In Wilkes County, North Carolina, elections workers started loading trucks Monday morning to send to polling places along with voting machines and tabulators. Hundreds of boxes of PPE are being used to keep voters safe on Election Day. (Nov. 2)
In Wilkes County, North Carolina, elections workers started loading trucks Monday morning to send to polling places along with voting machines and tabulators. Hundreds of boxes of PPE are being used to keep voters safe on Election Day. (Nov. 2)
Five more people have died of COVID-19 in western Quebec as that region's deadliest month of the pandemic continues.Another 64 Outaouais residents have tested positive for the illness, the province said Tuesday.Thirty-three western Quebec residents have died from COVID-19 in November alone, nearing Ottawa's 38, despite having about one-third of its population.Along with new cases, known active cases and hospitalizations in western Quebec are also eclipsing Ottawa's totals. Ottawa Public Health (OPH) logged 19 new cases of COVID-19 and one more death on Tuesday, while declaring 42 more cases resolved. The city's newest cases are more or less split between people over and under 40.A total of 8,231 Ottawa residents have tested positive for COVID-19, the vast majority of those cases — 7,540 — now resolved. The number of known active cases in Ottawa has slipped to 323, and 368 people have died.OPH said a data error with Ontario's provincewide information this week did not affect its local reports.Thirty patients are in Ottawa hospitals receiving treatment for COVID-19, including two in intensive care. Those numbers have been steady for about a week, said OPH.OPH has declared a new COVID-19 outbreak at the Amica Westboro Park long-term care home, bringing the citywide total to 28 active outbreaks including at nine long-term care homes, four schools and one a hospital.
Dale Woodard Lethbridge Herald With the winter months closing in, a pair of groups were at Galt Gardens to raise awareness for the homeless situation in Lethbridge on Saturday afternoon. Members of Kindness To Others and Community Giving Back To Community were at Galt Gardens handing out sandwiches to the homeless and raising awareness for a drop-in centre for those in need. “Today we are with some members of the community,” said Alvin Mills, a peer support worker with Bringing Home The Spirit in Standoff. “We want to feed the at-risk and vulnerable who struggle here in the city. We also want to bring to light what they go through and what they are going to be going through when the weather gets cold. I do see a real need for a drop-in facility here in the city. During the day they have nowhere to go and a lot of them are getting sick being out in the elements. “Then with the opioid crisis it enhances things. With the outreach service we started with Bringing Home The Spirit, we have been able to work in partnership with Alpha House, Alberta Health Services, Streets Alive and the Watch Program.” Mills said Saturday’s initiative was a street-level approach to reaching those who need help. “This is just the first step and sometimes they’ll follow through. Sometimes you just have to show that you care and you have to have that feeling of empathy regardless of the choices that they make. They should still be afforded that same dignity.” Mills said a shelter has been opened in Standoff. “They’ve stepped up in a big way opening up that shelter. So that’s another way of how we can get the ones struggling here in Lethbridge back out there.” In July, the Province of Alberta announced a capital investment to support the construction of two recovery communities in southern Alberta, one of them a 75-bed recovery community on the Blood Reserve in Standoff. “We have to fill those beds, especially with the weather getting colder,” said Mills. “This is the first step in recovery and we have to start filling up those beds.” On the Blood Reserve, Kainai Wellness manager Roger Prairie Chicken noted some concerning numbers. “What is happening within the reserve is basically the opiate process is still creating a lot of problems and deaths within the families on the reserve,” he said. “We are averaging about 12 DOAs a month and I would say 70 or 80 per cent of that is drug-related deaths and the age process is roughly 30 years and up. If you go back in time when this started, I would say, in 2018 and 2019, I believe we’ve had 46 or 47 each year, average DOAs. In 2019 and 2020 we went up to 118 deaths. That was when opioids really peaked out. “Now we are at a stage where we have had 99 deaths in the last fiscal year, but again the numbers are still really high. I would say almost 85 per cent of that is alcohol- and prescription-related DOAs.” Prairie Chicken said the numbers need to be shared by the public. “It has to start from the grassroots in the family situations, educating them and moving them forward,” he said. “You can’t resolve it with Band-Aid solutions and Band-Ad processes. These people are humans and they need help with their addictions. It’s an illness and it must be understood that way.” Over the weekend, Blood Tribe Police Service issued a warning about of a highly concentrated batch of drugs. BTPS and Blood Tribe EMS responded to an alarming amount of overdoses over 24 hours. Since noon Friday there were 15 overdoses that police and EMS have attended. There was been one death that is not considered suspicious, an autopsy will determine cause of death. On Saturday afternoon Prairie Chicken commended Mills for his work with the street people. “These are our people from the Blood Tribe and different areas and our hearts and our prayers go out to the families.” Follow @DWoodardHerald on TwitterDale Woodard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Lethbridge Herald
Utilizing Broadway for a transit transfer hub between First and John streets is no longer in the works. At its meeting on Nov. 23, a request made by Deputy Mayor Andy Macintosh to reconsider the original motion from April that approved the development was supported by the majority of council. The motion, however, did not pass unanimously. Councillors Todd Taylor, Lisa Post, and Grant Peters felt the transit project should proceed as was voted on. “In my opinion, it is a waste of taxpayer money to throw out recommendations from the experts just because he didn’t give us the answers that we wanted,” said Post. On Oct. 19, Council had agreed to postpone further decisions until a safety study was completed, following a number of concerns presented by the BIA, downtown business owners and some residents. “The almost 300 members of the BIA support (raised) concerns, and so does the board,” said Troy Brett, vice-chair of the BIA Board and owner of Mochaberry Coffee. “I just want to make it very clear that a downtown transit hub is not supported by downtown businesses.” Aside from safety concerns, the loss of parking spaces, and numerous other items, fears of the transit station altering the presence of the downtown core were also cited. “The impact of the transfer station to the heritage of the downtown core is very important to us,” said Brett. “We are selling an authentic, heritage downtown for tourism and a transit transfer station does not fit with this brand.” But the councillors in favour noted that despite business concerns, the consultants hired — and the safety study performed — indicated Broadway would be an ideal location. “This council has used numerous consultants,” Taylor said. “Why use them if we’re not going to utilize the recommendation they gave us?” The purpose for a consultant is to lay out possible options, rebutted Macintosh, not determine council’s course of action for them. “I don’t consider it wasting taxpayer dollars. They advised us, we listened, and now we need to make the right decision for the town,” said Macintosh. After Macintosh’s motion to revote was passed, council members revoted on the April 20 motion to construct a transit hub on Broadway again. The vote was defeated, four to three. Moving forward, council will look at other options, including a return to the possibility of the Edelbrock Centre. “Our downtown businesses and property owners have roundly come out against this decision that council previously made,” said Mayor Sandy Brown. “I think we have to listen to our BIA, and we have to listen to our businesses.”Tabitha Wells/Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Orangeville Banner
Fred VanVleet did a pre-draft workout for one particular NBA team, who didn't know who he was when he showed up. He shot alone on a side basket with no coaches rebounding the ball. Nobody gave him a ride back to the airport."Those types of things will never leave me and I will never forget any of those moments," VanVleet said. Four years after he went undrafted -- deciding that day to bet on himself if no-one else would -- VanVleet marvelled at how far he'd come."It’s funny to see things come full-circle but that’s what makes this journey that much more special, because of how I had to do it and how fast it turned around for me," he said.The Toronto Raptors made that turn around official Tuesday, signing the guard to a four-year deal reported to be worth US$85 million. The 26-year-old from Rockford, Ill., who joined the Raptors as a free agent in 2016, said he had wanted to stay in Toronto. The Raptors made no secret that his re-signing was their No. 1 off-season priority.Still, VanVleet was surprised how smoothly it all went."It was almost like so straightforward that it made me question it a little bit, like it can't be this easy, you know what I mean?" he said.He opened his press conference by thanking the Raptors organization, his family and even "you ugly media people on the other side of this Zoom call who have treated me pretty good in my first four years."He grinned and asked reporters not to go hard on him now that he has "this nice big contract." The six-foot, 195-pound VanVleet averaged career highs of 17.6 points, 6.6 assists, 3.8 rebounds, 1.9 steals and 35.7 minutes in 54 games (all starts) last season. Fondly known as "Steady Freddy," he's grown into one of the team's most popular and dependable players. Paired with all-star Kyle Lowry, the duo make for one of the formidable back courts in the league.Asked if Lowry provided any advice for free agency, VanVleet said he veteran guard is always offering advice."Everybody I spoke to that had been through it just said enjoy it and go with your gut and just try to appreciate the moment and don't fumble the bag," he said.VanVleet spoke to reporters on a Zoom call in front of a black and white backdrop with his BOY (Bet on Yourself) brand logo. "That’s the fun part for me, seeing how this following is kind of growing and. . . watching everybody try to pretend to be underdogs and adopt the bet on yourself thing. It’s becoming mainstream now, which is hilarious to me," VanVleet said.The guard said it means a lot to have paved the way for other players who've been overlooked who found inspiration in his story. "There are guys getting drafted now that I know for a fact wouldn’t have gotten drafted in my class or before my class, just because teams are looking at it like they don’t want to miss out on the next Fred VanVleet, or this kid can be Fred or better than Fred or whatever the case may be," he said.Getting VanVleet signed was good news for a Raptors team that saw centres Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol leave. Toronto rebounded by signing Aron Baynes and Alex Len and re-signing Canadian Chris Boucher to a two-year contract.Due to COVID-19 and Canada's travel restrictions, the Raptors will play at least the first part of the season in Tampa, Fla.VanVleet, who hasn't been back in Canada since the league initially shut down on March 11, said he'd love to be coming back to Toronto. "Toronto has turned into my second home. Obviously we miss the city, but I think we've got to be excited about what's ahead of us," he said. "I can't not be excited about it. We were in Florida for a while with the bubble in Orlando, and right back there in Tampa, so hopefully it's a good experience."VanVleet said he planned to enjoy the moment, exhale finally after the free agency stress, then get ready to for camp which opens Dec. 1. The season tips off Dec. 22.Having achieved so much in such a short time, where does he go from here?"The crazy part is, I've pretty much done everything I ever wanted to do already . . . everything that's on the checklist."It's really just the beginning of the next chapter . . . now I feel like I'm on a level playing field and I've made it, and I've got both feet inside the door, and I'm in the room and now it's time to really take off and go to another level." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 24, 2020.Lori Ewing, The Canadian Press
ÉCONOMIE. Pour donner une voix aux PME, la Fédération canadienne de l'entreprise indépendante (FCEI) lance une pétition auprès de ses membres et les invite à s'exprimer sur les mesures qui peuvent les aider et qui doivent être rapidement adoptées par le gouvernement du Québec. «Dès septembre, la FCEI a demandé à que toute nouvelle restriction économique soit accompagnée d'un programme d'aide costaud. C'est ce que le gouvernement avait annoncé avec l'AERAM pour faire face au défi des 28 jours. Mais là, nous en sommes au 55e jour d'arrêt pour certaines PME, et malheureusement, plusieurs attendent encore de recevoir cette aide. Il y en a qui n'y ont tout simplement pas accès, même si elles souffrent aussi des contrecoups de la crise seulement parce qu'elles tombent entre les mailles du filet. C'est le cas des entreprises de certains secteurs, comme l'événementiel, ou encore celui des entreprises en démarrage. Il faut vite agir pour corriger le tir», explique François Vincent, vice-président Québec à la FCEI. La pétition met aussi l'accent sur une préoccupation concernant l'augmentation de l'impôt. Pour la FCEI, celle-ci risque d'assommer certaines petites entreprises, car le Québec est la seule province qui bloque toujours l'accès au taux réduit d'impôt pour celles qui œuvrent dans les secteurs des services et de la construction. Ainsi, une petite entreprise qui a diminué son nombre d'employés en raison de la crise (moins de 3 employés) pourrait voir son taux d'imposition exploser de 130 %. «La dernière chose qu'un gouvernement devrait faire en des temps si incertains, c'est d'augmenter l'impôt des plus petites entreprises. C'est pourtant ce que font les règles injustes qui empêchent les plus petites entreprises d'avoir accès au taux réduit d'impôt. J'invite tous les parlementaires à s'investir pour régler cette injustice et à travailler de concert pour s'assurer de ne pas augmenter le fardeau fiscal des entreprises», ajoute François Vincent. Stéphane Lévesque, Initiative de journalisme local, L'Hebdo Journal
MONTREAL — The Quebec government has tightened its rules surrounding Christmas gatherings, specifying on Tuesday that people will only be able to attend two holiday events during a four-day window.Premier Francois Legault's government last week announced it would permit gatherings of a maximum of 10 people for four days between Dec. 24 and 27 and asked Quebecers to voluntarily quarantine themselves for a week before and after in exchange.Legault said Tuesday that while there are four days available to gather with people outside their households, Quebecers should at most use two of them.He also asked that people who are unable to quarantine avoid gatherings altogether."I’m sure those people don’t want to infect, or take the risk of infecting, members of their own family, so it’s understood that if you can’t quarantine a week before it’s better not to go to Christmas dinner," Legault told a news conference in Quebec City.Legault has faced some criticism for his decision to loosen restrictions for Christmas as the province continues to report over 1,000 cases a day.On Tuesday, Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister weighed in on Quebec's plan, calling it dangerous."I don’t want to get into quarterbacking other provinces — there are premiers there doing their absolute best — except to say this: I think it’s dangerous what the Quebec premier has decided to announce on Christmas," Pallister said. Legault, in response, said the number of new cases per million residents is currently lower in Quebec than Manitoba."Second, I want to (remind) my friend Brian that we’re talking about a maximum of 10 people per house, and also we’re asking for a quarantine of seven days before the gathering," he said. "I don’t know if he’s aware of all these requirements."Legault, however, said he was not willing to impose stricter measures, such as shutting down stores, to enforce the quarantine, saying it would not be fair to people who aren't planning to gather.Under the province's current rules, bars, restaurant dining areas and most cultural venues are closed in most regions of the province, and social gatherings are limited to people of the same household, with a few exceptions.The change to the Christmas rules came as the number of deaths and hospitalizations in the province continued to jump.Quebec reported 45 more deaths attributed to COVID-19 and 1,124 new infections on Tuesday, as well as a 21-person increase in the number of hospitalizations.Legault said that unlike in the first wave, the problem is now mostly concentrated outside of major cities.He said the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region is hardest hit, followed by Estrie, Gaspe, parts of Lanaudiere, Bas-St-Laurent and Sorel.Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, with a population of just over 275,000, counted more than 100 new cases on Tuesday, giving it the highest per-capita infection rate in the province."I'm asking everyone in Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, if you're able in the coming days, the coming weeks, to stay home, it will help to reduce the pressure," Legault said.The premier said there was also a "real problem" in private seniors' residences, which are driving transmission in some regions.Government data showed a total of 167 new cases in private seniors' homes in the past 24 hours. The two residences with the biggest increases were both in Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean, with 53 and 37 new cases.Earlier Tuesday, Quebec Health Minister Christian Dube announced a plan to track the movement of staff working at multiple long-term care homes.In a statement, Dube said he was creating a registry that would record instances when staff need to work at more than one care home "due to a risk of service disruption that could compromise user safety."He said employees who have to move between hot and cold zones — those with infected patients and those without — will have to seek permission from management or infection control specialists first.The government's plan for the pandemic's second wave included a ban on allowing personal care attendants to work at multiple locations, after this was identified as a key factor in COVID-19 transmission.However, Dube has conceded that stopping all movement of personnel has been difficult due to shortages in certain jobs, such as nurses.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 24, 2020.Morgan Lowrie, The Canadian Press
Le Centre de dépannage des Nord-Côtiers, organisme desservant le secteur ouest de la Haute-Côte-Nord, ne peut organiser son traditionnel souper- spaghetti cette année pour amasser des fonds pour la campagne de financement des paniers de Noël. Il doit alors se tourner vers d’autres moyens de financement, dont une campagne de dons virtuelle. « Nous invitons la population à convertir le montant traditionnellement destiné à l’achat d’un ou plusieurs billets pour le souper-spaghetti en don de charité via la plateforme Facebook créée pour l’occasion », explique Nathalie Beaudoin, directrice générale. Un objectif de 5 000 $ a été fixé pour cette campagne en ligne, alors que le souper-bénéfice amassait 12 000 $. « Le manque à gagner devrait être comblé par les dons d’organismes comme les Lions et Desjardins », dévoile la directrice. Au moment d'écrire ces lignes, une somme de 1 790 $ avait été récoltée sur la plateforme web. De plus, la journée du 5 décembre, de 11 h à 14 h, sera consacrée à ramasser des denrées et dons en argent dans les rues des villages du secteur ouest. « Nos bénévoles seront sur place et les automobilistes n’auront qu’à tendre la main pour donner soit des denrées non périssables ou de l’argent », confirme Mme Beaudoin, qui est toujours à la recherche de bénévoles pour cette journée cruciale. Pour obtenir un panier de Noël, les familles doivent obligatoirement en faire la demande. Le formulaire d’inscription est disponible à la friperie, par courriel et messenger. Une preuve de revenus, une preuve de résidence et au besoin, une lettre explicative doivent être jointes au formulaire. Selon Nathalie Beaudoin, la demande devrait être plus forte qu’à l’habitude avec la précarité qu’a engendrée la pandémie de la COVID-19. « Nous espérons pouvoir faire 50 paniers comme l’an dernier, selon les dons que nous aurons reçus », conclut-elle.Johannie Gaudreault, Initiative de journalisme local, Journal Haute-Côte-Nord
NEW YORK — Nearly two months later, Chris Wallace can't bring himself to watch a rerun of the disastrous first presidential debate between President Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden. “I'm not sure I ever will,” said Wallace, the “Fox News Sunday” host who moderated the slugfest. George Washington University brought leaders of the Commission on Presidential Debates and moderators of all three encounters together for a remote debrief Monday night. Two takeaways: increased early voting means the commission is considering earlier debates, and the mute button may be here to stay. It was a boisterous, uncomfortable fall for the debate commission, which dropped the second of three planned presidential sessions when Trump refused to agree to a remote debate following his COVID diagnosis. Trump and supporters also attacked the bipartisan commission as being biased toward Biden. “No one likes to be on the receiving end of attacks in reference to us being swamp monsters,” said Kenneth Wollack, one of the commission's co-chairs. He said there's “not an ounce of partisanship” that goes into the commission's decisions. One decision, the subject of much internal debate, was to mute the microphones of Trump and Biden when their opponent was giving a two-minute answer at the introduction of a new subject matter. The commission said it wasn't a new rule, but a means to enforce rules that had already been agreed upon. Trump's repeated interruptions during the Sept. 29 debate, an apparent strategy to knock Biden off stride, forced the change. NBC's Kristen Welker, the moderator who benefited from the mute button, said she was “pleasantly pleased” with how it worked; the commission will formally evaluate its future next spring, said Frank Fahrenkopf, another co-chair. If he has any regrets, Wallace said he wished he would have acted sooner to suggest a “time out” so the candidates might be convinced to better behave themselves. “I realized after 15 minutes that I had a problem and the country had a problem,” he said. But Wallace said it was a “very bad strategy” on the president's part because it quickly became clear that Trump was hurting himself more than Biden. Fahrenkopf said he believed Trump's performance that night was a key factor in his election loss. “For better or worse, I think the first debate was a deeply clarifying moment,” Wallace said. USA Today's Susan Page, who moderated the debate between Vice-President Mike Pence and Democrat Kamala Harris, was bedeviled by the candidates' long-windedness and elusiveness, preventing her from following up questions unanswered. If she had a do-over, she said she would have been more aggressive in cutting Pence off. The moderators shared preparation strategies. Welker, who drew praise for her handling of the final debate, left her beat at NBC News to concentrate on getting ready. She said she called people across the country, like undecided voters and teachers working remotely due to COVID. “It gave me a sense and sensibility of what voters cared about,” she said. “I really wanted it to not be a Washington debate.” Fahrenkopf said it's getting more difficult to choose moderators because the commission wants to make sure there's nothing in their work to make them appear to favour one candidate over the other. With more voters retreating to media outlets that reflect their points of view, debates offer an increasingly rare chance to see different viewpoints side-by-side. If he had one piece of advice to viewers, Fahrenkopf said it would be to turn off their televisions after the debate's conclusion and not listen to TV analysts telling them what they just saw. “I think that's very bad advice,” replied Wallace, who fills that role when he's not moderating. David Bauder, The Associated Press
The new Region of Queens Municipality (RQM) council has agreed to pay $1,765 to former councillor Susan MacLeod, for personal legal fees she chalked up in 2019. However, taxpayers are not being told why she incurred the expense. The decision to pay MacLeod’s legal fees was announced in council on November 10, following an in-camera meeting at which the issue was discussed. When asked about the motion concerning the repayment, which was read by councillor Ralph Gidney, RQM’s new mayor Darlene Norman commented that a municipal policy “ensures that appointed officials are protected in cases of civic or criminal action as a result of his or her performance of their duties. “Councillors are treated as a staff member in legal matters, and because it was an in-camera item, our comments are basically what that motion stated.” RQM’s policy number 21.03, to which the mayor referred, states at length: “The mayor and every councillor of the Region of Queens Municipality and their heirs and legal representatives of such person, in the absence of any dishonesty on the part of such person, shall be indemnified by the Region of Queens Municipality against, and it shall be the duty of the council, out of the funds of the Region of Queens Municipality, to pay all costs, losses and expense, including any amount paid to settle an action or claim to satisfy a judgment that such mayor or councillor may incur or become liable to pay in respect of any claim made against such person in any civil, criminal or administrative action or proceeding to which such person is made a party by reason of being a mayor or councillor of the Region of Queens Municipality whether the Region of Queens Municipality is a claimant or party to such action or proceeding or otherwise.” However, Norman would not explain to what legal issue the expense related, nor is the expense listed in the former councillor’s list of expenses posted on the municipality’s website, along with other council members’ expenses. The mayor declined to comment any further on the issue. “In-camera items have to remain in-camera and, as such, it remains so,” she said. However, while the purpose of the meeting was indicated on the agenda as a “personnel matter,” under Nova Scotia’s Municipal Government Act (MGA) councillors are not employees of the municipality and employees cannot be councillors. “Councillors are elected officials and not considered to be ‘personnel’ or staff of the municipality,” Krista Higdon, a spokesperson for the provincial Department of Municipal Affairs, said in an email. “Council must determine whether it is appropriate to go into a closed session (in camera) based on the requirements in section 22 of the Municipal Government Act,” she added. Nonetheless, Heather Cook, RQM’s communications coordinator, maintained that, from the municipality’s perspective, all councillors are considered to be employees. “Council members are on the municipal payroll and are considered employees of the municipality, and discussion of the item was subject to being held in-camera,” she said in an email. When it was suggested that taxpayers might be curious as to why the council is footing the legal bill of a former councillor, Mayor Norman noted, “it is a matter of past council.” She reiterated, “it was respecting, according to our policy, a matter in relation to that person’s duties or role as a councillor and that follows the policy.”Kevin McBain, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, LighthouseNOW Progress Bulletin
COVID-19 tests will be available at the Rizzardo Health and Wellness Centre in Innisfil. Starting on Nov. 25, Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre (RVH) will open a COVID-19 testing clinic inside the Rizzardo centre, which is located at 7325 Yonge Street, Innisfil. The clinic will be open on Mondays and Wednesdays between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. According to the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit, you can get a test if you are showing COVID-19 symptoms, have been exposed to a confirmed case, were informed by your public health unit or through the COVID Alert app, or work in a setting that has a COVID-19 outbreak. To book an appointment at the COVID-19 testing clinic, visit https://www.rvh.on.ca/covid/rvhtestingcentre/Pages/default.aspx or call 705-797-3120. All appointments require your name, health card number and date of birth. For more information about COVID-19 and to find the province of Ontario’s self-assessment tool, visit https://www.ontario.ca/page/covid-19-stop-spreadShane MacDonald, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Barrie Advance
Alberta Health Minister Tyler Shandro called the display outside his constituency office "offensive".
CALGARY — The Alberta Court of Appeal has refused to throw out one of the convictions against a man who was found guilty of killing a father and his two-year-old daughter as well as a senior.Derek Saretzky's lawyer, Balfour Der, had argued that his client's first-degree murder conviction in the death of Hanne Meketech, 69, in September 2015 should be overturned because Saretzky's rights were breached when police improperly took his confession.Saretzky was also convicted of first-degree murder in the slayings of Terry Blanchette, who was 27, and his daughter Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette.Saretzky, 27, was in custody when he confessed Meketech's killing to an RCMP officer who visited him at a correctional centre.Der said Saretzky should never have been convicted in the woman's death since the confession came without a lawyer present and six months after Saretzky admitted to killing Blanchette and the toddler.The Crown argued that at the time of the police interview Saretzky would have been well aware of his right to counsel.The three-justice Appeal Court panel unanimously dismissed the appeal."The appellant was not under arrest and the trial judge found he had not been detained," wrote Justice Peter Martin on behalf of the court."Those findings were well supported by the evidence and are entitled to deference. I agree with his conclusion that on considering all of the circumstances of this case, the appellant's confession would not have been excluded."Meketech's body was found in her home in Coleman, Alta., on Sept. 9, 2015. She had been struck in the head and stabbed in the neck. During the trial, the jury was shown videotaped confessions in which Saretzky told police it was a spur-of-the-moment decision to kill Meketech, who was a friend of his grandparents, because he didn't think anyone cared about her. Five days later, Blanchette's body was discovered in his home in Blairmore, Alta. His daughter was missing, which sparked an Amber Alert and an extensive search in the Crowsnest Pass area of southwestern Alberta.Court heard Saretzky was "an aspiring serial killer" at the time of the attacks. He had few close friends and possessed numerous books on serial killers and serial killings.Saretzky was sentenced in 2017 to three consecutive life sentences, which means he is ineligible for parole until he has served 75 years in prison.The Court of Appeal still has to schedule and hear an appeal of the sentence.This report by The Canadian Press was first published November 24, 2020.— Follow @BillGraveland on TwitterBill Graveland, The Canadian Press
The province has been asked to improve lighting conditions around the Baldonnel railway overpass. Electoral director Karen Goodings says residents are concerned the section of highway is too dark at night, making it dangerous for drivers. Such a fix would have to be a joint project between the Ministry of Transportation and CN Rail, Goodings said, both of which the regional district approached for potential solutions earlier this year. In a Sept. 8 response, ministry officials said the section of highway is classified as an "undivided, rural highway," which are typically not fully illuminated. The ministry said requests for extra lighting would have to go through its regional engineering group, and that the request has been added for its review. "The reason why the corner is 'darker' is the motorist moving from a illuminated area into an unilluminated segment and the adjustment time for the eyes gives the perception of extra darkness," wrote Florian Kund, bridge area manager for the North Peace. "From my experience it is very hard to get the engineering support and warrants for extra and new illumination, as there are some very firm engineering guidelines that govern when and were luminaries are warranted." In the meantime, the ministry's contractor was told to install more reflective markers on the overhead to highlight structure edges, Kund wrote. Email reporter Tom Summer at email@example.com.Tom Summer, Local Journalism Initiative, Alaska Highway News
Canada welcomes the choice of John Kerry as new U.S. climate envoy but will press Washington not to cancel permits for an oil pipeline he opposes, Ottawa's ambassador to the United States said on Tuesday. President-elect Joe Biden this week announced Kerry would be his climate czar, a cabinet-level position. Kerry played an important role in crafting the Paris Agreement on climate but President Donald Trump has withdrawn from the treaty.
Local non-profit organizations are facing an uncertain future during the pandemic. An Ontario Non-profit Network survey found one in five non-profits in the province were likely to close by the end of the year. At Kinbridge Community Association in South Galt, registration fees for recreation activity has dropped 95 per cent due to COVID-19, said Joe-Ann McComb, the executive director. Three major projects were cancelled this year and the organization has seen drastic reductions in social activity as programs for seniors and youth have been cut or reduced. A kid’s summer camp that typically had 100 kids was only able to “have eight indoors,” McComb said. Langs in Cambridge, a community centre and social services organization that runs dozens of programs for a low-cost or free, has lost $62,000 in revenue this year due to loss of room rentals, walking track fees and program fees, said Jeff Hunter, fundraising and communications co-ordinator. The groups continue to have a positive influence in their community despite limitations, though. This includes online cooking classes, homework study groups and social services programs that continue to run despite added costs. Social media and electronic newsletters have helped secure some COVID response funds which was received “really well by the community,” said Hunter. However, making up for the costs of PPEs will be difficult the longer the pandemic goes undefeated. As programs move online, a lot more time and money is being invested to run them virtually. The need for the purchase of equipment like webcams has risen not only for staff members, but also for participants. This includes loaning out webcams and tablets for those who had no way to join the programs. Explosion of grant requests Grant requests from the community have “exploded,” said Anne Lavender, executive director of Cambridge & North Dumfries Community Foundation (CNDCF). “You can't bring people together for a big dinner. You can't fundraise. You can't even have, like, a bake sale, because nobody will come. Even if they did, you wouldn't be able to let them into your building,” said Lavender. An Angus Reid Institute poll from September found there was a 37 per cent reduction in charitable giving among donors in Canada during the pandemic. The Canadian Government’s Emergency Community Support Fund (ECSF) delivered funding of over $2 million in two rounds for the Waterloo Region, said Lavender. The money was given to “support people experiencing heightened vulnerability,” said CNDCF in a media release announcing receipts of part of the money. “It was a great deal of money. But ultimately, the amount that was requested was five times what we were given to distribute,” for her foundation, Lavender explained. Greenway-Chaplin community centre has adapted to the challenges this year by sending out meal and science kits for participating children and hosting YouTube videos on science, working out and cooking. The group was one of the many non-profits who weren’t able to secure ECSF funding. Programs and events have been completely cut for many smaller groups and associations contacted by Cambridge Times in Kitchener and Cambridge. At this point, “we don’t do a lot of fundraising,” said Emily Jaarsma, executive director of Greenway-Chaplin Community Centre. The organization typically relied on program fees for budget and services, which have all decreased. Staff are being supported through government wage subsidies, and there has been cutbacks felt in “all of our programs in general,” she noted. McComb said as social activities have gone down for most people, studies point out that mental health and well-being are being impacted. Her organization’s activities for youth and seniors “fills the gap.” Demand for programming from parents and seniors remains high. McComb said donations of any amount would be appreciated, even lending an “extra hand.” Hunter likewise reminds those interested to go on their website and click on the ‘get involved’ page to make a financial donation. “We need donations more than ever to sustain vital programming.”Swikar Oli, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Cambridge Times
Premier François Legault has tightened the rules of his "moral contract" with Quebecers, asking the public to limit themselves to two gatherings between Dec. 24 and 27.Legault said last week that people could meet in groups of at most 10 — if they quarantine themselves for a week before and a week after Christmas. On Tuesday, Legault said people can only do that twice."Public health authorities told us that we have to limit ourselves to two gatherings," Legault said Tuesday.Legault also said shopping should be done seven days beforehand, if possible.He added, as well, that Quebecers should "refrain from travelling outside Quebec" during the holidays to avoid returning with the virus.Gatherings will only be allowed over the holidays if the number of daily cases and hospitalizations remains stable, said Dr. Horacio Arruda, the province's public health director.Arruda said, ideally, he would like to see a decrease in the daily numbers before the holiday season, given that an increase in transmission is expected over Christmas.The province's case count has stubbornly remained above 1,000 for several weeks. On Tuesday, the province reported 1,124 cases and 45 deaths.
Children under the age of five are amazing sponges for information. Ask any childhood researcher, or any parent who has told a story to another adult, only to have a child bring it up at an inopportune moment. But that sponge-like nature, if encouraged and nurtured, means a child has the opportunity to grow into their best self, and have the tools and capabilities that will allow them to succeed in whichever way they see fit. “We know that the child’s first experiences with language and culture come from within his own family, and within early childhood settings.” says Josée Latulippe, manager of Collège Boréal’s Centre d’innovation sociale pour l’enfant et la famille (CISEF – Child and family social innovation centre). It is for this reason that the FrancoFUN program was created by the Association francophone à l’éducation des services à l’enfance de l’Ontario (AFÉSEO – Francophone association for early childhood education) as a way to ensure that early childhood educators are not just offered the chance to enhance early French-language learning for children, but to ensure that they can view their classroom through the Francophone lens, and build identity as well as skill set. “Identity building is vital, “Latulippe said. “Because studies show that it is a key mechanism to ensure the vitality of minority-language communities and prepare young children to be educated in French when they enter elementary school.” And it is this “continuum of language,” as Latulippe calls it, that ensures language and cultural identity survives. As children here in Sudbury, both Anglophone and Francophone, have the ability to enjoy their education in French from childhood to post-secondary, it ensures that a culture and language that could be considered already marginalized is one that will last the test of time, regardless of the surrounding majority. The FrancoFUN program focused not just on providing language to students, but also the cultural identity behind the Franco-Ontarien legacy. It is a specific culture, with a specific dialect — headed to ‘camp’ anyone — and stories and history all its own. And it is one that, if shared, can enrich a child’s ability to learn a language, and bring together a community that is consistently working to preserve its cultural identity. And now that the FrancoFUN program has been in place for some time, helping Early Childhood Educators find ways to continually incorporate cultural, historical, language-based, and just plain fun aspects of the Franco-Ontarien peoples, they are now ready to measure the success, and share their methods with others. “We are always reflecting,” said Latulippe, and notes the questions they continually ask: “How can I better my program? How can I make it more accessible? Do we have a welcoming structure in place to welcome families that are French and English?” For it is not just fully Francophone families that can benefit from this type of study, and action. If you would like your child to speak French, but your home is mixed-language, or perhaps somewhat disconnected to the culture, then this type of programming will not only offer you the opportunity to increase your child’s chances of success, as Latulippe notes that research shows language learning is greatly helped by immersion into the culture of the language, not just the words. And this is especially true for parents who would like their children to speak French, but do not do so themselves. Simply by building a bridge between your home and the school, said Latulippe, you can enrich your child’s language learning without knowing a word yourself. With a program like FrancoFUN, you can learn about the culture as well. “It doesn’t mean you need to take French classes,” Latulippe said. “You just need to support the culture in your home. It’s because we are all the first educators.” And now, as the program has raised awareness among early childhood educators about their role in encouraging Francophone identity in their classrooms, it’s time to find out how the tools are working. From now until March of 2021, a survey of the educators and their thoughts and feeling about the program will be gathered, and shared amongst interested parties. “We are hoping we will have a tool to promote culture and language identity within Early Childhood settings,” said Latulippe, “which can then be shared within the community, with teachers at the college, and with the Franco-Ontarien culture really.” And it is this tool that Latulippe hopes will encourage not just French-language learning across Ontario, but also an understanding of the unique and beautiful qualities that make a culture, and a portrait of those who have come before, and those who will come after. Because the loss of any culture is a horrific idea; but the loss of folklore, of La Nuit sur l'étang, of ‘Notre Place’, of CANO, and of tourtière and tarte au sucre, is much too tragic to imagine. Jenny Lamothe is a Local Journalism Reporter at Sudbury.com, covering issues in the Black, immigrant and Francophone communities. She is also a freelance writer and voice actor. Contact her through her website, JennyLamothe.com.Jenny Lamothe, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Sudbury.com
LONDON — A book that looks at The Beatles from a playful kaleidoscope of angles won Britain’s leading nonfiction literary award on Tuesday.Craig Brown’s “One Two Three Four: The Beatles in Time” was named winner of the 50,000-pound ($66,000) Baillie Gifford Prize at a virtual ceremony in London.Brown’s “composite biography” juxtaposes the stories of John, Paul, George and Ringo with relatives, partners, artists, imitators, hangers-on and others drawn into their orbit.Broadcaster Martha Kearney, who chaired the judging panel, said Brown’s “joyous, irreverent, insightful celebration” of the Fab Four was “a shaft of light piercing the deep gloom of 2020.”“Who would have thought that a book about The Beatles could seem so fresh?” she said.The award recognizes English-language books in current affairs, history, politics, science, sport, travel, biography, autobiography and the arts.Brown beat a shortlist that included Sudhir Hazareesingh’s Haitian revolution history “Black Spartacus,” Matthew Cobb’s “The Idea of the Brain” and Christina Lamb’s book about women and war “Our Bodies, Their Battlefield.”The other finalists were Amy Stanley’s “Stranger in the Shogun’s City,” about a woman’s life in 19th-century Japan, and “The Haunting of Alma Fielding” by Kate Summerscale, a fact-based story of apparently supernatural events.The Associated Press
PARIS — France’s interior minister ordered an internal police investigation Tuesday after officers were filmed tossing migrants out of tents while evacuating a protest camp in Paris.Aid groups and the government were working to find temporary lodging for hundreds of migrants forcibly removed from the short-lived camp on the Place de la Republique in eastern Paris on Monday night.The evacuation, filmed by journalists and activists, drew nationwide attention amid tensions over a draft law beefing up police powers that easily passed a vote in France’s lower house of parliament Tuesday.Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin ordered an internal police investigation into “certain incidents,” promising to make the results public.“Was I shocked by some of the images (of the evacuation)? The answer is yes,” Darmanin told Parliament.His rapid reaction to the outcry stands in contrast to his vigorous defence of police officers in recent months, and to the government’s tepid response to more severe and sustained violence by police at protests by yellow vest activists and others in recent years.In the Monday night evacuation, police lifted tents with migrants inside, shaking them until they tumbled to the ground, and those who resisted were kicked or beaten with batons, according to the head of aid group Doctors Without Borders in France, Corinne Torre.Images shared online showed activists and local officials shouting and trying to block police from dislodging the migrants. Torre, who witnessed the evacuation, said several people sought treatment for injuries from her aid group, known by its French acronym MSF.Aid groups and Paris legislators said they set up the protest camp to call attention to the plight of hundreds of migrants who were kicked out of another camp in the shadow of France’s national stadium last week and have been sleeping in the streets since then for lack of other options.Most are from Afghanistan, Somalia and Eritrea, and some have been refused asylum while others are in bureaucratic limbo while they try to apply, Torre said.The Paris police headquarters said in a statement that the Republique camp was evacuated because it was illegal, and “invited” the migrants to seek lodging elsewhere offered by the state or aid groups.The ministers for citizenship and housing said in a statement Tuesday that 240 potential spots in temporary lodging had been located for the migrants, saying they “should be treated with humanity and fraternity.”The draft law facing a vote Tuesday in the National Assembly is meant to strengthen local police and provide greater protection to all officers. It notably makes it a crime to publish images of officers with intent to cause them harm, a measure that has prompted repeated protests by civil liberties campaigners and media freedom groups.The Associated Press
The University of British Columbia has launched an investigation after more than 100 entry-level math students were accused of cheating on their midterm exam several days ago.The investigation became public after an ominous note from the students' professor was posted online late Monday. It was also circulated to students directly."I am extremely disappointed to tell you that there were over 100 cases of cheating," said the note, a screenshot of which was posted to the UBC Reddit thread."If confirmed, the students involved will receive a 0% for the course (not just the midterm) and I will recommend their expulsion from UBC."The note is signed "Mike." The CBC has not been able to verify the UBC professor's identity. However, the university has said it's investigating allegations of widespread cheating in one section of the math department involving entry-level math students.There are more than 1,500 students currently enrolled in Math 100 at UBC, split up into classes of about 250. The class is being held entirely online this semester, due to the pandemic. Midterms are run online as well.Matthew Ramsey, director of university affairs, confirmed the university is investigating allegations of widespread cheating. He said it is too early to be able to provide details on how the students might have been cheating or how they were caught."Those details, I'm sure, will come clear in the investigative process," he said by phone on Tuesday.Ramsay said the professor's note was first sent to students, then posted online.Test monitoring toolsMany schools across the country, including UBC, have been using online software extensions to help detect and discourage cheating since classes went virtual. One test-proctoring tool, called Proctorio, monitors students for suspicious behaviour while they're writing a virtual exam.UBC faculty can offer an alternative, like a final project, to replace exams if they are overly concerned about cheating, but exams can't always be replaced."In some instances, it is necessary to use ... software like Proctorio to ensure academic integrity," Ramsey said. "Incidents of academic misconduct themselves are very uncommon, very rare at the university," added Ramsey, who has been with the school since 2014. "I have not seen allegations of this nature in my time at UBC but, again, they are, at this point, allegations."Investigations into academic misconduct begin with a professor reporting their concerns to the dean's office. That office can either dismiss complaints, give students a warning or pass the case along to the President's Advisory Committee on Student Discipline for potential punishment. Penalties can range from a formal warning to being expelled from the university.Since investigations are complex and take time, Ramsey said, it's too soon to gauge whether there has been an overall increase in cheating since classes and exams began moving fully online in the spring."If the students are disciplined, we will get a sense as to those numbers in the coming months. At this point, it's just too early to say," he said.