WASHINGTON — Disputing President Donald Trump’s persistent, baseless claims, Attorney General William Barr declared the U.S. Justice Department has uncovered no evidence of widespread voter fraud that could change the outcome of the 2020 election.Barr's comments, in an interview Tuesday with the The Associated Press, contradict the concerted effort by Trump, his boss, to subvert the results of last month's voting and block President-elect Joe Biden from taking his place in the White House.Barr told the AP that U.S. attorneys and FBI agents have been working to follow up specific complaints and information they’ve received, but “to date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election.”The comments, which drew immediate criticism from Trump attorneys, were especially notable coming from Barr, who has been one of the president's most ardent allies. Before the election, he had repeatedly raised the notion that mail-in voting could be especially vulnerable to fraud during the coronavirus pandemic as Americans feared going to polls and instead chose to vote by mail.More to Trump's liking, Barr revealed in the AP interview that in October he had appointed U.S. Attorney John Durham as a special counsel, giving the prosecutor the authority to continue to investigate the origins of the Trump-Russia probe after Biden takes over and making it difficult to fire him. Biden hasn't said what he might do with the investigation, and his transition team didn't comment Tuesday.Trump has long railed against the investigation into whether his 2016 campaign was co-ordinating with Russia, but he and Republican allies had hoped the results would be delivered before the 2020 election and would help sway voters. So far, there has been only one criminal case, a guilty plea from a former FBI lawyer to a single false statement charge.Under federal regulations, a special counsel can be fired only by the attorney general and for specific reasons such as misconduct, dereliction of duty or conflict of interest. An attorney general must document such reasons in writing.Barr went to the White House Tuesday for a previously scheduled meeting that lasted about three hours.Trump didn't directly comment on the attorney general's remarks on the election. But his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and his political campaign issued a scathing statement claiming that, "with all due respect to the Attorney General, there hasn’t been any semblance” of an investigation into the president's complaints.Other administration officials who have come out forcefully against Trump's allegations of voter-fraud evidence have been fired. But it's not clear whether Barr might suffer the same fate. He maintains a lofty position with Trump, and despite their differences the two see eye-to-eye on quite a lot.Still, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer quipped: “I guess he’s the next one to be fired.”Last month, Barr issued a directive to U.S. attorneys across the country allowing them to pursue any “substantial allegations” of voting irregularities before the 2020 presidential election was certified, despite no evidence at that time of widespread fraud.That memorandum gave prosecutors the ability to go around longstanding Justice Department policy that normally would prohibit such overt actions before the election was certified. Soon after it was issued, the department’s top elections crime official announced he would step aside from that position because of the memo.The Trump campaign team led by Giuliani has been alleging a widespread conspiracy by Democrats to dump millions of illegal votes into the system with no evidence. They have filed multiple lawsuits in battleground states alleging that partisan poll watchers didn’t have a clear enough view at polling sites in some locations and therefore something illegal must have happened. The claims have been repeatedly dismissed including by Republican judges who have ruled the suits lacked evidence.But local Republicans in some battleground states have followed Trump in making unsupported claims, prompting grave concerns over potential damage to American democracy.Trump himself continues to rail against the election in tweets and in interviews though his own administration has said the 2020 election was the most secure ever. He recently allowed his administration to begin the transition over to Biden, but he still refuses to admit he lost.The issues they've have pointed to are typical in every election: Problems with signatures, secrecy envelopes and postal marks on mail-in ballots, as well as the potential for a small number of ballots miscast or lost.But they've gone further. Attorney Sidney Powell has spun fictional tales of election systems flipping votes, German servers storing U.S. voting information and election software created in Venezuela “at the direction of Hugo Chavez,” – the late Venezuelan president who died in 2013. Powell has since been removed from the legal team after an interview she gave where she threatened to “blow up” Georgia with a “biblical” court filing.Barr didn't name Powell specifically but said: “There's been one assertion that would be systemic fraud and that would be the claim that machines were programmed essentially to skew the election results. And the DHS and DOJ have looked into that, and so far, we haven’t seen anything to substantiate that.”In the campaign statement, Giuliani claimed there was “ample evidence of illegal voting in at least six states, which they have not examined.”“We have many witnesses swearing under oath they saw crimes being committed in connection with voter fraud. As far as we know, not a single one has been interviewed by the DOJ. The Justice Department also hasn’t audited any voting machines or used their subpoena powers to determine the truth,” he said.However, Barr said earlier that people were confusing the use of the federal criminal justice system with allegations that should be made in civil lawsuits. He said a remedy for many complaints would be a top-down audit by state or local officials, not the U.S. Justice Department.“There’s a growing tendency to use the criminal justice system as sort of a default fix-all," he said, but first there must be a basis to believe there is a crime to investigate.“Most claims of fraud are very particularized to a particular set of circumstances or actors or conduct. ... And those have been run down; they are being run down,” Barr said. “Some have been broad and potentially cover a few thousand votes. They have been followed up on."___Associated Press writers Lisa Mascaro and Eric Tucker contributed to this report.Michael Balsamo, The Associated Press
P.E.I.'s Chief Public Health Office still doesn't know how a high school student diagnosed with COVID-19 on the weekend caught the disease.Extensive testing has been done on the contacts of the Charlottetown Rural student but no source has been found, according to Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison.At her regular weekly briefing Tuesday morning, Morrison said she believes the student was likely in direct contact with someone who had travelled off P.E.I."I would encourage all teachers and students in P.E.I. schools with smartphones to download the free national COVID Alert app," she said.The student was one of two cases announced on the weekend. The other person had travelled off-Island.There are now a total of 102 people in self-isolation on P.E.I. who have been connected to recent cases.Sharp decrease in travelSince the Atlantic bubble was suspended last Tuesday, personal vehicle traffic has dropped by about 80 per cent, said Morrison.During the first weeks of November an average of 1,120 personal vehicles crossed Confederation Bridge every day. Since the bubble was suspended last week that fell to 220 a day.It is still possible for Islanders to travel to the mainland under some circumstances and not self-isolate when they return.If the travel is for medical, child custody, airport dropoff or student pickup purposes, Islanders can be exempt from self-isolation. They are not allowed to stay overnight and interactions while travelling should be brief, physically distant, and be kept to a minimum. No stops in public places or visits with family or friends are allowed as part of the trip.P.E.I. has had 72 cases of COVID-19, with four currently considered active. There have been no deaths and no hospitalizations.More from CBC P.E.I.
TORONTO — Awards season is in full swing on streaming services this month, even if the Oscars and Golden Globes have been pushed further into 2021 due to the pandemic. Several likely contenders are making their at-home debut over the holidays, including Chadwick Boseman’s final role in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom." The film hits Netflix on Dec. 18 and Boseman is considered one of the frontrunners for a best actor nomination at the Academy Awards.There’s also “Mank,” David Fincher’s three-hour passion project about “Citizen Kane” screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz. The Netflix film may secure Fincher his third director Oscar nod after it arrives Dec. 4.Here are some other picks to add to your watchlist in December:"FUNNY BOY"Sri Lankan-Canadian author Shyam Selvadurai's acclaimed novel is brought to the screen by Deepa Mehta in this vibrant coming-of-age tale set in the leadup to the deadly Tamil-Sinhalese conflict. A Tamil boy, growing up in a wealthy Sri Lankan family, comes to terms with his sexual identity as a gay teen while simmering political tensions threaten to upend everything he holds dear. The film is Canada’s submission for best international film at the Oscars. (CBC Gem, Dec. 4) "SELENA: THE SERIES"The tragic story of Mexican-American pop singer Selena Quintanilla-Perez, who was gunned down by her fan club manager in 1995, is retold through a romanticized lens in this dramatic series that’s being released into two packages of episodes. The first round of nine episodes centre on her family’s rags-to-riches story as they work to make their band, fronted by Selena, bridge the gap between Tejano music and pop radio. Stuffed with feel-good ‘80s hits and an understated performance by Christian Serratos as the titular singer, the series offers a new perspective on a rising star first portrayed by Jennifer Lopez in a 1997 biopic. (Netflix, Part 1, Dec. 4) "YOUR HONOR"“Breaking Bad” star Bryan Cranston is a New Orleans judge who built his career on truth and justice until his only son confesses involvement in a hit-and-run. Tossing aside his moral high ground, he begins to bury the evidence, hoping to tip the scales in his son's favour. Of course, everything quickly goes off the rails in this 10-episodes limited series. (Crave, Dec. 6, episodes weekly) "PALM SPRINGS"Andy Samberg is a slacker who stumbles into a time-loop while trying to evade mingling with guests at a desert wedding. But once he gets comfortable in the cyclical monotony of his new reality, a surprise arrives that could turn his entire world upside down again. Built on a script that's a cross between “Groundhog Day” and “Russian Doll,” this lively flick, co-starring J.K. Simmons and Cristin Milioti, takes the traits of a typical rom-com and creates a timely reflection on life’s relationship routines. (Amazon Prime Video, Dec. 18) QUICK TAKES:"SMALL AXE" - "12 Years a Slave" director Steve McQueen delivers five distinctly different films in this anthology series about West Indian immigrants in London, mainly during the 1970s. "Mangrove" and "Lovers Rock" have already received rapturous reviews. (Amazon Prime Video, updated Fridays)“LENNON'S LAST WEEKND” – The BBC’s Andy Peebles was the last journalist to interview John Lennon and he returns to New York in this documentary to revisit that experience. (BritBox, Dec. 8)“LET THEM ALL TALK” - Meryl Streep plays an acclaimed author forced to confront her troubled relationships while on a cruise. (Crave/HBO, Dec. 10)This report by The Canadian Press was first published December 2, 2020.David Friend, The Canadian Press
JEUNESSE. Dans l’attente du dépôt du rapport de la Commission spéciale sur les droits des enfants et la protection de la jeunesse en avril 2021, sa présidente, Régine Laurent a quand même présenté des constats, des orientations ainsi qu’une recommandation qui visant à créer dès maintenant un poste de directeur national de la protection de la jeunesse qui aura pour objectif de rendre cohérente l’action gouvernementale en cette matière. Une recommandation bien accueillie par Lionel Carmant. «Le bien-être de chaque enfant est au centre de nos priorités. La création d’un poste de directeur national de la protection de la jeunesse est intéressante et va dans le sens de ma réflexion. Nous entendons donner suite rapidement à cette recommandation», a déclaré le ministre délégué à la Santé et aux Services sociaux suite à la conférence de presse du 30 novembre. Ainsi, le directeur national de la protection de la jeunesse aurait pour mandat de : · De développer et d’harmoniser les pratiques en protection de la jeunesse; · De promouvoir les besoins des enfants et des familles vulnérables du Québec - rôle social des DPJ - et d’effectuer les représentations nécessaires pour y répondre tant au sein du ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux qu’auprès des ministères concernés par l’enfance en difficulté afin d’assurer une utilisation judicieuse du recours à la LPJ; · De déterminer les orientations et les normes de pratique clinique et de gestion applicables à la protection de la jeunesse; · D’assurer la mise en œuvre et le respect des orientations et normes de pratique dans toutes les régions du Québec; · D’exercer un leadership et de soutenir l’action des DPJ régionaux, des directions de programme jeunesse et des responsables de contentieux à l’égard d’une mise en œuvre cohérente de la LPJ; · D’exercer les contrôles requis pour assurer que les interventions en protection de la jeunesse respectent les plus hauts standards; · D’assurer une concertation efficace des ministères de la Santé et des Services sociaux, de la Justice et de la Sécurité publique, conjointement responsables de l’application des lois particulières - LPJ et la Loi sur le système de justice pénale pour les adolescents - LSJPA; · D’exercer un suivi rigoureux sur les parcours de services aux enfants et aux familles et de voir à mesurer les effets des interventions; · De participer au processus de sélection et de nomination des DPJ régionaux. Rappelons que la Commission Laurent a été créée par le gouvernement du Québec suite au décès d’une fillette de 7 ans à Granby, le 30 avril 2019. Devant cette tragédie, le gouvernement du Québec s’était engagé à entreprendre une réflexion qui porte non seulement sur les services de protection de la jeunesse, mais également sur la loi qui l’encadre, sur le rôle des tribunaux, des services sociaux et des autres acteurs concernés. Stéphane Lévesque, Initiative de journalisme local, L'Hebdo Journal
SILVER SPRING, Md. — U.S. construction spending jumped 1.3% in October, again on the strength of single-family home building. The October gain follows a downward revision in September to a 0.5% decline from a previous estimate of a 0.3% gain, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday. August's number was also revised significantly upward and spending in October was stronger than economists had expected. Single-family home building has been a consistent bright spot for months as a lack of new homes has pushed builders to ramp up projects. Single-family home construction rose 5.6% in October, helping to boost a 2.9% increase in total private residential construction for the month. Nonresidential private construction fell 0.7%, with the category that includes hotels and other lodging falling 3.1%. Spending on government construction projects increased 1% after generally lagging for months, possibly due to budget restraints by state and local governments as the pandemic wiped out large amounts of tax revenue. Construction of roads, schools and public safety projects all increased. During the first ten months of 2020, construction spending is up 4.3% over the same period last year. Matt Ott, The Associated Press
Le 26 novembre, l’Union des municipalités du Québec (UMQ) soumettait son mémoire lors des audiences publiques du Comité consultatif sur la réalité policière. Parmi les grands enjeux abordés, l’importance pour le gouvernement de se doter d’une stratégie proactive afin de faire face au problème grandissant de la gestion des cas de santé mentale dans la province. La présidente de l’UMQ et mairesse de Sainte-Julie, Suzanne Roy, était en ondes à Radio-Canada pour discuter des principaux points soulevés dans le document soumis. « C’est une constatation que l’on fait depuis plusieurs années, a expliqué la mairesse lors de son entretien avec l’animateur Patrick Masbourian. Avec le désengagement du gouvernement en matière de santé mentale, on se retrouve avec des corps policiers qui doivent faire de plus en plus d’interventions. De 2016 à 2019, on parle d’une augmentation de 20% des appels qui sont liés à des enjeux de santé mentale, que ce soit une question de détresse de suicide ou de schizophrénie. Ce sont souvent des situations de crise qui demandent des interventions lourdes et prennent beaucoup de temps. » À titre d’exemple, la présidente de l'UMQ mentionne le cas de Sherbrooke où les policiers consacrent 17 heures de travail au quotidien à la gestion de situations impliquant des citoyens aux prises avec de potentiels ennuis de santé mentale. « Et ça ne touche pas que les grandes villes, a ajouté Mme Roy. Je pense entre autres à la Régie intermunicipale de police Richelieu/Saint-Laurent. On y reçoit 2 000 appels par année qui sont liés à la santé mentale. C’est vraiment un phénomène qui croît. Les policiers doivent remplacer le filet de sécurité social depuis le désengagement des dernières années dans le milieu de la santé. Et ce, sans avoir nécessairement tous les outils pour pouvoir intervenir. » La mairesse a également profité de l’occasion pour rappeler l’importance de tenir compte également du bien-être des agents qui doivent intervenir dans des situations parfois délicates et éprouvantes. « Il faut penser à la santé psychologique de nos policiers. Nous croyons qu’il pourrait vraiment y avoir une campagne ayant pour but de valoriser leur métier. Question notamment de renforcer le lien de confiance qui existe avec la population. Cela permettrait par ailleurs d’augmenter le bassin de candidats et candidates au niveau du recrutement. Ce sont des éléments qu’il nous semble important de soulever à ce moment-ci de l’histoire de nos corps policiers. »Steve Martin, Initiative de journalisme local, La Relève
Regina police have charged a 17-year old girl who allegedly stole a vehicle with a four-year-old child inside.Officers were called to the 2100 block of Albert Street around 8:17 p.m. CST on Nov. 21 for a report of a stolen vehicle, according police.Police were told a 31-year-old woman had given three young women a ride in her car while her child was also in the vehicle.Police said the driver stopped and got out of the vehicle briefly, at which point one of the passengers got in the driver's seat and started driving away. When the mother tried to stop her, the driver allegedly tried to hit her with the car.The suspect left the four-year-old on a street a few minutes later, police said. Two people found the child and called police.Officers identified the suspect and learned she had fled to Calgary. A warrant was issued for her arrest on Nov. 24. She was arrested by Calgary police for an unrelated matter.The suspect, who can't be named in accordance with the Youth Criminal Justice Act, was brought back to Regina on Monday and charged with offences including abduction of a child under 14-years-old, assault with a weapon (vehicle) and auto theft.
This past Sunday, Nov. 29, the first Sunday of Advent, the people of Dundalk Wesleyan Church started an effort to help those in need that they hope the community in Dundalk and Southgate may join. Pastor Chris Lang said the idea came for one of their church members last year and was a great success in the congregation, so they are opening it up. The effort aims to help stock the shelves of the Dundalk Food Bank with a Food Drive that will take place during the season of Advent. Advent is the time when Christians count down the days until Christmas when they celebrate the birth of Jesus. The Food Drive is called a “Reverse Advent Calendar Food Drive” because instead of counting down, the Food Drive instead adds items each day. At the end, people have assembled a large box of non-perishable food items ready for the Food Bank. The Food Drive runs until Sunday Dec. 20. There is a list of food items for each day of the Food Drive. For example Nov. 29, peanut butter; Nov. 30 - canned meat; Dec. 1 canned vegetables; Dec. 2, mac and cheese and so on. Members of the community who are not connected to the church are invited to participate in this Food Drive as well. They can donate the food items week by week at a box at the Co-operators office at 40 Main St. E., Dundalk, or contact the church to make arrangements to drop off the finished box. You can email the church at email@example.com for more information. M.T. Fernandes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Dundalk Herald
The remains of a 17-year-old soldier were unearthed four years ago in Belgium — and it turns out they are those of a member of the Newfoundland Regiment, who fought in the First World War and died 103 years ago. The details of the discovery and identity were announced Tuesday at an event at The Rooms in St. John's, with the provincial archivist being acknowledged as having played a major role in the process. Pte. John Lambert died Aug. 16, 1917. He was born July 10, 1900, in St. John's, according to officials with the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces. His remains were discovered during an archeological dig near St. Julien, Belgium. There were three other sets of human remains found, but it's not clear if the others have been identified. Lambert's name was memorialized on the Beaumont-Hamel Newfoundland Memorial in Bowring Park, which commemorates soldiers from Newfoundland who died during the First World War and have no known grave. Lambert lied about his age to fight in warAccording to a biography on the federal government's website, Lambert lied about his age and claimed he was 18 years old when, in fact, he was 16. He joined the 2nd Battalion in Scotland, and made his way to France, where he joined the 1st Battalion of the Newfoundland Regiment in June 1917. Members served with the 88th Brigade of the 29th Infantry Division of the British Expeditionary Force.On Aug. 16, 1917, an attack was launched by the Newfoundland Regiment — in what become known as the Battle of Langemarck — with members successfully overtaking the enemy's trenches and bunkers. Lambert suffered wounds during the attack, and later died from them. Another 26 men were killed in that battle. N.L.'s provincial archivist played key roleLambert's remains were found alongside a number of artifacts in 2016. Those included a shoulder title of the Newfoundland Regiment, an Inniskilling Fusiliers cap badge, two Hampshire Regiment shoulder titles, general service buttons, British bullets and a few other small items.DNA samples from the soldier's descendants made it possible to confirm Lambert's identity — making it the first time a Newfoundland Regiment soldier has been identified by this process, according to the provincial government. It was Greg Walsh, the provincial archivist and director of The Rooms' provincial archives, who "provided vital archival research to locate Private Lambert's direct descendants," according to a Newfoundland and Labrador government media release. Walsh, speaking to reporters at Tuesday's event, praised Lambert for being "so courageous."When pressed about the fact that this was the first local case of its kind, Walsh acknowledged the significance, but noted it was a team effort. "I just feel like it was one of the most rewarding things I have ever done, I have ever been asked to do, and I'm so proud of the work I did, and the work we did as a team," he said. "I do feel like we have put a name to a face and that's a huge part of what we do as archivists and we don't get to do that everyday."Patience and tenacityHow Walsh got to the point of identifying the remains was a lesson in patience and tenacity. "Military records confirmed there were 16 Newfoundland Regiment soldiers who had fought in the vicinity, with no known grave. Walsh, began his year-long search with this list of 16 soldiers and proceeded to find living descendants for 13 of the 16," reads a statement. Walsh combed through many information sources, including vital statistics registers, census records, newspaper records, phone books and online search engines, to find anything that might help with the process. Ultimately, it was a combination of historical, genealogical, anthropological, and DNA analysis that helped the Casualty Identification Review Board identify Lambert, according to the government's website.Col. Perry Grandy, who is chairman of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment Advisory Council, said identifying Lambert, and the process that led to that, are both significant. "This has connected our modern day life with something that happened in history that we only read about," Grandy said. Burial to come at 'earliest opportunity'The Canadian Armed Forces have notified Lambert's surviving next of kin, and are providing them with ongoing support, according to the government. Lambert, who was born to Richard and Elizabeth Lambert, will be buried at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's New Irish Farm Cemetery in West-Vlaanderen, Belgium, as the "earliest opportunity," according to the federal government. It's expected that family members, along with representatives from the Canadian, United Kingdom and Belgian governments will attend, as will representation from the Canadian Armed Forces. Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
Weather is getting cooler and beards are getting bushier as some Canadian men look to add an extra layer of warmth to their faces this winter.Others, motivated by lockdown measures and extended work-from-home terms, may view this as a perfect time to see how unruly those whiskers can get before a trim is needed.But as long as mask-wearing is encouraged amid the COVID-19 pandemic, should they worry about facial hair interfering with the effectiveness of face coverings?Some experts say men should shave their beards in order to obtain the best mask fit, but others say it depends how long the stubble gets, and if their job requires a tighter-fitting respirator.The CDC has an infographic on facial hair and N-95s on its website, outlining styles that are safe, including handlebar mustaches and soul patches. Other looks — like extended goatees, muttonchops and Van Dykes — cross the seal of the mask and need to go. Dr. Christopher Labos, a Montreal-based physician, says that advice is fine for health-care workers, but when it comes to regular cloth masks, breaking a seal isn't as much of a concern."If it's covering your mouth and nose, it's doing what it's supposed to do," he said. "Whether there's a gap on the side isn't really here or there because there's always a gap." Dr. Jane Wang, a clinical instructor at UBC who has studied face masks extensively, disagrees.Wang's recent research suggests men with beards experience more leakage — droplets expelling through gaps in the mask — than those without. Leaky areas of masks are most prominent around the nose, chin and the cheeks, and pleated masks tend to leak more than other styles.Having facial hair jutting out of a mask increases that leakage zone, she said. So the most effective way to ensure a cloth mask fits around the face is to remove the beard."Having more leaks decreases the filtration," Wang said, adding that research on mask fit and leaks date back to the 1990s. "So the air we breathe will go through the leak and not the filter of the mask."Dr. Lisa Bryski, an emergency-room physician in Winnipeg, has seen many colleagues shave off their beards in order to properly wear masks in the health-care field. While a cloth covering doesn't provide the same level of protection as an N-95, Bryski suggests men outside front-line work settings might want to pick up the razor too."It's a personal choice, but anything you do to increase your own protection and protection of others is appropriate in these times," she said. "Where shaving is not an option, keeping the beard groomed and trimmed may reduce the amount of hair and help with mask seal."Bryski acknowledged that for some men, like those in the Sikh community, beards may be an integral part of religious identity.Sukhmeet Sachal, a second-year medical student at UBC, recognized that and is offering a solution. Sachal is part of a group that has been handing out modified face masks to Sikh men at gurdwaras, or places of assembly and worship. The masks, made by volunteers, wrap around beards and tie over turbans, offering Sikh men a better alternative than a regular face mask they could buy at a store.Sachal said he got the idea when he walked into a gurdwara with his father and saw hardly anyone wearing a mask. While he says there may have been a combination of reasons for that, the beards played a part."We heard from people directly that there were no masks available for them," Sachal said. "When they went to the store, they didn't find any."Sachal says hair, whether it's on your face or head, is seen in Sikhism as a gift from God. Turbans are wrapped around hair to protect it, and most Sikh men refrain from cutting their hair or shaving their beards."That's why these masks are important," Sachal said. "They allow people to practise their religion while being safe."Colin Furness, an epidemiologist at the University of Toronto, looks at beards as a "variable" in how well a mask fits, but "not a determiner."A mask can be ill-fitting whether you have a beard or not, he explained. And while the length of facial hair will impact fit further, he says mask-wearing is only one safety precaution we should be practising."I don't think beards should be demonized, because it's not just about wearing a mask," he said. "You're also maintaining physical distance, you're also not doing large crowds... "It's when you start thinking that masks protect you completely that beards become more risky."Wang says those keeping their beards should still wear face masks."It'll be less effective, but it's better than nothing," she said.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 1, 2020.Melissa Couto Zuber, The Canadian Press
Some nurses who left their jobs at Health PEI to take positions with Veterans Affairs Canada asked for, but were denied, a secondment from their provincial jobs, according to the federal Minister of Veterans Affairs Lawrence MacAulay.That's from the latest in a series of letters between MacAulay and P.E.I. Health Minister James Aylward. Aylward wrote to MacAulay in October, expressing concern about a hiring campaign by VAC by which the federal department had lured away at that time, according to Aylward's numbers, 25 registered nurses, two social workers and one psychologist from Health PEI.Health PEI said this week that the number of nurses who have left for VAC has now reached 32.As part of its effort to clear up a backlog of tens of thousands of disability claims, a spokesperson for VAC told CBC the department has hired 125 nurses across Canada, including 55 on P.E.I. Overall the federal department plans to hire 300 temporary staff and aims to clear up the backlog by March 2022. However the Parliamentary Budget Office says the job will require more staffing and an extra year to complete."Given the size of our province and corresponding size of the nursing workforce within our health-care system, this recruitment campaign has had a significant negative impact on our health human resources," Aylward wrote to MacAulay in the first of two letters the health minister tabled in the P.E.I. Legislature.Aylward went on to say some long-term care facilities also lost positions, and were operating with "a skeleton staff."Aylward told MacAulay it was "counterproductive" for a federal department to be taking nurses from provincial health care while Ottawa was at the same time sending additional resources to the provinces to help them deal with COVID-19.> I understand that many nurses were not granted leave when they requested it from the province's health authority, and subsequently made their own decision to join Veterans Affairs Canada. — Lawrence MacAulay"The number of nurses that have migrated from our system to your department has left a potential significant nursing gap should we experience a second wave resulting in a critical situation," Aylward wrote in a followup letter dated Nov. 17.In that letter, Aylward asked about the possibility of Health PEI receiving some of the nurses back from VAC on secondment.Nurses denied requests for leave, says MacAulayBut in response, MacAulay said some of the nurses hired by VAC had asked for a secondment working the other way around: they had asked Health PEI to be allowed to temporarily leave their provincial positions to help VAC clear up the backlog, but that request was denied."My department offered this option for consideration at the time of the recruitment campaign, recognizing the pressures that all health systems were facing," MacAulay wrote to Aylward."I understand that many nurses were not granted leave when they requested it from the province's health authority, and subsequently made their own decision to join Veterans Affairs Canada."MacAulay said the positions are only temporary, and that he'd instructed his department "to be as helpful as possible on this matter." He said VAC is "willing to assist the province with its pandemic response should the current situation change."Nurses in search of 'work-life balance': unionMona O'Shea, the head of the P.E.I. Nurses' Union, said she found it "interesting" Aylward reached out to MacAulay over the nursing shortage. She said the province was already facing a significant number of nursing vacancies even before VAC started recruiting.She said Aylward might have done better to take his concerns to the union. She said nurses are looking for "better work-life balance," and are being denied requests for "temporary leave of absence for education, for movement within the system, vacation, being called back to work when on vacation."O'Shea said nurses are feeling "undervalued, not appreciated and always being asked to do more with less."More from CBC P.E.I.
CALGARY — Suncor Energy Inc. is forecasting higher spending and production in 2021 based on benchmark U.S. oil prices staying near their current levels of around US$45 per barrel.It says it predicts daily oil and gas production between 740,000 and 780,000 barrels of oil equivalent in 2021, an increase of about 10 per cent compared with this year driven by higher bitumen output from its oilsands operations.It expects capital spending of between $3.8 billion and $4.5 billion, including sustaining capital of $2.9 billion to $3.4 billion, an increase of about nine per cent over 2020's expected spending of $3.6 billion to $4.0 billion.The Calgary-based company forecasts refinery throughput of 415,000 to 445,000 barrels per day based on a utilization rate of between 90 and 96 per cent.Suncor says it expects to repay between $500 million and $1 billion of debt and will introduce a $500-million share repurchase program.In reports, analysts said the guidance was in line with what they were expecting.Credit Suisse analyst Manav Gupta pointed out that Suncor cut capital and operating spending earlier this year and lowered its dividend payments."Suncor almost broke even in the third quarter of 2020, and now is getting ready to pay down portion of the debt it took on to navigate the crisis," he added.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 1, 2020.Companies in this story: (TSX:SU)The Canadian Press
L'Institut Tshakapesh a annoncé qu'en collaboration avec les écoles membres de l'organisation, elle allait de l'avant avec le virage numérique. Cette démarche est notamment accélérée par les circonstances actuelles qui découlent de la pandémie et elle fait partie du plan d'action du ministère de l'Éducation qui a pour objectif d'outiller numériquement les élèves innus pour favoriser leur réussite éducative. Ainsi, l'Institut mettra en branle une série de mesures pour effectuer ce virage numérique. En ce moment, des iPad acquis par l'organisme au printemps sont distribués dans les écoles membres. Selon l'Institut, cet outil permettra de : « valoriser les méthodes d’enseignement innovantes qui favoriseront des apprentissages chez tous les élèves tant en classe qu’à la maison.» Les écoles membres auront aussi accès à la suite Microsoft Office 365. L’Institut Tshakapesh est convaincu de mettre en place des mesures des conditions gagnantes qui contribueront à la réussite des élèves. « C’est avec fierté que l’Institut Tshakapesh contribue à la transmission des savoirs traditionnels et contemporains. Nous encourageons les écoles à profiter du virage numérique pour adapter et intégrer des outils qui serviront à l’apprentissage de l’Innu-aimun et de l’Innu-aitun », affirme Alexandre McKenzie, président de l’Institut Tshakapesh. De son côté, la directrice générale de l'Institut, Marjolaine Tshernish, tient à souligner le rôle des directions d'écoles dans le virage numérique. Elle explique : « Ces dernières ont mobilisé leur équipe-école dans l'intégration de ces nouveaux outils pour soutenir les méthodes d'enseignement innovantes. Un modèle à promouvoir qui met de l'avant l'inclusion et la réussite des élèves innus et qui permettra des interventions adéquates auprès des enfants les plus à risque. » Formation L’Institut Tshakapesh offre aussi un plan de formation et de soutien pour s'assurer que ce virage numérique se passe dans les meilleures circonstances. Il y aura donc des formations autant pour les professeurs, les élèves et les parents pour que tous soient en mesure de bien maîtriser les nouveaux outils technologiques. D'ailleurs, l'Institut souligne l’apport de partenaires comme Écoles branchées, Apple et les ressources spécialisées de l'organisme qui ont partagé leurs compétences et leur expertise pour rendre possible ce projet. Les communautés membres de l'Institut Tshakapesh sont Uashat mak Mani-utenam, Ekuanitshit, Essipit, Matimekush, Nutashkuan, Unamen shipu et Pakua Shipu.Vincent Berrouard, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Nord-Côtier
Consumer advocates are protesting a move by the Trump administration that they say will make it harder for the government to punish airlines that treat passengers unfairly.On the Friday during a four-day Thanksgiving weekend, the Transportation Department made final its proposal for defining unfair and deceptive practices by airlines.The rule deems that airline policies – around things like how ticket prices are advertised – are unfair only if they cause unavoidable and “substantial injury” that isn’t offset by some benefit. That is a high bar, in the view of consumer advocates.In addition, the rule lets airlines request a hearing before the department issues new regulations.Charlie Leocha, a travel consumer advocate, said the agency's rule could clear the way for airlines to go to court and overturn regulations that require them to advertise the full cost of tickets and to give passengers a chance to return to the gate if planes are stuck on the ground for hours.Under the new rule, “airlines can do anything they want in terms of passenger protection with no worries,” he said. “This is not good for consumers, and it is a big win for airlines.”The Transportation Department said it received 224 comments, with about 180 of them filed by individuals who argued that the proposal weakens consumer protection. The two Democrats on the Federal Trade Commission also criticized the proposal — commissioner Rebecca Kelly Slaughter wrote that the rule “will seriously hamper the Department’s ability to fulfil its statutory mission of protecting aviation consumers.”The rule was praised by Airlines for America, the main trade group for big U.S. airlines, which argued that current regulations can be arbitrary.“This reform is a critical step forward in ensuring a data-driven regulatory process, which will produce widespread and lasting benefits for air travellers, airlines and the economy,” the group said in a statement.The Transportation Department, led by Trump-nominated Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, acknowledged drafting the rule in response to a request from the airline trade group and a 2017 Trump executive order that urged agencies to reduce regulations.The Transportation Department will soon will be under new leadership after President-elect Joe Biden is sworn in. Consumer advocates believe the Biden administration will be more pro-consumer. However, even if Biden’s people want to reverse last week’s decision, now they will have to go through a long rule-making process to do so.The airlines have chafed for years under an Obama administration rule that requires them to use the all-in price — including any mandatory taxes and fees — when advertising airfares. The carriers say that's unfair because retailers and other businesses can usually advertise prices before taxes and fees.If the Biden administration is unable to reverse last week's rule, “it's likely consumers will find shopping for flights to become more confusing and frustrating,” said Henry Harteveldt, a travel analyst with Atmosphere Research Group in San Francisco.___David Koenig can be reached at www.twitter.com/airlinewriterDavid Koenig, The Associated Press
When the Town of Happy Valley-Goose Bay approved the use of body cameras for municipal enforcement officers in September the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner (OIPC) for the province had some concerns, and two months later he still does. Privacy Commissioner Michael Harvey said that when he found out through the media that the town had passed the policy and officers were wearing them, he contacted the town with a number of recommendations, but hasn’t heard back. “We made some recommendations to council and also all sorts of questions, and we put them to the council in mid-October and have not received any response since then. We’re still waiting.” Harvey said town staff did have an informal discussion with his office, but the town has only intermittently been forthcoming, which is leading to increasing frustration on his end, and may yet lead to a formal investigation. “I’m getting to the point where I may well do that,” he said of a formal investigation. “I’ll make that decision in the coming days.” Harvey said some of the recommendations include that the town clarify when the cameras are being used in the course of the officers' duties, that elected officials not have access to body camera footage and that the town complete a privacy impact assessment. He said there were verbal commitments to some changes made in a meeting between his staff and the town, but his office has yet to see changes to the policy, and the cameras are still in use. “They seem to go long periods of time not responding to us and then respond to us. This is one of the reasons why it’s starting to look more appropriate for me to launch a formal investigation because that would give a formal framework for these questions and in the course of a formal investigation, I have the authority of a commissioner of the Public Inquires Act. Simply not answering my questions becomes less of an option.” A recent incident in the town involving a member of the public and a municipal enforcement officer that is now the subject of an independent investigation also prompted him to contact the town, Harvey said. He said there are four questions he wants answers to: whether the body camera was on and the details of when and how it was used; whether the footage would be provided to the independent investigator; if it was within the scope of the investigation, why the body camera wasn’t on; and what the legal authority was for the officer to be doing whatever he was doing. The last question is important, Harvey said, because public bodies like the town are only allowed to collect personal information with some sort of legal purpose, and only certain things the officer would be doing qualifies as law enforcement. The issue of body camera footage sparked a discussion in the town council meeting on Thursday. Coun. Jackie Compton Hobbs said she doesn’t understand why council members couldn’t simply view footage from the body cameras in some incidents instead of having to potentially spend money on external investigators. “It could be some minor infraction on a property that someone could be insinuating something, and the council could look at and say, ‘That’s wrong, it’s this way,’ and not have to call in a lawyer to get advice on it, that’s my thinking. As for the OIPC recommendations, at the end of the day, decisions are made by council. They’re only recommending that the mayor and town manager view the cameras, but at the end of the day it’s council’s discretion.” Harvey said when he makes recommendations like this they could be construed as advice, but when he makes formal recommendations in a report under the act, some can be formed into court orders and have legal force behind them. Compton Hobbs said she would like council to discuss the recommendations with the OIPC, which had been requested previously. Harvey said he wasn’t aware of any such request, and while it would be unusual for him to meet with an individual council, he would like to discuss the recommended changes with the town. He stressed that his office doesn’t have a particular issue with body cameras, but if a public body wants to use them, they have to comply with privacy legislation. Evan Careen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Telegram
NEW YORK — Geoffrey S. Berman, the ousted federal prosecutor in Manhattan who led several investigations into President Donald Trump's allies, has been hired by a white-shoe law firm in New York. Berman will provide criminal defence in white-collar cases and work on complex commercial litigation at Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson, the firm announced Tuesday. The firm is “well known for its cutting-edge counsel to top tier companies and high-profile individuals,” Berman said in a statement. Fried Frank described Berman as “one of the most respected prosecutors in the United States.” Berman was pushed out in June as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, where he led several investigations with tentacles into Trump's orbit, including one involving the business dealings of Rudy Giuliani, the president’s personal attorney. The same office prosecuted former Trump attorney and fixer Michael Cohen for campaign finance crimes and two Giuliani associates tied to the investigation that led to Trump’s impeachment investigation. Giuliani has not been charged. Berman later told the House Judiciary Committee that Attorney General William Barr “repeatedly urged” him to step aside and take a new job heading up the Department of Justice’s Civil Division. “I told the attorney general that I was not interested,” Berman told the panel. “There were important investigations in the office that I wanted to see through to completion.” Berman’s removal was decried by some critics as a “Friday night massacre” and fueled longstanding concerns among Democratic lawmakers that the Justice Department had become politicized under Barr. Berman's new role as head of Fried Frank's white-collar practice was previously held by Audrey Strauss, Berman's successor in the Manhattan U.S. Attorney's Office. Berman only agreed to step down over the summer after being assured Strauss would be in charge of the office. Between jobs, Berman has taught as a visiting professor at Stanford Law School. “It’s been great teaching at my alma mater, even if by Zoom, and as soon as things return to normal, I hope to lecture in person on campus,” he told The Associated Press. __ Associated Press writer Larry Neumeister contributed to this report. Jim Mustian, The Associated Press
Nonfiction 1. A Promised Land by Barack Obama, narrated by the author (Random House Audio) 2. Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey, narrated by the author (Random House Audio) 3. Unf—k Your Brain by Faith G. Harper, PhD LPC-S ACS ACN, narrated by the author (Blackstone Audio, Inc. ) 4. The Art of War by Sun Tzu, performed by Aidan Gillen (Audible Studios) 5. Atomic Habits by James Clear, narrated by the author (Penguin Audio) 6. Mind Power Mixtape by Common, performed by the author (Audible Originals) 7. Smokey Robinson: Grateful and Blessed by Smokey Robinson, performed by the author (Audible Originals) 8. Habits for Happiness by Dr. Tim Sharp, performed by the author (Audible Original) 9. Becoming by Michelle Obama, narrated by the author (Random House Audio) 10. Be Calm by Jill P. Weber, PhD, narrated by Bernadette Dunne (Blackstone Audio, Inc.) Fiction 1. Ready Player Two by Ernest Cline, narrated by Wil Wheaton (Random House Audio) 2. The Queen’s Gambit by Walter Tevis, narrated by Amy Landon (Blackstone Audio, Inc.) 3. The Awakening by Nora Roberts, narrated by Barrie Kreinik (Macmillan Audio) 4. Rhythm of War by Brandon Sanderson, narrated by Kate Reading & Michael Kramer (Macmillan Audio) 5. Dead Acre by Rhett C. Bruno & Jaime Castle, performed by Roger Clark (Audible Originals) 6. 1984 by George Orwell, narrated by Simon Prebble (Blackstone Audio, Inc.) 7. The Weirdies by Michael Buckley, performed by Kate Winslet (Audible Originals) 8. A Christmas Carol: A Signature Performance by Tim Curry by Charles Dickens, performed by Tim Curry (Audible Studios) 9. Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle & Stephen Fry - introductions, performed by Stephen Fry (Audible Studios) 10. American Gods: The Tenth Anniversary Edition (A Full Cast Production) by Neil Gaiman, narrated by Ron McLarty, Daniel Oreskes & full cast (HarperAudio) The Associated Press
Alberta Health Services says a memo urging Calgary hospital staff to reduce use of oxygen is a proactive response to an anticipated increase in demand during the pandemic. The NDP's health critic, as well as some doctors, see it as a troubling red flag.
The Alberta government is hiring an outside contractor to review the reasons for an increase in the number of people receiving benefits from disability programs such as Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped.The $75,000 review will look at AISH, Persons with Developmental Disabilities (PDD) and Family Supports for Children with Disabilities (FSCD). According to the document provided to potential bidders, work was set to start Nov. 30 and wrap up by Dec. 23, though the timeline could be extended by three weeks if required. "The caseloads of programs that serve disabled Albertans are increasing," the document said. "The project will enhance understanding of the external and internal factors that are related to these increases and how government can better align policy, program design and delivery with these factors."The findings of the project will be considered as part of the ongoing requirement to review the efficiency and efficacy of all government programs and will support the province's planning and decision making process."The contractor is expected to suggest "practical and feasible recommendations to improve the financial sustainability of the programs."Community and Social Services Minister Rajan Sawhney was not made available for an interview. In a statement to CBC News, her press secretary Jerry Bellikka said the contract is part of the government's commitment "to review the efficiency and efficacy of all government programs" and "will support the province's planning and decision-making process."He said the successful bidder will be named and a timeline set once the contract is finalized. Marie Renaud, the NDP critic for community and social services, said she was alarmed by the narrow scope of the review, the lack of consultation and the short timeline, particularly in light of comments made by Premier Jason Kenney and his staff in September.After Kenney mused about needing to look at growing case numbers, Matt Wolf, his executive director of issues management, followed up with tweets suggesting thousands of AISH recipients might not meet the definition of being "severely handicapped" because they have anxiety or ADHD. Renaud said she thinks the government is using a tactic it has tried before to justify changes to eligibility requirements. "The evidence we've seen with this government is that a lot of these panels and reviews are really a way to give themselves cover for the next steps that they're going to take," she said.According to the bidding document, the successful proponent will look at internal government data, socio-economic information and past reviews. There is no indication they are expected to hold consultations with people who use the program or their families. Renaud said the programs in question are old and could use a review, but not in the way the government is attempting. She thinks the contractor's findings will be used to justify cuts in the February provincial budget.
Budget talks will continue but Southgate council has provided its feedback on major projects proposed for next year. While council can only approve the budget for the next year, members are presented with 10-year forecasts so they can look ahead at what’s coming. These are only projections. Projects sometimes get delayed for reasons beyond the control of the municipality, or moved forward if there is a good grant opportunity. The project funding doesn’t only come from the same year’s taxation. Projects are also financed by development charges, township reserves, transfers from other levels and in some cases by loans or grants. PLANS FOR TOWNSHIP FACILITIES ARE COMPLEX A big discussion is planned on facilities. Staff had originally proposed construction of a new multi-use facility in 2021. That has been delayed by more pressing needs for increased staff space due to COVID-19. Still, questions remain about that facility and its timing, whether any money will be dedicated to the Olde Town Hall pending proposals from private parties in the upcoming Request for Proposal. Right now, the building department is now operating out of the library, and council is meeting virtually. Discussions will include whether the council should return to the chambers or leave the space to allow more room for staff at the Hopeville office. Other facilities needing to expand are the fire station and Dundalk depot. In the past, the CAO has mentioned putting the Dundalk works and the township building departments in Dundalk, as the county has plans (no date yet decided) to move its sand dome out of town. In general discussion of the capital projects, councillors raised questions about costs expected from growth, especially in Dundalk. The CAO said that new development helps keep rates down. Instead, right now, the force that is a pressure on taxes is the need to keep roads and bridges in good condition, he said. LIBRARY The library anticipates an expenditure of $40,000 to expand the collection, for furnishings and to go to an infrastructure reserve in 2028. FIRE About $725,000 is budgeted in 2021 with the main expense being adding a new rescue/pumper/tanker. In 2022, about $300,000 for an expansion of one bay is forecast. ROADS The proposed roads budget is $3.7 million. That includes various construction projects as well as a plow truck, a loader and a one-tonne truck replacement. At an earlier discussion on Nov. 17, public works manager Jim Ellis asked council to consider whether it wanted to continue having staff work with outside contractors on infrastructure projects. Many paving projects are planned. The 2019 road conditions study found that about one-third of the hard-top roads in Southgate have a condition rating of 5 or less, meaning they need replacement of surfacing and are past asphalt maintenance strategies. Mr. Ellis posed the possibility of turning sections of low-traffic roads back to gravel to save money on roads needing re-construction. He said while 50 to 200 vehicles per day would be typical in that category of road, some sections had an average of seven vehicles per day, with the maximum of 35 in one day in a two-week study. So while a section of road like that might pop up closer to the top of the list for repairs, he said, it might be more worthwhile to put the money into a more-travelled road from slightly lower on the list. About $40,000 is anticipated to be spent on downtown improvements. M.T. Fernandes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Dundalk Herald