Will the Steelers RB go over/under 78.5 rushing yards vs. the Dallas Cowboys in week 9?
Will the Steelers RB go over/under 78.5 rushing yards vs. the Dallas Cowboys in week 9?
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The Trump administration on Wednesday effectively killed a contentious proposed mine in Alaska, a gold and copper prospect once envisioned to be nearly as deep as the Grand Canyon and could produce enough waste to fill an NFL stadium nearly 3,900 times — all near the headwaters of the world’s largest sockeye salmon fishery.The Army Corps of Engineers “concluded that the proposed project is contrary to the public interest” and denied a permit to build the Pebble Mine under both the Clean Water Act and the Rivers and Harbors Act, the agency said in a statement.The rejection was a surprise. It's at odds with President Donald Trump’s efforts to encourage energy development in Alaska, including opening up part of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling, and other moves nationwide to roll back environmental protections that would benefit oil and gas and other industries.The Corps of Engineers also seemed to signal just a few months ago that after almost two decades of political wrangling, Pebble Mine was on a fast track to approval, a reversal from what many had expected under the Obama administration.But unlike drilling elsewhere in Alaska, the mine proposed for the southwestern Bristol Bay region could have negatively affected the state's billion-dollar fishing industry. Conservationists and even Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., sounded the alarm on the project before the administration changed course again.The CEO of the Pebble Limited Partnership, the mine’s developers, said he was dismayed by the decision, especially after the corps had indicated in an environmental impact statement in July that the mine and fishery could coexist.“One of the real tragedies of this decision is the loss of economic opportunities for people living in the area,” CEO John Shively said in a statement. The environmental review “clearly describes those benefits, and now a politically driven decision has taken away the hope that many had for a better life. This is also a lost opportunity for the state’s future economy.”He said they are considering their next steps, which could include an appeal of the corps’ decision.“Today Bristol Bay’s residents and fishermen celebrate the news that Pebble’s permit has been denied; tomorrow we get back to work,” said Katherine Carscallen, executive director of the group Commercial Fishermen for Bristol Bay.The group wants Congress to pass laws protecting the region. “We’ve learned the hard way over the last decade that Pebble is not truly dead until protections are finalized,” Carscallen said.In July, the Corps of Engineers released an environmental review that the mine developer saw as laying the groundwork for key federal approvals. The review said that under normal operations, Pebble Mine “would not be expected to have a measurable effect on fish numbers and result in long-term changes to the health of the commercial fisheries in Bristol Bay.”However, in August, the corps said it had determined that discharges at the mine site would cause “unavoidable adverse impacts to aquatic resources” and laid out required steps to reduce those effects.Canada-based Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd., which owns Pebble Limited Partnership, said it had submitted a mitigation plan on Nov. 16.Even if the corps had approved the project, there was still no guarantee it would have been built. It would have needed state approval, and President-elect Joe Biden has expressed opposition to the project.Critics saw Pebble Mine as getting a lifeline under the Trump administration. Last year, the Environmental Protection Agency withdrew restrictions on development that were proposed — but never finalized — under the Obama administration and said it planned to work with the corps to address concerns.However, Trump’s eldest son was among those who voiced opposition earlier this year. After senior Trump campaign adviser Nick Ayers tweeted in August that he hoped the president would direct the EPA to block Pebble Mine, Trump Jr. responded: “As a sportsman who has spent plenty of time in the area I agree 100%. The headwaters of Bristol Bay and the surrounding fishery are too unique and fragile to take any chances with.”The president later said he would “listen to both sides.”“The credit for this victory belongs not to any politician but to Alaskans and Bristol Bay’s Indigenous peoples, as well as to hunters, anglers and wildlife enthusiasts from all across the country who spoke out in opposition to this dangerous and ill-conceived project," said Adam Kolton, executive director of the Alaska Wilderness League.Alaska’s two Republican U.S. senators, who support oil and gas development and mining, hailed the rejection of the Pebble Mine permit. Sen. Lisa Murkowski said the decision affirmed her position that it’s the wrong mine in the wrong place.“It will help ensure the continued protection of an irreplaceable resource — Bristol Bay’s world-class salmon fishery,” she said.Sen. Dan Sullivan said he would remain an advocate for good-paying jobs derived from resource development.“However, given the special nature of the Bristol Bay watershed and the fisheries and subsistence resources downstream, Pebble had to meet a high bar so that we do not trade one resource for another,” he said. “Pebble did not meet that bar.”___Associated Press journalist Becky Bohrer in Juneau contributed to this report.Mark Thiessen, The Associated Press
Penetanguishene residents will have one less thing to worry about in the new year --- a tax increase. According to treasurer Carrie Robillard, there actually may be good news once all aspects of taxation are taken into account by next March. "Overall, we're anticipating (by the end of March), net impact of zero per cent or below in terms of year over year tax impact." she told council Tuesday evening. "We may be in a position to give money back to taxpayers." That good news came on top of the news that staff had managed to bring back a draft budget with 1.4% tax increase, which is slightly less than the 1.5% council had asked staff to target. The town’s overall 2021 budget includes a zero per cent policing tax impact and a capital tax impact of 1%. The total 1.4% represents an increase of $159,360 for the overall 2021 budget, of which only 0.4% or $49,930 is related to operating budget increases and 1% or $109,430 is due to increased capital taxation investment. Despite the positive news, council members still had questions around certain parts of the presented draft budget with Coun. Dan LaRose wanting to know what the town is applying to its debt reduction. Robillard said she would include the exact amount in the next budget presentation, schedule for Dec. 8. "I can let you know this evening that the fire department debenture is only a partial payment this year and it's finished," she added. "We also had a new debenture for our main street to be paid out of taxation. We were supporting it over the last few years through our asset management reserve, until such time as that fire debenture is paid in full. "Then we're going to reallocate some of those debenture reduction funds from fire to public works. But we are also going to keep some in the fire budget in terms of transferring it into a fire reserve to fund future equipment replacement." Coun. George Vadeboncoeur had questions about road surfacing programs, specifically around McArthur Road and Polish subdivision. "I think the cost is $200,000 and it's scheduled for 2024," he said. "Having driven down McArthur a few times, I know the challenges of keeping out of the potholes. It's a difficult road to maintain. Do you think it can last 'til 2024?" Public works director Bryan Murray replied that the Polish subdivision road has been maintained as a gravel road since its construction. "We've put it in as 2024 for surface treatment, which is a double surface treatment similar to what was done on another sideroad a few years ago...a surface treatment coupled by a slurry seal on top of it," he said. " It looks similar to an asphalt surface, but it is a surface treatment. "We do get a little bit of extra life out of those treatments. This surface treatment is a chip seal similar to what you would find on Gordon Drive or Brunelle Side Road. We're proposing to improve the surface to eliminate ongoing maintenance." Coun. Brian Cummings asked when do maintenance projects become capital projects. Robillard said the capital program is a tangible capital asset or an improvement to a tangible capital asset. "It's really for larger items as well as true tangible capital assets, whether it's equipment, a facility or roads," she said. "We do not have a distinction in our capital program. If it's a higher ticket item or one-time item, we don't want it in our operating budget because of the fluctuation of tax impact on our residents." Coun. Jill St. Amant wanted to know how staff was budgeting or planning to budget for improvements to the existing recreation centre facility or the building of a new one. CAO Jeff Lees responded that it would depend on the consultant's recommendations. "From our perspective, we didn't want to speculate too much about how the report might come out and how council might want to go," he said. "The feasibility study we're going through is a long-term plan. We don't anticipate there's going to be much impact in 2021. We need to start planning for the future and that would be our intent as we know a little bit more from council as to what path we're going down." Vadeboncoeur then questioned staff about COVID-related relief funding the town had received. "We did get a COVID grant for 2020 and the amount could be carried forward to 2021 for any additional expenses related to COVID," he said. "How are we allocating those funds and are we going to bring any of those funds into the 2021 budget?" Robillard said the money is available to offset any potential year-end increase of costs and impact of reduced revenues. "We have implemented cost efficiencies to offset any deficit," she said. "The grant was good news, but we don't allocate it for specific purpose. We're just going to use at year end to offset any potential losses. We were notified that any unused amount that is not required in 2020 can be carried forward to 2021 to offset COVID implications." Moving forward with relief measures, Cummings asked about the latest announcement by the province around giving businesses relief from municipal and education taxes. Robillard said she didn't have a lot of information around the announcement, but said she believed the program will first tackle municipal property tax relief for businesses in hotspots like the Greater Toronto Area and Ottawa. "Just recently, we got correspondence related to province-wide tax relief for businesses," she said, adding there isn't yet clear information around the program. "Generally, they are looking to reduce the education rates for the portion of business education taxes that some of the larger municipalities pay. The decision could be put in the hands of each municipality to offer what that might look like versus a province-wide relief or reduction from business tax. In terms of education, the province has offered a few ways to allow us to offer some of that relief without it impacting us directly." A further draft of the budget will be brought to council at its Dec. 8 meeting.Mehreen Shahid, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, OrilliaMatters.com
EDMONTON — Two emergency room doctors say Alberta's increased public health restrictions don't go far enough to deal with rising COVID-19 cases that are already straining hospitals in the province. The government brought in tighter restrictions Tuesday that include a ban on gatherings in people's homes and changes for schools, churches, restaurants and retailers. Dr. Shazma Mithani, who works at two Edmonton hospitals, said she saw first-hand why more restrictions were necessary a day earlier when she arrived for her shift at the Royal Alexandra Hospital. "I saw the most COVID patients ever," Mithani said Wednesday in an interview with The Canadian Press. "I didn't even see that many patients that shift because we were so bed-blocked." Some patients, she explained, were taking up emergency department beds because there weren't enough staffed beds available in the ward they needed. Mithani said she saw about 10 or 11 patients that night. "Three of them were confirmed COVID and three were presumed COVID ... and one of them I actually had to put a breathing tube in and send to the ICU," she said. "It's here. It's just the beginning." Alberta Health reported 1,265 new cases on Wednesday — the seventh consecutive day with numbers above the 1,100 mark. There were 355 patients in hospital, 71 of them in intensive care. Eight more people died, bringing that total to 500. Mithani, who's also a spokeswoman for the emergency medicine section of the Alberta Medical Association, said the rising numbers have been hitting Edmonton particularly hard. There were 175 COVID-19 patients in Edmonton hospitals, with 40 in intensive care. In Calgary, there were 121 infected patients in hospitals and 20 were in intensive care. Dr. Joe Vipond, who works at Rockyview General Hospital in Calgary, said he hasn't worked an ER shift in about a week, but noted that he's had COVID-19 patients every day in the last month. "I've had two deaths in a month," said Vipond, who added he typically only sees a few deaths a year in the emergency department. Both Vipond and Mithani said they would have liked to see stronger restrictions. "We're now at the stage that nothing short of a strong lockdown is going to help," said Vipond. "These middle measures are not going to do it, unfortunately." Mithani said the restrictions simply turn earlier recommendations into rules. The only positive step, she said, was banning indoor gatherings, which she suggested should have happened long ago. Dr. Daniel Gregson, an infectious diseases expert at the University of Calgary, agreed it was good to see recommendations on gatherings turned into actual restrictions. "The other thing we've done is moved to mandatory masking from a suggestion to a requirement," he said. "That's a good thing as well." However, Gregson said some areas have been left open to interpretation. "They've said 10 (people) for weddings and 10 for funerals, which is good to have an absolute number because people focus on what they can do," he said. "But other settings such as faith-based activities, which can be fairly widely interpreted, are not limited to that 10. "That's a concern. A lot of our problems have been in group settings where people are not using appropriate precautions ... and that really translates into transmissions in households." Mithani added that the decisions don't appear to be based on data, since contact tracing has broken down and up to 80 per cent of cases have no information about where they were contracted. "I'm really disappointed with the half measures that were put in," she said. "I, 100 per cent, understand there needs to be a balance between the economy and managing this pandemic, but we are now at a point where our health-care system is about to break and that needs to be made the priority right now. "Our economy relies on the health of Albertans." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 25, 2020. Colette Derworiz, The Canadian Press
A provincial court judge in Wynyard has set Jan. 12 as the date for former music teacher Gerard Loehr to be sentenced for his three sexual assault convictions. Judge Lloyd Stang found Loehr guilty on Nov. 13 of sexual assaults committed while working as a music teacher with the now-defunct Shamrock School Division in the early to mid-1990s. The case returned briefly to court this week to set a sentencing date. The school division covered the Foam Lake area, between Wynyard and Yorkton. Six former students, all women now, accused him of sexual assault when they were teenagers, all 14 years old or younger. Loehr was in his late 20s and early 30s at the time. He previously pleaded not guilty and the charges went to trial in Wynyard over the summer. Loehr is facing multiple sex-related charges in Ontario related to his work as a music teacher in Ottawa. — with files from The Canadian PressEvan Radford, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Regina Leader-Post, The Leader-Post
“It’s an area that every… property owner, social worker and police officer has an opinion on, yet, rarely do you hear the voices that come from within,” says the description for a new album featuring music performed by Downtown Eastside residents. With songs including a wry rock ballad about failed love, a hopeful welcome to new life and a soulful country song about losing a loved one, the album is as diverse as the community. The album has been a labour of love for Eris Nyx, who first applied for funding a year ago and produced the record, named 100 Block Rock in honour of the 100 block of East Hastings. The album is now available for pre-order in digital form or on vinyl. A concert featuring the musicians will be livestreamed Dec. 11, the same day the record is released. Link here. “I think creativity is not only a good method for people to deal with themselves and the world, but it’s also just aesthetically pleasing — it brings about euphoria, as corny as that sounds,” Nyx said. “But I guess my underpinning motivation for wanting to do the record was just: ‘Look at all these cool musicians. Wouldn’t it be cool if we did this?’” Nyx recently moved out of the Downtown Eastside, but she lived there for 10 years and is still involved in groups like the SRO Collaborative and the Coalition of Peers Dismantling the Drug War. The album comes after a particularly hard year for the Downtown Eastside. The inner-city neighbourhood is dealing with the threat of rising COVID-19 cases, a spike in overdose deaths and the reduction in drop-in spaces and other services as part of pandemic precautions. In the midst of that struggle and grief, Downtown Eastside musicians went into a studio this September to sing and play their hearts out. After getting $4,000 in funding from Creative BC, Nyx started to search for musicians, posting on notice boards in community hubs like neighbourhood bars and the Carnegie Community Centre. Around 30 Downtown Eastside residents sent in demos, and then Nyx and a group of community members winnowed that group down to the 11 recordings that made it on to the album. Fundraising covered the rest of the total $10,000 cost to make the album, including a studio recording session. Nyx and her collaborators also produced extra items that will be available to people who buy a special edition of the album, including a print of the cover art by Ken Foster and a poster designed by graffiti artist Smokey Devil. Any profits will go towards making another album. “It’s really, sincerely our hope [to] keep the project going as an ongoing thing, so long as the neighbourhood [is] still standing,” Nyx said. Erica Grant sang ‘Go Rest High On That Mountain’ with her partner, Grant Houle. The song was a favourite of Grant’s son Duncan, who died this spring. Grant played a drum Duncan had made for her. “It allows you go over the hurdle of all the negative stuff you’re feeling,” Grant said. “It’s a way of letting my emotions out.” It’s also a way to push back against the negative stereotypes people often have about the neighbourhood. “There actually is a lot of talent down here, and a lot of caring people down here,” Grant said. Some of the musicians who perform on the album are amateurs; others worked or work as professional musicians. “The record itself is a real genre hodgepodge of people at varying levels of skill and history and relationships with music,” Nyx said. “I would say each artist on the record has their own story and background for what they’re doing.”Jen St. Denis, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Tyee
Government and election officials frequently call on shredding companies to dispose of personal and sensitive documents that are no longer needed.But in a suburban county of Atlanta this week, those routine waste removal appointments were twisted into yet another election misinformation story when social media users falsely claimed shredding trucks were destroying ballots and “evidence of voter fraud.”The unfounded allegations continue to spread online as Georgia officials carry out a machine recount of ballots after certified results showed Joe Biden had a 12,670-vote lead over President Donald Trump. Trump requested the recount, which follows a statewide hand tally.L. Lin Wood Jr., a conservative attorney who had unsuccessfully sued in an attempt to block the certification of Georgia’s election results, on Tuesday shared a series of videos taken by a Georgia resident. They showed a shredding truck outside the West Park Government Center in Marietta.“Evidence of voter fraud is being destroyed in Cobb County, GA TODAY,” Wood captioned one of his tweets. “Many people, powerful & not so powerful, are going to PRISON.”The real explanation for the truck’s visit was far less scandalous: a routine shredding of county tax documents.The county tax commissioner’s office, which shares a building with the county’s main elections office, has documents shredded twice a month, according to Ross Cavitt, communications director for the county.“No items from Cobb Elections were involved,” Cavitt told The Associated Press in an email.The false claims built on similar rumours from last week, when the same Georgia resident captured photos and video of a truck destroying election-related waste outside the Jim R. Miller Event Center in Marietta and claimed it was evidence of “ballots being shredded.”After Wood amplified those photos and videos on Friday, Cobb County officials refuted the claim, explaining that the shredding company was summoned to destroy non-relevant election materials, as happens after all elections.“Everything of consequence, including the ballots, absentee ballot applications with signatures, and anything else used in the count or re-tally remains on file,” Janine Eveler, the county’s director of elections and voter registration, said in a statement.Some of the photos shared on Friday appeared to show a trash can with a paper labeled “ABSENTEE BALLOT” inside. But Eveler said that was an inner privacy envelope used by voters to seal absentee ballots, and had “no evidentiary value.” County officials will hold on to the actual absentee ballots, as well as the outer envelopes signed by voters, for two years.Wood did not respond to a telephone call and email seeking comment.Despite the county’s responses, Wood’s tweets with the debunked claims continued to receive massive engagement on Wednesday, collectively amassing more than 200,000 retweets. And a separate Facebook user’s post falsely claiming a shredding company was “hired by Democrats” to destroy evidence was viewed nearly 150,000 times.County officials told the AP they have not seen any evidence of fraud or anomalies in vote tabulation in the 2020 election.“People nowadays, they post stuff immediately without asking any questions and without any proper context, and it spreads like wildfire,” Cavitt said of the false claims.Jude Joffe-Block And Ali Swenson, The Associated Press
Regina, Shellbrook – Sports have not been shut down entirely, but games have, and practices are now reduced to eight people. All but the youngest of children are now expected to wear masks when appropriate. Those were some of the latest restrictions the Saskatchewan Ministry of Health announced another round of new restrictions to combat the spread of COVID-19. Those restrictions in many ways do not go as far as some of what has been implemented in Alberta and Manitoba in recent days and weeks. Saskatchewan’s new cases on Nov. 25 came in at 164, but the 7-day average is now 214.3, a relatively levelling off over the last four days. While Manitoba has entered another lockdown, on Nov. 24, Alberta announced that it would soon be closing junior high and high schools, reverting to online learning as of next week, and extending the winter break for all students until Jan. 11. Saskatchewan will be doing neither, as it stands. Premier Scott Moe, who is personally self-isolating after a possible exposure to COVID-19 at a Prince Albert restaurant 10 days earlier, made the announcement via videoconference on Nov. 25. He was joined by Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Saqib Shahab, who was in the Legislature in Regina. The new Saskatchewan measures come into effect at 12:01 a.m., Friday, Nov. 27. Moe said, “Our goal is to find the right balance, on behalf of the people in this province to protect Saskatchewan people from the spread of COVID-19, while at the same time, protecting the Saskatchewan people's jobs and their livelihoods. Our goal is to not shut down businesses, services and activities that ultimately put people out of work, and at times, may threaten their mental health. Our goal is to find ways for those things to operate and to do so safely, so that people can continue to participate in athletics and continue to work, while at the same time, continue to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our communities.” Public gatherings Moe said, “All indoor public gatherings will be limited to 30 people. This includes all types of social gatherings, including weddings, funerals, as well as worship services. No food or drink maybe present or served at these events, and capacity will also be restricted to 30 people at all casinos bingo halls, arenas live performance venues and movie theatres, as well as any other facilities that currently have the capacity of up to 150 people.” He noted that private gatherings in your home are still limited to five people. Restaurants, bars and night clubs will not be shut down, but they will have to space out indoor clientele even more, with limits of four people per table, and three metres between tables unless they have barriers installed, in which case two metres is sufficient. Sports All team/group sports, activities, games, competitions, recitals, practices, etc. are suspended, according to the release on Nov. 25. This includes amateur and recreational leagues for all age groups. Examples include hockey, curling, racquet sports, cheerleading, dance practices in group setting, etc. “All team sports are going to be paused until Dec. 17,” Moe said. “However, athletes under the age of 18 may continue practicing or training in groups of eight or fewer.” Masks strengthened Mask use is now required for all indoor fitness activities, except for swimming. Individual and group fitness activities can continue, but with three metre spacings and limits of eight people in a group. “All students, employees and visitors in schools and daycares are now required to wear a mask, except when they need to eat or drink. And mask use is now required in all common areas of businesses and workplaces,” Moe said. Children ages zero to two years-old are exempt from wearing masks. Children ages 3-12 should wear a mask if they are able to. All employees and visitors in all common areas in businesses and workplaces, even in those areas which the public does not have access (e.g. construction sites, manufacturing facilities). “Large retail stores, must limit their capacity to 50 per cent or four square meters per person, whichever is less,” Moe said. Sports led to school, work infections Shahab explained the reasoning behind the sports restrictions, saying that the nature of play always has a risk of transmission, even if you follow all the guidelines. “But over the last two to three weeks, they were becoming so frequent, and many cases, they were resulting in, for example, in children's sports, multiple cases then being imported into schools. For adult sports, multiple cases and became imported into workplaces. So, it was really important to have that pause for three weeks to slow down transmission in that setting.” Once cases come down, Shahab said the guidelines may be adjusted again. Moe explained how these particular restrictions were chosen, saying, “It would be great if we could just pinpoint or two venues or one or two activities where this spread is occurring, and just restrict those zones. But the reality is, it’s COVID, it’s in our communities, and it has been spreading in a number of different places, both inside and outside of our homes, and that's why we need to enact a number of different measures to get our numbers under control.” As for why the restrictions didn’t go further, such as a complete shutdown, lockdown or circuit breaker, similar to what was done in the spring, Moe said, “We do understand this virus better than we did back in the spring. We do know more about how it is spread. And we know what we need to do to reduce the spread of this virus, to keep ourselves and keep others safe. We need to just slow down a little bit. “The overwhelming majority of Saskatchewan businesses and their employees in this province are operating safely, day to day. So, it would be terribly unfair, and it would have a huge negative impact, to close down all those businesses and put thousands of Saskatchewan people out of work. Yes, that is what we did, temporarily, this past spring. We took a very sweeping, broad brush approach to shutting down businesses, services and activities in our communities,” he said, adding, “But we don’t believe the solution is another wide-scale lockdown. Moe said, “Putting thousands of Saskatchewan people out of work, devastating small businesses and families, ending their livelihoods in many cases; a much better approach for us is to find the right balance; to find ways for us to operate and to do so even more safely than we have. By ensuring, yes, we are following all the existing guidelines that are in place. And by implementing some additional protocols so businesses and services can remain open and can do so safely.” Moe said, “We’re not prepared to look at a shutdown of our economy, in our communities, at this point in time, and we don’t believe it’s imminent that we will have to do a shutdown, here in the province. But, in saying that, if we’re not able to bend the growth and rate of transmission of this disease, obviously, that is a conversation that may come in the weeks and months ahead.” He said the actions taken thus far, and those added today, will hopefully not only flatten the rate of increase of infections, but bend that curve back down. He thanked the business, athletic and worship organizations that took part in recent consultations with regards to these measures. Both Moe and Shahab held out some hope that some restrictions might be lifted in time for the upcoming holidays. One possibility might be some allowable visits to long-term care homes, with multiple levels of personal protective equipment, but we’re not at that point in time, yet. The Ministry of Health is now posting a listing of outbreaks in long-term care homes on the Government of Saskatchewan website. Brian Zinchuk, Local Journalism Initiative reporter, Estevan Mercury
The town of Fort Frances is being asked to give our local bee population a helping hand next spring. At last Monday night’s town council meeting, mayor and councillors heard a deputation from Reagan Breeze of Dryden in regards to an initiative he is at the forefront of that aims to protect honeybees and give them every possible fighting chance to thrive as the weather begins to warm up in April and May. “We are looking at something that is more than climate change,” Breeze told council. “It’s a decline in our honeybees and as much as somebody may think that that is not that important, we have to understand the fact that there’s a lack of education about honeybees and what they give to us. Every time we have our supper or lunch or breakfast, it’s one third of our food source that comes from our pollinators and our honeybees.” As part of his efforts, Breeze asked the town to declare April and May as Honeybee Appreciation Month, something he said he’s seen movement on from other municipalities he’s spoken with, including Dryden, whose council passed a motion at the end of October declaring April and May of 2021 to be their own Honeybee Appreciation Months. In addition to asking the town to recognize special months for bees, Breeze also took aim at one of the town’s bylaws, asking that council work with him in order to provide a temporary easement of bylaw enforcement to allow more protection for bees. “Your bylaws are very easy... I appreciate that and amongst all of us other beekeepers within Ontario, in Canada... appreciate it as well,” Breeze said. “Within your regulations we also have your bylaws 3.03, subsection 3, which is the weeds for four inches of growth only. I am not asking for everybody within the Fort Frances area to grow a hay field, but I am asking for mayor and council, respectively, to have an easement to show remorse for the fact that we need to sustain our honeybees and our pollinators that are the most viable species for our existence.” According to the Town of Fort Frances bylaw 14/09, Section 3 (General Standards for All Property), subsection 3.03 declares: “Every yard, including vacant lots shall be kept free from: (3) long grass, brush, undergrowth and noxious weeds as defined by the Weed Control Act; a. all grassed and lawned areas shall be maintained to a maximum height of 100mm (4in).” Springtime is generally when honeybees emerge from their hives and are at their most active, with the Sioux Honey Co-op, located in Sioux City, Iowa, explaining that bees will use the season to expand their numbers following the cold winter months. “The first action of business for the colony as the weather changes is increasing its population in advance of summer’s warmth,” they explain on their website. “Spring is the busiest time of year for the bees, not only because of restocking food but it’s also the season when new colonies are started and established colonies re-emerge.” Part of the crop of flowers that bloom in those early months is the dandelion, which is an important food source for bees, but is also viewed as a pesky weed by many homeowners, some of whom go to great lengths to remove them from their yards. The easement of the bylaw would therefore allow homeowners in Fort Frances to grow their lawns out, along with any flowering plants in their yard, during the months of April and May when honeybees are trying to get back on their feet without potentially incurring a fine. Breeze also called on council to amend other parts of bylaws including references to injurious insects, which he said should be reworded in order to exclude honeybees from the likes of wasps and hornets. Honey is also a multi-billion dollar industry on a global scale, according to Breeze, which makes honeybees worth protecting and supporting on an economic level. Mayor June Caul thanked Breeze for his presentation to council and the recommendation was made that his request be presented to the Planning and Development Executive Committee for recommendation. At their meeting on Monday, November 16, the Planning and Development Executive Committee made the recommendation that the town proclaim April and May as Honey Bee Appreciation months in town, but that existing bylaws be left unchanged. The item will return to council at their November 23 meeting for a final decision.Ken Kellar, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Fort Frances Times
OTTAWA — The head of a Canadian biotech industry association says Canada can and does make vaccines — just not the ones expected first to help stop the COVID-19 pandemic.Prime Minister Justin Trudeau created a firestorm Tuesday when he said Canadians will have to wait a bit to get vaccinated for COVID-19 because the first doses off the production lines will be used in the countries where they are made.So while vaccinations might start next month in the United States, the United Kingdom and Germany, it will be January at the earliest before any doses are injected in this country.Canada, said Trudeau, "no longer has any domestic production capacity for vaccines" and it makes sense that the countries that do will prioritize their own citizens.Andrew Casey, the CEO of BioteCanada, told The Canadian Press Wednesday that Canada does produce vaccines but the technology for the leading COVID-19 vaccine candidates is so new, the manufacturing capacity is being built alongside the vaccines themselves."This is the first time the technology has actually been applied," he said. "So you have to then build the facility to manufacture at scale, which is a challenge."While pharmaceutical company Sanofi has a vaccine plant in Toronto and GlaxoSmithKline has one in Quebec, both make protein-based vaccines, such as the more familiar ones Canadians get every year for the flu.Canada has spent more than $1 billion to pre-order seven different developing COVID-19 vaccines, and only one being developed jointly by Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline uses the protein technology.The first two vaccines expected on the market, from Pfizer and Moderna, each use genetic material known as messenger ribonucleic acid or mRNA. A third with promising trial results, from AstraZeneca, uses a modified common-cold virus that normally infects chimpanzees. Each type trains the human body to develop antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.Casey said a protein-vaccine maker can't just start making the bioengineered vaccines."One is like making wine, one's like making Coke," he said. "Yes, they both grow in bottles. Yes, you can drink both out of a glass. But the manufacturing processes used for the two is so completely different. You can't just say well, we'll shut down the protein one, and we'll switch over to the mRNA."Conservative health critic Michelle Rempel Garner demanded in question period Wednesday that the government explain whether Canada had even tried to convince the companies to make their products here.Trudeau didn't answer, but if those negotiations happened, they have not been successful.Pfizer is expanding production facilities in Kalamazoo, Mich. and Puurs, Belgium to produce most of its vaccine. The company has said it is open to others manufacturing it, but that the technology is difficult to transfer.Moderna has a 10-year exclusive agreement with Swiss-based Lonza Group AC to make its vaccine, mainly in facilities in New Hampshire and Switzerland. Lonza chairman Albert Baehny said earlier this month the new technology meant Lonza had to remake its production lines "from scratch."AstraZeneca, which has promised three billion doses of its vaccine, has signed contract deals with at least two dozen manufacturers around the world to produce its vaccine but not in Canada.A spokesman for Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains said the biomanufacturing sector has been declining in Canada since the mid-1980s."When this pandemic began Canada had no flexible, large-scale, bio-manufacturing capacity suitable for a COVID-19 vaccine," said John Power. He said Canada has been working with experts to address the issue and has made investments, including $140 million in a new National Research Council plant in Montreal.The NRC said Wednesday the Biologics Manufacturing Centre will be finished next July. It doesn't have an agreement yet to produce a specific vaccine, but is being built so it can produce several biologic vaccines, including of the type being made by AstraZeneca. It will not be able to make mRNA vaccines like those from Moderna or Pfizer.It is supposed to be able to produce two million doses a month before the end of 2021.A spokeswoman for GlaxoSmithKline told The Canadian Press the company's Ste-Foy, Que., plant will be part of production of the GSK vaccine eventually but timelines and specifics aren't yet available.A Canadian-made vaccine from Quebec-based Medicago is also expected to be in production in Canada next year. Medicago CEO Bruce Clark said the company has been able to adapt a vaccine for influenza to target COVID-19 instead, noting such an adaptation is one of the advantages of biologic vaccines. But Clark said one of the disadvantages is that it's harder to transfer the technology of biologics to be made in other places.Medicago has facilities in Quebec and North Carolina and is building a new one in Quebec. The existing ones can make about 50 million doses by the end of next year, while the new plant will be able to do as many as a billion annually.The company has been talking to the federal government for years to get funding for a "full-scale manufacturing facility," he said. "We were not successful," said Clark. "It's really only been in the context of the pandemic that we've seen funds be freed up to commit to capacity in Canada."Last month Ottawa agreed to provide $173 million to Medicago for research on its vaccine and construction of an expanded facility. Clark said the 2023 completion date for the new plant could be bumped up with more money.None of the vaccines in question have finished clinical trials and all must also be approved by Health Canada before they can be used here.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 25, 2020.Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press
Millions of Americans are taking to the skies and highways ahead of the Thanksgiving day holiday, posing a risk of a major virus spread around the country. The CDC is asking Americans to limit travel and stay at home this holiday season. (Nov. 25)
The Central Interior Hockey League (CIHL) has cancelled its senior men’s ‘AA’ 2020/21 season, but league officials are keeping the door open to the possibility of exhibition games in the new year. The league includes the Terrace River Kings and teams in Prince Rupert, Kitimat, Smithers, Hazelton, Williams Lake and Quesnel. “We had a schedule to start December 4th but with recent restrictions feel that in in any circumstances less than a super miracle vaccination, we would probably not return to play with spectators in time to salvage a 20-21 season,” said Ron German, CIHL President, in a media release. German thanked the communities, fans, volunteers and sponsors for their support. He said that if conditions regarding the COVID-19 pandemic change in 2021, the league would explore the possibility of playing exhibition games if BC Hockey and local guidelines could be met.Ben Bogstie, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Interior News
Immediate action needs to be taken to resolve the roadside parking problem by visitors to Mono Park. This was the general theme presented by all of Mono Council during a conversation with Ontario Parks staff on Tuesday, Nov. 24. “It’s absolutely imperative that we find a solution to this as quickly as possible,” said Coun. Sharon Martin. Nearly a month ago, council had submitted a letter to parks superintendent, Jillian Van Niekerk, asking for a solution to the chaos caused by visitors to Mono Cliffs Provincial Park this year. With a lack of available parking in the lots, this has led to vehicles parking up both sides of 3rd Line. This created a dangerous situation for drivers trying to pass through in vehicles and farming equipment, pedestrians walking to and from the park, and a total disregard of private residential properties. “Individual residents have had the experience of people putting garbage on their lawns, putting quite incredible things on their front lawns, and leaving human waste,” said Mayor Laura Ryan. Creating a no-parking zone on both sides of the road has been one possible solution, but it would bring with it a number of challenges. “All it’s going to do is push the problem further down the road,” said Ryan. “It’s going to take a lot of our OPP constable time in order to issue tickets if we put up a no parking zone.” As Ryan noted in previous meetings, the burden is falling on Mono taxpayers to resolve these issues, as it is taking the town’s resources. “Quite frankly, we’re not creating the problem,” said Ryan. Expanding the current parking lot was one idea raised by council to alleviate the overflow of parking. But Van Niekerk explained doing so wouldn’t be feasible. “It doesn’t make sense ecologically or financially,” she said, noting that the location of the current lot is part of that reasoning. “We are exploring the option to have an additional parking lot around the same size on the 2nd Line,” she added. This second lot could hold another 100-130 cars. If approved, it would not be completed until next fall, just in time for the crowds coming to see the leaves. The option would require some considerations by both the town and Ontario Parks. “The park is there to protect the area,” said Van Niekerk. “We have to think about how many people do we want in there, and what does that do to the land?” Parking, littering, and overcrowding challenges have not been limited to Mono Cliffs. Van Niekerk shared that Ontario Parks has also been working with the Town of Caledon regarding the same issues at Forks of the Credit. One thing that has helped them work through the challenges is a committee of parks staff and Town staff to work together. In some cases, it included giving special consideration to park wardens to allow them to enforce the no-parking and tow-away bylaw surrounding the park. This is one possible solution Mono could look into as well, according to Van Niekerk. “We would be designated under certain sections; we wouldn’t be coming into town and enforcing the bylaws, but we would be able to do so just outside of the park boundaries,” she explained. The Town of Mono will move forward with a group to work with Ontario Parks to address the long term issues, but made it clear that interim solutions need to be found immediately. “It’s time sensitive; we really need this done now,” reiterated Martin. In a normal year, she added, enforcement for the winter wouldn’t be an issue, but trends have demonstrated an increase in winter trail usage, especially during COVID-19. “Right now, you can’t buy skis, you can’t buy snowmobiles; you can’t buy anything for the winter, just like what we went through with bikes and canoes,” said Martin. “I’m thinking that this is far more urgent than saying ‘let’s just have a meeting’.” Van Niekerk assured council that the issue is serious to them as well, and parks staff are willing to work hard to help find solutions. “We really have come with listening ears to see how we can work together, what your thoughts are, and start from there,” said Van Niekerk.Tabitha Wells/Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Orangeville Banner
EDMONTON — On a day Alberta hit a sobering 500 COVID-19 deaths, the Opposition accused Premier Jason Kenney of implementing short-sighted, half-baked health restrictions that will provoke the very economic collapse he seeks to avoid.“The premier is continuing his discredited, libertarian approach of pitting the economy against the health of Albertans, and he’s going to sacrifice both as a result,” NDP Leader Rachel Notley told the house Wednesday in a fiery exchange with Kenney during question period.“Let me be perfectly clear to this premier,” she added. “Your negligence is far, far more dangerous to our economy and the people who rely on their jobs than sound public-health measures.”The exchange came a day after the United Conservative premier announced new restrictions to reverse rates of COVID-19 that are consistently over 1,000 a day and threaten to overwhelm intensive care beds and trigger a disastrous domino effect throughout the health system.Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta's chief medical officer of health, announced 1,265 new cases Wednesday, with 355 people in hospital, including 71 in intensive care. There were eight more deaths, bringing that total to 500.“This is a tragic milestone,” Hinshaw said, adding that health officials are now working on moving and reassigning patients to free up more ICU beds for COVID-19 cases as needed.The new health rules include a provincewide ban on indoor extended gatherings, even in people’s homes. There are new restrictions on bars, restaurants and pubs, retailers, casinos, movie houses, hair salons, schools, places of worship and other businesses, backed up by fines of $1,000 to $100,000.The changes will be reviewed in three weeks.Kenney said the goal is to reverse COVID-19 case increases while keeping the economy afloat to prevent further harm to those who are relying on it to get by.Notley’s NDP, and hundreds of physicians and infectious disease specialists, have demanded Kenney institute a much sharper business lockdown, even for a short period, to give the beleaguered health system a chance to rest and reset. They say without it, cases will keep climbing and Alberta is headed for a devastating Christmas community lockdown.Kenney accused Notley of wanting to impose a blinkered, one-size-fits-all approach that doesn’t mesh with COVID-transmission data and would ultimately do more harm than good.“They’re socialists. They’re addicted to command and control of people’s lives,” Kenney told the house.“What they want to do is put hundreds of thousands of people out of work.”The two leaders vehemently disagreed on the contact-tracing data, with Notley saying the government is flying blind and Kenney responding that it has nine months’ worth of numbers to draw on.In recent weeks, Alberta’s contact tracing system has failed to keep up with the surge of cases. Of the 13,719 active cases, the government says it doesn’t know where 83 per cent of them are coming from.Hinshaw said the lack of recent data has been a challenge but officials also rely on earlier numbers and data from comparable jurisdictions.As of Friday, restaurants can have no more than six diners per table and they must all be from the same household. Owners say they are grappling with how to enforce that."At this point, it's looking like it's an honour system," said Ernie Tsu, an owner of Trolley 5 Restaurant and Brewery in Calgary and founding board member of the Alberta Hospitality Association. The association is meeting with government officials to get "refined details" on how restaurants should enforce the rule.Tsu said he’s pleased restaurants have not been closed to sit-down customers, as has been the case in some other provinces. “We still have to make sure that everyone understands that these restaurants are still paying full rent while employing Albertans and trying to work with diminished capacities," Tsu said.— With files from Lauren Krugel in CalgaryThis report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 25, 2020.Dean Bennett, The Canadian Press
COVID-19. En date du 23 novembre, 3492 cas actifs de COVID-19 (2847 élèves et 645 membres du personnel) étaient rapportés dans 1023 établissements préscolaires, primaires et secondaires du Québec. Par conséquent, un total de 1139 classes sont fermées. Les élèves concernés suivent donc leurs cours à distance. Le nombre total d’écoles comptant un ou des cas positifs rapportés avec diagnostic depuis le début de l’année scolaire est de 1999. Notons que l’on peut consulter la liste des écoles concernées sur cette page publiée par le gouvernement du Québec : https://cdn-contenu.quebec.ca/cdn-contenu/adm/min/education/publications-adm/covid-19/reseauScolaire_listeEcoles.pdf?1600113647 Stéphane Lévesque, Initiative de journalisme local, L'Hebdo Journal
Two men accused of human trafficking appeared in Saskatoon Provincial Court Nov. 24 and Nov. 25. There is now a court ordered ban on publication of the two men’s names. At their first appearance the court placed a publication ban on the identity of the woman who was allegedly being held captive by the two men. One man is a 23-year-old from Kindersley and the other is a 30-year-old from Saskatoon. The Kindersley man is charged with trafficking persons, material benefit from trafficking, two counts of uttering threats, theft under $5,000, breach of a release order, and breach of a conditional sentence order. He was denied bail. The Saskatoon man is charged with trafficking persons, uttering threats, and two counts of breach of a release order. He was granted bail during a show cause hearing in October. The Saskatoon Police Guns and Gang Unit arrested the two men in the 1500 block of Rayner Avenue on July 2. The Guns and Gang Unit became involved after the Saskatoon Police received a report June 29 that a 23-year-old woman was being held at a residence over a period of time. The Saskatoon VICE Human Trafficking Unit assisted police and warrants were issued for the two men. The Saskatoon man is scheduled to appear in Saskatoon Provincial court Dec. 10 to enter a plea and elect how he wants to be tried. The Kindersley man is scheduled to appear in Saskatoon Provincial Court Dec. 9 to enter a plea. email@example.com Lisa Joy, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter / Battlefords News-OptimistLisa Joy, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Battlefords Regional News-Optimist
COVID-19 cases on the west coast of Newfoundland have led to speculation and rumours, and on Wednesday evening one business said it had a report that a person who tested positive had been in its building. "Earlier today we were informed that a person who tested positive for COVID-19 had been in our building on Monday, Nov. 23," reads a Facebook post written by the Hew & Draw hotel in Corner Brook. The business said it immediately started an investigation, a plan to advise the public of the case and a plan to close its doors for the safety of staff and customers. But the company said it later confirmed through public health the information was not accurate. As of 4:30 p.m., the business said it confirmed with public health that it had received false information and it has no reason to believe there was a COVID-19 positive case in the building on Monday."Thank you to everyone who saw and shared our brief post informing the public of the concern. We made, and will make every effort to ensure we notify our customers if there is ever a concern," reads the post on the company's Facebook page."Today was not an easy day for us and we hope you can recognize our commitment to community safety and the common good. We always want to see you and love having you with us, but rest assured if it is not safe, we won't let it happen."The company says it remains open for business. Read more articles from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
VICTORIA — Doctors and nurses are being asked to support British Columbia's safe supply drug program and other substance use measures, as an average of five people a day die from illicit drug overdoses, the B.C. Coroners Service says.There were 162 overdose deaths in B.C. last month, more than double the 75 recorded in October last year.The number of deaths in each health authority is at or near the highest monthly total ever recorded, the coroners service said Wednesday in a news release. Chief coroner Lisa Lapointe said the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect the supply of street drugs and is disrupting access to harm-reduction services such as supervised injection sites."We encourage clinicians to support those at risk of overdose by prescribing safe supply and reducing the numbers of lives lost to toxic substances," she said in the statement. The coroners service continues to advocate for an accessible, evidence-based and accountable treatment and recovery system for drug users, Lapointe added.Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry authorized registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses to prescribe pharmaceutical alternatives to street drugs in September.Before that, only doctors and nurse practitioners were able to prescribe drugs, including substitute medications for illicit-drug users.But advocates for drug users say there is still a lack of medical personnel prescribing safe, prescription alternatives to illicit drugs."They're not prescribing to the extent they should be," said Karen Ward, a drug rights advocate and a drug policy and poverty reduction consultant with the City of Vancouver."They need to be prescribing assertively and doing outreach," she said in an interview. Ward said drug users and advocates feel as if the relentless death toll is like an "ongoing tidal wave."She questioned why there is still a lack of prescribing guidelines related to Henry's September order."That was two months ago … why aren't they done? This should have been done that day," Ward said.Leslie McBain, the co-founder of Moms Stop the Harm, said she's devastated by the latest numbers from the coroners service."I don't know if it can get much worse than this for people," she said in an interview. There needs to be more people willing and able to prescribe prescription alternatives to illicit drugs, McBain said, and the provincial government needs to listen to drug users about the type of alternative drugs they want."The drugs being offered to people were not the drugs they were used to or would keep them in a balanced, stable place," she said.October is the fifth month this year that more than 160 people have died and the eighth consecutive month with more than 100 deaths.The latest toxicology testing suggests an increase in the number of cases with extreme concentrations of the opioid fentanyl between April and October compared with previous months, Lapointe said in her statement.Henry echoed Lapointe's concerns, saying the pandemic is having a devastating effect on the overdose crisis."Now more than ever, we must remove the stigma of drug use and remove the shame people feel, which keeps them from seeking help or telling friends and family," she said in a statement on Wednesday.There have been 1,386 deaths from suspected overdoses since January, nearly 400 more deaths than when a public health emergency was declared by the provincial government in April 2016.— By Nick Wells in Vancouver.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 25, 2020.The Canadian Press
On Wednesday afternoon the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) identified a positive COVID-19 case in an individual in the before and after School Program. In a news release by the Prince Albert Catholic School Division on Wednesday afternoon the division explained that communication of a possible exposure has been shared with specific individuals, as well as the school community. The SHA is proceeding with their assessment of the situation and all individuals deemed to be close contacts are being notified. The virus was acquired outside of the school setting, the division said. The SHA is proceeding with their assessment of the situation, and all individuals deemed to be close contacts are being notified. “The cohort impacted by this case, barring any other cases, are required to Self-Isolate until midnight on Dec. 3 and these cohort will be move to remote learning until the isolation period is complete,” the division said in a release. These specific classrooms/cohorts are advised to contact 811Healthline for advice. “École Holy Cross will operate classes November 26, 2020 for all other students and staff that are not deemed to be close contacts. Public Health officials are advising all students and staff to monitor for COVID-19 symptoms daily and not to enter the school if ill.” No further information was made available citing privacy concerns. “Our thoughts and prayers are with this member of our school community, and we hope they are doing well.” They emphasized that everyone has a shared responsibility to decrease the risk of COVID-19 entering schools. “Thank you to everyone for continuing to be diligent in performing daily health screening, staying home if ill, calling HealthLine 811 if exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms, practicing proper hand hygiene, maintaining physical distancing as much as possible, wearing a mask when appropriate and doing everything we can to keep each other safe,” the release stated.Michael Oleksyn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Albert Daily Herald
REGINA — The Saskatchewan government is suspending team sports for the next three weeks and slashing capacity limits for public venues to 30 people in its latest attempt to curb the spread of COVID-19. Premier Scott Moe announced the new health measures Wednesday by video from his home in Shellbrook, Sask., where he was isolating after eating at a restaurant where someone infectious had been. Moe, who has yet to receive his test results, acknowledged that previous restrictions — including a recent provincewide mask mandate and a five-person restriction on home-based gatherings — haven't been enough to slow the illness or reduce hospital admissions. "Had they allowed us to take a sharp downturn in our transmission rate we wouldn't be out here today with additional measures to ensure that we can achieve that," he said. Health officials reported 164 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday and said hospitalizations had risen to 111, with 19 people in intensive care. The premier said the province's seven-day average of 214 daily cases is too high. Moe repeated that he wants to avoid closing down non-essential businesses, such as gyms and casinos, in favour of public-health rules that target specific sectors and activities where transmission of the novel coronavirus is occurring most. Saskatchewan's chief medical health officer, Dr. Saqib Shahab, said sports is one way COVID-19 is spreading into schools and workplaces. As a result, all team sports across amateur and recreational leagues, including hockey, curling and dance, are to be suspended starting Friday until Dec. 17. Athletes and dancers 18 years old and younger will still be able to practise in groups of eight if masks are worn and participants stay at least three metres apart. The Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League responded within hours of the announcement. It said it plans to suspend games after Friday until after Christmas. Shahab said that over the past few weeks transmission in sports was "becoming so frequent" that multiple cases were making it into schools and workplaces. The three-week pause on team athletics may not only slow transmission in that setting, he said, but also impact the virus's movement in essential workplaces and in-class learning. The government is also expanding its mandatory mask rule to include indoor fitness activities and is limiting to four the number of people allowed at a table in a restaurant or bar. Capacity at casinos, bingo halls, arenas and movie theatres will be capped at 30 people. The limit will also apply to conferences, worship services, funerals and weddings. "These are by no means half measures," Moe said. "The measures here today are substantial. They will have an impact. "Our worship services, reducing their services to 30 people, is by no means not a sacrifice." The premier said his government tried to minimize the economic hit businesses will take because of the added restrictions by consulting with industry first. No decision has been made as to how the government will support businesses that do feel some impact from the latest measures, Moe added. "I don't have a date on when we will be moving forward — or if we will be moving forward — with a compensation package." Opposition NDP Leader Ryan Meili criticized the government's lack of support for businesses. "Scott Moe is telling businesses to stay open and their customers to stay home," he wrote on Twitter. "Now is not the time to be cheap, to guard the public purse while people struggle." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 25, 2020. Stephanie Taylor, The Canadian Press Note to readers: This is a corrected story; a previous version had the new measures starting tomorrow.
A gathering of scholars and activists on Wednesday pointed to soaring test positivity rates on First Nations and suggested that Indigenous colonialism in Canada is alive and well and killing Indigenous people in the midst of a global pandemic. The online discussion with Pamela Palmater, Winona LaDuke and host Dr. Niigaan Sinclair, spoke about how Indigenous people are dealing with ongoing colonization, what has or hasn’t changed due to the pandemic, and where Indigenous people and their allies can go from here. “Racism impacts health and we see that particularly here in Manitoba," said Sinclair. "Fourteen per cent is the test positivity rate in Manitoba. They closed schools in New York for a 3% positivity rate. “On First Nations, it is 23%. That means one out of every four people is testing positive on First Nations for COVID-19. This proves that racism kills.” Palmater, a Mi'kmaq lawyer and professor at Ryerson College, advised Indigenous communities to not forget the power of their sovereignty, peoplehood, nationhood, self-determination and that they are collective. “We have to remember that every single person has something to contribute,” said Palmater. “While the land defenders are out there trying to protect our lands and waters, we also need people behind the scenes supporting the land defenders, advocating in international forums and keeping a close eye on what federal, provincial and municipal governments are doing without our knowledge.” While people were focusing on how the pandemic would impact their communities, Palmater noted that governments not only allowed massive industry projects to continue but were changing laws, legislations and regulations to give them multiple exemptions. “We need people from every skill level and every background to do their part in different forums. I believe that it is one of the most encouraging things that I have seen come out of the pandemic,” said Palmater. “When the Indigenous nations and tribal governments took control of their borders despite the restrictions on gathering, they made sure they were still advocating and defending." Palmater said that by exercising Indigenous voices, they are helping to educate, inform and empower people as well as to raise the alarm on what is happening among Indigenous people. The event also functioned as a launch for Palmater’s and LaDuke’s new books. Both works were published by Fernwood Publishing. “Warrior Life: Indigenous Resistance and Resurgence,” is the second collection of writings by Palmater. In the book, Palmater addresses various Indigenous issues such as empty political promises, ongoing racism, sexualized genocide, government lawlessness as well as noting that reconciliation is a lie. Palmater’s book is available now and can be purchased at the Fernwood Publishing website. “To Be a Water Protector: Rise of the Wiindigoo Slayers,” by LaDuke — an American environmentalist and former vice-president candidate — touches on global, Indigenous-led opposition to the enslavement and exploitation of the land and water. The book also acknowledges several elements of a New Green Economy and outlines the lessons we can take from activists outside North America. LaDuke’s book can be pre-ordered now and will be available in the first week of December. Nicole Wong is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the Winnipeg Sun. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.Nicole Wong, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Winnipeg Sun