Hennessey Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk takes a Christmas tree home at 181 mph

Zac Palmer



Aerodynamics what? Hennessey likes strapping Christmas trees to cars and then seeing how fast they’ll go. Awesome, it makes for some great entertainment. The tuner company used a Dodge Challenger Hellcat Widebody for its first run a couple years ago, but this time it’s used a Jeep. Specifically, it’s a 1,012-horsepower Hennessey-fettled Grand Cherokee Trackhawk. The goal was to beat the Hellcat’s run of 174 mph.

The test took place at the Continental Tire Proving Grounds in Uvalde, Texas. Hennessey says the tree was a six-foot Douglas fir it bought from Lowes. The tree even has lights on it this time, but it’s hard to tell as it zooms by at extra-legal speeds. This particular Jeep, the HPE1000 Supercharged Upgrade, is one customers can actually buy from Hennessey. It brings the 707-horsepower Jeep up to 1,012 horsepower and 969 pound-feet of torque. That’s good for 0-60 mph in 2.6 seconds and the quarter-mile in 10.2 seconds, according to Hennessey. So yes, it’s stonking fast.

Hennessey doesn’t release a top speed for the modified Jeep (it's capable of 180 mph stock) without the tree, but it manages 181 mph with the fir strapped to the top. Surprisingly, the tree stays mostly intact at those speeds. We’re not seeing mass needle loss or any branches mysteriously disappearing. The ornaments hanging from the mirror are a nice touch to get in the Christmas spirit, as well. Next time somebody tells you to slow down with the Christmas tree on the roof, just show them this video. Assuming it’s properly tied down and healthy, your Douglas fir can handle 181 mph. Just make sure you head to your nearest proving grounds to begin testing this Christmas Eve.

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    CBC

    Edmonton hotels open but empty as pandemic devastates hospitality industry

    Hotel managers say bookings have fallen off a cliff in the last two months, prompting companies to lay off most employees until the COVID-19 pandemic subsides.Many hotels, which are considered an essential service, remain open but they are serving fewer customers than ever."We're essentially just covering shifts for the couple of guests we have in house," said Chris Short, general manager of the Courtyard by Marriott hotel in downtown Edmonton. Short is also vice-president of the Hotel Association of Greater Edmonton.Listen to Chris Short discuss this issue with host Adrienne Pan on CBC's Radio Active:Just a handful of the hotel's 188 rooms have been booked each night over the past week, and 69 of 76 staff members have been laid off, Short said."Everybody is suffering but our industry has been dramatically affected," said Perry Batke, general manager of two Best Western hotels in Leduc.Most employees at his hotels have also been laid off.At first, the crisis seemed manageable, Batke recalled, but then came cancellations of flights, conferences and sports tournaments.When bars, lounges and pubs were ordered to close two weeks ago, that caused another large drop in business."It seemed like every 30 minutes, we were faced with unbelievably difficult and complex situations with impossible alternatives," he said.Some hotels, including the Fairmont Hotel Macdonald and the Delta Hotels downtown and south side locations, have temporarily closed their doors to visitors.Batke said the few guests that remain in his hotels work for service companies, airlines and essential manufacturers.Through surveys with members, the Alberta Hotel and Lodging Association estimates that more than 90 per cent of hotel staff have been laid off during the pandemic due to the drastic drop in occupancy. The provincial and federal governments have announced support for businesses suffering financially during the COVID-19 crisis. One of the provincial measures gives hotels the option to delay paying the four-per-cent tourism levy until August 31. Hotels that delay that payment will not face any penalties or interest, a news release said.The help is welcome but "not nearly enough," said Dave Kaiser, president and CEO of the hotel association. His organization is lobbying for more support from governments, including deferrals on utility bills and other expenses.As the pandemic continues, hotels are also accommodating self-isolating guests and preparing for the possibility of accommodating COVID-19 patients."This is beyond what anybody could imagine," Batke said.

  • Florida emerging as new COVID-19 hotspot
    CBC

    Florida emerging as new COVID-19 hotspot

    As the number of deaths from COVID-19 in the United States exceeds 5,000, Florida is reporting the largest day-by-day increase in cases. President Donald Trump says the federal medical equipment supply is nearly depleted.

  • Honeybee farmers facing 'desperate situation' as bee imports slow
    News
    CBC

    Honeybee farmers facing 'desperate situation' as bee imports slow

    Canadian beekeepers buy thousands of packages of bees every year to replace hives that died over the winter, but this year those bees aren't getting into the country.And it could have ramifications for honeybee farmers and the agriculture industry. Typically Kelly O'Day, president of Kona Queen Hawaii, sends tens of thousands of bees into Canada. His bees are used to help farmers after their colonies die over the winter.This year, he hasn't been able to send any, as the COVID-19 pandemic has grounded commercial flights that typically fly in the stock. "We're at the mercy of the airlines who are cancelling flights daily," O'Day said. "So even if we get booked on a flight, our confidence is dropping of those flights actually happening." Honeybees need to be flown in on commercial flights, because they have regulated temperature. Queen bees need to be kept between 9 C and 32 C, or they could die or become sterilized. O'Day said the farmers need the queens soon, because they're just finding out how many colonies died over the winter and must work quickly to replenish their stock. "If they don't have the queen, not only can they not get their numbers back, but those hives that do survive will swarm and they will lose those," O'Day said."If these queens do not get to Canada this year ... they're going to probably lose half to three-quarters of their population and it'll take three to five years to rebuild." O'Day said the company is still trying to work with airlines."This is a desperate situation." Pollination problemsRon Greidanus, Canadian Honey Council representative for the Alberta Beekeepers Commission and owner of Greidanus HoneyBee Farms, said it's critical to get the queens into Canada now.The repercussions could damage the agriculture industry, because honeybees are used across the country to pollinate crops. If there's a shortage in hives, there will be a loss in yield for canola, canola seed, blueberry production and orchard production."You're going to go to the grocery store, you're going to look for blueberries, you're paying 10 bucks for a pint of blueberries ... because we can't make them in Canada anymore." Right now there's a demand for 10,000 packages of bees in Manitoba and 35,000 for Ontario, Greidanus said."They're going to be well short of that number."Packages contain bees, a queen and some feed to help start a colony.Right now there are 300,000 hives in Alberta, and if packages don't start coming in, Greidanus said he can see that number shrinking to about 250,000.The Scandia Honey Company pollinates crops, produces honey and imports packaged bees from New Zealand. Echo Chandler, Scandia Honey Company's director and owner, said the operation typically loses between 20 and 30 per cent of its 13,000 hives over the winter, which are replaced with packaged bees. The company also sells packages to farmers and hobbyists. Scandia brings in about 9,500 packages a year, but right now they can't be flown out of New Zealand because the airlines are switching to cargo planes without temperature regulation. "We can't put the bees on there because they won't survive."She said they were able to get a few pallets of bees in March for B.C., but the orders for Alberta and Saskatchewan haven't come in. "It's going to be hard. It's going to be a lot of work, but we can tough it out this year and we can get it back for next year."Chandler said it would be nice if they could get the bees in, but she understands that the airlines can't just send an airplane for the bees. "Those airlines are bleeding right now."Greidanus is encouraging people to reach out to their local representative to have honey bee transportation deemed an essential commodity. The federal department of agriculture and agri-food said in an email statement that the department is "very aware of the importance of pollinators," As well, the department has been "working with industry, as well as with other government departments and logistical partners, to resolve this issue as quickly as possible."Alberta's provincial department of agriculture and forestry does not deal with the import of honeybees. However, department representative Justin Laurence said in an email that the department has several supports for apiculturists, including AgriStability, bee overwintering insurance and honey insurance. There is also $153 million of emergency disaster funding to support "hard-hit producers during the COVID-19 pandemic."

  • Higgs says municipal parks can stay open if physical distancing enforced
    News
    CBC

    Higgs says municipal parks can stay open if physical distancing enforced

    Premier Blaine Higgs has softened his stance on municipal parks, saying they can remain open if physical distancing is enforced to help prevent the spread of COVID-19."I believe that the municipalities are enforcing the rules and the social distancing requirement, and that's what's important," he told reporters on Wednesday."If they are able to maintain that capability … throughout their community, then I would say we'd be comfortable to allow them to enforce their own rules around their own property."The status of parks has been a confusing issue for citizens and municipal leaders alike in recent days.The federal government has closed national parks and the New Brunswick government has closed provincial parks, but most municipal parks remain open.On Tuesday, when Higgs was asked whether he would direct municipalities to close their parks, he said he expected municipalities to follow the province's lead and close them."Our general direction about parks [is] we do not want to keep any places open that would cause a, let's say a gathering, to take place."And I would expect municipalities to follow that same protocol as we're following here," he had said.Fredericton, Saint John parks to stay openFollowing discussions with the province Wednesday, the City of Fredericton will keep its parks and green spaces open, for now, said spokesperson Wayne Knorr."The parks will remain open as long as the public adheres to that physical distancing," he said. "So it's really important that people do pay attention to that."And again we reiterate that no group gatherings in public parks are permitted."But the city isn't actively patrolling, Knorr said. Instead, it's relying on the public to report any gatherings.On Wednesday morning at Odell Park, which stretches over 333 acres and includes 16 kilometres of trails, CBC News observed single cyclists, couples walking and a family out with their dog — all acceptable behaviours under the physical distancing rules.By noon, however, at least five people arrived in four different vehicles and started playing Frisbee together — the type of rule-breaking behaviour that led Higgs to push for municipalities to take action.There are 11 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in New Brunswick, bringing the province's total to 81, the chief medical officer of health Dr. Jennifer Russell announced Wednesday during the daily update in Fredericton.Russell has recommended people go outside for walks or hikes for their physical and mental health during the state of emergency.The City of Saint John plans to keep Rockwood Park and other parks, trails and green spaces open."However, everyone must maintain physical distancing of at least two metres and no group gatherings are permitted," the city posted on social media."These areas will remain open provided the public adheres to these requirements."A spokesperson for the City of Moncton said it's still in talks with the province and hasn't made a decision yet.

  • Canadian Broadway actor Nick Cordero in hospital undergoing COVID-19 test
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Canadian Broadway actor Nick Cordero in hospital undergoing COVID-19 test

    Hamilton-raised Broadway star Nick Cordero is in hospital in Los Angeles undergoing tests for COVID-19 after being admitted with pneumonia.His wife, dancer-turned-celebrity personal trainer Amanda Kloots, made the announcement on her Instagram account Wednesday.She told The Canadian Press via Instagram messenger Thursday afternoon that he was still unconscious and in stable condition with a breathing tube.She said they were awaiting the result of a second coronavirus test, after the first one came back negative. She said doctors believe the first test result was wrong and are treating him with COVID-19 medication.In a post that included a photo of Cordero holding their nine-month-old boy Elvis, Kloots said he had been sick for a while with what they were told last week was pneumonia.Kloots wrote that Cordero, with whom she lives in L.A., was in the intensive care unit and "unconscious so his body can get enough oxygen."She told The Canadian Press via Instagram messenger Thursday afternoon that he was still unconscious and in stable condition with a breathing tube at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.She said they were awaiting the result of a second coronavirus test, after the first one came back negative. She said doctors believe the first test result was wrong and were treating him with COVID-19 medication.Kloots, who hails from Ohio, also told followers on her Instagram story that she needs to prepare herself "for the long haul" because they're "at the beginning of this."Cordero was nominated for a Tony Award for his role in "Bullets Over Broadway," and a Drama Desk Award for his role in the musical "A Bronx Tale."He grew up in Hamilton's west end and attended Ryerson University for acting."Nick is scared too, this has gone from bad to worse," Kloots wrote in the Instagram post, which also noted that she wasn't allowed to be at his bedside during this time. "He isn't allowed to eat or drink, he is very weak and having a hard time breathing. Elvis and I are feeling completely fine. My hubby is fighting like a champ but this is serious. Please stay home everybody."This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 2, 2020.Victoria Ahearn, The Canadian Press

  • 22 cases of COVID-19 on P.E.I. with 1 more confirmed Thursday
    News
    CBC

    22 cases of COVID-19 on P.E.I. with 1 more confirmed Thursday

    One new case of COVID-19 has been confirmed on P.E.I. bringing the total to 22, said chief public health officer Dr. Heather Morrison in a news briefing Thursday afternoon.The new case, a Queens County man in his 50s, is related to international travel and he is at home self-isolating.Morrison highlighted that the case is another example of why self-isolating is so crucial. She spoke to the man Thursday morning and said he is doing well. She clarified that if you are self-isolating upon returning from travel outside the country or province, it is important for other members of your household to maintain physical distancing and enhance cleaning measures in shared spaces. She also said it is important to designate a separate bathroom and bedroom for the person who is self-isolating to use. If this is not possible, she said all members of the household should self-isolate for a period of 14 days.Tests conducted have doubledSince Wednesday, Morrison said the province has seen a total of 144 negative tests return. Over the last couple of days, she said the number of tests done at cough and fever clinics has doubled. Three cases on P.E.I. are considered to be recovered. She clarified that recovered cases are those who have completed a full 14 days in self-isolation since symptom onset.Across Canada, Morrison said there have been more than 9,500 cases of COVID-19 with 109 deaths. She said the province started conducting tests on P.E.I. as of Wednesday afternoon, as opposed to relying solely on the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg. Child care for essential workersMorrison noted that this is a time when many essential workers are leaning on friends and family to help with child care.  One of the many things that keeps me up at night is worrying about what will happen if we get widespread community transmission. — Dr. Heather MorrisonShe said the province has received feedback from people concerned that this does not comply with physical distancing guidelines. "Those cases are exceptions. Essential workers still need to go to work each day and their children still need to be cared for during this time," she said. She reminded Islanders that as announced earlier this week, the province has implemented emergency child care for essential workers.Morrison said children who will be cared for at these child-care facilities will be screened daily. She also said the number of children being cared for by early childhood professionals will be limited to small numbers and lunch times will be staggered.Correctional facilities Morrison said correctional facilities on P.E.I. are currently closed to volunteers and visitors, and enhanced cleaning and disinfection protocols are in place. Each new person admitted into a correctional facility will be directed to a one-person cell for a period of 14 days. Those in custody will be able to leave their cells one person at a time, she said. She said more details are to follow in the coming days. Morrison said essential workers travelling to and from P.E.I. — like health-care workers and truck drivers — are being told to self-isolate when they are not on the job. More enforcement measuresGoing forward, Morrison said the province will be following up with each individual who has been instructed to self-isolate on a daily basis to ensure they are complying with the new health measures. "If they are not, it will be referred to law enforcement to help us in making sure people are self-isolating if they need to," she said. She noted that Prince Edward Island is one of the most densely populated provinces in the country."One of the many things that keeps me up at night is worrying about what will happen if we get widespread community transmission in P.E.I." Morrison said the province has received a number of questions from Islanders about going for drives to get out of the house."I would suggest that you minimize the number of people you take with you. The more drives you're taking, the more gas stations you will need to visit to fill up where you will come into contact with other people," she said."This is an activity that is at best, kept to a minimum." 'A couple of months'Morrison urged Islanders to remain diligent in their efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 to prevent that situation from happening. "I recognize that so many Islanders, and by far the majority are practising excellent physical distancing as well as self-isolating if they have recently returned from travel — and I thank you," she said. However, Morrison said there still remain some Islanders who are not following directions. While she said she can't provide a definitive timeline, Morrison said the period of physical distancing and self-isolation will likely take "a couple of months." She urged Islanders to continue to follow health guidelines to minimize that time. Preparing for expected surgeHealth PEI's chief of nursing Marion Dowling told Islanders both the Prince County and Queen Elizabeth hospitals have been working to relocate patients. Dowling said Health PEI has surpassed its initial target of getting down to 75 per cent capacity at the hospitals in anticipation of a surge in COVID-19 cases requiring hospitalization. She said both hospitals are equipped and ready.Dowling said cough and fever clinics in both Summerside and Charlottetown continue to see an increase in patients. She said 83 patients were seen in Charlottetown and 57 in Summerside Wednesday. She reiterated that people coming to the clinics should remain in their cars. People can be referred to the clinics through their family doctor or by calling 811. Dowling said Health PEI continues to provide essential services only. She reminded Islanders to call ahead to check if their appointments will go ahead.COVID-19: What you need to knowWhat are the symptoms of COVID-19?Common symptoms include: * Fever. * Cough. * Tiredness.But more serious symptoms can develop, including difficulty breathing and pneumonia, which can lead to death.Health Canada has built a self-assessment tool.What should I do if I feel sick?Isolate yourself and call 811. Do not visit an emergency room or urgent care centre to get tested. A health professional at 811 will give you advice and instructions.How can I protect myself? * Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly. * Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. * Clean regularly touched surfaces regularly.More detailed information on the outbreak is available on the federal government's website.More COVID-19 stories from CBC P.E.I.

  • Small-town businesses morphing to survive new pandemic reality
    News
    CBC

    Small-town businesses morphing to survive new pandemic reality

    When you've designed your business around coffee, baked treats, old books and art, the model relies on people not only gathering, but lingering.Which is why NovelTea Bookstore Cafe in Truro, N.S., has been scrambling to adapt to a world where people getting together is not only discouraged, but outlawed during the COVID-19 pandemic."We're trying to adjust as quickly as we can," said co-owner Keith Hazzard.The seven-day-a-week business closed briefly last month, then reopened as a takeout-only café and bakery, with what Hazzard described as "severely reduced hours and severely reduced menu.""We've come back and we've just opened two or three days a week for a takeout and delivery," he said. "So it's been a whole change to our model of doing business."Before the pandemic, half the café's business was eat-in, with people often staying for an hour or two and some even calling it their "second office." Cutting back has meant laying off staff and greatly reduced revenue."It'll be a fraction of what we would normally do," Hazzard said.Down the street, Andrea Munroe is also adapting her business to the new reality. The owner of Enchanted Forest, a toy store and children's clothing shop, has shifted to online sales, after a brief closure to reassess and regroup."I didn't have an e-commerce website set up when I closed my business," said Munroe. "And so it's kind of a mad dash to scramble and build one and try to facilitate those sales in the midst of a lot of uncertainty."The shift has allowed Munroe to generate some revenue and remain connected to her customers."I'm very grateful that we do have the sales," she said. "I feel so blessed because our customers and our community have really rallied."But online sales have not entirely replaced the money the shop was generating as a bricks-and-mortar operation. Munroe figures her business is about 60 percent of what it was before the pandemic hit Nova Scotia.Around the corner, Alicia Simms isn't as fortunate. Her two businesses, Rolling Sea Tattooery and Truro Buzz, are both essentially shut down.Nova Scotia's chief medical officer of health, Robert Strang, ordered tattoo shops closed as a way to try to stem the spread of the COVID-19 virus."My tattoo business, obviously we were ordered to close on March 19th and there's no income coming in from that," said Simms."And my other business, Truro Buzz, is a media promotions company. Most of the businesses have been shut down and the events have been cancelled. So everything I had in my calendar for the next couple of months was effectively cancelled and just completely dried up."'I still haven't been able to even apply for the relief'Simms is instead working for free, using her online newsletter and Facebook page to promote local businesses that remain open, including NovelTea, and providing information about physical distancing and staying active.She's happy to do that, but is worried about paying the bills. She is counting on the federal government's emergency response benefit, which will provide up to $2,000 a month in temporary income support, to help her through the pandemic. But the portal to apply is not up and running yet."My businesses closed down on March 19th and I still haven't been able to even apply for the relief, let alone get it," said Simms. "So that's a lot of payments to be made between then and now."She said that while seeing other businesses adapt to offer online services and contactless delivery "really gives me hope," what she is really waiting for is the day storefronts reopen and there are events to promote.Munroe and Hazzard hope to keep their businesses afloat by cutting expenses to the bare minimum and banking on enough money coming in to cover costs."My goal is to try to keep up with the expenses and see if we can limp our way through until this gets better," said Hazzard. "I'm somewhat optimistic that we might be OK. But we happen to be in the food industry, so no matter how bad it gets people still have to eat."MORE TOP STORIES

  • News
    CBC

    Spring awakening as St. John's overnight winter parking ban is lifted

    In a sure sign of spring in St. Johns's, the city has lifted all winter parking restrictions effective 7:30 a.m. Friday. That includes the overnight parking restriction for residents outside the downtown area, as well as the business district winter parking restriction downtown. The winter parking bans to allow for snow clearing operations went into effect early this year, on Christmas Day, due to the significant snowfall forecast at the time. During the winter season, the city could ticket or tow vehicles in the way of snow clearing or removal operations — the latter involving a $200 towing charge and $50 administration fee. Winter parking restrictions are generally lifted in early April, or whenever the weather is favourable. This winter brought even more restrictions than normal, as a historic blizzard shut the city down and brought about 24-hour parking bans on most St. John's streets.Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

  • News
    CBC

    Walpole Island First Nation restricts access to non-residents due to COVID-19

    Walpole Island First Nation began restricting access to non-residents Wednesday as a means of preventing the spread of COVID-19 in the community.Non-resident entry through the Walpole Island First Nation bridge is only permitted for those looking to access essential services and businesses, and only between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. "For those individuals who will be crossing onto Walpole to access essential services — be advised that you must go directly to the service that you are accessing and leave immediately with no stops or visits," reads an excerpt from a Wednesday media release. Residents will be able to cross the bridge unimpeded at all times. Additionally, only residents and emergency services will be able to access the bridge between 7 p.m. and 6 a.m.The community established a 24-hour checkpoint as of 7 p.m. Tuesday to enforce the new access restrictions. Anyone without a valid reason to enter the community will be turned away.The Walpole Island Emergency Control Group also said cottagers should avoid the community "until further notice.""Our hearts and thoughts go out to our neighbouring communities who have begun to see cases or are seeing an increase in cases of COVID-19," said Walpole Island First Nation Chief Dan Miskokomon in the news release."We are taking the action of limiting access to non-residents in order to further protect our members from the spread. Given the high prevalence of underlying health conditions, our community is especially vulnerable to this virus."A similar measure was implemented by Delaware Nation at Moraviantown near Thamesville earlier this week.

  • In the midst of pandemic, P.E.I. group sees the makings of basic income guarantee
    News
    CBC

    In the midst of pandemic, P.E.I. group sees the makings of basic income guarantee

    When the federal government unveiled its plan to provide Canadians whose employment has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic with a monthly income of $2,000, members of P.E.I.'s Working Group for a Livable Income saw something that looked a lot like what they and others have been trying to bring to P.E.I. for years: a basic guaranteed income."It's very close to what we would be advocating for," said Jillian Kilfoil, executive director of Women's Network PEI, one of the members of the working group."This wouldn't be ... the exact model that we would necessarily advocate for. But it does provide that universal monthly income to people and we would just want to take that and expand that."The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) offers income support for up to 16 weeks to those who lose pay because of the pandemic. A government news release says the program will cover Canadians who lost their jobs, got sick, are under quarantine or have to stay home because of school closures.It's available to wage earners, contract workers and self-employed people who don't qualify for employment insurance.Kilfoil said the response from all levels of government over COVID-19 shows the level of assistance that can be provided to Canadians in financial difficulties as a result of factors beyond their control.The mistake, she said, is in thinking these types of situations didn't exist before the pandemic."We often assume that people are experiencing these challenges because of individual decisions that they've made or poor choices that they've made," said Kilfoil. "As a result of this pandemic we're providing more support because we feel like it's not individual people's fault. It's something beyond them that happened that put them into this circumstance. And so what we're really trying to say is that happens to people all the time, and the way we're responding to this pandemic is how we need to respond to the needs of the most vulnerable all the time."'Lowest-paid workers ... are being deemed essential'Kilfoil said another thing the current crisis has highlighted is that many deemed essential workers are among the most economically vulnerable in society."What we're seeing right now is some of our lowest-paid workers, people working on the front lines right now: cashiers, delivery drivers, taxi drivers. These are the people who are being deemed essential workers during this pandemic and they don't have the income that reflects the importance and the value that they play in our society and in our workforce."Kilfoil said with so much changing right now, this is the time to push for lasting changes."As we move forward we need to be reflective and we need to be learning from this. We need to be asking difficult questions so that we're better prepared in the future if something like this were to happen again."But UPEI economist Jim Sentance said what Ottawa is doing in response to COVID-19 isn't sustainable."It's one thing to have a temporary income support like this on limited distribution, and another to implement an ongoing program," he said. "Keep in mind this is all being paid for by debt. That's not sustainable in the long run," said Sentance. "So whatever the merits of [a basic income guarantee], the question of how you pay for it is still there," something he said the current roll-out of support from Ottawa doesn't change.Would require 'substantial' tax increasesBoth Kilfoil and Sentance said tax increases could provide funding for an ongoing basic guaranteed income. But Sentance said a program with enough funding to lift people above the poverty line "would require substantial increases in tax rates, and not just for the stinking rich," a move which he said might not be supported by taxpayers.The P.E.I. legislature has struck a special committee to explore the possibility of a basic income pilot project for the province, tasked with providing the house with a costed plan to implement one."This crisis has clearly illustrated many serious gaps in our system — and particularly the way we support many hard-working Islanders," said Gord McNeilly, the Liberal MLA for Charlottetown-West Royalty and a member of the Special Committee on Poverty in P.E.I."As we work through this crisis, it will be important to our recovery to address those gaps," said McNeilly. "The important job right now is to address immediate needs.The committee met more than a dozen times through the latter part of 2019 and into early 2020, but all further committee meetings have been cancelled for now, and the spring sitting of the legislature suspended as a result of the current public health emergency.— with files from Kathleen HarrisCOVID-19: What you need to knowWhat are the symptoms of COVID-19?Common symptoms include: * Fever. * Cough. * Tiredness.But more serious symptoms can develop, including difficulty breathing and pneumonia, which can lead to death.Health Canada has built a self-assessment tool.What should I do if I feel sick?Isolate yourself and call 811. Do not visit an emergency room or urgent care centre to get tested. A health professional at 811 will give you advice and instructions.How can I protect myself? * Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly. * Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. * Clean regularly touched surfaces regularly.More detailed information on the outbreak is available on the federal government's website.More COVID-19 stories from CBC P.E.I.

  • This farmers market has turned a shutdown into a booming online business
    News
    CBC

    This farmers market has turned a shutdown into a booming online business

    Farmers markets across Nova Scotia have been shut down due to the COVID-19 outbreak, but it isn't stopping one in the Annapolis Valley from stepping up its game.The Wolfville Farmers' Market is selling produce online through its 2Go program and in the past two weeks has seen orders skyrocket from a weekly average of about 58 all the way to 294, according to manager Lindsay Clowes.The market's online program began three years ago and usually does orders only once a week. But now it has stepped up to twice weekly and will continue to do so as long as the COVID-19 physical distancing rules are in place.But those rules are making it tough to fill orders."Before, we could call in as many volunteers as we wanted, but now with social distancing we have shifts of volunteers coming in and shifts of vendors coming in to keep people spaced out," said Clowes. "It's more orders and less people to pack them up."The packing process begins at 6:30 a.m. at the Wolfville Farmers' Market building on Elm Street. Clowes keeps a close eye on who is coming and going to ensure the numbers and spacing are in line with two-metre distancing regulations. Vendors are given specific time slots to bring their goods. Without the online delivery service, they would have few options."Now that the public markets in the province are closed, the online market has sort of been a lifeline," said Jocelyn Durston of Seven Acres Farm and Ferments in Canning, N.S. "Almost everything I'm moving these days is through this venue."Durston's products include sauerkrauts, pickles and kombucha. She is one of 35 producers selling 300 products, ranging from fruits and vegetables, to dairy, eggs and meats, through the online market. The market also has a licence to sell alcohol from local wineries and craft breweries.Deliveries are made on Wednesdays and Saturdays to 10 pickup locations, including several in the Halifax area."This whole crisis has really highlighted for us just how important it is and it's become a big part of our diet," said Grant MacNeil, who picked up his order this week on Portland Street in Dartmouth, N.S."I think there are a lot of front-line workers doing a great job keeping things safe in grocery stores. But I really appreciate the fact here it is coming straight from the farm, is packed in a box and delivered here, there aren't too many hands involved in it."At pickup locations, orange pylons are placed on the sidewalk two metres apart to indicate where people should stand to observe physical distancing rules as they wait in line.Orders are taken from a van packed to the roof with bins and placed on a large table more than two metres from the vehicle. No money is exchanged as orders are pre-paid and customers use their own bags."Customers use hand sanitizer and take their food out of the bin, and when they are done we sanitize the table and then the next customer comes up," said Clowes. "It's completely different from how we used to do things."MORE TOP STORIES

  • Jasper residents rally to rescue dog after nine days
    News
    CBC

    Jasper residents rally to rescue dog after nine days

    A woman and her dog in Jasper, Alta., have been reunited thanks to the efforts of a group of residents who spent days tracking the missing pet.Sandra Birks, 78, and her dog Willow were separated for nine days after the dog got off its leash, was lightly hit by a vehicle and ran off.Calls to find the dog gained traction on social media but no one was able to catch it.When Wendy Hall drove by Birks and saw her searching alone for her pet, she pulled together about a half-dozen people to catch the shy dog."That was the moment I knew this was now my job and we were going to keep going until we brought Willow home," Hall said.Hall was inspired to help both to extend a hand to Birks, who doesn't have family in town, and because she and many of the other searchers are also dog-owners.Observing physical distancing protocols during the effort was easy, as the group was small and searched in different areas, Hall said.A live trap, baited with pet food was set on March 27 in an area where the dog had been seen along the edge of town.Two days later, those efforts were successful and the dog was caught."We raced up the hill and there she was in the cage. It was an amazing experience," said Hall.A video taken by Hall shows Willow excitedly vibrating in the cage and licking the hand of Birks as she says "Oh, I'm happy to see you."Birks has lived in Jasper for nearly 70 years.Her daughter Linda Birks told CBC News in Calgary that pandemic isolation rules were behind her decision not to drive to the mountain town to help her mother find the dog that she adopted from a rescue a year ago.She was hopeful the dog would be found based on the responses she saw on social media and the rescue group organized by Hall."We have the best people there (in Jasper)," Linda Birks said. "We just want them all to know how much we appreciate it. My mom appreciates it. We're just so thankful."Willow and Sandra Birks are now isolating at home, together.

  • Cyclists can now get bikes repaired, but Bixi service may be delayed
    News
    CBC

    Cyclists can now get bikes repaired, but Bixi service may be delayed

    Cyclists in Quebec can now get their bikes fixed, after the province deemed bike repair shops an essential service, but those who rely on a Bixi to get around Montreal may have to wait a little longer.Montreal's public health director, Mylène Drouin, said Wednesday the city may have to delay the April 15 start date of the bike-sharing service for health and safety reasons during the COVID-19 pandemic. She said a decision would be announced soon, and that she considered cycling a safer commuting option than taking public transit.In a statement last week, Bixi said it was in discussions with public health and that it would be revealing the measures it will take to sanitize the bikes. The Quebec government added bike repair shops to the list of essential services April 1.The provincial cycling lobby, Vélo Québec, had pressed asking the government to make the change, arguing cycling is an essential mode of transportation, and safer than public transit during the COVID-19 crisis. Julien Roy, who owns Vélos-Roy-O in Quebec City, welcomed the change. His store was raided by police for being open on the weekend."Bike shops like ours are really there for repairing and servicing commuting bikes, so it's people going to work everyday; it's people making deliveries on bikes, so that's why we need to be available to them," he said.

  • Putin extends Russia's coronavirus non-working period until April 30
    News
    Reuters

    Putin extends Russia's coronavirus non-working period until April 30

    President Vladimir Putin on Thursday prolonged until April 30 a paid non-working period across Russia, stepping up measures to stem the spread of coronavirus just a week after the Kremlin said there was no epidemic. Russia, which has reported 3,548 cases and 30 deaths, has already imposed a partial lockdown on many regions, including the capital Moscow, which has become the epicentre of the country's outbreak. In a televised speech on Thursday, Putin said the partial lockdown and this week's non-working period had helped slow the contagion, but an extension was needed.

  • Whitehorse council balks at cost to buy and demolish house in landslide zone
    News
    CBC

    Whitehorse council balks at cost to buy and demolish house in landslide zone

    Some Whitehorse city council members don't want to spend more than $450,000 to buy — and then tear down — a downtown home.The home on Seventh Avenue is in an area that was designated as unsafe in the 1970s. A number of properties were determined to be in the path of potential landslides and some residents took advantage of a program at the time to relocate to safer areas.Others, however, chose to stay in their homes.Since then the city has been buying properties in the unsafe zone as they become available and then tearing the homes down. There are only a few left.After longtime Whitehorse resident Alphonse Kowalkowski died last year, the city began negotiating with his estate to purchase his Seventh Avenue home.The city's policy on the escarpment homes has been to pay the market value of similar homes in other parts of the city, said city official Mike Gau.In this instance, the negotiators settled on $333,000 for the property. The house contains asbestos and lead, and demolition and landscaping are expected to add more than $100,000 to the cost of the project. City staff are requesting a total of $451,000.Several councillors — who met by phone and videoconference on Monday — are unhappy with the cost."Seems like a lot of money to pay for a tear-down," Councillor Laura Cabott said."What is the value to the city if we acquire it?" Cabbott asked. "What possibly would the land be used for?"The property is next door to a community garden. Gau said the land could be used for something similar, or perhaps a park.Cabott questioned that as well."I'm just wondering, if it's not safe to have a house there, why would it be safe also have the public utiliizing it?" Cabott asked.Gau said a landslide could catch residents in a home while they were asleep. People outdoors would see it coming, he said.Cabott also asked what would happen if the city decided not to buy the home.Gau said the current zoning means it likely could not be sold. He said people could remain living there, but would not be allowed to rebuild or add on to the existing home.Landslide risk 'still there,' council hearsGau also reminded the council of why the city wanted to buy the property."The risk of a slide is still there," said Gau. "That's why the city has been purchasing these properties through time."Councillor Dan Boyd is unconvinced."The people that remained have enjoyed the use of those lands, knowing full well there would be problems down the road of being able to sell your property because of the environmental reserve zoning that has been laid over top of this area," said Boyd."So they went in and stayed there with their eyes wide open for 45 years as well," he said.Other councillors questioned whether, with the uncertainty caused by COVID-19, this is a good time for the city to make a purchase like this.The council directed city staff to come back later with more information. Boyd said staff can talk to councillors informally if they need more direction.

  • Do you need to disinfect groceries before eating?
    Global News

    Do you need to disinfect groceries before eating?

    Global News Online Lifestyle Reporter Meghan Collie answers some common grocery-related questions surrounding COVID-19, including whether or not you should disinfect produce before eating.

  • News
    CBC

    Citing pandemic, Alberta suspends environmental reporting rules

    The Alberta government has suspended a number of environmental reporting requirements through a ministerial order signed by environment minister Jason Nixon, saying industry is likely to face hardship due to the COVID-19 outbreak if forced to comply with those rules.The order, which was signed on Tuesday, suspends environmental reporting requirements for the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act (EPEA), the Water Act and the Public Lands Act, except in cases of drinking and wastewater facilities.The move follows a step taken by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Thursday, which also cited the coronavirus pandemic as the reason behind it waiving enforcement on a number of environmental protections.Alberta's order is not due to lapse until August, unless terminated sooner. The province said operators are still required to fully comply with all other environmental regulations during this period and report any emergencies to the government."To be clear, monitoring, record keeping and other activities will continue. Due to the pandemic, we are simply temporarily waiving filing deadlines to report this information," said Jess Sinclair, press secretary to Nixon in an email to CBC News.'What's the intention here?'Martin Olszynski, an associate resource law professor at the University of Calgary, said the EPA's policy, though not identical, is stricter in some ways compared to what is being introduced in Alberta."There's a requirement [in the EPA move] that's tied back to, you're unable to do this because of public and health and safety concerns in relation to COVID-19. Whereas this one doesn't do that at all," Olszynski said."This one is almost like a blanket exemption."In the order, the Alberta government says industry must still "record and retain complete information relating to any reporting or return requirements" — data gathering activities which Olszynski said could pose risks from a public health perspective."But it doesn't prohibit those. It just doesn't require the proponents to submit that information, which, you know, in this day and age, with few exceptions, usually just means filing and pressing a couple buttons on a computer to submit electronically, your report," he said."So it's left a lot of us scratching our heads a bit. What's the intention here, and what's the rationale?"Olszynski cited Alberta's announcement on Tuesday that it had agreed to invest approximately $1.1 billion US as equity in the Keystone XL project as a reason why, in his opinion, the order hadn't been explained sufficiently."Construction on Keystone XL is going to begin immediately. So, if you can begin construction on a pipeline immediately, it's hard to understand how, from any kind of public health perspective, you can't have proponents submitting reports of their environmental data," he said.Possible outcomesThe order will reduce costs, Olszynski said, given that analyzing, organizing and readying data to be submitted has a price tag."That's my most generous interpretation that I can give it," he said. "But I'll be frank, I've read a lot of approvals, and I've read a lot of the reports that are submitted as part of these approvals. These are not hugely sophisticated exercises."On the flip side, Olszynski said a months-long interruption in data could undermine reliability and researchers' ability to infer anything from that data."The thing that probably some of us fear is that some proponents will see this as a licence or an invitation to not actually do the gathering," he said. "In this context, when you send a message to your regulatory community that, 'This is not as important to us right now, because we're dealing with this other thing.'"There's a danger there that people will see it as an invitation or a licence to play fast and loose with the rules."Project examplesAn example of what regulations are involved in these types of scenarios is illustrated in the case of Fortress Mountain Resort, which in October of 2019 was allowed to change its water license.Shaun Fluker, environmental law professor at the University of Calgary, said the reporting requirement of that approval required Fortress to regularly report flow rates — something the new order pauses."Yes, they still have to record the information. But nobody's going to know, until it's long after the fact, whether or not the flow rate was where it needed to be," Fluker said. "So, routine reporting requirements are arguably, in some cases, the bedrock of the regulatory apparatus."Fluker said the moves run the risk of looking like an overreach given how quickly they were enacted."The risk of any of these powers, is that they're exercised without democratic dialogue," he said. "Time is of the essence, no doubt, but another day or two to debate whether or not we've got enough mechanisms in here to ensure we're not creating more problems than we're solving — I think we would have that time."

  • A look at some of the Canadians who have lost their lives to COVID-19
    News
    The Canadian Press

    A look at some of the Canadians who have lost their lives to COVID-19

    COVID-19 has sickened thousands of Canadians from coast to coast and killed more than 100.Here are the stories of some of those who have lost their lives:Shawn Auger HIGH PRAIRIE, Alta. — Shawn Auger, a father of three, died March 30 at the age of 34.His wife, Jennifer Auger, says her husband started developing symptoms on March 13 and was diagnosed on March 16. He was hospitalized shortly after and died March 30. She says he was particularly affected because by the disease he was asthmatic."He was also a big guy, like a teddy bear," she says.Shawn Auger was involved in youth hockey and worked at the Youth Assessment Centre in High Prairie, Alta., about 370 kilometres northwest of Edmonton. His wife says a position was created especially for him to help youth transition out of the facility."That job, he loved it," she said. "He loved it because he got to meet new people, talk to the youth and mean something to them."She says her husband first went to school to become a police officer and served in various placements, including at the Edmonton Institution, before he decided to work with young people."He wanted to work with the youth ... to make a difference, so they didn't end up in jail or anything like that."She says she and her husband recently bought a house in the High Prairie area to renovate and turn into a group home.It's something she plans to continue in his memory."Through all this, we did not lose Shawn," she says. "We gained a fighting, caring, wonderful angel ... and he is still working from beyond."\---Alice GroveNORTH BATTLEFORD, Sask. — Alice Grove was a 75-year-old widow who lived alone on a farm in west-central Saskatchewan.Her sister Eleanor Widdowson says Grove, a former nurse's aide at Saskatchewan Hospital, was having breathing difficulties and collapsed in her home on March 28. She died in hospital the next day. The sisters last saw each other on March 13 when they met for coffee in nearby North Battleford.Widdowson believes her sister contracted the virus on one of her many trips into the city."We had warned her and warned her and warned her to stay at home," Widdowson told Saskatoon radio station CKOM. "But she'd get lonely. Anyone would, living out on a farm by themselves."Grove's battle with COVID-19 was hampered by diabetes, says Widdowson. Grove had also survived a battle with cancer.Ultimately, Widdowson says she made the decision to remove Grove from life support."You have to be sensible about it and not take treatment away from a possible 35-year-old that can get better, when you know the 75-year-old lady’s not going to get better."\---Dr. Denis VincentNORTH VANCOUVER, B.C. — Dr. Denis Vincent is being remembered as a dedicated dentist who made patient care and safety his top priority.Vincent was 64 when he died on March 22 after attending the Pacific Dental Conference, which drew about 15,000 people.Family lawyer Bettyanne Brownlee says Vincent was diligent in adhering to recommended practices for infection control throughout his more than 40-year career. He was quarantining himself when he died.She says Vincent cared deeply about people, had a great sense of humour, and his two great loves were skiing and sailing with friends and family."He was enormously proud of his sons, who will keep their memories close as they come to terms with the absence of their father from their adult lives," Brownlee says.\---Mariette TremblayMONTREAL — Mariette Tremblay's granddaughter says her 82-year-old grandmother was a caring woman who was loved by all. In the Facebook post, Bibianne Lavallee says her grandmother had suffered from respiratory problems and, when the virus struck, she was vulnerable. Her death was reported by Quebec health authorities on March 18.Lavallee says Tremblay took ill before Quebec began taking exceptional measures to combat the spread of the virus."Unfortunately, by the time all of the measures were announced and taken, it was too late to spare my grandmother,'' Lavallee says. "When her diagnosis was announced, she was already doomed."Lavallee urges people to follow recommendations of public health officials."We didn't have a chance to save Grandma. But you have the chance to make a difference now that we know; now that we know the damage caused by this pandemic," she says."Everything must be done to prevent human tragedies like the one we are experiencing from continuing to multiply. We want the death of my grandmother, the first victim in Quebec of COVID-19, to help save lives."This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 2, 2020.The Canadian Press