LOS ANGELES — Kanye West agrees with Kim Kardashian West that they should have joint custody of their four children and neither of them need spousal support, according to new divorce documents. West's attorneys filed his response Friday in Los Angeles Superior Court to Kardashian West's divorce filing seven weeks earlier, which began the process of ending their 6 1/2-year marriage. West's filing was virtually identical to Kardashian West's original petition, agreeing that the marriage should end over irreconcilable differences, and that the two should share custody of their children: North, age 7, Saint, age 5, Chicago, age 3, and Psalm, who turns 2 next month. And like Kardashian West's filing, West's asks that the court's right to award spousal support to either person be terminated. According to Kardashian West's Feb. 19 petition, the two have a pre-nuptial agreement, and under it they kept their property separate throughout their marriage. The divorce filings bring an impending end to one of the most followed celebrity unions in recent decades, between the 40-year-old reality TV superstar Kardashian West, and the 43-year-old rap and fashion mogul West. It was the first marriage for West and the third for Kardashian West, who has not asked the court to change her name back to just Kardashian, though she may still do so during the divorce process. The Associated Press
The federal government will pay out $145 million to the Madawaska Maliseet First Nation in northwestern New Brunswick in what is now the largest federal land claim settlement in Maritime history. The settlement settles a dispute that wound through the courts for more than two decades. "This claim strikes at the heart of what it has meant to have grown up on reserve lands" and to be "marginalized as a people," Madawaska First Nation Chief Patricia Bernard said in a statement. "Our ancestors did not surrender their right to the land.'' In addition to $145 million, the settlement includes an option for the First Nation to acquire up to 783 hectares to add to its reserve. The land can be anywhere in the province and there is no time limit on its acquisition. The band's court battle for legal recognition of its claim dates back to 1996. In that claim, the band argued Canada breached its lawful obligations in transferring lands — including lands that now encompass most of downtown Edmundston — to third parties and did not fulfil the provisions of the Royal Proclamation of 1763. In November 2017, a federal tribunal ruled that the Madawaska Maliseet First Nation's claim to 1,578 hectares was valid. However, the tribunal does not have the authority to return the land, so four years of negotiations for financial compensation settlement followed before the settlement was reached in mid-March. On Monday evening, Carolyn Bennett, the federal minister for Crown-Indigenous Relations, congratulated Bernard and the Maliseet First Nation on the conclusion of the "historic settlement." "Achieved through the unwavering dedication, determination and hard work of Chief Bernard and the Madawaska Maliseet First Nation, this settlement will stand as a major step forward on the path of renewal and reconciliation between our two nations," Bennett said in an email. Bennett's office confirmed the $145-million settlement is the largest federal land claim settlement in the Maritimes. Previously, the largest settlement in the Maritimes was the Halifax County 1919 Invalid Surrender specific claim with the Millbrook and Sipekne'katik First Nation, which was settled on April 24, 2020, for $49,204,071. "Honouring Canada's legal obligations to First Nations and working collaboratively to renew relationships are key to advancing reconciliation with First Nations in Canada," the office said Monday evening. The settlement also includes an option to acquire 783 hectares anywhere in New Brunswick to add to the Madawaska Maliseet First Nation's land reserve.(Julia Wright / CBC News file photo) Victory represents a new beginning, chief says In an interview Monday, Bernard, who is also the lawyer who launched and litigated the initial claim and was the negotiator in the settlement, said the hard-won victory represents a new beginning for the Madawaska community. "We're putting $50 million into a legacy trust fund that will generate money on a continuous basis," Bernard said. As well, she said, all of the community members will get per-capita distribution. The money will also fuel economic and infrastructure development for the community, Bernard said. Consultations will now get underway with the community to determine the sort of lands Madawaska should be considering for acquisition. "We're going to consult with the community with respect to, you know, what are we are looking for," Bernard said. "Are we looking for an area to practise traditional ceremonies, are we looking for residential, are we looking for economic development? So we have to consult with the community on that." For Bernard, the road to victory has been a long and personal journey. "The amazing thing for me is that I was involved right from the beginning," she said. "I did the initial research, the initial legal opinion, litigated the claim in the tribunal and then did the negotiation. "This has been a personal goal of mine to see it through, and having it done has been an amazing feeling, so I'm quite happy with the outcome."
A COVID-19 outbreak has been declared at St. John Vianney Catholic Elementary School in Windsor. The Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board made the announcement on Monday morning. In a news release, the board said public health officials made the declaration after receiving confirmation that of an additional case in one of two cohorts dismissed on April 6. The update has yet to be reflected on the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit's website as of Monday morning. "As per provincial direction, a school outbreak is declared if there are two or more cases in a school and if there is evidence that at least one case could have been infected in the school," the board said in a statement. According to the board's website, there are three cases of COVID-19 active within the school. The board said a COVID-19 variant of concern has been identified in the cohort. Those who may have been affected are being contacted by the health unit. The board said the rest of the school community is considered low risk and can continue attending as usual. Schools are currently on spring break. There are 22 active cases of COVID-19 within the Catholic board, its website shows. The public school board has seen 17 cases declared since the beginning of the month, according to its website. There are two other outbreaks active at other schools in the region — Centennial Central Public School and St. Peter Catholic School. Dr. Wajid Ahmed, medical officer of health for the region, said Monday that Windsor-Essex is seeing an increase in COVID-19 cases within schools, with many cohorts dismissed. "We are monitoring the cases in our schools to assess any changes in the local risk," he said at the health unit's daily briefing, adding that he'll provide an update if the risk changes or a switch to online learning becomes necessary.
Two incidents in a busy Montreal park — widely shared on social media over the weekend — have critics concerned that the likelihood of getting stopped for violating COVID-19 prevention rules depends on who you are and not what you are doing. On Saturday, witnesses filmed a group of five women of colour, who were seated in Jeanne-Mance Park in Montreal's Plateau neighbourhood, being surrounded by police officers. Fatima Keita, who was fined more than $1,500 for breaking the province's rules for small outdoor gatherings in public settings, said the park was filled with others doing the same thing. "We're all trying to stop the spread, right?" she said. "But this is not about COVID measures. The police wanted to be authoritarian with me. They wanted to specifically target me." Video of the incident shows that Keita was part of one of many small groups of people sitting together in the park. Quebec's latest rules on outdoor gatherings allow people to meet outside without wearing a mask, provided they are seated two metres apart from those they do not live with. "People were literally kissing each other over there," she told CBC News. David Kroeker-Maus was nearby when he saw a group of about 10 officers surround the women. "No one was bothering us, and no one was bothering most of the other picnic-goers," said Kroeker-Maus, who filmed the incident. "It looked pretty racially motivated." Video of a man being held and punched by Montreal police officers in Montreal's Plateau neighbourhood was shared widely over the weekend.(Submitted by Leigh O'Brien) Another video, also from Jeanne-Mance Park, showing a man getting repeatedly punched in the head while being detained by officers, is raising questions about use of police force. Several officers are seen around the man, as they put him in a hold that one anti-racism advocate says looks chillingly familiar. The video shows "shocking, very unacceptable and very questionable use of force," says Fo Niemi, the executive director of the Center for Research-Action on Race Relations. He points out that Derek Chauvin, a police officer in Minneapolis, is currently on trial for murder after using a similar hold that resulted in the death of George Floyd. "Did we learn anything from the George Floyd case last year?" asked Niemi. Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante told reporters Monday morning that it's important to know the context of an incident, beyond what is shared online. "What I can tell you is that police officers are not targeting people based on the colour of their skin if they are in a park. It would be based on people's behaviour," Plante said. Plante says that's why she supports body cameras for police officers: "Where we can also have the beginning, the middle and the end. I think this is very important." In a statement, the Montreal police service said it follows the recommendations of public health and the provincial government when enforcing COVID-19 prevention measures. In the past week, the police service issued 1,005 fines related to COVID-19 prevention, up from 797 a week earlier. For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here. (CBC)
An unusual decision by NB Liquor to move its outlet in Hartland from a spot near the famed covered bridge to an Irving station at the edge of town is generating controversy in the community and raising questions about whether politics, corporate influence or both played roles in the move. Transferring the outlet triggered objections by the town itself and two of its largest employers. But even with evidence of a botched traffic count contaminating the decision, efforts to have Premier Blaine Higgs intervene and cancel the move fell flat. "The Town of Hartland feels the decision is detrimental to our ongoing efforts to improve and increase our town economy on all fronts," wrote Hartland's chief administrative officer David Hutten in a March letter to Higgs asking him to stop the relocation of the liquor outlet away from the bridge. "It is imperative that we continue to grow our municipal downtown core and not strip it bare of essential and leisure provisions." argued Hutten. It's the first time a successful operator of an NB Liquor agency store has had their contract moved to a competitor since the program began in 1991 but last minute appeals to the province to halt the switch failed and the change went ahead April 1. Liquor store long been downtown Hartland has had a liquor outlet in its downtown core since 1986. It was first installed during the government of former Progressive Conservative Premier Richard Hatfield, Hartland's MLA at the time, as part of the community's reconstruction following a major fire that destroyed several downtown buildings in 1980. The outlet has occupied different locations over 35 years but always within steps of the Hartland Covered Bridge, a recognized national historic site as the longest bridge of its kind in the world. The structure is a tourist magnet in the town and celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. Freshmart sits across from the entrance to the Hartland Covered Bridge. In February, with the street closed for two days for sewer upgrades, NB Liquor ran a critical traffic count to grade Freshmart's suitability to retain its liquor outlet.(Google Street view) Until this month NB Liquor's outlet had been located across the street from the entrance to the bridge inside a local grocery store called the Hartland Freshmart. Last year Freshmart recorded $1.5 million in alcohol sales, making it the largest NB Liquor outlet in the Carleton County area outside of Woodstock. Freshmart assumed control of the Hartland contract in 2019 after its owner, Peter Cook, bought a nearby convenience store that had owned the licence since the mid 1990s. But Cook is also a prominent Liberal and, coincidentally or not, when Freshmart's liquor contract came up for renewal this year, NB Liquor said it found a better arrangement. In what the Crown corporation insists was an impartial evaluation of bids it received following a request for proposals, the local Hartland Irving station and Valu Foods outlet, about one kilometre upriver from the covered bridge, was selected as the new location for the lucrative outlet. "We wish to advise you that your application for the Agency appointment was unsuccessful," NB Liquor's Bonnie Harnish wrote to the Freshmart on March 17. "Please take assurance in knowing the decision was made following the results of a prescribed and unbiased process." Retailer questions decision's fairness Cook, who ran as a Liberal in the 2010 provincial election and is related by marriage to former Liberal MLAs Fred and Andrew Harvey, does not accept he was dealt with fairly. On March 26, he filed an application with the Court of Queen's Bench in Fredericton to review the decision, alleging that irregularities in how bids were scored unfairly steered the contract to the local Irving station. "Favouring business because they are associated with Irving is improper," Cook said in a sworn affidavit filed with his court application. Cook is suspicious because the final decision on moving the Hartland location was made by NB Liquor's board of directors, which is chaired by John Correia. Correia is a former head fundraiser for the New Brunswick Progressive Conservative Party and, like Higgs, a former employee of Irving Oil. John Correia was appointed chair of NB Liquor by the Blaine Higgs government. He was an early backer of Higgs's leadership bid and is a former head of the PC Party's fundraising team. Correia spent much of his working career with Irving Oil and Irving-owned Maritime Tire and is now vice-president of Coast Tire.(Coast Tire) In his affidavit, Cook claims the scoring of proposed outlet locations was "politically motivated" and ultimately unfair to his bid because of his own party activity and a favouritism NB Liquor has for outlets branded as Irving stations. "There appears to be an ongoing trend such that [NB Liquor] is awarding more and more agency store contracts to retailers who are working with Irving and who purchase and sell Irving gasoline," Cook said in his affidavit in an apparent reference to the Irving station in Plaster Rock winning an outlet last year. NB Liquor denies that accusation. In an email, spokesperson Thomas Tremblay said the Hartland contract was awarded in a standard way following an "unbiased" 100-point evaluation NB Liquor conducts every time it decides where to place an outlet among competing bidders. The scoring system gives points based on a variety of easily measured factors, including shelf and floor space and cooler size available for selling alcohol (20 points) hours of operation (10 points), and available parking (four points). Credit is also given if the location sells lottery tickets (one point), coffee (one point) or fast food (one point). The scorecard does favour bids connected to oil companies, but not specifically Irving. It awards two points if gasoline is sold onsite, which can be significant in a close contest. A flawed traffic count? However, the single most important element, worth 30 points, is a traffic count conducted at each location, which appeared to be mishandled by NB Liquor in a way that undermined Freshmart's bid. Cook claims that intentionally or by accident the count was done over five days in February exactly as the town dug up the road in front of his store to upgrade local sewer lines, guaranteeing a poor result for his store. Peter Cook (holding scissors) is involved in several New Brunswick businesses. He is suing NB Liquor for the way it handled his bid to retain the liquor outlet at his grocery store in downtown Hartland.(Facebook) "The traffic counter was placed on a road that was closed for construction to all vehicles save for transport trucks for two days out of four and a half or five days [NB Liquor] ran the traffic count study," Cook said in his affadavit. "Vehicles were redirected in such a way that they did not pass through the traffic counter." Hutten, the town administrator, confirmed that account. "The municipality wasn't informed this counting would be happening, so without being aware of that we had that road closed down for two days of the actual car-counting process," said Hutten. "It was closed for a day and overnight and most of the second day." Town of Hartland administrator David Hutten wrote a letter to Premier Blaine Higgs on behalf of the community, calling the decision to move the local liquor outlet away from the downtown 'detrimental' and asking for it to be reversed.(LinkedIn) Cook said he called NB Liquor to alert them to the problem but was told he could not make contact during the evaluation process. He said NB Liquor did not include alternative downtown routes to his store, on Orser, Brighton and Queen streets, in its traffic count. "If we lost fair and square then that's what it would be," Cook said in an interview. "But it's too obvious [we didn't]. It's ridiculous." NB Liquor mum on traffic count results Tom Tremblay said NB Liquor chair Correia was not available to be interviewed about what happened in Hartland, but according to the corporation's scoring system, every vehicle missed in its traffic survey matters. A bidder with 25 per cent more cars recorded in the survey than a competitor receives six more points in the evaluation. A traffic count that is twice as high as a competitor is worth a 15-point advantage. NB Liquor will not disclose what its traffic count in Hartland was or how many points each bidder received, only that on the final scorecard, the Irving location came out ahead. "Your submission met the mandatory requirements," Bonnie Harnish wrote in her letter to the Freshmart. "However, the total score did not yield the highest score." Tremblay acknowledged what happened in Hartland is unusual. Since agency outlets were first introduced by NB Liquor in 1991, dozens of existing operators in good standing have won hundreds of renewals. Not a single one has lost its contract in a request-for-proposals procedure other than the Hartland Freshmart. "Any examples of a change as you describe have typically been related to a business closure or other specific cause," wrote Tremblay. "We don't have an example of a change of award based solely on scoring in our current records." Others worry about impact on downtown Cook is fighting NB Liquor's decision but he's not the only one in Hartland upset by what happened. Kevin Chase with Day & Ross and Ben Craig of Craig Manufacturing, two of Hartland's largest employers, both wrote to the province to object to the decision, as did David Hutten on behalf of the town. "I am sure it seems like a small thing just moving the store a few clicks down the road, but I really believe this decision will have big repercussions on all of us in Hartland," Craig wrote in his letter to local PC MLA Bill Hogan. "We truly believe that towns without a downtown are less attractive places to live. We currently have dozens of open jobs we can't fill, as attracting talent to work in and live in Hartland is already a real challenge." In reply, Hogan sounded sympathetic but said there was nothing he could do. "I have fully investigated this decision and have had several discussions with the Chair of NB Liquor, unfortunately the process that they have in place was followed and a decision was rendered. I have exhausted all the avenues available to me." Chase, who is chief financial officer at Day & Ross, made his appeal directly to Higgs without success. "Attracting talent to our area is sometimes difficult, and one of the things we have found is is that employees want to work where it is convenient for them to have access to goods and services," wrote Chase. "We ask that you review and reverse this decision and leave the agency liquor outlet within the Hartland downtown core."
The Labour Department has issued a stop-work order on a fishing vessel in southwestern Nova Scotia after a gruesome workplace injury this weekend. RCMP say a 24-year-old man was working in the engine area when it went into gear. He got caught in the machinery and suffered life-threatening injuries. Police were called to Camp Cove Wharf Road in Argyle at 4:43 a.m. AT on Saturday. The man was taken by ambulance to Yarmouth Regional hospital and then to Halifax via helicopter. Incident not considered suspicious RCMP don't believe the cause of the injury is suspicious. In an emailed statement to CBC News, Labour Department spokesperson Shannon Kerr said a stop-work order has been issued and an inspection is being carried out. "Where our inspection is ongoing, we have no further information to share at this time," she said. The vessel was not named. Social media posts have identified the victim as Andrew Saulnier. A GoFundMe page says he's a young father who has had one leg amputated, and more surgeries are to follow. MORE TOP STORIES
The man who drove a snowmobile drunk four years ago now has a federal prison sentence for his role in the western Newfoundland collision that killed his passenger, with the judge saying a message needs to be sent that impaired driving is "completely unacceptable in our society." Justice George Murphy delivered his sentence Monday afternoon in Corner Brook Supreme Court, concluding the case involving Thomas Whittle and giving him three years behind bars with a four-year driving ban to follow upon his release. In January, Whittle was convicted of three charges related to the crash, including impaired driving causing death and dangerous driving causing death. The charges stemmed from what Murphy called "a fateful decision" by Whittle and passenger Justyn Pollard to hop aboard a snowmobile in the early hours of Feb 19, 2017. That morning, their snowmobile collided with a taxi van on the bridge to Humber Valley Resort. Pollard, 21, died from his injuries. While Whittle pleaded not guilty to the charges he faced, Murphy said he should not be punished for that decision. Murphy also noted that Whittle had a positive upbringing, a supportive family, and no prior criminal record. But Murphy said he shared concerns the Crown had raised at trial, and prior to the sentencing, that Whittle had shown a lack of insight into his actions and their impact on Pollard and Pollard's family. "I'm not convinced he fully accepts responsibility for his actions that day," Murphy told the court, citing times Whittle had complained about the impact of court-imposed conditions on him that forced him to miss events such as weddings. Justyn Pollard, 21, was killed when the snowmobile he was on collided with a taxi on the bridge to the Humber Valley Resort.(Submitted by Sherry Pollard) Murphy said such impacts paled in comparison with that of Pollard's family and friends. Pollard's mother and best friend watched the sentencing via video link, while his aunt and uncle listened over the phone. All of them delivered emotional victim impact statements on Thursday detailing their grief. "There is no doubt that they have all suffered an immeasurable loss," said Murphy. Murphy sided with the Crown's recommendations for the three-year sentence and four-year driving ban, but declined to grant the Crown's request for a DNA order to put a sample from Whittle into a national database, saying Whittle didn't show any "criminal propensity" to repeat his behaviour. Whittle, who represented himself, had asked for an intermittent sentence to be able to continue working in the community, an arrangement Murphy said was unavailable for any sentence longer than 90 days. Two of Whittle's three convictions were each given the three-year prison sentence, which will be served concurrently. Murphy stayed one other conviction, of driving with a blood-alcohol content above 80 milligrams per 100 millilitres of blood, resulting in an accident causing death. Sending a message In handing down his sentence, Murphy ruminated on the continued instances of impaired driving in Newfoundland and Labrador and across Canada, saying that society's way of dealing with it doesn't appear to be working. "It is a complex problem with no easy solution," Murphy said. He hoped his sentence would work toward accomplishing two goals — demonstrating to society that impaired driving is "completely unacceptable," and sending a message to anyone thinking of drinking and driving. While Murphy called Whittle's actions that night "reckless and extremely risky behaviour," Murphy also said he highly doubted Whittle would ever drink and drive again, and that the sentence was meant more as a general deterrence to society. Whittle was quiet throughout the proceedings, offering only "no comment" when given the chance to weigh in on the proceedings. He has been in custody since Thursday, time that Murphy credited toward Whittle's sentence at time-and-a-half, shaving eight days off Whittle's total to be served. Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
Saskatoon softball officials are trying to silence parents after a prominent coach was charged with child abuse, says one mother. Heidi Dutton says parents were told to sign a confidentiality agreement before entering an emergency meeting over the weekend. The meeting was called to discuss the sexual assault charges against 56-year-old Ricky Davis. Dutton refused to sign. "It's 2021. It's time we teach our girls and women that sexual assault is something we talk about openly and we don't hide," Dutton said. Dutton says officials need to create a safe space to invite any other victims to come forward. But she said softball officials are trying to shut down discussion with the attempted "gag order." 'We've done our job' Saskatoon Minor Softball League volunteer board member Noreen Murphy declined to discuss the non-disclosure agreement. She said they've dealt with the issue, and there's nothing more they can do. "We've done our job. We've suspended him. To me, that's all we're involved in. That's it. We're moving forward. We have a league to prepare for," Murphy said. According to police, Ricky Davis, 56, was charged with sexually assaulting a child between the ages of five and nine between February 2012 and December 2017. Police investigators "are concerned that there may be other victims" and are asking them to come forward, according to a news release. After charges were announced late last week, Davis was suspended from his positions as coach of the under-16 girls' Saskatoon Hustlers team, as the team's local zone commissioner and as Saskatoon Minor Softball League board member. An emergency meeting was held at the Gordie Howe Sports Complex in Saskatoon on Saturday. Dutton and other parents were asked to sign a form as they entered. Non-disclosure agreement Dutton said she thought it was a standard COVID-19 contact tracing form, but it was a non-disclosure agreement. She refused to sign and took her seat. Shortly after the meeting began, she said another parent asked why they had to sign, and asked if police told officials it was necessary. According to Dutton, an official said the forms were necessary because they "didn't want to see discussions in the media." An official asked her to leave, but she argued against it and was allowed to stay. During the meeting, Dutton said, she and others raised concerns about Davis. Dutton said this was the first she's heard of any alleged criminal behaviour, but she and others have lodged multiple complaints over the years about Davis's methods and lack of transparency. Dutton said she and others have either resigned or been forced off the minor softball board for questioning Davis. Ricky Davis, 56, is accused of sexually assaulting a child.(Supplied by Heidi Dutton) Murphy said the league, like other minor sports organizations, has a rigorous, 10-step screening process for coaches and volunteers that includes a criminal record check. Murphy said they will be posting a statement on the SMSL website and social media notifying everyone of the suspension. The Hustlers team posted a statement on its website Monday afternoon. "Protecting the participants within our softball community is our first priority and it is a responsibility we take seriously," read the statement. Davis's first court appearance was scheduled for Monday morning in Saskatoon, but it was delayed due to a backlog of other cases. No one from Softball Saskatchewan could be reached for comment Monday afternoon.
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CALGARY — An 18-year-old-man charged as a young offender in the hit-and-run death of a Calgary police officer has asked for another court delay as he tries to find a lawyer.The accused is charged with first-degree murder in the New Year's Eve death of Sgt. Andrew Harnett, who had tried to pull over an SUV because its plates didn't match its registration.Police have said Harnett was dragged by the SUV before he fell and was hit by another car.The alleged driver of the SUV, who was 17 when he was charged, can't be named under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.He had a lawyer during a previous bail hearing and says he is close to hiring another lawyer for trial.The case was adjourned to April 26.This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 12, 2021. The Canadian Press
The latest numbers on COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada as of 11:00 p.m. ET on Monday April 12, 2021. In Canada, the provinces are reporting 336,841 new vaccinations administered for a total of 8,328,568 doses given. Nationwide, 815,659 people or 2.2 per cent of the population has been fully vaccinated. The provinces have administered doses at a rate of 21,975.533 per 100,000. There were no new vaccines delivered to the provinces and territories for a total of 10,618,140 doses delivered so far. The provinces and territories have used 78.44 per cent of their available vaccine supply. Please note that Newfoundland and Labrador, P.E.I., Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the territories typically do not report on a daily basis. Newfoundland and Labrador is reporting 41,096 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 110,047 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 210.161 per 1,000. In the province, 1.85 per cent (9,674) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Newfoundland and Labrador for a total of 144,700 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 28 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 76.05 per cent of its available vaccine supply. P.E.I. is reporting 5,784 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 30,937 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 195.027 per 1,000. In the province, 5.20 per cent (8,241) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were zero new vaccines delivered to P.E.I. for a total of 44,265 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 28 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 69.89 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Nova Scotia is reporting 36,652 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 150,123 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 153.831 per 1,000. In the province, 3.19 per cent (31,119) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Nova Scotia for a total of 264,790 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 27 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 56.7 per cent of its available vaccine supply. New Brunswick is reporting 30,036 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 152,265 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 195.202 per 1,000. In the province, 2.02 per cent (15,771) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were zero new vaccines delivered to New Brunswick for a total of 211,545 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 27 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 71.98 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Quebec is reporting 54,401 new vaccinations administered for a total of 1,944,877 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 227.294 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Quebec for a total of 2,429,695 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 28 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 80.05 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Ontario is reporting 74,722 new vaccinations administered for a total of 3,214,465 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 218.834 per 1,000. In the province, 2.27 per cent (333,419) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Ontario for a total of 4,028,725 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 27 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 79.79 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Manitoba is reporting 5,498 new vaccinations administered for a total of 284,643 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 206.712 per 1,000. In the province, 4.96 per cent (68,368) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Manitoba for a total of 409,470 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 30 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 69.51 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Saskatchewan is reporting 8,856 new vaccinations administered for a total of 290,921 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 246.72 per 1,000. In the province, 3.52 per cent (41,474) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Saskatchewan for a total of 331,985 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 28 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 87.63 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Alberta is reporting 84,628 new vaccinations administered for a total of 932,258 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 211.778 per 1,000. In the province, 4.02 per cent (176,941) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Alberta for a total of 1,208,955 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 27 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 77.11 per cent of its available vaccine supply. British Columbia is reporting 87,082 new vaccinations administered for a total of 1,112,101 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 216.717 per 1,000. In the province, 1.71 per cent (87,744) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were zero new vaccines delivered to British Columbia for a total of 1,403,510 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 27 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 79.24 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Yukon is reporting 1,831 new vaccinations administered for a total of 41,518 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 994.896 per 1,000. In the territory, 40.67 per cent (16,973) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Yukon for a total of 51,400 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 120 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 80.77 per cent of its available vaccine supply. The Northwest Territories are reporting 2,643 new vaccinations administered for a total of 41,217 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 913.518 per 1,000. In the territory, 36.51 per cent (16,471) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were zero new vaccines delivered to the Northwest Territories for a total of 51,600 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 110 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 79.88 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Nunavut is reporting 331 new vaccinations administered for a total of 23,196 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 598.977 per 1,000. In the territory, 24.44 per cent (9,464) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Nunavut for a total of 37,500 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 97 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 61.86 per cent of its available vaccine supply. *Notes on data: The figures are compiled by the COVID-19 Open Data Working Group based on the latest publicly available data and are subject to change. Note that some provinces report weekly, while others report same-day or figures from the previous day. Vaccine doses administered is not equivalent to the number of people inoculated as the approved vaccines require two doses per person. The vaccines are currently not being administered to children under 18 and those with certain health conditions. In some cases the number of doses administered may appear to exceed the number of doses distributed as some provinces have been drawing extra doses per vial. This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published April 12, 2021. The Canadian Press
EDMONTON — Alberta Premier Jason Kenney is urging the public to hold on a little longer by following COVID-19 restrictions while condemning those using threats and intimidation to protest the rules. Provincial sheriffs estimated about 750 people gathered at the legislature on Monday to protest public-health restrictions. Some chanted "lock her up" in reference to the province's chief medical health officer, Dr. Deena Hinshaw. "They also chanted 'just say no' to vaccines," Kenney later said on Twitter. "It’s particularly offensive to threaten a committed public servant like Dr. Hinshaw, a consummate professional who has offered the best possible health advice to govt. I call on those responsible to stop the threats & law breaking, which is a disservice to their own cause." Kenney added that another large protest on Sunday at GraceLife Church west of Edmonton, which was recently closed by health officials for violating restrictions, resulted in the arrest of a protester who allegedly shouted racial insults at a First Nations woman on a nearby reserve. Kenney said a car belonging to the chief of Enoch Cree Nation was also vandalized. No tickets were issued at the legislature protest, Alberta Justice spokesman Jason van Rassel said. "Albertans respect the freedoms of speech and protest," said Kenney. "But breaking the law, trespassing, threats and intimidation go too far. I condemn these actions and statements. It is increasingly clear that many involved in these protests are unhinged conspiracy theorists." Earlier Monday, Kenney held a news conference and asked Albertans to keep following the rules and get vaccinated. Kenney said the amount of available vaccine is increasing and he expects a quarter of Albertans will have some protection from the novel coronavirus in a matter of weeks. Half of the population should have at least one shot by the end of May, two-thirds by the end of June and three-quarters by mid-September, he said. "We're nearing the end of a long and tiring journey. It is our path to recovery and freedom," Kenney said. "Once two-thirds of us have immunity, we'll start to feel back to normal. There'll be no formal restrictions. (Calgary) Stampede, sporting events, other festivals will be possible, especially if outdoors. "Once three-quarters of us are immune, we expect we'll be fully back to normal." Kenney said masks and physical distancing will still be encouraged of Albertans but not mandated. The province has opened what it calls rapid flow vaccination clinics in Grande Prairie, Fort McMurray, Red Deer, Lethbridge and Medicine Hat. Mega clinics — each able to able to administer up to 1,000 doses per hour and 6,000 per day — opened in Calgary and Edmonton on Monday. Kenney has said vaccine rollout is critical, as the impact of COVID-19 on the province has become a race between the rise of the variants and getting a critical mass of people vaccinated. The variants, which are more contagious than the original strain, now make up about half of Alberta's 14,800 active cases. On Monday, Alberta reported a slight dip in new COVID-19 cases with 1,136 infections. It said 679 new variant cases were also identified. There were also 390 people in hospital because of the virus and 90 were in intensive care. "Right now the variants are winning that race," said Kenney. He added that socializing among young people remains a concern. A Calgary high school had to shut down recently because students were having house parties. And in Athabasca, northeast of Edmonton, a number of schools had to be closed because of infections. "A bunch of kids from one of those schools were brought together by their parents for a birthday party," Kenney explained. "Apparently the virus had a 100 per cent attack rate at that birthday party. All of the kids, who came to that birthday party, got sick." This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 12, 2021. — By Bill Graveland in Calgary The Canadian Press
A member of the province's vaccine distribution task force is trying to clear up confusion among some people aged 18 to 49 in hot-spot neighbourhoods about how to get immunized against COVID-19. Dr. Isaac Bogoch said residents in that age group living in high-risk areas will be able to get the shots in mobile and pop-up clinics that are locally advertised. And contrary to what some have thought, they will not yet be able to book an appointment online at a mass vaccination clinic. The comments by the infectious disease specialist come after City of Toronto officials said there was some confusion following the announcement by the Ontario government last Wednesday that people 18 and older could get vaccinated with the help of mobile teams. "I wish there was more clarity at the time of the announcement," Bogoch told CBC Toronto. "I think it's important to note that, anyone who lives in those hot spots is certainly eligible for vaccination. There's no age cutoff for vaccination if you live in those hot spots. But the program is really bringing vaccines to the people," he added. Bogoch said these clinics are strategically located in community centres, places of worship, workplaces and at locations close to high density housing. "How will I know where they are? The answer is it's very, very locally advertised. It is truly a locally advertised vaccination. For example, if it's coming to a place of work, people at that place of work will be notified. If it's going to a community centre, members of that community will be notified." Dr. Isaac Bogoch, infectious disease specialist, says: 'How will I know where they are? The answer is it's very, very locally advertised. It is truly a locally advertised vaccination. For example, if it's coming to a place of work, people at that place of work will be notified. If it's going to a community centre, members of that community will be notified.'(Craig Chivers/CBC) Bogoch noted there was a pop-up vaccination clinic in Thorncliffe Park on the weekend in the parking lot of the Masjid Darus Salaam mosque. The clinic was across from Iqbal Halal Foods. "Obviously, that's available for people who live in that area. You have to show proof of ID that demonstrates that you live in that postal code. That's a very local vaccine clinic for a particular community," he said. He said the idea is to lower the barriers for vaccines for the "highest of high risk." Toronto Fire Chief Matthew Pegg, general manager of emergency management, agreed that there's been a lack of clarity about the clinics, but said that was partly due to the rapidly changing course of the pandemic. "I appreciate that there is some confusion and I think that we all appreciate how quickly these things are moving and how quickly we're all having to respond and pivot, if you will, to the changes that are being made." Pegg said people 18 and older in hot spots are not eligible to book through the provincial booking system nor at any of the mass vaccination clinics run by the city. "Generally speaking, pop-up and mobile clinics are brought to the attention of eligible clients directly by primary care physicians, employers, building managers, faith leaders and other local leaders, who are directly connected with those for whom these clinics will serve," Pegg said. Alexandra Hilkene, spokesperson for Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott, said more details on how people 18 and older can make an appointment at pop-up and mobile clinics in Toronto and Peel Region will be provided in the near future with the help of Toronto Public health and Peel Public Health. "In these high-risk areas in Toronto and Peel, mobile teams, working with public health units, community groups, and local businesses will be established to administer vaccines to individuals 18+ to targeted settings as supply allows," she said. "This includes high-risk congregate settings, residential buildings, faith based locations, and large employers. Pop-up clinics will also be set-up in highly impacted neighbourhoods to administer vaccines to those 18+, including at faith-based locations and community centres."
Ottawa Police Service chief administrative officer Jeff Letourneau is no longer with the service following allegations he was using a company vehicle for personal use and not paying taxes for it. In a statement issued Monday, the Ottawa Police Services Board wrote that effective immediately, "Letourneau is no longer employed in the Ottawa Police Service, as a result of a unanimous decision." The decision comes after a letter was submitted to the board in late March by the president of the Ottawa Police Association Matt Skof. The letter details allegations it received from an anonymous email, that was also sent to city council. It said that Letourneau, who approves purchases of the OPS fleet, was using a fleet vehicle and not paying the taxes on it. It is also unclear if Letourneau was authorized to have use of a company vehicle in the first place. Potentially thousands in unpaid taxes The letter points to the Sunshine List, which discloses salaries earned by city employees that exceed $100,000. According to that list, Letourneau earned more than $242,000 as chief administrative officer last year, but only paid $1,060 in taxable benefits. Comparatively, another former executive with a similar salary paid nearly $13,000 in taxable benefits in 2018. Between 2018 and 2020, Letourneau has only paid between $860 and $1,060 in taxable benefits a police executive, amounts that don't make sense according to Skof. It's believed Letourneau has used the vehicle for personal trips outside of city limits and also used for his daily commute to work from his residence in Braeside, so it would have "well over 150,000 kilometres on it," Skof said. Between maintenance, gas and mileage, Skof said there's a lot that may have been spent "all at the taxpayers expense." "I think the taxpayers would take quite exception to having that amount of money go missing ... by the very person that holds the budget for the entire police department." Skof said how much "misuse may have occurred" could only be discovered through an investigation by the Ottawa Police Services Board. Board looking for replacement In its statement, the board said Police Chief Peter Sloly "has implemented interim measures" until it finds a replacement for Letourneau. The board went on to write that it "is committed to transparency and accountability and will continue to make decisions that earn the highest level of trust." "Due to the confidential nature of personnel matters, the board will not be providing any further comment," reads the statement. At this point, there are no charges against Letourneau and the allegations have not been proven in court. CBC reached out to Letourneau Monday evening for an interview but he declined to comment.
NANAIMO, B.C. — Police in Nanaimo, B.C., are investigating an assault on a teenage boy where the attacker is alleged to have told the 15-year-old to remove his clothes and walk home naked. RCMP say the boy attended a gathering for teens when he was kicked and punched by a 16-year-old suspect, who allegedly threw the victim's cellphone, wallet and shoes in the lake. Mounties say when the teen began walking, a bystander helped by giving him some clothing and a ride home, where his parents called police. Investigators were provided with a video that police say was shared on social media, in which a number of people can be heard in the background laughing and jeering at the victim. The 16-year-old suspect was arrested Saturday after being involved in an unrelated car accident, where police say he allegedly threatened the other driver with a metal baton. The teen has been charged with assault causing bodily harm and robbery over the attack on the teen and uttering threats and possession of a weapon after the crash. This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 12, 2021. The Canadian Press
Country superstar Dolly Parton sent her thanks to P.E.I. last week for joining her Imagination Library charity. The program provides free monthly books for children up to the age of five. "I was just over the moon when I heard Prince Edward Island now has a provincial-wide Imagination Library program," Parton said in a video posted to Facebook on Friday. "My thanks goes to Senator [Diane] Griffin for joining us in Nashville to hear me talk about my Imagination Library program." She also thanked Premier Dennis King and former education minister Brad Trivers for providing funding for the program, as well as the P.E.I. Literacy Alliance and Rotary Club. The Imagination Library partners with publishers and postal services to provide monthly delivery of books for $50 a year per child. Those costs are covered locally. The program launched by the P.E.I. Literacy Alliance in October and the 2,000 spaces were quickly fully subscribed. The province stepped in with funding for another 1,000 children. There are about 7,000 children under five on P.E.I. The P.E.I. Literacy Alliance has set a goal to register every one of them. More from CBC P.E.I.
Recent developments: Ottawa's mayor wants to close city parks at 8 p.m. nightly. What's the latest? Given reports of partying in city and National Capital Commission parks last weekend, Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson said on CBC Radio's Ottawa Morning he's asked city staff to look into an 8 p.m. curfew in parks, along with more proactive enforcement of rules. COVID-19 in Ottawa's wastewater data is still on the rise, but it's also showing a possible plateau that might indicate the provincewide shutdown is starting to bring numbers under control. Ontario's schools are indefinitely closed to in-person learning again — and keeping child-care centres open will require significant safety enhancements, say workers and advocates. Ontarians with disabilities who swim for therapeutic reasons can now access municipal pools despite the latest shutdown. Imams say there is no problem getting a COVID-19 vaccine while fasting during Ramadan. How many cases are there? The region is in a record-breaking third wave of the pandemic that includes more dangerous coronavirus variants, straining hospitals and test sites. As of Monday, 20,073 Ottawa residents have tested positive for COVID-19. There are 2,619 known active cases, 16,978 resolved cases and 476 deaths. Public health officials have reported more than 36,800 COVID-19 cases across eastern Ontario and western Quebec, including more than 31,400 resolved cases. Elsewhere in eastern Ontario, 156 people have died. In western Quebec, the death toll is 178. Akwesasne has had more than 580 residents test positive, evenly split between its northern and southern sections. Kitigan Zibi has had a spike of about 15 cases late last week. It had about 20 confirmed cases before this. Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory has had 11, with one death. CBC Ottawa is profiling those who've died of COVID-19. If you'd like to share your loved one's story, please get in touch. What can I do? Eastern Ontario: Ontario is under a stay-at-home order until at least the first week of May. People can only leave home for essential reasons such as getting groceries or health care and exercising. They're asked to only leave their immediate area or province if it's absolutely necessary. Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson has said bylaw officers will inspect stores and respond to complaints about homes and parks. The vast majority of indoor gatherings are prohibited, with exceptions for people who live together and those who live alone and pair up with one other household. Outdoor gatherings have to be essential, masked and distanced. Most non-essential businesses can only offer curbside pickup. Access to malls is restricted, and big-box stores can only sell essential items. Gyms and personal care services must close, while restaurants are only available for takeout and delivery. Ontario is indefinitely moving to online learning after April break. WATCH | Reaction to the latest school closures: Local health units and communities can also set their own rules, as Prince Edward County's is doing around travel and Kingston is doing for Breakwater Park. Western Quebec Premier François Legault has said the situation is critical in Gatineau and is asking people there to only leave home when it's essential. Schools, gyms, theatres, personal care services and non-essential businesses are closed until Monday in Gatineau and in the MRC des Collines-de-l'Outaouais, which almost entirely surrounds the city. Private gatherings are banned, except for a person who lives alone seeing one other household. Distanced outdoor exercise is allowed in groups up to eight people. The curfew there starts at 8 p.m. The rest of the Outaouais is under red-zone rules, which closes restaurant dining rooms and gyms, but keeps schools, theatres, personal care services and non-essential businesses open with restrictions. The start of this curfew is 9:30 p.m. People in the Outaouais are asked to only have close contact with people they live with, be masked and distanced for all other in-person contact and only leave their immediate area for essential reasons — under threat of a fine if they go to a yellow or green zone. Distancing and isolating The novel coronavirus primarily spreads through droplets that can hang in the air. People can be contagious without symptoms, even after getting a vaccine. Coronavirus variants of concern are more contagious and are spreading quickly. This means it is important to take precautions now and in the future like staying home while sick — and getting help with costs if needed — keeping hands and surfaces clean and maintaining distance from anyone you don't live with, even with a mask on. WATCH | Variants and outdoor spread: Masks, preferably ones that fit snugly and have three layers, are mandatory in indoor public settings in Ontario and Quebec. OPH says residents should wear masks outside their homes whenever possible. A man in a matching manga-themed mask and outfit stands on Wellington Street in Ottawa April 1, 2021. He told CBC it cost about $100 online.(Andrew Lee/CBC) Health Canada recommends older adults and people with underlying medical conditions and/or weakened immune systems get help with errands. People have to show proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test to enter Canada by land without a fine and have to pay for their stay in a quarantine hotel if entering by air. Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms should self-isolate, as should those who've been ordered to do so by their public health unit. The length varies in Quebec and Ontario. Vaccines Four COVID-19 vaccines have been deemed safe and approved in Canada. Canada's task force said first doses offer such strong protection that people can wait up to four months to get a second. About 465,000 doses have been given out in the Ottawa-Gatineau region since mid-December, including about 204,000 doses to Ottawa residents and about 82,000 in western Quebec. Eastern Ontario Ontario is now in Phase 2 of its vaccine rollout, with the first doses during Phase 1 generally going to care home residents and health-care workers. All health units in eastern Ontario except Renfrew County are now vaccinating people age 60 and older at their clinics. People can book appointments online or over the phone. People who are above or turning age 55 can contact participating pharmacies for a vaccine appointment. That list grew by more than 100 locations on Monday. Phase 2 includes people with underlying health conditions this month, followed by essential workers who can't work from home in May. Phase 3 should involve vaccinating anyone older than 16 starting in July. Ottawa transit workers protest for early access to the COVID-19 vaccine on April 12, 2021.(Francis Ferland/CBC) Local health units have some flexibility in the larger framework, so check their websites for details. The province has opened up appointments for people age 50 to 54 in the K1T, K1V and K2V "hot spot" postal codes, though supply is currently limited. This should soon include all education workers and staff in large workplaces. Separately, some Ottawans in certain priority neighbourhoods can check their eligibility online and call the city at 613-691-5505 for an appointment. Indigenous people over age 16 in Ottawa can make an appointment the same way. Western Quebec Quebec also started by vaccinating people in care homes and health-care workers. The vaccination plan now covers people age 60 and older. People age 55 to 79 can line up in their vehicles to get a ticket for a walk-up appointment at Gatineau's Palais des Congrès. That will be followed by local essential workers and people with chronic illnesses. Officials expect everyone who wants a shot to be able to get one by by Fête nationale on June 24. People who qualify can make an appointment online or over the phone. Pharmacists there will also be giving shots. Symptoms and testing COVID-19 can range from a cold-like illness to a severe lung infection, with common symptoms including fever, a cough, vomiting and loss of taste or smell. Children tend to have an upset stomach and/or a rash. If you have severe symptoms, call 911. Mental health can also be affected by the pandemic, and resources are available to help. In eastern Ontario: Anyone seeking a test should book an appointment. Ontario recommends only getting tested if you have symptoms, if you've been told to by your health unit or the province, or if you fit certain other criteria. People without symptoms but who are part of the province's targeted testing strategy can make an appointment at select pharmacies. This week that includes school staff and students. Travellers who need a test have very few local options to pay for one. Check with your area's health unit for clinic locations and hours. Some are offering pop-up or mobile clinics. In western Quebec: Tests are strongly recommended for people with symptoms and their contacts. Outaouais residents can make an appointment in Gatineau at 135 blvd. Saint-Raymond or 617 ave. Buckingham. They can check the wait time for the Saint-Raymond site. There are recurring clinics by appointment in communities such as Maniwaki and Petite-Nation. Call 1-877-644-4545 with questions, including if walk-in testing is available nearby. First Nations, Inuit and Métis: First Nations, Inuit and Métis people, or someone travelling to work in a remote Indigenous community, are eligible for a test in Ontario. Akwesasne has a COVID-19 test site by appointment only and a curfew of 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. Anyone returning to the community on the Canadian side of the international border who's been farther than 160 kilometres away — or visited Montreal — for non-essential reasons is asked to self-isolate for 14 days. People in Pikwakanagan can book a COVID-19 test by calling 613-625-1175. Anyone in Tyendinaga who's interested in a test can call 613-967-3603 and in Kitigan Zibi, 819-449-5593. Inuit in Ottawa can call the Akausivik Inuit Family Health Team at 613-740-0999 for service, including testing and vaccines, in Inuktitut or English on weekdays. For more information
Regina council has unanimously approved an option for an undisclosed company to purchase more than 250 hectares of land north of the city despite last-minute opposition to the sale. The purchaser is described only as "an independent commercial party" in a report that was approved by council at a special council meeting on Monday. The $4-million purchase price for the 633.6 acres (256.4 hectares) of land is below market value, but the potential development was touted as bringing "substantial economic opportunity for the City of Regina," according to the report. Although the public is not privy to the discussions, councillors confirmed during the special meeting that they know the identity of the developer. They've also been provided a more detailed economic assessment than what has been shared publicly. The parcel of land in question is north of the city, and shown on this map with blue diagonal stripes.(City of Regina) The city's administrative staff confirmed that the developer's board will be making a decision on where to locate the potential development, which includes Regina, "very soon." Business opposition Despite the unanimous support that it received from council, the decision was not universally praised. Two companies presented council with their objections to the deal ahead of the vote on Monday. AGT Foods opposed the sale, citing a lack of consultation and concern over the developer's intentions. Representatives from Federated Co-Op Ltd. (FCL), whose refinery borders on the parcels, voiced their opposition to the deal. The company said they only found out about the potential sale by reading a CBC News story on the subject and claimed the potential future development would box FCL in and restrict future expansion. FCL recently acquired True North Renewable Fuels. The deal, representatives told council on Monday, was made with the knowledge that they would look to expand into land adjacent to the refinery — including some or all of the parcels up for vote. Although FCL wanted to be offered the chance to take part in a bidding process, that door was swiftly closed by council's vote. The undisclosed developer has now been granted a $4-million option to purchase the land, with $50,000 of that being considered a non-refundable fee. That option to purchase will be required to be exercised within one year. The City of Regina and the developer would also need to come to further agreements on a number of unspecified details that require further study. Those would come before council for approval and would likely include further details on the developer and its plans. If the option to purchase is exercised but construction of the proposed development doesn't get underway within two years of the purchase, the City of Regina would have the right to take ownership of the parcels. That process would require the city to refund the $4-million option, minus the $50,000 fee.
ST. JOHN'S, N.L. — Newfoundland and Labrador's New Democrats are challenging the constitutionality of the province's recent election, claiming irregularities were so numerous and severe that a new election must be held. Party lawyers filed the challenge in Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court on Monday. The suit alleges chief electoral officer Bruce Chaulk failed to run an election that was fair, impartial and in compliance with the province's Elections Act. It also alleges the voting process violated charter rights and discriminated against voters based on their backgrounds, as well as their mental and physical abilities. New Democrat president Kyle Rees said Monday his party was contacted by election workers and voters who expressed deep concerns with the mail-in ballot process and with Chaulk's management of the vote. In total, the suit lists 29 alleged irregularities and errors in the election process. "We had no choice but to file this application," Rees told reporters. "We think it's something that has to be done to ensure that an election like the one we faced … never happens again. It can't happen again." One of the voters who approached the party was Whymarrh Whitby, who had told The Canadian Press in an interview he did not receive a ballot from Elections NL, despite several attempts to obtain one. "My hope going forward is that there aren't any people who have to beg Elections NL for their ballot in the way that I had to," Whitby told reporters Monday. Whitby co-signed the legal challenge along with NDP Leader Alison Coffin, who lost her seat in the St. John's East-Quidi Vidi district by 53 votes. Coffin has filed a separate application for a judicial recount in her riding. Rees said the suit will focus on evidence from Coffin's district, but said the evidence highlights problems applicable to all 40 districts. He said the application they've made is "fairly unprecedented." Newfoundland and Labrador’s provincial election was derailed by a mid-February COVID-19 outbreak in the St. John’s region. The outbreak prompted Chaulk to cancel all in-person voting on Feb. 12, less than 12 hours before election day. Instead, he announced ballots would be cast by mail. After several deadline extensions, ballots were due March 25 and preliminary results were announced March 27. Voter turnout was 48 per cent, marking a historic low for the province. In the largely Indigenous Labrador district of Torngat Mountains, it was just 22 per cent. The NDP's challenge cites Elections NL's failure to provide ballots in Indigenous languages as one of six factors that made the process discriminatory. According to figures released Monday, 2,749 ballots were rejected, compared with 1,757 ballots rejected in the last election in 2019. In order to obtain a mail-in ballot, voters had to request one from Elections NL by Feb. 19, using phone, fax, email or an online application. The suit alleges Chaulk encouraged Elections NL staff to add people to the voters list without confirming their identities. It also alleges some residents were sent multiple ballots when they claimed without evidence that there were several electors in their house who needed one. The NDP's lawsuit includes an affidavit from Jordan Mulrooney, a special ballot co-ordinator during the election, who backs up the allegation that voters were issued multiple ballots without providing evidence. "Those ballots were provided to the address given … without confirmation of identity of eligibility of the individuals," his affidavit said. Mulrooney also said some voters were permitted to vote in person at the Elections NL office on the day ballots were due. The suit also claims Chaulk instructed staff “to take elections materials, including ballots kits, to work on them from their homes," and that Chaulk himself did this. Rees said Monday the party heard that claim from several sources. The Progressive Conservatives have also expressed concern with the vote, though they haven't announced any intention to pursue similar legal action. Re-elected Liberal Premier Andrew Furey was blunt last week when asked if he would commit to calling another election when the pandemic abated: "This is a legitimate election, I've said from Day 1, and we're going to govern for four years." This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 12, 2021. Sarah Smellie, The Canadian Press
HALIFAX — One of the three people who allegedly supplied ammunition to the gunman who murdered 22 people in Nova Scotia last spring has pleaded not guilty to the charge. A lawyer representing James Banfield entered the plea today in a Halifax-area courtroom. His three-day trial in Dartmouth provincial court is scheduled to start Jan. 24, 2022. Banfield was one of three people charged in December with unlawfully transferring ammunition to the killer before the mass killing on April 18-19, 2020. The same charge was laid against Banfield's sister, Lisa, who was the spouse of the killer, and her brother-in-law, Brian Brewster. The offences are alleged to have occurred in the month before the slayings, and the RCMP have said the three “had no prior knowledge of the gunman's actions.” Police say the rampage started the night of April 18, 2020, after Gabriel Wortman assaulted Lisa Banfield at their seasonal home in the village of Portapique. Police have confirmed the killer, who disguised himself as a Mountie and drove a replica RCMP vehicle, was armed with two semi-automatic handguns and two semi-automatic rifles when he subsequently set fires to properties and killed 13 people in the village. He killed another nine people the following day in several other communities in northern and central Nova Scotia before he was fatally shot by two RCMP officers at a gas station in Enfield, N.S., about 35 kilometres north of Halifax. The victims included an RCMP officer, two nurses, two correctional officers, a family of three, a teacher and some of his neighbours in Portapique. Investigators say they determined the ammunition was purchased and trafficked in Nova Scotia. The provincial and federal governments have established a joint public inquiry to investigate the killings and to produce recommendations aimed at preventing a similar tragedy. This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 12, 2021. The Canadian Press