Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu travelled to Saudi Arabia and met its crown prince, an Israeli official said on Monday, in what would be the first publicly confirmed visit there by an Israeli leader as the countries close ranks against Iran. Earlier, Israeli media said Netanyahu had secretly flown on Sunday to Neom, on the Red Sea, for talks with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Reports of the meeting between the crown prince and Netanyahu were denied by Saudi Arabia's foreign minister, Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud.
These weren’t the piano lessons of my youth. Quite the opposite.Gone was the septuagenarian teacher crowding me on a piano bench at my grandmother’s house, extolling the importance of Christian hymns. “Old Rugged Cross,” “Jesus Loves Me,” “How Great Thou Art." Grandma finally accepted my resignation after a few solid years of protest.Then last spring, as the pandemic droned on, I’d lost my job, and our schools in the Boston area remained closed, I decided to start taking piano lessons again.It had been 30 years. The grand staff was a foreign language and the only key I could recognize was middle C.The first day, I propped up my phone, clicked a Zoom link for our lesson and found an energetic college student staring back at me.I’d been thinking about returning to piano for a while, but never had the free time required for learning a skill until the shutdown in March. It was rainy and frigid in New England, and I needed an antidote for the monotony of pandemic life. Some were tending sourdough starters, others binge-watched Netflix. I started piano lessons.I wasn’t the only one who chose music.NEW WAYS TO PASS TIME“I knew nothing about the ukulele community before COVID,” said Pat Adamson-Waitley, 64, of Edina, Minnesota.Adamson-Waitley had played the ukulele a handful of times, but in March, she said, “I started playing it every day.”She joined Zoom jams with other players, and bought two ukuleles and two songbooks. Summer's warm weather took her away from the ukulele a little, but she still averages 30 minutes of playing time a day.Clubs like the Twin Cities ukulele club, an informal group of about 300 people, have welcomed many people discovering music for the first time, or finding it again. Tom Ehlinger, 69, of Bloomington, Minnesota, leads the club’s weekly Zoom jams.“One thing that’s different about the Zoom jam is that it’s much easier to get to than an in-person jam,” he said. “There’s no traffic.”Since March, Ehlinger has received inquiries from people as far away as New York City wanting to join.“It brings people together solely for the purpose of doing something enjoyable,” he said.NEVER A BETTER TIMEAs for formal lessons, Andrew Geant, co-founder of Chicago-based Wyzant, an online marketplace for private tutors, said music has become one of the company’s fastest growing areas. Cello tutors in April experienced a 450 per cent increase in students and a 400 per cent rise in lessons from last year, he said. By October, the number had grown to a 4,500 per cent increase in students and a 4,730 per cent increase in lessons.The cost of online lessons is lower than in-person instruction, Geant noted. And if the student and teacher don’t match well, it’s easy to find a new instructor.“Online, you can find the right instructor because you’re no longer bound by geography,” he said.Rashida Bryant, 44, is an Atlanta-based voice instructor through Wyzant who saw her client roster double from April to June, when she had 30 students.Her students range in age from early teenagers to people in their late 60s.“Everybody has different reasons for doing it, but if you’re going to be at home, then this is a better time than any,” she said.A SENSE OF CONTROLTurning to music during bleak times has a long history, said Joy Allen, chair of Music Therapy at Berklee College of Music in Boston.“It gives us choice and control, and we don’t have a lot of that right now,” she said.Music also provides social connection, Allen said, and a link to the familiar.During lockdown, private piano lessons for Andrea Cordero Fage’s two teenage sons in Harrison, New York, stopped, but something new happened. The brothers, whose interest in music has waxed and waned over the years, “came into their own musically,” she said. “I would have never imagined it.”They started playing piano for hours a day. They researched movie soundtracks, like the one to the 2014 science fiction epic “Interstellar,” by Hans Zimmer, and learned the score on their own with the assistance of sites like YouTube.“After dinner, one would play and the other would watch. Then they’d switch,” Cordero Fage said. “I think they fed off each other, saw it as a challenge.”Studying or listening to music can harness our focus, said Melita Belgrave, associate dean and professor of music therapy at Arizona State University.Throughout the pandemic, many people have been watching concerts at home but retaining a semblance of the shared experience. The millions of people who streamed the movie version of the Broadway musical “Hamilton” is an example.“People are finding themselves drawn to the arts and crafts,” Belgrave said. “We are learning new ways to connect with each other.”I haven’t figured out whether my Zoom piano lessons will continue past the pandemic. I've gone from knowing middle C to playing cusp chords, eight-key scales and Mozart.But even if returning to regular life interrupts my lessons, piano will always be one of my best pandemic memories.Tracee M. Herbaugh, The Associated Press
The 74th annual Lions Children’s Christmas Telethon is going ahead despite not being able to host live acts. Canadore College’s media arts students are compiling highlights of the past three events to produce a four-hour virtual broadcast Sunday, Dec. 5 from 4 to 8 p.m. “We suspect there will be a lot more families in need,” said Gary Verge, telethon committee chairman. He’s with the Bonfield Lions but the fundraiser involves 11 clubs, including Mattawa, Callander, Powassan, Trout Creek, Sundridge, South River, Burk’s Falls, Kearney, Arnstein and Restoule. “We could use $30,000,” Verge said of their target to receive from pledges and donations to buy turkeys, hams and gifts for kids for close to 400 families overall. Each club also adds in boxes of food to go with the initial basket “to help make it last a few meals.” In Bonfield for example, he said about 20 families each year get a little extra support heading into a holiday season that often strains already thin household budgets. Usually, the long-standing telethon runs nine hours lives with artists corralled in line as the performances are rotate through the stages, something that couldn’t be done this year due to COVID-19 pandemic health protocols. “We’re also trying to put together some Christmas entertainment featuring local talent,” Verge said of the dual mandate of igniting the spirit of the season. “But all those acts hanging around up at the college is not a good idea this year.” It’s also “excellent experience” for the Canadore students, he said, hoping they can return to the live show next year. The 2020 telethon can be seen on YourTV Channels 12 and 700, through the www.lionschildrenstelethon.com website; www.canadoretv.com or listen on Country 600 CKAT Radio. To donate, call 705-472-4420 or 1-844-888-4420. You can also make a pledge online or use PayPal at www.lionschldrenstelethon.com Dave Dale is a Local Journalism Reporter with BayToday.ca. LJI is funded by the Government of Canada. NoneDave Dale, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, BayToday.ca
NASHVILLE — For Grammy-winning international star Angelique Kidjo, her artistry and her activism inform each other because music has the power to connect beyond skin colour, language or countries. “Music has that absolutely powerful side to it that sometimes when I finish a concert, I’m like, ’Why can’t we just live like this?'” said the singer-songwriter from the West African country of Benin. That sentiment is something that Skip Marley, a third-generation musician and grandson of reggae icon Bob Marley, has grown up knowing as well. “We’re talking to the people, so it’s all colours, all religions,” said Marley. “Music is music. That’s the beauty of it. It cuts through all of those barriers or borders.” These musicians are part of an online fundraising concert on Dec. 1 called Peace Through Music: A Global Event For Social Justice, to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the United Nations. The Facebook Live event will also feature performances by Annie Lennox, Becky G, Brandi Carlile and Mike McCready of Pearl Jam, Carlos Santana, Gary Clark Jr., Mavis Staples, Ringo Starr, Run The Jewels, Sheila E, Yo-Yo Ma and more. The event will raise money for the Playing for Change Foundation, the United Nations Population Fund, Sankofa, Silkroad and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation. Kidjo, who is a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, is an outspoken advocate for women’s rights and education for young women in Africa through her Batonga Foundation. Kidjo has travelled the world to encourage young people to be leaders in their own communities because she says that is the leverage needed to address systematic issues of poverty and climate change. “We’ve created a world with billions of people suffering and a minority of people are living on top of them. And if we want to live in a world of peace, we have to take care of Mother Nature and at the same time take care to get people out of poverty,” said Kidjo, from her home in Paris. For the online concert, Kidjo teamed up remotely with cellist Yo-Yo Ma and Peter Gabriel to sing Gabriel's anti-apartheid anthem “Biko,” about a South African activist who was killed in detention in the 1970s. Kidjo said the song’s message directly connected to this year’s Black Lives Matter protests over police killings of Black men and women. “Racism is so linked to capitalism and we have failed to address that issue for so many, many, many years and centuries, I think from slavery all the way to today, that it becomes a cancer that is eating our societies,” said Kidjo. “Get Up, Stand Up,” a simple message that has become part of Bob Marley’s legacy to the world, was the obvious song choice for his grandson to sing for this online concert. “Wherever there is a fight, wherever there is oppression, wherever there is wrongdoing, there will always be that anthem,” said Marley, who performed with song with his mother Cedella Marley. It’s a spiritual experience to sing his grandfather’s songs, Marley said. “Those are the songs I first hear and the songs I first sing,” said Marley. “So when I’m singing it, I’m feeling my grandfather.” Kristin M. Hall, The Associated Press
PEERS Alliance in Charlottetown has received $2,100 from the Tegan and Sara Foundation for its work in the LGBTQ community. "That was a big moment for me, to get that notification that we've been awarded the funds," said Brittany Jakubiec, the executive director at PEERS Alliance. "I'm a little bit, like, excited that we get to put kinda their stamp on our project. That's just huge."PEERS Alliance is a charitable non-profit organization. It began as AIDS PEI and slowly evolved to offer programming and outreach for harm reduction for the LGBTQ community.This year, it is one of 13 organization across Canada to receive a Community Grant from the Tegan and Sara Foundation. Jakubiec said the plan is to use the money to keep the adult drop-in program running until June. "The adult drop-in is a low-barrier social group dedicated to fostering and growing 2SLGBTQ+ community in P.E.I.," said Jakubiec. (When using that term, Jakubiec means two-spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer and/or questioning, with the plus representing other terms people may prefer to use for themselves.)"The drop-in program does help with the reduction of social isolation and an increase of feeling like you're connected to the community."'It's super important'Jakubiec said additional costs have come up this year due to the pandemic and the extra financial support is not only crucial to running the program but also ensuring it doesn't need to be cut early. "It's super important that the program is offered."For Islanders looking for supports, Jakubiec said PEERS Alliance can be reached by phone, email or on social media — contact information is posted on its website. And for those who do call, Jakubiec said extra precautions are taken — for example, asking if a message can be left on the caller's phone — to make sure people feel safe and supported. "We really try and just make sure that we're being inclusive and respectful of where people are in their journeys."More from CBC P.E.I.
Don’t be fooled into thinking this is a gorgeous sunset. It is actually light pollution from Leamington, Ontario, Canada on November 22nd, 2020. How crazy is that?!
TORONTO — An escort home is planned today for an Ontario Provincial Police officer killed in the line of duty last week.The provincial police union says two OPP cruisers will accompany the hearse carrying Constable Marc Hovingh.The procession will leave a Toronto funeral home at noon and drive more than five hours to Little Current on Ontario's Manitoulin Island.According to the Special Investigations Unit, Hovingh and Gary Brohman were both killed Thursday after exchanging gunfire.Hovingh was one of the officers who responded to a call regarding an "unwanted man'' on a property in Gore Bay, Ont.Ontario's police watchdog says both Hovingh and Brohman died in hospital.The procession is scheduled to head north on Highway 400 to Highway 69, then follow highways 17 and 6 into Little Current. The association representing OPP officers encourages its members, other policing agencies, and the public to pay their respects along the route as the procession passes.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 23, 2020. The Canadian Press
In May, the City of Mississauga gnashed its teeth. At the time, it was knee-deep in the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. A number of long-term care homes in the city were in outbreak, with dozens of deaths recorded. Business owners were also hurting, their shuttered bars, restaurants and gyms collecting dust and debt. Inside City Hall, losses were mounting daily. Reluctantly, the City had been forced to let roughly 2,000 staff, mostly part-time, seasonal employees, go from its empty recreation facilities. Help eventually offered by the federal and provincial governments was still months away from materializing. Quietly, while the world was distracted, the Doug Ford PC government was forging ahead with its plans to seismically shift how developers pay for growth. Under the area of development subsidies known as a Community Benefits Charge (CBC), the Province was toying with new rules for planning. These fees are often paid by builders to create enhanced features such as green spaces or other amenities that are built using additional money charged to developers in exchange for project changes that generally create more profit, such as adding additional floors to a condo building. Changes were introduced as one of many initiatives in Bill 108 (More Homes, More Choice) — legislation that was almost universally decried around municipal council tables when it received royal assent in 2019. The Province allowed consultation in May (when Mississauga was preoccupied with its pandemic response) which revolved around parks. Just how much greenspace developers needed to provide for even more new residents that would eventually be housed in expanded projects, was a question that created tension. According to staff reports in Brampton and Mississauga at the time, the proposed changes meant developers would pay less to cities, for the features they have for decades been expected to provide when building large residential projects. Municipalities, under the PC government’s plan, would be worse off, while developers would be further ahead. “At a time when we are grappling with the unprecedented financial impacts of COVID-19, the proposed Community Benefits Charge will leave Council [with] even more difficult decisions,” then City Manager, Janice Baker, told Mississauga Council. Under the current rules, developers have to offer a certain amount of parkland to cities and, if they want to reduce that amount, they have to pay a fee. The CBC proposals limited parkland related contributions to 10 percent of the land’s value for high-rise buildings, meaning the projects with the most residents would offer the least public space per capita. “The proposed CBC weakens the link between population growth and the increased need for services,” a Mississauga staff report earlier in the year stated. In Mississauga, under the current system, high and medium-density developments contribute 74 percent of parkland (either physically or in payments). The CBC proposals meant dense developments would cough up just 31 percent of the funding for the city’s new greenspace, with non-residential and low-density homes (which already have backyards) making up the difference. It seemed illogical. After a passionate response from Mississauga and other cities angered by the prospect of a revenue hit while they are reeling financially because of the pandemic, the PC government has rolled back its proposed changes. Under Bill 197 (COVID-19 Economic Recovery Act) Queen’s Park rapidly back-peddled, returning parkland contributions by developers to the pre-pandemic levels. “The new community benefits charge authority provides local governments with the flexibility to collect funds for any growth-related services required due to higher density residential development, as long as those costs are not being recovered under other tools,” a spokesperson for the Ministry of Municipalities and Housing explained to The Pointer. “A community benefits charge may enable municipalities to recover the capital costs of any service, as long as it is needed to support new growth … the types of services funded through community benefits charges could include parks, recreation centres, affordable housing, child care, cycling infrastructure and others.” “We were very pleased the Province listened to the feedback from municipalities and rolled back many of the proposed Bill 108 provisions around the Community Benefits Charge,” Jason Bevan, director, city planning strategies, told The Pointer. “We look forward to seeing the final CBC regulations on the percentage of land value cap.” The Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) which advocates for the lowest tier of government, said it was “pleased to see the addition of eligible services for development charge recovery being restored” alongside “maintaining existing parkland provisions and the flexibility of CBCs as a tool to recover additional costs”. After a year of consternation for cities, the Province has largely walked back its plans for the CBC. The legislation, initially blasted as a developer freebie, has gradually been softened. Originally, the new legislative changes impacted a range of community features that municipalities have to provide for residents under the development proposals submitted by builders after assembling land for growth. Municipalities were concerned they would have to stretch the funds from the charge to cover features such as libraries, community centres, parks and playgrounds. Responding to feedback, the Province changed tack and protected a range of community features that will continue to be covered by development charges. Specific infrastructure, including libraries and other “soft” services, are covered under the Development Charges Act. Developers will continue to pay for the costs associated with growth. But, realistically, these charges are generally covered by buyers who pay for them through increased unit costs that developers charge when setting their sale prices. It seems much more fair to have the people in a particular new development pay for the surrounding features and services they will enjoy, rather than having property tax payers in general cover the expenses when municipalities have to fund them. At the beginning of October, further regulations were released which made the CBC picture a little clearer still. While the charge is designed to capture certain soft community services not always covered by traditional development charges, there are several areas explicitly excluded. Long-term care, universities, clubhouses or retirement homes cannot be funded using the latest form of CBCs. The new CBC mechanism, brought in to codify an element of development which previously operated as more of a negotiation, comes with strict rules. Cities are tasked, over the next two years, with creating a CBC strategy and bylaw to estimate the amount and type of development where the charge may be used. The strategy should also estimate the increased need for facilities and services as a direct result of developments and the associated growth-related costs. It must acknowledge any grants or subsidies made to help with such projects. A potential sticking point for municipal councils is a cap on the CBC, meaning the charge cannot exceed 4 percent of the value of the lands being developed. If developers disagree with the land valuation, they can dispute it. The likely outcome will see buyers cover any increased costs, as developers across the province won’t have to worry about unfair pricing competition because all builders will have to raise prices. In the end, it will be mostly young buyers who will absorb the additional financial burden for creating enhanced community features they will benefit from. Moving forward, municipalities will also produce an annual report showing how much money is in their CBC and parkland reserves. The reports will detail where money is spent and how projects not using CBC charges were funded. The concept behind the strategy and bylaw is to make costs more predictable for developers and reduce negotiations between individual builders and local politicians. Exactly what community features Mississauga will prioritize under the new CBC system will become clearer over the next two years, as the City draws together its bylaw for the charge. These community standards will best serve the public if they are directly involved and make clear what they want in their neighbourhoods. In essence, as long as cities don’t double charge through other parkland contributions or development charges, they can hit developers with a bill for any growth costs, other than the small list of features that are exempt. The amount is capped under the 4 percent limit, based on the land value. But it still gives high-growth municipalities such as Mississauga and Brampton welcome breathing room as they no longer have to worry about paying for a range of new community features while struggling with the financial damage caused by the pandemic. Smart decision making around the bylaw, with some elements still emerging, should help ensure that as new developments keep springing up across the city, growth will pay for growth in Mississauga. Email: email@example.com Twitter: @isaaccallan Tel: 647 561-4879 COVID-19 is impacting all Canadians. At a time when vital public information is needed by everyone, The Pointer has taken down our paywall on all stories relating to the pandemic and those of public interest to ensure every resident of Brampton and Mississauga has access to the facts. For those who are able, we encourage you to consider a subscription. This will help us report on important public interest issues the community needs to know about now more than ever. You can register for a 30-day free trial HERE. Thereafter, The Pointer will charge $10 a month and you can cancel any time right on the website. Thank you.Isaac Callan, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Pointer
À notre époque, des élans de solidarité s’expriment de part et d’autre face à la pandémie. On le sait, la crise actuelle bouleverse le paysage culturel ainsi que celui de la restauration. Julie Tessier, 44 ans du Café du Couvent et Marie-Ève Bourdage, 33 ans, du Centre d’art de Richmond, ont convenu d’un partenariat. À chacun ses gestes, ses initiatives, pour composer une large palette solidaire. (Cette entrevue devait se passer en période de zone orange. Mais voilà que l’Estrie repasse au rouge.) « Covid oblige, la salle à manger du Café du Couvent se voyait amputée de plusieurs places, en raison des mesures de distanciation. Tandis que les activités du Centre d’art sont également ralenties par la situation, nous avons choisi de faire équipe !, expliquent-elles. Les clients du Café du Couvent ont pu s’installer dans le réfectoire du Centre d’art, ce qui ajoutait une quinzaine de places. Un bel exemple de l’entraide qui existe entre les différents locataires du Couvent Mont Saint-Patrice ! » Qualité et créativité Nouveaux bilans, nouvelles mesures, les cartes doivent être de nouveau brassées. Nos entrepreneures ne cessent d’échafauder des scénarios réalistes pour traverser ce dur moment. « Durant la première vague, le Café a été fermé de la mi-mars à la mi-juillet, précise Julie. On a en profité pour bonifier nos équipements, notamment pour ce qui est des présentoirs réfrigérés. La capacité d’offrir des mets préparés ainsi que congelés est dorénavant enrichie. De plus, jusqu’à Noël, nous avons mis sur pied une boutique éphémère qui offre des produits d’artisans régionaux. Le tout en respectant les directives sanitaires. » « Du côté du Centre d’art, ça s’est passé un peu différemment, précise Marie-Ève. L’été, nous sommes fermés de toute façon. Le couvent est un vieux bâtiment de 1884 non climatisé pour l’instant. Avec le retour de l’automne, les activités sont au ralenti. Sauf pour les cours individuels de musique, car notre école roule en ce moment à pleine capacité. Les gens ont ressenti un réel engouement pour les activités qui les font sortir de chez eux. » Il faut savoir que huit personnes travaillent au Café et que sept autres contractuels œuvrent au Centre d’art. Tous unis et résolus à se réinventer afin de maintenir le cap. « Avec cette crise, conclut Marie-Ève, j’espère que l’on prendra tous conscience de l’importance de faire preuve de loyauté envers les organismes qu’on aime ! De plus, des partenariats ont été créés pour rester. » facebook.com/cafeducouvent facebook.com/centredartrichmondMireille Fréjeau, Initiative de journalisme local, Journal L'Étincelle
The grief and lessons, five years after I lost my brother.
Canada's largest working cattle ranch hopes to convince B.C.'s Court of Appeal to overturn a 2018 ruling that said the public should be allowed to access two lakes near Merritt, B.C.It's the latest development in a lengthy court battle between the Douglas Lake Cattle Company (DLCC) and a small recreation club in Merritt over who should be allowed access to public areas enclosed by private property.In December 2018 a justice of the Supreme Court of B.C. ruled that Minnie Lake and Stoney Lake in the Nicola Valley should be publicly accessible.The lakes and a local road are surrounded by private ranch lands owned by the company, which is owned by U.S. billionaire Stan Kroenke.For years, access to Minnie Lake and Stoney Lake had been blocked by fences and locked gates.The 2018 ruling ordered those gates to be removed so the public could access the lakes.The court said at the time it would be "nonsensical" for a government to retain rights to a lake if a single owner purchasing all land surrounding it could prohibit use.It also clarified that Stoney Lake Road, which the DLCC had previously closed to the public, was a public road because public money had been spent on it and it had previously been a historic trail from a traditional Indigenous village.The victory was a culmination of the advocacy from the Nicola Valley Fish & Game Club, and most notably Merritt resident Rick McGowan, who for decades maintained that the DLCC had unlawfully prohibited access for anglers and other people seeking recreation there."We thought we would like to try to make a difference and try to see if we could possibly save the right for all future generations to access public property," he said."In the Nicola Valley there are locked gates everywhere and most of them are illegal."According to the Outdoor Recreation Council of B.C., which has been allowed to intervene on behalf of the fish and game club for the appeal, the DLCC seeks an order declaring there is no public access to Stoney Lake and that access to Minnie Lake is only by way of Wasley Creek. "This case raises important questions about the extent of the public's right to cross private property to access public resources such as lakes, hiking trails and wilderness," said Morgan Blakley, a lawyer for the council, which represents 100,000 outdoor recreation users in the province."The decision could have implications for public access across the province and brings to bear hundreds of years of case law." The appeal is scheduled for two days, starting at 10 a.m. PT Monday.
PARIS — The trial of former French President Nicolas Sarkozy for corruption and influence peddling was suspended Monday less than two hours after it started, to allow a medical report on one of the defendants.Sarkozy is accused of having tried to illegally obtain information from a magistrate about an investigation involving him in 2014.This is the first trial for the 65-year-old politician, who has faced several other judicial investigations since leaving office in 2012.He stands trial in a Paris court along with his lawyer Thierry Herzog, 65, and the magistrate, Gilbert Azibert, 73. They face a prison sentence of up to 10 years and a maximum fine of 1 million euros ($1.2 million.) They deny any wrongdoing.Sarkozy and Herzog are suspected of promising Azibert a job in Monaco in exchange for leaking information about an investigation into suspected illegal financing of the 2007 presidential campaign by France’s richest woman, L’Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt.Sarkozy arrived at the court surrounded by his lawyers and bodyguards, in the presence of dozens of journalists. The Paris court has been placed under high security as hearings in the case, scheduled until Dec. 10, are taking place at the same time as another key trial — that of the 2015 attacks at the Charlie Hebdo offices and a kosher supermarket.The trial started Monday in the absence of Azibert, whose lawyer requested the hearings to be postponed. He argued his client's bad health makes it risky for him to travel and appear in court amid the coronavirus pandemic, leading the court to suspend proceedings pending an expert medical report. The trial will resume on Thursday.In 2014, Sarkozy and Herzog used secret mobile phones — registered to the alias name of “Paul Bismuth” — to be be able to have private talks as they feared their conversations were being tapped.Sarkozy and Herzog explained that they bought the phones to avoid being targeted by illegal phone tapping. Investigative judges, however, suspect they actually wanted to avoid being tapped by investigators.Judges have found that discussions between Sarkozy and his lawyer suggested they had knowledge that judicial investigators at the time tapped their conversations on their official phones — they mentioned “judges listening.”Sarkozy argued that he never intervened to help Azibert, who never got the job and retired in 2014.Investigative judges consider that as soon as a deal has been offered, it constitutes a criminal offence even if the promises haven't been fulfilled.Legal proceedings against Sarkozy have been dropped in the Bettencourt case.Sarkozy, a lawyer by training, pointed at judicial harassment, accusing judges of breaching lawyer-client privilege via wiretapping.“I don't want things that I didn't do to be held against me. The French need to know... that I'm not a rotten person,” he told BFM TV earlier this month.He said he was facing the trial in a “combative” mood.Sarkozy's predecessor, Jacques Chirac, was found guilty in 2011 of misuse of public money, breach of trust and conflict of interest and given a two-year suspended prison sentence for actions during his time as Paris mayor, before he was president from 1995 to 2007.Sarkozy’s name has appeared for years in several other judicial investigations.Allegations, which include illegal financing of his 2007 campaign by then-Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi, cast a shadow over Sarkozy's comeback attempt for the 2017 presidential election.After failing to be chosen as candidate by his conservative party, he withdrew from active politics.Sarkozy remained the most popular figure amid French right-wing voters in recent years. His memoirs published this summer, “The Time of Storms,” was a bestseller for weeks.Sarkozy was handed preliminary charges including “illegal campaign financing” in the Libyan investigation, which has been underway since 2013 — and prompted the wiretapping of his phones.Earlier this month, French-Lebanese businessman Ziad Takieddine retracted his previous statements that he delivered suitcases from Libya containing 5 million euros ($5.9 million) in cash to Sarkozy and his former chief of staff, Claude Gueant.Instead, he told news broadcaster BFM and magazine Paris-Match that there were “no Libyan financing.”Sarkozy said that the truth “finally comes out.”Financial prosecutors said in a statement that charges in the Libyan case are based “on strong or corroborated evidence that are not limited to one person’s statement only.”Meanwhile, the former president will stand another trial in spring 2021 along with 13 other people on charges of illegal financing of his 2012 presidential campaign.His conservative party and a company named Bygmalion are accused of using a special invoice system to conceal unauthorized overspending.They are suspected of having spent 42.8 million euros ($50.7 million), almost twice the maximum authorized, to finance the campaign, which ended up in victory for Socialist rival Francois Hollande.Nicolas Vaux-Montagny And Sylvie Corbet, The Associated Press
Janet Langdon and Roxanne Walsh-Seabright have always held a special place for their hometown of Gander. As first-generation Ganderites, the pair know the town has a unique place in provincial history and culture. “We love our town,” said Walsh-Seabright. When Langdon returned to the area in 2015 upon her retirement after living at various stops on the mainland, she and Walsh-Seabright started talking about ways they could showcase their beloved hometown. As many a Newfoundlander will tell you, you can live wherever you want, but nothing will ever replace the place you grew up. “It’s in your blood,” said Langdon. “It is a special place. It holds onto your identity.” Then, they got the idea to showcase Gander and its uniqueness through clothes. Langdon had studied textile design and has always had a love for fashion design, while Walsh-Seabright studied interior design. They both shared a love for design and being creative so it was only natural they settle on an outlet that would allow them to explore that side of themselves a bit more. They found that outlet with their Newfoundland Dog Company clothing line. “We’re both creative at heart,” said Walsh-Seabright. They also get some help from family members. Langdon’s partner has offered up designs for products while others model them. The Newfoundland Dog Company got its start in the wake of the popularity of the smash Broadway musical “Come From Away.” With its depiction of what Gander and the area did for the people stranded during the Sept. 9, 2001, terrorist attacks, the show captured the attention and imagination of the world. Its popularity undoubtedly meant that the region was going to see an influx of tourism as people sought to see the place and the people that helped so many during a trying time. That fact was not lost on either Langdon or Walsh-Seabright. They sought to offer unique tourism products that highlighted some of the unique parts of their hometown. After some back-and-forth, they decided on a clothing line that would showcase the history of Gander and eventually, the surrounding area. It was launched on June 04, 2017. “It is very exciting because Gander has such a unique history,” said Langdon. Even the name Newfoundland Dog is partly a referral to a piece of the town’s history. During the Second World War, there was a Newfoundland dog named Gander who was awarded the Dickin Medal, an animal’s Victoria Cross, for his heroics during the war. The other half of the Newfoundland Dog Company's name refers Humber, the Newfoundland dog that was a big part of Langdon's family growing up. A mixture of short-sleeve and long-sleeve shirts, they have a number of different designs, from the propeller of a plane to the ‘Welcome to Gander’ sign at the Gander International Airport. There is one item featuring the likeness of the town’s mascot, Commander Gander, as well as an outline of the town in the 1970s One of their latest creations is an ode to Sidetracks, a bar in town that welcomed some high-profile acts during its day. The last couple of years has seen the line expand to ball caps, toques, mitten, throw pillows and dog bandanas. “It is basically what surrounds us,” said Walsh-Seabright. “What is unique to us that is different from anyone else.” Like other companies, the Newfoundland Dog Company has been slowed by the COVID-19 pandemic. A mostly online venture, they’re starting to see things start to come around and have several pop-up sales scheduled for Nov. 28, Dec.5, Dec. 12 and Dec. 19 in Gander. “We’re excited for the popups and introducing some new things,” said Walsh-Seabright. Nicholas Mercer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Central Voice
Windsor-Essex has the largest COVID-19 school outbreak in the province, with Frank W. Begley Public School reporting 39 cases Monday, according to the local health unit. Twenty-nine students and eight staff have tested positive for the disease, while another two students are probable cases, the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit (WECHU) reported Monday. Based on its investigation, the first case showed symptoms on Nov. 8 and the first test was done on Nov. 15. The school was closed on Nov. 17. The index case is thought to be a staff member. The school remains closed until further notice. "Dismissing the entire school really helped us from a control perspective so that there's no ongoing transmission," Windsor-Essex's medical officer of health Dr. Wajid Ahmed said Monday. What's been challenging about handling the outbreak at this school, Ahmed said, are some of the social barriers the school community faces. He noted that some of the families are low income and that might impact their ability to keep their children home, and many have English as a second language, further impacting parents' ability to educate their children. "There are a lot of issues there that have always been there, but I think because of the spread, it is just now showing more and more evident in terms of how some of these families are impacted more than the others," he said. Of the cases reported, a majority are in those between the ages of 10 and 13 years old. The oldest case from the school is a 61-year-old. In total, Ahmed said that 471 staff, students and family members of the school community have been tested. Sharon Pyke, superintendent of education for the public school board, said that Monday is the first day students at the school are going through a full schedule of virtual classes."We're trying to keep a nice schedule for the kids and a nice routine, so that when they come back to the brick and mortar school, they're feeling comforted that that's the same," she said.She said a deep clean of the school started on Friday.Tim Lauzon, health and safety officer for the public board, said he's sending out a team of cleaners 6 a.m. Tuesday and they will likely be in the building until Thursday. He said they'll be dressed in full personal protective equipment and clean everything from the desks and handrails to the floors. He said they did some deep cleaning last week to help out the COVID-19 assessment clinic that the school held over the weekend, but now they'll be re-cleaning those areas used for the clinic and sanitize the rest of the building. "We've had to do deep cleans before, never under these conditions and obviously never for COVID and so that's why we're using two different products to ensure a deep clean and a double hit of high touch surfaces," he said. 'We are in a bad shape right now'On Monday, the region reported 36 new cases — a number that is in stark contrast to where the region was about a month ago when WECHU reported zero new COVID-19 cases on Oct. 21. Of the new cases, 18 are close contacts of a confirmed case, four are community acquired, two are travel related to the U.S., one is a healthcare worker and 12 are under investigation. There are 310 active cases. "Now we are seeing a steep increase in the number of cases, as many of the other jurisdictions and many of the other places are seeing," Ahmed said."The steepness of this curve is significantly higher than what we have seen in the first wave and that is one of the most concerning things." Five long-term care and retirement homes are in outbreak, including: * Leamington Mennonite in Leamington with one staff case. * Riverside Place in Windsor with one resident case. * Berkshire Care Center in Windsor with one staff case. * Lifetimes on Riverside in Windsor with five resident cases and four staff cases. * Iler Lodge in Essex with 17 resident cases and one staff case. There is one community outbreak at a University of Windsor student campus and a workplace outbreak in Leamington's agriculture industry. In addition to the outbreak at Frank W. Begley Public School, W. J. Langlois Catholic Elementary School is also in outbreak, with all staff and students dismissed. As of Monday, the Catholic school board's website says there are two student cases and two staff cases.He said the health unit is currently investigating another possible school outbreak. "It's pretty much everywhere and we need to be mindful of that," Ahmed said, noting that the virus is not just affecting one particular sector or demographic this time around."Everyone you are meeting by default assume they could be positive and take your precautions." Over the weekend, the health unit reported 80 new cases for the region. "We are in a bad shape right now and it can get worse," Ahmed said. The region officially entered the province's orange or "restrict" category Monday at 12:01 a.m. as the COVID-19 case count continues to rise. INTERACTIVE | Use this map to find local COVID-19 outbreaks in schools
The Hudson's Bay Company store in Coquitlam, B.C., closed its doors to customers on Sunday after its landlord said the company had defaulted on its rent.It's the latest blow to HBC, which has operated in Canada since the late 17th century. The company has struggled to pay its bills in other parts of the country, as well.Still, the closure of store in the Coquitlam Centre Mall came as a surprise to many shoppers who arrived to pull on locked doors."Pretty shocking ... The Bay has been around since what?" said Annette Borrows.Retail analysts say the store closure is a sign of mounting revenue losses across the industry amid the pandemic."We've seen Hudson's Bay Company really trying to stay relevant, and it's tough," said David Ian Gray with retail consultancy DIG360. "And they've been struggling with that pre-COVID."In October, HBC announced plans to close its flagship store in Winnipeg in February. The company has operated out of the six-storey building at the corner of Portage and Memorial for nearly a century.At the time, the company said changes in consumer behaviour, such as shopping online, was one reason for walking away from the landmark site.Earlier this month, a judge in Ontario ordered HBC to pay half the rent owing at one of its stores after a landlord attempted to evict the retailer. The store at Hillcrest Mall in Richmond Hill, Ont., owed seven months of rent.Gray says the pandemic has accelerated HBC's financial troubles."What's happening is that retailers, in particular non-essentials, especially fashion, have just been decimated," he said."It's not Hudson's Bay Company, but all of them. We're not buying as much fashion, but also we're really restricted on closures, openings."In Coquitlam, HBC's landlord, Pensionfund Realty Limited, posted a sign on the store that said it hadn't received payment for more than a month.In a statement, HBC said it's looking for a fair solution with its landlords across North America.
JERUSALEM — Israeli media reported Monday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu flew to Saudi Arabia for a clandestine meeting with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, which would mark the first known encounter between senior Israeli and Saudi officials. The reported meeting was the latest move by the Trump Administration to promote normalized ties between Israel and the broader Arab world and reflected the shared concern of all three nations about Iran. The Israeli news site Walla, followed quickly by other Hebrew-language media, cited an unnamed Israeli official as saying that Netanyahu and Yossi Cohen, head of Israel's Mossad spy agency, flew to the Saudi city of Neom on Sunday, where they met with the crown prince. The prince was there for talks with visiting U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. People travelling with Pompeo declined comment. Netanyahu, in a meeting with his Likud Party, also declined to explicitly confirm the visit. “I have not addressed such things for years and I will not start with that now. For years I have spared no effort to strengthen Israel and expand the circle of peace,” he said. The Saudi foreign minister, Prince Faisal bin Farhan, denied on Twitter that the meeting took place. “No such meeting occurred. The only officials present were American and Saudi,” he wrote. He did not elaborate. The flight-tracking website FlightRadar24.com showed a Gulfstream IV private jet took off from Tel Aviv on Sunday night and flew south along the edge of Egypt's Sinai Peninsula before turning toward Neom and landing. The flight took off from Neom over three hours later and followed the same route back to Tel Aviv. Pompeo, who was in Israel last week, travelled with a small group of American reporters on his trip throughout the Mideast, but left them at the Neom airport when he went into his visit with the crown prince. While Bahrain, Sudan and the United Arab Emirates have reached deals under the Trump administration to normalize ties with Israel, Saudi Arabia so far has remained out of reach. The Trump administration, as well as Netanyahu, would love to add the Saudis to that list before it leaves office in January. In Sudan, a military official said an Israeli delegation was in the country on Monday to discuss the normalization efforts. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the visit with the media. King Salman long has supported the Palestinians in their effort to secure an independent state as a condition for recognizing Israel. However, analysts and insiders suggest his 35-year-old son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, likely is more open to the idea of normalizing relations without major progress in the moribund peace process. Israel and Saudi Arabia have a shared interest in countering archrival Iran, and they have welcomed the Trump administration's pressure campaign on the Iranians, which included withdrawing from the international nuclear deal with Iran and imposing tough economic sanctions on the Tehran government. The reported meeting puts even more pressure on Iran ahead of an incoming Biden administration that has signalled a potential willingness to return to the 2015 nuclear deal. “I think there's a message to Iran. Look, there's a front against you. There's two months to go to the new administration. Beware. We are on the same page,” said Yoel Guzansky, a senior fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies, a prestigious Israeli think-tank . In an apparent message to President-elect Joe Biden, Netanyahu said in a speech Sunday evening, shortly before the reported trip to Saudi Arabia: “We must not return to the previous nuclear deal." In the same speech, Netanyahu also praised “trailblazing Arab leaders who understand the benefits of peace" and predicted “we will see other states that widen the circle of peace.” In another possible reference to the Saudi meeting, a Netanyahu aide, Topaz Luk, accused Netanyahu's rival and coalition partner, Defence Minister Benny Gantz, of “playing politics at the same time that the prime minister is making peace.” Gantz on Sunday launched an investigation into Israel's purchase of German submarines — a scandal that has turned several close Netanyahu confidants into criminal suspects. Netanyahu himself is not a suspect. The reported visit Sunday night to Neom, still a largely undeveloped desert region alongside the north end of the Red Sea, also reflected Prince Mohammed's ambitions. It brought two world leaders to Neom, which he hopes will become a futuristic, skyline-studded Saudi version of Dubai that will offer the kingdom jobs and cement a future beyond its vast crude oil reserves. It also would reframe a rule so far colored by the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi and the kingdom’s grinding war in Yemen. It was unclear where the three men met, though the Saudi royal family has massive mansions along the turquoise waters of the Red Sea, with a major golf course. Netanyahu has long signalled back-channel relations with the Saudis, though the nations have never officially confirmed a meeting between their leaders. But Saudi Arabia appears to have given its blessing to the decisions of its Gulf neighbours, the UAE and Bahrain, to establish ties with Israel. The kingdom approved the use of Saudi airspace for Israeli flights to the UAE. Bahrain normalizing ties also suggest at least a Saudi acquiescence to the idea, as the island kingdom relies on Riyadh. ___ Associated Press writers Josef Federman in Jerusalem, Jon Gambrell in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and Samy Magdy in Cairo contributed. Ilan Ben Zion, The Associated Press
HURON COUNTY – Residential development proposals will soon have a comprehensive document to ensure that housing developers understand the community’s goals and expectations. Andrea Sinclair, urban designer for MHBC Planning Urban Design and Landscape Architecture, presented the final Residential Intensification Guidelines (RIGS) to Huron County council on Nov. 4. The motion was approved to accept the guidelines, and staff will distribute copies to local municipalities for information. These guidelines will help when evaluating development proposals and provide the community with more housing choices. The document mainly focuses on multi-unit development and will apply to all residential intensification projects in the county. The guidelines also address residential conversions and Additional Residential Units (ARUs). The RIGS are intended to be used by the builder and development community to guide residential developments. The guidelines address a full range of design considerations, including site layout, building design, parking, and landscaping. The guidelines, not meant to add more red tape to the process, are expected to streamline the process by setting out the design expectations early on and avoiding the development community and planning staff’s back-and-forth. By setting clear design objectives and priorities early in the process, the development community will understand what staff will be looking for when reviewing applications. The RIGS will ensure that neighbourhoods continue to be diverse while maintaining the need to accommodate a growing community. The County of Huron’s website states, “single detached dwellings meet many residents’ needs – but not all of them. When housing takes a wide range of forms, it can better meet the diverse needs of community members: those who rent, families requiring multiple bedrooms, seniors who are interested in downsizing, first time home buyers who can afford a house provided they can rent out the basement unit. “Neighbourhoods are dynamic places; the shifts anticipated in the next 20 years will bring about a renewal of our housing stock and the introduction of more dense forms of housing. This document is a tool to help manage that change and ensure that housing is available – and affordable – for all who call the county home.” For more information or to see the Residential Intensification Guidelines visit the Huron County website at www.huroncounty.ca.Cory Bilyea, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Wingham Advance Times
BROCKTON – Mayor Chris Peabody said Tuesday, “There’s a lot of anxiety about rising numbers of COVID-19.” He said that while Grey-Bruce is still Green, looking at the numbers, a move to Yellow will probably happen. He was pleased to note that all the people he saw at the Hometown Christmas Market event in Walkerton on the weekend were following the safety guidelines, including wearing masks. While there’s no meeting of Brockton council this week, Bruce County council is holding a number of committee meetings. Among the topics on the various agendas are development fees.Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times
Cinq générations d’agriculture sur leur terre de Baie-des-Sables, et l’héritage agricole de la famille Chamberland tient toujours, 110 ans plus tard. En service depuis 2000, la Ferme D. & E. Chamberland est relancée après qu’Eric ait décidé de poursuivre la récolte de pommes de terre. Le premier Chamberland à lancer la ferme familiale fut Joseph, l’arrière-grand-père d’Eric, élevé à Saint-Joseph-de-Lepage près de Mont-Joli. Il était l’aîné d’une grande famille et il était assez vieux pour s’établir, mais comme il avait d’autres enfants après lui, son père ne voulait pas lui vendre sa propre terre. Sa sœur vivait à Baie-des-Sables, et par la poste elle lui fait savoir que la terre voisine était à vendre. Le père de Joseph, André, a donc fait acquisition de la terre pour Joseph qui avait 19 ans à l’époque, considéré mineur et devait attendre ses 21 ans avant. Joseph a été le premier à s’établir sur la terre en 1910 jusqu’en 1948, où il a élevé sa famille. Celui-ci vendait des pommes de terre, mais aussi des légumes de toutes sortes, même qu’il allait pêcher des palourdes à Métis pour les vendre par la suite. C’est en 1948 que le grand-père d’Eric, Antonio, a repris la terre et s’est mis à faire du commerce de légumes variés, dont des pommes de terre et des fraises estivales cueillies dans Bellechasse, des pommes et des porcs, se construisant une porcherie pour subvenir à ses besoins. Dans les années 1950, il couvrait de la vallée de La Matapédia jusqu’à Causapscal, et il a soudainement décidé de se tourner vers le nord de la Gaspésie, comme Sainte-Anne-des-Monts, Mont-Louis ou Grande-Vallée. C’est donc officiellement depuis 1952 que des Chamberland vendent des pommes de terre de Baie-des-Sables jusqu’à Rivière-au-Renard, sans interruption. Ils n’ont jamais osé vendre au sud de Baie-des-Sables, comme il y avait déjà des commerçants avec leur propre marché. Antonio, le fameux grand-père d’Eric, a donc eu la terre jusqu’en 1974, où son père, Denis, a ensuite racheté la terre. Son père a bâti le tout premier entrepôt de pommes de terre. Il a alors commencé à mécaniser sa production et améliorer beaucoup les terres pendant les années 1980, afin que les patates soient de meilleure qualité, pour un meilleur rendement en y ajoutant du compost et des engrais verts. Denis n’avait pas de formation d’agriculture et n’était pas agronome, mais il s’intéressait aux nouvelles façons de faire et la nature du sol de ses champs. Pendant qu’Antonio complétait les livraisons, Denis était prêt au poste à la ferme. Antonio était d’ailleurs très peu à la maison, car il avait le camion et se promenait pour les ventes. Denis, lui, restait sur place, dirigeait les employés et gérait les activités. À 15 ans seulement, le père d’Eric était déjà à la tête du personnel, comptant environ 10 ou 12 personnes. En effet, tout se faisait à la main ou à genoux dans le champ – la production n’était pas automatisée. Antonio est décédé à 80 ans à cause d’un accident dans son camion, en 1995. Denis a donc dû revirer de bord et a décidé du destin de l’entreprise. Le père d’Eric a fait le choix de lâcher le reste de la production, comme le porc et tous les autres commerces en se concentrant sur la pomme de terre. Il voulait ainsi développer un marché plus ciblé. Son père, Denis, avait été plutôt innovateur, alors ils ont repris la production en agrandissant l’entreprise préexistante. En effet, Denis avait essayé de vendre à des grossistes, mais sans succès. Il a donc acheté un nouveau camion et a commencé à organiser ses propres livraisons. « Ce qui permet de garder la ferme fonctionnelle et rentable, c’est de livrer les patates directement. Oui, ça contient des frais additionnels, mais on passe toute notre production sans problème », a expliqué Eric. En effet, en 2000, Eric et sa femme, Diane, viennent s’installer sur la ferme à leur tour et reprennent les rênes de l’entreprise, baptisée depuis quelques années déjà « Ferme D. & E. Chamberland ». Eric était originellement infirmier à l’hôpital de Matane et travaillait aux soins intensifs. Ensuite, il y a eu les coupures financières du ministre Jean Rochon en 1997, ils n’avaient que deux enfants à ce moment-là. Ils ont ainsi changé la machinerie et grossi leurs installations en agrandissant l’entrepôt à quelques reprises, créant une salle d’emballage. Un bout original de l’entrepôt existe encore aujourd’hui, mais il disparaîtra l’année prochaine en agrandissant une fois de plus de manière significative leur bâtiment d’entreposage. Depuis 1974, cinq agrandissements ont eu lieu. « Dans les dernières années, le matériel s’est modernisé : les lifts électriques sont arrivés, les caisses de bois sont arrivées, et ça c’était l’innovation », a lancé Eric. Chaque génération a amené quelque chose de nouveau. Eric est enfant unique, et il savait que son père gérait la ferme seul, et Diane a été élevée sur une ferme laitière à Saint-Damase. Il a donc commencé un été, mais ça a été une adaptation parce qu’il n’avait jamais travaillé dans les champs, seulement la livraison. Après deux étés d’essai, ils se sont lancés dans l’entreprise pour un 23 ans, et depuis peu, avec l’aide de leur fils Mathieu. En 2019, le fils d’Eric, Mathieu, un de leurs quatre enfants, rachète la majorité des parts de la compagnie familiale, qui aidait à la ferme depuis cinq ans. Il a commencé très jeune la livraison avec son père, puis a suivi son grand-père Denis dans les champs. Plus tard, Mathieu a voulu aller à l’université en histoire pour finalement changer d’idée et retourner à l’agriculture. Il a complété un diplôme d’études professionnelles en mécanique agricole à Mont-Joli. Présentement, ils se séparent le travail : Eric s’occupe généralement des livraisons, et Mathieu est présent dans les champs et gère la production. Mathieu a donc pris la place de son grand-père Denis, en s’occupant des champs, l’entretien et les innovations. Diane et Eric se disent ravis de voir leur fils reprendre la ferme, même s’ils n’ont jamais demandé à leurs enfants de faire partie de la relève. Mathieu a fait quelques années comme mécanicien dans un garage à Matane pour prendre de l’expérience et connaître autre chose, avant d’arriver avec des nouvelles idées modernes. Depuis environ cinq ans, ils ont fait beaucoup de changements pour s’adapter. Mathieu est très à l’affût des nouveautés, en achetant par exemple une nouvelle machine d’emballage qui permet de sauver sur les coûts de main d’œuvre. Mathieu est d’ailleurs en contact avec une agroéconomiste de l’Union des producteurs agricoles (UPA) concernant l’emprunt d’argent pour acheter de la machinerie. « Emprunter, ça peut être payant en calculant ce que ça va apporter dans quelques années après avoir remboursé la machine », a expliqué Diane. Mathieu se dédie à la recherche de nouvelles technologies afin d’améliorer la rentabilité des installations. L’agroenvironnement est beaucoup plus poussé pour une génération actuelle. Ce qu’on vise, à l’avenir, est la réduction des pesticides, même si le biologique ne serait pas rentable pour l’instant. L’année prochaine, ils auront une tour météorologique avec un capteur de store pour faire des analyses dans l’air pour savoir exactement quand on a besoin d’arroser pour ne pas arroser inutilement. La récolte d’oignons a pu réduire ses arrosages de 50 %. Il a d’ailleurs fait faire des tests avec des drones il y a deux ans, mais c’était encore trop expérimental et n’a pas donné les résultats escomptés. Ils sont au bout de chaîne d’alimentation, et apprécient vraiment de venir à l’encontre de leurs consommateurs, dans l’esprit d’achat local. Pendant la pandémie, ils ont vu une augmentation de leurs ventes et de l’appréciation de leurs clients. Et heureusement, cette année, ils ont eu une excellente récolte. « Ça a été sec partout au Bas-Saint-Laurent pour le foin et les céréales, mais il a plut pour les pommes de terre. Au bon moment, et juste dans la région ici, de Mont-Joli à Matane. Le Bic et Trois-Pistoles ont eu bien des difficultés », ont expliqué Eric et Mathieu. En début août, ils commencent à récolter toutes les semaines, et c’est fin septembre ou début octobre qu’ils arrachent tout ce qu’il reste dans leur vingtaine d’hectares en production, avant qu’il fasse froid. Et au printemps, ils recommencent leurs semences en mars, et plantent leurs champs en mai. Au total, la superficie de la ferme est d’environ 70 hectares, avec environ une trentaine en production, sans compter la portion de champs en rotation. En 2013, ils sont devenus accrédités par Super C et Métro. Un inspecteur passe quotidiennement pour vérifier si leur procédure est conforme aux normes. Ils vendent d’ailleurs au Super C de Matane et au Métro de Sainte-Anne-des-Monts, et le reste va aux cantines de la région, qui sont d’importants clients de la Ferme D. & E. Chamberland pour les patates frites. Présentement, Mathieu a 28 ans et reste dans sa propre maison au centre du village de Baie-des-Sables. Il se concentre sur les défis actuels que présente la ferme, et avec l’aide de son père Eric, met la main à la pâte quotidiennement pour récolter les meilleures pommes de terre possible, en espérant un jour pouvoir réduire son niveau de pesticides. Et qui sait, peut-être qu’un jour, l’expertise familiale de la Ferme D. & E. Chamberland perdurera avec une sixième génération.Claudie Arseneault, Initiative de journalisme local, Mon Matane
Victory is always sweet in municipal politics, said Mayor Duane Favel, and this year, victory has meant starting his fifth term as leader of the Northern Village of Île-à-la-Crosse. Duane defeated fellow mayoral candidate Peter Durocher with 323 votes to 257, with 580 total votes cast. This will be a long four years of council, Favel said, with many challenges facing northern Saskatchewan communities and with COVID-19 those challenges are going to get bigger, he said. In a previous interview before the election, Duane said physician retention and high water levels have been a challenge for the community for years. Joining Duane at the council table will be incumbents Vincent Ahenakew, Bodean Desjarlais, Myra Malboeuf, and Gerald Roy, and new councillors Noel McLean and Kevin Favel. Having a mix of old and new councillors is good to have for both continuity and bringing new voices to the table, Duane said. “It's nice to have a council who clearly has a good background on some of the things we've been working on and to bring those two councillors up to speed. Certainly, their voices will be heard as well.” Mentoring the new councillors will be an important step in the coming term, Duane said. Duane said he would like to thank the outgoing councillors who have stepped away from the table, including Durocher, who decided to run for mayor. The open spots allowed for two new voices to join the conversation and Duane said he is excited to work with this new council. Becky Zimmer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Battlefords Regional News-Optimist