A 102-carat diamond from Northern Ontario is up for auction and hoping to fetch a hefty sum by Oct. 5.
Despite the U.S. having the world's highest number of COVID-19 cases, Canadian snowbird Elizabeth Evans is determined to head south next month. That's because her only winter home is parked at an RV resort in Williston, Florida."I don't have a [winter] home here," said Evans, who's currently living in her summer trailer at a campground in Niagara Falls. "I don't have any winter clothes."Evans is one of a number of snowbirds set on going to the U.S. this winter, despite the ongoing pandemic. But getting there may not be easy: To help stop the spread of COVID-19, the Canada-U.S. land border remains closed to non-essential traffic until at least Oct. 21.Evans believes the closure will be extended, so she plans to fly to Florida on Oct. 30 — two days before the campground where she's living closes for the season. "There's no way I am staying here," she said. "Even if I had to get on the plane buck-naked, I'd be on it."The Canadian Snowbird Association — which has more than 110,000 members — said it's hard to gauge at this point what percentage of its members will actually head south this winter. Some snowbirds have already nixed their plans, while others are undecided. "A significant portion of them are in a holding pattern, just to see what shakes out at the land border," said spokesperson Evan Rachkovsky.WATCH | Alberta snowbirds planning to spend winter at home:Some experts predict the Canada-U.S. land border could stay closed to non-essential travel until the new year. Although Canadians can still fly to the U.S., Rachkovsky said many snowbirds won't go without their cars but can't afford the big fees — between $1,500 and $6,000 — to ship their vehicles."It's not really an option for some of them to fly."Evans is one of those who would typically drive down to the U.S., which allowed her to transport her household supplies in her truck. She said she's can't ship her truck packed with luggage, so this year she's leaving it behind, along with many household necessities. But she's still bent on going to the U.S., even as health experts warn of a possible surge of COVID-19 cases in the fall. Evans said she plans to take precautionary measures such as social distancing and keep to her RV resort. "I will take the risk because I know how to protect myself, and everybody — at least in my resort — follows the rules," she said. "I'm more concerned about falling off my bicycle than I am of COVID."Escape winter while isolatingTravel insurance broker Martin Firestone said so far less than 10 per cent of his snowbird clients have made firm plans to go south this winter. He said those who are going say they will aim to avoid crowds, just as they would in Canada during the pandemic. "They're going to be prisoners in their developments or their condos," said Firestone, with Travel Secure in Toronto. "They're saying, 'I guess I'd rather sit down in Florida than sit here in Ontario and face the harsh climate.'"That about sums up Perry Cohen's itinerary. The snowbird — who is one of Firestone's clients — aims to head to his condo in Deerfield Beach, Fla., in early December as long as the COVID-19 case count remains low in that area.Cohen, who lives in Toronto, said he plans to take the necessary precautions and stick to his gated community — all while enjoying the warm weather. "Why would I want to be cooped up here when I can be there, out in the sunshine, in the fresh air?" he said. "You have more positives to go than to stay here."Cohen also plans to fly to Florida and has a car parked at his condo. He said an added reassurance for him is that he can now purchase COVID-19 medical insurance — just in case he or his wife did get the virus. "I like a complete package to know I'm looked after [if], God forbid, I have a problem."COVID-19 medical coverage returnsSeveral travel insurance providers recently restarted selling COVID-19 medical coverage, after dropping it in March when the pandemic began its global spread Firestone said that even with the coverage, snowbirds could face problems if the community where they're living has an outbreak. "The hospitals will get filled, the intensive care units will get filled, and then the fun will begin, regardless of whether you have insurance or not."Cohen argues Canada could also experience overrun hospitals. Currently, COVID-19 case numbers are surging in Ontario and Quebec. "You take a chance and go, because we can have the same problem here."
CLEVELAND — The first debate between President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden deteriorated into bitter taunts and near chaos Tuesday night as Trump repeatedly interrupted his opponent with angry — and personal — jabs that sometimes overshadowed the sharply different visions each man has for a nation facing historic crises.In the most tumultuous presidential debate in recent memory, Trump refused to condemn white supremacists who have supported him, telling one such group known as Proud Boys to “stand back, stand by.” There were also heated clashes over the president's handling of the pandemic, the integrity of the election results, deeply personal attacks about Biden's family and how the Supreme Court will shape the future of the nation’s health care.But it was the belligerent tone that was persistent, somehow fitting for what has been an extraordinarily ugly campaign. The two men frequently talked over each other with Trump interrupting, nearly shouting, so often that Biden eventually snapped at him, “Will you shut up, man?”“The fact is that everything he’s saying so far is simply a lie,” Biden said. “I’m not here to call out his lies. Everybody knows he’s a liar.”The presidential race has been remarkably stable for weeks, despite the historic crises that have battered the country this year, including a pandemic that has killed more than 200,000 Americans and a reckoning over race and police brutality. With just five weeks until Election Day and voting already underway in some key states, Biden has maintained a lead in national polls and in many battlegrounds.It's unclear whether the debate will do much to change those dynamics.Over and over, Trump tried to control the conversation, interrupting Biden and repeatedly talking over the moderator, Chris Wallace of Fox News. The president tried to deflect tough lines of questioning — whether on his taxes or the pandemic — to deliver broadsides against Biden.The president drew a lecture from Wallace, who pleaded with both men to stop talking over each other. Biden tried to push back against Trump, sometimes looking right at the camera to directly address viewers rather than the president and snapping, “It’s hard to get a word in with this clown.”Again refusing to commit to honouring the results of the election, Trump spread falsehoods about mail voting. Without evidence, he suggested that the process — surging in popularity during the pandemic — was ripe for fraud and incorrectly claimed impropriety at a Pennsylvania voting site.But despite his efforts to dominate the discussion, Trump was frequently put on the defensive and tried to sidestep when he was asked if he was willing to condemn white supremacists and paramilitary groups.“What do you want to call them? Give me a name. Give me a name,” Trump said, before Biden mentioned the far right, violent group known as the Proud Boys. Trump then pointedly did not condemn the group, instead saying, “Proud Boys, stand back, stand by. But I’ll tell you what, somebody’s got to do something about Antifa and the left because this is not right wing problem. This is a left wing problem."Biden attacked Trump's handling of the pandemic, saying that the president “waited and waited" to act when the virus reached America's shores and “still doesn’t have a plan.” Biden told Trump to “get out of your bunker and get out of the sand trap” and go in his golf cart to the Oval Office to come up with a bipartisan plan to save people.Trump snarled a response, declaring that “I'll tell you Joe, you could never have done the job that we did. You don’t have it in your blood."“I know how to do the job,” was the solemn response from Biden, who served eight years as Barack Obama's vice-president.The pandemic’s effects were in plain sight, with the candidates’ lecterns spaced far apart, all of the guests in the small crowd tested and the traditional opening handshake scrapped. While neither candidate wore a mask to take the stage, their families did sport face coverings.Trump struggled to define his ideas for replacing the Affordable Care Act on health care in the debate’s early moments and defended his nomination of Amy Coney Barrett, declaring that “I was not elected for three years, I’m elected for four years.”“We won the election. Elections have consequences. We have the Senate. We have the White House and we have a phenomenal nominee, respected by all.”Trump criticized Biden over the former vice-president's refusal to comment on whether he would try to expand the Supreme Court in retaliation if Barrett is confirmed to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. That idea has gained momentum on the party's left flank but Biden tried to put distance between himself and the liberal wing, declining to endorse the Green New Deal and rejecting the assertion that he was under the control of radicals by declaring “I am the Democratic Party now.”The scattershot debate bounced from topic to topic, with Trump again refusing to embrace the science of climate change while Biden accused Trump of walking away from the American promise of equity for all and making a race-based appeal.“This is a president who has used everything as a dog whistle to try to generate racist hatred, racist division,” Biden said.Recent months have seen major protests after the deaths of Black people at the hands of police. Biden said the country faces a problem with systemic racism and that while the vast majority of police officers are “decent, honourable men and women” there are “bad apples” and people have to be held accountable.Trump in turn claimed that Biden’s work on a federal crime bill treated the African American population “about as bad as anybody in this country.” The president pivoted to his hardline focus on those protesting racial injustice and accused Biden of being afraid to use the words “law and order,” out of fear of alienating the left.“Violence in response is never appropriate, “Biden said. “Never appropriate. Peaceful protest is.”The attacks turned deeply personal when Trump returned to a campaign attack line by declaring that Biden's son, Hunter, had inappropriately benefitted from his father's connections while working in Ukraine. Biden rarely looked at Trump during the night but turned to face the president when he defended his sons, including his son Beau, an Army veteran who died of cancer in 2015, after the commander-in-chief's reported insults of those who served in the military.A new report from two Republican-led Senate committees alleged that Hunter Biden’s work in Ukraine at the same time his father was vice-president raised conflict-of-interest concerns for the Obama administration, but the report did not link Joe Biden to any wrongdoing or misconduct. Trump was impeached for pushing Kyiv to investigate the Biden family.The debate was arguably Trump's best chance to try to reframe the campaign as a choice between candidates and not a referendum over his handling of the virus that has killed more people in America than any other nation. Americans, according to polling, have soured on his leadership in the crisis, and the president has struggled to land consistent attacks on Biden.In the hours before the debate, Biden released his 2019 tax returns just days after the blockbuster revelations about Trump’s long-hidden tax history, including that he paid only $750 a year in federal income taxes in 2016 and 2017 and nothing in many other years. The Bidens paid nearly $300,000 in taxes in 2019.Trump, in the debate, insisted that he paid millions in taxes — but refused to say how much he paid in federal income taxes — and insisted that he had taken advantage of legal tax incentives, another angry exchange that led to Biden declaring that Trump was the “worst president” the nation has ever had.___Lemire reported from New York. Price reported from Las Vegas. Additional reporting by Associated Press writers Jill Colvin in Cleveland and Zeke Miller in Washington.___Jonathan Lemire, Darlene Superville, Will Weissert And Michelle L. Price, The Associated Press
LOS ANGELES — A 39-year-old woman was charged Tuesday in what authorities say was an attempted kidnapping of the 9-month-old granddaughter of Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana from his Southern California home.Sodsai Predpring Dalzell of Los Angeles pleaded not guilty in LA County court to felony counts of attempted kidnapping of a child under 14 and burglary.“Miss Dalzell is extremely apologetic and is very well concerned about the well-being of the family,” Dalzell's attorney Ayinde Jones said outside of court. “She understands the harm that this has caused the family, friends and also fans of the Montana family. So our heart goes out to them.”The 64-year-old Montana told sheriff's deputies that the girl was asleep Saturday in a playpen in his house in Malibu when a woman he did not know entered and picked up the child.Montana and his wife, Jennifer, confronted her, tried to deescalate the situation and asked her to give back the baby, authorities said.After a brief struggle, Jennifer Montana pried the girl away, and Dalzell fled from the home, authorities said. She was later arrested nearby.No one was hurt.Jones said he plans to present a credible defence, “focused on ensuring that Miss Dalzell gets the help that she may need.”The attorney said he has “no hindsight, no clue as yet on why she did what she did, only that she is very apologetic. She has told me over and over again that she understands the harm that she has caused. As a parent myself, I can only imagine the pain that it has caused the Montana family.”Dalzell's bail was set at $200,000 and she was told to return to court Oct. 20. She could get eight years in prison if convicted as charged. She has no previous criminal record.“Scary situation, but thankful that everybody is doing well," the former San Francisco 49ers star tweeted on Sunday.Montana played 13 years of his 15 year-career with the 49ers, who won four Super Bowls with him as starting quarterback. He retired in 1994 after two seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs.He and Jennifer Montana, a philanthropist and former model, have been married since 1985 and have four adult children. It is not clear which of the children is the girl's parent.Andrew Dalton, The Associated Press
MEXICO CITY — Archaeological authorities in Mexico said Tuesday they kicked some cast members of a popular local “Jersey Shore”-style reality show out of the Mayan ruins of Uxmal after they behaved "immaturely" and refused to wear masks or follow social distancing rules.It was the latest round of bad promotional work in Mexico’s desperate attempt to revive its tourism industry, which has been decimated by the coronavirus pandemic.It seems the young, ripped cast members of Mexico's popular “Acapulco Shore” reality show and another contestant show — whom the state government of Yucatan described as “influencers” — were invited to tour the ruins soon after they were reopened in a bid to encourage tourists to return.But the National Institute of Anthropology and History said the half-dozen cast members “were asked to leave, in compliance with health rules.”Employees at the 1,000-year-old complex of Mayan temples, palaces and pyramid platforms said the cast acted “immaturely” and refused to follow posted rules requiring face masks and social distancing. Photos posted on social media showed them clowning around and posing in close contact atop one ancient structure.Yucatan officials denied they paid the cast members but acknowledged the visit was part of a promotional campaign and defended the invitation.Michelle Fridman, the Yucatan state tourism secretary, wrote in a Tweet that “the influencers were not paid one single peso. It also wasn't some half-baked idea but rather part of a strategy included in the plan for recovery from COVID, and if we carefully measure the impact, we estimate we got 200 million hits for a sector that urgently needs promotion.”Fridman's office did not respond to requests for comment, but her stance apparently boiled down to ‘any news is good news’ in a state where tourism is vitally important.Tourist arrivals at airports in Mexico fell by 93.4 % at the worst point in May, and even with projections showing some recovery in the second half of 2020, are expected to end the year 42.8% below 2019 levels. Tourism provides 11 million jobs, directly or indirectly in Mexico.The Uxmal dispute was just the latest chapter in a bad year for Mexican tourism promotion.In August, due to disputes over payments and control of the English-language version of the country’s tourism website, its internet page appeared with hilarious mistranslations.On the VisitMexico.com site, states like Hidalgo and Guerrero apparently got machine-translated as “Noble” and “Warrior.” The Caribbean resort of Tulum somehow became “Jumpsuit.” And the names of other tourist towns were also mangled.Mexico’s Tourism Department issued a statement apologizing for the apparently out-sourced errors and later launched a redesigned page.The snafu came right after the U.S. State Department cited the high number of COVID-19 cases in Mexico for issuing a “do not travel” advisory for the country in August, its highest level of warning.And earlier, the resort of Acapulco was forced to pull “anything goes” tourism ads that showed people partying without masks and the words “there are no rules.”The ads touted the faded resort’s reputation as a nightclubbing spot — despite the fact that nightclubs are currently closed to enforce social distancing.“We have stopped being a postcard from the past, today we have changed the rules,” says the narration in one of the pulled videos.“In fact, there are no rules,” says another voice, as people can be seen eating bizarre meals and going out to nightclubs. “Eat whatever you want, have fun day and night and into the early morning hours ... find new friends and new loves.”Authorities said the ads weren’t appropriate during the coronavirus pandemic.The Associated Press
Ontario Premier Doug Ford and health officials have confirmed that the province is in the second wave of COVID-19.
Sadie Vipond has tried to keep a pretty low profile to this point, keeping her name out of the press, fearing the onslaught of attacks that would inevitably find their way into the 14-year-old's social media channels once she was labelled as a climate change activist.Yes, she's spoken before Calgary city council. Yes, she's regularly participated in the Fridays for Future climate strikes. And yes, she and her family happen to have hosted international climate youth activist Greta Thunberg when she visited Alberta. But she's been tight lipped about it — until today, that is. Vipond is breaking her silence, hoping that people in Alberta might heed the concern she has for her future and that of her entire generation; the fear, anger and sadness she carries with her as she watches the first substantial impacts of climate change materializing around the world.She's not only taking her plea to the people, though. She's also one of 15 young people suing the federal government for failing to protect their future. Vipond is the sole representative from Alberta."As a youth, I can't vote or make a huge (political) difference," Vipond told CBC Calgary. "I don't get to tell our leaders what I think. So, a lawsuit seemed like a good way to get my opinion out there."The case against OttawaThe lawsuit was filed to the federal court in Vancouver on Oct. 25, 2019, with the statement of claim accusing the federal government of failing to protect the plaintiffs' rights to life, liberty, safety and equality. An excerpt from the statement of claim reads, "Canada is one of (the) 10 highest (greenhouse gas) emitters in the world in terms of total national emissions. Despite knowing for decades that GHG emissions cause climate change and disproportionately harm children, the defendants continue to cause, contribute to and allow GHG emissions that are incompatible with a stable climate capable of sustaining human life and liberties."CBC News has previously reported that the federal government urged a judge to throw out the case, but to no avail. The hearings are scheduled to take place this week, beginning Wednesday, in Vancouver.In its statement of defence, the federal government acknowledged the real and urgent threat climate change poses to Canadians. But also insisted that the federal government shouldn't be singled out in the placing of blame, stating, "Addressing climate change is the shared responsibility of a multitude of different actors."The statement of defence goes on to state that it is not the court's role to make judgments on policies passed."Only the executive and legislative branches of government may make policy, pass laws and authorize the allocation of public funds."For Vipond, the government's logic doesn't hold up. "Canada does have a plan for the climate, it's just not sufficient to actually reach the Paris Agreement (emissions-reduction targets). So, I think they need to have a better plan. That's what the lawsuit is asking for — a science-based climate recovery plan," she said over video chat from her home in Calgary.Vipond is far from being a stranger to climate change activism. Her father, Joe Vipond, is the president of the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment as well as a co-founder of the Calgary Climate Hub. He was one of the key campaigners behind the push for Canada to outlaw the use of coal-fired electricity, which is being phased out now by 2030.Since Sadie is still underage, Joe had to endorse his daughter's participation in the federal court proceedings, which he did proudly. But the fear of his child becoming a public face of the fight certainly gave him pause."There's 15 kids in the litigation, and all of the other kids have done media (interviews) to this point, and when we went into this in October, we requested that Sadie not do any media, and that was because we were cognisant of the bullying that goes along with climate denial. Especially for women. I think it's quite obvious even with our female politicians that they've been receiving the majority of the comments."And then as things rolled out, we heard stories that the Saskatchewan litigants — who had been doing quite a bit of media — were quite impacted by some of the comments they would see (in comment sections)," Joe said."But Sadie kept asking to do this. So she's ready to be brave and she says she's ready to take on whatever the world can throw at her, and we hope we can support her and protect her through that."Sadie was inspired like many teens around the world to take more action on climate change after watching Greta Thunberg's first viral speech before the United Nations climate change conference in 2018. That admiration for a fellow teenager being able to make waves that way entrenched her motivation to have tough conversations about the impacts of climate change, and actions that can be taken here in Alberta to mitigate the effects.Meeting GretaThat resolve was only deepened when Sadie got the chance to meet Thunberg last October, just days before their court case was filed.Joe, through his connections with Montreal's Climate Reality Project, had been calling about an unrelated issue just before Thunberg was set to land in Alberta. Through the grapevine, he was then connected with other climate activists in Belgium who were looking for a place for the Swedish activist to stay while she was in Calgary. No plans were cemented until the day of her arrival."We basically had about two hours' notice to prep for this celebrity," Joe recalls.Riding up to her house on her bike after school, Sadie didn't know she would be walking in to find one of her own personal heroes."It was quite a surprise when I came home to basically this celebrity in my house," Sadie said. "Just seeing her made me even more inspired to get on with the lawsuit and try to make a difference in our country."The encounter was surreal for the Calgary teen, as Thunberg congratulated Sadie for engaging with city council on climate issues, and for being willing to put her name forward as one of the defendants in the case against the federal government."She said anyone who was doing anything, she thought was really cool. And I was just like, 'But you got the whole globe caring about this problem.' But it felt pretty good," Sadie said.Thunberg, wanting to see more of Calgary than just the Viponds' living room, asked them to show her around and they took her to the Eau Claire area and strolled down the banks of the Bow River. The next morning she rode the CTrain and got a tour around the new public library.The bright blue coat Thunberg donned on the steps of the Alberta legislature just days later was Sadie's. The whole experience was otherworldly for the family.Even before Sadie met Thunberg, or before Thunberg's speech to the UN went viral, Sadie was working to inspire Calgarians to act on climate change.At 12, she stood before Calgary city council and told the politicians how denial of climate change was no different from the scenario presented in the Harry Potter series, where the magical government refused to acknowledge the darkest wizard had returned to power after being thought to have died. "Just shoving it away and pretending it doesn't exist doesn't make the whole idea just disappear," she told council.Sadie doesn't come at her mission from a place of anger or desperation — though she knows policy action on climate change is desperately needed. She comes at it from a place of hope, hoping that governments of all levels are paying attention and are prepared to make policy decisions that take her generation's future, and the next, into consideration.If not, governments, beginning with the federal government, are being put on notice: inaction will not be taken lying down."I am hopeful that we will make a difference," Sadie said. "Of course I hope we win, because that would make a change on a legal scale. But if we don't win, (maybe) we'll make enough noise to have more people aware of the climate crisis."
OTTAWA — Aid agencies welcomed Canada’s commitment on Tuesday of an extra $400 million in development and humanitarian spending to combat COVID-19.The new money will go to "to trusted partners on the ground fighting COVID-19," Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said during a video conference at the United Nations that he co-hosted with Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and Jamaica's Prime Minister Andrew Holness."From ensuring equitable access to vaccines, to providing more time for distressed countries to make bilateral debt payments, including Caribbean and small island states, we're working on concrete options that will help build a more resilient world," Trudeau said.Non-government organizations welcomed the government’s added spending after pleading for decades with successive Liberal and Conservative governments to offer a meaningful boost to the country’s overseas development assistance budget.Nicolas Moyer, the chief executive of the Canadian Council for International Cooperation, said the new funds announced Tuesday by Trudeau were significant given last Friday’s commitment by the government to contribute $220 million to the COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access Facility or COVAX, which will help purchase vaccine doses for low- and middle-income countries."These investments come at a critical moment. With immense and growing needs around the world, Canada has stepped up at a time when world needs Canadian leadership more than ever," said Moyer."The COVID pandemic is the challenge of a generation. When the world needs us, it’s critical that Canada stands up and does its share." Lindsay Glassco, president of Plan International Canada, said the pandemic has unravelled decades of progress on reducing poverty and improving gender equality at home and abroad."The pandemic has shown us how truly connected the world is and that solutions must extend beyond borders," said Glassco."The Canadian government has responded once again with funding and support to stop this setback, and for that we are grateful."Bill Chambers, the chief executive of Save the Children, said the novel coronavirus is destroying the lives of children in crisis zones from Syria to Myanmar.“Now is the time we need leaders like Canada to commit to the global fight against this virus. We are reassured and inspired to see the government of Canada step up to the challenge while calling on others to do the same," he said.It was the second time since the spring that Trudeau, Guterres and Holness held a meeting of the UN’s high-level panel on "financing for development in the era of COVID-19 and beyond." They held their first joint meeting in late May, less than three weeks before Canada failed to win a temporary seat on the Security Council.Canada ran on a platform of trying to help rebuild the post-pandemic world in a contest that pitted it against Norway and Ireland for two non-permanent seats on the council, starting next year.Trudeau said after the Security Council defeat that Canada would remain active on the world stage in trying to rebuild the battered economy. "Canada believes that a strong, co-ordinated response across the world and across sectors is essential. This pandemic has provided an opportunity for a reset," Trudeau said Tuesday."This is our chance to accelerate our pre-pandemic efforts to reimagine economic systems that actually address global challenges like extreme poverty, inequality, and climate change."Trudeau said Canada will invest more in the coming years and he will continue to advocate for debt relief for developing countries facing economic hardship because of the pandemic.Canada will push to have the voices of those countries heard in larger forums such as the G7, G20 and World Bank, he added.Guterres said he welcomed Trudeau’s push for debt relief, adding he would be advocating for it in the G20 because it could provide up to $12 billion in help for participating countries."The problem is to mobilize the resources," said Guterres."This has to do to the strengthening of the resources of the IMF and the World Bank and the other international financial institutions," he added."And this has to do with the vaccine and the need to massively invest in creating a vaccine that is a global public good."Trudeau said the pandemic has further exacerbated long-standing challenges of poverty, inequality, as well as climate change.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 29, 2020.Mike Blanchfield, The Canadian Press
MADISON, Wis. — The Wisconsin Supreme Court weighed Tuesday whether to go along with conservatives who argue that 130,000 voters should be removed from the rolls in the hotly contested presidential battleground state, while the Democratic attorney general defended not purging them.The Wisconsin case is one of several lawsuits across the country, many in battleground states, that seek to purge voters from registration rolls. It is being closely watched because President Donald Trump won the swing state by fewer than 23,000 votes in 2016. However, the lawsuit was unlikely to be resolved by the state Supreme Court before the Nov. 3 election just five weeks away.Justices on the court controlled 4-3 by conservatives gave little indication during the hour-long oral arguments how they were leaning.The Wisconsin case hinges on whether voters who were identified as potentially having moved should be removed from the voter registration database. The Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty, a conservative law firm, argued that the state elections commission broke the law when it did not remove voters from the rolls who did not respond within 30 days to a mailing last year indicating they had been identified as someone who potentially moved.The commission wanted to wait until after the presidential election before removing anyone because of inaccuracies found while previously attempting to identify voters who may have moved.Because voters who moved were concentrated in more Democratic areas of the state, liberals argued that the lawsuit was meant to lower turnout on their side. Republicans countered that it was about reducing the likelihood of voter fraud and making sure that people who moved are not able to vote from their previous addresses.A circuit court judge ruled last year that the voters must be removed immediately, but a state appeals court overturned that in February.Many of the questions from justices on Tuesday revolved around whether it was the duty of the state elections commission, or local election clerks, to remove voters from the rolls. Justice Brian Hagedorn, part of the court's conservative majority who has sometimes sided with liberals, questioned whether the state elections commission had the legal authority to remove anyone from the registration list.Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul maintained that the elections commission was under no duty to treat as reliable the information it received about voters who may have moved. Kaul said the commission's only responsibility under the multi-state Electronic Registration Information Center agreement was to notify flagged voters that they may need to update their address.Rick Esenberg, attorney for the conservative group that brought the lawsuit, argued that state law clearly gives the elections commission the responsibility to maintain the voter list. When presented with the information about those who had moved, the commission had a duty to remove those who did not respond to the mailing, Esenberg said.No voters have been deactivated while the yearlong legal fight continues. Even if a voter has their registration deactivated, they can register again later or on Election Day when they show up at the polls. Absentee voting is underway in Wisconsin with more than 308,000 ballots returned already.The lawsuit is just one of several voting-related challenges across the country, many of them in battleground states.On Tuesday, hours after the Supreme Court arguments, a federal appeals court upheld a ruling that expanded the time that absentee ballots can be counted in Wisconsin. And on Monday, a judge in Georgia dismissed a similar voter purge lawsuit filed by two voters in Fulton County, which includes Atlanta. The lawsuit sought to force election officials to hold hearings that could have resulted in 14,000 voters being removed from the county’s voter rolls before the November general election.In Pennsylvania, a federal lawsuit filed by the conservative group Judicial Watch alleges that up to 800,000 registered voters should be classified as “inactive” and removed. That case is on hold until after the election. Judicial Watch also sued in North Carolina, saying not enough has been done to periodically remove inactive or permanently moved voters in that state.And in Michigan, a Republican activist sued in federal court to remove ineligible voters from 16 counties with “abnormally high” registration levels. The state recently sought to dismiss the lawsuit, saying the plaintiff had no standing to sue and, even if he did, federal law prohibits the systemic removal of ineligible voters within 90 days of the election. That case is pending.Removals or proposed removals, especially this close to an election, can be confusing and intimidating for voters and frequently aren’t based on reliable information, said John Powers, an attorney with the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, which has been fighting those efforts.“You’re scaring people and kicking eligible voters off the rolls, all of which undermines confidence in elections at time when that’s the last thing we need,” he said.___Associated Press writers Kate Brumback in Atlanta; David Eggert in Lansing, Michigan; Marc Levy in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; and Bryan Anderson in Raleigh, North Carolina, contributed to this report.___Follow Scott Bauer on Twitter: https://twitter.com/sbauerAPScott Bauer, The Associated Press
On the family cattle farm just outside Caroline, Alta., Nicole and Bill Houlton are busy doing the daily chores.As they go about taking hay to the cows, there is no outward sign of the health struggles they've had over the past three years. Nicole Houlton, 28, has had three miscarriages. It has been a painful time that has brought into focus their reliance on their local health-care clinic and hospital at the same time Alberta doctors and the province are in a contract dispute over how to find savings while still delivering quality care.While embarking into the unknown world of fertility treatments in Calgary, the Houltons learned they are losing their primary care physician. They also found out five of the eight doctors who work in the Moose and Squirrel Medical Clinic in nearby Sundre have given notice they are leaving Alberta to practise elsewhere. "We felt crushed. Going through all this fertility stuff, it's like, now what do we do?" Nicole Houlton said.The doctors and staff at the clinic in Sundre have become like family, she said, offering a lifeline when she didn't know where to turn."They've been there for me 100 per cent of the way, just phone calls, emails, you name it, they're there for you."Nicole Houlton, who also works as a butcher at a local grocery store, said she was surprised and grateful when the clinic reached out to her husband of four years as well. "The man is part of the loss, too."Bill Houlton, a sawmill worker, said he didn't ask for help, but it was there for the 32-year-old anyway, "just to check on me and see how I was doing and how I was handling it."'It was awful'Dr. Alanna Bowie said that writing the letter that left the Houltons "crushed," telling them that she was leaving the Sundre clinic, was "so hard." "I don't really know what else to say other than that it was awful."Bowie was born, raised and educated in Alberta.She expected to spend her career in the province, practising "cradle to grave" rural medicine. Her tight network of family and friends is in Alberta.But the contract dispute between the province and the Alberta Medical Association has left Bowie so frustrated, she said, that she is leaving for British Columbia at the end of April. She has arranged locums, or fill-in work, in B.C. until she decides where to settle permanently. "It was death by a thousand cuts, all of these little insidious things that made it more difficult, made my job feel more and more unstable."In a voluntary survey conducted with members last summer, the Alberta Medical Association found that hundreds of doctors say they're considering leaving the province or retiring early.Threats to stop doing shifts at local hospitalsIn addition to the five doctors resigning from the Sundre clinic, more than a handful of physicians elsewhere in the province have publicly announced they are leaving Alberta. Alberta Health Services could not provide CBC with an exact number of resignations or how that compared to previous years. Doctors in more than a dozen Alberta communities have threatened or given notice they will stop doing shifts at local hospitals and concentrate solely on family practice. It's hard to say how much weight the contract dispute between doctors held in individual decisions to leave Alberta. But each resignation has come as a protracted battle has raged since the province cancelled the master agreement with the Alberta Medical Association last February. It wasn't due to expire until the end of March. It has descended into an unusually public battle of back-and-forth since then, played out on social media, in newspaper ads and in town halls organized by doctors."It's a new government. So they came with a mandate, kind of the iron fist, and they've been showing that," said Dr. Edward Aasman, president of the AMA's rural sector, "but it doesn't really help people work together to come up with solutions."The AMA is suing the province for violating doctors' charter rights when it tore up their contract. The government says this is nothing more than a wage battle run amok. It says it's trying to rein in unsustainable health-care spending, including more than $5.4 billion annually spent on physician services. "Alberta spends more per capita on physician services than any other province," Steve Buick, press secretary to Alberta Health Minister Tyler Shandro, wrote in a statement to CBC News, "We have slightly more physicians per capita than the national average, and we pay them more than in any other province."Bowie refutes what she calls "the vilification of physicians and gaslighting of Albertans to believe that this is all financially motivated, when in fact it's not at all." She said she and others will likely take a pay cut when they move to other provinces.Instead, she said her decision to leave was cemented by the province's health-care direction and the fractured relationship between doctors and the government. Aasman said the AMA is actually ahead of the government when it comes to finding ways to reduce physician costs by finding savings that will have the least impact on patient care.Large variety of jobsBy the nature of the job, many rural family physicians perform a large variety of medical services and advocates say they often have less room in their bottom lines to absorb cuts. Similarly, for each rural doctor who leaves or retires and isn't replaced, the effect on a community is felt more deeply, the AMA says. "We see a lot of orphaned patients" when a doctor leaves a small community, Aasman said."It increases the workload, the stress on the hospital, both our community and probably surrounding communities as well. That's a big thing."The government said it is making practising rural medicine in Alberta the most attractive proposal in the country, with various financial and recruiting incentives. It said the very public resignations won't affect the number of physicians practising in Alberta. It is forecasting more new physicians will start working in the province than leave it."We do not expect shortages overall or in any specific community, apart from the normal staffing challenges in smaller centres. That includes Sundre, where the hospital is fully covered and services continue without interruption," Buick said.Worries remainBut with their own clinic losing five physicians, Nicole and Bill Houlton remain worried, and not just for themselves."Our senior parents and folks, we worry about them. It's a lot harder for them to travel to a family doctor," Bill Houlton said.Nicole Houlton said after struggling with trying to start a family, they are now left with more uncertainty."Nobody really knows what's coming, what to do, what the next steps are." Or if they will even have a family doctor come spring.
Since the onset of the pandemic, B.C.'s Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has not only led the province in its COVID-19 response, but she has also become a muse for some.There have been shoes, there have been murals, there have been songs and now, there are puppies.Meet Bonnie and Henry, a pair of Labrador puppies named in honour of B.C.'s top doctor.B.C. and Alberta Guide Dogs announced the birth and tribute Tuesday."Dr. Henry has been a wonderful presence of calm and guidance through the COVID-19 pandemic," said Bill Thornton, CEO of the organization, in a release."Our organization felt that it was a fitting tribute to name these little puppies after her, as they will one day grow up to provide those same qualities of guidance and support to someone in need."The puppies — along with their eight siblings — will soon begin training to become guide dogs for people who are blind or visually-impaired, have profound autism or post-traumatic stress disorder after serving in the military or as first responders.And the tribute caught the attention of the puppies' namesake."Thank you for the incredible work that B.C. Guide Dogs does, supporting so many people in British Columbia," she said. "Taking a moment to appreciate the joy of two little puppies is so welcome."
The latest meeting between the Sipekne'katik First Nation and federal fisheries staff involved the band going over the details of their moderate livelihood fishery on Tuesday.Chief Mike Sack said the talks were "very positive" and he is optimistic about how things are going."It's just to help them completely understand where we're coming from with it and to answer any concerns they might have," he told reporters in Digby, N.S.Sack said the meeting did not involve Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan, but that if they feel it would be helpful to have her physically at the table they will ask.The next meeting with fisheries staff is set for next Monday, Sack said.The Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) has had the fishery plan for some time now and has a good sense of what it entails, Sack said. But, he said their band has a few factors they are looking to iron out at the wharf, like catch amounts."We don't have all of our data yet," Sack said, "So you know, our future conversations will be about moving forward with this together." When Sack was asked about the recent criticism Jordan has faced in Ottawa over her handling of the situation, he said they have come a long way, "government to government."He added he was "delighted" that Jordan mentioned the importance of upholding First Nations' treaty rights during question period on Monday.Sipekne'katik launched what the band calls a self-regulated lobster fishery at a wharf in Saulnierville, N.S., on Sept. 17 — 21 years after the Supreme Court ruling in the case of Donald Marshall Jr.The landmark decision affirmed the Mi'kmaq right to earn a "moderate livelihood" from fishing. The court later said the federal government could regulate the Mi'kmaw fishery, but must justify any restrictions it placed on it.After more than a week of tension, confrontations with commercial fishermen in the area have eased recently.The First Nation's fishery in St. Marys Bay continued through the weekend and on Monday the fleet was expanded from seven to 10 boats, creating a total capacity of 500 traps. That's about the same capacity as two large commercial boats. But selling a catch without DFO approval requires a provincial government rule change, and so far Premier Stephen McNeil is staying out of the situation.He said the moderate livelihood still has to be officially defined by DFO."Until the national government who has charge of the fishery can come to a resolution with the Mi'kmaw nation and commercial fisheries, we don't have something to respond to because we don't know what the change would look like," McNeil told reporters Tuesday.Sack said they have had some back and forth with the province about a possible meeting and while nothing is confirmed yet, "we're looking to get in right away."Many commercial lobster fishermen have said they consider the new Sipekne'katik fishery in St. Marys Bay illegal and worry that catching lobster outside the mandated season, particularly during the summer spawning period, will negatively impact stocks.A fleet of commercial vessels removed 350 Mi'kmaw lobster traps from the water on the weekend of Sept. 19 to 20.But one Dalhousie University professor who studies fisheries management has said the Mi'kmaw fishery won't harm lobster stocks given its small scale.The Mi'kmaw fleet has been able to continue working over the past few days without arguments on the wharf with commercial fishers, their lines being cut, or other intimidation tactics that Sack said he'd heard about when the fishery launched."We're very grateful … we're not here to fight with anyone. We're here to do what we feel is right," Sack said. "I'm glad that the confrontations are over and hopefully they're completely done with."In light of this change, the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi'kmaw Chiefs reduced their state of emergency over the matter to a state of readiness and closed their incident command centre, according to a release Tuesday.The situation in the Digby area will still be monitored by the assembly and their staff and if it escalates again or community members require more support, they will reopen the command centre.MORE TOP STORIES
WASHINGTON — The Latest on the 2020 presidential election (all times local):10:50 p.m.President Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden are painting a very different picture of the reliability of the upcoming election.Biden urged voters to cast their ballots and not be intimidated by Trump’s suggestions he might not accept a loss. Trump has been groundlessly casting doubt on the reliability of mail ballots and elections in general.“Vote whatever way is the best way for you,” Biden said. “Because he will not be able to stop you from determining the outcome of this election.”Biden agreed not to declare victory before the ballots are counted and to accept voters’ verdicts.Trump continued to spread falsehoods about mail voting. He said falsely that his campaign's poll watchers were improperly turned away at a Philadelphia early voting site Tuesday -- the poll watchers had not yet been accredited to observe. He suggested widespread Democratic fraud because a handful of ballots were improperly thrown in the trash last week -- but didn’t mention it occurred in a Republican-controlled elections office and was quickly reported to authorities.Biden urged viewers not to worry about Trump’s scare tactics.“I will accept it, and he will, too. You know why?” Biden said. “Because once the winner is declared once all the ballots are counted, that’ll be the end of it."___HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT WHAT’S HAPPENING IN THE PRESIDENTIAL RACE:The first presidential debate between President Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden begins at 9 p.m. Eastern time in Cleveland.Read more:— 5 questions heading into Trump and Biden’s first debate— Viewers’ Guide: Trump, Biden meet in Ohio for 1st debate— Trump, Biden prepare to debate at a time of mounting crises— Analysis: In debate, a last chance for Trump to define Biden___HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:10:30 p.m.Democrat Joe Biden has evoked his son Beau Biden to criticize President Donald Trump for reportedly calling members of the American military who lost their lives “losers” and “suckers.”Raising his voice at Tuesday night’s debate, Biden described his son as a hero. Beau Biden died of cancer in 2015.Trump responded by pivoting to a familiar attack, on Biden’s other son, Hunter.The president said, “I don’t know Beau. I know Hunter,” and accused Hunter Biden of having collected millions of dollars from oversees interests, including China, while working as a consultant during his father’s tenure as vice-president. It echoed attacks the president made earlier in the debate in Cleveland, but have little basis in fact.Trump also opened a new line of attack when he said Hunter Biden was dishonourably discharged from the military for cocaine use. Biden responded that his son wasn’t dishonourably discharged.He addressed viewers directly and said that, like a lot of Americans, Hunter had a drug problem but was “working on it” and had “fixed it.”Biden added, “I’m proud of my son.”___10:25 p.m.President Donald Trump says he does see human beings as contributing somewhat to climate change but doesn’t support strict regulations in part because of negative ramifications for business.When asked at Tuesday's debate about humans being partially to blame for environmental deterioration, Trump said, “to an extent, yes.”But when asked why he took steps like withdrawing the U.S. from the landmark Paris climate pact, Trump reiterated his argument that such agreements were “driving energy prices through the sky.”Nearly 200 nations signed the climate deal in which each country provides its own goals to curb emissions of heat-trapping gases that lead to climate change.Biden said he would champion job-creating programs that embrace green technologies and would rejoin the Paris accord, which is “all falling apart” without U.S. involvement.___10:20 p.m.President Donald Trump has sidestepped a question from moderator Chris Wallace about whether he was willing to condemn white supremacists and militia groups.“I would say almost everything I see is from the left wing, not the right wing,” Trump responded. “I’m willing to do anything. I want to see peace.”When pressed further, Trump said, “What do you want to call them? Give me a name. Give me a name?”Finally, he said, “Proud Boys — Stand back, stand by, but I’ll tell you what, somebody’s got to do something about Antifa and the left because this is not right-wing problem..... This is a left wing problem.”Antifa followers have appeared at anti-racism protests, but there’s been little evidence behind Republican claims that antifa members are to blame for the violence at such protests.Trump infamously said there were good people “on both sides” after a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, that led to the death of a counterprotester.___10:15 p.m.President Donald Trump and Vice-President Joe Biden are making their pitches to win over Black voters in the coming election, with Biden mockingly questioning: “This man, this man is a saviour of African Americans? This man has done virtually nothing.”Biden says that 1 in 1,000 African Americans has died because of the coronavirus, and if Trump doesn’t do something quickly, it will be 1 in 500.Trump turned the discussion from COVID-19 to a crime bill passed in 1994 that Biden helped write and get passed that, among other things, increased the penalties for certain drug offences.Trump says “I’m letting people out of jail now,” and asserted that Biden had treated the Black community “about as bad as anybody in this country.”___10:10 p.m.President Donald Trump and Joe Biden are trading barbs about each other’s relatives.While Biden was making a point during the first presidential debate in Cleveland about the Trump administration’s trade deals with China not having the desired effect, Trump jumped in. He resurrected past claims about the former vice-president’s son Hunter working overseas.Trump said Hunter Biden reaped millions in ill-gotten profit from China and other overseas interests, accusations that have been repeatedly debunked. Biden shot back, “None of that is true.” He then added of Trump, “His family, we could talk all night.”Trump interrupted to respond that his children gave up lucrative jobs to join government and “help people,” which left moderator Chris Wallace pleading, “Mr. President, please stop” trying to restore order on the stage.Biden then turned to the camera and addressed the audience directly, something he did frequently Tuesday night. “This is not about my family or his family,” Biden said. “It’s about your family.”___10:05 p.m.President Donald Trump won’t say when he will finally make his personal taxes public as he has long promised.During the first presidential debate Tuesday, Trump was asked specifically about a report in The New York Times that revealed he paid only $750 in personal income taxes each of those years.All presidents except Trump have publicly released their taxes since the presidency of Richard Nixon.Trump has said since 2016 that he would eventually release them. But when asked by moderator Chris Wallace when, he said only: “You’ll get to see it.”Democratic nominee Joe Biden quickly used that as a point of attack, saying Trump “does take advantage of the tax code” and “pays less tax than a schoolteacher.”Trump shrugged off the attack, saying that all business leaders do the same “unless they are stupid.”___10 p.m.President Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden are showcasing vastly different approaches during their first presidential debate in Cleveland.Trump is being aggressive toward Biden on Tuesday, interrupting the former vice-president and repeatedly being admonished by debate moderator Chris Wallace of Fox News to stick to the rules that both campaigns had agreed to.Biden is taking a more personal approach. At several times during the debate, Biden addressed his comments to “you folks at home” watching on television as he looked straight into the camera.___9:50 p.m.President Donald Trump says he’s had “no negative effect” from massive campaign rallies with thousands of attendees not adhering to social distancing recommendations amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.Trump said during Tuesday night’s debate against Democrat Joe Biden that he thought masks “are OK,” pulling one out from his pocket and saying, “I wear masks when needed.”But Trump also bragged that he’s drawn “35 to 40,000 people” at his campaign rallies, saying he brings such large crowds to outdoor events “because people want to hear what I have to say.” Trump portrayed Biden’s socially distanced events as insignificant affairs where the Democrat “has three people some place.”Former Republican presidential hopeful Herman Cain, who attended one of Trump’s rallies in June without wearing a mask or social distancing, tested positive for the coronavirus nine days after the rally and died a month later. Neither Trump nor Biden mentioned him.Biden has held smaller campaign events, requiring attendees to spread out and at times sit in taped-off circles. Calling Trump “totally irresponsible” on managing COVID-19, Biden said the president is “a fool on this” and said Trump only worried about masks in the interest of protecting his own health, not others.___9:35 p.m.The first presidential debate between President Donald Trump and Joe Biden has gotten off to an contentious start, breaking down after just a few moments with Trump interrupting Biden on several occasions and Biden calling the president a clown and a liar.As the discussion about the Supreme Court quickly turned to COVID-19, Trump claimed without evidence that 2 million people would have died if Biden were president.Moderator Chris Wallace pleaded with Trump, stating that COVID-19 would be discussed later in the day. He then asked Trump about whether he had a plan to replace the Affordable Care Act, and the president said, “First of all, I guess I’m debating you, not him, but that’s OK. I’m not surprised.”Biden laughed at Trump’s jabs. But he also appeared to get upset at times, too.“Here’s the deal, the fact is that everything he’s saying so far is simply a lie,” Biden said. “I’m not here to call out his lies. Everybody knows he’s a liar.”Wallace asked Trump to let Biden finish. “Folks do you have any idea what this clown is doing?” Biden said.___9:25 p.m.Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden says he is the leader of his party.Biden made the comment during Tuesday night’s debate after President Donald Trump accused him of supporting abolishing private insurance.Biden noted that he won the Democratic nomination partly by arguing against single-payer health care that many of his rivals sought. The former vice-president has instead proposed expanding the Affordable Care Act to provide a public option that people could buy into.Trump responded that Democrats still want to abolish private health insurance and suggested the party would force Biden to do its bidding.“My party is me,” Biden replied. “Right now, I’m the Democratic Party.”___9:20 p.m.The first face-off for President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden is coming over a clash concerning a president’s prerogative to put push through an election-year Supreme Court nominee.Trump says during a debate Tuesday night in Cleveland that Republicans “won the election and therefore we have the right to choose” Amy Coney Barrett as a replacement for the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.Trump added that he felt Democrats “wouldn’t even think about not doing it” if given the chance to nominate a justice with just weeks until the election.Biden and other Democrats have decried Trump’s nomination of a new justice given Republicans’ refusal to consider President Barack Obama’s selection following the 2016 death of Antonin Scalia. Biden didn’t mention that during the debate, however.Biden says that Barrett seems like “a very fine person” but that her nomination after “tens of thousands of people have already voted” was troubling.___9 p.m.President Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden are face-to-face in their first presidential debate, the most pivotal moment so far in an election that turns on a historic pandemic, racial unrest and an economy in shambles.The two are meeting Tuesday night in Cleveland. It’s a key opportunity for Trump to improve his standing in a race that polls show has remained stubbornly unchanged. For Biden, the debate offers a chance to show the steadiness he says the nation needs in contrast to Trump’s divisiveness.Biden welcomed Trump to the stage, saying, “How you doing, man?”The topics are the records of the candidates, the Supreme Court, the coronavirus pandemic, the economy, “race and violence in our cities,” and election integrity.At issue is the coronavirus pandemic that has killed 205,000 Americans and cost the country millions of jobs. Early voting is underway in many states, with the election 35 days away.___5:50 p.m.Kamala Harris says her running mate, Joe Biden, will share his vision for tackling the coronavirus and rebuilding the nation’s economy during his presidential debate against President Donald Trump.The Democratic California senator said Tuesday during a digital fundraiser with artists that “Joe’s goal in the debate is to communicate directly with the American people.”Harris says the country is at a crossroads in more ways than one, from the pandemic and economic recession to a reckoning on racial injustice and climate change. She’s calling Republican efforts to fill a Supreme Court seat before the election a “crisis.”Harris says, “And in the midst of all this, a president whose instinct is to always stoke chaos, division, and mistrust.”Harris is set to debate Vice-President Mike Pence next week.___2:15 p.m.Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his wife, Jill Biden, have released more of their personal tax returns ahead of the first presidential debate.The Bidens’ returns show the couple paid almost $300,000 in federal taxes in 2019, including almost $288,000 in personal income tax. The Bidens reported taxable income of $944,737.The release on Tuesday comes just days after The New York Times reported that Trump paid $750 in federal income taxes in 2016, the year he was elected president, and again in 2017, his first year in office. The Times said Trump paid no federal income taxes for 10 of the 15 years before that.Biden and Trump are set to meet Tuesday night in Cleveland for their first presidential debate, and Trump’s taxes are sure to come up.Trump has called the reports “fake news” yet still refuses to release his returns himself. Biden already had released two decades’ worth of his tax returns, in addition to the federal financial disclosures required of him when he was a senator and vice-president.Biden’s running mate, California Sen. Kamala Harris, and her husband, Doug Emhoff, also released their 2019 returns Tuesday. Harris and Emhoff reported paying $1.05 million in personal income taxes and $1.19 million in total federal taxes on $3.02 million in taxable income.___2:10 p.m.President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump emerged from the White House to a crowd of more than 100 cheering supporters as they departed for the first presidential debate in Cleveland.The crowd, which included staffers and interns, cheered as the Trumps left the White House.Both the president and first lady paused to recognize the show of support with a few claps of their own and several first pumps from Trump.Trump boarded Marine One without comment. At Joint Base Andrews, where Air Force One was set to take off, Trump gave a wave and thumbs before boarding.___12:30 p.m.President Donald Trump spent Tuesday morning in informal preparations for the first debate with Joe Biden. A longer, more formal preparation session was set for the afternoon once he arrives in Cleveland.Trump’s prep team includes former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former White House counsellor Kellyanne Conway, campaign communications strategist Jason Miller, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, Jared Kushner, press secretary Kayleigh McEnany and communications director Alyssa Farah. Some other advisers like Dan Scavino and Hope Hicks have also been involved.While Trump is itching to go on the offence against Biden, some aides have encouraged him to adopt a more measured tone -- believing that in many ways the debates are more about Trump vs himself than Biden. Trump, they argue, should focus more on selling his accomplishments than trying to viciously attack Biden. Some involved with the preparations, though, have encouraged Trump’s more aggressive ‘counterpunching’ side.The Associated Press
Canada has now identified 155,301 cases of COVID-19, according to chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam. Tam said a total of 2,176 cases were reported on Monday, of which 437 cases were backlogged from the weekend and 1,739 were newly identified. Tam added that the total number of daily cases is now at the same level as was reported during the first peak in cases in April.
The latest developments from Canada on Sept. 29, relating to the recent surge in COVID-19 cases nationwide.
During the last moments of her life, Joyce Echaquan called out her husband's name: "Carol, come get me."A live video was rolling on her phone as nurses entered her hospital room on Monday in Joliette, Que. One of them called her "stupid as hell," mocking her as Echaquan moaned in Atikamekw that she was being given too much medication.The 37-year-old died shortly after.In his parents' backyard the following day, surrounded by family, Carol Dubé could not comprehend how his wife ended up dying after being admitted into hospital on Sunday with a stomach ache."I have seven kids who don't have a mother anymore," Dubé sobbed, his son's hand on his shoulder.Echaquan's death has sparked renewed calls for the Quebec government to act on the recommendations included in the Viens Commission's report, tabled on Sept. 30, 2019.Vigils were swiftly organized on Tuesday in Joliette, as well as in First Nations communities across Quebec, demanding "Justice for Joyce."Seeing these events occur one year after the publication of the report is a "sad coincidence", said Cedric Gray-Lehoux, spokesperson for the First Nations of Quebec and Labrador Youth Network."It's one thing to know [racism] exists — it's another to see it be done so blatantly and with total disregard for the dignity of the person who is suffering," Gray-Lehoux said on CBC's Breakaway.Premier denies systemic racism to blameIn his report, Justice Jacques Viens stated that Indigenous peoples in Quebec are victims of systemic discrimination when it comes to getting public services. He issued 142 calls to action to address the government's shortfalls, including in the health sector.On Monday, Premier François Legault offered his condolences to Echaquan's family, confirming a coroner's inquiry and a workplace investigation will be held — but he stopped short of acknowledging the incident was systemic racism. "I really don't think that we have this way of dealing with First Nations people in our hospitals in Quebec," said Legault.For Gray-Lehoux, denying the existence of racism within the public system despite a government report clearly stating the contrary "just makes it worse.""How can we believe that they're going to take the steps to go forward, if they're not even willing to see the issues?"The federal minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, Carolyn Bennett, called the video "gut-wrenching.""If you can't utter the word systemic racism, then you're probably part of the problem," Bennett said on Tuesday, calling it "a terrible week for Canada."Little advancement for Indigenous womenTestimony at the Viens Commission highlighted discriminatory practices within hospitals and health care services in Quebec.Justice Viens found that "it is clear that prejudice toward Indigenous peoples remains widespread in the interaction between caregivers and patients."The Chief of the Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador (AFNQL), Ghislain Picard, said the video Echaquan shared leaves little room for interpretation."We recognize the filthy prejudices that continue to exist today, like the one that we don't pay for anything and live on government handouts," Pïcard said.Some of those prejudices can lead to dire consequences, Justice Viens concluded, including individuals and families sometimes avoiding medical care if they have had negative experiences in the past.Echaquan's sister-in-law, Jemima Dubé, said she had published several live videos during her stay in hospital, before the final one on the day of her death, because she didn't trust the medical staff.Adrienne Jérôme, Chief of the Lac Simon First Nation and spokesperson for the AFNQL Council of Elected Women, said it is often women who end up being victims of systemic racism. That includes the women who first spoke out publicly about allegations of mistreatment by police officers in Val-d'Or in 2015, which led to the creation of the Viens Commission.One year later, Jérôme said the only action she's witnessed was a public apology François Legault offered to First Nations and Inuit peoples in October 2019."Except for apologies, has anything changed? Not really."Quebec's minister responsible for Indigenous Affairs, Sylvie D'Amours, said on Tuesday that 51 out of the 142 recommendations from the Viens report currently have an action plan. "A call for action isn't that simple, it's a continuous process," D'Amours said during question period at the National Assembly, also offering her condolences to Echaquan's family.For Carol Dubé, the only thing he'll settle for is concrete change."What are we waiting for?" he asked. "More people, more victims?"
Despite thousands of complaints of people not following COVID-19 restrictions, RCMP and Edmonton police have only handed out 40 tickets since the spring.Alberta Health Services said it received 5,100 reports of a "concern about a business or public place that is not following restrictions," between May 23 and Sept. 22. Kerry Williamson, AHS spokesperson, said concerns are related to COVID-19 public health orders, including the two-metre physical distancing requirement and self-isolation. RCMP Cpl. Deanna Fontaine, a media relations officer, said officers issued 20 tickets for violations under the Alberta Public Health Act or the Federal Quarantine Act between mid-May and end of September.Those fines were related to U.S. travellers contravening border control orders; residents not complying with foreign travel quarantine orders and others not adhering to physical distancing requirements.The tickets were handed out in Banff, Lake Louise, Waterton, Two Hills, Fort McMurray, Milk River, Bassano, Leduc and Cardson.In Edmonton, police issued 20 tickets over the past four months: 14 tickets between May 14 and June 12, Edmonton Police Service spokesperson Carolin Maran said. "These tickets were issued for failing to adhere to physical distancing," Maran said in an email. Edmonton police did not give out any more tickets in July and August, she added. In the past two weeks, Edmonton police issued five more COVID-19 related tickets but did not provide the specific reason. EPS spokesperson Scott Pattison said along with the City of Edmonton, police are focused on education and awareness to encourage people to comply with the rules.Tickets for failing to adhere to a public health order are $1,000 to $1,200, Pattison noted.Williamson said AHS works with business/landlords first to ensure they're following orders. They can also issue a closure order.That happened a handful of times in the early days of the pandemic when some gyms — ordered to close — remained open. Of the 45 COVID-19 related orders issued in the spring, 36 of those have been rescinded, AHS said. Health orders being followed downtownIn Edmonton's main shopping and dining districts, several people said restaurants and bars were doing a good job of ensuring physical distancing measures are followed. Doug Greenwood, who lives in the 104th Street area downtown, said he feels it's important to support local businesses and get the economy back on track. "Restaurants have been fantastic at implementing it and I think the guidance has been very clear," Greenwood said in an interview last week.Greenwood carries a mask with him and wears it when appropriate. He said following health guidance is the best way to stop the spread of the virus. "Whatever gets this over, I will happily do," he said. "You tell me what I need to do to make this end and I'll just do exactly that thing so I can have my life back." Melissa Johnson, who works downtown, said she's observed good practices as well. "I think the precautions are being taken, Johnson told CBC News. "Everyone's wearing a mask, taking it off when you're seated." Johnson said she thinks police should ticket if they find businesses or other organizations violating the public health orders. Situational awareness As winter approaches, businesses and organizations planning to have gatherings should take a fresh look at how they're set up to manage physical distancing requirements. Dr. Lynora Saxinger, an infectious disease specialist with the University of Alberta, said she's noticed a varying degree of compliance to public health orders. "I think it's very easy for people to kind of fall into old patterns in a familiar environment without necessarily being mindful of those distances," she said. "It's almost like it's a permissive environment for people to pretend that we're not in a pandemic anymore and that could be a concern." Saxinger suggested offices, stores, gyms and restaurants hit reset and refresh their surroundings. "Arranging the space, changing the physical environment and visual cues for distancing are all things that probably could be brushed up at this point, I think it's becoming more important."@natashariebe
Fire Prevention Week is coming up — and the Charlottetown fire department is asking residents to be careful while cooking.The week runs Oct. 4th to 10th this year, and the theme is "Serve Up Fire Safety in the Kitchen."The majority of home fires start in the kitchen, mostly with the ignition of food or other cooking materials such as oil or grease, according to the National Fire Protection Association.And in Prince Edward Island's capital city, that adds up to a lot of fire calls."In the last year, we have had approximately 85," said Cindy MacFadyen, a fire prevention officer with the city of Charlottetown.Those 85 fire calls did not all involve actual flames; some were in response to smoke alarms set off when meals went wrong."It's very important to have smoke alarms in your house for that very reason," MacFadyen said.Some tips to prevent fires starting in the kitchen: * Don't leave the room while cooking. * Use a timer. * Don't cook while sleepy. * Have a clear cooking area. * Watch out for loose-fitting clothing. * Keep a lid close to smother any small grease fires. * Have a fire extinguisher handy."One of the big things we come across is big sleeves hanging over the burner," MacFadyen said. She recommends cinching them with elastics or ties so that your clothing doesn't catch on fire.MacFayden said some types of cooking are riskier than others. "The open flame, the open grease pot — some people are getting back to that," she said, adding that it is better to use a deep fryer controlled by a thermostat than a pan full of fat to cook foods such as French fries.If a small grease fire begins, MacFayden said, place a pot over the top of the cooking vessel or use a fire extinguisher to put out the flames."Some people use baking soda, but the pot cover right there will control your flame," she said.MacFayden said a lot of restaurants have overhead fire prevention systems and are controlled a "little bit better." In homes, she said, people can be more "carefree."She said she has seen entire homes lost to a fire that started in the kitchen.No school visits or open houseOn another topic, Charlottetown students won't get the chance to check out fire trucks this year due to COVID-19.Restrictions put in place for the pandemic means Charlottetown firefighters won't be going into schools to talk to students or offering open houses. Instead, educational information packages will be provided to schools and community groups."As soon as this is over, we will be in the schools and the school can come here and get on the fire trucks and the whole bit," she said. "I'm just hoping this will soon be over because the education these children get through fire safety — [it] is just hard to believe what they pick up and how they take it home to the parents."She said she has heard of children who saw a fire prevention presentation at school and went home to make sure their parents knew the basics and tested their smoke alarms. "It's actually quite cute," she said.A virtual program on fire prevention is being provided to kindergartens in the city, but she said that given how busy teachers are, she doesn't know if they will have the time to present it.More from CBC P.E.I.
Christian Dior on Tuesday was the first major fashion house to stage a traditional ready-to-wear runway show in Paris since the coronavirus pandemic hit in March. The show headlined the first full day of a hybrid-style Paris Fashion Week. A giant “DIOR”-emblazoned white annex in the chic Tuileries Gardens stood against the backdrop of the Eiffel Tower, hazy in the drizzle.
A fundraising letter sent by new Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole to party members contains passages identical to sections of his rival Peter MacKay's campaign website. The missive to members was sent earlier this month in the wake of O'Toole's victory over MacKay in the August leadership vote. Portions of the letter about the impact of COVID-19, O'Toole's vision for the party and a definition of conservative values all contain the same sentences and phrasing as MacKay's campaign website.
Speech pathologist Kara Broks says about 40 to 50 per cent of teachers experience some type of vocal discomfort or strain during their career, even before they started wearing masks and shields to prevent the spread of COVID-19."The masks and the visors or the shields are starting to add to that," said Broks, who is the founder of the Speech Language Network.Teachers are speaking all day long, often in a larger classroom with a noisy background, and they don't get vocal rest because when they're not teaching, they're working with students, Broks said.This strain can cause physical damage."You're essentially straining the muscles in your neck and within your larynx," Broks told CBC's Saskatoon Morning. "Over time, your voice just becomes hoarse or in some cases, people just kind of lose their voice."It is harder to speak through a mask, Broks said. Generally, people average 50 to 60 decibels when speaking to be heard at a conversational level. A mask alone takes away five to 20 decibels and a mask with a face shield takes away between 20 to 30 decibels of sound, Broks said."Essentially, anybody on a daily basis needing to wear a mask and a shield is … having to exert their voice 25 to 50 per cent more than they typically would."She said there are six major things you can do to protect your voice: 1. Stay hydrated. Drink water throughout the day and in the evening, and use a humidifier or steam inhalation to keep your throat moist. 2. Use your breath. Instead of forcing the voice from the neck, take a deep breath before speaking and use your stomach muscles to project your voice. 3. Rest your voice. You might even try to keep sentences shorter than usual, Broks suggested. 4. Relax your jaw. Drop your shoulders, unclench your jaw, and try to keep your whole vocal mechanism as relaxed as possible, Broks said. 5. Avoid irritants. Caffeine or high fat, spicy and acidic foods could irritate the throat and larynx. 6. Do vocal warm-ups. Hum a few scales on the way to work to get the blood flowing to the neck.Broks said vocal strain can be just like any other injury — you can usually rehabilitate an injury but you're more susceptible to experiencing a similar problem down the road."You shouldn't go out and run a 10K without warming up, kind of like you shouldn't prepare for a big day of using your voice for eight hours or six hours without warming up."She said her advice applies to anyone speaking through a mask for a long period of time, including online teachers and coaches."We want to take care of our voice. It's how we connect and communicate with the world around us," she said."If we continually expose it to the same type of damage and don't make adjustments, you know, there can be some long term impacts with that."CBC Saskatchewan wants to tell more stories about how the pandemic is touching the province's most vulnerable and marginalized populations. How has COVID-19 affected you? Share your story using our online questionnaire.
TORONTO — The Canadian Medical Association says doctors still face hurdles getting personal protective equipment and fear they won't be able to adequately respond to increased demands for the flu shot.With COVID-19 cases surging to new highs in parts of Canada, the CMA is calling for government action to bolster the health system so that it can handle the possibility of a devastating "twin epidemic.""There's going to be an increased demand for PPE, probably over and above what the demand was at the beginning of the pandemic," CMA president Dr. Ann Collins said Tuesday from Fredericton, pointing to the reopening of businesses and schools as compounding pressures."It is an issue for protection for frontline workers."A CMA survey conducted Aug. 19 to 24 found more than 86 per cent of 1,459 respondents worried influenza season will put additional strain on the health-care system.Of the 598 doctors who offer the flu vaccine, half said they won't have enough doses to meet demand and 85 per cent said the system needs more capacity.The survey also found 54 per cent of respondents still faced challenges trying to acquire personal protective equipment.Collins said that includes surgical masks, gowns, gloves and shields needed for routine doctor visits. She says that was already an issue back in August, before the current spike in cases, demand for COVID-19 testing and school openings."There were areas in the country where community based physicians were having challenges accessing PPE -- they either couldn't get it, it was not a sure-thing that when they ordered it they were going to get it, (or) that they would get it on time," said Collins, who notes she had trouble supplying her own family practice back in the spring.The survey found 68 per cent of doctors said they worried suppliers wouldn't have enough PPE, 62 per cent expected orders to be delayed, and more than half worried global demand will hinder supply.Nevertheless, three quarters believed the health-care system was better prepared with COVID-19 resurgences than during the first wave.The Public Health Agency of Canada said Tuesday it was preparing for the potential of simultaneous outbreaks of the flu and COVID-19.The agency said provincial and territorial governments have ordered more than 13 million doses of vaccine -- an increase from last season's order of 11.2 million doses. Collins says the CMA has been assured by public health officials there will be enough doses to meet demand but says they cannot predict what the uptake will be. Still, they encourage all Canadians to get the vaccine.Each province and territorial government decides how much to purchase for their populations, where they are distributed and when to begin the rollout.While this varies, many start their vaccination programs in October or early November.In Ontario, Premier Doug Ford stressed multiple investments to bolster the health system as it attempts to address a backlog of surgeries while grappling with COVID-19 and the coming flu season."We put a billion dollars into testing and tracing, which is absolutely imperative. We also have the immunization program for the flu vaccine which is 5.1 million doses. That is the largest ever in Canadian history," Ford said.While virtual care has reduced in-person appointments, Collins said doctors still need to see some patients face-to-face.In addition to PPE, she said each visit requires cleaning supplies to sanitize between visits and time and staff to do that work. Collins said that all costs money."Doctors need to know ... that there's a concerted effort to co-ordinate (resources) amongst those different bodies and to communicate clearly to physicians what is available and to support those physicians," she said. "There are people with all kinds of other health-care conditions that need to be seen, they need to be assessed. And so there needs to be protection for them, protection for the doctor seeing them. "Because COVID is among us."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 29, 2020.Cassandra Szklarski, The Canadian Press
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — A small air leak at the International Space Station finally has been traced to the Russian side, following a middle-of-the-night search by astronauts.NASA said Tuesday that the two Russians and one American on board were awakened late Monday to hurriedly seal hatches between compartments and search for the ongoing leak, which appeared to be getting worse. It was the third time in just over a month that the crew had to isolate themselves on the Russian side, in an attempt to find the growing leak.It turns out instead of the leak getting bigger this time, a temporary temperature change caused the erroneous cabin air pressure reading, according to NASA. The leak was first spotted a year ago.NASA officials stress that the leak remains small and poses no danger. The astronauts will now use leak detectors to try to pinpoint the leak in Russia’s main living and working compartment, called Zvezda, Russian for Star.Space station deputy program manager Kenny Todd said the good news is that “instead of a bunch of haystacks, we're down to maybe one haystack." But he added: “It's still a needle we're looking for.”NASA is sending up extra air supply tanks on its next space station delivery, scheduled for a Thursday departure from Virginia. As long as the leak does not worsen, Todd said, the space station should be fine through next spring.In two weeks, two Russians and an American are scheduled to arrive at the space station, followed by crew of three Americans and a Japanese on SpaceX's second launch of astronauts, now targeted for Oct. 31.During a news conference Tuesday from Houston, NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins, the commander, announced that the SpaceX capsule would be called Resilience — to reflect how the world is coping with this year's challenges.“We hope that it brings a smile to your face and we hope that it provides something positive in your lives. Quite frankly, we hope that it’s an inspiration,” Hopkins said of the name and the mission.___The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.Marcia Dunn, The Associated Press
OTTAWA — Dissatisfied users of the Access to Information Act lodged over 6,000 new complaints last year — more than double the number in the previous year, a federal watchdog says.In her annual report for 2019-20 tabled Tuesday, information commissioner Caroline Maynard urged the government to improve service and reduce delays in responding to requests.The commissioner is an ombudsman for requesters under the access act, the key federal transparency law.It allows users who pay $5 to ask for files ranging from briefing notes and expense reports to internal studies and email correspondence.However, the law introduced in 1983 has been widely criticized as outdated and poorly managed. That has prompted formal complaints about prolonged delays and blacked-out pages in documents. Maynard has been wrestling with a backlog of thousands of complaints. She received 6,173 new ones in the last fiscal year, many of them about one institution, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, leading Maynard to conduct a systemic investigation of the department.The commissioner says some federal agencies have used the COVID-19 pandemic "as an excuse" to shirk their obligations, with a few institutions even completely closing their access offices."It's still a concern," she said Tuesday in an interview.The Trudeau government announced a review of the access law in June, but has yet to provide details on how Canadians might participate.Maynard said she will push for broader coverage of the law, which currently does not apply to some federal agencies such as cabinet ministers' offices.She also wants to see a narrowing of exceptions in the law, which would result in disclosure of more cabinet-related information and confidential advice drafted by government officials.Maynard hopes the government will not just fine-tune the access system but "really make big changes and bold decisions to improve everything."Openness advocates expressed wariness Tuesday about federal intentions during a panel discussion on reforming the access law.Cara Zwibel of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association noted a "resistance to change" on the part of people in government who are worried about what more transparency might mean.As a result, she has questions about the federal review. "It's not exactly clear what that's going to look like, and it's not clear what it's going to lead to."This will be the 14th review of the Access to Information Act in the last 37 years, said Dean Beeby, who frequently used the law as a journalist at the CBC and The Canadian Press."So we really know what's wrong with the act, we don't need another review."Ultimately, such government-run studies end up being "hijacked by the public servants" with an interest in keeping files under wraps, he said during the discussion presented by the Public Service Information Community Connection.Toby Mendel, executive director of the Halifax-based Centre for Law and Democracy, said the issue of right to information carries a political weight in some countries "that it simply doesn't carry here in Canada."Mendel, whose organization has studied access laws around the globe, cited Bulgaria, Mexico and Sri Lanka as a few of the places where the subject has more profile among members of the public."They really believe in this issue, and they think it's important."In her report, Maynard said the government review is a significant opportunity to bolster transparency."However, it is also my sincere hope that this review will not stand in the way of timely action by the government to improve service and reduce delays, and to deal with other problems that persist across the access system, not all of which require legislative change to resolve."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 29, 2020.Jim Bronskill, The Canadian Press
WINNIPEG — The Manitoba government registered its first budget surplus in more than a decade in the fiscal year that ended in March, although it is expected to drop back in the red this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.Final budget figures released Tuesday show the province ended the 2019-20 fiscal year with a razor-thin surplus of $5 million on $17.6 billion in total spending. The government had originally predicted a $360-million deficit.The surplus follows a string of deficits that started under the former NDP government in 2009, which led to credit rating downgrades by two international agencies.Premier Brian Pallister said the province could have faced another downgrade — and higher borrowing rates — had the deficit not been wrestled down."That would have been an even greater financial burden on Manitobans," Pallister said.The surplus is almost certainly temporary. The government has already warned that because of the COVID-19 pandemic, a deficit of $2.9 billion is expected in the current fiscal year. That number could grow if the economy does not rebound as quickly as expected from the pandemic shutdown in the spring, Pallister said."If there are uncertainties, I think we all understand and accept that reality."Tuesday's numbers show income tax revenues came in well above expected last year due to economic growth, and federal transfer payments were slightly higher than forecast.On the spending side, the government paid out $200 million more than budgeted in health care, but spent $404 million less than expected on infrastructure.The infrastructure savings were the result of delays in projects such as new health-care information technology and a flood outlet on Lake St. Martin, the government said.The Progressive Conservative government has reduced the deficit partly through controlling public sector salaries since taking office in 2016. It imposed a wage freeze, but that was dismissed by a Court of Queen's Bench judge earlier this year in a ruling that the government is appealing. It has also cut the number of public-sector jobs. A report issued Tuesday by the province's civil service commission tallied 12,371 current civil service jobs — down more than 400 from last year.The province's auditor general said the provincial surplus should actually be $43 million. The auditor general and the government have been at odds in recent years over how to account for losses and gains at the Workers' Compensation Board and agricultural insurance trusts.Opposition NDP Leader Wab Kinew said Pallister's deficit-cutting agenda has hurt services such as health care. He pointed to three emergency departments at Winnipeg hospitals that have been closed or converted to less-urgent care.Kinew also suggested the infrastructure delays are not a real saving."Every school that doesn't get built this year, every road that doesn't get fixed, is a road and a school that will need to be repaired by the next generation," Kinew said.The balanced budget marks a milestone for Pallister, who had promised to end annual deficits before the next election slated for 2023.When asked whether he would leave politics by then or run for another term, Pallister was noncommittal."My intention is going to be shared with you when I decide to say something about that."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 29, 2020Steve Lambert, The Canadian Press
Minister of Public Services and Procurement Anita Anand announced Tuesday that the government had reached an agreement with Abbott Rapid Diagnostics for up to 7.9 million rapid point of care COVID-19 tests, which would provide results in “approximately 15 minutes.”