As Island businesses gear up for the holidays, news of the Atlantic bubble closing has left some hoping it will be a chance to attract and retain more local customers. "This is the time to love local," Penny Walsh-McGuire, the CEO of the Greater Charlottetown Chamber of Commerce, said during a panel discussion on CBC Radio's Island Morning. "We're encouraging Islanders to get out there and support the local business community." The announcement that P.E.I. would be leaving the Atlantic bubble for at least two weeks came during an unscheduled COVID-19 briefing Monday morning. As of midnight Monday, those arriving on the Island from the other Atlantic provinces will now have to self-isolate for 14 days.With cases in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia continuing to climb, P.E.I. Premier Dennis King said the decision will be re-evaluated as the two-week hiatus ends on Dec. 7. Encouraging Islanders to support local"It was unfortunate that we are moving towards further restrictions," said Walsh-McGuire. Still, she added, "as a business community, we understand and we do support the decision to close the bubble."Yifei Ban is with the Chinese Canadian Association of P.E.I. He works with several Chinese business owners on the Island. "The most seriously impacted area is the hotel," said Ban, adding that he has already heard of hotel booking cancellations after King's announcement. "Certain impact for sure."'Support them and give back'Tara Maddix, the executive director of the Greater Summerside Chamber of Commerce, said she thinks customer support for local businesses has grown over the past few months and she hopes it continues to expand. "It's the small businesses and your local businesses that are supporting, you know, your sports teams and your school activities," she said. "It's really time to support them and give back." Maddix said people can also help by leaving positive online reviews for the companies, or by giving them shout-outs on social media. "There's lots of ways you can support local," she said. "Doing it from the shopping side or even, you know, just the promotions side."Locals supporting locals onlineSome local businesses have already seen a change in the number of local customers shopping and supporting local since the pandemic hit.Marlene MacDonald, co-owner of Bookmark Charlottetown, says that has been very encouraging. She expects it to continue now that the provincial borders are closed for the next two weeks."I'm sure there's lots more people going to be staying — well, they have to stay on the island — and they're going to be looking for options to buy locally," she said. "Especially the people who… prefer not to shop online."MacDonald said some local businesses have moved to online selling as well, so people can still support local from the comfort of their own homes.Less home-for-the-holiday shoppersWhile it is still early in the holiday shopping season, there will be other impacts if the bubble remains closed through Christmas.Lily Balderston, who works at Owls Hollow Toys and Games in Charlottetown, said many people from off-Island would stop by to get gifts when coming for the holidays.But she says ultimately, the border closure for non-essential travel will be better for all Islanders in the long run.For one thing, it has meant that the store has been seeing customers come from different parts of the Island."We've been getting a lot more people who are coming from outside of Charlottetown — so like Summerside — just kind of further away, which is really nice," said Balderston."Getting to see more people from on-Island that we wouldn't normally see because they're not from in town [but are] coming into town and just kind of giving us a little bit of support."Shopping optionsWalsh-McGuire said business owners have put significant effort into making sure people feel safe shopping in public, but there are other options available for those who don't have that confidence."There's lots of alternatives that local businesses are providing, whether it's curbside or delivery or their own online options for shopping," said Walsh-McGuire. And while the question of whether the bubble will re-open by Dec. 7 remains unanswered, Walsh-McGuire is asking "Islanders this holiday season, and into the new year, to really put their money where their heart is." More from CBC P.E.I.
Traffic on the Confederation Bridge was steady but not record-breaking Monday night as Islanders hurried home following the announcement that P.E.I. would be leaving the Atlantic bubble for at least two weeks. "We immediately saw at midnight that a couple of cars were turned around already," Michel LeChasseur, the bridge general manager, told Island Morning's Mitch Cormier. "P.E.I. was applying the rules to the letter."The announcement that the province would be opting out of the bubble, at least temporarily, came during an unscheduled COVID-19 briefing just 13 hours prior to the new rule taking effect.Meaning, people had little time to get back into the province before 12:01 a.m. Tuesday. 'More a weather issue'But for those scrambling to return home, Premier Dennis King said that he would allow for some flexibility."The restrictions were put into place at 4:30 this morning," said LeChasseur. However, according to LeChasseur, on Monday night the main concern was not the influx of vehicles. "Overnight was more a weather issue than a traffic issue," he said. "The winds are howling."'Commercial traffic has been resilient'LeChasseur said he expects car traffic on the bridge will dwindle to what it was in the winter — which was about 10 per cent of the traffic the bridge would regularly have. As for commercial trucks, LeChasseur said this November saw more commercial activity than last November."We don't expect that to change much because of these new rules," he said. "Commercial traffic has been resilient throughout the pandemic."More from CBC P.E.I.
P.E.I. Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison is urging Islanders not to travel during the upcoming Christmas holidays. During her weekly COVID-19 update Tuesday, Morrison also asked Islanders to limit their number of close contacts as new cases of COVID-19 climb across Canada. She said while there are no new cases of COVID-19 on P.E.I. to report at the moment and the number of active cases has fallen to just one, it is likely the Island will have cases related to public exposure in Atlantic Canada as the days go on.For now, Morrison is advising people to travel off the Island only for essential purposes. Those reasons include: * Medical and dental appointments off the Island * Court dates * Specialized animal care * Delivery of goods * Child custody arrangements * Compassionate visitationThose who must travel to P.E.I. for work do not need to apply for pre-travel approval, said Morrison, adding that they will be automatically eligible to work-isolate. Picking up off-Island studentsFamilies of students attending university elsewhere in Atlantic Canada can still go pick them up without having to isolate on return as long as it's a short trip, Morrison said.She said everyone in the car must be masked and the driver should not stop for meals or gas while away from the Island. Upon returning home, the students will still need to isolate for 14 days. Parents and other family members should follow all health measures carefully. She said more information will be provided online about how to do this safely.Testing advised for patrons of N.S. barsMorrison is also recommending testing for anyone who has been to a licensed bar or restaurant in Halifax after 10 p.m. in the last two weeks — even if they don't have symptoms.Health PEI Chief of Nursing Marion Dowling was also at the briefing. She said a list has been compiled of staff who have travelled outside of the province within the past 14 days. Dowling said they have been given instructions to closely follow, including using PPE, observing physical distancing standards and monitoring themselves for symptoms.Those scheduled for non-urgent procedures but have travelled outside P.E.I. within the last seven days will also be called to discuss and possibly postpone the procedures for now, she said. Sign language interpreter presentOf special note for Islanders who are deaf or hard of hearing, a sign language interpreter was at this week's briefing for the first time. She was visible for those monitoring the government's stream of the event. During an unscheduled COVID-19 briefing Monday, Premier Dennis King announced that P.E.I. is leaving the Atlantic bubble for at least two weeks because of an upsurge in cases diagnosed in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. There is one active COVID-19 cases on P.E.I. The province has seen a total of 69 cases, with no deaths and no hospitalizations.More from CBC P.E.I.
BERLIN — A court in Berlin heard Tuesday how witnesses alerted police after seeing a man dump a wig, clothes and a bicycle in a river last year, allowing officers to swiftly arrest the suspect in an alleged Russia-ordered political assassination.Testimony by the two men is central to the trial of the man German authorities have identified as Vadim Krasikov, a 55-year-old Russian citizen whose alleged killing of a Georgian man in broad daylight in downtown Berlin has fueled frictions between Germany and Russia.German prosecutors allege there is ample evidence indicating Russian officials ordered the killing of Zelimkhan “Tornike” Khangoshvili, who had fled to Germany with his family. Russia has accused Khangoshvili of killing scores of people during fighting in the Caucasus, but denied being behind his slaying.German news agency dpa reported that the two witnesses told the Berlin regional court they became suspicious when they saw the suspect disappear into bushes by the banks of the Spree River on Aug. 23, 2019. They moved to a bridge to get a better view and called police.When the suspect emerged from the bushes, his dark locks were gone and he was wearing completely different clothes, the witnesses testified.The suspect appeared to realize that he was being watched by the men, turning around to look at them repeatedly, but he was apprehended by police before he could flee on an electric scooter.No pleas are entered in the German trial system, and the defendant made only a short statement at the start of the trial, saying that he had been misidentified.The Associated Press
HOUSTON — The U.S. government has agreed temporarily not to deport detained immigrant women who have alleged being abused by a rural Georgia gynecologist, according to court papers filed Tuesday.In a motion that must still be approved by a federal judge, the Justice Department and lawyers for several of the women agreed that immigration authorities would not carry out any deportations until mid-January.Dozens of women have alleged that they were mistreated by Dr. Mahendra Amin, a gynecologist who was seeing patients from the Irwin County Detention Center in Ocilla, Georgia. The Justice Department is conducting a criminal investigation, and the Department of Homeland Security's inspector general is investigating as well. Amin has denied any wrongdoing through his lawyer.Several women say they have faced retaliation by immigration authorities for coming forward. One woman has said that hours after she spoke to investigators, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement notified her that it had lifted a hold on her deportation. Another woman was taken to an airport to be placed on a deportation flight before her lawyers could intervene.The agreement filed in court Tuesday proposes that no deportations would take place until at least mid-January for women who have “substantially similar factual allegations.”Elora Mukherjee, a Columbia University law professor working with several of the women, said the agreement gives the women "a measure of protection for trying to expose the abuses there.”“ICE and others at Irwin thought they could silence these women,” she said. “They thought they could act with impunity and nothing would ever happen. But the women have organized and had the audacity to speak out.”ICE said Tuesday that it “complies with all binding court orders.” The agency has previously denied allegations that it tried to deport women to silence them, saying in a written statement: “Any implication that ICE is attempting to impede the investigation by conducting removals of those being interviewed is completely false.”Scott Grubman, a lawyer for Amin, did not immediately respond to an email requesting comment.The allegations were originally revealed by a whistleblower complaint. Further investigations have found several examples of Amin performing surgeries on women who later said they didn't consent to the procedures or didn't fully understand them.Grubman has denied any wrongdoing by the doctor and previously described Amin as a “highly respected physician who has dedicated his adult life to treating a high-risk, underserved population in rural Georgia.”Nomaan Merchant, The Associated Press
In Pennsylvania, if you’re having friends over to socialize, you’re supposed to wear a mask — and so are your friends. That’s the rule, but Barb Chestnut has no intention of following it.“No one is going to tell me what I can or not do in my own home,” said Chestnut, 60, of Shippensburg. “They do not pay my bills and they are not going to tell me what to do.”As governors and mayors grapple with an out-of-control pandemic, they are ratcheting up mask mandates and imposing restrictions on small indoor gatherings, which have been blamed for accelerating the spread of the coronavirus. But while such measures carry the weight of law, they are, in practical terms, unenforceable, and officials are banking on voluntary compliance instead.Good luck with that.While many are undoubtedly heeding public health advice — downsizing Thanksgiving plans, avoiding get-togethers, wearing masks when they’re around people who don't live with them — it's inevitable that a segment of the population will blow off new state and local restrictions and socialize anyway. Experts say that could put greater stress on overburdened hospitals and lead to an even bigger spike in sickness and death over the holidays.“When this started in early March, we weren’t staring at Thanksgiving and Christmas, and we didn’t have the disease reservoir that we have. And that, to me, is the biggest concern in the next few weeks,” said Dr. David Rubin, the director of PolicyLab at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. He called the risk of a Thanksgiving spike “extremely high.”“I think you’re seeing a lot of resistance here," Rubin said. "I can’t speculate on what people are going to do, but I can say that to the degree that there isn’t a collective buy-in here, it sort of blunts the impact of the measures themselves.”The nation is averaging 172,000 new virus cases per day, nearly doubling since the end of October, according to Johns Hopkins University. Hospitalizations, deaths and the testing positivity rate are also up sharply as the nation approaches Thanksgiving.In response, elected officials are imposing restrictions that, with some exceptions, fall short of the broad-based stay-at-home orders and business shutdowns seen in the spring.Utah and Vermont have banned all social gatherings. So have local governments in Philadelphia and Dane County, Wisconsin. In Kentucky, no more than eight people from two households are permitted to get together; in Oregon, the gathering limit is six. California has imposed an overnight curfew. More states are requiring masks, including those with GOP governors who have long resisted them. The nation’s top health officials are pleading with Americans to avoid Thanksgiving travel.There’s some evidence the holiday will be quieter.Tamika Hickson, who co-owns a party rental business in Philadelphia, said Thanksgiving was a bust even before her city moved to prohibit indoor gatherings of any size."Nobody’s calling," Hickson said. "A lot of people lost a lot of loved ones, so they’re not playing with this. And I don’t blame them.”AAA projects Thanksgiving travel will fall by at least 10%, which would be the steepest one-year plunge since the Great Recession in 2008. But that still means tens of millions of people on the road. On social media, people defiantly talk about their Thanksgiving plans, arguing that nothing will stop them from seeing friends and family.More than 1 million people thronged U.S. airports on Sunday, according to the Transportation Security Administration — the highest number since the beginning of the pandemic.Dr. Debra Bogen, the health director for Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, which includes Pittsburgh, said that too many have been ignoring public health guidance and that the result has been unchecked spread of the virus.“For the past few weeks, I’ve asked people to follow the rules, curtail gatherings and parties, stay home except for essentials, and wear masks. I’m done asking,” Bogen said at a news conference, her frustration palpable. She announced a stay-at-home advisory that she said would turn into an order if people didn’t comply.Some people are underestimating the risk to themselves and their friends and families, said Baruch Fischhoff, a Carnegie Mellon University psychologist who has written about COVID-19 risk analysis and communications. Others doubt what health officials are telling them about the virus. And still others are simply irresponsible.Fischhoff said the lack of a cohesive national pandemic strategy; patchwork and seemingly arbitrary restrictions at the state and local level; and ineffective, politicized and contradictory public health messaging have sown confusion and mistrust.“It has been a colossal, tragic failure of leadership from the very beginning that we didn’t find the common ground in which we were working to protect the weakest among us. And once you’ve lost that co-ordination, you’re scrambling to get it back and that’s the tragic mess that we’re in now,” he said.In York County, Pennsylvania, 51-year-old retail worker Kori Jess tested positive for the virus last week. Long a mask skeptic, her personal experience with COVID-19 has changed her opinion — to a point. She said it’s appropriate to wear a mask when circumstances warrant, but she still doesn’t like the idea of government mandating them.“I’m so torn,” Jess said. “I like that people are fighting for their freedoms, but I understand why people are wearing masks.”In upstate New York, some sheriffs say they have no intention of enforcing Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s recent mandate barring private gatherings of more than 10 people.“There is no need to hide cars and sneak around during your attempt to gather with family. We are not going to exhaust our limited resources obtaining search warrants and counting the turkey eaters in your house,” Madison County Sheriff Todd Hood said in a Facebook post. He encouraged people in the largely rural area to use common sense to keep themselves safe.Kim Collins is among those planning a slimmed-down Thanksgiving. In a typical year, Collins would have as many as 20 people at her home in South Orange, New Jersey. This year, her extended family is staying put. “My husband’s having a hard time with the fact that his mom, who’s on her own, won’t be here,” she said.But Collins wasn’t optimistic that others would be so careful. She said plenty of people are going through “mental gymnastics” to justify their holiday get-togethers. “I think that a lot of people aren’t great at the honour system,” she said. ___Associated Press reporters Deepti Hajela in New York City and Michael Hill in Albany, New York, contributed to this story.Michael Rubinkam, The Associated Press
Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam talks to The National’s Andrew Chang about the holiday season and getting to the end of the COVID-19 pandemic.
JUNEAU, Alaska — A judge has ruled that the federal government was correct in allowing a southeast Alaska tribe to organize an out-of-season hunt because of the coronavirus pandemic.Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy's administration sued to block future hunts, arguing that permitting a special moose and deer hunt this summer was overreach by federal authorities, CoastAlaska reported Monday.District Court Judge Sharon Gleason denied a preliminary injunction that would have prevented special hunts in the future.The Organized Village of Kake petitioned the Federal Subsistence Board for permission to hunt five deer and two moose out of season and distribute the meat within the community.The federally recognized tribe on Kupreanof Island, south of Juneau, said it was alarmed by the low supply and high price of fresh meat that followed the outbreak of COVID-19.The hunt was approved in June, but Alaska filed a lawsuit alleging federal officials illegally preempted the state’s rights to manage wildlife.Alaska Assistant Attorney General Cheryl Brooking said there are narrow reasons for federal jurisdiction to supersede state management.“When Alaska became a state, one of the main drivers of statehood was to get control over fish and game management because the feds were making a mess of it,” Brooking said. “But since statehood, the state has been the manager of fish and game.”Brooking argued in court filings that the food security issue was never proven and that the federal government exceeded its authority.Gleason's ruling last week said federal officials took conservation and public safety concerns into account when they reached the decision to allow the hunt.State wildlife managers also did not respond when federal officials reached out to them, Gleason wrote.The lawsuit will proceed as both sides file arguments ahead of a final ruling.Kake Tribal President Joel Jackson said Alaska Natives never voluntarily ceded hunting and fishing rights on their traditional homelands and that he considers the matter an issue of tribal sovereignty.“Of course, if we’re in a real bad situation, I wouldn’t hesitate to get a hunting party together, go out and get what we need,” Jackson said. “But I want to stay within the law.”For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.The Associated Press
Regina's 2020 city council was sworn in last night before a small group at city hall.Attendees to the ceremony were limited due to COVID-19 restrictions; each member of council was allowed to bring two invited guests.Eleven members swore their oaths, including five new councillors and new Mayor of Regina Sandra Masters — the first woman to be mayor of a major city in Saskatchewan.Masters said she hopes to take action during her term."I think there's the sense that we talk about some things but we don't seem to strike action plans," she said, pointing to the Renewable Regina Plan that was first discussed in 2018."We might even make action plans but we don't have a lot of actions coming out and I think it's those types of things, if I had a hunch, that have been frustrating for some."Regina's council is full of new faces, with five of 10 city council members new to city hall.While they've only been working together for the past two weeks, Masters said the group has already started to build a rapport."They're inquisitive, they want to understand how it works … even just the debate about some of the priorities has been respectful and I think we've made some advances there."Masters said she's ready to get to work.The next regular meeting of the new city council will be on Dec. 2 at 1:30 p.m.
When Canadian trade negotiators begin talks with the United Kingdom next year on a permanent bilateral trade deal, their hands could be tied when it comes to offering any future dairy, egg or poultry concessions — if Parliament passes a new private member's bill that saw its first hour of debate on Tuesday.Bloc Québécois MP Louis Plamondon's legislation, Bill C-216, would amend the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Act to state that the minister "must not make any commitment ... by future trade treaty or agreement" that would increase the tariff rate quota (TRQ) applicable to dairy products, poultry or eggs, or reduce the tariff applicable to those goods when they are imported in excess of that quota.Canada protects its agriculture supply management system for these commodities by carefully controlling access to its domestic market. Only small quantities of imports are allowed under strict international quotas — TRQs — with high tariffs keeping any extra imports above and beyond these quotas from being cost-competitive.But the three major trade deals implemented by the Liberal government over the last four years — the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) with the European Union, the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) with 10 other Pacific Rim markets and, most recently, the revised North American Free Trade Agreement (the new NAFTA) — all offered new access to Canada's domestic market, among other concessions required to land these deals."Something very important for milk and egg and poultry production is given away as a token and nothing comes back for those producers, so we say in the law that this should not happen anymore," Bloc Leader Yves-François Blanchet told CBC News last week."[The Liberal government says,] 'Oh, we will will compensate you. And you know what? They don't."No word on NAFTA compensationA few weeks before the 2019 general election, Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau announced compensation for dairy farmers to cover their anticipated losses from CETA and CPTPP, which were already both in effect at the time. That financial assistance rolled out last winter.Help has also been pledged to compensate for the even larger concessions in the new NAFTA but nothing further has been announced. American farmers got access to a greater share of Canada's starting July 1 — and the new NAFTA also dictates how dairy ingredients can be priced and slapped strict export limits on sensitive global commodities like skim milk powder and baby formula.Blanchet slammed Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland for taking so long to present her fall economic update and said her spending plan must include the NAFTA compensation farmers anxiously anticipate."This money is owed, is expected [and] is terribly late," he said.Freeland announced Monday that she'll present her update on Nov. 30.Bill could block British demandsIf Plamondon's legislation garners enough support to pass in this Parliament before the next election, the first trade negotiation it could affect is talks between Canada and the United Kingdom to reach a permanent, comprehensive deal to liberalize their bilateral trade post-Brexit.On Saturday, prime ministers and trade ministers from both sides announced they'd reached agreement on a transitional deal to offer continuity for businesses by continuing most of the terms of the CETA past Jan.1, when it was otherwise set to expire because the U.K. is no longer an EU member.The government won't release details of exactly what's in that transitional agreement until the legal text is ready, which usually takes another two to four weeks. But Doug Forsyth, Canada's lead negotiator in the talks, confirmed previously that the British were seeking additional tariff-free access to Canada's cheese market."I want to be very clear that there is no new market access for cheese here in this transition agreement," International Trade Minister Mary Ng told CBC News at Saturday's announcement.But yesterday at the Commons trade committee, Ng's parliamentary secretary, Rachel Bendayan, said that language in the transitional deal commits both sides to returning to the table to reach what Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has called a "bespoke" bilateral deal by 2024.That means the British could make another play to get more U.K. cheeses into Canada."By 2024, Canada will have transferred 18 per cent of its domestic dairy production to dairy farmers in other countries ... that will displace our domestic products on the grocery shelves," said Pierre Lampron, the president of the Dairy Farmers of Canada, in a statement sent to CBC News last weekend. "Another concession as part of a trade agreement with the U.K. would have been dramatic for the industry."Officials had told us there would be no further concessions, and they followed through, but we must remain vigilant as this is a provisional agreement."Vote unclearBased on remarks made during Tuesday's first hour of debate, it appears Conservative MPs may not support this bill, but a party spokesperson has yet to comment on it or confirm how the Official Opposition will vote.In an email to CBC News, party spokesperson Melanie Richer said New Democrats agree with the Bloc that compensation has been slow to roll out, adding that "the Liberals added insult to injury by bringing CUSMA into effect several weeks earlier than promised, robbing Canadian dairy farmers of a full year to prepare for the change in their local markets.""New Democrats have consistently decried the damage done to Canada's dairy sector in successive trade deals and we have said we would not do the same," Richer said. "This bill would add legal force to that position."Youmy Han, a spokesperson for Trade Minister Ng, said the government is still studying the bill and would not say how Liberal MPs might vote."We have been clear: our government will not grant any further market access in our supply-managed sectors in any future trade negotiation," Han said.MPs will vote on the bill at second reading after its second hour of debate, expected later this winter.
TORONTO — Loral Space & Communications Inc. has signed a deal with the Public Sector Pension Investment Board and Telesat Canada to combine Loral and Telesat into a new public company.Loral, which also announced a special dividend of $1.50 per share, holds a 62.7 per cent economic interest Telesat Canada, an operator of telecommunications and direct broadcast satellites.Under the plan, Loral shareholders, together with PSP Investments and certain current and former management shareholders of Telesat will own the new company in approximately the same proportion as their current, indirect ownership in Telesat.MHR Fund Management LLC will own 36.6 per cent in the new company while PSP Investments will hold 36.7 per cent. Management shareholders will own 0.7 per cent.Loral stockholders not affiliated with the funds managed by MHR Funds will own 26.1 per cent of the new company.The plan, which is subject to customary closing conditions, including approval by Loral shareholders and certain regulatory approvals, is expected to close in the second or third quarter of 2021.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 24, 2020.The Canadian Press
They may be one of Hollywood’s most beloved couples, but Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn have never felt the pressure to use that unmatched chemistry for the big screen time and time again. Since 1987's “Overboard," they’ve received hundreds of opportunities to reunite in a film. Although none seemed quite right until another longtime, A-list pair landed at their feet: Santa and Mrs. Claus. The film is “The Christmas Chronicles: Part Two,” a sequel to the 2018 Netflix picture that introduced Russell as a Santa who's more superhero-meets-Elvis speedracing his sled than jolly old Saint Nick sitting by a fire. At the urging of Chris Columbus, who produced the first, Hawn appeared as Mrs. Claus in a cameo at the end. “When Goldie appeared on screen, she brought the house down,” said Columbus, who stepped up to direct this one. “We knew we had to do the next one with Goldie, if she would do it, if she would have us.” It debuts on Netflix on Wednesday right in time for Thanksgiving. And, unsurprisingly, the Clauses have never looked better. This wasn’t some slapdash, stunt Christmas cash grab, either. It was born of a genuine love of the holiday and became a deeply personal endeavour for all three. Christmas was big in the Russell and Columbus houses growing up. Columbus even said he was downright obsessed, although he hated the aluminum tree that his mother used. He had previously set “Gremlins,” which he wrote, and “Home Alone” at Christmastime, but both of those were kind of horror films in different ways — one a horror comedy and the other a horrific situation. In his mind, he’d never made a real Christmas movie, most of which he considers pretty bad. This was chance to unapologetically lean into the yuletide spirit. He and Russell worked on the script for months going deep into character questions about where Santa comes from, how he met Mrs. Claus, how long have they been together and what is their relationship like. Russell even composed a 200-page “bible” as backstory. “Kurt approached this like any actor approaching a great role, which is rare for Santa Claus, if we’re being honest. It's only been played well a couple of times," Columbus said. “And this is the great one right here.” That seriousness extended to Mrs. Claus, who they crafted into a pillar of strength and love. Hawn wanted to ensure that she did more than bake cookies too. “There was no Mrs. Claus we could really identify with. She was a character that was iconic for no other reason than she was the wife of Santa,” Hawn said. “I thought, I don’t want to be the one that continues to bring him his slippers. I mean, it’s just not the way women are today.” She was tempted to bring her classic playfulness to the role, but Columbus encouraged her to make this Mrs. Claus a little more grounded. Hawn, who just turned 75 this weekend, is deeply sincere when she says she loves this film and this character. In fact, she took a souvenir from set and plans to hang it in her Aspen house, which she said she’s redoing to make it look like Santa’s Village. Russell can't help but think of his late father Bing Russell, who loved Christmas deeply and helped make the holiday a major event in their household. “I dedicate these to my dad,” Russell said. He’s also excited that their six grandchildren will be able to watch the film and maybe even earn some bragging rights among their peers. “I like the idea that there’s a period of time when those kids can go to school and say, well, my grandmother and grandfather are Mrs. Claus and Santa,” Russell said, beaming. “OK, so top that!” Each film in the Hawn and Russell oeuvre has come at distinctly different phases for the couple. On 1968’s “The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band” they were strangers, on 1984’s “Swing Shift,” they were falling in love and on 1987’s “Overboard” they were becoming a family. Over three decades later, Hawn reflected on where they are now. “This is an interesting phase because there is so much love and history and all the ups and downs of a relationship, and now we’re looking at our grandchildren and these are sort of the special years. And we are looking at fun things to do together, whereas before we were more pulled away by different things,” Hawn said. “It’s a time of friendship, really. I mean, there’s love, but also friendship is very important as you get older: The trust in each other, supporting each other, being there for each other and feeling the safety and the security of that relationship that you’ve worked with and within and all that for close to 40 years.” —- Follow AP Film Writer Lindsey Bahr on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ldbahr Lindsey Bahr, The Associated Press
A public meeting about the Ottawa police budget Monday was overtaken by criticism of the weekend arrest of protesters calling for justice for Black, Indigenous and racialized communities in Ottawa.Almost 100 people signed up to speak to the Ottawa Police Services Board about the 2021 police budget.Nearly all of the registered speakers called for the police budget to be frozen and for the proposed $13.2 million increase for the upcoming year to be reallocated to social services.Several people, some who were at this weekend's protest encampment at Laurier Avenue and Nicholas Street, condemned the early morning arrests of demonstrators — even accusing police Chief Peter Sloly of deception when he described the early morning arrests as having involved ample warning and no injuries.Twelve people were charged with mischief.Ifrah Yusuf, co-chair of the Justice for Abdirahman coalition, said the space created by protesters calling for an end to systemic racism was "destroyed" by police after protesters were told they would not be arrested."They have caused deep harm, trauma and have set the relationship back many years in the space of one night by way of a reckless and violent decision," she said. WATCH | Early-morning police raid timed with safety in mind, chief says:Robin Browne, co-founder of 613-819 Black Hub, said the disruption of the protest after an agreement to meet with city officials was one factor that led the group to reconsider its conditional endorsement of the 2021 budget."That the police went ahead and removed the protesters just hours before the meeting is an act of bad faith," Browne said."Charging 12 protesters with mischief contradicts the [police service's] frequent claim that they want to 'improve community relations' as it seems more like an intimidation tactic."Browne said the group is also concerned with the slow pace of other priorities such as improving the police's mental health response and hiring of racialized officers.Handling of ceremonial objectsThere was particular anger over the treatment of sacred medicines and ceremonial objects belonging to Indigenous participants in the protest.Victoria Marchand, an Anishinaabe from Kitigan Zibi who participated in the protest, said protesters were given just 10 minutes of warning before arrests began."Not only did we just wake up but we had tents, drums, medicines, and what happened to those? There were no warnings. The care the board talks about for our confiscated ceremonial objects is a complete and utter lie," Marchand said.She said the ceremonial objects and medicines had to be recovered from a municipal yard on Hurdman Road, some left under a tarp.Sloly acknowledged Monday that "mistakes were made" in the handling of those objects, though in his opening remarks he said efforts were made to reach Indigenous organizations for advice on the proper handling of ceremonial objects.He said the police need to improve how they handle similar situations.Vote planned TuesdayThe meeting lasted about eight hours, with several tense exchanges.Coun. Diane Deans, the board's chair, cut some public delegations short when she said they were veering away from the budget or included possible criminal allegations that police could not answer during a city meeting.This led to pushback from several speakers who accused Deans of censorship and denying the experience of people who experienced alleged wrongdoing at the hands of police. The meeting concluded with a recess and will reconvene for a vote Tuesday. Some board members, including Deans, have said they will support the proposed budget.
Stratégie Carrière mise sur la régionalisation de l’immigration et tente de convaincre des familles montréalaises de s’établir dans la région. L’objectif: combler les besoins en main-d’œuvre des entreprises locales, mais aussi de lutter contre la dévitalisation de cette région où la moyenne d’âge est l’une des plus élevées au Québec. Stratégie Carrière vient, en ce sens, de recevoir une aide de près de 120 000 $ sur trois ans du ministère de l’Immigration, de la Francisation et de l’Intégration (MIFI). L’initiative n’est ni nouvelle ni unique ; nombre de régions québécoises tentent le coup. À Trois-Rivières comme ailleurs, les efforts semblent peu à peu produire des résultats. Stratégie Carrière convainc, chaque année, une quinzaine de familles immigrantes de s’établir en Mauricie avec, à la clé, un emploi gardé au chaud. Beaucoup viennent de France, du continent africain et de l’Amérique latine, précise Luce Ricard, chargée de projet — régionalisation chez Stratégie Carrière. « Ils finissent toujours par trouver un emploi. Malgré la pandémie, il y a des secteurs qui ont le vent dans les voiles, comme le domaine du textile, de la désinfection des locaux par pulvérisateur et dans le domaine de la santé et de l’éducation. On réussit à placer nos candidats et à leur trouver un salaire parfois plus attrayant que celui de la PCU, récemment rebaptisé», indique Luce Ricard. Convaincre les familles Pour convaincre des familles immigrantes établies à Montréal d’accorder leur faveur aux régions, Stratégie Carrière entretient des liens serrés avec quatre organismes de la métropole. Parmi eux, Carrefour Blé, Promis, Collectif, et Alpa. L’organisation trifluvienne collabore aussi en Mauricie avec le Service d’accueil des nouveaux arrivants et la Ville de Trois-Rivières. La pandémie est toutefois venue brouiller les projets de Stratégie Carrière. La directrice de l’organisme constate que les nouveaux arrivants sont souvent ceux qui perdent leur emploi en premier. «Par contre, il y a certains secteurs qui sont encore pénurie de main-d’œuvre et ça nous permet de les replacer rapidement », assure Annie Jean. Il est clair que la pandémie aura joué les trouble-fêtes, à plus d’un titre. Les salons de l’emploi sont à proscrire, les déplacements déconseillés, les rencontres en personne aussi. L’organisme devra nul doute revoir ses objectifs à la baisse. « Dans le contexte actuel, c’est un peu une boule de cristal. On essaie d’extrapoler en fonction de nos références antérieures, mais il est difficile de savoir comment va réagir le marché du travail et comment va s’articuler la reprise économique. On est un peu dans l’œil du cyclone. Quand on va en émerger, on sera en mesure de mieux diriger nos efforts, explique Annie Jean. Le ministère comprend bien la situation .» Pour l’heure, Stratégie Carrière demeure donc en mode veille, mais continue de vanter les mérites de la région et de ses entreprises. « On fait valoir le fait que c’est une ville à échelle humaine, qu’il y a de grands espaces, un atout non négligeable en ces temps de COVID-19. Il y a une vitalité économique, tout le réseau scolaire et une qualité de vie. On est en train de semer. C’est un travail de long terme. Quand les gens viennent ici, ils se rendent compte qu’ils y gagnent », conclut Mme Jean.Boris Chassagne, Initiative de journalisme local, La Voix du Sud
The public is waiting to see what Premier Scott Moe and chief medical health officer Dr. Saqib Shahab will do to control the spread of the virus.The answer could come at a Wednesday afternoon news conference, where a COVID-19 update is expected. The news conference was originally scheduled for Tuesday afternoon, but was postponed until 3 p.m. CST the next day.For the past two weeks, Moe has heard concerns about the implications of locking down versus continuing with smaller interventions.On Saturday, Moe said in a radio interview he was against the NDP proposal of a three-week "circuit breaker" which would close non-essential businesses and move restaurants to take out or delivery only.Moe called the approach "disastrous.""That's why we are looking at every other lever that we have…available to us to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and try to minimize, in every way that we can, the impact on our small businesses," said Moe. Two weeks ago, Moe said business restrictions were not under consideration.Days later, 442 doctors called for several interventions, which included targeted closure of businesses or areas in the community that have played a role in COVID-19 transmissions and regional shutdowns where outbreaks are ongoing.Moe said he preferred a slowdown to a lockdown."We're going to do everything we can to ensure that they're going to be able to make it through this without a circuit breaker, without a shutdown or without a lockdown," Moe said Saturday after the province recorded an all-time high of 439 new cases.On Monday, the government announced Moe was self-isolating after a potential exposure at Prince Albert restaurant Original Joe's on November 15. 'Little by little measures, not enough' says economistAcross Canada, several provinces are grappling with the decision to shutdown certain areas in response to spiking cases and hospitalizations.On Monday, Saskatchewan's seven-day average was an all-time high of 219 new cases. The province recorded a daily high for deaths with 4, hospitalizations, 106 and active cases 2,864.University of Calgary economics professor Aidan Hollis said Alberta, like Saskatchewan has introduced so-called "targeted measures" to slow down the spread of the virus rather than lockdown or shut down certain parts of the economy.For example, both provinces recently announced a restaurant and bar curfew of 11 p.m."I think we've reached the point certainly here in Alberta, and it's my understanding also in Saskatchewan where if you just let it continue, then we're going to be forced to have that shut down anyway. And it could be worse and longer, plus we will have increased mortality, plus increased hospital expenses," he said. "The little by little measures are clearly not enough.""If the spread of infections continues unabated, then it's clear what's going to happen and the hospitals would be overwhelmed. There would be so many COVID cases they could not be treated properly. And other people who need medical care would also be at risk."Hollis said at that point either provincial government would be forced to impose "Draconian" measures of closing retail, restaurants, gyms and even high schools.He said a "circuit breaker" which is a short-term lockdown is "beneficial" for both COVID-19 prevention and the economy. He said that option potentially prevents a more serious widespread lockdown when the health system is "overwhelmed.""It's not a case of can we protect the economy by compromising people's health a little bit? It doesn't work like that.""It doesn't make sense to be able to think you can run an economy successfully if people know that they are at great risk of getting sick," Hollis said.Hollis said the government needs to target places where people are in close contact for an extended period of time.He said if the restaurants and bars are closed, retail stores may follow as has been the case in Toronto and Manitoba with some exceptions."Then all the business goes to Amazon, every retail store is wondering what happened to their most profitable month of the year."Hollis said in that case people have to be prepared to pay more in taxes to support those affected by their business closing temporarily."I do want to say that I recognize that as a person who has a steady job that is going to be paid whether or not things are shut down, I'm in a privileged position and I feel that, the solution to this is that all of us have to be prepared to pay our taxes to support the people who are put out of work because of a shutdown." Hollis said people face a "terrible dilemma" of choosing to make money or protect themselves from the virus."Many people are now being put in the terrible dilemma of having to choose to keep their business open so they can make money or else voluntarily closing it in order to protect themselves and their staff."Hollis said governments will be judged on how they handled their pandemic response. He pointed to jurisdictions like New Zealand, Melbourne, Australia and Taiwan which have been able to keep COVID-19 low or flatten a spiking curve."Everyone's looking at South Dakota and saying they have just done a terrible job. And I don't think that we want to be like South Dakota. It's not about keeping the economy open because that's not what's happened anyway."As of Monday, South Dakota had recorded 819 COVID-19-related deaths, with a population of 884,000.Saskatchewan has recorded 37 deaths with a population of 1.17 million.'There is no right answer'Jason Childs an associate professor of economics at the University of Regina said the issue facing governments is not versus health or someone's business or someone's life.He said it comes down to "taking one set of risks and weighing them against another set of risks.""If we don't lockdown there are going to be more people exposed and at risk of dying from COVID. If we do lockdown we are going to see increased deaths due to addiction backsliding, family breakdown, suicides likely to rise and some of that impact is going to come via the reduction in economic activity."Childs said a decrease in economic activity equals a decrease in well-being."There is no right answer here no matter what we do people are going to die," Childs said.Childs called the decision a "worst-case scenario" of cost-benefit analysis because of the stakes."What is the threshhold of lives lost where you go yes that is worth it. I have no idea what the answer is obviously at some point you say yes it's worth it. I don't know where that line is and I'm really glad I don't have to draw it."Last week, Premier Moe said the province lost 70,000 jobs earlier in the pandemic and gained 55,000 back. He said the net loss of 15,000 would balloon to "tens of thousands" if there was another lockdown.Childs said that estimate is "plausible.""I don't know how many (businesses) would survive another two to three-month lockdown."Childs said lockdowns should be done exceedingly reluctantly and exceedingly carefully, or else you risk an uncooperative public."If you get active resistance to public health measures, it's over."Childs said there is a "finite" capacity for compliance."It's a resource that can't be exhausted."As for the need for a lockdown Childs said, "I think we're getting close."What's yours? CBC Saskatchewan wants to hear how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted you. Share your story with our online questionnaire.
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Netflix plans to establish one of the largest production hubs in North America with an expansion of its existing studio complex in New Mexico and a commitment to an additional $1 billion in production spending, government and corporate leaders announced Monday.Ten new stages, post-production services, offices, mills, backlots and other infrastructure would be added to Netflix's growing campus on the southern edge of Albuquerque. Aside from construction jobs, the project is expected to result in 1,000 production jobs over the next decade.Netflix first marked its presence in New Mexico in 2018, when it announced it was buying Albuquerque Studios and pledged $1 billion in spending over a decade. At the time, government officials saw the move as a transformative victory for a state that has struggled to lessen its reliance on federal funding and oil and gas development."I am glad Netflix has chosen to double-down on its commitment to our state, and our partnership will continue to grow for the benefit of New Mexicans across the board,” Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said in a statement.Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos pointed to the proximity to Los Angeles, the crew base and local talent as reasons for the continued investment.“It allows us to be more nimble in executing our production plans while cementing the status of the region as one of the leading production centres in North America,” he said.A total of $24 million in state and local economic development funding will be funneled toward the expansion, and industrial revenue bonds will be issued by the city of Albuquerque to help reduce some taxes for Netflix.The footprint of the production hub will grow with a private land purchase and a lease involving state trust land.The Albuquerque Development Commission signed off on the proposal Monday. The City Council still must give its approval.Over the last 20 years, the film and television industry has become an economic force in New Mexico, with direct spending topping $525 million in the last fiscal year.“This is all outside money coming into the state, which would not be here otherwise,” state Economic Development Secretary Alicia J. Keyes told the commission during a meeting.She said the partnership with Netflix should send a signal that New Mexico is the place to be for film and television production. Businesses have cropped up around the state to support the industry, she said, and data from the state film office suggests 40% of production budgets go to small, local vendors.“So it really is trickling through our economy,” she said.As part of the proposed investment, Netflix has committed to providing training programs in partnership with the New Mexico Film Office, local universities and industry organizations. Netflix also has committed to supporting Native American, Latino, Black and other underrepresented content creators and filmmakers.Since coming to New Mexico in 2018, Netflix said it has spent more than $200 million, used more than 2,000 production vendors and hired more than 1,600 cast and crew members.Netflix is in production in New Mexico on the original films “The Harder They Fall" and “Intrusion" and is expected to soon begin filming “Stranger Things 4" in Albuquerque.Susan Montoya Bryan, The Associated Press
Students at the University of Calgary are fighting to expand the school's African studies program.For more than two decades, only two African studies courses have been available at the U of C, and for the past decade they've been taught by just one professor. Students say they hope an expansion of the program would mean more classes and more teachers. Prof. Caesar Apentiik said it would make him very proud to see the program finally expanded. "The university is trying to decolonize its curriculum, and decolonizing its curriculum means bringing into focus studies like African studies," he said. "This fits well with the university's strategic plan of trying to internationalize our students' degrees to give them a global perspective, and Africa is an important part of that discussion."Student advocates looking to help the program grow are now applying for $300,000 through the Quality Money program — a partnership between the Students' Union (SU) and the university — which gives the campus community an opportunity to bring forward ideas to enhance the overall student experience. "Each year, the SU is provided with approximately $1.67 million from the UCalgary board of governors to invest in these projects. Through this unique program, students have a direct say in how a portion of their tuition is spent," said students' union president Frank Finley in a written statement to CBC News."Since 2004, over $26,000,000 has been awarded to more than 260 Quality Money initiatives that range from physical space upgrades to the creation of expanded academic and professional opportunities for students."Second year student Prudence Iticka with Black People United is one of the students behind the application to expand the African studies program.Iticka said she became passionate about making this change after she inquired about getting a minor in African studies. "When I went to look at the course offerings, I realized that there are only two courses offered in African studies every academic year," she said. "I reached out to the only professor in the department and I asked him, 'how does one actually major when there are so few courses available within this program?'"Iticka said she was told that the way the program is now, that option simply isn't available."When I found that out, I started reaching out to other students within U of C to find out what we can do. How can we rally behind this program not only to save it, but also to expand it so that students can minor?" she said."Because right now you can't, really. You have to go to another school if you're seeking a minor in African studies because the course offerings here are just mediocre."As an educator, Apentiik said it's been difficult telling students they can't major or minor in African studies, despite their interest."I will say that the saddest moment is to see your student struggling when they have genuine interest in a regional area and they can't minor in it," he said. "We anticipate that if we are able to achieve what we're trying to do now, it means that we'll have enough courses within the program and students can be assured that they will have enough courses if they make a decision to minor." The expansion of the program is also something the U of C's African-Caribbean Student Association (ACSA) would like to see. "By using the Quality Money application, we're able to hire more black professors to teach more African studies courses. That's something that the African Caribbean Student Association has been pushing alongside multiple other organizations on campus," said co-president Ganiyat Sadiq.With their application due on Friday, Sadiq said student advocates are collecting all evidence of community support for the expansion of the African studies program. "We have to get a lot of student support and community support just to show the university administration that it is something that is wanted on campus, too," she said. Sadiq said a petition organized by ACSA has already garnered more than 1,000 signatures of support. "We were able to show that there are over a thousand students that do want to have Africana studies courses and who do want to take those courses and would potentially want a minor in that degree. That's a primary thing we've been doing."Iticka said the existing African studies courses offered at the U of C are already very popular. "They're constantly wait-listed. The enrolment is incredibly healthy for those two courses," she said. Iticka said offering more African studies courses isn't just something that students are showing they want, but also something she believes will have a big impact on the greater Calgary community. "If we truly seek to develop the next generation of leaders, we have to give them a global perspective. This education is so necessary and we don't want people to think that we're doing this for African students," she said. "Everybody benefits from learning about Africa. We want people to understand that, you know, this is so much bigger than just the university." Iticka said that since the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police in May, the U of C has made a lot of statements about anti-racism but she hasn't seen a lot of concrete steps to make change at the school."For now, we've just seen that it's a lot of lip service that is being paid to dismantling structural racism and tackling racism and discrimination, but there is actually nothing that is being done so far," she said. "We believe that you can actually tackle racism and undo its harm through education, because a lot of the unconscious bias and the stereotypes that a lot of people have about Black people comes from the fact they know nothing about Black people, about Black history, about African history," she said."We can combat this unconscious bias. We can combat these stereotypes with proper education about African people, where they come from, what is their contribution to humanity [and by] seeing Black professors and having black professors in their life."In a written statement to CBC News, the U of C's faculty of arts said that while it is too early to know what the outcome of the Students' Union process for selecting Quality Money recipients will be, the faculty is supportive of the student-led application for Quality Money funds to expand course offerings in African studies."The faculty has committed to providing some additional funds, in the event of a successful application, and in order to hire an instructor of African studies for the next three years," said Richard Sigurdson, dean of the faculty of arts.The funding amount from the faculty will be determined following the decision by the Students' Union about the application, as they may choose to offer partial funding or the full amount requested.Recipients of Quality Money will be informed in April 2021. For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.
Anyone who was recently in a Halifax bar or restaurant past 10 p.m., or who works in one, is being asked to get a COVID-19 test.The province announced Tuesday they are broadening out their asymptomatic testing strategy for people who go to, or work in, late-night bars and restaurants.These people are being asked to get tested even if they don't have any symptoms of the virus."Most of our recent cases of COVID-19 have been among young people who have been to late-night bars and restaurants," Dr. Robert Strang, chief medical officer of health, said in a news release."This broad testing initiative will help us detect new cases early, get people who test positive to self-isolate and stop the spread of the virus. This is one tool in our toolbox, but it does not diminish how important it is for people to tighten their social circles and activities and follow Public Health measures."No need to self-isolate without symptomsPeople who work in, or have been to, a bar or restaurant in urban and suburban areas of Halifax Regional Municipality in the last two weeks should click here to schedule a test.This applies to all bars and restaurants open late and serving alcohol in HRM (except the areas east of Porters Lake), and the Enfield and Mount Uniacke areas in both HRM and Hants County.People who are tested through this process don't have to self-isolate while they wait for test results, so long as they don't have symptoms.Asymptomatic testing will be available to staff and patrons of licensed establishments until Nov. 30. Walk-in testing is not available; people must book in advance."This isn't about blaming or shaming," said Strang in the release."The important thing right now is that people come forward so we can identify as many cases of COVID-19 as we can and take action to reduce the spread."Halifax bars, restaurants ordered to stop dine-in serviceDaniel Sinclair, a server at the Lower Deck in Clayton Park, said he agreed with asking anyone who's recently been to a bar to be tested."The whole asymptomatic aspect of it all is pretty scary, because you don't know if anyone's a carrier or not," he said. "Specifically in an environment where a lot of people are interacting and coming in and out, it's a good call."Sinclair said working in a restaurant environment, the spiking numbers of COVID-19 and the number of public exposures at restaurants is a concern."It's definitely something that's on my mind every day I'm coming in, but as long as I'm washing my hands, sanitizing, making sure everyone that's coming in is doing the same thing ... we're kind of all in this together, so ... I trust, I suppose, that everyone else is sort of following the same things," said Sinclair.Tuesday afternoon, Premier Stephen McNeil announced at a news conference that as of 12:01 a.m. Thursday, all bars and restaurants in the Halifax area will be restricted to takeout and delivery only for the next two weeks.This came after the Restaurant Association of Nova Scotia had called on the province to shut down establishments for the next two weeks.Sinclair said it was a "good call" to shut things down for a bit to stop the spread of the coronavirus."It's definitely getting a little scary for a lot of people," he said. "It might hurt a lot of businesses financially, and that's really unfortunate, but for the health of our province moving forward, it might be the next course of action."He noted some restaurants may still offer takeout and delivery, so they can recoup some of the lost revenue that way.Rapid testing pilots underwayA rapid-testing pilot that began in The Dome nightclub on Saturday in downtown Halifax will continue this week. These pop-up sites will move to new locations each day, the province said.On Tuesday, dozens lined up in the cold for the second rapid-testing event outside a building on Dalhousie University's campus.Dr. Lisa Barrett, an infectious disease specialist at Dalhousie University, said with the increasing number of cases, it's important to test people who don't have symptoms."What we're trying to do with this testing is to get out to people, who are just out on the community doing what they do every day, and trying to get a broad number of people tested very quickly," she said."The people who are probably spreading this virus don't have symptoms and don't know they have it."Barrett said the public health initiative has so far been "exceptionally successful," with lots of people showing up to be tested.The physically-distant line for rapid testing stretched around the corner of the Richard Murray Building Tuesday afternoon."Recently I just had a stomach flu, so I was just a little worried about it, so I thought I might just come down and get tested just in case," said Talia Vydykhan, who had been waiting for an hour at the time CBC News spoke with her.Kianna Meaney, who also went for a rapid test on Tuesday, said she agreed with the new restrictions put in place."I personally haven't went out in probably like, three or four weeks, but the younger generation, everyone's going out, going downtown, so it's definitely smart that they shut everything down so people can start taking it more seriously," said Meaney.Anyone who gets a positive result from the rapid test will get a standard test, and be sent home immediately to self-isolate while they wait for those results.The pop-up event at Dalhousie happened the day Nova Scotia announced 37 new cases of COVID-19, the fifth highest number of new cases in the province since April 23.As of Tuesday, there are 87 active cases in Nova Scotia and Public Health has confirmed community spread.MORE TOP STORIES
The city of Moncton is asking residents not to treat parks like decoration stores.Dan Hicks, the director of parks and leisure operations for the city, said he's aware of incidents in two local parks where residents have been cutting pine branches and taking them home.One incident happened at Centennial Park. And Hicks said someone witnessed branches being cut in Irishtown Nature Park, and alerted the city.Irishtown Nature Park is one of Canada's largest urban parks and is designated as a nature park, meaning the land is permanently set-aside for the enjoyment of residents but also for the conservation of biological diversity.While some may think it's harmless, Hicks says it's stealing."It's theft, it's destruction of property, it's not your property you shouldn't take it home so that's the first thing." Hicks said."The second thing is these are nature areas, these parks are for everyone, they're the lungs of the city and overall we'd like to see these small trees eventually become big trees and be contributors to our ecosystems so that's why these spaces are here and protected."Hicks said cutting branches can damage the ecosystem."Each one of these trees has a function. They're here to provide ecological benefits and services to the park and ultimately to the citizens and the four legged citizens that also use them for food and shelter and everything else." he said.Hicks said the pandemic is making it hard for many people as the holiday season approaches, but he says there are alternatives to cutting branches off trees in a park."We all want to celebrate the festive season and it's a difficult year for that for sure but there are a lot of really good local sustainably produced festive decor products that people can find in their local area. You don't have to go far, we're in New Brunswick." he said.Hicks said people can also apply for a permit to harvest wreath tips and branch materials on Crown land through the provincial Natural Resources Department. The fee is $20 and the landowner's permission is required.If someone is caught cutting branches in a park, Hicks said the RCMP can be called and charges could be laid.He said if anyone sees this happening, they should report it to the city.Hicks said the parks are there for everyone's enjoyment, not "just for your living room."
The City of Yellowknife can apply for $25 million in federal money for new, supportive housing for people facing homelessness, but a city official warns that a new housing initiative could displace other city projects."This would be a very ambitious undertaking for the city, and ... if this were to be managed by city staff, I do need to stress that this would mean a reallocation of other priorities," Sheila Bassi-Kellett, the city's senior administrative officer, said during a governance and priorities committee meeting on Monday."Other projects and responsibilities would not be achieved if this one came to the top of the list."The federal money is part of the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation's Rapid Housing Initiative, a $1-billion program prompted by the COVID-19 crisis that's meant to quickly create affordable housing across the country.The city says the amount for which Yellowknife is eligible would be used to buy and renovate an existing building, or build a modular structure, for permanent, supportive housing, as well as space for programming and possibly a "social enterprise" that could employ residents. The city hasn't yet picked a specific location for the project.Permanent supportive housing is long-term housing and support for people who are homeless and living with mental health or physical issues, or addiction. According to a Nov. 23 city memo and Yellowknife's 10-year plan to end homelessness, the city needs 80 new permanent supportive housing units.Capacity a 'huge concern'Bassi-Kellett said a new supportive housing development would advance Yellowknife's 10-year plan to end homelessness, but whether it has the resources to undertake a major new housing initiative is a "huge concern."There are "some big, big projects that are going on within the same window as this," she said, listing a proposed new aquatic centre, replacement of the city's aging submarine water intake line, and development in the Kam Lake neighbourhood."I'm very much in favour of having permanent supportive housing within Yellowknife," said Bassi-Kellett. "I am a bit concerned about our capacity on the ground to be able to deliver a project of this magnitude." The city's administration says the federal funding would allow the city to hire a project manager for the housing initiative.An absolute no-brainerCouncillors broadly endorsed increasing the city's supportive housing stock. "You hear a shifting of priorities being used by administration. But the reality is, if somebody says, 'Hey, there's $25 million here to help you solve one of the biggest problems you have in your community,' that becomes the priority," said Coun. Niels Konge.Konge, who owns Yellowknife building company Konge Construction, said applying for the funding is "an absolute no-brainer."Coun. Robin Williams echoed Konge's support for the application."Twenty-five million dollars worth of infrastructure spending, not on the backs of the municipal taxpayer, would be a huge win for the community," he said. "I can't support this enough."As far as what we're going to sacrifice, great, let's sacrifice as much as we can for $25 million of federal dollars coming into our community."The city says the hope is the new housing and programming would be sustained through rental payments, and that a Yellowknife NGO would handle day-to-day operations.Bassi-Kellett said the YWCA is submitting its own proposal to expand Lynn's Place, the organization's temporary housing for women. She said the territorial government is also looking into applying, but it would not necessarily put the money toward permanent supportive housing in Yellowknife. The funding application is due Dec. 31.