Nova Scotia is attempting to use its improving COVID-19 situation as marketing leverage to attract Canadians to move to the province, under a simple premise: If you have to work from home, why not do it from here?
Nova Scotia is attempting to use its improving COVID-19 situation as marketing leverage to attract Canadians to move to the province, under a simple premise: If you have to work from home, why not do it from here?
LONDON — Buckingham Palace said Wednesday it was launching an investigation after a newspaper reported that a former aide had made a bullying allegation against the Duchess of Sussex. The Times of London reported allegations that the duchess drove out two personal assistants and left staff feeling “humiliated.” It said an official complaint was made by Jason Knauf, then the communications secretary to Meghan and her husband, Prince Harry. He now works for Harry’s elder brother, Prince William. The palace said it was “clearly very concerned” about the allegations. It said in a statement that the palace human resources team “will look into the circumstances outlined in the article” and would seek to speak to current and former staff. “The Royal Household has had a Dignity at Work policy in place for a number of years and does not and will not tolerate bullying or harassment in the workplace,” it said. American actress Meghan Markle, a former star of the TV legal drama “Suits,” married Harry, a grandson of Queen Elizabeth II, at Windsor Castle in May 2018. Their son, Archie, was born the following year. In early 2020, Meghan and Harry announced they were quitting royal duties and moving to North America, citing what they said were the unbearable intrusions and racist attitudes of the British media. They recently bought a house in Santa Barbara, California, and are expecting a second child. The bullying allegations were reported four days before the scheduled broadcast of an Oprah Winfrey interview with Meghan, which is anticipated to draw a huge audience. It also comes less than two weeks after the palace announced that the couple’s split from official duties would be final. A spokesman for the duchess said she was “saddened by this latest attack on her character, particularly as someone who has been the target of bullying herself and is deeply committed to supporting those who have experienced pain and trauma.” In a 30-second clip released by CBS Wednesday night, Winfrey asks Meghan how she feels about the palace “hearing you speak your truth today?” “I don't know how they could expect that after all of this time we would still just be silent if there was an active role that the firm is playing in perpetuating falsehoods about us,” Markle says. “And if that comes with risk of losing things, I mean, there's been a lot that's been lost already.” The Associated Press
A look at what’s happening in European soccer on Thursday: ENGLAND A place in the Premier League's top four is at stake in the meeting between Liverpool and Chelsea, two teams who were expected to be challenging for the title this season. Liverpool's title defence has collapsed mostly because of a bad run of injuries, plunging the champions to sixth place. Chelsea, which spent nearly $300 million on new players for this season, has regained some form after changing managers — Thomas Tuchel came in for the fired Frank Lampard in January and is unbeaten after nine games — but is still only in fifth place. The winner would climb above West Ham into fourth place. Seventh-place Everton is level on points with Liverpool heading into a match at next-to-last West Bromwich Albion, while Fulham could climb out of the relegation zone on goal difference by beating Tottenham at home. SPAIN Levante and Athletic Bilbao play in the Copa del Rey semifinals, with the winner meeting Barcelona in the April 17 final in Seville. Barcelona eliminated Sevilla on Wednesday. Levante, playing in the Copa semifinals for the first time in 86 years, held Athletic to a 1-1 draw in the first leg in Bilbao. Athletic is the competition's second most successful club with 23 titles. It will play in last season's postponed final against Basque Country rival Real Sociedad on April 3. ITALY Inter Milan can extend its lead at the top of Serie A with a win at relegation-threatened Parma. Antonio Conte’s side can move six points clear of second-place AC Milan after the Rossoneri were held to a 1-1 draw at home by Udinese on Wednesday. Inter has won six of its past seven league matches, scoring 17 goals and conceding just the one. Parma is second from bottom, six points from safety. It drew its past two matches 2-2 after leading 2-0 in both. It also drew 2-2 at Inter in October. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
MONTREAL — A well-known Quebec lawyer says she's mounting a legal challenge to provincial laws that don't grant common-law spouses the same rights as married couples in the event of a breakup. Anne-France Goldwater said today Quebec family law treats unmarried women as having less value than their married counterparts because they aren't entitled to the same alimony and property rights. Goldwater previously argued the issue all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada, which ruled in 2013 that Quebec's family law regime was constitutional and did not have to be changed, even though the court found there was discrimination against common-law couples. The case, known as "Eric and Lola," involved a woman and her former lover, a prominent Quebec businessman who contended he should not have to pay alimony because they were never legally married. Goldwater, who represented "Lola" in the case, has filed a new motion in Quebec Superior Court contesting the constitutionality of all the articles relating to family law in Quebec's Civil Code as well as the section of the provincial Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms that deals with rights and obligations of married and civil union spouses. The case she's arguing concerns a common-law couple called "Nathalie" and "Pierre," who were together 30 years and have four children. Goldwater told reporters today the years that have passed since the Supreme Court of Canada decision have reinforced the need for the law to change. She notes in her court submission that successive provincial governments have promised to reform the province's family law without ever doing so. "Quebec family law perceives non-married women and their children as having less value than married families and it's even worse for women who are common law without children," Goldwater said. "Why are Quebec women not equal under Quebec law?" she said. The 2013 Supreme Court decision noted that while there was discrimination toward common-law couples, it could be allowed under a section of the Canadian charter which allows for the limitation of rights in certain circumstances. Goldwater says she believes the current situation represents a form of "systemic sexism" that has been worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic, which she says has had a disproportionate impact on women. "Why do we have to have a pandemic to convince the leaders that women are economically disadvantaged?" she said. Under Quebec's current law, common-law spouses aren't entitled to alimony, division of the family patrimony or the right to occupy the home after the split. While any children stemming from the relationship have a right to support, the fact that the parent doesn't get alimony or a share of the wealth will result in a lower standard of living for the children, Goldwater says. She argues this creates "two sets of rules" for children: one for those whose parents married, and another for children whose parents were common-law spouses. Like others before it, Premier Francois Legault's government has promised to reform the province's family law, which has not been overhauled since 1980. Goldwater says the change could be made with the "stroke of the pen," namely by adding de facto spouses to the definition of couple and family, as was done for same-sex spouses when they were granted the same rights and benefits as heterosexual married couples in Quebec. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. Pierre Saint-Arnaud, The Canadian Press
By Spencer Seymour, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter Town Treasurer Andre Morin joined last Tuesday's St. Marys Town Council meeting for the culmination of the months-long process of crafting the 2021 municipal budget. Morin has spoken with Council on multiple occasions throughout the budget process and many of those details have been reported on previously in the Independent. The key takeaways start with the tax levy increase of $12,799,710, which equates to a property tax net increase of 0.85 percent. When other municipal costs are included, such as water, sewer, and solid waste, the average St. Marys household will see a total increase of 1.01 percent. Councillor Tony Winter commended Town staff on crafting a draft budget. The Town's cautious approach to dealing with the pandemic reflects well in the adopted budget with a property tax increase of under one percent. For comparison, the City of Stratford passed their budget earlier this year with a tax levy increase of just over two percent, while Perth County and the City of London both passed budgets with tax increases of over three percent. Before passing the budget by-law, Mayor Al Strathdee spoke on the budget process, saying that he felt this year's process went even more smoothly than last year, even with the hindrances imposed on Town staff and the Council. He credited Town staff for their hard work and diligence during the process. As requested by Councillor Winter, because of the importance of the legislation, a recorded vote was held and the 2021 budget was approved unanimously. Spencer Seymour, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, St. Marys Independent
Le gouvernement du Québec a annoncé que cinq nouvelles régions passeront en zone orange à compter du lundi 8 mars, ce qui n'inclut toutefois pas la région de Laval. Les territoires visés sont la Capitale-Nationale, Chaudière-Appalaches, la Mauricie, l'Estrie et le Centre-du-Québec. François Legault a justifié la décision de conserver certaines régions en zone rouge en raison de la possibilité de voir une hausse des cas et hospitalisations dans la grande région métropolitaine au cours des prochaines semaines. Cette augmentation pourrait notamment être causée par la présence de plus en plus importante du variant du Royaume-Uni. «On se retrouve dans une course contre la montre qui oppose les effets de la relâche et les variants à l'opération de vaccination de masse, a précisé le premier ministre. [...] On laisse certaines régions en zone rouge, car ils n'ont pas de marge de manœuvre dans leurs hôpitaux.» Les territoires qui se retrouveront désormais en zone orange bénéficieront notamment de la réouverture des gyms et restaurants. Les élèves du primaire n'auront également pas à porter le masque en classe avant la cinquième année. Par ailleurs, le gouvernement provincial prévoit recevoir près de 800 000 doses de vaccin au cours du prochain mois. François Legault a aussi annoncé un déconfinement progressif du milieu sportif, et ce, même en zone rouge. La santé publique a offert son accord pour recommencer le sport parascolaire à partir du 15 mars. Cela inclut aussi les sorties publiques pour les groupes scolaires. La plus grande facilité à contrôler la pratique sportive dans le cadre scolaire justifie cette décision. Notons qu'un plan complet du déconfinement sportif sera rendu publique la semaine prochaine. Avec un bilan de 24 861 personnes testées positives à la COVID-19, Laval a connu une hausse de 80 cas en 24 heures. Le total de décès demeure stable à 869 depuis le début de la pandémie. Le CISSS de Laval cumule également 23 296 guérisons, ce qui signifie qu’il y a désormais 696 cas actifs (-27) confirmés sur le territoire lavallois. Parmi les personnes touchées, 27 sont hospitalisées, dont 9 aux soins intensifs. 15 employés de l’organisation de santé sont toujours absents du travail en raison de la COVID-19. Quatre résidence privée pour aînés (RPA) de Laval sont présentement touchées par la COVID-19. Voici la liste complète de celles-ci : Au Québec, le bilan est maintenant de 289 670 cas et 10 426 décès. Au total, 618 personnes sont toujours hospitalisées, dont 120 aux soins intensifs. Nicholas Pereira, Initiative de journalisme local, Courrier Laval
VICTORIA — British Columbia wants to try and reduce shootings connected to gangs and drugs with legislation introduced Wednesday that partly focuses on the transportation of illegal firearms. Solicitor General Mike Farnworth said some of the changes in the proposed law would include penalizing drivers who transport illegal firearms, would allow for vehicles to be impounded that are used to transport illegal firearms and would prevent gang members from using shooting ranges. "One of the reasons we brought forward this legislation is to deal with gaps identified by experts in areas of policing," he said Wednesday. Farnworth said the penalties for breaking the law are "expected to be significant," but he did not reveal further details. The Firearm Violence Prevention Act would also protect social workers and health professionals from civil liability if they breach client confidentiality by reporting information to police about guns. "This legislation is about ensuring that police have the tools and structure they need to prevent crime, disrupt organized crime groups and gather evidence towards a successful prosecution," he said. The legislation is formed in part by recommendations made in the Illegal Firearms Task Force report released in 2017, which examined how the provincial government should respond to the public threats posed by illegal firearms. British Columbia has seen more than half a dozen gang-related shootings since the start of the year, which police forces have linked to an ongoing gang conflict. Farnworth, who is also public safety minister, said the majority of gun owners in B.C. abide by the law and the legislation will have little impact on them. Dwayne McDonald, the RCMP’s criminal operations officer in charge of federal investigative services and organized crime for B.C., said in a statement the bill would help police in their investigations and combat gun violence. The B.C. government says the legislation would also strengthen existing laws concerning armoured vehicles and body armour by requiring those applying for those permits allowing their use to submit their fingerprints. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. The Canadian Press
PARIS — Canadian forward Jonathan David scored two late goals as Lille beat Marseille 2-0 to stay top of the French league on Wednesday. David, from Ottawa, scored in the 90th minute and again two minutes into injury time. The northern side remains two points ahead of defending champion Paris Saint-Germain, which won 1-0 away to Bordeaux. Marseille goalkeeper Steve Mandanda kept out shots from United States forward Timothy Weah and David in the second half to frustrate Lille. But the veteran France No. 2 spilled an angled shot from Jonathan Ikone in the 90th and David finished from close range. Defending champion PSG was missing Kylian Mbappe through suspension and was without the injured Neymar, while striker Moise Kean was ruled out after testing positive for the coronavirus earlier Wednesday. Winger Pablo Sarabia filled in and scored in the 20th minute when he turned in Idrissa Gueye’s cross from the left. Bordeaux winger Hatem Ben Arfa should have equalized against his former club when he ran through in the 70th, only to shoot just wide of the left post. The top three sides all won 1-0, with Lyon edging out Rennes at home to stay one point behind of PSG. Lyon is now four points clear of fourth-place Monaco after it lost 1-0 at Strasbourg for a first defeat in 13 league games. DEPAY DELIVERS Lyon forward Memphis Depay created the winning goal for substitute Houssem Aouar in the 73rd minute. Depay sprinted through down the right, but then lost his balance after shrugging off a defender just outside the penalty area. He got quickly back up and slid-tackled the ball to Aouar, who clipped the ball neatly over the goalie. Lyon had struggled to break down a well-organized Rennes side whose coach Julien Stephan resigned on Monday after a bad run of form. Tino Kadewere had a goal ruled out for offside midway through the second half, and strike partner Karl Toko Ekambi went close before Depay delivered. OTHER MATCHES Fifth-place Lens continued its good form with a 3-2 win at Saint-Etienne while sixth-place Metz slipped to a 1-0 home defeat to Angers. Brest beat last-place Dijon 3-1 at home and Nice moved into midtable by downing struggling Nimes 2-1. Also, Reims beat Nantes 2-1 and Montpellier drew 1-1 with Lorient. There are 10 rounds left. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports Jerome Pugmire, The Associated Press
A national panel of vaccine experts recommended Wednesday that provinces extend the interval between the two doses of a COVID-19 shot to up to four months when faced with a limited supply, in order to quickly immunize as many people as possible. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization issued updated guidance for the administration of all COVID-19 vaccines currently approved for use in Canada. Extending the dose interval to four months will create opportunities to protect the entire adult population against the virus within a short timeframe, the panel said in releasing the recommendation. As many as 80 per cent of Canadians over 16 could receive a single dose by the end of June simply with the expected supply of Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, the panel said. The addition of the newly approved Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to the country's supply could mean almost all Canadians would get their first shot in that timeframe, but the federal government has not yet said how many doses of that vaccine will be delivered in the spring and how many in the summer. "The vaccine effectiveness of the first dose will be monitored closely and the decision to delay the second dose will be continuously assessed based on surveillance and effectiveness data and post-implementation study designs," the panel wrote. "Effectiveness against variants of concern will also be monitored closely, and recommendations may need to be revised," it said, adding there is currently no evidence that a longer interval will affect the emergence of the variants. The committee's recommendation came hours after Newfoundland and Labrador said it will extend the interval between the first and second doses to four months, and days after health officials in British Columbia announced they were doing so. Manitoba also said Wednesday it will delay second doses in order to focus on giving the first shot to more people more quickly. Ontario previously said it was weighing a similar move but would seek advice from the federal government. -with files from Mia Rabson in Ottawa This report was first published on March 3, 2021. Paola Loriggio, The Canadian Press
EDMONTON — Alberta is following guidance from a national vaccine advisory panel and increasing the time between COVID-19 doses. Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the province's chief medical officer of health, says the greater lag time will allow more Albertans to be effectively vaccinated sooner. She said the plan is for Alberta to match British Columbia, which announced Monday it will follow the four-month window and get a first dose to everyone who wants one by July. “This change will significantly increase how quickly we can offer Albertans the protection of their first dose,” Hinshaw said Wednesday. “We can all take heart that by getting more first doses to Albertans more quickly, the change I am announcing today brings the light at the end of the tunnel nearer.” Earlier Wednesday, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization recommended first and second doses can be to up to four months apart if supplies are limited. The decision was made based on emerging studies in places including Quebec, the United Kingdom and Israel that show even one dose of vaccine can be about 70 to 80 per cent effective. When vaccines were first available late last year, manufacturers Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna recommended two shots spaced three to six weeks apart. Alberta is now into its second round of priority vaccinations. The 29,000 highest-risk Albertans, those in long-term care and designated supportive living facilities, have been vaccinated twice. Seniors over 75 and First Nations people 65 and older are among those now allowed to book their shots. Hinshaw said second dose appointments will go ahead for those who have already booked them, and those who want to book a second shot within the previous six-week window will be able to up to March 10. Starting then, those who book a first vaccine dose will have the second one delayed by as much as four months. Newfoundland and Labrador also announced an extension to four months. Manitoba has said it will bring in a delay. Ontario said it was weighing a similar move and seeking advice from the federal government. The change comes as more vaccine doses are on the way. Along with Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, the federal government has approved a third vaccine from Oxford-AstraZeneca. Hinshaw said Alberta expects to soon receive shipments of that vaccine as early as next week. Alberta has so far administered 255,000 vaccinations, with 89,000 people getting the full two doses. Hinshaw reported 402 new cases Wednesday. There were 251 people in hospital, 48 of whom were in intensive care. Twelve more people died, bringing that total in the province to 1,902. Case numbers and hospitalizations are a small fraction of what they were at the height of the second wave of COVID-19 in December. The economy remains under public-health restrictions, which include no indoor gatherings and limited capacities for retailers and restaurants. Premier Jason Kenney announced earlier this week a delay in loosening some rules, given unknowns, such as variant strains of the virus. The strains can spread much faster than the original one, with the potential to quickly overwhelm the health system. Alberta has detected 500 variant cases, and Hinshaw announced Wednesday the first variant case at a continuing-care home. Churchill Manor, in Edmonton, has 27 staff and residents who have tested positive, with 19 of them positive for the variant. “Local public-health teams and the operator are taking this outbreak extremely seriously and (are) working closely together to limit spread and protect everyone involved,” said Hinshaw. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021 Dean Bennett, The Canadian Press
The owner of a Calgary cafe has started a letter-writing campaign aimed at convincing city council to reverse a decision that will result in the eatery being evicted from a historic building in Eau Claire. The city, however, says its decision is irreversible — and has been in the works for a long time. The 1886 Buffalo Cafe has been running out of the historic Eau Claire Lumber Company building for about 40 years. Next month, however, the city will not be renewing its lease, in order to undertake some long-anticipated area refurbishment. City councillors said the cafe owners were given notice in 2017 that the city would need to move the building to do some major flood work, and as part of the redevelopment that was happening in Eau Claire. But owner Joanna McLeod told CBC News she feels the city led her astray with confusing communications that made her think they'd be able to stay in the building longer. It prompted her to start a letter-writing campaign and petition in the hopes of saving the cafe. "I just think there's a lot of missing information for the city's aspect," she said. "We've been the best tenants for 40 years … and we would really just love to stay in that building." 'Timeline of assurance' McLeod said they were in negotiations with the city to renew its lease in 2018. At the time, they were on a month-to-month lease, she said, because of the developments that were planned for Eau Claire. The cafe owners were told the revitalization of the area would have the cafe moved closer to the river, and in the same building. In February 2020, McLeod said, she was offered a five-year lease by the city that went unsigned after a realtor told her the language wasn't typical for a commercial lease, and the cafe owners wanted a few details changed before they committed. According to the city, the lease was rescinded in November 2020, after the tenant failed to sign and the city received confirmation of $8.6 million in funding from the province to proceed with the Eau Claire Plaza reconstruction project. But McLeod said there are documents and emails that showed a "timeline of assurances given to us by the city, and kind of leading us down a path of security with them." The owners were blindsided, she said, when they were eventually given notice by a leasing agent that they had 90 days to vacate the premises. And thinking they were going to be staying in the building, McLeod said they invested money into the place. "Had we known that it was a possibility that we wouldn't be able to continue business out of that building … we would have chosen to do business a little differently," McLeod said. Development plans not a secret, councillor says If the decision isn't reversed by the city, McLeod said, she is hoping they will be compensated for the business decisions they made "under bad faith." However, Coun. Druh Farrell told the CBC that while she is very sympathetic with the owners, they have known for a very long time that these developments were in the works. "It's not a secret, and the information has been shared with council, and we've been working on this for a number of years," said Farrell, who represents Ward 7. Significant changes are coming to the area, including essential flood work, that will be very disruptive — but there is a commitment to restore the building and put it in a new designated location, Farrell said. It will be available again in 2023. "There will be no reversing this decision," Farrell said. Still, McLeod is hoping the city might budge. "We're imploring them to change their mind. It's a building that's not only close to our hearts, it's a building that's close to many hearts," McLeod said. "It's just such an iconic piece of Calgary."
By Spencer Seymour, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter Several different noteworthy items were on the agenda at last Tuesday's St. Marys Town Council meeting. First on the agenda was a discussion with Doug LaPointe, Supervisor of Recreation Services, about a lighting upgrade at the Pyramid Recreation Center. The upgrades focus on changing fluorescent or incandescent lights to LED lights. Several lighting upgrades were made in Town facilities, including the PRC, last year as part of the approved annual Energy Efficiency Upgrades budget. Lights in the arena dressing room hallway and lobby area were replaced before the budget was fully allocated. LaPointe proposed continuing the work that began in 2020 and replace more lights in the PRC through the approved 2021 Energy Efficiency Upgrades budget. There are approximately 200 more fixtures to be replaced at a cost of around $23,000, which is just under half of the 2021 Energy Efficiency Upgrades $50,000 budget. However, an energy reduction rebate totaling $6,000 would bring the net cost of the project down to approximately $17,000. Douglas Electric did the work in 2020 at the PRC and they would be contracted again for the 2021 work given their familiarity with what has already been done. This was unanimously approved by the Council. Town Treasurer Andre Morin then spoke with the Council members regarding a proposed agreement with the Province of Ontario for enhanced cleaning measures for the St. Marys and Area Mobility Bus. According to Morin, the Town is eligible for up to $12,223, of which Town staff expects to use almost all. The proposal was brought to Council to get approval to execute a transfer payment agreement with the Province as part of obtaining the funding, which was approved unanimously. Next on the agenda was a correspondence from the Township of Baldwin requesting that the Province reconsider closing the Ontario Fire College. Fire Chief Andy Anderson joined the meeting for his monthly emergency services report and spoke on this letter. The Ontario Fire College has been active since 1949 before its permanent closure was announced earlier this year. There are 20 regional training hubs around Ontario, including one in Oxford County, which Chief Anderson said is where local firefighters are sent. Anderson also said that while St. Marys firefighters may be sent to a regional hub for locational convenience, it is inconceivable that any Province wouldn't have a main Fire College. A resolution was unanimously approved by Council to support the Township of Baldwin's correspondence pushing the Province to reconsider the Fire College's closure. The last big subject discussed involved Jed Kelly from Public Works, who delivered a report on downtown street patios and sidewalk displays. Essentially, allowing the utilization of sidewalks and parking spaces for patios or displays increases restaurants and retail areas, and increases adherence to physical distancing measures. Additionally, such a program could help the Town's tourism sector long-term if local cafes and eateries had outdoor patios. Town staff recommended that the Council delegate the authority to Public Works to review and approve applications for street patios and that staff bring forward a policy for permitting downtown street patios and sidewalk displays. This was approved unanimously by the Council. Spencer Seymour, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, St. Marys Independent
Around 7:30 a.m. Wednesday, March 3, McDougall Fire Department responded to a call that a building had exploded at the Tim Horton’s Memorial Camp in McDougall. The camp is located on Lorimer Lake Road and McDougall’s fire chief Brian Leduc said that maintenance staff was onsite and just beginning their day when the incident happened. “The Jack and Jill dormitories – big buildings about 8,000 square feet each, wood frame construction and it was the Jill building, which is where the female children would be housed,” said Leduc. There was a major explosion inside the building and as a result the fire broke out, destroying the building. However, nobody was in the buildings at the time and no one was injured. Both McDougall fire stations responded to the call and had tanker assistance from McKellar Fire Department and fire crew assistance from the Town of Parry Sound. The cause of explosion is currently under investigation. Sarah Cooke is a Local Journalism Reporter with the Parry Sound North Star, and Almaguin News. LJI is funded by the Government of Canada Sarah Cooke, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, muskokaregion.com
The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC) Grand Chief Arlen Dumas would like to see changes in the Police Services Act (PSA) following the recent death of a First Nations man charged with assaulting a police officer. Brian Halcrow from Tataskweyak Cree Nation was arrested by Thompson RCMP for throwing a hat at Const. Jeremiah Dumont-Fontaine in June 2019. Following the incident, Halcrow committed suicide after he was charged with three counts of assaulting an officer and causing a disturbance. New video surveillance, obtained by the IIU, shows the hat flew past Dumont-Fontaine and hit the ground. This indicates that the assault may not have occurred. “This is yet another disturbing and tragic report of a First Nation citizen being brutally mistreated by officers, which may be a direct contributing factor in his decision to take his own life,” said Dumas in a press release. In November last year, an independent review of the PSA came up with 70 recommendations to improve policing and police oversight in Manitoba. Among the recommendations were changes to the sections of the legislation that govern the Independent Investigations Unit (IIU). In this case, Dumont-Fontaine is protected by the provisions of the PSA that do not compel the subject officer to hand over notes about an incident to the IIU investigating officers or to be interviewed about the matter. Due to this, IIU has decided to take law enforcement to court to gain access to Dumont-Fontaine's report. Arguments over the disclosure of the occurrence report on the Halcrow incident will be heard in Manitoba’s Court of Queen’s Bench on March 5. “Unless this is changed in legislation, the IIU will continue to play a part in the disproportionate rates of First Nations arrests and incarcerations, and subject officers will continue to be found not responsible for acts of brutality and/or justified in the use of deadly force,” said Dumas. Dumas urge the Province of Manitoba to implement the recommendations of the final report on the PSA to prevent and reduce similar tragic events from occurring in the future. As well, changes to the PSA could bring closure and better administration of justice for many First Nation citizens such as Halcrow. “It is disturbing and emotionally exhausting for First Nations in Manitoba to be continually exposed to reports and alleged incidents of the use of excessive force perpetrated on First Nations by police officers, conservation officers, and correctional officers in this province,” said Dumas. “The PSA legislation is a contributing factor, and I continue to urge the Province and specifically Manitoba Justice to implement its recommendations, in partnership with First Nations in the spirit and intent of reconciliation and for a measure of justice for those First Nations lives lost as a result of police misconduct.” Justice Minister Cameron Friesen said that the province has committed to introducing legislation this year that will strengthen the Manitoba IIU. “We are sincerely interested in facilitating changes to the IIU that are designed to increase transparency and confidence and better reflect the communities it serves. These efforts are well underway and we are committed to that path,” he said on Wednesday. — Nicole Wong is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the Winnipeg Sun. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada. Click here to sign up for our daily newsletter. Nicole Wong, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Winnipeg Sun
The issue is going to court — but that's not necessarily a win.
JACKSON, Miss. — Mississippi’s largest city is still struggling with water problems more than two weeks after winter storms and freezing weather ravaged the system in Jackson, knocking out water for drinking and making it impossible for many to even flush their toilets. Residents in the city of 160,000 are still being warned to boil any water that does come out of the faucets. “I pray it comes back on,” Jackson resident Nita Smith said. “I’m not sure how much more of this we can take.” Smith has had no water at home for nearly three weeks. Smith is concerned about her mother who has diabetes. Her mother and most of the other older people on her street don’t drive, so Smith has been helping them get water to clean themselves and flush their toilets. A key focus of city crews is filling the system's water tanks to an optimal level. But, public works director Charles Williams said Wednesday that fish, tree limbs and other debris have clogged screens where water moves from a reservoir into a treatment plant. That caused pressure to drop for the entire water system. “Today was not a good day for us,” Williams said. He said about a fourth of Jackson's customers remained without running water. That is more than 10,000 connections, with most serving multiple people. City officials on Wednesday continued distributing water for flushing toilets at several pick-up points. But they're giving no specific timeline for resolving problems. Workers continue to fix dozens of water main breaks and leaks. The crisis has taken a toll on businesses. Jeff Good is co-owner of three Jackson restaurants, and two of them remained closed Wednesday. In a Facebook update, Good said the businesses have insurance, but he’s concerned about his employees. “We will not be financially ruined,” Good wrote. “The spirits of our team members are my biggest concern. A true malaise and depression is setting in." Mississippi's capital city is not alone in water problems. More than two weeks have passed since the cold wave shut down the main power grid in Texas, leaving millions in freezing homes, causing about 50 deaths and disabling thousands of public water systems serving those millions. Four public water systems in Texas remained out of commission Wednesday, affecting 456 customers, and 225 systems still have 135,299 customers boiling their tap water, according to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. Also, 208 of the state’s 254 counties are still reporting public water system issues. Bonnie Bishop, 68, and her husband, Mike, 63, have been without water at their Jackson home for 14 days. Both have health problems. She's recovering after months in the hospital with the coronavirus. She's home but still in therapy to learn how to walk again and deals with neuropathy in her hands and feet. She has not been able to soak her feet in warm water, something that usually provides relief for the neuropathy, or to help her husband gather water to boil for cooking for cleaning. Mike Bishop just had elbow surgery. The first week the couple was without water, he still had staples in his arm and was hauling 5-gallon containers from his truck, his wife said. Bonnie Bishop said she told him not to strain himself, but he wouldn’t listen. They feel they have no choice. On Monday, the couple drove 25 miles (40 kilometres) to Mike’s mother’s house to do laundry. Jackson's water system has not been able to provide a sustainable flow of water throughout the city since the mid-February storms, city officials say. The system “basically crashed like a computer and now we’re trying to rebuild it,” Williams said at a recent briefing. The city's water mains are more than a century old, and its infrastructure needs went unaddressed for decades, Democratic Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba has said. “We more than likely have more than a $2 billion issue with our infrastructure,” he said. Jackson voters in 2014 approved a 1-cent local sales tax to pay for improvements to roads and water and sewer systems. On Tuesday, the city council voted to seek legislative approval for another election to double that local tax to 2 cents a dollar. Republican Gov. Tate Reeves would have to agree to letting Jackson have the tax election. “I do think it’s really important that the city of Jackson start collecting their water bill payments before they start going and asking everyone else to pony up more money,” Reeves said Tuesday. Jackson has had problems for years with its water billing system and with the quality of water. Melanie Deaver Hanlin, who was without water for 14 days, has been flushing toilets with pool water and showering at friends’ homes. She said Jackson’s water system “needs to be fixed, not patched.” “That’s the issue now — poor maintenance for far too long," Hanlin said. "And Jackson residents are paying the price.” ___ Associated Press writer Terry Wallace contributed from Dallas. Martin reported from Marietta, Georgia. Jeff Martin, Leah Willingham And Emily Wagster Pettus, The Associated Press
In spite of a pandemic, or perhaps because of it, home prices in the Toronto region are now selling for an average of more than $1 million. Selling prices shot up by 15 per cent in the last year. As Sean O'Shea reports, even just a place to park your will cost a small fortune — and its price has spiked, too.
Lethbridge police have laid a charge of first-degree murder in connection with a 2020 hit-and-run collision that killed the accused woman's ex-spouse. Melissa Whitegrass, 37, of Lethbridge was arrested on March 2 and charged with first-degree murder, dangerous driving causing death and assault with a weapon. According to a release, police responded to a report of a collision between a vehicle and a pedestrian in an alley near 9th Avenue and 13th Street South at approximately 4:40 p.m. on June 1, 2020. Before police arrived, the alleged offending vehicle — a 2005 yellow Dodge Ram — drove away from the scene. Austin Forsyth, 30, was found at the scene and taken to Chinook Regional Hospital, where he later died of his injuries. Whitegrass is now in custody and a court appearance is scheduled for March 9. According to police, Whitegrass and Forsyth were involved in a common-law relationship until 2017. Police said though the incident is being treated as an instance of domestic violence, there were no other incidents reported to the police service prior to the incident in 2020.
IQALUIT, Nunavut — A Nunavut judge has granted a mining company an injunction against hunters who stopped its iron ore operation when they protested at the site last month. About a dozen Inuit hunters blocked the road and airstrip at Baffinland Iron Mine's Mary River project on northern Baffin Island for a week before leaving Feb. 10. The hunters were protesting Baffinland's proposal to double its output of iron ore and build a 110-kilometre railway from the mine to the ocean. They left after their regional Inuit organization and land-claim body offered to meet with the group face to face. Baffinland applied for an injunction against the hunters Feb. 10, and a temporary order was issued to have them clear the mine site. A second hearing was held in Iqaluit on Feb. 13, where lawyers for the hunters and the company argued whether the injunction should be granted. The injunction order legally prevents the hunters and "anyone else with knowledge of the order" from protesting at the site or blocking the mine's road and airstrip. The RCMP has the authority to enforce the order. In her decision, Justice Susan Cooper noted Baffinland lawyer Brad Armstrong's arguments about the mine's financial losses from the protest and the uncertainty about whether the hunters would return. "While the Defendants have left the project site, their counsel was not able to confirm that they have agreed to not return and continue the protest," Cooper wrote. "Although the protesters may no longer be at the project site, their reasons for being there in the first place remain." Cooper also said the hunters have not clearly stated their reasons for protesting. "The protest and its reasons have been the topic of discussion in the media. There may be more than one reason for the protest. It may be that the individual protesters are there for different reasons," she wrote. She said the injunction does not prevent the hunters from protesting elsewhere. "While it is true that such protests would be of little effect at the project site, without impeding the operations due to the remoteness of the location, there are other locations within the territory where a protest would be seen and heard." The injunction is interlocutory, which means it is not permanent. A permanent order would only be granted after a trial, Cooper said. In a news release, lawyers for the hunters said they are "disappointed that such a decision was made based on Baffinland’s arguments so early in the case, and look forward to their lawyers presenting new evidence now available through examination of the Baffinland witnesses." The hunters said they stand by their actions "and feel confident that they can carry forward their active opposition to mine expansion in many other ways." "In the interim, they will look for quieter places to sleep." Cooper said lawyers for the hunters can apply to vary or set aside the injunction with two days' notice. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021 ___ This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship. Emma Tranter, The Canadian Press Note to readers: This is a corrected story; a previous version said the hunters have two days to apply to vary or set aside the injunction.
Halifax Regional Fire and Emergency has proposed a budget for 2021-22 that includes a $5.5-million increase over last June's revamped budget, for a total of $76.6 million. The budget includes 15 new employees: an emergency measures co-ordinator, two fire inspectors and 12 new firefighters. "They'll be starting their training in August and be in operation by the end of the calendar year," said fire Chief Ken Stuebing. "Two of them will be deployed to the Black Point station." Stuebing said the new firefighters will not only reduce overtime costs, but help the department improve its response times. Not consistently meeting standard During a budget presentation Wednesday, Stuebing told regional council the service gets 14 firefighters on the scene of a house fire within an 11-minute standard "only about half the time." The local president of Halifax Professional Firefighters also made a presentation to council, asking it to keep in mind the standard of four firefighters per truck. "We need firefighters on trucks," said Brendan Marr. "It's a message we need to reinforce." Councillors unanimously endorsed the budget proposal. "I absolutely, 100 per cent support your budget and the direction you are taking the fire service in," said Coun. Pamela Lovelace. Increases will become challenging, says mayor Only Mayor Mike Savage sounded a note of caution, after looking at the budgets over the past five years. "Our overall budget in that period of time has gone up 13.7 per cent and the fire budget has gone up 31 per cent," said Savage. "It's going to be, increasingly, a challenge." Final budget approvals are scheduled for April. MORE TOP STORIES
Mexico's Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled in favor of the country's telecoms regulator over a label that aims to curb the dominance of Carlos Slim's telecommunications company America Movil. Mexico's Federal Institute of Telecommunications (IFT) acted within the constitution when it determined that the America Movil Economic Interest Group, made up of Telcel and other subsidiaries, is a "preponderant agent", the court said in a statement.