The COVID-19 situation is relatively stable in Ontario and better in Quebec compared to a month ago, and it's important to look at the trend of cases, says epidemiologist and cardiologist Dr. Christopher Labos.
The COVID-19 situation is relatively stable in Ontario and better in Quebec compared to a month ago, and it's important to look at the trend of cases, says epidemiologist and cardiologist Dr. Christopher Labos.
There’s cheer and laughter as community members trim the trio of Christmas trees on the stage in Brighton’s Memorial Park one recent chilly November evening. With the frosty branches, sparkling lights and shiny ornaments, the setting will provide a picturesque backdrop when Santa Claus comes to town next month. It’s also giving downtown Brighton a festive feel. From hosting Old St. Nick, to launching a new shop local incentive to introducing a holiday decorating contest, the Municipality of Brighton, the Downtown Business Improvement Area (DBIA) and others are kicking off the holiday season. Uniting each of these initiatives is the theme of supporting the Brighton business community as much as possible – whether it’s warming up with a hot chocolate, stopping by to wave to Santa or finding the perfect gifts. Ben Hagerman, Brighton’s economic development and communications manager, is hopeful a new initiative, made possible through a Bay of Quinte Tourism sponsorship, will kick-start local holiday shopping. “It’s a little bit of out-of-the-box thinking,” Hagerman said. Shoppers spend $200 on holiday gifts at Brighton businesses and submit a photo of their receipts that total $200 or more to the municipality and the first 11 people to do so will each receive five free garbage bag tags, which are valued at $4 each. “Basically, you get back 10 per cent (of the $200 spent), which is kind of nice.” The incentive kicks off this week. “We’d really like it to be gift-oriented,” Hagerman noted. Instead of leaving Brighton or shopping from big retailers online, he’s optimistic that this will entice people to spend their holiday dollars here. “It’s about using the businesses and services we have locally to complete your Christmas shopping list as best as you can. I’d like to see people go into local restaurants and buy gift cards for people. I’d like to see people utilizing our wonderful boutiques in our downtown core whether it’s ladies’ wear, shoes or books. We’ve also got a great selection of retail up in the industrial park. There’s so much to offer…by shopping right where you live,” Hagerman said. As the owner of a Brighton-based business, Sheryl Delorme said the experience of shopping local can’t be matched. “The personalized approach, better customer service, the one-on-one connection that is created is worth its weight in gold,” said Delorme, Special Effects Lifestyle Boutique’s artist, designer and redesign specialist. “When you get to know the person behind the business, you appreciate their passion, their motivation and desire to create something truly exclusive. The investment far outreaches the product or service that you may have purchased. These solitary businesses also invest back into their community by sponsoring many local initiatives and events -- in the neighbourhood of about 48 per cent is returned back to the very place you call home,” she said. “This movement of supporting small business creates a certain flavour, a kinship that can only be created by offering your heart and soul to the cause. This is not a get-rich quick scheme or a one-shot deal, it's a commitment to create something real, something lasting for the neighbourhood that you reside in.” To get residents into the festive spirit, Brighton also launched a holiday decorating contest Nov. 20, which runs through to Dec. 14. Business owners and homeowners are encouraged to decorate their storefronts and homes and share photos of their displays for a chance to win pre-paid VISA gift cards to use at local businesses. There will be a total of 30 winners – 15 from the urban area and 15 from rural parts of the municipality. The DBIA and the municipality have each donated 15 $100 gift cards intended for use in the downtown core. Upload a photo to the municipality’s website Winners will be chosen through a random draw. Finally, to engage Brighton’s children in holiday fun, Santa Claus is slated to stop by Memorial Park on Dec. 5 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. “I think this year, more than ever, Santa in Brighton will bring a sense of normalcy to our younger citizens,” said Sarah Hilwerda, chair of the DBIA. “Even a wave and wink from the fella in the red suit will do just fine for the time-being. Physical distancing protocols will of course be in place but it’s the best we can do. A lot of folks aren’t in a position to take their kids shopping to the big box stores or the mall this year, so our downtown will provide a safe place to see Santa,” Hilwerda said. She reminded youngsters to be sure to bring their letters for St. Nick. Natalie Hamilton, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Northumberland News
As COVID-19 cases continue to surge across the province, the Alberta government is expected to introduce further measures to slow the spread of the disease.A meeting of the priorities implementation cabinet committee was scheduled for Monday afternoon to discuss options, according to the premier's office. The committee normally includes Premier Jason Kenney and the ministers of environment, finance, energy, innovation, health, justice, and children's services.Monday's meeting also included the ministers of municipal affairs, labour, and education.Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta's chief medical officer of health, cut her COVID-19 update short on Monday to attend the meeting but said little about what could be in store for Albertans."My role, again, is simply to provide recommendations," she told reporters.Speaking outside the legislative assembly, Health Minister Tyler Shandro said the cabinet would look to Hinshaw's advice for direction."I can say this, that we are taking these rising numbers very seriously," he said.COVID-19 cases have continued to rise rapidly, with new daily cases passing the 1,500 threshold for the past two days. As of Monday, Alberta had 13,166 active cases. more than any other province in Canada.The Official Opposition has hounded the government in recent weeks to introduce further measures.On Nov. 12, the government introduced measures in major population centres that require bars and licensed restaurants to stop serving alcohol at 10 p.m. and to close an hour later. It also prohibited group fitness programs.Businesses would struggle through shutdownBusinesses are bracing for new restrictions. When Pigs Fly has sold gifts and trinkets from its storefront on Edmonton's Whyte Avenue for more than 25 years.Decorations are already up at the store in preparation for the Christmas season. Manager Tara Chekowski said the next few weeks are crucial for revenue to carry through the slower months of January through March."This is our time of the year that we need to be open and we need to be selling items," she said.With the possibility of new restrictions, Chekowski said the business is at least better prepared than it was at the beginning of the pandemic last spring. She intends to enter more items into the online store and hopes curbside pickup and delivery will be allowed."Unfortunately, if there is a shutdown we're going to have to take that in stride," she said.Kyle Murray, vice dean of the University of Alberta's Alberta School of Business, said many retailers are already struggling to find a way forward through the pandemic."If we can shut down for a short period of time, and as a result of that save lives … that's a good outcome," he said. "And I think most businesses are OK with that."But long-term shutdowns spurred by an increasingly dire pandemic could make things much worse, Murray warned."Any kind of shutdown is difficult. There's no easy decision here."Alberta announced on Monday it would open applications for a second round of its Small and Medium Enterprise Relaunch Grant. The payment will be available to businesses in areas on the provincial watch list that have health restrictions.Community spread in schoolsA report from the Edmonton Public School Board on the impact of COVID-19 on the first quarter showed 10,500 students and 1,075 staff were recommended or required to self-isolate. Cases were found in 111 of the division's 215 schools."It's clear the same COVID numbers that are happening in the community are happening in our schools," said trustee Michael Janz, who requested the report in October. He said staff are doing everything they can to prevent the spread of the virus within schools.Janz was critical of the government's communication about its future plans."We need as much notice as possible for whatever they are deciding," he said. "And it's not fair to 100,000 students, staff and families in Edmonton public schools to make them wait. "Tell us now. Get us the information as soon as possible."Colin Aitchison, press secretary for Education Minister Adrianna LaGrange, said in an emailed statement that the ministry was following Hinshaw's advice and was ready to make changes based on that advice."We are in regular contact with education partners, including school boards across Alberta, to deal with the challenges that arise during learning in a COVID-19 environment," he said.Hinshaw said Monday there were active alerts or outbreaks in 304 Alberta schools — about 13 per cent of the total."I am confident that because of the diligence of our schools, parents, guardians and students, the number of cases in schools will remain stable," she said.
WESTWOOD, Mass. — “Parting is such sweet sorrow” — especially for a theatre troupe hoping to stage a live performance of “Romeo & Juliet” in the middle of a pandemic that has closed schools and required social distancing.The solution, at least for high school students in the Boston suburb of Westwood? Make a movie version instead.This fall, the Westwood Stage cast has been recording themselves reciting lines from William Shakespeare's timeless story of star-crossed lovers. The audio tracks will then be set to images from a graphic novel version of the play.Producing an animated film meant students didn’t have to worry about memorizing lines, costume changes or many of the other things that go into a live theatrical performance.But it was still an interesting challenge to focus almost completely on their voice work, said Lucy Vitali, a 16-year-old junior who plays Juliet.“This was definitely a good one to do Shakespeare for,” agreed Ryan Kaplan, a 15-year-old sophomore who plays the friar. “The focus is much more on the words and the terminology, which is what Shakespeare is all about.”For Cassidy Hall, a 17-year-old senior who plays the nurse, the chance to remain active in theatre, even in a modest way, has been a welcome dose of normalcy. She’s among the students who have opted to study at home rather than attend in-person classes this year, so her interaction with peers has been limited.“It’s something I really look forward to,” she said. “Just to be able to rehearse with everyone.”Cast members said there was never any doubt they’d find a way to perform this fall. After all, their musical production of “The Addams Family” last spring was cancelled following its opening night performance because the state shuttered schools, businesses and many other institutions for weeks during the initial wave of the virus.Jim Howard, the school’s drama teacher, said he turned to the animated film idea after it became clear that performing the play live wouldn’t be possible under the state’s current guidelines, which require 6 feet (two meters) of separation between performers.“How do you do Romeo and Juliet at 6 feet?” he said. “It’s a love story. They dance. There’s fighting. There’s a lot of physical interaction.”Howard said he found an illustrated version of the play by Classical Comics, a British imprint, while searching online, and the creators readily agreed to let the students use the images for their project.Over the last few months, the cast has spent three days a week rehearsing their lines and getting acclimated to the quirks of the Bard's English before laying down audio tracks in the school’s closet-sized, soundproof music rehearsal rooms.They wrapped up recording last week, but not before a small setback: The school was forced to close for in-person classes recently after some students — none in the cast — contracted COVID-19.Howard said he’ll now send the best of the audio tracks to a technician who will merge them with the comic book images. He expects the finished product will run about an hour long and be ready sometime next month.Since a proper premiere isn’t possible under pandemic restrictions, the cast of 20 is planning to gather in the school’s auditorium for a viewing. The film will also be posted on the troupe's website, where Howard hopes it can replicate some of the joy and community of live theatre.“There's a great opportunity, at a time that is so difficult, to have some pride in our town and smile a little,” he said. “Because we all need that. Even if it's behind our masks."___“One Good Thing” is a series that highlights individuals whose actions provide glimmers of joy in hard times — stories of people who find a way to make a difference, no matter how small. Read the collection of stories at https://apnews.com/hub/one-good-thing.Philip Marcelo, The Associated Press
Penetanguishene council could approve an interim 2021 property tax levy this week. Staff is bringing forward the request at Wednesday's meeting and recommending that council approve a temporary tax levy, which can be paid in two installments, one at the end of February and the other at the end of April. The report does not specify the levy amount but it does state that the sum cannot exceed 50% of the total amount of taxes for municipal and school purposes levied on the property in the previous year. The move, says the report, will help with cash management and provide tax revenues in February and April, whereas the final tax levy will provide revenues in July and September. Also on the committee of the whole agenda is a staff report on the extension of the sidewalk on the west side of Peel Street, between Main Street and Simcoe Street, to enable a sidewalk snowplow to remove the snow from that area. The costs associated with the extension of the sidewalk would be approximately $15,000. The extension would also mean existing parking signs within this area will be removed and relocated with pavement markings will be added to define the new sidewalk and parking area. There is sufficient width within this one-way section of Peel Street to accommodate the expansion. Council will also be looking at amendments to the bylaw that governs its contract with the Penetanguishene Curling Club, which has requested some changes to the agreement. The current terms require that the club to provide the town with audited financial statements on an annual basis. As a cost savings measure, the club has requested that the town reconsider that requirement and change it to a review engagement. Staff are supporting the amendment and want to include wording that reflects expanded town use of the facility during the summer. Currently the clause details town use of the facility with reference to day-camp operations. The language will be changed to reflect use of the facility for town programming in general, as opposed to being specific to day-camp use. The committee of the whole meeting begins immediately after the regular council meeting at 7 p.m. and can be viewed online via the town's YouTube channel.Mehreen Shahid, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, OrilliaMatters.com
When Canadian trade negotiators begin talks with the United Kingdom next year on a permanent bilateral trade deal, their hands could be tied when it comes to offering any future dairy, egg or poultry concessions — if Parliament passes a new private member's bill that saw its first hour of debate on Tuesday.Bloc Québécois MP Louis Plamondon's legislation, Bill C-216, would amend the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Act to state that the minister "must not make any commitment ... by future trade treaty or agreement" that would increase the tariff rate quota (TRQ) applicable to dairy products, poultry or eggs, or reduce the tariff applicable to those goods when they are imported in excess of that quota.Canada protects its agriculture supply management system for these commodities by carefully controlling access to its domestic market. Only small quantities of imports are allowed under strict international quotas — TRQs — with high tariffs keeping any extra imports above and beyond these quotas from being cost-competitive.But the three major trade deals implemented by the Liberal government over the last four years — the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) with the European Union, the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) with 10 other Pacific Rim markets and, most recently, the revised North American Free Trade Agreement (the new NAFTA) — all offered new access to Canada's domestic market, among other concessions required to land these deals."Something very important for milk and egg and poultry production is given away as a token and nothing comes back for those producers, so we say in the law that this should not happen anymore," Bloc Leader Yves-François Blanchet told CBC News last week."[The Liberal government says,] 'Oh, we will will compensate you. And you know what? They don't."No word on NAFTA compensationA few weeks before the 2019 general election, Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau announced compensation for dairy farmers to cover their anticipated losses from CETA and CPTPP, which were already both in effect at the time. That financial assistance rolled out last winter.Help has also been pledged to compensate for the even larger concessions in the new NAFTA but nothing further has been announced. American farmers got access to a greater share of Canada's starting July 1 — and the new NAFTA also dictates how dairy ingredients can be priced and slapped strict export limits on sensitive global commodities like skim milk powder and baby formula.Blanchet slammed Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland for taking so long to present her fall economic update and said her spending plan must include the NAFTA compensation farmers anxiously anticipate."This money is owed, is expected [and] is terribly late," he said.Freeland announced Monday that she'll present her update on Nov. 30.Bill could block British demandsIf Plamondon's legislation garners enough support to pass in this Parliament before the next election, the first trade negotiation it could affect is talks between Canada and the United Kingdom to reach a permanent, comprehensive deal to liberalize their bilateral trade post-Brexit.On Saturday, prime ministers and trade ministers from both sides announced they'd reached agreement on a transitional deal to offer continuity for businesses by continuing most of the terms of the CETA past Jan.1, when it was otherwise set to expire because the U.K. is no longer an EU member.The government won't release details of exactly what's in that transitional agreement until the legal text is ready, which usually takes another two to four weeks. But Doug Forsyth, Canada's lead negotiator in the talks, confirmed previously that the British were seeking additional tariff-free access to Canada's cheese market."I want to be very clear that there is no new market access for cheese here in this transition agreement," International Trade Minister Mary Ng told CBC News at Saturday's announcement.But yesterday at the Commons trade committee, Ng's parliamentary secretary, Rachel Bendayan, said that language in the transitional deal commits both sides to returning to the table to reach what Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has called a "bespoke" bilateral deal by 2024.That means the British could make another play to get more U.K. cheeses into Canada."By 2024, Canada will have transferred 18 per cent of its domestic dairy production to dairy farmers in other countries ... that will displace our domestic products on the grocery shelves," said Pierre Lampron, the president of the Dairy Farmers of Canada, in a statement sent to CBC News last weekend. "Another concession as part of a trade agreement with the U.K. would have been dramatic for the industry."Officials had told us there would be no further concessions, and they followed through, but we must remain vigilant as this is a provisional agreement."Vote unclearBased on remarks made during Tuesday's first hour of debate, it appears Conservative MPs may not support this bill, but a party spokesperson has yet to comment on it or confirm how the Official Opposition will vote.In an email to CBC News, party spokesperson Melanie Richer said New Democrats agree with the Bloc that compensation has been slow to roll out, adding that "the Liberals added insult to injury by bringing CUSMA into effect several weeks earlier than promised, robbing Canadian dairy farmers of a full year to prepare for the change in their local markets.""New Democrats have consistently decried the damage done to Canada's dairy sector in successive trade deals and we have said we would not do the same," Richer said. "This bill would add legal force to that position."Youmy Han, a spokesperson for Trade Minister Ng, said the government is still studying the bill and would not say how Liberal MPs might vote."We have been clear: our government will not grant any further market access in our supply-managed sectors in any future trade negotiation," Han said.MPs will vote on the bill at second reading after its second hour of debate, expected later this winter.
Stratégie Carrière mise sur la régionalisation de l’immigration et tente de convaincre des familles montréalaises de s’établir dans la région. L’objectif: combler les besoins en main-d’œuvre des entreprises locales, mais aussi de lutter contre la dévitalisation de cette région où la moyenne d’âge est l’une des plus élevées au Québec. Stratégie Carrière vient, en ce sens, de recevoir une aide de près de 120 000 $ sur trois ans du ministère de l’Immigration, de la Francisation et de l’Intégration (MIFI). L’initiative n’est ni nouvelle ni unique ; nombre de régions québécoises tentent le coup. À Trois-Rivières comme ailleurs, les efforts semblent peu à peu produire des résultats. Stratégie Carrière convainc, chaque année, une quinzaine de familles immigrantes de s’établir en Mauricie avec, à la clé, un emploi gardé au chaud. Beaucoup viennent de France, du continent africain et de l’Amérique latine, précise Luce Ricard, chargée de projet — régionalisation chez Stratégie Carrière. « Ils finissent toujours par trouver un emploi. Malgré la pandémie, il y a des secteurs qui ont le vent dans les voiles, comme le domaine du textile, de la désinfection des locaux par pulvérisateur et dans le domaine de la santé et de l’éducation. On réussit à placer nos candidats et à leur trouver un salaire parfois plus attrayant que celui de la PCU, récemment rebaptisé», indique Luce Ricard. Convaincre les familles Pour convaincre des familles immigrantes établies à Montréal d’accorder leur faveur aux régions, Stratégie Carrière entretient des liens serrés avec quatre organismes de la métropole. Parmi eux, Carrefour Blé, Promis, Collectif, et Alpa. L’organisation trifluvienne collabore aussi en Mauricie avec le Service d’accueil des nouveaux arrivants et la Ville de Trois-Rivières. La pandémie est toutefois venue brouiller les projets de Stratégie Carrière. La directrice de l’organisme constate que les nouveaux arrivants sont souvent ceux qui perdent leur emploi en premier. «Par contre, il y a certains secteurs qui sont encore pénurie de main-d’œuvre et ça nous permet de les replacer rapidement », assure Annie Jean. Il est clair que la pandémie aura joué les trouble-fêtes, à plus d’un titre. Les salons de l’emploi sont à proscrire, les déplacements déconseillés, les rencontres en personne aussi. L’organisme devra nul doute revoir ses objectifs à la baisse. « Dans le contexte actuel, c’est un peu une boule de cristal. On essaie d’extrapoler en fonction de nos références antérieures, mais il est difficile de savoir comment va réagir le marché du travail et comment va s’articuler la reprise économique. On est un peu dans l’œil du cyclone. Quand on va en émerger, on sera en mesure de mieux diriger nos efforts, explique Annie Jean. Le ministère comprend bien la situation .» Pour l’heure, Stratégie Carrière demeure donc en mode veille, mais continue de vanter les mérites de la région et de ses entreprises. « On fait valoir le fait que c’est une ville à échelle humaine, qu’il y a de grands espaces, un atout non négligeable en ces temps de COVID-19. Il y a une vitalité économique, tout le réseau scolaire et une qualité de vie. On est en train de semer. C’est un travail de long terme. Quand les gens viennent ici, ils se rendent compte qu’ils y gagnent », conclut Mme Jean.Boris Chassagne, Initiative de journalisme local, La Voix du Sud
P.E.I. Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison is urging Islanders not to travel during the upcoming Christmas holidays. During her weekly COVID-19 update Tuesday, Morrison also asked Islanders to limit their number of close contacts as new cases of COVID-19 climb across Canada. She said while there are no new cases of COVID-19 on P.E.I. to report at the moment and the number of active cases has fallen to just one, it is likely the Island will have cases related to public exposure in Atlantic Canada as the days go on.For now, Morrison is advising people to travel off the Island only for essential purposes. Those reasons include: * Medical and dental appointments off the Island * Court dates * Specialized animal care * Delivery of goods * Child custody arrangements * Compassionate visitationThose who must travel to P.E.I. for work do not need to apply for pre-travel approval, said Morrison, adding that they will be automatically eligible to work-isolate. Picking up off-Island studentsFamilies of students attending university elsewhere in Atlantic Canada can still go pick them up without having to isolate on return as long as it's a short trip, Morrison said.She said everyone in the car must be masked and the driver should not stop for meals or gas while away from the Island. Upon returning home, the students will still need to isolate for 14 days. Parents and other family members should follow all health measures carefully. She said more information will be provided online about how to do this safely.Testing advised for patrons of N.S. barsMorrison is also recommending testing for anyone who has been to a licensed bar or restaurant in Halifax after 10 p.m. in the last two weeks — even if they don't have symptoms.Health PEI Chief of Nursing Marion Dowling was also at the briefing. She said a list has been compiled of staff who have travelled outside of the province within the past 14 days. Dowling said they have been given instructions to closely follow, including using PPE, observing physical distancing standards and monitoring themselves for symptoms.Those scheduled for non-urgent procedures but have travelled outside P.E.I. within the last seven days will also be called to discuss and possibly postpone the procedures for now, she said. Sign language interpreter presentOf special note for Islanders who are deaf or hard of hearing, a sign language interpreter was at this week's briefing for the first time. She was visible for those monitoring the government's stream of the event. During an unscheduled COVID-19 briefing Monday, Premier Dennis King announced that P.E.I. is leaving the Atlantic bubble for at least two weeks because of an upsurge in cases diagnosed in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. There is one active COVID-19 cases on P.E.I. The province has seen a total of 69 cases, with no deaths and no hospitalizations.More from CBC P.E.I.
HOUSTON — The U.S. government has agreed temporarily not to deport detained immigrant women who have alleged being abused by a rural Georgia gynecologist, according to court papers filed Tuesday.In a motion that must still be approved by a federal judge, the Justice Department and lawyers for several of the women agreed that immigration authorities would not carry out any deportations until mid-January.Dozens of women have alleged that they were mistreated by Dr. Mahendra Amin, a gynecologist who was seeing patients from the Irwin County Detention Center in Ocilla, Georgia. The Justice Department is conducting a criminal investigation, and the Department of Homeland Security's inspector general is investigating as well. Amin has denied any wrongdoing through his lawyer.Several women say they have faced retaliation by immigration authorities for coming forward. One woman has said that hours after she spoke to investigators, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement notified her that it had lifted a hold on her deportation. Another woman was taken to an airport to be placed on a deportation flight before her lawyers could intervene.The agreement filed in court Tuesday proposes that no deportations would take place until at least mid-January for women who have “substantially similar factual allegations.”Elora Mukherjee, a Columbia University law professor working with several of the women, said the agreement gives the women "a measure of protection for trying to expose the abuses there.”“ICE and others at Irwin thought they could silence these women,” she said. “They thought they could act with impunity and nothing would ever happen. But the women have organized and had the audacity to speak out.”ICE said Tuesday that it “complies with all binding court orders.” The agency has previously denied allegations that it tried to deport women to silence them, saying in a written statement: “Any implication that ICE is attempting to impede the investigation by conducting removals of those being interviewed is completely false.”Scott Grubman, a lawyer for Amin, did not immediately respond to an email requesting comment.The allegations were originally revealed by a whistleblower complaint. Further investigations have found several examples of Amin performing surgeries on women who later said they didn't consent to the procedures or didn't fully understand them.Grubman has denied any wrongdoing by the doctor and previously described Amin as a “highly respected physician who has dedicated his adult life to treating a high-risk, underserved population in rural Georgia.”Nomaan Merchant, The Associated Press
Despite a drop in the number of farms across Canada, female representation among farmers has actually increased, according to data collected in the 2016 Census of Agriculture by Statistics Canada. In fact, female representation in agriculture has been on the rise since the First World War. When facing an agricultural labour shortage, the Ontario government initiated the Farm Service Corps and recruited women to replace the ranks of men who were shipped off to war. In 1918, 2,400 "Farmerettes" (as the women were known) harvested fruit in Niagara. In 1996, women represented 25.3 per cent of Canadian farmers. Two decades later, in 2016, that percentage rose to sit at 28.7, accounting for 77,830 farmers. However, numbers tell of a more dismal story once you zoom into Niagara Region where the representation of female farmers has actually been falling dramatically since 2006. Back then, there were 1,035 female farm operators to just 795 a decade later — a decrease of 23.19 per cent. In the face of increasing female representation across Canada yet decreasing female representation on a local scale, Niagara This Week is profiling three Niagara women in agriculture in its three-part WomenInAg series that launches Nov. 23 and runs over three consecutive days. The WomenInAg series addresses both the challenges and successes of women getting their hands dirty with cultivation, raising livestock and turning grapes into wine — all from the female perspective. On Monday, you'll get to read about Britney Condotta of Cultivate Niagara, who found her way into agriculture by wanting to grow the food for a restaurant she originally started at Honsberger Estate Winery in Jordan Station. Then, on Tuesday, Juliet Orazietti of Linc Farm takes you into the pasture in Niagara-on-the-Lake while she navigates the challenges of breaking into farming as a young woman without land of her own — yet. Finally, on Wednesday, Sue-Ann Staff of Sue-Ann Staff Estate Winery in Jordan talks about being a businesswomen and the hard work it requires to be successful in the wine industry. At the beginning of this year, the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) surveyed its members and found that 67 per cent of female farmers reported having been disrespected because of their gender, whereas only two per cent of male farmers indicated the same. Peggy Brekveld, an OFA vice-president and an advocate for women in agriculture, says even in modern times, there are still gender barriers such as those facing women with dual roles of family caretaker and farmer. “I think the fact that we are talking about it means that people are noticing, and that makes a difference,” she said. Getting women into agriculture, she says, is a case of presenting role models and encouraging agriculture as a way of life with plenty of opportunities. “I think a lot of it though comes down to having examples of women who are farming,” she said.Jordan Snobelen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Niagara this Week
As Yukon health officials investigate a flurry of new COVID-19 cases, one Whitehorse business owner says he feels his establishment is being unfairly singled out as a potential exposure site."Since March, we've had 40,000 check-ins through this facility. There's three cases that are linked to us," said Jim Oster, owner of Better Bodies, a gym in Whitehorse."So you know, I just don't understand that our name gets [dragged] through the mud."Last week, health officials identified Better Bodies as one of several potential exposure sites associated with a confirmed case of COVID-19 in Whitehorse. The exposure notice listed specific time periods and advised people who had been in those places at those times to get tested if they develop symptoms.Another potential exposure notice for Better Bodies was issued a couple of days later along with the announcement of more new COVID-19 cases. A third potential exposure notice for the gym came over the weekend.Oster voluntarily closed his business for three days to do a "deep cleaning" before a planned reopening on Tuesday morning.He said he's heard from people saying he should shut his business down during the pandemic, but he considers his facility an essential service for people's mental health."To be honest with you, I don't really care about somebody sitting on their couch eating chips or whatever, reading Facebook and pretending that they're experts on everything," he said."We're talking about a less than one per cent infection rate, and we're telling people not to be healthy, not to be active? To sit in their house and don't do anything? It is absolutely ridiculous."Oster said his business has followed all public health guidelines throughout the pandemic, keeping gym equipment well-spaced and disinfecting it often."I mean, you walk into the building, it smells like bleach."Oster said any potential COVID-19 exposure is not the fault of his gym. He said people need to take more responsibility for themselves. "There are people that work out together. They drive down here in the same car. They walk in, we're supposed to separate them, then they leave and they jump back in the same car and go to the same parties and hang out together," he said."That doesn't make sense to me, how we can be picked, that we're the exposure site, and these people hang out together."'Better to be safe than sorry'Meantime, other Yukon businesses are also dealing with potential COVID-19 exposures after months without any new cases in the territory. Since Friday, there have been 12 new cases confirmed in Yukon, and two more were considered probable cases on Monday.Sam Taneja, owner of Tony's Pasta & Seafood House in Whitehorse, said he also decided to shut down for four days of cleaning after his restaurant was identified as a potential exposure site one evening last week.Taneja said Friday it was a tough decision to temporarily close and lose some lucrative bookings, but it was about "social responsibility.""This is the busiest time of the year, and we were pretty busy," said Taneja. "It's better to be safe than sorry. That's all I think. Money is not everything."Yukon-based airline Air North also issued a potential exposure notice, associated with two flights in mid-November between Whitehorse and Vancouver. Passengers in certain rows on those flights were advised that they were at risk of exposure to someone who later tested positive for COVID-19."You know, generally speaking, the health professionals seem to regard this as fairly low-risk for passengers or crew," said Air North president Joe Sparling."But we felt it was appropriate to notify passengers in the affected rows and put a notice on our website."
Andrew Cuomo receives International Emmy for televised coronavirus briefings; "Jeopardy!" champion Ken Jennings will be interim show host; Bruce the shark from 'Jaws' moved into the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in Los Angeles. (Nov. 24)
They may be one of Hollywood’s most beloved couples, but Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn have never felt the pressure to use that unmatched chemistry for the big screen time and time again. Since 1987's “Overboard," they’ve received hundreds of opportunities to reunite in a film. Although none seemed quite right until another longtime, A-list pair landed at their feet: Santa and Mrs. Claus.The film is “The Christmas Chronicles: Part Two,” a sequel to the 2018 Netflix picture that introduced Russell as a Santa who's more superhero-meets-Elvis speedracing his sled than jolly old Saint Nick sitting by a fire. At the urging of Chris Columbus, who produced the first, Hawn appeared as Mrs. Claus in a cameo at the end.“When Goldie appeared on screen, she brought the house down,” said Columbus, who stepped up to direct this one. “We knew we had to do the next one with Goldie, if she would do it, if she would have us.”It debuts on Netflix on Wednesday right in time for Thanksgiving. And, unsurprisingly, the Clauses have never looked better.This wasn’t some slapdash, stunt Christmas cash grab, either. It was born of a genuine love of the holiday and became a deeply personal endeavour for all three.Christmas was big in the Russell and Columbus houses growing up. Columbus even said he was downright obsessed, although he hated the aluminum tree that his mother used.He had previously set “Gremlins,” which he wrote, and “Home Alone” at Christmastime, but both of those were kind of horror films in different ways — one a horror comedy and the other a horrific situation. In his mind, he’d never made a real Christmas movie, most of which he considers pretty bad. This was chance to unapologetically lean into the yuletide spirit.He and Russell worked on the script for months going deep into character questions about where Santa comes from, how he met Mrs. Claus, how long have they been together and what is their relationship like. Russell even composed a 200-page “bible” as backstory.“Kurt approached this like any actor approaching a great role, which is rare for Santa Claus, if we’re being honest. It's only been played well a couple of times," Columbus said. “And this is the great one right here.”That seriousness extended to Mrs. Claus, who they crafted into a pillar of strength and love. Hawn wanted to ensure that she did more than bake cookies too.“There was no Mrs. Claus we could really identify with. She was a character that was iconic for no other reason than she was the wife of Santa,” Hawn said. “I thought, I don’t want to be the one that continues to bring him his slippers. I mean, it’s just not the way women are today.”She was tempted to bring her classic playfulness to the role, but Columbus encouraged her to make this Mrs. Claus a little more grounded.Hawn, who just turned 75 this weekend, is deeply sincere when she says she loves this film and this character. In fact, she took a souvenir from set and plans to hang it in her Aspen house, which she said she’s redoing to make it look like Santa’s Village.Russell can't help but think of his late father Bing Russell, who loved Christmas deeply and helped make the holiday a major event in their household.“I dedicate these to my dad,” Russell said.He’s also excited that their six grandchildren will be able to watch the film and maybe even earn some bragging rights among their peers.“I like the idea that there’s a period of time when those kids can go to school and say, well, my grandmother and grandfather are Mrs. Claus and Santa,” Russell said, beaming. “OK, so top that!”Each film in the Hawn and Russell oeuvre has come at distinctly different phases for the couple. On 1968’s “The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band” they were strangers, on 1984’s “Swing Shift,” they were falling in love and on 1987’s “Overboard” they were becoming a family. Over three decades later, Hawn reflected on where they are now.“This is an interesting phase because there is so much love and history and all the ups and downs of a relationship, and now we’re looking at our grandchildren and these are sort of the special years. And we are looking at fun things to do together, whereas before we were more pulled away by different things,” Hawn said. “It’s a time of friendship, really. I mean, there’s love, but also friendship is very important as you get older: The trust in each other, supporting each other, being there for each other and feeling the safety and the security of that relationship that you’ve worked with and within and all that for close to 40 years.”—-Follow AP Film Writer Lindsey Bahr on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ldbahrLindsey Bahr, The Associated Press
JUNEAU, Alaska — A judge has ruled that the federal government was correct in allowing a southeast Alaska tribe to organize an out-of-season hunt because of the coronavirus pandemic.Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy's administration sued to block future hunts, arguing that permitting a special moose and deer hunt this summer was overreach by federal authorities, CoastAlaska reported Monday.District Court Judge Sharon Gleason denied a preliminary injunction that would have prevented special hunts in the future.The Organized Village of Kake petitioned the Federal Subsistence Board for permission to hunt five deer and two moose out of season and distribute the meat within the community.The federally recognized tribe on Kupreanof Island, south of Juneau, said it was alarmed by the low supply and high price of fresh meat that followed the outbreak of COVID-19.The hunt was approved in June, but Alaska filed a lawsuit alleging federal officials illegally preempted the state’s rights to manage wildlife.Alaska Assistant Attorney General Cheryl Brooking said there are narrow reasons for federal jurisdiction to supersede state management.“When Alaska became a state, one of the main drivers of statehood was to get control over fish and game management because the feds were making a mess of it,” Brooking said. “But since statehood, the state has been the manager of fish and game.”Brooking argued in court filings that the food security issue was never proven and that the federal government exceeded its authority.Gleason's ruling last week said federal officials took conservation and public safety concerns into account when they reached the decision to allow the hunt.State wildlife managers also did not respond when federal officials reached out to them, Gleason wrote.The lawsuit will proceed as both sides file arguments ahead of a final ruling.Kake Tribal President Joel Jackson said Alaska Natives never voluntarily ceded hunting and fishing rights on their traditional homelands and that he considers the matter an issue of tribal sovereignty.“Of course, if we’re in a real bad situation, I wouldn’t hesitate to get a hunting party together, go out and get what we need,” Jackson said. “But I want to stay within the law.”For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.The Associated Press
Juliet Orazietti of Linc Farm in Niagara-on-the-Lake never intended to be a farmer, but standing on 75 acres of land, home to a flock of 150 sheep, around 120 pigs and 16 cows, she’s definitely finding her way. Having spent time during her childhood in British Columbia on her grandparent’s ranch around cattle and horses, Orazietti thought she wanted to be a vet. While earning a degree in applied animal biology, she worked a summer job at Southbrook Vineyards, trying to get 12 sheep to co-operate with a plan to graze cover crops and thin leaves in the vineyard. Though the effort didn’t work (the sheep had other interests), she came to realize that what she really wanted was to work with animals every day. “I fell in love with them,” she said of the sheep. But without a farm to inherit and looking at astronomical land costs, coupled with unwilling banks, Orazietti didn’t think she’d ever be able to run her own farm. Fast forward through an animal breeding and genetics master’s program in Vienna – where she met Martin Weber, now her husband – to the pair accepting an offer to return back to Niagara in 2015 and raise livestock on land owned by, and lying behind, Southbrook. “It’s a great time to be a woman in farming,” Orazietti said, taking a break from moving sheep fencing. While she admits there’s sexism ingrained into farming, she doesn’t believe it’s intentional. Tractors aren’t built to accommodate shorter statures, for example. “Every tractor we own is a bit awkward,” she said of the size. “So my husband does most of the tractor driving.” Good women’s work clothing is hard to come by, and she finds that on a rare occasion, a business transaction might go easier if her husband gets involved. “Which is a bit frustrating,” she said. Overall, though, Orazietti doesn’t believe women are facing any insurmountable hurdles in farming. “I get a lot of ‘sweethearts’ and ‘honeys’ from men who are not my sweethearts,” she said. “I think it also takes a tougher person to be a farmer, and maybe it’s just more water off our backs?” Orazietti finds women tend to be more open-minded, bringing different ideas to the table and coming into farming on their own terms. And at a time when buying local is on everyone’s mind, Orazietti says it’s important for farmers to communicate with the people they feed. “There’s a lot of mistrust out there and a lot of divisiveness,” she said, adding that women seem to be particularly good at communicating and bringing people together. “It takes time to break stereotypes where farming is for men – I think we’re breaking those walls,” she said. Jordan Snobelen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Niagara this Week
LONDON — The parents of a British teen who was killed in a crash lost a court battle with the U.K. government Tuesday over whether an American woman involved in the collision had diplomatic immunity.The family has been seeking justice for 19-year-old Harry Dunn, who died after his motorbike crashed into a car driven on the wrong side of the road outside a U.S. airbase in central England last August.The car’s driver, Anne Sacoolas, left for the U.S. several weeks after the collision. Officials said she was entitled to diplomatic immunity because her husband worked at the airbase.Sacoolas, 43, was charged in December with causing death by dangerous driving, but the U.S. State Department rejected a request to extradite her to Britain to face trial.Dunn’s parents, Charlotte Charles and Tim Dunn, launched the court case to argue that Britain’s Foreign Office wrongly decided Sacoolas had diplomatic immunity and unlawfully obstructed the police investigation into their son’s death. Their lawyer said Sacoolas had “no duties at all” at the base.But two judges rejected that Tuesday, ruling that the American had diplomatic immunity “on arrival in the U.K.” under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, and that she “enjoyed immunity from U.K. criminal jurisdiction at the time of Harry’s death.”The teen’s mother said she was determined to continue finding justice for her son. A family spokesman said they would appeal the ruling.“I promised my boy I would get him justice and that is just what we are going to do. No one is going to stand in our way," she said after the ruling.She was backed by British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, who said he stands with the family.“We’re clear that Anne Sacoolas needs to face justice in the U.K, and we will support the family with their legal claim in the U.S.,” Raab said.Sylvia Hui, The Associated Press
COLUMBIA, S.C. — On the heels of his record-breaking but unsuccessful bid to oust U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina's Jaime Harrison on Tuesday launched a political action committee, utilizing his newly minted status as a fundraising powerhouse to try to provide a sustained boost to other Democrats that he hopes can help flip more areas from red to blue.Dirt Road PAC will focus on long term investments in state-level Democratic candidates and parties like intensive voter registration efforts in areas that have been seen by Democrats as harder to win, Harrison told The Associated Press ahead of the official launch.“The days of just swooping in every few years and putting up a candidate, having no grassroots infrastructure and thinking that we’re going to win - that’s just not working,” Harrison told the AP on Monday. “I’m going to focus on investing and doing it in a much deeper manner, and going into areas where people have just been forgotten, or been given up on.”First up, Harrison said, is fundraising for Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, Georgia Democrats running in the pair of U.S. Senate runoffs that could shift the balance of the chamber, and for whom he has already directly raised nearly half a million dollars. After that, Harrison said he will focus on Virginia's 2021 elections, before turning to the 2022 midterms.“Rome wasn’t built overnight,” Harrison told AP. “You’ve got to have long term and sustainable investment for it to pay dividends.”The committee derives its name from a viral campaign video in which Harrison described an encounter with a South Carolina voter living on a dirt road who told the candidate that he'd be staying out of politics entirely “until either a Democrat or a Republican paves my road," something Harrison said was symbolic of “the hardship that so many of us are suffering with across this state.”Harrison, 44, raised a staggering $130 million in his campaign against Graham, becoming the first U.S. Senate hopeful in the country to cross the $100 million threshold. Throughout the race, Harrison repeatedly broke records in a year where several Senate races across the country reached into the hundreds of millions. In that effort, Harrison developed a national profile, amassing a stout list of cellphone numbers and email addresses he repeatedly tapped to compile small-dollar donations.The one thing Harrison can’t do at the moment is contribute much of his own campaign money to his committee, transfers that would be allowed if he had spare cash on hand. Spending tens of millions on advertising, infrastructure and grassroots, there was little leftover in his coffers, and much of what remained has been pledged to fund healthcare for campaign staff through the end of this year.Over the course of his campaign, Harrison also directed $15 million to the infrastructure of the South Carolina Democratic Party.Despite his loss, theories abound over Harrison's next steps, including a potential run for Democratic National Committee chairman, a post through which he would officially helm the party's efforts through the 2022 midterm elections, as well as the 2024 presidential cycle.Harrison — an associate DNC chairman and former lobbyist who also once led South Carolina’s Democratic Party — sought the top position before, ultimately backing out to support current chairman Tom Perez. Party leaders technically meet to select the next chairman, although that process could be expedited if President-elect Joe Biden weighs in with his pick.Saying his immediate concern is boosting other Democrats through his political action committee, Harrison also made the argument that his resumé uniquely qualifies him to lead the national party officially, noting state and national-level party experience, work on Capitol Hill and as a candidate, as well as existing relationships with both Biden and Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris.“I don’t think there are very many folks that you could find who have probably done all of those things and can step up into the DNC wearing those many hats, and understand the route that we need to take to rebuild our party,” Harrison told AP. “If the president-elect asked me, I would be happy to serve, to build back, better.”___Meg Kinnard can be reached at http://twitter.com/MegKinnardAP.___Find AP’s full election coverage at APNews.com/Election2020.Meg Kinnard, The Associated Press
Traffic on the Confederation Bridge was steady but not record-breaking Monday night as Islanders hurried home following the announcement that P.E.I. would be leaving the Atlantic bubble for at least two weeks. "We immediately saw at midnight that a couple of cars were turned around already," Michel LeChasseur, the bridge general manager, told Island Morning's Mitch Cormier. "P.E.I. was applying the rules to the letter."The announcement that the province would be opting out of the bubble, at least temporarily, came during an unscheduled COVID-19 briefing just 13 hours prior to the new rule taking effect.Meaning, people had little time to get back into the province before 12:01 a.m. Tuesday. 'More a weather issue'But for those scrambling to return home, Premier Dennis King said that he would allow for some flexibility."The restrictions were put into place at 4:30 this morning," said LeChasseur. However, according to LeChasseur, on Monday night the main concern was not the influx of vehicles. "Overnight was more a weather issue than a traffic issue," he said. "The winds are howling."'Commercial traffic has been resilient'LeChasseur said he expects car traffic on the bridge will dwindle to what it was in the winter — which was about 10 per cent of the traffic the bridge would regularly have. As for commercial trucks, LeChasseur said this November saw more commercial activity than last November."We don't expect that to change much because of these new rules," he said. "Commercial traffic has been resilient throughout the pandemic."More from CBC P.E.I.
L’entreprise de East Farnham Rotoplast a été reconnue pour sa gestion et sa performance remarquables lors du gala des Prix performance Québec tenu par le Mouvement québécois de la qualité. La PME, spécialisée dans le domaine du plastique et du moulage par rotation, a présenté sa candidature dans l’espoir d’être évaluée et de pouvoir utiliser le rapport d’évaluation pour s’améliorer. Le président a eu la surprise d’être invité au gala, tenu virtuellement le 19 novembre, en tant que récipiendaire. Parmi les prix remis, la plus petite catégorie est la Distinction régionale, suivie par la Mention, puis par la Grande mention. Le prix le plus prestigieux est remis à la toute fin. Rotoplast a reçu une Mention. «On est la PME manufacturière qui a cumulé le plus de points et ça nous a donné une mention, commente le président de l’entreprise Sébastien Daudelin. Je ne pensais jamais qu’on aurait une mention ! Pour nous, c’est wow ! (...) On est très fiers.» La cerise sur le sundae Lorsqu’une entreprise soumet sa candidature et que celle-ci est retenue pour la première étape, elle fait l’objet d’un processus complet d’évaluation de sa gestion et de sa performance. Il en résulte un rapport sur les forces et les faiblesses de la compagnie, ce que M. Daudelin souhaitait obtenir pour continuer à améliorer les pratiques de la PME. Le prix est la cerise sur le sundae. «Le Mouvement québécois de la qualité vise l’amélioration continue sur tous les aspects de l’entreprise. À trois, on a passé au minimum une centaine d’heures là-dessus. Après l’application, ils ont attitré quelqu’un chez nous pendant deux journées pour monter le dossier complet. Il a fait un rapport d’une trentaine de pages qui était le dossier officiel. Ensuite, il y avait des entrevues avec une équipe d’audit sur zoom pour nous donner des notes.» Un rapport de 37 pages a été pondu avec la grille d’évaluation qui lui donne un bon aperçu des forces et des faiblesses. Surprise M. Daudelin était persuadé que Rotoplast gagnerait la plus petite distinction. Cependant, une fois les six récipiendaires annoncés pour la Distinction régionale, il a été particulièrement surpris de passer à la catégorie suivante, d’autant plus que la PME était aux côtés d’entreprises de plus de 150 employés. Dans la présentation de l’entreprise, la personne qui remettait le prix «a dit que nos forces étaient notre plan stratégique d’entreprise, qu’on est vraiment concentré sur les besoins clients, excellent dans la gestion des ressources humaines et qu’on a une bonne performance financière.» Le dirigeant décrit les membres de son équipe d’environ 50 personnes comme une grande famille. Le président relate que les gens qui partent le font généralement pour des raisons de santé physique, même si la décision leur brise le cœur. Les mesures ont été rapidement prises à l’usine pour protéger le personnel lorsqu’il a été possible de rouvrir, au début de la pandémie de COVID-19. Le protocole sanitaire a été revu lorsque la région est passée en zone rouge et celui-ci a été signé par les employés. M. Daudelin est d’autant plus fier d’annoncer qu’il n’y a eu aucun cas entre les murs de Rotoplast jusqu’à présent.Cynthia Laflamme, Initiative de journalisme local, La Voix de l'Est
The approval of a zoning bylaw amendment could allow for a fire fighting academy to be built in a Tay Township hamlet. The application coming forward for public consultation this Wednesday evening is seeking to add “private career college” as a site-specific permitted use on the property located at 36 Hazel St., which is presently zoned institutional. The new use is to facilitate the land to be used for a firefighting training and education facility by Southwest Fire Academy (SFA). The application is also seeking some accessory uses for the college building, specifically allowing for overnight accommodations for a maximum of 15 consecutive nights. Other site-specific uses include one detached accessory building, outdoor parking and storage of a vehicle to be used for training purposes, the outdoor use of a decommissioned railroad car for the purpose of training, and a minimum of 37 off-street parking spaces for the college. The application also specifically states that no live fires are proposed for the site. The 2.18 acres of land is surrounded by low-density residential areas and backs onto 175 m of Trans Canada Trail. The site was the former Waubaushene Elementary School and had been vacant since 2015. The submitted application also includes comment from the Severn Sound Environmental Association, which has written in saying that no environmental impact study is required for the land in question. The letter also states that there are no woodlands, wetlands, or areas of natural and scientific interest on the property. The SSEA also recommends that property owners are responsible for ensuring that activity being undertaken on the property does not contravene with any applicable legislation or regulations under the Endangered Species Act, Migratory Birds Convention Act, and Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act. The presentation included in the agenda also answers a question asked by the township's chief administrative officer around mitigating noise for surrounding houses. The presentation states that strategic landscaping to supplement privacy and screening from abutting residential areas. Residents with questions and comments can contact Steven Farquharson, general manager, protective and development services via email at email@example.com or by phone at (705)534-7248 ext. 225. The meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. and can be viewed online via Zoom or via the township's website. An audio-only version of the meeting can be accessed via telephone by calling (705)999-0385 and entering meeting ID number 851 7203 4877 followed by .Mehreen Shahid, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, OrilliaMatters.com
Students at the University of Calgary are fighting to expand the school's African studies program.For more than two decades, only two African studies courses have been available at the U of C, and for the past decade they've been taught by just one professor. Students say they hope an expansion of the program would mean more classes and more teachers. Prof. Caesar Apentiik said it would make him very proud to see the program finally expanded. "The university is trying to decolonize its curriculum, and decolonizing its curriculum means bringing into focus studies like African studies," he said. "This fits well with the university's strategic plan of trying to internationalize our students' degrees to give them a global perspective, and Africa is an important part of that discussion."Student advocates looking to help the program grow are now applying for $300,000 through the Quality Money program — a partnership between the Students' Union (SU) and the university — which gives the campus community an opportunity to bring forward ideas to enhance the overall student experience. "Each year, the SU is provided with approximately $1.67 million from the UCalgary board of governors to invest in these projects. Through this unique program, students have a direct say in how a portion of their tuition is spent," said students' union president Frank Finley in a written statement to CBC News."Since 2004, over $26,000,000 has been awarded to more than 260 Quality Money initiatives that range from physical space upgrades to the creation of expanded academic and professional opportunities for students."Second year student Prudence Iticka with Black People United is one of the students behind the application to expand the African studies program.Iticka said she became passionate about making this change after she inquired about getting a minor in African studies. "When I went to look at the course offerings, I realized that there are only two courses offered in African studies every academic year," she said. "I reached out to the only professor in the department and I asked him, 'how does one actually major when there are so few courses available within this program?'"Iticka said she was told that the way the program is now, that option simply isn't available."When I found that out, I started reaching out to other students within U of C to find out what we can do. How can we rally behind this program not only to save it, but also to expand it so that students can minor?" she said."Because right now you can't, really. You have to go to another school if you're seeking a minor in African studies because the course offerings here are just mediocre."As an educator, Apentiik said it's been difficult telling students they can't major or minor in African studies, despite their interest."I will say that the saddest moment is to see your student struggling when they have genuine interest in a regional area and they can't minor in it," he said. "We anticipate that if we are able to achieve what we're trying to do now, it means that we'll have enough courses within the program and students can be assured that they will have enough courses if they make a decision to minor." The expansion of the program is also something the U of C's African-Caribbean Student Association (ACSA) would like to see. "By using the Quality Money application, we're able to hire more black professors to teach more African studies courses. That's something that the African Caribbean Student Association has been pushing alongside multiple other organizations on campus," said co-president Ganiyat Sadiq.With their application due on Friday, Sadiq said student advocates are collecting all evidence of community support for the expansion of the African studies program. "We have to get a lot of student support and community support just to show the university administration that it is something that is wanted on campus, too," she said. Sadiq said a petition organized by ACSA has already garnered more than 1,000 signatures of support. "We were able to show that there are over a thousand students that do want to have Africana studies courses and who do want to take those courses and would potentially want a minor in that degree. That's a primary thing we've been doing."Iticka said the existing African studies courses offered at the U of C are already very popular. "They're constantly wait-listed. The enrolment is incredibly healthy for those two courses," she said. Iticka said offering more African studies courses isn't just something that students are showing they want, but also something she believes will have a big impact on the greater Calgary community. "If we truly seek to develop the next generation of leaders, we have to give them a global perspective. This education is so necessary and we don't want people to think that we're doing this for African students," she said. "Everybody benefits from learning about Africa. We want people to understand that, you know, this is so much bigger than just the university." Iticka said that since the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police in May, the U of C has made a lot of statements about anti-racism but she hasn't seen a lot of concrete steps to make change at the school."For now, we've just seen that it's a lot of lip service that is being paid to dismantling structural racism and tackling racism and discrimination, but there is actually nothing that is being done so far," she said. "We believe that you can actually tackle racism and undo its harm through education, because a lot of the unconscious bias and the stereotypes that a lot of people have about Black people comes from the fact they know nothing about Black people, about Black history, about African history," she said."We can combat this unconscious bias. We can combat these stereotypes with proper education about African people, where they come from, what is their contribution to humanity [and by] seeing Black professors and having black professors in their life."In a written statement to CBC News, the U of C's faculty of arts said that while it is too early to know what the outcome of the Students' Union process for selecting Quality Money recipients will be, the faculty is supportive of the student-led application for Quality Money funds to expand course offerings in African studies."The faculty has committed to providing some additional funds, in the event of a successful application, and in order to hire an instructor of African studies for the next three years," said Richard Sigurdson, dean of the faculty of arts.The funding amount from the faculty will be determined following the decision by the Students' Union about the application, as they may choose to offer partial funding or the full amount requested.Recipients of Quality Money will be informed in April 2021. For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.