Run CMC is back to practice this week after suffering a high ankle sprain during Week 2 of the 2020 NFL season. Matt Harmon and Dalton Del Don delve into the fantasy outlook for both Christian McCaffrey and his running mate Mike Davis.
Run CMC is back to practice this week after suffering a high ankle sprain during Week 2 of the 2020 NFL season. Matt Harmon and Dalton Del Don delve into the fantasy outlook for both Christian McCaffrey and his running mate Mike Davis.
WILMINGTON, Del. — President-elect Joe Biden's pick to lead the Office of Management and Budget is quickly emerging as a political battle that could disrupt his efforts to swiftly fill out his administration.Some Republicans are expressing doubt that Neera Tanden could be confirmed by the Senate after she spent years attacking GOP lawmakers on social media — and many panned the choice.Arkansas Republican Sen. Tom Cotton claimed Tanden’s rhetoric was “Filled with hate & guided by the woke left.”Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn said Tanden's “combative and insulting comments" about Republican senators created “certainly a problematic path." He called her “maybe (Biden's) worst nominee so far" and “radioactive.”Potential Budget Committee Chair Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., was less hostile, telling reporters, “Let's see what happens." Moderate Susan Collins, R-Maine, a target of Tanden's, said, “I do not know her or much about her, but I've heard she's a very prolific user of Twitter.”Such sentiment is notable considering the GOP's general reluctance to criticize President Donald Trump's broadsides on Twitter. But like all of Biden's nominees, Tanden has little margin for error as she faces confirmation in a closely divided Senate.That could be especially daunting for Tanden, the former adviser to Hillary Clinton and the president of the centre-left Center for American Progress, given her history of political combat.Biden's transition team released a litany of praise for Tanden from figures including Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams.Other Democrats also rushed to defend Tanden's nomination. Former Obama aide Valerie Jarrett said Tanden “grew up on welfare and lived in public housing. She experienced first hand the importance of our social programs. Her extraordinary career has been devoted to improving opportunities for working families. She is an excellent choice to lead OMB.”“Neera Tanden is smart, experienced, and qualified for the position of OMB Director,” added Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown, a member of the party’s progressive wing. “The American people decisively voted for change - Mitch McConnell shouldn’t block us from having a functioning government that gets to work for the people we serve.”On the Senate floor, Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said it's impossible to take Republicans' criticism of Tanden seriously.“Honestly, the hypocrisy is astounding. If Republicans are concerned about criticism on Twitter, their complaints are better directed at President Trump,” Schumer said.At OMB, Tanden would be responsible for preparing Biden’s budget submission and would command several hundred budget analysts, economists and policy advisers with deep knowledge of the inner workings of the government.If Democrats should win runoff elections for Georgia’s two GOP-held Senate seats, Tanden’s job would become hugely important because the party would gain a slim majority in the chamber. That would allow them to pass special budget legislation that could roll back Trump’s tax cuts, boost the Affordable Care Act and pursue other spending goals. OMB would have a central role in such legislation.Top Democrats, Biden included, supported anti-deficit packages earlier in their careers, but the party has since changed. Biden was a force behind the establishment of the Obama deficit commission, which was created to win votes of Democratic moderates to pass an increase in the government’s borrowing cap and was chaired by former Clinton White House chief of staff Erskine Bowles.Tanden shares a commonly held view among Democratic lawmakers that Republicans usually profess concerns about deficits only when Democrats are in power, pointing to tax cut packages passed in the opening year of Trump’s administration and former President George W. Bush’s 2001 tax cut.___Taylor reported from Washington.Zeke Miller And Andrew Taylor, The Associated Press
The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit (WECHU) has confirmed another case of COVID-19 at the University of Windsor.In a news release, the university said that this case was unrelated to previous confirmed cases at the institution. According to the University of Windsor's COVID-19 information page, the university has had 10 confirmed on-campus cases, all of which have come this month. Eight of those cases are marked as "resolved.""The member of the campus community is self-isolating and all appropriate protocols and cleaning measures have been taken," the university said in a press release. "As with all COVID-19 cases, the WECHU will take the lead on contact tracing. The University continues to work with and support the Health Unit as needed.""There is no additional risk to the campus community at this time," it added.Most of the university's classes are being taught online this semester.
After a season that has taken it from Hamilton to Charlottetown, El Salvador and Panama, Forge FC hopes the Dominican Republic is the last stop on the way to the Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League.The Canadian Premier League champion from Hamilton can earn a spot in CONCACAF's elite club tournament with a win over Haiti's Arcahaie FC on Tuesday in the quarterfinals of the CONCACAF League, a feeder competition for the Champions League.The four quarterfinal winners in the 22-team CONCACAF League qualify directly for the 2021 CONCACAF Champions League. The four losing quarterfinalists will compete in single-leg play-in games, with the two winners moving on.Arcahaie is playing the game in the Dominican capital of Santo Domingo to make use of the larger Estadio Olimpico Felix Sanchez."It's a challenging game. It's been a challenging 2020 for all of us on this team," Forge coach Bobby Smyrniotis said Monday evening. "Just asking them to start and stop on so many occasions and do what they're doing away from their families and their home."He called the Haitian side "a very good team who's here for a reason. They're the champion of Haiti."The Haitians advanced Nov. 5 with a 3-1 round-of-16 win over Waterhouse FC in Kingston, Jamaica, in round-of-16 play. Forge edged Panama's Tauro FC 2-1 on a stoppage-time penalty two days earlier in Panama City.Arcahaie advanced to the round of 16 when Belize's Verdes FC pulled out of their Oct. 20 preliminary-round match due to positive COVID-19 tests. That match was also scheduled for Santo Domingo.Forge defeated El Salvador's CD Municipal Limeno 2-1 in San Salvador on Oct. 22 in preliminary-round play.The Canadian side has been training in Punta Cana, some 170 kilometres east of Santo Domingo, since Nov. 21. Forge made the trip to the capital earlier Monday.While the Canadian men's basketball team opted not to play in two FIBA AmeriCup 2021 qualifying games in the Dominican in November due to COVID-19 concerns, Forge elected to come south."I leave it to our team manager who put together a great itinerary and trip for us down here, keeping the guys safe," said Smyrniotis.He said the club is also relying on CONCACAF as a resource for the trip.Smyrniotis said the team opted to come early to get more training in after serving its 14-day quarantine back home in the wake of the El Salvador-Panama trip. He also noted it had snowed in Hamilton while they were down south.The CPL champion, thanks to its triumph in the Island Games in Charlottetown during the summer, will also have a chance to qualify for the main CONCACAF club competition when it takes on Toronto FC in final of the Canadian Championship scheduled for the first quarter of 2021.Forge exited the CONCACAF League in the round of 16 last year, beaten 4-2 on aggregate by Honduras's Olimpia.\---Follow @NeilMDavidson on Twitter This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2020Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press
Beginning Dec. 14, if you are not wearing a face covering in the Town of the Blue Mountains (TBM), you could receive a fine. Council has approved its proposed face-covering bylaw at a meeting held Monday. The bylaw will require mandatory face coverings in all indoor and enclosed spaces accessible to the public in TBM. The face-covering bylaw will mimic the provincial face-covering mandate and is expected to be enacted and come into effect on Dec. 14. “Particularly in things like the exemptions, we have mirrored the provincial language,” said Will Thomson, director of legal services for the town. The provincial legislation states businesses and organizations must ensure anyone located in an indoor area on their premises or in a work vehicle must wear a mask that covers their mouth, nose, and chin. The intent of TBM’s municipal bylaw is to shift the obligation from the business owner to enforce wearing a face covering, to every individual person to the greatest extent possible. Under the bylaw, municipal officers will be able to issue a minimum fine of $500 and a maximum fine not exceeding $10,000. TBM council held a special committee of the whole meeting on Nov. 25, which allowed for public and council discussion. Ultimately, the bylaw was carried unanimously at today's council meeting. Council members also unanimously approved the hiring of two, six-month contract bylaw officers with an upper limit of $75,000, which was not included in the current budget. “2020 has been a year unlike any other, in addition to the above responsibilities, our officers have taken on regulating and enforcing business closures during the first wave of the COVID-19; they have enforced crowds, social gatherings and large groups in our public spaces; they have been a constant presence on our beaches during the busy summer months; and have had an active role in ensuring responsible parking and use of our rural recreational resources,” state Thomson in a staff report. TBM currently has four full-time municipal bylaw officers. Through the summer months, the bylaw department had been supplemented with five additional contract staff. “Our officers have been an invaluable resource to our local and business community and have been a calming and reassuring presence as the face of the town since the start of the pandemic,” added Thomson. The two new bylaw officers will be tasked with educating and enforcing all of the town’s bylaws, including but not limited to the new face-covering bylaw. “It only takes one person to not follow the laws to create chaos,” said Deputy Mayor Rob Potter. “Sometimes we can't get an emergency vehicle or a snow plow through and so on. So, we need to be ahead of that game. We can't wait for the problems to happen.” The TBM face-covering bylaw, including exemption and penalties, can be found in staff report FAF.20.201.Jennifer Golletz, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, CollingwoodToday.ca
There is a new women’s clothing store in Merrickville. Hazel’s Boutique is owned by Julia Provost, who is also the owner of Abel Mountain, next door. She took over the store at the beginning of October from Marilyn and Tim Boyce, who ran Portside Boutique for the last seven years. “I’ve been shop neighbours with Marilyn and Tim who owned Portside, and she had kind of hinted at wanting to retire,” Julia remembers. “And, one day, I jokingly said I should just take over for you, because I’ll miss your store.” Soon after, Marilyn and Tim came to her with a rough outline of some numbers. Julia talked it over with her husband, Carlos, and decided to go for it. “It just made sense.” Marilyn and Tim retired at the end of September and Julia opened up Hazel’s Boutique the second week of October. It was a seamless transition, as Marilyn was able to set her up with many of the brands she has worked with for years, and she even took over some of the stock Marilyn had already ordered. Julia says the first few weeks in business were good, especially since they didn’t have a sign in the door for most of October. Hazel’s Boutique is named after Julia’s ten-year old daughter, Hazel. “Abel is my son, and Hazel is my daughter, so it just made sense that they each have their own store,” she says. Hazel loves having a store named after her, “She’s always like: are we going to Hazel’s? With a little giggle in her voice.” Opening a new store during a pandemic has definitely been a challenge for Julia. The most difficult part has been getting enough stock, because supply is down due to COVID-19, even with local and Canadian brands. “You’ll spend hours sourcing something, and then people will get back to you and half the stuff you’ve spent time sourcing isn’t available.” Julia and her three employees also spend a lot of time cleaning the store to make sure it is safe for customers to shop. They sanitize everything every 20-30 minutes and limit the number of people in the store to four. They also steam all the clothes every time someone tries something on, to make sure the items are safe for the next shopper. Despite the challenges, Julia says the local support has been amazing. “People either liking or sharing your posts on Facebook, shopping in your store, trying to shop more local. COVID has really brought the community together,which is nice.” Portside Boutique always shut down over the winter, and Julia is planning on taking advantage of this to make the store her own. They will be closed in January, February, and the beginning of March to do renovations. “It will be a lot of work for my poor husband,” Julia laughs. “He’s a contractor, so at Abel Mountain he’s built 90% of the displays. Anything I dream up, he will build it for me.” Julia admits that running two stores, especially during a pandemic, is a lot of work. But she keeps going because she feels it is in her blood. “I always really liked Marilyn and Tim, and I’ve always sort of had a vision for how I would like this place to look. So I thought: why not try it?” Hazel’s Boutique will remain very similar to Portside, in that it will focus on women’s clothing and accessories; but it is clear that Julia is looking forward to putting her own personal touch on the shop. “I’m excited to see it come to life,” she says. Hazel’s Boutique is open at 312 St. Lawrence Street, from 10am-4pm, Sunday-Thursday, and 10am-5pm on Friday and Saturday. Hilary Thomson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The North Grenville Times
One woman has died after a fire broke out in a seventh floor unit in a Toronto Community Housing apartment for seniors. Erica Vella has details on the investigation.
HALIFAX — For eight long hours, Nick Beaton was in agony as he waited to learn what had happened to his missing wife.By the early afternoon on April 19, he knew a lone gunman disguised as a Mountie had killed several people in rural Nova Scotia before an RCMP officer shot him dead at a gas station north of Halifax.And he knew a woman had been killed on a road in nearby Debert, N.S., but no one would tell him who it was."I just wanted to know," Beaton said in an interview. "Maybe it wasn't her out there. Maybe she's just wounded and down a side road bleeding out. Maybe I can go and help her. Maybe I can save her. Eight hours of that."At 5:50 p.m., two plainclothes officers arrived to deliver the awful news: his wife Kristen was dead, one of the gunman's 22 victims — though Beaton insists the number should be 23 because the official count does not include the couple's unborn child."I was in my backyard bawling my eyes out, and I was on my knees praying," Beaton said, his voice cracking with emotion. Seven months later, Beaton says he wants to know why it took so long for the RCMP to tell him what had happened that grim day.That question will be among the many complex and heartbreaking issues that will be examined by a federal-provincial inquiry that is now preparing for public hearings. The three commissioners leading the inquiry were handed broad terms of reference on Oct. 20. Here are four other questions they will face:1\. Were red flags ignored before the shooting started?The RCMP have confirmed the gunman killed 13 people near his summer residence in Portapique, N.S., on the night of April 18, and another nine people the following day in northern and central Nova Scotia.In all, Gabriel Wortman spent 13 hours killing people he knew and others he didn't.Wayne MacKay, a law professor at Dalhousie University in Halifax, says there's evidence to suggest that key warning signs were ignored long before the shooting started."A lot of people knew that Mr. Wortman was a pretty troubled individual who was doing some odd things," MacKay said in an interview. "But nothing was done."As early as May 2011, police in Nova Scotia were told Wortman had said he wanted to "kill a cop" and was feeling mentally unstable. An officer safety bulletin, distributed by the Truro Police Service, said a police source had indicated Wortman was upset about a police investigation, had access to weapons and was having some "mental issues."An RCMP spokeswoman confirmed the police force received the bulletin, but Cpl. Jennifer Clarke said she couldn't comment on how the Mounties responded, because the records were purged long ago. The one-page bulletin, however, wasn't the first detailed warning that police received about the shooter.Former neighbour Brenda Forbes says that in the summer of 2013, she told the RCMP that Wortman owned a cache of weapons and was prone to domestic violence. She said neighbours described how he had beaten his common-law spouse behind one of the properties he owned in Portapique.But none of those neighbours would corroborate the story to police at the time. MacKay said the behaviour of those people deserves closer scrutiny. "The failure of others to substantiate and support her statements on either the firearms or domestic violence led (the police) to do nothing," MacKay said.2\. What role did misogyny and sexism play in the mass killing?After the killings, several of the gunman's neighbours came forward to describe the man as jealous, controlling and abusive. And police confirmed that on the night the killing started, he had bound and attacked his longtime partner.The inquiry has been tasked with examining the role of intimate-partner violence, which is something activists Jeanne Sarson and Linda MacDonald say is key to explaining what happened."His neighbours were afraid of him, and he had a history of violence," said Sarson, who together with MacDonald founded the advocacy group Persons Against Non-State Torture. "The women he was connected to, he didn't respect their equality."MacDonald said exploring the role of gender-based violence will be important because there is evidence of a link between misogyny and mass killings. "If we understand the impact of misogyny and sexism, we'll start to prevent atrocities like this," she said.Researchers say the motives of men who commit mass shootings are often complex and difficult to discern, but one factor connects many of them: a history of hating women.In more than half of all mass shootings in the United States from 2009 to 2017, an intimate partner or family member of the perpetrator was among the victims, according to a study by the U.S. gun control advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety.3\. What could the RCMP have done to end the carnage sooner?For Nova Scotia lawyer Robert Pineo, this is the key question facing the inquiry. "It just seems to me like a complete failure in tactics and command," he said in an interview. Pineo says there is evidence the RCMP's efforts to track and contain the killer were inadequate."We know that not very many police were dispatched to Portapique in the beginning hours," said Pineo, whose law firm is behind two proposed class-lawsuits, one that names the gunman's estate and another that names the RCMP and the Nova Scotia government.He also raised questions about the number of roadblocks that were set up and the warnings issued to the public as the killer eluded police while driving a car that he had modified to look exactly like an RCMP cruiser.The RCMP have faced criticism for failing to use a national alert system, which would have allowed them to warn residents about an active shooter through messages on TV, radio and wireless devices. Instead, they used Twitter to provide updates on the killer's last known whereabouts.Beaton said the use of Twitter never made sense to him. "We got (Alert Ready) texts about COVID, but we didn't get alerts about a crazed gunman shooting, killing and burning things," he said.4\. Did the perpetrator have ties to the Mounties or organized crime?Published reports citing anonymous sources have suggested the shooter was an informant for the RCMP and may have had links to organized crime. The RCMP have denied having any relationship with the killer.MacKay, however, says the Mounties are constrained from saying anything publicly about their sources to ensure their safety."If there is some kind of link, and they are not telling the truth about that, my understanding is that there is nothing illegal in that if it is to protect the identity of an informant," MacKay said. "They can legally misinform people right up to the courts. But they are not allowed to lie to judges about that."Since the upcoming inquiry has quasi-judicial status and will require testimony under oath, this could put the RCMP in a difficult position."If there was a link, then it raises questions about how much they knew about his questionable character," MacKay said.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 1, 2020Michael MacDonald, The Canadian Press
REGINA — Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe says it's too early to say whether COVID-19 restrictions will be loosened in time to allow families to gather for the holidays. Moe said residents can expect to see high COVID-19 case numbers for the next few weeks, as officials wait to see if the latest public-health measures have been effective.The province reported 325 new infections on Monday and said there are 123 people in hospital, 23 of whom are receiving intensive care.The premier noted that the new rules, which include suspending all team sports and a 30-person cap on indoor venues such as churches and bingo halls, have only been in place for a few days. The restrictions are to continue until Dec. 17, when the premier said his Saskatchewan Party government and the chief medical health officer will decide what to do next. Moe said they could choose to extend existing measures, bring in added ones or loosen the restriction that limits household gatherings "just a little bit so that we can have a few people in our home for Christmas." The limit now is five people."It's too early for us to say which of those three options would occur," Moe said."We need a little bit of time. We've had three, four days since these … additional measures have come into play, and we need to have a few days to see if they're actually going to make any impact on the numbers that we have."Moe wouldn't say how long his government will wait to see if the restrictions plateau the number of new infections."We're continuously adjusting and finding that balance of what we need to do and what we have to do," said Health Minister Paul Merrimen."We're looking at what we have to do with our hospitals to be able to adjust to the influx of patients … we're making adjustments in rural Saskatchewan to see if we can cover off nurses who have become sick."Merriman said the government's response to COVID-19 is a balancing act that juggles the needs of the health-care system with the economy and people's mental health.Opposition NDP Leader Ryan Meili said the novel coronavirus doesn't care about the holidays and Moe is playing politics by suggesting more people might be able to gather at Christmas."We're not going to see my folks at Christmas. Most families aren't and that's the wise thing to do. I hope that the premier is going to make sure that any decision he makes is based on the data," said Meili."The only thing that matters is whether those (case) numbers have come down. We aren't seeing that now. We'll see what happens in the weeks ahead."Meili said if Moe's government was serious about curbing community transmission of COVID-19 in time for Christmas, he should have closed down non-essential businesses several weeks ago to give the health system a break. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2020.Stephanie Taylor, The Canadian Press
TORONTO, S.D. — Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment says it is cutting the salaries of up to one quarter of its full-time staff, and extending salary reductions for senior management and executives to deal with the financial impact of COVID-19.The company that owns Toronto professional sports teams including the Maple Leafs, the Raptors and the Argonauts as well as sports venues, says up to 25 per cent of full-time staff will be moved to temporary inactive status.Extended management and executive salary reductions will be effective Jan. 1.Affected employees will remain on MLSE payroll at a reduced salary, retain their benefits and pension and maintain their access to all corporate communication tools to remain current on MLSE’s operations. MLSE says the length of time employees will remain inactive will be based on its ability to return to normal business operations.Professional sports has been disrupted by the pandemic with hockey games played in empty arenas, football matches cancelled altogether and NBA games having been played in Florida.“These past nine months have been the most challenging we have ever experienced, and while we had hoped to see signs of a return to a more normal business operations by now, the effects of the second wave of the pandemic have forced us to brace for further uncertainty,” stated president and CEO Michael Friisdahl.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2020.The Canadian Press
For a 76-year-old Nova Scotia man, Lear is king.The two-year-old German shepherd, the latest recruit for Kings District RCMP, helped find the man reported missing from his home in the Sunken Lake area late on Nov. 26.A search was started near the missing man's home. Lear and his handler eventually found the man safe in the woods several hours later after a four-kilometre search. Lear only started working in Nova Scotia this September after being trained in Alberta. RCMP Cpl. Jeff Wall, Lear's handler, said the dog has police work in his genes. "He comes from quite literally a long line of police dogs," he said. "His dad was a police dog as well. His mother was part of our breeding program, but not a police dog."Longest search so farWall said the rescue of the missing man was Lear's longest effort so far in his two months with the force. Before Lear arrived in the province, he and Wall worked together at the police dog training centre in Innisfail, Alta.The time together helped them bond."That's probably the most important part of our training," he said. "Our training centre really looks at the whole team, the handler and the dog as a package and how they work together."It's pairing the right dog with the right handler to get the just the absolute best result we can make for a team."General duty tandemLear and Wall were trained as a general duty police dog service team.It means they can track suspects, find lost people and help front-line investigators find clues. They can also take down a suspect, if necessary. It's all based on the dog's ability to track a fresh human scent, but Wall said environment factors can sometimes present challenges.Extreme, heat or cold and high winds can affect the dog's ability to pick up a scent, as can too many other scents in the area.This often happens when family members and other well-intentioned people are also looking for a missing person, as was the case with the Sunken Lake search.Just a little praise"The big challenge that night was kind of breaking away from that and locating a track, and kind of departing the general area," Wall said. "Once we established that, it was kind of obvious that no other person would be in this part of the forest at this time of night other than our missing male."Wall said, like people, Lear just wants a little praise after he does a good job. Unlike his human counterparts though, Lear got to play ball after finding the missing man, and he got a treat.Wall thanked Kings County and West Hants ground search teams for allowing the story to end happily."This doesn't happen this way all the time," he said. "Conditions were in our favour."I've got a really strong tracking dog and I'm just super happy that it worked out the way it did."MORE TOP STORIES
WASHINGTON — After months of shadowboxing amid a tense and toxic campaign, Capitol Hill's main players are returning for one final, perhaps futile, attempt at deal-making on a challenging menu of year-end business.COVID-19 relief, a $1.4 trillion catchall spending package, and defence policy — and a final burst of judicial nominees — dominate a truncated two- or three-week session occurring as the coronavirus pandemic rockets out of control in President Donald Trump's final weeks in office.The only absolute must-do business is preventing a government shutdown when a temporary spending bill expires on Dec. 11. The route preferred by top lawmakers like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is to agree upon and pass an omnibus spending bill for the government. But it may be difficult to overcome bitter divisions regarding a long-delayed COVID-19 relief package that's a top priority of business, state and local governments, educators and others.McConnell is focusing on confirming Trump's remaining judicial nominations, including a vote Monday on a district judge in Mississippi and at least one additional appeals court vacancy.Time is working against lawmakers as well, as is the Capitol's emerging status as a COVID-19 hotspot. The House has truncated its schedule, and Senate Republicans are joining Democrats in forgoing the in-person lunch meetings that usually anchor their workweeks. It'll take serious, good-faith conversations among top players to determine what's possible, but those haven't transpired yet.Top items for December's lame-duck session:___KEEPING THE GOVERNMENT OPENAt a bare minimum, lawmakers need to keep the government running by passing a stopgap spending bill known as a continuing resolution, which would punt $1.4 trillion worth of unfinished agency spending into next year.That's a typical way to deal with a handoff to a new administration, but McConnell and Pelosi are two veterans of the Capitol's appropriations culture and are pressing hard for a catchall spending package. A battle over using budget sleight of hand to add a 2 percentage point, $12 billion increase to domestic programs to accommodate rapidly growing veterans health care spending is an issue, as are Trump's demands for U.S-Mexico border wall funding.Getting Trump to sign the measure is another challenge. Two years ago he sparked a lengthy partial government shutdown over the border wall, but both sides would like to clear away the pile of unfinished legislation to give the Biden administration a fresh start. The changeover in administrations probably wouldn't affect an omnibus deal very much.At issue are the 12 annual spending bills comprising the portion of the government's budget that passes through Congress each year on a bipartisan basis. Whatever approach passes, it’s likely to contain a batch of unfinished leftovers such as extending expiring health care policies and continuing the authorization for the government’s flood insurance program.___COVID-19 RELIEFDemocrats have battled with Republicans and the White House for months over a fresh installment of COVID-19 relief that all sides say they want. But a lack of good faith and an unwillingness to embark on compromises that might lead either side out of their political comfort zones have helped keep another rescue package on ice.The aid remains out of reach despite a fragile economy and out-of-control increases in coronavirus cases, especially in Midwest GOP strongholds. McConnell has supplanted Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin as the most important Republican force in the negotiations, but he hasn't shown much openness for politically difficult compromises required for a COVID-19 deal that might anger conservatives. Neither have McConnell's warnings of a wave of COVID-related lawsuits against businesses, schools and nonprofits open during the pandemic come to pass, undercutting his demand for blanket protections against such suits.Pelosi seems to have overplayed her hand as she held out for $2 trillion-plus right up until the election. The results of the election, which saw Democrats lose seats in the House, appear to have significantly undercut her position, but she is holding firm on another round of aid to state and local governments.Before the election, Trump seemed to be focused on a provision that would send another round of $1,200 payments to most Americans. He hasn't shown a lot of interest in the topic since, apart from stray tweets. But the chief obstacles now appear to be Pelosi's demand for state and local government aid and McConnell's demand for a liability shield for businesses reopening during the pandemic.At stake is funding for vaccines and testing, reopening schools, various economic “stimulus" ideas like another round of “paycheque protection” subsidies for businesses especially hard hit by the pandemic. Failure to pass a measure now would vault the topic to the top of Biden's legislative agenda next year.___Defence POLICYA spat over military bases named for Confederate officers is threatening the annual passage of a defence policy measure that has passed for 59 years in a row on a bipartisan basis. The measure is critical in the defence policy world, guiding Pentagon policy and cementing decisions about troop levels, new weapons systems and military readiness, military personnel policy and other military goals.Both the House and Senate measures would require the Pentagon to rename bases such as Fort Benning and Fort Hood, but Trump opposes the idea and has threatened a veto over it. The battle erupted this summer amid widespread racial protests, and Trump used the debate to appeal to white Southern voters nostalgic about the Confederacy. It's a live issue in two Senate runoff elections in Georgia that will determine control of the chamber during the first two years of Biden’s tenure.Democrats are insisting on changing the names and it's not obvious how it'll all end up.Andrew Taylor, The Associated Press
North Grenville residents now have a new place to go for all their hearing needs. The Kemptville Hearing Clinic celebrated their grand opening on Friday November 27, at their new location they now share with the Kemptville Optometric Centre at 2674 County Road 43. Hearing Instrument Specialist, Karen McCallion, officially opened the doors to the clinic on November 2, along with the clinic’s Client Care Coordinator, Brooke Barkley. Karen has been working in the hearing instrument industry for 16 years and decided to open her own business after she and Brooke were laid off by another hearing clinic in Kemptville due to COVID-19. “I love my career choice,” she says. “When Brooke and I lost our jobs, I never thought about doing something else. This just worked out really well for us.” According to Karen, their business is the only independent hearing clinic in Kemptville, which means they have access to any brand of hearing product that is on the market. “We don’t have agreements with any hearing aid manufacturers,” she says. “It gives us a lot of options,” adds Brooke. The Kemptville Hearing Clinic provides free hearing tests to adults, and you don’t need a referral to book a test. The initial test usually takes about 1½ hours, so that they can do the testing and get a good understanding of the client’s lifestyle and hearing needs. They can not only recommend hearing aids, but also custom hearing protection for people like musicians and construction workers, and earplugs for sleep or swimming. They love their location in the Cornerstone Mall, which houses many other health-based services. They have already seen the value of sharing space with the Kemptville Optometric Centre, because they have been able to refer patients back and forth to each other. “Part of why we chose this space is we figured it would be mutually beneficial. It’s going to be a great relationship," Karen says. Even though they opened their doors right in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, Karen believes it is actually a great time to be starting a new business, as many people are looking to stay local. They are working hard and creating a safe experience for patients by requiring masks, offering hand sanitizer, and doing COVID-19 screening before every appointment. They can also facilitate curb side drop-offs or pick-ups, if needed. “We are taking every precaution,” Karen says. Karen’s main goal is to continue to help people in North Grenville and surrounding communities hear better and protect their hearing. “We hope to be their go-to in the community and continue to provide the best service in North Grenville.” The Kemptville Hearing Clinic is open Monday-Friday, 8am-4pm. To book a free hearing test you can email them at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call the clinic at 613-215-1501. For more information, or to book an appointment online, visit their website, www.hearme.ca, or follow them on Facebook under Kemptville Hearing Clinic.Hilary Thomson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The North Grenville Times
The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada (all times Eastern): 6:40 p.m. British Columbia health officials say 46 people died from COVID-19 over the weekend, the highest number they have yet reported. The figure brings the total number of deaths in B.C. to 441 and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says about 80 per cent died in long-term care facilities. She says the deaths reflect the challenges COVID-19 is creating and, as we face a “significant storm surge” in cases, she says we need to push back against the virus by continuing to reduce our contacts and stick with our households. Henry also announced a total of 2,364 new cases, including all those diagnosed between Friday and Monday and another 277 historical cases added in a data correction. --- 5:45 p.m. Federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu says Johnson & Johnson has submitted its COVID-19 vaccine candidate for Health Canada's approval. It's the fourth potential vaccine sent for assessment in Canada and the first that would require one dose to confer immunity instead of two. Health Canada has been examining vaccine candidates from Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca since October, when those companies sent partial data on their drugs for what's called a "rolling review." If the Johnson & Johnson vaccine meets Health Canada's standards for safety and effectiveness, the Canadian government says it has a deal to buy 10 million doses and an option on up to 28 million more. --- 5:45 p.m. Alberta is reporting a new record of daily COVID-19 cases. The province says there are 1,733 new infections — 13 fewer than Ontario announced today. Alberta’s previous high was 1,731 new cases on Saturday. The province says there have also been eight new deaths and 453 people are in hospital, with 96 of those in intensive care. --- 3:20 p.m. Health Canada has confirmed that it should be ready to approve another vaccine for COVID-19 before the end of December. Last week, Dr. Supriya Sharma, the chief medical adviser at Health Canada, said the emergency review of Pfizer's vaccine was the most advanced and that Canada should be ready to greenlight it when the U.S. does. That is expected to happen around Dec. 10. Today, a spokesman said other vaccines should also be approved at the same time they are given emergency authorization by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Moderna today applied for that U.S. approval and the FDA will meet Dec. 17 to consider it, a time frame Health Canada said Canada will also be on track to meet. --- 2:10 p.m. Nova Scotia is reporting 16 new cases of COVID-19, bringing its total of active cases to 138. Fifteen of the cases are in the central zone, which includes Halifax, and the other is a school-based case connected to the Northeast Kings Education Centre in Canning, N.S., that was reported on Sunday. Premier Stephen McNeil says there continues to be strong public interest in the asymptomatic pop-up rapid-testing locations around the province. Health officials say 628 tests were administered at the rapid-testing pop-up site in Dartmouth yesterday with six positive results. --- 2:05 p.m. Manitoba health officials are reporting 342 new COVID-19 cases and 11 additional deaths. The government enacted strict measures on business openings and public gatherings more than two weeks ago, yet the test positivity rate remains at 13 per cent. The province's chief public health officer, Dr. Brent Roussin, says people have to reduce the number of contacts they have if the numbers are to come down. --- 1:25 p.m. The Northwest Territories has confirmed one new case of COVID-19. But the new case will not be included in the territory's tally of infections because the individual contracted the virus before arriving. Chief public health officer Dr. Kami Kandola says one close contact of the non-resident worker, who entered the territory on an exemption, has been identified and is in isolation. Kandola says all high-risk essential workers are now being tested for COVID-19 upon entry to the territory. --- 1:20 p.m. Nunavut will start lifting lockdown measures on Wednesday as more people recover from COVID-19. The territory reported four new cases today, bringing the total to 181, and the chief public health officer says 73 people have recovered. Dr. Michael Patterson says only Arviat, which has 86 active cases, will remain in lockdown for at least another two weeks and travel to the community will still be restricted. The territory-wide lockdown was put in place on Nov. 18 and Patterson says restrictions will be reintroduced if another outbreak occurs. --- 1:10 p.m. Yukon is offering extra help to tourism-dependent businesses struggling to survive the COVID-19 pandemic. Tourism and Culture Minister Jeanie McLean says $1 million will go to tourism operators and food and beverage businesses that rely on visitors for at least 60 per cent of their revenues. McLean also announced a total of $300,000 for culture and tourism non-profit organizations. She says the two newly created programs are part of a broader funding package for the Yukon tourism industry that will roll out over three years. --- 12:52 p.m. Public health officials in Newfoundland and Labrador reported one new case of COVID-19 today. The woman is a close contact of a previously identified travel-related case. Another infection announced Sunday has been found to be travel-related. Newfoundland and Labrador now has 36 active cases of COVID-19, with 338 cases confirmed since the onset of the pandemic. --- 12:44 p.m. Public Heath officials in New Brunswick are reporting six new cases of COVID-19 today. There are two cases in the Moncton region, two in the Saint John region, one in the Bathurst region and one in the Fredericton region. The total number of confirmed cases in New Brunswick is 501, including 374 recoveries and seven deaths. The number of active cases is 120 with no one currently hospitalized due to the virus. --- 12:12 p.m. The COVID-19 pandemic and a resulting drop in commuter traffic is prompting another refund for Manitoba drivers. The province says it plans to offer rebates of an average of $100 per policy-holder by early in the new year, subject to approval from the Public Utilities Board. Another refund worth an average of $150 was offered earlier this year. The province says a sharp drop in traffic has resulted in fewer collision claims to Crown-owned Manitoba Public Insurance. --- 11:10 a.m. Quebec is reporting 1,333 new COVID-19 infections and 23 more deaths linked to the novel coronavirus. The province's Health Department says there are 693 patients hospitalized with COVID-19, 28 more than the previous day. Ninety-four people are in intensive care, an increase of two. Officials say eight deaths were recorded in the previous 24 hours, 14 others were from the last week and one occurred on an unknown date. --- 10:40 a.m. Ontario is reporting 1,746 new cases of COVID-19. Eight more people have died due to the virus in the province. Tougher public health restrictions under the provincial framework take effect in five regions today, with Windsor-Essex moving to the strictest level short of a lockdown. Haldimand-Norfolk is moving to the orange level, while Hastings Prince Edward, Lambton and Northwestern are going into the yellow level. --- 10:30 a.m. A spokeswoman for the American biotech company Moderna says the first 20 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine will be shipped to the United States next month. Global deliveries, including to Canada, to begin in the first quarter of 2021. It applied to Health Canada for approval in October. --- This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2020. The Canadian Press Note to readers: This is a corrected story. An earlier version said Ontario reported seven death on Monday.
VANCOUVER — The Vancouver Whitecaps are keeping much of their roster in tact next season, but are still working to secure the services of two veterans long term. The 'Caps announced Monday that the club has picked up options on seven young players, including forward Theo Bair, midfielders Michael Baldisimo and Patrick Metcalfe, centre back Derek Cornelius, right back Jake Nerwinski, and goalkeepers Isaac Boehmer and Thomas Hasal.“We see for all of those players next steps and development in the future that makes us believe that they can be an important part of our MLS team, maybe not at the starting point of next season but in the long term," sporting director Axel Schuster said on a video call Monday.The 'Caps opted not to pick up an option for veteran midfielder Andy Rose. Schuster said both Rose and the club agreed the contract that the option would trigger wasn't the best fit. “We are now in an ongoing process to find a better deal or better construction of a contract for him in our club. But there’s no question that we would like to keep him," Schuster said, noting that Rose has been key helping to develop the club's young talent. Discussions also continue with forward Fredy Montero, whose contract runs out at the end of December. Schuster said he was in contact with Montero's agent on Monday morning. “I can tell you that our first idea of a new contract was not exactly the idea Fredy and his agent had. So that’s part of negotiations," Schuster said. "Everyone is a little bit fighting for his position. But I can tell you that the communication is very open.” Whitecaps staff are also working with David Milinkovic to try and find the winger a new team. If they can't find the 26-year-old French winger a new home, he will remain with the club, Schuster said. “He’s showed that he can help this team," he said. "If it ends in another way, this is nothing that concerns us or would be a bad scenario for us.”Milinkovic had a goal and four assists in 16 appearances for the Whitecaps last season. Vancouver has opted not to exercise its option on academy product Georges Mukumbilwa, and 'keeper Bryan Meredith has not been offered a new contract.The Whitecaps finished the season with a 9-14-0 record, missing the playoffs for the third year in a row. Schuster said he's happy that the club isn't overhauling the roster this off-season.“We are confident with this squad that we are able to make next steps," he said, adding that the 'Caps are still looking to bring in a few key pieces. “For this quality that we want to add, you are never alone in the market and it costs always a little bit more.”This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2020. Gemma Karstens-Smith, The Canadian Press
Realtors in rural Nova Scotia are adjusting quickly to a new way of selling houses as buyers from places like Ontario and B.C. snap up properties without seeing them in person.Christopher Snarby, the co-owner of Exit Realty Inter Lake, sells properties from Chester to Queens County and estimates he's sold 12-15 of them sight unseen since May."People have been desperate and they can't get here to see it, and they know things are moving quickly so they just kind of have to make a choice," Snarby told CBC's Information Morning on Monday."And not everybody's comfortable with it, but certainly I've had a number that have been."He admits selling a property virtually can be a challenge. "It's hard to describe a smell or feel of a house, but it really does become our responsibility to try to convey as much information as we can," Snarby said. October was a record-breaking month for property sales across the province with inventory low and prices continuing to soar, according to the Nova Scotia Association of Realtors.Bobbi Maxwell said half of her buyers right now are from outside the province and won't see their houses in person until they arrive. Most are middle-aged people who can work from home and are looking for a place to retire at some point."We're starting to see more people … migrate this way because they want the solitude, the peace, the quiet, the safety and the beauty of the beaches," said Maxwell, a realtor with Viewpoint Realty Services who sells properties around Barrington and Clyde River in Shelburne County."We're not as hot as the metro [market], but it's definitely been one crazy market for us as well." Record October across N.S.The Nova Scotia Association of Realtors compiled data for the month of October that shows 1,427 units were sold across the province, up more than 30 per cent from October 2019.The average sale price was a record $304,590, rising just over 21 per cent from the previous October. In Yarmouth, there were 24 residential sales in October, up 41 per cent from last year and in the Annapolis Valley, 203 properties were sold, up 30 per cent since last October. The average sale price also went up in both areas last month. On the South Shore where Snarby works, sales in October were up about 30 per cent from last year and the average residential price was just over $291,000, an increase of 36 per cent over last October. The booming market is a major win for sellers but can be frustrating for buyers. "We're not usually accustomed to that many bidding wars in our area, but now … most properties have gone into at least two or three offers and the time frames are a lot quicker as well," Snarby said.In the past, houses would sit on the market for six months to a year and now they're gone in weeks or days, he added.Rural internet still a challengeEven though people are eager to move to Nova Scotia for its friendliness and relative affordability, Snarby and Maxwell said they are routinely asked about internet service."It's really funny because people are more concerned about the internet than they are health-care services," Maxwell said.She said newcomers are good news for rural areas like Shelburne County that have struggled with out-migration. But she said there could be challenges, too. Many new buyers say they eventually want to build their own homes but finding skilled labour in the area isn't always easy, she said. "I think we're going to have a lot of growing pains because with the demand, we're very short on tradesmen like plumbers and electricians and carpenters," Maxwell said."I really am hoping that a lot of the people who are moving here from away are bringing in new skills or new motivation to want to ... become career oriented or focused and become tradesmen in our area."Snarby said some of his clients are selling homes in the $800,000 range in Ontario and buying a property in rural Nova Scotia for around $200,000, leaving a healthy amount for their retirement fund. "And at the end of the day, if they're not comfortable with their house or if it's not quite the right one, they can put it back on the market and there's a good chance it'll sell," Snarby said. MORE TOP STORIES
OTTAWA — The federal Liberals are proposing $25 billion in new spending to help Canadian businesses and workers make it through a COVID-19 winter and vowing tens of billions more to help the country recover once the pandemic passes.The government's fall economic update proposes to send extra child-benefit payments to families next year as well as to put cash into skills training and to create new jobs.For businesses, the government wants to bring the wage subsidy back to 75 per cent of business payroll costs and extend the business rent subsidy to mid-March.There is also money for long-term care facilities and the stock of the nation's personal protective equipment, while dropping federal sales tax on face masks and shields.Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland's update makes clear the measures will be removed once the economy improves, although the timing is tied to the path of the pandemic.The cost to date has the federal deficit reaching $381.6 billion this year, but the government's math says it could close in on $400 billion if widespread lockdowns return in the coming weeks.Freeland's update largely adds cash to existing programs, but tees up work already underway to craft a spring budget. She said it will focus on an economic recovery that will include a three-year stimulus plan worth up to $100 billion, depending on the twin paths of the economy and the pandemic."If it's pre-committed and locked in, the risk is you overstimulate the economy, whereas this seems more that if things go the other way, there's more to come, which will support growth," said RBC chief economist Craig Wright.While the details have yet to be worked out, Freeland said the stimulus plan will include time-limited spending on things like a green economy bio-manufacturing — the industry that makes vaccines and medication.Freeland argued some of the down-payments on that plan are in Monday's update, including proposed grants for homeowners to make energy-efficiency upgrades. Perrin Beatty, president of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce said the economic statement provides some short-term help, but it still "presents a plan to create a plan" for recovery.There is no specific "fiscal anchor," a measurement to moor government spending to keep it from drifting off target, guiding the plan. In its place are economic indicators like the unemployment rate and hours worked that the Liberals will use to decide when spending can ease off or when the taps need to be opened wider."As we build our growth plan, and as we deploy it, the measure we're going to be looking at to see if we've got the job done is really around jobs," Freeland told reporters.Rebekah Young, director of fiscal and provincial economics with Scotiabank, said the scant details about long-term plans will likely create unease in financial markets."The creation of vaguely defined guardrails with no real line of sight on the end of stimulus spending, let alone its composition, has arguably added more uncertainties to the fiscal outlook rather than less," she said.The country has recovered about three-quarters of the three million jobs lost during spring lockdowns. The Finance Department estimates the unprecedented spending to date prevented a further loss of about 1.2 million jobs.The document Monday updates the accounting on many programs, showing under-spending on some that the Liberals now want to top up, such as the wage-subsidy program that is now supposed to cost over $83.5 billion. A revamped commercial rent-relief program will cost $2.18 billion this fiscal year. The two programs are, combined, estimated to cost about $16.2 billion next year.Dan Kelly, president of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, noted the changes to business aid will help small businesses plan for an uncertain foreseeable future."Still, it is disappointing that government has not announced further fixes for new businesses and self-employed Canadians, who remain ineligible for nearly all of the key support programs," he said.Spending next year on extra child benefits will send $1,200 tax-free to families with net incomes up to $120,000, and $600 for families that make more than that.The cost will be about $2.4 billion, a little more than the $2 billion for extra Canada Child Benefit payments this year, bringing the total cost for the program next year to $27.9 billion.And while the document includes money for long-term care facilities, there is no specific bump planned in health transfers for the provinces. What the Liberals are proposing is to provide more money to provinces that see sudden drops in revenues through an existing fiscal-stabilization program, an increase provinces asked for last year.To pay for some of it, the Liberals are proposing to make digital companies like Netflix and Airbnb collect and remit sales tax on their products.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2020.Jordan Press, The Canadian Press
Jac’s Boutique in Kemptville held a silent auction to raise money for Big Sky Ranch Animal Sanctuary. It was Jac’s Boutique employee, McCall Laframboise, who came up with the idea for the auction. Big Sky Ranch is in desperate in need of support, because they had to close their doors to the public due to the pandemic. This meant that many of their programs, which usually help with fundraising throughout the year, had to be cancelled. “They do great things at Big Sky Ranch,” McCall says. “This way I could support them and support Jac’s Boutique.” Big Sky Ranch’s Office Manager, Pauline Lafleur, says they were thrilled when McCall reached out to them to offer their support. “We were very happy and grateful that the animals were remembered, even though we have been closed since March because of COVID-19,” she says. “The animals are still in people’s hearts!” Jac’s Boutique ran the auction through their Facebook page and raised $655, with everything going for above the starting bid. Owner, Jackie Taylor, decided to match the dollars raised, bringing the grand total to $1,310. “It feels amazing, especially around the holidays,” McCall says about the success of the auction. “I know they need food for the animals, and it’s great that we were able to help out in this way.” This time of year is difficult for the sanctuary, because of higher costs. They also have to keep in mind that hay will have to be ordered for the spring, so this auction couldn’t have come at a better time. “We are humbled and amazed by the dedication, generous hearts, kindness, and community spirit of everyone in Kemptville, and all the surrounding communities,” Pauline says. Big Sky Ranch is still open for adoptions and surrenders, and they currently have about 119 animals at the sanctuary, most of whom are now in the barns for the winter. The ranch has been in operation for 15 years and has found forever homes for over 3,500 animals, and housed many others who needed a safe, comfortable place to spend the rest of their lives. They are currently in need of Lysol wipes, Clorox bleach spray, and bleach, as well as feed for the animals, which can be purchased at Willows Agriservices in the South Gower Business Park. Monetary donations can also be made through their website www.bigskyranch.ca.Hilary Thomson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The North Grenville Times
EDMONTON — Premier Jason Kenney says Alberta’s largest hospitals are at 91 per cent capacity due to COVID-19 cases and widespread cancellation of more non-urgent surgeries may be necessary.“Our top 15 hospitals are increasingly under stress,” Kenney told NewsTalk 770 radio in an interview Monday.“Ultimately, if we get more and more COVID patients in hospital, the response to open up (COVID) capacity will be widespread surgical cancellation.”He said Alberta has 8,500 hospital beds. Some 2,400 are being set aside for pandemic patients and one-quarter of those beds will be in intensive care.“We have a plan to get back to that level of availably given the current surge that we see,” said Kenney.He said the crucial question is staffing.“You can’t just snap your fingers and suddenly train and certify hundreds of additional nurses for intensive care, for example. We only have a finite number of anesthesiologists who can assist with intubation for COVID patients."In October, the Edmonton area began cancelling 30 per cent of non-urgent surgeries to deal with mounting COVID-19 caseloads.Dr. Deena Hinshaw, chief medical officer of health, reported 1,733 new cases Monday — a one-day record — to go with 453 patients in hospital, 96 of them in intensive care. There were eight more deaths, bringing that total to 541. Last week, Kenney announced a new round of health restrictions designed to address COVID-19 hot spots while keeping the majority of businesses and the economy going.Among the changes, the six diners allowed per table in restaurants now have to be from the same household. Retailers have to limit capacity to 25 per cent.The key change is that people are not supposed to hold gatherings in their homes under penalty of fines ranging from $1,000 to $100,000.Also Monday, Health Minister Tyler Shandro responded to the release of an Alberta Health Services internal memo sent out last Friday. It urged staff in Calgary hospitals to reduce use of bulk oxygen where possible due to expected constraints caused by the pandemic.“Even as our hospitals are packed full of the critically sick, AHS is running short on oxygen,” NDP Opposition health critic David Shepherd told the house.Not true, said Shandro. “This is a contingency plan of AHS, as they do throughout the year,” he said.Dr. David Zygun, Edmonton zone medical director for Alberta Health Services, said the memo was part of an “anticipatory” plan to make sure there are ample resources.“We do have an adequate oxygen supply,” he said.The NDP also criticized Kenney for urging members of the South Asian community in Calgary to avoid extended gatherings. He said some of the highest case rates are in that community, but stayed silent on large weekend rallies protesting mandatory mask rules.“These marches are super-spreader events,” NDP Leader Rachel Notley told Kenney. “Will you condemn these marches and the Albertans who so irresponsibly organized them?”Kenney said it’s up to local law enforcement to hand out tickets to anyone breaking public health orders and said: “We ask Albertans to be responsible in their actions.” Calgary police Supt. Ryan Ayliffe said there were a number of officers, wearing body cameras and taking notes to lay charges later, present during the anti-mask rallies. “It’s my understanding some of those charges were going to be laid this morning,” said Ayliffe, who added that the focus is on organizers and flagrant rule-breakers.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2020.— With files from Colette Derworiz in EdmontonDean Bennett, The Canadian Press
SAN DIEGO — The Navy said Monday that it will decommission a warship docked off San Diego after suspected arson this summer caused extensive damage, making it too expensive to restore. Fully repairing the USS Bonhomme Richard to warfighting capabilities would cost $2.5 billion to $3 billion and take five to seven years, said Rear Adm. Eric H. Ver Hage of the Navy Regional Maintenance Center. The amphibious assault ship burned for more than four days in July and was the Navy’s worst U.S. warship fire outside of combat in recent memory. The ship was left with extensive structural, electrical and mechanical damage. Restoring the 22-year-old ship for another use, perhaps as a hospital, would take almost as long as full restoration and cost $1 billion. Decommissioning the ship will take nine months to a year and cost $30 million, Ver Hage said. “We did not come to this decision lightly,” Navy Secretary Kenneth J. Braithwaite said. “Following an extensive material assessment in which various courses of action were considered and evaluated, we came to the conclusion that it is not fiscally responsible to restore her." Navy officials and industry experts studied the cost and schedule with an eye toward “the art of the possible,” Ver Hage told reporters. They considered the impact that restoration would have on other spending priorities. “The dollars definitely would disrupt our strategy for investment,” Ver Hage said. Arson is suspected in the July 12 fire, and a U.S. Navy sailor was questioned as a potential suspect, a senior defence official said in late August. The sailor was questioned as part of the investigation by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, an official with knowledge of the investigation said in August. The official spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity to provide details not yet made public. The sailor was not detained. Ver Hage declined to comment Monday on the status of several investigations and he didn't give a timeline for their completion, saying they "will conclude when the time is right.” Ver Hage said about 60% of the ship would likely need to be replaced to have it fully restored, including the flight deck, mast and many levels directly below the flight deck. The ship will likely be decommissioned in San Diego. Crew members will be notified of reassignment. The Bonhomme Richard was nearing the end of a two-year upgrade estimated to cost $250 million when the fire started. About 160 sailors and officers were on board when the flames sent up a huge plume of dark smoke from the 840-foot (256-meter) amphibious assault vessel, which had been docked at Naval Base San Diego while undergoing the upgrade. Firefighters attacked the flames inside the ship while firefighting vessels with water cannons directed streams of seawater into the ship and helicopters made water drops. More than 60 sailors and civilians were treated for minor injuries, heat exhaustion and smoke inhalation. Lawrence B. Brennan, a retired Navy captain and adjunct professor of law at Fordham Law School, said the decision to decommission was “inevitable and correct.” Aside from the ship's extensive damage and advanced age, evidence would have to be preserved for any prosecution, delaying repair work, he said. Defence attorneys would be entitled to examine the wreck for expert witnesses to testify at trial. Elliot Spagat, The Associated Press
Niagara Catholic District School Board is reporting another case of COVID-19 at St. Martin Catholic Elementary School, bringing the school case count to 10. An outbreak was declared at the Smithville school on Nov. 19. Public health confirmed to Niagara Catholic that the new COVID-19 case was connected to the outbreak. The provincial database that reports on school-related COVID-19 cases in Ontario on Monday identified four of the 10 cases as being infected staff and four as students. The remaining two cases were not immediately unknown as the provincial database lags behind school boards in its case reporting. Over the weekend, District School Board of Niagara announced an individual at Martha Cullimore Public School in Niagara Falls and an individual at Port Colborne High School tested positive for COVID-19. As a result, three classrooms will be closed: two at Port High and one at Martha Cullimore. “As part of COVID-19 case management and infection control protocol, students and staff who had close contact with the individual are being contacted and told by NRPH (Niagara Region Public Health) to stay home and self-isolate,” DSBN said a media release. The board website Monday listed six active cases at four of its schools. There are three active cases in Niagara Falls, two at Prince Philip and one at Martha Cullimore; two active cases in St Catharines, all at Eden High School; and the one in Port Colborne. The provincial database had yet to identify if the cases are staff or student. Custodians at both schools will complete a thorough cleaning as required. A public health inspector and a public health nurse will visit the schools to complete a comprehensive assessment. Sean Vanderklis is a Niagara-based reporter for the Niagara Falls Review. His reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Reach him via email: email@example.comSean Vanderklis, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Niagara Falls Review