As Ontario navigates the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, new modelling appears to show the province is moving away from the projected worst case scenario, but community spread of the virus is continuing. Travis Dhanraj has more.
As Ontario navigates the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, new modelling appears to show the province is moving away from the projected worst case scenario, but community spread of the virus is continuing. Travis Dhanraj has more.
WASHINGTON — Disputing President Donald Trump’s persistent, baseless claims, Attorney General William Barr declared the U.S. Justice Department has uncovered no evidence of widespread voter fraud that could change the outcome of the 2020 election.Barr's comments, in an interview Tuesday with the The Associated Press, contradict the concerted effort by Trump, his boss, to subvert the results of last month's voting and block President-elect Joe Biden from taking his place in the White House.Barr told the AP that U.S. attorneys and FBI agents have been working to follow up specific complaints and information they’ve received, but “to date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election.”The comments, which drew immediate criticism from Trump attorneys, were especially notable coming from Barr, who has been one of the president's most ardent allies. Before the election, he had repeatedly raised the notion that mail-in voting could be especially vulnerable to fraud during the coronavirus pandemic as Americans feared going to polls and instead chose to vote by mail.More to Trump's liking, Barr revealed in the AP interview that in October he had appointed U.S. Attorney John Durham as a special counsel, giving the prosecutor the authority to continue to investigate the origins of the Trump-Russia probe after Biden takes over and making it difficult to fire him. Biden hasn't said what he might do with the investigation, and his transition team didn't comment Tuesday.Trump has long railed against the investigation into whether his 2016 campaign was co-ordinating with Russia, but he and Republican allies had hoped the results would be delivered before the 2020 election and would help sway voters. So far, there has been only one criminal case, a guilty plea from a former FBI lawyer to a single false statement charge.Under federal regulations, a special counsel can be fired only by the attorney general and for specific reasons such as misconduct, dereliction of duty or conflict of interest. An attorney general must document such reasons in writing.Barr went to the White House Tuesday for a previously scheduled meeting that lasted about three hours.Trump didn't directly comment on the attorney general's remarks on the election. But his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and his political campaign issued a scathing statement claiming that, "with all due respect to the Attorney General, there hasn’t been any semblance” of an investigation into the president's complaints.Other administration officials who have come out forcefully against Trump's allegations of voter-fraud evidence have been fired. But it's not clear whether Barr might suffer the same fate. He maintains a lofty position with Trump, and despite their differences the two see eye-to-eye on quite a lot.Still, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer quipped: “I guess he’s the next one to be fired.”Last month, Barr issued a directive to U.S. attorneys across the country allowing them to pursue any “substantial allegations” of voting irregularities before the 2020 presidential election was certified, despite no evidence at that time of widespread fraud.That memorandum gave prosecutors the ability to go around longstanding Justice Department policy that normally would prohibit such overt actions before the election was certified. Soon after it was issued, the department’s top elections crime official announced he would step aside from that position because of the memo.The Trump campaign team led by Giuliani has been alleging a widespread conspiracy by Democrats to dump millions of illegal votes into the system with no evidence. They have filed multiple lawsuits in battleground states alleging that partisan poll watchers didn’t have a clear enough view at polling sites in some locations and therefore something illegal must have happened. The claims have been repeatedly dismissed including by Republican judges who have ruled the suits lacked evidence.But local Republicans in some battleground states have followed Trump in making unsupported claims, prompting grave concerns over potential damage to American democracy.Trump himself continues to rail against the election in tweets and in interviews though his own administration has said the 2020 election was the most secure ever. He recently allowed his administration to begin the transition over to Biden, but he still refuses to admit he lost.The issues they've have pointed to are typical in every election: Problems with signatures, secrecy envelopes and postal marks on mail-in ballots, as well as the potential for a small number of ballots miscast or lost.But they've gone further. Attorney Sidney Powell has spun fictional tales of election systems flipping votes, German servers storing U.S. voting information and election software created in Venezuela “at the direction of Hugo Chavez,” – the late Venezuelan president who died in 2013. Powell has since been removed from the legal team after an interview she gave where she threatened to “blow up” Georgia with a “biblical” court filing.Barr didn't name Powell specifically but said: “There's been one assertion that would be systemic fraud and that would be the claim that machines were programmed essentially to skew the election results. And the DHS and DOJ have looked into that, and so far, we haven’t seen anything to substantiate that.”In the campaign statement, Giuliani claimed there was “ample evidence of illegal voting in at least six states, which they have not examined.”“We have many witnesses swearing under oath they saw crimes being committed in connection with voter fraud. As far as we know, not a single one has been interviewed by the DOJ. The Justice Department also hasn’t audited any voting machines or used their subpoena powers to determine the truth,” he said.However, Barr said earlier that people were confusing the use of the federal criminal justice system with allegations that should be made in civil lawsuits. He said a remedy for many complaints would be a top-down audit by state or local officials, not the U.S. Justice Department.“There’s a growing tendency to use the criminal justice system as sort of a default fix-all," he said, but first there must be a basis to believe there is a crime to investigate.“Most claims of fraud are very particularized to a particular set of circumstances or actors or conduct. ... And those have been run down; they are being run down,” Barr said. “Some have been broad and potentially cover a few thousand votes. They have been followed up on."___Associated Press writers Lisa Mascaro and Eric Tucker contributed to this report.Michael Balsamo, The Associated Press
MOSCOW — Irina Antonova, a charismatic art historian who presided over one of Russia's top art museums for more than half a century, has died at 98. The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts said Antonova, its president, died in Moscow on Monday. It said Tuesday that Antonova last week tested positive for coronavirus, which exacerbated her chronic heart ailments. Antonova began working at the Pushkin museum after her graduation in 1945, and in 1961 she became its director. She held the job until 2013, when she shifted into the ceremonial post of its president. The 52-year tenure made her the world's longest-serving director of a major art museum. As the Pushkin museum director, Antonova spearheaded major art exhibitions that saw the exchange of art treasures between the Pushkin Museum and top international art collections despite the Cold War-era tensions and constraints. Those exchanges, facilitated by her extensive personal contacts with colleagues in the museum world, brought Antonova wide acclaim worldwide. She also was very active in promoting the museum's treasures to the public. Antonova has received numerous Russian and foreign state awards. Russian President Vladimir Putin sent his condolences. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that the president often met Antonova at the museum and “highly appraised her deep expert knowledge.” Antonova will be buried in Moscow's Novodevichy cemetery alongside her husband, who also was an art historian. Funeral ceremonies will be closed to the public amid coronavirus restrictions. The Associated Press
Fines totalling more than $180,000 were issued to people accused of breaking Manitoba's COVID-19 rules in the last week, the province said Tuesday.Of the 100 tickets issued, nearly half were for not following various public health orders. In total, 20 per cent of the tickets were related to gatherings larger than five people, Premier Brian Pallister said at a news conference on COVID-19 enforcement."It's critical right now that we don't gather with people outside of our households, and we need the full participation of all Manitobans in order for these strict public health measures work," he said at a news conference.In addition, 22 fines worth $5,000 each were issued to businesses, for various offences. Of those businesses, Springs Church in Winnipeg was given four fines totalling $20,000 related to a large drive-in service held last weekend contrary to public health orders, according to data from the province.One person was also fined $1,296 over that service. Enforcement officers are still investigating and are expecting to hand out more tickets."There will be consequences for those who disregard public health orders," he said. "It's incredibly disappointing that anyone would blatantly disregard public health orders in place to protect Manitobans."The Superstore in Brandon, Man., was also fined twice, and now owes $10,000, the province says.In addition, 23 tickets worth $298 each were issued to people for not wearing a mask in indoor public places. The remaining seven were band bylaw tickets issued by Manitoba First Nations Police Service.In all, a total of $181,574 in fines was issued from Nov. 23 to 29, up from $126,082 a week earlier.The Church of God in Sarto, Man., near the city of Steinbach, was fined $5,000, and six people were given individual tickets of $1,296, after the church tried to hold a large drive-in service on Sunday. They were blocked by RCMP officers, which led to more than 100 cars lining the highway trying to get into the church's parking lot.Pallister said 30 tickets have also been issued to people who took part in a large demonstration in Steinbach on Nov. 14. Officers are investigating and are expecting to hand out additional tickets, he said.Pallister says if repeat offenders don't get the message, the province could find other ways to get people to stay home, including tougher fines. "The fact is, if you take $1,000 out of somebody's pocket, then that better be a deterrent. And if it isn't, $5000 will be," he said."And if it's a store and it does it again, you can close them. So the fact of the matter is we've got more serious steps we could take if we need to. I just obviously hope and pray we don't have to take those next steps."WATCH | Pallister's message to COVID-19 rule breakers:Asked about municipalities that aren't enforcing COVID-19 restrictions, Pallister said that if they won't do it, the province will. "We'll be enforcing in municipalities just as we did this past weekend, whether they have municipal officials there or not," he said."So I would emphasize to people who think that they can get away with something in one RM because there's nobody from the RM enforcing, that there are other people who are certainly willing to do that and are."The update comes after Manitoba hit a record high for COVID-19 hospitalizations on Monday with 342 people in hospital, 43 of them in intensive care units.On Tuesday, Manitoba reported a record 16 deaths in one day, as the province added 283 new cases to its total.Last week, Pallister said the province had issued close to 100 tickets from Nov. 16 to 22, totalling $126,082. It was a significant increase from the week before, when Pallister announced the province was hiring a private security firm to help crack down on COVID-19 rule breakers.Meanwhile, RCMP said they have issued 21 fines between Nov. 21 and Nov. 27.Of those, eight were issued for hosting a gathering, five were for failing to self-isolate, four were for having guests from outside of a household, three were for failing to wear a mask and one was for attending a large gathering, according to a news release issued Tuesday.Officers also gave 49 verbal warnings during this time, RCMP say.Since April, Manitoba RCMP have issued 188 warnings and 99 fines.WATCH | Update on COVID-19 enforcement measures:
Nonfiction1\. A Promised Land by Barack Obama, narrated by the author (Random House Audio)2\. Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey, narrated by the author (Random House Audio)3\. Unf—k Your Brain by Faith G. Harper, PhD LPC-S ACS ACN, narrated by the author (Blackstone Audio, Inc. )4\. The Art of War by Sun Tzu, performed by Aidan Gillen (Audible Studios)5\. Atomic Habits by James Clear, narrated by the author (Penguin Audio)6\. Mind Power Mixtape by Common, performed by the author (Audible Originals)7\. Smokey Robinson: Grateful and Blessed by Smokey Robinson, performed by the author (Audible Originals)8\. Habits for Happiness by Dr. Tim Sharp, performed by the author (Audible Original)9\. Becoming by Michelle Obama, narrated by the author (Random House Audio)10\. Be Calm by Jill P. Weber, PhD, narrated by Bernadette Dunne (Blackstone Audio, Inc.)Fiction1\. Ready Player Two by Ernest Cline, narrated by Wil Wheaton (Random House Audio)2\. The Queen’s Gambit by Walter Tevis, narrated by Amy Landon (Blackstone Audio, Inc.)3\. The Awakening by Nora Roberts, narrated by Barrie Kreinik (Macmillan Audio)4\. Rhythm of War by Brandon Sanderson, narrated by Kate Reading & Michael Kramer (Macmillan Audio)5\. Dead Acre by Rhett C. Bruno & Jaime Castle, performed by Roger Clark (Audible Originals)6\. 1984 by George Orwell, narrated by Simon Prebble (Blackstone Audio, Inc.)7\. The Weirdies by Michael Buckley, performed by Kate Winslet (Audible Originals)8\. A Christmas Carol: A Signature Performance by Tim Curry by Charles Dickens, performed by Tim Curry (Audible Studios)9\. Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle & Stephen Fry - introductions, performed by Stephen Fry (Audible Studios)10\. American Gods: The Tenth Anniversary Edition (A Full Cast Production) by Neil Gaiman, narrated by Ron McLarty, Daniel Oreskes & full cast (HarperAudio)The Associated Press
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin are set to resume their talks about COVID relief. Mnuchin spoke to reporters before testifying along with Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell on Capitol Hill. (Dec. 1)
Community concerns surrounding the future of the moose population near a small, remote First Nation west of Williams Lake has led its newly-elected chief to ink a five-year memorandum of understanding with the B.C. Conservation Officer Service (COS). Yunesit’in government (Stone) is the latest First Nation to reach such an agreement with the COS to promote wildlife sustainability through joint communication, collaboration and enforcement. “It’s going to open the door to have some meaningful meetings, and taking better jurisdiction and care of our moose and deer population out west,” Chief Lennon Solomon said Nov. 30 outside the Tsilhqot’in National Government office in downtown Williams Lake. Solomon, who was elected chief of Yunesit’in in Sept. 2020, said the community voiced their concerns to him after seeing a decline in moose numbers in recent years. COS Insp. Len Butler of the Thompson Cariboo Region said working with Solomon is a real benefit. “We have the same concerns, and it’s the unlawful hunting of cow moose and if we’re working together, it’s much better than working apart on these issues,” Butler said. “Having that backing and us working together is good for the moose populations but also all the species of wildlife.” This year has seen an increase in illegal hunting activity such as hunting on private lands and trafficking, Butler noted, stating there has also been a lot of ‘unfortunate’ night hunting activity within the area. Butler and Solomon both agreed there is more than one factor leading to the moose population’s decline, including predation and logging. Tsilhqot’in National Government Tribal Chair Chief Joe Alphonse described the Yunesit’in caretaker area as prime moose habitat that has been heavily logged. The area was also heavily impacted by wildfires that tore through the region in 2017. “They’d say that our hunters used to go out in the wilderness and get lost, now there are so many logging areas out there they go out on the logging roads, and they get lost,” Alphonse said. Rebecca Dyok, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Williams Lake Tribune
Premier Doug Ford was noticeably absent from the province's daily news conference on Tuesday after his office announced shortly after noon that he had an "unexpected, but non-COVID-related, non-urgent medical appointment that will prevent him from participating."The news conference went ahead at pharmaceutical distribution company McKesson's warehouse with Minister of Health Christine Elliott leading along with retired general Rick Hillier, chair of Ontario's vaccine distribution task force, and others.Questions about Ontario's vaccine rollout were front and centre at Tuesday's news conference.Few specifics were on offer, but Elliott did say that vaccines will not be mandatory for healthcare workers. Asked if they would be required to take the vaccine, Elliott replied that the premier has made it clear that he wants vaccinations to be voluntary.Asked who might be first in line for vaccinations, Elliott said that's something the province is currently discussing with its taskforce, but that vulnerable populations and frontline workers are among the priorities. As for who comprises that taskforce, Elliott said it does include a bioethicist, and that the names of the members should be able to be released in a "short while."Ontario reported another 1,707 cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday as the number of patients with the illness being treated in intensive care units climbed to 193.The new cases include a record 727 in Toronto — the most ever on a single day for the city — as well as 373 in Peel Region and 169 in York Region.The new infections push the seven-day average of daily cases to 1,670, also a new record high.Other public health units that saw double-digit increases were: * Durham Region: 72 * Waterloo Region: 61 * Hamilton: 58 * Halton Region: 47 * Windsor-Essex: 47 * Simcoe Muskoka: 36 * Ottawa: 34 * Niagara Region: 15 * Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph: 13 * Grey Bruce: 12(Note: All of the figures used for new cases in this story are found on the Ontario health ministry's COVID-19 dashboard or in its daily epidemiologic summary. The number of cases for any region may differ from what is reported by the local public health unit because local units report figures at different times.)Also included in today's new cases are 299 that are school-related: 253 students and 46 staff members. Some 737 of Ontario's 4,828 publicly-funded schools, or about 15.3 per cent, currently have at least one case of COVID-19, while seven schools are currently closed because of the illness.There are now 14,524 confirmed, active cases of COVID-19 provincewide, the most at any point since the outbreak began in late January. The new high comes as Ontario's network of labs processed 34,640 test samples for the novel coronavirus and reported a test positivity rate of 5.1 per cent. Another 34,000 tests were added to the queue to be completed.Meanwhile, an internal Critical Care Services Ontario report shared with CBC Toronto shows 26 more people with confirmed infections of the novel coronavirus were moved into intensive care in the last 24 hours, bringing the total to 193. Just four days ago, 151 patients were in ICUs. Public health officials have identified 150 as the threshold for when scheduled surgeries and procedures need to be postponed or cancelled. The province's report today states that only 185 patients are in intensive care. The discrepancy between the figures is due to the timeframe used in the provincial data, which typically reflects numbers from the previous day. The Critical Care Services Ontario figure for ICU admissions is more current.Further, a total of 645 people with confirmed cases of COVID-19 are in Ontario hospitals, while 112 are on ventilators.Seven additional COVID-19-linked deaths were reported today, bringing the official toll to 3,663.Of those seven people, three were in their 90s, three were in their 80s and one was in their 60s. Six of the deaths are tied to institutional outbreaks, such as long-term care settings.
China successfully landed a spacecraft on the moon's surface on Tuesday in a historic mission to retrieve lunar surface samples, Chinese state media reported. China launched its Chang'e-5 probe on Nov. 24. The mission will attempt to collect 2 kg (4-1/2 lbs) of samples in a previously unvisited area in a massive lava plain known as Oceanus Procellarum, or "Ocean of Storms".
WASHINGTON — American factories grew at a slower pace last month and there are concerns that surging coronavirus infections will endanger an economic recovery.The Institute of Supply Management, an association of purchasing managers, reported Tuesday that its manufacturing index dipped to 57.5 in November from 59.3 in October. Any reading above 50 signals that manufacturing is expanding. The ISM index plunged in the spring but has since bounced back and now shows factories on a six-month winning streak.New orders and production grew more slowly last month. Hiring actually dropped, reversing a gain in October. New export orders grew faster. Sixteen of 18 industries surveyed reported growth last month, led by apparel and mineral manufacturers.The U.S. economy collapsed from April through June and has since been recovering. But a sharp increase in infections is raising fears that the recovery will lose momentum as state and local governments issue lockdown orders and Americans stay home on their own to avoid infection.“For now, the manufacturing sector appears to be weathering another round of virus outbreaks fairly well,? Rubeela Farooqi, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics, wrote in a research note. “However, the outlook is uncertain given targeted restrictions and shutdowns, at home and abroad, could disrupt activity and weigh on demand.?Paul Wiseman, The Associated Press
HARDCOVER FICTION1\. “Rhythm of War” by Brandon Sanderson (Tor)2\. “Daylight” by David Baldacci (Grand Central Publishing)3\. “A Time for Mercy” by John Grisham (Doubleday)4\. “The Law of Innocence” by Michael Connelly (Little, Brown)5\. “All That Glitters” by Danaielle Steel (Delacorte)6\. “The Return” by Nicholas Sparks (Grand Central Publishing)7\. “The Sentinel” by Child/Child (Delacorte)8\. “Fortune and Glory” by Janet Evanovich (Atria)9\. “Tom Clancy Shadow of the Dragon” by Marc Cameron (G.P. Putnam's Sons)10\. “Piece of My Heart” by Mary Higgins Clark (Simon & Schuster)11\. “Marauder” by Cussler/Morrison (G.P. Putnam’s Sons)12\. “Batman: Three Jokers” by Johns/Fabok (DC)13\. “The Vanishing Half” by Brit Bennett (Riverhead)14\. “Three Women Disappear” by Patterson/Serafin (Little, Brown)15\. “Anxious People” by Fredrik Backman (Atria)HARDCOVER NONFICTION1\. “A Promised Land” by Barack Obama (Crown)2\. “Dungeons & Dragons: Tasha's Cauldron of Everything” (Wizards of the Coast)3\. “Forgiving What You Can't Forgive” by Lysa TerKeurst (Thomas Nelson)4\. “Greenlights” by Matthew McConaughey (Crown)5\. “Dolly Parton, Songteller” by Dolly Parton (Chronicle)6\. “A Wealth of Pigeons” by Martin/Bliss (Celadon)7\. “Frontier Follies” by Ree Drummond (William Morrow)8\. “Modern Comfort Food” by Ina Garten (Clarkson Potter)9\. “No Time Like the Future” by Michael J. Fox (Flatiron)10\. “Caste” by Isabel Wilkerson (Random House)11\. “The Answer Is...” by Alex Trebek (Simon & Schuster)12\. “Guinness World Records 2021” (Guinness World Records)13\. “Untamed” by Glennon Doyle (Dial Press)14\. “The Forgiveness Journal” by Lysa TerKeurst (Thomas Nelson)15\. “HHR: So Many Thoughts on Royal Style” by Elizabeth Holmes (Celadon)MASS MARKET PAPERBACKS1\. “Wyoming True” by Diana Palmer (HQN)2\. “Leopard’s Rage” by Christine Feehan (Berkley)3\. “The River Murders” by Patterson/Born (Grand Central Publishing)4\. “When You See Me” by Lisa Gardner (Dutton)5\. “The Night Fire” by Michael Connelly (Grand Central Publishing)6\. “Spy” by Danielle Steel (Dell)7\. “A Christmas Message” by Debbie Macomber (Mira)8\. “Spirit of the Season” by Fern Michaels (Zebra)9\. “A MacGregor Christmas” by Nora Roberts (Silhouette)10\. “The Museum of Desire” by Jonathan Kellerman (Ballantine)11\. “A MacCallister Christmas” by William W. Johnstone (Pinnacle)12\. “The Vanishing” by Jayne Ann Krentz (Berkley)13\. “The Christmas Backup Plan” by Lori Wilde (Avon)14\. “The Devil's Boneyard” by William W. Johnstone (Pinnacle)15\. “One Touch of Moondust” by Sherryl Woods (Harlequin)TRADE PAPERBACKS1\. “Home Body” by Rupi Kaur (Andrew McMeel)2\. “Texas Outlaw” by Patterson/Bourelle (Grand Central Publishing)3\. “Redefining Anxiety” by John Delony (Ramsey)4\. “No One Asked for This” by Cazzie David (Mariner)5\. “The 19th Christmas” by Patterson/Paetro (Grand Central Publishing)6\. “Forgiving What You Can't Forget Study Guide” by Lysa TerKeurst (Thomas Nelson)7\. “The Truths We Hold” by Kamala Harris (Penguin Books)8\. “Una tierra prometida” by Barack Obama (Debate)9\. “Shuggie Bain” by Douglas Stuart (Grove)10\. “Burn After Writing” (pink) by Sharon Jones (TarcherPerigee)11\. “The Step-by-Step Instant Pot Cookbook” by Jeffrey Eisner (Voracious)12\. “Air Fryer Cookbook” by Jenson William (Jenson William)13\. “Interesting Stories for Curious People” by Bill O'Neill (LAK)14\. “Circe” by Madeline Miller (Back Bay)15\. “Burnout” by Nagoski/Nagoski (Ballantine)5\. “Circe” by Madeline Miller (Back Bay)The Associated Press
SILVER SPRING, Md. — U.S. construction spending jumped 1.3% in October, the fifth straight monthly increase, again on the strength of single-family home building.The October gain follows a strong upward revision to 0.5% in September, from a previous estimate of a 0.3% gain, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday. It's the largest increase since a 2.8% jump in January, before the coronavirus pandemic all but shuttered the U.S. economy. Spending in October was stronger than economists had expected.Single-family home building has been a consistent bright spot for months as a lack of new homes has pushed builders to ramp up projects. Single-family home construction rose 5.6% in October, helping to boost a 2.9% increase in total private residential construction for the month.Nonresidential private construction fell 0.7%, with the category that includes hotels and other lodging falling 3.1%.Spending on government construction projects increased 1% after generally lagging for months, possibly due to budget restraints by state and local governments as the pandemic wiped out large amounts of tax revenue. Construction of roads, schools and public safety projects all increased.During the first ten months of 2020, construction spending is up 4.3% over the same period last year.Matt Ott, The Associated Press
Some nurses who left their jobs at Health PEI to take positions with Veterans Affairs Canada asked for, but were denied, a secondment from their provincial jobs, according to the federal Minister of Veterans Affairs Lawrence MacAulay.That's from the latest in a series of letters between MacAulay and P.E.I. Health Minister James Aylward. Aylward wrote to MacAulay in October, expressing concern about a hiring campaign by VAC by which the federal department had lured away at that time, according to Aylward's numbers, 25 registered nurses, two social workers and one psychologist from Health PEI.Health PEI said this week that the number of nurses who have left for VAC has now reached 32.As part of its effort to clear up a backlog of tens of thousands of disability claims, a spokesperson for VAC told CBC the department has hired 125 nurses across Canada, including 55 on P.E.I. Overall the federal department plans to hire 300 temporary staff and aims to clear up the backlog by March 2022. However the Parliamentary Budget Office says the job will require more staffing and an extra year to complete."Given the size of our province and corresponding size of the nursing workforce within our health-care system, this recruitment campaign has had a significant negative impact on our health human resources," Aylward wrote to MacAulay in the first of two letters the health minister tabled in the P.E.I. Legislature.Aylward went on to say some long-term care facilities also lost positions, and were operating with "a skeleton staff."Aylward told MacAulay it was "counterproductive" for a federal department to be taking nurses from provincial health care while Ottawa was at the same time sending additional resources to the provinces to help them deal with COVID-19.> I understand that many nurses were not granted leave when they requested it from the province's health authority, and subsequently made their own decision to join Veterans Affairs Canada. — Lawrence MacAulay"The number of nurses that have migrated from our system to your department has left a potential significant nursing gap should we experience a second wave resulting in a critical situation," Aylward wrote in a followup letter dated Nov. 17.In that letter, Aylward asked about the possibility of Health PEI receiving some of the nurses back from VAC on secondment.Nurses denied requests for leave, says MacAulayBut in response, MacAulay said some of the nurses hired by VAC had asked for a secondment working the other way around: they had asked Health PEI to be allowed to temporarily leave their provincial positions to help VAC clear up the backlog, but that request was denied."My department offered this option for consideration at the time of the recruitment campaign, recognizing the pressures that all health systems were facing," MacAulay wrote to Aylward."I understand that many nurses were not granted leave when they requested it from the province's health authority, and subsequently made their own decision to join Veterans Affairs Canada."MacAulay said the positions are only temporary, and that he'd instructed his department "to be as helpful as possible on this matter." He said VAC is "willing to assist the province with its pandemic response should the current situation change."Nurses in search of 'work-life balance': unionMona O'Shea, the head of the P.E.I. Nurses' Union, said she found it "interesting" Aylward reached out to MacAulay over the nursing shortage. She said the province was already facing a significant number of nursing vacancies even before VAC started recruiting.She said Aylward might have done better to take his concerns to the union. She said nurses are looking for "better work-life balance," and are being denied requests for "temporary leave of absence for education, for movement within the system, vacation, being called back to work when on vacation."O'Shea said nurses are feeling "undervalued, not appreciated and always being asked to do more with less."More from CBC P.E.I.
CALGARY — Suncor Energy Inc. is forecasting higher spending and production in 2021 based on benchmark U.S. oil prices staying near their current levels of around US$45 per barrel.It says it predicts daily oil and gas production between 740,000 and 780,000 barrels of oil equivalent in 2021, an increase of about 10 per cent compared with this year driven by higher bitumen output from its oilsands operations.It expects capital spending of between $3.8 billion and $4.5 billion, including sustaining capital of $2.9 billion to $3.4 billion, an increase of about nine per cent over 2020's expected spending of $3.6 billion to $4.0 billion.The Calgary-based company forecasts refinery throughput of 415,000 to 445,000 barrels per day based on a utilization rate of between 90 and 96 per cent.Suncor says it expects to repay between $500 million and $1 billion of debt and will introduce a $500-million share repurchase program.In reports, analysts said the guidance was in line with what they were expecting.Credit Suisse analyst Manav Gupta pointed out that Suncor cut capital and operating spending earlier this year and lowered its dividend payments."Suncor almost broke even in the third quarter of 2020, and now is getting ready to pay down portion of the debt it took on to navigate the crisis," he added.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 1, 2020.Companies in this story: (TSX:SU)The Canadian Press
The remains of a 17-year-old soldier were unearthed four years ago in Belgium — and it turns out they are those of a member of the Newfoundland Regiment, who fought in the First World War and died 103 years ago. The details of the discovery and identity were announced Tuesday at an event at The Rooms in St. John's, with the provincial archivist being acknowledged as having played a major role in the process. Pte. John Lambert died Aug. 16, 1917. He was born July 10, 1900, in St. John's, according to officials with the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces. His remains were discovered during an archeological dig near St. Julien, Belgium. There were three other sets of human remains found, but it's not clear if the others have been identified. Lambert's name was memorialized on the Beaumont-Hamel Newfoundland Memorial in Bowring Park, which commemorates soldiers from Newfoundland who died during the First World War and have no known grave. Lambert lied about his age to fight in warAccording to a biography on the federal government's website, Lambert lied about his age and claimed he was 18 years old when, in fact, he was 16. He joined the 2nd Battalion in Scotland, and made his way to France, where he joined the 1st Battalion of the Newfoundland Regiment in June 1917. Members served with the 88th Brigade of the 29th Infantry Division of the British Expeditionary Force.On Aug. 16, 1917, an attack was launched by the Newfoundland Regiment — in what become known as the Battle of Langemarck — with members successfully overtaking the enemy's trenches and bunkers. Lambert suffered wounds during the attack, and later died from them. Another 26 men were killed in that battle. N.L.'s provincial archivist played key roleLambert's remains were found alongside a number of artifacts in 2016. Those included a shoulder title of the Newfoundland Regiment, an Inniskilling Fusiliers cap badge, two Hampshire Regiment shoulder titles, general service buttons, British bullets and a few other small items.DNA samples from the soldier's descendants made it possible to confirm Lambert's identity — making it the first time a Newfoundland Regiment soldier has been identified by this process, according to the provincial government. It was Greg Walsh, the provincial archivist and director of The Rooms' provincial archives, who "provided vital archival research to locate Private Lambert's direct descendants," according to a Newfoundland and Labrador government media release. Walsh, speaking to reporters at Tuesday's event, praised Lambert for being "so courageous."When pressed about the fact that this was the first local case of its kind, Walsh acknowledged the significance, but noted it was a team effort. "I just feel like it was one of the most rewarding things I have ever done, I have ever been asked to do, and I'm so proud of the work I did, and the work we did as a team," he said. "I do feel like we have put a name to a face and that's a huge part of what we do as archivists and we don't get to do that everyday."Patience and tenacityHow Walsh got to the point of identifying the remains was a lesson in patience and tenacity. "Military records confirmed there were 16 Newfoundland Regiment soldiers who had fought in the vicinity, with no known grave. Walsh, began his year-long search with this list of 16 soldiers and proceeded to find living descendants for 13 of the 16," reads a statement. Walsh combed through many information sources, including vital statistics registers, census records, newspaper records, phone books and online search engines, to find anything that might help with the process. Ultimately, it was a combination of historical, genealogical, anthropological, and DNA analysis that helped the Casualty Identification Review Board identify Lambert, according to the government's website.Col. Perry Grandy, who is chairman of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment Advisory Council, said identifying Lambert, and the process that led to that, are both significant. "This has connected our modern day life with something that happened in history that we only read about," Grandy said. Burial to come at 'earliest opportunity'The Canadian Armed Forces have notified Lambert's surviving next of kin, and are providing them with ongoing support, according to the government. Lambert, who was born to Richard and Elizabeth Lambert, will be buried at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's New Irish Farm Cemetery in West-Vlaanderen, Belgium, as the "earliest opportunity," according to the federal government. It's expected that family members, along with representatives from the Canadian, United Kingdom and Belgian governments will attend, as will representation from the Canadian Armed Forces. Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
NEW YORK — The annual publishing convention and trade show known as BookExpo, a decades-old tradition where guest speakers have ranged from Bill Clinton to Margaret Atwood, may be coming to an end. ReedPop, which has managed BookExpo for a quarter century, announced Tuesday that effectively immediately it was “retiring” the event, along with the fan-based BookCon and merchandise-based UnBound. Any future for the convention depends on the wishes of the book community. As in other industries, publishers have debated the necessity of holding BookExpo when much of the business once conducted there has moved online. BookExpo used to be rotated around the country, from Los Angeles to Chicago to Washington, D.C., but it was held almost exclusively in recent years in Manhattan’s Jacob Javits Center. New York publishers looked to reduce costs, including cutting back sharply on how much space they purchased on the convention floor. Earlier this year, BookExpo and BookCon were held virtually because of the coronavirus. The status for next year's show was already in doubt. "The pandemic arrived at a time in the life cycle of BookExpo and BookCon where we were already examining the restructure of our events to best meet our community’s need," Reed event director Jennifer Martin said in a statement. "This has led us to make the difficult decision to retire the events in their current formats, as we take the necessary time to evaluate the best way to move forward and rebuild our events that will better serve the industry and reach more people than we were able to before. We remain committed to serving the book community and look forward to sharing more information in the future.” Penguin Random House CEO Markus Dohle, who has praised BookExpo as a chance for the industry to gather under one roof, said in a statement that he hoped such occasions would happen again. “Among the many traditions we greatly missed this year was having an industry event that brings together booksellers, authors and publishers," he said. "In this virtual world, Penguin Random House is continuously investing in innovative ways to connect our community members with one another, and we look forward to working with our industry partners to explore a newly imagined event where we all can come together to celebrate books and their essential role in our society and culture.” Booksellers have been meeting annually since the early 20th century, although the modern convention dates back to 1947 and the founding of the American Booksellers Association Convention and Trade Show. The ABA, the trade group for independent owners, served as host until the mid-1990s, when tensions with the superstore chain Barnes & Noble and some publishers led to legal action and to the association's selling the show to Reed. Usually held in late spring, BookExpo was once a prime venue for upcoming books to “break out,” and for publishers to place orders with booksellers and bring in top authors to meet with store officials, agents, librarians and journalists. At a given convention, a dais might be shared by Atwood, William Styron and Margaret Thatcher, or by Bill Murray and Julia Child. At a 2006 luncheon in Washington, speakers included Amy Sedaris and John Updike, whose elegy for all the Manhattan bookstores now closed so moved the audience that few remembered what was said by the third featured author, a first-term senator from Illinois, Barack Obama. But over the past few years, visiting authors lacked the star power of previous guests, and attendance fell to the point where sizable parts of the Javits centre floor were empty. In 2018, when Michelle Obama was looking to promote the fall release of her memoir “Becoming,” she didn't come to BookExpo, but instead addressed the convention of the American Library Association. And this year highlighted doubts over whether an in-person gathering raises sales: The market has remained stable despite the pandemic and the convention being held online. Meanwhile, other industry meetings continue, including regional shows and the increasingly popular Winter Institute, managed by the American Booksellers Association. The Winter Institute will be held virtually in February 2021. "The retirement of BookExpo feels like the end of an era," ABA CEO Allison K. Hill told the AP, adding that the need for booksellers to gather was as strong as ever. "ABA is exploring new ways to bring booksellers, publishers, and authors together in the future. For now, we’ll keep bringing everyone together virtually.” Hillel Italie, The Associated Press
NEW YORK — Let Thanksgiving have the turkey. Let Christmas have fruitcake. Every other day, it's got to be pizza.So argue Thom and James Elliot, brothers and pizza makers from England who have written a book celebrating the worldwide phenomenon of roundish dough cooked with toppings.In the 270-page “Pizza" (Quadrille), the brothers offer over 30 recipes for homemade pizzas — including a carbonara and one with asparagus and pancetta — as well as eating guides to delicious slices in cities like Rome, Paris, Chicago and New York. It turns out New Haven, Connecticut, has a very distinct and vibrant pizza scene, though its just 70 miles from New York.The Elliots marvel that while the pizza we eat today was invented in Naples in the late 1800s, other cultures have their own versions, from one with spiced ground meat in Lebanon to a baguette topped with mushroom and cheese in Poland.“All these countries came up with this on their own. And that is the definition of a good idea, right?” says James Elliot. “It’s a bit like the way so many cultures created beer independently. Just great ideas make it through.”The brothers include sections on controversial ingredients — pineapple, that’s you — and which drinks to pair with a slice, as well as the various ways people can eat it, from rolling it into a cigar to a technique called the “snag and drag.”They present the info without judgement, refusing to weigh in on whether coal ovens are better than wood or if buffalo milk is better than cow milk for making mozzarella.“There’s that saying: There’s two kinds of people in the world — people that love ABBA and liars,” says James Elliot. “Not all music has to be high and mighty in the same way that not all pizza has to be high and mighty. You can love different songs and different pizzas for all kinds of different reasons.”The origins of the book began when the brothers ditched their regular jobs in 2012 to go to Naples and learn all about pizza. They travelled the length of Italy and the world and, once educated in all things delicious, came back to the United Kingdom to open a chain of pizzerias, Pizza Pilgrims.In Chicago, they encountered that city's famous, dense variation. “We ate four deep dishes a day for five days,” says Thom Elliot. “I really surprised myself. I went to confirm my hatred of it, but actually left being like, ‘This has got a place for sure.’”The book is a distillation of all they learned, from pizza records ("Cheesiest Pizza," “Furthest Pizza Delivery") to how to work with active dry yeast. The working title was “The Pizzapedia,” but the authors felt that didn’t convey their love of the food. “Encyclopedia just feels quite cold and quite factual,” says Thom Ellliot.“We’ve been told by so many people in so many different ways that pizza is not enough to carry a book. ‘There are not enough interesting things to say about pizza.’ And so we have been on this mission for five years to write a longer and longer and longer and longer list of why these people are wrong.”Despite the brothers' obvious respect for the classic Neapolitan version, they acknowledge the impact of the huge pizza-making chains, like Pizza Hut and Domino's. The book includes interviews with their executives, who oversee companies making millions of pizzas a year.“You can’t ignore it. They’re doing something right. Whatever you think, they’re doing something right,” says Thom Ellliot. "They love pizza. These are not people who are just sitting there going, ‘Oh, we don’t care. It's just all about the margin and how do we sell more for less.’”Pizza, to the brothers, is clearly woven into the fabric of humanity, a cheap, delicious, satisfying meal that can be scaled up or down. It's a food we eat when we are celebrating, gathering for entertainment, working hard collectively or when we're just in need of a hug.“Pizza is the place that people turn when they’re struggling, when they break up, when they lose their job, when they’re just having a tough day. Pizza is the food that they talk about — like their spouse — that thing that carries them over the line,” says Thom Ellliot."I really genuinely think that you don’t get that with any other kind of food, even the ones that people obsess about, like barbeque. People don’t turn to barbecue in their time of need. They geek out about it and they obsess about it and they see perfection. But they don’t have it like a crutch in their life."___Mark Kennedy is at http://twitter.com/KennedyTwitsMark Kennedy, The Associated Press
SANTÉ. Il est déjà connu que la pandémie, tout comme les autres types de catastrophes, engendre des séquelles psychologiques importantes dans la population. La docteure Mélissa Généreux, professeure-chercheuse à la Faculté de médecine et des sciences de la santé de l’Université de Sherbrooke, termine une deuxième phase de l’étude québécoise sur les impacts psychosociaux de la pandémie. Elle est maintenant en mesure de comparer les résultats observés avec ceux de septembre dernier. La conclusion : il faut agir, dès maintenant ! «Les jeunes de 18 à 24 ans forment, comme il y a deux mois, le groupe le plus susceptible de présenter des symptômes significatifs d’anxiété ou de dépression majeure (46 %). Les travailleurs de la santé ont toujours eux aussi une prévalence élevée d’anxiété ou de dépression probable (31 %). Les personnes en télétravail s’ajoutent maintenant au lot des personnes affectées psychologiquement par la pandémie dans une proportion de 27 %», précise Mélissa Généreux qui est également médecin-conseil à la Direction de santé publique de l’Estrie. Réalisée auprès de 8 500 adultes, l’enquête s’est déroulée du 6 au 18 novembre dernier dans toutes les régions du Québec. On y apprend que : · Un adulte sur 4 (un jeune adulte sur 2) rapporte des symptômes compatibles avec un trouble d’anxiété généralisée ou une dépression majeure. Ce phénomène est en hausse, surtout chez les hommes et les jeunes. · Les idées suicidaires sérieuses sont 2 fois plus fréquentes qu’avant. · Les troubles psychologiques sont nettement plus présents à Montréal. · Les travailleurs essentiels et les télétravailleurs sont davantage touchés. · Tant la pandémie que l’infodémie influencent la santé psychologique. · Le sentiment de cohérence demeure un facteur protecteur très important. · La consommation abusive d’alcool est en hausse chez les 35 ans et plus. · Seuls 6 adultes sur 10 seraient prêts à recevoir un vaccin (en baisse). · Les consignes sont perçues comme étant exagérées et peu claires par plus du quart de la population. «Alors que l’homologation de vaccins approche, le désir de se faire vacciner diminue. Elle ne se traduit pas par un refus, mais plutôt par une plus forte hésitation à se faire vacciner. Nous attribuons une partie de ce phénomène au faible sentiment de cohérence et aux attitudes négatives face aux consignes gouvernementales : selon l’étude de novembre, ces consignes sont perçues comme étant exagérées et peu claires par plus du quart de la population», explique la professeure-chercheuse en santé publique. Malgré des résultats somme toute inquiétants, Mélissa Généreux est toutefois confiante. «Plus nous en connaissons sur la nature, l’ampleur, la distribution et l’évolution des impacts psychosociaux de la pandémie et les facteurs de risque ou de protection associés, plus nous pouvons éclairer les décisions prises par les autorités. Je suis vraiment fière que nos dernières recommandations permettent aujourd’hui des collaborations pour assurer une prise en charge concrète et immédiate de la situation». En effet, le ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux, par l’entremise du ministre Lionel Carmant, annonçait des investissements de 100 M$ en santé mentale le 2 novembre dernier. Pour instaurer des solutions concrètes à court terme, le ministère s’est adjoint les services de la docteure Mélissa Généreux qui a coordonné avec la communauté de Lac-Mégantic des projets contribuant à renforcer la résilience des individus et des collectivités. Elle agira comme conseillère sur le déploiement de l’organisation pour tout le Québec, d’équipe d’éclaireurs en santé mentale. «L’expertise a été et est encore développée en Estrie, et toutes les instances impliquées collaborent de façon coordonnée. Le tout, bien sûr, dans le but de faire profiter des meilleurs soins et des meilleures pratiques à notre communauté, mais aussi à la population du Québec», conclut Mélissa Généreux. Stéphane Lévesque, Initiative de journalisme local, L'Hebdo Journal
A 45-year-old Saskatchewan man is facing impaired driving charges following a two-vehicle crash south of Fort Saskatchewan that killed two Alberta teenagers and left a third seriously injured. In a news release, Fort Saskatchewan RCMP stated that the accused was impaired on Sept. 17 when the pickup truck he was driving collided head-on with an SUV on Highway 21 near Township Road 542. The accident happened at about 9 p.m.Two of the three teenagers in the SUV — Kai Peters, 16, and Alexandra Ollington, 17, both of Sherwood Park — died at the scene.The third, 15-year-old Morgan Maltby, remains in hospital with "life-altering" injuries. Her family in Fort Saskatchewan is "hopeful that rehabilitation can be started soon in order for her to gain mobility," RCMP said in the Tuesday news release.Following the crash, officers launched an immediate investigation into the driver, stated the news release.The "complex investigation" included a collision analyst and forensic reconstructionist at the scene, witness evidence and a laboratory analysis of the driver's blood alcohol content. The accused — a resident of Caronport in southern Saskatchewan — is charged with operation of a motor vehicle while impaired causing death and dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death.He is also charged with operation of a motor vehicle while impaired causing bodily harm and dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing bodily harm. "The families of the three victims of this crash expressed their relief that this investigation has led to charge," Cpl. Devon Lafreniere said in a statement. "Waiting for this news has been hard on the families, and while they understand that the ongoing criminal process will continue to be challenging, it is finally a step forward."The RCMP with Victim Services Unit will continue to support the families through their long road ahead."
The final decision lies with the Ministry of Health, but Grey Bruce Health Services has made its recommendation for the contractor for the new Markdale hospital. That name has not been released. The call for tenders from pre-qualified bidders was earlier this summer, and the bids have been reviewed locally. The Ministry of Health is expected to approve the bid within a few months, when the name will be made public. Site preparation should begin this spring, a press release from GBHS said. “We are checking off the milestones for this project, and getting ready to transition from the years of planning to physically building our new hospital,” said Gary Sims, GBHS President and CEO. Teams are working through the transition plans to co-ordinate the two-year project. The $70 million build will be about 68,000 sq. ft. with inpatient beds, a palliative care bed, 24/7 emergency care, lab and diagnostic imaging, as well as outpatient services. Two ambulance bays will be housed at the hospital. The community in the central and south Grey area was deeply involved in the project from the time of the public fundraising campaign in 2004. The hospital will replace an aging existing facility. Over more than 15 years since then, advocacy by locals including MPP Bill Walker has supported the new build, which is now close to seeing shovels in the ground. GBHS operates six hospitals in the Grey Bruce region. M.T. Fernandes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Dundalk Herald
Consumer advocates are protesting a move by the Trump administration that they say will make it harder for the government to punish airlines that treat passengers unfairly.On the Friday during a four-day Thanksgiving weekend, the Transportation Department made final its proposal for defining unfair and deceptive practices by airlines.The rule deems that airline policies – around things like how ticket prices are advertised – are unfair only if they cause unavoidable and “substantial injury” that isn’t offset by some benefit. That is a high bar, in the view of consumer advocates.In addition, the rule lets airlines request a hearing before the department issues new regulations.Charlie Leocha, a travel consumer advocate, said the agency's rule could clear the way for airlines to go to court and overturn regulations that require them to advertise the full cost of tickets and to give passengers a chance to return to the gate if planes are stuck on the ground for hours.Under the new rule, “airlines can do anything they want in terms of passenger protection with no worries,” he said. “This is not good for consumers, and it is a big win for airlines.”The Transportation Department said it received 224 comments, with about 180 of them filed by individuals who argued that the proposal weakens consumer protection. The two Democrats on the Federal Trade Commission also criticized the proposal — commissioner Rebecca Kelly Slaughter wrote that the rule “will seriously hamper the Department’s ability to fulfil its statutory mission of protecting aviation consumers.”The rule was praised by Airlines for America, the main trade group for big U.S. airlines, which argued that current regulations can be arbitrary.“This reform is a critical step forward in ensuring a data-driven regulatory process, which will produce widespread and lasting benefits for air travellers, airlines and the economy,” the group said in a statement.The Transportation Department, led by Trump-nominated Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, acknowledged drafting the rule in response to a request from the airline trade group and a 2017 Trump executive order that urged agencies to reduce regulations.The Transportation Department will soon will be under new leadership after President-elect Joe Biden is sworn in. Consumer advocates believe the Biden administration will be more pro-consumer. However, even if Biden’s people want to reverse last week’s decision, now they will have to go through a long rule-making process to do so.The airlines have chafed for years under an Obama administration rule that requires them to use the all-in price — including any mandatory taxes and fees — when advertising airfares. The carriers say that's unfair because retailers and other businesses can usually advertise prices before taxes and fees.If the Biden administration is unable to reverse last week's rule, “it's likely consumers will find shopping for flights to become more confusing and frustrating,” said Henry Harteveldt, a travel analyst with Atmosphere Research Group in San Francisco.___David Koenig can be reached at www.twitter.com/airlinewriterDavid Koenig, The Associated Press