Fall storm brought wind, rain and snow to parts of Ontario. Blowing around what's left of the leaves.
Fall storm brought wind, rain and snow to parts of Ontario. Blowing around what's left of the leaves.
WASHINGTON — Outgoing Attorney General William Barr's decision to appoint a special counsel to investigate the handling of the Russia probe ensures his successor won't have an easy transition.The move, which Barr detailed to The Associated Press on Tuesday, could lead to heated confirmation hearings for President-elect Joe Biden's nominee, who hasn't been announced. Senate Republicans will likely use that forum to extract a pledge from the pick to commit to an independent investigation.The pressure on the new attorney general is unlikely to ease once they take office. With the special counsel continuing to work during the early days of the Biden administration, it may be tough for the Justice Department's new leadership to launch investigations of President Donald Trump and his associates without seeming to be swayed by political considerations.Barr elevated U.S. Attorney John Durham to special counsel as Trump continues to propel his claims that the Russia investigation that shadowed his presidency was a “witch hunt.” It's the latest example of efforts by Trump officials to use the final days of his administration to essentially box Biden in by enacting new rules, regulations and orders designed to cement the president's legacy.But the manoeuvring over the special counsel is especially significant because it saddles Democrats with an investigation that they've derided as tainted. Now there's little the new administration can do about it.“From a political perspective, the move is so elegantly lethal that it would make Machiavelli green with envy,” Jonathan Turley, a professor of public interest law at George Washington University, wrote in an op-ed for USA Today.A special counsel can only be dismissed for cause. And as was the case during Robert Mueller's Russia investigation, such probes can sometimes stray from their origins.The Biden transition did not respond to a request for comment on the special counsel appointment.But Barr's decision could influence whom the president-elect puts forth as a nominee for attorney general. One leading candidate, Sally Yates, was already viewed skeptically by some Trump-aligned Republicans for her role in the early days of the Russia investigation. Her nomination could face even greater challenges because she's connected to some of the work that Durham is examining.As deputy attorney general, Yates signed off on the first two applications to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to monitor communications of ex-Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, a process that has been among the focuses of the Durham investigation.A Justice Department inspector general report found significant flaws and omissions in the four applications to the court, though it also found no evidence that Yates or any other senior Justice Department officials were aware of the problems.Some Democrats have privately expressed concerns – likely to deepen with Durham’s appointment as a special counsel – that nominating Yates would lead to a messy confirmation process that focuses on the Russia investigation, instead of focusing on reforms and shifting priorities at the Justice Department, people familiar with the matter have said. They spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations.Others potentially in the mix for the role include Lisa Monaco, a former homeland security adviser and senior Justice Department official in the Obama administration, and outgoing Alabama Sen. Doug Jones, who famously prosecuted Ku Klux Klan members who bombed a Birmingham church in the 1960s.The question for Biden, however, is how to balance top Cabinet picks as he attempts to fulfil his pledge for racial, ethnic and gender diversity. Many of Biden's leading nominees so far have been white, which could work against Yates, Monaco and Jones.Some Black Democrats are attempting to elevate former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, who is Black and led the Justice Department's civil rights division under President Bill Clinton, in discussions about potential attorneys general.Whoever emerges as the nominee will be pressed to demonstrate independence from the new White House after Biden campaigned on a pledge to depoliticize the Justice Department.That could be tough, however, if the future attorney general faces calls for new probes into the Trump administration. Some investigations into Trump have been frozen because of the immunity he enjoys as president. Others swirling around members of his family and associates have been simmering for years.On Tuesday, an unsealed court filing revealed an investigation into a potential plot to solicit political donations in exchange for the president using his pardon power.Barr, for his part, insisted that he was trying to keep politics out of the Durham probe, explaining that is why he delayed announcing the special counsel appointment until a month after the election.“With the election approaching, I decided the best thing to do would be to appoint them under the same regulation that covered Bob Muller, to provide Durham and his team some assurance that they’d be able to complete their work regardless of the outcome of the election,” Barr said in an interview with the AP on Tuesday.“I wanted to have the team, both Durham and his team understand that they be able to finish their work,” Barr said.Durham has already been a huge disappointment for Trump and his allies, and prompted a dispute with Barr over why things weren’t moving faster and why the investigation did not yield major prosecutions in the weeks before the election. The investigation wasn’t expected to result in many more criminal charges, and there has only been one so far — a former FBI lawyer who pleaded guilty to a single charge.But the investigation is worth more politically than practically.A nearly 500-page inspector general report chronicled in great detail the errors and omissions FBI agents made in a series of applications to surveil Page. Declassified documents released by congressional Republicans have raised additional questions while not undercutting the overarching legitimacy of the Russia probe. And the facts of the one criminal case Durham has brought so far, against an FBI lawyer who admitted altering an email, were already mostly laid out in the watchdog report.There’s also been a degree of turmoil within Durham’s ranks as one of the team’s leaders, Nora Dannehy, resigned months ago, a significant departure given the active role she had played.___Miller reported from Wilmington, Delaware. Associated Press writers Eric Tucker and Colleen Long in Washington and Bill Barrow in Atlanta contributed to this report.Michael Balsamo And Zeke Miller, The Associated Press
The collapse of the Atlantic bubble has left some Nova Scotia university students in a tough spot ahead of their end-of-semester exams and holiday break.Throughout the summer, residents of Atlantic Canada were able to travel freely throughout the four provinces as the number of COVID-19 cases remained low.But as that number began to rise in November, P.E.I. and Newfoundland and Labrador withdrew from the bubble, with New Brunswick following suit shortly after. Those provinces now require people from all other provinces to self-isolate for 14 days upon entry.In Nova Scotia, people from P.E.I., Newfoundland and Labrador, and New Brunswick are still allowed to enter the province without self-isolating, but it is recommended that people avoid non-essential travel.For students from the other Atlantic provinces attending St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, N.S., the changes — announced shortly before their exam period and Christmas break — came as a surprise.Some rushed to get to their home provinces before the changes took effect, while others weren't able to make it back in time and are now in isolation.School caught 'off guard'"There's no doubt that the self-isolation protocols of the province has caught us and our students off guard and made students very anxious," Kevin Wamsley, academic vice-president and provost at St. FX, told CBC Radio's Mainstreet. "Any time of the year getting close to final examinations, students are already anxious, and so the first thing we are concerned about is our students, and of course their health and safety."Wamsley said the school has about 179 students from P.E.I. and Newfoundland and Labrador, and 344 from New Brunswick. Some of them have chosen to stay in Nova Scotia for the break, but he believes the majority of them are going home.If students from other Atlantic provinces leave Nova Scotia any time after Dec. 10, they would have to be in self-isolation on Christmas. However, the school's exam period goes until Dec. 15.No online examsSome other universities are doing their exams online, but Wamsley said St. FX didn't want to go that route since the school was able to have most of its classes in person and most students were expecting in-person exams."To turn this around and to put everything online with a few days notice was really not an acceptable solution for our professors," he said.To get around this, Wamsley said the school has put together a team to work with students in the Atlantic provinces on an individual basis to arrange to have them write their exams at home with a proctor.Wamsley said professors will provide an electronic copy of their exam to the team working on this, and those exams will be delivered to the students and sent back to the school by the proctors.The goal, he said, is to "make sure that the students who have departed have a right to the same final exams that our students here have, and that there's academic integrity through the process with a proctor at hand."Wamsley said during in-person exams, all students will be wearing masks and will be seated two metres apart.'Not an ideal situation'Sarah Elliott, the student union president at St. FX, said the big challenge will be providing individual accommodations for everybody."We're just making sure that it's really easy for students to find their proctors," she told Mainstreet. "It's not an ideal situation, but I think that we'll be able to do it OK."She said students would benefit from more communication from the school and knowing exactly what's expected of them."The Atlantic bubble popping was just kind of madness for everybody, and now it's time to kind of settle and get everybody on the same page," she said.Elliott noted the issue also extends to international students, who may have a similar isolation period while returning to their home countries.She said that so far, the year has been stressful for her and other students, though she's grateful to be able to do most of her classes in person."I know I don't learn well online. I'm in one online class and it's very hard for me, while my in-person classes, it's a lot easier to focus, and I think that's what most people are feeling like," Elliott said."However, I think that there is just an accumulation of stress to the point where the exam period hits and a lot of students, they're just tired. They're exhausted."Return to classWamsley said St. FX already has a plan in place for when students return at the end of the holiday break, which was extended to accommodate for self-isolation periods.Students from outside Atlantic Canada are expected to return between Jan. 4 and Jan. 5 to begin their 14-day self-isolation. The first week of class, beginning Jan. 13, will be online so those students are still able to study while in isolation.Meanwhile, students from P.E.I., Newfoundland and Labrador, and New Brunswick can return to school on Jan. 19, so the two groups of returning students can avoid mixing.In-person classes are expected to resume on Jan. 20.MOE TOP STORIES
CENTRE WELLINGTON – Centre Wellington’s Business Improvement Areas (BIA) are calling 2020 a challenging year but one that saw some successes that they want to expand on going forward into a new year. Tuesday’s Centre Wellington committee of the whole meeting heard delegations from Elora BIA and Fergus BIA. Micaela Campbell, Elora BIA administrator, called it a strange year and obviously not what they were anticipating. She explained that much of their budget was redirected to shop local and stay safe campaigns during the early months of the pandemic. Fred Gordon, Fergus BIA administrator, said the COVID crisis definitely had a detrimental effect on downtown Fergus. “In 2020, we decided to take that negative and turn it into something positive,” Gordon said, adding that they too shifted their budget toward shop local campaigns. Campbell said the most successful project that went forward was the weekend street closures downtown, calling it very successful for local businesses. From June until Thanksgiving, sections of Metcalfe Street and Mill Street were closed to vehicle traffic on the weekend which allowed for better social distancing and restaurants could expand their patios into the street. “It also was very effective in accommodating what felt like a massive influx of tourists this summer, mostly from areas outside of Elora, Fergus or Centre Wellington,” Campbell said, adding that a drop in international travel probably led to travel within the province. This was tried in Fergus as well by closing Provost Lane and St. Andrew Street. “Closing St. Andrew Street did not work for our members at all,” Gordon said. “Downtown Fergus has a heavy service oriented profile, many of which rely on seniors. They just couldn’t get close enough parking.” However, Gordon said Fergus BIA is interested in expanding on closing Provost Lane with some beautification at the historic weigh-scale building. “We can’t wait for the new year to get that project going,” Gordon said. Campbell said the Elora BIA would also like to see the weekend closures happen beyond the emergency situation. She admitted however that there are some logistical issues involved and the reopening of the Badley Bridge could complicate this as well. Campbell explained that for the most part, the reception to it has been positive. “I will be supporting downtown street closures at the county level as long as I’m there,” said mayor Kelly Linton. “I think it was just fabulous, it had a great feel. We have to make sure we address some of the parking issues but overall, from what I heard, it was well received.” In spite of the pandemic, both Elora and Fergus have had new businesses come to town this year. Gordon said there are no vacancies in downtown Fergus going into winter which is unusual. When asked about loss of revenue or employees, Gordon said it was a difficult time for members but wasn’t aware of any permanent job losses. Campbell said the tourism in Elora has made retail stores recover well but restaurants are struggling due to limited seating allowed under public health guidelines. Going forward, both BIAs are looking to make downtown Elora and Fergus known as destinations. Campbell said the Elora BIA will be looking to promote to wider markets to lean into the tourism expansion they’ve seen and to beef up beautification and events next year. In Fergus, Gordon said they are reaching out to the many new developments that are going up in town to let new residents know they have a thriving downtown. Keegan Kozolanka, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, GuelphToday.com
LOS ANGELES — Rafer Johnson, who won the decathlon at the 1960 Rome Olympics and helped subdue Robert F. Kennedy’s assassin in 1968, died Wednesday. He was 86.He died at his home in the Sherman Oaks section of Los Angeles, according to family friend Michael Roth. No cause of death was announced.Johnson was among the world’s greatest athletes from 1955 through his Olympic triumph in 1960, winning a national decathlon championship in 1956 and a silver medal at the Melbourne Olympics that same year.His Olympic career included carrying the U.S. flag at the 1960 Games and lighting the torch at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum to open the 1984 Games. Johnson set world records in the decathlon three different times amid a fierce rivalry with his UCLA teammate C.K. Yang of Taiwan and Vasily Kuznetsov of the former Soviet Union.Johnson won a gold medal at the Pan American Games in 1955 while competing in just his fourth decathlon. At a welcome home meet afterward in Kingsburg, California, he set his first world record, breaking the mark of two-time Olympic champion and his childhood hero Bob Mathias.On June 5, 1968, Johnson was working on Kennedy's presidential campaign when the Democratic candidate was shot in the kitchen of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. Johnson joined former NFL star Rosey Grier and journalist George Plimpton in apprehending Sirhan Sirhan moments after he shot Kennedy, who died the next day.“I knew he did everything he could to take care of Uncle Bobby at his most vulnerable moment,” Kennedy's niece, Maria Shriver, said by phone. “His devotion to Uncle Bobby was pure and real. He had protected his friend. Even after Uncle Bobby's death he stayed close.”Johnson later called the assassination “one of the most devastating moments in my life.”Born Rafer Lewis Johnson on Aug. 18, 1934, in Hillsboro, Texas, he moved to California in 1945 with his family, including his brother Jim, a future NFL Hall of Fame inductee. Although some sources cite Johnson's birth year as 1935, the family has said that is incorrect.They eventually settled in Kingsburg, near Fresno in the San Joaquin Valley. It was less than 25 miles from Tulare, the hometown of Mathias, who would win the decathlon at the 1948 and 1952 Olympics and prove an early inspiration to Johnson.Johnson was a standout student and played football, basketball, baseball and track and field at Kingsburg Joint Union High. At 6-foot-3 and 200-plus pounds, he looked more like a linebacker than a track and field athlete.During his junior year of high school, Johnson’s coach took him to Tulare to watch Mathias compete in a decathlon, an experience Johnson later said spurred him to take up the grueling 10-event sport.As a freshman at UCLA, where he received academic and athletic scholarships, Johnson won gold at the the 1955 Pan Am Games, and set a world record of 7,985 points.After winning the national decathlon championship in 1956, Johnson was the favourite for the Olympics in Melbourne, but pulled a stomach muscle and strained a knee while training. He was forced to withdraw from the long jump, for which he had also qualified, but tried to gut out the decathlon.Johnson’s teammate Milt Campbell, a virtual unknown, gave the performance of his life, finishing with 7,937 points to win gold, 350 ahead of Johnson.It was the last time Johnson would ever come in second.Johnson, Yang, and Kuznetzov had their way with the record books between the 1956 and 1960 Olympics.Kuznetzov, a two-time Olympic bronze medallist who the Soviets called their “man of steel,” broke Johnson’s world record in May 1958 with 8,016 points.Later that year at a U.S.-Soviet dual meet in Moscow, Johnson beat Kuznetzov by 405 points and reclaimed the world record with 8,302 points. Johnson won over the Soviet audience with his gutsy performance in front of what had been a hostile crowd.A car accident and subsequent back injury kept Johnson out of competition during 1959, but he was healthy again for the Olympics in 1960.Yang was his primary competition in Rome. Yang won six of the first nine events, but Johnson led by 66 points going into the 1,500 metres, the decathlon’s final event.Johnson had to finish within 10 seconds of Yang, which was no small feat as Yang was much stronger running at distance than Johnson.Johnson finished just 1.2 seconds and six yards behind Yang to win the gold. Yang earned silver and Kuznetsov took bronze.At UCLA, Johnson played basketball for coach John Wooden, becoming a starter on the 1958-59 team. In 1958, he was elected student body president, the third Black to hold the office in school history.“He stood for what he believed in and he did it in a very classy way with grace and dignity,” Olympic champion swimmer Janet Evans said by phone.Evans last saw Johnson, who attended her 2004 wedding, at a luncheon in his honour in May 2019.“We were all there to fete him and he just didn’t want to be in the spotlight,” she said. “That was one of the things I loved about him. He didn’t want credit.”Johnson retired from competition after the Rome Olympics. He began acting in movies, including appearances in “Wild in the Country” with Elvis Presley, “None But the Brave” with Frank Sinatra and the 1989 James Bond film “License to Kill.” He worked briefly as a TV sportscaster before becoming a vice-president at Continental Telephone in 1971.In 1984 Johnson lit the Olympic flame for the Los Angeles Games. He took the torch from Gina Hemphill, granddaughter of Olympic great Jesse Owens, who ran it into the Coliseum."Standing there and looking out, I remember thinking ‘I wish I had a camera,’" Johnson said. "My hair was standing straight up on my arm. Words really seem inadequate."Throughout his life, Johnson was widely known for his humanitarian efforts.He served on the organizing committee of the first Special Olympics in Chicago in 1968, working with founder Eunice Kennedy Shriver. Johnson founded California Special Olympics the following year at a time when positive role models for the intellectually and physically disabled were rare.“Rafer really paved the path for many of us to understand the responsibilities that come with being a successful athlete and the number of lives you can impact and change,” Evans said.Maria Shriver recalled meeting Johnson for the first time at age 10 or 11 through her mother Eunice.“He and I joked that I’ve been in love with him ever since,” she said. “He really was an extraordinary man, such a loving, gracious, elegant, humble man who handled his success in such a beautiful way and stayed so true to himself throughout his life.”Peter Ueberroth, who chose Johnson to light the Olympic torch in 1984, called him “just one great person, a marvelous human being.”Johnson worked for the Peace Corps, March of Dimes, Muscular Dystrophy Association and American Red Cross. In 2016, he received the UCLA Medal, the university's highest award for extraordinary accomplishments. The school's track is named for Johnson and his wife Betsy.His children, Jenny Johnson Jordan and Josh Johnson, were athletes themselves. Jenny was a beach volleyball player who competed in the 2000 Sydney Olympics and is on the coaching staff of UCLA's beach volleyball team. Josh competed in javelin at UCLA, where he was an All-American.Besides his wife of 49 years and children, he is survived by son-in-law Kevin Jordan and four grandchildren.___More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_SportsBeth Harris, The Associated Press
The organizers of an anti-mask rally in Calgary on the weekend have been charged for breaching public health orders. One of them is a downtown street preacher who was fined earlier in the pandemic for similar alleged behaviour.Hundreds marched through downtown Calgary on Saturday to protest against mandated masks and other public health measures intended to prevent the spread of COVID-19.The charges fall under the Public Health Act.Street preacher Art Pawlowski faces tickets for failing to wear a face covering and failing to have an event permit.David Pawlowski and Ryan Audette each face a charge of failing to wear a face covering where required.Police are looking for three others who are also facing charges.A first-time breach of the Public Health Act is a $1,200 fine, police say. Mask bylaw violations are $50 fines.In April, Art Pawlowski, who leads a street church, was fined $1,200 for allegedly holding a gathering of more than 15 people at Olympic Plaza.Police said tickets were not issued right away Saturday because officers who attended the rally were concerned for their safety."It is not always prudent to issue a ticket at the time of an alleged offence," said the Calgary Police Service in a written statement. "For example, during a protest or event where emotions are high."Speaking on the Calgary Eyeopener on Wednesday, Ryan Pleckaitis, the city's chief bylaw officer, said police and bylaw officers worked together over the weekend to gather evidence against organizers. "Moving forward, I anticipate if some of these rallies continue, and if there's not adherence to the public health order, we will continue to do the same. And hopefully, through enforcement, we can start to curb some of those behaviours."The protests have taken place weekly in the city and across the country for months, but Saturday's was the first since Alberta's 10-person limit on outdoor gatherings was announced five days earlier.
Some of Canada‘s largest and best-known retailers are asking the Ontario government to limit its current lockdown in Toronto and Peel Region. The companies want the government to allow closed stores to re-open with very few customers permitted to shop. But as Sean O’Shea reports, the government is sticking to its plan which will keep stores closed until at least Dec. 21
Une entreprise dont le siège social est situé à Boucherville, Sysco Grand Montréal, se spécialise dans la vente et la distribution de produits alimentaires dans les restaurants et les hôtels. Son président a décidé d’aider des établissements, notamment en leur remettant près de 20 000 contenants destinés aux plats à emporter et en concluant avec eux de nouvelles ententes de paiement. « Il fallait vraiment envoyer un message pour notre industrie dit Guillaume Dubois, président régional de Sysco Grand Montréal. Sysco, compte des milliers d’établissements comme clients. Bien que sa propre entreprise ait aussi enregistré une baisse du volume de ventes, M. Dubois avoue avoir aidé financièrement plusieurs propriétaires d’établissement. « Il y a des clients avec qui ça fait longtemps qu’on fait affaire qui entrent dans une période financière difficile. On est capables de moduler nos ententes de paiement ou d’apporter un soutien financier qui peut aller jusqu’à offrir des promesses de relations d’affaires dans le futur. » a précisé monsieur Dubois lors d’une entrevue au quotidien La Presse. M. Dubois fait aussi référence aux salles de réception, dont le calendrier d’évènements est vide en ce moment. Celles-ci devront toutefois être prêtes à accueillir de nouveau des mariages et des bals lorsque la crise sera terminée. Et la crise touche évidemment d’autres commerces et producteurs qui ont un lien avec les restaurants. La crise frappe fort et surtout beaucoup de petits commerçants. Sysco a aussi revu certaines ententes et n’exige plus de montant minimum pour livrer de la marchandise à ses clients. Un autre petit coup de pouce qui peut faire une différence. François Laramée, Initiative de journalisme local, La Relève
NEW YORK — The dramatic conclusion to “The Undoing,” HBO's whodunit starring Hugh Grant and Nicole Kidman, proved how it's still possible to bring people together in today's fragmented television world.Three million people tuned in Sunday to find out who really killed the girlfriend of Grant's adulterous character in one of three showings on HBO and on the streaming service HBO Max, the Nielsen company said.That's likely to be a fraction of who eventually sees it, given how television is consumed today. The premiere of the six-episode series was seen by 1.4 million people the night it first aired, and by now has been seen by 9 million and counting.“It's a good example of how you can still have a water-cooler hit,” said Casey Bloys, HBO Programming president. “I will always point to good acting, writing and directing. It was a good story.”It was the most-watched night for HBO since the finale of “Big Little Lies” last year, which also featured Kidman and creator David E. Kelley.HBO also said it was the first time in network history that each episode of a series was seen by more people than the previous one, a powerful signal of how people were drawn into the mystery.“The Undoing” has generated more conversation on social media than any other new scripted television series this year, Nielsen said. Coupled with the streaming-only series “The Flight Attendant,” HBO Max had its biggest week since the service was launched.“The Undoing” was always designed as a limited series, but it attracted the type of interest that would make any television executive naturally wonder if the story could be extended in some way.“I don't know,” Bloys said. “I do think these things are lightning in a bottle. It could always be difficult to try that again.”But he pointed to the network's productive relationship with Kidman and Kelley.“We'll find something great to do,” he said. “Who knows what it will be?”In other ratings news, CNN finished November with its most-watched month in the network's 40-year history, showing growth in the aftermath of the election compared to rivals Fox News Channel and MSNBC.NBC was the top-rated broadcast network in prime time for Thanksgiving week, averaging 3.64 million viewers. CBS had 3.55 million, ABC had 2.4 million, Fox had 1.6 million, Ion Television had 930,000, Univision had 890,000 and Telemundo had 530,000.ESPN was the most-watched cable network, averaging 2.95 million viewers. Hallmark hit 2.53 million, Fox News Channel had 2 million, MSNBC had 1.59 million and CNN had 1.41 million.ABC's “World News Tonight” led the evening news ratings race with an average of 9.5 million viewers. NBC's “Nightly News” had 8.8 million and the “CBS Evening News” had 6.3 million.For the week of Nov. 23-29, the 20 most-watched programs in prime time, their networks and viewerships:1\. NFL Football: Chicago at Green Bay, NBC, 16.48 million.2\. “60 Minutes,” CBS, 13.78 million.3\. “NFL Pregame” (Sunday), NBC, 13.32 million.4\. NFL Football: L.A. Rams at Tampa Bay, ESPN, 13.14 million.5\. “The Masked Singer,” Fox, 11.42 million.6\. “NFL Post-Game” (Sunday), Fox, 11.11 million.7\. “Football Night in America” (Sunday, 7:55 p.m.) NBC, 10.78 million.8\. “NCIS,” CBS, 10.16 million.9\. “FBI,” CBS, 8.4 million.10\. “Football Night in America” (Sunday, 7:30 p.m.), NBC, 7.38 million.11\. “The Voice” (Monday), NBC, 7.08 million.12\. “The Voice” (Tuesday) NBC, 7.07 million.13\. “Dancing With the Stars,” ABC, 6.42 million.14\. “Monday Night Kickoff,” ESPN, 6.22 million.15\. “I Can See Your Voice,” Fox, 6.07 million.16\. “FBI: Most Wanted,” CBS, 5.66 million.17\. “The Neighborhood,” CBS, 5.46 million.18\. “Bob Hearts Abishola,” CBS, 4.9 million.19\. “Bull,” CBS, 4.68 million.20\. “The Bachelorette,” ABC, 4.49 million.David Bauder, The Associated Press
If there’s one sad truth every Christmas, it’s that food banks are always in great need during the holiday season. With even more people ending up in financially precarious positions, it is likely that there will be an even greater strain on these services this year. With that in mind, Orangeville residents Lauren Moulton and Zac Bryan decided to create the Community Food Bank Competition. Collected items as well as any donations received will go to support the Orangeville Food Bank and the Orangeville OSPCA. “Normally, I help out in the community by participating in other Christmas programs, but they’re not happening this year,” said Moulton. “I really felt the need to do something this year as well.” Moulton explained that she selected the food bank after hearing reports on the news about the increased need for donations this season. “A lot of people still have reduced incomes, and more people are relying on programs such as the food bank,” she said. “Everyone needs to eat — it’s essential.” The competition started a week ago and functions on a point collection system. Donors receive points based on the approximate monetary value of their donations. Along with non-perishable food items, pet supplies, cash, and grocery/pet store gift cards can be donated. They are also accepting donations of clothing, including gently used or new winter hats, mitts and scarves, or brand new socks and underwear. “We’re hoping to collect at least a value of $500, but anything more will be fantastic as well,” said Moulton. “It’s going to a great cause, and we appreciate any support.” The competition ends on Dec. 19, and at that time, eight donors with the highest accumulation of points will be declared the winners. Prizes include items such as Christmas decor, Tim Horton’s gift cards, gift baskets and more. “I think that for people who are fortunate enough to still be working and who are able to donate, we all really need to pitch in and help this year,” said Moulton. For more information, you can visit the Community Food Drive Competition Facebook page, or reach out to Moulton directly at email@example.com.Tabitha Wells/Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Orangeville Banner
As COVID-19 cases soar in Alberta and hospital capacity is stretched, the province has reached out to the federal government and the Canadian Red Cross for help, CBC News has learned.A federal source with direct knowledge of the situation says Alberta has asked the federal government and the Red Cross to supply field hospitals to help offset the strain COVID-19 is having on the health-care system.The source said Alberta would likely receive at least four field hospitals — two from the Red Cross and another two from the federal government. The source, speaking on condition of confidentiality, said there was no request for human resources to staff the hospitals and no request for support from the military. The source said a formal request has still not been sent by the province, but officials have been discussing in detail the level of support Alberta could receive. Federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu is scheduled to speak with Alberta Health Minister Tyler Shandro on Wednesday to discuss the requests and what other supports Ottawa can offer the province during the pandemic. A provincial government official confirmed to CBC News that a request had been made for field hospital help, but said the request represented contingency planning only at this point.The official said Alberta Health Services is gathering resources and materials it may need, but there is no plan yet to staff or construct the hospitals.'Responsible planning'Alberta Premier Jason Kenney dismissed a suggestion that the requests indicated failure by the province to manage the pandemic effectively."No, I think it's a sign of responsible planning on our part for [a] potential extreme scenario," Kenney said at a news conference Wednesday.With around 8,500 beds at 100 hospitals, Kenney said the province can likely dedicate 2,200 to 2,300 of those to COVID-19 patients. There are a little more than 500 patients in beds at this time."The reality is we have and can continue to create capacity as we expect, quite bluntly, the hospitalization numbers to go up, given the new cases in the last few weeks," Kenney said."But that demonstrates that we're not anywhere at the point of having to call on that kind of overflow capacity."An official from Public Safety Canada said they have not received any requests for field hospitals from any other provinces or territories.Infection recordsAlberta continues to set new daily COVID-19 infection records and leads the country in the number of active cases per capita. It has also sometimes led the country in total active cases. For example, on Tuesday, there were 16,628 active cases in Alberta, compared to 14,524 in Ontario — a province with more than three times as many people.On Wednesday, the province reported 1,685 new cases. Alberta has reported more than 1,000 cases each day for nearly two weeks. There were 504 people in hospital and 97 in ICUs on Wednesday. A total of 561 people in the province have died from the disease since the start of the pandemic.Edmonton NDP MLA and former Alberta health minister Sarah Hoffman said she was frustrated and angry about how the situation in the province had progressed."It's just so incredibly disappointing, when we knew this was coming. It's one of the reasons why we've been asking for modelling data, since September," Hoffman said. "It's beyond irresponsible."Provincial restrictionsThe last time Kenney appeared at a COVID-19 update was on Nov. 24 when he introduced new restrictions on social gatherings, among other measures, in an attempt to stem the rising tide of cases while continuing to focus on the province's economic health. The heightened restrictions, which were to remain in place for at least three weeks, included limiting indoor social gatherings to members of the same household, limiting outdoor gatherings to 10 people, stopping group activities like fitness classes and team sports, and moving all students in Grades 7-12 to online learning until the new year.Kenney also announced that masks would become mostly mandatory in indoor workplaces in the two largest cities, although not in rural areas — but the municipal governments in Calgary and Edmonton had already imposed similar mandates.He said those restrictions would be revisited on Dec. 15 and stricter measures could be imposed if cases continue to rise. However, critics called those measures insufficient, pointing out that restaurants, bars, casinos, gyms, many stores, places of worship and elementary schools remained open, albeit with restrictions.Since then, doctors have warned of overburdened hospitals and ICUs and the province has taken the step of double-bunking some patients in ICU rooms as part of its plans to deal with a surge. On Nov. 27, Alberta Health Services sent a memo to staff asking them to conserve oxygen supplies as demand increases.
ISLAMABAD — The U.S. envoy who brokered the ongoing peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban said Wednesday the two sides have overcome a three-month impasse and agreed on rules and procedures for the negotiations.The development is significant as it means the warring sides are getting closer to actually starting to negotiate the issues that could end decades of fighting in Afghanistan and determine the country's post-war future. But first they must decide on the agenda for the negotiations, which is the next step.In a series of tweets, U.S. envoy Zalmay Khalilzad said there was a signed document and urged both the Taliban and the government to get down to the business of negotiating a “political roadmap and a cease-fire.”The three-page document lays out the rules and procedures for the negotiations, which are taking place in Qatar where the Taliban have long maintained a political office.Afghans “now expect rapid progress on a political roadmap and a ceasefire. We understand their desire and we support them,” Khalilzad tweeted.A cease-fire, rights of women and minorities, and constitutional amendments are expected to top the agenda. But the list is likely to be long and contentious, with issues such as safety guarantees for thousands of Taliban fighters who disarm, as well as for disbanding the heavily armed militias loyal to Kabul warlords, many of them allied either with the government or opposition politicians.U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who on Feb. 29 signed a Taliban-U.S. deal that paves the way for withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan, welcomed the agreement.“As negotiations on a political roadmap and permanent ceasefire begin, we will also work hard with all sides in pursuit of a serious reduction of violence,” he said.Khalilzad’s announcement was not unexpected — last month, the Taliban said the rules and procedures were settled and the U.S. said last week it was all but wrapped up. But then the Afghan government said it had concerns with the some of the words in the preamble that set off accusations that Afghan President Ashraf Ghani was holding up the deal. His spokesman denied this.There were no details about the document, but Taliban spokesman Mohammed Naeem said the two sides have appointed a committee to hammer out the agenda items.Since the Afghan-Taliban talks started in September, violence has spiked significantly. The Taliban have staged deadly attacks on Afghan forces while keeping their promise not to attack U.S. and NATO troops. The attacks have drawn a mighty retaliation by the Afghan air force, backed by U.S. warplanes. International rights groups have warned both sides to avoid inflicting civilian casualties.In Washington, U.S. Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the military’s plan for reducing American troop levels in Afghanistan to 2,500 by mid-January has been approved by the acting secretary of defence, Christopher Miller. Milley declined to discuss the plan beyond saying that the smaller U.S. force would operate from “a couple of larger bases,” along with several smaller ones, in order to continue its current missions of combatting extremist groups like al-Qaida and training and advising Afghan defence forces.Milley asserted that the U.S. has achieved “a modicum of success” in Afghanistan after more than 19 years of war, given that there has not been a repeat of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the U.S. homeland. Noting that President Donald Trump made the decision to reduce the U.S. force to 2,500, Milley said, “What comes after that, that will be up to a new administration; we’ll find that out on the 20th of January and beyond.”In Brussels, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg welcomed the breakthrough on the Afghan-Taliban talks, amid uncertainty over the alliance's future in Afghanistan and urged for rapid progress on cease-fire and establishing a political road map.“You can discuss whether it is a big or a small step, but the important thing is that it’s the first step,” Stoltenberg said, after chairing a videoconference of NATO foreign ministers. “It’s the first time actually that the Taliban and the Afghan government are able to sign a document agreeing on the framework, the modalities, for negotiations addressing a long-term, peaceful solution.”NATO has roughly 11,000 troops in Afghanistan, but under the U.S.-Taliban deal, all foreign troops would leave the country by May 1 if conditions allow. Stoltenberg has said that NATO faces a “difficult dilemma” over what to do.A decision on its future in Afghanistan, where NATO has led international security efforts since 2003 in the hope of keeping extremist groups at bay, is expected to be made in February after President-elect Joe Biden takes office.The Taliban today control or hold sway over nearly half of Afghanistan and are at their strongest since the 2001 U.S.-led invasion toppled their regime over sheltering al-Qaida mastermind Osama bin Laden.Many Afghans, particularly in larger urban areas fear a return of their repressive regime that harshly punished those who defied their strict Islamic edicts. Unlike when they ruled, the Taliban now say they will allow girls to go to school and women to work and hold public office, though they will not allow a woman to become president or a chief justice of Afghanistan's Supreme Court.___Associated Press writers Robert Burns and Ken Guggenheim in Washington, Tameem Akhgar in Kabul, Afghanistan, and Lorne Cook in Brussels contributed to this report.Kathy Gannon, The Associated Press
Purolator has teamed up with emerging Canadian artists to help spread a little holiday cheer this year. The shipping company has selected 13 artists from across the country – one from each province and territory – to design a unique and festive shipping box that will be made available at Purolator shipping centres and Michaels craft stores for anyone looking to send a little extra cheer along with their gifts to their friends and families this holiday season. With the country boasting a population of more than 37 million people, choosing one artist from each province and territory in Canada could have proved to be quite daunting, but Patrick Hunter, a Two Spirit Ojibwe artist, said he thinks the online community he has already amassed helped to secure him the spot as Ontario's representative. “I have a pretty nice following of people on Instagram, and I think that's how they reached out when they were trying to find diverse artists to be a part of this project,” Hunter explained. “It was a quick turnaround to get the project off the ground, I think we started in November or the end of October, but with really cool emails like that, 'Purolator wants to work with you on such-and-such,' it's a pretty quick response. I think it took me all of ten seconds to say 'yes, I'm in.'” While he is currently working out of Toronto, Hunter is originally from Red Lake. His art in the Woodland style takes inspiration from his hometown and the work of famed Woodland artist Norval Morrisseau, and he brought the same sensibilities he brings to his painting to the art he was inspired to create for Purolator's box, along with his own wishes for the holiday season. “It's all digital artwork, so you have to know how to use some graphic design-y programs,” Hunter explained. “We were given a template to work within the edges and back and top sides. Why I chose the imagery I chose, which is Ojibwe florals, is because it's a holiday season, it's one of my favourite gifts to give, and one of the best gifts First Nations folks give their friends are beaded moccasins or gloves, so my hope for these boxes is when someone gets a box that they have that feeling of 'oh my god, beautiful box' but then 'what's inside?'” Being chosen by Purolator to be the representative for Ontario also carries added heft for Hunter. Knowing the boxes have the potential to wind up almost anywhere in the world, Hunter said that it was like a personal responsibility to answer Purolator's call for his art. “I'm a First Nations gay man from Red Lake, Ontario,” he explained. “When things like this come along you have an obligation to the people that are coming behind you to try and illuminate the path. So my goal with this is to show other First Nations kids and gay artists can have opportunities like this too and not be afraid of them. As well, to bring some visibility. I don't think First Nations culture is always put in the forefront in a mainstream way and Purolator has done a good job of asking not just me but other diverse people in Canada to come up with box designs.” Laurie Weston is the director of retail for Purolator who was on the team searching for artists to take part in the campaign. She noted that part of trying to find emerging artists to design a box was ensuring they were a good fit for both where they came from and the peoples and cultures they represented. “What's really interesting about this is we actually went grassroots and we scoured social media,” Weston explained. “We went through social media and we narrowed it down to the ones that we felt their artwork represented not only the province but their culture. I think with Patrick, we were so incredibly lucky he wanted to do this with us because I think his floral motif and his indigenous background and what it represents for Ontario is pretty special. So it resonated with us. So that's why we picked him.” In a year when the shipping company expects far more packages to be delivered over the holiday season – Weston said their busy season began in August this year, when it usually starts to pick up in November – the drive to showcase original Canadian art on special holiday boxes was to help spread that sense of community and Christmas spirit that might otherwise be hard to come by in 2020. “People are not able to travel, and what's happened with us is the increase in shopping online, but people are coming in and shipping packages to loved ones,” Weston explained. “They're not able to travel and see their loved ones this holiday season so we really wanted to share some of the Christmas spirit from a Canadian lens. Purolator does support small businesses and entrepreneurs, but this is a different evolution of that. We just really wanted to showcase these new artists.” As part of Purolator's partnership with Michaels craft stores, the companies are also holding a Design-A-Box Sweepstakes. Members of the public are encouraged to visit the Michaels website in order to download a box template they can then design, photograph and submit for the chance to win a $1,000 Michaels gift card and free shipping with Purolator for a year. Hunter has been doing his work professionally for the past six years, and in the near future he's also looking at moving out of Toronto to be a little bit closer to home, and begin producing more items in his line of houseware products. He noted the opportunity to be a part of Purolator's holiday campaign helped to confirm in his mind that pursuing the career path he did was a good choice and hopefully help to spread awareness of Indigenous artists even further abroad. “It makes me feel like I'm on the right path and I did choose a good career in graphic design,” he said. “To have [the art] put on these boxes in such a public way, it means a lot and I'm so thrilled just to be a part of the project, but then to have this kind of message of like 'hey, we're Indigenous people, we haven't gone anywhere, we're still here' I think it's great to illuminate the path for people to ask questions.” For more information on Purolator's holiday boxes visit their website and to take part in the Design-A-Box sweepstakes, visit the Michael's website. For more information on Patrick Hunter and his artwork, visit his website at patrickhunter.ca or follow him on Instagram @patrickhunter_artKen Kellar, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Fort Frances Times
Saint-Luc-de-Vincennes – La campagne de financement participatif «Priorité des Chenaux» a connu un vif succès, alors qu'elle a atteint 129% de son objectif, fixé à l'origine à 20 000$. Ce sont au final plus de 22 940$ qui ont été récoltés en soutenant les entreprises et artisans locaux de la MRC à l'approche du temps des Fêtes. En plus d'encourager l'achat local, cette campagne avait aussi comme but d'offrir un appui financier aux organismes de première ligne qui se voient imposer d'imposants défis à quelques semaines de Noël. Ainsi, grâce à «Priorité des Chenaux», les centres d'action bénévole de la Moraine et des Riverains recevront chacun 5 000$, argent qui sera utilisé pour confectionner des paniers de Noël et mettre en place de l'aide alimentaire pour des familles démunies du territoire. Il s'agit là d'un exemple concret de la solidarité qui prévaut dans la MRC de Mékinac selon les organisateurs de l'initiative.Marc-André Pelletier, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Nouvelliste
Known Terror Squad gang member Kevin George Ackegan pleaded guilty in Prince Albert Provincial Court to weapons and drug-related charges avoiding a trial. Forty-year-old Ackegan was arrested by Prince Albert RCMP Integrated Crime Reduction Team during a traffic stop on Feb. 26, 2020. When police searched the vehicle they found two firearms, ammunition, a machete, a knife, bear spray, hydromorphone, methamphetamine, and Gabapentin pills. They also found U.S., Jamaican and Canadian currency. On Nov. 30 Ackegan changed his plea from not guilty to guilty. Before Ackegan’s trial, his lawyer Dale Blenner-Hassett, filed a Charter application asking the court to exclude the evidence seized during the traffic stop. Blenner-Hasset challenged whether the arresting officer had a reasonable belief that an offence was being committed. The court heard that the arresting police officer was working for the RCMP Integrated Crime Reduction Team that investigates gangs, guns and drugs. At about 8 a.m. on Feb. 26, 2020, the officer got a call from a source that told him Ackegan was in possession of guns and told him where he was in Prince Albert. The officer had used the source on eight previous occasions. The officer testified that the source has a criminal record. The court heard that the arresting officer also knew Ackegan. He had charged Ackegan previously in 2017 with breaching his parole by associating with known gang members and at the time of that arrest, Ackegan was a member of the street gang Terror Squad. On Feb. 26, 2020, when the officer received the information about Ackegan, he conducted surveillance at a residence on the 800 block of 14 Street West in Prince Albert. Another officer testified that he watched the residence for about three hours and at about 11:20 a.m. Ackegan came out of the residence and started loading several bags into the back seat and trunk of a vehicle. A woman was driving the vehicle and Ackegan was the passenger. Both officers testified that in their experience, guns could be concealed in bags. The officer who took the call from the informant testified that he conducted a CPIC inquiry on Ackegan, which confirmed he was prohibited from possessing firearms. The woman and Ackegan drove a few blocks before stopping at another residence. At this point the officers made a traffic stop and arrested Ackegan. One of the officers drove the vehicle to the police station where it was searched and police found guns in the bags, ammunition, drugs, and a cell phone. Crown Prosecutor Andreanne Dube argued that the search of the vehicle was justified as a search incidental to the lawful arrest of Ackegan. During cross-examination, Blenner-Hassett asked one of the officers the identity of the confidential informant. Judge H. M. Harradence, however, said the informant’s identity shouldn’t be disclosed and the court must ensure confidentiality is maintained. Judge Harradence dismissed the defence’s Charter application to have the evidence thrown out. He said he accepted that the arresting officer had information from a source that the accused was in possession of guns and that the information was current and firsthand because the source actually saw what was reported. Judge Harradence said there was some indication of past credibility of information from the source, three hours of surveillance that corroborated Ackegan was at the residence and was loading bags into the trunk and back seat of the vehicle. Judge Harradence also said that police testified they have investigative experience that guns have been concealed in bags and the arresting officer had personal knowledge of Ackegan’s history with illegal firearms and association with known gang members. “I find a number of factors persuasive of a strong connection between Ackegan and the illegal possession of firearms,” said Judge Harradence. Judge Harradence ruled that Ackegan’s rights weren’t violated. “In these circumstances, I find that the arrest and search of this accused and the vehicle was reasonable and lawful.” Ackegan will be sentenced in Prince Albert Provincial Court on Feb. 2. Lisa Joy, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Battlefords Regional News-Optimist
Dianne Dunn, 86, grew up in a music-loving family. She enjoyed going to operas, tried her hand at piano (though she says she’s not very good at it), and listened to the greats like Frank Sinatra. She believes in the power of music to help people grow. “That’s a good outlet in many ways, socially and physically, and just matures them,” she said. “It’s so beautiful to be able to know what music is about.” That’s why she volunteered to participate in McMaster University’s “Music, Health, and the Community” course which teaches students about music’s impact on the brain, with a focus on older adults. The placement course brings youth and seniors together through music. Previously, the health sciences course saw students work with local elementary school students to share music with residents in long-term care and retirement homes. But due to the pandemic, the course moved online this year and connected high school students and older adults virtually across Canada. The program wraps up its virtual go this week. McMaster students were divided into groups to facilitate Zoom sessions with up to three high school students and one or two older adult volunteers. Through 45-minute calls, they participated in ice breakers and activities connected to music. The program culminates in a virtual musical performance by the high school students, which Dunn attended Monday. “It was really so beautiful to see these young people playing this instrument, it meant so much,” said Dunn. The Mountain resident also learned more about what the kids are listening to — even though the music doesn’t always appeal to her. “It always amazes me that these young people know every word to every song that you hear on the radio or you see on TV and that’s terrific, but I can’t even understand those words,” she said. But Dunn added the students were open to her perspective. “I never once was made to feel that I was so much older than them and that my views were a little bit crazy,” she said. Chelsea Mackinnon, one of the course instructors, said the program teaches youth about working with older adults while also allowing the seniors to give back. “Our kids today are the first generation that will grow up where there is more older people than there are young people, so we feel it’s really important to normalize the aging process,” she said. The course is also intended to help build relationships across generations. “A lot of children, unless it’s their own family, have almost no experience spending time with older adults,” said Brad Haalboom, also a course instructor. “We find that retirement homes and long-term care homes are often ... cut off from society. We’re trying to bridge those gaps.” Mackinnon added there is a phenomenon called “generativity,” where as a person ages, they want to give back. “It’s providing this sense of purpose and meaning for the older adults who are participating, who can give advice, share meaningful moments, and feel like they’re actively contributing to society,” she said. Hannan Minhas, one of the McMaster facilitators who worked with Dunn, said music’s ability to inspire emotion allowed participants to connect on a more personal level. “Music is universal. Everyone likes some sort of music,” said the fifth-year student. Minhas added the sessions were something to “look forward to” especially since it wasn’t possible to see friends regularly this year. It also taught Minhas about the similarities between youth and older adults. “What surprised me is there were so many things we had in common,” Minhas said. “Even though we had different music tastes ... our values were similar.” The instructors are seeking new volunteers aged 65 and over to participate in the next semester. Those interested can email firstname.lastname@example.org.Maria Iqbal, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Hamilton Spectator
SÉCURITÉ. L’Opération Nez rouge s’adapte à la situation sanitaire actuelle et à ses impacts logistiques en offrant une campagne de sensibilisation numérique du 1er au 31 décembre sur le thème : Prenez les rennes de votre sécurité! «L’Opération Nez rouge fait partie du paysage du temps des Fêtes. Depuis 1984, des centaines de communautés se mobilisent pour leurs localités. Cette année, nous comptons sur vous pour perpétuer cette tradition de décisions éclairées. Planifiez vos déplacements en toute sécurité et devenez des porte-voix de l’Opération Nez rouge auprès de vos collègues, de vos amis, de vos parents. Ensemble, prenons les rennes de notre sécurité!», invite Jean-Marie De Koninck, président fondateur de l’Opération Nez rouge. La campagne de sensibilisation virtuelle sera jumelée à une campagne de dons. «Les dons amassés lors des raccompagnements permettent le développement de projets liés à la jeunesse et au sport amateur localement, et ce, depuis 1984. Dans le contexte sanitaire actuel, cette source de financement ne sera pas disponible cette année, mais l’Opération Nez rouge souhaite pouvoir continuer à soutenir ses maîtres d’œuvre. Une plateforme de dons en ligne, prenez-les-rennes.com… a donc été créée pour cette 37e édition», ajoute-t-on. Stéphane Lévesque, Initiative de journalisme local, L'Hebdo Journal
Jasper Municipal Council’s Nov. 25 public budget meeting showed the effects of the COVID pandemic, when council heard budget details from Community and Family Services and the Operations department. Community and Family Services Community and Family Services director Kathleen Waxer reiterated the need for CFS to be resilient in light of the COVID pandemic. She said management and staff helped people deal with negative impacts including food insecurity, job losses, loss of child care, family violence, challenges finding a safe place to isolate and loss of childcare facilities for working parents. Waxer said she worked hard to keep the budget amounts in each of the CFS branches at the 2019 levels. An exception is an increase of $21,625 requested from Wildflowers Childcare, the result of the additional costs of operating in the pandemic. Additional requests included the Senior Bus request for $10,000, computer costs and reallocation of maintenance costs. Waxer also made a request of $35,000 to pay for continuation of the programmer position if CFS can’t secure funding from other sources. Operations Staff from the Operations department talked about initiatives including sprinklers, fire protection, arena slab and boards project, and Activity Centre roof replacement. Acting chief administrative officer (CAO), John Greathead, said at the moment, most of the work done in the department is of a reactive nature. “We’re looking to switch to a more predictive maintenance and asset management plan than has been previously made thus far,” he said. “Our requests are to ensure we’re able to meet demands.” Gord Hutton, buildings and asset manager, said in the budget from 2019 to 2021 an $80,000 increase for contracted winter and summer services is related to utility costs, which are beyond the department’s control. “It’s a tough figure to nail down – you never know how much snow we’re going to get in the winter,” he said. In the Operations budget highlights, the net increase from 2019 ($2,319,739) to 2021 ($2,469,965) is $150,226. The overall total for the Operations department in 2021 is $3,398,574 without utilities. Mayor Richard Ireland asked if there’s a way to track and demonstrate where the costs savings are being achieved. Greathead said, the department is lacking the administrative capability at the moment. “We can get that information but it would take away from what we’re up to right now,” he said. Ireland said he appreciates it takes time and money to do the tracking. He said in previous years, council has discussed the possibility of a reserve account specific to snow clearing. Ireland said, “Are we preparing to cushion an uncertain blow each year by having a budgeted amount and putting any surplus into a reserve account so that we can equalize the payments and be prepared for differences between heavy snow years and lighter snow years?” Greathead said shortfalls were taken out of other budgets. Natasha Malenchak, director of Finance and Administration, said, there is a reserve contingency of about $50,000. A decision Council is scheduled to make a decision about the interim operating budget at their Dec. 15 meeting. It will allow Administration to continue with regular municipal business while council discusses the proposed operating budget, which should be adopted by Mar. 30, 2021, to allow enough time for the preparation of the tax rates bylaw and related documents, including tax notices to residents. Expenses incurred under the 2020 interim operating budget will match the 2019 approved expenditures levels until the final 2020 operating budget is adopted. Joanne McQuarrie, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Jasper Fitzhugh
SaskPower is warning the public about potential scam artists who are collecting information from its customers.On Tuesday, the company rolled back customers' power bills by 10 per cent, fulfilling a campaign promise by the Saskatchewan Party.The rebate is automatic and nobody has to fill out an application.However, SaskPower says they've been told about people going door-to-door in Regina telling customers that they have to apply."One scammer has been described as wearing a blue uniform with no logos, a name tag, and wearing a mask," the company said in a news release.Although there's no money changing hands, SaskPower thinks the scammers want to use the information for illegal purposes.They say if anybody encounters one of these people, they should call SaskPower customer service (1-888-757-6937) or the police.Rebate will last for a yearThe provincial government says the rebate will continue for a year and will cost $262 million.The money will come out of the general revenues, rather than from SaskPower.Customers with Saskatchewan's two municipal utilities, Swift Current Light and Power and Saskatoon Light and Power, will receive the same rebate.
Les Bourses d’initiatives en entrepreneuriat collectif (BIEC), qui peuvent atteindre 10,000$, est un appel de projets qui vise à soutenir l’émergence et le développement des entreprises et des projets d’économie sociale dans tout le territoire de la Montérégie. Parmi les 81 projets déposés depuis quelques semaines aux Pôles d’économie sociales de la Montérégie, 16 proviennent de l’agglomération de Longueuil dont un d’un organisme de Boucherville. Les Fous de Nature de Boucherville veulent développer des ateliers scolaires numériques afin de s’adapter à la situation actuelle en lançant le projet : La technologique au service de l’éducation relative à la nature et l’environnement en temps de crise environnementale et sanitaire. Les animations de ce groupe concernent les élèves de maternelle et de primaire et répondent aux besoins des enseignants en proposant une éducation relative à la nature et à l’environnement. En raison des mesures sanitaires, l’organisation doit ajuster ses ateliers, tout en conservant le caractère immersif et l’approche interactive, notamment par l’acquisition d’équipements technologiques performants et de logiciels multimédias. Entraide entre entrepreneurs de l’organisme Vivre Longueuil vise à promouvoir les entrepreneurs locaux qui ont besoin de visibilité et de les accompagner pour faire évoluer leur projet par l’entremise de services personnalisés. Ton panier à domicile est une idée d’Interface du Citoyen qui tend à faciliter l’accessibilité de services aux personnes âgées de Longueuil. Plus précisément, le projet consiste à rendre disponible un groupe de livreurs avec autos pour effectuer des livraisons à domicile de leur panier d’épicerie, de pharmacie, des courses communautaires en faveur des citoyens qui le sollicitent en visant particulièrement les plus vulnérables. Culture Montérégie souhaite concevoir un Bureau de coordination culture-affaires afin d’offrir un service d’accompagnement aux deux secteurs pour favoriser la création de partenariats gagnant-gagnant, considérant que la culture, les arts et les affaires sont des alliés naturels qui ont des forces complémentaires et des besoins compatibles. L’Atelier à Jules est un plateau de travail supervisé qui donne la possibilité à de jeunes adultes vivant avec une Déficience Intellectuelle (DI) ou un Trouble du Spectre de l’Autisme (TSA) de se réaliser au travail afin d’augmenter leur estime de soi et développer leur autonomie. Il s’agit d’une initiative des Cuisiniers Différents de Longueuil. La Société historique et culturelle du Marigot de Longueuil souhaite présenter l’activité Ville Jacques-Cartier, vaste banlieue ouvrière (1947-1969) qui sera sous la forme de visite animée en autobus, d’une durée de 150 minutes. Le Lumifest de Longueuil veut fournir des formations, des conférences et des ateliers permettant aux professionnels du milieu des arts numériques de parfaire et partager leurs connaissances, en plus de contribuer au maillage des principaux acteurs de ce milieu avec la mise en place d’un volet professionnel. Il s’agira de la première offre du genre sur la Rive-Sud. Réaliser un répertoire des organismes progressistes est une idée de Go Pirates Canada consistant à développer une plateforme web qui se veut un centre d’information, de ressources et un inventaire des organismes progressistes de l’agglomération de Longueuil. Cela permettra de mettre en valeur ces institutions, tout en aidant les travailleurs qui recherchent ce genre d’environnement. Egalement le projet de la Maison de l’accueil du Carrefour le Moutier consiste à l’implantation d’un bâtiment collectif intégrant un pôle de services sociocommunautaires, des espaces animés collaboratifs, créatifs, de réflexion, d’éducation et d’employabilité au centre-ville de Longueuil. Les récipiendaires des bourses seront connus au cours des prochains jours. François Laramée, Initiative de journalisme local, La Relève
Canada's chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam says the priority list for the first COVID-19 vaccines is being refined because there won't be enough doses available in the first round to cover the initial groups recommended.