Jamie Lynn Spears (virtually) stopped by "Good Morning America" on Thursday, where the 29-year-old actress said she’s cherishing the time spent with family amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Jamie Lynn Spears (virtually) stopped by "Good Morning America" on Thursday, where the 29-year-old actress said she’s cherishing the time spent with family amid the coronavirus pandemic.
WILMINGTON, Del. — President-elect Joe Biden's pick to lead the Office of Management and Budget is quickly emerging as a political battle that could disrupt his efforts to swiftly fill out his administration.Some Republicans are expressing doubt that Neera Tanden could be confirmed by the Senate after she spent years attacking GOP lawmakers on social media — and many panned the choice.Arkansas Republican Sen. Tom Cotton claimed Tanden’s rhetoric was “Filled with hate & guided by the woke left.”Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn said Tanden's “combative and insulting comments" about Republican senators created “certainly a problematic path." He called her “maybe (Biden's) worst nominee so far" and “radioactive.”Potential Budget Committee Chair Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., was less hostile, telling reporters, “Let's see what happens." Moderate Susan Collins, R-Maine, a target of Tanden's, said, “I do not know her or much about her, but I've heard she's a very prolific user of Twitter.”Such sentiment is notable considering the GOP's general reluctance to criticize President Donald Trump's broadsides on Twitter. But like all of Biden's nominees, Tanden has little margin for error as she faces confirmation in a closely divided Senate.That could be especially daunting for Tanden, the former adviser to Hillary Clinton and the president of the centre-left Center for American Progress, given her history of political combat.Biden's transition team released a litany of praise for Tanden from figures including Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams.Other Democrats also rushed to defend Tanden's nomination. Former Obama aide Valerie Jarrett said Tanden “grew up on welfare and lived in public housing. She experienced first hand the importance of our social programs. Her extraordinary career has been devoted to improving opportunities for working families. She is an excellent choice to lead OMB.”“Neera Tanden is smart, experienced, and qualified for the position of OMB Director,” added Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown, a member of the party’s progressive wing. “The American people decisively voted for change - Mitch McConnell shouldn’t block us from having a functioning government that gets to work for the people we serve.”On the Senate floor, Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said it's impossible to take Republicans' criticism of Tanden seriously.“Honestly, the hypocrisy is astounding. If Republicans are concerned about criticism on Twitter, their complaints are better directed at President Trump,” Schumer said.At OMB, Tanden would be responsible for preparing Biden’s budget submission and would command several hundred budget analysts, economists and policy advisers with deep knowledge of the inner workings of the government.If Democrats should win runoff elections for Georgia’s two GOP-held Senate seats, Tanden’s job would become hugely important because the party would gain a slim majority in the chamber. That would allow them to pass special budget legislation that could roll back Trump’s tax cuts, boost the Affordable Care Act and pursue other spending goals. OMB would have a central role in such legislation.Top Democrats, Biden included, supported anti-deficit packages earlier in their careers, but the party has since changed. Biden was a force behind the establishment of the Obama deficit commission, which was created to win votes of Democratic moderates to pass an increase in the government’s borrowing cap and was chaired by former Clinton White House chief of staff Erskine Bowles.Tanden shares a commonly held view among Democratic lawmakers that Republicans usually profess concerns about deficits only when Democrats are in power, pointing to tax cut packages passed in the opening year of Trump’s administration and former President George W. Bush’s 2001 tax cut.___Taylor reported from Washington.Zeke Miller And Andrew Taylor, The Associated Press
Despite a "significant outbreak" of COVID-19 at the Calgary Remand Centre, there are reports of inmates being triple-bunked, according to defence lawyers sounding the alarm on conditions at the northwest facility. During her afternoon update, Alberta Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw identified 41 cases at CRC, up from just three last Tuesday.According to a report prepared last week, the CRC has capacity for 34 infected inmates.The CRC is now on total lockdown. Inmates who are mid-trial — including one murder trial — are not allowed to leave the CRC for court and even CCTV appearances have been cancelled. CRC is a secure holding facility for those awaiting trial or a bail hearing. Many, if not all, of the inmates there have not been convicted of the charges they are facing. "It's grossly negligent," said Tom Engel, an Edmonton defence lawyer and president of the Canadian Prison Law Association."It's disturbing to hear about a client triple-bunking and someone tests positive, and they just leave them in that situation. I don't know how they could think this is appropriate."Engel called it a "significant outbreak" taking place in several units. Hinshaw said AHS is working to ensure strict protocols are maintained with aggressive testing underway.Masks are just now being provided to inmates. Previously, only those leaving the facility would have access to a mask.Defence lawyer Chad Haggerty says he has a client who is triple-bunked with new protocols only allowing inmates allowed to leave their cells for 1.5 to 2 hours a day.Alberta Health Services has previously stated provincial facilities are complying with COVID-19 safety protocols but some inmates say that's not the case. "I keep hearing from prisoners that what the government and AHS are saying about compliance with COVID protocols in Alberta jails is just completely false."New transfers to the Calgary Remand Centre spend 14 days on a quarantine unit. If they develop symptoms, they're moved to an isolation unit.The director of the Calgary Remand Centre was scheduled to meet with the Health Ministry Monday afternoon.
MONTREAL — Romell Quioto feels like he's finally found happiness with the Montreal Impact, so when the opportunity came to cement his future with the club, the star forward jumped on it. Quioto signed a two-year extension with the Major League Soccer club on Monday. The deal also includes an option for 2023."Montreal is very special to (me) because (I) came here after a difficult year, professionally speaking and personally speaking as well, and the club opened the doors for (me). And (I'm) eternally grateful for that," the 29-year-old Honduran forward said through a translator on Monday. "For (me), the priority is to be happy and for (me) that happiness is here in Montreal and with the Impact.”Quioto joined Montreal in a trade with the Houston Dynamo late last year.He was limited to just eight starts and 794 minutes in the 2019 season. A move to Montreal seems to have reinvigorated Quioto. He led the Impact in scoring, registering eight goals and six assists in 19 appearances. The Impact finished the regular season with a 8-13-2 record, good for ninth in the East. The club made the playoffs, thanks to a late Quioto goal that sealed a 3-2 win over D.C. United on Nov. 8. It was the first time since 2016 that Montreal had played in the post-season. Quioto also scored in the Impact's 2-1 loss the New England Revolution in the opening round of the playoffs.It was important for the dynamic forward to stay with the Impact, said the club's sporting director, Olivier Renard. "All year long he has proved his value on the pitch through his performances, but also with his winning and leader mentality," Renard said in a release. "That's the fruit of his labour, now it's up to him to continue that work in order to achieve the club's goals in the years to come."Quioto feels it was a successful year, both for himself individually and the club as a whole. "(I) feel good with what (I) gave to the club this season, but (I) feel (I) can give even more," he said. "(I'm) going to work to be able to give everything (I) can to the Montreal Impact, (I'm) here to work and (I'm) already looking forward to the next opportunity to do so.”Quioto's next chance to contribute on the field will come on Dec. 15 when Montreal faces his former team, Honduran club Olimpia, in CONCACAF Champions League play. One Impact player who won't be available for the game is forward Maximiliano Urruti. The club announced Monday that the 29-year-old Argentine international has undergone surgery to repair an injured meniscus in his right knee and will be out for six to eight weeks. Urruti appeared in 15 games for Montreal this year, tallying five goals and two assists in his second season with the team. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2020. The Canadian Press
Tensions are rising in Lambton Shores as a contentious plan to tackle gypsy moths goes before council Tuesday, a report one community group is blasting as a “do-nothing” approach. After Port Franks and the surrounding area were ravaged by an outbreak of the invasive insects this summer, some residents mobilized into the Gypsy Moth Citizens Action Group, pushing for a municipally-led insecticide spray to combat the infestation. Romayne Smith-Fullerton, a spokesperson for the group which represents about 4,000 residents in more than 12 subdivisions, says that option was never properly considered by staff and is urging them to reconsider. “(The report) did not investigate, compare or evaluate the merits of a municipally-led spray programme against a privately-organized effort,” she said. “(It) provided council with inadequate information because it assumed one path forward.” The gypsy moth report – originally sent to council Nov. 10 – includes recommendations like creating a webpage to advise residents of resources to combat gypsy moths, and not objecting to any spraying on private properties adjacent to municipal property. Council voted 5-4 to defer the report until Dec. 1, citing the need for more public feedback. But Smith-Fullerton is calling into question the municipality’s openness on the issue. She said her request to present to council on behalf of the citizen’s group was denied without sound reasoning. Both Lambton Shores Mayor Bill Weber and Clerk Stephanie Troyer-Boyd cited COVID-19 safety restrictions as the reason why public presentations are disallowed. At the beginning of the pandemic, many municipalities, including Lambton Shores, amended their procedure bylaws to switch to electronic meetings; including a caveat that public presentations could be denied. But Lambton Shores’ council has been meeting in person since the fall, with the procedure bylaw stating, “the Mayor or Clerk may deny delegations to council during an electronic meeting.” Troyer-Boyd did not respond to a request to clarify if the policy had been extended to in-person meetings. Meanwhile, a transit presentation is on the Dec. 1 agenda. Weber said the presenter is a staff member, adding some presentations have been allowed at past meetings for statutory or Planning Act matters. “COVID is a bit of a convenient excuse to stifle democracy,” Smith-Fullerton said, adding she’s filed a complaint with the Ontario Ombudsman. “I deserve an explanation,” she said. “They’re not playing by the rules as far as I can see. There are inconsistencies in their policy.” Council previously waved the restriction in July, allowing Smith-Fullerton to present virtually on the gypsy moth issue. A written delegation from the citizens' group has been accepted for Tuesday’s meeting. “It’s very weird to feel like this is a matter that is clearly of high public interest … And yet, the person who is the spokesperson for thousands of people right across this municipality, they’re not interested in me speaking to them,” Smith-Fullerton said. “(The group) certainly have put in letters and their position and presentation has been distributed through the agenda,” Weber said. The hot-button issue and report have drawn a swarm of response from the community, with dozens of letters sent to council as correspondence — there are more than 300 pages' worth — with the vast majority advocating for an aerial spray or greater assistance from the municipality. “We need council to develop an all-encompassing bylaw that permits the municipality to treat all the infested trees. Anything less will be unsatisfactory and a waste of money,” writes Port Franks resident David Hilliard. “We call on the municipality … to take immediate and effective action to address the gypsy moth threat before damage is done to our environment and tourism economy,” says a letter from the Grand Bend and Area Chamber of Commerce. Five letters attached as correspondence to the agenda oppose a municipally-led aerial spray, a view shared by the mayor. “I believe this should be a private property matter,” Weber said. Lambton Shores chief administrator, Kevin Williams, who drafted the report, did not answer questions emailed to him by The Free Press about the subject. “Let’s see what happens at Council" Tuesday night, he said. He previously said no environmental assessment on the extent of defoliation caused by the insects was ordered, nor was an egg mass assessment. Widespread spraying of a bacteria — bacillus thuringiensis subspecies kurstaki, referred to as Btk, — to control caterpillar pests has been the route taken in other municipalities in the past, including Sarnia and Pelham, as well as in parts of big cities such as Toronto and Hamilton. Many residents say it’s vital the municipality takes a lead in combatting the caterpillars as they pose serious threats to personal health and Port Frank’s diverse tree canopy. MaxMartin@postmedia.com Twitter.com/MaxatLFPressMax Martin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, London Free Press
Realtors in rural Nova Scotia are adjusting quickly to a new way of selling houses as buyers from places like Ontario and B.C. snap up properties without seeing them in person.Christopher Snarby, the co-owner of Exit Realty Inter Lake, sells properties from Chester to Queens County and estimates he's sold 12-15 of them sight unseen since May."People have been desperate and they can't get here to see it, and they know things are moving quickly so they just kind of have to make a choice," Snarby told CBC's Information Morning on Monday."And not everybody's comfortable with it, but certainly I've had a number that have been."He admits selling a property virtually can be a challenge. "It's hard to describe a smell or feel of a house, but it really does become our responsibility to try to convey as much information as we can," Snarby said. October was a record-breaking month for property sales across the province with inventory low and prices continuing to soar, according to the Nova Scotia Association of Realtors.Bobbi Maxwell said half of her buyers right now are from outside the province and won't see their houses in person until they arrive. Most are middle-aged people who can work from home and are looking for a place to retire at some point."We're starting to see more people … migrate this way because they want the solitude, the peace, the quiet, the safety and the beauty of the beaches," said Maxwell, a realtor with Viewpoint Realty Services who sells properties around Barrington and Clyde River in Shelburne County."We're not as hot as the metro [market], but it's definitely been one crazy market for us as well." Record October across N.S.The Nova Scotia Association of Realtors compiled data for the month of October that shows 1,427 units were sold across the province, up more than 30 per cent from October 2019.The average sale price was a record $304,590, rising just over 21 per cent from the previous October. In Yarmouth, there were 24 residential sales in October, up 41 per cent from last year and in the Annapolis Valley, 203 properties were sold, up 30 per cent since last October. The average sale price also went up in both areas last month. On the South Shore where Snarby works, sales in October were up about 30 per cent from last year and the average residential price was just over $291,000, an increase of 36 per cent over last October. The booming market is a major win for sellers but can be frustrating for buyers. "We're not usually accustomed to that many bidding wars in our area, but now … most properties have gone into at least two or three offers and the time frames are a lot quicker as well," Snarby said.In the past, houses would sit on the market for six months to a year and now they're gone in weeks or days, he added.Rural internet still a challengeEven though people are eager to move to Nova Scotia for its friendliness and relative affordability, Snarby and Maxwell said they are routinely asked about internet service."It's really funny because people are more concerned about the internet than they are health-care services," Maxwell said.She said newcomers are good news for rural areas like Shelburne County that have struggled with out-migration. But she said there could be challenges, too. Many new buyers say they eventually want to build their own homes but finding skilled labour in the area isn't always easy, she said. "I think we're going to have a lot of growing pains because with the demand, we're very short on tradesmen like plumbers and electricians and carpenters," Maxwell said."I really am hoping that a lot of the people who are moving here from away are bringing in new skills or new motivation to want to ... become career oriented or focused and become tradesmen in our area."Snarby said some of his clients are selling homes in the $800,000 range in Ontario and buying a property in rural Nova Scotia for around $200,000, leaving a healthy amount for their retirement fund. "And at the end of the day, if they're not comfortable with their house or if it's not quite the right one, they can put it back on the market and there's a good chance it'll sell," Snarby said. MORE TOP STORIES
OTTAWA — Advocates of stricter gun control are urging the Trudeau government to get on with promised reforms, saying they are months overdue. Public Safety Minister Bill Blair has pledged new measures, including a buyback of recently outlawed firearms, tougher storage provisions and steps to control handguns. Heidi Rathjen, coordinator of the group PolySeSouvient, told an online news conference Monday that several months later there are no signs of progress on legislation. "We urge minister Blair to return to the gun file with force and to aim to meet his commitments without delay." The plea came days before the Dec. 6 anniversary of the shootings of 14 women at Montreal's École Polytechnique, which Rathjen witnessed as a student. The federal government outlawed a wide range of firearms by cabinet order in May, including the one used at Polytechnique, saying the guns were designed for the battlefield, not hunting or sport shooting. The ban covers some 1,500 models and variants of what the government considers assault-style weapons, meaning they can no longer be legally used, sold or imported. The measure has met with stiff criticism from some firearms owners and the federal Conservatives, who question the value of the ban. Blair has promised to follow the move with legislative changes to further tighten restrictions on firearms. “There is more to do, and we’re committed to doing it," Blair's spokeswoman, Mary-Liz Power, said Monday. "We will introduce legislation designed to deliver on the promises that we made to Canadians in the last election." PolySeSouvient wants to see the new prohibitions on assault-style guns, brought in through regulation, embedded into law to complete the ban and render it permanent — something the Liberal government has signalled it will do. It also wants the Liberals to legislate a system of pre-authorization for guns to ensure only new models inspected and authorized by the RCMP can enter the Canadian market. Blair has said the coming legislation will create a new evergreen framework for classification of firearms to ensure federal intentions can’t be easily overridden. But also on Monday, Blair announced a three-year delay in setting regulations for "marking" guns so they can be traced to registered owners if they're seized in connection with crimes. Those rules were due to kick in Tuesday after years of previous delays. His department said that without clear record-keeping requirements for some guns, it isn't sure how to to connect markings to owners. But it said it's committed to a marking system nonetheless, if not right away. "The government will not reintroduce the long-gun registry," the announcement concluded. Eyeing the next wave of federal legislation, PolySeSouvient also wants the government to: — Limit firearm magazines to five bullets to reduce the damage a mass shooter can do; — Give police officers easier access to commercial sales record data to help detect bulk gun purchases; — Invest significant efforts and resources in strengthening the screening and monitoring of gun-licence applicants and licensed owners; — End the importation and manufacture of handguns. The Trudeau government plans to empower provinces and cities to take steps to manage the storage and use of handguns within their individual jurisdictions, given that they have different needs and concerns. PolySeSouvient has counselled the government to avoid off-loading handgun restrictions onto municipalities, saying local bans are generally ineffective, as the patchwork of local and state laws in the United States shows. According to the RCMP the number of restricted firearms — predominantly handguns — registered to individuals or businesses rose to 1,057,418 last year from 983,792 in 2018. Claire Smith and Ken Price, whose daughter survived a Toronto shooting in July 2018, pressed Monday for a ban on the private ownership of handguns. "It's been over two years since our daughter was shot," Price said during the news conference. "And from our perspective, there has been zero legislative progress on handguns and the situation keeps getting worse." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2020. Jim Bronskill, The Canadian Press
VICTORIA — The B.C. government has launched a new land registry that it says will help combat money laundering and make the real estate market more transparent. Beginning Monday, any corporation, trustee or partnership that buys land in B.C. must disclose the interest holders of that land through the Land Owner Transparency Registry.Existing registered land owners have one year to register and disclose their interest holders. The government says in a news release the information provided may be used by tax and law authorities to investigate and crack down on illegal activity. It says the registry was formed after an expert panel on real estate said the disclosure of beneficial ownership is the "single most important measure" that can be taken to address money laundering.The panel's 2019 report estimated that $7.4 billion was laundered through B.C. in 2018, including $5 billion through real estate. "British Columbians expect that when they buy a home, they are entering a housing market based on fairness. But for decades, that didn't happen when they were in competition with fraudsters flush with illicit cash," Finance Minister Selina Robinson said in a news release. "This first-of-its-kind registry will help return transparency and moderation to housing markets throughout B.C."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2020.The Canadian Press
Niagara Catholic District School Board is reporting another case of COVID-19 at St. Martin Catholic Elementary School, bringing the school case count to 10. An outbreak was declared at the Smithville school on Nov. 19. Public health confirmed to Niagara Catholic that the new COVID-19 case was connected to the outbreak. The provincial database that reports on school-related COVID-19 cases in Ontario on Monday identified four of the 10 cases as being infected staff and four as students. The remaining two cases were not immediately unknown as the provincial database lags behind school boards in its case reporting. Over the weekend, District School Board of Niagara announced an individual at Martha Cullimore Public School in Niagara Falls and an individual at Port Colborne High School tested positive for COVID-19. As a result, three classrooms will be closed: two at Port High and one at Martha Cullimore. “As part of COVID-19 case management and infection control protocol, students and staff who had close contact with the individual are being contacted and told by NRPH (Niagara Region Public Health) to stay home and self-isolate,” DSBN said a media release. The board website Monday listed six active cases at four of its schools. There are three active cases in Niagara Falls, two at Prince Philip and one at Martha Cullimore; two active cases in St Catharines, all at Eden High School; and the one in Port Colborne. The provincial database had yet to identify if the cases are staff or student. Custodians at both schools will complete a thorough cleaning as required. A public health inspector and a public health nurse will visit the schools to complete a comprehensive assessment. Sean Vanderklis is a Niagara-based reporter for the Niagara Falls Review. His reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Reach him via email: firstname.lastname@example.orgSean Vanderklis, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Niagara Falls Review
OTTAWA — Canada's International Trade Minister Mary Ng was unable to offer a firm guarantee that MPs will see a bill to ratify the new provisional Canada-Britain trade agreement before Parliament is due to break for Christmas on Dec. 11.Ng also revealed that officials in both countries are still working on the final text of the agreement.The update by Ng to the House of Commons trade committee on Monday left opposition members across party lines surprised and pressing for answers on how a delay would affect Canadian exporters who could face new British tariffs if the deal isn’t finalized by a Dec. 31 deadline. Canada's current agreement with Britain under its European Union trade pact expires when Britain's divorce from the EU takes effect at the start of the new year. Without a new deal to replace it, a series of new British tariffs on Canadian exports such as seafood, beef and automobiles would be triggered.Ng said both countries are working on "mitigation measures" to provide stability to businesses and prevent new tariffs. But she offered no specifics after being repeatedly pressed by opposition MPs.At one point she didn't want to make policy "on the fly.""I don't want to provide uncertainty. What I want to do is provide certainty for businesses," Ng said in response to one of several questions on the topic."I would be pleased to talk about them once that work … is concluded."Ng's testimony came nine days after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his British counterpart Boris Johnson announced with great fanfare a new interim trade deal between their two countries had been struck. Their announcement came in a hastily-called Saturday morning teleconference with no accompanying briefings for journalists about the content of the deal, as was the case when the original Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, or CETA, between Canada and the EU was struck. Conservative trade critic Tracy Gray was one of several MPs to press Ng on Monday for more specifics on what could be done to paper over problems that Canadian exporters might now be facing on Jan. 1.Gray chided Ng for not laying out a timeline for when a bill would be tabled in the Commons and the Senate."I don't understand how we can have certainty and continuity when we don't have a plan when this will be coming to Parliament," Gray said."It sounds like you haven't plotted out a plan over the nine days since this splashy announcement, when this would play out."New Democrat trade critic Daniel Blaikie asked Ng to walk the committee through "scenarios" in the event the deal is not finalized by Dec. 31."What kinds of contingencies are you putting in place? And what does supporting Canadian business in the event that a deal isn't enacted by Dec. 31 look like?" he asked.Ng thanked him for the question and replied: "We are looking at a range of options that will mitigate the impact of any delays that may occur."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2020.Mike Blanchfield, The Canadian Press
The Town of Strathmore has amended its snow removal policy by emphasizing pathway and sidewalk clearing, and increasing the snow level threshold for road clearing. The new policy directs snow clearing to occur when snow depth on roads measures five centimetres (cm). The previous policy saw snow removal implemented at three cm. The snowfall threshold for pathway and sidewalk clearing remains at three cm. As a comparison, Airdrie and Okotoks clear snow on their roadways at five cm, while Cochrane uses three cm and Chestermere uses two cm. The amended snow removal policy passed with a 5-2 vote, with Mayor Pat Fule and Councillor Bob Sobol voting in opposition. Snow removal on the town’s streets is rated on a “priority” basis, with three levels of service priority. Priority one roads, including arterial roads and expressways, emergency services access roads and school zones, will be plowed 24 hours after a snow event. Priority two roads will be plowed 48 hours after an event, while priority three roads are to be plowed 72 hours after an event. Some roads in the Hillview, Lakewood and Edgefield neighbourhoods, plus Huxted Way, have been added to the town’s list of priority roads for clearing. But First Avenue and Waddy Lane are no longer included as priority (three) roads. According to Donna McCallum, the town’s parks lead, Waddy Lane was removed because plow trucks have difficulty getting down the narrow road that has on-street parking on either side. This change raised concern from Councillor Tari Cockx, who questioned whether roads providing access to Wheatland Lodge should be treated as priority one, to ensure emergency medical services may reach it. Subsequently, access to the lodge will be reviewed, said McCallum. Second Street, from which Wheatland Lodge may be accessed, remains a priority three road. The process of snow clearing in the downtown central business district has changed as well because there is limited capacity for snow storage there. While snow can be dumped in some of the garden beds, it piles up quickly and reduces the visibility of pedestrians, said McCallum. Downtown businesses are now being encouraged to move snow into the parking spots along the streets where the town will remove it. The town will also deploy a ground crew to clear handicapped parking stalls downtown following a snowfall event. “We want to make sure that people that have mobility issues can get out of their vehicles safely,” said McCallum. The town’s sidewalks and pathways, meanwhile, are also rated by three different levels of priority. Regional pathways, representing the town’s main pedestrian corridors that can be used by people with disabilities and recreation with adequate maneuverability in winter conditions, are considered priority one. Examples of regional pathways include those along Wheatland Trail, Brent Boulevard, Centennial Drive and around Kinsmen Lake, to name a few. Other priority one areas include sidewalks adjacent to town-owned buildings, bus stops next to pathways and drainage corridors, referring to pathways that move rainwater and meltwater via overland drainage. “There’s many areas in Strathaven where the water has to flow through some of those in order to remove any melting events or rain events, so it’s critical that we keep those pathways open so that the water can actually flow down,” said McCallum, regarding the town’s drainage corridors. Sidewalks adjacent to parks and greenspaces are considered priority two and will be cleared within 48 hours after a snow event. Local pathways, which link pedestrians to regional pathways, schools and residential areas, are also priority two but will be cleared 72 hours after a snow event. Examples of local pathways include those adjacent to the Western Irrigation District (WID) canal, including along Thomas Drive, and those around Strathmore Lake. Public pathways, which are typically short linking pathways, are priority three and will be cleared within 120 hours after a snow event.Sean Feagan, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times
OTTAWA — Key elements from the federal government's fiscal update, delivered by Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland Monday afternoon:A boatload of borrowing. The federal deficit is sailing toward $381.6 billion this year, but could close in on $400 billion if widespread lockdowns return in the coming weeks, according to the fall economic statement. A big reason for that eye-popping sum is the total cost of Ottawa's response to COVID-19, which amounts to $490.7 billion. That also means more than $8 out of every $10 in federal and provincial support comes from the capital, down from $9 out of every $10 from the July fiscal snapshot.The "Netflix tax." For the first time, Netflix and other foreign streaming giants such as Amazon and Apple TV+ will be subject to sales tax in Canada, according to the fiscal update. The government says GST/HST will apply to all companies that provide digital services — which means Netflix and Airbnb would charge sales tax on subscriptions and reservations north of the border. While the European Union moved to tax digital platforms two years ago, Freeland said Canada is prepared to act "unilaterally if necessary."Work-from-home tax break. Employees working from home with "modest expenses" in 2020 can claim up to $400, based on time spent at the dining-room desk. Canadians can make the claim "without the need to track detailed expenses," and the tax man "will generally not request" confirmation from employers, the economic statement says.Increasing fiscal-stabilization payments. Responding to a call from provinces whose finances have taken a beating, the Liberals say they will increase the maximum payment under a program designed to help provincial governments deal with temporary economic shocks. The cap will go from $60 per resident, set in 1987, to $170 per person and increase with economic growth.Support the troops. The government is also proposing to sign off on an additional $600,000 to top up the Veterans Emergency Fund that would ensure more financial support for veterans whose well-being is at risk "due to an urgent and unexpected situation."All the wage. For businesses, the government wants to bring the wage subsidy back to 75 per cent of company payroll costs and extend the business rent subsidy to mid-March. The Trudeau government had previously extended the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy to the summer, while the adapted business-rent subsidy — revised from a less popular iteration that hinged on landlord participation — was slated only to continue through the end of the year.Clean water for Indigenous communities. The government is pledging to invest $1.5 billion in 2020-21 to work toward lifting all long-term drinking water advisories in Indigenous communities, and $114 million each year after. The Liberals have maintained a years-long pledge to lift all outstanding boil-water advisories for Indigenous residents by March 2021. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said last month that about 95 advisories had been lifted since the party came to power in 2015, but more than 60 remained the last time figures were updated before the pandemic.A $100-billion stimulus. The government plans to spend between $70 billion and $100 billion over the next three years to stimulate the economic recovery from COVID-19. The boon amounts to between three and four per cent of GDP, and will tilt toward a "greener, more innovative" bounce-back, though the details are to be determined.Get retrofit. Ottawa is aiming to dole out $2.6 billion over seven years to help homeowners make their digs more efficient, starting in 2020-21. The cash, channelled through Natural Resources Canada, would take the form of up to 700,000 grants of $5,000 or less to help with projects that could range from energy-efficient heating to solar-panel installations. The upcoming plan, with eligibility retroactive to December 2020, fulfils a Liberal election promise from last year.Cash for families. Looking to boost temporary support for parents, the Liberals plan to provide up to $1,200 per child under six years old for low- and middle-income families that are entitled to the Canada Child Benefit, starting next year. The bump marks an increase of nearly 20 per cent above the benefit's current maximum payment.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2020.The Canadian Press
Saskatchewan now has the third-highest rate of cases in Canada, behind the two other prairie provinces Manitoba and Alberta. Saskatchewan reported 325 new cases Monday. The rate of active cases of COVID-19 in the province was 307 per 100,000 population as of Sunday. The province reported two more deaths due to COVID-19.The two residents who died after testing positive for COVID-19 lived in the south central and south east zones. Both individuals were in the 80 and up age category. A total of 47 deaths have been reported in the province since the beginning of the pandemic.Of the 8,564 total reported cases in Saskatchewan, 3,879 are considered active. A total of 4,638 people have recovered to date, with 49 recovered on Monday. Saskatoon is the hot spot with 125 new cases announced Monday. Of the other new cases, nine are located in the far north west, 14 in the far north east, 23 in the north west, 27 in the north central, nine in the north east, one in the central west, 10 in the central east, 62 in Regina 22 in the south west eight in the south central and 13 in the south east zones.Two of the new cases have pending locations.There are currently 123 people in hospital due to COVID-19, 100 of whom are receiving general impatient care. One patient is in the far north west, eight are in the north west, eight are in the north central, three are in the north east, 33 are in Saskatoon, one is in the central east, 26 are in Regina, one is in the south west, one is in the south central and 18 are in the south east zones.Twenty-three people are in intensive care, with three in the north central, 14 in Saskatoon and six in Regina.Cut down on contactsThe province is asking Saskatchewan residents to keep their contacts low. Based on the current confirmed cases, public health estimates that there are more than 6,600 reported contacts requiring follow-up in the province. According to the province, a close contact is anyone that you have spent 15 minutes or more with, within the two metres of physical distancing. The province also notes: * You should be able to count your close contacts on one hand. * Your close contacts should be the members of your immediate household who you eat with, hug and see without requiring a mask. * Although not close contacts, the province asks residents to consider all their weekly contacts whether in the classroom or at the workplace.
A forensic psychiatrist testified in court Monday about whether Alek Minassian's autism could be a reason to find him not criminally responsible for the deaths of 10 people in the Toronto van attack, a potential finding the autism community is concerned could stigmatize their members.
WINNIPEG — Manitoba health officials are reporting more COVID-19 deaths among younger patients and ongoing high case numbers, more than two weeks after strict measures were enacted on public gatherings and businesses.A man in his 30s and a woman in her 40s were among the 11 deaths announced Monday. The death of the youngest person to date — a boy under 10 — was announced Saturday."We continue to announce many deaths every day," said Dr. Brent Roussin, the province's chief public health officer."I think we all know we can't continue along these lines. We have to bring these numbers down. We can't keep losing this many Manitobans."Roussin did not reveal details about the boy who died or his age. Roussin did say the child had underlying health conditions and the case was not acquired in a school.So far, 312 people have died from COVID-19 in Manitoba.About 80 per cent of deaths recorded up to Nov. 21 have involved people 65 and over, provincial data charts indicate. Roussin has previously said that while severe outcomes occur predominantly among older people, the novel coronavirus can affect people of any age.The province reported 342 new COVID-19 cases Monday. It said 44 people with COVID-19 were in intensive care and there were only five beds available. Health officials were looking at opening up a new 14-bed intensive care unit in a Winnipeg hospital."Our health system is at risk of being overwhelmed if we can't reduce these daily case counts," said Lanette Siragusa, chief nursing officer with Manitoba Shared Health.In an effort to turn the tide, the government forced many non-essential retail outlets to close and banned public gatherings of more than five people on Nov. 12.That has prevented the daily number of new COVID-19 cases count from rising higher, Roussin said, citing projections of up to 1,000 cases a day by early December. But the number has remained steady rather than dropping. The percentage of people testing positive has also remained very high at 13 per cent."We need to decrease the number of contacts we have, and that's just a given," Roussin said."We have a fairly consistent secondary attack rate … about 14 per cent of contacts will develop COVID. And so if we decrease the amount of total contacts, we're going to decrease the amount of cases."The ban on gatherings has faced challenges from a couple of churches. One in a rural area outside of Steinbach was fined for hosting a service earlier in the month. RCMP were stationed at the church's parking lot entrance on Sunday to turn away people arriving by car.A church in Winnipeg hosted four drive-in services on the weekend and asked people to remain in their cars while a pastor spoke from a stage.Drive-in services were allowed during the first COVID-19 wave in the spring, but have been banned during the recent spike in an attempt to slow the spread of the virus."The more people you have coming together at the same time, the more likely you're going to have some sort of gathering, some sort of transmission go on there," Roussin said.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2020Steve Lambert, The Canadian Press
WASHINGTON — Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, the longest-serving Republican senator and third in the line of presidential succession, is back in the Senate on Monday after testing positive for coronavirus two weeks ago. Grassley, 87, isolated after finding out he had been exposed to the virus and tested positive shortly after that. He said in a statement that he never had any symptoms and had been cleared to return to the office by his doctors. “This disease affects people differently,” Grassley said. “I did not experience symptoms, but more than a thousand Americans are dying every day and many more are hospitalized. That means we all have to do our part to help protect our friends, family and fellow Americans.” Grassley is the president pro tempore of the Senate, meaning he presides over the chamber in the absence of Vice-President Mike Pence and is third in line for the presidency, behind Pence and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The president pro tempore is the senator in the majority party who has served the longest, and Grassley has been a senator for 40 years. As pro tempore, Grassley opens the Senate each day. He did so on the day before he started isolating, leading the Pledge of Allegiance alongside others on the floor and then giving remarks without wearing a mask. He also joined other senators on the floor later Monday evening for a procedural vote on a federal judge, that time wearing a mask but speaking to several senators at close distance. In his statement upon his return, Grassley said he would “continue to wear a mask and practice social distancing.” He also urged the Senate to pass long-stalled relief for those affected by the virus, saying that “Congress must do its part and pass long overdue relief legislation to help families, businesses and communities get through this crisis." Grassley was one of several members of Congress who tested positive in recent weeks. Florida Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., announced that he had tested positive two days after Grassley. Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler, who is competing in a Senate runoff in Georgia, later announced that she had tested positive and then negative. Alaska Rep. Don Young, also 87 and the longest-serving member of the House, was hospitalized with the virus. The Republican said after he was discharged that “I had not felt this sick in a very long time.” Mary Clare Jalonick, The Associated Press
EDMONTON — Aurora Cannabis Inc. says it is indefinitely pausing operations at one of its Alberta facilities and laying off a few dozen staff.The Edmonton-based cannabis company says the pause will occur at its Aurora Sun property in Medicine Hat, where it will layoff about 30 workers.Aurora spokeswoman Michelle Lefler says that the moves are expected to be complete around Dec. 18. She says the measures are part of a review the company is conducting to ensure all of its operations are a fit for its current and future business and to help the company adjust to recent shifts in the industry.Aurora's shares gained 11 per cent to $15.25 in Monday trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange.In June, the company laid off 700 workers and announced plans to cease operations at five facilities in Saskatchewan, Ontario, Alberta and Quebec. It also said it planned to consolidate production and manufacturing at four facilities in Alberta, Ontario and British Columbia.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2020.Companies in this story: (TSX:ACB)The Canadian Press
The NDP of P.E.I. has passed a resolution that would allow newcomers with permanent resident status to take out a party membership.Permanent resident is a status granted to someone who has the right to live and work in Canada while holding citizenship in another country. Permanent residents are not eligible to vote in Canadian elections, as all voters must hold Canadian citizenship, but many parties allow permanent residents to join regardless."We want to be inclusionary to Islanders and newcomers, and so part of that was definitely putting it in our provincial constitution," said provincial party president Jason Alward."We would welcome anybody to come on and join as an NDP member and again, push for a policy that reflects their situation, their concerns."> We want to work with different groups on the Island because we feel that those voices need to be heard. — Jason AlwardP.E.I.'s Green Party also allows those with permanent resident status to join the party, as do all of the major federal parties.A person in Canada temporarily, like a student or foreign worker, is not a permanent resident.Virtual AGM The resolution was passed at the party's annual general meeting over the weekend, which had about 40 people attend virtually. Alward said the newcomers will have full voting privileges for elections within the party, like the executive, or in a contested race to choose who would represent the party in an upcoming election."We want to work with different groups on the Island because we feel that those voices need to be heard," he said. "Come on and push our policy forward and create policy that includes those voices that might not be heard in the legislature."The president said the P.E.I. New Democrats are also looking at other ways to be inclusive of all Islanders, including establishing new committees.He said the party launched a Black, Indigenous and people of colour (BIPOC) committee and a sexual orientation, gender identity committee recently.The hope is "to bring in people into the party and have their voices heard in those groups," he said."There's definitely a matter of privilege in the legislature and I don't think a lot of those voices are being heard by the three parties in there right now."P.E.I.'s NDP has not had a member elected to the legislature since then party leader Herb Dickieson in 1996. NDP candidate Lynne Thiele received 37 votes in the District 10 byelection earlier this month. The party is currently without a leader after Joe Byrne stepped down in September after two years. Alward said the party will have more news to share about the leadership in the coming days.More from CBC P.E.I.
The P.E.I. government has set aside $100,000 over the next two years to develop a public art policy for the province.Michelle MacCallum, director of cultural development with Innovation PEI, says it will enable the province to commission and acquire public art for government sites such as hospitals, schools and parks."I love seeing artwork all over our province," she said. "I think about how much it delights and engages and sometimes challenges people when they come upon public art."Different than art bankMacCallum said it will also be another opportunity for Island artists to display their work and earn money from it.She said it will be different from the provincial art bank."This is more specific to sites. So if we were building a new school or some kind of provincial government office building, if you think about it, the building in and of itself is a public entity. But there's nothing, there's no art around it. It doesn't say anything about it, about the people that use it, about what it's for," MacCallum said."So public art is there to augment the site specifically rather than just acquiring a catalog of the best of art, which is what the art bank does."Selected by juryMacCallum said they will consult with architects and developers of potential sites, then put out request for proposals. The art will be selected by a jury.She said there are a few sites being considered, but it's too soon to disclose the locations.More from CBC P.E.I.
Shares of the company, which have risen about sevenfold this year fueled by the meteoric rise in demand in video conferencing for work, school or socializing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, fell 5% after the bell, despite upbeat fourth-quarter forecasts. Zoom operates some of its own data centers, but it also relies on cloud computing services from outside vendors such as Amazon.com and Oracle Corp, meaning it must bear costs for free users. "We expect gross margins to be consistent with Q3 into the next fiscal year before starting to improve towards our long-term target margin," Chief Financial Officer Kelly Steckelberg said.
Yukon confirmed another new COVID-19 case on Monday afternoon, bringing the territory's active case count to 17.The government has not issued any additional public exposure notifications, and did not identify the location of the latest case on its website update.The new case comes after Yukon confirmed one new case Sunday, and three new cases Friday evening.There are currently several active public exposure notifications in the territory. You can find them all here.Yukon has confirmed a total of 47 COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began, with 29 people considered recovered. One person has died in the territory.