MILTON, Ga. — In a black face mask and cap, activist Garrett Bess walked up driveway after driveway of million-dollar homes in suburban Atlanta on a recent afternoon, placing a flyer in each door, ringing the bell and stepping away to make a socially distanced pitch to vote for the conservative candidates in Georgia's pivotal U.S. Senate runoff elections.Bess' group, Heritage Action for America, plans to knock on half a million doors before the state's two Jan. 5 contests that will determine whether Democrats or Republicans control the Senate.“Everyone in Georgia knows the candidates,” said Janae Stracke, a colleague of Bess’ who also canvassed the subdivision. "There’s not a lot of convincing to do. They’ve made up their mind. It’s mostly knowing when to vote, how to vote, encouraging them to vote.”This election season, the coronavirus pandemic has upended traditional get-out-the-vote efforts where campaign workers go door to door to encourage people to cast ballots. With people staying at home and limiting contact with outsiders, an extended conversation with a campaign worker who shows up uninvited may actually encourage people to vote for someone else.But it's a sign of how important the two Senate elections are that both parties and independent advocacy groups are going all in on their in-person get-out-the-vote efforts.After the GOP lost the presidential election in Georgia for the first time in 28 years, conservatives are urging Republicans to get more aggressive with their turnout efforts in the state to match the outreach of former Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams.After Abrams lost the 2018 governor's race, she devoted herself to voter outreach, convinced that the state was a genuine battleground if Democrats galvanized young voters, minorities and people moving in from other states. She raised millions of dollars to organize and register hundreds of thousands of voters in the state — efforts credited with helping Democrat Joe Biden win Georgia.Republicans have to catch up, Republican operative Karl Rove told Fox News.“Let’s not kid ourselves: This is a real race,” said Rove, who is leading fundraising efforts for the runoffs.The National Republican Senatorial Committee expects to have 1,000 staffers on the ground in Georgia. For comparison, the Republican National Committee had a total of 3,000 paid field staff across the whole country during the presidential race.Democrats carry their own baggage into the runoff. In many parts of the country, they limited face-to-face campaigning ahead of the Nov. 3 election because of the pandemic, arguing that was the responsible thing to do. But that decision was second-guessed in places such as Florida.The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee plans to spend millions on voter registration and turnout efforts.Outside groups are also hitting the ground, and the in-person appeals will be supplemented with a fusillade of phone calls, text messages, mailers and ads aimed at boosting turnout for the races pitting Republican Sen. David Perdue against Democrat Jon Ossoff and Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler against Democrat Raphael Warnock.Turnout tends to drop precipitously in runoff contests in Georgia. And activists fear there might be even more of a falloff this time, when the excitement of the Trump-Biden race is over. So getting voters to come back to the polls becomes more of a focus than “trying to find new voters or win over voters who voted for your opponent,” said Charles Bullock, an expert on Southern politics at the University of Georgia.Historically, that drop-off has disproportionately affected Democrats, so the party faces strong headwinds heading into January. The Republican candidate has beaten the Democrat in seven out of eight runoff elections since 1992, including two U.S. Senate races.Democrats have reason for optimism after Biden's win, but his margin of victory was tiny — less than 13,000 votes of nearly 5 million cast — and it’s been 20 years since the state elected a Democrat to the U.S. Senate.But groups whose efforts tend to favour Democrats are charged. On Friday, representatives of the Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America went door to door in a neighbourhood just outside Atlanta encouraging people to vote for Ossoff and Warnock.“If we don't get those two seats in Congress, everything we did to flip Georgia blue is not going to help us,” Phyllis Morrow told a couple that pulled over in their car.The African Methodist Episcopal Church in Georgia, which has more than 150,000 parishioners in the state, is asking members to call eligible voters in their congregations, encourage them to vote early and assist with rides if they need help getting to the polls on Jan. 5.Bishop Reginald T. Jackson said Black voters are excited and “realize the eyes of the nation are on Georgia.”"They know people are going to be looking to see whether or not Blacks turn out,” he said.The New Georgia Project, a group founded by Abrams, will try to register some of the estimated 35,000 people who have finished their felony sentences and can requalify to vote as well as some of the estimated 23,000 people who are turning 18 before the runoff, Executive Director Nse Ufot said.Ufot said the group also aims to knock on 1 million doors before the runoff, up from 500,000 before the general election, and is training volunteers to take coronavirus precautions.In Milton, Bess and Stracke were in friendly territory. The affluent, mostly white city about 30 miles (50 kilometres) north of Atlanta showed strong support for President Donald Trump in the November election. The neighbourhood they canvassed last week featured manicured lawns and spacious homes set back from the street.“Oh, you have no problem here,” Holly McCormick, 73, told Bess after he rang her doorbell. The flyers he carried warned that Georgia was the country’s “last line of defence from a socialist takeover.”McCormick called the outcome of the presidential race “rigged” though there is no evidence of widespread fraud in the 2020 election, and she said Trump’s claims of illegal votes made her more energized to vote for Perdue and Loeffler in January.“We have to hold the Senate,” she said.___Associated Press writer Jeff Amy in Atlanta contributed to this report.Sudhin Thanawala, The Associated Press
TORONTO — Rogers Communications Inc. says it was exploring the future of its Toronto stadium before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, but the virus has caused it to put those plans on hold."Prior to the pandemic, we were exploring options for the stadium but through this year our primary focus has been keeping our customers connected and keeping our employees safe, so there is no update on the Rogers Centre to share at this time," said the telecommunications company's spokesperson Andrew Garas in a statement to The Canadian Press.His remarks come after the Globe and Mail reported Friday that Rogers and Brookfield Asset Management Inc., were looking to tear down the stadium as part of a larger development project. The two companies would build a new stadium half the size on the southern part of the current site and use the remaining land for residential towers, office buildings, stores and public space, the Globe said, citing unnamed sources.Brookfield declined to comment on the matter. The Globe also reported that Rogers and Brookfield were exploring the possibility of building a stadium along the waterfront if the development plan falls through on a slice of land called Quayside, where Google affiliate Sidewalk Labs once hoped to construct a tech-savvy neighbourhood."The news this morning was the first Waterfront Toronto has heard of the Quayside site as a potential new home for the Blue Jays," said Andrew Tumilty, a spokesperson for Waterfront Toronto, the agency overseeing the development of the city's lakefront.Such a plan would need "extensive scrutiny" and require the organization to consider existing, approved precinct plans, as well as the size and shape of the site, he said in an email.The Rogers Centre, formerly known as the SkyDome, opened in 1989 and seats more than 53,000.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 27, 2020.Companies in this story: (TSX: RCI. B, TSX: BAM)The Canadian Press
Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante can now add "author" to her resume with the publication of a graphic novel in which she recounts her entry into politics and takes subtle digs at the sexism she's encountered along the way.'"Okay, Universe: Chronicles of a Woman in Politics," tells the story of Simone Simoneau — modelled on Plante — a young community organizer who decides to take the plunge into politics by running for a seat on city council.Published in both English and French and co-authored by illustrator Delphie Cote-Lacroix, the book follows the initially hesitant Simoneau as she learns to fundraise, knock on doors and recruit volunteers.Plante, 46, said she began to toy with the idea of publishing a book after she won the mayoralty in 2017. Writing a typical political autobiography didn't appeal, she said."For me the graphic novel format was always what I wanted," she said in a recent interview at her publisher's offices."I think it’s accessible, it can be fun, and I love graphic novels myself."The book is based on Plante's own sketches and anecdotes she began jotting down in 2013, during her first run for a seat on city council. Four years later, she became the first woman elected mayor of Montreal after her surprise defeat of experienced incumbent Denis Coderre.While the writing and drawings were initially a form of self-care to help her "stay balanced," she said she eventually came to see that her story might inspire others, especially young girls."I wanted to show, and maybe tell, people it’s OK not to have all the keys and codes to do something you think would be a good thing to do or you believe in," she said."Just go for it."She began working with Cote-Lacroix on evenings and weekends, taking about two years to finalize the story and illustrations.Plante said that, much like her character in the book, she had been looking for a new challenge before her entry into politics. Then she received a phone call from left-wing municipal party Projet Montreal, which was looking to diversify its slate of candidates.In the book, Plante doesn't shy away from the challenges faced by women who put themselves in the public eye. At one point, one of her character's posters is defaced by sexist graffiti. In another, her character's husband gets effusive praise for helping to care for the couple's children — something the book points out is a given for female political spouses. While the book "won't change sexism," Plante said she hopes it will help highlight the double standards women face.Three years into her mandate, Plante has had a bumpy year, marked by a global pandemic that has devastated the city's economy and criticism over her administration's failure to implement its big visions for affordable housing and transportation. She has also faced anger over what some have described as an anti-car agenda, which includes building bike lanes, eliminating parking spots and temporarily closing some streets to vehicle traffic to create "sanitary corridors." At times, that criticism has escalated to the level of death threats.While some criticism is to be expected, Plante attributes much of the public anger directed her way to the anxiety wrought by the pandemic."Not to minimize their actions of being very aggressive, violent or doing death threats, but I like to hope in the future, when people are less stressed and in a better position, things will calm down," she said.She also faced criticism earlier this year over her novel itself, with some high-profile commentators questioning her decision to "draw cartoons" as the city was embroiled in the COVID-19 crisis.Plante dismissed this as unfounded, especially since she says the writing process wrapped up in late 2019."People were just kind of trashing the book (without) even reading it, which I thought was sad, because it wasn’t about the content, it was about criticizing the author," she said. However, she did push back the book's publication for a few months when the pandemic's second wave began.Plante said she would still recommend politics to young people who want to make a difference, even as she acknowledges it's a "tough" career that comes with unusual levels of public exposure. "But hopefully people see in the book, the love that you get from your volunteers, it's a community, it’s people working together," she said."It’s worth it."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 28, 2020.Morgan Lowrie, The Canadian Press
Windsor-Essex is becoming a "red" zone as of Monday following a dramatic escalation in COVID-19 cases this month.It's the third straight week the region has moved up a category that mandates tighter pandemic restrictions on activities and behaviour.Yet another bump-up "hurts" says Mayor Drew Dilkins, but he called on the community to pull together to protect each other."The fact that we have moved three times in the past three weeks is an obvious indicator that the situation in our region is significant, and getting worse," he said in a statement."It hurts having to take another step back, but that's what we'll do, and together we'll regroup as a community and refocus our efforts on keeping each other safe."Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott announced the decision Friday afternoon as Windsor-Essex was one of five regions placed in new categories."Over the last week we have seen a shift in the trends of key public health indicators in regions across the province, and by moving these five regions to a new level in the framework, we can ensure that the necessary targeted measures are in place to stop the spread of the virus and allow us to keep our schools and businesses open."The "control - red" category is the second-highest tier of public health restrictions in the province's COVID-19 response framework. The next step would be a full lockdown.Under red-level restrictions, indoor dining is limited to 10 people and dining must close at 10 p.m., with alcohol sales ending an hour earlier. Gyms are limited to 10 patrons at a time, and indoor social gatherings have a limit of five people.A full list of the restrictions is available here.The announcement follows weeks of rising COVID-19 cases in the region. As recently as early November, Windsor-Essex was in the "prevent - green" restrictions category, the least strict tier.There are currently 354 active cases in the region, 51 of which were announced earlier on Friday. Two schools are shut down due to outbreaks, and there are four outbreaks in long-term care or retirement facilities.In response to the surge in cases, the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit announced Friday that it will be adding at least 17 staff, including COVID-19 investigators.The move to the red tier of restrictions was anticipated. Dr. Wajid Ahmed, the region's medical officer of health, said Wednesday that Windsor-Essex technically meets the criteria though that call would be made by the province.Sarnia-Lambton will move into the yellow "protect" level starting Monday, according to Lambton Public Health.Response from cityIn a news release Friday, the City of Windsor said that it will be taking additional measures beyond those mandated by the red level.It said will suspend recreational services in pools, arenas and community centres for a two-week period starting Sunday. The suspension will be reassessed after two weeks.Concerns from businessesEarlier this week, one business owner, Tom Lucier of Phog Lounge, said he can't keep up with how quickly the rules and regulations have evolved."Right now, they're essentially closing us without closing us and we're jumping through hoops day-to-day and it's just not fair, it's kind of silly," he said. Caesars Windsor casino told CBC News that it would temporarily close on Monday due to the new restrictions.Brian Yeomans, chair of the Downtown Windsor BIA, previously told CBC News he's heard concerns and frustration from members."[Businesses] did a fantastic job through the summer and making sure that everything was safe, they followed all those guidelines, they followed all the rules," he said. "And when things aren't getting better, they're the ones that are still being punished instead of people that are having these house parties, that are leaving and going and doing other things and that's infuriating."
ELORA/FERGUS – Shoppers in Elora and Fergus are still in the holiday spirit as they go downtown, in reasonable numbers, for evening shopping nights. Starlight Shopping Elora and Late Night Sip and Shop in Fergus are an opportunity for residents to get some holiday shopping in with extended hours at downtown stores. “It’s sort of an opportunity to encourage people to get a head start on christmas shopping,” said Maclean Hann, Elora BIA chair and owner of The Evelyn in Elora. “It encourages people to keep their Christmas dollars local.” In Elora, downtown streets have closed off to cars to allow for more distancing much like was done on weekends in the summer. Unlike previous years, where Starlight Shopping takes place over two evenings, this year is four evenings on the last two Thursdays and Fridays in November. Hann said the stores are still offering the same kind of experience as previous years but gives people less of a rush to get out. “Combined with the streets being closed, it really gives people I think a sense of comfort,” Hann said. “It’s not going to be as crowded as it normally would be. You have more time to look after it so there’s less of a panic, you don’t have to condense all of your shopping into one evening.” Hann said the stores in Elora still have seen a good amount of people coming through. In Fergus they’re taking the same approach by spreading their shopping evenings into four Thursday and Friday nights. Melinda Croft, owner of The One and Only, explained that keeping stores open later allows people who would normally be working during their weekday hours to spend locally. “The shops being open until 10 gives them something to be able to come out to and social distance and not be so rushed to get their shopping done but then also support local stores,” Croft said. Croft said it could also skew people away from purely online purchasing. “One of the biggest things is online is so convenient, so we’re trying to make it a little bit more convenient too,” Croft said, adding that a lot of the downtown Fergus stores have gone online as well for those who don’t feel comfortable shopping in-store. Normally, Sip and Shop is a bigger event with a tree lighting ceremony but some aspects of it couldn’t go forward this year. However, downtown Fergus is still decorated, Santa Claus can be spotted around and you can take a horse-drawn carriage ride through downtown. Croft said she doesn’t think those shopping will be from out of town and doesn’t think locals should be concerned about visitors from out of town. “I don’t think on a Thursday and Friday night they’re really coming out from the cities,” Croft said. “We mostly get local traffic during the week versus a Saturday when we get visitors from out of town more.” In regards to visitors coming from lockdown regions, Hann said the best they can do is to follow and enforce public health guidelines as much as possible. “It is safe to say there likely is some worry that’s happening but there’s also the reality of there’s really not a whole lot we as small business owners can do there,” Hann said, noting that tourists are crucial to the local economy. “Everyone is cautious but ultimately everybody wants to sell things in their stores. If that takes people from other regions then I guess that’s just how it is.”Keegan Kozolanka, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, GuelphToday.com
With 2020 almost in the books and one council meeting left for the Town of Hudson Bay, council has agreed to cancel their annual meeting of boards and committees to cut back on COVID-19 risks. Teresa Parkman, Hudson Bay’s administrator, said this annual meeting usually sees a dozen committees and boards that represent different aspects of the town present a year-end report to the council and is an opportunity for both chairs and council to connect about what is going on for those groups. Due to heavier restrictions coming up from the provincial government and a need to eliminate those possible COVID-19 spread risks, board and committee representatives will be asked to send a report to the council instead of being at the chambers in person at a later regular council meeting, Parkman said at the Nov. 24 council meeting. “We don't want to put people in that position that they need to come into the room because then they feel obligated. It's not that important to bring them in... if they still want to meet with the council, then they can contact me and we can set up a time for our regular meeting just as a delegation.” Groups have been deeply impacted by COVID-19, Parkman said, with events and fundraisers throughout the year not going forward. Groups will still have the opportunity to present their financial positions and how that has changed over the year to council and council will still be able to discuss board concerns. This is important for councillors to be aware of, she said, and having that communication between council and boards of the community is much needed. “These committees and boards are part of the town so it's to keep up to date on what they're doing, and their goals.” Parkman hopes to have reports ready for the second council meeting in January. The Nov. 24 meeting also saw the remaining town councillors sworn in as members of council for the 2020-24 council term. Councillors Mel Cadrain, Betty-Lou Palko, Megan Dickson, Alexis Armit, and Sherry Pilon were sworn in over the last two council meetings as returning councillors to the table, along with Mayor Glenn McCaffery who was also back at the table being uncontested during the recent election period. New to the table is Kelly Stonehouse.Becky Zimmer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Battlefords Regional News-Optimist
Three N.W.T. projects are getting a financial boost from the federal government, in a move aimed at fostering employment and economic growth in northern and Indigenous communities.Michael McLeod, Liberal MP for the Northwest Territories, announced the $1.3-million investment on Friday, on behalf of Mélanie Joly, the minister of economic development and official languages, who is responsible for the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency (CanNor).The money, which is being invested by CanNor, is meant to support "training, entrepreneurship, capacity building and infrastructure development" in the N.W.T., according to a news release from the agency. CanNor's mandate is to support economic development in the North.Of the $1.3 million in funding, $731,727 will go toward a three-year project at Makerspace YK, a non-profit organization and community hub in Yellowknife that fosters hands-on learning and skills-building."The funding will assist with the renovation of a commercial space into a collaborative space, which will support skills development, job creation and innovative new businesses in Yellowknife," the news release states. "The Makerspace will also provide access to industrial equipment and a tool lending library."The funding is expected to help create two full-time jobs, and support the local manufacturing sector.Cat McGurk, Makerspace YK president, said the organization is excited to work with territorial and federal partners to help drive economic diversification."Thanks to CanNor we'll be able to create a space where we can host workshops and work on projects, and foster a collaborative environment for the next generation of Yellowknife entrepreneurs," McGurk said in a statement.Funding for equipment in Fort LiardAnother $175,000 has been set aside to support economic development in the traditional territory of Acho Dene Koe First Nation. The money will go to Beaver Enterprises LP, a company in Fort Liard, N.W.T., that offers construction, excavation and maintenance services.The funding supports a one-year project, and will help the company purchase a grader for construction and maintenance work, according to the news release."This project is expected to result in 10 full-time jobs being maintained and additional employees being hired on a seasonal basis," the news release adds.CanNor is also putting $464,000 toward "business and financial planning for the future construction and operation of an integrated waste management facility" in Norman Wells, N.W.T.The new facility is expected to boost Indigenous employment and training, and support entrepreneurship.CanNor says jobs will be created in Norman Wells and other communities as a result of the project."Once the project is complete, the waste management facility is expected to have a significant economic impact for the Sahtu and beneficiaries of the Sahtu Dene and Métis Comprehensive Land Claim Agreement," the press release states.The federal government said Friday's investment is also aimed at helping northern businesses overcome the financial challenges posed by COVID-19."We have provided support so businesses can develop the skills they need, build the infrastructure to expand, and acquire the equipment they need to get to work," McLeod said in a statement. "This investment ... will help create good local jobs in Northern and Indigenous communities."
OTTAWA — Champion ice-dancers Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir and Olympic champion swimmer Mark Tewksbury were among 114 athletes, artists, scholars and community leaders named to the Order of Canada.Gov. Gen. Julie Payette's office announced the new honourees Friday morning.Others in the group include Indigenous writer Thomas King, winemaker John Peller, dancer and choreographer Elizabeth Langley, geriatrician Roger Wong, Cree elder Doreen Spence, sports academic Dr. Sandra Kirby, wheelchair basketball coach Tim Frick and ex-politicians Bill Graham and Allan Rock.Moir and Virtue catapulted to national stardom with their gold-medal performances at the Winter Olympics in 2018.They're being honoured for their athletic excellence and for inspiring a new generation of figure skaters."Feeling all wrapped up in emotion ... Upon learning about being invested into the Order of Canada, I couldn’t help but think that as a kid, I would have never known to dream so big," Virtue posted on Twitter."I am humbled by this honour."Tewksbury, who is being named to the top companion rank, won gold in the 100-metre backstroke at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.The 52-year-old Calgary native came out publicly as gay in 1998 and has been an advocate of LGBTQ rights as well as a prominent member of Canada's Olympic movement, serving as chef de mission of the 2012 London Olympic team.He is being honoured for athletic excellence and sport leadership, and for championing human rights.Kirby, a rower at the 1976 Montreal Olympics, is being honoured for her research on athlete harassment and her advocacy for equity, inclusion and safety in sport. Frick coached Canada's women's wheelchair basketball team to three straight Paralympic gold medals from 1992-2000 and four straight world championship gold medals from 1994-2006.He is being honoured for his expertise in coaching and for his contributions to the advancement of parasports in Canada.The Order of Canada is one of the country's highest civilian honours.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 27, 2020.The Canadian Press
Two Native American tribes in northern Minnesota are asking state regulators to stop the imminent construction of Enbridge Energy's Line 3 crude oil pipeline replacement, saying it would increase the risk of coronavirus infections spreading.The Red Lake and White Earth Bands of Chippewa filed a motion late Wednesday asking the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission to stay its approval of the $2.6 billion project. They argue construction would put locals at increased risk of coronavirus infections as workers move into the area.The bands and other pipeline opponents have sued and protested to try to block the project, and an appeal by the state Commerce Department is pending. They want the PUC to halt the project while that legal challenge plays out.The pipeline project took a step forward on Monday when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers approved the final federal permit needed. The Public Utilities Commission has already approved the project several times, but still needs to give construction a final green light.Enbridge says the pipeline replacement will provide a safer way to transport the oil to Midwest refineries while creating 4,200 construction jobs and generating millions of dollars in local spending and tax revenues.Opponents say the project threatens spills in pristine waters where Native Americans harvest wild rice and that the Canadian tar sands oil it would carry would aggravate climate change.The Associated Press
Dale Woodard Lethbridge Herald Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Lethbridge Royal Canadian Legion General Stewart Branch 2020 Poppy Campaign has exceeded expectations. While the final numbers are still trickling in, this year’s campaign has received $98,823.63 as of Wednesday, said Glenn Miller, co-chair of public relations for General Stewart Branch 4. Those exceeded totals came from the usual southern Alberta generosity as well as the ability for the public to make electronic donations this year with a new tap-to-donate at a poppy box option through the campaign’s national partners, HSBC, and a text-to-donate program. “Last year we received just over $90,000 and that was the goal this year,” said Miller. “We didn’t want to reduce the goal because there are still needs and in the COVID environment we anticipate needs. We have roughly 300 veterans within our membership, but there are many more veterans in the community who could use help. They can ask for assistance. You don’t need to be a member of the branch. Just identify yourself as a veteran through our service officer.” This year’s Poppy Campaign was helped immensely due to large donations totalling $25,000. Three came in partnership of donors with the Community Foundation of Lethbridge and Southwestern Alberta in the amount of $21,000 and another from Cor Van Raay for $10,000. The others were in amounts of another $10,000 and $1,000. Those two donors wished to remain anonymous. In addition the Lethbridge United Services Institute made a $4,000 donation. “So overall, the level of support has been overwhelming in a COVID environment and it’s through that generosity of Canadians that we can address veterans’ needs as a poppy committee.” New this year was the text-to-donate program. “We don’t have those numbers yet, but that is still active until the end of November and then provincial command will shut that off and disperse those monies to the various branches,” said Miller. “In our branch, and you can also donate online through our website (http://www.lethbridgelegion.ca), we raised $1,700 through that means.” Also new this year was the HSBC tap-to-donate. “There’s one in each branch across Canada. We have one here stationed at Park Place Mall at the Shoppers Drug Mart. To date it has raised $1,735.39,” said Miller. “But all that money didn’t necessarily happen through the Poppy Campaign. We brought it back after to help educate our members and the public who are visiting the Legion what it looks like and how it works. So we actually received approximately $1,000 since the Poppy Campaign finished here at the branch by people simply donating with the tap method.” Miller said HSBC will assess the outcome of this year’s campaign and decide what to do going forward. “But through their generosity that was an untapped resource that we’ve talked about for many years, in a cashless society to help people make a donation. So they stepped up to the plate and helped us as an organization. So we look forward to seeing how the campaign ran from their perspective.” Miller said over 454 poppy boxes were distributed by 14 volunteers on Tag Day. “Normally we have a lot of youth involved, but because of COVID this year they did not participate for everyone’s safety,” he said. “At the end of Tag Day, I went out to some of the bigger stores just to see how many people were walking in and past the poppy box and how many were walking out with poppies and very few actually were. We encourage people that when you see a poppy, look down to see if you’re wearing one, not just on Remembrance Day. It helps to show everyone you’re thinking of veterans throughout the whole campaign.” Another part of this year’s Poppy Campaign was the chance for people to thank the veterans with a card. “We had some students from a local high school drop off some homemade cards. All of these efforts make a difference to veterans, especially because they are locked down,” said Miller. With the Poppy Campaign complete, the Legion turns its attention to The Legion Poster and Literary contest with deadline for submissions on Tuesday. Miller said the number of entries submitted so far is the lowest in recent memory. “Normally we would have 300 or 400 by this time. So I would strongly encourage parents to take the time in the next few days to have a student participate. They can drop off their submission along with the entry form on Friday, Saturday or Tuesday here at branch.” The branch is closed Monday. Local winners be submitted for advancement through the district and province, said Miller, adding the Legion has two national winners, one in a colour poster contest and the other with a poem. “The colour poster hangs in the Memorial Hall at the General Stewart Branch 4 and the poem is in bronze located beside the cenotaph,” said Miller. “So you never know what talent is out there. Don’t ever think you’re not good enough. Think of the chance you’re missing by not applying. We encourage everyone to apply and make a submission.” Follow @DWoodardHerald on TwitterDale Woodard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Lethbridge Herald
Kneehill County councillors heard a presentation from a non-profit society that aims to educate kids about finances and business during their regular meeting Nov. 24. Reeve Jerry Wittstock and Coun. Debbie Penner attended the meeting virtually, with Deputy Reeve Faye McGhee chairing the meeting. Junior Achievement, represented by staff member Melanie Willerth, made a presentation to council with three goals in mind, she said: raising awareness of the organization, recruiting volunteers and funding opportunities. Willerth stated the organization offers courses in host schools intended to teach student about finances and business. She provided a summary for councillors listing programs such as More Than Money, Our Business World, A Business of Our Own, Dollars With Sense, Stronger Together, Economics for Success, Investment Strategies and World of Choices. Willerth noted three communities within Kneehill County currently have Junior Achievement programming including Linden, Trochu and Three Hills. The 16 programs are offered to about 400 students. She noted the organization would like to get more awareness of the programs’ value, all of which are offered free of charge to schools, and ideally recruit more volunteer instructors. She explained the programs are offered to students by community members who are knowledgeable about business, and would include one night a week for about 16 weeks. Junior Achievement is a non-profit society which is always happy to see more sponsorship stated Willerth, who added that sponsors are always recognized on program materials. Deputy Reeve McGhee asked about the organization's structure and funding. Willerth answered Junior Achievement has a board of directors and relies heavily on fundraising, with some funds coming from communities and some from the provincial government. The business sector also supports the program she noted. Reeve Wittstock asked how much it costs to offer the programs in Kneehill County. Willerth answered that courses include expenses such as materials and volunteer training, adding up to about $200 to $250 per course. Coun. Penner stated her kids participated in Junior Achievement programming and learned valuable skills like budgeting. She asked if courses are currently accepting, and Willerth answered that there are still courses registering for December and also next year. Coun. Glen Keiver asked if all of the courses must be completed or in a specific order, to which Willerth answered no, they are all stand-alone courses developed for certain school grades. Deputy Reeve McGhee stated she also had kids who completed Junior Achievement courses. After Willerth completed her presentation, councillors discussed the Junior Achievement program. Reeve Wittstock asked if Kneehill County has funded this group in the past. County Chief Administrative Officer Mike Haugen stated in the current year Kneehill County has budgeted $3,000 for the Junior Achievement program, and it has been funded in the past as well. Wittstock noted that should pretty much cover the local programs compared to the figure Willerth gave of about $200 per program. “I would say that’s $200 of well-spent money,” said Deputy Reeve McGhee in support of the program. Penner added she also supports the program but hears that they have trouble finding volunteer speakers to help. Coun. Ken King asked that since Kneehill County is currently funding the group, is the county being credited for its support, and also wondered if Willerth knows Kneehill County is currently funding the program. CAO Haugen stated he will follow-up with Willerth to clarify those details. The presentation was accepted for information.Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, East Central Alberta Review
After 46 years running his business, Brian Quinn of Quinn’s Meats in Yarker, Ont. is preparing to retire. He’s hoping to sell the commercial property to someone that will keep the abattoir and meat retail business intact, proving a challenge as fewer young people enter the industry. “The trade hasn’t passed down from generation to generation,” Quinn said. “Pretty much everybody here is in their 50s. There are no young kids stepping up.” Quinn describes his industry as “recession-proof, pandemic-proof and good, solid business.” “We don’t work nights, we don’t work Sundays. It’s a good, solid, full-time job and it pays really competitively,” he said. Still, during his career, Quinn said he has watched as abattoir after abattoir have closed all around him. “When I started there were six within 25 miles,” he said. His clients bring livestock from Perth, Smiths Falls and Frontenac County — anywhere within 100 mile radius, he said. If the person who buys his property does not maintain the abattoir, he said he doesn’t know what those farmers will do. Demand for his services is incredibly high, he explained. “In Eastern Ontario, east of Toronto, every abattoir is booked up a year in advance.” Quinn learned the trade from his uncle and grandfather when he was in high school. After completing a few years at St. Lawrence College in Kingston, he said the business came up for sale so he bought it. “The work is not that hard,” he explained. “It’s just when you mention ‘slaughter house’ or ‘abattoir,’ or ‘butcher,’ it just turns people off. It’s not a bad go. We have a modern facility, heated floors, all the modern equipment, so it’s not as labour intensive as it used to be. It’s repetitive work.” “If you’re working on the kill floor for example, there’s obviously going to be a smell there, and the stuff that goes on with the slaughter of an animal. It’s not a pleasant task by any means, no matter who you are. But it has to be done for the process,” he said. “I think that’s a major thing that people just can’t get their mind passed. That’s just my thinking.” He also cited increasing government regulation as a factor pushing existing business owners out of the industry. “A lot of the plants were older and weren’t up to standard, they weren’t willing to make the financial commitment to [update].” Quinn said that he has essentially rebuilt his entire facility over the years to keep it in compliance. The sale or distribution of uninspected meat is illegal in Ontario. Animals must be inspected and approved prior to slaughter, processed in a licensed facility and then stamped, labelled or tagged with an inspection license. “Most of the older plants that we’re talking about that have closed up, they were built before meat inspection was even compulsory. They were grandfathered in and regulations kept getting stricter and stricter. You either had to get up to standards, or get out,” he said. Quinn’s business, as well as the home on the adjacent property, are listed together for $1.3 million, including all equipment, license, existing inventory, a smokehouse and a stand alone generator. The processing area is suited to the custom cutting of beef, pork, lamb and goat. The retail area includes meat counters and coolers to sell beef and pork by the cut, as well as chicken and other products. According to the government of Canada, the beef industry reached retail sales of $5.4 billion USD in 2018, with beef representing 29.1 per cent of the overall retail Canadian meat sector. The sector is expected to grow by 2.4 per cent by 2023. “Meat substitutes,” or soy-based products such as burgers and grills, meatballs, sausage and other portions represented only $102.0 million USD in 2018. “Nevertheless, the sales of ‘meat substitute’ product categories are all growing faster than sales of most meat product categories… between 2014-2023,” says the federal sector overview of meat in Canada.Samantha Butler-Hassan, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, kingstonist.com
Moose Jaw Minor Hockey says it has a plan to keep kids on the ice in the coming month, while following the province's new restrictions.New measures announced earlier this week, which came into effect Friday, include suspending all team and group sports for a period of at least three weeks. Athletes under the age of 18 can still practise, though, provided they are able to distance and keep group sizes to a maximum of eight.A tweet by the association Thursday night saying hockey was still on received backlash on social media, with some believing the tweet meant the association still planned on playing games."Maybe it was a poorly worded tweet. I do apologize for that," said Moose Jaw Minor Hockey president Chris Flanagan, adding a tweet has been sent clarifying the plan."We are not playing games. We are just training in our groups of eight. We're following every single restriction and guideline that the province has set out this week." The new schedule until the end of the year will see teams get one to two hours of ice time each week to practise, with a maximum of eight players on the ice at a time and everyone wearing masks.Coaches can split their ice time in half, so two groups of eight players can get on the ice on the same day, or they can have eight players on for the entire time slot, and then have another group of eight on for the next practice.Flanagan said other regulations include not using player benches and requiring everyone to come to the arena dressed to practise. No hockey bags are allowed, and safety captains are to attend and take attendance for COVID tracing.Parents are not allowed to watch the practices, and can only come in to tie the skates of their children.Flanagan said they are also adding more restrictions beyond the province's requirements, such as trying to keep kids together who attend the same school."[We'll] try to keep them all together so we're not mixing bubbles from the school system."In a letter to parents, the association said there will be zero tolerance for teams that break any of the restrictions.Those that do will be have their practice times put on pause until further notice."We're going to give it a shot here for the next couple of weeks," Flanagan said. "If it doesn't work, if teams aren't showing up or players don't want to participate, we'll re-look at our plan here and make a decision."We believe the mental health of physical activity is a very important thing for these kids. And right now we believe we can achieve that while being safe and following the guidelines."
After a summer of informing people about COVID-19 rules, Saskatchewan's chief medical health officer says it's time for a stricter approach."The time for education is now mostly over. Any egregious non-compliance will and should be met through fines and other measures," Dr. Saqib Shahab said at a news conference Thursday. Shahab also asked people to flag infractions by others."There's [a] public health safety number. So, you know, it is important to report noncompliance," he said. Shahab's comments came as the province reported 299 new cases of the virus, Saskatchewan's third highest daily bump. It also came as officials at the Saskatchewan Health Authority warned of emergency rooms that are nearing their full capacity and the need for people to follow public health guidelines. Since the pandemic began, the province has favoured educating people on the rules, instead of immediately issuing fines. Individuals can face fines of up to $2,000 (not counting a victim surcharge) for failing to self-isolate or breaking gathering limit rules. For corporations, the fine can reach $10,000 (also not including a victim surcharge). "Where we've seen some of this stuff happen over the summer, typically, we start with an educational approach," said Scott Livingstone, the health authority's CEO, at the same news conference. What health officials do when told of an eventShahab and Livingstone made the remarks in response to questions about whether the increased challenge of contract tracing might be causing the virus to spread and a report of a planned large event in Saskatchewan this weekend. "If we're made aware of a large event, typically public health inspectors would come out and have a conversations with the organizers about what they're doing and how what they're doing or planning would fit or not fit current public health orders," Livingstone said. "If it was obvious that the event was not meeting current public health orders, the event organizers would be advised as such and there would be recommendations from public health inspectors to not go ahead with that event."If the event went ahead and was found to have broken the rules, "there are remedies with respect to fines," Livingstone said. 42 charges under public health act The province has occasionally publicly announced some instances of fining, particularly in September and October.The recipients varied from a Saskatoon home owner who hosted a private gathering with 47 people when the limit for private meetings was 30 (it's now five), to the pastor of a gospel outreach centre in Prince Albert where singers went unmasked. The gospel centre was cited as a multi-jurisdictional superspreader.Between March 1 and Oct. 31, RCMP members in Saskatchewan received a total of 2,912 COVID-related calls for service — an average of 364 calls a month.The vast majority of the calls were resolved "by educating members of the public of the potential health and enforcement consequences that can result from non-compliance with the public health order," an RCMP spokesperson said Friday.However, 42 charges for summary violations were issued under the province's public health act, including for people who held large gatherings or did not self-isolate.What's yours? CBC Saskatchewan wants to hear how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted you. Share your story with our online questionnaire.
A bail hearing Friday morning for Adam Skelly, a BBQ shop owner facing lots of legal trouble for defying the Toronto health measures COVID-19 lockdown orders currently in effect in Toronto. Mark Carcasole has more
OTTAWA — The federal government is sending $542 million to Indigenous groups to help them set up welfare services for children and families, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday.The Canadian government has been promising to transfer control over child and family services to Indigenous governing bodies so they don't need to rely on outsiders to protect children in First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities.In 2019, Parliament passed a law to reform the system, requiring that children on reserves have access to services equal to those who live off reserves. The legislation also recognize that Indigenous Peoples' constitutional right to self-government includes the right to run their own welfare agencies."We are keeping our promise to give them the support they need to keep children within their families and their communities, so they can grow up surrounded by the strength of their culture to achieve their full potential," Trudeau said.Child-protection agencies have often removed Indigenous children not just from their parents but out of their communities entirely when workers decide the kids aren't safe — often because a lack of funding left them with few other options.That's broken up families and hurt children's connections to their heritage. Federal census figures say Indigenous children make up more than half the kids in foster care across the country, despite being fewer than eight per cent of the children in Canada."Behind these devastating numbers, there are real children, real and terrible stories," Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller said Friday in a separate news conference.The new money is for everything from research and expert advice to consultations on how those Indigenous governments will establish and run their own child and family services, as well as to support their negotiations with provincial and federal authorities.Miller said this is an "essential step to correct the errors of the past" and will help unleash the potential of Indigenous young people who have been held back for generations.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 27, 2020.The Canadian Press
Yukon RCMP and territorial government officials issued dozens of charges and warnings during a crackdown on commercial vehicles in the Watson Lake area last week.A release says 72 vehicles and their drivers were checked over a four-day period.Drivers were checked to see if they were sober and properly licensed, their cargos were properly secured and their paperwork was in order."The trucking industry is vital to the Yukon, and the majority of people in the industry operate within the scope of the law," said Yukon Highways and Public Works official Sebastien Nadeau."It's unfortunate however, that this enforcement blitz saw so many infractions. We will continue to work with the RCMP and carrier compliance [unit] as well as National Safety Code to enforce the rules and ensure road safety," he said.Forty-four charges were issued, the release says, and 32 warnings were given. Most of the drivers were tested for impaired driving.The release says the offences included: * Three 24 hour driving suspensions, two related to alcohol use and the other to fatigue. * One 72 hour suspension for a falsified log book. * One improperly licensed driver. * Three charges for transporting inadequately secured cargo. * One charge for fail to report to weigh scale. * Two charges for careless driving. * Two charges for operating an uninsured vehicle."The violations identified in Watson Lake are reflective of the offences seen throughout the year, and as such drivers can expect to see our continued joint enforcement both roadside and at check stops", said RCMP Cpl. Natasha Dunmall with Yukon RCMP Traffic Services. The checkstops were done on the Alaska Highway, the Robert Campbell Highway and Highway 37.
The mayors of Campbell River, Port Hardy, Port McNeill and Gold River are asking to be included in consultation about the 18 fish farms in the Discovery Islands near Campbell River. The Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Bernadette Jordan, is currently consulting with seven affected First Nations about the future of those open-net fish farms. She will ultimately conclude whether licences for these farms will be renewed at the end of the year. Her office also announced earlier this month it is beginning the transition away from open-net farming — a federal campaign promise. Parliamentary Secretary Terry Beech is leading the consultations with First Nations, the aquaculture industry and conservation groups on that transition. Both of these initiatives are highly relevant to local governments, and the four mayors are asking to be included. “We are not requesting a seat at the government to government consultation,” they wrote in a letter to Jordan on Nov. 25, “However, we believe it is imperative that all those who may be affected by the final decision be given the opportunity to have their voice heard and considered…” They stressed the economic and cultural importance of “both the fish farming and wild salmon industries” for the region. Fish farming has become a significant part of the North Island economy, providing jobs, and spurring ancillary markets. Opponents to fish farms have argued that the open-water pens pose significant health risks to wild salmon negatively impacting that industry, ecology and the First Nations’ cultural and ceremonial relationship with salmon. READ MORE: Open-net salmon farms on their way out of B.C. waters Port McNeill, Port Hardy and Gold River don’t touch the Discovery Islands, but they have a stake in the industry as a whole. Port McNeill mayor Gaby Wickstrom said she was shocked at how much revenue Mowi and Cermaq spend specifically in her town, based in a report they produced for the region. Cermaq spent over $2 million on the North Island in 2018 alone. It’s more than the jobs on the farms themselves, she said. It’s all the other stuff like net mending, food, water taxi services, fuel, accommodations, janitorial services and small contractors. On top of that, there is a fear that if these 18 farms are denied a renewed licence to operate, it could spell doom for other farms around Vancouver Island. “We support both the fish farming industry and the wild salmon recovery process. We strongly believe these activities can safely co-exist in the same ocean,” they wrote. READ MORE: DNA presence of pathogens harmful to fish almost triples near B.C. salmon farms: study READ MORE: Minimal risk to wild salmon from viruses on farmed B.C. salmon: Fisheries Department Fisheries and Oceans Canada announced Sept. 28 it had determined the risk of viruses to wild salmon from farmed salmon are minimal, satisfying the 19th recommendation of the Cohen Commission which called for a removal of the 18 Discovery Island farms by Sept. 30, unless the health risk was determined to be minimal. In the same news release, it announced the consultation with the Holmalco, Klahoose, Komoks, Kwiakah, Tla’amin, We Wai Kai (Cape Mudge) and Wei Wai Kum (Campbell River) First Nations about the 18 farms in their region. Opponents cried foul to the minimal risk announcement, pointing to a separate study that concluded the risk was significant. Do you have something to add to this story or something else we should report on? Email: email@example.comZoë Ducklow, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, North Island Gazette
Deaths from illicit drugs in Prince George edged closer to record-setting proportions last month. The year-to-date total stood at 43 as of the end of October, according to a monthly update from the B.C. Coroners Service issued Wednesday and increase of five from the month before. The city appears on pace to surpass the record 51 deaths recorded in 2018. Four of the deaths last month involved drugs in which fentanyl was detected and raised that year-to-date total to 33. Forty-six such deaths were reported in 2018. Since the start of 2018, there have been 127 drug-related deaths in the city and the rate per 100,000 people stands at 44.8. Only Hope and Vancouver have higher rates. Across B.C., it was the fifth month this year for which more than 160 suspected illicit drug deaths were reported to the BCCS and more than double the number of people who died as a result of illicit drugs in October 2019. "We are continuing to see record-breaking numbers of people dying in B.C. due to an unsafe drug supply in our province, and it's taking a toll on families and communities in this dual health emergency," chief coroner Lisa Lapointe said in a statement. "Challenges during COVID-19, such as access to key harm-reduction services and the toxic drug supply, including the extreme concentration of illicit fentanyl, are resulting in continuing significant and tragic loss of life across the province. Our hearts go out to those grieving the loss of family members, friends and colleagues. "We encourage clinicians to support those at risk of overdose by prescribing safe supply and reducing the numbers of lives lost to toxic substances. We also continue to advocate for an accessible, evidence-based and accountable treatment and recovery system for anyone experiencing problematic substance use who is seeking this medical assistance."Mark Nielsen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince George Citizen
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — Three funeral workers have been fired for posing for photos alongside the body of soccer star Diego Maradona shortly before his funeral.The images distributed across social media created outrage, even death threats, across a nation that venerated Maradona, who died Wednesday of a heart attack at age 60. Tens of thousands lined up for a chance to file past his body at the nation's presidential palace on Thursday.Claudio Fernández confirmed to Radio Diez on Friday that he'd lost his job at the Pinier funeral home, along with his son Ismael and Claudio Medina.One of the images shows Fernández and his son — smiling and with thumb raised — alongside Maradona's body in the coffin on Thursday. Medina appears in another in the same pose.Fernández insisted that he hadn't known they'd planned to take a photograph, much less distribute it. “It was something instantaneous. I'd just raised my head and my son did it like any kid of 18,” he told the radio station.He said he had been receiving threats from others living in the El Paternal neighbourhood where Maradona debuted as a professional in 1976 with the Argentinos Juniors team.“They know me. I'm from the neighbourhood," Fernández said. “They say they are going to kill us, break our heads.”The team issued a statement saying it was considering expelling Fernández from its membership rolls.ience (asterisk)The Associated Press