Don't be surprised if Jade Bird blows up in the next few months.
Don't be surprised if Jade Bird blows up in the next few months.
China's embassy in the Philippines has denounced the United States for "creating chaos" in Asia, after a visiting White House envoy backed countries in disputes with China and accused Beijing of using military pressure to further its interests. During a trip to Manila on Monday, national security adviser Robert O'Brien underscored the U.S. commitment to Taiwan and told the Philippines and Vietnam, countries both locked in maritime rows with China, that "we've got your back". "It shows that his visit to this region is not to promote regional peace and stability, but to create chaos in the region in order to seek selfish interests of the U.S.," the embassy said in a statement issued late Monday.
Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen on Tuesday vowed to defend the democratic island's sovereignty with the construction of a new fleet of domestically-developed submarines, a key project supported by the United States to counter neighbouring China. Taiwan, which China claims as its own territory, has been for years working to revamp its submarine force, some of which date back to World War Two, and is no match for China's fleet, which includes vessels capable of launching nuclear weapons. At a ceremony to mark the start of construction of a new submarine fleet in the southern port city of Kaohsiung, Tsai called the move a "historic milestone" for Taiwan's defensive capabilities after overcoming "various challenges and doubts".
Salt that crystallizes with sharp edges is the killer ingredient in the development of a reusable mask because any COVID-19 droplets that land on it would be quickly destroyed, says a researcher who is being recognized for her innovation.Ilaria Rubino, a recent PhD graduate from the department of chemical and materials engineering at the University of Alberta, said a mostly salt and water solution that coats the first or middle layer of the mask would dissolve droplets before they can penetrate the face covering.As the liquid from the droplets evaporates, the salt crystals grow back as spiky weapons, damaging the bacteria or virus within five minutes, Rubino said."We know that after the pathogens are collected in the mask, they can survive. Our goal was to develop a technology that is able to inactivate the pathogens upon contact so that we can make the mask as effective as possible."Rubino, who collaborated with a researcher at Georgia State University in Atlanta to advance the project she started five years ago, was recognized Tuesday with an innovation award from Mitacs. The Canadian not-for-profit organization receives funding from the federal government, most provinces and Yukon to honour researchers from academic institutions.The reusable, non-washable mask is made of a type of polypropylene, a plastic used in surgical masks, and could be safely worn and handled multiple times without being decontaminated, Rubino said.The idea is to replace surgical masks often worn by health-care workers who must dispose of them in a few hours, she said, adding the technology could potentially be used for N-95 respirators.The salt-coated mask is expected to be available commercially next year after regulatory approval. It could also be used to stop the spread of other infectious illnesses, such as influenza, Rubino said.Dr. Catherine Clase, an epidemiologist and associate professor of medicine at McMaster University in Hamilton, said the "exciting" technology would have multiple benefits.Clase, who is a member of the Centre of Excellence in Protective Equipment and Materials in the engineering department at McMaster, said there wasn't much research in personal protective equipment when Rubino began her work."It's going to decrease the footprint for making and distributing and then disposing of every mask," she said, adding that the mask could also address any supply issues.The Public Health Agency of Canada recently recommended homemade masks consist of at least three layers, with a middle, removable layer constructed from a non-woven, washable polypropylene fabric to improve filtration.Conor Ruzycki, an aerosol scientist in the University of Alberta's mechanical engineering department, said Rubino's innovation adds to more recent research on masks as COVID-19 cases rise and shortages of face coverings in the health-care system could again become a problem.Ruzycki, who works in a lab to evaluate infiltration efficiencies of different materials for masks and respirators, is also a member of a physician-led Alberta group Masks4Canada, which is calling for stricter pandemic measures, including a provincewide policy on mandatory masks.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 24, 2020.Camille Bains, The Canadian Press
MISSISSAUGA, Ont. — Miss Vickie's Canada says some of its potato chips that were part of a recall in Eastern Canada earlier this month due to possible glass contamination were inadvertently shipped west. The company says the chips were only shipped to retail customers in Alberta, Brandon, Man., and Moose Jaw, Sask, and that it's working with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to co-ordinate a voluntary recall. It says 630 bags are involved, and they have very specific "guaranteed fresh" dates and "manufacturing codes." Consumers who have purchased the chips should not eat them and are urged to throw them out or return them to the place of purchase for a full refund. At the beginning of November, Miss Vickie's recalled some chips sold online and in Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada due to what it said was "isolated reports of the presence of a small piece of glass found at the bottom of the bag." The CFIA says on its website there have been reported injuries associated with the products. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 23, 2020. The Canadian Press
China launched an ambitious mission on Tuesday to bring back material from the moon's surface for the first time in more than 40 years - an undertaking that could boost human understanding of the moon and of the solar system more generally. (Nov. 24)
Grand River watershed — The Grand River Conservation Authority held an emergency board meeting this week to discuss the province’s proposed changes for conservation authorities and to plan its response. “I’m asking us to be as thoughtful as possible about what is non-negotiable going forward,” Grand River Conservation Authority Chair Helen Jowett said to open the discussion. In its summary, the staff report detailing the changes expressed the significance of the planned changes: “If enacted, some changes will significantly impact the role of a conservation authority board to establish programs and services. “As well, the proposed amendments will enable Regulations that will either limit or completely change the role of conservation authorities to protect Ontario’s environment and ensure people and property are safe from natural hazards.” The most impactful proposed change is to mandate that only municipal councillors will be allowed to sit on a conservation authority board, and that board members’ fiduciary duty must be to their individual municipalities rather than to the conservation authority, according to Samantha Lawson, the Chief Administrative Officer for the Grand River Conservation Authority. Lawson and Jowett both feel this will put individual interests of municipalities above the watershed as a whole. “We work together to look after the entire watershed because water knows no boundaries. And it works for us,” says Jowett. “We are concerned that it could undermine that watershed approach, which is very successful currently.” Other changes introduced in schedule six of Bill 229 — the Protect Support and Recover from COVID-19 Act (Budget Measures) — include: allowing the province to intervene in the conservation authority permitting process at any time and make any decisions with or without use of watershed-level science remove or limit a conservation authority’s ability to appeal decisions to the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal and remove a conservation authority’s (not yet proclaimed) ability to give a stop work order in the case of harmful activity. Staff at the Grand River Conservation Authority feel the proposed changes will limit any meaningful authority, and interfere with the watershed approach. The Grand River Conservation Authority board voted to approve the report prepared by staff. A cover letter summarizing the conservation authority’s stance will be added. Together these will be sent to the Premier, Ministers of Environment, Conservation and Parks, Natural Resources, Municipal housing and Affairs and Finance, watershed MPPs, the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, the Rural Ontario Municipal Association and circulated to watershed municipalities. The entire staff report can be viewed on the conservation authority’s website.Leah Gerber, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Waterloo Region Record
B.C.'s health-care workers are pleading with the public to heed health orders while bracing for difficult working conditions as COVID-19 cases in the province continue to rise.On Monday, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced there were another 1,933 cases of COVID-19 over the last three days and 17 more deaths.This comes just over two weeks after restrictions were initially put in place in the Vancouver Coastal Health and Fraser Health authorities, and a few days after those restrictions were extended to cover the entire province. Christine Sorensen, president of the B.C. Nurses' Union, says nurses are frustrated when they see people continue to gather in groups and not follow the guidelines because that increases transmission and puts additional pressure on the health-care system."It puts greater demands on the staff that also fairly tired, looking for a bit of a rest and a break and really not seeing anything coming in the next few months, particularly with the holiday season coming and people wanting to mix and mingle with their friends and family," Sorensen said. Dr. Kathleen Ross, the president of Doctors of B.C., says the prospect of burnout is looming closer for many front line health-care workers. "Many of us are afraid to go home for fear of infecting our loved ones and many more of us drop our clothes at the door and run to the shower before we even greet our family," said Ross. "We're adjusting to the new normal ... but of course we cannot expect that surge capacity to last forever."And both Ross and Sorensen point out it is not just front line health-care workers shouldering the burden, but additional staff like cleaning crews and maintenance workers who keep the whole health-care system operational."There are lots of unsung heroes in the system, not just in the emergency rooms where there are doctors and nurses taking care of our most acutely ill," Sorensen said. Sorensen says she worries the spike in cases could escalate to point where essential health-care workers are kept on the job even if they've been exposed."[I'm] very concerned [about that]. Nurses are dedicated and they do want to continue working, but if we get enough nurses exposed or sick, we won't have enough nurses to deliver healthcare," she said. Ross says this is a crucial moment."If everyone does their part, if we all step forward and follow the public health guidelines as they have been laid out, then we'll get there. But we have to do it all together."
Residents were given proper notice of a vote to remove Fort Simpson's liquor purchasing restrictions, according to N.W.T. finance minister Caroline Wawzonek. MLA for Nahendeh Shane Thompson – also a minister – posted to Facebook on Monday regarding concerns constituents had raised about the plebiscite held on November 12. Specifically, the post related to concerns about how much public notice was provided leading up to the vote and how to contact the official in charge of it. Residents ultimately voted overwhelmingly in favour of lifting alcohol restrictions in the community. Of 730 eligible voters, 240 cast a ballot and 175 of those were in favour of removing restrictions. The Department of Finance, which oversees liquor regulations in the N.W.T., is now in the process of implementing the result, which may take several weeks. Thompson's post relayed a message he had received from Wawzonek addressing concerns. “Based on all of the information I have received to date, I am confident in the integrity of the plebiscite held in the village of Fort Simpson,” Wawzonek's message to Thompson reads. Wawzonek states some residents who attend school away from Fort Simpson believe they did not receive adequate notice of the plebiscite. She concludes, however, that there was sufficient notice within the village, on Facebook, and through the media in the weeks and months before the vote. She adds returning officer Tammie Cazon fulfilled her duties in the Local Authorities Elections Act by providing public notice of the plebiscite, including details on how and where to vote. Wawzonek says Cazon met legislative requirements by posting public notices in five locations – the bank, the Northern store, the Unity store, the Nahanni Inn and Pandaville restaurant. “It is not the responsibility of the returning officer to locate and notify every resident of the community who may not be currently living in the community. That would be an impossible task," Wawzonek writes. "Voters bear some of the responsibility for informing themselves about how to exercise their democratic right to vote.” The final concern regards the returning officer’s email address and confusion about how to reach Cazon. Wawzonek again asserts faith in the process, saying her department confirmed with Cazon only one email address was distributed for voters to use. Proxy voting was an option in the plebiscite but, according to Wawzonek, Cazon did not receive any emails related to proxy voting. The community of Fort Simpson requested the plebiscite after a petition with more than 150 signatures from residents was turned in to the village council late last year, asking for action to try to remove the restrictions. Restrictions are set to be lifted in the coming weeks, though an exact date has not been set. Once the regulations are changed and restrictions lifted, the village is still bound to pandemic-related alcohol restrictions, which limit customers to a maximum of $200 per day at any liquor store in the territory and six mickeys (375-ml bottles) of spirits in a 24-hour period.Sarah Sibley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Cabin Radio
A B.C. surgeon who called his preteen patient a "loose woman" during an appointment has been fined and reprimanded by his professional regulator.Dr. Bruce Taro Yoneda, an orthopedic surgeon based in Victoria, has admitted that he "engaged in unprofessional conduct by using sexualized language during a surgical consult," according to a public notice posted Friday by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of B.C.Yoneda also acknowledged telling the same young patient he would give her a "lube job," and admitted he did not give her a full explanation before he began questioning her about her menstrual cycle.The college's inquiry committee, which investigates complaints against doctors, "was critical of the registrant's admitted conduct and concluded that his use of inappropriate language displayed a lack of insight," the notice says.As part of a consent agreement with the college, Yoneda has been fined $7,500, received a formal reprimand and has had his registration as a doctor transferred to "conditional" status. He's also agreed to take courses in clinical communication and professionalism.
The staff tested positive last week and Maxwell was checked for the virus on Nov. 18 using a rapid test which was negative, the prosecutors said in a letter to U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan. Maxwell was placed in quarantine at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn for 14 days, said the letter. Maxwell has not shown any symptoms of COVID-19 and will be tested again at the end of her two-week quarantine.
An opposition lawmaker called on Tuesday for Malaysia to outlaw online hate speech, accusing authorities of downplaying the gravity of an issue highlighted by a Reuters investigation into abuse on Facebook of Rohingya refugees and undocumented migrants. Citing the Reuters report on rising xenophobia online in Malaysia in the wake of the coronavirus epidemic, lawmaker Chan Foong Hin asked the Communications and Multimedia Ministry last week to state its plans to combat such hate speech.
CCGS Jean Goodwill, the second of three interim icebreakers to join the Canadian Coast Guard, has been accepted into the fleet after undergoing conversion and refit work in Quebec.The ship's home port will be in Dartmouth, N.S., and it's expected to begin operations in early 2021, according to a news release from the coast guard."This icebreaker, and the dedicated officers aboard, will provide essential services to Canadians by keeping our waters safe and our marine commercial routes open for business," said Bernadette Jordan, the minister responsible for the Canadian Coast Guard.The ship is named after the late Jean Goodwill, an officer of the Order of Canada and a Cree nurse from Little Pine Nation in Saskatchewan. She became Saskatchewan's first Indigenous woman to finish a nursing program in 1954 and was a founding member of the Aboriginal Nurses Association of Canada.2nd of three shipsCCGS Jean Goodwill will depart the Davie shipyard in Lévis, Que., for Nova Scotia early Tuesday morning, a spokesperson for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans said in an email.Chantier Davie was awarded a $610-million contract in August 2018 to acquire three icebreakers and bring them up to Canadian regulatory standards.The first icebreaker, CCGS Captain Molly Kool, entered service in late 2018 and is based in Newfoundland and Labrador. It was the first icebreaker added to the fleet in 25 years. The ship is named after a New Brunswick-born woman who was the first woman to become a licensed ship captain.The third icebreaker, named for Vincent Massey, the first governor general born in Canada, is expected to join the coast guard fleet next year."The CCGS Jean Goodwill, along with its sister ships, CCGS Captain Molly Kool and the future CCGS Vincent Massey, will support icebreaking operations while new ships are being built and the existing fleet undergoes repairs and planned maintenance periods," the release said.The icebreakers will be used in Atlantic Canada, the St. Lawrence River and the Great Lakes during the winter and in the Arctic during the summer.The Davie shipyard is prequalified to become a partner in the National Shipbuilding Strategy. The two current partners are Irving Shipbuilding and Seaspan Shipyards in Vancouver.Workers exposed to lead Work on CCGS Jean Goodwill and the future CCGS Vincent Massey at the Davie Shipyard was halted last February after a coast guard risk assessment revealed paint containing lead on both ships.Last month, a Radio-Canada investigation found the shipyard workers and members of the Canadian Coast Guard were exposed to lead paint for months without any protective equipment, even though their employers had reason to believe the ships were contaminated.Davie and the coast guard found the paint on CCGS Molly Kool contained traces of lead in October 2019. While the three ships were built to identical specifications, work wasn't paused on the other two icebreakers for another four months.In a statement last month, Frédérik Boisvert, the shipbuilder's vice-president of public affairs, said the company took all reasonable precautions and there were no negative impacts on the employees' health.Work resumed on the two ships in late March.MORE TOP STORIES
WASHINGTON — Janet Yellen is in line for another top economic policy job — just in time to confront yet another crisis.Yellen, President-elect Joe Biden's apparent choice for treasury secretary, served on the Federal Reserve's policymaking committee during the 2008-2009 financial crisis that nearly toppled the banking system.She became Fed chair in 2014 when the economy was still recovering from the devastating Great Recession. In the late 1990s, she was President Bill Clinton's top economic adviser during the Asian financial crisis.And now, according to a person familiar with Biden's transition plans, she has been chosen to lead Treasury with the economy in the grip of a surging viral epidemic. The spike in virus cases is intensifying pressure on companies and individuals, with fear growing that the economy could suffer a “double-dip” recession as states and cities reimpose restrictions on businesses.Yet many longtime observers of the U.S. economy see Yellen as ideally suited for the role.“She is extraordinarily talented,” said Diane Swonk, chief economist at auditing firm Grant Thornton. “She is the right person at this challenging time. She has worked every crisis."If confirmed, Yellen would become the first woman to lead the Treasury Department in its nearly 232 years. She would inherit an economy with still-high unemployment, escalating threats to small businesses and signs that consumers are retrenching as the worsening pandemic restricts or discourages spending.Most economists say that the distribution of an effective vaccine will likely reinvigorate growth next year. Yet they warn that any sustained recovery will also hinge on whether Congress can agree soon on a sizable aid package to carry the economy through what Biden has said will be a “dark winter” with the pandemic still out of control.Negotiations on additional government spending, though, have been stuck in Congress for months.Yellen has favoured further stimulus, including more money for state and local governments, which she has said need “substantial support” to avoid further job cuts. Rescue aid for states has been a major sticking point in congressional negotiations.Nathan Sheets, chief economist at PGIM Fixed Income and a former senior Fed and Treasury official, said that Yellen could effectively use the “bully pulpit” during what are likely to be difficult negotiations with Senate Republicans."Yellen," Sheets said, “has a unique ability ... to communicate about economics and economic policies in terms that resonate with individuals.”She will also have the opportunity to work with Fed Chair Jerome Powell, with whom Yellen enjoys a close relationship after having worked together at the Fed, to restart several emergency lending programs. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said last week that the programs will expire, as scheduled, at the end of this year — a decision that critics warn will unnecessarily hamstring the Fed.Powell objected to the Treasury's move, though he agreed to return money that Congress had authorized to backstop the lending.The most likely credit programs to be renewed, economists say, would be one that supported states and cities and a second, the Main Street Lending program, that targeted small and mid-sized businesses.Neither program has made very many loans. But just the understanding that those backstops existed lent confidence to the financial markets. Economists say Yellen could allow Powell to offer more generous terms to increase the programs' use.The 74-year-old Yellen, long a path-breaking figure in the male-dominated economics field, was the first woman to serve as Fed chair, from 2014 to 2018.“She is an icon,” said Stephanie Aaronson, a vice-president at the Brookings Institution and a former top economist at the Fed. “Having a female chair meant a lot to a lot of people.”Yellen was known as a highly prepared, sometimes demanding but down-to-earth manager who was popular with the Fed's staff.“I have never met anyone who has worked for or with Janet who has an unkind word to say about her," said Claudia Sahm, a former Fed economist. "She is the kind of person who uplifts her staff.”Under Yellen's tenure, the central bank began a seminal shift of its policy focus away from fighting inflation, which has been quiescent for decades, to trying to maximize employment, the second of its two mandates. That process culminated this summer when Powell announced that the Fed planned to keep rates ultra-low for a time even after inflation has topped the central bank's 2% annual target level, rather than raising rates pre-emptively.As Fed chair, Yellen won praise for her attention to disadvantaged groups, including the long-term unemployed, at a time when financial inequalities were widening across the economy. She made numerous visits to employment training centres to spotlight the need for training programs to equip people for good jobs.During the 2008-2009 financial crisis, transcripts of the Fed's meetings show that Yellen was more prescient than most other Fed officials about the potential for a deep recession and weak recovery afterward.Yellen is well-known on Capitol Hill after years of testifying as Fed chair to Senate committees about the economy and interest rate policy. During those years, she frequently clashed with Republican lawmakers who accused her of keeping rates too low for too long after the 2008 financial crisis. Some of them charged that Yellen and her predecessor, Ben Bernanke, had elevated the risk of runaway inflation and asset bubbles that could destabilize financial markets.None of those fears came to pass. On the contrary, under Bernanke and Yellen — and later, under Powell — the Fed's more difficult challenge became raising inflation merely to the Fed's annual 2% target level. It has yet to do so consistently.Yellen, a Democrat, had served only one four-year term as Fed chair when President Donald Trump decided to replace her with Powell, a Republican, despite Yellen’s desire to serve another term. That move broke a four-decade tradition of presidents allowing Fed chairs to serve at least two terms even if they had first been nominated by a president of the opposing party.After leaving the Fed, Yellen became a distinguished fellow in residence at the liberal Brookings Institution in Washington, signalling her continuing interest in financial policymaking.When she stepped down from the Fed in early 2018, Shawn Sebastian, co-director of the Fed-Up coalition, a collection of progressive groups, called Yellen's departure “a loss for working people across the country." He hailed her efforts to take on “economic inequality, racial disparities in the economy, the role of women in the workplace and the need for more diversity at the Fed.”Yet some progressives have also criticized Yellen for the Fed's December 2015 decision to raise its benchmark rate from near zero, where it had been pegged since late 2008 in the midst of the financial crisis. That rate hike, which caused a sharp increase in the value of the dollar, contributed to a slowdown in U.S. economic growth in 2016 and is now seen by many economists as having been premature.Yellen is married to George Akerlof, a Nobel Prize-winning economist whom she met in a Fed cafeteria in 1977. They have one son, Robert, who is an economics professor.___AP Economics Writer Martin Crutsinger contributed to this report.Christopher Rugaber And Michael Balsamo, The Associated Press
L’organisme spécialisé dans l’évaluation et la diminution des émissions de gaz à effet de serre affirme que cette mesure va encourager les bénéficiaires à contribuer à la lutte contre les changements climatiques. L’alimentation, le transport, le chauffage ou les technologies de communication sont des facteurs d’émission des gaz à effet de serre. Carboneutre Québec propose aux entreprises et aux individus de calculer et de réduire leur empreinte carbone à travers des activités carboneutres ou écoresponsables visant à la restauration des forêts et des plans d’eau. L’engouement des gens à se lancer dans la gestion de leur empreinte carbone est souvent dilué dans plusieurs paramètres qui les éloignent des préoccupations écologiques. Interrogé sur les moyens de mobilisation de la population, le président de Carboneutre Québec, Mathieu Comtois, réalise que l’initiative personnelle ne suffit pas. « C’est vrai que si nous avions l’aide gouvernementale, ça pourrait aider parce qu’en plus il n’y a absolument aucune subvention aux entreprises pour faciliter l’adhésion à devenir carboneutre », reconnaît-il, en suivant une logique de conséquence dans l’élaboration des politiques publiques. « Si on reconnaît qu’il y a des changements climatiques, si on reconnait qu’il est urgent d’agir, on devrait encourager les gens à compenser leur empreinte carbone », ajoute-t-il. Cette idée aurait-elle une chance de prospérer, surtout pendant la crise ? « Le gouvernement lui-même n’est pas carboneutre dans sa façon de fonctionner », reconnaît M. Comtois qui se contente pour l’instant de quelques députés provinciaux ou fédéraux qui se montrent préoccupés. Il en conclut qu’avant de solliciter l’appui institutionnel, « il faudrait peut-être commencer à la base et donc, oui il y a beaucoup de sensibilisation à faire. » Des solutions à la source Une fois évaluée, l’empreinte carbone est généralement compensée par le reboisement qui permet de diminuer les émissions dans la même proportion. Il existe des méthodes scientifiquement reconnues pour calculer les émissions de gaz à effet de serre dont le dioxyde de carbone est une source majeure. Selon Mathieu Comtois, le CO2 est émis par la combustion des carburants fossiles (pétrole, charbon, gaz naturel dans une moindre mesure) pour la production de l’électricité, l’industrie et les transports. Carboneutre Québec propose de réduire à la source. Une trentaine d’organisations ont répondu à son appel depuis sa création en 2019. « Il y a des gens qui vont opter pour les transports en commun, il y en a qui vont manger moins de viande rouge, on peut revoir les modes de chauffage, l’hydroélectricité, ou les édifices chauffés au mazout », recommande le Granbyen qui accompagne par exemple, la députée de Shefford, Andréanne Larouche, pour la plantation de 130 arbres en guise de compensation de 18,14 tonnes de dioxyde de carbone. Les changements climatiques ne sont pas une fiction… Plus que jamais, chaque geste compte pour aider notre planète », conclut Mme Larouche. D’autres organisations se sont mises à la tâche. La fondation Socodévi propose des solutions depuis 2006, tout comme Compensation CO2 Québec qui plante des arbres au sud du Québec. Depuis 1992, Arbres Canada en est à plus de 80 millions d’arbres plantés dans les villes et les régions. Pour l’exercice 2018-2019, le gouvernement fédéral a déclaré 1 212 kilotonnes d’équivalent de dioxyde de carbone dont 11 % au Québec, soit une réduction de 32,6 % depuis l’exercice 2005-2006. Godlove Kamwa, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Canada Français
The Town of Orangeville is rolling it back a bit after catching people off guard by starting to issue tickets for those exceeding two-hour parking limits on evenings and weekends. The rules against parking for longer than two hours have always been in place but not enforced, leading to people being unconcerned about how long they’re parked during those hours. Some weren’t even aware the two-hour rule existed. “The two-hour limit is not new,” explained Coun. Lisa Post. “This came into place after paid parking was eliminated, to deter people from parking on Broadway for a whole day.” After the hiring of two additional bylaw officers, which allowed for the creation of evening and weekend shifts for the first time, the town was able to start enforcing the bylaw. The move caught a number of people and businesses off guard, leading to complaints about tickets being received. “To just start ticketing without any kind of notice to businesses and residents that it would be happening was not really fair,” said Alison Scheel, general manager of the BIA. “Residents and people aren’t used to it.” Scheel said she feels a bylaw that issues a two-hour limit, particularly on evenings and weekends when there is no strain on parking, is more likely to harm businesses and restaurants in the downtown core. “They’re ticketing people who are just trying to support local businesses, and that’s not really going to benefit anybody,” said Scheel. “Very rarely do you go downtown on a Thursday night after 5 p.m. and all the parking is taken.” Another issue, Scheel noted, doesn’t necessarily lay with the need for the enforcement, but the way in which the bylaw itself is written. “It’s not easy for the town; they’re trying their best and they’re doing what they have to — they’re following the letter of the bylaw itself,” said Scheel. “The way it’s written, they either have to enforce all of it or none of it.” For many people dining at downtown restaurants, getting their hair done, or if they have mobility issues, a two-hour parking limit isn’t necessarily feasible. In the case of employees in businesses like restaurants, parking on the road when there’s no demand for spaces comes down to a safety issue. Scheel pointed to a specific situation she was made aware of, where a female employee wasn’t comfortable parking in the municipal lots due to the fact that she finishes work at night and there is not much lighting. “She felt more comfortable walking along the street to get to her car than through a dark parking lot,” explained Scheel. The two-hour limit was established to prevent people from parking all day, to allow more people to access shops for shorter stops along Broadway. “From an enforcement perspective, if we can get people to move their cars within that two-hour time frame, we can free up more parking in the long term,” said Post. Council’s goal was not to cause harm to downtown businesses, but help them, said Post. With that in mind, council voted to pass a moratorium on the parking bylaw until Jan. 11 “It was put in place to give business owners the opportunity to communicate this to their customers,” said Post. “That six weeks will hopefully give them more than enough time for that.” The moratorium does not apply to overnight parking. Beginning on Dec.1, vehicles parking overnight will still be ticketed under the winter parking ban. Scheel said she would have preferred to see the moratorium to apply only for evenings and weekends. Her concern is that with no limits whatsoever during this period, people will abuse it, as they have in the past. “It’s good that people aren’t going to get tickets and that businesses are going to lose customers because they’re getting tickets,” said Scheel. “But it also means it’s likely people will park all day. Especially during the Christmas season when people are going to be desperate for parking spaces to get into the stores.” Sometime during the next six weeks, the BIA board will be meeting to discuss what changes, if any, should be made. Should the BIA reach the conclusion that the bylaw needs changes, that will be presented to council. “It’s complicated, and it’s not an easy solution,” said Scheel. Post noted that figuring out the best way to address all the parking issues is definitely on the minds of council. “I know that there is frustration and that sometimes municipal parking is full, and I hope that we can address that through our term of council,” said Post. “It’s something we’re already talking about.”Tabitha Wells/Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Orangeville Banner
A combination of little activity and fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic led to a decision to give away, not rent, toys at Jasper's Toy Lending Library, located in the Anglican Church. The toys are free and donations are welcome too, and will go to Santa's Anonymous. "There hasn't been much activity taking out toys," said Melody Gaboury, who started the toy lending library with Anglican Church Reverend Andreas Sigrist, last fall. Donations came from Jasper parents, the church network in Edmonton and a store called Once Upon a Time, and the toys, games and costumes have been free to rent since then, on the condition they're returned clean. "The toy lending room wasn't as busy as I hoped," Gaboury said. "The main reason I wanted to do this is because children don't need it to come in a package to be special. “A new toy is a new toy, the plastic packaging isn't important. The fact is they get a new toy to play with. It's new to them. It doesn't need to be brand new.” Gaboury lives by example. She said there have been very few times when she has purchased new toys for her children. "Research has shown that if children have too many choices, they're not going to be as creative and use what they have, and get bored. It's just not necessary,” she said. "I told my kids we're going to start sharing our toys with the community.” The COVID pandemic has presented challenges in many forms including employment. With either loss of a job, or a reduced number of hours being worked, "There's going to be a lot of people who need Santa's Anonymous this year,” Gaboury said. "Instead of bringing toys to the thrift shop after Christmas, they can be dropped off before Christmas at the Anglican Church, by the office door. “Do it now, because people are going to need help." In the current stock of toys, Gaboury said there are a lot for children under the age of five, but not as many for kids older than five. The Toy Lending Library is accepting cleaned toys that are in complete sets and in good condition. All toys are disinfected after they are donated. Toys can be picked up on the same days the Jasper Food Recovery items are available: Tuesdays from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and Thursdays from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. The initiative started on Nov. 19 and Gaboury said she is happy to report $50 has been donated already.Joanne McQuarrie, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Jasper Fitzhugh
Fisher River Education Authority (FREA) has provided free laptops or iPads and internet connection devices to students in the Fisher River Cree Nation community. Around 230 students from Grade 5 to 12 received a Toshiba laptop as well as MiFi boxes to transition them into online learning. It is estimated that students from nursery to Grade 4 will be getting their iPads within the next six weeks. “Just from word of mouth as well as comments and posts on Facebook, parents and children are extremely happy and grateful with what they have received,” said Davin Dumas, the director of FREA on Monday. Initially, Fisher River was going to provide a blended model whereby students will do some in-home learning as well as learning in school. However, Fisher River Health Services was notified on Sept. 9 that there was a positive COVID-19 case in the community, which then changed the FREA’s plan regarding the blended model. “At that point, we decided to go full online learning for the majority of our students with the additional printed materials,” said Dumas. In October, the laptops and MiFi devices were picked up by parents and students at the high school in Fisher River. Students can keep the laptops and iPads provided but, the MiFi device is the property of the Fisher River Board of Education (FRBOE) and therefore must be returned when students move back to in-class learning. “We are giving the laptops and iPads to the children because we want them to take ownership and responsibility for items that will belong to them,” said Dumas. The FRBOE will cover the monthly subscription cost associated with the device until February. The MiFi boxes were provided so students can connect with their teachers and classmates as well as engage in learning and research. The FREA managed to purchase the laptops, iPads and MiFi boxes at affordable pricing by ordering in bulk. Although Dumas was not able to pinpoint a specific amount, he noted that the FREA had received considerable funding from the Government of Canada to support this initiative. Students Grade 5 and above, as well as students Grade 4 and below, are receiving different electronic items due to the programs they are utilizing and the number of times students are going to be online. “The older the student, the longer they are going to be online. The younger they are, the least amount of time they spend online,” said Dumas. Those Grade 4 and below will be communicating with their teachers using Zoom classroom through the iPads. The iPad is mostly used so that teachers can check in on their students to see how they are doing and their progress with work packages sent to their homes. For Grade 5 to Grade 8 students, the teachers will utilize Microsoft Teams where teachers can conduct video conferences as well as post homework where students can complete and hand in straight after. High school students are currently using the Wapaskwa Virtual Collegiate (WVC), an online high school operated by the Manitoba First Nations Education Resource Centre. Teachers from the Fisher River high school will use the interactive courses offered by the WVC to educate their students. Nicole Wong is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the Winnipeg Sun. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.Nicole Wong, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Winnipeg Sun
On the Friday that preceded election day, the students of Saskatchewan went to the polls to cast their ballots in a mock provincial election. “Nearly 300 elementary and high schools participated in the Student Vote program for the 2020 Saskatchewan provincial election,” said Dan Allen, Director of Content at CIVIX. “After learning about government and the election process, researching the parties and platforms, and debating the future of Saskatchewan, students cast ballots for the official candidates running in their school’s constituency. This was the third provincial Student Vote organized in Saskatchewan to date, and the 50th Student Vote election since 2003,” said Allen. Nearly 25,000 students cast ballots, in the 61 constituencies in the province. “Students elected Scott Moe and the Saskatchewan Party to form a majority government with 37 out of 61 seats and 46 per cent of the vote. Moe also won in the constituency of Rosthern—Shellbrook with 81 per cent of the vote. Ryan Meili and the Saskatchewan NDP took 24 seats and will form the official opposition, receiving 35 per cent of the popular vote. Meili also won in the constituency of Saskatoon Meewasin with 61 per cent of the vote. The Saskatchewan Green Party received 12 per cent of the student vote, but failed to win a seat,” said Allan. CIVIX CIVIX is a non-partisan, national registered charity that was born when two previous charities joined together, namely Student Vote and Operation Dialogue. Operation Dialogue was established by Warren Goldring in 1999. Its stated goal was to promote good citizenship through information and dialogue. It had a flagship program, the annual ‘Talk About Canada Quiz,’ which was designed to encouraged young Canadians to be more informed about their country. The Student Vote Program was founded by Taylor Gunn and Lindsay Mazzucco in 2002. “He (Taylor) was helping a young person who was not in the traditional school setting. He was researching education and he came across a program in the United States that set up polling stations for students at real polling stations. The idea was that the kids take their parents to the polls,” said Mazzucco. After some more research it was clear that a similar program was not really available in Canada. Student Vote became that program. “The first program was organized during the Ontario provincial election in 2003. The next year we did a federal election in 2004,” said Mazzucco. From these first two elections it was clear that the program was something needed in Canada. The 2004 federal election saw schools from every province and territory participate and CIVIX just grew from there. “In the last federal election a year ago, we had 9,500 schools participate and 1.2 million students cast their vote,” said Mazzucco. Student Vote 2020 Saskatchewan The Student Vote Saskatchewan 2020 program will be the 50th program made possible by CIVIX. It is not just an activity where children can cast a vote, the program’s stated aim is to develop the capacity for informed and engaged citizenship among young Canadians. “The program is free to any school in the jurisdiction where we are running the program. Schools can sign up online and we provide them with free learning material and lesson plans to teach about government, democracy, elections and the voting process. We also share posters and electoral district maps and then ballots and ballot boxes. The ballots have the official candidates on them. Students are participating in an authentic experience. They can go home and talk to their parents about who they voted for and the goal is to foster a discussion about the election at home,” said Mazzucco. CIVIX is a team of about 14 people who all come together to teach young people about how the electoral process works in Canada. Student Vote is just one of the programs offered by the charity. “We offer government budget consultations with youth, we co-ordinate visits from elected officials to come and speak to schools about current affairs. We also offer a lot of teacher training opportunities,” said Mazzucco. The idea is to help the teacher speak to students on the issues of the day in an informed manner. “Last year we did two events in Saskatchewan; one in Regina and one in Saskatoon leading up to the federal election. We had experts come in and talk about issues and emerging trends in democracy. We took them through the materials so they could return to their schools more motivated and more interested and able to engage more students,” said Mazzucco. Challenges and rewards One of the big challenges of the program is to make young people more comfortable with the political process in Canada. “Research has shown that young people are intimidated by the process. Our goal is to de-mystify the process for them and give students a chance to get comfortable with it,” said Mazzucco. The reason for this is not just so that voters of the future know how to cast a ballot, but to make sure that they walk into the voting booth having made an informed choice. “It is not just about voting, it is about making an informed choice. Teaching students how to research candidates and the parties and what they stand for and how to think critically about what the parties are saying, that is all part of the program. Teaching people in general about our democracy and how government works and how elections work is greatly important to having informed and engaged citizenry,” said Mazzucco. Working toward these goals do have its rewards. “The feedback from teachers always motivates us and keep us engaged. Some teachers say its the highlight of their year. Hearing the students talking, not just in class, but at recess and in the hallways about the leaders debate and (hearing) how they are engaging in the debate, that is rewarding,” said Mazzucco. The positive effects of Student Vote reaches beyond the students when they share what they have learned with their families. “We also hear from some students and their families that the parents went out and voted for the first time because students went home and encouraged them to do so. Some parents have even changed who they are going to vote for based on the information the student brought home,” said Mazzucco. The success of the program is evaluated in a variety of ways. “One, it is in the number of schools that register and the number of schools that submit results and number of students that cast ballots. Then, we also do surveys. We did an evaluation last year with a research firm in the form of pre and post program surveys among the students and educators to evaluate their interest and knowledge before and then their knowledge and interest afterwards, and then we measure those changes after the program,” said Mazzucco. With 1.2 million ballots cast from more than 8,000 Canadian schools in the last Student Vote Canada 2019 program that coincided with the 2019 federal election, it is clear the program is successful.Victor van der Merwe, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The World-Spectator
The RCMP officer who took Meng Wanzhou's phones and laptop into police custody says he didn't share technical details from the Huawei executive's electronic devices with the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation and doesn't recall ever saying any of his colleagues did either.Const. Gurvinder Dhaliwal denied key elements Monday of what Meng's lawyers claim was a conspiracy between Canadian and U.S. authorities to covertly gather information that would assist the FBI in its investigation.In B.C. Supreme Court testimony, Dhaliwal addressed an apparent contradiction between his evidence and the accounts of two of his supervisors — one of whom has denied passing along any information to the FBI, and the other of whom took notes indicating that Dhaliwal told her their colleague said he sent serial numbers to the U.S. agency."Did you provide this information to FBI?" asked Crown prosecutor John Gibb-Carsley. "Did any of your RCMP colleagues tell you they provided this information to the FBI?"Dhaliwal answered 'No' to both questions."Did you ever tell any of your colleagues that the information had been sent to the FBI?" Gibb-Carsley asked."No, I did not," Dhaliwal said.Warrant said arrest should happen 'immediately'Dhaliwal is one of 10 RCMP and Canada Border Services Agency officers expected to take the stand in a hearing to obtain evidence ahead of Meng's extradition proceedings next year.The 48-year-old was arrested on a provisional extradition warrant on Dec. 1, 2018, at Vancouver's airport after arriving on a flight from Hong Kong en route to Mexico City and Argentina, where she had planned to attend a conference.Meng faces fraud and conspiracy charges in relation to allegations that she lied to an HSBC executive about Huawei's control of a subsidiary accused of violating U.S. economic sanctions against Iran.Proescutors claim that by relying on her alleged lies to continue a financial relationship with Huawei, HSBC placed itself at risk of loss and prosecution.Meng's lawyers have accused Canadian authorities of violating Meng's rights at the time of her arrest by having the CBSA conduct an immigration exam, despite wording on the warrant that called for her to be arrested "immediately."Instead, she was questioned by customs officers for almost three hours without a lawyer and without being told that she was the subject of criminal charges and an extradition warrant.Conflicting evidenceDhaliwal worked alongside the RCMP officer who was tasked with executing the warrant; he was put in charge of seizing Meng's electronic devices.In that capacity, Dhaliwal was asked to photograph the laptop and phones and to record serial numbers and other technical details.According to court documents and testimony, the FBI had made clear its interest in obtaining the information, but they would normally need to go through a mutual legal assistance treaty between agencies to get it.Dhaliwal said he recorded the technical details and sent them to the RCMP's file co-ordinator but not to anyone else.But notes recorded at the time, in December 2018, by one of Dhaliwal's supervisors, Sgt. Janice Vander Graaf, indicate that Dhaliwal told her the officer tasked with dealing with the FBI, Staff Sgt. Ben Chang, complied with the request."Gurv advised Ben Chang had email and provided serial 's," Vander Graaf's notes say.Vander Graaf is scheduled to testify later this week, and Chang has retained counsel and indicated that he will not testify.Beyond denying that he or anyone else sent the technical information to the FBI, Dhaliwal said he followed procedures under the Extradition Act to ensure that the phones and laptop were treated properly as exhibits.Not important enough to readDhaliwal also appeared to contradict the evidence of a CBSA officer who testified earlier that a scrap of paper containing passcodes to Meng's phones had mistakenly ended up in RCMP custody after it was left with her luggage.Dhaliwal recalled the officer handing him the paper with the codes.By the end of Monday, defence lawyer Scott Fenton had not yet had a chance to question Dhaliwal about the electronic devices. Instead, he covered the events which led up to Meng's arrest, expressing incredulity when the officer admitted he had never actually taken the time to read the exact wording of the one-page warrant for Meng's arrest.If he had, Fenton pointed out, he might have seen the word "immediately.""You didn't think it was important for you to understand what were the terms — if any — of the provisional arrest warrant set out by the court," Fenton asked."It's very important, yes," Dhaliwal answered."But you didn't think it was important enough to read?" Fenton asked.Dhaliwal said his partner was in charge of making the arrest, whereas he was given the job of looking after the electronic devices.Previous witnesses for both the RCMP and the CBSA have said the decision to have the CBSA deal with Meng first was made out of respect for the border agency's jurisdiction over the airport and the need to begin a process to determine Meng's immigration admissibility.But the defence has suggested that the customs questioning was a ruse to use the CBSA's extraordinary powers to ask Meng questions about her business in Iran. And that the delay in arresting her was in defiance of the instructions of the judge who issued the warrant.Meng has denied the charges against her.
A Regina curling rink has paused its season to deep clean the premises after a COVID-19 outbreak at a bonspiel, said a message posted to the rink's website.The outbreak happened at a seniors and masters bonspiel held at Highland Curling Club in Regina Nov. 13 to 15. The tournament included divisions for senior men and women in the 50 and up category, as well as a masters division for men aged 60 and older.There were four divisions with a maximum of eight teams per division, so as many as 128 people could have attended the tournament.In a letter to members posted to the club's website, general manager A.J. Scott said it was an "extremely isolated" event. "The rink was closed to the public and kept exclusively for the athletes competing in the event," the letter said. "We only ran two sheets at any single time, as well as made sure to run only the men's or women's divisions at one time. The teams all respected our safety protocols we have here at the rink and routine scheduled cleaning was done more than every 60 minutes as well as after every draw."Bonspiel continued after team reported symptomsOn the Saturday evening of the tournament, a team pulled out due to flu-like symptoms. Scott wrote that the club asked the remaining teams "if they felt safe and confident enough to want to continue play," and all the teams said they did, so the tournament finished as planned.Early in the week of Nov. 16, the club received a notice that members of the team that pulled out had COVID-19."Since that time, we slowly started hearing that several more players from teams that were experiencing symptoms also went and got tested and they too came back with positive results," the letter to members says. The letter says none of the people who tested positive have been in the rink since being tested.Tournaments not permitted under reopen planScott said in the letter that a COVID-19 compliance officer who visited the rink after the outbreak was "pleased" with their preparations and safety protocols.The government's Re-Open Saskatchewan Plan says tournaments are not permitted. When asked whether a bonspiel like this would qualify as a tournament, a government official pointed to a stipulation in the plan that "Competition, including play-offs, ranked and round-robin competition, is permitted within established mini-leagues and for individual sports."Initially, the letter on the website said the rink would be open for business "as usual," but the club later updated the site to say they had paused the season for two weeks."This wasn't an easy decision but we have decided it is the safest and most responsible option to keep our members and our staff protected," read the updated letter, signed by Scott and club president Kevin Fetsch."We need to do our part to help get Regina back to the safer place it was a few short weeks ago."CBC News reached out to Highland Curling Club, but they didn't immediately respond.