Scott Moe's Saskatchewan Party won its fourth consecutive majority government, the first party to accomplish that in the province since the CCF under Tommy Douglas over 60 years ago.
Scott Moe's Saskatchewan Party won its fourth consecutive majority government, the first party to accomplish that in the province since the CCF under Tommy Douglas over 60 years ago.
Whether it's the fresh baked scent, the gooey glaze or the warm insides — doughnuts, those addictive deep fried balls of sugar and carbohydrates — have become a favourite comfort food in the wake of COVID-19.In Metro Vancouver, doughnut makers say the satisfying indulgence has become more popular — and more important than ever before."I think we're an essential service for the head and the heart," said Carol Kaesbauer, the operations manager at Lee's Donuts.The Granville Island institution has been handmaking doughnuts for 40 years. They closed for a renovation in February and were set to reopen in mid-March. But like so many other businesses, the pandemic kept them shuttered.Lee's and other Granville Island merchants worried whether business might have all but dried up since cruise ships — and the tourists that came with them — were banned from entering Vancouver's port.Kaesbauer says they made just a few small batches and nervously reopened at the beginning of April — with no idea lineups would stretch hundreds of metres down the block."It just kind of caught us by surprise. The craziness, the madness," she said.At the Boca Grande Donut Shop in Delta, owner Jeremy Morris says doughnut fans have been coming from North Vancouver, Abbotsford and even Vancouver Island to sample the 20 different varieties on offer. Morris and his wife Crystal scratch-make the doughnuts and say they can't make enough in a day to keep up with demand. A favourite, the very hefty Hot Chocolate Donut is made with toasted marshmallows on top, chocolate mousse in the centre and a white glaze and chocolate drizzle to finish it off. The shop went from being opened five days a week to just three. Total sales, however, have remained about the same, Morris says.His personal favourite is called the Netflix and Chill "which is a butter glaze with salted buttered popcorn and a caramel drizzle."The couple will make 400-500 doughnuts a day on weekends.So wrong, yet so right"It's comfort food," said Daniel Krauss who was enjoying a doughnut on Granville Island recently. "Everyone is pretty fed up right now and it's something cheap and cheery," he said.Will Parker says doughnuts haven't been a go-to snack for him in the past — but he's taken a shine to them since the pandemic."It's a sweet treat like nothing else. You wanna enjoy something in life and doughnuts are that," he said.Not all doughnut makers are experiencing increased sales, however. Despite being a voter favourite, winning first place in the best doughnut category in a Vancouver publication, Cartems Donuts, with its three locations has seen a 70 per cent loss in revenue since the pandemic.Jordan Cash, Cartems founder and CEO says he's thankful to still be up and running when so many other businesses haven't been able to stay afloat. Despite the financial hardship, Cash says the company's goal has always been to brighten someone's day with its handmade confections. "Some sweetness amidst everything" he said. "If we can help people have a better day, that's all that matters."
People who visited curling facilities in two communities in northern Saskatchewan during specific periods in November are required to self-isolate due to the risk of COVID-19 exposure, the Saskatchewan Health Authority says.All individuals who attended any events at the Lakeland Curling Club in Christopher Lake between Nov. 16 and 22 are considered close contacts, and required under public health orders to isolate for 14 days from their last attendance, the health authority said in a Saturday media release.The order includes people who visited the Lakeland Curling Club board meeting on Nov. 16.People who visited the curling rink and lounge at the Richardson Pioneer Recreation Centre in Shellbrook also need to isolate if they curled or socialized at the facility at any time between Nov. 9 and Nov. 26, said the SHA.In addition to the required self-isolation, the agency strongly recommends COVID-19 testing for anyone who was at either location during the affected dates. People can book a testing appointment by calling HealthLine 811. Christopher Lake is about 35 kilometres north of Prince Albert, while Shellbrook is about 45 kilometres to the west of the city.
Malyah Jackson wants everyone to know how hurtful racism is and her presentation to the F.J. McElligott Secondary School student body this week offered personal experience. It came after schools in the Near North District School Board spent a big part of the month participating in an anti-bullying campaign featuring videos and guest speakers promoting inclusiveness. One of films impacted Jackson and prompted her to speak out. “I've been going to this school for three years now,” the Grade 11 student said. “I come from a black family, but with a white mother that loves us for who we are. She doesn't see our colour. She sees us as people.” Jackson, whose skin isn’t as dark as her father’s skin, said she tried to pass for being white because of what people said about black people. “I used to never tell people that I was black because I was really ashamed of my colour. I would deny that I was black,” she said, describing what it was like to be living in the confusing space between two races. “I was so torn about it, I didn't feel like I should be myself. I felt like I wasn't good enough.” Jackson, who turns 16 years old on Sunday, said her outlook changed as she learned more about what was going on with racism around the world. “One day, I eventually realized that light-skinned or beautiful black people are beautiful. My colour is just as beautiful as every other black person,” she said. For a long time, she wouldn’t fight the racism. “I let people say racial slurs against black people towards me. I let them call me the N-word. I let them say every racial slur in the book,” she said, explaining they would even seek her permission. “They would ask me if I cared if they say this … I would always respond with no, because at the moment I did not care.” An incident in class, where a movie about racism was being shown, led to the presentation. Jackson described how she was triggered by a scene where a black actor was shot by a police officer while reaching to grab his comb. Jackson blamed the teacher for not understanding how that scene would affect a black student but realized she was just trying to educate the other students about racism. After speaking to her guidance counsellor and the North Bay Multiculturalism Centre, she arranged to speak at her school. “It was more than just a movie to me,” she said about how all the real police killings and the Black Lives Matter protests this year brought everything into the light for her. “Being racist, saying racial slurs and jokes are not funny,” she said, adding she was encouraged to speak about it as one of the only black girls in the school. “Racism, it's not a joke. It will never be funny and it has never been funny to me,” she told the students, teaches and staff in the gymnasium on Wednesday. “So, I stand here asking each and every one of you how many black people need to die before you guys realize that our colour is not a weapon you should fear. “And how much of my self-esteem needs to die before you realize it's not funny?” she asked. “In the honour of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, I stand here and say that Black Lives Matter.” Jackson left the audience members with a few more things to think about. “Now, I do have some questions for you guys, but I don't want your answer. I just want you to reflect on it yourself and ask yourselves these questions personally: “Have you ever been profiled? Have you ever met someone who made assumptions about who you are because of your appearance? How does it feel?” she asked. “We go through that every day because of our colour,” Jackson said, posing another question: “When you're a racist to someone and you get in trouble for it, do you say you're sorry because you have to or you say you're sorry because you know what you did hurt them?” Jackson then told them to imagine if they are a police officer and how they’d feel if they saw a white person reach for a potential weapon compared to how they would feel if it was a black person. She said people of colour don’t know if the police officer is one of the good ones or not. “Ever since the George Floyd incident, we ask ourselves every day, are we next?” Jackson boiled it all down to one thing and shared her thoughts on the issue. “Being racist is a decision, not a choice.”Dave Dale, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, BayToday.ca
PARIS — Tens of thousands of critics of a proposed security law that would restrict the filming of police officers protested across France on Saturday, and officers in Paris who were advised to behave responsibly during the demonstrations repeatedly fired tear gas to disperse rowdy protesters who set fire to France's central bank and threw paving stones.The mood was largely peaceful, however, as dozens of rallies took place against a provision of the law that would make it a crime to publish photos or video of on-duty police officers with the intent of harming their “physical or psychological integrity.”Civil liberties groups, journalists, and people who have faced police abuse are concerned that the measure will stymie press freedoms and allow police brutality to go undiscovered and unpunished.“We have to broaden the debate, and by doing that, we say that if there were no police violence, we wouldn’t have to film violent policemen," Assa Traore, a prominent anti-brutality activist whose brother died in police custody in 2016, told The Associated Press.She was among at least 46,000 people who packed the sprawling Republique plaza and surrounding streets carrying red union flags, French tricolour flags and homemade signs denouncing police violence, demanding media freedom or calling for the resignation of French President Emmanuel Macron or his tough-talking interior minister, Gerald Darmanin.The crowd included journalists, journalism students, left-wing activists, migrants rights groups and citizens of varied political stripes expressing anger over what they perceive as hardening police tactics in recent years, especially since France’s yellow vest protest movement against economic hardship emerged in 2018.Violence erupted near the end of the march as small groups of protesters pelted riot police with small rocks and paving stone. The officers retaliated with volleys of tear gas, prompting minor scuffles. Rioters then set fire to the facade of the central bank and to police barricades; in the melee fire trucks struggled to reach the site.Macron's government says the law is needed to protect police amid threats and attacks by a violent fringe.But the chief editor of French newspaper Le Monde, Luc Bronner, argued at the protest that the law against publishing images of officers is unnecessary.“There are already laws that exist to protect civil servants, including police forces when they’re targeted, and it’s legitimate – the police do a very important job," Bronner said. “But that's not what this is about. It’s about limiting the capacity of citizens and along with them, journalists, to document police violence when they happen.”While journalists have been the most outspoken over the security bill, it could have an even greater impact on the efforts of non-journalists who film police during aggressive arrests, notably minorities who can try to fight police abuse and discrimination with a few seconds of cellphone video.“There were all those protests in the summer against police violence, and this law shows the government didn’t hear us... It’s the impunity. That’s what makes us so angry," protest participant Kenza Berkane, 26, said.Berkane, who is French and of North African origin, described being repeatedly stopped by police for identity checks in the metro or while going to school. while white friends were allowed to pass. “We ask ourselves, when will this stop?”The cause has gained renewed importance in recent days after footage emerged of French police officers beating up a Black man, triggering a nationwide outcry.Macron spoke out against the video images on Friday, saying “they shame us.”Video that surfaced Thursday showed the beating of music producer Michel Zecler, following footage of the brutal police evacuation Tuesday of migrants in a Paris plaza. The officers involved in the beating of Zecler were suspended pending an internal police investigation.An internal letter from Paris Police Prefect Didier Lallement called on officers to use “probity, the sense of honour and ethics” when policing Saturday's protests, which were authorized by authorities despite France's partial virus lockdown.Through most of the march police hung back, chatting while holding their helmets or watching silently as protesters shouted “Shame!” at them.The crowd was overwhelmingly peaceful, but some in the unruly minority came equipped with gas masks and helmets.Article 24 of the proposed security law criminalizes the publishing of images of police officers with the intent of causing harm. Anyone found guilty could be sentenced to up to a year in jail, and fined 45,000 euros ($53,000).Many protesters, police and journalists have been injured during protests in recent years, including several Associated Press journalists.Prime Minister Jean Castex announced Friday that he would appoint a commission to redraft Article 24, but he backtracked after hearing from angry lawmakers. The commission is now expected to make new proposals by early next year on the relationship between the media and police.___Alex Turnbull in Paris contributed to this report.Angela Charlton And Thomas Adamson, The Associated Press
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney declared a state of public health emergency for the province on November 24, 2020, at a joint press conference with the Alberta Health Minister, Tyler Shandro, and Alberta Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw. After grimly detailing the province’s current COVID-19 situation, the Premier announced new public health measures and restrictions for the province aimed at slowing our current rate of infection. Jason Kenney disclosed that 1,115 new cases and 16 more deaths had been reported for the day alone. The additional 16 deaths bring the total number to 492 people who have died since March, with 103 of that number occurring in just the past two weeks. By all metrics, the spread of the virus appears to be picking up speed. Kenney explained the rationale behind the new public health measures saying, “Yes, our policy is based partly on protecting the vulnerable while minimizing damage to our broader social health. But to protect the vulnerable, we all have to do our part in limiting community spread.” The public health measures and restrictions announced will be in place for a minimum of three weeks, at which point they will be reviewed. If there has been a significant drop in our daily number of new cases, we may be able to ease some of them. If these measures have not been shown to have a meaningful impact, more drastic measures may be implemented. Here is a breakdown of the new restrictions: Social Gatherings (Effective Immediately Across Alberta) • Indoor social gatherings will no longer be permitted. Indoor social contact should be limited to those within a single household. People that live by themselves can have up to two non-household social contacts. Does not apply to home-based services (Healthcare, Homecare, and Childcare). • Outdoor gatherings will be limited to a maximum of 10 people. • Wedding ceremonies and funerals will be limited to a maximum of 10 people and receptions will not be permitted. • People that do not follow these restrictions may be subject to fines. The province will be looking at ways to allow Peace Officers to deliver fines to anyone who violates these limits. The fines mentioned were $1000 for a ticketed offence and up to $100,000 through the courts. • The Emergency Alert System will be used later this week to notify Albertans of these limits. Businesses (Effective Friday, November 27 in Enhanced Status Regions) Closed For In-Person Businesses • banquet halls, conference centers, concert venues, community centers, trade shows, children’s play places, Indoor playgrounds, All levels of team and individual sport (Leagues can apply for exemptions if they have well-developed safety plans). Open with Restricted Capacity • Retail businesses and services can remain open but are restricted to 25% of their occupancy limits or a minimum of 5 customers, whichever is higher. • Entertainment and Event Services – movie theatres, libraries, museums, and galleries. • Indoor Entertainment – racing centers, bingo halls, water parks, and amusement parks. • Fitness and Recreation Centers – pools, physical activity centers, dance and yoga studios, martial arts studios, and gymnastics centers. No group fitness classes, group training, team practices or games. Centers can be open for individual time, exercise, or training only. Instructors can use facilities to broadcast virtual fitness classes, but in-person group classes will be permitted. • Casinos – slot machines only, no table games. Liquor sales must cease by 10 PM. • Retail – grocery stores, pharmacies, clothing stores, computer and tech stores, hardware stores, automotive stores, farmers markets approved by Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, and outdoor seasonal markets (providing that public health measures are in place). • Restaurants, bars, pubs, and cafes – A maximum of 6 people per table, and they must be from the same household. No movement between tables is permitted. Only seated eating or drinking is allowed. No other services are permitted (bar service, entertainment, billiards, darts). Must stop serving liquor at 10 pm and close by 11 pm. If the restrictions are not followed, fines and orders will be issued. Inspections will be increased to make sure public health measures are being followed. Open by Appointment Only • Hair salons, barbershops, aesthetics, professional services, hotels and motels, hunting and fishing lodges, private 1 on 1 lessons (Music lessons, and personal training). Workplace • Masks will be mandatory for all indoor workplaces in Edmonton and Calgary medical zones. This includes employees, delivery drivers, visitors, and contractors. Exceptions are when working alone, alone in an office or cubicle, or where an appropriate barrier is in place. • Workers who can work from home are asked to do so. School • Grades 7 – 12 – Starting November 30, all students in grades 7 – 12 will move to at-home schooling. Winter break will be from December 18 - January 3, 2021. Will return to in-person schooling on January 11, 2021. Diploma exams will be optional for the rest of 2021. • Kindergarten – Grade 6 – Will remain in regular classes until Winter break, from December 18 - January 3, 2021. Will school from home from January 4 – January 8. Will return to in-person schooling on January 11, 2021. Places of Worship (Enhanced Status Regions) • Attendance will be capped at 1/3 of the building’s maximum occupancy according to the fire code. Attendees will need to wear masks and must maintain physical distancing between households. • In-person faith group meetings can continue if attendees maintain physical distance and follow public health measures.Dean LaBerge, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Grizzly Gazette
Residents in the Moodyville area are calling on the City of North Vancouver to “preserve the character of their neighbourhood” with the proposal of a new development they say is set to “cast a shadow” over their homes and lives. The public will have the chance to once again voice their concerns or support for the Cascadia Green redevelopment at 402-438 East Third Street and 341-343 St. Davids Ave. next week. After a robust discussion at the Nov. 16 general meeting, council voted to move forward with a public hearing on the developer’s application to change the land use and permitted height in the city’s official community plan and zoning bylaw, which would allow the development to go ahead. The proposed changes would give the developer permission to increase from four storeys to five storeys as well as add a commercial laneway and extra retail and office spaces to the development. The proposed 5,516.5-square-metre mixed-use development includes three separate buildings: the West building, a four-storey building along East Third Street with 82 market strata residential units, including ground-floor live-work townhouse units; the East building, a five-storey mixed-use building with 71 market strata residential units, 14 commercial retail units, office spaces and a childcare facility on Level 1, and the North building, a four-storey mixed-use building with 16 market strata residential units. In the report prepared for council, staff said they supported the OCP amendment, stating it would “increase the commercial component in the development to provide significant amenities to the Moodyville area.” Staff also highlighted the inclusion of childcare, improvements to active transportation infrastructure and intersections, and housing pilot programs were all consistent with the City’s policy framework. "The form of development has also been evaluated and considered appropriate in the site context," the report states. "On balance, the proposed application will support the continued growth of Moodyville into a more sustainable neighbourhood - environmentally, socially, and economically." Members of the surrounding community already voiced both grievances and support for the developer’s proposal at a town hall meeting in November 2019 – with more than 85 comment sheets and emails submitted after the event, with 23 expressing opposition and 62 expressing support. A virtual town hall was then hosted in July this year, to provide an update on changes to the proposal which resulted in a further 316 comments. Those in support have praised the project for offering relatively affordable housing, with a Rent-to-Own and Affordable Home Ownership Program, its pedestrian orientated design and the proposed mix of neighbourhood retail and restaurants. Residents in opposition are hoping council will make developers stick to the original plans. More residents came forward to speak against the OCP ammendments at the Nov. 16 council meeting, echoing the same key concerns about the heights, size, and shadow impacts of the three buildings. Residents in opposition fear the massive development will impact traffic, on-street parking, privacy and noise in area. The community is also worried the development would put pressure on Ridgeway Elementary, which is already at capacity. Jeff Murl, an East Fourth Street resident, said the current plan being proposed dramatically altered the “density, form and character” of the neighbourhood. Murl argued the change was not “marginal” and the new plan proposed five times the residential density and 10 times the commercial density of the OCP. “What is proposed is seeking to overwrite the hours of work and consideration of public input already encapsulated in the OCP,” he said. Murl said the neighbourhood was not “looking to be an experiment” when it came to the activation of a laneway behind their homes, suggesting the nearby TransLink bus depot site, zoned for commercial, was the better retail development option. Fellow resident Brian Charleton, who bought into the neighbourhood in January, said he was previously aware of the four-storey development before purchasing, but was astounded to find out the potential height changes could mean he’d have an almost 70-foot building towering over his home in the future. “The only time we will see direct sunlight is during the summer solstice, all other seasons of the year we will be shaded,” he said. Staff say since consultations with the community a number of changes have been made to the application, highlighting the North building has been redesigned in order to respond to the neighbouring houses along East Fourth Street, site circulation has been improved to significantly calm traffic surrounding the site, and the childcare space is now located at the breezeway, away from East Fourth Street. But East Fourth resident Melissa McConchie, who has written twice to the city to voice her concerns and spoke at Monday’s meeting, said the adjustments weren’t good enough. “We’re not anti-development but this proposal is just way too big for our neighbourhood and it will have a significant negative impact on my family and the other families who live on this street,” she said. “Particularly because we’re on the south side of Fourth Street, these buildings are literally directly in my backyard – our duplex is going to disappear in a sea of buildings. “If approved, this will turn our quiet, residential street into a busy commercial zone with 30,000 square feet of commercial space along Third Street, St. Davids Avenue and our laneway.” She said the community just wanted “city council to preserve the family character of this street.” “This is a great neighbourhood and it would be a tremendous shame to see it completely overhauled when the official community plan already provides the roadmap for how to balance the need for new development with the impact on existing residents,” McConchie said. At Monday’s general meeting, the vote to move to the public hearing was carried five to two. Coun. Jessica McIlroy was happy to move forward, saying she’d like to hear more from the public and staff on the development. “We have heard concerns from members of the public about the project, but I feel that the application has gone through the necessary steps to move to a public hearing,” she said. Meanwhile, Coun. Holly Back was “quite concerned” about moving the application forward. She had similar issues with the project as the community, including a fifth storey being too high, future overcrowding at the local school, and the increased size of the development compared to the original plans. With similar concerns about the heights and size of the development, Coun. Don Bell, who had also previously opposed the project, voted against moving forward to a public hearing, agreeing with the community that the development would change the area’s character. “I think this project is too dense for that site and too massive in terms of form,” he said, mentioning he also wasn’t convinced it was the right spot to introduce a commercial laneway. “I think the project is, you know, attractive and I would have liked to have seen it kept within the OCP limits.” The virtual public hearing has been set for Nov. 30. Click here to register and for more project details.Elisia Seeber, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, North Shore News
Wife of OPP Const. Marc Hovingh, Lianne Hovingh, spoke at his funeral Saturday and read an email from the son of a family friend. Const. Hovingh died last Thursday in a shooting that also left a civilian dead in Gore Bay, Ont., on Manitoulin Island.
The province's offer to help struggling restaurant owners during what's been a disastrous year for their bottom lines contains quite a bit of red tape — enough to leave them feeling let down and even abandoned by the Quebec government."People actually travel to eat in Montreal, that's a known fact," said Dyan Solomon, owner of three restaurants in the city, including Un po di Più. "And yet, at this moment, we are being completely forgotten."Since Oct. 1, restaurant dining rooms in red zones have been shut down, and they'll stay that way until at least Jan. 11, depriving them of vital revenue that often comes from a busy holiday season.It's the second time restaurant dining rooms in Quebec have been forced to close during the pandemic.Assistance from the province comes in the form of a loan of up to 50,000$, 80 per cent of which may not need to be repaid.Here's the problem: restaurant owners say accessing the federal government's programs was quick and painless.The provincial one? Not so much.To access Quebec's loan program, owners need to share information such as cost forecasts and budget statements, something small businesses living month-to-month may not have handy."They don't have people working in their offices, they don't have bookkeepers, they don't have time to sit at a computer for three days in a row and fill out forms that are very complicated," said Solomon.Solomon has been denied once by the province already, and she has two more requests pending."I'm a positive person. I try not to look at this from a very sinister point of view, but I'm starting to feel like there is something going on that's deep and bizarre," she said. "Because the process was made very, very complicated. It does leave you wondering if it wasn't supposed to discourage small businesses from applying."When comparing the federal programs to the provincial one, another restaurant owner referred to Quebec's process as one big, bureaucratic run-around."We are drowning right now in paperwork because we're trying to shift our money around, figure out how we're going to pay rent," said Nicole Turcotte, owner of Dinette Triple Crown. "So it just seems kind of like a cruel joke."A spokesperson for the province's Economy Ministry acknowledged CBC's request for comment Friday, but has yet to respond.Lockdown measures taking a tollThe Canadian Federation of Independent Business claims to have received many complaints from small and medium-sized business owners."It is important that the government improves its program, reduces red tape," said François Vincent, vice-president of the CFIB's Quebec branch, adding that a complex loan process hurts small businesses in particular. As for restaurants, he says many owners don't believe shutting down is justified."It was [initially] the 28-day challenge," said Vincent, in reference to the first period of red-zone restrictions this fall. "Now, it's more than 50 days. Some businesses are asking themselves why are they supposed to shut down if they didn't see any [virus] propagation in my sector."That sentiment was echoed Saturday, by a group of protesters in downtown Montreal.Many of them work in the restaurant industry and were calling on the province to allow restaurants to reopen during the holidays, considering the exception for small indoor gatherings between Dec. 24 and Dec. 27.According to Nick Pichereau, co-owner of McKibbin's Irish Pub in Vaudreuil-Dorion, holiday gatherings in restaurants would be much safer than get-togethers in private homes. "At home, once they lock the door, they will be touching, they will be hugging, they won't be wearing masks," Pichereau said.
Baby spinach sold under the brand Fresh Attitude is being recalled in New Brunswick, Quebec and Ontario due to possible salmonella contamination.The Canadian Food Inspection Agency issued a notice on Friday and says the product may have been distributed in other Atlantic provinces.The recall includes the 312-gram package with a best before date of Dec. 4, and the 142-gram package with best before dates of Dec. 4 and Dec. 5.The recall was triggered by VegPro International and is being investigated.The food inspection agency says people should check to see if they have the recalled product and throw it out or return it to the store.Food contaminated with salmonella may not look or smell spoiled but can lead to infections. Young children, pregnant women, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems are at the highest level of risk.Short-term symptoms can include fever, headache, vomiting, nausea, abdominal cramps and diarrhea, while long-term complications may include severe arthritis.There have been no reported illnesses linked to the recall.
OTTAWA — There was a strong message conveyed to cabinet ministers last week as senators grilled them on the Trudeau government's bill to expand access to medical assistance in dying.We told you so.Ministers were repeatedly reminded that when the federal government introduced its first bill in 2016 to legalize doctor-assisted death in Canada, senators warned it was unconstitutional and predicted it would be struck down by the courts. A majority of senators voted at that time to drop the central pillar of the bill: that only those whose natural death is reasonably foreseeable should be eligible for an assisted death.The government rejected the amendment and senators ultimately backed down. But, as they'd predicted, the near-death provision was subsequently struck down in a Quebec Superior Court ruling in September 2019.Now, some senators are convinced the bill introduced to bring the law into compliance with that ruling is also unconstitutional. And they're pondering how far they should go to protect the rights of Canadians seeking access to medically assisted death.All legislation must be approved by both houses of Parliament. The Senate can defeat a bill outright, although that has rarely happened.If the Senate amends a bill, it is sent back to the House of Commons to decide whether to accept or reject the changes. The Senate can dig in its heels and insist on an amendment rejected by the Commons, potentially leading to legislation ping-ponging back and forth between chambers without resolution.In practice, however, because senators are not elected, they generally acquiesce to the will of the Commons, as they did on the 2016 assisted-dying bill.But some senators argue that a different standard applies when fundamental constitutional rights are at stake."If it's a very clear violation of a constitutional right, I think we have the right, the moral obligation even, to stick to our position and to insist (on amendment)," says Sen. Pierre Dalphond, a former Quebec Appeal Court judge who sits with the Progressive Senate Group.Dalphond is highly skeptical that the government's latest assisted-dying bill, C-7, is constitutional. He's awaiting further explanations from the government before making a final decision.Appointed in 2019, Dalphond was not in the Senate when the chamber last debated medical assistance in dying legislation. But some senators who did live through the 2016 debate seem particularly determined not to let history repeat itself.Conservative Sen. Claude Carignan believes Bill C-7 violates the guarantee of equality rights in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms by specifying that people suffering solely from mental illnesses will not be allowed access to an assisted death. He thinks the proposed two-track approach to eligibility — one set of rules for people who are near death and more restrictive rules for those who aren't — is similarly problematic."I think the government has created another bill that will have to come back … in two or three years after a court challenge," Carignan says.He believes the government is determined to proceed cautiously on assisted dying and is quite content to have the courts force its hand every step of the way. The trouble with that approach, in his view, is that it forces vulnerable people who are suffering unbearably from serious illnesses to spend time, money and energy fighting for their rights in court."That's really tough. So I think if we want to protect those people we have to insist and say, 'Look, don't go there another time.'"Fellow Conservative Sen. Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu is hopeful the Senate will propose, and the government will agree, to a compromise this time: amend the bill to remove the mental illness exclusion but give the government one or two years to come up with guidelines and safeguards before that part of the law goes into force.He said that could "be a good compromise" that would avoid a potential standoff between the Senate and the government over the issue.Dalphond is inclined to support such a compromise because it would force the government to act on the issue, rather than leave it to be discussed, possibly without resolution, during a promised parliamentary review. That review must grapple with other thorny matters, such as whether to allow advance consent for assisted death, as well as access to the procedure for mature minors."We have an opportunity maybe to straighten things up now. Why wait another one, two, three years? … People will be suffering during that period."The composition of the Senate has changed considerably over the past four years so it's not yet possible to gauge whether the current crop of senators will go as far as — or further than — senators did in 2016 to protect charter rights. There are certainly many senators who are passionately opposed on moral grounds to any expanded access to assisted death, and especially opposed to extending it to people suffering solely from mental illnesses.But senators with extensive legal backgrounds — both veterans like Carignan and more recent appointees like Dalphond — who grilled ministers last week during committee hearings on the bill all questioned its constitutionality.The most recently appointed senator, Brent Cotter, a prominent legal ethicist and former senior public servant in Saskatchewan, pointedly asked Justice Minister David Lametti whether he believes senators have a duty to ensure legislation is constitutionally valid.Lametti did not answer and Cotter concedes it's a question he's wrestling with himself."The nice thing about the Senate is, on the one hand, I do think we have to advance our viewpoint on the basis of principle and we have much more luxury to do that in a less partisan Senate," says Cotter, a member of the Independent Senators Group."And on constitutionality, it's quite possible that senators need to be firm … But at the same time I don't think we have the right to overreach because we are involved in a role where we are appointed, we are not elected by constituents and we need to be respectful of the electoral process that leads to government according to law."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 29, 2020.Joan Bryden, The Canadian Press
Squamish Public Library is set to permanently acknowledge its location on the traditional territory of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Nation through a commissioned artwork. The library is inviting artists from the nation to submit designs for a vinyl window covering for the front of the library building and the children’s area. "The intention is for the artwork of a Squamish Nation artist to publicly and permanently acknowledge the library's location on the traditional territory of the Squamish Nation,” Rachel Bergquist, public services librarian, said. "This art commission aims to celebrate the art, traditions, culture, and land of the Squamish Nation through the unique vision of the artist.” She said windows of the library offered the opportunity for a large-scale showcase of art, visible to library patrons, passersby, and the hundreds of people who use Squamish Transit. "We have so many visitors to our town and the library really is a hot spot for people looking for directions, bathrooms, and other resources," Bergquist said. "So, it’s just exciting to have the opportunity to have that public acknowledgement facing outward to both the people who are living in our community, but also those people who are passing through who might not have as much of an understanding of where they are.” The library is searching for a design that will feel like an integrated part of the building and still allow for some visibility through the windows, with the final image to be printed on cut-out frosted vinyl in monochrome white and grey. “We wanted something that still allows for us to see outside and allows the natural light in,” Bergquist said, on the choice of frosted vinyl. “We want people inside the library to be able to see the world around them. Sitting inside the library, looking out that window, you can see the Stawamus Chief.” The chosen artist will receive $5,400 for the digital file of their commissioned work and the library will arrange for the production and installation of the final product. Acknowledgement and information about the art and artist will also be installed along with the window covering. Bergquist said artworks received will be reviewed by a selection committee of library staff, the director of library services and be shown to Squamish Nation Elders for their blessing. She said the library team was excited to see the designs artists submit and were available for any questions artists may have about the project. The public art project was made possible by a Community Arts and Culture Enhancement Grant from the Squamish Arts Council and capital funding from the District of Squamish. The submission deadline is Dec. 15, 2020, at 5 p.m. The successful artist will be announced early next year, and it’s hoped the installation will occur in spring. All proposals must be submitted to Rachel Bergquist or dropped off at the library at 37907 Second Avenue, Squamish, B.C. Find the full call for artists here. Elisia Seeber, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, North Shore News
A North Vancouver not-for-profit is hoping to make the lives of hundreds of residents impacted by COVID-19 a little brighter this festive season with a surprise gift but is calling for a little bit of help to get the job done. North Van Cares has just launched its Holiday Helpers initiative and is asking the community to nominate someone they know on the North Shore who is senior, immuno-suppressed, isolated, bereaved or just needs a little extra cheer this year, to receive a special gift pack. The initiative has a lofty goal of handing out up to 300 presents to residents who are nominated. "We’re specifically looking for those folks who would never ask for help but could use a little extra joy this season," Jacquie McCarnan, the founder of the not-for-profit organization, said. "We all know people who give so much of themselves and never ask for anything. Those are the people we want to help." She said seniors and immuno-suppressed folks who may not have family around to help out this holiday season are their main target. "It’s not a charitable thing for the needy, it’s more a pick me up for people who just need a bit of joy," McCarnan said. McCarnan launched North Van Cares in March when the pandemic first hit hard as a Shopping Buddies initiative to help seniors get groceries and prescriptions during quarantine. “The reason I started North Van Cares is because my own parents, who live in Ontario, are 88 and 90, and they’ve never accessed social services and they wouldn’t even have a clue how to do that or how to get their groceries delivered,” McCarnan said. She said as she thought about her own parents, she realised there must be people on the North Shore having similar issues and set out to help them. From there the not-for-profit blossomed, and McCarnan has since created two T-Shirt campaigns, with nine North Shore neighbourhood designs, which have raised more than $2,000 to help support a variety of groups, including Backpack Buddies, North Shore Rescue, North Shore Black Bear Society, Neighbhourhood House, and the Greater Vancouver Food Bank. Profits from more recent T-shirt sales will also go towards the Holiday Helpers initiative. All the Holiday Helpers gifts will be North Vancouver-inspired and include donations from the community. The gifts will also have a handmade card created by local students – with the surplus of cards set to be delivered to residents at seniors’ homes in the area for Christmas. McCarnan said the initiative had already received a bundle of donations, so the gifts would “have really lovely surprises for so many.” “There are so many people who are going to be so lonely these holidays because they’re not going to be able to have their families come and visit like in the past,” she said. “I just thought, so what can we do to cheer them up?” For anyone who’d like to contribute, the group is still accepting donations. A donation of just $20 means they can add another nominee to the list. To nominate someone to receive a Holiday Helper’s gift pack go to Nominate a Neighbour. Nominations close Dec. 15. Elisia Seeber, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, North Shore News
ST. JOHN'S, N.L. — Newfoundland and Labrador has announced two new confirmed cases of COVID-19, including a man who recently returned to the province from the United States. Health officials say the man in his 50s in the Eastern Health region travelled on Air Canada Flight 7480 from Montreal to St. John’s on Nov. 25.The province is asking anyone who travelled on the same flight to call 811 to arrange a COVID-19 test.Meanwhile, officials say the second confirmed case is a female in the Eastern Health region in her 60s.She is a member of the same household of a previously known case, which was connected to the recent cluster in Grand Bank. Newfoundland and Labrador has 32 active cases of COVID-19.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 28, 2020. The Canadian Press
Wymbolwood Beach residents are standing up for the rights of the animal that makes up Canada's official emblem. A deputation of neighbourhood residents makes its way to council this Monday. They're upset about the removal of a beaver dam at Skylark Road and Tiny Beaches Road South. The group, being led and represented at council by Julia Aronov, has also signed a petition to stop municipal staff from removing the beaver dam that has existed in the local creek since May. "The beaver dam created a beautiful wetland area that mallard and duck families called home," says the petition, "there were many fish, frogs, dragonflies, butterflies and numerous other wildlife and important pollinating insects. "Over the last six months, not once was the beaver's dam destroyed," continues the petition. "He was able to live free without fear of human interference in his daily life. With it being close to winter, destroying the beaver's dam now puts his life at risk as he does not have enough time to create a proper home that can sustain him over the long cold winter season." Another critter-related request is being brought forward Marjorie Dubeau. She wants council to allow the re-installation of 'Tiny Animals', which are wooden boards painted with animals on, on the trail between Balm Beach Road East and Concession Road 9. The 8"x8" boards can serve as an interactive game for people and children using the trail. Among other presentations will be one made by Skelton Brumwell and Associates on a short-term accommodations (STA) management strategy. The consultants are bringing forward recommendations around zoning, noise and disturbance, licensing, complaints process and municipal and private services. A second bylaw review is being brought forward by Barriston Law representatives around business licensing regulations bylaw (BLB) related to trailer parks/campgrounds. The report submitted as part of the committee of the whole agenda states that the BLB is not permitted to restrict or regulate land use, so a zoning bylaw amendment must be made. Some of the changes to that will clarify the number of mobile homes on trailer park/campground for caretaker use, specify prohibition of other mobile homes to prevent year-round living, and allow for removal of a mobile home within six months of the lapse of a licence. Council will also consider a staff recommendation of how the municipality should handle incidents related to racism and displaying of the Confederate flag. As well, councillors will also take a look at the recommended update to the definition of construction noise and prohibited time of use of domestic tools and lawn maintenance equipment. The report being brought forward suggests that the definition of domestic tools include, but not be limited to, air compressors, electric power tools and manual hammers. Lawn maintenance equipment and snow removal machines are to be included in a separate category. The report further notes that using items in these two categories should be limited to 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. over the weekend. The meeting begins at 9 a.m. and will be streamed live via the township's YouTube channel.Mehreen Shahid, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, OrilliaMatters.com
The Kingston Frontenac Lennox & Addington (KFL&A;) Public Health Unit has released a video detailing how a single case of COVID-19 was transmitted to up to 20 local individuals over the course of the past week. “You can see now how from one individual…that there’s a cascade,” said Kingston’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Kieran Moore. “This is 15 to 20 proven COVID-positive individuals now with threats to schools, to the acute care sector, to the business sector, to home case services. All the result of one transmission.” The case of COVID-19 was originally contracted when an individual had to travel to Toronto for work, Dr. Moore said, noting that he has changed a few details in the transmission description to protect the identities of those involved. “He had to go into a closed space, crowded with individuals and close faces, and hence as a result was exposed to the virus and brought the virus home to family,” Dr. Moore said. “Many of the family members also got ill. People who came and visited the family and got ill.” One of the family members then had to go to work, and while pre-symptomatic, also went to the gym. Dr. Moore did not identify the workplace or the fitness facility in the video, however KFL&A; Public Health has indicated that whenever they suspect a risk to the general public, that information is shared. “At work as a Personal Support Worker (PSW), there was incidental transmission to a patient, and from that patient to another PSW. When the person went to the gym, there appears to have been transmission at the gym to a healthcare worker,” he said. “That healthcare worker had exposure with another… so there’s an investigation at that workplace.” Kingston Health Sciences Centre confirmed on Thursday, Nov. 26, 2020 that two employees at Kingston General Hospital had tested positive for COVID-19. “One of the members of the gym went back to a different family. Everyone in that family was infected,” Dr. Moore continued. “That family has children that were school-aged so that’s another investigation to ensure that there’s no transmission in the school setting.” Dr. Moore noted that this is just one example of several investigations underway by Public Health this week. The key lessons he said, are to be careful when travelling outside the region, to minimize the number of contacts and to go for testing if symptoms arise. “Tremendous thanks to the community. We still continue to have a very high testing rate. We can’t do our work unless the community comes forward if they have symptoms to get tested, so that’s a big thanks. Our local lab is working very well, and our assessment centre,” he added. Dr. Moore noted that anyone accepting visitors into their home from the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) should feel free to screen them for COVID-19 symptoms. The latest information on signs and symptoms of COVID-19 can be found at COVID-19.ontario.ca. “The safest thing is not to travel,” he said. “Stay within your household setting, be very careful about the ‘Cs’ — crowded spaces and close faces.”Samantha Butler-Hassan, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, kingstonist.com
A year after Canadian Forces soldiers helped clear snow in the great snowfall of January 2020, the military may be called to domestic duty again in Newfoundland and Labrador to help distribute COVID-19 vaccine. Premier Andrew Furey says he not only welcomes it, he’s already been in touch to make it happen. “We know how important a role our friends in the military played early this year during Snowmageddon,” he said during Friday’s virtual COVID-19 briefing in St. John’s, “so we’re very happy to continue to welcome their efforts in helping us get through the next phase in this pandemic.” That phase may start within the next few weeks, but Furey admitted the delivery of vaccine to Canada will be gradual. According to some quick math, he said the province may receive up to 50,000 doses by March 2020. Those will go to vulnerable groups such as elderly and Indigenous groups, as well as health-care workers on the front lines. The province saw four new confirmed cases Friday, all between the ages of 40 and 70. Three of them have not been linked to another case yet, but the chief medical officer of health said that’s not a major concern. “It’s still very early in the investigation, so it doesn’t mean we don’t know the source,” Dr. Janice Fitzgerald said. “It just means that we’re starting the investigation.” The province now has 31 active cases. Fitzgerald said the current influx of cases still doesn’t surprise her, but the next four to six weeks could be a tipping point. “This has the potential for a perfect storm as the threat of COVID and Christmas collide,” she said. “But we know so much more than we did seven months ago. We have the tools to prevent COVID from taking hold in our province.” Added Health Minister Dr. John Haggie: “We have said before, and will probably end up saying it again, that we will see cases from time to time. The important thing is that these are identified, contained and traced.” Fitzgerald says her office has been flooded with questions about what partners and children of rotational workers can or can’t do under current policies. So she offered some rules, which only apply if the worker is asymptomatic and has not returned from outside Canada or a workplace with an outbreak. A partner: • can go to work at any time if a worker is asymptomatic; • can work in a personal care home, as long as personal protective equipment is worn; • should wear a mask if around other people (that includes teaching); • should wear a mask when in another house with extended friends or family. However, she said the rules for children have not changed. “The reason that we did not include children in this policy change is that we do not want to be further stigmatized any more than they sometimes already are,” she said. “And let me be very clear in saying stigmatization should not be happening. It is completely unacceptable and, to be honest, it is heartbreaking for me to hear.” She said parents should act if they witness any form of bullying going on. “Ask your child to imagine themselves in the classmate’s position and how sad and worried they must be feeling. Teach them the golden rule, to treat others as you want to be treated.” She advised parents to make sure they’re setting a good example. “Your children see when you’re afraid, and little ears are everywhere. If you voice concerns about a neighbour or another parent who recently travelled, your child will pick up on that.”Peter Jackson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Telegram
LONDON — The British government appointed a vaccines minister on Saturday as it prepares to inoculate millions of people against the coronavirus, potentially starting within days.Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Conservative lawmaker Nadhim Zahawi will oversee the country’s biggest vaccine program in decades.The U.K. medicines regulator is currently assessing two vaccines — one developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, the other by Oxford University and AstraZeneca — to see if they are safe and effective. The Guardian newspaper reported that hospitals have been told they could receive the first doses of the Pfizer shot the week of Dec. 7, if it receives approval.The U.K. says frontline health care workers and nursing home residents will be the first to be vaccinated, followed by older people, starting with those over age 80.Britain has ordered 40 million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, enough for 20 million people, and 100 million doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.In all, the U.K. government has agreed to purchase up to 355 million doses of vaccine from seven different producers, as it prepares to vaccinate as many of the country’s 67 million people as possible.Decisions about which, if any, vaccines to authorize will be made by the independent Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency.Pfizer and BioNTech say their vaccine is 95% effective, according to preliminary data. It must be stored at ultra-cold temperatures of around minus 70 degrees Celsius (minus 94 Fahrenheit).The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine can be stored at conventional refrigerator temperatures, and is also cheaper than its main rivals. But some scientists have questioned gaps in its reported results.Oxford and AstraZeneca reported this week that their vaccine appeared to be 62% effective in people who received two doses, and 90% effective when volunteers were given a half dose followed by a full dose. They said the half dose was administered because of a manufacturing error, and they plan a new clinical trial to investigate the most effective dosing regimen.The British government hopes a combination of vaccines and mass testing will end the need for restrictions on business and everyday life it imposed to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Britain has had Europe’s deadliest COVID-19 outbreak, with more than 57,000 confirmed virus-related deaths.The prime minister said this week that officials hope to inoculate “the vast majority of the people who need the most protection by Easter.” But he warned that “we must first navigate a hard winter” of restrictions.A four-week national lockdown in England is due to end Wednesday, and will be replaced by three-tiered system of regional measures that restrict business activity, travel and socializing. The vast majority of the country is being put into the upper two tiers.The restrictions have sparked protests, with police arresting scores of people at an anti-lockdown demonstration in London on Saturday.Several bottles and smoke bombs were thrown as anti-mask and anti-vaccine demonstrators scuffled with officers in the city's West End shopping district. The Metropolitan Police force said 155 people were arrested.Johnson also faces opposition to the measures from dozens of his own Conservative Party’s lawmakers, who say the economic damage outweighs the public health benefits.Bur Cabinet minister Michael Gove said the restrictions were “grimly” necessary to avoid the health system being overwhelmed this winter.Writing in The Times of London, Gove said there are currently 16,000 coronavirus patients in British hospitals, not far below the April peak of 20,000. A rise in infections would mean coronavirus patients would “displace all but emergency cases. And then even those.," he said.“If, however, we can keep the level of infection stable or, even better, falling, and hold out through January and February, then we can be confident that vaccination will pull the plug on the problem,” Gove wrote.Jill Lawless, The Associated Press
FREDERICTON — New Brunswick is reporting four new cases of COVID-19 as case numbers continue to mount in Atlantic Canada. Health officials say all four of the cases announced Saturday are in the Fredericton region, with three of those infected between the ages of 20 and 29 and one under the age of 19. All four of the latest patients are self-isolating, and health officials are investigating how they contracted the novel coronavirus. The most recent cases bring the total number of active diagnoses in New Brunswick to 111. The province pulled out of the Atlantic bubble on Friday amid rising COVID-19 cases across the region. All visitors to New Brunswick – including from the Atlantic region – now must register before entering the province and isolate for 14 days upon arrival. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 28, 2020. The Canadian Press Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version said the number of active cases in New Brunswick totaled 118. In fact, the number is 111.
P.E.I. has its first confirmed case of COVID-19 in a school, Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison announced Saturday.The male student goes to Charlottetown Rural High School. It is one of two cases announced. The other case is a male between the ages of 10 and 19 who is not a student on P.E.I. He flew to P.E.I. on Thursday on Air Canada Flight 7462 from Toronto.The cases are unrelated, Morrison said. Both people have mild symptoms and are isolating at home. Close contacts have been notified and will be tested.The testing clinics in Charlottetown and Slemon Park will be open until 8 p.m. Saturday, Morrison said. A temporary clinic has been set up Stratford Town Hall and will be open until 8 p.m.Morrison said there are two exposure sites: Wendy's restaurant on University Avenue in Charlottetown on Wednesday and Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., and Needs Convenience Store on St. Peters Road on Thursday from 9:30-11 p.m.Travelled on school busThe student travelled to school by bus on Thursday. The buses are No. 3 and 23 to school, and 23 home from school. All staff at the school are being asked to get tested.The student also plays hockey with the Sherwood Midget A Central Team 2. Teams that were in close contact with the positive case have been contacted and have temporarily suspended activities.Morrison said more information will be shared as the contact tracing and testing continues.> I can appreciate that this news is concerning and overwhelming for students, parents and our school community. — Dr. Heather Morrison"I can appreciate that this news is concerning and overwhelming for students, parents and our school community," she said. "This is also a time for all of us, as parents, teachers and community leaders to work together to support our children students, staff and each other."Premier Dennis King said it is too early to make any decisions on school closures next week. But he did address the younger generation specifically at the briefing on Saturday."I know very much that you are a social group and I know this virus has forced you to change many of your habits, change how you interact and who you interact with, and I know that that is maddening and it is frustrating and it feels as if you're being cheated of many of the things that make being a young Islander special," he said."It's been hard on all of you. But you have been amazing through all this.… I just need to continue to ask you and all Islanders to dig just a little bit deeper."Testing encouragedKing said he is proud of young Islanders, but reminded them they are not immune and urged them to get tested if they experience symptoms. "It's OK for you to miss a day at school or a practice or a game or a social event."P.E.I. has three new cases in the last four days. Before Saturday, the last case was announced Wednesday, along with three possible exposure sites.On Thursday, the province said all contact tracing to date had come back negative.P.E.I. has opted out of the Atlantic bubble until at least Dec. 7, meaning anyone who travels to and from the province must self-isolate for 14 days.P.E.I. has seen a total of 72 cases, with no deaths and no hospitalizations. Four cases are active.More from CBC P.E.I.
Midland's Homelessness Action Committee is definitely taking baby steps toward understanding the problem before tackling the solutions. The committee met Thursday for the first time since being formed and approved by council. Of the three councillors appointed to the committee, only one showed up. "I want to continue to be a part of the solution to help the homeless around town," said Coun. Beth Prost, adding she wished councillors Bill Gordon and Carole McGinn, both of whom are very vocal about the issue, had shown up to better shed light on the situation. In their absence, Prost had to take on the task of presenting council's understanding of homelessness in the area when questioned by the elected chair, Michelle Bilek, national organizer with Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness. Prost said she couldn't speak to how knowledgeable everyone on council was about the situation, but said she does know everyone believes it's a huge problem "We don't know how to fix it. That's why we've formed this committee and involved members that have the ability to fix it," she said. "We have a lot of homelessness and a lot of mental health issues. As far as I know, people are housed in motels/hotels during COVID. It's a Band-Aid situation. There's a lot of bad blood in the community. There are a lot of people that feel they're not being heard and helped." Bilek, who lives in Mississauga, has experienced homelessness experience and also works with Peel Alliance to End Homelessness. "I have a pretty good understanding of the struggles and the inability to navigate a system that is fuelled toward managing homelessness instead of solving it," she said. "I hope I can learn more about your community and work with council and all of you to drive change and bring best practices into your community to getting folks housed instead of just managing homelessness." Prost also indicated that she is aware that there are people living in temporary accommodation known as 'tent cities.' "It's not healthy because of their own actions and the cold weather," she said. "There's a big crack in our system and we can't fix everybody, but I think we need a better system created so these people have somewhere to go." Kevin Halligan, a Midland resident, who has lived in Shelter Now for six months, said he doesn't know much about the current situation but would like to learn and offer any help he can. "I work in Midland as a security guard at the Guest House," he said. "I see a lot of homeless people coming and going and it's upsetting. Everything I know (about homelessness) is anecdotal and pretty amateur. "There are limits on the amount of time people can spend in the town shelter and as far as I can see they have a hard time securing accommodation when they're asked to leave, so they often have to leave the area." Unclear on how the Midland shelter operates, Bilek turned to Sonia Ladouceur, executive director of Shelter Now, a non-profit that provides individualized programming for people experiencing homelessness. Ladouceur said she didn't know much about how the shelter operated and suggested it be added as an action item for a committee member to work on and bring back information to the next meeting, which will be held on Thursday, Jan. 28. As for her own organization, she said, "We are trying to implement what we call a coordinated access system. We would like to be able to identify everybody who is experiencing homelessness." Margaret Hamelin, a Midland resident and community member on the committee, volunteered to gather the information from the Guest House to share with other members next year. The committee will meet every fourth Thursday of the month.Mehreen Shahid, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, OrilliaMatters.com