Meteorologist Jaclyn Whittal has details on you National forecast for Nov 11
Meteorologist Jaclyn Whittal has details on you National forecast for Nov 11
WILMINGTON, Del. — President-elect Joe Biden's pick to lead the Office of Management and Budget is quickly emerging as a political battle that could disrupt his efforts to swiftly fill out his administration.Some Republicans are expressing doubt that Neera Tanden could be confirmed by the Senate after she spent years attacking GOP lawmakers on social media — and many panned the choice.Arkansas Republican Sen. Tom Cotton claimed Tanden’s rhetoric was “Filled with hate & guided by the woke left.”Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn said Tanden's “combative and insulting comments" about Republican senators created “certainly a problematic path." He called her “maybe (Biden's) worst nominee so far" and “radioactive.”Potential Budget Committee Chair Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., was less hostile, telling reporters, “Let's see what happens." Moderate Susan Collins, R-Maine, a target of Tanden's, said, “I do not know her or much about her, but I've heard she's a very prolific user of Twitter.”Such sentiment is notable considering the GOP's general reluctance to criticize President Donald Trump's broadsides on Twitter. But like all of Biden's nominees, Tanden has little margin for error as she faces confirmation in a closely divided Senate.That could be especially daunting for Tanden, the former adviser to Hillary Clinton and the president of the centre-left Center for American Progress, given her history of political combat.Biden's transition team released a litany of praise for Tanden from figures including Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams.Other Democrats also rushed to defend Tanden's nomination. Former Obama aide Valerie Jarrett said Tanden “grew up on welfare and lived in public housing. She experienced first hand the importance of our social programs. Her extraordinary career has been devoted to improving opportunities for working families. She is an excellent choice to lead OMB.”“Neera Tanden is smart, experienced, and qualified for the position of OMB Director,” added Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown, a member of the party’s progressive wing. “The American people decisively voted for change - Mitch McConnell shouldn’t block us from having a functioning government that gets to work for the people we serve.”On the Senate floor, Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said it's impossible to take Republicans' criticism of Tanden seriously.“Honestly, the hypocrisy is astounding. If Republicans are concerned about criticism on Twitter, their complaints are better directed at President Trump,” Schumer said.At OMB, Tanden would be responsible for preparing Biden’s budget submission and would command several hundred budget analysts, economists and policy advisers with deep knowledge of the inner workings of the government.If Democrats should win runoff elections for Georgia’s two GOP-held Senate seats, Tanden’s job would become hugely important because the party would gain a slim majority in the chamber. That would allow them to pass special budget legislation that could roll back Trump’s tax cuts, boost the Affordable Care Act and pursue other spending goals. OMB would have a central role in such legislation.Top Democrats, Biden included, supported anti-deficit packages earlier in their careers, but the party has since changed. Biden was a force behind the establishment of the Obama deficit commission, which was created to win votes of Democratic moderates to pass an increase in the government’s borrowing cap and was chaired by former Clinton White House chief of staff Erskine Bowles.Tanden shares a commonly held view among Democratic lawmakers that Republicans usually profess concerns about deficits only when Democrats are in power, pointing to tax cut packages passed in the opening year of Trump’s administration and former President George W. Bush’s 2001 tax cut.___Taylor reported from Washington.Zeke Miller And Andrew Taylor, The Associated Press
The Merrickville Public Library Board is looking for financial support from the municipality to repair the roof and some exterior walls on the library building. Municipal staff presented a report to council at the meeting of November 23, outlining their current lease agreement with the library. In 2010, the building that currently houses the library was donated to the municipality by the Merrickville Lions Club. At that point, the library entered into a 25-year agreement with the municipality to lease the building at $1 a year, with the caveat that they take responsibility for the upkeep and maintenance of the building. Councillor Timothy Molloy, who sits on the Library Board, said that, despite the terms of the lease, the library should not be responsible for the maintenance of a building that they do not own. As of December 31, 2019, the Library Board had $84,051 sitting in its reserves; but he argues that, as this money has been accumulated through donations, it should go towards library operations and programming, not building repairs. CAO Doug Robertson confirmed that the estimated cost of the roof and exterior wall repairs is $20,000. “We have an issue where there are requirements for the building that the Library Board needs to take care of, and the money to meet those funds should not be coming from the operational programs that the library runs,” he said. “It would be a detriment to the children, teenagers, adults, seniors in the community.” Councillor Molloy suggested that council meet with the Library Board to go over their concerns and discuss the possibility of renegotiating the terms of the lease. Deputy Mayor Michael Cameron noted that, should they renegotiate the lease and start charging the library for the use of the building, they would have to include the cost of building upkeep in the rent. “Indirectly, they would be paying for the repairs anyway,” he said. According to the staff report, the library did have a building reserve fund that sat at around $64,000 at the end of 2009. Councillor Bob Foster suggested that, if they could discern if there was any money left in the library’s current reserve, that stemmed from this past building reserve, it could be used to pay for the repairs. Mayor Doug Struthers committed to council that he would meet with the chair of the Library Board to hear more about what they think might need to be adjusted with the current lease. Council is also encouraging the board to put their concerns in writing, to be considered by council. “There is no question that our library is a very important asset in service to all the residents of our municipality,” he said. “We are all on the same page on that one.”Hilary Thomson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The North Grenville Times
No matter what's been thrown their way, organizers of this year's Jasper Santas Anonymous program are doing their best to see that families have food and gifts to enjoy this Christmas season. This year, more families than ever will be accessing Santas Anonymous due to the COVID-19 pandemic contributing to more unemployment, isolation and financial stress. Pattie Pavlov, general manager of Jasper Park Chamber of Commerce, said this year, as many as 100 families are participating. In years past, it has hovered around the 70, 80 point. She and Ashley Chorley, operations manager with Chamber, are working with "the new and different nuances" that have been presented by the COVID pandemic. With COVID as one of the primary concerns, they wondered how they would get items to families safely, Pavlov said. "It's very important that we adhere to COVID (protocol), in collecting and distributing the items donated," she said. "We did consult with the Edmonton Santas Anonymous group. We were on the right track. We just wanted to confirm we were doing this properly. It was a learning experience." Chorley some items, including fabric, plush items, plastics and toys have to be put in isolation to discourage COVID transmission. For example, she said, plastic items have to sit for about 72 hours and plush items for a week, which complicates packaging them. Fortunately, with a list of families in the program already started, she and Pavlov can organize items by group. Some of the usually-held get-togethers have been cancelled, including Skate with Santa at Mildred Lake, and a photo opportunity with Santa at Bearhill Lodge. Pavlov said, “With the (allowable) gathering of 10, how are you going to restart the number of families? Pieces of the puzzle just don't come together." But other plans are coming together: the Mitten Line fundraiser at TGP, for example. At the grocery store, mittens are available at the cash registers with values of $10, $20, $50 and $100 with proceeds going to Santas Anonymous. "Some people have already purchased mittens and we're excited about that,” Pavlov said. Shoppers at TGP can also designate a portion of the money paid for groceries to the campaign at the time of purchase. Then there's The Snowball Fight. "We cut out a quantity of snowballs and we are giving them to banks specifically, and encouraging them to compete against others - a friendly competition," Pavlov said. "We're asking them to be creative with their displays." Folks can purchase a snowball for whatever amount they choose, with proceeds going to Santas Anonymous. The pastry team at Jasper Park Lodge has also added to the festive mix of fundraisers. Pavlov said they created an “absolutely unbelievable” gingerbread cottage to be raffled off. The detail in the house is something to behold - there are books on bookshelves, the inside of the log cabin lights up, and there's a pond outside with cattails along the shore. “It's big and so beautiful," Pavlov said. The masterpiece is on display at the Santas Anonymous Facebook page and tickets can be purchased at $5 apiece from Jasper Community Team Society board members. "As has been the tradition since Santa's Anonymous started," Pavlov noted, "there have been collection boxes placed throughout town. Anything you want to support Santas Anonymous with can be done through donations - toys, toques, mitts." Sites include Pharmasave, IDA Rx Drug Mart, Jasper General Store, Ransom, the Jasper Library and Nesters Market. Pavlov said the Chamber will also accept donations at Robson House. "Give us a call and we'll grab it (where it has been safely left),” she said. “I'd also encourage people to bring gift cards.” Another way to donate in a contactless way is via e-transfer to firstname.lastname@example.org. The winning ticket for the gingerbread house will be drawn on Dec. 17. Proceeds from the Snowball Fight and Mitten Line fundraisers will be announced on Dec. 22.Joanne McQuarrie, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Jasper Fitzhugh
SASKATOON — Nutrien Ltd. is calling on other members of the fertilizer industry to join its fight against climate change as it launches an agriculture carbon program to drive improved environmental sustainability and boost profits for farmers.The Saskatoon-based company said Monday it plans to use its role as the world’s largest provider of crop inputs and services to help growers plan, plant and track practices to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, trap and store carbon and measure the resulting improvements.It will then help farmers make money from their environmental efforts by facilitating the purchase and sale of carbon credits used by industries to offset their emissions and reduce carbon taxes."We really wanted to make sure that this was a rallying cry for the industry. We can't do it alone ... and we really need the agriculture industry now to step up to tackle climate change," said CEO Chuck Magro on an investor day webcast.After years of study, Nutrien concluded the best way to encourage agriculture to help fight climate change is to create "a carbon economy," where most of the resulting value goes to the farmer, he said.Nutrien will benefit indirectly by helping growers meet their carbon goals, he added."It's our people, our products, and our technology, that's going to drive, I think, a lot of this success, so we will naturally benefit by supplying services, products, technology, using our platform," said Magro.Nutrien is to pilot its new carbon program in certain regions across North America in 2021 and plans to later take it to South America and Australia.In a video presentation on the webcast, Nutrien showed how farmers will be able to track their improvements in environmental sustainability through its Ag Solutions digital hub, an online program that also allows customers to consult with Nutrien advisers, order products and services and pay bills.Products that could be used to earn credits include crop protection inputs, biologicals, micronutrients and slow-release fertilizers, while practices such as no-till cropping and planting cover crops would earn credits by sequestering carbon, said Mike Frank, executive vice-president and CEO of retail.Agriculture accounts for about 10 per cent of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions, said Shane Moffat of Greenpeace Canada, adding unabsorbed nitrogen fertilizer creates nitrous oxide which is far more potent than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas.Nutrien should be committing to producing less nitrogen fertilizer if it really wants to slow global warming, he said."Generally, Greenpeace considers offsets a distraction from the focus on polluters reducing their emissions," Moffat said."In the case of Nutrien’s announcement, will this also be a distraction from the importance of shifting away from industrial and fertilizer-intensive agriculture towards organic farming?"Demand for carbon credits has more than doubled since 2017, Nutrien said, citing a recent state of voluntary carbon markets report from Ecosystem Marketplace.It says the global market for carbon offsets is expected to increase by 40 to 100 times by 2050.In 2019, Nutrien became one of the first users of the Alberta Carbon Trunk Line, a project that collects carbon dioxide from its fertilizer plant northeast of Edmonton and other industries and transports it to mature oil and gas reservoirs for use in enhanced oil recovery and storage.By Dan Healing in CalgaryThis report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2020.Companies in this story: (TSX:NTR)Dan Healing, The Canadian Press
The City of Windsor has been cracking down on COVID-19 restrictions violators over the past week in a blitz it says has resulted in 23 charges.The city said it did 95 proactive COVID-19 checks and investigated 21 complaints made through calls to 3-1-1.The city said that it informed residents and businesses about the step-up in enforcement prior to the blitz to give businesses time to make safety plans, put up signs and ensure that customers were physically distancing properly and wearing masks.Of the 23 charges laid, 10 were for not having a safety plan, one was for not having signage, 11 were for not wearing a mask and one was for failure to observe physical distancing. It says that those caught breaking the rules are facing an $880 fine."The proactive enforcement blitz will continue," the city said in a release on Monday.
The government unveiled a record deficit of $381 billion in its fiscal update, along with spending plans for more pandemic relief and a huge stimulus plan to jolt the economy post-pandemic.
Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland announced Monday the first steps in a multi-year plan to build a Canada-wide child-care system to reduce costs for families and encourage more women with kids to join the workforce. To pay for this proposed program — and to collect more revenue to cover a ballooning budget deficit — Freeland also unveiled the government's plan to levy sales taxes on digital companies. Freeland said the government will create a new federal secretariat on early learning and child care that will work with the provinces and territories to design a new national system modelled on the one already in place in Quebec, where parents have access to child-care services for less than $10 a day. "Just as Saskatchewan once showed Canada the way on health care and British Columbia showed Canada the way on pricing pollution, Quebec can show us the way on child care," the fall economic statement reads. The finance minister said the next federal budget — expected sometime in spring 2021 — will present a more concrete plan on how Ottawa will provide "affordable, accessible, inclusive and high-quality child care from coast to coast to coast." The federal government is committing $20 million now to begin the work of crafting its new "child care vision." The government says the need for such a national system is obvious now, given how the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the precariousness of work for many women. Government data show that more women than men have been forced to stay home from their jobs to care for their kids during this pandemic-induced recession, because of mounting child-care costs and a lack of available spaces. "COVID-19 has caused a she-cession, rolling back many of the hard-won gains women have worked for over past decades," the economic statement reads, using a term coined to describe the dramatic decline in the number working women this year. "Canada cannot be competitive until all Canadian women have access to affordable child care." The fall economic statement tabled by Freeland includes $70-100 billion in unspecified fiscal stimulus spending over the next three years, earmarked for jump-starting an economy hammered by lockdowns. The money to pay for a national child-care plan could be drawn from those funds. While the details have yet to be worked out, the federal government will send more than $400 million to the provinces and territories starting in the next fiscal year to begin recruiting more early child-care educators ahead of a possible surge in new spaces. NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said the Liberal plan to launch a secretariat pushes a national child-care plan further down the line, when support is needed now to help care providers struggling with staff shortages and spiking COVID-19-related costs. "The Liberal government is nowhere near what is required to not only keep the existing spaces. They're nowhere near even expanding to get to universal child care. That's where we're at right now," Singh said. "What that means is families are making the impossible choice, saying, 'We can't find a place for our kids to go. I don't know if I can go back to work.' And that's a shame," Singh said. Speaking on CBC's Power & Politics, Freeland said she can't just "wave some sort of a magic wand" and create a national child-care program overnight — especially when there are federal and provincial jurisdictional responsibilities to consider. "I can tell you, I'm really ready to put my shoulder to the wheel on this one," she said. "I personally believe so strongly and so passionately that the time has come." Feds to levy sales taxes on all digital products, services Freeland also announced a plan to start levying digital sales taxes on consumers nationwide for the first time — a new system that could raise as much as $1 billion over the next five years. Under the current rules, foreign-based digital businesses without a physical presence in Canada can sell goods and services without charging the GST or HST. U.S.-based Netflix, for example, doesn't levy the GST or HST on its digital streaming services nationwide — but Apple, which does have Canadian operations, charges all its iTunes customers the relevant taxes. (Quebec and Saskatchewan already require Canadian and foreign digital service suppliers to register for and collect provincial sales tax on services like Netflix and Spotify.) The government says the current regime is unfair to Canadian companies and "deprives the government of tax revenues that could be used to better the lives of everyone." Freeland said sales taxes will apply to all goods and services consumed in Canada — regardless of how they are supplied. It's consumers who will pay the tax, not the companies themselves. While the federal government has long said it would coordinate any new regime with other Western nations, Freeland said Canada is now prepared to go it alone on taxing digital companies. Former finance minister Bill Morneau had said the government would pursue digital sales taxes only once other G20 nations and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) crafted standards that could be applied in all jurisdictions. That international work is still ongoing. Some observers — including Michael Geist, an internet law professor at the University of Ottawa — have warned it will be difficult to create this new tax as there will be significant administrative and enforcement challenges. The government will consult with digital companies on how best to structure this new tax. Ottawa plans to start collecting the funds in July 2021 and it expects to fetch $1.2 billion more in revenue over the next five years from the measure. The decision to tax services offered by companies like Netflix is an about-face for this Liberal government. In the 2015 federal election campaign, then Conservative leader Stephen Harper promised a government led by him would never tax Netflix and the Liberals responded with a no-Netflix-tax promise of their own. However, in the 2019 campaign, the Liberals, the NDP and the Greens all presented proposals in their platforms to tax multinational corporations that conduct their business online. Singh said his party isn't satisfied with a plan to simply apply the GST to online business. He said he wants Canada to go much further and start taxing the revenue of large digital giants that do business in Canada. "That's a concrete measure to actually make them pay," he said. "Applying a GST is really meaningless." WATCH: Singh reacts to the government's fall economic statement Singh said companies like Amazon and others he described as "pandemic profiteers" — businesses that have seen sales soar during this health crisis — don't shoulder enough of the tax burden. The leader said Canada should look to replicate France's plan to apply a 3 per cent tax on large tech companies' local revenues — a revenue tool that was postponed in January in the face of U.S. threats of retaliatorytariffs. New tax on short-term rental accommodations Another new tax will be applied to short-term rental accommodations booked in Canada on sites like Airbnb and VRBO. Airbnb does not collect sales taxes from its customers. It's up to individual hosts to add the GST or HST to the rate they charge for a space — but the tax is applied unevenly and it's not required for hosts who make less than $30,000 a year in rental income. With Freeland's new proposal, the GST and the HST will be collected on all stays and remitted by either the property owner or the companies that coordinate these digital bookings. It is estimated that this tax will increase federal revenues by $360 million over the next five years. The government is also proposing millions more dollars in funding for the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) to continue its crackdown on tax avoidance. The tax collector will receive $606 million over the next five years to fund new initiatives "targeting international tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance." The money will be used to hire offshore-focused auditors to target the Canadians who hide income and other assets overseas. The money also will give the agency more capacity to audit "higher-risk tax filings" by high-net worth people, says the economic statement. The government estimates that these measures will recover $1.4 billion in revenue over five years. The cash injection follows a similar investment in 2016 that, the government said, is showing some positive early results — an estimated $3 billion in additional federal tax revenues have been assessed since the government started sending the CRA some $350 million more a year in funding. It is not yet known how much of that money owed has been collected.
Niagara Catholic District School Board is reporting another case of COVID-19 at St. Martin Catholic Elementary School, bringing the school case count to 10. An outbreak was declared at the Smithville school on Nov. 19. Public health confirmed to Niagara Catholic that the new COVID-19 case was connected to the outbreak. The provincial database that reports on school-related COVID-19 cases in Ontario on Monday identified four of the 10 cases as being infected staff and four as students. The remaining two cases were not immediately unknown as the provincial database lags behind school boards in its case reporting. Over the weekend, District School Board of Niagara announced an individual at Martha Cullimore Public School in Niagara Falls and an individual at Port Colborne High School tested positive for COVID-19. As a result, three classrooms will be closed: two at Port High and one at Martha Cullimore. “As part of COVID-19 case management and infection control protocol, students and staff who had close contact with the individual are being contacted and told by NRPH (Niagara Region Public Health) to stay home and self-isolate,” DSBN said a media release. The board website Monday listed six active cases at four of its schools. There are three active cases in Niagara Falls, two at Prince Philip and one at Martha Cullimore; two active cases in St Catharines, all at Eden High School; and the one in Port Colborne. The provincial database had yet to identify if the cases are staff or student. Custodians at both schools will complete a thorough cleaning as required. A public health inspector and a public health nurse will visit the schools to complete a comprehensive assessment. Sean Vanderklis is a Niagara-based reporter for the Niagara Falls Review. His reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Reach him via email: email@example.comSean Vanderklis, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Niagara Falls Review
The new Strathmore municipal building is nearing completion, with the town finding solutions for a few remaining pieces. An update on the project was presented to town council on Nov. 18 by Michael Stamhuis, the town’s special projects manager. The project is now in its “substantial completion” stage, meaning the building and work site are sufficiently completed such that they can now be handed over to, and occupied by, the town. The cost of the building has been updated to total $14.48 million, $130,000 less than the cost projected in mid-October. The final project costs will be more than $400,000 below the funding allocated for the project, reported Stamhuis. A report will be forthcoming presenting suggestions for how this surplus may be allocated. One of the options would be to set aside an amount for any issues that may arise, he said. Some uncertainties remain for the project. “While the project is substantially completed, it is not totally complete; there are some outstanding items,” said Stamhuis, who added these include the installation of audio-visual equipment, signage and furniture. All tenders for furniture and audio-visual equipment have been received, the cost of which is less than the $850,000 allocated for these components. The cost estimate for soft costs and furniture, fixtures and equipment decreased by $21,000, to $2.325 million. The audio-visual equipment was to be stored in a closet within the council chambers, but the consultant said it would generate too much heat to be stored there safely. So, the town is considering either installing a ventilation system for the closet or moving the equipment to the server room. The estimated cost for site servicing and rehabilitation has been revised to $2.599 million, representing a decrease of $16,000 from previous estimates. This reduction is due to a decrease in staff salary allocation (by $6,000) and reconciliation of consultant fees ($10,000). The total cost of the Strathmore Commons and north Kinsmen improvements is $1.675 million, equaling a reduction of $92,000 from prior estimates. The town saved money on soil disposal because the soil from site clearing was used on-site and hauling costs were minimal, resulting in a $92,000 cost reduction. Also during the meeting, a report was presented to council illustrating how the municipal building project resulted in improvements to several of the town’s assets beyond the new building itself. This assessment determined that of the approximately $14.5 million spent on the municipal building project, about $3.1 million can be attributed to Kinsmen Park and other site improvements. As such, about $11.3 million can be attributed to the building itself. According to Strathmore Mayor Pat Fule, this second report gives a more accurate picture of the cost of the new town hall building. “Obviously, some of those assets are tied to the new building, but some of them benefit and are tied to other parts of that project,” he said. The town is planning on having staff move belongings into the new building in late December and begin working there in the new year.Sean Feagan, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times
IQALUIT, Nunavut — Nunavut is to start lifting a two-week lockdown on Wednesday as more people infected with COVID-19 recover. The lockdown that shuttered all schools and non-essential businesses was put in place on Nov. 18 to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus that first appeared in the territory early this month.Dr. Michael Patterson, the territory's chief public health officer, said Monday that 73 people had recovered from COVID-19 and 108 cases remained active. There were also four new cases, bringing Nunavut's total to 181.No one who contracted COVID-19 in Nunavut has been hospitalized. Patterson said that's partly because more than half of the infections have been in residents under the age of 40.Only Arviat, which had 86 active cases, will remain in lockdown for at least another two weeks, said Paterson. Travel to the community will still be restricted."Until we can be absolutely certain that there is no community transmission of COVID-19 in Arviat, restrictions will remain in effect for that community," Patterson told a news conference. Arviat is experiencing "an infectious disease outbreak in crowded housing," so cases might continue to rise for a bit longer, he added."There is a chance that it will continue to spread for a little bit even within the houses that we've identified." There were still eight active cases in Rankin Inlet and 14 in Whale Cove, but Patterson said there has been no community transmission in either community, so restrictions can be eased. "We've identified all the houses that have cases of COVID-19 and all recent transmission in those two communities has been related to the people living in those houses," he said. "The risk of it spreading elsewhere is small and less than the harms associated with the very strict measures that are in place."Arviat, Rankin Inlet and Whale Cove are all coastal communities in the Kivalliq region on the western edge of Hudson Bay and have borne the brunt of the outbreak.Schools will be allowed to open in both Rankin Inlet and Whale Cove, but elementary school students will attend three days a week and high school students will attend two days weekly on staggered schedules. Government offices and all businesses will be allowed to open, but physical distancing will have to be maintained.Travel to and from Whale Cove and Rankin Inlet will also be allowed starting Wednesday, but Patterson said his office still strongly advises against non-essential travel.Outdoor gatherings in the two communities will be restricted to 50 people, while gatherings in homes will have to stick to household members plus 10 others. Arenas have to remain closed, as well as hair salons and barber shops. Restaurants can only be open for takeout. Gyms will only be able to offer space for solo workouts.In communities with no COVID-19 cases, students will attend school two to three days a week on staggered schedules.Restaurants will be allowed to open at half capacity. Businesses will be able to operate as long as people maintain physical distancing. Outdoor gatherings will be restricted to 50 people and gatherings in homes will be limited to the household plus 15 people. Arenas and personal services will also be able to resume.Patterson warned that if another outbreak were to occur, restrictions would be reintroduced. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2020.Emma Tranter, The Canadian Press
Several Indigenous Canadians have been awarded the country’s highest civilian honours in the latest round of appointments. On Nov. 27, Gov. Gen. Julie Payette announced 114 new appointments to the Order of Canada. Indigenous appointees include Tom Jackson and Doreen Spence of Calgary, Alta., Thomas King of Guelph, Ont., Chief Darcy Bear of Whitecap Dakota First Nation, Sask. and Harvey Andrew McCue (Waubageshig) of Ottawa, Ont. There are three levels —Companion, Officer and Member —within the Order of Canada recognizing a lifetime of outstanding achievement and merit of the highest degrees, especially in service to Canada or humanity at large, noted the Office of the Governor-General. Jackson was born on the One Arrow Reserve near the South Saskatchewan River northeast of Saskatoon, Sask. He has led a prolific career as an actor and singer, and over the years, has supported underprivileged Canadians through his philanthropic initiatives. Previously an officer of the Order of Canada in 2000, Jackson has been promoted, companion. King has also been promoted within the Order of Canada from officer to companion. He self-identifies as being of Cherokee and Greek ancestry and is one of North America’s most acclaimed literary figures. Spence, a well-respected Cree elder advocating for peace and Indigenous people’s human rights, has been appointed officer. Bear and McCue have both been appointed members. Numerous economic and social development opportunities have resulted under Bear’s leadership as chief of the Whitecap Dakota First Nation near Saskatoon, Sask. McCue is being recognized for his contributions to the “health and well-being of Indigenous youth in Canada and his influential leadership education.” The Order of Canada was created in 1967. Recipients will be invited to accept their insignia —an iconic snowflake of six points— at a future ceremony.Rebecca Dyok, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Williams Lake Tribune
OTTAWA — Key elements from the federal government's fiscal update, delivered by Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland Monday afternoon:A boatload of borrowing. The federal deficit is sailing toward $381.6 billion this year, but could close in on $400 billion if widespread lockdowns return in the coming weeks, according to the fall economic statement. A big reason for that eye-popping sum is the total cost of Ottawa's response to COVID-19, which amounts to $490.7 billion. That also means more than $8 out of every $10 in federal and provincial support comes from the capital, down from $9 out of every $10 from the July fiscal snapshot.The "Netflix tax." For the first time, Netflix and other foreign streaming giants such as Amazon and Apple TV+ will be subject to sales tax in Canada, according to the fiscal update. The government says GST/HST will apply to all companies that provide digital services — which means Netflix and Airbnb would charge sales tax on subscriptions and reservations north of the border. While the European Union moved to tax digital platforms two years ago, Freeland said Canada is prepared to act "unilaterally if necessary."Work-from-home tax break. Employees working from home with "modest expenses" in 2020 can claim up to $400, based on time spent at the dining-room desk. Canadians can make the claim "without the need to track detailed expenses," and the tax man "will generally not request" confirmation from employers, the economic statement says.Increasing fiscal-stabilization payments. Responding to a call from provinces whose finances have taken a beating, the Liberals say they will increase the maximum payment under a program designed to help provincial governments deal with temporary economic shocks. The cap will go from $60 per resident, set in 1987, to $170 per person and increase with economic growth.Support the troops. The government is also proposing to sign off on an additional $600,000 to top up the Veterans Emergency Fund that would ensure more financial support for veterans whose well-being is at risk "due to an urgent and unexpected situation."All the wage. For businesses, the government wants to bring the wage subsidy back to 75 per cent of company payroll costs and extend the business rent subsidy to mid-March. The Trudeau government had previously extended the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy to the summer, while the adapted business-rent subsidy — revised from a less popular iteration that hinged on landlord participation — was slated only to continue through the end of the year.Clean water for Indigenous communities. The government is pledging to invest $1.5 billion in 2020-21 to work toward lifting all long-term drinking water advisories in Indigenous communities, and $114 million each year after. The Liberals have maintained a years-long pledge to lift all outstanding boil-water advisories for Indigenous residents by March 2021. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said last month that about 95 advisories had been lifted since the party came to power in 2015, but more than 60 remained the last time figures were updated before the pandemic.A $100-billion stimulus. The government plans to spend between $70 billion and $100 billion over the next three years to stimulate the economic recovery from COVID-19. The boon amounts to between three and four per cent of GDP, and will tilt toward a "greener, more innovative" bounce-back, though the details are to be determined.Get retrofit. Ottawa is aiming to dole out $2.6 billion over seven years to help homeowners make their digs more efficient, starting in 2020-21. The cash, channelled through Natural Resources Canada, would take the form of up to 700,000 grants of $5,000 or less to help with projects that could range from energy-efficient heating to solar-panel installations. The upcoming plan, with eligibility retroactive to December 2020, fulfils a Liberal election promise from last year.Cash for families. Looking to boost temporary support for parents, the Liberals plan to provide up to $1,200 per child under six years old for low- and middle-income families that are entitled to the Canada Child Benefit, starting next year. The bump marks an increase of nearly 20 per cent above the benefit's current maximum payment.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2020.The Canadian Press
CANOE COVE – For three-year-old Jake Kislingbury, it sure is good to be home from the hospital. "He was just petrified for such a long time," his mother Verity said. The Canoe Cove boy started having bad headaches in May. He was soon airlifted to the IWK Health Centre in Halifax due to a rare, aggressive form of cancer called Burkitt lymphoma, which had spread so rapidly from his sinuses it's left him permanently blind. Jake, the son of Verity and Dave Kislingbury, had to stay at the hospital from May to October, and he and his family still have a long road ahead. So, in support of the Kislingburys, the community is using its annual Christmas event to raise funds for their neighbours this December. "That's what the community is here for," neighbour Chrys Jenkins said. This marks Chrys and Doreen Jenkins' 10th year hosting the Drive-Thru Living Nativity at their farmhouse in Canoe Cove. Organizers welcome everyone to witness the Jenkins' Christmas light display and nativity scene – complete with farm animals and in-character volunteers – from the comfort of their vehicles Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 5:30 to 8 p.m. each night. Plans for the drive-thru nativity started in September and there will be a few differences from past years, such as the addition of Santa and his sleigh. "Instead of the (usual) choir," Doreen said, "because of COVID." Jake and Verity got to check out the sleigh in advance of the event. Jake would often hold his mother's hand while walking around, and he had a fun time meeting the Jenkins' animals, playing with his toys and chatting it up as any three-year-old would. "He's gained his character back," Verity said. "We lost that for a while." During his time in the hospital, there were many nights where she would have to sleep in his bed to help comfort him. He clutched to his parents' promise that they would get him and his brother, William, a dog after treatment, which they'd train as a service dog, Verity said. "That's what got him through," she said. "It was tough." "But we got through," Jake said, unprompted, in response to his mother. The Kislingburys had volunteered with the drive-thru nativity for several years before and are grateful for the Jenkins' generosity in hosting it. All freewill donations will go toward general expenses incurred from Jake's treatment, and possibly toward a trust fund for his future. "It's a whole life change for all of us, really," Verity said. Twitter.com/dnlbrown95Daniel Brown, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Guardian
VANCOUVER — A legal battle over a missing diamond-encrusted eagle statue valued at nearly $1 million will continue, more than four years after the artwork was stolen during a robbery in Delta, B.C. In a unanimous ruling issued Monday, the B.C. Court of Appeal has sided with Lloyd's Underwriters and agreed that a default judgment against the insurer should be set aside. Ron Shore, president of a company called Forgotten Treasures International, won the judgment in 2018 requiring Lloyd's to pay a claim for the loss of the sparkling statue. Court documents show Lloyd's denied Shore's claim, arguing he violated conditions of the insurance policy, including that the statue be constantly safeguarded by two people. The eight-kilogram gold creation studded with 763 diamonds and appraised at $930,000 was going to be the final prize in an international cancer fundraiser. Justice Peter Voith agreed with a B.C. Supreme Court decision that set aside the default judgment, saying the insurer appears to have solid evidence to oppose the claim. On its website, the Supreme Court says default judgments can be filed against defendants if they fail to respond to the notice of a civil lawsuit, do not comply with the rules or a response to a civil claim is withdrawn. With the default judgment set aside, the matter may return to Shore's civil claim filed in May 2018, alleging breach of contract and failure to investigate the insurance claim in a timely manner, among other things. The statue remains missing after Shore reported it was taken in May 2016 by what the court describes as "unknown assailants'' as he placed a knapsack carrying the statue in the trunk of his car. Shore made an emotional plea for the return of the statue at a news conference shortly after it was taken, saying two men ambushed him, hit him over the head with a large flashlight and stole the eagle, plus a less-valuable decoy. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2020. The Canadian Press
LAS VEGAS — The coronavirus pandemic’s widespread impact has reminded Las Vegas officials that they need to diversify their economy beyond tourism.There hasn't been a lack of trying but the need has been laid even more bare thanks to COVID-19, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports.With people afraid to enter hotels and casinos and residency shows postponed till next year, there have been wrenching job and revenue losses. Resort operators themselves have tried to broaden their offerings to all ages on casino and hotel floors. But it's not enough for some.“We've got all our money in one stock,” North Las Vegas City Manager Ryann Juden said.The region has successfully wooed many businesses and real estate developers in the last decade with tax breaks and a relatively cheap cost of living. Between 2010 and 2019, Nevada officials passed a combined $728.7 million in tax breaks for more than 180 companies setting up shop in Clark County. Southern Nevada has also become a distribution hub for online retailer Amazon, baby products maker The Honest Co. and other ventures that don't involve casinos.But there have also been ventures that fizzled. Faraday Future had proposed a 3.4 million-square-foot factory that would build up to 150,000 electric vehicles annually. Lawmakers even passed a $335 million incentive package. Faraday officials broke ground in 2016. But in 2017, the project went nowhere after reports of financial troubles. The company took over an existing facility in California instead.Some analysts say Southern Nevada still doesn't have the assets that some are looking for. Sin City's party image, underperforming schools and a shortage of doctors don't appeal to families.Bob Potts, deputy director of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, said a good jolt in the local economy would be some sort of industrial park south of Las Vegas near the California border.But, “you don’t build those kinds of things overnight," Potts said.The Associated Press
VICTORIA — The B.C. government has launched a new land registry that it says will help combat money laundering and make the real estate market more transparent. Beginning Monday, any corporation, trustee or partnership that buys land in B.C. must disclose the interest holders of that land through the Land Owner Transparency Registry.Existing registered land owners have one year to register and disclose their interest holders. The government says in a news release the information provided may be used by tax and law authorities to investigate and crack down on illegal activity. It says the registry was formed after an expert panel on real estate said the disclosure of beneficial ownership is the "single most important measure" that can be taken to address money laundering.The panel's 2019 report estimated that $7.4 billion was laundered through B.C. in 2018, including $5 billion through real estate. "British Columbians expect that when they buy a home, they are entering a housing market based on fairness. But for decades, that didn't happen when they were in competition with fraudsters flush with illicit cash," Finance Minister Selina Robinson said in a news release. "This first-of-its-kind registry will help return transparency and moderation to housing markets throughout B.C."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2020.The Canadian Press
WASHINGTON — Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell says that the pace of improvement in the economy has moderated in recent months with future prospects remaining “extraordinarily uncertain.”In remarks released by the Fed on Monday, Powell said that the increase in new COVID-19 cases both in the United States and abroad was “concerning and could prove challenging for the next few months. A full economic recovery is unlikely until people are confident that it is safe to reengage in a broad range of activities.”Powell said while progress on developing vaccines had been “very positive,” significant challenges remained regarding the timing, production and distribution of the vaccines, and it remained difficult to assess the economic implications of this process with any degree of confidence.Powell's remarks were prepared for a joint appearance he will make on Tuesday with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin before the Senate Banking Committee. The hearing is part of the panel's oversight responsibilities required under the multi-trillion economic support legislation Congress passed in the spring..Martin Crutsinger, The Associated Press
The Saskatchewan Health Authority has issued eight fines totalling $44,800, including victim surcharges, to people or corporations that have broken COVID-19 public health guidelines since the pandemic started in March. The number of people alone fined is unclear but two corporations are among those hit with charges, according to data shared Monday with CBC News by Saskatchewan's Ministry of Health.Of the total, $32,000 consisted of actual fines while the rest was made up victim impact surcharges.Those fined vary from a Saskatoon homeowner who hosted a private gathering with 47 people when the limit for private meetings was 30 (it's now five), to the pastor of a gospel outreach centre in Prince Albert where singers went unmasked. The gospel centre was cited as a multi-jurisdictional superspreader.Two corporations were also financially disciplined. The data is reflective of the province's approach so far to policing breaches of self-isolation or gathering limit orders, which was to first educate people about the need to follow guidelines instead of going directly to a fine.That era may be coming to an end, however.On Friday, Dr. Saqib Shahab, Saskatchewan's chief medical health officer, said "the time for education is now mostly over," adding that "it is important to report noncompliance."The numbers reported by the ministry are different from those of the RCMP, which issues its own charges under the province's Public Health Act.Between March 1 and Oct. 31, RCMP members in Saskatchewan received a total of 2,912 COVID-related calls for service — an average of 364 calls a month.The vast majority of the calls were resolved "by educating members of the public of the potential health and enforcement consequences that can result from non-compliance with the public health order," an RCMP spokesperson said Friday.However, 42 charges for summary violations were issued under the province's Public Health Act, including for people who held large gatherings or did not self-isolate.
A report on the findings of an independent investigation into Indigenous-specific racism in the B.C. healthcare system has been released. Lead investigator Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, a Canadian lawyer, judge, and legislative advocate for children’s rights, has found “widespread and insidious” problems of prejudice and racism throughout the B.C. healthcare system. Her report titled In Plain Sight says 84 per cent of Indigenous people that were surveyed reported experiencing “some form of discrimination in health care.” Additionally, 54 per cent of Indigenous health care workers surveyed reported experiencing racial prejudice at work — the majority being racist comments from coworkers. The investigation began as a response to allegations that healthcare workers were playing a “game” to guess the blood alcohol levels of Indigenous patients. The report did not find that this game was widespread or happening today, however investigators did find “anecdotal reports that resemble these allegations.” (More to come) Bayleigh Marelj, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Discourse
Brock will extend its upcoming holiday break by delaying the start of the winter term by one week. Classes will start on Jan. 11. An announcement was made Monday in a letter from Lynn Wells, provost and vice-president academic, who said the decision comes after two weeks of consultations with students, staff and faculty members. The extension of the holiday break will require changes to the academic calendar. The winter term will now end on April 9. Exams will take place April 13 to 23. The exam period for the winter term will be shortened by two days. The spring/summer term will start as scheduled and the dates for reading week will also remain the same. The calls for change also came at the hands of four Brock students — Celeste Lynette, Emma Allan, Riley Monaghan and Jack Allan. Lynette created an online petition urging the university to consider the change. “Due to the pandemic, this school year has been undoubtedly challenging and tolling on university students and our mental health,” said Lynette. “We, the students of Brock University, are asking for an extension to our winter break like many other Canadian universities have granted their students.” The petition garnered nearly 6,000 supporters. Leaders of Brock’s graduate and undergraduate student organizations welcomed the decision. “The partnership between student associations and the University remains strong, collaborative and results-oriented,” said Christopher Yendt, president of Brock’s graduate students’ association. “We are excited that this student-centred approach has resulted in meaningful action to address some of the challenges students are facing.” Students’ union president Asad Jalib also applauded the move. “The leadership at Brock University continues to demonstrate that it is receptive to student needs and in touch with the student body,” said Jalib. Said Wells: “We have heard from many students, staff and faculty members that this extension will provide valuable time to rest and, in many cases, to catch up and better prepare for the winter term. “For those who are travelling or who are coming to Brock from abroad, this extra time will facilitate the completion of the mandatory self-isolation period,” she added. Niagara College had already planned to have a three-week holiday break. “Under the college’s existing schedule, fall term classes end Dec. 18, and winter term classes begin on Jan. 11,” said corporate communications manager Michael Wales “This provides students with a three-week break between terms, which we hope will give them the opportunity for a safe and restful holiday season before resuming their studies.” Sean Vanderklis is a Niagara-based reporter for the Niagara Falls Review. His reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Reach him via email: firstname.lastname@example.orgSean Vanderklis, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Niagara Falls Review