MAKERS@Home with Tanya Saracho
MAKERS@Home with Tanya Saracho
MILTON, Ga. — In a black face mask and cap, activist Garrett Bess walked up driveway after driveway of million-dollar homes in suburban Atlanta on a recent afternoon, placing a flyer in each door, ringing the bell and stepping away to make a socially distanced pitch to vote for the conservative candidates in Georgia's pivotal U.S. Senate runoff elections.Bess' group, Heritage Action for America, plans to knock on half a million doors before the state's two Jan. 5 contests that will determine whether Democrats or Republicans control the Senate.“Everyone in Georgia knows the candidates,” said Janae Stracke, a colleague of Bess’ who also canvassed the subdivision. "There’s not a lot of convincing to do. They’ve made up their mind. It’s mostly knowing when to vote, how to vote, encouraging them to vote.”This election season, the coronavirus pandemic has upended traditional get-out-the-vote efforts where campaign workers go door to door to encourage people to cast ballots. With people staying at home and limiting contact with outsiders, an extended conversation with a campaign worker who shows up uninvited may actually encourage people to vote for someone else.But it's a sign of how important the two Senate elections are that both parties and independent advocacy groups are going all in on their in-person get-out-the-vote efforts.After the GOP lost the presidential election in Georgia for the first time in 28 years, conservatives are urging Republicans to get more aggressive with their turnout efforts in the state to match the outreach of former Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams.After Abrams lost the 2018 governor's race, she devoted herself to voter outreach, convinced that the state was a genuine battleground if Democrats galvanized young voters, minorities and people moving in from other states. She raised millions of dollars to organize and register hundreds of thousands of voters in the state — efforts credited with helping Democrat Joe Biden win Georgia.Republicans have to catch up, Republican operative Karl Rove told Fox News.“Let’s not kid ourselves: This is a real race,” said Rove, who is leading fundraising efforts for the runoffs.The National Republican Senatorial Committee expects to have 1,000 staffers on the ground in Georgia. For comparison, the Republican National Committee had a total of 3,000 paid field staff across the whole country during the presidential race.Democrats carry their own baggage into the runoff. In many parts of the country, they limited face-to-face campaigning ahead of the Nov. 3 election because of the pandemic, arguing that was the responsible thing to do. But that decision was second-guessed in places such as Florida.The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee plans to spend millions on voter registration and turnout efforts.Outside groups are also hitting the ground, and the in-person appeals will be supplemented with a fusillade of phone calls, text messages, mailers and ads aimed at boosting turnout for the races pitting Republican Sen. David Perdue against Democrat Jon Ossoff and Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler against Democrat Raphael Warnock.Turnout tends to drop precipitously in runoff contests in Georgia. And activists fear there might be even more of a falloff this time, when the excitement of the Trump-Biden race is over. So getting voters to come back to the polls becomes more of a focus than “trying to find new voters or win over voters who voted for your opponent,” said Charles Bullock, an expert on Southern politics at the University of Georgia.Historically, that drop-off has disproportionately affected Democrats, so the party faces strong headwinds heading into January. The Republican candidate has beaten the Democrat in seven out of eight runoff elections since 1992, including two U.S. Senate races.Democrats have reason for optimism after Biden's win, but his margin of victory was tiny — less than 13,000 votes of nearly 5 million cast — and it’s been 20 years since the state elected a Democrat to the U.S. Senate.But groups whose efforts tend to favour Democrats are charged. On Friday, representatives of the Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America went door to door in a neighbourhood just outside Atlanta encouraging people to vote for Ossoff and Warnock.“If we don't get those two seats in Congress, everything we did to flip Georgia blue is not going to help us,” Phyllis Morrow told a couple that pulled over in their car.The African Methodist Episcopal Church in Georgia, which has more than 150,000 parishioners in the state, is asking members to call eligible voters in their congregations, encourage them to vote early and assist with rides if they need help getting to the polls on Jan. 5.Bishop Reginald T. Jackson said Black voters are excited and “realize the eyes of the nation are on Georgia.”"They know people are going to be looking to see whether or not Blacks turn out,” he said.The New Georgia Project, a group founded by Abrams, will try to register some of the estimated 35,000 people who have finished their felony sentences and can requalify to vote as well as some of the estimated 23,000 people who are turning 18 before the runoff, Executive Director Nse Ufot said.Ufot said the group also aims to knock on 1 million doors before the runoff, up from 500,000 before the general election, and is training volunteers to take coronavirus precautions.In Milton, Bess and Stracke were in friendly territory. The affluent, mostly white city about 30 miles (50 kilometres) north of Atlanta showed strong support for President Donald Trump in the November election. The neighbourhood they canvassed last week featured manicured lawns and spacious homes set back from the street.“Oh, you have no problem here,” Holly McCormick, 73, told Bess after he rang her doorbell. The flyers he carried warned that Georgia was the country’s “last line of defence from a socialist takeover.”McCormick called the outcome of the presidential race “rigged” though there is no evidence of widespread fraud in the 2020 election, and she said Trump’s claims of illegal votes made her more energized to vote for Perdue and Loeffler in January.“We have to hold the Senate,” she said.___Associated Press writer Jeff Amy in Atlanta contributed to this report.Sudhin Thanawala, The Associated Press
MISSISSAUGA, Ont. — Investigators say they have found a fourth gun at the scene where a one-year-old boy was shot dead. They say three officers opened fire on the baby's father after his pickup truck crashed into a cruiser, injuring an officer. The Special Investigations Unit says the boy in the back seat was killed by gunfire. His 33-year-old father and a provincial police officer were injured. The SIU says there were three police-issued firearms at the scene, and they found a handgun in the pickup truck. The incident, which followed an alleged child abduction, occurred Thursday in Kawartha Lakes, Ont. An autopsy has been scheduled for Saturday morning. "The SIU appreciates the public interest in this tragic case and is doing what it can to get answers to the public as quickly as possible while ensuring that the integrity of the investigation is not compromised," the agency said in a statement. "We ask for the public’s continued patience. The father and police officer were both in hospital in stable condition, the SIU said. Four investigators, two forensic investigators and a collision reconstructionist were probing the incident, the SIU said, and three officers are under investigation. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 27, 2020. The Canadian Press
Sometimes, the simplestideas can make the biggest impact. A new fundraiser in Kanesatake is turning the idea of donations into something a little more exciting. With KB & PG Spin’dles, there is more than one winner. Spin’dles was started by two Kanehsata’kehró:non women with the intention to not only raise money and help out as much as they could, but also to pay it forward to those participating. “It’s honestly so rewarding to be able to make people’s day, especially in light of the pandemic,” said one of the organizers Patricia Kahentanoron Gabriel. Earlier this October, 27-yearold Gabriel was approached by her longtime friend Kassandra Kaiewate Bonspiel, 26, with the idea of organizing a “spin-towin” to raise money for various causes. “I thought that the idea behind it could be something amazing within our community,” said Bonspiel. She explained the concept as something very straightforward yet exciting, where community members buy tickets for slots on the wheel to get the chance to win different prizes. Each week, once all the slots are sold, the girls spin the wheel live on Facebook to announce the winners. Part of the cost of the tickets covers the gifts, such as coffee machines, fashion or electronic items, while the rest goes into donations. The previous Spin’dles have been able to each raise $200 for the the “Kanehsatà:ke supports Mi’kmaq fishermen raffle” hosted by Watsenniiostha Nelson and another $200 for the families of Antoine Paquin and Dylan Auger - the two young men who never made it home after a fishing trip at the Lake of Two Mountains on Saturday, November 14. They have also donated to other places like the Kanehsatake Language & Cultural Center, and are always looking for more causes to help. “I’m really grateful that we can be a part of something special like this,” said Gabriel. While the women grew up together and now both work at the Kanesatake Health Centre, it’s the first time that they collaborate on such an initiative. With no sponsors or collaborators, the women are left to do everything by themselves while navigating their own personal lives. “We have a similar way of thinking and doing things but we each bring something unique to the table and that’s how it ends up blending together well,” said Gabriel, mother of three. “We actually joked around at how this has turned us into shopaholics,” she added, explaining that they have been spending a lot of time either running around or shopping online. The women also wanted to include the community as much as possible in the decision-making process. Bonspiel said that the community has been very supportive, whether it’s about choosing which organization the next donations will be handed to or what kind of prizes they would like to bet on. “We brainstorm before to be able to give out bigger donations,” said Bonspiel, who is pregnant with her first child. After listening to the community’s feedback, KB & PG Spin’dles introduced the Donation Meter on November 20, with the goal to raise $5,000. The amount will go towards helping students from the community pay their tuition fees. As the initiative is gaining more and more popularity - we are talking about people waiting in virtual lines to get a ticket for the PlayStation 5 kind of attention - the women’s dream to give back is quickly becoming tangible. “I strongly believe that it is the beginning of something amazing within Kanesatake,” said Bonspiel. email@example.comVirginie Ann, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eastern Door
St. Albert currently has 239 active cases of COVID-19, with another 25 cases being diagnosed overnight. Provincial data released Thursday shows another nine people recovered from the virus, bringing the total up to 430 recoveries. The city has seen 672 people diagnosed with the virus since the pandemic began. In Sturgeon County, there are 93 active cases with 169 recovered. Morinville has 33 active cases with 84 recovered. In the past 24 hours, the province confirmed another 1,082 cases of COVID-19, bringing the provincial total of active cases up to 14,052. There are currently 383 people in the hospital, including 84 people in intensive care. Ten more people have passed away from the virus, bringing the amount of people who have died so far to 510. Yesterday, there were 15,900 tests done. Around 100,000 COVID-19 rapid testing kits will debut in the province in December. The COVID-19 testing capacity will allow for the identification and notification of positive cases in less than 20 minutes, which will speed up care and isolation, reducing the risk of further spread. The tests will be used on patients who are within the first seven days of showing symptoms, allowing health officials to quickly identify positive cases at testing sites, reducing the need for patient samples to be transported to centralized public laboratories for processing. To ensure the validity of the results, two swabs will be collected from each patient, and all negative tests from both systems will be subject to confirmation by the existing lab-based testing method. This is because a negative result is not as reliable as a PCR test and the test may miss some COVID-positive samples. Alberta’s health officials will use these pilots to determine how to streamline processes related to patient management, results notifications and digital record-keeping before the tests are deployed widely across the province. The province is looking at expanding the use of the tests where it can be of the greatest value to the public, such as at homeless shelters and long-term care facilities.Jennifer Henderson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, St. Albert Gazette
Two Native American tribes in northern Minnesota are asking state regulators to stop the imminent construction of Enbridge Energy's Line 3 crude oil pipeline replacement, saying it would increase the risk of coronavirus infections spreading.The Red Lake and White Earth Bands of Chippewa filed a motion late Wednesday asking the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission to stay its approval of the $2.6 billion project. They argue construction would put locals at increased risk of coronavirus infections as workers move into the area.The bands and other pipeline opponents have sued and protested to try to block the project, and an appeal by the state Commerce Department is pending. They want the PUC to halt the project while that legal challenge plays out.The pipeline project took a step forward on Monday when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers approved the final federal permit needed. The Public Utilities Commission has already approved the project several times, but still needs to give construction a final green light.Enbridge says the pipeline replacement will provide a safer way to transport the oil to Midwest refineries while creating 4,200 construction jobs and generating millions of dollars in local spending and tax revenues.Opponents say the project threatens spills in pristine waters where Native Americans harvest wild rice and that the Canadian tar sands oil it would carry would aggravate climate change.The Associated Press
Canada next week will reveal the breadth of the emergency spending it has made during the pandemic and lay the groundwork for future stimulus and social measures, like a national childcare program, government sources told Reuters. Canada did not release a budget for this fiscal year, which began in April, because of the economic uncertainty created by COVID-19, but in July projected a C$343.2 billion ($263.8 billion) deficit, the largest since World War II. The new fiscal document, dubbed the Fall Economic Statement, will be released on Monday and will include several scenarios for future spending and growth, and an update on this year's deficit, which one source said would be greater than the July estimate.
Two people have been charged with possessing a gun after police were called to a hit and run in the area of Mic Mac Boulevard in Dartmouth on Thursday night.Halifax Regional Police say in a news release they received a call at 9:10 p.m.A vehicle on Mic Mac Boulevard ran into the back of another that was turning onto Horizon Court.The driver fled the area, but officers later located the vehicle in the parking lot at Mic Mac Mall. While arresting the driver for failing to stop at the scene of a collision, officers noticed a long gun as they searched the car.Police say they then also arrested a female passenger in relation to the gun.A 21-year-old man from Cole Harbour, the driver, is facing one count each of: * Possession of a firearm in a vehicle. * Possession of a firearm — no licence or certificate. * Unauthorized possession of a firearm. * Unlawfully carrying a firearm or weapon. * Failure to stop after an accident. * Resisting arrest. * Failure to attend court.The driver was also given summary offence tickets for driving with a suspended licence and driving without insurance, according to police.The 17-year-old female passenger from Lawrencetown, Halifax County is facing charges of possession of a firearm in a vehicle, possession of a firearm without a licence, unauthorized possession of a firearm and unlawfully carrying a weapon.Police say both people were released on conditions to appear in court at a later date.MORE TOP STORIES
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has issued a recall notice for Farm Boy brand Deluxe Chocolate Brownie Mix because it contains milk that's not listed as an ingredient.People with a milk allergy should not consume the product, the agency says.The mix is sold in 500 gram packages with the Universal Product Code: 8 08912 00760 1.On the Farm Boy website, the Ottawa-based chain with more than 30 locations in Ontario says it will refund any purchases of the product.The product has also been removed from store shelves, Farm Boy says.The Canadian Food Inspection Agency said Farm Boy alerted the agency to error and no one has reported allergic reactions to the brownie mix.
LONDON, Ont. — An outbreak that prompted a London, Ont., hospital to stop new admissions at its medical wards has expanded to some of its surgical units.Middlesex-London Health Unit has ordered a pause to all visitations at University Hospital.Only visitors for dying patients are allowed.London Health Sciences Centre did not say whether the newly affected surgical units will remain open.The health network had said that new medical patients at University Hospital will be transferred to Victoria Hospital.As of Thursday, there were two deaths, 21 patients, 23 staff cases linked to the outbreak.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 25, 2020.This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.The Canadian Press
More than once during the weeks leading up to the provincial election Premier Moe referred to the province as being a supplier of raw materials to the world, but is this where the province should remain? Over 70% of Canada’s farmland is located in the prairies and historically, Saskatchewan was referred to as the “bread-basket of the world”, but with the shift away from primarily wheat production and the growth of the oil and gas sectors, that title has fallen into disuse. Yet, Saskatchewan remains in the realm of a primary producer. The problem with that status became evident earlier this year when COVID-19 arrived on our doorstep. As a province we are heavily reliant on other districts to supply our finished products and when they run into problems, such as the outbreaks of the coronavirus among their employees, the ripples are felt all along the food chain. But the authors of a new report just released by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives highlights another factor that while many across the prairies realize its happening, may not realize the full extent nor the implications of the trend. For years ‘bigger is better’ has been mantra of our culture, bigger homes, bigger trucks, bigger toys, and this is true of farming as well. Since the 1980’s farmers in Saskatchewan have been encouraged become bigger. Marginal farmland was pulled into production to make for bigger crops. Bigger equipment could complete the farmers work in less time and well, bigger equipment meant that it was possible to work more land, and the cycle continued. The era of broadly distributed land ownership, of food production by small and medium-sized family farms, is fading and the small farm is all but extinct. The number of young farmers in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba has, according to the report Concentration Matters: Farmland Inequality on the Prairies, declined by more than 70 percent, in just one generation—since 1991 (Statistics Canada Table 32-10-0169-01). The report authored by Darrin Qualman, Annette Aurélie Desmarais, André Magnan, Mengistu Wendimu for the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) states that while it remains the case that local families do operate the vast majority of our farms, there are fewer and fewer of those families every year. Thirty-eight percent of the farmland in Saskatchewan is operated and controlled by just 8 percent of Saskatchewan farms or just over 2,400 operations. These 2400+ farms average 9,382 acres in size, though many are much larger. The reduction in the number of small farms, the concentration of farmland and farm income into fewer and fewer large operations, and barriers to entry created by rising land prices (See Farm Credit Canada, Farmland Values Report), all make it more difficult for young and new farmers to enter agriculture, the report goes on to say. This difficulty in gaining access to farmland is therefore, effectively stifling the possibility of farming as a career choice for young Canadians (Qualman, Akram-Lodhi, Desmarais, and Srinivasan, 2018). Farms larger than 10,000 acres make up less than 2 percent of total Prairie farms, yet those very large operations captured approximately 15 percent of gross revenues and net income. On average, these very large farms earned net incomes of more than $820,000 before depreciation. At the other end of the size distribution, farms smaller than 1,000 acres, though they make up 53 percent of total farms, captured just 21 percent of revenues and 18 percent of net income. On average, these farms earned net incomes of just over $34,000 each. Because margins are tight and per-acre net income is low on cattle farms and grain and oilseed farms, a young or new farmer on a small farm with few acres paid for has a very limited ability to pay for additional acres, large farms often have greater capacity to borrow money (on better terms than those usually offered to smaller farms), and as a result unless a young farmer can partner with another, either a family member or another farmer looking to start ‘slowing down’, there is no avenue for him or her to get in and fewer and fewer farm children are returning to the farm. In 2014, for instance, 73 percent of farmland transactions involving an ownership change were between arms-length parties (neighbours), whereas 27 percent were among family members (Magnan and Sunley 2017). The rate of farmland concentration however, is running far ahead of the rate of farm loss. Since 1966, Canada has lost half of its farms, but the number of farmers who control the vast majority of land is far smaller than the numbers above suggest. According to the report, across the Prairie Provinces, farms larger than 5,000 acres, which represents 7 percent of all farms, own 27 percent of all farmland that is owner-operated, also those same 7 percent of Prairie farms that are larger than 5,000 acres, lease 67 percent of government leased farm land and rent or lease 35 percent of all land rented or leased by farmers from non-government farmland owners. So, while it may remain the case that our farmland is owned by local families, it is also the case that most is owned by a very small percentage of families. In 2016, 37,622 farm operations owned about half of all Canadian agricultural land in private hands. Translated into number of people, the authors of the study made a rough assumption that each farming operation included, in some combination of parents, children, spouse/partner, about 2.5 landowners. Thus those 37,622 farm operations become 94,055 people (less than .3% of the Canada’s entire population) own half of the country’s food-producing acreage. The great exit of young people from rural to urban areas is well documented in report after report in Statistics Canada library, but to bring this into a more local perspective, the 1976 census shows the population of the RM of Fish Creek to be 591, by 1981 that number had dropped to 510. (https://archive.org/details/1981939081982engfra/page/n47/mode/2up?q=Fish+Creek+RM) Twenty years later, the population was 382 and while that number is now recorded as 345, in the intervening years it did drop as low as 307 at one point. The report concludes that unless government policies or economic shocks alter these trends, 20 years from now, the area of land operated by small farms will be negligible, and farms larger than 5,000 acres may operate 50 to 60 percent of Prairie farmland (up from about 37 percent today).Carol Baldwin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Wakaw Recorder
The Pentagon's acting defence secretary has made a rare visit to Somalia, a conflict-plagued nation in the Horn of Africa where American forces have been assisting in the fight against al-Qaida affiliate al-Shabab.In a brief statement, the Pentagon said Christopher Miller, who was installed as acting defence secretary Nov. 9 when President Donald Trump fired Mark Esper, met Friday with U.S. troops in Mogadishu, the capital, to express appreciation for their work and to reiterate the U.S. commitment to combating extremist groups.Just hours after Miller's visit, the Somali government announced that a suicide bombing in Mogadishu killed at least seven people, and the al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab extremist group claimed responsibility.Trump is expected to order a withdrawal of most or all of the 700 U.S. troops based in Somalia before he leaves office Jan. 20.Miller has been in the Middle East and parts of north Africa this week on his first international trip as acting defence secretary. Miller, who previously headed the National Counterterrorism Center, has not been nominated by Trump for Senate confirmation as Pentagon chief.Associated Press, The Associated Press
OTTAWA — Vaccines are now a bright spot of hope on the COVID-19 pandemic horizon. But much about them, and their rollout in Canada, remains up in the air. Here’s what we know so far:What are the leading candidates?Manufacturers Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca have all filed applications to have their vaccine candidates approved in Canada. Under a “rolling submission" process, producers hand over data — from animal tests, for example — as it comes rather than as a complete package.That information includes how the vaccine candidates perform in different demographic groups and data about possible harms and risks.Dr. Supriya Sharma, chief medical adviser at Health Canada, says final data packages for some vaccines are expected as soon as the next few days, and that the vaccine being developed by Pfizer and BioNTech could get the green light next month.Why don’t we know when they’ll be distributed?The Liberal government says the first vaccine shipments should start to roll off tarmacs and port terminals early next year, bound initially for priority groups, including seniors in long-term care homes and front-line workers. But much about the deployment process has yet to be announced.Canada has struck purchasing deals with five pharmaceutical manufacturers, and agreements in principle with two more, paving the way for at least 194 million vaccine doses if all their products are eventually approved. But remaining question marks include which vaccines will pass muster and when and how details of provincial allocations from Ottawa will be nailed down.Meanwhile, the country's limited manufacturing capacity has curtailed domestic vaccine production options and resulted in greater dependence on vaccines made in foreign countries, which tend to prioritize their own citizens.What are the logistical hurdles?Distributing a vaccine poses massive logistical challenges. The unprecedented process involves providing up to two doses of a vaccine — which the leading candidates require instead of just one — to nearly 38 million Canadians spread across a vast country within several months. Ottawa is taking the lead on procurement and overall distribution, but on-the-ground delivery will be handled by the provinces, creating a complex deployment chain.Some vaccines are easier to move around than others. The Pfizer vaccine needs to be transported and stored at -70 C to remain effective, which would slow its rollout, though Ottawa has already purchased some cold storage for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. The Moderna vaccine candidate also requires freezing but not at the same temperature as the Pfizer candidate.AstraZeneca's vaccine is even less finicky about storage temperature but the company said Thursday that promising results from its clinical trials need further validation.Meanwhile the government is trying to contract transport companies for vaccine shipments. On Friday, Trudeau named Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, who commanded NATO troops in Iraq, to head up the Canadian military's role in co-ordinating logistics and lead the vaccine's eventual rollout across the country.Experts believe more than half of Canadians will be inoculated by September “if all goes well,” Trudeau said.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 27, 2020.The Canadian Press
TORONTO — Rogers Communications Inc. says it was exploring the future of its Toronto stadium before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, but the virus has caused it to put those plans on hold."Prior to the pandemic, we were exploring options for the stadium but through this year our primary focus has been keeping our customers connected and keeping our employees safe, so there is no update on the Rogers Centre to share at this time," said the telecommunications company's spokesperson Andrew Garas in a statement to The Canadian Press.His remarks come after the Globe and Mail reported Friday that Rogers and Brookfield Asset Management Inc., were looking to tear down the stadium as part of a larger development project. The two companies would build a new stadium half the size on the southern part of the current site and use the remaining land for residential towers, office buildings, stores and public space, the Globe said, citing unnamed sources.Brookfield declined to comment on the matter. The Globe also reported that Rogers and Brookfield were exploring the possibility of building a stadium along the waterfront if the development plan falls through on a slice of land called Quayside, where Google affiliate Sidewalk Labs once hoped to construct a tech-savvy neighbourhood."The news this morning was the first Waterfront Toronto has heard of the Quayside site as a potential new home for the Blue Jays," said Andrew Tumilty, a spokesperson for Waterfront Toronto, the agency overseeing the development of the city's lakefront.Such a plan would need "extensive scrutiny" and require the organization to consider existing, approved precinct plans, as well as the size and shape of the site, he said in an email.The Rogers Centre, formerly known as the SkyDome, opened in 1989 and seats more than 53,000.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 27, 2020.Companies in this story: (TSX: RCI. B, TSX: BAM)The Canadian Press
Moose Jaw Minor Hockey says it has a plan to keep kids on the ice in the coming month, while following the province's new restrictions.New measures announced earlier this week, which came into effect Friday, include suspending all team and group sports for a period of at least three weeks. Athletes under the age of 18 can still practise, though, provided they are able to distance and keep group sizes to a maximum of eight.A tweet by the association Thursday night saying hockey was still on received backlash on social media, with some believing the tweet meant the association still planned on playing games."Maybe it was a poorly worded tweet. I do apologize for that," said Moose Jaw Minor Hockey president Chris Flanagan, adding a tweet has been sent clarifying the plan."We are not playing games. We are just training in our groups of eight. We're following every single restriction and guideline that the province has set out this week." The new schedule until the end of the year will see teams get one to two hours of ice time each week to practise, with a maximum of eight players on the ice at a time and everyone wearing masks.Coaches can split their ice time in half, so two groups of eight players can get on the ice on the same day, or they can have eight players on for the entire time slot, and then have another group of eight on for the next practice.Flanagan said other regulations include not using player benches and requiring everyone to come to the arena dressed to practise. No hockey bags are allowed, and safety captains are to attend and take attendance for COVID tracing.Parents are not allowed to watch the practices, and can only come in to tie the skates of their children.Flanagan said they are also adding more restrictions beyond the province's requirements, such as trying to keep kids together who attend the same school."[We'll] try to keep them all together so we're not mixing bubbles from the school system."In a letter to parents, the association said there will be zero tolerance for teams that break any of the restrictions.Those that do will be have their practice times put on pause until further notice."We're going to give it a shot here for the next couple of weeks," Flanagan said. "If it doesn't work, if teams aren't showing up or players don't want to participate, we'll re-look at our plan here and make a decision."We believe the mental health of physical activity is a very important thing for these kids. And right now we believe we can achieve that while being safe and following the guidelines."
Holiday events that normally attract hundreds of people across the Halifax region are being revamped, going virtual or being outright cancelled to discourage large crowds from gathering during the pandemic. Lower Sackville will stream its traditional Christmas tree lighting Friday night on Facebook so people can watch from home.In Halifax, public ceremonies have been cancelled for the lighting of the tree and the menorah at Grand Parade outside city hall. Lights on the Christmas tree will be turned on Saturday, while the menorah will be lit up during Hanukkah.There will also be a light show projected onto the exterior of city hall between Friday and Jan. 1 from 4:30 p.m. to 9:45 pm."Instead of having one night and one event, it'll be every 15 minutes," said Mayor Mike Savage. "Watch the show — I think it will be cool — but remember to keep your distance."No public event to mark Halifax ExplosionThe only day the light show will be turned off is Dec. 6, which will mark 103 years since the Halifax Explosion. Wreaths will be laid at Fort Needham in the city's north end, but again there will be no public ceremony.Savage will post an address on the municipality's Facebook page shortly after 9 a.m., which is when the explosion took place in 1917.The city's New Year's Day levee has also been cancelled.'All about lights and decorations'At Sullivan's Pond in Dartmouth, the public Christmas tree lighting will not take place as it traditionally does on the first Saturday in December. Instead, a tree with lights will be in its usual spot and downtown Dartmouth will be decorated for the holiday season."It's all about lights and decorations this year and not about any gatherings of any kind," said Tim Rissesco, executive director of the Downtown Dartmouth Business Commission."Battling COVID is taking precedence over everything, as it should."Downtown Dartmouth will also have a light show, similar to the one in Halifax, projected onto the former post office on King Street.MORE TOP STORIES
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump still won't bring himself to concede the election he decisively lost to President-elect Joe Biden. But he's now acknowledging he will leave the White House if Biden's win is affirmed by the Electoral College, which is firmly on track to do just that in a few weeks.“Certainly I will," he said Thursday when asked if he will vacate the premises after electors make Biden's win formal. “But you know that."Trump, who took questions from reporters for the first time since the election, unleashed another round of complaints about the vote and theatrical warnings that “a lot of things” would happen before the Electoral College meets Dec. 14 that could possibly change results. But while he's stirring uncertainty about how he will behave in the weeks ahead, there is no real suspense about the outcome.All states must certify their results before the Electoral College meets and any challenge must be resolved by Dec. 8. States have already begun that process, including Michigan, where Trump and his allies tried and failed to delay the process, and Georgia and Pennsylvania.Nothing stands in the way of Biden taking office Jan. 20 with a clear margin of electoral votes.No concession is needed from Trump for Biden to become president, none has been offered and Trump may never admit he was beaten fair and square. But there were a few signs that Trump was coming to terms with his loss.At one point he expressed concern that Biden would get the glory from pending coronavirus vaccines. “Don’t let him take credit for the vaccines," Trump said, “because the vaccines were me, and I pushed people harder than they’ve ever been pushed before.”The fact that a sitting American president even had to address whether or not he would leave office after losing reelection underscores the extent to which Trump has smashed one convention after another over the last three weeks.Vote certification at the local and state level is typically a ministerial task that gets little notice, but that changed with Trump's fierce but fruitless legal challenges and attempts to manipulate the certification process in battleground states he lost.No evidence has emerged of the widespread voting fraud that Trump and his legal team have repeatedly alleged, only to be slapped down by judges and state election officials.Trump spoke to reporters in the White House’s ornate Diplomatic Reception Room after holding a teleconference with U.S. military leaders stationed across the globe. He thanked them for their service, joked that they shouldn't eat too much turkey, then turned to the election after ending the call. He repeated grievances and angrily denounced officials in Georgia and Pennsylvania, two key states that helped give Biden the win.Trump’s administration has already given the green light for a formal transition to get underway. Yet Trump took issue with Biden moving forward.“I think it’s not right that he’s trying to pick a Cabinet,” Trump said, even though officials from both teams are already working together to get Biden’s team up to speed.Asked if he'll attend the inauguration, Trump said he knows the answer but doesn't want to say.He said he'll go to Georgia to rally supporters before two Senate runoff elections that will determine which party controls the Senate. The White House said that rally is expected Dec. 5.One of the reasons Republicans have stood by Trump and his baseless claims of fraud has been to keep his loyal base energized for those Jan. 5 runoffs. But Trump, in his remarks, openly questioned whether that election would be fair, casting suspicions that could dampen Republican turnout.“I think you’re dealing with a very fraudulent system," he said. “I’m very worried about that.” He said: “People are very disappointed that we were robbed.”Trump made clear that he will probably never formally concede, even if he said he would leave the White House.“It’s gonna be a very hard thing to concede," he said. “Because we know there was massive fraud.”Electors “will have made a mistake” by affirming Biden's win, he said.Yet “time isn’t on our side.”Will he run again in 2024? Trump said he doesn't “want to talk about 2024 yet.”“This has a long way to go,” Trump said, even though he lost.Jill Colvin, The Associated Press
TORONTO — A man who drove a van down a Toronto sidewalk and killed 10 people showed no anger toward women during his psychiatric evaluations, court heard Friday.Dr. John Bradford, one of the country's foremost forensic psychiatrists, testified that Alek Minassian's complete lack of anger and emotion is in direct contrast with Elliot Rodger, an American mass murderer he purportedly idolized.Minassian has pleaded not guilty to 10 counts of first-degree murder and 16 of attempted murder. The defence argues the 28-year-old from Richmond Hill, Ont., should be found not criminally responsible for his actions on April 23, 2018 due to autism spectrum disorder. His state of mind at the time is the sole issue at trial, which is being held by videoconference due to the pandemic.After a brief cross examination by the prosecution, Justice Anne Molloy, who is presiding over the case without a jury, took time to ask Bradford several questions."Did he ever talk to you about any degree of hatred or rage directed towards women?" the judge asked."In my contact with him, he didn’t show any anger whatsoever," Bradford said. "I don't think he expressed any particular hatred, other than in the context of what he focused on with Elliot Rodger and why he followed that."Rodger went on a rampage in Isla Vista, Calif., in May 2014, killing six people and injuring 14 others before killing himself. His "manifesto" and his video before the murders focused on his hatred towards women and has found an audience in the bowels of the internet where he is treated as the forefather of so-called "incels," men who are involuntarily celibate.Minassian told police hours after the attack that he killed innocent people as part of an "incel uprising." In that world, incels are on the bottom rung of society, below alpha males called Chads and the women they sleep with, called Stacys, and below them are "normies," or normal people. Minassiand told a police detective he hoped the attack would upend that societal order.But in his interviews with Bradford, Minassian changed his story."He denies that is part of incel although he has been disappointed in the past with his social interactions, but when confronted about being extremely angry, enraged, he denies this now categorically and maintains that he (has) only been disappointed and that he made this up about being enraged," Bradford wrote in his report.Bradford said Minassian told him while he was obsessed with the "incel theme," he was not a follower. "He talked about that theme, but without much emotion," said Bradford, who met with Minassian more than 15 times as part of a court-ordered psychiatric evaluation. Minassian also told Bradford his motivation was due to his anxiety about failing at a new job as a computer programmer he was set to begin a week after the attack. He also said he was motivated by the notoriety the attack would bring, even though he had planned to die in a "suicide-by-cop."Then in later interviews, Minassian reverted to the incel uprising as his motivation. Bradford testified Minassian's affect was flat through their meetings and he showed no emotion when describing in great detail the attack. Minassian also lacks empathy, Bradford testified, but he is not psychotic and, therefore, does not meet the test to be found not criminally responsible.Bradford did leave the door open to a "theoretical" pathway for Minassian to be found not criminally responsible through autism spectrum disorder, but noted he was not of that opinion, partially because he has little experience with that disorder.He said Minassian suffers from no other disorder, is not and has never been psychotic, is not a psychopath and did not have depression despite the suicide plan and a later suicide attempt in jail."This is a unique case of somebody with no autism co-morbidity who carried out a mass homicide and lived who by his own planning would be deceased," Bradford said."I knew that this was going to be unusual. As an expert, I believe my role is to give my opinion and give it as clearly as possible, but also to acknowledge that others may have a different opinion."Another psychiatrist testified that Minassian's autism spectrum disorder left him fixated on mass killings and vulnerable to the ramblings of an American mass murderer.Dr. Alexander Westphal, an American psychiatrist who is set to testify Monday, is expected to be the lone voice to say Minassian is not criminally responsible for his actions due to autism spectrum disorder.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 27, 2020.Liam Casey, The Canadian Press
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the federal government made sure to sign deals with a variety of potential COVID-19 vaccine producers to ensure Canadians would get one that works. He says that if everything goes according to plan, most Canadians will receive their immunization by next September.
Half of all Saskatchewan hospitals beds, including in the intensive care unit, could soon be filled with COVID-19 patients, according to government data.This and other information was obtained by CBC News following a Saskatchewan Health Authority presentation to doctors Thursday. It contains the darkest projections yet of the virus's spread in the province and its potentially devastating impacts on the health care system.After CBC reported on the presentation Friday, the Government of Saskatchewan released the presentation to media.The presentation includes long-term forecasts, but also warns of a potentially massive swell over the next two weeks. That's well before anyone will know the effect of the most recent government restrictions, a note on one slide reads."These numbers are astounding," University of Saskatchewan epidemiologist Nazeem Muhajarine said."All of this will put tremendous pressure, relentless pressure, on our health care workers, our doctors and nurses, who are already run ragged right now, really stretched thin. This is unconscionable."According to the SHA data shared at the meeting, which is updated to Nov. 23, case counts and hospitalizations are up 400 per cent in the past month. On the current trajectory, that would mean 200 COVID-19 patients in hospital within the next two weeks, almost double the current number, it stated."[The curve] is going straight up, vertically up. The numbers really need to concern us," Muhajarine said.ICU capacity is already strained, with Saskatoon hospital officials sending several patients to smaller centres this month.Numbers are 'sobering'Under the new models, more than 50 ICU beds could be taken by COVID-19 patients in the next two weeks alone, more than double the current count of 18. The ICU total could eventually increase by as much as 500 per cent and remain at that level for four to six months.Ventilator capacity could also be exceeded by mid-January, and remain that way for up to six months, the presentation read."The updated models differ dramatically from what was presented to the public as an optimistic scenario just last week," said Saskatoon emergency and trauma specialist Dr. Brent Thoma.Regina cardiologist Dr. Andrea Lavoie agreed, calling the numbers "sobering" but not unexpected."They're trying to give the rosiest information [to the public]," she said. "They don't want people to worry. It's hard to hear that. But [doctors] have to talk about the details."She said it will be a challenge to treat the growing number of COVID-19 patients, but Saskatchewan people also need surgeries, treatment and care for a host of other maladies at the same time."If we're busy taking care of COVID patients, other people get pushed to the back of the line. Where do we put the heart attack patients [after surgery]?" she said. Doctors want the government to do morePremier Scott Moe and others announced new restrictions on gathering sizes of all kinds this week. The new measures took effect Friday. Muhajarine, Lavoie, Thoma and others said it's not nearly enough.Muhajarine said it's unbelievable the government is still allowing people to eat and drink alcohol unmasked together for hours at a time in restaurants, pubs, bars, night clubs and other venues. He and others have advocated a short-term shut-down of these "high-risk" venues with better supports for affected businesses and workers.The recent surge was predicted more than two weeks ago in an open letter to Moe and others signed by hundreds of doctors calling for action.Lavoie said physicians want the government to do more, but said there was also a lot of discussion at the meeting about ways everyone can work together. She believes the curve can be flattened with a strict but unified approach from government, businesses, community groups and the public.Previous SHA meetings with doctors are posted on its website, complete with charts and audio recordings, but Thursday's meeting was not posted as of late Friday morning.In an email, an SHA official said they'll be monitoring the situation closely. They said modelling is not an exact science, and the projections should be treated with caution.They said these new numbers are an update and extension of the information released last week.They said they hope to have a new modelling update for the public some time next week.
The regular monthly meeting of the Prairie Rivers Reconciliation Committee was held on Tuesday, November 17, 2020 from 9:00 – 11:00 am via Zoom and although Gilbert Kewistep was unable to attend due to another commitment but offered up a prayer and a smudge prior to the meeting. Tracey Grande Maison chaired the meeting and called for a roundtable introduction of all those present. While it’s always nice to see all the regular faces around our virtual table, it was especially nice to see three new faces and welcome Lisa Braun from Hepburn, Rev. Emily Summach from Langham, and Velma Assinewai from Aberdeen. After the introductions the meeting moved on to the report from the Social Media Committee. The sub-committee, comprised of five individuals from the ranks of the PRRC, set a goal for themselves to share on the PRRC Facebook page, at least one news item, event, or story per week but currently they have been averaging two per week. Carol Baldwin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Wakaw Recorder