The federal government is finalizing its plan to roll out COVID-19 vaccines once they are available in Canada. The plan needs to include how to transport, store and deliver millions of doses quickly and may involve military assistance.
The federal government is finalizing its plan to roll out COVID-19 vaccines once they are available in Canada. The plan needs to include how to transport, store and deliver millions of doses quickly and may involve military assistance.
First Nations chiefs in Alberta will remind the federal government in a symposium next year that First Nations-led education is a treaty right. “The recognition of education as a treaty right, that has been something the federal government has never agreed to,” said James Knibb-Lamouche, director of Innovation and Research with the Indigenous Knowledge and Wisdom Centre (IKWC). “The fact that we’re talking about it as a right without having to prove it as a right is a major step forward, and a very big difference in the way we believe the product is going to be at the end,” he said. IKWC is in the process of working through requests for proposals that will see $265,000 awarded to each of three projects that will examine treaty-based education agreements and systems for First Nations control of First Nations education. Proposals were opened to First Nations institutions, organizations, tribal councils and individual nations within the Treaty 6, 7, and 8 territories in Alberta. One recipient from each of the three treaty areas will be selected. “There are some universal truths, universal agreements on topics, but there are very specific, historical contexts, cultural and language contexts for each of the treaties. This was our attempt to try and break this down to a level that will be useful for each of the treaty areas,” said Knibb-Lamouche. This is the first time IKWC has administered the grants, which are provided by Indigenous Services Canada and directed by the Assembly of First Nations’ National Indian Education Council. The decision to look at agreements and systems for First Nations control of First Nations education was made under the guidance of the Assembly of Treaty Chiefs in Alberta and the Chiefs’ Roundtable on Education in the province. According to the Request for Proposals, applicants were “encouraged to examine education systems, including: capacity building; funding analyses; language, culture, and land as a foundation of curricula….” Doing this kind of work has been important for decades, said Knibb-Lamouche. “It’s just that the capacity hasn’t matched the desire within the nations to put this information all together in a way that leadership is requesting. A lot of research in the past has been directed and guided directly by the federal government and, obviously, they have their own perspective and own area of interest, but this is something that has come directly from the nations and leadership as well,” he said. The recipients of the dollars will have until June to complete their work. It’s an adequate amount of time, said Knibb-Lamouche, because there is strong research out there already undertaken by numerous organizations. This is the opportunity to draw that research together. When that work is completed, depending on coronavirus pandemic restrictions, a symposium will take place mid-next year where chiefs, First Nations leaders, educators, educational authorities, and policy researchers will discuss the findings. An anthology of research articles and research policy papers will be created and presented to the federal government. Recommendations to the federal, provincial and First Nations governments on how to develop educational systems for First Nations students that are based on the nation-to-nation relationships expressed in treaty will also be part of that symposium. Knibb-Lamouche is optimistic that the time is now for those recommendations to be heard at the federal level. “A lot of the speaking points that have been coming out from the government have been talking about things like nation-to-nation relationships. They have been talking about Indian control or Indigenous control of education… For that to truly happen we need these mechanisms and structures and policies in order for the capacity that is already in our nations to take control and to be able to move our education systems forward,” he said. Knibb-Lamouche says the three research teams will put forward funding requirements as part of their work. “(Funding) is much larger than just education agreements or tuition agreements. This is talking about, structurally, how do we implement a system of education that best serves First Nations children. And in some ways that’s going to be quite radically different from what we’ve done in the past … (because) what has happened in the past has resulted in decades and decades of underperformance in the education system,” he said. Knibb-Lamouche expects that what comes from the symposium will be used by leadership at the negotiating table with the federal government. “To say this is how we see our education system going forward, and if you truly want to have a nation-to-nation relationship, you need to figure out a way that these goals are attained and in partnership. “And that’s always been the belief with treaty, that treaty is a relationship. It’s not a signed document that sits on a wall. It’s something that is continuously and constantly agreed to and reviewed and moved forward… It’s a living document,” he said. Knibb-Lamouche adds that the province also plays an important role in moving First Nations-led education forward. Although First Nations negotiate with Ottawa, it is the provincial government that often provides the programing. “These research projects are going to be so wide-ranging and large that there will need to be some examination of how those tripartite arrangements are set up,” he said. Knibb-Lamouche says he is hopeful the work undertaken in Alberta will be useful for treaty nations country-wide. He acknowledges there are differences between numbered treaty areas and other treaties, like the Huron-Robinson Treaty, for example. “There may be overlap, but you can’t have one solution to all these various contexts,” he said. CFWEBy Shari Narine, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, CFWE, CFWE
MONTREAL — The Quebec government has tightened its rules surrounding Christmas gatherings, specifying on Tuesday that people will only be able to attend two holiday events during a four-day window. Premier Francois Legault's government last week announced it would permit gatherings of a maximum of 10 people for four days between Dec. 24 and 27 and asked Quebecers to voluntarily quarantine themselves for a week before and after in exchange. Legault said Tuesday that while there are four days available to gather with people outside their households, Quebecers should at most use two of them. He also asked that people who are unable to quarantine avoid gatherings altogether. "I’m sure those people don’t want to infect, or take the risk of infecting, members of their own family, so it’s understood that if you can’t quarantine a week before it’s better not to go to Christmas dinner," Legault told a news conference in Quebec City. Legault has faced some criticism for his decision to loosen restrictions for Christmas as the province continues to report over 1,000 cases a day. On Tuesday, Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister weighed in on Quebec's plan, calling it dangerous. "I don’t want to get into quarterbacking other provinces — there are premiers there doing their absolute best — except to say this: I think it’s dangerous what the Quebec premier has decided to announce on Christmas," Pallister said. Legault, in response, said the number of new cases per million residents is currently lower in Quebec than Manitoba. "Second, I want to (remind) my friend Brian that we’re talking about a maximum of 10 people per house, and also we’re asking for a quarantine of seven days before the gathering," he said. "I don’t know if he’s aware of all these requirements." Legault, however, said he was not willing to impose stricter measures, such as shutting down stores, to enforce the quarantine, saying it would not be fair to people who aren't planning to gather. Under the province's current rules, bars, restaurant dining areas and most cultural venues are closed in most regions of the province, and social gatherings are limited to people of the same household, with a few exceptions. The change to the Christmas rules came as the number of deaths and hospitalizations in the province continued to jump. Quebec reported 45 more deaths attributed to COVID-19 and 1,124 new infections on Tuesday, as well as a 21-person increase in the number of hospitalizations. Legault said that unlike in the first wave, the problem is now mostly concentrated outside of major cities. He said the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region is hardest hit, followed by Estrie, Gaspe, parts of Lanaudiere, Bas-St-Laurent and Sorel. Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, with a population of just over 275,000, counted more than 100 new cases on Tuesday, giving it the highest per-capita infection rate in the province. "I'm asking everyone in Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, if you're able in the coming days, the coming weeks, to stay home, it will help to reduce the pressure," Legault said. The premier said there was also a "real problem" in private seniors' residences, which are driving transmission in some regions. Government data showed a total of 167 new cases in private seniors' homes in the past 24 hours. The two residences with the biggest increases were both in Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean, with 53 and 37 new cases. Earlier Tuesday, Quebec Health Minister Christian Dube announced a plan to track the movement of staff working at multiple long-term care homes. In a statement, Dube said he was creating a registry that would record instances when staff need to work at more than one care home "due to a risk of service disruption that could compromise user safety." He said employees who have to move between hot and cold zones — those with infected patients and those without — will have to seek permission from management or infection control specialists first. The government's plan for the pandemic's second wave included a ban on allowing personal care attendants to work at multiple locations, after this was identified as a key factor in COVID-19 transmission. However, Dube has conceded that stopping all movement of personnel has been difficult due to shortages in certain jobs, such as nurses. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 24, 2020. Morgan Lowrie, The Canadian Press
WHITEHORSE — Residents of Yukon will be required to wear a non-medical mask in all public indoor spaces effective Dec. 1.Premier Sandy Silver made the announcement during the territory's regular pandemic briefing in Whitehorse.He says everyone who does not have a medical exemption and is over the age of two will be required to wear a mask. The territory has 38 cases of COVID-19, including 14 active cases related to what Yukon's top doctor says is the second wave of the pandemic, involving two separate outbreaks.Dr. Brendan Hanley says the illnesses have been linked, either directly or indirectly, to travel outside Yukon.The territory reintroduced COVID-19 control measures last week that include a mandatory 14-day quarantine for almost everyone entering or returning to the territory after travel outside its boundaries.Hanley says there is no plan to impose a lockdown, despite the arrival of the second wave, but he warned residents to prepare."Now, I don't mean, by preparation, you need to run out and buy toilet paper," he says."Prepare yourselves, more, that we may see more cases, perhaps many more. Prepare your mental health by being ready to see worse before we see better," he says.Hanley also urged residents to "start to think" about organizing virtual gatherings this holiday season.Silver reminded residents who must quarantine, or follow other public-health orders, that the restrictions are not optional.He says 26 charges have been laid under the Civil Emergency Measures Act, including the most recent charge last week against a person who failed to self-isolate.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 24, 2020.The Canadian Press
Children under the age of five are amazing sponges for information. Ask any childhood researcher, or any parent who has told a story to another adult, only to have a child bring it up at an inopportune moment. But that sponge-like nature, if encouraged and nurtured, means a child has the opportunity to grow into their best self, and have the tools and capabilities that will allow them to succeed in whichever way they see fit. “We know that the child’s first experiences with language and culture come from within his own family, and within early childhood settings.” says Josée Latulippe, manager of Collège Boréal’s Centre d’innovation sociale pour l’enfant et la famille (CISEF – Child and family social innovation centre). It is for this reason that the FrancoFUN program was created by the Association francophone à l’éducation des services à l’enfance de l’Ontario (AFÉSEO – Francophone association for early childhood education) as a way to ensure that early childhood educators are not just offered the chance to enhance early French-language learning for children, but to ensure that they can view their classroom through the Francophone lens, and build identity as well as skill set. “Identity building is vital, “Latulippe said. “Because studies show that it is a key mechanism to ensure the vitality of minority-language communities and prepare young children to be educated in French when they enter elementary school.” And it is this “continuum of language,” as Latulippe calls it, that ensures language and cultural identity survives. As children here in Sudbury, both Anglophone and Francophone, have the ability to enjoy their education in French from childhood to post-secondary, it ensures that a culture and language that could be considered already marginalized is one that will last the test of time, regardless of the surrounding majority. The FrancoFUN program focused not just on providing language to students, but also the cultural identity behind the Franco-Ontarien legacy. It is a specific culture, with a specific dialect — headed to ‘camp’ anyone — and stories and history all its own. And it is one that, if shared, can enrich a child’s ability to learn a language, and bring together a community that is consistently working to preserve its cultural identity. And now that the FrancoFUN program has been in place for some time, helping Early Childhood Educators find ways to continually incorporate cultural, historical, language-based, and just plain fun aspects of the Franco-Ontarien peoples, they are now ready to measure the success, and share their methods with others. “We are always reflecting,” said Latulippe, and notes the questions they continually ask: “How can I better my program? How can I make it more accessible? Do we have a welcoming structure in place to welcome families that are French and English?” For it is not just fully Francophone families that can benefit from this type of study, and action. If you would like your child to speak French, but your home is mixed-language, or perhaps somewhat disconnected to the culture, then this type of programming will not only offer you the opportunity to increase your child’s chances of success, as Latulippe notes that research shows language learning is greatly helped by immersion into the culture of the language, not just the words. And this is especially true for parents who would like their children to speak French, but do not do so themselves. Simply by building a bridge between your home and the school, said Latulippe, you can enrich your child’s language learning without knowing a word yourself. With a program like FrancoFUN, you can learn about the culture as well. “It doesn’t mean you need to take French classes,” Latulippe said. “You just need to support the culture in your home. It’s because we are all the first educators.” And now, as the program has raised awareness among early childhood educators about their role in encouraging Francophone identity in their classrooms, it’s time to find out how the tools are working. From now until March of 2021, a survey of the educators and their thoughts and feeling about the program will be gathered, and shared amongst interested parties. “We are hoping we will have a tool to promote culture and language identity within Early Childhood settings,” said Latulippe, “which can then be shared within the community, with teachers at the college, and with the Franco-Ontarien culture really.” And it is this tool that Latulippe hopes will encourage not just French-language learning across Ontario, but also an understanding of the unique and beautiful qualities that make a culture, and a portrait of those who have come before, and those who will come after. Because the loss of any culture is a horrific idea; but the loss of folklore, of La Nuit sur l'étang, of ‘Notre Place’, of CANO, and of tourtière and tarte au sucre, is much too tragic to imagine. Jenny Lamothe is a Local Journalism Reporter at Sudbury.com, covering issues in the Black, immigrant and Francophone communities. She is also a freelance writer and voice actor. Contact her through her website, JennyLamothe.com.Jenny Lamothe, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Sudbury.com
France will start easing its COVID-19 lockdown this weekend so that by Christmas, shops, theatres and cinemas will reopen and people will be able to spend the holiday with their families, President Emmanuel Macron said on Tuesday. In a televised address to the nation, Macron said the worst of the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic in France was over, but that restaurants, cafes and bars would have to stay shut until Jan. 20 to avoid triggering a third wave. "We must do everything to avoid a third wave, do everything to avoid a third lockdown," Macron said.
Purdue Pharma pleaded guilty Tuesday to three criminal charges, formally admitting its role in an opioid epidemic that has contributed to hundreds of thousands of deaths over the past two decades.In a virtual hearing with a federal judge in Newark, New Jersey, the OxyContin maker admitted impeding the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration's efforts to combat the addiction crisis. Purdue acknowledged that it had not maintained an effective program to prevent prescription drugs from being diverted to the black market, even though it had told the DEA it did have such a program, and that it provided misleading information to the agency as a way to boost company manufacturing quotas.It also admitted paying doctors through a speakers program to induce them to write more prescriptions for its painkillers.The guilty pleas were entered by Purdue board chairperson Steve Miller on behalf of the company. They were part of a criminal and civil settlement announced last month between the Stamford, Connecticut-based company and the Justice Department.The deal includes $8.3 billion in penalties and forfeitures, but the company is on the hook for a direct payment to the federal government of only a fraction of that, $225 million. It would pay the smaller amount as long as it executes a settlement moving through federal bankruptcy court with state and local governments and other entities suing it over the toll of the opioid epidemic.Members of the wealthy Sackler family who own the company have also agreed to pay $225 million to the federal government to settle civil claims. No criminal charges have been filed against family members, although their deal leaves open the possibility of that in the future.Purdue's plea to federal crimes provides only minor comfort for advocates who want to see harsher penalties for the OxyContin maker and its owners. The ongoing drug overdose crisis, which appears to be growing worse during the coronavirus pandemic, has contributed to the deaths of more than 470,000 Americans over the past two decades, most of those from legal and illicit opioids.The attorneys general for about half the states opposed the federal settlement, as well as the company’s proposed settlement in bankruptcy court. In the bankruptcy case, Purdue has proposed transforming into a public benefit corporation with its proceeds going to help address the opioid crisis.The attorneys general and some activists are upset that despite the Sacklers giving up control of the company, the family remains wealthy and its members will not face prison or other individual penalties.The activists say there’s no difference between the actions of the company and its owners, who also controlled Purdue's board until the past few years.Geoff Mulvihill, The Associated Press
SALT LAKE CITY — Deep in the Mars-like landscape of Utah's red-rock desert lies a mystery: A gleaming metal monolith in one of the most remote parts of the state. The smooth, tall structure was found during a helicopter survey of bighorn sheep in southeastern Utah, officials said Monday. A crew from the Utah Department of Public Safety and Division of Wildlife Resources spotted the gleaming object from the air Nov. 18 and landed to check it out during a break from their work. They found the three-sided stainless-steel object is about as tall as two men put together. But they discovered no clues about who might have driven it into the ground among the undulating red rocks or why. “This thing is not from another world,” said Lt. Nick Street of the Utah Highway Patrol, part of the Department of Public Safety. Still, it's clear that it took some planning and work to construct the 10- to 12-foot (3- to 4-meter) monolith and embed it in the rock. The exact location is so remote that officials are not revealing it publicly, worried that people might get lost or stranded trying to find it and need to be rescued. The monolith evokes the one that appears in the Stanley Kubrick movie “2001: A Space Odyssey." Because it’s on federal public land, it’s illegal to place art objects without authorization. Bureau of Land Management officials are investigating how long it's been there, who might have created it and whether to remove it. Lindsay Whitehurst, The Associated Press
Nonobstant la récession provoquée par la COVID-19, la ville de Laval maintient sa cote de crédit. La firme de notation financière S&P; Global Ratings vient en effet de lui renouveler la cote «AA» avec une perspective stable, indique l’administration Demers par voie de communiqué, le 24 novembre. Dans un rapport publié quatre jours plus tôt, l’agence «confirme que la structure économique dynamique et diversifiée ainsi que les rigoureuses pratiques de gestion financière de la Ville sont des facteurs favorables au maintien de la cote», résument les autorités municipales. Rappelons qu’il y a à peine un mois, la Ville anticipait clôturer l’année 2020 avec un surplus de 29 M$, une projection basée sur une mise à jour budgétaire au 31 août dernier. «Cette cote, qui témoigne de la qualité de notre gestion, permet de positionner avantageusement Laval afin de poursuivre la réalisation de projets et d’investissements nécessaires aux besoins de sa population croissante», a réagi le maire Marc Demers. Celui-ci a profité de l’occasion pour rappeler l’engagement de son administration «à maintenir l’attractivité de la ville et à la propulser vers une reprise économique robuste en 2021». À cet égard, une récente étude économique de Desjardins prévoit que le produit intérieur brut (PIB) bondirait de 7,3 % à Laval, l’an prochain, comparativement à 6,3 % à l’échelle de la province, sous réserve que le virus demeure sous contrôle. Enfin, pour la Municipalité, la cote de crédit qui lui est attribuée démontre qu’elle «possède la capacité de respecter ses engagements tout en s’assurant que le niveau de sa dette demeure prévisible et sous contrôle».Stéphane St-Amour, Initiative de journalisme local, Courrier Laval
The new Region of Queens Municipality (RQM) council has agreed to pay $1,765 to former councillor Susan MacLeod, for personal legal fees she chalked up in 2019. However, taxpayers are not being told why she incurred the expense. The decision to pay MacLeod’s legal fees was announced in council on November 10, following an in-camera meeting at which the issue was discussed. When asked about the motion concerning the repayment, which was read by councillor Ralph Gidney, RQM’s new mayor Darlene Norman commented that a municipal policy “ensures that appointed officials are protected in cases of civic or criminal action as a result of his or her performance of their duties. “Councillors are treated as a staff member in legal matters, and because it was an in-camera item, our comments are basically what that motion stated.” RQM’s policy number 21.03, to which the mayor referred, states at length: “The mayor and every councillor of the Region of Queens Municipality and their heirs and legal representatives of such person, in the absence of any dishonesty on the part of such person, shall be indemnified by the Region of Queens Municipality against, and it shall be the duty of the council, out of the funds of the Region of Queens Municipality, to pay all costs, losses and expense, including any amount paid to settle an action or claim to satisfy a judgment that such mayor or councillor may incur or become liable to pay in respect of any claim made against such person in any civil, criminal or administrative action or proceeding to which such person is made a party by reason of being a mayor or councillor of the Region of Queens Municipality whether the Region of Queens Municipality is a claimant or party to such action or proceeding or otherwise.” However, Norman would not explain to what legal issue the expense related, nor is the expense listed in the former councillor’s list of expenses posted on the municipality’s website, along with other council members’ expenses. The mayor declined to comment any further on the issue. “In-camera items have to remain in-camera and, as such, it remains so,” she said. However, while the purpose of the meeting was indicated on the agenda as a “personnel matter,” under Nova Scotia’s Municipal Government Act (MGA) councillors are not employees of the municipality and employees cannot be councillors. “Councillors are elected officials and not considered to be ‘personnel’ or staff of the municipality,” Krista Higdon, a spokesperson for the provincial Department of Municipal Affairs, said in an email. “Council must determine whether it is appropriate to go into a closed session (in camera) based on the requirements in section 22 of the Municipal Government Act,” she added. Nonetheless, Heather Cook, RQM’s communications coordinator, maintained that, from the municipality’s perspective, all councillors are considered to be employees. “Council members are on the municipal payroll and are considered employees of the municipality, and discussion of the item was subject to being held in-camera,” she said in an email. When it was suggested that taxpayers might be curious as to why the council is footing the legal bill of a former councillor, Mayor Norman noted, “it is a matter of past council.” She reiterated, “it was respecting, according to our policy, a matter in relation to that person’s duties or role as a councillor and that follows the policy.”Kevin McBain, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, LighthouseNOW Progress Bulletin
Homeowners in Swan Hills began to receive telephone calls from the town last week regarding their water meters. The electronic water meter heads installed on the water meters in many of our homes have reached the end of their "shelf life" and need to be replaced. The electronic heads are able to read the water meters through a pre-programmed algorithm that detects the magnetic signatures of the mechanical water meter. The electronic heads can then connect to a receiver to transmit the data from the water meter. This setup allows a meter reader to take water meter readings without having to enter the home. The person taking the readings drives up and down the streets of Swan Hills with a receiver in their vehicle, picking up the readings as they go. According to the town office, many of the electronic water meter heads were installed roughly 8 – 10 years ago and are now starting to have performance issues. The town will be contacting the affected homeowners on an individual basis to arrange the replacement of the water meter heads. This whole process may take some time as these service calls will depend on coordinating with the homeowners' schedules, and the town has a limited number of technicians to perform these replacements. Please do not be alarmed if you receive a call from the town regarding your water meter in the near future. This is merely routine maintenance to keep our present system running smoothly.Dean LaBerge, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Grizzly Gazette
Premier François Legault has tightened the rules of his "moral contract" with Quebecers, asking the public to limit themselves to two gatherings between Dec. 24 and 27.Legault said last week that people could meet in groups of at most 10 — if they quarantine themselves for a week before and a week after Christmas. On Tuesday, Legault said people can only do that twice."Public health authorities told us that we have to limit ourselves to two gatherings," Legault said Tuesday.Legault also said shopping should be done seven days beforehand, if possible.He added, as well, that Quebecers should "refrain from travelling outside Quebec" during the holidays to avoid returning with the virus.Gatherings will only be allowed over the holidays if the number of daily cases and hospitalizations remains stable, said Dr. Horacio Arruda, the province's public health director.Arruda said, ideally, he would like to see a decrease in the daily numbers before the holiday season, given that an increase in transmission is expected over Christmas.The province's case count has stubbornly remained above 1,000 for several weeks. On Tuesday, the province reported 1,124 cases and 45 deaths.
PARIS — Restorers at Paris’ fire-damaged Notre Dame cathedral have completed key preliminary work by successfully removing all the perilous roof scaffolding, officials said Tuesday.The removal of the 200 tons of scaffolding was considered dangerous, with some experts fearing that it could cause more of the Gothic monument to fall down. It was thought that the scaffolding might have melded to the cathedral in the blaze, and be keeping it in place.When the Notre Dame fire broke out on April 15 last year destroying the spire, the cathedral was already under restoration.The scaffolding previously installed resisted collapse, “but was deformed by the heat of the fire” Notre Dame restoration officials said in a communique.The Associated Press
Alberta Health Minister Tyler Shandro called the display outside his constituency office "offensive".
WATERLOO REGION — The Region of Waterloo is moving its anti-racism initiative forward with the creation of an 11-member advisory group. The Anti-Racism Advisory Working Group was chosen from an applicant pool of 70 by a selection committee who took “time and care to recruit members with the perspective, experience and skills needed for this important work,” Bruce Lauckner, Region of Waterloo’s chief administrative officer wrote in a media release. Regional Chair Karen Redman said she was blown away by members’ willingness to commit to a two-year term. Expressing a commitment to ensure anti-racism work is community-led, Redman said that the group will determine how it develops recommendations through an anti-racism plan to be presented to council. “I can’t tell you if they’re going to have one chair, co-chairs, or if they’re going to do things by consensus,” Redman said. “Those are all the things that the working group will decide on their own.” Ciann Wilson, associate professor at Wilfrid Laurier University and one of the working group members, said her litmus test will be to see whether the group’s recommendations lead to action from council. “For me, time will tell how serious they are about listening to these voices that have made room for themselves at the table.” Amy Smoke, manager of Shatitsirótha’ Waterloo Indigenous Student Centre at the University of Waterloo, said a barrage of racism endured while advocating for Indigenous rights at Land Back camp in Kitchener’s Victoria Park compelled her to put her name forward for the working group. “Being at camp certainly shed a whole new light on the amount of work that needs to be done in the region as a whole,” Smoke said. Theresa Mendler, the region’s chief of staff, wrote in an email that Redman pushed for the group to convene quickly in order to play a role in the region’s upcoming 2021 budget talks. Colleen James, who moderated the Region of Waterloo’s anti-racism town hall meetings in July, said council needs to address systemic racism internally as well as in the community. “I can’t speak for anybody in terms of what happens,” James said of the new working group, “but clearly, there’s some action that needs to happen.” The K-W Solidarity march in June through downtown Kitchener called for police funding to be reallocated to under-resourced communities, citing over-policing and police violence against Black, Indigenous and people of colour communities. Data reveals Waterloo regional police are four times more likely to document Black people and six times more likely to use or threaten force against Black people. James said that although reallocation of police funding is complicated, evidence from other cities and municipalities, such as Calgary, which is moving $20 million from policing to crisis services, shows a path forward. Anti-Racism Advisers Members of the Region Waterloo’s Anti-Racism Advisory Working Group announced Friday: Kathy Hogarth, Victoria Oywak, Tammy Webster, Amy Smoke, Ciann Wilson, Fauzia Mazhar, Donna Dubie, Geraldine L. Stafford, Cheyanne Thorpe, Krishna Karur Badrinarayan, Maedith RadleinFitsum Areguy, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Waterloo Region Record
LAS VEGAS — The Nevada Supreme Court made Joe Biden’s win in the state official on Tuesday, approving the state's final canvass of the Nov. 3 election.The unanimous action by the seven nonpartisan justices sends to Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak results that will deliver six electoral votes from the western U.S. battleground state to Biden.The court action drew extra scrutiny amid legal efforts by the state GOP and Trump campaign to prevent sending vote-by-mail ballots to all 1.82 million active registered voters and then to stop the counting of the 1.4 million votes that were cast.Nevada’s six Democratic presidential electors are scheduled to meet Dec. 14 in the state capital of Carson City.Biden won Nevada by 33,596 votes, according to results approved by elected officials in Nevada’s 17 counties — including Clark County, which encompasses Las Vegas, and Washoe County, which includes Reno.Biden got 50.06% of the vote and Trump 47.67%.Nevada Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske, a Republican who has avoided the public eye in recent weeks, presented the results to the court.She noted the first-ever use of all-mail balloting statewide in a general election, same-day voter registration and early voting.“The result was more of a hybrid model where voters had a choice of how to participate,” she said, adding that a record number of voters participated.Certification of the vote does not stop several lawsuits pending in state and federal courts.They include bids by two Republican congressional candidates and a state Senate challenger to obtain re-votes in those races, an open-records case by the state GOP, and a U.S. District Court action alleging that thousands of ineligible people voted.A federal judge in that case declined a bid for an immediate injunction that would have stopped the use of a signature verification scanner during the vote count.Jesse Binnall, an attorney for the Trump campaign who is handling an election challenge pending before a state court judge, said Tuesday he intends to prove that so many fraudulent votes were cast statewide that Trump won Nevada.Turnout among the state’s more than 1.8 million active registered voters was almost 77.3%, including mail, early voting and Election Day ballots cast amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to secretary of state data.That was up from a turnout of 76.8% during the presidential election in 2016, when Democrat Hillary Clinton carried Nevada by a little under 2.5% over Trump.Nevada was one of several states due to certify the election on Tuesday.Ken Ritter, The Associated Press
The University of British Columbia has launched an investigation after more than 100 entry-level math students were accused of cheating on their midterm exam several days ago.The investigation became public after an ominous note from the students' professor was posted online late Monday. It was also circulated to students directly."I am extremely disappointed to tell you that there were over 100 cases of cheating," said the note, a screenshot of which was posted to the UBC Reddit thread."If confirmed, the students involved will receive a 0% for the course (not just the midterm) and I will recommend their expulsion from UBC."The note is signed "Mike." The CBC has not been able to verify the UBC professor's identity. However, the university has said it's investigating allegations of widespread cheating in one section of the math department involving entry-level math students.There are more than 1,500 students currently enrolled in Math 100 at UBC, split up into classes of about 250. The class is being held entirely online this semester, due to the pandemic. Midterms are run online as well.Matthew Ramsey, director of university affairs, confirmed the university is investigating allegations of widespread cheating. He said it is too early to be able to provide details on how the students might have been cheating or how they were caught."Those details, I'm sure, will come clear in the investigative process," he said by phone on Tuesday.Ramsay said the professor's note was first sent to students, then posted online.Test monitoring toolsMany schools across the country, including UBC, have been using online software extensions to help detect and discourage cheating since classes went virtual. One test-proctoring tool, called Proctorio, monitors students for suspicious behaviour while they're writing a virtual exam.UBC faculty can offer an alternative, like a final project, to replace exams if they are overly concerned about cheating, but exams can't always be replaced."In some instances, it is necessary to use ... software like Proctorio to ensure academic integrity," Ramsey said. "Incidents of academic misconduct themselves are very uncommon, very rare at the university," added Ramsey, who has been with the school since 2014. "I have not seen allegations of this nature in my time at UBC but, again, they are, at this point, allegations."Investigations into academic misconduct begin with a professor reporting their concerns to the dean's office. That office can either dismiss complaints, give students a warning or pass the case along to the President's Advisory Committee on Student Discipline for potential punishment. Penalties can range from a formal warning to being expelled from the university.Since investigations are complex and take time, Ramsey said, it's too soon to gauge whether there has been an overall increase in cheating since classes and exams began moving fully online in the spring."If the students are disciplined, we will get a sense as to those numbers in the coming months. At this point, it's just too early to say," he said.
NEW YORK — Twelve things worth noting about Tuesday's nominations for the 2021 Grammy Awards, from snubbed singers to posthumous nominees to famous folks competing for awards.___SNUBBED SINGERSThe Weeknd sings about being a “star boy" but the Grammys' response to his latest album? Bye boy.The pop star was severely snubbed this year despite having one of the year's biggest albums with “After Hours" and topping the Billboard Hot 100 chart with “Blinding Lights" and “Heartless."Luke Combs also walked away without a single nomination though he was country music's most successful musician this year. Morgan Wallen also had a great year in country music, but didn't earn any nods. And the Chicks' first album in 14 years was not recognized.A group of young R&B female acts moving the needle also missed out on nominations, including Summer Walker, Teyana Taylor and Kehlani. Late rapper Juice WRLD, Brandy and Chris Brown were also snubbed.Though they received nominations in their genre categories, acts such as Lady Gaga, Fiona Apple and Harry Styles didn't pick up bids for album, song or record of the year.K-POP KINGSFor years BTS have said their dream is to be Grammy-nominated. And they've finally achieved it.The K-pop band is nominated for best pop duo/group performance with “Dynamite," their first song to hit the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.Others who scored their first-ever nominations include Harry Styles, Megan Thee Stallion, the Strokes, Jay Electronica, Michael Kiwanuka and Mickey Guyton.DR. LUKE aka TYSON TRAXDr. Luke marked a major comeback this year, producing hits for Saweetie, Juice WRLD and Doja Cat, who is signed to his record label. And it earned him his first Grammy nomination in six years.The hit “Say So" marked a breakthrough for Doja Cat and Dr. Luke, who last launched a No. 1 smash with Katy Perry's “Dark Horse" in 2014, the same year his former collaborator Kesha accused him of sexual assault during their yearslong partnership. Dr. Luke has vigorously denied the allegations.“Say So" is nominated for record of the year, an award given to the song's artist and producer, helping Dr. Luke earn a nomination. But instead of using his known name on the credits for the song, he's listed as Tyson Traxe.Other monikers Dr. Luke has used are Loctor Duke and MADE IN CHINA.BLACK LIVES MATTERReflecting the current times, Black artists released songs this year about the Black Lives Matter movement and the international protests that took place following the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and others.And those songs are nominated for Grammys.Beyoncé's “Black Parade," released on Juneteenth, is up for four awards including record and song of the year. The protest song “I Can't Breathe" by H.E.R. is nominated for song of the year and best R&B song, while Lil Baby's “The Bigger Picture" — which reached the No. 3 spot on the pop charts — is up for best rap song and best rap performance. And Anderson .Paak's “Lockdown," about police brutality and racial injustice, is up for best melodic rap performance and best music video.Country singer Mickey Guyton wrote “Black Like Me" a year before Floyd's death, but rushed to release the song because she said the time was right. The poignant track earned a nomination for best country solo performance.LONG LIVE THE DEADJohn Prine died of complications of the coronavirus in April, but his spirit is all over the Grammy Awards.The icon earned two posthumous nominations, including best American Roots performance and best American Roots song for “I Remember Everything."Breakthrough rapper Pop Smoke died this year but his hit song “Dior," a double platinum success, is nominated for best rap performance. Nipsey Hussle, who died last year and won two posthumous Grammys earlier this year, scored a nomination for best rap performance for his guest appearance on Big Sean's “Deep Reverence."Leonard Cohen has earned multiple posthumous nominations since his death in 2016 and is nominated for best folk album with “Thanks for the Dance," his fifteenth and final studio album.And songwriter LaShawn Daniels, who died last year and won a Grammy for co-writing Destiny's Child's “Say My Name," is competing for best gospel performance/song with “Come Together" by his close friend Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins. Daniels and Jerkins started writing the song about the world coming together 17 years ago but Jerkins released it this year during the pandemic to offer healing and hope to listeners.A-LIST ACTSOscar winners Meryl Streep and Renée Zellweger are vying for Grammy gold.Streep is nominated for best spoken world album for “Charlotte’s Web," pitting her against MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, journalist Ronan Farrow and “Jeopardy!” record-holder Ken Jennings, who is nominated for reading “Alex Trebex — The Answer Is...”Zellweger won her second Academy Award for “Judy" and her performance on the soundtrack earned her a nomination for best traditional pop vocal album.Cynthia Erivo, a Grammy, Emmy and Tony winner, scored a nomination for best written song for visual media with “Stand Up" from “Harriet." The song, which she co-wrote with Joshuah Brian Campbell, also earned an Oscar nomination earlier this year.And the best comedy album award is stacked with famous folks, including Tiffany Haddish, Jerry Seinfeld, Patton Oswalt, Jim Gaffigan and Bill Burr.WOMEN WHO ROCKFemale acts dominate in the best rock song and best rock performance categories, with performers like Fiona Apple, Brittany Howard, HAIM, Grace Potter, Phoebe Bridgers and Big Thief — led by Adrianne Lenker — in contention.And while country radio is overloaded with male artists, the Grammys' best country album category is packed with women, including Miranda Lambert, Brandy Clark, Ashley McBryde and Ingrid Andress.IT'S BRITTANY B(asterisk)(asterisk)(asterisk)(asterisk)!Brittany Howard has already won four Grammys with her talented band Alabama Shakes, but her first solo album is getting tons of Grammy love.“Jaime" was released last year and is one of those rare albums competing for multiple genres at the Grammys. The album is nominated for best alternative music album, her song “Stay High" is up for best rock song and best rock performance, the track “Goat Head" is nominated for best R&B performance, and “Short and Sweet" is competing for best American Roots performance.JAY-Z, THE SONGWRITERS, SHINESHappy wife, happy life: Jay-Z has lent his songwriting hand to his wife Beyoncé and he's earned Grammy nominations for it.Jay-Z co-wrote Beyoncé's “Black Parade" and “Savage" with Megan Thee Stallion, and now he's nominated for song of the year, best R&B song and best rap song — categories reserved for songwriters.Jay-Z and Beyoncé have won five Grammys together.HIP-HOP IS DEADDespite rap music being today's most popular genre, no rap albums are nominated for the top prize, album of the year.Expected nominees included Roddy Ricch's “Please Excuse Me for Being Antisocial," Lil Baby’s “My Turn" and DaBaby's “Blame It on Baby" or “Kirk."But those albums didn't even score nomination in the best rap album category. Instead, nominees were focused on rap purists and respected lyricists instead of the young performers dominating the pop charts.Nominees for best rap album include Nas' “King’s Disease," Jay Electronica’s “A Written Testimony,” Freddie Gibbs and The Alchemist's “Alfredo," “The Allegory" by Royce Da 5’9” and D Smoke's “Black Habits."PAUL McCARTNEY, THE ART DIRECTORPaul McCartney scored his 79th Grammy nominations this year — as an art director.The former Beatle is nominated for best boxed or special limited edition package for the collector's edition of his 10th solo album, “Flaming Pie." He's listed as one of the art directors on the project, and shares his nomination with Linn Wie Andersen, Simon Earith and James Musgrave.McCartney is the owner of 18 Grammys.PAIN OF THE PANDEMICBecause of the coronavirus pandemic, the Best Immersive Audio Album Craft Committee was unable to meet to decide winners for the best immersive audio album Grammy. The judging of the entries has been postponed, and the nominees will be announced next year. The winners for the 2021 award will be announced at the 2022 show.Mesfin Fekadu, The Associated Press
The executive director of the Elizabeth Fry Society of Northeastern Ontario can’t understand why organizations that actually work with the city’s marginalized downtown population would be excluded from the downtown task team set up to address the issue facing Sudbury’s core, since so many of those issues have to do with homelessness. On Oct. 20, Cory Roslyn, executive director of the Elizabeth Fry Society of Northeastern Ontario (EFSNEO) and a key member of the city’s Homelessness Network, found out that Mayor Bigger had formed and held a meeting for a task team to help in the downtown, a place where the EFSNEO and the Homelessness Network does a great deal of their outreach work and have for many years. She found out about it from a Sudbury.com article, the day after the meeting. That didn’t sit right with Roslyn, she said in an interview. Why would organizations that actually work with the downtown population not know about such a meeting, she wondered. So, she wrote a detailed letter and emailed it to Mayor Brian Bigger’s office. “Our intentions were to secure a seat at the table in hopes that the mayor would reconsider the approach of the task team from that of enforcement and criminalization, to an approach that considers real solutions to the social issues contributing to the problems downtown,” Roslyn said. She received no reply. The EFSNEO is one of many frontline, charitable, social service organizations whose mandate it is to provide services to the populations at the centre of the task team’s focus: the marginalized and homeless men and women, many of whom suffer from addiction and mental illness, and who are often criminalized rather than treated. “We know these individuals by name, we hear their stories, we witness their suffering and we are their resource for support when they need it. Our successes come from never forgetting the humanity in each person who walks through our doors,” said Roslyn. She notes that the majority of those individuals and groups asked by the mayor to sit on the downtown task team do not have regular, direct contact with those who are at the centre of the issues. “As individuals in leadership roles, no matter what organization or business we represent, it is important we recognize the privilege we hold, that creates our worldview, allows us to ‘other’ those whom we don’t understand and restricts our capacity for empathy and compassion,” Roslyn said. And this is why, in her opinion, the downtown task team is focussed in one direction, instead of looking at the issues downtown more holistically. “When you have 22 seats at a virtual table, and nine of those are taken by high-level employees of the City of Greater Sudbury, three by police, three from the (Downtown Sudbury) BIA, two from NOSM, and only two voices from frontline service organizations, it is not surprising that the outcome of the meeting does not adequately consider the social issues,” she said. When the downtown task team gathered on Oct. 30, it made some decisions as to first steps. Those steps included a plan to add LED street-lighting to downtown as a security measure. “Lighting may add a layer of perceived safety, but does very little — if nothing — to assist the homeless population,” said Roslyn. “Our organization sees little value for dollars spent in LED lighting and enforcement-based police approaches; lighting dark corners and policing those struggling with mental illness and addictions serves to displace already marginalized populations out of the public view. These tools only hide the problem; they do not address the root causes, or provide meaningful solutions.” When asked whether there were organizations that requested a place on the downtown task team that were denied, Bigger acknowledged that there were requests that he was forced to turn down, but defended the decision. “It is, admittedly, tough drawing a line,” he said. “But you know, many of these organizations are all interrelated.” As for Roslyn’s criticism that the team isn’t addressing the root problem, the mayor agreed there are certain aspects of the planning that address only symptoms, not causes. “What we've done is we have stepped up and increased the amount of garbage collection, we're in the process of cleaning up graffiti,” he said. “We've added some additional security in the downtown. We've enhanced the lighting in downtown and there's more work to be done to further enhance the lighting. “But all of that is addressing what you would call more symptomatic elements of the challenges that people are feeling and seeing in the downtown.” Despite the lack of representation from groups that actually work with the homeless, Bigger said he feels “we have representation from the core groups.” With so many community organizations in the city, he said the task team could find ways for the groups to communicate better. Bigger, however, also said the task team’s goals aren't solely related to the issues faced by the homeless and marginalized people in the downtown core, but also the needs of downtown business owners, residents who journey downtown to work, shop and for appointments, and visitors to the city. “The challenges we're dealing with, from the businesses, from the people living downtown, the people working downtown and the general public, who might be going downtown for different services, a lot of people were talking about the amount of garbage on the streets, the graffiti, (and) the gatherings of people in the downtown and the general sense and feeling of insecurity by people who are going downtown for very various reasons. “And so, that's one element that we've tried to address, and (we) know many of those issues can be dealt with fairly (and) fairly quickly.” Bigger also defended his decision not to have a representative agency from the Homelessness Network take part in the Oct. 30 task team meeting, saying it was a question of numbers and logistics. “I think the last meeting we had (Oct. 30) we had 30 people on one Zoom call. And so it gets challenging when you start getting into large numbers.” Roslyn doesn’t buy it. She said rather than using the limits of Zoom meetings as an excuse to exclude certain community groups, she said the mayor should make more thoughtful choices about who to invite. “There are at least a dozen organizations who are actively involved with the populations downtown who would have valuable input and contributions to make,” she said. It isn’t about Elizabeth Fry or another Homelessness Network member being invited, she added, but about “including the voices of the organizations who work with the population involved.” And despite the mayor’s argument that the task team’s focus has to be broader than simply the issues facing homeless or nearly homeless people downtown, Roslyn said the lack of social services, addiction services and mental health services available to marginalized people is the crux of the issue in the city’s core. “Ultimately the issues boil down to a lack of safe, affordable housing, and the lack of free, accessible addiction and mental health care. Punitive approaches have done nothing to solve their problems, and in fact, have furthered the cycle of addiction, incarceration and homelessness.” Curious who participated in the latest task team meeting? Sudbury.com was able to secure the list. City of Greater Sudbury: Mayor Brian Bigger; Ward 10 Coun. Fern Cormier; Ward 4 Coun. Geoff McCausland: Ward 12 Coun. Landry-Altmann: Melissa Zanette, Chief of Staff: Ed Archer CAO: Steve Jacques, General Manager; Brendan Adair, Manager of Security & By-Law Services; Tony Cecutti, General Manager of Infrastructure Services. Greater Sudbury Police Services: Chief Paul Pedersen; Inspector Sara Cunningham; Deputy Chief Sheilah Weber. Healthcare organizations: Dr. Penny Sutcliffe and Sandra Laclé, Director Health Promotion from Public Health Sudbury and Districts; Angela Recollet, Shkagamik-Kwe Health Centre; Patty MacDonald, CEO, Canadian Mental Health Association; Dr. David Marsh, Associate Dean of Research, and Dr. Mike Franklyn, Faculty, both from the Northern Ontario School of Medicine; Maureen McLelland, Regional Vice-President, Cancer Care and Vice-President, Social Accountability at Health Sciences North. Downtown BIA: Maureen Luoma, Executive Director; Kendra MacIsaac, Co-chair; Brian McCullach, Co-chair.Jenny Lamothe, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Sudbury.com
ÉCONOMIE. Pour donner une voix aux PME, la Fédération canadienne de l'entreprise indépendante (FCEI) lance une pétition auprès de ses membres et les invite à s'exprimer sur les mesures qui peuvent les aider et qui doivent être rapidement adoptées par le gouvernement du Québec. «Dès septembre, la FCEI a demandé à que toute nouvelle restriction économique soit accompagnée d'un programme d'aide costaud. C'est ce que le gouvernement avait annoncé avec l'AERAM pour faire face au défi des 28 jours. Mais là, nous en sommes au 55e jour d'arrêt pour certaines PME, et malheureusement, plusieurs attendent encore de recevoir cette aide. Il y en a qui n'y ont tout simplement pas accès, même si elles souffrent aussi des contrecoups de la crise seulement parce qu'elles tombent entre les mailles du filet. C'est le cas des entreprises de certains secteurs, comme l'événementiel, ou encore celui des entreprises en démarrage. Il faut vite agir pour corriger le tir», explique François Vincent, vice-président Québec à la FCEI. La pétition met aussi l'accent sur une préoccupation concernant l'augmentation de l'impôt. Pour la FCEI, celle-ci risque d'assommer certaines petites entreprises, car le Québec est la seule province qui bloque toujours l'accès au taux réduit d'impôt pour celles qui œuvrent dans les secteurs des services et de la construction. Ainsi, une petite entreprise qui a diminué son nombre d'employés en raison de la crise (moins de 3 employés) pourrait voir son taux d'imposition exploser de 130 %. «La dernière chose qu'un gouvernement devrait faire en des temps si incertains, c'est d'augmenter l'impôt des plus petites entreprises. C'est pourtant ce que font les règles injustes qui empêchent les plus petites entreprises d'avoir accès au taux réduit d'impôt. J'invite tous les parlementaires à s'investir pour régler cette injustice et à travailler de concert pour s'assurer de ne pas augmenter le fardeau fiscal des entreprises», ajoute François Vincent. Stéphane Lévesque, Initiative de journalisme local, L'Hebdo Journal
The fourth annual Liverpool shopping promotion is just around the corner. Formerly known as Downtown for the Holidays, this year’s occasion is called Christmas in Liverpool – Holiday Shopping Event. It takes place December 5. The first three years of the promotion focused on getting people to the downtown — Liverpool’s Main Street. This year, organizer Heather Kelly decided to encompass all of Liverpool. More than 25 town retailers have signed on to participate in the event so far. “Myself and Brian Fralic, when we were councilors of RQM, started this about four years ago to get people downtown,” said Kelly, who is the former deputy mayor of the Region of Queens Municipality. “The retailers love it and I think the shoppers do as well.” Participating businesses will have special promotions. Shoppers will be invited to fill out a ballot to be entered for the chance to win a $200 “Shop Local” gift certificate. “A lot of people go into businesses and fill out their ballot and leave. But I think that is all right. I just hope they take a bit of time at least and look around and see what the stores have to offer,” said Kelly. Retailers will have red flags identifying their participation in the event.Kevin McBain, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, LighthouseNOW Progress Bulletin