A blanket of fog creates an eerie sight in Kelowna.
A blanket of fog creates an eerie sight in Kelowna.
MILTON, Ga. — In a black face mask and cap, activist Garrett Bess walked up driveway after driveway of million-dollar homes in suburban Atlanta on a recent afternoon, placing a flyer in each door, ringing the bell and stepping away to make a socially distanced pitch to vote for the conservative candidates in Georgia's pivotal U.S. Senate runoff elections.Bess' group, Heritage Action for America, plans to knock on half a million doors before the state's two Jan. 5 contests that will determine whether Democrats or Republicans control the Senate.“Everyone in Georgia knows the candidates,” said Janae Stracke, a colleague of Bess’ who also canvassed the subdivision. "There’s not a lot of convincing to do. They’ve made up their mind. It’s mostly knowing when to vote, how to vote, encouraging them to vote.”This election season, the coronavirus pandemic has upended traditional get-out-the-vote efforts where campaign workers go door to door to encourage people to cast ballots. With people staying at home and limiting contact with outsiders, an extended conversation with a campaign worker who shows up uninvited may actually encourage people to vote for someone else.But it's a sign of how important the two Senate elections are that both parties and independent advocacy groups are going all in on their in-person get-out-the-vote efforts.After the GOP lost the presidential election in Georgia for the first time in 28 years, conservatives are urging Republicans to get more aggressive with their turnout efforts in the state to match the outreach of former Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams.After Abrams lost the 2018 governor's race, she devoted herself to voter outreach, convinced that the state was a genuine battleground if Democrats galvanized young voters, minorities and people moving in from other states. She raised millions of dollars to organize and register hundreds of thousands of voters in the state — efforts credited with helping Democrat Joe Biden win Georgia.Republicans have to catch up, Republican operative Karl Rove told Fox News.“Let’s not kid ourselves: This is a real race,” said Rove, who is leading fundraising efforts for the runoffs.The National Republican Senatorial Committee expects to have 1,000 staffers on the ground in Georgia. For comparison, the Republican National Committee had a total of 3,000 paid field staff across the whole country during the presidential race.Democrats carry their own baggage into the runoff. In many parts of the country, they limited face-to-face campaigning ahead of the Nov. 3 election because of the pandemic, arguing that was the responsible thing to do. But that decision was second-guessed in places such as Florida.The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee plans to spend millions on voter registration and turnout efforts.Outside groups are also hitting the ground, and the in-person appeals will be supplemented with a fusillade of phone calls, text messages, mailers and ads aimed at boosting turnout for the races pitting Republican Sen. David Perdue against Democrat Jon Ossoff and Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler against Democrat Raphael Warnock.Turnout tends to drop precipitously in runoff contests in Georgia. And activists fear there might be even more of a falloff this time, when the excitement of the Trump-Biden race is over. So getting voters to come back to the polls becomes more of a focus than “trying to find new voters or win over voters who voted for your opponent,” said Charles Bullock, an expert on Southern politics at the University of Georgia.Historically, that drop-off has disproportionately affected Democrats, so the party faces strong headwinds heading into January. The Republican candidate has beaten the Democrat in seven out of eight runoff elections since 1992, including two U.S. Senate races.Democrats have reason for optimism after Biden's win, but his margin of victory was tiny — less than 13,000 votes of nearly 5 million cast — and it’s been 20 years since the state elected a Democrat to the U.S. Senate.But groups whose efforts tend to favour Democrats are charged. On Friday, representatives of the Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America went door to door in a neighbourhood just outside Atlanta encouraging people to vote for Ossoff and Warnock.“If we don't get those two seats in Congress, everything we did to flip Georgia blue is not going to help us,” Phyllis Morrow told a couple that pulled over in their car.The African Methodist Episcopal Church in Georgia, which has more than 150,000 parishioners in the state, is asking members to call eligible voters in their congregations, encourage them to vote early and assist with rides if they need help getting to the polls on Jan. 5.Bishop Reginald T. Jackson said Black voters are excited and “realize the eyes of the nation are on Georgia.”"They know people are going to be looking to see whether or not Blacks turn out,” he said.The New Georgia Project, a group founded by Abrams, will try to register some of the estimated 35,000 people who have finished their felony sentences and can requalify to vote as well as some of the estimated 23,000 people who are turning 18 before the runoff, Executive Director Nse Ufot said.Ufot said the group also aims to knock on 1 million doors before the runoff, up from 500,000 before the general election, and is training volunteers to take coronavirus precautions.In Milton, Bess and Stracke were in friendly territory. The affluent, mostly white city about 30 miles (50 kilometres) north of Atlanta showed strong support for President Donald Trump in the November election. The neighbourhood they canvassed last week featured manicured lawns and spacious homes set back from the street.“Oh, you have no problem here,” Holly McCormick, 73, told Bess after he rang her doorbell. The flyers he carried warned that Georgia was the country’s “last line of defence from a socialist takeover.”McCormick called the outcome of the presidential race “rigged” though there is no evidence of widespread fraud in the 2020 election, and she said Trump’s claims of illegal votes made her more energized to vote for Perdue and Loeffler in January.“We have to hold the Senate,” she said.___Associated Press writer Jeff Amy in Atlanta contributed to this report.Sudhin Thanawala, The Associated Press
L'Association québécoise des centres d'intervention en dépendance (AQCID) et Drogue : aide et référence (DAR) ont dévoilé, le 18 novembre, leur nouvelle plateforme Trouvetoncentre.com. Celle-ci propose une carte interactive et des filtres de recherche qui permettent de trouver aisément les centres de prévention, traitement, réduction des méfaits en dépendance et usage de substance, ainsi que les points de distribution de naloxone. À Laval, un total de neuf centres sont identifiés parmi les ressources disponibles. L'objectif des organismes est que la plateforme devienne un outil incontournable pour le réseau de la santé et des services sociaux, tout comme pour les citoyens. «Il est d’une grande importance pour Trouvetoncentre.com de bien se positionner sur le Web et dans le réseau pour rejoindre les individus qui ont besoin de services en dépendance et usage de substance, précise Vincent Marcoux, directeur général de l’AQCID, par voie de communiqué. En cette période d’insécurité, il est d’autant plus important d’outiller ces personnes fragilisées et stigmatisées, souvent aux prises avec des problématiques de santé mentale.» Par ailleurs, les intervenants de DAR seront les ressources à contacter par téléphone ou clavardage afin de répondre aux questions. Ceux-ci seront disponibles à tous les jours de la semaine.Nicholas Pereira, Initiative de journalisme local, Courrier Laval
Le mercredi 25 novembre se tenait la première séance d'information concernant la recharge de la plage Rochelois à Port-Cartier. Pour l'occasion, des experts du ministère de la Sécurité publique du Québec (MSP) étaient présents par vidéoconférence pour répondre aux interrogations de la cinquantaine de citoyens qui s'étaient déplacés. Le nombre de places était limité à cause de la pandémie. Le projet de recharge de plage qui est actuellement proposé par le ministère viendrait considérablement changer l'apparence de la plage. Présentement, il s'agit d'une plage sablonneuse et avec les travaux, elle deviendrait une plage de sable et de gravier. Durant la présentation faite par différents experts du MSP, Jean-Denis Bouchard, spécialistes des milieux côtiers a expliqué que des travaux étaient nécessaires pour protéger les infrastructures lorsqu'il y aura une tempête équivalente à celle de 2010 ou de 2016. « Depuis 4 ans, le secteur a été épargné par les tempêtes, mais on sait qu'elles vont revenir. On ne sait pas quand, mais il y en aura d'autres.» L'érosion dans le secteur de la plage Rochelois pourrait venir menacer une vingtaine de résidences et les infrastructures de la Ville de Port-Cartier telles que la rue Rochelois et les égouts. Selon le MSP, le projet de recharge de plage pourrait être effectué au cours de l'été 2022 et il est prévu que ce type d'ouvrage a une durabilité de 30 ans. Période de questions Bien qu'il s'agissait d'une période questions, plusieurs citoyens ont fait savoir qu'ils s'opposaient au projet dans sa forme actuelle et ont tenté de proposer d'autres solutions pour préserver la plage telle que la pose de végétation ou la construction d'îlots rocheux. Parmi les autres thèmes abordés par les citoyens, il y a notamment l'accès à la plage. Plusieurs citoyens sont inquiets que la plage soit moins attrayante pour aller se promener en raison du gravier. Le ministère explique que contrairement au projet de la plage McCormick, il y aura des mesures d'atténuation pour préserver l'aspect esthétique de la plage. Parmi les mesures proposées, il pourrait y avoir une recharge annuelle de sable. Le comité citoyen de sauvegarde de la Plage Rochelois et son porte-parole, Romain Prêcheur, ont déposé une pétition signée par 1 880 port-cartois qui s'opposent au projet de la recharge et qui souhaitent qu'une autre solution soit trouvée. Une rencontre constructive Le maire de Port-Cartier, Alain Thibault, a dressé un bilan positif à la suite de la rencontre d'information. Pour lui, il était important que les gens du MSP viennent expliquer aux citoyens tous les aspects du projet pour que les Port-cartois soient en mesure de prendre la bonne décision dans ce dossier. Rappelons que dans le dossier de la recharge de la plage Rochelois, la décision finale revient au Conseil de la Ville de Port-Cartier qui devra indiquer au MSP s'il souhaite aller de l'avant avec le projet. Lors de la séance du Conseil du 9 novembre, tous les conseillers et le maire avaient indiqué ne pas être favorables au projet, mais vouloir que le processus entrepris par le ministère se poursuive.Vincent Berrouard, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Nord-Côtier
CALGARY — The Calgary Zoo says two giant pandas are on their way home to China today. The zoo said in May that it would be sending the pair back early because the COVID-19 pandemic was making it difficult to source bamboo.The plant makes up 99 per cent of the animals' diet and the zoo has said it was an expensive and all-consuming effort to cobble together supplies from across North America.The zoo says on Twitter it was a difficult decision to send the pandas home three years earlier than planned. It says it took months of hard work to secure international permits to get the pandas home. The zoo posted photos of reams of paperwork needed for the journey, the crates that were to carry the pandas and the Lufthansa Cargo plane that was to take them to China. The two adults, Er Shun and Da Mao, were on loan from China to Canadian zoos as part of a 10-year deal signed in 2012. They were to stay in Calgary until 2023.Two cubs, Jia Panpan and Jia Yueyue, were born in Toronto in 2015. They were sent to China as planned in January. The price tag to have the pandas in Calgary was around $30 million, including $14.4 million for the Panda Passage exhibit itself. Expanded parking lots, washrooms and restaurants were also required to accommodate an expected influx of visitors. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 27, 2020. Lauren Krugel, The Canadian Press
LOS ANGELES — With many small businesses struggling to hold on during the coronavirus pandemic, Issa Rae believes now is the time to support independent stores more than ever.The creator and star of HBO series “Insecure” strongly encourages people to shop locally as part of Small Business Saturday, a couple days after Thanksgiving. She said the initiative created by American Express, for which she is a a compensated endorser, can help give an extra push during the holidays to small businesses who have gone into survival mode.Rae said using “word of mouth” and tagging a business on social media tremendously helps.“Survival is on the line,” the Emmy-nominated actor said in a recent interview. “You’re seeing the pandemic shut down so many businesses and businesses are struggling. I think now is the best time to shoutout some of the places that literally need you to keep their doors open.”While growing up, Rae learned the importance of shopping at small businesses from her grandparents and mother while living in Inglewood, California. As a child, she initially wanted to shop the popular brands, but ultimately saw the value of spending her own dollars in her neighbourhood as she grew older.“For some reason in my mind, it was ingrained that these businesses weren’t good enough because they didn’t have the means to advertise on television," she said. “I felt like we were getting the low brand version of what I really wanted. But as I grew up, I realized — while embracing my neighbourhood — how harmful that perspective was.”On Saturday, Rae will be purchasing products from a few Black-owned businesses including Queen Boutique in Los Angeles. The actor also became a partner and co-owner of a coffee shop called Hilltop Coffee and Kitchen in Inglewood last year.So far, during the pandemic, Rae has watched several businesses close down, which she says “breaks my heart."“These are the people within our community,” she said. “These are the people who are thinking of us first. That is valuable as a consumer to know that you’re in a business owner’s mind.”Jonathan Landrum Jr., The Associated Press
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has issued a recall notice for Farm Boy brand Deluxe Chocolate Brownie Mix because it contains milk that's not listed as an ingredient.People with a milk allergy should not consume the product, the agency says.The mix is sold in 500 gram packages with the Universal Product Code: 8 08912 00760 1.On the Farm Boy website, the Ottawa-based chain with more than 30 locations in Ontario says it will refund any purchases of the product.The product has also been removed from store shelves, Farm Boy says.The Canadian Food Inspection Agency said Farm Boy alerted the agency to error and no one has reported allergic reactions to the brownie mix.
The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit (WECHU) says it is investigatinga cluster of cases at both Windsor Regional Hospital Ouellette campus and Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare."The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit is working closely with hospital administrators to determine the source of transmission and the potential risk to staff and patients," Dr. Wajid Ahmed, WECHU medical officer of health, said in a statement.The health unit gave few details about the clusters."Due to privacy considerations, the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit is unable to disclose publicly any further details about the cases or the number of close contacts at the hospitals," Ahmed added.In a news release, Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare (HDGH) said the hospital has fewer than 20 confirmed cases and/or cases under investigation by the WECHU. The affected unit was not identified. "All patients on the affected unit are being tested. All staff who have worked on the affected unit during the timeframe under investigation will be offered testing," the statement reads. "HDGH is cooperating with the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit and is taking this most recent development very seriously."The statement said HDGH would be taking additional measures in response to the cluster, including, "closing the affected unit to any new admissions, enhanced cleaning on the affected unit, temporarily suspending Designated Care Partners Visitation program on the affected unit and reinforcing the importance of the use of personal protective equipment and consistent washing of hands and respecting of physical distancing across the campus."WRH also acknowledged the cluster in a news release."At WRH, any admissions to the 7th floor (East and West) at Ouellette Campus will be examined closely and patients cannot be transferred out unless discharged home or for medical necessity," it said."Testing for COVID-19 on all patients from this floor will be completed by the end of today on Friday, November 27th, 2020.""All staff who had contact with this 7th floor (East and West) from November 18, 2020 to [Friday], have been notified and are being requested to be swabbed for COVID-19," it added.WRH said it will suspend all visitation to the 7th floor East and West until further notice.The cluster of cases comes as WECHU reported 51 new cases of COVID-19 in the region Friday. It also announced that the region would be moving into the red or "control" level of Ontario's COVID-19 response framework Monday. That means new restrictions on dining, gyms and social gatherings among other areas.
More than once during the weeks leading up to the provincial election Premier Moe referred to the province as being a supplier of raw materials to the world, but is this where the province should remain? Over 70% of Canada’s farmland is located in the prairies and historically, Saskatchewan was referred to as the “bread-basket of the world”, but with the shift away from primarily wheat production and the growth of the oil and gas sectors, that title has fallen into disuse. Yet, Saskatchewan remains in the realm of a primary producer. The problem with that status became evident earlier this year when COVID-19 arrived on our doorstep. As a province we are heavily reliant on other districts to supply our finished products and when they run into problems, such as the outbreaks of the coronavirus among their employees, the ripples are felt all along the food chain. But the authors of a new report just released by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives highlights another factor that while many across the prairies realize its happening, may not realize the full extent nor the implications of the trend. For years ‘bigger is better’ has been mantra of our culture, bigger homes, bigger trucks, bigger toys, and this is true of farming as well. Since the 1980’s farmers in Saskatchewan have been encouraged become bigger. Marginal farmland was pulled into production to make for bigger crops. Bigger equipment could complete the farmers work in less time and well, bigger equipment meant that it was possible to work more land, and the cycle continued. The era of broadly distributed land ownership, of food production by small and medium-sized family farms, is fading and the small farm is all but extinct. The number of young farmers in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba has, according to the report Concentration Matters: Farmland Inequality on the Prairies, declined by more than 70 percent, in just one generation—since 1991 (Statistics Canada Table 32-10-0169-01). The report authored by Darrin Qualman, Annette Aurélie Desmarais, André Magnan, Mengistu Wendimu for the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) states that while it remains the case that local families do operate the vast majority of our farms, there are fewer and fewer of those families every year. Thirty-eight percent of the farmland in Saskatchewan is operated and controlled by just 8 percent of Saskatchewan farms or just over 2,400 operations. These 2400+ farms average 9,382 acres in size, though many are much larger. The reduction in the number of small farms, the concentration of farmland and farm income into fewer and fewer large operations, and barriers to entry created by rising land prices (See Farm Credit Canada, Farmland Values Report), all make it more difficult for young and new farmers to enter agriculture, the report goes on to say. This difficulty in gaining access to farmland is therefore, effectively stifling the possibility of farming as a career choice for young Canadians (Qualman, Akram-Lodhi, Desmarais, and Srinivasan, 2018). Farms larger than 10,000 acres make up less than 2 percent of total Prairie farms, yet those very large operations captured approximately 15 percent of gross revenues and net income. On average, these very large farms earned net incomes of more than $820,000 before depreciation. At the other end of the size distribution, farms smaller than 1,000 acres, though they make up 53 percent of total farms, captured just 21 percent of revenues and 18 percent of net income. On average, these farms earned net incomes of just over $34,000 each. Because margins are tight and per-acre net income is low on cattle farms and grain and oilseed farms, a young or new farmer on a small farm with few acres paid for has a very limited ability to pay for additional acres, large farms often have greater capacity to borrow money (on better terms than those usually offered to smaller farms), and as a result unless a young farmer can partner with another, either a family member or another farmer looking to start ‘slowing down’, there is no avenue for him or her to get in and fewer and fewer farm children are returning to the farm. In 2014, for instance, 73 percent of farmland transactions involving an ownership change were between arms-length parties (neighbours), whereas 27 percent were among family members (Magnan and Sunley 2017). The rate of farmland concentration however, is running far ahead of the rate of farm loss. Since 1966, Canada has lost half of its farms, but the number of farmers who control the vast majority of land is far smaller than the numbers above suggest. According to the report, across the Prairie Provinces, farms larger than 5,000 acres, which represents 7 percent of all farms, own 27 percent of all farmland that is owner-operated, also those same 7 percent of Prairie farms that are larger than 5,000 acres, lease 67 percent of government leased farm land and rent or lease 35 percent of all land rented or leased by farmers from non-government farmland owners. So, while it may remain the case that our farmland is owned by local families, it is also the case that most is owned by a very small percentage of families. In 2016, 37,622 farm operations owned about half of all Canadian agricultural land in private hands. Translated into number of people, the authors of the study made a rough assumption that each farming operation included, in some combination of parents, children, spouse/partner, about 2.5 landowners. Thus those 37,622 farm operations become 94,055 people (less than .3% of the Canada’s entire population) own half of the country’s food-producing acreage. The great exit of young people from rural to urban areas is well documented in report after report in Statistics Canada library, but to bring this into a more local perspective, the 1976 census shows the population of the RM of Fish Creek to be 591, by 1981 that number had dropped to 510. (https://archive.org/details/1981939081982engfra/page/n47/mode/2up?q=Fish+Creek+RM) Twenty years later, the population was 382 and while that number is now recorded as 345, in the intervening years it did drop as low as 307 at one point. The report concludes that unless government policies or economic shocks alter these trends, 20 years from now, the area of land operated by small farms will be negligible, and farms larger than 5,000 acres may operate 50 to 60 percent of Prairie farmland (up from about 37 percent today).Carol Baldwin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Wakaw Recorder
The family of a man thought to be missing in the British Columbia wilderness is not giving up hope on the search as it closes in on its sixth week.Jordan Naterer, 25, was last seen on Oct. 10 when he left for a hike at EC Manning Provincial Park in British Columbia, about two hours east of Vancouver. He was reported missing three days later after not showing up to a friend's Thanksgiving dinner.Naterer's parents live in St. John's. His mother, Josie, said the family and volunteer-led search has moved across the park. It will soon cross over the park's limits, she said."Aircraft went out last weekend, did a massive zig-zagging outside of the park boundaries," she said Friday. "We think it's possible Jordan could have wandered outside of the boundaries, and that's why we haven't found anything of our son."Naterer's mother said information and findings of the aerial search will be sent to volunteers on Monday, who will use the data to add new grids to the areas they're scouring."The grid is going to be huge, we've asked volunteers to take one grid at a time," she said.She said the move into the winter months has complicated the search to a degree, but that snow-covered ground and hard, dense terrain won't deter volunteers from continuing."If people were to see the areas that we have searched to date, they'd be surprised at how much we've walked, droned and flown through the park. But it's still not enough," she said."We're not giving up. We're continuing our search. We feel that our son has the possibility and chances of being alive and [he's] waiting for us to find him."Vancouver vigil 'the support that we needed'Sympathizers held an online vigil for Jordan in the Vancouver area Thursday night, which Naterer's mother said lifted her family's spirits."It was the support that we needed right now," she said. "This has been a very challenging time for our entire family, and it took us to a very comforting place."Our mornings start with hope, and though nothing is found that day, it's hard on all of us. So having the vigil last night just brought a warm feeling to our hearts."As the search wraps up its sixth week, Josie Naterer said the family has the resources to continue the search. They believe Jordan is still out there to be found."We have hope, we have the means," she said. "We're determined to find him. Whether it be today or next week in or two weeks, we won't give up."Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
Yukon RCMP and territorial government officials issued dozens of charges and warnings during a crackdown on commercial vehicles in the Watson Lake area last week.A release says 72 vehicles and their drivers were checked over a four-day period.Drivers were checked to see if they were sober and properly licensed, their cargos were properly secured and their paperwork was in order."The trucking industry is vital to the Yukon, and the majority of people in the industry operate within the scope of the law," said Yukon Highways and Public Works official Sebastien Nadeau."It's unfortunate however, that this enforcement blitz saw so many infractions. We will continue to work with the RCMP and carrier compliance [unit] as well as National Safety Code to enforce the rules and ensure road safety," he said.Forty-four charges were issued, the release says, and 32 warnings were given. Most of the drivers were tested for impaired driving.The release says the offences included: * Three 24 hour driving suspensions, two related to alcohol use and the other to fatigue. * One 72 hour suspension for a falsified log book. * One improperly licensed driver. * Three charges for transporting inadequately secured cargo. * One charge for fail to report to weigh scale. * Two charges for careless driving. * Two charges for operating an uninsured vehicle."The violations identified in Watson Lake are reflective of the offences seen throughout the year, and as such drivers can expect to see our continued joint enforcement both roadside and at check stops", said RCMP Cpl. Natasha Dunmall with Yukon RCMP Traffic Services. The checkstops were done on the Alaska Highway, the Robert Campbell Highway and Highway 37.
OTTAWA — Vaccines are now a bright spot of hope on the COVID-19 pandemic horizon. But much about them, and their rollout in Canada, remains up in the air. Here’s what we know so far:What are the leading candidates?Manufacturers Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca have all filed applications to have their vaccine candidates approved in Canada. Under a “rolling submission" process, producers hand over data — from animal tests, for example — as it comes rather than as a complete package.That information includes how the vaccine candidates perform in different demographic groups and data about possible harms and risks.Dr. Supriya Sharma, chief medical adviser at Health Canada, says final data packages for some vaccines are expected as soon as the next few days, and that the vaccine being developed by Pfizer and BioNTech could get the green light next month.Why don’t we know when they’ll be distributed?The Liberal government says the first vaccine shipments should start to roll off tarmacs and port terminals early next year, bound initially for priority groups, including seniors in long-term care homes and front-line workers. But much about the deployment process has yet to be announced.Canada has struck purchasing deals with five pharmaceutical manufacturers, and agreements in principle with two more, paving the way for at least 194 million vaccine doses if all their products are eventually approved. But remaining question marks include which vaccines will pass muster and when and how details of provincial allocations from Ottawa will be nailed down.Meanwhile, the country's limited manufacturing capacity has curtailed domestic vaccine production options and resulted in greater dependence on vaccines made in foreign countries, which tend to prioritize their own citizens.What are the logistical hurdles?Distributing a vaccine poses massive logistical challenges. The unprecedented process involves providing up to two doses of a vaccine — which the leading candidates require instead of just one — to nearly 38 million Canadians spread across a vast country within several months. Ottawa is taking the lead on procurement and overall distribution, but on-the-ground delivery will be handled by the provinces, creating a complex deployment chain.Some vaccines are easier to move around than others. The Pfizer vaccine needs to be transported and stored at -70 C to remain effective, which would slow its rollout, though Ottawa has already purchased some cold storage for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. The Moderna vaccine candidate also requires freezing but not at the same temperature as the Pfizer candidate.AstraZeneca's vaccine is even less finicky about storage temperature but the company said Thursday that promising results from its clinical trials need further validation.Meanwhile the government is trying to contract transport companies for vaccine shipments. On Friday, Trudeau named Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, who commanded NATO troops in Iraq, to head up the Canadian military's role in co-ordinating logistics and lead the vaccine's eventual rollout across the country.Experts believe more than half of Canadians will be inoculated by September “if all goes well,” Trudeau said.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 27, 2020.The Canadian Press
LONDON, Ont. — An outbreak that prompted a London, Ont., hospital to stop new admissions at its medical wards has expanded to some of its surgical units.Middlesex-London Health Unit has ordered a pause to all visitations at University Hospital.Only visitors for dying patients are allowed.London Health Sciences Centre did not say whether the newly affected surgical units will remain open.The health network had said that new medical patients at University Hospital will be transferred to Victoria Hospital.As of Thursday, there were two deaths, 21 patients, 23 staff cases linked to the outbreak.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 25, 2020.This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.The Canadian Press
Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante can now add "author" to her resume with the publication of a graphic novel in which she recounts her entry into politics and takes subtle digs at the sexism she's encountered along the way.'"Okay, Universe: Chronicles of a Woman in Politics," tells the story of Simone Simoneau — modelled on Plante — a young community organizer who decides to take the plunge into politics by running for a seat on city council.Published in both English and French and co-authored by illustrator Delphie Cote-Lacroix, the book follows the initially hesitant Simoneau as she learns to fundraise, knock on doors and recruit volunteers.Plante, 46, said she began to toy with the idea of publishing a book after she won the mayoralty in 2017. Writing a typical political autobiography didn't appeal, she said."For me the graphic novel format was always what I wanted," she said in a recent interview at her publisher's offices."I think it’s accessible, it can be fun, and I love graphic novels myself."The book is based on Plante's own sketches and anecdotes she began jotting down in 2013, during her first run for a seat on city council. Four years later, she became the first woman elected mayor of Montreal after her surprise defeat of experienced incumbent Denis Coderre.While the writing and drawings were initially a form of self-care to help her "stay balanced," she said she eventually came to see that her story might inspire others, especially young girls."I wanted to show, and maybe tell, people it’s OK not to have all the keys and codes to do something you think would be a good thing to do or you believe in," she said."Just go for it."She began working with Cote-Lacroix on evenings and weekends, taking about two years to finalize the story and illustrations.Plante said that, much like her character in the book, she had been looking for a new challenge before her entry into politics. Then she received a phone call from left-wing municipal party Projet Montreal, which was looking to diversify its slate of candidates.In the book, Plante doesn't shy away from the challenges faced by women who put themselves in the public eye. At one point, one of her character's posters is defaced by sexist graffiti. In another, her character's husband gets effusive praise for helping to care for the couple's children — something the book points out is a given for female political spouses. While the book "won't change sexism," Plante said she hopes it will help highlight the double standards women face.Three years into her mandate, Plante has had a bumpy year, marked by a global pandemic that has devastated the city's economy and criticism over her administration's failure to implement its big visions for affordable housing and transportation. She has also faced anger over what some have described as an anti-car agenda, which includes building bike lanes, eliminating parking spots and temporarily closing some streets to vehicle traffic to create "sanitary corridors." At times, that criticism has escalated to the level of death threats.While some criticism is to be expected, Plante attributes much of the public anger directed her way to the anxiety wrought by the pandemic."Not to minimize their actions of being very aggressive, violent or doing death threats, but I like to hope in the future, when people are less stressed and in a better position, things will calm down," she said.She also faced criticism earlier this year over her novel itself, with some high-profile commentators questioning her decision to "draw cartoons" as the city was embroiled in the COVID-19 crisis.Plante dismissed this as unfounded, especially since she says the writing process wrapped up in late 2019."People were just kind of trashing the book (without) even reading it, which I thought was sad, because it wasn’t about the content, it was about criticizing the author," she said. However, she did push back the book's publication for a few months when the pandemic's second wave began.Plante said she would still recommend politics to young people who want to make a difference, even as she acknowledges it's a "tough" career that comes with unusual levels of public exposure. "But hopefully people see in the book, the love that you get from your volunteers, it's a community, it’s people working together," she said."It’s worth it."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 28, 2020.Morgan Lowrie, The Canadian Press
TORONTO — Rogers Communications Inc. says it was exploring the future of its Toronto stadium before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, but the virus has caused it to put those plans on hold."Prior to the pandemic, we were exploring options for the stadium but through this year our primary focus has been keeping our customers connected and keeping our employees safe, so there is no update on the Rogers Centre to share at this time," said the telecommunications company's spokesperson Andrew Garas in a statement to The Canadian Press.His remarks come after the Globe and Mail reported Friday that Rogers and Brookfield Asset Management Inc., were looking to tear down the stadium as part of a larger development project. The two companies would build a new stadium half the size on the southern part of the current site and use the remaining land for residential towers, office buildings, stores and public space, the Globe said, citing unnamed sources.Brookfield declined to comment on the matter. The Globe also reported that Rogers and Brookfield were exploring the possibility of building a stadium along the waterfront if the development plan falls through on a slice of land called Quayside, where Google affiliate Sidewalk Labs once hoped to construct a tech-savvy neighbourhood."The news this morning was the first Waterfront Toronto has heard of the Quayside site as a potential new home for the Blue Jays," said Andrew Tumilty, a spokesperson for Waterfront Toronto, the agency overseeing the development of the city's lakefront.Such a plan would need "extensive scrutiny" and require the organization to consider existing, approved precinct plans, as well as the size and shape of the site, he said in an email.The Rogers Centre, formerly known as the SkyDome, opened in 1989 and seats more than 53,000.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 27, 2020.Companies in this story: (TSX: RCI. B, TSX: BAM)The Canadian Press
MISSISSAUGA, Ont. — Investigators say they have found a fourth gun at the scene where a one-year-old boy was shot dead. They say three officers opened fire on the baby's father after his pickup truck crashed into a cruiser, injuring an officer. The Special Investigations Unit says the boy in the back seat was killed by gunfire. His 33-year-old father and a provincial police officer were injured. The SIU says there were three police-issued firearms at the scene, and they found a handgun in the pickup truck. The incident, which followed an alleged child abduction, occurred Thursday in Kawartha Lakes, Ont. An autopsy has been scheduled for Saturday morning. "The SIU appreciates the public interest in this tragic case and is doing what it can to get answers to the public as quickly as possible while ensuring that the integrity of the investigation is not compromised," the agency said in a statement. "We ask for the public’s continued patience. The father and police officer were both in hospital in stable condition, the SIU said. Four investigators, two forensic investigators and a collision reconstructionist were probing the incident, the SIU said, and three officers are under investigation. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 27, 2020. The Canadian Press
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump still won't bring himself to concede the election he decisively lost to President-elect Joe Biden. But he's now acknowledging he will leave the White House if Biden's win is affirmed by the Electoral College, which is firmly on track to do just that in a few weeks.“Certainly I will," he said Thursday when asked if he will vacate the premises after electors make Biden's win formal. “But you know that."Trump, who took questions from reporters for the first time since the election, unleashed another round of complaints about the vote and theatrical warnings that “a lot of things” would happen before the Electoral College meets Dec. 14 that could possibly change results. But while he's stirring uncertainty about how he will behave in the weeks ahead, there is no real suspense about the outcome.All states must certify their results before the Electoral College meets and any challenge must be resolved by Dec. 8. States have already begun that process, including Michigan, where Trump and his allies tried and failed to delay the process, and Georgia and Pennsylvania.Nothing stands in the way of Biden taking office Jan. 20 with a clear margin of electoral votes.No concession is needed from Trump for Biden to become president, none has been offered and Trump may never admit he was beaten fair and square. But there were a few signs that Trump was coming to terms with his loss.At one point he expressed concern that Biden would get the glory from pending coronavirus vaccines. “Don’t let him take credit for the vaccines," Trump said, “because the vaccines were me, and I pushed people harder than they’ve ever been pushed before.”The fact that a sitting American president even had to address whether or not he would leave office after losing reelection underscores the extent to which Trump has smashed one convention after another over the last three weeks.Vote certification at the local and state level is typically a ministerial task that gets little notice, but that changed with Trump's fierce but fruitless legal challenges and attempts to manipulate the certification process in battleground states he lost.No evidence has emerged of the widespread voting fraud that Trump and his legal team have repeatedly alleged, only to be slapped down by judges and state election officials.Trump spoke to reporters in the White House’s ornate Diplomatic Reception Room after holding a teleconference with U.S. military leaders stationed across the globe. He thanked them for their service, joked that they shouldn't eat too much turkey, then turned to the election after ending the call. He repeated grievances and angrily denounced officials in Georgia and Pennsylvania, two key states that helped give Biden the win.Trump’s administration has already given the green light for a formal transition to get underway. Yet Trump took issue with Biden moving forward.“I think it’s not right that he’s trying to pick a Cabinet,” Trump said, even though officials from both teams are already working together to get Biden’s team up to speed.Asked if he'll attend the inauguration, Trump said he knows the answer but doesn't want to say.He said he'll go to Georgia to rally supporters before two Senate runoff elections that will determine which party controls the Senate. The White House said that rally is expected Dec. 5.One of the reasons Republicans have stood by Trump and his baseless claims of fraud has been to keep his loyal base energized for those Jan. 5 runoffs. But Trump, in his remarks, openly questioned whether that election would be fair, casting suspicions that could dampen Republican turnout.“I think you’re dealing with a very fraudulent system," he said. “I’m very worried about that.” He said: “People are very disappointed that we were robbed.”Trump made clear that he will probably never formally concede, even if he said he would leave the White House.“It’s gonna be a very hard thing to concede," he said. “Because we know there was massive fraud.”Electors “will have made a mistake” by affirming Biden's win, he said.Yet “time isn’t on our side.”Will he run again in 2024? Trump said he doesn't “want to talk about 2024 yet.”“This has a long way to go,” Trump said, even though he lost.Jill Colvin, The Associated Press
Ontario Premier Doug Ford is lashing out at people protesting COVID-19 lockdown measures outside his house. During his daily briefing, Ford called the protesters "buffoons" and asked them to respect his family and neighbours.
Alberta Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw is “profoundly disappointed” that 20 recordings of private meetings of the provincial emergency response team were leaked to the public. The recordings, made public by a CBC story published Thursday morning, paint a picture of Premier Jason Kenney and the provincial government overruling the expert advice of Hinshaw and civil servants and pushing an early relaunch strategy focused on the economy. “I have always felt my ideas are respectfully considered. I have always had respectful discussions with public servants and elected officials,” Hinshaw said to reporters on Thursday. “I do not dictate every detail of each policy decision and I should not. I was not elected by Albertans. The final decisions are up to elected officials who were chosen by Albertans. This is how democracy works." Alberta's top doctors said while the 20 meetings were leaked, they were taken out of the broader context of the meetings, and don’t show the meetings before and after the ones recorded as part of ongoing discussions to keep Albertans safe. The meetings were supposed to be private and a safe space, Hinshaw said, and leaking them is a violation of trust and the oath that public servants take. “The safety and trust are now broken,” Hinshaw said. Alberta Minister of Health Tyler Shandro sang Hinshaw’s praises Thursday afternoon, calling her one of the finest chief medical officers of health in the country. Shandro said the CBC story violated Hinshaw’s confidence and embarrassed her. “I called Dr. Hinshaw this morning to say she has nothing to apologize for and she has my complete confidence,” Shandro said. In the past 24 hours, the province confirmed another 1,082 cases of COVID-19, bringing the provincial total of active cases up to 14,052. There are currently 383 people in the hospital including 84 people in intensive care. Ten more people have died from the virus, bringing the total amount of people who have died to 510. Yesterday, there were 15,900 tests done. Around 100,000 COVID-19 rapid testing kits will debut in the province in December. The COVID-19 testing capacity will allow for the identification and notification of positive cases in less than 20 minutes, which will speed up care and isolation, reducing the risk of further spread. The tests will be used on patients who are within the first seven days of showing symptoms, allowing health officials to quickly identify positive cases at testing sites, reducing the need for patient samples to be transported to centralized public laboratories for processing. To ensure the validity of the results, two swabs will be collected from each patient, and all negative tests from both systems will be subject to confirmation by the existing lab-based testing method. This is because a negative result is not as reliable as traditional testing and the test may miss some COVID-positive samples. Alberta’s health officials said they will use these pilots to determine how to streamline processes related to patient management, results notifications and digital record-keeping before the tests are deployed widely across the province. The province is looking at expanding the use of the tests where it can be of the greatest value to the public, such as at homeless shelters and long-term care facilities.Jennifer Henderson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, St. Albert Gazette
Comme chaque année, les gens sont invités à faire preuve de générosité pour la Grande guignolée organisée par le Centre d'action bénévole (CAB) de Port-Cartier. L'organisme ne récolte que des dons en argent. La directrice du CAB de Port-Cartier, Laurencia Bond, explique qu'il y a deux façons pour faire un don. Les gens peuvent se présenter en personne aux locaux du CAB de Port-Cartier ou ils peuvent le faire en ligne en suivant ce lien. Il est possible de faire un don jusqu'au 16 décembre. Un reçu aux fins d’impôts pourra être remis pour les dons de 20$ et plus. L'argent récolté servira à offrir des bons en argent pour les familles dans le besoin. Avec ses bons, les personnes pourront se rendre dans les commerces pour acheter de la nourriture. Le CAB de Port-Cartier a commencé sa campagne en sollicitant les donations des entreprises de Port-Cartier. Jusqu'à présent, la grande guignolée a déjà réussi à amasser plus de 8 000$.Vincent Berrouard, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Nord-Côtier
Two Native American tribes in northern Minnesota are asking state regulators to stop the imminent construction of Enbridge Energy's Line 3 crude oil pipeline replacement, saying it would increase the risk of coronavirus infections spreading.The Red Lake and White Earth Bands of Chippewa filed a motion late Wednesday asking the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission to stay its approval of the $2.6 billion project. They argue construction would put locals at increased risk of coronavirus infections as workers move into the area.The bands and other pipeline opponents have sued and protested to try to block the project, and an appeal by the state Commerce Department is pending. They want the PUC to halt the project while that legal challenge plays out.The pipeline project took a step forward on Monday when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers approved the final federal permit needed. The Public Utilities Commission has already approved the project several times, but still needs to give construction a final green light.Enbridge says the pipeline replacement will provide a safer way to transport the oil to Midwest refineries while creating 4,200 construction jobs and generating millions of dollars in local spending and tax revenues.Opponents say the project threatens spills in pristine waters where Native Americans harvest wild rice and that the Canadian tar sands oil it would carry would aggravate climate change.The Associated Press