Until the spring of 2018, this species had not been spotted since 1913.
Until the spring of 2018, this species had not been spotted since 1913.
ATLANTA — After weathering criticism for certifying President Donald Trump's narrow election loss to Democrat Joe Biden, Republican officials in Georgia are proposing additional requirements for the state's vote-by-mail process, despite no evidence of systemic fraud or irregularities. Two state Senate committees held hearings Thursday to begin a review of Georgia’s voting laws. Republicans are zeroing in on a plan to require a photo ID for ballots cast by mail. Voting rights activists and Democrats argue that the change isn't necessary and would disenfranchise voters. Biden beat Trump by just over 12,500 votes in Georgia, with Biden receiving nearly twice as many of the record number of absentee ballots as the Republican president, according to the secretary of state's office. A recount requested by Trump was wrapping up and wasn't expected to change the overall outcome. Trump, who for months has sowed unsubstantiated doubt about the integrity of mail-in votes, has also made baseless claims of widespread fraud in the presidential race in Georgia. Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and his staff have vehemently rebuffed those claims, stating unequivocally that there is no evidence of systemic errors or fraud in last month's election. Yet Raffensperger and Gov. Brian Kemp, both Republicans who have been publicly lambasted by Trump, have joined the push to require a photo ID for absentee voting. “Voters casting their ballots in person must show a photo ID, and we should consider applying that same standard to mail-in balloting,” Kemp said in remarks streamed live online. Kemp faced accusations of voter suppression during his successful 2018 run for governor against Democrat Stacey Abrams, an election he oversaw as Georgia's previous secretary of state. He vehemently denied the allegations. Kemp faces reelection — and a possible rematch against Abrams — in 2022. Raffensperger also has suggested allowing state officials to intervene in counties that have systemic problems with administering elections and broadening the ways in which challenges can be posed to votes cast by residents who don’t live where they say. The photo ID idea has support among several members of the state legislature, including Republican Senate Majority Leader Mike Dugan. “I don't think there should be different standards for the same process,” Dugan said in an interview. Republican House Speaker David Ralston has been skeptical of voting by mail, telling a local news outlet in April that increased mail voting “will be extremely devastating to Republicans and conservatives in Georgia.” Political analysts have said that typically more Democrats than Republicans use mail-in ballots. Ralston later said he was not talking about his party losing an advantage but the potential for fraud. “We must do everything in our power to ensure votes are not stolen, cast fraudulently or plagued by administrative errors,” he said in a statement this week. Deputy Secretary of State Jordan Fuchs said in an interview with The Associated Press that currently anyone who knows someone’s name, address and date of birth can request an absentee ballot on that person’s behalf. She said that while signature matches provide some security for mail-in ballots, the process should be shored up. One way to do that could be to require a person's driver's license number or a photocopy of a separate form of ID, she said. “We need to secure all avenues that we can of absentee ballots so we never have a candidate run around this state again saying the election was stolen because of absentee ballots,” she said. While Republicans seem ready to press forward with the photo ID requirement during the upcoming legislative session, Democrats and civil rights organizations are raising alarms. With no evidence of widespread fraud or other problems in the election, it doesn’t make sense to talk about measures that could ultimately prove to be barriers to voting, said Andrea Young, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia. “What is the problem that you’re trying to solve?" she asked. “The rule should be first, ‘Do no harm’ when it comes to democracy, and whenever there are more restrictions being put on a process, you run the risk of disenfranchising Georgia citizens.” Young says adding a photo ID requirement for absentee voting would be harmful because “we know that these barriers have a different impact on African American voters, on younger voters and, in this instance, on seniors who have certainly earned the right” to vote. State Sen. Jen Jordan, an Atlanta Democrat, echoed Young’s concerns, saying Republicans were offering solutions in search of a problem. “What this says to me is that they just don’t want people voting," Jordan said. “And they specifically don’t want Democrats voting, or people that don’t support their chosen candidates voting, and they’re going to try to make it as hard as possible." Democrats and voting rights groups have for years sought to decrease rejections of absentee ballots in Georgia, arguing that minorities have been disproportionately affected. Absentee ballots are sometimes rejected because signatures on the outer envelope are deemed not to match signatures in the voter registration system, or because the envelope is not signed at all. An agreement signed in March to settle a lawsuit filed by the Democratic Party spells out a standard process that must be used statewide to judge the signatures. That agreement has been the subject of much of Trump's online ire, and he has incorrectly said it “makes it impossible to check & match signatures on ballots and envelopes.” Ben Nadler And Kate Brumback, The Associated Press
The number of families seeking holiday help has increased in Cape Breton, including people who are finding themselves in need for the first time.With fundraising impacted by the pandemic, resources are spread particularly thin this year, said Maj. Corey Vincent of the Salvation Army.The Christian organization will support 900 families in Cape Breton this Christmas — an increase of about 25 per cent. "These are families that have never sought help before or assistance," said Vincent. "They're unfamiliar with Christmas assistance because they've been able to provide for their families in the past, but because of COVID and unemployment, they've just been stressed to the max." Kettle campaign down $14KThe pandemic has brought a wide range of challenges for the Salvation Army on the island. Partnering organizations have been unable to sponsor as many families this year. Another blow has been dealt to the well-known kettle campaign, which Vincent said is down by $14,000 compared to last year. "That worries me," said Vincent. "But in previous years, we've always noticed that in December a lot of people who give, they're giving more. "I'm very, very confident that the people of Cape Breton will step up to the plate." Each year, volunteers with the Every Woman's Centre in Sydney help by purchasing gifts and other items for families sponsored by the organization's adopt-a-family program.Louise Smith-MacDonald, executive director of the centre, said the extra help contributes to about half of the Christmas items purchased. "Our unknown was whether people were going to feel comfortable in going out and shopping for the family that they adopted," she said. "It worked out absolutely wonderful. People took their families, they shopped, they shopped early."Providing meals a necessityMembers of the Sydney Sunrise Rotary Club decided early that fundraising from last year would be spent on COVID relief.The club recently donated $2,500 each to the Glace Bay food bank and Loaves and Fishes in Sydney. "We did a little bit of research and for us, we felt the money was best put to help with food insecurity," said Michele McKinnon, the club's public relations chair. "That's where we saw our money could perhaps benefit most people."McKinnon expects next year giving will be impacted by the pandemic's cancellation of two major fundraisers for the club. Cape Breton poverty visibleVincent, who has been ministering with the Salvation Army for almost 20 years across Canada, said poverty is more visible in Cape Breton compared to other areas where he's lived."Every day we're seeing clients coming through our facility that are basically living on the edge," he said."We see a lot of working-class poor where they're getting hours, they're working — but it's just not enough to meet the demands."MORE TOP STORIES
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — A mysterious object temporarily orbiting Earth is a 54-year-old rocket, not an asteroid after all, astronomers confirmed Wednesday. Observations by a telescope in Hawaii clinched its identity, according to NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. The object was classified as an asteroid after its discovery in September. But NASA’s top asteroid expert, Paul Chodas, quickly suspected it was the Centaur upper rocket stage from Surveyor 2, a failed 1966 moon-landing mission. Size estimates had put it in the range of the old Centaur, which was about 32 feet (10 metres) long and 10 feet (3 metres) in diameter. Chodas was proven right after a team led by the University of Arizona's Vishnu Reddy used an infrared telescope in Hawaii to observe not only the mystery object, but — just on Tuesday — a Centaur from 1971 still orbiting Earth. The data from the images matched. “Today’s news was super gratifying!,” Chodas said via email. “It was teamwork that wrapped up this puzzle.” The object formally known as 2020 SO entered a wide, lopsided orbit around Earth last month and, on Tuesday, made its closest approach at just over 31,000 miles (50,476 kilometres). It will depart the neighbourhood in March, shooting back into its own orbit around the sun. Its next return: 2036. ___ The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content. Marcia Dunn, The Associated Press
SEOUL, Korea, Republic Of — Hundreds of thousands of masked students in South Korea, including 41 confirmed COVID-19 patients, took the highly competitive university entrance exam Thursday despite a viral resurgence that forced authorities to toughen social distancing rules.About 426,340 students were taking the one-day exam at about 1,380 sites across the nation, including hospitals and other medical facilities where the 41 virus patients and hundreds of other test-takers in self-quarantine sat separately from others, according to the Education Ministry.The annual exam, called “Suneung,” or College Scholastic Ability Test, is crucial in the education-obsessed country, where job prospects, social standing and even who you marry can often depend on which university you attend.Defence and land ministries said they temporarily banned military exercises and stopped air traffic to reduce noise during the English-language listening parts of Thursday’s exam, as they did in past years. Government offices and many private companies asked their employees to come in late, and the country’s stock market delayed its opening to clear roads for test-takers.This year’s exam had been originally scheduled for November but was delayed due to the virus outbreak. Experts say on-and-off online classes have widened the gap between high achievers and low performing students due to reduced interaction with teachers, digital distractions and technical difficulties.“If the exam had been delayed again, our kids would have felt much more psychological pressure ... I think it’s fortunate the exam is taking place now,” said Kim Sun-wha, the mother of a test-taker. “I hope everyone will avoid making mistakes, do their best and get good results.”Mothers hugged their children and patted their backs before they entered a temporary exam site set up at a high school in Seoul. One shouted, “Don’t be nervous! Do Well!” and another screamed “Cheer up!”Students were required to have their temperature taken before entering the test sites, wear masks throughout the exam and maintain their distance from each other. They had to bring their own water and lunch because they weren't allowed to use water purifiers or drinking fountains at the sites or go outside to get meals. Those with a fever were to go to separate testing areas. There were a total of 1,383 sites, an increase of 198 from last year, according to the Education Ministry.In recent days, the government has urged the public to stay home and avoid social gatherings as much as possible to provide a safe environment for those taking the exams. Park Yu-mi, an anti-virus official in Seoul, said authorities asked companies to have at least one-third of their employees work from home.There are worries that the nationwide exam could accelerate the spread of the virus.During a briefing Thursday, health official Lee Sang-won said he felt “really sorry” that he had to ask students to be vigilant and avoid gatherings even after the exam is over.“I’d like to offer words of consolation to test-takers who have studied and come to take the exam under a particularly difficult situation,” Lee said. “I want to tell you to put aside stress and enjoy yourselves fully (after the test), but it’s regrettable that I can’t say that under the current situation.”South Korea has relatively successfully contained previous viral outbreaks this year thanks to its internationally acclaimed rapid tracing, testing and treatment strategy, combined with the widespread public use of masks. But it’s now grappling with a spike in infections after it eased distancing rules in October. Authorities last week restored stringent distancing restrictions in the greater Seoul area and other places.On Thursday, South Korea reported 540 new cases, taking the total to 35,703 with 529 deaths.___Associated Press journalists Kim Tong-hyung and Kim Yong Ho contributed to this report.Hyung-Jin Kim, The Associated Press
Ottawa's success at reducing its COVID-19 case count — and keeping it relatively low — over the past two months may be unique in the world, say Canadian epidemiologists."I don't know any other city like Ottawa in the world," said Doug Manuel, a physician and senior scientist at The Ottawa Hospital."The leader board has changed," said Manuel. "We were [among] the highest in the country not even two months ago, and now we're bucking the trend internationally."But as much as experts say Ottawans should be proud of their accomplishment, they also warn that a slip in following the rules — keeping two metres apart, wearing masks, and especially not socializing outside our own households — could rapidly lay all that hard work to waste.'It's pretty remarkable'In mid-October, Ottawa saw its COVID-19 infection rate reached 132 active cases per 100,000 residents — higher than Toronto's and many other Canadian cities. The people of Ottawa were shocked. There were official warnings, there were public scoldings and there was a four-week partial lockdown. That seemed to work, as Ottawa's COVID-19 daily case count has been generally declining for the past seven weeks.Our infection rate now sits at 29.5 per 100,000 residents, which is still serious enough to keep us in the "orange" or intermediate zone of the province's five-tier system for scoring COVID-19 severity. But our stats keep us well away from the top-level grey zone that Toronto and surrounding municipalities find themselves in.It's not that other cities aren't also seeing their COVID-19 numbers come down, said Manuel, but in other places around the globe, the cases are generally declining from a relatively high level. For example, in London, England, the number of new daily coronavirus cases has fallen by about half over the last four weeks of an economic lockdown in that country, but there are still 154 active cases per 100,000 residents."We kind of woke up and got some messages and got back together when we were about 100 to 150 cases a day," said Manuel. "I don't know anyone who's done that.… It's pretty remarkable." Great public health, white-collar populationColin Furness, an epidemiologist and assistant professor with the faculty of information at the University of Toronto, said Ottawa is "absolutely going in the opposite direction to almost everybody else," especially in the northern hemisphere.He believes Ottawa's success is due largely to the capital's demographics and its public health leadership.The relatively large proportion of government and high-tech jobs in Ottawa means that many more people are able to work from home than in other cities."You've also got a population that is educated and able and compliant and therefore equipped to respond," he said. "And so the outcome was quite positive." Furness also gives kudos to Dr. Vera Etches and the team at Ottawa Public Health for their ability to reach out to the community with the ever-shifting advice on how to keep COVID-19 at bay."You've got excellent public health leadership in Ottawa," Furness said.Etches in particular has a way of connecting with the people of Ottawa. Not many public officials would admit to showing up to work so frazzled that she forgot to put on her skirt."I think this makes a difference — we really need to be able to connect to people," said Dr. Peter Jüni, a professor of epidemiology and medicine at the University of Toronto, and a director of research at St. Michael's Hospital.Jüni is also the scientific director of the province's Science Advisory Table.He agrees that Ottawa is "really unique" in being able to keep COVID-19 cases relatively low, but warns our success will be fleeting if we let our guard down.'Playing with fire'Some in Ottawa may be wondering why, despite our world-beating numbers, we have to follow the same restrictions as cities faring worse, especially during the upcoming holidays.Experts say those feelings are understandable, and even logical. But the COVID-19 situation is precarious — as Manuel put it, like "trying to balance a broom on your finger."Manuel pointed to the fact that the daily numbers, including the virus count in the wastewater — data that Ottawa alone makes public — have been edging up slightly in recent days. If we begin to socialize more, especially indoors, we risk the chance of a few "superspreader events" that will send COVID-19 numbers rocketing skyward."This thing is really contagious, and it is contagious, unlike SARS, when we're not symptomatic, and that makes it very challenging," Jüni said. He likened the spread of COVID-19 to throwing a match into the brush. One time, maybe the second time, nothing happens. But that third match starts a devastating blaze."So now, right now, it's just playing with fire."Furness uses a different metaphor to describe Ottawa's efforts to keep COVID-19 at bay."We're on a parachute and we're descending nice and slowly," he said. "So this is going really, really well. Who among us wants to take the parachute off now?"
Tesla surged 5% after Goldman Sachs upgraded the stock to "buy" in the run-up to the electric car maker's addition to the S&P 500 index. Tesla was Wall Street's most traded stock by value, with about $25 billion worth of shares exchanged, according to Refinitiv data, more than double Boeing, in second place.
Here's the latest for Thursday December 3rd: California considers strict new COVID rules; Trump repeats electoral fraud claims; NY bar owner arrested for breaking coronavirus rules; Landslide in Alaska.
An Ottawa cancer patient who spoke out about being "terrified" he would contract COVID-19 in hospital after sharing a room with a positive patient, has now tested positive.Adrian Lloyd, 52, was notified Nov. 26 that one of his roommates at The Ottawa Hospital's General campus contracted the illness. It was the same day Ottawa Public Health declared an outbreak on his ward, 5E.On Wednesday, Lloyd's own fears were realized when he himself tested positive following an earlier negative result."I am afraid and also angry," said Lloyd by phone after learning he has COVID-19."Hospitals are supposed to be a safe place and this is why there's been several times, I've had fevers and things, and haven't come into the hospital."In a statement to CBC News, The Ottawa Hospital said patient safety is a top priority. "When a COVID-19 outbreak occurs in hospital, all appropriate infection prevention and control protocols are diligently followed. This includes strict contact tracing and monitoring of all patients for symptoms," said a spokesperson for the hospital."Any patients who test positive for COVID-19 are immediately placed on a COVID-19 cohort unit. The hospital also has auditing practices in place to ensure that these infection prevention and control protocols are maintained. Staff will continue following these protocols, in order to keep everyone safe."Roommate should have been 'whisked off'Lloyd has Stage 4 pancreatic cancer and was admitted to hospital nearly two weeks ago after he developed a fever while undergoing chemotherapy treatment.During his stay, Lloyd said he shared a room with a man whose bed was less than six feet away from his, coughed continuously at night and was not told to wear a mask. "As soon as he started coughing like that he should have been whisked off to a private room," said Lloyd, who believes he got COVID-19 from the roommate.As of Wednesday, six patients and two staff members have tested positive as part of the ongoing outbreak on ward 5E. One of the patients who tested positive has died, according to Ottawa Public Health.Lloyd, who was supposed to be released from hospital by now, said Thursday must stay in a COVID-19 ward for 20 days while he recovers.So far, his symptoms are mild but he worries they may worsen."At nighttime sometimes, I'll have a bit of a dry cough but I keep telling myself it's because the air here is very dry," he said.
BRUSSELS — A senior legal adviser said Thursday that the European Union’s top court should reject Hungary’s attempts to overturn a European Parliament action aimed at holding the country to account for what lawmakers consider to be a breach of the bloc’s values.Advocate General Michal Bobek recommended that the European Court of Justice “dismiss Hungary’s action as unfounded.” Advocates General routinely provide legal guidance to the ECJ. Their opinions aren't binding on the Luxembourg-based court, but are followed in most cases.The EU parliament launched a procedure in 2018 to force Hungary’s EU partners to sanction the government in Budapest over concerns about the country’s constitutional and electoral systems, the independence of its judiciary, corruption and conflicts of interest, as well as fundamental rights concerns.The “Article 7” procedure was contained in a resolution that was adopted in a 448-197 vote, while 48 lawmakers abstained. Hungary argued that had the abstentions been taken into account, the vote wouldn't have achieved the required two-thirds majority.In Bobek’s opinion, a person who abstains from a vote asks to be counted as neither in favour nor against a proposition, and to be treated as if they weren't voting at all. He also said that EU lawmakers had been informed more than a day before the poll that abstentions wouldn't be counted as votes cast.It’s the first time the parliament has launched such a procedure. The European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, has also taken similar action against Hungary. If four-fifths of Hungary’s 26 EU partners agree “there is a clear risk of a serious breach” of the bloc’s values, Budapest could lose its voting rights.The EU’s treaty says the bloc “is founded on the values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities.”The Associated Press
We're serious, Clark: A family in Stittsville is going full Griswold for the holidays, and it's a full-blown, four-alarm celebration of one of the greatest Christmas movies of all time.Fans of National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation will immediately recognize the over-the-top decorations made famous by the fictional Griswold family. The holiday classic starring Chevy Chase, Beverly D'Angelo and Randy Quaid as Cousin Eddie was released 31 years ago.Fast forward to 2020, and the Turcotte family is recreating the movie's look and feel with the help of 2,500 multicoloured lights — the fun, old-fashioned kind."We actually went [for] the old-fashioned glass incandescent lights," said Shawn Turcotte, vice-president of construction for Mattamy Homes. "So it's really lit up the neighborhood." And like the famous scene from the 1989 movie, the electrical load proved too much, at first. "We had a few breakers pop. We had to [move] our extension cords to different outlets in the house to make sure we didn't blow the breaker panel," said Turcotte. The Turcottes are known for going all out with festive lights and decorations, but after last year's display, daughter Kennedy, 13, challenged the family to up their game in 2020. "'Dad, if we do this, we're all in,'" was the pitch, Turcotte told CBC Radio's Ottawa Morning. "So we're all in."While they've been planning the caper since last Christmas, the COVID-19 pandemic only made them want to go bigger, for themselves and the whole neighbourhood. That meant doing their research — Turcotte said they watched the movie 10 times in preparation — and finding the perfect prop: the Griswold family station wagon.In the movie, the family heads out to cut down a Christmas tree, but the hapless Clark forgets to bring along a saw. The scene ends with a shot of an enormous tree, complete with root ball, lashed to the top of the wood-panelled wagon. "It's not the exact car from the movie, but it's very close. It's a 1980 Chevrolet Caprice station wagon," said Turcottte, who spent a year searching for just the right ride, and bought it on Kijiji from the original owner in Toronto.Last weekend, the family even drove the car to get their own Christmas tree at a local farm. "We decided to go through the McDonald's drive-thru with the car, and the tree," said Turcotte. "We got a lot of attention." Raising money for food bankThe Turcottes are hoping to tap into the interest in their Griswold-style scene at 18 Cypress Gardens to raise money for the Stittsville Food Bank, which has 1,000 more clients now than this time last year, according to Turcotte. Gawkers will be encouraged to donate directly from their cell phones. "Show up, enjoy the decorations, take some pictures," urged Turcotte. And then consider scanning a QR code that will link to the food bank website. And what's going to happen to the vintage station wagon once Christmas is over?"I've got a 16-year-old son who's very interested in it. His buddies think it's the coolest thing in the world," said Turcotte. "So we may let him cruise around with it after Christmas."
A Markham, Ont. man who rented a dozen luxury homes and turned them into rooming houses has been ordered to pay $36,000 in restitution to the landlords within 10 days or he'll be arrested and jailed for four months.The penalty comes after Arif Adnan Syed was found in contempt of court last month for failing to comply with an Ontario Superior Court of Justice order compelling him to turn all of the properties back into single-family residences.In a scathing nine-page decision, Justice Mark Edwards made it clear that he didn't accept Syed's assertion that he was struggling financially or that Syed had tried his best to empty the houses of occupants."The fact that Syed continued to accept rent is a further reflection of his real intentions," Edwards said. "Syed had no intention to restore the residences to their former status as single-family residences until he was staring down the barrel of a contempt motion."In terms of finances, the Superior Court judge said that Syed's own evidence shows he's not struggling. Syed testified that he received an average of $500 a month for each room he rented and so could have been making roughly $40,000 a month across the properties when he had 90 renters.$208K deposited to bank account in 1 monthSyed's bank account statements also show total monthly deposits ranging from roughly $30,000 to $208,000 and total monthly withdrawals as high as $216,000 during the months he was leasing at least some of the luxury homes."What the bank account statements do seem to reveal are substantial cash withdrawals during the currency of Syed's fraud that he has perpetrated on the plaintiffs," Edwards said.WATCH | Landlords who rented their homes inspect the damage:One regular transaction the judge considered notable was a monthly $5,123 lease payment, which Edwards said was "presumably the monthly lease of Syed's Lamborghini sports car.""The fact that Syed is leasing a Lamborghini sports car does not measure up with his assertion that he is 'struggling,'" the judge said.In a phone interview after Wednesday's hearing, Syed told CBC News that he is struggling financially now but wasn't at the time of the bank statements."I respect the court decision, and I have started working on it," he said. "And I will try my best to have the restitution paid out within 10 days."Landlords say homes sustained up to $1M in damage Despite the strong words, the decision by Edwards is all bark and no bite in the eyes of at least one of the landlords.> "We're going to be paid less than [Syed] pays every single month to lease his precious Lamborghini." \- John DaviesJohn Davies said the $36,000 the judge awarded in restitution is "ludicrous" given how little each of the 12 landlords will get to help restore their homes once the funds are split among them. "[The judge] said that he's going to award substantial damages, and we get insulted with a payment of $3,000 a house," Davies said. "We're going to be paid less than [Syed] pays every single month to lease his precious Lamborghini."CBC News previously reported on efforts by Davies and the other landlords to reclaim their luxury homes after Edwards voided their leases in late September. The landlords say the illegal rooming houses have caused up to $1 million in damage across their 12 properties in Richmond Hill, Markham and Thornhill, all in the Greater Toronto Area.The remaining occupants in three of the 12 houses are set to be evicted on Thursday.Syed is also facing 17 fraud-related criminal charges for allegedly using fake identification documents in his applications to rent the houses. None of the charges have been proven in court. Penalty means 'nefarious activities' will continueDavies told CBC News that Syed owes him $40,000 — a year's worth of rent — and estimates that it will cost $70,000 to $80,000 to repair the damage the rooming house caused to his Thornhill home."This is a recipe for the courts encouraging criminals to carry on with their nefarious activities," he said. "Other people are going to say, 'My goodness, I can do that, too. I can start doing that because I can get away with it.'"In his decision Edwards said the restitution money is to give the landlords "a means to clean up and begin the repair of their homes," since it was "impossible" to determine how much damage was done to all of the properties based on the evidence in the contempt hearing.The judge said damage claims will have to be made "as the action proceeds."Along with the $36,000 in restitution, Edwards also ordered Syed to pay $65,000 in legal costs for the proceeding, including an overdue $15,000 payment he had been ordered to make previously.Syed told CBC News he's working on paying the restitution first and will then turn to the legal costs.Davies said he doesn't think that Syed will pay those costs. But even if they are paid, the landlord said it won't cover all of the legal fees he and other landlords have accrued trying to get their houses back."How the hell can somebody get away with this level of fraud, dishonesty and criminal activity — and it's the innocent that have to pay for it?" he said.
Kim Zavesky is desperate to return to her home in Golden, B.C.After retiring last year, she and her husband — both Americans — sold their house in Chandler, Ariz., and moved most of their belongings to their second home in Golden, in southeastern British Columbia.The plan was to rent a place in the United States for the first part of the year and spend the rest of the year in Golden. But then the Canada-U.S. border closed to non-essential traffic in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, blocking the couple from accessing their Canadian property."All my stuff is there, all my documents except for my passport," Zavesky said. "It's like not being able to go home."Adding to her frustration is the fact that, despite the border closure, Canadians can still fly to the U.S for leisure travel. That includes snowbirds who are currently flocking to the Sunbelt states."The unfairness of it really bothers me," Zavesky said. "Whatever the rules are, I just feel like it should be the same."Although Canada and the U.S. agreed to close their shared border to non-essential travel during the pandemic, they each crafted their own policies. That has sparked some confusion and frustration because the rules vary — depending on which border you're crossing.Political scientist Don Abelson said the different rules between the two countries isn't surprising."You're still dealing with two sovereign countries who have jurisdiction over their own border, and they certainly have jurisdiction and responsibility for developing their own policies," said Abelson, a professor at St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, N.S. Snowbirds OK to fly southThe Canada-U.S. land border is set to stay closed until Dec. 21, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau implied on Tuesday that the date could be extended."The [COVID-19] situation in the United States continues to be extremely serious," he said on CBC Radio's The Current.Since the start of the border closure, the Canadian government has barred Americans from entering for non-essential travel by all modes of transport.But while the U.S. has barred Canadian travellers from crossing by land, it still allows them to fly into the country. The U.S. has declined to tell CBC News why it made this decision, but in general, its air travel restrictions are less stringent than Canada's.Despite soaring COVID-19 infections in the U.S., a number of Canadians have taken advantage of the flying exemption, including snowbirds who are heading south to escape the Canadian winter."No way in hell we're staying here," said Claudine Durand of Lachine, Que.If the land border is still closed when Durand and her husband head to Florida in late January, they plan to use a new service offered by Transport KMC. The Quebec company flies snowbirds — and transports their vehicles — across the Quebec-New York border."Basically, it solves our problem because we want to take our RV down," Durand said, adding that she plans to take all COVID-19 safety precautions while in Florida.The federal government advises Canadians not to travel abroad for non-essential travel during the pandemic but says it can't prevent people from leaving.Those who do must quarantine for 14 days upon their return to Canada.Family exemptionsCanada and the U.S. also have different rules for family member exemptions.Following protests from families separated by the border shutdown, the Canadian government loosened its travel restrictions in June to allow Americans with certain immediate family in Canada to enter the country for any reason by both land and air.In October, the government further widened the exemptions to include additional family members, as well as couples who've been together for at least a year.Conversely, the U.S. offers no exemptions for Canadians crossing into the country by land to visit family, unless they're tending to a sick relative.U.S. immigration lawyer Len Saunders suggests the U.S. hasn't bothered to loosen the restrictions as the pandemic drags on because separated family members can still fly to the country."There's a huge alternative," said Saunders, who's based in Blaine, Wash. "There's no restrictions on flying."WATCH | Some Canadians decide to spend winter in U.S. amid COVID-19:One affected group that has found no way around the federal government's travel restrictions are Americans who own property in Canada. Some of them argue they, too, should get an exemption to enter the country."I pay [property] taxes. I would more than live by the rules," said Zavesky, who points out she has a place where she can quarantine for 14 days — her home in Golden, B.C.Mark Brosch of Atlanta owns a cottage in Muskoka Lakes, Ont. He said he believes he should be allowed to enter Canada so he can check on a property that has sat vacant for 10 months."I get across the border and I go to my cottage and quarantine for 14 days," he said. "I am less of a risk to the public in Muskoka than the people that travel back and forth from Toronto every weekend."When asked about property owners, the Public Health Agency of Canada told CBC News in an email that U.S. visitors will be allowed to re-enter Canada when it's deemed safe to do so."Travel into Canada for tourism and recreation purposes is currently prohibited, regardless of the ability of the traveller to quarantine for the full 14 days upon arrival," spokesperson Tammy Jarbeau said.
Recent developments:What's the latest?Quebec has cancelled plans to allow some Christmas gatherings in red zones across the province, including Gatineau. Provincial officials say COVID-19 restrictions in those regions make such exceptions unfeasible.WATCH LIVE | Update from Quebec's premier:Federal officials working on Canada's vaccine rollout say Health Canada could approve Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine within 10 days and deliveries could start at the end of December.Ontario's daily COVID-19 update says Ottawa has 41 of the province's 1,824 newly confirmed cases.How many cases are there?As of Thursday, 8,608 people had tested positive for COVID-19 in Ottawa. There are 371 known active cases, 7,859 cases now considered resolved and 378 people who have died of COVID-19.Public health officials have reported more than 14,100 COVID-19 cases across eastern Ontario and western Quebec, including more than 12,700 resolved cases.Ninety people have died of COVID-19 elsewhere in eastern Ontario, along with 83 in western Quebec. CBC Ottawa is profiling those who've died of COVID-19. If you'd like to share your loved one's story, please get in touch.What can I do?Both Ontario and Quebec are telling people to limit close contact only to those they live with, or one other home if people live alone, to slow the spread of the coronavirus.Ontario says this will apply through December's holidays, with people who live away from home such as post-secondary students asked to reduce close contacts for 10 to 14 days before going back.Travel from one region to another is discouraged throughout the Outaouais.Ontario says people shouldn't travel to a lower-level region from a higher one and some lower-level health units want residents to stay put to curb the spread.Ottawa is currently in the orange zone of Ontario's five-colour pandemic scale, which allows organized gatherings and restaurants, gyms and theatres to bring people inside.The city's medical officer of health said on CBC Radio's Ottawa Morning Thursday the COVID-19 decline has stabilized and Ottawa won't be moving to yellow on Ontario's pandemic scale next week.WATCH | Ottawa's COVID-19 progress praised:Three other eastern Ontario health units are under yellow zone restrictions: * The Eastern Ontario Health Unit. * Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington (KFL&A) Public Health. * Hastings Prince Edward Public Health.That means restaurant hours, table limits and rules around capacity fall somewhere between those in place in Ottawa and the rest of eastern Ontario, which is currently green, the lowest level.In Gatineau and the surrounding area, which is one of Quebec's red zones, health officials are asking residents not to leave home unless it's essential.There is no indoor dining at restaurants and gyms, cinemas and performing arts venues are all closed.The rest of western Quebec is orange, which allows private gatherings of up to six people and organized ones up to 25 — more in seated venues.Its rules won't be loosened until mid-January at the earliest.What about schools?There have been about 200 schools in the wider Ottawa-Gatineau region with a confirmed case of COVID-19:Few have had outbreaks, which are declared by a health unit in Ontario when there's a reasonable chance someone who has tested positive caught COVID-19 during a school activity.WATCH | Making the grade during a pandemic:Distancing and isolatingThe novel coronavirus primarily spreads through droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes, breathes or speaks onto someone or something. These droplets can hang in the air.People can be contagious without symptoms.This means people should take precautions such as staying home when sick, keeping hands and frequently touched surfaces clean, socializing outdoors as much as possible and maintaining distance from anyone they don't live with — even with a mask on.Ontario has abandoned its concept of social circles.Masks are mandatory in indoor public settings in Ontario and Quebec and should be worn outdoors when people can't distance from others. Three-layer non-medical masks with a filter are recommended.Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms should self-isolate, as should those who've been ordered to do so by their local public health unit. The duration depends on the circumstances in both Ontario and Quebec.Anyone who has travelled recently outside Canada must go straight home and stay there for 14 days.Health Canada recommends older adults and people with underlying medical conditions and/or weakened immune systems stay home as much as possible. WATCH | A sibling's cancer story during the pandemic:What are the symptoms of COVID-19?COVID-19 can range from a cold-like illness to a severe lung infection, with common symptoms including fever, a cough, vomiting and the loss of taste or smell. Less common symptoms include chills, headaches and pink eye. Children can develop a rash.If you have severe symptoms, call 911.Mental health can also be affected by the pandemic and resources are available to help.Where to get testedIn eastern Ontario:Anyone seeking a test should book an appointment.Ontario recommends only getting tested if you have symptoms, or if you've been told to by your health unit or the province.People without symptoms, but who are part of the province's targeted testing strategy, can make an appointment at select pharmacies.Ottawa has nine permanent test sites, with mobile sites wherever demand is particularly high.Local city councillor Mathieu Fleury says Vanier is getting a COVID-19 test site.Kingston's test site is at the Beechgrove Complex. The area's other site is in Napanee.People can arrange a test in Bancroft and Picton by calling the centre or Belleville and Trenton online.The Eastern Ontario Health Unit has sites in Alexandria, Cornwall, Hawkesbury, Limoges, Rockland and Winchester. The Limoges site closes Dec. 11 and reopens in Casselman Dec. 14.The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark health unit has permanent sites in Almonte, Brockville, Kemptville and Smiths Falls and a mobile test site visiting smaller communities.Renfrew County residents should call their family doctor or 1-844-727-6404 for a test or with questions, COVID-19-related or not. Test clinic locations are posted weekly.WATCH | Christmas trees flying off the lots this year:In western Quebec:Tests are strongly recommended for people with symptoms or who have been in contact with someone with symptoms.Outaouais residents can make an appointment in Gatineau seven days a week at 135 blvd. Saint-Raymond or 617 avenue Buckingham.They can now check the approximate wait time for the Saint-Raymond site.There are recurring clinics by appointment in communities such as Gracefield, Val-des-Monts and Fort-Coulonge.Call 1-877-644-4545 with questions, including if walk-in testing is available nearby.First Nations, Inuit and Métis:Akwesasne had its most known COVID-19 cases of the pandemic in November. Its council is asking residents to avoid unnecessary travel and its curfew from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. is back.Akwesasne schools and its Tsi Snaihne Child Care Centre are temporarily closed to in-person learning. It has a COVID-19 test site available by appointment only.Anyone returning to the community on the Canadian side of the international border who's been farther than 160 kilometres away — or visited Montreal — for non-essential reasons is asked to self-isolate for 14 days.The Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte had its first confirmed case last month.People in Pikwakanagan can book a COVID-19 test by calling 613-625-2259. Anyone in Tyendinaga who's interested in a test can call 613-967-3603.Inuit in Ottawa can call the Akausivik Inuit Family Health Team at 613-740-0999 for service, including testing, in Inuktitut or English on weekdays.For more information
Since marijuana was legalized in Canada in 2018, Windsor-Essex has seen an influx of cannabis growers in the area, most raising crops in a highly controlled environment, such as under greenhouse glass and wild bright lights, designed for year-round farming.But 7 Farms Down, a company in Merlin, Ont. in the Chatham-Kent region is going the old fashioned route — it will grow their crops outside in the field.Jason Guttridge, one of the owners of the company, said after four years of bouncing around the idea with his brother and trying to make it a reality, they finally received their cultivation license on Friday. "I can't say it was easy because it definitely wasn't, but I think it would be worth it in the long run to bring a different product onto the shelf," he said.Guttridge said he and his team come from an agricultural family and are already familiar with traditional agricultural practices, and will apply those harvesting techniques to grow "small-batch, handcrafted outdoor cannabis.""There's a lot of proven agricultural techniques that are already kind of readily available to us. I don't really have to go reinventing the wheel," he said.He said growing outdoors has many benefits compared to growing in a greenhouse, including reduced costs, and "free sun and rain."Pests also becomes less of an issue when growing outside because he says "there's going to be beneficial insects around.""For every insect that's out there, there's an equal and opposite insect that wants to take care of itself," he said. "We grow well and we're adaptable. So, you know, whatever Mother Nature wants to throw at us, we're pretty confident that we can, you know, contend with it."'New, growing industry,' says company ownerWhen asked about how his neighbours feel about him growing cannabis, Guttridge told CBC News that he's just trying to give "a little bit of success to a small community.""There's a lot of opinions, but what I'm trying to do here, you know, is 100 per cent by the books. We jump through every hoop to get through Health Canada. I'm trying to build something positive for my local community where I was born and raised. And we can bring some economic activity here," he said."At the end of the day, this is a new, growing industry."Small-batch, handcrafted outdoor cannabisGuttridge said the company expects to grow less than five acres of marijuana this spring."It isn't so much about how much can we plant and how much can I put out like from a production level, but how high of a quality can I put out? So, you know, we might be able to fit a thousand plants in an acre, might even be able to fit 1,500 plants in an acre at the end of the day. That isn't my main concern," he said."My main concern is, you know, how much high quality product came out of that acre. So that number will change."He hopes his company's products will be hitting shelves by late summer or fall of next year.
A group representing francophone and Acadian communities on P.E.I. is encouraging Islanders to write to their MPs about modernizing the federal Official Languages Act. Société acadienne et francophone de l'Île-du-Prince-Édouard (SAF'Île) says the 50-year-old act is out of date and that's creating inequalities in the way Islanders receive French-language services. "If we say that we are a bilingual country, then the federal government really needs to put the means and resources to live up to it," said Isabelle Dasylva-Gill, executive director of SAF'Île (formerly the Société Saint-Thomas d'Aquin).Lack of bilingual workforce Dasylva-Gill said one of the big issues is a lack of a bilingual workforce to provide services in areas such as child care, education, and health care. And that affects francophones trying to access services in their first language."If you want to register your child for French-language daycare [on P.E.I.], well most of the time there is a huge waiting list," said Dasylva-Gill."Because there are not the resources available to be able to have a spot."When that happens, said Dasylva-Gill, parents must put their kids into English-language daycare, which can lead to assimilation.Dasylva-Gill emphasized that the act also affects anglophones on P.E.I., in particular parents who want their children to have equal access to learn French through an immersion program. "If you don't have the resources to provide those programs, that's where the act is not living up to the demand," Dasylva-Gill said. Group says act not accountable enough She said that if Islanders feel they are not getting equal treatment under the act, it's hard to know where to speak up about it. "The mechanisms that are in place are not reliable enough to make sure that the act actually is respected by the federal institutions."The act also includes targets for bilingual immigrants who can work in the health care and education sectors.> As a society, we have a responsibility to make our voices heard — Isabelle Dasylva-Gill, SAF'Île"Year after year, there is less than two per cent of immigrants that settle outside of Quebec that are French speaking," said Dasylva-Gill. She said it's an asset for all businesses to be able to employ more bilingual workers, which helps the economy. "Really, it's the act of all Canadians when you think about the bigger picture." SAF'Île wants Islanders to send a letter to their MP about modernizing the Official Languages Act, and it has a template on its website. "As a society, we have a responsibility to make our voices heard," said Dasylva-Gill.More from CBC P.E.I.
Annamie Paul made history two months ago when she became the first Black permanent leader of a federal party in Canada — but polls suggest she has yet to make an impact on support for the Green Party she leads.When Elizabeth May resigned as Green leader after the 2019 election, she gave up her spot as the longest-serving leader of any Canadian party with seats in a provincial legislature or the House of Commons.That change at the top doesn't seem to have registered with the average Canadian. Not yet, at least.When Paul took over the Greens on Oct. 3, the party had the support of 6.1 per cent of Canadians, according to the CBC's Poll Tracker, an aggregation of all publicly available polling data. Today, support for the Green Party is one-tenth of a percentage point lower — essentially unchanged.Support for the Greens has been stable in every part of the country, with shifts of no more than 0.3 percentage points in the Poll Tracker over the last two months in every region except Atlantic Canada and British Columbia.WATCH: Green Party Leader Annamie Paul reacts to the Trudeau government's fiscal updateB.C. and Atlantic Canada are the only places where the federal Greens have seats, making them very important places for the party. But the Greens' position has only improved marginally in both regions — up 0.9 points in B.C. and 1.1 points in Atlantic Canada.While that's a (small) positive trend for Paul, it still puts her well below the party's performance in the 2019 election, when the Greens took just over 12 per cent of the vote in B.C. and Atlantic Canada. Today, the party still stands at under 10 per cent in the two regions.The Greens' two seats in B.C. are not in much danger. May, who intends to run again, won her seat of Saanich–Gulf Islands by a margin of 29 points last year. Running as an incumbent MP, rather than a national leader, is not likely to put much of a dent in May's support.Paul Manly won the neighbouring riding of Nanaimo–Ladysmith for the Greens by just under nine points.The third Green seat — Jenica Atwin's in Fredericton — might be somewhat at risk if the Greens don't increase their support in Atlantic Canada. She won the riding by 3.3 points — but the Greens are scoring 3.4 points lower in the region as a whole now than they did in last year's election.Paul needs to become better knownNew leaders can enjoy a bit of a honeymoon after being installed in their new posts. But that doesn't always happen — especially when a new leader was relatively unknown before taking the job.When Justin Trudeau took over the Liberals in 2013, he already had a high public profile and his party got a boost in the polls that lasted for two years.The comparatively unknown Andrew Scheer got no such immediate boost when he became Conservative leader in 2017. Under their new leader Erin O'Toole, who just marked his 100th day as Scheer's replacement, the Conservatives stand only one percentage point higher in the polls than they did before O'Toole won the leadership at the end of August.Paul has a similarly low profile. A recent poll by Abacus Data found that just 29 per cent of Canadians had a strong enough view of Paul to form either a positive or a negative impression of her. Those opinions were split down the middle — 15 per cent positive to 14 per cent negative.Another 32 per cent said they had a neutral opinion of her, while 40 per cent admitted they didn't know enough about her to say either way.That combined 72 per cent who were either neutral or didn't know enough about Paul is higher than such ratings for other party leaders, according to Abacus Data. When O'Toole became leader, 56 per cent of Canadians had either a neutral opinion of him or none at all. That number was 57 per cent for the NDP's Jagmeet Singh and 61 per cent for Scheer when they both became party leaders in 2017. It was just 36 per cent for Trudeau in 2013.It's clear that Paul hasn't yet made much of a personal impression with voters. Just 1.8 per cent of Canadians think Paul would make the best prime minister, according to the latest results from Nanos Research. Over the past few years, May never scored below two per cent.Can the Greens repeat their Toronto Centre performance?These are just polls, though. How do they square with the Greens' impressive performance in the Toronto Centre byelection on Oct. 26?Reprising her candidacy in the riding in the 2019 election, Paul increased her share of the vote by 25.6 points, closing the gap on the Liberals' Marci Ien to less than 10 points. That was quite a showing in a solid Liberal seat where the Greens have little history of strong results.Paul can take credit for that. The Green vote share in nearby York Centre, which also held a byelection on Oct. 26, fell 0.7 points from the last election. That boost in Toronto Centre was because of Paul.The danger for the Greens, however, is that they might take the wrong lesson from those results.It's easier for candidates to have more influence in a byelection — when turnout is low and voters are more attuned to who is on the ballot — than in a general election. Paul is from Toronto and her gains were impressive, but she will need another big lift to take the seat during a national campaign when her attention — and that of voters — might be elsewhere.The Greens would be better advised to find Paul a seat with a pre-existing base of Green support upon which she can build. There are ridings in B.C., southwestern Ontario and Prince Edward Island that could fit the bill. May did that in 2011 when she decamped to Vancouver Island after failing to win a seat in 2008 in Nova Scotia, where she grew up.As the head of a small party without official status in the House of Commons, it's not easy for a Green leader to build a national profile. Paul still has her work cut out for her — at least until the next general election campaign gives her more of the spotlight.
More than 50 people who live in the western P.E.I. community of Forestview have signed a petition calling on the provincial government to move high-voltage power lines away from their homes.The lines run along Howlan Road and carry electricity generated at the West Cape wind farm.The province did remove three-quarters of the lines in 2008, says local resident Clyde Penney, and promised at that time to move the rest once future wind turbines were established in that area."We're asking now for government to live up to that responsibility and to remove the lines," said Penney.After more than a decade of lobbying, the residents of the area say the time to move the lines is now, as the province plans a $44 million project to establish a 106-kilometre transmission line to transport energy from a future 40-megawatt wind farm in Skinners Pond to a substation in Sherbrooke, near Summerside. It's planned for 2025.Penney said 52 impacted residents have signed the petition.He said they're not against the turbines, just against the lines running by their homes."In some cases they're only 25 feet from the houses," said Penney, adding that the lines devalue their properties and pose a potential health risk."The birds won't even land on them."'Just devastated'The residents want to see the lines relocated away from homes on the road.Juanita Gallant told CBC News when they rerouted the other lines back in 2008, she and her neighbours thought all the lines would be moved."But they stopped about a quarter of a kilometre from our house. That was it. We were just devastated," she said."They rerouted everything from here right through to Summerside, but they didn't reroute this bunch of homes right here," said her husband, Ricky."They should've done that from the start."Their MLA, Robert Henderson, has asked the government to follow through on its commitment, suggesting it use the poles, wire and insulators along the new route of its wind energy corridor."They're right in their front yards," he said. "The community has been very patient."Penney wrote to Energy Minister Steven Myers in August, but said he has not heard back yet.In the legislature Tuesday, Myers said he doesn't know where the new power corridor will be located, but he's willing to meet with residents to discuss their concerns.A spokesperson with Maritime Electric said the company was not aware of any recent issues or concerns in that area, and it would be up to the province to decide whether to move the lines.More from CBC P.E.I.
Ask around in Montreal, and you will likely find someone who was brought into this world by Dr. Alice Benjamin.She has delivered more than 10,000 babies over the course of her career. She has delivered babies, and then delivered those babies' babies. In one family, she has been obstetrician to a mother, her grown daughter and soon, she will deliver the granddaughter's baby.In more than 40 years as an obstetrician, she has seen difficult labours and struggles."But you never get tired of a birth, and that good outcome, and that first cry. You always wait to hear it. The whole room is silent. Didn't you hear that first cry, the most joyous thing?"Half of medicine, Benjamin says, is common sense, not just following what's in the textbooks.But many will say medicine is also about connecting with patients and making them feel heard and safe, something she has done countless times during her career.Last week, Benjamin, an attending obstetrician at the Royal Victoria Hospital, was appointed to the Order of Canada as an officer, "a recognition of outstanding achievement, dedication to the community, and service to the nation," for her work in the field of maternal-fetal medicine. She follows women with high-risk pregnancies.'A special privilege'Benjamin was born in Piravom, India, and went to medical school at the University of Delhi before coming to Canada in 1971. She was interested in internal medicine, but decided to pursue obstetrics because it gave her "the privilege" of taking care of two patients — mother and child.She started out in Toronto and eventually made her way to Montreal when her husband was transferred here, snagging the last residency spot at McGill.She knew no one but says she felt welcomed from the start.WATCH | Dr. Alice Benjamin reflects on 40 years of deliveriesHer accomplishments are many: she established a high-risk obstetrics day centre at the Royal Victoria Hospital and created clinics for diabetic and renal patients that helped reduce stillbirths and miscarriages. She delivered a baby whose cord-blood stem cells were harvested and used for a bone-marrow transplant that saved the mother's life.She is a knight of the Order of Quebec. A foundation named after her helps send McGill University students and residents to developing countries to observe how obstetrics is practised there.To her patients, the soft-spoken 75-year-old, affectionately known as Dr. B, is deserving of every accolade she's received because she goes above and beyond at a time when they are often feeling vulnerable.She said she believes patients make the doctor, and the relationship she has with her patients is very sacred. She sees it as a nine-month trust-building process that, hopefully, culminates in a healthy baby."It is a special privilege to participate in that life-changing event of that couple. I don't take that for granted."Cosmically connectedNearly 29 years ago, Benjamin was there when Kelly Laparé was born. Laparé's mother's pregnancy was high-risk due to a genetic condition, and Benjamin was her doctor.Laparé has that same condition, and in a matter of weeks, Benjamin will be the one to deliver Laparé's first baby, who has the condition as well."There's no separating us really, on a cosmic level," Laparé said.As she counts the days until her Dec. 30 delivery date, Laparé said she is grateful to be under Benjamin's care. Due to the pandemic, her fiancé hasn't been able to enter the hospital for her appointments."If I didn't know that I was being followed by the best of the best — if he didn't know —I think we probably would have been much more uncomfortable with the situation. It's just an added level of relief."Cinzia Tartaglia first met Benjamin in 2010. Tartaglia was referred to Benjamin's clinic by her surgeon after having a cyst removed from her ovary and being diagnosed with endometriosis.The first few months of her pregnancy were tough, and she had to see the doctor quite a bit. Even with a waiting room full of patients, Tartaglia said as soon as she entered the examination room, it was like no one else existed.Her first daughter was born that October, and the delivery didn't go smoothly. Tartaglia remembers that Benjamin took the time to check on her afterward."I've encountered many doctors in my life, and her gift of humanity and her humility is just — it's something you can't put into words."For the first part of his life, Dr. Roy Eappen, an endocrinologist at St. Mary's Hospital, called Benjamin "Auntie Alice" — she was friends with his mother, and she came from the same part of India as his parents.He said she is an "amazing, amazing lady" whom everyone always thought very highly of.Benjamin delivered many members of their community and helped others get pregnant, he said, but she was also always there if people needed financial or other kinds of medical help too.Later, she was his teacher in medical school."I had already admired her before, but I saw how great she was with her patients and I tried to emulate her," he said.Almost all his female physician friends have been Benjamin's patients — a sign of how confident people are in her, he said.Eappen said he believes the Order of Canada honour is long overdue, but he also knows Benjamin would never say she deserves the praise she receives."She really is humble. I think that's one of the reasons why everyone likes her so much. She doesn't put on airs, and she could if she wanted to."An honour to be nationally recognizedBenjamin says she is honoured that she was named to the Order of Canada, but she doesn't feel like she did anything special to deserve it."I'm surprised that my name is even included there along with all these important people, to be honest," she said."I enjoy what I've been doing all these years."She was the only woman in her class when she first started at McGill, which she has watched change over the years.Starting in January, Benjamin will take a step back. She will see patients at the clinic, but their babies will be delivered by the doctor on call.Even though she knows it might be hard for her in the beginning, she wants to leave the deliveries to the younger generation. When she teaches, she tells her students to do the same thing she did to prove herself, as a girl in a class of boys, all those years ago."The advice I have, and I tell all my residents, is work hard and do it with passion."
Tahothoratie Cross remembers his first semester of college as being filled with feelings of isolation. But now he will soon be graduating as a student ambassador who has spent the last four years leading changes at Champlain College Saint-Lambert near Montreal. He hopes it has become a welcoming place for Indigenous students."I want to provide these opportunities to students that are coming up so that they don't have to go through those types of experiences of isolation," said Cross, who is a Kanien'kehá:ka (Mohawk) student from Kahnawake, Que."It's important for us to do the work while we're here to make sure that students have the best experience that they can."Cross is a founding member of the Indigenous ambassadors program, which has provided Indigenous students with peer support, mentorship, leadership, and advocacy opportunities since 2016.It started after he wore a Boston Bruins jersey to class and was stopped in the hallway by David Persons, the financial aid officer at the college's student services. A conversation about hockey jumped to the struggles of isolation Cross was facing, and soon snowballed into gathering a group of other Kahnawake students to discuss improving support on campus.The program has since grown to include faculty, staff, and community partnerships. Quebec's First Nations Adult Education School Council provides guidance and support.Tanu Lusignan, executive director of the First Nations Adult Education School Council, said he heard challenges of isolation, barriers linked to the French language, and experiences with faculty and classmates who knew little about about Indigenous people as a whole."There was a sense of disconnect," said Lusignan."We wanted to reinforce and engage in ensuring that the services available at Champlain were meeting the needs of Indigenous students."Advocacy on campusThrough the program, the student ambassadors have provided input on curriculum, hosted presentations, organized awareness events, and shared experiences with faculty during professional development training. It's work that they're now paid to do as a result of a partnership with Kahnawake's economic development commission. But, for the students, it's not about the money. They're motivated to see change."We were actually given the chance to work with teachers on curriculum and other types of work, which is something that not many students actually get to do," said Cross."I think it was something important that as Indigenous students, we were able to voice our opinions on what was actually being taught to students."For Iekenhnhenhá:wi Alexa Montour, it's about the opportunity to spread awareness of her culture and language. She helped organize a two-week Indigenous awareness event that included a mural, hoop dancing, and guest speakers."Sometimes it's hard speaking to people and trying to teach them about us because I'm not a professional in that way. But it's also not hard because I'm so passionate about it," said Montour."It comes out from the heart. That's what motivates me to keep doing this."The efforts of the ambassadors led Champlain College to give a land acknowledgement for the first time at its convocation ceremony, and provide a space for an Indigenous resource centre, along with other long-term commitments."The first real success that we had was getting an Indigenous resource centre that was ours. We made it into what we wanted," said Cross."We felt that as Indigenous students, one of the things that really lacked at the school was a place for us to feel safe, a place for us to go hang out and be with people that we can connect to."Hannah McGregor-Pelletier, who is now an Indigenous ambassador from Kahnawake, said the program made an impact on her life as a student."I came in knowing that this program was happening, so I felt more comfortable and it helped me grow as a person and has helped me to be more involved," she said."It was really nice having fellow community members where I don't have to be on that much alone as I was in classrooms."Currently, only students from Kahnawake have actively been involved with the program but Cross hopes that expands in the future."We've made big strides in changing the culture of Champlain through administration and the teachers, and I hope that continues. But, I think the ultimate goal is that the ambassadors program spreads to the other English colleges in the area," he said."I just want to keep seeing it grow and grow. The more Indigenous people that we make feel comfortable in their systems is really beneficial. And the more non-Indigenous people that we can make aware of exactly who we are, I think that's the ultimate goal."
It's been two days since a Sussex-area woman became trapped inside her home after rising water surrounded her property earlier this week.And she's still waiting for help."I have no way out of here," said Mary Ann Coleman from inside her house.The 63-year-old lives on Creek Road in Waterford, about 90 kilometres east of Saint John. Her driveway, which links her property with the main road, was "washed out" by the heavy rains overnight Tuesday. At around midnight Tuesday, the culvert a few metres from her house was dammed by fallen trees and debris, causing the area to flood and her bridge to float away, she said."The water levels were higher than I've seen. I moved here 40 years ago," Coleman said. "I'm in complete, complete, desperate situation here … I'm stranded."Part of her driveway was made from the metal frame of a pulp truck and anchored with concrete abutments. It created a 20-foot bridge over Trout Creek.Coleman said she only had two hours of sleep overnight Tuesday. She said the creek between her house and the road is about a metre deep, it's rushing quickly and is 20 feet wide."I had some rest last night but I'm still pretty anxious," she said Thursday afternoon.Premier notes 'severe' damage in Sussex areaAt a COVID-19 news briefing on Thursday, Premier Blaine Higgs used his opening remarks to address the situation in the Sussex region and offer his condolences to residents."My thoughts are with everyone who is affected by the heavy rainfall," Higgs said. "Thank you to the emergency services who have helped the people in need. I'm thankful for the unbelievable community spirit that the people of New Brunswick and emergency services have shown."Higgs noted that the damage is still being assessed, but is "severe" in the Sussex and Sussex Corner areas.He said 30 households have received accommodation and support from the Canadian Red Cross, which has also offered flood cleanup kits for residents.Province isn't stepping inColeman said she called the Department of Transportation, which told her to call the Emergency Measures Organization, but EMO told her to call 911. She called 911 and was directed her back to EMO. She said she doesn't know what to do next."That's just stunning to me," she said. "I think everybody should be worried about that."Geoffrey Downey, a spokesperson for New Brunswick's Emergency Measures Organization, said he couldn't comment on individual cases like this one.Meanwhile, Department of Transportation spokesperson Mélanie Sivret said the department "recently became aware of this incident," and is looking into it.Coleman, who describes herself as an active person and cycles every morning, has been trying to stay busy. She's been working from home, talking to people on the phone and she's been trying to keep her wood fire going so she doesn't lose heat.Luckily, Coleman grows some crops in her garden so she's been relying on vegetables for the past two days. "There's not too much anybody can do."Coleman said she believes the flooding was caused by a new culvert built by the provincial Department of Transportation and Infrastructure, which was previously too big to be blocked by debris. It was rebuilt in 2019, she said. Coleman said she wants the department to "take responsibility." 'It's my mom'Coleman's daughter, Jessica Coleman, has been calling and texting her mom several times a day. On Wednesday, she went down by the river with her two kids to see her mom. The sound of the water rushing was so loud, all they could do was wave. After this year, it's one of those things that tops the cake," she said. "I have no idea when she will be able to leave."She said what's making it more difficult is trying to get answers and figuring out what can be done for her mother. She said she'd like to see a temporary walking structure put in place and a permanent fix after."It's my mom, and she's in her 60s, and she's there on her own."Advice from EMOThe province's health and safety inspection teams are in the Sussex area and cleanup is underway. New Brunswick's Emergency Measures Organization spokesperson Geoffrey Downey urged residents to clean up "as soon as possible.""The longer it sits the worse the damage gets."Although water levels have gone down, some roads in the area are still closed, and residents should only return to their homes when it's safe to do so.Residents whose homes have been damaged should register with the province at 1-888-298-8555 to receive a free inspection. The damage report line program allows residents, tenants, small businesses and not-for-profit organizations to receive information and register their flood-related damage.Damage assessments will be reviewed, and health and safety inspection teams may be dispatched if required.Residents are also reminded to: * Contact their insurance companies immediately to report damage. * Take photos of damage to their homes or properties. * Keep receipts of any repairs and replacement purchases. * Log the number of hours of work undertaken for residents who are cleaning their own properties, or family members or those who have assisted in the cleanup of their property.