Fozzie shows his owner how he escaped the gate earlier in the day. So smart!
Fozzie shows his owner how he escaped the gate earlier in the day. So smart!
WILMINGTON, Del. — President-elect Joe Biden's pick to lead the Office of Management and Budget is quickly emerging as a political battle that could disrupt his efforts to swiftly fill out his administration.Some Republicans are expressing doubt that Neera Tanden could be confirmed by the Senate after she spent years attacking GOP lawmakers on social media — and many panned the choice.Arkansas Republican Sen. Tom Cotton claimed Tanden’s rhetoric was “Filled with hate & guided by the woke left.”Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn said Tanden's “combative and insulting comments" about Republican senators created “certainly a problematic path." He called her “maybe (Biden's) worst nominee so far" and “radioactive.”Potential Budget Committee Chair Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., was less hostile, telling reporters, “Let's see what happens." Moderate Susan Collins, R-Maine, a target of Tanden's, said, “I do not know her or much about her, but I've heard she's a very prolific user of Twitter.”Such sentiment is notable considering the GOP's general reluctance to criticize President Donald Trump's broadsides on Twitter. But like all of Biden's nominees, Tanden has little margin for error as she faces confirmation in a closely divided Senate.That could be especially daunting for Tanden, the former adviser to Hillary Clinton and the president of the centre-left Center for American Progress, given her history of political combat.Biden's transition team released a litany of praise for Tanden from figures including Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams.Other Democrats also rushed to defend Tanden's nomination. Former Obama aide Valerie Jarrett said Tanden “grew up on welfare and lived in public housing. She experienced first hand the importance of our social programs. Her extraordinary career has been devoted to improving opportunities for working families. She is an excellent choice to lead OMB.”“Neera Tanden is smart, experienced, and qualified for the position of OMB Director,” added Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown, a member of the party’s progressive wing. “The American people decisively voted for change - Mitch McConnell shouldn’t block us from having a functioning government that gets to work for the people we serve.”On the Senate floor, Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said it's impossible to take Republicans' criticism of Tanden seriously.“Honestly, the hypocrisy is astounding. If Republicans are concerned about criticism on Twitter, their complaints are better directed at President Trump,” Schumer said.At OMB, Tanden would be responsible for preparing Biden’s budget submission and would command several hundred budget analysts, economists and policy advisers with deep knowledge of the inner workings of the government.If Democrats should win runoff elections for Georgia’s two GOP-held Senate seats, Tanden’s job would become hugely important because the party would gain a slim majority in the chamber. That would allow them to pass special budget legislation that could roll back Trump’s tax cuts, boost the Affordable Care Act and pursue other spending goals. OMB would have a central role in such legislation.Top Democrats, Biden included, supported anti-deficit packages earlier in their careers, but the party has since changed. Biden was a force behind the establishment of the Obama deficit commission, which was created to win votes of Democratic moderates to pass an increase in the government’s borrowing cap and was chaired by former Clinton White House chief of staff Erskine Bowles.Tanden shares a commonly held view among Democratic lawmakers that Republicans usually profess concerns about deficits only when Democrats are in power, pointing to tax cut packages passed in the opening year of Trump’s administration and former President George W. Bush’s 2001 tax cut.___Taylor reported from Washington.Zeke Miller And Andrew Taylor, The Associated Press
What happens when you’ve just returned to your remote community with your newborn? Or if something comes up during your pregnancy and it’s the middle of the night? Where do you go for support? To help answer some of those very questions, First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) launched a ‘Maternity and Babies Advice Line’ for Indigenous families in B.C., available 24-7. “With babies and moms, things can happen anytime,” says Dr. Unjali Malhotra, medical director for women’s health at FNHA. FNHA worked with Rural Community Coordination to provide a service to help pregnant and new parents, guardians, and caregivers of newborns. Both family members and health care providers can receive support via the advice line. Doctors will provide advice on urgent and non-urgent maternal and child health topics, Malhotra says, which can include pregnancy, birth, newborn, and postpartum care. The doctors can also arrange referrals to obstetricians or pediatricians, if needed. “I come from a rural community,” says Malhotra, who grew up in Cree/Dene territory, in Northern Saskatchewan. “It's really near and dear to my heart that rural remote communities have equitable access to care, and that’s often not the case, particularly with COVID-19.” Approximately 30 per cent of Indigenous people in B.C. live in rural areas, according to 2016 census highlights, and while Zoom may be popular during this pandemic, 75 per cent of Indigenous communities in B.C. do not have the basic standards of the internet, according to First Nations Technology Council. “It can be very scary for moms and families and communities to have pregnancy concerns or newborn concerns, and potentially no services available to them,” Malhotra adds. The goal was an advice line that offered exceptional service, which includes making it accessible and culturally-safe, she says. “We spoke to as many providers that we knew that offer culturally-safe care, and that were also experts in primary care and obstetrics. We have family doctors who are also obstetricians, and midwives answering the phones,” she explains. The advice line is set up as a triad delivery service, which means people access it with their care provider. The primary care provider sets up an appointment with the advice-line doctor, and attends the appointment with the patient.” “The provider in the community can be your midwife, your doula, your family, doctor, or a traditional healer, whoever is important to you and leading within your community,” says Malhotra. “We would, of course take any call, because the number is publicly available through phone or zoom, but we prefer to have a provider with that patient. What if someone doesn’t have the internet, or a device? “We also have a phone number,” says Malhotra. “So if someone doesn't have wifi or connectivity, they can certainly phone in.” And what if someone doesn’t have minutes on their phone? “That’s our next step,” says Malhotra. She explains the idea was planted in May, funding came quickly, and the team were able to get the advice line up and running by August, but there’s room for growth. “Our next steps, I don’t know in what order yet, would be text and patient direct contact,” she adds. The majority of the providers that participants would connect with work in rural and remote communities, says Malhotra. “Many we have are in First Nations communities and we deliberately invited the providers one by one that we knew are currently offering culturally safe care within their communities,” she explains. “We spoke to as many providers that we knew that offer culturally-safe care, that were also experts in primary care and obstetrics.” Most providers have more than 10 years experience within their communities, and are beloved in their communities, she explains, which is an important aspect of meaningful support. \----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Our series on reproductive health access is made possible in part with funding from First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) and Thunderbird Partnership Foundation. Their support does not imply endorsement of or influence over the content produced.Odette Auger, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Discourse
CANOE COVE – For three-year-old Jake Kislingbury, it sure is good to be home from the hospital. "He was just petrified for such a long time," his mother Verity said. The Canoe Cove boy started having bad headaches in May. He was soon airlifted to the IWK Health Centre in Halifax due to a rare, aggressive form of cancer called Burkitt lymphoma, which had spread so rapidly from his sinuses it's left him permanently blind. Jake, the son of Verity and Dave Kislingbury, had to stay at the hospital from May to October, and he and his family still have a long road ahead. So, in support of the Kislingburys, the community is using its annual Christmas event to raise funds for their neighbours this December. "That's what the community is here for," neighbour Chrys Jenkins said. This marks Chrys and Doreen Jenkins' 10th year hosting the Drive-Thru Living Nativity at their farmhouse in Canoe Cove. Organizers welcome everyone to witness the Jenkins' Christmas light display and nativity scene – complete with farm animals and in-character volunteers – from the comfort of their vehicles Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 5:30 to 8 p.m. each night. Plans for the drive-thru nativity started in September and there will be a few differences from past years, such as the addition of Santa and his sleigh. "Instead of the (usual) choir," Doreen said, "because of COVID." Jake and Verity got to check out the sleigh in advance of the event. Jake would often hold his mother's hand while walking around, and he had a fun time meeting the Jenkins' animals, playing with his toys and chatting it up as any three-year-old would. "He's gained his character back," Verity said. "We lost that for a while." During his time in the hospital, there were many nights where she would have to sleep in his bed to help comfort him. He clutched to his parents' promise that they would get him and his brother, William, a dog after treatment, which they'd train as a service dog, Verity said. "That's what got him through," she said. "It was tough." "But we got through," Jake said, unprompted, in response to his mother. The Kislingburys had volunteered with the drive-thru nativity for several years before and are grateful for the Jenkins' generosity in hosting it. All freewill donations will go toward general expenses incurred from Jake's treatment, and possibly toward a trust fund for his future. "It's a whole life change for all of us, really," Verity said. Twitter.com/dnlbrown95Daniel Brown, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Guardian
No matter what's been thrown their way, organizers of this year's Jasper Santas Anonymous program are doing their best to see that families have food and gifts to enjoy this Christmas season. This year, more families than ever will be accessing Santas Anonymous due to the COVID-19 pandemic contributing to more unemployment, isolation and financial stress. Pattie Pavlov, general manager of Jasper Park Chamber of Commerce, said this year, as many as 100 families are participating. In years past, it has hovered around the 70, 80 point. She and Ashley Chorley, operations manager with Chamber, are working with "the new and different nuances" that have been presented by the COVID pandemic. With COVID as one of the primary concerns, they wondered how they would get items to families safely, Pavlov said. "It's very important that we adhere to COVID (protocol), in collecting and distributing the items donated," she said. "We did consult with the Edmonton Santas Anonymous group. We were on the right track. We just wanted to confirm we were doing this properly. It was a learning experience." Chorley some items, including fabric, plush items, plastics and toys have to be put in isolation to discourage COVID transmission. For example, she said, plastic items have to sit for about 72 hours and plush items for a week, which complicates packaging them. Fortunately, with a list of families in the program already started, she and Pavlov can organize items by group. Some of the usually-held get-togethers have been cancelled, including Skate with Santa at Mildred Lake, and a photo opportunity with Santa at Bearhill Lodge. Pavlov said, “With the (allowable) gathering of 10, how are you going to restart the number of families? Pieces of the puzzle just don't come together." But other plans are coming together: the Mitten Line fundraiser at TGP, for example. At the grocery store, mittens are available at the cash registers with values of $10, $20, $50 and $100 with proceeds going to Santas Anonymous. "Some people have already purchased mittens and we're excited about that,” Pavlov said. Shoppers at TGP can also designate a portion of the money paid for groceries to the campaign at the time of purchase. Then there's The Snowball Fight. "We cut out a quantity of snowballs and we are giving them to banks specifically, and encouraging them to compete against others - a friendly competition," Pavlov said. "We're asking them to be creative with their displays." Folks can purchase a snowball for whatever amount they choose, with proceeds going to Santas Anonymous. The pastry team at Jasper Park Lodge has also added to the festive mix of fundraisers. Pavlov said they created an “absolutely unbelievable” gingerbread cottage to be raffled off. The detail in the house is something to behold - there are books on bookshelves, the inside of the log cabin lights up, and there's a pond outside with cattails along the shore. “It's big and so beautiful," Pavlov said. The masterpiece is on display at the Santas Anonymous Facebook page and tickets can be purchased at $5 apiece from Jasper Community Team Society board members. "As has been the tradition since Santa's Anonymous started," Pavlov noted, "there have been collection boxes placed throughout town. Anything you want to support Santas Anonymous with can be done through donations - toys, toques, mitts." Sites include Pharmasave, IDA Rx Drug Mart, Jasper General Store, Ransom, the Jasper Library and Nesters Market. Pavlov said the Chamber will also accept donations at Robson House. "Give us a call and we'll grab it (where it has been safely left),” she said. “I'd also encourage people to bring gift cards.” Another way to donate in a contactless way is via e-transfer to email@example.com. The winning ticket for the gingerbread house will be drawn on Dec. 17. Proceeds from the Snowball Fight and Mitten Line fundraisers will be announced on Dec. 22.Joanne McQuarrie, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Jasper Fitzhugh
SAN DIEGO — The Navy said Monday that it will decommission a warship docked off San Diego after suspected arson this summer caused extensive damage, making it too expensive to restore.Fully repairing the USS Bonhomme Richard to warfighting capabilities would cost $2.5 billion to $3 billion and take five to seven years, said Rear Adm. Eric H. Ver Hage of the Navy Regional Maintenance Center.The amphibious assault ship burned for more than four days in July and was the Navy’s worst U.S. warship fire outside of combat in recent memory. The ship was left with extensive structural, electrical and mechanical damage.Restoring the 22-year-old ship for another use, perhaps as a hospital, would take almost as long as full restoration and cost $1 billion. Decommissioning the ship will take nine months to a year and cost $30 million, Ver Hage said.“We did not come to this decision lightly,” Navy Secretary Kenneth J. Braithwaite said. “Following an extensive material assessment in which various courses of action were considered and evaluated, we came to the conclusion that it is not fiscally responsible to restore her."Navy officials and industry experts studied the cost and schedule with an eye toward “the art of the possible,” Ver Hage told reporters. They considered the impact that restoration would have on other spending priorities.“The dollars definitely would disrupt our strategy for investment,” Ver Hage said.Arson is suspected in the July 12 fire, and a U.S. Navy sailor was questioned as a potential suspect, a senior defence official said in late August.The sailor was questioned as part of the investigation by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, an official with knowledge of the investigation said in August. The official spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity to provide details not yet made public. The sailor was not detained.Ver Hage declined to comment Monday on the status of several investigations and he didn't give a timeline for their completion, saying they "will conclude when the time is right.”Ver Hage said about 60% of the ship would likely need to be replaced to have it fully restored, including the flight deck, mast and many levels directly below the flight deck.The ship will likely be decommissioned in San Diego. Crew members will be notified of reassignment.The Bonhomme Richard was nearing the end of a two-year upgrade estimated to cost $250 million when the fire started.About 160 sailors and officers were on board when the flames sent up a huge plume of dark smoke from the 840-foot (256-meter) amphibious assault vessel, which had been docked at Naval Base San Diego while undergoing the upgrade.Firefighters attacked the flames inside the ship while firefighting vessels with water cannons directed streams of seawater into the ship and helicopters made water drops.More than 60 sailors and civilians were treated for minor injuries, heat exhaustion and smoke inhalation.Lawrence B. Brennan, a retired Navy captain and adjunct professor of law at Fordham Law School, said the decision to decommission was “inevitable and correct.”Aside from the ship's extensive damage and advanced age, evidence would have to be preserved for any prosecution, delaying repair work, he said. Defence attorneys would be entitled to examine the wreck for expert witnesses to testify at trial.Elliot Spagat, The Associated Press
Edmonton's tourism and convention authority is asking the city for nearly $22 million next year, up from $8.5 million earmarked in the current budget. The group is also asking for $18.8 million in 2022 and $14.5 million in 2023 to help it navigate fallout from COVID-19 pandemic. Explore Edmonton, a rebranded version of the Edmonton Economic Development Corporation, operates the Convention Centre and Expo Centre. Maggie Davison, interim CEO of Explore Edmonton, presented the request to council's executive committee Monday at city hall. She said the industry has taken a huge hit with no events, concerts or festivals this year. "COVID-19 has completely devastated the tourism, hospitality and events sectors," Davison said. "The tourism and events sectors were hit first, will likely be the hardest hit and likely take the longest to recover." After questions about EEDC's role, council agreed last December that the organization should focus on tourism and conventions instead of the overarching economic development of the entire city. Explore Edmonton continues to support Startup Edmonton and TEC Edmonton as they transition to autonomy by the end of the year. To help with that, council agreed to give the group $847,500 on a one-time basis in 2020. Council will discuss the funding request when it starts to debate the fall supplemental budget next week. Accompanying statistics show the organization's expenses are down nearly 50 per cent in 2020 with revenues down 70 per cent. While costs for staffing, food services and operations dropped, fixed costs for insurance, utilities and administration cannot be reduced in proportion to the decline in revenue, the report said. Before COVID-19, Edmonton Convention Centre and Expo Centre operated with a small reserve. With lost revenue in 2020, they now face an $8-million deficit, the report said. In 2019, the two venues contributed a combined $114 million in economic impact, the report said. After 2023, the group estimates it would need $11.7 million a year. Explore Edmonton's mandate is to attract tourists and events to the convention centres. Coun. Scott McKeen said he won't anticipate whether council will approve the funding increase. "I think we are duty-bound to give that real consideration," McKeen said Monday. The tourist economy creates many jobs and spinoffs for the related hospitality and hotel industries, McKeen said. "It's part of what makes a city vibrant is bringing in tourists, it kind of feeds on itself. The more vibrant you are, the more tourists you get." McKeen said he plans to introduce a motion next week asking the province to allow the city to put a local tourism levy — called a visitor assessment — of four per cent on all accommodations. "Four per cent on whatever you're charging per night per room, that would go into this assessment," McKeen said. "And it would go into a pool of funds." Davison said that would raise about $12 million a year. While hotels pay commercial taxes, short-term rentals do not contribute with levies or taxes, McKeen said. The Northlands component The EE is also exploring the option of integrating K-Days and Farmfair International, traditionally hosted by Northlands, into its operations. Peter Male, CEO of Northlands, said K-Days was one of top four fairs in the country in 2019, with 986 volunteers and an economic impact of $75 million. Farmfair had a economic impact of $28 million, one of the three largest agriculture events in the country. Male said his team is also looking at other programs that may affect the community during and after the pandemic. "This is not going to be an on-off switch," Male told the committee. "We don't know what capacity we can get to with the events — the events were cancelled this year and there is some risk they could be cancelled next year." @natashariebe
Veteran defender David Edgar, who turned heads with a highlight-reel goal for Newcastle United as a teenager and went on to captain Canada, has announced his retirement effective the end of the year.The 33-year-old from Kitchener, Ont., is currently with Canadian Premier League champion Forge FC in the Dominican Republic for Tuesday's Scotiabank CONCACAF League quarterfinal against Haiti's Arcahaie FC in Santo Domingo.A Forge win Tuesday would mark Edgar's swansong. Should the team lose, he could play in one final game — a play-in match later in December to gain entry into the 2021 CONCACAF Champions League.The six-foot-three centre back won 42 caps for Canada, making his senior debut in February 2011 against Greece, and captained his county five times. His last appearance was in a friendly against New Zealand in Spain in March 2018.At the club level, Edgar left Canada at 14 to join Newcastle's youth setup. The seventh Canadian to feature in the Premier League, he made his debut in England's top tier on Dec. 26, 2006, against Bolton. The 19-year-old made his mark just days later with a long-range rocket in a 2-2 tie with Manchester United on Jan. 1, 2007.Edgar went on to make more than 100 appearances for Burnley, also playing for Birmingham City in England with loan spells at Swansea, Huddersfield Town and Sheffield United. He returned to North America in 2016 to play for the Vancouver Whitecaps, Nashville SC and Ottawa Fury.While with the Whitecaps, he underwent surgery In January 2017 to repair the posterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments as well as the meniscus in his right knee after being hit by a car on holiday in Scottsdale, Ariz., in December 2016. "It's been quite an uphill battle since my injury in 2016," he said Monday evening from the Dominican Republic. "I wasn't really supposed to play again and to have the career I've had post-injury is something I'm quite proud of."It wasn't a decision taken lightly but I think if I look back, it's been in the making for a while. I'm 33. I've done quite a bit in the game for a kid from Kitchener, Ontario. It's just pretty special to me to able to finish it in a league that's in my home country that I'm so incredibly proud of. At my age it's time for that league to be used for the youngsters coming through and if I can play a part in helping them in any way, then I've done my job as a Canadian player."After a short stint with England's Hartlepool, he signed on with Forge in August 2019, helping the Hamilton side to back-to-back CPL titles.Canada coach John Herdman, who worked with Edgar in his first camp in charge of the, Canadian men, called Edgar "a real leader of men."“What stood out was his selflessness and willingness to support those young players coming through the system, but at the same time to give everything he had on and off the field to be ready to compete for his country,” he added.Forge head coach Bobby Smyrniotis also paid tribute to Edgar."He's been an integral part of this team," he said. "This is one big family, one big tight-knit group. And he's been a big part of that since he walked into the team."Edgar has made 26 appearances (23 starts) with Forge, including 21 in CPL play and five CONCACAF League matches. Edgar represented Canada in three FIFA World Cup qualifying cycles and two CONCACAF Gold Cups as well as CONCACAF Nations League qualifying. He was third in voting as a nominee for the Canadian Player of the Year Award in 2014.He scored international goals against Cuba, Jamaica, Uzbekistan and El Salvador, adding three assists in Canadian colours.At the international youth level, Edgar was a Canadian U-20 Player of the Year Award winner in 2006. Edgar was 15 when he made his debut in the Canadian youth program with coach Ray Clark and was the first Canadian selected to three FIFA U-20 World Cups, starting with UAE 2003 when Canada reached the quarterfinals.On his 19th birthday — May 19, 2006 — he scored the opening goal in a 2-1 win over Brazil in Edmonton, Canada’s first victory at the men’s youth level against the South American powerhouse.Edgar is currently enrolled in the National Teams Education Program, which supports the coach education of its current and former national team players.Staying with Forge in an off-field role is "a conversation for another day," he said."I'm looking forward to spending Christmas with my family as a retired footballer."\---Follow @NeilMDavidson on Twitter This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2020Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press
MONTREAL — A provincial commission looking into the protection of vulnerable children in Quebec recommended on Monday the appointment of a youth-protection director to oversee the entire provincial system.The Laurent Commission released a preliminary report Monday after the COVID-19 pandemic delayed its final report, initially due today, until April 2021.The proposed provincial director of youth protection would act as a "guardian angel" and would have a role similar to that of a deputy minister, providing some consistency in how cases are handled across the province.The commission found that the proportion of youth protection cases that are before the courts can vary from 30 per cent to 70 per cent from one region to another, suggesting the interpretation of the law needs to be clarified.Having a director in place would mean they'd be better able to act on the numerous recommendations expected in her report due next year, said Regine Laurent, a nurse and former union leader who is heading the commission.The commissioners recommend that the best interests of children should be at the heart of all interventions made by youth protection. Laurent says that means the child must be talked to about their present situation and their future, and their rights must be respected.The special commission was sparked by the 2019 death of a seven-year-old girl from Granby, Que., after she was found in critical condition in her family home, even though she had been the subject of reports to the youth protection department.However, Laurent's mandate was open-ended, casting a wide net on the system and how users navigate it.Among the recommendations outlined Monday was that youth protection do better in dealing with Black and Indigenous youth, with services better adapted to the realities of those communities. Laurent deplored the over-representation of these families in the youth protection system.She also had positive words for those in the network who are overworked and under tremendous pressure.“The workers are also in distress. They believe that the conditions of practice do not allow them to provide quality services, at the right time and in line with needs," Laurent said.Hearings began in October 2019, and the commission said it has heard from more than 300 witnesses.The commission also held 42 “regional forums” where it heard from more than 2,000 citizens and other stakeholders from across Quebec.In a statement, junior health minister Lionel Carmant said the Coalition Avenir Quebec government intends to act swiftly on the recommendation of a director."The safety and well-being of every child is a top priority for the government," Carmant said. "The creation of a position of national director of youth protection is very interesting and goes in the direction of my reflection."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2020.Lia Levesque, The Canadian Press
The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada (all times Eastern):6:40 p.m.British Columbia health officials say 46 people died from COVID-19 over the weekend, the highest number they have yet reported.The figure brings the total number of deaths in B.C. to 441 and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says about 80 per cent died in long-term care facilities.She says the deaths reflect the challenges COVID-19 is creating and, as we face a “significant storm surge” in cases, she says we need to push back against the virus by continuing to reduce our contacts and stick with our households.Henry also announced a total of 2,364 new cases, including all those diagnosed between Friday and Monday and another 277 historical cases added in a data correction.\---5:45 p.m.Federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu says Johnson & Johnson has submitted its COVID-19 vaccine candidate for Health Canada's approval.It's the fourth potential vaccine sent for assessment in Canada and the first that would require one dose to confer immunity instead of two.Health Canada has been examining vaccine candidates from Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca since October, when those companies sent partial data on their drugs for what's called a "rolling review."If the Johnson & Johnson vaccine meets Health Canada's standards for safety and effectiveness, the Canadian government says it has a deal to buy 10 million doses and an option on up to 28 million more.\---5:45 p.m.Alberta is reporting a new record of daily COVID-19 cases.The province says there are 1,733 new infections — 13 fewer than Ontario announced today.Alberta’s previous high was 1,731 new cases on Saturday.The province says there have also been eight new deaths and 453 people are in hospital, with 96 of those in intensive care.\---3:20 p.m.Health Canada has confirmed that it should be ready to approve another vaccine for COVID-19 before the end of December.Last week, Dr. Supriya Sharma, the chief medical adviser at Health Canada, said the emergency review of Pfizer's vaccine was the most advanced and that Canada should be ready to greenlight it when the U.S. does. That is expected to happen around Dec. 10.Today, a spokesman said other vaccines should also be approved at the same time they are given emergency authorization by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.Moderna today applied for that U.S. approval and the FDA will meet Dec. 17 to consider it, a time frame Health Canada said Canada will also be on track to meet.\---2:10 p.m.Nova Scotia is reporting 16 new cases of COVID-19, bringing its total of active cases to 138.Fifteen of the cases are in the central zone, which includes Halifax, and the other is a school-based case connected to the Northeast Kings Education Centre in Canning, N.S., that was reported on Sunday.Premier Stephen McNeil says there continues to be strong public interest in the asymptomatic pop-up rapid-testing locations around the province.Health officials say 628 tests were administered at the rapid-testing pop-up site in Dartmouth yesterday with six positive results.\---2:05 p.m.Manitoba health officials are reporting 342 new COVID-19 cases and 11 additional deaths. The government enacted strict measures on business openings and public gatherings more than two weeks ago, yet the test positivity rate remains at 13 per cent. The province's chief public health officer, Dr. Brent Roussin, says people have to reduce the number of contacts they have if the numbers are to come down.\---1:25 p.m.The Northwest Territories has confirmed one new case of COVID-19.But the new case will not be included in the territory's tally of infections because the individual contracted the virus before arriving.Chief public health officer Dr. Kami Kandola says one close contact of the non-resident worker, who entered the territory on an exemption, has been identified and is in isolation.Kandola says all high-risk essential workers are now being tested for COVID-19 upon entry to the territory.\---1:20 p.m.Nunavut will start lifting lockdown measures on Wednesday as more people recover from COVID-19.The territory reported four new cases today, bringing the total to 181, and the chief public health officer says 73 people have recovered.Dr. Michael Patterson says only Arviat, which has 86 active cases, will remain in lockdown for at least another two weeks and travel to the community will still be restricted.The territory-wide lockdown was put in place on Nov. 18 and Patterson says restrictions will be reintroduced if another outbreak occurs.\---1:10 p.m.Yukon is offering extra help to tourism-dependent businesses struggling to survive the COVID-19 pandemic.Tourism and Culture Minister Jeanie McLean says $1 million will go to tourism operators and food and beverage businesses that rely on visitors for at least 60 per cent of their revenues.McLean also announced a total of $300,000 for culture and tourism non-profit organizations.She says the two newly created programs are part of a broader funding package for the Yukon tourism industry that will roll out over three years. \---12:52 p.m. Public health officials in Newfoundland and Labrador reported one new case of COVID-19 today.The woman is a close contact of a previously identified travel-related case.Another infection announced Sunday has been found to be travel-related.Newfoundland and Labrador now has 36 active cases of COVID-19, with 338 cases confirmed since the onset of the pandemic.\---12:44 p.m.Public Heath officials in New Brunswick are reporting six new cases of COVID-19 today.There are two cases in the Moncton region, two in the Saint John region, one in the Bathurst region and one in the Fredericton region.The total number of confirmed cases in New Brunswick is 501, including 374 recoveries and seven deaths. The number of active cases is 120 with no one currently hospitalized due to the virus. \---12:12 p.m.The COVID-19 pandemic and a resulting drop in commuter traffic is prompting another refund for Manitoba drivers. The province says it plans to offer rebates of an average of $100 per policy-holder by early in the new year, subject to approval from the Public Utilities Board.Another refund worth an average of $150 was offered earlier this year. The province says a sharp drop in traffic has resulted in fewer collision claims to Crown-owned Manitoba Public Insurance.\---11:10 a.m.Quebec is reporting 1,333 new COVID-19 infections and 23 more deaths linked to the novel coronavirus.The province's Health Department says there are 693 patients hospitalized with COVID-19, 28 more than the previous day.Ninety-four people are in intensive care, an increase of two.Officials say eight deaths were recorded in the previous 24 hours, 14 others were from the last week and one occurred on an unknown date.\---10:40 a.m.Ontario is reporting 1,746 new cases of COVID-19. Eight more people have died due to the virus in the province.Tougher public health restrictions under the provincial framework take effect in five regions today, with Windsor-Essex moving to the strictest level short of a lockdown.Haldimand-Norfolk is moving to the orange level, while Hastings Prince Edward, Lambton and Northwestern are going into the yellow level.\---10:30 a.m.A spokeswoman for the American biotech company Moderna says the first 20 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine will be shipped to the United States next month.Global deliveries, including to Canada, to begin in the first quarter of 2021.It applied to Health Canada for approval in October.\---This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2020.The Canadian PressNote to readers: This is a corrected story. An earlier version said Ontario reported seven death on Monday.
The mayor of the Cape Breton Regional Municipality has a new baby.Amanda McDougall confirmed to CBC News that she gave birth to a son on Saturday evening. McDougall said she, along with her fiancé and stepson, are brimming with love for the new addition. She first spoke of her expanding family last summer while announcing her mayoralty bid. In October, the former first-term councillor and non-profit leader defeated incumbent Cecil Clarke by nearly 4,000 votes. During her run to the mayor's seat, McDougall spoke of chauvinistic attitudes she encountered. Time away with babyEarlene MacMullin, the deputy mayor, will be stepping into McDougall's shoes as she takes time off to be with her family. "Whether it's a week, or two weeks, or a month, between myself and staff [carrying out her duties] … and she's always just a phone call away," said MacMullin."The important thing right now, really, is to give her and her family the time that they need to adjust to the new bundle."MacMullin said mom and baby were expected to leave the hospital on Monday.Advice for McDougallEmily Lutz was caring for a toddler when she decided to run in the Municipality of Kings County in 2016. Now she has a five-year-old, two-year-old and five-month-old baby.Lutz has raised a newborn as a councillor, and in her current role as deputy mayor. She admits to encountering misogynistic attitudes in balancing work and family responsibilities. "Being a young mother does not negate your ability to do your job, and in fact it enhances your ability to do your job," Lutz said. "It can certainly add a new level of complexity, but it's very much something that goes hand-in-hand."She has some advice for McDougall: Don't be afraid to delegate tasks and don't be too hard on yourself."It's OK to take time away," she said. "Folks take time away from council for a number of different reasons."'It's a wonderful thing'Yarmouth Mayor Pam Mood was asked whether McDougall might be the first Nova Scotian to give birth while holding the mayor's office."I have no idea, and I actually don't think it matters," Mood said. "I think it's a wonderful thing. That's what women do. They give birth."But there's no glossing over the impact McDougall's motherhood will have on municipal politics, Mood said. "It's an amazing example that she's set. It almost gives women permission to step into politics and know that, you know, the path has been forged before them." When she announced her mayoral bid, McDougall said having a baby would be a constant reminder that council decisions must take into account future generations.MORE TOP STORIES
Element AI's ownership is headed across the border and into U.S. hands after years of being touted as one of Canada's most promising technology companies.The Montreal-based firm that creates artificial intelligence solutions for large organizations announced Monday that it has signed a deal to be purchased by ServiceNow, a Santa Clara, Calif., company that offers a cloud‑based workflow technology.The companies did not disclose the financial terms of their agreement, and expect the acquisition to close next year."Element AI’s vision has always been to redefine how companies use AI to help people work smarter," said Element AI founder and chief executive Jean‑Francois Gagne in a statement. "ServiceNow is the clear partner for us to apply our talent and technology to the most significant challenges facing the enterprise today."Though ServiceNow said the acquisition will help it create a Canadian hub for consumer-focused innovation, the deal will see one of Montreal's most prized AI companies put into the control of Americans and jobs slip away.Marc LeCuyer, ServiceNow's director general, would not disclose the current size of Element AI's workforce or the number of job losses that will result from the transaction.Workers not being retained will be connected to recruiters to help them access jobs that are open at ServiceNow, he said in an email.Monday's acquisition should serve as "another cautionary tale" for Canadian politicians because it comes just after Waterloo, Ont., smart glasses company North was sold to Google in the summer, said Jim Balsillie, the former BlackBerry Ltd. co-chief executive and current chairman of the Council of Canadian Innovators."Canada actually has market-proven AI companies with entrepreneurs building successful businesses, and it’s high time they receive the attention they earned," he said in an email to The Canadian Press. Element AI was founded in Montreal in 2016 by Gagne, Anne Martel, Nicolas Chapados, Jean‑Sebastien Cournoyer, Philippe Beaudoin and one of the godfathers of AI, Yoshua Bengio.The company quickly became a pioneer in AI after it raised a Series A funding round of $135 million in its first seven months and opened five offices across North America, Europe and Asia.It got a $5-million loan from the federal government two years later, which it planned to use to expand the company further.Then more cash arrived last year from the Quebec government, pension fund Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec, and McKinsey and Company.The investors handed over $200 million in a Series B round of funding. Pierre Fitzgibbon, Quebec's minister of economy and innovation, said Monday's deal means that Element AI's business model ultimately did not work, but he was relieved the government still managed to break even with its investments in the company."The bad news is that the Quebec shareholder is no longer what it was, which is sad," he said. He was, however, pleased that at least ServiceNow has found value in Element AI.Before the acquisition, ServiceNow was on a spending spree, buying Israeli AI company Loom Systems, U.S. translation technology firm Passage AI and Belgian data management platform Sweagle in 2020. It also created technology development centres in India, Chicago, Washington, San Diego and Silicon Valley.Then it turned its attention to Element AI and Canada."With Element AI’s powerful capabilities and world class talent, ServiceNow will empower employees and customers to focus on areas where only humans excel — creative thinking, customer interactions, and unpredictable work," said ServiceNow chief AI officer Vijay Narayanan in a statement.The two companies will have to wait for approvals before their deal can close, but expect that to happen in early 2021.They say Bengio, who won the 2018 Turing Award with Geoffrey Hinton and Yann LeCun and runs a Quebec-based AI research institute, will serve as a technical adviser for ServiceNow.— with files from Julien Arsenault in MontrealThis report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2020.Tara Deschamps, The Canadian Press
Madi Muggridge was 13 when she first reached out to a suicide hotline. After searching online for somewhere to turn, she found a chat-based crisis service and sent a note asking for help. Several hours passed with no response. “I sat there for three hours with the (screen) in front of me, and no one ever got on,” Muggridge said. “It really disappointed me, and I felt more alone than when I even started trying to contact them.” Muggridge’s sense of helplessness quickly grew. She wrote a suicide note the next day for her parents and left the house. It was only after a loved one reached out in time that she turned back home. “My family was able to get me help, but I know not everyone has that support system,” she said. Six years later, Muggridge, now 19 and living in London, Ont., is working towards ensuring every Canadian has support to turn to when they need it. Inspired by a U.S. decision in July to create a three-digit national suicide hotline, Muggridge quickly launched a Change.org campaign asking Canadian lawmakers to do the same. But she is also calling on politicians to take it a step further and implement a national dispatch service for people experiencing a mental health crisis that is separate from police and 911 services, citing incidents where people were harmed or killed by police during wellness checks. Now, members of the federal Conservative Party are listening, and have called on the prime minister to implement a 988 hotline in Canada. But the political will towards making the line a reality does not include the emergency dispatch service Muggridge hopes for — at least not yet. Todd Doherty, the MP for Cariboo-Prince George and the special adviser on mental health and wellness to Conservative leader Erin O’Toole, began the conversation in the House of Commons by tabling a motion in October calling for the creation of a 988 line. He said it would be similar to the 10-digit line currently run by Crisis Services Canada, but it would be a streamlined, three-digit line that would be easier for people in crisis to remember. Muggridge, however, sees that as only a start, and hopes the line will evolve to also offer dispatch services separate from police to those in crisis. “If some day they were able to make it a number that is more of an emergency line for mental health, where people can come to you, that would be the best overall outcome,” she said. Muggridge’s petition, which launched in July and has garnered almost 30,000 signatures, said a three-digit number separate from 911 ensures “individuals will instead be met with the people who are most adequately trained to help them,” like medical and mental health professionals. The petition also mentions people in crisis have been “killed or harmed after police are called for a mental health emergency,” and that risk is especially high for those who are Black, Indigenous and people of colour. “I feel 911 is overwhelmed with so many mental health emergencies, and I also feel like they’re not always the most equipped to deal with them,” Muggridge told the Star. Police forces in Canada, such as the Toronto Police Service and the York Regional Police Service, have Mobile Crisis Intervention Teams that include social workers and nurses to assist officers during a mental health crisis call. Toronto police’s team responded to more than 6,400 calls in 2019, according to police. But calls persist in Toronto and elsewhere to implement mental health crisis services that are entirely separate from police, particularly following the death of Regis Korchinski-Paquet, an Afro-Indigenous Toronto woman who died in May after police were called to her apartment for a mental health issue. Currently, the U.S. line, which was approved by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) under the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act for a 2022 rollout, does not include dispatch services. It will also not replace the national, 10-digit suicide hotline and will instead work alongside it. The American line will cost around $570 million (U.S.) in its first year, according to a report by the FCC. Almost half of that amount will be a one-time fee to replace the phone infrastructure necessary to implement the line across the United States. In an interview with the Star, Doherty lauded the U.S. decision as a game-changer and one that should be followed swiftly and harmoniously in Canada. “We want to try to remove every barrier possible for those that are seeking help,” Doherty said, adding it’s especially important during the COVID-19 pandemic, where calls to national suicide hotlines in Canada increased over 200 per cent. “This is a non-partisan issue,” Doherty said, adding it is about saving lives. Since tabling his motion, Doherty has contacted Muggridge and shared her petition online to signal growing support for a 988 line. He has also brought up the idea several times in the House of Commons while his motion awaits debate, asking Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Health Minister Patty Hajdu to commit to implementing the line. John Barlow, the Conservative MP for Foothills, on Thursday also called on the government to set up the 988 system in Canada, citing a growing suicide and opioid overdose crisis in Alberta. Hajdu responded on the floor and said she is “very interested” in the idea of a hotline, though she called on Barlow to encourage Alberta to reverse its decision of closing a safe consumption site in the province, “which is making it harder for people who use opioids to stay alive.” Absent from any discourse on the political floor, however, is Muggridge’s call to develop a nationwide dispatch line for those in a mental health crisis. Doherty said he had no problem with the idea of implementing a dispatch line separate from police. But the focus at the moment, he added, is to implement a national suicide prevention hotline that is easily accessible. “We know an abundance of calls for RCMP or police or fire and paramedics are in response to mental health crisis calls, and sometimes they’re not the ones that are the most equipped,” Doherty said. But what the final iteration of the three-digit line will look like, he added, is to be determined by others, including government and national mental associations. “I think the critical first step right now is getting the minister to agree that we need to bring that simple three-digit number,” he said. Muggridge, who is currently focused on following her passion of becoming an animal protection officer, said she is thankful there is political will behind implementing a more easily accessible national crisis line after her disappointing experience of reaching out for help. Though she reiterated that a three-digit crisis line is only the first step, and she hopes her calls to implement a mental health emergency dispatch line separate from police will not be drowned out. “I’m hoping it starts with the crisis line,” Muggridge said, a step that she said may force politicians to reimagine what responses to mental health crises could look like in the future. If you are thinking of suicide or know someone who is, there is help. Resources are available online at crisisservicescanada.ca or you can connect to the national suicide prevention helpline at 1-833-456-4566, or the Kids Help Phone at 1-800-668-6868. Nadine Yousif is a Toronto-based reporter for the Star covering mental health. Her reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Follow her on Twitter: @nadineyousif_ Nadine Yousif, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Toronto Star
TORONTO, S.D. — Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment says it is cutting the salaries of up to one quarter of its full-time staff, and extending salary reductions for senior management and executives to deal with the financial impact of COVID-19.The company that owns Toronto professional sports teams including the Maple Leafs, the Raptors and the Argonauts as well as sports venues, says up to 25 per cent of full-time staff will be moved to temporary inactive status.Extended management and executive salary reductions will be effective Jan. 1.Affected employees will remain on MLSE payroll at a reduced salary, retain their benefits and pension and maintain their access to all corporate communication tools to remain current on MLSE’s operations. MLSE says the length of time employees will remain inactive will be based on its ability to return to normal business operations.Professional sports has been disrupted by the pandemic with hockey games played in empty arenas, football matches cancelled altogether and NBA games having been played in Florida.“These past nine months have been the most challenging we have ever experienced, and while we had hoped to see signs of a return to a more normal business operations by now, the effects of the second wave of the pandemic have forced us to brace for further uncertainty,” stated president and CEO Michael Friisdahl.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2020.The Canadian Press
VICTORIA — The B.C. government has launched a new land registry that it says will help combat money laundering and make the real estate market more transparent. Beginning Monday, any corporation, trustee or partnership that buys land in B.C. must disclose the interest holders of that land through the Land Owner Transparency Registry.Existing registered land owners have one year to register and disclose their interest holders. The government says in a news release the information provided may be used by tax and law authorities to investigate and crack down on illegal activity. It says the registry was formed after an expert panel on real estate said the disclosure of beneficial ownership is the "single most important measure" that can be taken to address money laundering.The panel's 2019 report estimated that $7.4 billion was laundered through B.C. in 2018, including $5 billion through real estate. "British Columbians expect that when they buy a home, they are entering a housing market based on fairness. But for decades, that didn't happen when they were in competition with fraudsters flush with illicit cash," Finance Minister Selina Robinson said in a news release. "This first-of-its-kind registry will help return transparency and moderation to housing markets throughout B.C."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2020.The Canadian Press
HALIFAX — For eight long hours, Nick Beaton was in agony as he waited to learn what had happened to his missing wife. By the early afternoon on April 19, he knew a lone gunman disguised as a Mountie had killed several people in rural Nova Scotia before an RCMP officer shot him dead at a gas station north of Halifax. And he knew a woman had been killed on a road in nearby Debert, N.S., but no one would tell him who it was. "I just wanted to know," Beaton said in an interview. "Maybe it wasn't her out there. Maybe she's just wounded and down a side road bleeding out. Maybe I can go and help her. Maybe I can save her. Eight hours of that." At 5:50 p.m., two plainclothes officers arrived to deliver the awful news: his wife Kristen was dead, one of the gunman's 22 victims — though Beaton insists the number should be 23 because the official count does not include the couple's unborn child. "I was in my backyard bawling my eyes out, and I was on my knees praying," Beaton said, his voice cracking with emotion. Seven months later, Beaton says he wants to know why it took so long for the RCMP to tell him what had happened that grim day. That question will be among the many complex and heartbreaking issues that will be examined by a federal-provincial inquiry that is now preparing for public hearings. The three commissioners leading the inquiry were handed broad terms of reference on Oct. 20. Here are four other questions they will face: 1. Were red flags ignored before the shooting started? The RCMP have confirmed the gunman killed 13 people near his summer residence in Portapique, N.S., on the night of April 18, and another nine people the following day in northern and central Nova Scotia. In all, Gabriel Wortman spent 13 hours killing people he knew and others he didn't. Wayne MacKay, a law professor at Dalhousie University in Halifax, says there's evidence to suggest that key warning signs were ignored long before the shooting started. "A lot of people knew that Mr. Wortman was a pretty troubled individual who was doing some odd things," MacKay said in an interview. "But nothing was done." As early as May 2011, police in Nova Scotia were told Wortman had said he wanted to "kill a cop" and was feeling mentally unstable. An officer safety bulletin, distributed by the Truro Police Service, said a police source had indicated Wortman was upset about a police investigation, had access to weapons and was having some "mental issues." An RCMP spokeswoman confirmed the police force received the bulletin, but Cpl. Jennifer Clarke said she couldn't comment on how the Mounties responded, because the records were purged long ago. The one-page bulletin, however, wasn't the first detailed warning that police received about the shooter. Former neighbour Brenda Forbes says that in the summer of 2013, she told the RCMP that Wortman owned a cache of weapons and was prone to domestic violence. She said neighbours described how he had beaten his common-law spouse behind one of the properties he owned in Portapique. But none of those neighbours would corroborate the story to police at the time. MacKay said the behaviour of those people deserves closer scrutiny. "The failure of others to substantiate and support her statements on either the firearms or domestic violence led (the police) to do nothing," MacKay said. 2. What role did misogyny and sexism play in the mass killing? After the killings, several of the gunman's neighbours came forward to describe the man as jealous, controlling and abusive. And police confirmed that on the night the killing started, he had bound and attacked his longtime partner. The inquiry has been tasked with examining the role of intimate-partner violence, which is something activists Jeanne Sarson and Linda MacDonald say is key to explaining what happened. "His neighbours were afraid of him, and he had a history of violence," said Sarson, who together with MacDonald founded the advocacy group Persons Against Non-State Torture. "The women he was connected to, he didn't respect their equality." MacDonald said exploring the role of gender-based violence will be important because there is evidence of a link between misogyny and mass killings. "If we understand the impact of misogyny and sexism, we'll start to prevent atrocities like this," she said. Researchers say the motives of men who commit mass shootings are often complex and difficult to discern, but one factor connects many of them: a history of hating women. In more than half of all mass shootings in the United States from 2009 to 2017, an intimate partner or family member of the perpetrator was among the victims, according to a study by the U.S. gun control advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety. 3. What could the RCMP have done to end the carnage sooner? For Nova Scotia lawyer Robert Pineo, this is the key question facing the inquiry. "It just seems to me like a complete failure in tactics and command," he said in an interview. Pineo says there is evidence the RCMP's efforts to track and contain the killer were inadequate. "We know that not very many police were dispatched to Portapique in the beginning hours," said Pineo, whose law firm is behind two proposed class-lawsuits, one that names the gunman's estate and another that names the RCMP and the Nova Scotia government. He also raised questions about the number of roadblocks that were set up and the warnings issued to the public as the killer eluded police while driving a car that he had modified to look exactly like an RCMP cruiser. The RCMP have faced criticism for failing to use a national alert system, which would have allowed them to warn residents about an active shooter through messages on TV, radio and wireless devices. Instead, they used Twitter to provide updates on the killer's last known whereabouts. Beaton said the use of Twitter never made sense to him. "We got (Alert Ready) texts about COVID, but we didn't get alerts about a crazed gunman shooting, killing and burning things," he said. 4. Did the perpetrator have ties to the Mounties or organized crime? Published reports citing anonymous sources have suggested the shooter was an informant for the RCMP and may have had links to organized crime. The RCMP have denied having any relationship with the killer. MacKay, however, says the Mounties are constrained from saying anything publicly about their sources to ensure their safety. "If there is some kind of link, and they are not telling the truth about that, my understanding is that there is nothing illegal in that if it is to protect the identity of an informant," MacKay said. "They can legally misinform people right up to the courts. But they are not allowed to lie to judges about that." Since the upcoming inquiry has quasi-judicial status and will require testimony under oath, this could put the RCMP in a difficult position. "If there was a link, then it raises questions about how much they knew about his questionable character," MacKay said. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 1, 2020 Michael MacDonald, The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — The federal Liberals are proposing $25 billion in new spending to help Canadian businesses and workers make it through a COVID-19 winter and vowing tens of billions more to help the country recover once the pandemic passes.The government's fall economic update proposes to send extra child-benefit payments to families next year as well as to put cash into skills training and to create new jobs.For businesses, the government wants to bring the wage subsidy back to 75 per cent of business payroll costs and extend the business rent subsidy to mid-March.There is also money for long-term care facilities and the stock of the nation's personal protective equipment, while dropping federal sales tax on face masks and shields.Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland's update makes clear the measures will be removed once the economy improves, although the timing is tied to the path of the pandemic.The cost to date has the federal deficit reaching $381.6 billion this year, but the government's math says it could close in on $400 billion if widespread lockdowns return in the coming weeks.Freeland's update largely adds cash to existing programs, but tees up work already underway to craft a spring budget. She said it will focus on an economic recovery that will include a three-year stimulus plan worth up to $100 billion, depending on the twin paths of the economy and the pandemic."If it's pre-committed and locked in, the risk is you overstimulate the economy, whereas this seems more that if things go the other way, there's more to come, which will support growth," said RBC chief economist Craig Wright.While the details have yet to be worked out, Freeland said the stimulus plan will include time-limited spending on things like a green economy bio-manufacturing — the industry that makes vaccines and medication.Freeland argued some of the down-payments on that plan are in Monday's update, including proposed grants for homeowners to make energy-efficiency upgrades. Perrin Beatty, president of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce said the economic statement provides some short-term help, but it still "presents a plan to create a plan" for recovery.There is no specific "fiscal anchor," a measurement to moor government spending to keep it from drifting off target, guiding the plan. In its place are economic indicators like the unemployment rate and hours worked that the Liberals will use to decide when spending can ease off or when the taps need to be opened wider."As we build our growth plan, and as we deploy it, the measure we're going to be looking at to see if we've got the job done is really around jobs," Freeland told reporters.Rebekah Young, director of fiscal and provincial economics with Scotiabank, said the scant details about long-term plans will likely create unease in financial markets."The creation of vaguely defined guardrails with no real line of sight on the end of stimulus spending, let alone its composition, has arguably added more uncertainties to the fiscal outlook rather than less," she said.The country has recovered about three-quarters of the three million jobs lost during spring lockdowns. The Finance Department estimates the unprecedented spending to date prevented a further loss of about 1.2 million jobs.The document Monday updates the accounting on many programs, showing under-spending on some that the Liberals now want to top up, such as the wage-subsidy program that is now supposed to cost over $83.5 billion. A revamped commercial rent-relief program will cost $2.18 billion this fiscal year. The two programs are, combined, estimated to cost about $16.2 billion next year.Dan Kelly, president of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, noted the changes to business aid will help small businesses plan for an uncertain foreseeable future."Still, it is disappointing that government has not announced further fixes for new businesses and self-employed Canadians, who remain ineligible for nearly all of the key support programs," he said.Spending next year on extra child benefits will send $1,200 tax-free to families with net incomes up to $120,000, and $600 for families that make more than that.The cost will be about $2.4 billion, a little more than the $2 billion for extra Canada Child Benefit payments this year, bringing the total cost for the program next year to $27.9 billion.And while the document includes money for long-term care facilities, there is no specific bump planned in health transfers for the provinces. What the Liberals are proposing is to provide more money to provinces that see sudden drops in revenues through an existing fiscal-stabilization program, an increase provinces asked for last year.To pay for some of it, the Liberals are proposing to make digital companies like Netflix and Airbnb collect and remit sales tax on their products.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2020.Jordan Press, The Canadian Press
Rosa Parks is arrested in Montgomery, Alabama; Former communist official Sergei Kirov is assassinated in Leningrad; Beatlemania arrives in America; Actor and director Woody Allen is born. (Dec. 1)
COVID-19. La mise à jour du 28 novembre de la Santé publique indique que 35 des résidents du Centre l’Assomption sont infectés par la COVID-19. La résidence pour personnes âgées de Saint-Léonard-d’Aston, avec 90%, est celle qui a le plus haut taux au Québec. Toujours en date du 28 novembre, on ne compte pas de décès. Rappelons qu’au 24 novembre, il y avait 27 cas actifs.Stéphane Lévesque, Initiative de journalisme local, L'Hebdo Journal
EDMONTON — Premier Jason Kenney says Alberta’s largest hospitals are at 91 per cent capacity due to COVID-19 cases and widespread cancellation of more non-urgent surgeries may be necessary.“Our top 15 hospitals are increasingly under stress,” Kenney told NewsTalk 770 radio in an interview Monday.“Ultimately, if we get more and more COVID patients in hospital, the response to open up (COVID) capacity will be widespread surgical cancellation.”He said Alberta has 8,500 hospital beds. Some 2,400 are being set aside for pandemic patients and one-quarter of those beds will be in intensive care.“We have a plan to get back to that level of availably given the current surge that we see,” said Kenney.He said the crucial question is staffing.“You can’t just snap your fingers and suddenly train and certify hundreds of additional nurses for intensive care, for example. We only have a finite number of anesthesiologists who can assist with intubation for COVID patients."In October, the Edmonton area began cancelling 30 per cent of non-urgent surgeries to deal with mounting COVID-19 caseloads.Dr. Deena Hinshaw, chief medical officer of health, reported 1,733 new cases Monday — a one-day record — to go with 453 patients in hospital, 96 of them in intensive care. There were eight more deaths, bringing that total to 541. Last week, Kenney announced a new round of health restrictions designed to address COVID-19 hot spots while keeping the majority of businesses and the economy going.Among the changes, the six diners allowed per table in restaurants now have to be from the same household. Retailers have to limit capacity to 25 per cent.The key change is that people are not supposed to hold gatherings in their homes under penalty of fines ranging from $1,000 to $100,000.Also Monday, Health Minister Tyler Shandro responded to the release of an Alberta Health Services internal memo sent out last Friday. It urged staff in Calgary hospitals to reduce use of bulk oxygen where possible due to expected constraints caused by the pandemic.“Even as our hospitals are packed full of the critically sick, AHS is running short on oxygen,” NDP Opposition health critic David Shepherd told the house.Not true, said Shandro. “This is a contingency plan of AHS, as they do throughout the year,” he said.Dr. David Zygun, Edmonton zone medical director for Alberta Health Services, said the memo was part of an “anticipatory” plan to make sure there are ample resources.“We do have an adequate oxygen supply,” he said.The NDP also criticized Kenney for urging members of the South Asian community in Calgary to avoid extended gatherings. He said some of the highest case rates are in that community, but stayed silent on large weekend rallies protesting mandatory mask rules.“These marches are super-spreader events,” NDP Leader Rachel Notley told Kenney. “Will you condemn these marches and the Albertans who so irresponsibly organized them?”Kenney said it’s up to local law enforcement to hand out tickets to anyone breaking public health orders and said: “We ask Albertans to be responsible in their actions.” Calgary police Supt. Ryan Ayliffe said there were a number of officers, wearing body cameras and taking notes to lay charges later, present during the anti-mask rallies. “It’s my understanding some of those charges were going to be laid this morning,” said Ayliffe, who added that the focus is on organizers and flagrant rule-breakers.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2020.— With files from Colette Derworiz in EdmontonDean Bennett, The Canadian Press
EDMONTON — A retired top doctor says public health orders have to balance science with society if they are to be effective."(Measures) will only work if you have a majority of the population that supports it," said Andre Corriveau, who was Alberta's chief medical officer of health from 2009 to 2012. "You can't pass measures that a majority of the public is not supportive of, because it's not enforceable."Corriveau, speaking from Iqaluit, Nunavut, where he was advising that territory on how to deal with its COVID-19 cases, spoke after recordings were released that appeared to show Alberta's current chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, expressing concern about politicians watering down her recommendations.That just goes with the job, said Corriveau, who also served until last year as the top public health official in the Northwest Territories. Experts such as himself or Hinshaw are responsible for winnowing through scientific evidence — often thin on the ground or hot off the research presses — to come up with the best advice they can. But, said Corriveau, judging what's acceptable or how something should be implemented is a political decision."There's a point beyond which you can't enforce any more," he said. "That's the role of the politician — to gauge that."Nor is it appropriate for the chief health officer to advocate for measures not approved by the government, said Corriveau. The two sides have to trust each other and undercutting political decisions would damage that. "There's always other people who can advocate," Corriveau said. "Our effectiveness is built upon trust. If you turn around and you're doing public advocacy, then you've lost the trust and you're not effective any more."Alberta has plenty of other voices for that, he said. Doctors in the Edmonton zone recently formed a group to provide what they see as unbiased, arm's-length COVID-19 advice. Members of the Edmonton Zone Medical Staff Association felt people were losing trust in officials. "There's many considerations when you make these decisions — health ones, economic ones, capacity of hospitals," said association president Dr. Ernst Schuster. "There was a feeling that the political considerations were stronger than some other considerations."The committee is to hold its first meeting Tuesday. The legal powers of a chief medical officer of health are delegated by the minister and may not be absolute, Corriveau said. Hindsight is easy, he noted, and added that everyone involved in the fight against the pandemic is doing it for the first time. Corriveau said he ran into situations where the final decision diverged from his advice, but he saw it as his job to make it work. "It's a fine line to travel but I think it can be done. "It's not necessarily ideal, but I understand the context and why at the political level they might have decided otherwise."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 1, 2020. — Follow @row1960 on TwitterBob Weber, The Canadian Press