WILMINGTON, Del. — President-elect Joe Biden's pick to lead the Office of Management and Budget is quickly emerging as a political battle that could disrupt his efforts to swiftly fill out his administration.Some Republicans are expressing doubt that Neera Tanden could be confirmed by the Senate after she spent years attacking GOP lawmakers on social media — and many panned the choice.Arkansas Republican Sen. Tom Cotton claimed Tanden’s rhetoric was “Filled with hate & guided by the woke left.”Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn said Tanden's “combative and insulting comments" about Republican senators created “certainly a problematic path." He called her “maybe (Biden's) worst nominee so far" and “radioactive.”Potential Budget Committee Chair Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., was less hostile, telling reporters, “Let's see what happens." Moderate Susan Collins, R-Maine, a target of Tanden's, said, “I do not know her or much about her, but I've heard she's a very prolific user of Twitter.”Such sentiment is notable considering the GOP's general reluctance to criticize President Donald Trump's broadsides on Twitter. But like all of Biden's nominees, Tanden has little margin for error as she faces confirmation in a closely divided Senate.That could be especially daunting for Tanden, the former adviser to Hillary Clinton and the president of the centre-left Center for American Progress, given her history of political combat.Biden's transition team released a litany of praise for Tanden from figures including Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams.Other Democrats also rushed to defend Tanden's nomination. Former Obama aide Valerie Jarrett said Tanden “grew up on welfare and lived in public housing. She experienced first hand the importance of our social programs. Her extraordinary career has been devoted to improving opportunities for working families. She is an excellent choice to lead OMB.”“Neera Tanden is smart, experienced, and qualified for the position of OMB Director,” added Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown, a member of the party’s progressive wing. “The American people decisively voted for change - Mitch McConnell shouldn’t block us from having a functioning government that gets to work for the people we serve.”On the Senate floor, Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said it's impossible to take Republicans' criticism of Tanden seriously.“Honestly, the hypocrisy is astounding. If Republicans are concerned about criticism on Twitter, their complaints are better directed at President Trump,” Schumer said.At OMB, Tanden would be responsible for preparing Biden’s budget submission and would command several hundred budget analysts, economists and policy advisers with deep knowledge of the inner workings of the government.If Democrats should win runoff elections for Georgia’s two GOP-held Senate seats, Tanden’s job would become hugely important because the party would gain a slim majority in the chamber. That would allow them to pass special budget legislation that could roll back Trump’s tax cuts, boost the Affordable Care Act and pursue other spending goals. OMB would have a central role in such legislation.Top Democrats, Biden included, supported anti-deficit packages earlier in their careers, but the party has since changed. Biden was a force behind the establishment of the Obama deficit commission, which was created to win votes of Democratic moderates to pass an increase in the government’s borrowing cap and was chaired by former Clinton White House chief of staff Erskine Bowles.Tanden shares a commonly held view among Democratic lawmakers that Republicans usually profess concerns about deficits only when Democrats are in power, pointing to tax cut packages passed in the opening year of Trump’s administration and former President George W. Bush’s 2001 tax cut.___Taylor reported from Washington.Zeke Miller And Andrew Taylor, The Associated Press
Regina–Official Opposition Leader Ryan Meili expressed disappointment with the Sask. Party government’s Speech from the Throne today, calling it a “missed opportunity” to take the urgent action needed to fight the second wave of COVID-19. “This was a ‘business as usual’ Throne Speech, but we all know that business is anything but usual in Saskatchewan,” said Meili in a release. “Premier Moe spent the election campaign telling people we were out of the woods even though expert advice and pandemic modelling showed otherwise. Now the second wave is hitting us in a big way and the government is not prepared to invest in the immediate actions needed to flatten the curve.” Minutes before the Throne Speech began, a government press release noted 325 new COVID-19 cases in Saskatchewan, with two deaths and 49 recoveries. There were now 3,879 active cases, while 4,638 people had recovered and 47 had died. Saskatchewan’s 7-day average of new cases is now and average of 268.3 per day. Meili said that the Sask. Party’s Throne Speech announced no new supports for businesses that were already struggling before the second wave hit, and that no immediate investments were outlined to fight the pandemic, according to the release. “Businesses are being told to stay open while their customers are being urged to stay home: it’s a recipe for economic disaster,” said Meili. “Now the government’s slow and contradictory approach has left our healthcare system in chaos – and things will only get worse if we do not act immediately to flatten the curve of COVID-19.” Meili said the Saskatchewan NDP Caucus is determined to fight for jobs, businesses, schools and health care during the first session of this new Legislative Assembly. “At a time when people are struggling, we should be planning to invest to get through this together, not making life harder for families,” said Meili. “We need clear, consistent messaging and a real plan that helps people – instead of mixed messages and half-measures that won’t get the job done. Our caucus is determined to push for a plan that will support all of Saskatchewan.”Brian Zinchuk, Local Journalism Initiative reporter, Estevan Mercury
What happens when you’ve just returned to your remote community with your newborn? Or if something comes up during your pregnancy and it’s the middle of the night? Where do you go for support? To help answer some of those very questions, First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) launched a ‘Maternity and Babies Advice Line’ for Indigenous families in B.C., available 24-7. “With babies and moms, things can happen anytime,” says Dr. Unjali Malhotra, medical director for women’s health at FNHA. FNHA worked with Rural Community Coordination to provide a service to help pregnant and new parents, guardians, and caregivers of newborns. Both family members and health care providers can receive support via the advice line. Doctors will provide advice on urgent and non-urgent maternal and child health topics, Malhotra says, which can include pregnancy, birth, newborn, and postpartum care. The doctors can also arrange referrals to obstetricians or pediatricians, if needed. “I come from a rural community,” says Malhotra, who grew up in Cree/Dene territory, in Northern Saskatchewan. “It's really near and dear to my heart that rural remote communities have equitable access to care, and that’s often not the case, particularly with COVID-19.” Approximately 30 per cent of Indigenous people in B.C. live in rural areas, according to 2016 census highlights, and while Zoom may be popular during this pandemic, 75 per cent of Indigenous communities in B.C. do not have the basic standards of the internet, according to First Nations Technology Council. “It can be very scary for moms and families and communities to have pregnancy concerns or newborn concerns, and potentially no services available to them,” Malhotra adds. The goal was an advice line that offered exceptional service, which includes making it accessible and culturally-safe, she says. “We spoke to as many providers that we knew that offer culturally-safe care, and that were also experts in primary care and obstetrics. We have family doctors who are also obstetricians, and midwives answering the phones,” she explains. The advice line is set up as a triad delivery service, which means people access it with their care provider. The primary care provider sets up an appointment with the advice-line doctor, and attends the appointment with the patient.” “The provider in the community can be your midwife, your doula, your family, doctor, or a traditional healer, whoever is important to you and leading within your community,” says Malhotra. “We would, of course take any call, because the number is publicly available through phone or zoom, but we prefer to have a provider with that patient. What if someone doesn’t have the internet, or a device? “We also have a phone number,” says Malhotra. “So if someone doesn't have wifi or connectivity, they can certainly phone in.” And what if someone doesn’t have minutes on their phone? “That’s our next step,” says Malhotra. She explains the idea was planted in May, funding came quickly, and the team were able to get the advice line up and running by August, but there’s room for growth. “Our next steps, I don’t know in what order yet, would be text and patient direct contact,” she adds. The majority of the providers that participants would connect with work in rural and remote communities, says Malhotra. “Many we have are in First Nations communities and we deliberately invited the providers one by one that we knew are currently offering culturally safe care within their communities,” she explains. “We spoke to as many providers that we knew that offer culturally-safe care, that were also experts in primary care and obstetrics.” Most providers have more than 10 years experience within their communities, and are beloved in their communities, she explains, which is an important aspect of meaningful support. \----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Our series on reproductive health access is made possible in part with funding from First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) and Thunderbird Partnership Foundation. Their support does not imply endorsement of or influence over the content produced.Odette Auger, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Discourse
One man was killed in an avalanche near Mackenzie, B.C., on Saturday, according to RCMP.Two people were snowmobiling in the Power King/Bijoux Falls area when the avalanche happened just before 2 p.m. PT. One of the snowmobilers was buried in the snow, according to a statement Monday.A search and rescue team, as well as avalanche-trained searchers from Prince George, B.C., later found the man dead.RCMP said he was 35 years old and originally from Dawson Creek, B.C. The second sledder was unhurt.The B.C. Coroner's Service is investigating the man's death. RCMP did not release any further details.A "significant" storm left up to 70 centimetres of fresh powder in the area on Saturday. Avalanche Canada said there were "very dangerous avalanche conditions" in the treeline and alpine at the time.
Hamilton may be eligible for a new program to support patients on the wait list for long-term care and their caregivers, the province announced Friday. The community paramedicine program launched by the Ministry of Long-Term Care last month involves paramedics working outside their traditional roles to help seniors on long-term care wait lists stay at home longer. They can provide assessments and referrals, wellness clinics, home visits and remote monitoring. “Paramedics can mobilize very quickly ... you have this skilled profession that can provide the services that people need especially on the medical side,” said Russell King, chief of paramedic services for Brantford-Brant, one of the first five communities to participate in the program when it launched. On Oct. 30, the province announced up to $5 million to expand existing community paramedicine programs to provide at-home care to patients on long-term care wait lists. On Nov. 27, the province named 29 additional communities that could be eligible, including Hamilton, Halton Region, Norfolk County and Niagara Region. Brantford-Brant is in the process of launching the program. Glen Cunnane, community paramedic supervisor, said the program will also support patients and families who decide not to pursue long-term care due to the spread of COVID-19 in facilities. “There may be a little bit of hesitation there that may lead to more people staying at home,” he said, adding the program is expected to reduce emergency room visits by offering 24-7 access to care. The program is fully funded by the province and will also offer home visits, ongoing monitoring, and referrals to home care and community resources. To be eligible, the City of Hamilton must express interest to the ministry and meet other criteria. That includes the ability for the city’s existing community paramedic program to expand “quickly” to support its target population, having enough advanced care paramedics without compromising emergency services and the support of the LHIN. “The long-term setting right now, there just quite simply is not enough beds for the demand,” said Cunnane. “That demand for admission into long-term care is going to continue to grow at a rate quicker than they’re going to be able to build capacity into the system.” Maria Iqbal, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Hamilton Spectator
Ottawa Redblacks receiver Brad Sinopoli fully understands the challenge Kendall Hinton faced Sunday with the Denver Broncos.The NFL club activated the rookie receiver from the practice roster to become the starting quarterback in Sunday's 31-3 loss to the New Orleans Saints. Hinton, who played quarterback at Wake Forest before switching to receiver in his senior season at the university, was pressed into action after all four of Denver's quarterbacks went on the reserve/COVID-19 list last week.The outcome was predictable. Hinton finished 1-of-9 passing for 13 yards with two interceptions. Sinopoli, a star quarterback at the University of Ottawa before turning pro, certainly could relate."Quarterbacks make the most money for a reason," the native of Peterborough, Ont., said Monday in a telephone interview. "It's a very, very hard job and even the best ones have tough days and tough streaks."To put a guy in who doesn't do that on a daily basis is tough and stressful. I'm sure leading up to the game . . . he probably didn't let on but he was probably really stressed."Before becoming one of the CFL's top receivers — Sinopoli was named the league's top Canadian in 2016 — he played under centre at the University of Ottawa (2007-10).The six-foot-four, 215-pound Sinopoli captured the 2010 Hec Crighton Trophy as Canada's top collegiate player after passing for 2,756 yards and 22 touchdowns in eight games. He was drafted by the Calgary Stampeders in 2011 and began his CFL career as a quarterback before converting to receiver in 2013."Here and there I've always jumped in during practice over the years, be it for fun or in that situation where it was a bit of an emergency," Sinopoli said. "I was sitting there kind of stressing about it, forgetting how fast it was back there, but really I just tried to do some mental reps."I'd take the plays and go through them in my mind and go through the exact thing. The coaches were like, 'What pass plays are you comfortable with?' and I picked plays I'd done that were similar in college and I think that's probably what they did with (Hinton) because trying to do a play you're not familiar with and all that's happening around you, you can rush a bit and overthink things and it just becomes a little too much."The quarterback runs the offence on the field. Plays begin on his command and most times his hands are the first on the ball once it's snapped.But what many don't see — or hear — is how the quarterback relays plays in the huddle. Each call specifically outlines the other players' responsibilities regarding pass protections, run assignments and/or pass routes.That puts the onus on the quarterback to clearly — and correctly — relay that information."I think the process of saying the plays is a bigger deal than listening to them," Sinopoli said. "When you're a receiver what the offensive line does in protection doesn't really sometimes apply to you so you hear it but you don't have to be as detailed."But as the quarterback, everything you say matters. I think it's a bit more stressful than people realize to regurgitate the plays. It's under pressure with the time clock and sometimes the play doesn't come in correctly and you have to know whatever the situation is."There's also the matter of the quarterback, upon reaching the line of scrimmage, being able to quickly scan a defence and determine if the play called can work or if an audible is required."You're inevitably going to face struggles as a quarterback and when it's not your job it's a hard hole to get out of because you have to do the opposite of instinct," Sinopoli said. "When things start to get away from you, the instinct is to tighten up and press a little bit more but you have to calm down."If you kind of screw up at receiver or (defensive back), you can take out (the mistake) in some form of physical fashion. If you're a receiver you can make a catch, put your head down and take a good hit and that's the same way on defence."As a quarterback you can't do that. I think the toughest thing is you don't have that outlet to get over those humps, You have to work it out mentally, which, if you're not used to that is tough."And so too is getting into the rhythm required to play quarterback, something Sinopoli said takes time to achieve but can be lost rapidly."When you're not in the offence, that kind of familiar feeling goes away pretty quickly," he said. "I'm sure they probably tried to make some calls easier and not have as much in but I know a big part of it is just having that confidence."The truth is I probably wouldn't feel 100 per cent comfortable like I knew I was because it's all about reps and when you haven't repped certain things over and over, it's almost like everything is kind of new because you're in that new position of running that specific offence. The talk is usually by the end of the second year, (as a starter) now you're getting comfortable with the offence. It does take a long time to kind of get comfortable and used to it all."Sinopoli said if he was pressed into service at quarterback on an emergency basis, he's confident he could make the necessary mental adjustments. However, he wonders if he could make all the necessary throws after undergoing right shoulder surgery three seasons ago."That would be my main worry," Sinopoli said. "It's interesting, when you throw if you haven't been throwing your whole life, you just don't have that flexibility even though you're flexible."A thrower's flexibility is very, very different . . . it's like throwing with your left arm if you're not left-handed. The flexibility in your shoulder isn't used to the stress that's being put on it."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2020Dan Ralph, The Canadian Press
Chatham-Kent Police have charged the organizer of a weekend rally against COVID-19 restrictions that drew a crowd of more than 100 people. A 32-year-old Wallaceburg woman accused of organizing a “Freedom Group” rally in Chatham over the weekend was issued a Provincial Offences Act Summons for failing to comply with a continued section 7.0.2 order as per Ontario Regulation 364/20, of the Reopening Ontario Act, 2020, section 10.1(1). If she is convicted, the fine for the offence is at least $10,000 and up to $100,000. It could also include a sentence of up to one year in jail. According to police, the number of protesters exceeded the limit for an outdoor gathering, set at 25 people. Police said a person convicted of this offence is liable to a fine of not less than $10,000 and not more than $100,000 and could be imprisoned for up to one year. A few days before the Chatham protest, Chatham-Kent Police Chief Gary Conn warned police would be taking a “zero-tolerance” approach to COVID-19 rule-breakers. According to Conn, Chatham-Kent citizens have had ample time to learn the health and safety measures they’re expected to follow; therefore, violations would no longer be tolerated. “During these difficult and challenging times, those jeopardizing public safety and contradicting the law will be held accountable to the courts,” said Conn. “The law is clear and requires responsible action.” “My understanding is that they did not respect the guidelines that were followed, and there are consequences for that,” said Don Shropshire, Chief Administrative Officer for Chatham-Kent. “It’s not like we’re out to try and get people. We’re trying to educate in advance and trying to get people to take reasonable precautions, so we don’t have activities that are going to encourage the spread of COVID.” Mayor Darrin Canniff said he isn’t just concerned with anti-mask protests. He said he is also concerned with any situation, such as upcoming Christmas gatherings, that could “escalate the spread of COVID.” Despite rules clearly laid out and charges having been laid, Chatham-Kent’s Medical Officer of Health still can’t predict what people will do. “But there seems to be a polarized view that some people are adopting that (they’re) denying the very existence of this pandemic,” said Dr. David Colby. “I don’t really understand that way of thinking.” Charges have been laid against organizers of similar rallies that have been taking place across the province recently, including one that drew about 200 people to Victoria Park in London on the weekend. The accused is set to appear in court on Jan. 6, 2021, to answer to the charge.Bird Bouchard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Ridgetown Independent News
Quinte Conservation announced plans to build a new state of the art storage facility at Potter’s Creek Conservation Area on Thursday. With support from the John M. & Bernice Parrott Foundation, the new facility will replace the old storage barn that was deemed a health and safety hazard to store Quinte Conservation’s maintenance and monitoring equipment. “We are extremely thankful for the support we have received from the John M. & Bernice Parrott Foundation and look forward to having a safe and accessible space for our staff to work in,” said CAO Brad McNevin. “We hope to incorporate a variety of green infrastructure initiatives into the design and use the area as a way to demonstrate the different opportunities that are available for stormwater management.” The new facility will provide a secure, heated location at the main office, as well as running water and proper drainage so staff can effectively clean equipment to help prevent the spread of invasive species throughout the watershed. Demolition and removal of the barn at Potter’s Creek Conservation Area is scheduled to take place from late 2020 into early 2021. Construction of the new storage facility is set to begin in the spring of 2021. The trails at Potter’s Creek Conservation Area will remain open during construction but may be modified for pedestrian access. Visitors are advised to be cautious of construction activities and follow posted information. “We understand the cultural relevance of this building for the local community and are investigating options that will allow us to create a small parkette in the same location as a way to pay homage to the history of the site,” said McNevin. McNevin explained that the preliminary design for the parkette will include a portion of the stone foundation, a seating area, and a plaque memorializing the barn. Residents interested in learning more about Quinte Conservation can visit www.quinteconservation.ca for more information.Virginia Clinton, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Intelligencer
Here’s a collection curated by The Associated Press’ entertainment journalists of what’s arriving on TV, streaming services and music platforms this week.MOVIES— Film history fans will get a meal out of David Fincher’s “Mank,” about “Citizen Kane” screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz who is masterfully played by Gary Oldman. Shot in gorgeous black and white, “Mank” transports you into the depression era studio system, Upton Sinclair’s bid for governor, William Randolph Hearst and Marion Davies’s elegant parties and to that bungalow in Victorville where the first draft of the classic Orson Welles film was composed. Available on Netflix on Friday, “Mank” is one of the year’s very best films and both a tribute to and searing critique of Hollywood’s golden age. Amanda Seyfried, as Davies, is one of the great performances of the year.— Another film full of excellent performances is “Sound of Metal,” starring Riz Ahmed as a punk metal drummer who experiences sudden severe hearing loss. The film, which is captioned in English, dives into the world of the deaf community with Ruben (Ahmed) in a way you’ve never seen or heard before. It’s the directorial debut of Darius Marder (a writer on “The Place Beyond the Pines”), who assembled an crack team of sound mixers and editors to create a unique auditory experience to simulate what Ruben is going through as he loses his hearing entirely.— If $30 was a little steep for your tastes to rent the new live-action “Mulan,” it’ll finally be free for Disney+ subscribers Friday. From director Niki Caro, this adaptation of the Chinese folk tale about a young woman who disguises herself as a man and takes her father’s place in the army, is breathtakingly beautiful, from the stunning landscapes to the colorful costumes. Although it may fall short on the kind of intoxicating story magic that the Disney label signifies, it is worth a watch and may just inspire some curious young viewers to delve into more Asian cinema classics. Also, if you find yourself missing the songs and Eddie Murphy, the animated 1998 version is also available on the service.— AP Film Writer Lindsey BahrMUSIC— A house is not a home during the holiday season if Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” is not blasting – daily! During a normal, non-pandemic year, Carey and her Christmas craziness would be on a holiday tour, bringing joy to fans and lambs in-person. Because live shows aren’t really a thing in 2020, she’s launching a holiday TV special on Apple TV+ on Friday. “Mariah Carey’s Magical Christmas Special” will includes a mix of musical performances and dancing with amination. Ariana Grande, Jennifer Hudson, Snoop Dogg, Tiffany Haddish, Misty Copeland and Carey’s 9-year-old twins, son Moroccan and daughter Monroe, will make special appearances.— Shawn Mendes released his debut album in 2015 and he’s dropping his fourth effort Friday. “Wonder” continues to showcase Mendes’ growth as a singer, songwriter and performer. The album features the singles “Wonder” and “Monster” with Justin Bieber, which debuted in the Top 10 of the Billboard Hot chart this week. Along with the album is the Netflix documentary called “Shawn Mendes: In Wonder,” which is available for streaming and follows Mendes’ rise and journey over the last few years.— Christmas came early when Carrie Underwood released her first holiday album in September, and on Thursday she’ll debut a musical TV special to accompany the album. On HBO Max’s “My Gift: A Christmas Special from Carrie Underwood” — conducted by award-winning musical director Rickey Minor — the country superstar is backed by a live orchestra, choir and her band. John Legend makes a special appearance and viewers will get a behind-the-scenes look at Underwood’s 5-year-old son, Isaiah, recording his vocals for their version of “Little Drummer Boy.”— AP Music Editor Mesfin FekaduTELEVISION— “Selena: The Series” is described by Netflix as a coming-of-age drama that follows Selena Quintanilla from talented youngster to musical phenom, aided by her family. A breakthrough star in male-dominated Tejano music, the singer was just shy of her 24th birthday in 1995 when she was fatally shot by a former business associate. The two-part series debuts Friday with Christian Serratos (“The Walking Dead”) as Selena and Gabriel Chavarria (“East Los Angeles’) and Ricardo Chavira (“Desperate Housewives”) among the cast members.— The 11th and final season of the Showtime dramady “Shameless” debuts 9 p.m. EST Sunday, weaving the pandemic, urban gentrification and personal pressures into the lives of the Gallaghers of Chicago’s South Side. Aging patriarch Frank (William H. Macy) is facing the toll of longtime alcohol and drug abuse, while and Ian and Mickey (Cameron Monaghan, Noel Fisher) struggle as newlyweds. Deb (Emma Kenney) stands ready to give her all to single motherhood and Carl (Ethan Cutkosky) feels the same about his nascent law enforcement career.— Two respected veterans are behind “A Suitable Boy,” a limited series directed by filmmaker Mira Nair (“Monsoon Wedding,” “The Namesake”) and written by Andrew Davies (“Pride and Prejudice,” “House of Cards”). An adaptation of Vikram Seth’s 1,300-plus page novel of the same name, the 1950s, India-set drama revolves around a university student who’s shaping his identity as his newly independent country does the same. The all-Indian lead cast includes Tabu (“The Namesake,” “Life of Pi”) and Tanya Maniktala. The series debuts Dec. 7, on Acorn TV.— AP Television Writer Lynn Elber___Catch up on AP’s entertainment coverage here: https://apnews.com/apf-entertainment.The Associated Press
The family of a man who lived at a Hamilton long-term care home are speaking out about their battle with the facility to allow them to be considered essential visitors before his death. Sisters Sandie Berenger and Janet Volkes say Heritage Green Nursing Home in Stoney Creek threw “unnecessary” hurdles in their way as they tried to visit their father even though they’d been designated his caregivers. “They just kept putting out roadblocks trying to control who came in,” said Volkes. Berenger was the power of attorney for their father, Norman Hoar, and wrote to Heritage Green that she and Volkes were his essential caregivers. She emailed the director of care and submitted a printout of the note to the home’s front desk. Both sisters, who sit on the home’s family council, got COVID-19 tests per provincial guidelines, and after receiving results, Volkes called Heritage Green to book a visit. She says she was passed on to someone else to book a 30-minute lobby visit instead of one in her father’s room. Volkes went ahead with the visit Nov. 1, intending to followup for essential visitor status afterward. It ended up being her last visit. Heritage Green administrator Scott Kozachenko did not respond to multiple email and telephone requests for an interview. The Spectator previously reported about Berenger, Volkes and their father when Hamilton’s first COVID-19 outbreak was announced at the home in March. At the time, family members of residents and the union representing workers were concerned about a lack of communication about its spread. Their fight for access began in October, after the Ontario government updated its visitor policy for long-term care homes in September. Previously, during the first wave, an “essential visitor” was defined as someone “performing essential support services or a person visiting a very ill or palliative resident.” The province clarified that that included family caregivers. Under the policy, residents in long-term care or their substitute decision-makers can designate up to two caregivers who can visit residents any time without time limits, subject to direction from the local public health unit. As of Nov. 23, when Hamilton entered the red zone, the province requires essential caregivers to be tested weekly for COVID-19 and show proof of a negative test result before visiting. Jacqueline Durlov, a city communications officer, said long-term care facilities can introduce more restrictions than what the province requires to ensure safety. “It’s really the facility’s responsibility to provide the safest environment for their residents,” she said. Heritage Green did not respond to questions about their essential visitor policies. Volkes says when she followed up with Heritage Green’s administration after her lobby visit, she was told the home would hold a conference call to discuss policies with her first. “I just see it as a big stalling tactic,” said Volkes. “I had gotten to the point that if this had gone on any further, I was going to hire a lawyer.” But a few days later, her father’s condition suddenly became worse. On Nov. 5, he was moved to Juravinski Hospital, where he became palliative. He died the next day. “It’s been incredibly heartbreaking and stressful,” said Volkes, noting she and her sister visited Hoar in hospital. “They made my life hell unnecessarily.” As for Berenger, when she called to book an appointment, she says she was asked how she would be caring for her father. She listed off different tasks, including that she was going to tidy out his room for the first time since February. She got in. “You had to say the right words,” said Berenger. On her last visit before her father was sent to hospital, Berenger brought her father lunch. After about an hour and a half, she was told to leave because staff were changing shifts. Berenger said while staff took good care of her father, she feels like she had to prove she was providing essential care to get into the home. She thinks the facility was nervous about COVID-19 entering the home, but doesn’t think it’s fair for families or the residents. “The long-term care should trust families,” said Berenger. “We’re there to help them. We’re not their enemies.” In an earlier interview, Dr. Amit Arya said family caregivers provide essential services that reduce the workload of long-term care staff. “In many circumstances when homes were short-staffed, family caregivers were the glue that tried to hold things together,” said the assistant professor in palliative care at McMaster University. He noted family members often provide hands-on care and, importantly, help relieve isolation. He added when family members were shut out of long-term care homes in the first wave, residents were left “doubly vulnerable.” “There weren’t enough staff to look after them and their family wasn’t there either,” Arya said. “People literally suffered and died alone.” Last month in Toronto, a 90-year-old woman in a retirement home accelerated her application for medically assisted death after her health began a steady decline during the pandemic. Social isolation and loneliness were already a “serious health risk” for seniors before the pandemic, leading to cognitive decline and a higher risk of infection, falls and mortality, Arya noted. Family members also had to face separation from their loved ones and, in some cases, grieve without closure. He said visitor policies need to balance all of those risks. “We cannot make people’s lives only about infection control,” Arya said. “They need to allow family caregivers in.”Maria Iqbal, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Hamilton Spectator
MONTREAL — Romell Quioto feels like he's finally found happiness with the Montreal Impact, so when the opportunity came to cement his future with the club, the star forward jumped on it. Quioto signed a two-year extension with the Major League Soccer club on Monday. The deal also includes an option for 2023."Montreal is very special to (me) because (I) came here after a difficult year, professionally speaking and personally speaking as well, and the club opened the doors for (me). And (I'm) eternally grateful for that," the 29-year-old Honduran forward said through a translator on Monday. "For (me), the priority is to be happy and for (me) that happiness is here in Montreal and with the Impact.”Quioto joined Montreal in a trade with the Houston Dynamo late last year.He was limited to just eight starts and 794 minutes in the 2019 season. A move to Montreal seems to have reinvigorated Quioto. He led the Impact in scoring, registering eight goals and six assists in 19 appearances. The Impact finished the regular season with a 8-13-2 record, good for ninth in the East. The club made the playoffs, thanks to a late Quioto goal that sealed a 3-2 win over D.C. United on Nov. 8. It was the first time since 2016 that Montreal had played in the post-season. Quioto also scored in the Impact's 2-1 loss the New England Revolution in the opening round of the playoffs.It was important for the dynamic forward to stay with the Impact, said the club's sporting director, Olivier Renard. "All year long he has proved his value on the pitch through his performances, but also with his winning and leader mentality," Renard said in a release. "That's the fruit of his labour, now it's up to him to continue that work in order to achieve the club's goals in the years to come."Quioto feels it was a successful year, both for himself individually and the club as a whole. "(I) feel good with what (I) gave to the club this season, but (I) feel (I) can give even more," he said. "(I'm) going to work to be able to give everything (I) can to the Montreal Impact, (I'm) here to work and (I'm) already looking forward to the next opportunity to do so.”Quioto's next chance to contribute on the field will come on Dec. 15 when Montreal faces his former team, Honduran club Olimpia, in CONCACAF Champions League play. One Impact player who won't be available for the game is forward Maximiliano Urruti. The club announced Monday that the 29-year-old Argentine international has undergone surgery to repair an injured meniscus in his right knee and will be out for six to eight weeks. Urruti appeared in 15 games for Montreal this year, tallying five goals and two assists in his second season with the team. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2020. The Canadian Press
WASHINGTON — Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell says that the pace of improvement in the economy has moderated in recent months with future prospects remaining “extraordinarily uncertain.”In remarks released by the Fed on Monday, Powell said that the increase in new COVID-19 cases both in the United States and abroad was “concerning and could prove challenging for the next few months. A full economic recovery is unlikely until people are confident that it is safe to reengage in a broad range of activities.”Powell said while progress on developing vaccines had been “very positive,” significant challenges remained regarding the timing, production and distribution of the vaccines, and it remained difficult to assess the economic implications of this process with any degree of confidence.Powell's remarks were prepared for a joint appearance he will make on Tuesday with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin before the Senate Banking Committee. The hearing is part of the panel's oversight responsibilities required under the multi-trillion economic support legislation Congress passed in the spring..Martin Crutsinger, The Associated Press
For over five years, the owner of Runway Bridal, Brooke Miller, had been dreaming of a new space for the ever-growing bridal business. Last Thursday, Mayor Mitch Panciuk, Belleville Chamber of Commerce CEO Jill Raycroft, Bay of Quinte MP Neil Ellis, Bay of Quinte MPP Todd Smith representative David Joyce and Executive Director of the Belleville Downtown District BIA Marijo Cuerrier congratulated Miller on her new expanded boutique located at 282 Front Street. Working closely with a contractor and the property owners at 282 Front Street, Miller transformed her vision of the perfect bridal boutique into reality. “The new store is more aligned with our brand,” said Miller. “It’s warm yet modern and elegant. It also gives me a chance to grow the business further.” The new space for Runway Bridal features over 2,000 square feet of shopping space that will allow for exciting opportunities and events in the future. The new boutique also has large private changing rooms and plenty of Instagram worthy backdrops. “Moving your business is scary at any time, but I’m happy I did it, there will never truly be a perfect time” said Miller. “With COVID restrictions we could only have one appointment at our old location. With this beautiful new space, we can double our capacity, and when the pandemic settles, even more clients at one time.” Runway Bridal provides individual and unforgettable service in the locally owned boutique, showcasing some of the most sought-after exclusive wedding dresses in the area. From veils and jewelry to bridesmaids’ dresses, tuxedos, prom dresses, Runway Bridal offers the complete formal wear experience. Runway Bridal is a full-service bridal boutique that offers clients a fun and exciting experience. The boutique has drawn attention from brides seeking the perfect dress across the country. Runway Bridal has begun planning for wedding and prom seasons for 2021 and encourage residents interested in visiting the boutique to schedule an appointment online at www.runwaybridal.ca or call 613-966-0122.Virginia Clinton, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Intelligencer
The new Strathmore municipal building is nearing completion, with the town finding solutions for a few remaining pieces. An update on the project was presented to town council on Nov. 18 by Michael Stamhuis, the town’s special projects manager. The project is now in its “substantial completion” stage, meaning the building and work site are sufficiently completed such that they can now be handed over to, and occupied by, the town. The cost of the building has been updated to total $14.48 million, $130,000 less than the cost projected in mid-October. The final project costs will be more than $400,000 below the funding allocated for the project, reported Stamhuis. A report will be forthcoming presenting suggestions for how this surplus may be allocated. One of the options would be to set aside an amount for any issues that may arise, he said. Some uncertainties remain for the project. “While the project is substantially completed, it is not totally complete; there are some outstanding items,” said Stamhuis, who added these include the installation of audio-visual equipment, signage and furniture. All tenders for furniture and audio-visual equipment have been received, the cost of which is less than the $850,000 allocated for these components. The cost estimate for soft costs and furniture, fixtures and equipment decreased by $21,000, to $2.325 million. The audio-visual equipment was to be stored in a closet within the council chambers, but the consultant said it would generate too much heat to be stored there safely. So, the town is considering either installing a ventilation system for the closet or moving the equipment to the server room. The estimated cost for site servicing and rehabilitation has been revised to $2.599 million, representing a decrease of $16,000 from previous estimates. This reduction is due to a decrease in staff salary allocation (by $6,000) and reconciliation of consultant fees ($10,000). The total cost of the Strathmore Commons and north Kinsmen improvements is $1.675 million, equaling a reduction of $92,000 from prior estimates. The town saved money on soil disposal because the soil from site clearing was used on-site and hauling costs were minimal, resulting in a $92,000 cost reduction. Also during the meeting, a report was presented to council illustrating how the municipal building project resulted in improvements to several of the town’s assets beyond the new building itself. This assessment determined that of the approximately $14.5 million spent on the municipal building project, about $3.1 million can be attributed to Kinsmen Park and other site improvements. As such, about $11.3 million can be attributed to the building itself. According to Strathmore Mayor Pat Fule, this second report gives a more accurate picture of the cost of the new town hall building. “Obviously, some of those assets are tied to the new building, but some of them benefit and are tied to other parts of that project,” he said. The town is planning on having staff move belongings into the new building in late December and begin working there in the new year.Sean Feagan, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times
EDMONTON — Aurora Cannabis Inc. says it is indefinitely pausing operations at one of its Alberta facilities and laying off a few dozen staff.The Edmonton-based cannabis company says the pause will occur at its Aurora Sun property in Medicine Hat, where it will layoff about 30 workers.Aurora spokeswoman Michelle Lefler says that the moves are expected to be complete around Dec. 18. She says the measures are part of a review the company is conducting to ensure all of its operations are a fit for its current and future business and to help the company adjust to recent shifts in the industry.Aurora's shares gained 11 per cent to $15.25 in Monday trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange.In June, the company laid off 700 workers and announced plans to cease operations at five facilities in Saskatchewan, Ontario, Alberta and Quebec. It also said it planned to consolidate production and manufacturing at four facilities in Alberta, Ontario and British Columbia.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2020.Companies in this story: (TSX:ACB)The Canadian Press
Shares of the company, which have risen about sevenfold this year fueled by the meteoric rise in demand in video conferencing for work, school or socializing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, fell 5% after the bell, despite upbeat fourth-quarter forecasts. Zoom operates some of its own data centers, but it also relies on cloud computing services from outside vendors such as Amazon.com and Oracle Corp, meaning it must bear costs for free users. "We expect gross margins to be consistent with Q3 into the next fiscal year before starting to improve towards our long-term target margin," Chief Financial Officer Kelly Steckelberg said.
The government unveiled a record deficit of $381 billion in its fiscal update, along with spending plans for more pandemic relief and a huge stimulus plan to jolt the economy post-pandemic.
OTTAWA — Key elements from the federal government's fiscal update, delivered by Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland Monday afternoon:A boatload of borrowing. The federal deficit is sailing toward $381.6 billion this year, but could close in on $400 billion if widespread lockdowns return in the coming weeks, according to the fall economic statement. A big reason for that eye-popping sum is the total cost of Ottawa's response to COVID-19, which amounts to $490.7 billion. That also means more than $8 out of every $10 in federal and provincial support comes from the capital, down from $9 out of every $10 from the July fiscal snapshot.The "Netflix tax." For the first time, Netflix and other foreign streaming giants such as Amazon and Apple TV+ will be subject to sales tax in Canada, according to the fiscal update. The government says GST/HST will apply to all companies that provide digital services — which means Netflix and Airbnb would charge sales tax on subscriptions and reservations north of the border. While the European Union moved to tax digital platforms two years ago, Freeland said Canada is prepared to act "unilaterally if necessary."Work-from-home tax break. Employees working from home with "modest expenses" in 2020 can claim up to $400, based on time spent at the dining-room desk. Canadians can make the claim "without the need to track detailed expenses," and the tax man "will generally not request" confirmation from employers, the economic statement says.Increasing fiscal-stabilization payments. Responding to a call from provinces whose finances have taken a beating, the Liberals say they will increase the maximum payment under a program designed to help provincial governments deal with temporary economic shocks. The cap will go from $60 per resident, set in 1987, to $170 per person and increase with economic growth.Support the troops. The government is also proposing to sign off on an additional $600,000 to top up the Veterans Emergency Fund that would ensure more financial support for veterans whose well-being is at risk "due to an urgent and unexpected situation."All the wage. For businesses, the government wants to bring the wage subsidy back to 75 per cent of company payroll costs and extend the business rent subsidy to mid-March. The Trudeau government had previously extended the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy to the summer, while the adapted business-rent subsidy — revised from a less popular iteration that hinged on landlord participation — was slated only to continue through the end of the year.Clean water for Indigenous communities. The government is pledging to invest $1.5 billion in 2020-21 to work toward lifting all long-term drinking water advisories in Indigenous communities, and $114 million each year after. The Liberals have maintained a years-long pledge to lift all outstanding boil-water advisories for Indigenous residents by March 2021. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said last month that about 95 advisories had been lifted since the party came to power in 2015, but more than 60 remained the last time figures were updated before the pandemic.A $100-billion stimulus. The government plans to spend between $70 billion and $100 billion over the next three years to stimulate the economic recovery from COVID-19. The boon amounts to between three and four per cent of GDP, and will tilt toward a "greener, more innovative" bounce-back, though the details are to be determined.Get retrofit. Ottawa is aiming to dole out $2.6 billion over seven years to help homeowners make their digs more efficient, starting in 2020-21. The cash, channelled through Natural Resources Canada, would take the form of up to 700,000 grants of $5,000 or less to help with projects that could range from energy-efficient heating to solar-panel installations. The upcoming plan, with eligibility retroactive to December 2020, fulfils a Liberal election promise from last year.Cash for families. Looking to boost temporary support for parents, the Liberals plan to provide up to $1,200 per child under six years old for low- and middle-income families that are entitled to the Canada Child Benefit, starting next year. The bump marks an increase of nearly 20 per cent above the benefit's current maximum payment.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2020.The Canadian Press
Students in grades 7-12 have now moved to online classes until at least Jan. 11, and diploma exams will now be optional for the rest of the school year. Nailah Fuko, a Grade 10 student at Edmonton's W.P. Wagner School, said she found out she'd be back to learned online while scrolling through Instagram. "I came upon this post that was talking about the government saying that we were moving online," Fuko said in an interview on Edmonton AM. "And I was like, 'Oh, this is new.'" Rebecca Boroditsky, a Grade 10 student at Ross Sheppard, said she's not worried about the academic implications of going virtual. Hear the students talk about their next month online: "For the socializing portion, I'm kind of sad," she said. "I've made friends and I won't really get to talk to them anymore until January." Boroditsky said she had been enjoying the quarter system schools brought in instead of the usual two semesters. In quarters, the classes are longer and Boroditsky said she had been liking her ceramics class she's taking. "We have more time to really get into it and do lots of project things, whereas with the shorter classes ... there's less time because you have to designate time to clean up and get set up, and that eats into a good portion of the class if it's shorter," she said. Fuko said she prefers a semester setup. "I think they sped up a lot of the material and it wasn't as easy to learn," she said. One practical difference is that online learning will make it easier to physically distance. Boroditsky said that was much easier in classrooms than in hallways or at lunch. Fuko said her friends are being careful and do care about safety and what's going on with COVID-19. "I definitely think students particularly are very worried and trying to do their best with what the rules are and how to follow the rules," Fuko said.
ÉMILIE PELLETIER Initiative de journalisme local — Le Droit Pour la première fois depuis jeudi dernier, le bilan du nombre de cas de coronavirus enregistrés en une journée dans la capitale fédérale est sous la barre des 30. Santé publique Ottawa (SPO) rapporte 29 nouvelles infections à la COVID-19, lundi. Il s’agit d’un retour dans la moyenne, puisque dimanche, la capitale fédérale a fait face à un bilan plus inquiétant de ce nombre, qui a bondi à 79 cas répertoriés au cours de la journée précédente, le plus haut total en deux semaines. Si l’on soustrait les cas résolus, le total du nombre de cas actifs actuels à Ottawa est maintenant de 344. Par ailleurs, un Ottavien atteint de la COVID-19 a perdu la vie au cours des 24 dernières heures, déplore également SPO, ce qui porte le bilan à 375 décès liés au virus depuis son arrivée dans la capitale fédérale. Selon le dernier bilan de SPO, 24 personnes étaient hospitalisées en raison du virus dimanche, dont un patient aux soins intensifs. Dans le système de la santé, la santé publique d’Ottawa compte actuellement huit éclosions en foyers de soins de longue durée et neuf en maisons de retraite ainsi que deux éclosions dans des hôpitaux de la ville.Émilie Pelletier, journaliste, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Droit