Harry Morton’s brother has broken his silence after the restauranteur’s sudden death.
The warning period is over for speeding drivers captured on camera in school and community safety zones across Toronto. The city's automated speed enforcement program, which includes 50 units that track speed and take photos of licence plates, began late last year with signage notifying drivers that the cameras were there. For the first three months, the owners of vehicles caught speeding received warning letters, but no penalties. The move into the next phase — issuing speeding tickets — was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic but went into effect on Monday. "We would have preferred not to have to go down this path," Mike Barnet, manager of automated enforcement for the City of Toronto said in an interview with CBC News. "I would have been very happy if just the presence of the signage made a big difference."The automated speed enforcement program is part of Vision Zero — a movement to eliminate deaths and injuries from traffic collisions that has been adopted by municipalities around the world. Toronto, as well many other municipalities in the GTA, have developed Vision Zero strategies that include the use of automated speed enforcement. The goal, transportation specialists across the GTA say, is to change driver behaviour through both fines and public education. It's not, as some drivers might complain, "a cash grab," said Ramesh Jagannathan, director of transportation and field services, for Durham Region, which is in the midst of starting its own camera speed enforcement program. "If I get ... 100 per cent speed compliance and zero revenue, to me that's a success. We are not looking for revenue here," Jagannathan told CBC News. Barnet agreed, saying he hopes the cameras will eventually become unnecessary. "We've seen really high speeds and that's why we're moving forward with this next step," he said. "We want people to slow down. And, you know, we hope that this program is so successful that we won't be issuing tickets in the years to come."Jagannathan said traffic engineers across the GTA are hoping for a "halo effect," where drivers who have been slowing down because they think there's a camera watching also get into the habit of reducing their speed on other roads where cameras aren't present. All 50 automated speed enforcement cameras in Toronto are placed in school zones in all wards, a city spokesperson said in an email. They're also mobile, so will be moved every three to six months "to address a greater number of areas with safety concerns and provide a wider-ranging deterrent effect," the email said. Ontario's Highway Traffic Act only allows the cameras to be placed on roads where the speed limit is 70 km/h or below, and requires signage warning drivers of their presence for 90 days before tickets can be issued. Toronto is the first city in the GTA to activate the automated speed enforcement cameras, but other municipalities aren't far behind. Studies in other jurisdictions, including other provinces in Canada and in the U.S., have shown automated speed enforcement cameras are effective at reducing speeding and collisions, transportation officials from Toronto, Durham Region, York Region and Peel Region told CBC News. According to a study conducted in Seattle and published earlier this year in the journal Injury Prevention, speed violations decreased by nearly half once tickets were issued, compared to the warning period.Throughout the GTA, the photos of licence plates will be sent to a central processing centre, where provincial offences officers review them and send tickets, including a copy of the image, to the registered owner of the vehicle.Unlike a police officer, the automated cameras can't issue tickets to someone driving another person's vehicle. The penalty is a fine only, with no demerit points. Here's how — and where — automated speed enforcement cameras are rolling out across other parts of the GTA. Durham RegionDurham Region is placing four mobile cameras in school zones on regional roads — one each in Pickering, Oshawa, Whitby and Ajax. The cameras will rotate between about 25 designated zones throughout the region, Jagannathan said. Signage has been installed warning drivers where the cameras are present, and the region is also advertising on buses and on social media to increase public awareness. Durham Region is aiming to start issuing speeding tickets to vehicle owners caught by the cameras at the beginning of the school year. Pickering is planning to start its own photo radar pilot project on its streets later in the fall, a spokesperson for the city told CBC News in an email. York RegionYork Region has one mobile camera that it will rotate through 12 community safety zones, which cover 19 schools.The two-year pilot project is "tentatively scheduled" to begin in September, said Nelson Costa, York Region's manager of corridor control and safety in an email to CBC News. The automated speed enforcement zones are locations deemed to be highest risk and were chosen in consultation with York Regional police, Costa said. Factors considered in the decision included traffic volume, school population and speed-related collision data. Signs have been posted in all the zones and speeding tickets will be issued as soon as the cameras go live. There is at least one zone in every York Region town and city. At this time, the individual municipalities are not installing their own speed enforcement cameras on town or city-run streets, Costa said. York Region's automated speed enforcement locations are on the following roads (some roads cross into multiple municipalities):Vaughan * Rutherford Road * Weston Road King Township * King RoadMarkham * Highway 7Richmond Hill * Bayview Avenue * Bloomington RoadAurora * Wellington Street * Bloomington RoadWhitchurch-Stouffville * Bloomington RoadNewmarket * Mulock DriveEast Gwillimbury * Mount Albert Road * Leslie StreetGeorgina * Old Homestead Road Peel RegionThe first automated speed enforcement in Peel Region will be in Caledon, in a school zone on Old Church Road. It's expected to be up and running in September. The mobile camera will later rotate between five other school zones in the town. The city of Brampton has put up warning signs in five locations where automated speed enforcement cameras will be used. The zones are on Lawson Boulevard, Avondale Boulevard, Richvale Drive North, Fernforest Drive and Vodden Street East. It's not yet clear when tickets will start to be issued. Potential addition locations will be considered at Brampton City Council's next meeting on Wednesday, along with an implementation plan, a spokesperson told CBC News in an email. The city of Mississauga is also in the midst of a plan to install speed enforcement cameras in community safety zones. It will begin in 2021. Before that happens, however, Mississauga is completing its "neighbourhood area speed limit project," a spokesperson said in an email. That project will lower speed limits in the city's "school area community safety zones" to 30 km/h.
TORONTO — Hamilton-raised theatre star Nick Cordero, who had legions of supporters rallying for him on social media during his harrowing health battle with COVID-19, has died in Los Angeles.His wife, dancer-turned-celebrity personal trainer Amanda Kloots, said Cordero died on Sunday morning, "surrounded in love by his family."He was 41."My heart is broken as I cannot imagine our lives without him," Kloots wrote on Instagram. "Nick was such a bright light. He was everyone’s friend, loved to listen, help and especially talk. He was an incredible actor and musician. He loved his family and loved being a father and husband."The Tony Award-nominated actor, singer and musician first entered hospital in L.A. at the beginning of April with what was seemingly a case of pneumonia, said Kloots.Doctors suspected it was the novel coronavirus and administered three tests for it.The first two tests came back negative and the third was positive for COVID-19.The disease ravaged his body, according to Kloots, who kept the world updated on his situation daily with posts on her Instagram account.She said doctors described his lungs as being riddled with holes and looking as if he'd been smoking for 50 years, even though he wasn't a smoker.He had a lingering lung infection and major complications from the disease, including blood pressure problems and clotting issues that led to the amputation of his right leg.Cordero was in an intensive care unit on various machines to help support his heart, lungs and kidneys.He was in a medically-induced coma but had come out of it before his death.Kloots put on a brave face on her Instagram account, posting positive messages and often appearing with their son, Elvis, who just had his first birthday.She encouraged everyone to play Cordero's song "Live Your Life" to help send positive vibes for him into the universe.Her plea spurred countless Instagram users, including some celebrities and Broadway stars, to post videos of themselves dancing to "Live Your Life" and performing various incarnations of it.Kloots said that on Sunday, she sang the song to him in person, holding his hands.As I sang the last line to him, 'they'll give you hell but don't you (let) them kill your light not without a fight. Live your life,' I smiled because he definitely put up a fight," she wrote.Along with her daily "Nick update" on her account, Kloots also often told heartwarming stories of their relationship and life together.She said they struck up a relationship while they were performing on the Great White Way in "Bullets Over Broadway," which earned him the Tony nomination.Cordero grew up in Hamilton's west end and attended Ryerson University for acting.He was also nominated for a Drama Desk Award for his role in the musical "A Bronx Tale." His other stage credits included "Rock of Ages."This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 5, 2020.Victoria Ahearn, The Canadian Press
A man walked off a flight from Halifax to St. John's before takeoff on Saturday after realizing almost everyone on the flight would need to self-isolate upon arrival, except him.Brian Power lives in Halifax. He booked a flight to St. John's for July 4, one day after the Atlantic provinces opened their borders to each other.People from all four Atlantic provinces can now travel within the region without self-isolating.He assumed the flight would only have passengers from within the Atlantic region."It was not until I was physically on the plane that I realized I was with a lot of people from all over Canada … [they] were all discussing their isolation strategies," Power said.Everyone wore masks on the plane. Leading up to boarding, Power said all the passengers adhered to physical distancing rules."But once you're on a sold-out Dash 8, you're sitting on each other's laps," he said. "You're not getting around that."When he asked the flight attendants and gate staff about being in close contact with people who would need to self-isolate, he said he was met with an "indifferent shrug."So, he got off the plane.Power said he doubts he was exposed to the virus, but he immediately drove himself to a COVID-19 assessment centre in Dartmouth.When the Atlantic bubble opened Friday, people were excited to fly from Halifax to St. John's and vice versa with no mention of concerns over contracting the virus on the plane.But Power, whose father passed away in St. John's two weeks ago, said there's "no way" he would take the chance of getting infected and carrying the virus to his mother and extended family.If airlines offered flights only for Atlantic passengers, even if just once a week or bi-weekly, Power said he'd "happily" hop on."But I just can't roll the dice like that, not knowing where everyone else came from," he said. "Maybe it's paranoia. Maybe it's prudent. I'll take a bit of both."Each province has different rules of entry, with some conducting health screening while others do not, but all require proof of residency in Atlantic Canada.The rules are the same whether you're crossing the border on the ground or in the air, which Power calls an "obvious flaw" in the system.But experts say there hasn't been widespread transmission in airplanes, and airlines and airports are taking extra safety precautions to reduce the spread of the virus.MORE TOP STORIES
The resort this group stayed at had some amazing foliage and walkways. There are many wild creatures that also enjoy the resort. These creatures are not as such on a vacation like the humans, but they have taken up refuge within the bush areas of the resort. Although it is suggested not to feed the wild animals, many enjoy getting up close and personal with some of the animals. Here we see these very large iguana sunning at the edge of one of the resort pools. These large iguana are mainly herbivores but they will eat other food that they may come across while walking. This resort is very expansive and has acres of trees and bush in which wild animals inhabit. The spiny tail green iguana is very popular in these areas. Being vegetarians, in particular, they enjoy flowering shrubs, hibiscus, berries, fruits and vegetables such as tomatoes, strawberries and figs. Right beside the pathway was a very tall palm tree that had dropped many dark berries and the iguana was picking them up as he walked along the garden. While walking within the resort, this visitor noticed these two big lizards near the pool edge. Along with some pool tiles that had been placed near the edge, there were also some plastic drink glasses. Even though this resort is very eco-conscious and uses biodegradable “plastic” cups, they still can be a hazard for animals. Taking care that the iguana did not pick up and eat the pool tiles, the videographer noticed the iguana had focused on the plastic cup. Thinking that the lizard could not actually eat the cup, Brent was not that concerned, until the iguana began pushing the cup along the pool deck. Once the lizard had successfully pushed the cup into the pool, it was known to be safe that the iguana would at least not bite the cup. Picking up the pool tiles was the next important item on Brent’s agenda as he could see the iguanas would possibly think they were a snack so those were discarded into the trash. Iguana are beautiful creatures that need to be protected and preserved.
OTTAWA — The national immunity task force has started testing thousands of blood samples for COVID-19 antibodies and should be able to produce a more detailed picture of how many Canadians have been infected with the novel coronavirus within a couple of weeks.It will be much longer, however, before we know more about what kind of protection against future infection having the antibodies provides, said Dr. Timothy Evans, executive director of the COVID-19 Immunity Task Force.Plus, said Evans, most of the people whose blood is being tested will not be informed of the results because of how the blood is being collected for testing."There won't be an opportunity for individuals to find out their status," said Evans, who is also director of the McGill School of Population and Global Health.At least 105,000 Canadians have tested positive for COVID-19 since the coronavirus was identified in January, while many others were sick but couldn't get tested because provinces were limiting who could access the procedure until just a few weeks ago.Evans also said a significant number of people get the infection and show no symptoms and will have no clue they were ever sick. Evans said immunity testing in other countries has suggested the actual infection rate is 10 to 20 times more than the number of confirmed cases.There are multiple prongs to the task force's plan to figure out the true infection rate here, starting with running antibody tests on 40,000 samples collected from people who donated blood to Canadian Blood Services and Hema Quebec since May. Evans said about 1,600 of those samples are being run through the test kits every day now, and analyses are already under way on the results."Hopefully within the next two weeks we will have an initial first number," he said.The first results will reveal how many samples showed antibodies, but include no specifics like whether they are male or female or where they live."By the end of the month of July, we expect to have a more broken down picture of what we call the seroprevalence, the presence of antibodies in the blood, that will look at it by age group and geographic location," Evans said.Evans said Canadian Blood Services can't trace back the samples to the actual patients who gave them, so positive antibody tests will not be reported back for anyone who donated blood outside of Quebec. He said Hema Quebec said it might be possible to identify the patients but hasn't yet decided if it will do so.Another testing program is now beginning on 25,000 blood samples taken from pregnant women, using blood routinely drawn during the first trimester to screen for sexually transmitted infections and check for immunity to other illnesses like rubella. COVID-19 antibody testing will be added to that list for all pregnant women in Canada, going back all the way to December. The women will be informed if they test positive for COVID-19 antibodies, said Evans.Evans said there are also about 30,000 blood samples held in provincial labs that are being tested for antibodies.He said together these projects can provide a piecemeal picture of the infection rate across the country, though it won't be a truly representative sample until a national household survey can be run. That isn't going to happen until the portable antibody tests become reliable, but a plan is being developed with Statistics Canada so it's ready when the tests are."We'd love to have a test that didn't require a formal blood draw, but rather a pin prick but we're not quite there yet," he said. "There's some things on the horizon. We're trying to get those validated quickly but we still haven't got what I would call a good portable test that could be used in the home."The tests the task force is using now require only a small amount of blood — less than 1/20th of a teaspoon, generally — but it is still more than what comes from a finger prick.Evans said understanding how many people got infected can help drive policy decisions about where to vaccinate first, the impact specific public health measures might have had in some settings like long-term care centres, hospitals and schools, or communities that have been hit particularly hard.The task force also has a two-year mandate to try to look at what kind of protection someone has from having antibodies, as well as how long the levels of antibodies last in a person's blood. Evans said those studies are just getting underway and will take time, including looking to see whether people who have the antibodies get infected during a second or third wave of the pandemic.This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 5, 2020.Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press
Uncovering what's become of Canada's deficit, implementing a bonus for workers returning to their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic and boosting funding for the country's auditor general are among the Official Opposition's top priorities ahead of Wednesday's fiscal snapshot."We need the government to tell us next week, 'How big is the deficit, how big is the debt?'" Conservative finance critic Pierre Poilievre said during a news conference Sunday. "Stop hiding the mess."The Trudeau government will update the country on the state of Ottawa's finances on July 8, after a plan to present the federal budget was sidelined in March as the novel coronavirus continued to spread. The snapshot will include a new official deficit estimate, a figure the parliamentary budget officer says could hit $256 billion due to spending on emergency aid and a historic drop in economic output. "I think the essential frame from my standpoint [is] we took on the debt so Canadians didn't have to," Finance Minister Bill Morneau said in an interview last week. "We were in the position to take on the investments required because we had the capacity and the ability to deliver at scale that would only be possible for the federal government."The Conservatives and members of other opposition parties have been critical of the Liberal government's decision to release a snapshot instead of a more robust update."It shouldn't be just what the deficit will be. There should be some understanding of what things will look like six months from now," Conservative small business critic James Cumming said at the news conference."They could also provide some baselines. You could have a low baseline, a high baseline, so you could at least give some information on how we are tracking," he said. In June, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that "making projections about what our economy would look like six months from now or a year from now is simply an exercise in invention and imagination."Easing workers off CERBPoilievre also highlighted the Conservative Party's proposed "back-to-work" bonus to transition workers off the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) — a plan he said his party has raised with the Liberals. "People on [CERB] should be rewarded when they make the courageous decision to go back to work and earn a wage," he said. Under the plan, Canadians who earn between $1,000 and $5,000 a month — workers who would lose their $2,000 CERB payment under the Liberals' existing program — would be eligible for the bonus, which would replace the CERB. "I have personally raised this proposal with Finance Minister Bill Morneau. It is my understanding that Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer has raised it with the prime minister," Poilievre said. "So far we have not gotten any positive signals."More funding for financial scrutinyPoilievre also said fully funding Canada's cash-strapped auditor general was critical to ensure financial oversight amid the pandemic."The auditor general has been deprived of at least $11 million in necessary funding in order to examine the government's spending," he said. Interim auditor general Sylvain Ricard has warned that his office has had to reduce the number of audits it performs because of a funding shortfall. NDP finance critic Peter Julian said his party will be focused Wednesday on seeing that the Liberals address the use of overseas tax havens, but he agrees that funding for proper scrutiny is needed."We have to reinforce the auditor general so that [they] can do the appropriate investigation around the expenditures, he told CBC Radio's The House in an interview that aired Saturday.LISTEN | MPs on the upcoming fiscal snapshot, We Charity contract:Poilievre cited the federal government's recent decision to part ways with the WE Charity as a reason why better accountability is needed. The partnership would have seen the organization — which has ties to the Trudeau family — dole out more than $900 million in grants to students this summer. Canada's ethics watchdog launched an investigation into the matter late Friday, a move both the Conservatives and NDP previously called for.
PHILADELPHIA — In a nearly empty Philadelphia courtroom in June 2015, a lawyer for Bill Cosby implored a federal judge to keep the comedian’s testimony in an old sexual battery lawsuit under wraps. It was sensitive. Embarrassing. Private.U.S. District Judge Eduardo Robreno had another word for it.The conduct Cosby detailed in his deposition was “perhaps criminal,” Robreno wrote five years ago Monday, in a momentous decision that released the case files to The Associated Press, reopened the police investigation, and helped give rise to the MeToo movement.Cosby, the Hollywood paragon of Black family values, was convicted of sexual assault in 2018 as the movement exploded and women across the globe shared personal histories of sexual harassment and abuse. He is serving up to 10 years in prison.And now in the midst of another historic reckoning — this time addressing the treatment of African Americans and other people of colour by police and the criminal justice system — the 82-year-old Cosby has won the right to an appeal.He hopes to use the moment to his advantage.“The false conviction of Bill Cosby is so much bigger than him — it’s about the destruction of ALL Black people and people of colour in America,” Cosby spokesman Andrew Wyatt said when the court accepted the appeal late last month.___Cosby, who grew up in public housing in Philadelphia, has a complicated relationship with the Black community. He earned acclaim for his groundbreaking (and intentionally race-blind) performances on television in the 1950s; mingled, but rarely marched, with civil rights leaders and the Black elite in the 1960s; and solidified his wealth and power with his star turn as “America's Dad,” on “The Cosby Show” in the 1980s.All the while, he promoted education and gave millions to historically Black universities.But his increasingly jarring comments on poverty, parenthood and personal responsibility offended younger Blacks in his later years, most famously in his 2004 “Pound Cake” speech — which he gave just months after the sexual encounter that would prove his downfall.As he toured the country, Cosby argued that “the antidote to racism is not rallies, protests, or pleas, but strong families and communities," as the essayist Ta-Nehisi Coates noted.“Cosby’s gospel of discipline, moral reform, and self-reliance offers a way out — a promise that one need not cure America of its original sin in order to succeed,” Coates wrote in his 2008 piece in The Atlantic, "'This Is How We Lost to the White Man': The audacity of Bill Cosby's Black conservatism."___The appeal issues the court accepted don't directly include racial bias, which Cosby’s legal team raised more often on the courthouse steps in Montgomery County than inside the courtroom. His defenders, however, say race permeates the case.Cosby’s celebrity “does not change his status as a Black man," said appellate lawyer Jennifer Bonjean, the latest of more than a dozen criminal lawyers on the case.“It would be naïve to assume that his prosecution was not tainted by the same racial bias that pervades the criminal justice process in both explicit and insidious ways,” she said last week.Cosby's wife of 56 years has been more blunt.In an interview last month with ABC-TV, Camille Cosby said the MeToo movement ignores “the history of particular white women” who have “accused Black males of sexual assault without any proof.”“We know how women can lie,” said Camille Cosby, who made only brief appearances at her husband's trials, for defence closing arguments, and has not visited him in prison. She declined to speak to the AP last week.The appeal hinges on two questions that have shaped the case from the start:— Did Cosby have an ironclad deal with District Attorney Bruce Castor that Cosby could never be charged after Castor declined to arrest Cosby in 2005? Defence lawyers say Cosby relied on such a promise when he gave the 2006 deposition later unsealed in accuser Andrea Constand’s lawsuit — and used against him at trial.Castor agrees they did. But it was never put in writing, and Castor’s top deputy at the time, Risa Ferman, who helped run the initial investigation and reopened it in 2015 when she was district attorney, seemed not to know about it.— And, how many other accusers should be allowed to testify before the scales of justice tip against the accused?Cosby’s trial judge allowed just one other accuser in the first trial when the jury deadlocked, but five at the retrial a year later. The jury convicted Cosby on all three sex assault counts.The state's intermediate appeals court seemed unimpressed by either issue, rejecting Cosby’s first appeal.“The reality of it is, he gives them drugs and then he sexually assaults them,” Superior Court Judge John T. Bender said at the arguments. “That’s the pattern, is it not?”But Cosby appealed again, setting up the state Supreme Court arguments expected sometime next year.___Constand knew Cosby from her job at Temple University, where Cosby was a booster, alumnus and longtime trustee twice her age.Her trial testimony matched his deposition in many respects, the key distinction being her consent to what happened at his suburban Philadelphia estate. Both say that Cosby gave her three pills for stress before Cosby, in his words, engaged in “digital penetration.”Constand, a former professional basketball player, who is white, said she was left semi-conscious and could not fight him off. (She thought she was taking a homeopathic supplement; Cosby later said it was Benadryl, while acknowledging he once gave a 19-year-old Quaaludes before sex.)More than 60 women, mostly white but a few women of colour, have made similar accusations against Cosby.Cosby lawyer Bonjean, though, believes the MeToo movement is fading, and that Cosby, if he wins a new trial, might avoid what she called “the mob-justice standards of a hashtag movement."___Not long after the encounter with Constand, Cosby gave the “Pound Cake” speech to the NAACP, riffing about a scenario in which the Black community complains when someone is shot by police over a stolen piece of cake.“Then we all run out and are outraged, ‘The cops shouldn’t have shot him.’ What the hell was he doing with the pound cake in his hand?” Cosby asked.A decade later, Black comedian Hannibal Buress took Cosby to task for his scolding.“You rape women, Bill Cosby, so turn the crazy down a couple notches," he said onstage in 2014.Former prosecutor Kristen Gibbons Feden, who gave closing arguments at Cosby’s retrial, recognizes the good Cosby did for the Black community. She also believes that racial bias exists in the criminal justice system.“It doesn’t make Cosby innocent,” said Feden, who is Black. “It means we need to fix the criminal justice system.”Wake Forest University Dean Jonathan L. Walton, who teaches about African American social movements, said that Cosby undeniably boosted the representation of Blacks in American culture. Yet Walton said Cosby might not be the best messenger for today's moment.“One should agree with him as it relates to systemic racism and the injustices of the ‘justice system,’" said Walton, the divinity school dean, "while also being suspicious of what seems to be a pattern of his, of only identifying problems when they personally benefit him.”___ This story has been corrected to reflect that the federal court hearing with Judge Eduardo Robreno was in June 2015, not July 2015.Maryclaire Dale, The Associated Press
The border between Australia's two most populous states will close from Tuesday for an indefinite period as authorities scramble to contain an outbreak of the coronavirus in the city of Melbourne. The decision announced on Monday marks the first time the border between Victoria and New South Wales has been shut in 100 years. "It is the smart call, the right call at this time, given the significant challenges we face in containing this virus," Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews told reporters in Melbourne.
WINNIPEG, Manitoba/TORONTO (Reuters) - Six years ago, Canadian oilfield services firm Calfrac Well Services <CFW.TO> commanded a C$2.1 billion ($1.55 billion)market value and was poised for U.S. expansion. The Texas billionaire Wilks brothers, already its top shareholder, scooped up more of the company's debts in June, a regulatory filing showed, preparing to salvage what they can from restructuring. The Canadian industry has borrowed heavily to survive a series of catastrophes, and is facing C$6 billion in refinancing in the next six months, the Bank of Canada said in May.
The Saskatchewan government has announced a $4-billion plan to expand irrigation out of the Lake Diefenbaker reservoir. Work is set to begin immediately, and will be completed in three phases over the next decade.CBC reporter Jason Warick spoke Friday with John Pomeroy, a Canada Research chair and director of the University of Saskatchewan's Global Water Futures program. The following interview has been edited for length and clarity.What do you think of the government's announcement? The announcement was not a surprise. This has been in the works for some time. But certainly the scope of it is truly remarkable, an incredible event in many ways for water resource management in Saskatchewan.The expansion of irrigation is something that was long planned for Lake Diefenbaker. The original expansion of the project was largely not realized. The reservoir was designed to do this. That's what it was built for.What are some of the issues that need to be considered? It's 2020. We have downstream users. We have rapid climate change occurring, and we have unresolved downstream issues for Indigenous communities. So lots of things need to be sorted out beyond the irrigation expansion itself.Does it seem like a good idea overall? As a scientist, I won't say something's a good idea or not a good idea. There's a will to do it, so I think what's important is that it has a scientific basis to its design, that it's designed for the 21st century, not the 20th. There are trans-boundary and Indigenous issues involved — this water flows into Manitoba. There are lots of other considerations.Like what? One example is if we take water out of Lake Diefenbaker and use it for irrigation, it will mostly evaporate through the growth of crops. That means it won't be able to run [at the same levels] through the turbines to generate hydro electricity at Gardiner Dam. Nor will that stream flow be available to Manitoba to generate electricity.Can you talk about any possible effect on ecosystems? That flow also won't be available for the necessary sediment load and flooding of the Saskatchewan Delta near Cumberland House, which is crucial for that ecosystem and for the lives of Indigenous communities in that area.Are the proposed volumes to be diverted for irrigation sustainable? In the last 20 years, we've had some very low flows in the river that would challenge a large irrigation project. But [it can work] as long as you manage it properly and understand that there are years where we have to hold water back.But we also have to take into account the changes that are occurring in a shifting climate. Saskatchewan in 50 years, 100 years — the life of this project — will be much warmer and somewhat wetter, but much more variable; some flooding, and droughts in between. It could be very useful to have [this project] to manage that.The estimated cost is $4 billion. It will irrigate hundreds of thousands of acres. How significant is it? It's a massive project. It would dramatically expand irrigation from what it is right now.Do you have any other thoughts? Because the Saskatchewan River basin flows from Alberta to Saskatchewan and Manitoba, with Indigenous communities as well, this is certainly a national project. The complexity is immense. The design should really be quarterbacked and spearheaded by a federal agency. It's not just a Saskatchewan project.
A racist poster featuring the N-word that appeared in an office at the Department of National Defence has now become the focus of an investigation ordered by Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan. The case relates to a 2016 incident in which a supervisor at DND in Ottawa put up a flyer in a kitchenette showing a photo of a white van made to look like an ad for a Detroit moving company. The logo featured caricatures of two Black men carrying spears and an offensive slogan containing the N-word. The original complaint was launched by Andrea Kenny, a Black employee, in the spring of 2017.She said she was "shocked" when she first saw the image in late 2016."There was only three of us on that whole floor that were racially visible people," she said. "So, for my immediate supervisor to be posting something like that was a disregard for the employees in that environment."She said she complained to the supervisor's boss, and the supervisor was ordered to apologize to the Black employees in the office.Internal complaints rejectedKenny launched a formal internal grievance with DND after the supervisor, a senior military officer, posted a second image in the kitchenette — this time, a racist joke referencing Jews and Hitler. That complaint alleging racial discrimination as well as systemic racism was repeatedly rejected in decisions by the department's internal grievance mechanism."It was just no,no, no," said Sandra Griffith-Bonaparte of the Union of National Defence Employees. Griffith-Bonaparte, who assisted Kenny through the grievance process, is no longer a union representative, but she said when she was with the union, grievances related to racial discrimination were routinely rejected.Watch: Looking at 'the big picture' to fight anti-Black racismKenny has been waiting for a hearing date for her appeal before the Federal Public Sector Labour Relations and Employment Board. A backlog of cases at the board means that process could take another couple of years, according to Kenny's advocate, Doug Hill, from the legal services branch of the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC). He said 70 per cent of employees choose to resolve issues related to workplace discrimination through mediation, which includes confidentiality clauses, effectively burying, says Hill, the magnitude of the public service's race problem.'Serious incident'After CBC inquired about the case with the Department of National Defence this week, the defence minister weighed in. "This serious incident in Ottawa has just recently been brought to my attention," Sajjan said in an interview. "I have directed that it be thoroughly investigated immediately, and appropriate action will be taken at its conclusion."Sources close to the case told CBC the supervisor responsible for posting the image in the kitchen has been suspended. It's unclear whether he is still being paid; DND will not share his status, citing privacy issues.In a statement, DND said the Kenny case is an "extremely serious matter.""We recognize that more has to be done by the DND/CAF (Canadian Armed Forces) to prevent and punish hateful conduct within our ranks and teams," the statement read."That's why our senior leaders are making ongoing efforts to identify and implement concrete actions to address institutional and systemic racism and discrimination."Sajjan said the investigation will go beyond the poster incident and include a closer look at the grievance process that rejected the initial complaint, as well as the question of systemic racism.That investigation comes four years after the incident, and Kenny said she has paid a heavy price in the intervening years for standing up against racism. Workplace retaliation The prime minister has acknowledged the problem of systemic racism within the federal government, and Kenny hopes her case will show what that actually looks like in practice in the workplace. "When I filed the grievance, that's when the retaliation started," she said of the first action she took with her union in the months following the 2016 incident.The supervisor was able to remain in place, she said, and was allowed to undertake her performance review in the spring of 2017. Kenny said her 2017 review contrasted with previous positive performance reviews and that she was branded a trouble maker, despite 25 years with the service. Going to work became more difficult, she said, and the stress began to affect her sleep and mental health. "It was just a very, very toxic environment," Kenny said. Under the terms of the grievance process, Kenny said she is bound by confidentiality and is not able to publicly name the man who put up the flyer.Sharon DeSousa, a regional executive vice-president with Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC), said Kenny's experience sounds familiar. She was co-chair of the joint union-management diversity and inclusion task force in 2016. During that process, she said, public service workers detailed overt acts of racism, as well as the cumulative impact of smaller discriminatory actions that ground them down over the course of their careers.The task force came up with more than 40 recommendations, but to date, only one has been taken up, she said. DeSousa said systemic racism is apparent when one looks at the makeup of the public sector: Black, racialized and Indigenous workers make up only 11 per cent of management and executive positions, according to the findings of the task force. She also said the grievance system puts the onus on workers to pit themselves against the employer in a potentially career-debilitating conflict. The most recent Public Service Employee Survey found visible minorities almost twice as likely as their white colleagues to say they had been discriminated against in the workplace. More than half of the racialized people who said they experienced discrimination also said they did nothing about it. "So, why would you not report it?" said DeSousa. "It could be fear of reprisal. It could be fear that you will not be getting another opportunity." For her part, Kenny has now found a new position in the public service but is determined to see the DND case through."I hope something good comes out of it, if not for me, for somebody else," she said.
Chants of "No Justice, No Peace!" rang out through downtown Hay River, N.W.T. Saturday afternoon. A hundred people gathered in a parking lot behind the town's recreation centre to express their solidarity with Black, Indigenous and people of colour that have experienced racism in the N.W.T. The rally was inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement in the United States, that was spurred after George Floyd's death at the hands of Minneapolis police. Vigne Sridharan and Daniella Boronka, two nurses that moved to Hay River in January, were the ones behind the town's rally. They said they were pleasantly surprised by the number of people that decided to march in solidarity. "We thought it was just going to be the two of us standing there, holding our signs," Sridharan told CBC during the march. "It just shows that everybody is on the same page, and they want this to end." The Hay River rally is the latest in a series of marches held in Yellowknife, Fort Smith, Fort Simpson and Inuvik in response to the Black Lives Matter movement. Jason Snaggs, CEO of the Yellowknives Dene First Nation, drove down from Yellowknife with his wife to deliver the keynote speech at the rally. Snaggs' impassioned speech touched on his experience as a Black man in the North, giving examples of how he and his children had experienced systemic racism in the territory's schools, healthcare and governance sectors. "Systemic racism is like a pesticide ... it's harmless to the plant or higher animal, but when absorbed into the bloodstream makes the entire organism toxic to some organisms, and harmless to others," Snagg told rally participants."This toxic racism exists today and continues to put barriers in front of Indigenous, First Nations and peoples in the Northwest Territories." R.J. Simpson, the MLA for Hay River South, Kandis Jameson, the mayor of Hay River, April Martel, chief of K'atl'odeeche First Nation, and Gail Cyr from the N.W.T. Human Rights Commission, also delivered speeches at the event. Rally participants signed a petition after the event asking for a territorial summit to address systemic racism in the N.W.T.
Ottawa police are investigating the city's second drowning in two days. A 20-year-old man went missing while a group of people were swimming at Britannia Beach Saturday evening.The group watched the man go underwater, police said, and he never resurfaced. According to a press release, officers and dive crews searched the shorelines and water after responding to the call at approximately 8 p.m. They were assisted by Ottawa firefighters.The man's body was recovered shortly before 2 a.m. Sunday.While three of Ottawa's four municipal beaches officially reopened in late June, Britannia Beach remained closed as the city plans to start dredging work Monday that will keep it off-limits until 2021.Even though the beach isn't technically open, it was still packed with people Sunday — some who had heard about the incident the night before, and some who hadn't."As a mother, it really, like, turns your stomach," said Jennifer Madigan, who was there with her children and didn't know about the drowning death."I make sure that they have floaties on. I keep a good eye on them. We bring life-jackets," Madigan said. "I recognize that it's on us to make sure that they're safe." One day before the Britannia Beach death, a 14-year-old boy also disappeared after jumping into the water off the Prince of Wales Bridge.Young people had gathered on the out-of-use rail bridge Friday, which is west of the capital's downtown and is off-limits to the public. Some were jumping into the river below, police said. At around 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Ottawa police told Radio-Canada they had shifted their focus from rescuing him to searching for his body.Many hazardsRivers are among the most dangerous places to swim, particularly if they're unsupervised, according to Sean Duffy with the Ottawa Drowning Prevention Coalition.Nearly three out of every 10 drowning deaths over the past decade have occurred in rivers, Duffy said."People may not be familiar with the environment. The bottom of the water may drop out more quickly. There may be hazards under the water [like] undertows and currents," he said.Duffy said swimmers should first make themselves familiar with any potential dangers before going in the water — especially if they're jumping from a height.
A ruling in B.C. Supreme Court gives the green light to the District of West Vancouver to carve up a property left to it in trust in 1990 and use proceeds to expand Ambleside Park.The ruling vindicates the District of West Vancouver after the province's attorney general said it was failing in its duty to protect the verdant property and pushing beyond the limits of what it had promised to do with the land.A West Vancouver couple, Pearley and Clara Brissenden, lived on a 2.4 acre property at 2519 Rosebery Avenue near the Upper Levels Highway, which apart from their house, was largely undeveloped and covered with mature, second-growth forest.Pearley Brissenden died before his wife, but when she passed away in 1990, the property was left to the District of West Vancouver in trust to be developed into a neighbourhood park that would preserve much of the forest.The district did very little with the property, other than rent it out to a caretaker, which brought in nearly half a million dollars in rent until 2018 when the province's attorney general urged it to do more to adhere to the terms of the trust.The AG's criticism of the district included bringing a lawsuit against it which argued it rented out the donated property for profit instead of creating promised park.In July 2018, the district formally dedicated the northern portion of the Brissenden property as a park, then later that year demolished the house and created walking trails.But at the same time, the district was making plans to break parts of the property into lots that could be sold at a profit. That would enable it to purchase two properties it had wanted to buy since the 1970s along Argyle Avenue to expand the popular oceanfront Ambleside Park. The expansion would be called the Brissenden Waterfront Park.The district would also still preserve parts of the Brisseden property as a neighbourhood park.The district argued that although it wanted to alter how the Brissendens' property would be used, the plans still adhered to the couple's intent which was to add park space to the district for the benefit of residents. In his ruling, Justice Peter Edelmann agreed."It is a well-documented plan that has been subject to extensive study and consultation, taking into consideration the other park space available to residents in the various parts of the district," he wrote. "I accept that the proposed plan is in the best interests of the district and its residents."The District of West Vancouver provided letters to the court from five former law partners of Pearley Brissenden who stated they knew the couple well and said that they would have been supportive of the amended plan for their property.Edelmann set out conditions in the ruling to allow the district a variation under a section of the Community Charter.It includes allowing the district to subdivide and dispose of three proposed residential lots on the southern portion of the property as long as the lots have a tree protection covenant. There would also be a covenant over one of the three lots for a walking trail connecting the remaining portion of the Brissenden property to Rosebery Avenue.The district can use the proceeds of the sale of the lots to fund the acquisition of two remaining privately owned lots on Argyle Avenue to be named Brissenden Waterfront Park.
Ontario is reporting 138 new cases of COVID-19, marking the sixth straight day the tally is below 200.Most of the other newly-confirmed cases continue to be in the Greater Toronto Area, with 39 reported in Toronto, 28 in Peel and 15 in York. In Windsor-Essex, which has been dealing with outbreaks among temporary workers on farms, there are 27 newly-confirmed cases.The rest of Ontario's 34 public health units are reporting five or fewer cases, as Elliott noted on Twitter, with 16 regions reporting no new cases.Ontario's health ministry reported two more deaths on Sunday, for an official total of 2,689 people dead from COVID-19. However, a CBC News count based on data provided directly by public health units puts the number of dead at 2,733.60 new cases among 20 and 30 year-oldsThe largest number of new cases is among those age 20 to 39, with 60 newly-confirmed infections reported Sunday.There were 45 new infections among the 40 to 59 age range; 17 new infections among those 60 to 79 years old; and four infections among those over age 80.Eleven more young people age 19 and under were confirmed to have COVID-19 as of Sunday.The newly confirmed cases bring Ontario's total to 35,794 since the outbreak began in January, about 87 per cent of which are resolved. Sunday's report marked another 183 cases as resolved.Ontario's network of labs processed 23,792 test samples the previous day, with a cumulative total of more than 1.5 million.There are still 11,651 test samples in line to be completed.Hospitalizations have been declining, with 139 COVID-19 patients currently in Ontario hospitals. Of those patients, 39 are in intensive care with 23 on a ventilator.
As officers investigate a suspicious death in the west end of St. John's, the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary says residents on Craigmillar Avenue should continue to remain in their homes.A body was visible in the middle of Craigmillar Avenue on Sunday morning, covered by a yellow tarp.The RNC says officers responded to the area shortly after 4 a.m. to reports of "unknown trouble" and found a man dead. The RNC also issued a "shelter-in-place" advisory at about 5 a.m. Sunday, notifying the public that the street would be closed until further notice.The advisory was lifted just before 5:30 p.m. Sunday, opening the road to traffic. Police remain on the scene at the lower end of the street."Certainly we want to cut down on foot traffic," Const. James Cadigan said. "Public access not being permitted would assist that.... We want to make contact with residents in the area by canvassing the homes, so it would be very helpful to speak with residents at their door."Police tape and vehicles have been used to block the entrance to the lower end of the street. Officers were seen carrying long guns, and an ambulance was seen entering the area at about 9 a.m.Patrol officers and the RNC's forensic identification section will remain in the area to secure the scene, canvass the neighbourhood and gather evidence.One resident described hearing gunshots or fireworks at about 4 a.m., followed by police sirens a short time later.Tactical and K-9 units arrived on the scene shortly after 10 a.m., before leaving about a half an hour later. The ambulance also left the scene as forensic officers arrived. Cadigan said the tactical units were brought in to confirm resident safety.Police are asking people to avoid the area while the investigation continues. Police are also asking anyone who may have CCTV or dashcam footage of the area leading up to 4 a.m. to contact the RNC or Crime Stoppers.Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
MONTREAL — George Chabo was just a teenager when the Syrian refugee arrived in Montreal in the winter of 2016, met first by Canadian Red Cross volunteers who supplied him and his family with boots and winter jackets to brave the Quebec cold.Chabo never forgot that initial encounter and now he's determined to give back to the humanitarian organization and the province that welcomed and helped his family.Recently, Chabo, 21, sat attentively in a classroom — a converted hotel room where the Red Cross has been training people to do humanitarian work in long-term care homes as support aides and other tasks.These aides are being trained to replace Canadian Armed Forces personnel, most of whom have recently left the homes.The Red Cross is training up to 900 people to fill a variety of tasks while Quebec completes training for more than 10,000 people to work full-time as orderlies by mid-September in long-term care homes.People like Chabo will be pressed into service in the coming weeks to fill that void and give workers some reprieve after a difficult spring on COVID-19's front lines.Chabo is a student, but instead of taking the summer off, he raised his hand to help the most vulnerable.During a break last week during his intensive training session where he's learning to take care of the elderly, Chabo explained why he answered the call."We went through difficult situations in our country, in Syria, we know what crises are," Chabo said. "We understand, we have empathy."He wants to help those most vulnerable during a pandemic."It's a difficult moment for us, but especially for them," said the soft-spoken Chabo.He's convinced the job will be a good experience.“The elderly have a great life experience ... they have a lot to talk about," said Chabo, no stranger to helping out as his own family takes care of his paternal grandparents."It is enriching to help them."He hasn't forgotten the impression the Canadian Red Cross made during his arrival to Canada.He first came to know the organization in Syria, ravaged by war since 2011.It was also the Red Cross that helped his family in Lebanon, providing the medical exams needed ahead of their arrival in Canada in February 2016.Chabo was just 17 when representatives provided them with the winter clothes and helped to fill out their immigration documents. His family — his parents, sister and brother — were sponsored by Quebecers.So when Chabo caught word of the recruitment drive, he jumped at the opportunity.He wasn't even in need of work — he already had a job. But he was determined to give back."In exchange, I feel it's a good idea to help the community like this," he said. "I want to give back to society for its warm welcome."Speaking last week, Chabo said he wasn't worried about contracting COVID-19 in long-term care residences.The novel coronavirus has hit Quebec the hardest of all provinces, with long-term care homes and seniors' homes accounting for more than 80 per cent of deaths.But the situation has stabilized somewhat since the spring, he said. And Chabo is confident the measures in place and his Red Cross training will keep him safe.The first group of trainees — about 150 people — are scheduled to start working Monday in a variety of long-term care residences.The rest are expected to be deployed by July 29.This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 5, 2020.Stephanie Marin, The Canadian Press
Police in Austria say they have detained a Russian man after one of his compatriots was shot dead near Vienna late Saturday in what Austrian media report is being considered a possible political assassination. Austrian news agency APA reported that the 43-year-old victim was an ethnic Chechen who had lived in Austria for more than a decade. The Kurier daily reported the victim was a critic of Ramzan Kadyrov, the authoritarian leader of Russia's Chechnya region.
Andrea Moffat can't decide what will be worse for her five-year-old son in September — keeping him at home or allowing him to make a partial return to school. "Current discussions about this model would have ... half the students attending school on Monday and Tuesday, Wednesday would be a day for deep cleaning of schools, and on Thursday and Friday, the other half of the students would attend school," the letter reads.
The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 2:23 p.m. ET on July 5, 2020:There are 105,536 confirmed cases in Canada._ Quebec: 55,863 confirmed (including 5,574 deaths, 25,346 resolved)_ Ontario: 35,794 confirmed (including 2,689 deaths, 31,266 resolved)_ Alberta: 8,259 confirmed (including 155 deaths, 7,532 resolved)_ British Columbia: 2,947 confirmed (including 177 deaths, 2,608 resolved)_ Nova Scotia: 1,064 confirmed (including 63 deaths, 998 resolved)_ Saskatchewan: 796 confirmed (including 14 deaths, 711 resolved)_ Manitoba: 314 confirmed (including 7 deaths, 302 resolved), 11 presumptive_ Newfoundland and Labrador: 261 confirmed (including 3 deaths, 258 resolved)_ New Brunswick: 165 confirmed (including 2 deaths, 162 resolved)_ Prince Edward Island: 32 confirmed (including 27 resolved)_ Repatriated Canadians: 13 confirmed (including 13 resolved)_ Yukon: 11 confirmed (including 11 resolved)_ Northwest Territories: 5 confirmed (including 5 resolved)_ Nunavut: No confirmed cases, 1 presumptive_ Total: 105,536 (12 presumptive, 105,524 confirmed including 8,684 deaths, 69,239 resolved)This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 5, 2020.The Canadian Press
CHARLOTTETOWN — Prince Edward Island reported two more cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, bringing the weekend tally to five after the province went months without a single positive test.In a news conference Sunday, the province's chief public health officer, Dr. Heather Morrison, said the cases — both men in their 20s — were in close contact with a local man who had travelled to Nova Scotia and is also believed to have spread the virus to a worker at a seniors' residence."This cluster of cases is a clear reminder that COVID-19 is still very much present in our province and we must remain vigilant," Morrison said."At this point there is no evidence of community spread of COVID-19 in our province and the risk of transmission of COVID-19 within the province remains low," she said.The woman who tested positive for the virus worked at Whisperwood Villa, a seniors' residence in Charlottetown, and listed nine close contacts — all of whom have tested negative for COVID-19, Morrison said.Morrison said 140 staff members and 129 residents at Whisperwood Villa were also tested for COVID-19 on Saturday and their results all came back negative.Four or five staff members and two residents still need to be tested, she said, and all the residents and staff members will be tested again later this week.People who visited the residence last Tuesday also will be contacted for testing, Morrison added.The fifth case on the Island is not believed to be related to the cluster of four cases. A man in his 50s who had travelled out-of-province was reported to have the virus on Saturday.Before this weekend, the province's last COVID-19 positive test came in late April.Morrison said public health officials in P.E.I. and Nova Scotia have been in close communication to trace the COVID-19 cluster.The P.E.I. man travelled to Nova Scotia for personal reasons on June 26 and returned to the Island on June 29, Morrison said.He is believed to have come into contact with someone there who had travelled to the U.S., who has since tested positive for the virus and is now under quarantine in Nova Scotia, health officials in that province said.Nova Scotia's chief public health officer, Dr. Robert Strang, said in the email that the individual does not live in Nova Scotia, but was passing through the province on the way to P.E.I."As this individual is still within the 14-day isolation period required by the federal Quarantine Act, they are now being quarantined under federal authority in Nova Scotia. We will be able to provide further information as contact tracing work continues," Strang said.Morrison noted that the new COVID-19 cases are not related to seasonal residents of P.E.I. or to the Atlantic bubble.As of Friday, residents of P.E.I., Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador have been allowed to travel freely between the provinces without needing to self-isolate upon arrival.This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 5, 2020.— By Jillian Kestler-D'Amours in Montreal.The Canadian Press
Move over ducks and rabbits, it's sandhill crane season in Alberta starting this fall.The province announced the launch of sandhill crane hunting starting September in more than 50 wildlife management units in southern and east-central Alberta. The new hunting season will run around the same time as the province's waterfowl season. Sandhill cranes are heavy-bodied, long-necked birds with gray plumage and red crown patch. Sandhill cranes are not to be confused with whooping cranes, though that are similar species with whooping cranes being larger and fully white. "It's great to see widespread support for a sandhill crane season in Alberta, which will support the province's wildlife management goals and boost local economies," Jason Nixon, minister of environment and parks, said in the news release. "Alberta hunters care deeply about the province's environment, species and wild places, and providing another opportunity to engage in a pursuit that supports conservation as well as economic activity is a win-win."A press release states that the number of sandhill cranes in the province has increased steadily in recent years and that the birds have exceptional survival rates for both young and adult birds. Meanwhile, provinces like Manitoba and Saskatchewan have had sandhill crane hunting seasons for more than 50 years. The sandhill crane population in those provinces remains healthy.According to the data from the province, in 2018 fishing, hunting, trapping, and sport-shooting activities contributed $1.8 billion to Alberta's GDP, supporting 11,700 jobs and generating $875 million in labour income.The province states they will be taking additional precautions by limiting sandhill crane hunting season to areas that are not known to overlap with the whooping crane migration or breeding range.Albertans interested in participating in sandhill crane hunting will require a provincial game bird licence and a federal migratory bird licence to do so.
In a windswept corner of the Blood Tribe land in southwest Albert is a pumpjack that towers more than three storeys off the ground and reaches three kilometres deep. It's one of only two new wells to be drilled on the First Nation in the last year, as the downturn in the industry has resulted in reduced drilling across Western Canada.The well was drilled in December and began operating in February, less than one month before oil prices crashed further as the pandemic spread across the globe. Fuel consumption has fallen sharply as countries continue to react to the virus, while oil production remains relatively high around the globe.For First Nations that rely on collecting royalties and rent from oilpatch activity on their reserve land, those funds have quickly dried up. In fact, it's becoming costlier to manage oil and gas production on First Nations land than the amount of money collected from industry.Indian Oil and Gas Canada (IOGC) is the federal agency, fully funded by Ottawa, responsible for overseeing oil and gas production on those lands and has a monthly budget of about $1 million. In May, when the most recent data is available, the agency only collected about $740,000."It doesn't make sense," said Chief Roy Fox, with the Blood Tribe. "More money is being spent than what we are realizing."Fox is keenly aware of the financial situation in the oilpatch, considering there are about 300 oil and gas wells on Blood Tribe land, and the First Nation has a working interest in some of them. Compared to the beginning of the year, revenue from oil and gas activity is down 75 per cent, according to Fox.WATCH | Chief Roy Fox on the impact of low royalties:Royalties are down as a result of low commodity prices and some companies lowering production levels as some wells become unprofitable to operate."In March, April, May, we were really hit with this downturn. Things are picking up a bit, but not as fast as what we would like to see," he said.The First Nation uses the revenue to provide programs for elders and youth, improve housing, offer social programs and invest in other business programs, among other initiatives."Because of the downturn we won't be able to help as much," he said.The Indian Resource Council, which represents First Nations with oil and gas reserves on their territory, is calling on the federal government to top up the royalties to a minimum of $4 million per month."These are really troubling times," said Stephen Buffalo, the group's president. "It's very important at this time that our prime minister really look at our communities to see if we can do something extra on the side to offset what has been lost."The council has also asked for a special allotment of the funds earmarked for cleaning up oil oil and gas wells in Western Canada.Revenues for First Nations have fallen by about 80 per cent in the last decade as commodity prices have fallen.The declines "are likely to continue," said Strater Crowfoot, CEO of the IOGC, in an emailed statement.WATCH | Stephen Buffalo on the opportunity to clean up inactive wells:"We have heard how challenging the decline in First Nation oil and gas revenue has been for First Nation communities, businesses, and individuals. The government of Canada is working collaboratively with First Nations and their member organizations to explore initiatives to provide support."In April, the federal government announced $307 million in relief to help Indigenous businesses and $133 million in June toward stimulating the Indigenous economy.
CBC News Network's Sunday Scrum panel is your destination for frank discussion and analysis of the week's big political stories.This week, we talk to our panellists about the Liberal government and WE Charity parting ways over a contract that would have seen the organization — which has ties to the Trudeau family — dole out more than $900 million in student grants. The panellists also discuss the Atlantic bubble imposed by Canada's four eastern provinces to combat the spread of COVID-19.Also on the program: a discussion of surging support for the Trudeau Liberals, continuing tensions over China's new national security law and the Supreme Court of Canada's dismissal of an application from a group of First Nations in B.C. seeking to challenge Ottawa's second approval of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project.WATCH | Ottawa parts ways with WE Charity:WATCH | Atlantic bubble in effect:WATCH | Federal Liberals surge in the polls:WATCH | Canada-China tensions continue:WATCH | Supreme Court dismisses First Nations' challenge against Trans Mountain:
Highlights of this day in history: Elvis Presley holds his first major recording session; Birth of the bikini; Enron's Kenneth Lay dies; Arthur Ashe wins at Wimbledon; Larry Doby follows Jackie Robinson; Baseball's Ted Williams dies. (July 5)