WASHINGTON — Disputing President Donald Trump’s persistent, baseless claims, Attorney General William Barr declared the U.S. Justice Department has uncovered no evidence of widespread voter fraud that could change the outcome of the 2020 election.Barr's comments, in an interview Tuesday with the The Associated Press, contradict the concerted effort by Trump, his boss, to subvert the results of last month's voting and block President-elect Joe Biden from taking his place in the White House.Barr told the AP that U.S. attorneys and FBI agents have been working to follow up specific complaints and information they’ve received, but “to date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election.”The comments, which drew immediate criticism from Trump attorneys, were especially notable coming from Barr, who has been one of the president's most ardent allies. Before the election, he had repeatedly raised the notion that mail-in voting could be especially vulnerable to fraud during the coronavirus pandemic as Americans feared going to polls and instead chose to vote by mail.More to Trump's liking, Barr revealed in the AP interview that in October he had appointed U.S. Attorney John Durham as a special counsel, giving the prosecutor the authority to continue to investigate the origins of the Trump-Russia probe after Biden takes over and making it difficult to fire him. Biden hasn't said what he might do with the investigation, and his transition team didn't comment Tuesday.Trump has long railed against the investigation into whether his 2016 campaign was co-ordinating with Russia, but he and Republican allies had hoped the results would be delivered before the 2020 election and would help sway voters. So far, there has been only one criminal case, a guilty plea from a former FBI lawyer to a single false statement charge.Under federal regulations, a special counsel can be fired only by the attorney general and for specific reasons such as misconduct, dereliction of duty or conflict of interest. An attorney general must document such reasons in writing.Barr went to the White House Tuesday for a previously scheduled meeting that lasted about three hours.Trump didn't directly comment on the attorney general's remarks on the election. But his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and his political campaign issued a scathing statement claiming that, "with all due respect to the Attorney General, there hasn’t been any semblance” of an investigation into the president's complaints.Other administration officials who have come out forcefully against Trump's allegations of voter-fraud evidence have been fired. But it's not clear whether Barr might suffer the same fate. He maintains a lofty position with Trump, and despite their differences the two see eye-to-eye on quite a lot.Still, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer quipped: “I guess he’s the next one to be fired.”Last month, Barr issued a directive to U.S. attorneys across the country allowing them to pursue any “substantial allegations” of voting irregularities before the 2020 presidential election was certified, despite no evidence at that time of widespread fraud.That memorandum gave prosecutors the ability to go around longstanding Justice Department policy that normally would prohibit such overt actions before the election was certified. Soon after it was issued, the department’s top elections crime official announced he would step aside from that position because of the memo.The Trump campaign team led by Giuliani has been alleging a widespread conspiracy by Democrats to dump millions of illegal votes into the system with no evidence. They have filed multiple lawsuits in battleground states alleging that partisan poll watchers didn’t have a clear enough view at polling sites in some locations and therefore something illegal must have happened. The claims have been repeatedly dismissed including by Republican judges who have ruled the suits lacked evidence.But local Republicans in some battleground states have followed Trump in making unsupported claims, prompting grave concerns over potential damage to American democracy.Trump himself continues to rail against the election in tweets and in interviews though his own administration has said the 2020 election was the most secure ever. He recently allowed his administration to begin the transition over to Biden, but he still refuses to admit he lost.The issues they've have pointed to are typical in every election: Problems with signatures, secrecy envelopes and postal marks on mail-in ballots, as well as the potential for a small number of ballots miscast or lost.But they've gone further. Attorney Sidney Powell has spun fictional tales of election systems flipping votes, German servers storing U.S. voting information and election software created in Venezuela “at the direction of Hugo Chavez,” – the late Venezuelan president who died in 2013. Powell has since been removed from the legal team after an interview she gave where she threatened to “blow up” Georgia with a “biblical” court filing.Barr didn't name Powell specifically but said: “There's been one assertion that would be systemic fraud and that would be the claim that machines were programmed essentially to skew the election results. And the DHS and DOJ have looked into that, and so far, we haven’t seen anything to substantiate that.”In the campaign statement, Giuliani claimed there was “ample evidence of illegal voting in at least six states, which they have not examined.”“We have many witnesses swearing under oath they saw crimes being committed in connection with voter fraud. As far as we know, not a single one has been interviewed by the DOJ. The Justice Department also hasn’t audited any voting machines or used their subpoena powers to determine the truth,” he said.However, Barr said earlier that people were confusing the use of the federal criminal justice system with allegations that should be made in civil lawsuits. He said a remedy for many complaints would be a top-down audit by state or local officials, not the U.S. Justice Department.“There’s a growing tendency to use the criminal justice system as sort of a default fix-all," he said, but first there must be a basis to believe there is a crime to investigate.“Most claims of fraud are very particularized to a particular set of circumstances or actors or conduct. ... And those have been run down; they are being run down,” Barr said. “Some have been broad and potentially cover a few thousand votes. They have been followed up on."___Associated Press writers Lisa Mascaro and Eric Tucker contributed to this report.Michael Balsamo, The Associated Press
Quebec City has inaugurated a memorial to the victims of the 2017 mosque shooting. The commemorative work designed by artist Luce Pelletier is located near the Islamic Cultural Centre of Quebec, in the city's Ste-Foy district. Mayor Regis Labeaume said the Jan. 29, 2017 attack on the centre left families, a community and an entire city in mourning when six Muslim men were gunned down shortly after the end of evening prayers. Labeaume says the people of Quebec City want to live together in harmony, a sentiment reinforced by another recent tragedy, a sword attack that left two people dead and five injured in the city's historic district on Halloween night. He says the memorial, titled "Vivre Ensemble" (Live Together), is a way of making it clear that "hate will never win." The monument is composed of several elements that symbolize the meeting of different communities, with the part near the mosque serving as an area for meditation and commemoration. The area for reflection includes a written recounting of what happened that night while the commemorative portion includes the names of the six men engraved on stones, each adorned with perforated aluminum sheets with patterns inspired by their countries of origin: Morocco, Guinea, Tunisia and Algeria. Family members of the six victims — Mamadou Tanou Barry, Ibrahima Barry, Khaled Belkacemi, Abdelkrim Hassane, Azzeddine Soufiane and Aboubaker Thabti — as well as some survivors were present for the unveiling today. "This tragedy left a permanent scar on the hearts of thousands of residents," Labeaume said. "To demonstrate that we remember, that we still think about the victims today, we are proud to pay homage with the magnificent commemorative monument." The president of the mosque gave an emotional address with a message for the children of the six victims. "For the kids present today, the children of our lost friends, you have felt that everyone loves you," Boufeldja Benabdallah said. "When you cross people on the street, they embrace you. You are like their children, everyone loves you and everyone wants you to become the great citizens of tomorrow, to honour this city and to honour your parents' memory." The Quebec City man convicted of six counts of first-degree murder in the killings was sentenced to life in prison in February 2019. Following a successful appeal decision last week, he is eligible to apply for parole after serving 25 years in prison. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 1, 2020. The Canadian Press
Parents of sick babies have felt "broken" and alone as they navigate COVID-19 restrictions in hospitals, a new study at Dalhousie University suggests.The study looked at the experiences of parents who spent time with their babies in neonatal intensive care units during the COVID-19 pandemic in the spring.Marsha Campbell-Yeo, a professor at Dalhousie University's school of nursing, neonatal nurse practitioner and researcher at the IWK Health Centre in Halifax, says COVID-19 restrictions have impacted families across the country, including P.E.I."At our strictest time, that really meant that only one person could be in the neonatal intensive care unit with their very sick baby. And that often was the mom. And it really left moms alone without their usual support networks," she said in an interview with Island Morning host Mitch Cormier.> Some even talked about feeling broken, not being able to be with their baby. — Marsha Campbell-Yeo"And we know it really, really affected dads because many of them were weeks, sometimes months without even seeing their baby."In some cases, she said, once the parent left the neonatal unit, they could not go back in, leaving the babies alone."We were mostly worried because we knew that there were so many benefits that there was strong evidence that parents being present helped their own well-being," she said."But [we] also know help their babies have more optimal brain development, better stress regulation, better growth and even earlier discharges."The university began a survey asking families how they were impacted by the restrictive presence policies. Campbell-Yeo said the answers were not surprising."Families told us that they felt very disconnected. They felt out of control, very alone. Some even talked about feeling broken, not being able to be with their baby or having their families all together in this very challenging time."Particular challenges from P.E.I.Families from out of province, such as P.E.I., had particular challenges, she said."Someone couldn't come over to the hospital door and drop off food or clothes or anything they needed that could be potentially the case if you lived in Halifax. So when those strictest times, when people couldn't even cross borders, it was tremendously challenging for those families from New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island."The survey can be found at www.momlinc.ca.More from CBC P.E.I.
Elliot Page, Halifax's own Hollywood star, has shared that he is transgender.The actor is known for his Oscar-nominated role in Juno, as well as Inception and most recently The Umbrella Academy. He addressed his social media followers on Tuesday with a lengthy Instagram post, in which he shared that he is trans and that he uses the pronouns he/they."I feel lucky to be writing this. To be here. To have arrived at this place in my life. I feel overwhelming gratitude for the incredible people who have supported me along this journey," Page wrote."I love that I am trans. And I love that I am queer. And the more I hold myself close and fully embrace who I am, the more I dream, the more my heart grows and the more I thrive."Page describes 'fragile' joyPage said he has been inspired by many in the trans community, and thanked them for their courage, generosity and working to make the world a more inclusive and compassionate place. While Page said his joy is real, it is also "fragile." Despite feeling profoundly happy and acknowledging his privilege, he is also scared of the invasiveness, the hate, the jokes and the violence.He cited the Human Rights Campaign's figure that nearly 40 trans people have been killed in the United States in 2020 alone, with the majority of those being trans women of colour. "Enough is enough. You aren't being 'cancelled,' you are hurting people. I am one of those people and we won't be silent in the face of your attacks," Page wrote.Outpouring of appreciationThe letter was met with an outpouring of appreciation on social media, with Canadian musicians Tegan and Sara tweeting that Page's strength, bravery and activism is "truly special."The official Umbrella Academy and Netflix accounts also tweeted their support, saying they are "proud of our superhero," in a nod to Page's character Vanya on the popular show.For years, Page has been one of the most visible queer actors in Hollywood since publicly coming out as gay in 2014 during an emotional speech at the Time to Thrive conference, an LGBTQ youth event.He married New York dance teacher Emma Portner a few years ago, and the 2016 series Gaycation saw Page and Ian Daniel explore LGBTQ cultures around the world.Page is also a passionate environmental activist, and made his directorial debut alongside Daniel with There's Something in the Water, a documentary that screened at TIFF last year.Inspired by a book of the same name by Dalhousie University professor Ingrid Waldron, the documentary takes on environmental racism — the way climate change disproportionately affects communities of colour — in Page's home province of Nova Scotia.Through this project, Page learned about the challenges people in Shelburne, N.S., had with contaminated wells. He pledged the money needed for a new community well in the south end of town, which the local council accepted in February.Warm welcome Non-binary CBC journalist Faith Fundal said they were excited by Page's announcement."We're sort of at a time where more and more people are feeling safe to come out, and to look at their own gender identity," Fundal said."And for some folks, like Elliot, realizing that, 'You know what, I'm not who I was gendered to be.'"WATCH | Fundal 'excited' by Page's news:Fundal said in their experience, and based on what they've heard from other trans people, coming out can be a scary experience."There is that very real fear of violence, of being beaten up or kicked out of your community, people not accepting you," they said. "So seeing all of these very positive things [about Page] from folks is heartwarming."Fundal said the people they've talked to are "happy to see this kind of visibility, to see this kind of representation, because representation is important."Nik Basset, an education co-ordinator at the Youth Project in Page's hometown of Halifax, is warmly welcoming Page to the trans community. The Youth Project is an organization offering support and services to LGBTQ youth.Basset, who uses they/them pronouns, told CBC's Mainstreet that they are "so excited for somebody to be moving into their authentic selves.""The courage that it takes to come out and advocate for your identity is a really hard thing to do," they said. "So I'm just really proud of Elliot."While Basset said someone with Page's profile may bring a lot of visibility to the trans community, they cautioned that such visibility is not always representative of social change.LISTEN | Basset welcomes Page to trans community: Basset said actions like misgendering (referring to someone by the wrong pronouns) or deadnaming (referring to someone by their former name) can be very harmful to a trans person.They said they understand what Page meant about his joy being "fragile.""From my lived experience, hearing pronouns that I don't identify with, or hearing my dead name, my given name, it reminds me of a time when I was closeted and afraid and confused," they said."I can't imagine — because I'm not famous — what it will feel like moving forward having this huge body of work tied to a name that they no longer use."Basset said there is a strong, supportive community for those who come out or who are questioning their gender identity."You're valid, no matter what," they said.
BERLIN — More than 180 police officers raided homes in three German states early Tuesday after the German government banned a far-right group, the interior ministry said. The homes of 11 members of the far-right group Wolfsbrigade 44 were searched in Hesse, Mecklenburg West-Pomerania and North Rhine-Westphalia to confiscate the group's funds and far-right propaganda material, the German news agency dpa reported. “Whoever fights against the basic values of our free society will get to feel the resolute reaction of our government,” Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said. “There's no place in this country for an association that sows hatred and and works on the resurrection of a Nazi state.” The members of the group want to re-establish a Nazi dictatorship and abolish democracy, the interior ministry said. The 44 in their name stands for the fourth letter in the alphabet, DD, and is an abbreviation for Division Dirlewanger. Oskar Dirlewanger was a known Nazi war criminal and commander of a Nazi SS special unit. The far-right group, founded in 2016, is also known for its anti-Semitic and racist ideology as well as its violent and aggressive appearances in public and on social media. On Tuesday, officers found knives, a machete, a crossbow and bayonets during their raids. They also seized Nazi devotional objects such as swastikas and flags. Earlier this year, the German government banned other far-right groups including the Combat 18 and the Nordadler, dpa reported. In a separate investigation, the Defence Ministry said that eight suspects had been questioned by military intelligence on Tuesday in connection with an investigation that has been going on since the end of last year. The investigation is centred on soldiers and several civilian employees working at a regional office of the military in Ulm, who are thought to be linked to the so-called Reichsbuerger movement. Reichsbuerger, or Reich citizens, have similarities to the sovereign citizens movements in the United States and elsewhere. They reject the authority of the modern German state and promote the notion of “natural rights,” often mixing this ideology with far-right politics and esoteric conspiracy theories. “There isn't any room in the military for enemies of the constitution,” Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer said in a statement. The Associated Press
There is one new case of COVID-19 in Newfoundland and Labrador on Tuesday, just as the provincial government takes steps around anyone entering the province by requiring all travellers to fill out forms online prior to arrival.The new case is a man in the Eastern Health region between 50 and 59 years old.The case is travel-related, according to a Department of Health media release. The man is a resident of Newfoundland and Labrador who returned to the province from work in British Columbia.The Department of Health is asking passengers who travelled on Air Canada flight 8996 from Halifax to St. John's arriving Thursday, Nov. 19 to call 811 to arrange COVID-19 testing.Even in the event of a negative test, public health is encouraging all passengers to continue monitoring themselves for symptoms for a full 14 days from the time of their arrival in the province.There are also four new recoveries being reported on Tuesday. The province's active caseload is now 33 and the total recoveries since March is 302.Three recoveries are in the Eastern Health region and one person has recovered in the Western Health region.Travel form requiredAs of Tuesday, all travellers to the province must fill out a form online in the 30 days prior to them entering Newfoundland and Labrador. According to the Department of Health, travellers will then receive a reference number they must show border officials when they arrive, either by air or sea.The provincial government's COVID-19 travel declaration form has been fleshed out to require more information and clarify the necessary consents from all those entering Newfoundland and Labrador. Rotational workers must give additional information about their worksite, and all travellers must declare that they understand such rules as mandatory mask-wearing in public places in the province.Dr. Janice Fitzgerald, the provincial chief medical officer of health, said Monday none of updated information on the forms is a new requirement, but helps officials track people entering, and their associated data, more efficiently.The only exception to the form is for travellers crossing at the Labrador West-Fermont border, who do not need to fill it out electronically ahead of time.The next in-person briefing on the province's pandemic response is scheduled for Wednesday.In total, 62,841 have now been tested for COVID-19 in Newfoundland and Labrador. That's an increase of 320 in the last day. Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
A symbol of magic and happiness, the World Tree has been set up in Jasper for the third year running in Robson Park. "This is an ideal location within Jasper's residential area, nestled in a green space bordering our schools, the library and the Jasper Art Gallery," said Marcia DeWandel, one of the volunteers behind the tree, in an email. "It creates a festive community hub during the cool, dark winter season." This year’s tree was harvested in a valley close to town, as part of the area's FireSmart program. It was set up on Nov. 30 by municipal staff, with help from the volunteer trio of DeWandel, Traudi Golla and Penny Bayfield. DeWandel said there has been a great deal of support from community organizations. The Municipality of Jasper gave approval for the initiative in October, 2018. Other community groups that have helped the World Tree be a shining light include Community Outreach Services, the Jasper Volunteer Fire Brigade, the Jasper Municipal Library, Jasper Artists Guild, the Dutch Guy, SAW Construction, Friends of Jasper and Parks Canada Although the World Tree is not a fundraiser, DeWandel pointed out that in 2018 and 2019, Santas Anonymous encouraged donations through the sale of tree decorations and hot chocolate at the site. Adaptation to the reality of COVID means events have to happen in different ways. "Like the rest of the world, the pandemic has prompted us to think outside the box," DeWandel said. "The World Tree is needed this year, and its light and energy will remain in Robson Park this season." While there won't be a formal lighting event, the tree will be lit on Dec. 4. Volunteers are encouraging festivities and giving in a slightly different way this year. "Visit the World Tree with your cohort and decorate," DeWandel said. "The more love the tree receives, the brighter it shines. Students from all the schools are still encouraged to make decorations and place them on the tree." DeWandel also encouraged folks to donate to Santas Anonymous by purchasing raffle tickets for the "amazing gingerbread house" or visiting the mitten donation line at TGP. "Support your community by shopping locally," she said. DeWandel hopes the World Tree becomes a tradition in Jasper, with coordination done by a formal group. For 2020, she said, "The World Tree will continue to bring happiness and joy this holiday season. It represents a sense of normalcy during a time of uncertainty. “The tree is community, it is fun, it is magic and it is hope."Joanne McQuarrie, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Jasper Fitzhugh
Attorney General William Barr said Tuesday the Justice Department has not uncovered evidence of widespread voter fraud that would change the outcome of the 2020 presidential election. (Dec. 1)
This past Sunday, Nov. 29, the first Sunday of Advent, the people of Dundalk Wesleyan Church started an effort to help those in need that they hope the community in Dundalk and Southgate may join. Pastor Chris Lang said the idea came for one of their church members last year and was a great success in the congregation, so they are opening it up. The effort aims to help stock the shelves of the Dundalk Food Bank with a Food Drive that will take place during the season of Advent. Advent is the time when Christians count down the days until Christmas when they celebrate the birth of Jesus. The Food Drive is called a “Reverse Advent Calendar Food Drive” because instead of counting down, the Food Drive instead adds items each day. At the end, people have assembled a large box of non-perishable food items ready for the Food Bank. The Food Drive runs until Sunday Dec. 20. There is a list of food items for each day of the Food Drive. For example Nov. 29, peanut butter; Nov. 30 - canned meat; Dec. 1 canned vegetables; Dec. 2, mac and cheese and so on. Members of the community who are not connected to the church are invited to participate in this Food Drive as well. They can donate the food items week by week at a box at the Co-operators office at 40 Main St. E., Dundalk, or contact the church to make arrangements to drop off the finished box. You can email the church at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. M.T. Fernandes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Dundalk Herald
The first region-wide social needs assessment and strategy in the Regional District of Nanaimo is now underway. The partnership between the RDN, Town of Qualicum Beach, District of Lantzville, City of Nanaimo and Gabriola Island Local Trust Committee will turn a lens on what families, children and youth need as well as how to improve social supports and address housing and homelessness, access to services, safe affordable transportation and discrimination and stigma. The project has been made possible in part thanks to a $125,000 grant from the B.C. Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction as administered by the Union of BC Municipalities. An additional $60,000 from the RDN’s 2020 budget rounds out the total amount devoted to the project. In November, a $140,000 contract was awarded to Kelowna-based Urban Matters, an advisory company that focuses on social and community development projects. An engagement plan is underway and will include working with community health networks (like the Gabriola Health and Wellness Collaborative) and individuals with lived experience in poverty as well as consulting with the community. The plan will be presented to the RDN board early next year for endorsement. The RDN’s senior long-range planner, Courtney Simpson, said staff are also “in ongoing conversation with First Nations to understand how they would like to be involved in the process.” The RDN is situated within the traditional territories of the Snuneymuxw, Snaw-Naw-As and Qualicum First Nations. Simpson explained there are a few phases to the project. The assessment phase includes a scan of existing services, including “checking with service providers to ensure nothing is missed.” A baseline study follows, which will “measure social needs of the community such as data related to the social determinants of health.” Social determinants of health are social and economic factors that determine health and can include income, education or employment as well as experiences of discrimination, racism and historical trauma. After the baseline study, a gap analysis will be conducted followed by development of a strategy on how to address those gaps. The project’s request for proposals highlights Island Health’s 2019 Local Area Profile for Greater Nanaimo, which shows, among other insights, that “measures of low income, housing affordability and vulnerability in children are lower than the Island Health and B.C. average,” and the “the proportion of persons who are members of a low-income household in the RDN is higher than the Island Health and B.C. average for all age groups except for seniors.” Project staff will consult information collected via the soon-to-be-released Regional Childcare Assessment as well as the Regional Housing Capacity Assessment, which identified a critical need for housing for single income and lone-parent households among other needs. The Islands Trust has conducted several studies over the years that will inform the project, including a 2019 report on strategic actions for affordable housing in the Trust Area and the 2018 Northern Region Housing Needs Assessment. Gabriola LTC Trustee Scott Colbourne said the regional approach to address needs like housing and social services is vital work. “If you can’t get a service on Gabriola, you end up in Nanaimo, if you can’t get a service in Oceanside or Parksville, you end up in Nanaimo or Victoria. If we kind of get a handle on how this all works together, that causes less stress for people and families.”Rachelle Stein-Wotten, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Gabriola Sounder
A photo shared on social media shows two EMS workers in Chatham-Kent putting a pool table into an ambulance.According to Jacqueline Zonneville with Medavie EMS Ontario, the company is looking into the incident that happened on Nov. 29.Medavie EMS is a company that supplies Chatham-Kent with paramedic staff. "We are proud of the work our paramedics do, every day, to deliver critical health care services — especially given the additional challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic," reads the statement.Medavie continued to say that they understand and share the disappointment expressed by those in the community and that they take these matters very seriously."We are formally reviewing the details surrounding this incident to ensure appropriate actions are taken," reads the statement.Zonneville said the matter is a personnel one and would not be able to comment further on the matter.
When one door closes another door opens, and the COVID-19 pandemic has certainly closed a lot of doors this year. Dr. David Rosen, a marine mammal researcher and assistant professor at the University of British Columbia’s Institute of Fisheries and Oceans, should be spending his time with animals at the Vancouver Aquarium, or delving into lab research somewhere else, but when the pandemic forced travel restrictions and cut into funding and resources, it forced him to see opportunities in his own back yard, with the hopes of answering some neglected questions of what role our cities play in the behaviour of marine mammals, and why it appears so many are returning to Vancouver waterways. “Researchers tend to think about going to exotic locations and isolated areas, and can be sort of blind to local opportunities. Thinking about it I realized that [Burrard Inlet] has fantastic research opportunities,” Rosen said. “Vancouver is a really interesting place because we love our nature, but we also love our development, so we’re getting a couple studies off the ground looking at what that urbanization means to our local marine mammal populations.” Burrard Inlet is largely neglected scientifically but provides a curious avenue of research by comparing the two arms of the inlet. They each have the historic capacity to host an equal array of sea life, due to their geographical proximity, but one heads east to Port Moody past highly developed areas, and the other turns north into undeveloped territory in Indian Arm. Rosen also plans to look closely at the increase number of harbour seals, the emergence of fur seals and California sea lions, and increased sightings of transient killer whales and dolphins in Vancouver waterways, surprising new behaviour as the metro area undergoes behavioral changes of its own during the pandemic. “We think this is new, but the question is, ‘who was paying attention to this before the pandemic?’ But things like transient killer whales, the public always notices that,” Rosen said. Harbour seals is especially important, as the animals were once hunted to critically low numbers to protect commercial fisheries. As debates heat up over their reemergence, during the worst salmon returns on record, Rosen said its important to establish the human impacts on the animals while the opportunity exists. A reemergence of a “whole suite” of marine mammals have also been observed in Burrard Inlet prior to the closure of a UBC field station last year, but the resources and time wasn’t available to probe the reasons why the animals were returning. It’s too early for Rosen to anticipate any conclusions or possible implications to his research. Right now he only wants to know what is happening, and why. “You can’t make management decisions if you don’t know what’s out there,” Rosen said. From a conservation perspective, he added British Columbians are acutely aware of the major marine issues at sea, but there’s too little known about our marine life in this context, in relation to the cities, pollution and marine traffic. Rosen is hoping to find research funding in the industrial sector in the area, which he said has regularly proven its readiness to adapt for the betterment of marine mammals. Maybe those efforts are paying off for the sea life. Maybe changing ocean temperatures, acidity and food supply are forcing behavioural changes, or maybe its the growing number of salmon hatcheries attracting more mammals to the Inlet. “There’s lots of questions and lots of opportunity for improving our knowledge,” Rosen said. “No doubt, the biggest challenge for the marine ecosystem is climate change, but it’s very difficult for people to get their head around that, to think they can do anything to help. So in some ways, finding local issues is a great way to make people aware of the human impact on the environment.” Quinn Bender, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Rupert Northern View
A former tennis coach in the Annapolis Valley has been sentenced to two years probation for a variety of sexual offences involving a 15-year-old boy.Aaron Byron Cumberland, 29, was credited Tuesday for 18 months time already served in custody, including time spent in isolation.In October, he was found guilty in Kentville provincial court of luring a child, making sexually explicit material available to a child and invitation to sexual touching.Cumberland's sentence also had a long list of conditions, including that he must stay away from public swimming pools, playgrounds and daycares.It was the third trial on the charges after the first ended in a mistrial and the second with a hung jury. But after a week of testimony in the third trial and days of deliberation, the jury returned a guilty verdict.The case centred around Facebook messages Cumberland sent to a 15-year-old boy. The parents of the teen had testified they saw sexually explicit photos that were sent to their son.Caught illegally entering Maine in 2018In 2017, when Cumberland was wanted on an outstanding warrant, he turned himself in to Halifax police on the same day police asked for the public's help in locating him.While he was awaiting trial in May 2018, Cumberland was caught illegally entering Maine on foot on a road that is not a designated entry point to the U.S.An American border control official said Cumberland and two other men were carrying backpacks when they were stopped. A fingerprint check showed Cumberland was facing charges in Nova Scotia.MORE TOP STORIES
A fire in a commercial building in Vancouver on Monday night has claimed the life of one man and sent a second man to hospital.The Vancouver Police Department says two officers were driving near Kingsway and Victoria Drive around 9 p.m. PT when they noticed heavy smoke billowing from a second floor suite at 2127 Kingsway. The officers notified Vancouver Fire Services who attempted to enter the building but were driven back by the fire."The fire occurred in an illegal suite which did not have sprinklers or smoke alarms," said Capt. Jonathan Gormick with Vancouver Fire Rescue Services. "Fire Investigators have determined smoking to be the cause of this fire."A man between 30 and 40 years old was pronounced dead at scene. Another man was taken to hospital with significant injuries, according to Gormick."This tragic loss is a reminder for everyone to ensure they have working smoke alarms; Fire Code requires one per occupancy," said Gormick, adding that smoking is a leading cause of fire fatalities.Vancouver Fire Rescue Assistant Chief Richard Craven said the two-alarm blaze was fought by 15 firefighters.
When the Town of Happy Valley-Goose Bay approved the use of body cameras for municipal enforcement officers in September the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner (OIPC) for the province had some concerns, and two months later he still does. Privacy Commissioner Michael Harvey said that when he found out through the media that the town had passed the policy and officers were wearing them, he contacted the town with a number of recommendations, but hasn’t heard back. “We made some recommendations to council and also all sorts of questions, and we put them to the council in mid-October and have not received any response since then. We’re still waiting.” Harvey said town staff did have an informal discussion with his office, but the town has only intermittently been forthcoming, which is leading to increasing frustration on his end, and may yet lead to a formal investigation. “I’m getting to the point where I may well do that,” he said of a formal investigation. “I’ll make that decision in the coming days.” Harvey said some of the recommendations include that the town clarify when the cameras are being used in the course of the officers' duties, that elected officials not have access to body camera footage and that the town complete a privacy impact assessment. He said there were verbal commitments to some changes made in a meeting between his staff and the town, but his office has yet to see changes to the policy, and the cameras are still in use. “They seem to go long periods of time not responding to us and then respond to us. This is one of the reasons why it’s starting to look more appropriate for me to launch a formal investigation because that would give a formal framework for these questions and in the course of a formal investigation, I have the authority of a commissioner of the Public Inquires Act. Simply not answering my questions becomes less of an option.” A recent incident in the town involving a member of the public and a municipal enforcement officer that is now the subject of an independent investigation also prompted him to contact the town, Harvey said. He said there are four questions he wants answers to: whether the body camera was on and the details of when and how it was used; whether the footage would be provided to the independent investigator; if it was within the scope of the investigation, why the body camera wasn’t on; and what the legal authority was for the officer to be doing whatever he was doing. The last question is important, Harvey said, because public bodies like the town are only allowed to collect personal information with some sort of legal purpose, and only certain things the officer would be doing qualifies as law enforcement. The issue of body camera footage sparked a discussion in the town council meeting on Thursday. Coun. Jackie Compton Hobbs said she doesn’t understand why council members couldn’t simply view footage from the body cameras in some incidents instead of having to potentially spend money on external investigators. “It could be some minor infraction on a property that someone could be insinuating something, and the council could look at and say, ‘That’s wrong, it’s this way,’ and not have to call in a lawyer to get advice on it, that’s my thinking. As for the OIPC recommendations, at the end of the day, decisions are made by council. They’re only recommending that the mayor and town manager view the cameras, but at the end of the day it’s council’s discretion.” Harvey said when he makes recommendations like this they could be construed as advice, but when he makes formal recommendations in a report under the act, some can be formed into court orders and have legal force behind them. Compton Hobbs said she would like council to discuss the recommendations with the OIPC, which had been requested previously. Harvey said he wasn’t aware of any such request, and while it would be unusual for him to meet with an individual council, he would like to discuss the recommended changes with the town. He stressed that his office doesn’t have a particular issue with body cameras, but if a public body wants to use them, they have to comply with privacy legislation. Evan Careen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Telegram
NEW YORK — Let Thanksgiving have the turkey. Let Christmas have fruitcake. Every other day, it's got to be pizza.So argue Thom and James Elliot, brothers and pizza makers from England who have written a book celebrating the worldwide phenomenon of roundish dough cooked with toppings.In the 270-page “Pizza" (Quadrille), the brothers offer over 30 recipes for homemade pizzas — including a carbonara and one with asparagus and pancetta — as well as eating guides to delicious slices in cities like Rome, Paris, Chicago and New York. It turns out New Haven, Connecticut, has a very distinct and vibrant pizza scene, though its just 70 miles from New York.The Elliots marvel that while the pizza we eat today was invented in Naples in the late 1800s, other cultures have their own versions, from one with spiced ground meat in Lebanon to a baguette topped with mushroom and cheese in Poland.“All these countries came up with this on their own. And that is the definition of a good idea, right?” says James Elliot. “It’s a bit like the way so many cultures created beer independently. Just great ideas make it through.”The brothers include sections on controversial ingredients — pineapple, that’s you — and which drinks to pair with a slice, as well as the various ways people can eat it, from rolling it into a cigar to a technique called the “snag and drag.”They present the info without judgement, refusing to weigh in on whether coal ovens are better than wood or if buffalo milk is better than cow milk for making mozzarella.“There’s that saying: There’s two kinds of people in the world — people that love ABBA and liars,” says James Elliot. “Not all music has to be high and mighty in the same way that not all pizza has to be high and mighty. You can love different songs and different pizzas for all kinds of different reasons.”The origins of the book began when the brothers ditched their regular jobs in 2012 to go to Naples and learn all about pizza. They travelled the length of Italy and the world and, once educated in all things delicious, came back to the United Kingdom to open a chain of pizzerias, Pizza Pilgrims.In Chicago, they encountered that city's famous, dense variation. “We ate four deep dishes a day for five days,” says Thom Elliot. “I really surprised myself. I went to confirm my hatred of it, but actually left being like, ‘This has got a place for sure.’”The book is a distillation of all they learned, from pizza records ("Cheesiest Pizza," “Furthest Pizza Delivery") to how to work with active dry yeast. The working title was “The Pizzapedia,” but the authors felt that didn’t convey their love of the food. “Encyclopedia just feels quite cold and quite factual,” says Thom Ellliot.“We’ve been told by so many people in so many different ways that pizza is not enough to carry a book. ‘There are not enough interesting things to say about pizza.’ And so we have been on this mission for five years to write a longer and longer and longer and longer list of why these people are wrong.”Despite the brothers' obvious respect for the classic Neapolitan version, they acknowledge the impact of the huge pizza-making chains, like Pizza Hut and Domino's. The book includes interviews with their executives, who oversee companies making millions of pizzas a year.“You can’t ignore it. They’re doing something right. Whatever you think, they’re doing something right,” says Thom Ellliot. "They love pizza. These are not people who are just sitting there going, ‘Oh, we don’t care. It's just all about the margin and how do we sell more for less.’”Pizza, to the brothers, is clearly woven into the fabric of humanity, a cheap, delicious, satisfying meal that can be scaled up or down. It's a food we eat when we are celebrating, gathering for entertainment, working hard collectively or when we're just in need of a hug.“Pizza is the place that people turn when they’re struggling, when they break up, when they lose their job, when they’re just having a tough day. Pizza is the food that they talk about — like their spouse — that thing that carries them over the line,” says Thom Ellliot."I really genuinely think that you don’t get that with any other kind of food, even the ones that people obsess about, like barbeque. People don’t turn to barbecue in their time of need. They geek out about it and they obsess about it and they see perfection. But they don’t have it like a crutch in their life."___Mark Kennedy is at http://twitter.com/KennedyTwitsMark Kennedy, The Associated Press
Elliot Page wrote a heartfelt note on Instagram: “I love that I am trans.”
Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe's approval rating is 20 to 30 points higher than his counterparts in Alberta and Manitoba, according to a new poll.The Angus Reid Institute releases its approval ratings four times a year. The most recent poll was conducted in late November and shows Moe fifth among premiers with a 61 per cent approval rating. This was a two per cent jump from August, but four per cent lower than the 65 per cent he got in May's poll.Overall 37 per cent of those polled said they disapproved of Moe's performance, while two per cent said they were not sure.The 61 per cent closely mirrors the 60.67 per cent of votes Moe's Saskatchewan Party received in the October election.The only other premiers that improved their ratings from August were New Brunswick's Blaine Higgs and Nova Scotia's Stephen McNeil.Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister saw the steepest drop, to 32 per cent in November from 44 per cent in August.Ontario Premier Doug Ford dropped to 55 per cent from 66 per cent. The premier with the lowest rating was Alberta's Jason Kenney, who had a 40 per cent approval rating.Over the past week, Manitoba leads in active COVID-19 case rate, while Alberta is second and Saskatchewan is third.The poll surveyed 5,003 members of the Angus Reid forum across the country and 497 in Saskatchewan. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.4 percentage points 19 times out of 20.
MOSCOW — The Russian military on Tuesday announced the deployment of state-of-the-art air defence missiles to the Pacific islands claimed by Japan.Russia's Eastern Military District said in a statement that the S-300V4 air defence missile systems have entered combat duty on the Kuril Islands, adding punch to the shorter range Tor M2 missile systems deployed there earlier.The Russian Defence Ministry's TV station, Zvezda, reported that the air defence missile systems were deployed on Iturup, one of the four southernmost Kuril islands.The new deployment marked the latest move in a continuous Russian military buildup on the islands, which has included stationing advanced fighter jets and anti-ship missiles there.Japan asserts territorial rights to the islands it calls the Northern Territories. The Soviet Union took them in the final days of World War II, and the dispute has kept the countries from signing a peace treaty formally ending their hostilities.Decades of diplomatic efforts to negotiate a settlement haven't produced any visible results.Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe spent a lot of time and effort in the hope of negotiating a solution during his nearly eight years in office but scored little progress.Shortly after taking office in September, newly elected Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga discussed the territorial dispute in a call with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Suga said he hopes to find a settlement and sign a peace treaty.The Associated Press
CENTRE WELLINGTON – A heritage study in Centre Wellington has identified 18 areas of importance and recommends prioritizing urban areas for further study. At a special committee of the whole meeting on Monday, a Cultural Heritage Landscape (CHL) study draft report was presented to Centre Wellington council. Mariana Iglesias, senior planner with the township, said with recent development pressures in the township they’ve found the need to protect larger areas that are historically and culturally significant. These areas are called CHLs, which the presentation to council identifies as a grouping of heritage features such as buildings, structures, spaces, views, archaeological sites or natural elements valued together. This study was commissioned as a starting point to identify the most significant CHLs in collaboration with the public, Indigenous groups and stakeholders. Annie Veilleux, consultant from Archaeological Services Inc., said the township is known as a scenic area with the Grand River being the backbone of influencing development in the township. “The significant CHLs are spread out throughout the township but are concentrated on the Grand River corridor,” Veilleux said. The study further identified higher priority areas that are more likely to have adjacent development, risk of altering heritage attributes or with more economic and tourism benefits. The report prioritizes the following urban areas for technical studies: Veilleux said CHLs in rural areas tend to be more stable. Also, those owned and managed by the Grand River Conservation Area have existing regulations and protections. These lower priority areas include: Council was very receptive to this report with councillor Kirk McElwain saying it should be part of the local school curriculum. He asked if a CHL designation provides any additional protection and noted that GRCA properties could be threatened by recent proposed changes to conservation authority mandates. Veilleux clarified that this report does not give protections to the CHLs but provides recommended priority areas for further study. “Following this study, the township may take on additional technical studies that are CHL specific and those studies would have the opportunity to develop protection measures for these places,” Veilleux said, adding that these measures could come from the heritage, planning, zoning. The CHL study is open for comments from the public until Jan. 29 where it will be later finalized and approved by council. Keegan Kozolanka, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, GuelphToday.com