As Americans prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said the holiday will also be marked "with great pain" over the lives lost to coronavirus and urged Republicans to pass bipartisan relief aid. (Nov. 20)
As Americans prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said the holiday will also be marked "with great pain" over the lives lost to coronavirus and urged Republicans to pass bipartisan relief aid. (Nov. 20)
China's embassy in the Philippines has denounced the United States for "creating chaos" in Asia, after a visiting White House envoy backed countries in disputes with China and accused Beijing of using military pressure to further its interests. During a trip to Manila on Monday, national security adviser Robert O'Brien underscored the U.S. commitment to Taiwan and told the Philippines and Vietnam, countries both locked in maritime rows with China, that "we've got your back". "It shows that his visit to this region is not to promote regional peace and stability, but to create chaos in the region in order to seek selfish interests of the U.S.," the embassy said in a statement issued late Monday.
Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen on Tuesday vowed to defend the democratic island's sovereignty with the construction of a new fleet of domestically-developed submarines, a key project supported by the United States to counter neighbouring China. Taiwan, which China claims as its own territory, has been for years working to revamp its submarine force, some of which date back to World War Two, and is no match for China's fleet, which includes vessels capable of launching nuclear weapons. At a ceremony to mark the start of construction of a new submarine fleet in the southern port city of Kaohsiung, Tsai called the move a "historic milestone" for Taiwan's defensive capabilities after overcoming "various challenges and doubts".
Talking to your children about the COVID-19 pandemic can be difficult, but with schools in the Windsor-Essex region and beyond experiencing outbreaks, that conversation may be necessary.So how should you talk to your kids about COVID-19?For Lance Rappaport, a clinical psychologist and an assistant professor at the University of Windsor, the first step may just be acknowledging that having this conversation is not the easiest thing to do."It's a difficult conversation to have ... It's a difficult thing to articulate and communicate with a child," he said. Drawing on your own knowledge of your child — their developmental stage, their fears, and what they already know — can also be valuable in preparing to have the conversation. "Every child is going to be somewhat different, and I think parents are in a unique position to know their child and explain it in a way that the child will understand," Rappaport said.Rappaport added that one of the keys to having a good conversation is to remember to talk about preventative and safety measures against the disease, rather than just talking about the risk.Good listening is keyStacey Slobodnick, clinical lead for outpatient services at Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare's Regional Children's Centre, says that it's important to be aware of your own emotional state heading into the conversation. What might be most important is to be a calm and sometimes inquisitive listener."Regardless of whatever comments the child is making, I want the parent to reflect back, 'Oh it sounds like you're really scared.' 'Sounds like you're not scared at all.' 'Tell me some more about that,'" she said.It's an effort to get information from the child before offering information about the pandemic or an outbreak. But before you do that, Slobodnick says it's important to be aware of your child's developmental stage, including how much information your child can handle.Emphasizing that uncertainty and a lack of control are difficult is also important, but that comes with an opportunity to talk to your child about what they can control."Uncertainty can be really hard, so I want [parents] to validate and acknowledge that that's difficult," she said. "When we have situations where we don't have a lot of control, I want the parents to then focus on what are the things we can control."These include how to spend their time, what things can be done to keep safe and how they plan on doing their schoolwork.What you shouldn't doIn terms of mistakes to avoid, Slobodnick says you should not share questionable information from unreliable sources with your child. You also don't want to project your own fears and concerns, she said, adding parents should remember to stay calm. "So just being really aware, if this is something that makes you really nervous, know that your child needs to see that you're confident and that the two of your are going to get through this situation together," she said.Though the pandemic has been going on for nine months, Slobodnick warns that now is also not the time to get desensitized. "Even though we're kind of used to it by now, it's still something kind of impeding us from living our best life right now," she said.
Regina's 2020 city council was sworn in last night before a small group at city hall.Attendees to the ceremony were limited due to COVID-19 restrictions; each member of council was allowed to bring two invited guests.Eleven members swore their oaths, including five new councillors and new Mayor of Regina Sandra Masters — the first woman to be mayor of a major city in Saskatchewan.Masters said she hopes to take action during her term."I think there's the sense that we talk about some things but we don't seem to strike action plans," she said, pointing to the Renewable Regina Plan that was first discussed in 2018."We might even make action plans but we don't have a lot of actions coming out and I think it's those types of things, if I had a hunch, that have been frustrating for some."Regina's council is full of new faces, with five of 10 city council members new to city hall.While they've only been working together for the past two weeks, Masters said the group has already started to build a rapport."They're inquisitive, they want to understand how it works … even just the debate about some of the priorities has been respectful and I think we've made some advances there."Masters said she's ready to get to work.The next regular meeting of the new city council will be on Dec. 2 at 1:30 p.m.
A class-action lawsuit launched against a Catholic religious order in 2018 has grown from the initial 30 Innu claimants on Quebec's Lower North Shore to 190 Indigenous and non-Indigenous people from across Quebec.Allegations of sexual abuse by priests with the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate initially surfaced during the federal inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls (MMIWG). Those allegations have now multiplied across several First Nations, where the clergy tried to "silence repeated sexual assaults it was well aware of," according to court documents submitted to Quebec Superior Court, in the request for authorization for the class action.The inquiry's stop in Mani-Utenam in November 2017, an Innu community near Sept-Îles, on Quebec's North Shore, revealed decades of alleged abuse against Innu children and women living in Unamen Shipu and Pakua Shipu, on the province's Lower North Shore.Alexis Joveneau, a Belgian priest who arrived in the region in the 1950s, held a tight grip on the Innu communities where he worked, until his death in 1992.Noëlla Mark, who is the main claimant in the class-action suit, said during the MMIWG hearings, that she never talked about the abuse because Joveneau "was considered to be the chief of the village, the head." That public image of a "god-like" figure has since been torn down, says lawyer Alain Arsenault.Fifty Innu women and eight Innu men from Unaman Shipu and Pakua Shipu have since come forward with complaints of sexual abuse by Joveneau. And other members of the congregation have been named in the class action, which hasn't yet been authorized by Quebec Superior Court.Alleged abuse in several First NationsThirty-one people, mainly from the Innu First Nation of Uashat mak Mani-Utenam, have made similar allegations against father Omer Provencher. None of those allegations have been proven in court, at this time.Other priests included in the class action have already been found guilty of acts of a sexual nature.Father Raynald Couture was sentenced in 2004 to 15 months for sexual assault against Atikamekw children. Nine alleged victims from Wemotaci and Opitciwan are naming him as their alleged abuser, in the class-action request.Thirty-three Anishnabe people also came forward with allegations against Father Edmond Brouillard, who was sentenced in 1996 to five years in prison for sexual abuse.Seven Atikamekw people from Manawan claimed to be victims of Édouard Meilleur. And 34 other Indigenous people, as well as 17 non-Indigenous claimants, have come forward regarding allegations of sexual abuse by other members of the order.Out-of-court settlement not yet reachedArsenault says he is not surprised that the number of cases has grown since the case was first presented. There would have been many more, he said, if the COVID-19 pandemic hadn't prevented visits to other communities in northern Quebec."It's the tip of the iceberg," Arsenault told CBC. Initially, the Oblates stated they wanted to settle out of court to spare the victims further trauma. The congregation also set up a confidential hotline, in English and French, to offer counselling to victims of sexual abuse.But the initial negotiations never led to an agreement, Arsenault said, leaving few options other than pursuing the matter in court.The hotline has since been taken down, according to the lawyer representing the congregation, Charles Gibson. Gibson told CBC the Oblates are still hoping to settle the matter out of court and continue to be open to negotiations.Arsenault said that hasn't been possible because the proposals made so far have been "disproportionate" to the harm caused in the various communities where the Oblates were based.The request for the class action covers alleged abuse that would have happened between January 1, 1950, and December 31, 2018.
Good morning! This is our daily news roundup with everything you need to know in one concise read. Sign up here to get this delivered to your inbox every morning.As COVID-19 cases soar and regions lock down, Dr. Tam has a blunt message about holiday planningOn a day that saw Ontario and Manitoba announce record-high numbers of new COVID-19 cases, two provinces pull out of the much-lauded Atlantic bubble and close their borders, and millions of people in different regions of the country plunge back into lockdowns reminiscent of last spring, Canada's chief public health officer said the tighter rules are a necessary evil right now. "The longer you wait to increase the measures, the longer it would take to come out of the restrictions," Dr. Theresa Tam told The National co-host Andrew Chang. She said that over the past several months, provincial and territorial medical officers of health tried hard to achieve a balance where they could keep up with COVID-19 testing and contact tracing while keeping society open. "It's just something that people have never tried in the history of the last hundred years," Tam said. "They were trying really hard to minimize impact on the economic side, on schools, on work.... It's just not an easy thing to do."WATCH | Tam says the message around holidays is the same no matter where in Canada you live:In the past month alone, Canada's number of confirmed or presumptive cases rose by more than 125,000, increasing from 211,732 on Oct. 23 to 337,555 on Monday. Provinces are seeing daily case counts higher than they ever saw during the first wave. And so now, with the holiday season just weeks away, Canadians are wondering if one of the bright spots in Canada's long, dark winter will be another casualty of 2020 — and whether the country will ever get off the roller-coaster of flattening the curve only to see cases soar again. Tam is blunt when it comes to the upcoming holiday season: No large gatherings. Keep it small. Keep it within your own household. "Christmas is not going to be having any kind of large group interactions," she said. "Even with family, you've got to really think twice. Avoid non-essential travel. Keep to your current household contacts as much as possible." Read more on this story here.Simian serenade(Prapan Chankaew/Reuters)British musician Paul Barton plays the piano for the macaques that occupy the Phra Prang Sam Yot temple site in Lopburi, Thailand, in this photo taken Nov. 21. The audience was a bit unruly as they climbed all over him, pulled his hair and tried to eat his sheet music. Barton said he hoped the music might calm the animals at a time when the pandemic-caused drop in Thailand's tourism industry means fewer visitors to feed them, and less money for their welfare.In briefAlberta has reached a "precarious point" in the coronavirus pandemic, the province's top doctor said Monday upon reporting 1,549 new cases and five more deaths. The province's Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw also said there were 13,166 active cases in Alberta — surpassing Ontario's 13,004 for the most in the country. Hinshaw said she was meeting with a cabinet committee "to discuss a series of new measures to reduce the rising spread of COVID-19," and said a detailed update would be coming today. "We must take action. Waiting any longer will impact our ability to care for Albertans in the weeks and months ahead," she said. Read more on this story here.WATCH | Alberta faces pressure for increased restrictions as COVID-19 cases 'snowball':The Canada Revenue Agency says it's warning about 213,000 Canadians who may have been paid twice through the Canada emergency response benefit (CERB) program that they could be called upon to repay the money. But repayment isn't required right away, says the agency. The CRA has suspended collection of debts for the duration of the pandemic emergency. "The Canada Revenue Agency … has issued letters to individuals who may have applied for the Canadian emergency response benefit … from both Service Canada and the CRA, and who may be required to repay an amount to the CRA," an agency spokesperson said in an email. "We will resume collections activities when it is responsible to do so, including collection of debts related to CERB payments." The agency is still recommending people pay back any CERB funds to which they're not entitled by the end of the year, warning that if they don't, the sum will appear on T4A tax slips and will need to be reported as income on next year's tax return. Read more about the possible CERB repayments. Canada has turned away at least 4,400 asylum seekers at the U.S. border since 2016 — including some who were hoping to find refuge here at the height of the global pandemic — according to newly released government figures. Nearly half of those trying to enter Canada over that nearly five-year period made the attempt in the year after U.S. President Donald Trump took office. The figures were released in response to a parliamentary request from NDP MP Jenny Kwan. Under the Safe Third Country Agreement, which has been in effect since 2004, Canada and the U.S. consider each other to be "safe countries" for refugees and require them to make their claims in the country they arrive in first. The agreement has long faced criticism and legal challenges from refugee advocacy groups, who say the agreement is an inhumane way to limit the number of people Canada accepts as refugees. They say the U.S. is not a safe country for all refugees and that the dangers they face have increased under the Trump administration. Read more about the figures on asylum seekers. NAV Canada, hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, is considering cutting air traffic controller jobs at seven towers across Canada in an effort to save money as the global health crisis continues to drag down air traffic. CBC News obtained an internal memo from Nav Canada president and CEO Neil Wilson informing staff that the not-for-profit company that operates Canada's civil air navigation system is conducting studies of air traffic control towers in Whitehorse, Regina, Fort McMurray, Alta., Prince George, B.C., and Sault Ste. Marie and Windsor in Ontario, which "will result in workforce adjustments." The company also is looking into closing a control tower in St. Jean, Que. These locations were identified as having low air-traffic levels, even prior to the pandemic, the memo said. Some aviation experts and airlines warn that the cuts would amount to removing a layer of protection. "It would degrade the level of safety at Whitehorse," said Joe Sparling, president of Whitehorse-based airline Air North. "We would encourage Nav Canada to look for other cost reduction measures." Read more about possible NAV Canada cuts here. U.S. president-elect Joe Biden can start the formal transition of power process after the federal agency that must sign off on it said Monday that he could. "I take this role seriously and, because of recent developments involving legal challenges and certifications of election results, am transmitting this letter today to make those resources and services available to you," General Services Administration (GSA) chief Emily Murphy wrote in a letter to Biden. Yesterday, Michigan certified Biden's victory in that state, while a judge in Pennsylvania over the weekend threw out a lawsuit from U.S. President Donald Trump's campaign that sought to block certification in that state. The move by the GSA means Biden's team will now get federal funds and an official office to conduct his transition. Biden and vice-president-elect Kamala Harris will also get access to the regular national security briefings that Trump gets. Read more about the transition here.WATCH | Trump allows co-operation in presidential transition as Biden chooses cabinet:Now for some good news to start your Tuesday: Why do bees have sticky hair? Because they use honey combs. Tristan Kennedy, 5, shared that joke and more than 100 other knee-slappers outside his home in Pitt Meadows, B.C., this spring in an effort to brighten up the days of his neighbours during the pandemic. For 155 days straight starting in April, Kennedy and his mother, Naya Kohout, searched for jokes and then shared them on a sign at the end of their driveway, with the setup line written up and posted on one side and the punchline on the other. Despite hearing a few groans from those bemoaning the jokes, the response was so positive they asked passersby if they would be interested in a book of jokes. Kohout says the demand was there, so they put together an offering. To date, they have sold more than 120 books, and raised more than $1,200, which they are donating in equal parts to the Ridge Meadows Senior Society and the Friends in Need Food Bank. Read more here about the joke book.Front Burner: Virus rages in 'precarious' AlbertaIn the first wave of the pandemic, Alberta was one of the provinces that seemed to have things relatively under control. Now, the province has daily case rates three times as high as Quebec or Ontario, and ICUs in Calgary and Edmonton have been hitting 90 per cent capacity. But Premier Jason Kenney hasn't addressed the province at a COVID-19 briefing for almost two weeks, and has resisted repeated calls for lockdowns from doctors and other experts. It's leading some Albertans to tweet the hashtag WhereIsKenney. Today, Jason Markusoff of Maclean's joins us to talk about how Alberta got here, and what happens now.Today in history: November 241892: Sir John Abbott, third prime minister of Canada and the first PM born in Canada, steps down due to ill health. He is succeeded by Sir John S. D. Thompson. 1937: The Canadian Authors Association sets up the Governor General's Literary Awards. Bertram Brooker wins the first award for his 1936 novel Think of the Earth. 1980: Moretta (Molly) Reilly, the first woman in Canada to get an airline transport pilot's licence and a member of the Canadian Aviation Hall of Fame, dies in Edmonton at the age of 58. 1981: The Metric Commission of Canada announces the full conversion to the metric system in food stores across Canada. The changeover from imperial units to metric was implemented simultaneously in 21 areas across Canada in January 1982 and covered the rest of the country within two years. 1987: Jehane Benoît, called Canada's first lady of cuisine who published 25 cookbooks and was named an officer of the Order of Canada in 1973, dies at age 83.
A group of medical students from Memorial University are in the midst of running one of St. John's most challenging routes every day for an entire month, sweating it out up Signal Hill in support of Newfoundland and Labrador's Arthritis Society.The idea for November's event, called Hills for Humanity, sprang from second-year students Brett Holloway and Joey Landine, both of whom are part of the newly-created MunMed Adventure Sports Club. The group organized a previous fundraiser running a 50-kilometre race on the East Coast Trail earlier this year, and were looking for a new challenge when the calorie-burning idea came to mind."Me and Joey were chatting one evening and we thought it would be neat to get something started that would kind of engage the community a little bit and [bring] a bit more public awareness," Holloway said Sunday."It gives us an opportunity to kind of showcase what we've been doing in the community."The group settled on the idea of tackling the three-kilometre run on the Signal Hill trail in St. John's, and chose a cause close to one of their members, Claire Neilson. Neilson, a first-year student from Charlottetown, P.E.I. lives with juvenile idiopathic arthritis, and pitched the idea of helping the local arthritis society."It's been something that I really struggled with for a long time. But I found that through exercise it really helps mitigate the bad effects of the disease," Neilson said."I kind of put forward the idea of the arthritis society because they took really good care of me when I was in the pediatric centre back in Halifax. They agreed and here we are."Windy, cold, and slipperyThe team has split up the running schedule over the course of the month, with most members completing the run around five times each. Landine said the area's weather conditions can present a challenge, particularly in November, but that's part of the fun."Everyone knows Signal Hill is windy and cold sometimes, so every day provides a new challenge for sure." he said."We've definitely had a couple of days that were a little bit slippery, so we have to make sure we watch ourselves during those," Emily Collis, a first-year student from St. John's added. "But it's been a really great challenge."Neilson has completed the run five times throughout November, and said the idea of running for a cause so close to her has been rewarding since the arthritis and medical community has given her so much help and support."I think this is a really good way to kind of dive both feet in, especially with COVID and the fact that we're not actually allowed to be in the clinics interacting with the community," she said. "It's kind of nice to be able to give back in this little more of an interactive way.""To be able to give back is just an awesome feeling," Collis said.The running crew enters the home stretch this week, and had raised $950 as of Sunday.They're inviting others to join them in the final push, including Premier Andrew Furey, who they said they would love to run with if the opportunity came.Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
The province is looking for additional health-care workers and alternative accommodations for people who may need to isolate in case there is an outbreak of COVID-19 on P.E.I.The accommodations could be for health-care workers in COVID-positive wards, for example, said Tanya Tynski, executive director of human resources and pharmacare with Health PEI. "They may feel that they need to have an alternative accommodation because they may have a loved one at home who is immunocompromised. And this would allow them to continue to work and maintain the health of their family members," Tynski said."So that would be one of the main areas where we would consider that staff accommodation." 'We plan for everything'Tynski, who serves as P.E.I.'s chief planner with the COVID-19 Joint Response Team, said the accommodations could potentially be used to house patients who are recovering or preparing to be discharged if capacity becomes an issue at hospitals."That would be obviously in a very exceptional circumstance where the pandemic has progressed to a high level of spread and our surge capacity within our system has been exceeded," she said."We certainly don't expect that but we plan for it. We plan for everything."Tynski said the province is also looking to bolster its staffing levels. She said anyone who has worked in the health-care field, even those who are retired, can send an expression of interest to Health PEI.P.E.I. has had 69 known cases of COVID-19. Two remain active.On Monday, the province suspended its participation in the Atlantic bubble as cases in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia continue to rise.All areas of IslandEarlier this month, the province issued a tender to potential accommodation providers. Tynski said it's difficult to predict how many accommodations might be needed, but said they are looking for them for all areas of the Island to support health-care workers.The province had used places such as Holland College for similar purposes in the summer, but that is no longer feasible now that some students have returned to campus.The province is looking for any accommodations that have separate entrances as well as laundry and cooking facilities. A price for the accommodations will be agreed upon beforehand, but providers will not be paid unless the accommodations are used.More from CBC P.E.I.
Search and rescue crews in B.C. are worried that adventurers will put themselves at risk by heading into the winter wilderness unprepared as the COVID-19 pandemic limits travel options this year.They're predicting a repeat of this summer in B.C. when hiking and camping gear sold out as people rushed to the outdoors, followed by a record number of calls for help.The senior manager of the B.C. Search and Rescue Association says there have already been far more rescue operations in the fall months compared to normal years."A lot of it is a lack of preparedness," said Dwight Yochim. "If you look outside in Vancouver right now, there's no snow [but] within a half an hour from anywhere in Vancouver, you can be in two or three feet of snow. He says unless you're prepared for snow, you can get into trouble.A trio of ill-prepared hikers was rescued off Mount Fromme in North Vancouver on Sunday after one of the hikers twisted an ankle. The group had wandered off-trail and called for help around 4:30 p.m. PT. One of the hikers was reportedly wearing shorts.Yochim says it's not uncommon for crews to rescue people who aren't dressed for the conditions."They've been rescuing people with jeans that are frozen solid because they've gotten wet during the day and by the time they're found, the jeans have just frozen solid."Skis and snowshoes out of stockLocal winter sports shops say they're experiencing record sales of winter gear similar to what bike shops and outdoors stores saw in the summer."We brought in several sizes [of snowshoes] and apparently they are now sold out for the season," said Chris Turjanica, store manager at West Coast Sports. "Whatever we have in stock is what we have for the remainder of the season."Many of the customers haven't skied in years, or have used rentals in past years, and are looking to upgrade their equipment, he says.However, Turjanica says it's not only beginner skis and snowshoes that are selling out. Anticipating that ski resorts may be forced to shut down, some customers have decided to invest in touring skis and snowboards to explore the backcountry."It's scary," Turjanica said. "Seeing this large influx of people, from my perspective, they're thinking that, 'Oh, I see this on YouTube. I can just go back there.'"The Backcountry Skiing Canada website says backcountry skiing is "an inherently dangerous activity that requires experience and knowledge to travel safely." Training on how to recognize and stay safe in avalanche terrain is recommended by most guides and safety experts."When I mentioned avalanche safety training to people they don't know what I'm talking about," Turjanica said of some customers. "And that's kind of scary."Additional equipment like shovels, probes and airbags can bring the cost of a backcountry outfit up to several thousand dollars.Yochim says people who want to make the most of the outdoors this winter should stick to their local trails and lower elevations to start."Don't go up onto the mountain peaks, try some lower elevation trails, get used to it, get your stamina up, your level of physical fitness up, do a bit of training."He recommends downloading the BC Adventure Smart app which not only provides tips for staying safe in the outdoors, but can help record a trip plan that can be accessed by rescue teams.
The year 2020 has been already been full of woe, but Dr. Joe Vipond fears the worst is yet to come in Alberta.The number of patients in hospital with COVID-19 has tripled in the past four weeks, but December, he believes, will bring new levels of suffering, as the current surge in COVID-19 cases translates into more people sick and more people dying."There's a deep, dark sense of foreboding," Vipond said of the mood at the Rockyview General Hospital in Calgary, where he works as an emergency room physician.At last count, Alberta had 13,166 active cases. That's more than any other province, including Quebec, which has twice the population, and Ontario, which has more than three times as many people as Alberta.Health-care workers who have been tracking the trajectory of the virus are beyond alarmed at the rate of exponential growth through October and into November, Vipond said.Many have been calling for weeks for a "circuit-breaker" lockdown — relatively short and severe — to slow the spread of the virus."The pandemic has begun a slow collapse of our health-care system and time is running out to reverse it," reads a letter signed by more than 300 physicians and sent to Premier Jason Kenney and other senior provincial leaders on Sunday."Health-care workers are a finite resource. We cannot continue providing adequate care at this pace."More hospitalizations on horizonRoughly 3.5 per cent of Albertans diagnosed with COVID-19 have wound up in hospital so far, Vipond noted, and roughly one per cent have ended up dying.Do the math on the 1,546 new cases announced Monday alone, he said, and you can expect 54 more hospitalizations and another 15 deaths in several weeks' time — just from a single day's worth of viral spread.Alberta's chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, issued a similar warning when she announced the new cases on Monday."We know that hospitalizations typically lag behind the rise in cases by about a week to 10 days," she said."So we will, absolutely, expect to see a continuing rise in hospitalizations and ICU cases over the coming two to three weeks. That's something we would expect to see independent of any measures that are introduced."After delivering those comments, Hinshaw hurried off to meet with members of a cabinet committee to discuss what those new measures might look like. An update is expected Tuesday.Vipond is frustrated it has taken this long for the government to consider serious countermeasures, as the trajectory of the spread has been consistent — and predictable — for some time."We've seen [new-case] doubling times of two weeks for at least six weeks," he said. "You can see people's tweets where they actually calculated it out. And they are bang-on."Foreseeing deathMalgorzata Gasperowicz is one of those people. She is a developmental biologist and independent researcher who has been tracking Alberta's COVID-19 data closely.Gasperowicz correctly predicted in October that, given the trajectory in Alberta's COVID-19 spread at the time, the province would be seeing 1,000 new cases per day by mid-November.Even if Alberta were to be locked down overnight, she says, the province should still expect to see a surge of deaths in the coming weeks from the high number of existing infections.Compounding the problem is the fact that many of the recent cases have come among older adults, who are typically more vulnerable.Throughout the pandemic, the number of deaths among Albertans aged 70 and over has been roughly equal to the number of new cases per 100,000 people in this age group, with the deaths lagging about four weeks behind.The fact this relationship is nearly one-to-one, Gasperowicz said, is a bit of a mathematical coincidence that has to do with the size of Alberta's population. But it allows for data visualization that neatly illustrates the general relationship between daily new cases and daily deaths among older adults in particular.The animated chart below shows that relationship. The case rate among older adults is indicated by the red line and the number of deaths among this age group is indicated by the black line, which trails behind by four weeks. (The chart runs from March to November.)New cases vs. deaths among people 70 and olderThe way the red line shoots suddenly upward in the past few weeks, Gasperowicz said, is alarming. She sees no reason the lagging black line — indicating deaths — won't continue to follow."The more cases we have in this age group, the more deaths we will have, too," she said. "It's pretty scary."Health minister taking situation 'very seriously'Health Minister Tyler Shandro said Monday the government is "taking these rising numbers very seriously."He said senior cabinet ministers would be meeting late Monday and "reviewing that data and reviewing what options are available to us, as a government.""I am taking it very seriously. We all are, around that table," Shandro said. "We are going to be deliberating [on] the situation and we'll be listening to the advice of Dr. Deena Hinshaw."He also warned about a looming increase in demand on Alberta's health-care system."As we have transmissions rise, so will hospitalizations," he said."And that means one less hospital bed for somebody to have their important surgery. So I hope all Albertans listen to that and understand the importance of being able to take all measures and take COVID responsibility throughout the fall and throughout the winter, as we continue to protect ourselves and our health-care workers."
Saskatchewan health policy consultant Steven Lewis has watched from the relative safety of Melbourne, Australia, as COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations and deaths have spiked back in his home province.The southern Australian city of five million people, where Lewis is currently living, is now COVID-free and in the process of lifting restrictions.Lewis, who has advised governments in several provinces and countries, agreed to share his thoughts on Saskatchewan's rapidly deteriorating COVID-19 situation — which saw nearly 3,000 active cases and more than 100 people in hospital as of Monday.On Monday, the province announced four more people with the virus had died and that Premier Scott Moe is in isolation after a recent potential exposure in the Prince Albert area.Lewis said the three-month lockdown in Australia was difficult, but that residents generally agreed it was necessary. Those tempted to flout the rules were slapped with large fines. Lewis said he isn't recommending an Australia-style lockdown, but that one thing is clear: the Saskatchewan government's "half-assed" approach will simply prolong the pandemic's devastating effects on people's health and the economy.The following comments by Lewis have been condensed and edited.On 'high-risk venues'Lewis: It's crazy to allow bars and restaurants and gyms to stay open. They are known worldwide to be three sites where infections take off. Alcohol is a disinhibitor. Loud music makes people lean in and talk louder to be heard over it, expelling more droplets. People exercising strenuously breathe more heavily, sweat, expel. On gatheringsAll mass gatherings, including church services, weddings, funerals, should be locked down, and [there should be] very strong prohibition of socializing at home with non-family members.On mandatory masksAt least [Saskatchewan] has mandatory mask wearing indoors in public spaces. But responding too late can't be undone. It may be useful prospectively but the numbers got bigger than they had to.On enforcing the rulesI don't have strong enough evidence to suggest cause and effect, but enforcement appears to matter.Here in Victoria [Australia], population 6.5 million, since March the police have issued about 25,000 tickets for COVID non-adherence violations, at an average of about $1,200, which is pretty steep. I do think this, combined with the 8 p.m. curfew that was in place for weeks, was a deterrent for young people.What we've learned is that even if messaging is well-done and broadly effective, a small number of non-adherers can spark a new cluster that quickly expands. When 95 per cent adherence isn't good enough, you cannot rely on moral suasion or appeals to civility.On contact tracingOnce numbers get beyond double-digits per day, contact tracing becomes virtually useless. It's just too labour-intensive, people may not have good recall, and there is still stigma and suspicion of authority, so people may not disclose their contacts.On testingCanada is still terrible at testing.Slovakia tested just about the entire adult population in a weekend and then repeated a weekend later. They found about a 1 per cent positive rate the first weekend and directed the infected to isolate. The positive rate the second weekend was a lot lower, no doubt because the first one removed the positives and kept them out of the population.My understanding is that it is still hard for asymptomatic people (in Canada) to get a publicly provided test and the results take days rather than hours.On the Saskatchewan government's 'slowdown' plan[Health professionals] have I think justifiably hammered the government for it's half-assed and complicated approach.It is increasingly clear that you can't slow-walk the pandemic with a fine-tuned balancing act that keeps the economy humming while keeping daily case rates at a predictable and low level. It's too volatile, there are too many asymptomatic transmissions, and there's too big a time-lag between when you are infected and when you know you are.So you have to come down hard and fast and universally to flatten the curve quickly. If you have to stop and start and stop and start, it's just as disruptive for businesses and the pain is prolonged. Bottom line: Saskatchewan has been tested by the second wave and largely failed. It was stupid to differentiate between urban and rural Saskatchewan [on mandatory masks] and it's really stupid to keep known high-risk venues open. The virus doesn't care if you're going to a bar or to church. It's going to bite people in both places if you keep them open.
Two Green MLAs have called out some of their legislature colleagues for examples of what they call belittling, demeaning and patronizing language during last week's sitting.Kevin Arseneau said he's had enough of politicians referring to "our" Indigenous people, a phrase he said conjures up a colonial attitude.And Megan Mitton said she got overwhelming support on social media after revealing an unidentified older male MLA called her "young lady" to her face."Ultimately, language matters," she said. "It really matters what we say to each other and about each other. I think we should move calling women 'young lady' out of our vocabulary, especially in the workplace but probably everywhere else."Mitton won't identify the member but points out that she is, at 34, the youngest MLA in the house and one of only 14 women, "so there's quite a few people who it could be."Arseneau said he has heard the possessive pronoun "our" used for Indigenous people for a long time but decided to speak out after last week's Speech from the Throne. It said MLAs had gathered "on the ancestral territory of our Indigenous people.""It refers to colonialism," he said. "I find it's extremely disrespectful … to take possession of people."Two days later, Liberal leader Roger Melanson said he wanted to contribute to "a strong partnership with our First Nations."Melanson used the phrase while congratulating St. Mary's First Nation Chief Alan (Chicky) Polchies on winning a new term in band elections.Polchies said in an interview he'd also like to see the use of "our" disappear. "Indigenous people are the Indigenous people of this land," he said. "When you refer to 'our,' we don't belong to any group or government other than our own. We belong to the land of Turtle Island. It's the Indigenous people of the territory." The official French translation of the Throne Speech did not use "our." Aboriginal Affairs Minister Arlene Dunn won't say whether the phrase should have been in the English version but commented, "I would not refer to First Nations as 'our' First Nations. I refer to First Nations as partners. Full partners."She notes she has nine nieces and nephews who are Indigenous. "My preference is to call them partners, and be respectful."Arseneau said if Dunn had read the Throne Speech ahead of time, "she could have told government to change that part of it."I know a lot of people in that [Progressive Conservative] caucus, if they'd read it in advance, would have flagged it." Liberal MLA Lisa Harris, who became her party's aboriginal affairs critic after the provincial election, has been vocal in criticizing the Higgs government on its refusal to hold an inquiry on systemic racism but said the implications of the word "our" hadn't occurred to her."I never really thought about that question before but it's a good question," she said, suggesting the word could be seen as a way to be inclusive."I could only begin to imagine what it means, but I think we're blessed to have First Nations in our province, so I guess we're owning the fact that we have First Nations in the province, the same as our francophone population or anglophone population."To me, they're all to be celebrated." Mitton said 98 per cent of the people who responded to her Instagram post about being called a "young lady" agreed with her that the term was ageist and sexist. "In a workplace, but especially workplaces that are dominated traditionally by men, there's a power dynamic that exists, so I think it adds an extra layer to women maybe not feeling they belong because historically they haven't," she said.Fourteen women were elected as MLAs in September's election, a record number. Mitton said none of her fellow female members from other parties had approached her to talk about her post. She said that may be because COVID-19 guidelines have made discreet one-on-one conversations difficult in the corridors of the legislature.
Moh Ahmed narrowly missed the Olympic podium in 2016 and three years later earned world bronze after leading late in the race, yet some of his fiercest battles haven't been waged on a running track.There were many days spent as a young teen playing basketball at a park with younger twin brothers Ibrahim and Kadar, about two kilometres from home in St. Catharines, Ont., while their parents worked."They were feisty and competitive," Ahmed said in a phone interview with CBC Sports. "They wouldn't go home until they gave me the best effort they could. They were my brothers but also my best friends."Ibrahim and Kadar have watched the 5,000-metre runner become a five-time Canadian champion, national record-holder and now a serious medal contender for the Tokyo Olympics next summer.On July 10, Ahmed ran the 10th fastest 5,000 in history, bettering his own Canadian record by 10 seconds in 12 minutes 47.20 seconds. Two weeks later, he ran a 1,500 in 3:34.89, the fifth-fastest time ever by a Canadian.'They inspired me'All that time spent battling his brothers looks to be paying off."It's a competitive milieu I grew up in that really helped me. They inspired me," Ahmed said of his brothers, who also played soccer and basketball. "They were always good, making teams and brought that competitiveness home."In Grade 7 and 8 I was still immature, in terms of my body. I went to a school with some incredible athletes so I couldn't make any of the teams."WATCH | Mo Ahmed: From humble beginnings … to Olympic podium?:Ahmed started running track at age 13 and was further inspired seeing track athletes on television at the 2004 Athens Olympics, as well as Canadian sprint kayaker Adam van Koeverden, who won gold and bronze medals at those Games."Watching all those races," he said, "I had goosebumps. I remember running around the basement after each of those races for 15 to 20 minutes. In my Grade 8 yearbook I wrote 'Olympian' as my future occupation. I didn't know what that meant but it's the fact I was inspired and held on to that [dream]."Ahmed, now 29, realized his Olympic dream in 2012 in London, where he finished 18th in the 10,000. Four years later, he doubled up in Rio, placing 32nd and fourth, respectively, in the 10,000 and 5,000.Ahmed's breakout moment came three months earlier at the Diamond League's Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Ore., according to Jerry Schumacher, his coach at the Portland-based Bowerman Track Club since 2014. The former University of Wisconsin-Madison standout took the lead with a lap to go in the 5,000 and hung on for a third-place finish in 13 minutes 1.74 seconds."I remember thinking he was just scratching the surface and there was better coming," Schumacher told CBC Sports.Ahmed went on to earn Commonwealth Games silver in 2018 and last September clocked 13:01.11 for bronze at the world championships in Doha, Qatar. If there's a sign the Somalia-born runner is ready for Tokyo, he said his record 5,000 run in July at an instrasquad meet in Portland "felt fairly easy.WATCH | Ahmed shatters his 5,000m Canadian record:"Physically I was ready for it, and mentally and emotionally as well," said Ahmed, who enjoys writing and poetry away from the track. "I was very much in tune with my body, on top of my stride, controlling my body and emotions, and was able to observe and read the race well."> He's kind of like that quiet assassin. ... He's got this quiet confidence but when he comes out [on the track] he packs a big punch. — Bowerman Track Club coach Jerry Schumacher on AhmedHis brother Ibrahim was able to attend, which gave him extra motivation."Every scream, every yell and every shout from [Ibrahim] and [my coach and teammates] had pure encouragement," Ahmed said. "It was pushing me, propelling me. There's a deep connection with those individuals and I know how bad they want it for me."Better at handling nerves, pressure"He's kind of like that quiet assassin," Schumacher said of Ahmed, laughing. "You don't expect it [because] he's a very unassuming guy and humble. He's got this quiet confidence but when he comes out [on the track] he packs a big punch."Ahmed admitted to feeling more confident in his abilities and more experienced in handling the nerves, anxiousness and pressures of racing. He also considers himself among those in the hunt for an Olympic medal next summer in Tokyo.Only Joshua Cheptegei, who set a world record of 12:35.36 on Aug. 14, has run faster than Ahmed since Jan. 1, while Cheptegei's Ugandan teammate Jacob Kiplimo (12:48.63) and Ethiopia's Selemon Barega (12:49.08) are the others to have run under 12:51.This is the company Ahmed now keeps and wanted, Schumacher said, when he arrived at Bowerman with big dreams but lacking the skills, confidence and development to immediately reach an elite level."That's what he's always been driving for," the renowned Schumacher said. "Moh's competitiveness or competitive instincts have been the same since [Day 1]. But medalling at that level, with those guys, is always hard."Ahmed hopes he put enough fear in his competitors in the world final after taking the lead with about 500 metres to the finish, dropping to fifth and working his way back to third on the straightaway at Khalifa International Stadium.WATCH | Ahmed claims 5,000m bronze at 2019 worlds:Health will be paramount in the eight months leading up to Tokyo, Ahmed noted."My dad once told me, 'Only a healthy man can go out and seek their destiny.' If you are healthy and can pile up the mileage week after week, you'll be prepared," he said.American runner Evan Jager remembers Ahmed having "a lot of room to grow" when he joined Bowerman, watching him make big gains the first two years and reset the bar soon after the 2016 Rio Olympics."He wasn't going to be satisfied with anything less than standing on the podium at global championships," said Jager, a silver medallist in the 3,000 steeplechase at Rio. "Every part of his life was centred around running and people are starting to see his hard work and dedication pay off."I was not shocked and shocked at the same time [at his running 12:47] because of how easy he made it look," said Jager, who was in the race but wasn't able to hold Ahmed's pace and didn't finish."Tough, fun and super frustrating" is how Jager describes battling his longtime teammate at practice these days."He's definitely more confident over the past two years," Jager said. "Keeping up with him is a tall, tall task. Everyone on the team looks up to him and it just sets the bar even higher."I would not bet against Moh to medal [in Tokyo] but championship races are so hard and competitive. Everyone brings their A-plus-plus game to an Olympic final and I have no doubt he'll do the required thinking and planning to get there."
One of two people who murdered a young Inuk woman nearly seven years ago in Halifax has been granted eight escorted temporary absences from prison. Victoria Lea Henneberry pleaded guilty in 2015 to second-degree murder in the death of Loretta Saunders. Henneberry, 35, received an automatic life sentence with no chance of full parole for 10 years. Earlier this month, the Parole Board of Canada granted Henneberry passes to attend programs that are not offered in the prison where she is incarcerated. Each of the eight trips will be for an hour and a half, plus an additional 2½ hours for travel time. Saunders, a 26-year-old woman from Labrador, was subletting her Halifax apartment to Henneberry and Henneberry's then-boyfriend, Blake Leggette, at the time of her death in February 2014.She was killed after showing up at the apartment to collect late rent payments. Her body was discovered in the median of the Trans-Canada Highway west of Salisbury, N.B., a couple of weeks later. Police caught up to Henneberry and Leggette in southern Ontario, where they also discovered Saunders's car and some of her personal belongings. The couple was arrested and returned to Halifax.Previously granted 5-hour passLeggette, now 31, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder, which also carries an automatic life sentence. He must serve 25 years before being eligible for parole.At the time of her death, Saunders was studying at Saint Mary's University and writing a thesis on missing and murdered Indigenous women. She was also pregnant.Henneberry has identified as American Cherokee on her mother's side, but the parole board noted in a decision she was not raised in the culture and has no knowledge of her history."A number of victim and community submissions were presented that opposed your claim to Indigenous heritage and your access to related resources and supports," the board said in its decision.Henneberry was granted a five-hour pass last February to attend a session with the Healing of Seven Generations, an Ontario-based organization offering various programs for Indigenous people.However, amid public outcry, Henneberry lost community support for attending the session and was banned from accessing services for the remainder of her sentence. Being held in minimum-security facilityWhile she has been granted new escorted absences, COVID-19 restrictions mean that programs outside the prison are not currently available.Overall, the parole board said Henneberry's behaviour in prison has shown steady improvement, to the point where she is now being held in a minimum-security facility. It did not disclose where.However, it also noted Henneberry does not believe she should be serving a life sentence."Your Case Management Team (CMT) report you continue to demonstrate an unrealistic sense of entitlement at times, as you state that you should not be serving a life sentence and should not be incarcerated as there is nothing left for you to learn in prison and you should be released at your earliest eligibility date," it said. The board said Henneberry plans to apply for day parole in February of next year.While the board does not disclose where any inmate is being held for security reasons, its latest decision on Henneberry was released from Ontario.MORE TOP STORIES
There are barely a dozen homes at Cape Spencer on the Bay of Fundy coast. But people here are not surprised when strangers quietly appear in their community about 25 minutes from downtown Saint John.The arrivals are often preceded by an upward trend in gold prices."We've always had people looking for gold out here," said Kimberly Burry, whose home sits atop a hill looking out toward the ocean.The latest newcomers, a small crew of geologists, caused barely a ripple this fall when they took up residence in a rented house and began their daily trips into the woods to explore the many rock outcrops and other geological features.If they find what they're looking for, they'll want to take care to reassure neighbours a new mine will not be like the old mine, which left a legacy of environmental ruin when it closed more than thirty years ago. Gold prices have climbed steadily since September, 2018 and, as of last week, sat at $2400 an ounce, close to a nine year high.'The region's becoming hot'These particular newcomers work for Magna Terra Minerals, a junior mining company based in Toronto whose stock was trading at 24 cents on Friday.That doesn't diminish the optimism of company president, Lewis Lawrick."The region's becoming hot," said Lawrick, who claims there is evidence of gold throughout a fault known as the Avalon Terrane that extends from Newfoundland, through northern Nova Scotia, southern New Brunswick and on down the New England coast."It's probably one of the most unloved and under explored and misunderstood mineralized gold belts in North America," he said. "And it's starting to gain a lot of interest within the geological community." Magna Terra has obtained mineral rights for more than 5000 hectares extending almost ten kilometres along the Fundy coast and inland two to four kilometres.Included is the site of the former Gordex Minerals gold mine that closed in 1988 leaving a legacy of lost investments and environmental desecration.Clean-up & restoration attempts 'feeble'Gordex opened with much fanfare in 1986, 30 years after its founder, Morton Gordon, a young hobbyist prospector, discovered gold while exploring with a simple rock pick.He later staked claims and raised more than a million dollars to mine the low-grade ore using a then new method, called heap leaching to draw out the gold.Heap leaching involved spraying a diluted calcium cyanide over the crushed rock. The solution leaches down, melting the gold from the rock as it passes through.It worked fairly well as a method for extracting gold, but set off alarms when it came to the environment.When Environment Canada learned runoff from the site was making its way into a nearby stream just a few hundred meters from the ocean, they ran a water quality test.All the rainbow trout used in the test died within 60 hours.Changes were made and later tests showed the water to be clean, but contaminated barrels remained onsite for years after the mine closed. And three decades later, a beautiful coastal landscape remains badly scarred.Neighbour Stephen Mitchell, whose family now owns part of the mine site, said large areas were cleared and excavated for the mine, roads were built with little regard for property owners. He describes the cleanup and restoration effort mandated by the province afterward as 'feeble.' "It will take nature hundreds of years to correct it," said Mitchell.Lawrick said he's very much aware neighbours will be apprehensive about talk of a new mine."It left a pretty sour taste in people's mouths," he said. "And that's certainly not something we're intending to repeat."Lawrick said his company is most interested in a formation dubbed 'Emilio's Zone', about three kilometres to the northeast of the Gordex mine site, and roughly the same distance from the nearest homes.He's hoping to find higher grade gold that can be extracted by far more efficient means than were employed by Gordex Minerals.> Going back 150 years or so 'til now, there's never been a profitable gold mine \- David Thompson, former Fundy Baykeeper"I wouldn't anticipate that we would ever, in my wildest dreams, be looking at any sort of a bulk tonnage, heap leach operation in this part of the world."Lawrick said it is too early to determine whether an open pit or underground mine would be used or whether there's enough gold in the area to justify any mining.Even then, he said with permitting and other hurdles, it takes 10 to 15 years from the time a significant gold deposit is discovered to the opening of a mine.Longtime environmentalist and former Fundy Baykeeper David Thompson was active in the fight to have the Gordex mine site cleaned up by the province in the early 1990's following the collapse of the venture. He doubts heap leaching would be attempted here a second time, and he's skeptical a significant gold deposit will ever be found. "Going back 150 years or so 'til now, there's never been a profitable gold mine," said Thompson. "I mean anywhere in southern New Brunswick or along the Fundy coast here."Still a business case for goldPrior to entering politics, former Saint John MP Paul Zed was Gordex Minerals' secretary treasurer and spokesperson.He said millions of dollars worth of gold was poured at Cape Spencer. And at today's prices he believes there's still a business case for some kind of gold extraction in the Cape Spencer area. Looking back, he said a lot of emphasis was placed on creating jobs rather than on creating an 'appropriate balance' when it came to the environment.He said the operation had cleaned up its practices by the time it was forced out of business by falling gold prices.Nonetheless the concerns raised by the facility's neighbours can be justified."I think they were valid," said Zed. "You know, to tear up a beautiful coastline without proper standards becomes, I think, a critical factor in any operation."
Students at the University of Calgary are fighting to expand the school's African studies program.For more than two decades, only two African studies courses have been available at the U of C, and for the past decade they've been taught by just one professor. Students say they hope an expansion of the program would mean more classes and more teachers. Prof. Caesar Apentiik said it would make him very proud to see the program finally expanded. "The university is trying to decolonize its curriculum, and decolonizing its curriculum means bringing into focus studies like African studies," he said. "This fits well with the university's strategic plan of trying to internationalize our students' degrees to give them a global perspective, and Africa is an important part of that discussion."Student advocates looking to help the program grow are now applying for $300,000 through the Quality Money program — a partnership between the Students' Union (SU) and the university — which gives the campus community an opportunity to bring forward ideas to enhance the overall student experience. "Each year, the SU is provided with approximately $1.67 million from the UCalgary board of governors to invest in these projects. Through this unique program, students have a direct say in how a portion of their tuition is spent," said students' union president Frank Finley in a written statement to CBC News."Since 2004, over $26,000,000 has been awarded to more than 260 Quality Money initiatives that range from physical space upgrades to the creation of expanded academic and professional opportunities for students."Second year student Prudence Iticka with Black People United is one of the students behind the application to expand the African studies program.Iticka said she became passionate about making this change after she inquired about getting a minor in African studies. "When I went to look at the course offerings, I realized that there are only two courses offered in African studies every academic year," she said. "I reached out to the only professor in the department and I asked him, 'how does one actually major when there are so few courses available within this program?'"Iticka said she was told that the way the program is now, that option simply isn't available."When I found that out, I started reaching out to other students within U of C to find out what we can do. How can we rally behind this program not only to save it, but also to expand it so that students can minor?" she said."Because right now you can't, really. You have to go to another school if you're seeking a minor in African studies because the course offerings here are just mediocre."As an educator, Apentiik said it's been difficult telling students they can't major or minor in African studies, despite their interest."I will say that the saddest moment is to see your student struggling when they have genuine interest in a regional area and they can't minor in it," he said. "We anticipate that if we are able to achieve what we're trying to do now, it means that we'll have enough courses within the program and students can be assured that they will have enough courses if they make a decision to minor." The expansion of the program is also something the U of C's African-Caribbean Student Association (ACSA) would like to see. "By using the Quality Money application, we're able to hire more black professors to teach more African studies courses. That's something that the African Caribbean Student Association has been pushing alongside multiple other organizations on campus," said co-president Ganiyat Sadiq.With their application due on Friday, Sadiq said student advocates are collecting all evidence of community support for the expansion of the African studies program. "We have to get a lot of student support and community support just to show the university administration that it is something that is wanted on campus, too," she said. Sadiq said a petition organized by ACSA has already garnered more than 1,000 signatures of support. "We were able to show that there are over a thousand students that do want to have Africana studies courses and who do want to take those courses and would potentially want a minor in that degree. That's a primary thing we've been doing."Iticka said the existing African studies courses offered at the U of C are already very popular. "They're constantly wait-listed. The enrolment is incredibly healthy for those two courses," she said. Iticka said offering more African studies courses isn't just something that students are showing they want, but also something she believes will have a big impact on the greater Calgary community. "If we truly seek to develop the next generation of leaders, we have to give them a global perspective. This education is so necessary and we don't want people to think that we're doing this for African students," she said. "Everybody benefits from learning about Africa. We want people to understand that, you know, this is so much bigger than just the university." Iticka said that since the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police in May, the U of C has made a lot of statements about anti-racism but she hasn't seen a lot of concrete steps to make change at the school."For now, we've just seen that it's a lot of lip service that is being paid to dismantling structural racism and tackling racism and discrimination, but there is actually nothing that is being done so far," she said. "We believe that you can actually tackle racism and undo its harm through education, because a lot of the unconscious bias and the stereotypes that a lot of people have about Black people comes from the fact they know nothing about Black people, about Black history, about African history," she said."We can combat this unconscious bias. We can combat these stereotypes with proper education about African people, where they come from, what is their contribution to humanity [and by] seeing Black professors and having black professors in their life."In a written statement to CBC News, the U of C's faculty of arts said that while it is too early to know what the outcome of the Students' Union process for selecting Quality Money recipients will be, the faculty is supportive of the student-led application for Quality Money funds to expand course offerings in African studies."The faculty has committed to providing some additional funds, in the event of a successful application, and in order to hire an instructor of African studies for the next three years," said Richard Sigurdson, dean of the faculty of arts.The funding amount from the faculty will be determined following the decision by the Students' Union about the application, as they may choose to offer partial funding or the full amount requested.Recipients of Quality Money will be informed in April 2021. For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.
There's mixed messaging emerging from the debate over methylmercury contamination in Labrador, with a U.S. researcher again raising the alarm about the toxic organic compound, while a contractor monitoring the effects of Muskrat Falls — backed up by the Department of Environment — says there's no need to worry.Ryan Calder co-authored a 2015 study by researchers at Harvard University saying hundreds of Labrador Inuit will be exposed to dangerous levels of methylmercury once the Muskrat Falls reservoir is fully flooded.The report was rejected at the time by Nalcor Energy, the government-owned corporation building the controversial hydroelectric generating station and dam on the Lower Churchill River.Calder has since moved on to research university Virginia Tech, but has continued to follow the findings of an ongoing monitoring program on the river and in Lake Melville.He said recent data showing an increase in the toxin is cause for concern."There's a small number of people that eat enough fish and marine mammals for it to be a concern," Calder said during a phone interview. "Probably in the hundreds of people among the Labrador Inuit that would be pushed beyond the Health Canada and EPA [United States Environmental Protection Agency] reference sources for mercury exposure."But Jim McCarthy — a senior biologist with Wood Environmental Infrastructure Solutions, which has been contracted by Nalcor to lead a methylmercury monitoring program in central Labrador — disagrees.It's now been a full year since the Muskrat Falls reservoir was filled to capacity, and McCarthy said methylmercury levels in the Muskrat reservoir has average 0.06 nanograms (one billionth of a gram) of methylmercury per litre of water. And as expected, McCarthy said levels increased in the summer, reaching as high as 0.2 nanograms per litre in one sample, with the 2020 summer average at 0.07 nanograms per litre.The natural levels prior to reservoir flooding was 0.017 nanograms per litre, said McCarthy.So is McCarty alarmed by those numbers? "That's not high at all," he said. "To put it in terms of drinking water quality, there'd be an advisory on if the water quality had 1,000 nanograms per litre of methylmercury."The main concern for area residents is their wild food supply becoming contaminated with unsafe levels of methylmercuy, and so far there is no evidence of this, said McCarthy, who has been studying the water and fish in the Churchill River for two decades.Fish samples collected in 2019 did not show any changes in methylmercury levels from previous years.McCarthy is awaiting laboratory results from fish samples collected in September and October, but is not expecting any significant change again this year.McCarthy said it can take anywhere from three to five years for higher concentrations of methylmercury to appear in fish, and, he said, "I don't expect it to be much."When asked if he envisioned a scenario where area residents might be advised against consuming fish or mammals, McCarthy said, "I"m not a human health person, I'm a fish person. But I don't believe so, based on the data that I've seen, I don't think there'll be advisories."The Environment Department said methylmercury levels are below the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment's guidelines."To date, monitoring data confirms that the actual methylmercury levels are far below predicted levels by CCME guidelines for aquatic life," a department spokesperson wrote in an email to CBC News.A statement from Nalcor says, "The Muskrat Falls reservoir is reacting in a similar way to other reservoirs following the first year of flooding."In fact, Nalcor says average methylmercury concentrations in the reservoir are slightly lower than predicted for the past year, at 0.058 nanograms per litre. The concentrations decrease further downstream, said Nalcor."We've noticed that there is an increase, but not a very large increase," said McCarthy.McCarthy said it's common for concentrations to increase in the first three years after reservoir flooding, and eventually return to natural levels.He said he could easily find a pond dammed by a beaver anywhere in the province and find higher concentrations of methylmercury.He stressed that the consumption of fish and mammals should not be avoided."I think they're safe to eat, yes," he said.Ballooning project costs and long delays have dogged the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project for years, but human health concerns have also been at the forefront, especially for those who eat fish and other mammals in the region.The threat of methylmercury contaminating the wild food supply resulted in protests four years ago, and a prolonged impasse was resolved after the provincial government agreed to establish an independent expert advisory committee.An enhanced monitoring program was also launched, with weekly testing at more than a dozen sites upstream of the Muskat Falls reservoir, downstream into Lake Melville, as far as Rigolet.The issue flared again last year after the provincial government failed to deliver on a promise to clear some vegetation — a process known as wetland capping — from the reservoir prior to full flooding, with then premier Dwight Ball calling it an unintentional oversight.Nalcor responded by allocating $30 million in compensation for three Indigenous groups in Labrador.Meanwhile, Ryan Calder says the data emerging from river monitoring is supporting his early concerns about methylmercury."The first data that's rolling out is consistent with our predictions, and is exactly what Nalcor refused to believe five years ago," said Calder."Immediately the levels are going way beyond the Nalcor projected peak, and are now well within the range of what we had predicted. And they're still rising. The fact that we're in late November now and the levels are still rising quite sharply, when they usually are falling, is a concern. And it suggests they'll probably continue to rise next spring and summer."When asked why Calder's tone is so different from his own, McCarthy replied, "Well, there's two conflicting models too, I guess."Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
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The city of Moncton is asking residents not to treat parks like decoration stores.Dan Hicks, the director of parks and leisure operations for the city, said he's aware of incidents in two local parks where residents have been cutting pine branches and taking them home.One incident happened at Centennial Park. And Hicks said someone witnessed branches being cut in Irishtown Nature Park, and alerted the city.Irishtown Nature Park is one of Canada's largest urban parks and is designated as a nature park, meaning the land is permanently set-aside for the enjoyment of residents but also for the conservation of biological diversity.While some may think it's harmless, Hicks says it's stealing."It's theft, it's destruction of property, it's not your property you shouldn't take it home so that's the first thing." Hicks said."The second thing is these are nature areas, these parks are for everyone, they're the lungs of the city and overall we'd like to see these small trees eventually become big trees and be contributors to our ecosystems so that's why these spaces are here and protected."Hicks said cutting branches can damage the ecosystem."Each one of these trees has a function. They're here to provide ecological benefits and services to the park and ultimately to the citizens and the four legged citizens that also use them for food and shelter and everything else." he said.Hicks said the pandemic is making it hard for many people as the holiday season approaches, but he says there are alternatives to cutting branches off trees in a park."We all want to celebrate the festive season and it's a difficult year for that for sure but there are a lot of really good local sustainably produced festive decor products that people can find in their local area. You don't have to go far, we're in New Brunswick." he said.Hicks said people can also apply for a permit to harvest wreath tips and branch materials on Crown land through the provincial Natural Resources Department. The fee is $20 and the landowner's permission is required.If someone is caught cutting branches in a park, Hicks said the RCMP can be called and charges could be laid.He said if anyone sees this happening, they should report it to the city.Hicks said the parks are there for everyone's enjoyment, not "just for your living room."
In The News is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to kickstart your day. Here is what's on the radar of our editors for the morning of Nov. 24 ... What we are watching in Canada ... EDMONTON — Alberta’s chief medical officer of health says COVID-19 has become like a snowball rolling down a hill, picking up size and speed, and threatening to overwhelm the health system. Dr. Deena Hinshaw says immediate action is needed to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus. Premier Jason Kenney and select cabinet ministers were to meet with Hinshaw, and new measures are expected to be announced today. Alberta, once a leader in how to prepare for and contain the virus, has in recent weeks become a national cautionary tale. There have been well over 1,000 new cases a day for five straight days, and there are more than 300 patients in hospital and more than 60 in intensive care. Kenney has said he wants targeted measures to control the virus while keeping businesses as open as possible. Others, including some doctors, say the focus needs to be on a sharp clampdown, even for a short period. --- Also this ... A new poll by Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies suggests many Canadians are gaining weight because they're eating more and exercising less during COVID-19 pandemic. Thirty-two per cent of respondents said they have gained weight since March, while 15 per cent said they lost weight over that time. Jack Jedwab, president of the Association for Canadian Studies, says this is one of the collateral effects of the pandemic, as the survey suggests there is a link between weight gain and fear of COVID-19. Forty-six per cent of respondents who said they are very afraid of COVID-19 gained weight during the pandemic. Forty-four cent of those who expressed that level of fear said they have been exercising less than they did before the pandemic and about 46 per cent said they were eating more than usual. The online survey of 1,516 Canadians was conducted Oct. 29-31 and cannot be assigned a margin of error because internet-based polls are not considered random samples. --- What we are watching in the U.S. ... The U.S. General Services Administration has ascertained that president-elect Joe Biden is the “apparent winner” of the Nov. 3 election. President Donald Trump, who had refused to concede the election, said Monday that he is directing his team to co-operate on the transition but is vowing to keep up the fight. The move clears the way for the start of the transition from Trump’s administration and allows Biden to co-ordinate with federal agencies on plans for taking over on Jan. 20. An official said Administrator Emily Murphy made the determination after Trump efforts to subvert the vote failed across battleground states, most recently in Michigan, which certified Biden’s victory Monday. And today, Biden is preparing to formally announce his national security team to the nation. Those being introduced during an afternoon event are among Obama administration alumni whose roles in the upcoming administration signal Biden's shift away from the Trump administration’s “America First” policies. The picks include former Secretary of State John Kerry to take the lead on combating climate change. Outside the realm of national security and foreign policy, Biden is expected to choose former Fed chair Janet Yellen as the first woman to serve as treasury secretary. --- What we are watching in the rest of the world ... China’s latest trip to the moon is another milestone in the Asian powerhouse’s slow but steady ascent to the stars. China became the third country to put a person into orbit a generation ago and the first to land on the far side of the moon in 2019. The Chang’e 5 mission, launched today, will be the first to bring back moon rocks and debris since a Soviet mission in 1976. Future ambitions include a permanent space station and putting people back on the moon more than 50 years after the U.S. did. --- On this day in 2002 ... Quebec Premier Bernard Landry announced that the May 24th Quebec holiday, ``La fete de Dollard,'' would henceforth be known as ``La Journee nationale des Patriotes.'' The name was changed to honour the movement that contributed to the Rebellions of 1837-38 in Lower Canada and became an early symbol of French-Canadian nationalism. --- In entertainment ... Anne Murray wasn’t sure her singing voice was still intact until a few months ago. The famed Canadian crooner had left her most-cherished instrument largely unchecked while in retirement, aside from belting out a song here and there while doing household chores. But last summer, she decided to dust off her guitar to see whether her trademark lush alto voice could still carry a tune. Murray says she performed a few of her old songs “just for the fun of it,” and was pleased to learn her famous pipes are still humming. The winner of 24 Junos and four Grammys swore off recording new music more than a decade ago, but she recently compiled several of her classic tracks for a new holiday album. “The Ultimate Christmas Collection” brings together 22 songs pulled from Murray's various Christmas albums, including “Joy to the World, “Blue Christmas” and “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” with Michael Buble. --- ICYMI ... A Quebec municipality that had planned to cull about 15 white-tailed deer in the coming days relented late Monday amid pressure on officials to relocate the animals. Longueuil Mayor Sylvie Parent said in a statement the threat of people intervening or attempting to thwart the cull has forced the city to consider other options. Parent noted the plan to capture and slaughter the deer, approved by Quebec's Forests, Wildlife and Parks Department, was supported by a "broad consensus within the scientific community." But given the circumstances, she's asking the city's top civil servant to come up with a plan to move the deer from Michel-Chartrand Park to a sanctuary authorized by provincial officials. Parent's announcement came hours after an animal rescue group and a lawyer who champions animal rights urged the Montreal-area city to reconsider its plan to kill half the white-tailed deer in the park and donate the meat to a food bank. The organization, Sauvetage Animal Rescue, along with well-known Montreal lawyer Anne-France Goldwater, had urged Parent to consider its own plan to relocate the animals to a sanctuary, free of charge. Ultimately, the city relented but Parent said the deer situation would need to be resolved quickly. --- This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 24, 2020 The Canadian Press