Police searched Friday evening for the suspect in a shooting at a suburban Milwaukee mall that left seven adults and a teenager injured. (Nov. 20)
Police searched Friday evening for the suspect in a shooting at a suburban Milwaukee mall that left seven adults and a teenager injured. (Nov. 20)
WILMINGTON, Del. — President-elect Joe Biden's pick to lead the Office of Management and Budget is quickly emerging as a political battle that could disrupt his efforts to swiftly fill out his administration.Some Republicans are expressing doubt that Neera Tanden could be confirmed by the Senate after she spent years attacking GOP lawmakers on social media — and many panned the choice.Arkansas Republican Sen. Tom Cotton claimed Tanden’s rhetoric was “Filled with hate & guided by the woke left.”Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn said Tanden's “combative and insulting comments" about Republican senators created “certainly a problematic path." He called her “maybe (Biden's) worst nominee so far" and “radioactive.”Potential Budget Committee Chair Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., was less hostile, telling reporters, “Let's see what happens." Moderate Susan Collins, R-Maine, a target of Tanden's, said, “I do not know her or much about her, but I've heard she's a very prolific user of Twitter.”Such sentiment is notable considering the GOP's general reluctance to criticize President Donald Trump's broadsides on Twitter. But like all of Biden's nominees, Tanden has little margin for error as she faces confirmation in a closely divided Senate.That could be especially daunting for Tanden, the former adviser to Hillary Clinton and the president of the centre-left Center for American Progress, given her history of political combat.Biden's transition team released a litany of praise for Tanden from figures including Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams.Other Democrats also rushed to defend Tanden's nomination. Former Obama aide Valerie Jarrett said Tanden “grew up on welfare and lived in public housing. She experienced first hand the importance of our social programs. Her extraordinary career has been devoted to improving opportunities for working families. She is an excellent choice to lead OMB.”“Neera Tanden is smart, experienced, and qualified for the position of OMB Director,” added Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown, a member of the party’s progressive wing. “The American people decisively voted for change - Mitch McConnell shouldn’t block us from having a functioning government that gets to work for the people we serve.”On the Senate floor, Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said it's impossible to take Republicans' criticism of Tanden seriously.“Honestly, the hypocrisy is astounding. If Republicans are concerned about criticism on Twitter, their complaints are better directed at President Trump,” Schumer said.At OMB, Tanden would be responsible for preparing Biden’s budget submission and would command several hundred budget analysts, economists and policy advisers with deep knowledge of the inner workings of the government.If Democrats should win runoff elections for Georgia’s two GOP-held Senate seats, Tanden’s job would become hugely important because the party would gain a slim majority in the chamber. That would allow them to pass special budget legislation that could roll back Trump’s tax cuts, boost the Affordable Care Act and pursue other spending goals. OMB would have a central role in such legislation.Top Democrats, Biden included, supported anti-deficit packages earlier in their careers, but the party has since changed. Biden was a force behind the establishment of the Obama deficit commission, which was created to win votes of Democratic moderates to pass an increase in the government’s borrowing cap and was chaired by former Clinton White House chief of staff Erskine Bowles.Tanden shares a commonly held view among Democratic lawmakers that Republicans usually profess concerns about deficits only when Democrats are in power, pointing to tax cut packages passed in the opening year of Trump’s administration and former President George W. Bush’s 2001 tax cut.___Taylor reported from Washington.Zeke Miller And Andrew Taylor, The Associated Press
The Anishinabek Nation has launched a virtual documentary program to help reduce the stigma that surrounds the HIV/AIDS virus. “When we look at HIV as a whole it’s the stigma that is the killer. It leaves people voiceless and in gaps,” said Krista Shore, an advocate for people with HIV originally from the Peepeekeesis First Nation in Saskatchewan. Last week, the Anishinabek Nation, made up of 39 First Nations throughout Ontario, held the virtual premiere of Shore’s short film as part of the Anishinabek Nation’s HIV Anti-Stigma Campaign. “Being a youth that was diagnosed (with HIV) at the age of 24 years old, I had to face the shame of the illness right off,” Shore said in her documentary titled Love Everyone. “Why did I feel so dirty? Why did I feel so low of myself?” Shore’s video talked about how she felt about the lack of understanding and education within her community when she was first diagnosed, which led to some strained relationships, including with an Elder (though they ultimately reconciled). “Along this journey it hasn’t all been strong, and sunshine and great teachings,” she said. Shore closed out her documentary with thoughts of hope. “We need to be surrounded by love, and healing hands, and helping hands.” Tuesday, Dec. 1 marks World AIDS Day, and two more short documentaries will premiere premiere over Zoom, with the session starting at 2 p.m. eastern time. The documentaries will then be published on the Anishinabek Nation’s YouTube channel, available here. All of the films were compiled by the Anishinabek Nation’s HIV Coordinator Laura Liberty and director Ed Regan. Liberty spoke about some of the challenges facing people living with HIV. “It’s the fear and the gossip. It’s the loss of friendship, family, the lack of respect, being treated like an unwanted disease,” she said. “Feeling not wanted or loved or understood can prevent an individual from reaching out for help, getting tested and receiving medications that can manage the illness.” Regan spoke about some of the benefits of launching the campaign virtually, including less resources spent on travel and a wider reach across the Anishinabek Nation’s 65,000-person population. “I think a nice advantage of this type of media is to educate people with the click of a button,” Regan said. “This is a real efficient way of managing and teaching people.” As well, Regan touched on the traumatic nature of these stories, saying that repeated telling of personal experiences can be ‘exhausting’ people. “Hopefully, [this campaign] can create the change that’s much needed.” While Shore’s piece focused on her own journey living with HIV, other background subjects related to Indigenous history were explored by Elders as part of the campaign. Mary Elliott provided a short history of Indigenous populations within Canada in A Snapshot of our Story. Elliott described first contact with Europeans and the period of “lost spirituality, the introduction of residential schools and the impact of various pieces of legislation, such as the Indian Act. “(Indigenous populations) lost that right to understand who they are or live by their traditions and customs,” Elliot said. Canada “wanted to remove the Indian out of us.” June Commanda was featured in documentary called A Survivor’s Story. She spoke about her first day at Spanish Indian Residential School in Spanish, Ont. “I remember with such clarity right to this day,” Commanda said. Tuesday’s premiere will see the launch of: When They Know with Carol Jones and Live. Love. Laugh. with Dawn Cameron. World AIDS Day was designated in 1988 and was the first globally recognized health day. An estimated 38 million people worldwide are currently living with the HIV virus. Outside of the documentary work, the Anishinabek Nation also offers other health resources and services for HIV, Hepatitis C, and other Sexually Transmitted Blood Borne Infections (STBBI). Windspeaker.comBy Adam Laskaris, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Windspeaker.com, Windspeaker.com
The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 4 a.m. ET on Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020. There are 378,139 confirmed cases in Canada. _ Canada: 378,139 confirmed cases (66,037 active, 299,972 resolved, 12,130 deaths).*The total case count includes 13 confirmed cases among repatriated travellers. There were 6,103 new cases Monday from 63,070 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 9.7 per cent. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 40,584 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 5,798. There were 66 new reported deaths Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 609 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 87. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.23 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 32.27 per 100,000 people. There have been 11,475,642 tests completed. _ Newfoundland and Labrador: 338 confirmed cases (36 active, 298 resolved, four deaths). There was one new case Monday from 247 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.40 per cent. Over the past seven days, there has been 17 new case. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is two. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 0.77 per 100,000 people. There have been 62,520 tests completed. _ Prince Edward Island: 72 confirmed cases (four active, 68 resolved, zero deaths). There were zero new cases Monday from 846 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.0 per cent. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of three new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people. There have been 59,923 tests completed. _ Nova Scotia: 1,305 confirmed cases (138 active, 1,102 resolved, 65 deaths). There were 15 new cases Monday from 2,564 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.59 per cent. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 115 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 16. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 6.69 per 100,000 people. There have been 143,754 tests completed. _ New Brunswick: 501 confirmed cases (120 active, 374 resolved, seven deaths). There were six new cases Monday from 1,079 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.56 per cent. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 56 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is eight. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 0.9 per 100,000 people. There have been 100,485 tests completed. _ Quebec: 142,371 confirmed cases (12,138 active, 123,177 resolved, 7,056 deaths). There were 1,333 new cases Monday from 8,655 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 15 per cent. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 9,165 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 1,309. There were 23 new reported deaths Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 214 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 31. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.36 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 83.16 per 100,000 people. There have been 2,186,076 tests completed. _ Ontario: 116,492 confirmed cases (14,197 active, 98,639 resolved, 3,656 deaths). There were 1,746 new cases Monday from 38,117 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 4.6 per cent. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 10,991 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 1,570. There were eight new reported deaths Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 151 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 22. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.15 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 25.1 per 100,000 people. There have been 6,069,726 tests completed. _ Manitoba: 16,825 confirmed cases (9,260 active, 7,253 resolved, 312 deaths). There were 342 new cases Monday from 9,003 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 3.8 per cent. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 2,738 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 391. There were 11 new reported deaths Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 76 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 11. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.79 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 22.78 per 100,000 people. There have been 347,108 tests completed. _ Saskatchewan: 8,564 confirmed cases (3,879 active, 4,638 resolved, 47 deaths). There were 325 new cases Monday from 2,451 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 13 per cent. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 1,856 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 265. There were two new reported deaths Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 10 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is one. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.12 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is four per 100,000 people. There have been 260,818 tests completed. _ Alberta: 58,177 confirmed cases (16,454 active, 41,182 resolved, 541 deaths). There were 1,733 new cases Monday. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 9,756 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 1,394. There were eight new reported deaths Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 65 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is nine. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.21 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 12.38 per 100,000 people. There have been 1,445,984 tests completed. _ British Columbia: 33,238 confirmed cases (9,686 active, 23,111 resolved, 441 deaths). There were 596 new cases Monday. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 5,831 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 833. There were 14 new reported deaths Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 93 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 13. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.26 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 8.7 per 100,000 people. There have been 783,409 tests completed. _ Yukon: 47 confirmed cases (17 active, 29 resolved, one deaths). There were two new cases Monday. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of nine new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is one. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 2.45 per 100,000 people. There have been 5,166 tests completed. _ Northwest Territories: 15 confirmed cases (zero active, 15 resolved, zero deaths). There were zero new cases Monday from 53 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.0 per cent. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of zero new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people. There have been 6,355 tests completed. _ Nunavut: 181 confirmed cases (108 active, 73 resolved, zero deaths). There were four new cases Monday from 55 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 7.3 per cent. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 47 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is seven. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people. There have been 4,242 tests completed. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 1, 2020. The Canadian Press
A forensic psychiatrist testified in court Monday about whether Alek Minassian's autism could be a reason to find him not criminally responsible for the deaths of 10 people in the Toronto van attack, a potential finding the autism community is concerned could stigmatize their members.
TORONTO — As some provinces push for clarity on when they will receive their share of Canada's COVID-19 vaccines, one expert said Monday the government should be more transparent about the terms of its contracts with the companies making the shots.Kerry Bowman, who teaches bioethics and global health at the University of Toronto, said it's likely Ottawa doesn't have the information the provinces are seeking regarding the timing and quantity of vaccine deliveries, particularly if its contracts with drugmakers are conditional.But if that's the case, he said, the federal government should state it clearly or risk eroding public trust in its system.While news that COVID-19 immunizations could begin in some countries in a matter of weeks is good for Canada in the long term, it will lead to widespread frustration in the near future if the country is lagging behind, he added."There's benefits to all of humankind, no matter who's getting it," he said.Still, "if two weeks from now, the news is full of us watching people all over the world being inoculated, including the United States, and we're not, there's going to be some very unhappy Canadians."As well, he said, any delay in immunization translates to more COVID-19 cases and deaths, and mounting economic strain."People will die and other people's lives will continue to be ruined until we pull out of it. And so, to me, whether it's this month or that month (that we get the vaccine) is not irrelevant — it's highly relevant," he said.Ontario Premier Doug Ford renewed his calls Monday for a clear delivery date for the province's share of vaccines, stressing that "the clock is ticking" when it comes to fighting the novel coronavirus.Ford said he was set to speak to Pfizer, one of the drugmakers that has entered into an agreement with Canada, on Monday afternoon but expected to be told the information must come from Ottawa.The premier cited reports that other countries, such as the United Kingdom, are on track to start COVID-19 immunizations soon, adding Ontarians "need answers."Meanwhile, the American biotech company Moderna said Monday the first 20 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine will be shipped to the United States next month.The chairman of the American vaccine maker told the CBC on Sunday that Canada is near the front of the line to receive the 20 million doses it pre-ordered, confirming that the country's early commitment to purchasing the shots means it will get its supply first.Moderna is one of several companies to have already submitted partial data to a "rolling review" process offered by Health Canada. Rather than presenting regulators with a complete package of trial results, the would-be vaccine makers file data and findings as they become available. Canada has been looking at Moderna's first results since mid-October.The issue of when Canada will receive its orders came to the forefront last week when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the country will have to wait a bit because the first doses off the production lines will be used in the countries where they are made.Trudeau has repeatedly defended his government's vaccine procurement policy, saying Ottawa has secured multiple options for the country. The federal government was pressed on the matter further during Monday's question period, as some MPs called for greater transparency regarding vaccine rollout, noting other countries such as Australia have made their plans public.Health Minister Patty Hajdu said the government has been working with the provinces and territories to ensure the plan is robust."Canada is well-served by the diversity of vaccines we have purchased early and in fact in great quantity. Canadians can be assured they too will have access to these vaccines that will bring us to the end of COVID-19," she said.Case counts remained high in several provinces Monday.Ontario, Alberta and Quebec, reported 1,746, 1,733 and 1,333 new infections respectively. Together, the three provinces had 39 new deaths related to the virus.Toronto, one of two Ontario hot spots currently under lockdown, recorded a daily high of 643 new infections.In Manitoba, health officials stressed residents must limit their contact with others in order to bring down the numbers, as the province reported 342 new cases and 11 additional deaths.The provincial government imposed strict measures on business openings and public gatherings more than two weeks ago, but officials said the test positivity rate remains at 13 per cent.Nunavut, however, will begin to lift the lockdown measures it enacted in mid-November on Wednesday, as more people recover from the illness.Only Arviat, which has 86 active cases, will continue to be in lockdown for at least another two weeks, with travel restrictions in place, Nunavut officials said.The territory reported four new cases Monday, bringing the total to 181.In British Columbia, the province announced the highest number of deaths for a three-day period as it recorded 46 fatalities over the weekend.Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry became emotional Monday as she expressed her condolences to families and thanked caregivers for their dedication."Health-care workers have been at the front lines, or maybe the last line of defence right now," she says. "I know how challenging it is and I'm with you every single day, supporting you in admiration for the work that you're doing."Out east, six new infections have been recorded in New Brunswick today, while Newfoundland and Labrador reported one.Nova Scotia reported 16 new cases of COVID-19, bringing its total of active cases to 138.On Sunday, the federal government announced it will extend a series of travel restrictions meant to limit the spread of COVID-19 into January, in light of the steady rise in case counts across the country.Public Safety Minister Bill Blair and Hajdu said in a statement the measures, which were first enacted near the start of the global health crisis, would be in effect until Jan. 21, 2021, for travellers entering Canada from a country other than the United States.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2020.Paola Loriggio, The Canadian Press
Imperial Oil says it will write down between $900 million and $1.2 billion this quarter as it no longer plans to develop "a significant portion" of its unconventional assets in Alberta. The Calgary-based company said the assets are non-producing and undeveloped, so Imperial doesn't expect any future cash expenditures related to the impairment charge. The impairment doesn't include the high-value, liquids-rich portion of the company's unconventional asset portfolio which it said it still plans to develop. "This decision is consistent with Imperial's strategy of focusing its upstream resources and efforts on its key oilsands assets as well as on only the most attractive portions of its unconventional portfolio. As such, the decision will not impact previously provided production estimates," the company said in a Monday release. Global demand for oil plummeted earlier this year as the pandemic struck. Prices have yet to truly bounce back.Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has predicted that global demand will return more slowly next year than previously thought, but that access to a vaccine could bring less uncertainty and economic growth. That and other outlooks have seen some companies scale back development plans. Exxon Mobil, which has a majority stake in Imperial, also announced an impairment Monday — its biggest ever — saying it would write down the value of natural gas properties by $17 billion to $20 billion US, as well as slash project spending next year to its lowest level in 15 years.Last week, Imperial said it would lay off about 200 of its 6,000 employees as part of a cost-cutting initiative. It has also reduced the number of contractors it employs by about 450 since the start of the year.CBC News has reached out to Alberta's energy minister for comment.
HANOI, Vietnam -- Vietnamese authorities are conducting intensive contact tracing after the country’s first confirmed local transmission of the coronavirus in 89 days.State media said Tuesday that a 32-year-old man in Ho Chi Minh City tested positive for the coronavirus on Monday after visiting a flight attendant who was undergoing self-quarantine at his home following his return from Japan two weeks ago. The flight attendant tested positive on Saturday, the Tuoi Tre newspaper said.Health authorities ordered 137 people who had been in close contact with the man to stay in a central quarantine facility and shut down an English centre where the man works as a teacher, the newspaper said.The new case ended Vietnam’s streak of 89 days without any known local transmission of the virus. Earlier, it went 99 days without local transmissions until a cluster of cases broke out at a hospital in Da Nang in central Vietnam in July.Vietnam’s borders remain closed in an attempt to keep out the virus. Only limited international flights are operating to repatriate Vietnamese nationals and transport foreign diplomats and experts.The country has reported 1,347 coronavirus cases, including 35 deaths. Nearly half of the confirmed cases were imported, according to the Health Ministry.___THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:— Moderna asking US, European regulators to OK its virus shots— Fauci: US may see ‘surge upon surge’ of virus in coming weeks after Thanksgiving travel— U.K. stocks up on vaccines, hopes to start virus shots within days— Virus forces businesses to adapt or close down on the streets of London— New York City to reopen its schools to in-person learning, tests students more for COVID-19___Follow AP’s coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak___HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:MANILA, Philippines — Coronavirus quarantine restrictions will remain imposed in the Philippine capital during the Christmas season this month and officials said they will ban big Christmas parties in Asia’s largest Roman Catholic nation to prevent new infection spikes.President Rodrigo Duterte said in televised remarks late Monday that aside from Metropolitan Manila, the bustling capital region of more than 12 million, the “general community quarantine” would be imposed in seven other cities and provinces in December.The restrictions ban large public gatherings, actual school classes and entertainment businesses but allow shopping malls, restaurants and essential shops, including barber shops, to operate with required safeguards, including the wearing of face masks and shields and social distancing.Duterte lamented that many still defy quarantine restrictions like the wearing of face masks and warned of a possible resurgence of infections like in some Western countries.“In the Philippines, it’s hard-headedness," Duterte said.The Philippines has reported more than 431,600 confirmed coronavirus infections, the second-highest in Southeast Asia, with at least 8,392 deaths.___SANTA FE, N.M. -- New Mexico is moving to a county-by-county system for responding to COVID-19 that allows local communities to shed some restrictions on mass gatherings, restaurant dining, attendance at religious services and some nonessential businesses — if the virus retreats.Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said Monday that the colour-coded system aims to empower communities and incentivize behaviour and tactics that reduce virus transmission.At this point, only one of New Mexico’s 33 counties — Los Alamos County — would be eligible to ease tight restrictions on gatherings and resume indoor dining at restaurants.The new system will take effect Wednesday. Over the past week, one person in every 155 people in the state was diagnosed with COVID-19. The state Republican Party said the governor was stoking false hope that restrictions may be lifted.___UNITED NATIONS -- The head of the world’s largest humanitarian network is urging governments and institutions to combat “fake news” about COVID-19 vaccines which has become “a second pandemic” and start building trust in communities around the world about the critical importance of vaccinating people.Francesco Rocca, president of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, said in a virtual briefing to the U.N. Correspondents Association on Monday that “to beat this pandemic, we also have to defeat the parallel pandemic of distrust.”He said there is “a growing hesitancy about vaccines in general, and about a COVID vaccine in particular” around the world, pointing to a recent Johns Hopkins University study in 67 countries that found vaccine acceptance declined significantly in most countries from July to October this year.In a quarter of countries, Rocca said, the study found that the acceptance rate for a vaccine against the coronavirus was near or below 50 per cent, with Japan dropping from 70 per cent to 50 per cent acceptance, and France dropping from 51 per cent to 38 per cent acceptance.He stressed that the lack of trust “is by no means a Western phenomenon,” citing the federation’s research in recent months in eight African countries -- Congo, Cameroon, Gabon, Zimbabwe, Sierra Leone, Rwanda, Lesotho and Kenya -- which showed a steady decline in the perceptions of the risk of COVID-19 infection.A growing number of people indicated the virus doesn’t affect young people or Africans, that the disease doesn’t exist now but did exist and the pandemic has ended, he said. “In several African countries, we have seen a common skepticism towards vaccines in general, with a common belief being that foreigners use Africa as a medical ‘testing ground.’”___MIAMI — The new mayor of Florida’s most populous county tested positive for the coronavirus on Monday, officials said.Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava announced the test result on Twitter. She said her husband, Dr. Robert Cava, was exposed to COVID-19 by a patient last Wednesday. He has also tested positive.“Rob and I are quarantining at home,” Levine Cava wrote. “We both remain in good spirits and have only mild symptoms.”Spokeswoman Rachel Johnson told the Miami Herald that Levine Cava has not been in contact with county employees since Wednesday and plans to participate in Tuesday’s county commission meeting by phone.Levine Cava, 65, assumed office Nov. 17 after being elected earlier in the month. The Democrat had previously served as a county commissioner since 2014.Levine Cava’s predecessor, Congressman-elect Carlos Gimenez, tested positive for coronavirus last week. The Republican is set to assume his new office Jan. 3.—-SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California could see a tripling of hospitalizations by Christmas and is considering stay-home orders for areas with the highest case rates as it tries to head off concerns that severe coronavirus cases could overwhelm intensive care beds, officials said Monday.“The red flags are flying in terms of the trajectory in our projections of growth,” said Gov. Gavin Newsom. “If these trends continue, we’re going to have to take much more dramatic, arguably drastic, action.”Hospitalizations have increased 89% over the past 14 days and nearly 7,800 coronavirus patients were hospitalized as of Monday. About 12% of Californians testing positive are likely to need hospital care within the next two to three weeks.The biggest concern is intensive care cases, which have increased 67% in the past two weeks. If that continues, it would push ICU beds to 112% of capacity by mid-December.That statistic is likely to drive state-mandated stay-at-home orders in 51 of California’s 58 counties that already are seeing the most restrictions on business activities, said Dr. Mark Ghaly, the state’s secretary of health and human services.___ATLANTA — U.S. Rep. Austin Scott of Georgia has tested positive for COVID-19. That makes him the third Georgia congressman to contract the virus.Scott’s chief of staff Jason Lawrence confirmed the positive test result on Monday.Scott represents Georgia’s 8th District, which stretches through the interior of south Georgia. The chief of staff’s statement did not say if Scott was experiencing any symptoms but added he was heeding his doctor’s advice.All three Georgia congressman who’ve tested positive for the virus have been Republicans. Rep. Rick Allen announced a positive test result last week. Rep. Drew Ferguson tested positive in October.___MINNEAPOLIS — Gov. Tim Walz said Monday that his administration plans to release details next week on when Minnesota will start getting its first doses of coronavirus vaccines and who will be the first to get them.Walz made the comments in a briefing for reporters following a conference call with several other governors, Vice-President Mike Pence; Dr. Anthony Fauci, the federal government’s top infectious-diseases expert; and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar on the status of the country’s plans for distributing the vaccines.The Democratic governor said he expects to hold “a very extensive briefing” for reporters and the public, possibly next Monday or Tuesday, on where Minnesota stands in the process. Details are still being worked out on the federal level about who gets priority — such as senior citizens and health care workers — and what the distribution plan will look like, he said.The governor has been critical of the Trump administration for its lack of co-ordinated federal plans for fighting the pandemic, which has put much of the onus on the states. But he had praise for the federal vaccine drive.“I believe the work around the vaccine and the plans around distribution have been incredibly well done,” Walz said.The discussion with the governors involved distributing the first doses coming from Pfizer and later Moderna.___SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — New cases of coronavirus illness in Illinois dropped Monday for the third day in a row, but officials fear the fallout from Thanksgiving travel and family gatherings will push the numbers back up.Gov. J.B. Pritzker, a Democrat, said there will be no change in current restrictions on social interaction for several weeks. They ban indoor food service, limit retail-store capacity and cap gatherings at 10 or fewer.“We are still very much in a precarious place ...,” Pritzker said. “I say this as we come off of a Thanksgiving holiday when many people may have dropped their guard and gathered with people from outside of their own households. The hope now is that we can fend off the surge in the next few weeks to get to a healthier holiday time in the latter half of December.”November’s end marked a period as ghastly as April or May, when the virus first crawled through the state. Total cases rose 77% to 726,304. Deaths stood at 12,278 -- 26% higher than at the beginning of the month.___HARRISBURG, Pa. — Pennsylvania’s two-month-old coronavirus exposure notification app can now be used by mobile phone users as young as 13 as health officials work to stop the virus’ spread in schools around the state, officials said Monday.The app, named COVID AlertPa, had previously been limited to people 18 and over.“By expanding the age range, middle- and high-school students will be able to add their phones to the fight and help in contact tracing that occurs in their schools if a positive case is identified,” state Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine said at a virtual news conference.A parent or legal guardian must approve the minor’s use of the app, she said. So far, more than 627,000 mobile phone users have downloaded it, according to the state.Some school districts continue to conduct in-person instruction, even though each of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties — except for northwestern Pennsylvania’s rural Cameron County, with fewer than 5,000 residents — has passed the threshold of new cases where the state Department of Education recommended fully remote instruction.___TORONTO — Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government is vowing to spend tens of billions more dollars to help the country recover from the pandemic.Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland says the country is facing its most severe challenge since the second World War, the worst economic shock since the Great Depression and the worse health crisis since the Spanish flu over a century ago.The cost to date has the federal deficit reaching a record $381.6 billion Canadian (US$294 billion) this year, but the government says it could close in on $400 billion Canadian (US$308 billion) if widespread lockdowns return in the coming weeks. Toronto, Canada’s largest city, is on lockdown.The government’s fall economic update proposes to send extra child-benefit payments to families next year. The government is proposing $25 billion Canadian (US$19 billion) in new spending.___JACKSON, Miss. — Mississippi is reporting a record number of coronavirus hospitalizations for a single day.The state Department of Health said Monday that 1,008 people were hospitalized with the virus Sunday, marking the first time the number of coronavirus hospitalizations in the state has topped 1,000. Numbers have risen steadily since Nov. 10, when 669 virus hospitalizations were reported.State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs said Monday on Twitter that the record comes ahead of an “anticipated Thanksgiving acceleration” in coronavirus cases.“This is truly serious,” he wrote. “Protect yourselves and your family now. We all know how.”The state Health Department said Monday that Mississippi, with a population of about 3 million, has reported more than 153,250 confirmed coronavirus cases and at least 3,807 deaths from COVID-19 as of Sunday evening. That’s an increase of 1,485 cases and one death from the day before. The death occurred Saturday and was identified through a death certificate.___KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Hospital and nursing officials fear that if COVID-19 cases continue unchecked there won’t be enough nurses to staff new hospital beds in the near future in the Kansas City metro area.Kansas health officials on Monday added 4,425 cases to the state’s pandemic tally since Friday, bringing the total to 157,446. Data showed that Kansas averaged 2,198 new confirmed and probable coronavirus a day for the seven days ending Monday. That is below the record average of 2,766 cases.The number of COVID-19 related deaths also rose by 31 to 1,560.It is too soon to see how Thanksgiving gatherings have impacted coronavirus numbers, but medical providers expect to see another rise in hospitalizations in 10 to 14 days once people begin showing symptoms.The Kansas Department of Health and Environment reported on Monday 87 new hospitalizations, bringing the total of hospitalizations to 5,105 since the start of the pandemic. The state’s COVID-19 dashboard showed 227 coronavirus patients were in ICU units, with 39% of ICU capacity remaining in Kansas.___MIAMI — Florida’s Gov. Ron DeSantis said on Monday that schools will be required to remain open despite the rise in confirmed COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, arguing lockdowns and closures have not worked.Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, also told ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday that the spread of the virus among children “is not really very big at all” and is now advising to get children back in the classrooms.The Republican governor said schools will continue to offer online classes for families who have chosen not to physically return, but school districts will require students who have fallen behind online to return to in-person instruction.Florida has seen cases rise again, now totalling more than 990,000 confirmed cases since the pandemic began earlier this year. More than 18,700 people have died with COVID-19 since March.The Associated Press
Depuis le début de la crise, de nombreuses petites et moyennes entreprises albertaines peuvent compter sur l’aide du gouvernement fédéral grâce à l’octroi de subventions. Or, elles ne peuvent pas en dire autant du gouvernement albertain, alors que de grosses sommes sont injectées dans le secteur pétrolier. « Le gouvernement albertain se repose sur le gouvernement fédéral », lance, mécontent, Daniel Cournoyer, directeur de la Cité francophone à Edmonton depuis 2012. La Cité est un espace qui permet la location de bureaux et qui offre des services de traiteur dans le quartier francophone de la ville. Sa réaction rejoint la réalité entrepreneuriale de celle de bien d’autres restaurateurs. Tammy Anast, originaire d’Ontario et propriétaire du restaurant grec Yiannis depuis 1989, une enseigne bien connue sur l’avenue Whyte, en sait aussi quelque chose. « Le gouvernement provincial ? Jusqu’à présent, rien pour moi », explique-t-elle. Les aides Comme beaucoup de gérants d’entreprise, elle a fait une demande pour obtenir la Subvention salariale d’urgence, une subvention fédérale qui a aidé jusqu’à présent un grand nombre d’entrepreneurs au pays. « J’ai obtenu une compensation pour la plus grande partie de ma masse salariale. J’ai également obtenu un prêt de 40 000 $ accordé aux petites entreprises », détaille-t-elle, faisant toujours référence à l’aide fédérale. Elle n’est pas la seule à avoir pu compter sur Ottawa. Shawn Good, gérant de la pizzeria Famoso, dit aussi avoir bénéficié de cette aide, mais sans aucun apport de la province. Il affirme avoir perdu jusqu’à présent entre 20 % et 30 % de son chiffre d’affaires. La subvention fédérale est tombée à pic au début de la pandémie, permettant de couvrir, lors de la première vague, jusqu’à 80 % de la masse salariale. Cependant, depuis septembre, les critères ont changé et sont de plus en plus restreints. La subvention n’est plus qu’à 30 %, au grand dam des entrepreneurs. « On ne se qualifie plus pour le même montant d’argent. On l’apprécie toujours, mais on aurait aimé que cela reste pareil qu’au mois d’août », explique M. Cournoyer, directeur de la Cité francophone. Si les entrepreneurs ont pu aussi bénéficier de la subvention fédérale pour les loyers, la pandémie est là plus que jamais et l’aide provinciale demeure quasi absente. Que fait la province ? Pas grand-chose ou presque. Du côté provincial, si l’aide est inexistante pour les uns, elle demeure très modique pour d’autres. Mark Wilson, propriétaire depuis 2007 d’une entreprise d’impression d’affiches et de cartes, dit avoir bénéficié d’une aide de 3 000$ de la part du gouvernement provincial. Une réalité que vient corroborer le directeur de la Cité francophone. « Au niveau de la province, il y a des petits montants. Mais il n’y a presque rien », fait-il remarquer. Les aides sont donc majoritairement fédérales, voire municipales. En ces temps difficiles, les villes cherchent à prendre le relais. Certaines de ces sommes peuvent monter jusqu’à 5 000$ pour les petites entreprises. Daniel Cournoyer dénonce, lui, une certaine forme d’inertie de la part du gouvernement provincial. « Les municipalités en font autant qu’elles peuvent avec les petits moyens qu’elles ont. Mais c’est vraiment la province qui contrôle, et elle ne veut pas assumer ses responsabilités envers sa société », déplore-t-il. Une Alberta à deux vitesses En parallèle, le gouvernement de Jason Kenney a injecté 1,5 milliard de dollars dans le projet de Keystone XL. En Alberta, on assiste à un décalage inquiétant entre l’aide octroyée aux géants du secteur pétrolier et celle offerte aux acteurs d’une économie plus petite, mais indispensable au fonctionnement ainsi qu’à l’épanouissement de la société albertaine. Le cabinet de Jason Kenney n’a pas commenté sur l’aide éventuelle qu’il pourrait apporter aux entrepreneurs de la province. En attendant, les entrepreneurs en Alberta serrent les dents. « Je fais face à la situation en travaillant autant que je peux, en réduisant les heures de travail de mes employés, et en achetant des produits moins chers », explique Tammy Anast. Aujourd’hui, son chiffre d’affaires est à 50 % de son revenu normal. « Les mois d’été ont baissé d’environ 30 %. Maintenant, je pense que nous allons descendre à 70 % avec les restrictions sanitaires, et que la saison de Noël est complètement ratée », dit-elle avec angoisse. À la perte financière et au manque de soutien de la province vient s’ajouter l’inquiétude des « demi-mesures ». Comment encourager l’entrepreneuriat local quand les services de santé de la province envoient le message contradictoire de rester chez soi ? Entre malaise et confusion, l’Alberta ne sait plus où donner de la tête dans un modèle économique apparemment devenu à deux vitesses.Hélène Lequitte, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Devoir
BEIJING — Asian stocks rose Tuesday after Chinese manufacturing improved, with investors looking ahead to U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s appearance before legislators.Benchmarks in Shanghai, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Sydney advanced.Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 index closed down 0.5% overnight but ended November up 10.8% for its biggest monthly gain since April.Investors are increasingly optimistic about the expected development of a coronavirus vaccine despite caution about the short-term economic impact of rising virus cases in the United States and Europe.The future “seems incredibly bright and bullish,” Stephen Innes of Axi said in a report.The Shanghai Composite Index gained 1.2% to 3,433.77 while the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo advanced 1.5% to 28.824.46. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong added 0.8% to 26,569.69.The Kospi in Seoul advanced 1.3% to 2,625.22 and the S&P-ASX 200 in Sydney was 1.4% higher at 6,608.70. New Zealand declined while Southeast Asian markets rose.An index of Chinese manufacturing released by a business magazine, Caixin, hit a decade high in November as the country’s recovery from the pandemic gained strength. A separate survey Monday by the government statistics agency showed activity at a three-year high.Strength in the Chinese economy is helping offset unease about rising virus cases in the United States and Europe and possible renewed controls on business and travel.In Washington, Powell said in a statement Monday that economic prospects are “extraordinarily uncertain” after the pace of improvement moderated. He said a full recovery is unlikely until the public is confident the disease is under control.Powell was due to appear Tuesday before the Senate Banking Committee with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. The panel oversees the $2 trillion aid package approved by Congress in March.The S&P 500 declined to 3,621.63. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.9% to 29,638.64. The Nasdaq composite slipped 0.1% to 12,198.74.The slide followed reports showing the pandemic dragging down U.S. economic activity in the near future. But investors appear to be looking beyond that.Investors are encouraged by the end of uncertainty about the outcome of the U.S. presidential election. They are reassured Washington will be under divided control, reducing the chances of big changes in taxes or regulation.Markets also have been heartened by announcements from pharmaceutical companies of advances in vaccine development.One developer, Moderna, said Monday it is ready to apply for emergency approval in the United States and Britain. Pfizer and German partner BioNTech are asking to begin vaccinations in the U.S. in December. British regulators also are assessing the Pfizer shot and another from AstraZeneca.In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude oil lost 36 cents to $44.98 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 19 cents to $45.34 on Monday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, sank 32 cents to $47.56 per barrel in London. It dropped 59 cents from the previous session to $47.59.The dollar rose to 104.43 yen from Monday’s 104.34 yen. The euro advanced to $1.1960 from $1.1946.Joe McDonald, The Associated Press
Pride Toronto announced on Monday that it has chosen a new executive director with a background in community health, housing and development.Sherwin Modeste is slated to begin the full-time job on Tuesday, Pride Toronto said in a statement. His appointment follows the departure of previous executive director Olivia Nuamah in January."Sherwin comes to Pride Toronto during an extremely challenging time for the arts, culture, entertainment, and tourism industries, with these sectors among those hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic," the statement reads. "While these sectors face great uncertainty, Sherwin's vision, leadership, and dynamic energy will ensure Pride Toronto's continued commitment to showcasing the talent of local LGBT2Q+ artists and entertainers, and to working closely with community partners."According to Pride Toronto, Modeste is committed to engaging and empowering LGBT2Q+ communities to ensure equity, diversity and inclusion continues to be part of its community outreach and action.Modeste has worked as the director of community health services, at Vibrant Healthcare Alliance, where he was responsible for health promotion, supportive housing, building and property maintenance, Pride Toronto said."Sherwin moved 100 per cent of Vibrant's health promotion programs to virtual delivery and played a key role in implementing community support in the form of wellness packages and hot meal delivery for over 200 clients weekly across the city. He worked closely with other members of the senior leadership team to support community flu clinics and COVID-19 testing," Pride Toronto said.Before that, Modeste worked as the manager of grants, development and sponsorships at Toronto Community Housing, where he was responsible for soliciting funds from government and private sector companies, Pride Toronto said. Samantha Fraser, co-chair of Pride Toronto's board of directors, said in the statement that the board met many candidates for the position."In the end, Sherwin rose to the top because of the fantastic combination of his passion and empathy, work history, community knowledge, and lived experience," Fraser said.According to the statement, Modeste is passionate about advocacy and promoting human rights and equity issues in support of removing systematic barriers that prevent people from reaching their full potential.He has served as national diversity vice-president and been a member of national pink triangle committee for the Canadian Union of Public Employees and has been a member of the Canadian Labour Congress human rights committee."In those roles, Sherwin advocated tirelessly for workers' rights, including workers from racialized and marginalized communities, and LGBT2Q+ communities," the statement said.In June, Pride Toronto moved its parade online and held a virtual Pride festival weekend due to the COVID-19 pandemic.The organization has had a few tumultuous years in which it has grappled with the LGBT community's strained relationship with police and the exclusion of uniformed police officers in its parade. The issue became a major source of controversy after a Black Lives Matter Toronto protest during the 2016 parade. Uniformed police officers have not marched in the parade since, a policy that Pride members narrowly upheld last year.Nuamah, however, supported lifting the ban, which generated some criticism and calls for her resignation. The organization has not said if she resigned or was otherwise forced out of the job.
A local writer has published a book of poetry that reflects the highs and lows of the COVID-19 pandemic. Katie Nolan is no stranger to creative writing; but she says she hadn’t written a lot of poetry until the pandemic hit in March. “It just seemed like there were so many unbelievable things happening that I just got an urge to start writing about it in little, short, observational ways,” she remembers. “Haiku is such a great format for that.” Katie has not only been writing daily haikus, but she has also been sharing them on Facebook, garnering a lot of support from her network. As soon as she started posting, she found that a lot of people connected and resonated with her poetry, which drove her to write and share even more. “I sort of got to the point where I had this table at home that was just covered with post-it notes with all the haikus on them. There were so many things to say. It just happened very organically and, as I saw that people were enjoying reading the poems, I just kept going.” Katie’s new book of poetry includes 238 haikus, one a day from March 25 to October 31, which reflect the variety of feelings and emotions that come with living through a global pandemic. At first, some of them were kind of funny, reflecting the disbelief that many people were feeling during the early days of COVID-19. As the pandemic drew on, they morphed into having a more serious tone, epitomizing some of the other world events happening at the time, as well as the deteriorating mental health that many are experiencing as a result of COVID-19. “A lot of the poems deal with how we can maybe help each other through hard times. But there is also a kind of back and forth between us as humans and this virus that has turned our lives upside down.” Katie decided early on that she wanted to put together a collection of the poems, so that her readers online could have a hard copy of the haikus. She partnered with local artist, Meredith Luce, who illustrated the collection with one black and white image for each of the months represented in the book. “Seeing Meredith’s concepts for each month was so emotional for me, because she’s pulled out the phases of the pandemic and kind of what some of our hot issues were as you span that given month. To see them all depicted like that as a flow of images is really amazing.” For Katie, writing the haikus has been a very meditative practice and an interesting way to connect with the community. “It’s kind of a way to connect with people and maybe give voice to some of the things that are hard to say sometimes. It’s just a small thing everyday that I do. It doesn’t take much time. But, taken all together, it becomes a bigger piece that really tracks the trail we’ve walked.” The first edition of COVID Pandemic in Seventeen Syllables is being printed locally at COBA Studios in Merrickville. It is $10 and is now available for pre-order at www.luceends.com. All profits from the book will be going to support local charities, and books ordered before November 25 are guaranteed to arrive before Christmas. Katie hopes that this collection of haikus will help people feel connected, and that they see some of themselves reflected in the pages. “[I hope] they enjoy having a kind of diary, if you will, of what this year has been about.” To keep up with Katie’s writing and her daily haikus (which are ongoing), find her on Facebook under Katie Nolan, author.Hilary Thomson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The North Grenville Times
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry was somber today as she announced 46 more people lost their lives to COVID-19 last weekend. Eighty per cent of these people were living in longterm care, which Henry says speaks to the fact that the virus can cause such devastation when it gets into care homes. Health Minister Adrian Dix added that this is a “difficult and gutting time under these circumstances.” Henry listed five new healthcare outbreaks and declared two to be over. There are now 62 active outbreaks in the healthcare sector, including 57 in longterm care or assisted living facilities and five in acute care facilities. These outbreaks currently account for 1,338 active cases, including 847 residents and 487 staff members. Under current rules, staff at longterm care homes can only work at one location, but are permitted to have secondary employment such as being a private home aide. Dix said that the single-site order is “critically important,” but that all people are part of the order that aims to protect longterm care. “We can’t prevent people from having the means to live and the needs that they have in their family, but we do pay a lot of attention—all of us in healthcare—to making sure that we’re monitoring our health every day before we’re going to work and making sure that we’re not participating in risky activities,” said Henry. Between Friday and Sunday, there were 2,077 new cases of COVID-19 around the province—750 of those from Friday to Saturday, 731 Saturday to Sunday, and 596 in the last 24 hours. Three of the weekend’s new cases are epidemiologically linked. Henry also noted an additional 277 historical cases in the Fraser Health region based on the data correction from last week, bringing BC’s cumulative case total to 33,238. Of the new cases, 371 were in the Vancouver Coastal Health region (including Richmond), 1,365 in the Fraser Health region, 58 in the Island Health region, 212 in the Interior Health region, 73 in the Northern Health region and one new case in a person who normally lives outside Canada. The number of active cases has risen to 8,855. There are 316 people in hospital across BC—a number that has doubled in less than three weeks—of whom 75 are in critical care. There are 10,139 people being actively monitored by public health. One new community outbreak was announced at Newton elementary school in Surrey, which has been closed for the next two weeks with students and staff self-isolating. For a list of community exposure events, click here. For the latest medical updates, including case counts, prevention, risks and testing, visit: http://www.bccdc.ca/ or follow @CDCofBC on Twitter.Hannah Scott, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Richmond Sentinel
OTTAWA — The federal Liberals are proposing $25 billion in new spending to help Canadian businesses and workers make it through a COVID-19 winter and vowing tens of billions more to help the country recover once the pandemic passes.The government's fall economic update proposes to send extra child-benefit payments to families next year as well as to put cash into skills training and to create new jobs.For businesses, the government wants to bring the wage subsidy back to 75 per cent of business payroll costs and extend the business rent subsidy to mid-March.There is also money for long-term care facilities and the stock of the nation's personal protective equipment, while dropping federal sales tax on face masks and shields.Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland's update makes clear the measures will be removed once the economy improves, although the timing is tied to the path of the pandemic.The cost to date has the federal deficit reaching $381.6 billion this year, but the government's math says it could close in on $400 billion if widespread lockdowns return in the coming weeks.Freeland's update largely adds cash to existing programs, but tees up work already underway to craft a spring budget. She said it will focus on an economic recovery that will include a three-year stimulus plan worth up to $100 billion, depending on the twin paths of the economy and the pandemic."If it's pre-committed and locked in, the risk is you overstimulate the economy, whereas this seems more that if things go the other way, there's more to come, which will support growth," said RBC chief economist Craig Wright.While the details have yet to be worked out, Freeland said the stimulus plan will include time-limited spending on things like a green economy bio-manufacturing — the industry that makes vaccines and medication.Freeland argued some of the down-payments on that plan are in Monday's update, including proposed grants for homeowners to make energy-efficiency upgrades. Perrin Beatty, president of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce said the economic statement provides some short-term help, but it still "presents a plan to create a plan" for recovery.There is no specific "fiscal anchor," a measurement to moor government spending to keep it from drifting off target, guiding the plan. In its place are economic indicators like the unemployment rate and hours worked that the Liberals will use to decide when spending can ease off or when the taps need to be opened wider."As we build our growth plan, and as we deploy it, the measure we're going to be looking at to see if we've got the job done is really around jobs," Freeland told reporters.Rebekah Young, director of fiscal and provincial economics with Scotiabank, said the scant details about long-term plans will likely create unease in financial markets."The creation of vaguely defined guardrails with no real line of sight on the end of stimulus spending, let alone its composition, has arguably added more uncertainties to the fiscal outlook rather than less," she said.The country has recovered about three-quarters of the three million jobs lost during spring lockdowns. The Finance Department estimates the unprecedented spending to date prevented a further loss of about 1.2 million jobs.The document Monday updates the accounting on many programs, showing under-spending on some that the Liberals now want to top up, such as the wage-subsidy program that is now supposed to cost over $83.5 billion. A revamped commercial rent-relief program will cost $2.18 billion this fiscal year. The two programs are, combined, estimated to cost about $16.2 billion next year.Dan Kelly, president of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, noted the changes to business aid will help small businesses plan for an uncertain foreseeable future."Still, it is disappointing that government has not announced further fixes for new businesses and self-employed Canadians, who remain ineligible for nearly all of the key support programs," he said.Spending next year on extra child benefits will send $1,200 tax-free to families with net incomes up to $120,000, and $600 for families that make more than that.The cost will be about $2.4 billion, a little more than the $2 billion for extra Canada Child Benefit payments this year, bringing the total cost for the program next year to $27.9 billion.And while the document includes money for long-term care facilities, there is no specific bump planned in health transfers for the provinces. What the Liberals are proposing is to provide more money to provinces that see sudden drops in revenues through an existing fiscal-stabilization program, an increase provinces asked for last year.To pay for some of it, the Liberals are proposing to make digital companies like Netflix and Airbnb collect and remit sales tax on their products.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2020.Jordan Press, The Canadian Press
REGINA — Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe says it's too early to say whether COVID-19 restrictions will be loosened in time to allow families to gather for the holidays. Moe said residents can expect to see high COVID-19 case numbers for the next few weeks, as officials wait to see if the latest public-health measures have been effective. The province reported 325 new infections on Monday and said there are 123 people in hospital, 23 of whom are receiving intensive care. The premier noted that the new rules, which include suspending all team sports and a 30-person cap on indoor venues such as churches and bingo halls, have only been in place for a few days. The restrictions are to continue until Dec. 17, when the premier said his Saskatchewan Party government and the chief medical health officer will decide what to do next. Moe said they could choose to extend existing measures, bring in added ones or loosen the restriction that limits household gatherings "just a little bit so that we can have a few people in our home for Christmas." The limit now is five people. "It's too early for us to say which of those three options would occur," Moe said. "We need a little bit of time. We've had three, four days since these … additional measures have come into play, and we need to have a few days to see if they're actually going to make any impact on the numbers that we have." Moe wouldn't say how long his government will wait to see if the restrictions plateau the number of new infections. "We're continuously adjusting and finding that balance of what we need to do and what we have to do," said Health Minister Paul Merrimen. "We're looking at what we have to do with our hospitals to be able to adjust to the influx of patients … we're making adjustments in rural Saskatchewan to see if we can cover off nurses who have become sick." Merriman said the government's response to COVID-19 is a balancing act that juggles the needs of the health-care system with the economy and people's mental health. Opposition NDP Leader Ryan Meili said the novel coronavirus doesn't care about the holidays and Moe is playing politics by suggesting more people might be able to gather at Christmas. "We're not going to see my folks at Christmas. Most families aren't and that's the wise thing to do. I hope that the premier is going to make sure that any decision he makes is based on the data," said Meili. "The only thing that matters is whether those (case) numbers have come down. We aren't seeing that now. We'll see what happens in the weeks ahead." Meili said if Moe's government was serious about curbing community transmission of COVID-19 in time for Christmas, he should have closed down non-essential businesses several weeks ago to give the health system a break. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2020. Stephanie Taylor, The Canadian Press
Ottawa is rolling out a wave of new funding for pandemic-battered industries including tourism, the arts and regional aviation, with smaller companies top of mind — and large airlines notably absent. The Liberal government's fiscal update sketches out a program that will provide low-interest loans of up to $1 million for badly hurt entrepreneurs. The aid, dubbed the Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program (HASCAP), comes on top of a newly expanded emergency loan program already in place for small businesses, and technically is not limited to certain industries. Meanwhile the devastated tourism sector will have access to one-quarter of the more than $2 billion that Ottawa is doling out to regional development agencies through June 2021, including a $500-million top-up announced Monday. The move aims to bolster an industry made up largely of small and medium-sized businesses and that accounts for roughly 750,000 jobs and two per cent of GDP, according to the government. Another $181.5 million will flow to show business and performers via the Department of Canadian Heritage and the Canada Council for the Arts, the fall economic statement says. Rent relief and nearly $700 million in capital investments are en route to airports over six years. About $206 million in further support is bound for regional aviation, including smaller airlines, via a new "regional air transportation initiative" overseen by development agencies. But an aid package targeting big players such as Air Canada and WestJet Airlines remains in the works as talks with Ottawa drag on, with the lack of specifics in the fiscal update frustrating industry leaders. “We had hoped to get a better sense of where the government was going. Instead they repeated the line that they've repeated several times over the past several months — that they’re ‘establishing a process with major airlines regarding financial assistance,’ ” said Mike McNaney, head of the National Airlines Council of Canada. Countries around the world have given carriers US$173 billion in support, he said. Many have also required airlines to offer refunds for cancelled flights, something Ottawa says will be a condition of any bailout. "We are very much a global outlier and are ostensibly stuck at Stage Zero on the government planning process," McNaney — whose industry group represents Air Canada, WestJet, Transat and Jazz Aviation — said in a phone interview. The regional aviation support comes with question marks, as well. "A regional initiative, what’s that?" asked John McKenna, CEO of the Air Transport Association of Canada, which represents some 30 regional airlines. "We have no idea. We have not been consulted," he said in a phone interview. "Never mind new initiatives, try to support the existing services so they survive." In a speech to the House of Commons, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland stressed the benefits of the broader government-backed loan program for smaller companies. "We know that businesses in tourism, hospitality, travel, arts and culture have been particularly hard-hit," Freeland said. "So we’re creating a new stream of support for those businesses that need it most — a credit availability program with 100 per cent government-backed loan support and favourable terms for businesses that have lost revenue as people stay home to fight the spread of the virus." The HASCAP credit program will offer interest rates below the market average, according to the fiscal update, with more details coming "soon." It also said the government is "exploring options to enhance" a federal loan program for big companies, little-loved by industry since its inception in the spring. The Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility (LEEFF) offers loans of $60 million or more to large businesses facing cash problems, but comes with an interest rate that jumps to eight per cent from five per cent after the first year — far above typical private-sector lending rates. Only two firms have been approved for LEEFF loans since the Liberals announced the program on May 11, according to the Canada Enterprise Emergency Funding Corporation: a casino company and a producer of metallurgical coal. NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh criticized the government for failing to offer industry aid that includes explicit job protections. "They have not rolled out any sector-specific supports, meaningfully, that are tied to jobs," he said. Bloc Québécois Yves-François Blanchet slammed the lack of "precision" in the fiscal snapshot. "They basically say that there is no limit to what they will spend, without saying or without admitting how badly you spend it," he said. The $686 million in airport aid includes $500 million over six years, starting this year, to back infrastructure spending at large airports that would include massive transit projects, such as the new light-rail station at the Montreal airport. The government is also proposing to extend $229 million in additional rent relief to the 21 airport authorities that pay rent to Ottawa, with "comparable treatment" for Ports Toronto, which operates Billy Bishop airport in downtown Toronto. The supports unveiled Monday come on top of Ottawa's pan-sectoral announcement to raise the wage subsidy to 75 per cent of company payroll costs — it was reduced to a maximum of 65 per cent in October — as well as an extension of the rent subsidy to mid-March from the end of 2020. David Chartrand, Quebec coordinator for the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, applauded the wage subsidy, but lamented the radio silence on large airlines. "After almost 10 months of crisis, still nothing," he said in a release in French. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2020. Christopher Reynolds, The Canadian Press
EDMONTON — A retired top doctor says public health orders have to balance science with society if they are to be effective."(Measures) will only work if you have a majority of the population that supports it," said Andre Corriveau, who was Alberta's chief medical officer of health from 2009 to 2012. "You can't pass measures that a majority of the public is not supportive of, because it's not enforceable."Corriveau, speaking from Iqaluit, Nunavut, where he was advising that territory on how to deal with its COVID-19 cases, spoke after recordings were released that appeared to show Alberta's current chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, expressing concern about politicians watering down her recommendations.That just goes with the job, said Corriveau, who also served until last year as the top public health official in the Northwest Territories. Experts such as himself or Hinshaw are responsible for winnowing through scientific evidence — often thin on the ground or hot off the research presses — to come up with the best advice they can. But, said Corriveau, judging what's acceptable or how something should be implemented is a political decision."There's a point beyond which you can't enforce any more," he said. "That's the role of the politician — to gauge that."Nor is it appropriate for the chief health officer to advocate for measures not approved by the government, said Corriveau. The two sides have to trust each other and undercutting political decisions would damage that. "There's always other people who can advocate," Corriveau said. "Our effectiveness is built upon trust. If you turn around and you're doing public advocacy, then you've lost the trust and you're not effective any more."Alberta has plenty of other voices for that, he said. Doctors in the Edmonton zone recently formed a group to provide what they see as unbiased, arm's-length COVID-19 advice. Members of the Edmonton Zone Medical Staff Association felt people were losing trust in officials. "There's many considerations when you make these decisions — health ones, economic ones, capacity of hospitals," said association president Dr. Ernst Schuster. "There was a feeling that the political considerations were stronger than some other considerations."The committee is to hold its first meeting Tuesday. The legal powers of a chief medical officer of health are delegated by the minister and may not be absolute, Corriveau said. Hindsight is easy, he noted, and added that everyone involved in the fight against the pandemic is doing it for the first time. Corriveau said he ran into situations where the final decision diverged from his advice, but he saw it as his job to make it work. "It's a fine line to travel but I think it can be done. "It's not necessarily ideal, but I understand the context and why at the political level they might have decided otherwise."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 1, 2020. — Follow @row1960 on TwitterBob Weber, The Canadian Press
VICTORIA — A former judge says she found widespread systemic racism in British Columbia's health-care system where extensive negative profiling of Indigenous patients affects treatment and care. Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond said Monday she could not confirm allegations of an organized game to guess the blood-alcohol level of Indigenous patients in B.C. emergency departments, but found extensive harmful profiling of patients based on stereotypes about addictions and parenting. The former Saskatchewan provincial court judge and one-time children's advocate in B.C. was appointed by Health Minister Adrian Dix in June to investigate the guessing-game allegations and conduct a broader examination of Indigenous racism in provincial health care. "Indigenous people consistently told us, and this was confirmed by the health-care workers who responded and the cases, that they are subjected to negative assumptions, negative assumptions based on prejudice, based on racism, based on beliefs that should not exist in our health-care system," Turpel-Lafond said at a news conference. She said 84 per cent of the review's Indigenous respondents reported some form of discrimination in health care and 52 per cent of Indigenous health-care workers said they experienced racial prejudice at work, mostly in the form of comments. "Among the top negative assumptions that are circulating in our health-care system today is that Indigenous patients and people are less worthy," Turpel-Lafond said. "That they are alcoholics. That they're drug seeking." These negative assumptions lead to the denial and delay of patient services, and cause some people to stay away from hospitals to avoid further incidents of discriminatory treatment, she said. Indigenous people told the review they feared hospitals and would rather face uncertain health than return to get care, said Turpel-Lafond. The review heard from nearly 9,000 Indigenous patients, family members, third-party witnesses and health-care workers. It also examined the health-care data of about 185,000 First Nations and Metis patients. Turpel-Lafond's report makes 24 recommendations. They include bringing in measures and legislation to change behaviour and the appointment of three new positions to focus on the problem, including an Indigenous health officer and an associate deputy minister of Indigenous health. The report also said the government should work with Indigenous organizations to improve the patient complaint processes to address individual and systemic racism specifically experienced by Indigenous people, as well as create a new school of Indigenous medicine at the University of British Columbia. Dix said B.C. will work to implement the recommendations and the review's findings will be felt across the country. "Racism is toxic for people and it's toxic for care," he said. "I want to make an unequivocal apology as the minister of health to those who have experienced racism in accessing health-care services in B.C., now and in the past." The First Nations Leadership Council, comprising several B.C. Indigenous organizations and Metis Nation B.C., called on the government to act. "These are the voices of our families and our relatives and they have to be heard," Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said in a statement. "They can no longer be silenced by a narrative of indifference and negligence and a culture of low expectations." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2020. Dirk Meissner, The Canadian Press
Members of the Mount Royal University Cougars hockey team are in isolation as 18 have tested positive for COVID-19, according to the university's communications department.The number of cases includes coaching staff and the players.In an emailed release Monday, MRU said the entire team stopped training when one teammate began feeling symptomatic. The university said it did its own contact tracing and let people know if they may have come in contact with members of the team. MRU said this is the first known instance of community spread at the university. The team had been training while following safety measures, according to MRU.The Cougars' exhibition games against World Juniors prospects, set for next weekend, had already been cancelled last week by Hockey Canada due to the pandemic. With new provincial restrictions announced last week, no varsity programs at MRU will be training until next year.
The mayor of the Cape Breton Regional Municipality has a new baby.Amanda McDougall confirmed to CBC News that she gave birth to a son on Saturday evening. McDougall said she, along with her fiancé and stepson, are brimming with love for the new addition. She first spoke of her expanding family last summer while announcing her mayoralty bid. In October, the former first-term councillor and non-profit leader defeated incumbent Cecil Clarke by nearly 4,000 votes. During her run to the mayor's seat, McDougall spoke of chauvinistic attitudes she encountered. Time away with babyEarlene MacMullin, the deputy mayor, will be stepping into McDougall's shoes as she takes time off to be with her family. "Whether it's a week, or two weeks, or a month, between myself and staff [carrying out her duties] … and she's always just a phone call away," said MacMullin."The important thing right now, really, is to give her and her family the time that they need to adjust to the new bundle."MacMullin said mom and baby were expected to leave the hospital on Monday.Advice for McDougallEmily Lutz was caring for a toddler when she decided to run in the Municipality of Kings County in 2016. Now she has a five-year-old, two-year-old and five-month-old baby.Lutz has raised a newborn as a councillor, and in her current role as deputy mayor. She admits to encountering misogynistic attitudes in balancing work and family responsibilities. "Being a young mother does not negate your ability to do your job, and in fact it enhances your ability to do your job," Lutz said. "It can certainly add a new level of complexity, but it's very much something that goes hand-in-hand."She has some advice for McDougall: Don't be afraid to delegate tasks and don't be too hard on yourself."It's OK to take time away," she said. "Folks take time away from council for a number of different reasons."'It's a wonderful thing'Yarmouth Mayor Pam Mood was asked whether McDougall might be the first Nova Scotian to give birth while holding the mayor's office."I have no idea, and I actually don't think it matters," Mood said. "I think it's a wonderful thing. That's what women do. They give birth."But there's no glossing over the impact McDougall's motherhood will have on municipal politics, Mood said. "It's an amazing example that she's set. It almost gives women permission to step into politics and know that, you know, the path has been forged before them." When she announced her mayoral bid, McDougall said having a baby would be a constant reminder that council decisions must take into account future generations.MORE TOP STORIES
Families with loved ones in a Fraser Valley care home may get a chance to be a lot closer to them than the pandemic has so far allowed.Menno Place, an 11-acre campus that houses and cares for 700 seniors in Abbotsford, B.C., says it is looking to hire interested family members as temporary relief workers.The centre, which is owned and operated by the Mennonite Benevolent Society, is currently dealing with an outbreak of COVID-19. Eleven residents and six staff have been infected.Karen Biggs, Menno's CEO, says turning to family members to provide essential services such as housekeeping, laundry and distributing food may help fill a shortage of staff."When staff get sick, of course all of a sudden you start getting shorter and shorter of staff," she said. "So we're trying to think out of the box … where can we get more trained people?"Biggs said the family members aren't needed right now, as Menno Place still has enough staff — working overtime — to fill the need.'Families came out of the woodwork'A form has been posted on its website for interested people to fill out. The job pays $20.58 an hour.Biggs says, in one day, 22 family members expressed interest in being hired. She says it shows how committed families are to helping."When we were short of personal protection equipment early on in the pandemic, families came out of the woodwork and brought us gowns, they brought us N95 masks, so we thought, 'OK, do families out there have the skills to come and clean, and help us in the kitchen if we need help?' " she said.Elderly people have been particularly vulnerable in the pandemic, accounting for the majority of deaths from the illness in B.C. They have also suffered isolation as care homes have strictly limited visitors in an effort to keep residents safe from infection.In May, a Toronto man was hired at his mother's long-term care facility so he could be closer to her.Earlier this month, the province's senior advocate released a report that said visitor restrictions on long-term care homes are harming residents' health and should be eased.