Country music group Lady Antebellum has decided to drop "Antebellum" from its name. Going forward, the trio will be known as Lady A, the nickname given to them by their fans.
Country music group Lady Antebellum has decided to drop "Antebellum" from its name. Going forward, the trio will be known as Lady A, the nickname given to them by their fans.
SHERBROOKE – Historic Sherbrooke Village has asked municipal council for a letter supporting its application to the federal Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) for a grant that could be worth as much as $1 million. The money would be used to kickstart the Rural Institute for Cultural Heritage and Environmental Sustainability (RICHES), a program designed to expand cultural tourism and stimulate community economic development in the area. Earlier this year, the living museum received nearly $1 million from the provincial department of Culture and Heritage both to repair many of its historic buildings and leverage matching funds from ACOA under an existing economic development formula. Sherbrooke Village’s Executive Director Stephen Flemming was not available for comment, but Marvin MacDonald, Chief Administrative Officer of the Municipality of the District of St. Mary’s, confirmed the museum head issued the request during a presentation to the committee of the whole meeting (COTW) on Nov. 18. “His ask to council was just a letter,” he said. “There was no specific funding request [that] night.” In an interview earlier this month, the village’s Director of Visitor Experience Robin Anderson said the funding application, “has been put across the desk of ACOA for final review and recommendation. All indicators are that they are encouraged.” She added that the initiative will also require a municipal and/or private sector component. “Certainly, the top priority now is the development of some sort of fundraising committee,” she said. In other business, the COTW also heard from Whale Sanctuary Project (WSP) Executive Director Charles Vinick, who recently completed a two-week stint in self-isolation at a Halifax hotel after arriving from his California headquarters late last month. “His presentation was great,” MacDonald said. “It was just an opportunity for him to report on where the project is and address a few questions from council.” Vinick represents a multinational effort to relocate beluga whales – rescued from marine captivity across North America – at a special coastal refuge near Port Hilford. Over the past several months, the initiative has generated extensive international coverage and broad support within the local community. “They (WSP) are going to be moving into the permitting stage and there’s going to be some investigation into what permits are required and that type of thing,” MacDonald said. Alec Bruce, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Guysborough Journal
Chatham-Kent Public Health has released a graphic to show the far-reaching impacts of a COVID-19 outbreak at a local church that led to nearly 500 people isolating. According to the graphic, 21 people who tested positive for the disease attended a place of worship, which is the Word of Life Church in Blenheim. Chatham-Kent Public Health declared an outbreak at the church late last month.This set off a chain of events that ended with 40 people testing positive for COVID-19 in 24 separate households, three of whom were hospitalized. The virus' spread was not contained to any one industry or area, and affected everything from the church itself to group living settings to households to a blood donor clinic. "We are sharing information about this outbreak now to show how easily COVID-19 can spread, and how we all need to work together to stop it," Chatham-Kent Public Health said in a news release.The graphic was based on data collected in October.Laura Zettler, an epidemiologist with Chatham-Kent Public Health, says the unit wanted the visual to serve as a reminder to the public."Really this visual was meant to show that what all of us do really matters, and it's truly a community effort to contain COVID-19," she said."Everyone that's part of the visual were all doing regular, everyday things ... going to church, going to work and doing things to help others, going to school, spending time with their family and friends. So many people were potentially exposed just doing everyday activities," she added. "Nothing extravagant, no big gatherings, and in settings where precautionary measures are in place. This is how easy this spreads ... and why our collective efforts are so important right now."Effects go beyond infectedZettler said the unit felt it was important to emphasize that the effects of the outbreak were not limited to those who tested positive. Nearly 500 people had to self-isolate, including members of the church, 170 people attending school and 180 people who attended blood donor clinics."If we just look at the people who tested positive, that's really not looking at all the other lives that were impacted by this outbreak," Zettler said. In a video accompanying the graphic, Chatham-Kent medical officer of health Dr. David Colby echoed that thought."We were lucky, with a lot of effort, we were able to keep our numbers down to only 40 positives with this outbreak, but look at all this trouble for people," he said while motioning to the graphic. "This is not a blame game. Everybody who's referred to here is a victim, not a cause. But we all have a role to play."And for the Word of Life Church itself, the recovery process has only just started.In a Facebook message to CBC News, a representative from the church declined to do an interview, but said that the outbreak is over and that the church would like to move on.According to the church's Facebook page, it has reopened its soup kitchen and food bank this week. "Well soup kitchen opened today for the first time in several weeks, it felt so good to be back doing what we love to do and what we know God has called us to do," a Wednesday post reads. "That was our biggest concern during our shut down, our friends on the streets of Blenheim. I can't tell you how much we missed seeing each one, it's not about just handing out food, it goes much deeper than that."
The lawyer representing Chantel Moore's estate says the disciplinary actions ordered by the Edmundston police chief against Insp. Steve Robinson are "a good start" but the lawyer will also ask to have the New Brunswick officer suspended for a period without pay.T.J. Burke said Police Chief Alain Lang essentially validated the formal complaint that accused Robinson of "laughing and smirking" while speaking to a CTV reporter on June 4, hours after Moore was shot dead by an officer who went to her apartment for the purpose of conducting a wellness check. Robinson has been ordered to take the 12-lesson Indigenous Canada course, offered online by the Faculty of Native Studies at the University of Alberta."That's something that every high-ranking officer in the country should have already," said Burke, who was informed of the sanctions against Robinson on Nov. 17. According to Burke, upon completing the course, Robinson is also ordered to meet with a "Madawaska Maliseet elder" to discuss "what he discovered on his journey for knowledge and to discuss the impact of his comments in the media."Furthermore, Robinson is required to take media relations training and must recommend cultural awareness training options for other employees of the Edmundston police force. All steps must be completed by Dec. 31, 2020.In an email statement to CBC News, a spokesperson for Edmundston police said Chief Lang could not comment, as "per Section 22.1 of the New Brunswick Police Act (NBPA), repository of disciplinary and corrective measures are confidential."'Policing is being scrutinized': lawyerBurke said Robinson's behaviour embarrassed police forces across the country. "Laughing and chuckling on TV after a young woman was shot by one of his constables?" Burke said."We're in an era where policing is being scrutinized as a result of many things. One is the disproportionate amount of Black, Indigenous and people of colour who are being arrested by officers, who are being incarcerated by the courts and measured in the context of systemic discrimination." When asked how long a suspension without pay he would ask for from the New Brunswick Police Commission, Burke said he'd be looking at other cases. The average person might think a week would be appropriate, Burke said, but precedent might suggest two or three days is more realistic. "That's going to hurt him financially a little bit."More importantly, Burke said, it would send a message of deterrence."Other police officers will understand that when you get in front of a television camera and you're going to be broadcast all throughout the province, the Atlantic region and the country after a serious police intervention situation … you shouldn't be smirking and laughing about your officer's conduct," Burke said. "It's offensive to the highest degree."Robinson apologized for his conduct back in June, and a statement was published on the City of Edmundston website."I understand that my reaction on camera caused frustration and concern. I sincerely apologize if it was interpreted or perceived as recklessness or lack of compassion. This is absolutely not the case. I have deep sympathy and express my condolences to the victim's family, friends and to the Aboriginal community," Robinson said.'I'm hoping they might call on me to guide this person' Imelda Perley, an instructor at the Mi'kmaq-Wolastoqey Centre at the University of New Brunswick and organizer of a healing walk in Moore's memory, said she welcomes the suggestion that Robinson meet with a Wolastoqi elder.She would even like to be chosen to help.> They need to be humble enough to admit they don't know anything about us. \- Imelda Perley, speaking about police"I wish [the police would] call on us, those who have been working in cultural awareness, to talk about how to heal systemic racism," said Perley. "I'm hoping they might call on me to guide this person through … awareness, humility, sensitivity, competency and, ultimately, safety."Perley said there are Indigenous courses available in New Brunswick and she would have liked to see Robinson take one in his own province.Perley said there's a lot more that police could do to promote a positive ongoing relationship with Indigenous communities. "They need to be humble enough to admit they don't know anything about us," she said. "You can't just do this through an online course. You can't just download information and think it's going to change you."Robinson "should come to our community and our council fire. Come for a drive in our communities. Come see our children, who play with limited playgrounds. Come see where there's no sidewalks. Then you'll see what health threats we face, and not assume you know what's best for our well-being."
Although the Italian government says it won't make a COVID-19 vaccine compulsory - there is growing hesitation among Italians over its safety.View on euronews
Islanders in long-term care are exploring the world without leaving their bedrooms.Health PEI is the first government agency to bring Rendever's virtual reality platform to residents in long-term care homes.Rendever is a Boston-cased company that offers virtual reality (VR) technology designed for older adults and seniors."What we've built is a platform that allows residents to put on these VR headsets and they can go pretty much anywhere in the world," said Kyle Rand, CEO and co-founder of Rendever."They can go back to their childhood home, they can go check off a bucket list item. They can go skydiving. They can go on a hot-air balloon ride. We can even bring them to the International Space Station. But most importantly, they can do all these things together."Ten pairs of the headsets are now in use in West Prince, in O'Leary and Alberton."Wow! Now that was fun," said Eva Rogerson, chair of the hospital foundation in O'Leary, after she tried it out Wednesday.Rogerson sat in an upholstered chair, with the goggles held in place by wide, comfortable head straps. Inside the headset, she was looking at a field of wild mule deer, somewhere in the western United States. She could hear the sound of hooves as the shy animals approached. She reached out to try to touch one."Takes you right into the real-life experience, in the midst of it," said Rogerson.In these days of pandemic isolation and loneliness for some seniors, health-care providers in West Prince see more than just pretty pictures in the new technology.The goal was fighting social isolation, said Paul Young, Community Hospital West administrator. "The feedback from patients and residents has been overwhelmingly positive." Staff use a tablet to monitor sessions and encourage participants to speak with one another about what they are feeling and experiencing.The technology lets seniors "take a walk" down any street, anywhere in the world. So some West Prince seniors are using the technology to drop by the rural farmhouses where they once lived.> We could really improve the quality of life for our people. — Eva Rogerson, O'Leary Community Health Foundation"We ask them where they'd like to go today and off they go," said Pam Corrigan, recreation manager of the Margaret Stewart Ellis Home in O'Leary. "We use it pretty near daily, depending on what we're doing."Staff in West Prince are now talking to the Rendever team in Boston about creating more virtual tours based in Prince County, perhaps offering strolls along local fishing wharfs and trips to potato fields at harvest time."Where people have dementia, their world is so small," said Rogerson."If I was a fisherman or a farmer, to be able to take me back in time where I could see myself hopping on a fishing boat or working at a potato field, we could really improve the quality of life for our people."VR easy for seniors to useWhen Rand started Rendever about four and a half years ago, the belief was that older people might not take to technology like this. Not so, he said."All they have to do is put the headset on and everything is controlled by a tablet. So staff members in the community, or family member or a volunteer — they control the entire experience," he said."You put on the headset, physical space doesn't matter, you can be socially together."Health PEI has run more than 2,400 sessions with participants spending 59 hours in VR, according to Rand.O'Leary Community Health Foundation purchased the technology with assistance from the federal and provincial governments.More from CBC P.E.I.
A discovery earlier this year by two sisters in Florida has revealed new photographs of a historic but little-known New Brunswick car.The Maritime Singer Six was assembled at a purpose-built factory in east Saint John in 1913 and 1914. None of the cars survive today, and only two photographs of the luxury vehicle were known to exist. Brian Chisholm of Saint John has been researching the history of the Maritime Singer for more than 30 years. "It was a monster," said Chisholm. "It was a 50 horsepower car. It had 36-inch wheels, it weighed way more than any regular car."It was also expensive, selling for $3,000. By comparison, Henry Ford's then plentiful Model T had a 20 horsepower motor and cost about $600.Chisholm had exhausted most avenues for his research. He'd combed newspapers from that time for ads and articles and even has the names of the five registered New Brunswick owners. The provincial archives in Fredericton had little to add.Then came some dogged detective work from 2,700 kilometres away in Florida.Gail Middleton Zellars and one of her three sisters were going through a box of items last January. They had been saved by their late mother.Included was an album of photographs and quality, extra-large negatives that belonged originally to their grandfather, Ottie White. The century-old pictures showed men in fur coats on a winter trip in an open car. In some of the photographs they are seen shovelling the car out of deep snow. A banner along the side of the vehicle says "Maritime Singer Six, St. John to Halifax.""I love history," said Middleton Zellars. "I love to look through things. I love family history. And I thought, well, that's pretty neat. And I was going to research it and see if I could find anything about it."The lack of online information about the car proved a major roadblock. It was only when she turned to Facebook that she discovered one of the images in her collection was the same one in the cover photo on Chisholm's personal page."So I thought he must be very interested in this. I decided to Facebook message him.""I clicked on it, and I thought, Oh, I don't know this person," said Chisholm. "And then I saw the photographs."When I looked at them I almost fell out of my chair."The collection of photos show the car and the Rothesay Avenue Maritime Singer factory.They also document a publicity stunt designed to promote the Maritime Singer as a durable and reliable car, more than powerful enough to push through packed snow and winter storms when other cars were put away between December and April. Ottie White was the driver-mechanic on the venture. He was accompanied by James Pullen, and by Dutch Ervin, the St. John Standard reporter who was documenting the trip for readers.The trio left New Year's Eve 1913, and arrived in Moncton 12 hours later after ditching three times in –24 C temperatures.But it was the next section that nearly bested both the car and its occupants. That trip, from Moncton to Amherst, took 28 hours."As the automobile struck the drifts the clouds of snow were thrown up over the front of the car and she plowed through for a few yards, only to sink deeper in the snow and sink, stuck solid," wrote Ervin.On occasion, they would seek help from a farmer to drag the car back onto the road using a team of horses.Fifty-eight hours after leaving Saint John, the men finally arrived in Halifax, suffering from exhaustion and frostbite. They were treated in hospital before resting up and hitting the road again, travelling through the Annapolis Valley to Digby and on by ferry back to Saint John.Chisholm and Middleton Zellars each had missing elements of the story.After the gruelling winter car trip, Ottie White went to Europe to serve as a lieutenant in the Canadian Expeditionary Force in the First World War.Chisholm retrieved his war records from Veterans Affairs Canada and sent them to Florida, along with the newspaper accounts of the Halifax trip. He learned that on White's return from the war he moved to the U.S., getting married in 1920 to Ethel Ault of Tennessee. The couple then moved to Florida, where Ottie eventually operated an auto parts business.Middleton Zellars wondered if there was something that could be done with the photographs. Chisholm put her in touch with Joshua Green, photo archivist at the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick, who showed immediate interest and was thrilled to learn the collection included the original negatives.Middleton Zellars conferred with her three sisters in Pennsylvania, Virginia and Vermont. Like her, they were excited to have the opportunity to make the donation. "It's just fantastic they were able to make their way back here," Green said of the photos, which have already been integrated into the collection. "This is as good as you're ever going to get for that."
ST. MARY’S – The Municipality of the District of St. Mary’s’ newest councillors have asked staff to explore making pension plans available to elected officials. The move would be a first for St. Mary’s, where councillors have been responsible for looking after their own retirement savings. But, said district one Councillor Courtney Mailman, “It’s kind of nice to be breaking new ground.” Mailman, district two Councillor Charlene Zinck and district three/five councillor, Warden Greg Wier – all newcomers to council – spearheaded the notion at the committee of the whole meeting on Nov. 18. “Because myself, Warden Wier and Councillor Zinck are all under retirement age and we all have full-time jobs, we wanted to look at the possibility of investing back into a retirement plan,” Mailman said. “Warden Wier had mentioned it to me and I expressed an interest, and he had mentioned it to Councillor Zinck and she expressed an interest, and then the other councillors were on board with looking into it.” Still, she added, “the sole responsibility for this would fall on us. We are not expecting, you know, a 50/50 split or a matching from the municipality. This is just something that we thought we would look into. We may all go ahead, or one of us may, but it would set a precedent for the future, for full-time working councillors to have that option.” Chief Administrative Officer Marvin MacDonald confirmed that staff are now working on the initiative. “We just got direction to go ahead and pursue it,” he said. “It [a pension plan] would just be through a bank. It would basically be an RRSP kind of thing.” It’s not clear what, if any, management costs the municipality might incur as a result of such a scheme. Currently, the Municipal Government Act in Nova Scotia does not require elected representatives to “buy in” to the one or more types of pension plans that are mandatory for, and administered on behalf of, town and city staff. In St. Mary’s, councillors, the warden and deputy warden don’t receive salaries, per se, but active “remunerations” set in each year’s operating budget. In the fiscal year ending March 31, 2021, each St. Mary’s councillor will earn $13,043; the warden, an additional $8,300; and the deputy warden, a further $5,929. Regarding any future pensions, Mailman said, “It would be taken off our income as councillors and then just go out into some form of investment for us to have down the road.” Before that, MacDonald said, “We’re going to get somebody in to talk to us about it. The councillors can ask questions directly then.”Alec Bruce, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Guysborough Journal
Starting this coming Monday, the P.E.I. government says masks will be mandatory for staff and students in grades 10-12 at all times inside a school building, including while sitting at their desks. Exemptions will be made for when students are eating or drinking, and certain other situations. As well, all visitors to all P.E.I. schools (not just high schools) are being reminded that they must wear masks at all times.Contact tracing is underway at three potential COVID-19 exposure sites in Charlottetown — the Atlantic Superstore, Gahan House pub and Terra Rossa restaurant and so far, all tests have come back negative. The case and the exposure locations were revealed on Wednesday during an unscheduled public health briefing. In her weekly interview with CBC News: Compass, Morrison talked about the recent case and outlined how the CPHO investigates possible spread.New Brunswick's premier announced Thursday that as of midnight, everyone returning to that province — including people from P.E.I. — must self-isolate for 14 days to help curb the spread of coronavirus. The new rule comes as New Brunswick confirmed 12 new cases and said Fredericton will join the Saint John and Moncton regions in the orange zone. Elsewhere in the Atlantic provinces, Nova Scotia reported 14 new COVID-19 cases for a total of 114 active cases, and Newfoundland and Labrador added three new cases.A social media group is compiling a growing list of Island businesses to help people shop local during the pandemic.Engaging with green living things like plants can help relieve pandemic stress, says certified forest therapy guide Julietta Sorensen Kass. Islanders in hospital and long-term care in western P.E.I., suffering from isolation in the pandemic, can now explore the world using virtual reality headsets.UPEI and Holland College are recommending students not leave the Island during the Christmas holidays, but are making plans in case they do.P.E.I.'s Department of Justice and Public Safety says it is dealing with a spike in people seeking approval to come to the Island.This year's Victorian Christmas Market in downtown Charlottetown is cancelled due to COVID-19. There are two active COVID-19 cases in the province. P.E.I. has seen a total of 70 cases, with no deaths and no hospitalizations. Also in the newsFurther resourcesMore from CBC P.E.I.
Tammy Oliver-McCurdie lost her younger sister, Jolene Oliver, in last April's mass shooting in Portapique, N.S., and her worst fear remains that the 39-year-old woman, her husband, Aaron Tuck, 45, and their 17-year-old daughter, Emily, lay injured for hours.The family of three were among the 13 people killed on April 18 in their tiny subdivision in rural Nova Scotia, about 130 kilometres north of Halifax. A gunman went on to kill nine more people the following morning in what became one of the worst mass killings in Canadian history.A police officer shot and killed the man responsible at a gas station in Enfield, N.S., on Sunday, April 19 at 11:26 a.m., after the gunman travelled about 195 kilometres.During a teleconference on July 3 with the Oliver family, who live in Alberta, the RCMP said they didn't discover the couple and their daughter until 5 p.m. on April 19 — 19 hours after investigators believe they were killed.By that point, family members had been frantically calling and looking for information for hours, pleading with the RCMP to send an officer to check on their loved ones.Police assured the Oliver family they did not suffer, though the final reports from the Nova Scotia medical examiner about how exactly they died are still not complete."Always what goes through your mind is how long did they lay there for alive?" Oliver-McCurdie said in an interview with CBC News. "The best story is yes, they went fast. But what if they didn't?"CBC's The Fifth Estate investigated and found that while the RCMP did tell some residents to leave their homes late on April 18, they left others in the community to sleep through the night, unaware a neighbour had gone on a shooting spree.Families have questions about delaysThe Oliver family is among several that lost loved ones in the rampage who have raised questions about how the RCMP responded and why it took so long to confirm the deaths.Oliver-McCurdie said she still doesn't understand the delay, given that the subdivision is small and police arrived Saturday night. The Oliver-Tuck home was located about two kilometres from the entrance to the community."I would hope that police would check the house to see if everyone was OK, especially if they're missing the shooter. So a lot of questions and a lot of anger coming out of that piece for me and my family," she said."I'm upset over it. It makes no sense when it comes to a public safety standpoint, it makes no sense."At the July 3 meeting, RCMP investigators said officers in Portapique were still in the process of clearing homes on the Sunday afternoon, which is why it took so long to get to Oliver and Tuck's house. They also said at the meeting that on the day after the shooting, they were concerned about properly identifying victims and not releasing incorrect information.WATCH | Thirteen Deadly Hours: The Nova Scotia Shooting:The Oliver family, calling from Red Deer, Alta., on the Sunday, became frantic after Jolene didn't pick up her mother's daily phone call while they have their morning coffee. Aaron and Emily Tuck also didn't respond to calls, texts or Facebook messages.Before noon Nova Scotia time, the family had heard there was a situation in Portapique and had begun calling the RCMP and hospitals. Twelve hours later — five hours after police say they discovered the family — an RCMP officer finally contacted them to pass on the horrific news.Oliver-McCurdie said that by then, she, her other sister and parents assumed the worst but had still wondered if somehow the family of three had managed to escape."It's one thing to find out that your family is dead and have the confirmation, and it's another excruciating piece to wait in limbo for confirmation," she said."You have all these officers, you're supposed to have all these resources. There's no reason why someone couldn't have just driven down there [and checked the house].... After a dozen or more phone calls my family made during the day, it doesn't make sense."By Sunday night, the police were dealing with 16 crime scenes in several communities. Investigators told the Oliver family that the medical examiner couldn't move the bodies from the home until Tuesday afternoon — a further delay that Oliver-McCurdie said caused them grief and anxiety.Mass shooting subject of public inquiryThe RCMP declined to answer any questions from CBC News about the case, citing an ongoing public inquiry into the mass shooting called by the provincial and federal governments."The RCMP recognizes the need to provide the factual account of what transpired this past April. With the public inquiry now ongoing, the most appropriate and unbiased opportunity to do so is with our full participation in the inquiry," Cpl. Lisa Croteau said in an emailed statement.The inquiry's final report isn't expected for two more years.In the meantime, Oliver-McCurdie said, her family decided to speak out about the details of the deaths of her sister, brother-in-law and niece — and the questions that remain — to promote discussion about how policing in rural areas could be improved and how April's tragedy might have been prevented.She said she would also like police forces to tighten the rules and limit access to their own logos and equipment. The shooter — Gabriel Wortman, 51, a denturist with a clinic in Dartmouth — purchased decommissioned police cars and gear online and used them to masquerade as a Mountie. Information on the specifications for the graphics on RMCP cruisers remains publicly available."If a positive piece is better public policy, better safety, for those living in Canada ... that makes their deaths ... a little bit easier if we can do better as a society and do better with protecting people in Canada. That needs to be the aim," Oliver-McCurdie said.'They did everything, just the three of them'Jolene Oliver, who grew up in Alberta, moved east with her husband and daughter seven years ago to be closer to Tuck's parents. But she left behind a miniature Christmas village she loved, and Oliver-McCurdie said she has been trying to find a way to display her sister's collection.Oliver worked as a restaurant server because she loved interacting with people — being there to listen to them, support them and make sure they got home safely, her sister said."She made the best of everything she ever had. A really unique outlook on life, a very positive outlook on life."In Portapique, Oliver-McCurdie said, Jolene loved walking along the shore of Cobequid Bay and would insist on taking a proper picnic basket for the family's snacks."They did everything, just the three of them," she said.The family moved into a home that didn't have electricity, and they spent months working on it together. When they needed a washing machine, Aaron Tuck was industrious enough to find a solution, Oliver-McCurdie said."He just had that knack, that creative art with welding and wood and things and just understanding them. He had a very great mechanical mind that he could come up with an invention for almost anything," she said.Emily Tuck spent time in the garage with her father, learning about motors and welding. Like Aaron, Emily also had a creative side and loved playing her fiddle.WATCH | Emily Tuck plays the violin:"She made a lot of art and a wrote a lot of poems," Oliver-McCurdie said. "She's a really unique kid and a really unique outlook. She's was a lot of fun."For now, as the Oliver family wait for answers, they continue to grieve. In Alberta, they planted three oak trees from Nova Scotia's Colchester County in memory of the branch of their family they've lost.
Tanya Hayles is not an anti-vaxxer. The Torontonian has made sure her eight-year-old son Jackson is up to date with the standard vaccines, and she, too, has been inoculated."There are diseases that we were able to eradicate as a result of vaccines," she said.The event planner, whose business has suffered as a result of the pandemic, would like nothing more than to see the end of COVID-19 as well. Given the choice, though, she said she wouldn't be "first in line" for a COVID-19 vaccination.She points out that side effects of the immunizations she and her son have received in the past are well-known to doctors. "They can say, 'Oh, look for a rash around the needle point,' et cetera."However, Hayles has concerns about whether such clarity will be available with a coronavirus vaccine that has been developed so quickly."Something this big, something this major, something this rushed — I would want to know more information before I put it in my body," she said.Health authorities say the benefits of approved vaccines far outweigh any risks. But international research shows that while most people anxiously await the availability of pandemic-crushing immunizations, a sizeable minority are unsure whether they'd get the vaccine, at least in the early days after one is approved.As Canada readies itself to evaluate and eventually distribute COVID-19 vaccines, this vaccine hesitancy is becoming a key focus of the country's top officials.According to Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam, 65 to 78 per cent of Canadians have indicated they would get a COVID-19 vaccine. Tam said in an interview with CBC that it's "critical" for public health to bring what she calls the "moveable middle," or undecided Canadians, onside."I think that's why it is a very key pillar of our approach in the days and weeks and months ahead, to be able to get that group of people the information that they need to get vaccinated," she said."It is really important that as many people get vaccinated as possible to protect themselves," Tam added, "but also others who are at higher risk."Alongside Health Canada's commitment to study the data about the vaccines themselves, Tam said the government is preparing a multipronged campaign to inform the public about it. That includes working with social media companies, such as Facebook and Twitter, and even gaming platforms.Canada's public health team has learned that people who get their information via social media are less likely to get vaccinated than those who follow traditional media, Tam said. "So, we'll be collaborating with similar platforms to get the message out to Canadians about the safety of the vaccine, and how the trials are going, and what happens in terms of the programmatic implementation as well."Battling misinformationResearch shows that such messaging will have to contend with a lot of misinformation that is already spreading about the COVID-19 vaccines on some of those same platforms."Vaccine hesitancy is a real and persistent problem in Canada, and it does appear to be growing somewhat," said Aengus Bridgman with the Media Ecosystem Observatory in Montreal. He is studying perceptions about the coronavirus and COVID-19 vaccines on social media.Beyond the more staunch anti-vax posts, Bridgman has seen concerns about safety and effectiveness of the vaccines, as well as questions about the necessity of getting immunized against this virus. What differentiates it from anti-vax sentiment, he said, is that although "it can contain misinformation and often does," much of it isn't "anti-science or anti-intellectual."The danger, though, is that those who are simply hesitant can be swayed by information that plants "the seed of doubt," he said."We know from previous work that we have done, and that other academics have done, that repeat exposure to misinformation [or] to misleading content can change opinions," Bridgman said."This is certainly going to be a major, major public health challenge over the coming year."Global issueIt's not just a concern in Canada. Some in the scientific community have already begun to tackle this issue. Using the hashtag TeamHalo, scientists working on COVID-19 vaccine development around the world have been using platforms like Tiktok to debunk false claims and answer questions that average people may have about the process.In 2019, before the pandemic hit, the World Health Organization (WHO) listed vaccine hesitancy as one of the top 10 global health threats. Now, the fear is that those who hold off getting the eventual COVID-19 vaccine pose a risk to herd immunity.With no other health measures in place, around 70 per cent of Canadians would likely need to be vaccinated to stop the virus from spreading, according to Dr. Scott Halperin with the Canadian Immunization Research Network in Halifax.Halperin is working with public health officials to identify and address Canadians' top vaccine concerns. He said the speed of vaccine development keeps coming up as a persistent worry among members of the public."When somebody says, 'Well, it takes 10 to 15 years to develop a vaccine,' that's correct," he said. But he added that, "the rapidity of the development of these vaccines was built on the shoulders of a lot of work that went before."Research on similar coronaviruses, like SARS and MERS, meant "we had three or four years head-start already in terms of the basic science," he said. What's more, he said the usual administrative red tape of waiting for research funding and queueing for approvals was eliminated with the global prioritization of COVID-19."And that in itself cuts off three to five years," Halperin said.Dr. Tam said that this is the message she most wants to send to Canadians about the vaccine. "Just because of the incredible speed with which vaccines are being developed does not mean that we cut any corners on safety of these vaccines," she said.Tam points out that Health Canada "is one of the most stringent regulatory authorities in the world." In order for vaccines to get approved in this country, she said, "they have to be safe, effective and high quality."For her part, Tanya Hayles said she will listen to the advice of Canada's public health teams and is open to hearing more about the potential side effects of the COVID-19 vaccines in development.In the end, she said, "I will do what is necessary, of course, for my health and the health of my son and the people around me."
Air Canada has offered concessions related to its proposed acquisition of Canadian tour operator Transat to address EU antitrust concerns, a European Commission filing showed on Thursday. The Commission, which oversees competition policy in the 27-nation European Union, said the commitments had been submitted on Nov. 25. The Commission opened an investigation in May on concerns that the deal could push up prices and reduce choice for flights between Europe and Canada.
George Bilodeau and Doug Ford have something in common. When it comes to reliable broadband internet access, especially in rural, remote and Northern communities, the mayor of the Municipality of Huron Shores and the premier of Ontario are like a dog with a bone. According to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, more than 1.4 million people in Ontario do not have broadband or cellular access, and about 12 per cent of households in the province are underserved or unserved from a broadband perspective. As more services move online because of the COVID-19 pandemic, poor internet service has left many individuals, businesses, and health0care organizations at a distinct disadvantage. In an effort to close some of those gaps, the Ford government has pledged an additional $680 million on top of a previous $315 million to support Ontario’s Broadband Cellular Action Plan, which hopes to provide 220,000 households and businesses with greater access. This nearly $1 billion investment over a six-year period will be used for shovel-ready projects that will connect unserviced and underserviced communities during COVID-19. Bilodeau hopes that with a big dose of community enterprise, Huron Shores will be able to leverage some of that funding to solve some of the internet connectivity issues in his region. “I’ve done a lot of lobbying, presentations, and cold calls over the last few months, and I always say that the system we have right now is like a two-lane highway, and we are trying to put the traffic of a six-lane highway onto two lanes,” he said. “That’s what we have now. We need a new backbone, which will mean a whole new line. Up-to-date fibre that will be able to take on six-lane traffic with no difficulties whatsoever. Our technology right now is maybe 25 years behind.” Bilodeau is spearheading a $150-million regional broadband network infrastructure project titled Huron & Manitoulin Community-Owned Fibre Infrastructure. If successful, it would provide high-speed internet services to thousands of residents along a corridor that runs from Echo Bay to Nairn Centre, including Manitoulin Island. “The problem is that all the major companies in this area are not really interested in giving us proper broadband services. Right now, we get minimum service, and the promise to bring us into the 21st century is just not there,” explained Bilodeau. “They do Band-Aid solutions here and there, but nothing is up to the capacity that is needed for economic development, industry, and health services.” Huron Shores decided to take matters into its own hands. Bilodeau is endeavoring to build a community-owned system where the municipalities involved would form a corporation and administer the broadband network. “What we’re looking at is a wholesale point of view. We don’t want to take business away from the internet service providers that are in the region. What we would do is supply a better product to these internet service providers, so they can sell a better product to households,” he said. “It would be easy to do a 50/10 and even a gig if a household wants a gig (gigabite). For hospitals and schools, we’re looking at 10 gigs.” The project has already garnered support from more than 30 communities and First Nations along the corridor, including Whitefish River First Nation, Elliot Lake, and Espanola. In fact, almost 90 per cent of the communities along the corridor have sent letters of support with resolutions to Huron Shores. Much of the “legwork” for the project is almost completed, added Bilodeau, including details like how they are going to bring the fibre into the area, and where it’s going to come from. Now, all they need is financial support from the provincial and federal governments. By partnering with ROCK Networks, an Ottawa-based communications systems company, Huron Shores and Whitefish River First Nation were able to put together an application for the provincial government’s Improving Connectivity in Ontario (ICON) program. At the end of September, they received a “positive nod” from the government indicating that their project has been asked to advance to stage 2 of the application process. “Stage 2 is the financing. We need to secure a grant from the provincial government to cover 25 per cent of the cost of the project, which would equal about $37.5 million,” said Bilodeau. “If we are successful in doing that, then the next step would be to see if we could get matching funding from the federal government.” The $1 billion investment from the provincial government doubled the funding for Ontario’s ICON program, bringing the total to $300 million. The program now has the potential to leverage more than $900 million in total partner funding to improve connectivity in areas of need across Ontario. ICON is just one of several provincial initiatives underway to improve connectivity across northern, eastern, and southwestern Ontario. The federal government also recently expanded and enhanced the Universal Broadband Fund to support high-speed internet projects across the country. Originally designed as a $1 billion, the government increased funding for the UBF to $1.75 billion to help connect more Canadians and better prepare for the future. Recognizing the need to accelerate this progress, Nickel Belt MP Marc Serre announced the launch of the Rapid Response Stream of the UBF, an accelerated application process that will allow shovel-ready projects to get started right away. The stream will benefit local telecom companies in Northern Ontario and further contribute to the region’s economic recovery. The application period is now open and community partners and stakeholders are encouraged to apply. “Our communities’ economic development and ability to overcome the challenges of this pandemic greatly depends on having access to quality and affordable internet and cellular coverage for all,” said Serre. “Working closely with municipal governments, the private sector and stakeholders, I will continue to advocate to ensure this important funding will benefit Nickel Belt-Greater Sudbury.” Achieving greater internet connectivity is something that isimportant for Bilodeau, and the communities that he is working with, and he hopes that this project will open up opportunities for the region. “Just as an example, (the other day) I was supposed to have a Zoom meeting with Greg Rickford, the minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines. We were not able to do the Zoom conference,” said Bilodeau. “I had to go on the landline, and I was holding my laptop looking at a slide deck. Minister Rickford was initially on his cellphone, but then he had connectivity issues, so we were both on landlines, with our laptops in front of us. We had to use two old technologies while I was trying to sell my idea.” His region, he added, is really like a “second Muskoka.” “In the last 15 years, Elliot Lake has seen more than 400 new cottages built north of the city. We all need broadband services,” he said. “This will open up opportunities in the region. People won’t need to be down in Toronto working in a tower. They will be able to come up here, build a home, and be able to work from home if we are able to get this project up and running.” The Local Journalism Initiative is made possible through funding from the federal government. firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @SudburyStar Colleen Romaniuk, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Sudbury Star
After a long hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Alessandro Costantini is thrilled to be back on stage. The artistic director will star alongside Jake Deeth in YES Theatre’s production of Mark Crawford’s play “Bed & Breakfast,” which will be performed at The Sudbury Theatre Centre from Nov. 27 to Dec. 13. “It’s this really beautiful story about this couple who inherit a home in this small town and decide to move out there and open a bed and breakfast,” said Costantini. “It’s about them figuring out how to be who they are in this community where people like them aren’t really front and center.” The narrative follows Brett and Drew, a gay couple who have just lost their seventh bidding war on a house in Toronto. When Brett learns that he has inherited the family home, they decide to try their hand elsewhere. But when they start to experience some friction in their new community, they discover that the simple life is more complicated than they thought. The hilarious and heartwarming comedy explores what it means to be “out” in the country, skeletons in the closet, and finding a place to call home. It also features more than 20 different characters – all played by two actors, Costantini and Deeth. “We play 11 characters each. It’s written for two actors because the protagonists are telling the story of how they got to be there,” said Costantini. “It’s a little bit like theatre Olympics. It’s a very athletic play. There are no costume changes, and we never leave the stage. Every time we switch into another character, it’s all physicality and our voice that delineates who we are.” That’s why Costantini said that having Janie Pinard on board as the director of the performance has been such a boon. “Janie, Jake and I have been very close collaborators for over a decade now, and we knew this would be the perfect opportunity to work with her again. She is a very skilled physical theatre artist who trained in Montreal and California,” he said. “She is the perfect artist to be leading us in this production because it is such a physical piece.” Although YES Theatre normally puts on larger productions, this time Costantini was on the hunt for something smaller. The reason is that he had the safety of both the audience and the artists involved in mind during the COVID-19 pandemic. But he was also drawn to the narrative of “Bed & Breakfast” because it’s about community. “Even though this is just two people, it’s really about a community and about all the different perspectives that exist in that community,” he said. “It’s a beautiful story to help create empathy. It is a gay couple, and they have to navigate being out in this town. Like every place, there are people who are more open and accepting to it, and there are others who are a little behind the beat. This play really does both – it offers the audience a lot of laughs and packs a punch in terms of being a piece of thought-provoking piece of theatre.” Costantini added that all COVID-19 regulations will be followed during the live performance. Ticket sales are limited to 50 tickets per performance, and all patrons will be seated according to social distancing guidelines. The Sudbury Theatre Centre is also offering contactless ticket services. Ticketholders will be able to gain entry to the theatre by simply providing their name at the entrance. Hand sanitizer will be readily available, and there will be volunteers stationed at the washrooms to ensure social distancing guidelines are followed. Tickets for Bed & Breakfast are available online at www.yestheatre.com and through The Sudbury Theatre Centre box office. The Local Journalism Initiative is made possible through funding from the federal government. email@example.com Twitter: @SudburyStar Colleen Romaniuk, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Sudbury Star
As COVID-19 cases continue to climb in Nova Scotia's central region, and with most of the new cases in the 18 to 35 age range, many are wondering about the role of universities in making sure students are following the Public Health guidelines.Two off-campus Dalhousie University students tested positive for the virus over the weekend and a house party on Edward Street with about 60 people took place Friday night. It was broken up by Halifax police and one $1,000 ticket was issued."I live in a university community and there are definitely more parties going on than that one," said Michelle Scully, a third-year Dalhousie student who lives off campus in Halifax.Scully said while she receives emails about Public Health guidelines from the school, at no point has Dalhousie told students there would be academic consequences for not following Public Health protocols."If people continue to have such large gatherings, I think they need to enforce further consequences," she said.Verity Turpin, Dalhousie's acting vice-provost of student affairs, said the university expects its students to "share that responsibility" for keeping the university and surrounding Halifax community safe and healthy, which includes avoiding large gatherings such as parties."In the case of any event off campus, I think it's important to recognize that at Dalhousie, we look at our students as independent adults," Turpin said. "They are responsible for following all of the laws in our province when they decide to come back and live as part of our community."Turpin said the school is in constant contact with students, such as sending out emails and notifications from the Dalhousie app about Public Health guidelines, as well as advisers and faculties speaking directly with students about the requirements.St. FX, Acadia address off-campus partiesOther universities in the province have made an effort to crack down on large student gatherings during the COVID-19 pandemic, even if those students are living off campus.Both Acadia University and St. Francis Xavier University required students to sign a code of conduct form, telling students they would face discipline or academic consequences for breaching health protocols. These universities both have in-person classes this semester.At Acadia, the university president, Wolfville's mayor and the student union president went door to door, visiting houses and speaking with students directly about following Public Health guidelines. Turpin said student ambassadors from Dalhousie did similar door-to-door visits in neighbourhoods surrounding campus.St. FX has also taken away practice and training privileges for student-athletes after a large off-campus party. St. FX said at the time students found to have violated the school's code of conduct could face suspensions. The university also did its own investigation into the event.A Saint Mary's University spokesperson said in a statement on Tuesday that "a SMU community member" tested positive for COVID-19.Cale Loney said in an email on Wednesday that the university has been sharing the health protocols with students and that "violation of those protocols can be subject to discipline under the university's code of student conduct."Dal's Faculty of Health takes more direct approachWhile Dalhousie as a whole has not made clear that there will be academic consequences for those who disregard the COVID safety measures, the Faculty of Health decided to do just that last month.Dean Dr. Brenda Merritt said students in her faculty, roughly 1,500 of which take part in on-campus learning this semester, were given an honour statement this semester.In it, students had to agree to stay up to date on and follow the current health requirements, and failing to do so "could result in dismissal or suspension on the grounds of professional unsuitability.""We felt strongly that this is part of our identity as health professionals and health researchers that we should be doing this," Merritt said."We did hear some feedback from students that they wanted something like this, they wanted their peers to be accountable, so to raise the feeling of safety on campus and in clinical placements."These students are also using an in-house COVID pre-screening app before they attend any face-to-face classes. Merritt said so far, these students seem to be following the rules."From what I'm hearing, they are really communicating well with each other about it and calling each other out on things," she said."They are taking this very seriously. They know that if we have an outbreak on campus, their programming stops."Merritt said there is a "rippling effect of a shutdown," which would mean pharmacists, nurses and other health students would not graduate on time, causing "a big strain" on the healthcare system.85 of November cases in ages 18 to 35A spokesperson for the province said that of the 118 cases reported in November as of Tuesday, 85 were people between the age of 18 and 35. The province could not offer a breakdown of how many of those cases are university students.Halifax Coun. Waye Mason has been calling for more fines to be given out to those involved with the Edward Street party — which he adds were "probably" Dalhousie students — and that the university needs to step up."Dalhousie has to take responsibility, both for helping to address the policing issues that happen in the neighbourhood around the university, and in going out and educating students when they are off campus about what the expectations are," he said."Unfortunately this year Dalhousie chose not to participate in funding Dal Patrol or going out with the police to knock on doors in the problem neighbourhoods. I think that's certainly something that the neighbours, and I, would like to see happen again."During Tuesday's news briefing, Premier Stephen McNeil said there will be stronger enforcement for illegal gatherings going forward, "including a $1,000 fine for every person who walks through the door.""All of the universities have been supportive and we will continue to work with them," he said. "It's a critical demographic that we will need to be vigilant on and keep on top of."MORE TOP STORIES
A private care home in Merritt, B.C., is accusing the Interior Health Authority of aggressively recruiting its health care workers by offering them higher wages and better benefits.Florentine Seniors Residence has lost three licensed practical nurses (LPN) and at least four registered care aides (RCA) to the health authority during the pandemic, according to president Frank Rizzardo."They are phoning our staff directly," he said. "It is not a matter of a response to an ad. It's a call to our employee."Interior Health denies recruiting directly from private care homes and says it uses a centralized hiring process where vacant positions are posted and advertised publicly. Rizzardo is adamant the health authority reached out to Florentine employees to offer jobs at an Interior Health-run care home in Merritt and took to social media this week calling for a stop to the practice."I had a staff meeting on Monday and at that staff meeting I was told that two of our newest RCAs were called by Interior Health and offered employment," he said in an interview with CBC News."We paid LPNs to relocate and then once they are here, they only work a short period of time before they are snapped up by [Interior Health]."Better pay and benefitsSlightly higher wages and better benefits are some of the things enticing his staff to leave for positions at Interior Health, Rizzardo said.Some nurses and care aides left in order to take advantage of the Temporary Pandemic Pay program which provided eligible front-line workers a lump-sum payment equal to about $4 an hour for 16 weeks, according to Rizzardo.Health care workers at private care facilities like Florentine did not qualify for the temporary pay raise.Florentine Seniors Residence is a 77-suite private care facility that offers assisted living and complex care in the southern Interior city.The staffing shortage is leading to burnout among his remaining workers, Rizzardo said.Rizzardo wrote letters to Health Minister Adrian Dix and Interior Health president and CEO Susan Brown calling for an end to the recruiting practices, but he has not heard back from either of them, he said.Interior Health denies recruiting from private care homesInterior Health did not agree to an interview with CBC News but provided a written statement denying Rizzardo's claims."Employees are hired through a centralized hiring process. Vacant positions open to external applicants are posted and advertised publicly."Rizzardo said he's not surprised the health authority denied recruiting his staff and said he believes what his employees have told him about the recruitment calls.The Ministry of Health did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Cape Breton Regional Municipality and the federal government have thrown the Port of Sydney Development Corporation a lifeline.The port is facing a $600,000 deficit this year after the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the cruise ship season.CBRM council has voted to allow the port to use reserve funds created by the dredging of Sydney Harbour in 2012, but two councillors questioned whether the port administration has first done enough to cut costs and increase revenues."My problem ... is that to basically turn over all that money and it can just be gone if nothing else is achieved," District 10 Coun. Darren Bruckschwaiger said during discussion of the port's finances at CBRM's inaugural council meeting on Tuesday.District 8 Coun. James Edwards said he supports the port, but he was the only councillor to vote against allowing access to the special reserve fund."There was some pertinent questions asked, but I think there was lots of opportunity for more explanation," he told reporters afterwards.The federal, provincial and municipal governments and Nova Scotia Power created a $38-million fund to dredge Sydney Harbour eight years ago to accommodate larger cargo, coal and cruise ships.There was some money left over after the project finished and the port has been allowed to use it for various purposes.Some of the money was supposed to be used to fix the shore-based navigational aids that were no longer aligned with the newly dredged channel, but eight years later, the Coast Guard has still not undertaken that work.The Coast Guard said in an email that the navigational aids in Sydney Harbour currently mark the channel safely and it will maintain them in future.The federal government had required the port to set aside $800,000 of the $1.1 million remaining in the reserve fund for navigational aid costs, but has since given its approval to use that money to cover this year's deficit.Port CEO Marlene Usher said cruise ships and passengers supply the majority of the port's revenues, but there have been none this year."Hopefully we will get some cruise [ships] next year, but at this point I'm not very optimistic," she said.Some staff have been laid off and others have taken a 20-per-cent pay cut or foregone raises.Usher said there is no fat left to cut, but the port needs to remain open to take delivery of gasoline, diesel and heating oil for all of Cape Breton."Fuel vessels come in every week and if we don't have the doors open and the lights on, that would be catastrophic for the island," she said.If not for the pandemic, the port's current finances would be at least as good as last year's, Usher said."You'll see when we present our audited financial statement at our AGM that we were $700,000 over budget, to the good, so we've been responsible and we'll get back there," she said.Cruise ship traffic is booked in Sydney up to 2026 and it will return eventually, she said, but in the meantime the board has to find new revenues to ease reliance on one industry.'Need to diversify'"We need to diversify that area," Usher said. "We need to make the port a part of downtown and downtown a part of the port."For example, extending the boardwalk would allow pedestrians easier access to shops on the dock that are normally open for cruise ships.Meanwhile, the port is losing revenue after announcing the opening of its second cruise ship berth earlier this year.Usher said there are vessels that would use the new dock, but there are unexpected difficulties with power at the facility.A new financial plan will be presented to council in the new year, she said.MORE TOP STORIES
A national financial rescue package for Canadian municipalities hurt by the pandemic has been rushed out to most communities in the country – but not in New Brunswick. The province is hanging on to the federal cash until local governments detail their losses."To access this ... funding, local governments are required to submit a resolution of council which clearly outlines the net impact of COVID-19 in 2020," said a letter sent to mayors earlier this month by local government minister Daniel Allain."Payments will be processed once resolutions of council have been received and reviewed for compliance," the letter states. "The deadline to submit information is December 31, 2020."New Brunswick was allotted $41.1 million by Ottawa to give to local governments as its share of a $2-billion national rescue package announced in July. Ottawa provided the relief money on a per-capita basis and most provinces opted to distribute it without waiting on the detailed accounting New Brunswick is requiring.Canada's largest cities, including Toronto and Vancouver, have been already told what they're getting, as have thousands of medium, small and even tiny communities from one end of the country to the other. Every New Brunswick municipality in the darkTilt Cove in Newfoundland and Labrador, Greig Lake in Saskatchewan and Betula Beach in Alberta, each of them home to fewer than 20 people, have all been notified of their federal relief amounts.Meanwhile, every New Brunswick municipality remains in the dark.Edmundston Mayor Cyrille Simard said he has no idea how much his community is getting, or when it's getting it."I really don't know ... at this stage," Simard said in a message Wednesday.In Alberta, more than 300 eligible communities were told 10 weeks ago that the province's entire $233.2-million share of the federal funding would be paid out in roughly equal amounts of $54 per person per community. For Grand Prairie, which is slightly larger than Saint John and slightly smaller than Moncton, that meant $3.7 million in federal relief money. Cold Lake, which has a population halfway between that of Bathurst's and Edmundston's, is receiving $818,000. The Alberta government is also adding to those amounts with matching provincial funding. As in New Brunswick, paperwork accounting for COVID-19 losses has to be completed by communities in Alberta, but not until next year and only to a minimal standard"We will not require detailed proof of expenses incurred or revenue lost," state the Alberta rules that govern the funding."No applications are required. Our goal is to ensure municipalities are able to use funding to offset fiscal challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, without necessary red tape. We recognize that not all municipalities had the resources and capacity to accurately track pandemic-related fiscal impacts as they were occurring." Next door in Saskatchewan, 700 cities, towns, villages, hamlets and other community structures were informed on Sept. 9 of their individual shares of the $62.3 million given to that province for federal municipal relief.All received identical amounts of just over $59 per person per community.Other communities minimized paperwork, expedited reliefLori Carr, Saskatchewan's government relations minister at the time, said it was important for communities to get the money as soon as possible to deal with problems the pandemic was causing."Quickly and efficiently, the amounts will start to be distributed immediately so municipal leaders can funnel dollars to areas of highest local priority," Carr said during the Sept. 9 announcement.British Columbia, Manitoba and Ontario have also announced amounts going to municipalities in those provinces, while in eastern Canada, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador have also divided up the federal money and disclosed amounts to every local government.In St. John's, the municipalities minister Derek Bennett said the province is minimizing paperwork for its nearly 300 communities and adopting the same per-person method of distributing federal municipal relief used in western Canada."We know municipalities ... have been eagerly anticipating the amount of funding that each municipality will receive," said Bennett in a statement."No applications are required." Each community in Newfoundland and Labrador is receiving the same $59 per person as Saskatchewan communities, including $6.4 million for St. John's, $1.2 million for Corner Brook and $833,000 for Grand Falls Windsor.New Brunswick's 104 eligible communities are unlikely to be treated in a similar, predictable and equal way.Allain has indicated there will be an individual decision made by the province for each community, with some getting more and some less than a per-capita distribution would deliver.He instructed mayors to provide a detailed accounting of their increased COVID-19 costs and to combine that with their decreased revenues. They are also required to list "operational savings" achieved as they tried to rescue their budgets and deduct that amount from the first two to come up with a "net COVID-19 impact." That raises the possibility that municipalities who cut the most services to save money during the pandemic could show lower net budget impacts from COVID and receive reduced amounts of relief.That happened last month when the province took $1.6 million out of the federal municipal relief money to apply it to transit relief. 'We shouldn't be penalized' for being prudent: DarlingSaint John cut more of its transit service during the early days of the pandemic than Moncton and Fredericton did, and on paper showed a lower "net" financial deficit from COVID, even though its service was harmed the most.. As a result, the province awarded Saint John the least amount of transit relief – $400,000, compared to $500,000 for Moncton and $670,000 for Fredericton Saint John finance officials have been working for the last three weeks on the larger application for federal municipal relief money and Mayor Don Darling does not want to see communities who took dramatic action to contain their deficits get the least relief."We should not be penalized for being fiscally prudent," said Darling in a message to CBC News on Tuesday.Allain's office did not respond to a request for an interview about his department's handling of federal assistance meant for municipalities or whether the "net impact" measurement being used to disperse money will penalize some communities.Department spokesman Jean Bertin said in an email that communities will know how much of the federal money they are getting when they fill out their paperwork and have it inspected by department officials."The sooner local governments get their resolutions of council into the department, the sooner they will be reimbursed," he wrote.
Some New Brunswickers can expect light snow and freezing rain on Thursday.Environment Canada issued a special weather statement earlier this morning for central and northwestern parts of the province. They include: * Campbellton and Restigouche County * Edmundston and Madawaska County * Grand Falls and Victoria County * Mount Carleton * Stanley, Doaktown and Blackville area * Woodstock and Carleton CountyIn central New Brunswick, periods of light freezing rain or rain will start this afternoon and continue overnight."Although amounts are expected to be light, over high terrain, the freezing rain could last several hours," the national weather agency said in a statement.Meanwhile, the northwestern regions will see light snow or freezing rain in the afternoon. This will change to light freezing rain or rain in the evening. "Precipitation is expected to change to showers after midnight," Environment Canada said."In some localities, especially over high terrain, several hours of freezing rain is likely.
The man who killed six people in a Quebec City mosque in 2017 received a "cruel and unusual" punishment when he was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 40 years, Quebec's Court of Appeal ruled on Thursday.In a unanimous decision, the court reduced Alexandre Bissonnette's life sentence to 25 years without parole while at the same time invalidating sections of the Criminal Code that allow judges to hand out consecutive life sentences for murder.A spokesperson for the mosque where the attack took place said he was dismayed by the decision to lighten Bissonnette's sentence."We would have liked a definitive sentence to prevent other attacks from taking place," said Boufeldja Benabdallah, a founder of the Quebec Islamic Cultural Centre. "We're not thinking of only ourselves but of all Quebec society."The court's decision to invalidate the consecutive sentencing provisions in the Criminal Code applies only in Quebec.But if appealed, it opens the door to a possible Supreme Court of Canada ruling on the sentencing provisions that Stephen Harper's Conservative government introduced in 2011.Since then, several convicted murderers have been given consecutive life sentences, including Justin Bourque, who is serving a life sentence with no chance of parole for 75 years for killing three RCMP officers in Moncton, N.B., in 2014.The lawyer who represented Bourque at trial said he intended to inform him about the ruling in Quebec. "I would say that this is a situation of national importance. I would assume that the Supreme Court has to rule on it," David Lutz said.Quebec's prosecution service said Thursday it was taking time to review the ruling and hadn't yet decided whether to appeal. The federal government also declined to say whether it intended to appeal."I know that today's decision is going to rekindle a great deal of hurt and anger among those who were affected by this terrible crime: the victims, their families and friends, people in Quebec and across the country," federal Justice Minister David Lametti said in a statement."There are important questions raised by this judgment and we will take the necessary time to fully examine it."Sentencing provisions 'absurd'Bissonnette was sentenced in 2019 after he pleaded guilty to six counts of first-degree murder and six counts of attempted murder. It was the longest sentence ever handed down in Quebec.In issuing the original sentence, Superior Court Justice François Huot made it clear he was uncomfortable with consecutive sentences.Crown prosecutors were asking for a life sentence of 150 years without parole eligibility. Huot settled on a sentence of 40 years without parole, composed of five concurrent 25-year life sentences and an unusual 15-year term for the sixth count, to be served consecutively. The Court of Appeal justices said that hybrid sentence was the wrong way to address concerns about the constitutionality of consecutive sentences.Often using strong wording to criticize the provisions introduced by the Conservatives, the justices wrote that it was unconstitutional to force a prisoner to wait longer than 25 years for parole eligibility.Doing so, they said, violates two sections of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms: Section 12, which protects against cruel and unusual treatment and punishment, and Section 7, which guarantees the right to life, liberty and security of the person.The justices noted the "absurdity" of handing out life sentences that only allow a prisoner to apply for parole after they are likely to have died. They added that a fundamental concept of Canadian criminal law is the right of rehabilitated prisoners to be paroled."In Canada, even the worst criminal having committed the most heinous of crimes benefits at all times from the rights guaranteed under the charter," the justices wrote. Aimed at childrenBut they also stressed that eligibility for parole in the context of a life sentence must not be mistaken for likelihood of ever being paroled. "In other words, there is no guarantee that the Parole Board will grant parole in 25 years," the decision states.Bissonnette, who was 27 when he attacked the mosque, will now be eligible for parole when he turns 54.WATCH: Quebec's appeal court reduces sentence of Alexandre Bissonnette:During the appeal hearing, his lawyers had tried to argue for a more lenient sentence by producing security camera footage from the night of the shooting that they said proved Bissonnette took care not to harm young children.The Appeal Court ultimately rejected Bissonnette's request to have the evidence admitted, but the justices nevertheless commented on what the footage showed.They said Bissonnette can be seen shooting at a section of the mosque where two children were hiding and a "little girl is standing ... completely frozen." A man later helped her take shelter behind a column."The evidence as a whole [shows] that the appellant attempted to kill young victims and that he was certainly not 'careful about the children,' as he stated to the police officers," the justices said.
Women from First Nations communities in New Brunswick have a new online store to help find a bigger audience for their art and to make up for sales lost to COVID-19.The site is called Nujintuisga'tijig E'pijig, which means "Indigenous women salespeople or vendors" in the Mi'kmaq language, and currently features 16 artists — but there is room for up to 30.Leona Newkinga, a Mi'kmaw and Inuit woman who lives in Elsipogtog, has her bead work featured on the site. She hopes it can bring a bigger audience to her work."My goal is to reach more people," said Newkinga.She already has pieces with Buffy Sainte-Marie and Jeremy Dutcher, but she'd like her work to go all over the globe."I was thinking to myself, 'Wouldn't that be amazing if, like, one of my pieces were like further than I have ever been?" she said.No negotiations Newkinga started beading about five years ago and said she wasn't very good at first, "so the prices were really cheap."But she honed her skills after a disappointing exchange with a potential customer who was inspecting something Newkinga had for sale at a craft sale."This woman, she says 'Your work is only worth five bucks' and that devastated me because I put hours into it," said Newkinga."I knew I wanted to be at a point where nobody can negotiate prices," and she accomplished that.Newkinga said people seem to have a new respect for Indigenous art in the last few years. "From when I first started out to now, it's the big difference," she said.Newkinga said COVID-19 hurt her income because she runs a business selling Indian tacos at pow wows over the summer, and those haven't happened this year. COVID-19 also put a damper on her creative output."I try not to bead if I'm not feeling good or anything like that, because everything, your energy, is woven into your pieces," she said.But, Newkinga said she's back at it and recently received a sparkling new shipment of beads. She hopes the website will help sell her newest creations.Tahnee Simon started beading after her grandmother showed her how to make a flower when she was in grade school.Over the years, Simon would put her beading aside, but she always came back to it."I could drown in it for like three to four hours and not realize how much time went by," she said."It's relaxing for me."Simon has a full-time job with Mi'kmaq Child and Family Services but decided to bead professionally as a 'side-gig' after a co-worker suggested it. "I was super nervous because, I'm not the one to be the centre of attention or, like, have my name out there," said Simon."It was a big step for me but I'm happy I did it because I love seeing customers wearing my work and it still feels awesome."Simon is happy to be part of the pilot project and hopes people enjoy her work."I thought it was such a great idea to get all Indigenous women names out there and give the public an idea of what we can do," said Simon.If the site takes off, Katherine Lanteigne, director of Women in Business New Brunswick said the project could be opened up to other Indigenous women in Atlantic Canada.