That face! Priceless! Credit: captain_manchego
That face! Priceless! Credit: captain_manchego
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu travelled to Saudi Arabia and met its crown prince, an Israeli official said on Monday, in what would be the first publicly confirmed visit there by an Israeli leader as the countries close ranks against Iran. Earlier, Israeli media said Netanyahu had secretly flown on Sunday to Neom, on the Red Sea, for talks with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Reports of the meeting between the crown prince and Netanyahu were denied by Saudi Arabia's foreign minister, Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud.
A P.E.I. teen's concern for the Island's bat population has turned into a small online business building and selling bat houses, called Beddy Bye Bats. The idea started with a Grade 8 science project by Dominik Davis, 14, about the little brown bat."When we were at school, we did the science fair and I didn't get to move on to provincials because it got cancelled, because of COVID," Davis said."And when I brought it home, we got it out, and my mom thought it would be a great idea to start building bat houses." Davis said they found a pattern online and started building their bat houses, in a small barn next to the family home in Riverton, P.E.I.His mother posted the first bat houses on social media, and Davis quickly had his first 12 orders. 'Amazing creatures'Davis said he has been interested in bats as long as he can remember. "They're just amazing creatures, like when they fly around, and they're not blind, there's a lot of misconceptions about bats," Davis said."They eat a lot of insects and they're really cool mammals. When they are around your area, the amount of bugs will be reduced and for us, we live in the country, so it's a big help."Davis also gives customers an information sheet about bats with every purchase."You want to put the bat house up 12 to 20 feet in the air, and they're made so they have a spot on the bottom which the bats can land on," Davis said. "They use their claws to hook on, and then they crawl up through a half inch gap into the bat house, and they're at home."Davis said the houses provide a safe place, away from predators such as hawks and other large birds."It's quite a tiny little space, bats like very tiny spaces because they like to keep warmth in, and they like to be squished together," Davis said."And since they're not territorial, you could have 10 different bat species in your one bat house."Importance of batsDavis said he hopes what he's doing will help P.E.I.'s bat population, which has struggled for more than a decade because of white-nose syndrome. "The main thing I want to get people to know from this company is that bats are important," Davis said. "Every time I build a bat house, it's a bat sanctuary, because when you put it up bats are safe from almost all predators." Davis said he also hopes that his interest in bats will help change the minds of some people who don't like bats."I am hoping that too, because a lot of people may fear bats or may not like bats," Davis said. "Bats are not blind and they will stay away from you. They won't fly into your hair and they're the best thing to have around."Bringing back the batsJoe Rooney bought five of the bat houses for his home in Mount Mellick, P.E.I., and four of his friends have now ordered them as well."He's showing his entrepreneurial spirit, that he's making these bat houses, he's making himself a few dollars," Rooney said. "But he's also educating people about the bats and hopefully bring them back, because we had a place that we owned before, we had bats there and they ate lot of mosquitoes. I'd like to have the bats back."Clint Davis, Dominik's father, said he was surprised at how quickly the bat houses started to sell. "It's a great project for him to do and keep him busy and active," Davis said. "He's always in the nature and he's planning on being a marine biologist when he grows up."Dominik Davis has donated a couple of bat houses to the Native Council of P.E.I. for their bat project in Victoria West, as well as some fundraisers. Davis said Beddy Bye Bats has now sold more than 60 bat houses.He said a couple of businesses in the area are now selling the bat houses for him which, along with online sales, will keep the teenager busy for a while. "As long as it lasts," Davis said. "As long as there's people out there that want bat houses, I'm willing to make them."More from CBC P.E.I.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought with it a lot of additional stress — whether it's financial strain, loneliness and isolation, or concern about the future — and a mental-health expert on P.E.I. says taking care of yourself is especially important to getting through it.Tayte Willows with the Canadian Mental Health Association, P.E.I. division says she likes to describe self-care as "the things that you do to find balance in your life, to maintain a good sense of well-being.""Some of these practices that we can do that are proactive and give us the ability to take control of our our mental well-being have been really crucial for folks," she says.1\. Follow your passionsWillows says a good place to start is with what you're passionate about."If you're really into sport or into art or into reading, taking time to do those things," she says.2\. Find ways to connectPhysical connection can be difficult in the pandemic, but Willows says connecting with those around you is still important."So finding ways to connect with the people who we care about and who make us feel like we're part of a community."3\. Step back from the chaosThe pandemic means a lot of unknowns and a lot that is out of our control.Willows says it's important to make "space for mindfulness and for gratitude, to be able to take a step back from the chaos that sometimes surrounds us and really ground ourselves in the present moment."4\. Keep a routineWillows says this one is the hardest for her to stick to, but it is really important.She says it can sometimes seem daunting to complete tasks such as doing the laundry or brushing your teeth, but once you get into the habit of them, they do help you feel like you're more in control of your life."When we hit a big point of stress or when something goes sideways in our lives, knowing that those things are done helps to reduce the stress that we might be feeling," she says."So if you've had a really hard day at work, going home and knowing that whatever choice you made for supper in the morning is actually already almost ready in the crockpot can be really helpful."5\. Start smallWillows acknowledges it can be daunting to make time for self-care so she recommends starting small.> "Sometimes those little things can also be indulgences that are necessary when we're going through stressful situations." — Tayte Willows"Sometimes it can be as much as saying, 'You know what? Three times a week I want to make sure that at lunch I go for a little walk around the block just to get some fresh air, give myself a break, some new scenery,'" she says. "Coming home at the end of the day and having a really nice warm bubble bath or having a really difficult conversation and then soothing that anxiety with a full tub of Ben and Jerry's ice cream…. Sometimes those little things can also be indulgences that are necessary when we're going through stressful situations."6\. Stick with itWillows says it takes almost of month of daily practice to form a new habit."Within, you know, the first two or three days of trying something new and practising that new habit, it can be uncomfortable fitting into those new shoes. But we start to feel the effects pretty quickly," she says.She says people often know it's benefiting them when they're better able to deal with stressful situations."They're feeling more at ease and there's less stress that they're physically carrying in their body. So they might feel more relaxed in their shoulders, their jaw and their temple area," she says."Also when something does come up — they get a stressful phone call or they have a difficult encounter with someone who they work with — they feel like they're better able to navigate that because they're already taking care of themselves."7\. Get help when you need itA long walk or a bubble bath can go only so far and Willows says there are situations where additional mental-health care is needed."When we feel like we're having more bad days than good ones, when we're feeling like things are going wrong more frequently than they are going right, that's usually a time to reach out and talk to someone," she says.Another thing to look for, Willows says, is when self-soothing behaviours start to take over. She gave the example of drugs or alcohol. She said if that's numbing out the good things as well as the bad things, it may be time to reach out for help.Willows says another sign it's time to reach out is if you're doing self-care activities and still feeling overwhelmed and stressed.Anyone needing emotional support, crisis intervention or help with problem solving in P.E.I. can contact The Island Helpline at 1-800-218-2885, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. For more information about mental-health services on P.E.I., find resources from Health PEI here, or from the Canadian Mental Health Association P.E.I. Division here.Island Morning will be drawing three names to win a $50 Canada's Food Island gift card. To enter, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call our talkback line at 1-800-680-1898 and tell us what you're doing for self-care.
SEOUL, Korea, Republic Of — Authorities in the South Korean capital on Monday announced a tightening of social distancing regulations, including shutting nightclubs, limiting service hours at restaurants and reducing public transportation.The measures going into effect on Tuesday also include a ban on public rallies or demonstrations of more than 10 people. Restaurants can provide only take out and delivery after 9 p.m., and public transportation will be limited after 10 p.m.Acting Seoul Mayor Seo Jung-hyup told reporters one-third of city employees will work from home. He recommend churches convert to online worship services only.Earlier on Monday, the country reported 271 new cases of the coronavirus.South Korea has saw the virus spread faster after authorities eased social distancing restrictions to the lowest level in October amid concerns about a weak economy.Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency Director Jeong Eun-kyeong said tightening guidelines was inevitable as a failure to slow transmissions now could “break the dam” in anti-virus efforts and result in a surge in infections nationwide that may overwhelm hospital systems.“We need to reduce people-to-people contact,” she said during a briefing Monday, pleading with people to cancel year-end meetings and other gatherings.In other developments in the Asia-Pacific region:— Chinese authorities are testing millions of people, imposing lockdowns and shutting down schools after multiple locally transmitted coronavirus cases were discovered in three cities across the country last week. As temperatures drop, large-scale measures are being enacted in the cities of Tianjin, Shanghai and Manzhouli. Many experts and government officials have warned that the chance of the virus spreading will be greater during the cold weather. On Monday, the National Health Commission reported two new locally transmitted cases in Shanghai over the last 24 hours, bringing the total to seven since Friday.— Indonesia’s confirmed coronavirus cases have surpassed half a million as the government of the world’s fourth most populous nation scrambles to procure vaccines to help it win the fight against the pandemic. The Health Ministry reported 4,442 new cases on Monday to bring the country’s total to 502,110, the highest toll in Southeast Asia and second in Asia only to India’s more than 9.1 million confirmed cases. The ministry said that the death toll from the virus is 16,002, and that it has been adding 3,000-5,000 daily cases since mid-September. President Joko Widodo said his administration is working on a mass vaccination program for the vast archipelago nation, home to more than 270 million people.— Sri Lanka has reopened some of the thousands of schools that have been closed for more than a month due to a surge of the coronavirus. Schools will remain closed in Colombo and it’s suburbs as the number of cases is still climbing in those parts. According to the government’s decision, schools were re-opened only for students in grades 6 to 13. The Education Ministry said there are 10,165 state-run schools in the country and arrangements were made to open 5,100 schools on Monday. Sri Lanka closed schools last month when two new clusters emerged in Colombo and it’s suburbs. The confirmed cases from the two clusters had grown to 16,639 by Monday.— India has registered 44,059 another new cases of the coronavirus and 511 deaths in the past 24 hours. New Delhi on Monday added 5,879 new cases 111 deaths and its rate of positive testing is more than three times the national average, authorities said. India has reported more than 9 million cases since the pandemic began, second behind the United States.___Follow AP’s coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreakThe Associated Press
A retired curator has come forward to explain how five headstones went missing from a Maugerville cemetery and wound up at Kings Landing Historical Settlement. Darrel Butler, the former chief curator of Kings Landing, said if he hadn't taken them, the stones would have met a very different fate. "If we hadn't, we wouldn't be talking today because there wouldn't have been any tombstones saved," said Butler. The controversy surrounding the stones comes after a family member, looking for his ancestors headstones, found them in an unlikely place: More than 40 kilometres away at Kings Landing. Darrel Butler said he got a call in the 1990s from someone in Maugerville. The owner of the Miles family farm had recently passed away and his surviving son, who had flown in from BC, invited him to scout out the farm for notable items from New Brunswick's farming past. "In that period of time, it was important for us, for Kings Landing to get artifacts, so that we could build a collection that historians in the future would be able to use for study and research," said Butler. Farm equipment made in the early 1800's in Saint John was the obvious choice for the collection. But Mr. Miles directed Butlers attention to the five gravestones. "He explained that his brother, who he said was a priest, about 20 years before this had gone to the old family cemetery," said Butler. "He found the family cemetery all grown over and was really worried about preserving any sense of identity." So, the priest moved the stones to a barn where they sat for decades until the surviving son convinced Butler to take them. "He said nobody's interested in them in my family, I've got to go back to British Columbia," recalled Butler. "He said the best I can do is use them as lawn ornaments on my front yard... ...which my wife won't let me do." Butler said the plan was to break them up and throw them away. So Butler said the Kings Landing collections committee mulled over the idea of saving the tombstones. He says relocating them wasn't controversial at the time, but it was still a sensitive topic.After several discussions, Kings Landing accepted the tombstones in part to save them from being destroyed, but also because it was clear they had been crafted in New Brunswick and had marked the tomb of Loyalists. The fact that no one could relocate the original cemetery also factored into the decision. The stones were then placed on consecrated ground next to the Anglican church at Kings Landing."In our perspective, we saved Loyalist artifacts," said Butler. "And they were important." "If we didn't preserve them, they'd be gone," said Butler. "So that's why we did it."Butler said now that there's another branch of family descendants willing to take care and maintain the stones, they should be returned to mark their original grave sites.According to Kings Landing chief executive officer Mary Baruth, staff are still looking into the acquisition of the tombstones. They plan on contacting the family who want to have them back.
The vice president of an Island trucking company says it's doing everything it can to keep everyone safe while continuing to follow the changing rules for rotational workers. "As an industry, we're going to do what we kind of have to do to keep the community around us safe," Andy Keith with Seafood Express Transport told Island Morning's Laura Chapin. "It does pose some additional challenges for us, but if we have to do it, we have to do it."Currently, there are around 900 Islanders who are considered rotational workers — including truckers. For them, special guidelines and testing routines are expected to be followed. 'Unprecedented times for everybody'Recently, P.E.I.'s Chief Public Heath office put out a reminder of those rules after a rotational worker visited a number of stores before testing positive for COVID-19.It remains unclear if that rotational worker was a truck driver. But currently, commercial truck drivers who are residents of P.E.I. must be tested three times to be exempt from isolation. There is, however, an exception for those who are only in the province for a few days. The rules "come out quickly and they change quite often unfortunately so that's been a challenge," said Keith. For his drivers, Keith said questions about the guidelines have ranged from do they need to self-isolate from their families to can they go to a doctor's appointment when they're home."With the new rules changes now, its been a little more clear and there's a little more clarity in what they can and can't do," he said. "I think it's unprecedented times for everybody so we're all kind of rolling with the punches at this point."'They should be proud'According to Keith, some drivers have also taken this as an opportunity to increase their workload since the options to socialize during their days off are limited. "A lot of cases our drivers are here and their families are back in their home countries," he said. "They have that optimistic viewpoint to say, 'Well maybe I'll just keep working and work a little harder make a little extra money.'"And for others, Keith said he can understand how it might be tough being a rotational worker during a time where travel isn't recommended. "We're telling our drivers that they're providing an essential service," he said. "They're really the heroes of ... bringing food products to Islanders and to Atlantic Canadian and Canadians as a whole.""They should be proud of what they're doing."More from CBC P.E.I.
MONROE, Iowa — This swath of southeast Iowa isn't supposed to be a nailbiter for Democrats.For more than a decade, voters in the college town of Iowa City powered Democratic candidates to Congress. But that changed this month when conservatives who dominate the more rural parts of the district turned out in droves, eager to support President Donald Trump and other Republicans on the ballot.Nearly three weeks after Election Day, a winner hasn't been declared in Iowa's 2nd Congressional District. That's a sign of the unexpected strength Republicans demonstrated in House races across the country, taking down at least 10 Democratic incumbents and dashing Speaker Nancy Pelosi's bold prediction of expanding her majority by double digits.Instead, it appears Democrats made a serious miscalculation in assuming their antipathy toward Trump would fuel victories across the country. They failed to anticipate that Trump's supporters would show up, too, with even greater force than before in rural areas.“It’s the Trump factor,” Jasper County Republican Chairman Thad Nearmyer said on his farm outside Monroe. “People were super excited to vote for the president.”Of course, Trump lost the presidency and Democrat Joe Biden will move into the White House in January after winning nearly 80 million votes nationwide, a historic high. But the enthusiasm for Biden — or for defeating Trump — didn't trickle to other Democrats down ballot.That leaves the party confronting a reckoning over how to move forward. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which supports the party's House candidates, is beginning a “deep dive” examination into what happened.Early interpretations blame a series of missteps. Chief among them was allowing Republicans to portray Democrats as radical, which overtook the party's messaging in some cases on guaranteeing health insurance during a pandemic and rebuilding the economy. Democrats also failed to grow their appeal among some Latinos, particularly Cuban Americans in south Florida.Other strategic decisions are coming under scrutiny. Democrats scaled back in-person campaigning and canvassing because of the novel coronavirus, seeking to protect their candidates and staff, and to model good behaviour during a public health crisis.But that gave Trump an opportunity to rally his supporters. The president's nearly 74 million votes is the second-highest in history and fed massive turnout that helped reshape House races, especially in rural areas.In the final stretch of the campaign, Iowa was seen as competitive. But Trump's visit to the capital of Des Moines two weeks before the election is credited with helping him build momentum to carry the state by 9 percentage points.That dominance lifted downballot Republicans, including Mariannette Miller-Meeks in the 2nd Congressional District. Miller-Meeks' vote total was 15 percentage points higher than the Republican who ran for the seat in 2016, when Trump also won Iowa.The same dynamic helped Republican Ashley Hinson beat first-term Democratic Rep. Abby Finkenauer in northeast Iowa and, perhaps most notably, lifted Republican Michelle Fischbach to unseat 30-year Democratic Rep. Collin Peterson in rural southern Minnesota.“The poison of Trump was deeper into the bloodstream of the electorate than anyone noticed,” said Bradley Beychok, who ran an advertising program for the Democratic super PAC American Bridge targeting Trump in northern swing states.There were few bright Democratic spots beyond rural areas, as the party's congressional candidates around the country fell short.Democrats gave up seats in south Florida and California, and failed to gain any in Texas, despite targeting 10. Rep. Max Rose lost on New York's Staten Island and Rep. Joe Cunningham couldn't win reelection in South Carolina territory that includes Charleston, nor did Utah's only congressional Democrat, Rep. Ben McAdams.That's fueling an intense round of finger-pointing among Democrats. Some say the enthusiasm for Trump was compounded by unease among voters about some of the most progressive ideas that were debated during the Democratic presidential primary, including the Medicare for All health care plan and the Green New Deal to combat climate change.When demonstrations over institutional racism swept the country, many Democrats also struggled to respond to false Republican attacks that they supported “defunding” the police. Voters for months watched Republican ads featuring unrest with narrators ominously attacking Democrats as anti-police, often with little response.“The defund-the-police thing was not helpful at all,” said Democratic strategist James Carville, an architect of Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign.Rep. Pramila Jayapal of Washington, the co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, countered “there is just no way forward” for Democrats unless they confront the central challenges in American life, including systemic racism and inequity. She urged the party to embrace a national truth commission to probe racism in the U.S. along with a group to study reparations.“Running away from these things is never going to work. We have to actually do bold things, brave things,” Jayapal said. “Anybody who thinks that elected officials at any level, especially the congressional level, can or should control the messages and the demands and the urgency of movements that erupt on the street for justice are really fooling themselves about their power and their role."Still, Rep. Henry Cuellar, a Democrat from the Texas-Mexico border city of Laredo, said the combination of suggestions that his party opposed police, embraced socialized medicine and would sacrifice jobs in key industries like oil and gas to combat climate change gelled into a narrative that doomed candidates.“The progressives, I admire their passion, their commitment, their energy,” said Cuellar, who beat back a primary challenger from the left. “Nobody’s trying to silence anybody. All we’re saying is, within the Democratic Party, there will be different thoughts on ways of doing things.”Oregon Rep. Kurt Schrader, one of the House’s more conservative Democrats, was more blunt. He called the debate over defunding the police “toxic.”“Our national brand, with the exception of the president-elect, is in really tough shape,” Schrader said.The Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC which spent $140 million promoting general election Republican House candidates, claimed success tailoring broader attacks on Democrats on issues like defunding the police to individual races.In Rose’s Staten Island district, for instance, ads focused on how his support for demonstrations against systemic racism insulted local police.To help defeat Democratic challenger Christina Finello in suburban Bucks County, Pennsylvania, meanwhile, an ad featured a mom speaking about how funding cuts to police could jeopardize her ability to “pick up the phone and know that a police officer could be there at a moment’s notice.”“We needed to move out of the national, charged language and make this about peoples’ individual lives and how this would affect them,” said CLF President Dan Conston, who also praised GOP efforts to recruit more women and people of colour to run.Ads criticizing the Green New Deal warned of tax increases in many areas, but highlighted the potential impact on the oil and gas industry in energy-rich places where Republicans ousted Democratic House incumbents, including New Mexico and Oklahoma.By contrast, Democrats' focus on health care proved less influential than during the 2018 midterms, after Republicans had unsuccessfully sought the repeal the 2010 Affordable Care Act. According to the AP's VoteCast, a national survey of the electorate, voters' top concern was the pandemic, followed closely by the economy, which favoured Republicans.Democrats needed to further embrace major reforms and “counter messages from the opposition," said Wendell Potter, a former health care industry executive who leads the progressive Center for Health and Democracy, which supports Medicare for All.“You’ve got to make sure people understand that what we’re talking about here ain’t anywhere close to socialism," Potter said.Though Democrats have soul searching ahead, Jasper County Republican Nearmyer notes one GOP advantage will be gone in 2022 — Trump's name on the ballot.“That's one thing that makes me nervous," he said.___Weissert reported from Washington. Associated Press writer Alan Fram in Washington contributed to this report.Will Weissert And Thomas Beaumont, The Associated Press
Island Nature Trust staff knew there was garbage in the Culloden forested natural area, but when they started to clean it up about a week ago, they were surprised with what they found.The site in eastern P.E.I. has a large pit in it that was once used as an illegal dump. Island Nature Trust took ownership of the land in 2003. Normally, the pit is covered in water, but this year it wasn't, providing staff the perfect opportunity to start cleaning it up."We knew that there would be quite a bit of garbage based on what we could see at the surface," said Amy Frost-Wicks, land stewardship program co-ordinator with Island Nature Trust. But once staff and volunteers started to clean it up, they realized there was a lot more garbage than expected."We were pulling out bags that were kind of buried under a foot or a foot and a half of soil," said Frost-Wicks."None of us realized how extensive it actually was."By the time the team's first effort at cleaning up the site was done, about 635 kilograms of garbage was removed, said Frost-Wicks. If staff continue to find garbage on the site, professional remediation might be needed."That would involve a lot more work. That could even involve having heavy machinery come in and just completely dig out the whole site," said Frost-Wicks. Island Nature Trust staff estimate the dump site is at least a couple of decades old."We were also finding some really old gas cans and old chewing tobacco containers and old gum containers, like the metal tins. So it could have been as old as the 60s," she said. Frost-Wicks said the garbage poses numerous problems."The plastics, as it ages in the sun, it can become brittle and it breaks apart. And then you get all these smaller pieces of plastic, which are even harder to clean up. Also, wildlife can mistake that plastic for food," she said. Finding sites of this scale on P.E.I. is uncommon, said Frost-Wicks. "At least on natural areas that Island Nature Trust owns, thankfully, we don't find them too often. I mean, there are inevitably some sites that you find that have kind of older piles of garbage, like at the back of fields and stuff like that, or you'll find an old car in the woods every once in a while," she said.More from CBC P.E.I.
During Nova Scotia's fall municipal elections, two mayoral candidates said Cape Breton Regional Municipality was either bankrupt or nearly so.That's not the case, say others."We're a bankrupt municipality. People know. This whole island knows that," mayoral candidate Archie MacKinnon said during one of the election debates.Chris Abbass said during a debate that CBRM is "on the verge of financial collapse." In another, he said the municipality is not sustainable."We're slowly going bankrupt and if we don't do something about our cost-effectiveness and our efficiency in government, we're going to become ... a ward of the province or something, but we won't be anymore."But Mark Gilbert, a retired finance expert who was with the Department of Municipal Affairs and is a retired local government professor at Dalhousie University, said CBRM's financial statements show otherwise.The municipality does have net debt of roughly $145 million, but Gilbert said if you add in non-financial assets, it is more than $300 million in the black."This doesn't look like a municipality that doesn't have the wherewithal to continue operating," he said.With that much debt, a big question is future infrastructure needs and the municipality's ability to pay for the cost of borrowing through taxes or user fees, Gilbert said.However, CBRM's debt-service ratio is just over 10 per cent and the province doesn't red flag that until it hits 15 per cent or more.Gilbert said that means the municipality could borrow if it needed to finance large projects."If they were interested in borrowing, the capacity would certainly be there," he said."The thing that most municipalities are concerned about, and I did some research in this area for Infrastructure Canada, is not so much being able to borrow, but it's being able to service the debt."Jennifer Campbell, CBRM's chief financial officer, said the municipality would only be in trouble under extraordinary circumstances."For example, all of our long-term debt would have to be called at once, resulting in an immediate financial obligation of over $80 million and … that is not going to happen," she said.CBRM has long-term debt financing through the province's Municipal Finance Corporation that spread payments out over 10 years, Campbell said."If you're going to look at our net debt through the lens of immediate pressure, that's going to overinflate that and make it look like we aren't solvent, when, in reality, that obligation is due over a long period of time and we're well positioned to meet those obligations over that term."We have not defaulted on those terms, nor are we even close to defaulting on those terms."Municipality a going concernIt would be a struggle if all the debt came due in one year, because non-financial assets can't be easily liquidated, she said.Vehicles and buildings could be sold, but some non-financial assets would be more difficult to convert into cash."How do you sell a used municipal road or used municipal sewer pipes? There's simply no market for that," Campbell said.Last year's audited financial statement shows the municipality is a going concern. CBRM ended the year with a slight surplus of $12,000.It's not yet clear what the pandemic's impact will be on this year's finances, but a current statement is due to be unveiled at Tuesday's council meeting.MORE TOP STORIES
High stress, exhaustion, heartbreak: that is how some high school teachers describe working through the second wave of COVID-19. High school teacher Courtney Scratch worries that the current system isn't working for students or parents, and might be doing them a great disservice."To try to keep up with the expectations that were put both on students and on teachers has just been, honestly impossible," Scratch said. The new quadmester system used by the Greater Essex County District School Board splits the school year into four periods, to allow students to be split into two groups — or cohorts. It makes for longer classes and condensed curriculum. Courses that used to be taught over the course of five months are now being taught in eight weeks."It's virtually impossible in certain cases for the students to keep up," Scratch said. "And the feedback that we're getting from them is that they're just getting through it. They're just scraping by. They're not really retaining anything. It just feels like one hurdle after another."Scratch was assigned to teach mathematics completely online for her first quadmester. She was responsible for two classes and a total of 60 students.'Equity issues'A key challenge for teachers, Scratch explained, is lack of preparation time. She explained that the way the school year is split up, teachers get prep time for only two of the four quadmesters. She said, for her first quadmester, she got none. To make up for that, Scratch said she would wake up every morning at about 4 a.m. to prepare her lessons in time for the start of the school day. She would teach throughout the day, taking her lunch hour to meet with students and speak with parents. Once she got home, she would continue marking assignments and preparing lessons into the evening. "Eventually I would just work until I had to fall asleep and then I'd set an early alarm to get up and do it all again," she said. She said students were asking for more review, more assessments, one-on-one time, and so on, which she often wasn't able to accommodate because there simply wasn't enough time. "One of the things I think is not being discussed enough is the equity issues that arise because of this," Scratch said. "Imagine if these students had a teacher who was only working with 30 students and had prep time during the day. The experience of those students would be getting would be absolutely night and day. So it's really not fair to them that this is what they're getting because of the expectations that were piled up on their teachers."'Breaks my heart'Feeling like she's been unable to give her students everything they need has been "heartbreaking," Scratch said. "I just think about what could I have done differently had I had more time during the day to work with them in small groups, to work with them individually, how much more dynamic my lessons could have been had I been able to plan them," she said. "To think that in any way I have failed to equip them for the next steps of their mathematical journey — it breaks my heart in more ways than I can say."New challengesThat heartbreak and sadness is not unique. Erin Roy, the district president for the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation, says she's heard hearing similar stories from many teachers. "We put our a survey to our members and some of the comments were heartbreaking and brought tears to my eyes," said Roy. In addition to the difficulties around the curriculum, Roy added that teachers are missing the connections and interactions that come during a typical school year, even though they understand the restrictions are to keep everyone safe. "Even our most seasoned teachers, they're somewhat broken because they're not able to do those things."Further to that, Roy explained that teachers are dealing with challenges like never before, "stress on top of stress," from struggles with technology, to dealing with parents who are angered by the challenges the school year has presented for their kids."It's typically the front line worker that's getting that frustration taken out on them. And I feel like that's happening with our teachers a lot," Roy said. Union asking for changesRoy said the union is working to make improvements moving forward. She's calling for better technology for teachers, more technical support for students and parents, more training for virtual delivery of curriculum, and additional attendance counsellors to assist with disengaged virtual learners. She said she's also advocating for the board to reconsider the quadmester teaching model, and to look at other models being used in other parts of the province that might be more successful.For Scratch's next quadmester, she's shifted to in-person teaching, and her schedule now includes preparation time. Having more time to plan "feels almost surreal to feel such euphoria over something that should be an expectation," she said. She's grateful for the time, but also worried for her colleagues who are now in her shoes, experiencing the burden of not having any prep time for the first time.Scratch said she feels the Ministry of Education put the school boards and staff in an impossible situation but said she's hopeful for a solution that can still keep schools safe, while creating a better learning environment. Neither the Greater Essex County District School Board or the Ministry of Education responded CBC's request for comment by deadline.
A former refugee and a Saskatoon teenager are working together to help African families escape persecution."It's important to work with people who know the issues and know what's needed," Eric James, 17, said.Several years ago, Fulgence Ndagijimana was imprisoned for his religious beliefs in his native Burundi. A group of people in Saskatoon worked hard to secure his release through fundraising, a letter-writing campaign and other advocacy.One of those people was Eric James, who was just 12 years old at the time. He created and maintained a website, which attracted more than 1,200 signatures calling for Ndagijimana's release."I felt like it was appalling. It was not right. It shouldn't happen," James said. "As a 12-year-old, I didn't have a great understanding of why it was happening. I just felt that it shouldn't."Ndagijimana was eventually released and resettled in Saskatoon. He recently moved to Ottawa and is continuing his studies at the University of Saskatchewan.But he hasn't forgotten what it felt like in prison, and to have that surge of support from hundreds of strangers halfway around the world. That's why he and James are now fighting to bring other refugee families to Canada.James and Ndagijimana have raised more than $30,000 so far. Once they raise another $5,000, an anonymous donor has agreed to match it.They will apply to the Canadian government to bring a family of six refugees to Canada."I'm thankful I'm alive," Ndagijimana said. "I want to do something positive and helpful with my life for others. I felt the same thing from many thousands of other people."The charity he founded, Flaming Chalice International, helps refugees to resettle, but also helps those stuck in refugee camps or other precarious situations."When I was released [from prison], I felt a renewed sense of purpose," Ndagijimana said."To have someone like Eric helping me, someone so young — that gives me hope."
Angelique Kidjo and Skip Marley are among several global artists performing social justice anthems for an online fundraising concert celebrating the 75th anniversary of the United Nations. The Dec. 1 event on Facebook Live is called Peace Through Music: A Global Event for Social Justice. (Nov. 23)
Calgarians will have a chance Monday to speak their minds on the city's plan to cut $90 million in spending in order to bring in a tax freeze for 2021.Council has set aside a week for its annual budget debate and that includes a public hearing which allows residents to weigh in.The property tax picture for year three of the current four-year budget cycle is actually broken down by city officials this year in a somewhat complicated way.Administration is proposing an overall tax reduction of 1.66 per cent.That translates into an increase of 0.67 per cent for residential properties and a 0.55 per cent decrease for non-residential properties.To eliminate that small tax hike for homeowners, the city is asking council to approve a one-time rebate to bring about a tax freeze.Freeze means cutsMayor Naheed Nenshi said administration has followed council's direction to not raise taxes for 2021 instead of going with a previously approved 3.23 per cent increase.But that freeze would be achieved through $90 million in spending cuts.About $46.8 million in spending cuts are landing in administration, primarily by finding savings through more efficient ways of carrying out the business of government.But the cuts are also about axing the annual civic census (saving $1 million annually).The next biggest single savings will be to claw back a $10 million increase in the Calgary police budget for 2021. That money was to be used to hire 60 new officers.If the budget adjustments are approved, they would result in the loss of 162 city jobs. That would mean 574 city jobs will have been cut from the payroll since 2019.Nenshi said this would bring city staffing down to 2013 levels."Since 2013, we've added 200,000 people to Calgary. We've added two Red Deers and we are still having the same number of civil servants as we had then," said Nenshi."We have increased taxes by less than inflation plus growth in every year since the economic downturn and looking at a freeze this year."Some want to cut deeperSome councillors said in tough times, they want to cut deeper.Coun. Jeromy Farkas said Calgarians expect city hall to find more reductions."While this is a start, I think we need to be much, much more aggressive in terms of our spending reductions, to be able to respond to what every Calgary family and business has had to do: tighten their belts," said Farkas.He wants another $90 million cut from the budget and that could happen in what he calls non-essential areas that wouldn't affect Calgarians. He points to arts spending and communications as possible areas for further reductions.Coun. Ward Sutherland is also looking for additional cuts. But he said it is getting challenging to find significant areas to cut.The city has reduced spending by nearly three quarters of a billion dollars in recent years so the low-hanging fruit has already been picked."People need to be reminded that between police, fire, transit and roads, it's basically over 83 per cent of our entire operating budget. So the ability to cut big numbers is diminishing every year," said Sutherland.Balancing actNenshi is more blunt about the prospect of finding big cuts without affecting the services Calgarians expect from the city."We're already seeing concerns about roads maintenance, about parks maintenance," said Nenshi."You want the bigger cut to even below the lowest taxes in the country? Tell us where to cut and see if you can get eight votes."In past years, councillors have offered few specific ideas for additional reductions except for across the board cuts that administration would be forced to implement.Council has typically rejected those because of the impacts that would be felt in areas like transit, the police and the fire department.More rebates possibleOnce council settles the municipal tax rate and budget for 2021, it is expected to turn its attention to finding money for rebates to help property owners who will be adversely impacted by this year's land reassessments.Some downtown properties are expecting to see small drops in value while hotels and motels are projected to see a 30 per cent drop.Administration said those reductions will result in property taxes going up significantly for properties that have seen increases in values. These include some types of retail properties. Large warehouses are looking at a potential 25 per cent tax increase next year due to their higher assessments and that shift in the non-residential tax burden."I think that we're going to have to look at some sort of a rebate for those businesses in this year because you don't want to just pile on with what a difficult year they've had," said Nenshi. "But at some point, we actually have to let the market work."It's a line that's been used by several council members in recent years as one tax rebate after another have been handed out to blunt the impacts of what they call a broken tax and assessment system.The mayor said any changes to that system can only be made by the provincial government.
U.S. stocks closed higher in a choppy session on Monday as hopes for a COVID-19 vaccine lifted economically sensitive sectors such as energy and industrials, but a pullback in megacap shares curbed gains on the S&P 500 and Nasdaq. Energy shares got a boost from another gain in oil prices, which have risen on anticipation a vaccine will help demand recover. "As they move out of those growth names, it's still this continued move into larger cyclical, value names which is why you see the Dow performing so well and the Nasdaq under some pressure."
Abolition is a vision that aims to eliminate imprisonment, policing and surveillance, and pushes for the creation of vital systems of care that many of our communities lack. For some, prison abolition and feminism do not go together. As a Black feminist, I believe otherwise. My years of organizing within the Quebec feminist movement, specifically the movement to end sexual violence, have convinced me that abolition is feminist at its core.My experience as a survivor of intimate partner and gender-based violence, moreover, has taught me that the police cannot protect us and that the struggle to end violence cannot be found within punitive and carceral systems.But what does abolition mean for feminist struggles? For starters, it helps to distinguish between abolitionist feminism and carceral feminism. Carceral feminists rely on increased punitive state power in the fight to end violence against women (VAW). They believe that we can stop gender-based violence by putting perpetrators in prisons and imposing harsher sentences.One problem with this position is that it ignores and leaves unchallenged the ways patriarchal and racialized violence is exercised through policing and prisons. This position is also based on the false assumption that the threat of punishment will stop violence from occurring. Whereas abolitionists within the feminist movement centre non-punitive, transformative community-based responses rooted in care, such as investing in life-affirming social services.They call for equipping communities with the tools they need to disrupt and intervene in patterns of harm, but also developing accountability processes for those who enact it.But if we defund the police, who will protect us?One of the most common questions I get as an anti-carceral feminist is "what will we do with rapists?" and "how will we keep each other safe?" After working with survivors and hearing testimonies from women who have been victims of gender-based violence, my answer is simple and straightforward. The police have proven their inability to protect us, which explains why an overwhelming majority of victims do not report their assault to the police.Recognizing the violence and re-victimization survivors face when they report their assault and considering the number of police officers accused and convicted of intimate partner and gender-based violence, many victims believe that reparation cannot be obtained through the criminal justice system.On the other hand, divesting from the police and carceral systems and investing in transformative community-based strategies can create innumerable possibilities for obtaining reparation and healing. Imagine investing in mental health services, shelters and sexual assault centres that are accessible and where Black, Indigenous, Trans, Disabled and other survivors of gender-based violence that face systemic discrimination can seek support.Imagine investing in education, social housing and the creation of unarmed service teams outside the police to address mental health, drug-related crises and gender-based violence. All these efforts would address the root of systemic violence.Alliances between anti-prison and VAW movement?Working for rape crisis centres, along with my own personal experiences with the justice system, have led me to explore abolitionist frameworks within feminist organizing. Unfortunately, there isn't much collaboration between anti-prison and feminist anti-violence movements here in Quebec. Considering the ways in which these two struggles intersect and how sexual violence and other forms of gender-based violence are reproduced by the carceral state, convergence seems necessary.Over time, the Quebec VAW movement has grown through state funding, becoming institutionalized, increasing professionalization and undermining its capacity to effectively address gender-based violence. In the process, there has also been a strong shift toward dependence on punitive responses.These groups also pushed forward governmental agendas that conceptualized sexual violence within a framework of criminal law reinforcing broader trends erasing the systemic nature of gender-based violence. Grassroots movements such as INCITE in the United States, have tied the rise of carceral feminisms to the state's co-optation of women's anti-violence movement by attaching funding to collaboration with law enforcement.Healing through transformative justiceAs a movement, where do we go from here? If we are to move forward, we must start acknowledging how gender-based violence is situated within structures of state violence. Our social movements can't claim to be intersectional and support institutions that enact and uphold racism, sexism, colonialism and violence.We need to mobilize and switch responses to gender-based violence from the carceral state to community-based responses rooted in care. We must invest in transformative approaches to gender-based violence prevention that not only help us heal, but prevent further harm.This is our moment. Black Lives Matter, alongside other racial justice movements have pushed abolition out of the margins. Movements to defund the police have gained unprecedented support across North America. Through abolitionist frameworks, the possibilities for ending gender-based violence are endless.On Nov. 26, Marlihan Lopez is organizing an online event tracing how violence against women movements in Quebec have come to rely exclusively on the criminal punishment system to respond to gender-based violence, thus perpetuating a racist, sexist and violent system. Lopez will present an overview of this history and the impact of carceral feminisms in Quebec, Nneka MacGregor will discuss transformative justice as a tool to address violence and Nathalie Batraville will give an introduction to prison abolition. ASL interpretation and translation provided. Please register here.This column is an opinion. For more information about our commentary section, please read our FAQ. CBC Quebec welcomes your pitches for point-of-view essays. Please email email@example.com for details.
A Windsor family is facing the stark possibility of homelessness at the end of the month, as their search for a place to live becomes increasingly desperate. Jennifer and Daniel Adeogun have been looking for a place to live ever since their apartment building went up in flames on Halloween. An electrical wire failure on a third floor balcony caused $1.5 million in damage and displaced nearly 100 tenants, including the Adeoguns. Property management told them the building will reopen within six months to a year, and advised tenants to look for a month-to-month rental in the meantime, but the task has been proven difficult. "Everybody wants us to sign a one-year lease. So, that's a very big challenge," said Jennifer. In October, Windsor's housing market was the hottest in Canada, with home sale prices up 17 per cent in the third quarter. Rent has increased in turn, say relators. "Where we find the places, like just say for month-to-month, places are like $2,600 a month," said Jennifer. "We're practically days from being homeless by the end of this month," Daniel said. "Even if you tell them the story, they don't seem to be sympathetic to that. You know, they just want that one-year lease signed."The couple, who are both personal support workers, say of the places they have found that offer month-to-month rentals, the cost is either too high, or aren't suitable for their children, who are 14 and 12 and sometimes spend time alone at home. Help from colleaguesUntil now, the Adeoguns had been staying with relatives. That's no longer an option; before the apartment fire, the relative gave notice that they'd be moving out at the end of November. Now, they're looking at moving into a motel for a few days or weeks until a suitable short-term rental becomes available. Katie Dennison, Jennifer's direct supervisor at Oak Park LaSalle Retirement Residence, set up a GoFundMe page for the family to help pay for moving costs and storage of their belongings."We want to take care of all of our employees and we're all like a second family here," she said. "[Jennifer] is so great with her residents and she just gives them her all. And she comes to work every day and she's a hard worker. So I think just coming together to help out one of our own family is just so important."She's hoping to raise $5,000 and is nearly halfway there.Dennison says most of the donations are from staff from the couple's workplaces, but she is "pretty impressed" with how far it's gone."Just seeing everyone coming together and giving donations is pretty remarkable."The Adeoguns say they feel "beat down" and "overwhelmed" with the whole process, despite the help they've been getting from their workplaces.'We want to go back'They say they work full-time and try to hide their struggle searching for a place to live from their children; they are dealing with enough with school during a pandemic, said Daniel. "How do you tell kids that you're homeless?" Daniel said, adding that normally during this time, the family would be decorating and getting ready for Christmas, but are now left wondering where they're going to live next,"We want to go back to where we lived. That's where our whole life is," he said.
Three more houses on May Street in north-end Halifax may soon be torn down.In 2016, 17 properties were demolished on Fern Lane, May, McCully and Robie streets to make way for an expansion of the Colonial Honda car dealership. That sparked a "Homes not Hondas" protest group.Dynamic Properties owns 5792, 5796 and 5800 May Street, which are three attached buildings. The director for the company is Rob Steele, who is also the CEO of the Steele Auto Group, which includes Colonial Honda.Initially Halifax Regional Municipality officials said there was an application for a demolition permit of one of the properties. They have since confirmed that the application is to tear down all three addresses, although the permit has not yet been issued. 'We could use that housing'The move dismayed Jim Graham, the executive director of the Affordable Housing Association of Nova Scotia."Could we use that housing? Yeah, we could use that housing," said Graham. "It is discouraging."Graham said landlords are telling him that they are getting 12 calls for even bed-sitting units."The vacancy rate [for affordable housing] is not one per cent, it's zero," said Graham.Lisa Roberts, the MLA who represents the May Street area, agreed that affordable housing units are not being replaced at the same rate they are disappearing."We don't need another lot in Halifax-Needham," said Roberts, "We have a whole lot of them."A spokesperson for Colonial Honda said the company has purchased a two-storey, three-unit residential condominium building on May Street."The condo units involved were housed in a single building on the south side of May Street, adjacent to the Colonial Honda parking lot," the spokesperson said."Colonial plans to take down the building and expand the parking lot, which fronts on the Robie Street commercial corridor. This part of Robie is home to several auto dealership, service and repair centres."City can't stop demolitionsAn HRM planner wrote a report in 2016 that said council "does not have the ability to prohibit demolition."HRM councillors are meeting Tuesday to discuss which affordable housing projects are eligible for the $8.7 million from Ottawa under the Rapid Housing Initiative.Lindell Smith, the councillor for the area, said the zoning is also a factor."A lot of the residential properties and areas in the north end are actually zoned commercial," said Smith. "So I wish there were ways to protect it, but they own it and unfortunately they're deciding to take houses and put them into parking lots." MORE TOP STORIES
MANILA, Philippines — U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration provided precision-guided missiles and other weapons to help the Philippines battle Islamic State group-aligned militants and renewed a pledge to defend its treaty ally if it comes under attack in the disputed South China Sea. National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien represented Trump in Monday’s ceremony at the Department of Foreign Affairs in Manila, where he announced the delivery of the missiles and bombs to the Philippine military. Trump pledged to provide the $18 million worth of missiles in a phone conversation with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte in April, Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said. O’Brien expressed condolences to the Philippines after back-to-back typhoons left a trail of death and devastation in the country and outlined U.S. help to the country to fight the coronavirus pandemic. The U.S. assistance projects normalcy in Washington’s foreign relations as Trump works to challenge the results of the Nov. 3 presidential election, claiming he was a victim of fraud. Duterte had asked Filipino Americans to vote for Trump but congratulated Joe Biden, through his spokesperson, for winning the election. Asked in an online news briefing if any of the officials he met in Vietnam and the Philippines voiced concern about the post-election situation in the U.S., O’Brien said nobody did. “There will be a transition if the courts don’t rule in President Trump’s favour,” he said. O’Brien represented Trump in a recent online summit between the U.S. and leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and an expanded East Asia summit of heads of state attended by China and Russia that was also held by video and hosted by Vietnam. In his remarks at the turnover of the U.S. missiles in Manila, O’Brien cited the Trump administration’s role in the defeat of the Islamic State group in the Middle East and last year’s killing of its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, in Syria, and renewed its commitment to help defeat IS-linked militants in the southern Philippines. “President Trump is standing with President Duterte as we combat ISIS here in Southeast Asia,” O’Brien said. “This transfer underscores our strong and enduring commitment to our critical alliance.” He expressed hope for the continuance of a key security agreement that allows American forces to train in large-scale combat exercises in the Philippines. Duterte moved to abrogate the Visiting Forces Agreement with the U.S. early this year but later delayed the effectivity of his decision to next year, a move welcomed by O’Brien. He said the U.S. stands with the Philippines in its effort to protect its sovereign rights in the South China Sea. The Philippines announced last month that it would resume oil and gas explorations in or near Reed Bank, which lies off the country’s western coast and is also claimed by China. “They belong to the Philippine people. They don’t belong to some other country that just because they may be bigger than the Philippines they can come take away and convert the resources of the Philippine people. That’s just wrong,” O’Brien said. He repeated U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s statement early this year that “any armed attack on Philippine forces aircraft or public vessels in the South China Sea will trigger our mutual defence obligations.” The allies have a 69-year-old mutual defence treaty. In July, Pompeo escalated the Trump administration’s attacks against China by declaring that Washington regards virtually all Chinese maritime claims in the disputed waterway as illegitimate. China reacted angrily by accusing the U.S. of sowing discord between Beijing and neighbouring Asian states. Jim Gomez, The Associated Press
Ownership changes in New Brunswick apartment complexes that in some cases have been generating eviction notices for tenants in entire buildings is causing anxiety among those displaced.It has led to calls for the province to delay the practice, at least while COVID-19 is surging."We're in the orange zone now," said Tara Cripps, who was told last week by National Bank she, her partner and their five children were being put out of their Saint John home of seven years."We can't even say, 'Hey, can we stay at your house?' We're supposed to be all in one family bubble thing again."She said she's going to need friends to help her pack up."And I'm going to need their trucks and their cars and stuff to move. Is somebody going to call the police and be, like, 'There's multiple people going in and out of this house?'"National Bank recently foreclosed on the Saint John apartment building owned by Cripps's landlord and, on Nov. 12, sent a lawyer's letter to her and her partner ordering them and their children to get out two weeks after Christmas."National Bank requires immediate vacant possession of the above noted property," read the notice from its Fredericton lawyer, Paul White. "On behalf of our client we hereby demand vacant possession on or before Wednesday January 6, 2021."Should you not vacate … it will be necessary for us to make court application to have you evicted and we will be asking for costs on behalf of [National Bank].""I've been here seven years and I've never been late on my rent," said Cripps."I've come to the understanding I need to find a new home. OK. But wait until it's a safer time. Wait until we're not in the orange zone. Wait until it's a little bit warmer. I'm hoping someone at the bank has a heart."The eviction of tenants unable to pay rent was halted by the Higgs government in the early days of the pandemic in March but those restrictions were lifted June 1. Since then, a new type of eviction has emerged as large numbers of New Brunswick apartment buildings have changed hands with some of the new owners wanting current tenants out.Ron Blache-Fraser, a local property manager, said out-of-province investors have taken an interest in New Brunswick income properties as attractive real estate investment opportunities."There's a lot of interest from out-of-town buyers for all sorts of buildings in Saint John because the prices are lower, the returns are better," he said. "It's pretty straightforward."In October, two five-unit buildings on Sherbrooke Street in Saint John were purchased by a group of Vancouver-area investors who paid $470,000 for the properties — 35 per cent above their assessed value. The group then issued eviction notices to tenants in one of the buildings so renovations can be done and rents increased.Blache-Fraser is managing those buildings and said they were in poor condition and needed significant work. He expects rents, which were between $475 and $650 per month prior to the purchase, will climb to $975 for a two-bedroom unit once renovations are complete."We issued notice that we would be doing major renovations and gave tenants three-months notice, which we did not have to do," said Blache-Fraser."They need to be out at the end of January. Some are already leaving and we're in the process of renovating because the buildings are in deteriorated condition." Across the city on Jack Street, an Ontario company bought a pair of 24-unit buildings. In September, it issued eviction notices to tenants in one of the buildings to be out by Nov. 30.That deadline is next week. Although most tenants have gone elsewhere, at least one woman remains. Dave Cormier is her son.He said she has been in the building for 10 years. He said finding a two-bedroom unit for her for the $750 per month she currently pays has been difficult with vacancy rates falling and rents increasing all over Saint John."It's almost impossible unless you've got $1,400, or $1,600 or $2,000 [for rent]," he said."Even $1,100 for a two-bedroom apartment is a lot of money for low-income [people]."Cormier has been speaking with the province about public housing and is hopeful something is happening, but with the eviction deadline just a week away and COVID-19 suddenly spiking in the community, it has been a stressful experience."It's scary. You know, COVID-19 is not making this any easier at all. It might be a little bit easier if that wasn't going on, but it is. And because of that, things are difficult."Last week, a surge in COVID-19 infections across southern New Brunswick caused the province to downgrade communities from Sackville to St. Stephen, including Moncton and Saint John, from the yellow phase to the orange phase of pandemic recovery. That requires the public to limit contacts with people outside of their household bubble.Premier Blaine Higgs was asked Friday if there are any additional protections for tenants in orange-phase areas who are being put out of their buildings. His answer was no."No, not at all," said Higgs. "Not at this time."That causes worry for tenants like Cripps. Her landlord owns multiple buildings and she said the letter carrier who delivered her eviction notice told her he had several others to hand out.A spokesperson for National Bank said it was not involved in other evictions and has already contacted Cripps about allowing her family to stay where it is."Other cases were with other lenders," said Jean-Francois Cadieux. "Our legal external counsel has contacted the tenants. He presented them solutions and informed them that we will not be asking that they vacate their apartment."'Kids can't sleep in a car'But Cripps said the bank's solution involves her making an offer to buy the building. She said she doesn't have a down payment and doubts she could afford the building.She does not want to uproot her children before Christmas but is worried about what comes after, especially if large numbers of other evicted renters are suddenly in the market at the same time looking for a place to live."There are good tenants that are being penalized and now they're being put out," she said."All these families now need to find a home. We're all going to be fighting for an apartment. There are going to be people who are probably going to end up homeless. What are parents going to do? Kids can't sleep in a car."
There could be a stand-off at a Whitehorse construction site this week over the issue of outside workers.A contractor building a downtown mixed-use apartment building for the Challenge Disability Resource Group plans to bring in workers from Manitoba.Under a Yukon government program the workers will self-isolate while they're on the job. Rob Babcock, who works as a site supervisor for a Whitehorse electrical sub-contractor at the Challenge building, said he's sceptical the outside workers and local crews will be able to completely avoid each other on the project."You know, from my perspective, I just don't see how having people on site with us accounts as self isolation," Babcock said."It goes against everything that we've been doing and I don't know how it's fair if I were to leave the territory to come back. I would have to self isolate, not work for 14 days."The outside workers are coming from Manitoba, a COVID-19 hotspot, he said, and he wonders who will enforce their self-isolation on the job and during their off hours.He said other contractors have told him they won't stay on the site if the Manitobans show up."I myself have told my boss that I will probably do the same, and I imagine most of my guys will also follow me on that, you know, the risk is too much," Babcock said.The executive director of Challenge, Jillian Hardie, said she's confident the self-isolation plan can protect the workers."We're all responsible during this pandemic for ourselves. So with these crews that are coming in on the alternative self-isolation plan, they are responsible to maintain this plan," Hardie said.She said they will not be working in the same areas of the building and will have their own lunchroom and washroom.The out-of-town workers will wear armbands to identify themselves, she said.Hardie said the local sub-contractors also have the right to work elsewhere for the two week self-isolation period.The contractor, Edmonton-based Johnston Builders, asked the Yukon government for permission to use the alternative self-isolation plan at the site and it was approved by Community Services Minister John Streicker, she said.Streicker was questioned by Yukon NDP leader MLA Kate White about that decision in the legislature Thursday."Can the minister explain why he would allow a company to bring in workers from Manitoba with the highest Covid[-19] rate per capita in the country to fly into Whitehorse to work on a construction project?" White asked.Streicker said there have been about 400 applications in Yukon so far this year for the alternative self-isolation plan, but not all have been approved."They can apply for an alternative self-isolation, indicating that they self-isolate, but they can do so on the job site if they prove and can carry that out in such a way as to keep it safe and separate," Streicker said.The government gets an opinion from the chief medical officer of health before the plans are approved, he added.