France is approaching the halfway point of its second lockdown. The current measures were announced by President Emmanuel Macron nearly 2 weeks ago - in the hope to stem the spread. But how effective have they been?
France is approaching the halfway point of its second lockdown. The current measures were announced by President Emmanuel Macron nearly 2 weeks ago - in the hope to stem the spread. But how effective have they been?
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
OTTAWA — Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland's first fall mini-budget finds new funds for families and businesses and scratches a longtime provincial itch over transfer payments as she tries to find a delicate balance between pandemic anxiety and political prudence.Freeland defended the federal government's record deficit of more than $381 billion as affordable — given low interest rates — and necessary and accused the former Conservative government of withdrawing stimulus too quickly after the last recession 12 years ago. “As we have learned from previous recessions, the risk of providing too little support now outweighs that of providing too much,” Freeland said. “We will not repeat the mistakes of the years following the Great Recession of 2008.”However Freeland responded to calls for some sense of when the federal largesse will end only by promising what she calls "fiscal guardrails" based on employment numbers, to guide when post-pandemic federal stimulus will start to be phased out.“These data-driven triggers will tell us when the job of building back from the COVID-19 recession is accomplished, and we can bring one-off stimulus spending to an end,” Freeland said.But as far as opposition parties are concerned, Freeland's plan is a pie-in-the-sky effort that does not answer the main concern Canadians have about ending the pandemic: when and how they will be getting a COVID-19 vaccine."Canadians want their lives back," said Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole.Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said almost a week ago that while Canada has contracts for more than $1 billion in vaccines for COVID-19, because we aren't producing any of the front runners here, we won't be first in line to get them. Opposition parties have pounced on the revelation. The Conservatives have gone as far as to suggest Canadians could be waiting until 2023, though the first vaccines are expected to arrive in Canada in January.The government has been trying hard to repair the damage from Trudeau's statement and fend off the opposition attack, prompting Freeland to mention vaccines no fewer than nine times in her speech Monday. "Safe, effective and plentiful vaccines are on the way," Freeland said.The 223-page fiscal update plan includes not just once, but twice, a chart that shows Canada has procured more doses per person (nearly 11, if every vaccine on the list is approved) than any other country in the world. But there was no new information in the economic update on when or how those doses will be available to Canadians.O'Toole said without a plan for a vaccine there is no plan to save the economy. NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said the plan provides too little to directly help people, and without a solid plan for a vaccine rollout, that kind of help is even more critical."That light at the end of the tunnel now feels like a longer, darker tunnel," he said.Freeland's plan does include billions in new spending to try to bridge people and companies through until vaccines can end the pandemic. That includes some new aid for hard-hit sectors like tourism and entertainment, a simplified tax credit for Canadians now working at home, and another $1 billion to help provinces with the long-term care homes that have left our oldest citizens tragically vulnerable to COVID-19.Opposition parties were quick to take credit for some of it. O'Toole said a $1,200 payment next year for parents with kids under six was taken right out of his leadership campaign platform. Singh said the Liberals have added many measures because of his party's efforts, including paid sick leave. While the plan promises to cancel interest payments on federal student loans next year, Singh said that stops short of the NDP motion all parties backed last week to restore the moratorium on all loan repayments until May. The Liberals had stopped requiring Canada Student Loans to be repaid in April but that holiday ended Oct. 1.Freeland also threw out another olive branch in Ottawa's often difficult relationship with provincial premiers by promising to answer their years-long call to overhaul the fiscal stabilization fund that sends federal cash to provinces facing serious drops in revenue. The premiers joined forces to demand the fund be overhauled a year ago, and Freeland has now complied, nearly tripling the amount of money available, and pledging some changes to how much provincial revenues must fall before they can be eligible for it.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2020.Mia Rabson, The Canadian PressNote to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version suggested an NDP motion on student loans only asked for interest payments to be deferred until May. The motion wanted all loan repayments, including interest, to be deferred.
VICTORIA — British Columbia recorded 46 more deaths over the last three days, its highest number of fatalities for that time period. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry became emotional Monday as she expressed her condolences to families and thanked caregivers for their dedication. Henry says 80 per cent of the deaths were in long-term care homes, and 441 people have now died of COVID-19 in the province. She says 2,364 new infections were diagnosed between Friday and Monday, for a total of 33,238 cases since the pandemic began. Henry says the rise in deaths reflects the challenge of dealing with the virus in communities, and the impact on seniors when it gets into care homes. There are outbreaks in 57 long-term care and assisted living facilities as well as in five in acute-care units in British Columbia. "Health-care workers have been at the front lines, or maybe the last line of defence right now," she says. "I know how challenging it is and I'm with you every single day, supporting you in admiration for the work that you're doing." Henry says most faith leaders are supporting her order banning religious services and understand that faith can be practised outside of buildings. The RCMP issued a $2,300 fine to a church in Langley after it held a service on the weekend. "We are putting in the measures that we believe are the best we can do to protect communities, to protect our health and to protect us from transmission of this virus," Henry says. She says there's always an ethical dilemma when it comes to balancing the unintended consequences of her orders and how they affect people. "How do you do just the right amount to try and keep this virus from spreading rapidly and causing so much suffering? There's no right answer to this, there's no perfect way of doing it and I will always be accused of doing too much or not enough." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2020. The Canadian Press
The mayor of the Cape Breton Regional Municipality has a new baby.Amanda McDougall confirmed to CBC News that she gave birth to a son on Saturday evening. McDougall said she, along with her fiancé and stepson, are brimming with love for the new addition. She first spoke of her expanding family last summer while announcing her mayoralty bid. In October, the former first-term councillor and non-profit leader defeated incumbent Cecil Clarke by nearly 4,000 votes. During her run to the mayor's seat, McDougall spoke of chauvinistic attitudes she encountered. Time away with babyEarlene MacMullin, the deputy mayor, will be stepping into McDougall's shoes as she takes time off to be with her family. "Whether it's a week, or two weeks, or a month, between myself and staff [carrying out her duties] … and she's always just a phone call away," said MacMullin."The important thing right now, really, is to give her and her family the time that they need to adjust to the new bundle."MacMullin said mom and baby were expected to leave the hospital on Monday.Advice for McDougallEmily Lutz was caring for a toddler when she decided to run in the Municipality of Kings County in 2016. Now she has a five-year-old, two-year-old and five-month-old baby.Lutz has raised a newborn as a councillor, and in her current role as deputy mayor. She admits to encountering misogynistic attitudes in balancing work and family responsibilities. "Being a young mother does not negate your ability to do your job, and in fact it enhances your ability to do your job," Lutz said. "It can certainly add a new level of complexity, but it's very much something that goes hand-in-hand."She has some advice for McDougall: Don't be afraid to delegate tasks and don't be too hard on yourself."It's OK to take time away," she said. "Folks take time away from council for a number of different reasons."'It's a wonderful thing'Yarmouth Mayor Pam Mood was asked whether McDougall might be the first Nova Scotian to give birth while holding the mayor's office."I have no idea, and I actually don't think it matters," Mood said. "I think it's a wonderful thing. That's what women do. They give birth."But there's no glossing over the impact McDougall's motherhood will have on municipal politics, Mood said. "It's an amazing example that she's set. It almost gives women permission to step into politics and know that, you know, the path has been forged before them." When she announced her mayoral bid, McDougall said having a baby would be a constant reminder that council decisions must take into account future generations.MORE TOP STORIES
A forensic psychiatrist testified in court Monday about whether Alek Minassian's autism could be a reason to find him not criminally responsible for the deaths of 10 people in the Toronto van attack, a potential finding the autism community is concerned could stigmatize their members.
Toronto FC is looking for a new designated player, opting not to pick up the option on Pablo Piatti.GM Ali Curtis said while TFC will talk to the 31-year-old Argentine midfielder and his representative about returning next season, it is not interested in having him back as a DP. Piatti joined Toronto in February from Spain's Espanyol on a one-year contract plus an option. Piatti, who will be eligible for the MLS re-entry draft, had four goals and four assists in 17 league games. When healthy and at his best, he made a difference — but apparently not big enough.“The year did not end how we wanted it to, but I am very proud of what the team accomplished under unique and difficult circumstances," Curtis said in a statement detailing Toronto's end-of-season moves."We’ll be able to return a core part of the group, including some young, exciting and hungry homegrown players, but also, we’ll look to make some important decisions that add to the quality of the team. In a lot of ways, the (salary) cap next year will be less than it was this year, so we’ll have to be creative."Toronto's other designated players are Spanish playmaker Alejandro Pozuelo and striker Jozy Altidore. Only a portion of their salaries count against Toronto's cap.When available, Piatti forged an effective partnership with Pozuelo on the right side of the Toronto attack. The two also became close off the field."I hope he can stay here because he does a lot for the team, … … A big professional," Pozuelo said in his end-of-season meeting with the media last week.Piatti, who suffered right knee ligament damage in February 2019, missed the opening two games of the season before the league shut down due to the pandemic and did not see action until the MLS is Back Tournament in July. Toronto medical staff were careful not to rush Piatti, who had played just seven games since his knee surgery.The five-foot-four 139-pounder missed the last four games of the regular season with a hamstring injury, during which time TFC went 1-3-0 and missed out on the Supporters' Shield. He returned for Toronto's season-ending 1-0 loss to Nashville SC in the first round of the playoffs.Piatti opened his MLS account in mid-August with two goals, including a 25-foot long-range rocket, in a 3-0 win over the Vancouver Whitecaps in his BMO Field debut.Defenders Laurent Ciman, Justin Morrow and Eriq Zavaleta will be out of contract at the end of the year. The loan deal for defender Tony Gallacher also expires at the end of the year.The 35-year-old Ciman saw action in 12 games this season, including five starts. The 28-year-old Zavaleta was restricted to five games (three starts).The 33-year-old Morrow, who has played more than 200 games in Toronto colours, was limited to 15 games (11 starts) and missed much of the regular-season stretch drive through injury. Off the field, he is the executive director of Black Players for Change.Curtis said the club will talk to Morrow and its other free agents about returning.Toronto exercised contract options on goalkeeper Kevin Silva, defender Julian Dunn, midfielders Nick DeLeon, Tsubasa Endoh, Liam Fraser, forwards Ifunanyachi Achara and Ayo Akinola. Twenty-one players are already under contract for the 2021 season: goalkeepers Alex Bono and Quentin Westberg; defenders Auro, Omar Gonzalez, Richie Laryea, Chris Mavinga, Rocco Romeo (currently away on loan); midfielders Michael Bradley, Marky Delgado, Griffin Dorsey, Erickson Gallardo, Jahkeele Marshall-Rutty, Noble Okello (currently away on loan), Jonathan Osorio, Alejandro Pozuelo, Ralph Priso, Jacob Shaffelburg and forwards Altidore, Patrick Mullins, Jayden Nelson and Jordan Perruzza. Toronto FC’s 2021 Current RosterGoalkeepers (3): Alex Bono, Kevin Silva, Quentin Westberg.Defenders (6): Auro, Julian Dunn, Omar Gonzalez, Richie Laryea, Chris Mavinga, Rocco Romeo.Midfielders (13): Michael Bradley, Nick DeLeon, Marky Delgado, Griffin Dorsey, Tsubasa Endoh, Liam Fraser, Erickson Gallardo, Jahkeele Marshall-Rutty, Noble Okello, Jonathan Osorio, Alejandro Pozuelo, Ralph Priso, Jacob Shaffelburg.Forwards (6): Ifunanyachi Achara, Ayo Akinola, Jozy Altidore, Jayden Nelson, Patrick Mullins, Jordan Perruzza.\---Follow @NeilMDavidson on Twitter This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2020Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press
As rising cases put Windsor-Essex public health resources under strain, officials are asking that people prepare isolation plans and that those who either test positive or think they have COVID-19 start a COVID diary. With 17 active outbreaks across several sectors and more than 400 active cases, the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit (WECHU) said during its COVID-19 briefing Monday that staff are under strain and need peoples' support.Medical officer of health Dr. Wajid Ahmed said those steps — having an isolation plan and keeping a contacts diary — can significantly help public health's efforts. Ahmed said if you have been identified as a close contact of a confirmed case, you shouldn't wait for public health to get in touch, but start by getting tested and immediately implement isolation plans. But, what should be included in an isolation plan? What sorts of questions should you prepare to be asked by public health if you test positive? How can you be proactive in slowing the spread? Having a planKate Kemplin, a University of Windsor nursing professor, compares it to the hurricane evacuation plans she got used to growing up in Florida."It's almost like that in reverse — you're not evacuating, you're self-isolating," she said.This means thinking about how you're going to get all of your essential needs met while minimizing contact with others. That includes how you can get groceries delivered, whether a neighbour or anyone else is available to help you, and how you're going to get physical activity."If you need to go outside for a walk, you're going to do loops around your backyard or your living room," she said.If you need to go to work, you should also come up with a plan to keep contact to the absolute minimum. This means driving, or taking a taxi, Uber or Lyft to work — making sure that you stay in the back seat and as far away from the driver as possible. You should also think about how to ensure that you can keep your mask on at all times or as much as possible."Just small things we don't typically think about. Make some notes in your phone, leave a little post-it note with your plan," Kemplin said. When CBC News asked WECHU about isolation plans, a spokesperson pointed to isolation advice from the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC).The agency recommends that you: * Stay at home unless you need to go out for "time-sensitive medical services." * Arrange to have groceries and supplies dropped off at your residence. * Stay in a separate room and use a separate bathroom from others if possible, * Disinfect and clean surfaces that you touch often at least once daily, among other measures.The PHAC also has a list of items it recommends you have if you need to isolate at home. It includes household cleaning products, medication to reduce fever and a thermometer, among others.Keeping a 'COVID' diaryKemplin also supports the idea of keeping a COVID diary — a document of all the places you've been and all your close contacts.The idea is that a COVID diary would be a useful tool if you have to provide information to contact tracers from the health unit."Even if it seems ridiculous at the time, we have to be willing to appear as if we overreacted, because that's how to keep the public safe," she said.Colin Furness, an infection control epidemiologist and an assistant professor at the University of Toronto, agrees."It's a great idea. And I think my first piece of advice is don't wait until you might be feeling sick or think that someone around you is," he said."I think a lot of people are wondering how they can be useful, how can they be helpful in this really dreadful time, and I think this is a perfect example of being able to be diligent and mindful," he added.Furness says the most important pieces of information to keep track of are where you've been indoors in an enclosed space, who you were with, how long you were there for, and whether people were wearing masks or not.If you're someone who has to work a job that involves a lot of contact with the public, things get more complicated. He says in that case it's especially important to keep track of times — what was happening when."Exposure time as we call it actually matters quite a lot," he said.Kemplin and Furness agree an even better strategy than keeping a diary is to have no need to do it by having so little contact with others."Contact tracing becomes incredibly easy if you don't go anywhere," Kemplin said.But keeping a COVID diary can be useful for another reason even if you don't expect to speak with a contact tracer soon, Furness says. It can give you a documented snapshot of how much contact you're having with other people in the pandemic. "I think it's great for mindfulness," he said.
VICTORIA — The B.C. government has launched a new land registry that it says will help combat money laundering and make the real estate market more transparent. Beginning Monday, any corporation, trustee or partnership that buys land in B.C. must disclose the interest holders of that land through the Land Owner Transparency Registry.Existing registered land owners have one year to register and disclose their interest holders. The government says in a news release the information provided may be used by tax and law authorities to investigate and crack down on illegal activity. It says the registry was formed after an expert panel on real estate said the disclosure of beneficial ownership is the "single most important measure" that can be taken to address money laundering.The panel's 2019 report estimated that $7.4 billion was laundered through B.C. in 2018, including $5 billion through real estate. "British Columbians expect that when they buy a home, they are entering a housing market based on fairness. But for decades, that didn't happen when they were in competition with fraudsters flush with illicit cash," Finance Minister Selina Robinson said in a news release. "This first-of-its-kind registry will help return transparency and moderation to housing markets throughout B.C."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2020.The Canadian Press
EDMONTON — A retired top doctor says public health orders have to balance science with society if they are to be effective."(Measures) will only work if you have a majority of the population that supports it," said Andre Corriveau, who was Alberta's chief medical officer of health from 2009 to 2012. "You can't pass measures that a majority of the public is not supportive of, because it's not enforceable."Corriveau, speaking from Iqaluit, Nunavut, where he was advising that territory on how to deal with its COVID-19 cases, spoke after recordings were released that appeared to show Alberta's current chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, expressing concern about politicians watering down her recommendations.That just goes with the job, said Corriveau, who also served until last year as the top public health official in the Northwest Territories. Experts such as himself or Hinshaw are responsible for winnowing through scientific evidence — often thin on the ground or hot off the research presses — to come up with the best advice they can. But, said Corriveau, judging what's acceptable or how something should be implemented is a political decision."There's a point beyond which you can't enforce any more," he said. "That's the role of the politician — to gauge that."Nor is it appropriate for the chief health officer to advocate for measures not approved by the government, said Corriveau. The two sides have to trust each other and undercutting political decisions would damage that. "There's always other people who can advocate," Corriveau said. "Our effectiveness is built upon trust. If you turn around and you're doing public advocacy, then you've lost the trust and you're not effective any more."Alberta has plenty of other voices for that, he said. Doctors in the Edmonton zone recently formed a group to provide what they see as unbiased, arm's-length COVID-19 advice. Members of the Edmonton Zone Medical Staff Association felt people were losing trust in officials. "There's many considerations when you make these decisions — health ones, economic ones, capacity of hospitals," said association president Dr. Ernst Schuster. "There was a feeling that the political considerations were stronger than some other considerations."The committee is to hold its first meeting Tuesday. The legal powers of a chief medical officer of health are delegated by the minister and may not be absolute, Corriveau said. Hindsight is easy, he noted, and added that everyone involved in the fight against the pandemic is doing it for the first time. Corriveau said he ran into situations where the final decision diverged from his advice, but he saw it as his job to make it work. "It's a fine line to travel but I think it can be done. "It's not necessarily ideal, but I understand the context and why at the political level they might have decided otherwise."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 1, 2020. — Follow @row1960 on TwitterBob Weber, The Canadian Press
MONTREAL — A provincial commission looking into the protection of vulnerable children in Quebec recommended on Monday the appointment of a youth-protection director to oversee the entire provincial system.The Laurent Commission released a preliminary report Monday after the COVID-19 pandemic delayed its final report, initially due today, until April 2021.The proposed provincial director of youth protection would act as a "guardian angel" and would have a role similar to that of a deputy minister, providing some consistency in how cases are handled across the province.The commission found that the proportion of youth protection cases that are before the courts can vary from 30 per cent to 70 per cent from one region to another, suggesting the interpretation of the law needs to be clarified.Having a director in place would mean they'd be better able to act on the numerous recommendations expected in her report due next year, said Regine Laurent, a nurse and former union leader who is heading the commission.The commissioners recommend that the best interests of children should be at the heart of all interventions made by youth protection. Laurent says that means the child must be talked to about their present situation and their future, and their rights must be respected.The special commission was sparked by the 2019 death of a seven-year-old girl from Granby, Que., after she was found in critical condition in her family home, even though she had been the subject of reports to the youth protection department.However, Laurent's mandate was open-ended, casting a wide net on the system and how users navigate it.Among the recommendations outlined Monday was that youth protection do better in dealing with Black and Indigenous youth, with services better adapted to the realities of those communities. Laurent deplored the over-representation of these families in the youth protection system.She also had positive words for those in the network who are overworked and under tremendous pressure.“The workers are also in distress. They believe that the conditions of practice do not allow them to provide quality services, at the right time and in line with needs," Laurent said.Hearings began in October 2019, and the commission said it has heard from more than 300 witnesses.The commission also held 42 “regional forums” where it heard from more than 2,000 citizens and other stakeholders from across Quebec.In a statement, junior health minister Lionel Carmant said the Coalition Avenir Quebec government intends to act swiftly on the recommendation of a director."The safety and well-being of every child is a top priority for the government," Carmant said. "The creation of a position of national director of youth protection is very interesting and goes in the direction of my reflection."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2020.Lia Levesque, The Canadian Press
Reactions are mixed to the legislative committee recommendation to expand the moratorium on high capacity wells beyond the agricultural sector.The legislative standing committee on natural resources and environmental sustainability, which was examining the Water Act, presented its report earlier this month. The report calls on the province to immediately proclaim the Water Act and to expand the moratorium on high capacity wells to all new wells that are not for residential use "until research is available to make evidence-based decisions."The moratorium on high-capacity wells on the Island currently only applies to the agriculture sector, and has been in place since 2002. It means new crop irrigation systems have not been allowed. Robert Godfrey, executive director of the P.E.I. Federation of Agriculture said the recommendation was unexpected and after reading the committee report he says he and other farmers feel their interests were left out. The PEIFA met with the committee earlier this year."We put forward two, what we thought were, two reasonable, fair requests to that committee, which was to approve a UPEI-led research project and to create a committee made up of government and industry to actually develop an irrigation strategy," Godfrey said. "We think that was reasonable and it's been ignored by this committee." The UPEI research proposal was presented to the committee in September by Michael van den Heuvel, the Canada Research Chair in Watershed Ecological Integrity at UPEI. The study would involve installing new high-capacity irrigation wells on four P.E.I. farms and measuring the impact their use has on the local watersheds. Godfrey was disappointed the UPEI research project was not addressed in the report recommendations and he plans to continue pushing government to commit to the project.More research needed Greg Donald, general manager of the P.E.I. Potato Board said he was also surprised to see the recommendation to expand the moratorium. He said he'd like to see more research into how irrigation can be done on the Island."Our position has been for many years, that agriculture needs access to water for irrigation if it can be done responsibly," Donald said. He said the sustainability of family farms on P.E.I. is at stake and he wants government to take action. He said expanding the moratorium only prolongs the problem, without finding a solution. Instead, he'd like to see government explore a regulatory system that will determine what is sustainable in each watershed."We also need access to water to produce food and what's happened is this has been kind of kicked down the road by successive governments and I think this is another example of that happening again." The report does recommend government consider referring all future research proposals on the impacts of high capacity wells to the standing committee on natural resources and environmental sustainability, so they can be reviewed and recommendations can be put forward.About more than waterFor Doug Campbell, district director with the National Farmers Union, expanding the moratorium still misses the mark and protecting Island water isn't the only resource that needs to be addressed. He said there is a lot more to the issue than just water."The recommendation to extend the moratorium can't be used as an excuse to do nothing," Campbell said."It needs to be related to an overall issue of, why are we asking for the water? Why do we have no organic matter in our soil? The reasons for that is because of the way the land is being farmed, why is that, because of pressure from industrialized farming." Campbell said government needs to take a closer look at land ownership and the effect certain farming practices have on soil quality.He said governments have had years since the moratorium was put in place to address the issue of agricultural irrigation. "Here we are today in a situation where farmers, or some anyway are asking for water." Campbell also said farmers should not be drawn into a situation where their industry is put in competition with others — like car washes, golf courses or food processing plants — when it comes to access to water."That should not be something that's used to pit against farmers when it comes to irrigation for agricultural purposes."Industry needs to conserveThe Coalition for the Protection of P.E.I. Water says the recommendations should be celebrated, and government should act on them right away."I think they really deliberated and made some strong recommendations," said Catherine O'Brien, chair of the coalition.She said she's pleased with the recommendation to expand the moratorium to all new high-capacity wells and that businesses will learn to operate within the new set of rules. She said the priority is the protection of P.E.I's water and making sure there is enough for future generations. "I think if people want to have a sustainable businesses they're going to be looking at that and they'll appreciate that," she said. "We need to make sure we're looking at conservation methods and any new industry, any new businesses that start up have to be following — hopefully — the new regulations that will be in place very soon." In a statement to CBC, Environment Minister Natalie Jameson said the department is reviewing the recommendations and intends to proclaim the Water Act as soon as possible.More P.E.I. news
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
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
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
EDMONTON — Aurora Cannabis Inc. says it is indefinitely pausing operations at one of its Alberta facilities and laying off a few dozen staff.The Edmonton-based cannabis company says the pause will occur at its Aurora Sun property in Medicine Hat, where it will layoff about 30 workers.Aurora spokeswoman Michelle Lefler says that the moves are expected to be complete around Dec. 18. She says the measures are part of a review the company is conducting to ensure all of its operations are a fit for its current and future business and to help the company adjust to recent shifts in the industry.Aurora's shares gained 11 per cent to $15.25 in Monday trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange.In June, the company laid off 700 workers and announced plans to cease operations at five facilities in Saskatchewan, Ontario, Alberta and Quebec. It also said it planned to consolidate production and manufacturing at four facilities in Alberta, Ontario and British Columbia.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2020.Companies in this story: (TSX:ACB)The Canadian Press
Tensions are rising in Lambton Shores as a contentious plan to tackle gypsy moths goes before council Tuesday, a report one community group is blasting as a “do-nothing” approach. After Port Franks and the surrounding area were ravaged by an outbreak of the invasive insects this summer, some residents mobilized into the Gypsy Moth Citizens Action Group, pushing for a municipally-led insecticide spray to combat the infestation. Romayne Smith-Fullerton, a spokesperson for the group which represents about 4,000 residents in more than 12 subdivisions, says that option was never properly considered by staff and is urging them to reconsider. “(The report) did not investigate, compare or evaluate the merits of a municipally-led spray programme against a privately-organized effort,” she said. “(It) provided council with inadequate information because it assumed one path forward.” The gypsy moth report – originally sent to council Nov. 10 – includes recommendations like creating a webpage to advise residents of resources to combat gypsy moths, and not objecting to any spraying on private properties adjacent to municipal property. Council voted 5-4 to defer the report until Dec. 1, citing the need for more public feedback. But Smith-Fullerton is calling into question the municipality’s openness on the issue. She said her request to present to council on behalf of the citizen’s group was denied without sound reasoning. Both Lambton Shores Mayor Bill Weber and Clerk Stephanie Troyer-Boyd cited COVID-19 safety restrictions as the reason why public presentations are disallowed. At the beginning of the pandemic, many municipalities, including Lambton Shores, amended their procedure bylaws to switch to electronic meetings; including a caveat that public presentations could be denied. But Lambton Shores’ council has been meeting in person since the fall, with the procedure bylaw stating, “the Mayor or Clerk may deny delegations to council during an electronic meeting.” Troyer-Boyd did not respond to a request to clarify if the policy had been extended to in-person meetings. Meanwhile, a transit presentation is on the Dec. 1 agenda. Weber said the presenter is a staff member, adding some presentations have been allowed at past meetings for statutory or Planning Act matters. “COVID is a bit of a convenient excuse to stifle democracy,” Smith-Fullerton said, adding she’s filed a complaint with the Ontario Ombudsman. “I deserve an explanation,” she said. “They’re not playing by the rules as far as I can see. There are inconsistencies in their policy.” Council previously waved the restriction in July, allowing Smith-Fullerton to present virtually on the gypsy moth issue. A written delegation from the citizens' group has been accepted for Tuesday’s meeting. “It’s very weird to feel like this is a matter that is clearly of high public interest … And yet, the person who is the spokesperson for thousands of people right across this municipality, they’re not interested in me speaking to them,” Smith-Fullerton said. “(The group) certainly have put in letters and their position and presentation has been distributed through the agenda,” Weber said. The hot-button issue and report have drawn a swarm of response from the community, with dozens of letters sent to council as correspondence — there are more than 300 pages' worth — with the vast majority advocating for an aerial spray or greater assistance from the municipality. “We need council to develop an all-encompassing bylaw that permits the municipality to treat all the infested trees. Anything less will be unsatisfactory and a waste of money,” writes Port Franks resident David Hilliard. “We call on the municipality … to take immediate and effective action to address the gypsy moth threat before damage is done to our environment and tourism economy,” says a letter from the Grand Bend and Area Chamber of Commerce. Five letters attached as correspondence to the agenda oppose a municipally-led aerial spray, a view shared by the mayor. “I believe this should be a private property matter,” Weber said. Lambton Shores chief administrator, Kevin Williams, who drafted the report, did not answer questions emailed to him by The Free Press about the subject. “Let’s see what happens at Council" Tuesday night, he said. He previously said no environmental assessment on the extent of defoliation caused by the insects was ordered, nor was an egg mass assessment. Widespread spraying of a bacteria — bacillus thuringiensis subspecies kurstaki, referred to as Btk, — to control caterpillar pests has been the route taken in other municipalities in the past, including Sarnia and Pelham, as well as in parts of big cities such as Toronto and Hamilton. Many residents say it’s vital the municipality takes a lead in combatting the caterpillars as they pose serious threats to personal health and Port Frank’s diverse tree canopy. MaxMartin@postmedia.com Twitter.com/MaxatLFPressMax Martin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, London Free Press
A sunny Saturday in May 2009 took a dark turn when a boater in the Salish Sea north of Washington state's Orcas Island found a body floating in the water.The discovery sparked a mystery that has stumped authorities until earlier this month, when DNA profiling and cross-border collaboration brought closure to what had become an 11-year-old cold case in the U.S., and an 11-year-old missing person's case in B.C.B.C. RCMP say the body has been identified as Penticton man James Neufeld, last seen leaving home in his green Plymouth Voyager van on Jan. 21, 2009.The vehicle was found two weeks later at Alexandra Bridge Provincial Park in the Fraser Canyon, and the fate of the 55-year-old left to speculation. But this past September, the first step toward ultimately solving both mysteries came when the cold case of the unidentified body was reactivated with the understanding that updated DNA records might provide a new lead.According to Washington's San Juan County Coroner Randy Gaylord, a tooth sent to a lab in Baltimore was used to create a DNA profile which was then added to the FBI's the Combined DNA Index System, or CODIS.Because of the proximity to the border, the information was also shared with Canadian authorities. "We know that the Salish Sea crosses the boundary and people who die in Canada may float to the United States and vice versa," said Gaylord. Once in receipt of the new information, the B.C. Coroners Service was able to cross reference it against its own database."Mr. Neufeld's relative's [DNA] profile was present in our database and once the San Juan County Coroner sent us the profile, we entered it just to do a general search and it matched," said Laura Yazedjian, identification specialist with the B.C. Coroners Service.Gaylord says solving the cases is both sad and somewhat remarkable."It is believed he went into the [Fraser River] at the park," he said. "If you do a Google search from the Alexandra Bridge Provincial Park to where he was found, it's about 220 kilometres. It's just a remarkable distance for human remains to travel."He never thought it would take so long to identify the remains because there were two strong leads in 2009: forensic dental records and a four-inch medical plate from a previously broken left arm that had a model number on it.Information about both were circulated in Canada and the U.S. 11 years ago, but to no avail. "We put the dental records out ... but there was no hit. And the reason why is because Mr. Neufeld had not visited the dentist in 20 years," said Gaylord."So the second approach we thought would be successful is to follow up with the medical plate... We called 19 different hospitals in Canada from the East Coast to the West Coast. And every hospital gave us the same same answer: without the name of the person, the date of the installation or surgical procedure, they weren't able to identify who it was."Yazidjian hopes the positive identification helps bring Neufeld's family some closure."To be able to give them some answers after this long is one of the main reasons I do my job," she said.
Victoria, BC - An independent review into the discrimination of Indigenous people in B.C.’s health-care system has found “widespread” and “insidious” problems touching all points of care. The report, In Plain Sight: Addressing Indigenous-specific Racism and Discrimination in B.C. Health Care, was prompted by allegations about an organized “Price is Right” game involving guessing the blood alcohol contents of Aboriginal patients in B.C. emergency rooms. On June 19, Health Minister Adrian Dix appointed former judge Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond to investigate the allegations and recommend actions. While Turpel-Lafond found no evidence of an organized game, she did find anecdotal signs of multiple activities that resembled the allegations, she said. "Indigenous people and health-care workers have spoken clearly - racism is an ugly and undeniable problem in B.C. health care that must be urgently addressed," Turpel-Lafond said in a release. "This report provides a blueprint for fundamental changes to beliefs, behaviours and systems that are necessary in order for us to root out racism and discrimination and ensure that the basic human rights of Indigenous people to respect, dignity and equitable health care are upheld." Collecting the voices of nearly 9,000 Indigenous patients, family members, third-party witnesses and health care workers, the review found that “pervasive, interpersonal systemic racism” adversely affects not only patient and family experiences, but also long-term health outcomes for Indigenous peoples in B.C. “I am afraid to go to any hospital,” said one Indigenous respondent in the review. “When I do have to, I dress up like I’m going to church.” More than two-thirds of Indigenous respondents reported having experienced discrimination based on their ancestry and more than one-third of non-Indigenous respondents reported witnessing interpersonal racism or discrimination against Indigenous patients, their family or friends. Among the top negative assumptions that are circulating in B.C.’s health care system is the idea that Indigenous patients are less worthy, that they’re alcoholics, that they’re drug seeking and that they are incapable of adhering to treatment and medical advice, Turpel-Lafond said during a telephone press conference. The review has made 24 recommendations, including the need for having a greater degree of accountability within the system. “At this point, I’m not confident that we have a systemic approach to tackling racism against Indigenous people in B.C.,” said Turpel-Lafond. “I can say though, that it’s important that the government of British Columbia – minister Dix – sets a tone for how we respond to this at the point of care.” Around one year ago, the B.C. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act was passed.Turpel-Lafond said that shifts are starting to be made within the health care system, which she can see through this report. “There is a greater degree of openness and willingness to shift at the point of care in all the various partners in the health care system, but it is right to make those changes,” she said. The independent reviewer said she is calling on minister Dix to consider creating the role of a new B.C. Indigenous health officer – “a B.C. Indigenous health representative and advocate that can ensure the complaints and concerns of Indigenous people are processed through the quality review process and are heard.” As an immediate step, Dix said that five new Indigenous health liaison positions are being added in each health authority within the province. He extended an “unequivocal” apology to those who have experienced racism while accessing health care services in B.C. “now, and in the past.” The health minster said that the report gives the provincial health care system the opportunity to accelerate a “comprehensive approach to address long-standing challenges of racism and the legacy of colonialism rooted in principles of human rights.” “We all need to recognize and re-commit to eradicating racism from our health system,” said Dix, “to ensure that our beliefs and behaviours are anti-racist and based in cultural humility.”Melissa Renwick, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Ha-Shilth-Sa
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
A new children's book called A Lemon Tree for Wilshire was inspired by a Calgarian's personal journey with infertility.Gina Thornton, the author of the book, says she wrote it as a tribute to her two children, William and Scarlett, as way to explain their "special" birth story."The concept was inspired by my family's personal journey with infertility and pregnancy loss, and highlights the experience of families growing through non-traditional paths," she told the Calgary Eyeopener.She says that in their family's case, they received help from an egg donor. At the fertility clinic, Thornton says, it was stressed by a psychologist that in the future, they should explain to their children how they were conceived. "I personally struggled with, 'How do you communicate this in a way that's both relatable to our children but also in a manner that was completely transparent?'""We initially set out to find children's books that we could use as a tool to help guide this discussion."That's when Thornton realized there was a gap in children's books that talked about infertility and egg donors."We found countless books that focused on adoption and other alternative family dynamics," she said."So once I recognized there was a bit of a space in the market, I set out to write a story that focused on these important topics."The story follows a child who plans on growing his family tree by venturing out and exploring lemon trees. Thornton's son, William, was the main character, and in order to bring both his and his sister's perspective into the book, the mom says she would press them with questions."I told them that I was working on a special project and I needed some feedback on trees and how they like to play in trees," she said.She says she kept the final reveal of the book a surprise and that her children's reaction was something she will keep close forever."The book has done exactly what I had hoped it would do in terms of prompting some additional dialogue and questions with our children about their amazing story," she said.A Lemon Tree for Wilshire is available for purchase on Thornton's website.With files from the Calgary Eyeopener.