WASHINGTON — Disputing President Donald Trump’s persistent, baseless claims, Attorney General William Barr declared the U.S. Justice Department has uncovered no evidence of widespread voter fraud that could change the outcome of the 2020 election.Barr's comments, in an interview Tuesday with the The Associated Press, contradict the concerted effort by Trump, his boss, to subvert the results of last month's voting and block President-elect Joe Biden from taking his place in the White House.Barr told the AP that U.S. attorneys and FBI agents have been working to follow up specific complaints and information they’ve received, but “to date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election.”The comments, which drew immediate criticism from Trump attorneys, were especially notable coming from Barr, who has been one of the president's most ardent allies. Before the election, he had repeatedly raised the notion that mail-in voting could be especially vulnerable to fraud during the coronavirus pandemic as Americans feared going to polls and instead chose to vote by mail.More to Trump's liking, Barr revealed in the AP interview that in October he had appointed U.S. Attorney John Durham as a special counsel, giving the prosecutor the authority to continue to investigate the origins of the Trump-Russia probe after Biden takes over and making it difficult to fire him. Biden hasn't said what he might do with the investigation, and his transition team didn't comment Tuesday.Trump has long railed against the investigation into whether his 2016 campaign was co-ordinating with Russia, but he and Republican allies had hoped the results would be delivered before the 2020 election and would help sway voters. So far, there has been only one criminal case, a guilty plea from a former FBI lawyer to a single false statement charge.Under federal regulations, a special counsel can be fired only by the attorney general and for specific reasons such as misconduct, dereliction of duty or conflict of interest. An attorney general must document such reasons in writing.Barr went to the White House Tuesday for a previously scheduled meeting that lasted about three hours.Trump didn't directly comment on the attorney general's remarks on the election. But his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and his political campaign issued a scathing statement claiming that, "with all due respect to the Attorney General, there hasn’t been any semblance” of an investigation into the president's complaints.Other administration officials who have come out forcefully against Trump's allegations of voter-fraud evidence have been fired. But it's not clear whether Barr might suffer the same fate. He maintains a lofty position with Trump, and despite their differences the two see eye-to-eye on quite a lot.Still, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer quipped: “I guess he’s the next one to be fired.”Last month, Barr issued a directive to U.S. attorneys across the country allowing them to pursue any “substantial allegations” of voting irregularities before the 2020 presidential election was certified, despite no evidence at that time of widespread fraud.That memorandum gave prosecutors the ability to go around longstanding Justice Department policy that normally would prohibit such overt actions before the election was certified. Soon after it was issued, the department’s top elections crime official announced he would step aside from that position because of the memo.The Trump campaign team led by Giuliani has been alleging a widespread conspiracy by Democrats to dump millions of illegal votes into the system with no evidence. They have filed multiple lawsuits in battleground states alleging that partisan poll watchers didn’t have a clear enough view at polling sites in some locations and therefore something illegal must have happened. The claims have been repeatedly dismissed including by Republican judges who have ruled the suits lacked evidence.But local Republicans in some battleground states have followed Trump in making unsupported claims, prompting grave concerns over potential damage to American democracy.Trump himself continues to rail against the election in tweets and in interviews though his own administration has said the 2020 election was the most secure ever. He recently allowed his administration to begin the transition over to Biden, but he still refuses to admit he lost.The issues they've have pointed to are typical in every election: Problems with signatures, secrecy envelopes and postal marks on mail-in ballots, as well as the potential for a small number of ballots miscast or lost.But they've gone further. Attorney Sidney Powell has spun fictional tales of election systems flipping votes, German servers storing U.S. voting information and election software created in Venezuela “at the direction of Hugo Chavez,” – the late Venezuelan president who died in 2013. Powell has since been removed from the legal team after an interview she gave where she threatened to “blow up” Georgia with a “biblical” court filing.Barr didn't name Powell specifically but said: “There's been one assertion that would be systemic fraud and that would be the claim that machines were programmed essentially to skew the election results. And the DHS and DOJ have looked into that, and so far, we haven’t seen anything to substantiate that.”In the campaign statement, Giuliani claimed there was “ample evidence of illegal voting in at least six states, which they have not examined.”“We have many witnesses swearing under oath they saw crimes being committed in connection with voter fraud. As far as we know, not a single one has been interviewed by the DOJ. The Justice Department also hasn’t audited any voting machines or used their subpoena powers to determine the truth,” he said.However, Barr said earlier that people were confusing the use of the federal criminal justice system with allegations that should be made in civil lawsuits. He said a remedy for many complaints would be a top-down audit by state or local officials, not the U.S. Justice Department.“There’s a growing tendency to use the criminal justice system as sort of a default fix-all," he said, but first there must be a basis to believe there is a crime to investigate.“Most claims of fraud are very particularized to a particular set of circumstances or actors or conduct. ... And those have been run down; they are being run down,” Barr said. “Some have been broad and potentially cover a few thousand votes. They have been followed up on."___Associated Press writers Lisa Mascaro and Eric Tucker contributed to this report.Michael Balsamo, The Associated Press
Community societies and clubs, such as local Lions and Ag clubs, are normally gearing up for fundraising activities this time of year. With the ongoing rise in COVID-19 cases, many are facing the unprecedented challenge of finding alternative fundraising platforms and cancellations. Funds raised by these clubs and societies are used to help support and improve local communities, and groups are working to find COVID-safe alternatives to their normal fundraising activities. Rockyford Mayor Darcy Burke told the Mail, “The Village of Rockyford was concerned about lost revenues of our non-profit groups and adjusted our 2020 budget to provide financial support to those groups. Currently the Village of Rockyford has financially supported the Rockyford Library with $5,000, the Rockyford Ag Society with $17,032, and the Rockyford Community Centre with $19,983.” This year, the Standard Lions Club will hold its regular Community Fundraising Auction online in partnership with Premier Auctions. Residents and businesses interested in donating items for auction can contact Alan Larsen at 403-901-6411 or by email at email@example.com to arrange pick-up. Those who wish to bid on items must register an account with Premier Auctions and search for Standard Lions Fundraiser; bids open Friday, December 4 and close Friday, December 11. In 2019 the Standard Lions Club raised $57,150 which helped provide support to several community organizations, including the Standard Ag Society, Standard 4-H Sheep Club, Standard Municipal Library, the Standard Curling Club, among others. A goal of $75,000 is set for this year, though a decision on the allocation of funds has not been made at this time. The Hussar Ag Society is also moving their annual Stag Auction to an online format. Five items are set to be auctioned and bids can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org; the highest bid for each item will be issued the prize with cash donations also being accepted. Bids close Friday, December 4 at midnight. Delia & District Ag Society cancelled their annual community fall fair in October and do not have plans for fundraising activities within the next year. The Carbon Lions are also not holding fundraising events at this time. However, the Carbon Library has been busy with numerous fundraisers this year; contact librarian Jay-Lynn Boutin at email@example.com for more information, or to place an order for one of their ongoing fundraisers.Lacie Nairn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Drumheller Mail
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is set to shorten the recommended length of quarantine after exposure to someone who is positive for COVID-19, as the virus rages across the nation. According to a senior administration official, the new guidelines, which are set to be released as soon as Tuesday evening, will allow people who have come in contact to someone infected with the virus to resume normal activity after 10 days, or 7 days if they receive a negative test result. That’s down from the 14-day period recommended since the onset of the pandemic. The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to preview the announcement, said the policy change has been discussed for some time, as scientists have studied the incubation period for the virus. The policy would hasten the return to normal activities by those deemed to be “close contacts” of those infected with the virus, which has infected more than 13.5 million Americans and killed at least 270,000. While the CDC had said the incubation period for the virus was thought to extend to 14 days, most individuals became infectious and developed symptoms between 4 and 5 days after exposure. It’s not the first time that the CDC has adjusted its guidance for the novel coronavirus as it adjusted to new research. In July the agency shortened, from 14 days to 10, its advice on how long a person should stay in isolation after they first experience COVID symptoms — provided they’re no longer sick. The new guidance was presented Tuesday at a White House coronavirus task force meeting for final approval. — AP writer Mike Stobbe contributed. Zeke Miller, The Associated Press
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Coronavirus cases shot up again Tuesday to 12,542, the highest in 11 days, and there were 125 deaths, Illinois public health officials reported.After a short-lived downturn which saw new cases fall as low as 6,190 on Monday, the uptick came even before a new wave of COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus, which officials predict is on its way, induced by a busy Thanksgiving week of cross-state travel and family gatherings.Gov. J.B. Pritker confirmed at his daily COVID-19 briefing Tuesday in Chicago that the newly discovered infections were contracted as many as three weeks ago, and a Thanksgiving spike, if coming, is days away.Deaths haven’t slowed in relative comparison, however, although the 125 recorded Tuesday accounted for just the second time in five days fatalities topped 100.Health officials nationally have worried that holiday interactions travel and contact among family members from different households will push illness even higher than during November, the bleakest of the nine-month pandemic. Pritzker urged those who left home last week to get a COVID-19 later this week, unless symptoms appear, at which point a test should be a priority.Statewide, 738,846 cases have been recorded along with 12,403 deaths.Dr. Ngozi Ezike, the state public health director, again urged compliance with precautions against tranmission — wearing face coverings over nose and mouth, keeping 6 feet away from others and washing hands frequently. But despite the expected December deluge, she spiced her pep talk with hope that vaccines which are nearing regulatory approval could be available soon.“We're close, and so we need us all to hang in there for this final stretch,” Ezike said. “We will continue the fight, but it will take all of us.”While health workers critical to preventing and treating the virus could be vaccinated by month's end, it will still be months before enough people are vaccinated — experts say as much as 70% of the population — to halt the spread and allow more social interaction. Asked whether it was misleading to tell people who might still be wearing masks in the spring that “we're close,” Ezike said “close” is a relative term.“We are in the month where we might actually have that vaccine; that should be seen as a significant milestone, getting us closer to the end,” Ezike said. “Yes, it will take time to get the population of Illinois vaccinated. This is not a one- or two-month process, that’s true, but I am looking for something to hold on to, and give people hope.”Pritzker said the 116,081 test results in the previous 24 hours, nearly double what had been turned around for several days during the weekend, helped account for more cases.The number of hospitalizations has dipped slightly in recent days. There were 5,835 in hospital beds Tuesday, with 1,195 in intensive care. The most seriously ill — those needing ventilators to assist breathing — has remained steady at 721.Pritzker said majority Republicans in the U.S. Senate were moving on long-delayed pandemic-relief legislation to help the nation's battered economy before Congress adjourns. He urged lawmakers to include more aid for bars and restaurants.“Millions of Americans have lost their jobs because certain businesses, through no fault of their own, had to shut down or severely downsize because this virus can spread more easily in those settings than in others,” Pritzker said.COVID-19 restrictions barring indoor food and drink service have resulted in steep revenue losses and closures, and Illinois owners of eateries and taverns have blamed Pritzker for picking on them and their livelihoods.___Follow Political Writer John O’Connor at https://twitter.com/apoconnorJohn O'Connor, The Associated Press
TORONTO — North American stock markets got a boost to start December from additional signs that vaccines could spur a return to economic normalcy in 2021. The predominant driver of market activity Tuesday was Pfizer seeking regulatory approval for its COVID-19 vaccine in the European Union, after doing so in the United States, said Candice Bangsund, portfolio manager for Fiera Capital. "This has extended the optimism on the vaccine front that will inevitably allow for that rapid recovery in 2021," she said in an interview.As a result, investors are largely looking past uncertainties, growing infections and some negative economic implications from new lockdowns as they anticipate a very strong revival in global growth by the end of next year.In addition, a bipartisan U.S. Senate proposal for US$900 billion in fiscal stimulus and president-elect Joe Biden's call for a package supported the market rally. However, Bangsund warned that past efforts show that these expectations can prove fleeting and short-lived.The S&P/TSX composite index closed up 106.68 points to 17,296.93 after posting an intraday high of 17,471.20 that's less than three per cent off February's record high.In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 185.28 points at 29,823.92. The S&P 500 index was up 40.82 points at 3,662.45, while the Nasdaq composite was up 156.37 points at 12,355.11 after both markets set new record highs in earlier trading. Markets started the day in positive territory, with Chinese factory results coming in strong.They moved up after posting a phenomenal month in which the S&P 500, for example, experienced its strongest November in decades.Bangsund expects December could also be strong, albeit not as good as November given the impact of pandemic-related restrictions."Any setback in the near-term would almost inevitably prove short-lived given that brighter outlook for 2021," she said.Bangsund added that investors are underestimating the magnitude of the eventual recovery because there's a lot of pent-up savings ready to be put to work once there's a return to some sense of normalcy."And when you combine that with a very supportive policy backdrop, it's really going to be a nice year for growth and for equity prices."The Canadian dollar traded for 77.21 cents US, its highest level of the year and compared with 77.13 cents US on Monday. The increase came as a result of weakness in the U.S. dollar. Bangsund said it wasn't helped by Canada’s economy growing by a record 40.5 per cent on an annualized basis in the third quarter, that was below expectations.The TSX was pushed higher by the strength of the materials and heavyweight financials sectors.Higher gold and copper prices pushed materials up 2.6 per cent, with shares of Torex Gold Resources Inc. and Eldorado Gold leading with gains of 12.1 and 10.5 per cent, respectively.The February gold contract was up US$38.00 at US$1,818.90 an ounce and the March copper contract was up 4.7 cents at more than US$3.48 a pound. Financials rose 1.3 per cent with Bank of Montreal shares rising 3.4 per cent and Scotiabank shares up 2.8 per cent after each posted strong quarterly results. The sector was also helped by higher treasury bond yields.Technology moved slightly higher as shares in BlackBerry Ltd. gained as much as 63.9 per cent in intraday trading following news of a deal with Amazon Web Services to develop and market BlackBerry's intelligent vehicle data platform, called IVY. The stock traded as high as $12.54, up from Monday's close of $7.65, before drifting lower and closing at a new 52-week high of $9.08, up 18.7 per cent. Energy inched higher even though the January crude contract was down 79 cents at US$44.55 per barrel and the January natural gas contract was down 0.2 of a cent at US$2.88 per mmBTU.Health care plunged 5.6 per cent with Aurora Cannabis Inc. losing 17.2 per cent.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 1, 2020. Companies in this story: (TSX:BB, TSX:BMO, TSX:BNS, TSX:TXG, TSX:ELD, TSX:GSPTSE, TSX:CADUSD=X) Ross Marowits, The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — Provinces are criticizing the federal Liberals for failing to signal more help for health-care systems and strained provincial coffers in its new spending plans, setting up a potential showdown next week between the prime minister and premiers.Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will meet Dec. 10 with the country's premiers, who have been demanding a meeting since September to talk about the annual federal transfer payments to provinces and territories for health care.The fiscal update released Monday, which proposed some $25 billion in new spending to top up and expand existing programs and create new, targeted support for hard-hit industries, did not detail a bump in health-care spending beyond increases planned before the COVID-19 pandemic.Federal health transfers to provinces will rise to $43.1 billion next year from $41.9 billion this year, as part of a prearranged three per cent annual increase.Provinces say the proposal still falls well short of what is needed to properly fund their systems, not including the added costs associated with COVID-19.They want the federal government to boost its share of health-care funding by an extra $28 billion this year with annual increases of $4 billion thereafter. "The primary objective of the premiers to to see a structural change in how health care is funded," Ontario Finance Minister Rod Phillips said Tuesday in an interview. "And I think they're going to be successful because it is the No. 1 thing that Canadians are interested in right now, in the middle of a global pandemic, is making sure we have stable, long-term health-care funding."The Liberals argue they've sent plenty to the provinces for pandemic-related measures, totalling $24 billion to support health-care systems across the country.On Tuesday, Trudeau said he planned to hear out the provinces about their needs during and after the pandemic, but wouldn't commit to added spending.His Liberal government's fall economic statement must first survive a confidence vote in the House of Commons. Failure to gather the necessary support would mean the minority government falls, which could plunge the country into a federal election."I am reasonably confident that none of the opposition parties wants an election right now. We certainly don't want one," Trudeau told reporters outside his Ottawa residence."We want to get these supports out to Canadians. And there are certainly things in this fall economic statement that every party should be able to support in terms of helping Canadians."Spending to date is putting the federal deficit on track to reach $381.6 billion this year, but the government's math says it could close in on $400 billion if widespread lockdowns return in the coming weeks.Pandemic-related spending has sent total federal transfers this year to $99.7 billion. Next year, the amount falls to $82.1 billion, near where it was before the pandemic, based on figures in the fall economic statement.Conservative finance critic Pierre Poilievre said the Liberals' spending binge pre-pandemic has blown the margin now to increase transfers to lower levels of government."There's not a lot of room left for other commitments because of (Trudeau's) irresponsible and insatiable appetite for spending other people's money," Poilievre said.Rebekah Young, Scotiabank's director of fiscal and provincial economics, wrote in an analysis that one-off transfers to provinces were necessary under the circumstances, but there should be a structural shift in the long term to make the country's finances sustainable."And the discussion should be broader than expenditure-shifting, as provinces have been reluctant to take up revenue capacity given up at the federal level in recent years," she wrote.The Liberals are proposing extra help through a revised fiscal stabilization program that sends money to provinces facing a year-over-year decline in non-resource revenues.The economic statement looks to lift funding capped now at $60 per resident up to $170.Alberta Finance Minister Travis Toews said his province expects to receive $750 million under the new limits, which falls well short of what Alberta could use. He said he was disappointed the Liberals didn't eliminate the cap as provinces have asked."We're going to continue to seek support from other provinces and we're disappointed in what I would call is really not even a half measure," he told reporters at the provincial legislature.Newfoundland and Labrador's Finance Minister Siobhan Coady said the province still wouldn't qualify for help through the stabilization fund this year despite a 45 per cent drop in offshore oil revenues.She added the increase in the cap is unlikely to be a big benefit.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 1, 2020.— With files from Shawn Jeffords in Toronto, and Dean Bennett in EdmontonJordan Press, The Canadian Press
MONTREAL — When the Quebec government tells English schools they cannot hire women wearing the hijab, it violates the rights of the English-speaking minority to manage its educational institutions, a lawyer argued Tuesday in a case challenging the province's secularism law.The law, known as Bill 21, forbids the wearing of religious symbols such as turbans, kippas and hijabs for certain employees of the state deemed to be in positions of authority, including police officers and school teachers.Quebec Superior Court Justice Marc-Andre Blanchard, who is presiding over the trial, has set aside 14 days to hear closing arguments, which began on Monday.Constitutional rights lawyer Julius Grey argued on behalf of the Canadian Human Rights Commission and the Quebec Community Groups Network, which are both challenging the law.Grey invoked Section 23 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which protects the right of Quebec's anglophone minority to be educated in English. Over time, jurisprudence has interpreted this right as giving management power to English schools, which Grey argued includes the right to hire whom they choose as teachers, including those who wear religious symbols.While Bill 21 invokes the Constitution’s notwithstanding clause to shield it from most charter challenges, including those based on freedom of religion, Grey argued it can't be used to override the language-rights protections in Section 23.Grey argued Section 23 is essential to the protection and preservation of the language and culture of the English-speaking minority in Quebec.And included in the culture of the English-speaking community is the protection of cultural minorities, he said.Grey also argued that Bill 21 infringes Section 28 of the charter, which provides for gender equality and isn't subject to the notwithstanding clause.A lawyer for Amnesty International argued that the law is too vague and that it doesn't include a definition of "religious symbols."School administrators can't all become theologians to manage their schools, Marie-Claude St-Amant said. Like Grey, she argued that it is not the government's objective in adopting the law that is important but rather the effects of the legislation. Those are disproportionately felt by Muslim women, she said, arguing that the stated goal of the law is a pretence. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 1, 2020.Stephanie Marin, The Canadian Press
Sen. Joseph McCarthy is censured; Scientists demonstrate the world's first artificially-created, self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction; Enron files for Chapter 11 protection; Colombian drug lord is shot and killed. (Dec. 2)
NEW YORK — Oscar-nominated actor Elliot Page, the star of “Juno," “Inception” and “The Umbrella Academy,” came out as transgender Tuesday in an announcement greeted as a watershed moment for the trans community in Hollywood. “I love that I am trans. And I love that I am queer," Page said in a statement on social media. Page, the 33-year-old actor from Nova Scotia, said his decision to come out as trans, which also involved changing his first name, came after a long journey and with much support from the LGBTQ community. “I can’t begin to express how remarkable it feels to finally love who I am enough to pursue my authentic self,” Page wrote. “I’ve been endlessly inspired by so many in the trans community. Thank you for your courage, your generosity and ceaselessly working to make this world a more inclusive and compassionate place.” “The more I hold myself close and fully embrace who I am, the more I dream, the more my heart grows and the more I thrive,” added Page, who said his pronouns are “he" and "they.” Page signed his statement with the words, “All my love, Elliot.” The announcement was celebrated widely on social media by LGBTQ rights advocates and many in the film industry. Netflix, maker of the comic book series “The Umbrella Academy," said, “So proud of our superhero! We love you Elliot!” "Elliot Page has given us fantastic characters on-screen, and has been an outspoken advocate for all LGBTQ people,” said Nick Adams, GLAAD’s Director of Transgender Media. “He will now be an inspiration to countless trans and non-binary people. All transgender people deserve the chance to be ourselves and to be accepted for who we are. We celebrate the remarkable Elliot Page today.” Page broke out in Jason Reitman's 2007 film “Juno” in a performance as a pregnant teenager that earned him an Academy Award nomination. Page has frequently worked to bring the lives of LGBTQ characters to screen, including the 2015 film “Freeheld,” which he produced and starred in as the partner of a dying New Jersey police detective who had been denied pension benefits. Last year, he made his directorial debut with the documentary “There's Something in the Water,” about environmental damage on Black and First Nations communities in Nova Scotia. Jake Coyle, The Associated Press
TORONTO — The cost of digital services and goods sold by foreign companies like Netflix will go up under a taxation plan the government wants to put in place next year, experts said Tuesday.Ottawa said in its fiscal update released Monday it will require multinationals to collect GST or HST on digital products and services, which it said would add up to $1.2 billion over five years.Sometimes labelled a "Netflix tax," the measure would also apply to other services such as Amazon.com Inc.'s Prime Video or the Spotify audio streaming service, as well as digital products such as software applications. The government says Canadian companies already collect those taxes when they make digital sales, so it's only fair that foreign multinationals should do the same. KPMG tax partner Joe Micallef said it's likely Canadians will end up paying the taxes collected for the government by foreign multinationals."Right now, the way in which they're delivering their services, they're not responsible for the collection," Micallef said."And so, effectively, it would mean that these charges would be appearing on (their) invoices."A regular monthly subscription for a streaming service that delivers video or music would be a simple calculation, with the tax rate applied to the purchase price.But Micallef said it is be more difficult to estimate how much additional tax individual consumers, or businesses, will pay for other types of digital purchases, he said.Something like gaming software might cost little or nothing itself, but offer the option for subsequent charges to add features that make the experience better."How many times? How many transactions? It adds up," Micallef said.Dwayne Winseck, a media industry researcher at Carleton University in Ottawa, also expects companies will add the price of the tax to the total sale price. "I mean, this is really not a very substantial amount, when we're talking about corporate finances," said Winseck, who is a professor of journalism and communication.He said that the term "Netflix tax" has become highly politicized and is often used as "code" for levelling the playing field between U.S.-based digital media companies and traditional Canadian broadcasters."And if the idea is to create a level playing field between those two services, then that by all means that makes great sense," Winseck said.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 1, 2020.David Paddon, The Canadian Press
Those who work with Anwar Alhjooj say he's always making sure everyone around him feels secure, comfortable and ready to contribute.The social worker and intercultural program co-ordinator at the Montreal City Mission is our latest Montrealer of the Month.He's a Palestinian who trained to be a lawyer in Italy and went on to work as a defence attorney in Israel. In 2012, he came to Canada so his wife could pursue her PhD at McGill University.A few years later, he started volunteering at the Montreal City Mission. At the time, the mission was working to help settle Syrian refugees who had come to Montreal to rebuild their lives.Alhjooj says he saw his role as finding ways to help the Syrian children feel valued in their new home."We try to focus on positive energy, especially when we are working with newcomers and refugees," he told CBC Montreal's Let's Go when he was reached by phone to inform him that he'd been selected as the Montrealer of the Month.Montreal City Mission director Paula Kline says Alhjooj's selfless spirit makes him a perfect candidate."He really represents the best of Montreal, I think. Diversity, energy, passion," said Kline."If somebody's in trouble, has a problem, he really leaves no stone unturned to help them."He helped create a summer camp in the West Island for about 30 children who settled there, and says it's made him happy to see them grow and come out of their shells, some even becoming camp counsellors.Speaking Arabic and Hebrew, he was able to help bring together people of different faiths and backgrounds. And he's helped organize an interfaith Iftar, or breaking of the fast.He now works full time at the mission."What I like about Anwar is when he's in a room full of people, he's always looking for somebody who's maybe not quite as involved as they could be," said Royal Orr, a board member at the mission."Anwar makes sure that he goes to that person or those people, he makes sure that they feel welcome."Valerie Shannon, the elder-in-residence at the mission, says Alhjooj is "an extraordinary man.""He brings people together from different backgrounds and he's able to help people find common ground. And that to me is very special," she said.Louise Olivier, one of Alhjooj's co-workers at the mission's legal clinic, pointed to his generosity and positive attitude."And he has great, great ideas to help the people who need it," she said.Aljhooj was humble about being selected as Montrealer of the Month — pointing instead to the Montrealers he helps."All people who come here, they really love Montreal," he said, adding that it's our obligation to "open the door" for them to show us what they're capable of."When someone asks me where I'm working, I say I'm not working — I'm having fun," he said.Listen to the full segment below:Do you know a Montrealer who is a positive force in the world? Maybe it's the recycling collector, the teacher who takes the extra time, the barista who goes the extra mile, or the teen who cut your lawn when you were not feeling your best.Let us know: send an email explaining what kind of an impact this person has had on their community to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Federal finance minister Chrystia Freeland says the North is "uniquely vulnerable" to COVID-19 — but the Northwest Territories' response is "a real success story … so far."Freeland made the comments Tuesday morning on The Trailbreaker, the territory's morning radio show, following a federal fiscal update that sets aside money not only to fight COVID-19, but for a post-pandemic future. The federal government says $380 million will be going to a support fund for Indigenous communities, and $64.7 million will go to the three northern territories to help fight the coronavirus. It's up to the territories to decide how to spend that money, but the territorial finance minister said much of it would go to the health sector, and to the enforcement arm of the COVID-19 secretariat."I am never going to presume to know conditions on the ground in the Northwest Territories better than you guys do yourself," said Freeland in Tuesday's interview.Freeland did, however, note that the federal government has spent $30 million on hotel stays in the Northwest Territories where people arriving in the North are required to isolate, if they can't at home."Premier [Caroline] Cochrane specifically said it would be great if we could provide some extra support for your isolation hubs," she said. "In my view that is money well spent. I think those isolation hubs, while obviously causing a lot of difficulty in people's lives, are keeping people alive and healthy and safe."Freeland spoke only hours before the territorial government announced that it was offloading the costs of most isolation stays to residents of the territory, at a cost of up to $4,000 a person. Freeland's fiscal update projects a record-high deficit of more than $381 billion. It includes proposals to fund reconciliation efforts and boost funding for a plan to build high-speed internet in remote corners of the country.The update also proposes $238.5 million over six years to buy body cameras for RCMP officers, a move that the document says will "effectively respond to concerns about policing from racialized and Indigenous communities" — even though a pilot project on the cameras in the community of Iqaluit only started this week. The RCMP's own research on the efficacy of body cameras is ambiguous. Territorial minister says tourism is hurtingThe tourism sector in the North has been particularly hard-hit by the global pandemic, as international and even domestic travel to the North have slowed drastically. When asked how she would support the North's travel and hospitality industries, Freeland pointed to federal funding available for all businesses, including rent support and an increase in the wage subsidy.She also said that she expects tourism businesses will see a lot of "pent-up demand for travel" after the COVID-19 pandemic is under control."I think they're going to be a really important part of the Canadian economy coming roaring back," she said.Shortly after Freeland's interview, territorial Finance Minister Caroline Wawzonek said she was "looking for something maybe a little more targeted to the tourism sector."However, she said that it's now her government's job to look at the money the federal government is putting on the table, and find out how to make the territory a candidate for those dollars."It may not have the word tourism splashed across it," she said, "but maybe that does mean it's now up to us to make sure we access the money that is here to fill in the gaps we have locally."
TORONTO — Some of the most active companies traded Tuesday on the Toronto Stock Exchange:Toronto Stock Exchange (17,296.93, up 106.68 points.)BlackBerry Ltd. (TSX:BB). Technology. Up $1.43, or 18.69 per cent, to $9.08 on 40.4 million shares.Bombardier Inc. (TSX:BBD.B). Industrials. Down 3.5 cents, or 6.6 per cent, to 49.5 cents on 20.8 million shares.Hexo Corp. (TSX:HEXO). Health care. Down five cents, or 3.5 per cent, to $1.38 on 18.3 million shares.Aurora Cannabis Inc. (TSX:ACB). Health care. Down $2.63, or 17.25 per cent, to $12.62 on 15.1 million shares.Suncor Energy Inc. (TSX:SU). Energy. Down 13 cents, or 0.63 per cent, to $20.64 on 15.1 million shares. Aphria Inc. (TSX:APHA). Health care. Down $1, or 9.17 per cent, to $9.91 on 8.4 million shares.Companies in the news: BlackBerry Ltd. — Shares in BlackBerry Ltd. gained as much as 63.9 per cent in intraday trading on Tuesday following news of a deal with Amazon Web Services to develop and market BlackBerry's intelligent vehicle data platform, called IVY. The companies said they had settled on a multi-year, global agreement to develop and market IVY, a scalable, cloud-connected software platform that will give automakers a new way to read vehicle sensor data. They said automakers will be able to use that information to create responsive in-vehicle services that enhance driver and passenger experiences. Financial terms of the agreement were not immediately available. Amazon Web Services is a subsidiary of internet giant Amazon.com Inc. that provides on-demand cloud computing platforms.Bombardier Inc. — Bombardier and Alstom say they have received all the necessary regulatory approvals required to complete the US$8.4-billion sale of the Canadian company's railway division to Alstom. The companies say they now expect the transaction to close on Jan. 29, 2021. Bombardier has been working to transform itself from a maker of trains and aircraft into a company focused on business jets. Alstom shareholders voted to approve the deal on Oct. 29. The sale is expected to make Alstom the second-largest manufacturer of rolling stock, behind China's CRRC. Alstom has committed to establish its North American headquarters in Montreal, which will oversee 13,000 employees, set up a research centre and improve production at the Bombardier Transport plant in La Pocatiere, where the order book is almost empty. Imperial Oil Ltd. (TSX:IMO). Up 42 cents or 1.9 per cent to $22.90. Shares in Imperial Oil Ltd. rose after it announced late Monday it would write down up to $1.2 billion on Canadian assets it doesn't think it will ever develop. In a brief news release, it said it has reassessed the long-term development plans of its unconventional natural gas portfolio in Alberta and no longer plans to develop a "significant potion" of those assets. It says that will result in a non-cash writedown of between $900 million and $1.2 billion in the current quarter. Imperial said the exploration lands it is shelving haven't been developed and aren't producing, adding the move doesn't include natural gas prospects that are also rich in petroleum liquids. Last week, the Calgary-based company said it would lay off about 200 of its 6,000 employees across Canada as part of a cost-cutting initiative due to low oil prices, adding it has reduced the number of contractors it employs by about 450 since the start of the year.Bank of Montreal (TSX:BMO). Up $3.19 or 3.4 per cent to $96.52. Canadian bank executives say an economic rebound is on its way after months of governments and financial institutions working to offset turmoil with loans, deferrals, interest rate cuts and subsidies. The chief executives of Bank of Nova Scotia and BMO Financial Group said Tuesday that they are starting to see signs of improvement and are feeling reassured by countries like Canada, the U.S., Chile and Peru, which have spent on average 17 per cent of their gross domestic product on relief measures. Scotiabank's provisions for credit losses in its latest quarter totalled $1.1 billion, up from $753 million a year ago, but down from nearly $2.2 billion in the third quarter. BMO's amounted to $432 million, up from $253 million a year ago, but down from nearly $1.1 billion in its third quarter.Suncor Energy Inc. (TSX:SU). Down 13 cents to $20.64. Suncor Energy Inc. is forecasting higher spending and production in 2021 based on benchmark U.S. oil prices staying near their current levels of around US$45 per barrel. It says it predicts daily oil and gas production between 740,000 and 780,000 barrels of oil equivalent in 2021, an increase of about 10 per cent compared with this year, driven by higher bitumen output from its oilsands operations. It expects capital spending of between $3.8 billion and $4.5 billion, including sustaining capital of $2.9 billion to $3.4 billion, an increase of about nine per cent over 2020's expected spending of $3.6 billion to $4.0 billion. The Calgary-based company forecasts refinery throughput of 415,000 to 445,000 barrels per day based on a utilization rate of between 90 and 96 per cent.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 1, 2020.The Canadian Press
Port Hardy and North Island Secondary Schools’ athletic tracks are now closed to the public during school hours — from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday to Friday. The tracks are popular with walkers, runners and dogs playing fetch almost every day of the week. But in order to keep the school safe for students while provincial COVID-19 cases continue to rise, School District 85 made the choice to restrict access. Students are separated into cohorts, with separate entries for each grade, and staggered schedules to reduce congestion in hallways. It just made sense to keep the track area clear for P.E. classes as well. The decision went into effect Monday, Nov. 30 until further notice. A sign has been posted at the PHSS track from the parking lot entrance, but is not yet posted at the Huddlestan trail entrances. NISS has a sign posted as well. The district provided the following statement “Due to Covid19 and our protocols regarding safety for students and staff, it was decided that during school hours, the public would be asked to refrain from using our school tracks and other SD85 facilities. Student and Staff safety is our number one priority at all times. (Outside of school hours, school tracks remain open to the public).” Do you have something to add to this story or something else we should report on? Email: email@example.comZoë Ducklow, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, North Island Gazette
SAN RAMON, Calif. — Business software pioneer Salesforce.com is buying work-chatting service Slack for $27.7 billion in a deal aimed at giving the two companies a better shot at competing against longtime industry powerhouse Microsoft.The acquisition announced Tuesday is by far the largest in the 21-year history of Salesforce. The San Francisco company was one of the first to begin selling software as a subscription service that could be used on any internet-connected device instead of the more cumbersome process of installing the programs on individual computers.Salesforce’s flamboyant founder and CEO Marc Benioff hailed the “cloud computing” concept as the wave of the future to much derision initially.But software as a service has become an industry standard that has turned into a gold mine for longtime software makers. Microsoft for one has developed its own thriving online suite of services, known as Office 365, which includes a Teams chatting service that includes many of the same features as Slack’s 6-year-old application.Slack in July filed a complaint in the European Union accusing Microsoft of illegally bundling Teams into Office 365 in a way that blocks its removal by customers who may prefer Slack.Microsoft also has been posing a threat to Salesforce’s main products, a line-up of tools that help other companies manage their customer relationships.“For Benioff, this is all about Microsoft,” Wedbush Securities analyst Dan Ives said of Tuesday's deal. “It’s just clear Microsoft is moving further and further away from Salesforce when it comes to the cloud wars.”Benioff left no doubt he considered the deal to be a major coup, after losing out to Microsoft in 2016 when the two companies were both vying to buy the professional networking service LinkedIn. In a prepared statement, Benioff touted the combination as “a match made in heaven” that will “transform the way everyone works in the all-digital, work-from-anywhere world.”Salesforce has been building on its success in recent years to diversify into other fields, largely through a series of acquisitions that included its previous largest deal, a $15.7 billion purchase of data analytics specialist Tableau Software last year.Many of the deals have been financed with Salesforce’s stock, which is worth nearly seven times more than it was a decade ago to lift the company's current market value to $220 billion. Salesforce is using its stock to pay for roughly half of the Slack purchase, with the rest being covered with some cash, with some of the money being borrowed during a time of extraordinarily low interest rates.Slack, on the other hand, hasn’t proven as popular with investors, even though its service that publicly launched in 2014 is being increasingly used by companies and government agencies looking for more nimble alternatives than email. Before news reports of a potential deal with Salesforce surfaced last week, Slack’s stock was still hovering around its initial listing price of $26 when the company went public nearly 18 months ago.“This is a stellar exit strategy for Slack,” said Kate Leggett, an analyst at Forrester Research. “Microsoft Teams is eating Slack’s lunch.”Slack co-founder Stewart Butterfield will be hoping this sale works out better than when another company he started, photo sharing service Flickr, was sold to Yahoo 15 years ago. Flickr got lost in the shuffle at Yahoo amid years of turmoil before it was finally sold again in 2018 to SmugMug.In his next act after leaving Flickr, Butterfield decided to focus on gaming with a startup called Tiny Speck that launched in 2009. A few years later, he shifted to the instant messaging service whose name was an acronym for “Searchable Log of All Conversation and Knowledge."Leggett predicted Salesforce would benefit from owning Slack because it will add a popular collaboration tool to its own software suite, which is focused on managing customer relationships for businesses and government agencies. She said the need for customer-relations agents and other Salesforce users to swarm around a topic and collaborate remotely has only grown with the coronavirus pandemic that has sent so many office workers home and got many hooked on new online tools.Slack, which is free for people who use the basic version, found quick adoption in the tech industry for its ease of use and its fostering of a more casual mode of conversation than email. The company stopped releasing its daily user count after topping 12 million last year, focusing instead on paid customers, which Butterfield said in March have shown a “massive outpouring of interest” because of the way the pandemic has forced people to work from home.“I think the pandemic’s played a massive role" in paving the way for the deal, Ives said. “The Zooms, the Slacks, the Microsoft Teams, that’s going to be a new part of the workforce.”Ives said Benioff was also running out of time to catch up to Microsoft, which remains a secondary player in Salesforce’s core customer-relations-management business, known as CRM, but way ahead in providing a broader array of cloud-based services.Slack and Salesforce are headquartered about a block away from each other in San Francisco. Slack's office is in the shadow of the 62-story Salesforce Tower, the city's tallest building. If all goes smoothly, the two companies hope to close the deal and combine forces sometime between May and July next year.___O'Brien reported from Providence, Rhode Island.Michael Liedtke And Matt O'Brien, The Associated Press
À l’occasion de la 33e journée mondiale de lutte contre le sida, Maison Re-Né constate que « la mobilisation s’est effritée ». L’organisme de Trois-Rivières trace des parallèles révélateurs entre la pandémie de COVID-19 et celle du VIH/Sida. Selon l’organisme trifluvien, la lutte contre le sida a fait l’objet d’un relâchement remarquable ces dernières années alors que le danger n’est pas écarté. Il rappelle que les cibles fixées par l’Organisation des Nations Unies prévoient que 95 % de personnes devront connaître leur statut sérologique d’ici 2025 pour autant de sujets malades sous traitement. Il est donc prévu qu’à cette échéance, l’on ne puisse plus transmettre la maladie. Cette vision contraste avec le niveau de mobilisation actuel, selon Maison Re-Né, qui note cependant que combattre le nouveau coronavirus est devenu, à raison, « le leitmotiv de la société québécoise. » Dans un communiqué, il cite les points de presse journaliers des gouvernements, les fonds investis pour enrayer la contagion ou créer un potentiel vaccin. « Toutes les personnes se sentent concernées par la COVID-19, ce qui n’était pas le cas avec le VIH/SIDA, ce n’est pas nécessairement de la jalousie, mais plus une constatation », explique la directrice générale de Maison Re-Né, Carole Leclerc, plaidant pour que la lutte contre le premier virus continue. En guise d’illustration, elle évoque des marches qui ne sont plus que l’ombre d’elles-mêmes. L’évènement de la fondation Farha qui mobilisait au moins 30 000 personnes pour sensibiliser les gens et amasser des fonds il y’a quelques années, n’a pu, dit-elle, rassembler que 7 000 personnes l’année dernière à Montréal. « Il ne faut pas négliger le rôle des maisons d’hébergement dans l’adhérence au traitement, il y a une clientèle plus vulnérable qui n’a pas accès au traitement du VIH/SIDA, on ne peut pas dire que c’est fini et se concentrer sur un seul virus », exhorte Mme Leclerc. Le masque est plus facile que le préservatif Même s’il reconnaît que le masque est plus facile à imposer que le préservatif, Maison Re-Né souligne des éléments de similitudes qui pourraient renforcer les moyens de lutte communs contre les deux pandémies. Mme Leclerc fait allusion « à la stigmatisation, au déni ou à l’adhérence au traitement » auxquels les acteurs de la lutte contre le sida se sont attaqués depuis des décennies. Il en est de même pour les failles dans la gestion du système de santé, l’accès à l’emploi des migrants, les soins aux aînés ou encore la surproportion des cas chez les femmes. Cet organisme qui œuvre pour la protection des personnes vivant avec le VIH note que le sexisme, la pauvreté ou le racisme engendrent des iniquités qui dans le cas du sida, fragilisent l’accès aux dépistages, aux soins et aux traitements. « On sait que le personnel qui travaille dans les milieux communautaires n’a pas les mêmes revenus que celui du réseau de la santé, on ne demande pas la même attention, mais il faut maintenir la mobilisation et faire la riposte », plaide Carole Leclerc. Reconnaissant les avancées scientifiques enregistrées dans le cadre de la lutte contre le VIH, elle insiste sur la persévérance dans les politiques publiques. « On ne va pas tout arrêter quand les vaccins contre la Covid-19 vont arriver parce que beaucoup ne vont pas suivre, ça prendra du temps, mais on doit continuer à travailler sans négliger un virus ou un autre », a-t-elle conclu. Le Canada a enregistré 2 561 diagnostics de VIH en 2018 selon les dernières données de l’agence de santé publique du Canada, soit une augmentation de 8,2 % par rapport à l’année précédente.Godlove Kamwa, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Canada Français
CHICAGO — President-elect Joe Biden is considering former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, a substantial and somewhat divisive figure in Democratic Party politics, to serve as his transportation secretary.Biden’s selection of his nominee to lead the Transportation Department is not believed to be imminent, and Emanuel is among multiple candidates in the running for the Cabinet position, according to people familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the private deliberations.But his candidacy threatens to pull at the divisions among Democrats that Biden has largely managed to avoid as he begins to fill out his administration. Progressive leaders, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, have been especially vocal in criticizing the prospect of Emanuel joining the Cabinet.Emanuel, a former three-term congressman who served as Barack Obama’s first White House chief of staff and was a senior adviser in Bill Clinton’s administration, has been a significant force in Democratic Party politics for much of the last three decades.He turned reviving Chicago’s ragged public transportation system and overhauling the city’s two busy, worn airports into a top issue during his eight years as mayor. He is also credited with making Chicago one of the most bicycle-friendly cities in the country during his time in office.But selecting Emanuel could be a tough sell to some in the progressive wing of the Democratic Party who are critical of his handling of the high-profile police shooting death of Laquan McDonald, a Black teenager killed by a white officer, during his time as Chicago’s mayor.Whether Emanuel is ultimately picked could also be affected by other factors as Biden has placed a premium on building out a Cabinet and team of senior advisers from a diverse set of backgrounds, according to people familiar with the matter.The Biden transition team did not respond to requests for comment.Allies of Emanuel in the Illinois congressional delegation have made the case to Biden transition officials that Emanuel’s knowledge of Congress and breadth of experience on big transportation projects during his eight years as mayor of the nation’s third-largest city would make him an effective leader at the Transportation Department.Rep. Mike Quigley, a Chicago Democrat who replaced Emanuel in Congress when he left to work for Obama, said Emanuel’s “tough, no nonsense” posture could make him an effective member of the new Cabinet as the Biden administration will immediately face major challenges with the pandemic and the economy.“There is no honeymoon period,” Quigley said. “The administration needs people like Rahm who know how to get things done.”Some of the city’s Black elected officials are also vouching for him.“Here’s a guy who understands government at all levels,” said Michelle Harris, a Chicago alderman who represents a predominantly Black ward on Chicago’s south side that benefited from Emanuel’s push for Chicago Transit Authority modernization. “He’s the perfect candidate for the job. You don’t get many candidates that have more experience on how government works. He can start running day one. He’s not going to be crawling or walking. He’s going to be running.”Emanuel announced in September 2018 that he would not run for a third term as Chicago mayor, citing a desire to step away from the hectic life of elected office.The decision came as he saw his popularity erode in the city’s large African American community following the McDonald police shooting.The death of McDonald, who was shot 16 times, became a touchstone moment in the ongoing national conversation about racial injustice. Emanuel said he did not see the grisly video until it was set to be made public in November 2015.Still, he faced rebuke from some Black leaders in the city who accused him and his administration of covering up the shooting. The city agreed to pay a $5 million settlement to McDonald’s family before they could file suit. The former officer, Jason Van Dyke, was convicted in 2018 of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery with a firearm and sentenced to six years and nine months in prison.Emanuel denied the coverup allegations. He also embraced a series of reforms in the city’s police department, including a federally court-monitored consent decree to ensure that changes were carried out.Backers of Emanuel say his efforts to revamp the Chicago Transit Authority’s “L” system, including significant swaths of the city’s predominantly Black neighbourhoods, as well as adding more than 100 miles (161 kilometres) of protected bike lanes, should make him a leading candidate for the post.During his time as mayor, Chicago saw $11 billion in airfield, terminal and infrastructure investments at the city's airports. His administration also secured more than $4.6 billion in federal funding for Chicago transit, including the modernization of the city’s iconic train system. His allies noted that Emanuel’s push to rehab transit included hiring more than 1,000 nonviolent ex-offenders to work on projects.“I can’t debate some of the opinions or assertions about him,” said Michael Scott Jr., a Chicago alderman who represents a ward on the city’s west side that has benefited from the modernization under Emanuel’s watch. “What I am concerned about are things that will be impacted in neighbourhoods like the one I serve. I know the ability of him to get the work done if he’s put in that spot.”Still, some progressive House Democrats have already made clear they are vigorously opposed to seeing Emanuel in a Biden White House.“What is so hard to understand about this? Rahm Emanuel helped cover up the murder of Laquan McDonald. Covering up a murder is disqualifying for public leadership,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted last week. “This is not about the ‘visibility’ of a post. It is shameful and concerning that he is even being considered.”Cori Bush, an incoming Democratic congresswoman from Missouri, added that “the thing about covering up the murder of Laquan McDonald is that it disqualifies you from holding any type of public office. Forever.”As members of the House, neither Ocasio-Cortez nor Bush has a vote in a Senate confirmation, though their voices hold weight with a segment of voters who helped Biden beat President Donald Trump.Matt Bennett, executive vice-president at the centre-left think-tank Third Way, predicted that opposition by some on the left to Emanuel would have little impact on whether Biden would ultimately pick Emanuel to serve in his Cabinet.“There will be a lot of bellyaching by some on the left, but I think he can get past that if (Biden) picks him,” Bennett said. “Elections have consequences and so do the nominating elections. We voted for Joe Biden and not Bernie Sanders. If you don’t like it, work harder next time. You don’t get to dictate after losing a hard-fought primary who the winner chooses to serve in their Cabinet.”___Miller reported from Wilmington, Delaware. Associated Press writer Mary Clare Jalonick in Washington contributed to this report.Aamer Madhani And Zeke Miller, The Associated Press
Windsor West MP Brian Masse, Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens, Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce president Rakesh Naidu and members of Windsor's aviation community on Tuesday morning called on the federal government to intervene and have Navigation Canada (NAV Canada) remove Windsor International Airport from a list of six airports being studied for possible removal of air traffic controllers."The Minister of Transportation, Marc Garneau, must provide a clear and definitive answer that the future of Windsor's Airport is secure and that air traffic control services will be maintained," said Masse.Masse said he will have a petition to the federal government online that reads, "Remove NAV Canada's decision to consider closure, or reduction of services of the air traffic control tower at the Windsor Airport or explicitly express opposition to any decision or recommendation of this nature.""The minister can simply intervene and he should do that," said Masse in a news conference in front of the airport terminal and control tower.Windsor-Tecumseh MP Irek Kusmiercyzk recently told CBC News that Garneau did not have the power to tell NAV Canada what to do, and that he and anyone else opposed to losing air traffic controllers here will have their say when NAV Canada consults with stakeholders.But Masse said there should have been clear signals from the government to NAV Canada before this study, adding that he doesn't believe any of the other airports, including in Whitehorse and Regina, should lose air traffic control either."So even if he says [Garneau] technically can't take them off the list at this point in time, he can still go out and publicly say that he's actually against closing the towers and he's not going to approve them," said Masse. "In fact, if NAV Canada actually does eventually recommend closure or reduction of services, the minister then has to do another study and the study then actually comes back again. So we're into the cycle of study after study after study when it is completely unnecessary," he said.Dilkens also said Garneau can certainly have a conversation with NAV Canada officials.The airport has seen a 300 per cent increase in traffic since 2009 and was serving 383,000 passengers in 2019. Dilkens said losing the air traffic controllers jeopardizes future growth and threatens the continuation of commercial air traffic the airport has now."Moving bodies out of a control tower causes issues for the future prosperity of Windsor airport. It will cut this success story off at the knees," said Dilkens, adding he has not heard back from Garneau, to whom he sent a letter asking that the air traffic controllers remain.Commercial pilots also added their voices of concern for safety, considering the high volume of air traffic in and around Detroit.Corporate pilot Dante Albano likened air traffic control to traffic lights, and when they go out the intersection turns into a four-way stop."In a busy air space like this with Detroit so close it gets kinda of crazy up there sometimes," said Albano.Richard Bradwell, manager of the Windsor Flying Club, said loss of air traffic control is the "first step toward" to closing the airport entirely."Our business has been growing. We've been surviving through COVID. This is absolutely the last thing that we need is to see NAV Canada considering closing the tower and doing this sort of damage to our airport," said Bradwell.Essex MP Chris Lewis has also issued a statement calling on Garneau to remove Windsor airport from the study.Masse's petition is expected to go up on his Facebook page and website Wednesday afternoon.
If you’re looking for some exercise in the great outdoors, rest assured that cross country skiing options will be available aplenty this winter. And really, how can one social distance any better than in serene nature? SPIN has prepared a list of what’s open and what’s about to open. If you’re looking to get hyped for the winter, we recommend checking out this video of Skmana Ski and Snowshoe Club produced by Tourism Kamloops, it’s sure to get you stoked for the winter. Skmana Ski and Snowshoe Club Located in Chase, the area is now open to the public for cross country skiing and snowshoeing. All ski trails are “packed and tracked,” with the exception of Sunflower Trail, which is closed due to a lack of snow There are some hazards to be aware of, but overall it’s good to go. Sun Peaks Nordic Centre Sun Peaks Resort LLP’s (SPR) nordic trail system is open for business. The resort asks the public to ski with caution and respect terrain closures that are in place. Sun Peaks Nordic Centre is open daily from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. STAKE LAKE (25 km south of Kamloops) The Stake Lake Trails are accepting registration for the 2020/2021 season, but the trails are not yet open. On its website the Overlander Ski Club, which operates the 60km trail system, said they’re waiting for more snow and sustained colder temperatures. Give them a follow on Facebook (search Overlander Ski Club) for more updates. HARPER MOUNTAIN Harper Mountain has a tentative opening date of Dec. 12 for its operations. The mountain offers a three kilometre groomed trail that meanders through a forested area, and is great for both traditional cross country skiing and skate skiing. TELEMARK NORDIC CLUB The Telemark Nordic Club, located in West Kelowna, has an anticipated opening date of Dec. 5. The club recently delayed its opening due to a lack of snow, saying in the following: “We have a good base of snow, things are currently looking pretty white, and some people are already skiing and snowshoeing,” states the club’s website. “However, the base is too thin for us to do regular grooming of the trails without damaging them and making them unsafe. We just need one more good snowfall and we’ll be ready to open. Skiing and snowshoeing are possible right now but grooming will be limited and we will not have rentals or day passes available until Dec 5th.” They provided the following update at the start of the week: “We received two good snowfalls this week and we will be starting to pack the trails and do our final preparations for the coming winter. There is not enough snow yet to open officially but if this cool and snowy weather holds we anticipate being open and ready for member and public skiing by Saturday.” KELOWNA NORDIC This nordic skiing area got off to an early start, having opened on Nov. 11. They provided the following update on its website. “There has been a fair amount of snow over the past week and we have groomed approx 55 per cent of our trails. The ski tracker system has not been activated yet by the host so there is no live reporting. All car parks are plowed. Some of the lowest trails will not be re-groomed in order to preserve snow and avoid bringing up dirt. The upper trails are good but may be soft for skating. Watch for sticks, rocks, dirt and open water. The groomer will be on the trails in daylight hours in order to see any hazards. Watch and listen for it. Snowshoeing is good.” Sovereign Lake Sovereign Lake, located near SilverStar Resort, is open. You can see a full list of the trail that are open here. Rates for skiing can be found here. Big White Nordic Big White’s nordic trails are open for business.Joel Barde, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Sun Peaks Independent News Inc.
Police in Hamilton say they are investigating after a protest group left a coffin outside the home of the city's mayor on Monday night. The force says the coffin, which was filled with flowers and naloxone kits, was placed outside Mayor Fred Eisenberger's residence by members of the Defund Hamilton Police group. Group members say the coffin was meant to draw attention to homelessness and overdoses in the city. "So many people die on the street due to the inaction by the City of Hamilton and by the mayor," member Sabriena Dahab said Tuesday. The group has been calling for police funds to be redirected to deal with what they say is a housing crisis in the city. Dahab said the coffin was placed outside the mayor's home after he refused to have a public meeting on the matter. The mayor's office did not immediately respond to request for comment. Since January, paramedics have responded to 487 incidents related to suspected opioid overdoses in Hamilton, city data indicates. Another group member said the coffin incident was also a response to police's removal and disposal of fellow protester's tents outside city hall. "Many people lost their belongings," said member Koubra Haggar. The encampment had been set up last week as part of the group's effort to push for police funds to be reallocated. Last week, Hamilton police said they charged the group's organizer with failure to comply with provincial limits on outdoor gatherings. There were between 80 to 100 people outside city hall that day, police said. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 1, 2020. This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship. Denise Paglinawan, The Canadian Press