An infectious disease specialist cites research that suggests wearing a mask can lead to less severe illness from COVID-19 by limiting how much of the virus someone inhales.
An infectious disease specialist cites research that suggests wearing a mask can lead to less severe illness from COVID-19 by limiting how much of the virus someone inhales.
WASHINGTON — China poses the greatest threat to America and the rest of the free world since World War II, outgoing National Intelligence Director John Ratcliffe said Thursday as the Trump administration ramps up anti-Chinese rhetoric to pressure President-elect Joe Biden to be tough on Beijing.“The intelligence is clear: Beijing intends to dominate the U.S. and the rest of the planet economically, militarily and technologically,” Ratcliffe wrote in an op-ed published Thursday in The Wall Street Journal. “Many of China’s major public initiatives and prominent companies offer only a layer of camouflage to the activities of the Chinese Communist Party.”“I call its approach of economic espionage ‘rob, replicate and replace,'" Ratcliffe said. “China robs U.S. companies of their intellectual property, replicates the technology and then replaces the U.S. firms in the global marketplace.”Trump administration officials have been stepping up their anti-China rhetoric for months, especially during the presidential campaign as President Donald Trump sought to deflect blame for the spread of the coronavirus . On the campaign trail, Trump warned that Biden would go easy on China, although the president-elect agrees that China is not abiding by international trade rules, is giving unfair subsidies to Chinese companies and stealing American innovation.The Trump administration, which once boasted of warm relations with China's President Xi Jinping, also has been ramping up sanctions against China over Taiwan, Tibet, trade, Hong Kong and the South China Sea. It has moved against the Chinese telecoms giant Huawei and sought restrictions on Chinese social media applications like TikTok and WeChat.China’s embassy in the U.S. did not respond to a request for comment on Ratcliffe’s op-ed, although China has routinely denied many of these allegations in the past.Ratcliffe, a Trump loyalist who has been accused of politicizing the position, has been the nation's top intelligence official since May. In his op-ed, he did not directly address the transition to a Biden administration. Trump has not acknowledged losing the election.Ratcliffe said he has shifted money within the $85 billion annual intelligence budget to address the threat from China. Beijing is preparing for an open-ended confrontation with the U.S., which must be addressed, he said.“This is our once-in-a-generation challenge. Americans have always risen to the moment, from defeating the scourge of fascism to bringing down the Iron Curtain,” Ratcliffe wrote in what appeared to be call for action to future intelligence officials.Biden has announced that he wants the Senate to confirm Avril Haines, a former deputy director of the CIA, to succeed Ratcliffe as the next national intelligence director.“This generation will be judged by its response to China’s effort to reshape the world in its own image and replace America as the dominant superpower," Ratcliffe wrote.He cited several examples of Chinese aggression against the United States:The Justice Department has charged a rising number of U.S. academics for transferring U.S. taxpayer-funded intellectual property to China.He noted the theft of intellectual property from American businesses, citing the case of Sinoval, a China-based wind turbine maker, which was convicted and heavily fined for stealing trade secrets from AMSC, a U.S.-based manufacturer formerly known as American Superconductor Inc. Rather than pay AMSC for more than $800 million in products and services it had agreed to purchase, Sinovel hatched a scheme to steal AMSC’s proprietary wind turbine technology, causing the loss of almost 700 jobs and more than $1 billion in shareholder equity, according to the Justice Department.Ratcliffe and other U.S. officials have said that China has stolen sensitive U.S. defence technology to fuel Xi's aggressive military modernization plan and they allege that Beijing uses its access to Chinese tech firms, such as Huawei, to collect intelligence, disrupt communications and threaten the privacy of users worldwide.Ratcliffe said he has personally briefed members of Congress about how China is using intermediaries to lawmakers in an attempt to influence legislation.Deb Riechmann, The Associated Press
Editor's note: This story was first published on Oct. 29, 2020 Premier Doug Ford patted Simcoe County residents on the back Oct. 26 for helping keep COVID-19 cases here from getting out of control. “I give credit to the mayors and our MPPs, but it’s the people. The people here are following protocols. They are doing great. Just keep it up, folks. You’re doing great,” Ford said. The Simcoe-Muskoka District Health Unit reported more than 450 COVID-19 cases in October, a monthly record for the region. Ford was at Napoleon, a Barrie fireplace and barbecue manufacturer, to announce the creation of a Made in Ontario campaign when he made the comment. Simcoe County remains in Stage 3, which allows modified opening for nearly all businesses, while York Region to the south was forced to revert to Stage 2 when its positive cases started to climb. Ford told reporters during his daily media briefing that he prefers a “surgical approach” when considering future shutdowns. “I’m a business guy. I can’t stand closing any businesses with these poor folks trying to keep their heads above water,” he said. “I want to take more of a surgical approach and not paint a broad brush across an industry, no matter if it’s gyms or restaurants. We gotta help these people out.” Ford applauded Ontario’s manufacturing sector for its resilience during the pandemic, saying 51,700 new jobs last month pushed manufacturing employment above pre-COVID levels by 17,000 positions. "As local manufacturers have proven time and time again during this pandemic, they can make anything," he said. Napoleon, which sells gas fireplaces, barbecues, and heating and cooling systems, increased its workforce, now boasting 1,100 employees provincewide. “With a new way of doing things, we quickly returned to highly productive levels while ensuring safety,” co-CEO Chris Schroeter said. “We have had unprecedented demand for our in-home products. To keep up, we’ve hired 200 more full-time employees since June.” Ford pointed to the Barrie-Innisfil area as a great place to live, urging anyone hoping to move out of the city to consider the area. “Things are booming here in Barrie and Innisifl. They really are,” he said, urging local municipal politicians to fast-track new housing development.Rick Vanderlinde, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Barrie Advance
OTTAWA — The father of a young woman who died in the Boeing 737 Max crash last year says federal officials told victims' families approval of the beleaguered aircraft is "imminent."Transport Canada's head of civil aviation informed family members in a virtual meeting Wednesday the department is on the cusp of validating changes to the plane — already cleared for takeoff in the United States — said Chris Moore, who lost his 24-year-old daughter Danielle in the tragedy.The Max has been grounded in Canada since March 2019, when Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 plummeted to the ground six minutes after taking off from Addis Ababa, killing all 157 people on board in the second of two Max crashes less than five months apart.Moore said he is concerned the review processes that led regulators to green-light a fatally defective plane remain in place."They basically said they have one or two minor things to go over," Moore told The Canadian Press on Wednesday. "But we still don't know exactly how they're going to reform the way that they validate these airplanes."Transport Canada has spent months poring over changes made to the Max, which contained critical flaws in its MCAS anti-stall system that could plunge it into a nosedive if a sensor failed.Departmental approval would be the first step on the path back to the runway, a process that would not wrap up before January, said Amy Butcher, a spokeswoman for Transport Minister Marc Garneau.The initial validation stage is expected "to conclude very soon," she said in an email, noting that Canadian operating requirements will differ from those issued by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)."These differences will include additional procedures on the flight deck and pre-flight, as well as differences in training."Following the first 737 Max crash in October 2018, which killed 189 people aboard Lion Air Flight 610 off the coast of Indonesia, the FAA conducted a study that found more crashes could occur as a result of faulty stabilizing software. It sent preliminary results of the risk analysis to Transport Canada.The department has not disclosed what precisely the preliminary report revealed, why it did not ground the plane or the reason it only obtained the full analysis after the second disaster 19 weeks later.Moore and other family members have called for a public inquiry into Transport Canada's validation of the Max, which New Democrat MP Taylor Bachrach proposed last month in a motion to the House of Commons transport committee. The motion was voted down 9-2."I think Transport Canada failed. After the first crash, they should have grounded that plane in Canada, which would cause other agencies to follow suit," Moore said Wednesday."I am channelling my daughter’s energies and passions and her sense of justice," he said, noting Danielle was en route to the United Nations Environment Assembly in Nairobi."She couldn’t stay still. She was a beautiful girl."Gilles Primeau, a flight systems engineer, told the committee on Nov. 24 that design deficiencies remain on the Max, Boeing's bestselling plane — and one of the deadliest ever produced, with more fatalities in its first four years on the market than any other commercial aircraft in history."I would not get on this aircraft … The grandfathering has been stretched too much," he said."It’s safer now that the MCAS software has been changed. However, to say that this is now the safest airplane because of all the scrutiny is just not true."In a three-and-a-half-hour meeting Wednesday afternoon, three Transport Canada officials — director general of civil aviation Nicholas Robinson, director of aircraft certification David Turnbull and a test pilot — assured about 10 of the victims' family members that the validation process would thoroughly scrutinize changes to updated aircraft, Moore said.A complex return-to-service plan would follow validation, and involve training and maintenance instructions for planes that have languished unused for 20 months, Butcher said in her email. It would also include an "airworthiness directive," which would notify operators that certain defects must be corrected before the aircraft can fly again.Reassurances from transport officials failed to satisfy Paul Njoroge, whose wife, three children and mother-in-law died in last year's crash. He told the transport committee on Nov. 24 that others should not have to experience that profound trauma, which has left him "in a chasm of solitude, isolation and pain.""The difficult thing in life is when you are living in a world full of billions of people, but you just feel alone all the time."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 3, 2020.Christopher Reynolds, The Canadian Press
Editor's note: This story was first published on Oct. 14, 2020 Ontario’s criminal court system has been forced to make many changes during the COVID-19 pandemic to keep the wheels of justice from coming to a full stop. For Barrie criminal lawyer David Wilcox, that’s a good thing. Like so many of his colleagues, the veteran defence attorney has spent endless hours and clocked countless kilometres representing clients across central Ontario. Now, he just drives to his office, fires up his laptop, and gets to work. “I’m working from my desk instead of jumping in my car and driving to Owen Sound, Huntsville, Parry Sound or Oshawa,” Wilcox said. “Some of the changes we had to make, like Zoom as way to do a lot of the easy stuff, are advances that are well overdue and have made it much better for almost everyone.” Criminal lawyers and their clients can spend hours in a crowded courtroom waiting for a few minutes in front of a judge, often for something as simple as remanding a case to a future date. Now, pre-arranged virtual appearances can be made with the same results. “I think when we get a vaccine and this pandemic is behind us, the courts will function much more efficiently,” Wilcox said. Attorney General Doug Downey and his ministry officials have been working on systems to modernize the provincial courts. “Throughout the COVID-19 emergency and recovery, we have worked with our partners to move Ontario's justice system forward by decades in a matter of months, through game-changing modernization initiatives,” Downey said at the annual Opening of the Courts ceremony Sept. 22. “This includes supporting innovative ways of conducting court proceedings and offering more remote proceedings.” More services are online, making it easier for people to access the justice system no matter where they live. These initiatives include: • Electronic filing for more than 400 types of civil and family-court documents through the Justice Services Online platform. • An online tool that makes it easier for people to search court-case information from anywhere. • The ability to dispute traffic tickets and other provincial offences remotely by audio or video where available.Rick Vanderlinde, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Barrie Advance
VANCOUVER — A Transportation Safety Board team has been assigned to investigate a marine accident that seriously injured two crew members from a freighter moored in English Bay, off Vancouver.A statement from the board says the team will examine why a lifeboat from the bulk carrier Blue Bosporus was accidentally released from the ship on Dec. 1.A coast guard statement issued Tuesday said the two crew members were hurt as they carried out a routine drill in the covered lifeboat.The boat began to sink after it had dropped into the water and a vessel from the Kitsilano coast guard station was one of several that responded, rescuing the injured sailors.The statement from the safety board says its team will gather information and assess the occurrence.Three Ukrainian crew members died and one was hurt in October 2000 when a similar covered lifeboat fell about 15 metres into the water from a bulk carrier moored in English Bay.A report by the safety board in 2003 identified issues with the lifeboat's lowering mechanism and the hooks connecting it to the launching equipment. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 3, 2020.The Canadian Press
HARRISBURG, Pa. — Fresh off another rejection in Pennsylvania's courts, Republicans on Thursday again asked the U.S. Supreme Court to block President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the battleground state, while the state's lawyers say fatal flaws in the original case mean justices are highly unlikely to grant it. Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly of northwestern Pennsylvania and the other plaintiffs are asking the high court to prevent the state from certifying any contests from the Nov. 3 election, and undo any certifications already made, such as Biden’s victory, while its lawsuit is considered. They maintain that Pennsylvania’s expansive vote-by-mail law is unconstitutional because it required a constitutional amendment to authorize its provisions. However, in a sign that the case is likely too late to affect the election, Justice Samuel Alito ordered the state's lawyers to respond by Dec. 9, a day after what is known as the safe harbour deadline. That means that Congress cannot challenge any electors named by this date in accordance with state law. Biden beat President Donald Trump by more than 80,000 votes in Pennsylvania, a state Trump had won in 2016. Most mail-in ballots were submitted by Democrats. Pennsylvania's Supreme Court threw out the case Saturday. Kelly's lawyers sought an injunction Tuesday in the U.S. Supreme Court, then withdrew it while they asked the state's high court to halt any certifications until the U.S. Supreme Court acts. The state's justices refused Thursday, and Kelly's lawyers promptly refiled the case in the U.S. Supreme Court. In the state’s courts, justices cited the law’s 180-day time limit on filing legal challenges to its provisions, as well as the staggering demand that an entire election be overturned retroactively. In addition to challenging the state's mail-in voting law, Kelly’s lawyers question whether the state's justices violated their clients' constitutional rights by throwing out the case on the basis of time limits and barring them from refiling it on the same grounds. Lawyers for Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, said in court filings that Kelly's lawyers never before argued that the U.S. Constitution provides a basis for their claims, making it “highly unlikely” the U.S. Supreme Court will grant what they are seeking. In the underlying lawsuit, Kelly and the other Republican plaintiffs had sought to either throw out the 2.5 million mail-in ballots submitted under the law or to wipe out the election results and direct the state’s Republican-controlled Legislature to pick Pennsylvania’s presidential electors. ___ Follow Marc Levy on Twitter at https://www.twitter.com/timelywriter Marc Levy, The Associated Press
The Commissioner of Yukon has announced this year's inductees to the Order of Yukon.In a news release sent Wednesday, Commissioner Angélique Bernard gave the names of the ten inductees from the territory who were chosen from nominations submitted to an advisory council. "2020 inductees were chosen for their demonstrated excellence and achievement and their outstanding contributions to the social, cultural or economic well-being of Yukon and its residents," the release states. This year's recipients include:Bess Cooley, who is known as a master of the Tlingit language, and has done significant work on the genealogy of the inland Tlingit. Keith Byram, known for being a big supporter of multiple community organizations and working with many local businesses in Yukon. Byram founded Pelly Construction and employs a large number of Yukoners.Doug Phillips, who served as an MLA from 1985 to 2000, and then as the territory's commissioner from 2010 to 2018. He lobbied to have the Taylor House in Whitehorse designated as Yukon's Government House. Philips has also been small-business owner, and a volunteer on many Yukon boards and committees. Jack Cable, a Liberal MLA from 1992 to 2000, and commissioner of Yukon from 2000 to 2005. He has also been involved in volunteer organizations including the Learning Disabilities Association of Yukon and the Law Society of Yukon.William Klassen, who has worn many hats in his career, including as an RCMP officer in Teslin, a conservation officer, a wildlife biologist, and deputy minister with the Yukon government. He has also been involved with the Riverdale Baptist Church since the early 1970's, the Whitehorse Gun Club, Yukon Agriculture Association and the Salvation Army. Frances Woolsey, a respected Ta'an Kwäch'än elder and a leader in promoting Indigenous culture. Dr. Sally MacDonald, who has been a family physician in Whitehorse and several Yukon communities since 1980, delivering over 1,000 babies in the territory. She has also taken on the role of assisting people at the end of their lives. Gertie Tom, who has contributed to First Nations language revitalization throughout the territory. She used the details of her speech patterns to provide a basis for a practical writing system for the previously-unwritten Northern Tutchone language. From 1961 to 1965, she worked as a part-time translator and broadcaster for CBC Radio in Whitehorse.Agnes Mills, a Vuntut Gwitchin elder who has worked to advance the rights of Indigenous people as the National Elder of the Thunderbird Partnership Foundation, and was the First Nations elder at the Whitehorse Correctional Centre. The Honourable Ron Veale who was the first to have the title of Chief Justice of Yukon, and initiated the earliest civil actions about the abuses suffered by Indigenous children in residential schools. The commissioner's office says it will be posting a video recognizing this year's recipients on its Facebook page on Jan. 1.
The Town of Bay Bulls has approved mil rate increases for residents and business operators as part of its 2021 budget, but Mayor Harold Mullowney says very few people should actually see a hike in what they pay. The new tax structure, along with the municipal budget, was approved during a special meeting of council called for 4:30 p.m. on Monday, November 30. The Town gave several hours notice on its Facebook page that it would be tabling the budget. Residential property is up from 4.25 mils to 4.5 mils, while commercial property tax has increased from 14.0 mils to 14.75 mils. All business-related mil rates increased by half a mil. Annual fees, including the controversial home-based business tax of $450 which was applied earlier this year to residents who felt they ought to be thought of as crafters and hobbyists instead of businesses, as well as permits remain largely unchanged. The Operation of a Business permit has dropped from $250 to $50. Mayor Harold Mullowney said the mil rate increases were necessary, but remains optimistic residents and business operators will not see a big impact on their tax bills. “The (property value) assessments this year are lower this year then they were last year,” said the mayor. “Every where, you have your property assessments done. And this year, those assessments came in lower. So, we have to make up the same amount of revenue every year because our own source revenue is mandated by the province per capita. We can’t let that drop. So, when our assessed values drop, if the mil rates stay the same, then our source revenue would drop. My plan was to make sure that everybody would be pretty well the same as they paid last year, especially during this difficult COVID year. So, what had to happen, was we had to bump up the mil rate across the board. I’m thinking 80 to 90 percent of residents should see their tax bill very close to what they paid last year.” He reckoned that, because the assessed values have gone down, even with the mil rate increase, the town will bring in roughly the same amount of tax revenue as last year. As for property values, Mulowney said it is closely related to the general ‘boom-and-bust’ of the economy. “Everyone, I think, across the province, has seen a small decrease in their assessed values this year,” said Mullowney. “Everyone is seeing a bit of an increase (in mil rates). But we tried to do it as fair and equitable as possible, without hitting any one group or sector overly hard. So, the game plan, when we sat down and put together this budget, was to try to keep our income from all sources very close to what it was last year. With that said, I think we’ve been fairly successful in doing that.” As to the sudden revision of the agenda to include the budget and tax structure Monday night, Mulowney said it was a matter of finding the right date and time that worked for everyone, which proved to be a challenge. The Irish Loop Post requested a copy of the budget document approved for submission by council during the November 30 meeting, but Town Manager Jennifer Aspell said it would only be provided once it has been signed and submitted to the Department of Municipal Affairs for review. Meanwhile, Mullowney said despite the troubles of 2020, he is content with the budget drafted by council. “We didn’t see any big increases for any of the residents. If we can keep 80-90 percent of the residents pretty well in the same ballpark of taxes as they paid last year, that’s a good news story, I think. Ovbiously, there will be some who have seen an increase they’re not happy with,” he said. “But then again, who likes paying taxes? None of us. And at the end of the day, we’re trying to be as fair and equitable as possible, while trying to bring in the amount of money needed to run the town effectively.”Mark Squibb, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Shoreline News
Air Design location, Ballon Design et les Gâteaux MB se réuniront sous le même toit à compter de janvier. Une préouverture ponctuelle est prévue dès jeudi, afin de permettre aux gens de se procurer décorations et cadeaux juste avant le début du temps des Fêtes. Les trois entreprises voulaient, en se réunissant, offrir aux clients la possibilité de ne faire qu’un seul arrêt pour l’organisation de leur événement spécial. Selon Jennifer Fournier, propriétaire de Ballon Design, ce partenariat est unique dans la région et très rare dans la province. « On s’est rendu compte qu’avec des ballons, des jeux gonflables, des gâteaux et des petits cadeaux, ça faisait vraiment un beau ‘mix’. Le concept qu’on a voulu créer, c’est vraiment d’avoir tout pour un événement, sous un même toit », s’est réjouie la propriétaire de Ballon Design. En parlant avec Mélina Dubé-Boily, de Gâteaux MB, les deux femmes ont remarqué qu’elles partageaient beaucoup de clients en commun. L’ouverture est prévue jeudi. Pour débuter, le commerce n’ouvrira que ponctuellement. L’ouverture complète à temps plein avec l’arrivée de la pâtissière n’est à l’horaire qu’au retour des Fêtes. Jennifer souhaite tout de même ouvrir dès le début du mois afin de faire profiter les clients des cadeaux et des ballons pour les préparations du temps des Fêtes. Le commerce d’Air Design location est ouvert, et il est possible pour les intéressés de voir l’inventaire en ligne. Pour ce qui est des Gâteaux MB, même si l’arrivée de la pâtissière à temps plein n’aura lieu qu’en janvier, les clients pourront venir chercher leurs gâteaux précommandés sur place. De tout en boutique Chaque entreprise qui s’installera dans ce nouveau local situé au 1247 boulevard Ste-Geneviève, à Chicoutimi-Nord, dispose d’une impressionnante gamme de produits. Air Design location a dans son inventaire plus de 125 structures gonflables, de toute sorte. Pour Gateaux MB, on comptera évidemment des gâteaux, mais aussi de gros biscuits, des cupcakes, et bien plus. Ballon Design se spécialise dans les bouquets de ballons et les petits cadeaux. Son créneau est le ballon personnalisé. « Je voulais faire quelque chose de différent de ce qu’on retrouvait déjà. Avec les ballons personnalisés, je peux écrire des prénoms, des phrases ou même recréer des dessins sur des ballons, ce qui est vraiment apprécié des clients », souligne Jennifer. Elle est fière d’amener ce concept ici dans la région et encore plus à Chicoutimi-Nord. Impacts de la Covid Bien évidemment, les derniers mois ont été difficiles pour tous ceux qui oeuvrent dans l’événementiel. L’annulation des fêtes, des mariages, des partys de bureau a difficilement touché le commerce de Jennifer. La jeune femme de 30 ans a dû se réinventer. « Nous nous sommes vraiment tournés vers les livraisons. Nous sommes allés livrer des petites touches de bonheur chez les gens. Plus ça allait, plus les gens me demandaient si j’avais des petits items cadeaux, qu’on pouvait joindre aux ballons », explique-t-elle. C’est ce qui fait que depuis environ un mois, on retrouve dans la boutique en ligne des cadeaux de tout genre : jouets pour enfants, produits pour le corps, items pour la maison, et bien plus. Certaines de ces surprises peuvent même être mises dans des ballons ! Ces produits seront bien sûr mis en valeur dans la nouvelle boutique. Pour tout savoir sur les heures d’ouverture et sur les items que l’on retrouve en boutique, les personnes intéressées peuvent visiter le site Internet ou la page Facebook de Ballon Design.Myriam Arsenault, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Quotidien
Le club de motoneige Les sentiers Rocher-Percé cherche un de ses ponts. Les crues soudaines de mercredi ont emporté la structure d’environ 30 mètres qui enjambait la rivière du Portage, à Percé, construite il y a à peine un an. Les importantes précipitations et le temps doux des derniers jours ont eu raison d’un pont construit il y a environ un an sur la rivière du Portage, mieux connue comme la rivière aux Émeraudes, à Percé. La structure qui appartenait au club de motoneige Les sentiers Rocher-Percé reste introuvable, alors que le niveau de l’eau redescend. «On croit qu’il est parti avec la crue, surement à cause d’un arbre. Ça a vraiment été une surprise parce qu’il avait résisté le printemps dernier, on pensait qu’il serait bon», note le président du club, Norbert Bond. Ce dernier se désole de voir cet investissement important emporté par les eaux, un peu moins d’un an après sa construction. «Il a couté environ 8000$ à construire. C’est beaucoup d’argent pour un petit club, on n’a pas grand moyens», note-t-il. Le pont, construit en amont de la rivière en décembre dernier, était destiné à remplacer une structure similaire, elle aussi emportée par le courant il y a quelques années. «L’autre était plus bas sur la rivière. On avait choisi de mettre le nouveau plus haut, entre la chute [aux émeraudes] et les grosses roches, justement parce que l’eau ne montait jamais à ce niveau-là», explique le président, qui estime que c’est un arbre entraîné par le courant qui a eu raison du pont. Même si les membres du club de motoneige n’ont pas encore eu l’occasion de partir à la recherche de la structure, le niveau de l’eau étant toujours trop élevé, M. Bond est d’avis que les chances de la retrouver sont faibles. «S’il est descendu avec la rivière, ça va très vite. Il pourrait être pas mal n’importe où», croit-il. Passage sur la route 132 Après avoir pris contact avec la fédération des clubs de motoneigistes du Québec, M. Bond confirme que, même dans les meilleurs scénarios, le pont ne sera pas remis en fonction cet hiver. «On a pas les moyens de rebâtir cet hiver, ça, c’est sûr. On ne croit pas non plus être capable de faire un pont de glace, au moins pour le début de la saison», se désole-t-il. Pour les prochains mois, le club souhaiterait pouvoir emprunter la route 132 afin de traverser le cours d’eau, chose qui leur a déjà été refusée par le ministère des Transports il y a un an, ce qui a forcé le club a le pont emporté par les eaux mercredi. «Le ministère ne veut pas nous donner le droit. On aurait besoin de 1,3 kilomètre, et ils nous disent qu’on ne peut pas dépasser 1 kilomètre. On ne peut quand même pas passer dans la rivière!», explique M. Bond. Le ministère des Transports effectue actuellement des vérifications quant à la règlementation, même s’ils n’ont pas encore reçu de demande officielle de la part du club de motoneige. Simon Carmichael, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Soleil
ATLANTA — After weathering criticism for certifying President Donald Trump's narrow election loss to Democrat Joe Biden, Republican officials in Georgia are proposing additional requirements for the state's vote-by-mail process, despite no evidence of systemic fraud or irregularities. Two state Senate committees held hearings Thursday to begin a review of Georgia’s voting laws. Republicans are zeroing in on a plan to require a photo ID for ballots cast by mail. Voting rights activists and Democrats argue that the change isn't necessary and would disenfranchise voters. Biden beat Trump by just over 12,500 votes in Georgia, with Biden receiving nearly twice as many of the record number of absentee ballots as the Republican president, according to the secretary of state's office. A recount requested by Trump was wrapping up and wasn't expected to change the overall outcome. Trump, who for months has sowed unsubstantiated doubt about the integrity of mail-in votes, has also made baseless claims of widespread fraud in the presidential race in Georgia. Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and his staff have vehemently rebuffed those claims, stating unequivocally that there is no evidence of systemic errors or fraud in last month's election. Yet Raffensperger and Gov. Brian Kemp, both Republicans who have been publicly lambasted by Trump, have joined the push to require a photo ID for absentee voting. “Voters casting their ballots in person must show a photo ID, and we should consider applying that same standard to mail-in balloting,” Kemp said in remarks streamed live online. Kemp faced accusations of voter suppression during his successful 2018 run for governor against Democrat Stacey Abrams, an election he oversaw as Georgia's previous secretary of state. He vehemently denied the allegations. Kemp faces reelection — and a possible rematch against Abrams — in 2022. Raffensperger also has suggested allowing state officials to intervene in counties that have systemic problems with administering elections and broadening the ways in which challenges can be posed to votes cast by residents who don’t live where they say. The photo ID idea has support among several members of the state legislature, including Republican Senate Majority Leader Mike Dugan. “I don't think there should be different standards for the same process,” Dugan said in an interview. Republican House Speaker David Ralston has been skeptical of voting by mail, telling a local news outlet in April that increased mail voting “will be extremely devastating to Republicans and conservatives in Georgia.” Political analysts have said that typically more Democrats than Republicans use mail-in ballots. Ralston later said he was not talking about his party losing an advantage but the potential for fraud. “We must do everything in our power to ensure votes are not stolen, cast fraudulently or plagued by administrative errors,” he said in a statement this week. Deputy Secretary of State Jordan Fuchs said in an interview with The Associated Press that currently anyone who knows someone’s name, address and date of birth can request an absentee ballot on that person’s behalf. She said that while signature matches provide some security for mail-in ballots, the process should be shored up. One way to do that could be to require a person's driver's license number or a photocopy of a separate form of ID, she said. “We need to secure all avenues that we can of absentee ballots so we never have a candidate run around this state again saying the election was stolen because of absentee ballots,” she said. While Republicans seem ready to press forward with the photo ID requirement during the upcoming legislative session, Democrats and civil rights organizations are raising alarms. With no evidence of widespread fraud or other problems in the election, it doesn’t make sense to talk about measures that could ultimately prove to be barriers to voting, said Andrea Young, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia. “What is the problem that you’re trying to solve?" she asked. “The rule should be first, ‘Do no harm’ when it comes to democracy, and whenever there are more restrictions being put on a process, you run the risk of disenfranchising Georgia citizens.” Young says adding a photo ID requirement for absentee voting would be harmful because “we know that these barriers have a different impact on African American voters, on younger voters and, in this instance, on seniors who have certainly earned the right” to vote. State Sen. Jen Jordan, an Atlanta Democrat, echoed Young’s concerns, saying Republicans were offering solutions in search of a problem. “What this says to me is that they just don’t want people voting," Jordan said. “And they specifically don’t want Democrats voting, or people that don’t support their chosen candidates voting, and they’re going to try to make it as hard as possible." Democrats and voting rights groups have for years sought to decrease rejections of absentee ballots in Georgia, arguing that minorities have been disproportionately affected. Absentee ballots are sometimes rejected because signatures on the outer envelope are deemed not to match signatures in the voter registration system, or because the envelope is not signed at all. An agreement signed in March to settle a lawsuit filed by the Democratic Party spells out a standard process that must be used statewide to judge the signatures. That agreement has been the subject of much of Trump's online ire, and he has incorrectly said it “makes it impossible to check & match signatures on ballots and envelopes.” Ben Nadler And Kate Brumback, The Associated Press
Editor's note: This story was first published on Oct. 29, 2020 The province has taken cash seized as proceeds of crime and handed it to police services and social agencies, including Barrie police and South Simcoe police. The $2.5 million in funding will be used for 33 projects across the province, aimed at fighting human trafficking. The Barrie Police Service will receive about $97,000, which will be used to “address the underlying causes of crime, such as mental health, addiction or family violence.” “The funds will be used to focus efforts on a system that supports the most vulnerable people and works to reform offenders and lower rates of reoffending,” a media release from the province said. The South Simcoe Police Service will receive about $41,000, which will be used to fund data resources to analyze “patterns and prevalence of crimes” in Innisfil and Bradford-West Gwillimbury. “We are fighting back against human traffickers by investing in training, surveillance technology and equipment, to help local police and prosecutors crack down on the criminal networks that prey on and profit from young and vulnerable people in our communities," said Attorney General Doug Downey. Rick Vanderlinde, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Barrie Advance
Shelburne residents will now be able to get a taste of the islands on their own streets, with new food truck, Smokey Island Grille. Jo-Vaundi Wesley, the owner of the Smokey Island Grille, held the grand opening for her food truck last Saturday (Nov. 28), at the Trainer Games Fitness Centre lot. The truck is part of the U.S based Smokey Island Grille franchise, and offers a variety of Jamaican cuisine. “We’re all about the island,” said Wesley. “If you see our truck, you see us, you smell the food – the food is delicious – by seeing it, you’re tasting it.” The food truck’s menu is focused on Jamaican cuisines and include items such as plantains, jerk salmon or chicken, curry goat and oxtail, as well as salads and some vegan dishes. Speaking to her decision to open the restaurant up as a food truck, Wesley said that the original plan was for a building location but with the COVID-19 pandemic and restriction, she chose the food truck route. “The dream was to make it a reality, and because of the pandemic it’s made me think out of the box,” said Wesley adding that the truck allowed them to be mobile in the community. Shelburne Mayor Wade Mills was in attendance for the cutting of the ribbon and he spoke about the new food truck in town. “It’s definitely a good reaction to the world we’re living in right now. Everybody is having to rethink their traditional business models, and I think this is one that’s probably going to take off.” Serving complementary soups, customers gathered and lined up to get their first taste of the restaurant’s new food. Michael Antwi, who has lived in Shelburne for four years, said that the food truck was something that had been missing in the community. “I feel that if you want to eat out, your options are very limited so now this brings diversity, which Shelburne seems to be on the verge of,” said Antwi. “The food is great, I definitely recommend anybody in the town to come through and try it out. It is something new and different.” “It’s great to see more flavor being added to the restaurant scene in town and obviously by the lineup on opening day, it’s a welcome addition,” said Mills. “I wish them every success.” While the food truck gives the taste and flavours of Jamaican spices, it also brings the spirit of Jamaican culture to town, embodying its motto of “good friends are better than pocket money.”Paula Brown, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Shelburne Free Press
When asked why an Ontario COVID-19 vaccine task force wasn't put together earlier on Thursday, Premier Doug Ford said that what his government could guarantee is that it'll be "ready" when a vaccine does come due to a "phenomenal team." Health Minister Christine Elliott echoed what Ford said, but added there's still a lot of work that needs to be done.
Après d’importantes précipitations qui ont mené à des inondations, le Bas-Saint-Laurent et la Gaspésie se préparent à recevoir leur première tempête hivernale de la saison. Quelque 30 centimètres de neige sont attendus samedi soir et dimanche, alors que de la pluie verglaçante pourrait s’abattre sur certains secteurs. Environnement Canada a émis un bulletin météorologique spécial, jeudi midi, mettant les résidents de l’Est-du-Québec en garde contre «une intense dépression» prévue pour samedi soir et dimanche. La tempête hivernale risque d’apporter «d'importantes quantités de neige, de forts vents, de la poudrerie généralisée et même de la pluie verglaçante» sur les secteurs allant de Rivière-du-Loup jusqu’à Gaspé, prévient l’organisme. «Bien qu’il soit encore tôt pour prévoir avec certitude les quantités de neige et les régions les plus touchées, le Bas-Saint-Laurent et la Gaspésie pourraient recevoir jusqu’à 30 centimètres de neige», note Environnement Canada, tout en invitant la population touchée à «composer avec des conditions routières changeantes qui se détériorent rapidement dans la neige forte et dans la poudrerie.» Au cours des derniers jours, d’importantes quantités de pluie sont tombées sur les secteurs de la pointe gaspésienne et dans la Baie-des-Chaleurs, où plusieurs routes et résidences ont été inondées. Simon Carmichael, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Soleil
Editor's note: This story was first published on Nov. 10, 2020 Simcoe County’s municipally-funded airports continue to operate during the pandemic, but fewer planes have touched down this year, creating a financial pinch. The Lake Simcoe Regional Airport is weathering COVID-19 thanks to cross-border commercial air traffic. The airport, which is owned by the County of Simcoe and the City of Barrie, benefits from having Border Services agents on site. But like many regional airports across the country, fewer passenger jets are using the runways at the Oro-Medonte airport. Huronia Airport in Tiny Township, which receives one-third of its funding from Tiny, Midland and Penetanguishene, saw a sharp reduction in plane traffic since COVID-19 appeared. “One hit we took this year is fewer landing fees for commercial flights,” airport manager Adam Rigden said. “Normally we will get jets in here for a few months from the States, and none of that has happened. We’ve had virtually no jet traffic in here this year, at all.” As an essential service, the small airport must stay open around the clock for emergency use by the OPP and the Ornge air ambulance. Rigden said the small operation, which only has two full-time employees, isn’t eligible for any government emergency COVID-19 funding to offset loses. Several regional airport associations are lobbying the federal government for financial aid to help small airports survive the pandemic. The Regional Community Airports of Canada (RCAC) accuses the federal government of bailing out large airports in major cities while ignoring regional airports. “Canada’s smaller airports have carried the financial burden of maintaining their runways, air terminals and emergency services without access to any previous or current financial aid,” the group said in a media release. The RCAC recommends: • Regional airports receive federal COVID assistance programs, such as emergency wage subsidy, debit relief and loans programs, and rent subsidy regardless of the ownership model. • Stabilizing the Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy for airports to not less than 75 per cent for 2021 to protect the employment capabilities of these airports. Simcoe County Warden George Cornell told Simcoe.com the county is working with the area’s Conservative MPs to put pressure on the Liberal government. “We appreciate the value of small airports, the role they play in our economy,” Cornell said. “We know our MPPs and MPs are supportive of our airports, and we continue to work with them to ensure our businesses across all sectors are receiving the support they require during this outbreak.” Earlier this year, Cornell credited MPs Doug Shipley and John Brassard with ensuring Border Services agents remained at the Lake Simcoe Regional Airport. Meanwhile, the Huronia Airport is operating on a tight budget and could use financial support as the pandemic continues, Rigden said. The airport was expecting a boost this year by adding a restaurant that would have been operated by Georgian College co-op students. But the pandemic put a quick end to those plans, because the terminal has been shut down to the public.Rick Vanderlinde, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Barrie Advance
MADISON, Wis. — A divided Wisconsin Supreme Court on Thursday refused to hear President Donald Trump’s lawsuit attempting to overturn his loss to Democrat Joe Biden in the battleground state, sidestepping a decision on the merits of the claims and instead ruling that the case must first wind its way through lower courts.In another blow to Trump, two dissenting conservative justices questioned whether disqualifying more than 221,000 ballots as Trump wanted would be the proper remedy to the errors he alleged.The defeat on a 4-3 ruling was the latest in a string of losses for Trump’s post-election lawsuits. Judges in multiple battleground states have rejected his claims of fraud or irregularities.Trump asked the Wisconsin Supreme Court to disqualify more than 221,000 ballots in the state’s two biggest Democratic counties, alleging irregularities in the way absentee ballots were administered. His lawsuit echoed claims that were earlier rejected by election officials in those counties during a recount that barely affected Biden’s winning margin of about 20,700 votes.Trump’s attorney Jim Troupis said he would immediately file the case in circuit court and expected to be back before the Supreme Court “very soon.”“It was clear from their writings that the court recognizes the seriousness of these issues, and we look forward to taking the next step,” he said in a statement. Trump's team made the filing late Thursday evening.In asking the conservative-controlled Wisconsin Supreme Court to take the case directly, Trump had argued that there wasn’t enough time to wage the legal battle by starting with a lower court, given the looming Dec. 14 date when presidential electors cast their votes.Swing Justice Brian Hagedorn joined three liberal justices in denying the petition without weighing in on Trump's allegations. Hagedorn said the law was clear that Trump must start his lawsuit in lower courts where factual disputes can be worked out.“We do well as a judicial body to abide by time-tested judicial norms, even — and maybe especially — in high profile cases,” Hagedorn wrote. “Following this law is not disregarding our duty, as some of my colleagues suggest. It is following the law.”Trump filed a similar lawsuit in federal court on Wednesday.Chief Justice Patience Roggensack, in a dissent where she was joined by Justice Annette Ziegler, said she would have taken the case and referred it to lower courts for factual findings, which could then be reported back to the Supreme Court for a ruling.But she also questioned whether disqualifying ballots was appropriate, saying that "may be out of reach for a number of reasons.”Conservative Justice Rebecca Bradley wrote that the court “forsakes its duty” by not determining whether elections officials complied with the law and the inaction will undermine the public's confidence in elections. Allowing the elections commission to make the law governing elections would be a “death blow to democracy,” she wrote.“While some will either celebrate or decry the court's inaction based upon the impact on their preferred candidate, the importance of this case transcends the results of this particular election,” she wrote in a dissent joined by Roggensack and Ziegler. “The majority's failure to act leaves an indelible stain on our most recent election.”Democratic Gov. Tony Evers praised the decision.“I was frankly amazed that it was not unanimous," Evers said.Trump's lawsuit challenged procedures that have been in place for years and never been found to be illegal.He claimed there were thousands of absentee ballots without a written application on file. He argued that the electronic log created when a voter requests a ballot online — the way the vast majority are requested — doesn’t meet the letter of the law.He also challenged ballots where election clerks filled in missing address information on the certification envelope where the ballot is inserted — a practice that has long been accepted and that the state elections commission told clerks was OK.Trump also challenged absentee ballots where voters declared themselves to be “indefinitely confined,” a status that exempts them from having to show photo identification to cast a ballot, and one that was used much more heavily this year due to the pandemic. The Wisconsin Supreme Court in March ruled that it was up to individual voters to determine their status.Roggensack, the chief justice, appointed Reserve Judge Stephen Simanek of Racine County to hear the case at the circuit court level. Simanek retired in 2010.The court late Thursday also declined to hear a lawsuit brought by a Wisconsin resident, Dean Mueller, that argued that ballots placed in drop boxes are illegal and must not be counted. The court's brief order included a single line noting Roggensack, Ziegler and Bradley all dissented with the denial.One other lawsuit filed by conservatives is still pending with the court seeking to invalidate ballots. In federal court, there is Trump’s lawsuit and another one with similar claims from Sidney Powell, a conservative attorney who was removed from Trump’s legal team.Wisconsin this week certified Biden’s victory, setting the stage for a Democratic slate of electors chosen earlier to cast the state’s 10 electoral votes for him.Scott Bauer, The Associated Press
Federal officials provided more information on Canada’s vaccine distribution plan, once a COVID-19 vaccine is approved for immunization in the country.
Editor's note: This story was first published on Nov. 11, 2020 Master Cpl. Jonathan Woolvett didn’t die on the battlefield. But the horrors he endured as a soldier in Afghanistan ultimately cost him his life. The Canadian veteran, who saw two tours of duty in that wartorn country, was remembered with reverence Nov. 11 as his mother laid a wreath in his honour during a Remembrance Day ceremony at the Barrie Legion. “He paid the price. He gave it all,” Diana Monteiro told Simcoe.com. “I tried to change his mind a million times not to go back there, but he always wanted to be a soldier ever since he was a little kid.” Woolvett passed away March 17 at Royal Victoria Regional District Health Centre due to complications from catastrophic post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). He was 38. Woolvett was a “boots-on-the-ground” soldier who saw the nightmare of war first-hand, once having to pick up the pieces of a fellow soldier who was killed by an explosive device. Woolvett received the Medal of Sacrifice in 2013 for saving Canadian lives while fighting the Taliban. “In a hail of bullets, he went and grabbed a friend a hundred feet away and brought him back in a helicopter,” his mother said. “They always said Jonathan was the first one in and the last one out. I’m very proud of him.” At the end of his second tour in 2009, he returned to Canada physically able, but the Barrie-area resident never overcame the mental anguish he carried with him until he died of a heart attack in hospital. “They call it the living death,” Monteiro said. “What never gets talked about is the ones that commit suicide when they come back.” During an interview with Global News in 2014, Woolvett spoke about the nightmares he tried to quash with alcohol and prescribed medications. “A lot of my nightmares are of stuff that didn’t necessarily happen over there. But it’s my greatest fears, like being overrun, being captured, my friends being systematically executed in front of me.” In 2013, he made national headlines when his father addressed an all-party committee of MPs about the “tremendous disconnect” between the military chain of command and the medics treating soldiers with combat-related mental injuries. Greg Woolvett told committee at the time his son was “drinking himself into stupidity” to wash away the nightmares, but appeared to be getting little help from his military commanders. Still, Jon Woolvett had a gregarious side and was popular among his friends and teammates in the Barrie Molson Sportsmen Hockey League, where he went by the nickname “Gunny.” He would tell his teammates stories of Afghanistan, but would lighten the mood with humorous anecdotes. “He always was the entertainer,” his mother said. “When he was little, he was always the last one out of the dressing room because he was performing for his friends.” Woolvett served in Afghanistan from Jan. 21 to Aug. 30, 2007, and Sept. 9, 2008, to March 22, 2009. He retired from the military on April 2, 2015. He is buried in Beechwood National Military Cemetery in Ottawa.Rick Vanderlinde, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Barrie Advance
The Crown has thrown a curve into efforts to retry a Halifax-area man on a charge of second-degree murder.Randy Riley is one of two men accused of killing Donald Chad Smith outside an apartment building in north-end Dartmouth in October, 2010.Smith was killed by a single shotgun blast to the chest. He had been lured to the area to deliver a pizza for the restaurant where he had just started working.Nathan Johnson was charged along with Riley in Smith's murder. Johnson was convicted of first-degree murder and is serving a life sentence.Conviction quashedRiley was convicted of second-degree murder in a separate trial. But the Supreme Court of Canada quashed that conviction last month and ordered a new trial.On Thursday, the process for starting that second trial was already underway when Crown prosecutor Peter Craig told a Nova Scotia Supreme Court justice that the Crown wants Riley's lawyer removed from the case.Halifax defence lawyer Trevor McGuigan represented Riley at his first trial and was preparing to represent him at the second.In a highly unusual move, Craig said McGuigan should not be allowed to continue on this case because of a potential conflict of interest.Hearing set for later this monthWhen contacted by CBC News, Craig would not elaborate. A hearing has been set for later this month when the Crown will make the case for McGuigan's removal.McGuigan wants to press ahead with a bail hearing for Riley, pointing out that Riley has spent 7½ years behind bars so far.Craig responded that Riley has already had two bail hearings and was denied both times. McGuigan said the Supreme Court ruling makes those earlier bail decisions irrelevant.Once the issues of McGuigan's status and the bail hearing are resolved, Riley's case will join a long list of matters that are scheduled to be heard by a judge and jury.All such trials in the Halifax area were suspended because of COVID-19 and they will not resume until courtrooms in compliance with public health rules are ready for operation. That won't be until March, 2021.MORE TOP STORIES