Some gym and yoga studio owners in Newfoundland and Labrador have taken extra steps to keep people safe this week, knowing they could be among the first to close if the province moves back a level.Heather Murphy, owner of Islander Athletics, watched with approval Monday as Premier Andrew Furey withdrew the province from the Atlantic bubble.With cases on the rise in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, she decided to post a new rule for her gym in St. John's — anyone in contact with a person who has travelled within the Atlantic provinces is asked to stay away for two weeks."We've taken it an extra couple steps further and I know that's on us," Murphy said. "I've seen a lot of other studios doing the same kinds of things to really try and prevent a second closure from happening."Gyms and fitness studios were ordered closed in March, and remained shuttered for in-person sessions until late June.It was a devastating blow for many of the small gyms in the province, and Islander Athletics was no exception. They used the break to change locations, with hopes of reopening in a better place. What saved them was the family they'd built within their membership, she said.Murphy checked out all of Islander Athletics' equipment to the members and shifted to online classes. People went home with everything the gym owned. In exchange, she managed to keep much of the customer base throughout the downtime.Now, with small spikes in cases around the province, people like Heather Murphy are again watching the daily updates with anxious eyes.A pair of small towns are dealing with outbreaks, and as of Wednesday afternoon Newfoundland and Labrador had 25 active cases. The school district reopened an elementary school in Deer Lake on Wednesday, after a student tested positive earlier in the week.More than 30 kids in the child's class cohort tested negative.Moda Yoga owner Jill Holden said the actions business owners are taking to prevent the spread are not just about business — they're about doing the right thing."I think we all have a social responsibility to act from a place of kindness and compassion, but not just for ourselves," she said. "That's really what we're about in the yoga practice. We don't just act for ourselves, but for the greater good."Holden's studio has policies simliar to ones in place at Murphy's gym. They've tightened restrictions in recent days, after outbreaks in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick collapsed the Atlantic bubble.Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil announced Tuesday that all fitness and recreational facilities, libraries, museums and casinos would close for two weeks. Restaurants are open only for takeout.In Newfoundland and Labrador, Premier Andrew Furey says he wants to avoid that tangle."We don't want to have to close our businesses here. We want to protect the freedoms we've come to enjoy, while in line with public health measures of course. We want to avoid a full lockdown that we are seeing across the country," he said at Wednesday's briefing."We want to ensure that the local economies can continue to operate as much as possible."Measures put in place by the provincial and federal governments helped small businesses like gyms and fitness centres survive the last lockdown.Holden said she'll oblige any restrictions put in place but she doesn't want to have to rely on those subsidies again."It was difficult and thankfully we got through it," she said. "Having to go through it for a longer period of time again, I'm not sure that's really viable in the long run because these subsidies we've been taking advantage of have been really helping, but I know that won't last forever."Newfoundland and Labrador recorded only one new case on Wednesday, and both Holden and Murphy hope the spread is slowing and a second lockdown isn't in the cards."It's hopeful," Murphy said. "I'm optimistic we'll be able to avoid it."Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
Brandon Sun readers are requesting specific questions be asked of health officials related to COVID-19. QUESTION: If I’m allergic to the flu shot — I almost died — can I take the COVID-19 vaccine? As it is now, I’m scared. MANITOBA HEALTH: Questions about vaccine safety can be answered by the federal government, at this point. Manitobans can check with their family doctor or primary care provider if they have concerns about vaccines and their health. QUESTION: Why are results for COVID tests done in Brandon last Wednesday, Nov. 18, have no results and Health Links is unable to give answers as to where the tests are? MANITOBA HEALTH: While I can’t speak to this case specifically, in general we have expanded testing capacity over the last month. Timelines for COVID-19 test results may vary due to current testing volumes and the testing location. It takes a matter of days for COVID-19 test results to become available. Health Links – Info Santé experienced technical difficulties and they were working on a quick resolution, and is back online. Updates are available at twitter.com/MisericordiaMB. QUESTION: Is it true that cases in nursing homes in Dauphin, Gilbert Plains, Grandview, Winnipegosis, etc. are directly linked to an agency nurse that was recently working at Maples Long Term Care Home in Winnipeg and was not pretested for COVID before being sent to these facilities to expedite a workers shortage? PRAIRIE MOUNTAIN HEALTH: We could not find anything to substantiate or support that. Do you have a question about something in your community? Send your questions to email@example.com with the subject line: Readers Ask.Michèle LeTourneau, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brandon Sun
Toronto police say they have identified a person of interest in the high-profile 2017 homicides of a billionaire philanthropist couple.However, the force says no arrest has been made related to the murders of Barry and Honey Sherman.The founder of generic pharmaceutical company Apotex and his wife were killed inside their Toronto mansion in December 2017.Autopsy results revealed the couple died by "ligature neck compression" and police have said there were no signs of forced entry. The killings shocked the city and made international headlines.The family offered up to $10 million for information that would help solve the case, and hired its own team of private investigators.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 26, 2020.The Canadian Press
Alberta is about to adopt a new law that would make sweeping changes to the way automobile insurance works, but privacy advocates say a critical aspect of the legislation has so far slipped by with little public attention or scrutiny — the expansion of "usage-based insurance." Among many other changes, Bill 41 would make it easier for insurance companies to monitor drivers' behaviour by collecting detailed data through devices embedded in their vehicles or software installed on their smartphones. The implications of this are little known and poorly understood by many Canadians, says Privacy and Access Council of Canada president Sharon Polsky. She believes the Alberta legislation, which could pave the way for similar laws in other provinces, ought to be more fully considered before changes are made that will be hard to undo. "This bill should be halted in its tracks," she said. "The Government of Alberta and other governments across the country need to update the access and privacy legislation to meet current needs, to genuinely give us a right of privacy and to put us in control of our information." Insurance companies, however, say the legislation is long overdue and would put Alberta more in line with practices that have been in place for years in the United States, allowing drivers to prove their safe behaviour through technological means and thereby save money on their insurance premiums. Government says law will 'increase fairness' United Conservative Party MLAs say the new law would create more options for consumers, especially those who want insurance products tailored to their driving needs. "This is expected to increase fairness in the marketplace and further ensure that consumer costs adequately reflect individual risks and driving habits," Finance Minister Travis Toews said during second reading of Bill 41 in the legislature. To that end, he said the new law "will allow greater ability for industry to provide innovative insurance options … and greater flexibility in applying usage-based insurance." Ron Orr, the UCP MLA for Lacombe-Ponoka, said the legislation means "Alberta drivers will have more choice and control over their own insurance costs." Polsky, however, says many people don't fully understand what they're signing up for when they agree to hand over so much data from their vehicles and smartphones to insurance companies, or where that data could ultimately end up. She also worries the monitoring devices, while voluntary in theory, could be made effectively mandatory through pricing, if drivers who refuse to be tracked face exorbitant premiums. Alberta 'the first' to go this route Some insurance companies already offer discounts to drivers who are willing to allow themselves to be monitored. But so far they are not allowed to sell usage-based insurance in other ways. The new law will allow usage-based insurance "however insurers wish to use it, so long as they can meet the regulatory requirements," said Celyeste Power with the Insurance Bureau of Canada. "Alberta was the first to announce full use of usage-based insurance," she said. "And just afterward, Ontario announced that they were sort of getting rid of restrictions around it, as well. In other jurisdictions, it's not available for use in that kind of broad way." She believes the new law presents an "opportunity for some really cool ideas and cool technology to come to Alberta." For example, she says drivers could opt for a pay-per-kilometre insurance option, where they would have a "way lower" base premium and then pay incrementally for the amount they actually drive. That option, she says, would be especially appealing to younger people who don't drive a lot but drive responsibly. Currently, young drivers face higher premiums as a group, due to the fact that their age demographic is considered to be higher risk by the actuaries who set insurance rates. Power says usage-based insurance is a fairer way to set individual rates. How the tracking works If you agree to the tracking, your driving habits would be monitored either through a device installed in your vehicle or software that uses the GPS, accelerometer and other bits of hardware built in to your smartphone. Power says different companies would track you in different ways, but basically they would keep an eye on things like how fast you drive, how quickly you accelerate, how hard you brake, how often you drive, what time of day you drive, where you drive, and so on. Less driving and better driving behaviour would be rewarded with lower premiums. More driving and unsafe behaviour would be punished with increased costs. She says most companies offer an online dashboard so you can track your own driving data, and even push notifications if you're racking up too many charges, similar to data-overage warnings on your cellphone. In the United States, she says, usage-based insurance has been correlated with safer roads, as it makes drivers more aware of their habits and provides a financial incentive to drive safely — or drive less. But, she says, it's not a product for everyone. "If you don't feel you're a good driver or you're speeding too much down the (Highway) 2 between Calgary and Edmonton, usage-based insurance is not for you," Power said. It also takes some getting used to. "If you think you're an amazing driver and the technology is telling you you're not, yeah, you might be a little bit resistant to it," Power said. "I think it just depends on the person." Data use, privacy and regulation Power says the use of personal data would be directly regulated by Alberta's Automobile Insurance Rate Board (AIRB) and be subject to oversight from the privacy commissioner. But Polsky, with the Privacy and Access Council of Canada, says most people don't understand just how much information is being harvested by these types of monitoring devices. She says some smartphone apps that insurance companies use to track drivers in other jurisdictions require users to keep them running 24 hours a day, even when they sleep. "They want all of it monitored so that we can enjoy more affordable rates based on relinquishing our privacy?" she said. "That is a very, very high price to pay." She also believes privacy laws, both in Alberta and nationwide, are outdated or lack the regulatory teeth to deal with international companies that collect data in Canada but store it in other countries. Alberta's Opposition NDP has also criticized the legislation, saying it gives too much power to the AIRB, which they say is too close with the government and the insurance industry. Numerous people on the AIRB board of directors either work in or previously worked in insurance, and the NDP have also pointed out that Jason Kenney's former chief of staff is now a registered lobbyist on behalf of the insurance industry, among other clients. "Bill 41 is giving the industry more control, giving the lobbyists more control," Edmonton-South West NDP MLA Thomas Dang said during second reading of the legislation. What's next The bill has passed second reading and is at the committee of the whole stage in the legislature, where MLAs can propose and vote on amendments. Additional debate was scheduled for Tuesday evening. It still needs to pass third and final reading to ultimately become law. If that happens, Polsky says, other provinces will likely look at similar laws. "We are now living in a monkey-see, monkey-do political era and the danger is if it's good enough for one jurisdiction, well it must be good enough for another jurisdiction," she said. "So if this is allowed to become 'mandatorily voluntary' in Alberta, it's just a matter of time before it proliferates across the country, at our peril. So it's up to us to understand what's at stake and voice our views to our elected representatives." Power, meanwhile, believes Alberta is leading the way in modernizing Canada's insurance-regulatory system, which she says has lagged behind the United States, where some form of usage-based insurance has been around for the past decade. She also says concerns over privacy and price hikes for people who don't agree to be monitored are overblown. "We haven't seen any examples in the U.S. or any other jurisdictions around the world where the usage-based insurance product essentially became almost mandatory just by the way it's priced," Power said. "It is sort of funny when you think about it," she added. "People are like, 'I don't want something tracking my movement or tracking this or that.' And yet, we carry around our phones all the time and they're tracking absolutely everything we do. "So it's kind of getting to a world now where everything is being tracked, anyway."
BANGKOK — Thailand said Thursday it transferred three Iranians involved in a botched 2012 bomb plot back to Tehran, as Iran released an Australian academic who was imprisoned for more than two years on spying charges. While Thai officials declined to call it a swap and Iran referred to the men as “economic activists,” the arrangement freed academic Kylie Moore-Gilbert and saw the three men linked to a wider bomb plot targeting Israeli diplomats return home to a hero's welcome. The bombers wore Iranian flags draped over their shoulders, their faces largely obscured by black baseball caps and surgical masks. It was a sharp contrast to other prisoner exchanges Iran has trumpeted in the past, in which television anchors repeatedly said their names and broadcasters aired images of them reuniting with their families. The reason for Iran's refusal to name those freed remains unclear. However, Tehran has long denied being behind the bomb plot and likely hopes to leverage the incoming administration of U.S. President-elect Joe Biden to ease American sanctions imposed by President Donald Trump. Israeli officials declined to immediately comment on the release. In Australia, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he was “thrilled and relieved” that Moore-Gilbert, 33, had been released but added that it would take time for her to process her “horrible” ordeal. “The tone of her voice was very uplifting, particularly given what she has been through,” Morrison told Australia’s Network Nine. Chatchom Akapin, Thailand’s deputy attorney general, told The Associated Press that Thai authorities had approved the transfer of the prisoners under an agreement with Iran. “These types of transfers aren’t unusual,” he said. “We transfer prisoners to other countries and at the same time receive Thais back under this type of agreement all the time.” A Thai Corrections Department official, who spoke on condition of anonymity as no approval had been granted to speak publicly on the issue with journalists, said only two of the Iranians were sent home Wednesday under the prison transfer agreement, while one received a pardon in September. Under transfer agreements, returnees are supposed to serve the remainder of their sentences in their home country. Thailand has such agreements with about three dozen countries. However, Iranian state television video of the men's arrival suggested that a return to prison seemed unlikely as officials showered them with flowers and offered shouted praise to God and the Prophet Muhammad. The plane that carried the men from Bangkok to Iran had a tail number linking it to an Australian private air carrier called Skytraders, which describes itself as a “principal provider of air services to government.” An employee at the company declined to comment when reached by the AP. The plane had flown twice this week from Bangkok to Tehran, and then on to Doha, Qatar, flight data obtained by the AP showed. Authorities declined to say where Moore-Gilbert was Thursday, though she thanked Australia’s government and diplomats in a statement for securing her release, as well as supporters who campaigned for her freedom. Despite her ordeal, Moore-Gilbert said she had “nothing but respect, love and admiration for the great nation of Iran and its warm-hearted, generous and brave people.” Asked about the swap, Australia's prime minister said he “wouldn’t go into those details, confirm them one way or the other.” However, Morrison said he could assure Australians there had been nothing done to prejudice their safety and no prisoners were released in Australia. Thai police discovered the three Iranians' plot in 2012 when an accidental explosion blew apart their rented Bangkok villa. At the time, Iran was suspected in two bombing attempts in India and the former Soviet republic of Georgia targeting Israeli diplomats amid heightened tensions over its nuclear program. Its own nuclear scientists, meanwhile, had been killed in attacks long suspected to have been carried out by Israel. Police say one of the Iranians, Saeid Moradi, threw a grenade at officers that bounced backed and exploded, shearing away his legs. Moradi was sentenced to life for attempting to murder a police officer. Another man, Mohammad Kharzei, received a 15-year sentence for possessing explosives. The sentence of the third man, Masoud Sedaghatzadeh, wasn't immediately known. Kharzei was the Iranian who was said to have been pardoned this past September, the Thai corrections official said. Their release along with Moore-Gilbert's represents another case in which Iran held a Westerner on widely criticized espionage charges. Activists and U.N. investigators believe Iran systematically leverages their imprisonment for money or influence in negotiations with the West. Tehran denies it, though there have been similar exchanges in the past. Moore-Gilbert was a Melbourne University lecturer on Middle Eastern studies when she was picked up at the Tehran airport as she tried to leave the country after attending an academic conference in 2018. She was sent to Tehran’s notorious Evin prison, convicted of spying and sentenced to 10 years. She vehemently denied the charges and maintained her innocence. Moore-Gilbert wrote in letters to Morrison that she had been imprisoned “to extort” the Australian government. Her detention had strained relations between Iran and the West at a time of already escalating tensions, which reached a fever pitch earlier this year following the American killing of a top Iranian general in Baghdad and retaliatory Iranian strikes on a U.S. military base. International pressure had been building on Iran to release Moore-Gilbert. She had gone on repeated hunger strikes and her health had deteriorated during long stretches in solitary confinement. She also alleged Iran subjected her to “grievous violations” of her rights, including psychological torture. ___ Perry reported from Wellington, New Zealand. Associated Press writers Isabel DeBre and Jon Gambrell in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and Amir Vahdat in Tehran, Iran, contributed to this report. Tassanee Vejpongsa And Nick Perry, The Associated Press
The tipi that was stolen from Camp Connections, a summer camp run by the Foster Family Coalition of the NWT, is going to be replaced, thanks to a Yellowknife business owner.Tammy Roberts, the coalition's executive director, said she learned on Monday that the camp was getting a canvas for a new tipi by way of a donation, and that this tipi will be even bigger than the previous one. "I'm told it's massive, so I'm really excited about it," she said.Roberts declined to name the business owner, saying she wasn't sure if they wanted to go public. In early October it was reported that the canvas was stolen off the 22-foot tipi at the Camp Connections site, about an hour outside of Yellowknife.The organization made a public plea for the tipi's return, but nothing came of it, said Roberts.She said the coalition got some donations after the previous tipi was stolen, and those will be put toward bigger tipi poles and hiring someone to help build the new tipi. "All the kids knew about the tipi that was stolen and of course, were upset by that," she says. "They'll be really happy that we can have a new one erected before ... camp next summer."
A police officer overseeing enforcement at the Vancouver airport testified in court on Thursday that he had concerns about a plan by Canadian federal police to arrest Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou on the plane she arrived on two years ago. Meng's nearly three-hour interrogation by Canadian border agents prior to her December 2018 arrest by Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) on a U.S. warrant has become a flash point in her ongoing extradition hearing.
EASTERN SHORE – While no public announcement has yet been made, funding is available to establish something called a Well-being Hub in each of the two long-term care facilities located in Sheet Harbour and Middle Musquodoboit. Once up and running, the hubs provide the community with a professional, cohesive and relatively stress-free process for families navigating the long-term care process. Harbourview Lodge Continuing Care Centre in Sheet Harbour and Musquodoboit Valley Home for Special Care (known as Braeside) in Middle Musquodoboit will get Well-being Hubs for their current and future residents. The hubs will offer support when a loved one is experiencing deteriorating physical or mental health and help with the detailed and often complicated process of decision-making and/or placement. The hubs will focus on providing transition support and services for individuals – as well as their family and caregivers – who are likely to enter long-term care, those in long-term care and for those after long-term care has ended. The hub model will integrate existing community services such as adult day clinic, continuing care services, long-term care services and future services to provide all- encompassing wrap-around supports during this life transition. “Personally, as a rural community member I am excited about the creation of a Well-being Hub,” says Board Chair Patty Henley, Harbourview Lodge Continuing Care Centre. “When a family member or loved one is in crisis and the individual or family member must navigate a multi-faceted system to find the necessary support,” Henley said, “it often creates an increased burden of valuable time, finances, and unnecessary mental anguish often due to the unknowns of accessing the system. “The funding has been approved and the announcement will be made in the near future,” Henley told The Journal. The hubs “will provide the necessary support to allow a smooth and supportive transition through the long-term care process. Our objective is to generate interest in this project. The project advisory committee is requesting proposals from an individual(s), business or non-profit group to undertake the coordination and implementation of this project.” The Project Advisory Committee consists of representatives from the boards of the two long-term care facilities; community representatives of Sheet Harbour, Musquodoboit Harbour and Musquodoboit Valley; and the Eastern Shore Community Health Board. The committee’s immediate objective is to hire a project co-ordinator with a mandate to facilitate the two Well-being Hubs. “While I am not at liberty to divulge the funding and grant details at this time, pertinent information will be provided to the successful coordinator when the hiring process comes to fruition,” Henley said. Candidates and those seeking more information may contact Denise VanWychen, Coordinator Eastern Shore Musquodoboit Community Health Board at firstname.lastname@example.org.Janice Christie, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Guysborough Journal
Four more witnesses provided testimony Wednesday in the trial of Selena Lomen, who is accused of second-degree murder in the Oct. 28, 2018, death of her common-law partner, Danny Klondike.Two of the witnesses discussed how angry Lomen was with Klondike at the Halloween party they attended in Fort Liard, N.W.T., during the evening leading up to his death.At the beginning of the trial earlier this month, Lomen, 23, admitted to stabbing Klondike, 34. She tried to plead guilty to manslaughter, but the prosecutor refused to accept the plea. The trial is being held in N.W.T. Supreme Court in Yellowknife.The testimony of most witnesses so far has focused on what happened leading up to and immediately after Klondike's death, but has skirted the central issue in the trial: whether Lomen intended to kill Klondike when she stabbed him.Crystal Deneyoua said she was with Lomen at that Halloween party, and Lomen was angry at Klondike."Selena started getting mad at him because he wouldn't give her a drink and he was giving everyone else drinks," Deneyoua said.She said Lomen eventually lashed out at Klondike verbally, swearing at him in front of others. "Danny told her to be nice," Deneyoua added.Klondike was having a good timeLike other witnesses who testified, Deneyoua said Klondike was having a great time, dancing, playing pool, socializing and getting very intoxicated. Lomen was sitting in a corner looking on.At some point, Lomen discarded the nurse costume she had arrived in. Deneyoua said she and Lomen then went for a walk around town and that Lomen had a mickey of vodka with her. Deneyoua said that as they were walking by Lomen's house, Lomen said she had three 1.18-litre bottles of vodka and suggested they get one. Deneyoua said they decided to walk back to the party instead.Another witness, Grace Berreault, was outside having a cigarette when Deneyoua and Lomen got back to the party. > He kept saying he just wanted to go home to his son and go to sleep. \- Grace Berreault, witness"She walked up to the party looking angry," said Berreault, referring to Lomen.Berreault said Klondike was part of a group of people she left the party with about 40 minutes later. "He kept saying he just wanted to go home to his son and go to sleep," she said.Host told Lomen to leave party Deneyoua said that after they returned, she counted Lomen consuming five large cups from a tub of home brew that had been brought to the party. She said Lomen was also drinking shots of vodka.Deneyoua said one of the hosts of the party eventually told Lomen she had to leave because she was not in costume. She said someone else at the party told Lomen she could borrow a costume if she wanted to stay. Deneyoua said she went after Lomen and told her, but Lomen just threw up her arms and kept walking away.Connie Bertrand said she was out for a walk between 3 a.m. and 3:30 a.m. when she crossed paths with Lomen on Valley Main Street in front of the health centre. Bertrand said Lomen had a 1.18-litre bottle of vodka that was about half full, and she was staggering and slurring her speech. They spoke for a while about who was at the party."We went to my house and sat on the balcony and had a few shots," said Bertrand. "I told her I was tired. Then she told me to walk with her to her house, but I said I was too tired."Bertrand said she walked Lomen to the door and locked it after she left.Lomen seen 'crying a lot'Denelee Bertrand, the guard who was working at the Fort Liard RCMP detachment that morning, also testified.Earlier, the court heard that Lomen walked in on her own and said, "I killed him. I need to come inside."Bertrand said Lomen "was crying a lot. She was laying down for a while, crying, covering her face.""She asked if he was dead and [Cst. Terry] Boutcher said, 'Yes,'" Bertrand added.
ST. MARY’S – The Municipality of the District of St. Mary’s’ newest councillors have asked staff to explore making pension plans available to elected officials. The move would be a first for St. Mary’s, where councillors have been responsible for looking after their own retirement savings. But, said district one Councillor Courtney Mailman, “It’s kind of nice to be breaking new ground.” Mailman, district two Councillor Charlene Zinck and district three/five councillor, Warden Greg Wier – all newcomers to council – spearheaded the notion at the committee of the whole meeting on Nov. 18. “Because myself, Warden Wier and Councillor Zinck are all under retirement age and we all have full-time jobs, we wanted to look at the possibility of investing back into a retirement plan,” Mailman said. “Warden Wier had mentioned it to me and I expressed an interest, and he had mentioned it to Councillor Zinck and she expressed an interest, and then the other councillors were on board with looking into it.” Still, she added, “the sole responsibility for this would fall on us. We are not expecting, you know, a 50/50 split or a matching from the municipality. This is just something that we thought we would look into. We may all go ahead, or one of us may, but it would set a precedent for the future, for full-time working councillors to have that option.” Chief Administrative Officer Marvin MacDonald confirmed that staff are now working on the initiative. “We just got direction to go ahead and pursue it,” he said. “It [a pension plan] would just be through a bank. It would basically be an RRSP kind of thing.” It’s not clear what, if any, management costs the municipality might incur as a result of such a scheme. Currently, the Municipal Government Act in Nova Scotia does not require elected representatives to “buy in” to the one or more types of pension plans that are mandatory for, and administered on behalf of, town and city staff. In St. Mary’s, councillors, the warden and deputy warden don’t receive salaries, per se, but active “remunerations” set in each year’s operating budget. In the fiscal year ending March 31, 2021, each St. Mary’s councillor will earn $13,043; the warden, an additional $8,300; and the deputy warden, a further $5,929. Regarding any future pensions, Mailman said, “It would be taken off our income as councillors and then just go out into some form of investment for us to have down the road.” Before that, MacDonald said, “We’re going to get somebody in to talk to us about it. The councillors can ask questions directly then.”Alec Bruce, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Guysborough Journal
Although the Italian government says it won't make a COVID-19 vaccine compulsory - there is growing hesitation among Italians over its safety.View on euronews
The Ministry of Highways said some major roads in Saskatchewan were treacherous early Thursday morning.Bands of snow and freezing rain travelled across the province on Wednesday, leaving several sections of highway unsafe to travel.Highway Hotline said travel was not recommended on Highway 16 around North Battleford, between Maymont to Maidstone, as well as other roads in the area.As well, travel was not recommended on Highway 11 from Osler to MacDowall due to zero visibility in the area, as well as icy roads.Drivers were also asked to stay off Highway 7 from Delisle to Fiske, running through Rosetown.In southern Saskatchewan, drivers were asked to avoid Highway 21 near Cypress Hills Provincial Park due to drifting snow and icy conditions.The travel advisories were later expanded to include Highway 2 and Highway 41 around Wakaw.The Ministry of Highways warned drivers conditions can change rapidly and drivers should remain cautious.
Europe's drugs watchdog said on Thursday it expects to receive the first application for conditional marketing approval for a COVID-19 vaccine "in the coming days", the latest step towards making a shot available outside the United States. The European Medicines Agency (EMA) did not name the company it expects to file the application, but Pfizer Inc and BioNTEch are the most advanced in the regulatory process among the three companies that have published late-stage trial data for their vaccines. The companies applied on Nov. 20 for U.S. approval and the UK said it has asked its medical regulator to assess the vaccine for its suitability.
TORONTO — Torstar Corp. says it has sold digital advertising technology developed by its subsidiary, Eyereturn Marketing Inc., to Loblaw Companies Ltd.Financial terms of the agreement were not immediately available.Loblaw says the deal complements and strengthens Loblaw Media, its full-service digital marketing agency launched in 2019.The grocery and drug store retailer says the new technology and expertise will help Loblaw Media connect brands and consumers online through targeted ad campaigns and promotions. Loblaw says it will also will reduce the company's reliance on third-party media technology.Loblaw has more than 1,050 grocery stores and nearly 1,400 Shoppers Drug Mart and Pharmaprix locations.———Torstar holds an investment in The Canadian Press as part of a joint agreement with subsidiaries of the Globe and Mail and Montreal's La Presse. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 26, 2020.Companies in this story: (TSX:L)The Canadian Press
Few students have been in class in Deer Lake this week, as anxiety levels remain high over COVID-19 despite public health officials and the premier urging parents to stay calm.Elwood Elementary closed Monday and Tuesday after a student tested positive for COVID-19, the first case in Newfoundland and Labrador's school system. But barely anyone showed up to the two other schools in the town that remained open on those days.Only 10 of about 280 students at Xavier Junior High showed up for class on Tuesday, and only 10 out of 230 attended Elwood Regional High School the same day.Xavier Junior High student Kara Pinksen, 11 was among those who stayed home the first two days of the week. Pinksen said there were only four other students in her class on Wednesday, instead of the usual 24."It was really stressful because I didn't know what to think of it," Pinksen told CBC News on Wednesday, after finishing school for the day."I think everything is going well, and we're still having classes as normal."She said she has to be extra cautious now that COVID-19 is close to home, adding she knows two people in her community — a friend and the mother of the friend — who tested positive and are currently isolating."I feel like some people are a bit more cautious and are super careful. Some people are quarantined again and self-isolating to make sure that they didn't catch it. Then there's some other people that don't think much of it and they have to make sure they still wear their mask and everything," she said. "I have a feeling that it's all going to be fine, but I know that we still have to be careful and everything."On Wednesday, Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Janice Fitzgerald said everybody in the affected cohort from Elwood Elementary has been tested and there have been no other positive cases found in that group. The school reopened Wednesday, with the one class affected remaining at home with virtual learning in place.'Take a deep breath'In the face of increased absenteeism, Premier Andrew Furey —who is also the MHA for district that includes Deer Lake — asked parents to remain calm, saying COVID-19 protocols in place for schools have proven to have worked over the last few days. "I think that people should be reassured that isolating cohorts within schools work, and it will allow a continued, orderly, calm approach to education and life with COVID-19," Furey said during Wednesday's COVID-19 briefing. Furey said he, too, would feel the same anxiety as the parents who are trying to navigate COVID-19 clusters in their communities while preparing their kids for school. Furey, who has three school-aged children, wants parents to take comfort in public health's protocols keeping people safe and being the "envy" of the rest of the country."They have the results to prove it," said Furey."Just be calm and public health officials will be in contact with you if they need to. If you don't hear from them then your contacts didn't need to be traced. But, if you're fearful, and you feel like your child is developing symptoms, always reach out to 811 to seek advice."Elsewhere in the province parents are also choosing to keep their kids home from school.At Fatima Academy in St. Bride's, a spokesperson from the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District confirmed there was "low" attendance on Wednesday but didn't provide specifics "due to the size of the school."Furey said he couldn't speak to specific families, but again reiterated COVID-19 protocols in schools have been working. "I think people not sending their children to school, they should pause and take a deep breath, and I understand their anxieties, but they should have every confidence in Dr. Fitzgerald and her public health team that have proven, that have earned their stripes, that they implemented these protocols with the safety of children as the number on priority," he said. Schools prepared for virtual learningNLESD CEO Tony Stack echoed the premier's comments.Stack told CBC News the NLESD has had great communication with public health and continues to follow the advice provided to them. Stack said Dr. Fitzgerald told the NLESD there would be "bumps in the road along the way" but the school district is confident with where things stand that it isn't necessary to alter school operations.Schools are ready to move to online learning if necessary, Stack said, and the affected class at Elwood Elementary has already shifted to virtual learning. "We get stronger and stronger every day in preparation. Our schools are prepared to pivot. We've practiced this, we've got professional learning behind it," he said. Stack said Chromebooks are beginning roll out to students. The laptops were ordered ahead of the start of the new school year in case classes shift online for students in Grade 7 to Grade 12. He said the school district is hopeful the laptops will be distributed before the Christmas break.Read more articles from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
ATHENS, Greece — Greece said Thursday that neighbour Turkey has so far refused to take action requested by the European Union to avoid sanctions from the bloc.Government spokesman Stelios Petsas said ongoing Turkish offshore gas exploration in the eastern Mediterranean has undermined efforts to restart talks on a longstanding sea boundary dispute, which has escalated military tension between the two NATO members and regional rivals.“Europe is not naive,” Petsas said Thursday. “Turkey received the opportunity and the time to change course. It chose not to do so.”EU leaders on Dec. 10-11 will meet to discuss a range of issues, including external relations and the ongoing dispute between Turkey and EU member states Greece and Cyprus.Athens says a warship-escorted survey ship that Turkey has sent into waters between the three countries is operating in areas where Greece has offshore exploitation rights. Greece sent its own naval vessels to monitor the Turkish ships' movements. Cyprus is also angry with Turkish offshore prospecting and drilling in waters round the island where Nicosia claims exclusive economic rights.Ankara says it has every right to engage in its activities.On Oct. 1, EU leaders said they would consider sanctions at the December meeting “in case of renewed unilateral actions or provocations in breach of international law.”Turkey argues that the EU has unfairly sided with Greece and Cyprus in the dispute. A senior aide to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with top EU officials in Brussels last week, maintaining that his government remained willing to restart talks with Greece.The Associated Press
SHERBROOKE – If a good deal of politics is learning how to soothe savage breasts, then a background in music wouldn’t be the worst thing a budding municipal councillor could offer. Courtney Mailman, the new district one councillor in the Municipality of the District of St. Mary’s, says staff and colleagues could not have been more accommodating. “I have a lot to learn, but I’ve really enjoyed it so far. I’ve been doing some municipal training, and the councillors who were already there have been very helpful and willing to share their knowledge.” That’s a good thing for the music therapy graduate from Acadian University and current Recreation Director at High-Crest Sherbrooke nursing home. Otherwise, she might have had to pull out her guitar or roll in her piano. “I also sing,” she laughs. Mailman is one of four rookie councillors who were either acclaimed (as she, Greg Wier and James Fuller were) or elected (as Charlene Zinck was) into office in the October municipal election. Her reasons for throwing her hat into the ring are clear. “Being a municipal councillor is a new role for me and I am excited and eager to take on this new challenge,” she says. “My main priority is to get to know the people and businesses in my district, to hear their ideas and concerns and to represent them to the best of my ability. Integrity and transparency are important to me and I plan to work hard for my community. I look forward to partnering with other committees and agencies for the betterment of the Municipality of St. Mary’s.” She comes by these commitments honestly enough. Born in Halifax and raised in towns and communities across the province, the 37-year-old’s parents emphasized the importance of giving back. “My dad always told me not to complain about something if I’m not going to do anything about it,” she says. “He always said that if I wanted change, I should jump in and be a part of that.” To this end, perhaps, she’s worked for The Salvation Army as a community services liaison in Kentville, where a big part of her job was advocating for clients and building community partnerships. She also administered its food bank and Christmas hamper programs. “Plus, my family has fostered children since I was 15 and I had always been very involved and invested in the children who came to stay in our home,” she says. Sure, but why local politics now? Between her job and volunteering, her husband Kyle and their dog Tillie, it’s not as if she hasn’t enough to do. “Believe it or not, I wanted to take a more active role,” she says. “I want to be a voice for the people in my district, in the development of our community.” And in these fractured times just about everywhere, that might be music to many ears. Alec Bruce, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Guysborough Journal
Some New Brunswickers can expect light snow and freezing rain on Thursday.Environment Canada issued a special weather statement earlier this morning for central and northwestern parts of the province. They include: * Campbellton and Restigouche County * Edmundston and Madawaska County * Grand Falls and Victoria County * Mount Carleton * Stanley, Doaktown and Blackville area * Woodstock and Carleton CountyIn central New Brunswick, periods of light freezing rain or rain will start this afternoon and continue overnight."Although amounts are expected to be light, over high terrain, the freezing rain could last several hours," the national weather agency said in a statement.Meanwhile, the northwestern regions will see light snow or freezing rain in the afternoon. This will change to light freezing rain or rain in the evening. "Precipitation is expected to change to showers after midnight," Environment Canada said."In some localities, especially over high terrain, several hours of freezing rain is likely.
Katrina Long knows the pain of losing a loved one to opioids. Her 54-year-old mother, Josephine Mavis Isaac, died from a fentanyl overdose."I hold a lot of grief and guilt about my mom's passing," Long said, fighting off tears."I think I could have done more if I had done something differently."Long said her mother dealt with an alcohol addiction for years, but that escalated to harder drugs after her mom started dating a new man.Long said her mom broke her arm about three years ago and tried her boyfriend's prescription pain medication. She then became addicted to hydromorphone — an opioid used to treat severe pain — and eventually became an intravenous drug user.Long, who has two young kids, said things quickly went downhill after that, especially when the pandemic started.She said her mom ended up getting a total of $6,000 in COVID-19 financial assistance that she didn't qualify for and it basically went to drugs.She died from an overdose within three months.Hope instantly ripped awayLong said she deals with anxiety, which was magnified by her mom's addiction and overdose."I think the hardest thing, when you're dealing with somebody who is dealing with addiction, is that in the back of your mind you always have hope that they'll get better. So, when they pass, that hope is instantly ripped away," she said. Long said dealing with the aftermath has also taken a toll on her and her family."We weren't able to be with [mom] because of COVID, so I wanted to go to the hospital because she was being taken for an autopsy — but we weren't able to see her," she said.It ended up taking about two weeks until she could see her mom, because of pandemic restrictions."The biggest challenge, and what we were scared of, was that we weren't going to be able to say goodbye like we had wanted to," she said.Then there was the daunting task of planning an unexpected funeral during a pandemic, along with going through her mom's house — the place where she died.Long said she had help from her sisters and aunt, but there are many people who aren't as fortunate."We're really lucky that we have each other as a support system because without them it would be definitely really hard, she said.4 suspected overdose deaths in 1 dayFour men — all in their thirties — died from suspected drug overdoses in Regina on Monday.They were all found in different places at different times. Investigators don't think they're connected, police say, aside from fentanyl being believed to be involved in each case."My heart breaks for the families because I know what they're going to be going through," said Long."They're most likely going to feel that they were cheated on their goodbye to their loved ones." The names of the men have not been made public, but Long has a message to their families, along with every other family who has lost a loved one to an overdose."Stick close with your family, get help, go talk to somebody if you need to talk to somebody, because all of the emotions that are going to come up can be a lot for somebody to handle," she said."Don't be scared to ask for help and don't do everything by yourself. Reach out to the people [who] are offering to help because they're going to be your biggest supporters."Long also has advice for people with loved ones who are struggling with addiction."Reach out to them, try to help them, talk to them as much as you can," she said."It has to be the person who wants to make the change, but you can always make sure they know that you love them and just be as supportive as you can."Overdoses more than quadruple in 2020There have been 93 apparent drug overdose deaths in Regina this year — 16 of which happened in November — compared to 21 in all of 2019."I think the numbers obviously reflect that the province has a problem and that the resources that are available aren't enough," said Long.She said she wants to see more supervised consumption sites in the province. The only one is currently in Saskatoon, but it does not receive government funding.Long said she also wants to see a restructuring of provincial rehab facilities and detox programs.She said her mom went to detox and rehab on several occasions, but the treatment never stuck. Long said there was almost always a wait time to get her mom help."When an addict is ready for help, they need help now," she said."They don't need help in 48 hours, or a week, because by that time they most likely went back to using because detoxing is scary."She also wants more compassion not just from the government, but from the community as well."My mom wasn't just a statistic. She was a person and she had tons of people that loved her," she said, noting that a lot of people with addictions are struggling with mental illness or trauma."People just need to be more understanding of people's circumstances and addiction can happen to anybody. It could be your son or daughter, mom or dad, who are dealing with this and try to put yourself in the family's shoes."Province says it is 'taking action'In an emailed statement, the province said it's "taking action to address opioid-related overdoses and deaths."The budget announced in June includes about $1.55 million to establish a new crystal meth treatment facility in Estevan, although the centre may treat people for other addictions as well, according to the statement.The province is also spending more than $1.7 million to fund 28 new detox beds in Regina, Saskatoon, Moose Jaw, Prince Albert, North Battleford and "other potential locations."More than $800,000 is going toward hiring addiction workers in Regina, Saskatoon and Prince Albert.The province has also implemented programs aimed at helping people with addictions, like Take Home Naloxone —which has already distributed more than 5,400 kits so far the year, the statement says — along with Rapid Access Addictions Medicine program, Mental Health and Addiction Services and HealthLine 811.
Reaction from various sectors to Saskatchewan's newly announced COVID-19 restrictions ranges from disappointment to criticism of "half measures" to a grudging acknowledgment that something had to be done.The latest measures to fight the spread of the coronavirus, which were announced Wednesday and come into effect Friday, include suspending sports competitions, further limiting gatherings at restaurants and in places of worship, discouraging gatherings beyond immediate households and encouraging mask use for younger children.The new provincial rules suspend "all team/group sports, activities, games, competitions, recitals, practices, etc. … including amateur and recreational leagues for all groups."Kelly McClintock, general manager of the Saskatchewan Hockey Association, said the government advised athletics organizations in the province to re-examine their return-to-play guidelines starting last week, so the decision to suspend all games came as a surprise."We assumed that there would be some more restrictive guidelines put in place this week," he said. "We didn't assume that we'd be shut down completely.… It's disappointing."The new measures do say that athletes under the age of 18 can continue to practise, as long as they're masked, physically distanced, and in a group no larger than eight.McClintock says that will be difficult to actually do under the new regulations."Most teams are anywhere from 12 to 20 players … so I'm not sure how many people will actually take advantage of that from a team perspective," he said. Bob Reindl, executive director of Saskatchewan Athletics, said young track and field athletes will face similar challenges. "Right now in Saskatoon they only have an hour to practise anyways," he said. "So you can only have eight people, and it usually takes an hour for 30 kids to go through. It's going to be difficult."Despite those challenges, Reindl said suspending sports was simply the right thing to do. "It had to be done," he said. "There's no doubt about it. The numbers are high, the government had to do something, and we knew it was coming. Both Alberta and Manitoba already shut down sports in their provinces."Until team sports resume, McClintock is worried about how children will cope with one less outlet to keep fit and spend time with friends. There are over 20,000 minor hockey athletes alone in the province, he said."Kids need the activity from a mental health perspective and a physical health perspective," he said. "Now, that's going to be cut down, and that's the disappointing part." 'Have to be some education' on masks: daycareWednesday's new measures also extend mandatory, non-medical masking to all students, employees and visitors in schools and daycares. Children under three are exempt, but those between the ages of three and 12 should wear a mask if they are able to, the new rules say.Nancy Lautner, executive director of Tykes and Tots Early Learning Centre in Saskatoon, says the guideline threads the needle between keeping kids healthy and not setting a bar that would be impossible for them to meet. "I do appreciate that the province worded the masking policy for the young children the way they did, in terms of saying very young children should wear a mask if they are able to," she said."Some of our three to five year olds are certainly capable of wearing a mask and they won't have an issue with it, but some are not. So I appreciate that they've left that leniency." At Tykes and Tots, students in the before- and after-school programs have already been wearing masks, as have staff members.Now, it will be a matter of educating the younger children on how to mask up — but early childhood educators are experts on teaching hygiene to kids."There will certainly have to be some education that staff will have to do, in the same way that they educate about washing your hands and sneezing into your elbow and things like that," said Lautner. 'Each business is in limbo'Restaurants and licensed establishments such as bars and nightclubs will now have to limit their seating to four people per table, and will also have to maintain a record of all their guests.Shawn Moen, a co-founder of 9 Mile Legacy Brewing in Saskatoon, says the limited financial support in the face of increasing public health restrictions have posed a challenge to his business. "Traffic has slowed significantly," he wrote on Twitter. "We are allowed to stay open (and I'm grateful for the operational flexibility) but our customers are being told to stay home. The result has been a slowdown."And he says programs like the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) and Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS), which are intended to help businesses cover wages and rent, are insufficient."Many public-facing businesses won't have sufficient support from these programs, don't have experiences and products that are portable and will be faced with voluntarily closing due to lack of business or safety concerns," he said. If businesses are forced to shut down by a qualifying public health order, they qualify for additional support through CERS. But for now, in Saskatchewan, restaurants and bars are allowed to stay open. "Each business is in limbo right now [and] they are being asked to close pre-emptively and risk ineligibility for supports or stay open and keep bleeding financially," said Moen. Nurses union 'utterly disappointed'In a statement released on Twitter Wednesday afternoon, the Saskatchewan Union of Nurses criticized the new COVID restrictions for not going far enough, saying its membership is "utterly disappointed" with "half measures."SUN says the limited measures, as opposed to a full "circuit-breaker" lockdown, are not enough to contain the virus and will lead to greater economic disruption and loss of life in the week ahead.