WASHINGTON — A former Trump campaign associate who was the target of a secret surveillance warrant during the FBI's Russia investigation says in a federal lawsuit that he was the victim of “unlawful spying.”The suit from Carter Page alleges a series of omissions and errors made by FBI and Justice Department officials in applications they submitted in 2016 and 2017 to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to eavesdrop on Page on suspicion that he was an agent of Russia.“Since not a single proven fact ever established complicity with Russia involving Dr. Page, there never was probable cause to seek or obtain the FISA Warrants targeting him on this basis,” the lawsuit says, using the acronym for the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.Page has received death and kidnapping threats and has suffered economic losses and “irreparable damage to his reputation," according to the lawsuit, which was filed Friday in federal court in Washington.The lawsuit to some extent echoes the conclusions of a Justice Department inspector general report that found significant problems with the four applications. Former FBI and Justice Department leaders who were involved in signing off on the surveillance have since testified they wouldn't have done so had they known of the extent of the issues, and the FBI has initiated more than 40 corrective steps aimed at improving the accuracy and thoroughness of applications.In the complaint, Page accuses the FBI of relying excessively for information on Christopher Steele, a former British spy whose research during the 2016 campaign into Donald Trump's ties to Russia was funded by Democrats. It says the FBI failed to tell the surveillance court that Steele's primary source had contradicted information that Steele had attributed to him, or that Page had denied to an informant for the FBI having “any involvement with Russia on behalf of the Trump campaign.”The complaint also accuses the FBI of having misled the surveillance court about his relationship with the CIA, for whom Page had been an operational contact between 2008 and 2013. A former FBI lawyer, Kevin Clinesmith, pleaded guilty in August to altering an email to say that Page had not been a source for the CIA.The suit names as defendants the FBI and the Justice Department, as well as former FBI Director James Comey, former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and additional officials who were involved in the Russia investigation.Despite the problems with the warrant applications, the scrutiny of Page, who was never charged with any wrongdoing, accounted for only a narrow portion of the overall investigation into ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.The same inspector general report that detailed problems in the applications also concluded that the FBI had a legitimate basis for opening the Russia investigation, and did not find evidence that any of its actions were influenced by political bias.____Follow Eric Tucker on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/etuckerAPEric Tucker, The Associated Press
Residents of a west-end Toronto neighbourhood are trying to prevent a historic cottage in the area from getting torn down.The home, located at 98 Superior Ave., is one of three historic stone cottages in the Mimico area that was recently recognized by city staff as holding "cultural heritage value."Staff have recommended that the home be added to the city's Heritage Register, but that decision has not yet been approved.Arwen Hunter, who lives across the street from the home, said residents found out there was a plan to tear the house down in August.Since then, neighbours who want to preserve the building have rallied against the demolition in the hopes that the city would preserve it for its historical significance.The home, which has a heritage status application, also has a demolition application. The city had issued a permit for demolition on Nov. 25.Hunter told CBC Toronto the home should be discussed by the city before the city decides to demolish it."We'd like it to at least get to the historic board and then see if it really should be preserved or not," Hunter said. The home is believed to have been from the early 1900s and is considered unique for its architectural build and stone cladding.Early Saturday morning, two residents of the area were seen sitting on the porch of the home in effort to prevent the home from being torn down. "The house, we believe, would have been torn down if it wasn't for their commitment," Hunter said.Neighbours were hoping the demolition would wait until Monday when the city will vote on whether or not the home will be added to its Heritage Register.She said the home owner told neighbours that it wouldn't be demolished on Saturday."The owner of the house said it wouldn't be demolished today but has put up equipment and has dropped a bin and has refused to talk to the neighbours," she said.Charlotte Sheasby-Coleman, who has lived in the area for 34 years, said she was concerned when she saw a fence erected around the home.Sheasby-Coleman said she checked with the city on Friday night and she was told crews were able to begin work at 6 a.m. Then she showed up shortly after around 7 a.m. when crews arrived.She said the owner called the police and alleged she was trespassing when she refused to leave the property."I want to know nothing is going to happen here until at least Wednesday," Sheasby-Coleman said."It's people who don't care who come into our neighbourhood and want to destroy it for money."The city has not yet responded to a request for comment.
For the first time, people can vote in this year’s Festival of Trees online during the COVID-19 pandemic. Each year, festive trees are decorated by local merchants and organizations and displayed inside Steveston’s Gulf of Georgia Cannery National Historic Site. In addition to the new online voting option, the cannery will also be open for in-person viewing and voting, starting Tuesday (Dec. 1) with additional protocols in place. There will be 15 trees decorated this year, says marketing and visitor services manager Mimi Horita. She adds that, as expected, some groups have cancelled due to different circumstances during this unusual year. “We did not hold a ‘decorating party’ this year, and scheduled the decorating times over a one-week period to ensure safe distancing,” Horita says of the changes to this year’s planning. While advance tickets are not required, capacity will be reduced to allow for physical distancing. In keeping with new public health restrictions, all visitors must wear a face mask while visiting the display. Staff and volunteers at the cannery also wear masks at all times. The Festival of Trees will be open daily from Dec. 1 to 23 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. On Dec. 24 it will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Regular admission is $11.90 for adults and $10.20 for seniors, with youth under age 17 and society members able to enter for free. Admission will be by donation on Sundays: Dec. 6, 13 and 20. For more information, call 604-664-9009.Hannah Scott, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Richmond Sentinel
The end is in sight for thousands of Islanders who have had to adjust their daily commute to and from Charlottetown because of the Capital Drive construction project.The project, which began in early November, was expected to take up to five weeks to complete.Traffic has been detoured, causing congestion in residential areas such as Lewis Point.The closure was needed to replace twin stormwater culverts under Capital Drive.Scott Adams, the city's manager of public works, estimates up to 25,000 vehicles would normally travel along Capital Drive every day.He said if everything continues to go well, it should reopen to traffic by the end of next week. "We've been very fortunate this year, the weather has been excellent for this time of year," he said."So Monday we're looking at concrete curb going in and then, the following two to three days, asphalt. So we're hoping by the end of next week, Capital Drive will be reopened to through traffic."More from CBC P.E.I.
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
MONTREAL — Atikamekw leaders in Quebec say they are disappointed by the provincial government's refusal to adopt measures aimed at improving Indigenous health care this week over a reference to systemic racism in the recommendations. The Atikamekw of Manawan Council and the Council of the Atikamekw Nation released the set of measures dubbed Joyce's Principle in a document in mid-November, urging Ottawa and Quebec City to adopt them. They're named for Joyce Echaquan, a 37-year-old Atikamekw mother of seven who died in hospital in Joliette, Que., in September after filming staff using derogatory slurs against her.Video of her ordeal circulated widely on social media and prompted widespread indignation across the country.In the wake of her death, her family and the community called for a series of measures to assure that Indigenous people have equitable access to health services without discrimination.But the Coalition Avenir Quebec government balked at a motion presented this week by the Opposition Liberals asking the government to accept the principles as a whole, citing the reference to systemic racism."We don't have the same definition of systemic racism, that's the only part of it we put aside," Indigenous Affairs Minister Ian Lafreniere told reporters Friday.Sipi Flamand, vice-chief of Manawan, an Atikamekw community about 250 kilometres north of Montreal, said it's clear systemic racism is taboo because the government doesn't want to offend its electorate. "Astonished, two months after tragic death of Joyce Echaquan, we see there hasn't been other actions taken by the government and Atikamekw nation created Joyce's Principal to collaborate and see changes in the health care system," Flamand said on Saturday.The stubborn refusal to acknowledge the repercussions and the very existence of systemic racism against Indigenous people despite evidence means the government response to the issue will fall short, he added.Flamand acknowledged Quebec's recent $15 million investment to increase cultural security among First Nations and Inuit communities and ensure they are provided with care that respects their identity.The numerous recommendations in Joyce's Principle include that the federal government revise its financing model for health and social services working with Indigenous groups, and that Quebec set up an ombudsperson for Indigenous health."But Joyce's Principle is the essential element to obtain cultural security," Flamand said, adding the campaign to see it adopted will continue.In a statement, Manawan Chief Paul-Emile Ottawa lamented that despite providing the Quebec government with simple and concrete solutions to help build trust with the health system, "the government's responses remind us that the political will is not there."The Chief of the Assembly of First Nations Quebec-Labrador, Ghislain Picard, called on the parties to quickly implement the measure as is."What is at stake here, on a human, social and political level, must leave no room for partisan pettiness," he said in a statement.Lafreniere said his government is committed to adopting the measures in the document and fighting racism, but noted the Legault government's opposition to the term systemic racism should come as no surprise.The Quebec government has refused to acknowledge systemic racism in the province and Lafreniere said the position was made clear to the Atikamekw during discussions in recent weeks."We agree to disagree on the systemic approach, us and the First Nations," Lafreniere said. "They might be disappointed, but they can't be surprised."Gregory Kelley, the LIberal indigenous affairs critic who brought the motion, said he hopes the Quebec government changes its tune, saying the Atikamekw aren't asking for Joyce's Principle to be only accepted in part."Systemic racism is written throughout the document, that the government has to accept it, they have to realize it exists in their institutions," Kelley said Saturday. "They are the ones who experience this, they are not asking us to say this possibility could exist, they are saying to us it happens to us, we're telling you." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 28, 2020.Sidhartha Banerjee, The Canadian Press
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.
Nunavut reported five more cases of COVID-19 in Arviat on Saturday, pushing the total number of active cases in the territory's hardest-hit community to 106.All individuals with active cases are in isolation and doing well, with mild to moderate symptoms, according to a news release. Contact tracing is ongoing and public health staff are monitoring everyone in isolation."We are on the right path to break transmission and contain the spread of COVID-19 in the territory," Dr. Michael Patterson, Nunavut's chief public health officer, said in a Saturday release announcing the new cases."Every day, individual decisions to follow public health measures are essential to our success and I urge Nunavummiut to remain committed in their efforts." In total, the territory has 131 active cases across three communities. Aside from Arviat, there are 13 cases in Whale Cove and 12 cases in Rankin Inlet.As of November 27, Arviat had 481 negative COVID-19 tests. There have been 196 negative test results in Rankin Inlet and 89 in Whale Cove. Monitoring continues in Sanikiluaq, where two people with COVID-19 have since recovered. In total, 33 people with COVID-19 have recovered in Nunavut. Anyone who has reason to believe they have been exposed to COVID-19 is advised to call the COVID hotline at 1-888-975-8601 between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. ET, or notify their community health centre right away, and immediately isolate at home for 14 days.
KENAI, Alaska — A petition by the state of Alaska to delist three species of Arctic ringed seals as threatened has been rejected. The decision by the National Marine Fisheries Service on Wednesday was based on “threats associated with ongoing and projected changes in sea ice and on-ice snow depths stemming from climate change within the foreseeable future." The federal agency also said that the state of Alaska's petition did not present new information that had not been previously examined. The National Marine Fisheries Service listed three subspecies of ringed seal — the Arctic, Okhotsk and Baltic — as threatened in 2012. The federal agency had listed them as threatened because warming temperatures and diminished sea ice had an adverse effect on the population and overall health of the species, the Peninsula Clarion reported. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game criticized the decision to reject the petition in a statement on Wednesday. “Ongoing research, along with traditional knowledge compiled since the listing shows no evidence of declines in ringed seal populations,” Alaska Department of Fish and Game Commissioner Doug Vincent-Lang said in the statement. “The seals are handling current environmental changes well. ESA listings should be reserved for imperiled species. It is difficult to believe that a species with a healthy, robust population that numbers in the millions can be threatened with extinction.” The state agency also said that keeping the seals' listing “will have significant consequences for the economy of the State and subsistence opportunities for Alaska Natives with little to no conservation benefit to ringed seals.” The Associated Press
OTTAWA — Canadian egg and poultry farmers who've lost domestic market share due to two recent free trade agreements will soon have access to $691 million in federal cash, Canada's agriculture minister announced Saturday.Marie-Claude Bibeau shared details of the long-awaited funds in a virtual news conference. "Today we position our young farmers for growth and success tomorrow," she said. The money follows a previously announced $1.75 billion for the dairy sector linked to free trade deals with Europe and countries on the Pacific Rim, one that came into effect in 2017 and the other in 2018.The dairy sector funds were to flow over eight years, and the first $345 million payment was sent out last year.But on Saturday Bibeau announced a schedule for the remaining payments that will see the money flow over three years beginning with $468 million in 2020-21, $469 million in 2021-22 and $468 million in 2022-23.Bibeau said the most recently announced funds for dairy farmers amount to an average farm of 80 cows receiving a direct payment of $38,000 in the first year. David Wiens, vice president of the Dairy Farmers of Canada, said the money will help farms make investments for the future. "I think particularly for the younger farmers who have really struggled since these agreements have been ratified, they can actually now see opportunities, how they can continue to make those investments on the farm so that they can continue on," he said. The payments are based on formulas devised by working groups formed after the trade deals were signed, Bibeau said.What that means is the money doesn't reflect precisely how much the various industries have lost due to the deals, she said. "It's really our best understanding of the future impact and to give them the possibility to adapt." The dairy, poultry and egg industries in Canada are regulated to ensure a steady income for farmers in that sector, but Canada's foreign trade partners argue the system is protectionist.That made the trio of industries a sticking point in three separate trade deals Canada has concluded in recent years — the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement with Europe (CETA), the Comprehensive and Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (CPTPP) and the Canada — United States — Mexico Trade Agreement (CUSMA). Trading partners wanted more Canadian access for their products, which Canadian suppliers said would result in massive hits to their bottom line. The Liberals' March 2019 budget had in turn allocated up to $3.9 billion in compensation for the trade concessions made on supply management.The funds announced by Bibeau Saturday are linked only to CETA and the CPTPP, but she said the latest arrangement does use up the balance of the previously announced funds. "I think it's a great day because there's something on the table," said Benoit Fontaine, chair of Chicken Farmers of Canada, who said he had yet to see the details of the funding arrangement for his sector.The money announced Saturday comes ahead of Monday's reveal of the fiscal fortunes of the Liberal government, in the form of an economic update that is expected to lay out how much has been spent on emergency COVID-19 related programming but also outline some new spending in other areas. Bibeau said the funds announced Saturday will be reflected there, but said the amount to be set aside as compensation for the Canada-U.S.-Mexico deal is still being decided. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 28, 2020.Stephanie Levitz, The Canadian Press
CHARLOTTETOWN — Prince Edward Island has announced two new cases of COVID-19, doubling the number of active cases in the province. Health officials say the patients are both males between the ages of 10 and 19.One of the new patients is a student at Charlottetown Rural High School, who travelled on bus numbers 23 and 3 on two days last week. He also plays for the Sherwood Minor Hockey Midget A Central Team 2.Officials say there were also potential exposures at a Wendy’s Restaurant and a Needs Convenience Store in Charlottetown. Meanwhile, the second patient recently travelled to P.E.I. from outside of Atlantic Canada and has been self-isolating since he arrived.Health officials say he traveled to the Island on Air Canada flight AC7462 from Toronto to Charlottetown on Nov. 26\. They are advising passengers on the same flight to get tested if they have any symptoms.A spokeswoman for the Health and Wellness Department says there are four active cases in the province. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 28, 2020.The Canadian Press
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 $5,400 for the digital file of their commissioned work and the library will arrange for the production and installation of the final product. Acknowledgement and information about the art and artist will also be installed along with the window covering. Bergquist said artworks received will be reviewed by a selection committee of library staff, the director of library services and be shown to Squamish Nation Elders for their blessing. She said the library team was excited to see the designs artists submit and were available for any questions artists may have about the project. The public art project was made possible by a Community Arts and Culture Enhancement Grant from the Squamish Arts Council and capital funding from the District of Squamish. The submission deadline is Dec. 15, 2020, at 5 p.m. The successful artist will be announced early next year, and it’s hoped the installation will occur in spring. All proposals must be submitted to Rachel Bergquist or dropped off at the library at 37907 Second Avenue, Squamish, B.C. Find the full call for artists here. Elisia Seeber, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, North Shore News
The province's offer to help struggling restaurant owners during what's been a disastrous year for their bottom lines contains quite a bit of red tape — enough to leave them feeling let down and even abandoned by the Quebec government."People actually travel to eat in Montreal, that's a known fact," said Dyan Solomon, owner of three restaurants in the city, including Un po di Più. "And yet, at this moment, we are being completely forgotten."Since Oct. 1, restaurant dining rooms in red zones have been shut down, and they'll stay that way until at least Jan. 11, depriving them of vital revenue that often comes from a busy holiday season.It's the second time restaurant dining rooms in Quebec have been forced to close during the pandemic.Assistance from the province comes in the form of a loan of up to 50,000$, 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.
ALLEN PARK, Mich. — The Detroit Lions have fired general manager Bob Quinn and coach Matt Patricia, ending the franchise's attempt to replicate the success the men helped Bill Belichick achieve in New England.The Lions made the moves Saturday, surprising no one.Detroit (4-7) lost consecutive games for the third time this season, collapsing in a 41-25 loss to Houston at home on Thursday after getting shut out for the first time in 11 years in its previous game at Carolina.The setbacks dropped Patricia to 13-29-1 in two-plus seasons and Quinn's mark fell 12 games under .500 over five seasons.Quinn, who was part of the Patriots' personnel department for 16 years, was given his first shot to run an NFL front office in January 2016. He retained coach Jim Caldwell and Detroit reached the playoffs but then fired him the next season after another 9-7 record wasn't enough to earn a spot in the post-season.When Quinn let Caldwell go with a 36-28 record over four seasons and an 0-2 mark in the playoffs, he said the move was made to find a coach to take the team to the next level.Patricia did that, but it wasn't the level he or Quinn needed to keep their jobs.Detroit was 6-10 under Patricia in 2018, won just three games last season and was barely better this year.Patricia was on Belichick's staff for 14 seasons, including six years as defensive co-ordinator, before Quinn gave him his first shot to be a head coach at any level. Patricia was incessantly peppered with questions about his job being in jeopardy, dating to the 2019 season, and refused to engage in the conversation with reporters.“We know that we’ve got a lot of work to do," Patricia said after falling to 0-3 on Thanksgiving with the Lions. “So, that’s my focus right now."___More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFLThe Associated Press
A series of devastating typhoons in the Philippines has prompted a Calgary couple to bring more light to those affected by making and selling lantern kits and donating the funds to disaster relief.This year, the annual typhoon season in the Philippines has left thousands homeless and has created what may be a long-term humanitarian crisis.Eric Dizon and his wife, Love, had the idea of making and selling "parol kits," which is a traditional Filipino lantern shaped like the Star of Bethlehem. "We had an idea of making a parol kit, the Filipino Christmas lantern as a kit wherein people can buy it and families can make it, especially for this Christmas," he told CBC's Mike Symington."This year it's been kinda tough, we had two super typhoons, we heard it on the news, and we also have friends and family, friends here in Calgary, whose families were affected," he said.Dizon says they all need to find happiness and peace right now, so if that means using their heritage to find strength, they should do it."What better way to have family gathered together and make this star, which symbolizes hope and peace," he said.His wife, Love, says each kit has everything you'll need to make an authentic bamboo lantern and that it should take you around an hour to complete."So from wires to cardboard, we provide glue sticks to elastics … so, yeah, everything in a bag is complete with Christmas lights too," she said.So far the kits have been flying out the door.Girlie Salaido, who purchased 10 of the lanterns, says that building them takes her back to when she was a child in the Philippines."My son who basically grew up here [in Calgary] while doing it I'm sharing the stories of when I was young and so it just brings back all the fond memories from back home," she said.The couple have sold more than 200 kits at $20 each, which are available to purchase through their Facebook page.With files from Mike Symington and The Homestretch.
Another person in Saskatchewan who tested positive for COVID-19 has died.The person is in the 80-plus age group and is from the northwest zone, the province said in its Saturday COVID-19 update.The province also reported 197 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total to date in Saskatchewan to 7,888.Community transmission has been found in a number of locations, the province reported.That includes: * A recent outbreak among a teenage hockey team resulted in nine players and one coach testing positive. Multiple teams are currently self-isolating as a result. * A recent outbreak at a curling bonspiel resulted in positive cases on teams from several cities and towns across the province. * Positive cases among attendees at a recent funeral has led to the potential exposure of more than 200 people. * Seventeen nurses working in one hospital were recently required to self-isolate after being identified as close contacts to positive cases linked to sporting events and community transmission.The province said investigating and contact tracing these incidents has delayed notification of possible exposure resulting in further transmission."With significant outbreaks continuing to occur among larger gatherings and sporting events, the public is urged to follow the public health orders in place and are reminded these orders are enforceable," said the news release.Regina had the most new cases on Saturday, with 73, followed by Saskatoon, with 56 new cases.The other cases were in the far northwest (six), far northeast (four), northwest (five), north central (17), northeast (five), central west (one), central east (five), southwest (16), south central (five) and southeast (two) zones.The location of the two other new cases is pending.The seven-day average of daily new cases is 234 (19.3 new cases per 100,000 population). Of the 7,888 reported cases, 3,322 are considered active, with 4,521 people having recovered from the illness.There are now 106 people in hospital with COVID-19, including 88 people receiving in-patient care.Thirty of those patients are in Saskatoon, and 18 are in Regina. There are 19 patients receiving in-patient care in the southeast zone, nine in the northwest and seven in north central. The far northwest, northeast, central east, southwest and south central zones each have one person receiving in-patient care.Eighteen people are in intensive care, including 11 in Saskatoon and five in Regina. The north central and southwest zones each have one patient in intensive care.A total of 244 health-care workers have been infected with the virus.In the last three days, the province has recorded eight deaths. There have now been 45 deaths in total related to COVID-19 in the province. Saskatoon now has 1,108 active cases and Regina has 636 active cases.On Friday, 3,359 COVID-19 tests were processed in Saskatchewan.
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.
A nine-storey, mix-used residential and retail development in Lower Lonsdale, set to offer 75 market rental units, has been given the green light. City of North Vancouver council voted 6-1 to approve a rezoning application by Cressey Development and First Capital Realty for the redevelopment of 200 West Esplanade at Monday’s general meeting. The development will replace the old Cineplex Esplanade theatre building, which closed in April last year in light of the new Park Royal location opening. The site was desirable for a rental project as it’s close to public transit, being less than five-minute walk from the SeaBus terminal, Lonsdale Quay bus exchange and R2 Marine Drive RapidBus. The new building will have commercial retail units at ground level, above-grade parking on the second level, and 75 market rental units, eight of which will be offered at mid-market rates. Designed by Rafii Architects, the plan also boasts both indoor and outdoor amenities, including a gym and a separate lounge area indoors and planter beds, a play area, and a gazebo outdoors. The redevelopment of the site was mostly supported by surrounding residents, with the building’s height – which will reach eight storeys at the lane but due to a slope will be nine storeys facing West Esplanade – and increased traffic to the area the main concerns raised by the community at a developer’s information session on Sept. 19, 2019. At the time, about six residents opposed the development going ahead. Only two residents came forward to speak at a virtual public hearing on the development at Monday’s general meeting. One resident, who lives in the Time building at 175 West First St., raised the same concerns about the building’s height, increased cars in the area and obstructed views. While another resident spoke on behalf of the owners of 224 West Esplanade, the building immediately west of the new development, stating they had worries about the impact construction of the new development could have on their existing building, including the building’s foundation being undermined, the building settlements that might occur and historic water incursion problems in the area. The developers responded that the height of the building was in line with the city's Official Community Plan for the site, and that a traffic impact study had already found that the future building would have a very minimal effect on traffic in the area. The report to council also highlights that the building will be "harmonious with the transition from taller developments directly across Chesterfield to the east, and lower developments to the west," also adding the design will create an "engaging frontage along West Esplanade that includes a pedestrian plaza area." The development plan only has 32 parking spaces, with two for car share, which raised a red flag for Coun. Don Bell. He decided to vote against the rezoning application, as he believed the development did not have adequate parking or storage facilities. Meanwhile, Mayor Linda Buchanan and fellow councillors were supportive of the development, with most mentioning its proximity to transit and the positive increase in rental options it will bring to the Lower Lonsdale area. “I do think this project actually fulfills many of the policy and guideline directions that the city has,” Buchanan said. “It is part of the housing action plan for us to be able to deliver rental housing and certainly mid-market housing and this project does that.” Coun. Angela Girard said it was a good location for the city to be supporting density, being on an active transportation corridor. “The Lower Lonsdale area has been developed more recently with predominantly stratified apartment units, and by fusing both market and mid-market rentals into this area, I think will greatly benefit the neighborhood by providing an alternative housing type for working professionals, for families, that may not be able to afford market condos,” she said. “In my opinion, the complex offers great indoor and outdoor amenities.” The development will also see the design and construction of a new a bike lane and sidewalk, including street lighting and landscaping, from the development site to Semisch Avenue. On top of this, a public art installation, with a value of $25,000, will be installed to jazz up the area.Elisia Seeber, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, North Shore News
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