PHILADELPHIA — President Donald Trump’s legal team suffered yet another defeat in court Friday as a federal appeals court in Philadelphia roundly rejected the campaign's latest effort to challenge the state’s election results.Trump’s lawyers vowed to appeal to the Supreme Court despite the judges' assessment that the “campaign’s claims have no merit.”“Free, fair elections are the lifeblood of our democracy. Charges of unfairness are serious. But calling an election unfair does not make it so. Charges require specific allegations and then proof. We have neither here,” 3rd Circuit Judge Stephanos Bibas, a Trump appointee, wrote for the three-judge panel, all appointed by Republican presidents.The case had been argued last week in a lower court by Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who insisted during five hours of oral arguments that the 2020 presidential election had been marred by widespread fraud in Pennsylvania. However, Giuliani failed to offer any tangible proof of that in court.U.S. District Judge Matthew Brann, another Republican, had said the campaign's error-filled complaint, “like Frankenstein’s Monster, has been haphazardly stitched together” and denied Giuliani the right to amend it for a second time.The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals called any revisions “futile.” Chief Judge D. Brooks Smith and Judge Michael Chagares were on the panel with Bibas, a former University of Pennsylvania law professor. Trump’s sister, Judge Maryanne Trump Barry, sat on the court for 20 years, retiring in 2019.“Voters, not lawyers, choose the president. Ballots, not briefs, decide elections,” Bibas said in the opinion, which also denied the campaign's request to stop the state from certifying its results, a demand he called “breathtaking.”In fact, Pennsylvania officials had announced Tuesday that they had certified their vote count for President-elect Joe Biden, who defeated Trump by more than 80,000 votes in the state. Nationally, Biden and running mate Kamala Harris garnered nearly 80 million votes, a record in U.S. presidential elections.Trump has said he hopes the Supreme Court will intervene in the race as it did in 2000, when its decision to stop the recount in Florida gave the election to Republican George W. Bush. On Nov. 5, as the vote count continued, Trump posted a tweet saying the “U.S. Supreme Court should decide!”Ever since, Trump and his surrogates have attacked the election as flawed and filed a flurry of lawsuits to try to block the results in six battleground states. But they’ve found little sympathy from judges, nearly all of whom dismissed their complaints about the security of mail-in ballots, which millions of people used to vote from home during the COVID-19 pandemic.Trump perhaps hopes a Supreme Court he helped steer toward a conservative 6-3 majority would be more open to his pleas, especially since the high court upheld Pennsylvania’s decision to accept mail-in ballots through Nov. 6 by only a 4-4 vote last month. Since then, Trump nominee Amy Coney Barrett has joined the court.“The activist judicial machinery in Pennsylvania continues to cover up the allegations of massive fraud,” Trump lawyer Jenna Ellis tweeted after Friday's ruling. “On to SCOTUS!”In the case at hand, the Trump campaign asked to disenfranchise the state’s 6.8 million voters or at least “cherry-pick” the 1.5 million who voted by mail in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and other Democratic-leaning areas, the appeals court said.“One might expect that when seeking such a startling outcome, a plaintiff would come formidably armed with compelling legal arguments and factual proof of rampant corruption,” Brann, a member of the conservative Federalist Society, wrote in his scathing ruling on Nov. 21. “That has not happened.”A separate Republican challenge that reached the Pennsylvania Supreme Court this week seeks to stop the state from further certifying any races on the ballot. Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration is fighting that effort, saying it would prevent the state’s legislature and congressional delegation from being seated in the coming weeks.On Thursday, Trump said the Nov. 3 election was still far from over. Yet he said for the first time he would leave the White House on Jan. 20 if the Electoral College formalizes Biden’s win.“Certainly I will. But you know that,” Trump said at the White House, taking questions from reporters for the first time since Election Day.On Twitter Friday, however, he continued to baselessly attack Detroit, Atlanta and other Democratic cities with large Black populations as the source of “massive voter fraud.” And he claimed, without evidence, that a Pennsylvania poll watcher had uncovered computer memory drives that “gave Biden 50,000 votes” apiece.All 50 states must certify their results before the Electoral College meets on Dec. 14, and any challenge to the results must be resolved by Dec. 8. Biden won both the Electoral College and popular vote by wide margins.___Follow Maryclaire Dale on Twitter at https://twitter.com/MaryclairedaleMaryclaire Dale, The Associated Press
The New Brunswick Legislature could be holding virtual sittings within the next two weeks.MLAs from four parties sitting on the legislative administration committee agreed Friday to get equipment and technology installed quickly so the assembly can resume its business.It adjourned on Tuesday because almost half of the MLAs are from the two zones that were under COVID-19 orange phase restrictions at the time. The province is discouraging travel into and out of those zones.Since then, a third zone, which includes the legislature itself, has been put into the orange phase.MLAs from the Green Party complained Tuesday that there was still no set-up for virtual sittings eight months after COVID-19 first appeared in New Brunswick.Liberal Leader Roger Melanson said in a statement that a service provider will start installing the system on Monday."The legislature must keep on working through COVID-19 outbreaks and beyond," he said. "This system will allow us to do just that."The new hybrid system could be up and running in time for committee hearings on legislation scheduled for next week.MLAs are scheduled to return for full sittings Dec. 8. Speaker Bill Oliver said he hopes the system will be ready for then, though that date could be pushed back if necessary.
The federal government is laying plans for the procurement and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, inking contracts with seven potential manufacturers and saying six million doses could arrive in the country in the first quarter of 2021. The most recent development from Ottawa came Friday when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tapped former NATO commander Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin to lead the national distribution effort. But various provinces have started spelling out their plans as well. Here's a look at what they've said so far: —Nova ScotiaThe province's chief medical officer of health says he will release a detailed plan for the distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine once Ottawa shares more information. Dr. Robert Strang said Friday there is no certainty yet about the availability of a vaccine, but expressed hopes an initial supply will trickle into Nova Scotia early in the new year.Strang said a detailed provincial plan, to be released once the federal government has shared more specifics on its end, will include tight control of the supply and clear rules dictating who can be first in line for immunization. He said he's waiting for more federal guidance on issues ranging from priority groups to transportation and storage logistics. —QuebecThe province will be ready to start rolling out its vaccine plan as of Jan. 1, say senior politicians. Premier Francois Legault said Thursday that public health officials have already settled on the list of priority vaccine recipients, but did not release details. Legault said the province is also working to put the necessary infrastructure in place to support a vaccine rollout. That includes obtaining fridges capable of maintaining the extremely low temperatures needed by one of the most promising potential vaccine options, currently in development through pharmaceutical giant Pfizer.Quebec has also tasked assistant deputy health minister Jerome Gagnon, and former provincial public health director Dr. Richard Masse to oversee the province's vaccination effort. —OntarioPremier Doug Ford is among those leaders calling on Ottawa to provide more clarity as officials scramble to develop a provincewide vaccination strategy.Early speculation on the number of doses the province could receive was put to rest earlier this week when federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu said such details were still in the works. But Ford has forged ahead, naming former chief of national defence Gen. Rick Hillier to oversee the province's vaccine rollout. Hillier said on Friday he hopes to have a plan developed by year's end, while Ford urged Ottawa to provide detailed information on potential vaccine delivery. "We need a clear line of sight into the timelines of the shipments," Ford said.—AlbertaThe province's top medical official has said she expects to receive 680,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine early in the new year, a figure not yet confirmed by the federal government. Dr. Deena Hinshaw has also said a number of hurdles and unknowns remain as the province works to devise its vaccination scheme. "These (vaccine) numbers, of course, depend on many factors,'' Hinshaw said on Nov. 18. "They depend on the final pieces of the trials that are underway going well. They depend on ensuring that the safety and the effectiveness of the early vaccines can be assured. All of those checks and balances must be cleared."On Friday, Hinshaw said the province is working with Ottawa to get vaccine, but it is "a bit of a moving target" on when vaccines might be available."But our goal is that whenever vaccine is available, we will be ready to start immunizing individuals on that highest priority list."—British ColumbiaProvincial health officials announced on Wednesday that a vaccine strategy for the province is already in the works. Dr. Bonnie Henry, the province's top doctor, said Dr. Ross Brown of Vancouver Coastal Health will join the group working to organize the logistics around the distribution of vaccines.Henry said front-line workers as well as those in long-term care homes will likely have priority for vaccinations.She cautioned that while the province has contracts with vaccine makers, there can be challenges with offshore manufacturing."It's very much focused on who is most at risk and how do we protect them best," Henry said. "There's a lot of discussion that needs to happen."Henry said the province hopes to have vaccines in hand by January.—YukonPremier Sandy Silver told the legislature on Wednesday that the territory has been in discussions with various levels of government on a vaccine rollout plan. He said the goal will be to provide vaccines to elderly people and health-care providers.Silver said rural and remote communities should also get priority status in northern regions, a fact he said he's emphasized with federal authorities. The premier said he has joined the other provincial and territorial leaders in pushing for a national strategy to distribute the vaccine. “How confusing would it be for 13 different strategies right across the nation?” he said. Silver said the Pfizer vaccine could cause logistical problems for remote communities because of its cold-storage requirements, but those issues may not apply to other vaccines under development. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 27, 2020.The Canadian Press
Andrea Bolitho discusses this week's arts and entertainment news.View on euronews
Derek Mueller, a senior researcher at Carleton University, cut his scientific teeth studying mats of microbes on some of Canada's oldest, thickest and most remote sea ice. "They have some very interesting pigments in their cells to fend off harmful UV radiation," Mueller said in an interview. "It's kind of a tricky thing to do, physiologically. You never know. It could very well be that someday we discover something useful out of that life." That's one reason why he, along with colleagues and Inuit groups, are calling for stronger protections for Canada's northernmost waters as the so-called Last Ice Area rapidly lives up to its name. "It's so poorly understood," said Mueller, co-author of an article in the journal Science that urges the federal government to expand and make permanent the conservation of Tuvaijuittuq, 320,000 square kilometres of frozen ocean off the northern coast of Ellesmere Island. Tuvaijuittuq, which means "the place where ice never melts" in Inuktut, has the thickest and oldest ice in the Arctic. Because of how ice moves in ocean currents, Tuvaijuittuq is likely to be the last place it remains. The region is provisionally protected until 2024. But Mueller said the pace of Arctic warming argues for permanent status as a Marine Protected Area connected to Quttinirpaaq National Park on Ellesmere's north coast. Just last July, 40 per cent of the area's Milne Ice Shelf collapsed within two days -- 80 square kilometres of ice that had been stable for millennia now adrift. It happened so quickly an uninhabited research camp was lost. "(The area's) under threat and we're hoping for conservation measures to mitigate that," Mueller said. The Qikiqtani Inuit Association is working with the federal and Nunavut governments to determine if Tuvaijuittuuq should be permanently protected and, if so, how. "QIA is leading an Inuit knowledge study which will really try to tackle what is current and historical Inuit use of the area," said Andrew Randall, the association's director of marine and wildlife stewardship. "(We're) looking at cultural sites, some of the impacts associated with climate change." Inuit want to understand what resources might lie in the area, Randall said. They also want to ensure Inuit play a role in managing and studying it, he added. "(Research) doesn't only mean bringing in more western scientists," he said. The Arctic sea ice ecosystem may seem desolate, but it's anything but, said Mueller. The ice supports a whole range of life important to humans and animals a long way away. As the rest of the circumpolar world shifts under climate change, ensuring that a piece of the frozen Arctic remains free of human disturbance is key to understanding both how things used to be and what they are becoming, said Mueller. Just this year, scientists discovered a whole ecosystem of shellfish, anemones, starfish and brittle stars living on shelves in pockets within the ice. "What a wonderful surprise!" said Mueller. "We are now just beginning to understand this environment." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 28, 2020. Bob Weber, The Canadian Press
ATLANTA — A panel of U.S. advisers will meet Tuesday to vote on how scarce, initial supplies of a COVID-19 vaccine will be given out once one has been approved. Experts have proposed giving the vaccine to health workers first. High priority also may be given to workers in essential industries, people with certain medical conditions and people age 65 and older. Tuesday's meeting is for the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, a group established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The panel of experts recommends who to vaccinate and when -- advice that the government almost always follows. The agenda for next week's emergency meeting was posted Friday. Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech have asked the Food and Drug Administration to allow emergency use of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate. Moderna Inc. is expected to also seek emergency use of its vaccine soon. FDA's scientific advisers are holding a public meeting Dec. 10 to review Pfizer's request, and send a recommendation to the FDA. Manufacturers already have begun stockpiling coronavirus vaccine doses in anticipation of eventual approval, but the first shots will be in short supply and rationed. The Associated Press
The Saskatchewan Health Authority is recruiting retirees and volunteers to help with contact tracing investigations, according to a health authority spokesperson.The SHA has more than 350 staff trained for contact tracing, the spokesperson said. But as COVID-19 cases and the number of close contacts rise, the investigations take longer to conduct.So the health authority is recruiting more contact tracers, including retirees and volunteers, in anticipation of a potential surge in cases."Our contact tracing system is certainly under strain," health authority CEO Scott Livingstone said during a news conference Thursday."A single positive case each and every day provides hours of work for contact tracers over the two-week time period" after a positive result, he said. "But that work can grow exponentially when you factor in the number of contacts."As of Thursday, Saskatchewan averaged 214 new COVID-19 cases per day over a two-week period. Each case had about seven or eight close contacts on average, which creates 32,000 total hours of work over the two-week period, said Livingstone.He noted that the average number of contacts is down slightly from recent weeks, but the health authority is planning an effective contact tracing strategy in case the province approaches 450 cases per day.Early in the pandemic, the provincial government authorized retired nurses to obtain emergency licences through the Saskatchewan Registered Nurses Association, the regulatory body for the province's nurses. The most recent licence was issued Thursday.The association is working with the health authority on the workforce plan, and shares its emergency practice licence list every week with the SHA "and other employers," an association spokesperson said.Once nurses retire, they are no longer part of the Saskatchewan Union of Nurses. But if issued an emergency licence, they are unionized temporarily, said SUN president Tracy Zambory."It is just extremely important that the resources are given to [contact tracing] that it requires," she said."It's about resumption of health-care services, and pulling back on some of the slower areas so that the human resources can be freed up to be able to assist in contact tracing."'Real consequences'Contact tracing aims to identify COVID-19 cases before they can unknowingly spread the illness throughout the community, explains Dr. Cory Neudorf, a public health physician and University of Saskatchewan professor of community health and epidemiology.Finding close contacts means they can self-isolate and be tested sooner."You interrupt that chain of transmission, and you can start to get a handle on the pandemic," he said. The health authority's announcement that contact tracing investigations are taking longer signifies that Saskatchewan residents are not following public health rules as closely as they should be, or that COVID-positive people are visiting public spaces, says Neudorf.Time-consuming investigations can also make it tougher to find contacts and curb the spread of COVID-19, because people may forget who they met and where they went over time, he said.But the strain on contact tracing also has consequences for the overall health-care system as well, Livingstone said Thursday.A finite number of workers are trained to do contact tracing, so some health-care workers have been moved around the health-care system to conduct investigations. But that is only a Band-Aid solution, says Neudorf."As the outbreak progresses, and you start getting a lot of COVID-19 cases in the hospital, those workers need to be brought back to care for the COVID-positive patients," he said. "You can't be using the same stuff for both purposes, so that's only a short-term fix."Redeploying staff also causes disruptions in other health-care services, he added.Saskatchewan residents can help reduce the length of contact tracing investigations by only going out in public for essential reasons, regardless of what the province's public health rules allow, to reduce the number of close contacts, Neudorf said.When people do go out, they should mind physical distancing and wear a mask, he added.Neudorf also suggests keeping a weekly list of where you go, who you see and when, especially if you have to be in public often. Such lists help tracers easily track contacts down, should a person test positive.As of Friday, 2,237 COVID-19 cases in Saskatchewan are under investigation by public health officials.
Two weeks after being hit by a cyber attack, the City of Saint John says a team of experts is "working around the clock" to restore its network and virtual services.In a news release Friday evening, two weeks to the day after the city was targeted by ransomware, city manager John Collin said most of its information technology systems and overall network are still offline. Taking the systems offline was an "immediate and proactive" response to contain the virus, Collin said."Our network will be back online only once we are sure that it is safe to do so," he said. "I have been impressed with the dedication and professionalism of the team, and have full confidence that the city will recover in the coming weeks." There is still no confirmation that personal information was accessed in the attack, but the city is working on getting a conclusive answer, the release noted."As soon as we know more, we will notify the community immediately," the release stated, once again advising people to check their bank accounts and credit card statements for any unusual activity. Most city services are fully operational, including police and fire response, road and sidewalk maintenance, garbage and compost collection, bill and parking payment ticket payment, the customer service main line and more. The following services are temporarily unavailable: * Some departmental phone lines * Email to most city hall employees * Online payments (bank and in-person cash or cheque payments are accepted) Other bill and ticket payment options are available and include:Saint John Water can be paid at customer's bank, through pre-authorized payments, or in-person by cheque or cash at the Customer Service Centre on the 1st floor of City Hall. Parking tickets can be paid in-person by cheque or cash at the customer service centre on the first floor of City Hall. Customers must present their ticket when paying in person. On-street and monthly parking payments can be made at parking meter machines or through the HotSpot parking application. The application is hosted by a third-party vendor. Cheque or cash payments for monthly parking can be made in-person at the customer service centre.
All of Fort Chipewyan’s stop signs are now in Cree, Dénesųłiné and English. Mayor Don Scott says similar traffic signs will be put up across the region next year, including in Fort McMurray. The signs are part of an effort to promote the Indigenous languages of the Wood Buffalo region. In a video announcing the news, Scott said boosting Indigenous languages is part of the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action. “This has always been a diverse region, and our rich culture and heritage make it truly a special place to call home,” he said. This is the first municipal initiative promoting Indigenous languages, although they are not the first Cree and Dénesųłiné signs in Fort Chipewyan. The community has welcome and grocery signs in the three major languages at the K’ai Tailé Market and outside the Athabasca Delta Community School. “Our languages are slowly disappearing because of the effects of residential schools,” said Teri Villebrun, councillor for Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation (ACFN), in an interview. Fort Chipewyan was the site of the Holy Angels Residential School, which closed 1974. Between 1880 and 1953, 89 students died at the school. “These signs recognize the needs of promoting our Indigenous languages.” Villebrun said people are excited about the new signs in a community that has centuries of history to share. Founded in 1788, Fort Chipewyan is Alberta’s first European settlement. It was established as a trading post and named after the Chipewyan people already living in the area. “We do really have a sense of pride in our community,” she said. “It’s our traditional land of the Dene, Cree and Métis and we are so proud of our culture.” According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), three-quarters of Indigenous languages in Canada are “definitely,” “severely” or “critically” endangered. The most recent data on languages spoken in Canada comes from the 2016 census, which found only 20 per cent of First Nations people could converse in an Indigenous language. This is a six per cent drop from 2006. “If we continue down the current path, First Nations languages, like many Indigenous languages around the world, may be lost,” states a 2019 report from the Assembly of First Nations. “It is essential that drastic actions are taken to offset the erosion and loss of First Nations languages.” The municipality has posted to its website its own efforts and resources on meeting the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action. An October 2019 report commissioned by the municipality also surveyed the attitudes First Nation and Métis leaders had towards their place in the region. At the time, the report found the administration of the day was “proactive” in incorporating the calls to action into its organizational structure, but was lagging on delivering, or lobbying for, basic services in rural communities. firstname.lastname@example.orgSarah Williscraft, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Fort McMurray Today
The grey clouds above Vancouver sent down the cold heavy rain of November Monday morning. In an industrial corner of the Downtown Eastside, Bill S. had left the tent he’d pitched against the side of a building to go have breakfast at the city’s Evelyne Saller Centre, which serves low-cost meals. When he returned, his tent and all his belongings were gone — taken, he assumed, by city workers, who had told him to pack up at around 8:30 that morning. “Where do they expect us to go?” asked Bill, who requested The Tyee not use his last name because of the stigma of being homeless. “We’re people too.” A health worker who Bill spoke with that day called Sarah Blyth, the founder of the Overdose Prevention Society on East Hastings. People donate sleeping bags and blankets to the society all the time, so Blyth was able to set Bill up with a new sleeping bag and a blanket. But it just kept raining, and the Overdose Prevention Society had no tents to give out that day, so Bill spent Monday night in a makeshift shelter that wasn’t up to the task of keeping the weather out. “Everything in it was in a puddle, including me,” Bill said, calling the experience “the worst alarm clock ever.” Precautions to limit the spread of COVID-19 have had a devastating impact on the Downtown Eastside. The number of people living on the street has grown as many housing providers limited or banned visitors to their buildings. Meanwhile, many drop-in spaces are closed or have reduced capacity. There are 379 fewer shelter spots open this winter in Vancouver than in 2019, because shelters need to limit the number of people allowed inside. Still, every day, city sanitation workers, often accompanied by police officers, spend their days scooping up homeless people’s belongings with pitchforks and dumping them into trucks. Overdose Prevention Society staff give people new sleeping bags and blankets, knowing the replacement items could very well end up in the back of a city sanitation truck the next day. “It’s a terrible cycle and it’s wasteful in a lot of ways,” Blyth said, adding she’d rather see city workers employed trying to help people find housing or make their lives on the street a little more comfortable. “I can’t imagine it’s a very fun job for whoever’s doing it — whether it’s a city worker or the police,” she said. “It can’t be rewarding at the end of the day to go home and say ‘I threw a bunch of homeless people’s stuff out.’” The city says sanitation crews “only clean up what is determined to be garbage,” and work with police to ask people to remove structures that have been put up on city property. Crews ask people who are camping on the sidewalk to “move along” and “will remove structures and material that is clearly garbage but not personal possessions,” the city said in a statement. But both Blyth and Andrew Ledger, the president of the union that represents city sanitation workers, say that’s not what happens. Blyth said she’s watched people cry as the only bedding they have is taken away. “I wouldn’t say we’re forcibly removing things, that’s not the case, but it’s not just unwanted debris that gets removed,” said Ledger, the president of CUPE 1004. “It could be someone’s life in a shopping cart that they’ve left somewhere, and all of a sudden it gets removed — those are the instructions that our members are given.” The Tyee caught up with Bill on East Hastings Street on Tuesday, the day after he’d had all his stuff taken away. Sheltering from the rain under a large black umbrella, Bill said he was planning to sleep outside again that night. Two small bags wedged between a railing and a building wall held all his possessions. Bill has been homeless since August. He can’t stand being in a shelter because of psychological problems that stem from once being in a coma, he said. Staying in a shelter with a lot of other people also brings up the trauma of losing his young son, who was apprehended by the Ministry of Children and Family Development. “I was a single father for nine months, and after I lost my place I lost control of my depression,” he said. “Being indoors made me think of my son too much. I can’t be indoors, I cry the whole night and I can’t deal with it.” Bill tries to find an out-of-the way spot every night, somewhere he won’t be blocking the sidewalk or the entrance of a building. “You don’t want to impede on somebody’s business because if you’re setting up on a sidewalk, what if you impede customers going in and out, so you’re costing them money,” Bill said. “You’re taking food off their kid’s plate.... It’s hard to find a spot that makes you comfortable and you’re not going to make someone and their business feel uncomfortable.” The place he’d found at Railway Street and Jackson Avenue ticked all those boxes. But he won’t go back there now. Bill said he tries to have good relations with the city sanitation workers, but he admits he’s yelled at them in the past when they tried to hurry him along as he tried to pack up. Then he apologized. “I shook his hand man-to-man and said sorry I was just having a bad day,” he said. “So there weren’t any hard feelings.” Ledger said the job city workers do is challenging, and they’re following instructions from the City of Vancouver to enforce existing bylaws. He said the real problem is that senior levels of government have not done enough to house people who are homeless. But Ledger said even before COVID-19 there weren’t enough spaces for people who are homeless to go during the day. For instance, the Drug Users Resource Centre — a low-barrier gathering place — was closed by Vancouver Coastal Health three years ago, Ledger said. “You could access laundry services, you could access food, washrooms and showers — you could just be in a space and not have to be on the streets all day.” Now because of COVID-19 precautions, there are even fewer places for people to go. “There is nowhere for homeless people to be except on the street,” Ledger said. “To continue to enforce a bylaw, when folks don’t have any other option of where they can be, is a questionable piece.” Ledger added that the city is likely trying to find a balance between the needs of people who are homeless with complaints from business owners and residents about street disorder. Earlier this fall, tenants of a rental building on West Hastings complained they couldn’t access their building because people were always in the entrance way. For several months Canada Post stopped delivering to over a dozen Downtown Eastside buildings because of crowding and blocked doorways. Blyth said it’s common to find a lineup of people waiting to get into the overdose prevention site when she opens the doors in the morning. Recently, staff helped a woman who was so cold that she was shivering uncontrollably. “I see people in the morning when I go in to open up, shaking and sleeping in doorways. People in wheelchairs, people with disabilities, people with mental health issues sleeping outside,” Blyth said. “It’s as bad as you can imagine."Jen St. Denis, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Tyee
EDMONTON — A study looking at 646 wildlife deaths on railway tracks in Banff and Yoho national parks in Alberta and British Columbia has found that train speed was one of the biggest factors.The research, published earlier this week in Nature's Scientific Reports, studied animals killed by trains between 1995 and 2018: 59 bears; 27 wolves, coyotes, cougars and lynx; and 560 deer, elk, moose and sheep."The top predictor was train speed," said lead author Colleen Cassady St. Clair, a biological sciences professor at the University of Alberta. "More animals died where trains were travelling faster."Next was distance to water, then the (amount of) water near the site and then curvature in the tracks."Train speed and track curvature, she said, make it difficult for wildlife to detect trains, while being close to water — particularly a lot of water — hinders their ability to get off the tracks before being hit.The study builds on a five-year research project funded by Parks Canada and Canadian Pacific Railway from 2010 to 2015 that focused on grizzly bears being struck by trains in the same two parks. It concluded that giving grizzlies better travel paths and sightlines along the railway was the best way to keep them safe.Cassady St. Clair said she hopes the latest study "will make it possible to identify types and locations for mitigations that will reduce the problems for all wildlife, not just grizzly bears."The research concludes effective mitigation could address train speed and the ability of wildlife to see trains, especially at curves in tracks near water.Canadian Pacific noted in a statement Friday that the company has worked with Parks Canada for the last decade to learn more about how wildlife interacts with the railway."CP has engaged with Parks Canada and the University of Alberta throughout this program to ensure the mitigation measures CP implemented were based on science," it said.The statement didn't address whether the company would consider reducing train speeds.Co-author Jesse Whittington, a wildlife ecologist for Banff National Park, said trains are one of the leading causes of death for animals in the two parks."The trains (that) travel through Banff and Yoho national parks kill almost 30 animals a year," said Whittington, who added that animals use rail lines for travel and access to food.The latest study, he said, helps Parks Canada understand where wildlife are getting killed, why they are getting hit in that location and the time of year when they are most likely to get hit."Mortality risk was highest in areas where animals had difficulty detecting trains and where they had difficulty escaping trains," he said. "Animals had challenges detecting trains where trains were travelling fast and in areas with high curvature."Trains can be surprisingly quiet when they are travelling downhill or coming around a corner."Whittington gave as an example an adult female grizzly bear killed by a train in September. She was in an area with a steep slope next to the Bow River."There were few places for her to get off the tracks."The latest study also found that grizzly bears were more likely to be killed in late spring when, Whittington noted, water in the Bow River is often higher. Other carnivores and ungulates were more likely to get hit by trains in the winter."When we have deep snows, we'll often find elk and deer along the tracks."Whittington said some of his Parks Canada colleagues have been working to enhance travel routes for animals away from the rail line by creating more trails through the forest. The agency's fire crews have also been working to create better wildlife habitat throughout the park with prescribed fires."We have a lot of thick shrubs and deadfall that has accumulated over the years that makes it difficult for animals to travel across the landscape," he said. "To date, we've cleared over 50 kilometres of wildlife trails throughout Banff — both in areas around these hot spots and in other areas that are pinch points. "We're hopeful that will help."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 28, 2020.Colette Derworiz, The Canadian Press
MIAMI — SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Illinois has risen above 12,000 deaths from COVID-19, while also surpassing the 700,000 mark for confirmed coronavirus infections.The latest 1,000 deaths were recorded in just nine days — matching the state’s deadliest period previously in the pandemic in late April and early May, according to an Associated Press review of the data.After a quiet summer, the virus aggressively returned in October. The number of confirmed coronavirus cases jumped from 500,000 to 700,000 over the past 17 days.___HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:— Black Friday offers beacon of hope to struggling stores— Empty seats, delivered feasts as virus changes Thanksgiving— UK asks regulator to assess AZ-Oxford vaccine amid questions— The pandemic is turning this into a holiday shopping season like no other. Toy companies are targeting stuck-at-home grown-ups with latte-smelling Play-Doh and Legos that turn into Warhols.— The deluge of “Dear Santa” letters pouring into a French post office that sorts and responds to Kris Kringle’s mail offers a glimpse into the worries and hopes of children around the world awaiting a pandemic-hit Christmas.— Greece has moved all school and university classes to a remote format. State television is making and broadcasting lessons, while teachers speak to students online from empty classrooms.___Follow AP’s coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak___HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:MEXICO CITY — Mexico reported a record daily increase in the number of coronavirus cases Friday, with 12,081 more infections reported.The Health Department said the situation constituted an “alert,” and said that nationwide, infections had risen by over 8% last week.Most of the newly-reported infections occurred in previous weeks, but tests results were reported Friday. The rise was greatest in Mexico City, where detected infections rose by over 34% last week.City authorities have increased testing in the capital, including the use of antigen tests, and said that the larger number of tests may account for the rise.In most parts of Mexico, only people with serious symptoms are tested, leading to an undercount of infections.___ATLANTA — A panel of U.S. advisers will meet Tuesday to vote on how scarce, initial supplies of a COVID-19 vaccine will be given out once one has been approved.Experts have proposed giving the vaccine to health workers first. High priority also may be given to workers in essential industries, people with certain medical conditions and people age 65 and older.Tuesday’s meeting is for the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, a group established by the CDC. The panel of experts recommends who to vaccinate and when -- advice the government almost always follows.Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech have asked the FDA to allow emergency use of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate. Moderna Inc. is expected to also seek emergency use of its vaccine soon.___LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles County has announced a new stay-home order amid a surge in coronavirus cases in the nation’s most populous county.The three-week order takes effect Monday. It was announced Friday as the county confirmed 24 new deaths from COVID-19 and 4,544 new virus infections. Nearly 2,000 people in the county are hospitalized.The order advises people to stay home “as much as possible” and to wear face coverings when they go out. It bans people from gathering with others who aren’t in their households, publicly or privately. Church services and protests are exempted as “constitutionally protected rights.”Businesses can remain open but with limited capacity. Beaches, trails, and parks also will remain open.___MIAMI — South Florida Congressman-elect Carlos Gimenez has tested positive for coronavirus.His campaigned announced Friday that the former Miami-Dade County mayor and his wife, Lourdes, tested positive Thursday for COVID-19 after having mild symptoms.They said they’re self-isolating at home, in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines and advice from medical professionals.“I will continue attending New Member Orientation virtually and preparing our office to serve the people of Florida’s 26th Congressional District from Westchester to Key West until I can resume my normal schedule,” Gimenez said in a statement. “I am extremely grateful for all of the incredible health care workers who are tirelessly dedicated to their patients.”Gimenez served as Miami-Dade mayor from 2011 until this month. The Republican won his congressional race in the Nov. 3 general election and is set to assume office Jan. 3.___BRUSSELS — Belgium has relaxed some rules imposed to contain the coronavirus resurgence but is remaining strict on family gatherings over Christmas.Now that all the virus indicators are declining, the government said Friday that non-essential shops could open under restricted conditions next week. Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said that beyond containing the virus, everyone had to make sure that loneliness did not strike.“We must also be sure that during Christmas and New Year people are not alone, so that is why on the evening of December 24 or 25 isolated people, people living alone, will have the possibility to invite up to two people inside their home,” De Croo said.One of the hardest-hit countries in Europe, Belgium has reported more than 16,000 deaths linked to the coronavirus.___LAWRENCE, Kan. — Holiday traditions have been upended across Kansas due to the coronavirus, forcing Santa to stay firmly on the ground in one city and transforming parades elsewhere.In Lawrence, hundreds usually turn out on the Friday after Thanksgiving to watch firefighters use a ladder truck to rescue Santa from the top of Weaver’s Department Store.But that’s not happening this year as the pandemic strains hospitals.Instead, Santa will appear on the first three Saturdays of December atop a truck decked out in garlands, poinsettias and pine cones, the Lawrence Journal-World reports.The city’s hospital, Lawrence Memorial, has been converting more rooms for COVID-19 patients and 26 coronavirus patients were being treated there on Friday.___SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — South Dakota on Friday reported 39 deaths from COVID-19, pushing the state to record more deaths in November than all other months of the pandemic combined.The state’s tally of COVID-19 deaths stands at 888 after the Department of Health reported the death records from a two-day period stretching over the Thanksgiving holiday. The total number of deaths has more than doubled since November began, with 463 reported this month.The state currently has a death rate of about 100.7 deaths per 100,000 people.___MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Department of Health has reported 101 more COVID-19 deaths, the first time the state has topped 100 single-day deaths since the start of the pandemic.The state health department reported 5,704 new cases on Friday, putting the state at 3,476 deaths and 295,001 cases since March.More than 1,800 patients are hospitalized, including more than 380 in intensive care, as dramatic case growth over the past month has led to increasing hospitalizations and deaths.The figures reported on Friday reflect data acquired by the health department as of Wednesday.___DES MOINES, Iowa -- Iowa has reported that 37 people died of the coronavirus in the past day.The state Department of Public Health on Friday said the additional deaths bring the total to 2,349.In the past 24 hours as of Friday morning, there were 1,266 new confirmed cases.Iowa has long had some of the nation’s highest coronavirus infection rates, but in the past week its numbers have improved slightly.___LONDON — The World Health Organization’s top scientist says more data is needed to determine if the coronavirus vaccine developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca works.Oxford and AstraZeneca reported Monday that their vaccine appeared 62% effective in people who received two doses and 90% effective when volunteers were given a half dose followed by a full dose. They later acknowledged a manufacturing issue had resulted in a half dose mistakenly being administered as the first dose to some participants.Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, WHO’s chief scientist, said at a Friday news conference that “the numbers are still too small to really come to any definitive conclusions.”In the study, 2,741 people got a half dose followed by a full dose while 8,895 people got two full doses. None of the people in the half-dose regimen were over age 55.“It’s very hard to compare these two groups,” Swaminathan said.Swaminathan said the agency had heard AstraZeneca would like to conduct a full study testing the half dose followed by a full-dose regimen, noting that the other ongoing research evaluating the vaccine uses two full doses.___LONDON — Ireland is easing its coronavirus restrictions, with most businesses allowed to reopen next week.For six weeks, Ireland has been under tight restrictions, with many businesses shut and people restricted to a 3-mile (5-kilometre) radius of their home.The government says shops, hairdressers, gyms, cinemas, museums and galleries will be allowed to open starting Tuesday, and religious services can resume. Restaurants and pubs that serve food will be able to open from Dec. 4, though bars that only serve drinks have to stay shut.Ireland plans to ease restrictions further over Christmas, allowing people to travel and up to three households to gather between Dec 18 and Jan. 6.Ireland, with a population of almost 5 million, has recorded more than 2,000 coronavirus-related deaths.Prime Minister Micheal Martin acknowledged the hardship many faced, but said the nation’s “sacrifices” were working and had driven down the infection rate to one of the lowest in Europe.___TORONTO — Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he expects more than half of Canadians to receive a COVID-19 vaccine by next September.Trudeau’s government is facing criticism after he said Canada will have to wait for a vaccine because the first ones that roll off assembly lines are likely to be given to citizens of the country they are made in. He noted earlier this week that the United States, the United Kingdom and Germany have mass vaccine-production facilities but Canada does not.Trudeau says Canada has signed deals that could give it the most per capita vaccines in the world. But when Canadians will get the first doses remains an open question. Toronto is on lockdown and the country’s largest province of Ontario is reporting a record 1,855 cases on Friday.__GENEVA — Scientists at the World Health Organization estimate that about 60 to 70% of people in countries will need to be vaccinated against the coronavirus to achieve any type of herd immunity.At a press briefing on Friday, WHO vaccines expert Dr. Kate O’Brien said it was still unclear if vaccines against COVID-19 might reduce the amount of time people are infectious or their ability to spread the virus. But she said modelling studies suggest up to 70% of the population will need to be immunized so that people are protected from the disease.“It’s really important that we actually start to get more information about what the vaccines do, not just for preventing disease, but for actually preventing the acquisition of the virus,” said O’Brien, director of the U.N. health agency’s department of immunization, vaccines and biologicals.Dr. Michael Ryan, WHO’s emergencies chief, noted that in some situations, targeting certain groups for vaccination may be more important than immunizing the entire population.“We’ve seen in many clusters that only 20% of the cases go on to transmit to others, 80% don’t transmit to anybody else,” he said. “I think we’ll need to be much more surgical and precise in exactly who we target for vaccination. It may be much more important to target certain sections of the community.”__PHOENIX — Arizona has reported more than 4,000 additional confirmed COVID-19 cases for the third time in a week as related hospitalizations continued to increase during the current surge in the pandemic.The Department of Health Services’ coronavirus dashboard Friday reported 4,314 additional cases and 20 deaths, increasing the state’s totals to 318,638 cases and 6,588 deaths.The dashboard reported that 2,301 people were hospitalized for COVID-19 as of Thursday, including 532 in beds in intensive-care units.Rep. Andrés Cano, a Democrat, announced on social media Wednesday that he is in isolation but is not symptomatic. Cano was reelected this month.Last week, Democratic Rep. Arlando Teller of Chinle announced he also tested positive and was isolating. The most serious case involved Rep. Lorenzo Sierra, who spent several days on a ventilator after becoming ill in October. He has now recovered.The Associated Press
SANTÉ. Dans le cadre de la Semaine nationale de sensibilisation aux dépendances, les centres de réadaptation en toxicomanie Portage souhaitent rappeler l'enjeu majeur que représente la crise des opioïdes, aggravée par le contexte de la COVID-19. «L'isolement et l'anxiété causés par les mesures sanitaires nécessaires pour contrer la pandémie ont sans équivoque aggravé leur situation déjà précaire, menant à une augmentation de la consommation d'alcool et d'autres drogues. Par exemple, en Ontario, on constate une augmentation de 25 % du nombre de décès par surdoses pendant les trois premiers mois du confinement, pour un total de 621 décès. Face à une prolongation assurée de la crise sanitaire, il est plus important que jamais de soutenir les personnes aux prises avec une dépendance et de les informer des services spécialisés adaptés à leur situation», indique-t-on en rappelant que la crise ne date pas d'hier. En effet, le rapport du Centre canadien sur les dépendances et l'usage des substances, paru en juillet dernier, témoigne de la gravité de la crise alors qu'il montre que le nombre d'hospitalisations causées par des intoxications aux opioïdes a augmenté de 27% au cours des cinq dernières années et que 3 823 décès ont été enregistrés en 2019, un taux de 10 décès par 100 000 habitants. Constatant cet enjeu majeur depuis quelques années, le Comité de santé et sécurité de Portage a pris la décision d'équiper tous ses centres de naloxone et de former ses intervenants pour qu'ils soient en mesure d'administrer ce médicament, qui peut inverser les effets d'une surdose. À propos de Portage Depuis 47 ans, Portage a aidé des milliers de personnes aux prises avec des problèmes de toxicomanie à vaincre leur dépendance. L'organisme gère des centres de réadaptation en toxicomanie à Montréal, à Prévost, à Québec et à Saint-Malachie. Stéphane Lévesque, Initiative de journalisme local, L'Hebdo Journal
P.E.I. Premier Dennis King expressed some concerns Friday about whether or not his capital budget will pass — if it doesn't, it would be a vote of non-confidence in the government, which would trigger an election. King says he wants Opposition support to approve the budget, but said the tone of debate in the legislature right now suggests that might not happen."If we have a couple of members who are not in the house because they're sick or otherwise, it's very realistic that this budget may not pass because it doesn't seem to have any support from the Opposition," King told reporters. "That would be a tragedy — I hope that doesn't happen — but I think that Islanders want us to keep doing what we've been doing as a legislature to serve the interests of Islanders, nobody wants an election and I hope one isn't thrust upon us."Opposition leader Peter Bevan-Baker told reporters that's not something his caucus intends to have happen."Nobody wants an election at this time for a whole host of reasons," Bevan-Baker said. "We have no intention of bringing government down."Bevan-Baker said he wouldn't seize a moment when some PC members are absent to vote down the capital budget."We have no interest in doing that whatsoever," he said, adding he doesn't think an election is in the best interest of Islanders.Opposition feels 'blocked'However, Bevan-Baker said the tone of debate has changed — he said the Opposition has been frustrated that it has not been getting answers to its questions on the capital budget. "We weren't able to provide the sort of level of scrutiny that I have become used to," Bevan-Baker said. "It felt blocked, in the last week."Taxpayers' dollars, how we spend them, is of utmost importance," he said, adding government's capital budget does not provide enough detail on programs it has planned, nor has government been able to answer the Opposition's questions on projects on which they are spending tens of millions of dollars."I'm not going to pass that section of the budget until I know what I'm saying yes to," he said. King said his PC party is still trying to work as collaboratively as it did when they were in a minority position for the last year. He also said it is a "false narrative" to assume Speaker Colin LaVie will always vote with the government if he must break a tie."We're just doing our best to provide the answers. If we don't have them, we provide that information back as quickly as we can," King said. Debate on the capital budget is scheduled to continue in the legislature next week.More from CBC P.E.I.
Peterborough County politicians are shocked by the tragic death of a one-year-old baby boy who was fatally shot on Thursday after being abducted by his father from a home in Trent Lakes. “There’s now a mother out there without a little boy and I would expect grandparents without a grandson … it’s just a tragic series of events,” said Joe Taylor, former warden of Peterborough County and mayor of Otonabee-South Monaghan Township. The incident began at about 8:48 a.m. Thursday when Peterborough County OPP officers were called to a location northeast of Bobcaygeon in Trent Lakes after a 33-year-old father abducted his son in what police called a domestic dispute involving a firearm. The baby was found dead of a gunshot wound in his father’s pickup truck after it collided with an OPP cruiser on Pigeon Lake Road, east of Lindsay, which was followed by altercation in which three officers shot at the man. Emily Poulin, executive director at Victim Services of Peterborough Northumberland (VSPN), said since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s been a huge increase in the need to help high-risk victims of domestic violence. While there are many tools the agency offers, as well as several service providers that do work in tandem to try and support these high-risk individuals in both Peterborough city and county, Poulin said there also needs to be prevention of domestic violence. “With COVID, we’re seeing a lot of differences in the way people are arrested and released, because they don’t want to overcrowd the jails, but when you’re talking high-risk offenders, more has to be done on that end,” she said. “It can’t all be on the victim to try and stay safe. There should be more measures put in place to try and keep offenders from doing this in the first place.” Lisa Clarke, executive director at the Kawartha Sexual Assault Centre, said in just six months of the pandemic, their crisis services at the centre have doubled those of the MeToo movement in 2017 and 2018. “There are alarming rates of sexual and gender-based and internet-partner violence happening in this community, and the Kawartha Sexual Assault Centre encourages all families and friends to check in and support and listen without judgment, to those who may be experiencing family violence in the home,” she said. There are many barriers for people living in rural areas to seek services, Clarke said. “Everybody knows everybody and so it can feel like reaching out means that family and friends will know what’s happening in the home. Our services are confidential and can be anonymous. We recognize that those are the types of services needed for people in rural areas to reach out and we have many survivors each year reaching out from more rural areas of our region,” she said. What happened is incomprehensible, Poulin said. “I mean it’s an absolute tragedy what happened and my heart goes out to the family and friends,” she said. The loss of a life, but particularly the loss of a young life, is heartbreaking, said Andy Mitchell, deputy warden of Peterborough County. “It’s a really, really tragic event and my heart is heavy and sorrowful for all of the folks that are being impacted by this,” he said. Trent Lakes Mayor Janet Clarkson said the outcome of Thursday’s incident is extremely unfortunate. “It’s hard to say when it all comes out, just exactly what happened,” she said. Taylor said he believes the community is going to do what they can to support the family in this time of need. “There’s no point in trying to understand it, or rationalize it, or explain it, or make any sense out of it,” he said. “It’s just really, really sad.” The Kawartha Sexual Assault Centre’s 24/7 crisis phone line is 1-866-298-7778. Their new 24/7 crisis text line is 705-710-5234. VSPN’s toll-free number is 1-888-822-7729 and its website is at victimservicespn.ca/. Marissa Lentz is a staff reporter at the Examiner, based in Peterborough. Her reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Reach her via email: email@example.comMarissa Lentz, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Peterborough Examiner
A new North West Company store in Pelican Narrows is opening Saturday in partnership with Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation. The new store will include grocery and pharmacy services, a Tim Hortons coffee shop, quick stop confectionary and a gas bar. Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation Vice Chief Weldon McCallum, of Pelican Narrows, said the community has been without a general store since the old one burned down in a 2015 grass fire. He said the new location will allow residents to shop in their own community and avoid long grocery runs to Flin Flon, Manitoba or Prince Albert amid the pandemic. “A lot of our people are really anxious and are very happy to see the northern store open again,” McCallum said Friday. “Especially the elders. The elders were the ones that were the driving force behind the northern store before it burned down, because a lot of our elders have accounts there. There's a Cree name that they have for the store and it's called Kompanik. It means a general store.” “The elders are very happy. And so, tomorrow, when the store opens, it's going to be a really slow, grand opening. They'll be following social distancing. Elders will be given priority to enter so that they're not out in the lineup. They will be priority and everybody knows that in the community, with our respect for Elders.” As well as providing safe access to food, the store will take a load off health workers, who are stretched dealing with the pandemic and the community’s medical needs. “We won't have to rely on our local health center for pharmacy anymore. We've had PBCN health services in partnership with their pharmacy. That way it frees up our registered nurses’ time so that they're not busy handling medication anymore or having to deliver medicine. People will just go to the pharmacy like any other pharmacy in an urban center,” McCallum said. The pharmacy and fuel aren’t scheduled to open until Dec. 8. “They'll be holding off on the Tim Hortons for a while just until things settle down,” McCallum said. “We want to try and avoid developing big groups or gatherings.” The store will also bring much-needed employment to Pelican Narrows. “With everything from the grocery to the quick stop, to the Tim Hortons, to the gas station, over 40 employment positions were created through the North West Company,” McCallum said. But the prospect of a Tim Hortons coffee shop in town has people especially excited. “They're ecstatic… Everybody's been talking about it. Pelican would be the first PBCN community to have a Tim Hortons on our reserve. There’s not even a Tim Hortons in La Ronge. Not even in Flin Flon, Man. So we’ll be ahead in that area,” McCallum said. North West Company spokesperson Ellen Curtis explained that while a grand opening is usually celebrated with an Elder’s prayer, ribbon-cutting, speeches and presentations, this one will be different. “This is the first grand opening I can remember where we’ve done everything we can to avoid having a crowd,” Curtis said. Any activities that could pose a potential risk, especially to Elders, will be deferred to a safer time. Instead, Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation and Northern are jointly presenting every household in the community with a holiday food hamper to celebrate this milestone event. “Our goal right now is to make sure people in Pelican Narrows have safe access to food in the community,” Said Rob Thursby, director of sales and operations. “We’ll have plenty of time to celebrate later.” The North West Company said development of the store was made possible by working closely with the community of Pelican Narrows and PBCN Chief and Council. “The community of Pelican Narrows has been underserved,” said Mike Beaulieu, Vice President, Canadian Store Operations. “We are very excited to have the opportunity to partner with Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation to open a new Northern store. Now more than ever we are reminded of the importance of communities having access to a safe and secure source of healthy food... A lot of effort and hard work through very challenging conditions has brought us to this memorable opening day.” McCallum said after the store burnt down in 2015, negotiations and talks continued until the spring of 2018 when plans started to become concrete. The North West Company agreed to return land to the community, which is important because the store has a history that dates back to the time of the Hudson Bay Company. The North West Company began as a fur trading enterprise in Montreal from 1779 to 1821 and competed violently with the Hudson’s Bay Company until the British Government forced them to merge. Outposts were often built and land appropriated without full and informed consent of the Indigenous communities where they continue to operate. In 1987 the northern trading posts of the Hudson's Bay Company were bought by an employee consortium who brought back The North West Company brand in 1990. It now operates as a grocery chain out of Winnipeg with outlets in northern communities across Canada. “The relationship between the North West Company and Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation, Pelican Narrows has been strengthened. There are things that we have agreed upon that help make that relationship stronger. And one area is that the North West Company has agreed to turn over all of their property, their land within our community. That was one of my biggest arguments at the table. I wanted to see their lands given back to the community,” McCallum said. “It wasn't right that Hudson’s Bay established this store… There's a long history with Hudson’s Bay and some that's not really bright but the future is looking brighter, and the relationship is there, the connection is there. So I'm really happy to see that.” He said the North West Company has shown that it is committed to Pelican Narrows. “They've understood both the size and population of our community, and they knew the situation that we were in. They knew how vital their grocery store was before it burnt down,” McCallum said. “Being a company based out of another province to come in and provide that service and that much-needed help. It really goes a long way. It gives our community a sense of relationship.” Michael Bramadat-Willcock, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Northern Advocate
Concerns are growing about the number of hospitals dealing with COVID-19 outbreaks in Alberta.According to information published by Alberta Health Services, there are more than 160 COVID cases connected to active hospital outbreaks right now — and at least 20 deaths.Dr. Leyla Asadi, an infectious disease specialist in Edmonton, says such trends are a sad inevitability when it comes to a virus that has such widespread community transmission."It's just such a sneaky virus, and that's why you can try your best to protect those who are vulnerable," Asadi said. "You can try your best to keep areas safe from it. But it just hasn't worked."Hospitals with outbreaks or on watchIn Calgary, every hospital aside from the South Health Campus is either battling COVID outbreaks or has units on watch. Being on watch means there is evidence a confirmed case had recently interacted or stayed in the unit."Essentially, if there's an exposure that's concerning, you would call that a unit on watch," said Dr. Ash Sonpar, an infection prevention and control physician in Edmonton. "If there's a case that was acquired on the unit, then you would call that an outbreak. So as you see more community cases, you are going to have units on watch."As of Friday, AHS said Calgary hospitals with COVID-19 outbreaks or units on watch included: * Foothills Medical Centre has two units on outbreak. Two units at Foothills are now under watch. * Peter Lougheed Centre has four units on outbreak. One unit is currently under watch. * Rockyview General Hospital has four units on outbreak. One unit is currently under watch. * Alberta Children's Hospital has one unit currently under watch.In addition, a single site order is in place for Unit 59, a transition unit at Rockyview General Hospital, with at least 19 cases. That means staff, such as nurses, health-care aides and administration, cannot work on any other unit.AHS said in a memo to staff that there may be ongoing transmission on the ward, but the source isn't yet known. The possibility of worker-to-worker transmission has not been ruled out.Susan Slade, a vice-president with the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees, said many health-care workers are exhausted, with many working double shifts when colleagues go into isolation."It's a scary world in health-care right now, and it's just a tragedy what's happening in the health-care system right now," Slade said.
VANCOUVER — The Mountie who says he warned against arresting Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou by boarding her plane when it landed in Vancouver says he made his own decision to come into the airport and help that day. Sgt. Ross Lundie agreed under cross-examination at a B.C. Supreme Court hearing Friday that the RCMP members making the arrest in December 2018 did not ask him to be present that day.But he said when the arresting officers called him the night before the incident asking for advice, he suggested they arrange a meeting with Canada Border Services Agency officials for the next morning and decided he would attend."It was obviously very important from what I'd heard," Lundie testified."Were you concerned that by asserting yourself, that would assist in avoiding some kind of major problem between CBSA and RCMP?" Meng's lawyer Richard Peck asked."I wanted to ensure that went smoothly as well, yes."Lundie, an officer with national security experience based at the airport, said he believed it was important to keep CBSA in the loop because he understood they had their own mandate and responsibilities.His testimony is part of an evidence-gathering hearing in Meng's extradition case where her lawyers are gathering information to bolster their allegations that Canadian officials improperly collected evidence against her.Meng is wanted on fraud charges in the United States that both she and Huawei deny. Meng's lawyers allege that an early plan to arrest her aboard the plane was changed to allow for a "covert criminal investigation" under the guise of a routine immigration exam at the behest of U.S. authorities. Ultimately, Meng would undergo screening by border officers for nearly three hours before she was informed of her arrest and right to counsel.Border officers working at the airport that day have testified they had their own concerns about Meng's admissibility to Canada and deny the allegations made by her lawyers. Lundie told the court that he always discourages his officers from conducting arrests aboard flights unless there is an immediate public safety concern. Meng herself didn't pose any risk to his knowledge, he said, but planes are tight spaces and there can be dangers. It's safer to conduct an arrest in the gate, border screening area or elsewhere, he said. Lundie testified the arresting officers phoned him the night before the arrest while they were driving to the airport to confirm if Meng would be on the flight. That's when he learned of the plan to board the plane, he said.Peck suggested that couldn't be. Phone records show that the arresting officers' boss, Sgt. Janice Vander Graaf, phoned them later that night after speaking with her own superior, whom court has heard was the source of the plane-arrest plan. If Vander Graaf's records are correct, then Lundie couldn't have learned the arrest plan when he said he did, earlier that evening, Peck suggested. "My final suggestion is that you're confused in your memory," Peck said. "OK," Lundie said. Court has also heard that phone records suggested Lundie did have three-minute phone call with a national security Mountie in Ottawa with knowledge of the case that night. Lundie said he has no memory of the call.The hearing will continue on Dec. 7. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 27, 2020.Amy Smart, The Canadian Press
This week over 100 Indigenous and non-Indigenous educators and representatives from across the country convened to work on setting the stage for systemic change in Indigenous land-based education. The Actua network, a self-professed leader in land-based STEM education, hosted the gatherings. STEM is a curriculum based on the idea of educating students in four specific disciplines — science, technology, engineering and mathematics — in an interdisciplinary and applied way. As parents and educators nationwide struggle with how to make education work in a pandemic environment, Indigenous students, particularly in northern remote parts of the country, have headed back to the land. “We really found that there is a national consensus on the importance of bringing this into the school system. Certainly there are challenges, but the benefits far outweigh those challenges and that there is huge opportunity here for Indigenous learning to actually really contribute to the future classroom,” Doug Dokis, Actua’s Director of Indigenous Youth in STEM (InSTEM) program, said. According to Dokis, grounding lessons in Indigenous knowledge provides Indigenous students with a sense of pride in their identity and shows them that their cultural perspectives are valued. A press release said that as Indigenous Elders and Knowledge Keepers take the lead, there is an opportunity to work with Indigenous communities, education authorities, industry and post-secondary institutions in reshaping the classroom of the future for Indigenous youth and for all Canadian youth. Dokis explained that with COVID-19 shutting down schools and creating other problems the education system is scrambling to find ways to create safe classrooms. “A lot of those conversations are revolving around more outdoor experiences for kids and what we are saying is that Indigenous land-based … models are ideal for aligning with school systems and existing programming and building that out,” Dokis explained. “It would be beneficial not only to Indigenous kids but all kids.” Actua is a national non-profit whose membership consists of 42 universities and colleges across Canada. “We deliver our STEM outreach through those networks of undergrad students at those universities an colleges. So we are present in all of these regions and territories across Canada,” Dokis said. The member organizations in the province include the University of Regina who hosted through their EYES (Educating Youth in Engineering and Science) program; the other member organizations are the University of Saskatchewan and First Nations University of Canada. Actua works with over 200 Indigenous communities, also building partnerships with the local education sector. “I reached out to a lot of the contacts that I have at a national level in these high level Indigenous or education portfolios and began to build a list of people that were and are actively involved in Indigenous education at the provincial level. From there we also got suggestions from existing relationships,” Dokis explained. The national forum set the groundwork for what is hoped will result in vastly improved educational outcomes for Indigenous students and a real path forward towards reconciliation. “We looked to address some of the systemic problems and challenges within the education system,” Dokis said. “Part of that is that Indigenous knowledge is not recognized or included in or inclusive of mainstream education systems. So we wanted to create an opportunity to better integrate and align Indigenous knowledge and education within the whole system across the country,” Dokis explained. Typically teams from Actua go to communities and work on coding or robotics or other STEM activities. With land-based STEM they work with what is happening at the cultural level around things such as land management. “We would build STEM activities to support the local cultural knowledge and cultural aspects (such as) harvesting fish or harvesting game. Then we would build activities to support that within the land programming.” Students that participate get high school credits. “That helps address high school graduation rates and encourages more Indigenous youth to participate or to follow into STEM careers.” The program has been working in Indigenous communities for over 25 years and the credit component has been around for four years. A national forum held this week presented the outcomes of a series of seven regional roundtable events on Indigenous land-based STEM education. “Part of our outreach consists of Indigenous communities doing workshops in school programs. So the roundtables were primarily focused on Indigenous leadership, Indigenous educators, education authorities, school boards and regional or provincial or territorial ministries that are responsible for that segment of education,” Dokis said. “We are producing a discussion paper from all of these roundtables and the national forum and this discussion paper will be circulated widely across the country. And then we are moving towards the next steps of facilitating some of the conversations that would need to happen around curriculum development, curriculum assessment, all of those kinds of things,” Dokis said. He explained that he didn’t know how long the process would take. “We really are wanting to see systemic change and systemic recognition that this is valuable to the education system in this country,” Dokis said there needs to be recognition at all levels of government in order to make these ideas spread through the education system. “We will continue to advocate and continue to build out this at a local level with the idea that we have recognized through these conversations that these can move quite quickly in the sense of how systems typically move. Certainly the COVID situation with the classroom has kind of opened the door and the conversation more targeting outdoor education or land based learning opportunities,” Dokis said.Michael Oleksyn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Albert Daily Herald
Toronto Police are pushing for more information on the death of a man experiencing homelessness who investigators believe was brutally stabbed in his sleep underneath a bridge on the West Humber Trail in September.The body of 39-year-old Rampreet (Peter) Singh was found by a jogger in the area early in the morning on Sept. 7.Det. Sgt. Joel Kulmatycki, the lead investigator on the Singh homicide, gave reporters a walk-through of the scene on Friday, hoping that media coverage may prompt someone with information to come forward."Based on the investigation, both forensically and from our scene examination here, Mr. Singh was likely fast asleep in blankets and a sleeping bag and the person or persons that did this to him, it was an unprovoked attack," Kulmatycki said. "He was severely injured causing his death — the stabbing was extreme to the point where it was overkill in my view."Police have appealed for the public's help as they try to piece together exactly what had taken place but say they have come up empty-handed.Singh a 'staple in the area,' police saySingh had been living beneath the bridge for several months before the homicide, police said at the time. Investigators have looked at every video they could find of that area but have not been able to get any further information, police say.They have also conducted multiple foot patrols of the area, used drones to conduct an aerial search and also asked for assistance from the marine unit to search the Humber River for any findings.Some people who have come forward to police, he said, have described Singh as a "staple in the area."Kulmatyck also noted that while police were examining similarities between Singh's death and the stabbing of Mohamed-Aslim Zafis outside a Rexdale mosque on Sept. 12, investigators have not yet been able to connect the two killings."We were looking at similarities because they were both knife attacks, but at this point we can't establish it was the same offender," Kulmatycki said."That is why we are here today because certainly we don't want to be working with blinders on, I am not ruling it out entirely yet ."Guilherme "William" Von Neutegem, 34, was charged with first-degree murder in connection with the killing of Zafis in September. "I would ask that anybody with the smallest thing that they might have seen, whether it is a car fleeing or people on foot or a person walking away, to please contact us," Kulmatycki said.