A Spruce Grove man confessed to his son that he suffocated the woman he'd been married to for nearly 55 years, then didn't tell anyone what had happened. Robert Joyes, 76, was originally charged with the second-degree murder of his wife Freda in May 2018. The charge was downgraded to manslaughter at a preliminary hearing and withdrawn altogether on Wednesday when Robert Joyes pleaded guilty in Edmonton's Court of Queen's Bench to neglecting a dead body by not contacting the medical examiner. He was sentenced to 18 months of house arrest by Justice Terry Clackson, as recommended by a joint submission from the Crown and defence. Robert Joyes was the primary caregiver for his 74-year-old wife who was confined to a wheelchair, had severe heart disease and suffered excruciating pain from rheumatoid arthritis and migraines that were treated by opioids. Following a surgery in 2017, she was no longer able to raise her head. Freda Joyes relied on her husband for trips to the doctor and giving her medication. She also received regular home care visits from health professionals. The couple had three sons, one of whom suffered brain damage at age one from post-meningitis complications and needed constant care from his parents until he died in 2015. When that happened, Robert Joyes began to drink heavily. His alcohol abuse worsened as his wife's physical state deteriorated. According to an agreed statement of facts, one of their sons visited his parents at their apartment on Mother's Day in 2018. That's the last time he saw Freda Joyes alive. Two weeks later, he came to the apartment to check on his parents and found his mother dead in her bed in an advanced stage of decomposition. His father was nowhere to be found. "During that time, he was grossly intoxicated," the court document states. "He understood the victim had passed away but did not want to report her death. "Instead, he kept drinking heavily while sleeping in the same bed as his dead wife." Robert Joyes was arrested for impaired driving on May 26, 2018, and for public intoxication the next day. No one knows exactly when Freda Joyes died. Her husband kept turning away home care workers by telling them they were going away and that everything was fine. Confession After Freda's body was found and the death reported, Robert Joyes confessed what had happened to his son. "Your mother didn't die in her sleep," Joyes told his son. "I suffocated her. She wanted it. She was in a lot of pain." His son insisted they go to the RCMP, where Joyes told an officer, "I put a pillow over her face." An autopsy was performed on May 30, 2018. At a preliminary hearing, the medical examiner, Dr. Bernard Bannach, testified that he concluded the cause of death was undetermined. Had it not been for Robert Joyes' confession, Bannach said he would have found the cause to be heart disease. Justice Clackson said that having reviewed the agreed statement of facts, he was confident Joyes likely would have been acquitted on the manslaughter charge, given the findings from the medical examiner. "One is not always sure about the mechanism of death, especially when there's a heart condition," Clackson said. Robert Joyes has undergone extensive treatment for his alcohol addiction and said he hasn't touched a drop since the death of his wife. "I fully understand and feel a lot of shame for what happened," he told the judge. "I realize my alcoholism was totally out of control. ... I have no excuses per se for what happened, other than I was so under the influence." He told the court he plans to spend the rest of his life sober, helping others who suffer from the same addiction. "Nearly 900 days ago, my client lost his best friend and partner of nearly 55 years," defence lawyer Anthony Oliver told the judge. "He clearly loved his wife who was literally on her deathbed." But, Oliver noted, "Our society can't function if you permit bodies to be left around."
Maggie, a two-year-old chocolate Lab, had been in three homes that didn't work out. Then the P.E.I. Humane Society decided to try something different.Jennifer Harkness, the society's development and communications manager, said that when Maggie arrived at the shelter, she was stressed and constantly barking, and it was hard for her to remain calm. > It was really that mental stimulation that she needed. \- Jennifer Harkness"She was so uncontrollable. It was easy to see how she was rehomed three times before," said HarknessBut when they began working with her, they saw a different side."We saw a lot of potential in Maggie. It was really that mental stimulation that she needed."She wasn't going to get in the typical home environment, so the society got in touch with Doug Stokely, a New Brunswick-based dog trainer who has been training police dogs for about a decade.Stokely saw the same qualities staff at the humane society saw."I asked for a couple of videos of her playing fetch and showing her hunt drive and her skills, and just talking with her [trainer] for five minutes, I basically knew that she is the type of dog that needed a job," he said."She has everything — rock-solid nerves, and just that drive and desire to work."'Exactly what we look for in a police dog'Maggie is with Stokely now, training and spending some time with his 19 other dogs, which includes a team of sled dogs.He has been working with her on her sniffing skills, and he said she is thriving in the environment."The reason dogs end up in a shelter, like Maggie, that's exactly what we look for in a police dog," he said.Dogs like Maggie aren't good at hanging around the house, said Stokely. They want to work.Staff at the humane society are thrilled Maggie has found a place."It just proves that taking the time to work with animals on what their needs are is so worthwhile," said Harkness.Maggie has been accepted into a K-9 training program, and Stokely is certain she will do very well, almost certainly ending up as a narcotics detection dog.More from CBC P.E.I.
Ontario could be "on the brink of disaster," a Toronto epidemiologist said Wednesday, as officials continued to urge families to scrap Thanksgiving gatherings amid soaring COVID-19 cases.This week, the province — and public health officials in the hot zones of Toronto and Ottawa — stressed the safest way to celebrate is with only members of your own household.Should Ontarians not heed those warnings, some weekend gatherings could become superspreading events once infected attendees return to their homes, schools and workplaces, said Dr. Jeff Kwong, a professor of family medicine and public health at the University of Toronto."It's not just about this one transmission event; it's the onward transmission," he said. "Ten people gathering, say four or five get infected, then they go on to their social circles and infect another five or 10, and so on."The result could be like a "runaway train" given the millions of residents potentially congregating indoors with extended family members from different households, he said.Ontario is experiencing a seven-day average of more than 600 cases per day, up sharply from a seven-day average of fewer than 100 cases per day at the start of August.The province has also been struggling to tackle high demand for testing and an existing backlog of more than 55,000 tests. Most contact tracing efforts in Toronto have been suspended because of the dramatic rise in infections.Against that backdrop, Ontario officials are now encouraging household-only celebrations for Thanksgiving while saying people who live alone can pair up with one other household.Activities now 'much higher risk'Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Premier Doug Ford said residents let their guard down on previous holidays, such as Labour Day weekend, which led to increased cases.But there are several stark differences between those earlier festivities and Thanksgiving, Kwong said. Unlike the long weekend holidays of spring and summer, Thanksgiving is traditionally celebrated indoors given the colder weather. Also, it often marks the first time college and university students return home from campus, and it now falls against a backdrop of already-rising cases."Things are a little bit out of control already," he said. "It's not like cases are going down steadily like they were earlier in the summer."Dr. Irfan Dhalla, vice-president of physician quality at Unity Health, which includes St. Michael's and St. Joseph's hospitals in Toronto, agreed the climate has changed."The same activities that we could do with relatively low risk at 50-70 cases per day are now much higher risk at 500-700 cases per day," he said.One park gathering, 27 casesAccording to Dr. Vera Etches, medical officer of health for Ottawa, even outdoor dinners aren't advised for Thanksgiving, given the risks tied to close contact in settings like a park.One outdoor gathering in that city already wound up becoming a superspreading event, she said.It was a barbecue in a park, Etches revealed last month, with 40 attendees, including two who went on to develop COVID-19 symptoms. Those infections led to outbreaks in their households, a workplace and a daycare — causing dozens of exposures and at least 27 cases. The messaging throughout the pandemic has long been "outdoors is better than indoors," said University of Toronto epidemiologist Ashleigh Tuite, but she stressed that only goes so far."I think the concern is still, you're eating a meal together, it's hard to keep a distance," she explained. "You're sharing food. You're passing dishes."Thanksgiving a 'potent accelerator' Experts say there are ways to avoid those risks while still celebrating the spirit of the occasion. Tuite said a family hike, if physical distancing is maintained, is one option. Kwong said he's carving up a turkey, offering curbside pickup for family and gathering online for the meal. The challenge, both agree, is people trying to gather together like usual and slipping up once food and drinks start flowing.With that in mind, Kwong issued a public plea for Ontarians, and particularly those in Toronto, Ottawa and Peel region, to cancel any planned gatherings."We are on the brink of disaster," he said in a tweet on Wednesday.WATCH | Limit Thanksgiving gatherings to your own household and keep under 10 people indoors, says Ontario health officialToronto warns of spring peakIn Toronto, where medical officer of health Dr. Eileen de Villa is also calling on residents to celebrate Thanksgiving with only their own household, there's growing concern about rising case counts beyond just the holiday.The city's latest modelling shows without further public health interventions — like month-long restaurant and gym closures de Villa is requesting from the province — the spread of COVID-19 throughout October could exceed the April peak. "If the virus is left unchecked, heading into November, things can get much worse," she said. "Infections continue to rise week over week, peaking between early March and early May 2021."When asked when the city will know if Thanksgiving gatherings caused even more infections, de Villa's answer was blunt: "I hope we don't get there."
Police in southern Germany say a woman got a shock while airing out her home when a 25-centimetre (10-inch) Chinese mitten crab scurried in from the terrace through the open door. Freiburg police said Thursday that they received a call reporting the unwanted home invader in the nearby town of Unterlauchringen, near the Swiss border, the previous morning. The invasive species, native to Asia, is now found in many rivers in Germany, and the woman's residence was not far from the Rhine, though the Chinese mitten crab has never been reported in the area before.
"I've had so many people write me letters saying, 'Thank you so much,'" said Hilton, 39, who said she did not speak to her parents for 20 years because they sent her to Provo Canyon School in Utah. In the documentary, which premiered on her YouTube page this month, Hilton alleges she was mentally and physically abused, placed in solidarity confinement for hours at a time and forced to take unknown medications. Hilton said she was sent to Provo and several other schools for troubled teens after years of rebellion.
Authorities are continuing to search Lake Ontario for a missing sailor from Oakville after the U.S. Coast Guard found his boat without him three kilometres off Rochester, New York on Wednesday.The Joint Rescue Coordination Centre in Trenton, Ont. said in a tweet that "poor weather and high waves" are making the search difficult.Halton Regional Police said they believe Eric Quimby, 65, left the Oakville Club marina on Tuesday at about 10:40 a.m. in his 30-foot sailboat for a recreational trip to the Stoney Creek, Ont. area.Quimby is said to be a long-time member of the club and that he likes to get out on the water as often as possible. He also likes to go out alone."Quimby is a skilled sailor with more than 30 years' experience and makes this trip often," police said in a news release on Tuesday.Police said they were contacted on Tuesday evening when Quimby did not return home. He is believed to be the only person on board the boat, which is equipped with a motor. The boat has a red and white hull.Quimby was not on board the boat when it was discovered adrift by a concerned citizen out on the lake. The person said the boat looked suspicious and called the U.S. Coast Guard, which towed the boat into Rochester, where it remains.Halton police said the sailboat was "unoccupied."The Joint Rescue Coordination Centre has taken the lead on the search, which involves two Hercules aircraft, one from Canada and one from the U.S., and a Griffin helicopter. Halton police said the search is now in U.S. waters.Halton police said its marine unit is working with marine units from Peel Regional Police, Toronto Police Service and the Canadian Coast Guard.There are also volunteer coast guards helping in the search.Quimby is described as white, five-foot-10, 220 lbs., with a medium build, short blond hair and blue eyes.When he left on his trip, he was wearing a white t-shirt, a dark sweater and red shorts. He is believed to have more clothing on the boat, including sweaters and wind breakers.Anyone with information is urged to call police immediately.
The residents of a Mississauga, Ont., neighbourhood say they’ve been fighting a rat infestation for years and want city council to do more, including providing rebates for traps or exterminators.
Fred Bergman hardly takes a breath as he rattles off the list of economic injuries.Most notably, there's the income losses for 500 people who work at the oil refinery in Come By Chance, N.L., many of them making salaries in excess of $100,000."But then, of course, there's all the spinoff jobs — the distribution facilities for wholesale bulk fuel dealers, the jobs in the distribution network at the retail gas stations," Bergman said, outlining the cascading effects if the refinery shuts its doors for good."You're probably talking at least 1,400 jobs lost in total, potentially more."North Atlantic Refinery Ltd. said this week it's considering all options, including cutting costs, before ending operations. Irving Oil, which had been considering buying the refinery, recently walked away from a deal, leaving the company floundering.If its owners can't find a solution, the closure would be the latest hit to Newfoundland and Labrador's embattled oil industry, which has seen multiple delays in expansion and exploration projects in the last year.Fallout would spread to other sectors, too, said Bergman, a senior policy analyst for the Atlantic Provinces Economic Council."You're getting crude oil coming in.… You're getting import jobs, you're getting jobs in the transportation sector. Then you're getting refined product going out," he explained.Nearby retail stores can expect a dip in sales, as out-of-work residents tighten spending. As a result, the provincial coffers can expect to take a hit, too."You're going to get a loss of personal income tax, corporate tax, sales tax," he said.Those sources of income for the government — adding up to about $50 million or $60 million — "would be gone, effectively."The refinery makes up about one per cent of the provincial gross domestic product, according to Bergman. Its loss would further slow an already-sluggish offshore industry hit by delays and uncertainty following global oil market volatility this year.The ripple effect would be smaller in comparison with offshore setbacks, he said, "but certainly, it would add to the woes of the oil and gas industry in Newfoundland and Labrador."Another blow for the provinceLooking at the situation optimistically, he said, oil refineries everywhere — not just at home — appear to have a limited life span.Demand for fuel products could see a broader slowdown globally with more economies pushing for net-zero emissions, said Bergman, pointing to two refinery closures in Nova Scotia, the latest in 2013. "It does happen," he said.But if the Come By Chance refinery does close, it offers a new set of future problems: what to do next."Obviously there's environmental cleanup," Bergman said, and associated costs.The lack of refined fuels also means buyers must import: there's no longer a local option."That's a deduction from GDP. It doesn't really add to GDP anymore," he said"You have to get the fuel from somewhere. People still need to drive their cars, planes still need to fly, boats still need to sail."Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
TORONTO — A "Battle of the Blades" executive producer says a woman from the show's team who tested positive for COVID-19 is in self-isolation in Toronto with no symptoms, and the creators are confident the case is isolated and production can resume next week. Lindsay Cox, who is also senior vice-president at Insight Productions, says they can't reveal the woman's name or her role on the upcoming sixth season of the televised skating competition due to privacy issues. But Cox does say the woman was tested for COVID-19 on Monday through a private testing agency on-site, as part of the production's regular pandemic protocols. The result came back later that evening and Cox says they notified the appropriate parties and used contact tracing on the woman, who was already alone at the time the positive test result came in. Cox says anyone who had been in contact with the woman is now isolating, has not tested positive and is not symptomatic. "We feel very confident that we have isolated this," Cox said in a phone interview, noting their intention is to go back into production on Tuesday. Insight Productions revealed the case on Wednesday, noting it's halting preparations and training for the show as a "precautionary measure" to ensure the safety of cast and crew, who Cox said "are truly being responsible" about the situation. CBC, which airs the show, said it supports the decision and will postpone the planned Oct. 15 premiere. The network said it will share scheduling updates as soon as possible. Cox said the woman is abiding by Toronto Public Health guidelines for self-isolation and is not to go outside, except for a medical appointment, if required. Producers are monitoring her health and ensuring that a doctor speaks to her regularly. "The person who tested positive will not be returning until following quarantine, but then will be returning to the show, and we are confident she'll remain asymptomatic," Cox said. "Anyone who was in touch with her who is in isolation also will not return until all the guidelines have been followed, and as testing continues to show negatives coming back." "Hockey Night in Canada" personality Ron MacLean hosts "Battle of the Blades," which returned to the CBC last year, nearly six years after it left the air. This year's instalment of the celebrity on-ice contest has already started training and filming interviews with COVID-19 protocols at the CAA Centre in Brampton, Ont. Video screens in the arena will show a virtual audience watching and reacting to the live performances from their homes and communities. Olympic ice dance champion Scott Moir, hockey champion Natalie Spooner and professional skater Elladj Balde are this season's judges, alongside world champion figure skater Kurt Browning as "elite battle expert." The live-competition series sees hockey players and figure skaters pairing up to perform on-ice dance routines for an audience and judges, with the winners getting $100,000 in prize money that they donate to charities of their choice. The production administers COVID-19 tests either daily or twice weekly, depending on the department, said Cox, noting they have "very strict" protocols and guidelines to ensure safety on set. The private testing agency sends the results to a lab and usually gets the results back within the same day, she said. The production works with doctors, a wellness director, a COVID-19 compliance officer and other experts. Other pandemic protocols on set include temperature checks, masks and pods of people to limit contact. For instance, each hockey player and figure skater pair is in a contained pod with a coach and choreographer, who don't work with any of the other teams. This season has eight pairs of 16 skaters: Violetta Afanasieva and Anthony Stewart; Meghan Agosta and Andrew Poje; Jennifer Botterill and Eric Radford; Jessica Campbell and Asher Hill; Meagan Duhamel and Wojtek Wolski; Carlotta Edwards and Kris Versteeg; Vanessa James and Akim Aliu; and Kaitlyn Weaver and Bryan Bickell. This isn't the first Canadian production to be derailed by COVID-19 concerns. In August, two people involved in the St. John's-shot television series "Hudson & Rex" tested positive for the virus. Cox said Insight Productions has been evolving its COVID-19 protocols as things change with Health Canada, and it is now looking at further ways to reduce contamination between departments. It is also working closely with the wardrobe department to figure out ways to ensure the skaters' masks stay on their faces while they're on the ice. "There have been moments where they fall off, they slide down, so we're working really closely with how we can create new technologies such as glue-on technology, how masks can get affixed into hair," she said. "We are looking at that really, really closely and determining what's required for the on-air performances." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 7, 2020. The Canadian Press
New Brunswick health officials have identified potential public exposure to COVID-19 at the Moncton Costco Optical Centre and Moncton St-Hubert restaurant.Both sites are popular with Prince Edward Islanders and Nova Scotians making day trips to shop in the Moncton area.The news led P.E.I.'s chief public health officer to issue a statement late Wednesday."Out of an abundance of caution, Islanders who accessed services at the Costco Optical Centre or St-Hubert Restaurant in Moncton since Thursday, October 1 should monitor for symptoms of COVID-19," said the news release from Dr. Heather Morrison. "Islanders who are experiencing symptoms should immediately visit a drop-in testing clinic to be tested."The public health warning came from Dr. Jennifer Russell, New Brunswick's chief medical officer of health, as she and Premier Blaine Higgs gave a grim update on the province's latest COVID-19 outbreak. They confirmed 17 new cases of COVID-19 amid efforts to contain the outbreak identified Tuesday at the Manoir Notre-Dame special care home in Moncton.Russell said 13 residents, four staff and two family members have now tested positive for the coronavirus, up from two residents whose illnesses were announced a day earlier.New Brunswick now has 20 active cases in the Moncton region and two in the Saint John region.As of a briefing on Tuesday morning, P.E.I. still had three active COVID-19 cases. Word of the possible exposure locations in Moncton comes as Prince Edward Island prepares to sign on with the COVID Alert contact notification app, as of Thursday morning. Meanwhile, despite the increase in cases in New Brunswick, a spokesperson for the Nova Scotia government said the province has no intention of changing its border protocols at this time. More from CBC P.E.I.
NEW YORK — It’s Saturday at 9:30 p.m. and Stevie Nicks is singing on the phone. The rock icon is at her Los Angeles home, where she’s been cooped up since December after wrapping the “An Evening with Fleetwood Mac” tour. She arrived there at first to relax after spending a year on the road and to celebrate the holidays. But then the coronavirus pandemic hit. Stuck at the house is both good and bad for Nicks. The good news? Her house is a creative oasis where all her favourite musical instruments live. It’s where she spent a year recording her 2011 album “In Your Dreams” with Dave Stewart and Glen Ballard. Her current 10-month stint — and counting — at home even fueled her to record the new single “Show Them the Way,” out on Friday. “It’s beautiful,” she says after singing the song’s chorus at the end of a 90-minute-plus interview, where Nicks excitedly discussed everything from her admiration for late icons and pals Tom Petty and Prince to her relationships with Harry Styles and Beyoncé. The bad news? Nicks is 72 and doesn’t want to be homebound when she prefers to be singing live on the road. “This pandemic is more than just a pandemic for me. This is stealing what I consider to be my last youthful years,” Nicks told The Associated Press. “I don’t have just 10 years to hang around and wait for this thing to go away. I have places to go, people to sing for, another album to make. With every day that goes by, it’s like taking this time away from me. That I think is the hardest thing for me.” “I have a lot of friends that are 60 and they’re going, ‘Oh I’m so old, I’m 60.’ I’m like, ‘You know what, the violins of the world are playing for you. You’re going to really appreciate 60 when you turn 72,’” she continued. “I don’t feel like the whole world is really getting behind getting this to go away. I feel like people are just thinking it really is just magically going away. All it takes is a few people that don’t wear a mask to spread. Just let one person catch it from you and there it goes — it’s like the never-ending story. That worries me because I’m going, ‘Will it really be gone by the end of 2021? "Will it be safe next year for us to walk into Madison Square Garden?’ I don’t know that it will,” she said. Nicks is hoping to satisfy fans she would typically see in-person on tour with the new concert film “Stevie Nicks 24 Karat Gold The Concert.” It was recorded over two nights during her 2016-17 “24 Karat Gold” tour and will be available at select theatres and drive-ins on Oct. 21 and 25. A CD and digital album of the concert will be released Oct. 30. “As we started to understand that this COVID thing was not a joke, I started going to myself, ‘Well, you know what? This may be the closest to going to a big, big concert that’s actually not from 1977 that is new,’” Nicks said. “It’s brand new and it’s fantastic.” The only time she left her West Coast home was to edit the film in Chicago. She took a private jet to the home on a golf course that had been vacant for some time, spending a month there and editing down hours of footage to create the 140-minute film. “They can’t do it without me. I won’t allow it,” Nicks said. “We got it all done. It was really fun. We were really safe.” But at the end of the trip, Nicks tripped in the snow and fractured her knee: “I was like screaming as I went through the air and saw the gravel driveway coming toward my face and just made a quick turn. So, I didn’t fall face down and caught myself. Because of my strong, tambourine arms, I was able to stop myself from crashing even worse. It was a really bad fall, but it’s OK. “It’s had a hard time getting better,” she continued. “I hurt this knee really bad, my left knee, before, years ago. I had been dealing with it and fixed it. ...I had just really gotten it to be to the place where it was totally better, then I fractured it. So now it’s almost better,” she said. Apart from producing her concert film and recording “Show Them the Way,” Nicks has been busy in the home where she’s been creative in the past: “Another famous rock ‘n’ roll star, who will not be mentioned, sent me a song that he wants me to sing on,” she revealed. Though “Show Them the Way” arrives Friday, Nicks said the song came to her in a dream in 2008 when Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton were competing for the Democratic Party nomination for president. In the dream Nicks is performing at a political benefit where attendees include Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., John Lennon, John Lewis, John F. Kennedy and Bobby Kennedy. Dave Grohl plays drums on the new song, which was produced by Greg Kurstin (Sia, Adele, Beck). Cameron Crowe is directing the music video. “This song really is a prayer. This song is a prayer for people to unite. A prayer for people to get together,” Nicks said. “I didn’t really realize that until just the last few days. The chorus was written a week or so later,” she continued. “The chorus, and I can sing it for you, it goes, ‘Please God show them the way/Please God on this day/Spirits all give us strength/Peace will come if you really want it/I think we’re just in time to save it/Please God, oh please God, show them the way.’” Mesfin Fekadu, The Associated Press
Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer will greatly miss his good friend and colleague, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, he said Thursday. Breyer discussed Ginsburg, who died last month at age 87, during a program held via video by the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the U.S. Senate, describing her as caring friend who remembered even in the final weeks of her life to send him a birthday card. “She was a good friend,” Breyer said.
OTTAWA — The Supreme Court of Canada says there should be no new trial for two men convicted of terrorism offences. Raed Jaser and Chiheb Esseghaier were found guilty in 2015 of terror-related charges arising mainly from an alleged al-Qaida-inspired plot to derail a passenger train travelling between the United States and Canada. Both men appealed their convictions, with counsel for Jaser and a court-appointed lawyer for Esseghaier arguing the jury at the trial was improperly constituted. In August last year, the Ontario Court of Appeal ordered a fresh trial for the men on grounds the jury was indeed chosen incorrectly. In a Supreme Court hearing Wednesday, the Crown argued the convictions should not be overturned on the basis of a highly technical error in the jury-selection process that did not cause any harm to fair trial rights. In a ruling from the bench, the Supreme Court effectively agreed and allowed the federal appeal, saying written reasons would follow. The court remitted the case to the Ontario Court of Appeal to deal with the "remaining grounds" — the men's outstanding challenge of their actual convictions. Federal lawyers had argued that Jaser and Esseghaier were convicted of the most serious terrorism offences in Canadian law after nearly nine months of pre-trial motions and a three-month jury trial. "Overturning these convictions on the basis of a technical error that had no appreciable effect on the conduct of the trial is a triumph of form over substance," the Crown said in a written submission to the top court. Federal lawyer Kevin Wilson told the court Wednesday the trial judge had made "a valid exercise of his discretion." "Everyone in this case wanted to preserve juror impartiality." Counsel for Jaser and Esseghaier argued for dismissal of the Crown's challenge and said the order of a new trial should be allowed to stand. Before the terrorism trial, the case's high profile and the fact the two accused were Muslim and members of a visible minority meant that prospective jurors were asked about their ability to be impartial. Historically during this process, two people were given the role of "triers" who listened to the answers for signs of bias. Lawyers for the Crown and defence then decided whether to allow the individual to sit on the jury. The use of "rotating triers" entailed having each newly appointed juror replace one of the two triers for subsequent questioning. Counsel for Jaser wanted the challenges to proceed with rotating triers, with the other prospective jury members excluded from the room. Esseghaier was unrepresented, as he rejected the criminal justice system on religious grounds. Due to changes to the law in 2008, there was uncertainty as to whether the procedures Jaser requested were even still available, and the judge eventually approved another method. In its 2019 ruling, Ontario's appeal court said Jaser was improperly denied his preferred option for jury selection. The court also said that if Jaser should have a new trial, Esseghaier was also entitled to one. During the hearing Wednesday, Justice Michael Moldaver clearly had trouble with the suggestion Jaser had been placed at a disadvantage, telling his lawyer. "I find the whole thing just Alice in Wonderland almost." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 7, 2020. Jim Bronskill, The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — The federal government's plan to ban some single-use plastic products by labelling them "toxic" to the environment is defamatory and harmful to the companies that produce them, an industry group said Wednesday. Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson announced a list of six single-use plastic items that will be banned because they are both harmful to the environment and difficult to recycle. Plastic straws, stir sticks, cutlery, six-pack rings, carry-out bags and Styrofoam plates and takeout containers won't be allowed to be sold in Canada once the ban takes effect, likely by the end of 2021. Other single-use items will be managed by setting standards to encourage them to be reused or recycled. To do all of that, Wilkinson said on Oct. 10 he will add "plastic manufactured items" to the "toxic substances list" under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. Things on that list must then be managed to limit their release into the environment. In this case, that means banning some things, and setting standards to encourage recycling or reuse of others. But Elena Mantagaris, the vice-president of the plastics division at the Chemistry Industry Association of Canada, said plastic products don't belong anywhere near a list of harmful products that includes mercury, asbestos and lead. "It's a criminal-law tool and it's intended to manage toxic substances," she said. "Plastic is an inert material. It's not toxic." Putting plastics up there with chemicals that kill people is just giving critics of the plastics industry a chance "to use a label for their own interests," she said. "That's reputational damage to a sector, suddenly calling it toxic," said Mantagaris. "That's not fair game." Under the act, known as CEPA for short, a toxic substance is defined as one that can have an immediate or long-term harmful effect on environmental or human health if it gets out into the world. Anything designated as toxic under the act must first undergo a scientific assessment to determine if there is harm. The final scientific assessment on single-use plastics was released Wednesday and confirmed preliminary findings, made public in January, that plastics are found often in the environment, and have been proven harmful to wildlife and habitat. Turtles and birds and sea mammals, in particular, have been hurt or killed by ingesting plastic or being entangled in it. The impact on human health is still unknown, but some studies have found tiny particles known as microplastics, in air, food and water. Wilkinson said to him the fact plastics cause harm is not in question and Mantagaris said the industry agrees that plastics should not be in the environment. But, she said, working to keep plastics out of the environment doesn't mean they are toxic. Wilkinson said if the issue is just one of semantics, the word could be changed. "What I have said to them very clearly is we are open to a conversation," he said. "If the issue is a nomenclature issue we're willing to engage that conversation but the fundamental issue around pollution remains and we need to address it. Mantagaris said the industry isn't in favour of bans at all, but would rather work with the government so plastics are continually recycled and never end up in the environment. But she said the government's words on that front have not been backed up with any kind of funding or real plan. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 7, 2020. Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press
The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada (all times Eastern): --- 7:05 p.m. Health officials in B.C. are reporting 115 new cases of COVID-19 and no additional deaths. The number of active infections ticked up by three to 1,387, including 71 people in hospital. There are 3,042 people under public health surveillance after exposure to a known case. An outbreak at the Rideau retirement residence in Burnaby has been declared over, leaving 15 assisted-living or long-term care homes with ongoing outbreaks. --- 4:28 p.m. The Saskatchewan Health Authority says it is investigating a community-transmitted COVID-19 outbreak that involves contact tracing more than 100 people across different parts of the province. The agency says the outbreak appears to be linked to a series of Full Gospel Outreach events in Prince Albert from Sept. 14 to last Sunday. Dr. Khami Chokani, medical health officer, declared the outbreak today. The agency says the outbreak involves numerous people with close contacts from multiple areas across Saskatchewan. The exact number of positive COVID-19 cases linked to the outbreak was not released. --- 3:06 p.m. The prime minister is making clear that any COVID-19 vaccines approved by Health Canada will be free for all Canadians through the country's universal health-care system. Justin Trudeau made the statement in the House of Commons after being questioned by NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, who said Canadians are worried about whether they will have free and timely access to a vaccine against the novel coronavirus once one becomes available. But it remains unclear exactly who would receive the vaccines first or how they would be distributed. The government has indicated the plan is to ensure the most vulnerable and essential workers have ready access. Trudeau told the Commons Wednesday a committee of experts will counsel the government on how to fairly distribute vaccines to everyone. --- 2:43 p.m. Manitoba is marking the deadliest day since the beginning of the pandemic, as the province announced three more people have died due to COVID-19. One of the deaths is linked to an outbreak at a care home — a woman in her 90s. The other deaths are a man in his 70s from Winnipeg and a man in his 60s from a communal living community, such as a Hutterite colony. The province announced 32 new cases of the virus — 22 of which are in the Winnipeg health region. --- 2:25 p.m. Public health officials in New Brunswick are reporting 17 new cases of COVID-19 at a special-care home in Moncton. Dr. Jennifer Russell, chief medical officer of health, says that brings the number of cases at Notre-Dame Manor to 19. She says that number includes 13 residents, four health-care workers and two family members of an affected resident. The first two cases tested positive after public health started an investigation into the facility Monday night. --- 12:10 p.m. Canada's chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam says the country's average daily count of new COVID-19 cases hit 2,052 over the last seven days. That's up 40 per cent over the previous week and is nearly 10 times the low it reached last July. Tam says the Public Health Agency of Canada is seeing an upward trend in the number of COVID-19 patients being hospitalized, as well. In a statement, Tam says the increasing number and variety of COVID-19 tests available in Canada is a good step, but she says testing cannot replace basic health measures like physical distancing and wearing face masks. --- 11:15 a.m. Quebec is reporting fewer than 1,000 new cases of COVID-19 for the first time in six days. Authorities reported 900 new COVID-19 infections today and one death attributed to the novel coronavirus that they said occurred in the past 24 hours. The province says another four deaths linked to the virus occurred between Sept. 30 and Oct. 5, and says two other deaths occurred at an unknown date, bringing the total to 5,906 since the pandemic began. Hospitalizations increased by 12 to 409, with 62 people in intensive care, a decrease of five. --- 10:30 a.m. Ontario is reporting 583 new cases of COVID-19 today and one additional death due to the virus. Health Minister Christine Elliott says 173 cases are in Toronto, 121 in Ottawa, 75 in York Region and 70 in Peel Region, with 60 per cent of the new cases in people under the age of 40. The province says it has a backlog of 55,413 tests and has conducted 43,277 tests since its last daily report. In total, 195 people are hospitalized in Ontario due to COVID-19, including 43 in intensive care. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 7, 2020. The Canadian Press Note to readers: ADDS Quebec COVID-19 numbers
Markets moved higher on Wednesday after a broad-based rally lifted shares of health-care companies and consumer brands, amid renewed hopes for a stimulus deal in the U.S. Canadian investors were reassured as markets bounced back from Tuesday's dive, after President Donald Trump reversed course and hinted at a more targeted approach to a stimulus package, said Michael Currie, vice-president and investment adviser at TD Wealth.
A small Nova Scotia-based company is upset about losing a provincial government contract to deliver high-speed internet, saying the loss could force it out of business.Acadian Communications of Chéticamp lost to Bell Aliant in the second round of bidding for qualified suppliers to provide high-speed internet service.It missed the first round of bidding due to a change in company ownership. Bell Aliant was among the successful bidders in that round and is working on providing service in the Chéticamp area.Andrew LeBlanc, owner of Acadian Communications, said his company is already preparing to lose customers. "As Bell comes in and steals away customers, there's a point in the not too far future where I think we could go under," he said.Acadian Communications provides internet for around 800 customers and employs four people, including LeBlanc. He said if business drops to just 200 or 300 customers, the company won't be profitable anymore. Smaller companies losing outLeBlanc said they offered a lower bid and asked for a 40 per cent subsidy from the province, while Bell Aliant asked for a 50 per cent subsidy."They're going to cover the maximum amount of houses which is great for themselves and great for Nova Scotia residents, but for myself and several other companies across the province it's not good at all," said LeBlanc.The second round of bidding went entirely to Bell Aliant. The company will provide high-speed internet for another 32,000 homes and businesses. The provincial government is providing $59 million for the project."In effect, the provincial government is funding the biggest telecommunication company to bankrupt our company," said LeBlanc. "Something with that just doesn't sit right."Develop Nova Scotia respondsA spokesperson for Bell Aliant declined to comment and told CBC News to direct any questions about the contract to Develop Nova Scotia.Deborah Page, communications director at Develop Nova Scotia, said in an email Bell Aliant was awarded the contract based on many factors, including timeline, quality and price.She said in the first round of bidding, Nova Scotia-based companies Seaside Communications, Mainland Telecom and Cross Country won three out of the five contracts.Bell Aliant's Chéticamp project is already underway and is planned to be finished by spring 2021.MORE TOP STORIES
Quebec is reporting 900 new infections of the novel coronavirus Wednesday, bringing its total caseload to 81,914.But what worries Quebec Premier François Legault is the sharp increase in the number of hospitalizations.
While the Ontario government remains at odds over whether additional restrictions are needed in Toronto, local public health officials have released alarming projections for where the disease is headed. Dr. Eileen de Villa says disease activity will surpass Toronto’s April peak in the next few weeks and get worse without further actions. Matthew Bingley reports.