Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar told reporters Thursday that several hundred thousand ballots remain to be counted in the state where results are highly anticipated amid a tight national electoral race.
Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar told reporters Thursday that several hundred thousand ballots remain to be counted in the state where results are highly anticipated amid a tight national electoral race.
White House senior adviser Jared Kushner and his team are headed to Saudi Arabia and Qatar this week for talks in a region simmering with tension after the killing of an Iranian nuclear scientist. A senior administration official said on Sunday that Kushner is to meet Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the Saudi city of Neom, and the emir of Qatar in that country in the coming days.
The head of a U.S. biotechnology company that is developing one of the most promising COVID-19 vaccine candidates says Canada is not far behind other countries when it comes to receiving doses of its vaccine, despite criticism of the government's procurement plan from the Conservative opposition. "Canada is not at the back of the line," Noubar Afeyan, co-founder and chairman of Moderna, told CBC's Chief Political Correspondent Rosemary Barton on Sunday. Afeyan said because Canada was among the first countries to make a pre-order with Moderna, the country is guaranteed to receive a certain portion of the company's initial batch of doses as long as the vaccine proves safe and effective and is given regulatory approval. "The people who were willing to move early on with even less proof of the efficacy have assured the amount of supply they were willing to sign up to," Afeyan said in an interview on Rosemary Barton Live. "Nothing that happened subsequently can affect that." Moderna's mRNA vaccine is currently in Phase 3 clinical trials and preliminary data released two weeks ago show it appears to be 94.5 per cent effective. Millions of doses procured The federal government secured an agreement on Aug. 5 with Moderna for 20 million doses of its vaccine, with the option to procure an additional 36 million doses. The U.S. announced a deal for up to 500 million doses just days later while the U.K. and European Union inked deals with Moderna only in the past two weeks. In total, Canada has procured some 358 million doses from seven companies — the most per capita of any country in the world, according to research from Duke University's Global Health Institute. WATCH | Federal government pressured on when Canadians will get COVID-19 vaccine Despite that promising news, the Liberal government came under intense pressure this week to lay out a timeline for when Canadians will begin receiving an inoculation as countries like the U.S., U.K. and Germany have all announced plans to begin vaccinating their populations in December. Opposition politicians and some premiers argued Canada was falling behind other countries in its planning after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canadians would have to wait to get vaccinated because the first doses of any vaccine will go to people in the countries where the vaccines are being manufactured. Federal officials said on Thursday that if all goes well as many as three million Canadians — mainly those in "high-priority groups" — could be vaccinated in early 2021. One day later, Trudeau said that Canada is on track to vaccinate nearly every person who wants a shot by September 2021. But officials have provided few details about the government's plan to roll out a vaccine once Health Canada gives one the green light. Conservative critiques At a press conference on Sunday, Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole repeated his view that Canada is behind other countries in procuring a vaccine. "While the Americans and the British are talking about mass vaccination throughout December and January, our government is now talking about getting Canadians vaccinated by September," O'Toole said. "We need to show Canadians that there is a plan for the vaccine." O'Toole said the Trudeau government only turned its attention to pre-ordering tens of millions of vaccine doses from companies such as Pfizer and Moderna in August after its collaboration between the National Research Council and Chinese vaccine maker CanSino collapsed following months of delays. "I would not have put all our eggs in the basket of China," O'Toole said. Regulatory approval pending Companies have compressed the time it normally takes to develop a vaccine by initiating the manufacturing of doses even before studies into their efficacy are completed as part of a global effort to develop COVID-19 vaccines as quickly as possible to bring the pandemic to an end. Moderna is in the process of applying for emergency-use authorization with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Once the company obtains that authorization, Afeyan said it will begin shipping doses to countries that have made pre-orders, including Canada. Afeyan said he expects to start shipping the vaccine to Canada in the first quarter of 2021 and the quantity of shipments should increase through the second quarter and throughout the rest of the year. The company expects to be able to produce a total of 20 million doses by the end of 2020 and between 500 million and 1 billion doses throughout 2021. Moderna submitted early safety and pre-clinical data from Phase 1 and 2 trials with Health Canada last month as part of the regulator's rolling regulatory review process. Health Canada must approve any COVID-19 vaccine before it can be distributed to Canadians. Experts say Moderna's vaccine — which requires two shots taken 28 days apart — will be relatively easy to store and distribute because the vaccine can remain stable at normal fridge temperatures of 2 C to 8 C for 30 days. By contrast, another leading candidate manufactured by U.S. pharmaceutical giant Pfizer must be shipped and stored at -70 C. WATCH | Health Minister on how the federal government should address vaccine hesitancy: Health Minister Patty Hajdu said it's difficult to nail down a delivery date at the moment for any of the leading vaccine candidates because of the long list of uncertainties stemming from unfinished clinical trials, ongoing regulatory reviews, and manufacturing and logistical challenges related to distribution. "We're all anxious to get out of this mess as a world, but certainly as a country as well," Hajdu said. "As Canada's health minister, I'm staying focused on Canadians and on our own process, making sure our delivery plans are well laid out and that we have what we need in terms of being able to deliver on the variety of different kinds of vaccines." Hajdu added that her top priority is ensuring that Health Canada has what it needs to make sure the regulatory process proceeds smoothly so that any vaccines that are approved are safe and effective.
TORONTO — Independent reviews of the hundreds of inmates placed in segregation over the past year found only a handful were inappropriate, new government data indicate. According to the previously unpublished information from Correctional Service Canada, only two per cent of reviews by independent external decision-makers resulted in inmates moved out of isolation, and then not always right away. "There can be rare cases where the removal may not be immediate, for example, if the inmate refuses to leave or a transfer is pending for a suitable placement," the service said. "Our goal is to ensure they can be safely returned to a different environment, which in most cases is to a mainstream population." The data, viewed with skepticism by critics, indicate that external reviewers weighed in 1,475 times as of Nov. 1. Of those, 905 were triggered by inmates isolated for longer than the legally allowed stretches. One year ago, after the courts had repeatedly struck down administrative segregation used to isolate prisoners who posed a threat to themselves or others, the government implemented a new system called structured intervention units. Key changes included allowing inmates out of their cells for at least four hours a day, giving them a daily minimum of two hours of meaningful interaction with others, and putting an external oversight mechanism in place that can result in binding directives. Since then, reviewers have looked at the confinement conditions of about 740 individual inmates. The aim was to see whether authorities were abiding by the new rules, such as giving prisoners a chance to be out of their cells and interact with others. Overall, the reviews concluded authorities took all reasonable steps to meet their obligations in 79 per cent of the cases, the service said. Critics, however, have called the new system rebranded solitary confinement. For example, criminologist Anthony Doob, who led a government advisory committee on the issue, and colleague Jane Sprott, concluded the government was failing to live up to the legislated requirements. Among other things, their analysis found a sizable percentage of inmates had spent more than two months in confinement and few had received the mandated four hours daily out of their cells and two hours of human contact. Dr. Adelina Iftene, an assistant law professor at Dalhousie University, said the new data raise questions about the review process or IEDMs. "Either there is a lack of clarity on what exactly are the role and powers of the IEDMs, or the IEDMs are tigers without teeth, or the IEDMs are not fulfilling their role," Iftene said. "The implication remains that there may still be no effective oversight of placements in the SIUs." The tiny number of reviews resulting in directives to move an inmate from confinement also raises questions about the quality of the information fed to reviewers, Iftene said. "Did they know that so many people were effectively experiencing solitary confinement?" she said. "If so, how is it possible that they recommended removal from the SIUs only in two per cent of cases?" Whether individuals’ rights are being upheld is a yes or no question, Iftene added. There are no “reasonable steps.” Correctional Service Canada defended its approach, saying the new system is part of a "historic transformation" that can't happen overnight. "It takes time to instill cultural and transformational change," the service said. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 29, 2020. Colin Perkel, The Canadian Press
Accroître l’autonomie agroalimentaire, énergétique et en produits manufacturés du Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean. C’est le projet dont la coopérative Système T souhaite être le fer de lance en unissant la classe politique derrière l’idée de faire de la région la deuxième FabRégion du Québec. Le concept a attiré l’attention de Jean Duplain, directeur général de la jeune coopérative fondée cet automne à Chicoutimi, lorsque le Bas-Saint-Laurent a décroché à la mi-octobre le titre de première FabRégion de la province et du pays. Le Bas-Saint-Laurent est en fait la quatrième FabRégion au monde, après deux régions françaises et une région mexicaine. Mais qu’est-ce qu’une FabRégion ? Une région qui s’engage à atteindre 50 % d’autonomie d’ici 2054 dans les secteurs de l’agroalimentaire, de l’énergie et de la production manufacturière. Jean Duplain a été séduit par le concept qui permettrait, à ses yeux, d’apporter une réponse aux enjeux de développement régional que connaît le Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean. « C’est un concept qui fédère tout le monde autour d’une vision commune », expose-t-il. Le projet permettrait aussi de rassembler des initiatives déjà existantes dans différents secteurs. « La FabRégion, c’est vraiment une démarche de devenir adulte comme région en prenant sa destinée en main », explique le directeur général de la coopérative dédiée au soutien de projets qui s’inscrivent dans l’accélération de la transition socioécologique. Parrainage Pour la soutenir dans ses démarches, la coopérative pourra compter sur le parrainage du Bas-Saint-Laurent. Rachel Berthiaume, co-coordonnatrice au Living Lab en innovation ouverte au Cégep de Rivière-du-Loup, s’est montrée enthousiaste à l’idée. Celle qui a été impliquée dans la reconnaissance du Bas-Saint-Laurent comme FabRégion préfère en fait se donner le titre de « contamineuse en chef ». Car le partage est au coeur du concept de FabRégion. Il s’inscrit dans l’initiative FabCity, un réseau mondial d’innovation ouverte qui rassemble, depuis 2014, une trentaine de villes qui souhaitent augmenter leur autonomie en misant sur les échanges numériques. « Profitons du fait que la société s’est numérisée et profitons du fait qu’on est capables d’échanger de la connaissance pour pouvoir mieux produire localement », résume la chercheuse. La FabRégion du Bas-Saint-Laurent est elle-même parrainée dans son développement par la FabCity de Paris. Rencontre avec des élus régionaux Système T souhaite organiser une rencontre avec des élus du Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean après les Fêtes pour leur présenter le concept de FabRégion. Le soutien des élus, qui doivent signer une lettre d’appui, et la fédération de la communauté autour du projet sont essentiels pour intégrer le réseau. Si la mobilisation s’orchestre rapidement, le dossier de candidature de la région, appelé « déclaration », pourrait être présenté lors du prochain Sommet FabCity, sommet mondial du réseau qui doit avoir lieu en août 2021, à Montréal. Cet objectif semble réaliste aux yeux de Rachel Berthiaume. La région devra cependant faire vite si elle souhaite devenir la deuxième FabRégion du Québec et du pays, car le concept suscite aussi de l’intérêt dans d’autres régions depuis que le Bas-Saint-Laurent a décroché le titre. Le Québec pourrait même devenir la première « FabProvince » en devenant le « premier territoire interconnecté dans le monde », lance la contamineuse en chef, qui estime que l’intérêt envers le concept n’est pas étranger à la réflexion sur l’autosuffisance suscitée par la pandémie. Faire un état des lieux Le projet de FabRégion demande également de dresser un état des lieux sur le niveau d’autonomie du territoire. Un chantier important attend le Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean sur ce plan. « C’est fou, on n’a pas la réponse, à savoir on en est où au niveau de l’autonomie présentement ; là, c’est très difficile », constate Jean Duplain, qui a effectué de premières démarches en ce sens. Les constats tirés peuvent parfois être surprenants, partage Rachel Berthiaume, en donnant l’exemple de la production de viande bovine pour le Bas-Saint-Laurent. « On sait qu’on produit ce qu’on mange. Mais 80 % de ce qu’on produit est parti, s’en va ailleurs et ce qu’on consomme en boeuf arrive d’ailleurs. On s’entend qu’il y a un petit décalage ? », soulève-t-elle. Une fois l’état des lieux connu, la réflexion pour repenser la production agroalimentaire, énergétique et manufacturière peut être lancée. « Devenir une FabRégion et être autonome à 50 %, ça ne veut pas dire produire plus, résume la chercheuse. Ça veut dire produire différemment, avec ce qu’il y a déjà aussi, sur notre territoire. » \+ UNE OPPORTUNITÉ POUR RÉUNIR DES INITIATIVES EXISTANTES Le projet de faire reconnaître le Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean comme une FabRégion permettrait de réunir des initiatives déjà existantes qui visent à augmenter l’autonomie régionale, estime la directrice d’AgroBoréal. Le collectif Borée regroupe, par exemple, une dizaine d’acteurs qui mènent des projets liés à l’autonomie alimentaire, souligne en ce sens Isabelle T. Rivard, directrice du créneau d’excellence. Elle accueille favorablement l’idée que la région entre dans le réseau FabCity en devenant une FabRégion. « Nous, on n’aime pas quand on dédouble des choses. Essayer de regrouper ce qu’on fait déjà de bien, et le valoriser davantage, c’est un bon réflexe », estime-t-elle. Le collectif Borée a été lancé dans la région au début de l’année, lors du Sommet pour une alimentation durable. Saguenay, le Centre intégré universitaire de santé et de services sociaux (CIUSSS) de la région, la Fédération régionale de l’Union des producteurs agricoles, l’Université du Québec à Chicoutimi et le Cégep de Saint-Félicien en font partie, entre autres. AgroBoréal, au nombre des membres du collectif, offre des « facilités administratives » pour soutenir l’initiative. Le projet a d’ailleurs reçu des fonds publics pour assurer sa coordination. Les partenaires devront identifier les actions et stratégies à soutenir. « Ce sont tous des chantiers qui sont en montage ou en développement pour la plupart », explique la responsable du créneau, dont la mission est de soutenir l’innovation et le réseautage dans le domaine agroalimentaire régional. L’amélioration des systèmes de production en serre et l’accès à la commercialisation de la viande grâce aux abattoirs de proximité font partie des chantiers de réflexion et projets sur la table.Myriam Gauthier, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Quotidien
A volcano in Indonesia's East Nusa Tenggara province erupted on Sunday, spewing ash and smoke as high as four kilometers into the sky and forcing more than 2,700 residents to seek refuge, the country's disaster mitigation agency said. Indonesia has nearly 130 active volcanoes, more than any other country, and while many show high levels of activity it can be weeks or even months before an eruption. Raditya Jati, a spokesman for the agency, said in a statement that the eruption from the Mt. Ile Lewotolok volcano, about 2,600 kilometers east of Indonesia's capital of Jakarta, had caused panic among those living nearby.
ATLANTA — Bishop Reginald Jackson stepped to the microphone at a drive-in rally outside a church in southwest Atlanta as his voice carried over a loudspeaker and the radio to people gathered in, around and on top of cars that filled the parking lot.“Let’s keep Georgia blue," Jackson said. “Let’s elect Jon Ossoff, Raphael Warnock to the United States Senate.” The presiding bishop of more than 400 African Methodist Episcopal churches in Georgia added a pastoral flourish as horns honked and supporters cheered: “If I have a witness, somebody say amen!"As Georgia becomes the nation’s political hotspot this winter before twin runoff elections Jan. 5 that will determine control of the Senate, faith-based organizing is heating up.Conservative Christians are rallying behind Republican Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, while Black churches and liberal-leaning Jewish groups are backing Democratic challengers Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff. The Democrats' fates are seen as intertwined in a state that this year turned blue in the presidential election for the first time since 1992 by a razor-thin margin.“These runoffs are critically important,” Jackson said. “We want to make sure there is no decrease in turnout.”Across Georgia, the African Methodist Episcopal Church is implementing a program designed to ensure its members, and Black voters overall, cast ballots in the runoff — focusing on votes by mail and early in-person voting. Pastors at each church remind tens of thousands of congregants every week to apply for an absentee ballot and of early voting dates, Jackson said in an interview. Each local church also follows up with congregants to make sure they have a plan to vote.The New Georgia Project, a nonpartisan voter mobilization group founded by Democrat Stacey Abrams, who ran for governor in 2018, is also preparing to tap the influence of faith communities in stoking turnout.Rev. Billy Honor, director of faith organizing at the group, said the conservative Christian Faith & Freedom Coalition — founded by former Georgia GOP chairman Ralph Reed — has long positioned Georgia “as the home of evangelical fundamentalist types when it comes to the political space."“But the truth is, for a very long time, there has been an active, effective movement of progressive-minded, justice-centred clergy” who have worked in the state on voting rights, health care and other issues, Honor added. He said Warnock was part of that work before his candidacy. Warnock is senior pastor at Atlanta's Ebenezer Baptist Church, the congregation led by the late Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.Meanwhile, Loeffler and Perdue can expect to benefit from a conservative Christian base that has long boosted the state’s Republicans. Faith & Freedom made Georgia one of its top three spending targets in a $50 million get-out-the-vote program during the general election and plans increased organizing for the runoffs.The reach of "the evangelical vote in Georgia is very large and very strong,” Timothy Head, the group’s executive director, said in an interview.Head noted that while President Donald Trump kept a strong hold on white evangelical voters this year, Perdue out-performed Trump in Georgia during the general election. President-elect Joe Biden may have won over some evangelicals by contrasting his character with that of Trump, Head said, but he argued that the same sort of case would be harder for Democrats to make against Loeffler and Perdue.Another faith-focused conservative group, the legislative affiliate of the Family Research Council, is holding trainings and pastor briefings before the runoffs. The anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony List, whose president advised Trump’s reelection campaign on Catholic outreach, has announced a $4.1 million plan to boost Loeffler and Perdue through a partner political action committee.Religious issues already have become a campaign flashpoint in the runoff. The GOP has resurfaced excerpts from past Warnock sermons to assail him as insufficiently supportive of the military as well as anti-Israel. The Democrat signed a letter last year comparing Israel's policy toward Palestinians to “previous oppressive regimes" and criticized it in a 2018 sermon, while also calling for a two-state solution in the region.Warnock pushed back in a recently released television ad, saying the attacks are “trying to scare people by taking things I’ve said out of context from over 25 years of being a pastor.”One group criticizing Warnock as too left-leaning on Israel, the Republican Jewish Coalition, is also mobilizing on behalf of the GOP incumbents.Jewish Democrats in Georgia predicted that the GOP attack on Warnock’s Israel record would fall flat, citing his record of friendship with the Jewish community through his pulpit at Ebenezer.Sherry Frank, president of the Atlanta section of the National Council of Jewish Women, said she sees “no doubt in the Jewish community about (Warnock’s) stance on Israel and anti-Semitism.” Frank's group is conducting nonpartisan voter turnout work for the runoffs.Georgia’s Jewish Democrats also see, in Ossoff and Warnock, candidates whose joint push for the Senate harkens back to a tradition of Black and Jewish leaders working together during the civil rights movement. Warnock has a bond with a prominent Atlanta rabbi whose predecessor at the synagogue was close with King.Warnock is viewed “as the inheritor" of King’s legacy, said Michael Rosenzweig, co-chair of the Georgia chapter of the Jewish Democratic Council of America, which has endorsed both Democrats. “And to the extent that Jews were supportive of the civil rights struggle and supportive of (King), I think they look supportively on Rev. Warnock.”Ossoff, who is Jewish, has defended Warnock against GOP criticism over Israel and fondly recalled his own connection to the late Rep. John Lewis, a Georgia civil rights leader who endorsed Ossoff before his death in July. In October, Ossoff said he and Lewis talked during their first meeting about “the bond between the Black and Jewish communities, marching alongside rabbis and young Jewish activists in the mid 1960s ... and how important it was that these communities be brought together."___Schor reported from Washington.___Associated Press religion coverage receives support from the Lilly Endowment through the Religion News Foundation. The AP is solely responsible for this content.Elana Schor And Ben Nadler, The Associated Press
A Sherwood Park teacher is being recognized for an unusual classroom project he created at Salisbury Composite High School. Kristian Basaraba teaches what he calls a "sk8trepreneur" course and one of his recent projects, Exploring Colonialism, Creativity and Reconciliation with Skateboards, combines skateboard design with Indigenous history. The project has just won him the Governor General's History Award for Excellence. "I'm super honoured, it's not really about the award, although, you know it's nice to be recognized," Basaraba said. "I'm more excited about the fact that this project has the potential to bring some of these issues to light on a national stage." Basaraba asked his students to create their own skateboard brands including a logo and purpose for their brand, all with an Indigenous theme. "Then they had to create brand assets, so they had to handmake a skateboard," he said. Basaraba recruited Edmonton-based Cree artist Jon Cardinal and Cree professional skateboarder Joe Buffalo from Maskwacis for their expertise and experience. "My goal was for my students to work with the artist and create skateboard graphics that looked at Canadians' colonial past," Basaraba said. Cardinal has experience as a skateboard designer and Buffalo had attended a residential school so the pair were able to pass on their perspectives to the students, some of whom are indigenous. "We had students whose grandparents attended residential schools and dealt with the effects of that and so they shared some of that story with us," Basaraba said. One design that really stuck out for him was by student Georgia Lantz. "Her image was of a group of Indigenous youth in a classroom being watched over by a clergy person and all of their eyes are blanked out," Basaraba said. "It's a really powerful image." Lantz said she and her fellow students were given creative freedom, even if their design was controversial. "I could really do what I thought was best and most meaningful," the Grade 12 student said. "I wanted to show the loss of identities that kids faced in residential schools and the religious trauma that was forced upon them." Lantz is happy to hear her teacher is being recognized for the unorthodox project. "It's pretty cool," she said. "I know he put a lot of hard work into the class and it really showed." As an added bonus, Basaraba arranged to have the students' designs displayed at Edmonton skateboard shop Local 124. "We had an actual kind of art exhibit and we had it there for five weeks," Basaraba said. "So that was kind of neat, the fact that they actually had their art out in the community." Basaraba believes it's important for everyone to be aware of Canada's past, including the wrongs that were committed, and he's happy to play a role in that. "I think we see with regard to Indigenous culture, a lot of systemic racism that exists and it continues to exist," he said. "By studying the past, we tend not to make those mistakes in the future and so that's in the hands of the youth. "I want people to not sugarcoat it and not push all of those issues under the rug. I wanted to bring them to the forefront and have my students kind of engage in them, and I wanted them to have a voice with regard to where that path to reconciliation will go." The award-winning teacher hopes to keep it rolling into the future. "I think this project is something that can be done annually with a new group of students and just continue that conversation."
Get some fresh air, they said. Be active in the great outdoors, they told us. But what seemed like a simple solution in this pandemic winter of our discontent has become trickier with new and ongoing health restrictions to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus. Consider, for example, skating at the community rink. "The restrictions apply to rinks just like anywhere else in the city," said Laura Cunningham-Shpeley, executive director of the Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues. "We can't have more than 10 people gather on the ice at one time on these rinks. We can't have any sports of any kind happening on the ice. There won't be any bathrooms or rink shacks open, at this point until Dec. 15," she told CBC Radio's Edmonton AM on Friday. On Tuesday, the Alberta government announced a swath of mandatory measures in response to the record-high levels of active and new cases of COVID-19 in the province. Indoor social activities are banned and outdoor activities can't exceed 10 people. Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the province's chief medical officer of health, has even said that a backyard gathering means no access to the home for warming up or using the washroom. The measures have also halted all team sport activities, which includes pick-up games of shinny. On the bright side, face masks are standard garb for downhill ski enthusiasts, which is good news for Edmonton's Snow Valley where they're mandatory at all times — even on the slopes. "You know, a run at Snow Valley is very quick," Tim Dae, spokesperson for the ski hill, told Edmonton AM on Friday. "To be flipping it on and off, I would find that somewhat annoying. So just keep it on." As a small hill — Dae estimates it has about 10 "ski-able" acres — Snow Valley is limiting the number of skiers on the hill at any one time. There are no such daily limits at Marmot Basin in Jasper, and vice-president Brian Rode said that business is booming for this time of year. "A very busy day would be about 3,500 people," Rode told Edmonton AM. "In November, a typically early-season Saturday, we might see 1,200 to 1,500. … Last Saturday, we saw 2,400." At both ski hills, masks, distancing and indoor capacity limits are being carefully enforced in lineups, rental areas, concessions and inside the chalet. "The only time you don't need to wear a mask is when you're actually skiing or snowboarding down the hill," Rode said about Marmot's protocols. "People have been very good about it. They're physically spacing themselves in the lineup. They're wearing masks." To encourage people to stay outdoors, Snow Valley has set up an outdoor tent that sells hot chocolate, snacks and the like, while Marmot — which has reduced its chalet capacity by 50 per cent — has tent-covered seating areas on its patios and extra outdoor food concessions and barbecues. "People do have choices," Rodes said. "What we don't accommodate indoors because of the reduced seating, we're making up for as best as we can in the outdoor spaces." Back at the rinks, Cunningham-Shpeley said some community leagues are simply holding off opening their ice surfaces. But those that have opened are using some creative strategies to allow winter fun to happen in a safe fashion. People should reach out to their league to find out what protocols are in place, she said. "Whether it be through a sign-up app that people have to sign up online for a slot an hour, that they can come skate, or just allowing people to come in and … bring your regular stick and just do some skills. Because shinny just can't happen right now," she said. "Until after Dec. 15, until we know more, the leagues are really trying to keep Edmontonians safe." Of the city's skating surfaces, only Victorial Oval is currently open. Skaters are urged to bring a mask and hand sanitizer, maintain physical distance and leave personal belongings at home.
Polling done exclusively by Ipsos for Global News showed that 60 per cent of Canadians surveyed approve of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's performance in response to the COVID-19 crisis, and that Trudeau’s Liberals maintain their advantage over the Conservatives, with a five-point lead over the party.
TOKYO — The cost of the one-year postponement of the Tokyo Olympics is estimated to be just under US$2 billion, or about 200 billion yen.Japan’s Kyodo news agency and the Yomiuri newspaper both reported the figure Sunday, citing unnamed sources close to Games organizers.The sources were granted anonymity because Games organizers have not publicly divulged the losses incurred as a result of thje postponement.The reported cost of the delay because of the COVID-19 pandemic is in line with repeated estimates over the last several months. The organizers, the Tokyo metro government and the Japanese national government are expected to report next month how the costs will be shared.The International Olympic Committee has said it would chip in about $650 million to cover some of the costs of the delay, but has offered few public details.Tokyo is becoming very expensive.The official cost of putting on the Tokyo Olympics is $12.6 billion. However, a government audit last year said it was probably twice that much. All but $5.6 billion is public money.Tokyo said the Games would cost $7.3 billion when it won the bid in 2013.The $2 billion only adds to the total. A University of Oxford study published early this year — calculated before the postponement — said Tokyo was the most expensive Summer Olympics on record and the meter is still running.The IOC and organizers have been campaigning over the last several months to convince sponsors and a skeptical Japanese public that the Olympics can be held safely in the middle of a pandemic.The Olympics are to open July 23, 2021, followed by the Paralympics on Aug. 24. They involve 15,400 athletes and ten of thousands of officials, judges, staff, VIPs, sponsors as well as media and broadcasters.IOC president Thomas Bach, who was in Tokyo earlier this month, has said a vaccine and improved rapid testing would help pull off the Olympics. But he cautioned they are not “silver bullets.”Athletes are expected to be closely monitored, held in quarantine-like conditions, discouraged from sightseeing and encouraged to leave as soon as they finish competing.Some fans are expected at the events, but it is unclear if many spectators from abroad will be allowed to attend.Japan has controlled COVID-19 better than most countries, but has seen a spike over the last several weeks in Tokyo and elsewhere. Tokyo set a one-day record for new infections Friday with 570. About 2,000 deaths in Japan have been attributed to COVID-19.—-More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_SportsStephen Wade, The Associated Press
A man is dead after he crashed his vehicle into the Princes' Gates at Exhibition Place early Sunday, Toronto police say. Police said they were called to the area of Lakeshore Boulevard West and Strachan Avenue at 4:19 a.m.. The man was driving at high speed and slammed into the gates. He was pronounced dead at the scene.Police have not released his age. Officers are currently investigating the crash.
If citizens disbelieve the institutions that count ballots and the organizations that accurately report on those results, it will impossible to agree on what a legitimate election looks like.
Trade union Verdi on Sunday called on workers at a German Amazon warehouse to strike for the second time in a week to disrupt the processing of orders following the 'Black Friday' discount shopping sales on Nov. 27. Scheduled to begin on Monday's night shift and finish at the end of Tuesday's late shift, the strike follows a three-day walkout between Thursday and Saturday last week in which more than 500 workers took part, Verdi said.. Verdi has been organising strikes at Amazon in Germany - the company’s biggest market after the United States - since 2013, along with other unions hoping to force the e-commerce company to recognise collective bargaining agreements that apply to retail employees at other firms.
Ontario reported another 1,708 cases of COVID-19 and 24 more deaths due to COVID-19 on Sunday. The new cases include 503 in Peel Region, 463 in Toronto and 185 in York Region. There are 1,443 more cases marked as resolved. The Ontario health ministry says another 53,959 tests were completed in the last 24 hours. Labs are reporting that 3.7 per cent of the tests processed are positive.Public health officials said this week that they hope to build capacity in the system for up to 100,000 tests daily.Other public health units that saw double-digit increases were: * Ottawa: 79. * Durham Region: 73. * Waterloo: 63. * Hamilton: 60. * Windsor-Essex: 37. * Halton: 31. * Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph: 30. * Simcoe Muskoka: 30. * Niagara Region: 28. * Middlesex-London: 20. * Thunder Bay: 19. * Southwestern: 17. * Eastern Ontario: 10. * Brant County: 10.(Note: All of the figures used in this story are found on the Ontario health ministry's COVID-19 dashboard or in its daily epidemiologic summary. The number of cases for any region may differ from what is reported by the local public health unit because local units report figures at different times.)The seven-day average for the number of new cases reported per day has reached a new high of 1,548, the highest it has been since the pandemic began. There are also 586 people in hospital, nine fewer than on Saturday. However, Saturday's hospitalization data saw an increase of 54 over a single day. Those hospitalizations are also nearly double what they were a month ago. There are 155 people in intensive care units as of Sunday and 99 of those individuals are on a ventilator, the same number as Saturday.The number of deaths in Ontario since the pandemic began has reached 3,648. A total of 503 of those deaths occurred this month.Of Sunday's deaths, one person was in his or her 50s, four people were in their 60s, three people were in their 70s and there were 10 people in their 80s and six in their 90s, respectively. 11 infections linked to Vaughan sports centreYork Region Public Health says that 11 confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been linked to indoor soccer games at a Vaughan sports centre in mid-November.The public health region issued a notice on Sunday to alert the public about a cluster of confirmed cases that emerged after a group of 20 to 25 people played soccer at the TRIO Sportplex and Event Centre, 601 Cityview Blvd., on Nov. 11 and Nov. 15. "While the group wore masks during play, masks were not worn in the change rooms," the public notice said.Everyone who played soccer over both days are considered high-risk and have been told to isolate for 14 days. York Region was moved to the province's red control zone on Nov. 16, which prohibits the playing or practising of team sports except for training. York Region continues enforcement blitzOfficials also continued an enforcement blitz at businesses to make sure they were following public health protocols for the province's "red" zones. The rules limit indoor dining to 10 customers at a time with physical distancing in place. Gyms, meanwhile, can only have 10 patrons inside at once, while 25 people can attend outdoor classes.Officers inspected 256 businesses on Sunday and issued tickets at 16, a news release said.An L.A. Fitness location in East Gwillimbury, Ont., and the Trio Sportsplex in Vaughan, Ont., are among those facing charges.Authorities have inspected 867 businesses since Friday, laid 32 charges and completed 1,151 "compliance education activities," the release said.New regions moving into more restrictive zones MondayOn Friday, Ontario announced that five more regions would be moved into more restrictive zones on Monday at 12:01 a.m.They include: * Red-Control * Windsor-Essex County Health Unit. * Orange-Restrict * Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit. * Yellow-Protect * Hastings Prince Edward Public Health. * Lambton Public Health. * Northwestern Health Unit.
When Kelly Lopes learned back in the spring that the Ontario government was ordering her teenaged children to stay home from school for their own safety but expected them and their parents to continue going to work, fear and anger set in almost immediately. In the seven months since then, however, the grocery store cashier said those emotions have given way to a numbness she said is sustaining her as she battles through the COVID-19 pandemic in Ontario's hardest-hit region.She said that as the second wave has swelled to shocking heights in Brampton, Ont., her job has gotten harder and customers have gotten more combative. "A lot of us are burnt out," Lopes said Friday. "I get that we're not paramedics or first responders, but we're still a huge essential to a country that needs to eat. Without us being here, how do you get your food?"Peel Region, just west of Toronto, has led the province in COVID-19 cases per capita for weeks now, with upwards of 180 new weekly cases per 100,000 residents — nearly triple the rate of the province as a whole. Brampton makes up less than half of Peel's population, but accounts for more than 60 per cent of its COVID-19 cases. Lopes said the fear she feels working on the front lines is compounded by customers who push back when she reminds them to keep a distance or wear a mask. "We're tired. We're numb. We're overworked. We're frustrated, because it's not our rules," she said. "We're just trying to keep everybody else safe."And data from Peel suggests that workplaces like Lopes' have some role to play in the virus's spread. Dr. Adalsteinn Brown, a public health expert involved in preparing the province's COVID-19 projections, said Thursday that the virus is hardest to control in regions such as Brampton where households are larger and there's a higher proportion of essential service workers. "These are long-standing structural factors here," he said. "These are not transient things related to the pandemic that drive these much higher rates of infection."A quarter of all households in Brampton consist of five or more people, compared to less than 10 per cent of households provincewide, according to the latest census. And just 12 per cent of Bramptonians live alone, the census data shows, compared to nearly a third of Torontonians. Meanwhile, Peel Public Health said there have been 137 workplace outbreaks of COVID-19 in the region since the pandemic began. A full third of those were in manufacturing or warehouse settings, while 14 per cent were in retail and 11 per cent were in food processing. Brampton has a disproportionately large number of people who work in the manufacturing industry, said Gagandeep Kaur, an organizer with the Warehouse Workers Centre. The city is home to numerous Amazon "fulfilment centres" and other large-scale warehouses. Kaur said she's heard from workers that it's hard to maintain physical distance while moving around some of those warehouses. But she said seeking safer employment isn't a simple matter, noting many workers are new immigrants to Canada trying to get on their feet. "If you are a new hire in that facility, and you are a new immigrant in this country, your priority at that time is not the working conditions or what the employer is offering, because you have a family to feed or you have bills to pay," she said. Dr. Farah Mawani, a social and psychiatric epidemiologist, said that's the sort of systemic racism that has put racialized people — and particularly new immigrants — at greater risk during this pandemic. "We know that there's a very high portion of racialized immigrants who are highly trained and skilled, but very underemployed. So they're forced to work in manufacturing because they can't get other jobs," she said."She said the issue is even worse for temporary foreign workers, whose migration status is tied to their employment at a certain company. If they complain about poor working conditions, Mawani said, they risk losing not only their income but their place in Canada. Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown said he feels his city has been unfairly maligned by those who grouse about high rates of COVID-19 without examining the root causes. "There needs to be a bit of appreciation for the sacrifice that a lot of our essential workers are taking on," he said. "When you think about it, if you go to a grocery store, wherever you are in Canada, the likelihood is that someone from Brampton has helped process that food."He said essential workers in the city need greater support from the provincial and federal governments, while the city itself requires its own COVID-19 isolation centre. Ottawa announced Thursday that it would open such a facility in Mississauga, Ont., another part of Peel Region.But Brown said that's a 40 minute bus ride away for some of Brampton's more vulnerable residents, many of whom don't have cars. "An isolation center is useful when people can't afford to rent a hotel room for 14 days, or they don't have a place where they can safely isolate," he said. "So I want to make sure that we have that support."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 29, 2020.Nicole Thompson, The Canadian Press
COVID-19 continues to force school divisions to make changes in how they deliver education.On Saturday and Sunday, multiple schools in different divisions announced changes ranging from classroom shutdowns to outright school closures. In Regina, one case of COVID-19 was reported in a person at Grant Road School, which will now be closed until Dec. 7. Regina Public Schools said close contacts were informed and given information about isolation.COVID-19 cases were found at École Elsie Mironuck School, Dr. L.M. Hanna School, Ruth M. Buck School and Thom Collegiate. Affected students at École Elsie Mironuck School and Ruth M. Buck School will begin remote learning and will not return to school until Dec. 10. Affected students at Dr. L.M. Hanna School will begin remote learning and will not return to school until Dec. 8. Affected students at Thom Collegiate will begin remote learning and will not return to school until Dec. 4.Two cases in Regina Catholic SchoolsRegina Catholic Schools announced a case of COVID-19 at Miller Comprehensive Catholic High School and a case at Archbishop M.C. O'Neill Catholic High School.The affected classrooms at Miller Comprehensive were closed and students in those classrooms will begin learning remotely. All other classrooms remain open.At O'Neill, the person who tested positive for COVID-19 attended class two days before the school switched to the hybrid model. Students in the affected classrooms were told to isolate until 11:59 p.m. Dec. 2. Classmates of the individual in the hybrid model are to isolate until 11:59 p.m. Dec. 10.All other classrooms at O'Neill remain open.To the north, Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools announced two positive cases at Bishop James Mahoney High School, two cases at Bethlehem Catholic High School, one cases at École Sister O'Brien School and two cases at Holy Cross High School.Saturday evening, Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools announced one more positive case at the Holy Cross High School and one at St. Joseph High School. The affected cohorts are to switch to online instruction as of Monday.
MADISON, Wis. — Wisconsin finished a recount of its presidential results on Sunday, confirming Democrat Joe Biden's victory over President Donald Trump in the key battleground state. Trump vowed to challenge the outcome in court even before the recount concluded.Dane County was the second and last county to finish its recount, reporting a 45-vote gain for Trump. Milwaukee County, the state's other big and overwhelmingly liberal county targeted in a recount that Trump paid $3 million for, reported its results Friday, a 132-vote gain for Biden.Taken together, the two counties barely budged Biden's winning margin of about 20,600 votes, giving the winner a net gain of 87 votes.“As we have said, the recount only served to reaffirm Joe Biden’s victory in Wisconsin," Danielle Melfi, who led Biden's campaign in Wisconsin, said in a statement to The Associated Press.Trump campaign spokeswoman Jenna Ellis said in a statement that the Wisconsin recounts have “revealed serious issues” about whether the ballots were legal, but she offered no specific details to validate her claim.“As we have said from the very beginning, we want every legal vote, and only legal votes to be counted, and we will continue to uphold our promise to the American people to fight for a free and fair election,” Ellis said.With no precedent for overturning a result as large as Biden's, Trump was widely expected to head to court once the recount was finished. His campaign challenged thousands of absentee ballots during the recount, and even before it was complete, Trump tweeted that he would sue.“The Wisconsin recount is not about finding mistakes in the count, it is about finding people who have voted illegally, and that case will be brought after the recount is over, on Monday or Tuesday,” Trump tweeted on Saturday. “We have found many illegal votes. Stay tuned!”The deadline to certify the vote is Tuesday. Certification is done by the Democratic chair of the Wisconsin Election Commission, which is bipartisan.The Wisconsin Voters Alliance, a conservative group, has already filed a lawsuit against state election officials seeking to block certification of the results. It makes many of the claims Trump is expected to make. Gov. Tony Evers’ attorneys have asked the state Supreme Court to dismiss the suit. Evers, a Democrat, said the complaint is a “mishmash of legal distortions” that uses factual misrepresentations in an attempt to take voting rights away from millions of Wisconsin residents.Another suit filed over the weekend by Wisconsin resident Dean Mueller argues that ballots placed in drop boxes are illegal and must not be counted.Trump’s attorneys have complained about absentee ballots where voters identified themselves as “indefinitely confined,” allowing them to cast an absentee ballot without showing a photo ID; ballots that have a certification envelope with two different ink colours, indicating a poll worker may have helped complete it; and absentee ballots that don’t have a separate written record for its request, such as in-person absentee ballots.Election officials in the two counties counted those ballots during the recount, but marked them as exhibits at the request of the Trump campaign.Trump’s campaign has already failed elsewhere in court without proof of widespread fraud, which experts widely agree doesn’t exist. Trump legal challenges have failed in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada and Pennsylvania.The Associated Press
P.E.I. has no new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday.P.E.I. announced two cases unrelated to one another on Saturday, and potential exposure sites. One of the cases announced Saturday was a student at Charlottetown Rural High School. Schools are open on Monday.P.E.I. Premier Dennis King said the student should not be seen simply as P.E.I.'s 72nd case, but rather someone who deserves the province's love and support.City Cinema is scrambling to fill its December schedule after a studio pulled three films.Face coverings will be mandatory for everyone at the Mark Arendz Ski Park in Brookvale, P.E.I., this winter, officials say. The rule will apply even when on the ski hill. On the hill, those coverings can be a knit balaclava.Starting this coming Monday, masks will be mandatory for staff and students in grades 10-12 at all times inside a school building, including while sitting at their desks. Exemptions will be made for when students are eating or drinking, and certain other situations.P.E.I. has seen a total of 72 cases, with no deaths and no hospitalizations.Nova Scotia reported 10 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, bringing the province's total active cases to 125.New Brunswick announced 14 new cases, bringing its total of active cases to 114.Also in the newsFurther resourcesMore from CBC P.E.I.
Mummers might already wear masks, but they still have to abide by other COVID-19 restrictions. Having thousands of people disguised in doilies stroll down the streets of St. John's just doesn't jive with a recommendation from provincial health officials to only go mummering with close contacts this year. The annual Mummers Parade is moving online, along with most of the regular festival events leading up to it."Everything that we do, typically, is back. It's just in a digital platform," said Mummers Festival Executive Director Lynn McShane.No parade in pandemicA typical parade day starts with a "rig up," where people pick through tables of clothes to find a costume. This year, starting at 1:30 p.m. NT on Dec 12, organizers will be on Facebook Live offering up tips and ideas for what to wear.The parade itself will be replaced by a video of people in their mummering best. The festival is asking anyone who wants to be in it to dress up, record themselves, and send in a snippet by Dec 1.The parade day stream will end with a virtual concert.McShane said hosting most of the festival on the internet opens up possibilities for who can take part. "People who are not residents of Newfoundland and Labrador are just loving the opportunity to be able to join in from afar," she said. There are presentations, panel discussions and crafting lessons planned in the two weeks ahead of the parade.All the events and most of the required supplies are free, but donations are encouraged.Bring your own boot"The thing with mummering is eventually you take off your mask, so in terms of this year and COVID, I don't know if it offers much protection," Ryan Davis said in an interview ahead of his online ugly stick workshop Saturday. In past years, he's taught people how to put the instrument together in person.Festival volunteers predrilled the sticks and punched holes in bottle caps to ease at-home assembly. Participants could register and pick up a kit in St. John's containing all the ugly stick essentials at no charge — they just needed to have an old boot or sneaker for the bottom.For people who didn't have a kit from the festival, Davis offered up alternatives.He said they're not an essential mummering accessory, but they do amplify the experience."It's actually great if you want to go mummering because you don't want to take your nice guitar or your fancy instrument," Davis said."This is something you can beat up and beat around, so in that way, it's great for mummering."Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
Stark photos released this week by a conservation group pushing hard for the province to protect what remains of B.C.'s largest and oldest trees is just one point of pressure the province's new forestry minister is facing as she comes into the job.On Thursday, MLA for Kootenay-West Katrine Conroy was appointed minister of forests, lands, natural resource operations and rural development, taking over from Doug Donaldson, who did not seek reelection.Two days earlier, the Ancient Forest Alliance (AFA) released dramatic before and after photographs of massive cedar trees on Vancouver Island, where they were logged as part of a government-approved tree harvesting licence.It's a technique the AFA has often used to illustrate the impact of logging in areas where trees can be up to 1,000 years old. The term old growth in B.C. refers to trees that are generally 250 years or older on the coast and 140 years or older in the Interior. The trees have significance to First Nations, they are good for the environment, help to clean air and water, store carbon and house other plants and animals.But they are also prized by loggers for their monetary value.Andrea Inness, a campaigner with the AFA, says the latest round of photos taken by TJ Watt have been shared hundreds of times on social media, with comments from people asking the province to end the practise of cutting down the large, iconic trees."[People] are sick and tired of seeing photographs like that," said Inness.In taking on the forestry portfolio, Conroy — who has represented the West Kootenays for 15 years, and was minister of children and family development from 2017 — has clear direction in her mandate letter to give conservationists like Inness what they want, but maybe not in time to save the trees that remain.The letter calls for her to implement 14 recommendations announced in September by a special panel, which travelled the province for months speaking with conservationists, unions, First Nations and the public to ask about the ecological, economic and cultural importance of old-growth trees and forests and how they fit into a new forestry strategy for B.C.The panel's most time-sensitive recommendation was to defer the cutting of old-growth forests most at risk of "irreversible biodiversity loss."In presenting the report from the panel, the province did announce the temporary protection of 353,000 hectares of forest in nine old-growth areas.Conservationists like Inness and Jens Wieting, a forest and climate campaigner with Sierra Club B.C., were initially pleased with the move, but maintain such a small number of these special trees remain in the province that if more dramatic action is not taken immediately, an insignificant amount could remain by the time the province comes up with a new forestry strategy."We have to look at their willingness to quickly defer more old growth from logging," he said.An independent ecological consulting firm used provincial data in the spring to determine that while old-growth forests make up about 23 per cent of forested areas in the province — or about 13.2 million hectares — less than three per cent, or around 400,000 hectares, support biologically significant old-growth trees.Sierra Club B.C. estimates that more than 140,000 hectares of old-growth forests — those with trees at least 120 years old — are logged each year along the B.C. coast and in the Interior. "We all know the data now, we all know that old-growth logging needs to come to an end," said Inness. "The government just needs to listen and start acting."Money requiredBoth Wieting and Inness estimate the province would need to spend about $1 billion to meet the 14 recommendations, which include involving Indigenous leaders in future decisions and declaring the conservation of "ecosystem health and biodiversity" an overarching priority for the province.That would need to include money to help First Nations assess the resources on their lands and transition away from logging old-growth trees, something the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs wants."For years, the government has enabled a debilitating and dangerous system that expunges the irreplaceable cultural value of old-growth forests, viewing not the immense roots these ancient and giant trees have set in our First Nation communities to sustain our cultures and livelihoods, but rather the pecuniary value of these trees that must be exploited in the short-term," Grand Chief Stewart Phillip said in a release in October.Financial support will also be needed for communities currently dependent on old-growth logging as they transition away from it, which could be tough for the province considering it's facing a more than $12-billion deficit due to the pandemic.Back in her days as an opposition MLA, Conroy frequently spoke up for the embattled logging communities she represents, saying the B.C. Liberals should have done more to achieve fair stumpage rates, reform forestry management, and encourage reforestation to help keep the industry viable.The new minister did not respond to a request for comment before publication of this story.