Tens of thousands of Donald Trump's most ardent supporters crowded into Washington, D.C., on Saturday in a show of support for the president's ongoing efforts to overturn the results of last week's election.
Tens of thousands of Donald Trump's most ardent supporters crowded into Washington, D.C., on Saturday in a show of support for the president's ongoing efforts to overturn the results of last week's election.
WASHINGTON — Outgoing Attorney General William Barr's decision to appoint a special counsel to investigate the handling of the Russia probe ensures his successor won't have an easy transition.The move, which Barr detailed to The Associated Press on Tuesday, could lead to heated confirmation hearings for President-elect Joe Biden's nominee, who hasn't been announced. Senate Republicans will likely use that forum to extract a pledge from the pick to commit to an independent investigation.The pressure on the new attorney general is unlikely to ease once they take office. With the special counsel continuing to work during the early days of the Biden administration, it may be tough for the Justice Department's new leadership to launch investigations of President Donald Trump and his associates without seeming to be swayed by political considerations.Barr elevated U.S. Attorney John Durham to special counsel as Trump continues to propel his claims that the Russia investigation that shadowed his presidency was a “witch hunt.” It's the latest example of efforts by Trump officials to use the final days of his administration to essentially box Biden in by enacting new rules, regulations and orders designed to cement the president's legacy.But the manoeuvring over the special counsel is especially significant because it saddles Democrats with an investigation that they've derided as tainted. Now there's little the new administration can do about it.“From a political perspective, the move is so elegantly lethal that it would make Machiavelli green with envy,” Jonathan Turley, a professor of public interest law at George Washington University, wrote in an op-ed for USA Today.A special counsel can only be dismissed for cause. And as was the case during Robert Mueller's Russia investigation, such probes can sometimes stray from their origins.The Biden transition did not respond to a request for comment on the special counsel appointment.But Barr's decision could influence whom the president-elect puts forth as a nominee for attorney general. One leading candidate, Sally Yates, was already viewed skeptically by some Trump-aligned Republicans for her role in the early days of the Russia investigation. Her nomination could face even greater challenges because she's connected to some of the work that Durham is examining.As deputy attorney general, Yates signed off on the first two applications to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to monitor communications of ex-Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, a process that has been among the focuses of the Durham investigation.A Justice Department inspector general report found significant flaws and omissions in the four applications to the court, though it also found no evidence that Yates or any other senior Justice Department officials were aware of the problems.Some Democrats have privately expressed concerns – likely to deepen with Durham’s appointment as a special counsel – that nominating Yates would lead to a messy confirmation process that focuses on the Russia investigation, instead of focusing on reforms and shifting priorities at the Justice Department, people familiar with the matter have said. They spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations.Others potentially in the mix for the role include Lisa Monaco, a former homeland security adviser and senior Justice Department official in the Obama administration, and outgoing Alabama Sen. Doug Jones, who famously prosecuted Ku Klux Klan members who bombed a Birmingham church in the 1960s.The question for Biden, however, is how to balance top Cabinet picks as he attempts to fulfil his pledge for racial, ethnic and gender diversity. Many of Biden's leading nominees so far have been white, which could work against Yates, Monaco and Jones.Some Black Democrats are attempting to elevate former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, who is Black and led the Justice Department's civil rights division under President Bill Clinton, in discussions about potential attorneys general.Whoever emerges as the nominee will be pressed to demonstrate independence from the new White House after Biden campaigned on a pledge to depoliticize the Justice Department.That could be tough, however, if the future attorney general faces calls for new probes into the Trump administration. Some investigations into Trump have been frozen because of the immunity he enjoys as president. Others swirling around members of his family and associates have been simmering for years.On Tuesday, an unsealed court filing revealed an investigation into a potential plot to solicit political donations in exchange for the president using his pardon power.Barr, for his part, insisted that he was trying to keep politics out of the Durham probe, explaining that is why he delayed announcing the special counsel appointment until a month after the election.“With the election approaching, I decided the best thing to do would be to appoint them under the same regulation that covered Bob Muller, to provide Durham and his team some assurance that they’d be able to complete their work regardless of the outcome of the election,” Barr said in an interview with the AP on Tuesday.“I wanted to have the team, both Durham and his team understand that they be able to finish their work,” Barr said.Durham has already been a huge disappointment for Trump and his allies, and prompted a dispute with Barr over why things weren’t moving faster and why the investigation did not yield major prosecutions in the weeks before the election. The investigation wasn’t expected to result in many more criminal charges, and there has only been one so far — a former FBI lawyer who pleaded guilty to a single charge.But the investigation is worth more politically than practically.A nearly 500-page inspector general report chronicled in great detail the errors and omissions FBI agents made in a series of applications to surveil Page. Declassified documents released by congressional Republicans have raised additional questions while not undercutting the overarching legitimacy of the Russia probe. And the facts of the one criminal case Durham has brought so far, against an FBI lawyer who admitted altering an email, were already mostly laid out in the watchdog report.There’s also been a degree of turmoil within Durham’s ranks as one of the team’s leaders, Nora Dannehy, resigned months ago, a significant departure given the active role she had played.___Miller reported from Wilmington, Delaware. Associated Press writers Eric Tucker and Colleen Long in Washington and Bill Barrow in Atlanta contributed to this report.Michael Balsamo And Zeke Miller, The Associated Press
Ontario’s Ministry of Education says the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board (HWDSB) will not lose nearly $15.2 million due to a student enrolment decline as anticipated, reducing fears of a budget deficit that all but assured cuts to future student programming. Last week, Education Minister Stephen Lecce announced a “stabilization fund” for schools facing budget shortfalls due to low student enrolment — something the HWDSB has advocated for in recent weeks. The funding is “to help alleviate some of the impacts of unexpected enrolment declines as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic” and would “provide flexibility for school boards to address a range of unanticipated funding issues,” the province said. Though the province did not initially indicate how much of the funding shortfall it would cover, ministry spokesperson Caitlin Clark told The Spectator on Monday that the board would receive the funding it had lost due to enrolment decline. The HWDSB announced in late October that it would lose a whopping $15.2 million from the province’s Grants for Student Needs (GSN) program because it was short 1,756 students from what it had projected last spring. The shortfall was the primary contributor to a budget deficit that board staff have said could amount to $18 million by the end of the year. With the province agreeing to cover the lost $15.2 million, the board will now face a more manageable deficit of roughly $2.8 million. “This funding will positively contribute to the reduction of our budget deficit and mitigate the financial impact of the unexpected enrolment decrease we experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said HWDSB chair Alex Johnstone in a statement. “Staff will review these measures and share revised financial statements with trustees.” Early in November, in response to the initial funding shortfall, the HWDSB moved to surplus teachers and curb spending across the board in an effort to reduce its deficit by the end of the fiscal year. A report present at the board’s finance committee suggested the board could find savings by reducing teaching staff, self-contained classes, part-time educational assistants, school budgets, funding for governance and more. The board has not indicated if any of these cuts will be reinstated now that the province has agreed to foot the shortfall. Either way, the board will also be tasked with eliminating the remaining deficit in order to balance the budget by the end of the year — a task that is mandated by the province. Running a school board budget deficit is illegal, according to the Ontario Education Act, though Ontario’s Progressive Conservative government has relaxed the rules during the pandemic to allow school boards to run marginal deficits. The ministry said in October that it would accept budget deficits that comprise no more than two per cent of a board’s entire budget, which for the HWDSB is roughly $11.2 million. With an $18-million deficit, the board would exceed the two per cent threshold by approximately $6.8 million, but with a $2.8 million deficit the board would be well within the province’s limit. Jacob Lorinc, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Hamilton Spectator
Sickle Point is likely to be sold to a private buyer this week, but for those fighting to conserve the undeveloped land in Kaleden, the decades-long fight is far from over. The sale of Sickle Point out of receivership to a private buyer is to be decided by the courts Thursday, but a local community association, the Penticton Indian Band (PIB) and the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen (RDOS) are still intent on keeping the environmentally-sensitive land free of development. Sale conditions were dropped last week on the 4.8-acre parcel in Kaleden between the Kettle Valley Rail trail on the west and Skaha Lake on the east. With the sale conditions dropped, a judge has to approve the sale which is reportedly happening Dec. 3. Developers seeking to build on one of few remaining wetland and semi-natural habitats along the western shores of Skaha Lake would face some stiff opposition as they have in the past according to Randy Cranston, chair of the Kaleden Community Association who heads up the Save Sickle Point committee. “My gut would say that given the news media we’ve had, and given the statements from the Penticton Indian Band, if I was thinking of making a sealed bid, I would be thinking really seriously about whether I wanted to do that or not from the point of view of the community concerns and the statements made by the Penticton Indian Band,” Cranston said. “I would be asking the question ‘do I think I would ever get to build on this property?’” In a letter sent to Premier John Horgan in November, the committee asks the provincial government to use the Environment and Land Use Act to stall development to conduct an environmental assessment of the area and suggests the RDOS could expropriate the land. That would be a last resort should the regional district approve that course of action, according to Karla Kozakevich, RDOS board chair. “Expropriation is always an option to local government. It’s not something that the board likes to do. It’s often seen as not a nice thing to do, but we have to look at what’s in the best interest of our citizens and the community and that could be the case,” Kozakevich said. “But once again that would be a board decision. We certainly wouldn’t enter into that lightly. We would want to see if there were other options. If we have the money then we would want to have talks with the new owner and see if we could get somewhere with them that was mutually agreeable.” The RDOS board has recently approved a public consultation process asking area taxpayers whether or not the regional district should borrow the funds to purchase the property, although that process takes time and won’t be completed until February 2021. “We’re sort of in a holding pattern right now. We know that there was an offer made on the property and apparently it goes to a court, to a judge (Dec. 3) is what I’m hearing. Where other bids can go in, sealed bids, to a judge,” Kozakevich said. “We’re not part of this process because we don’t have the funds available at this time. So, we can’t go be a part of that bid without having approval from the electorate to borrow that kind of money.” The public consultation ends on Feb. 8, and after that, should the public approve borrowing money, the RDOS would likely attempt to make an offer to the new owners. “My assumption right now is somebody else other than the current owner will own that property at that time. We don’t know who, obviously, and we don’t know what they will be paying either,” Kozakevich said. “So, whether the board decides to go to that new owner and make them an offer, that’s going to be discussed and a decision of the board — if the public approves the money. It’s all hinging on that.” “We just have to wait and watch and then try and make a decision after Feb. 8 as to how we want to try and move forward on that property.” The Penticton Indian Band has been opposing development in the area for years, and says the band has right and title to the land. The PIB is engaged in discussions with the RDOS on exploring options going forward, according to James Pepper, director of natural resources for the PIB. “This is a title and rights issue from the Penticton Indian Band perspective. PIB Chief and council have been meeting to discuss what all the available options are and ensuring that they’re all followed up on and exhausted,” Pepper said. “The actions the regional district are taking are good, but there’s also actions the band is taking from a title and rights perspective the council is initiating. That’s broader, that’s reaching out to the different government entities and making sure they understand what title and rights means and how it applies in this particular circumstance.” The Save Sickle Point committee, which has fundraised and advocated to keep the area clear of development, is not going anywhere after the sale. “Even if this sale goes through, and there is still the possibility it won’t go through … that doesn’t mean the community is going to lay down and roll over,” Cranston said. He believes developing the property would prove difficult due to it’s proximity to the KVR trail. “There is road access to this property if someone was going to build there, that road access Kettle Valley Railway. That means that construction vehicles and then after that individual homeowner vehicles are going to be driving on the same KVR that thousands of people bike on and hundreds of people walk and run on.”Dale Boyd, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Times-Chronicle
Chinese spacecraft lands on the moon to bring back lunar rocks to Earth for the first time since the 1970s, the government announced. (Dec. 2)
He's also releasing a Muskoka-scented candle.
Midland Coun. Bill Gordon has found his way onto the 'wall of shame' --- again. This time, the elected official is being brought to the stand for inappropriate decorum, messaging that amounts to abuse, bullying or intimidation, and interfering in the operations of the town, thereby, undermining staff's capability in the field, an integrity commissioner's report found "This is just proving my whole weaponization of the code of conduct argument," Gordon said, adding he wasn't shocked by the move. "They didn't speak to me about any of this. "I'm not arguing any of these things didn't happen. I take full responsibility for it. But taken without context, anything can be found to be insulting and inflammatory." The three complainants this time are Deputy Mayor Mike Ross and councillors Jim Downer and Jon Main. However, in the integrity commissioner's report, which will be discussed at next week's council meeting, only an exchange between Main and Gordon has been mentioned. The report says that in the email exchange with Main, Gordon said, "Please don’t mistake my assertiveness for aggression. I have little to no personal respect for many of you or a couple of our senior team. I come by that honestly and have the bills to prove it. "I have to work with you and have managed to keep most of my contempt for many of you at bay preferring to simply ignore the public attacks on my integrity and carry on with my work despite everything that’s gone on this term." In a second exchange between the two, Gordon calls Main a 'snowflake.' The report says, in a Facebook direct message, Gordon said, "That is far from bullying Jon. Don’t be such a snowflake. The truth may not be a defence in the CoC [Code of Conduct] – which is absurd – but I will do politics my way just as you do it your way. "We are polar opposites it seems. That is actually quite healthy for democracy. As for decorum I think I toe that line with grace and dignity considering the despicable way you treat me. I have no respect for most of you as a result. Should not be a shock to you." Moreover, Gordon has also been accused of interfering with the operational aspects of the town staff's responsibility by asserting 'influence' on a developer responsible for clean up on Taylor Drive. The report details that, on Aug. 28, 2020, the developer emailed Gordon that following their discussion and for the developer to avoid a notice of motion, the developer would undertake grass cutting on the town parkette as a courtesy to the town and Taylor Drive clients/homeowners. Further, the developer also promised, relocation of masonry materials and reduction in the slope of stockpiled sand. In the report, Gordon defends his intervention with the developer as simply availing himself of the process. He denies that he engaged in any threats or intimidation, but merely pointed out that the town might be compelled to draw on the letter of credit to rectify performance issues. In a conversation with MidlandToday, Gordon said he wasn't willing to divulge his entire defence. "I don't want to give a statement because it gives them 'yeah, but...' arguments," he said. "The reason I don't want to do that in this case is because they didn't recommend any monetary sanctions, which I'm kind of shocked about. What I suspect to happen is that the three complainants, especially Jon Main, will be argue for monetary sanctions. I want to let that happen organically." Addressing the snowflake comment, Gordon said, it was during a private Twitter back and forth that occurred in March. "(Main) sat on it all this time and decided to advance it now," he said. "Basically, they were just collecting evidence." Gordon adds that if he had been approached about the issue 'like adults' there would definitely not have been this conflict. "I can only speak for Jon, because I never said this to Mike Ross or Jim Downer," he said. "If he'd contacted me or even during that interaction we had, I would have apologized and told him what I'd actually been meaning to say instead of the word snowflake." Gordon said he uses the word snowflake because it's a quicker way of spelling out someone who is indecisive or can't handle pressure and make decisions. As for interfering with the operational side of the corporation of the Town of Midland, he said, at its core, that's what people expect from their councillors. "They can come to them with whatever their tale of woe is...if they're having an issue with a lack of performance by the town," said Gordon. "Your elected official doesn't have a lot of influence. The only influence, which I promised during my Zoom chat, is that I would bring it forward to council as a notice of motion." And this is where it gets sticky, he added. "I didn't reach out to the developer," said Gordon. "The developer watched my Zoom meeting and called me to say if we do these things, would you bring the notice of motion to council. And why would I, if they were doing what was being asked?" He said he welcomed the integrity commissioner's report and findings and looked forward to speaking to council. "For me, the real tell is which councillors will argue that simply scolding me publicly and putting me on the wall of shame is not enough and they want to see their pound of flesh," Gordon said.Mehreen Shahid, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, OrilliaMatters.com
ISLAMABAD — The U.S. envoy who brokered the ongoing peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban said Wednesday the two sides have overcome a three-month impasse and agreed on rules and procedures for the negotiations. The development is significant as it means the warring sides are getting closer to actually starting to negotiate the issues that could end decades of fighting in Afghanistan and determine the country's post-war future. But first they must decide on the agenda for the negotiations, which is the next step. In a series of tweets, U.S. envoy Zalmay Khalilzad said there was a signed document and urged both the Taliban and the government to get down to the business of negotiating a “political roadmap and a cease-fire.” The three-page document lays out the rules and procedures for the negotiations, which are taking place in Qatar where the Taliban have long maintained a political office. Afghans “now expect rapid progress on a political roadmap and a ceasefire. We understand their desire and we support them,” Khalilzad tweeted. A cease-fire, rights of women and minorities, and constitutional amendments are expected to top the agenda. But the list is likely to be long and contentious, with issues such as safety guarantees for thousands of Taliban fighters who disarm, as well as for disbanding the heavily armed militias loyal to Kabul warlords, many of them allied either with the government or opposition politicians. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who on Feb. 29 signed a Taliban-U.S. deal that paves the way for withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan, welcomed the agreement. “As negotiations on a political roadmap and permanent ceasefire begin, we will also work hard with all sides in pursuit of a serious reduction of violence,” he said. Khalilzad’s announcement was not unexpected — last month, the Taliban said the rules and procedures were settled and the U.S. said last week it was all but wrapped up. But then the Afghan government said it had concerns with the some of the words in the preamble that set off accusations that Afghan President Ashraf Ghani was holding up the deal. His spokesman denied this. There were no details about the document, but Taliban spokesman Mohammed Naeem said the two sides have appointed a committee to hammer out the agenda items. Since the Afghan-Taliban talks started in September, violence has spiked significantly. The Taliban have staged deadly attacks on Afghan forces while keeping their promise not to attack U.S. and NATO troops. The attacks have drawn a mighty retaliation by the Afghan air force, backed by U.S. warplanes. International rights groups have warned both sides to avoid inflicting civilian casualties. In Washington, U.S. Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the military’s plan for reducing American troop levels in Afghanistan to 2,500 by mid-January has been approved by the acting secretary of defence, Christopher Miller. Milley declined to discuss the plan beyond saying that the smaller U.S. force would operate from “a couple of larger bases,” along with several smaller ones, in order to continue its current missions of combatting extremist groups like al-Qaida and training and advising Afghan defence forces. Milley asserted that the U.S. has achieved “a modicum of success” in Afghanistan after more than 19 years of war, given that there has not been a repeat of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the U.S. homeland. Noting that President Donald Trump made the decision to reduce the U.S. force to 2,500, Milley said, “What comes after that, that will be up to a new administration; we’ll find that out on the 20th of January and beyond.” In Brussels, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg welcomed the breakthrough on the Afghan-Taliban talks, amid uncertainty over the alliance's future in Afghanistan and urged for rapid progress on cease-fire and establishing a political road map. “You can discuss whether it is a big or a small step, but the important thing is that it’s the first step,” Stoltenberg said, after chairing a videoconference of NATO foreign ministers. “It’s the first time actually that the Taliban and the Afghan government are able to sign a document agreeing on the framework, the modalities, for negotiations addressing a long-term, peaceful solution.” NATO has roughly 11,000 troops in Afghanistan, but under the U.S.-Taliban deal, all foreign troops would leave the country by May 1 if conditions allow. Stoltenberg has said that NATO faces a “difficult dilemma” over what to do. A decision on its future in Afghanistan, where NATO has led international security efforts since 2003 in the hope of keeping extremist groups at bay, is expected to be made in February after President-elect Joe Biden takes office. The Taliban today control or hold sway over nearly half of Afghanistan and are at their strongest since the 2001 U.S.-led invasion toppled their regime over sheltering al-Qaida mastermind Osama bin Laden. Many Afghans, particularly in larger urban areas fear a return of their repressive regime that harshly punished those who defied their strict Islamic edicts. Unlike when they ruled, the Taliban now say they will allow girls to go to school and women to work and hold public office, though they will not allow a woman to become president or a chief justice of Afghanistan's Supreme Court. ___ Associated Press writers Robert Burns and Ken Guggenheim in Washington, Tameem Akhgar in Kabul, Afghanistan, and Lorne Cook in Brussels contributed to this report. Kathy Gannon, The Associated Press
Lors de la dernière séance du conseil des maires de la MRC des Pays-d’en-Haut qui avait lieu le 25 novembre, le budget global pour l’année 2021 a été adopté. C’est un montant total de 10 858 589 $ qui est prévu pour la prochaine année. Ensuite, projets de règlements ont été déposés concernant la répartition des quotes-parts payables à la MRC des Pays-d’en-Haut à différents égards. En ce qui concerne l’administration générale, une somme de 1 012 945 $ est prévue. 181 627 $ sont prévus pour l’aménagement du territoire, 471 845 $ pour les parcs récréatifs des Pays-d’en-Haut, 1 521 825 $ sont prévus pour l’évaluation foncière, 49 652 $ pour la sécurité publique. En ce qui a trait à l’hygiène du milieu, 5 479 286 $ sont prévus pour la gestion des matières résiduelles et 105 637 $ pour les cours d’eau. 135 000 $ sont prévus pour la culture, 243 922 $ pour les trans-ports, 637 641 $ pour le développement économique et territorial, 767 744$ pour le complexe sportif et 119 000 $ sont prévus pour des frais reliés à la COVID-19. Il y a également eu dépôt d’un projet de règlement établissant une nouvelle réserve financière de 132 465 $ pour le financement de liens d’interconnexion entre le parc linéaire le P’tit Train du Nord et le corridor aérobique pour les municipalités non limitrophes à ces infrastructures. Cette somme sera aussi utilisée pour la mise en valeur et l’amélioration de ces dernières. Certains maires et mairesses ont manifesté leur déception puisqu’ils ont affirmé avoir reçu certains documents relatifs à la répartition des quotes-parts par municipalité en avant-midi vers 11h, alors que la séance pour adopter les dépôts de règlement était à 13h30 durant la même journée. Toutefois, comme ce sont des projets de règlements, ils peuvent être sujets à changement avant qu’ils soient adoptés lors de la prochaine séance. Différents règlements ont également été adoptés dont le règlement 596-2020 modifiant le Règlement (416) sur le zonage afin de permettre la possession, la garde et l’élevage de poules dans l’ensemble des zones de la municipalité de Morin-Heights. À Piedmont, la résolution 13350-1120 permettant au commerce Olodge de pratiquer 3 activités (tenir un atelier de réparation de vélo, un café et une boutique) a été adoptée. Le Règlement 222-64-2020 à Saint-Sauveur a également été adopté, permettant à certains terrains sur la rue de l’Église d’avoir des services d’aqueduc.Marie-Catherine Goudreau, Initiative de journalisme local, Journal Accès
Les récréations, transitions et cours d’éducation physique ne seront plus jamais vécus de la même manière à l’École Arc-en-ciel de Sainte-Monique! Celle-ci vient de transformer une simple cour d’école en un gymnase à ciel ouvert. Car l’école Arc-en-ciel s’est dotée il y a quelques mois d’une toute nouvelle cour asphaltée et a décidé de la décorer de jeux éducatifs, ludiques et sportifs de grande qualité peints à même sa surface. Le résultat: une cour d’école colorée et multi-usage que les enfants de la maternelle et du primaire peuvent maintenant salir et parcourir sans retenue. Et surtout, y jouer à plus soif au basket-ball, au hockey, au ballon quatre-coins, au ballon chasseur, en plus d’exercer et de développer leurs habiletés motrices sur différents parcours. «Ça s’est fait la semaine avant que les élèves rentrent». Et le résultat fait un effet bœuf! Le projet connaît déjà un tel succès que d’autres écoles du Centre de services scolaire de la Riveraine cherchent à l’imiter, nous dit Stéphane Grimard, directeur des écoles Arc-en-ciel, des Arbrisseaux et de la Croisée au Centre de services scolaire de la Riveraine. «C’est une première sur notre territoire et ça fait l’envie de plusieurs écoles. J’ai des collègues qui me disent "tu nous as créé toute une demande!"». M. Grimard affirme qu’il n’hésitera pas à partager ses contacts… M. Grimard avait fait refaire l’asphalte de la cour d’école l’an dernier. Mais il la trouvait un peu vide de jeux. Et en surfant sur internet, «je suis tombé sur des compagnies qui faisaient ce type de travail. J’ai trouvé ça fantastique. On a identifié en équipe-école ce qu’on voulait comme jeux et on est allé de l’avant». M. Grimard demande aussi conseil à sa professeure d’éducation physique. «Tous ces espaces sont intégrés au plaisir et à l’éducation des jeunes lors des transitions, lors de leur présence au service de garde et durant le cours d’éducation physique», ajoute M. Grimard. Il fallait maintenant trouver les sous. En fait 6500$, asphalte non inclus bien sûr! L’équipe-école se met en branle. Le public répond présent. L’école reçoit des dons privés de plusieurs parents, de l’argent du Grand Défi Pierre-Lavoie, de la pharmacie Jean-Coutu de Nicolet, de l’Unité régionale des loisirs et des sports Centre-du-Québec, de la Course Esprit Saint, des Autobus Aston et des Viandes Rheintal. L’entrepreneur est embauché. Si les premières neiges ont déjà recouvert une partie du terrain de jeu de la cour de l’École Arc-en-ciel, les nombreux redoux en révèlent encore les contours et redonnent espoir aux enfants de pouvoir y jouer de nouveau même avant les fontes du printemps. La cour est évidemment déneigée pendant l’hiver. La cour de l’école est aussi accessible à l’ensemble de la communauté en l’absence des élèves de l’école, tient à souligner la direction de l'Arc-en-ciel. Boris Chassagne, Initiative de journalisme local, La Voix du Sud
HALIFAX — Nova Scotia reported 17 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday and New Brunswick reported six as the stream of cases from ongoing outbreaks continued in both provinces.Health officials in Nova Scotia said 16 of the cases identified were in Halifax, including one at St. Margaret's Bay Elementary school that was reported late Tuesday. The other case was in the province's northern health zone and was related to travel outside of Atlantic Canada.The province's total number of active cases is 127.In New Brunswick, health officials reported six new cases of COVID-19. The Moncton, Saint John, Fredericton and Edmundston regions each had one case, while there were two in the Bathurst region. There are now 119 active cases in the province.During an online news conference Wednesday, Nova Scotia Education Minister Zach Churchill said St. Margaret's Bay Elementary was closed for cleaning and would remain closed on Thursday because of a scheduled professional development day.He said a decision on reopening would be made later this week."That is yet to be determined because the investigation hasn't been completed," he said.Churchill also said it was likely that students at two schools in Cole Harbour that were closed after cases were identified last week would return to classes on Monday.The minister, who announced a further $14.3 million in funding to help support schools during the pandemic, was asked his thoughts on the fact there have only been five cases identified to date in the school system.He credited good guidance from the provincial public health department and said Nova Scotians have followed that advice."I think our teachers, principals, support staff, our cleaners, our students should be proud," Churchill told reporters. "It seems at this point that the majority of people are doing their part to make a difference and protect people from the virus."Still, he said talks were ongoing about the possibility of extending the upcoming Christmas break if needed.The money announced for schools on Wednesday is from a federal fund announced in August, and Churchill said it would go toward a range of programs and initiatives to help keep schools safe. He said $3.8 million would be used to boost school water supplies through the purchase of 950 touch-free water-filling stations, while $2.7 million would be used to ensure maintenance and inspections of school ventilation systems."This is above and beyond the (ventilation) assessments that have been done and the regular assessments," he said. "If any issues crop up, this funding will allow us to deploy resources very quickly to deal with any maintenance issues."Another $1.5 million would be used to purchase additional personal protective equipment such as masks and hand sanitizer for students and staff, while $4.1 million would go toward new online math and literacy programs. Money would also go toward school food programs, including $500,000 to meet increased demand for the existing school healthy eating program, and $1 million to support an emergency food fund that can be accessed if at-home learning is needed.The announcement followed one last month that will see $21.5 million in federal relief money used to purchase 32,000 new computers for students and to upgrade servers and Wi-Fi systems in schools.Meanwhile, one new case of COVID-19 was reported by Newfoundland and Labrador on Wednesday, bringing its number of active cases to 30. Health officials said the case was related to travel and involved a man between 20 and 39 years old in the eastern part of the province.In Prince Edward Island, the government announced that those with lower incomes can now get free face masks at all food bank locations across the province. The province said it had collaborated with the P.E.I. Association of Food Banks to distribute three-ply, non-medical reusable masksSince Nov. 20, non-medical masks or face coverings have been mandatory in all public spaces on the Island.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 2, 2020.Keith Doucette, The Canadian Press
The director of a Yukon women's advocacy group says she's not surprised by a new survey that shows more than 60 per cent of the territory's residents reported being physically or sexually assaulted at least once after their mid-teens.Statistics Canada says more than half of women and men living in Canada's three northern territories reported being victims of at least one sexual or physical assault after the age of 15.Reports of sexual and physical assault were highest among women and men in Yukon, where 61 per cent of both genders said they were assaulted.There were fewer reports of assaults in the provinces, where 39 per cent of women and 35 per cent of men said they were also victims."So put relatively simply, it's an intersection between the fact that the Yukon is a very recently colonized space, not unlike the other territories, but colonization happened relatively recently compared to the rest of Canada," said Aja Mason with Yukon Status of Women Council (YSWC)."As a result, there's completely appropriate mistrust of and for governmental institutions, and policing institutions like the RCMP."So women, in particular Indigenous women, who have really recent memories and experiences of having their children taken away, not being believed, or being actively oppressed and experiencing massive systemic racism, all of those factors contribute to a sense of mistrust towards the organizations that people might otherwise feel safe to try to pursue justice through."Mason said 60 per cent of Yukon residents reporting assaults is huge. But as someone born and raised in the region, she's become desensitized to how prevalent assault is in the area."It's insane. It is essentially saying that rape culture is thriving in the Yukon. That's what it's basically translating to in my brain. "It's even more prevalent or even closer to the surface here than in other places."The survey was conducted in 2018 to find out more about gender-based violence in Canada.It also says that in Nunavut's largest communities, including Iqaluit and Rankin Inlet, the average number of assaults against men and women was about the same as in all the territories — 52 per cent of women and 55 per cent of men.The number of reported assaults went down in smaller communities, where 30 per cent of men and women said they had been assaulted.The report highlights that women were three times more likely than men to be assaulted.A quarter of women living in the territories were also more likely to report facing certain health issues, using alcohol or drugs or having been homeless after an assault.LGBTQ women and women with physical or mental disabilities were also among the most vulnerable, as more than 60 per cent of them reported assaults.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 2, 2020.___This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News FellowshipFakiha Baig, The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — Canada's chief public health officer says the priority list of people who will get vaccinated first against COVID-19 has to be refined because the initial six million doses set to arrive in the first batch will not be enough to cover them all. Health Canada is in the final stages of reviewing the COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna. The regulator anticipates decisions on approving both before the end of December.Vaccines from AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson are also being studied, with no suggestion yet of when those reviews might be done. Canada has contracts for three more vaccines in late-stage clinical trials but has not starting rolling reviews on any of them yet.Dr. Theresa Tam said the variety of vaccines on Canada's docket and the expectation that several will eventually be approved "means we will have more flexibility as time goes on, and more and more vaccines come on board.""We're expecting that in the second quarter, depending on the approvals of the vaccines, we will have different amounts, but that is when the supply will become more and more plentiful," she said Wednesday in a virtual speech at the 2020 Canadian Immunization Conference.Most vaccine makers are just starting to ramp up production now. Initial production lots are much smaller, and are in high demand everywhere in the world.At the moment, Canada is on track to get four million doses from Pfizer and two million from Moderna between January and March. With both vaccines needing two doses to be effective, that's only enough to vaccinate three million people."So we have to do further refinements to these priority groups in order to know exactly how we're going to sequence the delivery of the vaccines," Tam said.NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said having to pare down the list is a massive Liberal government failure."There is no clear plan who is going to receive the vaccine," he said Wednesday."The government has not provided these details."The National Advisory Committee on Immunization issued a preliminary priority list for the COVID-19 vaccine last month, with four subsets of people based on risk of serious illness or death, and risk of exposure or outbreaks.The list included older Canadians, those with pre-existing conditions like liver and heart disease or diabetes, and people who live in the same household as those people. Long-term care workers, people who live in Indigenous communities, and front-line essential workers such as first responders or grocery store employees are also included.But that list of people is far longer than three million. There are nearly seven million Canadians over the age of 65 alone. Provincial governments will ultimately decide their own priorities but the national list is intended to guide those decisions. Long-term care homes are widely expected to be the highest priority for both workers and residents. In the first wave of the novel coronavirus pandemic in Canada, more than eight in 10 people who died from COVID-19 were associated with long-term care.The tragedy has continued in the second wave, with outbreaks in hundreds of facilities countrywide, and more residents dying every day. Ontario reported 35 deaths from COVID-19 Wednesday and 22 of them were residents in long-term care.More than 400,000 Canadians live in a long-term care setting or a retirement residence, according to the 2016 Census by Statistics Canada.Approving the vaccines is only the first step in what Tam called one of "the most complex operations ever taken in public health." Getting it to provinces to administer and convincing Canadians to take it could prove to be even more difficult.Tam appealed to the medical experts in the audience to help combat growing rhetoric that COVID-19 vaccines aren't safe. From a petition sponsored by Conservative MP Derek Sloan that warns these vaccines are "effectively human experimentation," to a van driving around Ottawa with a digital display claiming the vaccine "will destroy your DNA" there is evidence of some campaigns to convince Canadians not to get the COVID-19 vaccine when it comes.Tam said disinformation campaigns are not new but "because of the social media and its internet age, we've got even more of a challenge on our hands than anyone else in tackling pandemics of the past." "So it is a significant aspect of the response that we have to deal with," she said.She said the Public Health Agency of Canada is developing a series of webinars about the vaccines, how the regulatory and approval process works, and how the different types of vaccines work, so medical professionals can become influencers in their communities.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 2, 2020.Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press
The Dehcho First Nations is bringing back a familiar face to its executive team.Michael Nadli, who served as grand chief during the beginning of the Dehcho Process, was named as the First Nations' new chief negotiator according to a news release on Wednesday.The Dehcho process is a land, resource and self-government project. It began in 1999 and since 2019 has focused on self-government.The Dehcho First Nations call Nadli, a fluent speaker of Dene Zhatié, a "champion for Dene rights.""Michael ... is no stranger to the issues and challenges in negotiations," said Grand Chief Gladys Norwegian in a statement."Through his past roles in leadership and ability to speak our language, he has a strong connection to our culture and elders."Before his new role with Dehcho First Nations, Nadli was "helping build capacity in his home community" with the Deh Gáh Got'ıę First Nation (Fort Providence), the release says.He also served two terms as Deh Cho MLA from 2011 to 2019, was CEO of the Dehcho Land Use Planning Committee from 2007 to 2011, and was grand chief of the Dehcho First Nations from 1997 to 2003.His time in the public spotlight has not been without controversy. Nadli spent time in jail in 2015, when he served eight days of a 45-day sentence after being convicted of assault after breaking his wife's wrist. He had a similar conviction in 2004, when he pleaded guilty to a charge of assault against his spouse and was put on probation."I feel I can be a positive asset to the Dehcho First Nations," Nadli said in a written statement on Wednesday."At a deeper level my work is driven by a passion for justice and fairness. Negotiations is a common day occurrence."
The Southern Chiefs’ Organization (SCO) is making an urgent appeal to the Manitoba Justice Minister Cliff Cullen to address concerns about the increase of COVID-19 infections in Manitoba’s correctional facilities. SCO Grand Chief Jerry Daniels said in a press release issued on Wednesday that he sent a letter to the minister on November 20 expressing his concerns. “We need to know that our people are being cared for given how difficult the logistics are when it comes to managing a COVID-19 outbreak in these facilities,” said Daniels. In the letter, Daniels requested a response within the week, which would have been Nov. 27. However, even after following up, they have yet to hear a response from the minister or any provincial government staff. As of Nov. 30, 249 people have tested positive for COVID-19 at the Headingley Correctional Centre. 30 cases were found at the Women’s Correctional Centre, and 18 were found at the Agassiz Youth Centre, with 13 of them being youths. “Colonization, systemic racism, and intergenerational trauma have all resulted in First Nation people being vastly overrepresented in the justice system,” said Daniels. “The health of the people I represent is being jeopardized by the current conditions in provincial correctional facilities for which the justice minister is responsible.” The organization believes that the cause of the rise of COVID-19 cases in correctional centres is due to the facilities being overcrowded as well as First Nations people’s underlying health conditions. Moreover, the SCO has also come to learn that many of their citizens are transferred between facilities, which can further increase risk. “It’s critical that we are thoroughly briefed and updated on all the measures that are in place to ensure the physical and mental safety of First Nation citizens,” said Daniels. “We all have a responsibility to make sure those who are incarcerated are safe, starting with the minister of justice.” As of Monday, First Nation people in Manitoba accounted for 25% of all hospitalizations and 38% of all Intensive Care Unit patients. SCO trust that these figures result from centuries of colonization that has left First Nations with worse health outcomes, including a life expectancy that is 11 years shorter compared to those who are not First Nation. “Our government’s priority continues to be the health and safety of all Manitobans including Indigenous persons and all individuals in our corrections facilities,” said Cullen on Wednesday. “Manitoba Corrections is committed to making every effort to contain the spread of the virus and ensure each facility is safe. We will continue to adapt our operations on the advice of public health officials and medical experts to respond appropriately to the challenges posed by the pandemic, and keep inmates and staff safe at correctional facilities across the province.” Although SCO has not received the letter yet, Cullen has responded to their concerns noting that the Manitoba government recognizes that Indigenous persons are overrepresented in correctional facilities. Manitoba Justice has emphasized to correction staff about the need for strict adherence to the pandemic response plan and proper use of personal protective equipment. In the letter, Cullen wrote that the province will remain committed to navigating the crisis in partnership with Indigenous communities in the spirit of recompilation. Nicole Wong is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the Winnipeg Sun. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.Nicole Wong, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Winnipeg Sun
Two cases of COVID-19 have been found in Sipekne'katik First Nation in Nova Scotia's northern health zone. It's the first time the coronavirus has been detected on a First Nation in Atlantic Canada.Sipekne'katik Chief Mike Sack told CBC News he found out about the cases Wednesday afternoon. When asked if he was concerned, his answer was "yes and no.""We didn't want to get it — nobody does, of course — but it happened, so I think if we plan accordingly and take the proper steps, we'll push right through it," he said.There is little information about the two cases, or how they may have contracted the coronavirus, but Sack said they are self-isolating. He asked that people respect their privacy and not try to find out who they are."I don't want anybody to feel like they're alienated or whatnot. Nobody goes out looking for it," he said. "I just hope the people that did get it do their part, self-isolate and don't jeopardize anyone else's health."Sipekne'katik is the second-largest Mi'kmaw band in Nova Scotia and has approximately 1,244 members living in the community, according to its website. A further 1,344 members reside outside of the community.Sack said access to health care in Sipekne'katik is "very good," and the First Nation has its own health centre with doctors, nurses and dentists.He urged that members continue to follow public health protocols by masking, sanitizing, and avoiding large gatherings and non-essential travel.According to Indigenous Services Canada, as of Dec. 1, there have been 4,069 confirmed positive COVID-19 cases in First Nations in Canada, the majority of which are in the Prairie provinces.As of Wednesday evening, those numbers have not been updated to reflect the cases in Sipekne'katik.MORE TOP STORIES
In a year of dramatic personal and professional challenge, newly-elected Interim Liberal Leader Shirley Bond had seven days to assign critic portfolios and has seven more to prepare with her reconfigured opposition caucus for a shortened, but sure-to-be intense, winter legislative session. “In the legislature, it's a place of emotion and passion,” said Bond, elected interim Liberal leader by her 27 caucus colleagues on Nov. 23. “People work hard to deal with the issues at hand.” With 13 fewer Liberal MLAs and a handful of longer-serving members unseated in the Oct. 24 election, Bond had to move at lightspeed to assess the new mix of personalities and capacities, and match them with the best-fitting critic portfolios. “We may have a smaller number in caucus than we expected, but I'm very impressed with the skill sets,” said Bond, whose bench shrank to 28 members. “We will be using those skills in the legislature.” Critic files were announced Nov. 30. “Just as ministers will be getting up to speed, our critics will be preparing,” said Bond. “We intend to be vigorous in the legislature, to work hard, and ministers will be expected to know their files.” Cabinet posts are something Bond knows well. Besides serving as deputy premier, the six-term MLA for Prince George-Valemount has held major cabinet positions under successive Liberal governments, including Justice, Attorney General, Health, Jobs, Education, Transportation and Infrastructure. Prior to the election, she was opposition finance critic and chair of the all-party legislative Public Accounts Committee. “I've been engaged in public service for much of my life,” said Bond, who served on the local school board prior to entering provincial politics. But interim opposition leader breaks new ground. A couple days after the election, former BC Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson announced he would step down as soon as a new leader was chosen. A month later, he changed his mind, relaying his resignation via social media. “He did what he believed was in the best interest of the party, and that was to step aside,” said Bond, who became B.C.’s opposition leader two days later. “Bond is exactly the type of person and personality who can successfully lead the B.C. Liberals through their existential crisis in the run-up to the leadership contest,” wrote former Liberal strategist and now-political pundit Martyn Brown in an opinion piece for The Georgia Straight on Nov. 21. Bond was a highly respected and supportive team player who spoke her mind and had a deep grasp of her portfolio issues, Brown wrote. “Opposition leader Bond and I have worked together for 15 years, as adversaries admittedly,” said Premier John Horgan. “But we share a lot of commonalities. I have great respect for her and I like to think that it's mutual.” BC Greens Leader Sonia Furstenau has worked on files with Bond and other opposition members, a practice she hopes will continue under Bond’s leadership. “Her experience and her political capacity is immense,” said Furstenau. “She has a big job on her hands.” Priority one is becoming an effective and efficient opposition, said Bond. Second, is to work constructively with the party as they outline a process that will lead to a new permanent leader. “We are at a transition point,” Bond said. “The party needs to be renewed.” Liberals need to engage with supporters, members, and British Columbians at large, she said. “We need to first look back and ask what happened,” said Bond. “We need to be in listening mode.” A survey sent to members has elicited thousands of responses so far, and an independent analysis of the campaign will follow. Then the party needs to look forward, asking people what matters most to them, said Bond. “This is going to be transparent, it's going to be thorough, and at times, there are going to be some uncomfortable questions and discussions,” Bond said. “But that's absolutely essential if we're going to renew and rebuild the party.” As far as her own candidacy goes, Bond is unequivocal. “I have no aspirations or intention to consider permanent leadership.” Meanwhile, there’s the job at hand. The winter legislative session begins Dec. 7. A key priority for government will be passing COVID-19 relief legislation including Horgan's campaign promise of a one-time maximum $1,000 grant for eligible families or $500 for eligible individuals. The COVID-19 health crisis and related economic recovery concerns, and the opioid crisis are top of the opposition's agenda, said Bond. Rather than being overwhelmed by the tasks ahead, Bond seems energized, with a hint of bittersweet. Bill, her best friend and husband of 41 years, passed away in June. Bond deeply misses her mate and always will, she said, but the struggles of others have given her perspective. “We are surrounded by people who are facing difficult circumstances at the moment, some much more difficult than mine,” she said. “That helps me put my own loss in context and also gives me motivation and drive.” Legislators need to support families and individuals who are struggling in the pandemic, such as small business owners at risk of losing businesses, said Bond. “I need to do my part to help provide that support, raise those issues, fight on their behalf,” she said. Fran@thegoatnews.ca / @FranYanorFran Yanor, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Rocky Mountain Goat
VIENNA — Austria will allow skiing to start on Dec. 24, but will limit the capacity of ski lifts and keep restaurants, bars and hotels largely closed until early January, officials said Wednesday. It also will require many people entering the country over the Christmas period to go into quarantine.Tough lockdown measures took effect Nov. 17 and are due to expire on Sunday. Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said a limited curfew that has applied around the clock will be eased, and from Monday will apply only between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m.Schools will be reopened next week, except for older students, as will nonessential shops, museums, libraries and some other businesses. But restaurants will remain closed for all but takeout and deliveries, as will bars, and hotels will remain closed except to business travellers.Austria has been hard hit by the resurgence of coronavirus infections in Europe, though its infection rate has declined over recent weeks. It currently is recording 335 new infections per 100,000 residents over seven days, down from around 600 last month — but still more than twice as many as in neighbouring Germany, which is in a milder partial shutdown.Kurz said that progress over recent weeks, and the expectation of more before Christmas, allows “cautious” reopening steps. But he said the tourism and catering sectors won’t start reopening until Jan. 7.That will effectively mean that, over the holiday season, skiing is possible in most cases only on day trips for those Austrian residents who live fairly close to the Alps. Vice Chancellor Werner Kogler said there will be mask-wearing and distancing requirements, and the capacity of cable cars will be limited.Kurz said that allowing skiing for locals but keeping the catering sector closed is “absolutely justified.”“Skiing is a sport that takes place in the open air, an individual sport, so epidemiologically it must be assessed differently from catering, where we know that there can time and again be infections,” he said.Kurz added that he, as a resident of eastern Austria, won't benefit but “for a large part of our population it will then be possible to go skiing at least for the day.”France and Germany, which has closed its ski resorts, are pushing for similar measures to be taken in other European countries, like Italy and Spain, for the Christmas season. Ski resorts are already open in neighbouring Switzerland, which has allowed skiing.Kurz rejected suggestions that Austria's limited reopening was a response to pressure from abroad.“We decide according to our infection situation, and our expectation is that we can push down our infections very, very strongly by Christmas,” he said.Austria also plans tougher border controls and quarantine rules in an effort to dissuade people from travelling abroad over the Christmas period. Austrian residents' summer trips to see relatives in the western Balkans, in particular, were blamed as a significant source of the resurgence of infections this fall.The quarantine rules will be imposed by mid-December and will apply “if you're coming from a country that exceeds a certain limit of infections,” Kurz said. Authorities set the limit at 100 new cases per 100,000 residents over 14 days, an infection rate which the vast majority of European countries currently surpass.The requirement will be for new arrivals to go into quarantine for 10 days, which they can cut short by taking a test after five days, Interior Minister Karl Nehammer said.___Follow AP’s coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak.___Geir Moulson reported from Berlin.Geir Moulson And Philipp Jenne, The Associated Press
CENTRE WELLINGTON – Centre Wellington’s Business Improvement Areas (BIA) are calling 2020 a challenging year but one that saw some successes that they want to expand on going forward into a new year. Tuesday’s Centre Wellington committee of the whole meeting heard delegations from Elora BIA and Fergus BIA. Micaela Campbell, Elora BIA administrator, called it a strange year and obviously not what they were anticipating. She explained that much of their budget was redirected to shop local and stay safe campaigns during the early months of the pandemic. Fred Gordon, Fergus BIA administrator, said the COVID crisis definitely had a detrimental effect on downtown Fergus. “In 2020, we decided to take that negative and turn it into something positive,” Gordon said, adding that they too shifted their budget toward shop local campaigns. Campbell said the most successful project that went forward was the weekend street closures downtown, calling it very successful for local businesses. From June until Thanksgiving, sections of Metcalfe Street and Mill Street were closed to vehicle traffic on the weekend which allowed for better social distancing and restaurants could expand their patios into the street. “It also was very effective in accommodating what felt like a massive influx of tourists this summer, mostly from areas outside of Elora, Fergus or Centre Wellington,” Campbell said, adding that a drop in international travel probably led to travel within the province. This was tried in Fergus as well by closing Provost Lane and St. Andrew Street. “Closing St. Andrew Street did not work for our members at all,” Gordon said. “Downtown Fergus has a heavy service oriented profile, many of which rely on seniors. They just couldn’t get close enough parking.” However, Gordon said Fergus BIA is interested in expanding on closing Provost Lane with some beautification at the historic weigh-scale building. “We can’t wait for the new year to get that project going,” Gordon said. Campbell said the Elora BIA would also like to see the weekend closures happen beyond the emergency situation. She admitted however that there are some logistical issues involved and the reopening of the Badley Bridge could complicate this as well. Campbell explained that for the most part, the reception to it has been positive. “I will be supporting downtown street closures at the county level as long as I’m there,” said mayor Kelly Linton. “I think it was just fabulous, it had a great feel. We have to make sure we address some of the parking issues but overall, from what I heard, it was well received.” In spite of the pandemic, both Elora and Fergus have had new businesses come to town this year. Gordon said there are no vacancies in downtown Fergus going into winter which is unusual. When asked about loss of revenue or employees, Gordon said it was a difficult time for members but wasn’t aware of any permanent job losses. Campbell said the tourism in Elora has made retail stores recover well but restaurants are struggling due to limited seating allowed under public health guidelines. Going forward, both BIAs are looking to make downtown Elora and Fergus known as destinations. Campbell said the Elora BIA will be looking to promote to wider markets to lean into the tourism expansion they’ve seen and to beef up beautification and events next year. In Fergus, Gordon said they are reaching out to the many new developments that are going up in town to let new residents know they have a thriving downtown. Keegan Kozolanka, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, GuelphToday.com
Island groundwater supply is running strong despite extreme drought and record-low groundwater levels this summer and some dry wells this fall. “We benefit from a really generous groundwater supply,” said Bruce Raymond, manager of the Water and Air Monitoring section of PEI’s Department of Environment and Water. He said it would take a consistent long-term drought for years on end to see a problematic decrease in the Island’s groundwater levels. “It’s a bit of a good news story,” he said. On the other hand Keith Reynolds, with Reynolds Well Drilling in Lower Montague, is seeing more dry wells than usual. “I’ve had about half a dozen calls about wells going dry this fall,” he said. This is more than usual but most of the calls were from clients with older wells. Mr Raymond said older or weak wells going dry this time of year is normal. “In talking to the drillers recently they’ve reported a few have gone dry, but most were weak shallow wells not quite up to standard.” Some old wells are more shallow than the current standard or have other defects that would lead to water not making it to the kitchen sink. A pump placed too high or sediment at the bottom of a well are two of many factors that can cause water stoppages. Mr Raymond said most of the province’s observation wells did show record low groundwater levels this summer. The water table, which varies but can often hold 100 or 200 metres of water, might have lowered by a metre or a few this year depending on the location. The average Island well is 30 to 60 metres deep or deeper again, depending on the location. “Most people have wells that have been drilled well into the water table,” Mr Raymond said. A few meters won’t usually be enough to cause standard wells to go dry. Precipitation for September and October seems to have been fairly normal, according to Environment Canada data. Mr Raymond said a drought as long as it was this year shouldn’t affect groundwater levels. He said, according to a recent study performed by a hydrologist in his department, through climate change, seasonality will change. Considering predicted average precipitation amounts, length of recharge seasons and other factors, groundwater levels and the streams that shoot off from groundwater should stay relatively steady on the Island.Rachel Collier, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eastern Graphic
NEW YORK — The dramatic conclusion to “The Undoing,” HBO's whodunit starring Hugh Grant and Nicole Kidman, proved how it's still possible to bring people together in today's fragmented television world.Three million people tuned in Sunday to find out who really killed the girlfriend of Grant's adulterous character in one of three showings on HBO and on the streaming service HBO Max, the Nielsen company said.That's likely to be a fraction of who eventually sees it, given how television is consumed today. The premiere of the six-episode series was seen by 1.4 million people the night it first aired, and by now has been seen by 9 million and counting.“It's a good example of how you can still have a water-cooler hit,” said Casey Bloys, HBO Programming president. “I will always point to good acting, writing and directing. It was a good story.”It was the most-watched night for HBO since the finale of “Big Little Lies” last year, which also featured Kidman and creator David E. Kelley.HBO also said it was the first time in network history that each episode of a series was seen by more people than the previous one, a powerful signal of how people were drawn into the mystery.“The Undoing” has generated more conversation on social media than any other new scripted television series this year, Nielsen said. Coupled with the streaming-only series “The Flight Attendant,” HBO Max had its biggest week since the service was launched.“The Undoing” was always designed as a limited series, but it attracted the type of interest that would make any television executive naturally wonder if the story could be extended in some way.“I don't know,” Bloys said. “I do think these things are lightning in a bottle. It could always be difficult to try that again.”But he pointed to the network's productive relationship with Kidman and Kelley.“We'll find something great to do,” he said. “Who knows what it will be?”In other ratings news, CNN finished November with its most-watched month in the network's 40-year history, showing growth in the aftermath of the election compared to rivals Fox News Channel and MSNBC.NBC was the top-rated broadcast network in prime time for Thanksgiving week, averaging 3.64 million viewers. CBS had 3.55 million, ABC had 2.4 million, Fox had 1.6 million, Ion Television had 930,000, Univision had 890,000 and Telemundo had 530,000.ESPN was the most-watched cable network, averaging 2.95 million viewers. Hallmark hit 2.53 million, Fox News Channel had 2 million, MSNBC had 1.59 million and CNN had 1.41 million.ABC's “World News Tonight” led the evening news ratings race with an average of 9.5 million viewers. NBC's “Nightly News” had 8.8 million and the “CBS Evening News” had 6.3 million.For the week of Nov. 23-29, the 20 most-watched programs in prime time, their networks and viewerships:1\. NFL Football: Chicago at Green Bay, NBC, 16.48 million.2\. “60 Minutes,” CBS, 13.78 million.3\. “NFL Pregame” (Sunday), NBC, 13.32 million.4\. NFL Football: L.A. Rams at Tampa Bay, ESPN, 13.14 million.5\. “The Masked Singer,” Fox, 11.42 million.6\. “NFL Post-Game” (Sunday), Fox, 11.11 million.7\. “Football Night in America” (Sunday, 7:55 p.m.) NBC, 10.78 million.8\. “NCIS,” CBS, 10.16 million.9\. “FBI,” CBS, 8.4 million.10\. “Football Night in America” (Sunday, 7:30 p.m.), NBC, 7.38 million.11\. “The Voice” (Monday), NBC, 7.08 million.12\. “The Voice” (Tuesday) NBC, 7.07 million.13\. “Dancing With the Stars,” ABC, 6.42 million.14\. “Monday Night Kickoff,” ESPN, 6.22 million.15\. “I Can See Your Voice,” Fox, 6.07 million.16\. “FBI: Most Wanted,” CBS, 5.66 million.17\. “The Neighborhood,” CBS, 5.46 million.18\. “Bob Hearts Abishola,” CBS, 4.9 million.19\. “Bull,” CBS, 4.68 million.20\. “The Bachelorette,” ABC, 4.49 million.David Bauder, The Associated Press