WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump pardoned his former national security adviser Michael Flynn on Wednesday, ending a yearslong prosecution in the Russia investigation that saw Flynn twice plead guilty to lying to the FBI and then reverse himself before the Justice Department stepped in to dismiss his case.“It is my Great Honor to announce that General Michael T. Flynn has been granted a Full Pardon," Trump tweeted. “Congratulations to @GenFlynn and his wonderful family, I know you will now have a truly fantastic Thanksgiving!”The pardon, in the waning weeks of Trump's single term, is part of a broader effort by Trump to undo the results of a Russia investigation that shadowed his administration and yielded criminal charges against a half-dozen associates. It comes just months after the president commuted the sentence of another associate, Roger Stone, days before he was to report to prison.A Justice Department official said the department was not consulted on the pardon and learned Wednesday of the plan. But the official, who spoke on condition on anonymity to discuss internal deliberations, noted that the president has the legal power to pardon Flynn.The move is likely to energize supporters who have taken up Flynn as a cause celebre and rallied around the retired Army lieutenant general as the victim of what they assert is an unfair prosecution, even though Flynn twice admitted guilt. Trump has repeatedly spoken warmly about Flynn and, in an indication of his personal interest in his fate, asked then-FBI Director James Comey in February 2017 to end a criminal investigation into the national security adviser.In a statement, Flynn’s family thanked Trump “for answering our prayers and the prayers of a nation” by issuing the pardon.Democrats lambasted the pardon as undeserved and unprincipled. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called it “an act of grave corruption and a brazen abuse of power," while Rep. Adam Schiff, the Democratic chair of the House Intelligence Committee, said a “pardon by Trump does not erase” the truth of Flynn's guilty plea, “no matter how Trump and his allies try to suggest otherwise.”“The President’s enablers have constructed an elaborate narrative in which Trump and Flynn are victims and the Constitution is subject to the whims of the president," House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerry Nadler said in a statement. “Americans soundly rejected this nonsense when they voted out President Trump. ”The pardon is the final step in a case defined by twists and turns. The most dramatic came in May when the Justice Department abruptly moved to dismiss the case, insisting that Flynn should not have been interviewed by the FBI in the first place, only to have U.S. District Justice Emmet Sullivan resist the request and appoint a former judge to argue against the federal government's position and to evaluate whether Flynn should be held in criminal contempt for perjury.That former judge, John Gleeson, called the Justice Department's dismissal request an abuse of power and said its grounds for dropping the case were ever-evolving and “patently pretextual.”As Sullivan declined to immediately dismiss the prosecution, Flynn lawyer Sidney Powell sought to bypass the judge by asking a federal appeals court to direct him to drop the matter. A three-judge panel did exactly that, but the full court overturned that decision and sent case back to Sullivan.At a hearing in September, Powell told Sullivan that she had discussed Flynn's case with Trump but also said she did not want a pardon — presumably because she wanted him to be vindicated in the courts.Powell emerged separately in recent weeks as a public face of Trump's efforts to overturn the results of his election loss to President-elect Joe Biden, but the Trump legal team distanced itself from her after she advanced a series of uncorroborated conspiracy claims.The pardon spares Flynn the possibility of any prison sentence, which Sullivan could potentially have imposed had he ultimately rejected the Justice Department's dismissal request. That request was made after a review of the case by a federal prosecutor from St. Louis who had been specially appointed by Attorney General William Barr.At issue in the prosecution was an FBI interview of Flynn, days after Trump's inauguration, about a conversation he had during the presidential transition period with the then-Russian ambassador.Flynn acknowledged lying during that interview by saying he had not discussed with the diplomat, Sergey Kislyak, sanctions that the outgoing Obama administration had just been imposed on Russia for election interference. During that conversation, Flynn advised that Russia be “even-keeled” in response to the punitive measures, and assured him “we can have a better conversation” about relations between the countries after Trump became president.The conversation alarmed the FBI, which at the time was investigating whether the Trump campaign and Russia had co-ordinated to sway the election. In addition, White House officials were stating publicly that Flynn and Kislyak had not discussed sanctions, which the FBI knew was untrue.Flynn was ousted from his position in February 2017 after news broke that Obama administration officials had warned the White House that Flynn had indeed discussed sanctions with Kislyak and was vulnerable to blackmail. He pleaded guilty months later to a false statement charge.But last May, after years of defending the prosecution, the Justice Department abruptly reversed its position.It asserted the FBI had no basis to interview Flynn about Kislyak and that any statements he made during the interview were not material to the FBI's broader counterintelligence probe. The department also pointed to internal FBI notes showing agents had planned to close out the investigation weeks before interviewing Flynn about Kislyak.Flynn, of Middletown, Rhode Island, was among the first people charged in Mueller's investigation and provided such extensive co-operation that prosecutors did not recommend any prison time, leaving open the possibility of probation.But the morning he was to have been sentenced, after a stern rebuke about his behaviour from Sullivan, Flynn asked for the hearing to be cut short so that he could continue co-operating and earn credit toward a more lenient sentence.After that, he hired new attorneys — including Powell, a conservative commentator and outspoken critic of Mueller's investigation — who took a far more confrontational stance to the government and tried to withdraw his guilty plea.Eric Tucker, The Associated Press
EDMONTON — The Edmonton Oilers have signed college defenceman Philip Kemp to a three-year, entry-level contract through to the 2022-23 season.The 21-year-old from Greenwich, Conn., was named Yale Bulldogs captain for the 2020-21 season, but Ivy League hockey was cancelled Nov. 12.The Oilers picked Kemp in the seventh round (208th overall) in the 2017 NHL entry draft.He had three goals and eight assists and carried a plus-4 plus-minus rating in 32 games for Yale in 2019-20.The six-foot-three, 210-pound blueliner has compiled a career nine goals, 18 assists and a plus-2 rating in 88 games for the Bulldogs.Kemp won a silver medal with the U.S. junior team at the 2019 world junior hockey championship in Vancouver.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 25, 2020.The Canadian Press
The Catfish Creek Conservation Authority board members agreed to give staff two additional paid days off around Christmas, instead of forcing them to use their vacation time. Further, a maximum of 10 vacation days are permitted to be carried over into next year, and the CCCA waived the requirement to use the carried over time by March 31, 2021. The CCCA office is closed from December 24 at 12 p.m. and reopens January 4, 2021 (the Monday after New Year’s Day), as is standard practice for the organization every year. Staff will get Tuesday, Dec. 29 and Wednesday, Dec. 30 as paid days off. CCCA general manager Chris Wilkinson presented a series of options to board members at their Nov. 12 meeting, including allowing all staff to work from home during that time. “One of the ideas that came up is just to keep it simple is to give staff an additional two days paid off over that Christmas holiday to limit that need to work over the vacation period this year,” said Mr. Wilkinson. “That’s just an option, we can work from home or force staff to take vacation days.” Board member Sally Martyn asked if the holidays were ever taken off an employee’s vacation time in the past. Mr. Wilkinson referred to this as “forced vacation,” and this was done in 2018. “The staff have done an extraordinary job through these trying times,” said CCCA board chair Rick Cerna. “I think to give them two paid vacation days is minimal to the fact of what they’ve achieved throughout the year. It’s like a little added bonus.” Board member Arthur Oslach was in agreement, called two paid days off “reasonable.” Water Management Technician Peter Dragunas said that while the office may be closed, he was always watching for potential flooding each year, and responds as required. “If there’s any threat, I’m on it,” he said. “I have been out there actually on New Year’s Eve day. It doesn’t shut down that way.” Conservation Areas Supervisor Dusty Underhill agreed with Mr. Dragunas, and said he consistently keeps an eye on the office, even during the holidays. According to Mr. Wilkinson’s report, many vacations were cancelled and staff often worked instead of taking time off this year due to COVID-19.Veronica Reiner, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Aylmer Express
People are back in one of the pools at Charlottetown's Bell Aliant Centre on the UPEI campus.Starting Monday, some swim groups were able to use the leisure pool. A leak still has the competitive pool closed."It was really great to see people on the deck again and the few user groups that did get in here [Monday] night were ecstatic to be here," said general manager Sue Fraser."Everybody that was here was happy to be here and we're looking forward to being fully open in the not-too-distant future."Pandemic public health restrictions closed the centre in March, and the pools were drained for deep cleaning and painting. The pools were refilled in August in anticipation of reopening after Labour Day. That's when officials discovered the competitive pool was no longer holding water.It took some time to determine the problem was structural, not in the plumbing. Work on a new floor for the pool will start next week, Fraser said. If all goes well, the competitive pool will open in December.The leisure pool will remain open during the construction.More from CBC P.E.I.
The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit reported 42 new cases for the region Wednesday. Based on some current data, including the case rate and how quickly the virus is reproducing, medical officer of health Dr. Wajid Ahmed said Windsor-Essex technically qualifies for the province's 'control' red category. But Ahmed said that by Friday, when the province typically announces changes, these numbers can shift and there is other data the province looks at before moving a region into another category."Based on the numbers, I think it's pretty evident that we are [in the red category], but as I said the qualitative data would also be taken into consideration and we'll see what the province decides," said Ahmed. Currently, Windsor-Essex is in the 'restrict' orange category. Of Wednesday's 42 new cases, 19 are close contacts of a confirmed case, five are agri-farm workers, one is a local health care worker, two are travel related to Michigan, two are community acquired and 14 are under investigation. There are 341 active cases in the region. Eighteen people are in hospital, including five in the ICU. The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit (WECHU) announced one new community outbreak Wednesday, at Victoria Manor Supportive Living in Windsor. A community outbreak at Riverplace Residence in Windsor was declared Tuesday.There are three workplaces with outbreaks, two in Leamington's agriculture sector and another at a place of worship in Leamington. Two schools — Frank W. Begley Public School and W. J. Langlois Catholic Elementary School — remain in outbreak.Begley now has 43 cases, 35 are students and eight are staff members. W. J. Langlois now has five cases. The outbreak at Begley is still under investigation and public health officials say they are not yet sure how many community cases, in student family members, have resulted from the outbreak. There are five long-term care and retirement homes in outbreak. Riverside Place in Windsor reported a spike in new cases Tuesday with 17 residents and two staff members testing positive. Other homes in outbreak include: * Leamington Mennonite in Leamington with one staff case. * Berkshire Care Centre in Windsor with two staff cases. * Lifetimes on Riverside in Windsor with five resident cases and four staff cases. * Iler Lodge in Essex with 18 resident cases and three staff cases. WECHU also issued potential exposure notices for two additional places this week: * RIA Financial at 54 1/2 Erie St. S. in Leamington on Nov. 14 from 10 a.m. to 7: 30 p.m., Nov. 15 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Nov. 17 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. * Deer Run Church at 1408 Deer Run Rd. in Leamington on Nov. 13 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Nov. 15 from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. and Nov. 17 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.The potential exposures are considered by the health unit to be low risk, however anybody who visited these locations on the days and times listed are advised to monitor themselves for symptoms for 14 days.Several charges issued this monthThis month, WECHU said it will be cracking down on those who don't comply with COVID-19 rules and will start issuing charges. On Wednesday, chief nursing officer Theresa Marentette said since Nov. 1 the health unit has issued seven charges, most of which are related to non-compliance with masking or physical distancing. University launches COVID-19 web pageThe University of Windsor launched a COVID-19 web page Monday that lists the number of active cases on campus. The school has had a total of eight cases to date, six of which are resolved. All of the cases occurred in November.
WASHINGTON — U.S. consumers increased their spending by a sluggish 0.5% last month, the weakest rise since April, when the pandemic first erupted, and a sign that Americans remain wary with the virus resurging across the country and threatening the economy.The October gain reported Wednesday by the Commerce Department followed a seasonally adjusted 1.2% increase in September. It suggested that consumer spending, the primary driver of the U.S. economy, is being restrained by a weakened economy and by the failure of Congress to provide another stimulus package to struggling individuals and businesses.The government's report also showed that income, which provides the fuel for spending, fell 0.7% in October.With new viral cases accelerating across the country, many states are adopting or considering new restrictions on businesses. Sales at restaurants and bars fell in October for the first time in six months. Restaurant traffic declined further this month, according to the reservations provider OpenTable. Hotel occupancy is down from a month ago. Consumer spending on credit cards dropped in the first week of November from a month earlier, according to data compiled by Opportunity Insights.Economists warn that consumer spending could falter further in the current October-December quarter given that many of the major government support programs have expired and Congress has yet to renew the assistance.“With coronavirus infection rates soaring, states re-imposing restrictions and the ... data on in-person dining and jobless claims beginning to show signs of weakness, we are increasingly worried that the monthly gains in consumption will be weaker," Paul Ashworth, chief U.S. economist at Capital Economics, wrote in a research note.The report showed that while the wages-and-salaries component of consumer income rose 0.7% in October, government transfers — the category that includes unemployment aid and other benefits — fell 6.2%.Inflation, as measured by a gauge tied to consumer spending, was unchanged in October. Measured year over year, it's up just 1.2%. That is far below the 2% annual target set by the Federal Reserve, and it gives the Fed further leeway to supply support to the economy beyond the ultra-low interest rates it is already providing.Martin Crutsinger, The Associated Press
Canadian auto racer Raphael Lessard has signed a part-time deal with GMS Racing for the 2021 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season.The contract will see the 19-year-old native of Saint-Joseph-de-Beauce, Que., compete in 12 races, with Lessard's team seeking funding for the other 10 events on the schedule.Lessard won his first career NASCAR trucks race last month at Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama. It was his first year as a full-time driver in the series, racing for the Kyle Busch Motorsports team.Overall, Lessard had four top-five and six top-10 finishes.The Canadian joins a GMS team that swept the top three spots in the season standings this year.The 2021 season will kick off at Daytona Speed Week in Florida on Feb. 12."Finding myself with the best team of the 2020 season is unbelievable ... I can't wait to show what we can do aboard such great machines," Lessard said in a statement. "The team knows how to bring potential winners at every race, a key to a great season. Our team will be great, and I can't wait to be back on track."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 25, 2020.The Canadian Press
Amid heartfelt condolences to another 12 families who have lost loved ones to COVID-19 and another 471 new cases announced, the province’s chief public health officer spoke of the rollout of an outbound automated calling system in the coming days. "Today, we’re announcing Manitoba is introducing additional steps to improve case and contact investigations," Dr. Brent Roussin said. "This will expand on current methods for case and contact monitoring." In the first phase of the automated system, the calls will be used to determine if active cases can be shifted to the recovered category. The automated system will ask as questions, and the person receiving the call can press a key and request a callback from public health. If the case or contact is at the end of the monitoring period, and has no further questions, the case or contact can be marked as recovered. The second phase of system will be used to contact cases and related contacts. "This allows us to be more responsive and reach people sooner," Roussin said. "Individuals will continue to receive calls from public health officials. The combined automated calls and the current monitoring process will be more efficient and effective in redirecting resources." Roussin said other provinces are safely using this method of communication. The system will help Manitobans quickly and efficiently receive information they need to make the informed decisions. Other provinces were able to make progress through the use of automated calls that offer information about testing, treatment and next steps. "We believe that this similar system will be a valuable tool for our fight against COVID-19," he said. "People will be asked important information about testing, self-isolation and other public health guidelines. Then a question-and-answer format with answers provided via a keypad on the phone." Roussin advised Manitobans they will never be asked for personal health information or other personal information, such as banking information, social insurance numbers, credit card numbers, passport numbers or other non-health related identification data. "If this is occurring, share this information with your local police department as it is suspicious," he said. Looking ahead to the next official holiday, the province has not made any specific decisions regarding a possible two-week extension to the usual school Christmas break. "We’re at the biggest restrictions we’ve had to date. Although we’re not seeing the test positivity or case numbers climb over the last bit, we’re not seeing the numbers diminish as we would like," Roussin said. "We are looking at taking advantage of that natural break over the holidays and possibly extending that." He stressed again, as he does during most daily COVID-19 updates, that officials are not seeing high amounts of transmission within the schools. "It’s more that we don’t want to go into the holiday season with a very high test positivity rate, where we know it’s going to be very challenging to limit gatherings. It’s something we’re definitely looking at right now. We haven’t landed anywhere. Hopefully, we’ll have some more definitive news on that shortly." But even before the holiday, another important date is likely marked on many a calendar: Dec. 11, the expiry of the current critical level red public health orders. Looking ahead, what is the plan? "When, and it is a when, we will be able to lessen these restrictions … We don’t know exactly when that will be, but, we will be loosening these restrictions at some point. We’re going to have to do it in a very cautious manner. Much like we did in the spring and early summer, in a phased approach, and follow our numbers quite closely," Roussin said. He said the prerequisites are: diminished test positivity, diminished case numbers and a clear relief of the strain on the health-care system. "Don’t have any specifics to look at. It’s something we’re always considering — where we would go first. At this point, we have to focus on getting these numbers down," he said. Regardless of what mid-December brings, Manitobans will need to adjust to the idea Christmas will not be the same in 2020. "We’re a bit of a ways away from the holiday season. It’s quite possible that we could see a good trend by then, where we might be able to provide different advice," Roussin said. "If it’s advice that people are going to rely on, and they need it right now, that advice is to not gather outside of your household, to keep those gatherings as minimal as possible. Do look for alternative ways to celebrate, such as virtually. But we’re really going to try to get these numbers down to see if we can have some remnants of the holiday season outside of our household."Michèle LeTourneau, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brandon Sun
Ontario Provincial Police say they have laid criminal charges in connection with the stabbing death of a young North Bay-area mother 40 years ago.Roger Deschenes, 62, of North Bay was arrested and charged with first degree murder on Nov. 18.Police say 20-year-old Micheline St. Amour was found in her bedroom of her East Ferris Township home on July 10, 1980. She had died as a result of injuries caused by stab wounds.OPP Det.-Insp. Kurtis Fredericks said Wednesday that St. Amour's two-year-old child was found unharmed in a nearby bedroom at the time.Fredericks notes that investigators issued media releases after the discovery and offered a $10,000 reward for information. Despite those appeals and an investigation, St. Amour's homicide went unsolved.Fredericks says OPP "eventually employed innovative investigation techniques, as information and forensic DNA technology advanced."The information that was gathered has not been made public, as it will be before the courts, he says, including details about the accused's relationship with St. Amour and the evidence that led to his arrest."I can't go into specific detail today about how we arrived at a point where we can announce a resolution."Both U.S.-based firms that used genetic genealogy to help identify Calvin Hoover as the suspect in the 1984 killing of Christine Jessop (Othram and Redgrave Research) have told CBC News they were not involved in the St. Amour case.Deschenes appeared at the Ontario court of justice in North Bay on Nov.19 and is in custody until a bail hearing can be scheduled. The investigation is ongoing."To help Micheline St. Amour's family find resolution, if you have information, we urge viewers to call the non-emergency number ... or your local police service," Fredericks said, adding that anyone wishing to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers.OPP Chief Supt. Carson Pardy says St. Amour's family will likely never find "closure," but he hopes Deschenes' arrest brings a sense of resolution."The survivors learn to live with a loss in their lives. The losses in this case have been enormous," he said. "One loss was to a child, a common-law spouse, siblings, extended family, friends, and the community. Another loss is the potential for great memories, the loss of what might have been."Watch video from OPP news conference here:
Town of Aylmer is asking for public feedback on their proposed official plan amendments, with the details explained through a virtual open house. The official plan is a statement of goals and policies, intended to guide future land use within the town to build sustainable communities and protect natural and agricultural resources. The Ontario Planning Act requires a review/update of the plan every five years. “It’s not a brand-new official plan, it’s just amending our existing one to fit with the current legislation,” explained Corporate Services Director Kale Brown during a virtual council meeting on Monday, Nov. 16. The draft official plan lists proposed changes to housing access and attainability; active transportation; parks, open space and sustainability; cultural heritage; servicing, stormwater, and waste management; transportation, energy and utilities; and general “housekeeping” updates. For example, one amendment is the provision of traditional and non-traditional housing options “to support residents of all ages.” Another is a new policy to partner with infrastructure providers to increase access to electrical vehicle charging stations. A 13-minute video explaining the amendments is available on the town website. During the meeting, Councillor Tom Charlton asked, “Are you in pretty good shape as far as growth concerns – our lagoons can handle the development in Cottonwood [Hills] without any issues?” Mr. Brown said that these projects would be addressed separately through the budget process and through the strategic priorities of the operations and planning department. “Staff will always recommend that council plan accordingly for our growth,” said Mr. Brown. “It’s difficult to say exactly what capacity that we would have because you don’t know exactly what’s going to be built. “We think it’s going to be around 300 units, and that was set aside back when the plan of subdivision was approved.” Aylmer staff started the review process of the town’s official plan in 2019, with the help of WSP, a consulting firm. Citizens are encouraged to review and provide feedback on the proposed changes before the plan is brought back to council on Monday, Dec. 7.Veronica Reiner, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Aylmer Express
WASHINGTON — Congress is bracing for President-elect Joe Biden to move beyond the Trump administration’s state-by-state approach to the COVID-19 crisis and build out a national strategy to fight the pandemic and distribute the eventual vaccine.The incoming administration’s approach reflects Democrats’ belief that a more comprehensive plan, some of it outlined in the House’s $2 trillion coronavirus aid bill, is needed to get the pandemic under control. Republicans have resisted big spending but agree additional funding is needed. With the nation on edge but a vaccine in sight, the complicated logistics of vaccinating hundreds of millions of Americans raise the stakes on the major undertaking.“We have an incredible challenge on our hands,” said Sen. Patty Murray of Washington state, which is approaching the anniversary of its first reported case of the virus last January.A vaccine can only go so far, Murray warned, without a distribution plan. "A vaccine can sit on a shelf. A vaccination is what we’re talking about,” she said.As Congress weighs a new round of COVID-19 relief, federal officials say doses of the vaccine could begin shipping within a day of Food and Drug Administration approval. Three pharmaceutical manufacturers — Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca — have announced early results. But the rollout faces a patchwork of state plans, a transitioning White House and potential backlash from vaccine skeptics, despite the rising U.S. death toll of nearly 260,000 people.Biden said Tuesday on NBC's “Nightly News with Lester Holt” that his team has started meeting with COVID-19 officials at the White House on how to “get from a vaccine being distributed to a person being able to get vaccinated.”Democrats have been sounding the alarm that the Trump administration’s delay in granting Biden’s team access to transition materials was wasting precious time.States submitted draft vaccination planning documents last month, but not all of them have made full plans public. Private Capitol Hill briefings by officials from Operation Warp Speed, the federal vaccine effort, left some lawmakers fuming last week over what they called a lack of co-ordination with Biden’s camp.Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said Tuesday that his department “immediately” started working with Biden’s staff after the General Services Administration formally acknowledged the election results.Azar said he wanted to ensure Biden’s transition would be “in the spirit of looking out for the health and well-being of the American people and, in particular, saving lives through this COVID-19 pandemic.”From the start, the pandemic has challenged and reflected the two parties’ approaches to the public health crisis, with the Trump administration largely outsourcing many decisions to the states and Democrats pressing for a more nationalized approach.In Congress, Republicans largely rejected the $2 trillion-plus House bill from Democrats as excessive. They prefer their own $500 billion Senate effort, saying states and cities can tap funding from previous relief legislation. Senate Democrats blocked that bill twice as insufficient.Biden's campaign called for $25 billion for vaccines to “guarantee it gets to every American, cost-free.” That's similar to the amount included in both the House and the Senate bills, through different strategies, and Congress previously mandated that vaccines be free. With fresh legislation stalled, it’s uncertain if states will have the resources needed once the FDA approves the vaccines.During a conference call this week with governors, Azar and other health officials fielded a range of questions. Governors were seeking guidance on which populations they should prioritize for the vaccine and whether there was a list of pharmacies available to administer the two-dose regimens, according to a readout of the call provided by the office of Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington.Blaire Bryant, who oversees health care policy at the National Association of Counties, said a national strategy for communicating vaccine information to the public and the funding to make vaccinations equitable are vital.“We’re in uncharted territory,” she said. “The more information, the more guidance we can get from the federal level, the better.”She said states do have access to previously approved funding, but cash-strapped local governments have been reluctant to draw down the remaining dollars for vaccines. It’s robbing Peter to pay Paul, she said.As Congress debates funding, at least two Republican senators are participating in vaccine trials as a way to build confidence among Americans skeptical of the federal effort.Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, said in a statement that he hoped his participation “will reassure people about the safety and effectiveness of vaccines.”Sen. Steve Daines of Montana, who is participating in the Pfizer trials, asked the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday to consider the “unique challenges” of distributing the vaccine to remote and rural communities like those in his state.Daines said in a letter to the CDC that it will also be “critical” to ensure access for frontline health care and essential workers, as well as older adults and people with medical conditions.Other lawmakers, though, have brushed off concerns. GOP Sen. John Cornyn of Texas said he expects vaccine distribution will be “well underway” by the time Biden takes office Jan. 20.Murray, as the top Democrat on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, grew concerned this summer as she said the Trump administration outsourced much of the vaccine distribution planning to the states.She drafted a 19-page paper calling for $25 billion to stand up a vaccination program with supply chains, hired personnel, drive-in clinics and other ways to provide no-cost vaccines. She warned of the Trump administration's “lack of centralized leadership” and “chaotic communication” with the states.Biden and Murray have since talked about her approach, which draws on input from health professionals on Biden’s team. Former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, a member of Biden's COVID-19 task force, briefed Senate Democrats the week after the election.Murray compared the vaccine effort to sending a man to the moon or fighting a world war. She said it will take all Americans joining to say, “This is a pandemic, and I'm going to do my part to get the country out of it.”___Associated Press writers Candice Choi in New York and Rachel La Corte in Olympia, Wash., contributed to this report.Lisa Mascaro, The Associated Press
Thanks to new funding, the Mattagami First Nation Fire Department has made upgrades. The $20,000 funding is from the Mattagami Trust. The fire department used the money to buy a new auto extrication tool and radios. "We had a few radios and now we have one for everybody," said fire chief Curtis Fowler. "We have 20 (firefighters)." Fowler said the department submitted an application in August and received approval in October. When the department received funding, he was excited. "Because then we could upgrade our tools, so we have the proper tools for the job, and good communication with everyone," he said. Fowler said the funding will help the community, the surrounding area as well as the highway that the fire department serves.Dariya Baiguzhiyeva, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, TimminsToday.com
For the second time in two months, a retired Alberta teacher is on trial accused of indecently assaulting a female student. In October, David O'Reilly was found guilty of the indecent assault of a 14-year-old student in 1980 at Ellerslie Campus school. O'Reilly, 73, was given a suspended sentence and 18 months probation. He was also placed on the national sex offender registry. O'Reilly allegedly assaulted another female student at the same school four years earlier. She was a 14-year-old Grade 9 student at the time. Her identity is protected by a court-ordered publication ban. The woman is now 59 and lives in New Zealand. She testified by video conference. She said she remembers being singled out by O'Reilly, who taught physical education at the school. "He was seen as a cool teacher and I was a naive country girl," she said. "I was quite flattered by that." She said she liked it when he complimented her on her looks and suggested she'd look even better if she wore contacts instead of eyeglasses. In hindsight, she thinks she was being groomed. "I was just a young girl and didn't know any better really," she said. She testified she remembers him putting his hand on her knee and holding her for "too long at the hips" when she was practising gymnastics. The woman also recalled spending time alone with O'Reilly in his office, sitting on his knee and him quickly fondling her breasts with his hand moving up her thigh. There were other encounters when she was standing. "Initially, I would stand against the wall and he would stand with his hands on either side of me," she said. "I had no idea about sexual behaviour at that age, so I was confused by what was going on. A little bit scared and uncertain about what was appropriate." She also told Court of Queen's Bench Justice Thomas Rothwell that on one occasion O'Reilly kissed her. She said she got frightened when he pressed the lower half of his body up against hers while she leaned against the wall. "It wasn't a long kiss, but it was a suggestive kiss," she said. "I just knew it was wrong and I really didn't know what to do." The woman said she ducked out under his arms and ran away. "To me, that was almost an ending in a way," she said. "Because it did quite frighten me. I don't recall much after that." Pages from the woman's 1980 Ellerslie Campus school yearbook were made an exhibit at the trial. O'Reilly signed her yearbook and wrote, "Thanks for the memories...of a lot of good times that I'll remember for a long time, if not now." The woman testified she had a vivid memory of going to a lake cabin with O'Reilly and his then-wife in the summer of 1976 to watch Olympic gymnastics. On Tuesday, O'Reilly's ex-wife testified for the defence. Ellen Singleton testified she has no memory of that encounter, nor did anyone in their family own a lake cabin at the time. O'Reilly did not testify in his own defence. The judge will hand down his decision on Friday morning. 'It's very exhausting' The woman who was indecently assaulted by O'Reilly in 1980 attended this week's trial, even though she admitted she found it increasingly difficult to be in the same room with her attacker. "It's very exhausting, is how I feel when I leave the courtroom for the day," she told CBC News. "I'm doing it because I'm a strong woman and I'm here to support the gal that came forward for this trial." The woman said she kept a close eye on O'Reilly while his accuser testified. He was allowed to sit at the back of the courtroom next to his wife, rather than in the prisoner's box. At one point he was leaning back in his chair with his arms crossed. "He's sitting nonchalant, but I can see the facial features change and the colour of his face change during the trial," she said. "It gets red or white in colour when different things are being said on the stand." O'Reilly's lawyer has filed a notice of appeal on the October conviction. He calls the verdict unreasonable and argues he was denied the right to a fair trial because the judge was biased toward him. O'Reilly is asking the court to hear his appeal and overturn his conviction. Failing that, he wants Alberta's highest court to order a new trial by judge and jury.
An NHL legend from Manitoba is honouring an NHL pioneer from Saskatchewan and the path he cleared for First Nations people dreaming of the big league."It's a sad day for the hockey world, especially the First Nations across the country. We'll miss a great guy," said Reggie Leach, whose name is inscribed on the Stanley Cup, about Fred Sasakamoose, who died Tuesday from complications due to COVID-19.Sasakamoose, who grew up on the Ahtahkakoop Indian Reserve in Saskatchewan and later became chief of the community, was one of the first Indigenous athletes to play in the National Hockey League.He was 86 years old. "It was just an honour for me to be around him. Every time I would see him, it made my heart happy," said Leach, from Riverton, Man., who was a 16-year-old junior player when he first heard the name Sasakamoose."I heard there was a [First Nations] guy who played a few games in the National Hockey League and back then, I don't think there was that many First Nations players playing anywhere," Leach said, adding it gave him inspiration.Now 70, Leach had a storied NHL career over 13 seasons with the Boston Bruins — who drafted him third overall in 1970 — as well as the California Golden Seals, Detroit Red Wings and Philadelphia Flyers, with whom he won a Stanley Cup in 1975.A member of the renowned Broad Street Bullies-era Flyers, Leach set goal-scoring records that still stand today.But he's not sure any of it would have happened without Sasakamoose first lacing them up, even if it was only for a brief time.Sasakamoose played just 11 games with Chicago during the 1953-54 season, splitting the rest of the time with the Moose Jaw Canucks of the Western Canadian Junior Hockey League."A lot of people say, 'well, he only played 11 games,' but to me, those 11 games were everything to our First Nation people," said Leach, who earned the nickname the Riverton Rifle for his speed and goal-scoring prowess."He carried that [mantle as a leader] on through his whole life, being chief in his community and showing leadership and kindness to all — not just the First Nation people. That's the way life should be, being kind to everybody."Leach never got the chance to meet up much with Sasakamoose until after Leach retired in 1984.Then they often crossed paths at youth workshops and tournaments across the country where they helped out — including the Fred Sasakamoose "Chief Thunderstick" National Championship for young Indigenous hockey players in Saskatchewan."He wanted to push our young kids to do the best they can and don't give up. The stuff that he has done for people in his life, it's amazing," Leach said."I got to know him over the years and we became great friends. I listened to his stories and the struggles that he went through."In 1940, when Sasakamoose wasn't quite seven years old, a priest, an RCMP officer and a Canadian government Indian agent showed up in Ahtahkakoop. He and his eight-year-old brother, Frank, were forcefully taken from their parents and put into a truck, the Canadian Encyclopedia says.Although the boys' mother looked after them and their father worked as a logger, the Indian agent declared them unfit parents because of their poverty. The brothers were shipped off to St. Michael's Indian Residential School, nearly 100 kilometres away in Duck Lake.The Sasakamoose boys had no idea where they were going or why. It was two years before they saw their parents again.Despite the hardships Sasakamoose faced, "he always had a smile and a kind word for everyone," Leach wrote in a Facebook post late Tuesday night."He was a very, very interesting person to talk to. Every time I had a chance to spend some time with him, I would sit with him and talk to him, and I learned a lot from him," Leach told CBC News in an interview.Leach last spoke with Sasakamoose on a Zoom call about three weeks ago, along with other former Indigenous NHLers Ted Nolan and Theoren Fleury. The group chatted about their careers and hockey in general, he said."It was a great thing and something that I'm very happy I got to do."Despite the trailblazing of Sasakamoose, Leach and others who followed, the NHL lags in its inclusion efforts around Indigenous people, said Leach."We're a long way off," he said bluntly."It's like anything else. We're always second fiddle when it comes to anything with First Nation people and that stuff has to stop."When the league appointed Willie O'Ree as ambassador to hockey for Black players, he hoped an Indigenous appointment would soon follow. It hasn't.O'Ree, who became the NHL's first black player on Jan. 18, 1958, with the Boston Bruins, has been the league's diversity ambassador since 1998. In that role, he travels to schools and hockey programs to promote messages of inclusion, dedication and confidence."Those are things that sort of bothered me with the National Hockey League, that they do something for one nationality but don't do anything for us," Leach said."I think our First Nation people are probably the best hockey fans in the world because that's all they do is live and breathe and eat hockey."It doesn't matter what little community, they have leagues and play and play and play and play. And Freddie proved that."Dauphin-born Brigette Lacquette, the first First Nations woman on Canada's Olympic hockey team, also paid tribute to Sasakamoose through a Twitter post on Tuesday."RIP to my buddy, Freddy Sasakamoose. He was a trailblazer, a leader and a survivor," she wrote. "He paved the way for so many Indigenous hockey players. My thoughts and prayers to the family."Rest Easy, Legend."Lacquette stood with Sasakamoose at centre ice in October 2019 for the ceremonial puck drop at the Heritage Classic outdoor game between the Winnipeg Jets and Calgary Flames at Mosaic Stadium in Regina."That was one of the highlights of my life, for sure, to be there with him and his family," she said.She became quick friends with Sasakamoose and his family, and was asked to contribute to an upcoming autobiography Sasakamoose wrote, Call Me Indian: From the Trauma of Residential School to Becoming the NHL's First Treaty Indigenous Player, which is set to hit shelves in April."His story is very powerful, very moving," Lacquette said. "The things that he's overcome is absolutely amazing; the perseverance and determination to get to where he got."He's a role model and just an amazing person that I'm glad I crossed paths with. He showed us anything is possible if you work hard and you persevere through hard times."
Sept entreprises de la Rive-Sud dont deux de Boucherville profiteront du récent programme d’aide d’Investissement Québec, dotée d’une enveloppe de 9,7 millions $, pour améliorer leur positionnement stratégique. Développant des logiciels pour l’industrie du béton, Marcotte Systems, de Boucherville, se voit accorder un prêt pour soutenir le transfert du contrôle de l’entreprise à Joël Bardier et à Frédéric Gamache. Grâce à la motivation et la compétence de ces deux dirigeants, la poursuite des opérations de l’entreprise ayant déjà plus de 45 ans d’histoire est assurée. De plus, une contribution financière a été offerte à l’entreprise pour supporter leur projet de développement des marchés hors-Québec. Également à Boucherville, l’entreprise de gestion Investissement 585 Inc. obtient une aide financière de plus d’un demi-million de dollars pour soutenir sa relève et la transition à la direction qui s’opérera dans pour les prochaines années. Par ailleurs, en opération depuis près de 75 ans à Sainte-Julie, Groupe BFL Inc. se voit octroyer 2 880 000 $. Cette aide permettra au fabricant de centrales de chauffage, de climatisation et de ventilation de poursuivre son intégration et de créer 31 emplois. À Saint-Hubert, le fabricant de produits de réfrigération RefPlus obtient 1 625 000 $, dont 975 000 $ proviennent des fonds propres d’Investissement Québec et 650 000 $ du programme ESSOR du Fonds du développement économique. Métaux Solutions Inc., une entreprise spécialisée dans la distribution de métaux industriels basée à Longueuil, reçoit une aide financière de 300 000 $ pour l’acquisition d’une nouvelle scie à métaux qui lui permettra d’augmenter sa productivité. Le spécialiste en conception graphique et en impression Graphiscan Montréal Inc., dont le siège social est situé sur le Boulevard Jacques-Cartier à Longueuil, aux limites de Boucherville, obtient un soutien financier de 1 644 556 $ pour faire l’acquisition de Quadriscan. Enfin, le Groupe Lanerco, de Saint-Hubert, reçoit un soutien financier de 1 300 000$ pour se porter acquéreur de Charette Service d’Auto, de Remorquage Charette et de Charette Logistique. François Laramée, Initiative de journalisme local, La Relève
As controversial as he was talented, Maradona is a gigantic loss for the beautiful game. View on euronews
Brandon Sun readers are requesting specific questions be asked of health officials related to COVID-19. QUESTION: Regarding the transfer of COVID patients to Brandon Regional Health Centre from outside of Prairie Mountain Health — the number listed on the website of patients in hospital in Prairie Mountain Health (PMH) region only lists residents of PMH, not patients brought in from other regions. It doesn’t give an accurate picture of what’s going on at our hospital. SHARED HEALTH SPOKESPERSON: Individual COVID cases are attributed to the health region where a person resides. Altering that info if individuals required care at a hospital outside of their "home" region would create confusion. For the purposes of data collection, it is more meaningful to know where an individual likely transmitted the virus than where they received care. The Brandon Regional Health Centre is one of four hospitals in the province to have a critical care (ICU) department. Determining where a critically ill or injured patient should receive care is based on a number of factors relating to the individual’s case, including but not limited to where they are currently located, whether they’ve been stabilized, whether they need specialized care and where there are open beds in the system. As a result, it is not unusual for Brandon’s ICU to have patients who don’t live in the Prairie Mountain Health region. For the same reason, it is also not unusual for individuals living in the PMH region to be ICU patients at one of Winnipeg’s three critical care units. This is a provincial, not a regional, program. QUESTION: Is Manitoba making use of wastewater COVID epidemiological analysis, such as in Saskatoon or other cities in Canada? University of Saskatchewan toxicologist Dr. Markus Brinkmann is quoted as saying that since feces from infected people sheds particles of the virus, they can use a special model to roughly estimate how many cases may be in the community, potentially before those people have symptoms. DR. BRENT ROUSSIN (CHIEF PUBLIC HEALTH OFFICER): This is something that’s being worked on. We don’t have it applied routinely, right now. This is really something that may be beneficial when we don’t have a lot of transmission of the virus as an early warning. It wouldn’t help us right now, say testing in Winnipeg. We know there’s a high level of transmission going on. As we get the numbers down, if we have, say, remote communities or other communities that really have no activity, this might give us an early warning indicator that something is starting to happen there. So there are uses for it. But right now, we don’t have a routine use for it here in Manitoba.Michèle LeTourneau, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brandon Sun
NEW YORK — Kaley Cuoco knew she wanted to turn Chris Bohjalian’s bestselling novel “The Flight Attendant’ into a TV series when the book caught her eye online. “The cover of the book is a blonde woman. It just kind of looks like me,” she recalled in a recent interview. Cuoco read the one sentence summary and called her agent. “The first thing I asked was, ‘Has Reese Witherspoon gotten the rights to this book?’” she said. When she learned Witherspoon had not optioned the book, Cuoco said she instructed her team to hurry and nab the rights because she wanted to make it into a TV series. “My entire team was like, ‘Great. So, you read it? Tell us about it.’ I hadn’t read it, but I knew I needed them to get moving. I’m trying to make up all these things that I think it’s going to be." Cuoco says she then read the book for real and thankfully loved it “because that would have been embarrassing.” Fast-forward to now and “The Flight Attendant” debuts Thursday on HBO Max. Cuoco is an executive producer and stars as Cassie, a party girl flight attendant who meets a handsome man on a flight to Bangkok. She spends the night with him on a layover, and wakes up to him dead in her bed. She panics and leaves, and while she’s at work on another plane, authorities discover the body. Cuoco becomes a suspect in the murder since she doesn’t remember what happened. After 12 years as a lead on the CBS hit “The Big Bang Theory,” Cuoco said her goal for what came next in her career was to play an interesting character — it didn't matter what genre. The writers wrote Cassie in Cuoco's voice, allowing some quirkiness and humour to shine through. She was also able to show her range. “By the time we get to episode six, seven and eight, there’s such an emotional crash and breakdown that I’ve never been able to do before. I’m just so excited for people to see that." The pace of work was new for Cuoco, who was accustomed to the sitcom filming schedule, which actors will gleefully admit is akin to a 9-to-5 job, except for taping days. “I’ve never worked like this before,” said Cuoco. She jokes that one day when she had a 3:40 a.m. pickup time, she was confused: “I remember saying, ‘Is this a.m.?’ I didn’t understand what I was looking at. I’m like, ‘It must be a night shoot.’ I could not wrap my brain around that.” ___ Follow Alicia Rancilio online at http://www.twitter.com/aliciar Alicia Rancilio, The Associated Press
Rebecca Irving has applied to the Supreme Court of Prince Edward Island, asking it to quash a decision by the province's minister of land regarding a controversial land transfer that took place in 2019.Irving is part of the larger Irving family, which has multiple corporate holdings throughout New Brunswick and P.E.I.In June of 2019, a company listing Rebecca Irving as its director, Haslemere Farms, became the owner of 2,200 acres of land in the area of Summerside and North Bedeque that had belonged to a family-owned farming operation.A previous attempt to purchase the same land involving several corporations with connections to the Irvings had failed to receive the necessary cabinet approval.But in the Haslemere Farms transaction, Minister of Land Bloyce Thompson said the transfer had not been put before cabinet for approval. He asked the Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission to investigate, and vowed to close "loopholes" in the Lands Protection Act, legislation that sets limits on individual and corporate land ownership on P.E.I.Haslemere Farms has since changed its name to Red Fox Acres. Under P.E.I.'s corporate registry, Rebecca Irving is the only person listed under the heading of "directors and shareholders."Minister says he asked for divestitureSixteen months after Thompson asked IRAC to investigate, the commission delivered its report to government in October. However, neither IRAC nor the province has released that report to the public. The minister said he would do so after it's been reviewed by P.E.I.'s privacy commissioner.Thompson issued a written statement Oct. 27 saying the investigation had found "there are reasonable and probable grounds that two individuals and the corporation involved contravened the Lands Protection Act by having aggregate land holdings in excess of the prescribed limits."The statement went on to say "the involved parties have received correspondence from government asking them to divest land and become compliant with the Lands Protection Act within 120 days," but the statement did not disclose who those involved parties are. Under the Lands Protection Act, individuals are limited to owning 1,000 acres of land. For corporations, the limit is 3,000. With allowances for leased and non-arable land, those limits increase to 1,900 acres for individuals and 5,700 acres for corporations.The act also includes measures to prevent corporations "directly or indirectly controlled by the same person, group or organization" from stacking up land limits in order to control more land. Minister exceeded jurisdiction, says IrvingTwo court applications for judicial review filed Monday, one from Rebecca Irving and the other from Red Fox Acres, ask the court to "nullify" the minister's decision, and seek an interim order affirming the status quo until a final ruling can be delivered.The two court applications argue Thompson exceeded the jurisdiction granted him under the Lands Protection Act and "erroneously interpret[ed] the provisions of the Lands Protection Act."The filings also argue Thompson breached "his duty of fairness" to Irving and Red Fox Acres for, among other things, failing to provide proper notice and opportunities to respond at various points throughout the investigation process. Jonathan Coady, legal counsel for both Rebecca Irving and Red Fox Acres, sent this statement to CBC News: "The filing made by the company was to preserve its right to court review, if it became necessary to do so. Because the matter is ongoing, the company has no additional comments to make at this time."The allegations have not been tested in court and there was no response from the minister or the department as of Wednesday.More from CBC P.E.I.
A number of provincial sports leagues in Nova Scotia have voluntarily decided to shut down for two weeks.Those decisions come a day after the Nova Scotia government brought in new regulations to clamp down on travel in and out of Halifax Regional Municipality to try and reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus."It's a year of not being the norm," said Nova Scotia U15 Major president Todd Watson. "Our teams outside of Halifax could continue to play, but we want to be part of the solution and not part of the issue, so we will shut down our league for two weeks."The U15 league has five of its 12 teams within HRM.Practices to continue outside HalifaxWatson said teams outside the Halifax zone can still practice, but teams inside the Halifax zone will not be able to because facilities have been closed.Another provincial league, with no teams in the Halifax area, has also shut down.The Scotia Minor Hockey League is an under-11 league with nine teams scattered throughout mainland Nova Scotia."To ensure all teams remain in their respective health zones, effective immediately all Scotia Minor regular-season league play will be suspended until Dec. 9," stated a notice posted to the league website.In total, 11 minor hockey associations in the Halifax zone are impacted by yesterday's announcement and will be off the ice for two weeks. The province will re-evaluate in 14 days and could extend the conditions if COVID-19 numbers don't improve.Any Halifax-area players who are playing for other teams outside their zone will no longer be allowed to travel and be with the team. As an example, the Koltech Valley Wildcats U18 team has eight players from HRM on their roster."These players are also not permitted to participate in any Hockey Nova Scotia-sanctioned activities (including practices, training sessions, or games with their teams) while these restrictions are in effect," a statement posted on the Hockey Nova Scotia website late Tuesday read.School sports also on breakAll school sports, in all regions of the province, are also being paused until Dec. 10.Other leagues, including the Nova Scotia Junior Hockey League, will be holding meetings to determine how they move forward."You can't cross players from different health zones and we have a team that is in the northern health zone (Cumberland Blues) that pulls players from the eastern zone and those players can't play for them," said Nova Scotia Junior Hockey League president Heather Campbell."We have a meeting tonight to determine what we'll do."Campbell said only four of the 12 teams in the league — Glace Bay, Eskasoni, Port Hawkesbury and Antigonish — won't be impacted by the new restrictions.MORE TOP STORIES