Toronto police say over 100 people gathered for a party overnight at a storage container in Toronto’s west end. Erica Vella reports.
Toronto police say over 100 people gathered for a party overnight at a storage container in Toronto’s west end. Erica Vella reports.
Lanark Highlands fire Chief Gene Richardson’s first mandate when he was hired in April 2019 was to pursue a master fire plan. The 288-page fire plan has been met with a fiery response, mostly from White Lake residents, who are concerned about the “fire hall closing, increased taxes and reduced services.” "They sent a letter around, which has a lot of falsehoods in it, just to rile people up and get them nervous,” Reeve Peter McLaren said, talking about flyers distributed by the Lanark Highlands Committee for Concerned Citizens. "Read the plan; it’s not set in stone, and as we hit each step in that direction, we will decide what we’re going to do,” he added. Chief administrative officer Ryan Morton echoed the reeve’s comments when he said, “what’s important for people to understand is that council passed the bylaw to adopt a plan. The plan does not give outright authority to the fire chief to execute all of those items. It’s a guide.” Morton also addressed the tax increase: “The 10 per cent quote — that’s to keep five stations open. The numbers that are presented are life cycle costing; it has a different impact, a generality,” Morton said. “Council is going to need more information. Just like when you buy a new fire truck — the type of fire truck you need, the specifications — you can spend a million dollars, or a half a million. It’s no different than building a new fire hall, all those things need a ‘deeper dive’,” Morton said. THREE OPTIONS Council is looking at three options. The first is to continue to operate all five stations. The plan states that this will be the most expensive option, as there will be significant building repairs and maintenance. Reeve McLaren said that “we’re trying to put some numbers together for the three scenarios. If we stay with five halls, you’re talking a significant tax increase to maintain the trucks.” The second option is to eliminate White Lake fire hall and amalgamate with Tatlock. “The (White Lake) hall is non-compliant because there’s not enough volunteers. There’s rules and regulations we have to go by. The truck that’s there is also non-compliant, and the hall isn’t big enough,” the reeve said. Dan White, who was a volunteer firefighter at White Lake for 15 years, has this to say to the fire chief: “I challenge him, where are the social media posts you are referring to? There was no campaign to recruit firefighters. What they didn’t tell us was that there are no positions to volunteer to." “How can that be interpreted as anything but obstructionist in our fight to keep our fire hall open? Now we only have four (firefighters) — why do you think they left? They saw the writing on the wall, that this is a done deal,” White said. Part of the challenge with the White Lake fire hall is its location. “In the event of a fire call, even if you have 10 firefighters, a firefighter has to drive from their house, down a dead end, six-kilometre road, turn around with the truck. That’s 12 kilometres total. There is no other access to it,” Richardson said. The reeve insists that White Lake residents are covered even if the fire hall were to close. “We have an agreement with both McNab/Braeside and Mississippi Mills in Pakenham. They’re quite covered because of that. It’s not as bad as they’re letting on.” White thinks that the proposed closure of the hall was predetermined. “Councillors and fire staff at township have not done due diligence in studying what the master plan suggested. They are putting White Lake residents’ lives at risk,” White said. He said that White Lake is a part of Lanark Highlands Township that has a high population growth, “and yet they’re decreasing service in the area. It makes no sense,” White said. “People are viewing it as losing a service. It’s not that we are insensitive to that notion; we support the community, we totally understand. When it comes down to dollars and cents, and number of calls, availability of firefighters, that’s where we have to engage the experts to come in and help us figure out the right thing to do,” Morton explained. The third option is to amalgamate three fire halls and build a new central location, to be determined at a later date. We travelled with the fire chief to see first-hand the deficiencies pointed out in the fire master plan. McDonalds Corners fire hall is too small for one of the newer fire trucks. A plywood floor covers the cistern (big tank of water on the floor of the firehall). “Put yourself in the boots of a firefighter. When they back the truck up, they have to park the truck perfectly. If they go another two or three inches back, the truck will sink into the cistern,” Morton said. “A lot of the reasoning and the justification, it is in the report. We didn’t buy a truck that can’t fit in the fire hall, we bought a truck that meets today’s standards. And today’s standards, those trucks don’t fit a 65-year-old firehall,” Morton added. The fire hall is also located at the bottom of a blind hill. “It is a safety hazard,” Richardson said. In Tatlock, the hall is not suitable for today’s fire hall standards, with no shower rooms, maintenance, training room or a washroom for both men and women. Middleville fire hall, built in 1965, is undersized, in need of washrooms for both men and women, has no training room, washing machine, cleaning room for washing fire gear, and also has a wooden floor over the cistern. “These halls were great in 1985; it is not great now,” Richardson said. STORY BEHIND THE STORY: The Township of Lanark Highlands adopted a new fire plan, and we wanted to find out the reasons behind some of the recommendations cited in the plan. Next, we will talk to some White Lake residents about their concerns with the proposed fire hall closure.Yona Harvey, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Smiths Falls Record News
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
Police have laid charges against a man after more than $145,000 worth of cocaine was seized at a rural residence in Rocky View County.ALERT Calgary's organized crime and gang team carried out a search warrant on Nov. 18 with help from Calgary police and Airdrie RCMP officers.Police seized the following from the residence: * 1,459 grams of cocaine. * 292 grams of an unknown pink powder. * 134 grams of an unknown white powder. * 6 grams of psilocybin. * 0.3 grams of methamphetamine. * Various rounds of ammunition. * $120 cash.Jeff Bussey, 40, was arrested at a traffic stop in Crossfield, Alta., and charged with possession of drugs for the purpose of trafficking and possession of ammunition contrary to a prohibition order.The unknown powders are being sent to a Health Canada laboratory for identification and analysis."Drug trafficking offences are magnified in rural communities and, more often than not, produce a number of ancillary offences related to addiction, such as property crimes and theft," said ALERT Calgary Staff Sgt. Jeff Ringelberg in a release.
LEBEL-SUR-QUÉVILLON-Québec et Ottawa, via divers ministères, ont annoncé mardi matin des investissements totalisant 16,5 M$ pour amener la technologie Internet à haut débit dans la région du Nord-du-Québec. C’est Eeyou Communications, une entreprise sans but lucratif reliée à la communauté crie, qui est responsable du projet. «Dans le contexte de pandémie actuel, Internet à haut débit dans une région comme la nôtre, ce n’est plus un luxe, c’est une nécessité, a déclaré le député caquiste d’Ungava, Denis Lamothe. Déjà 5826 nouveaux foyers ont pu être branchés dans des villes comme Matagami, Chibougamau, Lebel-sur-Quévillon et Chapais.» M. Lamothe ajoute que plus de 500 entreprises vont aussi bénéficier de ce nouveau service. «L’achat en ligne et le télétravail, c’est une réalité pour nous aussi, souligne-t-il. En 2020, c’est rendu nécessaire pour nos entreprises, si elles veulent continuer de croître, d’avoir accès aux nouvelles technologies. Ces entreprises veulent être sur un pied d’égalité avec leurs concurrentes du sud.» Un exploit technique Le projet utilise la fibre optique pour mettre sur pied un réseau de base de qui fournira un accès Internet haut débit fiable à 16 collectivités, ainsi que l’infrastructure du dernier kilomètre pour atteindre les foyers non desservis dans trois de ces collectivités du Nord-du-Québec et de la Mauricie. Également, des réseaux de dernier kilomètre permettront d’améliorer la capacité à large bande pour 6 176 foyers mal desservis dans ces régions. Au total, Eeyou Communications a dû dérouler et enfouir 366 km de fibre optique jusqu’ici pour son projet. «Nous avons surmonté plusieurs obstacles, a indiqué le directeur général, Alfred Loon. C’était important pour les communautés du secteur Eeyou-Itschee (les communautés cries du Nord-du-Québec) et pour leur gouvernement d’être à jour. J’ai eu plusieurs demandes de la part du secteur de l’éducation et du Cree Health Board, pour qui cette technologie était aussi devenue nécessaire.» Le secteur minier Les secteurs d’Eeyou-Itschee et de la Jamésie vivent actuellement un boom de leur secteur minier. Des projets comme Nemaska Lithium, situé à 300 km au nord de Chibougamau, ou le projet Windfall, d’Osisko Mining, situé à 100 km à l’est de Lebel-sur-Quévillon, sont en pourparlers avec Eeyou Communications. «Les discussions avancent bien aussi avec Goldcorp, souligne M. Loon. Ces entreprises travaillent maintenant avec la haute technologie pour analyser les gisements, et internet haute vitesse est devenu important pour elles aussi. Dans le cas de Goldcorp, ça devrait déboucher dans les prochains jours.» Ruralité et internet Présent lors du point de presse, le député de Pontiac, William Amos, a souligné l’importance d’amener internet haute vitesse dans les zones isolées. «Je suis dans un comté rural et isolé, en Outaouais, dit-il. . La crise de la COVID-19 nous a fait réaliser plus que jamais auparavant l’importance cruciale d’un accès au monde numérique. En investissant dans ce nouveau projet dans le cadre du programme Brancher pour innover, nous continuons de combler le fossé numérique afin que les Canadiennes et Canadiens des régions rurales du Québec puissent profiter eux aussi de tous les avantages qu’offre le numérique.» Le député caquiste d’Orford, Gilles Bélanger, a souligné le travail d’Eeyou Communications, en ajoutant que grâce à cette annonce, l’objectif de brancher tous les foyers québécois à la haute vitesse est maintenant en vue. «Cette annonce vient confirmer que notre programme a atteint sa vitesse de croisière, a-t-il déclaré. Je pense que dans les 22 prochains mois, nous pourrons dire mission accomplie.»Michel Ducas, Initiative de journalisme local, La Presse Canadienne
Quebec is planning on strengthening its French Language Charter, also known as Bill 101. Simon Jolin-Barrette, the province's minister in charge of the French language, announced Tuesday afternoon that he will table a bill to modify the law in order to better protect, valorize and promote the French language in Quebec, at the next legislative session. "I want to reaffirm that the French language must be the only common language for Quebecers," Jolin-Barrette said at a news conference, expressing concern that the language is in decline in workplaces and certain municipalities. The announcement comes as a series of recent news stories about the state of French in Montreal from Quebecor media is putting pressure on the government to act. "All the indicators say there is a decline of French in Quebec, particularly in Montreal," Jolin-Barrette said Tuesday, citing a report from Quebec's French-language watchdog, L'office québécois de la langue française, from September, that showed a decline in the use of French in the workplace."I think it's urgent to act about that situation," Jolin-Barrette said. The bill will include measures specific to the City of Montreal, which has been a point of concern for Jolin-Barrette in recent months, as well as ways to ensure French is the language used to integrate immigrants to Quebec. It's possible the bill could also affect CEGEPs in the province, where Jolin-Barrette says the normal language of study should be French, but government officials say a final decision has not been made on the matter. In an attempt to reassure anglophones, Jolin-Barrette insisted the Quebec government would continue to respect English-language institutions "The bill that we will table will not affect the rights of the English-speaking community," Jolin-Barrette said. He also said the bill would not affect the ability of Indigenous people to maintain their languages. The idea of strengthening Bill 101 has support from parties in the National Assembly.When asked about the subject at a news conference Tuesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the federal government will review the province's bill and do whatever it can to protect French in Quebec and everywhere in Canada. "As a government, we have always been focused on protecting French, and the protection of official language minorities across the country," Trudeau said.
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.
PARIS — France’s interior minister ordered an internal police investigation Tuesday after officers were filmed tossing migrants out of tents while evacuating a protest camp in Paris.Aid groups and the government were working to find temporary lodging for hundreds of migrants forcibly removed from the short-lived camp on the Place de la Republique in eastern Paris on Monday night.The evacuation, filmed by journalists and activists, drew nationwide attention amid tensions over a draft law beefing up police powers that easily passed a vote in France’s lower house of parliament Tuesday.Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin ordered an internal police investigation into “certain incidents,” promising to make the results public.“Was I shocked by some of the images (of the evacuation)? The answer is yes,” Darmanin told Parliament.His rapid reaction to the outcry stands in contrast to his vigorous defence of police officers in recent months, and to the government’s tepid response to more severe and sustained violence by police at protests by yellow vest activists and others in recent years.In the Monday night evacuation, police lifted tents with migrants inside, shaking them until they tumbled to the ground, and those who resisted were kicked or beaten with batons, according to the head of aid group Doctors Without Borders in France, Corinne Torre.Images shared online showed activists and local officials shouting and trying to block police from dislodging the migrants. Torre, who witnessed the evacuation, said several people sought treatment for injuries from her aid group, known by its French acronym MSF.Aid groups and Paris legislators said they set up the protest camp to call attention to the plight of hundreds of migrants who were kicked out of another camp in the shadow of France’s national stadium last week and have been sleeping in the streets since then for lack of other options.Most are from Afghanistan, Somalia and Eritrea, and some have been refused asylum while others are in bureaucratic limbo while they try to apply, Torre said.The Paris police headquarters said in a statement that the Republique camp was evacuated because it was illegal, and “invited” the migrants to seek lodging elsewhere offered by the state or aid groups.The ministers for citizenship and housing said in a statement Tuesday that 240 potential spots in temporary lodging had been located for the migrants, saying they “should be treated with humanity and fraternity.”The draft law facing a vote Tuesday in the National Assembly is meant to strengthen local police and provide greater protection to all officers. It notably makes it a crime to publish images of officers with intent to cause them harm, a measure that has prompted repeated protests by civil liberties campaigners and media freedom groups.The Associated Press
The Supreme Court of Canada's recent ruling against a company that claimed a fine against it constituted cruel and unusual punishment will quell fears of weakening corporate law.
La majorité des francophones hors Québec ne croit pas que le français soit en péril, tandis que les Franco-Québécois s’inquiètent de l’avenir de leur langue dans une proportion similaire.
Alberta Health Minister Tyler Shandro called the display outside his constituency office "offensive".
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
When COVID-19 first appeared, people and governments across the globe reacted with alarm. Action was swift.In Alberta, businesses shuttered as the government imposed restrictions. People mostly stayed inside. Premier Jason Kenney said it was a generational challenge his government would rise to meet. But restrictions were loosened as the weather warmed. The most dire predictions didn't come to pass, and barbecues or drinks with friends seemed less risky. People held parties and their neighbours thought: why not me? Disinformation spread and, with it, doubt about the dangers of the virus and the actions of the government. But warnings were everywhere: Second wave. The fight isn't over. Be prepared.Many listened, but too many did not. Alberta's government said the economy couldn't take another hit and it was up to individuals to stem the tide. It delayed and equivocated. When the weather cooled, the virus was soon spreading more than ever. Now the talk was exponential growth and warnings of overwhelmed hospitals.As Kenney prepares to make an announcement on COVID this afternoon, he has so far stuck with personal responsibility as the key to fighting the outbreak.He and his government have pointed fingers at individuals for not obeying official recommendations, but now people are pointing back, laying blame at the feet of the government. Laying blame, however, is no easy thing.Personal responsibility and the role of the government aren't easily disentangled. Why individuals and the government have behaved as they have goes to the heart of who Albertans are — or at least who they perceive themselves to be. It begins with the ways that people, in general, deal with crises. The psychology of a pandemicThere's a common view of the world that assumes people panic when confronted with danger — causing more harm than the threat itself — but that's not often the case. Social psychologists have shown the greater risk is underestimating danger and not reacting in time. We also tend to believe the worst will happen to others, not us. Add misinformation to the mix and none of this should come as a surprise. "I've done an awful lot of reading about the Great Mortality, black plague, and about the Spanish influenza epidemic in 1918," said Dr. Lynora Saxinger, an infectious disease expert at the University of Alberta. "And I would just say that every single thing that has happened could have been predicted by reading a history book."People in the past, like today, reacted to an invisible, existential threat by embracing conspiracy theories or unlikely cures while ignoring medical advice. Many denied the problem. Add social media, and the spread of misinformation is even more damaging and difficult to control. It creates deep divisions when cohesion is key to beating back the virus. Collective action problemThere are times when 51 per cent is enough. If enough people do the right thing, everyone will be swept along by their good deeds. A virus — especially an airborne one — doesn't work that way. We are in a classic collective action problem where almost universal buy-in is required. We all have to keep distance, wear masks, wash our hands, limit social interactions or just stay home. If we don't all do it, the virus spreads. Saxinger thinks the province has reached the ceiling on what independent co-operation can do.Compounding the problem is the perception of risk. Research shows that individuals are more likely to make moral decisions when ambiguity about risks is reduced.Prof. Leslie Francis, who works in the faculties of law, medicine and philosophy at the University of Utah, says the vast majority of people understand not to put other people at risk by, say, speeding down a residential road at 100 km/h. But people might not see COVID-19 the same way."What we see going on right now is that many people deny that COVID exists, or they think it's not going to make people very sick, or they think that it won't make them very sick, maybe they'll even be asymptomatic," she said."But they don't realize that, for example, in my own state right now, the estimate is that one in 73 people right now is actively contagious."Alberta's political cultureWe judge our behaviour and the behaviours of others based on what we observe, but also on how we perceive our own political culture and what it will allow. In Alberta, a lot of it might be built on myth.Political science Prof. Jared Wesley of the University of Alberta asks participants about the province in his ongoing study of politics and culture. He gets them to sketch out their typical Albertan and then asks what that Albertan would do in certain situations. The Albertan — here nicknamed "Joe" — is always male, often a farmer, a libertarian conservative. Wesley's point is to narrow in on what people believe the political culture to be — what is acceptable and what is possible.In the pandemic, Joe reacts in a specific way."They will tell you, like you see in the media everywhere, they'll tell you all Albertans will never stand for mask mandates because it's an infringement on their freedoms," said Wesley.That sort of statement comes from people across the political spectrum, not just those who agree with their typical Albertan. That shapes the way we think about the world and can shape our own behaviour. We make moral decisions based on how we think others might perceive us. If people think broader society doesn't want to have its freedoms restricted — even in minor ways like donning a mask — they are less likely to be strict about virus-beating behaviours and less likely to feel judged for their laxity. This despite a majority not agreeing with their "typical" Albertan. "Do a survey like we just did three or four weeks ago: Albertans are massively in favour of heavier restrictions," said Wesley. "You ask them on an individual basis, would you like to see a provincewide mask mandate, doesn't matter if they're rural areas. Absolutely, it's the right thing to do. They going to push for it? No, because they don't think that the rest of the province would accept it."At some point that tide could turn. There are more voices calling for government to impose more severe restrictions, including a complete lockdown, in order to fight surging case counts.The ethics of action are clear, even if the ultimate answers are not. The ethicsFrancis says there's a clear difference between someone who puts themselves in harm's way versus someone who creates "a real risk of harm to other people." Individuals are expected to go about in the world obeying the rules so that a free society can operate in a mostly free way. Social norms keep most of us from hurting one another, but there is never a full participation rate. Murders, assaults and more happen on a regular basis. So there are laws. Even the most stringent libertarians agree there is a role for the state to some protections. Francis argues that we should view restrictions around COVID-19 in the same light."I think a lot of people are treating this as some kind of unusual interference with liberty," Francis said about pandemic responses. "And my point is, it's actually much more like when people are thinking through some of the most standard kinds of interferences with liberty."Yet despite the ethical obligations to protect citizens, the decision to impose restrictions across a society is no small thing.Some see the delay in implementing more restrictions as cruel — akin to saying the economy is as important as human life.Certainly the belief that Alberta's political culture would not allow a lockdown plays a role in politicians' decisions. But governments also have to consider how their decisions might affect broader society. Lives and livelihoods can be lost due to a cratered economy. Not every individual can simply choose to stay home. Many calling for a sharp lockdown have salaries, home offices or the security to stay isolated. And race, class and gender mix to create a set of ethical and moral traps many can't escape."There has to also be an economic solution for those whose lives are going to be torn apart by this," Melissa Caouette, a political strategist with the Canadian Strategy Group, said on the CBC's West of Centre podcast. As cases and hospitalizations rise, there comes a point when political calculation isn't relevant, and protecting the health of Albertans and its health-care system becomes a priority.Every decision can have a profound impact on Albertans. The hesitance of the government to shut things down as the pandemic spreads out of control, however, should come as no surprise. The Alberta government"This government is refreshingly transparent and completely doctrinaire when it comes to all elements of public policy," Wesley says of the United Conservative Party's approach. "So if you want to know where this government was heading, you need to look no further than the 2018 UCP statement of principles."Wesley calls it Neoliberalism 101 — a political philosophy that makes no room for collective action problems. "From a political science standpoint, that's almost like the ideal of what we expect of responsible party actors, is that they have a set of principles, we know what they stand for, they're being transparent about it," he said. "And we know when they're confronted with things that are out of the ordinary, are not part of their policy platform, we know how they're going to react."In short, they'll react like Joe Alberta would want them to.That policy consistency is tied directly to the founding leader of the UCP, Kenney. A principled conservative to some, an ideologue to others, he tends to stake his position and stick to it. It doesn't help that he was elected on a commitment to get the economy back on track and the budget balanced — a near impossibility given COVID spending and the languishing price of oil. The focus is, and has been, on trying to preserve and repair a battered economy. Kenney wants to avoid more business closures and loss of jobs. He does not want to spend more money.There's also a documented combativeness to Kenney and his government that hasn't abated during the pandemic, including battles with doctors, nurses and public servants. The ensuing division inhibits any chance that collective action could be effective against the pandemic. It seems the government won't abandon its ideological mores until, as Wesley calls them, a substantial "accumulation of anomalies" attacks the tenets of that foundation.It seems plenty of individuals feel the same. With more cases, more deaths, fewer ICU beds and more calls for action as the government resists, the situation is ripe for blaming the government no matter the culprit in our collective failures. Laying blameEvery catastrophe eventually leads to the need for answers: Who is responsible? Who or what could have prevented this? Things are getting out of control in Alberta, with contact tracers overwhelmed and community spread in full bloom. Recent restrictions on fitness classes and earlier last calls have had no impact to date as 1,000-plus new cases a day becomes the norm. For a while, it appeared things were under control. As cases rose, most people were not vocally critical.Then doctors started writing letters with hundreds of their colleagues' signatures calling for circuit-breaker lockdowns. The chief of the Calgary Emergency Management Agency called for the same. Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi wished for more, but told citizens not to wait for the province to do what was needed. Social media was flooded with calls for restrictions.Cases soared, as did hospitalizations. There are more deaths and likely many more to come.The government continued to resist, but looks prepared to act — in some way — on Tuesday afternoon.Critics have said the government has failed to provide clarity across the province on what is expected and even failed to model the baselines of good behaviour. Research has shown that people tend to lay more blame when an intentional harm has occurred, but that those in power can be judged harshly even if causality is ambiguous or indirect. Polls have shown that Albertans are dissatisfied with the performance of their government, including a recent poll by ThinkHQ that suggested the majority of Albertans don't think recent government restrictions went far enough. But it can't all be put at the feet of the government. No one told Albertans to celebrate birthdays with friends and family. There was no public health recommendation to drink until closing time on Saturday night.Frustration, however, is mounting. So too is evidence that something more drastic needs to take place."I say that it's never too late to do something that's useful," said Saxinger, the infectious disease specialist from the U of A. "But earlier action is very clearly, and in a very data-driven way, the best way to handle something that has exponential growth — acting before it becomes a problem, because you act after it becomes a problem and you're already on your way to a much, much bigger problem."What is happeningOn Nov. 20, Alberta announced 1,155 new confirmed cases of COVID-19. That number has grown every day since, giving Alberta the highest number of active cases of all the provinces. Hinshaw has said ICU beds set aside for the pandemic are nearing capacity, but that more resources could be freed up. Those resources would come at a cost to those seeking treatment for other reasons. Decisions will soon have to be made within hospitals about who has the best chance of survival and therefore gets a bed and treatment. Some of the dire predictions that were elaborately presented in Alberta's first wave are coming into focus.On Monday, Hinshaw admitted defeat in terms of the government's already limited contact tracing and, in an attempt to catch up, was giving up on contacting thousands of those linked to high-priority settings such as hospitals, schools and continuing care homes. She also said she'd be making recommendations to a cabinet huddle after her announcement. The government response is expected to be announced Tuesday afternoon. Francis, speaking from Utah without any knowledge of Alberta's situation, said the way to minimize the impact on businesses while protecting the health of the public is to act swiftly and comprehensively if restrictions are imposed. "One wishes that business closures were very short-lived," she said. "Unfortunately, we've made some mistakes, we've done it halfway, and so we've let community spread really get out of control.... You don't treat a rapidly growing tumour by cutting out 20 per cent of it. And unfortunately, a sort of tepid approach to infection control has done exactly that."So, with the surgery delayed, that incision will only have to go deeper.
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
TORONTO — Anxiety-ridden and overworked health-care workers say they feel abandoned in their increasingly desperate struggle to cope with COVID-19, a new small-scale study suggests. Interviews with nurses, personal support workers and others in hospitals and long-term care homes suggest chronic stress and burnout are common, but fear of reprisals is stopping them from speaking out. "The knowledge that they are at increased risk of infection due to lack of protection has resulted in anger, frustration, fear, and a sense of violation that may have long-lasting implications," the paper states. The study, in New Solutions: A Journal of Environmental and Occupational Health Policy, was done by James Brophy and Margaret Keith, academic researchers affiliated with the University of Windsor and noted occupational hygienists. Health-care workers in Canada have contracted the novel coronavirus in far higher numbers relative to the general public, comprising almost one-in-five confirmed cases, according to a previous study. To date, COVID-19 has sickened close to 9,000 front-line health-care workers and killed 16. Only 10 workers — nurses, personal support workers and other staff — agreed to be interviewed for the qualitative study. Others refused to take part for fear of being disciplined or fired, they said. Despite the handful of interview subjects, the authors said their peer-reviewed findings reflect other larger-scale research and surveys, and its findings are valid. Those interviewed said they still lack personal protective equipment despite the very real risks of contracting COVID or spreading it — risks apparent from the early days of the pandemic. Some said they were warned by supervisors not to wear N95 protection, even if they had their own, Keith said. Others spoke of the constant grief and trauma they endure when patients or residents die, a situation only getting worse as new cases soar. "Words on the page cannot convey the level of emotion we heard in the voices of the health-care workers we interviewed," Brophy said. "We did not expect to hear the degree of anger and desperation that came out." The vast majority of the front-line health-care workers are women, many racialized, Keith said. Many are part-time and vulnerable to job loss. "Health-care workers are desperately in need of protection from COVID and from their often back-breaking and soul-crushing working conditions," Keith said. "But the authoritarian and hierarchical nature of health-care work contributes to (their) risks and adverse mental-health impacts." Despite the issues, the workers said the provincial government had let them down by failing to take action to deal with their health or labour concerns. Chronic understaffing and failing to keep them safe, the authors said, means the workers can't do their jobs effectively, putting everyone at risk. "Health-care workers health and well-being are being sacrificed," Keith said. "We all need to pay attention to their pleas." There was no immediate response to the qualitative study from the provincial government, but Health Minister Christine Elliott praised the "tireless efforts" of front-line health-care workers during an announcement on Tuesday about the roll-out of rapid tests. Michael Hurley, president of the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions, said front-line staff in close contact with COVID-infected people still have no ready access to proper respirators. The Ministry of Labour has also rejected all 253 work refusals as valid. "This explains why people feel sacrificed and why they feel exploited and violated," Hurley said. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 24, 2020 Colin Perkel, The Canadian Press
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.
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 former CEO and executive director of Saskatoon's Remai Modern Art Museum says he wouldn't have settled a human rights complaint filed against the gallery if he had remained involved in the process.On Monday, the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission announced that the gallery and one of its former employees had reached a financial settlement overseen by the chief commissioner. The sum was not disclosed, but the complainant — who CBC News has agreed not to name — said she was "very happy" with the amount.Before the settlement, the chief commissioner had said the complaint had enough merit to get a public court hearing. In 2016, the employee — who worked for the museum's previous incarnation, Mendel Art Gallery — formally accused then-CEO and executive director Gregory Burke of discrimination on the basis of gender. The gallery was co-named in the complaint. Burke has vigorously denied the claim and did so again in a statement shared by his lawyer on Tuesday."Any suggestion that I would undertake discrimination on the basis of gender is preposterous," Burke wrote. "I have a strong record for championing human rights and equality in the arts."Burke pointed to a Globe and Mail article from earlier this year in which former female colleagues spoke of his support for equality in the workplace.'It has now been over five years'Burke left the museum in early 2019. He was no longer part of the complaint by the time it was settled this week. Late last year, Burke successfully petitioned a Saskatoon Court of Queen's Bench judge to stay the proceeding against him — in other words, to have himself removed from the complaint process. Justice Brenda Hildebrandt castigated the human rights commission for its "astonishingly slow" 31-month investigation and said Burke had "languished under the cloud of uncertainty for too long."Burke said in his statement this week that he took no part in the settlement "and would not have if I had been party to the proceedings." CBC News has reached out to the gallery's lawyer for comment. "I also note that membership of the current Board of Remai Modern does not include anyone from the 2015 board against whom the complaint was lodged," Burke added.Burke pointed to other parts of Hildebrandt's ruling, including her conclusion that the complaint contained no statements involving "overt acts of gender or sex-based discrimination.""It has now been over five years since the complaint was laid and the impact on me personally and professionally since then has been very significant," Burke wrote.
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
Fred VanVleet did a pre-draft workout for one particular NBA team, who didn't know who he was when he showed up. He shot alone on a side basket with no coaches rebounding the ball. Nobody gave him a ride back to the airport."Those types of things will never leave me and I will never forget any of those moments," VanVleet said. Four years after he went undrafted -- deciding that day to bet on himself if no-one else would -- VanVleet marvelled at how far he'd come."It’s funny to see things come full-circle but that’s what makes this journey that much more special, because of how I had to do it and how fast it turned around for me," he said.The Toronto Raptors made that turn around official Tuesday, signing the guard to a four-year deal reported to be worth US$85 million. The 26-year-old from Rockford, Ill., who joined the Raptors as a free agent in 2016, said he had wanted to stay in Toronto. The Raptors made no secret that his re-signing was their No. 1 off-season priority.Still, VanVleet was surprised how smoothly it all went."It was almost like so straightforward that it made me question it a little bit, like it can't be this easy, you know what I mean?" he said.He opened his press conference by thanking the Raptors organization, his family and even "you ugly media people on the other side of this Zoom call who have treated me pretty good in my first four years."He grinned and asked reporters not to go hard on him now that he has "this nice big contract." The six-foot, 195-pound VanVleet averaged career highs of 17.6 points, 6.6 assists, 3.8 rebounds, 1.9 steals and 35.7 minutes in 54 games (all starts) last season. Fondly known as "Steady Freddy," he's grown into one of the team's most popular and dependable players. Paired with all-star Kyle Lowry, the duo make for one of the formidable back courts in the league.Asked if Lowry provided any advice for free agency, VanVleet said he veteran guard is always offering advice."Everybody I spoke to that had been through it just said enjoy it and go with your gut and just try to appreciate the moment and don't fumble the bag," he said.VanVleet spoke to reporters on a Zoom call in front of a black and white backdrop with his BOY (Bet on Yourself) brand logo. "That’s the fun part for me, seeing how this following is kind of growing and. . . watching everybody try to pretend to be underdogs and adopt the bet on yourself thing. It’s becoming mainstream now, which is hilarious to me," VanVleet said.The guard said it means a lot to have paved the way for other players who've been overlooked who found inspiration in his story. "There are guys getting drafted now that I know for a fact wouldn’t have gotten drafted in my class or before my class, just because teams are looking at it like they don’t want to miss out on the next Fred VanVleet, or this kid can be Fred or better than Fred or whatever the case may be," he said.Getting VanVleet signed was good news for a Raptors team that saw centres Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol leave. Toronto rebounded by signing Aron Baynes and Alex Len and re-signing Canadian Chris Boucher to a two-year contract.Due to COVID-19 and Canada's travel restrictions, the Raptors will play at least the first part of the season in Tampa, Fla.VanVleet, who hasn't been back in Canada since the league initially shut down on March 11, said he'd love to be coming back to Toronto. "Toronto has turned into my second home. Obviously we miss the city, but I think we've got to be excited about what's ahead of us," he said. "I can't not be excited about it. We were in Florida for a while with the bubble in Orlando, and right back there in Tampa, so hopefully it's a good experience."VanVleet said he planned to enjoy the moment, exhale finally after the free agency stress, then get ready to for camp which opens Dec. 1. The season tips off Dec. 22.Having achieved so much in such a short time, where does he go from here?"The crazy part is, I've pretty much done everything I ever wanted to do already . . . everything that's on the checklist."It's really just the beginning of the next chapter . . . now I feel like I'm on a level playing field and I've made it, and I've got both feet inside the door, and I'm in the room and now it's time to really take off and go to another level." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 24, 2020.Lori Ewing, The Canadian Press
CALGARY — The Alberta Court of Appeal has refused to throw out one of the convictions against a man who was found guilty of killing a father and his two-year-old daughter as well as a senior.Derek Saretzky's lawyer, Balfour Der, had argued that his client's first-degree murder conviction in the death of Hanne Meketech, 69, in September 2015 should be overturned because Saretzky's rights were breached when police improperly took his confession.Saretzky was also convicted of first-degree murder in the slayings of Terry Blanchette, who was 27, and his daughter Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette.Saretzky, 27, was in custody when he confessed Meketech's killing to an RCMP officer who visited him at a correctional centre.Der said Saretzky should never have been convicted in the woman's death since the confession came without a lawyer present and six months after Saretzky admitted to killing Blanchette and the toddler.The Crown argued that at the time of the police interview Saretzky would have been well aware of his right to counsel.The three-justice Appeal Court panel unanimously dismissed the appeal."The appellant was not under arrest and the trial judge found he had not been detained," wrote Justice Peter Martin on behalf of the court."Those findings were well supported by the evidence and are entitled to deference. I agree with his conclusion that on considering all of the circumstances of this case, the appellant's confession would not have been excluded."Meketech's body was found in her home in Coleman, Alta., on Sept. 9, 2015. She had been struck in the head and stabbed in the neck. During the trial, the jury was shown videotaped confessions in which Saretzky told police it was a spur-of-the-moment decision to kill Meketech, who was a friend of his grandparents, because he didn't think anyone cared about her. Five days later, Blanchette's body was discovered in his home in Blairmore, Alta. His daughter was missing, which sparked an Amber Alert and an extensive search in the Crowsnest Pass area of southwestern Alberta.Court heard Saretzky was "an aspiring serial killer" at the time of the attacks. He had few close friends and possessed numerous books on serial killers and serial killings.Saretzky was sentenced in 2017 to three consecutive life sentences, which means he is ineligible for parole until he has served 75 years in prison.The Court of Appeal still has to schedule and hear an appeal of the sentence.This report by The Canadian Press was first published November 24, 2020.— Follow @BillGraveland on TwitterBill Graveland, The Canadian Press