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
TORONTO — Some of the most active companies traded Wednesday on the Toronto Stock Exchange: Toronto Stock Exchange (17,313.07, up 38.82 points.) Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd. (TSX:NDM). Materials. Down 54 cents, or 51.43 per cent, to 51 cents on 19.34 million shares.Suncor Energy Inc. (TSX:SU). Energy. Down 16 cents, or 0.7 per cent, to $22.83 on 13.09 million shares. Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. (TSX: CNQ). Energy. Down 35 cents, or 1.13 per cent, to $30.76 on 9.28 million shares. Aurora Cannabis Inc. (TSX: ACB). Health care. Down 70 cents, or 5.84 per cent, to $11.29 on 9.27 million shares. Enbridge Inc. (TSX: ENB). Energy. Up 57 cents, or 1.4 per cent, to $41.31 on 8.7 million shares. Trevali Mining Corp. (TSX:TV). Materials. Down 2.5 cents, or 11.11 per cent, to 20 cents on 7.63 million shares. Companies in the news: Imperial Oil Ltd. (TSX: IMO). Down 59 cents, or 2.37 per cent, at $24.32. Calgary-based Imperial Oil said Wednesday it is laying off about 200 of its 6,000 employees across Canada as part of a cost-cutting initiative due to low oil prices. The oilsands, refining and energy retailing company, which has been reluctant to cut staff during the current and previous industry downturns, also confirmed Wednesday it has reduced the number of contractors it employs by about 450 since the start of the year.Cargojet Inc. (TSX: CJT). Up $10.83, or 5.4 per cent, at $211.51. Cargojet says it is preparing for record levels of online shopping over the holidays — as Canadians buy gifts digitally during restrictions at brick-and-mortar stores — and the company is taking unprecedented measures to try to keep package deliveries on time. The Mississauga-based company says it is hiring additional pilots and staff, and added a new plane to its fleet this month for the second time this year.Spin Master Corp. (TSX:TOY). Up 29 cents, or 0.99 per cent, at $29.52. Toymaker Spin Master has announced a deal to develop toys and games based on the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts movies. The company says it has signed a global licensing agreement with Warner Bros. Consumer Products for the Wizarding World franchise.BRP Inc. (TSX:DOO). Up $2.21, or 3.25 per cent, at $70.24. BRP reported an improved outlook for the rest of the year on Wednesday as the company’s third-quarter earnings results beat analysts’ expectations and it raised its guidance for its full financial year. The maker of Ski-Doos and Sea-Doos reported higher third-quarter profit compared with a year ago, buoyed by strong sales worldwide despite COVID-19 lockdowns that hampered inventory and distribution.Cascades Inc. (TSX:CAS). Down 30 cents, or 2.02 per cent, at $14.55. Cascades says it will close its napkin plant in Laval, Que., at the end of June next year. The plant currently employs 54 workers. Cascades says it will offer to relocate as many employees as possible to its other operations in Quebec and employees who are not able or do not wish to relocate will be offered help in their search for other employment.CAE Inc. (TSX:CAE). Down 69 cents, or 2.05 per cent, at $33.03. CAE Inc. has signed a deal with Textron to buy TRU Simulation + Training Canada Inc. for US$40 million. The company says the acquisition expands its installed base of commercial flight simulators and customers.Exro Technologies Inc. (TSXV:EXRO). Up 16 cents, or 3.6 per cent, at $4.60. Exro says it has priced its shares at $3.25 each. The Canadian company, which is developing new control products to improve efficiency and performance in electric motors and powertrains, is aiming to raise between $30 million and $36.5 million through a public offering.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 25, 2020.The Canadian Press
The government of the Northwest Territories is extending the public health emergency until Dec. 8, it announced in a press release Wednesday.Julie Green, the minister of health and social services, made the decision on the advice of N.W.T. Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Kami Kandola, according to a press release issued Wednesday.It is the 18th time the government has extended the public health emergency, which gives the Office of the Chief Public Health Officer the ability to create and enforce public health orders. It also allows the government to respond to needs for personal protective equipment, isolation space, enforcement and travel checkpoints during the COVID-19 pandemic."The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated considerably across Canada in recent weeks as the country's caseload surged to its highest point in the pandemic," the news release reads.According to the N.W.T. government's latest statistics, there have been 15 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the territory, all of which have recovered.As of Wednesday, the N.W.T. is currently the only province or territory in Canada without any active cases of COVID-19.Public health emergencies expire in two weeks unless they are extended by the minister of health of health and social services.
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
From learning Inuktitut to appreciating jingle dresses, these videos are a must-watch.
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
Regina, Shellbrook – Sports have not been shut down entirely, but games have, and practices are now reduced to eight people. All but the youngest of children are now expected to wear masks when appropriate. Those were some of the latest restrictions the Saskatchewan Ministry of Health announced another round of new restrictions to combat the spread of COVID-19. Those restrictions in many ways do not go as far as some of what has been implemented in Alberta and Manitoba in recent days and weeks. Saskatchewan’s new cases on Nov. 25 came in at 164, but the 7-day average is now 214.3, a relatively levelling off over the last four days. While Manitoba has entered another lockdown, on Nov. 24, Alberta announced that it would soon be closing junior high and high schools, reverting to online learning as of next week, and extending the winter break for all students until Jan. 11. Saskatchewan will be doing neither, as it stands. Premier Scott Moe, who is personally self-isolating after a possible exposure to COVID-19 at a Prince Albert restaurant 10 days earlier, made the announcement via videoconference on Nov. 25. He was joined by Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Saqib Shahab, who was in the Legislature in Regina. The new Saskatchewan measures come into effect at 12:01 a.m., Friday, Nov. 27. Moe said, “Our goal is to find the right balance, on behalf of the people in this province to protect Saskatchewan people from the spread of COVID-19, while at the same time, protecting the Saskatchewan people's jobs and their livelihoods. Our goal is to not shut down businesses, services and activities that ultimately put people out of work, and at times, may threaten their mental health. Our goal is to find ways for those things to operate and to do so safely, so that people can continue to participate in athletics and continue to work, while at the same time, continue to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our communities.” Public gatherings Moe said, “All indoor public gatherings will be limited to 30 people. This includes all types of social gatherings, including weddings, funerals, as well as worship services. No food or drink maybe present or served at these events, and capacity will also be restricted to 30 people at all casinos bingo halls, arenas live performance venues and movie theatres, as well as any other facilities that currently have the capacity of up to 150 people.” He noted that private gatherings in your home are still limited to five people. Restaurants, bars and night clubs will not be shut down, but they will have to space out indoor clientele even more, with limits of four people per table, and three metres between tables unless they have barriers installed, in which case two metres is sufficient. Sports All team/group sports, activities, games, competitions, recitals, practices, etc. are suspended, according to the release on Nov. 25. This includes amateur and recreational leagues for all age groups. Examples include hockey, curling, racquet sports, cheerleading, dance practices in group setting, etc. “All team sports are going to be paused until Dec. 17,” Moe said. “However, athletes under the age of 18 may continue practicing or training in groups of eight or fewer.” Masks strengthened Mask use is now required for all indoor fitness activities, except for swimming. Individual and group fitness activities can continue, but with three metre spacings and limits of eight people in a group. “All students, employees and visitors in schools and daycares are now required to wear a mask, except when they need to eat or drink. And mask use is now required in all common areas of businesses and workplaces,” Moe said. Children ages zero to two years-old are exempt from wearing masks. Children ages 3-12 should wear a mask if they are able to. All employees and visitors in all common areas in businesses and workplaces, even in those areas which the public does not have access (e.g. construction sites, manufacturing facilities). “Large retail stores, must limit their capacity to 50 per cent or four square meters per person, whichever is less,” Moe said. Sports led to school, work infections Shahab explained the reasoning behind the sports restrictions, saying that the nature of play always has a risk of transmission, even if you follow all the guidelines. “But over the last two to three weeks, they were becoming so frequent, and many cases, they were resulting in, for example, in children's sports, multiple cases then being imported into schools. For adult sports, multiple cases and became imported into workplaces. So, it was really important to have that pause for three weeks to slow down transmission in that setting.” Once cases come down, Shahab said the guidelines may be adjusted again. Moe explained how these particular restrictions were chosen, saying, “It would be great if we could just pinpoint or two venues or one or two activities where this spread is occurring, and just restrict those zones. But the reality is, it’s COVID, it’s in our communities, and it has been spreading in a number of different places, both inside and outside of our homes, and that's why we need to enact a number of different measures to get our numbers under control.” As for why the restrictions didn’t go further, such as a complete shutdown, lockdown or circuit breaker, similar to what was done in the spring, Moe said, “We do understand this virus better than we did back in the spring. We do know more about how it is spread. And we know what we need to do to reduce the spread of this virus, to keep ourselves and keep others safe. We need to just slow down a little bit. “The overwhelming majority of Saskatchewan businesses and their employees in this province are operating safely, day to day. So, it would be terribly unfair, and it would have a huge negative impact, to close down all those businesses and put thousands of Saskatchewan people out of work. Yes, that is what we did, temporarily, this past spring. We took a very sweeping, broad brush approach to shutting down businesses, services and activities in our communities,” he said, adding, “But we don’t believe the solution is another wide-scale lockdown. Moe said, “Putting thousands of Saskatchewan people out of work, devastating small businesses and families, ending their livelihoods in many cases; a much better approach for us is to find the right balance; to find ways for us to operate and to do so even more safely than we have. By ensuring, yes, we are following all the existing guidelines that are in place. And by implementing some additional protocols so businesses and services can remain open and can do so safely.” Moe said, “We’re not prepared to look at a shutdown of our economy, in our communities, at this point in time, and we don’t believe it’s imminent that we will have to do a shutdown, here in the province. But, in saying that, if we’re not able to bend the growth and rate of transmission of this disease, obviously, that is a conversation that may come in the weeks and months ahead.” He said the actions taken thus far, and those added today, will hopefully not only flatten the rate of increase of infections, but bend that curve back down. He thanked the business, athletic and worship organizations that took part in recent consultations with regards to these measures. Both Moe and Shahab held out some hope that some restrictions might be lifted in time for the upcoming holidays. One possibility might be some allowable visits to long-term care homes, with multiple levels of personal protective equipment, but we’re not at that point in time, yet. The Ministry of Health is now posting a listing of outbreaks in long-term care homes on the Government of Saskatchewan website. Brian Zinchuk, Local Journalism Initiative reporter, Estevan Mercury
St. Albert now has 223 active COVID-19 cases, with 22 new cases being diagnosed in the past 24 hours. On Wednesday, the province released new COVID-19 data, showing the cases in St. Albert continuing to climb. Over a 48-hour period the city added 42 new cases while another 30 people recovered from the virus. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the city has had 647 people come down with the virus On Monday, Alberta surpassed all other provinces for the most COVID-19 cases in the country, totalling 13,166 active cases. At the St. Albert Retirement Residence, active COVID-19 cases are dropping, with just two residents and two staff members currently testing positive from the virus. Overall, there were 52 total positive COVID-19 cases in the residence since the start of the outbreak, with 44 of those recovered and four people who lost their lives. There were a total of 15 staff members who tested positive since the beginning of the outbreak with 13 now recovered. Sturgeon County currently has 95 active cases, with 167 people recovered. Morinville has 33 people currently diagnosed with COVID-19 and 84 recovered. As Alberta reaches 500 COVID-19 deaths, Alberta Health services is bracing for more cases by making 400 ICU beds and 2,000 acute care beds available to COVID-19 patients. On Wednesday afternoon, Alberta Chief Medical officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said the province has reached a grim milestone of 500 deaths, with another 1,265 COVID-19 cases diagnosed overnight. “This is a tragic milestone. My sympathies go out to the loved ones and friends of these individuals who are mourning the lives lost during what is a very difficult time to grieve,” Hinshaw said. The province conducted around 15,600 tests in the last 24 hours with an 8.1-per-cent positivity rate. The nine deaths reported Wednesday occurred between Nov. 7 and Nov. 24 with five of the people having comorbidities. Overall, the province has 13,719 active cases with 355 people in the hospital and 71 in intensive care. Alberta has passed 50,000 COVID-19 infections since the beginning of the pandemic, which accounts for 1.2 per cent of Albertans. As COVID-19 surges, the province has readied even more hospital space. Some of the beds are new, while others are existing beds made available by reducing non-urgent surgeries and moving patients to continuing care centres or other hospitals. "These steps are being taken to make sure that there is sufficient capacity to meet the growing health-care need," Hinshaw said. Effective today, AHS will be changing the rules around visitor access to acute care hospitals that have outbreaks and in communities under enhanced status. This includes having one designated family or support person permitted under specific circumstances. For maternity patients, there is one designated family or support person permitted. For pediatrics and critical care, there are up to two designated family or support persons allowed. For end-of-life visitation, there will be one designated family or support person allowed, with other visitors needing to prearrange with the site. Jennifer Henderson is the Local Journalism Initiative Reporter for Great West Newspapers, covering rural Alberta issues.Jennifer Henderson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, St. Albert Gazette
Montreal's archdiocese did little to address complaints against a pedophile priest and seemed more interested in protecting his reputation than his victims, according to an independent review released Wednesday.Former Quebec Superior Court justice Pepita G. Capriolo's report highlighted numerous deficiencies in the church's response to complaints against Brian Boucher. The priest was sentenced in March 2019 to eight years in prison for abusing two boys.“Secrecy is everywhere in this file," Capriolo wrote in her report. "Secret archives, secret hiding places for sensitive documents and documents so secret they have been eliminated completely."Capriolo told a news conference Wednesday the church improperly handled complaints against Boucher from the 1980s to the end of 2015. "Yet Boucher's inexcusable behaviour had been the subject of a slew complaints from the very start of his career in the church."Her 276-page report described complaints against Boucher for behaviour that was bullying, authoritarian, homophobic, racist, misogynistic as well as verbally and physically aggressive. "What struck me most was the passing of the buck," Capriolo told reporters. "The need to protect the reputation of Boucher seemed to be paramount."No minors had come forward with allegations of sexual abuse against Boucher until 2015. But that was no reason, she said, to exonerate church officials. She said in the report that church officials responsible for overseeing Bouchard's education, training and his work as a priest lacked accountability and didn't take complaints against him seriously.Two young men, 18 and 19 years old, had complained to the archdiocese in the late 1990s and early 2000s about situations involving Boucher that she said should have been more thoroughly investigated. Boucher was sent for psychological treatment in connection with one complaint, she said, adding that documents for the other disappeared altogether.Rumours had been circulating about Boucher's interest in young boys since the 1980s, she said, adding that concerns about the priest had been communicated to the Grand Seminary of Montreal and the archdiocese, but little was done.Boucher was sent for therapy instead of discipline, first in the 1990s and again in 2003, she said.His 2003 psychological assessment concluded Boucher had a desire to exercise emotional control and power over young people, but it suggested the “need has not been sexually based." Capriolo said nothing in the report backed up that conclusion. “This is important because (the report) was later used as further justification in dismissing Boucher’s potential as a sexual abuser," Capriolo noted. The 2003 assessment, along with Boucher's constant threats of legal action — including against fellow clergy — served to keep people quiet, she said. By 2003, the church had an advisory committee on sexual abuse of minors, but no one thought it was appropriate to refer Boucher to that group, Capriolo wrote in her report. “An overdue concern with Boucher’s reputation prevented any kind of investigation that might have given rise to better decisions regarding his ordination,” she wrote. Tracking down the documents related to Boucher also proved to be complicated, she said. Capriolo began her investigation a year ago, interviewing 60 witnesses and reviewing hundreds of documents.Her report noted that a culture of secrecy during this period meant important documents vanished and there was lack of a paper trail, sending Capriolo on her own fact-finding mission to outside sources or into the church's own secret archives.Archbishop Christian Lepine said the archdiocese will adopt each of the 31 recommendations put forth by Capriolo, who will help the church implement them by the fall of 2021."In the name of the Catholic Church of Montreal and speaking for myself, I wish to say how sorry we are that you have had to experience the effects of such terrible acts which should have never occurred," Lepine told a news conference.Capriolo's recommendations include better oversight, organizational changes, more transparency, strict protocols for dealing with abuse and sanctions for those who violate rules. She also recommended the installation of an external ombudsperson and the creation of an advisory committee to examine complaints.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 25, 2020.Sidhartha Banerjee, The Canadian Press
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)
When Treyton Middleton found out who was suspected of shooting his stepfather in the street outside their home on Saint John's lower west side, he looked him up on Facebook. On Wednesday afternoon, the jury heard that Middleton, now 19, sent a message to the man that night, threatening to round up some friends and kill him. In fact, when Const. Connor Bodechon arrived at 321 Duke St. West to take photos about an hour after the shooting, Justin Breau's Facebook profile is on the computer screen photographed in Middleton's bedroom. Breau, 37, is on trial for second-degree murder in the death of 42-year-old Mark Shatford. He is accused of shooting Shatford at about 4:25 a.m. on Nov. 17, 2019. Despite numerous surgeries at the Saint John Regional Hospital, Shatford died on Dec. 18. During testimony on Wednesday, Middleton said he awoke to banging and yelling in the early morning hours of Nov. 17, 2019. He peeked out of his bedroom and saw two masked men moving through the second-floor apartment where he lived with Shatford, his mother, three siblings, and his sister's boyfriend. Middleton said he followed the men down the stairs and managed to grab one of them at the front door. He said he threw the man to the ground outside and started punching him. As he continued to fight with the man, he saw his mother and Shatford pass by, heading to a vehicle parked on the street. Middleton said he continued to fight with the man until he heard a gunshot. As he turned, he said, he saw Shatford fall to the ground. He immediately went to Shatford's side. He testified that the man with the gun then pointed it at him and his mother and told them to shut up. Middleton said he tried to grab a large wrench that Shatford had dropped, but his mother wouldn't let him take it. As the vehicle pulled away, Middleton said, he threw the wrench at it but missed. What became of the wrench before police seized it in January remains unclear.Middleton and his mother, Melissa Daley, both testified they don't know how the wrench got back inside the apartment. But pictures taken by Bodechon, who arrived at the scene at 5:50 a.m., appear to show the item on top of the fridge. Bodechon took several pictures inside the home, including the one that show's the computer screen in Middleton's bedroom. "I did that on my own," Middleton said of the Facebook search. "I just wanted to see him."It was under cross-examination by defence lawyer Brian Munro that Middleton was asked about sending a Facebook message to Breau not long after the shooting. Middleton admitted sending a message that he was going to round up some people and kill Breau. He was also asked about his actions immediately after the shooting. Middleton said he went to a "buddy's" place but the person wasn't at home. He was repeatedly asked to name the "buddy" but he refused each time. "I'm not answering it," he insisted, before the jury was led out of the courtroom. After a short time — and some discussion in the absence of the jury and Middleton — the jury was brought back in and cross-examination resumed. Middleton was again asked to name the person and said it was his ex-girlfriend, Bella McCutcheon. He told the court that he called her "buddy" because they were not dating at the time. The trial is scheduled to resume Thursday morning.
OTTAWA, Ill. — Canada's watchdog for crime victims is calling on Parliament to overhaul their bill of rights, saying the five-year-old legislation has fallen "far short" of delivering on its promise. Rules meant to amplify victims' voices in the justice system have failed to make them heard following "sporadic" implementation of a regime that needs more teeth, clarity and public awareness, federal ombudsman Heidi Illingworth said in a report Wednesday. "The situation of victims of crime has not fundamentally changed since it was passed," she wrote. The previous Conservative government introduced what it called a victims' bill of rights in 2015 that allowed crime victims to get information about offenders in the corrections system and have their views considered when decisions are made about those perpetrators. Illingworth said the legislation should be amended to provide a legal remedy for violations, such as allowing victims to formally challenge authorities on whether their rights have been honoured. "There was no right to appeal, there was no right to seek damages," Illingworth said Wednesday in a phone interview. The 2015 statute was an important firs step but "really more of a statement of principles," she added. "It did not give people real rights, because in law you have to be able to have a remedy for rights to be real." The justice system demands heavy lifting from people subjected to a criminal act, including those involved in the 2.2 million crimes reported to police each year. "They are expected to report the crime, provide evidence, bear witness, be cross-examined on the stand and relive their traumas over and over again as they tell their truths — yet we provide them with little assistance to do so," Illingworth wrote. "Unsupported victims are less likely to come forward. When victims are not treated as full partners in the criminal justice system, the system is less effective." Victims should automatically receive information about their rights, rather than having to ask for it, she said. Up to two-thirds of crime victims do not go to the police, said Irvin Waller, professor emeritus in criminology at the University of Ottawa. Other reforms demanded in the report include a simplified complaint process filtered entirely through the ombudsman's office rather than a patchwork of agencies, more clearly defined obligations for criminal justice officials and more funding to train front-line workers in treating victims with "courtesy, compassion and respect." The ombudsman is also calling for better data collection by courts, prisons and law enforcement agencies to understand police interactions with targeted populations, including Indigenous women and LGBTQ individuals. "We know that there’s distrust, and this is especially concerning among communities of colour, racialized communities, Indigenous people. And how survivors of sexual violence are cheated by the justice system has been very, very problematic," Illingworth said. Waller pointed to England and France as models on training guidelines for officials and restitution for victims, respectively. He said up to half of French criminal cases result in restitution payments, access to which should be guaranteed, according to the ombudsman's report. In contrast to Canada, France also grants victims legal "standing" to appeal to courts for review when their rights are not upheld. "We are a long, long way behind these countries," Waller said. Illingworth's report further recommends amendments that commit to core funding for community-based restorative justice programs as well as a list of officials who have direct responsibilities to crime victims. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 25, 2020. Christopher Reynolds, The Canadian Press
The City of Toronto will ramp up winter maintenance so residents can spend more time outdoors.Mayor John Tory says the city wants people to stay active despite COVID-19, even in sub-zero temperatures. He says residents can spend time in parks alone or with members of their household during the lockdown.He says there are also 23 toboggan hills, eight new snow loops at golf courses and numerous outdoor ice rinks.The rinks will have a capacity of 25 people to follow provincial pandemic rules. The city will also maintain an extra 60 kilometres of paved trails and pathways."Much as the pandemic makes things different, we're committed to giving people more things to do outside safely," Tory said on Wednesday. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 25, 2020.The Canadian Press
The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada (all times Eastern):7 p.m.Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe says public health measures to date haven't been enough to stop the province's spread of COVID-19. Starting Friday, the province is suspending team sports across all age groups. Masks will be required to be worn during all indoor fitness activities.Capacity for casinos, bingo halls and theatres will be limited to 30 people, and it will be the same for worship services, funerals and wedding receptions. No more than four people will be allowed to sit at a table in a bar or restaurant, and large retailers will have to limit their capacity to 50 per cent.\---6:30 p.m.B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says the pandemic has dramatically amplified the overdose crisis in the province, with street drugs that are even more poisonous and people who are dying alone.She appealed to those using illicit drugs to ensure their personal safety, to have their drugs checked or go to a doctor for a safe supply.Henry announced another 738 new cases of COVID-19 and 13 more deaths, for a total of 371 people.There are now 294 people in hospital and 61 of those are in intensive care.\---4 p.m.Nova Scotia is reporting 16 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the number of active cases to 102.Health officials say all of the new cases are in the central health zone, which includes Halifax.Nova Scotia has had 1,243 positive cases of novel coronavirus and 65 deaths, while 1,076 cases are now resolved.One person is currently in hospital.\---3:20 p.m.Prince Edward Island has confirmed one new case of COVID-19, bringing the number of active cases to two.Chief public health officer Dr. Heather Morrison says the individual is a woman in her 20s who recently travelled to the Island from within Atlantic Canada.P.E.I. has had a total of 70 positive cases of COVID-19 since the onset of the pandemic, with 68 recoveries as of Tuesday.All cases have been travel-related.\---2:35 p.m.The Northwest Territories has extended its public health emergency until Dec. 8. The public health emergency allows the territory to maintain preventive public health measures. Under current measures, anyone travelling to the Northwest Territories must self-isolate for 14 days. There are 15 recovered cases of COVID-19 and no active cases. It has been 13 days since the territory's last confirmed case.\---2:35 p.m.Saskatchewan is reporting 164 new cases of COVID-19, with many of the new cases in and around its capital, Regina.The seven-day average of daily cases is 214.Health officials say 111 people are in hospital, with 19 in intensive care.\---2:30 p.m.Ontario residents are being urged to celebrate the upcoming winter holidays only with the people they live with, regardless of the COVID-19 situation in their region.The government is issuing its initial guidance today, saying it knows Ontarians are already making their holiday plans.It says those who live alone can join another household to celebrate, but everyone else should stick to their own household as well as following any public health guidelines for their area.Premier Doug Ford says Ontarians just "can't take any chances" when it comes to COVID-19.\---1:55 p.m.Manitoba is reporting 349 new COVID-19 cases and nine additional deaths today. Chief public health officer Dr. Brent Roussin says restrictions on gatherings and store openings implemented in recent weeks appear to be working. He says the province had projections a few weeks ago of up to 800 cases a day by now, and instead the daily numbers are relatively steady.\---1:45 p.m.New Brunswick is reporting three new cases of COVID-19.The province now has 94 active infections, with one person in hospital. Chief medical officer of health Dr. Jennifer Russell says the COVID-19 hot spots in Atlantic Canada right now are Saint John and Moncton in New Brunswick, and Halifax in Nova Scotia.During a briefing today in Fredericton, she advised against any non-essential travel into those three regions.\---12:45 p.m.Newfoundland and Labrador is reporting one new case of COVID-19 today.The new case involves a woman in her 40s who is connected to a growing cluster of cases in the western region of the province.Health officials are warning rotational workers in the province of a COVID-19 outbreak at the Imperial Oil Cold Lake worksite in Alberta.Newfoundland and Labrador has reported 324 COVID-19 infections, 25 of which are considered active.\---12:15 p.m.Nunavut is reporting 11 new cases of COVID-19, which brings the territory's active case count to 153.Health officials said today there were eight new cases in Arviat and three new cases in Whale Cove.Chief public health officer Dr. Michael Patterson says there are over 300 people in isolation in Arviat. No one in Nunavut is hospitalized because of COVID-19 and Patterson says those infected have mild to moderate symptoms.\---11:40 a.m.The Manitoba Human Rights Commission says it's getting between 50-100 calls a month from people who say being forced to wear a mask during the pandemic is a violation of their rights. Acting executive director Karen Sharma says the calls represent a sharp increase in her agency's workload. She says the province's mandatory mask-wearing order is not a human rights issue, except potentially for people with disabilities.\---11 a.m.Quebec is reporting 1,100 new COVID-19 cases and 28 more deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus, including 12 that occurred in the past 24 hours.Health authorities said today the number of hospitalizations remained stable at 655 and 93 people were in intensive care, a drop of three.The province says it conducted 24,067 COVID-19 tests on Nov. 23, the last day for which testing data is available. Quebec has reported 135,430 COVID-19 infections and 6,915 deaths linked to the virus since the start of the pandemic.\---10:45 a.m.Ontario is reporting 1,373 new cases of COVID-19 and 35 more deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus.Health officials said today 11 fewer people are hospitalized with COVID-19, for a total of 523.The number of patients in intensive care remains at 159, and 15 more people are on a ventilator, for a total of 106.The numbers come as the Ontario government is expected to spell out its guidelines for celebrating the winter holidays.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 25, 2020.The Canadian Press
It's a demonstrably difficult task to find a comic screen partner worthy of standing opposite Melissa McCarthy, so you have to appreciate “Superintelligence" for throwing in the towel. In it, McCarthy plays Carol Peters, a former Yahoo executive who's chosen, purely for her extreme averageness, by a newly liberated, megalomaniacal artificial intelligence that presents her with a three-day test to prove humanity isn't worth destroying. It's the kind of set-up that would have once presided over by the devil or some demigod, but now that role goes to Alexa. That means that for much of “Superintelligence," a new comedy streaming Thursday on HBO Max, McCarthy is walking around on her own, her only foil a disembodied voice (James Corden's) or an occasional talking screen. That's not as good as McCarthy with either of her best recent on-screen partners — Sandra Bullock ("The Heat"), Richard E. Grant ("Can You Forgive Me?") — but it's not bad. It means McCarthy has the movie if not completely to herself (Corden's cheery warmth still comes through, and Bobby Cannavale winningly plays her love interest) then nearly so. Even though the innocuous “Superintelligence” is on the bland side, it remains hard not to enjoy two hours with McCarthy. The more telling companion of McCarthy's in “Superintelligence” is her husband, the director Ben Falcone. This is their fourth film together with Falcone behind the camera, and it may be the best of the bunch. That, however, isn't saying much considering their run of “Life of the Party" (2018), “The Boss” (2016) and “Tammy” (2014). Those films have their moments, and they're always shot-through with affection for their leading lady. But they're easily the weaker, more forgettable side of McCarthy's filmography. “Superintelligence," written by Steve Mallory, is the most high-concept of their films together, and it's ultimately an excuse to bring apocalyptic stakes to a rom-com plot. Faced with the possible end of the world, Carol resolves to reconnect with an old flame (Cannavale). Their chemistry together is easy and relaxed, if not especially funny. The cast overall feels wasted, especially the supporting performances of Brian Tyree Henry (as a computer scientist), Jean Smart (the president) and Sam Richardson — the talented “Veep” performer who I sincerely hope soon gets his own movie. Like a lot of studio comedies of late, it feels like there's space here for jokes that mostly never quite got filled in. The real romance in “Superintelligence” might not be between any of the characters, but McCarthy and Falcone (who also makes his typical cameo). Their collaborations are uneven but warmhearted, and their movies together feel like an almost sweet sacrifice of quality for the sake of family. “Superintelligence,” a Warner Bros. release, is rated PG by the Motion Picture Association of America for some suggestive material, language and thematic elements. Running time: 105 minutes. Two and a half stars out of four. ___ Follow AP Film Writer Jake Coyle on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/jakecoyleAP Jake Coyle, The Associated Press
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
TORONTO — Ontario residents should celebrate the upcoming winter holidays only with the people they live with, regardless of the COVID-19 situation in their region, the provincial government said Wednesday.The province issued its initial guidance for the holiday period, saying it knows Ontarians are already making plans.It said those who live alone can join another household to celebrate, but everyone else should stick to their own household and follow public health guidelines for their area."This year isn't like any other," Premier Doug Ford said in an afternoon news conference."We are in the second wave of COVID-19 and we can't take any chances. We have to bend the curve and stop the spread of this awful virus."Critics said the holidays could have looked much different if the government had taken faster, more decisive action to combat rising case counts this fall.“It’s heartbreaking to think about everyone who will be separated from their loved ones during the holidays. It should never have come to this," NDP Deputy Leader John Vanthof said in a statement."Now, thanks to Ford’s choices, we are forced into more shutdowns in more parts of the province, with more people getting sick and many losing their lives."The premier said he listened to the province's top doctor and its health team in making those decisions, noting the government has tried to balance health and economic concerns.Toronto and neighbouring Peel Region were moved into the grey or lockdown level in the province's tiered COVID-19 restrictions system this week, with tougher measures to stay in place at least until the week of Christmas.Public health measures under the lockdown level include a ban on indoor gatherings except with those in the same household, as well as closing down restaurants for all but takeout and delivery.The province's top doctor said earlier this week it seemed unlikely the situation would improve in those regions enough over the 28-day lockdown period to warrant moving them to the red alert level, which is one level lower.Toronto Mayor John Tory said that while there will be some enforcement of the guidelines over the holidays, it will largely be up to residents to regulate themselves."I've been asked for weeks now, were we contemplating having people going around on Christmas Eve and knocking on doors or peering down chimneys or any such thing? And I said, 'Of course not,'" Tory said Wednesday."By and large, people are going to have to enforce this themselves ... because they think it's in their own best interests and the interests of their families, and their neighbours, and their co-workers, and their friends to keep people healthy." Five other regions -- Hamilton, Durham, Halton, York and Waterloo -- are currently classified as red zones, which caps social gatherings at five people indoors and 25 outdoors.The province reported 1,373 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, and 35 new deaths linked to the virus. Health Minister Christine Elliott said 445 of the new cases were in Toronto, while 415 were in Peel Region.Ontario's most recent modelling showed the province is on track to see up to 6,500 new daily cases of COVID-19 by mid-December, though those projections are expected to be updated Thursday.\-- with files from Nicole ThompsonThis report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 25, 2020.Paola Loriggio, The Canadian Press
A gathering of scholars and activists on Wednesday pointed to soaring test positivity rates on First Nations and suggested that Indigenous colonialism in Canada is alive and well and killing Indigenous people in the midst of a global pandemic. The online discussion with Pamela Palmater, Winona LaDuke and host Dr. Niigaan Sinclair, spoke about how Indigenous people are dealing with ongoing colonization, what has or hasn’t changed due to the pandemic, and where Indigenous people and their allies can go from here. “Racism impacts health and we see that particularly here in Manitoba," said Sinclair. "Fourteen per cent is the test positivity rate in Manitoba. They closed schools in New York for a 3% positivity rate. “On First Nations, it is 23%. That means one out of every four people is testing positive on First Nations for COVID-19. This proves that racism kills.” Palmater, a Mi'kmaq lawyer and professor at Ryerson College, advised Indigenous communities to not forget the power of their sovereignty, peoplehood, nationhood, self-determination and that they are collective. “We have to remember that every single person has something to contribute,” said Palmater. “While the land defenders are out there trying to protect our lands and waters, we also need people behind the scenes supporting the land defenders, advocating in international forums and keeping a close eye on what federal, provincial and municipal governments are doing without our knowledge.” While people were focusing on how the pandemic would impact their communities, Palmater noted that governments not only allowed massive industry projects to continue but were changing laws, legislations and regulations to give them multiple exemptions. “We need people from every skill level and every background to do their part in different forums. I believe that it is one of the most encouraging things that I have seen come out of the pandemic,” said Palmater. “When the Indigenous nations and tribal governments took control of their borders despite the restrictions on gathering, they made sure they were still advocating and defending." Palmater said that by exercising Indigenous voices, they are helping to educate, inform and empower people as well as to raise the alarm on what is happening among Indigenous people. The event also functioned as a launch for Palmater’s and LaDuke’s new books. Both works were published by Fernwood Publishing. “Warrior Life: Indigenous Resistance and Resurgence,” is the second collection of writings by Palmater. In the book, Palmater addresses various Indigenous issues such as empty political promises, ongoing racism, sexualized genocide, government lawlessness as well as noting that reconciliation is a lie. Palmater’s book is available now and can be purchased at the Fernwood Publishing website. “To Be a Water Protector: Rise of the Wiindigoo Slayers,” by LaDuke — an American environmentalist and former vice-president candidate — touches on global, Indigenous-led opposition to the enslavement and exploitation of the land and water. The book also acknowledges several elements of a New Green Economy and outlines the lessons we can take from activists outside North America. LaDuke’s book can be pre-ordered now and will be available in the first week of December. Nicole Wong is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the Winnipeg Sun. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.Nicole Wong, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Winnipeg Sun
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
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