VANCOUVER — A COVID-19 outbreak has been declared in the nephrology unit at a hospital in Surrey, B.C.Fraser Health's interim chief medical health officer says a patient tested positive for the virus on Tuesday.Dr. Elizabeth Brodkin says the unit at Surrey Memorial Hospital has fewer than a dozen patients, and staff are being monitored and screened.She says the nephrology unit is closed to new patients and it is not expecting visitors.Brodkin says an outbreak is defined as a transmission at a hospital site.The new outbreak comes as B.C.'s health minister and provincial health officer announced 104 new cases of the novel coronavirus across the province, bringing the total number of cases to 5,952.Health Minister Adrian Dix and Dr. Bonnie Henry say in a joint statement that as schools reopen, people need to get "back to the basics" of COVID-19 safety measures. They say that 33 people are hospitalized with COVID-19, 14 of them in intensive care. The Canadian Press
The Toronto District School Board says families who have responded so far to its registration process have indicated that 70 per cent of elementary students and 78 per cent of secondary students will return to class in person when school resumes later this month.At the elementary level, kindergarten to Grade 8, 90 per cent of families responded to the TDSB registration process, indicating that 70 per cent, or 107,601 students, will go to school for in-person learning.Thirty per cent, or 47,462 elementary students, have registered for remote learning.At the secondary level, from Grade 9 to 12, the TDSB says 87 per cent of families responded to the registration process, indicating that 78 per cent, or 49,181 students, have opted for in-person learning.Twenty-two per cent, or 13,781 students, have registered for remote learning.Ryan Bird, spokesperson for the TDSB, said the board sent emails on Aug. 26 to all parents and guardians to ask them to register their children online for either in-person or virtual learning this fall. Families without email addresses or who did not respond to online registration received automated phone calls.Parents or guardians of 247,583 students — 173,220 elementary and 74,363 secondary — were contacted and asked whether their child was returning to school for in-person or virtual school learning this fall.Parents or guardians of 89 per cent, or 218,025 TDSB elementary and secondary students, responded. The board will follow up with those who have not responded, he said.Public school officially starts Sept. 15 in TorontoAccording to the TDSB, school starts on Sept. 15, but there will be a staggered start for elementary students over the first three days, from Sept. 15 to 17. All secondary school students will begin school on Sept. 15."As we prepare to open our schools in September and welcome back students and staff, we are doing everything possible to ensure the health and safety of all school community members, while also providing the best academic experience possible for students, supporting mental health and well-being and considering the needs of families and staff," the TDSB says in a message on its website.
A group of women and children out for a walk near Lillooet, B.C., earlier this week managed to fight off a cougar that was attacking a 10-year-old boy — with some help from a brave border collie.According to a Facebook post from the B.C. Conservation Officer Service, two women and four children between the ages of 10 and 13 were walking the trails around a remote family cabin near Marshall Lake on Monday afternoon when the attack happened.The 10-year-old boy had run ahead of the group when a cougar suddenly dropped out of a tree and swiped at him, knocking him to the ground and then scratching his back and chest.Conservation officers say a border collie that was with the group jumped on the cougar's back while the humans screamed and threw rocks and sticks until the big cat ran away.A nearby road worker helped give first aid to the boy, and he was taken to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. Conservation officers are now trying to track the cougar with the help of dogs.According to WildSafeBC, if you encounter a cougar in the wild, you should stay calm, don't run and immediately pick up small children.
New Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole says he wants to chart a new path in the Crown's relationship with Indigenous peoples — a relationship he argues has been marred by the Liberals' reliance on symbolism over action."You're going to see a serious approach to reconciliation under prime minister O'Toole," he told a press conference Wednesday."I haven't seen a serious approach from Mr. Trudeau, despite positive rhetoric. I want to see action and positive movement."A senior party adviser to O'Toole said the Crown relationship with Indigenous peoples is a priority for the new leader. The adviser said O'Toole's approach to the file will be based on three simple principles: show up, listen and have an open dialogue.O'Toole already has formed some relationships within the Indigenous business community. He was also the only Conservative leadership candidate to sit down for an interview with Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde for his Ahkameyimok podcast.During that 45 minute discussion, O'Toole said that to him, reconciliation means Indigenous participation in the economy to the fullest extent, along with collaboration and partnership with communities. Bellegarde said O'Toole's willingness to participate "speaks volumes" about his accessibility to Indigenous leaders. "If Erin O'Toole's job is to make the blue tent big enough to include everybody in Canada, including First Nations people, he needs to build a relationship with First Nations people — as do all parties," said Bellegarde.O'Toole touts relationship with chief in home ridingDuring the podcast, O'Toole brought up his relationship with Chief Kelly LaRocca of the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation — the only First Nations band in O'Toole's Durham riding — as an example of his outreach.This appears to be a departure from O'Toole's predecessor Andrew Scheer, who did not have close relationships with the 12 chiefs in his riding of Regina—Qu'Appelle and was booed at an AFN chiefs assembly after he couldn't say how his approach to Indigenous affairs would differ from that of former Conservative prime minister Stephen Harper.LaRocca told CBC News she's known O'Toole since 2012 and described their interactions as pleasant, even though they don't always see eye-to-eye.For example, LaRocca said, she read O'Toole's leadership platform on "igniting the Indigenous economy" and concluded he has to be clearer about what that means."By focusing the Indigenous economy in the periphery and as the pathway to reconciliation, Erin hasn't made clear, at least to me, how to address the many other very important issues," she said.LaRocca said she would like to see a plan from O'Toole on how to deal with the overrepresentation of Indigenous peoples in the criminal justice and child welfare systems, the high rates of suicide and substance abuse in Indigenous communities, the lack of high speed internet connectivity in remote areas and the problem of systemic racism, particularly within the RCMP.O'Toole's leadership platform said he wants to guarantee clean drinking water for every Indigenous community, get land claim settlements and title issues moving again and address the high cost of food in the North.But LaRocca said she wants to see more — including a proposal to address the 94 recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which was established under the Harper government to document the history and legacy of Canada's residential school system."Why is boosting the Indigenous economy the panacea to the intergenerational effects of residential schools and all of the other colonial policies?" she said."I question whether it is to pursue an economy of land and resource extraction ... that will only serve to further alienate Indigenous peoples to what matters most to them."UNDRIP still a concernO'Toole said he is not a fan of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), which sets international standards on how nation states deal with Indigenous peoples.O'Toole said the Supreme Court has set a higher bar on the so-called "duty to consult" than what is outlined in UNDRIP.The Liberal government has promised to bring in legislation to implement UNDRIP in Canada.The Conservatives voted against a private member's bill to implement UNDRIP the last time it was before Parliament in 2019 and it died in the Senate. The Conservatives' main concern at the time was the possible impact of an UNDRIP clause on the need for "free, prior and informed consent" from Indigenous peoples in order to proceed with natural resource projects. Bellegarde said UNDRIP legislation is an important part of reconciliation. He called UNDRIP the best way to balance the economy and the environment so that communities can create employment in a sustainable way. "If they [Conservatives] don't understand fully the implications of the UN declaration, it is indeed the roadmap to reconciliation in Canada," he said.Bellegarde said free, prior and informed consent will bring about economic certainty and stability in the country once it is fully endorsed — but Conservative opposition is not a deal-breaker when it comes to the AFN's relationship with the Conservative Party of Canada.Conservative critic for Crown-Indigenous Relations Jamie Schmale said the Supreme Court of Canada should be the body that defines free, prior and informed consent. "We're not totally against UNDRIP," he said. "We believe reconciliation needs to happen … We don't think anyone in Canada should have a veto over ... a major infrastructure project, so that's why we've been calling for a Supreme Court definition on what exactly what free, prior and informed consent means."Turning to Indigenous business community for ideasO'Toole has turned to JP Gladu, the former president and CEO of the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business, as a sounding board for policy ideas. Gladu, who is now the chief development relations officer at an Indigenous construction and service company in the oil and gas sector called the Steel River Group, got to know O'Toole during the previous Conservative leadership campaign.O'Toole's leadership platform includes a commitment to establishing a national Indigenous procurement policy to bring Indigenous businesses into government procurement — something Gladu said can be put in place quickly."I think he's a very genuine guy," Gladu said."It's not necessarily in the Conservative roots to reach out to Indigenous leaders. It's not part of their base, typically, so Erin was very open-minded to talk to somebody like me."
Restrictions that limit the types of development on nearly 23,000 Calgary properties could soon be relaxed.Since 1979, the Airport Vicinity Protection Area (AVPA) has dictated what can and cannot be built in communities under flight paths to and from the Calgary airport.After several years of preparation and study, a Calgary city council committee has approved amendments that could lead to an update of the AVPA.The proposal is to change noise contour lines, which would permit more development in areas that were previously restricted.In total, 22,921 properties would be removed from AVPA restrictions. Nearly 21,000 of those are residential zoned properties.It's being proposed that 2,029 other properties would soon have AVPA restrictions applied to them. Most of those properties are in northeast communities like Rundle, Whitehorn, Dover and Albert Park ,which have seen an increase in air traffic due to the opening of a new north-south runway in 2014. Most noisy older planes goneA noise contour map spells out the restrictions along approaches to YYC.The greater the noise level from passing planes, the tighter the restrictions are in a given area.Due to runway changes and improvements in airplane technology since 1979, amendments are being proposed to the provincial regulation.The rules were put in place to limit the exposure people have to airplane noise and to help protect the airport from encroaching development which might restrict its future operations.The Calgary Airport Authority is on side with the updates to the AVPA.Secondary suites weren't allowed in some areasThe chair of council's planning and urban development committee, Coun. Jyoti Gondek, said the changes to the AVPA are long overdue."Things have changed a lot since 1979," said Gondek. "There are much quieter planes now. There are different runway configurations and frankly, as the airport has made its business more efficient, we are seeing that we might not have to maintain some of the restrictions we had in the past."She said under the AVPA, some areas weren't allowed to have secondary suites and redevelopment permit applications were refused.Coun. Gian-Carlo Carra said the development restrictions can be loosened in places like Inglewood as aircraft noise today isn't the same as it was in the 1970s.However, that doesn't mean that the AVPA should be done away with entirely."We want to protect our airport because our inland port function and a strong airport are deeply connected to our economic diversification goals," said Carra.City council will discuss the proposed changes at its meeting on Sept. 14. If approved, the AVPA regulation could be amended by the provincial government.
LOS ANGELES — A court has granted Carol Burnett temporary custody of her teenage grandson as the boy's mother struggles with substance abuse.A Los Angeles Superior Court on Tuesday judge granted the 87-year-old Burnett and her husband, Brian Miller, custody of her 14-year-old grandson Dylan West until Jan. 8.The move came two weeks after Burnett and Miller had filed for custody, saying that her daughter, Erin Hamilton, had been struggling with addiction issues.Burnett said in a statement that the move was for the boy's “health, education and welfare and not intended to deny him nor the parents proper visitation with one another.”The judge's ruling says Burnett and Miller may change Dylan's home and school at least until a hearing in January.Hamilton, a singer, is the youngest of the TV comedy legend's three daughters. Burnett has been married to Miller, a musician, since 2001.An email seeking comment sent to a representative for Erin Hamilton was not immediately returned.The Associated Press
Families of the victims of the Nova Scotia mass shooting have amended their proposed class-action lawsuit to add a new accusation against the RCMP.They allege the RCMP allowed a deceased victim's body to remain inside a vehicle while it was towed from a crime scene so it could be collected and analyzed as evidence, "rather than ensuring that the body was first removed and cared for in the appropriate manner before the vehicle was seized."Sandra McCulloch, a lawyer with Patterson Law in Truro, N.S., who is representing the families, said the vehicle mentioned in the amendment relates to Joey Webber, who was killed by the shooter while he went out to run an errand for his family on the morning of April 19.Webber was one of 22 people killed by a gunman dressed like an RCMP officer during a rampage that started in Portapique, N.S., on April 18 and continued through several other rural communities the next morning.Two of the victim's families launched the proposed class-action lawsuit against the RCMP in June. It covers a range of criticisms previously raised about the tragedy, including police communication, staffing levels and notification of families.It also alleges a vehicle seized as evidence was later released to a family with human remains still inside. McCulloch confirmed the vehicle mentioned in the recent amendment is not the same vehicle that was allegedly returned with remains inside.In an email Thursday, Nova Scotia RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Jennifer Clarke said the Mounties have not yet been served with a civil claim in relation to the incidents of April 18 and 19, "but will review and consider any such claim once served."Given the situation, she said the force will not be responding to allegations in any such claim.Why a victim's body might not be movedGail Anderson, a forensic researcher and professor at Simon Fraser University's School of Criminology, said working a crime scene is a very lengthy process and in this case the crime scene would be the vehicle."Removing the body immediately may seem preferable from a compassionate point of view but would most likely destroy very crucial evidence," she said in an email Thursday.Moving the vehicle keeps the crime scene more secure, and can be more respectful, since it takes the victim "out of the eyes of the media and public," she said.In another recent case, a murder victim's body was left in a vehicle as it was towed to a secure RCMP facility.Police officers found Tylor McInnis, who had been shot, in the trunk of a car in a North Preston cemetery in August 2016.During the murder trial in 2019, Dr. Erik Mont, Nova Scotia's deputy chief medical examiner, testified that it was important for his investigation to see the body as it was found. The full autopsy was completed later.Nova Scotia named defendantMcCulloch said the amended class action has also formally named the province of Nova Scotia as a defendant in the case. "The intention all along was to add the province as a defendant but under the law in Nova Scotia, in order to sue the province you have to give them formal notice of the claim that you intend to bring against them," she said.That period of notice has since expired.Both amendments to the proposed class-action lawsuit were submitted on Tuesday.McCulloch says her team has also spent the last few months collecting information and footage from the public.The class-action lawsuit must be approved by a judge before it can proceed to trial and none of the allegations have been proven in court.MORE TOP STORIES
Some members of P.E.I.'s Chinese community are asking the Island's Department of Health to expand options for COVID-19 testing, after the Chinese government imposed new requirements for travel. Starting on Sept. 9, anyone boarding a flight from Canada to China needs to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test within the past 72 hours. Right now on P.E.I., testing is available only to those who have coronavirus symptoms or a close contact with symptoms. "Right now, there is no policy here in the province to have people tested for travel reasons," said Ally Guo, a member of the Island Chinese community who also volunteers within the community. "If you have no symptoms and no problem, they cannot test for you."Guo has recently started a social media group advocating for a testing option on P.E.I. for travel purposes — and she said at least 40 families have already joined. The group has reached out to the Association for Newcomers to Canada, the Island's Department of Health, MP Sean Casey, and Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison."We are trying to communicate with Health, and try to get them involved to have that exception for those people required to submit that kind of report [so that] they can present their ticket information or something, to have that test done," said Guo.Grandmother among those needing testOne of the people trying to get back to China is Lihua Ji, who came to P.E.I. from Beijing in December for the birth of her grandson.The plan was to stay for a couple months and return to China in March, but the pandemic made that impossible.Since then, Lihua Ji has had four flights home cancelled. She's got a ticket booked for Sept. 15, but isn't sure how she'll be allowed to board the flight unless she's able to get tested for COVID-19 within three days of the trip. Speaking through Guo, the new grandmother told CBC that she worries for her husband, who is in poor health and lives alone in China. She also said she brought only enough medication for a few months, and has been using less of it to stretch out what she's got. That supply is quickly running out. Would pay for testingGuo said those wishing to travel internationally and require a negative COVID-19 test for travel are willing to pay the costs of being tested.They can't get them done privately, even if that were an available option, because the Chinese government specifies that for travel from Canada, the tests need to be administered by institutions designated or recognized by the Chinese embassy or consulates in Canada.In P.E.I., the only acceptable tests would be administered by the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Charlottetown or the Prince County Hospital in Summerside. Working on the issue: CPHOOfficials with the Chief Public Health Office say they are working on the possibility of a testing option for travel purposes, but don't have any additional details at this time. They say more countries are requesting this as a prerequisite for entry for travel so they do plan to address this.No timelines have been provided, however.More from CBC P.E.I.
OTTAWA — Canada's minister of foreign affairs says he is deeply troubled by reports from German experts who have concluded that a Russian political opposition figure was poisoned with the same type of nerve agent used on a former spy in 2018.Francois-Philippe Champagne says in a statement Wednesday that the Canadian government strongly condemns the poisoning of Alexei Navalny, who remains in a German hospital in serious condition.Champagne's statement says Navalny was poisoned by a nerve agent of the Novichok group like the one used in the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in the United Kingdom two years ago.The Berlin hospital treating Navalny says his condition is improving, but expects a long recovery and can't rule out long-term consequences from the poisoning.The German government says that testing by a special military laboratory at the hospital's request showed "proof without doubt of a chemical nerve agent from the Novichok group."Champagne says Canada and the international community will continue to stand with Navalny and his family in their search for answers and justice."We strongly condemn this outrageous attack. Russian authorities must explain what happened so that those responsible may be held to account without delay," Champagne's statement says. "The use of chemical weapons is abhorrent and unacceptable."Navalny, a politician and corruption investigator who is one of Russian President Vladimir Putin's fiercest critics, fell ill on a flight back to Moscow from Siberia on Aug. 20 and was taken to a hospital in the Siberian city of Omsk after the plane made an emergency landing.He was later transferred to Berlin's Charite hospital, where doctors last week said there were indications that he had been poisoned.The Kremlin remained tight-lipped and said it hadn't been informed of the findings, even though its ambassador in Berlin had been summoned."Such information hasn't been relayed to us," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told the state Tass news agency.The German government has said it will inform its partners in the European Union and NATO about the test results.This report was first published by The Canadian Press on Sept. 2, 2020.— With files from The Associated PressThe Canadian Press
Skyrocketing costs set off calls for change at Prince George city hall this week, with several councillors demanding more oversight of public money after discovering construction of a downtown parkade has already gone more than $5 million over budget.An annual report presented to council Monday revealed the project, which was originally slated to come in at $12.6 million, had already cost $17.9 million by the end of 2019 — with construction still underway."I'm so unhappy with this," Coun. Brian Skakun said of the overruns. "I'm just wondering how we got it so wrong?" The parkade is the latest in a series of high-profile projects to go significantly over budget in the past three years. In 2017, construction of a new bridge went from a budgeted $3.1 million to $6.8 million.In 2019, the cost of upgrading an existing downtown parkade went from $2.8 to $5.2 million. And in June of this year, construction of a new $15 million firehall was revealed to be $2 million over budget. That's a combined total of $13.4 million in just over three years, with two of the projects still pending completion.Coun. Kyle Sampson said the series of overruns made him uncomfortable voting in favour of future projects."How can I believe that when we get these proposals brought forward to council that they're going to be coming in on budget?" he asked. "The more and more of these we see, the harder that becomes.""We have millions of dollars, in my opinion, going out the door that should have never gone out the door," Skakun said.Skakun called for a full accounting of the parkade's cost overruns, which planning and development manager Ian Wells said could be attributed to structural problems discovered after construction started, as well as steel tariffs imposed by U.S. president Donald Trump raising the costs of materials.But Coun. Cori Ramsay, who is serving her first term in office, said the larger problem lies with a system in which elected officials have delegated authority to city staff to approve cost overruns without consulting council.Under the process, the city manager can make budgetary amendments of up to five per cent of the city's total operating costs without council approval."It's, I think, approximately $7 million [annually], but what we're seeing is the entirety of delegated authority being put on one project which, I don't think, was ever the intent," Ramsay told Daybreak North host Carolina de Ryk. "It's unfortunate."Ramsay said while it makes sense to give city staff some leeway to make decisions without waiting for a vote from council, the current system needs amending so elected officials are more informed and involved as project costs evolve — particularly as people are struggling to deal with the financial implications of COVID-19."We're trying to get through these challenging times, and if our reserves have been drained an additional $5.3 million, is council going to have to review, again, decisions around reopening arenas and reopening the pools?" she asked. "These aren't decisions I want to redo. They were hard enough the first time."Ramsay said she's already asked for a review of how delegated authority in the city works, with the intention of scaling back the power the city manager has to amend the budget. "I don't think it's really fair for the administration to wear this. This was in their decision-making capabilities," she said. "My hope is we find something that works better for both of us."
Asli Farah caught COVID-19 from a co-worker whom she carpooled with to her job at an Edmonton warehouse.When health authorities sent Farah to get tested, she had to take two city buses — her only means of transport.Then came self-isolation — holed up in her room for two weeks and unable to get treatment for an infected tooth."I remember feeling like I was in jail in my own house," Farah recalled in an interview with CBC News.As a recent immigrant to Canada, she faced the additional challenge of a language barrier, making it even harder to access information or medical help."I was really sad," Farah said. "I was in a lot of pain. I feel that people that go through self-isolation should receive a lot of support."Farah's experience reflects the findings of a groundbreaking new study that reveals COVID-19 is disproportionately impacting the health and finances of Black Canadians.Black Canadians are more likely than other Canadians to seek treatment and experience layoffs due to the virus. They're also more likely to report feeling at risk on their commute to work, the research reveals.The study, carried out by the Edmonton-based African Canadian Civic Engagement Council and Innovative Research Group, looks at the health and economic impacts of COVID-19 from the perspectives of Black Canadians and those in the broader Canadian population. Its authors say it appears to be the first of its kind.The research comes after warnings from advocates, researchers and social agencies across Canada that a lack of race-based data is a barrier to ensuring those most affected by the pandemic get the help they need.Dunia Nur, president of the African Canadian Civic Engagement Council, said the research tells a largely untold story about the lived experiences of Black Canadians around COVID-19."Data will give communities the opportunity to apply for funding and say, 'This is what it says in Alberta, this is what it says in Ontario, therefore we definitely need support here,'" Nur said."Anecdotally, we hear the story, but now the story is alive and is living through empirical research."The study's findings show Black Canadians are more likely than other Canadians to be infected or hospitalized by the disease and nearly three times more likely to know someone who has died after contracting COVID-19.Black communities are experiencing layoffs, reduced work hours and a reduction in household incomes at higher rates, with men over 45 being hardest hit, the research found.Fifty-six per cent of Black respondents said their job, or the job of someone they knew, had been affected, compared with the national average of 46 per cent.The study also reveals why Black Canadians may be more heavily affected by the pandemic.Findings revealed that while Black Canadians are confident about the precautions they are taking, they feel their daily routines put them at greater risk of catching COVID-19.They reported at higher rates that their jobs require them to work face-to-face with people and that, no matter how well they protect themselves, they feel their daily routine puts them at high risk of infection. Those who worked in front-line jobs, such as cashiers, personal support workers, nurses and drivers, and who relied on public transit to get to work reported they felt most at risk.Among commuters, Black Canadians are twice as likely than the national average to feel their commute to work is unsafe, with Black commuters more likely to experience symptoms or seek medical treatment."It seems as though they're just naturally in a higher-risk situation given their socioeconomic and demographic circumstances," said Jason Lockhart, Innovative's vice-president and a principal researcher on the project.The survey was conducted online among a representative sample of 2,322 Canadians, including a representative sample of 400 Black Canadians, from June 17 through June 30.Emphasizing that their research is based on a small sample size, Nur and Lockhart said it scratches the surface, but they hope it encourages governments to collect more data in areas such as how the virus impacts children in more marginalized communities."The more we know about the impacts of COVID-19 in various communities, and perhaps the reasons why there's a disproportionate impact on these communities, [it] will help governments and help organizations like ACCEC develop policies and programs that are going to help alleviate the disproportionate impact," Lockhart said.> If we don't have this data, how can we make decisions? \- Jason Lockhart, Innovative Research Group"If we don't have this data, how can we make decisions? How can we make public policy that's going to serve communities?"Nur said the data also shows why governments should invest more in Black-led community groups, which are largely responsible for creating awareness and helping newer immigrants navigate the pandemic's many challenges."The community is doing a good job in terms of awareness," Nur said, pointing to numbers that show high levels of taking precautions and seeking treatment."However, there needs to be a lot more support for all Black communities nationally across Canada who are actually doing the front-line work."A comparable margin of error for a probabilistic sample of this size would be about +/-3 percentage points for the general population, and about +/-5 for the sample of Black Canadians.For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. 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Federal prosecutors in North Carolina announced voter fraud charges Wednesday against 19 non-citizens accused of illegally casting a ballot in 2016. Each defendant voted in a federal election in 2016, and one defendant also voted in 2018, according to a news release from United States Attorney Matthew G.T. Martin’s office. In some instances, the defendants were also charged with related offences such as making a false statement.
A U.S. Marine convicted of killing a transgender woman in the Philippines nearly six years ago will remain in prison while the victim's lawyer seeks to overturn a court ruling granting him an early release, a presidential spokesman said on Thursday. On Wednesday, the Olongapo trial court has ordered the freeing of Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton, sent to prison in 2015 for killing Jennifer Laude, saying he was eligible for early release from a six- to 10-year sentence under the government's good behaviour programme. Harry Roque, a spokesman for President Rodrigo Duterte who served as lawyer in the prosecution of Pemberton, told a media briefing Philippine prison officials will not process his release until the local court decides on an appeal filed by the victim's lawyer questioning the early release on Wednesday.
Saskatchewan is planning to make the federal COVID-19 tracing app available to residents over the next couple of weeks. Premier Scott Moe says the COVID Alert smartphone app will be an additional tool people can use to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The mystery surrounding Vida Smith's disappearance and death involves gambling and guns, CBC News has learned.Kevin Barton, 60, is charged with manslaughter, accused of killing Smith, 69, who was his friend and business partner. Her body has not been found since her disappearance in Calgary earlier this summer.The relationship between the accused and his alleged victim involved blackjack card counting with ties to casinos across the country and in Las Vegas, according to sources.Barton is now also charged with 27 firearms-related offences. The offence date listed on court documents is July 30, the day Barton was arrested.Some of the charges involve allegations that five guns — two rifles and three handguns — were found in a Cadillac Escalade, the same vehicle police allege Barton travelled to Edmonton in the day after Smith was last seen.CBC News has agreed not to identify members of Calgary's gambling community, casino employees and police officers connected to the investigation who spoke about Barton. 'Renowned' card countersBarton plays poker, baccarat and, most prominently, blackjack.Members of Calgary's poker and blackjack communities who spend time in various city casinos confirm Barton was a regular who "kept to himself."He is very smart and skilled, according to fellow casino regulars. Barton and Smith were "renowned" for their card counting skills, said one casino employee.They often worked as a team. One would count cards, signalling for the other to step in when the deck went hot.High-end firearmsAccording to court documents, Barton is charged with 27 firearms offences involving five different guns: * OA-15 rifle. * Swiss Arms black special rifle. * Kimber Arms Gold Match II handgun. * Hammerli X ESSE handgun. * Beretta 92FS Brigadier handgun. Defence lawyer Greg Dunn, who has handled many weapons cases and has an in-depth knowledge of firearms, identified the weapons as being expensive, well-made and high-end.Many of the guns are are used in sporting or shooting competitions, according to Dunn.Argument in an SUVSome of the charges allege the firearms were found in a Cadillac Escalade, the same vehicle investigators allege Barton used to drive from Calgary to Edmonton on July 22.Smith was last seen on July 21 after travelling from her home in Chestermere to an appointment in Calgary.Investigators said an argument is believed to have taken place on July 21 between 1 and 1:30 p.m. inside a white SUV parked near 2555 32nd Street N.E. that may be related to the investigation.Smith's family reported her missing after she didn't return home from Calgary and missed a medical appointment later that week.Although her body has not been found, police laid a charge of manslaughter against Barton 10 days after Smith disappeared. 'Known nationally to law enforcement'At the time of Barton's arrest, police said he was "known nationally to law enforcement."Barton, who also uses the name Chris Lee, does not have a criminal record in Alberta or British Columbia. He has, however, been banned from casinos in Alberta, Las Vegas and across Canada.A spokesperson for the Alberta Liquor, Gaming & Cannabis commission would not confirm Barton's history of being banned from Alberta casinos."The AGLC works closely with police services to maintain the integrity of gaming in Alberta. Your best bet is to contact the police service in the relevant jurisdiction as we are unable to provide any information on individuals."Beyond a press conference last month, police have declined to provide further details.Four years ago, a woman who identified herself as Barton's daughter posted on an online gambling forum asking if anyone knew her father, whom she'd been searching for. "He is a really well-known blackjack player card counter," she wrote.Barton will appear in court on the manslaughter and weapons offences next week."For legal reasons, I am unable to discuss the matter before the courts," said defence lawyer Jason Wuttunee. Prosecutor Shane Parker also declined to comment.
NEW YORK — Before she went into acting, Hilary Swank was one of those kids who looked up at the sky and dreamed of blasting off to outer space. She got to pretend living out that dream in her new Netflix series, “Away,” debuting Friday, where she plays an astronaut commander leading a voyage to Mars.“I just love an adventure and I'm a Leo,” said Swank in a recent interview.Executive produced by Jason Katims, “Away" follows Swank's character Emma Green and her international crew on this dangerous mission as she leaves behind her husband (played by Josh Charles) and teenage daughter (Talitha Bateman) for three years. It begins airing Friday.The series shifts back-and-forth between what's going on in space and back home with her family. Charles juggles health issues while essentially being a single parent. Emma has some personnel issues onboard (prickly personalities, a colleague who may think of her as more than a friend, and a rookie astronaut on her team), but what's not a factor is that she's a woman in charge.“I think it’s pretty darn awesome that’s not the drama of this show. It's not about ‘Oh, it’s a female commander,'" said Swank.Swank won an Oscar for her 1999 portrayal of a transgender man in “Boys Don’t Cry” and again for playing a boxer in the 2004 movie, “Million Dollar Baby." When it came time to play an astronaut, the actor welcomed the challenge.To mimic floating in zero gravity in space, the cast — Vivian Wu, Ray Panthaki, Mark Ivanir and Ato Essandoh — actually hung from wires.“It took a lot of effort to make it look effortless," Swank explained. “You're hanging by your hips, so when you squeeze your glutes, you go forward. And when you squeeze your abs, you go backwards. But naturally, if you’re only being held by that part of your body, you really want to omit these weird sounds but you can’t because obviously zero gravity is no effort. So it took a lot of getting used to for all of us.”The wire work did more than just give the actors a good workout. They were forced to spend more time together than usual — because they were literally hanging out on set.“You're on a wire and you can’t easily get off and go into a corner and get on your phone. We were really present with one another,” said Swank.The self-professed adventure junkie says she did encounter something that surprised her when she first tried on her spacesuit: “full-on” claustrophobia."They put the gloves on and it actually goes click, and then you can’t get it off until you push a button and then do a lever and you can’t take your gloves off by yourself. And then the helmet went on. And then it went click, and I really freaked out,” said Swank.“I tried to keep myself under control. I didn’t want people to worry. But then they clearly were like, ‘Are you OK?’ And I looked in the mirror because I was in my fitting and I was bright red and I was sweating and I was like, ‘Yeah, I’m just hot.’ So that was something that I had to work through in 10 episodes. But I eventually worked through it.”___Follow Alicia Rancilio at http://www.twitter.com/aliciarAlicia Rancilio, The Associated Press
Island Waste Management Corporation says it's seeing more COVID-19-related waste lately.An increase in items like gloves, masks and sanitary wipes has the corporation's CEO reminding Islanders that all of that material has a proper place, and it's not in the compost bin, recycling bag or toilet."Basically, everything goes in the waste stream. So that would include things like rubber gloves, masks, as well as sanitary wipes," said Gerry Moore. "I know I'd be remiss if I didn't remind people that wipes should go in the waste as well. Some people have been flushing those into municipal sewer systems and/or, you know, their own septic system. And those materials don't break down well and are not really wise to flush." As more public spaces and businesses on P.E.I. require customers to wear masks while indoors, along with the Chief Public Health Office's strong recommendation that masks be worn when physical distancing can't be maintained, more Islanders might be reaching for a disposable mask these days. 'Reusable is always better'Moore said while there is a time and place for disposable masks, he wants Islanders to consider using reusable ones if possible, to keep single-use masks from piling up in the waste stream. "If everybody has a disposable mask and there's 150,000 or 160,000 people a day using them, there's 150,000 or 160,000 masks. So it does add up," he said."Anything reusable is always better as far as generating waste." But Moore said he understands that in some situations it might be necessary to use a disposable mask. Other ways to helpMoore said Islanders can do other things to help Island Waste Management Corporation staff. He said people can take their carts out to the curb wearing gloves, and be sure to keep their distance from employees who are doing the collection. "Also from time to time, if you can disinfect the handle of your cart with some sanitary wipes, we would encourage doing that just as a precautionary measure," he said. If anyone in your household has been diagnosed with the virus, Moore said people should make sure their garbage and compost are properly sorted, bagged and put into the cart, not left loose inside — just as an added layer of protection. City has not noticed a riseThe city of Charlottetown said it hasn't noticed an increase in COVID-19 waste or litter in the city itself. "Citizens and visitors have been very respectful to ensure proper disposal of their waste, including masks and gloves," Scott Adams, the city's manager of public works, said in a statement."The street sweepers use protective gloves and grabbers when picking up waste, so they are not in close personal contact." More from CBC P.E.I.
CALGARY — A homeless shelter in downtown Calgary is working to contain an outbreak of COVID-19 after five people staying there tested positive for the virus.The Calgary Drop-In Centre said that as of Wednesday more than 140 clients and 100 staff have been tested on-site since the shelter reported its first case a week ago."We are all continuing to work diligently to keep our shelter staff and client population protected best we can, and we thank the community for their kindness during this time," the shelter, one of the largest in North America, said in a statement.People are waiting for test results in a hotel that's being used as an assisted isolation site, as well as at the Drop-In Centre's satellite shelter.An Alberta Health Services guidance document issued to shelters in July states beds, mats or cots should be spaced two-metres apart head-to-toe, if space allows.However, acknowledging space limitations, a minimum of one-metre is allowed in non-outbreak situations.Before the pandemic, the Drop-In Centre housed an average of 725 people per night. Now it's capacity is 300.The shelter is open only to people who have been inside since Aug. 8.Chaz Smith, who runs the Be the Change YYC homeless outreach team, said he met 10 people who were turned away last week."It increases, if you have any mental-health symptoms, that sense of abandonment," he said."(It) increases the anxiety, the depression associated with not being able to have a safe place to go or access to food, water, washrooms, showers and essentials of life."He said it was inevitable that there would be an outbreak at a shelter, given how the virus spreads, and that the two-metre distancing rule should apply like in most other indoor spaces.Edmonton's city council voted Wednesday to ask the provincial and federal governments for money to buy financially distressed hotel and apartment buildings and convert them to short- and medium-term transitional homeless accommodations.Smith has sent a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi and others asking to make vacant hotel rooms available as temporary homeless shelters."We plead with you to make a long-term plan that will address the impending colder weather. We hope you will act sooner than later," Smith wrote."Housing our vulnerable population in hotels ensures everyone has a space to self-isolate, eliminates the danger of spreading the virus through the sharing of sinks and washrooms, and will also help the hotel industry cut losses due to COVID's negative effect on tourism."The Alberta government announced $48 million in new funding last month to support shelters and community organizations that serve those without homes.The province has not specified how the money is being divvied up or how many spaces it could create. Community and Social Services Minister Rajan Sawhney has said overflow shelter sites at convention centres in Calgary and Edmonton won't be reactivated as demand increases in the winter.The province wound down the temporary shelters at the Calgary Telus Convention Centre and Edmonton Expo Centre this summer, and Sawhney said alternative overflow options were being explored. Smith said although those on the street are again able to panhandle with the reopening of businesses and a return of people returning to downtown Calgary, the priority is finding somewhere warm to sleep."I just don't want my clients to have to start saying I have to break into places again to stay warm. It's survival instinct. If we don't provide, that's what they're going to do."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 3, 2020Lauren Krugel and Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press
A new report by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) reveals populations of at-risk species are declining at a troubling rate in Canada. Robin Gill has a closer look at the findings, and what's being done to protect these vulnerable species.