With meteorologist Jaclyn Whittal
With meteorologist Jaclyn Whittal
WASHINGTON — A former Trump campaign associate who was the target of a secret surveillance warrant during the FBI's Russia investigation says in a federal lawsuit that he was the victim of “unlawful spying.”The suit from Carter Page alleges a series of omissions and errors made by FBI and Justice Department officials in applications they submitted in 2016 and 2017 to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to eavesdrop on Page on suspicion that he was an agent of Russia.“Since not a single proven fact ever established complicity with Russia involving Dr. Page, there never was probable cause to seek or obtain the FISA Warrants targeting him on this basis,” the lawsuit says, using the acronym for the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.Page has received death and kidnapping threats and has suffered economic losses and “irreparable damage to his reputation," according to the lawsuit, which was filed Friday in federal court in Washington.The lawsuit to some extent echoes the conclusions of a Justice Department inspector general report that found significant problems with the four applications. Former FBI and Justice Department leaders who were involved in signing off on the surveillance have since testified they wouldn't have done so had they known of the extent of the issues, and the FBI has initiated more than 40 corrective steps aimed at improving the accuracy and thoroughness of applications.In the complaint, Page accuses the FBI of relying excessively for information on Christopher Steele, a former British spy whose research during the 2016 campaign into Donald Trump's ties to Russia was funded by Democrats. It says the FBI failed to tell the surveillance court that Steele's primary source had contradicted information that Steele had attributed to him, or that Page had denied to an informant for the FBI having “any involvement with Russia on behalf of the Trump campaign.”The complaint also accuses the FBI of having misled the surveillance court about his relationship with the CIA, for whom Page had been an operational contact between 2008 and 2013. A former FBI lawyer, Kevin Clinesmith, pleaded guilty in August to altering an email to say that Page had not been a source for the CIA.The suit names as defendants the FBI and the Justice Department, as well as former FBI Director James Comey, former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and additional officials who were involved in the Russia investigation.Despite the problems with the warrant applications, the scrutiny of Page, who was never charged with any wrongdoing, accounted for only a narrow portion of the overall investigation into ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.The same inspector general report that detailed problems in the applications also concluded that the FBI had a legitimate basis for opening the Russia investigation, and did not find evidence that any of its actions were influenced by political bias.____Follow Eric Tucker on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/etuckerAPEric Tucker, The Associated Press
MONTREAL — Quebec set a new record for daily COVID-19 infections Saturday while surpassing the threshold of 7,000 deaths linked to the novel coronavirus. The province reported 1,480 new confirmed cases Saturday, exceeding the previous record set on Thursday of 1,464 new diagnoses. Meanwhile, the 37 most recent deaths pushed the provincial total to 7,021. "We must continue to respect health measures throughout Quebec and in all settings if we want to limit the transmission of the virus," Health Minister Christian Dube said through his Twitter account. Of the deaths, 10 were recorded in the past 24 hours while another 23 were recorded during a five-day period between last Saturday and Thursday. The number of hospitalizations increased slightly, with nine more patients seeking care for a total of 678. The number of patients in intensive care increased by three to 93. The Quebec government has said it will need to see a reduction in cases to trigger a plan to allow for a maximum of two gatherings of 10 people from three households between Dec. 24 and 27. Health authorities want people to quarantine for one week before and one week after the proposed four-day gathering period. The province is expected to introduce new measures and some restrictions for patients in long-term care homes and seniors residences ahead of the holidays to keep COVID-19 out of those facilities. "Those new rules are going to be published early in the next week," Dr. Horacio Arruda said on Friday during a news conference in the Saguenay. On Saturday, four long-term care homes and 14 seniors' residences were listed as critical in terms of the number of COVID-19 cases. Much of the province has been at the highest COVID alert since October, with restaurant dining, gyms and entertainment venues now shuttered until at least Jan. 11. The province has 11,716 active cases of COVID-19. Montreal reported the most new infections with 429, followed by Monteregie, south of Montreal, with 215 cases and Lanaudiere, northeast of the city, with 120. The province has now reported 139,643 COVID-19 cases and 7,021 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic, along with 1,179 new recoveries for a total of 120,906. The province conducted 29,652 tests on Thursday, the last day for which numbers were available. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 28, 2020. Sidhartha Banerjee, The Canadian Press
A nine-storey, mix-used residential and retail development in Lower Lonsdale, set to offer 75 market rental units, has been given the green light. City of North Vancouver council voted 6-1 to approve a rezoning application by Cressey Development and First Capital Realty for the redevelopment of 200 West Esplanade at Monday’s general meeting. The development will replace the old Cineplex Esplanade theatre building, which closed in April last year in light of the new Park Royal location opening. The site was desirable for a rental project as it’s close to public transit, being less than five-minute walk from the SeaBus terminal, Lonsdale Quay bus exchange and R2 Marine Drive RapidBus. The new building will have commercial retail units at ground level, above-grade parking on the second level, and 75 market rental units, eight of which will be offered at mid-market rates. Designed by Rafii Architects, the plan also boasts both indoor and outdoor amenities, including a gym and a separate lounge area indoors and planter beds, a play area, and a gazebo outdoors. The redevelopment of the site was mostly supported by surrounding residents, with the building’s height – which will reach eight storeys at the lane but due to a slope will be nine storeys facing West Esplanade – and increased traffic to the area the main concerns raised by the community at a developer’s information session on Sept. 19, 2019. At the time, about six residents opposed the development going ahead. Only two residents came forward to speak at a virtual public hearing on the development at Monday’s general meeting. One resident, who lives in the Time building at 175 West First St., raised the same concerns about the building’s height, increased cars in the area and obstructed views. While another resident spoke on behalf of the owners of 224 West Esplanade, the building immediately west of the new development, stating they had worries about the impact construction of the new development could have on their existing building, including the building’s foundation being undermined, the building settlements that might occur and historic water incursion problems in the area. The developers responded that the height of the building was in line with the city's Official Community Plan for the site, and that a traffic impact study had already found that the future building would have a very minimal effect on traffic in the area. The report to council also highlights that the building will be "harmonious with the transition from taller developments directly across Chesterfield to the east, and lower developments to the west," also adding the design will create an "engaging frontage along West Esplanade that includes a pedestrian plaza area." The development plan only has 32 parking spaces, with two for car share, which raised a red flag for Coun. Don Bell. He decided to vote against the rezoning application, as he believed the development did not have adequate parking or storage facilities. Meanwhile, Mayor Linda Buchanan and fellow councillors were supportive of the development, with most mentioning its proximity to transit and the positive increase in rental options it will bring to the Lower Lonsdale area. “I do think this project actually fulfills many of the policy and guideline directions that the city has,” Buchanan said. “It is part of the housing action plan for us to be able to deliver rental housing and certainly mid-market housing and this project does that.” Coun. Angela Girard said it was a good location for the city to be supporting density, being on an active transportation corridor. “The Lower Lonsdale area has been developed more recently with predominantly stratified apartment units, and by fusing both market and mid-market rentals into this area, I think will greatly benefit the neighborhood by providing an alternative housing type for working professionals, for families, that may not be able to afford market condos,” she said. “In my opinion, the complex offers great indoor and outdoor amenities.” The development will also see the design and construction of a new a bike lane and sidewalk, including street lighting and landscaping, from the development site to Semisch Avenue. On top of this, a public art installation, with a value of $25,000, will be installed to jazz up the area.Elisia Seeber, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, North Shore News
Pour la première fois depuis le 25 septembre, la Gaspésie et les Iles-de-la-Madeleine passent sous la barre des 100 cas actifs de COVID-19. La péninsule rapporte 12 nouvelles infections, samedi, toutes dans la communauté. Il faut remonter au tout début de la deuxième vague, alors que la Baie-des-Chaleurs était touchée par une importante éclosion dans ses communautés et ses résidences pour ainés, pour retrouver un tel nombre de cas actifs en Gaspésie-Îles-de-la-Madeleine. Avec 12 nouvelles infections et 20 guérisons, la péninsule gaspésienne passe sous le cap des 100 infections actives, 95 personnes étant toujours porteuses du virus. Parmi ces nouvelles infections, six se retrouvent dans la MRC de Bonaventure. La MRC du Rocher-Percé rapporte de son côté 5 nouveaux cas, tandis qu’une seule personne de plus a reçu un diagnostic positif dans la Côte-de-Gaspé, où la COVID-19 frappait fort il y a une dizaine de jours à peine. La santé publique se dit confiante d’avoir réussi à juguler les éclosions dans les milieux de vie pour ainés, comme le Manoir Saint-Augustin de Gaspé. «La région a connu plusieurs éclosions dans des milieux fermés, où le virus frappe très fort, particulièrement dans les centres pour personnes âgées. Plusieurs sont maintenant résolues, ou presque.», soutenait le directeur de la santé publique gaspésienne, Dr Yv Bonnier-Viger, au Soleil mercredi. —— INSCRIVEZ-VOUS à notre infolettre «L’Est aujourd’hui», qui vous livre chaque mercredi nos meilleurs reportages et des inédits sur les régions de l’Est-du-Québec. (https://www.lesoleil.com/infolettres/inscriptions)Simon Carmichael, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Soleil
For the first time, people can vote in this year’s Festival of Trees online during the COVID-19 pandemic. Each year, festive trees are decorated by local merchants and organizations and displayed inside Steveston’s Gulf of Georgia Cannery National Historic Site. In addition to the new online voting option, the cannery will also be open for in-person viewing and voting, starting Tuesday (Dec. 1) with additional protocols in place. There will be 15 trees decorated this year, says marketing and visitor services manager Mimi Horita. She adds that, as expected, some groups have cancelled due to different circumstances during this unusual year. “We did not hold a ‘decorating party’ this year, and scheduled the decorating times over a one-week period to ensure safe distancing,” Horita says of the changes to this year’s planning. While advance tickets are not required, capacity will be reduced to allow for physical distancing. In keeping with new public health restrictions, all visitors must wear a face mask while visiting the display. Staff and volunteers at the cannery also wear masks at all times. The Festival of Trees will be open daily from Dec. 1 to 23 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. On Dec. 24 it will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Regular admission is $11.90 for adults and $10.20 for seniors, with youth under age 17 and society members able to enter for free. Admission will be by donation on Sundays: Dec. 6, 13 and 20. For more information, call 604-664-9009.Hannah Scott, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Richmond Sentinel
PARIS — Tens of thousands of critics of a proposed security law that would restrict the filming of police officers protested across France on Saturday, and officers in Paris who were advised to behave responsibly during the demonstrations repeatedly fired tear gas to disperse rowdy protesters who set fire to France's central bank and threw paving stones.The mood was largely peaceful, however, as dozens of rallies took place against a provision of the law that would make it a crime to publish photos or video of on-duty police officers with the intent of harming their “physical or psychological integrity.”Civil liberties groups, journalists, and people who have faced police abuse are concerned that the measure will stymie press freedoms and allow police brutality to go undiscovered and unpunished.“We have to broaden the debate, and by doing that, we say that if there were no police violence, we wouldn’t have to film violent policemen," Assa Traore, a prominent anti-brutality activist whose brother died in police custody in 2016, told The Associated Press.She was among at least 46,000 people who packed the sprawling Republique plaza and surrounding streets carrying red union flags, French tricolour flags and homemade signs denouncing police violence, demanding media freedom or calling for the resignation of French President Emmanuel Macron or his tough-talking interior minister, Gerald Darmanin.The crowd included journalists, journalism students, left-wing activists, migrants rights groups and citizens of varied political stripes expressing anger over what they perceive as hardening police tactics in recent years, especially since France’s yellow vest protest movement against economic hardship emerged in 2018.Violence erupted near the end of the march as small groups of protesters pelted riot police with small rocks and paving stone. The officers retaliated with volleys of tear gas, prompting minor scuffles. Rioters then set fire to the facade of the central bank and to police barricades; in the melee fire trucks struggled to reach the site.Macron's government says the law is needed to protect police amid threats and attacks by a violent fringe.But the chief editor of French newspaper Le Monde, Luc Bronner, argued at the protest that the law against publishing images of officers is unnecessary.“There are already laws that exist to protect civil servants, including police forces when they’re targeted, and it’s legitimate – the police do a very important job," Bronner said. “But that's not what this is about. It’s about limiting the capacity of citizens and along with them, journalists, to document police violence when they happen.”While journalists have been the most outspoken over the security bill, it could have an even greater impact on the efforts of non-journalists who film police during aggressive arrests, notably minorities who can try to fight police abuse and discrimination with a few seconds of cellphone video.“There were all those protests in the summer against police violence, and this law shows the government didn’t hear us... It’s the impunity. That’s what makes us so angry," protest participant Kenza Berkane, 26, said.Berkane, who is French and of North African origin, described being repeatedly stopped by police for identity checks in the metro or while going to school. while white friends were allowed to pass. “We ask ourselves, when will this stop?”The cause has gained renewed importance in recent days after footage emerged of French police officers beating up a Black man, triggering a nationwide outcry.Macron spoke out against the video images on Friday, saying “they shame us.”Video that surfaced Thursday showed the beating of music producer Michel Zecler, following footage of the brutal police evacuation Tuesday of migrants in a Paris plaza. The officers involved in the beating of Zecler were suspended pending an internal police investigation.An internal letter from Paris Police Prefect Didier Lallement called on officers to use “probity, the sense of honour and ethics” when policing Saturday's protests, which were authorized by authorities despite France's partial virus lockdown.Through most of the march police hung back, chatting while holding their helmets or watching silently as protesters shouted “Shame!” at them.The crowd was overwhelmingly peaceful, but some in the unruly minority came equipped with gas masks and helmets.Article 24 of the proposed security law criminalizes the publishing of images of police officers with the intent of causing harm. Anyone found guilty could be sentenced to up to a year in jail, and fined 45,000 euros ($53,000).Many protesters, police and journalists have been injured during protests in recent years, including several Associated Press journalists.Prime Minister Jean Castex announced Friday that he would appoint a commission to redraft Article 24, but he backtracked after hearing from angry lawmakers. The commission is now expected to make new proposals by early next year on the relationship between the media and police.___Alex Turnbull in Paris contributed to this report.Angela Charlton And Thomas Adamson, The Associated Press
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A lab in Alaska failed to report over 1,600 positive coronavirus tests to the state health department in the past month, according to a state official. Dr. Louisa Castrodale, an epidemiologist with the state, said Friday that Beechtree Labs did not report 1,636 positive test results out of 13,169 tests conducted, most of which were done in the last two weeks. Beechtree is a new commercial lab based out of Anchorage. The announcement is a sign that climbing daily case counts reported by the state reflect only a part of total cases, the Anchorage Daily News reported. Castrodale said that understaffing at clinics, labs and the state’s Department of Health and Social Services have also caused backlogs that have affected the entire coronavirus data system. “It’s fair to say that the system is stretched,” Castrodale said. Coleman Cutchins, a clinical pharmacist who leads the state health department's testing effort, said that patients and providers still received their test results from Beechtree within two days. The results not reported to the state include 357 positive cases in Anchorage and 880 positive cases in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough. The state's health department reported its second-highest single day tally of virus cases on Friday with 735 new confirmed cases. The number of infections is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick. For most people, the new 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
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney declared a state of public health emergency for the province on November 24, 2020, at a joint press conference with the Alberta Health Minister, Tyler Shandro, and Alberta Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw. After grimly detailing the province’s current COVID-19 situation, the Premier announced new public health measures and restrictions for the province aimed at slowing our current rate of infection. Jason Kenney disclosed that 1,115 new cases and 16 more deaths had been reported for the day alone. The additional 16 deaths bring the total number to 492 people who have died since March, with 103 of that number occurring in just the past two weeks. By all metrics, the spread of the virus appears to be picking up speed. Kenney explained the rationale behind the new public health measures saying, “Yes, our policy is based partly on protecting the vulnerable while minimizing damage to our broader social health. But to protect the vulnerable, we all have to do our part in limiting community spread.” The public health measures and restrictions announced will be in place for a minimum of three weeks, at which point they will be reviewed. If there has been a significant drop in our daily number of new cases, we may be able to ease some of them. If these measures have not been shown to have a meaningful impact, more drastic measures may be implemented. Here is a breakdown of the new restrictions: Social Gatherings (Effective Immediately Across Alberta) • Indoor social gatherings will no longer be permitted. Indoor social contact should be limited to those within a single household. People that live by themselves can have up to two non-household social contacts. Does not apply to home-based services (Healthcare, Homecare, and Childcare). • Outdoor gatherings will be limited to a maximum of 10 people. • Wedding ceremonies and funerals will be limited to a maximum of 10 people and receptions will not be permitted. • People that do not follow these restrictions may be subject to fines. The province will be looking at ways to allow Peace Officers to deliver fines to anyone who violates these limits. The fines mentioned were $1000 for a ticketed offence and up to $100,000 through the courts. • The Emergency Alert System will be used later this week to notify Albertans of these limits. Businesses (Effective Friday, November 27 in Enhanced Status Regions) Closed For In-Person Businesses • banquet halls, conference centers, concert venues, community centers, trade shows, children’s play places, Indoor playgrounds, All levels of team and individual sport (Leagues can apply for exemptions if they have well-developed safety plans). Open with Restricted Capacity • Retail businesses and services can remain open but are restricted to 25% of their occupancy limits or a minimum of 5 customers, whichever is higher. • Entertainment and Event Services – movie theatres, libraries, museums, and galleries. • Indoor Entertainment – racing centers, bingo halls, water parks, and amusement parks. • Fitness and Recreation Centers – pools, physical activity centers, dance and yoga studios, martial arts studios, and gymnastics centers. No group fitness classes, group training, team practices or games. Centers can be open for individual time, exercise, or training only. Instructors can use facilities to broadcast virtual fitness classes, but in-person group classes will be permitted. • Casinos – slot machines only, no table games. Liquor sales must cease by 10 PM. • Retail – grocery stores, pharmacies, clothing stores, computer and tech stores, hardware stores, automotive stores, farmers markets approved by Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, and outdoor seasonal markets (providing that public health measures are in place). • Restaurants, bars, pubs, and cafes – A maximum of 6 people per table, and they must be from the same household. No movement between tables is permitted. Only seated eating or drinking is allowed. No other services are permitted (bar service, entertainment, billiards, darts). Must stop serving liquor at 10 pm and close by 11 pm. If the restrictions are not followed, fines and orders will be issued. Inspections will be increased to make sure public health measures are being followed. Open by Appointment Only • Hair salons, barbershops, aesthetics, professional services, hotels and motels, hunting and fishing lodges, private 1 on 1 lessons (Music lessons, and personal training). Workplace • Masks will be mandatory for all indoor workplaces in Edmonton and Calgary medical zones. This includes employees, delivery drivers, visitors, and contractors. Exceptions are when working alone, alone in an office or cubicle, or where an appropriate barrier is in place. • Workers who can work from home are asked to do so. School • Grades 7 – 12 – Starting November 30, all students in grades 7 – 12 will move to at-home schooling. Winter break will be from December 18 - January 3, 2021. Will return to in-person schooling on January 11, 2021. Diploma exams will be optional for the rest of 2021. • Kindergarten – Grade 6 – Will remain in regular classes until Winter break, from December 18 - January 3, 2021. Will school from home from January 4 – January 8. Will return to in-person schooling on January 11, 2021. Places of Worship (Enhanced Status Regions) • Attendance will be capped at 1/3 of the building’s maximum occupancy according to the fire code. Attendees will need to wear masks and must maintain physical distancing between households. • In-person faith group meetings can continue if attendees maintain physical distance and follow public health measures.Dean LaBerge, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Grizzly Gazette
Friends and relatives of an Ontario Provincial Police officer killed in the line of duty last week remembered him Saturday as a "man of kindness, gentleness and love," who doted on animals and would drop everything to help someone in need.Const. Marc Hovingh also had a unique sense of humour that could spark joy and laughter even in the hardest times, his brother Hans Hovingh said during a small service held in a high school in M’Chigeeng First Nation on Manitoulin Island."He could laugh with you, he could laugh at you and he could laugh at himself," Hans Hovingh said.The officer could charm his way out of a dispute with a flash of his "trademark gap-toothed grin," a shrug of his shoulders and a laugh, said another brother, Albert Hovingh."When he did this there's no way you could stay angry with him," Albert Hovingh said. "I suspect that's why he got away with a lot of stuff, not only as a child but also later in life."Marc Hovingh's wife, Lianne Hovingh, described her late husband as her best friend, and recalled hearing how he would sometimes hold off on handing out tickets to drivers who he knew were going through difficult times.She thanked the public for the "ocean of love and prayers" she and their four children - Laura, Nathan, Elena and Sara - have received since her husband's death.Masked mourners, many of them in police uniform, gathered Saturday to pay tribute to the fallen officer, who died on Nov. 19 in a shooting that also left a civilian dead in the island community of Gore Bay, Ont.Hovingh, a 28-year veteran of the force, was one of the officers who responded to a call regarding an "unwanted man'' on a property.According to the Special Investigations Unit — Ontario's police watchdog — Hovingh and civilian Gary Brohman died in hospital after an exchange of gunfire.Ontario Premier Doug Ford was among a handful of politicians and dignitaries who attended the service. The Ontario Provincial Police Association said the funeral was otherwise private, with attendance available via livestream. At one point, more than 1,100 viewers tuned in to the ceremony. An online fundraiser for Hovingh's family had also raised more than $100,000 by mid-afternoon Saturday, with some donations coming in during the funeral.Provincial police Commissioner Thomas Carrique said the officer's death has left him and others across the force with a "broken heart," and praised Hovingh's "courageous response" to the incident that ultimately claimed his life."How is it possible to be so sad but yet so proud at the same time?" he said during the service.One of Hovingh's colleagues and friends, Const. Marie Ford, described him as someone who cared deeply for his community and always rooted for the underdog, yet shunned the attention he received for his good deeds."He didn't need to be promoted and he refused accolades," she said in a tearful tribute.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 28., 2020 Paola Loriggio, The Canadian Press
LONDON — The British government said Saturday that it had struck an agreement with France to double the number of French police patrolling beaches in the country's north in an attempt to stop people crossing the English Channel in small boats.Britain’s Home Office said Home Secretary Priti Patel and French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin had agreed on the measure as part of efforts to make the route “unviable” for people-smugglers. The agreement also will boost surveillance using “drones, radar equipment, optronic binoculars and fixed cameras,” the U.K. said.It said the two countries had agreed to spend 31.4 million euros ($41 million) on the measures.Migrants have long used northern France as a launching point to reach Britain — usually in trucks or on ferries —and the issue has long strained relations between the two countries.Many migrants appear to have turned to small boats organized by smugglers during the coronavirus pandemic because virus restrictions have reduced traffic between France and Britain. More than 8,000 people have made the dangerous journey so far this year, up from about 1,800 in all of 2019.Last month, a family from Iran, including two parents and their children aged 6 and 9, died when their boat capsized in the Channel. Their 15-month-old son is missing and presumed drowned.Aid and human rights groups say the best way to stop the journeys is to provide safe routes for people to seek asylum in Britain.The Associated Press
Wife of OPP Const. Marc Hovingh, Lianne Hovingh, spoke at his funeral Saturday and read an email from the son of a family friend. Const. Hovingh died last Thursday in a shooting that also left a civilian dead in Gore Bay, Ont., on Manitoulin Island.
MONTREAL — Atikamekw leaders in Quebec say they are disappointed by the provincial government's refusal to adopt measures aimed at improving Indigenous health care this week over a reference to systemic racism in the recommendations. The Atikamekw of Manawan Council and the Council of the Atikamekw Nation released the set of measures dubbed Joyce's Principle in a document in mid-November, urging Ottawa and Quebec City to adopt them. They're named for Joyce Echaquan, a 37-year-old Atikamekw mother of seven who died in hospital in Joliette, Que., in September after filming staff using derogatory slurs against her.Video of her ordeal circulated widely on social media and prompted widespread indignation across the country.In the wake of her death, her family and the community called for a series of measures to assure that Indigenous people have equitable access to health services without discrimination.But the Coalition Avenir Quebec government balked at a motion presented this week by the Opposition Liberals asking the government to accept the principles as a whole, citing the reference to systemic racism."We don't have the same definition of systemic racism, that's the only part of it we put aside," Indigenous Affairs Minister Ian Lafreniere told reporters Friday.Sipi Flamand, vice-chief of Manawan, an Atikamekw community about 250 kilometres north of Montreal, said it's clear systemic racism is taboo because the government doesn't want to offend its electorate. "Astonished, two months after tragic death of Joyce Echaquan, we see there hasn't been other actions taken by the government and Atikamekw nation created Joyce's Principal to collaborate and see changes in the health care system," Flamand said on Saturday.The stubborn refusal to acknowledge the repercussions and the very existence of systemic racism against Indigenous people despite evidence means the government response to the issue will fall short, he added.Flamand acknowledged Quebec's recent $15 million investment to increase cultural security among First Nations and Inuit communities and ensure they are provided with care that respects their identity.The numerous recommendations in Joyce's Principle include that the federal government revise its financing model for health and social services working with Indigenous groups, and that Quebec set up an ombudsperson for Indigenous health."But Joyce's Principle is the essential element to obtain cultural security," Flamand said, adding the campaign to see it adopted will continue.In a statement, Manawan Chief Paul-Emile Ottawa lamented that despite providing the Quebec government with simple and concrete solutions to help build trust with the health system, "the government's responses remind us that the political will is not there."The Chief of the Assembly of First Nations Quebec-Labrador, Ghislain Picard, called on the parties to quickly implement the measure as is."What is at stake here, on a human, social and political level, must leave no room for partisan pettiness," he said in a statement.Lafreniere said his government is committed to adopting the measures in the document and fighting racism, but noted the Legault government's opposition to the term systemic racism should come as no surprise.The Quebec government has refused to acknowledge systemic racism in the province and Lafreniere said the position was made clear to the Atikamekw during discussions in recent weeks."We agree to disagree on the systemic approach, us and the First Nations," Lafreniere said. "They might be disappointed, but they can't be surprised."Gregory Kelley, the LIberal indigenous affairs critic who brought the motion, said he hopes the Quebec government changes its tune, saying the Atikamekw aren't asking for Joyce's Principle to be only accepted in part."Systemic racism is written throughout the document, that the government has to accept it, they have to realize it exists in their institutions," Kelley said Saturday. "They are the ones who experience this, they are not asking us to say this possibility could exist, they are saying to us it happens to us, we're telling you." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 28, 2020.Sidhartha Banerjee, The Canadian Press
The Kingston Frontenac Lennox & Addington (KFL&A;) Public Health Unit has released a video detailing how a single case of COVID-19 was transmitted to up to 20 local individuals over the course of the past week. “You can see now how from one individual…that there’s a cascade,” said Kingston’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Kieran Moore. “This is 15 to 20 proven COVID-positive individuals now with threats to schools, to the acute care sector, to the business sector, to home case services. All the result of one transmission.” The case of COVID-19 was originally contracted when an individual had to travel to Toronto for work, Dr. Moore said, noting that he has changed a few details in the transmission description to protect the identities of those involved. “He had to go into a closed space, crowded with individuals and close faces, and hence as a result was exposed to the virus and brought the virus home to family,” Dr. Moore said. “Many of the family members also got ill. People who came and visited the family and got ill.” One of the family members then had to go to work, and while pre-symptomatic, also went to the gym. Dr. Moore did not identify the workplace or the fitness facility in the video, however KFL&A; Public Health has indicated that whenever they suspect a risk to the general public, that information is shared. “At work as a Personal Support Worker (PSW), there was incidental transmission to a patient, and from that patient to another PSW. When the person went to the gym, there appears to have been transmission at the gym to a healthcare worker,” he said. “That healthcare worker had exposure with another… so there’s an investigation at that workplace.” Kingston Health Sciences Centre confirmed on Thursday, Nov. 26, 2020 that two employees at Kingston General Hospital had tested positive for COVID-19. “One of the members of the gym went back to a different family. Everyone in that family was infected,” Dr. Moore continued. “That family has children that were school-aged so that’s another investigation to ensure that there’s no transmission in the school setting.” Dr. Moore noted that this is just one example of several investigations underway by Public Health this week. The key lessons he said, are to be careful when travelling outside the region, to minimize the number of contacts and to go for testing if symptoms arise. “Tremendous thanks to the community. We still continue to have a very high testing rate. We can’t do our work unless the community comes forward if they have symptoms to get tested, so that’s a big thanks. Our local lab is working very well, and our assessment centre,” he added. Dr. Moore noted that anyone accepting visitors into their home from the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) should feel free to screen them for COVID-19 symptoms. The latest information on signs and symptoms of COVID-19 can be found at COVID-19.ontario.ca. “The safest thing is not to travel,” he said. “Stay within your household setting, be very careful about the ‘Cs’ — crowded spaces and close faces.”Samantha Butler-Hassan, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, kingstonist.com
Nunavut reported five more cases of COVID-19 in Arviat on Saturday, pushing the total number of active cases in the territory's hardest-hit community to 106.All individuals with active cases are in isolation and doing well, with mild to moderate symptoms, according to a news release. Contact tracing is ongoing and public health staff are monitoring everyone in isolation."We are on the right path to break transmission and contain the spread of COVID-19 in the territory," Dr. Michael Patterson, Nunavut's chief public health officer, said in a Saturday release announcing the new cases."Every day, individual decisions to follow public health measures are essential to our success and I urge Nunavummiut to remain committed in their efforts." In total, the territory has 131 active cases across three communities. Aside from Arviat, there are 13 cases in Whale Cove and 12 cases in Rankin Inlet.As of November 27, Arviat had 481 negative COVID-19 tests. There have been 196 negative test results in Rankin Inlet and 89 in Whale Cove. Monitoring continues in Sanikiluaq, where two people with COVID-19 have since recovered. In total, 33 people with COVID-19 have recovered in Nunavut. Anyone who has reason to believe they have been exposed to COVID-19 is advised to call the COVID hotline at 1-888-975-8601 between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. ET, or notify their community health centre right away, and immediately isolate at home for 14 days.
CHARLOTTETOWN — Prince Edward Island has announced two new cases of COVID-19, doubling the number of active cases in the province. Health officials say the patients are both males between the ages of 10 and 19.One of the new patients is a student at Charlottetown Rural High School, who travelled on bus numbers 23 and 3 on two days last week. He also plays for the Sherwood Minor Hockey Midget A Central Team 2.Officials say there were also potential exposures at a Wendy’s Restaurant and a Needs Convenience Store in Charlottetown. Meanwhile, the second patient recently travelled to P.E.I. from outside of Atlantic Canada and has been self-isolating since he arrived.Health officials say he traveled to the Island on Air Canada flight AC7462 from Toronto to Charlottetown on Nov. 26\. They are advising passengers on the same flight to get tested if they have any symptoms.A spokeswoman for the Health and Wellness Department says there are four active cases in the province. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 28, 2020.The Canadian Press
Squamish Public Library is set to permanently acknowledge its location on the traditional territory of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Nation through a commissioned artwork. The library is inviting artists from the nation to submit designs for a vinyl window covering for the front of the library building and the children’s area. "The intention is for the artwork of a Squamish Nation artist to publicly and permanently acknowledge the library's location on the traditional territory of the Squamish Nation,” Rachel Bergquist, public services librarian, said. "This art commission aims to celebrate the art, traditions, culture, and land of the Squamish Nation through the unique vision of the artist.” She said windows of the library offered the opportunity for a large-scale showcase of art, visible to library patrons, passersby, and the hundreds of people who use Squamish Transit. "We have so many visitors to our town and the library really is a hot spot for people looking for directions, bathrooms, and other resources," Bergquist said. "So, it’s just exciting to have the opportunity to have that public acknowledgement facing outward to both the people who are living in our community, but also those people who are passing through who might not have as much of an understanding of where they are.” The library is searching for a design that will feel like an integrated part of the building and still allow for some visibility through the windows, with the final image to be printed on cut-out frosted vinyl in monochrome white and grey. “We wanted something that still allows for us to see outside and allows the natural light in,” Bergquist said, on the choice of frosted vinyl. “We want people inside the library to be able to see the world around them. Sitting inside the library, looking out that window, you can see the Stawamus Chief.” The chosen artist will receive $5,400 for the digital file of their commissioned work and the library will arrange for the production and installation of the final product. Acknowledgement and information about the art and artist will also be installed along with the window covering. Bergquist said artworks received will be reviewed by a selection committee of library staff, the director of library services and be shown to Squamish Nation Elders for their blessing. She said the library team was excited to see the designs artists submit and were available for any questions artists may have about the project. The public art project was made possible by a Community Arts and Culture Enhancement Grant from the Squamish Arts Council and capital funding from the District of Squamish. The submission deadline is Dec. 15, 2020, at 5 p.m. The successful artist will be announced early next year, and it’s hoped the installation will occur in spring. All proposals must be submitted to Rachel Bergquist or dropped off at the library at 37907 Second Avenue, Squamish, B.C. Find the full call for artists here. Elisia Seeber, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, North Shore News
OTTAWA — There was a strong message conveyed to cabinet ministers last week as senators grilled them on the Trudeau government's bill to expand access to medical assistance in dying.We told you so.Ministers were repeatedly reminded that when the federal government introduced its first bill in 2016 to legalize doctor-assisted death in Canada, senators warned it was unconstitutional and predicted it would be struck down by the courts. A majority of senators voted at that time to drop the central pillar of the bill: that only those whose natural death is reasonably foreseeable should be eligible for an assisted death.The government rejected the amendment and senators ultimately backed down. But, as they'd predicted, the near-death provision was subsequently struck down in a Quebec Superior Court ruling in September 2019.Now, some senators are convinced the bill introduced to bring the law into compliance with that ruling is also unconstitutional. And they're pondering how far they should go to protect the rights of Canadians seeking access to medically assisted death.All legislation must be approved by both houses of Parliament. The Senate can defeat a bill outright, although that has rarely happened.If the Senate amends a bill, it is sent back to the House of Commons to decide whether to accept or reject the changes. The Senate can dig in its heels and insist on an amendment rejected by the Commons, potentially leading to legislation ping-ponging back and forth between chambers without resolution.In practice, however, because senators are not elected, they generally acquiesce to the will of the Commons, as they did on the 2016 assisted-dying bill.But some senators argue that a different standard applies when fundamental constitutional rights are at stake."If it's a very clear violation of a constitutional right, I think we have the right, the moral obligation even, to stick to our position and to insist (on amendment)," says Sen. Pierre Dalphond, a former Quebec Appeal Court judge who sits with the Progressive Senate Group.Dalphond is highly skeptical that the government's latest assisted-dying bill, C-7, is constitutional. He's awaiting further explanations from the government before making a final decision.Appointed in 2019, Dalphond was not in the Senate when the chamber last debated medical assistance in dying legislation. But some senators who did live through the 2016 debate seem particularly determined not to let history repeat itself.Conservative Sen. Claude Carignan believes Bill C-7 violates the guarantee of equality rights in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms by specifying that people suffering solely from mental illnesses will not be allowed access to an assisted death. He thinks the proposed two-track approach to eligibility — one set of rules for people who are near death and more restrictive rules for those who aren't — is similarly problematic."I think the government has created another bill that will have to come back … in two or three years after a court challenge," Carignan says.He believes the government is determined to proceed cautiously on assisted dying and is quite content to have the courts force its hand every step of the way. The trouble with that approach, in his view, is that it forces vulnerable people who are suffering unbearably from serious illnesses to spend time, money and energy fighting for their rights in court."That's really tough. So I think if we want to protect those people we have to insist and say, 'Look, don't go there another time.'"Fellow Conservative Sen. Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu is hopeful the Senate will propose, and the government will agree, to a compromise this time: amend the bill to remove the mental illness exclusion but give the government one or two years to come up with guidelines and safeguards before that part of the law goes into force.He said that could "be a good compromise" that would avoid a potential standoff between the Senate and the government over the issue.Dalphond is inclined to support such a compromise because it would force the government to act on the issue, rather than leave it to be discussed, possibly without resolution, during a promised parliamentary review. That review must grapple with other thorny matters, such as whether to allow advance consent for assisted death, as well as access to the procedure for mature minors."We have an opportunity maybe to straighten things up now. Why wait another one, two, three years? … People will be suffering during that period."The composition of the Senate has changed considerably over the past four years so it's not yet possible to gauge whether the current crop of senators will go as far as — or further than — senators did in 2016 to protect charter rights. There are certainly many senators who are passionately opposed on moral grounds to any expanded access to assisted death, and especially opposed to extending it to people suffering solely from mental illnesses.But senators with extensive legal backgrounds — both veterans like Carignan and more recent appointees like Dalphond — who grilled ministers last week during committee hearings on the bill all questioned its constitutionality.The most recently appointed senator, Brent Cotter, a prominent legal ethicist and former senior public servant in Saskatchewan, pointedly asked Justice Minister David Lametti whether he believes senators have a duty to ensure legislation is constitutionally valid.Lametti did not answer and Cotter concedes it's a question he's wrestling with himself."The nice thing about the Senate is, on the one hand, I do think we have to advance our viewpoint on the basis of principle and we have much more luxury to do that in a less partisan Senate," says Cotter, a member of the Independent Senators Group."And on constitutionality, it's quite possible that senators need to be firm … But at the same time I don't think we have the right to overreach because we are involved in a role where we are appointed, we are not elected by constituents and we need to be respectful of the electoral process that leads to government according to law."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 29, 2020. Joan Bryden, The Canadian Press
A temporary COVID-19 drop-in testing clinic will be open Saturday from 5-8 p.m. at Stratford Town Hall.The clinic, located at 234 Shakespeare Drive, was set up to support the high demand for testing at the Charlottetown testing clinic on Park Street.Islanders can also go to the COVID-19 drop-in testing clinic at Slemon Park in Summerside, which is open until 8 p.m.P.E.I. announced two new unrelated cases of COVID-19 on Saturday.The province said anyone who has been contacted by Public Health nursing to get tested in relation to the positive cases should get tested as soon as possible and isolate until they receive the results, or as directed by Public Health nursing.More from CBC P.E.I.
Fifty Evraz steelworkers in Regina received layoff notices on Friday and hundreds more could be laid off by mid-January."It's been a trying year for us and our members here in Regina," said Mike Day, president of United Steelworkers Local 5890, which is the union associated with the Regina steel plant."COVID started in March. I think it was around that same time we had a cyberattack on the company. And then we had this," Day said. "It's just seems like it's one thing after another in 2020, like many other places."The New Year will not fare much better for many more workers. By mid-January, Evraz says the jobs of up to 500 employees will also be deemed redundant. Day said USW Local 5890 is used to seeing 30 or 40 people being laid off."But when you're starting to get the guys that have worked here now for 20 years, it's been a long time since the layoff notices have come out and their names have been on it. It's tough."Evraz said the restructuring is necessary to help deal with the struggling state of the steel industry.Day said the pandemic is largely to blame, along with the prolonged slump in the energy sector and what he calls government inaction in promoting Canadian steel for projects across the country, including pipelines."We're directly related to the oil and gas sector. Our No. 1 product is this pipe. So when there's no contracts because there's no product or there's no projects going on, it's hard for us right now."Day said the union was confident the company was going to get a contract for a northern Alberta project, but he said a foreign company is going to get the work."When we've got projects that are being built in Canada and they're not using Canadian project, Canadian labour and Canadian material … it's very concerning to the steel industry," Day said.The layoffs will mostly affect the tubular division of the plant, which makes pipelines for the oil and gas industry."To put it in perspective, at this time last year we were almost at 700 members in tubular, and by the middle of January, I expect this to be just shy of 100 [workers] unless something comes up," Day said.He doesn't see a turnaround in the near future and doubts all the jobs will come back."I don't see our numbers ever climbing to that where it was a year ago."And with a struggling economy, it will be hard for laid-off workers to find jobs."Not a lot of places are hiring and especially hiring that are … comparable wages and benefits to what the guys get here. So it's going to be a real financial struggle for a lot of places in the city."Day said the union is hoping to reach out to Don Morgan, the province's minister of labour relations.He also hopes having U.S. president-elect Joe Biden coming to the White House will mean better trade relations and more opportunities for the Canadian steel industry.
A year after Canadian Forces soldiers helped clear snow in the great snowfall of January 2020, the military may be called to domestic duty again in Newfoundland and Labrador to help distribute COVID-19 vaccine. Premier Andrew Furey says he not only welcomes it, he’s already been in touch to make it happen. “We know how important a role our friends in the military played early this year during Snowmageddon,” he said during Friday’s virtual COVID-19 briefing in St. John’s, “so we’re very happy to continue to welcome their efforts in helping us get through the next phase in this pandemic.” That phase may start within the next few weeks, but Furey admitted the delivery of vaccine to Canada will be gradual. According to some quick math, he said the province may receive up to 50,000 doses by March 2020. Those will go to vulnerable groups such as elderly and Indigenous groups, as well as health-care workers on the front lines. The province saw four new confirmed cases Friday, all between the ages of 40 and 70. Three of them have not been linked to another case yet, but the chief medical officer of health said that’s not a major concern. “It’s still very early in the investigation, so it doesn’t mean we don’t know the source,” Dr. Janice Fitzgerald said. “It just means that we’re starting the investigation.” The province now has 31 active cases. Fitzgerald said the current influx of cases still doesn’t surprise her, but the next four to six weeks could be a tipping point. “This has the potential for a perfect storm as the threat of COVID and Christmas collide,” she said. “But we know so much more than we did seven months ago. We have the tools to prevent COVID from taking hold in our province.” Added Health Minister Dr. John Haggie: “We have said before, and will probably end up saying it again, that we will see cases from time to time. The important thing is that these are identified, contained and traced.” Fitzgerald says her office has been flooded with questions about what partners and children of rotational workers can or can’t do under current policies. So she offered some rules, which only apply if the worker is asymptomatic and has not returned from outside Canada or a workplace with an outbreak. A partner: • can go to work at any time if a worker is asymptomatic; • can work in a personal care home, as long as personal protective equipment is worn; • should wear a mask if around other people (that includes teaching); • should wear a mask when in another house with extended friends or family. However, she said the rules for children have not changed. “The reason that we did not include children in this policy change is that we do not want to be further stigmatized any more than they sometimes already are,” she said. “And let me be very clear in saying stigmatization should not be happening. It is completely unacceptable and, to be honest, it is heartbreaking for me to hear.” She said parents should act if they witness any form of bullying going on. “Ask your child to imagine themselves in the classmate’s position and how sad and worried they must be feeling. Teach them the golden rule, to treat others as you want to be treated.” She advised parents to make sure they’re setting a good example. “Your children see when you’re afraid, and little ears are everywhere. If you voice concerns about a neighbour or another parent who recently travelled, your child will pick up on that.”Peter Jackson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Telegram