When asked why WE Charity is not registered to lobby in Canada, Craig and Marc Kielburger stated they have "very limited engagement with the federal government seeking funds."
When asked why WE Charity is not registered to lobby in Canada, Craig and Marc Kielburger stated they have "very limited engagement with the federal government seeking funds."
A historic meeting between Israel's prime minister and Saudi Arabia's crown prince has sent a strong signal to allies and enemies alike that the two countries remain deeply committed to containing their common foe Iran. Last Sunday's covert meeting in the Saudi city of Neom, confirmed by Israeli officials but publicly denied by Riyadh, conveyed a coordinated message to U.S. President-elect Joe Biden that Washington's main allies in the region are closing ranks. It was the first publicly confirmed visit to Saudi Arabia by an Israeli leader and a meeting that was unthinkable until recently as the two countries do not have formal diplomatic relations.
Les travailleurs étrangers qui possèdent un permis temporaire de travail fermé dépendent de leur employeur, ce qui les rend très vulnérables en cas de rupture de leur lien d’emploi. Ayant perdu son emploi quelques mois après son arrivée au Québec, Tiffany Mirzica s’est retrouvée plongée dans une situation d’extrême précarité et poussée à se démener pour subvenir aux besoins de sa famille et régulariser son statut migratoire. Ce qui a débuté comme un projet prometteur d’immigration économique pour la Parisienne d’origine martiniquaise et sa famille s’est vite transformé en un cauchemar. « Je pouvais demeurer en sol canadien jusqu’à l’expiration de mon visa mais ma situation était très complexe, car je devais trouver un nouvel employeur qui accepterait de refaire toutes les démarches d’immigration. » « Pourtant, j’avais mis cinq ans à préparer mon projet d’immigration, assistant à tous les salons de l’immigration possibles en France et en faisant deux voyages exploratoires au Québec avant d’immigrer avec ma famille », dit la mère monoparentale de 3 enfants entre 6 et 14 ans. Tomber dans la précarité aussitôt Mme Mirzica a été recrutée en France pour un poste de cadre dans une entreprise en gestion immobilière et est arrivée au Québec avec ses enfants et sa mère en juillet 2017. Lorsque son emploi s’est terminé abruptement quelques mois plus tard, elle s’est vue dans l’impossibilité de travailler ailleurs en raison des restrictions de son visa. « Je faisais partie de la catégorie des personnes qui se retrouvent noyées dans les démarches administratives d’immigration et laissées pour compte, c’était un enfer ! », dénonce-t-elle. Ayant dépensé toutes ses économies dans son déménagement au Québec avec sa famille, elle a lancé un appel à l’aide aux autorités municipales d’Anjou où elle résidait à ce moment-là, mais il est resté vain. « On m’a conseillé de rentrer chez moi et de revenir une fois que j’aurais les fonds pour m’en sortir », déplore-t-elle. Des Samaritains et des organismes à la rescousse Elle a trouvé du soutien auprès de l’école de ses enfants qui les a inscrits au Club des petits déjeuners et leur a offert des vêtements de neige neufs. « Je ne les remercierais jamais assez de nous avoir aidés ! », lance-t-elle. Le Centre humanitaire d’organisation de ressources et de référence d’Anjou (CHORRA) leur a fourni pour sa part un soutien alimentaire. Mme Mirzica a pu se remettre sur pied grâce également à ses proches, à ses voisins et à la propriétaire de son logement à Anjou qui lui a permis de reporter le paiement de son loyer. Bénévolat et entrepreneuriat Incapable d’être embauchée par un nouvel employeur en raison de son permis de travail fermé, Mme Mirzica se lance sur le chemin du bénévolat entre 2017 et 2018, œuvrant notamment pour la place des femmes dans le milieu entrepreneurial. « Mon but en immigrant ici était d’offrir un meilleur avenir à mes enfants et d’apprendre et me nourrir de la culture québécoise, mais aussi de laisser ma petite patte. » Du soutien trouvé en région « J’ai rencontré Tiffany en mars 2019 lors de la Journée portes ouvertes de la Ville de Saint-Hyacinthe où nous participions comme exposant », dit Ana Luisa Iturriaga, directrice générale de Forum-2020, organisme dont la mission est d’attirer et de soutenir les nouveaux arrivants dans la région de Saint-Hyacinthe. L’organisme a accompagné 499 nouveaux arrivants en 2018 et 600 en 2019, la majorité étant des immigrants. La députée de Saint-Hyacinthe et vice-présidente de l’Assemblée nationale Chantal Soucy déplore la lenteur des démarches d’immigration, soulignant le besoin grandissant d’arrimage entre les besoins de main-d’œuvre dans la région et les immigrants. « Nous avons accompagné Mme Mirzica, car elle s’est retrouvée sans emploi et dans le néant en raison de son permis fermé et de la complexité des démarches entre les deux paliers du gouvernement. » Tomber entre deux chaises Trois mois avant l’expiration de son permis de travail, une entreprise locale s’apprête à embaucher Mme Mirzica. Toutefois, en raison du délai de traitement de la demande et du changement dans l’admissibilité du poste offert, la démarche a échoué. « Ils ont déboursé près de 4000 $ en frais administratifs et d’immigration pour me recruter mais ç’a été un enfer ! », déplore-t-elle. En juillet 2019, son visa arrive à échéance et elle se retrouve avec sa famille avec un statut implicite au Canada. Elle est alors aiguillée par le bureau de la députée vers John Sanchez, responsable diocésain au diocèse de Saint-Hyacinthe, accompagnateur de personnes en situation précaire, notamment les familles à statut précaire, les réfugiés et les travailleurs agricoles de la région. Les difficultés pour régulariser son statut « Tiffany avait épuisé ses ressources administratives pour régulariser son statut et son dernier recours était de se rendre à la frontière pour sortir et rentrer au pays à nouveau. » Le 17 mars dernier, ils se rendent donc ensemble au poste frontalier de Lacolle. Voyant qu’elle ne détenait plus de statut légal au Canada, les agents frontaliers ont interpellé et interrogé Mme Mirzica pendant plusieurs heures. « Étant une femme persuasive et connaissant tout sur les démarches d’immigration et ayant de forts arguments en main, elle a pu convaincre les agents de la laisser entrer à nouveau au pays », raconte M. Sanchez, originaire de Colombie. « On a fini par m’accorder un visa de visiteur et un délai d’un mois pour régulariser ma situation », indique Mme Mirzica. Ayant réussi à obtenir un permis d’études, elle poursuit actuellement un programme en arts, lettres et communication au cégep de Saint-Hyacinthe et travaille à l’Association Aide en immigration (AAI), ne sachant toujours pas ce qu’il adviendra de son avenir au Québec.Karla Meza, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Devoir
CARACAS, Venezuela — Six American oil executives held for three years in Venezuela were found guilty of corruption charges by a judge Thursday and immediately sentenced to prison, dashing hopes of a quick release that would send them home to their families in the United States.Some relatives had been bracing for the disheartening outcome, which came on the evening of Thanksgiving Day.Alirio Rafael Zambrano, brother to two of the men, said they were “undeniably innocent” and victims of “judicial terrorism.” No evidence in the case supports a guilty conviction, he said.“We, the family, are heartbroken to be separated even further from our loved ones,” Zambrano said in a phone message from New Jersey. “We pray that the leaders of our nation step forward and continue to fight unceasingly for their freedom and human rights.”Attorney María Alejandra Poleo, who helped represent three of the men, said the case was “void of evidence.” “Of course, the defence will appeal the decision,” she said.The so-called Citgo 6 are employees of Houston-based Citgo refining company, which is owned by Venezuela’s state oil company, PDVSA. They had been lured to Venezuela three years ago for a business meeting and were arrested on corruption charges.Their arrest launched a purge by President Nicolás Maduro's government of PDVSA and at a time when relations between Caracas and Washington were crumbling as Venezuela plummeted into economic and social crisis.Five of the men were sentenced to prison terms of 8 years and 10 months, while one of them received a 13-year sentence. Defence attorney Jesus Loreto said the five with lesser terms could be released on parole in a couple of years.Venezuela's Supreme Tribunal of Justice announced the verdicts and prison sentences but offered no other comment on the trial's outcome.One of the men, Tomeu Vadell, has said in a letter written in a Caracas jail and provided exclusively to The Associated Press before the verdict that he had hopes for a fair trial so he could walk free with his name cleared and go home to his family in the United States.Despite his circumstances, Vadell held out hope.“During the trial, the truth has proven undeniable,” Vadell said in the four-page hand-written letter. “It proves that I am innocent.”“I’m now reaching an intersection where if justice is done, I will be able to rebuild my life and try to compensate my family for all the lost moments,” he added. “The light is intense -- the hope is great -- give me freedom.”Vadell said it was especially painful to be separated during the Thanksgiving season from his wife, three adult children and a newborn grandson he has never held.“Before living this tragedy, these celebrations were very special times for our family,” Vadell wrote, saying he embraced the traditional American holiday after moving in 1999 from Caracas to Lake Charles, Louisiana, for a job with Citgo. “Now, they bring me a lot of sadness.”It’s the first time Vadell, or any of the so-called Citgo 6, had spoken publicly since being arrested and charged with in a purported big corruption scheme. He has been held at a feared Caracas jail called El Helicoide.The others convicted are Gustavo Cárdenas, Jorge Toledo, brothers Jose Luis Zambrano and Alirio Zambrano, all now U.S. citizens. Jose Pereira, a permanent resident, received the longest sentence.They were also charged with embezzlement stemming from a never-executed proposal to refinance some $4 billion in Citgo bonds by offering a 50% stake in the company as collateral. Maduro at the time accused them of “treason.”They all pleaded innocence.The men were summoned to the headquarters of PDVSA for what they were told was a budget meeting on Nov. 21, 2017. A corporate jet shuttled them to Caracas and they were told they would be home for Thanksgiving. Instead, military intelligence officers swarmed into the boardroom and hauled them off to jail.Their trial started four months ago and closing arguments took place Thursday. The judge immediately announced her verdict.The proceeding played out one day a week in a downtown Caracas court. Due to the pandemic, sessions were held in front of a bank of dormant elevators in a hallway, apparently to take advantage of air flowing through open windows.News media and rights groups were denied access to the hearings. There was no response to a letter addressed to Judge Lorena Cornielles seeking permission for The Associated Press to observe.The office of Venezuela’s chief prosecutor said prior to the verdict in a statement to AP that investigators found “serious evidence” that corroborated financial crimes potentially damaging to the state-run company.“The Citgo case has developed normally during all the stages established by the Venezuelan criminal process,” the statement said.Loreto said his client appeared to have been caught up in a “geopolitical conflict” of which he was not a part. He said Vadell's name never appeared on any of the documents prosecutors read into evidence.“There’s nothing that refers to Tomeu in any way -- directly or indirectly,” the lawyer said. “This is the story of a good guy being held against his will for all the wrong reasons.”Former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, who has negotiated the release of other Americans held by hostile governments, travelled to Caracas in July and met with Maduro.He didn’t win their freedom, but days later two of them — Cárdenas and Toledo — were freed from jail and put in house detention. Two weeks later, the long-delayed trial began.Richardson told AP that conversations with the Venezuelan government continue despite his meeting with Maduro being “a little stormy.” He said he he believes there is an opening tied to President-elect Joe Biden and a desire by Maduro to improve relations with Washington.“I think the Venezuelans have been straight with me, but more progress needs to be made,” Richardson said before the verdict. “My hope is to have something positive by Christmas.”It is not clear what approach Biden will take toward Maduro. Trump aggressively pressed to remove Maduro through sweeping financial sanctions and the U.S. Justice Department has indicted Maduro as a “narcoterrorist,” offering a $15 million reward for his arrest.Vadell's letter steered clear of politics. He didn't mention Maduro or speak about his jailers, though he did express concern about the “consequences of repercussions” of speaking out.With encouragement from his family, Vadell broke his silence, taking a risk relatives said was necessary.“I believe it’s more important that the light of hope illuminates us,” Vadell wrote. “May the light of hope put an end to the sadness of my family.”The five other men did not respond to invitations AP made through their lawyers to comment.Vadell’s daughter, Cristina Vadell, said in a phone interview from Lake Charles that her father isn’t the kind of person who seeks attention. Rather, he prefers to focus on work and his family.During his 35-year career with PDVSA and Citgo, Vadell ended up running a refinery in Lake Charles and then became vice-president of refining. The letter attempts to expose this side of his life, she said.“I think he was willing to take some risks and open some hearts to allow him to come home,” she said. “I think he’s still wondering ‘What happened?’ He went to a work meeting and never came home.”___Scott Smith on Twitter: @ScottSmithAP___Associated Press writer Joshua Goodman in Miami contributed to this report.Scott Smith, The Associated Press
EDMONTON — The Venezuelan woman who believes she was used as part of Jason Kenney's argument not to lockdown restaurants in Alberta remembers her encounter with the premier as less dramatic than he suggested.Carolina De La Torre says Kenney got her central feelings correct, but she said she did not break down into tears the way Kenney recalled."No crying," the 57-year-old woman said with a laugh during a phone interview Thursday.She also said it was Kenney who approached her Calgary food court booth called Arepas Ranch for lunch in October, not the other way around as the premier told it.After weeks of mounting COVID-19 cases, as more than 1,000 new cases and 16 deaths were reported on Tuesday, Kenney announced new rules that included making indoor private social events illegal.During the news conference, Kenney gave an example of how much a lockdown would hurt businesses by telling the story of a Venezuelan refugee he met. "A couple of weeks ago, I was in my constituency, at a little food court thing and a new Albertan, a refugee from Venezuela socialism, came up to me," Kenney said."She had just opened a little food kiosk, she recognized me, she came up to me, and she broke down in tears in front of me saying, 'sir, I put my entire life savings as a refugee into this business, we're struggling to pay the bills, if you shut me down, I'm going to lose it all, everything, and I'll be in abject poverty.'""For some, perhaps, it is a little bit too easy to say just flick a switch. Shut them down," Kenney said."I would ask people who have the certainty of a paycheque to think for a moment about those individuals whose entire life savings are tied up in businesses."De La Torre and her husband run the booth, which is located a 10-minute drive from Kenney's constituency office. Born in Venezuela, De La Torre said she and her husband came to Canada with refugee status in 1989 when it became no longer safe to live there. They settled in Montreal for 25 years before they packed their bags and moved to Calgary to follow their daughter who was starting school at the University of Alberta.They have been living in Alberta for seven years and have been running Arepas Ranch for two years. They are known for making specialty arepas, which is a cornmeal patty, filled with a choice of shredded beef, chicken salad, black beans, ham, cheese, or other vegan and veggie options.At first, De La Torre said she didn't recognize Kenney when he stopped to order food and then someone from another booth told her it was the premier.De La Torre doesn't recall exactly what Kenney ordered, but she remembers the "very short" conversation they had when he came back to let them know the meal was "fantastico." She posted a picture of the premier on her Instagram. De La Torre said Kenney got her feelings right.She said it’s true that the couple put their money into the business and closing the economy would be bad for them. But she understands it’s about people’s health, which is what she told Kenney."What I said is, 'There has to be a balance between the economy and the health. There is not only me in this food court, we are more than 40 small businesses in the court that need to be open to make a way of life'."No one from Kenney's office immediately responded to a request for comment. De La Torre said when she heard Kenney mentioned her during a news conference, she was at first surprised.But now, "I didn't know what to think about it," she said."I don't know. What can I say? It's OK."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 26, 2020.This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News FellowshipFakiha Baig, The Canadian Press
An average 400 Grade 7-12 students in the North End have been reported “inactive” during the school year for the last decade. Despite being registered in the Winnipeg School Division, they are not actively participating at their home school and their families have not reported a move. The WSD data (from 2009 to 2019) obtained by the Community Education Development Association indicates hundreds of students stop attending class at some point after Sept. 30, the annual head-count day in Manitoba, in any given year. “We know the COVID pandemic has created even more stress on North End students and that more students are disengaging from school, so this is a challenge that’s just going to get further exacerbated,” said Tom Simms, co-director of CEDA. Keeping students “active” in the public education system is the motivation behind a new collaborative project between CEDA, Ndinawemaaganag Endaawaad Inc. and Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Centre. Together, the partners have founded Indigenous Education Caring Society — a non-profit charitable organization that will offer students a culturally sensitive alternative to standard middle and high schools in the division. The organizations have secured a $500,000 capital grant from the Winnipeg Foundation, as well as support from the Thomas Sill Foundation, to launch off-campus learning environments with built-in access to community support services for students in the North End. Students will be able to access both academic lessons and resources to find stable housing, as well as leadership opportunities in the community. Kayla Stubbs, interim executive director at Ndinawe, said her hope for the project is that it will provide Indigenous youth with “equal access to education, teachers and programs that will help them thrive.” “Community-based programming provides a unique opportunity to utilize Indigenous lenses in developing effective tools for community youth to succeed,” Stubbs wrote in a statement to the Free Press Thursday. After surveying the North End for facilities and learning many buildings are in disrepair, Simms said the most cost-effective option is to build two campuses — with the hopes of expanding in the future — from the ground up. Vacant lots on Selkirk Avenue and Arlington, Salter and McGregor streets are being eyed as possible sites. In the meantime, the IECS is trying to secure an agreement to have the division rent classroom space and staff it with program teachers, who will be employed by WSD. The funding the division collects annually for students who become inactive should be redirected, Simms said, adding, “the basis of the proposal is to have the funding for the student follow the student.” The official definition of an inactive student is a pupil in Grade 7-12 who has left WSD between Oct. 1 and May 31 inclusive, and for whom there is no record of re-entry in any area school in the current year. The purpose of collecting the counts is to provide a baseline of withdrawals, but the division cautions the numbers should not be viewed as exact records because they do not account for students who have registered in other divisions. Directors in charge of the WSD programs were not available for comment Thursday. In a statement, division spokeswoman Radean Carter said WSD administrators look for “all sorts of ways” to encourage students to return to their learning and re-engage them in school. “Our partnerships with CEDA and off-campus programs have been among the successful ways that this has been achieved,” Carter said. The division currently has 13 off-campus programs. Among them, the North District Off-Campus Program, administered through Isaac Newton School, which serves Grades 7-9 students who are disengaged from traditional schooling. Simms praised the division for its openness to the project, as well as the fact it collects data on inactive students. Schools alone can’t fix inactivity, he said, “there needs to be partnerships.” The IECS programs are expected to launch sometime in the 2021-22 academic year.Maggie Macintosh, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Winnipeg Free Press
Les foyers d’éclosion de COVID dans des sites d’exploitation pétrolière albertains se multiplient. Cette croissance a des répercussions dans d’autres provinces. Ainsi, depuis le début de septembre, la majorité des nouvelles personnes infectées à Terre-Neuve-et-Labrador sont des résidents de cette province, récemment revenus de leur travail en Alberta, et faisant régulièrement la navette entre les deux provinces pour gagner leur vie. Selon les plus récentes informations diffusées sur le site Internet du gouvernement de l’Alberta, des foyers d’éclosion sont actifs dans deux sites de la pétrolière CNRL, deux sites d’Imperial Oil, deux de Suncor et un site de Syncrude. La majorité de la main-d’œuvre de ces installations situées au nord de Fort McMurray est composée de travailleurs qui font la navette vers leur résidence située dans d’autres régions albertaines et d’autres provinces. La découverte de leur contamination survient souvent lors de leur retour à la maison. Ce phénomène est particulièrement important et visible à Terre-Neuve-et-Labrador. Entre le 1er septembre et le 25 novembre, le nombre de nouveaux cas à Terre-Neuve-et-Labrador est passé de 269 à 324. Parmi ces nouveaux cas, selon des données colligées par CBC Terre-Neuve-et-Labrador dans un reportage du 24 novembre, 18 de ces nouveaux cas venaient directement de l’Alberta et 16 d’entre eux étaient des travailleurs de retour de cette province. Tous les autres venaient également d’ailleurs au pays ou dans le monde. Pour le moment, Terre-Neuve-et-Labrador est la seule province qui n’a pas de contamination communautaire, soit aucun cas dont la source n’a pas été déterminée. Ainsi, le 25 novembre, la médecin en chef de cette province, la Dre Janice Fitzgerald, a annoncé un nouveau cas d’infection venant tout droit de l’Alberta, une femme d’une quarantaine d’années. Elle a également indiqué qu’un nouveau foyer d’éclosion avait été déclaré sur le site de l’Imperial Oil à Cold Lake, en Alberta, où travaillent plusieurs personnes de la province la plus à l’est du Canada. Deux jours plus tôt, Terre-Neuve-et-Labrador enregistrait son premier cas dans une école. La petite fille contaminée est une proche d’une personne revenant, elle aussi, de l’Alberta. En raison du grand nombre de Terre-Neuviens qui travaillent ailleurs au Canada, le gouvernement de cette province diffuse une liste des lieux où des foyers d’éclosion ont été déclarés. Dans cette liste, on retrouve majoritairement des pétrolières, les mêmes qui ont été recensées par la Santé publique albertaine. Selon les années, de 15 000 à 25 000 personnes de cette province travaillent ailleurs au pays et dans le monde. Quitter son chez-soi, pour subsister Pourquoi autant de Terre-Neuviens doivent-ils partir si loin pour travailler ? Depuis le moratoire sur la pêche à la morue annoncé le 2 juillet 1992 par le ministre fédéral des Pêches, John Crosbie, des dizaines de milliers de pêcheurs et de travailleurs d’usine de poisson de Terre-Neuve se sont retrouvés sans emploi. Depuis, ils s’expatrient loin et temporairement, à l’extérieur des frontières de leur province, pour gagner leur vie, notamment en Alberta. Selon une étude du regroupement de chercheurs universitaires Partenariat On the Move, réalisée à partir de données de Statistique Canada, l’Alberta est devenue depuis 2014 la première province de destination pour ces travailleurs, soit pour 57 % d’entre eux. Statistique Canada rapporte aussi qu’entre 2014 et 2019, plus de 11 000 personnes sont déménagées dans la province albertaine. Mesures sanitaires Aujourd’hui, toutes les personnes qui arrivent à Terre-Neuve-et-Labrador, doivent s’isoler pendant 14 jours, à l’exception des travailleurs essentiels et de ces travailleurs en rotation. Dans leur cas, ils peuvent mettre fin à leur isolement si un test, effectué 7 jours après leur arrivée, est négatif. Ceux qui arrivent depuis un site où il y a un foyer d’éclosion doivent s’isoler durant 14 jours.Hélène Lequitte, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Devoir
THE LATEST: * 911 new cases of COVID-19 were announced on Friday, along with 11 more deaths. * There are 8,749 people with active cases of the disease across B.C. * 301 patients are in hospital with COVID-19, including 69 in intensive care. * 395 people have now died of the disease. * A total of 10,430 people are now under active public health monitoring and in self-isolation because of exposure to known COVID-19 cases. * There have been 30,884 confirmed cases in the province to date.B.C.'s second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic is showing no signs of slowing, with another 911 new cases confirmed on Friday and 11 more deaths.That brings the number of active cases in the province to 8,749. A total of 301 patients are in hospital with COVID-19, including 69 in intensive care.The Fraser Health and Vancouver Coastal Health regions continue to see the greatest spread of the disease, accounting for 88 per cent of the new cases announced Friday.Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry was emotional when she spoke about the new deaths on Friday, most of whom were elderly people. She asked residents in the province to treat others with compassion and follow provincial health orders, such as only socializing with immediate household members.Friday's briefing comes a little more than a week after strict new restrictions and rules were put in place in B.C., including wide-ranging mask orders for indoor public and retail environments.Health officials have told British Columbians to pause all social interactions and be vigilant applying different layers of protection, including physical distancing, washing hands and using masks.Updated mask orders on transitOn Friday TransLink released updated rules for mask-wearing while on public transit.Customers must now wear masks while boarding or waiting for transit at any indoor or sheltered stations, in accordance with the province's order mandating mask wearing at any indoor public place.This includes stations, platforms, bus stops, bus loops, and bus exchanges. Face shields are no longer considered a suitable option in place of a non-medical mask or face covering.Transit Police can issue fines of $230 for people who refuse to wear a mask on transit.READ MORE:What's happening elsewhere in CanadaThere have now been more than 359,064 cases of COVID-19 in Canada.On Thursday, federal officials sought to reassure Canadians that they have a plan to procure and distribute millions of COVID-19 vaccines in early 2021. Dr. Howard Njoo, Canada's deputy chief public health officer, said as many as six million doses could be deployed in the first three months of the new year.Canada is expected to receive at least 194 million vaccine doses, with contractual options for 220 million more. What are the symptoms of COVID-19?Common symptoms include: * Fever. * Cough. * Tiredness. * Shortness of breath. * Loss of taste or smell. * Headache.But more serious symptoms can develop, including difficulty breathing and pneumonia.What should I do if I feel sick?Use the B.C. Centre for Disease Control's COVID-19 self-assessment tool. Testing is recommended for anyone with symptoms of cold or flu, even if they're mild. People with severe difficulty breathing, severe chest pain, difficulty waking up or other extreme symptoms should call 911.What can I do to protect myself? * Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly. Keep them clean. * Keep your distance from people who are sick. * Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. * Wear a mask in indoor public spaces.More detailed information on the outbreak is available on the federal government's website.
B.C.'s police watchdog is investigating after a man went into medical distress and died during a confrontation with Vancouver police on Thursday night.Vancouver police say they were called to the Tim Hortons at Terminal Avenue and Station Street just after 6 p.m. because of a man who had been inside the bathroom for half an hour.At the time, staff at the coffee shop were trying to shut down the dining area and wanted the man removed, according to an email from VPD spokesperson Const. Tania Visintin."When he came out of the restroom, he was agitated and aggressive which resulted in a physical altercation," Visintin wrote.Police say the man went into medical distress during that confrontation, and though paramedics were called, the man was pronounced dead at the scene.The Independent Investigations Office, which investigates incidents involving police that lead to serious harm or death, has been called in.
The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 11 p.m. EST on Nov. 26, 2020:There are 353,100 confirmed cases in Canada._ Quebec: 136,894 confirmed (including 6,947 deaths, 118,491 resolved) _ Ontario: 109,361 confirmed (including 3,575 deaths, 92,915 resolved) _ Alberta: 51,878 confirmed (including 510 deaths, 37,316 resolved) _ British Columbia: 29,973 confirmed (including 384 deaths, 19,998 resolved) _ Manitoba: 15,288 confirmed (including 266 deaths, 6,177 resolved) _ Saskatchewan: 7,362 confirmed (including 40 deaths, 4,176 resolved) _ Nova Scotia: 1,257 confirmed (including 65 deaths, 1,078 resolved) _ New Brunswick: 465 confirmed (including 7 deaths, 353 resolved) _ Newfoundland and Labrador: 327 confirmed (including 4 deaths, 295 resolved) _ Nunavut: 155 confirmed (including 5 resolved) _ Prince Edward Island: 70 confirmed (including 68 resolved) _ Yukon: 42 confirmed (including 1 death, 29 resolved) _ Northwest Territories: 15 confirmed (including 15 resolved) _ Repatriated Canadians: 13 confirmed (including 13 resolved) _ Total: 353,100 (0 presumptive, 353,100 confirmed including 11,799 deaths, 280,929 resolved)This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 26, 2020.The Canadian Press
Manitoba Education is leaning toward a temporary period of remote learning for K-12 students in early 2021, should COVID-19 case counts remain high in the coming weeks. Sources have told the Free Press the department hinted about its plans during a meeting with school board superintendents Thursday afternoon. Among the call-in conference agenda items were the status of both the winter break and schools’ levels on the pandemic response system. During the meeting, the province suggested it is considering moving schools to the most severe level on the system — critical (code red) — for a minimum of two weeks, starting as early as Jan. 4, to ensure widespread distance learning. Sources said Manitoba Education indicated the department doesn’t favour extending the upcoming break — which is scheduled for Dec. 19 to Jan. 4, but the province’s top doctor will have the final say. If schools enter the critical phase in the new year, there would be no need for an extended closure of schools to reduce community transmission since the majority of students would be learning at home. Except for Steinbach-area schools, which entered the most severe level on the response system earlier this week, all classrooms in Manitoba remain in the restricted (code orange) phase. That means the majority of the approximately 210,000 learners in the province continue to attend in-person classes, which have been reorganized to emphasize two metres of physical distancing between pupils. In code red, remote learning becomes universal for all students — although critical service workers’ children in K-6, and older students with disabilities, may access supervision at school to complete their remote work, be it online or paper packages. A downgrade in code for all schools would be an extreme move, given both Education Minister Kelvin Goertzen and Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba’s chief public health officer, have repeatedly said schools are the best environments for student learning and well-being. When the province announced last week the Hanover School Division and surrounding schools were to enter code red as of Nov. 24, officials indicated it was a precautionary measure to address a skyrocketing test positivity rate in the region (40 per cent). Principal Emery Plett said the transition from orange to red has gone fairly smoothly at Steinbach Christian School, one of 28 facilities affected by the announcement. That is, in part, because of the school’s experience with learning disruptions in the spring, Plett said. His advice for other administrators who might experience the same change in coming weeks? “Make plans, but be flexible, and make sure you’re supporting your teachers as they work at making the transition,” said Plett, whose K-12 school is attended by 317 students — including the son of the education minister. Both the Manitoba Teachers’ Society and Manitoba School Boards Association declined to comment on specifics about what sources told the Free Press was discussed in the Thursday meeting. School board association president Alan Campbell was on the call. “The position of school boards has always been clear,” Campbell said, “whether it’s an extended break or a move to code red or whatever it may be, when child care is going to become a consideration because kids aren’t in school, the earlier (the announcement), the better.” A spokesperson for Manitoba Education said in a statement the province is monitoring the situation closely and no final decision has been made about an extended winter break.Maggie Macintosh, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Winnipeg Free Press
Construction jobs numbers are down provincially since the beginning of the pandemic, but that doesn’t reflect the reality in the north, where major resource development projects and steady activity in residential, non-residential, and road-building, have kept the industry strong, said a B.C. business analyst. “As much as there's a bunch of bad news around from this virus, the resiliency of the northern communities and northern economies… is the hidden bit of good news in this whole pandemic circumstance we find ourselves in,” said Ken Peacock, chief economist for the Business Council of BC. Many industries are doing okay in 2020, and some – the resource industries, along with, resource and non-resource manufacturing – have shown employment growth, said Peacock. Productivity dropped in the construction sector under COVID-19, but not by much, said Northern Regional Construction Association CEO Scott Bone, who estimated companies lost about 20 per cent productivity due to public health protocols. “Traveling to a worksite, we used to be able to throw four people in a crew cab and drive,” said Bone. “You can't do that anymore.” Now, it’s two people per truck, resulting in more vehicles, more fuel, more unplanned costs for the contractor and owner. Despite the many operational cost increases under COVID-19, construction has carried on. Contractors, legally bound to get work completed on deadline, are resilient and adaptable, said Bone. “They're very quick to adapt to things that come at them very quickly,” said Bone. “We saw that when COVID hit them.” The pandemic hasn’t caused significant construction site shutdowns that Bone knows of, and none are in sight. There are $120 billion worth of capital investments in B.C. in industrial and commercial projects ongoing or planned for construction or tendering this year or the next, said Bone. About $65 billion of that is in the north, namely, the Coastal GasLink pipeline, the LNG Canada facility, and BC Hydro’s Site C Dam. “All three of those projects are now ramping up,” said Bone. “We're seeing a good uptake in the opportunities for the construction industry as a result.’ The investment is so massive, procurement of goods and services has a big effect on the provincial economy, and while the spin offs are concentrated in the north, economic benefits also flow down to Vancouver, said Peacock. “Spending in Metro Vancouver kind of gets lost in the magnitude of the Metro Vancouver economy, so you don't see and feel the impact as much,” said Peacock. “Up in the north, where the economies are smaller, the lift from these large projects is much, much more significant and much more beneficial.” Most of the 180 Northern Regional Construction Association member contractors are very busy, said Bone. “They're working 24/7 to keep up with the work that they've got,” he said. The same seems to apply to contractors in the smaller communities of the Robson Valley. “The hardware and the building supply stores are as busy as anything,” said Dannielle Alan, Area H director for the Regional District of Fraser-Fort George. “All of our contractors are absolutely swamped.” According to the Canadian Home Builders Association (BHBA), in 2019, new home construction, and renovations and repairs created 1.3 million on and off-site jobs in Canada, equalling $83 billion in wages. Of that, about $159 million was paid in wages for 2,500 jobs in Prince George. Home construction jobs numbers for 2020 are not yet available. “There's actually a shortage of lumber, people are doing so much construction and renovating,” said Alan. Valemount has several active construction projects as well, according to Deputy Mayor Pete Pearson. An affordable housing development is underway, along with some single-family residential activity, he said. “We've had quite an influx of younger families moving to town,” said Pearson. “So, we're seeing a few new builds. “There's the combined housing and daycare facility that's pretty much almost shovel-ready,” said Pearson. “Generally, we're in pretty good shape.” The Trans Mountain campus and construction camp have also generated employment, Pearson said. “Our local contractors have been working on plumbing, gas fitting, and electrical with the camp setup,” said Pearson. “So, there's definitely been a positive spin off in the trades.” The challenges facing the construction industry are skilled labour shortages, not a lack of available work, said Bone. More young people need support to take up trades such as electrical, plumbing and carpentry and the construction association is collaborating with the Prince George school district to help make that happen. “There’s a huge gap between those that are going into the trades and getting trained and what we need going in the future,” Bone said. @FranYanor / Fran@thegoatnews.caFran Yanor, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Rocky Mountain Goat
The team at the IISD Experimental Lakes Area is celebrating a successful, albeit pared down, research season and preparing to continue COVID-19-safe protocols into the winter. This spring, the spread of the global pandemic made it clear a regular season at the world-renowned freshwater research facility operated by International Institute for Sustainable Development (about 70 kilometres east of Kenora, Ont.) would be impossible. “This year, we decided to really prioritize our long-term monitoring work for our 52-year data set, which tells us about how our lakes are changing in everything from fish populations to insects to water chemistry,” said ELA deputy director Pauline Gerrard. That long-term data set has proved especially important in the study of climate change and the impact on the boreal forest’s water systems. It is one of the most comprehensive freshwater data sets in the world. In a normal year, some 60 staff and scientists would be out at the lakes. This year, research was conducted by small teams of seven people. The teams isolated for two weeks before arriving at ELA, as well as two weeks after their return home. One team was assigned to conduct water chemistry monitoring, another went out in the spring and fall to collect fish samples and analyze them. They were also able to squeeze in monitoring for a long-term oil spill study ongoing at the remote research centre, Gerrard said. The best news of all: there were no COVID-19-positive tests among researchers. However, the remote research teams did not have the same break from pandemic isolation periods the rest of the public had this summer, and with Manitoba now back under code red restrictions, it’s been a long year for her team, Gerrard said. “There’s definitely just a fatigue with isolation,” she said. “But I think people felt proud and pleased to be able to get the work done.” The priority now is to keep this up through the winter, and to begin planning possible ways to start new projects at ELA in 2021. A key priority is starting work on a microplastics project, led by University of Toronto researchers. Gerrard is also hard at work on a fundraising campaign so the facility might be able to get some more up-to-date lab equipment. With a smaller team on a time crunch, the need for better equipment out there was highlighted, she said.Sarah Lawrynuik, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Winnipeg Free Press
Yukon reported three new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in a press release issued around 8 p.m. Thursday, including one linked to the recent Diwali festival in Whitehorse. Two of the cases are in Whitehorse, and one is in an unnamed "rural community." That case, the news release says, is likely linked to a known outbreak in Whitehorse, though the investigation is not complete. There are now 12 active cases of COVID-19 in Yukon. Anyone who was at the Diwali festival on Saturday, Nov. 14, and is experiencing symptoms is asked to get tested immediately. The other Whitehorse case is linked to a known case in Whitehorse. A public exposure notice has been issued for: * Save-On-Foods between 10:30 a.m. and noon on Wednesday, Nov. 18. "If you were in contact with someone at a location listed in the public exposure notices, you are a secondary contact and you do not need to self-isolate," the release reads. "If you are not notified and do not have symptoms, you may continue with your usual daily activities." The Yukon government asks anyone with any of the following symptoms to self-isolate and arrange for testing immediately. They include: * Fever * Chills * Cough * Difficulty breathing * Shortness of breath * Runny nose * Sore throat * Loss of sense of taste or smell * Headache * Fatigue * Loss of appetite * Nausea and vomiting * Diarrhea * Muscle achesYou can reach the COVID-19 Testing and Assessment Centre at 867-393-3083, or visit the Whitehorse drive-thru testing centre at Centennial Motors across from the airport. Leave a number if asked, and call back if you do not receive a call within 24 hours.Yukon has now had 42 cases of COVID-19 in total, and one death.
Australia has told 13 special forces soldiers they face dismissal in relation to a report on alleged unlawful killings in Afghanistan, the head of the country's army said on Friday. An independent report published last week in redacted form said there was evidence that 39 unarmed Afghan prisoners and civilians were killed by 19 Australian soldiers. Under mounting pressure, Lieutenant General Rick Burr, the head of the Australian army, said 13 current soldiers have been issued with notices that could eventually lead to their termination.
FORGET the gymnasium — driveways, sidewalks and parking lots are becoming popular alternatives for phys-ed students keen to both work out and volunteer to shovel snow in their communities this season. With Manitoba public health officials promoting outdoor learning as much as possible to reduce the risk of transmitting COVID-19 amid the pandemic, teachers are finding creative ways to keep students active outside no matter the season. Tim Morison was clearing his driveway in Starbuck earlier this year, when he realized he was participating in a perfect phys-ed lesson. Not only is shovelling an intense physical activity, he said, but also an opportunity to both learn how specific muscles work (in this case, biceps, triceps, quads, hamstrings and calves, among others) and the importance of community involvement. “I’ve always been a firm believer that we take care of the community; community comes first,” said Morison, who teaches phys-ed at Starbuck School in the Red River Valley School Division. “And trying to teach these kids how… doing something for someone else can cheer them up — especially during this time, when everything’s so negative with COVID.” Morison recruited his students to deliver flyers to houses and businesses around Starbuck (located 30 kilometres west of Winnipeg) to inform residents the school’s phys-ed students planned to help clear snow in town throughout the winter. On such days, the phys-ed teacher said he plans to take each of his classes out to walk around with shovels to clear as many driveways as possible during the school day. “Now, we’re just waiting for snow,” Morison said, adding the first significant snowfall of the season occurred during an in-service school day last week. He put out a request to families anyway and more than 10 students showed up to clear snow, even though they had the day off. In the Manitoba capital, the phys-ed department at Maples Collegiate has a similar idea. The Winnipeg high school put out a call to families asking if anyone within walking distance from the facility was interested in having students clear snow during school hours. “We are hoping to help clear the snow of homes of seniors, those living with a disability/illness, or those that can use the extra help,” states the notice. Less than 24 hours after it was sent, phys-ed teacher Matt Medwick said at least seven people had signed up for the volunteer service. “This is just one more thing that might really help people feel better in general, on both ends,” Medwick said. Maples teachers have been incorporating activities such as mindfulness and yoga to improve students’ mental health this term. Research shows learning in natural environments is beneficial to students’ stress levels, overall well-being, and helps them focus when they return to a classroom setting. “When teachers conduct that kind of a lesson, they’ll see a major increase in interest and motivation, when kids are allowed to explore questions they have,” said Mike Link, assistant professor of education at the University of Winnipeg, who researches the link between outdoor education and student well-being. Link said the pivot to outdoor lessons during the pandemic will likely affect how much time educators spend outside in the future, given they have now experienced first-hand the positives of teaching outdoors. Starbuck principal Dale Fust said the school will continue to promote outdoor phys-ed in the future, given how successful Morison’s snow-shovelling idea and overall programming has been this fall. Morison — who was booted from the school’s gymnasium when it was converted into two classrooms — has created a winter survival unit. He’s teaching students how to build a shelter, start a fire, boil water, and diagnose frostbite and hypothermia. “We’re reaching the kids who don’t necessarily succeed in a traditional phys-ed environment — the traditional volleyball, sports kind of thing,” said Fust, who oversees the K-8 school of approximately 170. The buy-in from kids has been phenomenal, Morison said. “I’m going to carry on with this for the rest of my career.”Maggie Macintosh, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Winnipeg Free Press
San Francisco Mayor shot to death; Gerald Ford named as Richard Nixon's Vice President; Doctors perform world's first partial face transplant; Playwright Eugene O'Neill dies. (Nov. 27)
In September, scientists announced they had found a chemical signature in the clouds of Venus that they said could be associated with life. However, in a new follow-up, pre-print study, the authors announced that the level of the chemical is seven times lower than they had initially reported.In the original paper, published in the journal Nature Astronomy, the researchers claimed they had found high traces of phosphine, a toxic chemical known as PH3. On Earth, phosphine is either produced by organisms that don't require oxygen to survive, or it can be created in laboratories.In a reanalysis of the data, which has not been peer-reviewed, the study's authors now say there may be less phosphine than initially reported, but that doesn't entirely rule out a phosphine detection. They also reported that they are detecting variations of phosphine over time. So does that mean there's no chance of life in the clouds of Venus?"No, not at all," said Jane Greaves, lead author of both studies and a professor at Cardiff University in the United Kingdom, in an email. "The discovery of time-variation is particularly exciting, as other things change too over time (like how much water is seen in the clouds)." WATCH | Scientists discuss their original finding of phosphine in the clouds of VenusVenus, roughly the same size as Earth, is often called our sister planet. It's believed to have had oceans billions of years ago. But today, it's considered inhospitable to life. The cloud-covered planet is the hottest in the solar system with temperatures hot enough to melt lead and a crushing carbon dioxide environment. Over the past few decades, some astronomers hypothesized that life could exist in a narrow region of the clouds, between 48 and 60 kilometres above the surface. That's where the phosphine was detected, which is why the study's findings were so exciting to some.However, there has been increasing skepticism about the September study. Several papers were published in response questioning not only the conclusions that the astronomers reached, but also the data itself.Questions aboundThe initial observations were taken by the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope in Hawaii in 2017 and the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in Chile in 2019. The high concentrations of phosphine detected with these telescopes, the researchers said, could not be accounted for by natural sources such as volcanoes, lightning or meteors burning up in Venus's atmosphere. The only thing left on the table, they said, was biological production. The study's authors knew there was "noise" in the data obtained from ALMA, perhaps from Earth's own atmosphere, but said they had ruled it out.A follow-up look at the telescopes at ALMA revealed some calibration errors that did explain some of the noise, which led other astronomers to further question the findings. One independent study suggested that instead of phosphine, the observations might have been detecting sulphur dioxide (SO2), a gas that is abundant in the planet's atmosphere.Another study, led by Therese Encrenaz, an astronomer at l'Observatoire Paris-Site de Meudon, looked at infrared data collected in 2015, where no phosphine was detected. The authors conclude that if phosphine does exist at all, it would be found in the upper atmosphere of Venus — above both where it was detected and that narrow region where life has been hypothesized.Even with the reanalysis by Greaves, Encrenaz doesn't believe the phosphine is produced biologically."Even if phosphine was present, they had no proof at all that there is life behind it, because they have no scenario to explain how microorganisms could form," Encrenaz said. "It's just an idea because they don't know how to explain it with regular processes.… I was a bit disappointed when I read their paper, because they should not have said so."Interactive | Click, drag and zoom to see Venus in 3DHowever, in another paper published in September on the pre-print server arXiv, researchers reanalyzing data collected by the Pioneer-Venus probe from the 1970s found the "data support[s] the presence of phosphine; although, the origins of phosphine remain unknown."David Grinspoon, a senior scientist at the Planetary Science Institute, said he welcomes the follow-up studies. Grinspoon was not involved in any of the studies but has been vocal in his support for the potential of life in the clouds of Venus."Whenever a new result is reported, especially one with potentially great significance, made with a difficult technique, it must be scrutinized and followed up with further observations and analysis," he said. "This is how science works."But he doesn't rule out the possibility that life could still exist in the clouds of Venus."If the phosphine goes away it certainly doesn't change my view of the possibility of life there, or really rule anything out. Why would the lack of an unlikely biosignature in an environment where it was never expected or predicted rule out life in a place? The logic does not make sense," Grinspoon said. "What we know about the clouds of Venus suggests that it is a possible habitat that should be explored further."So the jury is still out on whether or not the phosphine detection could be an indication of life, but astronomers hope that future observations — or a mission to the planet itself — could provide a better answer."We need new missions to Venus to directly probe the atmosphere with modern instruments," Grinspoon said. "No 21st century mission has ever directly studied the atmosphere of Venus."
Indigenous leaders have secured an allotment of funding to clean up old oil and gas wells on First Nation and Métis land in Alberta, after more than half a year of lobbying, including several meetings with the premier and energy minister.The provincial government has agreed to set aside a total of $100 million for reclamation work, which is the amount the Indian Resource Council (IRC) had originally requested in the spring.The funding comes from the federal government, which announced in the spring it would provide $1.5 billion to clean up aging oil and gas infrastructure in Western Canada. The funding was meant to stimulate the oilfield service sector while reducing the environmental risk from the old wells.Indigenous leaders were concerned none of the cash would be spent cleaning up their land, so they asked for a portion of the funds to be set aside by the provincial governments, which are in charge of dispersing the federal money.Initially, the Alberta government balked at the request, although it was open to working with Indigenous leaders. Now, Indigenous leaders are hopeful this could set a precedent for similar large funding programs."It was really gratifying to see that this provincial government is prepared to work with the First Nation communities here in Alberta," said Stephen Buffalo, president of the IRC, which represents more than 100 First Nations with oil and gas reserves."It sure took some time, but we just kept giving them a reason not to say no. To me, it just made a lot of sense."The federal money was divided between B.C. ($120 million), Alberta ($1 billion) and Saskatchewan ($400 million).The IRC was requesting that each province allocate 10 per cent of the federal money it receives to First Nations, which would represent about $150 million in total. In Alberta, $85 million will be set aside for reclamation work on First Nations land and $15 million toward Métis land. Local communities will have control over which oil and gas sites are cleaned up."Absolutely. They're in the best position to understand what's on their land and which are the priority wells," said Alberta Energy Minister Sonya Savage.Savage said the money will be dispersed during a specific phase of the program that will exclusively apply to First Nations and Métis lands.In Saskatchewan, Indigenous-owned service companies have received $1.5 million through 10 different projects, while $3.4 million in contracts have been issued for work on First Nations, according to Robin Speer, spokesperson for the energy department."Discussions continue with First Nations and Métis communities and leaders to ensure that there is meaningful Indigenous participation in the Accelerated Site Closure Program," said Speer, in an emailed statement.WATCH | Stephen Buffalo on the opportunity to clean up inactive wells:The B.C. government could not provide comment on Thursday. Previously, officials had signalled a willingness to set aside funding specifically for First Nations.
JAKARTA, Indonesia — Indonesian police have moved a female transgender Instagram celebrity, Millen Cyrus, to a special cell following public outrage over her initial placement in a male detention cell after she was arrested as a suspect in a drug case.“As for her status on her ID, she is a male, and we do not have a transgender status here. So to avoid something we do not want, we placed her in a special cell by herself. That is our policy on it,” Jakarta Police spokesperson Yusri Yunus said Friday.Cyrus, 21, whose birth name is Muhammad Millendaru Prakasa, has more than 1 million followers on Instagram. Her account of her experiences as a transgender woman on YouTube has been viewed more than 6 million times.She was arrested on Sunday in a police raid on a hotel room in which 0.36 grams of crystal methamphetamine was found. Police announced then that she had been placed in the men’s detention cell at Tanjung Priok Port Police Station, following her identity on her ID card.That triggered criticism from rights groups and on social media in the world’s most populous Muslim nation.Yunus said police are still determining whether she was a drug user or dealer.The group Human Rights Watch said moving Cyrus to a special cell was a good decision by police.“Most trans women are imprisoned in male prisons, so they experience sexual harassment there,” said Andreas Harsono, the group's senior researcher in Indonesia.“The simplest one is verbal abuse. Some physical abuse happens too. It is not in the cell at the prison but in closed areas,” Harsono said.He said more than 2,000 LGBT people have been arrested in Indonesia because of their sexual orientation since 2014.LGBT communities have recently come under siege, although homosexuality is not illegal, except in conservative Aceh province.In February, some members of the House of Representatives proposed a bill that would define homosexuality as deviant and require lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people to report to authorities for rehabilitation.Edna Tarigan, The Associated Press
The Nunatsiavut government will be holding a by-election after an ordinary member of the Nunatsiavut Assembly had his Inuit land claims beneficiary membership revoked.Edward Blake Rudkowski has been a beneficiary since 1986, first as a member of the Labrador Inuit Association before the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement Act was passed in 2005. He was also Speaker of the Nunatsiavut Assembly.He said he was advised by Nunatsiavut officials that because he was removed from the Labrador Inuit Enrolment Register, he could no longer hold his seat in government."I feel no differently about myself this morning than I did this time last week," Blake Rudkowski told CBC's Labrador Morning. "I don't feel any less Inuit, any less Indigenous."According to a press release from Nunatsiavut, the decision to revoke his membership was due to a review. > My grandparents would be upset beyond belief to see this sort of thing going on. \- Edward Blake RudkowskiBlake Rudkowksi said the day after he won the 2018 election, a losing candidate went to the Office of the Registrar of Beneficiaries and asked for a review of his membership, which under the land claims agreement is allowed. But he said after 34 years as a beneficiary, the timing seems odd. "When we are living in an era with so many concrete issues to deal with, when we have so many people dealing with homelessness and addiction and food insecurity … people turning upon their own and people fighting among themselves … is unimaginably counter-productive," he said. 'Blood quantum' too lowBlake Rudkowski said he was told he only had 17.14 per cent Inuit blood quantum. According to the land claims agreement, a member needs to have 25 per cent. "I couldn't begin to hazard a guess at how someone comes up with a number of 17 per cent," said Blake Rudkowski.The government said it plays no role in determining the membership of any individuals, as the beneficiary enrolment process is independent from Nunatsiavut.However, Nunatsiavut said there are other ways to become a beneficiary other than hitting a genetic benchmark for Inuit heritage. An individual can either apply as an Inuk or they can enrol as a person with 25 per cent Inuit descent, although it is unclear as to how the membership committee arrives at a percentage.CBC News has left messages with the beneficiaries registrar for clarification on Blake Rudkowski's situation. There also is a method that allows an individual to apply for a membership if they have settled on the land and follow the customs and traditions. "There's quite a few opportunities for an individual to highlight how they have connection to the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement," said Nunatsiavut First Minister Tyler Edmunds."The process tries to demonstrate and test how an individual is connected."Edmunds said there also is an appeal process that can be taken if an applicant is unsuccessful in obtaining a membership and has further proof of their Indigenous heritage.Future unclearBlake Rudkowksi said he is undecided whether he will appeal, and doesn't yet know what his future holds. "What the next steps are is still unclear. I truly have not decided on where to go with this at this point," Blake Rudkowksi said."My grandparents would be upset beyond belief to see this sort of thing going on."Edmunds said he wanted to thank Blake Rudkowski for the work he has done for the beneficiaries over the years. "I can remember my first call with him when I was Speaker, and he was just ready to dive head first into his responsibilities as ordinary member," said Edmunds."I worked closely with Ed over the last couple years and I know he has had a tremendous passion for his work. I think a lot of people can easily see that."Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador