Beautiful Ka’ena Point, waves and sun! Must add to your bucket list!
Beautiful Ka’ena Point, waves and sun! Must add to your bucket list!
WASHINGTON — Disputing President Donald Trump’s persistent, baseless claims, Attorney General William Barr declared the U.S. Justice Department has uncovered no evidence of widespread voter fraud that could change the outcome of the 2020 election.Barr's comments, in an interview Tuesday with the The Associated Press, contradict the concerted effort by Trump, his boss, to subvert the results of last month's voting and block President-elect Joe Biden from taking his place in the White House.Barr told the AP that U.S. attorneys and FBI agents have been working to follow up specific complaints and information they’ve received, but “to date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election.”The comments, which drew immediate criticism from Trump attorneys, were especially notable coming from Barr, who has been one of the president's most ardent allies. Before the election, he had repeatedly raised the notion that mail-in voting could be especially vulnerable to fraud during the coronavirus pandemic as Americans feared going to polls and instead chose to vote by mail.More to Trump's liking, Barr revealed in the AP interview that in October he had appointed U.S. Attorney John Durham as a special counsel, giving the prosecutor the authority to continue to investigate the origins of the Trump-Russia probe after Biden takes over and making it difficult to fire him. Biden hasn't said what he might do with the investigation, and his transition team didn't comment Tuesday.Trump has long railed against the investigation into whether his 2016 campaign was co-ordinating with Russia, but he and Republican allies had hoped the results would be delivered before the 2020 election and would help sway voters. So far, there has been only one criminal case, a guilty plea from a former FBI lawyer to a single false statement charge.Under federal regulations, a special counsel can be fired only by the attorney general and for specific reasons such as misconduct, dereliction of duty or conflict of interest. An attorney general must document such reasons in writing.Barr went to the White House Tuesday for a previously scheduled meeting that lasted about three hours.Trump didn't directly comment on the attorney general's remarks on the election. But his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and his political campaign issued a scathing statement claiming that, "with all due respect to the Attorney General, there hasn’t been any semblance” of an investigation into the president's complaints.Other administration officials who have come out forcefully against Trump's allegations of voter-fraud evidence have been fired. But it's not clear whether Barr might suffer the same fate. He maintains a lofty position with Trump, and despite their differences the two see eye-to-eye on quite a lot.Still, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer quipped: “I guess he’s the next one to be fired.”Last month, Barr issued a directive to U.S. attorneys across the country allowing them to pursue any “substantial allegations” of voting irregularities before the 2020 presidential election was certified, despite no evidence at that time of widespread fraud.That memorandum gave prosecutors the ability to go around longstanding Justice Department policy that normally would prohibit such overt actions before the election was certified. Soon after it was issued, the department’s top elections crime official announced he would step aside from that position because of the memo.The Trump campaign team led by Giuliani has been alleging a widespread conspiracy by Democrats to dump millions of illegal votes into the system with no evidence. They have filed multiple lawsuits in battleground states alleging that partisan poll watchers didn’t have a clear enough view at polling sites in some locations and therefore something illegal must have happened. The claims have been repeatedly dismissed including by Republican judges who have ruled the suits lacked evidence.But local Republicans in some battleground states have followed Trump in making unsupported claims, prompting grave concerns over potential damage to American democracy.Trump himself continues to rail against the election in tweets and in interviews though his own administration has said the 2020 election was the most secure ever. He recently allowed his administration to begin the transition over to Biden, but he still refuses to admit he lost.The issues they've have pointed to are typical in every election: Problems with signatures, secrecy envelopes and postal marks on mail-in ballots, as well as the potential for a small number of ballots miscast or lost.But they've gone further. Attorney Sidney Powell has spun fictional tales of election systems flipping votes, German servers storing U.S. voting information and election software created in Venezuela “at the direction of Hugo Chavez,” – the late Venezuelan president who died in 2013. Powell has since been removed from the legal team after an interview she gave where she threatened to “blow up” Georgia with a “biblical” court filing.Barr didn't name Powell specifically but said: “There's been one assertion that would be systemic fraud and that would be the claim that machines were programmed essentially to skew the election results. And the DHS and DOJ have looked into that, and so far, we haven’t seen anything to substantiate that.”In the campaign statement, Giuliani claimed there was “ample evidence of illegal voting in at least six states, which they have not examined.”“We have many witnesses swearing under oath they saw crimes being committed in connection with voter fraud. As far as we know, not a single one has been interviewed by the DOJ. The Justice Department also hasn’t audited any voting machines or used their subpoena powers to determine the truth,” he said.However, Barr said earlier that people were confusing the use of the federal criminal justice system with allegations that should be made in civil lawsuits. He said a remedy for many complaints would be a top-down audit by state or local officials, not the U.S. Justice Department.“There’s a growing tendency to use the criminal justice system as sort of a default fix-all," he said, but first there must be a basis to believe there is a crime to investigate.“Most claims of fraud are very particularized to a particular set of circumstances or actors or conduct. ... And those have been run down; they are being run down,” Barr said. “Some have been broad and potentially cover a few thousand votes. They have been followed up on."___Associated Press writers Lisa Mascaro and Eric Tucker contributed to this report.Michael Balsamo, The Associated Press
Kathie Hogan of Powassan, a small community in the North Bay region is getting ready for a chilly night on the roof of the local Home Hardware Building Centre — for a good cause.After the cancellations of several food bank fundraisers in the North Bay region due to COVID-19, Hogan said she "had to do something." To get people motivated to reach into their pockets, Kathie Hogan, made a promise to her donors.If she was able to raise $1,000 she vowed to rustle out her camping gear from the closet and spend the night on top of the local Home Hardware store. Hogan said she managed to surpass her goal last Thursday, and with Home Hardware agreeing to match donations of up to $2,000 she's managed to raise a total of about $5,000 so far.'Donate to send Kathie camping'"I still have to go around collecting the jars, people are still handing me money on the street. It's just been an incredible, incredible experience to be part of this small town feeling," she said, "People are throwing all sorts of bills into these jars." The donation jars are labelled, "Donate to send Kathie camping on the Home Hardware roof."> Well, I've fed the chickens, shoveled the driveway and now I've got to gear up for tonight. — Kathie HoganAnd so the time has come, for Hogan to deliver on her quirky promise — on Giving Tuesday no less. "Well, I've fed the chickens, shoveled the driveway and now I've got to gear up for tonight. It's very, very blustery here in Powassan," Hogan said, "I'm determined to go through with it, it's going to be windy and snowy." During her fundraising campaign, Hogan said, she's been stopped on the street by community members delightedly perplexed by the prospect of seeing her camping out on the roof.'It's going to be fine'She said locals have even offered up camping gear to help keep her toasty on what will likely be a chilly December night. Environment Canada has issued a snowfall warning for the North Bay region Tuesday evening. According to the agencies forecast, Hogan could wake up to between 20 and 30 centimetres of snow on Wednesday morning on the Home Hardware roof. To this, Hogan said she will be bringing a shovel with her for her "cold winter's nap.""I don't know. It's going to be fine," she said, "I have the love of the community that will keep me warm." More CBC Sudbury stories
WHITEHORSE — A mask order aimed at limiting the spread of COVID-19 is now in effect across Yukon, but the territory's top doctor says enforcement of the regulation is not the first priority. Dr. Brendan Hanley said Tuesday people will be given a chance to adapt to the order, which was announced last week as cases of the virus mounted. At a regular weekly briefing, Premier Sandy Silver reported eight new cases of COVID-19 in Yukon since last Tuesday, bringing the number of active cases to 17 and the total number of cases to 47 since the start of the pandemic. The mask order requires everyone over the age of five to wear a non-medical face covering in all indoor public spaces or face a fine of up to $500, but Hanley says people will first be given a chance to adapt and he expects the new rule will be accepted quickly. He says 200,000 masks are being made available to ensure everyone has access to them. A 14-day quarantine period remains in place for all those entering or returning to Yukon, but as the holiday season approaches, Silver says children can be assured that Santa is still welcome. "I know many kids around the territory are wondering how their gifts might get here in light of the self-isolation requirements and I have good news on that front," he told the news conference. "I can confirm that Santa is a critical worker and I know that Dr. Hanley and his team have been working very closely with (Santa's) counterparts at the North Pole." Hanley also reminded children that the Elf on the Shelf will be monitoring their handwashing and physical distancing efforts throughout the festive season. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 1, 2020. The Canadian Press
LONDON — Queen Elizabeth II and her husband, Prince Philip, will spend Christmas at Windsor Castle instead of their Sandringham estate for the first time in decades.Buckingham Palace officials said Tuesday that the monarch and her husband may see some members of their family briefly in accordance with guidelines, but Christmas celebrations will likely involve just the couple.“Having considered all the appropriate advice, the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh have decided that this year they will spend Christmas quietly in Windsor,” a spokeswoman said.The queen is not expected to attend church on Christmas Day to avoid large crowds of well-wishers gathering.The royal family spent many Christmases at Windsor Castle when the queen’s children were small, but since the 1980s the royal family has celebrated Christmas and New Year at the queen’s country estate, Sandringham, in Norfolk, eastern England.Hundreds of people typically gather near the historic church at Sandringham on Christmas Day to greet the royal family as they arrive for their morning service.Officials in the U.K. say coronavirus restrictions will be relaxed for five days over the festive season to allow people to travel to see friends and family. Three households can form a “Christmas bubble” and socialize from Dec. 23 to 27.___Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreakThe Associated Press
Originally scheduled to be completed in December, further construction of Gabriola Island’s Village Way Path is now on hold until spring 2021. Asphalt surfacing meant to go in through the Village Core section of the 1.5 km long, two-metre wide path has been delayed “due to weather conditions and paving material availability,” according to Yann Gagnon, the Regional District of Nanaimo’s manager of parks services. “The path will be in a usable condition over the winter, much like a widened gravel road shoulder,” he said. The RDN confirmed delay of completion of the Village Way will not delay the start of the construction of the Huxley Park skatepark in 2021. Work completed so far on the Village Way includes survey layout, tree assessment and removals, retaining wall construction, clearing and path base construction on sections between the Gabriola Professional Centre and Church Road. In the fall, staff determined fewer trees needed to be removed than planned. Using a hydro-excavator, crews exposed the root systems of trees in close proximity to the work site to assess if they would be damaged by further excavation work required to install the path. “This exploratory digging consequently allowed more trees to be retained as opposed to removing trees based on the assumption that the construction of the new path will damage their root system beyond their ability to recover,” Gagnon explained. As a result, trees have been saved in front of the Madrona Marketplace. Adaptations have also been made to parts of the path that will run in front of Gabriola Elementary School. Staff decided to reorient the path to “meander around live trees.” The adjustment will see dead trees or ones identified as declining removed instead. The construction method has also been adapted so that the gravel is “floating” overtop of the existing soil and root masses “as opposed to using a traditional path building method which includes excavation to sub-grade, which considerably damages healthy root systems,” Gagnon said. The completed path will run along the north side of the road from the junction of North and South roads to the 707 Community Park entrance at Tin Can Alley. The RDN has been working with the Ministry of Transportation since 2014 to make the path a reality. In July, the RDN board awarded the $971,349 construction contract to Windley Contracting. The project is entirely funded by the Electoral Area B Community Works Fund.Rachelle Stein-Wotten, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Gabriola Sounder
AGRICULTURE. À l’occasion du Congrès général 2020, les membres de l'Union des producteurs agricoles (UPA) discutent des enjeux et des pistes de solutions pour cultiver l’autonomie alimentaire du local au global. «La crise sanitaire sans précédent que nous traversons a testé la résilience de tous les maillons de la chaîne agroalimentaire. Les deux paliers de gouvernement ont déployé beaucoup de ressources pour assurer un bassin suffisant de main-d'œuvre locale et étrangère et pour mettre à la disposition des agricultrices et des agriculteurs des mesures de soutien permettant d'atténuer l'impact de la pandémie. Cette reconnaissance québécoise et canadienne du secteur agricole comme priorité stratégique à l'économie de nos régions et essentielle à la sécurité alimentaire de nos concitoyens est une orientation gagnante sur laquelle il faut s'appuyer pour les mois et les années à venir», a déclaré le président général de l'UPA, Marcel Groleau, dans le cadre de ce congrès qui réunit virtuellement 400 délégués le 30 novembre et le 1er décembre. «La dernière année a non seulement galvanisé l'intérêt de nos concitoyens pour nos produits, mais elle a aussi démontré à quel point l'autonomie alimentaire de la province et du pays constitue un enjeu prioritaire. Le gouvernement québécois a investi des sommes importantes ces derniers mois pour faire croître cette autonomie. Le gouvernement canadien, qui a beaucoup fait depuis le début de la crise pour sécuriser l'approvisionnement alimentaire des citoyens, devra lui aussi prévoir rapidement des investissements pour favoriser le développement de sa principale assise, c'est-à-dire l'agriculture», ajoute le président de l'Union, faisant notamment référence aux 157,2 M$ annoncés récemment par le gouvernement québécois pour accroître l'autonomie alimentaire de la province. «Tous les paliers de gouvernement reconnaissent maintenant sans équivoque l'importance stratégique du secteur agricole. Pour permettre à notre agriculture d'aller plus loin et d'atteindre son plein potentiel, il est essentiel de favoriser sa compétitivité par un appui indéfectible, comparable à nos voisins du Sud, à l'Europe et aux autres pays de l'Organisation de coopération et de développement économiques», souligne-t-il. Stéphane Lévesque, Initiative de journalisme local, L'Hebdo Journal
The Ontario Human Rights Commission says it plans to address the issue of anti-Indigenous racism in lacrosse.The commission announced on Tuesday that it will meet with Six Nations of the Grand River First Nation, the Ontario Lacrosse Association, and the Canadian Lacrosse Association in the coming months to discuss how to address systemic racism against Indigenous lacrosse players.“Lacrosse has long been a way for Indigenous communities to connect with each other in a spirit of trust, respect and honour,” said OHRC interim chief commissioner Ena Chadha. “But connections with non-Indigenous communities are quickly broken and trust is destroyed when they are fraught with harassment and abuse. "Our goal is to build relationships that unite and uphold reconciliation, and encourage all to proactively address racism.”The commission said it hopes the meetings can happen in the late winter or early spring in order to honour a request by Six Nations of the Grand River to hold them in person.Lacrosse was played by Indigenous people for hundreds of years before Europeans arrived in North America.The sport holds a central role in the culture of the Haudenosaunee people, who are called the Iroquois in French or the Six Nations in English. Mark Hill, elected chief of Six Nations of the Grand River, said that lacrosse is a "Haudenosaunee life essence.""A gift from the Creator, lacrosse is the bridge that is meant to be shared with the world, in friendship, peace and unity," said Hill. "Our hope is that every man, woman and child that chooses to and wants to freely experience the thrill of playing the Creator’s game can do so in a healthy environment.”The commission said Six Nations of the Grand River, the most heavily populated First Nation in Canada, wants the meetings to be in person so there can be full community representation, including elders.The OHRC also said it will retain an expert Indigenous facilitator to support these discussions. The talks will start with concerns raised by members of the Six Nations lacrosse community as the first step in the important process of rebuilding trust, fostering accountability and promoting reconciliation.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 1, 2020.John Chidley-Hill, The Canadian Press
Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam says considering people’s age is the easiest way for health officials to prioritize COVID-19 vaccine delivery, outside of assessing underlying medical conditions and risk of transmission to vulnerable and remote populations. Tam says that age is the most important variable in severe illness and mortality, even after underlying conditions are factored in.
As opposition critics and some premiers accuse his government of falling behind on a vaccine distribution plan, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau today sought to reassure the country that his government will be ready to deploy shots soon after they receive the necessary Health Canada approvals.Trudeau said the independent scientists reviewing the clinical trial data submitted by the drugmakers behind four promising vaccine candidates are working hard to ensure the safety of these products before Ottawa starts shipments.With recent polls showing that a sizeable number of Canadians will refuse a vaccine altogether, or will wait some time before lining up for a shot, Trudeau said he wants Canadians to be assured that the science will not be rushed and Canada's regulators will only approve a product that works."In this COVID-19 pandemic, keeping Canadians safe means getting a vaccine as quickly as possible, but it also means making sure that the vaccine is safe for Canadians," Trudeau said.Trudeau said once the regulator gives the green light to one of those vaccines, Canada will mobilize its public health infrastructure to deploy it to the provinces and territories.WATCH: Trudeau is asked about how vaccines will be deliveredThe U.S. Food and Drug Administration is set to meet on Dec. 10 to review the Pfizer product. Health Canada's chief medical adviser, Supriya Sharma, has said regulators here are expected to make decisions on timelines similar to those followed by the U.S.Speaking to reporters at a COVID-19 briefing, Public Services and Procurement Minister Anita Anand said today the government is planning for vaccines to arrive in the first three months of 2021.Based on her conversations with the drugmakers, she said, she's hoping a vaccine will be available to Canadians well before the end of March."As soon as Health Canada has provided its approval, we are well-placed to begin deliveries to Canadians as soon as possible. We will kick into the delivery process ASAP. That's why we have the refrigerators procured. That's why we have the needles, syringes and gauze procured," she said.The U.S. has publicly released a robust distribution plan — 20 million Americans are expected to be vaccinated in December alone. Canadian officials have been largely quiet about how the deployment will be conducted here, beyond offering assurances that the provinces and territories will be ready to go.Anand said she wanted to clear up what she called "misinformation" that has been circulating in recent days.Anand confirmed that Canada already has received 34 of the freezers needed to store vaccines that must be kept at temperatures well below zero, with another 92 freezers soon to follow. The Pfizer product, for example, needs to be kept at approximately -80 degrees Celsius to remain stable.All told, between the newly procured cold storage and existing federal capacity, 33.5 million doses of frozen and ultra-frozen vaccines can be stored here at this point, Anand said.WATCH | Anand: Vaccine delivery dates are being negotiated nowBeyond storage, the shots also need to be transported by qualified shippers. Anand said more details on end-to-end logistics will be revealed in the coming days.Anand said Canada was among the first countries to sign agreements with pharmaceutical giants Pfizer and Moderna for their vaccines, which use groundbreaking messenger RNA technology, or mRNA. These vaccines essentially direct cells in the body to make proteins to prevent or fight disease.While some have suggested Canada is at the "back of the line" on vaccine availability, Moderna's co-founder confirmed to CBC News on Sunday that Canada will be among the first countries in the world to get access to doses.On Monday, the Massachusetts-based company applied to the FDA for emergency use authorization (EUA) of this vaccine in the American marketplace.The company's final clinical trial data is encouraging, demonstrating the vaccine is 94.1 per cent effective at preventing COVID-19 and 100 per cent effective at preventing severe cases of the disease.'Amazing data'In July, Moderna began administering its vaccine and a placebo to 30,000 clinical trial participants in the U.S.Of the 15,000 people who received the vaccine, only 11 developed COVID-19. None of those 11 people became severely ill. Among the 15,000 people who received the placebo — a shot of saline that does nothing — 185 developed the novel coronavirus. Thirty of those 185 patients reported severe illness and one died."This is striking," Dr. Paul Offit, a member of the FDA's vaccine advisory committee, told CNN Monday. "These are amazing data."Moderna's chief medical officer said he became emotional when he saw the data Saturday night. "It was the first time I allowed myself to cry," Dr. Tal Zaks said. "We have a full expectation to change the course of this pandemic."The federal government secured an agreement on Aug. 5 with Moderna for 20 million doses of its vaccine, with the option to procure an additional 36 million doses if necessary.First in lineMarginalized groups, such as seniors in long-term care homes, and front line health care workers are expected to be among the first to be inoculated, said Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada's chief public officer. She added that other essential workers, such as grocery store clerks, could also be ahead of other Canadians.The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI), which provides independent advice to the Public Health Agency of Canada, has provided some guidelines on which "key populations" should be among the first to be vaccinated.Ultimately, it will be up to the provinces and territories to identify who gets a shot first. But Trudeau said Tuesday that the premiers agree that these plans should be largely harmonized nationwide.While some provinces and territories have voiced serious concerns about a lack of detail on how and when vaccines will be available, Health Minister Patty Hajdu said those jurisdictions are well-placed to administer these vaccines when they do arrive because they lead mass inoculation campaigns each year during flu season.WATCH: Hajdu says vaccine distribution a 'very delicate dance'"They already have systems in place, they already have capacity in place, they already have processes in place to lead sophisticated immunization programs," she said."I say to Canadians: hang on. We can get through this winter together and relief is on the way."The government has frequently pointed to its massive order for 414 million vaccine doses from seven different companies — the most of any country per capita — but Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole said that procurement push means little if millions of Canadians are kept waiting longer than citizens in other Western countries."A robust portfolio in 2023 doesn't help us as we enter 2021," O'Toole said Monday in his response to the government's fall economic statement."This government is not providing a plan, they're not providing clarity and it's clear, having been late on rapid tests, on the border, there's no clarity or competence."In question period Tuesday, O'Toole again pushed the government to offer a firmer date for access to a vaccine. Trudeau said again they'd be available shortly after Health Canada signs off.O'Toole also slammed the government for partnering with a CanSino, a Chinese-run pharmaceutical firm, early in the pandemic to jointly develop a vaccine.WATCH: Public Services and Procurement Minister Anita Anand talks about freezer capacityThat deal was abandoned after the regime in Beijing blocked shipments of vaccine samples meant to be used in clinical trials in Canada, which prompted the government to turn to U.S. firms for supply. O'Toole said Canada should have never trusted the Chinese in the first place.The Conservative opposition is now pushing for a parliamentary probe into the CanSino deal at the Commons industry, science and technology committee.
Police body cameras hit the streets of Iqaluit on Monday as part of the RCMP's national pilot project. The Nunavut roll out starts with two officers per shift wearing body cameras, which officers will have the ability to turn on and off. By mid-January, four officers per shift will be equipped with the cameras, and by mid February all six officers per shift. Northern Affairs Minister Dan Vandal announced the project in October after a year of intense police scrutiny across the country. "It's completely unacceptable for Inuit and their families to be suffering at the hands of police at the level that they are," Vandal told CBC News in reaction to the high rates of police-related deaths in Nunavut. "That needs to stop." But the debate on what benefits the cameras may offer is far from over, according to experts. CBC News asked experts to weigh in on the main benefits claimed by police — greater accountability and transparency and an increase in trust between police and communities. The experts flagged major concerns and holes in the RCMP's approach but also expressed cautious optimism. With a lack of scientific data and controlled experiments in Canada, including by the RCMP, academic Erick Laming told CBC News he worries about what the Mounties' intentions are with the pilot project. Public may never see critical footage"The main reason for the project seems to be the emotional environment we're living in right now," said Laming, a PhD Candidate at the University of Toronto from the Shabot Obaadjiwan First Nation in Ontario.Politicians appear to be reacting to that environment by offering a solution that is not tested or thought out, he added. For example, a crucial issue is deciding what video footage will be released to the public and when, Laming said. The RCMP currently do not have any policies to specifically govern the release of body cam footage. The only way to make the release of that footage truly independent is to have a third-party agency, outside of the RCMP, decide what to release, said Laming. "Is it really increasing transparency? Because some of this footage may never see the light of day. It really depends what policies are in place," he said. Body cams were first introduced in England in 2005 as a way to collect better evidence, Laming said.They have since been used by police to justify their own behaviour in volatile situations, he said. "That's a valid argument. But in terms of whether it's going to improve accountability or transparency, there's no evidence in Canada that [body cams] have done that," he added. Body cams won't prevent shootings: American law professorIn communities that have been historically over-policed, video footage used to justify police's behaviour can perpetuate the problem of being over-policed, Adam Benfoardo, an American law professor in Philadelphia told CBC News. "When we have footage, it may simply, in the eyes of the public, say, well, actually, the police officers were right — these people are dangerous," Benforado said from Drexel University. Controlled studies of body cams in the US have resulted in inconclusive findings, he added. But one thing seems clear — the cameras have not reduced the rate of police shootings of brown and black people in the US, Benforado said. The day before CBC spoke with him, Benforado said a 27-year-old black man was shot by police two blocks from his home in downtown Philadelphia. Police officers involved in the shooting wore body cams at the time, and citizens filmed the incident on cell phones, said Benforado. That didn't prevent the shooting, he said. "Why? Because the thing that mattered the most, which is that the 27-year-old man was having a mental health crisis, is probably not the cameras. It's probably race. It's probably training that officers have and the lack of training in addressing people who are having mental health crises," said Benforado. Video evidence crucial in criminal investigationsBut video camera evidence is crucial in order to conduct investigations of police shootings after the fact, Ian Scott, former director of Ontario's Special Investigations Unit, told CBC News. Scott charged the officer who shot Sammy Yatim on a Toronto streetcar in 2013 with murder. "I could not have laid that charge without the compelling video evidence. So that's led me to the conclusion that body worn cameras would be extremely helpful in doing those kinds of investigations," Scott said. Scott did not have body cam footage in that case — but mostly footage from CCTV cameras on the streetcar. He said any video evidence in such investigations can be crucial. This benefit of body cams is difficult to quantify in a price analysis but justified when investigations of fatal shootings lead to justice, Scott said. "If we can have more thorough reviews with better evidence, then I think the long-term outcomes will lead to the community having greater sense of trust in their police," he said.
SANTÉ. Le ministre délégué à la Santé et aux Services sociaux, Lionel Carmant, annonce un financement supplémentaire de 10 M$ qui servira à bonifier l'accessibilité des services spécifiques pour les enfants, les adolescents et les jeunes adultes présentant de premiers épisodes psychotiques. «Les troubles mentaux ont des effets néfastes sur la vie sociale des jeunes. Ils affectent également leur qualité de vie, et hypothèquent, pour plusieurs, sérieusement leur vie une fois adulte, ce qu'il nous faut à tout prix éviter. C'est pourquoi nous avons à cœur d'intervenir le plus tôt possible dans leur parcours de services, en mettant en place des mécanismes d'accès bien adaptés à leur réalité, et le plus près possible de leur milieu de vie», souligne Lionel Carmant, ministre délégué à la Santé et aux Services sociaux. L'investissement annoncé vise le développement, d'ici la fin de l'année financière 2020-2021, de 944 nouvelles places. Celles-ci permettront d'atteindre les 3 136 places recommandées par le cadre de référence du programme d'interventions pour premiers épisodes psychotiques (PIPEP). Rappelons que le PIPEP a été mis sur pied afin de diminuer la durée de la période sans traitement chez les jeunes adultes présentant un premier épisode psychotique, d'améliorer l'engagement des jeunes à s'impliquer dans leur traitement et leur maintien en rémission et de réduire au minimum les effets à court, à moyen et à long terme de la maladie. Le PIPEP est offert d'abord aux personnes âgées de 12 à 35 ans qui présentent des symptômes d'un trouble psychotique ou qui sont considérées à risque accru de psychose et qui n'ont jamais été traitées pour une psychose. Stéphane Lévesque, Initiative de journalisme local, L'Hebdo Journal
China has increased scrutiny of its technology sector in recent weeks, last month drafting anti-monopoly rules for tech firms. It has also expressed concerns about data protection and consumer rights, while authorities have on a number of occasions ordered apps to be suspended for mishandling user information.
Social determinants of health – such as discrimination, proper housing and occupation – are critical factors for public health officials when considering how to target resources at those whose risk of contracting the novel coronavirus is highest. As health interventions aim to address these social liabilities in the short-term, the pandemic is also exposing how environmental determinants of health are often overlooked. Air pollution, for example, produces worse health outcomes and occurs more intensely in areas with poorer social and economic conditions, according to research cited in a study published earlier this month by health data non-profit ICES and the University of Toronto. The paper notes that previous studies “have also implicated environmental pollution as having a biological relationship to the risk and severity of COVID-19 and other respiratory infections.” Environmental factors affecting local public health may emerge as a larger discussion in the coming weeks, as Mississauga’s climate plans resurface during budget committee presentations which resumed Monday. Estimated to cost more than $460 million in the next decade, or about $46 million per year, the City is slow to commit funding in its first year of budgeting for a greener future in Mississauga. In June 2019, following the lead of several other Canadian cities, Mississauga’s Council passed a motion to declare a climate change emergency and approved an ambitious Climate Change Action Plan six months later. In the summer, as the 2021 budget document was being considered by City staff, The Pointer asked Mayor Bonnie Crombie about the ambitious goals she championed in the Climate Action Plan just prior to the pandemic, including some $160 million that would be needed in the short term for hybrid and electric buses. "Certainly, the greening of our economy is the right direction to move and I think we all agree with that," she said at the time. "We are very hopeful that the impact of COVID will be contained to the next three-year horizon and that we will still move forward with our Climate Action Plan. It is very dependent on the ICIP money (Ottawa's Invest In Canada Plan for infrastructure) – money coming from the provincial and federal government – to assist us to green our fleet and implement many of the recommendations that you found in that report." Now, implementing the climate plan is a highlight of the City’s 2021 budget. The two-pronged climate change solution universally advocated by scientists – mitigation and adaptation – is reflected in the City’s strategy to promote green energy, and retrofit or build resilient infrastructure. The plan sets out to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent in the next ten years and by 80 percent ahead of 2050, with the long-term goal of reaching zero emissions. The second pillar is to “build resilience” against the effects of climate change, including severe weather damage to City infrastructure. Next year’s ‘pandemic’ budget, has leaned out capital project funding to help weather the City’s major revenue losses in transit and recreation due to the ongoing public health emergency. Parks, Forestry and Environment staff are proposing a net $37.5 million operating budget, or a $1 million increase from last year, to maintain service levels, support higher fleet costs and kick-off climate protection goals. “Now, having a bold plan is very different than action. This is where the City now has to try and follow through on that, and I don't see that in this year's budget yet,” said Marc Johnson, Director of the Centre for Urban Environments at the University of Toronto Mississauga. He cited urbanization data that shows 82 percent of Canadians live in cities, with significant greenhouse-gas emissions and resource extraction linked to oil, lumber and other materials that support urban development. Though projects including infrastructure lifecycle maintenance, tree planting, stormwater drainage, trail upkeep, parks construction and pedestrian bridge replacement may relate to climate change, the budget does not directly connect these developments to the City’s climate strategy. “I want to see earmarked in [the budget] which of these investments in staff, in green technology, and infrastructure refurbishment are aligned with their Climate Action Plan,” he said. Perhaps the clearest funding link to execute the Climate Change Action Plan is the addition of another full-time staffer, a climate change specialist, in next year’s operating budget, with a salary of $92,000, and $121,000 forecast in 2022. No funding has been allocated until 2023 for the Climate Change Plan Implementation in corporate buildings, with budget documents recommending about $216,000 be set aside. In budget presentation documents, staff acknowledged the City requires resources to fulfill its climate plan and parkland growth expansion. However, parkland growth is not funded until 2022, with a recommended $291,000 budget. Capital projects in the Parks, Forestry and Environment departmental budget will also face deferrals, with an overall budget of about $32.3 million for 2021, forecast to more than double in 2022 to $66 million, and drop slightly to $51 million the following year. There is also a modest budget for parkland acquisition in 2021, at $120,000, compared to $26 million forecast for 2022. Corporate building retrofits as part of the climate plan are also being set aside, not being requested in the budget until 2023, with staff forecasting $216,000. More than 40 percent of parks and related infrastructure will need capital funding for replacements and maintenance over the next decade. Funding in other service sectors will affect Mississauga’s climate change goals, most prominently in transit, which accounts for about 70 percent of the City’s emissions. MiWay Director Geoff Marinoff said, during Tuesday’s transit presentation to the committee, that 40 percent of the fleet would be turned over to hybrid energy buses in the next four years. MiWay is proposing $440.6 million to replace 409 buses over the next 10 years. However, staff are proposing only a small fraction of the annual investment needed if 40 percent of a new hybrid fleet is to be acquired in the next four years. The bus replacement budget for 2021 is just $2 million, even though MiWay reaffirmed its commitment to “no longer purchase any conventional diesel buses, and will be required to purchase hybrid-electric and zero emission vehicles.” The budget does not specify if the bus replacement budget will be solely for hybrid-electric vehicles. (The City currently has 36, and the remaining 475 buses run on ultra-refined diesel.) The federal government, as Crombie highlighted in the summer, could provide a significant contribution, as clean energy infrastructure is one of the priorities in its infrastructure investment policy and Ottawa has already approved large sums to municipalities and provinces for clean transportation since the plan was adopted under the Liberals in 2015. The budget also notes the City’s training program for fleet operation will be amended to train drivers in reducing idling and fuel consumption to align with climate goals. Initiatives linked to fighting climate change can also be found in the increased stormwater tax. Mississauga has seen its share of extreme weather in the past decade, with heavy rain and flash floods last spring and fall. Human activity connected to climate change is leading to more extreme rainfalls in North America, according to a study published this June. A stormwater tax raise, which will range from $2.20 to $3.68 per year, is slated to help generate $43.5 million toward the City’s stormwater reserve funds for unpredictable weather caused by changing environmental conditions. Natural disasters and severe weather events demand crucial consideration when making urgent local policy shifts, said Lauren Latour, a coordinator at Climate Action Network Canada. “A lot of the time when we talk about climate policy, we're talking about federal level policy, but the effects are going to have to be dealt with by municipal governments,” Latour said. “They become those frontline protectors for their communities.” Email: email@example.com Twitter: @LaVjosa COVID-19 is impacting all Canadians. At a time when vital public information is needed by everyone, The Pointer has taken down our paywall on all stories relating to the pandemic and those of public interest to ensure every resident of Brampton and Mississauga has access to the facts. For those who are able, we encourage you to consider a subscription. This will help us report on important public interest issues the community needs to know about now more than ever. You can register for a 30-day free trial HERE. Thereafter, The Pointer will charge $10 a month and you can cancel any time right on the website. Thank you.Vjosa Isai, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Pointer
Canada's third quarter annualized growth soared by a record 40.5%, rebounding from a historic plunge in the second quarter, as businesses and stores reopened from COVID-19 lockdowns, Statistics Canada said on Tuesday. "There was a big import drag that knocked almost six percentage points off GDP growth ... it reflects positive developments but in GDP accounting it acts as a drag on top line GDP growth." "The quarterly increase in GDP in Q3 as a whole was a little bit smaller than expected earlier on but it's still pretty large."
Weather is getting cooler and beards are getting bushier as some Canadian men look to add an extra layer of warmth to their faces this winter.Others, motivated by lockdown measures and extended work-from-home terms, may view this as a perfect time to see how unruly those whiskers can get before a trim is needed.But as long as mask-wearing is encouraged amid the COVID-19 pandemic, should they worry about facial hair interfering with the effectiveness of face coverings?Some experts say men should shave their beards in order to obtain the best mask fit, but others say it depends how long the stubble gets, and if their job requires a tighter-fitting respirator.The CDC has an infographic on facial hair and N-95s on its website, outlining styles that are safe, including handlebar mustaches and soul patches. Other looks — like extended goatees, muttonchops and Van Dykes — cross the seal of the mask and need to go. Dr. Christopher Labos, a Montreal-based physician, says that advice is fine for health-care workers, but when it comes to regular cloth masks, breaking a seal isn't as much of a concern."If it's covering your mouth and nose, it's doing what it's supposed to do," he said. "Whether there's a gap on the side isn't really here or there because there's always a gap." Dr. Jane Wang, a clinical instructor at UBC who has studied face masks extensively, disagrees.Wang's recent research suggests men with beards experience more leakage — droplets expelling through gaps in the mask — than those without. Leaky areas of masks are most prominent around the nose, chin and the cheeks, and pleated masks tend to leak more than other styles.Having facial hair jutting out of a mask increases that leakage zone, she said. So the most effective way to ensure a cloth mask fits around the face is to remove the beard."Having more leaks decreases the filtration," Wang said, adding that research on mask fit and leaks date back to the 1990s. "So the air we breathe will go through the leak and not the filter of the mask."Dr. Lisa Bryski, an emergency-room physician in Winnipeg, has seen many colleagues shave off their beards in order to properly wear masks in the health-care field. While a cloth covering doesn't provide the same level of protection as an N-95, Bryski suggests men outside front-line work settings might want to pick up the razor too."It's a personal choice, but anything you do to increase your own protection and protection of others is appropriate in these times," she said. "Where shaving is not an option, keeping the beard groomed and trimmed may reduce the amount of hair and help with mask seal."Bryski acknowledged that for some men, like those in the Sikh community, beards may be an integral part of religious identity.Sukhmeet Sachal, a second-year medical student at UBC, recognized that and is offering a solution. Sachal is part of a group that has been handing out modified face masks to Sikh men at gurdwaras, or places of assembly and worship. The masks, made by volunteers, wrap around beards and tie over turbans, offering Sikh men a better alternative than a regular face mask they could buy at a store.Sachal said he got the idea when he walked into a gurdwara with his father and saw hardly anyone wearing a mask. While he says there may have been a combination of reasons for that, the beards played a part."We heard from people directly that there were no masks available for them," Sachal said. "When they went to the store, they didn't find any."Sachal says hair, whether it's on your face or head, is seen in Sikhism as a gift from God. Turbans are wrapped around hair to protect it, and most Sikh men refrain from cutting their hair or shaving their beards."That's why these masks are important," Sachal said. "They allow people to practise their religion while being safe."Colin Furness, an epidemiologist at the University of Toronto, looks at beards as a "variable" in how well a mask fits, but "not a determiner."A mask can be ill-fitting whether you have a beard or not, he explained. And while the length of facial hair will impact fit further, he says mask-wearing is only one safety precaution we should be practising."I don't think beards should be demonized, because it's not just about wearing a mask," he said. "You're also maintaining physical distance, you're also not doing large crowds... "It's when you start thinking that masks protect you completely that beards become more risky."Wang says those keeping their beards should still wear face masks."It'll be less effective, but it's better than nothing," she said.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 1, 2020.Melissa Couto Zuber, The Canadian Press
CHARLOTTETOWN - Sukhmeen Caur is concerned about the impact India's farm reforms will have on its farmers, she said. "It's harming people," she said. "Because of these laws, there's going to be no food on the table." Caur, who's originally from Punjab, India, was one of about 10 to 15 people demonstrating by the Charlottetown cenotaph on Nov. 30 - many of whom were members of P.E.I.'s Sikh community. They were raising awareness and showing their support for the Punjab and Haryana farmers protesting a series of laws imposed by India's government in September. The farmers believe their livelihood will be affected by the reformed laws, and when about 300,000 attempted to march into the city of Delhi last week they were met with police barricades, tear gas, and water cannons, demonstrator Manpreet Singh said. "They were stopped forcefully," he said. "They were beaten, they were harassed." Singh, who's also from Punjab, said farming is a primary source of income for India. While the goal of the reforms was to give more control to farmers, the farmer's main concern with them is that a minimum price for what their crops can sell for is no longer guaranteed or regulated, potentially giving corporations more control and profit. For example, one Indian farmer reported selling his wheat crop for 7 rupees per kilogram, after which the buying corporation processed and sold it for 150 rupees per kilogram, Singh said. "They're not treated like people. They're treated like animals," he said. While rising tensions have resulted in a meeting to be called between some of the country's farm unions and the Indian government on Dec. 3, the Charlottetown demonstration was to oppose the police and government's violent response to the protests for showcasing a lack of democracy, Singh said. "I have my right of speech in this country," he said. "But in my country right now, it is not trying to listen to the farmers." Caur added that accurate news coverage on the protests out of the country is difficult to find due to social media censorship, so the Charlottetown demonstration was to inform Islanders of what was going on. "I am here, I should also know what's going on here," she said. "(And) they should know what's going on in India." While only a maximum of 20 people was permitted to gather at the Nov. 30 demonstration due to COVID-19 protocol, Caur noted a larger rally may be held in the near future pending the Chief Public Health Office's approval. Twitter.com/dnlbrown95Daniel Brown, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Guardian
China successfully landed a spacecraft on the moon's surface on Tuesday in a historic mission to retrieve lunar surface samples, Chinese state media reported. China launched its Chang'e-5 probe on Nov. 24. The mission will attempt to collect 2 kg (4-1/2 lbs) of samples in a previously unvisited area in a massive lava plain known as Oceanus Procellarum, or "Ocean of Storms".
NAIROBI, Kenya — The United Nations says food has now run out for the nearly 100,000 refugees from Eritrea who have been sheltering in camps in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region, which has been cut off from the world for nearly a month amid fighting. “Concerns are growing by the hour,” U.N. refugee spokesman Babar Baloch told reporters in Geneva on Tuesday. “The camps will have now run out of food supplies – making hunger and malnutrition a real danger, a warning we have been issuing since the conflict began nearly a month ago. We are also alarmed at unconfirmed reports of attacks, abductions and forced recruitment at the refugee camps.” Wednesday marks a month since Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed announced that fighting had erupted in the Tigray region between federal forces and regional ones, as each government now regards the other as illegitimate due to a dispute over holding elections during the pandemic. Communications and transport links to the Tigray region of 6 million people have been severed, and the U.N. and others have pleaded for access to deliver badly needed food, medicines and other supplies. Abiy, last year’s Nobel Peace Prize winner, has rejected the idea of dialogue with the Tigray regional leaders, who are on the run but say they continue to fight even after Abiy over the weekend declared victory in the deadly conflict. Under growing international pressure, Abiy on Monday said that “my message to friends of Ethiopia is that we may be poor but we are not a country that will negotiate our sovereignty. Threatening Ethiopia for coins will not work.” Ethiopia’s government has said it will create and manage a “humanitarian corridor” for the delivery of aid, but the U.N. wants access that is neutral, unhindered and immediate. The U.N. has said some 2 million people in Tigray now need assistance — a doubling from the number before the fighting — and some 1 million people are displaced, including more than 45,000 Ethiopians who have fled into Sudan as refugees. The 96,000 Eritrean refugees are in an especially precarious position. They are in camps in Ethiopia near the border of their homeland, Eritrea, which they fled, and reports of have emerged that some have been attacked or abducted. The U.N. refugee chief has warned that, if true, any such actions “would be major violations of international norms.” Eritrea has remained almost silent as the Tigray leaders accuse it of joining the conflict at Ethiopia's request, which Abiy's government has denied. Some 1,000 of the Eritrean refugees have arrived in the Tigray regional capital, Mekele, looking for food and other help, the International Committee of the Red Cross said over the weekend. “For almost two decades, Ethiopia has been a hospitable country for Eritrean refugees but now we fear they are caught in the conflict,” Baloch said. “UNHCR appeals to the government of Ethiopia to continue to fulfil its responsibility in hosting and protecting Eritrean refugees and allow humanitarians to access people who are now desperately in need.” In Mekele, which the Ethiopian military has said is under its “full control" after its offensive last week, “aid workers report that people have been forced to rely on untreated water to survive following the damage and destruction of water infrastructure,” U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters Monday. “Our humanitarian colleagues are also warning that it is critical that essential supplies and services be restored immediately in Mekelle and across the Tigray region.” U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres underscored that need in a phone call with Abiy on Sunday, Dujarric said. Cara Anna, The Associated Press
Council members told staff to keep the blended tax rate for 2021 low – with requests ranging from zero to “two or three” percent. As it presented by staff, the draft budget contained a three percent increase in the Southgate levy for capital projects, which would likely be a two percent in the blended tax rate. CAO Dave Milliner asked council for direction at the end of the special meeting on the proposed capital budget held on Tuesday, Nov. 24. Coun. Michael Sherson said his ideal would be to give residents a zero increase this year. Coun. Barbara Dobreen said she didn’t want to see township reserves depleted to keep the increase “artificially low.” She suggested a 1.5 percent increase – “keep it under two (percent) for sure.” Deputy-Mayor Brian Milne asked if the 2020 impact of growth was known. The more building in the township, the more property owners to share the burden of the tax levy. Treasurer Liam Gott said it would be a few weeks before he had final figures but he expected 2020 added about $159,000 in taxation dollars based on the value of building permits issued (lower than the $280,000 projected). The deputy-mayor said that while a zero increase is desirable – “I don’t think that it’s reasonable or even responsible.” “Our costs are going up,” he said, naming fuel, hydro, insurance and payroll. Given that, he said he’d like to see something around 2.5 to 3 percent. At that point, the treasurer asked whether councillors were talking about the increase for local use or the overall or “blended” increase that includes taxes Southgate collects and passes on to the county and the school boards. At this stage in the budget process, council has seen and discussed capital costs, with the operating budget still to be seen. Coun. Martin Shipston said that a 2.5 to three percent increase would be reasonable, and not leave residents paying more down the road to make up for a lower increase in 2021. Coun. Jason Rice said he would like to see a zero increase. Coun. Dobreen had mentioned the Cost of Living increase for employees, which would be based on the inflation rate of 0.7 percent. Coun. Rice said that maybe for one year, township employees could do without the COLA increase. ”I’m not going against them (staff) – they do a fantastic job,” he said. “It’s this year, this specific year – this pandemic we’re dealing with,” he said. “It’s not our money in this time of need,” he said. He said many Southgate residents never get a Cost of Living increase. Deputy-Mayor Milne said perhaps this was the year to pull back on COLA or “step” increases based on performance and years served. He said that council needs to see the operating budget estimates to make its final decision. To achieve zero would take cuts to services, he said. “What services are we going to cut back on?” “Fuel, hydro, insurance – other expenses like that we have no control over and we have to pay." Coun. Rice asked the CAO for his reaction. Mr. Milliner replied, “if I didn’t hear a comment from council like that I would be surprised.” He did speak in defence of merit or “step” pay increase, adding that he himself is not affected by that policy. Mayor John Woodbury said that council had to balance the need for restraint in the present moment with the risk of postponing needed changes and mortgaging the future. “Overall, two to three percent is acceptable,” he said.M.T. Fernandes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Dundalk Herald
The number of empty units in Toronto community housing has “steadily increased” in the last few months, despite efforts to fill those vacancies rapidly with people living in city shelters. While the agency reached a historically low vacancy rate of 1.78 per cent last November, by this fall it rose to 2.35 per cent. The rate for market rent units was still less than one per cent, but the rate was 2.54 per cent for rent-geared-to-income and 3.04 per cent for seniors housing. Coun. Ana Bailao, Mayor John Tory’s housing advocate, said it was “crucial” to address the swelling vacancies as quickly as possible, given the need for affordable housing in Toronto. “With the situation we have in the city, we can’t afford to have empty units,” Bailao said. Sheila Penny, chief operating officer with Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC), attributes the increase in empty units to a pause in seniors housing rentals during the pandemic, city rules about filling vacancies, and a lack of supports in the city's northwest corner and Scarborough West Hill area for high-needs tenants. “It might be counselling for alcohol addiction, it might be mental health counselling,” Penny said of the missing supports. There was also an issue with “desirability” along the Sherbourne strip, she said, with one building in the downtown area showing a vacancy rate of around six per cent. In one case this summer, before a former Toronto shelter resident was moved into a Sherbourne-area apartment, the unit had sat vacant for a year — in part, because no tenants being relocated from a Regent Park building slated for demolition chose to move there. After COVID-19 hit, the city and TCHC implemented a strategy to move people from shelters into vacant social housing units, and provide various supports like furniture and food. Spokesperson Bruce Malloch said the first phase filled 300 vacant units across their properties. A second phase will target the northwest corner, Scarborough West Hill and Sherbourne areas specifically, Penny said, with the city approving around 300 more units for the program. As for the city rules, Penny said TCHC is usually required to offer empty units to overhoused tenants — those living in too-large homes — before turning to its protracted wait list. For a subsidized bachelor unit, the city warns of seven-plus year waits; for a one-bedroom, it can be 12-plus years. Because of a higher vacancy rate part way through 2019, TCHC was allowed to bypass the over-housed list for several months. That led to the historic low the agency reached last November. Now that the vacancy rate has risen again this fall, the city has agreed to let TCHC bypass the overhoused list once again while working on better processes for filling vacancies, she said. Coun. Paula Fletcher, who sits on TCHC’s tenant services committee, said pausing the priority on moving overhoused tenants was an “emergency response,” but it’s one she doesn’t think can last without jeopardizing access to bigger units. “There’s only so many two-bedroom, three-bedroom or four-bedroom places…If somebody is filling one, (and) they don’t have enough people to live in it, then it’s people on the waitlist who need a three- or four-bedroom place that aren’t going to be able to get it right away.”Victoria Gibson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Toronto Star