MILTON, Ga. — In a black face mask and cap, activist Garrett Bess walked up driveway after driveway of million-dollar homes in suburban Atlanta on a recent afternoon, placing a flyer in each door, ringing the bell and stepping away to make a socially distanced pitch to vote for the conservative candidates in Georgia's pivotal U.S. Senate runoff elections.Bess' group, Heritage Action for America, plans to knock on half a million doors before the state's two Jan. 5 contests that will determine whether Democrats or Republicans control the Senate.“Everyone in Georgia knows the candidates,” said Janae Stracke, a colleague of Bess’ who also canvassed the subdivision. "There’s not a lot of convincing to do. They’ve made up their mind. It’s mostly knowing when to vote, how to vote, encouraging them to vote.”This election season, the coronavirus pandemic has upended traditional get-out-the-vote efforts where campaign workers go door to door to encourage people to cast ballots. With people staying at home and limiting contact with outsiders, an extended conversation with a campaign worker who shows up uninvited may actually encourage people to vote for someone else.But it's a sign of how important the two Senate elections are that both parties and independent advocacy groups are going all in on their in-person get-out-the-vote efforts.After the GOP lost the presidential election in Georgia for the first time in 28 years, conservatives are urging Republicans to get more aggressive with their turnout efforts in the state to match the outreach of former Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams.After Abrams lost the 2018 governor's race, she devoted herself to voter outreach, convinced that the state was a genuine battleground if Democrats galvanized young voters, minorities and people moving in from other states. She raised millions of dollars to organize and register hundreds of thousands of voters in the state — efforts credited with helping Democrat Joe Biden win Georgia.Republicans have to catch up, Republican operative Karl Rove told Fox News.“Let’s not kid ourselves: This is a real race,” said Rove, who is leading fundraising efforts for the runoffs.The National Republican Senatorial Committee expects to have 1,000 staffers on the ground in Georgia. For comparison, the Republican National Committee had a total of 3,000 paid field staff across the whole country during the presidential race.Democrats carry their own baggage into the runoff. In many parts of the country, they limited face-to-face campaigning ahead of the Nov. 3 election because of the pandemic, arguing that was the responsible thing to do. But that decision was second-guessed in places such as Florida.The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee plans to spend millions on voter registration and turnout efforts.Outside groups are also hitting the ground, and the in-person appeals will be supplemented with a fusillade of phone calls, text messages, mailers and ads aimed at boosting turnout for the races pitting Republican Sen. David Perdue against Democrat Jon Ossoff and Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler against Democrat Raphael Warnock.Turnout tends to drop precipitously in runoff contests in Georgia. And activists fear there might be even more of a falloff this time, when the excitement of the Trump-Biden race is over. So getting voters to come back to the polls becomes more of a focus than “trying to find new voters or win over voters who voted for your opponent,” said Charles Bullock, an expert on Southern politics at the University of Georgia.Historically, that drop-off has disproportionately affected Democrats, so the party faces strong headwinds heading into January. The Republican candidate has beaten the Democrat in seven out of eight runoff elections since 1992, including two U.S. Senate races.Democrats have reason for optimism after Biden's win, but his margin of victory was tiny — less than 13,000 votes of nearly 5 million cast — and it’s been 20 years since the state elected a Democrat to the U.S. Senate.But groups whose efforts tend to favour Democrats are charged. On Friday, representatives of the Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America went door to door in a neighbourhood just outside Atlanta encouraging people to vote for Ossoff and Warnock.“If we don't get those two seats in Congress, everything we did to flip Georgia blue is not going to help us,” Phyllis Morrow told a couple that pulled over in their car.The African Methodist Episcopal Church in Georgia, which has more than 150,000 parishioners in the state, is asking members to call eligible voters in their congregations, encourage them to vote early and assist with rides if they need help getting to the polls on Jan. 5.Bishop Reginald T. Jackson said Black voters are excited and “realize the eyes of the nation are on Georgia.”"They know people are going to be looking to see whether or not Blacks turn out,” he said.The New Georgia Project, a group founded by Abrams, will try to register some of the estimated 35,000 people who have finished their felony sentences and can requalify to vote as well as some of the estimated 23,000 people who are turning 18 before the runoff, Executive Director Nse Ufot said.Ufot said the group also aims to knock on 1 million doors before the runoff, up from 500,000 before the general election, and is training volunteers to take coronavirus precautions.In Milton, Bess and Stracke were in friendly territory. The affluent, mostly white city about 30 miles (50 kilometres) north of Atlanta showed strong support for President Donald Trump in the November election. The neighbourhood they canvassed last week featured manicured lawns and spacious homes set back from the street.“Oh, you have no problem here,” Holly McCormick, 73, told Bess after he rang her doorbell. The flyers he carried warned that Georgia was the country’s “last line of defence from a socialist takeover.”McCormick called the outcome of the presidential race “rigged” though there is no evidence of widespread fraud in the 2020 election, and she said Trump’s claims of illegal votes made her more energized to vote for Perdue and Loeffler in January.“We have to hold the Senate,” she said.___Associated Press writer Jeff Amy in Atlanta contributed to this report.Sudhin Thanawala, The Associated Press
Marketing students at Burnett secondary are giving back to their community. Inspired by the sacrifices and generosity of frontline workers, they were tasked with contributing through three goals: reinforcing the government’s COVID-19 safety guidelines, starting a non-profit fundraiser to give back to frontline organizations and workers, and developing a project to create or revitalize community spirit. “Normally the marketing classes would run a school store as part of their experiential learning experience, but with COVID it just wasn’t possible,” says marketing teacher Chris Lee. “As an alternative, I changed this component to be more of a social non-profit pop-up venture format.” The students developed a mechanical hand sanitizer that uses a gravity-enabled foot pump. A virtual social gathering focused on a pre-recorded talent show as well as an online gaming tournament aimed at bringing people together. “In terms of the actual concepts regarding sales and marketing, the students really go through the entire gambit,” says Lee. “They learn to develop, source, cost, market, sell and provide customer feedback wherever applicable.” They also raised funds for the Richmond Hospital and Vancouver Covenant House through several initiatives. Student-designed Burnett clothing and tote bags were sold online, as well as a “pandemic kit” including masks, hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes. The last fundraising item was glass poster art, which was inspired by an online trend fusing art with music. Customized pieces of glass art capture favourite songs or artists designed to look like a Spotify music player. “All of these projects really focus on experiential, hands-on learning,” says Lee. “Given our limited time with the students in this new 10-week quarter system, the projects were designed to be like a pressure cooker, where basic entrepreneurial and marketing skills would be developed in a very short period of time. It is my personal belief that such an environment challenges students to learn in a very active way, while reinforcing what they’ve learned in class lessons.”Hannah Scott, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Richmond Sentinel
A federal judge has reversed a decision turfing Thunderchild First Nation Coun. Michael Linklater. A Thunderchild appeal tribunal panel ousted Linklater for failing to live on the reserve — a move he said violated his Charter rights. In a Wednesday decision, Justice Sébastien Grammond revoked the tribunal panel's call because it didn't consider Charter concerns over Linklater's residency requirements. Applying the Charter to a First Nation's laws is "controversial," but the two also aren't in "complete isolation" from each other, Grammond said. Instead of making any "general pronouncements" on the issue, he aimed to send the matter back to the panel. He said it will have to consider the case again, if the residents who initially raised concerns want to pursue the matter. He also didn't grant Linklater's request to have the court order a vote on residency requirements, because the court doesn't "have a general power to call elections or referenda in (a) First Nation," his decision stated. Linklater said he is unaware of when another tribunal panel will be held, and called the decision "a win." He said the issues raised over his residency were valid, but the matter continues to be an ongoing question in other First Nations. Thunderchild's chief of operations, Winston Walkingbear, did not respond to requests for comment by press time. Grammond's decision noted the First Nation's government supported Linklater’s position. Linklater filed an application for judicial review in August after the tribunal panel pushed him off council for failing to meet residency requirements. In an interview at the time, he also suggested creating a council position to represent off-reserve members. Linklater, who lives in Saskatoon, argued a lack of housing on the First Nation prevents him from living there. In his decision, Grammond noted there's a 400-person wait list for a home on the First Nation. Jonathan Jimmy was one of two band members to raise concerns over the issue to the panel. In August, he said Linklater violated a rule requiring any councillors to move to the First Nation within 30 days of being elected. "If you want to be a leader of Thunderchild, you need to live in Thunderchild," Jimmy said at the time. In September, the First Nation almost held a vote replacing Linklater, but a federal judge halted the process a few days before it went ahead. Linklater was formerly a basketball player with the Saskatchewan Rattlers until he retired in 2019. He was elected to office in 2018 and said he looks forward continuing the role at the First Nation's next council meeting. "I've spoken to the rest of the leadership and there's no hard feelings."Nick Pearce, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The StarPhoenix
TORONTO — The number of reported new cases of COVID-19 and related deaths surged in Ontario on Friday, a day after officials expressed cautious optimism the spread of the dangerous virus was moderating.Figures released show a record 1,855 new infections, a whopping increase of 25 per cent from the previous day. Public health authorities also reported 20 new deaths.There were slight decreases in the number of COVID-19 patients in hospital and on ventilators.The surge in new cases comes as the province grapples with how best to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus in an effort to keep the health-care system functioning.Health Minister Christine Elliott said the sharp spike was not unexpected, given that stringent measures in the hard-hit Toronto area only kicked in on Monday. It would likely take two full weeks before the numbers start dropping, she said."We're still seeing the results from some of the events that have happened and some of the celebrations that have happened in the last few weeks," Elliott said.Premier Doug Ford spent much of Friday's briefing looking forward to the day when an anti-COVID vaccine might be available. Former chief of national defence staff Gen. Rick Hillier will oversee a distribution task force, Ford said, as he called on the federal government to provide details as soon as possible about the doses the province can expect."We need a clear line of sight into the timelines of the shipments," Ford said.Several hospitals have now experienced outbreaks, including a major facility in London, Ont. Grand River Hospital in Kitchener, Ont., became the latest hit after three patients and two staff tested positive. The facility said it had closed its clinical teaching unit to new patient admissions and was pondering whether to close one of its eight operating rooms. It also said it was suspending in-person visits in favour of virtual connections.Staff at high risk of exposure had been tested and asked to self-isolate, Cheryl Evans, a Grand River spokeswoman, said.In recent weeks, the provincial government and local health authorities have reimposed increasingly stringent anti-pandemic measures, forcing businesses to close and strongly advising people in hot spots to all but isolate.On Thursday, police ticketed a provincial politician, Randy Hillier, for his role in an anti-lockdown protest at the legislature. Supporters carrying placards that suggested the pandemic was fake did not wear masks.Ford called the politician totally "irresponsible.""Folks that believe this is just a big hoax, which I've never figured that out, this is a very serious virus, we're seeing it around the world, around our country," Ford said.Four of the hardest hit regions all saw significant case increases, with Elliott reporting 517 new infections in Peel, 494 in Toronto, 189 in York Region, and 130 in Halton.The most recent provincial projections indicate the province was on track to see more than 9,000 new daily COVID-19 cases by mid-December without the more stringent measures.Ford has warned against planning Christmas or other celebrations, while Elliott has said it would be "very optimistic" to expect much of an improvement in time for the holidays.While schools have remained open, the education minister has warned that an extended winter break or move to remote-only learning may be needed."We are thinking ahead to be able to mitigate any increase of transmission in our schools because we've fundamentally, in this province, been able to keep that rate down,'' Education Minister Stephen Lecce said on Thursday.Latest figures show 122 new cases in schools, bringing the total infections to 4,470, with at least 2,769 involving students, and at least 614 involving teachers and staff. Public health authorities on Friday closed the private Northside Christian School in Listowel, Ont., until at least Dec. 1 after an outbreak. Huron Perth Public Health said the school reported one case but others might be connected.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 27, 2020.Colin Perkel, The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — Champion ice-dancers Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir and Olympic champion swimmer Mark Tewksbury were among 114 athletes, artists, scholars and community leaders named to the Order of Canada.Gov. Gen. Julie Payette's office announced the new honourees Friday morning.Others in the group include Indigenous writer Thomas King, winemaker John Peller, dancer and choreographer Elizabeth Langley, geriatrician Roger Wong, Cree elder Doreen Spence, sports academic Dr. Sandra Kirby, wheelchair basketball coach Tim Frick and ex-politicians Bill Graham and Allan Rock.Moir and Virtue catapulted to national stardom with their gold-medal performances at the Winter Olympics in 2018.They're being honoured for their athletic excellence and for inspiring a new generation of figure skaters."Feeling all wrapped up in emotion ... Upon learning about being invested into the Order of Canada, I couldn’t help but think that as a kid, I would have never known to dream so big," Virtue posted on Twitter."I am humbled by this honour."Tewksbury, who is being named to the top companion rank, won gold in the 100-metre backstroke at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.The 52-year-old Calgary native came out publicly as gay in 1998 and has been an advocate of LGBTQ rights as well as a prominent member of Canada's Olympic movement, serving as chef de mission of the 2012 London Olympic team.He is being honoured for athletic excellence and sport leadership, and for championing human rights.Kirby, a rower at the 1976 Montreal Olympics, is being honoured for her research on athlete harassment and her advocacy for equity, inclusion and safety in sport. Frick coached Canada's women's wheelchair basketball team to three straight Paralympic gold medals from 1992-2000 and four straight world championship gold medals from 1994-2006.He is being honoured for his expertise in coaching and for his contributions to the advancement of parasports in Canada.The Order of Canada is one of the country's highest civilian honours.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 27, 2020.The Canadian Press
Contrairement à plusieurs organisations environnementales, Addénergie, le leader nord-américain en solutions de recharge des véhicules électriques, se dit satisfait du nouveau plan vert du gouvernement Legault, mais il recommande un coup d’accélérateur. Le programme de lutte contre les changements climatiques s’attaque principalement au secteur des transports qui est responsable de 43 % des émissions de gaz à effet de serre (GES) dont une hausse 50 % dans le transport routier depuis 1990. Le président de AddÉnergie, Louis Tremblay, est conscient que moins de 2 % du parc automobile actuel est électrique, mais il prévoit d’ici 2025 un schéma irréversible de la parité entre les véhicules à essence et les véhicules électriques. La compagnie s’attend à avoir les mêmes prix pour les deux types, avec le type électrique « ayant moins de coûts d’entretien, plus silencieux et plus confortable. » Le Québec veut éliminer 29 millions de tonnes de CO2 d’ici 2030, mais son programme ne permettra d’atteindre que 42 % de l’objectif. Pour M. Tremblay, le parc automobile du Québec, qui se renouvelle tous les 10 ans, ne saurait avoir de véhicules à essence en 2045. Il recommande de faciliter la pénétration des véhicules électriques dans la circulation en investissant dans les infrastructures de recharges. Sa compagnie en a produit 11 000 ces 12 derniers mois et ne craint pas d’être débordée par la demande qu’elle attend. Elle a tissé un réseau de 30 000 bornes de recharge en Amérique du Nord depuis sa création. Le plan vert a opté pour l’accompagnement des acheteurs des véhicules à émission zéro plutôt que d’imposer un goulot d’étranglement fiscal au parc automobile dont 63 % sont composés de VUS. C’est un choix politique visant à protéger les électeurs des régions selon certains, mais AddÉnergie écarte la méthode forte. « Le malus, c’est déjà le prix de l’essence qui coûte de plus en plus cher. Je fais confiance au gouvernement », soutient Louis Tremblay qui n’exclut pas la possibilité d’ajuster progressivement les moyens mis en place. Il estime que l’arrivage de nouveaux modèles variés de VUS électriques ces dernières semaines finira par séduire la clientèle des régions. Un plan très critiqué Cette absence de mesure contraignante a suscité la critique de la confédération des syndicats nationaux qui reproche au plan Legault le manque de cibles et d’ambition. Son président, Jacques Letourneau, vise le secteur industriel responsable du tiers des émissions de GES. Il a indiqué que « l’urgence climatique commandait beaucoup plus que le saupoudrage de quelques incitatifs, sans contraintes réelles pour forcer le changement. » La confédération note aussi que le programme ne reflète pas les consultations menées auprès des groupes de travail. Québec prévoit un investissement de 6,7 milliards de dollars sur 5 ans dont la moitié sera dédiée à l’électrification du transport. Ces chiffres s’ajoutent à 15 milliards précédemment annoncés pour de grands projets de transport en commun. « La population qui s’est mobilisée pour le climat restera une fois de plus sur sa faim avec ce plan qui, malgré les milliards annoncés et certains efforts dignes de mention, est insuffisant pour respecter les engagements climatiques du Québec », a souligné Patrick Bonin, responsable de la campagne Climat-Énergie de Greenpeace. L’organisation exige la mise en place « d’un processus crédible pour travailler avec les scientifiques, la société civile, les municipalités, les entreprises et le fédéral », en plus d’une réglementation supplémentaire et une campagne d’éducation des masses. Pour sa part, la fédération de l’industrie manufacturière plaide pour le nationalisme économique à travers « une clause pour favoriser les matériaux, les véhicules de transport en commun et les technologies fabriquées au Québec. Il est évident que le verdissement de l’économie exige beaucoup plus que l’électrification du parc automobile. Godlove Kamwa, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Canada Français
Nova Scotia's housing minister says a rent cap and ban on renovictions — evictions in order to renovate or repair rental units — announced this week are a start, and that work continues to find more affordable places for people to live. Chuck Porter said he's having daily conversations with people in the private and non-profit sectors to increase Nova Scotia's affordable housing stock. "That's vital. That's most important to us," he told CBC's Information Morning on Friday. "I don't think that anybody is going to have a conversation with anyone whereby we're going to get any agreement and invest in anything that does not include an affordable housing component, and I think that developers and others understand that as well."Listen to the full interview with Housing Minister Chuck Porter here:The two per cent cap on rent announced Wednesday is temporary, and will expire Feb. 1 2022, or whenever the COVID-19 state of emergency is lifted. What long-term solutions look like will be up to the new Affordable Housing Commission, Porter said. "Everybody's going to have a chance to be heard because there will be subcommittees and focus groups, etc. There will be opportunities for everyone to offer their input and there's nothing better than an informed decision."Porter spoke with CBC's Information Morning as part of its in-depth look at affordable housing issues in a series called Unaffordable or Unfit: Nova Scotia's Housing Challenge.Opposition leaders also weighed in, saying the changes Porter announced this week are needed, but not enough. "The government has profoundly neglected affordable housing over the seven years of their mandate, and the solution to this is for the government to get back in the housing business, to get back in the housing game in a very serious way," said NDP leader Gary Burrill. * He said a long-term rent control plan is also key and has proven to be effective in other provinces. Tim Houston, leader of the Progressive Conservatives, disagrees. "I've met with a number of ... people and organizations on the front lines of this. I've asked every single one of them, 'Do you want rent control? Is rent control part of the solution?' I've yet to find one of them say, 'Please implement rent control. This will really help us.' Because it won't and they know it won't."Listen to the full interview with Gary Burrill and Tim Houston here:MORE TOP STORIES:
The regular monthly meeting of the Prairie Rivers Reconciliation Committee was held on Tuesday, November 17, 2020 from 9:00 – 11:00 am via Zoom and although Gilbert Kewistep was unable to attend due to another commitment but offered up a prayer and a smudge prior to the meeting. Tracey Grande Maison chaired the meeting and called for a roundtable introduction of all those present. While it’s always nice to see all the regular faces around our virtual table, it was especially nice to see three new faces and welcome Lisa Braun from Hepburn, Rev. Emily Summach from Langham, and Velma Assinewai from Aberdeen. After the introductions the meeting moved on to the report from the Social Media Committee. The sub-committee, comprised of five individuals from the ranks of the PRRC, set a goal for themselves to share on the PRRC Facebook page, at least one news item, event, or story per week but currently they have been averaging two per week. Carol Baldwin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Wakaw Recorder
LONDON, Ont. — An outbreak that prompted a London, Ont., hospital to stop new admissions at its medical wards has expanded to some of its surgical units.Middlesex-London Health Unit has ordered a pause to all visitations at University Hospital.Only visitors for dying patients are allowed.London Health Sciences Centre did not say whether the newly affected surgical units will remain open.The health network had said that new medical patients at University Hospital will be transferred to Victoria Hospital.As of Thursday, there were two deaths, 21 patients, 23 staff cases linked to the outbreak.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 25, 2020.This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.The Canadian Press
Moose Jaw Minor Hockey says it has a plan to keep kids on the ice in the coming month, while following the province's new restrictions.New measures announced earlier this week, which came into effect Friday, include suspending all team and group sports for a period of at least three weeks. Athletes under the age of 18 can still practise, though, provided they are able to distance and keep group sizes to a maximum of eight.A tweet by the association Thursday night saying hockey was still on received backlash on social media, with some believing the tweet meant the association still planned on playing games."Maybe it was a poorly worded tweet. I do apologize for that," said Moose Jaw Minor Hockey president Chris Flanagan, adding a tweet has been sent clarifying the plan."We are not playing games. We are just training in our groups of eight. We're following every single restriction and guideline that the province has set out this week." The new schedule until the end of the year will see teams get one to two hours of ice time each week to practise, with a maximum of eight players on the ice at a time and everyone wearing masks.Coaches can split their ice time in half, so two groups of eight players can get on the ice on the same day, or they can have eight players on for the entire time slot, and then have another group of eight on for the next practice.Flanagan said other regulations include not using player benches and requiring everyone to come to the arena dressed to practise. No hockey bags are allowed, and safety captains are to attend and take attendance for COVID tracing.Parents are not allowed to watch the practices, and can only come in to tie the skates of their children.Flanagan said they are also adding more restrictions beyond the province's requirements, such as trying to keep kids together who attend the same school."[We'll] try to keep them all together so we're not mixing bubbles from the school system."In a letter to parents, the association said there will be zero tolerance for teams that break any of the restrictions.Those that do will be have their practice times put on pause until further notice."We're going to give it a shot here for the next couple of weeks," Flanagan said. "If it doesn't work, if teams aren't showing up or players don't want to participate, we'll re-look at our plan here and make a decision."We believe the mental health of physical activity is a very important thing for these kids. And right now we believe we can achieve that while being safe and following the guidelines."
More than once during the weeks leading up to the provincial election Premier Moe referred to the province as being a supplier of raw materials to the world, but is this where the province should remain? Over 70% of Canada’s farmland is located in the prairies and historically, Saskatchewan was referred to as the “bread-basket of the world”, but with the shift away from primarily wheat production and the growth of the oil and gas sectors, that title has fallen into disuse. Yet, Saskatchewan remains in the realm of a primary producer. The problem with that status became evident earlier this year when COVID-19 arrived on our doorstep. As a province we are heavily reliant on other districts to supply our finished products and when they run into problems, such as the outbreaks of the coronavirus among their employees, the ripples are felt all along the food chain. But the authors of a new report just released by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives highlights another factor that while many across the prairies realize its happening, may not realize the full extent nor the implications of the trend. For years ‘bigger is better’ has been mantra of our culture, bigger homes, bigger trucks, bigger toys, and this is true of farming as well. Since the 1980’s farmers in Saskatchewan have been encouraged become bigger. Marginal farmland was pulled into production to make for bigger crops. Bigger equipment could complete the farmers work in less time and well, bigger equipment meant that it was possible to work more land, and the cycle continued. The era of broadly distributed land ownership, of food production by small and medium-sized family farms, is fading and the small farm is all but extinct. The number of young farmers in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba has, according to the report Concentration Matters: Farmland Inequality on the Prairies, declined by more than 70 percent, in just one generation—since 1991 (Statistics Canada Table 32-10-0169-01). The report authored by Darrin Qualman, Annette Aurélie Desmarais, André Magnan, Mengistu Wendimu for the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) states that while it remains the case that local families do operate the vast majority of our farms, there are fewer and fewer of those families every year. Thirty-eight percent of the farmland in Saskatchewan is operated and controlled by just 8 percent of Saskatchewan farms or just over 2,400 operations. These 2400+ farms average 9,382 acres in size, though many are much larger. The reduction in the number of small farms, the concentration of farmland and farm income into fewer and fewer large operations, and barriers to entry created by rising land prices (See Farm Credit Canada, Farmland Values Report), all make it more difficult for young and new farmers to enter agriculture, the report goes on to say. This difficulty in gaining access to farmland is therefore, effectively stifling the possibility of farming as a career choice for young Canadians (Qualman, Akram-Lodhi, Desmarais, and Srinivasan, 2018). Farms larger than 10,000 acres make up less than 2 percent of total Prairie farms, yet those very large operations captured approximately 15 percent of gross revenues and net income. On average, these very large farms earned net incomes of more than $820,000 before depreciation. At the other end of the size distribution, farms smaller than 1,000 acres, though they make up 53 percent of total farms, captured just 21 percent of revenues and 18 percent of net income. On average, these farms earned net incomes of just over $34,000 each. Because margins are tight and per-acre net income is low on cattle farms and grain and oilseed farms, a young or new farmer on a small farm with few acres paid for has a very limited ability to pay for additional acres, large farms often have greater capacity to borrow money (on better terms than those usually offered to smaller farms), and as a result unless a young farmer can partner with another, either a family member or another farmer looking to start ‘slowing down’, there is no avenue for him or her to get in and fewer and fewer farm children are returning to the farm. In 2014, for instance, 73 percent of farmland transactions involving an ownership change were between arms-length parties (neighbours), whereas 27 percent were among family members (Magnan and Sunley 2017). The rate of farmland concentration however, is running far ahead of the rate of farm loss. Since 1966, Canada has lost half of its farms, but the number of farmers who control the vast majority of land is far smaller than the numbers above suggest. According to the report, across the Prairie Provinces, farms larger than 5,000 acres, which represents 7 percent of all farms, own 27 percent of all farmland that is owner-operated, also those same 7 percent of Prairie farms that are larger than 5,000 acres, lease 67 percent of government leased farm land and rent or lease 35 percent of all land rented or leased by farmers from non-government farmland owners. So, while it may remain the case that our farmland is owned by local families, it is also the case that most is owned by a very small percentage of families. In 2016, 37,622 farm operations owned about half of all Canadian agricultural land in private hands. Translated into number of people, the authors of the study made a rough assumption that each farming operation included, in some combination of parents, children, spouse/partner, about 2.5 landowners. Thus those 37,622 farm operations become 94,055 people (less than .3% of the Canada’s entire population) own half of the country’s food-producing acreage. The great exit of young people from rural to urban areas is well documented in report after report in Statistics Canada library, but to bring this into a more local perspective, the 1976 census shows the population of the RM of Fish Creek to be 591, by 1981 that number had dropped to 510. (https://archive.org/details/1981939081982engfra/page/n47/mode/2up?q=Fish+Creek+RM) Twenty years later, the population was 382 and while that number is now recorded as 345, in the intervening years it did drop as low as 307 at one point. The report concludes that unless government policies or economic shocks alter these trends, 20 years from now, the area of land operated by small farms will be negligible, and farms larger than 5,000 acres may operate 50 to 60 percent of Prairie farmland (up from about 37 percent today).Carol Baldwin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Wakaw Recorder
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the federal government made sure to sign deals with a variety of potential COVID-19 vaccine producers to ensure Canadians would get one that works. He says that if everything goes according to plan, most Canadians will receive their immunization by next September.
Service along the entire Confederation Line of Ottawa's LRT system is cancelled Sunday as part of work to install heaters to try to prevent track switches from jamming in winter weather.Replacement buses will be running throughout Sunday's closure between Tunney's Pasture and Blair stations. Most stations along the Confederation Line will also be closed Sunday, OC Transpo said. This is the second Sunday in a row service has been interrupted to install the new heaters. Last winter, snow accumulation appeared to cause switches on the eastern leg of the Confederation Line to malfunction, one of the key causes of the delays that beset the transit system.The Trillium Line has switch heaters powered by propane and natural gas, whereas the newer Confederation Line's were originally electric. The new heaters being installed will be powered by natural gas.
ELORA/FERGUS – Shoppers in Elora and Fergus are still in the holiday spirit as they go downtown, in reasonable numbers, for evening shopping nights. Starlight Shopping Elora and Late Night Sip and Shop in Fergus are an opportunity for residents to get some holiday shopping in with extended hours at downtown stores. “It’s sort of an opportunity to encourage people to get a head start on christmas shopping,” said Maclean Hann, Elora BIA chair and owner of The Evelyn in Elora. “It encourages people to keep their Christmas dollars local.” In Elora, downtown streets have closed off to cars to allow for more distancing much like was done on weekends in the summer. Unlike previous years, where Starlight Shopping takes place over two evenings, this year is four evenings on the last two Thursdays and Fridays in November. Hann said the stores are still offering the same kind of experience as previous years but gives people less of a rush to get out. “Combined with the streets being closed, it really gives people I think a sense of comfort,” Hann said. “It’s not going to be as crowded as it normally would be. You have more time to look after it so there’s less of a panic, you don’t have to condense all of your shopping into one evening.” Hann said the stores in Elora still have seen a good amount of people coming through. In Fergus they’re taking the same approach by spreading their shopping evenings into four Thursday and Friday nights. Melinda Croft, owner of The One and Only, explained that keeping stores open later allows people who would normally be working during their weekday hours to spend locally. “The shops being open until 10 gives them something to be able to come out to and social distance and not be so rushed to get their shopping done but then also support local stores,” Croft said. Croft said it could also skew people away from purely online purchasing. “One of the biggest things is online is so convenient, so we’re trying to make it a little bit more convenient too,” Croft said, adding that a lot of the downtown Fergus stores have gone online as well for those who don’t feel comfortable shopping in-store. Normally, Sip and Shop is a bigger event with a tree lighting ceremony but some aspects of it couldn’t go forward this year. However, downtown Fergus is still decorated, Santa Claus can be spotted around and you can take a horse-drawn carriage ride through downtown. Croft said she doesn’t think those shopping will be from out of town and doesn’t think locals should be concerned about visitors from out of town. “I don’t think on a Thursday and Friday night they’re really coming out from the cities,” Croft said. “We mostly get local traffic during the week versus a Saturday when we get visitors from out of town more.” In regards to visitors coming from lockdown regions, Hann said the best they can do is to follow and enforce public health guidelines as much as possible. “It is safe to say there likely is some worry that’s happening but there’s also the reality of there’s really not a whole lot we as small business owners can do there,” Hann said, noting that tourists are crucial to the local economy. “Everyone is cautious but ultimately everybody wants to sell things in their stores. If that takes people from other regions then I guess that’s just how it is.”Keegan Kozolanka, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, GuelphToday.com
Face coverings will be mandatory for everyone at the Mark Arendz Ski Park in Brookvale, P.E.I., this winter, officials say.The province posted plans for the park on the provincial website Thursday, outlining how things are going to work this year with the COVID-19 pandemic. They made the changes in co-ordination with public health on P.E.I.Like all indoor spaces on P.E.I., masks will be mandatory indoors at the park — and face coverings will be required outdoors while snowboarding or skiing downhill or cross-country. "Just to be on the side of caution and be safe," said Erin Curley, the assistant superintendent for the park, in an interview with CBC Radio: Island Morning Friday. Face coverings can include a non-medical mask or a balaclava — those are commonly used by skiers for warmth anyway. Chairlift bubblesCurley said skiers will be encouraged to only stay in the lodge as long as it takes to warm up then head back outside, to limit contact with one another indoors, including staff. Ski rental areas will have capacities listed on the doors, and staff will monitor those and other lodge areas. The canteen in the lodge will be closed, Curley said, but they have vending machines to offer snacks. Washroom facilities will be open but capacity will be limited.What about the chairlift? Curley said the rules for the quad chairlift are different because it is outdoors, and officials are still deciding how they will line up skiers so they are physically distanced.> People are super excited to have an option for the winter to be able to get out. — Erin Curley"We are encouraging family and friend bubbles to use the same chair and if you're not part of a family-friend bubble, to ride alone," Curley said, noting this could mean longer lineups on busy days. The park will offer downhill and cross-country skiing, snowboarding, tubing, snowshoeing and fat biking. But it won't be able to offer a repair shop or locker rentals. Ski school sold outAll the 260 weekend ski school slots for kids this year are sold out, Curley said, because they had to reduce numbers to allow for physical distancing. Last year the school taught about 475 children on weekends. "It is a considerably lower number this year, but it all comes back to what we felt we could manage safely," Curley said.Season passes to the park are also selling briskly. So far the park has not set a limit on those. "People are super excited to have an option for the winter to be able to get out," Curley said. Closer to the beginning of ski season, the ski school will begin taking bookings for private lessons. Their target opening date is Dec. 19, and will depend on whether there is enough snow. "Every chance we get, we'll make snow," Curley said. More from CBC P.E.I.
Sometimes, the simplestideas can make the biggest impact. A new fundraiser in Kanesatake is turning the idea of donations into something a little more exciting. With KB & PG Spin’dles, there is more than one winner. Spin’dles was started by two Kanehsata’kehró:non women with the intention to not only raise money and help out as much as they could, but also to pay it forward to those participating. “It’s honestly so rewarding to be able to make people’s day, especially in light of the pandemic,” said one of the organizers Patricia Kahentanoron Gabriel. Earlier this October, 27-yearold Gabriel was approached by her longtime friend Kassandra Kaiewate Bonspiel, 26, with the idea of organizing a “spin-towin” to raise money for various causes. “I thought that the idea behind it could be something amazing within our community,” said Bonspiel. She explained the concept as something very straightforward yet exciting, where community members buy tickets for slots on the wheel to get the chance to win different prizes. Each week, once all the slots are sold, the girls spin the wheel live on Facebook to announce the winners. Part of the cost of the tickets covers the gifts, such as coffee machines, fashion or electronic items, while the rest goes into donations. The previous Spin’dles have been able to each raise $200 for the the “Kanehsatà:ke supports Mi’kmaq fishermen raffle” hosted by Watsenniiostha Nelson and another $200 for the families of Antoine Paquin and Dylan Auger - the two young men who never made it home after a fishing trip at the Lake of Two Mountains on Saturday, November 14. They have also donated to other places like the Kanehsatake Language & Cultural Center, and are always looking for more causes to help. “I’m really grateful that we can be a part of something special like this,” said Gabriel. While the women grew up together and now both work at the Kanesatake Health Centre, it’s the first time that they collaborate on such an initiative. With no sponsors or collaborators, the women are left to do everything by themselves while navigating their own personal lives. “We have a similar way of thinking and doing things but we each bring something unique to the table and that’s how it ends up blending together well,” said Gabriel, mother of three. “We actually joked around at how this has turned us into shopaholics,” she added, explaining that they have been spending a lot of time either running around or shopping online. The women also wanted to include the community as much as possible in the decision-making process. Bonspiel said that the community has been very supportive, whether it’s about choosing which organization the next donations will be handed to or what kind of prizes they would like to bet on. “We brainstorm before to be able to give out bigger donations,” said Bonspiel, who is pregnant with her first child. After listening to the community’s feedback, KB & PG Spin’dles introduced the Donation Meter on November 20, with the goal to raise $5,000. The amount will go towards helping students from the community pay their tuition fees. As the initiative is gaining more and more popularity - we are talking about people waiting in virtual lines to get a ticket for the PlayStation 5 kind of attention - the women’s dream to give back is quickly becoming tangible. “I strongly believe that it is the beginning of something amazing within Kanesatake,” said Bonspiel. firstname.lastname@example.orgVirginie Ann, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eastern Door
The numbers of positive COVID-19 cases across the country are grim as the second wave of the pandemic has the country firmly in its grip. Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer released new modelling on Friday that suggests Canada could see 60,000 daily new COVID-19 cases by the end of the year if people increase their contacts with others, but that number could be limited to 20,000 a day if Canadians keep the same number of personal contacts they have now. The modelling shows that instead of flattening the curve, national daily case counts are “increasing significantly,” and rapid growth is occurring in several provinces because each new case in Canada is spreading the infection to more than one other person. On average 5000 new cases are being identified daily and still people across the country are refusing to acknowledge that this is a serious threat. In early October, Prime Minister Trudeau warned Canadians that Thanksgiving gatherings were out the window, but we still had a chance for Christmas. Two weeks after Thanksgiving case numbers started to rise, and then Hallowe’en happened, and a week later the number of cases here in Saskatchewan really started to escalate. But we are not alone. On Sunday November 22, Alberta led the entire country with 1,584 new cases, despite having a fraction of the population of Ontario and Quebec. Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer likened the spread to “a snowball rolling down a hill, growing bigger and faster, and it will continue unless we implement strong measures to stop [it].” A Canadian health policy and health services research consultant, recently relocated to Melbourne, Steven Lewis shared his thoughts on Saskatchewan’s COVID-19 situation with CBC and he pulled no punches. “When 95 per cent adherence isn't good enough, you cannot rely on moral suasion or appeals to civility” and “the Saskatchewan government's "half-assed" approach will simply prolong the pandemic's devastating effects on people's health and the economy.” He continued, “It is increasingly clear that you can't slow-walk the pandemic with a fine-tuned balancing act that keeps the economy humming while keeping daily case rates at a predictable and low level. So, you have to come down hard and fast and universally to flatten the curve quickly. Bottom line: Saskatchewan has been tested by the second wave and largely failed.” On Wednesday November 25 before the Premier announced the latest measures the province recorded 164 new cases of COVID-19 pushing the total number of active cases over 3000. One-hundred and eleven are in hospital and nineteen are being cared for in intensive care units. Coming into effect at 12:01 am Friday November 27, seating at restaurants will be limited to four people per table with two to three metres separating tables dependent upon whether or not barriers are in place between tables. Capacity at performance and gaming venues will be restricted to 30. Any type of social indoor gathering in public areas are limited to 30. All team/group sports, activities, games, competitions, recitals, practices, etc. are suspended, including amateur and recreational leagues for all age groups. Athletes and dancers 18 years of age and under may continue practicing, conditioning and skills training in groups of eight or fewer, abiding by the required mask use and at least three metres of physical distancing between participants at all times. Fitness activities and group fitness classes in groups of eight or fewer continues to be permitted, for all ages. Mask use and at least three metres of physical distancing between participants must be maintained. All places of worship must reduce capacity to 30 people, including wedding, funeral and baptismal services. All students, employees and visitors in schools and daycares except while consuming food or beverage must now wear masks. Children 0-2 years remain exempt. Children ages 3-12 should wear a mask if possible. As well all employees and visitors in all common areas in businesses and workplaces and all residents, employees and visitors in all common areas in provincial and municipal facilities. Masking is required in indoor public areas even if barriers are in place. Retail businesses must enhance the expectation of mask use and mitigation measures through signage and staff training. Large retail locations are required to limit customers to 50% as determined by half the specified fire-code capacity or four square metres of space per person whichever is less. Premier Moe adamantly denied the necessity to enact a complete shutdown. During the press conference he said because we have a better understanding of the virus than in the spring and “we” know what to do. He went on to state that it would be unfair to shut down businesses and put people out of work. The aim of the government is to find the right balance and minimize the impact on people’s livelihoods. Interestingly enough this is the same theory that has been expressed by Alberta’s Premier Jason Kenney even as new cases in that province have exceeded those of Ontario and Quebec. Carol Baldwin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Wakaw Recorder
After 46 years running his business, Brian Quinn of Quinn’s Meats in Yarker, Ont. is preparing to retire. He’s hoping to sell the commercial property to someone that will keep the abattoir and meat retail business intact, proving a challenge as fewer young people enter the industry. “The trade hasn’t passed down from generation to generation,” Quinn said. “Pretty much everybody here is in their 50s. There are no young kids stepping up.” Quinn describes his industry as “recession-proof, pandemic-proof and good, solid business.” “We don’t work nights, we don’t work Sundays. It’s a good, solid, full-time job and it pays really competitively,” he said. Still, during his career, Quinn said he has watched as abattoir after abattoir have closed all around him. “When I started there were six within 25 miles,” he said. His clients bring livestock from Perth, Smiths Falls and Frontenac County — anywhere within 100 mile radius, he said. If the person who buys his property does not maintain the abattoir, he said he doesn’t know what those farmers will do. Demand for his services is incredibly high, he explained. “In Eastern Ontario, east of Toronto, every abattoir is booked up a year in advance.” Quinn learned the trade from his uncle and grandfather when he was in high school. After completing a few years at St. Lawrence College in Kingston, he said the business came up for sale so he bought it. “The work is not that hard,” he explained. “It’s just when you mention ‘slaughter house’ or ‘abattoir,’ or ‘butcher,’ it just turns people off. It’s not a bad go. We have a modern facility, heated floors, all the modern equipment, so it’s not as labour intensive as it used to be. It’s repetitive work.” “If you’re working on the kill floor for example, there’s obviously going to be a smell there, and the stuff that goes on with the slaughter of an animal. It’s not a pleasant task by any means, no matter who you are. But it has to be done for the process,” he said. “I think that’s a major thing that people just can’t get their mind passed. That’s just my thinking.” He also cited increasing government regulation as a factor pushing existing business owners out of the industry. “A lot of the plants were older and weren’t up to standard, they weren’t willing to make the financial commitment to [update].” Quinn said that he has essentially rebuilt his entire facility over the years to keep it in compliance. The sale or distribution of uninspected meat is illegal in Ontario. Animals must be inspected and approved prior to slaughter, processed in a licensed facility and then stamped, labelled or tagged with an inspection license. “Most of the older plants that we’re talking about that have closed up, they were built before meat inspection was even compulsory. They were grandfathered in and regulations kept getting stricter and stricter. You either had to get up to standards, or get out,” he said. Quinn’s business, as well as the home on the adjacent property, are listed together for $1.3 million, including all equipment, license, existing inventory, a smokehouse and a stand alone generator. The processing area is suited to the custom cutting of beef, pork, lamb and goat. The retail area includes meat counters and coolers to sell beef and pork by the cut, as well as chicken and other products. According to the government of Canada, the beef industry reached retail sales of $5.4 billion USD in 2018, with beef representing 29.1 per cent of the overall retail Canadian meat sector. The sector is expected to grow by 2.4 per cent by 2023. “Meat substitutes,” or soy-based products such as burgers and grills, meatballs, sausage and other portions represented only $102.0 million USD in 2018. “Nevertheless, the sales of ‘meat substitute’ product categories are all growing faster than sales of most meat product categories… between 2014-2023,” says the federal sector overview of meat in Canada.Samantha Butler-Hassan, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, kingstonist.com
THUNDER BAY — A Thunder Bay man accused of an armed robbery of a pizza delivery driver in late August appeared in court this week to plead guilty to several, unrelated charges connected to fraud from earlier this year. Colton Herneshuhta, 21, pleaded guilty to a total of 13 charges relating to fraud, forgery, a break and enter and breaching probation orders on Thursday, Nov. 26 in a Thunder Bay Zoom courtroom. Court heard several instances where Herneshuhta used fake cheques to defraud several agencies in the city from January to April. On Jan. 6, Herneshuhta attended a loan agency business on Red River Road and presented a forged cheque for $1,139. A few days later, the business learned the cheque was fraudulent and alerted police who identified Herneshuhta as the person who cashed the cheque. He was also on probation at the time. On Jan. 9, Herneshuhta again used more fake cheques at two different businesses on Red River Road totalling $900. In a different case, another complainant gave Herneshuhta her debit card and pin number after he lied about why he needed it, according to Herneshuhta lawyer's George Joseph. “Mr. Herneshuhta made attempts to withdraw money that were outside the perimeters of the representation he made to (the complainant),” Joseph said. He initially attempted to withdraw $1,499, but was only able to take out $500, court heard. In April, Herneshuhta used a fake cheque of $850 to defraud the Children’s Aid Society. A few months later in August, Herneshuhta was identified as a suspect of a break and enter at a business on Victoria Street on Aug. 2. The Crown stated there was no estimate provided by the business of the damage caused or items stolen. Joseph told the court his client has struggled with a cocaine addiction for 10 years which has fuelled his criminal behaviour. Since being in custody, Herneshuhta has remained sober and has been working on his education as well as taking advantage of programs while in custody, Joseph said. Herneshuhta was sentenced to a joint submission of six months in custody, less pre-sentence custody. Crown counsel Piera Pasloski said Herneshuhta’s criminal record is limited and acknowledged his addiction which has been driving his criminal behaviour. “Mr. Joseph shared with me at the counsel pre-trial that Mr. Herneshuhta has had an extremely hard-wired addiction problem since age 11,” she said. “The hope is he will get himself the treatment he needs once he is released and that this behaviour will cease.” Herneshuhta was given credit at an enhanced rate for the time he has spent in pre-sentence custody of 136 days. He has 44 days left to serve going forward. After his custodial sentence, he will be placed on probation. Part of his probation conditions include participating in any assessments for counselling and substance addictions as well as completing any treatment programs if he is directed by probation. He is also not to contact any of the complainants or enter the businesses he defrauded. He will have 12 months to pay a victim surcharge fine for each of the 13 counts. Herneshuhta was not ordered to pay a restitution order. Herneshuhta also has outstanding charged connected to an alleged armed robbery from Aug. 24 of a pizza delivery driver. He is scheduled to return to court for these matters in early December.Karen Edwards, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Thunder Bay Source
Rowley Ramy knows the support offered by Seasons Centre for Grieving Children in Barrie is making a difference in the lives of those who use its resources. “I know it works when I see someone having a fuller life trying to give back,” the centre's managing director said. “It comes full circle.” Since opening 25 years ago, the centre, which provides peer support to children between the ages of five and 24 who are grieving the death of immediate family members, has helped a lot of people. For Ramy, it’s been a deeply personal journey. On Jan. 18, 1995, his daughters Samantha and Jessica were killed in a car accident. Ramy described an outpouring of support and a realization. While there was support for grieving adults, the same could not be said for children. And so, Seasons Centre for Grieving Children was created, and dedicated to his daughters. “Unfortunately, what happens with loss is none of us think about it until it happens, and then we look for the resources,” Ramy said, adding he still feels there could be more resources available. “There should a Seasons Centre in every regional health centre in the country.” As part of the 25th anniversary, the centre unveiled a new stained-glass sign, designed by Norma Vowels, who spent 15 years working as an office manager at the centre. “I’ve seen firsthand the difference they make in children’s lives,” she said, explaining how she would meet children and their families when they would first come to the centre. Speakers at the event talked about the isolating effects of grief, and the difficulty children can have navigating those powerful emotions. “We gave them the tools so that they don’t act out,” she said. “It makes a huge difference in their careers at school and their lives out in the real world.” Seasons Centre for Grieving Children is located at 38 McDonald St. For more information, or to support the centre, visit grievingchildren.com.Shane MacDonald, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Barrie Advance