Pfizer and its German Partner BioNTech has asked U.S. regulators to allow emergency use of their COVID-19 vaccine, starting a process that could bring first shots as early as next month.
Pfizer and its German Partner BioNTech has asked U.S. regulators to allow emergency use of their COVID-19 vaccine, starting a process that could bring first shots as early as next month.
WASHINGTON — Disputing President Donald Trump’s persistent, baseless claims, Attorney General William Barr declared the U.S. Justice Department has uncovered no evidence of widespread voter fraud that could change the outcome of the 2020 election.Barr's comments, in an interview Tuesday with the The Associated Press, contradict the concerted effort by Trump, his boss, to subvert the results of last month's voting and block President-elect Joe Biden from taking his place in the White House.Barr told the AP that U.S. attorneys and FBI agents have been working to follow up specific complaints and information they’ve received, but “to date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election.”The comments, which drew immediate criticism from Trump attorneys, were especially notable coming from Barr, who has been one of the president's most ardent allies. Before the election, he had repeatedly raised the notion that mail-in voting could be especially vulnerable to fraud during the coronavirus pandemic as Americans feared going to polls and instead chose to vote by mail.More to Trump's liking, Barr revealed in the AP interview that in October he had appointed U.S. Attorney John Durham as a special counsel, giving the prosecutor the authority to continue to investigate the origins of the Trump-Russia probe after Biden takes over and making it difficult to fire him. Biden hasn't said what he might do with the investigation, and his transition team didn't comment Tuesday.Trump has long railed against the investigation into whether his 2016 campaign was co-ordinating with Russia, but he and Republican allies had hoped the results would be delivered before the 2020 election and would help sway voters. So far, there has been only one criminal case, a guilty plea from a former FBI lawyer to a single false statement charge.Under federal regulations, a special counsel can be fired only by the attorney general and for specific reasons such as misconduct, dereliction of duty or conflict of interest. An attorney general must document such reasons in writing.Barr went to the White House Tuesday for a previously scheduled meeting that lasted about three hours.Trump didn't directly comment on the attorney general's remarks on the election. But his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and his political campaign issued a scathing statement claiming that, "with all due respect to the Attorney General, there hasn’t been any semblance” of an investigation into the president's complaints.Other administration officials who have come out forcefully against Trump's allegations of voter-fraud evidence have been fired. But it's not clear whether Barr might suffer the same fate. He maintains a lofty position with Trump, and despite their differences the two see eye-to-eye on quite a lot.Still, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer quipped: “I guess he’s the next one to be fired.”Last month, Barr issued a directive to U.S. attorneys across the country allowing them to pursue any “substantial allegations” of voting irregularities before the 2020 presidential election was certified, despite no evidence at that time of widespread fraud.That memorandum gave prosecutors the ability to go around longstanding Justice Department policy that normally would prohibit such overt actions before the election was certified. Soon after it was issued, the department’s top elections crime official announced he would step aside from that position because of the memo.The Trump campaign team led by Giuliani has been alleging a widespread conspiracy by Democrats to dump millions of illegal votes into the system with no evidence. They have filed multiple lawsuits in battleground states alleging that partisan poll watchers didn’t have a clear enough view at polling sites in some locations and therefore something illegal must have happened. The claims have been repeatedly dismissed including by Republican judges who have ruled the suits lacked evidence.But local Republicans in some battleground states have followed Trump in making unsupported claims, prompting grave concerns over potential damage to American democracy.Trump himself continues to rail against the election in tweets and in interviews though his own administration has said the 2020 election was the most secure ever. He recently allowed his administration to begin the transition over to Biden, but he still refuses to admit he lost.The issues they've have pointed to are typical in every election: Problems with signatures, secrecy envelopes and postal marks on mail-in ballots, as well as the potential for a small number of ballots miscast or lost.But they've gone further. Attorney Sidney Powell has spun fictional tales of election systems flipping votes, German servers storing U.S. voting information and election software created in Venezuela “at the direction of Hugo Chavez,” – the late Venezuelan president who died in 2013. Powell has since been removed from the legal team after an interview she gave where she threatened to “blow up” Georgia with a “biblical” court filing.Barr didn't name Powell specifically but said: “There's been one assertion that would be systemic fraud and that would be the claim that machines were programmed essentially to skew the election results. And the DHS and DOJ have looked into that, and so far, we haven’t seen anything to substantiate that.”In the campaign statement, Giuliani claimed there was “ample evidence of illegal voting in at least six states, which they have not examined.”“We have many witnesses swearing under oath they saw crimes being committed in connection with voter fraud. As far as we know, not a single one has been interviewed by the DOJ. The Justice Department also hasn’t audited any voting machines or used their subpoena powers to determine the truth,” he said.However, Barr said earlier that people were confusing the use of the federal criminal justice system with allegations that should be made in civil lawsuits. He said a remedy for many complaints would be a top-down audit by state or local officials, not the U.S. Justice Department.“There’s a growing tendency to use the criminal justice system as sort of a default fix-all," he said, but first there must be a basis to believe there is a crime to investigate.“Most claims of fraud are very particularized to a particular set of circumstances or actors or conduct. ... And those have been run down; they are being run down,” Barr said. “Some have been broad and potentially cover a few thousand votes. They have been followed up on."___Associated Press writers Lisa Mascaro and Eric Tucker contributed to this report.Michael Balsamo, The Associated Press
TORONTO — Canadian bank executives say an economic rebound is on its way after months of governments and financial institutions working to offset turmoil with loans, deferrals, interest rate cuts and subsidies.The chief executives of Bank of Nova Scotia and BMO Financial Group said Tuesday that they are starting to see signs of improvement and are feeling reassured by countries like Canada, the U.S., Chile and Peru, which have spent on average 17 per cent of their gross domestic product on relief measures. "We are seeing clear evidence that the stimulus is having the desired impact," Scotiabank's Brian Porter said on a conference call to discuss the bank's latest financial results."In Canada, retail spending has reached pre-pandemic levels, the housing market is experiencing robust growth and auto sales have largely recovered." Porter, who called himself "cautiously optimistic" about 2021, hadn't factored in the potential rollout of a COVID-19 vaccine, but if Pfizer, Moderna or AstraZeneca get the go-ahead to inject people with their early vaccine candidates, he said his optimism would grow even more.Meanwhile, BMO chief executive Darryl White was also feeling positive about 2021, but warned that troubles are still lingering as many countries, including Canada, plunge into a second wave of COVID-19."While the path of the pandemic and the economic recovery remains uncertain, we now know that vaccines will be available relatively soon, and there's good reason to be optimistic about the associated economic recovery accelerating as 2021 progresses," he said.The remarks came as their companies started to see the expiration of consumer relief programs they launched to help Canadians hit hard by the pandemic. Scotiabank offered $120 billion worth of relief for customers throughout the pandemic, while BMO said it granted payment deferrals to more than 256,000 retail accounts in Canada and the U.S. since March. Both spent much of the pandemic stowing away cash to protect themselves from bad loans, but were able to ease up in recent months.Scotiabank's provisions for credit losses in its latest quarter totalled $1.1 billion, up from $753 million a year ago, but down from nearly $2.2 billion in the third quarter.BMO's amounted to $432 million, up from $253 million a year ago, but down from nearly $1.1 billion in its third quarter.BMO also looked to protect itself further by winding down its non-Canadian investment and corporate banking business in the energy sector — a move White said would help better allocate resources in places where they can deliver strong returns now and in the future."Going forward, BMO Capital Markets' energy business will be focused on the Canadian energy market, where we believe our competitive positioning is strongest and where we will continue our deep and long-standing commitment to supporting clients," he said.BMO reported a fourth-quarter profit of nearly $1.6 billion or $2.37 per share, up from nearly $1.2 billion or $1.78 per share a year ago.On an adjusted basis, BMO says it earned $2.41 per share, down from an adjusted profit of $2.43 per share in the same quarter last year.Analysts on average had expected an adjusted profit of $1.90 per share, according to financial data firm Refinitiv.Revenue totalled nearly $6 billion, down from almost $6.1 billion in the same quarter last year.The results pushed BMO's stock up by 3.6 per cent or $3.33 to reach $96.66 in late morning trading.Meanwhile, Scotiabank reported a fourth-quarter profit of $1.9 billion or $1.42 per diluted share, down from $2.3 billion or $1.73 per diluted share in the same period a year earlier.On an adjusted basis, the bank earned $1.45 per diluted share for the quarter ended Oct. 31, down from an adjusted profit of $1.82 per diluted share last year.Analysts on average had expected Scotiabank to earn an adjusted profit of $1.22 per share, according to financial data firm Refinitiv.Revenue totalled $7.5 billion, down from nearly $8 billion in its fourth quarter last year.Scotiabank's stock climbed by 2.9 per cent or $1.83 to reach $65.03 in late morning trading.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 1, 2020.Companies in this story: (TSX:BNS, TSX:BMO)Tara Deschamps, The Canadian Press
Santa will be able to make his visit to P.E.I. on Christmas Eve, despite the COVID-19 pandemic.Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison informed Islanders at her regular weekly briefing Tuesday morning that Santa had been pre-approved for travel."I received a special alert this morning to tell me there is no COVID-19 in the North Pole. Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus, the elves and the reindeer are all safe and healthy. They know that COVID-19 has been very hard for children and families around the world," said Morrison.Santa is still asking his elves to practise physical distancing and wash their hands regularly, she said.As for Elf on the Shelf, Morrison noted that the annual visitor arrived at her house Tuesday morning, having qualified as a rotational worker who is to become part of her family bubble. Other families' elves will be treated the same way.Holiday guidelinesThe Chief Public Health Office will be posting guidelines for Islanders celebrating Christmas and New Year's later this week, Morrison said.With the Atlantic bubble suspended, Morrison said Islanders need to avoid unnecessary travel."I urge Islanders to not travel off-Island over the holidays," she said."I urge families, including students who live off-Island, to consider not coming home for the holidays, and that's hard to say."For those who do wish to come to the Island, pre-travel approval will be required and arrivals will need to be prepared to self-isolate for 14 days.Morrison is recommending levees not be held this year. As with any gathering, any levee that is held will require an operational plan.More from CBC P.E.I.
It’s been a different year for Gander Fire Rescue. Normally, members’ calendar would be filled with things like handing out Halloween candy to children at the hospital or opening the fire hall for tours. However, things like that were scuttled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Still, the fire department was hoping to do something this year. With that in mind, some members of the department came up with the idea of collecting winter clothing for children. “We just thought we were going to get jackets and stuff, but people were asking if they could donate certain items and we said, ‘Certainly, go ahead,’” said Addison Quilty, Gander Fire Rescue’s assistant deputy fire chief. The department’s goal was to collect the same number of winter clothing as there are fire hydrants in Gander. That set their aim at 427 pieces of clothing. They didn’t care if it was mittens, gloves, toques, jackets or boots, as long as the department was able to get what they aimed for. It turns out they got all of those things in abundance — they’ve collected 432 pieces of clothing. “We’ve been really impressed,” said Quilty. “We’re still getting things now.” The pandemic has changed the way organizations handle donated items, and Gander Fire Rescue is no different. The department put a pair of bins outside the fire hall and once an item was placed in the bin, it stayed there for 24 hours. When it entered the building, the clothing was cleaned again. In the next little while, the department will start bagging up what they’ve collected and delivered it to the Salvation Army. From there, the church’s community and family services division in Gander will distribute the items where they are needed. “The Salvation Army is certainly very grateful for that kind of partnership with us, to be able to provide that kind of practical donation to help people for the cold winter months,” said Maj. Rene Loveless, public relations and development secretary with the provincial Salvation Army. “That's fabulous.” Loveless said he was impressed with the number of items the Gander fire department collected in a short period. Ensuring children have adequate clothes for the winter months, which can be harsh at times in central Newfoundland, was at the heart of the Gander Fire Rescue clothing drive. To see that effort to help children was something that stood out for Loveless. “It’s a beautiful thing, really,” said Loveless. The department isn’t done collecting clothing just yet. They’ve set a deadline of Dec. 6 and then they will stop collecting. In the meantime, their final number could be even higher by the time they call it off next week. “People are still not afraid to help others out,” said Quilty. “It is a good thing to see.” Nicholas Mercer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Central Voice
Federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu announced on Tuesday that Johnson & Johnson has applied for Health Canada to get approval for its COVID-19 vaccine candidate, making it the fourth vaccine candidate pending approval alongside Pfizer’s, Moderna’s and AstraZeneca.
AUTOMOBILE. La saison hivernale enregistre près de 30 % de collisions de plus qu'aux beaux jours. Plus exactement, les statistiques compilées par le Groupement des assureurs automobiles démontrent qu'en 2019, au cours du 1er et du 4e trimestre de l'année, il y a eu 225 858 sinistres automobiles, soit 27 % de plus qu'au 2e et 3e trimestre. «C'est une tendance qui est observée chaque année : c'est en hiver qu'il y a les plus d'accidents sur les routes et plusieurs sont évitables. Il est donc important pour les conducteurs de redoubler de vigilance et, ainsi, d'éviter un accident fâcheux», explique Anne Morin, responsables des affaires publiques du GAA. Obligatoires à compter du 1er décembre, les pneus d'hiver permettent une meilleure adhérence sur la route mais ne remplaceront jamais la prudence des conducteurs indique le GAA. Lorsque les conditions de la route sont défavorables, le GAA rappelle l'importance de réduire sa vitesse et de conserver une distance suffisante entre son véhicule et celui qui nous précède pour pouvoir freiner à temps. On réduit ainsi le risque d'être impliqué dans une collision dont on pourrait être tenu responsable et on évite par conséquent l'ajout d'un sinistre à son dossier. Si un accident survient, il est recommandé d'avoir toujours à disposition un constat amiable, en format papier ou sur son cellulaire. En quelques instants, il est possible d'informer son assureur de l'accident qui vient de se produire. «C'est une application très simple d'utilisation qui permet à l'assureur de recevoir une information lisible rapidement. Cela facilite le règlement de sinistre», précise Anne Morin. Stéphane Lévesque, Initiative de journalisme local, L'Hebdo Journal
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is touting the government's plan to inject up to $100 billion into Canada's post-pandemic economy, calling it a "historic and appropriate" spending plan.On Monday, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland tabled the fall economic statement, which included the three-year stimulus program.During a news conference outside his residence at Rideau Cottage Tuesday, Trudeau said that with vaccines on the horizon, the end to the pandemic crisis is in sight.He called the $100 billion program, which represents three to four per cent of GDP, a "historic and appropriate" stimulus plan. "This will be a significant investment to get our economy back on track. And it's an investment that will make sure no one gets left behind," he said.Trudeau is set to meet with premiers on Dec. 10 to discuss health care transfers and the vaccine rollout.Premiers have been calling for a $28 billion top-up to federal health transfers. Trudeau would not commit to any specific increase today.Asked if the provinces and territories will be in line for a funding boost, Trudeau said he looks forward to talking with the premiers to assess their needs for the short term and post-pandemic."We're going to continue to be there for Canadians and I look forward to that conversation with the premiers, to look at how we can ensure that we are supporting people right now and that our health care systems are sustainable into the future," he said.Provinces seek $28B boostOntario Finance Minister Rod Phillips said premiers are united in pressing for a "fundamental change" to health care funding. He said the $28 billion annual shortfall is expected to increase to $100 billion by 2040, with the federal government paying a shrinking share of the total costs.In past, the federal government had a 50-50 cost-sharing arrangement with the provinces for health care; it now covers just 22 per cent of the total costs. The increase proposed by the premiers would see the federal government cover 35 per cent of total costs.The premiers have said long-term funding is needed to meet rising health system costs that predate the pandemic, such as an aging population and the increasing expense of new medical technologies and drugs.Right now, the provinces spend $188 billion on health care, with the federal government covering $42 billion.WATCH | Higgs on fall economic statement and health transfersPhillips said that while there were some praiseworthy items in Monday's fiscal update, such as efforts to improve water quality for First Nations and the removal of GST from purchases of personal protective equipment (PPE), he was disappointed by the lack of any mention of increased health transfers."This was an opportunity to signal something and I think the federal government missed that opportunity," he said Tuesday.Monday's economic statement outlined various emergency aid programs for Canadians and businesses, and projected a deficit of at least $381.6 billion for this fiscal year.PM 'spent the cupboard bare': PoilievreConservative finance critic Pierre Poilievre said Trudeau's "insatiable appetite for spending other people's money" means there is not a lot of room left for other commitments, such as boosting transfers to the provinces."The prime minister has blown our margin. He has spent the cupboard bare before this crisis even happened, and now he's maxing out our national credit card," he said.Trudeau said today that those supports will continue to flow next year as things gradually return to normal."Even as vaccines begin to arrive, we know that we have to reach a significant percentage of the population before we can start releasing and reducing measures across the country, so it's going to be a long winter," he said in an interview on CBC Radio's The Current."We're going to have to continue to do the things that will keep us safe, but that's why the economic anxiety that people are feeling is something that we're there to counter."Trudeau said the government has worked to ease that anxiety by providing supports such as rent and wage subsidies, which will continue to "make it a little bit easier."
Along with bread-baking and closet reorganizing, another nesting trend on the home front is “cottagecore” style. “The cottagecore esthetic swarmed the internet this year with its revival of traditional ideals and the glorification of a simple yet charming cottage lifestyle,” says Amanda Brennan, trend expert for Tumblr. Engagement on the social platform for cottagecore began spiking in early spring and hasn't abated, she reports. Now it's flowing into the holiday season, she says, “with posts of farmhouse-inspired holiday decorations, homestyle seasonal recipes, warm winter décor, and knitting.” Etsy.com trend expert Dayna Isom Johnson agrees: “The nostalgia-inspired movement is all about bringing back pastoral esthetics and activities.” Characterized by romantic, nature-oriented themes and homespun design elements, cottagecore started around the mid-2010s. But it’s taken off this year as the pandemic kept people at home. “It’s no surprise that the trend’s extending into the holidays,” says Isom Johnson. “Shoppers are opting for décor that’s reminiscent of a time that was filled with simpler pleasures in life, from baking to crafting.” Etsy saw an increase in early fall in searches for crocheted, knitted and embroidered ornaments, as well as holiday quilts, she says. They’ve seen a nearly 200% increase in searches for DIY kits. Kits come at all levels, for kids, beginners and skilled crafters, and with a variety of holiday-friendly themes. For instance, Fancy Tiger’s felting kits offer alpacas, squirrels and sheep, and cross-stitched mini holiday ornaments. Stitchery.com has simple kits for making embroidered tree table-runners, tiny stockings and snow globes. Many Etsy shops, like Lark Rising, Rene Creates and Barmy Fox, offer templates of designs for download. Creativity for Kids has holiday snow globe kits, while Paper Source has kits to craft dog nutcrackers and Hanukkah bears in winsome sweaters. Lorna Aragon, home editor for Martha Stewart Living, suggests some easy holiday projects for home and gifting that fit the esthetic: “Think about stenciling or stamping a tablecloth, runner or napkins with a simple geometric motif. You can make a tree skirt the same way," she says. "Create some homemade stockings from simple dishcloths. Use baskets under the tree to hold gifts. You can also get some quilting squares at the craft store and make sachets to gift friends. I’m loving simple fabrics like ticking, gingham, denim, muslin and calico small florals and prints.” The magazine’s team created some items for the December issue based on quilt designs and folk-art motifs, evocative of the cottagecore look. Minted’s Founder Mariam Naficy likes ‘furoshiki’, the Japanese technique of gift wrapping with fabric. She says it’s a great way to wrap oddly-shaped items, and re-purpose fabric scraps or old scarves. She’s also making garlands this year out of various materials, including fragrant dried orange slices. “You can display them on a mantle, bookcase, or drape one on your dining table surrounded by tea candles for a simple, aromatic centerpiece,” she says. Naficy also suggests making garlands out of last year’s holiday cards and scraps of wrapping paper. Wreath frames from garden centres and art stores offer crafting parties the opportunity to make indoor or outdoor décor. “Eucalyptus doesn’t scream Christmas, and will work all winter,” says Stephanie Pollard of Hello Nest. Dried or faux greenery, pompoms, cotton balls, or colorful ornaments and a primed hot glue gun are all you need. To get the cottagecore look, add burlap or velvet ribbon, or wrap the wreath in cloth. Ashley Martin, a sixth-grade teacher and mom of two who lives in Green Township, New Jersey, transformed a scrounged vintage wooden Coke crate into a rustic succulent garden to decorate her home through the holidays and beyond. Martin says she’s always loved arts and crafts projects, but became obsessed with cottagecore décor when she and her husband bought an 1850s farmhouse. Turning her ideas into custom art and signs became a side gig, and she’s working on holiday orders now. “I really enjoy working on something creative any time that I can,” she says. Other ideas for DIY holiday decorations with a cottagecore feel: Gather a stack of blank cards, markers and essential oils and make aromatherapy cards. Clear glass or acrylic ball ornaments can be jazzed up with a coating of Mod Podge and a dip in a bowl of snowy glitter. (Keep a lint roller handy to clean up the sparkles. ) Use a glue gun to seal seams on cut-out felt mittens, trees or stars, then stuff the open end with a gift card or small treat. Kim Cook, The Associated Press
The Alberta government is hiring an outside contractor to review the reasons for an increase in the number of people receiving benefits from disability programs such as Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped.The $75,000 review will look at AISH, Persons with Developmental Disabilities (PDD) and Family Supports for Children with Disabilities (FSCD). According to the document provided to potential bidders, work was set to start Nov. 30 and wrap up by Dec. 23, though the timeline could be extended by three weeks if required. "The caseloads of programs that serve disabled Albertans are increasing," the document said. "The project will enhance understanding of the external and internal factors that are related to these increases and how government can better align policy, program design and delivery with these factors."The findings of the project will be considered as part of the ongoing requirement to review the efficiency and efficacy of all government programs and will support the province's planning and decision making process."The contractor is expected to suggest "practical and feasible recommendations to improve the financial sustainability of the programs."Community and Social Services Minister Rajan Sawhney was not made available for an interview. In a statement to CBC News, her press secretary Jerry Bellikka said the contract is part of the government's commitment "to review the efficiency and efficacy of all government programs" and "will support the province's planning and decision-making process."He said the successful bidder will be named and a timeline set once the contract is finalized. Marie Renaud, the NDP critic for community and social services, said she was alarmed by the narrow scope of the review, the lack of consultation and the short timeline, particularly in light of comments made by Premier Jason Kenney and his staff in September.After Kenney mused about needing to look at growing case numbers, Matt Wolf, his executive director of issues management, followed up with tweets suggesting thousands of AISH recipients might not meet the definition of being "severely handicapped" because they have anxiety or ADHD. Renaud said she thinks the government is using a tactic it has tried before to justify changes to eligibility requirements. "The evidence we've seen with this government is that a lot of these panels and reviews are really a way to give themselves cover for the next steps that they're going to take," she said.According to the bidding document, the successful proponent will look at internal government data, socio-economic information and past reviews. There is no indication they are expected to hold consultations with people who use the program or their families. Renaud said the programs in question are old and could use a review, but not in the way the government is attempting. She thinks the contractor's findings will be used to justify cuts in the February provincial budget.
WASHINGTON — American factories grew at a slower pace last month and there are concerns that surging coronavirus infections will endanger an economic recovery. The Institute of Supply Management, an association of purchasing managers, reported Tuesday that its manufacturing index dipped to 57.5 in November from 59.3 in October. Any reading above 50 signals that manufacturing is expanding. The ISM index plunged in the spring but has since bounced back and now shows factories on a six-month winning streak. New orders and production grew more slowly last month. Hiring actually dropped, reversing a gain in October. New export orders grew faster. Sixteen of 18 industries surveyed reported growth last month, led by apparel and mineral manufacturers. The U.S. economy collapsed from April through June and has since been recovering. But a sharp increase in infections is raising fears that the recovery will lose momentum as state and local governments issue lockdown orders and Americans stay home on their own to avoid infection. “For now, the manufacturing sector appears to be weathering another round of virus outbreaks fairly well,? Rubeela Farooqi, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics, wrote in a research note. “However, the outlook is uncertain given targeted restrictions and shutdowns, at home and abroad, could disrupt activity and weigh on demand.? Paul Wiseman, The Associated Press
When council had its first look at the capital budget it discussed using outside consultants to complete some crucial planning projects. Southgate needs to do an industrial plan, urban expansion and updates to the official plan and zoning bylaw. Asked why outside help was needed, township planner Clint Stredwick told council it comes down to workload. Of course, subdivision proposals are now coming in regularly he said. “It’s not just residential any more. It’s commercial and industrial… They all require site plans, they require thought,” If he was to take up those extra projects, “you would have people breaking down your door asking where your planner is,” Mr. Stredwick said. Coun. Jason Rice posed the question about the pace of development, and the costs. Mr. Stredwick said that growth will come to an end unless the limits of wastewater capacity are solved. CAO Dave Milliner expanded on that. He agreed that you don’t want to spend money building capacity that isn’t used, and no one can predict if current interest in Dundalk will stay strong. But right now, he said, the demand is high, and he and the planner are fielding many, many calls from people who want to move their business out of Toronto. The new interest in living in Dundalk drives pressure on pricing in our community to almost unaffordable levels for some people, he said, but it also drives the economy. The budget also contains expenses to open up more land for development. About $1.7 million will be spent in 2021 on the first phase of construction of the Highway 10 Bypass, which was deferred to 2021. In 2022, an estimate of $2.3 million is given for the second phase of that construction. About $1 million from the sale of industrial land is expected in 2021, an amount that also was deferred from this year. Water and wastewater are budget categories that don’t come out of resident’s taxes. Money for big water and wastewater projects comes from reserves that are built up from user fees and from Development Charges. Design for the new Dundalk water tower is planned for 2021, with the tower to be built in 2022. Also, servicing will be changed to a loop rather than a dead end at Hagan and Gold Street . While 2021 will see pump replacements, in 2022 about $16 million is forecast for sewage treatment facility upgrades. Work will also have to be done within the next five years on pumping stations to move sewage.M.T. Fernandes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Dundalk Herald
KYIV, Ukraine — Belarus' opposition will compile a register of law enforcement officers accused of abuses against peaceful demonstrators protesting the reelection of the country's authoritarian leader, an opposition leader said Tuesday.Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, the main opposition challenger in Belarus' August presidential vote, said in a video call from Vilnius, Lithuania, that the “book of crimes” will include accounts of police abuse that will be verified by independent lawyers.“Impunity will not last forever,” said Tsikhanouskaya, who was pressured by Belarusian authorities to leave for neighbouring Lithuania after the vote. “No one will be able to deprive hundreds of thousands of people who are striving for justice from speaking out."Belarus has been swept by mass protests that were triggered by President Alexander Lukashenko's reelection to a sixth term in office by a landslide in the Aug. 9 election that the opposition said was riddled with fraud.Police have cracked down hard on the largely peaceful demonstrations, using stun grenades, tear gas and truncheons to disperse protesters. Thousands of people have been detained — and many of them badly beaten — since the protests began, human rights advocates say.The rallies, the biggest of which drew up to 200,000, have continued despite the increasingly tough police response.The United States and the European Union have introduced sanctions against Belarusian officials accused of involvement in vote-rigging and the post-election crackdown.Tsikhanouskaya said that the opposition will use the register of law enforcement officers accused of abuses to push for Western sanctions against them.___Read all AP stories about the protests in Belarus at https://apnews.com/BelarusThe Associated Press
Regina police have charged a 17-year old girl who allegedly stole a vehicle with a four-year-old child inside.Officers were called to the 2100 block of Albert Street around 8:17 p.m. CST on Nov. 21 for a report of a stolen vehicle, according police.Police were told a 31-year-old woman had given three young women a ride in her car while her child was also in the vehicle.Police said the driver stopped and got out of the vehicle briefly, at which point one of the passengers got in the driver's seat and started driving away. When the mother tried to stop her, the driver allegedly tried to hit her with the car.The suspect left the four-year-old on a street a few minutes later, police said. Two people found the child and called police.Officers identified the suspect and learned she had fled to Calgary. A warrant was issued for her arrest on Nov. 24. She was arrested by Calgary police for an unrelated matter.The suspect, who can't be named in accordance with the Youth Criminal Justice Act, was brought back to Regina on Monday and charged with offences including abduction of a child under 14-years-old, assault with a weapon (vehicle) and auto theft.
Some nurses who left their jobs at Health PEI to take positions with Veterans Affairs Canada asked for, but were denied, a secondment from their provincial jobs, according to the federal Minister of Veterans Affairs Lawrence MacAulay.That's from the latest in a series of letters between MacAulay and P.E.I. Health Minister James Aylward. Aylward wrote to MacAulay in October, expressing concern about a hiring campaign by VAC by which the federal department had lured away at that time, according to Aylward's numbers, 25 registered nurses, two social workers and one psychologist from Health PEI.Health PEI said this week that the number of nurses who have left for VAC has now reached 32.As part of its effort to clear up a backlog of tens of thousands of disability claims, a spokesperson for VAC told CBC the department has hired 125 nurses across Canada, including 55 on P.E.I. Overall the federal department plans to hire 300 temporary staff and aims to clear up the backlog by March 2022. However the Parliamentary Budget Office says the job will require more staffing and an extra year to complete."Given the size of our province and corresponding size of the nursing workforce within our health-care system, this recruitment campaign has had a significant negative impact on our health human resources," Aylward wrote to MacAulay in the first of two letters the health minister tabled in the P.E.I. Legislature.Aylward went on to say some long-term care facilities also lost positions, and were operating with "a skeleton staff."Aylward told MacAulay it was "counterproductive" for a federal department to be taking nurses from provincial health care while Ottawa was at the same time sending additional resources to the provinces to help them deal with COVID-19.> I understand that many nurses were not granted leave when they requested it from the province's health authority, and subsequently made their own decision to join Veterans Affairs Canada. — Lawrence MacAulay"The number of nurses that have migrated from our system to your department has left a potential significant nursing gap should we experience a second wave resulting in a critical situation," Aylward wrote in a followup letter dated Nov. 17.In that letter, Aylward asked about the possibility of Health PEI receiving some of the nurses back from VAC on secondment.Nurses denied requests for leave, says MacAulayBut in response, MacAulay said some of the nurses hired by VAC had asked for a secondment working the other way around: they had asked Health PEI to be allowed to temporarily leave their provincial positions to help VAC clear up the backlog, but that request was denied."My department offered this option for consideration at the time of the recruitment campaign, recognizing the pressures that all health systems were facing," MacAulay wrote to Aylward."I understand that many nurses were not granted leave when they requested it from the province's health authority, and subsequently made their own decision to join Veterans Affairs Canada."MacAulay said the positions are only temporary, and that he'd instructed his department "to be as helpful as possible on this matter." He said VAC is "willing to assist the province with its pandemic response should the current situation change."Nurses in search of 'work-life balance': unionMona O'Shea, the head of the P.E.I. Nurses' Union, said she found it "interesting" Aylward reached out to MacAulay over the nursing shortage. She said the province was already facing a significant number of nursing vacancies even before VAC started recruiting.She said Aylward might have done better to take his concerns to the union. She said nurses are looking for "better work-life balance," and are being denied requests for "temporary leave of absence for education, for movement within the system, vacation, being called back to work when on vacation."O'Shea said nurses are feeling "undervalued, not appreciated and always being asked to do more with less."More from CBC P.E.I.
Community concerns surrounding the future of the moose population near a small, remote First Nation west of Williams Lake has led its newly-elected chief to ink a five-year memorandum of understanding with the B.C. Conservation Officer Service (COS). Yunesit’in government (Stone) is the latest First Nation to reach such an agreement with the COS to promote wildlife sustainability through joint communication, collaboration and enforcement. “It’s going to open the door to have some meaningful meetings, and taking better jurisdiction and care of our moose and deer population out west,” Chief Lennon Solomon said Nov. 30 outside the Tsilhqot’in National Government office in downtown Williams Lake. Solomon, who was elected chief of Yunesit’in in Sept. 2020, said the community voiced their concerns to him after seeing a decline in moose numbers in recent years. COS Insp. Len Butler of the Thompson Cariboo Region said working with Solomon is a real benefit. “We have the same concerns, and it’s the unlawful hunting of cow moose and if we’re working together, it’s much better than working apart on these issues,” Butler said. “Having that backing and us working together is good for the moose populations but also all the species of wildlife.” This year has seen an increase in illegal hunting activity such as hunting on private lands and trafficking, Butler noted, stating there has also been a lot of ‘unfortunate’ night hunting activity within the area. Butler and Solomon both agreed there is more than one factor leading to the moose population’s decline, including predation and logging. Tsilhqot’in National Government Tribal Chair Chief Joe Alphonse described the Yunesit’in caretaker area as prime moose habitat that has been heavily logged. The area was also heavily impacted by wildfires that tore through the region in 2017. “They’d say that our hunters used to go out in the wilderness and get lost, now there are so many logging areas out there they go out on the logging roads, and they get lost,” Alphonse said. Rebecca Dyok, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Williams Lake Tribune
CHARLOTTETOWN - Sukhmeen Caur is concerned about the impact India's farm reforms will have on its farmers, she said. "It's harming people," she said. "Because of these laws, there's going to be no food on the table." Caur, who's originally from Punjab, India, was one of about 10 to 15 people demonstrating by the Charlottetown cenotaph on Nov. 30 - many of whom were members of P.E.I.'s Sikh community. They were raising awareness and showing their support for the Punjab and Haryana farmers protesting a series of laws imposed by India's government in September. The farmers believe their livelihood will be affected by the reformed laws, and when about 300,000 attempted to march into the city of Delhi last week they were met with police barricades, tear gas, and water cannons, demonstrator Manpreet Singh said. "They were stopped forcefully," he said. "They were beaten, they were harassed." Singh, who's also from Punjab, said farming is a primary source of income for India. While the goal of the reforms was to give more control to farmers, the farmer's main concern with them is that a minimum price for what their crops can sell for is no longer guaranteed or regulated, potentially giving corporations more control and profit. For example, one Indian farmer reported selling his wheat crop for 7 rupees per kilogram, after which the buying corporation processed and sold it for 150 rupees per kilogram, Singh said. "They're not treated like people. They're treated like animals," he said. While rising tensions have resulted in a meeting to be called between some of the country's farm unions and the Indian government on Dec. 3, the Charlottetown demonstration was to oppose the police and government's violent response to the protests for showcasing a lack of democracy, Singh said. "I have my right of speech in this country," he said. "But in my country right now, it is not trying to listen to the farmers." Caur added that accurate news coverage on the protests out of the country is difficult to find due to social media censorship, so the Charlottetown demonstration was to inform Islanders of what was going on. "I am here, I should also know what's going on here," she said. "(And) they should know what's going on in India." While only a maximum of 20 people was permitted to gather at the Nov. 30 demonstration due to COVID-19 protocol, Caur noted a larger rally may be held in the near future pending the Chief Public Health Office's approval. Twitter.com/dnlbrown95Daniel Brown, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Guardian
China successfully landed a spacecraft on the moon's surface on Tuesday in a historic mission to retrieve lunar surface samples, Chinese state media reported. China launched its Chang'e-5 probe on Nov. 24. The mission will attempt to collect 2 kg (4-1/2 lbs) of samples in a previously unvisited area in a massive lava plain known as Oceanus Procellarum, or "Ocean of Storms".
Council members told staff to keep the blended tax rate for 2021 low – with requests ranging from zero to “two or three” percent. As it presented by staff, the draft budget contained a three percent increase in the Southgate levy for capital projects, which would likely be a two percent in the blended tax rate. CAO Dave Milliner asked council for direction at the end of the special meeting on the proposed capital budget held on Tuesday, Nov. 24. Coun. Michael Sherson said his ideal would be to give residents a zero increase this year. Coun. Barbara Dobreen said she didn’t want to see township reserves depleted to keep the increase “artificially low.” She suggested a 1.5 percent increase – “keep it under two (percent) for sure.” Deputy-Mayor Brian Milne asked if the 2020 impact of growth was known. The more building in the township, the more property owners to share the burden of the tax levy. Treasurer Liam Gott said it would be a few weeks before he had final figures but he expected 2020 added about $159,000 in taxation dollars based on the value of building permits issued (lower than the $280,000 projected). The deputy-mayor said that while a zero increase is desirable – “I don’t think that it’s reasonable or even responsible.” “Our costs are going up,” he said, naming fuel, hydro, insurance and payroll. Given that, he said he’d like to see something around 2.5 to 3 percent. At that point, the treasurer asked whether councillors were talking about the increase for local use or the overall or “blended” increase that includes taxes Southgate collects and passes on to the county and the school boards. At this stage in the budget process, council has seen and discussed capital costs, with the operating budget still to be seen. Coun. Martin Shipston said that a 2.5 to three percent increase would be reasonable, and not leave residents paying more down the road to make up for a lower increase in 2021. Coun. Jason Rice said he would like to see a zero increase. Coun. Dobreen had mentioned the Cost of Living increase for employees, which would be based on the inflation rate of 0.7 percent. Coun. Rice said that maybe for one year, township employees could do without the COLA increase. ”I’m not going against them (staff) – they do a fantastic job,” he said. “It’s this year, this specific year – this pandemic we’re dealing with,” he said. “It’s not our money in this time of need,” he said. He said many Southgate residents never get a Cost of Living increase. Deputy-Mayor Milne said perhaps this was the year to pull back on COLA or “step” increases based on performance and years served. He said that council needs to see the operating budget estimates to make its final decision. To achieve zero would take cuts to services, he said. “What services are we going to cut back on?” “Fuel, hydro, insurance – other expenses like that we have no control over and we have to pay." Coun. Rice asked the CAO for his reaction. Mr. Milliner replied, “if I didn’t hear a comment from council like that I would be surprised.” He did speak in defence of merit or “step” pay increase, adding that he himself is not affected by that policy. Mayor John Woodbury said that council had to balance the need for restraint in the present moment with the risk of postponing needed changes and mortgaging the future. “Overall, two to three percent is acceptable,” he said.M.T. Fernandes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Dundalk Herald
The remains of a 17-year-old soldier were unearthed four years ago in Belgium — and it turns out they are those of a member of the Newfoundland Regiment, who fought in the First World War and died 103 years ago. The details of the discovery and identity were announced Tuesday at an event at The Rooms in St. John's, with the provincial archivist being acknowledged as having played a major role in the process. Pte. John Lambert died Aug. 16, 1917. He was born July 10, 1900, in St. John's, according to officials with the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces. His remains were discovered during an archeological dig near St. Julien, Belgium. There were three other sets of human remains found, but it's not clear if the others have been identified. Lambert's name was memorialized on the Beaumont-Hamel Newfoundland Memorial in Bowring Park, which commemorates soldiers from Newfoundland who died during the First World War and have no known grave. Lambert lied about his age to fight in warAccording to a biography on the federal government's website, Lambert lied about his age and claimed he was 18 years old when, in fact, he was 16. He joined the 2nd Battalion in Scotland, and made his way to France, where he joined the 1st Battalion of the Newfoundland Regiment in June 1917. Members served with the 88th Brigade of the 29th Infantry Division of the British Expeditionary Force.On Aug. 16, 1917, an attack was launched by the Newfoundland Regiment — in what become known as the Battle of Langemarck — with members successfully overtaking the enemy's trenches and bunkers. Lambert suffered wounds during the attack, and later died from them. Another 26 men were killed in that battle. N.L.'s provincial archivist played key roleLambert's remains were found alongside a number of artifacts in 2016. Those included a shoulder title of the Newfoundland Regiment, an Inniskilling Fusiliers cap badge, two Hampshire Regiment shoulder titles, general service buttons, British bullets and a few other small items.DNA samples from the soldier's descendants made it possible to confirm Lambert's identity — making it the first time a Newfoundland Regiment soldier has been identified by this process, according to the provincial government. It was Greg Walsh, the provincial archivist and director of The Rooms' provincial archives, who "provided vital archival research to locate Private Lambert's direct descendants," according to a Newfoundland and Labrador government media release. Walsh, speaking to reporters at Tuesday's event, praised Lambert for being "so courageous."When pressed about the fact that this was the first local case of its kind, Walsh acknowledged the significance, but noted it was a team effort. "I just feel like it was one of the most rewarding things I have ever done, I have ever been asked to do, and I'm so proud of the work I did, and the work we did as a team," he said. "I do feel like we have put a name to a face and that's a huge part of what we do as archivists and we don't get to do that everyday."Patience and tenacityHow Walsh got to the point of identifying the remains was a lesson in patience and tenacity. "Military records confirmed there were 16 Newfoundland Regiment soldiers who had fought in the vicinity, with no known grave. Walsh, began his year-long search with this list of 16 soldiers and proceeded to find living descendants for 13 of the 16," reads a statement. Walsh combed through many information sources, including vital statistics registers, census records, newspaper records, phone books and online search engines, to find anything that might help with the process. Ultimately, it was a combination of historical, genealogical, anthropological, and DNA analysis that helped the Casualty Identification Review Board identify Lambert, according to the government's website.Col. Perry Grandy, who is chairman of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment Advisory Council, said identifying Lambert, and the process that led to that, are both significant. "This has connected our modern day life with something that happened in history that we only read about," Grandy said. Burial to come at 'earliest opportunity'The Canadian Armed Forces have notified Lambert's surviving next of kin, and are providing them with ongoing support, according to the government. Lambert, who was born to Richard and Elizabeth Lambert, will be buried at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's New Irish Farm Cemetery in West-Vlaanderen, Belgium, as the "earliest opportunity," according to the federal government. It's expected that family members, along with representatives from the Canadian, United Kingdom and Belgian governments will attend, as will representation from the Canadian Armed Forces. Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
Social determinants of health – such as discrimination, proper housing and occupation – are critical factors for public health officials when considering how to target resources at those whose risk of contracting the novel coronavirus is highest. As health interventions aim to address these social liabilities in the short-term, the pandemic is also exposing how environmental determinants of health are often overlooked. Air pollution, for example, produces worse health outcomes and occurs more intensely in areas with poorer social and economic conditions, according to research cited in a study published earlier this month by health data non-profit ICES and the University of Toronto. The paper notes that previous studies “have also implicated environmental pollution as having a biological relationship to the risk and severity of COVID-19 and other respiratory infections.” Environmental factors affecting local public health may emerge as a larger discussion in the coming weeks, as Mississauga’s climate plans resurface during budget committee presentations which resumed Monday. Estimated to cost more than $460 million in the next decade, or about $46 million per year, the City is slow to commit funding in its first year of budgeting for a greener future in Mississauga. In June 2019, following the lead of several other Canadian cities, Mississauga’s Council passed a motion to declare a climate change emergency and approved an ambitious Climate Change Action Plan six months later. In the summer, as the 2021 budget document was being considered by City staff, The Pointer asked Mayor Bonnie Crombie about the ambitious goals she championed in the Climate Action Plan just prior to the pandemic, including some $160 million that would be needed in the short term for hybrid and electric buses. "Certainly, the greening of our economy is the right direction to move and I think we all agree with that," she said at the time. "We are very hopeful that the impact of COVID will be contained to the next three-year horizon and that we will still move forward with our Climate Action Plan. It is very dependent on the ICIP money (Ottawa's Invest In Canada Plan for infrastructure) – money coming from the provincial and federal government – to assist us to green our fleet and implement many of the recommendations that you found in that report." Now, implementing the climate plan is a highlight of the City’s 2021 budget. The two-pronged climate change solution universally advocated by scientists – mitigation and adaptation – is reflected in the City’s strategy to promote green energy, and retrofit or build resilient infrastructure. The plan sets out to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent in the next ten years and by 80 percent ahead of 2050, with the long-term goal of reaching zero emissions. The second pillar is to “build resilience” against the effects of climate change, including severe weather damage to City infrastructure. Next year’s ‘pandemic’ budget, has leaned out capital project funding to help weather the City’s major revenue losses in transit and recreation due to the ongoing public health emergency. Parks, Forestry and Environment staff are proposing a net $37.5 million operating budget, or a $1 million increase from last year, to maintain service levels, support higher fleet costs and kick-off climate protection goals. “Now, having a bold plan is very different than action. This is where the City now has to try and follow through on that, and I don't see that in this year's budget yet,” said Marc Johnson, Director of the Centre for Urban Environments at the University of Toronto Mississauga. He cited urbanization data that shows 82 percent of Canadians live in cities, with significant greenhouse-gas emissions and resource extraction linked to oil, lumber and other materials that support urban development. Though projects including infrastructure lifecycle maintenance, tree planting, stormwater drainage, trail upkeep, parks construction and pedestrian bridge replacement may relate to climate change, the budget does not directly connect these developments to the City’s climate strategy. “I want to see earmarked in [the budget] which of these investments in staff, in green technology, and infrastructure refurbishment are aligned with their Climate Action Plan,” he said. Perhaps the clearest funding link to execute the Climate Change Action Plan is the addition of another full-time staffer, a climate change specialist, in next year’s operating budget, with a salary of $92,000, and $121,000 forecast in 2022. No funding has been allocated until 2023 for the Climate Change Plan Implementation in corporate buildings, with budget documents recommending about $216,000 be set aside. In budget presentation documents, staff acknowledged the City requires resources to fulfill its climate plan and parkland growth expansion. However, parkland growth is not funded until 2022, with a recommended $291,000 budget. Capital projects in the Parks, Forestry and Environment departmental budget will also face deferrals, with an overall budget of about $32.3 million for 2021, forecast to more than double in 2022 to $66 million, and drop slightly to $51 million the following year. There is also a modest budget for parkland acquisition in 2021, at $120,000, compared to $26 million forecast for 2022. Corporate building retrofits as part of the climate plan are also being set aside, not being requested in the budget until 2023, with staff forecasting $216,000. More than 40 percent of parks and related infrastructure will need capital funding for replacements and maintenance over the next decade. Funding in other service sectors will affect Mississauga’s climate change goals, most prominently in transit, which accounts for about 70 percent of the City’s emissions. MiWay Director Geoff Marinoff said, during Tuesday’s transit presentation to the committee, that 40 percent of the fleet would be turned over to hybrid energy buses in the next four years. MiWay is proposing $440.6 million to replace 409 buses over the next 10 years. However, staff are proposing only a small fraction of the annual investment needed if 40 percent of a new hybrid fleet is to be acquired in the next four years. The bus replacement budget for 2021 is just $2 million, even though MiWay reaffirmed its commitment to “no longer purchase any conventional diesel buses, and will be required to purchase hybrid-electric and zero emission vehicles.” The budget does not specify if the bus replacement budget will be solely for hybrid-electric vehicles. (The City currently has 36, and the remaining 475 buses run on ultra-refined diesel.) The federal government, as Crombie highlighted in the summer, could provide a significant contribution, as clean energy infrastructure is one of the priorities in its infrastructure investment policy and Ottawa has already approved large sums to municipalities and provinces for clean transportation since the plan was adopted under the Liberals in 2015. The budget also notes the City’s training program for fleet operation will be amended to train drivers in reducing idling and fuel consumption to align with climate goals. Initiatives linked to fighting climate change can also be found in the increased stormwater tax. Mississauga has seen its share of extreme weather in the past decade, with heavy rain and flash floods last spring and fall. Human activity connected to climate change is leading to more extreme rainfalls in North America, according to a study published this June. A stormwater tax raise, which will range from $2.20 to $3.68 per year, is slated to help generate $43.5 million toward the City’s stormwater reserve funds for unpredictable weather caused by changing environmental conditions. Natural disasters and severe weather events demand crucial consideration when making urgent local policy shifts, said Lauren Latour, a coordinator at Climate Action Network Canada. “A lot of the time when we talk about climate policy, we're talking about federal level policy, but the effects are going to have to be dealt with by municipal governments,” Latour said. “They become those frontline protectors for their communities.” Email: email@example.com Twitter: @LaVjosa COVID-19 is impacting all Canadians. At a time when vital public information is needed by everyone, The Pointer has taken down our paywall on all stories relating to the pandemic and those of public interest to ensure every resident of Brampton and Mississauga has access to the facts. For those who are able, we encourage you to consider a subscription. This will help us report on important public interest issues the community needs to know about now more than ever. You can register for a 30-day free trial HERE. Thereafter, The Pointer will charge $10 a month and you can cancel any time right on the website. Thank you.Vjosa Isai, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Pointer