The Lincoln Project is made up of long-time Republican strategists who now fear what could happen to the U.S if President Donald Trump is re-elected and are now working against him and promoting Democratic candidate Joe Biden.
The Lincoln Project is made up of long-time Republican strategists who now fear what could happen to the U.S if President Donald Trump is re-elected and are now working against him and promoting Democratic candidate Joe Biden.
Chatham-Kent Public Health has released a graphic to show the far-reaching impacts of a COVID-19 outbreak at a local church that led to nearly 500 people isolating. According to the graphic, 21 people who tested positive for the disease attended a place of worship, which is the Word of Life Church in Blenheim. Chatham-Kent Public Health declared an outbreak at the church late last month.This set off a chain of events that ended with 40 people testing positive for COVID-19 in 24 separate households, three of whom were hospitalized. The virus' spread was not contained to any one industry or area, and affected everything from the church itself to group living settings to households to a blood donor clinic. "We are sharing information about this outbreak now to show how easily COVID-19 can spread, and how we all need to work together to stop it," Chatham-Kent Public Health said in a news release.The graphic was based on data collected in October.Laura Zettler, an epidemiologist with Chatham-Kent Public Health, says the unit wanted the visual to serve as a reminder to the public."Really this visual was meant to show that what all of us do really matters, and it's truly a community effort to contain COVID-19," she said."Everyone that's part of the visual were all doing regular, everyday things ... going to church, going to work and doing things to help others, going to school, spending time with their family and friends. So many people were potentially exposed just doing everyday activities," she added. "Nothing extravagant, no big gatherings, and in settings where precautionary measures are in place. This is how easy this spreads ... and why our collective efforts are so important right now."Effects go beyond infectedZettler said the unit felt it was important to emphasize that the effects of the outbreak were not limited to those who tested positive. Nearly 500 people had to self-isolate, including members of the church, 170 people attending school and 180 people who attended blood donor clinics."If we just look at the people who tested positive, that's really not looking at all the other lives that were impacted by this outbreak," Zettler said. In a video accompanying the graphic, Chatham-Kent medical officer of health Dr. David Colby echoed that thought."We were lucky, with a lot of effort, we were able to keep our numbers down to only 40 positives with this outbreak, but look at all this trouble for people," he said while motioning to the graphic. "This is not a blame game. Everybody who's referred to here is a victim, not a cause. But we all have a role to play."And for the Word of Life Church itself, the recovery process has only just started.In a Facebook message to CBC News, a representative from the church declined to do an interview, but said that the outbreak is over and that the church would like to move on.According to the church's Facebook page, it has reopened its soup kitchen and food bank this week. "Well soup kitchen opened today for the first time in several weeks, it felt so good to be back doing what we love to do and what we know God has called us to do," a Wednesday post reads. "That was our biggest concern during our shut down, our friends on the streets of Blenheim. I can't tell you how much we missed seeing each one, it's not about just handing out food, it goes much deeper than that."
Many Nova Scotia businesses took a serious hit from the lack of tourists over the usually busy summer tourist season and now many are fearful locals are spending their dollars online with big retailers.Halifax Mayor Mike Savage said he hopes consumers see the benefits of contributing to the local economy as the holiday season unfolds."I think we should look on this as our opportunity to support our community by supporting local business, by not ordering everything online from you know who," he told CBC Radio's Information Morning on Wednesday.Communities throughout the province have launched campaigns encouraging shoppers to buy local. Savage pointed out that many local businesses offer online shopping as well, including restaurants that sell gift cards.Jordi Morgan, vice-president Atlantic at the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, said the pandemic is taking a toll on businesses in Nova Scotia.He said sales at this time of year are critical for many businesses, which regard it as a turnaround point for their year-end figures. The federation has conducted surveys and found that many businesses are under stress. "People are really feeling it's wearing on them in a serious way," Morgan told CBC Radio's Mainstreet."So along with the economic repercussions and worries about consumer spending and debt and staffing, and all the other things that go along with running a business, there are mental health considerations."Morgan said he's glad the province didn't follow in the footsteps of other jurisdictions that allowed larger stores to stay open while smaller establishments had to close. He said he's hopeful the province provides greater clarity when decisions are made regarding restrictions on retail activity.Like Savage, he also wants consumers to look at local online options rather than heading for more established internet retailers. "I can't emphasize how critical it is to the success of our community and our province for people to look at these local enterprises as assets, and what they can do to support the assets," he said.With the city losing $900 million in tourism revenue in 2020, buying local is more vital than ever, said Ross Jefferson, CEO of Discover Halifax."When you do support local, we know that more of our money stays here in our community. It stays here in Atlantic Canada and it stays here in Nova Scotia," he said. In smaller communities like Yarmouth, the pandemic has spurred many businesses to explore new business models. Rick Allwright of the Yarmouth and Area Chamber of Commerce told CBC News that many businesses there have found opportunities in the current crisis. Some have taken their businesses online while others have begun offering delivery in order to survive."There's some, even though they're not ready to be fully online stores yet, they're taking orders over the phone or taking orders even through social media channels," said Allwright. His organization launched a Love Yarmouth campaign earlier this year and Allwright said the plan is to keep it going throughout the holiday season. People supporting the campaign are asked to spend $25 in their community that they would otherwise spend with a big online retailer. Allwright said 250 people have already taken the pledge and he hopes more will come on board. The campaign is aimed at all local businesses and not just smaller, independent ones. "Our campaign is really about spending money locally. If that happens to be with the big box chains in town ... that's not a problem," he said."They're still supporting our local economy. They're still employing local people."MORE TOP STORIES
As COVID-19 cases continue to climb in Nova Scotia's central region, and with most of the new cases in the 18 to 35 age range, many are wondering about the role of universities in making sure students are following the Public Health guidelines.Two off-campus Dalhousie University students tested positive for the virus over the weekend and a house party on Edward Street with about 60 people took place Friday night. It was broken up by Halifax police and one $1,000 ticket was issued."I live in a university community and there are definitely more parties going on than that one," said Michelle Scully, a third-year Dalhousie student who lives off campus in Halifax.Scully said while she receives emails about Public Health guidelines from the school, at no point has Dalhousie told students there would be academic consequences for not following Public Health protocols."If people continue to have such large gatherings, I think they need to enforce further consequences," she said.Verity Turpin, Dalhousie's acting vice-provost of student affairs, said the university expects its students to "share that responsibility" for keeping the university and surrounding Halifax community safe and healthy, which includes avoiding large gatherings such as parties."In the case of any event off campus, I think it's important to recognize that at Dalhousie, we look at our students as independent adults," Turpin said. "They are responsible for following all of the laws in our province when they decide to come back and live as part of our community."Turpin said the school is in constant contact with students, such as sending out emails and notifications from the Dalhousie app about Public Health guidelines, as well as advisers and faculties speaking directly with students about the requirements.St. FX, Acadia address off-campus partiesOther universities in the province have made an effort to crack down on large student gatherings during the COVID-19 pandemic, even if those students are living off campus.Both Acadia University and St. Francis Xavier University required students to sign a code of conduct form, telling students they would face discipline or academic consequences for breaching health protocols. These universities both have in-person classes this semester.At Acadia, the university president, Wolfville's mayor and the student union president went door to door, visiting houses and speaking with students directly about following Public Health guidelines. Turpin said student ambassadors from Dalhousie did similar door-to-door visits in neighbourhoods surrounding campus.St. FX has also taken away practice and training privileges for student-athletes after a large off-campus party. St. FX said at the time students found to have violated the school's code of conduct could face suspensions. The university also did its own investigation into the event.A Saint Mary's University spokesperson said in a statement on Tuesday that "a SMU community member" tested positive for COVID-19.Cale Loney said in an email on Wednesday that the university has been sharing the health protocols with students and that "violation of those protocols can be subject to discipline under the university's code of student conduct."Dal's Faculty of Health takes more direct approachWhile Dalhousie as a whole has not made clear that there will be academic consequences for those who disregard the COVID safety measures, the Faculty of Health decided to do just that last month.Dean Dr. Brenda Merritt said students in her faculty, roughly 1,500 of which take part in on-campus learning this semester, were given an honour statement this semester.In it, students had to agree to stay up to date on and follow the current health requirements, and failing to do so "could result in dismissal or suspension on the grounds of professional unsuitability.""We felt strongly that this is part of our identity as health professionals and health researchers that we should be doing this," Merritt said."We did hear some feedback from students that they wanted something like this, they wanted their peers to be accountable, so to raise the feeling of safety on campus and in clinical placements."These students are also using an in-house COVID pre-screening app before they attend any face-to-face classes. Merritt said so far, these students seem to be following the rules."From what I'm hearing, they are really communicating well with each other about it and calling each other out on things," she said."They are taking this very seriously. They know that if we have an outbreak on campus, their programming stops."Merritt said there is a "rippling effect of a shutdown," which would mean pharmacists, nurses and other health students would not graduate on time, causing "a big strain" on the healthcare system.85 of November cases in ages 18 to 35A spokesperson for the province said that of the 118 cases reported in November as of Tuesday, 85 were people between the age of 18 and 35. The province could not offer a breakdown of how many of those cases are university students.Halifax Coun. Waye Mason has been calling for more fines to be given out to those involved with the Edward Street party — which he adds were "probably" Dalhousie students — and that the university needs to step up."Dalhousie has to take responsibility, both for helping to address the policing issues that happen in the neighbourhood around the university, and in going out and educating students when they are off campus about what the expectations are," he said."Unfortunately this year Dalhousie chose not to participate in funding Dal Patrol or going out with the police to knock on doors in the problem neighbourhoods. I think that's certainly something that the neighbours, and I, would like to see happen again."During Tuesday's news briefing, Premier Stephen McNeil said there will be stronger enforcement for illegal gatherings going forward, "including a $1,000 fine for every person who walks through the door.""All of the universities have been supportive and we will continue to work with them," he said. "It's a critical demographic that we will need to be vigilant on and keep on top of."MORE TOP STORIES
Cape Breton Regional Municipality and the federal government have thrown the Port of Sydney Development Corporation a lifeline.The port is facing a $600,000 deficit this year after the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the cruise ship season.CBRM council has voted to allow the port to use reserve funds created by the dredging of Sydney Harbour in 2012, but two councillors questioned whether the port administration has first done enough to cut costs and increase revenues."My problem ... is that to basically turn over all that money and it can just be gone if nothing else is achieved," District 10 Coun. Darren Bruckschwaiger said during discussion of the port's finances at CBRM's inaugural council meeting on Tuesday.District 8 Coun. James Edwards said he supports the port, but he was the only councillor to vote against allowing access to the special reserve fund."There was some pertinent questions asked, but I think there was lots of opportunity for more explanation," he told reporters afterwards.The federal, provincial and municipal governments and Nova Scotia Power created a $38-million fund to dredge Sydney Harbour eight years ago to accommodate larger cargo, coal and cruise ships.There was some money left over after the project finished and the port has been allowed to use it for various purposes.Some of the money was supposed to be used to fix the shore-based navigational aids that were no longer aligned with the newly dredged channel, but eight years later, the Coast Guard has still not undertaken that work.The Coast Guard said in an email that the navigational aids in Sydney Harbour currently mark the channel safely and it will maintain them in future.The federal government had required the port to set aside $800,000 of the $1.1 million remaining in the reserve fund for navigational aid costs, but has since given its approval to use that money to cover this year's deficit.Port CEO Marlene Usher said cruise ships and passengers supply the majority of the port's revenues, but there have been none this year."Hopefully we will get some cruise [ships] next year, but at this point I'm not very optimistic," she said.Some staff have been laid off and others have taken a 20-per-cent pay cut or foregone raises.Usher said there is no fat left to cut, but the port needs to remain open to take delivery of gasoline, diesel and heating oil for all of Cape Breton."Fuel vessels come in every week and if we don't have the doors open and the lights on, that would be catastrophic for the island," she said.If not for the pandemic, the port's current finances would be at least as good as last year's, Usher said."You'll see when we present our audited financial statement at our AGM that we were $700,000 over budget, to the good, so we've been responsible and we'll get back there," she said.Cruise ship traffic is booked in Sydney up to 2026 and it will return eventually, she said, but in the meantime the board has to find new revenues to ease reliance on one industry.'Need to diversify'"We need to diversify that area," Usher said. "We need to make the port a part of downtown and downtown a part of the port."For example, extending the boardwalk would allow pedestrians easier access to shops on the dock that are normally open for cruise ships.Meanwhile, the port is losing revenue after announcing the opening of its second cruise ship berth earlier this year.Usher said there are vessels that would use the new dock, but there are unexpected difficulties with power at the facility.A new financial plan will be presented to council in the new year, she said.MORE TOP STORIES
The Department of Fisheries and Oceans says enforcement officers are going back to St. Marys Bay in southwestern Nova Scotia where they seized hundreds of lobster traps on the weekend in an area used by Mi'kmaw fishermen.Todd Somerville, DFO's director of conservation and protection for the Maritimes, said 500 traps were seized for a variety of violations."Untagged gear, improperly configured gear, gear that hadn't been tended in a while. There was gear where dead lobsters were found. Over 6,000 lobsters, live lobsters, were returned to the waters as well," Somerville told CBC News."When we seize the gear, it's for a good reason."DFO said the hundreds of traps it seized were in a very small area of St. Marys Bay and there's more gear in the water it did not get to this week because of bad weather.Somerville said the operation will continue."The officers are eager to get back out there and make sure more work can get done," he said.Sipekne'katik traps seized, says chiefDFO did not seize every trap they checked.The vast majority they returned to the water had a Mi'kmaw communal food, social and ceremonial tag. They are regulated by DFO and band members get three traps.Some of the seized traps — it's not clear how many — belonged to the Sipekne'katik band's rights-based moderate livelihood fishery.Chief Mike Sack said many of the traps that were seized belong to his community. "Not all of them, of course, but the ones that were there and they're part of our livelihood fishery. We're in a process of getting those traps back," he said.Area closed to commercial fishingThe band's moderate livelihood fishery was launched this fall. It has not been authorized or approved by DFO. The area is currently closed to commercial fishing, which is scheduled to open next Monday.Sack said he's waiting to see evidence of improper practices tied to the moderate livelihood fishery."I don't think it will be the case. We're keeping a close eye on our people and making sure that they comply with our rules and regulations, which are close to DFO," Sack said.In 1999, the Supreme Court of Canada recognized the treaty right of Mi'kmaq to fish for a moderate living regulated by DFO. The rules have never been defined.In September, Sipekne'katik said it would no longer wait and launched the self-regulated fishery in St. Marys Bay.It's a small-scale operation, with around 10 band members allotted 50 trap tags each.Sack said replacement moderate livelihood tags were issued to band members Wednesday."It's like they're trying to clear the way for the commercial industry days before the season starts. And that doesn't sit well with us," Sack told CBC News. "We're not going anywhere. We'll be back later today. We'll be fishing and we'll keep fishing until the lobsters move out of that area."Seizure justifies concerns, says commercial repColin Sproul, a spokesperson for commercial fishermen, welcomed the DFO operation.He said it confirms their long-held concerns about out-of-season fishing in St. Marys Bay by the Sipekne'katik band."We're really pleased to see the minister finally take action and we feel really vindicated, given that the enforcement actions showed so many violations of basic fishery conservation law,' Sproul said."But we're really disappointed that the minister chose to wait so long to take the action because it's allowed so many relationships to be fractured in our communities. And it's also taken away any fair chance to make a living for my members in St. Marys Bay this fall."Sproul blames out-of-season fishing for lower commercial catches in St. Marys Bay — a claim DFO denies.DFO: 'Our officers have been very active'Since 2017, commercial fishermen have complained about lobster fishing by the band in summer when the season is closed.In August, a judge convicted a lobster pound owner in the area of illegally selling lobster supplied and harvested under communal food, social and ceremonial licences by members of Sipekne'katik First Nation.The Crown called it a "black market" operation that threatened conservation.Somerville said that case and others — including the big trap seizure — shows DFO is acting to protect the stock."I would suggest our officers have been very active over the last few seasons on this matter," he said. "There's been a lot of effort placed into this and not all of our activities are visible. A lot of the investigative work isn't obvious or overt to the public."MORE TOP STORIES
Although the Italian government says it won't make a COVID-19 vaccine compulsory - there is growing hesitation among Italians over its safety.View on euronews
SHERBROOKE – If a good deal of politics is learning how to soothe savage breasts, then a background in music wouldn’t be the worst thing a budding municipal councillor could offer. Courtney Mailman, the new district one councillor in the Municipality of the District of St. Mary’s, says staff and colleagues could not have been more accommodating. “I have a lot to learn, but I’ve really enjoyed it so far. I’ve been doing some municipal training, and the councillors who were already there have been very helpful and willing to share their knowledge.” That’s a good thing for the music therapy graduate from Acadian University and current Recreation Director at High-Crest Sherbrooke nursing home. Otherwise, she might have had to pull out her guitar or roll in her piano. “I also sing,” she laughs. Mailman is one of four rookie councillors who were either acclaimed (as she, Greg Wier and James Fuller were) or elected (as Charlene Zinck was) into office in the October municipal election. Her reasons for throwing her hat into the ring are clear. “Being a municipal councillor is a new role for me and I am excited and eager to take on this new challenge,” she says. “My main priority is to get to know the people and businesses in my district, to hear their ideas and concerns and to represent them to the best of my ability. Integrity and transparency are important to me and I plan to work hard for my community. I look forward to partnering with other committees and agencies for the betterment of the Municipality of St. Mary’s.” She comes by these commitments honestly enough. Born in Halifax and raised in towns and communities across the province, the 37-year-old’s parents emphasized the importance of giving back. “My dad always told me not to complain about something if I’m not going to do anything about it,” she says. “He always said that if I wanted change, I should jump in and be a part of that.” To this end, perhaps, she’s worked for The Salvation Army as a community services liaison in Kentville, where a big part of her job was advocating for clients and building community partnerships. She also administered its food bank and Christmas hamper programs. “Plus, my family has fostered children since I was 15 and I had always been very involved and invested in the children who came to stay in our home,” she says. Sure, but why local politics now? Between her job and volunteering, her husband Kyle and their dog Tillie, it’s not as if she hasn’t enough to do. “Believe it or not, I wanted to take a more active role,” she says. “I want to be a voice for the people in my district, in the development of our community.” And in these fractured times just about everywhere, that might be music to many ears. Alec Bruce, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Guysborough Journal
If the novel coronavirus was going to affect an industry in 2020, horse racing was a strong contender. Though it's a major money-maker in the province, generating $2.3 billion of Ontario's GDP, in the past it relied on people having a little extra money to spend, and coming together en masse on race day to place bets. At the beginning of the summer race season, things didn't look good, admits Lakeshore Mayor Tom Bain, who is on the executive of the horse racing association.But once the Lakeshore Horse Racing Association was allowed to have 100 people in the grandstand in Leamington, wagering ended up being as strong as ever."Certainly we were pleased with the comeback that we had and we were able to end up having a very positive season," said Bain. According to Bain, on any given Sunday this summer, the average total wagered was around $24,000. Key to that was online betting. "This year we did do all the simulcast wagering and we got out to a vast market. So maybe next year, hand in hand we'll bet yet again higher than ever," said Mark Williams, president of the association.Williams said people from as far away as Nova Scotia were betting on races in Leamington.This year's season went from early August to the end of October. The association is asking Ontario Racing to add two more race dates next year, but Williams is not optimistic that will happen. Meanwhile, those who depend on the local horse racing industry for their livelihoods are betting on a good year next year. Waverly Livingston is a stable hand at Woodslee Farms where she takes care of race horses and horses who are retired. She says without the local industry she would lose her job."I would have a very hard time finding another job, and there are only so many other farms ... in the area that take people," said Livingston.She is one of three employed at the stables owned by Don and Anita Leschied. Leschied says he spends between $500 and $1,000 a week keeping his horses."One of my first part time young ladies is now a veterinary technician who stayed in Essex County," said Leschied. "We are the second or third largest agricultural industry of the entire agricultural component in the province of Ontario," said Leschied.Leschied adds that the horse racing industry in Essex County, Chatham-Kent and Lambton county employs 10,000 people. More than 45,000 Ontarians owe their permanent jobs to the horse racing and breeding industry, according to research paid for by Ontario Racing.
The Ministry of Highways said some major roads in Saskatchewan were treacherous early Thursday morning.Bands of snow and freezing rain travelled across the province on Wednesday, leaving several sections of highway unsafe to travel.Highway Hotline said travel was not recommended on Highway 16 around North Battleford, between Maymont to Maidstone, as well as other roads in the area.As well, travel was not recommended on Highway 11 from Osler to MacDowall due to zero visibility in the area, as well as icy roads.Drivers were also asked to stay off Highway 7 from Delisle to Fiske, running through Rosetown.In southern Saskatchewan, drivers were asked to avoid Highway 21 near Cypress Hills Provincial Park due to drifting snow and icy conditions.The travel advisories were later expanded to include Highway 2 and Highway 41 around Wakaw.The Ministry of Highways warned drivers conditions can change rapidly and drivers should remain cautious.
George Bilodeau and Doug Ford have something in common. When it comes to reliable broadband internet access, especially in rural, remote and Northern communities, the mayor of the Municipality of Huron Shores and the premier of Ontario are like a dog with a bone. According to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, more than 1.4 million people in Ontario do not have broadband or cellular access, and about 12 per cent of households in the province are underserved or unserved from a broadband perspective. As more services move online because of the COVID-19 pandemic, poor internet service has left many individuals, businesses, and health0care organizations at a distinct disadvantage. In an effort to close some of those gaps, the Ford government has pledged an additional $680 million on top of a previous $315 million to support Ontario’s Broadband Cellular Action Plan, which hopes to provide 220,000 households and businesses with greater access. This nearly $1 billion investment over a six-year period will be used for shovel-ready projects that will connect unserviced and underserviced communities during COVID-19. Bilodeau hopes that with a big dose of community enterprise, Huron Shores will be able to leverage some of that funding to solve some of the internet connectivity issues in his region. “I’ve done a lot of lobbying, presentations, and cold calls over the last few months, and I always say that the system we have right now is like a two-lane highway, and we are trying to put the traffic of a six-lane highway onto two lanes,” he said. “That’s what we have now. We need a new backbone, which will mean a whole new line. Up-to-date fibre that will be able to take on six-lane traffic with no difficulties whatsoever. Our technology right now is maybe 25 years behind.” Bilodeau is spearheading a $150-million regional broadband network infrastructure project titled Huron & Manitoulin Community-Owned Fibre Infrastructure. If successful, it would provide high-speed internet services to thousands of residents along a corridor that runs from Echo Bay to Nairn Centre, including Manitoulin Island. “The problem is that all the major companies in this area are not really interested in giving us proper broadband services. Right now, we get minimum service, and the promise to bring us into the 21st century is just not there,” explained Bilodeau. “They do Band-Aid solutions here and there, but nothing is up to the capacity that is needed for economic development, industry, and health services.” Huron Shores decided to take matters into its own hands. Bilodeau is endeavoring to build a community-owned system where the municipalities involved would form a corporation and administer the broadband network. “What we’re looking at is a wholesale point of view. We don’t want to take business away from the internet service providers that are in the region. What we would do is supply a better product to these internet service providers, so they can sell a better product to households,” he said. “It would be easy to do a 50/10 and even a gig if a household wants a gig (gigabite). For hospitals and schools, we’re looking at 10 gigs.” The project has already garnered support from more than 30 communities and First Nations along the corridor, including Whitefish River First Nation, Elliot Lake, and Espanola. In fact, almost 90 per cent of the communities along the corridor have sent letters of support with resolutions to Huron Shores. Much of the “legwork” for the project is almost completed, added Bilodeau, including details like how they are going to bring the fibre into the area, and where it’s going to come from. Now, all they need is financial support from the provincial and federal governments. By partnering with ROCK Networks, an Ottawa-based communications systems company, Huron Shores and Whitefish River First Nation were able to put together an application for the provincial government’s Improving Connectivity in Ontario (ICON) program. At the end of September, they received a “positive nod” from the government indicating that their project has been asked to advance to stage 2 of the application process. “Stage 2 is the financing. We need to secure a grant from the provincial government to cover 25 per cent of the cost of the project, which would equal about $37.5 million,” said Bilodeau. “If we are successful in doing that, then the next step would be to see if we could get matching funding from the federal government.” The $1 billion investment from the provincial government doubled the funding for Ontario’s ICON program, bringing the total to $300 million. The program now has the potential to leverage more than $900 million in total partner funding to improve connectivity in areas of need across Ontario. ICON is just one of several provincial initiatives underway to improve connectivity across northern, eastern, and southwestern Ontario. The federal government also recently expanded and enhanced the Universal Broadband Fund to support high-speed internet projects across the country. Originally designed as a $1 billion, the government increased funding for the UBF to $1.75 billion to help connect more Canadians and better prepare for the future. Recognizing the need to accelerate this progress, Nickel Belt MP Marc Serre announced the launch of the Rapid Response Stream of the UBF, an accelerated application process that will allow shovel-ready projects to get started right away. The stream will benefit local telecom companies in Northern Ontario and further contribute to the region’s economic recovery. The application period is now open and community partners and stakeholders are encouraged to apply. “Our communities’ economic development and ability to overcome the challenges of this pandemic greatly depends on having access to quality and affordable internet and cellular coverage for all,” said Serre. “Working closely with municipal governments, the private sector and stakeholders, I will continue to advocate to ensure this important funding will benefit Nickel Belt-Greater Sudbury.” Achieving greater internet connectivity is something that isimportant for Bilodeau, and the communities that he is working with, and he hopes that this project will open up opportunities for the region. “Just as an example, (the other day) I was supposed to have a Zoom meeting with Greg Rickford, the minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines. We were not able to do the Zoom conference,” said Bilodeau. “I had to go on the landline, and I was holding my laptop looking at a slide deck. Minister Rickford was initially on his cellphone, but then he had connectivity issues, so we were both on landlines, with our laptops in front of us. We had to use two old technologies while I was trying to sell my idea.” His region, he added, is really like a “second Muskoka.” “In the last 15 years, Elliot Lake has seen more than 400 new cottages built north of the city. We all need broadband services,” he said. “This will open up opportunities in the region. People won’t need to be down in Toronto working in a tower. They will be able to come up here, build a home, and be able to work from home if we are able to get this project up and running.” The Local Journalism Initiative is made possible through funding from the federal government. email@example.com Twitter: @SudburyStar Colleen Romaniuk, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Sudbury Star
Islanders in long-term care are exploring the world without leaving their bedrooms.Health PEI is the first government agency to bring Rendever's virtual reality platform to residents in long-term care homes.Rendever is a Boston-cased company that offers virtual reality (VR) technology designed for older adults and seniors."What we've built is a platform that allows residents to put on these VR headsets and they can go pretty much anywhere in the world," said Kyle Rand, CEO and co-founder of Rendever."They can go back to their childhood home, they can go check off a bucket list item. They can go skydiving. They can go on a hot-air balloon ride. We can even bring them to the International Space Station. But most importantly, they can do all these things together."Ten pairs of the headsets are now in use in West Prince, in O'Leary and Alberton."Wow! Now that was fun," said Eva Rogerson, chair of the hospital foundation in O'Leary, after she tried it out Wednesday.Rogerson sat in an upholstered chair, with the goggles held in place by wide, comfortable head straps. Inside the headset, she was looking at a field of wild mule deer, somewhere in the western United States. She could hear the sound of hooves as the shy animals approached. She reached out to try to touch one."Takes you right into the real-life experience, in the midst of it," said Rogerson.In these days of pandemic isolation and loneliness for some seniors, health-care providers in West Prince see more than just pretty pictures in the new technology.The goal was fighting social isolation, said Paul Young, Community Hospital West administrator. "The feedback from patients and residents has been overwhelmingly positive." Staff use a tablet to monitor sessions and encourage participants to speak with one another about what they are feeling and experiencing.The technology lets seniors "take a walk" down any street, anywhere in the world. So some West Prince seniors are using the technology to drop by the rural farmhouses where they once lived.> We could really improve the quality of life for our people. — Eva Rogerson, O'Leary Community Health Foundation"We ask them where they'd like to go today and off they go," said Pam Corrigan, recreation manager of the Margaret Stewart Ellis Home in O'Leary. "We use it pretty near daily, depending on what we're doing."Staff in West Prince are now talking to the Rendever team in Boston about creating more virtual tours based in Prince County, perhaps offering strolls along local fishing wharfs and trips to potato fields at harvest time."Where people have dementia, their world is so small," said Rogerson."If I was a fisherman or a farmer, to be able to take me back in time where I could see myself hopping on a fishing boat or working at a potato field, we could really improve the quality of life for our people."VR easy for seniors to useWhen Rand started Rendever about four and a half years ago, the belief was that older people might not take to technology like this. Not so, he said."All they have to do is put the headset on and everything is controlled by a tablet. So staff members in the community, or family member or a volunteer — they control the entire experience," he said."You put on the headset, physical space doesn't matter, you can be socially together."Health PEI has run more than 2,400 sessions with participants spending 59 hours in VR, according to Rand.O'Leary Community Health Foundation purchased the technology with assistance from the federal and provincial governments.More from CBC P.E.I.
A report produced by the N.W.T.'s department of industry, tourism and investment offers a peek into the dramatic negative impacts the COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked on the territory's tourism industry.Released earlier this month, "Tourism in the NWT: A Year in Review: 2019-2020" examines the tourism industry's performance from April 2019 through March 2020. The study uses data from several sources, including airport exit surveys, parks permitting reports, and visitor exit surveys.While the territory only saw a modest drop in visitors over that period — about two per cent — the monthly statistics for March 2020, when the World Health Organization declared a global pandemic and the territory closed its borders to non-essential travel, illustrate a dramatic drop.Airport passengers across the territory fell precipitously compared to March 2019. At the Yellowknife airport, the territory's largest, 14,174 passengers transited through the airport in March 2020, a 53.3 per cent drop from the year before.The decline was even greater in regional airport hubs: both Fort Smith and Hay River saw passenger volumes fall by more than 70 per cent, and in Fort Simpson, just six passengers were reported during the month, representing a drop of 99.5 per cent.The report also tracks hotel occupancy in Yellowknife, where in March 2020, occupancy fell to 48.4 per cent, a drop of more than 36 per cent from the previous year. In February, one month before the global pandemic was declared by the World Health Organization, occupancy sat at more than 82 per cent.Food and beverage spending in the territory during the month of March also fell by more than 32 per cent compared to the year prior.While the numbers only capture the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic on the territory's tourism industry, they largely correlate with concerns raised by tourism operators in the territory, many of whom have said they have had to alter or close their businesses during the pandemic.In April, Northwest Territories Tourism CEO Cathy Bolstad told CBC that they had already estimated an $18 million hit to the territory's tourism industry due to the pandemic.In response, the territorial and federal governments have offered some tourism related supports to businesses, in addition to more general COVID-19 relief funding available to small businesses.Territorial operators pivoted to "staycations" to residents during the summer months to cope with border restrictions, but still saw hundreds of job losses across the industry.
Air Canada has offered concessions related to its proposed acquisition of Canadian tour operator Transat to address EU antitrust concerns, a European Commission filing showed on Thursday. The Commission, which oversees competition policy in the 27-nation European Union, said the commitments had been submitted on Nov. 25. The Commission opened an investigation in May on concerns that the deal could push up prices and reduce choice for flights between Europe and Canada.
ST. MARY’S – The Municipality of the District of St. Mary’s’ newest councillors have asked staff to explore making pension plans available to elected officials. The move would be a first for St. Mary’s, where councillors have been responsible for looking after their own retirement savings. But, said district one Councillor Courtney Mailman, “It’s kind of nice to be breaking new ground.” Mailman, district two Councillor Charlene Zinck and district three/five councillor, Warden Greg Wier – all newcomers to council – spearheaded the notion at the committee of the whole meeting on Nov. 18. “Because myself, Warden Wier and Councillor Zinck are all under retirement age and we all have full-time jobs, we wanted to look at the possibility of investing back into a retirement plan,” Mailman said. “Warden Wier had mentioned it to me and I expressed an interest, and he had mentioned it to Councillor Zinck and she expressed an interest, and then the other councillors were on board with looking into it.” Still, she added, “the sole responsibility for this would fall on us. We are not expecting, you know, a 50/50 split or a matching from the municipality. This is just something that we thought we would look into. We may all go ahead, or one of us may, but it would set a precedent for the future, for full-time working councillors to have that option.” Chief Administrative Officer Marvin MacDonald confirmed that staff are now working on the initiative. “We just got direction to go ahead and pursue it,” he said. “It [a pension plan] would just be through a bank. It would basically be an RRSP kind of thing.” It’s not clear what, if any, management costs the municipality might incur as a result of such a scheme. Currently, the Municipal Government Act in Nova Scotia does not require elected representatives to “buy in” to the one or more types of pension plans that are mandatory for, and administered on behalf of, town and city staff. In St. Mary’s, councillors, the warden and deputy warden don’t receive salaries, per se, but active “remunerations” set in each year’s operating budget. In the fiscal year ending March 31, 2021, each St. Mary’s councillor will earn $13,043; the warden, an additional $8,300; and the deputy warden, a further $5,929. Regarding any future pensions, Mailman said, “It would be taken off our income as councillors and then just go out into some form of investment for us to have down the road.” Before that, MacDonald said, “We’re going to get somebody in to talk to us about it. The councillors can ask questions directly then.”Alec Bruce, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Guysborough Journal
Following an auditor general's report that found Ontario's pandemic response is being driven by political staff atop a command structure developed by a U.S. consulting agency, Premier Doug Ford is insisting that medical experts and Ontario's top doctor are calling the shots.A tough-talking Ford fired back at Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk Wednesday after her report raised questions about how the government is making crucial decisions on lockdowns, school closures and other measures that are affecting the lives and livelihoods of millions of Ontarians."To say that [Chief Medical Officer of Health] Dr. Williams wasn't leading this response, it just isn't right. It's actually wrong," Ford said at his daily media briefing."Dr. Williams has been riding shotgun with me from day one."That's in contrast to the findings of Lysyk's 231-page report."The Chief Medical Officer of Health did not lead Ontario's response to COVID‑19," the auditor said.Command structure led by political staffAccording to Lysyk, the government's command structure is being led by political staff, not public health experts.At the top of this structure is the Central Co-ordination Table, which is co-chaired by the government's cabinet secretary and the premier's chief of staff. Lysyk writes the table "does not include key public health officials, such as the Chief Medical Officer of Health and key representatives of Public Health Ontario (although they have been invited to attend meetings)."Ford countered by accusing Lysyk of overstepping her office's mandate for monitoring financial accountability and questioned her capacity to critique how the government handles a medical emergency."I'm really glad the AG just got a health degree and became a doctor over the last year or so," the premier said sarcastically.Infectious diseases specialist Dr. Michael Gardam says the report shows that Public Health Ontario has been "sidelined" by the Ford government during the pandemic."And so a lot of decisions were made, I would argue, for political reasons," Gardem told CBC Toronto.As for the involvement of Ontario's chief medical officer of health, Gardam believes the position is too close to the government to provide "arms-length" medical guidance."It's very hard for that role to be outspoken and maybe publicly disagree with the government," Gardam said.Consulting firm hiredThe report also revealed the Ford government developed its command structure by hiring an outside consulting agency. The firm is not named but CBC Toronto has confirmed it was U.S.-based McKinsey & Company.According to the auditor general's report, the government hired McKinsey at the outset of the pandemic to create an organizational structure for the pandemic response, at a cost of $1.6 million. McKinsey also assisted the government with its COVID‑19 recovery planning at a cost of $3.2 million. Of that, $942,000 was spent to provide feedback on the child care and school reopening plans, said a spokesperson for the education minister.Asked about the exact nature of its work with the government, and if its advisers have expertise in public health, McKinsey responded with a statement saying, "While we cannot comment on the details of our work, we can confirm that we supported the government of Ontario for a finite period in 2020.""McKinsey, like so many other organizations in Ontario and Canada, is committed to supporting the humanitarian and economic response to the COVID-19 crisis," the statement said.NDP 'deeply horrified' by AG's reportMeantime, opposition parties at Queen's Park were quick to pounce on Ford in the wake of the report's release.Sara Singh, the NDP's deputy leader, said her party was "deeply horrified" by Lysyk's findings, and she chided the premier for telling citizens that he listens to public health experts."Every single day, the premier got up here at one o'clock and reassured Ontarians that he was following the advice of the chief medical officer, when in fact, today, what we learned is that he lied," Singh told reporters Wednesday."And so, when it comes to the appointment of Dr. Williams, we, and I'm sure many Ontarians, have real concerns."Ontario Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca was also critical of the way the Ford government structured its pandemic response and he too laid the responsibility at the premier's feet."He has neglected repeatedly to listen to public health leaders. He has neglected repeatedly to be clear and level with the people of Ontario," Del Duca said. Echoing the critiques in Lysyk's report, Ontario Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner said the government's moves have led to "delays and confusion" in the pandemic response."The government can't spin their way out of this report," Schreiner said."It is clear that they spent millions to create a dysfunctional structure, where decisions are being driven by politics and not public health."
SHERBROOKE – Historic Sherbrooke Village has asked municipal council for a letter supporting its application to the federal Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) for a grant that could be worth as much as $1 million. The money would be used to kickstart the Rural Institute for Cultural Heritage and Environmental Sustainability (RICHES), a program designed to expand cultural tourism and stimulate community economic development in the area. Earlier this year, the living museum received nearly $1 million from the provincial department of Culture and Heritage both to repair many of its historic buildings and leverage matching funds from ACOA under an existing economic development formula. Sherbrooke Village’s Executive Director Stephen Flemming was not available for comment, but Marvin MacDonald, Chief Administrative Officer of the Municipality of the District of St. Mary’s, confirmed the museum head issued the request during a presentation to the committee of the whole meeting (COTW) on Nov. 18. “His ask to council was just a letter,” he said. “There was no specific funding request [that] night.” In an interview earlier this month, the village’s Director of Visitor Experience Robin Anderson said the funding application, “has been put across the desk of ACOA for final review and recommendation. All indicators are that they are encouraged.” She added that the initiative will also require a municipal and/or private sector component. “Certainly, the top priority now is the development of some sort of fundraising committee,” she said. In other business, the COTW also heard from Whale Sanctuary Project (WSP) Executive Director Charles Vinick, who recently completed a two-week stint in self-isolation at a Halifax hotel after arriving from his California headquarters late last month. “His presentation was great,” MacDonald said. “It was just an opportunity for him to report on where the project is and address a few questions from council.” Vinick represents a multinational effort to relocate beluga whales – rescued from marine captivity across North America – at a special coastal refuge near Port Hilford. Over the past several months, the initiative has generated extensive international coverage and broad support within the local community. “They (WSP) are going to be moving into the permitting stage and there’s going to be some investigation into what permits are required and that type of thing,” MacDonald said. Alec Bruce, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Guysborough Journal
A private care home in Merritt, B.C., is accusing the Interior Health Authority of aggressively recruiting its health care workers by offering them higher wages and better benefits.Florentine Seniors Residence has lost three licensed practical nurses (LPN) and at least four registered care aides (RCA) to the health authority during the pandemic, according to president Frank Rizzardo."They are phoning our staff directly," he said. "It is not a matter of a response to an ad. It's a call to our employee."Interior Health denies recruiting directly from private care homes and says it uses a centralized hiring process where vacant positions are posted and advertised publicly. Rizzardo is adamant the health authority reached out to Florentine employees to offer jobs at an Interior Health-run care home in Merritt and took to social media this week calling for a stop to the practice."I had a staff meeting on Monday and at that staff meeting I was told that two of our newest RCAs were called by Interior Health and offered employment," he said in an interview with CBC News."We paid LPNs to relocate and then once they are here, they only work a short period of time before they are snapped up by [Interior Health]."Better pay and benefitsSlightly higher wages and better benefits are some of the things enticing his staff to leave for positions at Interior Health, Rizzardo said.Some nurses and care aides left in order to take advantage of the Temporary Pandemic Pay program which provided eligible front-line workers a lump-sum payment equal to about $4 an hour for 16 weeks, according to Rizzardo.Health care workers at private care facilities like Florentine did not qualify for the temporary pay raise.Florentine Seniors Residence is a 77-suite private care facility that offers assisted living and complex care in the southern Interior city.The staffing shortage is leading to burnout among his remaining workers, Rizzardo said.Rizzardo wrote letters to Health Minister Adrian Dix and Interior Health president and CEO Susan Brown calling for an end to the recruiting practices, but he has not heard back from either of them, he said.Interior Health denies recruiting from private care homesInterior Health did not agree to an interview with CBC News but provided a written statement denying Rizzardo's claims."Employees are hired through a centralized hiring process. Vacant positions open to external applicants are posted and advertised publicly."Rizzardo said he's not surprised the health authority denied recruiting his staff and said he believes what his employees have told him about the recruitment calls.The Ministry of Health did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The tipi that was stolen from Camp Connections, a summer camp run by the Foster Family Coalition of the NWT, is going to be replaced, thanks to a Yellowknife business owner.Tammy Roberts, the coalition's executive director, said she learned on Monday that the camp was getting a canvas for a new tipi by way of a donation, and that this tipi will be even bigger than the previous one. "I'm told it's massive, so I'm really excited about it," she said.Roberts declined to name the business owner, saying she wasn't sure if they wanted to go public. In early October it was reported that the canvas was stolen off the 22-foot tipi at the Camp Connections site, about an hour outside of Yellowknife.The organization made a public plea for the tipi's return, but nothing came of it, said Roberts.She said the coalition got some donations after the previous tipi was stolen, and those will be put toward bigger tipi poles and hiring someone to help build the new tipi. "All the kids knew about the tipi that was stolen and of course, were upset by that," she says. "They'll be really happy that we can have a new one erected before ... camp next summer."
Four more witnesses provided testimony Wednesday in the trial of Selena Lomen, who is accused of second-degree murder in the Oct. 28, 2018, death of her common-law partner, Danny Klondike.Two of the witnesses discussed how angry Lomen was with Klondike at the Halloween party they attended in Fort Liard, N.W.T., during the evening leading up to his death.At the beginning of the trial earlier this month, Lomen, 23, admitted to stabbing Klondike, 34. She tried to plead guilty to manslaughter, but the prosecutor refused to accept the plea. The trial is being held in N.W.T. Supreme Court in Yellowknife.The testimony of most witnesses so far has focused on what happened leading up to and immediately after Klondike's death, but has skirted the central issue in the trial: whether Lomen intended to kill Klondike when she stabbed him.Crystal Deneyoua said she was with Lomen at that Halloween party, and Lomen was angry at Klondike."Selena started getting mad at him because he wouldn't give her a drink and he was giving everyone else drinks," Deneyoua said.She said Lomen eventually lashed out at Klondike verbally, swearing at him in front of others. "Danny told her to be nice," Deneyoua added.Klondike was having a good timeLike other witnesses who testified, Deneyoua said Klondike was having a great time, dancing, playing pool, socializing and getting very intoxicated. Lomen was sitting in a corner looking on.At some point, Lomen discarded the nurse costume she had arrived in. Deneyoua said she and Lomen then went for a walk around town and that Lomen had a mickey of vodka with her. Deneyoua said that as they were walking by Lomen's house, Lomen said she had three 1.18-litre bottles of vodka and suggested they get one. Deneyoua said they decided to walk back to the party instead.Another witness, Grace Berreault, was outside having a cigarette when Deneyoua and Lomen got back to the party. > He kept saying he just wanted to go home to his son and go to sleep. \- Grace Berreault, witness"She walked up to the party looking angry," said Berreault, referring to Lomen.Berreault said Klondike was part of a group of people she left the party with about 40 minutes later. "He kept saying he just wanted to go home to his son and go to sleep," she said.Host told Lomen to leave party Deneyoua said that after they returned, she counted Lomen consuming five large cups from a tub of home brew that had been brought to the party. She said Lomen was also drinking shots of vodka.Deneyoua said one of the hosts of the party eventually told Lomen she had to leave because she was not in costume. She said someone else at the party told Lomen she could borrow a costume if she wanted to stay. Deneyoua said she went after Lomen and told her, but Lomen just threw up her arms and kept walking away.Connie Bertrand said she was out for a walk between 3 a.m. and 3:30 a.m. when she crossed paths with Lomen on Valley Main Street in front of the health centre. Bertrand said Lomen had a 1.18-litre bottle of vodka that was about half full, and she was staggering and slurring her speech. They spoke for a while about who was at the party."We went to my house and sat on the balcony and had a few shots," said Bertrand. "I told her I was tired. Then she told me to walk with her to her house, but I said I was too tired."Bertrand said she walked Lomen to the door and locked it after she left.Lomen seen 'crying a lot'Denelee Bertrand, the guard who was working at the Fort Liard RCMP detachment that morning, also testified.Earlier, the court heard that Lomen walked in on her own and said, "I killed him. I need to come inside."Bertrand said Lomen "was crying a lot. She was laying down for a while, crying, covering her face.""She asked if he was dead and [Cst. Terry] Boutcher said, 'Yes,'" Bertrand added.
Some gym and yoga studio owners in Newfoundland and Labrador have taken extra steps to keep people safe this week, knowing they could be among the first to close if the province moves back a level.Heather Murphy, owner of Islander Athletics, watched with approval Monday as Premier Andrew Furey withdrew the province from the Atlantic bubble.With cases on the rise in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, she decided to post a new rule for her gym in St. John's — anyone in contact with a person who has travelled within the Atlantic provinces is asked to stay away for two weeks."We've taken it an extra couple steps further and I know that's on us," Murphy said. "I've seen a lot of other studios doing the same kinds of things to really try and prevent a second closure from happening."Gyms and fitness studios were ordered closed in March, and remained shuttered for in-person sessions until late June.It was a devastating blow for many of the small gyms in the province, and Islander Athletics was no exception. They used the break to change locations, with hopes of reopening in a better place. What saved them was the family they'd built within their membership, she said.Murphy checked out all of Islander Athletics' equipment to the members and shifted to online classes. People went home with everything the gym owned. In exchange, she managed to keep much of the customer base throughout the downtime.Now, with small spikes in cases around the province, people like Heather Murphy are again watching the daily updates with anxious eyes.A pair of small towns are dealing with outbreaks, and as of Wednesday afternoon Newfoundland and Labrador had 25 active cases. The school district reopened an elementary school in Deer Lake on Wednesday, after a student tested positive earlier in the week.More than 30 kids in the child's class cohort tested negative.Moda Yoga owner Jill Holden said the actions business owners are taking to prevent the spread are not just about business — they're about doing the right thing."I think we all have a social responsibility to act from a place of kindness and compassion, but not just for ourselves," she said. "That's really what we're about in the yoga practice. We don't just act for ourselves, but for the greater good."Holden's studio has policies simliar to ones in place at Murphy's gym. They've tightened restrictions in recent days, after outbreaks in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick collapsed the Atlantic bubble.Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil announced Tuesday that all fitness and recreational facilities, libraries, museums and casinos would close for two weeks. Restaurants are open only for takeout.In Newfoundland and Labrador, Premier Andrew Furey says he wants to avoid that tangle."We don't want to have to close our businesses here. We want to protect the freedoms we've come to enjoy, while in line with public health measures of course. We want to avoid a full lockdown that we are seeing across the country," he said at Wednesday's briefing."We want to ensure that the local economies can continue to operate as much as possible."Measures put in place by the provincial and federal governments helped small businesses like gyms and fitness centres survive the last lockdown.Holden said she'll oblige any restrictions put in place but she doesn't want to have to rely on those subsidies again."It was difficult and thankfully we got through it," she said. "Having to go through it for a longer period of time again, I'm not sure that's really viable in the long run because these subsidies we've been taking advantage of have been really helping, but I know that won't last forever."Newfoundland and Labrador recorded only one new case on Wednesday, and both Holden and Murphy hope the spread is slowing and a second lockdown isn't in the cards."It's hopeful," Murphy said. "I'm optimistic we'll be able to avoid it."Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador