PHILADELPHIA — President Donald Trump’s legal team suffered yet another defeat in court Friday as a federal appeals court in Philadelphia roundly rejected the campaign's latest effort to challenge the state’s election results.Trump’s lawyers vowed to appeal to the Supreme Court despite the judges' assessment that the “campaign’s claims have no merit.”“Free, fair elections are the lifeblood of our democracy. Charges of unfairness are serious. But calling an election unfair does not make it so. Charges require specific allegations and then proof. We have neither here,” 3rd Circuit Judge Stephanos Bibas, a Trump appointee, wrote for the three-judge panel, all appointed by Republican presidents.The case had been argued last week in a lower court by Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who insisted during five hours of oral arguments that the 2020 presidential election had been marred by widespread fraud in Pennsylvania. However, Giuliani failed to offer any tangible proof of that in court.U.S. District Judge Matthew Brann, another Republican, had said the campaign's error-filled complaint, “like Frankenstein’s Monster, has been haphazardly stitched together” and denied Giuliani the right to amend it for a second time.The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals called any revisions “futile.” Chief Judge D. Brooks Smith and Judge Michael Chagares were on the panel with Bibas, a former University of Pennsylvania law professor. Trump’s sister, Judge Maryanne Trump Barry, sat on the court for 20 years, retiring in 2019.“Voters, not lawyers, choose the president. Ballots, not briefs, decide elections,” Bibas said in the opinion, which also denied the campaign's request to stop the state from certifying its results, a demand he called “breathtaking.”In fact, Pennsylvania officials had announced Tuesday that they had certified their vote count for President-elect Joe Biden, who defeated Trump by more than 80,000 votes in the state. Nationally, Biden and running mate Kamala Harris garnered nearly 80 million votes, a record in U.S. presidential elections.Trump has said he hopes the Supreme Court will intervene in the race as it did in 2000, when its decision to stop the recount in Florida gave the election to Republican George W. Bush. On Nov. 5, as the vote count continued, Trump posted a tweet saying the “U.S. Supreme Court should decide!”Ever since, Trump and his surrogates have attacked the election as flawed and filed a flurry of lawsuits to try to block the results in six battleground states. But they’ve found little sympathy from judges, nearly all of whom dismissed their complaints about the security of mail-in ballots, which millions of people used to vote from home during the COVID-19 pandemic.Trump perhaps hopes a Supreme Court he helped steer toward a conservative 6-3 majority would be more open to his pleas, especially since the high court upheld Pennsylvania’s decision to accept mail-in ballots through Nov. 6 by only a 4-4 vote last month. Since then, Trump nominee Amy Coney Barrett has joined the court.“The activist judicial machinery in Pennsylvania continues to cover up the allegations of massive fraud,” Trump lawyer Jenna Ellis tweeted after Friday's ruling. “On to SCOTUS!”In the case at hand, the Trump campaign asked to disenfranchise the state’s 6.8 million voters or at least “cherry-pick” the 1.5 million who voted by mail in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and other Democratic-leaning areas, the appeals court said.“One might expect that when seeking such a startling outcome, a plaintiff would come formidably armed with compelling legal arguments and factual proof of rampant corruption,” Brann, a member of the conservative Federalist Society, wrote in his scathing ruling on Nov. 21. “That has not happened.”A separate Republican challenge that reached the Pennsylvania Supreme Court this week seeks to stop the state from further certifying any races on the ballot. Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration is fighting that effort, saying it would prevent the state’s legislature and congressional delegation from being seated in the coming weeks.On Thursday, Trump said the Nov. 3 election was still far from over. Yet he said for the first time he would leave the White House on Jan. 20 if the Electoral College formalizes Biden’s win.“Certainly I will. But you know that,” Trump said at the White House, taking questions from reporters for the first time since Election Day.On Twitter Friday, however, he continued to baselessly attack Detroit, Atlanta and other Democratic cities with large Black populations as the source of “massive voter fraud.” And he claimed, without evidence, that a Pennsylvania poll watcher had uncovered computer memory drives that “gave Biden 50,000 votes” apiece.All 50 states must certify their results before the Electoral College meets on Dec. 14, and any challenge to the results must be resolved by Dec. 8. Biden won both the Electoral College and popular vote by wide margins.___Follow Maryclaire Dale on Twitter at https://twitter.com/MaryclairedaleMaryclaire Dale, The Associated Press
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
Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean will be one of the first regions in the province to get rapid COVID-19 tests, as part of new efforts to get the coronavirus under control in the hard-hit region.Dr. Horacio Arruda, the province's public health director, said Friday he expects the tests to be available by the middle of December.Like other provinces, Quebec has been slow to deploy rapid tests as it figures out how to best use them.Arruda described them as another "tool" in the fight against the pandemic."They must be used in the right way," he said at a news conference in Saguenay, explaining that rapid tests could be used to do a screening of the broader population.Arruda said the situation in Saguenay is "very fragile," but said "there is hope." He once again urged the public to follow the guidelines: hand-washing, distancing and limiting contacts."Please count the number of people you have had contact with in a day, and reduce that number."The tone of the news conference was slightly more upbeat than a week earlier, when local health officials warned the situation was nearing a tipping point.The number of new cases has hovered between 100 and 200 a day, below some of the daily counts seen last week.Andrée Laforest, Quebec's minister responsible for the region, who was also at the news conference, said the situation appears to be improving but that the health network is still strained. Nurses and doctors have sounded the alarm that the pandemic has made staffing difficult in the region, particularly in Chicoutimi.
The mother of homicide victim Preston Thomas made a rose to honour her son and said she plans to take the rose with her to every court appearance of the man charged with his murder. “This rose is a symbol of the justice I want for my son,” Lillian Thomas posted on social media. Joel Yuzicapi, 28, appeared in Saskatoon Provincial Court Nov. 17. He has been in custody since his arrest on Aug. 4 in the 200 block of Avenue S North. Police charged him with second-degree murder in connection to the death of 27-year-old Preston Thomas. According to Saskatoon Police, they were called to a hotel on Airport Drive at about 7:20 a.m. on Aug. 1 for a report of an injured man in one of the hotel rooms. When they arrived they found Thomas deceased. Police say the victim and accused were known to each other. Yuzicapi is scheduled to appear again in Saskatoon Provincial Court on Dec. 2 for case management. Saskatoon Police Major Crimes continues to investigate. If anyone has information they are asked to contact the Saskatoon Police at 306-975-8300 and to ask to speak with an investigator in Major Crimes or call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477. firstname.lastname@example.org Lisa Joy, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter / The Battlefords News-OptimistLisa Joy, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Battlefords Regional News-Optimist
A Pembroke, Ont., woman who was found guilty of impaired driving causing death in 2015 has lost her dentist's licence for six months.According to the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario, Christy Natsis will also be monitored for the next two and half years through office visits, pay $7,500 in costs to the college and receive an official reprimand.The college cited Natsis breaking the law and acting with "disgraceful, dishonourable, unprofessional or unethical conduct."Those allegations were uncontested, a spokesperson for the college said, and the hearing proceeded with an agreed statement of facts and a joint submission for the penalty.The college held a teleconference on Thursday and announced its decision.Natsis was found guilty in May 2015 — after a 55-day trial that stretched over three years — of impaired driving causing death and dangerous driving causing death in the March 2011 crash that killed Bryan Casey.She was eventually sentenced to five years in prison, which she unsuccessfully appealed.
OTTAWA — Champion ice-dancers Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir and Olympic champion swimmer Mark Tewksbury were among 114 athletes, artists, scholars and community leaders named to the Order of Canada.Gov. Gen. Julie Payette's office announced the new honourees Friday morning.Others in the group include Indigenous writer Thomas King, winemaker John Peller, dancer and choreographer Elizabeth Langley, geriatrician Roger Wong, Cree elder Doreen Spence, sports academic Dr. Sandra Kirby, wheelchair basketball coach Tim Frick and ex-politicians Bill Graham and Allan Rock.Moir and Virtue catapulted to national stardom with their gold-medal performances at the Winter Olympics in 2018.They're being honoured for their athletic excellence and for inspiring a new generation of figure skaters."Feeling all wrapped up in emotion ... Upon learning about being invested into the Order of Canada, I couldn’t help but think that as a kid, I would have never known to dream so big," Virtue posted on Twitter."I am humbled by this honour."Tewksbury, who is being named to the top companion rank, won gold in the 100-metre backstroke at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.The 52-year-old Calgary native came out publicly as gay in 1998 and has been an advocate of LGBTQ rights as well as a prominent member of Canada's Olympic movement, serving as chef de mission of the 2012 London Olympic team.He is being honoured for athletic excellence and sport leadership, and for championing human rights.Kirby, a rower at the 1976 Montreal Olympics, is being honoured for her research on athlete harassment and her advocacy for equity, inclusion and safety in sport. Frick coached Canada's women's wheelchair basketball team to three straight Paralympic gold medals from 1992-2000 and four straight world championship gold medals from 1994-2006.He is being honoured for his expertise in coaching and for his contributions to the advancement of parasports in Canada.The Order of Canada is one of the country's highest civilian honours.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 27, 2020.The Canadian Press
A man is in hospital with lower-body injuries after being trapped in a trench collapse at a construction site in East Vancouver late Thursday.Personnel from Vancouver Fire Rescue used a vacuum truck and spent three hours freeing the man, whose legs were buried in debris."It was very complicated," said Assistant Fire Chief Trevor Connelly."Our technical team was called so they could get down in the hole and render first aid. Then they had to free him by carefully removing the dirt from around his legs. He was eventually removed from the excavation by rope."Two other men who were working in the trench when it gave way around 11 p.m. PT managed to free themselves.The excavation is part of a construction project underway at Vanness Avenue and Joyce Street.
Alberta reported 1,227 new cases of COVID-19 and nine new deaths Friday. That brings the number of active cases to a record 14,217. Today is the final day of in-school classes for junior and senior high students in Alberta, and the waiting has begun to see what impact the government's new measures will have, if any, on the COVID-19 outbreak in the province. For the next three weeks, Grade 7 to 12 classrooms will remain empty. Indoor social gatherings are banned, outdoor gatherings are limited to 10 people and access to some businesses will be restricted, while masks will be mandatory at indoor workplaces in Edmonton and Calgary. Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta's chief medical officer of health, asked Albertans Friday to cut back on their in-person interactions with others. "I want to be clear, for the next few weeks every one of us needs to dramatically reduce the amount of contact we have with people outside our own household," Hinshaw said at a news conference. "This weekend, I am asking all Albertans to embrace this challenge. "The decisions each of us make this weekend will help determine whether cases fall or rise in the weeks ahead. So please be wise, be safe and let's all look out for each other." Province to enforce restrictions As the province moves forward with the new restrictions, Hinshaw asked Albertans to cooperate with health-care workers, business people and anyone else enforcing the rules. "I know that the restrictions currently placed on all of us are difficult, but they are not the fault of law enforcement or inspectors who are simply trying to enforce what is in place and to help stop the spread," she said. "I urge Albertans to exercise patience and kindness in the days ahead. If a line is a bit longer than usual or an employee asks you to follow a new policy that is in place, please do not take your frustrations out on these workers. "These new restrictions and measures create extra work and pressures for staff, owners and operators." Kaycee Madu, Alberta's minister of justice and solicitor general, said the province is ready to enforce the new rules. "My expectation is that those who are in violation of the measures that we have put in place would have to be held accountable," Madu said at the news conference. "I think you are going to see a heightened level of enforcement in those cases where there are individuals who are blatantly not compliant with the health measures." Up to 700 additional peace officers will help police and other law enforcement officers administer the new rules, Madu said. 10-day wait Hinshaw says it will be 10 to 14 days before we see if the new measures can dent surging COVID-19 case numbers. Until then, the numbers seem destined to soar as they have through November. On Thursday, the number of active cases in Alberta broke 14,000 while the number of dead broke 500. Public health critics and the most vocal of the province's doctors fear the government waited too long to act. They point to the number of people in hospital and in ICU, which Hinshaw herself sees as key metrics in the battle. Almost everyday those numbers set new records. On Friday, there were 405 people in hospital, 86 of them in ICU. Critics also claim the restrictions do not go far enough, saying if we have to wait 10 days to know for sure, it may be too late to get the disease under control. The active cases in Alberta breaks down among regions as: Edmonton zone: 6,614 cases Calgary zone: 5,164 cases Central zone: 950 cases North zone: 769 cases South zone: 634 cases Unknown: 86 cases The new deaths bring the total to 519. They include: A man in his 80s linked to the outbreak at Rosealta Lodge in the Central zone. He died Nov. 16. A woman in her 90s linked to the outbreak at the Manor Village Varsity in the Calgary zone. She died Nov. 17. A man in his 60s in the South zone who died Tuesday. A woman in her 80s in the Edmonton zone who died Tuesday. A man in his 70s linked to the outbreak at Laurel Heights Retirement Residence in the Edmonton zone. He died Wednesday. A woman in her 90s in the Edmonton zone who died Wednesday. A woman in her 70s in the South zone who died Thursday. A woman in her 90s linked to the outbreak at Extendicare Eaux Claires in the Edmonton zone. She died Thursday. A man in his 90s linked to the outbreak at Revera Bow-Crest in the Calgary zone. He died Thursday.
When Royal Newfoundland Constabulary investigators zeroed in on a house as they investigated the James Cody homicide this summer, they found more than $434,000 in cash.Soon after, the Mounties launched a money-laundering and proceeds of crime investigation focused on the owner of the house, Kurt Churchill.Those new details are in court documents filed by the federal Crown and RCMP at provincial court in St. John's.Last month, the Mounties asked a judge to give them permission to hold onto the cash and other potential evidence seized through search warrants in July.On Friday morning, that application was granted, with some minor changes.The money laundering investigation is ongoing, and no charges have been laid.Churchill's lawyer, Robby Ash, declined to comment.According to court filings, the RNC asked the RCMP to take over the proceeds of crime investigation related to the seizure of the money.When they searched 40 Craigmillar Ave. as part of the Cody homicide investigation, police found more than 14,000 $20 notes, nearly 2,000 $50 bills, almost 500 $100 notes, and a combined total of about 200 in $5s and $10s.In addition to the cash, police also seized a money counter, vacuum sealer, cling wrap, and 10 boxes of "seal a meal" storage bags."As a result of the search warrants and the seizure of the [proceeds of crime] and RNC items, in particular the currency seized by the RNC, cash receipts and financial documents, [the Federal Serious and Organized Crime unit] commenced the investigation into Churchill and the possible link between his drug trafficking activities and possession of [proceeds of crime] and money laundering," RCMP Cpl. Laura Purchase wrote in an affidavit.The court filings link the "drug trafficking" reference to Operation Battalion, which saw Churchill arrested and charged in 2014 for his alleged role in a high-level cocaine operation.In 2017, Churchill was acquitted of all charges after his lawyer filed an application over unfair trial delays. The Crown called no evidence.Churchill has no criminal record. He was recently found guilty of threatening a police officer last year, but received a conditional discharge.Lawyers for Churchill and the provincial Crown have been fighting in court over whether he should have to provide DNA to a national police databank as part of that sentence.Churchill won the latest round, and won't have to provide DNA while he appeals his guilty verdict in the uttering threats case. This week, the Crown appealed that DNA decision to the province's top court.Cody was found shot to death on the street near Churchill's Craigmillar Avenue home this July.No charges have been laid in relation to the homicide, and the RNC has not publicly named any suspects.Police have not confirmed what, if any, connection Churchill has to the case.Read more articles from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
ORLANDO, Fla. — The Walt Disney Co. announced plans to lay off 4,000 more workers in its theme parks division in California and Florida due to the COVID-19 pandemic's effect on the industry.The announcement by the company was made in a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing earlier this week, saying 32,000 employees will be terminated in the first half of fiscal year 2021, which began last month. In late September, the company had already announced plans to terminate 28,000 theme park workers.In the SEC document filed on the eve of Thanksgiving Day, the company said it also put 37,000 employees not scheduled for termination on furlough as a result of the pandemic.“Due to the current climate, including COVID-19 impacts, and changing environment in which we are operating, the company has generated efficiencies in its staffing, including limiting hiring to critical business roles, furloughs and reductions-in-force,” the document said.The company also said they may make more cuts in spending such as reducing film and television content investments and additional furloughs and layoffs.In Florida, the company has been limiting attendance at its parks and changing protocols to allow for social distancing by limiting characters' meet and greets.The company has not specified the number of workers that would be affected in its Orlando theme parks.Disney’s parks closed in March as the pandemic started spreading in the U.S. The Florida parks reopened in the summer, but the California parks have yet to reopen pending state and local government approvals.The Associated 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
DETROIT — The U.S. government's road safety agency is investigating complaints that suspensions can fail on nearly 115,000 Tesla electric vehicles.The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says it has 43 complaints that linkages near the ball joints can fail, allowing contact between the tire and wheel liner.The probe, announced Friday on the agency's website, covers 2015 through 2017 Model S sedans and 2016 through 2017 Model X SUVs.The agency says 32 owners complained of failures at low speeds, but 11 said the links failed on roads while travelling above 10 mph including four at highway speeds. It says the number of complaints is increasing as the vehicles age, with 32 in the last two years. Three of the highway complaints came in the last three months.In addition, NHTSA says it has eight complaints that may involve suspension failures that haven’t been confirmed by photos or service records.The agency said it has no reports of crashes or injuries.The agency says it will investigate how often the problem happens and the safety consequences. The probe could lead to a recall.A message was left early Friday seeking comment from Tesla.NHTSA says that in 2017, Tesla issued a service bulletin describing the failure and saying that drivers could still control the vehicles “but the tire may contact the wheel arch liner.” The bulletin says vehicles with the problems were built from Jan. 19, 2016 to May 25, 2016.But NHTSA said the complaints include 41 vehicles built before or after the range cited in the bulletin. Twenty-nine were built after the range ended.The Associated Press
Deaths from illicit drugs in Prince George edged closer to record-setting proportions last month. The year-to-date total stood at 43 as of the end of October, according to a monthly update from the B.C. Coroners Service issued Wednesday and increase of five from the month before. The city appears on pace to surpass the record 51 deaths recorded in 2018. Four of the deaths last month involved drugs in which fentanyl was detected and raised that year-to-date total to 33. Forty-six such deaths were reported in 2018. Since the start of 2018, there have been 127 drug-related deaths in the city and the rate per 100,000 people stands at 44.8. Only Hope and Vancouver have higher rates. Across B.C., it was the fifth month this year for which more than 160 suspected illicit drug deaths were reported to the BCCS and more than double the number of people who died as a result of illicit drugs in October 2019. "We are continuing to see record-breaking numbers of people dying in B.C. due to an unsafe drug supply in our province, and it's taking a toll on families and communities in this dual health emergency," chief coroner Lisa Lapointe said in a statement. "Challenges during COVID-19, such as access to key harm-reduction services and the toxic drug supply, including the extreme concentration of illicit fentanyl, are resulting in continuing significant and tragic loss of life across the province. Our hearts go out to those grieving the loss of family members, friends and colleagues. "We encourage clinicians to support those at risk of overdose by prescribing safe supply and reducing the numbers of lives lost to toxic substances. We also continue to advocate for an accessible, evidence-based and accountable treatment and recovery system for anyone experiencing problematic substance use who is seeking this medical assistance."Mark Nielsen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince George Citizen
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.
Police officers from six detachments rapidly coordinated their resources to track and arrest five Westside gang members. The Maidstone RCMP, Saskatchewan RCMP Roving Traffic Unit (RTU), the Saskatchewan RCMP Protection and Response Team (PRT), Saskatchewan RCMP Highway Patrol, Turtleford RCMP, Onion Lake RCMP, and the Lloydminster RCMP all worked together to nab the alleged Westside gang members that took police on an approximate 150 kilometre, two-hour chase. Police arrested Tonia Cantel, 22, from North Battleford, Juanita Wahpistikwan, 21, from Big Island Cree Nation, Kyle Lajimodiere from Cold Lake, and two youths from Big Island Lake Cree Nation. The five were charged with theft of a vehicle, storing a prohibited firearm, four counts of possessing a weapon for a dangerous purpose, two counts of carrying a concealed weapon, possessing a firearm without a license, being a vehicle with an unauthorized firearm, possessing a prohibited firearm with accessible ammunition without registration, possession a firearm with an altered serial number, endangering the safety of the public, and flight from police. According to Maidstone RCMP, they received a call on Nov. 20 at about 3 p.m. about a grey Honda stolen at a business in Lashburn by three mean dressed in red. The men were seen fleeing east on Hwy 16 in the grey Honda car followed by a small red Ford car. Maidstone RCMP alerted the Saskatchewan RCMP RTU who was already on Hwy 16 southeast of Lashburn to be on the lookout for the stolen vehicle. The RCMP RTU located the eastbound stolen grey car without the second red car. The RCMP RTU followed the stolen grey car and used emergency lights to get the stolen grey car to stop but the driver continued east, turned around and then went west on Hwy 16 at a high rate of speed. After getting confirmation the stolen grey car was still in the Lashburn area, Maidstone RCMP mobilized its partners to be on the lookout for the stolen grey car, report its direction of travel and stay in constant communication. The Saskatchewan RCMP PRT was activated and the Saskatchewan RCMP Highway Patrol on Hwy 16, as well as the Lloydminster RCMP who were asked to help track the movements of the speeding stolen grey car. While the stolen grey car was being tracked, the Lashburn Fire Department advised Maidstone RCMP they received a report of a small red car on fire, east of Lashburn on Range Road 3250. The RCMP PRT first saw the stolen grey car travelling west on Hwy 16, west of the Marshall Weigh Station, and then east on Kempton Road towards Hwy 303. Maidstone RCMP, Lloydminster RCMP, the RCMP RTU, and the RCMP PRT - a total of eight police vehicles - decided to spread out and actively patrol an extended rural area around Lashburn. Maidstone RCMP located the grey car near Paradise Hill, about 60 kilometres north of Lashburn, travelling west on Hwy 3. They monitored the movements of the stolen grey car and observed the stolen grey car turn north on Road 797 in the direction of Frenchman Butte. Maidstone RCMP asked Onion Lake RCMP and Turtleford RCMP to be on the lookout for the stolen grey car. Shortly after, Maidstone RCMP radioed the new direction of the stolen grey car to Turtleford RCMP who were able to position themselves on Township Road 540 to deploy a tire deflation device before the stolen grey car arrived. The tire deflation device was deployed at the right time and, at about 4:40 p.m., the stolen grey car was forced to a stop, shortly after having turned onto Hwy 21. Maidstone RCMP and Turtleford RCMP officers arrested all five occupants of the stolen grey car, without incident. A search of the stolen grey car resulted in the seizure of one sawed-off modified rifle, ammunition, a machete, a BB pistol and several knives. Anyone with information regarding the ownership, occupants or whereabouts of the small red car, on Friday, Nov. 20 at around 3 p.m. in and around Lashburn, Sask., is asked to call Maidstone RCMP at 306-893-4800. Information can also be submitted anonymously to Saskatchewan Crime Stoppers by calling 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or submitting a tip online at www.saskcrimestoppers.com. If you are associated with a gang and want to leave it, contact STR8 UP in northern Saskatchewan at 306-763-3001, STR8 UP in central Saskatchewan at 306-244-1771, or Regina Treaty Status Indian Services in southern Saskatchewan at 306-522-7494 to get assistance. The Saskatchewan Roving Traffic Unit (RTU) is a mobile traffic enforcement team comprised of Saskatchewan RCMP officers who work in flexible schedules and areas. They address public and traffic safety issues across the Province of Saskatchewan. The five remain in custody and appear in Lloydminster Provincial Court on Dec. 3. Lisa Joy, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Battlefords Regional News-Optimist
The P.E.I. government announced Friday the timing of its expansion of its current insulin pump program that will extend benefits to Islanders with diabetes up to age 25. The previous age cutoff for the program was 18.The province will also increase the number of glucose tests strips available through its diabetes drug program from 100 to 120 strips.It's a commitment the province made in its 2020 budget, announced in June. The other Atlantic provinces already cover insulin pumps for those up to age 25. The changes to the programs are scheduled to take effect Jan. 1, 2021."Diabetes [affects] more than 15,000 Islanders, and it is so important that we offer additional support to these individuals so they can live healthy, fulfilling lives without cost as a barrier," said Health Minister James Aylward in a news release.Insulin pumps allow people with diabetes to auto-administer insulin rather than injecting a syringe throughout the day multiple times. According to Diabetes Canada, there are more than 48,000 Islanders living with diabetes or prediabetes and prevalence is predicted to increase to 57,000 in 10 years as the population ages. Age restriction remainsAdvocates for more help for Islanders with diabetes have been calling on the province to lift the age restriction altogether, as Ontario, Alberta, B.C. and the three territories have. There was no mention of that in Friday's release.Aylward also announced a new diabetes strategy for the next four years aimed at three key areas: prevention, detection and management — exactly the same goals the province had for its very first diabetes strategy, in place from 2014 to 2017. "We want to work with Islanders to help reduce the risks of being diagnosed with diabetes; we want to make sure that more Islanders are screened for diabetes; and, we will help Islanders better manage diabetes so they can live healthy and active lives," the 2020-2024 strategy says.In addition to financial assistance, Health PEI's provincial diabetes program offers education and advice to Islanders living with diabetes or those who are at risk of developing it, the release said. Diabetes Canada said in the release it is pleased the province has aligned its goal with the organization's national strategy, called Diabetes 360°, and looks forward to working on it with government. More from CBC P.E.I.
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
THUNDER BAY — A Thunder Bay man accused of an armed robbery of a pizza delivery driver in late August appeared in court this week to plead guilty to several, unrelated charges connected to fraud from earlier this year. Colton Herneshuhta, 21, pleaded guilty to a total of 13 charges relating to fraud, forgery, a break and enter and breaching probation orders on Thursday, Nov. 26 in a Thunder Bay Zoom courtroom. Court heard several instances where Herneshuhta used fake cheques to defraud several agencies in the city from January to April. On Jan. 6, Herneshuhta attended a loan agency business on Red River Road and presented a forged cheque for $1,139. A few days later, the business learned the cheque was fraudulent and alerted police who identified Herneshuhta as the person who cashed the cheque. He was also on probation at the time. On Jan. 9, Herneshuhta again used more fake cheques at two different businesses on Red River Road totalling $900. In a different case, another complainant gave Herneshuhta her debit card and pin number after he lied about why he needed it, according to Herneshuhta lawyer's George Joseph. “Mr. Herneshuhta made attempts to withdraw money that were outside the perimeters of the representation he made to (the complainant),” Joseph said. He initially attempted to withdraw $1,499, but was only able to take out $500, court heard. In April, Herneshuhta used a fake cheque of $850 to defraud the Children’s Aid Society. A few months later in August, Herneshuhta was identified as a suspect of a break and enter at a business on Victoria Street on Aug. 2. The Crown stated there was no estimate provided by the business of the damage caused or items stolen. Joseph told the court his client has struggled with a cocaine addiction for 10 years which has fuelled his criminal behaviour. Since being in custody, Herneshuhta has remained sober and has been working on his education as well as taking advantage of programs while in custody, Joseph said. Herneshuhta was sentenced to a joint submission of six months in custody, less pre-sentence custody. Crown counsel Piera Pasloski said Herneshuhta’s criminal record is limited and acknowledged his addiction which has been driving his criminal behaviour. “Mr. Joseph shared with me at the counsel pre-trial that Mr. Herneshuhta has had an extremely hard-wired addiction problem since age 11,” she said. “The hope is he will get himself the treatment he needs once he is released and that this behaviour will cease.” Herneshuhta was given credit at an enhanced rate for the time he has spent in pre-sentence custody of 136 days. He has 44 days left to serve going forward. After his custodial sentence, he will be placed on probation. Part of his probation conditions include participating in any assessments for counselling and substance addictions as well as completing any treatment programs if he is directed by probation. He is also not to contact any of the complainants or enter the businesses he defrauded. He will have 12 months to pay a victim surcharge fine for each of the 13 counts. Herneshuhta was not ordered to pay a restitution order. Herneshuhta also has outstanding charged connected to an alleged armed robbery from Aug. 24 of a pizza delivery driver. He is scheduled to return to court for these matters in early December.Karen Edwards, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Thunder Bay Source
Randy Van Horlick, 71, was sentenced to six months in jail followed by two years of supervised probation for attacking two nurses at the Dr. Georges-L.-Dumont Hospital in Moncton in March 2019Judge Yvette Finn said the aggravating factor was Van Horlick's lack of remorse for what he did.Reading from her notes, Finn highlighted Van Horlick's statement at a sentencing hearing earlier in the month, when he maintained that he would not have assaulted Poirier if she'd done her job properly and that she was lucky he didn't kill her. "He is still angry about the position he was put in," said Finn.Nurse manager was first victimFinn read the facts of the case that included a blow-by-blow account of the assault against Poirier.She was a nurse manager at the Dumont Hospital when Van Horlick stuck his head into her office.Within minutes he had her by the hair and was striking her in the face and temple as well as twisting her arm. The injuries she suffered have left lasting effects.Reading from Poirier's victim impact statement, Finn said the nurse now has chronic neck and arm pain, and her brain injury stops her from following conversations and leaves her feeling, "even stupid at times."Poirier wrote that she may not be able to return to her position as a nurse manager.Teresa Thibeault was working as a licensed nurse practitioner the afternoon of the assault. She heard her colleague screaming and, following the cries for help, entered Poirier's office to find her on her knees, with Van Horlick holding her by the neck, punching her in her face. Three times she intervened, and her wrist was twisted and injured in the struggle. Thibeault was off work for six months after the attack.Van Horlick's backgroundThe pre-sentence report said Van Horlick was born in Vancouver and moved to Acadieville in 2012 with his wife.The report said she had epilepsy and health issues when the two married 21 years ago.Van Horlick refused to go into details about his family or background but did talk about the stress he felt being his wife's primary caregiver for such a long time.She has since died, and the report said he has had a hard time accepting that she is gone.Finn said stress and fear of losing his wife were explanations for what Van Horlick did, but they shouldn't influence her decision on sentencing."I find in this circumstance there are few mitigating factors,"Defence sought community sentenceThe crown had previously asked that Van Horlick serve three to six months in incarceration, while the defense asked the sentence be served in the community.Finn said her decision to send Van Horlick to prison for six months was to act as a "denunciation and deterrence" for him and others.As the hearing ended, Finn said to Van Horlick, "Just let it go."He shook his head no and was led from the court into custody.Nurses reactAfterward, Poirier said she didn't have much to say other than she was glad it's over.Thibeault said, "It's a little bit disappointing."She said she was hoping for a longer jail term. Notice of civil suitThe Crown had asked for restitution, but Finn said the victims would have to go to civil court for compensation.Papers filed with the court of Queen's Bench show that Natasha Poirier did just that in August. The notice of claim asks that Van Horlick be held responsible for Poirier's income loss and the loss of future earnings, among other costs.VanHorlick filed a notice of intent to defend in September.
After 46 years running his business, Brian Quinn of Quinn’s Meats in Yarker, Ont. is preparing to retire. He’s hoping to sell the commercial property to someone that will keep the abattoir and meat retail business intact, proving a challenge as fewer young people enter the industry. “The trade hasn’t passed down from generation to generation,” Quinn said. “Pretty much everybody here is in their 50s. There are no young kids stepping up.” Quinn describes his industry as “recession-proof, pandemic-proof and good, solid business.” “We don’t work nights, we don’t work Sundays. It’s a good, solid, full-time job and it pays really competitively,” he said. Still, during his career, Quinn said he has watched as abattoir after abattoir have closed all around him. “When I started there were six within 25 miles,” he said. His clients bring livestock from Perth, Smiths Falls and Frontenac County — anywhere within 100 mile radius, he said. If the person who buys his property does not maintain the abattoir, he said he doesn’t know what those farmers will do. Demand for his services is incredibly high, he explained. “In Eastern Ontario, east of Toronto, every abattoir is booked up a year in advance.” Quinn learned the trade from his uncle and grandfather when he was in high school. After completing a few years at St. Lawrence College in Kingston, he said the business came up for sale so he bought it. “The work is not that hard,” he explained. “It’s just when you mention ‘slaughter house’ or ‘abattoir,’ or ‘butcher,’ it just turns people off. It’s not a bad go. We have a modern facility, heated floors, all the modern equipment, so it’s not as labour intensive as it used to be. It’s repetitive work.” “If you’re working on the kill floor for example, there’s obviously going to be a smell there, and the stuff that goes on with the slaughter of an animal. It’s not a pleasant task by any means, no matter who you are. But it has to be done for the process,” he said. “I think that’s a major thing that people just can’t get their mind passed. That’s just my thinking.” He also cited increasing government regulation as a factor pushing existing business owners out of the industry. “A lot of the plants were older and weren’t up to standard, they weren’t willing to make the financial commitment to [update].” Quinn said that he has essentially rebuilt his entire facility over the years to keep it in compliance. The sale or distribution of uninspected meat is illegal in Ontario. Animals must be inspected and approved prior to slaughter, processed in a licensed facility and then stamped, labelled or tagged with an inspection license. “Most of the older plants that we’re talking about that have closed up, they were built before meat inspection was even compulsory. They were grandfathered in and regulations kept getting stricter and stricter. You either had to get up to standards, or get out,” he said. Quinn’s business, as well as the home on the adjacent property, are listed together for $1.3 million, including all equipment, license, existing inventory, a smokehouse and a stand alone generator. The processing area is suited to the custom cutting of beef, pork, lamb and goat. The retail area includes meat counters and coolers to sell beef and pork by the cut, as well as chicken and other products. According to the government of Canada, the beef industry reached retail sales of $5.4 billion USD in 2018, with beef representing 29.1 per cent of the overall retail Canadian meat sector. The sector is expected to grow by 2.4 per cent by 2023. “Meat substitutes,” or soy-based products such as burgers and grills, meatballs, sausage and other portions represented only $102.0 million USD in 2018. “Nevertheless, the sales of ‘meat substitute’ product categories are all growing faster than sales of most meat product categories… between 2014-2023,” says the federal sector overview of meat in Canada.Samantha Butler-Hassan, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, kingstonist.com