Snow-covered neighbourhood in Birchy Bay, NL.
Snow-covered neighbourhood in Birchy Bay, NL.
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
ATLANTA — A panel of U.S. advisers will meet Tuesday to vote on how scarce, initial supplies of a COVID-19 vaccine will be given out once one has been approved. Experts have proposed giving the vaccine to health workers first. High priority also may be given to workers in essential industries, people with certain medical conditions and people age 65 and older. Tuesday's meeting is for the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, a group established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The panel of experts recommends who to vaccinate and when -- advice that the government almost always follows. The agenda for next week's emergency meeting was posted Friday. Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech have asked the Food and Drug Administration to allow emergency use of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate. Moderna Inc. is expected to also seek emergency use of its vaccine soon. FDA's scientific advisers are holding a public meeting Dec. 10 to review Pfizer's request, and send a recommendation to the FDA. Manufacturers already have begun stockpiling coronavirus vaccine doses in anticipation of eventual approval, but the first shots will be in short supply and rationed. The Associated Press
VICTORIA — British Columbia's top doctor has a message for people who don't follow a provincial order to wear a mask in indoor public spaces: order takeout, shop online or stay home.Dr. Bonnie Henry said Friday she was saddened after hearing about store and restaurant employees facing aggressive customers who refuse to wear masks as COVID-19 numbers rise."I remind all of us about the severity of this illness and the fact that we have people who are suffering in our hospitals right now, and their families are suffering too," she said. The RCMP say they arrested a shopper at a Walmart in Dawson Creek this week after he allegedly assaulted an employee who asked him to wear a mask.B.C. set another single-day record with 911 cases of COVID-19, Henry said, adding that a total of 30,884 cases have been diagnosed in the province.Eleven more people have died, bringing the number of fatalities to 395, while a record 301 patients are in hospital.Some faith leaders have questioned Henry's order to ban even limited gatherings at churches, temples and other faith locations while restaurants and bars remain open.Henry said outbreaks have occurred in multiple faith locations despite safety measures in keeping with what is happening around the world."I'd like to be clear that these locations are not doing anything wrong," she said, adding COVID-19 precautions were being followed at the majority of worship places."These are not decisions that we make lightly," she said."We are facing a storm surge, and that is something we are facing globally."Henry said events that were safe even a few weeks ago now threaten the most vulnerable people who attend them as well as entire communities.However, she said most faith leaders understand the measures as they support their congregants from a distance."It is a cruel irony in many ways that when we most need to be with people, that is the most dangerous thing that we can do with this level of transmission we are seeing in communities across the province."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 27, 2020.The Canadian Press
Derek Mueller, a senior researcher at Carleton University, cut his scientific teeth studying mats of microbes on some of Canada's oldest, thickest and most remote sea ice. "They have some very interesting pigments in their cells to fend off harmful UV radiation," Mueller said in an interview. "It's kind of a tricky thing to do, physiologically. You never know. It could very well be that someday we discover something useful out of that life."That's one reason why he, along with colleagues and Inuit groups, are calling for stronger protections for Canada's northernmost waters as the so-called Last Ice Area rapidly lives up to its name. "It's so poorly understood," said Mueller, co-author of an article in the journal Science that urges the federal government to expand and make permanent the conservation of Tuvaijuittuq, 320,000 square kilometres of frozen ocean off the northern coast of Ellesmere Island.Tuvaijuittuq, which means "the place where ice never melts" in Inuktut, has the thickest and oldest ice in the Arctic. Because of how ice moves in ocean currents, Tuvaijuittuq is likely to be the last place it remains. The region is provisionally protected until 2024. But Mueller said the pace of Arctic warming argues for permanent status as a Marine Protected Area connected to Quttinirpaaq National Park on Ellesmere's north coast.Just last July, 40 per cent of the area's Milne Ice Shelf collapsed within two days -- 80 square kilometres of ice that had been stable for millennia now adrift. It happened so quickly an uninhabited research camp was lost."(The area's) under threat and we're hoping for conservation measures to mitigate that," Mueller said.The Qikiqtani Inuit Association is working with the federal and Nunavut governments to determine if Tuvaijuittuuq should be permanently protected and, if so, how. "QIA is leading an Inuit knowledge study which will really try to tackle what is current and historical Inuit use of the area," said Andrew Randall, the association's director of marine and wildlife stewardship. "(We're) looking at cultural sites, some of the impacts associated with climate change."Inuit want to understand what resources might lie in the area, Randall said. They also want to ensure Inuit play a role in managing and studying it, he added. "(Research) doesn't only mean bringing in more western scientists," he said.The Arctic sea ice ecosystem may seem desolate, but it's anything but, said Mueller. The ice supports a whole range of life important to humans and animals a long way away. As the rest of the circumpolar world shifts under climate change, ensuring that a piece of the frozen Arctic remains free of human disturbance is key to understanding both how things used to be and what they are becoming, said Mueller. Just this year, scientists discovered a whole ecosystem of shellfish, anemones, starfish and brittle stars living on shelves in pockets within the ice."What a wonderful surprise!" said Mueller. "We are now just beginning to understand this environment." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 28, 2020. Bob Weber, The Canadian Press
SANTÉ. Dans l’optique qu’une ventilation adéquate des milieux intérieurs constitue une mesure de gestion efficace des contaminants de l'air intérieur, incluant les aérosols qui peuvent contenir des virus, le ministre de l'Éducation, Jean-François Roberge, dévoile l'état de situation sur les mécanismes mis en place par les centres de services scolaires (CSS). La compilation des données collectées jusqu'à maintenant montre que les mécanismes de contrôle de la qualité de l'air sont en place dans la presque totalité des établissements. «Je veux rassurer la population : nos milieux scolaires sont sains et sécuritaires. Dans le contexte de la pandémie de COVID-19, il est encore plus primordial d'assurer une qualité de l'air adéquate dans toutes les écoles. Je suis rassuré de constater que les données compilées démontrent que les mécanismes de contrôle mis en place sont efficaces, alors que pour les précédents gouvernements, l'entretien de nos écoles n'était pas une priorité. Nos actions des derniers mois ont porté leurs fruits et nous continuons le travail, en collaboration avec l'ensemble du réseau scolaire», souligne Jean-François Roberge, ministre de l'Éducation. Ainsi, l'implantation d'une approche systématique de gestion de la qualité de l'air est complétée à 96,55 %. Il s'agit d'une série de mesures, comme l'entretien des systèmes, le remplacement des filtres et des grilles d'inspection exhaustives que les CSS doivent appliquer pour garantir la qualité de l'air dans les écoles. L'entretien ménager des systèmes de ventilation a été complété de manière conforme à 97,5 % tandis les normes ont été respectées à 99,5 % pour la ventilation électromécanique et naturelle. Le plan d'entretien électromécanique a été mis en place de façon satisfaisante dans 92,6 % des cas indique-t-on. Rappelons que le réseau des CSS et des CS compte un total de 4 000 bâtiments scolaires, soit approximativement 16,5 millions de mètres carrés et que de nouveaux tests seront effectués, à compter du 1er décembre, pour garantir que la qualité de l'air des classes est conforme aux normes actuellement en vigueur. Stéphane Lévesque, Initiative de journalisme local, L'Hebdo Journal
The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal (CHRT) released a ruling on Nov. 25, which impacts how First Nations children can access funding for services. The ruling says that First Nations children who live on or off-reserve, who do not have Indian Act Status, but who are recognized by their respective Nations for the purpose of applying for funding through Jordan’s Principle, can now apply for support. The ruling also opens up funding for children living on or off reserve who “are not eligible for, Indian Act status, but who have a parent or guardian with, or eligible for, Indian Act status.” The ruling comes after years of pressure from the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society (the Caring Society) and the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) to address health service inequities, including delays or denial of services, that First Nations children experience. In memory of the late Jordan River Anderson, of Norway House Cree Nation, Jordan’s Principle is a principle that ensures “First Nations children get the services they need when they need them,” according to the Caring Society. Anderson, who was born with complex medical needs, spent more than two years in hospital while both the federal and provincial governments argued over who should finance his home care. Jordan died at the age of five, never having spent a day at home with his family. Jordan’s Principle calls on the government to pay for a child’s services and seek reimbursement later, so the child does not get caught in the middle of a similar dispute. Beginning in 2007, the Caring Society and the AFN filed an official complaint with the Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC) saying Canada was “racially discriminating against First Nations children.” According to a timeline by the Caring Society, the Tribunal case found that the inequitable funding for First Nations child welfare was insufficient and ‘amounts to discrimination.’ In 2016, the Tribunal found that the Government of Canada was “racially discriminating against 165,00 First Nations children and their families,” and that Canada was “failing to implement the full scope of Jordan’s Principle.” In this recent ruling, the Tribunal emphasized its “commitment to respecting First Nations self government,” saying that recognition of the right to self-determination is consistent with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.Anna McKenzie, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Discourse
Harold Hague, a Navy veteran of the Second World War’s D-Day battle in northern France and a longtime-owner of Loggie’s Shoes in downtown Regina, died Thursday night of liver cancer. He was 99 years old. Born in Earl Grey north of Regina in 1921, Hague was a signalman among a flotilla of seven Canadian minesweeper ships tasked with finding and destroying underwater German mines at Omaha Beach on June 6, 1944. Amid heavy shelling, the drowning deaths of his fellow soldiers and two destroyed minesweepers, he survived the decisive battle, managing to see his 23rd birthday a week later. “I was just happy to be alive,” he told the Leader-Post a few years back while participating in a film about D-Day. “We were looking forward to that 100th birthday,” his wife Jan said Friday morning. Her husband’s death came quickly. “He went into hospital about 10 days ago. He had fallen twice within a few hours, so I wanted him to go get tested to see if there was something causing this. “As a result of an ultrasound they found a large mass on his liver, which we didn't know about,” she said through tears. After the war ended, Hague returned to Regina and took a job at local staple Loggie’s, eventually becoming a partner and then an owner in 1978. In a short documentary about the store’s closure in 2014, he said, “the store was my life, my blood and my heart; it was everything. It was the reason for my life." Had it not been for Loggie’s, he likely wouldn’t have met Jan, who grew up in Ontario. “I met him in Toronto … he would come buy things for his shoe store, and that's how we met,” she said. “He wrote me to say ‘thank you’ for my service and it just went on from there." "It was just an instant connection with each other ... you couldn't help but like him." Jan moved to Regina to be with him in 1979. His fellow Canadian forces members said he was a gentleman. Retried Brig.-Gen. Cliff Walker commended Hague for his work on the board of governors with the Commissionaires south Saskatchewan division. “He spent 47 ½ years on the board trying to help his fellow veterans," Walker said. “(Harold) had a grounding and a sense of understanding of what he had gone through; he was able to avoid some of the nightmares and the PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder).” Retired Army Col. Randy Brooks, an Afghanistan War veteran who served with the Royal Regina Rifles, said Hague was often mentoring younger forces members, even if they weren’t with the Navy. The danger of the minesweepers' work wasn’t lost on Brooks, who has deep knowledge of the D-Day invasion. “They were trained to just get on with the job … come hell or high water, and it was both,” he said. Hague’s military and business service earned him numerous awards throughout his life. Among them are the Minister of Veterans Affairs Commendation Award, the Lieutenant Governor’s Military Service Medal and the Regina Chamber of Commerce Paragon lifetime achievement award. Harold's son Kelly said there won't be a service for him, in light of COVID-19 restrictions. He asked that any donations be made in his dad's name to the Royal Canadian Legion. email@example.comEvan Radford, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Regina Leader-Post, The Leader-Post
Andrea Bolitho discusses this week's arts and entertainment news.View on euronews
The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada (all times Eastern):7:04 p.m.Nunavut is reporting four new cases of COVID-19, all in Arviat. The territory says it now has a total of 151 active cases of COVID-19. The Government of Nunavut says it will spend $1 million towards community food programming, including extra funding for communities affected by the pandemic. The government says its message to people is to stay well, stay safe and stay home.6:49 p.m.Health experts have warned that COVID-19 cases in Saskatchewan could climb to more than 10,000 by early next month.The Ministry of Health has released a presentation delivered to physicians at a town-hall meeting last night about the virus's current spread and possible trajectory.Information updated to Nov. 20 indicates that, based on the recent average rise in positive tests, the caseload could hit 10,000 in the first week of December if there is no further intervention.The data also states that as of Monday, the number of active cases and hospitalizations had gone up 400 per cent in the last 30 days. It forecasts that in four to six months, acute care demand for COVID-19 patients could account for half of all available beds and the need for intensive care could be five times total capacity.The Saskatchewan Health Authority says it is working to validate the data and will share more information next week.\---6:34 p.m.COVID -19 infections keep surging in B.C. with the latest peak at 911 new positive cases.Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says there have also been another 11 deaths for a total of 395 deaths since the pandemic started.There have been three more outbreaks in long-term care or assisted-living facilities, bringing to 54 the number of sites that have outbreaks.More than 10,000 people are under active health monitoring, while 21,304 people who were infected are considered recovered.\---5:30 p.m.The Alberta government is empowering 700 more peace officers to enforce COVID-19 public health orders. Justice Minister Kaycee Madu says fines for breaking the rules can range from $1,000 to $100,000 in extreme cases that end up in court. New rules announced this week include a ban on private social gatherings and capacity limits in stores.Alberta reported 1,227 new infections on Friday and nine more deaths. Chief medical officer Dr. Deena Hinshaw says 405 people are in hospital, including 86 in intensive care. She says one way to free up space for the growing number of severely ill COVID-19 patients in hospital is to postpone surgeries.\---3:52 p.m.Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe has tested negative for COVID-19.He was tested Monday after eating at a restaurant in Prince Albert where the Saskatchewan Health Authority says someone there was positive with the virus.Moe's office says he will remain in isolation at his home in Shellbrook until Sunday, as per the advice from public health.He will be in Regina Monday for the opening of the legislature and delivery of the throne speech.\---2:54 p.m.Saskatchewan is reporting four more people have died from COVID-19 and says there are 329 new infections in the province.Health officials say those who died were 70 and older.The Ministry of Health reports the seven-day average of daily cases sits at 268.There are 111 people in hospital and 16 receiving intensive care.As of Friday, no team sports are allowed in the province and capacity at public venues like churches, movie theatres and casinos is limited to 30 people.The measures are part of the latest round of restrictions Premier Scott Moe announced earlier in the week to stem the virus's spread while avoiding a second shutdown of non-essential businesses.\---2:44 p.m.Manitoba is cracking down on retailers not following public health orders as health officials say COVID-19 is starting to impact vulnerable populations at a higher rate.Officials announced 344 new cases and 14 more deaths.Dr. Brent Roussin, the chief provincial public health officer, says there is significant community spread in lower-income neighbourhoods and among the homeless population.He discouraged people from leaving their homes for any non-essential reason and cautioned retailers against trying to find loopholes in the health orders.The province issued a $5,000 ticket to a Winnipeg Costco this week for selling non-essential items.\---1:57 p.m.Nova Scotia is reporting nine new cases of COVID-19, all in the central health zone, which includes Halifax.The province now has 119 active cases of novel coronavirus.Health officials say one new case identified today is at Bedford South School, which is a pre-primary to Grade 4 school in the central zone.Starting today, ongoing voluntary testing is being introduced to monitor, reduce and prevent the spread of COVID-19 in long-term care.\---12:51 p.m.Newfoundland and Labrador is reporting four new positive cases of COVID-19, for a total of 31 active cases across the province.One of the individuals is a man in his 60s in the eastern region of the province whose infection is related to another identified case.A man and a woman in their 50s in the eastern region and a woman in her 40s in the western region have also tested positive. The source of those three infections is under investigation.\---12:48 p.m.New Brunswick is reporting 12 new cases of COVID-19, bringing its number of active cases to 114.Public Health says seven cases are in the Saint John area, three are in the Moncton region and two are in the Fredericton area.All three health regions are under the province's heightened "orange'' pandemic alert level.Dr. Jennifer Russell, the province's chief medical officer of health, says there should be no non-essential travel in and out of these zones.\---12:10 p.m.Nunavut's chief public health officer says four members of the Canadian Red Cross touched down in Arviat today to assist with a COVID-19 outbreak. Dr. Michael Patterson says the team will help with isolation and contact tracing in the community of around 2,800 people.The Government of Nunavut has also announced it will give $1 million to municipalities for community food programs as the territory heads into its second week of a lockdown.Nunavut is currently under a territory-wide, 14-day lockdown to curb the spread of COVID-19.\---11:40 a.m. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Major-General Dany Fortin has been tapped to lead the Canadian military’s role in coordinating logistics for distributing a COVID-19 vaccine across the country.Fortin most recently served as the chief of staff for the Canadian Joint Operations Command.He was also commander of the NATO military training mission in Iraq from November 2018 until last fall.The announcement follows days of criticism over the Trudeau government's vaccination strategy and uncertainty about when Canadians might have access to an eventual vaccine.\---11:24Ontario is reporting 1,855 new cases of COVID-19 in another record-high daily increase.Twenty more Ontarians have died from the virus. Health Minister Christine Elliott says new infections remain concentrated in the Greater Toronto Area, including 517 more cases in Peel Region and 494 in Toronto. Provincial data say the seven-day average for infections in the province is 1,489 per day.\---11:13 a.m.Quebec is reporting 1,269 new COVID-19 infections and 38 more deaths linked virus, including nine that occurred in the past 24 hours.Health officials said today hospitalizations decreased by six, to 669, and 90 people were in intensive care, the same number as the day prior.The province says 1,236 more people recovered from COVID-19, for a total of 119,727 recoveries.Quebec has reported 138,163 COVID-19 cases and 6,984 deaths linked to the virus since the beginning of the pandemic.\---11:02 a.m.Nunavut is announcing four new cases of COVID-19, all in the community of Arviat. This brings Arviat’s total number of cases to 119. Three more cases in Arviat and Rankin Inlet are now considered recovered. There are 151 active cases of COVID-19 in Nunavut.\---This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 27, 2020.The Canadian Press
On Thursday evening the Saskatchewan Rivers School Division notified the public that a case of COVID-19 had been identified in an individual at Princess Margaret Public School in Prince Albert. The case was acquired outside of the school. “The division is hoping the recovery is quick and thorough and we extend our get-well wishes to this member of our school community and offer our support to the surrounding family. We also extend our support to the staff and students in our schools who are impacted by the isolation,” the release stated. The division was informed on Thursday of the positive COVID-19 test result and communication is being shared with the classrooms/cohorts, the connected staff, as well as with the school community. The learning program will continue remotely for those students affected. Princess Margaret will remain open for in-person classes for students who are not required to self-isolate. The division, in this case, did not announce the length of the isolation. As is the circumstance in all cases in the division due to privacy concerns, further details of the case will not be shared. The school’s COVID Response Plan contains many important measures, processes and protocols that add layers of protection for students and staff. School personnel will continue to be informed and guided by SHA as they manage this case. Staffs at schools in the division remain vigilant in ensuring proper safety measures are in place and personnel from the SHA continue to guide and inform school administration and staff. The division explained that although there has been no evidence that transmission has occurred within any Sask. Rivers schools and we all share responsibility to minimize the risk of COVID transmission. “The division deeply appreciates the support that students, parents and community members have demonstrated, especially as the number of cases in our region climbs.” The division emphasized that despite the challenges it is important that everyone continues to be diligent in performing the daily health screening and self-monitoring, stay home if not feeling well, call the HealthLine at 811 if exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms, practice proper hand hygiene, maintain physical distancing as much as possible, wear a mask when appropriate. The SHA’s local public health team continues to provide expert advice and strong support for our dedicated staff as we manage the pandemic in our communities. “The division is thankful to have such a cohesive team of administration and staff supported by our partners in Health.”Michael Oleksyn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Albert Daily Herald
We may not have Christmas parties or visits to Santa at the mall, but there is still one holiday tradition going strong this year: the Hallmark Christmas movie, and this year's run will feature the first Indigenous woman in the main cast.Five Star Christmas features Barbara Patrick, originally of Burns Lake, B.C., in one of the supporting leads as the member of a family who has to pose as staff at her father-in-law's fledgling bed and breakfast.The character is also a fashion blogger, and though her Indigenous identity never comes up in the script itself, Patrick says she was asked to dress in a way that reflects her heritage as a member of the Stellat'en First Nation.The result is subtle touches, including on screen appearances from Patrick's personal wardrobe, such as beaded mukluks and earrings made in her home community of Burns Lake."It's really cool," she said. "I really think that Indigenous people need to be represented on-screen and allowed to play these characters instead of being depicted in a negative or stereotypical light."The Hallmark Channel has come under fire in past years for a lack of diversity in its annual holiday films, which are big business for the B.C. film industry. But Patrick believes the approach taken by the director at incorporating her identity into the character's look is a sign of change."Hopefully, I will be the first of many Indigenous people to be playing on Hallmark," she said.Big break in 'big city' of Prince GeorgePatrick's journey to the small screen started back in 1998 when as a teenager she was shopping in the "big city" at Pine Centre Mall in Prince George.She was approached by a modelling agent about being in a local runway show and within months she had won a contest in Vancouver and was on a flight to a shoot in Japan."It was a whirlwind," Patrick said. "I hadn't even been into a Starbucks before."After going out for a few roles in commercials, Patrick decided she wanted to transition into acting and eventually made her way back to British Columbia and Vancouver where she now lives.In 2021, she will be seen in Kiri and the Dead Girl directed by Prince George, B.C.'s Grace Dove who starred in The Revenant and Monkey Beach.But for now, Patrick is excited to become part of people's holiday tradition of sitting down and watching an uplifting Christmas tale — so long as she can find a TV."My parents [in Burns Lake] have actually subscribed to the channel to watch me," she said. "I might have to Facetime in with them."Subscribe to Daybreak North on CBC Listen or your favourite podcast app, and connect with CBC Northern British Columbia on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
The City of Calgary launched a buy local campaign last year to get more dollars flowing into local businesses and support the city's economic recovery.But in 2020, with the pandemic further impacting the bottom lines of businesses across the city, business owners say that message is more important than ever.Businesses can utilize the city's free toolkit, which includes marketing tips, print posters and other strategies intended to help get customers in the door.Natasha Qereshniku with the city's business and local economy team said the buy local campaign is aimed at creating more awareness around how to support small business.Qereshniku said that if Calgarians find a local option within their budget for a desired service or product, they should jump at it.Competing with big box storesWhitney Titheridge, owner of Crabapple Clothing Company in Marda Loop, said it hasn't been easy competing with big box store deals — but added she is doing her best."Honestly, as soon as we're on sale, we are no longer making money," Titheridge said. "So it's just something to try and drive traffic and then try to bring people in, and maybe they'll purchase some regular merchandise at the same time." Small businesses also have to cope with the latest COVID-19 health restrictions. Starting Friday, they are required to operate at 25 per cent capacity, which makes buying local crucial."Let's shout it from the rooftops," Titheridge said. "I do think people are listening. I just think we have to make it a priority." The city encourages customers to use the SupportLocalYYC hashtag throughout the holiday season to promote their favourite Calgary businesses and services.Calgary shopper Cam Collingwood said online shopping hasn't helped out many local businesses in recent years, adding that he thinks they need as much support as possible right now."It's those big brands that are offering those great discounts and whatnot," Collingwood said. "So I think it's important for people to not just focus on Black Friday, but go out before and after Black Friday to the local shops and get it done."Plan ahead — don't just get it done online last minute. Support the local shops."
OTTAWA — As the number of new COVID-19 cases continues to rise across Canada, the infection rate in Ottawa has been going in the other direction for weeks, putting the city on the right track to flatten the curve of the pandemic once again.The city's chief medical officer, Dr. Vera Etches, said much of the credit goes to the people who live here, who have been wearing masks — in some cases, such as on public transit, forced to do so earlier than others across Canada — and staying at home.There was a time in early October when Ottawa, despite its initial success flattening the curve in the spring, experienced a spike in COVID-19 cases that saw the city have double the number of cases seen in Toronto and Peel Region at that time. Now the number of new cases is once again much lower than in those areas.There were 55 new COVID-19 cases in Ottawa on Friday, which represents a bigger daily jump from earlier in the week but still puts the city at 5.89 new cases per 100,000 people. Toronto, meanwhile, reported 18.08 new cases per 100,000 people on Friday and in Peel Region it was 37.42 new cases per 100,000.“It's really thanks to the people in Ottawa, and thanks to the employers and others who are doing their part to make it possible," Etches told a news conference this week, adding that people increased their distance from others, wore masks and stayed home when they were sick."These are the things that actually can bring COVID down in a community."Etches said Ottawa Public Health emphasized the importance of wearing masks early on in the pandemic and in June, the city became the first in Canada to make them mandatory on public transit."Building a new behaviour, a new culture where you always have a mask with you when you go out, that's been in place a little bit longer, that might have helped," she said.Meanwhile, employers in Ottawa, a city of just over one million people, enabled people to follow the advice of public health officials by allowing them to work from home, and stay home when they were sick, more than in other cities, she said.Twenty-four per cent of workers in Ottawa work in public administration jobs, according to Ottawa Employment Hub, the local workplace planning board. Some 120,000 people in the National Capital Region, which includes nearby Gatineau, Que., work for the federal government, which has allowed most of its employees to work from home since March."The federal government is leading by example," said Lavagnon Ika, a professor of project management at the University of Ottawa. He said managers and directors at the government were often reluctant to allow people to work remotely before the pandemic, but that has changed. "Because of COVID-19, people have learned (how) to make it work," he saidIka said information technology companies in Ottawa have also been allowing their employees to work remotely because they already have the technology to do so and their employees are trained to use it."If you don't have a centralized information system for all your teams, it's not possible to work at a distance," he said. "I'm talking about the video conferencing tools and artificial-intelligence assistance tools."He said some of the high-tech companies in Ottawa had employees working remotely and customers from all over the world before COVID-19, listing homegrown e-commerce giant Shopify as one of them. "They badly need remote work because of a geographical distribution of some of their team members and their clients," Ika said.The well-integrated health care system in eastern Ontario has also helped in responding to the pandemic efficiently, said Dr. Robert Cushman, the acting medical director of health for the Renfrew County and District Health Unit near Ottawa. "What you've seen in Ottawa, for example, is there's very close work between the hospitals, and the public health unit and the city, and this extends out into the peripheral areas," said Cushman, who was Ottawa's chief medical officer from 1996 to 2005. "We've been working together on this since the beginning," he said. "There's a lot of cohesion."Having all the hospital labs working together through a regional association when it comes to testing COVID-19 is another factor, Cushman said, as efficient testing is key to aggressive and thorough tracing of how the novel coronavirus spreads through contacts."Is your lab turnaround time sufficiently short so that you can actually catch up and even get ahead of this?" he said, adding that it has been challenging to do this across Canada and even in the rest of Ontario. "If you're waiting six days for a test, I mean, this virus can get into a second (or) a third generation."There were plenty of stories about long lineups at COVID-19 testing sites in Ottawa in September once children headed back to school, but that has also improved, including through the ability to book testing appointments online.Cushman said he also believes people in Ottawa tend to trust the public health unit and health professionals, which leads to more people following their guidelines."There's a community spirit here to do the right thing," he said.But Etches warned people in Ottawa not to relax too much as COVID-19 cases in the city decline. She was speaking Tuesday, when Ottawa reported 19 new cases. On Friday, there were 55 new COVID-19 cases reported.“We think we're on the right track, but it's very tenuous,” said Etches, who is telling families to celebrate Christmas and other seasonal holidays with only people in their immediate households to avoid potential COVID-19 outbreaks.“Ottawa Public Health has had the highest rate of COVID in early October and we can go back there again.”This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 28, 2020——— This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.Maan Alhmidi, The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — A spokesman for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says his office accidentally sent out an account of a phone call with Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole that hadn't happened yet.The premature account of the call Friday said Trudeau chided O'Toole about Conservative MPs downplaying the deaths of Albertans and comparing the novel coronavirus to the flu.Alberta MP Rachael Harder shared a newspaper column on her Facebook page this week that pointed out provincial statistics saying that just 10 of 369 Albertans who had died of COVID-19 as of mid-November were otherwise healthy. And Ontario MP Dean Allison described COVID-19 as "influenza" in a talk-radio interview.After the call, the Conservatives said Trudeau raised neither of these incidents with O'Toole.And a second read-out of the call from the PMO, after the call had actually taken place, dropped all mention of the matter.It said simply that the two leaders had discussed "the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as vaccine distribution in Canada," along with issues related to president-elect Joe Biden’s incoming administration in the United States.The Tory leader went into the conversation with proposals for how Canada can improve its relationship with the U.S. under Biden.In a letter to Trudeau, O'Toole said responding to the COVID-19 pandemic must be the first priority, including ensuring a continent-wide response to vaccine supply, the production of personal protective equipment and managing the border.O'Toole said after that must come dealing with the threat posed by China, and that Canada should seek to join an existing dialogue among the U.S., Australia, India and Japan to oppose Chinese military expansionism. The letter also talks about the Keystone XL oil pipeline, a project that outgoing President Donald Trump approved but Biden opposes. O'Toole said it must be made clear to Biden the project is important to Canada's view of the bilateral relationship with the U.S.The letter cites a need for a collective effort on combating climate change, and a call to modernize the binational defence agreement known as Norad, which would include having Canada join the ballistic missile defence program. A copy of O'Toole's letter to Trudeau was obtained by The Canadian Press."This period of transition to the incoming Biden administration represents a unique opportunity to advance Canada's interests and values on the world stage," O'Toole wrote in the letter. "It is my sincere hope the Canadian and U.S. governments can work together for the mutual benefit of both our peoples who have endured so much this past year."A Conservative read-out after the call said the two leaders concluded their chat by mutually "reaffirming the importance of eliminating COVID-19 and by wishing their families well."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 27, 2020.The Canadian Press
Last week’s power outage gave the North Island a chance to shine, and if you ask those who work in emergency support services, they shone brightly. “The response was very organic, very Malcolm Island,” said Marjorie Giroux, the emergency services support worker in Sointula. People were checking in on neighbours, sharing generators. There were a few people driving around the small island with generators in their trucks to let people charge their devices for a while. Sointula had no power for almost four full days. “It was one of the longest outages in recent memory. We’ve had the occasional over-nighter but not to this extent,” Giroux said. As the hours dragged on, the crew of the Island Sun fishing boat, owned by Island Fishing, realized that frozen food would be thawing. The boat still had freezers installed from the tuna fishing season, so they opened up their hold for locals to put their frozen food into. For folks who prepare their own food for the winter, this was no small gesture. A handful of people came with labelled boxes to preserve their frozen goods. Island Sun crew member Brian Pohto expects many more would have come had the power not been restored so quickly. “I’m just glad we still had the freezers installed,” said Pohto. The freezers were for tuna fishing, and would be removed for a different fishery. The pandemic unexpectedly helped Malcolm Islanders prepare for emergencies like this. Giroux said. Earlier in the year a group of supporters combed through the phone book and made a list of people who were at high risk. They also developed a COVID buddy system, which naturally reemerged during the power outage for people to check on each other. The pandemic group had also made lots of soup to have on hand in case someone needed to self-isolate for two weeks. No one has needed to isolate like that, but the homemade food was a welcome boon for people who only had electric heat in the power outage. Giroux and Michelle Pottage, the other ESS, heated up bowls of soup and delivered them around town to people who had only had cold food for days. Over in Port Alice, the warming station was a big help for folks who were out of power for almost as long as Sointula. Village staff ran the station out of the community centre, offering coffee and hot soup — they even had meatloaf one day — and cots for people who wanted to sleep in a warm place. Offers of help flew back and forth on the community facebook pages, with some members chirping in from out of town, sending warm thoughts and reminiscing about the goodness of small towns. Do you have something to add to this story or something else we should report on? Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgZoë Ducklow, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, North Island Gazette
A provocative Aylmer church pastor, who’s pushed the envelope on COVID-19 restrictions, made sure everyone knew he was ticketed by London police for attending a rally against public health measures to fight the spread of the virus. When officers showed up at his house to give Henry Hildebrandt his court summons, his son, Herbert, filmed the exchange that went straight to Facebook, with the Church of God pastor striking a defiant tone as he addressed the camera. “Police were just at my door here. I apparently just received a ticket,” he says in the video. “We will see where it goes from here.” He continues: “I intend to do nothing with it because we have the right, according to our constitution, to have a peaceful protest and that is what I attended.” Friday, Hildebrandt told The Free Press he plans to speak at an anti-restrictions rally in Toronto on Saturday and keep spreading the word that constitutional rights are under attack by COVID-19 safety curbs imposed under an Ontario emergency law. “It’s not about me or our church . . . We stand behind the people and, whatever it takes, we’ve got to wake the people up and that’s what these rallies are all about,” he said. Hildebrandt was among about 200 protesters at a so-called “freedom rally” held in London’s Victoria Park last Sunday. Three organizers are facing charges under the emergency law that bans such large gatherings in the face of COVID-19. “I did expect sooner or later that they (authorities) would cave in to pressure from the public” and charge him, Hildebrandt said. London police released no names but confirmed a 57-year-old Aylmer man was charged for taking part in an outdoor gathering exceeding provincial crowd limits, and that others who took in Sunday’s rally may also be ticketed. Hildebrandt has been a lightning rod in the anti-restrictions movement, starting with drive-in church services he held in Aylmer — even after authorities warned him not to — when church buildings were still closed amid the pandemic. Eventually, such drive-in sessions were permitted. Since COVID-19’s second wave erupted, Hildebrandt has been a frequent fixture at lockdown backlash rallies in Southwestern Ontario. Besides Sunday’s gathering in London, authorities have charged organizers of similar rallies held recently in Chatham and Aylmer, and St. Thomas police have warned they’re warming up to lay charges in another such gathering held there. Under the emergency law, those convicted of organizing a gathering of more than 25 people amid COVID-19 can be fined $10,000 to $100,000, and be jailed up to a year. But that law was never meant to curb freedom of speech, said Michael Bryant, a former Ontario attorney general who now heads the Canadian Civil Liberties Association. He said authorities need to find a balanced approach to permit protest gatherings against the COVID-19 restrictions. “The problem is, the only way to protest this law is to violate it,” he said, adding he believes such protests should be allowed as long as people spread out to guard against the spread of COVID-19. Bryant said rally participants charged could offer a defence of freedom of speech, or, where some but not all are charged, argue they’re “unfairly targeted by the police.” “Charging people is not the solution because, as we see from this case, it ends up being quite arbitrary who gets charged,” he said. In the video, live-streamed to Hildebrandt’s Facebook page, a London police officer is seen issuing the pastor a ticket and court summons on his doorstep. In the nearly five-minute-long video, two officers approach Hildebrandt’s door, one doing the talking and leaving the ticket and summons in the pastor’s mailbox. "Is everyone receiving a ticket that was there?" Hildebrandt asks the officer. Const. Sandasha Bough said London police are still trying to identify rally participants. "If members of the public have been identified (as attendees), they could face charges," she said. "If anyone has information, please contact us." With files by Dale Carruthers, Free Press reporter email@example.comMax Martin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, London Free Press
OTTAWA — New research suggests a bump in the number of fathers who planned to take time off with a new baby under a nascent national leave program could be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.It has been just over a year since the government started offering the use-it-or-lose-it extra weeks of paid time off work for non-birthing parents. The program was designed to mostly target fathers, who don't take paternity leave in large numbers.It was modelled after a program adopted over a decade ago in Quebec, which has the highest paternity leave rates in the country.A study published this month in the Journal of European Social Policy noted a five per cent rise in mothers' labour force participation rates after the Quebec policy came into effect, compared to Ontario where parents had no such policy at the time.The authors also noted Quebec mothers were less likely to work part-time or be unemployed than they would have been absent the paternity leave policy. The authors of the study also found the benefits were largest within the first three years of the new program being available to fathers, but fizzled out thereafter.Sample size could have played a role, but one of the authors said another explanation was timing: The period under review overlapped with the last big recession in 2008-2009.That raises questions about whether the impact of the Canada-wide version of the program could be shaped by an even sharper recession caused by COVID-19."It's a bit of a crystal ball in terms of will more fathers take it, will (fewer) fathers take it," said Andrea Doucet, an expert on parental leave policies from Brock University. She was not involved in the recently published study."But there's a whole part of this which is about social norms around gender and gender equality. The conversation (on paternity leave) has just changed enormously."The federal program, which launched in March 2019, includes five to eight weeks of extra paid leave for the second parent, with the length depending on whether a family chooses standard or extended benefits. It was designed to incentivize new fathers to take some time off work to care for their children, even if their partner stays home for much longer.The difference between the federal employment insurance program and the Quebec version lies in the income-replacement rate. Quebec's is about 70 per cent, while EI is 55 per cent, up to a limit. There are also differences in who can qualify, with individuals eligible in Quebec while EI depends on the eligibility of the mother, or first parent.Allison Dunatchik, one of the study's authors from the University of Pennsylvania, said the size of the take-up now depends on how many parents qualify and whether they can afford the drop in income."There's some question about whether that's really enough incentive to get men to change their leave-taking behaviour, particularly when we're in this context of greater economic uncertainty," she said."There is a lot we don't know about how these policies play out in the context of a recession." A report this month from Statistics Canada said the proportion of spouses or partners of recent mothers who claimed, or intended to claim, the EI leave increased to 35.4 per cent last year from 31.3 per cent in 2018 and 29.1 per cent in 2017.Employment and Social Development Canada, which oversees EI, couldn't say many parents used the sharing benefit last year and so far this year.Doucet said rates could actually go up as more fathers work remotely and take care of children at home because of school or daycare closures. Research suggests the more fathers are home, the more they want to get involved in care."They want to be involved. They don't just want to go to work the next day," she said. "All that could have some benefit. There could be some implications for fathers working from home, or their take up of leave."But, she added, the policy has to change.Doucet and two co-authors recently called on the government to boost the income-replacement rate and ease access, particularly in light of an economic downturn disproportionately affecting women.As is, about one-third of women don't qualify for EI parental benefits, Doucet said, noting many are mothers from low-income, racialized or new immigrant families."Parental leave is critical to shifting those gender equality patterns, so that if we ever get into another pandemic … things could be different," Doucet said.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 28, 2020.Jordan Press, The Canadian Press
The latest updates from Ontario and around Canada as officials try to contain the spread of COVID-19.
The New Brunswick Legislature could be holding virtual sittings within the next two weeks.MLAs from four parties sitting on the legislative administration committee agreed Friday to get equipment and technology installed quickly so the assembly can resume its business.It adjourned on Tuesday because almost half of the MLAs are from the two zones that were under COVID-19 orange phase restrictions at the time. The province is discouraging travel into and out of those zones.Since then, a third zone, which includes the legislature itself, has been put into the orange phase.MLAs from the Green Party complained Tuesday that there was still no set-up for virtual sittings eight months after COVID-19 first appeared in New Brunswick.Liberal Leader Roger Melanson said in a statement that a service provider will start installing the system on Monday."The legislature must keep on working through COVID-19 outbreaks and beyond," he said. "This system will allow us to do just that."The new hybrid system could be up and running in time for committee hearings on legislation scheduled for next week.MLAs are scheduled to return for full sittings Dec. 8. Speaker Bill Oliver said he hopes the system will be ready for then, though that date could be pushed back if necessary.
Selwyn Township council members unanimously decided they want to create more parking spaces as part of the planned project to reconstruct Water Street in Lakefield. Angela Chittick, the township’s manager of community and corporate services, told councillors Tuesday that they have two options to consider for the street which runs along the Otonabee River. “One is to extend the trail from the dam to the bridge, that would create about 16 parking spaces. The other option would be there would be no bridge extension, and with that you would be creating about 21 parking spaces there,” she said. Some residents that provided feedback were interested in the trail connection, while other individuals, particularly from of the business community, were more concerned about parking spaces, Chittick said. Coun. Gerry Herron said he’s all for having additional parking spaces. “We need as much traffic down in the economic engine of Selwyn as we can get. I’ll give you a quick example; when Sears was in operation in Peterborough, each parking spot was about $200 an hour. So, if we factor that down to these five spots, if we’re gaining say $20 an hour and it’s an eight-hour day, it’s $800 per parking spot put into the local economy there,” he said. “We’ve set out on a mission to support our local businesses and I think we need to continue that trend.” Deputy Mayor Sherry Senis said lack of parking in Lakefield has been a perennial issue, so now that there’s the opportunity to add space, they should jump on it. “The parking spaces on Water are invaluable,” she said. “I also presented the options to the economic development business committee last night and their consensus was more is better. So, they also favour option two.” Adding more parking spaces isn’t leaving out the trail connection, Senis added. “There’s still the connection to the trail at the bridge, and it will still accommodate the concrete pad to do any bike repairs that we had heard about,” she said. Chittick said council’s decision will get incorporated into the final design for Water Street. “Then, moving forward from there, we’ll get the concept tidied up, sent back out to the residents and those that provided feedback on the design concepts, and we would post it online,” she said. “That would allow us to get the final engineered drawings prepared and ready for tendering and the hope would be that we could get this tendered in the new year and bring that price proposal back to council with some funding options as well as some staging options, depending on what the quoted amount is.” Marissa Lentz is a staff reporter at the Examiner, based in Peterborough. Her reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Reach her via email: firstname.lastname@example.orgMarissa Lentz, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Peterborough Examiner