Ellie the Great Dane loves to destuff her toys. Watch as she returns to the scene of the crime and tries to explain what happened to her owner!
Ellie the Great Dane loves to destuff her toys. Watch as she returns to the scene of the crime and tries to explain what happened to her owner!
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
A wildlife rescue centre near Calgary has seen an enormous uptick in animal patients since the start of the pandemic.The Alberta Institute for Wildlife Conservation, which is just north of Airdrie, says it's taken in 2,042 animals this year — a 37 per cent increase compared with 2019. Holly Lillie, executive director of the institution, says it's hard to say why there was a rise in numbers but notes demand increases every year."What we think is happening is that with people more at home, they're finding wildlife that would otherwise not have been found, or potentially, you know, there is more human wildlife encounters," she told the Calgary Eyeopener.She says staff have also noticed the wider range of animals that have come to the hospital, and that this year alone, they've taken in 160 different species, including twin moose calves."We're seeing a greater variety of animals of different species, especially some of the migratory songbirds," she said."Over the weekend, we admitted a juvenile bald eagle … this bird was found by a kayaker on the banks of the Bow River. So that was a bit unusual that, you know, the bird was down in that area," she said.The director says that to take care of the bald eagle — who had to be tested for lead — it costed $300 for just the weekend alone."It can range anywhere from $100 to well over $1,000 for an individual animal," she said."There is lots of costs, you know, some diagnostics to medical care to food. We spent over $16,000 this year on just meal worms."Since the institute is considered an essential service, Lillie says COVID-19 hasn't had large impacts. However, she says the volunteers had to be put on hiatus for a couple of months, but the institute has now found a way for people to help from home."For example, a wildlife hotline, which is answering calls," she said."But even with that break of some of our positions, our volunteers have still donated over 6,000 hours this year. So it's fantastic all that they do, from fundraising, to taking photographs and so forth. We really have a fantastic support."With files from the Calgary Eyeopener.
As the number of cases fluctuates almost daily, it can be challenging to determine whether measures will be decreased or more implemented from one day to the next. As of Friday, November 27, there are 13 active cases in the community. As there are more than 10 cases, it placed the Town of Fox Creek on an enhanced status. As well, Fox Creek also falls under the MD of Greenview, which is also under the enhanced status with 83 cases. In addition to the mandatory face-covering bylaw, CAO Kristen Milne issued a public notice regarding the new health measures for town-owned facilities. Due to being in an enhanced area, as of November 27, entry into the town office and the Community Resource Centre is by appointment only. The Community Resource Centre playroom and Community Hall are also closed until further notice, as are the party rooms. Meeting rooms within the Multiplex will remain open; however, they can’t exceed 25 percent capacity. The Fitness Centre is down to a maximum of six people, and guests must pre-book. Another family favourite is the swimming pool; this area will carry a maximum of 35 people at any given time. All sports areas are closed to the public; however, they can still be utilized if participants are from the same household. In the case of those who live alone, they can socialize with two other persons. The sports facilities include the fieldhouse and arena, are by bookings only. For those who have memberships to the Multiplex, usage is free, and for non-members, the cost is $30 per hour. Lastly, the running track will remain open, but again, those who utilize the track must be from the same family or, if living alone, two others you socialize with regularly. Most retail businesses, such as grocery stores, liquor, and pharmacies, are now limited to 25 percent of the Alberta Fire Code occupancy. Dr. Deena Hinshaw signed the Record of Decision for Order 38-2020 on November 24, 2020, which further defines the new provincial health measures put in effect. It states, subject to sections four and five of the order, a person who resides in a private residence must not permit a person who does not live in that residence to enter or remain in residence. The exemptions that would allow entrance would include housekeeping services, health care, emergency response, childcare, home construction, or renovations, delivery, or real estate needs. Those who live alone are permitted to interact with the same two persons in their social circle and permitted within the home. Under Section two of the order, a social gathering is defined as a group of people who come together to move about freely, mix and interact with each other for social purposes rather than remaining seated or stationary for the gathering duration. With that said, there are to be no indoor social gatherings in any setting unless all persons are from the same household and a maximum of 10 for outdoors. Weddings and funerals may still occur but are restricted to a maximum of ten persons or less. Worship services are also limited to 1/3 of the usual attendance. Starting November 30, students in grades seven to 12 will go back to online learning until January 11, 2021. Those in ECS to grade six will remain in school until the Christmas break and switch to online studies from January 4 to January 11, 2021. All restrictions will remain in place for three weeks as indicated by Premier Kenney, at which time, the Alberta Government and health officials will re-evaluate. To keep up to date on COVID-19 numbers and health updates, please visit www.alberta.ca. Vicki Winger, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Whitecourt Press
No matter what's been thrown their way, organizers of this year's Jasper Santas Anonymous program are doing their best to see that families have food and gifts to enjoy this Christmas season. This year, more families than ever will be accessing Santas Anonymous due to the COVID-19 pandemic contributing to more unemployment, isolation and financial stress. Pattie Pavlov, general manager of Jasper Park Chamber of Commerce, said this year, as many as 100 families are participating. In years past, it has hovered around the 70, 80 point. She and Ashley Chorley, operations manager with Chamber, are working with "the new and different nuances" that have been presented by the COVID pandemic. With COVID as one of the primary concerns, they wondered how they would get items to families safely, Pavlov said. "It's very important that we adhere to COVID (protocol), in collecting and distributing the items donated," she said. "We did consult with the Edmonton Santas Anonymous group. We were on the right track. We just wanted to confirm we were doing this properly. It was a learning experience." Chorley some items, including fabric, plush items, plastics and toys have to be put in isolation to discourage COVID transmission. For example, she said, plastic items have to sit for about 72 hours and plush items for a week, which complicates packaging them. Fortunately, with a list of families in the program already started, she and Pavlov can organize items by group. Some of the usually-held get-togethers have been cancelled, including Skate with Santa at Mildred Lake, and a photo opportunity with Santa at Bearhill Lodge. Pavlov said, “With the (allowable) gathering of 10, how are you going to restart the number of families? Pieces of the puzzle just don't come together." But other plans are coming together: the Mitten Line fundraiser at TGP, for example. At the grocery store, mittens are available at the cash registers with values of $10, $20, $50 and $100 with proceeds going to Santas Anonymous. "Some people have already purchased mittens and we're excited about that,” Pavlov said. Shoppers at TGP can also designate a portion of the money paid for groceries to the campaign at the time of purchase. Then there's The Snowball Fight. "We cut out a quantity of snowballs and we are giving them to banks specifically, and encouraging them to compete against others - a friendly competition," Pavlov said. "We're asking them to be creative with their displays." Folks can purchase a snowball for whatever amount they choose, with proceeds going to Santas Anonymous. The pastry team at Jasper Park Lodge has also added to the festive mix of fundraisers. Pavlov said they created an “absolutely unbelievable” gingerbread cottage to be raffled off. The detail in the house is something to behold - there are books on bookshelves, the inside of the log cabin lights up, and there's a pond outside with cattails along the shore. “It's big and so beautiful," Pavlov said. The masterpiece is on display at the Santas Anonymous Facebook page and tickets can be purchased at $5 apiece from Jasper Community Team Society board members. "As has been the tradition since Santa's Anonymous started," Pavlov noted, "there have been collection boxes placed throughout town. Anything you want to support Santas Anonymous with can be done through donations - toys, toques, mitts." Sites include Pharmasave, IDA Rx Drug Mart, Jasper General Store, Ransom, the Jasper Library and Nesters Market. Pavlov said the Chamber will also accept donations at Robson House. "Give us a call and we'll grab it (where it has been safely left),” she said. “I'd also encourage people to bring gift cards.” Another way to donate in a contactless way is via e-transfer to email@example.com. The winning ticket for the gingerbread house will be drawn on Dec. 17. Proceeds from the Snowball Fight and Mitten Line fundraisers will be announced on Dec. 22.Joanne McQuarrie, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Jasper Fitzhugh
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
Ce sont 20 nouveaux cas qui s’ajoutent au bilan du Bas-Saint-Laurent selon le Centre intégré de santé et de services sociaux régional, portant le total à 772 cas. Celui-ci déplore également un 17e décès sur le territoire. Le CISSS du Bas-Saint-Laurent a fourni la répartition des 34 cas pour les 48 dernières heures, dont les 14 cas de la journée de jeudi, et les 20 nouveaux cas actuels. Kamouraska78Rivière-du-Loup191 (+1)Témiscouata51 (+5)Les Basques11Rimouski-Neigette219 (+14)La Mitis32 (+3)La Matanie162 (+9)La Matapédia25 (+1)Inconnu3 (+1)Bas-Saint-Laurent772 (+34)En date du 27 novembre à 10 h, le CISSS du Bas-Saint-Laurent compte 600 cas rétablis au Bas-Saint-Laurent. Un nouveau décès a été enregistré, pour un total de 17 décès liés au virus. Il n’y a aucune hospitalisation en cours. Enfin, 799 dépistages ont été réalisés le jeudi. Le décès a été confirmé à la Résidence des Sages de Matane. Le résidence enregistre un total de 30 cas, dont 15 résidences et 15 travailleurs, et 3 décès. 10 usagers et 3 travailleurs sont rétablis. Quant au CHSLD de Matane, ce sont 4 résidents et 1 travailleur qui ont reçu un résultat positif à la COVID-19. Au total, il y a 20 cas, dont 14 (+4) résidents et 6 (+1) travailleurs. Finalement, il y aurait un nouveau cas à une unité de l’Hôpital de Rimouski, et la situation est stable à la Résidence Les Bâtisseurs de Matane.Claudie Arseneault, Initiative de journalisme local, Mon Matane
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.
Brock will extend its upcoming holiday break by delaying the start of the winter term by one week. Classes will start on Jan. 11. An announcement was made Monday in a letter from Lynn Wells, provost and vice-president academic, who said the decision comes after two weeks of consultations with students, staff and faculty members. The extension of the holiday break will require changes to the academic calendar. The winter term will now end on April 9. Exams will take place April 13 to 23. The exam period for the winter term will be shortened by two days. The spring/summer term will start as scheduled and the dates for reading week will also remain the same. The calls for change also came at the hands of four Brock students — Celeste Lynette, Emma Allan, Riley Monaghan and Jack Allan. Lynette created an online petition urging the university to consider the change. “Due to the pandemic, this school year has been undoubtedly challenging and tolling on university students and our mental health,” said Lynette. “We, the students of Brock University, are asking for an extension to our winter break like many other Canadian universities have granted their students.” The petition garnered nearly 6,000 supporters. Leaders of Brock’s graduate and undergraduate student organizations welcomed the decision. “The partnership between student associations and the University remains strong, collaborative and results-oriented,” said Christopher Yendt, president of Brock’s graduate students’ association. “We are excited that this student-centred approach has resulted in meaningful action to address some of the challenges students are facing.” Students’ union president Asad Jalib also applauded the move. “The leadership at Brock University continues to demonstrate that it is receptive to student needs and in touch with the student body,” said Jalib. Said Wells: “We have heard from many students, staff and faculty members that this extension will provide valuable time to rest and, in many cases, to catch up and better prepare for the winter term. “For those who are travelling or who are coming to Brock from abroad, this extra time will facilitate the completion of the mandatory self-isolation period,” she added. Niagara College had already planned to have a three-week holiday break. “Under the college’s existing schedule, fall term classes end Dec. 18, and winter term classes begin on Jan. 11,” said corporate communications manager Michael Wales “This provides students with a three-week break between terms, which we hope will give them the opportunity for a safe and restful holiday season before resuming their studies.” 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
LAS VEGAS — The coronavirus pandemic’s widespread impact has reminded Las Vegas officials that they need to diversify their economy beyond tourism.There hasn't been a lack of trying but the need has been laid even more bare thanks to COVID-19, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports.With people afraid to enter hotels and casinos and residency shows postponed till next year, there have been wrenching job and revenue losses. Resort operators themselves have tried to broaden their offerings to all ages on casino and hotel floors. But it's not enough for some.“We've got all our money in one stock,” North Las Vegas City Manager Ryann Juden said.The region has successfully wooed many businesses and real estate developers in the last decade with tax breaks and a relatively cheap cost of living. Between 2010 and 2019, Nevada officials passed a combined $728.7 million in tax breaks for more than 180 companies setting up shop in Clark County. Southern Nevada has also become a distribution hub for online retailer Amazon, baby products maker The Honest Co. and other ventures that don't involve casinos.But there have also been ventures that fizzled. Faraday Future had proposed a 3.4 million-square-foot factory that would build up to 150,000 electric vehicles annually. Lawmakers even passed a $335 million incentive package. Faraday officials broke ground in 2016. But in 2017, the project went nowhere after reports of financial troubles. The company took over an existing facility in California instead.Some analysts say Southern Nevada still doesn't have the assets that some are looking for. Sin City's party image, underperforming schools and a shortage of doctors don't appeal to families.Bob Potts, deputy director of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, said a good jolt in the local economy would be some sort of industrial park south of Las Vegas near the California border.But, “you don’t build those kinds of things overnight," Potts said.The Associated 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.
Alberta and the Wood Buffalo region continues to see active COVID-19 cases. Provincially, 1,609 more cases were confirmed on Sunday bring the total of confirmed cases to 56,444. In Fort McMurray, there were 10 new cases, bringing the active total to 198. Wood Buffalo's rural communities sawone new case, bringing the total to 24 active cases. Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw addressed the deaths of nine Albertans from her Twitter account on Sunday. “While we may be physically separated from each other, I strongly encourage you to reach out to your friends and family and stay connected virtually," she wrote. "We are all in this together — so please reach out to a loved one if you need to.” There were 838 recovered cases in Alberta on Sunday bringing the total recovered cases to 40,219 in the province. In Wood Buffalo, 600 people have recovered, with 520 of those cases in Fort McMurray. Two people have died locally, with the last death reported on Nov. 15. Sarah Williscraft, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Fort McMurray Today
WASHINGTON — After months of shadowboxing amid a tense and toxic campaign, Capitol Hill's main players are returning for one final, perhaps futile, attempt at deal-making on a challenging menu of year-end business.COVID-19 relief, a $1.4 trillion catchall spending package, and defence policy — and a final burst of judicial nominees — dominate a truncated two- or three-week session occurring as the coronavirus pandemic rockets out of control in President Donald Trump's final weeks in office.The only absolute must-do business is preventing a government shutdown when a temporary spending bill expires on Dec. 11. The route preferred by top lawmakers like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is to agree upon and pass an omnibus spending bill for the government. But it may be difficult to overcome bitter divisions regarding a long-delayed COVID-19 relief package that's a top priority of business, state and local governments, educators and others.McConnell is focusing on confirming Trump's remaining judicial nominations, including a vote Monday on a district judge in Mississippi and at least one additional appeals court vacancy.Time is working against lawmakers as well, as is the Capitol's emerging status as a COVID-19 hotspot. The House has truncated its schedule, and Senate Republicans are joining Democrats in forgoing the in-person lunch meetings that usually anchor their workweeks. It'll take serious, good-faith conversations among top players to determine what's possible, but those haven't transpired yet.Top items for December's lame-duck session:___KEEPING THE GOVERNMENT OPENAt a bare minimum, lawmakers need to keep the government running by passing a stopgap spending bill known as a continuing resolution, which would punt $1.4 trillion worth of unfinished agency spending into next year.That's a typical way to deal with a handoff to a new administration, but McConnell and Pelosi are two veterans of the Capitol's appropriations culture and are pressing hard for a catchall spending package. A battle over using budget sleight of hand to add a 2 percentage point, $12 billion increase to domestic programs to accommodate rapidly growing veterans health care spending is an issue, as are Trump's demands for U.S-Mexico border wall funding.Getting Trump to sign the measure is another challenge. Two years ago he sparked a lengthy partial government shutdown over the border wall, but both sides would like to clear away the pile of unfinished legislation to give the Biden administration a fresh start. The changeover in administrations probably wouldn't affect an omnibus deal very much.At issue are the 12 annual spending bills comprising the portion of the government's budget that passes through Congress each year on a bipartisan basis. Whatever approach passes, it’s likely to contain a batch of unfinished leftovers such as extending expiring health care policies and continuing the authorization for the government’s flood insurance program.___COVID-19 RELIEFDemocrats have battled with Republicans and the White House for months over a fresh installment of COVID-19 relief that all sides say they want. But a lack of good faith and an unwillingness to embark on compromises that might lead either side out of their political comfort zones have helped keep another rescue package on ice.The aid remains out of reach despite a fragile economy and out-of-control increases in coronavirus cases, especially in Midwest GOP strongholds. McConnell has supplanted Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin as the most important Republican force in the negotiations, but he hasn't shown much openness for politically difficult compromises required for a COVID-19 deal that might anger conservatives. Neither have McConnell's warnings of a wave of COVID-related lawsuits against businesses, schools and nonprofits open during the pandemic come to pass, undercutting his demand for blanket protections against such suits.Pelosi seems to have overplayed her hand as she held out for $2 trillion-plus right up until the election. The results of the election, which saw Democrats lose seats in the House, appear to have significantly undercut her position, but she is holding firm on another round of aid to state and local governments.Before the election, Trump seemed to be focused on a provision that would send another round of $1,200 payments to most Americans. He hasn't shown a lot of interest in the topic since, apart from stray tweets. But the chief obstacles now appear to be Pelosi's demand for state and local government aid and McConnell's demand for a liability shield for businesses reopening during the pandemic.At stake is funding for vaccines and testing, reopening schools, various economic “stimulus" ideas like another round of “paycheque protection” subsidies for businesses especially hard hit by the pandemic. Failure to pass a measure now would vault the topic to the top of Biden's legislative agenda next year.___Defence POLICYA spat over military bases named for Confederate officers is threatening the annual passage of a defence policy measure that has passed for 59 years in a row on a bipartisan basis. The measure is critical in the defence policy world, guiding Pentagon policy and cementing decisions about troop levels, new weapons systems and military readiness, military personnel policy and other military goals.Both the House and Senate measures would require the Pentagon to rename bases such as Fort Benning and Fort Hood, but Trump opposes the idea and has threatened a veto over it. The battle erupted this summer amid widespread racial protests, and Trump used the debate to appeal to white Southern voters nostalgic about the Confederacy. It's a live issue in two Senate runoff elections in Georgia that will determine control of the chamber during the first two years of Biden’s tenure.Democrats are insisting on changing the names and it's not obvious how it'll all end up.Andrew Taylor, The Associated Press
The family income is not what it used to be, and many parents worry about not having enough money for Christmas. Over decades, society has gotten us all to believe that the more presents under the Christmas tree, the happier the holiday will be, and the bigger they are, makes it that much more significant. This philosophy is not the case, and the meaning behind the gifts and family traditions of the holiday season has slowly depleted. Christmas is not about how much money gets spent on gifts, but instead cherishing the holiday time with family and friends. It should not be about the number of gifts given or received but rather the meaning behind the gift itself. People remember the holidays gathered around the table eating a festive meal, playing games, tobogganing or driving around looking at the Christmas lights. When it comes to the gifts, some children forget who gave them what and as time passes, often forget it was even a Christmas gift as there were just too many. Typically, out of all those wrapped presents, there would be a few they would cherish, play with regularly, and the rest would be put in a toy box or closet, never to come out again. As adults, we remember when our Mothers and Grandmothers gifted afghans or quilts, they made, which have often been kept and used for many years. Our grandfathers or fathers would make dollhouses out of wood and toy cars. Or when your children gifted you that clay ashtray or coffee cup, they made in school. Their faces would light up as you opened it. And why, because it was a unique handmade gift just for you. When it comes to the monetary value, these gifts did not cost a lot. The gifts were cherished because they were all homemade ideas that came from the heart and created by those who love us. With that in mind, you can make the holidays less expensive and more meaningful by being creative. The internet is an excellent source for all sorts of do-it-yourself project ideas, which include step-by-step instructions. Another option is to check the local library for books on gift ideas. Vicki Winger, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Whitecourt Press
What happens when you’ve just returned to your remote community with your newborn? Or if something comes up during your pregnancy and it’s the middle of the night? Where do you go for support? To help answer some of those very questions, First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) launched a ‘Maternity and Babies Advice Line’ for Indigenous families in B.C., available 24-7. “With babies and moms, things can happen anytime,” says Dr. Unjali Malhotra, medical director for women’s health at FNHA. FNHA worked with Rural Community Coordination to provide a service to help pregnant and new parents, guardians, and caregivers of newborns. Both family members and health care providers can receive support via the advice line. Doctors will provide advice on urgent and non-urgent maternal and child health topics, Malhotra says, which can include pregnancy, birth, newborn, and postpartum care. The doctors can also arrange referrals to obstetricians or pediatricians, if needed. “I come from a rural community,” says Malhotra, who grew up in Cree/Dene territory, in Northern Saskatchewan. “It's really near and dear to my heart that rural remote communities have equitable access to care, and that’s often not the case, particularly with COVID-19.” Approximately 30 per cent of Indigenous people in B.C. live in rural areas, according to 2016 census highlights, and while Zoom may be popular during this pandemic, 75 per cent of Indigenous communities in B.C. do not have the basic standards of the internet, according to First Nations Technology Council. “It can be very scary for moms and families and communities to have pregnancy concerns or newborn concerns, and potentially no services available to them,” Malhotra adds. The goal was an advice line that offered exceptional service, which includes making it accessible and culturally-safe, she says. “We spoke to as many providers that we knew that offer culturally-safe care, and that were also experts in primary care and obstetrics. We have family doctors who are also obstetricians, and midwives answering the phones,” she explains. The advice line is set up as a triad delivery service, which means people access it with their care provider. The primary care provider sets up an appointment with the advice-line doctor, and attends the appointment with the patient.” “The provider in the community can be your midwife, your doula, your family, doctor, or a traditional healer, whoever is important to you and leading within your community,” says Malhotra. “We would, of course take any call, because the number is publicly available through phone or zoom, but we prefer to have a provider with that patient. What if someone doesn’t have the internet, or a device? “We also have a phone number,” says Malhotra. “So if someone doesn't have wifi or connectivity, they can certainly phone in.” And what if someone doesn’t have minutes on their phone? “That’s our next step,” says Malhotra. She explains the idea was planted in May, funding came quickly, and the team were able to get the advice line up and running by August, but there’s room for growth. “Our next steps, I don’t know in what order yet, would be text and patient direct contact,” she adds. The majority of the providers that participants would connect with work in rural and remote communities, says Malhotra. “Many we have are in First Nations communities and we deliberately invited the providers one by one that we knew are currently offering culturally safe care within their communities,” she explains. “We spoke to as many providers that we knew that offer culturally-safe care, that were also experts in primary care and obstetrics.” Most providers have more than 10 years experience within their communities, and are beloved in their communities, she explains, which is an important aspect of meaningful support. \----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Our series on reproductive health access is made possible in part with funding from First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) and Thunderbird Partnership Foundation. Their support does not imply endorsement of or influence over the content produced.Odette Auger, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Discourse
Beginning Dec. 14, if you are not wearing a face covering in the Town of the Blue Mountains (TBM), you could receive a fine. Council has approved its proposed face-covering bylaw at a meeting held Monday. The bylaw will require mandatory face coverings in all indoor and enclosed spaces accessible to the public in TBM. The face-covering bylaw will mimic the provincial face-covering mandate and is expected to be enacted and come into effect on Dec. 14. “Particularly in things like the exemptions, we have mirrored the provincial language,” said Will Thomson, director of legal services for the town. The provincial legislation states businesses and organizations must ensure anyone located in an indoor area on their premises or in a work vehicle must wear a mask that covers their mouth, nose, and chin. The intent of TBM’s municipal bylaw is to shift the obligation from the business owner to enforce wearing a face covering, to every individual person to the greatest extent possible. Under the bylaw, municipal officers will be able to issue a minimum fine of $500 and a maximum fine not exceeding $10,000. TBM council held a special committee of the whole meeting on Nov. 25, which allowed for public and council discussion. Ultimately, the bylaw was carried unanimously at today's council meeting. Council members also unanimously approved the hiring of two, six-month contract bylaw officers with an upper limit of $75,000, which was not included in the current budget. “2020 has been a year unlike any other, in addition to the above responsibilities, our officers have taken on regulating and enforcing business closures during the first wave of the COVID-19; they have enforced crowds, social gatherings and large groups in our public spaces; they have been a constant presence on our beaches during the busy summer months; and have had an active role in ensuring responsible parking and use of our rural recreational resources,” state Thomson in a staff report. TBM currently has four full-time municipal bylaw officers. Through the summer months, the bylaw department had been supplemented with five additional contract staff. “Our officers have been an invaluable resource to our local and business community and have been a calming and reassuring presence as the face of the town since the start of the pandemic,” added Thomson. The two new bylaw officers will be tasked with educating and enforcing all of the town’s bylaws, including but not limited to the new face-covering bylaw. “It only takes one person to not follow the laws to create chaos,” said Deputy Mayor Rob Potter. “Sometimes we can't get an emergency vehicle or a snow plow through and so on. So, we need to be ahead of that game. We can't wait for the problems to happen.” The TBM face-covering bylaw, including exemption and penalties, can be found in staff report FAF.20.201.Jennifer Golletz, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, CollingwoodToday.ca
Strathmore has moved to make its fire department more diverse and inclusive by hiring a deputy fire chief to a new recruitment position. Laurie VandeSchoot, the town’s new assistant chief of diversity, inclusion and recruiting, was introduced during the regular Strathmore town council meeting on Nov. 18. VandeSchoot is a municipal government, change management and strategic planning specialist with a 28-year career with the City of Calgary who also consults internationally and locally and instructs at Bow Valley College in Calgary. “Laurie is known for building inclusive and high-performance cultures that strengthens communities,” said Judy Unsworth, Strathmore Fire Department deputy chief, during the meeting. VandeSchoot has experience in diversity services, equity solutions, mental health, public participation, strategic planning and sustainable development, said Unsworth. Furthermore, VandeSchoot leads the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) diversity leadership program, chairs the International Fire Chiefs human relations committee, and is the national co-chair of the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs (CAFC) national subcommittee on diversity inclusion, among other leadership roles. “Under the direction of chief (Trent) West, I am super excited about what we can do here in Strathmore,” said VandeSchoot. “I’m passionate, as you can tell, about diversity and inclusion – it’s kind of my lifeblood. When we talk about diversity, inclusion and recruitment, diversity and inclusion is our purpose, recruitment is where we start from.” Diversity is about more than numbers, she added. “It’s not just about how many people you have that are different, it’s about that sense of belonging, it’s about that sense of inclusion and how we can create a culture of openness, belonging and wellness.” The hiring of VandeSchoot highlights the importance of welcoming all people to Strathmore’s community and environment, said Strathmore town Councillor Denise Peterson. “It shows that we’re not just saying these things, that we’re actually taking action to embrace inclusion and to break down those barriers that we’ve seen.” Peterson added the position will help develop partnerships with Siksika Nation.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
ÉMILIE PELLETIER Initiative de journalisme local — Le Droit Pour la quatrième journée de suite, la santé publique de l’Ontario rapporte lundi plus de 1 700 cas de COVID-19 répertoriés au cours de la dernière journée. Toronto a pulvérisé, au cours des 24 dernières heures, son record du plus grand nombre de cas de COVID-19 avec 622 nouvelles infections. Toronto, Peel et York demeurent les régions les plus touchées par la transmission du virus actuellement. La province déplore le décès de huit personnes atteintes du coronavirus dimanche. En tout, 3 656 Ontariens ont perdu la vie aux mains du virus, dont 2 303 résidents de foyers de soins de longue durée ainsi que huit employés de ces établissements. Depuis le début de l’année, 116 492 cas de COVID-19 ont été répertoriés en Ontario. Parmi les personnes ayant contracté le virus en province, 84,7 % sont maintenant considérées comme guéries. Dimanche, 618 personnes étaient hospitalisées en raison de la COVID-19, dont 168 aux soins intensifs. Parmi ces derniers, 108 étaient sous respirateur. Émilie Pelletier, journaliste, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Droit
MONTREAL — As experts mull recommendations regarding ventilation and COVID-19 transmission ahead of the winter, Quebec health officials said Monday that air quality tests carried out in long-term care homes and hospitals earlier this month revealed satisfactory readings.Health Minister Christian Dube said an analysis of carbon dioxide levels was done at his request between Nov. 19 and 23 in about 70 establishments, mostly in the Quebec City area and in central Quebec.The Health Department said CO2 levels are considered a good indicator of ventilation efficiency, and authorities carried out tests in different settings including bathrooms, waiting areas and patients rooms.The results come as a group of experts examining the link between air quality and COVID-19 spread is set to issue recommendations in early December, with particular attention to schools and health-care facilities.The World Health Organization and the Public Health Agency of Canada have both said aerosol transmission and spread of COVID-19 is a concern."The expert group will therefore have to look in particular at the additional preventive and, if necessary, mitigation measures that could be put in place, if necessary," the Health Department said in a statement.Concern about indoor air quality has been heightened in the province, which on Monday reported 1,333 new COVID-19 infections and 23 additional deaths linked to the virus, along with an increase in hospitalizations and patients in intensive care.The results announced Monday were from tests done mostly in so-called cold zones without COVID-19 patients, but some were in hot zones, and the testing covered different kinds of ventilation systems, including just open windows.The results for Quebec City came back at 651 parts per million and at 707 parts per million in central Quebec — both below the maximum target of 1,110.But one Montreal health official questioned whether the ventilation systems in place in long-term care centres are adequate to deal with a disease as contagious as COVID-19.Francine Dupuis is associate CEO of the Montreal regional health authority that on Sunday had to transfer 20 COVID-19 patients from a long-term care home, the Maimonides Geriatric Centre, to local hospitals.“We are waiting for the recommendations of public health, but probably too many people at the same place is not a good idea for the ventilation system,” Dupuis said in an interview Sunday.“These ventilation systems have been created for long-term care facilities, not acute care facilities like hospitals."In some cases, authorities are emptying wards to air them out before bringing patients back, but Dupuis says the cost of upgrading ventilation systems in long-term care would be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.On Tuesday, Quebec's schools will also have their air quality tested. Education Minister Jean-Francois Roberge, in announcing tests last week, said any necessary improvements would be made over the Christmas break.Last week, a group of doctors and experts concerned about air quality in schools and the transmission of COVID-19 unveiled the results of a clandestine project where teachers measured air quality in 25 classrooms, finding that 75 per cent had CO2 levels that exceeded acceptable levels.Authorities did not hold a briefing on Monday as Montreal led the way in new infections, reporting 400 new confirmed cases, followed by the Monteregie, the greater Quebec City region, Saguenay Lac-St-Jean and Lanaudiere."The situation of the last days is worrying," Dube said via his Twitter account on Monday. "I would remind you that we must continue to respect all measures and limit our contacts for (a reduction in) the number of cases."Eight deaths were recorded in the previous 24 hours while 14 others were from the last week.The province has now reported 142,371 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 7,056 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic, adding another 1,108 recoveries for a total of 122,014.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2020.— With files from Jillian Kestler-D'Amours in Montreal.Sidhartha Banerjee, The Canadian Press