing on the same day, show cause hearing on the same day, perhaps consent releases on the same day," he said."If defence, for instance, proposed a plan or presented a plan that meets public safety requirements, then that person can be released at two o'clock, whereas on the surface of the file at nine o'clock in the morning, this was not someone we were prepared to consent the release of."Impey said that the impact of COVID-19 on the correctional centres and the community plays into — but doesn't define — what prosecutors are weighing.Some people who may not have been released on a set of charges a year ago are now avoiding jail until their trial dates."You will see there will be less remands of individuals with property offences, less remands of individuals with offences against the administration of justice," Impey said."But always with a mind toward public safety."