A fast-moving wildfire forced evacuation orders for 70,000 people and seriously injured two firefighters in Southern California on Monday as officials issued warnings for what could be the strongest winds in the state so far this year. (Oct. 26)
A fast-moving wildfire forced evacuation orders for 70,000 people and seriously injured two firefighters in Southern California on Monday as officials issued warnings for what could be the strongest winds in the state so far this year. (Oct. 26)
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
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has issued a recall notice for Farm Boy brand Deluxe Chocolate Brownie Mix because it contains milk that's not listed as an ingredient.People with a milk allergy should not consume the product, the agency says.The mix is sold in 500 gram packages with the Universal Product Code: 8 08912 00760 1.On the Farm Boy website, the Ottawa-based chain with more than 30 locations in Ontario says it will refund any purchases of the product.The product has also been removed from store shelves, Farm Boy says.The Canadian Food Inspection Agency said Farm Boy alerted the agency to error and no one has reported allergic reactions to the brownie mix.
Seems like only yesterday,the first leaves were falling down the trees, little Kanehsata’kehró:non were running around trick-or-treating, dressed as their favourite monsters or heroes. All that is in the past now, making place for one of everyone’s - yes even you the Grinch in the back - favourite moments of the year. Pandemic or not, Kanesatake is determined to celebrate and to make the most out of this December. Community members will be able to start the festivities on December 1 with the special 12 Days of Christmas calendar. The initiative was developed by the Emergency Response Unit (ERU) in collaboration with the Kanesatake Christmas Committee and Kanesatake Child and Family Services. The spokesperson for the ERU, Robert Bonspiel, explained that due to COVID-19 restricting the type of activities typically allowed, they had to think outside the box to make sure the community would still get into the spirit of the holidays. “Our vision is to give the community the most memorable holiday possible,” said Bonspiel. “This has been a very hard year for all and if we can assist in bringing as much joy to our children, families and elders as we can, then that is what we are going to do!” While every year the Christmas committee provided different events, Bonspiel said that they all knew they wouldn’t be able to offer the Santa brunch or the gifts giveaway in the same, traditional ways the community is used to. The idea behind the calendar is to engage the community in interactive activities branded under the 12 Days of Christmas. Everything will happen online. Each day, members who decide to participate will have to perform a series of challenges from holiday dance videos and card making for elders, to wearing an ugly Christmas sweater or even singing Christmas carols in Kanien’kéha. Videos and photos will be uploaded on the Facebook page of the Mohawk Council of Kanesatake or Kanesatake Health Centre for the chance to win different prizes that have yet to be announced. “We thought this would be a great way to reduce the feeling of isolation and promote mental wellness,” said Bonspiel. The holidays are meant to be a joyful time, spent with families and friends but it can also unbox unwanted presents such as depression and stress. It can be overwhelming to plan gifts and expenses, dinners, or simply to deal with loneliness. Add that little mix into the anxiety brought by the coronavirus and the holiday cocktail could be hard to swallow. However, it can be reassuring to know that ironically, we are all together, going through the experience of loneliness. A recent poll showed that 50 percent of people across Canada reported that the state of their mental health had worsened, with stress levels doubling since the beginning of the pandemic. So get your camera ready, take out your Christmas decorations, dust off your old pans for the bake-off and post your best take. Let the magic begin! firstname.lastname@example.orgVirginie Ann, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eastern Door
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
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
STELLARTON, N.S. — Sobeys says it is bringing back pay premiums for staff in locations where COVID-19 lockdowns are in effect. Parent company Empire Company Limited says it has reinstated so-called hero pay in Manitoba, Toronto and Peel Region in Ontario as rising cases of the virus in those areas have prompted the shutdown of non-essential businesses.Each week, eligible employees will receive between $10 and $100 extra, depending on how many hours they work and how long the government lockdowns last.Empire says it currently expects to spend $5 million per quarter on the program, but that could change if further lockdowns are introduced.The company offered extra money to workers early in the pandemic, but when COVID-19 cases began to decrease and lockdowns were lifted, it was stopped. Chief executive Michael Medline promised that if regions ever entered lockdowns similar to those experienced in March and April, he would bring back a way to reward staff for their hard work.“Our teammates continue to work tirelessly to keep our stores safe and our communities fed. Launching the lockdown bonus, in the face of new government mandated lockdowns, was simply the right thing to do," he said in an email to The Canadian Press."Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, our teammates’ efforts to keep stores open, shelves stocked and Canadian families fed have been nothing short of heroic.”This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 27, 2020. Companies in this story: (TSX:EMP)The Canadian Press
Marketing students at Burnett secondary are giving back to their community. Inspired by the sacrifices and generosity of frontline workers, they were tasked with contributing through three goals: reinforcing the government’s COVID-19 safety guidelines, starting a non-profit fundraiser to give back to frontline organizations and workers, and developing a project to create or revitalize community spirit. “Normally the marketing classes would run a school store as part of their experiential learning experience, but with COVID it just wasn’t possible,” says marketing teacher Chris Lee. “As an alternative, I changed this component to be more of a social non-profit pop-up venture format.” The students developed a mechanical hand sanitizer that uses a gravity-enabled foot pump. A virtual social gathering focused on a pre-recorded talent show as well as an online gaming tournament aimed at bringing people together. “In terms of the actual concepts regarding sales and marketing, the students really go through the entire gambit,” says Lee. “They learn to develop, source, cost, market, sell and provide customer feedback wherever applicable.” They also raised funds for the Richmond Hospital and Vancouver Covenant House through several initiatives. Student-designed Burnett clothing and tote bags were sold online, as well as a “pandemic kit” including masks, hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes. The last fundraising item was glass poster art, which was inspired by an online trend fusing art with music. Customized pieces of glass art capture favourite songs or artists designed to look like a Spotify music player. “All of these projects really focus on experiential, hands-on learning,” says Lee. “Given our limited time with the students in this new 10-week quarter system, the projects were designed to be like a pressure cooker, where basic entrepreneurial and marketing skills would be developed in a very short period of time. It is my personal belief that such an environment challenges students to learn in a very active way, while reinforcing what they’ve learned in class lessons.”Hannah Scott, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Richmond Sentinel
MISSISSAUGA, Ont. — Investigators say they have found a fourth gun at the scene where a one-year-old boy was shot dead. They say three officers opened fire on the baby's father after his pickup truck crashed into a cruiser, injuring an officer. The Special Investigations Unit says the boy in the back seat was killed by gunfire. His 33-year-old father and a provincial police officer were injured. The SIU says there were three police-issued firearms at the scene, and they found a handgun in the pickup truck. The incident, which followed an alleged child abduction, occurred Thursday in Kawartha Lakes, Ont. An autopsy has been scheduled for Saturday morning. "The SIU appreciates the public interest in this tragic case and is doing what it can to get answers to the public as quickly as possible while ensuring that the integrity of the investigation is not compromised," the agency said in a statement. "We ask for the public’s continued patience. The father and police officer were both in hospital in stable condition, the SIU said. Four investigators, two forensic investigators and a collision reconstructionist were probing the incident, the SIU said, and three officers are under investigation. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 27, 2020. The Canadian Press
More than once during the weeks leading up to the provincial election Premier Moe referred to the province as being a supplier of raw materials to the world, but is this where the province should remain? Over 70% of Canada’s farmland is located in the prairies and historically, Saskatchewan was referred to as the “bread-basket of the world”, but with the shift away from primarily wheat production and the growth of the oil and gas sectors, that title has fallen into disuse. Yet, Saskatchewan remains in the realm of a primary producer. The problem with that status became evident earlier this year when COVID-19 arrived on our doorstep. As a province we are heavily reliant on other districts to supply our finished products and when they run into problems, such as the outbreaks of the coronavirus among their employees, the ripples are felt all along the food chain. But the authors of a new report just released by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives highlights another factor that while many across the prairies realize its happening, may not realize the full extent nor the implications of the trend. For years ‘bigger is better’ has been mantra of our culture, bigger homes, bigger trucks, bigger toys, and this is true of farming as well. Since the 1980’s farmers in Saskatchewan have been encouraged become bigger. Marginal farmland was pulled into production to make for bigger crops. Bigger equipment could complete the farmers work in less time and well, bigger equipment meant that it was possible to work more land, and the cycle continued. The era of broadly distributed land ownership, of food production by small and medium-sized family farms, is fading and the small farm is all but extinct. The number of young farmers in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba has, according to the report Concentration Matters: Farmland Inequality on the Prairies, declined by more than 70 percent, in just one generation—since 1991 (Statistics Canada Table 32-10-0169-01). The report authored by Darrin Qualman, Annette Aurélie Desmarais, André Magnan, Mengistu Wendimu for the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) states that while it remains the case that local families do operate the vast majority of our farms, there are fewer and fewer of those families every year. Thirty-eight percent of the farmland in Saskatchewan is operated and controlled by just 8 percent of Saskatchewan farms or just over 2,400 operations. These 2400+ farms average 9,382 acres in size, though many are much larger. The reduction in the number of small farms, the concentration of farmland and farm income into fewer and fewer large operations, and barriers to entry created by rising land prices (See Farm Credit Canada, Farmland Values Report), all make it more difficult for young and new farmers to enter agriculture, the report goes on to say. This difficulty in gaining access to farmland is therefore, effectively stifling the possibility of farming as a career choice for young Canadians (Qualman, Akram-Lodhi, Desmarais, and Srinivasan, 2018). Farms larger than 10,000 acres make up less than 2 percent of total Prairie farms, yet those very large operations captured approximately 15 percent of gross revenues and net income. On average, these very large farms earned net incomes of more than $820,000 before depreciation. At the other end of the size distribution, farms smaller than 1,000 acres, though they make up 53 percent of total farms, captured just 21 percent of revenues and 18 percent of net income. On average, these farms earned net incomes of just over $34,000 each. Because margins are tight and per-acre net income is low on cattle farms and grain and oilseed farms, a young or new farmer on a small farm with few acres paid for has a very limited ability to pay for additional acres, large farms often have greater capacity to borrow money (on better terms than those usually offered to smaller farms), and as a result unless a young farmer can partner with another, either a family member or another farmer looking to start ‘slowing down’, there is no avenue for him or her to get in and fewer and fewer farm children are returning to the farm. In 2014, for instance, 73 percent of farmland transactions involving an ownership change were between arms-length parties (neighbours), whereas 27 percent were among family members (Magnan and Sunley 2017). The rate of farmland concentration however, is running far ahead of the rate of farm loss. Since 1966, Canada has lost half of its farms, but the number of farmers who control the vast majority of land is far smaller than the numbers above suggest. According to the report, across the Prairie Provinces, farms larger than 5,000 acres, which represents 7 percent of all farms, own 27 percent of all farmland that is owner-operated, also those same 7 percent of Prairie farms that are larger than 5,000 acres, lease 67 percent of government leased farm land and rent or lease 35 percent of all land rented or leased by farmers from non-government farmland owners. So, while it may remain the case that our farmland is owned by local families, it is also the case that most is owned by a very small percentage of families. In 2016, 37,622 farm operations owned about half of all Canadian agricultural land in private hands. Translated into number of people, the authors of the study made a rough assumption that each farming operation included, in some combination of parents, children, spouse/partner, about 2.5 landowners. Thus those 37,622 farm operations become 94,055 people (less than .3% of the Canada’s entire population) own half of the country’s food-producing acreage. The great exit of young people from rural to urban areas is well documented in report after report in Statistics Canada library, but to bring this into a more local perspective, the 1976 census shows the population of the RM of Fish Creek to be 591, by 1981 that number had dropped to 510. (https://archive.org/details/1981939081982engfra/page/n47/mode/2up?q=Fish+Creek+RM) Twenty years later, the population was 382 and while that number is now recorded as 345, in the intervening years it did drop as low as 307 at one point. The report concludes that unless government policies or economic shocks alter these trends, 20 years from now, the area of land operated by small farms will be negligible, and farms larger than 5,000 acres may operate 50 to 60 percent of Prairie farmland (up from about 37 percent today).Carol Baldwin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Wakaw Recorder
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.
MONTREAL — Air Canada pilots have ratified changes to their contract that will help the carrier grow its cargo business, as airlines scramble to minimize the pandemic’s toll on their bottom lines.The Montreal-based airline said in a statement Friday that it would convert several of its retired Boeing 767 aircraft to carry freight and that it had appointed a new executive, Jason Berry, to oversee its cargo division."Air Canada and Air Canada Cargo have pivoted quickly to new and unique commercial opportunities in response to evolving market conditions over the past 11 months,” said Lucie Guillemette, Air Canada’s executive vice president and chief commercial officer, in a statement.The airline has looked to cargo as a potential opportunity in an otherwise bleak year. In May, Air Canada announced it was adding flights to Bogota, Lima, Amsterdam, Dublin and Madrid to its cargo service, which includes up to 100 international all-cargo flights per week, according to the airline.With fewer flights, and less cargo being transported in the luggage compartments of passenger aircraft, the price of shipping cargo by air has increased. Other airlines such as American Airlines and United Airlines, have begun operating cargo-only flights this year, hoping to use the opportunity to stem their losses. But Air Canada’s decision to convert several planes to carry freight will require a bigger investment in its cargo business than before, when it was transporting goods on empty passenger jets or planes with the seats taken out, said John Gradek, a lecturer at McGill University and the head of its Global Aviation Leadership Program. That raises questions about whether the slump in passenger demand will last long enough for the bet to pay off, he added.Converting passenger jets to freighters involves cutting into the plane’s fuselage to create doors that can be used to load cargo and installing rollers on the floor of the plane, an effort that can cost tens of millions of dollars per plane, according to Gradek.“The airplane has to get literally rebuilt to operate as a freighter,” Gradek said. “It’s not like you’re just pulling seats out and away you go.”Air Canada's announcement today comes as the country's air sector awaits a decision from Ottawa on financial support for the industry. The Canadian government pledged in September to provide support for hard-hit businesses in the travel and tourism industries, but it has yet to announce a detailed plan.Air Canada says the contract changes will help it operate more competitively in the cargo business.Michael McKay, chair of the Air Canada Pilots Association’s master elected council, said the organization’s members voted on the revised agreement earlier this month. The Boeing aircraft, which have been grounded and were exiting Air Canada’s fleet, will form a new fleet once they are converted to freighter configuration, McKay said.Berry, whose appointment as vice president for cargo begins Jan. 1, will join Air Canada from Alaska Airlines' wholly owned subsidiary McGee Air Services, where he was president. He led Alaska Airlines' cargo business from 2012 until June 2019.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 27, 2020.Companies in this story: (TSX:AC)Jon Victor, The Canadian Press
Une étude émise par le cabinet de recrutement Robert Half démontre que les appels vidéo peuvent épuiser les travailleurs en ce contexte de pandémie de la COVID-19. 44 % des répondants ont affirmé qu'ils ont éprouvé de la fatigue liée à ceux-ci. On note aussi que 15 % d'entre eux trouvaient ces appels épuisants et inefficaces, préférant communiquer par d'autres moyens, que ce soit le téléphone ou les courriels. Deux éléments précis des réunions virtuelles sont moins appréciés par les personnes sondées : les problèmes techniques (33 %) et le trop grand nombre de participants (19 %) qui résulte en plusieurs personnes parlant en même temps. Par ailleurs, 22 % des professionnels interrogés croient que l'attrait de commodité et de la nouveauté des vidéoconférences s'est atténué au cours des huit derniers mois. «Les appels vidéo demandent souvent plus d'énergie que d'autres moyens de communication, comme les appels téléphoniques ou les courriels, note David King, président de district principal de Robert Half au Canada, par voie de communiqué. Comme de nombreux employés gèrent déjà d'importantes charges de travail, s'en tenir au nombre nécessaire de réunions de la sorte peut aider à réduire la fatigue liée à celles-ci, et à augmenter le temps de concentration des employés.» Notons que 72 % des répondants ont déclaré participer à des réunions virtuelles, jugeant passer 24 % de chaque journée de travail devant la caméra. Avec un bilan de 11 163 personnes testées positives à la COVID-19, Laval a connu une hausse de 80 cas en 24 heures. Le total de décès depuis le début de la pandémie demeure stable à 725. Le CISSS de Laval cumule également 9836 guérisons, ce qui signifie qu’il y a désormais 602 cas actifs confirmés (+62) sur le territoire lavallois. Parmi les personnes touchées, 28 sont hospitalisées, dont 5 aux soins intensifs. 19 employés de l’organisation de santé sont toujours absents du travail en raison de la COVID-19. Six résidences privées pour aînés (RPA) de Laval sont présentement touchées par la COVID-19. Voici la liste complète de celles-ci : Par ailleurs, le Jardin des Saules a été placé dans la catégorie des RPA en situation critique en raison du taux d'infection. Au Québec, le bilan est maintenant de 138 163 cas et 6984 décès. Au total, 669 personnes sont toujours hospitalisées, dont 90 aux soins intensifs.Nicholas Pereira, Initiative de journalisme local, Courrier Laval
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
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the federal government made sure to sign deals with a variety of potential COVID-19 vaccine producers to ensure Canadians would get one that works. He says that if everything goes according to plan, most Canadians will receive their immunization by next September.
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump still won't bring himself to concede the election he decisively lost to President-elect Joe Biden. But he's now acknowledging he will leave the White House if Biden's win is affirmed by the Electoral College, which is firmly on track to do just that in a few weeks.“Certainly I will," he said Thursday when asked if he will vacate the premises after electors make Biden's win formal. “But you know that."Trump, who took questions from reporters for the first time since the election, unleashed another round of complaints about the vote and theatrical warnings that “a lot of things” would happen before the Electoral College meets Dec. 14 that could possibly change results. But while he's stirring uncertainty about how he will behave in the weeks ahead, there is no real suspense about the outcome.All states must certify their results before the Electoral College meets and any challenge must be resolved by Dec. 8. States have already begun that process, including Michigan, where Trump and his allies tried and failed to delay the process, and Georgia and Pennsylvania.Nothing stands in the way of Biden taking office Jan. 20 with a clear margin of electoral votes.No concession is needed from Trump for Biden to become president, none has been offered and Trump may never admit he was beaten fair and square. But there were a few signs that Trump was coming to terms with his loss.At one point he expressed concern that Biden would get the glory from pending coronavirus vaccines. “Don’t let him take credit for the vaccines," Trump said, “because the vaccines were me, and I pushed people harder than they’ve ever been pushed before.”The fact that a sitting American president even had to address whether or not he would leave office after losing reelection underscores the extent to which Trump has smashed one convention after another over the last three weeks.Vote certification at the local and state level is typically a ministerial task that gets little notice, but that changed with Trump's fierce but fruitless legal challenges and attempts to manipulate the certification process in battleground states he lost.No evidence has emerged of the widespread voting fraud that Trump and his legal team have repeatedly alleged, only to be slapped down by judges and state election officials.Trump spoke to reporters in the White House’s ornate Diplomatic Reception Room after holding a teleconference with U.S. military leaders stationed across the globe. He thanked them for their service, joked that they shouldn't eat too much turkey, then turned to the election after ending the call. He repeated grievances and angrily denounced officials in Georgia and Pennsylvania, two key states that helped give Biden the win.Trump’s administration has already given the green light for a formal transition to get underway. Yet Trump took issue with Biden moving forward.“I think it’s not right that he’s trying to pick a Cabinet,” Trump said, even though officials from both teams are already working together to get Biden’s team up to speed.Asked if he'll attend the inauguration, Trump said he knows the answer but doesn't want to say.He said he'll go to Georgia to rally supporters before two Senate runoff elections that will determine which party controls the Senate. The White House said that rally is expected Dec. 5.One of the reasons Republicans have stood by Trump and his baseless claims of fraud has been to keep his loyal base energized for those Jan. 5 runoffs. But Trump, in his remarks, openly questioned whether that election would be fair, casting suspicions that could dampen Republican turnout.“I think you’re dealing with a very fraudulent system," he said. “I’m very worried about that.” He said: “People are very disappointed that we were robbed.”Trump made clear that he will probably never formally concede, even if he said he would leave the White House.“It’s gonna be a very hard thing to concede," he said. “Because we know there was massive fraud.”Electors “will have made a mistake” by affirming Biden's win, he said.Yet “time isn’t on our side.”Will he run again in 2024? Trump said he doesn't “want to talk about 2024 yet.”“This has a long way to go,” Trump said, even though he lost.Jill Colvin, The Associated Press
Two Native American tribes in northern Minnesota are asking state regulators to stop the imminent construction of Enbridge Energy's Line 3 crude oil pipeline replacement, saying it would increase the risk of coronavirus infections spreading.The Red Lake and White Earth Bands of Chippewa filed a motion late Wednesday asking the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission to stay its approval of the $2.6 billion project. They argue construction would put locals at increased risk of coronavirus infections as workers move into the area.The bands and other pipeline opponents have sued and protested to try to block the project, and an appeal by the state Commerce Department is pending. They want the PUC to halt the project while that legal challenge plays out.The pipeline project took a step forward on Monday when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers approved the final federal permit needed. The Public Utilities Commission has already approved the project several times, but still needs to give construction a final green light.Enbridge says the pipeline replacement will provide a safer way to transport the oil to Midwest refineries while creating 4,200 construction jobs and generating millions of dollars in local spending and tax revenues.Opponents say the project threatens spills in pristine waters where Native Americans harvest wild rice and that the Canadian tar sands oil it would carry would aggravate climate change.The Associated Press
The regular monthly meeting of the Prairie Rivers Reconciliation Committee was held on Tuesday, November 17, 2020 from 9:00 – 11:00 am via Zoom and although Gilbert Kewistep was unable to attend due to another commitment but offered up a prayer and a smudge prior to the meeting. Tracey Grande Maison chaired the meeting and called for a roundtable introduction of all those present. While it’s always nice to see all the regular faces around our virtual table, it was especially nice to see three new faces and welcome Lisa Braun from Hepburn, Rev. Emily Summach from Langham, and Velma Assinewai from Aberdeen. After the introductions the meeting moved on to the report from the Social Media Committee. The sub-committee, comprised of five individuals from the ranks of the PRRC, set a goal for themselves to share on the PRRC Facebook page, at least one news item, event, or story per week but currently they have been averaging two per week. Carol Baldwin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Wakaw Recorder
An individual from Montgomery Village Public School (MVPS) has tested positive for COVID-19. Parents, guardians, and staff were notified of the case on Friday (Nov. 27), and assured that the appropriate measures are being taken. “We will continue to work closely with Public Health and take their direction as they complete their investigation,” said Brent Ellery, principal at MVPS. “Where Public Health determines there was a transmission risk to others in the school, they perform a risk assessment for any contacts.” Should the investigation result in Wellington Dufferin Public Health (WDGPH) determining any additional staff and students are at high risk of exposure, they’ll be directed to isolate. It will also be recommended that they be tested during their isolation period. According to the active-cases reporting page on the Upper Grand District School Board’s (UGDSB) website, there have been no class or school closures related to the incident. Ellery noted that Public Health is currently performing contact tracing, and explained that the identity of the individual is protected by privacy legislation. Anyone wishing to know information about how this is being handled and what steps are being taken to ensure the health and safety of staff, students, and the school’s community, are directed can find out more through this letter from Public Health. Dufferin County remains in orange-level restrictions as of Nov. 27. There are now a total of 161 active cases of COVID-19 within the boundaries of WDGPH, including an increase of 23 cases since the previous update on Nov. 26. Three people have been hospitalized. 60 of those cases are in Dufferin County. Montgomery Village Public School is the only school within Dufferin County to have a new active case since the previous update on Centennial Hylands Elementary School. Total active school cases in the county sit at two.Tabitha Wells/Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Orangeville Banner
It was mid-game on Nov. 14 when a player on the Canmore Eagles began feeling sick, says their coach and general manager, Andrew Milne.The Eagles were playing the Drumheller Dragons, a rival Alberta Junior Hockey League team, at the Drumheller Memorial Arena.Back on the bus with the team after the game, that player expressed "feeling a bit weak," said Milne. "We just played two games, our first two games in a while. So we thought maybe a little bit had to do with that."It was about an hour and a half after that the player's sickness intensified, the coach said."We saw that he got right off the bus and into his car, and it was isolation and isolating in his bedroom ever since," Milne said Friday on the Calgary Eyeopener.Milne said the team took the next day off, while monitoring teammates for symptoms. By Nov. 17, six members had some COVID-19 symptoms. They began isolating, but the remaining members met for a practice.On the morning of Nov. 19, they learned that the player who first felt sick in Drumheller had tested positive. That's when everyone on the team was told to immediately self-isolate.All but two players were billeted in the Canmore area, said Milne, so the majority of them isolated in their billet households. Two other members of the team isolated at home."We tested everybody, And that's when obviously the number started climbing. And, you know, it was evident that we had a massive outbreak in our club."Now, 16 players and staff on the team have tested positive, according to Milne, and he is one of the positive cases."I think part of the reason for the large numbers was the fact that we were just on a bus and there was very limited ability for us to move about in some recycled air," said Milne.That number doesn't include the families connected to the team that were affected, including Milne's family.Milne said the billet families have been "phenomenal" to work with, though this outbreak has caused some "disruption.""There was a lot of disruption to their families, but that's not what they signed up for."Milne said the team stuck to their bubble for social gatherings, practices and travel."It's amazing how fast the web can unwind and get going," he said. "You can see how fast it moves and how quickly it gets from one guy to the next."COVID cases on AJHL teamsThe Canmore Eagles reported their first COVID-19 case on Nov. 19 via their team website.Other teams within the AJHL have reported cases: * Calgary Canucks reported a positive case on Nov. 20. * Drumheller Dragons reported a positive case on Nov. 21. * Okotoks Oilers reported a positive case on Nov. 22.All announcements were made via team websites and citing privacy reasons said no more details would be provided.CBC News reached out to the coaches of the Drumheller Dragons and the Calgary Canucks but did not receive further comment.The AJHL season is currently suspended due to provincial restrictions. The AJHL board of governors intends to meet on Dec. 19 to determine next steps, according to a statement from AJHL commisioner Ryan Bartoshyk.With files from the Calgary Eyeopener.