Police in Philadelphia arrested at least 91 people during unrest Monday night and Tuesday morning, with three people being cited for failing to disperse and about a dozen being charged with assault of an officer. (Oct. 27)
Police in Philadelphia arrested at least 91 people during unrest Monday night and Tuesday morning, with three people being cited for failing to disperse and about a dozen being charged with assault of an officer. (Oct. 27)
Any way you look at it, 2020 has been a challenging year all around, but it has impacted some families harder than others. With many businesses having been forced to close their doors and shut down for extended periods this year due to public health restrictions, affected business owners and the people that they employ have been among the hardest hit. Some people have seen their wages rolled back so that their employers can remain in business. There have been layoffs across the province as companies have had to reduce their operations. And too many businesses have had to close down entirely. While our economy has picked up from where we were in the spring, jobs still are not as plentiful as they were. The Swan Hills Food Bank has certainly seen an increase in requests this year compared to past years. Christmas is often a time when many of us look for ways to give back to our community, to try to offer a helping hand to those around us who may be having a hard time of things. This year there is an increased need for helping hands. The Food Bank and Santa’s Elves are doing things a little differently this year in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19. To reduce the number of items being directly handled by multiple people, Santa’s Elves is only able to accept monetary donations this year. Monetary donations can be made at the Alberta Treasury Branch downtown (4914 Plaza Ave). A food donation bin will be available at Super A, as there has been in previous years, but there will not be a toy donation bin for Santa’s Elves this year. Instead of delivering food hampers and toys this year, the families receiving support will be given gift cards to local businesses. This will reduce the chance for the transmission of COVID-19 by cutting down on the need for items to be directly handled by multiple people. This step will also allow the families receiving support to choose which groceries and gifts would benefit them the most. Please contact the Swan Hills Food Bank and Santa’s Elves at (780) 333-3442 if you have any questions.Dean LaBerge, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Grizzly Gazette
France will start easing its COVID-19 lockdown this weekend so that by Christmas, shops, theatres and cinemas will reopen and people will be able to spend the holiday with their families, President Emmanuel Macron said on Tuesday. In a televised address to the nation, Macron said the worst of the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic in France was over, but that restaurants, cafes and bars would have to stay shut until Jan. 20 to avoid triggering a third wave. "We must do everything to avoid a third wave, do everything to avoid a third lockdown," Macron said.
La majorité des francophones hors Québec ne croit pas que le français soit en péril, tandis que les Franco-Québécois s’inquiètent de l’avenir de leur langue dans une proportion similaire.
SALT LAKE CITY — Deep in the Mars-like landscape of Utah's red-rock desert lies a mystery: A gleaming metal monolith in one of the most remote parts of the state. The smooth, tall structure was found during a helicopter survey of bighorn sheep in southeastern Utah, officials said Monday. A crew from the Utah Department of Public Safety and Division of Wildlife Resources spotted the gleaming object from the air Nov. 18 and landed to check it out during a break from their work. They found the three-sided stainless-steel object is about as tall as two men put together. But they discovered no clues about who might have driven it into the ground among the undulating red rocks or why. “This thing is not from another world,” said Lt. Nick Street of the Utah Highway Patrol, part of the Department of Public Safety. Still, it's clear that it took some planning and work to construct the 10- to 12-foot (3- to 4-meter) monolith and embed it in the rock. The exact location is so remote that officials are not revealing it publicly, worried that people might get lost or stranded trying to find it and need to be rescued. The monolith evokes the one that appears in the Stanley Kubrick movie “2001: A Space Odyssey." Because it’s on federal public land, it’s illegal to place art objects without authorization. Bureau of Land Management officials are investigating how long it's been there, who might have created it and whether to remove it. Lindsay Whitehurst, The Associated Press
The former CEO and executive director of Saskatoon's Remai Modern Art Museum says he wouldn't have settled a human rights complaint filed against the gallery if he had remained involved in the process.On Monday, the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission announced that the gallery and one of its former employees had reached a financial settlement overseen by the chief commissioner. The sum was not disclosed, but the complainant — who CBC News has agreed not to name — said she was "very happy" with the amount.Before the settlement, the chief commissioner had said the complaint had enough merit to get a public court hearing. In 2016, the employee — who worked for the museum's previous incarnation, Mendel Art Gallery — formally accused then-CEO and executive director Gregory Burke of discrimination on the basis of gender. The gallery was co-named in the complaint. Burke has vigorously denied the claim and did so again in a statement shared by his lawyer on Tuesday."Any suggestion that I would undertake discrimination on the basis of gender is preposterous," Burke wrote. "I have a strong record for championing human rights and equality in the arts."Burke pointed to a Globe and Mail article from earlier this year in which former female colleagues spoke of his support for equality in the workplace.'It has now been over five years'Burke left the museum in early 2019. He was no longer part of the complaint by the time it was settled this week. Late last year, Burke successfully petitioned a Saskatoon Court of Queen's Bench judge to stay the proceeding against him — in other words, to have himself removed from the complaint process. Justice Brenda Hildebrandt castigated the human rights commission for its "astonishingly slow" 31-month investigation and said Burke had "languished under the cloud of uncertainty for too long."Burke said in his statement this week that he took no part in the settlement "and would not have if I had been party to the proceedings." CBC News has reached out to the gallery's lawyer for comment. "I also note that membership of the current Board of Remai Modern does not include anyone from the 2015 board against whom the complaint was lodged," Burke added.Burke pointed to other parts of Hildebrandt's ruling, including her conclusion that the complaint contained no statements involving "overt acts of gender or sex-based discrimination.""It has now been over five years since the complaint was laid and the impact on me personally and professionally since then has been very significant," Burke wrote.
WINDSOR, Ont. — The mayor of Windsor, Ont., has apologized for breaking COVID-19 rules when dining out with seven other people last week. Mayor Drew Dilkens made a statement to Windsor city council on Monday, saying he made an "unfortunate error" that should not have occurred.Windsor was in the yellow tier of Ontario's COVID-19 restrictions system last week. That tier permits only six people to dine together while inside a restaurant. “As mayor, there is responsibility for me to lead by example and showcase to all in our region that we need to follow all restrictions and guidelines to the letter," Dilkens said. Dilkens noted to city council that although he was not fined or issued a bylaw ticket, he will donate $750 – the typical fine for such an infraction – to the Windsor Goodfellows.The Windsor Goodfellows provides local families with assistance and support, including through a food bank, school breakfast programs, and a children’s footwear program.Dilkens also said that Gordon Orr, the chief executive officer of Tourism Windsor Essex Pelee Island, will be making an equivalent donation to an organization that works with children and youth facing mental health concerns. Windsor-Essex Region moved to the heightened orange zone of Ontario's COVID-19 restriction system on Monday.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 24, 2020.The Canadian Press
Quebec is planning on strengthening its French Language Charter, also known as Bill 101. Simon Jolin-Barrette, the province's minister in charge of the French language, announced Tuesday afternoon that he will table a bill to modify the law in order to better protect, valorize and promote the French language in Quebec, at the next legislative session. "I want to reaffirm that the French language must be the only common language for Quebecers," Jolin-Barrette said at a news conference, expressing concern that the language is in decline in workplaces and certain municipalities. The announcement comes as a series of recent news stories about the state of French in Montreal from Quebecor media is putting pressure on the government to act. "All the indicators say there is a decline of French in Quebec, particularly in Montreal," Jolin-Barrette said Tuesday, citing a report from Quebec's French-language watchdog, L'office québécois de la langue française, from September, that showed a decline in the use of French in the workplace."I think it's urgent to act about that situation," Jolin-Barrette said. The bill will include measures specific to the City of Montreal, which has been a point of concern for Jolin-Barrette in recent months, as well as ways to ensure French is the language used to integrate immigrants to Quebec. It's possible the bill could also affect CEGEPs in the province, where Jolin-Barrette says the normal language of study should be French, but government officials say a final decision has not been made on the matter. In an attempt to reassure anglophones, Jolin-Barrette insisted the Quebec government would continue to respect English-language institutions "The bill that we will table will not affect the rights of the English-speaking community," Jolin-Barrette said. He also said the bill would not affect the ability of Indigenous people to maintain their languages. The idea of strengthening Bill 101 has support from parties in the National Assembly.When asked about the subject at a news conference Tuesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the federal government will review the province's bill and do whatever it can to protect French in Quebec and everywhere in Canada. "As a government, we have always been focused on protecting French, and the protection of official language minorities across the country," Trudeau said.
TORONTO — Anxiety-ridden and overworked health-care workers say they feel abandoned in their increasingly desperate struggle to cope with COVID-19, a new small-scale study suggests. Interviews with nurses, personal support workers and others in hospitals and long-term care homes suggest chronic stress and burnout are common, but fear of reprisals is stopping them from speaking out. "The knowledge that they are at increased risk of infection due to lack of protection has resulted in anger, frustration, fear, and a sense of violation that may have long-lasting implications," the paper states. The study, in New Solutions: A Journal of Environmental and Occupational Health Policy, was done by James Brophy and Margaret Keith, academic researchers affiliated with the University of Windsor and noted occupational hygienists. Health-care workers in Canada have contracted the novel coronavirus in far higher numbers relative to the general public, comprising almost one-in-five confirmed cases, according to a previous study. To date, COVID-19 has sickened close to 9,000 front-line health-care workers and killed 16. Only 10 workers — nurses, personal support workers and other staff — agreed to be interviewed for the qualitative study. Others refused to take part for fear of being disciplined or fired, they said. Despite the handful of interview subjects, the authors said their peer-reviewed findings reflect other larger-scale research and surveys, and its findings are valid. Those interviewed said they still lack personal protective equipment despite the very real risks of contracting COVID or spreading it — risks apparent from the early days of the pandemic. Some said they were warned by supervisors not to wear N95 protection, even if they had their own, Keith said. Others spoke of the constant grief and trauma they endure when patients or residents die, a situation only getting worse as new cases soar. "Words on the page cannot convey the level of emotion we heard in the voices of the health-care workers we interviewed," Brophy said. "We did not expect to hear the degree of anger and desperation that came out." The vast majority of the front-line health-care workers are women, many racialized, Keith said. Many are part-time and vulnerable to job loss. "Health-care workers are desperately in need of protection from COVID and from their often back-breaking and soul-crushing working conditions," Keith said. "But the authoritarian and hierarchical nature of health-care work contributes to (their) risks and adverse mental-health impacts." Despite the issues, the workers said the provincial government had let them down by failing to take action to deal with their health or labour concerns. Chronic understaffing and failing to keep them safe, the authors said, means the workers can't do their jobs effectively, putting everyone at risk. "Health-care workers health and well-being are being sacrificed," Keith said. "We all need to pay attention to their pleas." There was no immediate response to the qualitative study from the provincial government, but Health Minister Christine Elliott praised the "tireless efforts" of front-line health-care workers during an announcement on Tuesday about the roll-out of rapid tests. Michael Hurley, president of the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions, said front-line staff in close contact with COVID-infected people still have no ready access to proper respirators. The Ministry of Labour has also rejected all 253 work refusals as valid. "This explains why people feel sacrificed and why they feel exploited and violated," Hurley said. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 24, 2020 Colin Perkel, The Canadian Press
Children under the age of five are amazing sponges for information. Ask any childhood researcher, or any parent who has told a story to another adult, only to have a child bring it up at an inopportune moment. But that sponge-like nature, if encouraged and nurtured, means a child has the opportunity to grow into their best self, and have the tools and capabilities that will allow them to succeed in whichever way they see fit. “We know that the child’s first experiences with language and culture come from within his own family, and within early childhood settings.” says Josée Latulippe, manager of Collège Boréal’s Centre d’innovation sociale pour l’enfant et la famille (CISEF – Child and family social innovation centre). It is for this reason that the FrancoFUN program was created by the Association francophone à l’éducation des services à l’enfance de l’Ontario (AFÉSEO – Francophone association for early childhood education) as a way to ensure that early childhood educators are not just offered the chance to enhance early French-language learning for children, but to ensure that they can view their classroom through the Francophone lens, and build identity as well as skill set. “Identity building is vital, “Latulippe said. “Because studies show that it is a key mechanism to ensure the vitality of minority-language communities and prepare young children to be educated in French when they enter elementary school.” And it is this “continuum of language,” as Latulippe calls it, that ensures language and cultural identity survives. As children here in Sudbury, both Anglophone and Francophone, have the ability to enjoy their education in French from childhood to post-secondary, it ensures that a culture and language that could be considered already marginalized is one that will last the test of time, regardless of the surrounding majority. The FrancoFUN program focused not just on providing language to students, but also the cultural identity behind the Franco-Ontarien legacy. It is a specific culture, with a specific dialect — headed to ‘camp’ anyone — and stories and history all its own. And it is one that, if shared, can enrich a child’s ability to learn a language, and bring together a community that is consistently working to preserve its cultural identity. And now that the FrancoFUN program has been in place for some time, helping Early Childhood Educators find ways to continually incorporate cultural, historical, language-based, and just plain fun aspects of the Franco-Ontarien peoples, they are now ready to measure the success, and share their methods with others. “We are always reflecting,” said Latulippe, and notes the questions they continually ask: “How can I better my program? How can I make it more accessible? Do we have a welcoming structure in place to welcome families that are French and English?” For it is not just fully Francophone families that can benefit from this type of study, and action. If you would like your child to speak French, but your home is mixed-language, or perhaps somewhat disconnected to the culture, then this type of programming will not only offer you the opportunity to increase your child’s chances of success, as Latulippe notes that research shows language learning is greatly helped by immersion into the culture of the language, not just the words. And this is especially true for parents who would like their children to speak French, but do not do so themselves. Simply by building a bridge between your home and the school, said Latulippe, you can enrich your child’s language learning without knowing a word yourself. With a program like FrancoFUN, you can learn about the culture as well. “It doesn’t mean you need to take French classes,” Latulippe said. “You just need to support the culture in your home. It’s because we are all the first educators.” And now, as the program has raised awareness among early childhood educators about their role in encouraging Francophone identity in their classrooms, it’s time to find out how the tools are working. From now until March of 2021, a survey of the educators and their thoughts and feeling about the program will be gathered, and shared amongst interested parties. “We are hoping we will have a tool to promote culture and language identity within Early Childhood settings,” said Latulippe, “which can then be shared within the community, with teachers at the college, and with the Franco-Ontarien culture really.” And it is this tool that Latulippe hopes will encourage not just French-language learning across Ontario, but also an understanding of the unique and beautiful qualities that make a culture, and a portrait of those who have come before, and those who will come after. Because the loss of any culture is a horrific idea; but the loss of folklore, of La Nuit sur l'étang, of ‘Notre Place’, of CANO, and of tourtière and tarte au sucre, is much too tragic to imagine. Jenny Lamothe is a Local Journalism Reporter at Sudbury.com, covering issues in the Black, immigrant and Francophone communities. She is also a freelance writer and voice actor. Contact her through her website, JennyLamothe.com.Jenny Lamothe, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Sudbury.com
Unlimited internet packages will be available to residents in seven northern communities starting Dec. 1, after the CRTC gave the North's telecommunications giant the green light on Tuesday.Northwestel applied for unlimited internet packages for a handful of communities across the North in October with hopes of offering them to residents by early November. However, the CRTC delayed approval, saying it needed more time to consider the company's application.On Tuesday, a post on the CRTC's website showed the commission had approved Northwestel's proposal on an interim basis."The Commission considers it appropriate to approve the application on an interim basis prior to reviewing the whole record, in order to address customers' increased Internet data needs and alleviate their increased Internet usage costs in the circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic," the website says."The Commission will address its final determination regarding the unlimited Internet data packages and rates that are under consideration in the application, and any related issues if necessary, in a subsequent order that will be based on the complete record."The seven northern communities are: * Whitehorse. * Carcross, Yukon. * Yellowknife. * Hay River, N.W.T. * Fort Smith, N.W.T. * Norman Wells, N.W.T. * Fort Nelson, B.C.Northwestel said in a news release it will start taking orders from customers wanting to upgrade their internet packages on Dec. 1, when they become available."It's great to be able to bring new unlimited options to many customers in time for a holiday season, especially with so many of us sticking close to home," said Tammy April, Northwestel's vice-president of consumer markets, in a statement.
Volker Gerdts, a leading vaccine researcher at the University of Saskatchewan, says Canada should focus on manufacturing vaccines domestically to better prepare for future events.
Rochelle Pokeda is having to do things a little bit differently with her home-based business — Norwex with Rochelle — in the fall of 2020. Ordinarily, she’d be busy filling her orders at various pre-Christmas craft fairs. But the COVID-19 pandemic and associated health orders have closed the doors on such events for now. Without that income to help her cover the costs of her own Christmas celebrations, Pokeda has had to think outside the box — so she has rented space at Sahali Mall, with her final two days being Dec. 4 and Dec. 5. “We are going to sell our products so people can come in, look, touch, feel, and get away from the computers and have a little bit of that human interaction,” Pokeda said of her cleaning and personal-care household products. She is teaming up with another home-based business — Daunte Tropics with Dawn, which creates glass block designs as well as one-of-a-kind silk floral home decor — in the pop-up store endeavour. But Pokeda is also using her pop-up store to help raise money for the local Salvation Army. She is donating 10 per cent of every sale over $100 to the Salvation Army's Adopt-A-Family program. Pokeda is also accepting gifts and cash donations for the families in the program. She hopes to be able to support a number of families through the Sally Ann program. “I would love to be able to have the fun of doing the shopping myself, but I also understand that it may not look like that this year,” she said. “I’m talking with Kelly [Capt. Kelly Fifield of the Salvation Army] and we’ll figure out how best it’s going to suit them and the families.”Todd Sullivan, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Kamloops This Week
The University of British Columbia has launched an investigation after more than 100 entry-level math students were accused of cheating on their midterm exam several days ago.The investigation became public after an ominous note from the students' professor was posted online late Monday. It was also circulated to students directly."I am extremely disappointed to tell you that there were over 100 cases of cheating," said the note, a screenshot of which was posted to the UBC Reddit thread."If confirmed, the students involved will receive a 0% for the course (not just the midterm) and I will recommend their expulsion from UBC."The note is signed "Mike." The CBC has not been able to verify the UBC professor's identity. However, the university has said it's investigating allegations of widespread cheating in one section of the math department involving entry-level math students.There are more than 1,500 students currently enrolled in Math 100 at UBC, split up into classes of about 250. The class is being held entirely online this semester, due to the pandemic. Midterms are run online as well.Matthew Ramsey, director of university affairs, confirmed the university is investigating allegations of widespread cheating. He said it is too early to be able to provide details on how the students might have been cheating or how they were caught."Those details, I'm sure, will come clear in the investigative process," he said by phone on Tuesday.Ramsay said the professor's note was first sent to students, then posted online.Test monitoring toolsMany schools across the country, including UBC, have been using online software extensions to help detect and discourage cheating since classes went virtual. One test-proctoring tool, called Proctorio, monitors students for suspicious behaviour while they're writing a virtual exam.UBC faculty can offer an alternative, like a final project, to replace exams if they are overly concerned about cheating, but exams can't always be replaced."In some instances, it is necessary to use ... software like Proctorio to ensure academic integrity," Ramsey said. "Incidents of academic misconduct themselves are very uncommon, very rare at the university," added Ramsey, who has been with the school since 2014. "I have not seen allegations of this nature in my time at UBC but, again, they are, at this point, allegations."Investigations into academic misconduct begin with a professor reporting their concerns to the dean's office. That office can either dismiss complaints, give students a warning or pass the case along to the President's Advisory Committee on Student Discipline for potential punishment. Penalties can range from a formal warning to being expelled from the university.Since investigations are complex and take time, Ramsey said, it's too soon to gauge whether there has been an overall increase in cheating since classes and exams began moving fully online in the spring."If the students are disciplined, we will get a sense as to those numbers in the coming months. At this point, it's just too early to say," he said.
When COVID-19 first appeared, people and governments across the globe reacted with alarm. Action was swift.In Alberta, businesses shuttered as the government imposed restrictions. People mostly stayed inside. Premier Jason Kenney said it was a generational challenge his government would rise to meet. But restrictions were loosened as the weather warmed. The most dire predictions didn't come to pass, and barbecues or drinks with friends seemed less risky. People held parties and their neighbours thought: why not me? Disinformation spread and, with it, doubt about the dangers of the virus and the actions of the government. But warnings were everywhere: Second wave. The fight isn't over. Be prepared.Many listened, but too many did not. Alberta's government said the economy couldn't take another hit and it was up to individuals to stem the tide. It delayed and equivocated. When the weather cooled, the virus was soon spreading more than ever. Now the talk was exponential growth and warnings of overwhelmed hospitals.As Kenney prepares to make an announcement on COVID this afternoon, he has so far stuck with personal responsibility as the key to fighting the outbreak.He and his government have pointed fingers at individuals for not obeying official recommendations, but now people are pointing back, laying blame at the feet of the government. Laying blame, however, is no easy thing.Personal responsibility and the role of the government aren't easily disentangled. Why individuals and the government have behaved as they have goes to the heart of who Albertans are — or at least who they perceive themselves to be. It begins with the ways that people, in general, deal with crises. The psychology of a pandemicThere's a common view of the world that assumes people panic when confronted with danger — causing more harm than the threat itself — but that's not often the case. Social psychologists have shown the greater risk is underestimating danger and not reacting in time. We also tend to believe the worst will happen to others, not us. Add misinformation to the mix and none of this should come as a surprise. "I've done an awful lot of reading about the Great Mortality, black plague, and about the Spanish influenza epidemic in 1918," said Dr. Lynora Saxinger, an infectious disease expert at the University of Alberta. "And I would just say that every single thing that has happened could have been predicted by reading a history book."People in the past, like today, reacted to an invisible, existential threat by embracing conspiracy theories or unlikely cures while ignoring medical advice. Many denied the problem. Add social media, and the spread of misinformation is even more damaging and difficult to control. It creates deep divisions when cohesion is key to beating back the virus. Collective action problemThere are times when 51 per cent is enough. If enough people do the right thing, everyone will be swept along by their good deeds. A virus — especially an airborne one — doesn't work that way. We are in a classic collective action problem where almost universal buy-in is required. We all have to keep distance, wear masks, wash our hands, limit social interactions or just stay home. If we don't all do it, the virus spreads. Saxinger thinks the province has reached the ceiling on what independent co-operation can do.Compounding the problem is the perception of risk. Research shows that individuals are more likely to make moral decisions when ambiguity about risks is reduced.Prof. Leslie Francis, who works in the faculties of law, medicine and philosophy at the University of Utah, says the vast majority of people understand not to put other people at risk by, say, speeding down a residential road at 100 km/h. But people might not see COVID-19 the same way."What we see going on right now is that many people deny that COVID exists, or they think it's not going to make people very sick, or they think that it won't make them very sick, maybe they'll even be asymptomatic," she said."But they don't realize that, for example, in my own state right now, the estimate is that one in 73 people right now is actively contagious."Alberta's political cultureWe judge our behaviour and the behaviours of others based on what we observe, but also on how we perceive our own political culture and what it will allow. In Alberta, a lot of it might be built on myth.Political science Prof. Jared Wesley of the University of Alberta asks participants about the province in his ongoing study of politics and culture. He gets them to sketch out their typical Albertan and then asks what that Albertan would do in certain situations. The Albertan — here nicknamed "Joe" — is always male, often a farmer, a libertarian conservative. Wesley's point is to narrow in on what people believe the political culture to be — what is acceptable and what is possible.In the pandemic, Joe reacts in a specific way."They will tell you, like you see in the media everywhere, they'll tell you all Albertans will never stand for mask mandates because it's an infringement on their freedoms," said Wesley.That sort of statement comes from people across the political spectrum, not just those who agree with their typical Albertan. That shapes the way we think about the world and can shape our own behaviour. We make moral decisions based on how we think others might perceive us. If people think broader society doesn't want to have its freedoms restricted — even in minor ways like donning a mask — they are less likely to be strict about virus-beating behaviours and less likely to feel judged for their laxity. This despite a majority not agreeing with their "typical" Albertan. "Do a survey like we just did three or four weeks ago: Albertans are massively in favour of heavier restrictions," said Wesley. "You ask them on an individual basis, would you like to see a provincewide mask mandate, doesn't matter if they're rural areas. Absolutely, it's the right thing to do. They going to push for it? No, because they don't think that the rest of the province would accept it."At some point that tide could turn. There are more voices calling for government to impose more severe restrictions, including a complete lockdown, in order to fight surging case counts.The ethics of action are clear, even if the ultimate answers are not. The ethicsFrancis says there's a clear difference between someone who puts themselves in harm's way versus someone who creates "a real risk of harm to other people." Individuals are expected to go about in the world obeying the rules so that a free society can operate in a mostly free way. Social norms keep most of us from hurting one another, but there is never a full participation rate. Murders, assaults and more happen on a regular basis. So there are laws. Even the most stringent libertarians agree there is a role for the state to some protections. Francis argues that we should view restrictions around COVID-19 in the same light."I think a lot of people are treating this as some kind of unusual interference with liberty," Francis said about pandemic responses. "And my point is, it's actually much more like when people are thinking through some of the most standard kinds of interferences with liberty."Yet despite the ethical obligations to protect citizens, the decision to impose restrictions across a society is no small thing.Some see the delay in implementing more restrictions as cruel — akin to saying the economy is as important as human life.Certainly the belief that Alberta's political culture would not allow a lockdown plays a role in politicians' decisions. But governments also have to consider how their decisions might affect broader society. Lives and livelihoods can be lost due to a cratered economy. Not every individual can simply choose to stay home. Many calling for a sharp lockdown have salaries, home offices or the security to stay isolated. And race, class and gender mix to create a set of ethical and moral traps many can't escape."There has to also be an economic solution for those whose lives are going to be torn apart by this," Melissa Caouette, a political strategist with the Canadian Strategy Group, said on the CBC's West of Centre podcast. As cases and hospitalizations rise, there comes a point when political calculation isn't relevant, and protecting the health of Albertans and its health-care system becomes a priority.Every decision can have a profound impact on Albertans. The hesitance of the government to shut things down as the pandemic spreads out of control, however, should come as no surprise. The Alberta government"This government is refreshingly transparent and completely doctrinaire when it comes to all elements of public policy," Wesley says of the United Conservative Party's approach. "So if you want to know where this government was heading, you need to look no further than the 2018 UCP statement of principles."Wesley calls it Neoliberalism 101 — a political philosophy that makes no room for collective action problems. "From a political science standpoint, that's almost like the ideal of what we expect of responsible party actors, is that they have a set of principles, we know what they stand for, they're being transparent about it," he said. "And we know when they're confronted with things that are out of the ordinary, are not part of their policy platform, we know how they're going to react."In short, they'll react like Joe Alberta would want them to.That policy consistency is tied directly to the founding leader of the UCP, Kenney. A principled conservative to some, an ideologue to others, he tends to stake his position and stick to it. It doesn't help that he was elected on a commitment to get the economy back on track and the budget balanced — a near impossibility given COVID spending and the languishing price of oil. The focus is, and has been, on trying to preserve and repair a battered economy. Kenney wants to avoid more business closures and loss of jobs. He does not want to spend more money.There's also a documented combativeness to Kenney and his government that hasn't abated during the pandemic, including battles with doctors, nurses and public servants. The ensuing division inhibits any chance that collective action could be effective against the pandemic. It seems the government won't abandon its ideological mores until, as Wesley calls them, a substantial "accumulation of anomalies" attacks the tenets of that foundation.It seems plenty of individuals feel the same. With more cases, more deaths, fewer ICU beds and more calls for action as the government resists, the situation is ripe for blaming the government no matter the culprit in our collective failures. Laying blameEvery catastrophe eventually leads to the need for answers: Who is responsible? Who or what could have prevented this? Things are getting out of control in Alberta, with contact tracers overwhelmed and community spread in full bloom. Recent restrictions on fitness classes and earlier last calls have had no impact to date as 1,000-plus new cases a day becomes the norm. For a while, it appeared things were under control. As cases rose, most people were not vocally critical.Then doctors started writing letters with hundreds of their colleagues' signatures calling for circuit-breaker lockdowns. The chief of the Calgary Emergency Management Agency called for the same. Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi wished for more, but told citizens not to wait for the province to do what was needed. Social media was flooded with calls for restrictions.Cases soared, as did hospitalizations. There are more deaths and likely many more to come.The government continued to resist, but looks prepared to act — in some way — on Tuesday afternoon.Critics have said the government has failed to provide clarity across the province on what is expected and even failed to model the baselines of good behaviour. Research has shown that people tend to lay more blame when an intentional harm has occurred, but that those in power can be judged harshly even if causality is ambiguous or indirect. Polls have shown that Albertans are dissatisfied with the performance of their government, including a recent poll by ThinkHQ that suggested the majority of Albertans don't think recent government restrictions went far enough. But it can't all be put at the feet of the government. No one told Albertans to celebrate birthdays with friends and family. There was no public health recommendation to drink until closing time on Saturday night.Frustration, however, is mounting. So too is evidence that something more drastic needs to take place."I say that it's never too late to do something that's useful," said Saxinger, the infectious disease specialist from the U of A. "But earlier action is very clearly, and in a very data-driven way, the best way to handle something that has exponential growth — acting before it becomes a problem, because you act after it becomes a problem and you're already on your way to a much, much bigger problem."What is happeningOn Nov. 20, Alberta announced 1,155 new confirmed cases of COVID-19. That number has grown every day since, giving Alberta the highest number of active cases of all the provinces. Hinshaw has said ICU beds set aside for the pandemic are nearing capacity, but that more resources could be freed up. Those resources would come at a cost to those seeking treatment for other reasons. Decisions will soon have to be made within hospitals about who has the best chance of survival and therefore gets a bed and treatment. Some of the dire predictions that were elaborately presented in Alberta's first wave are coming into focus.On Monday, Hinshaw admitted defeat in terms of the government's already limited contact tracing and, in an attempt to catch up, was giving up on contacting thousands of those linked to high-priority settings such as hospitals, schools and continuing care homes. She also said she'd be making recommendations to a cabinet huddle after her announcement. The government response is expected to be announced Tuesday afternoon. Francis, speaking from Utah without any knowledge of Alberta's situation, said the way to minimize the impact on businesses while protecting the health of the public is to act swiftly and comprehensively if restrictions are imposed. "One wishes that business closures were very short-lived," she said. "Unfortunately, we've made some mistakes, we've done it halfway, and so we've let community spread really get out of control.... You don't treat a rapidly growing tumour by cutting out 20 per cent of it. And unfortunately, a sort of tepid approach to infection control has done exactly that."So, with the surgery delayed, that incision will only have to go deeper.
CALGARY — The Alberta Court of Appeal has refused to throw out one of the convictions against a man who was found guilty of killing a father and his two-year-old daughter as well as a senior.Derek Saretzky's lawyer, Balfour Der, had argued that his client's first-degree murder conviction in the death of Hanne Meketech, 69, in September 2015 should be overturned because Saretzky's rights were breached when police improperly took his confession.Saretzky was also convicted of first-degree murder in the slayings of Terry Blanchette, who was 27, and his daughter Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette.Saretzky, 27, was in custody when he confessed Meketech's killing to an RCMP officer who visited him at a correctional centre.Der said Saretzky should never have been convicted in the woman's death since the confession came without a lawyer present and six months after Saretzky admitted to killing Blanchette and the toddler.The Crown argued that at the time of the police interview Saretzky would have been well aware of his right to counsel.The three-justice Appeal Court panel unanimously dismissed the appeal."The appellant was not under arrest and the trial judge found he had not been detained," wrote Justice Peter Martin on behalf of the court."Those findings were well supported by the evidence and are entitled to deference. I agree with his conclusion that on considering all of the circumstances of this case, the appellant's confession would not have been excluded."Meketech's body was found in her home in Coleman, Alta., on Sept. 9, 2015. She had been struck in the head and stabbed in the neck. During the trial, the jury was shown videotaped confessions in which Saretzky told police it was a spur-of-the-moment decision to kill Meketech, who was a friend of his grandparents, because he didn't think anyone cared about her. Five days later, Blanchette's body was discovered in his home in Blairmore, Alta. His daughter was missing, which sparked an Amber Alert and an extensive search in the Crowsnest Pass area of southwestern Alberta.Court heard Saretzky was "an aspiring serial killer" at the time of the attacks. He had few close friends and possessed numerous books on serial killers and serial killings.Saretzky was sentenced in 2017 to three consecutive life sentences, which means he is ineligible for parole until he has served 75 years in prison.The Court of Appeal still has to schedule and hear an appeal of the sentence.This report by The Canadian Press was first published November 24, 2020.— Follow @BillGraveland on TwitterBill Graveland, The Canadian Press
The year was 1974. North Americans were huddled around their television sets on a warm summer night bidding farewell to a disgraced Richard Nixon while crooks of another kind were on the move in downtown Sudbury. Two rival schools, Sheridan Tech and Sudbury High, had just been amalgamated to become what is now known as Sudbury Secondary School. Perchance, two original A.Y. Jackson paintings called Spring on the Onaping River (1955) and A Windy Day, Lake Superior (1959) were united in the school’s main office. In the dead of night, the paintings mysteriously disappeared, never to be seen again – and more than four decades later, a local playwright is bringing the story to light. The Case of the Missing A.Y. Jackson, written and directed by Judi Straughan, is a radio play staged for broadcast that explores a true local crime that occurred on Aug. 9, 1974. The crime is considered an open case to this day and is still under investigation by the Greater Sudbury Police. Viewers will be able to stream a performance of the play online from Dec. 4 to 7, where they will get the chance to immerse themselves in Sudbury’s history and become amateur detectives as they try to piece together what happened. For more, go to firstname.lastname@example.org. “With the hundredth anniversary of the first exhibit of the Group of Seven, this is the year to get inquiring minds across the nation to come and search for the missing Jacksons,” said playwright and director Judi Straughan. “Because this play is streaming online, anybody anywhere will have the chance to watch it. Wouldn’t it be interesting if, after 47 years, someone came forward? Someone out there must know something. Maybe they are ready to talk after all these years.” Straughan’s retelling of the events that occurred in 1974 is not fictional. Both of the stolen paintings had been purchased from A.Y. Jackson, a member of the famous Group of Seven, in the 1950s. Spring on the Onaping River (1955) belonged to Sheridan Technical School. In fact, it had been created after Sheridan art teacher Jack Smith invited Jackson to paint with his students, resulting in several Jackson sketches of Onaping Falls. A Windy Day, Lake Superior (1959) was purchased by the students at Sudbury High School to commemorate a beloved teacher who had been murdered during a school lunch hour. The reason the paintings were united was because the schools had been amalgamated. They were in the main office to be cleaned and it was intended that they would be hung at Sudbury Secondary School together. Before that could happen – and before the school even opened its doors – the paintings were stolen. Police have not yet been able to uncover who did it. In The Case of the Missing A.Y. Jackson, Straughan brought together 15 Sudbury actors to play real Sudburians from 1974 and dramatize the events leading up to and following the theft. “It’s a mystery that sounds like it was ripped from the pages of a True Detective magazine. Surprisingly, there’s even a murder on the periphery of the story,” she said. “The two-act play presents the facts in Act 1 and the whodunit theories in Act 2. It even provides a fictional solution to the crime. As a bonus, former Sudbury High and Tech students will get to hear their school songs performed once more.” Full of what Straughan calls “Sudbury chuckles” and real-life intrigue, The Case of the Missing A.Y. Jackson will entertain, raise money for a local radio station, and maybe inspire someone to come forward with a piece of information that could help solve the case. Crime Stoppers, a not-for-profit charitable organization that helps law enforcement agencies solve crime, has actually come on board to encourage viewers to come forward with tips. The play was supposed to be performed on stage in the spring, but was delayed due to COVID-19. On Nov. 8, the Sudbury Theatre Centre allowed ticketholders into the theatre to watch the play while it was filmed in advance of the virtual show. “Len Yauk, who was the principal of the school at the time and who is actually a character in the play, drove to Sudbury from Parry Sound to see the performance on Nov. 8,” said Straughan. “He told me that he had received a phone call about three years ago from the RCMP asking questions about the case. He said that every once in a while, something comes up, and he’s glad that people are still paying attention.” Tickets for the online performance are now on sale on CKLU radio’s website at www.cklu.ca. All proceeds will go towards CKLU 96.7, a local not-for-profit radio station that operates on campus of the McEwan School of Architecture. If you have information about the theft of these paintings or any other crime, you can provide an anonymous tip by calling Crime Stoppers at 705-222-8477 (TIPS) or 1-800-222-8477 or by going online at www.sudburycrimestoppers.com. Tips that result in the successful resolution of a criminal offence may be eligible for a cash reward of up to $2,000. All tips are completely anonymous, and you will not be asked to testify in court. The Local Journalism Initiative is made possible through funding from the federal government. email@example.com Twitter: @SudburyStar Colleen Romaniuk, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Sudbury Star
MONTREAL — The Quebec government has tightened its rules surrounding Christmas gatherings, specifying on Tuesday that people will only be able to attend two holiday events during a four-day window.Premier Francois Legault's government last week announced it would permit gatherings of a maximum of 10 people for four days between Dec. 24 and 27 and asked Quebecers to voluntarily quarantine themselves for a week before and after in exchange.Legault said Tuesday that while there are four days available to gather with people outside their households, Quebecers should at most use two of them.He also asked that people who are unable to quarantine avoid gatherings altogether."I’m sure those people don’t want to infect, or take the risk of infecting, members of their own family, so it’s understood that if you can’t quarantine a week before it’s better not to go to Christmas dinner," Legault told a news conference in Quebec City.Legault has faced some criticism for his decision to loosen restrictions for Christmas as the province continues to report over 1,000 cases a day.On Tuesday, Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister weighed in on Quebec's plan, calling it dangerous."I don’t want to get into quarterbacking other provinces — there are premiers there doing their absolute best — except to say this: I think it’s dangerous what the Quebec premier has decided to announce on Christmas," Pallister said. Legault, in response, said the number of new cases per million residents is currently lower in Quebec than Manitoba."Second, I want to (remind) my friend Brian that we’re talking about a maximum of 10 people per house, and also we’re asking for a quarantine of seven days before the gathering," he said. "I don’t know if he’s aware of all these requirements."Legault, however, said he was not willing to impose stricter measures, such as shutting down stores, to enforce the quarantine, saying it would not be fair to people who aren't planning to gather.Under the province's current rules, bars, restaurant dining areas and most cultural venues are closed in most regions of the province, and social gatherings are limited to people of the same household, with a few exceptions.The change to the Christmas rules came as the number of deaths and hospitalizations in the province continued to jump.Quebec reported 45 more deaths attributed to COVID-19 and 1,124 new infections on Tuesday, as well as a 21-person increase in the number of hospitalizations.Legault said that unlike in the first wave, the problem is now mostly concentrated outside of major cities.He said the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region is hardest hit, followed by Estrie, Gaspe, parts of Lanaudiere, Bas-St-Laurent and Sorel.Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, with a population of just over 275,000, counted more than 100 new cases on Tuesday, giving it the highest per-capita infection rate in the province."I'm asking everyone in Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, if you're able in the coming days, the coming weeks, to stay home, it will help to reduce the pressure," Legault said.The premier said there was also a "real problem" in private seniors' residences, which are driving transmission in some regions.Government data showed a total of 167 new cases in private seniors' homes in the past 24 hours. The two residences with the biggest increases were both in Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean, with 53 and 37 new cases.Earlier Tuesday, Quebec Health Minister Christian Dube announced a plan to track the movement of staff working at multiple long-term care homes.In a statement, Dube said he was creating a registry that would record instances when staff need to work at more than one care home "due to a risk of service disruption that could compromise user safety."He said employees who have to move between hot and cold zones — those with infected patients and those without — will have to seek permission from management or infection control specialists first.The government's plan for the pandemic's second wave included a ban on allowing personal care attendants to work at multiple locations, after this was identified as a key factor in COVID-19 transmission.However, Dube has conceded that stopping all movement of personnel has been difficult due to shortages in certain jobs, such as nurses.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 24, 2020.Morgan Lowrie, The Canadian Press
A survey of university students, faculty, and academic librarians in Ontario suggests that the shift to online learning during the pandemic has negatively affected the quality of the educational experience. The poll of 2,700 people was commissioned by the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations and released on Tuesday. It reveals that 62 per cent of student respondents and 76 per cent of faculty and academic librarians surveyed believe online learning has had a negative impact on education quality. Rahul Sapra, president of the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations, said that the survey's results show a meaningful engagement between students and faculty is a fundamental part of the learning process. “As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the scramble to move courses online, we have lost that human connection and educational quality has suffered,” Sapra said. The survey also found that financial security, care demands, and work-life balance are significant stress points for both groups. A majority of students that responded to the survey said they are concerned about their financial security as a result of high tuition fees and fewer opportunities to earn income during the pandemic. Kayla Weiler, Ontario representative of the Canadian Federation of Students, said that a lot of the usual ways that post-secondary students save money or budget for the school year have been affected by COVID-19. "Their summer employment was altered, their fall employment might look very different than in past years," said Weiler. "But also last year we saw $670 million cut to OSAP and we're still feeling that well into the pandemic." Other issues students who were surveyed cited were mental health and the ability to manage non-academic responsibilities, including caregiving, while studying. Faculty and academic librarians who participated in the survey indicated they feel they are falling short of their own expectations. Respondents cited an inability to adequately teach and support students, and difficulty sustaining their desired level of professional development. Sapra said that another issue is that approximately 60 per cent of Ontario's faculty are part-time or on contract and therefore have less job stability. "During COVID-19 contract faculty had to do additional work to convert in-class courses to online courses but received no extra pay for this work," said Sapra. "Because of the rise in the size of online courses, less courses were offered so many contract faculty lost their jobs." The survey suggests that one in two faculty members are working longer hours, and four of five have an increased workload. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 24, 2020. John Chidley-Hill, The Canadian Press
Fred VanVleet did a pre-draft workout for one particular NBA team, who didn't know who he was when he showed up. He shot alone on a side basket with no coaches rebounding the ball. Nobody gave him a ride back to the airport."Those types of things will never leave me and I will never forget any of those moments," VanVleet said. Four years after he went undrafted -- deciding that day to bet on himself if no-one else would -- VanVleet marvelled at how far he'd come."It’s funny to see things come full-circle but that’s what makes this journey that much more special, because of how I had to do it and how fast it turned around for me," he said.The Toronto Raptors made that turn around official Tuesday, signing the guard to a four-year deal reported to be worth US$85 million. The 26-year-old from Rockford, Ill., who joined the Raptors as a free agent in 2016, said he had wanted to stay in Toronto. The Raptors made no secret that his re-signing was their No. 1 off-season priority.Still, VanVleet was surprised how smoothly it all went."It was almost like so straightforward that it made me question it a little bit, like it can't be this easy, you know what I mean?" he said.He opened his press conference by thanking the Raptors organization, his family and even "you ugly media people on the other side of this Zoom call who have treated me pretty good in my first four years."He grinned and asked reporters not to go hard on him now that he has "this nice big contract." The six-foot, 195-pound VanVleet averaged career highs of 17.6 points, 6.6 assists, 3.8 rebounds, 1.9 steals and 35.7 minutes in 54 games (all starts) last season. Fondly known as "Steady Freddy," he's grown into one of the team's most popular and dependable players. Paired with all-star Kyle Lowry, the duo make for one of the formidable back courts in the league.Asked if Lowry provided any advice for free agency, VanVleet said he veteran guard is always offering advice."Everybody I spoke to that had been through it just said enjoy it and go with your gut and just try to appreciate the moment and don't fumble the bag," he said.VanVleet spoke to reporters on a Zoom call in front of a black and white backdrop with his BOY (Bet on Yourself) brand logo. "That’s the fun part for me, seeing how this following is kind of growing and. . . watching everybody try to pretend to be underdogs and adopt the bet on yourself thing. It’s becoming mainstream now, which is hilarious to me," VanVleet said.The guard said it means a lot to have paved the way for other players who've been overlooked who found inspiration in his story. "There are guys getting drafted now that I know for a fact wouldn’t have gotten drafted in my class or before my class, just because teams are looking at it like they don’t want to miss out on the next Fred VanVleet, or this kid can be Fred or better than Fred or whatever the case may be," he said.Getting VanVleet signed was good news for a Raptors team that saw centres Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol leave. Toronto rebounded by signing Aron Baynes and Alex Len and re-signing Canadian Chris Boucher to a two-year contract.Due to COVID-19 and Canada's travel restrictions, the Raptors will play at least the first part of the season in Tampa, Fla.VanVleet, who hasn't been back in Canada since the league initially shut down on March 11, said he'd love to be coming back to Toronto. "Toronto has turned into my second home. Obviously we miss the city, but I think we've got to be excited about what's ahead of us," he said. "I can't not be excited about it. We were in Florida for a while with the bubble in Orlando, and right back there in Tampa, so hopefully it's a good experience."VanVleet said he planned to enjoy the moment, exhale finally after the free agency stress, then get ready to for camp which opens Dec. 1. The season tips off Dec. 22.Having achieved so much in such a short time, where does he go from here?"The crazy part is, I've pretty much done everything I ever wanted to do already . . . everything that's on the checklist."It's really just the beginning of the next chapter . . . now I feel like I'm on a level playing field and I've made it, and I've got both feet inside the door, and I'm in the room and now it's time to really take off and go to another level." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 24, 2020.Lori Ewing, The Canadian Press
The fourth annual Liverpool shopping promotion is just around the corner. Formerly known as Downtown for the Holidays, this year’s occasion is called Christmas in Liverpool – Holiday Shopping Event. It takes place December 5. The first three years of the promotion focused on getting people to the downtown — Liverpool’s Main Street. This year, organizer Heather Kelly decided to encompass all of Liverpool. More than 25 town retailers have signed on to participate in the event so far. “Myself and Brian Fralic, when we were councilors of RQM, started this about four years ago to get people downtown,” said Kelly, who is the former deputy mayor of the Region of Queens Municipality. “The retailers love it and I think the shoppers do as well.” Participating businesses will have special promotions. Shoppers will be invited to fill out a ballot to be entered for the chance to win a $200 “Shop Local” gift certificate. “A lot of people go into businesses and fill out their ballot and leave. But I think that is all right. I just hope they take a bit of time at least and look around and see what the stores have to offer,” said Kelly. Retailers will have red flags identifying their participation in the event.Kevin McBain, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, LighthouseNOW Progress Bulletin