In a new interview with Yahoo Entertainment, "Home Alone" and "Home Alone 2" director Chris Columbus explained how a Donald Trump cameo came to be when the script called for scenes at New York’s famous Plaza Hotel, which Trump purchased in 1988.
In a new interview with Yahoo Entertainment, "Home Alone" and "Home Alone 2" director Chris Columbus explained how a Donald Trump cameo came to be when the script called for scenes at New York’s famous Plaza Hotel, which Trump purchased in 1988.
HARRISBURG, Pa. — Fresh off another rejection in Pennsylvania's courts, Republicans on Thursday again asked the U.S. Supreme Court to block President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the battleground state, while the state's lawyers say fatal flaws in the original case mean justices are highly unlikely to grant it. Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly of northwestern Pennsylvania and the other plaintiffs are asking the high court to prevent the state from certifying any contests from the Nov. 3 election, and undo any certifications already made, such as Biden’s victory, while its lawsuit is considered. They maintain that Pennsylvania’s expansive vote-by-mail law is unconstitutional because it required a constitutional amendment to authorize its provisions. However, in a sign that the case is likely too late to affect the election, Justice Samuel Alito ordered the state's lawyers to respond by Dec. 9, a day after what is known as the safe harbour deadline. That means that Congress cannot challenge any electors named by this date in accordance with state law. Biden beat President Donald Trump by more than 80,000 votes in Pennsylvania, a state Trump had won in 2016. Most mail-in ballots were submitted by Democrats. Pennsylvania's Supreme Court threw out the case Saturday. Kelly's lawyers sought an injunction Tuesday in the U.S. Supreme Court, then withdrew it while they asked the state's high court to halt any certifications until the U.S. Supreme Court acts. The state's justices refused Thursday, and Kelly's lawyers promptly refiled the case in the U.S. Supreme Court. In the state’s courts, justices cited the law’s 180-day time limit on filing legal challenges to its provisions, as well as the staggering demand that an entire election be overturned retroactively. In addition to challenging the state's mail-in voting law, Kelly’s lawyers question whether the state's justices violated their clients' constitutional rights by throwing out the case on the basis of time limits and barring them from refiling it on the same grounds. Lawyers for Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, said in court filings that Kelly's lawyers never before argued that the U.S. Constitution provides a basis for their claims, making it “highly unlikely” the U.S. Supreme Court will grant what they are seeking. In the underlying lawsuit, Kelly and the other Republican plaintiffs had sought to either throw out the 2.5 million mail-in ballots submitted under the law or to wipe out the election results and direct the state’s Republican-controlled Legislature to pick Pennsylvania’s presidential electors. ___ Follow Marc Levy on Twitter at https://www.twitter.com/timelywriter Marc Levy, The Associated Press
Saudi Arabia's foreign minister said on Friday a resolution to a bitter dispute with Qatar seemed "within reach" after Kuwait announced progress towards ending a row that Washington says hampers a united Gulf front against Iran. The United States and Kuwait have worked to end the dispute, during which Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt have imposed a diplomatic, trade and travel embargo on Qatar since mid-2017.
On Wednesday evening the Saskatchewan Rivers School Division notified the public that a case of COVID-19 had been identified in an individual at John Diefenbaker Public School. “The division is hoping the recovery is quick and thorough and we extend our get-well wishes to this member of our school community and offer our support to the surrounding family. We also extend our support to the staff and students in our schools affected by the isolation,” the release stated. As has been the case in the past, this case was not school-acquired. The division was informed on Wednesday of the positive COVID-19 test result and communication is being shared with the classroom/cohort, the connected staff, as well as with the school community. The learning program will continue remotely for those students affected. John Diefenbaker will remain open for in-person classes for students who are not required to self-isolate. The division, in this case, did not announce the length of the isolation. As is the circumstance in all cases in the division due to privacy concerns, further details of the case will not be shared. The school’s COVID Response Plan contains many important measures, processes and protocols that add layers of protection for students and staff. School personnel will continue to be informed and guided by SHA as they manage this case. Staffs at schools in the division remain vigilant in ensuring proper safety measures are in place and personnel from the SHA continue to guide and inform school administration and staff. The division explained that although there has been no evidence that transmission has occurred within any Sask. Rivers schools and we all share responsibility to minimize the risk of COVID transmission. “The division deeply appreciates the support that students, parents and community members have demonstrated, especially as the number of cases in our region climbs.” The SHA’s local public health team continues to provide expert advice and strong support for our dedicated staff as we manage the pandemic in our communities. “The division is thankful to have such a cohesive team of administration and staff supported by our partners in Health.”Michael Oleksyn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Albert Daily Herald
Urban design guidelines to help steer new builds in long-established local communities were formally endorsed by Council last week. The extensive list of guidelines provides parameters on everything from size to materials in order to ensure the new builds fit into what is already in the Regency Acres and Aurora Heights communities, as well as neighbourhoods on Temperance Street and around Town Park. Along with the guidelines, Council approved a semi-annual report that will outline to lawmakers the variance applications that have come forward and what has been approved. “The report will allow staff to identify trends and allow Council to better understand what development activity is taking place within the established Stable Neighbourhoods,” said the Town in a statement. “Under the Official Plan, stable neighbourhoods are protected from incompatible forms of development, and new development in these areas must respect and reinforce the area’s existing physical character and uses.” While a semi-annual update to Council was a request made by residents, particularly those in the Regency Acres neighbourhood, the report process as approved did not go far enough. They requested the semi-annual updates include a list of what applications were denied and why, a process which staff said would be too “onerous” to compile. Council agreed while sitting at the Committee level the previous week and when their decision came up for ratification on November 24, Councillor Wendy Gartner renewed the call. The main concerns of residents, she said, stemmed from privacy, particularly concerning rear yards, and the maintaining of the existing streetscape. Privacy concerns included minimizing the location of second floor balconies on rear side elevations. Additional issues ranged from the protection of trees to setting a maximum of three entrance steps to “encourage low profile entrance features close to the ground.” “The residents have requested reporting when consistency with the design guidelines is not adhered to by the developer,” said Councillor Gaertner, making a motion that the report “include instances where staff-approved variances regarding front and side yard setbacks, privacy and streetscapes are not consistent with the stable neighbourhood guidelines.” “Staff should be keeping a record of what they recommend to developers, that the developers aren’t interested in following,” she continued. “I think it is information Council should know and the residents want to have.” But this motion was ultimately unsuccessful with other lawmakers stating they were unsure what was hoped to be achieved by the report. “I am always happy to provide the residents with more information [but] I just fail to see the value it will get by doing this,” said Councillor John Gallo. Also casting doubt on including that in the report was Councillor Michael Thompson, who said as what was being recommended were guidelines for developers, the ultimate tools for compliance are the Town’s zoning bylaws. “The guidelines [are] meant to be able to shape the design, but there is a degree of flexibility in it,” he said. “If we want compliance in these areas, let’s reopen the zoning bylaw and put it back in the zoning bylaw and go down that road. Guidelines are just a tool and what Councillor Gaertner refers to in all those [areas] are subjective terms and they are open to interpretation. “The design guidelines are not meant for that kind of compliance. They are just meant to shape it and that is why producing this report would be so onerous because then it becomes a question of debating the subjective determination of what each term means and whether it was correct or incorrect. I don’t want to go down that road at all.” Councillor Harold Kim agreed, noting that the motion would take these guidelines in the direction of a bylaw. “I want to keep it high level and even if we went to that level of detail, what are we going to do with that information? I suspect we’re going to try and create bylaws out of that and we go back to Square 1 where we started two or three years ago. It is for those reasons as well intended as the amendment is, I cannot support that,” he said. Keeping an eye on how the guidelines go was something Councillor Rachel Gilliland said she supported, and that she understood what the residents were looking for, but what was being asked was too broad. “I feel if they came with their Top 2 or Top 3 concrete things that were the most important [and] relevant, maybe we can have a conversation, but it is almost the entire urban design guidelines that are being asked here,” she said. “It is so subjective and it is so many topics. I would think it would be very a very onerous thing for our staff to be reporting back on. “We’re stuck between a rock and a hard place here with some subjective opinions, but it is not really going to do us any service.”Brock Weir, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Auroran
The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 7:30 p.m. ET on Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020.There are 396,270 confirmed cases in Canada._ Canada: 396,270 confirmed cases (69,255 active, 314,608 resolved, 12,407 deaths).*The total case count includes 13 confirmed cases among repatriated travellers.There were 6,495 new cases Thursday from 86,875 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 7.5 per cent. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 43,173 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 6,168.There were 82 new reported deaths Thursday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 608 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 87. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.23 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 33.01 per 100,000 people. There have been 11,739,689 tests completed._ Newfoundland and Labrador: 340 confirmed cases (29 active, 307 resolved, four deaths).There were zero new cases Thursday from 420 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.0 per cent. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 13 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is two.There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 0.77 per 100,000 people. There have been 63,583 tests completed._ Prince Edward Island: 73 confirmed cases (five active, 68 resolved, zero deaths).There was one new case Thursday from 584 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.17 per cent. Over the past seven days, there has been three new case. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero.There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people. There have been 61,621 tests completed._ Nova Scotia: 1,343 confirmed cases (119 active, 1,159 resolved, 65 deaths).There were 11 new cases Thursday from 1,300 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.85 per cent. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 86 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 12.There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 6.69 per 100,000 people. There have been 150,559 tests completed._ New Brunswick: 520 confirmed cases (111 active, 402 resolved, seven deaths).There were six new cases Thursday from 1,179 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.51 per cent. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 55 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is eight.There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 0.9 per 100,000 people. There have been 103,791 tests completed._ Quebec: 146,532 confirmed cases (13,198 active, 126,179 resolved, 7,155 deaths).There were 1,470 new cases Thursday from 11,594 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 13 per cent. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 9,638 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 1,377.There were 30 new reported deaths Thursday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 208 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 30. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.35 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 84.33 per 100,000 people. There have been 2,215,810 tests completed._ Ontario: 121,746 confirmed cases (14,795 active, 103,239 resolved, 3,712 deaths).There were 1,824 new cases Thursday from 51,144 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 3.6 per cent. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 12,385 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 1,769.There were 14 new reported deaths Thursday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 137 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 20. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.13 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 25.48 per 100,000 people. There have been 6,197,157 tests completed._ Manitoba: 17,751 confirmed cases (9,130 active, 8,268 resolved, 353 deaths).There were 367 new cases Thursday from 2,804 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 13 per cent. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 2,463 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 352.There were 11 new reported deaths Thursday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 87 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 12. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.91 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 25.78 per 100,000 people. There have been 354,449 tests completed._ Saskatchewan: 9,244 confirmed cases (4,017 active, 5,173 resolved, 54 deaths).There were 262 new cases Thursday from 1,696 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 15 per cent. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 1,882 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 269.There was one new reported death Thursday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 14 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is two. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.17 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 4.6 per 100,000 people. There have been 265,300 tests completed._ Alberta: 63,023 confirmed cases (17,743 active, 44,705 resolved, 575 deaths).There were 1,854 new cases Thursday from 8,049 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 23 per cent. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 11,145 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 1,592.There were 14 new reported deaths Thursday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 65 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is nine. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.21 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 13.15 per 100,000 people. There have been 1,495,622 tests completed._ British Columbia: 35,422 confirmed cases (10,013 active, 24,928 resolved, 481 deaths).There were 694 new cases Thursday from 7,929 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 8.8 per cent. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 5,449 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 778.There were 12 new reported deaths Thursday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 97 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 14. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.27 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 9.48 per 100,000 people. There have been 815,367 tests completed._ Yukon: 50 confirmed cases (20 active, 29 resolved, one deaths).There was one new case Thursday from 89 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 1.1 per cent. Over the past seven days, there has been 11 new case. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is two.There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 2.45 per 100,000 people. There have been 5,488 tests completed._ Northwest Territories: 15 confirmed cases (zero active, 15 resolved, zero deaths).There were zero new cases Thursday from 48 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.0 per cent. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of zero new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero.There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people. There have been 6,482 tests completed._ Nunavut: 198 confirmed cases (75 active, 123 resolved, zero deaths).There were five new cases Thursday from 39 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 13 per cent. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 43 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is six.There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people. There have been 4,384 tests completed.This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published Dec. 3, 2020. The Canadian Press
TORONTO — Canadian pop star Shawn Mendes says the much buzzed-about shower scene that opens his new Netflix documentary was a result of great trust between himself and the director. The singer-songwriter from Pickering, Ont., did a Q-and-A with director Grant Singer via video conference Thursday for members of the media to promote the "Shawn Mendes: In Wonder" film. Mendes said Singer spent a lot of time building their relationship and making him comfortable with having a camera around before filming. He said by the time they shot the hotel-room shower scene, which shows Mendes from the waist up and has generated a lot of chatter online, they had developed a good friendship. "Grant, I've been asked so many times about the shower scene and how I felt about doing a shower scene," Mendes said, explaining that the deeper they got into filmmaking, the more they wanted to make it "vulnerable and raw" and develop a sense of closeness. "If you were filming me for another year, it would have been like waking up in bed with me in the morning and being like, 'So how did you sleep?'" he added with a laugh. Singer noted they shot the scene on a day when Mendes was on vocal rest. "It was like, the door was open and it just felt by that point we had this trust where you knew you were being filmed and there was something that, if it wasn't appropriate for me to be filming, I wasn't going to be in the room," he said. "Also keep in mind, when we were shooting that, we didn't know it was going to make it into the documentary. We were just shooting. It just happened to resonate thematically because that was the day where you lost your voice, or the day after. So it narratively played a part and why it's in the movie." Mendes, who releases his fourth album "Wonder" on Friday, allowed Singer to follow him around on tour and in his personal life in the film. Cameras capture him in his childhood home in Pickering, east of Toronto, where he first got the world's attention performing in short videos on the now-defunct Vine platform. The 22-year-old, of course, has gone on to megafame with hits including "In My Blood," "Stitches," "Treat You Better" and "If I can't Have You." "In Wonder" also shows Mendes with his family and his girlfriend, fellow singer Camila Cabello, with whom he made the 2019 hit "Senorita." "As an artist, it's very easy to believe people want to take advantage of you and play into the sides of you that media wants to eat up," Mendes said. "But I know Grant and I know how he is about art." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 3, 2020. Victoria Ahearn, The Canadian Press
MADISON, Wis. — A divided Wisconsin Supreme Court on Thursday refused to hear President Donald Trump’s lawsuit attempting to overturn his loss to Democrat Joe Biden in the battleground state, sidestepping a decision on the merits of the claims and instead ruling that the case must first wind its way through lower courts.In another blow to Trump, two dissenting conservative justices questioned whether disqualifying more than 221,000 ballots as Trump wanted would be the proper remedy to the errors he alleged.The defeat on a 4-3 ruling was the latest in a string of losses for Trump’s post-election lawsuits. Judges in multiple battleground states have rejected his claims of fraud or irregularities.Trump asked the Wisconsin Supreme Court to disqualify more than 221,000 ballots in the state’s two biggest Democratic counties, alleging irregularities in the way absentee ballots were administered. His lawsuit echoed claims that were earlier rejected by election officials in those counties during a recount that barely affected Biden’s winning margin of about 20,700 votes.Trump’s attorney Jim Troupis said he would immediately file the case in circuit court and expected to be back before the Supreme Court “very soon.”“It was clear from their writings that the court recognizes the seriousness of these issues, and we look forward to taking the next step,” he said in a statement. Trump's team made the filing late Thursday evening.In asking the conservative-controlled Wisconsin Supreme Court to take the case directly, Trump had argued that there wasn’t enough time to wage the legal battle by starting with a lower court, given the looming Dec. 14 date when presidential electors cast their votes.Swing Justice Brian Hagedorn joined three liberal justices in denying the petition without weighing in on Trump's allegations. Hagedorn said the law was clear that Trump must start his lawsuit in lower courts where factual disputes can be worked out.“We do well as a judicial body to abide by time-tested judicial norms, even — and maybe especially — in high profile cases,” Hagedorn wrote. “Following this law is not disregarding our duty, as some of my colleagues suggest. It is following the law.”Trump filed a similar lawsuit in federal court on Wednesday.Chief Justice Patience Roggensack, in a dissent where she was joined by Justice Annette Ziegler, said she would have taken the case and referred it to lower courts for factual findings, which could then be reported back to the Supreme Court for a ruling.But she also questioned whether disqualifying ballots was appropriate, saying that "may be out of reach for a number of reasons.”Conservative Justice Rebecca Bradley wrote that the court “forsakes its duty” by not determining whether elections officials complied with the law and the inaction will undermine the public's confidence in elections. Allowing the elections commission to make the law governing elections would be a “death blow to democracy,” she wrote.“While some will either celebrate or decry the court's inaction based upon the impact on their preferred candidate, the importance of this case transcends the results of this particular election,” she wrote in a dissent joined by Roggensack and Ziegler. “The majority's failure to act leaves an indelible stain on our most recent election.”Democratic Gov. Tony Evers praised the decision.“I was frankly amazed that it was not unanimous," Evers said.Trump's lawsuit challenged procedures that have been in place for years and never been found to be illegal.He claimed there were thousands of absentee ballots without a written application on file. He argued that the electronic log created when a voter requests a ballot online — the way the vast majority are requested — doesn’t meet the letter of the law.He also challenged ballots where election clerks filled in missing address information on the certification envelope where the ballot is inserted — a practice that has long been accepted and that the state elections commission told clerks was OK.Trump also challenged absentee ballots where voters declared themselves to be “indefinitely confined,” a status that exempts them from having to show photo identification to cast a ballot, and one that was used much more heavily this year due to the pandemic. The Wisconsin Supreme Court in March ruled that it was up to individual voters to determine their status.Roggensack, the chief justice, appointed Reserve Judge Stephen Simanek of Racine County to hear the case at the circuit court level. Simanek retired in 2010.The court late Thursday also declined to hear a lawsuit brought by a Wisconsin resident, Dean Mueller, that argued that ballots placed in drop boxes are illegal and must not be counted. The court's brief order included a single line noting Roggensack, Ziegler and Bradley all dissented with the denial.One other lawsuit filed by conservatives is still pending with the court seeking to invalidate ballots. In federal court, there is Trump’s lawsuit and another one with similar claims from Sidney Powell, a conservative attorney who was removed from Trump’s legal team.Wisconsin this week certified Biden’s victory, setting the stage for a Democratic slate of electors chosen earlier to cast the state’s 10 electoral votes for him.Scott Bauer, The Associated Press
Growing up in Aurora, Keenan Hull says he experienced little racism in his youth – but there came a point where the tide began to turn. “I didn’t see any aggressive racism until I got older, turning into a Black man instead of a Black boy,” he said. “It was more microaggressions and [people] would just have those assumptions about me.” He saw those assumptions manifest themselves in many ways, including systemic, and it is that lived experience he has brought to the table as a member of Aurora’s recently established Anti-Racism and Anti-Black Racism Task Force, which convened for the first time last Wednesday night. “My goal [on the Task Force] is to make sure that people like me will be able to just live in Aurora and surrounding areas without having any fear of persecution from other people in the community that should be protecting us,” he told the group. Mr. Hull, who was one of the co-organizers of this spring’s Solidarity Walk following the death of George Floyd, outlined his goals near the start of the November 25 meeting where he and his fellow Task Force members began the process of hammering their goals and priorities. Although a list is still a work in progress, their initial message was clear: action rather than education is key to making a difference. Aurora’s Anti-Racism and Anti-Black Racism Task Force represents a cross-section of the community. Chaired by Noor El-Dassouki, joining her and Mr. Hull at the table are Tricia Wright, Phiona Durrant, Mark Lewis, Mae Khamissa and, representing Council, Councillor Harold Kim, who brought the idea to Council alongside Mayor Tom Mrakas. Like Mr. Hull, Ms. El-Dassouki grew up in Aurora. As a Muslim Arab woman, she told the Task Force she has experienced her “fair share of racism and discrimination” over the years, but she also recognizes “a lot of the privileges” in her life. “I acknowledge the fact I am not the target of anti-Black racism or anti-Indigenous racism and I think it is really important to centre those experiences, especially Black and Indigenous people, in experiencing racism because their lives are the ones who have been most affected and most at risk because of systemic racism,” she said. “I would like to see some real action and some actionable change, especially in the institutional racism of Aurora [in that] I hope we can work to kind of look at policies and practices that are embedded in institutions and understand how they are designed in a way that is inherently biased and racist. [It] might not be intentional, necessarily, but that is the way systems are designed in this country and a lot of areas around the world.” “The more effective way of bringing about change is to increase the implementation of anti-racist actions as opposed to just raising awareness of diversity and anti-racism and all of those items.” Added Ms. Durant: “From a leadership perspective, our community knows how our leaders feel about racism, about any form of discrimination, anything that makes anyone feel less than. As long as we know where they stand, it is easier for us to know how to move forward.” A native of Markham, Mr. Lewis says he experienced systemic racism every day as he watched his parents, teachers with the Toronto District School Board, “navigate racist constructs within our community and the education system while trying to provide a high quality of life for me and my siblings.” He moved to Aurora 17 years ago, choosing this community to raise his family as it reminded him of “Markham of the 1980s.” “I was not disappointed,” he said. “Like any fast-growing municipality, I watched Aurora’s growth drive more diversity among residents in our Town, which challenges the community to respond to growing racism, which has to be dealt with by both residents and business owners. For me, the biggest challenge as a father and a resident in Aurora is a little heartbreaking that my daughter is still experiencing the same [type and level] of racism that I experienced when I was her age so many years ago. It is time for us to make a positive impact and make Aurora a great place for all of us to raise our families.” Ms. Wright has lived in Aurora for 17 years as well, having come to Canada in her teens from a country where Black people are the majority. “If I did experience racism [in Canada], I didn’t take it that way, it was more that they didn’t like me because of something else because that isn’t necessarily what I grew up with,” she shared. “I think my goal on this would be to really continue to sort of raise the awareness. I think the more people know, the less they become afraid of something, with lack of knowledge and lack of information there is huge fear. Bringing topics and displaying different cultures, I think that will be a huge part of breaking down any barriers.” While the Task Force is just getting off the ground, several directions are being explored. In addition to Council’s recent efforts on workplace diversity within the municipal structure, Mr. Lewis suggested more can be done to examine diversity “within the construct of Aurora itself…ensuring the diversity of its suppliers in all aspects of the Town’s business.” Members also pointed out there should be a concerted effort to ensure Indigenous voices are also represented at the table after this integral group was not represented amongst the applicants who came forward, as well as to clarify their mandate. “I see a distinction between anti-racism and diversity and inclusion-related work,” said El-Dassouki. “I think there is a little bit of a distinction to me and I think it would be important for us as a group to have a common understanding and identify kind of common goals around those terminologies to guide our work going forward.”Brock Weir, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Auroran
If you live in Vancouver's Strathcona neighbourhood, you've probably crossed paths with Annie. She's the elderly Chinese woman who has a big smile glued to her face and is quick to pick up your empties. "She was always walking around with a smile on her face ... I enjoyed her being in the neighborhood," said studio owner and resident Valerie Arntzen about the area just east of Chinatown. Annie, whose real name is Anhi Sy, doesn't speak much English. The 82-year-old moved to Canada in the 1970s and lives in social housing on Hastings Street. She was known for working hard to pick up cans and even leaving candies behind for people.But just a short while ago, she was diagnosed with terminal cancer and is undergoing radiation treatment. When the community found out the news, it began rallying around her to raise money to support her during this difficult time. Andrew Dadson, a Vancouver-artist who has lived in Strathcona for nearly two decades, started an online fundraiser. He was hoping to raise $1,000, but so far more than $12,000 has come in. But in true Annie-fashion, she's doesn't want any of the fuss or the attention. But her impact on the community has everyone wanting to show their appreciation for her. "She is just really sweet about it. We knew she didn't have a ton of family so Strathcona became her family and social life and everything," said Dadson. He first met Sy 18 years ago, when he and friends would play soccer at MacLean Park every Sunday. "She has watched us have families and grow up and have children ... she has been a part of our lives for a while," said Dadson. After a while she would learn when the games were and would show up to collect the cans, then she would even come to people's homes after parties to collect the empties. Sometimes helping clean up while the party was going on. "She was just really sweet, bringing you candies, she never wanted anything but was always working hard collecting cans, she was just a real sweet lady around the neighbourhood," he said. He said she would refer to everyone as "handsome boy" and "beautiful lady" — even leaving notes at their doorsteps after collecting cans.Dadson would often help fix her cart. "She put so many miles on it, the wagon would break down. After a while, I bought her a new cart ... but she didn't want it. She said my cart is fine. So a new cart sat in my studio for a month, before her other cart was stolen and finally she came and said okay, I'll take your cart," he said. He says that cart, too, was worn down from Sy working so hard.
Senior Health Canada officials said Thursday they could be just days away from approving a COVID-19 vaccine as many provinces reported increasing hospitalizations and Quebec cancelled plans to allow gatherings over the Christmas holidays.Chief medical adviser Dr. Supriya Sharma said final documents from the American drugmaker Pfizer are expected Friday. They are to include which production lots of the vaccine will be shipped to Canada and when. Sharma wouldn't put an exact date on approval or delivery, but said once the "key information" is delivered from Pfizer, she will be able to tell Canadians the news they have been longing to hear.Moderna's vaccine is expected to receive approval soon after. The supply will initially be limited to about three million people. Dr. Howard Njoo, Canada’s deputy chief public health officer, said Thursday they are targeting priority groups that will most benefit from an earlier vaccine while reducing the spread of the virus.“In a country as geographically large and diverse as ours, we are facing some logistical complexities,” he said, including reaching remote communities and co-ordinating between various levels of government.The Canadian Armed Forces received formal orders last week to start planning for the distribution of COVID-19 in the most ambitious and complex vaccine rollout in the country’s history. Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, who is leading the country's distribution effort, said the speed, scope and scale of this plan makes it unique. A planning directive for Operation Vector includes preparations on vaccine-storage facilities and notes the possibility of flying doses on short notice from Spain, Germany and the U.S.Many health officials in regions across the country have reported increasing pressures on hospitals and front-line workers during the second wave of the pandemic as they prepare for upcoming distribution of the vaccine. Premier Francois Legault announced Quebec will no longer go forward with a plan to permit multi-household gatherings of up to 10 people over four days during the holidays. Hospitalizations declined slightly in that province to 737, but the number of people in the intensive care unit remained unchanged at 99 on Thursday.Legault said it was not realistic to think the numbers will go down sufficiently by Christmas.Ontario reported 666 people were in hospital Thursday with COVID-19, with 195 in intensive care — a 34 per cent increase from the week before. There were 1,824 new cases and 14 more deaths due to the virus.Dr. David Williams, Ontario’s chief medical officer of health, said there is a team working with the federal government on vaccine distribution. “It’s still early day. We are going to start this process as soon as we can to make strides," he said. "Everything we do is a step in the right direction.”The seven-day rolling average of new cases nationally is 6,044.The Prairie provinces have been a hot spot for COVID-19 in recent weeks. Saskatchewan and Alberta recently brought in more restrictions, with the latter making a request to Ottawa and the Canadian Red Cross for field hospitals to help with the surge.Alberta recorded 1,854 new infections Thursday — a new daily record. There were 511 COVID-19 patients in hospital, including 97 in intensive care.Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta's chief medical officer of health, said the contact tracing system is struggling under the volume of new cases.Manitoba reported 367 new infections and 12 additional deaths. Premier Brian Pallister called for more clarity in Ottawa's vaccination rollout, specifically when it comes to how doses will distributed on First Nations.The premier also expressed frustration with people who still don't believe the novel coronavirus is a threat, even though more than 250 Manitobans died from the virus in November alone."If you don't think that COVID's real right now, you're an idiot," Pallister said.Dr. Bonnie Henry, British Columbia's provincial health officer, announced 694 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday and 12 additional deaths as she outlined the early details of the province's plan for immunization.Seniors in long-term care homes and hospitals will be the first to get immunized, she said, but more details on the plan won't come out until next week.Henry said health-care workers are tired from the pandemic and it's important to get through the next few months before vaccines are available."We know that our long-term care homes, in particular, are most vulnerable, and we know right now it's the biggest challenge that we are facing," she said.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 3, 2020.— With files from Mia RabsonKelly Geraldine Malone, The Canadian Press
EDMONTON — As Alberta recorded another daily record of COVID-19 cases Thursday, its chief medical officer of health warned that rural areas are feeling the effects.“While infection rates in Edmonton and Calgary make up the majority of cases in the province, we’re seeing increased spread in many rural communities,” Dr. Deena Hinshaw Hinshaw said.“COVID-19 is not a Calgary problem or Edmonton problem. This is a provincial problem within the context of a global problem.“Our overall active case rates prove that COVID-19 doesn’t care where you live or what your postal code is.“It only takes one case entering a community to cause significant spread.”Alberta has been straining under soaring numbers of COVID-19 and currently leads the country in per-capita case rates.It set a single-day record Thursday with 1,854 new cases, even more than in Ontario.There were 511 Albertans in hospital, 97 of them in intensive care. A total of 575 Albertans have died.The case surge has overwhelmed the contact tracing system and strained the health system. The province is now reassigning staff, space and patients to cope and has begun making contingency plans to bring in field hospitals if necessary.Last week, Premier Jason Kenney introduced new health restrictions.However, some of the key restrictions on businesses and attendance at worship services don’t apply to some rural and remote areas with low infection rates.Also, while Calgary, Edmonton and other municipalities have mandated masks in indoor public spaces, Kenney has refused to follow the lead of all other Canadian provinces to make it provincewide.About 16 per cent of the 17,743 active cases are outside the Calgary and Edmonton health zones.Opposition NDP health critic David Shepherd said if COVID does not respect postal codes, why has the United Conservative government issued half-hearted and varying levels of health restrictions based on geography while refusing to impose a provincewide mask mandate?Shepherd said Kenney is playing politics with the health rules and Albertans are suffering as a result.“Jason Kenney is more concerned about his own political fortunes and concerned about the anti-mask fringe extremists that we know exist in his own caucus and in his own political party and political base,” Shepherd said in an interview.“He is more concerned about satisfying them and losing political capital than he is about showing leadership to protect Albertans.”Kenney has said a provincewide mask bylaw is unnecessary and the health rules are a measured and targeted way to keep Albertans safe while keeping jobs and the economy going.He has also said 90 per cent of Albertans are already under some kind of municipal mask bylaw. During a Nov. 26 Facebook town hall discussion he questioned whether rural residents working and living remotely would even follow it.“Imagine you got a couple of guys working in a big barn way up in the M.D. of Opportunity, hundreds of kilometres away from the closest COVID hot zone,” said Kenney. “Do you really think those guys are going to put on a mask because I ask them to or tell them to?”Kenney said one of his rural caucus members told him some of his constituents would be reflexively rebellious if told to mask up: “He said, ‘You know a lot of these folks who are (masking up) now, they would take it off the moment the government tells them to wear it.’”Provincewide there is a ban on gatherings in homes beyond those who live under the same roof. Outdoor gatherings are capped at 10 people. And students in grades 7 through 12 are learning virtually at home through the Christmas holidays.In areas with high caseloads, there are new restrictions on retailers, businesses, restaurants and entertainment options like casinos.Those restrictions don’t apply to low-case areas, which include some rural regions in north and central Alberta.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 3, 2020.Dean Bennett, The Canadian Press
York Region residents will not get to vote for who leads Regional Council in the next municipal election. Regional Council, on a vote of 14 – 6, rejected a motion tabled this past February which would have seen the Regional Chair, a position currently occupied by former Whitchurch-Stouffville mayor Wayne Emmerson, directly elected by residents. Instead, the position will continue to be filled through a vote around the Regional Council table, around which Mayor Tom Mrakas is Aurora’s sole representative. Mayor Mrakas was joined by Newmarket Mayor John Taylor in voting in favour of change, alongside Regional Councillors Don Hamilton (Markham), Jim Jones (Markham), Joe Li (Markham), and Joe DiPaola (Richmond Hill). The question, as posed at Aurora Council last week, is now what? York Region has a long history of considering how the Chair should be elected. The most recent series of proposed changes stemmed from a Private Member’s Bill brought forward at Queen’s Park in 2016 from Newmarket-Aurora’s then-MPP Chris Ballard which, following its passage, would have mandated a direct election for York Region. This directive, however, was struck down by the incumbent Provincial government in 2018, leaving Regional Council to decide its own path forward. “Regional Council can, after holding at least one public meeting, pass a bylaw to change the manner of electing the Regional Chair to a Region-wide election,” said Bruce Macgregor, CAO of the Region of York, in a memo to members when they last looked at this matter in February. “Before the bylaw comes into effect it must receive a ‘triple majority’ which occurs when: the bylaw receives the support of the majority of votes on Regional Council; a majority of the councils of all local municipalities pass resolutions consenting to the bylaw; and the total number of electors in the local municipalities that have passed resolutions consenting to the bylaw form a majority of all the electors in York Region.” Aurora Council previously voiced its support of electing the Regional Chair in both 2016 and 2018. Had any change been in the air at the Region, a decision would have needed to be confirmed by December 21, 2021 in order for it to be part of the 2022 Municipal Election. Since its establishment in 1970, the Regional Chair was been appointed in different ways. In the beginning, the Province of Ontario appointed the Chair for two two-year terms. This method changed at the inaugural meeting of Regional Council where the Chair was elected by members around the table. “Four of the six Chairs of York Region were members of a lower-tier council at the time of their appointment,” noted Mr. Macgregor. “The other two Chairs had recently completed terms on the council of a lower-tier municipality.” “Council had the authority to determine whether or not the appointed Chair must also hold office on a local municipal Council. Through inherited provisions from the long ago repealed Regional Municipality of York Act, it has been the practice in York Region for the appointed Chair to resign their seat at the local level. However, Council can enact a requirement for the Chair to retain their local office. This change can be implemented without a ‘triple majority.’” As Aurora Council previously signalled its support for electing the Regional chair, the matter was raised at last week’s meeting. “Which way do you think I voted?” asked Mayor Tom Mrakas when pressed by Councillor Michael Thompson whether he voted the same way as he did when the matter was last up for debate at Town Hall. “I believe the Regional Chair should be an elected position. I voted in favour of having it become an elected position. It is unfortunate it didn’t happen that way. “We’ll see if the Province decides to put it in place for the next election on their own.”Brock Weir, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Auroran
Calgary police are cracking down on anti-mask rally organizers and others who disregard public health rules during the COVID-19 pandemic. As Christa Dao reports, CPS have issued dozens of tickets since enhanced measures were introduced.
A resounding no from council will force Georgian Bay Snowriders to find an alternative for the strip near Port McNicoll. A couple months ago the club’s agreement was up for renewal. At that time, when the request came to council, the club asked for access to a part of the municipal trail along Highway 12 towards Triple Bay Road. The agreement was renewed before its Nov. 1 deadline, however, a new request from the club came forward at a later council meeting asking for access to approximately 400m of the TransCanada Trail, just east of Triple Bay Road. “Due to recent water level increases from Hog Bay, the ditch parallel to the highway is incredibly flood sensitive and has become very difficult to maintain,” reads the letter to council. “It also has a new utility line running through the centre that may become difficult to navigate around.” But their request wasn’t enough to melt the hearts of council members. “With me, it's a hard no,” said Coun. Mary Warnock. “I would not even entertain this. There's no recourse to get repairs done to the trail after it's been used and we all know what happened last time they were allowed a little stretch, it got torn up.” She had support from other council members, too. “It's not worth the risk for our bikers, our walkers and our roller-bladers,” said Deputy Mayor Gerard LaChapelle. “I'm not in favour of this. We spend a lot of time and money on that trail and I'm not about to let it go at this point.” Coun. Paul Raymond said he could understand the club’s frustration at having to reimagine a trail on a temporary basis, but he was still against it. “We all know the damage (that) will happen,” he said. “What are we saying when we allow a motorized vehicle on the trail when we spend so much time trying to prevent motorized vehicles on trails? “Sorry to the Snowriders, but they have the ability to find alternate routes, I think,” added Raymond. Council voted to take no further action on the request. The Georgian Bay Snowriders did not respond to a request for comment.Mehreen Shahid, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, OrilliaMatters.com
The Quebec government will launch a pilot project to see whether electronic bracelets can reduce domestic violence by keeping violent ex-partners at a distance. The project is part of a wider plan to combat conjugal violence, which was announced Thursday afternoon by the minister responsible for women, Isabelle Charest, and Public Security Minister Geneviève Guilbault. Charest said the province's services need to be improved, after a string of homicides involving spouses and children in the past year in Quebec.Quebec has set aside $180 million over the next five years for several measures.The bracelets the government is considering affixing to violent ex-partners would set off an alarm if the person gets too close to the victim. "The first step is to determine if this is feasible, with all the issues it can bring up — the costs and legal issues. We're going to be looking at what's been done elsewhere," Guilbault said. France has implemented a similar program. Red Deer, Alta., also had one, but it lost funding. Quebec will spend $9 million seeing if the bracelets could work in the province, but Guilbault didn't say how long the feasibility study would last.The bulk of the $180 million will go to shelters for victims and their children, to help them upgrade their programs and services, as well as for repairs.The government will also be setting up crisis units in six new regions and creating programs that provide emergency funding to victims of domestic violence needing to leave a dangerous situation."All women and all children have a right to live in safety at all times. It's sad that we still have to repeat it in 2020," Charest said at the announcement. "This is a step in the right direction, but I'm aware there's still work to do."
On Wednesday the Government of Saskatchewan announced a $400,000 commitment to provide mental health first aid training to at least one staff member in each Saskatchewan school. This would make mental health first aid available to students, when needed, similar to physical first aid. The intention to launch such a program was announced earlier this year, but Wednesday’s amount is the first time the project has had a dollar figure attached to it. “Our goal is to have at least one staff member in each school receive mental health first aid training by the end of 2021,” Education Minister Dustin Duncan said in a release from the province. “We are excited to support schools in ensuring students have access to mental health resources, and I encourage all provincial school divisions to take part to help remove the stigma around mental health.” Since 2017-18, the government has offered up to $9,000 in grants to school divisions for training to build capacity in their schools related to mental health and student safety and they say this new funding builds on that commitment. Mental health first aid is a training program developed by the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC). The in-person training is currently being transitioned to be available online in 2021. The Ministry of Education will work with Saskatchewan school divisions to coordinate the training sessions, with little disruptions to the school day. Online delivery will help keep the sessions safe for staff in these uncertain times. “We commend the Saskatchewan Ministry of Education for its timely investment and commitment to providing Mental Health First Aid training for each of the province’s Kindergarten to Grade 12 schools,” MHCC President and CEO Louise Bradley said. “We are delighted to hear that the ministry intends to create an online option for school division staff to take mental health first aid training.” The mental health first aid training was a recommendation from the Minister’s 2019-20 Youth Council. “The mental well-being of students is a crucial part of positive and effective learning environments,” 2019-20 Youth Council member Sandra LeBlanc said. “The new mental health first aid initiative will be a good first step in ensuring that all Saskatchewan students have access to the support they need, one of the priorities of the 2019-20 Youth Council.” Mental health first aid can be provided to a person who is developing a mental health concern or who is in a mental health crisis. The training teaches individuals to recognize the symptoms of mental health problems, how to provide initial help and guide a person toward appropriate professional help. Studies show that mental health first aid training results in improved mental health literacy and decreased stigmatization toward mental health concerns.Michael Oleksyn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Albert Daily Herald
When a COVID-19 vaccine is approved by Health Canada and becomes available, Dr. Lorne Tyrrell plans to be first in line when it's his turn to get it.But the virologist says data about the vaccine must be transparent to the public, so that enough people can also feel they can safely trust it.Tyrrell, founding director of the Li Ka Shing Institute of Virology at the University of Alberta, is a core member of Canada's COVID-19 task force."We need to be very transparent, very clear with the science and clear with the data so people can have trust in science in this area, and that these vaccines, when they go into people, will be very safe and very effective," he said in an interview Thursday with CBC's Edmonton AM.Premier Jason Kenney unveiled part of Alberta's vaccine distribution plan Wednesday. Paul Wynnyk, deputy minister of municipal affairs, is leading the provincial task force.Phase 1 of Alberta's vaccine rollout is projected to happen in the first three months of 2021. Phase 1 will focus on the province's most at-risk populations including long-term care home residents, staff in these facilities, on-reserve First Nations people and other health-care workers.Phase 1 will focus on the province's most at-risk populations including long-term care home residents and staff, on-reserve First Nations people over age 65, seniors age 75 and older, and health-care workers most needed to ensure workforce capacity and who are most likely to transmit the disease to those at greatest risk.Phase 2 will run from April to June, the province projects, with the goal of getting 30 per cent of the population immunized by the end of that period. The province said on Thursday the specific groups immunized during this phase will be determined after Phase 1 has begun."Clinics will be set up by AHS across the province where people who are in one of the identified priority groups can go to get their immunization," Alberta Health spokesperson Tom McMillan said in emailed statement."Long-term care and designated supportive living residents will be immunized in their facilities and will not need to travel. More information will be shared once vaccines are ready to be distributed."Phase 3 will involve rolling out vaccinations to the general Alberta population. It's expected to start by fall 2021.Jason Tetro, a microbiologist and author of The Germ Files, said the province's Phase 1 timeline is realistic.Once the vaccine is approved by Health Canada, Tetro expects a rapid rollout where the most vulnerable people will be immunized within a couple of months.Vaccine development often takes years to complete. So the availability next year of COVID-19 vaccine is quicker than some expected, which Tetro attributes to improving technology.He and Tyrrell both said they trust any vaccine approved by Health Canada will have undergone enough scrutiny to be effective and safeBut Tetro said he'd still like to see more public information about the vaccine."At the moment, we are running off of very limited data in the public," he said. "We hear about the regulators going line by line or case by case to better understand how these vaccines work. I, personally, would like to see those."Tetro said the distribution timeline is dependent on pharmaceutical companies like Pfizer and Moderna not experiencing any setbacks.On Thursday, Pfizer lowered the number of doses it expects to produce this year, days after it was approved for use in the United Kingdom.Kenney said Wednesday any COVID-19 vaccine will not be mandatory. Because of the pushback against mandatory measures like masking, Tetro said governments would be best served to not worry about that, and focus effort instead on getting the vaccine to the people who want it."As soon as you bring up mandatory, you're going to immediately annoy probably 20 to 30 per cent of the population who believe it's their right to do what they want," Tetro said."We can start talking about mandatory vaccinations and other things like that when we're at a point that we're not worried about our ICUs being double-bunked, and the elderly all of a sudden dying simply because of inadvertent infections because somebody went to a house party. It's prioritizing."Dr. Ilan Schwartz, an assistant professor in the division of infectious diseases at the University of Alberta, agreed the vaccine and the provincial government's plans for distribution look promising. On the point of mandatory vaccination, he emphasized it doesn't need to be discussed because nobody is calling for the measure."This isn't on the table, nobody has suggested it, nobody supports it," Schwartz said."The most important thing to emphasize is this is a safe and remarkably effective vaccine, and it's potentially getting us back to a point where life can return to normal."
Researchers in a study on maternal overdose have found that having a child apprehended made a mother 55 per cent more likely to have an unintended non-fatal drug overdose. For Indigenous women, the odds of reporting an unintended overdose are double — when compared to non-Indigenous women who had not lost custody of their children. “I would say that I was saddened by these findings but not surprised,” says Brittany Bingham, a co-author of the report and member of the shíshálh Nation. The findings, published this fall in the International Journal of Drug Policy, are the result of two studies conducted between 2010-2018, in which more than 1,000 women from across Canada participated. Bingham is the Director of Indigenous Research at the Centre for Gender and Sexual Health Equity at the University of British Columbia (UBC). She says that the impacts of ongoing colonization on Indigenous women mean they experience more barriers to keeping their kids than their non-Indigenous peers. “We seem to find in this research that unfortunately many of the Indigenous women are facing additional barriers and harder circumstances,” Bingham says. According to data published by the Ministry of Children and Family Development, 67 per cent of children in government care are Indigenous, even though Indigenous youth under 15 make up just 10 per cent of the province’s total population under 15. It’s been reported that there are more Indigenous children in care today than there were at the height of the residential school system, which operated between the 1830s and 1996. Meaghan Thumath, first author of the report and assistant professor at the UBC School of Nursing, says the impact of having a child removed can cause women with underlying substance use disorders to relapse. It’s also important for those who create policy for the child welfare system to consider the impact of child apprehension on mothers, she says. “Child reunification is an essential service,” she said in a press release on Nov. 19. “Denying a mother access to their children can result in profound grief and loss, exacerbating substance use and increasing risk of overdose.” Thumath was motivated to study the effects of child apprehension after working with pregnant women and new mothers as a street nurse and at the Sheway Pregnancy Outreach Program, in downtown Vancouver, she says. “Many of the women I worked with would work extremely hard, do everything they could to convince the system that they were ready to parent,” says Thumath. “We [as support staff] would all think that things were going very well,” she says, and that they would get to keep their kids. “[But] they would come back empty handed.” Bingham says that the child welfare system and other colonial institutions have disrupted the matriarchal structure of many Indigenous communities. Child separation, she says, is creating a “huge void” in communities’ knowledge sharing systems, which they are trying to reclaim. “Indigenous women continue to move through these situations where it’s been one thing after another put in their way from this colonial agenda,” says Bingham. “Somehow Indigenous women continue to be strong and survive.” These instances of separation and their resulting health issues create a “ripple effect” in families and communities, says Bingham. A policy brief from the Centre states that “Indigenous People’s child custody removal is deeply embedded in ongoing racist policies and colonial history of forced family separation and genocide.” This legacy includes the lasting impacts of residential schools and the 60’s Scoop. Given Canada’s historical record of systematically removing Indigenous children from their families the threat of child apprehension still affects Indigenous mothers to this day. “The threat of child apprehension is causing Indigenous women to feel a constant sense of surveillance,” says Bingham. “That creates trauma in and of itself.” The report recommends that social workers and health care staff receive training in overdose prevention, cultural safety and trauma-informed practice to support family reunification. “Urgent action is needed that decolonizes and overhauls child welfare systems to make space for Indigenous self-determination and community responses,” said Bingham in a press release from UBC. Thumath says that the research shows two things. The first is that the Canadian child welfare system needs to change dramatically. The second is that Indigenous mothers need to be provided with much more support in the event that their children are taken from them. “In the short term while we work on transforming the child welfare system, we also have to immediately support women who have had their children removed,” says Thumath. “It should be absolutely a last resort, but if they have to be removed we need to wrap supports around that woman right away.” The report itself calls for immediate large scale systemic change of the child welfare system. Among the urgent recommendations it makes, it states that “large scale systemic transformation, Indigenous self-determination and decolonizing approaches are essential to support Indigenous women’s rights as mothers.” It also states that the number one reason for child apprehension in British Columbia is poverty. Sophie Pierre, one of the co-authors of the report is the former chief of ʔAq̓ am, a member band of the Ktunaxa Nation. She says that in her experience, it isn’t enough to simply shift child welfare jurisdiction to Indigenous communities because the system itself doesn’t change in that process. “We need to turn our thinking away from funding solutions that have proven to not work,” says Pierre. “We need to invest in families…[ so we] don’t have one generation always creating fodder for the next generation.” Pierre says that today’s funding models focus on putting “band-aids” over problems rather than investing in supporting families so they can keep their kids. She says that she is both hopeful about the change that is to come, and frustrated with how these issues are being handled. “You’re talking about lives,” says Pierre. “I don’t want to be talking about programs and formulas when you’re talking about babies and mothers.”Bayleigh Marelj, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Discourse
WASHINGTON — The Latest on President-elect Joe Biden (all times local): 9:55 p.m. President-elect Joe Biden says it is important that President Donald Trump attend his inauguration only in the sense that it would demonstrate the nation’s commitment to a peaceful transfer of power between political rivals. Trump aides have expressed skepticism that the president would attend Biden’s Jan. 20 inauguration. Trump has continued to falsely claim victory and spread baseless claims of fraud to try to explain away his loss. Speaking Thursday to CNN, Biden said, “It is totally his decision.” He added, “It is of no personal consequence to me, but I think it is to the country.” Biden lamented Trump’s refusal to concede, saying, “These kinds of things happen in tin-horn dictatorships." He said he hoped Trump would attend the inauguration to set an example to other nations on the democratic process. ___ HERE'S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT PRESIDENT-ELECT JOE BIDEN'S TRANSITION TO THE WHITE HOUSE: Up soon for President-elect Joe Biden is naming his top health care officials as the coronavirus pandemic rages. He's also facing escalating pressure from competing factions within his own party as he finalizes his choice for secretary of defence. Read more: — Trump’s grievances feed menacing undertow after the election — Trump expected to flex pardon powers on way out door — Ivanka Trump deposed as part of inauguration fund lawsuit — Barr’s special counsel move could tie up his successor — In video, Trump recycles unsubstantiated voter fraud claims — Psaki, next White House press secretary, a veteran messenger ___ HERE'S WHAT ELSE IS GOING ON: 9:40 p.m. Joe Biden is brushing off concerns by some leading African Americans that the major early picks for his Cabinet have not been diverse enough. During an interview with CNN on Thursday, the president-elect was asked about House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn’s comments that many qualified Black people have been passed over in the picks Biden has made so far. Biden responded that the eight choices he’s made “were the most diverse Cabinet anyone in American history has ever announced” and included five people of colour and three white people, as well as five women and three men. Biden also said he’d be meeting with NAACP leadership next Tuesday. He says he understands “their job is to push me.” “Every special interest -- and I don’t say that in a negative way -- every advocacy group out there, is pushing for more, more, more of what they want. That’s their job,” Biden said. “My job is to keep my commitment.” He added: “I promise you you’ll see the most diverse Cabinet.” ___ 9:30 p.m. President-elect Joe Biden says he’s received private congratulatory calls from several Republican senators who have refused to publicly acknowledge his victory in fear of aggravating President Donald Trump. Speaking to CNN on Thursday, Biden says, “There have been more than several sitting Republican senators who have privately called me and congratulated me.” As Trump continues to falsely claim victory and push unsubstantiated claims of fraud, Biden said the lawmakers “get put in a very tough position.” He predicted that the situation will improve, with “at least a significant portion of the leadership,” after the Electoral College meets on Dec. 14. Biden acknowledged that the Senate is a more partisan place than when he left it in 2009, but predicted it would still be possible to effectively legislate. ___ 8:45 p.m. Members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus have made a fresh push for President-elect Joe Biden to nominate New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham as health and human services secretary. The lawmakers also encouraged Biden’s team to tap either California Attorney General Xavier Becerra or Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez for attorney general, according to a person on the Thursday virtual conference call who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss it. Several members spoke up for Lujan Grisham, who is apparently no longer in top running for the post. One lawmaker, Democratic Rep. Ben Ray Lujan of New Mexico, told Biden’s team that news leaks about her turning down another Cabinet job were inappropriate, the person on the call said. Biden’s chief of staff, Ron Klain, who was on the call with other transition team officials, agreed, the person said. He told them it should not have happened. The lawmakers are pressing to have Latinos in at least five Cabinet positions and fill 20% of the administrative appointments, reflective of their population. — By AP Congressional Correspondent Lisa Mascaro ___ 6:40 p.m. Joe Biden says reports that President Donald Trump may be exploring preemptive pardons to protect his children, key aides and perhaps even himself from prosecution after he leaves office concern “me a great deal.” The president-elect told CNN on Thursday that he’s worried about “what kind of precedent it sets, and how the rest of the world looks at us as a nation of laws and justice.” Biden vowed to ensure that his own Justice Department operates independently. Trump has frequently pressured the agency to do his bidding. “I’m not going to be telling them what they have to do and don’t have to do,” Biden said. Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris said any decisions coming out of the Biden administration’s DOJ “should be based on facts, it should be based on the law. It should not be influenced by politics, period.” Biden added, “I guarantee you that’s how it will be run.” ___ 6:35 p.m. President Donald Trump and the Republican National Committee have raised an eye-popping $495 million since mid-October, with much taken in after Election Day as the president fundraised off his baseless allegations of widespread election fraud. The sum includes money raised by the Trump campaign, the RNC, their two joint fundraising committees and the president’s new political action committee, named “Save America.” Much of the money was raised during the closing weeks of the campaign. But $207.5 million came in after Election Day as Trump repeatedly – and falsely – claimed President-elect Joe Biden won due to voter fraud. Trump has spent millions on filing legal challenges and pushing for recounts after his Nov. 3 loss, but the largess is likely to be spent elsewhere. Some is being funneled to Georgia, where Republicans are aiming to hold onto two Senate seats — and control of the chamber — in twin Jan. 5 runoffs. Trump’s new PAC also allows him to build up his political bank account as he ponders his future, including a potential run in 2024. So far, the PAC is off to a lacklustre start. Despite the windfall, Save America reported in a campaign finance disclosure Thursday that it raised only $569,000 from its launch after Election Day through Nov. 23. ___ 5:35 p.m. President-elect Joe Biden says he is keeping Dr. Anthony Fauci on as a chief medical adviser and a member of his COVID-19 advisory team. Biden made the comments Thursday during an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper. He said he spoke with Fauci earlier in the day about the need to instil confidence in any coronavirus vaccine and the fact that “you don’t have to close down the economy” to combat the virus. Biden says he’d be “happy” to get a vaccine in public to prove its safety. The president-elect also said he would ask the public to wear masks for 100 days to help drive down the spread of the virus, which has killed more than 275,000 Americans. ___ 5:10 p.m. Attorney General William Barr is coming under criticism from members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus who are demanding a full review of the presidential election won by Joe Biden. Several Freedom Caucus members aligned with President Donald Trump stood outside the Capitol on Thursday saying Barr needs to quickly explain what he is doing to investigate the vote. Barr said this week that the Department of Justice has not seen evidence of widespread voter fraud. Ohio Rep. Warren Davidson says, “It’s time, Mr. Attorney General. Please do your duty.” Florida Rep. Ted Yoho says, “We’ll accept the results, but not until we’re shown the fraud was taken out of that.” Trump has refused to accept results showing that he is the first incumbent since George H.W. Bush in 1992 to lose reelection. Biden won 306 electoral votes compared to 232 for Trump. The Electoral College split matches Trump’s victory over Hillary Clinton four years ago, which he described then as a “landslide.” ___ 2:10 p.m. Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo has knocked down talk that she is in the running for President-elect Joe Biden’s secretary of health and human services. Speaking Thursday afternoon at a weekly briefing on the status of the pandemic in Rhode Island, Raimondo took a few moments at the end of her prepared remarks to rule herself out of that job. “I am not going to be President-elect Biden’s nominee for HHS secretary,” Raimondo said. “My focus is right here in Rhode Island, as I have said. I’m working 24/7 to keep Rhode Islanders safe and keeping our economy moving, and I have nothing else to add on that topic.” The governor in recent days had been mentioned as a leading contender for the job, along with former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, co-chair of Biden’s coronavirus task force. ___ 12:25 p.m. President-elect Joe Biden has tapped former Obama administration senior economic adviser Brian Deese to be director of the National Economic Council. Deese is now the managing director and global head of sustainable investing at the BlackRock company. He worked on the auto bailout and environmental issues in the Obama White House, where he held the title of deputy director of both the NEC and the Office of Management and Budget. Biden said Thursday in a prerecorded video announcing the appointment that Deese is “someone who looks at hard problems and finds solutions that help make life better for American families.” Biden highlighted Deese’s expertise on climate policy, as he looks to make the issue a centerpiece of his White House agenda. ___ 8:35 a.m. Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris is hiring veteran Democratic strategist Tina Flournoy as her chief of staff. President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team announced the choice Thursday. Flournoy’s appointment adds to a team of Harris advisers led by Black women. Harris is of Jamaican and Indian heritage and is the nation’s first female vice-president. Flournoy joins Ashley Etienne as Harris’ communications director and Symone Sanders as her chief spokeswoman. Flournoy has served as chief of staff for former President Bill Clinton since 2013. That follows a career that took her to top posts at the Democratic National Committee, in the presidential campaigns of former Vice-President Al Gore and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and with the American Federation of Teachers. Harris also announced Rohini Kosoglu as her domestic policy adviser and Nancy McEldowney as her national security adviser. Kosoglu served as Harris’ top adviser during the general election campaign. McEldowney is a former ambassador to Bulgaria and has 30 years of service in various diplomatic and foreign affairs jobs. The Associated Press
ABBOTSFORD, B.C. — Police in Abbotsford, B.C., say a federal inmate is back in custody following a brief escape. They say in a statement that they responded to a report of shots fired Thursday just before 3 p.m. Police say Correctional Service Canada officers were escorting a federal offender to a medical appointment when he escaped. Police say that while officers tried to apprehend the offender, a correctional officer shot a gun but no one was injured. They say the inmate, who was not identified, was found with the help of police, police dogs and an RCMP helicopter. Police say the public is not at risk and major crime detectives are investigating. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 3, 2020. The Canadian Press