'MasterChef Junior' star Ben Watkins has died at the age of 14 after battling with a rare form of cancer.
'MasterChef Junior' star Ben Watkins has died at the age of 14 after battling with a rare form of cancer.
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The Trump administration on Wednesday effectively killed a contentious proposed mine in Alaska, a gold and copper prospect once envisioned to be nearly as deep as the Grand Canyon and could produce enough waste to fill an NFL stadium nearly 3,900 times — all near the headwaters of the world’s largest sockeye salmon fishery.The Army Corps of Engineers “concluded that the proposed project is contrary to the public interest” and denied a permit to build the Pebble Mine under both the Clean Water Act and the Rivers and Harbors Act, the agency said in a statement.The rejection was a surprise. It's at odds with President Donald Trump’s efforts to encourage energy development in Alaska, including opening up part of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling, and other moves nationwide to roll back environmental protections that would benefit oil and gas and other industries.The Corps of Engineers also seemed to signal just a few months ago that after almost two decades of political wrangling, Pebble Mine was on a fast track to approval, a reversal from what many had expected under the Obama administration.But unlike drilling elsewhere in Alaska, the mine proposed for the southwestern Bristol Bay region could have negatively affected the state's billion-dollar fishing industry. Conservationists and even Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., sounded the alarm on the project before the administration changed course again.The CEO of the Pebble Limited Partnership, the mine’s developers, said he was dismayed by the decision, especially after the corps had indicated in an environmental impact statement in July that the mine and fishery could coexist.“One of the real tragedies of this decision is the loss of economic opportunities for people living in the area,” CEO John Shively said in a statement. The environmental review “clearly describes those benefits, and now a politically driven decision has taken away the hope that many had for a better life. This is also a lost opportunity for the state’s future economy.”He said they are considering their next steps, which could include an appeal of the corps’ decision.“Today Bristol Bay’s residents and fishermen celebrate the news that Pebble’s permit has been denied; tomorrow we get back to work,” said Katherine Carscallen, executive director of the group Commercial Fishermen for Bristol Bay.The group wants Congress to pass laws protecting the region. “We’ve learned the hard way over the last decade that Pebble is not truly dead until protections are finalized,” Carscallen said.In July, the Corps of Engineers released an environmental review that the mine developer saw as laying the groundwork for key federal approvals. The review said that under normal operations, Pebble Mine “would not be expected to have a measurable effect on fish numbers and result in long-term changes to the health of the commercial fisheries in Bristol Bay.”However, in August, the corps said it had determined that discharges at the mine site would cause “unavoidable adverse impacts to aquatic resources” and laid out required steps to reduce those effects.Canada-based Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd., which owns Pebble Limited Partnership, said it had submitted a mitigation plan on Nov. 16.Even if the corps had approved the project, there was still no guarantee it would have been built. It would have needed state approval, and President-elect Joe Biden has expressed opposition to the project.Critics saw Pebble Mine as getting a lifeline under the Trump administration. Last year, the Environmental Protection Agency withdrew restrictions on development that were proposed — but never finalized — under the Obama administration and said it planned to work with the corps to address concerns.However, Trump’s eldest son was among those who voiced opposition earlier this year. After senior Trump campaign adviser Nick Ayers tweeted in August that he hoped the president would direct the EPA to block Pebble Mine, Trump Jr. responded: “As a sportsman who has spent plenty of time in the area I agree 100%. The headwaters of Bristol Bay and the surrounding fishery are too unique and fragile to take any chances with.”The president later said he would “listen to both sides.”“The credit for this victory belongs not to any politician but to Alaskans and Bristol Bay’s Indigenous peoples, as well as to hunters, anglers and wildlife enthusiasts from all across the country who spoke out in opposition to this dangerous and ill-conceived project," said Adam Kolton, executive director of the Alaska Wilderness League.Alaska’s two Republican U.S. senators, who support oil and gas development and mining, hailed the rejection of the Pebble Mine permit. Sen. Lisa Murkowski said the decision affirmed her position that it’s the wrong mine in the wrong place.“It will help ensure the continued protection of an irreplaceable resource — Bristol Bay’s world-class salmon fishery,” she said.Sen. Dan Sullivan said he would remain an advocate for good-paying jobs derived from resource development.“However, given the special nature of the Bristol Bay watershed and the fisheries and subsistence resources downstream, Pebble had to meet a high bar so that we do not trade one resource for another,” he said. “Pebble did not meet that bar.”___Associated Press journalist Becky Bohrer in Juneau contributed to this report.Mark Thiessen, The Associated Press
EDMONTON — On a day Alberta hit a sobering 500 COVID-19 deaths, the Opposition accused Premier Jason Kenney of implementing short-sighted, half-baked health restrictions that will provoke the very economic collapse he seeks to avoid.“The premier is continuing his discredited, libertarian approach of pitting the economy against the health of Albertans, and he’s going to sacrifice both as a result,” NDP Leader Rachel Notley told the house Wednesday in a fiery exchange with Kenney during question period.“Let me be perfectly clear to this premier,” she added. “Your negligence is far, far more dangerous to our economy and the people who rely on their jobs than sound public-health measures.”The exchange came a day after the United Conservative premier announced new restrictions to reverse rates of COVID-19 that are consistently over 1,000 a day and threaten to overwhelm intensive care beds and trigger a disastrous domino effect throughout the health system.Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta's chief medical officer of health, announced 1,265 new cases Wednesday, with 355 people in hospital, including 71 in intensive care. There were eight more deaths, bringing that total to 500.“This is a tragic milestone,” Hinshaw said, adding that health officials are now working on moving and reassigning patients to free up more ICU beds for COVID-19 cases as needed.The new health rules include a provincewide ban on indoor extended gatherings, even in people’s homes. There are new restrictions on bars, restaurants and pubs, retailers, casinos, movie houses, hair salons, schools, places of worship and other businesses, backed up by fines of $1,000 to $100,000.The changes will be reviewed in three weeks.Kenney said the goal is to reverse COVID-19 case increases while keeping the economy afloat to prevent further harm to those who are relying on it to get by.Notley’s NDP, and hundreds of physicians and infectious disease specialists, have demanded Kenney institute a much sharper business lockdown, even for a short period, to give the beleaguered health system a chance to rest and reset. They say without it, cases will keep climbing and Alberta is headed for a devastating Christmas community lockdown.Kenney accused Notley of wanting to impose a blinkered, one-size-fits-all approach that doesn’t mesh with COVID-transmission data and would ultimately do more harm than good.“They’re socialists. They’re addicted to command and control of people’s lives,” Kenney told the house.“What they want to do is put hundreds of thousands of people out of work.”The two leaders vehemently disagreed on the contact-tracing data, with Notley saying the government is flying blind and Kenney responding that it has nine months’ worth of numbers to draw on.In recent weeks, Alberta’s contact tracing system has failed to keep up with the surge of cases. Of the 13,719 active cases, the government says it doesn’t know where 83 per cent of them are coming from.Hinshaw said the lack of recent data has been a challenge but officials also rely on earlier numbers and data from comparable jurisdictions.As of Friday, restaurants can have no more than six diners per table and they must all be from the same household. Owners say they are grappling with how to enforce that."At this point, it's looking like it's an honour system," said Ernie Tsu, an owner of Trolley 5 Restaurant and Brewery in Calgary and founding board member of the Alberta Hospitality Association. The association is meeting with government officials to get "refined details" on how restaurants should enforce the rule.Tsu said he’s pleased restaurants have not been closed to sit-down customers, as has been the case in some other provinces. “We still have to make sure that everyone understands that these restaurants are still paying full rent while employing Albertans and trying to work with diminished capacities," Tsu said.— With files from Lauren Krugel in CalgaryThis report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 25, 2020.Dean Bennett, The Canadian Press
There's a rose-coloured opportunity for would-be hoteliers looking to flaunt their wealth in small-town Canada. A landmark location from the beloved CBC sitcom "Schitt's Creek" hit the market Wednesday, offering buyers the chance to re-enact the show's riches-to-rags saga for a listing price of $2 million. The Hockley Motel in Mono, a town of about 8,000 people northwest of Toronto, served as the exterior set for the Rose family's home on the Emmy Award-winning series. The listing presents the 6.7-acre riverside property as a fixer-upper that would appeal to travellers seeking rural refuge from the commotion and contagion risk of city life in the COVID-19 era. It's a sales pitch that may sound familiar to "Schitt's Creek" fans who have followed the Rose family as they refurbished their motel-turned-home in a town they once purchased as a joke, said property owner Jesse Tipping. "The show obviously created a script that seems to be very fitting for the actual property," said Tipping. "I hope (whoever buys it) can find that happiness that the Roses did on the show." In addition to its status as a stand-in for the Rosebud Motel, the property has appeared onscreen in the 2005 thriller "A History of Violence" and Netflix's superhero series "The Umbrella Academy." Tipping purchased the building in 2012 in hopes of using it as housing for athletes at the basketball academy he was starting at the time. The sale has been in the works for about a year, and while Tipping is sad to part ways with the landmark, he admits he's a bit relieved that he'll no longer have to ward off "Schitt's Creek" sightseers. Colliers Hotels says buyers who are interested in the property can put in offers until Dec. 14. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 25, 2020. Adina Bresge, The Canadian Press
Le Fonds local d’investissement (FLI) attribué par le ministère de l’Économie et de l’Innovation a permis de prêter environ 1,5 M$ aux entreprises de Brome-Missisquoi depuis le début de la pandémie. Avec l’arrivée de la région en zone rouge, le Centre local de développement prévoit que ces entrepreneurs auront encore besoin d’un coup de main financier et demande donc une enveloppe supplémentaire du FLI. Une première entente a permis à la MRC et au CLD d’obtenir une enveloppe de 941 202 $, qui a été rapidement écoulée. Une deuxième entente de 629 843 $ a été signée et, de cette somme, il ne reste que 74 000 $ disponibles pour les entreprises. De ce nombre, des demandes de prêt de 60 000 $ sont déjà en analyse. La MRC devrait recevoir une troisième somme, cette fois de 314 922 $. Par contre, comme la région est en zone rouge depuis le 12 novembre, le CLD prévoit que les sommes qu’il a et qu’il recevra seront écoulées en un rien de temps. Dans les 12 derniers jours, une trentaine de nouvelles demandes d’information ont été reçues. Cinq entreprises ont aussi déposé une demande depuis la mi-novembre. Certains secteurs économiques de Brome-Missisquoi deviendront admissibles au soutien aux entreprises en régions en alerte maximale et pourront recevoir de cette aide. C’est pourquoi le conseil des maires de la MRC a adopté une résolution pour demander une enveloppe supplémentaire au ministère. Une somme additionnelle d’environ 500 000 $ est espérée.Cynthia Laflamme, Initiative de journalisme local, La Voix de l'Est
Une trentaine de personnes manifestaient à Prévost le jeudi 19 novembre dernier devant les bureaux de la ministre responsable des Aînés et des Proches aidants, Marguerite Blais. Ces derniers dénonçaient les ratios entre les infirmières et les patients dans les CHSLD de la région, qui sont trop bas selon eux. Ils ont installé 125 affiches pour illustrer le ratio de 125 patients pour 1 infirmière. « On est ici aujourd’hui pour demander à la ministre de nos aînés d’avoir des ratios sécuritaires. On veut les avoir dans notre convention collective et il faut que ça se fasse rapidement. On en a besoin particulièrement pour diminuer la surcharge de travail de nos professionnels en soins », a expliqué la présidente du Syndicat des professionnelles en soins de Laurentides, Julie Daignault. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ykb6qYVoN6w Le CHSLD Drapeau-Deschambault à Sainte-Thérèse est un des lieux les plus problématiques actuellement. Il y a une éclosion de la COVID-19 avec 51 résidents sur 132, et un ratio d’une infirmière pour 132 patients durant la nuit. Comme solutions, Mme Daignault propose l’instauration de ratios sécuritaires sur tous les quarts de travail et l’amélioration des conditions des travailleurs dans le réseau public. Comme elle l’explique, plusieurs infirmières quittent le secteur public pour le privé, aggravant la pénurie de main-d’œuvre. « La situation dans les Laurentides ne fait pas exception au reste du Québec. On est en négociations depuis plus d’un an avec le gouvernement, ça suffit. On souhaite que Mme Blais fasse son travail et puisse porter sa voix forte », dénonce la présidente de la Fédération Interprofessionnelle de la santé du Québec, Nancy Bédard, qui était aussi présente lors de la manifestation. Marie-Catherine Goudreau, Initiative de journalisme local, Journal Accès
Government and election officials frequently call on shredding companies to dispose of personal and sensitive documents that are no longer needed.But in a suburban county of Atlanta this week, those routine waste removal appointments were twisted into yet another election misinformation story when social media users falsely claimed shredding trucks were destroying ballots and “evidence of voter fraud.”The unfounded allegations continue to spread online as Georgia officials carry out a machine recount of ballots after certified results showed Joe Biden had a 12,670-vote lead over President Donald Trump. Trump requested the recount, which follows a statewide hand tally.L. Lin Wood Jr., a conservative attorney who had unsuccessfully sued in an attempt to block the certification of Georgia’s election results, on Tuesday shared a series of videos taken by a Georgia resident. They showed a shredding truck outside the West Park Government Center in Marietta.“Evidence of voter fraud is being destroyed in Cobb County, GA TODAY,” Wood captioned one of his tweets. “Many people, powerful & not so powerful, are going to PRISON.”The real explanation for the truck’s visit was far less scandalous: a routine shredding of county tax documents.The county tax commissioner’s office, which shares a building with the county’s main elections office, has documents shredded twice a month, according to Ross Cavitt, communications director for the county.“No items from Cobb Elections were involved,” Cavitt told The Associated Press in an email.The false claims built on similar rumours from last week, when the same Georgia resident captured photos and video of a truck destroying election-related waste outside the Jim R. Miller Event Center in Marietta and claimed it was evidence of “ballots being shredded.”After Wood amplified those photos and videos on Friday, Cobb County officials refuted the claim, explaining that the shredding company was summoned to destroy non-relevant election materials, as happens after all elections.“Everything of consequence, including the ballots, absentee ballot applications with signatures, and anything else used in the count or re-tally remains on file,” Janine Eveler, the county’s director of elections and voter registration, said in a statement.Some of the photos shared on Friday appeared to show a trash can with a paper labeled “ABSENTEE BALLOT” inside. But Eveler said that was an inner privacy envelope used by voters to seal absentee ballots, and had “no evidentiary value.” County officials will hold on to the actual absentee ballots, as well as the outer envelopes signed by voters, for two years.Wood did not respond to a telephone call and email seeking comment.Despite the county’s responses, Wood’s tweets with the debunked claims continued to receive massive engagement on Wednesday, collectively amassing more than 200,000 retweets. And a separate Facebook user’s post falsely claiming a shredding company was “hired by Democrats” to destroy evidence was viewed nearly 150,000 times.County officials told the AP they have not seen any evidence of fraud or anomalies in vote tabulation in the 2020 election.“People nowadays, they post stuff immediately without asking any questions and without any proper context, and it spreads like wildfire,” Cavitt said of the false claims.Jude Joffe-Block And Ali Swenson, The Associated Press
VICTORIA — Doctors and nurses are being asked to support British Columbia's safe supply drug program and other substance use measures, as an average of five people a day die from illicit drug overdoses, the B.C. Coroners Service says.There were 162 overdose deaths in B.C. last month, more than double the 75 recorded in October last year.The number of deaths in each health authority is at or near the highest monthly total ever recorded, the coroners service said Wednesday in a news release. Chief coroner Lisa Lapointe said the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect the supply of street drugs and is disrupting access to harm-reduction services such as supervised injection sites."We encourage clinicians to support those at risk of overdose by prescribing safe supply and reducing the numbers of lives lost to toxic substances," she said in the statement. The coroners service continues to advocate for an accessible, evidence-based and accountable treatment and recovery system for drug users, Lapointe added.Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry authorized registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses to prescribe pharmaceutical alternatives to street drugs in September.Before that, only doctors and nurse practitioners were able to prescribe drugs, including substitute medications for illicit-drug users.But advocates for drug users say there is still a lack of medical personnel prescribing safe, prescription alternatives to illicit drugs."They're not prescribing to the extent they should be," said Karen Ward, a drug rights advocate and a drug policy and poverty reduction consultant with the City of Vancouver."They need to be prescribing assertively and doing outreach," she said in an interview. Ward said drug users and advocates feel as if the relentless death toll is like an "ongoing tidal wave."She questioned why there is still a lack of prescribing guidelines related to Henry's September order."That was two months ago … why aren't they done? This should have been done that day," Ward said.Leslie McBain, the co-founder of Moms Stop the Harm, said she's devastated by the latest numbers from the coroners service."I don't know if it can get much worse than this for people," she said in an interview. There needs to be more people willing and able to prescribe prescription alternatives to illicit drugs, McBain said, and the provincial government needs to listen to drug users about the type of alternative drugs they want."The drugs being offered to people were not the drugs they were used to or would keep them in a balanced, stable place," she said.October is the fifth month this year that more than 160 people have died and the eighth consecutive month with more than 100 deaths.The latest toxicology testing suggests an increase in the number of cases with extreme concentrations of the opioid fentanyl between April and October compared with previous months, Lapointe said in her statement.Henry echoed Lapointe's concerns, saying the pandemic is having a devastating effect on the overdose crisis."Now more than ever, we must remove the stigma of drug use and remove the shame people feel, which keeps them from seeking help or telling friends and family," she said in a statement on Wednesday.There have been 1,386 deaths from suspected overdoses since January, nearly 400 more deaths than when a public health emergency was declared by the provincial government in April 2016.— By Nick Wells in Vancouver.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 25, 2020.The Canadian Press
La séance du conseil de la ville de Sainte-Adèle avait lieu le mercredi 18 novembre via la plateforme Zoom. Comme le quorum n’avait pas été atteint lors de la séance de lundi, celle-ci avait été remise. Dans le dossier du complexe sportif des Pays-d’en-Haut qui sera sur le territoire de Sainte-Adèle, le conseil a annoncé des dépenses supplémentaires pour le projet. De plus, comme le bassin de rétention est relié à une route municipale, la Ville s’est engagée à l’entretenir. La Ville a fait une demande auprès du ministère des Transports québécois pour que la zone de 50 km/h sur le chemin Pierre-Péladeau soit prolongée. Afin de rendre l’endroit plus sécuritaire près du domaine Deauville, l’affiche de vitesse maximale sera déplacée un peu plus loin. De plus, la Ville a reçu une subvention du gouvernement pour couvrir certains frais que la COVID-19 a engendrés. Le conseil a décidé de verser un montant de 25 000 $ pour divers organismes communautaires de la région, dont le Garde-Manger des Pays-d’en-Haut, la Maison des Jeunes de Sainte-Adèle, Entraide Bénévoles des Pays-d’en-Haut, le Café l’Entre-Gens et la Fondation médicale des Laurentides et des Pays-d’en-Haut. Un autre montant sera aussi mis de côté pour les demandes de l’année 2021. En ce qui a trait aux ressources humaines, la politique révisée pour promouvoir la civilité, prévenir et contrer le harcèlement psychologique et sexuel au travail a été approuvée par le conseil. Deux nouveaux postes seront créés, dont celui de direction des communications et du développement durable ainsi que d’analyste financier.Marie-Catherine Goudreau, Initiative de journalisme local, Journal Accès
Immediate action needs to be taken to resolve the roadside parking problem by visitors to Mono Park. This was the general theme presented by all of Mono Council during a conversation with Ontario Parks staff on Tuesday, Nov. 24. “It’s absolutely imperative that we find a solution to this as quickly as possible,” said Coun. Sharon Martin. Nearly a month ago, council had submitted a letter to parks superintendent, Jillian Van Niekerk, asking for a solution to the chaos caused by visitors to Mono Cliffs Provincial Park this year. With a lack of available parking in the lots, this has led to vehicles parking up both sides of 3rd Line. This created a dangerous situation for drivers trying to pass through in vehicles and farming equipment, pedestrians walking to and from the park, and a total disregard of private residential properties. “Individual residents have had the experience of people putting garbage on their lawns, putting quite incredible things on their front lawns, and leaving human waste,” said Mayor Laura Ryan. Creating a no-parking zone on both sides of the road has been one possible solution, but it would bring with it a number of challenges. “All it’s going to do is push the problem further down the road,” said Ryan. “It’s going to take a lot of our OPP constable time in order to issue tickets if we put up a no parking zone.” As Ryan noted in previous meetings, the burden is falling on Mono taxpayers to resolve these issues, as it is taking the town’s resources. “Quite frankly, we’re not creating the problem,” said Ryan. Expanding the current parking lot was one idea raised by council to alleviate the overflow of parking. But Van Niekerk explained doing so wouldn’t be feasible. “It doesn’t make sense ecologically or financially,” she said, noting that the location of the current lot is part of that reasoning. “We are exploring the option to have an additional parking lot around the same size on the 2nd Line,” she added. This second lot could hold another 100-130 cars. If approved, it would not be completed until next fall, just in time for the crowds coming to see the leaves. The option would require some considerations by both the town and Ontario Parks. “The park is there to protect the area,” said Van Niekerk. “We have to think about how many people do we want in there, and what does that do to the land?” Parking, littering, and overcrowding challenges have not been limited to Mono Cliffs. Van Niekerk shared that Ontario Parks has also been working with the Town of Caledon regarding the same issues at Forks of the Credit. One thing that has helped them work through the challenges is a committee of parks staff and Town staff to work together. In some cases, it included giving special consideration to park wardens to allow them to enforce the no-parking and tow-away bylaw surrounding the park. This is one possible solution Mono could look into as well, according to Van Niekerk. “We would be designated under certain sections; we wouldn’t be coming into town and enforcing the bylaws, but we would be able to do so just outside of the park boundaries,” she explained. The Town of Mono will move forward with a group to work with Ontario Parks to address the long term issues, but made it clear that interim solutions need to be found immediately. “It’s time sensitive; we really need this done now,” reiterated Martin. In a normal year, she added, enforcement for the winter wouldn’t be an issue, but trends have demonstrated an increase in winter trail usage, especially during COVID-19. “Right now, you can’t buy skis, you can’t buy snowmobiles; you can’t buy anything for the winter, just like what we went through with bikes and canoes,” said Martin. “I’m thinking that this is far more urgent than saying ‘let’s just have a meeting’.” Van Niekerk assured council that the issue is serious to them as well, and parks staff are willing to work hard to help find solutions. “We really have come with listening ears to see how we can work together, what your thoughts are, and start from there,” said Van Niekerk.Tabitha Wells/Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Orangeville Banner
COVID-19. En date du 23 novembre, 3492 cas actifs de COVID-19 (2847 élèves et 645 membres du personnel) étaient rapportés dans 1023 établissements préscolaires, primaires et secondaires du Québec. Par conséquent, un total de 1139 classes sont fermées. Les élèves concernés suivent donc leurs cours à distance. Le nombre total d’écoles comptant un ou des cas positifs rapportés avec diagnostic depuis le début de l’année scolaire est de 1999. Notons que l’on peut consulter la liste des écoles concernées sur cette page publiée par le gouvernement du Québec : https://cdn-contenu.quebec.ca/cdn-contenu/adm/min/education/publications-adm/covid-19/reseauScolaire_listeEcoles.pdf?1600113647 Stéphane Lévesque, Initiative de journalisme local, L'Hebdo Journal
OTTAWA — Newly released documents show the navy will need help resupplying its fleets at sea even after two multibillion-dollar support vessels are built.The documents obtained by The Canadian Press show that the navy plans to rely on Chantier Davie's MV Asterix and allies to ensure there is no “capability gap” even after the two new joint support ships are finished in next few years.Canada originally planned to buy three new navy support ships when it launched the project more than a decade ago, but cost overruns saw the order cut down to two. The vessels are being built in Vancouver at a combined cost of $4 billion.Yet navy officials have continued to indicate that two support ships are not enough to meet the maritime force's long-term needs, as the government’s policy requires the military be able to operate two fleets at sea at the same time.The fear is that the navy will be hamstrung whenever one of the two so-called joint support ships is out of commission, either for repairs or for some other reason.While the documents play down such a threat, they also acknowledge that to prevent a “capability gap,” the navy will need to rely on the Asterix as well as “sailing with and leveraging allies and partners who have support-ship capabilities.”Canada was forced to rely on allies when its previous two support ships were taken out of service earlier than expected in 2014.Yet such an approach has been criticized as undermining the Canadian military’s autonomy and flexibility, which is why the government decided to start leasing the Asterix from Davie in January 2018 until the two new joint support ships arrived.The vessel is in the midst of a five-year leasing arrangement between Ottawa and the Quebec company, with an option to extend the lease by another five years in 2023. The government could also buy the vessel.Parliamentary budget officer Yves Giroux last week estimated the cost of buying the Asterix at $633 million, while extending the contract could cost more than $500 million. Giroux estimated Asterix’s sister ship, MV Obelix, could cost $797 million. The Liberal government has so far resisted calls to purchase the Asterix or Obelix, despite pressure from opposition parties as well as Davie and the Quebec government. It has instead repeatedly described the Asterix as a stopgap until the two new joint support ships arrive, the first of which is due in 2023. Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan’s spokeswoman Floriane Bonneville repeated that message Wednesday.“Our investment into the new joint support ships will provide the full suite of military requirements for at-sea support that the Royal Canadian Navy requires to do the challenging work we ask of them to protect Canadians,” Bonneville said in an email.“Until the arrival of the two Protecteur-class joint support ships … the RCN is mitigating its gap of at-sea support capability through the interim auxiliary oiler replenishment commercial-based service contract involving MV Asterix and collaboration with Canada’s allies.”In a separate email, Defence Department spokeswoman Jessica Lamirande said a decision on whether to buy the Asterix or extend the lease with Davie “will come in due course and while considering the broader context of the needs of the CAF as a whole.”The Asterix, which was at the heart of the failed prosecution of now-retired vice-admiral Mark Norman, is currently docked in Halifax. Since entering service with the navy, it has sailed on a number of Canadian military missions around the world.Conservative defence critic James Bezan, who has been among those pushing the government to buy the Asterix as well as the Obelix, said it is clear the Navy needs the vessels to be able to function properly at sea."We believe that Asterix should stay in service, that Obelix should be built and that both (joint support ships) be built so that we have the ability to maintain that blue-water fleet,” Bezan said.“That way we can send the navy out and if one of our supply ships happens to be out of service, we can backfill it with (Asterix or Obelix)."NDP defence critic Randall Garrison said it has long been clear that Canada needs more than two support ships to ensure the navy isn't impaired whenever one is out of service, though he questioned whether the Asterix is the best fit.The military has previously said the new joint support ships have better systems to avoid mines, protect against chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threats, a better propulsion system, a bigger helicopter hangar and more self-defence capabilities."We've always supported three joint supply ships," Garrison said."Can the Asterix serve as the third in some capacity even though it has reduced capability? I think we should ask the navy that."Davie spokesman Frederik Boisvert in a statement described the Asterix and Obelix as "a class-leading design which has become the envy of global navies."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 25, 2020.Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press
Dr. Juveria Zaheer eagerly volunteered to work the sleepless overnight shift on the Centre of Addiction and Mental Health’s new emergency department. Other clinicians, she said, requested the same. “There’s just so much excitement happening,” said Zaheer, a psychiatrist at CAMH. This excitement is driven by the long-awaited unveiling of two new buildings at Canada’s leading mental health hospital: a new emergency department and a state-of-the-art recovery complex at CAMH’s Queen Street West campus, both featuring central themes of bright, open space and natural light. The new spaces are part of an ongoing, ambitious redevelopment plan that began in 2006 to integrate CAMH into one campus and build a vision for what the future of mental health care could look like, CAMH’s CEO Catherine Zahn said. The goal, Zahn said, is for CAMH to move away from an institutional environment by building a bridge with the community that surrounds it, lending to “the acceptance of mental illness, not as something that’s behind walls anymore,” but something that is central to the overall health of the community. “There’s no health without mental health,” Zahn said. Over a two-day period starting Wednesday, more than 200 patients were to be transported from the old building on College Street to the new buildings: The Crisis and Critical Care Building, which includes the new emergency department, and the McCain Complex Care and Recovery Building. It’s a challenging feat due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but one that proved to be timely due to the new buildings’ abundance of space. “Moving into these new spaces is actually extremely desirable for us during the pandemic,” Zahn said. The new emergency department is double the size of the old one and features more spacious patient rooms, each equipped with a private bathroom, which will limit the sharing of common spaces. As of Tuesday, CAMH had two patients and seven staff who tested positive for COVID-19, according to the hospital’s website. Zahn said patients will be transported to the new building with the help of moving companies who are following rigorous sanitation procedures to ensure a safe move. The move includes COVID-19 positive patients, where Toronto Public Health was also consulted. In addition to more physical space, the Crisis and Critical Care Building features an outdoor terrace for patients to access fresh air, and more rooms for group therapy sessions and other recovery programs. It also offers more space dedicated to triaging patients. “In our current space, I’ll walk into the (emergency) department and there will be people in rooms, but there will also be people in stretchers and people sitting in seats and sleeping there,” Zaheer said. “Having more rooms will make a world of a difference.” There are 235 new patient beds in total between the new Critical Care Building and the Complex Care and Recovery Building. This includes an increase of Psychiatric Intensive Care Units from nine to 41 — more than quadrupling the previous capacity of beds that were fully at use by both CAMH and patients from other area hospitals. Alongside housing patient beds, the McCain Complex Care and Recovery Building will also serve as a unique, transformative hub for patients to learn life skills needed on their path to recovery. Part of this is a “therapeutic neighbourhood,” which holds a laundry room, an exercise room and an industrial-sized kitchen affiliated with George Brown College, where patients can take classes and learn how to perform daily tasks. The building is also home to music and art studios for various forms of art therapy. Erin Ledrew, a recreation therapist at CAMH, said the McCain complex was created with the help of existing literature on what mental health care can and should look like, and will serve as “a central programming space” for patients. “I think that will create a real sense of community,” Ledrew said. The McCain building also features a library that is open to the public and tied to CAMH’s larger vision of connecting the hospital with its surrounding community. Both buildings also feature artwork from previous CAMH patients, some of whom are Indigenous and channelled their culture and recovery journey into their art. For now, patients will be engaged in physically distant in-person tours of the new space, while virtual ones will be offered simultaneously. Ledrew said the building is large enough to offer some programming in a safe and distant manner as well. “Right now, we have a hybrid model that will allow us to still offer all of that programming, while maintaining not mixing (units) and continuing to follow all the protocols during COVID,” Ledrew said. The hope is that the new buildings will offer better care for patients and their families while providing the space and facilities to guide them in life beyond their time at CAMH, Ledrew said. “We’re really trying to offer spaces for people to feel safe to explore the strategies that work for them in their recovery,” she said. Nadine Yousif is a Toronto-based reporter for the Star covering mental health. Her reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Follow her on Twitter: @nadineyousif_ Nadine Yousif, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Toronto Star
Une pétition circule actuellement à Sainte-Adèle pour dénoncer le nouvel aménagement des rues Labelle et Chapleau, près de l’école primaire alternative de Sainte-Adèle et de l’école Chante-Au-Vent. En juin dernier, la Ville a pris la décision de mettre une partie de la rue Chapleau à sens unique pour rendre le secteur plus sécuritaire, puisque cette rue se situe entre les deux écoles, où les enfants circulent. La rue Chapleau était préférée par les résidents du secteur pour se rendre au village, alors que la rue Labelle est en pente et périlleuse selon certains. Elle croise aussi la rue Rolland qui est très achalandée, ce qui peut être dangereux en cas de dérapage. Maintenant, c’est leur seule option. Mme France Marchand réside à Sainte-Adèle depuis quelques années et est l’instigatrice de la pétition qui a récolté plus d’une trentaine de signatures. Elle l’a déposée lors de la séance du conseil du mois d’octobre. « Tout le monde prenait la rue Chapleau pour joindre la rue Saint-Jean qui a un dénivelé beaucoup plus égal. Je disais même à mes filles : ‘’ Pas question que vous preniez la rue Labelle pour sortir, elle est trop dangereuse ! ‘’ Maintenant qu’elle est bloquée, je me sens prisonnière. Je ne peux plus sortir de chez moi l’hiver. Il y a même une dame qui a fait remiser son auto parce qu’elle ne voulait pas prendre le risque de sortir cet hiver, prendre la côte et déraper », ajoute-t-elle. La sécurité des élèves en priorité La mairesse, Nadine Brière, affirme avoir fait un suivi avec les résidents pour évaluer les solutions. Selon elle, il serait dangereux pour la sécurité des enfants d’enlever le sens unique puisque cela augmenterait l’achalandage des véhicules. « Nous avons reculé les affiches de sens unique pour que les résidents aient accès plus facilement à leur maison, mais nous n’allons pas remettre la rue à deux sens. Nous avons dans nos priorités la sécurité des élèves et nous ne voulons pas qu’il y ait des accidents. Nous avons évalué la possibilité de mettre un panneau d’arrêt sur la rue Rolland (à la hauteur de la rue Labelle), mais ce ne sera pas possible. Il y a plusieurs autres rues à Sainte-Adèle qui ont un dénivelé comme la rue Labelle », explique Mme Brière.Marie-Catherine Goudreau, Initiative de journalisme local, Journal Accès
Millions of Americans are taking to the skies and highways ahead of the Thanksgiving day holiday, posing a risk of a major virus spread around the country. The CDC is asking Americans to limit travel and stay at home this holiday season. (Nov. 25)
Staff asked and council granted. Penetanguishene's staffing complement will be slightly more robust next year, after approval for two part-time contract positions to become full-time jobs in 2021. The first one was for the position of junior planner, for which Andrea Betty, director of planning and community development, made a case. "Largely, the report shows the volume and complexity of applications has increased," she said. "It's the primary function of development to process those applications and get development moving through. There's not a second full-time position dedicated to planning. It's a gap in our service for people." As well, Betty said Penetanguishene is the lowest staffed planning department as compared to its neighbours. She also made a case for increasing the current part-time bylaw contract position to full-time. With that in mind, Coun. Jill St. Amant asked if staff had looked into sharing services with other municipalities for the planning or bylaw position. "We have had those discussions with the four North Simcoe municipalities," Betty said. "All three other municipalities are pretty lean in their planning staff complement. They don't have the ability to share their current resources in that department. In the bylaw department, Tiny has a large complement in summer, but there's limited ability for us to share those resources." The third request was from recreation and community services director Sherry Desjardins, who asked for an additional 80 attendant hours weekly to make the recreation centre's reopening successful and an additional 40 hours for the 2021/2022 ice season. "This comes as a followup to a previous report with the reopening of the arena," she said. "We had requested we hire additional facility attendants to assist with additional pieces that need to be completed to be compliant with public health. It's been going well. We don't know where we will be later on in 2021." Coun. George Vadeboncoeur agreed and recommended going beyond the request. "I felt there was the need within the rec. and community services department to add another full-time staff member," he said. "I was prepared to consider eight months and move to 12 months as we move through a two-year period. The rationale is to provide full-time assistance at the arena for scheduling and knowledge transfer as some of our senior employees are looking to retire." Vadeboncoeur said a second rationale behind his move was that that facility staff will end up working for the parks department as the ice season winds up. "There are some maintenance issues at the parks," he said, "and one of the responses I've received is with respect to resource constraint and it's particularly acute when the arena and parks are going at the same time." Desjardins said she appreciated the consideration, however, facility attendants are very limited in what they can do in other places. "What would be really impactful would be a facility operator, but that has a greater financial impact," she noted. Vadeboncoeur said his suggestion to phase in a facility attendant was to soften the effects on the budget. But Carrie Robillard, director of finance/treausrer, said her recommendation wouldn't change even if the position changed. "It would still be recommended out of our service delivery review budget line," she said. "The purpose of that was to obviously increase our service levels and improve them. We have been transferring to a service delivery review reserve for the last couple years, so timing wise, this would be good and funding is available through that route." Deputy Mayor Anita Dubeau wanted to know exactly what kind of money was included in that budget item. "We have $166,000 in the budget line," said Robillard. "That doesn't include money transferred in the reserves." In the end, the public representatives went ahead with approving funding for a full-time facility operator.Mehreen Shahid, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, OrilliaMatters.com
Several students in the Nisga’a Elementary Secondary School community have tested positive for COVID-19, according to a Nisga’a Lisims Government media release. The exposure took place between Nov. 16 and Nov. 20. The students who tested positive are self-isolating at home with the support of local public health teams. The Nisga’a Valley Health Authority (NVHA) contact tracing is underway and the authority is in the process of contacting people to determine close contacts. While the contract tracing is taking place, the NVHA Director has requested that families with children attending the Nisa’a Elementary Secondary School self-isolate for a minimum of 14 days. Contact tracing may take several days to complete. The release states that elders, immunocompromised people and others with health conditions should be isolated away from children. All common areas like bathrooms, kitchens and shared living areas should be disinfected several times a day. On Nov. 20, the Nisga’a Lisims Government announced that the Nisga’a Nation was reverting to phase one of its pandemic safety plan after receiving confirmation that someone in the Terrace area tested positive for COVID-19. Travel to and from Nisga’a territory is restricted, as is travel between the four Nisga’a villages. Checkpoints have been set up. Social distancing and masks are mandatory in all public areas and social gatherings have been prohibited. The restrictions will be in place until at least Dec. 4 ALSO READ: Nisga’a Nation reverts to phase one pandemic restrictions -With files from Jake WrayBen Bogstie, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Interior News
COVID-19 outbreak at St. Martin school continues to grow. The outbreak was first declared at the elementary school in Smithville on Nov. 19. Two new cases were added on Nov. 23, bringing the total to four. The Niagara Catholic District School Board said there are now nine cases. The school has been in official outbreak status since last Thursday when the second case was confirmed. The first case was confirmed Nov. 13. NCDSB said since that time, the number of new cases at the school as grown to nine; however not all the cases so far have been linked to the outbreak, as their origin has not been determined. Niagara Region Public Health continues to investigate the situation. Two classes at the school will now be required to self-isolate for 14 days a result of the newly reported cases. Public health said they are not recommending St. Martin close at this time, as the virus is not widespread through the school community. Onsite testing will be available at the school on Thursday for staff who have not yet been tested and will be provided by public health. NCDSB said testing for staff at St. Martin is recommended, but not mandatory, while any parents of students who wish to have their children tested should do so at a an approved testing centre in Niagara.Bryan Levesque, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Grimsby Lincoln News
Liberal MLA Robert Henderson said he wants to know why the health minister isn't doing more to reduce the wait-list for a family doctor on P.E.I. In the legislature Wednesday, Henderson said the number of doctors being licensed in Canada is on the rise. But on P.E.I., there are still thousands waiting for a family doctor."We're just watching the patient registry, it's like a ticker it just keeps going up and up and up," Henderson said."So why is the minister of health struggling to recruit doctors?"The province recently contracted the Medical Society of P.E.I. to begin recruiting more physicians.The plan is to pay P.E.I. doctors to recruit other doctors to come practise on the Island, and it was negotiated over the last several months.The Health Department and doctors will form a physician recruitment task force. Doctors will consult with the government's existing recruitment team to come up with a marketing strategy, and create a "more efficient and positive" experience for doctors considering moving to P.E.I.P.E.I., like many jurisdictions in Canada, has been experiencing a shortage of doctors and other health-care professionals, and there is currently a waiting list of 14,530 patients on the patient registry seeking a family doctor on P.E.I., according to the province's website. "Islanders without access to a family physician, per capita it's actually the worst record in Atlantic Canada. Even this doctors-recruiting-doctors initiative will need to recruit a doctor to recruit other doctors, which takes a doctor away from providing health-care services to Islanders," Henderson said."When will Islanders expect to see the patient registry begin to decline?"Minister hopes to announce more doctors soonHealth Minister James Aylward said the wait-list does fluctuate, and the province is trying to improve the situation."It is a challenge to recruit doctors here on P.E.I., but you know we made a great announcement the other day for Tignish, which was lacking a family doctor for far too long," Aylward said.Last week, the heath minister announced Dr. Peter Entwistle will begin his practice at the Tignish Health Centre in February. He said the province also has letters of offer out to four other doctors that it's waiting to be signed and sent back.Aylward said government has also introduced other initiatives to help provide care to Islanders."We've done the virtual program with Maple, it has capacity for 10,000 patients to be connected to that service and so far the individuals that have accessed that service have had glowing, glowing reports," Aylward said.Aylward said the province still wants Islanders to have access to a doctor in person. He hopes to be able to announce some new doctors coming to the Island in the near future. More P.E.I. news
LINCOLN, Neb. — The Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska is creating the nation's largest tribal national park on a forested bluff overlooking the Missouri River and a historic site of its people.The 444-acre park will allow the tribe to tell the story of the Ioway people and provide a rustic getaway where people can hike, camp and bird-watch, said Lance Foster, the vice chairman of the tribe.“We’ve been here for a thousand years now and, unlike other people who can buy and sell land and move away, we can never move away,” Foster said. “This is our land forever. And we’ll be here for another 1,000 years."The new Ioway Tribal National Park will overlook a historic trading village where the Ioway people bartered for buffalo hides and pipestones with other tribes during the 13th to 15th centuries. That site includes three burial mounds that date back 3,000 years, the Omaha World-Herald reported.The Nature Conservancy of Nebraska recently transferred 284 acres to the tribe, which plans to use the land and an adjacent 160 acres that the conservancy donated two years ago to establish the second such tribal national park in the country . It is located just southeast of Rulo, Nebraska, on the Nebraska-Kansas border.Mace Hack, executive director of the Nebraska chapter of the conservancy, said his group has worked with the Iowa Tribe for years and was aware of how well it managed property.“It just seemed like the right thing to do,” Hack said. “We wanted to help the tribe connect even more deeply to their ancestral lands and heritage.”Acquiring the land also fits with the tribe’s goal of restoring tribally owned lands on its reservation, which once spanned 12,000 acres on both sides of the Nebraska-Kansas border. An 1887 federal “allotment” act that subdivided the reservation to individual families resulted in the selling off of 90% of the land to local farmers.The tribe, headquartered in White Cloud, Kansas, has now bought back about one-third of its original reservation, Foster said.The Associated Press
P.E.I.'s Department of Justice and Public Safety says it is dealing with a spike in people seeking approval to come to the Island.Officials say since the closure of the Atlantic bubble and the chief public health officer's recommendations to not travel during the holidays, the province has seen five-times the amount of inquiries.Justice and Public Safety Minister Bloyce Thompson says the province was bracing for a spike following the announcement P.E.I. was pulling out of the Atlantic bubble because of increased COVID-19 cases in neighbouring New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. He says people need to be patient, adding the province will get through the backlog within the next couple of days. "We've been doing this for almost eight months now and as every announcement comes there's an influx of inquiries, applications," said Thompson. "So to address this announcement Monday we've brought in six new staff to deal with some of the backlog."On Monday, P.E.I.'s chief public health officer announced P.E.I. was pulling out of the Atlantic bubble and said Islanders should only travel outside of P.E.I. for essential purposes or work. 'They haven't received an approval or denial'Anyone who needs to travel to the Island, including residents of Atlantic Canada, now has to apply for pre-travel approval.Island residents do not require pre-travel approval, but will be required to self-isolate 14 days once they return to the Island. Frustrations over the growing wait times spilled over onto the floor of the P.E.I. Legislature Wednesday. Cory Deagle, PC MLA for Montague-Kilmuir, said he had been contacted by a couple that had been waiting 168 hours for a response, much longer than the 72-hour response time the province tries to achieve.The couple is moving from B.C. to his district, and the couple's parents — who have also reached out to him — are his constituents.Deagle said they first sent their letter to the province on Nov. 18, long before P.E.I. pulled out of the Atlantic bubble. He said the couple was asked for more information on Nov. 21. "It's now Nov. 25 and they haven't received an approval or denial letter and they are travelling across Canada," said Deagle.'What they are going to do when they get here?'"They received approval to enter New Brunswick but they don't know about P.E.I. What they are going to do when they get here?"Thompson said he would get the name of the family and follow up immediately to ensure they have an answer before they get to the Confederation Bridge.Deagle said the family is growing increasingly frustrated."These two individuals are travelling across Canada, they said today they tried calling, no one's answering the phone, they tried leaving voicemail but the inbox is filled."Thompson did admit wait times have increased significantly because of the closure of the Atlantic bubble."We will be back to 72 hours very soon," Thompson said from the floor of the legislature. 'I hate making politics out of something so important'But Deagle fired back saying, "You shouldn't have to contact your MLA to find out if you can get approval to come to P.E.I."Thompson then took a shot at his PC colleague."This is a very important question and I hate making politics out of something so important," said Thompson. "I sat beside this member in caucus, I wish he had brought this to me then."In an interview after question period, Deagle said he makes no apologies for raising the concerns of his constituents."The premier has said that we can ask tough questions, even though it's our own party, we can ask tough questions that are important to our constituents and Islanders," Deagle told CBC News."We've never been told one way or another to not do something, if we feel it's important and we want to ask it, we can ask the questions."More from CBC P.E.I.