Wind and rain soak backyard in Toronto, Ontario.
Wind and rain soak backyard in Toronto, Ontario.
WASHINGTON — Disputing President Donald Trump’s persistent, baseless claims, Attorney General William Barr declared the U.S. Justice Department has uncovered no evidence of widespread voter fraud that could change the outcome of the 2020 election.Barr's comments, in an interview Tuesday with the The Associated Press, contradict the concerted effort by Trump, his boss, to subvert the results of last month's voting and block President-elect Joe Biden from taking his place in the White House.Barr told the AP that U.S. attorneys and FBI agents have been working to follow up specific complaints and information they’ve received, but “to date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election.”The comments, which drew immediate criticism from Trump attorneys, were especially notable coming from Barr, who has been one of the president's most ardent allies. Before the election, he had repeatedly raised the notion that mail-in voting could be especially vulnerable to fraud during the coronavirus pandemic as Americans feared going to polls and instead chose to vote by mail.More to Trump's liking, Barr revealed in the AP interview that in October he had appointed U.S. Attorney John Durham as a special counsel, giving the prosecutor the authority to continue to investigate the origins of the Trump-Russia probe after Biden takes over and making it difficult to fire him. Biden hasn't said what he might do with the investigation, and his transition team didn't comment Tuesday.Trump has long railed against the investigation into whether his 2016 campaign was co-ordinating with Russia, but he and Republican allies had hoped the results would be delivered before the 2020 election and would help sway voters. So far, there has been only one criminal case, a guilty plea from a former FBI lawyer to a single false statement charge.Under federal regulations, a special counsel can be fired only by the attorney general and for specific reasons such as misconduct, dereliction of duty or conflict of interest. An attorney general must document such reasons in writing.Barr went to the White House Tuesday for a previously scheduled meeting that lasted about three hours.Trump didn't directly comment on the attorney general's remarks on the election. But his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and his political campaign issued a scathing statement claiming that, "with all due respect to the Attorney General, there hasn’t been any semblance” of an investigation into the president's complaints.Other administration officials who have come out forcefully against Trump's allegations of voter-fraud evidence have been fired. But it's not clear whether Barr might suffer the same fate. He maintains a lofty position with Trump, and despite their differences the two see eye-to-eye on quite a lot.Still, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer quipped: “I guess he’s the next one to be fired.”Last month, Barr issued a directive to U.S. attorneys across the country allowing them to pursue any “substantial allegations” of voting irregularities before the 2020 presidential election was certified, despite no evidence at that time of widespread fraud.That memorandum gave prosecutors the ability to go around longstanding Justice Department policy that normally would prohibit such overt actions before the election was certified. Soon after it was issued, the department’s top elections crime official announced he would step aside from that position because of the memo.The Trump campaign team led by Giuliani has been alleging a widespread conspiracy by Democrats to dump millions of illegal votes into the system with no evidence. They have filed multiple lawsuits in battleground states alleging that partisan poll watchers didn’t have a clear enough view at polling sites in some locations and therefore something illegal must have happened. The claims have been repeatedly dismissed including by Republican judges who have ruled the suits lacked evidence.But local Republicans in some battleground states have followed Trump in making unsupported claims, prompting grave concerns over potential damage to American democracy.Trump himself continues to rail against the election in tweets and in interviews though his own administration has said the 2020 election was the most secure ever. He recently allowed his administration to begin the transition over to Biden, but he still refuses to admit he lost.The issues they've have pointed to are typical in every election: Problems with signatures, secrecy envelopes and postal marks on mail-in ballots, as well as the potential for a small number of ballots miscast or lost.But they've gone further. Attorney Sidney Powell has spun fictional tales of election systems flipping votes, German servers storing U.S. voting information and election software created in Venezuela “at the direction of Hugo Chavez,” – the late Venezuelan president who died in 2013. Powell has since been removed from the legal team after an interview she gave where she threatened to “blow up” Georgia with a “biblical” court filing.Barr didn't name Powell specifically but said: “There's been one assertion that would be systemic fraud and that would be the claim that machines were programmed essentially to skew the election results. And the DHS and DOJ have looked into that, and so far, we haven’t seen anything to substantiate that.”In the campaign statement, Giuliani claimed there was “ample evidence of illegal voting in at least six states, which they have not examined.”“We have many witnesses swearing under oath they saw crimes being committed in connection with voter fraud. As far as we know, not a single one has been interviewed by the DOJ. The Justice Department also hasn’t audited any voting machines or used their subpoena powers to determine the truth,” he said.However, Barr said earlier that people were confusing the use of the federal criminal justice system with allegations that should be made in civil lawsuits. He said a remedy for many complaints would be a top-down audit by state or local officials, not the U.S. Justice Department.“There’s a growing tendency to use the criminal justice system as sort of a default fix-all," he said, but first there must be a basis to believe there is a crime to investigate.“Most claims of fraud are very particularized to a particular set of circumstances or actors or conduct. ... And those have been run down; they are being run down,” Barr said. “Some have been broad and potentially cover a few thousand votes. They have been followed up on."___Associated Press writers Lisa Mascaro and Eric Tucker contributed to this report.Michael Balsamo, The Associated Press
SILVER SPRING, Md. — U.S. construction spending jumped 1.3% in October, again on the strength of single-family home building. The October gain follows a downward revision in September to a 0.5% decline from a previous estimate of a 0.3% gain, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday. August's number was also revised significantly upward and spending in October was stronger than economists had expected. Single-family home building has been a consistent bright spot for months as a lack of new homes has pushed builders to ramp up projects. Single-family home construction rose 5.6% in October, helping to boost a 2.9% increase in total private residential construction for the month. Nonresidential private construction fell 0.7%, with the category that includes hotels and other lodging falling 3.1%. Spending on government construction projects increased 1% after generally lagging for months, possibly due to budget restraints by state and local governments as the pandemic wiped out large amounts of tax revenue. Construction of roads, schools and public safety projects all increased. During the first ten months of 2020, construction spending is up 4.3% over the same period last year. Matt Ott, The Associated Press
Canada's third quarter annualized growth soared by a record 40.5%, rebounding from a historic plunge in the second quarter, as businesses and stores reopened from COVID-19 lockdowns, Statistics Canada said on Tuesday. "There was a big import drag that knocked almost six percentage points off GDP growth ... it reflects positive developments but in GDP accounting it acts as a drag on top line GDP growth." "The quarterly increase in GDP in Q3 as a whole was a little bit smaller than expected earlier on but it's still pretty large."
FRANKFURT — The OPEC oil producers' cartel was to push ahead with a new round of discussions Tuesday about how much to pump next year as countries wrestled over whether to extend the production cuts that have been supporting prices depressed by the pandemic.Members adjourned a videoconference after a first day of deliberations Monday ended without an agreement. They also put off from Tuesday to Thursday a meeting with non-OPEC oil producers like Russia, who have been co-ordinating their actions with the cartel in recent years to increase their influence.Oil producing countries face a difficult situation. The pandemic has sapped demand for fuel across the economy, which induced them to cut back production this year to keep prices from sagging even more than they have. Yet the lower production means less revenue for governments that depend on oil sales to fill state coffers.And the outlook for demand is mixed across the globe; economies in the U.S. and Europe have been disrupted by a second upsurge in coronavirus infections, while activity and travel in China have rebounded more strongly.Oil traded 19 cents lower at $45.15 per barrel Tuesday on the New York Mercantile Exchange. That is off from $63 at the start of 2020.The sag in demand has been reflected in lower prices to consumers for auto fuel in the U.S. Gasoline prices at the pump dipped well below $2 per gallon in many parts of the country in May as the pandemic took hold, and have remained flat after a mild rebound. The U.S. average was $2.12 as of Nov. 30, down 45 cents from the same week a year earlier but little changed from this summer, according to the U.S. Energy Information Agency.Analysts at UniCredit bank said the oil producing countries were likely to agree to extend this year's production cuts of about 7.7 million barrels a day.“In our view, the delay should not be a concern and we still expect the current curbs to be extended into the first quarter of 2021,” they said, adding that it is not unusual for OPEC meetings to last longer than scheduled and virtual discussions slow the negotiation process.“Moreover, both Saudi Arabia and Russia – the two leaders of the group – favour an extension of the cuts and this should be enough to square the circle and finalize the deal on Thursday.” Saudi Arabia tends to take a leadership role within OPEC, while Russia is the biggest non-OPEC country to co-ordinate with the cartel.David McHugh, The Associated Press
It’s been a different year for Gander Fire Rescue. Normally, members’ calendar would be filled with things like handing out Halloween candy to children at the hospital or opening the fire hall for tours. However, things like that were scuttled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Still, the fire department was hoping to do something this year. With that in mind, some members of the department came up with the idea of collecting winter clothing for children. “We just thought we were going to get jackets and stuff, but people were asking if they could donate certain items and we said, ‘Certainly, go ahead,’” said Addison Quilty, Gander Fire Rescue’s assistant deputy fire chief. The department’s goal was to collect the same number of winter clothing as there are fire hydrants in Gander. That set their aim at 427 pieces of clothing. They didn’t care if it was mittens, gloves, toques, jackets or boots, as long as the department was able to get what they aimed for. It turns out they got all of those things in abundance — they’ve collected 432 pieces of clothing. “We’ve been really impressed,” said Quilty. “We’re still getting things now.” The pandemic has changed the way organizations handle donated items, and Gander Fire Rescue is no different. The department put a pair of bins outside the fire hall and once an item was placed in the bin, it stayed there for 24 hours. When it entered the building, the clothing was cleaned again. In the next little while, the department will start bagging up what they’ve collected and delivered it to the Salvation Army. From there, the church’s community and family services division in Gander will distribute the items where they are needed. “The Salvation Army is certainly very grateful for that kind of partnership with us, to be able to provide that kind of practical donation to help people for the cold winter months,” said Maj. Rene Loveless, public relations and development secretary with the provincial Salvation Army. “That's fabulous.” Loveless said he was impressed with the number of items the Gander fire department collected in a short period. Ensuring children have adequate clothes for the winter months, which can be harsh at times in central Newfoundland, was at the heart of the Gander Fire Rescue clothing drive. To see that effort to help children was something that stood out for Loveless. “It’s a beautiful thing, really,” said Loveless. The department isn’t done collecting clothing just yet. They’ve set a deadline of Dec. 6 and then they will stop collecting. In the meantime, their final number could be even higher by the time they call it off next week. “People are still not afraid to help others out,” said Quilty. “It is a good thing to see.” Nicholas Mercer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Central Voice
Two battleground states, Wisconsin and Arizona, certified their presidential election results in favour of Joe Biden, even as President Donald Trump's legal team continued to dispute the results.Biden’s victory in Wisconsin was certified Monday following a partial recount that only added to his 20,600-vote margin over Trump, who has promised to file a lawsuit seeking to undo the results.Gov. Tony Evers, a Democrat, signed a certificate that completed the process after the canvass report showing Biden as the winner following the recount was approved by the chairwoman of the bipartisan Wisconsin Elections Commission. Evers’ signature was required by law and is typically a procedural step that receives little attention.“Today I carried out my duty to certify the November 3rd election,” Evers said in a statement. “I want to thank our clerks, election administrators, and poll workers across our state for working tirelessly to ensure we had a safe, fair, and efficient election. Thank you for all your good work.”The action Monday now starts a five-day deadline for Trump to file a lawsuit, which he promised would come no later than Tuesday. Trump is mounting a longshot attempt to overturn the results by disqualifying as many as 238,000 ballots. Trump’s attorneys have alleged without evidence that there was widespread fraud and illegal activity.Biden’s campaign has said the recount showed that Biden won Wisconsin decisively and there was no fraud. Even if Trump were successful in Wisconsin, the state’s 10 Electoral College votes would not be enough to undo Biden’s overall victory as states around the country certify results.Earlier Monday, Arizona officials certified Biden’s narrow victory in that state.Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs and Republican Gov. Doug Ducey both vouched for the integrity of the election before signing off on the results.“We do elections well here in Arizona. The system is strong,” Ducey said.He did not directly address Trump’s claims of irregularities but said the state pulled off a successful election with a mix of in-person and mail voting despite the pandemic.Hobbs said Arizona voters should know that the election “was conducted with transparency, accuracy and fairness in accordance with Arizona’s laws and election procedures, despite numerous unfounded claims to the contrary.”Biden is only the second Democrat in 70 years to win Arizona. In the final tally, he beat Trump by 10,457 votes, or 0.3% of the nearly 3.4 million ballots cast.Even as Hobbs, Ducey, the state attorney general and chief justice of the state Supreme Court certified the election results, Trump lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Jenna Ellis met in a Phoenix hotel ballroom a few miles away to lay out claims of irregularities in the vote count in Arizona and elsewhere. But they did not provide evidence of widespread fraud.“The officials certifying have made no effort to find out the truth, which to me, gives the state Legislature the perfect reason to take over the conduct of this election because it’s being conducted irresponsibly and unfairly,” Giuliani said.Nine Republican state lawmakers attended the meeting. They had requested permission to hold a formal legislative hearing at the Capitol but were denied by the Republican House speaker and Senate president.Trump berated Ducey on Twitter Monday night, asking, “Why is he rushing to put a Democrat in office, especially when so many horrible things concerning voter fraud are being revealed at the hearing going on right now.”Elections challenges brought by the Trump campaign or his backers in key battleground states have largely been unsuccessful as Trump continues to allege voter fraud while refusing to concede.There is no evidence of widespread fraud in the 2020 election. In fact, election officials from both political parties have stated publicly that the election went well and international observers confirmed there were no serious irregularities.___Bauer reported from Madison, Wis.; Cooper and Tang reported from Phoenix.Scott Bauer, Jonathan J. Cooper And Terry Tang, The Associated Press
CALGARY — Shares in Imperial Oil Ltd. were rising after it announced late Monday it would write down up to $1.2 billion on Canadian assets it doesn't think it will ever develop.In a brief news release, it said it has reassessed the long-term development plans of its unconventional natural gas portfolio in Alberta and no longer plans to develop a "significant potion" of those assets.It says that will result in a non-cash writedown of between $900 million and $1.2 billion in the current quarter.In Toronto, Imperial shares rose by as much as 94 cents or 4.2 per cent to $23.42 on Tuesday morning, despite falling benchmark U.S. oil prices.Imperial said the exploration lands it is shelving haven't been developed and aren't producing, adding the move doesn't include natural gas prospects that are also rich in petroleum liquids.Last week, the Calgary-based company said it would lay off about 200 of its 6,000 employees across Canada as part of a cost-cutting initiative due to low oil prices, adding it has reduced the number of contractors it employs by about 450 since the start of the year."We did not expect the company to allocate much to its unconventional assets in 2021 (or beyond) given its focus on the oilsands as well as cash returns to shareholders," said CIBC analyst Dennis Fong in a report.He added he expects Imperial's move to be "immaterial" to his financial estimates.Imperial is 69.6 per cent owned by U.S. energy giant ExxonMobil Corp., which said in October it would cut its global workforce by about 15 per cent, equating to about 14,000 jobs.Exxon announced Monday it would take an after-tax impairment of US$17 billion to US$20 billion thanks to removing certain natural gas assets from its development plan.Imperial committed in March to cut spending by $1 billion, including a $500 million reduction in capital spending plus $500 million in lower operating expenses, due to lower energy demand caused by lockdowns to prevent spread of the COVID-19 virus.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 1, 2020.Companies in this story: (TSX:IMO)The Canadian Press
Director Julia Hart couldn’t stop thinking about Tuesday Weld. She had just watched Michael Mann’s 1981 thriller “Thief” and Weld’s character Jessie had taken over her imagination. Where did she and the baby go? What was going through her mind?In some ways, Jessie is just the girlfriend. She’s there to up the stakes for the main character and exits the frame when the action begins. It’s not uncommon in the genre. Just think of Michael Corleone closing the door on Kay at the end of “The Godfather.”But, Hart thought, what if we followed the woman instead of the man? It wouldn't be revisionist or corrective, just a different path. And it was the beginning of the yearslong process of creating “I’m Your Woman,” which turns the lens on the suburban housewife who has to go on the run with a new baby when her criminal husband disappears. The film starring Rachel Brosnahan opens in select theatres Friday and will be available on Amazon Prime Video on Dec. 11.“It’s not like I want ‘Thief’ to have followed Jessie,” Hart said. “The movie was so good that I couldn’t stop thinking about this character and the story of all these women. In these crime dramas, even though the women weren’t the main characters, they were amazing characters. They were complex and flawed and interesting and well performed and well written. They just didn’t get their own movie...That’s what inspired me to create Jean.”Hart and her husband, producer Jordan Horowitz, got to work writing the script. And when Amazon Studio heads, who had been impressed with her superhero drama “Fast Color," asked what they wanted to make next, they had this ready to go.And after a meeting with Brosnahan, she knew she’d found her Jean.“She’s such a chameleon,” Hart said. “And she feels like a real woman. I think a lot of the women in the 70s movies did as well — not like someone who had been airbrushed and made to look perfect.”The “Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” star was all in. Despite her successes over the past few years, she’d been frustrated by the “one-dimensional” roles that were coming her way. Jean was a refreshing departure from that.“Jean is a quiet woman’s action hero. That’s something that I’ve never seen before,” Brosnahan said. “And it’s a really nontraditional look at motherhood. Motherhood is more often than not, not the picture perfect journey we see on Instagram.”The shoot was going to be hard. Hart knew she’d have her work cut out for herself directing her first car chase and big club scene with hundreds of background actors. But the biggest challenge would be the fact that they’d decided to work with real babies, who in the process of the chronological shoot would go from 6 to 8 months in age.“I am constantly frustrated by how people treat babies like they’re not people both in real life and on film — like it’s fine to have a fake baby or it’s fine to have four different babies playing the same character,” Hart said. “We knew it was a big risk, but we felt like it was one worth taking. We wanted to commit to making the baby a character in the film who you could connect to and know.”It added stress and time restrictions but also beauty and spontaneity to the shoot.“There were times when things happened with those babies that we never could have expected,” Brosnahan said. “And that added a layer of magic to certain scenes.”In one tense scene where Jean’s home is broken into and she has to hide in the closet and make a desperate phone call, the baby unexpectedly fell asleep in her arms.“It added this layer of urgency,” Brosnahan said.And although Hart is proud of the action sequences, the mother of two does not remember feeling more joy and exhilaration than knowing that they got a shot of the baby sleeping.“Getting a baby to fall asleep in its period costume, in its period crib at the time when you’re scheduled to shoot it is a bit of a miracle,” Hart said.There are exactly two of those miracle shots in the finished film.Brosnahan also took on a different kind of role in “I’m Your Woman:" as producer. She’d been thinking about it for some time, “looking for a way to carve out a path for myself.” And she’s immensely grateful to Hart and Horowitz for giving her the opportunity.“This is such a literal example, but most of the time you show up on the set as an actor having never seen what could be your house, the character’s house that they have lived in 30 years. And you’re showing up on day one and trying to pretend you’ve lived there for 30 years,” she said.As a producer, she was involved in everything from script development to location scouting. When she showed up to her character’s house this time, she knew it already.“It made me a better actor,” she said.Hart has spent most of her career as a writer and filmmaker trying to convince studios that stories about women are worth telling. After years of fighting, she's finally starting to see the change.“The studios are starting to really take female filmmakers and filmmakers of colour more seriously,” Hart said. “It’s not just lip service anymore.”—-Follow AP Film Writer Lindsey Bahr on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ldbahrLindsey Bahr, The Associated Press
IPSOS CEO Darrell Bricker shares insight on numbers released in a recent poll saying Canadians will change or cancel their holiday plans.
Ten fishermen out of Shippagan, N.B., were testing ropeless trap technology during the spring crab fishery that is designed to protect endangered North Atlantic right whales.A recent report from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute in Massachusetts found that fishing gear entanglements were the leading cause of right whale deaths from 2010 to 2015. There are only about 360 right whales remaining in the world.The report recommended ropeless gear as a solution. Standard gear connects traps on the bottom to a buoy on the surface. With ropeless gear, the ropes lie on the bottom until they are released by an acoustic signal from the fisherman, then float to the surface so the traps can be hauled.Robert Hache, director general of the Acadian Crabbers Association, said previous experiments with ropeless gear did not go well."The main issue was the reliability and user-friendly aspect of the acoustic release mechanism," said Hache.This most recent technology is working better, he said, but there are still issues. In particular, the system relies on cellular networks for locating the underwater traps, and the signals are not that strong out on the fishing grounds.Eventually, a system would also need to be set up so the Department of Fisheries and Oceans can keep track of all the traps in the water."Fishermen that have been involved with the testing and have used these devices have found it sufficiently interesting to do further experimentation," said Hache.Fishermen investedInterest in the devices is growing, Hache said.Five of the 10 fishermen this year invested their own money to buy the devices."That was a very good sign for us, because when you get these people interested in an equipment, that are willing to invest, then it means they are looking at this issue seriously," said Hache.New methods need to be found. Currently, conservation means just shutting down the fishery when whales are spotted.Ropeless traps can stay in the water, because they pose no danger to the whales.More from CBC P.E.I.
Regina police have charged a 17-year old girl who allegedly stole a vehicle with a four-year-old child inside.Officers were called to the 2100 block of Albert Street around 8:17 p.m. CST on Nov. 21 for a report of a stolen vehicle, according police.Police were told a 31-year-old woman had given three young women a ride in her car while her child was also in the vehicle.Police said the driver stopped and got out of the vehicle briefly, at which point one of the passengers got in the driver's seat and started driving away. When the mother tried to stop her, the driver allegedly tried to hit her with the car.The suspect left the four-year-old on a street a few minutes later, police said. Two people found the child and called police.Officers identified the suspect and learned she had fled to Calgary. A warrant was issued for her arrest on Nov. 24. She was arrested by Calgary police for an unrelated matter.The suspect, who can't be named in accordance with the Youth Criminal Justice Act, was brought back to Regina on Monday and charged with offences including abduction of a child under 14-years-old, assault with a weapon (vehicle) and auto theft.
NEW YORK — Geoffrey S. Berman, the ousted federal prosecutor in Manhattan who led several investigations into President Donald Trump's allies, has been hired by a white-shoe law firm in New York.Berman will provide criminal defence in white-collar cases and work on complex commercial litigation at Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson, the firm announced Tuesday.The firm is “well known for its cutting-edge counsel to top tier companies and high-profile individuals,” Berman said in a statement.Fried Frank described Berman as “one of the most respected prosecutors in the United States.”Berman was pushed out in June as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, where he led several investigations with tentacles into Trump's orbit, including one involving the business dealings of Rudy Giuliani, the president’s personal attorney.The same office prosecuted former Trump attorney and fixer Michael Cohen for campaign finance crimes and two Giuliani associates tied to the investigation that led to Trump’s impeachment investigation. Giuliani has not been charged.Berman later told the House Judiciary Committee that Attorney General William Barr “repeatedly urged” him to step aside and take a new job heading up the Department of Justice’s Civil Division.“I told the attorney general that I was not interested,” Berman told the panel. “There were important investigations in the office that I wanted to see through to completion.”Berman’s removal was decried by some critics as a “Friday night massacre” and fueled longstanding concerns among Democratic lawmakers that the Justice Department had become politicized under Barr.Berman's new role as head of Fried Frank's white-collar practice was previously held by Audrey Strauss, Berman's successor in the Manhattan U.S. Attorney's Office. Berman only agreed to step down over the summer after being assured Strauss would be in charge of the office.Between jobs, Berman has taught as a visiting professor at Stanford Law School.“It’s been great teaching at my alma mater, even if by Zoom, and as soon as things return to normal, I hope to lecture in person on campus,” he told The Associated Press.__Associated Press writer Larry Neumeister contributed to this report.Jim Mustian, The Associated Press
TORONTO — BMO Financial Group says it is winding down its non-Canadian investment and corporate banking business in the energy sector as the bank topped expectations with a $1.6-billion profit in its latest quarter.Chief executive Darryl White said Tuesday the move is part of BMO's efforts to better allocate resources in places where they can deliver strong returns now and in the future."Going forward, BMO Capital Markets' energy business will be focused on the Canadian energy market, where we believe our competitive positioning is strongest and where we will continue our deep and long-standing commitment to supporting clients," he told analysts on a conference call to discuss the bank's latest financial results.White's remarks come as Canadian banks and the country's economy are trying to stage a rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic, which prompted governments and financial institutions to streamline their processes and dig into their coffers to offer relief.Despite the added pressures and a recent second wave of the virus, BMO reported Tuesday a fourth-quarter profit of nearly $1.6 billion or $2.37 per share, up from nearly $1.2 billion or $1.78 per share a year ago.On an adjusted basis, BMO says it earned $2.41 per share, down from an adjusted profit of $2.43 per share in the same quarter last year.Analysts on average had expected an adjusted profit of $1.90 per share, according to financial data firm Refinitiv.Revenue totalled nearly $6 billion, down from almost $6.1 billion in the same quarter last year.White indicated that things continue to look up for the bank — one of the reasons why it was able to start paring back the amount of money it is putting aside to account for bad loans.Total provisions for credit losses amounted to $432 million, up from $253 million a year ago, but down from nearly $1.1 billion in its third quarter.BMO will continue to be disciplined with its expense management and efforts to bring efficiency to its operations, White said."While we expect revenue growth in parts of our business could remain constrained in the near term, we are committed to our financial objectives over the medium term," he said.The bank, White added, has already strengthened its competitive and capital position and identified opportunities to grow as business investment and consumer spending recover and the globe gets better at managing COVID-19."Looking ahead to 2021, while the path of the pandemic and the economic recovery remains uncertain, we now know that vaccines will be available relatively soon, and there's good reason to be optimistic about the associated economic recovery accelerating as 2021 progresses."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 1, 2020.Companies in this story: (TSX:BMO)Tara Deschamps, The Canadian Press
Nonfiction 1. A Promised Land by Barack Obama, narrated by the author (Random House Audio) 2. Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey, narrated by the author (Random House Audio) 3. Unf—k Your Brain by Faith G. Harper, PhD LPC-S ACS ACN, narrated by the author (Blackstone Audio, Inc. ) 4. The Art of War by Sun Tzu, performed by Aidan Gillen (Audible Studios) 5. Atomic Habits by James Clear, narrated by the author (Penguin Audio) 6. Mind Power Mixtape by Common, performed by the author (Audible Originals) 7. Smokey Robinson: Grateful and Blessed by Smokey Robinson, performed by the author (Audible Originals) 8. Habits for Happiness by Dr. Tim Sharp, performed by the author (Audible Original) 9. Becoming by Michelle Obama, narrated by the author (Random House Audio) 10. Be Calm by Jill P. Weber, PhD, narrated by Bernadette Dunne (Blackstone Audio, Inc.) Fiction 1. Ready Player Two by Ernest Cline, narrated by Wil Wheaton (Random House Audio) 2. The Queen’s Gambit by Walter Tevis, narrated by Amy Landon (Blackstone Audio, Inc.) 3. The Awakening by Nora Roberts, narrated by Barrie Kreinik (Macmillan Audio) 4. Rhythm of War by Brandon Sanderson, narrated by Kate Reading & Michael Kramer (Macmillan Audio) 5. Dead Acre by Rhett C. Bruno & Jaime Castle, performed by Roger Clark (Audible Originals) 6. 1984 by George Orwell, narrated by Simon Prebble (Blackstone Audio, Inc.) 7. The Weirdies by Michael Buckley, performed by Kate Winslet (Audible Originals) 8. A Christmas Carol: A Signature Performance by Tim Curry by Charles Dickens, performed by Tim Curry (Audible Studios) 9. Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle & Stephen Fry - introductions, performed by Stephen Fry (Audible Studios) 10. American Gods: The Tenth Anniversary Edition (A Full Cast Production) by Neil Gaiman, narrated by Ron McLarty, Daniel Oreskes & full cast (HarperAudio) The Associated Press
Ontario is investing more money into the idea of using community paramedics to provide health care to senior citizens in their own homes. The Ontario government announced Friday it will invest up to $15 million to expand the Community Paramedicine for Long-Term Care program. This initiative will help more seniors on long-term care waitlists stay safe while living in the comfort of their own homes for a longer period of time, said a news release. The program is not currently available in all communities. As a first step, the government is inviting communities to express their interest in expanding their existing provincially funded community paramedicine programs to include long-term care, said the news release. Communities that meet the eligibility requirements will be invited to submit an implementation plan and proposed budget, outlining how they will administer a larger Community Paramedicine program this fiscal year, said the Ministry of Long-Term Care. "The community paramedicine program provides our seniors, their families and caregivers peace of mind while waiting for a long-term care space," said Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Long-Term Care. "Expanding the program across the province means that more of our loved ones can access services from their own homes, potentially even delaying the need for long-term care, while still providing the quality care and service they need and deserve." The program was initially announced in October 2020 in partnership with five communities. This included Brant County, Cochrane District Social Services Administration Board, the City of Ottawa, Renfrew County, and York Region. Among the services provided in the program are: Access to health services 24-7, through in-home and remote methods, such as online or virtual supports; Non-emergency home visits and in-home testing procedures; Ongoing monitoring of changing or escalating conditions to prevent or reduce emergency incidents; Additional education about healthy living and managing chronic diseases; and Connections for participants and their families to home care and community supports. The ministry said the community paramedicine program is a way the province is collaborating with health system partners to provide innovative services and work toward ending hallway health care in hospitals, improve the long-term care system, and respond to the impact COVID-19 has had on seniors and their families.Len Gillis, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Sudbury.com
Wallaceburg residents got into the Christmas spirit last week with a nighttime market and a Santa food drive by. On Thursday night, the line up to get into the parking lot on James Street was so long, organizers of a night time Christmas Market had to extend its hours to ensure everyone got their chance to support local and do some holiday shopping. The Wallaceburg Christmas Market is an annual event which looked a little different during the pandemic. Normally the entire street is shut down and stores have an open house, but this year it was moved to the parking lot so organizers could control the flow of foot traffic. “It’s been a lovely night with steady customers so much to see and do,” said Kelsey Nydam of the Wallaceburg BIA, who was organizing the event for her first time ever. An hour before the event ended, there were approximately 1,000 residents who had come to the market, and vendors said their stands were running low on products. “Especially this year, markets are important to small communities. For so many local businesses and artisans, it’s been really difficult. When you look at other large corporations who had a record year, it kind of does feel a little unfair. These people are the heart and soul of communities. So it's just really important to support locals.” The Wallaceburg community also supported those in need on Saturday with a food drive by. Kids were lining up on the streets waiting to see Santa Claus – who left his sleigh in the North Pole and opted for a bright red truck – drive by as his helpers picked up food. All the toys and non-perishable food items collected were donated to the local Salvation Army and the St. Vincent de Paul food bank. “It was a very, very successful turnout and we are honestly so overwhelmed with food and toys that came through the doors,” said co-organizer Jay DeBuck, who also owns the Stubby Goat. The idea came about when DeBuck found out there was no Santa Claus parade happening this year because of the pandemic. He wanted to give his daughter a memorable experience on her first Christmas. DeBuck asked resident Mike Salisbury what they could do instead, and the latter decided it would be best to host a parade while collecting food and toys. DeBuck was the one who decided to bring the parade to the people by going through all of Wallaceburg’s subdivisions. The process took five hours with the help of Wallaceburg’s local radio station who broadcast throughout the day, informing residents where Santa would be heading next. One resident, Heather Little Blake said her mom, who has been involved with the local food banks for many decades, claims it is the most collected in 30 years. More than 2,000 pounds of food was collected, an amazing feat especially considering it took place only a week after The Gift, DeBuck said.Jenna Cocullo, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Chatham Voice
Should former members of the Syrian security forces who have defected from President Bashar al-Assad's government be prosecuted for war crimes, or should they serve as key witnesses in an effort to bring senior officials to justice? The question has divided Syrian refugees and exiles who have fled a civil war in which hundreds of thousands of people have been killed and that has been marked by atrocities since it broke out in 2011. In Germany, home to 600,000 Syrian refugees, prosecutors have used universal jurisdiction laws that allow them to prosecute crimes against humanity committed anywhere in the world to seek justice for victims of alleged torture and extrajudicial killings by Assad's forces.
A 45-year-old Saskatchewan man is facing impaired driving charges following a two-vehicle crash south of Fort Saskatchewan that killed two Alberta teenagers and left a third seriously injured. In a news release, Fort Saskatchewan RCMP stated that the accused was impaired on Sept. 17 when the pickup truck he was driving collided head-on with an SUV on Highway 21 near Township Road 542. The accident happened at about 9 p.m.Two of the three teenagers in the SUV — Kai Peters, 16, and Alexandra Ollington, 17, both of Sherwood Park — died at the scene.The third, 15-year-old Morgan Maltby, remains in hospital with "life-altering" injuries. Her family in Fort Saskatchewan is "hopeful that rehabilitation can be started soon in order for her to gain mobility," RCMP said in the Tuesday news release.Following the crash, officers launched an immediate investigation into the driver, stated the news release.The "complex investigation" included a collision analyst and forensic reconstructionist at the scene, witness evidence and a laboratory analysis of the driver's blood alcohol content. The accused — a resident of Caronport in southern Saskatchewan — is charged with operation of a motor vehicle while impaired causing death and dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death.He is also charged with operation of a motor vehicle while impaired causing bodily harm and dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing bodily harm. "The families of the three victims of this crash expressed their relief that this investigation has led to charge," Cpl. Devon Lafreniere said in a statement. "Waiting for this news has been hard on the families, and while they understand that the ongoing criminal process will continue to be challenging, it is finally a step forward."The RCMP with Victim Services Unit will continue to support the families through their long road ahead."
Ontario is reporting 1,707 new cases of COVID-19 today, and seven new deaths due to the virus.Health Minister Christine Elliott says 727 new cases are in Toronto, 373 in Peel Region, and 168 cases in York Region.The province also reported 299 new COVID-19 cases related to schools, including at least 253 among students.Those bring the number of schools with a reported case to 737 out of Ontario's 4,828 publicly funded schools.In the province's long-term care homes, 743 residents currently have COVID-19 and six new deaths have been reported today. The province says 109 of its 626 long-term care homes are experiencing an outbreak.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 1, 2020. The Canadian Press
While outdoor rinks will continue to open across Saskatoon this year, hockey games will not be allowed on them.At Saskatoon city council's monthly meeting on Monday night, councillors asked administration about reports that hockey nets were being removed from outdoor rinks. Lynne Lacroix, the city's general manager of community development said that hockey games are not allowed under provincial COVID-19 rules."If you leave the nets out randomly, the chance of scrimmages happening or games picking up will probably be high," said Lacroix. "So they're trying to minimize that as public skating is permitted, games are not permitted under the new regulations."Last week, the province suspended all team and group sports in an attempt to limit the spread of COVID-19. Under-18 hockey players are still allowed to practise, but only in groups of eight players.Outdoor rinks operated by community associations will still allow up to 30 skaters on the ice at any given time.Andrew Roberts, director of recreation and community development with City of Saskatoon, said the new rules on hockey nets are in effect because the province is only allowing practices for under-18 players."So based on that, we're requiring that nets not be outside on our outdoor rink during public skating time," Andrews said."We are recommending to our community associations — we're not mandating, we're just recommending — that the nets be removed when there's unsupervised time just to mitigate the risk of hockey being played with groups bigger than eight."The policy is in effect until Dec. 17, when the province will be providing updates to the recommendations.Andrews said community associations can still rent out rinks for hockey practices under the new restrictions, and would be able to use hockey nets in those circumstances.The city has received plenty of feedback from citizens and community associations, mostly looking for clarification, he said. "We're providing the requirements and the documentation to our community association so that they can share them among the community as well."Indoor rinks aren't really affected, Andrews said, because nets aren't on the ice during public skating and all rental times are supervised."The difference is everyone must wear a mask indoors — it is just recommended to wear masks at outdoor rinks," he said.Kelly Boes, executive director of the Saskatoon Minor Hockey Association, said the new city guidelines don't really affect organized minor hockey.Boes said their practices, for the most part, are indoors and they are allowed to have nets."I really think this is designed around the kids that are, you know, hanging around and just want to go and have some fun and start playing, and a shinny game breaks out," he said."I think that's why they're doing it, to try to stop that from happening."Coun. Randy Donauer (Ward 5) worried there might be confusion between indoor and outdoor venues."I don't know if it's sending the right message to say we're going to have hockey facilities inside for practices, but you can't even have a net out for kids to shoot on in the neighborhood," he said. Brad Holler, who was out Tuesday shooting pucks at the Sutherland rinks, thinks removing the nets is going too far."It sucks for kids," he said. "This is Saskatchewan. Hockey's a huge part of our culture, it's how kids stay active."I realize there's a pandemic at hand. But when you look at some of the other regulations that are in place right now, like you can go eat at a restaurant, five people per table and take off [your] masks … to take away hockey nets, I think it's a little ridiculous."Roman Todos, president of the Caswell Hill Community Association, said they are still getting the rink prepared, so it isn't open yet.How big a deal the no-net policy will be depends on how long the restriction stays in place, he said."We should be close to getting our rink up and running and then we'll have to follow the guidelines as much as possible," said Todos, adding they'll need some more people to help to put up signage up and co-ordinate the new policy. Meanwhile, Lacroix said other winter activities, like Optimist Hill, are expected to open soon, as is the Meewasin outdoor rink near the Bessborough Hotel.During the city council meeting, Pamela Goulden-McLeod, the city's director of emergency planning, continued to ask people in Saskatoon to stay at home and limit the number of new cases of COVID-19 in the city.On Monday, there were 1,318 active cases of COVID-19 in Saskatoon, almost double the number from Regina."Our ICUs are currently operating over capacity and our resources are stretched," she said. "We need all residents to return to following the guidelines of [Chief Medical Health Officer] Dr. [Saqib] Shahab as closely as possible."