The federal government has announced its plan to reduce Canada’s net carbon emissions to zero by 2050 in an attempt to meet climate change targets, but there are concerns the plan lacks accountability.
The federal government has announced its plan to reduce Canada’s net carbon emissions to zero by 2050 in an attempt to meet climate change targets, but there are concerns the plan lacks accountability.
WASHINGTON — Disputing President Donald Trump’s persistent, baseless claims, Attorney General William Barr declared the U.S. Justice Department has uncovered no evidence of widespread voter fraud that could change the outcome of the 2020 election.Barr's comments, in an interview Tuesday with the The Associated Press, contradict the concerted effort by Trump, his boss, to subvert the results of last month's voting and block President-elect Joe Biden from taking his place in the White House.Barr told the AP that U.S. attorneys and FBI agents have been working to follow up specific complaints and information they’ve received, but “to date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election.”The comments, which drew immediate criticism from Trump attorneys, were especially notable coming from Barr, who has been one of the president's most ardent allies. Before the election, he had repeatedly raised the notion that mail-in voting could be especially vulnerable to fraud during the coronavirus pandemic as Americans feared going to polls and instead chose to vote by mail.More to Trump's liking, Barr revealed in the AP interview that in October he had appointed U.S. Attorney John Durham as a special counsel, giving the prosecutor the authority to continue to investigate the origins of the Trump-Russia probe after Biden takes over and making it difficult to fire him. Biden hasn't said what he might do with the investigation, and his transition team didn't comment Tuesday.Trump has long railed against the investigation into whether his 2016 campaign was co-ordinating with Russia, but he and Republican allies had hoped the results would be delivered before the 2020 election and would help sway voters. So far, there has been only one criminal case, a guilty plea from a former FBI lawyer to a single false statement charge.Under federal regulations, a special counsel can be fired only by the attorney general and for specific reasons such as misconduct, dereliction of duty or conflict of interest. An attorney general must document such reasons in writing.Barr went to the White House Tuesday for a previously scheduled meeting that lasted about three hours.Trump didn't directly comment on the attorney general's remarks on the election. But his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and his political campaign issued a scathing statement claiming that, "with all due respect to the Attorney General, there hasn’t been any semblance” of an investigation into the president's complaints.Other administration officials who have come out forcefully against Trump's allegations of voter-fraud evidence have been fired. But it's not clear whether Barr might suffer the same fate. He maintains a lofty position with Trump, and despite their differences the two see eye-to-eye on quite a lot.Still, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer quipped: “I guess he’s the next one to be fired.”Last month, Barr issued a directive to U.S. attorneys across the country allowing them to pursue any “substantial allegations” of voting irregularities before the 2020 presidential election was certified, despite no evidence at that time of widespread fraud.That memorandum gave prosecutors the ability to go around longstanding Justice Department policy that normally would prohibit such overt actions before the election was certified. Soon after it was issued, the department’s top elections crime official announced he would step aside from that position because of the memo.The Trump campaign team led by Giuliani has been alleging a widespread conspiracy by Democrats to dump millions of illegal votes into the system with no evidence. They have filed multiple lawsuits in battleground states alleging that partisan poll watchers didn’t have a clear enough view at polling sites in some locations and therefore something illegal must have happened. The claims have been repeatedly dismissed including by Republican judges who have ruled the suits lacked evidence.But local Republicans in some battleground states have followed Trump in making unsupported claims, prompting grave concerns over potential damage to American democracy.Trump himself continues to rail against the election in tweets and in interviews though his own administration has said the 2020 election was the most secure ever. He recently allowed his administration to begin the transition over to Biden, but he still refuses to admit he lost.The issues they've have pointed to are typical in every election: Problems with signatures, secrecy envelopes and postal marks on mail-in ballots, as well as the potential for a small number of ballots miscast or lost.But they've gone further. Attorney Sidney Powell has spun fictional tales of election systems flipping votes, German servers storing U.S. voting information and election software created in Venezuela “at the direction of Hugo Chavez,” – the late Venezuelan president who died in 2013. Powell has since been removed from the legal team after an interview she gave where she threatened to “blow up” Georgia with a “biblical” court filing.Barr didn't name Powell specifically but said: “There's been one assertion that would be systemic fraud and that would be the claim that machines were programmed essentially to skew the election results. And the DHS and DOJ have looked into that, and so far, we haven’t seen anything to substantiate that.”In the campaign statement, Giuliani claimed there was “ample evidence of illegal voting in at least six states, which they have not examined.”“We have many witnesses swearing under oath they saw crimes being committed in connection with voter fraud. As far as we know, not a single one has been interviewed by the DOJ. The Justice Department also hasn’t audited any voting machines or used their subpoena powers to determine the truth,” he said.However, Barr said earlier that people were confusing the use of the federal criminal justice system with allegations that should be made in civil lawsuits. He said a remedy for many complaints would be a top-down audit by state or local officials, not the U.S. Justice Department.“There’s a growing tendency to use the criminal justice system as sort of a default fix-all," he said, but first there must be a basis to believe there is a crime to investigate.“Most claims of fraud are very particularized to a particular set of circumstances or actors or conduct. ... And those have been run down; they are being run down,” Barr said. “Some have been broad and potentially cover a few thousand votes. They have been followed up on."___Associated Press writers Lisa Mascaro and Eric Tucker contributed to this report.Michael Balsamo, The Associated Press
MONTREAL — Zorhan Bassong wants to be part of building something new with the Montreal Impact. And it doesn't hurt that joining the club will bring the young Canadian defender back home. Bassong said he had several offers and discussed the options with his family before signing a two-year contract with the Impact on Tuesday. The deal includes two additional option years. “As soon as I spoke with (Impact sporting director) Olivier Renard, I felt convinced about this project. I felt like he was ready to build a new project where young players will play," said the 21-year-old Montreal-raised fullback."This is what convinced me to come here. I just wanted to be part of this new project. And at the same time, I will be close to my family, close to my friends, close to my homeland.”Bassong was 14 when he left home to train in Europe. He returns to Canada after playing for Cercle Brugge in Belgium's Jupiler Pro League, and previously played 31 games for Lille's reserve team in France.The five-foot-nine defender made his debut for the Canadian national team in January, and was later named to the U-23 national team roster for the CONCACAF Olympic qualifying tournament. Work on bringing him to Montreal has been underway for some time, Renard said in a release."We preferred to wait to make the announcement to avoid destabilizing the players in his position, and achieve our 2020 goals," he said. Veteran Montreal defenders Rod Fanni, Jukka Raitala and Jorge Corrales all have contracts that expire at the end of 2020. While Renard described Bassong as a versatile player who can fit in anywhere along the backline, the young defender said his preferred position is left back.“I like to do the runs back and forth," he said. "When I play left back, I like to attack. I like to participate offensively, to help the team score goals, to get some assists.”Bassong won't be available to join the Impact for the team's upcoming CONCACAF Champions League fixture. Though he has returned to Montreal, he's currently in quarantine with his family.The Champions League tournament will see the Impact face Honduran club CD Olimpia on Dec. 15 in Orlando. The matchup is the second leg of the quarterfinal, coming after Olimpia beat the Impact 2-1 when the teams played the first leg at Montreal's Olympic Stadium in March. The tournament was then postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The winner of the series will face either New York City FC or Mexico's Tigres UANL in the semifinals on Dec. 19. The tournament's finale will be played on Dec. 22. The rest of the Champions League games will be played without fans.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 1, 2020.The Canadian Press
TORONTO — Netflix Canada will bid farewell to "Friends" later this month as the hit sitcom moves to Crave.Both streaming platforms confirmed the switch on Tuesday, saying Dec. 31 will see all 10 seasons of the show depart Netflix for their new home on Crave under an exclusive agreement.The change comes as Crave continues to bulk up its streaming library of hit network TV comedies, which include "30 Rock," "The Bernie Mac Show" and "Frasier."The streamer, owned by Bell Media, also recently picked up the rights to "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air," which will leave Netflix on Dec. 30.Netflix isn't left empty-handed when it comes to classic TV, however. The company says it will have the Canadian streaming rights to "Seinfeld" starting next year.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 1, 2020.The Canadian Press
NEW YORK — Oscar-nominated actor Elliot Page, the star of “Juno," “Inception” and “The Umbrella Academy,” came out as transgender Tuesday in an announcement greeted as a watershed moment for the trans community in Hollywood. “I love that I am trans. And I love that I am queer," Page said in a statement on social media. Page, the 33-year-old actor from Nova Scotia, said his decision to come out as trans, which also involved changing his first name, came after a long journey and with much support from the LGBTQ community. “I can’t begin to express how remarkable it feels to finally love who I am enough to pursue my authentic self,” Page wrote. “I’ve been endlessly inspired by so many in the trans community. Thank you for your courage, your generosity and ceaselessly working to make this world a more inclusive and compassionate place.” “The more I hold myself close and fully embrace who I am, the more I dream, the more my heart grows and the more I thrive,” added Page, who said his pronouns are “he" and "they.” Page signed his statement with the words, “All my love, Elliot.” The announcement was celebrated widely on social media by LGBTQ rights advocates and many in the film industry. Netflix, maker of the comic book series “The Umbrella Academy," said, “So proud of our superhero! We love you Elliot!” "Elliot Page has given us fantastic characters on-screen, and has been an outspoken advocate for all LGBTQ people,” said Nick Adams, GLAAD’s Director of Transgender Media. “He will now be an inspiration to countless trans and non-binary people. All transgender people deserve the chance to be ourselves and to be accepted for who we are. We celebrate the remarkable Elliot Page today.” Page broke out in Jason Reitman's 2007 film “Juno” in a performance as a pregnant teenager that earned him an Academy Award nomination. Page has frequently worked to bring the lives of LGBTQ characters to screen, including the 2015 film “Freeheld,” which he produced and starred in as the partner of a dying New Jersey police detective who had been denied pension benefits. Last year, he made his directorial debut with the documentary “There's Something in the Water,” about environmental damage on Black and First Nations communities in Nova Scotia. Jake Coyle, The Associated Press
Statistics from Public Health Ontario (PHO) show the opioid-related death rates in many parts of Northern Ontario are significantly higher than the numbers being reported by Toronto Public Health and some other Southern Ontario locations. For comparison purposes, statistics were compiled in quarterly segments from the end of March 2019, through to the end March of 2020, which was the one-year time period with the latest available information on Emergency Room visits, hospitalizations and opioids-related deaths. In the first quarter of this year, just in the Public Health Sudbury and Districts (PHSD) jurisdiction, the rate of opioid deaths was listed at 41.9 per 100,000 population, an increase of 16.7 per cent from the previous year. This was based on a population of 200,424 within the jurisdiction of the Sudbury health unit, which includes the City of Greater Sudbury and several surrounding smaller communities, such as Espanola, Chapleau and on Manitoulin Island. Public Health Ontario said this accounts for 21 deaths in the first three months of this year for the PHSD service area. The Sudbury health unit's own opioid surveillance program reports that from January 2020 to June 2020, opioids have claimed 44 lives. The Sudbury health unit jurisdiction, in the first three months of this year, also had an opioid death rate more than three times higher than the national rate in Canada, which is 12.1 deaths per 100,000 residents. By comparison, for the Toronto Public Health area, the rate of opioid deaths was 11.4 per 100,000 population. It is an increase of 8.6 per cent from the previous year. This was based on a population of 3,090,377. The rate for the last three months of 2019 was 10.5 per 100,000. For the third quarter, the rate was lower at 6.1 deaths per 100,000. The second quarter of 2019 in Toronto, the death rate was 10.5 and in the first quarter the death rate was 11.2 deaths per 100,000. The lower rate was evident in other parts of Southern Ontario. In the jurisdiction of Ottawa Public Health, the rate of opioid deaths was lower at 7.7 per 100,000, the first three months of this year. This was for a population of slightly more than one million. In the Peel region, Peel Public Health reported an even lower fatality rate of 7.6 per 100,000 residents, for a population listed at more than 1.5 million. In the Windsor - Essex County Health Unit, the opioid fatality rate was 15.2 per 100,000 based on a population of roughly 420,000. In the Niagara Public Health Region, the death rate in the first three months this year was reported at 23.1 per 100,000 population for a region of more than 468,000 residents. Back to Northern Ontario, the rates were far higher in general. The Porcupine Health Unit, representing Timmins and several other smaller northern towns, also has a high rate of opioid deaths according to the PHO stats. For the first three months of this year, the death rate attributed to opioids was 32.8 per 100,000 population, three times the Toronto rate. This was for a population of 85,273. Figures for the Thunder Bay District Health Unit (TBDHU) for the first quarter of this year revealed a mortality rate of 28.5 per 100,000 population. This was for a population of nearly 155,000 in the TBDHU jurisdiction. For the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit it was revealed that the rate of opioid deaths was 18.6 per 100,000 population. This was for a region of more than 129,000 residents. The Timiskaming Health Unit, which includes such communities as Kirkland Lake and Temiskaming Shores, the rate was 12.1 per 100,000 for a jurisdiction with a population of more than 33,000 residents. Four deaths occurred in that jurisdiction between March 2019 and March 2020. Further west in the jurisdiction of the Northwestern Health Unit, for communities such as Kenora, Red Lake and Dryden, the mortality rate for the first three months of this year was 9.8 per 100,000, a couple of points lower than Toronto. This was for a population just short of 82,000. A full report on the patterns of opioid-related deaths in Ontario during 2020 the pandemic may be causing some unintended consequences. "In June 2020, Ontario’s Chief Coroner announced a 25 per cent increase in suspected drug-related deaths between March and May 2020, compared to the monthly median reported in 2019. Similar trends have been reported elsewhere in Canada," said the report. "It is expected that this increase in drug-related deaths is being driven by a combination of numerous factors, including an increasingly toxic unregulated (‘street’) drug supply, barriers to access to harm reduction services and treatment, and physical distancing requirements leading to more people using drugs alone."Len Gillis, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Sudbury.com
HARRISBURG, Pa. — A Republican state lawmaker from Pennsylvania revealed Monday that he has COVID-19, confirming the positive test five days after he went to the White House to meet with President Donald Trump and went maskless at a packed public meeting to discuss efforts to overturn President-elect Joe Biden’s victory. State Sen. Doug Mastriano first revealed the diagnosis in a Facebook live video Monday night, one day after The Associated Press reported that Mastriano was informed of the positive test while at a West Wing meeting with Trump. On Tuesday, conservative talk radio host Glenn Beck asked Mastriano about his diagnosis. “I'm feeling fantastic,” Mastriano said, then changed the topic. Meanwhile, a Republican lawmaker who attended Wednesday's public meeting in Gettysburg with Mastriano, Sen. Judy Ward, revealed that she also has tested positive. The public meeting was held, despite state Department of Health and internal Senate pandemic directives limiting gatherings. The AP learned of the White House test results from a person with direct knowledge of the meeting. Mastriano insisted on Facebook that the report was inaccurate, but did not say how in a 15-minute video in which he confirmed he had tested positive and described his symptoms as “pretty mild.” He did not say where or when he got tested and did not discuss the White House meeting. Neither Mastriano nor his spokesperson have returned messages seeking comment over the past several days. Mastriano, who has led rallies against mask-wearing and other pandemic mitigation efforts, said in the video that after interacting with large numbers of people this year, “finally eight months in, and 20,000 people in, I do get it.” Mastriano said he wanted to “dispel any rumours and get to the bottom of it,” and suggested he contracted the virus in a “basement suite that lacked air circulation” where two other people in the room later tested positive. He did not say when that occurred, or whether it was before the Gettysburg event, but also complained that, before going on camera, he allowed a makeup artist there to use the same brushes on him as others before him. “I knew right there, you know, stop her, don’t let her put those brushes on your face, just walk away,” he said. “And I didn’t.” He said he has not had a fever, and expected his quarantine “will be ending here pretty quick, actually.” The U.S. Centers for Disease Control recommends that people who tested positive not be around other people for 10 days after symptoms first appeared, if the person has gone 24 hours without fever and other symptoms are improving. Mastriano's White House trip followed the hours-long meeting in a Gettysburg hotel, which was held at Mastriano’s request and where few people wore masks. At the meeting, the state Senate Republican Policy Committee listened to Trump — calling in by telephone — and Trump’s lawyers, including Rudy Giuliani, repeat baseless claims that Biden's victory in Pennsylvania was gained fraudulently and urge them to overturn it. No state or county election official or prosecutor in Pennsylvania has cited evidence of widespread election fraud in the state, and Attorney General William Barr said Tuesday the Department of Justice has not uncovered evidence of widespread voter fraud that would change the outcome of the 2020 presidential election. Republicans convened the Gettysburg meeting amid rising coronavirus infections in Pennsylvania that state Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine warned Monday have strained the state’s hospitals and intensive care units. Blair County Sen. Judy Ward, who sat with a mask on a few feet away from Mastriano at the public meeting, announced in a Facebook post Monday that she also had tested positive for the virus. Ward said she believes she became infected at a Thanksgiving gathering. She has not returned messages seeking comment. It is not clear how state Senate Republican leaders, who have remained silent about the matter, have responded internally to a potential outbreak stemming from that meeting. Mastriano said contact tracing has been performed, but provided no details, and a Senate GOP spokesperson would only say the “Senate continues to adhere to the COVID-19 mitigation policy which was adopted in the spring.” Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa, D-Allegheny, criticized the meeting as irresponsible. “The spread of this virus is something that we have to really take seriously and we should not be subjecting our staff and others to exposure,” Costa said. A spokesperson for the state Department of Health declined to say whether the agency was conducting contact tracing as a result of the Gettysburg event. __ Follow Mark Scolforo on Twitter at www.twitter.com/houseofbuddy and Marc Levy at www.twitter.com/timelywriter. Mark Scolforo And Marc Levy, The Associated Press
MONTREAL — The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League has a plan A and a plan B to resume its season in mid-January, and its commissioner said Tuesday that cancelling its schedule isn't an option.On Monday, the league announced it was suspending activities from Dec. 1 to Jan. 3, when players are expected to report to their respective clubs. The plan is to start playing games again between Jan. 17 and Jan. 20.There are two possibilities for how the resumption of games could look. Plan A, the one seemingly favoured by QMJHL commissioner Gilles Courteau, would be that the COVID-19 pandemic will have subsided enough to allow public health officials in the four provinces the league has teams to permit the resumption of the schedule as planned with interprovincial travel.But the QMJHL also has a Plan B: a bubble format with a handful of teams in select cities.The league would create protected environments, like it did in Quebec City for about 10 days earlier in November, where several teams played games.The league wants six different cities — four in Quebec and two in Atlantic Canada — to host three teams each to play two games over three days between Jan. 22 and Jan. 24.After that, three cities would welcome four Quebec teams each to play six games in nine days between Jan. 30 and Feb. 7.There would also be a gathering of the six Atlantic Canada-based teams to play five games in eight days between Jan. 30 and Feb 6."I think that what happened in Quebec City over the last two weeks has been a real boost for our teams," Courteau said Tuesday. "It’s been a very positive event and gave us faith when we will sit down in front of the four provinces’ public health departments, that we've got a good plan for them."If restrictions are still place, the league is ready to pivot to a bubble format."We’ll see as well what will be the evolution of the pandemic," Courteau said.The QMJHL was the only one of three Canadian major junior leagues to open their season around the normal start date.The Western Hockey League has said it plans to start the season in January, while the Ontario Hockey League has targeted February.For the time being, the QMJHL has no plans to cancel the rest of the season."We never talked about cancelling the season," Courteau said. "When we made the decision back in late July, start of August about resuming training and the start of training camp, we knew … we would go through roadblocks throughout the season."The 18-team league has been forced to postpone games regularly in Quebec and Atlantic Canada since starting the season in early October because of COVID-19 restrictions and positive tests. The league says the objective is for teams to play about 30 games each in the bubble format. But it wouldn't mean all teams will play an equal number of games by the end of the season. Thus far, the Sherbrooke Phoenix have played a league-low five games, while three clubs lead the way with 16 games played apiece.The league's hockey committee is meeting to assess which scenario will be adopted and how the playoffs will look.The league has distributed specifics to each club and it will be up to them to decide whether they will put themselves forward to host one of the bubbles.QMJHL will not be exempted from strict COVID-19 requirements in Atlantic Canada.The league has three teams in New Brunswick, two in Nova Scotia and one in Prince Edward Island. The league has asked players to report as of Jan. 3 so they can fulfil a 14-day quarantine before activities resume Jan. 17.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 1, 2020.Frederic Daigle, The Canadian Press
The pandemic hasn't seemed to have hurt bank profits, yet thanks to consumer spending on credit, experts warn a wave of insolvencies and bankruptcies may still be coming once the post-pandemic recovery is underway.
WHITEHORSE — A mask order aimed at limiting the spread of COVID-19 is now in effect across Yukon, but the territory's top doctor says enforcement of the regulation is not the first priority. Dr. Brendan Hanley said Tuesday people will be given a chance to adapt to the order, which was announced last week as cases of the virus mounted. At a regular weekly briefing, Premier Sandy Silver reported eight new cases of COVID-19 in Yukon since last Tuesday, bringing the number of active cases to 17 and the total number of cases to 47 since the start of the pandemic. The mask order requires everyone over the age of five to wear a non-medical face covering in all indoor public spaces or face a fine of up to $500, but Hanley says people will first be given a chance to adapt and he expects the new rule will be accepted quickly. He says 200,000 masks are being made available to ensure everyone has access to them. A 14-day quarantine period remains in place for all those entering or returning to Yukon, but as the holiday season approaches, Silver says children can be assured that Santa is still welcome. "I know many kids around the territory are wondering how their gifts might get here in light of the self-isolation requirements and I have good news on that front," he told the news conference. "I can confirm that Santa is a critical worker and I know that Dr. Hanley and his team have been working very closely with (Santa's) counterparts at the North Pole." Hanley also reminded children that the Elf on the Shelf will be monitoring their handwashing and physical distancing efforts throughout the festive season. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 1, 2020. The Canadian Press
While many B.C. restaurants have adapted to COVID-19 restrictions by offering home delivery, it is not likely a customer's first thought to dial up a dozen half shell oysters.Normally the providers of a delicacy enjoyed at seafood restaurants and special events, oyster farmers in the province have collectively lost millions of dollars in sales since the spring when the pandemic changed the way people live.According to the B.C. Shellfish Growers Association, it is possible some of those farmers will not survive the current situation they find themselves in."At the lowest point, we estimated that our members were losing about $2.4 million a month, so that's pretty grim," said Jim Russell, the association's executive director, Tuesday, on CBC's On The Island."Basically, people are just fighting to survive right now," he added.Some members, said Russell, are trying to access new export markets or are packaging product for retail sales, but local sales of fresh oysters, and particularly half shell oysters, have "basically collapsed."Federal wage subsidy extension wantedThe challenge facing many farmers is they currently have live oysters growing and, according to Russell, there is a short window of about 18 to 24 months when an oyster is at its prime market value before that price begins to diminish.He worries that without an extension of the federal wage subsidy program, which expires Dec. 19, larger sized operations will simply not be able to pay staff to maintain and harvest oysters — even just to shuck and sell them by the gallon at a lower price point than selling them whole as preferred.While some farmers have been able to fall back on sales of shucked products and other shellfish, such as clams, not all members have the ability to diversify.Russell said the bleak situation has caused an increase in members trying to sell their farms."A number of folks have said they are considering exiting the industry," he said.The Association is a non-profit organization that represents approximately 70 per cent of shellfish farmers in B.C., as well as processors, industry suppliers and service providers related to the industry.To hear more on the state of the industry with BC Shellfish Association Executive Director Jim Russell on CBC's On The Island, tap the audio link below:
Yellowknife city council met on Monday to discuss how to allocate $1.469 million worth of federal funding they received last month to address homelessness during the pandemic.In April, the city received $500,000 from the Reaching Home initiative, which is a part of Canada's national strategy to reduce chronic homelessness. Most of that money went toward programs offered by non-governmental organizations, like the Women's Society, the Salvation Army and Side Door.Of that funding, they have just under $200,000 remaining. Now, the nearly $1.5 million of federal funds from October — secured on the condition it's spent before March 31, 2021 — needs to be allocated.During a special meeting, city council debated whether to approve the spending recommendations made by the community advisory board on homelessness.Rental arrears, shelter spaceThe first recommendation made by board is to allocate $300,000 to address rental arrears and to provide temporary rental support for those that are experiencing homelessness or may be at imminent risk.That amount was determined by landlords in Yellowknife who told the city the number of outstanding rental arrears they have. Around $800,000 is suggested to support 20 shelter beds for individuals and 10 shelter rooms for families which would be done using hotel rooms, says Grant White, the director of community services with the city.However, councillors called for longer term solutions and asked whether the funding could be used toward securing a permanent location for transitional or affordable housing.Coun. Shauna Morgan said that renting hotels seemed like an "inefficient way to use the funding."Although she says she is happy that there is a significant amount of funding available, she wanted to see that turned into more "sustainable solutions." Other councillors agreed.Coun. Steve Payne noted that homelessness was a "chronic problem" and was sceptical that a "temporary fix" would be the best route for addressing the housing issues that the city faces.Permanent housing optionsMayor Rebecca Alty made an alternative recommendation and suggested that the community advisory board look for more permanent housing options.In the meantime, Alty says she will request an extension on the March 31 expenditure deadline, or request that the funding be committed before that date, but spent after. She also plans to ask the federal government to review their residential assets in Yellowknife to see if any locations could be used for affordable housing.Alty said she made this alternative recommendation because she doesn't want to leave "any stone unturned.""If no permanent affordable housing can be found then I would be happy to consider this recommendation in the future," said Alty.She says she hopes the federal and territorial governments, along with local NGOs and businesses, will partner with the city to find a location to secure the transitional housing that the city needs.Council will hold a special meeting to move a motion in early December before they conclude for the year.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Canada's decision to block American imports of certain prescription drugs from north of the border is getting stony silence from the Trump administration — a sign, one expert says, that the U.S. proposal is "dead in the water."The measure, first floated by Donald Trump a year ago as a strategy to help reduce America's staggering drug costs, took effect Monday after the president signed a pre-election executive order in September. On Saturday, however, Health Minister Patty Hajdu parried the effort with just days to spare, prohibiting bulk drug exports if they pose a risk of creating or worsening drug shortages in the Canadian market. The White House referred questions about the new limits to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which has yet to respond to repeated media queries about where Canada's move leaves Trump's plan.That plan was "a desperate act by desperate people at a desperate time," said Dr. Allen Zagoren, a policy administration professor at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. Canada represents only two per cent of global drug sales, and gets 68 per cent of its drugs from outside the country, Health Canada said in a news release announcing the export prohibitions. The U.S. market, on the other hand, comprises 44 per cent of pharmaceutical sales around the world. Buying drugs in Canada "was never realistic, ever," Zagoren said. "Even if Canada said, 'Sure,' there's no way — Canada doesn't have enough drugs. But it allowed them to make a promise. And then they could argue, 'Well, Canada won't let us. So it's them, not us.'"Kirsten Hillman, Canada’s ambassador to the U.S., said the two countries have been discussing the issue of drug imports for more than a year. In those meetings, Canada has made it clear that given the relatively tiny size of the Canadian market, bulk imports from north of the border simply wouldn’t have the desired effect."We've been saying to them all along: one, we sympathize with your policy concern; two, buying bulk drugs from Canada isn't the solution to your policy concern; and three, above all else, we will always protect the supply of drugs to Canadians," Hillman said.Canada's response is not a blanket export ban, but a "narrow and tailored" measure that applies only to those drugs meant for domestic consumption that are already in short supply or at risk at becoming scarce, she added. Zagoren, who called Trump's proposal "dead in the water," said its failure could prove useful for president-elect Joe Biden's own efforts to address drug costs once he takes over the White House in January. Biden has promised to reduce drug costs, including through imports, and to give the U.S. government insurance program known as Medicare the power to negotiate drug prices — a plan that has the blessing of congressional Democrats. The fact that Trump's proposed solution has failed could provide Biden with helpful leverage in discussions with the all-powerful pharmaceutical industry, which has spent aggressively in its lobbying efforts to head off pricing reforms. "I think it helps the Biden administration, because it sets the stage. The Canadian argument signals to the Biden administration, 'Don't come here for this.' But Biden being the internationalist he is, and a very good friend of Canada, that's not going to happen in the Biden administration anyway." Biden has also promised to expand health insurance coverage to include more Americans, a move that has the potential to broaden the existing U.S. drug market. Much will depend on the outcome of a pair of Senate run-off elections next month in Georgia, where Democratic challengers Jon Ossoff and Rev. Raphael Warnock are seeking to unseat Republicans David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler. Should they both succeed, the 100-seat Senate will find itself in an even 50-50 split, giving the tiebreaking vote to Biden's vice-president, Kamala Harris. "It really hinges on the Georgia election as to how far the U.S. government will go with regard to drug prices, and especially on Medicare," Zagoren said. "There'll be a lot of negotiation in the backrooms with regard to pharmaceutical prices going forward. I do think there's going to be an attempt to bring them down, but I don't think it will be on the backs of the Canadians."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 1, 2020. James McCarten, The Canadian Press
WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court seemed concerned Tuesday about the impact of siding with food giants Nestle and Cargill and ending a lawsuit that claims they knowingly bought cocoa beans from farms in Africa that used child slave labour.The court was hearing arguments in the case by phone because of the coronavirus pandemic. If the court were to accept Nestle and Cargill's arguments, that could further limit the ability of victims of human rights abuses abroad to use U.S. courts to sue. But both liberal and conservative justices asked questions that were skeptical of arguments made by the companies' attorney.“Many of your arguments lead to results that are pretty hard to take,” conservative Justice Samuel Alito told attorney Neal Katyal, who was arguing on behalf of Nestle and Cargill. The court's three liberal justices were particularly critical of Katyal's position, with Justice Sonia Sotomayor at one point saying it “boggles my mind.”The case before the justices has been going on for more than 15 years. It involves six adult citizens of Mali, referred to only as John Does, who say that as children they were taken from their country and forced to work on cocoa farms in neighbouring Ivory Coast. They say they worked 12 to 14 hours a day, were given little food and were beaten if their work was seen as slow.The group says that Minneapolis-based Cargill and the American arm of Switzerland-based Nestle “aided and abetted” their slavery by, among other things, buying cocoa beans from farms that used child labour. The group is seeking to bring a class action lawsuit on behalf of themselves and what they say are thousands of other former child slaves.Both Nestle and Cargill say they have taken steps to combat child slavery and have denied any wrongdoing.The case involves a law enacted by the very first Congress in 1789, the Alien Tort Statute, which permits foreign citizens to sue in U.S. courts for human rights abuses. The justices are being asked to rule on whether it permits lawsuits against American companies.Justice Brett Kavanaugh was among the justices with tough questions for Nestle and Cargill's attorney. “The Alien Tort Statute was once an engine of international human rights protection,” Kavanaugh said before quoting a brief that argued that the companies' position would “gut the statute.” “So why should we do that?” he asked.Alito, for his part, was also skeptical about this particular case against Nestle and Cargill. “You don't even allege that they actually knew about forced child labour,” Alito told attorney Paul Hoffman.“We do contend that these defendants knew exactly what they were doing in that supply chain,” Hoffman responded.The case had previously been dismissed twice at an early stage, but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit revived it. The Trump administration is backing Nestle and Cargill.The high court in recent years has limited the use of the Alien Tort Statute. Most recently, in 2018, the court ruled that foreign businesses cannot be sued under the law. In that case, the court rejected an attempt by Israeli victims of attacks in the West Bank and Gaza to use U.S. courts to sue Jordan-based Arab Bank, which they said helped finance the attacks. Cargill and Nestle are asking the court to take another step and rule out suits against U.S. companies.A decision is expected by the end of June.Jessica Gresko, The Associated Press
The annual Feed the Meter campaign in Belleville, Trenton and Picton is returning on December 1st. While staying safe and shopping local this holiday season, residents of the Quinte West community are encouraged to drop donations in the meters in support of student nutrition programs in Hastings and Prince Edward Counties. All funds collected in meters during December 2020 will support Food for Learning’s school breakfast and snack programs in the community. As COVID-19 persists, Food for Learning programs are needed more than ever in local schools to support students experiencing food insecurity. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon that some children may arrive at school hungry; whether it’s due to long bus rides, rushed mornings, or parents simply not being able to afford breakfast, there are many reasons why children may go without a healthy meal in the mornings. Food for Learning programs support a vital part of every child’s day by providing healthy breakfasts to children in Hastings and Prince Edward counties. Providing children with access to fresh fruit, granola bars and other breakfast foods, Food for Learning recognizes the need for nutritional support in local schools. For some kids, the Food for Learning program may have been their only opportunity to get breakfast, or potentially their only meal of the day. Each day, 4000 students cross the Hastings and Prince Edward Counties, including some students who are learning from home, are provided with healthy snacks and meals. Due to the continuing pandemic, Food for Learning student nutrition programs have been redesigned to ensure the safety of all students and staff. As a result, program costs are considerably higher as the Food for Learning program experiences an increase in student participation and individual portions and packages food to minimize contact. The Food for Learning program is continuing to support students learning from home that are experiencing food insecurity as well. “I feel that both health and wellness of our student nutrition program contribute to a more positive school environment that supports student self-regulation physically, emotionally, and mentally, which leads to increased student performance, self-esteem, and social skills. It is a vital program to help improve and maintain our overall school climate,” said a student nutrition program coordinator. Residents wishing to support the Feed the Meter campaign from the comfort of their own homes can also mail their donations to: Food for Learning c/o The Hastings and Prince Edward Learning Foundation, 156 Ann St., Belleville, ON K8N 3L3. Please make cheques payable to The Hastings and Prince Edward Learning Foundation. The Feed the Meter campaign is supported through the generous contributions from campaign sponsors: Starboard Cares (Cool 100 & Hits 95.5 & InQuinte), Market High Advertising LTD., Greek Community of Belleville Quinte West and District, The Grand at The Greek Banquet Hall. GOLD sponsors of Feed the Meter 2020 include: Belleville: Kellogg’s, Fresh Co Belleville, Vision Transportation, Whitely Insurance, Wilkinson & Company LLP and McDougall Insurance & Financial. Prince Edward County: Kellogg’s, Prinzen Ford and McDougall Insurance & Financial. Quinte West: Kellogg’s, Findlay Food, Whitely Insurance, Tomasso’s Italian Grille, Wilkinson & Company LLP and McDougall Insurance & Financial.Virginia Clinton, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Intelligencer
People returning from non-essential travel outside the N.W.T. will soon be required to pay for their own stay at one of the territory's isolation centres, Premier Caroline Cochrane announced in a press conference Tuesday.All travellers and returning residents are currently required to immediately self-isolate for 14 days. Following an outbreak of COVID-19 in Nunavut, this month a new public health order also required residents of the same household to self-isolate for the same period.Residents and travellers who have a private home where they can isolate in either Hay River, Fort Smith, Inuvik, or Yellowknife are allowed to isolate at home.Those who don't, end up at one of the territory's isolation centres — hotels in each of those four communities — where the bill for a 14-day stay can reach up to $4,000 per person, according to the territory.Until now, that bill has usually been footed by the territorial government, which says isolation centre costs account for more than half of the territory's COVID-19 spending to date.But starting Jan. 5, 2021, only certain essential travellers will have that cost covered. That includes people travelling for medical or compassionate reasons, like visiting a terminally ill relative or travelling for a funeral.Cochrane also said "anyone who is required to stay at an isolation centre because of the government of the Northwest Territories' policies" will have their stay paid, though it was not immediately clear who that would cover.Other exemptions will be determined by the chief public health officer, Cochrane said Tuesday."Many of us miss the opportunities to go south in the winter," she said — but "we need residents to consider whether their trips out of the territory are really necessary." Calls to replace surveys for isolation plan check-insFollowing Cochrane's announcement, Health Minister Julie Green emphasized the importance of sticking to self-isolation plans, which require that households in isolation maintain strict distance from others for 14 full days.Currently, individuals self-isolating report possible symptoms of COVID-19 mostly via an online form. Green said that process would be changing, with government staff calling isolating people directly to check-in.Green said the change would help "encourage compliance" and "follow up on wellness checks during the isolation period."Green said the change is expected to happen in the next two weeks.At Tuesday's press conference, Green, Cochrane and the chief public health officer, Dr. Kami Kandola, all spoke to the dangers of "pandemic fatigue," which has left fewer people taking public health measures seriously."As we head toward the season of celebration, pandemic fatigue is real," said Kandola. "But … right now, we have a choice to make — we can give into the fatigue and risk the sacrifices we've made so far to keep our territory strong, or we can commit ourselves to the healthy habits we know work, and together we can stop COVID-19 in its tracks."Changes prompted by surveyCochrane said the changes were tied directly to engagement sessions held on the government's COVID-19 response to date.Last week, the government published results from those sessions which showed that most Indigenous, business and community leaders wanted to see reduced spending on isolation centres.Those responses included calls for the territory to stop covering isolation centre stays for elective travel and allow residents to self-isolate at home outside of the four "hubs" designated by the government.While those communities will still be the only place where travellers can isolate, Cochrane did say the government would be spreading the wealth by putting more pandemic services out to tender.Cochrane said local bed-and-breakfasts could bid on contracts to provide accommodation, and other requests for proposals had been posted seeking providers for catering, security and transportation.Missed the live update? Watch it here:Tuesday's announcement came just hours after federal Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland said that the Canadian government has given the territory $30 million for its isolation hubs, calling it "money well spent."In Tuesday's news conference, Cochrane said that money would not necessarily be spent by the COVID-19 secretariat, which manages the isolation hubs, though she said "health is the first priority" for that spending.Speaking on CBC's The Trailbreaker Tuesday morning, Freeland said, "I think those isolation hubs, while obviously causing a lot of difficulty in people's lives, are keeping people alive and healthy and safe."The N.W.T.'s review of its approach to isolation centres also comes as Nunavut recovers from an outbreak of COVID-19 that appeared to originate in an isolation centre in Winnipeg. Unlike Nunavut, the N.W.T. requires travellers to isolate after travel, not before.
The community for SilverStar Mountain Resort is moving forward with its plan to become a resort association. The designation—not to be confused with a resort municipality designation—will provide the community of about 1,000 homeowners more of a say in how money is spent in the community, according SilverStar realtor Don Kassa. Kassa co-chairs the SilverStar Task Force, which initiated the process. He said things are moving forward, and that the next step will be to elect a board of directors. There is already an 11-member board in place. Five of the positions will be elected in the near term, with the remaining positions to be elected in two years. “The biggest benefit I would suggest is we have a cohesive body which now is mandated to negotiate with all levels of government for the betterment of the community,” he said, explaining the importance of the association. Kassa added the association will have the ability to fund and apply for funding for projects that will support the development of the resort community. It will also be used to market the resort as a year-round destination. Resort associations, such as Tourism Sun Peaks, collect a fee from property owners who use their property for rental, business or commercial purposes. The association will have access to the hotel tax as well as a fee, known as a resort management fee, paid by some homeowners in the area. Gaining association status has been a long process for the task force, which is currently made up of individual property owners, businesses, hotels and the resort operator. The Regional District of North Okanagan, which oversees the resort, had to agree to set it up, and then at least 50 per cent of the landowners within the resort association boundaries (representing 50 per cent of the property value) had to sign a petition in favour of it. Kassa said that the group is happy with the level of services provided by the regional district. “Many of the needs for services are being met very well currently,” said Kassa. There has, however, been some opposition to the plan. In an interview with CBC in March 2020, a homeowner said he worried that bookings would be centralized and homeowners would be forced to pay fees. According to Kassa, there is no plan to centralize the reservation system, but under the new framework, all homeoneers will have to pay the resort management fee, which he said would be between $400 and $800 a year per home. “The feeling of the current board was that if you are renting a property and making a substantial return on your property….then you should, in fact, be part and parcel of the cost to make that resort go forward.” Joel Barde, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Sun Peaks Independent News Inc.
Students across Alberta started learning from home again Monday and will continue to do so until Jan. 11. In an attempt to help slow the spread of COVID-19, the province forced all students in Grades 7-12 to go back to at-home learning. All students will go on winter break on Dec. 18. In January, in-person classes will resume on Jan. 11 after a week of online learning to begin the New Year. Grade 8 St. Mary’s student Bethany Taylor says online learning is naturally different than in-class learning, but that doesn’t mean it is a bad thing. “I’m still able to communicate with my friends and have a good time,” she said. “Learning online is good for me and I’m able to learn new things and communicate with everyone I need to.” When schools shifted online in March, they did not have much time to plan for the online aspect of learning. Taylor says things seem more structured this time around. “We have to be at a specific meeting at a specific time,” she said. “We have a schedule every day and it’s pretty similar to a normal day at school.” Alexandra Middle School student Rowan Hughson says online learning has its ups and downs. “It’s alright learning online and I don’t mind being at home,” Hughson said. “It’s just confusing sometimes trying to figure out what is going on. “I really like being around other people, so that is really hard at times, too.” The Grade 9 student says things seem much smoother this time around. “This seems much better than the emergency learning we had in March,” Hughson said. “I think they’ve had a lot more time to plan this time around and to listen to feedback from parents and students.” Jackson Harnett is a Grade 8 student at Notre Dame says online learning is a good experience. “I actually do like it – it’s really good,” he said. “I like that you get to work at your own pace and there aren’t as many distractions this way.” Harnett agrees that things are going better this time. “Everyone is showing up to class,” he said. “Things seem a lot more organized.”Mo Cranker, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Medicine Hat News
The daughter of Jennifer Hillier-Penney, the St. Anthony woman who disappeared without a trace four years ago, isn't giving up her fight for justice even as time passes with little closure or a breakthrough in the RCMP investigation. Hillier-Penney was last seen Nov. 30, 2016, at her estranged husband's home, where she spent the night to look after the younger of the couple's two daughters. That teenager woke the next morning to find her mother gone, but personal items like her coat, keys and passport all left behind.On Monday, the fourth anniversary of her mother's disappearance, the couple's eldest daughter, Marina Penney, posted a scathing message on Facebook, writing openly of her and her family's hurt and lashing out at police as well as a person Penney doesn't name but who she believes killed her mother."I'm angry and I'm tired. I'm tired, and we are just full of rage," Penney told CBC News in an interview Monday"Nobody thought this would go on this long."RCMP labelled Hillier-Penney's disappearance as suspicious early on in the case. Documents show police believe she was kidnapped and killed, but no suspects have ever been named.Frustration with policePenney won't put a name to her suspicions of who may have killed her mother, fearing legal repercussions, and says she and her family have kept quiet in efforts to co-operate with the police. "There's a lot of stuff that we do know, that we have been silent about, because ultimately we know that we gotta put a lot of pressure on police to ensure they're doing everything that they can," she said.> I can beg and plead all I want, but I don't think her killer is gonna come clean. \- Marina PenneyBut co-operation has turned to frustration, and Penney said she has in the past dropped out of contact with police. She and her family did meet with officers in August, she said, and was told there would be more legwork done in St. Anthony that she says never happened.Penney says her family is approaching a breaking point."How long do they expect us to be silent when we don't see progress?" she said."There's going to come a time when we are going to tell the world everything we know, without fear of being sued. Because this is what's happening, we're being pushed to our breaking points, and I'm not prepared to go longer without these answers."One family member is not included in these sentiments. Penney said it has been 2½ years since she last spoke to her father, Dean Penney. Hillier-Penney took her estranged husband off her life insurance policy two weeks before she vanished, and friends of hers told CBC's The Fifth Estate in 2018 she feared him.Reluctance to come forwardIn a statement, RCMP said the Hillier-Penney case remains "an active investigation and a priority," although it wouldn't elaborate further in order to protect "the integrity of the investigation."Police also reiterated to CBC News what it has said in the past — that the RCMP "continues to feel there are people who may have information relevant to the investigate who have not come forward."That doesn't come as a surprise to Hillier-Penney's daughter."The people in the town who might know things, aside from the guilty, are living in fear because they know now how easy it is for someone to get away with murder," Penney said.From the beginning, Penney said, police didn't take the case seriously or link it to a possible homicide soon enough."It was neglect. There were mistakes made," she said.In her Facebook post, Penney wrote blisteringly about the person she thinks killed her mom: "I hope one day you're capable of feeling an ounce of guilt and remorse, and I hope that ounce grows. I hope it grows so big it eats you alive."Penney said she realizes that as strong as her feelings may be, they may be futile — but continues to hope the police investigation, entering its fifth year, may finally yield some answers."I can beg and plead all I want, but I don't think her killer is gonna come clean. But I need the cops to do something. They need to do something," she said.Read more articles from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
HALIFAX — Nova Scotia’s auditor general says the COVID-19 pandemic is highlighting the need for more robust cybersecurity and anti-fraud measures as government employees are forced to work remotely. However, he says the provincial government isn't working fast enough to manage those risks. Acting auditor general Terry Spicer notes in a report released Tuesday that the federal government's Canadian Centre for Cybersecurity has warned of an increase in attempts to access and attack networks used by remote workers. The audit finds that 10 provincial government departments, nine public service units and 19 government organizations have not completed fraud risk assessments. It adds that Service Nova Scotia, which helps citizens access government programs and services, is lagging behind on finalizing its regulations around cybersecurity. The auditor general cautions that fraud in the public sector can result in the loss of taxpayer funds and erode the public’s confidence in government if the risk isn’t properly handled. Tim Houston, leader of the Opposition Progressive Conservatives, said in a statement that the auditor general's findings reveal the province is failing to protect the information of residents. "As governments around the world find themselves increasingly at risk of cyberattacks, Nova Scotia has shown that it doesn’t place a high importance on keeping our health and other records safe from improper access," Houston said. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 1, 2020. - - - This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship The Canadian Press
VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) _ CIBT Education Group Inc. (MBAIF) on Tuesday reported a fiscal fourth-quarter loss of $3.3 million, after reporting a profit in the same period a year earlier.On a per-share basis, the Vancouver, British Columbia-based company said it had a loss of 5 cents.The operator of business, technical and language colleges posted revenue of $12.2 million in the period.For the year, the company reported profit of $914,000, or 1 cent per share. Revenue was reported as $46.5 million.In the final minutes of trading on Tuesday, the company's shares hit 50 cents. A year ago, they were trading at 45 cents._____This story was generated by Automated Insights (http://automatedinsights.com/ap) using data from Zacks Investment Research. Access a Zacks stock report on MBAIF at https://www.zacks.com/ap/MBAIFThe Associated Press