ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The Trump administration on Wednesday effectively killed a contentious proposed mine in Alaska, a gold and copper prospect once envisioned to be nearly as deep as the Grand Canyon and could produce enough waste to fill an NFL stadium nearly 3,900 times — all near the headwaters of the world’s largest sockeye salmon fishery.The Army Corps of Engineers “concluded that the proposed project is contrary to the public interest” and denied a permit to build the Pebble Mine under both the Clean Water Act and the Rivers and Harbors Act, the agency said in a statement.The rejection was a surprise. It's at odds with President Donald Trump’s efforts to encourage energy development in Alaska, including opening up part of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling, and other moves nationwide to roll back environmental protections that would benefit oil and gas and other industries.The Corps of Engineers also seemed to signal just a few months ago that after almost two decades of political wrangling, Pebble Mine was on a fast track to approval, a reversal from what many had expected under the Obama administration.But unlike drilling elsewhere in Alaska, the mine proposed for the southwestern Bristol Bay region could have negatively affected the state's billion-dollar fishing industry. Conservationists and even Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., sounded the alarm on the project before the administration changed course again.The CEO of the Pebble Limited Partnership, the mine’s developers, said he was dismayed by the decision, especially after the corps had indicated in an environmental impact statement in July that the mine and fishery could coexist.“One of the real tragedies of this decision is the loss of economic opportunities for people living in the area,” CEO John Shively said in a statement. The environmental review “clearly describes those benefits, and now a politically driven decision has taken away the hope that many had for a better life. This is also a lost opportunity for the state’s future economy.”He said they are considering their next steps, which could include an appeal of the corps’ decision.“Today Bristol Bay’s residents and fishermen celebrate the news that Pebble’s permit has been denied; tomorrow we get back to work,” said Katherine Carscallen, executive director of the group Commercial Fishermen for Bristol Bay.The group wants Congress to pass laws protecting the region. “We’ve learned the hard way over the last decade that Pebble is not truly dead until protections are finalized,” Carscallen said.In July, the Corps of Engineers released an environmental review that the mine developer saw as laying the groundwork for key federal approvals. The review said that under normal operations, Pebble Mine “would not be expected to have a measurable effect on fish numbers and result in long-term changes to the health of the commercial fisheries in Bristol Bay.”However, in August, the corps said it had determined that discharges at the mine site would cause “unavoidable adverse impacts to aquatic resources” and laid out required steps to reduce those effects.Canada-based Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd., which owns Pebble Limited Partnership, said it had submitted a mitigation plan on Nov. 16.Even if the corps had approved the project, there was still no guarantee it would have been built. It would have needed state approval, and President-elect Joe Biden has expressed opposition to the project.Critics saw Pebble Mine as getting a lifeline under the Trump administration. Last year, the Environmental Protection Agency withdrew restrictions on development that were proposed — but never finalized — under the Obama administration and said it planned to work with the corps to address concerns.However, Trump’s eldest son was among those who voiced opposition earlier this year. After senior Trump campaign adviser Nick Ayers tweeted in August that he hoped the president would direct the EPA to block Pebble Mine, Trump Jr. responded: “As a sportsman who has spent plenty of time in the area I agree 100%. The headwaters of Bristol Bay and the surrounding fishery are too unique and fragile to take any chances with.”The president later said he would “listen to both sides.”“The credit for this victory belongs not to any politician but to Alaskans and Bristol Bay’s Indigenous peoples, as well as to hunters, anglers and wildlife enthusiasts from all across the country who spoke out in opposition to this dangerous and ill-conceived project," said Adam Kolton, executive director of the Alaska Wilderness League.Alaska’s two Republican U.S. senators, who support oil and gas development and mining, hailed the rejection of the Pebble Mine permit. Sen. Lisa Murkowski said the decision affirmed her position that it’s the wrong mine in the wrong place.“It will help ensure the continued protection of an irreplaceable resource — Bristol Bay’s world-class salmon fishery,” she said.Sen. Dan Sullivan said he would remain an advocate for good-paying jobs derived from resource development.“However, given the special nature of the Bristol Bay watershed and the fisheries and subsistence resources downstream, Pebble had to meet a high bar so that we do not trade one resource for another,” he said. “Pebble did not meet that bar.”___Associated Press journalist Becky Bohrer in Juneau contributed to this report.Mark Thiessen, The Associated Press
From learning Inuktitut to appreciating jingle dresses, these videos are a must-watch.
When Treyton Middleton found out who was suspected of shooting his stepfather in the street outside their home on Saint John's lower west side, he looked him up on Facebook. On Wednesday afternoon, the jury heard that Middleton, now 19, sent a message to the man that night, threatening to round up some friends and kill him. In fact, when Const. Connor Bodechon arrived at 321 Duke St. West to take photos about an hour after the shooting, Justin Breau's Facebook profile is on the computer screen photographed in Middleton's bedroom. Breau, 37, is on trial for second-degree murder in the death of 42-year-old Mark Shatford. He is accused of shooting Shatford at about 4:25 a.m. on Nov. 17, 2019. Despite numerous surgeries at the Saint John Regional Hospital, Shatford died on Dec. 18. During testimony on Wednesday, Middleton said he awoke to banging and yelling in the early morning hours of Nov. 17, 2019. He peeked out of his bedroom and saw two masked men moving through the second-floor apartment where he lived with Shatford, his mother, three siblings, and his sister's boyfriend. Middleton said he followed the men down the stairs and managed to grab one of them at the front door. He said he threw the man to the ground outside and started punching him. As he continued to fight with the man, he saw his mother and Shatford pass by, heading to a vehicle parked on the street. Middleton said he continued to fight with the man until he heard a gunshot. As he turned, he said, he saw Shatford fall to the ground. He immediately went to Shatford's side. He testified that the man with the gun then pointed it at him and his mother and told them to shut up. Middleton said he tried to grab a large wrench that Shatford had dropped, but his mother wouldn't let him take it. As the vehicle pulled away, Middleton said, he threw the wrench at it but missed. What became of the wrench before police seized it in January remains unclear.Middleton and his mother, Melissa Daley, both testified they don't know how the wrench got back inside the apartment. But pictures taken by Bodechon, who arrived at the scene at 5:50 a.m., appear to show the item on top of the fridge. Bodechon took several pictures inside the home, including the one that show's the computer screen in Middleton's bedroom. "I did that on my own," Middleton said of the Facebook search. "I just wanted to see him."It was under cross-examination by defence lawyer Brian Munro that Middleton was asked about sending a Facebook message to Breau not long after the shooting. Middleton admitted sending a message that he was going to round up some people and kill Breau. He was also asked about his actions immediately after the shooting. Middleton said he went to a "buddy's" place but the person wasn't at home. He was repeatedly asked to name the "buddy" but he refused each time. "I'm not answering it," he insisted, before the jury was led out of the courtroom. After a short time — and some discussion in the absence of the jury and Middleton — the jury was brought back in and cross-examination resumed. Middleton was again asked to name the person and said it was his ex-girlfriend, Bella McCutcheon. He told the court that he called her "buddy" because they were not dating at the time. The trial is scheduled to resume Thursday morning.
COVID-19 outbreak at St. Martin school continues to grow. The outbreak was first declared at the elementary school in Smithville on Nov. 19. Two new cases were added on Nov. 23, bringing the total to four. The Niagara Catholic District School Board said there are now nine cases. The school has been in official outbreak status since last Thursday when the second case was confirmed. The first case was confirmed Nov. 13. NCDSB said since that time, the number of new cases at the school as grown to nine; however not all the cases so far have been linked to the outbreak, as their origin has not been determined. Niagara Region Public Health continues to investigate the situation. Two classes at the school will now be required to self-isolate for 14 days a result of the newly reported cases. Public health said they are not recommending St. Martin close at this time, as the virus is not widespread through the school community. Onsite testing will be available at the school on Thursday for staff who have not yet been tested and will be provided by public health. NCDSB said testing for staff at St. Martin is recommended, but not mandatory, while any parents of students who wish to have their children tested should do so at a an approved testing centre in Niagara.Bryan Levesque, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Grimsby Lincoln News
Une pétition circule actuellement à Sainte-Adèle pour dénoncer le nouvel aménagement des rues Labelle et Chapleau, près de l’école primaire alternative de Sainte-Adèle et de l’école Chante-Au-Vent. En juin dernier, la Ville a pris la décision de mettre une partie de la rue Chapleau à sens unique pour rendre le secteur plus sécuritaire, puisque cette rue se situe entre les deux écoles, où les enfants circulent. La rue Chapleau était préférée par les résidents du secteur pour se rendre au village, alors que la rue Labelle est en pente et périlleuse selon certains. Elle croise aussi la rue Rolland qui est très achalandée, ce qui peut être dangereux en cas de dérapage. Maintenant, c’est leur seule option. Mme France Marchand réside à Sainte-Adèle depuis quelques années et est l’instigatrice de la pétition qui a récolté plus d’une trentaine de signatures. Elle l’a déposée lors de la séance du conseil du mois d’octobre. « Tout le monde prenait la rue Chapleau pour joindre la rue Saint-Jean qui a un dénivelé beaucoup plus égal. Je disais même à mes filles : ‘’ Pas question que vous preniez la rue Labelle pour sortir, elle est trop dangereuse ! ‘’ Maintenant qu’elle est bloquée, je me sens prisonnière. Je ne peux plus sortir de chez moi l’hiver. Il y a même une dame qui a fait remiser son auto parce qu’elle ne voulait pas prendre le risque de sortir cet hiver, prendre la côte et déraper », ajoute-t-elle. La sécurité des élèves en priorité La mairesse, Nadine Brière, affirme avoir fait un suivi avec les résidents pour évaluer les solutions. Selon elle, il serait dangereux pour la sécurité des enfants d’enlever le sens unique puisque cela augmenterait l’achalandage des véhicules. « Nous avons reculé les affiches de sens unique pour que les résidents aient accès plus facilement à leur maison, mais nous n’allons pas remettre la rue à deux sens. Nous avons dans nos priorités la sécurité des élèves et nous ne voulons pas qu’il y ait des accidents. Nous avons évalué la possibilité de mettre un panneau d’arrêt sur la rue Rolland (à la hauteur de la rue Labelle), mais ce ne sera pas possible. Il y a plusieurs autres rues à Sainte-Adèle qui ont un dénivelé comme la rue Labelle », explique Mme Brière.Marie-Catherine Goudreau, Initiative de journalisme local, Journal Accès
Government and election officials frequently call on shredding companies to dispose of personal and sensitive documents that are no longer needed.But in a suburban county of Atlanta this week, those routine waste removal appointments were twisted into yet another election misinformation story when social media users falsely claimed shredding trucks were destroying ballots and “evidence of voter fraud.”The unfounded allegations continue to spread online as Georgia officials carry out a machine recount of ballots after certified results showed Joe Biden had a 12,670-vote lead over President Donald Trump. Trump requested the recount, which follows a statewide hand tally.L. Lin Wood Jr., a conservative attorney who had unsuccessfully sued in an attempt to block the certification of Georgia’s election results, on Tuesday shared a series of videos taken by a Georgia resident. They showed a shredding truck outside the West Park Government Center in Marietta.“Evidence of voter fraud is being destroyed in Cobb County, GA TODAY,” Wood captioned one of his tweets. “Many people, powerful & not so powerful, are going to PRISON.”The real explanation for the truck’s visit was far less scandalous: a routine shredding of county tax documents.The county tax commissioner’s office, which shares a building with the county’s main elections office, has documents shredded twice a month, according to Ross Cavitt, communications director for the county.“No items from Cobb Elections were involved,” Cavitt told The Associated Press in an email.The false claims built on similar rumours from last week, when the same Georgia resident captured photos and video of a truck destroying election-related waste outside the Jim R. Miller Event Center in Marietta and claimed it was evidence of “ballots being shredded.”After Wood amplified those photos and videos on Friday, Cobb County officials refuted the claim, explaining that the shredding company was summoned to destroy non-relevant election materials, as happens after all elections.“Everything of consequence, including the ballots, absentee ballot applications with signatures, and anything else used in the count or re-tally remains on file,” Janine Eveler, the county’s director of elections and voter registration, said in a statement.Some of the photos shared on Friday appeared to show a trash can with a paper labeled “ABSENTEE BALLOT” inside. But Eveler said that was an inner privacy envelope used by voters to seal absentee ballots, and had “no evidentiary value.” County officials will hold on to the actual absentee ballots, as well as the outer envelopes signed by voters, for two years.Wood did not respond to a telephone call and email seeking comment.Despite the county’s responses, Wood’s tweets with the debunked claims continued to receive massive engagement on Wednesday, collectively amassing more than 200,000 retweets. And a separate Facebook user’s post falsely claiming a shredding company was “hired by Democrats” to destroy evidence was viewed nearly 150,000 times.County officials told the AP they have not seen any evidence of fraud or anomalies in vote tabulation in the 2020 election.“People nowadays, they post stuff immediately without asking any questions and without any proper context, and it spreads like wildfire,” Cavitt said of the false claims.Jude Joffe-Block And Ali Swenson, The Associated Press
A provincial court judge in Wynyard has set Jan. 12 as the date for former music teacher Gerard Loehr to be sentenced for his three sexual assault convictions. Judge Lloyd Stang found Loehr guilty on Nov. 13 of sexual assaults committed while working as a music teacher with the now-defunct Shamrock School Division in the early to mid-1990s. The case returned briefly to court this week to set a sentencing date. The school division covered the Foam Lake area, between Wynyard and Yorkton. Six former students, all women now, accused him of sexual assault when they were teenagers, all 14 years old or younger. Loehr was in his late 20s and early 30s at the time. He previously pleaded not guilty and the charges went to trial in Wynyard over the summer. Loehr is facing multiple sex-related charges in Ontario related to his work as a music teacher in Ottawa. — with files from The Canadian PressEvan Radford, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Regina Leader-Post, The Leader-Post
MISSISSAUGA, Ont. — Cargojet Inc. says it is preparing for record levels of online shopping over the holidays as Canadians buy gifts digitally during restrictions at brick-and-mortar stores, and is taking unprecedented measures to try to keep package deliveries on time.The Mississauga-based company says it is hiring additional pilots and staff, and added a new plane to its fleet this month for the second time this year.Cargojet says it has also added flights on Friday, Saturday and Sunday to build up 20 per cent more capacity for packages, a schedule that will continue during the peak shopping season from Black Friday to early January.The air cargo company says that when stores closed for the initial COVID-19 lockdowns in March and April, cargo volumes easily surpassed levels that are usually only seen at the peak of the year — the holiday season. Now, Cargojet is predicting that volume this winter will top the spring, given that thousands of small businesses have opened online stores, and there is another wave of uncertainty around regional lockdowns. Statistics Canada also said this week that online sales are set to hit a record this year in Canada, topping 2019’s tally of $305 billion, after e-commerce doubled from February to May.“This peak is expected to be like none other,” Cargojet said on Wednesday.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 25, 2020.Companies in this story: (TSX: CJT) The Canadian Press
EDMONTON — Two emergency room doctors say Alberta's increased public health restrictions don't go far enough to deal with rising COVID-19 cases that are already straining hospitals in the province. The government brought in tighter restrictions Tuesday that include a ban on gatherings in people's homes and changes for schools, churches, restaurants and retailers. Dr. Shazma Mithani, who works at two Edmonton hospitals, said she saw first-hand why more restrictions were necessary a day earlier when she arrived for her shift at the Royal Alexandra Hospital. "I saw the most COVID patients ever," Mithani said Wednesday in an interview with The Canadian Press. "I didn't even see that many patients that shift because we were so bed-blocked." Some patients, she explained, were taking up emergency department beds because there weren't enough staffed beds available in the ward they needed. Mithani said she saw about 10 or 11 patients that night. "Three of them were confirmed COVID and three were presumed COVID ... and one of them I actually had to put a breathing tube in and send to the ICU," she said. "It's here. It's just the beginning." Alberta Health reported 1,265 new cases on Wednesday — the seventh consecutive day with numbers above the 1,100 mark. There were 355 patients in hospital, 71 of them in intensive care. Eight more people died, bringing that total to 500. Mithani, who's also a spokeswoman for the emergency medicine section of the Alberta Medical Association, said the rising numbers have been hitting Edmonton particularly hard. There were 175 COVID-19 patients in Edmonton hospitals, with 40 in intensive care. In Calgary, there were 121 infected patients in hospitals and 20 were in intensive care. Dr. Joe Vipond, who works at Rockyview General Hospital in Calgary, said he hasn't worked an ER shift in about a week, but noted that he's had COVID-19 patients every day in the last month. "I've had two deaths in a month," said Vipond, who added he typically only sees a few deaths a year in the emergency department. Both Vipond and Mithani said they would have liked to see stronger restrictions. "We're now at the stage that nothing short of a strong lockdown is going to help," said Vipond. "These middle measures are not going to do it, unfortunately." Mithani said the restrictions simply turn earlier recommendations into rules. The only positive step, she said, was banning indoor gatherings, which she suggested should have happened long ago. Dr. Daniel Gregson, an infectious diseases expert at the University of Calgary, agreed it was good to see recommendations on gatherings turned into actual restrictions. "The other thing we've done is moved to mandatory masking from a suggestion to a requirement," he said. "That's a good thing as well." However, Gregson said some areas have been left open to interpretation. "They've said 10 (people) for weddings and 10 for funerals, which is good to have an absolute number because people focus on what they can do," he said. "But other settings such as faith-based activities, which can be fairly widely interpreted, are not limited to that 10. "That's a concern. A lot of our problems have been in group settings where people are not using appropriate precautions ... and that really translates into transmissions in households." Mithani added that the decisions don't appear to be based on data, since contact tracing has broken down and up to 80 per cent of cases have no information about where they were contracted. "I'm really disappointed with the half measures that were put in," she said. "I, 100 per cent, understand there needs to be a balance between the economy and managing this pandemic, but we are now at a point where our health-care system is about to break and that needs to be made the priority right now. "Our economy relies on the health of Albertans." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 25, 2020. Colette Derworiz, The Canadian Press
The Salvation Army and 93.1 The Border are joining forces again this year for an event that’s a little different than what they’ve done in the past. Following the decision to hold off on their annual “Burst a Bus” program, which generally sees toys collected for the Salvation Army’s Christmas hamper program, the two organizations are going to try out a different way to ensure kids in the area get something new and exciting on Christmas morning. “Last year we had Burst A Bus, but due to the circumstances we’ve had to modify that a little bit,” said Salvation Army corps officer Arthur Heathcote. “The Border has been very inventive in coming up with 93.1 the Border Toy Drive this year. On November 28 they’ll be broadcasting all day asking children and families to come to the Salvation Army at 351 Scott Street and drop off new, unwrapped toys to us.” The 93.1 the Border Toy Drive ill run from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, November 28, allowing people in town to stop by the Salvation Army and drop off their toys for the organization to distribute. While the season corresponds with the Salvation Army’s Christmas hamper program, Heathcote stressed that the organization is encouraging people with food donations to drop them off sometime other than November 28. “Every family that applies for a hamper, we make sure that each child receives a toy for Christmas,” Heathcote explained. “On [Nov 28] it’s a toy drive: toys, toys, toys.” Heathcote said that throughout the day, the radio station will be holding a special broadcast with hosts David Hannah and Johnathan Price that will feature dignitaries from the Salvation Army, including Heathcote himself. However, the excitement of the day won’t just be limited to what;s on the radio. “On that day we have a very special guest coming to Fort Frances for the first time ever,” he said. “Sally Ann will be making an appearance all day at the Salvation Army. She’ll be waving at families and children from our front plate glass windows as well. She was so excited that the Border was on top of this that she cleared her schedule and is going to come down to Fort Frances and spend the day with us.” The COVID-19 pandemic has forced changes in almost every event that’s usually held in Fort Frances over the course of the year. If a function hasn’t been outright cancelled, like the Fort Frances Bass Tournament, then organizers have had to think outside and around the box to come up with a pandemic-friendly way to hold their events. The 93.1 the Border Toy Drive is functionally similar to the usual Burst a Bus in that it is collecting toys for those in need, and Heathcote said that both events are all about coming together for a good cause. “Every year this community comes through with toys,” Heathcote said. “It’s about letting people know that the community is here for them. It’s about support, and more than anything at this stage of the game, we need to know we’ve got each others back. That’s what the toys do. It’s one thing to be confronted with Christmas looming and wondering how you’re going to get toys for the kids, and just to know that the community cared enough that they came together and made sure that there were toys available for their children makes all the difference in the world.”Ken Kellar, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Fort Frances Times
COVID-19. En date du 23 novembre, 3492 cas actifs de COVID-19 (2847 élèves et 645 membres du personnel) étaient rapportés dans 1023 établissements préscolaires, primaires et secondaires du Québec. Par conséquent, un total de 1139 classes sont fermées. Les élèves concernés suivent donc leurs cours à distance. Le nombre total d’écoles comptant un ou des cas positifs rapportés avec diagnostic depuis le début de l’année scolaire est de 1999. Notons que l’on peut consulter la liste des écoles concernées sur cette page publiée par le gouvernement du Québec : https://cdn-contenu.quebec.ca/cdn-contenu/adm/min/education/publications-adm/covid-19/reseauScolaire_listeEcoles.pdf?1600113647 Stéphane Lévesque, Initiative de journalisme local, L'Hebdo Journal
Harris says volunteer efforts at DC Central Kitchen help to feed people and fight loneliness. (Nov. 25)
OTTAWA, Ill. — Canada's watchdog for crime victims is calling on Parliament to overhaul their bill of rights, saying the five-year-old legislation has fallen "far short" of delivering on its promise. Rules meant to amplify victims' voices in the justice system have failed to make them heard following "sporadic" implementation of a regime that needs more teeth, clarity and public awareness, federal ombudsman Heidi Illingworth said in a report Wednesday. "The situation of victims of crime has not fundamentally changed since it was passed," she wrote. The previous Conservative government introduced what it called a victims' bill of rights in 2015 that allowed crime victims to get information about offenders in the corrections system and have their views considered when decisions are made about those perpetrators. Illingworth said the legislation should be amended to provide a legal remedy for violations, such as allowing victims to formally challenge authorities on whether their rights have been honoured. "There was no right to appeal, there was no right to seek damages," Illingworth said Wednesday in a phone interview. The 2015 statute was an important firs step but "really more of a statement of principles," she added. "It did not give people real rights, because in law you have to be able to have a remedy for rights to be real." The justice system demands heavy lifting from people subjected to a criminal act, including those involved in the 2.2 million crimes reported to police each year. "They are expected to report the crime, provide evidence, bear witness, be cross-examined on the stand and relive their traumas over and over again as they tell their truths — yet we provide them with little assistance to do so," Illingworth wrote. "Unsupported victims are less likely to come forward. When victims are not treated as full partners in the criminal justice system, the system is less effective." Victims should automatically receive information about their rights, rather than having to ask for it, she said. Up to two-thirds of crime victims do not go to the police, said Irvin Waller, professor emeritus in criminology at the University of Ottawa. Other reforms demanded in the report include a simplified complaint process filtered entirely through the ombudsman's office rather than a patchwork of agencies, more clearly defined obligations for criminal justice officials and more funding to train front-line workers in treating victims with "courtesy, compassion and respect." The ombudsman is also calling for better data collection by courts, prisons and law enforcement agencies to understand police interactions with targeted populations, including Indigenous women and LGBTQ individuals. "We know that there’s distrust, and this is especially concerning among communities of colour, racialized communities, Indigenous people. And how survivors of sexual violence are cheated by the justice system has been very, very problematic," Illingworth said. Waller pointed to England and France as models on training guidelines for officials and restitution for victims, respectively. He said up to half of French criminal cases result in restitution payments, access to which should be guaranteed, according to the ombudsman's report. In contrast to Canada, France also grants victims legal "standing" to appeal to courts for review when their rights are not upheld. "We are a long, long way behind these countries," Waller said. Illingworth's report further recommends amendments that commit to core funding for community-based restorative justice programs as well as a list of officials who have direct responsibilities to crime victims. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 25, 2020. Christopher Reynolds, The Canadian Press
P.E.I.'s Department of Justice and Public Safety says it is dealing with a spike in people seeking approval to come to the Island.Officials say since the closure of the Atlantic bubble and the chief public health officer's recommendations to not travel during the holidays, the province has seen five-times the amount of inquiries.Justice and Public Safety Minister Bloyce Thompson says the province was bracing for a spike following the announcement P.E.I. was pulling out of the Atlantic bubble because of increased COVID-19 cases in neighbouring New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. He says people need to be patient, adding the province will get through the backlog within the next couple of days. "We've been doing this for almost eight months now and as every announcement comes there's an influx of inquiries, applications," said Thompson. "So to address this announcement Monday we've brought in six new staff to deal with some of the backlog."On Monday, P.E.I.'s chief public health officer announced P.E.I. was pulling out of the Atlantic bubble and said Islanders should only travel outside of P.E.I. for essential purposes or work. 'They haven't received an approval or denial'Anyone who needs to travel to the Island, including residents of Atlantic Canada, now has to apply for pre-travel approval.Island residents do not require pre-travel approval, but will be required to self-isolate 14 days once they return to the Island. Frustrations over the growing wait times spilled over onto the floor of the P.E.I. Legislature Wednesday. Cory Deagle, PC MLA for Montague-Kilmuir, said he had been contacted by a couple that had been waiting 168 hours for a response, much longer than the 72-hour response time the province tries to achieve.The couple is moving from B.C. to his district, and the couple's parents — who have also reached out to him — are his constituents.Deagle said they first sent their letter to the province on Nov. 18, long before P.E.I. pulled out of the Atlantic bubble. He said the couple was asked for more information on Nov. 21. "It's now Nov. 25 and they haven't received an approval or denial letter and they are travelling across Canada," said Deagle.'What they are going to do when they get here?'"They received approval to enter New Brunswick but they don't know about P.E.I. What they are going to do when they get here?"Thompson said he would get the name of the family and follow up immediately to ensure they have an answer before they get to the Confederation Bridge.Deagle said the family is growing increasingly frustrated."These two individuals are travelling across Canada, they said today they tried calling, no one's answering the phone, they tried leaving voicemail but the inbox is filled."Thompson did admit wait times have increased significantly because of the closure of the Atlantic bubble."We will be back to 72 hours very soon," Thompson said from the floor of the legislature. 'I hate making politics out of something so important'But Deagle fired back saying, "You shouldn't have to contact your MLA to find out if you can get approval to come to P.E.I."Thompson then took a shot at his PC colleague."This is a very important question and I hate making politics out of something so important," said Thompson. "I sat beside this member in caucus, I wish he had brought this to me then."In an interview after question period, Deagle said he makes no apologies for raising the concerns of his constituents."The premier has said that we can ask tough questions, even though it's our own party, we can ask tough questions that are important to our constituents and Islanders," Deagle told CBC News."We've never been told one way or another to not do something, if we feel it's important and we want to ask it, we can ask the questions."More from CBC P.E.I.
Dr. Juveria Zaheer eagerly volunteered to work the sleepless overnight shift on the Centre of Addiction and Mental Health’s new emergency department. Other clinicians, she said, requested the same. “There’s just so much excitement happening,” said Zaheer, a psychiatrist at CAMH. This excitement is driven by the long-awaited unveiling of two new buildings at Canada’s leading mental health hospital: a new emergency department and a state-of-the-art recovery complex at CAMH’s Queen Street West campus, both featuring central themes of bright, open space and natural light. The new spaces are part of an ongoing, ambitious redevelopment plan that began in 2006 to integrate CAMH into one campus and build a vision for what the future of mental health care could look like, CAMH’s CEO Catherine Zahn said. The goal, Zahn said, is for CAMH to move away from an institutional environment by building a bridge with the community that surrounds it, lending to “the acceptance of mental illness, not as something that’s behind walls anymore,” but something that is central to the overall health of the community. “There’s no health without mental health,” Zahn said. Over a two-day period starting Wednesday, more than 200 patients were to be transported from the old building on College Street to the new buildings: The Crisis and Critical Care Building, which includes the new emergency department, and the McCain Complex Care and Recovery Building. It’s a challenging feat due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but one that proved to be timely due to the new buildings’ abundance of space. “Moving into these new spaces is actually extremely desirable for us during the pandemic,” Zahn said. The new emergency department is double the size of the old one and features more spacious patient rooms, each equipped with a private bathroom, which will limit the sharing of common spaces. As of Tuesday, CAMH had two patients and seven staff who tested positive for COVID-19, according to the hospital’s website. Zahn said patients will be transported to the new building with the help of moving companies who are following rigorous sanitation procedures to ensure a safe move. The move includes COVID-19 positive patients, where Toronto Public Health was also consulted. In addition to more physical space, the Crisis and Critical Care Building features an outdoor terrace for patients to access fresh air, and more rooms for group therapy sessions and other recovery programs. It also offers more space dedicated to triaging patients. “In our current space, I’ll walk into the (emergency) department and there will be people in rooms, but there will also be people in stretchers and people sitting in seats and sleeping there,” Zaheer said. “Having more rooms will make a world of a difference.” There are 235 new patient beds in total between the new Critical Care Building and the Complex Care and Recovery Building. This includes an increase of Psychiatric Intensive Care Units from nine to 41 — more than quadrupling the previous capacity of beds that were fully at use by both CAMH and patients from other area hospitals. Alongside housing patient beds, the McCain Complex Care and Recovery Building will also serve as a unique, transformative hub for patients to learn life skills needed on their path to recovery. Part of this is a “therapeutic neighbourhood,” which holds a laundry room, an exercise room and an industrial-sized kitchen affiliated with George Brown College, where patients can take classes and learn how to perform daily tasks. The building is also home to music and art studios for various forms of art therapy. Erin Ledrew, a recreation therapist at CAMH, said the McCain complex was created with the help of existing literature on what mental health care can and should look like, and will serve as “a central programming space” for patients. “I think that will create a real sense of community,” Ledrew said. The McCain building also features a library that is open to the public and tied to CAMH’s larger vision of connecting the hospital with its surrounding community. Both buildings also feature artwork from previous CAMH patients, some of whom are Indigenous and channelled their culture and recovery journey into their art. For now, patients will be engaged in physically distant in-person tours of the new space, while virtual ones will be offered simultaneously. Ledrew said the building is large enough to offer some programming in a safe and distant manner as well. “Right now, we have a hybrid model that will allow us to still offer all of that programming, while maintaining not mixing (units) and continuing to follow all the protocols during COVID,” Ledrew said. The hope is that the new buildings will offer better care for patients and their families while providing the space and facilities to guide them in life beyond their time at CAMH, Ledrew said. “We’re really trying to offer spaces for people to feel safe to explore the strategies that work for them in their recovery,” she said. Nadine Yousif is a Toronto-based reporter for the Star covering mental health. Her reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Follow her on Twitter: @nadineyousif_ Nadine Yousif, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Toronto Star
OTTAWA — The federal Liberals will take a small step toward a plan to create a national daycare system, with sources telling The Canadian Press next week's economic update will have money for a new federal child-care body.Sources with knowledge of the government's plans, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to detail private conversations about yet-to-be-announced measures, said the Liberals will unveil funding for the child-care secretariat next week.There are also expectations the Liberals will add emergency money through "safe restart" deals with provinces to help child-care centres struggling financially amid the COVID-19 pandemic.All of it will tease what the Liberals have privately described as major new spending being considered behind closed doors, one of the sources said.A spokeswoman for Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland said her office won't comment on what will or won't be in the fiscal update.The Liberals have promised a long-term commitment to create a national child-care system, seeing it as a key way to help women whose working lives have suffered during the pandemic, in what has been dubbed a "she-cession."A report released Wednesday estimated that between 363,000 and 726,000 women in the "prime parenting age cohort" between 25 and 50 could join the labour force over a 10-year period as a national child-care program is developed. Among them would be up to 250,000 women moving into full-time jobs.Report author and economist Jim Stanford said the lack of accessible and affordable daycare is a key reason why fewer women in their 30s and 40s are in the workforce than men the same age.There is also the potential for tens of thousands of construction jobs as new centres and spaces are built, along with an employment boost in the child-care sector as it expands."Economists have agreed for years that child care has huge economic benefits, but we just can't seem to get the ball over the line in Canada," said Stanford, director of the Centre for Future Work. "I finally think the ducks are being lined up here and we can actually make this happen," he added."This really is the moment when we can finally move forward, and it is a moment when Canada's economy needs every job that it can get."A recent report by RBC economists Dawn Desjardins and Carrie Freestone calculated that 20,600 women fell out of the labour force between February and October even as 68,000 more men joined it. The situation was most acute for women ages 20 to 24, and 35 to 39; one of the reasons the duo cited for the sharper drop was the pandemic-caused closure of child-care centres. Child-care centres, which often run on tight margins and rely on steep parental fees, couldn't keep up with costs during spring shutdowns and shed about 35,000 jobs between February and July. Some centres have closed for good.The worry, Stanford said, is job losses become permanent and more centres close without financial assistance from governments. NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said there is a need now for $2 billion to keep the country from losing any more daycare spaces. He called on the Liberals to prove they are serious about national child care."There is a desperate need for child care. Families need it, and women particularly need it," he said Wednesday."We need to see a willingness to do the hard work, but to put in the financial commitment as a starting point."When pressed for details by Singh during question period in the House of Commons on Wednesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau responded by noting the Liberals committed to creating a "Canada-wide early learning and child-care system" in the throne speech.Scotiabank economists Jean-Francois Perrault and Rebekah Young suggested in September that creating nationally what Quebec has provincially would cost $11.5 billion a year. Their analysis also suggested federal coffers could reap billions in new tax revenue as women in particular would get into the workforce in greater numbers, offsetting some of the overall cost. Stanford's estimate is for a boost to government revenues of between $18 billion and $30 billion per year, split between federal and provincial governments. "This literally is a social program that pays for itself," Stanford said."The economic benefits of giving this first-class care to early-age children, and getting their mothers in the labour market working to their full potential, are enormous."Getting those outcomes will rest on how the Liberals design the system, which will need to be done with provinces who have responsibility for daycare delivery.Kate Bezanson, associate dean of social sciences at Brock University, said the pandemic has been an opening for greater federal-provincial collaboration. Child care may be next, she said, to ensure women aren't left behind in a recovery.“We have in the pandemic seen a kind of collaboration across jurisdictions in a way we haven’t seen outside of wartime," said Bezanson, who also has expertise in constitutional law. "We should be doing that. We have to be doing that."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 25, 2020.Jordan Press, The Canadian Press
Regina, Shellbrook – Sports have not been shut down entirely, but games have, and practices are now reduced to eight people. All but the youngest of children are now expected to wear masks when appropriate. Those were some of the latest restrictions the Saskatchewan Ministry of Health announced another round of new restrictions to combat the spread of COVID-19. Those restrictions in many ways do not go as far as some of what has been implemented in Alberta and Manitoba in recent days and weeks. Saskatchewan’s new cases on Nov. 25 came in at 164, but the 7-day average is now 214.3, a relatively levelling off over the last four days. While Manitoba has entered another lockdown, on Nov. 24, Alberta announced that it would soon be closing junior high and high schools, reverting to online learning as of next week, and extending the winter break for all students until Jan. 11. Saskatchewan will be doing neither, as it stands. Premier Scott Moe, who is personally self-isolating after a possible exposure to COVID-19 at a Prince Albert restaurant 10 days earlier, made the announcement via videoconference on Nov. 25. He was joined by Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Saqib Shahab, who was in the Legislature in Regina. The new Saskatchewan measures come into effect at 12:01 a.m., Friday, Nov. 27. Moe said, “Our goal is to find the right balance, on behalf of the people in this province to protect Saskatchewan people from the spread of COVID-19, while at the same time, protecting the Saskatchewan people's jobs and their livelihoods. Our goal is to not shut down businesses, services and activities that ultimately put people out of work, and at times, may threaten their mental health. Our goal is to find ways for those things to operate and to do so safely, so that people can continue to participate in athletics and continue to work, while at the same time, continue to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our communities.” Public gatherings Moe said, “All indoor public gatherings will be limited to 30 people. This includes all types of social gatherings, including weddings, funerals, as well as worship services. No food or drink maybe present or served at these events, and capacity will also be restricted to 30 people at all casinos bingo halls, arenas live performance venues and movie theatres, as well as any other facilities that currently have the capacity of up to 150 people.” He noted that private gatherings in your home are still limited to five people. Restaurants, bars and night clubs will not be shut down, but they will have to space out indoor clientele even more, with limits of four people per table, and three metres between tables unless they have barriers installed, in which case two metres is sufficient. Sports All team/group sports, activities, games, competitions, recitals, practices, etc. are suspended, according to the release on Nov. 25. This includes amateur and recreational leagues for all age groups. Examples include hockey, curling, racquet sports, cheerleading, dance practices in group setting, etc. “All team sports are going to be paused until Dec. 17,” Moe said. “However, athletes under the age of 18 may continue practicing or training in groups of eight or fewer.” Masks strengthened Mask use is now required for all indoor fitness activities, except for swimming. Individual and group fitness activities can continue, but with three metre spacings and limits of eight people in a group. “All students, employees and visitors in schools and daycares are now required to wear a mask, except when they need to eat or drink. And mask use is now required in all common areas of businesses and workplaces,” Moe said. Children ages zero to two years-old are exempt from wearing masks. Children ages 3-12 should wear a mask if they are able to. All employees and visitors in all common areas in businesses and workplaces, even in those areas which the public does not have access (e.g. construction sites, manufacturing facilities). “Large retail stores, must limit their capacity to 50 per cent or four square meters per person, whichever is less,” Moe said. Sports led to school, work infections Shahab explained the reasoning behind the sports restrictions, saying that the nature of play always has a risk of transmission, even if you follow all the guidelines. “But over the last two to three weeks, they were becoming so frequent, and many cases, they were resulting in, for example, in children's sports, multiple cases then being imported into schools. For adult sports, multiple cases and became imported into workplaces. So, it was really important to have that pause for three weeks to slow down transmission in that setting.” Once cases come down, Shahab said the guidelines may be adjusted again. Moe explained how these particular restrictions were chosen, saying, “It would be great if we could just pinpoint or two venues or one or two activities where this spread is occurring, and just restrict those zones. But the reality is, it’s COVID, it’s in our communities, and it has been spreading in a number of different places, both inside and outside of our homes, and that's why we need to enact a number of different measures to get our numbers under control.” As for why the restrictions didn’t go further, such as a complete shutdown, lockdown or circuit breaker, similar to what was done in the spring, Moe said, “We do understand this virus better than we did back in the spring. We do know more about how it is spread. And we know what we need to do to reduce the spread of this virus, to keep ourselves and keep others safe. We need to just slow down a little bit. “The overwhelming majority of Saskatchewan businesses and their employees in this province are operating safely, day to day. So, it would be terribly unfair, and it would have a huge negative impact, to close down all those businesses and put thousands of Saskatchewan people out of work. Yes, that is what we did, temporarily, this past spring. We took a very sweeping, broad brush approach to shutting down businesses, services and activities in our communities,” he said, adding, “But we don’t believe the solution is another wide-scale lockdown. Moe said, “Putting thousands of Saskatchewan people out of work, devastating small businesses and families, ending their livelihoods in many cases; a much better approach for us is to find the right balance; to find ways for us to operate and to do so even more safely than we have. By ensuring, yes, we are following all the existing guidelines that are in place. And by implementing some additional protocols so businesses and services can remain open and can do so safely.” Moe said, “We’re not prepared to look at a shutdown of our economy, in our communities, at this point in time, and we don’t believe it’s imminent that we will have to do a shutdown, here in the province. But, in saying that, if we’re not able to bend the growth and rate of transmission of this disease, obviously, that is a conversation that may come in the weeks and months ahead.” He said the actions taken thus far, and those added today, will hopefully not only flatten the rate of increase of infections, but bend that curve back down. He thanked the business, athletic and worship organizations that took part in recent consultations with regards to these measures. Both Moe and Shahab held out some hope that some restrictions might be lifted in time for the upcoming holidays. One possibility might be some allowable visits to long-term care homes, with multiple levels of personal protective equipment, but we’re not at that point in time, yet. The Ministry of Health is now posting a listing of outbreaks in long-term care homes on the Government of Saskatchewan website. Brian Zinchuk, Local Journalism Initiative reporter, Estevan Mercury
It's a demonstrably difficult task to find a comic screen partner worthy of standing opposite Melissa McCarthy, so you have to appreciate “Superintelligence" for throwing in the towel.In it, McCarthy plays Carol Peters, a former Yahoo executive who's chosen, purely for her extreme averageness, by a newly liberated, megalomaniacal artificial intelligence that presents her with a three-day test to prove humanity isn't worth destroying. It's the kind of set-up that would have once presided over by the devil or some demigod, but now that role goes to Alexa.That means that for much of “Superintelligence," a new comedy streaming Thursday on HBO Max, McCarthy is walking around on her own, her only foil a disembodied voice (James Corden's) or an occasional talking screen. That's not as good as McCarthy with either of her best recent on-screen partners — Sandra Bullock ("The Heat"), Richard E. Grant ("Can You Forgive Me?") — but it's not bad. It means McCarthy has the movie if not completely to herself (Corden's cheery warmth still comes through, and Bobby Cannavale winningly plays her love interest) then nearly so. Even though the innocuous “Superintelligence” is on the bland side, it remains hard not to enjoy two hours with McCarthy.The more telling companion of McCarthy's in “Superintelligence” is her husband, the director Ben Falcone. This is their fourth film together with Falcone behind the camera, and it may be the best of the bunch. That, however, isn't saying much considering their run of “Life of the Party" (2018), “The Boss” (2016) and “Tammy” (2014). Those films have their moments, and they're always shot-through with affection for their leading lady. But they're easily the weaker, more forgettable side of McCarthy's filmography.“Superintelligence," written by Steve Mallory, is the most high-concept of their films together, and it's ultimately an excuse to bring apocalyptic stakes to a rom-com plot. Faced with the possible end of the world, Carol resolves to reconnect with an old flame (Cannavale). Their chemistry together is easy and relaxed, if not especially funny. The cast overall feels wasted, especially the supporting performances of Brian Tyree Henry (as a computer scientist), Jean Smart (the president) and Sam Richardson — the talented “Veep” performer who I sincerely hope soon gets his own movie. Like a lot of studio comedies of late, it feels like there's space here for jokes that mostly never quite got filled in.The real romance in “Superintelligence” might not be between any of the characters, but McCarthy and Falcone (who also makes his typical cameo). Their collaborations are uneven but warmhearted, and their movies together feel like an almost sweet sacrifice of quality for the sake of family.“Superintelligence,” a Warner Bros. release, is rated PG by the Motion Picture Association of America for some suggestive material, language and thematic elements. Running time: 105 minutes. Two and a half stars out of four.___Follow AP Film Writer Jake Coyle on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/jakecoyleAPJake Coyle, The Associated Press
Two men accused of human trafficking appeared in Saskatoon Provincial Court Nov. 24 and Nov. 25. There is now a court ordered ban on publication of the two men’s names. At their first appearance the court placed a publication ban on the identity of the woman who was allegedly being held captive by the two men. One man is a 23-year-old from Kindersley and the other is a 30-year-old from Saskatoon. The Kindersley man is charged with trafficking persons, material benefit from trafficking, two counts of uttering threats, theft under $5,000, breach of a release order, and breach of a conditional sentence order. He was denied bail. The Saskatoon man is charged with trafficking persons, uttering threats, and two counts of breach of a release order. He was granted bail during a show cause hearing in October. The Saskatoon Police Guns and Gang Unit arrested the two men in the 1500 block of Rayner Avenue on July 2. The Guns and Gang Unit became involved after the Saskatoon Police received a report June 29 that a 23-year-old woman was being held at a residence over a period of time. The Saskatoon VICE Human Trafficking Unit assisted police and warrants were issued for the two men. The Saskatoon man is scheduled to appear in Saskatoon Provincial court Dec. 10 to enter a plea and elect how he wants to be tried. The Kindersley man is scheduled to appear in Saskatoon Provincial Court Dec. 9 to enter a plea. email@example.com Lisa Joy, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter / Battlefords News-OptimistLisa Joy, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Battlefords Regional News-Optimist
Liberal MLA Robert Henderson said he wants to know why the health minister isn't doing more to reduce the wait-list for a family doctor on P.E.I. In the legislature Wednesday, Henderson said the number of doctors being licensed in Canada is on the rise. But on P.E.I., there are still thousands waiting for a family doctor."We're just watching the patient registry, it's like a ticker it just keeps going up and up and up," Henderson said."So why is the minister of health struggling to recruit doctors?"The province recently contracted the Medical Society of P.E.I. to begin recruiting more physicians.The plan is to pay P.E.I. doctors to recruit other doctors to come practise on the Island, and it was negotiated over the last several months.The Health Department and doctors will form a physician recruitment task force. Doctors will consult with the government's existing recruitment team to come up with a marketing strategy, and create a "more efficient and positive" experience for doctors considering moving to P.E.I.P.E.I., like many jurisdictions in Canada, has been experiencing a shortage of doctors and other health-care professionals, and there is currently a waiting list of 14,530 patients on the patient registry seeking a family doctor on P.E.I., according to the province's website. "Islanders without access to a family physician, per capita it's actually the worst record in Atlantic Canada. Even this doctors-recruiting-doctors initiative will need to recruit a doctor to recruit other doctors, which takes a doctor away from providing health-care services to Islanders," Henderson said."When will Islanders expect to see the patient registry begin to decline?"Minister hopes to announce more doctors soonHealth Minister James Aylward said the wait-list does fluctuate, and the province is trying to improve the situation."It is a challenge to recruit doctors here on P.E.I., but you know we made a great announcement the other day for Tignish, which was lacking a family doctor for far too long," Aylward said.Last week, the heath minister announced Dr. Peter Entwistle will begin his practice at the Tignish Health Centre in February. He said the province also has letters of offer out to four other doctors that it's waiting to be signed and sent back.Aylward said government has also introduced other initiatives to help provide care to Islanders."We've done the virtual program with Maple, it has capacity for 10,000 patients to be connected to that service and so far the individuals that have accessed that service have had glowing, glowing reports," Aylward said.Aylward said the province still wants Islanders to have access to a doctor in person. He hopes to be able to announce some new doctors coming to the Island in the near future. More P.E.I. news