Clayton Brander of Powell River, B.C., says Nissan has not been helpful in his quest to replace the battery in his all-electric 2013 Leaf.
Clayton Brander of Powell River, B.C., says Nissan has not been helpful in his quest to replace the battery in his all-electric 2013 Leaf.
WILMINGTON, Del. — President-elect Joe Biden's pick to lead the Office of Management and Budget is quickly emerging as a political battle that could disrupt his efforts to swiftly fill out his administration.Some Republicans are expressing doubt that Neera Tanden could be confirmed by the Senate after she spent years attacking GOP lawmakers on social media — and many panned the choice.Arkansas Republican Sen. Tom Cotton claimed Tanden’s rhetoric was “Filled with hate & guided by the woke left.”Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn said Tanden's “combative and insulting comments" about Republican senators created “certainly a problematic path." He called her “maybe (Biden's) worst nominee so far" and “radioactive.”Potential Budget Committee Chair Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., was less hostile, telling reporters, “Let's see what happens." Moderate Susan Collins, R-Maine, a target of Tanden's, said, “I do not know her or much about her, but I've heard she's a very prolific user of Twitter.”Such sentiment is notable considering the GOP's general reluctance to criticize President Donald Trump's broadsides on Twitter. But like all of Biden's nominees, Tanden has little margin for error as she faces confirmation in a closely divided Senate.That could be especially daunting for Tanden, the former adviser to Hillary Clinton and the president of the centre-left Center for American Progress, given her history of political combat.Biden's transition team released a litany of praise for Tanden from figures including Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams.Other Democrats also rushed to defend Tanden's nomination. Former Obama aide Valerie Jarrett said Tanden “grew up on welfare and lived in public housing. She experienced first hand the importance of our social programs. Her extraordinary career has been devoted to improving opportunities for working families. She is an excellent choice to lead OMB.”“Neera Tanden is smart, experienced, and qualified for the position of OMB Director,” added Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown, a member of the party’s progressive wing. “The American people decisively voted for change - Mitch McConnell shouldn’t block us from having a functioning government that gets to work for the people we serve.”On the Senate floor, Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said it's impossible to take Republicans' criticism of Tanden seriously.“Honestly, the hypocrisy is astounding. If Republicans are concerned about criticism on Twitter, their complaints are better directed at President Trump,” Schumer said.At OMB, Tanden would be responsible for preparing Biden’s budget submission and would command several hundred budget analysts, economists and policy advisers with deep knowledge of the inner workings of the government.If Democrats should win runoff elections for Georgia’s two GOP-held Senate seats, Tanden’s job would become hugely important because the party would gain a slim majority in the chamber. That would allow them to pass special budget legislation that could roll back Trump’s tax cuts, boost the Affordable Care Act and pursue other spending goals. OMB would have a central role in such legislation.Top Democrats, Biden included, supported anti-deficit packages earlier in their careers, but the party has since changed. Biden was a force behind the establishment of the Obama deficit commission, which was created to win votes of Democratic moderates to pass an increase in the government’s borrowing cap and was chaired by former Clinton White House chief of staff Erskine Bowles.Tanden shares a commonly held view among Democratic lawmakers that Republicans usually profess concerns about deficits only when Democrats are in power, pointing to tax cut packages passed in the opening year of Trump’s administration and former President George W. Bush’s 2001 tax cut.___Taylor reported from Washington.Zeke Miller And Andrew Taylor, The Associated Press
TORONTO — As some provinces push for clarity on when they will receive their share of Canada's COVID-19 vaccines, one expert said Monday the government should be more transparent about the terms of its contracts with the companies making the shots.Kerry Bowman, who teaches bioethics and global health at the University of Toronto, said it's likely Ottawa doesn't have the information the provinces are seeking regarding the timing and quantity of vaccine deliveries, particularly if its contracts with drugmakers are conditional.But if that's the case, he said, the federal government should state it clearly or risk eroding public trust in its system.While news that COVID-19 immunizations could begin in some countries in a matter of weeks is good for Canada in the long term, it will lead to widespread frustration in the near future if the country is lagging behind, he added."There's benefits to all of humankind, no matter who's getting it," he said.Still, "if two weeks from now, the news is full of us watching people all over the world being inoculated, including the United States, and we're not, there's going to be some very unhappy Canadians."As well, he said, any delay in immunization translates to more COVID-19 cases and deaths, and mounting economic strain."People will die and other people's lives will continue to be ruined until we pull out of it. And so, to me, whether it's this month or that month (that we get the vaccine) is not irrelevant — it's highly relevant," he said.Ontario Premier Doug Ford renewed his calls Monday for a clear delivery date for the province's share of vaccines, stressing that "the clock is ticking" when it comes to fighting the novel coronavirus.Ford said he was set to speak to Pfizer, one of the drugmakers that has entered into an agreement with Canada, on Monday afternoon but expected to be told the information must come from Ottawa.The premier cited reports that other countries, such as the United Kingdom, are on track to start COVID-19 immunizations soon, adding Ontarians "need answers."Meanwhile, the American biotech company Moderna said Monday the first 20 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine will be shipped to the United States next month.The chairman of the American vaccine maker told the CBC on Sunday that Canada is near the front of the line to receive the 20 million doses it pre-ordered, confirming that the country's early commitment to purchasing the shots means it will get its supply first.Moderna is one of several companies to have already submitted partial data to a "rolling review" process offered by Health Canada. Rather than presenting regulators with a complete package of trial results, the would-be vaccine makers file data and findings as they become available. Canada has been looking at Moderna's first results since mid-October.The issue of when Canada will receive its orders came to the forefront last week when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the country will have to wait a bit because the first doses off the production lines will be used in the countries where they are made.Trudeau has repeatedly defended his government's vaccine procurement policy, saying Ottawa has secured multiple options for the country. The federal government was pressed on the matter further during Monday's question period, as some MPs called for greater transparency regarding vaccine rollout, noting other countries such as Australia have made their plans public.Health Minister Patty Hajdu said the government has been working with the provinces and territories to ensure the plan is robust."Canada is well-served by the diversity of vaccines we have purchased early and in fact in great quantity. Canadians can be assured they too will have access to these vaccines that will bring us to the end of COVID-19," she said.Case counts remained high in several provinces Monday.Ontario, Alberta and Quebec, reported 1,746, 1,733 and 1,333 new infections respectively. Together, the three provinces had 39 new deaths related to the virus.Toronto, one of two Ontario hot spots currently under lockdown, recorded a daily high of 643 new infections.In Manitoba, health officials stressed residents must limit their contact with others in order to bring down the numbers, as the province reported 342 new cases and 11 additional deaths.The provincial government imposed strict measures on business openings and public gatherings more than two weeks ago, but officials said the test positivity rate remains at 13 per cent.Nunavut, however, will begin to lift the lockdown measures it enacted in mid-November on Wednesday, as more people recover from the illness.Only Arviat, which has 86 active cases, will continue to be in lockdown for at least another two weeks, with travel restrictions in place, Nunavut officials said.The territory reported four new cases Monday, bringing the total to 181.In British Columbia, the province announced the highest number of deaths for a three-day period as it recorded 46 fatalities over the weekend.Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry became emotional Monday as she expressed her condolences to families and thanked caregivers for their dedication."Health-care workers have been at the front lines, or maybe the last line of defence right now," she says. "I know how challenging it is and I'm with you every single day, supporting you in admiration for the work that you're doing."Out east, six new infections have been recorded in New Brunswick today, while Newfoundland and Labrador reported one.Nova Scotia reported 16 new cases of COVID-19, bringing its total of active cases to 138.On Sunday, the federal government announced it will extend a series of travel restrictions meant to limit the spread of COVID-19 into January, in light of the steady rise in case counts across the country.Public Safety Minister Bill Blair and Hajdu said in a statement the measures, which were first enacted near the start of the global health crisis, would be in effect until Jan. 21, 2021, for travellers entering Canada from a country other than the United States.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2020.Paola Loriggio, The Canadian Press
HANOI, Vietnam -- Vietnamese authorities are conducting intensive contact tracing after the country’s first confirmed local transmission of the coronavirus in 89 days. State media said Tuesday that a 32-year-old man in Ho Chi Minh City tested positive for the coronavirus on Monday after visiting a flight attendant who was undergoing self-quarantine at his home following his return from Japan two weeks ago. The flight attendant tested positive on Saturday, the Tuoi Tre newspaper said. Health authorities ordered 137 people who had been in close contact with the man to stay in a central quarantine facility and shut down an English centre where the man works as a teacher, the newspaper said. The new case ended Vietnam’s streak of 89 days without any known local transmission of the virus. Earlier, it went 99 days without local transmissions until a cluster of cases broke out at a hospital in Da Nang in central Vietnam in July. Vietnam’s borders remain closed in an attempt to keep out the virus. Only limited international flights are operating to repatriate Vietnamese nationals and transport foreign diplomats and experts. The country has reported 1,347 coronavirus cases, including 35 deaths. Nearly half of the confirmed cases were imported, according to the Health Ministry. ___ THE VIRUS OUTBREAK: — Moderna asking US, European regulators to OK its virus shots — Fauci: US may see ‘surge upon surge’ of virus in coming weeks after Thanksgiving travel — U.K. stocks up on vaccines, hopes to start virus shots within days — Virus forces businesses to adapt or close down on the streets of London — New York City to reopen its schools to in-person learning, tests students more for COVID-19 ___ Follow AP’s coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak ___ HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING: MANILA, Philippines — Coronavirus quarantine restrictions will remain imposed in the Philippine capital during the Christmas season this month and officials said they will ban big Christmas parties in Asia’s largest Roman Catholic nation to prevent new infection spikes. President Rodrigo Duterte said in televised remarks late Monday that aside from Metropolitan Manila, the bustling capital region of more than 12 million, the “general community quarantine” would be imposed in seven other cities and provinces in December. The restrictions ban large public gatherings, actual school classes and entertainment businesses but allow shopping malls, restaurants and essential shops, including barber shops, to operate with required safeguards, including the wearing of face masks and shields and social distancing. Duterte lamented that many still defy quarantine restrictions like the wearing of face masks and warned of a possible resurgence of infections like in some Western countries. “In the Philippines, it’s hard-headedness," Duterte said. The Philippines has reported more than 431,600 confirmed coronavirus infections, the second-highest in Southeast Asia, with at least 8,392 deaths. ___ SANTA FE, N.M. -- New Mexico is moving to a county-by-county system for responding to COVID-19 that allows local communities to shed some restrictions on mass gatherings, restaurant dining, attendance at religious services and some nonessential businesses — if the virus retreats. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said Monday that the colour-coded system aims to empower communities and incentivize behaviour and tactics that reduce virus transmission. At this point, only one of New Mexico’s 33 counties — Los Alamos County — would be eligible to ease tight restrictions on gatherings and resume indoor dining at restaurants. The new system will take effect Wednesday. Over the past week, one person in every 155 people in the state was diagnosed with COVID-19. The state Republican Party said the governor was stoking false hope that restrictions may be lifted. ___ UNITED NATIONS -- The head of the world’s largest humanitarian network is urging governments and institutions to combat “fake news” about COVID-19 vaccines which has become “a second pandemic” and start building trust in communities around the world about the critical importance of vaccinating people. Francesco Rocca, president of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, said in a virtual briefing to the U.N. Correspondents Association on Monday that “to beat this pandemic, we also have to defeat the parallel pandemic of distrust.” He said there is “a growing hesitancy about vaccines in general, and about a COVID vaccine in particular” around the world, pointing to a recent Johns Hopkins University study in 67 countries that found vaccine acceptance declined significantly in most countries from July to October this year. In a quarter of countries, Rocca said, the study found that the acceptance rate for a vaccine against the coronavirus was near or below 50 per cent, with Japan dropping from 70 per cent to 50 per cent acceptance, and France dropping from 51 per cent to 38 per cent acceptance. He stressed that the lack of trust “is by no means a Western phenomenon,” citing the federation’s research in recent months in eight African countries -- Congo, Cameroon, Gabon, Zimbabwe, Sierra Leone, Rwanda, Lesotho and Kenya -- which showed a steady decline in the perceptions of the risk of COVID-19 infection. A growing number of people indicated the virus doesn’t affect young people or Africans, that the disease doesn’t exist now but did exist and the pandemic has ended, he said. “In several African countries, we have seen a common skepticism towards vaccines in general, with a common belief being that foreigners use Africa as a medical ‘testing ground.’” ___ MIAMI — The new mayor of Florida’s most populous county tested positive for the coronavirus on Monday, officials said. Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava announced the test result on Twitter. She said her husband, Dr. Robert Cava, was exposed to COVID-19 by a patient last Wednesday. He has also tested positive. “Rob and I are quarantining at home,” Levine Cava wrote. “We both remain in good spirits and have only mild symptoms.” Spokeswoman Rachel Johnson told the Miami Herald that Levine Cava has not been in contact with county employees since Wednesday and plans to participate in Tuesday’s county commission meeting by phone. Levine Cava, 65, assumed office Nov. 17 after being elected earlier in the month. The Democrat had previously served as a county commissioner since 2014. Levine Cava’s predecessor, Congressman-elect Carlos Gimenez, tested positive for coronavirus last week. The Republican is set to assume his new office Jan. 3. —- SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California could see a tripling of hospitalizations by Christmas and is considering stay-home orders for areas with the highest case rates as it tries to head off concerns that severe coronavirus cases could overwhelm intensive care beds, officials said Monday. “The red flags are flying in terms of the trajectory in our projections of growth,” said Gov. Gavin Newsom. “If these trends continue, we’re going to have to take much more dramatic, arguably drastic, action.” Hospitalizations have increased 89% over the past 14 days and nearly 7,800 coronavirus patients were hospitalized as of Monday. About 12% of Californians testing positive are likely to need hospital care within the next two to three weeks. The biggest concern is intensive care cases, which have increased 67% in the past two weeks. If that continues, it would push ICU beds to 112% of capacity by mid-December. That statistic is likely to drive state-mandated stay-at-home orders in 51 of California’s 58 counties that already are seeing the most restrictions on business activities, said Dr. Mark Ghaly, the state’s secretary of health and human services. ___ ATLANTA — U.S. Rep. Austin Scott of Georgia has tested positive for COVID-19. That makes him the third Georgia congressman to contract the virus. Scott’s chief of staff Jason Lawrence confirmed the positive test result on Monday. Scott represents Georgia’s 8th District, which stretches through the interior of south Georgia. The chief of staff’s statement did not say if Scott was experiencing any symptoms but added he was heeding his doctor’s advice. All three Georgia congressman who’ve tested positive for the virus have been Republicans. Rep. Rick Allen announced a positive test result last week. Rep. Drew Ferguson tested positive in October. ___ MINNEAPOLIS — Gov. Tim Walz said Monday that his administration plans to release details next week on when Minnesota will start getting its first doses of coronavirus vaccines and who will be the first to get them. Walz made the comments in a briefing for reporters following a conference call with several other governors, Vice-President Mike Pence; Dr. Anthony Fauci, the federal government’s top infectious-diseases expert; and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar on the status of the country’s plans for distributing the vaccines. The Democratic governor said he expects to hold “a very extensive briefing” for reporters and the public, possibly next Monday or Tuesday, on where Minnesota stands in the process. Details are still being worked out on the federal level about who gets priority — such as senior citizens and health care workers — and what the distribution plan will look like, he said. The governor has been critical of the Trump administration for its lack of co-ordinated federal plans for fighting the pandemic, which has put much of the onus on the states. But he had praise for the federal vaccine drive. “I believe the work around the vaccine and the plans around distribution have been incredibly well done,” Walz said. The discussion with the governors involved distributing the first doses coming from Pfizer and later Moderna. ___ SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — New cases of coronavirus illness in Illinois dropped Monday for the third day in a row, but officials fear the fallout from Thanksgiving travel and family gatherings will push the numbers back up. Gov. J.B. Pritzker, a Democrat, said there will be no change in current restrictions on social interaction for several weeks. They ban indoor food service, limit retail-store capacity and cap gatherings at 10 or fewer. “We are still very much in a precarious place ...,” Pritzker said. “I say this as we come off of a Thanksgiving holiday when many people may have dropped their guard and gathered with people from outside of their own households. The hope now is that we can fend off the surge in the next few weeks to get to a healthier holiday time in the latter half of December.” November’s end marked a period as ghastly as April or May, when the virus first crawled through the state. Total cases rose 77% to 726,304. Deaths stood at 12,278 -- 26% higher than at the beginning of the month. ___ HARRISBURG, Pa. — Pennsylvania’s two-month-old coronavirus exposure notification app can now be used by mobile phone users as young as 13 as health officials work to stop the virus’ spread in schools around the state, officials said Monday. The app, named COVID AlertPa, had previously been limited to people 18 and over. “By expanding the age range, middle- and high-school students will be able to add their phones to the fight and help in contact tracing that occurs in their schools if a positive case is identified,” state Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine said at a virtual news conference. A parent or legal guardian must approve the minor’s use of the app, she said. So far, more than 627,000 mobile phone users have downloaded it, according to the state. Some school districts continue to conduct in-person instruction, even though each of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties — except for northwestern Pennsylvania’s rural Cameron County, with fewer than 5,000 residents — has passed the threshold of new cases where the state Department of Education recommended fully remote instruction. ___ TORONTO — Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government is vowing to spend tens of billions more dollars to help the country recover from the pandemic. Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland says the country is facing its most severe challenge since the second World War, the worst economic shock since the Great Depression and the worse health crisis since the Spanish flu over a century ago. The cost to date has the federal deficit reaching a record $381.6 billion Canadian (US$294 billion) this year, but the government says it could close in on $400 billion Canadian (US$308 billion) if widespread lockdowns return in the coming weeks. Toronto, Canada’s largest city, is on lockdown. The government’s fall economic update proposes to send extra child-benefit payments to families next year. The government is proposing $25 billion Canadian (US$19 billion) in new spending. ___ JACKSON, Miss. — Mississippi is reporting a record number of coronavirus hospitalizations for a single day. The state Department of Health said Monday that 1,008 people were hospitalized with the virus Sunday, marking the first time the number of coronavirus hospitalizations in the state has topped 1,000. Numbers have risen steadily since Nov. 10, when 669 virus hospitalizations were reported. State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs said Monday on Twitter that the record comes ahead of an “anticipated Thanksgiving acceleration” in coronavirus cases. “This is truly serious,” he wrote. “Protect yourselves and your family now. We all know how.” The state Health Department said Monday that Mississippi, with a population of about 3 million, has reported more than 153,250 confirmed coronavirus cases and at least 3,807 deaths from COVID-19 as of Sunday evening. That’s an increase of 1,485 cases and one death from the day before. The death occurred Saturday and was identified through a death certificate. ___ KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Hospital and nursing officials fear that if COVID-19 cases continue unchecked there won’t be enough nurses to staff new hospital beds in the near future in the Kansas City metro area. Kansas health officials on Monday added 4,425 cases to the state’s pandemic tally since Friday, bringing the total to 157,446. Data showed that Kansas averaged 2,198 new confirmed and probable coronavirus a day for the seven days ending Monday. That is below the record average of 2,766 cases. The number of COVID-19 related deaths also rose by 31 to 1,560. It is too soon to see how Thanksgiving gatherings have impacted coronavirus numbers, but medical providers expect to see another rise in hospitalizations in 10 to 14 days once people begin showing symptoms. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment reported on Monday 87 new hospitalizations, bringing the total of hospitalizations to 5,105 since the start of the pandemic. The state’s COVID-19 dashboard showed 227 coronavirus patients were in ICU units, with 39% of ICU capacity remaining in Kansas. ___ MIAMI — Florida’s Gov. Ron DeSantis said on Monday that schools will be required to remain open despite the rise in confirmed COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, arguing lockdowns and closures have not worked. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, also told ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday that the spread of the virus among children “is not really very big at all” and is now advising to get children back in the classrooms. The Republican governor said schools will continue to offer online classes for families who have chosen not to physically return, but school districts will require students who have fallen behind online to return to in-person instruction. Florida has seen cases rise again, now totalling more than 990,000 confirmed cases since the pandemic began earlier this year. More than 18,700 people have died with COVID-19 since March. The Associated Press
The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 4 a.m. ET on Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020.There are 378,139 confirmed cases in Canada._ Canada: 378,139 confirmed cases (66,037 active, 299,972 resolved, 12,130 deaths).*The total case count includes 13 confirmed cases among repatriated travellers.There were 6,103 new cases Monday from 63,070 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 9.7 per cent. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 40,584 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 5,798.There were 66 new reported deaths Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 609 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 87. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.23 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 32.27 per 100,000 people. There have been 11,475,642 tests completed._ Newfoundland and Labrador: 338 confirmed cases (36 active, 298 resolved, four deaths).There was one new case Monday from 247 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.40 per cent. Over the past seven days, there has been 17 new case. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is two.There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 0.77 per 100,000 people. There have been 62,520 tests completed._ Prince Edward Island: 72 confirmed cases (four active, 68 resolved, zero deaths).There were zero new cases Monday from 846 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.0 per cent. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of three new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero.There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people. There have been 59,923 tests completed._ Nova Scotia: 1,305 confirmed cases (138 active, 1,102 resolved, 65 deaths).There were 15 new cases Monday from 2,564 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.59 per cent. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 115 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 16.There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 6.69 per 100,000 people. There have been 143,754 tests completed._ New Brunswick: 501 confirmed cases (120 active, 374 resolved, seven deaths).There were six new cases Monday from 1,079 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.56 per cent. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 56 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is eight.There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 0.9 per 100,000 people. There have been 100,485 tests completed._ Quebec: 142,371 confirmed cases (12,138 active, 123,177 resolved, 7,056 deaths).There were 1,333 new cases Monday from 8,655 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 15 per cent. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 9,165 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 1,309.There were 23 new reported deaths Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 214 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 31. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.36 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 83.16 per 100,000 people. There have been 2,186,076 tests completed._ Ontario: 116,492 confirmed cases (14,197 active, 98,639 resolved, 3,656 deaths).There were 1,746 new cases Monday from 38,117 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 4.6 per cent. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 10,991 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 1,570.There were eight new reported deaths Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 151 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 22. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.15 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 25.1 per 100,000 people. There have been 6,069,726 tests completed._ Manitoba: 16,825 confirmed cases (9,260 active, 7,253 resolved, 312 deaths).There were 342 new cases Monday from 9,003 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 3.8 per cent. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 2,738 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 391.There were 11 new reported deaths Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 76 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 11. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.79 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 22.78 per 100,000 people. There have been 347,108 tests completed._ Saskatchewan: 8,564 confirmed cases (3,879 active, 4,638 resolved, 47 deaths).There were 325 new cases Monday from 2,451 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 13 per cent. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 1,856 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 265.There were two new reported deaths Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 10 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is one. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.12 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is four per 100,000 people. There have been 260,818 tests completed._ Alberta: 58,177 confirmed cases (16,454 active, 41,182 resolved, 541 deaths).There were 1,733 new cases Monday. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 9,756 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 1,394.There were eight new reported deaths Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 65 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is nine. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.21 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 12.38 per 100,000 people. There have been 1,445,984 tests completed._ British Columbia: 33,238 confirmed cases (9,686 active, 23,111 resolved, 441 deaths).There were 596 new cases Monday. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 5,831 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 833.There were 14 new reported deaths Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 93 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 13. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.26 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 8.7 per 100,000 people. There have been 783,409 tests completed._ Yukon: 47 confirmed cases (17 active, 29 resolved, one deaths).There were two new cases Monday. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of nine new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is one.There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 2.45 per 100,000 people. There have been 5,166 tests completed._ Northwest Territories: 15 confirmed cases (zero active, 15 resolved, zero deaths).There were zero new cases Monday from 53 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.0 per cent. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of zero new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero.There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people. There have been 6,355 tests completed._ Nunavut: 181 confirmed cases (108 active, 73 resolved, zero deaths).There were four new cases Monday from 55 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 7.3 per cent. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 47 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is seven.There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people. There have been 4,242 tests completed.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 1, 2020.The Canadian Press
Depuis le début de la crise, de nombreuses petites et moyennes entreprises albertaines peuvent compter sur l’aide du gouvernement fédéral grâce à l’octroi de subventions. Or, elles ne peuvent pas en dire autant du gouvernement albertain, alors que de grosses sommes sont injectées dans le secteur pétrolier. « Le gouvernement albertain se repose sur le gouvernement fédéral », lance, mécontent, Daniel Cournoyer, directeur de la Cité francophone à Edmonton depuis 2012. La Cité est un espace qui permet la location de bureaux et qui offre des services de traiteur dans le quartier francophone de la ville. Sa réaction rejoint la réalité entrepreneuriale de celle de bien d’autres restaurateurs. Tammy Anast, originaire d’Ontario et propriétaire du restaurant grec Yiannis depuis 1989, une enseigne bien connue sur l’avenue Whyte, en sait aussi quelque chose. « Le gouvernement provincial ? Jusqu’à présent, rien pour moi », explique-t-elle. Les aides Comme beaucoup de gérants d’entreprise, elle a fait une demande pour obtenir la Subvention salariale d’urgence, une subvention fédérale qui a aidé jusqu’à présent un grand nombre d’entrepreneurs au pays. « J’ai obtenu une compensation pour la plus grande partie de ma masse salariale. J’ai également obtenu un prêt de 40 000 $ accordé aux petites entreprises », détaille-t-elle, faisant toujours référence à l’aide fédérale. Elle n’est pas la seule à avoir pu compter sur Ottawa. Shawn Good, gérant de la pizzeria Famoso, dit aussi avoir bénéficié de cette aide, mais sans aucun apport de la province. Il affirme avoir perdu jusqu’à présent entre 20 % et 30 % de son chiffre d’affaires. La subvention fédérale est tombée à pic au début de la pandémie, permettant de couvrir, lors de la première vague, jusqu’à 80 % de la masse salariale. Cependant, depuis septembre, les critères ont changé et sont de plus en plus restreints. La subvention n’est plus qu’à 30 %, au grand dam des entrepreneurs. « On ne se qualifie plus pour le même montant d’argent. On l’apprécie toujours, mais on aurait aimé que cela reste pareil qu’au mois d’août », explique M. Cournoyer, directeur de la Cité francophone. Si les entrepreneurs ont pu aussi bénéficier de la subvention fédérale pour les loyers, la pandémie est là plus que jamais et l’aide provinciale demeure quasi absente. Que fait la province ? Pas grand-chose ou presque. Du côté provincial, si l’aide est inexistante pour les uns, elle demeure très modique pour d’autres. Mark Wilson, propriétaire depuis 2007 d’une entreprise d’impression d’affiches et de cartes, dit avoir bénéficié d’une aide de 3 000$ de la part du gouvernement provincial. Une réalité que vient corroborer le directeur de la Cité francophone. « Au niveau de la province, il y a des petits montants. Mais il n’y a presque rien », fait-il remarquer. Les aides sont donc majoritairement fédérales, voire municipales. En ces temps difficiles, les villes cherchent à prendre le relais. Certaines de ces sommes peuvent monter jusqu’à 5 000$ pour les petites entreprises. Daniel Cournoyer dénonce, lui, une certaine forme d’inertie de la part du gouvernement provincial. « Les municipalités en font autant qu’elles peuvent avec les petits moyens qu’elles ont. Mais c’est vraiment la province qui contrôle, et elle ne veut pas assumer ses responsabilités envers sa société », déplore-t-il. Une Alberta à deux vitesses En parallèle, le gouvernement de Jason Kenney a injecté 1,5 milliard de dollars dans le projet de Keystone XL. En Alberta, on assiste à un décalage inquiétant entre l’aide octroyée aux géants du secteur pétrolier et celle offerte aux acteurs d’une économie plus petite, mais indispensable au fonctionnement ainsi qu’à l’épanouissement de la société albertaine. Le cabinet de Jason Kenney n’a pas commenté sur l’aide éventuelle qu’il pourrait apporter aux entrepreneurs de la province. En attendant, les entrepreneurs en Alberta serrent les dents. « Je fais face à la situation en travaillant autant que je peux, en réduisant les heures de travail de mes employés, et en achetant des produits moins chers », explique Tammy Anast. Aujourd’hui, son chiffre d’affaires est à 50 % de son revenu normal. « Les mois d’été ont baissé d’environ 30 %. Maintenant, je pense que nous allons descendre à 70 % avec les restrictions sanitaires, et que la saison de Noël est complètement ratée », dit-elle avec angoisse. À la perte financière et au manque de soutien de la province vient s’ajouter l’inquiétude des « demi-mesures ». Comment encourager l’entrepreneuriat local quand les services de santé de la province envoient le message contradictoire de rester chez soi ? Entre malaise et confusion, l’Alberta ne sait plus où donner de la tête dans un modèle économique apparemment devenu à deux vitesses.Hélène Lequitte, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Devoir
One woman has died after a fire broke out in a seventh floor unit in a Toronto Community Housing apartment for seniors. Erica Vella has details on the investigation.
WILMINGTON, Del. — Joe Biden has had his first look as president-elect at the President's Daily Brief, a top secret summary of U.S. intelligence and world events — a document former first lady Michelle Obama has called “The Death, Destruction, and Horrible Things Book." Biden has already had eyes on different iterations of the so-called PDB, which is tailored to the way each president likes to absorb information. More than a decade ago, Biden read President George W. Bush's PDB during Biden's transition into the vice presidency. After that, he read President Barack Obama's PDB for eight years. Beginning Monday, after a four-year break, he's reading President Donald Trump's PDB. “The briefers almost certainly will be asking Biden what he prefers in terms of format and style,” said David Priess, author of “The President’s Book of Secrets,” a history of the PDB. “At a minimum, they’re seeing what seems to resonate most with him so that when they make the book his book, they can tailor it to him.” Obama’s PDB was a 10- to 15-page document tucked in a leather binder, which he found waiting for him on the breakfast table. Later in his presidency, he liked reading the ultra-secret intelligence brief on a secured iPad. “Michelle called it “The Death, Destruction, and Horrible Things Book,” Obama wrote in his recently released book, ”A Promised Land." “On a given day, I might read about terrorist cells in Somalia or unrest in Iraq or the fact that the Chinese or Russians were developing new weapons systems," Obama wrote. "Nearly always, there was mention of potential terrorist plots, no matter how vague, thinly sourced, or unactionable — a form of due diligence on the part of the intelligence community, meant to avoid the kind of second-guessing that had transpired after 9-11.” From now until Inauguration Day, Biden and Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris will be reading the PDB crafted for Trump, who had delayed giving Biden and Harris access to it as he contests the outcome of the election. Trump, who prefers absorbing information in visual ways, likes short texts and graphics. “Trump himself said during his campaign and during the transition in 2016 that he did not like reading long documents — that he preferred bullet points,” said Priess, who has not seen any of Trump's PDBs. “It probably has charts, tables, graphs — things like that. Not the parody that people make that it's like a cartoon book ... but something that is more visual. But we don't know for sure.” The written brief, which Trump doesn't always read, often is followed by a verbal briefing with an intelligence official, although those oral briefings stopped at least for a time in October. Priess said he didn't know why they stopped or if they had resumed, but that they stopped at a time when Trump was spending much of his time on the campaign trail. Before Trump authorized Biden to get the PDB as president-elect, Biden was given some intelligence background briefings as a candidate. But they were more general and did not include the nation's top secrets. The other thing that a president-elect gets is a briefing "on CIA’s covert actions,” former acting CIA director Mike Morell said at an event hosted by the Center for Presidential Transition based in Washington. "It’s important for the president-elect to get this briefing ... because on Inauguration Day, these covert actions will become the new president’s.” In 1961, President John F. Kennedy read his first brief while sitting on the diving board of a swimming pool at his retreat in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. President Lyndon Johnson liked to read his brief in the afternoon. President Richard Nixon relied on his national security adviser Henry Kissinger to peruse the briefs and tell him what he thought the president should know. As the laborious recount of ballots dragged on in 2000, President Bill Clinton decided that then-Gov. George W. Bush should get access to his PDB just in case he was the winner. Bush became was the first incoming president to read it before he was president-elect. Biden is getting the PDB later than usual because of Trump's ongoing protest of the election results. Trump approved the briefings for Biden last Tuesday, a day after his administration approved the formal transition process to his successor. When Biden walks into the Oval Office, he'll be inheriting nuclear threats from North Korea and Iran, changing political dynamics in the Middle East, the winding down of America’s presence in Afghanistan and rising competition from China. Biden had access to the PDB in Wilmington, Delaware. Harris received it in a secure room at the Commerce Department, where the presidential transition offices are located. Even Biden, who has decades of experience in foreign policy, could be the victim of an old political adage that no matter how informed he thinks he is, he could learn otherwise from the PDB. Former CIA Director Michael Hayden wrote in his book that revelations and new insight found in the PDB are known as “aw s---” moments. As in: “Aw s---," he wrote, "wish we hadn’t said that during that campaign stop in Buffalo.” ___ Riechmann reported from Washington. Deb Riechmann And Zeke Miller, The Associated Press
BEIJING — Asian stocks rose Tuesday after Chinese manufacturing improved, with investors looking ahead to U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s appearance before legislators.Benchmarks in Shanghai, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Sydney advanced.Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 index closed down 0.5% overnight but ended November up 10.8% for its biggest monthly gain since April.Investors are increasingly optimistic about the expected development of a coronavirus vaccine despite caution about the short-term economic impact of rising virus cases in the United States and Europe.The future “seems incredibly bright and bullish,” Stephen Innes of Axi said in a report.The Shanghai Composite Index gained 1.2% to 3,433.77 while the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo advanced 1.5% to 28.824.46. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong added 0.8% to 26,569.69.The Kospi in Seoul advanced 1.3% to 2,625.22 and the S&P-ASX 200 in Sydney was 1.4% higher at 6,608.70. New Zealand declined while Southeast Asian markets rose.An index of Chinese manufacturing released by a business magazine, Caixin, hit a decade high in November as the country’s recovery from the pandemic gained strength. A separate survey Monday by the government statistics agency showed activity at a three-year high.Strength in the Chinese economy is helping offset unease about rising virus cases in the United States and Europe and possible renewed controls on business and travel.In Washington, Powell said in a statement Monday that economic prospects are “extraordinarily uncertain” after the pace of improvement moderated. He said a full recovery is unlikely until the public is confident the disease is under control.Powell was due to appear Tuesday before the Senate Banking Committee with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. The panel oversees the $2 trillion aid package approved by Congress in March.The S&P 500 declined to 3,621.63. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.9% to 29,638.64. The Nasdaq composite slipped 0.1% to 12,198.74.The slide followed reports showing the pandemic dragging down U.S. economic activity in the near future. But investors appear to be looking beyond that.Investors are encouraged by the end of uncertainty about the outcome of the U.S. presidential election. They are reassured Washington will be under divided control, reducing the chances of big changes in taxes or regulation.Markets also have been heartened by announcements from pharmaceutical companies of advances in vaccine development.One developer, Moderna, said Monday it is ready to apply for emergency approval in the United States and Britain. Pfizer and German partner BioNTech are asking to begin vaccinations in the U.S. in December. British regulators also are assessing the Pfizer shot and another from AstraZeneca.In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude oil lost 36 cents to $44.98 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 19 cents to $45.34 on Monday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, sank 32 cents to $47.56 per barrel in London. It dropped 59 cents from the previous session to $47.59.The dollar rose to 104.43 yen from Monday’s 104.34 yen. The euro advanced to $1.1960 from $1.1946.Joe McDonald, The Associated Press
NEW YORK — The year's most played artist on Spotify? Globally speaking: Bad Bunny. The Puerto Rican superstar is the music platform’s most-streamed artist of the year with 8.3 billion streams globally. The Latin Grammy winner and hitmaker , who released a new album last week, leads a top five list that also includes Drake, J Balvin, Juice WRLD and The Weeknd. With more than 3.3 billion streams, Bad Bunny’s sophomore solo album “YHLQMDLG” tops Spotify’s list of most-streamed albums globally. The Weeknd’s “After Hours,” Post Malone’s “Hollywood’s Bleeding,” Harry Styles’ “Fine Line” and Dua Lipa’s “Future Nostalgia” round of the top five. The Weeknd’s album is the only one in the top five to earn no Grammy nominations. The album’s single, “Blinding Lights,” is Spotify’s most-streamed song of the year with 1.6 million streams globally. “Dance Monkey” by Australian singer Tones and I is the second most-streamed song of the year, while Roddy Ricch’s “The Box,” SAINt JHN’s “Roses – Imanbek Remix” and Lipa’s “Don’t Start Now” came in third, fourth and fifth, respectively. In the U.S., late rapper Juice WRLD was the most-streamed artist on Spotify. His album “Legends Never Die” was the platform’s most-streamed album in the U.S., while Ricch’s “The Box” was the country's most-streamed song. Mesfin Fekadu, The Associated Press
Imperial Oil says it will write down between $900 million and $1.2 billion this quarter as it no longer plans to develop "a significant portion" of its unconventional assets in Alberta. The Calgary-based company said the assets are non-producing and undeveloped, so Imperial doesn't expect any future cash expenditures related to the impairment charge. The impairment doesn't include the high-value, liquids-rich portion of the company's unconventional asset portfolio which it said it still plans to develop. "This decision is consistent with Imperial's strategy of focusing its upstream resources and efforts on its key oilsands assets as well as on only the most attractive portions of its unconventional portfolio. As such, the decision will not impact previously provided production estimates," the company said in a Monday release. Global demand for oil plummeted earlier this year as the pandemic struck. Prices have yet to truly bounce back.Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has predicted that global demand will return more slowly next year than previously thought, but that access to a vaccine could bring less uncertainty and economic growth. That and other outlooks have seen some companies scale back development plans. Exxon Mobil, which has a majority stake in Imperial, also announced an impairment Monday — its biggest ever — saying it would write down the value of natural gas properties by $17 billion to $20 billion US, as well as slash project spending next year to its lowest level in 15 years.Last week, Imperial said it would lay off about 200 of its 6,000 employees as part of a cost-cutting initiative. It has also reduced the number of contractors it employs by about 450 since the start of the year.CBC News has reached out to Alberta's energy minister for comment.
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry was somber today as she announced 46 more people lost their lives to COVID-19 last weekend. Eighty per cent of these people were living in longterm care, which Henry says speaks to the fact that the virus can cause such devastation when it gets into care homes. Health Minister Adrian Dix added that this is a “difficult and gutting time under these circumstances.” Henry listed five new healthcare outbreaks and declared two to be over. There are now 62 active outbreaks in the healthcare sector, including 57 in longterm care or assisted living facilities and five in acute care facilities. These outbreaks currently account for 1,338 active cases, including 847 residents and 487 staff members. Under current rules, staff at longterm care homes can only work at one location, but are permitted to have secondary employment such as being a private home aide. Dix said that the single-site order is “critically important,” but that all people are part of the order that aims to protect longterm care. “We can’t prevent people from having the means to live and the needs that they have in their family, but we do pay a lot of attention—all of us in healthcare—to making sure that we’re monitoring our health every day before we’re going to work and making sure that we’re not participating in risky activities,” said Henry. Between Friday and Sunday, there were 2,077 new cases of COVID-19 around the province—750 of those from Friday to Saturday, 731 Saturday to Sunday, and 596 in the last 24 hours. Three of the weekend’s new cases are epidemiologically linked. Henry also noted an additional 277 historical cases in the Fraser Health region based on the data correction from last week, bringing BC’s cumulative case total to 33,238. Of the new cases, 371 were in the Vancouver Coastal Health region (including Richmond), 1,365 in the Fraser Health region, 58 in the Island Health region, 212 in the Interior Health region, 73 in the Northern Health region and one new case in a person who normally lives outside Canada. The number of active cases has risen to 8,855. There are 316 people in hospital across BC—a number that has doubled in less than three weeks—of whom 75 are in critical care. There are 10,139 people being actively monitored by public health. One new community outbreak was announced at Newton elementary school in Surrey, which has been closed for the next two weeks with students and staff self-isolating. For a list of community exposure events, click here. For the latest medical updates, including case counts, prevention, risks and testing, visit: http://www.bccdc.ca/ or follow @CDCofBC on Twitter.Hannah Scott, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Richmond Sentinel
“Divorce is hell,” begins Justice Cary Boswell’s decision in finding that a Barrie man intentionally ran down his neighbour and “erstwhile best friend” whom he believed was having an affair with his wife. “This is a case where Mr. Pacheco was clearly angry at his wife and (the neighbour) for their relationship,” Boswell wrote in his Ontario Superior Court of Justice decision released Nov. 6. The fact-finding hearing followed Isidoro Pacheco’s guilty plea to dangerous driving causing bodily harm to resolve contested facts Boswell said were relevant to sentencing. Pacheco maintained he didn’t mean to run the man over with his pickup truck during the late summer of 2018, but the Crown prosecutor said he did it on purpose. Boswell found Pacheco was agitated and distressed as he drove along Baker Crescent — near Bayfield Street and Ferris Lane in north-end Barrie — when he saw the neighbour in his driveway helping his wife move out. The neighbour testified that that morning, while helping Pacheco’s wife move, he spotted Pacheco’s truck coming around a bend on his street and as it neared, accelerating, coming right at him with Pacheco yelling out the open window “You son of a bitch!" He, as well as Pacheco’s wife, told the court they weren’t having an affair in September 2018 and claimed Pacheco’s suspicions were not grounded in reality at the time, the judge observed, pointing out the former wife and neighbour now live together. The judge found Pacheco to undoubtedly be remorseful, having difficulty speaking about it to the court, breaking into tears and hyperventilating. But he ultimately concluded Pacheco did aim his truck at his neighbour on purpose. He said there had been a heated dispute the night before after Pacheco saw his wife and neighbour at a laundromat. He was then up all night and in an agitated state, finally breaking down at work and was sent home. Then, as he headed home, he came upon the moving scene, making it more likely for him to react impulsively and angrily, the judge found. “There is no reason for his truck to have left the travelled roadway and made a direct line at (the neighbour), save for active steering in that direction. Mr. Pacheco’s account of how the truck came to leave the road is simply unbelievable,” the judge concluded. “Despite having two flat tires he nevertheless maintained a straight trajectory… “I am satisfied that the only reasonable conclusion on the evidence I accept and rely upon is that the collision was intentional.” Pacheco is scheduled to return to court Dec. 4 for sentencing.Marg. Bruineman, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, barrietoday.com
Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland unveiled her long-awaited fall economic statement today, updating the federal government's fiscal strategy for coping with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and shaping the recovery.Today's fiscal update projects the deficit will reach $381.6 billion by the end of March 2021 and could climb even higher, depending on factors such as the severity of future shutdowns and the rate of COVID-19 infections.The Liberal government says it is preparing to spend up to $100 billion to kick start the post-pandemic economy. The short-term stimulus package is valued at $70 billion to $100 billion over roughly three years.The government says the stimulus spending — intended to build a greener, more inclusive, more innovative and competitive economy — will launch after a vaccine is distributed and life begins to return to normal.In the meantime, the federal government is adding a number of supports to help people and businesses and raise revenues. Here are some of the highlights:Family supportsMiddle and low income families will get up to $1,200 for each child under the age of six in 2021. Families that qualify for the Canada Child Benefit and earn a net income of $120,000 or less will get the money in four tax-free payments of $300 each. The first $300 payment will come shortly after the enabling legislation is passed, with the remaining payments coming in April, July and October. Families that earn a net income above $120,000 would be entitled to half the payment lower income families get and would receive it along the same schedule. Child care agencies in the provinces and territories and in First Nations will also get quarterly $300 payments for every child they care for under the age of six. Supports for youthThe federal government will spend $447.5 million in 2021-22 to create an additional 40,000 summer job placements for young people. The government is also making changes to the program to allow employers to hire youth outside of the summer period.The plan also allows employers to claim up to 100 per cent of the value of the minimum wage for each youth hired. The new supports include measures to allow employers to hire part-time workers more easily.The government also is investing $575.3 million in its Youth Employment and Skills Strategy over the next two years to create 45,300 job placements for young people who lost jobs or are unable to participate in the workforce because of the pandemic.Graduates of post secondary institutions or apprenticeship programs will also see interest on the federal portion of their student or apprenticeship loans eliminated for 2021-22. The move will cost $329.4 million and the federal government says it will help up to 1.4 million Canadians.The green economyCanadians will be able to qualify for grants of up to $5,000 for work to improve the energy efficiency of their homes.The Home Energy Retrofit program will cost $2.6 billion over 7 years, starting in 2020-21. The funding also will cover the cost of providing one million free EnerGuide efficiency assessments and pay for the recruiting and training of auditors to perform the work.Details of the plan have yet to be announced but the grants will be retroactive to Dec. 1, 2020.The federal government is also allocating $150 million over three years to help Natural Resources Canada increase the number of recharging stations that support zero-emission vehicles.GST/HST ReliefThe federal government will remove GST/HST from face masks and face shields. The initiative will cost $95 million over two years, starting in 2020-21.Safe communitiesFront line RCMP officers will be getting body cameras. The program will cost $238.5 million over the next six years, beginning in 2020-21. After that, the program will be sustained with $50 million in annual funding. The initiative is being implemented to "respond to concerns about policing from racialized and Indigenous communities."The federal government is also giving municipalities and community-led initiatives $250 million over five years, starting in 2021-22, to support anti-gang programs.Fiscal Stabilization ProgramThe Fiscal Stabilization Program provides financial assistance to a province facing a year-over-year decline in non-resource revenues greater than five per cent. Up to now, the maximum a province could receive under the program was $60 per person.Today, the federal government announced that the cap will nearly triple, to $170 per person in 2019-20 and 2020-21, and will grow over time.Long term careToday's economic statement promises a $1 billion fund to help provinces and territories improve COVID-19 infection control in long-term care facilities over the next three years. The pandemic exposed deadly gaps in infection control in nursing and long-term care homes across the country.The federal government said the funding will be allocated to the provinces on a per-capita basis but will be contingent on the provinces and territories providing detailed spending plans and demonstrating that investments have been made according to those plans.Digital giantsForeign-based companies selling digital products or services in Canada will be required to register for, collect and remit the GST/HST on their taxable sales.The federal government said the proposed tax will increase boost federal revenues by $1.2 billion over five years, starting in 2021-22.The government said that while it is working with international partners to develop a tax for corporations providing digital services, it's also prepared to go it alone. The fiscal statement says the federal government will implement a digital tax directly on corporations providing digital services and that the tax will take effect on Jan. 1 2022. The government estimates it will bring in $3.4 billion over five years.Working from homeBecause so many Canadians are now working from home, the Canada Revenue Agency will allow Canadians "with modest expenses" to claim up to $400 as a tax deduction for working from home without having to keep a detailed account of their expenses. New revenue streamsThe federal government will start applying GST/HST to digital platform-based short-term rentals in July of 2021. Companies such as Airbnb and other vacation rental websites will be affected. The move is expected to raise $360 million in new revenue over five years.The government is placing a new $200,000 annual limit on employee stock option grants that can qualify for the employee stock option deduction. The limit will be based on the fair market value of the shares underlying the options, at the time the options are granted. The move is expected to raise government revenues annually by $200 million.The federal government says it will also take steps in the coming year to implement a tax that targets housing units owned by non-resident non-Canadians.The government also says it will spend $606 million over the next five years to fight international tax evasion, with a view to collecting $1.4 billion in unpaid revenues.WATCH | Freeland delivers fiscal update speech
A local writer has published a book of poetry that reflects the highs and lows of the COVID-19 pandemic. Katie Nolan is no stranger to creative writing; but she says she hadn’t written a lot of poetry until the pandemic hit in March. “It just seemed like there were so many unbelievable things happening that I just got an urge to start writing about it in little, short, observational ways,” she remembers. “Haiku is such a great format for that.” Katie has not only been writing daily haikus, but she has also been sharing them on Facebook, garnering a lot of support from her network. As soon as she started posting, she found that a lot of people connected and resonated with her poetry, which drove her to write and share even more. “I sort of got to the point where I had this table at home that was just covered with post-it notes with all the haikus on them. There were so many things to say. It just happened very organically and, as I saw that people were enjoying reading the poems, I just kept going.” Katie’s new book of poetry includes 238 haikus, one a day from March 25 to October 31, which reflect the variety of feelings and emotions that come with living through a global pandemic. At first, some of them were kind of funny, reflecting the disbelief that many people were feeling during the early days of COVID-19. As the pandemic drew on, they morphed into having a more serious tone, epitomizing some of the other world events happening at the time, as well as the deteriorating mental health that many are experiencing as a result of COVID-19. “A lot of the poems deal with how we can maybe help each other through hard times. But there is also a kind of back and forth between us as humans and this virus that has turned our lives upside down.” Katie decided early on that she wanted to put together a collection of the poems, so that her readers online could have a hard copy of the haikus. She partnered with local artist, Meredith Luce, who illustrated the collection with one black and white image for each of the months represented in the book. “Seeing Meredith’s concepts for each month was so emotional for me, because she’s pulled out the phases of the pandemic and kind of what some of our hot issues were as you span that given month. To see them all depicted like that as a flow of images is really amazing.” For Katie, writing the haikus has been a very meditative practice and an interesting way to connect with the community. “It’s kind of a way to connect with people and maybe give voice to some of the things that are hard to say sometimes. It’s just a small thing everyday that I do. It doesn’t take much time. But, taken all together, it becomes a bigger piece that really tracks the trail we’ve walked.” The first edition of COVID Pandemic in Seventeen Syllables is being printed locally at COBA Studios in Merrickville. It is $10 and is now available for pre-order at www.luceends.com. All profits from the book will be going to support local charities, and books ordered before November 25 are guaranteed to arrive before Christmas. Katie hopes that this collection of haikus will help people feel connected, and that they see some of themselves reflected in the pages. “[I hope] they enjoy having a kind of diary, if you will, of what this year has been about.” To keep up with Katie’s writing and her daily haikus (which are ongoing), find her on Facebook under Katie Nolan, author.Hilary Thomson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The North Grenville Times
TORONTO, S.D. — Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment says it is cutting the salaries of up to one quarter of its full-time staff, and extending salary reductions for senior management and executives to deal with the financial impact of COVID-19.The company that owns Toronto professional sports teams including the Maple Leafs, the Raptors and the Argonauts as well as sports venues, says up to 25 per cent of full-time staff will be moved to temporary inactive status.Extended management and executive salary reductions will be effective Jan. 1.Affected employees will remain on MLSE payroll at a reduced salary, retain their benefits and pension and maintain their access to all corporate communication tools to remain current on MLSE’s operations. MLSE says the length of time employees will remain inactive will be based on its ability to return to normal business operations.Professional sports has been disrupted by the pandemic with hockey games played in empty arenas, football matches cancelled altogether and NBA games having been played in Florida.“These past nine months have been the most challenging we have ever experienced, and while we had hoped to see signs of a return to a more normal business operations by now, the effects of the second wave of the pandemic have forced us to brace for further uncertainty,” stated president and CEO Michael Friisdahl.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2020.The Canadian Press
KAMLOOPS, B.C. — When Renee Latheur decided to take an old guitar into a music store in Kamloops, B.C., she didn't expect the instrument that had sat in a closet for years to be worth thousands of dollars."It's in a ratty old guitar case. But I remember my aunt saying, 'I don't know what to do with this when I pass away.' "Sherrie Favell died in March, leaving Latheur wondering about the instrument and its connection to the woman she loved as an aunt even though they were not biologically related.It wasn't until Latheur recently walked into the music store and saw the owner's eyes sparkle at the sight of the case that she began to learn more about the guitar and its value to Favell's father, who bought it nearly 65 years ago.Mike Miltimore, who owns the store, said the worn tweed and leather case was a telltale sign that it may contain a unique instrument.When he opened the case, he saw a Gretsch from the 1950s, featuring a big brass buckle on the top and a leather studded "belt" around the outside."It's a played instrument, you know. It's been loved. If it could talk, it would tell probably about hundreds of concerts played throughout its life," Miltimore said.He said his research from the serial number revealed the electric Gretsch, or Roundup 6130, was made in 1955 and similar to the instrument later played by country legend Chet Atkins."It's a hollow-bodied guitar and a lot of companies were doing solid bodies at that time," Miltimore said, adding a hollow instrument was used for the country style of picking that Atkins popularized.The guitar that Latheur thought may be worth $200 is actually valued at between $12,000 and $26,000, Miltimore said, adding about 400 of the instruments were made in the 1950s."I was blown away," Latheur said.She recently learned her aunt treasured the mahogany guitar that kept her connected to her father, Roy Favell, who played his beloved instrument in a band called McKinna Gold."He caught his hand in a planer at a mill in Salmon Arm and he actually had to retrain to play the guitar," Latheur said.Favell lost his thumb at age 21 but still managed to perform with it.However, Favell inexplicably sold his guitar at a pawnshop. It was later rescued by Sherrie Favell and her mother, Latheur said. Sherrie bought it back again when it was hocked a second time, Latheur said, and she kept it after her father died about 20 years ago.Sherrie sometimes played the Credence Clearwater tune "Bad Moon Rising" on the guitar, but her prized possession spent much of its time hidden away, Latheur said. — By Camille Bains in Vancouver.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2020.The Canadian Press
The Quebec Booksellers Association, which represents more than 100 independent bookstores in the province, is scrambling to deal with a controversy over posting book recommendations from premier Francois Legault.The association posted the recommendations last Wednesday as part of a series promoting reading and Quebec authors.It then deleted Legault's list of picks Friday, after some people complained online about giving the premier a platform.Today, the association reposted the list and apologized, after even more people complained about censorship."I made the decision too quickly to remove some social media posts," the association's director, Katherine Fafard, said in a statement released today."I realize it was a mistake and I apologize for it. It was not my intention to hurt anyone nor censor anything, because it goes against the association's core values and our commitment to freedom of expression," Fafard's said.Legault reacted to the reversal on Facebook."Frankly, the decision of the association to remove my reading suggestions didn't make any sense," Legault said."We can't accept that a handful of radical militants tramples on our freedom of expression to defend their dictates. This is going way too far," he continued, adding he was relieved the association had changed its mind.Legault includes controversial book on listSince the spring, the association has posted more than 150 videos on Facebook of well-known Quebec personalities talking about their book recommendations, accompanied by a list of their picks.Last Wednesday it was Legault's turn. Among his picks were works by well-known Quebec writers such as Dany Laferrière, Marie Laberge and Denise Bombardier.But Legault also added a book by Journal de Montréal columnist Mathieu Bock-Côté, L'empire du politiquement correct, a book that he had already controversially endorsed.In the book, Bock-Côté rails against diversity, immigration, the transgender movement, and the anti-racism movement, suggesting all have contributed to the erosion of Quebec's identity and a culture of political correctness that's out of control.In an interview with the QMI news agency Sunday, Fafard said many people complained after the association posted Legault's picks.Farfard told QMI some people were unhappy with the association giving a platform to Legault, who has steadfastly denied the existence of systemic racism in Quebec, and in particular to Legault's endorsement of Bock-Côté's book.The association decided to assuage the critics by removing the list of Legault's picks from its Facebook page and other social media platforms.But it left in place the video of Legault discussing his recommendations.The association added a disclaimer to that video, noting that the opinions expressed were solely Legault's. No such disclaimer has been added to any of the other videos posted as part of the series.Accusations of censorshipMany columnists slammed the association's decision."I hit the roof. I was incredulous. I was flabergasted!" 98.5 FM columnist Lise Ravary told CBC in an interview Monday.Sophie Durocher, wrote a column in the Journal de Montréal with the headline "Honte aux censuridiots!", which translates as "Shame on the censoridiots!"."When you sell books, you sell free expression. You sell ideas. So when booksellers themselves become censors, to me it's a very bad turn of things," Ravary said."François Legault is the premier of Quebec! He's not somebody on the fringes of some right-wing whatever," Ravary continued."There's no justification for what they did," she concluded.'Bad response to criticism'Fabrice Vil, a Montreal activist and writer, agreed with Ravary that the association bungled the whole situation, but he doesn't believe it was censorship."It was bad crisis management and PR management, but it's not censorship," Vil told CBC in an interview Monday."We're very quick to talk about censorship, when basically what we're talking about is a bad response to criticism," Vil said."Many organizations and institutions fail to responsibly acknowledge and deal with criticism that comes from racialized minorities," he continued.Vil said he doesn't believe the association muzzled Legault, because it left his video online. And he noted that Legault, as premier, has the benefit of many other platforms to express his views.Vil wondered whether it was appropriate for the association to invite Legault in the first place."It's a delicate issue to invite the premier. Yes he does share about the books he likes, but he also shares his political views," Vil said."It's not a private association's mission or mandate to add to the government's platforms," he added.Fear of BacklashVil said the association's decision to remove Legault's list and add a disclaimer to the video only made things worse.He said it's part of a larger problem of institutions being ill-equipped to deal with accusations of racism, which leads to overreactions that often heighten controversy.He cited recent examples such as The University of Ottawa suspending a professor for using the 'n-word' in class, and Radio-Canada pulling an old episode of the sitcom La Petite Vie from its streaming service because it contained racial stereotypes. After criticism, Radio-Canada reversed course and reinstated the episode, but with a disclaimer."My impression is there's fear of backlash. So instead of dealing with the situation, establishing dialogue, taking into account the positions, and finding common ground, there's basically the fear that takes over," Vil said.He said invariably impulsive reactions motivated by fear create controversy."Those are controversies that we don't need, and that are a waste of energy," Vil said.
VICTORIA — A former judge says she found widespread systemic racism in British Columbia's health-care system where extensive negative profiling of Indigenous patients affects treatment and care.Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond said Monday she could not confirm allegations of an organized game to guess the blood-alcohol level of Indigenous patients in B.C. emergency departments, but found extensive harmful profiling of patients based on stereotypes about addictions and parenting. The former Saskatchewan provincial court judge and one-time children's advocate in B.C. was appointed by Health Minister Adrian Dix in June to investigate the guessing-game allegations and conduct a broader examination of Indigenous racism in provincial health care."Indigenous people consistently told us, and this was confirmed by the health-care workers who responded and the cases, that they are subjected to negative assumptions, negative assumptions based on prejudice, based on racism, based on beliefs that should not exist in our health-care system," Turpel-Lafond said at a news conference.She said 84 per cent of the review's Indigenous respondents reported some form of discrimination in health care and 52 per cent of Indigenous health-care workers said they experienced racial prejudice at work, mostly in the form of comments."Among the top negative assumptions that are circulating in our health-care system today is that Indigenous patients and people are less worthy," Turpel-Lafond said. "That they are alcoholics. That they're drug seeking."These negative assumptions lead to the denial and delay of patient services, and cause some people to stay away from hospitals to avoid further incidents of discriminatory treatment, she said.Indigenous people told the review they feared hospitals and would rather face uncertain health than return to get care, said Turpel-Lafond.The review heard from nearly 9,000 Indigenous patients, family members, third-party witnesses and health-care workers. It also examined the health-care data of about 185,000 First Nations and Metis patients.Turpel-Lafond's report makes 24 recommendations. They include bringing in measures and legislation to change behaviour and the appointment of three new positions to focus on the problem, including an Indigenous health officer and an associate deputy minister of Indigenous health.The report also said the government should work with Indigenous organizations to improve the patient complaint processes to address individual and systemic racism specifically experienced by Indigenous people, as well as create a new school of Indigenous medicine at the University of British Columbia.Dix said B.C. will work to implement the recommendations and the review's findings will be felt across the country."Racism is toxic for people and it's toxic for care," he said. "I want to make an unequivocal apology as the minister of health to those who have experienced racism in accessing health-care services in B.C., now and in the past."The First Nations Leadership Council, comprising several B.C. Indigenous organizations and Metis Nation B.C., called on the government to act."These are the voices of our families and our relatives and they have to be heard," Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said in a statement. "They can no longer be silenced by a narrative of indifference and negligence and a culture of low expectations."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2020.Dirk Meissner, The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland's first fall mini-budget finds new funds for families and businesses and scratches a longtime provincial itch over transfer payments as she tries to find a delicate balance between pandemic anxiety and political prudence.Freeland defended the federal government's record deficit of more than $381 billion as affordable — given low interest rates — and necessary and accused the former Conservative government of withdrawing stimulus too quickly after the last recession 12 years ago. “As we have learned from previous recessions, the risk of providing too little support now outweighs that of providing too much,” Freeland said. “We will not repeat the mistakes of the years following the Great Recession of 2008.”However Freeland responded to calls for some sense of when the federal largesse will end only by promising what she calls "fiscal guardrails" based on employment numbers, to guide when post-pandemic federal stimulus will start to be phased out.“These data-driven triggers will tell us when the job of building back from the COVID-19 recession is accomplished, and we can bring one-off stimulus spending to an end,” Freeland said.But as far as opposition parties are concerned, Freeland's plan is a pie-in-the-sky effort that does not answer the main concern Canadians have about ending the pandemic: when and how they will be getting a COVID-19 vaccine."Canadians want their lives back," said Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole.Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said almost a week ago that while Canada has contracts for more than $1 billion in vaccines for COVID-19, because we aren't producing any of the front runners here, we won't be first in line to get them. Opposition parties have pounced on the revelation. The Conservatives have gone as far as to suggest Canadians could be waiting until 2023, though the first vaccines are expected to arrive in Canada in January.The government has been trying hard to repair the damage from Trudeau's statement and fend off the opposition attack, prompting Freeland to mention vaccines no fewer than nine times in her speech Monday. "Safe, effective and plentiful vaccines are on the way," Freeland said.The 223-page fiscal update plan includes not just once, but twice, a chart that shows Canada has procured more doses per person (nearly 11, if every vaccine on the list is approved) than any other country in the world. But there was no new information in the economic update on when or how those doses will be available to Canadians.O'Toole said without a plan for a vaccine there is no plan to save the economy. NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said the plan provides too little to directly help people, and without a solid plan for a vaccine rollout, that kind of help is even more critical."That light at the end of the tunnel now feels like a longer, darker tunnel," he said.Freeland's plan does include billions in new spending to try to bridge people and companies through until vaccines can end the pandemic. That includes some new aid for hard-hit sectors like tourism and entertainment, a simplified tax credit for Canadians now working at home, and another $1 billion to help provinces with the long-term care homes that have left our oldest citizens tragically vulnerable to COVID-19.Opposition parties were quick to take credit for some of it. O'Toole said a $1,200 payment next year for parents with kids under six was taken right out of his leadership campaign platform. Singh said the Liberals have added many measures because of his party's efforts, including paid sick leave. While the plan promises to cancel interest payments on federal student loans next year, Singh said that stops short of the NDP motion all parties backed last week to restore the moratorium on all loan repayments until May. The Liberals had stopped requiring Canada Student Loans to be repaid in April but that holiday ended Oct. 1.Freeland also threw out another olive branch in Ottawa's often difficult relationship with provincial premiers by promising to answer their years-long call to overhaul the fiscal stabilization fund that sends federal cash to provinces facing serious drops in revenue. The premiers joined forces to demand the fund be overhauled a year ago, and Freeland has now complied, nearly tripling the amount of money available, and pledging some changes to how much provincial revenues must fall before they can be eligible for it.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2020.Mia Rabson, The Canadian PressNote to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version suggested an NDP motion on student loans only asked for interest payments to be deferred until May. The motion wanted all loan repayments, including interest, to be deferred.
EDMONTON — Aurora Cannabis Inc. says it is indefinitely pausing operations at one of its Alberta facilities and laying off a few dozen staff.The Edmonton-based cannabis company says the pause will occur at its Aurora Sun property in Medicine Hat, where it will layoff about 30 workers.Aurora spokeswoman Michelle Lefler says that the moves are expected to be complete around Dec. 18. She says the measures are part of a review the company is conducting to ensure all of its operations are a fit for its current and future business and to help the company adjust to recent shifts in the industry.Aurora's shares gained 11 per cent to $15.25 in Monday trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange.In June, the company laid off 700 workers and announced plans to cease operations at five facilities in Saskatchewan, Ontario, Alberta and Quebec. It also said it planned to consolidate production and manufacturing at four facilities in Alberta, Ontario and British Columbia.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2020.Companies in this story: (TSX:ACB)The Canadian Press