A lawyer representing the family of a Black man shot to death by Philadelphia police has called the victim's shooting "unjustified." Shaka Johnson said the victim had mental issues. (Oct. 27)
A lawyer representing the family of a Black man shot to death by Philadelphia police has called the victim's shooting "unjustified." Shaka Johnson said the victim had mental issues. (Oct. 27)
HARRISBURG, Pa. — A Pennsylvania state senator abruptly left a West Wing meeting with President Donald Trump after being informed he had tested positive for the coronavirus, a person with direct knowledge of the meeting told The Associated Press.Republican state Sen. Doug Mastriano had gone to the White House last Wednesday with like-minded Republican state lawmakers shortly after a four-hour-plus public meeting that Mastriano helped host in Gettysburg — maskless — to discuss efforts to overturn president-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the state.Trump told Mastriano that White House medical personnel would take care of him, his son and his son’s friend, who were also there for the Oval Office meeting and tested positive. The meeting continued after Mastriano and the others left, the person said.The person spoke to the AP on Sunday on the condition of anonymity to discuss the private session because the matter is politically sensitive.Positive coronavirus cases are surging across the United States and the nation's top infectious disease expert said Sunday that the U.S. may see “surge upon surge” in the coming weeks. The number of new COVID-19 cases reported in the United States topped 200,000 for the first time Friday.Everyone who will be in close proximity to the president must take a rapid test. Trump was himself hospitalized in October after he contracted the virus. Dozens of White House staffers and others close to the president have also tested positive, including the first lady and two of the president’s sons.All participants in Wednesday's meeting took COVID-19 tests, but the positive results were not announced until they were in the West Wing of the White House, the person said.“The president instantly called the White House doctor in and he took them back to, I guess, the medical place,” the person said. The meeting with Trump was to strategize about efforts regarding the election, the person said.After Mastriano and the others left, the discussion with Trump continued for about a half-hour. Mastriano did not return to the meeting.Mastriano sought the meeting of the Pennsylvania Senate Republican Policy Committee earlier Wednesday that drew Trump personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, a second Trump lawyer, several witnesses and a crowd of onlookers. Only a few of them were masked.The committee let Giuliani and others, for several hours, air their beliefs that there had been problems with how the Pennsylvania vote was conducted and counted. All claims were baseless; no evidence was presented to support any of the allegations they made.Trump even participated, calling from the White House while one of his lawyers held a phone up to a microphone. He reiterated the same unfounded claims of fraud he's been tweeting about for weeks.Those beliefs have persisted despite Trump losing repeatedly in state and federal courts, including a Philadelphia-based federal appeals court's decision Friday that said the Trump campaign’s "claims have no merit," and a state Supreme Court decision Saturday that threw out a legal challenge to the election and effort to stop certification of its results.Mastriano, a conservative from a rural district in central Pennsylvania and outspoken Trump supporter, did not return several messages left Sunday seeking comment.Republican state Sen. Dave Argall, who chairs the policy committee, declined Sunday in a text message to discuss Mastriano’s medical condition and the White House visit.“I’ve received some conflicting information that I’m trying to resolve,” Argall said in the text. “It’s my understanding a Senate statement later today will help us all to understand this better.”Argall said he would not talk publicly about the matter “until I know more.”Senate Republican spokeswoman Kate Flessner declined comment, describing it as a personnel matter.The person with knowledge of the White House visit said several people rode in a large van from Gettysburg, where the policy committee met in a hotel, to the White House. Mastriano, his son and his son’s friend drove in another vehicle.It's not clear why Mastriano's son and his friend accompanied the state senator to the meeting, which the person said was also attended by Trump and the president's chief of staff, Mark Meadows, who tested positive in early November.Mastriano has aggressively opposed policies under the administration of Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus and keep people safe.He has led rallies where he advocated to reopen businesses despite the risk of infection and he has repeatedly and sharply denounced Wolf’s orders. Mastriano also spoke to a few thousand Trump supporters who gathered outside the Capitol on Nov. 7, hours after Democrat Joe Biden’s national win became evident.___Associated Press writer Jill Colvin in Washington contributed to this report.Mark Scolforo, The Associated Press
BANGKOK — Five leaders of Thailand’s pro-democracy movement reported to police Monday to acknowledge charges that they defamed the king, the most serious of many offences of which they stand accused.The five are part of the student-led movement that for several months has been campaigning for Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha and his government to step down, the constitution to be amended to make it more democratic and the monarchy be reformed to make it more accountable.The demand about the monarchy is the most radical and controversial, because by tradition the institution has been considered untouchable, the bedrock element of Thai nationalism. It is considered taboo to publicly criticize the monarch, and insulting or defaming key royals is punishable by up to 15 years in prison under a lese majeste law known as Article 112.The protest movement has nevertheless emphasized reform of the monarchy as a key demand, and made it the theme of several of its protest rallies, which have attracted thousands of people. They believe the king holds too much power in what is supposed to be a democratic constitutional monarchy."When people criticize the monarchy and they listen, people will consider them open-minded. But if they use 112 to shut our mouths, not only Thai people but also the world will know they are afraid of the truth,” Parit Chiwarak said to reporters ahead of reporting to police. “This won’t stop our movement. On the contrary, it will make more people join us.”Article 112 is controversial, because anyone — not just royals or authorities — can lodge a complaint, so it in the past had been used as a weapon in political vendettas. But it had not been employed for the past three years, after King Maha Vajiralongkorn informed the government that he did not wish to see it used. The king has not publicly commented on the law since then.But after a protest last week included crude chants and graffiti that could be considered derogatory of the king, Prayuth declared that the protesters had gone too far and could now expect to be prosecuted for their actions, including with charges under Article 112. While protest leaders have faced dozens of charges over the past few months, they have generally been freed on bail, and none have yet come to trial.Despite Prayuth’s threat, protest leaders have continued to include strong criticisms of the monarchy at rallies.The other four who reported Monday to Bangkok’s Chana Songkhram police station were Arnon Nampha, Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul, Panupong Jadnok and Patiphan Luecha. Patiphan, a traditional folk singer also known as Patiwat Saraiyaem, served 2 1/2 years in prison after being arrested under Article 112 in 2014.Most of the protest leaders face multiple charges already, ranging from blocking traffic to sedition, which is punishable by up to seven years in prison.Anon, a lawyer, said he was indifferent about being charged under Article 112, because it is an “unjust law.”“If we speak the truth and they stop us with 112, it reflects how abnormal this law and this country are,” he said.Also reporting to police Monday were Benjamaporn Nivas and Lopnaphat Wangsit, leaders of the mockingly self-named Bad Students group of secondary school students, which seeks major reforms in education and supports the broader aims of the pro-democracy movement as well.They are accused of violating a state of emergency decree that was briefly in effect in October by taking part in a rally in central Bangkok.___Associated Press journalists Chalida Ekvitthayavechnukul and Grant Peck contributed to this report.Tassanee Vejpongsa, The Associated Press
The federal government is laying plans for the procurement and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, inking contracts with seven potential manufacturers and saying six million doses could arrive in the country in the first quarter of 2021. The most recent development from Ottawa came Friday when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tapped former NATO commander Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin to lead the national distribution effort. But various provinces have started spelling out their plans as well. Here's a look at what they've said so far: —Nova ScotiaThe province's chief medical officer of health says he will release a detailed plan for the distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine once Ottawa shares more information. Dr. Robert Strang said Friday there is no certainty yet about the availability of a vaccine, but expressed hopes an initial supply will trickle into Nova Scotia early in the new year.Strang said a detailed provincial plan, to be released once the federal government has shared more specifics on its end, will include tight control of the supply and clear rules dictating who can be first in line for immunization. He said he's waiting for more federal guidance on issues ranging from priority groups to transportation and storage logistics. —QuebecThe province will be ready to start rolling out its vaccine plan as of Jan. 1, say senior politicians. Premier Francois Legault said Thursday that public health officials have already settled on the list of priority vaccine recipients, but did not release details. Legault said the province is also working to put the necessary infrastructure in place to support a vaccine rollout. That includes obtaining fridges capable of maintaining the extremely low temperatures needed by one of the most promising potential vaccine options, currently in development through pharmaceutical giant Pfizer.Quebec has also tasked assistant deputy health minister Jerome Gagnon, and former provincial public health director Dr. Richard Masse to oversee the province's vaccination effort. —OntarioPremier Doug Ford is among those leaders calling on Ottawa to provide more clarity as officials scramble to develop a provincewide vaccination strategy.Early speculation on the number of doses the province could receive was put to rest earlier this week when federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu said such details were still in the works. But Ford has forged ahead, naming former chief of national defence Gen. Rick Hillier to oversee the province's vaccine rollout. Hillier said on Friday he hopes to have a plan developed by year's end, while Ford urged Ottawa to provide detailed information on potential vaccine delivery. "We need a clear line of sight into the timelines of the shipments," Ford said.—AlbertaThe province's top medical official has said she expects to receive 680,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine early in the new year, a figure not yet confirmed by the federal government. Dr. Deena Hinshaw has also said a number of hurdles and unknowns remain as the province works to devise its vaccination scheme. "These (vaccine) numbers, of course, depend on many factors,'' Hinshaw said on Nov. 18. "They depend on the final pieces of the trials that are underway going well. They depend on ensuring that the safety and the effectiveness of the early vaccines can be assured. All of those checks and balances must be cleared."On Friday, Hinshaw said the province is working with Ottawa to get vaccine, but it is "a bit of a moving target" on when vaccines might be available."But our goal is that whenever vaccine is available, we will be ready to start immunizing individuals on that highest priority list."—British ColumbiaProvincial health officials announced on Wednesday that a vaccine strategy for the province is already in the works. Dr. Bonnie Henry, the province's top doctor, said Dr. Ross Brown of Vancouver Coastal Health will join the group working to organize the logistics around the distribution of vaccines.Henry said front-line workers as well as those in long-term care homes will likely have priority for vaccinations.She cautioned that while the province has contracts with vaccine makers, there can be challenges with offshore manufacturing."It's very much focused on who is most at risk and how do we protect them best," Henry said. "There's a lot of discussion that needs to happen."Henry said the province hopes to have vaccines in hand by January.—YukonPremier Sandy Silver told the legislature on Wednesday that the territory has been in discussions with various levels of government on a vaccine rollout plan. He said the goal will be to provide vaccines to elderly people and health-care providers.Silver said rural and remote communities should also get priority status in northern regions, a fact he said he's emphasized with federal authorities. The premier said he has joined the other provincial and territorial leaders in pushing for a national strategy to distribute the vaccine. “How confusing would it be for 13 different strategies right across the nation?” he said. Silver said the Pfizer vaccine could cause logistical problems for remote communities because of its cold-storage requirements, but those issues may not apply to other vaccines under development. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 29, 2020.The Canadian Press
The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 4:00 a.m. EST on Nov. 30, 2020:There are 370,238 confirmed cases in Canada._ Quebec: 141,038 confirmed (including 7,033 deaths, 122,014 resolved) _ Ontario: 114,746 confirmed (including 3,648 deaths, 97,319 resolved) _ Alberta: 56,444 confirmed (including 533 deaths, 40,219 resolved) _ British Columbia: 30,884 confirmed (including 395 deaths, 21,304 resolved) _ Manitoba: 16,483 confirmed (including 301 deaths, 7,010 resolved) _ Saskatchewan: 8,239 confirmed (including 45 deaths, 4,589 resolved) _ Nova Scotia: 1,271 confirmed (including 65 deaths, 1,078 resolved) _ New Brunswick: 481 confirmed (including 7 deaths, 363 resolved) _ Newfoundland and Labrador: 333 confirmed (including 4 deaths, 297 resolved) _ Nunavut: 177 confirmed (including 65 resolved) _ Prince Edward Island: 72 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: 370,238 (0 presumptive, 370,238 confirmed including 12,032 deaths, 294,383 resolved)This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2020. The Canadian Press
Britain and the European Union warned each other on Monday that time was running out to reach a Brexit trade deal, with big differences still to be bridged on state aid, enforcement and fishing. The United Kingdom leaves the EU's orbit on Dec. 31, when a transition period of informal membership ends following its formal departure last January, and the sides are trying to secure a deal to govern nearly $1 trillion in annual trade. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is also tackling Europe's worst official death toll from COVID-19, says a deal would be preferable but that Britain, which joined the EU in 1973, would flourish without one.
Intercom priest: Italian cleric reaching parishoners one visit at a timeView on euronews
WILMINGTON, Del. — President-elect Joe Biden will have an all-female senior communications team at his White House, reflecting his stated desire to build out a diverse White House team as well as what’s expected to be a return to a more traditional press operation.Biden campaign communications director Kate Bedingfield will serve as Biden’s White House communications director. Jen Psaki, a longtime Democratic spokeswoman, will be his press secretary.Four of the seven top communications roles at the White House will be filled by women of colour, and it’s the first time the entire senior White House communications team will be entirely female.President Donald Trump upended the ways in which his administration communicated with the press. In contrast with administrations past, Trump’s communications team held few press briefings, and those that did occur were often combative affairs riddled with inaccuracies and falsehoods.Trump himself sometimes served as his own press secretary, taking questions from the media, and he often bypassed the White House press corps entirely by dialing into his favourite Fox News shows.In a statement announcing the White House communications team, Biden said: “Communicating directly and truthfully to the American people is one of the most important duties of a President, and this team will be entrusted with the tremendous responsibility of connecting the American people to the White House.”He added: “These qualified, experienced communicators bring diverse perspectives to their work and a shared commitment to building this country back better.”Bedingfield and Psaki are veterans of the Obama administration. Bedingfield served as communications director for Biden while he was vice-president, and Psaki was a White House communications director and a spokesperson at the State Department.Others joining the White House communications staff are:— Karine Jean Pierre, who was Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris’ chief of staff, will serve as a principal deputy press secretary for the president-elect. She’s another Obama administration alum, having served as a regional political director for the White House office of political affairs.— Pili Tobar, who was communications director for coalitions on Biden’s campaign, will be his deputy White House communications director. She most recently was deputy director for America’s Voice, an immigration reform advocacy group, and was a press staffer for Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.Three Biden campaign senior advisers are being appointed to top communications roles:— Ashley Etienne, a former communications director for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, will serve as Harris’ communications director.— Symone Sanders, another senior adviser on the Biden campaign, will be Harris’ senior adviser and chief spokesperson.— Elizabeth Alexander, who served as the former vice-president’s press secretary and his communications director while he was a U.S. senator from Delaware, will serve as Jill Biden’s communications director.After his campaign went virtual due to the coronavirus pandemic, Biden faced some of his own criticism for not being accessible to reporters. But near the end of the campaign, he answered questions from the press more frequently, and his transition team has held weekly briefings since he was elected president.The choice of a number of Obama administration veterans — many with deep relationships with the Washington press corps — also suggests a return to a more congenial relationship with the press.___Taylor reported from Washington.Alexandra Jaffe And Andrew Taylor, The Associated Press
LONDON — In late October, Matthew Jones was enjoying a rare “bit of normality” at his London barber shop in a year that has been short on that. He was cutting hair and laughing with colleagues — when the news landed that the business would have to close for the second time.Jones, 43, endured 15 weeks without any income after the three Sharpes barber shops he co-owns were forced to shut in the spring as the government imposed restrictions to slow the spread of the coronavirus. The shops, including a tiny one in east London’s trendy Hackney neighbourhood, had been open for four months when Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordered a new lockdown.“It was a body blow for everyone that works here,” he said. “You’re just building up your business again, trying to get back to a normal lifestyle. And then all of a sudden it’s all taken away.”As in much of Europe, the United Kingdom saw a sharp resurgence of COVID-19 infections this autumn, and officials imposed a second round of severe restrictions. The suffering has been especially acute in the U.K., where more than 57,000 people have died in Europe’s deadliest outbreak and the economy has plunged into the worst recession on record.While small businesses all over the world are struggling as the virus forces many to close outright while also remaking consumer habits, many in the U.K. are facing the double whammy of the pandemic and the economic uncertainty caused by Britain's exit from the European Union.___EDITOR’S NOTE — Small businesses around the world are fighting for survival amid the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. Whether they make it will affect not just local economies but the fabric of communities. Associated Press journalists tell their stories in the series “Small Business Struggles.”___Many British businesses managed to survive the spring lockdown with generous aid from the government, including grants like the 10,000-pound ($13,300) one Jones received and a program that pays a portion of wages to workers whose employers are struggling. The measures have helped keep the unemployment rate relatively low at 4.8% — though it has been rising and is forecast to hit 7.5% next spring.The latest round of restrictions could pack a bigger punch, coming smack in the crucial weeks ahead of Christmas. Even before the second lockdown was announced, a survey conducted by Britain’s Office for National Statistics showed that one in seven U.K. companies reported having “little or no confidence” they would survive the next three months.Jones estimates that the pandemic wiped out 60% of his income this year. With his shops closed, the single dad, who has a 10-year-old daughter, is doing odd jobs on building sites — and praying that business will return enough to ease the pain once restrictions lift on Dec. 2. The five other barbers who work in his shops are self-employed, and trying to scrape by as well.“It could be really tough if it carries on," Jones said, as he put up Christmas lights in his empty shop on Hackney's Broadway Market.Hackney has seen steady gentrification in the past two decades. Located in London's historically gritty East End, the borough was once known as the home of a stretch dubbed “Murder Mile," but Hackney is now filled with trendy bars and expensive apartments.Broadway Market itself is lined with some 60 small shops, cafes and restaurants, and before COVID-19 hit, the street would throng with locals and tourists coming for the hugely popular weekend market. These days, some shops are doing better than others, but everyone is scrambling to adapt.Jane Howe, who has run Broadway Bookshop since 2005, said the weekends would often get so busy that her shop would take in thousands of pounds in sales per day on the back of 7.99-pound books.For a shop that relies heavily on foot traffic, the cycles of coronavirus restrictions have been hard. In June, Howe launched a website for the first time.Even once her doors reopened, the tiny space meant she couldn't welcome back her usual crowds. Sales from the website don't come close to making up for the in-person ones she's lost — especially during the crucial Christmas period, when her shop typically rakes in a third of its annual sales.“We’re missing out on the impulse buys, the ‘sweetie by the till factor,’” she said.With the shop pulling in just over half what it used to, Howe has stopped paying herself and, when one of her two employees left, she was not able to replace her.Like Jones, she’s managed to keep paying the rent thanks to a government grant. She has also taken out a 50,000-pound state loan.“What we are doing, which is our best, I think is working for the moment,” she said.Others haven't fared as well. A much-loved bakery next to Sharpes that was part of 66-year-old family-run chain closed for good, Jones said.Percy Ingle blamed the closure of its 48 bakeries on many factors that predated the pandemic, including rising rents and wages and the likelihood that the low-margin business wouldn't provide a good return on needed capital investments. Like many businesses, even those that were allowed to remain open, it shut for several weeks in the spring before reopening with safety measures.The bakery closure stands in contrast to a trend seen on much of the street, whose butchers, fishmongers, greengrocers and delis have done relatively well thanks to a surge in interest from fairly affluent locals who are now working from home and doing more shopping in the neighbourhood.Popular coffee shop and roastery Climpsons struggled to adapt at first — the cafe was shut, the wholesale business almost completely wiped out, and 34 of the company’s 42 workers went on the government furlough scheme in the first weeks of the pandemic, co-owner Danny Davies said.But now on weekdays, Climpsons often serves more take-away coffees than before the pandemic. That makes up for losses on the wholesale side, which supplied restaurants and offices.“There’s the suburban community high street success story I think, which is a lot of great local businesses are thriving — much higher sales than before even, if they sell things that people can grab and go home with,” Davies said.Down the street, Grigorios Vaitsas says business at his deli, Isle of Olive, has not been too bad, even though he closed his small indoor cafe and Christmas shopping events have been cancelled.But Vaitsas and his partner, Paulina, who import their products from Greece, have been losing sleep over another threat: Brexit.The couple are worried about the tariffs and bureaucracy if Britain leaves the economic embrace of the EU at the end of the year with no deal in place. That combined with the pandemic makes a “perfect storm,” Vaitsas said.“We are holding our breath,” he said.Vaitsas laughed when asked where he sees himself in six months. He says he's “operating on a week by week basis.”Other business owners agree that they don't have the capacity to think too far ahead.“Most business people sort of wrote this year off…. Let’s just keep our heads down, pay our bills, pay the rent, and try not to worry,” said Jones. “And next year is another year, and we can start again.”Sylvia Hui, The Associated Press
A piece of Marysville history will disappear when part of the old cotton mill is demolished in the coming weeks. The old mill, which is currently a government building known as Marysville Place, is the heart of the neighbourhood's rich heritage. Built in the mid-1880s by Alexander 'Boss' Gibson, the large brick building overlooks the Nashwaak River in the Fredericton suburb .A two-story annex attached to the rear of the building, formerly the dyehouse when the mill was operational, is currently fenced off.A demolition crew is already on site and they're ready to take it down the week of Dec. 7.That part of the building hasn't been used in recent years because it's no longer structurally safe. Terry Arnold, co-chair of the Marysville Heritage Committee, said it's always sad to see part of the old mill go. "It's hard to see it happen, but I can understand why it's happening — if it's unsafe and there's no resources available for fixing it up," Arnold said.He said he believes the annex hasn't been used since the late 1970s, when the mill shut down and the building was acquired by the provincial government.Arnold, who has lived in Marysville his whole life, said he never worked at the mill but remembers being inside it once as a teenager, and remembers its distinct smell. Years later, when Arnold and other members of the Marysville heritage committee, were given a tour of the Annex, Arnold said the building's unique aroma was still there. "It smelled exactly the same as it did to me back in the early 1960s," he recalled. "It still had that — I call it cotton mill smell," adding that it wasn't a bad smell — just distinct.The provincial government has renovated the main building over the years and currently uses it for offices.Jill Green, New Brunswick's minister of transportation and infrastructure, said the former dyehouse is in rough shape."The roof has collapsed, the beams inside are deteriorated to the point where the structure is not safe, so it's time to bring it down so that nobody gets hurt," Green said. Green said she worked at Marysville Place in the late 1980s and remembers the annex was sometimes used for storage.Green said there it still contains old drums that were used to store dye, and added that they will be removed and properly disposed of as part of the project. A small section that connects the mill with the annex will not be torn down, and crews are working to block that section off now. Green said that some of the bricks and the beams in the annex will be reused to build a bicycle storage for people who work at Marysville place.The contractor doing the demolition is also planning to reuse some of the materials in other projects around the province.And while there is no commitment on how the land will be used, the province is considering extending the community garden that's already on site. CNF Maillet is the company doing the demolition. The project will cost the government $426,000 — that includes the demolition and the work to support the remaining wall.The debris will be cleaned up by the end of the year.
BAMAKO, Mali — The cities of Kidal, Gao and Menaka in northern Mali were hit by simultaneous attacks on Monday against military camps housing international forces, according to residents and a United Nations official.Kidal resident Souleymane Ag Mohamed Ali said he heard more than 10 explosions coming from the direction of the camp for U.N. peacekeepers and soldiers for the French Operation Barkhane.A U.N. official confirmed the attacks on three cities, saying rockets fell Monday morning on the camp in Kidal, and at the same time there were similar attacks in Gao and Menaka. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not permitted to speak to press on the matter.There were not further details.No group has claimed responsibility for the simultaneous attacks, but they bear the mark of jihadist groups linked to al-Qaida that carry out attacks in both northern and central Mali.Attacks on the camps of international forces are frequent, but this is the first time that towns several hundred kilometres apart have been attacked around the same time — a sign of the co-ordination capabilities of jihadist groups in Mali.Baba Ahmed, The Associated Press
It was during one of the early planning sessions for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics that Chief Gibby Jacob heard a provincial government official talking about the Callahan Valley, which would eventually host cross-country skiing and ski jumping during the Games.Jacob, who participated in the bidding process for the Olympics and was a member of the Games organizing committee board, finally put up his hand."I asked who the hell is this Callahan and how the hell did he get his name on our lands," the Squamish Nation hereditary chief said with a chuckle. "They all looked at each other. I said find out and let us know."It turns out the Callahan Valley, located near Whistler, B.C., was named after one of the early surveyors in the region."That was the start of our big push to get our names back on places," said Jacob.Indigenous groups had a voice in organizing and hosting the 2010 Games. But Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart has suggested any movement to bring another Games to the city should be headed by Indigenous leaders.In early November, Vancouver city council voted to postpone a decision on whether it wants to explore making a bid. City staff are expected to present a report to council in early 2021.Stewart has said one of his conditions for supporting a bid is that the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh — the three Indigenous First Nations whose traditional territory includes Vancouver — head the Olympic bid committee."I have talked to the Nations about this and there's interest there," the Vancouver Sun reported Stewart saying in a state-of-the-city address to the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade.Emails to Stewart's office asking to explain the mayor's proposal were not immediately answered.Khelsilem, a councillor with the Squamish Nation Council, isn't aware of any formal talks about leading a bid."We haven't had any formal discussion about it," he said. "We haven't made any formal decision about whether we want or don't want. And we haven't had any formal discussions with our neighbouring nations."Representatives of the Musqueam and Tsleil-Waututh did not respond to interview requests.Khelsilem said before any decision is made, the pros and cons of hosting an Olympics must be weighed."The reality is that something like hosting an Olympics requires a significant amount of investment and support from both the federal and provincial governments," he said. "While there are a number of reported advantages, there's also a number of drawbacks."I think a lot of that workflow needs to be figured out, especially in the context of the challenges that we're going to face over the next decade and the challenges that we're facing on a number of fronts."Furthermore, Jacob said: "there's a lot to be gained by being involved [in a bid] for our people.""I don't think that our nations, given what we have as far as leadership resources and how fast they seem to change, would be able to take things right from scratch to completion," he said.Creating a common agendaWith 15 of the venues used for the 2010 Olympics built on First Nation traditional territories, Indigenous support was crucial for the Games success. The Squamish, Tsleil-Waututh, Musqueam and Lil'Wat nations formed The Four Host First Nations, a non-profit organization with the goals of uniting Canada's Indigenous people and encouraging inclusion across the country."I think it created a common agenda," said Jacob. "By doing that and achieving what we set out, it was totally outstanding."I think it showed leadership that the four separate First nations could work together for a common purpose and get benefits from it."WATCH | President of 2010 Games says Vancouver should bid for 2030:Involvement in the Games raised awareness of Indigenous issues across Canada, he said."When we first started out, we were pretty invisible in our own territories," said Jacob.Indigenous groups did "fairly well in compensation for the use of our lands," he said. The Olympics also led to traditional Indigenous names being returned to locations and landmarks plus recognition of First Nation arts and culture.John Furlong, who was head of the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC), is part of the group looking at the 2030 Games. He said any bid would be impossible without Indigenous participation."I see no scenario at all in which First Nations are not involved," he said. "They were a difference maker in 2010."First Nations are in multiple new business since 2010. My instincts tell me they will be keenly interested in being involved again."
The leader of Ethiopia's rebellious northern forces said on Monday he was still fighting close to the regional capital of Mekelle after it was captured by government troops. Debretsion Gebremichael, who heads the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF), also told Reuters in a text message that some Eritrean soldiers fighting alongside the Ethiopian federal forces had been taken prisoner by his side. Billene Seyoum, the spokeswoman for the Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, told Reuters that responding to "delusions of a criminal clique" was not the government's focus.
Encore très reconnaissant de la chance qu’il a eu de jouer Denis Lemieux, le fameux gardien de but des Chiefs de Charlestown dans le film culte Slap Shot, alors que l’œuvre a su résister à l’épreuve du temps. Vivant à Saint-Léandre depuis près de 47 ans, Yvon Barrette a conservé plusieurs liens avec ses fans et le monde du hockey. Et pour démontrer cela, Yvon Barrette décide de raconter la fois où il avait été invité à Toronto pour signer des autographes une journée de 2001. Il avait alors pris l’avion à Mont-Joli, lorsque cette option de transport était encore disponible à l’époque, ce qu’il faisait plutôt fréquemment. Avant de signer des autographes, il devait se rendre à une entrevue à une radio locale sportive. Moins de 10 minutes après son arrivée que l’animateur lui a déjà demandé subtilement de lui sortir une des répliques du film, encore iconique à ce jour (voir : « trade me right f***ing now »). « J’ai bien vu que le personnage était connu. Le monde trippait dessus depuis 1977, mais il y a eu un regain depuis le début des années 2000 », a relaté Yvon Barrette. Après son entrevue, il a pu assister à une partie de hockey de la ligue nationale. À sa sortie, un des joueurs de l’équipe américaine de hockey aux Olympiques s’est avancé vers lui pour le prendre dans ses bras. En effet, son personnage de Denis Lemieux aurait inspiré sa carrière au hockey. Yvon Barrette a été absolument foudroyé, mais selon ses dires, son personnage aurait marqué plusieurs joueurs de hockey ou, généralement, plusieurs athlètes. Slap Shot serait un des films les mieux aimés des sportifs à travers le monde. Tant et si bien que la folie a commencé à Toronto, mais s’est ensuite poursuivie avec des expositions de collection et d’autographe. Pourquoi est-ce que tout le monde aime autant Denis Lemieux? D’après Yvon Barrette, le personnage n’était heureusement pas l’interprétation d’un joueur professionnel déjà connu, tel Maurice Richard. Denis Lemieux était donc unique. « C’est à cause de ma façon de créer et d’interpréter ce personnage, il était attachant et a rejoint beaucoup de monde », a-t-il dit. Les fans du film se souviennent premièrement de Denis Lemieux. « C’est moi qui ouvre le film. Ça commence, il n’y a même pas de générique, c’est moi dans une entrevue télévisée qui explique “les finer points of hockey” et je dis des conneries », a lancé M. Barrette. « Il parle mal anglais, alors ça fait rire », en nommant en exemple la scène avec Paul Newman au bar. « On a été obligés de reprendre la scène 25 fois parce que Newman riait trop », a-t-il rigolé. L’idée du concept est venue entre autres de la scénariste Nancy Dowd. Son frère Ned, joueur de hockey pour les Jets de Johnstown en Pennsylvanie, l’a contactée afin qu’elle vienne voir d’elle-même les développements de l’équipe. Ayant une carrière prometteuse, Ned a finalement reçu un coup dans le dos qui l’a empêché de continuer à jouer, tellement le sport était violent. Nancy Dowd a donc placé des micros dans la chambre des joueurs pour bien cerner la dynamique de l’équipe. Elle s’est rapprochée du club sportif, au point où le film est finalement devenu un réel documentaire, tous les détails respectant la réalité. « C’est pourquoi, je crois, que le film a rejoint autant les gens », croit Barrette. « C’est la grande qualité du film. » Il amène un bon point, selon lequel l’histoire est axée sur une équipe, et non sur un seul joueur. « Les films de hockey ne décrivent jamais l’histoire d’une équipe de bons à rien qui doivent se serrer les coudes pour gagner la coupe », a-t-il dit. Étant une comédie, elle n’est pas nécessairement vue ainsi, car la violence est proéminente. « Mais ce n’est pas ça, ce film est beaucoup de choses. Un film féministe même, les femmes de joueurs sont très présentes. » Un père exigeant Né en septembre 1946 à Alma au Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, Yvon Barrette est né au sein d’une très large famille. « À Noël, juste avec les cousins, on devait être au moins 70 personnes », a-t-il affirmé. Son père était entrepreneur électricien, travaillant avec son propre père qui lui avait originellement lancé l’entreprise, appelée « Barrette et fils ». Sa mère, elle, était fleuriste et détenait une âme d’artiste. Elle a aussi traîné un problème d’alcool pendant plusieurs années. Son père espérait fortement que Yvon reprenne les rênes de son entreprise, mais ce dernier a toujours eu une forte aversion pour l’électricité depuis sa tendre jeunesse. Un diplômé de l’École nationale de théâtre, André Saint-Denis, est venu donner des cours de théâtre amateur à Alma, et M. Saint-Denis a rapidement vu son potentiel et l’a poussé à appliquer à l’École nationale. Yvon Barrette est donc parti sur le pouce d’Alma jusqu’à Québec un beau jour de 1968, accompagné d’un ami. Après une audition stressante et forte en émotions, il a été choisi sur plus de 500 candidats. Mais cela ne faisait pas l’affaire de son père, qui n’y voyait que l’insécurité financière. Mais Yvon savait que ce n’était pas une coïncidence : il n’avait pas le choix d’accepter une telle offre. La première fois qu’il a visité le Bas-Saint-Laurent fut lors d’une présentation de pièce de théâtre à Rimouski, nommée « Pas de TV ». Rapidement et pour la première fois, il est tombé amoureux de la région. Il n’a toutefois pas été surpris, car sa mère était originaire de Saint-Irénée dans Charlevoix, « donc j’avais ça dans le sang ». La deuxième fois, ce fut dans un contexte de vacances estivales. Habitant à Montréal, lui et deux amis sculpteurs, Serge Otis et Robert Émard, fréquentaient le même bar, la Taverne Cherrier, sur le boulevard Saint-Denis. « Serge nous a proposé, “cet été on devrait partir les trois et louer un chalet en Gaspésie pour l’été », a-t-il expliqué. Et c’est ce qu’ils ont fait. La troupe a décidé de visiter Saint-Léandre, parce que le neveu de Serge Otis y était propriétaire d’une maison au village. Tout d’abord, ils ont commencé leur séjour en passant la soirée au bar Le Vieux Loup de Matane pour ensuite se rendre à la demeure. Arrivant sur place, Yvon est monté sur une butte tout près de la maison, et c’est là qu’il y reçoit un « message céleste » – explique-il en se bidonnant – de rester à Saint-Léandre. Bref, il a eu le coup de foudre pour l’emplacement. En deux temps trois mouvements, il achète sa première petite maisonnée à Saint-Léandre pour le coût modeste de 900 $. Et aujourd’hui, cela fait 47 ans qu’il réside au sein de la municipalité, depuis 1973, et il n’a jamais regardé en arrière. Et même s’il continuait à jouer dans des productions télévisées ou cinématographiques, il faisait toujours le transport aller-retour de Saint-Léandre. Pendant les années 1970, ce fut l’époque du retour à la terre. « C’était l’amour libre. Nous étions bien accueillis par les gens du village, mais ostracisés par certains. » Quelques années plus tard, il a eu l’opportunité de racheter la propriété du neveu de Serge Otis, d’une superficie d’un lot de terre, où il y reste encore. Il loue la partie cultivable aux agriculteurs voisins, et le tiers de la parcelle de terre est boisé. M. Barrette s’est ouvert sur le problème d’alcool sévère qu’il a trimballé jusqu’en 1984 environ. Tout a commencé lorsque la mère d’Yvon est décédée des complications de son alcoolisme. À 16 ans seulement, il commence à boire pour mieux comprendre l’attrait de la boisson. Son problème se développe avec les années, l’alcool comblant un besoin. Quelques années après Slap Shot, quelqu’un lui a fait réaliser que la raison pour laquelle il possède une addiction à l’alcool est que son foie ne filtre plus l’alcool. Il va directement au cerveau. « Tu arrêtes alors de penser que t’es con. Quand tu fais cette réalisation-là, tu comprends qu’en arrêtant de boire, tu coupes le problème. Et automatiquement, c’est réglé », a-t-il analysé. Il est désormais sobre depuis plus de 35 ans. Pendant la poursuite de sa carrière de comédien, Yvon Barrette a longuement travaillé dans les théâtres d’été. Il a joué deux différentes pièces à Amqui avec Jean Cossette, ainsi qu’une autre à Trois-Pistoles. Également, pendant plus de 15 ans, Yvon a été responsable d’une troupe de théâtre de Saint-Léandre, leur permettant d’écrire des textes et de créer. Pour jouer, ils ont même dû transformer le sous-sol de l’église du village en théâtre. Le théâtre le plus intéressant qu’il n’a jamais fait était en région bas-laurentienne. Par exemple, il a participé à une pièce écrite par Gilles Rémond pour les Opérations Dignité prévue de jouer 30 fois au Bas-Saint-Laurent et en Gaspésie. Ils ont été emmenés à la présenter dans les petites municipalités pour encourager les gens à investir dans leur municipalité et créer de l’emploi. Finalement, la pièce a été victime de son succès, et ils l’ont joué 175 fois. Bien plus qu’un comédien Outre son jeu d’acteur et le théâtre, Yvon Barrette est également copropriétaire d’une entreprise travaillant le moulin à scie, la Scierie L’Ancèdre de Saint-Léandre. Il y travaille aux côtés de René Tremblay depuis 1994. Leur saison haute est estivale. « Je commence tôt. Déplacer quotidiennement quelques tonnes de bois à 74 ans, mon travail me tient en forme », a-t-il dit. La fille de René Tremblay, Camille Therrien-Tremblay, propriétaire de CAMM Construction d’Abris et de Micro-Maisons, s’est associée à la compagnie. Ils sont présentement en train d’agrandir le moulin et de bâtir un atelier pour permettre la construction des mini-maisons à l’intérieur. Le moulin a permis à des citoyens de travailler à Saint-Léandre, et ils ont eu jusqu’à 15 employés. L’opération est même devenue une coopérative à un moment donné. « Aux premières crises du bois-d’œuvre, ça a tout foiré, mais on a réussi à soutenir l’entreprise et régler les problèmes financiers », a-t-il ajouté. L’arrivée de Camille a donné une nouvelle vie à leur moulin. Avec la pandémie, l’année fut tranquille pour Yvon Barrette comme il ne pouvait voyager. Il passe beaucoup de temps avec sa douce moitié, Nicole Lacroix. Son fils unique, Blaise Barrette, qui soufflera prochainement ses 50 bougies, habite également à Saint-Léandre. Son fils a élevé ses deux enfants au village aussi, un des deux étant l’influenceuse Lysandre Nadeau, qui se retrouve donc à être la petite-fille de Yvon. Et au travers, il prend le temps de parler aux fans de Slap Shot, qui sont toujours aussi nombreux qu’il y a trente ans. « Contrairement aux joueurs professionnels, si je suis invité à un salon de hockey ou peu importe, je ne reste pas pendant 2-3 heures, mais toute la journée », a-t-il pointé. Il dit prendre le temps de revenir sur le film et de parler de tout et de rien avec eux. « Ce n’est pas mon rôle d’acteur qui a pris la place. C’est la possibilité que j’ai trouvée à travers de communiquer avec des gens », a-t-il conclu. Yvon Barrette privilégie l’expérience humaine qui s’est dégagée de son rôle au cinéma en tant que Denis Lemieux, gardien de but des Chiefs. Et il demeure très reconnaissant d’avoir pu participer à ce projet, qui a certainement changé sa vie.Claudie Arseneault, Initiative de journalisme local, Mon Matane
Residents in Ottawa's McKellar Park neighbourhood are upset by a proposed electoral map that would move them from Kitchissippi ward to Bay ward. The new map, which would see city council grow by one in the next municipal election, is favoured by independent consultants. It's the sixth map presented to council and was requested in July after the first five maps met with widespread disapproval. McKellar Park residents Stacey Coburn and her husband Matthew Baraniak said they feel there's been little transparency, given how late the changes came in the consultation process. "This really wasn't communicated well to residents," Coburn said. "It was handled in a way that was very complicated and somewhat withholding, to be honest with you — that this option wasn't even on the table several months ago.""We have a community here, and it's important that such big decisions be transparent," Baraniak said. "As citizens of the ward, we deserve that." Part of McKellar Park's identitySybil Powell, president of the McKellar Park Community Association, said the neighbourhood's residents feel a close identity with Kitchissippi: they shop and send their kids to school in neighbouring Westboro and are invested in ward's more urban issues. "We sort of thought of us as being part of that downtown, sort of semi-downtown ... feeling, which is not the same as being in the suburban ward," she said.Powell wrote an open letter to Mayor Jim Watson, posted on the association's website, that details a list of concerns McKellar Park residents have about the shift. Many residents, including Coburn and Baraniak, have also written to the mayor and to Kitchissippi Coun. Jeff Leiper. The neighbourhood isn't being moved to Bay ward, Powell noted, because the two wards' issues are closely aligned."They're moving the boundary on a numbers issue. And the numbers aren't big," she said. Ward overpopulatedLeiper told CBC he'd originally asked to keep Kitchissippi's boundaries intact, and while he's received dozens of letters from residents, the ward is becoming overpopulated — making it harder to offer proper representation. "Kitchissippi is well over the amount of population that it should have for one councillor to be able to serve effectively," he said, adding the proposed change would move around 7,000 residents out of the ward. But Powell said Bay ward will also become more dense, with developments going in around future LRT stations, and feels moving the eight blocks that make up McKellar Park won't make much of a difference. Concern over schoolingMany McKellar Park residents also expressed worry that school boundary lines will change and they will no longer be able to send their children to Broadview Public School. Leiper said he's asked the school board about this possibility and doesn't think it's likely to happen. "If you've got an elementary school across the street, the school board is not going to make the street the boundary," he said.The recommended new ward boundaries go to finance committee Tuesday for approval, then on to city council Dec. 9.Leiper said he hasn't decided how he will vote, but vowed to take all concerns into consideration before making up his mind.
Joyce Quist-Therson's COVID-19 relief package came after months of stretching her pension cheque to cover her groceries."It was really God-sent," she said of the package from the African-Canadian Association of Ottawa (ACAO).The ACAO box includes staples like rice, pasta, potatoes and cooking oil, some of which Quist-Therson said have lasted more than a month so far.Quist-Therson lost her part-time job in March and has been reluctant to go from store to store, hunting for bargains. She's been taking COVID-19 seriously after her brother was hospitalized with the illness this spring. She said he has since recovered, but is still not back to his normal, energetic self."It was very close to home, so I'm not taking any chances at all," she said.Black community harder hit by COVID-19The ACAO, a collection of 53 community organizations, is distributing relief packages — including grocery staples — to help people who've lost income or are required to isolate due to public health restrictions.The city's Black community has been disproportionately affected with COVID-19 diagnoses. Data released last week by Ottawa Public Health shows Black people account for 37 per cent of cases, but just seven per cent of the city's population.Quist-Therson now volunteers for ACAO, scheduling the delivery of those relief boxes.She said she's spoken to parents juggling home schooling their children and nurses who've lost the second jobs they used to make ends meet.Help goes a long wayKerry Ann Thompson, project coordinator for the relief package program, said she tried to think like a recipient in designing the packages."We went through the list and said, what would stretch the most? As opposed to frozen things or even attempting poultry, when some people are vegetarian — we tried to stick to staples," she said.Thompson said they're responding to the needs of larger families and trying to help recently arrived immigrants overcome communication barriers.What's rewarding, she said, is "delivering to a single mom with four kids and just knowing that help will go such a long way."People don't expect that much food. They really think it's going to be a small ration … It's always, 'Wow!'"More help needed, ACAO saysThe program is using Africa World Market's warehouse to assemble and distribute the packages."When ACAO approached us asking for donations, asking to help them source the products at a lower cost so we could reach more families ... we jumped on board," said Mory Kaba, chief operations officer of the store on Cyrville Road.John Adeyefa, president of ACAO, said more donations and volunteers are needed."We have served over 100 families in the Ottawa community, we are expecting to serve much more," he said. "We have so much demand for assistance and we intend to do that."Adeyefa said the group is also distributing cloth masks and coordinating virtual mental health seminars. Those initiatives and the relief packages were funded, in part, by a $60,000 grant from the federal government distributed through the Red Cross.
A local cat rescue group that finds rural homes for feral cats is turning donated coolers into warm, winter shelters."What's nice is that they're weatherproof, they're easy to clean [and] they're already insulated," said Laura Clark, the driving force behind Barn Buddies.Clark uses a 15-centimetre drill bit to create a hole in the side of a plastic cooler. The container is stuffed with straw, and when combined with the cat's body heat, provides a space safe during frigid temperatures.Untamed or homeless cats are at risk in winter, unlike coddled felines with access to warm laps and cozy couches."With the temperatures getting colder, they run the risk of frostbite. Their ears will start to chip away at the tips. They ... end up with these awful curled ears," said Clark, as she prepared to drill a hole in yet another donated cooler. Barn Buddies is a volunteer-run charity based in Greely, Ont., that acts as a middleman between animal shelters and people willing to accept feral cats. In many cases, these cats are destined to be euthanized, because they aren't candidates for adoption."The rescue groups make efforts to try to socialize them. But the cats are too overwhelmed. They spend six months in a foster home hiding under a bed," said Clark. "We're trying to give them kind of a similar environment that they're used to, but in a safe way. They have food. They have shelter."Clark, 33, established Barn Buddies after the family moved to their Greely, Ont. farm in 2017."We essentially inherited 30 plus cats that were rapidly procreating. There were kittens everywhere. It was very overwhelming and very sad," she said. Barn Buddies asks barn owners to commit to keeping the cats in a large crate for a two-to-three week transition period."It's not just show up, let the cat loose and hope for the best." said Clark. "They have to imprint on their new space." To date, Barn Buddies has placed more than 500 cats, including one at the RCMP barn in Pakenham. "Playing the matchmaker and seeing the cats go from a really bad scenario to a safe barn … is just so rewarding," said Clark.But even warm barns or heated garages can use a cat cooler."They have … lots of nice warm places for the cats to go," said Clark. "[But] sometimes the cats are too freaked out to go where the humans hang out." So, the coolers are placed in a quite spot in the barn or garage."The cats will use them. It's a sense of security. They can hide in them," said Clark."You'll see the cat has formed a little nest in there."Clark is always looking for barns or garages willing to provide a home for a feral cat, whether out of kindness or for more practical reasons."They will hunt mice, rats, and chipmunks. We've placed a lot of cats in shops in granaries. It's a really good alternative to poison," said Clark.All the cats she places have been neutered and immunized. The idea is to control the population without resorting to euthanasia."You have a couple of cats in a barn. It's cute. But suddenly two or three cats grow into like 30 cats. So it can be very overwhelming."Barn Buddies helps with the final step of the trap-neuter-release process. Releasing cats into supportive environments, with food to eat, mice to chase and a cooler-turned-home.
The Niagara Falls of news releases into any journalist's in-box attest that there is always plenty of contention for the moving spotlight of media attention.As early as March of this year, the Pew Research Institute, a think-tank that studies media trends, observed that people had become "immersed in COVID-19 news."And while other issues have occasionally nudged the pandemic and its economic impact off centre stage, it is hard to think of many subjects that have so consistently hogged the limelight for so many months in a row.According to one of Canada's leading environmental economists, that single-minded focus has both diverted and delayed attention on a subject that he expected in 2020 would finally get its moment in the sun: climate change.Shut out by pandemic"For two months or even three, people like me were shut right out because ministers were dealing with aspects of COVID in cabinet," said Mark Jaccard, one of Canada's foremost climate scientists who is often described as an architect of the pioneering carbon-pricing scheme introduced by the B.C. Liberals back in 2008.With what may have turned out to be bad timing, the Simon Fraser University professor's political manual, The Citizen's Guide to Climate Success, finally hit bookstores in February — just before the pandemic began to dominate the news agenda.While inevitably disappointed, the longtime adviser to governments on practical climate economic policy remains philosophical. Jaccard's biggest idea — one that some climate activists may find frustrating — is that the only realistic path to defeating climate change is political action to install "climate-sincere" politicians and governments and then hold their feet to the fire.While personal attempts to eat less meat, say, or buy an electric car make individuals feel good about themselves and may influence a few others, Jaccard insists that the short-term economic advantages of adding carbon to the atmosphere are so lucrative that they require concerted government action to push things the other way.And putting political pressure on governments means garnering media and public attention, something harder to do when the whole world is worried about something that seems far more pressing — namely a deep economic recession caused by a deadly health crisis that just won't go away."You have policy windows," Jaccard said, referring to those moments such as after Hurricane Katrina, which struck New Orleans and the surrounding area in 2005, or following the past year's devastating forest fires in Australia and the U.S. west, when the public and politicians are forced to take climate issues seriously.He said COVID-19 is just the 2020 version of a series of global events that have redirected attention away from the climate change issue just as it was beginning to take off.'We got really excited'"We got really excited about the Kyoto Protocol in the late 1990s, and then along came 9/11 — and everyone got diverted with the U.S. wanting to invade countries in the Middle East," Jaccard said, referring to terrorist attacks on the United States on Sept. 11, 2001."And then you could say the same thing when we got excited about Hurricane Katrina, and you had Republicans and Democrats in the mid-2000s putting together policy ... and China started to say, 'Uh-oh we better get going.' And then along came the  financial crisis."As the world, and especially Canada, seemed to be getting the pandemic under control during the summer, climate advocates were hoping their issue would come to the top of the agenda. But subsequent waves of the disease once again pushed COVID-19 stories to the top of the "most read" columns, narrowing the news hole for climate coverage.While political analysts were expecting a nod to green spending in Monday's fiscal update, they say short-term allocations will mostly be diverted, quite reasonably, to bailing out parts of the Canadian economy devastated by a new round of pandemic lockdowns.Jaccard says that has added to delays, as the latest government plan — to use post-pandemic economic recovery spending to advance the green agenda in a way that will finally put Canada on a path to Paris 2030 — has meant previous policy plans and spending have been deferred.Despite the latest postponement, Jaccard remains hopeful. Conversations with conservatives have left him with the impression that even a change of government would not prevent Canada from moving forward on the climate change agenda.And while he thinks the Trudeau government remains "climate-sincere," he says media attention is essential to keep pressure on the Liberals not to spend too much money on political feel-good plans, such as tree planting, at the expense of real measures to cut carbon output. As The Economist reported recently, growing trees in one place doesn't mean they aren't being cut down elsewhere, and natural systems tend to return their carbon back to the atmosphere."If you're allowing someone to keep polluting and then you're sort of convincing yourself that you have offset that or compensated it," Jaccard said, "the careful evidence doesn't support that."Part of Jaccard's continued optimism is due to the election of what looks like a climate-sincere Democratic government south of the border that — even without the support of a Republican Senate — can begin to make greenhouse gas-limiting regulations.The election of a Joe Biden presidency may have created a new "policy window," he said, as the U.S. moves toward existing Canadian schemes such as the coal phaseout regulation, where Canada is a leader. Meanwhile, Jaccard expects a U.S. push toward such things as the clean fuel standard, which will coax Canada into following suit as manufacturers insist on one set of rules for all of North America.Follow Don Pittis on Twitter: @don_pittis
A South Korean court on Monday found former president Chun Doo-hwan guilty of defaming a former democracy activist who was involved in protests against his government in the 1980s and handed him an eight-month suspended jail sentence. The trial was held in the southwestern city of Gwangju, where hundreds, possibly thousands, were believed to have been killed when local citizens rose up against Chun's authoritarian government on May 18, 1980 and were crushed by police, paratroopers and tanks. Chun committed the defamation against Catholic priest and activist Cho Chul-hyun, also known as Cho Bi-oh in his 2017 memoirs, when Chun called Cho a "despicable liar" for testifying that government helicopters had fired on civilians, the ruling said.
The provincial government has barely made a dent in adopting a sweeping series of recommendations coming out of the Muskrat Falls inquiry, and one of the consequences could be another blunder with the new adult mental health and addictions facility in St. John's, says an outspoken critic.Meanwhile, the minister leading the effort to implement the instructions of Justice Richard LeBlanc says his recommendations will be adopted "across the board."But with the province still in the grips of a global pandemic, converting those recommendations into government policy will take longer than expected, said Andrew Parsons, Minister of Industry, Energy and Technology."I would be more worried about whether we do it, or not, rather than how fast we can do it, because the goal is to do these recommendations," Parsons said.Of the 17 recommendations, only three have been implemented, though none of the seven "key" recommendations have been adopted.Being built in a flood plainA critic of the over-budget, long-delayed project, and whose many warnings have become reality, is not happy about the progress, and the government's use of the pandemic as an excuse."Not every public official or minister is engaged in the pandemic. It doesn't appear to have effected their announcement of all kinds of new programs spending money we don't have. Must be an election coming," said Ron Penney, one of the earliest and most outspoken opponents of the Nalcor-led Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project.In fact, Penney, who chairs the Muskrat Falls Concerned Citizens Committee, said the province could be stumbling into another problem with the new mental health and addictions facility in St. John's, which will replace the Waterford Hospital.The $330 million hospital is being constructed through a public-private partnership and will be located adjacent to the Health Sciences Centre, on a flood plain.The No. 1 recommendation from Justice LeBlanc is that the province hire an independent external expert to review any public project with a budget of $50 million or more.If that were the case with the new mental health facility, it would never had been approved for the current location, said Penney, a former St. John's city manager."If anybody independent had looked at that decision, no doubt they would have changed because it's in a flood plain, and the province does that mapping for the flood plain, and it's just totally an unsuitable location for the Waterford Hospital," he said.In the past, government officials have said two new berms will protect the site from flooding.And in a statement, an official with the Department of Transportation and Works said "contracts were awarded to independent financial and procurement, fairness, and technical advisors prior to the start of the project."Meanwhile, the final report from the public inquiry investigating the Muskrat Falls project was released in early March, more than two years after the commission of inquiry was established by former premier Dwight Ball.The report included some scorching criticism of former Nalcor leaders like Ed Martin, whom LeBlanc said took "unprincipled steps" to get the project approved. And LeBlanc also criticized senior politicians and bureaucrats for failing to keep a close watch on what one insider called a runaway train.The report, entitled "Muskrat Falls: A Misguided Project," also included 17 recommendations by Justice LeBlanc to ensure the series of missteps that allowed what Dwight Ball once described as the "biggest economic mistake in Newfoundland and Labrador's history" would not be repeated.LeBlanc's recommendations are aimed at, among other things, ensuring major public projects undergo unfettered scrutiny by independent external experts, that the Department of Finance oversee the financing negotiations and cost control of any large project, and that the public utilities board carry out a review whenever there's a possibility electricity ratepayers may be affected.LeBlanc also called for changes to ensure public servants can "speak truth to politicians" in order to provide "complete and objective advice," and advised that legislative changes be made to ensure public bodies like Nalcor cannot withhold information from senior politicians and bureaucrats on the grounds of legal privilege or commercial sensitivity.LeBlanc advised that some of his recommendations should be adopted in as little as six months.But just days after the report was released, it was quickly overshadowed by the growing presence of a worldwide pandemic, and unprecedented societal upheaval in Newfoundland and Labrador as much of the province was shut down in order to fight the spread of the COVID-19 virus.During a recent fall session, the legislature was consumed by the financial and public health crises griping the province, with the priority on adopting a budget. And for months, a majority of public servants were working from home."So no, I don't think we're as far ahead as we'd like to be. But at the same time it's not sitting on a shelf," said Parsons, adding that an implementation committee that he chairs has been meeting regularly.Parsons expects many of the recommendations that involve legislative changes will be adopted during next spring's sitting of the House of Assembly.And he said some recommendations involving access to information laws will be examined by retired chief justice David Orsborn, who is leading a statutory review of the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, which is expected to be completed next year."There's urgency here, but at the same time, I'm a true believer in doing the proper analysis to make sure it's right, because sometimes these quick decisions are what got us into trouble in the first place." The three recommendations that have been adopted include: * a joint Nalcor-Newfoundland Power Inc. effort to review the reliability of the power grid in the Muskrat Falls era; * A review of whether recommendations made by the Joint Review Panel were being followed. This relates largely to methylmercury concerns in Labrador; * And minutes of cabinet meetings are now much more detailed than they were years ago whenever politicians discussed Muskrat Falls.Penney said that's not good enough."I'm disappointed, but I guess not surprised," said Penney.So what does LeBlanc think about what's happened since the release of his report?He's not saying, and directed questions to lawyer Barry Learmonth, who served as commission co-counsel during the inquiry.Learmonth said it was part of Justice LeBlanc's mandate to deliver recommendations, and whether and when they are adopted is up to the government."They're not binding," said Learmonth.Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
As Ottawa's police force sets out to hire five new investigators, organizations that support survivors of gender-based violence say they'll be watching closely to make sure the quality of service also improves. The Ottawa Police Service (OPS) is planning to add five new officers to the sexual assault and child abuse section and the partner assault unit, with one officer focusing on the city's Indigenous community.Erin Leigh, executive director of the Ottawa Coalition to End Violence Against Women, said her organization is happy with that plan — but they had been calling for a freeze to the police budget.On Nov. 26, despite several demands the Ottawa budget to be frozen or decreased, the police services board passed a $13.2-million increase for 2021."This [hiring plan] was presented as a one-off in a budget increase," said Leigh. "So it should not be a one-off, and it should not be part of a budget increase." The quality of the police services provided to survivors of gender-based violence also needs to improve with the hires, she said. "We are certainly wanting to make sure it's not just an increase of numbers without ensuring that the quality of services is there," said Leigh."One survivor might have a great police officer, and another one, not have as good an experience. We want everybody that calls in to have the same quality of experience." Resources 'consistently' not high enoughThe police force is well aware it needs "more resources" to provide the level of service that survivors require, said OPS Supt. Mark Ford."For many reasons, it's not only the increase in calls, but it's also the complexity of the files and the judicial process to ensure that we're successful in any prosecution," said Ford. One of the new investigators will help co-ordinate with community prevention, education and support programs geared towards victims of gender-based violence, he noted."Consistently, one of the things that we have flagged is that the resources in those units are not high enough, including the staffing numbers," said Ford, referring to the sexual assault and partner assault units."I think this is the first time that we've seen that response really taken up by OPS."Police forces in eastern Ontario have said they've noticed a significant increase in domestic violence calls since last spring, when the COVID-19 pandemic began. The OPS and Lanark County OPP have both reported an approximately 15 per cent increase in calls, while the Leeds and Grenville OPP has said it's seen a "slight increase in domestic assault incidents this year."Since the summer, women's shelters and support services are also experiencing a surge in calls.