WASHINGTON — A former Trump campaign associate who was the target of a secret surveillance warrant during the FBI's Russia investigation says in a federal lawsuit that he was the victim of “unlawful spying.”The suit from Carter Page alleges a series of omissions and errors made by FBI and Justice Department officials in applications they submitted in 2016 and 2017 to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to eavesdrop on Page on suspicion that he was an agent of Russia.“Since not a single proven fact ever established complicity with Russia involving Dr. Page, there never was probable cause to seek or obtain the FISA Warrants targeting him on this basis,” the lawsuit says, using the acronym for the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.Page has received death and kidnapping threats and has suffered economic losses and “irreparable damage to his reputation," according to the lawsuit, which was filed Friday in federal court in Washington.The lawsuit to some extent echoes the conclusions of a Justice Department inspector general report that found significant problems with the four applications. Former FBI and Justice Department leaders who were involved in signing off on the surveillance have since testified they wouldn't have done so had they known of the extent of the issues, and the FBI has initiated more than 40 corrective steps aimed at improving the accuracy and thoroughness of applications.In the complaint, Page accuses the FBI of relying excessively for information on Christopher Steele, a former British spy whose research during the 2016 campaign into Donald Trump's ties to Russia was funded by Democrats. It says the FBI failed to tell the surveillance court that Steele's primary source had contradicted information that Steele had attributed to him, or that Page had denied to an informant for the FBI having “any involvement with Russia on behalf of the Trump campaign.”The complaint also accuses the FBI of having misled the surveillance court about his relationship with the CIA, for whom Page had been an operational contact between 2008 and 2013. A former FBI lawyer, Kevin Clinesmith, pleaded guilty in August to altering an email to say that Page had not been a source for the CIA.The suit names as defendants the FBI and the Justice Department, as well as former FBI Director James Comey, former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and additional officials who were involved in the Russia investigation.Despite the problems with the warrant applications, the scrutiny of Page, who was never charged with any wrongdoing, accounted for only a narrow portion of the overall investigation into ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.The same inspector general report that detailed problems in the applications also concluded that the FBI had a legitimate basis for opening the Russia investigation, and did not find evidence that any of its actions were influenced by political bias.____Follow Eric Tucker on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/etuckerAPEric Tucker, The Associated Press
Squamish Public Library is set to permanently acknowledge its location on the traditional territory of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Nation through a commissioned artwork. The library is inviting artists from the nation to submit designs for a vinyl window covering for the front of the library building and the children’s area. "The intention is for the artwork of a Squamish Nation artist to publicly and permanently acknowledge the library's location on the traditional territory of the Squamish Nation,” Rachel Bergquist, public services librarian, said. "This art commission aims to celebrate the art, traditions, culture, and land of the Squamish Nation through the unique vision of the artist.” She said windows of the library offered the opportunity for a large-scale showcase of art, visible to library patrons, passersby, and the hundreds of people who use Squamish Transit. "We have so many visitors to our town and the library really is a hot spot for people looking for directions, bathrooms, and other resources," Bergquist said. "So, it’s just exciting to have the opportunity to have that public acknowledgement facing outward to both the people who are living in our community, but also those people who are passing through who might not have as much of an understanding of where they are.” The library is searching for a design that will feel like an integrated part of the building and still allow for some visibility through the windows, with the final image to be printed on cut-out frosted vinyl in monochrome white and grey. “We wanted something that still allows for us to see outside and allows the natural light in,” Bergquist said, on the choice of frosted vinyl. “We want people inside the library to be able to see the world around them. Sitting inside the library, looking out that window, you can see the Stawamus Chief.” The chosen artist will receive $5,400 for the digital file of their commissioned work and the library will arrange for the production and installation of the final product. Acknowledgement and information about the art and artist will also be installed along with the window covering. Bergquist said artworks received will be reviewed by a selection committee of library staff, the director of library services and be shown to Squamish Nation Elders for their blessing. She said the library team was excited to see the designs artists submit and were available for any questions artists may have about the project. The public art project was made possible by a Community Arts and Culture Enhancement Grant from the Squamish Arts Council and capital funding from the District of Squamish. The submission deadline is Dec. 15, 2020, at 5 p.m. The successful artist will be announced early next year, and it’s hoped the installation will occur in spring. All proposals must be submitted to Rachel Bergquist or dropped off at the library at 37907 Second Avenue, Squamish, B.C. Find the full call for artists here. Elisia Seeber, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, North Shore News
A series of devastating typhoons in the Philippines has prompted a Calgary couple to bring more light to those affected by making and selling lantern kits and donating the funds to disaster relief.This year, the annual typhoon season in the Philippines has left thousands homeless and has created what may be a long-term humanitarian crisis.Eric Dizon and his wife, Love, had the idea of making and selling "parol kits," which is a traditional Filipino lantern shaped like the Star of Bethlehem. "We had an idea of making a parol kit, the Filipino Christmas lantern as a kit wherein people can buy it and families can make it, especially for this Christmas," he told CBC's Mike Symington."This year it's been kinda tough, we had two super typhoons, we heard it on the news, and we also have friends and family, friends here in Calgary, whose families were affected," he said.Dizon says they all need to find happiness and peace right now, so if that means using their heritage to find strength, they should do it."What better way to have family gathered together and make this star, which symbolizes hope and peace," he said.His wife, Love, says each kit has everything you'll need to make an authentic bamboo lantern and that it should take you around an hour to complete."So from wires to cardboard, we provide glue sticks to elastics … so, yeah, everything in a bag is complete with Christmas lights too," she said.So far the kits have been flying out the door.Girlie Salaido, who purchased 10 of the lanterns, says that building them takes her back to when she was a child in the Philippines."My son who basically grew up here [in Calgary] while doing it I'm sharing the stories of when I was young and so it just brings back all the fond memories from back home," she said.The couple have sold more than 200 kits at $20 each, which are available to purchase through their Facebook page.With files from Mike Symington and The Homestretch.
MONTREAL — Quebec set a new record for daily COVID-19 infections Saturday while surpassing the threshold of 7,000 deaths linked to the novel coronavirus.The province reported 1,480 new confirmed cases Saturday, exceeding the previous record set on Thursday of 1,464 new diagnoses.Meanwhile, the 37 most recent deaths pushed the provincial total to 7,021."We must continue to respect health measures throughout Quebec and in all settings if we want to limit the transmission of the virus," Health Minister Christian Dube said through his Twitter account.Of the deaths, 10 were recorded in the past 24 hours while another 23 were recorded during a five-day period between last Saturday and Thursday.The number of hospitalizations increased slightly, with nine more patients seeking care for a total of 678. The number of patients in intensive care increased by three to 93.The Quebec government has said it will need to see a reduction in cases to trigger a plan to allow for a maximum of two gatherings of 10 people from three households between Dec. 24 and 27.Health authorities want people to quarantine for one week before and one week after the proposed four-day gathering period.The province is expected to introduce new measures and some restrictions for patients in long-term care homes and seniors residences ahead of the holidays to keep COVID-19 out of those facilities. "Those new rules are going to be published early in the next week," Dr. Horacio Arruda said on Friday during a news conference in the Saguenay.On Saturday, four long-term care homes and 14 seniors' residences were listed as critical in terms of the number of COVID-19 cases.Much of the province has been at the highest COVID alert since October, with restaurant dining, gyms and entertainment venues now shuttered until at least Jan. 11.The province has 11,716 active cases of COVID-19.Montreal reported the most new infections with 429, followed by Monteregie, south of Montreal, with 215 cases and Lanaudiere, northeast of the city, with 120.The province has now reported 139,643 COVID-19 cases and 7,021 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic, along with 1,179 new recoveries for a total of 120,906.The province conducted 29,652 tests on Thursday, the last day for which numbers were available.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 28, 2020.Sidhartha Banerjee, The Canadian Press
Residents in the Moodyville area are calling on the City of North Vancouver to “preserve the character of their neighbourhood” with the proposal of a new development they say is set to “cast a shadow” over their homes and lives. The public will have the chance to once again voice their concerns or support for the Cascadia Green redevelopment at 402-438 East Third Street and 341-343 St. Davids Ave. next week. After a robust discussion at the Nov. 16 general meeting, council voted to move forward with a public hearing on the developer’s application to change the land use and permitted height in the city’s official community plan and zoning bylaw, which would allow the development to go ahead. The proposed changes would give the developer permission to increase from four storeys to five storeys as well as add a commercial laneway and extra retail and office spaces to the development. The proposed 5,516.5-square-metre mixed-use development includes three separate buildings: the West building, a four-storey building along East Third Street with 82 market strata residential units, including ground-floor live-work townhouse units; the East building, a five-storey mixed-use building with 71 market strata residential units, 14 commercial retail units, office spaces and a childcare facility on Level 1, and the North building, a four-storey mixed-use building with 16 market strata residential units. In the report prepared for council, staff said they supported the OCP amendment, stating it would “increase the commercial component in the development to provide significant amenities to the Moodyville area.” Staff also highlighted the inclusion of childcare, improvements to active transportation infrastructure and intersections, and housing pilot programs were all consistent with the City’s policy framework. "The form of development has also been evaluated and considered appropriate in the site context," the report states. "On balance, the proposed application will support the continued growth of Moodyville into a more sustainable neighbourhood - environmentally, socially, and economically." Members of the surrounding community already voiced both grievances and support for the developer’s proposal at a town hall meeting in November 2019 – with more than 85 comment sheets and emails submitted after the event, with 23 expressing opposition and 62 expressing support. A virtual town hall was then hosted in July this year, to provide an update on changes to the proposal which resulted in a further 316 comments. Those in support have praised the project for offering relatively affordable housing, with a Rent-to-Own and Affordable Home Ownership Program, its pedestrian orientated design and the proposed mix of neighbourhood retail and restaurants. Residents in opposition are hoping council will make developers stick to the original plans. More residents came forward to speak against the OCP ammendments at the Nov. 16 council meeting, echoing the same key concerns about the heights, size, and shadow impacts of the three buildings. Residents in opposition fear the massive development will impact traffic, on-street parking, privacy and noise in area. The community is also worried the development would put pressure on Ridgeway Elementary, which is already at capacity. Jeff Murl, an East Fourth Street resident, said the current plan being proposed dramatically altered the “density, form and character” of the neighbourhood. Murl argued the change was not “marginal” and the new plan proposed five times the residential density and 10 times the commercial density of the OCP. “What is proposed is seeking to overwrite the hours of work and consideration of public input already encapsulated in the OCP,” he said. Murl said the neighbourhood was not “looking to be an experiment” when it came to the activation of a laneway behind their homes, suggesting the nearby TransLink bus depot site, zoned for commercial, was the better retail development option. Fellow resident Brian Charleton, who bought into the neighbourhood in January, said he was previously aware of the four-storey development before purchasing, but was astounded to find out the potential height changes could mean he’d have an almost 70-foot building towering over his home in the future. “The only time we will see direct sunlight is during the summer solstice, all other seasons of the year we will be shaded,” he said. Staff say since consultations with the community a number of changes have been made to the application, highlighting the North building has been redesigned in order to respond to the neighbouring houses along East Fourth Street, site circulation has been improved to significantly calm traffic surrounding the site, and the childcare space is now located at the breezeway, away from East Fourth Street. But East Fourth resident Melissa McConchie, who has written twice to the city to voice her concerns and spoke at Monday’s meeting, said the adjustments weren’t good enough. “We’re not anti-development but this proposal is just way too big for our neighbourhood and it will have a significant negative impact on my family and the other families who live on this street,” she said. “Particularly because we’re on the south side of Fourth Street, these buildings are literally directly in my backyard – our duplex is going to disappear in a sea of buildings. “If approved, this will turn our quiet, residential street into a busy commercial zone with 30,000 square feet of commercial space along Third Street, St. Davids Avenue and our laneway.” She said the community just wanted “city council to preserve the family character of this street.” “This is a great neighbourhood and it would be a tremendous shame to see it completely overhauled when the official community plan already provides the roadmap for how to balance the need for new development with the impact on existing residents,” McConchie said. At Monday’s general meeting, the vote to move to the public hearing was carried five to two. Coun. Jessica McIlroy was happy to move forward, saying she’d like to hear more from the public and staff on the development. “We have heard concerns from members of the public about the project, but I feel that the application has gone through the necessary steps to move to a public hearing,” she said. Meanwhile, Coun. Holly Back was “quite concerned” about moving the application forward. She had similar issues with the project as the community, including a fifth storey being too high, future overcrowding at the local school, and the increased size of the development compared to the original plans. With similar concerns about the heights and size of the development, Coun. Don Bell, who had also previously opposed the project, voted against moving forward to a public hearing, agreeing with the community that the development would change the area’s character. “I think this project is too dense for that site and too massive in terms of form,” he said, mentioning he also wasn’t convinced it was the right spot to introduce a commercial laneway. “I think the project is, you know, attractive and I would have liked to have seen it kept within the OCP limits.” The virtual public hearing has been set for Nov. 30. Click here to register and for more project details.Elisia Seeber, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, North Shore News
PARIS — Tens of thousands of critics of a proposed security law that would restrict the filming of police officers protested across France on Saturday, and officers in Paris who were advised to behave responsibly during the demonstrations repeatedly fired tear gas to disperse rowdy protesters who set fire to France's central bank and threw paving stones.The mood was largely peaceful, however, as dozens of rallies took place against a provision of the law that would make it a crime to publish photos or video of on-duty police officers with the intent of harming their “physical or psychological integrity.”Civil liberties groups, journalists, and people who have faced police abuse are concerned that the measure will stymie press freedoms and allow police brutality to go undiscovered and unpunished.“We have to broaden the debate, and by doing that, we say that if there were no police violence, we wouldn’t have to film violent policemen," Assa Traore, a prominent anti-brutality activist whose brother died in police custody in 2016, told The Associated Press.She was among at least 46,000 people who packed the sprawling Republique plaza and surrounding streets carrying red union flags, French tricolour flags and homemade signs denouncing police violence, demanding media freedom or calling for the resignation of French President Emmanuel Macron or his tough-talking interior minister, Gerald Darmanin.The crowd included journalists, journalism students, left-wing activists, migrants rights groups and citizens of varied political stripes expressing anger over what they perceive as hardening police tactics in recent years, especially since France’s yellow vest protest movement against economic hardship emerged in 2018.Violence erupted near the end of the march as small groups of protesters pelted riot police with small rocks and paving stone. The officers retaliated with volleys of tear gas, prompting minor scuffles. Rioters then set fire to the facade of the central bank and to police barricades; in the melee fire trucks struggled to reach the site.Macron's government says the law is needed to protect police amid threats and attacks by a violent fringe.But the chief editor of French newspaper Le Monde, Luc Bronner, argued at the protest that the law against publishing images of officers is unnecessary.“There are already laws that exist to protect civil servants, including police forces when they’re targeted, and it’s legitimate – the police do a very important job," Bronner said. “But that's not what this is about. It’s about limiting the capacity of citizens and along with them, journalists, to document police violence when they happen.”While journalists have been the most outspoken over the security bill, it could have an even greater impact on the efforts of non-journalists who film police during aggressive arrests, notably minorities who can try to fight police abuse and discrimination with a few seconds of cellphone video.“There were all those protests in the summer against police violence, and this law shows the government didn’t hear us... It’s the impunity. That’s what makes us so angry," protest participant Kenza Berkane, 26, said.Berkane, who is French and of North African origin, described being repeatedly stopped by police for identity checks in the metro or while going to school. while white friends were allowed to pass. “We ask ourselves, when will this stop?”The cause has gained renewed importance in recent days after footage emerged of French police officers beating up a Black man, triggering a nationwide outcry.Macron spoke out against the video images on Friday, saying “they shame us.”Video that surfaced Thursday showed the beating of music producer Michel Zecler, following footage of the brutal police evacuation Tuesday of migrants in a Paris plaza. The officers involved in the beating of Zecler were suspended pending an internal police investigation.An internal letter from Paris Police Prefect Didier Lallement called on officers to use “probity, the sense of honour and ethics” when policing Saturday's protests, which were authorized by authorities despite France's partial virus lockdown.Through most of the march police hung back, chatting while holding their helmets or watching silently as protesters shouted “Shame!” at them.The crowd was overwhelmingly peaceful, but some in the unruly minority came equipped with gas masks and helmets.Article 24 of the proposed security law criminalizes the publishing of images of police officers with the intent of causing harm. Anyone found guilty could be sentenced to up to a year in jail, and fined 45,000 euros ($53,000).Many protesters, police and journalists have been injured during protests in recent years, including several Associated Press journalists.Prime Minister Jean Castex announced Friday that he would appoint a commission to redraft Article 24, but he backtracked after hearing from angry lawmakers. The commission is now expected to make new proposals by early next year on the relationship between the media and police.___Alex Turnbull in Paris contributed to this report.Angela Charlton And Thomas Adamson, The Associated Press
People who visited curling facilities in two communities in northern Saskatchewan during specific periods in November are required to self-isolate due to the risk of COVID-19 exposure, the Saskatchewan Health Authority says.All individuals who attended any events at the Lakeland Curling Club in Christopher Lake between Nov. 16 and 22 are considered close contacts, and required under public health orders to isolate for 14 days from their last attendance, the health authority said in a Saturday media release.The order includes people who visited the Lakeland Curling Club board meeting on Nov. 16.People who visited the curling rink and lounge at the Richardson Pioneer Recreation Centre in Shellbrook also need to isolate if they curled or socialized at the facility at any time between Nov. 9 and Nov. 26, said the SHA.In addition to the required self-isolation, the agency strongly recommends COVID-19 testing for anyone who was at either location during the affected dates. People can book a testing appointment by calling HealthLine 811. Christopher Lake is about 35 kilometres north of Prince Albert, while Shellbrook is about 45 kilometres to the west of the city.
With COVID-19 once again spreading through parts of Nova Scotia, the province is taking a different approach to testing for the virus than it did during the first wave.Capacity at the province's microbiology labs has been building since the early days of the pandemic, different types of tests have become available in recent months, and the province's current outbreak is affecting a different demographic — all contributing to the strategic shift.When COVID-19 first arrived in Nova Scotia, testing was restricted mostly to those with multiple symptoms and close contacts of known cases. Now, public health has a much broader call for testing, including to Halifax bar staff and patrons.At Friday's COVID-19 briefing, Nova Scotia Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Robert Strang said the new strategy is because of the prevalence of asymptomatic spread among the 18-35 age group in Halifax — the current epicentre of Nova Scotia's outbreak."With no symptoms, the only way to find people infected with COVID-19 is to test them," said Strang.This kind of widespread testing wouldn't have been possible during the first wave because of lab capacity.In March, the province's microbiology labs were able to complete only 200 and 250 COVID-19 tests per day.That capacity has been gradually building, and last month Strang said the province could handle 2,500 daily tests, although it was averaging far less than that. On Thursday, lab technicians completed a record-setting 3,109 tests in 24 hours.Even the opposition Progressive Conservatives offered some praise for the numbers, saying in a news release the uptick appeared to be "an indication that the need to extensively test is being taken seriously."PC leader Tim Houston said he remained disappointed that testing hadn't ramped up sooner, "but I am hopeful that the government has now turned the corner."Still, there are more people waiting for tests than the province can administer and process in a day. Strang said that as of Friday 8,000 people had identified themselves as bar staff and patrons in need of testing, creating a backlog.Everyone who has requested it will get an appointment and results, eventually, said Strang, but they may have to wait. Some of those people — like those who have been notified of a potential exposure that requires testing — are being asked to self-isolate while they wait.Strang asked for patience."We're very much building the plane and flying it at the same time when it comes to this asymptomatic testing as part of our outbreak response," he said.Nova Scotia's testing has also broadened with the introduction of rapid tests, also called point-of-care tests. While the rapid tests are more likely to yield false results than a standard lab test, experts say the data from widespread rapid testing can provide valuable insight into the spread of the virus, and inform decisions about public health restrictions and guidelines.Since last weekend, when the first rapid-testing site popped up for a few hours in an empty nightclub, rapid testing has attracted thousands of people to locations around Halifax. Strang said that as of Friday, 2,700 rapid tests had been administered. From those, at least 11 potential cases were identified, but positive results from a rapid test aren't counted in the official provincial tally of COVID-19 cases until they've been verified by a lab test. The province has not consistently reported results of followup lab tests.What's still to comeWith the recent detection of COVID-19 in wastewater in Wolfville, N.S., the province is setting up a rapid-testing site there on Monday. Strang said the research findings are not definitive, but Public Health will test that population as a precaution.Rapid tests were deployed in long-term care homes for the first time on Friday to volunteers, employees and designated caregivers.Strang described it as "serial testing" that will be repeated every two weeks. It launched at three Halifax-area homes and will eventually expand provincewide, he said."This is part of our effort to monitor, reduce and prevent the spread of COVID-19 in long-term care facilities, and none of us need a reminder about how important that is," said Strang. Earlier this week, Premier Stephen McNeil said rotational workers might also be targeted for rapid testing in the near future. On Friday, he said travellers coming in from outside Atlantic Canada could eventually be targeted, too.McNeil pointed to a pilot program underway in Alberta that's screening incoming international travellers to reduce quarantine time, and a recent pilot program for rapid testing by Air Canada at Toronto's Pearson airport."We won't be opening up to the rest of Canada any time soon," said McNeil.But, he added, rapid testing "would have to definitely be part of that opening up."MORE TOP STORIES
COLUMBIA, Mo. — Sarah Fuller made history, but her barrier-breaking kickoff was the only highlight for Vanderbilt as Missouri dominated the Commodores 41-0 on Saturday.Fuller became the first woman to participate in a Power 5 conference football game when she kicked off to start the second half. Fuller delivered a low kick that bounced to the 35-yard line, where Missouri pounced on it. She never got the chance to attempt a PAT or field goal, as the Tigers (4-3) rarely allowed the Commodores (0-8) to cross midfield in the Southeastern Conference game.Larry Rountree rushed 21 times for 160 yards and three touchdowns. Connor Bazelak completed 30 of 37 passes for 318 yards. Running back Tyler Badie had seven catches for 102 yards and scored on a 1-yard run in the second quarter. True freshman quarterback Brady Cook got his first snaps of the year in mop-up time and threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Damon Hazelton.Vanderbilt gained just 196 total yards against a stingy Missouri defence that has held three of its last four opponents to 10 points or less. Ken Seals completed 11 of 19 passes for 79 yards. Keyon Henry-Brooks rushed 15 times for 64 yards but lost a fumble in Missouri territory to end a rare promising drive for the Commodores to open the third quarter.Fuller, a senior goalkeeper on the Vanderbilt soccer team, joined the football team this week after helping the Commodores win the Southeastern Conference Tournament last weekend. COVID-19 protocols and restrictions left Vandy football coach Derek Mason with a limited number of specialists available against Missouri. Mason reached out to soccer coach Darren Ambrose for some help, and Fuller agreed to give the sport a try.THE TAKEAWAYMissouri: Senior linebacker Nick Bolton is making a bid for All-SEC and All-American honours. Bolton finished with nine tackles, a sack, two tackles for loss and a pass breakup against Vanderbilt. He has 76 tackles on the season.Vanderbilt: An otherwise forgettable game will be remembered for Fuller’s participation. No woman had appeared in an SEC football game or for any Power 5 team. Women have played college football at other levels. Liz Heaston became the first woman to score with two extra points for Willamette in NAIA on Oct. 18, 1997. Katie Hnida was the first woman to score at the Football Bowl Subdivision level with two extra points for New Mexico on Aug. 30, 2003. April Goss was the second with an extra point for Kent State in 2015. Tonya Butler was the first woman to kick a field goal in an NCAA game for Division II West Alabama on Sept. 13, 2003.UP NEXTMissouri: The Tigers are scheduled to play Arkansas at home on Saturday.Vanderbilt: The Commodores visit Georgia on Saturday.___More AP college football: https://apnews.com/Collegefootball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25Joe Walljasper, The Associated Press
For the first time, people can vote in this year’s Festival of Trees online during the COVID-19 pandemic. Each year, festive trees are decorated by local merchants and organizations and displayed inside Steveston’s Gulf of Georgia Cannery National Historic Site. In addition to the new online voting option, the cannery will also be open for in-person viewing and voting, starting Tuesday (Dec. 1) with additional protocols in place. There will be 15 trees decorated this year, says marketing and visitor services manager Mimi Horita. She adds that, as expected, some groups have cancelled due to different circumstances during this unusual year. “We did not hold a ‘decorating party’ this year, and scheduled the decorating times over a one-week period to ensure safe distancing,” Horita says of the changes to this year’s planning. While advance tickets are not required, capacity will be reduced to allow for physical distancing. In keeping with new public health restrictions, all visitors must wear a face mask while visiting the display. Staff and volunteers at the cannery also wear masks at all times. The Festival of Trees will be open daily from Dec. 1 to 23 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. On Dec. 24 it will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Regular admission is $11.90 for adults and $10.20 for seniors, with youth under age 17 and society members able to enter for free. Admission will be by donation on Sundays: Dec. 6, 13 and 20. For more information, call 604-664-9009.Hannah Scott, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Richmond Sentinel
LONDON — The British government said Saturday that it had struck an agreement with France to double the number of French police patrolling beaches in the country's north in an attempt to stop people crossing the English Channel in small boats.Britain’s Home Office said Home Secretary Priti Patel and French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin had agreed on the measure as part of efforts to make the route “unviable” for people-smugglers. The agreement also will boost surveillance using “drones, radar equipment, optronic binoculars and fixed cameras,” the U.K. said.It said the two countries had agreed to spend 31.4 million euros ($41 million) on the measures.Migrants have long used northern France as a launching point to reach Britain — usually in trucks or on ferries —and the issue has long strained relations between the two countries.Many migrants appear to have turned to small boats organized by smugglers during the coronavirus pandemic because virus restrictions have reduced traffic between France and Britain. More than 8,000 people have made the dangerous journey so far this year, up from about 1,800 in all of 2019.Last month, a family from Iran, including two parents and their children aged 6 and 9, died when their boat capsized in the Channel. Their 15-month-old son is missing and presumed drowned.Aid and human rights groups say the best way to stop the journeys is to provide safe routes for people to seek asylum in Britain.The Associated Press
A nine-storey, mix-used residential and retail development in Lower Lonsdale, set to offer 75 market rental units, has been given the green light. City of North Vancouver council voted 6-1 to approve a rezoning application by Cressey Development and First Capital Realty for the redevelopment of 200 West Esplanade at Monday’s general meeting. The development will replace the old Cineplex Esplanade theatre building, which closed in April last year in light of the new Park Royal location opening. The site was desirable for a rental project as it’s close to public transit, being less than five-minute walk from the SeaBus terminal, Lonsdale Quay bus exchange and R2 Marine Drive RapidBus. The new building will have commercial retail units at ground level, above-grade parking on the second level, and 75 market rental units, eight of which will be offered at mid-market rates. Designed by Rafii Architects, the plan also boasts both indoor and outdoor amenities, including a gym and a separate lounge area indoors and planter beds, a play area, and a gazebo outdoors. The redevelopment of the site was mostly supported by surrounding residents, with the building’s height – which will reach eight storeys at the lane but due to a slope will be nine storeys facing West Esplanade – and increased traffic to the area the main concerns raised by the community at a developer’s information session on Sept. 19, 2019. At the time, about six residents opposed the development going ahead. Only two residents came forward to speak at a virtual public hearing on the development at Monday’s general meeting. One resident, who lives in the Time building at 175 West First St., raised the same concerns about the building’s height, increased cars in the area and obstructed views. While another resident spoke on behalf of the owners of 224 West Esplanade, the building immediately west of the new development, stating they had worries about the impact construction of the new development could have on their existing building, including the building’s foundation being undermined, the building settlements that might occur and historic water incursion problems in the area. The developers responded that the height of the building was in line with the city's Official Community Plan for the site, and that a traffic impact study had already found that the future building would have a very minimal effect on traffic in the area. The report to council also highlights that the building will be "harmonious with the transition from taller developments directly across Chesterfield to the east, and lower developments to the west," also adding the design will create an "engaging frontage along West Esplanade that includes a pedestrian plaza area." The development plan only has 32 parking spaces, with two for car share, which raised a red flag for Coun. Don Bell. He decided to vote against the rezoning application, as he believed the development did not have adequate parking or storage facilities. Meanwhile, Mayor Linda Buchanan and fellow councillors were supportive of the development, with most mentioning its proximity to transit and the positive increase in rental options it will bring to the Lower Lonsdale area. “I do think this project actually fulfills many of the policy and guideline directions that the city has,” Buchanan said. “It is part of the housing action plan for us to be able to deliver rental housing and certainly mid-market housing and this project does that.” Coun. Angela Girard said it was a good location for the city to be supporting density, being on an active transportation corridor. “The Lower Lonsdale area has been developed more recently with predominantly stratified apartment units, and by fusing both market and mid-market rentals into this area, I think will greatly benefit the neighborhood by providing an alternative housing type for working professionals, for families, that may not be able to afford market condos,” she said. “In my opinion, the complex offers great indoor and outdoor amenities.” The development will also see the design and construction of a new a bike lane and sidewalk, including street lighting and landscaping, from the development site to Semisch Avenue. On top of this, a public art installation, with a value of $25,000, will be installed to jazz up the area.Elisia Seeber, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, North Shore News
York Regional Police has launched its annual holiday RIDE program in the hopes of convincing people not to drink and drive."We consider a suspected impaired driver a crime in progress and you should never hesitate to call 911," Cecile Hammond, deputy chief of the force, said on Friday night at a news conference in Markham.The program, which began on Friday, runs until New Year's Eve. Police have laid more than 1,600 impaired driving-related charges in York Region this year. More than 4,400 calls have been made to police from citizens reporting impaired drivers in 2020. Police have investigated two fatal crashes this year in which alcohol or drug impaired driving is believed to be a factor.The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted the police service to change its RIDE program somewhat and the community should expect to see RIDE spot checks in places this year where they may not have been previously. Those places include back roads and residential neighbourhoods, which police said impaired drivers are using to avoid police."We know that the locations where people often consume alcohol have changed as bars, clubs and restaurants have been either closed or have reduced capacity," Hammond said."If you still feel that drinking, or using drugs, and getting behind the wheel of a vehicle is worth the risk, despite the high probability of being caught, the criminal charges, the criminal record, the legal fees, insurance costs and the embarrassment that will follow, what about the possibility of killing innocent people?" Hammond asked.Hammond said drivers need to make the right choice.'Just don't get behind the wheel,' says woman who lost dadNirusha Mahendram, a woman who lost her father to impaired driving, also spoke at the news conference. Her father, Mahendram Sellathurai, 68, was killed on Dec. 31, 2019 at about 7:20 p.m. His death came the day before her 30th birthday.Stanley Choy, 40, was travelling nearly 200 km/h with more than twice the legal limit of alcohol in his system when he struck Sellathurai's car. Choy was sentenced to seven years in prison, Hammond said. "The trauma doesn't end. The suffering does not end," Mahendram told reporters in front of a check spot in Markham. Four months earlier, she had lost her mother."That night had just practically changed my entire life for me. My goals, my future, any life plans that I had had been shattered in a moment," Mahendram said."The only word I can hang onto is the word hope, hope for change, the hope that the police officers here, and those of you who are watching, help to make sure that everyone gets home safe," she added.For anyone who is considering driving even the slightest bit impaired, she said: "Don't. Just don't get behind the wheel."She said her father was a "kind, loving" man who was hard working and a "go-getter who would not let an opportunity slide by." He was always smiling and would never argue, she said.Her father had been out getting groceries and had stopped to grab dinner for the family before he was killed.Mahendram shared her story just metres away from where her father was killed and where police set up its first stop check of the RIDE campaign.Jennifer Neville-Lake, who lost her three children and father to a impaired driving crash in 2015, was also at the news conference to lend her support for the campaign.
Wife of OPP Const. Marc Hovingh, Lianne Hovingh, spoke at his funeral Saturday and read an email from the son of a family friend. Const. Hovingh died last Thursday in a shooting that also left a civilian dead in Gore Bay, Ont., on Manitoulin Island.
ST. JOHN'S, N.L. — Newfoundland and Labrador has announced two new confirmed cases of COVID-19, including a man who recently returned to the province from the United States. Health officials say the man in his 50s in the Eastern Health region travelled on Air Canada Flight 7480 from Montreal to St. John’s on Nov. 25.The province is asking anyone who travelled on the same flight to call 811 to arrange a COVID-19 test.Meanwhile, officials say the second confirmed case is a female in the Eastern Health region in her 60s.She is a member of the same household of a previously known case, which was connected to the recent cluster in Grand Bank. Newfoundland and Labrador has 32 active cases of COVID-19.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 28, 2020. The Canadian Press
During the two years that the Montreal Biodôme was being renovated, 76 animals died, according to a document obtained by Radio-Canada.About 4,500 animals were displaced during the work period, before the facility reopened in August.An access-to-information request revealed that dozens of animals died in the first few days following the move.Emiko Wong, head of the Biodôme's living collections, research and development division, told CBC the first major incident happened when a bird shelter had an unwelcome visitor. "A weasel accidentally introduced itself in one of our temporary locations for the animals. And unfortunately, a weasel is very agile and it caught many of the birds," she said.The second series of casualties was among the Biodôme's bat population. Wong said the mesh used to temporarily house the bats damaged their highly sensitive skin.She explained that the mesh was quickly swapped out, but nearly fifty bats did not survive.Another group of small birds dealt with an outbreak of infectious diseases that she suspects was facilitated by increased humidity.A monkey and a small penguin also died. According to Wong, it's difficult to pinpoint the cause of death in all of the different cases."There are many factors that are involved and one of the factors is of course stress. Every time an animal dies in a biological setting, we try to investigate it and the reason why we do this is we want to learn more, and try to better care for the animals."She added that the Biodôme is trying to be as transparent as possible, and will carefully review what role its staff and its caretaking played in the unfortunate circumstances.In order to spare the older king penguins the stress of travel, the Biodôme decided not to bring them back from the Calgary Zoo where they were living temporarily.The 19 and 20-year-old males as well as the 26 and 27-year-old females will therefore live out the rest of their lives in Alberta.
Another person in Saskatchewan who tested positive for COVID-19 has died.The person is in the 80-plus age group and is from the northwest zone, the province said in its Saturday COVID-19 update.The province also reported 197 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total to date in Saskatchewan to 7,888.Community transmission has been found in a number of locations, the province reported.That includes: * A recent outbreak among a teenage hockey team resulted in nine players and one coach testing positive. Multiple teams are currently self-isolating as a result. * A recent outbreak at a curling bonspiel resulted in positive cases on teams from several cities and towns across the province. * Positive cases among attendees at a recent funeral has led to the potential exposure of more than 200 people. * Seventeen nurses working in one hospital were recently required to self-isolate after being identified as close contacts to positive cases linked to sporting events and community transmission.The province said investigating and contact tracing these incidents has delayed notification of possible exposure resulting in further transmission."With significant outbreaks continuing to occur among larger gatherings and sporting events, the public is urged to follow the public health orders in place and are reminded these orders are enforceable," said the news release.Regina had the most new cases on Saturday, with 73, followed by Saskatoon, with 56 new cases.The other cases were in the far northwest (six), far northeast (four), northwest (five), north central (17), northeast (five), central west (one), central east (five), southwest (16), south central (five) and southeast (two) zones.The location of the two other new cases is pending.The seven-day average of daily new cases is 234 (19.3 new cases per 100,000 population). Of the 7,888 reported cases, 3,322 are considered active, with 4,521 people having recovered from the illness.There are now 106 people in hospital with COVID-19, including 88 people receiving in-patient care.Thirty of those patients are in Saskatoon, and 18 are in Regina. There are 19 patients receiving in-patient care in the southeast zone, nine in the northwest and seven in north central. The far northwest, northeast, central east, southwest and south central zones each have one person receiving in-patient care.Eighteen people are in intensive care, including 11 in Saskatoon and five in Regina. The north central and southwest zones each have one patient in intensive care.A total of 244 health-care workers have been infected with the virus.In the last three days, the province has recorded eight deaths. There have now been 45 deaths in total related to COVID-19 in the province. Saskatoon now has 1,108 active cases and Regina has 636 active cases.On Friday, 3,359 COVID-19 tests were processed in Saskatchewan.
OTTAWA — There was a strong message conveyed to cabinet ministers last week as senators grilled them on the Trudeau government's bill to expand access to medical assistance in dying.We told you so.Ministers were repeatedly reminded that when the federal government introduced its first bill in 2016 to legalize doctor-assisted death in Canada, senators warned it was unconstitutional and predicted it would be struck down by the courts. A majority of senators voted at that time to drop the central pillar of the bill: that only those whose natural death is reasonably foreseeable should be eligible for an assisted death.The government rejected the amendment and senators ultimately backed down. But, as they'd predicted, the near-death provision was subsequently struck down in a Quebec Superior Court ruling in September 2019.Now, some senators are convinced the bill introduced to bring the law into compliance with that ruling is also unconstitutional. And they're pondering how far they should go to protect the rights of Canadians seeking access to medically assisted death.All legislation must be approved by both houses of Parliament. The Senate can defeat a bill outright, although that has rarely happened.If the Senate amends a bill, it is sent back to the House of Commons to decide whether to accept or reject the changes. The Senate can dig in its heels and insist on an amendment rejected by the Commons, potentially leading to legislation ping-ponging back and forth between chambers without resolution.In practice, however, because senators are not elected, they generally acquiesce to the will of the Commons, as they did on the 2016 assisted-dying bill.But some senators argue that a different standard applies when fundamental constitutional rights are at stake."If it's a very clear violation of a constitutional right, I think we have the right, the moral obligation even, to stick to our position and to insist (on amendment)," says Sen. Pierre Dalphond, a former Quebec Appeal Court judge who sits with the Progressive Senate Group.Dalphond is highly skeptical that the government's latest assisted-dying bill, C-7, is constitutional. He's awaiting further explanations from the government before making a final decision.Appointed in 2019, Dalphond was not in the Senate when the chamber last debated medical assistance in dying legislation. But some senators who did live through the 2016 debate seem particularly determined not to let history repeat itself.Conservative Sen. Claude Carignan believes Bill C-7 violates the guarantee of equality rights in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms by specifying that people suffering solely from mental illnesses will not be allowed access to an assisted death. He thinks the proposed two-track approach to eligibility — one set of rules for people who are near death and more restrictive rules for those who aren't — is similarly problematic."I think the government has created another bill that will have to come back … in two or three years after a court challenge," Carignan says.He believes the government is determined to proceed cautiously on assisted dying and is quite content to have the courts force its hand every step of the way. The trouble with that approach, in his view, is that it forces vulnerable people who are suffering unbearably from serious illnesses to spend time, money and energy fighting for their rights in court."That's really tough. So I think if we want to protect those people we have to insist and say, 'Look, don't go there another time.'"Fellow Conservative Sen. Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu is hopeful the Senate will propose, and the government will agree, to a compromise this time: amend the bill to remove the mental illness exclusion but give the government one or two years to come up with guidelines and safeguards before that part of the law goes into force.He said that could "be a good compromise" that would avoid a potential standoff between the Senate and the government over the issue.Dalphond is inclined to support such a compromise because it would force the government to act on the issue, rather than leave it to be discussed, possibly without resolution, during a promised parliamentary review. That review must grapple with other thorny matters, such as whether to allow advance consent for assisted death, as well as access to the procedure for mature minors."We have an opportunity maybe to straighten things up now. Why wait another one, two, three years? … People will be suffering during that period."The composition of the Senate has changed considerably over the past four years so it's not yet possible to gauge whether the current crop of senators will go as far as — or further than — senators did in 2016 to protect charter rights. There are certainly many senators who are passionately opposed on moral grounds to any expanded access to assisted death, and especially opposed to extending it to people suffering solely from mental illnesses.But senators with extensive legal backgrounds — both veterans like Carignan and more recent appointees like Dalphond — who grilled ministers last week during committee hearings on the bill all questioned its constitutionality.The most recently appointed senator, Brent Cotter, a prominent legal ethicist and former senior public servant in Saskatchewan, pointedly asked Justice Minister David Lametti whether he believes senators have a duty to ensure legislation is constitutionally valid.Lametti did not answer and Cotter concedes it's a question he's wrestling with himself."The nice thing about the Senate is, on the one hand, I do think we have to advance our viewpoint on the basis of principle and we have much more luxury to do that in a less partisan Senate," says Cotter, a member of the Independent Senators Group."And on constitutionality, it's quite possible that senators need to be firm … But at the same time I don't think we have the right to overreach because we are involved in a role where we are appointed, we are not elected by constituents and we need to be respectful of the electoral process that leads to government according to law."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 29, 2020.Joan Bryden, The Canadian Press
A year after Canadian Forces soldiers helped clear snow in the great snowfall of January 2020, the military may be called to domestic duty again in Newfoundland and Labrador to help distribute COVID-19 vaccine. Premier Andrew Furey says he not only welcomes it, he’s already been in touch to make it happen. “We know how important a role our friends in the military played early this year during Snowmageddon,” he said during Friday’s virtual COVID-19 briefing in St. John’s, “so we’re very happy to continue to welcome their efforts in helping us get through the next phase in this pandemic.” That phase may start within the next few weeks, but Furey admitted the delivery of vaccine to Canada will be gradual. According to some quick math, he said the province may receive up to 50,000 doses by March 2020. Those will go to vulnerable groups such as elderly and Indigenous groups, as well as health-care workers on the front lines. The province saw four new confirmed cases Friday, all between the ages of 40 and 70. Three of them have not been linked to another case yet, but the chief medical officer of health said that’s not a major concern. “It’s still very early in the investigation, so it doesn’t mean we don’t know the source,” Dr. Janice Fitzgerald said. “It just means that we’re starting the investigation.” The province now has 31 active cases. Fitzgerald said the current influx of cases still doesn’t surprise her, but the next four to six weeks could be a tipping point. “This has the potential for a perfect storm as the threat of COVID and Christmas collide,” she said. “But we know so much more than we did seven months ago. We have the tools to prevent COVID from taking hold in our province.” Added Health Minister Dr. John Haggie: “We have said before, and will probably end up saying it again, that we will see cases from time to time. The important thing is that these are identified, contained and traced.” Fitzgerald says her office has been flooded with questions about what partners and children of rotational workers can or can’t do under current policies. So she offered some rules, which only apply if the worker is asymptomatic and has not returned from outside Canada or a workplace with an outbreak. A partner: • can go to work at any time if a worker is asymptomatic; • can work in a personal care home, as long as personal protective equipment is worn; • should wear a mask if around other people (that includes teaching); • should wear a mask when in another house with extended friends or family. However, she said the rules for children have not changed. “The reason that we did not include children in this policy change is that we do not want to be further stigmatized any more than they sometimes already are,” she said. “And let me be very clear in saying stigmatization should not be happening. It is completely unacceptable and, to be honest, it is heartbreaking for me to hear.” She said parents should act if they witness any form of bullying going on. “Ask your child to imagine themselves in the classmate’s position and how sad and worried they must be feeling. Teach them the golden rule, to treat others as you want to be treated.” She advised parents to make sure they’re setting a good example. “Your children see when you’re afraid, and little ears are everywhere. If you voice concerns about a neighbour or another parent who recently travelled, your child will pick up on that.”Peter Jackson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Telegram
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney declared a state of public health emergency for the province on November 24, 2020, at a joint press conference with the Alberta Health Minister, Tyler Shandro, and Alberta Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw. After grimly detailing the province’s current COVID-19 situation, the Premier announced new public health measures and restrictions for the province aimed at slowing our current rate of infection. Jason Kenney disclosed that 1,115 new cases and 16 more deaths had been reported for the day alone. The additional 16 deaths bring the total number to 492 people who have died since March, with 103 of that number occurring in just the past two weeks. By all metrics, the spread of the virus appears to be picking up speed. Kenney explained the rationale behind the new public health measures saying, “Yes, our policy is based partly on protecting the vulnerable while minimizing damage to our broader social health. But to protect the vulnerable, we all have to do our part in limiting community spread.” The public health measures and restrictions announced will be in place for a minimum of three weeks, at which point they will be reviewed. If there has been a significant drop in our daily number of new cases, we may be able to ease some of them. If these measures have not been shown to have a meaningful impact, more drastic measures may be implemented. Here is a breakdown of the new restrictions: Social Gatherings (Effective Immediately Across Alberta) • Indoor social gatherings will no longer be permitted. Indoor social contact should be limited to those within a single household. People that live by themselves can have up to two non-household social contacts. Does not apply to home-based services (Healthcare, Homecare, and Childcare). • Outdoor gatherings will be limited to a maximum of 10 people. • Wedding ceremonies and funerals will be limited to a maximum of 10 people and receptions will not be permitted. • People that do not follow these restrictions may be subject to fines. The province will be looking at ways to allow Peace Officers to deliver fines to anyone who violates these limits. The fines mentioned were $1000 for a ticketed offence and up to $100,000 through the courts. • The Emergency Alert System will be used later this week to notify Albertans of these limits. Businesses (Effective Friday, November 27 in Enhanced Status Regions) Closed For In-Person Businesses • banquet halls, conference centers, concert venues, community centers, trade shows, children’s play places, Indoor playgrounds, All levels of team and individual sport (Leagues can apply for exemptions if they have well-developed safety plans). Open with Restricted Capacity • Retail businesses and services can remain open but are restricted to 25% of their occupancy limits or a minimum of 5 customers, whichever is higher. • Entertainment and Event Services – movie theatres, libraries, museums, and galleries. • Indoor Entertainment – racing centers, bingo halls, water parks, and amusement parks. • Fitness and Recreation Centers – pools, physical activity centers, dance and yoga studios, martial arts studios, and gymnastics centers. No group fitness classes, group training, team practices or games. Centers can be open for individual time, exercise, or training only. Instructors can use facilities to broadcast virtual fitness classes, but in-person group classes will be permitted. • Casinos – slot machines only, no table games. Liquor sales must cease by 10 PM. • Retail – grocery stores, pharmacies, clothing stores, computer and tech stores, hardware stores, automotive stores, farmers markets approved by Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, and outdoor seasonal markets (providing that public health measures are in place). • Restaurants, bars, pubs, and cafes – A maximum of 6 people per table, and they must be from the same household. No movement between tables is permitted. Only seated eating or drinking is allowed. No other services are permitted (bar service, entertainment, billiards, darts). Must stop serving liquor at 10 pm and close by 11 pm. If the restrictions are not followed, fines and orders will be issued. Inspections will be increased to make sure public health measures are being followed. Open by Appointment Only • Hair salons, barbershops, aesthetics, professional services, hotels and motels, hunting and fishing lodges, private 1 on 1 lessons (Music lessons, and personal training). Workplace • Masks will be mandatory for all indoor workplaces in Edmonton and Calgary medical zones. This includes employees, delivery drivers, visitors, and contractors. Exceptions are when working alone, alone in an office or cubicle, or where an appropriate barrier is in place. • Workers who can work from home are asked to do so. School • Grades 7 – 12 – Starting November 30, all students in grades 7 – 12 will move to at-home schooling. Winter break will be from December 18 - January 3, 2021. Will return to in-person schooling on January 11, 2021. Diploma exams will be optional for the rest of 2021. • Kindergarten – Grade 6 – Will remain in regular classes until Winter break, from December 18 - January 3, 2021. Will school from home from January 4 – January 8. Will return to in-person schooling on January 11, 2021. Places of Worship (Enhanced Status Regions) • Attendance will be capped at 1/3 of the building’s maximum occupancy according to the fire code. Attendees will need to wear masks and must maintain physical distancing between households. • In-person faith group meetings can continue if attendees maintain physical distance and follow public health measures.Dean LaBerge, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Grizzly Gazette