Slo-Mo capture of lightning strike filling the black sky.
Slo-Mo capture of lightning strike filling the black sky.
New research published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) found that one-third of children who tested positive for COVID-19 had no symptoms, but in those that did, loss of taste/smell, headache, fever and nausea/vomiting were most strongly associated with positive cases.Other flu-like symptoms — including cough, runny nose and sore throat — were the most prominent symptoms in positive cases, but the study suggests they couldn't be used to accurately predict which cases were positive because they were also most prominent in COVID negative cases.The study, published Monday, was done by researchers at the University of Alberta who analyzed 2,463 COVID-19 test results from children in the province between April 13 to Sept. 30. They compared symptoms of those who tested positive (1,987) with those who were negative (476) for infection.Eight per cent of kids with positive COVID tests had loss of taste/smell, versus one per cent of kids who tested negative for the coronavirus, and four per cent had nausea or vomiting (vs. less than one per cent of those testing negative).Headache was a symptom in 16 per cent of positive cases, compared to six per cent in negative cases, and 26 per cent of positive cases had fever, compared to 15 per cent.Dr. Finlay McAlister, one of the authors of the study, says those symptoms were associated more with having COVID rather than some other virus. He says cough, runny nose, and sore throat were equally common in kids who didn't have COVID but may have had another virus.Symptoms of fever or chills, cough and runny nose in this study (19 to 26 per cent) were less frequent than in studies conducted in hospital settings. The authors of the study suggest that was because this was a community-based cohort and cases of disease were likely more mild than those seen in hospitals.Children aged four and younger were more likely to test negative, and teenagers (ages 13 to 17) were more likely to test positive.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 24, 2020.The Canadian Press
NEW YORK — Twelve things worth noting about Tuesday's nominations for the 2021 Grammy Awards, from snubbed singers to posthumous nominees to famous folks competing for awards.___SNUBBED SINGERSThe Weeknd sings about being a “star boy" but the Grammys' response to his latest album? Bye boy.The pop star was severely snubbed this year despite having one of the year's biggest albums with “After Hours" and topping the Billboard Hot 100 chart with “Blinding Lights" and “Heartless."Luke Combs also walked away without a single nomination though he was country music's most successful musician this year. Morgan Wallen also had a great year in country music, but didn't earn any nods. And the Chicks' first album in 14 years was not recognized.A group of young R&B female acts moving the needle also missed out on nominations, including Summer Walker, Teyana Taylor and Kehlani. Late rapper Juice WRLD, Brandy and Chris Brown were also snubbed.Though they received nominations in their genre categories, acts such as Lady Gaga, Fiona Apple and Harry Styles didn't pick up bids for album, song or record of the year.K-POP KINGSFor years BTS have said their dream is to be Grammy-nominated. And they've finally achieved it.The K-pop band is nominated for best pop duo/group performance with “Dynamite," their first song to hit the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.Others who scored their first-ever nominations include Harry Styles, Megan Thee Stallion, the Strokes, Jay Electronica, Michael Kiwanuka and Mickey Guyton.DR. LUKE aka TYSON TRAXDr. Luke marked a major comeback this year, producing hits for Saweetie, Juice WRLD and Doja Cat, who is signed to his record label. And it earned him his first Grammy nomination in six years.The hit “Say So" marked a breakthrough for Doja Cat and Dr. Luke, who last launched a No. 1 smash with Katy Perry's “Dark Horse" in 2014, the same year his former collaborator Kesha accused him of sexual assault during their yearslong partnership. Dr. Luke has vigorously denied the allegations.“Say So" is nominated for record of the year, an award given to the song's artist and producer, helping Dr. Luke earn a nomination. But instead of using his known name on the credits for the song, he's listed as Tyson Traxe.Other monikers Dr. Luke has used are Loctor Duke and MADE IN CHINA.BLACK LIVES MATTERReflecting the current times, Black artists released songs this year about the Black Lives Matter movement and the international protests that took place following the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and others.And those songs are nominated for Grammys.Beyoncé's “Black Parade," released on Juneteenth, is up for four awards including record and song of the year. The protest song “I Can't Breathe" by H.E.R. is nominated for song of the year and best R&B song, while Lil Baby's “The Bigger Picture" — which reached the No. 3 spot on the pop charts — is up for best rap song and best rap performance. And Anderson .Paak's “Lockdown," about police brutality and racial injustice, is up for best melodic rap performance and best music video.Country singer Mickey Guyton wrote “Black Like Me" a year before Floyd's death, but rushed to release the song because she said the time was right. The poignant track earned a nomination for best country solo performance.LONG LIVE THE DEADJohn Prine died of complications of the coronavirus in April, but his spirit is all over the Grammy Awards.The icon earned two posthumous nominations, including best American Roots performance and best American Roots song for “I Remember Everything."Breakthrough rapper Pop Smoke died this year but his hit song “Dior," a double platinum success, is nominated for best rap performance. Nipsey Hussle, who died last year and won two posthumous Grammys earlier this year, scored a nomination for best rap performance for his guest appearance on Big Sean's “Deep Reverence."Leonard Cohen has earned multiple posthumous nominations since his death in 2016 and is nominated for best folk album with “Thanks for the Dance," his fifteenth and final studio album.And songwriter LaShawn Daniels, who died last year and won a Grammy for co-writing Destiny's Child's “Say My Name," is competing for best gospel performance/song with “Come Together" by his close friend Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins. Daniels and Jerkins started writing the song about the world coming together 17 years ago but Jerkins released it this year during the pandemic to offer healing and hope to listeners.A-LIST ACTSOscar winners Meryl Streep and Renée Zellweger are vying for Grammy gold.Streep is nominated for best spoken world album for “Charlotte’s Web," pitting her against MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, journalist Ronan Farrow and “Jeopardy!” record-holder Ken Jennings, who is nominated for reading “Alex Trebex — The Answer Is...”Zellweger won her second Academy Award for “Judy" and her performance on the soundtrack earned her a nomination for best traditional pop vocal album.Cynthia Erivo, a Grammy, Emmy and Tony winner, scored a nomination for best written song for visual media with “Stand Up" from “Harriet." The song, which she co-wrote with Joshuah Brian Campbell, also earned an Oscar nomination earlier this year.And the best comedy album award is stacked with famous folks, including Tiffany Haddish, Jerry Seinfeld, Patton Oswalt, Jim Gaffigan and Bill Burr.WOMEN WHO ROCKFemale acts dominate in the best rock song and best rock performance categories, with performers like Fiona Apple, Brittany Howard, HAIM, Grace Potter, Phoebe Bridgers and Big Thief — led by Adrianne Lenker — in contention.And while country radio is overloaded with male artists, the Grammys' best country album category is packed with women, including Miranda Lambert, Brandy Clark, Ashley McBryde and Ingrid Andress.IT'S BRITTANY B(asterisk)(asterisk)(asterisk)(asterisk)!Brittany Howard has already won four Grammys with her talented band Alabama Shakes, but her first solo album is getting tons of Grammy love.“Jaime" was released last year and is one of those rare albums competing for multiple genres at the Grammys. The album is nominated for best alternative music album, her song “Stay High" is up for best rock song and best rock performance, the track “Goat Head" is nominated for best R&B performance, and “Short and Sweet" is competing for best American Roots performance.JAY-Z, THE SONGWRITERS, SHINESHappy wife, happy life: Jay-Z has lent his songwriting hand to his wife Beyoncé and he's earned Grammy nominations for it.Jay-Z co-wrote Beyoncé's “Black Parade" and “Savage" with Megan Thee Stallion, and now he's nominated for song of the year, best R&B song and best rap song — categories reserved for songwriters.Jay-Z and Beyoncé have won five Grammys together.HIP-HOP IS DEADDespite rap music being today's most popular genre, no rap albums are nominated for the top prize, album of the year.Expected nominees included Roddy Ricch's “Please Excuse Me for Being Antisocial," Lil Baby’s “My Turn" and DaBaby's “Blame It on Baby" or “Kirk."But those albums didn't even score nomination in the best rap album category. Instead, nominees were focused on rap purists and respected lyricists instead of the young performers dominating the pop charts.Nominees for best rap album include Nas' “King’s Disease," Jay Electronica’s “A Written Testimony,” Freddie Gibbs and The Alchemist's “Alfredo," “The Allegory" by Royce Da 5’9” and D Smoke's “Black Habits."PAUL McCARTNEY, THE ART DIRECTORPaul McCartney scored his 79th Grammy nominations this year — as an art director.The former Beatle is nominated for best boxed or special limited edition package for the collector's edition of his 10th solo album, “Flaming Pie." He's listed as one of the art directors on the project, and shares his nomination with Linn Wie Andersen, Simon Earith and James Musgrave.McCartney is the owner of 18 Grammys.PAIN OF THE PANDEMICBecause of the coronavirus pandemic, the Best Immersive Audio Album Craft Committee was unable to meet to decide winners for the best immersive audio album Grammy. The judging of the entries has been postponed, and the nominees will be announced next year. The winners for the 2021 award will be announced at the 2022 show.Mesfin Fekadu, The Associated Press
PARIS — France’s interior minister ordered an internal police investigation Tuesday after officers were filmed tossing migrants out of tents while evacuating a protest camp in Paris.Aid groups and the government were working to find temporary lodging for hundreds of migrants forcibly removed from the short-lived camp on the Place de la Republique in eastern Paris on Monday night.The evacuation, filmed by journalists and activists, drew nationwide attention amid tensions over a draft law beefing up police powers that easily passed a vote in France’s lower house of parliament Tuesday.Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin ordered an internal police investigation into “certain incidents,” promising to make the results public.“Was I shocked by some of the images (of the evacuation)? The answer is yes,” Darmanin told Parliament.His rapid reaction to the outcry stands in contrast to his vigorous defence of police officers in recent months, and to the government’s tepid response to more severe and sustained violence by police at protests by yellow vest activists and others in recent years.In the Monday night evacuation, police lifted tents with migrants inside, shaking them until they tumbled to the ground, and those who resisted were kicked or beaten with batons, according to the head of aid group Doctors Without Borders in France, Corinne Torre.Images shared online showed activists and local officials shouting and trying to block police from dislodging the migrants. Torre, who witnessed the evacuation, said several people sought treatment for injuries from her aid group, known by its French acronym MSF.Aid groups and Paris legislators said they set up the protest camp to call attention to the plight of hundreds of migrants who were kicked out of another camp in the shadow of France’s national stadium last week and have been sleeping in the streets since then for lack of other options.Most are from Afghanistan, Somalia and Eritrea, and some have been refused asylum while others are in bureaucratic limbo while they try to apply, Torre said.The Paris police headquarters said in a statement that the Republique camp was evacuated because it was illegal, and “invited” the migrants to seek lodging elsewhere offered by the state or aid groups.The ministers for citizenship and housing said in a statement Tuesday that 240 potential spots in temporary lodging had been located for the migrants, saying they “should be treated with humanity and fraternity.”The draft law facing a vote Tuesday in the National Assembly is meant to strengthen local police and provide greater protection to all officers. It notably makes it a crime to publish images of officers with intent to cause them harm, a measure that has prompted repeated protests by civil liberties campaigners and media freedom groups.The Associated Press
The Venables Theatre is postponing and cancelling some scheduled shows following new public health measures laid out by the province last week. All events at the theatre scheduled prior to Dec. 7 have been cancelled or postponed following provincial health orders banning social gatherings, even in theatres with appropriate safety measures and events with less than 50 people attending. Mike Delamont’s Socially Distanced Stand-Up Comedy show scheduled for Nov. 28 has been cancelled. Two shows included in the Venables Alive series featuring local artists have been postponed including Great White North and Kristi Neumann. The shows will likely be moved to February at the earliest, according to theatre manager Leah Foreman, though it is still unclear when shows will be permitted to resume. The theatre is one of the few in the region to continue to operate successfully during the pandemic, however the new public health measures are throwing a wrench into the works. “We were having really good success with our shows. Lots of people were coming out to see them. We were keeping people safe and people and people felt comfortable here so I think we were doing great,” Foreman said. “But I mean, we’re all in this together and now we just have to hunker down.” The successful operation at the Venables since it reopened this fall is in part due to the support the theatre receives from the community. “We used all our tools we had. We talked to health officials, I’ve been on calls with venues across the province just talking about best practices and how do we all do this. Then I felt confident that I had the information on it that I needed and the logistics and stuff in order to reopen. I think it was just a matter of being really knowledgable about what was going on,” Foreman said. “I think one of the reasons we were able to do it was just the fact that we have such great support from our community and we were able to focus on figuring this out.” Following last week’s public health orders, movie theatres remained open over the weekend in B.C. — which was considered a bit of a thorn in the side of the Venables Theatre management — however, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry clarified Monday that the public health order cancelling events applied to movie theatres as well. However, Foreman still questions why bars and pubs can operate safely while the theatre is ordered to shut down for at least two weeks. “We aren’t a social gathering. You come in, you watch a show, you leave. You’re not congregating in the lobby, you’re enjoying a show in a socially-distanced way. So we did feel that we were being penalized for no reason,” Foreman said. The Venables box office is now open by appointment only. To schedule an appointment, call 250-498-1626. Most refunds can be done over the phone or will be processed automatically.Dale Boyd, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Times-Chronicle
Children under the age of five are amazing sponges for information. Ask any childhood researcher, or any parent who has told a story to another adult, only to have a child bring it up at an inopportune moment. But that sponge-like nature, if encouraged and nurtured, means a child has the opportunity to grow into their best self, and have the tools and capabilities that will allow them to succeed in whichever way they see fit. “We know that the child’s first experiences with language and culture come from within his own family, and within early childhood settings.” says Josée Latulippe, manager of Collège Boréal’s Centre d’innovation sociale pour l’enfant et la famille (CISEF – Child and family social innovation centre). It is for this reason that the FrancoFUN program was created by the Association francophone à l’éducation des services à l’enfance de l’Ontario (AFÉSEO – Francophone association for early childhood education) as a way to ensure that early childhood educators are not just offered the chance to enhance early French-language learning for children, but to ensure that they can view their classroom through the Francophone lens, and build identity as well as skill set. “Identity building is vital, “Latulippe said. “Because studies show that it is a key mechanism to ensure the vitality of minority-language communities and prepare young children to be educated in French when they enter elementary school.” And it is this “continuum of language,” as Latulippe calls it, that ensures language and cultural identity survives. As children here in Sudbury, both Anglophone and Francophone, have the ability to enjoy their education in French from childhood to post-secondary, it ensures that a culture and language that could be considered already marginalized is one that will last the test of time, regardless of the surrounding majority. The FrancoFUN program focused not just on providing language to students, but also the cultural identity behind the Franco-Ontarien legacy. It is a specific culture, with a specific dialect — headed to ‘camp’ anyone — and stories and history all its own. And it is one that, if shared, can enrich a child’s ability to learn a language, and bring together a community that is consistently working to preserve its cultural identity. And now that the FrancoFUN program has been in place for some time, helping Early Childhood Educators find ways to continually incorporate cultural, historical, language-based, and just plain fun aspects of the Franco-Ontarien peoples, they are now ready to measure the success, and share their methods with others. “We are always reflecting,” said Latulippe, and notes the questions they continually ask: “How can I better my program? How can I make it more accessible? Do we have a welcoming structure in place to welcome families that are French and English?” For it is not just fully Francophone families that can benefit from this type of study, and action. If you would like your child to speak French, but your home is mixed-language, or perhaps somewhat disconnected to the culture, then this type of programming will not only offer you the opportunity to increase your child’s chances of success, as Latulippe notes that research shows language learning is greatly helped by immersion into the culture of the language, not just the words. And this is especially true for parents who would like their children to speak French, but do not do so themselves. Simply by building a bridge between your home and the school, said Latulippe, you can enrich your child’s language learning without knowing a word yourself. With a program like FrancoFUN, you can learn about the culture as well. “It doesn’t mean you need to take French classes,” Latulippe said. “You just need to support the culture in your home. It’s because we are all the first educators.” And now, as the program has raised awareness among early childhood educators about their role in encouraging Francophone identity in their classrooms, it’s time to find out how the tools are working. From now until March of 2021, a survey of the educators and their thoughts and feeling about the program will be gathered, and shared amongst interested parties. “We are hoping we will have a tool to promote culture and language identity within Early Childhood settings,” said Latulippe, “which can then be shared within the community, with teachers at the college, and with the Franco-Ontarien culture really.” And it is this tool that Latulippe hopes will encourage not just French-language learning across Ontario, but also an understanding of the unique and beautiful qualities that make a culture, and a portrait of those who have come before, and those who will come after. Because the loss of any culture is a horrific idea; but the loss of folklore, of La Nuit sur l'étang, of ‘Notre Place’, of CANO, and of tourtière and tarte au sucre, is much too tragic to imagine. Jenny Lamothe is a Local Journalism Reporter at Sudbury.com, covering issues in the Black, immigrant and Francophone communities. She is also a freelance writer and voice actor. Contact her through her website, JennyLamothe.com.Jenny Lamothe, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Sudbury.com
A big-box pet store has plans to jump into Liverpool, eyeing opportunity in a county that has been without a pet shop for the past eight years. Pet Valu has confirmed it’s going to open a retail outlet in the town. “Pet Valu is really excited to be opening a store in Liverpool in mid-2021,” Katherine Clark, a spokesperson for the pet store chain, said in an email. Liverpool’s last pet store, Kameko’s Cove & Aquatics, closed in February, 2012 after five years in business. The store sold tropical fish, reptiles and other small pets, along with pet supplies. Pet Valu’s Liverpool plans include the construction of a new 4,000 square-foot building, which will be located beside the Dollarama Store on Queens Place Drive. One of Canada’s largest pet specialty retail chains with 1,200 stores in North America, Pet Valu Canada Inc. started in Toronto in 1976. It currently has 11 stores in Nova Scotia.Kevin McBain, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, LighthouseNOW Progress Bulletin
A survey of university students, faculty, and academic librarians in Ontario suggests that the shift to online learning during the pandemic has negatively affected the quality of the educational experience. The poll of 2,700 people was commissioned by the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations and released on Tuesday. It reveals that 62 per cent of student respondents and 76 per cent of faculty and academic librarians surveyed believe online learning has had a negative impact on education quality. Rahul Sapra, president of the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations, said that the survey's results show a meaningful engagement between students and faculty is a fundamental part of the learning process. “As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the scramble to move courses online, we have lost that human connection and educational quality has suffered,” Sapra said. The survey also found that financial security, care demands, and work-life balance are significant stress points for both groups. A majority of students that responded to the survey said they are concerned about their financial security as a result of high tuition fees and fewer opportunities to earn income during the pandemic. Kayla Weiler, Ontario representative of the Canadian Federation of Students, said that a lot of the usual ways that post-secondary students save money or budget for the school year have been affected by COVID-19. "Their summer employment was altered, their fall employment might look very different than in past years," said Weiler. "But also last year we saw $670 million cut to OSAP and we're still feeling that well into the pandemic." Other issues students who were surveyed cited were mental health and the ability to manage non-academic responsibilities, including caregiving, while studying. Faculty and academic librarians who participated in the survey indicated they feel they are falling short of their own expectations. Respondents cited an inability to adequately teach and support students, and difficulty sustaining their desired level of professional development. Sapra said that another issue is that approximately 60 per cent of Ontario's faculty are part-time or on contract and therefore have less job stability. "During COVID-19 contract faculty had to do additional work to convert in-class courses to online courses but received no extra pay for this work," said Sapra. "Because of the rise in the size of online courses, less courses were offered so many contract faculty lost their jobs." The survey suggests that one in two faculty members are working longer hours, and four of five have an increased workload. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 24, 2020. John Chidley-Hill, The Canadian Press
Unlimited internet packages will be available to residents in seven northern communities starting Dec. 1, after the CRTC gave the North's telecommunications giant the green light on Tuesday.Northwestel applied for unlimited internet packages for a handful of communities across the North in October with hopes of offering them to residents by early November. However, the CRTC delayed approval, saying it needed more time to consider the company's application.On Tuesday, a post on the CRTC's website showed the commission had approved Northwestel's proposal on an interim basis."The Commission considers it appropriate to approve the application on an interim basis prior to reviewing the whole record, in order to address customers' increased Internet data needs and alleviate their increased Internet usage costs in the circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic," the website says."The Commission will address its final determination regarding the unlimited Internet data packages and rates that are under consideration in the application, and any related issues if necessary, in a subsequent order that will be based on the complete record."The seven northern communities are: * Whitehorse. * Carcross, Yukon. * Yellowknife. * Hay River, N.W.T. * Fort Smith, N.W.T. * Norman Wells, N.W.T. * Fort Nelson, B.C.Northwestel said in a news release it will start taking orders from customers wanting to upgrade their internet packages on Dec. 1, when they become available."It's great to be able to bring new unlimited options to many customers in time for a holiday season, especially with so many of us sticking close to home," said Tammy April, Northwestel's vice-president of consumer markets, in a statement.
Alberta Health Minister Tyler Shandro called the display outside his constituency office "offensive".
Rochelle Pokeda is having to do things a little bit differently with her home-based business — Norwex with Rochelle — in the fall of 2020. Ordinarily, she’d be busy filling her orders at various pre-Christmas craft fairs. But the COVID-19 pandemic and associated health orders have closed the doors on such events for now. Without that income to help her cover the costs of her own Christmas celebrations, Pokeda has had to think outside the box — so she has rented space at Sahali Mall, with her final two days being Dec. 4 and Dec. 5. “We are going to sell our products so people can come in, look, touch, feel, and get away from the computers and have a little bit of that human interaction,” Pokeda said of her cleaning and personal-care household products. She is teaming up with another home-based business — Daunte Tropics with Dawn, which creates glass block designs as well as one-of-a-kind silk floral home decor — in the pop-up store endeavour. But Pokeda is also using her pop-up store to help raise money for the local Salvation Army. She is donating 10 per cent of every sale over $100 to the Salvation Army's Adopt-A-Family program. Pokeda is also accepting gifts and cash donations for the families in the program. She hopes to be able to support a number of families through the Sally Ann program. “I would love to be able to have the fun of doing the shopping myself, but I also understand that it may not look like that this year,” she said. “I’m talking with Kelly [Capt. Kelly Fifield of the Salvation Army] and we’ll figure out how best it’s going to suit them and the families.”Todd Sullivan, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Kamloops This Week
With millions dining at home for safety and a swing to the spicier side in the U.S. in recent years, Cholula, the hot sauce with the distinctive wooden cap and a cult following, has become a very valuable brand. McCormick & Co., the spice maker that dominates U.S. grocery shelves, said Tuesday that it was buying Cholula for $800 million from L Catteron, a private equity firm. McCormick made a notable tilt toward the hot sauce shelf three years ago when it acquired Frank’s RedHot, the preferred fuel in Buffalo wing recipes, as part of its $4.2 billion acquisition of Reckitt Benckiser’s food business. “The sauce with the little wooden cap is, like Frank’s RedHot, well-known to ‘chilli-heads’ around the globe but its appeal is much wider,” said Dean Best, food editor of Global Data. The acquisition arrives with the pandemic warping how America and the rest of the world eats, meaning largely at home. There was evidence of that trend in recent regulatory filings from McCormick, a company in Hunt Valley, Maryland with a valuation of close to $25 billion. McCormick said in September that revenue surged 8% during the third quarter as people replaced the contents of outdated spice racks, or started one for the first time. And hot sauce is increasingly part of the pantry mix. The volume of hot sauce produced for North America has risen in each of the past five years by an average of 4.7%, to more than 127,000 tons in 2020, according to the data service Euromonitor. That production is expected to rise by 16% within the next five years, according to the group. “Hot sauce is an attractive, high-growth category and, as an iconic premium brand, Cholula is outpacing category growth," said McCormick Chairman and CEO Lawrence Kurzius in prepared remarks Tuesday. Cholula has made its own adaptations during the pandemic to get the sauce to its cult followers. Earlier this month the company teamed up with simplehuman to create a touch-free Cholula dispenser for restaurants or other places that serve the hot sauce, allowing those eating out to bring the heat in relative safety. Shares of McCormick, which have hit an all time high this year, rose more than 2% Tuesday. Michelle Chapman, The Associated Press
The majority of those who took part in recent engagement sessions with the Northwest Territories government on its self-isolation hubs are in favour of seeing the government spend less for the centres.That's according to a report, initiated by the territory's COVID-19 secretariat, that gives a summary of input received about the hubs — and payment for stays there — from Indigenous governments, community governments and business interests between Oct. 28 and Nov. 3, says a government news release.Currently, travellers entering or returning to the N.W.T. must isolate at hubs in Yellowknife, Fort Smith, Hay River, or Inuvik. According to the report, isolation centres represent "more than half of the GNWT's [Government of the Northwest Territories] costs for implementing the public health orders" of the chief public health office.When the government asked respondents whether the territory should continue to pay for all isolation centre stays, including discretionary travel, the bulk of feedback was in support of reducing the costs.However the report also noted there was "valuable discussion about how to do so in a way that's fair and equitable to all residents.""The results show there are differing points of view about self-isolating at home in smaller communities," it says in the news release."Most of feedback was in support of reducing isolation centre costs to taxpayers."According to the report, there were representatives from Indigenous governments and community governments who said they did not support the government continuing to pay for any stays at the isolation centres.There were also some business stakeholders who said they don't want personal or discretionary travel to be covered by the territory, and people who travel voluntarily should have more options to isolate at home to help reduce those costs.Some of the comments the government received from those who want the territory to stop paying for the hubs, according to the report, say the territory "should not be paying for people's holidays," and that it should "only pay if it is needed after absolutely necessary travel (e.g. medical)."More comments included in the report say "all other travel needs to be discouraged," and "if the GNWT continues this way it should also consider providing financial support to help offset these mandatory costs for businesses."Among the comments from those who say the territory should stop paying, with considerations, were around the discussion of defining discretionary travel. One comment says there "needs to be clear distinction between what is considered not necessary and what is considered compassionate (e.g.: funerals, graduation ceremonies etc.)."Meanwhile, those in favour of the territory continuing to pay for the hubs raised the argument about whether some individuals have the capacity to self-isolate at home in their communities — at no cost — or whether they would be required to pay isolation centre costs out of pocket."Causes unfairness for communities that cannot have people self-isolate. They will have to pay for staying at isolation centres while others can self-isolate at home," one comment reads. Another says it "causes unfairness for certain people who cannot self-isolate at home (personal circumstances). They will have to pay for staying at isolation centres while others will not."Another comment suggested the government negotiate for lower costs.The government says the report is one of "many tools" that informs the office of the chief public health officer, including to either change or adapt public health orders regarding where mandated self-isolation can take place. As well, it says it will help the government "make better informed decisions" about changes to policy in terms of controlling costs at isolation centres.It noted that the report only reflects the concerns and views of those who took part in it.The discussions were based on a paper provided to stakeholders in advance of the engagement surveys."Our government is committed to carrying out meaningful dialogue with stakeholders, including Indigenous leaders, community governments, and the business community," said Premier Caroline Cochrane in a statement."It's important we hear, value and learn from different perspectives as we make decisions. A coordinated and collaborative approach to making public health order decisions will allow the GNWT to determine how best to assist each unique community when it comes to carrying them out."
TORONTO — Anxiety-ridden and overworked health-care workers say they feel abandoned in their increasingly desperate struggle to cope with COVID-19, a new small-scale study suggests. Interviews with nurses, personal support workers and others in hospitals and long-term care homes suggest chronic stress and burnout are common, but fear of reprisals is stopping them from speaking out. "The knowledge that they are at increased risk of infection due to lack of protection has resulted in anger, frustration, fear, and a sense of violation that may have long-lasting implications," the paper states. The study, in New Solutions: A Journal of Environmental and Occupational Health Policy, was done by James Brophy and Margaret Keith, academic researchers affiliated with the University of Windsor and noted occupational hygienists. Health-care workers in Canada have contracted the novel coronavirus in far higher numbers relative to the general public, comprising almost one-in-five confirmed cases, according to a previous study. To date, COVID-19 has sickened close to 9,000 front-line health-care workers and killed 16. Only 10 workers — nurses, personal support workers and other staff — agreed to be interviewed for the qualitative study. Others refused to take part for fear of being disciplined or fired, they said. Despite the handful of interview subjects, the authors said their peer-reviewed findings reflect other larger-scale research and surveys, and its findings are valid. Those interviewed said they still lack personal protective equipment despite the very real risks of contracting COVID or spreading it — risks apparent from the early days of the pandemic. Some said they were warned by supervisors not to wear N95 protection, even if they had their own, Keith said. Others spoke of the constant grief and trauma they endure when patients or residents die, a situation only getting worse as new cases soar. "Words on the page cannot convey the level of emotion we heard in the voices of the health-care workers we interviewed," Brophy said. "We did not expect to hear the degree of anger and desperation that came out." The vast majority of the front-line health-care workers are women, many racialized, Keith said. Many are part-time and vulnerable to job loss. "Health-care workers are desperately in need of protection from COVID and from their often back-breaking and soul-crushing working conditions," Keith said. "But the authoritarian and hierarchical nature of health-care work contributes to (their) risks and adverse mental-health impacts." Despite the issues, the workers said the provincial government had let them down by failing to take action to deal with their health or labour concerns. Chronic understaffing and failing to keep them safe, the authors said, means the workers can't do their jobs effectively, putting everyone at risk. "Health-care workers health and well-being are being sacrificed," Keith said. "We all need to pay attention to their pleas." There was no immediate response to the qualitative study from the provincial government, but Health Minister Christine Elliott praised the "tireless efforts" of front-line health-care workers during an announcement on Tuesday about the roll-out of rapid tests. Michael Hurley, president of the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions, said front-line staff in close contact with COVID-infected people still have no ready access to proper respirators. The Ministry of Labour has also rejected all 253 work refusals as valid. "This explains why people feel sacrificed and why they feel exploited and violated," Hurley said. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 24, 2020 Colin Perkel, The Canadian Press
SALT LAKE CITY — Deep in the Mars-like landscape of Utah's red-rock desert lies a mystery: A gleaming metal monolith in one of the most remote parts of the state. The smooth, tall structure was found during a helicopter survey of bighorn sheep in southeastern Utah, officials said Monday. A crew from the Utah Department of Public Safety and Division of Wildlife Resources spotted the gleaming object from the air Nov. 18 and landed to check it out during a break from their work. They found the three-sided stainless-steel object is about as tall as two men put together. But they discovered no clues about who might have driven it into the ground among the undulating red rocks or why. “This thing is not from another world,” said Lt. Nick Street of the Utah Highway Patrol, part of the Department of Public Safety. Still, it's clear that it took some planning and work to construct the 10- to 12-foot (3- to 4-meter) monolith and embed it in the rock. The exact location is so remote that officials are not revealing it publicly, worried that people might get lost or stranded trying to find it and need to be rescued. The monolith evokes the one that appears in the Stanley Kubrick movie “2001: A Space Odyssey." Because it’s on federal public land, it’s illegal to place art objects without authorization. Bureau of Land Management officials are investigating how long it's been there, who might have created it and whether to remove it. Lindsay Whitehurst, The Associated Press
LONDON — A book that looks at The Beatles from a playful kaleidoscope of angles won Britain’s leading nonfiction literary award on Tuesday.Craig Brown’s “One Two Three Four: The Beatles in Time” was named winner of the 50,000-pound ($66,000) Baillie Gifford Prize at a virtual ceremony in London.Brown’s “composite biography” juxtaposes the stories of John, Paul, George and Ringo with relatives, partners, artists, imitators, hangers-on and others drawn into their orbit.Broadcaster Martha Kearney, who chaired the judging panel, said Brown’s “joyous, irreverent, insightful celebration” of the Fab Four was “a shaft of light piercing the deep gloom of 2020.”“Who would have thought that a book about The Beatles could seem so fresh?” she said.The award recognizes English-language books in current affairs, history, politics, science, sport, travel, biography, autobiography and the arts.Brown beat a shortlist that included Sudhir Hazareesingh’s Haitian revolution history “Black Spartacus,” Matthew Cobb’s “The Idea of the Brain” and Christina Lamb’s book about women and war “Our Bodies, Their Battlefield.”The other finalists were Amy Stanley’s “Stranger in the Shogun’s City,” about a woman’s life in 19th-century Japan, and “The Haunting of Alma Fielding” by Kate Summerscale, a fact-based story of apparently supernatural events.The Associated Press
LAS VEGAS — The Nevada Supreme Court made Joe Biden’s win in the state official on Tuesday, approving the state's final canvass of the Nov. 3 election. The unanimous action by the seven nonpartisan justices sends to Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak results that will deliver six electoral votes from the western U.S. battleground state to Biden. The court action drew extra scrutiny amid legal efforts by the state GOP and Trump campaign to prevent sending vote-by-mail ballots to all 1.82 million active registered voters and then to stop the counting of the 1.4 million votes that were cast. Nevada’s six Democratic presidential electors are scheduled to meet Dec. 14 in the state capital of Carson City. Biden won Nevada by 33,596 votes, according to results approved by elected officials in Nevada’s 17 counties — including Clark County, which encompasses Las Vegas, and Washoe County, which includes Reno. Biden got 50.06% of the vote and Trump 47.67%. Nevada Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske, a Republican who has avoided the public eye in recent weeks, presented the results to the court. She noted the first-ever use of all-mail balloting statewide in a general election, same-day voter registration and early voting. “The result was more of a hybrid model where voters had a choice of how to participate,” she said, adding that a record number of voters participated. Certification of the vote does not stop several lawsuits pending in state and federal courts. They include bids by two Republican congressional candidates and a state Senate challenger to obtain re-votes in those races, an open-records case by the state GOP, and a U.S. District Court action alleging that thousands of ineligible people voted. A federal judge in that case declined a bid for an immediate injunction that would have stopped the use of a signature verification scanner during the vote count. Jesse Binnall, an attorney for the Trump campaign who is handling an election challenge pending before a state court judge, said Tuesday he intends to prove that so many fraudulent votes were cast statewide that Trump won Nevada. Turnout among the state’s more than 1.8 million active registered voters was almost 77.3%, including mail, early voting and Election Day ballots cast amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to secretary of state data. That was up from a turnout of 76.8% during the presidential election in 2016, when Democrat Hillary Clinton carried Nevada by a little under 2.5% over Trump. Nevada was one of several states due to certify the election on Tuesday. Ken Ritter, The Associated Press
CALGARY — The Alberta Court of Appeal has refused to throw out one of the convictions against a man who was found guilty of killing a father and his two-year-old daughter as well as a senior.Derek Saretzky's lawyer, Balfour Der, had argued that his client's first-degree murder conviction in the death of Hanne Meketech, 69, in September 2015 should be overturned because Saretzky's rights were breached when police improperly took his confession.Saretzky was also convicted of first-degree murder in the slayings of Terry Blanchette, who was 27, and his daughter Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette.Saretzky, 27, was in custody when he confessed Meketech's killing to an RCMP officer who visited him at a correctional centre.Der said Saretzky should never have been convicted in the woman's death since the confession came without a lawyer present and six months after Saretzky admitted to killing Blanchette and the toddler.The Crown argued that at the time of the police interview Saretzky would have been well aware of his right to counsel.The three-justice Appeal Court panel unanimously dismissed the appeal."The appellant was not under arrest and the trial judge found he had not been detained," wrote Justice Peter Martin on behalf of the court."Those findings were well supported by the evidence and are entitled to deference. I agree with his conclusion that on considering all of the circumstances of this case, the appellant's confession would not have been excluded."Meketech's body was found in her home in Coleman, Alta., on Sept. 9, 2015. She had been struck in the head and stabbed in the neck. During the trial, the jury was shown videotaped confessions in which Saretzky told police it was a spur-of-the-moment decision to kill Meketech, who was a friend of his grandparents, because he didn't think anyone cared about her. Five days later, Blanchette's body was discovered in his home in Blairmore, Alta. His daughter was missing, which sparked an Amber Alert and an extensive search in the Crowsnest Pass area of southwestern Alberta.Court heard Saretzky was "an aspiring serial killer" at the time of the attacks. He had few close friends and possessed numerous books on serial killers and serial killings.Saretzky was sentenced in 2017 to three consecutive life sentences, which means he is ineligible for parole until he has served 75 years in prison.The Court of Appeal still has to schedule and hear an appeal of the sentence.This report by The Canadian Press was first published November 24, 2020.— Follow @BillGraveland on TwitterBill Graveland, The Canadian Press
ÉCONOMIE. Pour donner une voix aux PME, la Fédération canadienne de l'entreprise indépendante (FCEI) lance une pétition auprès de ses membres et les invite à s'exprimer sur les mesures qui peuvent les aider et qui doivent être rapidement adoptées par le gouvernement du Québec. «Dès septembre, la FCEI a demandé à que toute nouvelle restriction économique soit accompagnée d'un programme d'aide costaud. C'est ce que le gouvernement avait annoncé avec l'AERAM pour faire face au défi des 28 jours. Mais là, nous en sommes au 55e jour d'arrêt pour certaines PME, et malheureusement, plusieurs attendent encore de recevoir cette aide. Il y en a qui n'y ont tout simplement pas accès, même si elles souffrent aussi des contrecoups de la crise seulement parce qu'elles tombent entre les mailles du filet. C'est le cas des entreprises de certains secteurs, comme l'événementiel, ou encore celui des entreprises en démarrage. Il faut vite agir pour corriger le tir», explique François Vincent, vice-président Québec à la FCEI. La pétition met aussi l'accent sur une préoccupation concernant l'augmentation de l'impôt. Pour la FCEI, celle-ci risque d'assommer certaines petites entreprises, car le Québec est la seule province qui bloque toujours l'accès au taux réduit d'impôt pour celles qui œuvrent dans les secteurs des services et de la construction. Ainsi, une petite entreprise qui a diminué son nombre d'employés en raison de la crise (moins de 3 employés) pourrait voir son taux d'imposition exploser de 130 %. «La dernière chose qu'un gouvernement devrait faire en des temps si incertains, c'est d'augmenter l'impôt des plus petites entreprises. C'est pourtant ce que font les règles injustes qui empêchent les plus petites entreprises d'avoir accès au taux réduit d'impôt. J'invite tous les parlementaires à s'investir pour régler cette injustice et à travailler de concert pour s'assurer de ne pas augmenter le fardeau fiscal des entreprises», ajoute François Vincent. Stéphane Lévesque, Initiative de journalisme local, L'Hebdo Journal
When COVID-19 first appeared, people and governments across the globe reacted with alarm. Action was swift.In Alberta, businesses shuttered as the government imposed restrictions. People mostly stayed inside. Premier Jason Kenney said it was a generational challenge his government would rise to meet. But restrictions were loosened as the weather warmed. The most dire predictions didn't come to pass, and barbecues or drinks with friends seemed less risky. People held parties and their neighbours thought: why not me? Disinformation spread and, with it, doubt about the dangers of the virus and the actions of the government. But warnings were everywhere: Second wave. The fight isn't over. Be prepared.Many listened, but too many did not. Alberta's government said the economy couldn't take another hit and it was up to individuals to stem the tide. It delayed and equivocated. When the weather cooled, the virus was soon spreading more than ever. Now the talk was exponential growth and warnings of overwhelmed hospitals.As Kenney prepares to make an announcement on COVID this afternoon, he has so far stuck with personal responsibility as the key to fighting the outbreak.He and his government have pointed fingers at individuals for not obeying official recommendations, but now people are pointing back, laying blame at the feet of the government. Laying blame, however, is no easy thing.Personal responsibility and the role of the government aren't easily disentangled. Why individuals and the government have behaved as they have goes to the heart of who Albertans are — or at least who they perceive themselves to be. It begins with the ways that people, in general, deal with crises. The psychology of a pandemicThere's a common view of the world that assumes people panic when confronted with danger — causing more harm than the threat itself — but that's not often the case. Social psychologists have shown the greater risk is underestimating danger and not reacting in time. We also tend to believe the worst will happen to others, not us. Add misinformation to the mix and none of this should come as a surprise. "I've done an awful lot of reading about the Great Mortality, black plague, and about the Spanish influenza epidemic in 1918," said Dr. Lynora Saxinger, an infectious disease expert at the University of Alberta. "And I would just say that every single thing that has happened could have been predicted by reading a history book."People in the past, like today, reacted to an invisible, existential threat by embracing conspiracy theories or unlikely cures while ignoring medical advice. Many denied the problem. Add social media, and the spread of misinformation is even more damaging and difficult to control. It creates deep divisions when cohesion is key to beating back the virus. Collective action problemThere are times when 51 per cent is enough. If enough people do the right thing, everyone will be swept along by their good deeds. A virus — especially an airborne one — doesn't work that way. We are in a classic collective action problem where almost universal buy-in is required. We all have to keep distance, wear masks, wash our hands, limit social interactions or just stay home. If we don't all do it, the virus spreads. Saxinger thinks the province has reached the ceiling on what independent co-operation can do.Compounding the problem is the perception of risk. Research shows that individuals are more likely to make moral decisions when ambiguity about risks is reduced.Prof. Leslie Francis, who works in the faculties of law, medicine and philosophy at the University of Utah, says the vast majority of people understand not to put other people at risk by, say, speeding down a residential road at 100 km/h. But people might not see COVID-19 the same way."What we see going on right now is that many people deny that COVID exists, or they think it's not going to make people very sick, or they think that it won't make them very sick, maybe they'll even be asymptomatic," she said."But they don't realize that, for example, in my own state right now, the estimate is that one in 73 people right now is actively contagious."Alberta's political cultureWe judge our behaviour and the behaviours of others based on what we observe, but also on how we perceive our own political culture and what it will allow. In Alberta, a lot of it might be built on myth.Political science Prof. Jared Wesley of the University of Alberta asks participants about the province in his ongoing study of politics and culture. He gets them to sketch out their typical Albertan and then asks what that Albertan would do in certain situations. The Albertan — here nicknamed "Joe" — is always male, often a farmer, a libertarian conservative. Wesley's point is to narrow in on what people believe the political culture to be — what is acceptable and what is possible.In the pandemic, Joe reacts in a specific way."They will tell you, like you see in the media everywhere, they'll tell you all Albertans will never stand for mask mandates because it's an infringement on their freedoms," said Wesley.That sort of statement comes from people across the political spectrum, not just those who agree with their typical Albertan. That shapes the way we think about the world and can shape our own behaviour. We make moral decisions based on how we think others might perceive us. If people think broader society doesn't want to have its freedoms restricted — even in minor ways like donning a mask — they are less likely to be strict about virus-beating behaviours and less likely to feel judged for their laxity. This despite a majority not agreeing with their "typical" Albertan. "Do a survey like we just did three or four weeks ago: Albertans are massively in favour of heavier restrictions," said Wesley. "You ask them on an individual basis, would you like to see a provincewide mask mandate, doesn't matter if they're rural areas. Absolutely, it's the right thing to do. They going to push for it? No, because they don't think that the rest of the province would accept it."At some point that tide could turn. There are more voices calling for government to impose more severe restrictions, including a complete lockdown, in order to fight surging case counts.The ethics of action are clear, even if the ultimate answers are not. The ethicsFrancis says there's a clear difference between someone who puts themselves in harm's way versus someone who creates "a real risk of harm to other people." Individuals are expected to go about in the world obeying the rules so that a free society can operate in a mostly free way. Social norms keep most of us from hurting one another, but there is never a full participation rate. Murders, assaults and more happen on a regular basis. So there are laws. Even the most stringent libertarians agree there is a role for the state to some protections. Francis argues that we should view restrictions around COVID-19 in the same light."I think a lot of people are treating this as some kind of unusual interference with liberty," Francis said about pandemic responses. "And my point is, it's actually much more like when people are thinking through some of the most standard kinds of interferences with liberty."Yet despite the ethical obligations to protect citizens, the decision to impose restrictions across a society is no small thing.Some see the delay in implementing more restrictions as cruel — akin to saying the economy is as important as human life.Certainly the belief that Alberta's political culture would not allow a lockdown plays a role in politicians' decisions. But governments also have to consider how their decisions might affect broader society. Lives and livelihoods can be lost due to a cratered economy. Not every individual can simply choose to stay home. Many calling for a sharp lockdown have salaries, home offices or the security to stay isolated. And race, class and gender mix to create a set of ethical and moral traps many can't escape."There has to also be an economic solution for those whose lives are going to be torn apart by this," Melissa Caouette, a political strategist with the Canadian Strategy Group, said on the CBC's West of Centre podcast. As cases and hospitalizations rise, there comes a point when political calculation isn't relevant, and protecting the health of Albertans and its health-care system becomes a priority.Every decision can have a profound impact on Albertans. The hesitance of the government to shut things down as the pandemic spreads out of control, however, should come as no surprise. The Alberta government"This government is refreshingly transparent and completely doctrinaire when it comes to all elements of public policy," Wesley says of the United Conservative Party's approach. "So if you want to know where this government was heading, you need to look no further than the 2018 UCP statement of principles."Wesley calls it Neoliberalism 101 — a political philosophy that makes no room for collective action problems. "From a political science standpoint, that's almost like the ideal of what we expect of responsible party actors, is that they have a set of principles, we know what they stand for, they're being transparent about it," he said. "And we know when they're confronted with things that are out of the ordinary, are not part of their policy platform, we know how they're going to react."In short, they'll react like Joe Alberta would want them to.That policy consistency is tied directly to the founding leader of the UCP, Kenney. A principled conservative to some, an ideologue to others, he tends to stake his position and stick to it. It doesn't help that he was elected on a commitment to get the economy back on track and the budget balanced — a near impossibility given COVID spending and the languishing price of oil. The focus is, and has been, on trying to preserve and repair a battered economy. Kenney wants to avoid more business closures and loss of jobs. He does not want to spend more money.There's also a documented combativeness to Kenney and his government that hasn't abated during the pandemic, including battles with doctors, nurses and public servants. The ensuing division inhibits any chance that collective action could be effective against the pandemic. It seems the government won't abandon its ideological mores until, as Wesley calls them, a substantial "accumulation of anomalies" attacks the tenets of that foundation.It seems plenty of individuals feel the same. With more cases, more deaths, fewer ICU beds and more calls for action as the government resists, the situation is ripe for blaming the government no matter the culprit in our collective failures. Laying blameEvery catastrophe eventually leads to the need for answers: Who is responsible? Who or what could have prevented this? Things are getting out of control in Alberta, with contact tracers overwhelmed and community spread in full bloom. Recent restrictions on fitness classes and earlier last calls have had no impact to date as 1,000-plus new cases a day becomes the norm. For a while, it appeared things were under control. As cases rose, most people were not vocally critical.Then doctors started writing letters with hundreds of their colleagues' signatures calling for circuit-breaker lockdowns. The chief of the Calgary Emergency Management Agency called for the same. Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi wished for more, but told citizens not to wait for the province to do what was needed. Social media was flooded with calls for restrictions.Cases soared, as did hospitalizations. There are more deaths and likely many more to come.The government continued to resist, but looks prepared to act — in some way — on Tuesday afternoon.Critics have said the government has failed to provide clarity across the province on what is expected and even failed to model the baselines of good behaviour. Research has shown that people tend to lay more blame when an intentional harm has occurred, but that those in power can be judged harshly even if causality is ambiguous or indirect. Polls have shown that Albertans are dissatisfied with the performance of their government, including a recent poll by ThinkHQ that suggested the majority of Albertans don't think recent government restrictions went far enough. But it can't all be put at the feet of the government. No one told Albertans to celebrate birthdays with friends and family. There was no public health recommendation to drink until closing time on Saturday night.Frustration, however, is mounting. So too is evidence that something more drastic needs to take place."I say that it's never too late to do something that's useful," said Saxinger, the infectious disease specialist from the U of A. "But earlier action is very clearly, and in a very data-driven way, the best way to handle something that has exponential growth — acting before it becomes a problem, because you act after it becomes a problem and you're already on your way to a much, much bigger problem."What is happeningOn Nov. 20, Alberta announced 1,155 new confirmed cases of COVID-19. That number has grown every day since, giving Alberta the highest number of active cases of all the provinces. Hinshaw has said ICU beds set aside for the pandemic are nearing capacity, but that more resources could be freed up. Those resources would come at a cost to those seeking treatment for other reasons. Decisions will soon have to be made within hospitals about who has the best chance of survival and therefore gets a bed and treatment. Some of the dire predictions that were elaborately presented in Alberta's first wave are coming into focus.On Monday, Hinshaw admitted defeat in terms of the government's already limited contact tracing and, in an attempt to catch up, was giving up on contacting thousands of those linked to high-priority settings such as hospitals, schools and continuing care homes. She also said she'd be making recommendations to a cabinet huddle after her announcement. The government response is expected to be announced Tuesday afternoon. Francis, speaking from Utah without any knowledge of Alberta's situation, said the way to minimize the impact on businesses while protecting the health of the public is to act swiftly and comprehensively if restrictions are imposed. "One wishes that business closures were very short-lived," she said. "Unfortunately, we've made some mistakes, we've done it halfway, and so we've let community spread really get out of control.... You don't treat a rapidly growing tumour by cutting out 20 per cent of it. And unfortunately, a sort of tepid approach to infection control has done exactly that."So, with the surgery delayed, that incision will only have to go deeper.
Twenty-three B.C. mayors are calling on Premier John Horgan to establish policies that give resource-based communities a key role in the province’s post-pandemic economic recovery plan. In an open letter to Horgan Nov. 19, the mayors of both rural and urban municipalities praised previous foundation investments in natural resource development, as well as associated construction and transportation needs, and asked for inclusion in future policy discussions. “As we’ve seen throughout the pandemic, BC has undergone a tremendous economic shock,” the letter reads. “Fortunately, BC’s resource industries have been able to persevere during this period. Our mines have continued to operate, the forest sector was able to take advantage of soaring lumber prices during 2020, aquaculture continues to invest and innovate, and four major energy projects have kept British Columbia workers busy building the resource infrastructure of the future.” In September the province announced a $1.5 billion pandemic economic recovery plan, in addition to previous commitments, targeting primarily tourism, food security, climate action, technology and innovation. Fort St. John Mayor Lori Ackerman said the group of mayors found no disagreements with the strategy, and issued the letter primarily as a show of support. “This was just to let the premier know that we are ready and willing to engage,” Ackerman said. “Our resource industries need to be front of mind when we’re looking at creating the future of British Columbia. We’ve got businesses that need to get working. With a new cabinet coming into place we needed to send the premier our congratulations and hope that we can work on this together.” The mayors asked Horgan to enshrine five core pillars for economic recovery into the Mandate Letters of incoming cabinet ministers. Those pillars are: quickly enable shovel-ready projects to proceed; ensure international investors know B.C.’s industries can succeed in uncertain global investment conditions; recognize the unique advantage of globally carbon-competitive exports; put workers and communities first when delivering on campaign commitments; and ensure any new regulations affecting delivery on the first four pillars are considered carefully. Going forward, the mayors also offered their support on all aspects of pandemic recovery and ongoing efforts with climate change and First Nations reconciliation. The letter was written by Ackerman and Williams Lake Mayor Walt Cobb, and supported by: Mayor Andy Adams, Campbell River Mayor Bruno Tassone, Castlegar Mayor Allen Courtoreille, Chetwynd Mayor Lee Pratt, Cranbrook Mayor Dale Bumstead, Dawson Creek Mayor Michelle Staples, Duncan Mayor Sarrah Storey, Fraser Lake Mayor Brad Unger, Gold River Mayor Linda McGuire, Granisle Mayor Phil Germuth, Kitimat Mayor Dennis Dugas, Port Hardy Mayor Joan Atkinson, Mackenzie Mayor Linda Brown, Merritt Mayor Gary Foster, Northern Rockies Mayor Brad West, Port Coquitlam Mayor Gaby Wickstrom, Port McNeill Mayor Lorraine Michetti, Pouce Coupe Mayor Doug McCallum, Surrey Mayor Rob Fraser, Taylor Mayor Carol Leclerc, Terrace Mayor Keith Bertrand, Tumbler Ridge Quinn Bender, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Rupert Northern View