Watch this dog follow a variety of commands without a single word being spoken. Impressive! Full credit to: kara.rottweiler on Instagram
Watch this dog follow a variety of commands without a single word being spoken. Impressive! Full credit to: kara.rottweiler on Instagram
The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary has issued a public advisory saying it is searching for Kenny Green Jr., a day after a dozen officers — some with rifles — descended on a west-end St. John's home looking for him.In a news release issued late Tuesday afternoon, the RNC said Green, 42, is wanted in connection with a Sunday night assault in central St. John's.One man has already been arrested and charged with assault causing bodily harm, and assault with a weapon, in relation to that incident.On Monday, a police spokesman said a large RNC operation on Empire Ave. was related to the search for a second suspect in the same case.Traffic was blocked for three hours from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. Monday as the police spoke with people inside 374 Empire Ave. About eight officers eventually entered the residence, but the second suspect wasn't there.At the time, the RNC did not name Green as that second suspect, but the address in question — 374 Empire Ave. — has been linked to Green in recent court documents.In 2014, Green pleaded guilty to manslaughter for the brutal slaying of Joey Whalen, and received a six-year sentence after a joint submission by the defence and Crown.Green had originally been charged with second-degree murder. He admitted to beating Whalen to death during a fight that broke out at a house on Tessier Place in St. John's in 2013, where Green sold drugs.In the press release issued Tuesday, the RNC asked people not to approach Green, but to instead contact police or Crime Stoppers.
More than 100 fire and emergency personnel gathered Sunday, Nov. 22 for the ceremonies for former Dundalk Fire Chief John Thompson, who died from brain cancer, acquired in the line of duty. He passed away Nov. 17, 2020, in his 62nd year. He is survived by his wife, Joanne, children Jennifer (Steve) and Mike (Erin) and grandchildren Ryleigh, Bradyn, Jaxyn and Jaykob Thompson. The legacy of the family with the small-town volunteer department spans more than a century. The former chief recently had the satisfaction of seeing his grandsons Bradyn and Jaxyn join their father Michael, as active members of the Dundalk Fire Department. Jaxyn actually completed his training with recruits from late 2019 but had to wait on his 18th birthday earlier this year to officially become an auxiliary. His grandfather, John, was also 18 when he joined the volunteer department in 1977. John’s father Verral Thompson started with the Dundalk Fire Brigade before it was organized as an official department, serving more than 50 years, in later years moving into doing the bookkeeping and incident reporting. John's son, Michael, is a trained paramedic and a captain with nine years on the Dundalk department. A widely-attended drive-through visitation was held at the fire hall on Saturday afternoon, Nov. 21. Firefighters lined the street on Sunday as part of special arrangements, organized by the Dundalk department and Fire Chief Derek Malynyk. Grey Highlands Fire Department remarked on Twitter, “What an amazing show of support for Chief John Thompson, 22 fire apparatus, over 100 firefighters representing 12 different Emergency Services. Honored to be part of the Chief’s final ride. Well done.” Southgate Township Mayor John Woodbury expressed the condolences of council and staff to the Thompson family at last week’s council meeting. “It’s a blow to the community when we lose somebody like him,” he said. "John and his family have been dedicated to firefighting and to the community for generations.” Mr. Thompson served as Fire Chief for 17 years, before his health forced him to resign. He was an active sportsman and a prominent member of the community, being part of the Dundalk Legion and a minor hockey coach. He worked as a heavy truck mechanic and for the Southgate Recreation department.M.T. Fernandes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Dundalk Herald
Faraday Township will be having its council meetings in-person going forward versus virtually by Zoom. Due to some technical issues that prevented the public from hearing much of the Nov. 4 meeting that was broadcast by Zoom and over the telephone, the December council meeting will be open to the public with all COVID-19 restrictions in place. In a motion brought forward by Councillor Carl Tinney and seconded by Councillor Bill Green, the council voted to hold the upcoming council meeting at the Faraday Community Centre on Dec. 2 to allow the public to attend. Dawn Switzer, the clerk and treasurer of Faraday Township, confirmed this change from virtual to in-person meetings. “Due to the technical issues we experienced at the last meeting, council decided that we would have council meetings at the community centre so that the public will be able to attend,” she says. In a posting on their website on Nov. 4, in addition to apologizing for the technical difficulties, the township posted the minutes of the meeting relatively quickly, by Nov. 6. They also informed the public that appointments from the November meeting, specifically Kim Bishop, who had intended to phone in to talk to council about fundraising for QHC North Hastings, had been rescheduled for the next council meeting in December. Switzer says that the community centre is being used for the council meetings as the council chambers at the township office are not large enough to ensure the physical distancing that needs to happen with COVID-19 restrictions. “The community centre permits us to meet these requirements. When the public attends the next meeting, they will be required to fill in the sign-in sheet and answer the questions [the health questions from Hastings Prince Edward Public Health about whether they’re well enough to enter the premises], wear a mask, and sanitizer will be available at the entrance to the community centre,” she says. Switzer says that due to the occurrence of in-person meetings, the ability to participate virtually will not be available. She does note that if the province changes the regulations, they’ll have to reorganize how they will proceed moving forward. The next Faraday Township council meeting will be on Dec. 2 at 9 a.m. and will be open to the public at the Faraday Community Centre. Michael Riley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Bancroft Times
“Together, these public servants will restore America globally, its global leadership and its moral leadership,” US President-elect Biden said.View on euronews
The Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA)broke down where people contracted COVID-19 last week in an update posted online Tuesday. “Saskatchewan has high rates of community transmission. Case counts, active outbreak investigations, hospitalizations and deaths continue to increase,” the media release said. As of Nov. 18, the COVID-19 case rate was 104 cases per 100,000 people, which was an increase from 78 the previous week. As of that report Saskatchewan still had the fourth highest case rate in the country behind Manitoba, Alberta and Quebec. Some areas of Canada have higher case rates than areas of the United States. That’s different from the active case count average, which was over 200 as of Tuesday. According to the federal government, the updated active case count per 100,000 population for Saskatchewan is 244 as of Tuesday. The daily test positivity rate was 6.7 per cent, up from 5.9 per cent last week. The test positivity rate is highest in adults age 20 to 39 and lowest in children under 10-years-old. The most likely acquisition source continues to be households and close contacts. The top source for persons who acquire COVID-19 in the community is recreation/recreational facilities such as ice rinks, bingo halls, bowling alleys and casinos with 25 per cent. Gatherings such as weddings, funerals and house parties are second with 17 per cent. Group homes, shelters and outreach programs were third with 14 per cent. Tied for fourth are educational facilities and food service establishments with eight per cent. In educational facilities cases are more likely teachers or staff and test positivity rates for students are higher in the 14-year-old to 19-year-old age range for students. In food service establishments cases are more likely among co-workers. Long term care, retirement and personal care homes are fifth with seven per cent. Fitness centers and transportation and trades (taxi drivers, meat packing facilities) are tied for sixth with six per cent. Nightclubs are seventh with five per cent. Places of worship are eighth with two per cent. The common risk factors in all of these is shared indoor airspace without masking, physical distancing and frequent hand hygiene, the province said. Michael Oleksyn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Albert Daily Herald
WASHINGTON, D.C. — President-elect Joe Biden's new climate envoy may be the same person who nixed the Keystone XL pipeline expansion in 2015, but the project itself has evolved significantly since then, Canada's U.S. ambassador said Tuesday. Biden's choice of John Kerry as a special presidential adviser on climate might seem to be the stake through the heart of the undead $8-billion pipeline, considering the former secretary of state was the one swinging the hammer five years ago.Kirsten Hillman, however, doesn't see it that way. "Times have changed," the ambassador said in a conference call after a panel discussion hosted by the Montreal Council on Foreign Relations. "The project itself is not the same project; the company itself, (TC Energy), has made enormous innovations; and the sector is enormously innovative — they're cutting their emissions in important ways."Canada, too, has evolved since then, she said, having established a long-awaited carbon-pricing system and committed to virtually eliminating emissions in 30 years — a target enshrined in legislation introduced just last week in the House of Commons. "Of all the countries from which the United States … can get their fossil fuels, we're the one with a price on carbon, we're the one with a commitment to zero emissions by 2050," Hillman said. "So regardless of who we will be talking to, we will bring our facts to that conversation."Moments after Hillman finished speaking, Kerry took the podium in Delaware, where Biden was introducing his newly named senior cabinet appointees, and promptly framed his job as an aggressive foreign-policy endeavour. "To end this crisis, the whole world must come together," Kerry said, predicting that next year's UN climate conference in Scotland would be the moment of truth. "At the global meeting in Glasgow one year from now, all nations must raise ambition together, or we will all fail together. And failure is not an option."Biden was vice-president throughout the eight years that Keystone XL became a political football for former president Barack Obama. It was a persistent irritant to Canada-U. S. relations and a flagship cause for progressives and environmentalists around the world.During that time, it came to define the widening fissure between an energy industry that's straining to redefine its mission in the 21st century and a public increasingly opposed to North America's dependency on fossil fuels — a tension that has created deep-seated political challenges in Canada, where the oilpatch is central to the country's economic fortunes.Biden's campaign left little doubt about his plans back in May, when it finally declared he was "strongly opposed" to the project and would "stop it for good" next year by rescinding approvals issued by President Donald Trump. That hasn't prevented TC Energy from doing its best to frame Keystone XL as a proposal the Biden administration can get behind, particularly as the U.S. looks for ways to kick-start its pandemic-bruised economy. The company has awarded more than US$1.6 billion in contracts to American construction firms, work it says will support more than 7,000 union jobs next year, and plans a clean energy training fund worth US$10 million. It has inked an investment agreement with a group representing First Nations in Alberta and Saskatchewan. The project is designed to ferry up to 830,000 additional barrels a day of diluted bitumen from the Alberta oilsands into Nebraska and eventually to refineries along the U.S. Gulf Coast. Some 200 kilometres of pipe have already been installed, including over the Canada-U. S. border, and construction has begun on pump stations in Alberta and several U.S. states. TC Energy spokesman Terry Cunha described Keystone XL as setting "the standard for responsible and sustainable energy infrastructure development," citing efforts to enlist Indigenous equity partners and employ 11,000 U.S. workers. "We are constantly evaluating new and innovative ways to reduce emissions and improve efficiencies," Cunha said in a statement. "We have long been committed to leadership in protecting the environment, while delivering the energy North America needs every day in the safest and most responsible means possible."Notwithstanding aggressive efforts to slash emissions, fossil fuels will remain an integral part of life in both Canada and the U.S. going forward, said Hillman, which is why Keystone XL discussions need to be part of a broader strategy linking energy and the environment. "It's also a project that we will discuss in the context of our entire energy relationship, and in the context of our entire relationship around climate change and carbon emission reductions," she said."These things exist in an entire context, and that context is one where there is enormous potential for collaboration with the Americans."A new report from Canada's federal energy regulator noted Tuesday that regardless of those efforts, oil and gas is likely to remain a factor for decades to come."Achieving net-zero (greenhouse gas) emissions by 2050 will require an accelerated pace of transition away from fossil fuels," the report says.But the report projects that even with many more policies to curb emissions than are currently in place, oil and gas would still make up nearly two-thirds of energy sources three decades from now.— With files from Mia Rabson in OttawaThis report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 24, 2020.James McCarten, The Canadian Press
The Canadian tradition to give thanks on the second Monday in October isn't the only Thanksgiving some in southwestern Ontario celebrate.This year, like almost every other for the last 73 years, members of the Cottam United Church in Essex County will put together a feast.It's normally a big event, even attended by Americans. This year, the COVID-19 restrictions won't allow for that, but the members of the church aren't ready to let go of the tradition."It's more than just a meal. It has been an event that has brought our community together beyond just even the community of the church. It's generally the community of both people who live in the area and our American cousins," said Rick Mayea, an organizer of the event.Deciding to still host the dinner was the easy part, he said. The challenge was how to do it and keep the community safe. In the past, hundreds dined in the 150-capacity hall from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. with another 400 to 500 takeout orders. Since that large of a group gathering isn't currently allowed, they came up with a simple plan with the help of the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit."Just consider it an average Tim Horton's drive-thru," Mayea said. This year each dinner costs $18. They're filled with turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, cranberries, peas, squash, then a choice of pie, either apple, cherry or blueberry.So far about 800 meals have been pre-ordered, but they expect more. Normally the group serves about 1,200 meals. The event only comes together thanks to dedicated volunteers. Only 50 can be inside of the church at one time, but Mayea said they've been able to make it work. "It'll be a little bit different than trying to serve a person a meal," he said. "People will come through and be packing the meals."He says they can produce and pack 100 meals in about 15 minutes and are prepared for a different traffic situation in the parking lot. "We have people out there controlling things," Mayea said. "We do have people greeting cars as they arrive and kind of directing them where to go."This year all the meals must be pre-ordered for pick up by Tuesday night. Church volunteers will start peeling the potatoes to feed an estimated 1,150 starting Wednesday.
A University of Northern B.C. professor is being recognized for her innovative work to conserve critical northern lands and tackle issues normally ignored by other researchers. Pamela Wright, a UNBC professor in the department of ecosystem science and management, was presented with the Mitacs Award for Exceptional Leadership - Professor, at a virtual ceremony today (Nov. 24) in recognition of her collaborative work with community partners and students to conserve Canada’s northern lands. Mitacs is a not-for-profit organization that fosters growth and innovation in Canada for business and academia. One of Wright’s interns, Dr. Karine Pigeon, is currently conducting research to help communities, the outdoor recreation industry and provincial government understand the impacts of recreation and tourism on the forests. “As a society, we tend to focus on the environmental impact of industries like mining, forestry, and oil and gas,” Wright stated in a press release. “Recreational use can be equally problematic, and we’ve been ignoring it. Now, the pandemic has brought this to the forefront.” The team is partnering provincial and federal park agencies and other land managers to develop new tools and techniques to reduce the cumulative impacts of outdoor recreation. In a related project, Wright is working with Indigenous organizations, conservation groups and other partners to identify important lands for conservation. This is billed as groundbreaking work that incorporates the impacts of climate change to identify areas that area at greater risk. “In the large, remote wild northern landscapes we’re studying, there’s very little Western science to turn to because we just don’t spend the time and money to collect data,” said Wright. Wright blends traditional Indigenous knowledge of the land with western science, translating oral history from years of experience living on the land into a mapped format. “We can look at a model of how a conservation system should work and where important habitat should be, compare it to Indigenous knowledge and see how the two fit together,” she said. The Mitacs Award for Exceptional Leadership – Professor is presented to an academic supervisor with an exemplary record of developing collaborations with industry and partners, providing valuable research and training experiences to their interns, and initiating research projects with significant outcomes through their Mitacs funding. Wright is one of eight Mitacs award winners nationally, chosen from thousands of researchers who take part in Mitacs programs each year. Quinn Bender, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Rupert Northern View
In a byelection held on Saturday, the Village of Sayward elected a new mayor and two new council members. In the results announced today, the mayor-elect Mark Baker and councilors Tom Tinsley and Sue Poulsen received the highest number of valid votes. Existing councilors, Wes Cragg and Norm Kirschner – who was the acting mayor in the absence of an elected mayor – will continue on the council. The new council members will be sworn in on Dec. 1. The village has also appointed a new chief administrative officer, Ann MacDonald and chief financial officer, Lisa Clark. Sayward was left with a governance vacuum after a series of resignations started in March and followed over the next few months. The resignations included mayor John MacDonald, Coun. Joyce Ellis and more recently Coun. Bill Ives. READ MORE: Another month, another mayor for Sayward READ MORE: Another Sayward councillor resigns ahead of November byelection Binny Paul, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Campbell River Mirror
The Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board plans to delay the release of a key report on bullying prevention that was commissioned following the fatal stabbing of a student last year. The Safe Schools: Bullying Prevention and Intervention Review Panel will now release its final report on Jan. 25, 2021, rather than Dec. 16, said HWDSB education director Manny Figueiredo. The delay is intended to give community members time to offer feedback on the report’s draft recommendations. The panel already finished its community feedback consultation sessions, but wanted to add two new community sessions and an online session via Thoughtexchange to share the draft recommendations. The additional sessions will take place the week of Dec. 7. “In order to honour the commitment of the independent review panel to return to the community to receive feedback on the recommendations, draft recommendations will be shared with the director of education and community prior to the December Holiday Break,” Figueiredo said. “The final report will be shared and presented by the independent review panel to the board of trustees at the board meeting on Jan. 15, 2021.” The panel was formed in the wake of the Oct. 7, 2019 stabbing of Devan Selvey, a 14-year-old student from Sir Winston Churchill Secondary School. His mother, Shari-Ann Selvey, said her son was subjected to intense bullying in the months leading up to his death and the school and board did little to help him. Another 14-year-old boy, who can’t be named due to the Youth Criminal Justice Act, faces a first-degree murder charge in relation to Selvey’s death. A first-degree murder charge against his 18-year-old brother was withdrawn last December, though he pleaded guilty to a single weapon offence in August — a charge related to events the day of the murder, but not directly related to the murder. The review panel was announced on Nov. 12, 2019 shortly after the fatal stabbing. It has since worked to determine how the board should address bullying prevention, intervention, reporting and response methods. Jacob Lorinc, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Hamilton Spectator
Independent businesses in Sun Peaks are bracing for the prospect of a potentially devastating Christmas season, as rapidly changing orders around inter- and intra-provincial travel hold the potential of cutting off visitation from the Lower Mainland, as well as Alberta. Earlier this week, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced recommendations against non-essential and recreational travel throughout the province, in addition to an already standing order against travel to or from the Fraser Valley Health (FVH) or Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) regions. Matthias Schmid, owner of McSporties rental and retail, said the prospect of the Lower Mainland and other regions being cut off for the long-term would have a significant impact on local businesses, many of which reported a strong summer season fuelled by domestic travellers after having had to shutter their businesses in March. “During the summer months Sun Peaks saw a ton of traffic front the Lower Mainland. They were coming to do the VRBOs, they were renting bikes and hiking,” said Schmid. “The Lower Mainland really fed Sun Peaks this summer, so I would say that’s a major artery for us that’s cut off.” During a Wednesday press conference, B.C. Premier John Horgan indicated that British Columians can expect more orders from Henry today. Horgan also called for the federal government to implement restrictions on non-essential travel between the provinces. The conference came on a day that B.C. saw a record high of new COVID-19 cases, with 762 cases announced. Horgan also said the two week order against travel outside of the VCH and FVH regions will be extended for an additional two weeks or more. The original two week order, which covered from Nov. 7 to Nov. 23, stated that travel outside of the region should be limited to essential travel only. British Columbia’s tourism agency, Destination BC, has also invested significant amounts of money promoting domestic tourism within the province. Schmid said the rapidly changing situation has caused significant challenges from a planning perspective, as clients from around B.C. and other provinces face uncertainty about whether or not they will be able to come to the resort. “It’s really hard,” he said. “That’s probably the most challenging thing I’d say, it’s the lack of sort of being able to plan.”Joel Barde, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Sun Peaks Independent News Inc.
TORONTO — Canada's main stock index surged higher Tuesday alongside other North American markets, as the Dow Jones industrial average passed the 30,000-mark for the first time.Investors reacted positively on Tuesday to an injection of certainty into the future of the economy, said Craig Jerusalim, senior portfolio manager at CIBC Asset Management. Jerusalim pointed to this week's news about AstraZeneca's potential COVID-19 vaccine, the start of the presidential transition in the U.S., and the potential for a familiar face in the U.S. Treasury Department if former Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen is confirmed.While markets may be hitting key "psychological" levels — with the Dow Jones industrial average up 454.97 points at 30,046.24, and the December gold contract down US$33.20 at US$1,804.60 an ounce — Jerusalim said he is still being cautious with his portfolio."The best analogy, I would say, is that we see the light at the end of the tunnel, but remember we are still in the tunnel," he said, noting the recent growth of some speculative investments, such as Bitcoin."There are still a lot of tough months ahead of us. On the virus front, lockdowns are expanding. Investors should be aware of that and not get too ahead of themselves."The S&P/TSX composite index was up 179.72 points at 17,274.25, still shy of its February record high of 17,970.51.The S&P 500 index was up 57.82 points at 3,635.41, while the Nasdaq composite was up 156.15 points at 12,036.78.Jerusalim said that the energy sector is helping the TSX on the path to its own record. Energy stocks gained nearly four per cent on Tuesday, with shares of Suncor Energy up 4.88 per cent and Enbridge Inc. up 3.98 per cent. Suncor has announced a plan to become the operator of Syncrude's oilsands mine and upgrader works, while Enbridge Inc. received approvals for U.S. federal permits for its Line 3 project. The January crude contract was up US$1.85 at US$44.91 per barrel and the January natural gas contract was up 7.7 cents at US$2.90 per mmBTU."So, two positive developments on the energy front that investors are cheering," said Jerusalim.Jerusalim also noted that demand in China and emerging markets has boosted copper, as the December copper contract was up more than four cents at nearly US$3.30 a pound.The Canadian dollar traded for 76.73 cents US on Tuesday, compared with 76.44 cents US on Monday.Jerusalim said he will be watching upcoming quarterly earnings reports from Canadian banks, as well companies such as Shopify and CargoJet as Black Friday kicks off the holiday shopping season."I don't think we are going to revert back to the prior balance of bricks-and-mortar and e-commerce," said Jerusalim. "Then we have the positive backdrop of Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the Christmas holiday shopping period. As lockdowns increase it could shape up to be the strongest e-commerce period ever."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 24, 2020.Companies in this story: (TSX:GSPTSE, TSX:CADUSD=X)Anita Balakrishnan, The Canadian Press
A hospital in London, Ont., is discontinuing admissions to all medical units for the next seven days as it fights several COVID-19 outbreaks that have so far infected 41 patients and staff.The London Health Sciences Centre – which runs several hospitals – first declared an outbreak on the fourth floor of its University Hospital on Nov. 10. That has now expanded to include all of the facility's medical floors, the local public health unit said. Dr. Chris Mackie, the medical officer of health of Middlesex-London Health Unit, said additional measures were being implemented to ensure more people don't become sick. “The situation at University Hospital is alarming," Mackie said. “This is a reminder that COVID can and will strike anywhere if we let our guard down.”As of Tuesday, visitors and designated care partners will not be permitted inside the affected units, the health unit said. The health unit also said it was recommending testing for all patients and staff on all medical floors. There have been 34 cases associated with the outbreak that began on the fourth floor of the University Hospital, including 16 cases among hospital staff, 18 cases among patients and one death, the health unit said. It also said there are six cases associated with a smaller, second outbreak on a different floor at the same hospital. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 24, 2020.This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.Denise Paglinawan, The Canadian Press
Despite the federal government’s commitment to exceed its 2030 climate targets, British Columbians say it’s not doing enough to tackle the climate crisis. A new survey found that 41 per cent of British Columbians think the federal government is not paying enough attention to the environment. And when asked about 10 specific environmental issues, at least three in five British Columbians said they are personally concerned about five of them: the pollution of rivers, lakes and reservoirs; air pollution; the pollution of drinking water; climate change and the contamination of soil and water by toxic waste. “The federal government absolutely needs to do more,” Nikki Skuce, director of Smithers-based Northern Confluence, told The Narwhal. “British Columbians really care about water, particularly those of us who live close to some of these freshwater systems in places where salmon are an integral part of the culture and communities.” Mario Canseco, president of Research Co., the company that conducted the survey, said a key takeaway from the poll is how climate change is becoming a more front-of-mind issue, with 63 per cent of British Columbians saying it’s a personal concern. “We usually see the problems that can have an immediate impact in our lives getting a higher rating,” he said, adding that issues that are perceived as not affecting us yet, such as deforestation and overfishing, typically get a lower rating. “But now we have global warming at a level that is similar to what we see for pollution.” Around 65 per cent of respondents said they were personally concerned about the pollution of rivers, lakes, reservoirs and drinking water, and 60 per cent said they were concerned about the contamination of soil and water by toxic waste. In northern B.C., where many of the province’s industrial projects take place, those numbers were even higher, with at least 80 per cent of people saying they’re concerned about water pollution and toxic waste. “When you live near it, you want to protect it,” Skuce said. “We need to do a better job of taking care of our rivers and lakes and creeks because they really are the veins that travel through this region.” It’s no surprise that British Columbians — and particularly northern British Columbians — care about water and the effects of industrial contamination. In 2014, B.C. made international headlines when the tailings dam at the Mount Polley mine in the central interior broke and spilled 24 million cubic metres of contaminated waste into the surrounding water systems. Since the disaster, the provincial government has done little to improve the laws and regulations to prevent similar disasters. Skuce said the federal government’s role in protecting water lies in legislation and policies that guide provincial decisions on resource extraction and development. Last year, the federal government modernized its Fisheries Act to strengthen protection of fish habitat and support restoration work, including rebuilding depleted fish populations. This follows a previous commitment to protect Pacific salmon through the wild salmon policy, which was developed in 2005 to address declining salmon populations. But according to Skuce, the federal government has yet to fully implement the policy and subpopulations of species like sockeye are on the brink of extinction throughout the province. “As somebody who works on salmon conservation, I think it’s really important that the federal government actually steps up and implements the Fisheries Act that it updated last year and follows through on a bunch of its commitments to restore and protect habitat,” she said. “And within that, there’s the outstanding commitment to implement the wild salmon policy.” Aaron Hill, executive director of Watershed Watch Salmon Society, said the Fisheries Act can help address the concerns of British Columbians reflected in the survey, but it has to actually be followed. “We need both levels of government to step up and, at the very minimum, fully implement the laws and policies that they already have on the books.” He also said the BC NDP’s commitment to develop a water security strategy, which would protect watersheds throughout the province, will require collaboration and buy-in from the federal government. “It’s really important that the prime minister and Premier Horgan support that work.” Skuce agreed and added that protecting water from pollution also requires legal reforms at both the provincial and federal levels. Despite federal mandates to protect salmon habitat, for example, provincial laws permit mining activity in salmon watersheds. “There’s a need to enforce our existing laws and close some loopholes on some of them,” said Skuce. The poll was conducted just after last month’s provincial election and respondents were asked how they voted. Nearly three-quarters of voters who supported the BC Greens or the BC NDP said climate change was a personal concern, but for BC Liberal voters, it was about half. “If you take a couple of Liberal party voters, one of them is going to say, ‘Oh, I don’t care about global warming.’ That’s pretty shocking,” Canseco said. He found that divide particularly interesting because it was the Liberal government that created the provincial carbon tax in 2008. “It’s been 12 years that we’ve had the tax and now you have the BC Liberal voter becoming decidedly less environmentally friendly,” he said. “It’s definitely something that is troublesome. I think they’ve been moving too far to the side of industry in many ways and forgetting that this is about the future of the planet as a whole.” More than a third of British Columbians surveyed believe the introduction of the carbon tax has made people more mindful of their carbon consumption and led them to change their behaviour, a proportion that rose to more than half of respondents from northern B.C. Almost two-thirds of British Columbians said the tax has not negatively impacted their finances. For Skuce, government action on climate change means more than implementing carbon taxes and protecting watersheds. “We need to stop subsidizing pipelines and fossil fuels at both the federal and provincial level,” she said. When asked how they felt about the provincial government, 35 per cent of British Columbians said they thought the province was not focusing as much it should on environmental issues and 38 per cent said their municipal governments also weren’t doing enough. “British Columbians perceive their municipal and provincial governments in a more positive light than Ottawa, especially with all of the commitments that have been announced,” Canseco said, referring to the NDP election promises to strengthen environmental protections in B.C. “We’ll have to wait and see if they get a better rating in the future, and also if the B.C. government keeps this seemingly high rating now that the Greens are no longer as influential in their policies.” Hill and Skuce said given British Columbians’ concerns about water pollution, the NDP’s promise to create a water security strategy likely contributed to the public perception that the province is doing more than the federal government to protect the environment. But both conservationists said this perception may be somewhat skewed in part due to a lack of education. Skuce called it “jurisdictional illiteracy.” “For instance, the federal government has committed to increasing protected areas of land and water to 30 per cent by 2030, and the Government of British Columbia has been reluctant to support that,” she said, pointing out that the province failed to meet its 2020 targets of protecting 17 per cent of land and 10 per cent of marine areas. Similarly, the federal government has clearly defined legislation on species at risk, but as The Narwhal reported last year, B.C. still hasn’t enacted provincial legislation to protect threatened and endangered species like caribou. Hill said governments at all levels need to step up and start working harder, collaboratively, to address the concerns of the public. “Even though water licensing and specific on-the-ground management of water falls to provincial and local governments, the federal government approves things that affect water like pipelines and hydropower projects and they have a lot of regulatory authority as well,” he said. Skuce said one of the ways the federal government could strengthen its commitment to protect the environment is by updating the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, which regulates the use of toxic substances and is meant to prevent pollution and protect the environment and human health. The act was legislated in 1999 and has had minor amendments over the years. Early this year, the environmental watchdog Ecojustice called on the Trudeau government to overhaul the act to reflect current science and “reduce our exposure to pollution and toxic chemicals.” Skuce said the act could provide the federal government with the “tools to help protect our watersheds through environmental and climate action.” Hill said the federal government made significant commitments to environmental protection last year in its mandate letter to the minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada, which promised to create a new Canada Water Agency, strengthen the Canadian Environmental Protection Act and introduce new greenhouse gas emissions reduction programs. Earlier this month, the Trudeau government introduced a bill to support its goal of reaching net-zero emissions by 2050. The legislation would require the minister of environment to set five-year emissions reduction targets starting in 2030, along with a plan for meeting those targets. Hill said that in addition to these recent commitments, governments already have the means to strengthen environmental protection. “The premier and the prime minister [need] to give their cabinet ministers and their staff a clear mandate and adequate resources to actually do their jobs and implement the laws that are already on the books,” he said. “Whether it’s mining or fracking or clear-cut logging or extraction of water for various purposes, there’s a whole lot of room for improvement. And people are right to expect that the government will do better.”Matt Simmons, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Narwhal
Hamilton’s school bus cancellations may be over by mid-December, says the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board. In a report to trustees, education director Manny Figueiredo said the board’s chronic bus shortages have improved considerably. Since the school year began, more than 100 routes have been delayed — many of them for an hour or more. School boards in Hamilton initially cancelled 17 morning and afternoon routes before creating a rotational system that spread out cancellations evenly across the city. Now, “There are currently six open routes versus 22 when the rotating cancellations started,” the report said. But the board is unlikely to deliver midday bus routes despite the wishes of students living in rural areas. The report noted the board surveyed 380 students living in rural areas — of the 151 that responded, 118 said they wanted midday runs. “As a result of this data and the fact that the board would have to provide end-of-day bus runs for the students that want to stay for study hall, there would be no savings related to end-of-day bus runs,” the report said. “As a result of the data collected, the bus driver shortage and the board’s significant budget challenges, midday bus runs are not being recommended.” Hamilton’s school boards have long been plagued by school bus shortages resulting in cancelled routes and delayed commutes for students. For years, the boards and bus companies have struggled to recruit drivers willing to take students to and from school, and the pandemic has only exacerbated this problem, as older drivers at greater risk of contracting illness opt to stay home or find work elsewhere. The boards typically experience a shortage of 20 to 30 drivers, but the numbers have increased significantly this year. As of early October, the boards still needed 45 more drivers to operate school buses. The HWDSB is also struggling with finances this year following a major drop in student enrolment during the pandemic. Last week, the board’s finance and facilities committee approved a 2020-21 in-year deficit of $18.6 million. In light of the declining numbers, the board significantly curbed spending by surplusing teachers and cutting costs on classrooms, educational assistants, school budgets, funding for governance and more. Jacob Lorinc, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Hamilton Spectator
An industry group is sounding the alarm over the financial state of the country's airports as ongoing travel restrictions take a crippling toll on passenger traffic levels and revenues. The Canadian Airports Council, which represents more than 100 airports nationwide, is asking the government to implement a COVID-19 testing program at airports to reduce or eliminate quarantine restrictions and provide interest-free loans or direct operational support for airports, among other measures.“Frankly, the numbers are appalling,” said Daniel-Robert Gooch, president of the CAC, in a statement. “Our best month — and I use that term very loosely — was September, when traffic was down by ‘only’ 85.2 per cent.”The federal government has indicated its willingness to provide a sector-specific aid package for the airline industry, but has not shared any details about its plans. In March, Canada waived ground rents through the end of 2020 for airports that pay rent to the federal government, but the industry is awaiting more support.James Bogusz, president and CEO of the Regina Airport Authority, said his airport is on track to run out of cash by the end of the year, even after laying off 30 per cent of the airport’s staff earlier this year. The pandemic has crushed revenue streams like parking and landing fees, which the airport uses to meet its operating expenses.“I’m faced with the reality: Do I have to dramatically increase fees? Because I can’t keep cutting my costs any further,” Bogusz said. “We see Ottawa being our option to hopefully have them provide some subsidy to get us by during these really tough times.”Sam Samaddar, the airport director at Kelowna International Airport, said he was forced to lay off 40 per cent of the airport’s staff, and that he was looking at every opportunity to cut costs. Fees from freight that is still arriving at the airport haven’t been a big help, since the airport relies significantly on passenger expenditures to generate revenue, Samaddar said. “Unfortunately, for smaller airports, you just can’t borrow your way out of this,” Samaddar said. “They just don’t generate enough activity to be able to do that. It’s getting more dire as the weeks go by that the government hasn’t responded.”Amy Butcher, a spokeswoman for Federal Minister of Transport Marc Garneau, said she had no information to share about the government’s progress on the aid package, saying that the work was confidential. But she pointed to a statement from Nov. 8, in which Garneau expressed support for the aerospace sector. “The air sector cannot respond to these challenges on its own, given the unprecedented impacts on its operations,” the statement said. “To protect Canadians, the Government of Canada is developing a package of assistance to Canadian airlines, airports and the aerospace sector.”The majority of Canada’s airports are not subsidized by the government, relying instead on revenue generated from passenger air travel, the CAC said. Since April, traffic in airports has been down 90 per cent compared to the same period in 2019, while October passenger volumes were 85.5 per cent lower than the previous October, according to the CAC.Air Canada, the country’s largest carrier, has seen its stock drop by more than half since the start of this year, illustrating the pandemic’s toll on the airline industry.Other countries have announced measures to help the airline industry. Under the CARES Act, passed by the U.S. government in March, passenger airlines and cargo carriers were eligible for over $25 billion in grants and $25 billion in loans.The CAC said in its statement that Canada’s delay in taking action risks increasing the amount of time it will take for the industry to recover once the pandemic subsides. The head of an airline lobbying group in the U.S. said in September that air travel is unlikely to return to pre-pandemic levels before 2024.Canada’s airports supported nearly 200,000 jobs prior to the pandemic, the CAC said.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 24, 2020.Jon Victor, The Canadian Press
NEW YORK — A lawyer for Ghislaine Maxwell, a British socialite charged with finding girls in the 1990s for financier Jeffrey Epstein to sexually abuse, said Tuesday that her client is awakened every 15 minutes in jail while she sleeps to ensure she's breathing. Attorney Bobbi Sternheim told a Manhattan judge that Maxwell faces more restrictive conditions than inmates convicted of terrorism or murder. Maxwell has no history of mental health issues or suicidal ideation and no criminal history, either, she said. She asked a judge to intervene on her client’s behalf to improve her conditions at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn. In her request, Sternheim made no direct reference to Epstein taking his life in August 2019 in his cell at another federal lockup, in Manhattan. U.S. District Judge Alison J. Nathan instructed defence lawyers and prosecutors to confer over the next week over Sternheim's request that the Brooklyn facility's warden directly address the concerns. A spokesperson for prosecutors declined comment. A message for comment was sent to the Federal Bureau of Prisons spokespeople. Maxwell, 58, has pleaded not guilty to charges that she procured three girls for Epstein to abuse in the mid-1990s. She has been held without bail while she prepares for a July trial. On Monday, prosecutors notified the judge that Maxwell was put in quarantine last week for 14 days after someone who works in her area of the jail tested positive for the coronavirus. She may not meet with her defence team during that period. In their letter, prosecutors said the 13 hours a day Maxwell gets to review trial materials on a laptop computer is more time than any other prisoner is allotted. The reference bothered Sternheim, who said Maxwell faces burdens unmatched by other inmates and has been mistreated. She noted that the latest production of evidence by prosecutors was over one million documents and Maxwell lacked enough time to study the material. She said Maxwell was initially quarantined without soap or a toothbrush and that medical and psychology staff stopped checking on her, failing to tell her the results of her COVID-19 tests or what to do if she becomes symptomatic. Prosecutors said Monday that her test result for the coronavirus was negative, and she will be tested again at the conclusion of her quarantine. The lawyer said Maxwell is kept in what is, in effect, solitary confinement and she is excessively and invasively searched and monitored 24 hours a day, including camera surveillance in her cell and a camera following her movement whenever she is permitted to leave her cell. “And despite non-stop in-cell camera surveillance, Ms. Maxwell’s sleep is disrupted every 15 minutes when she is awakened by a flashlight to ascertain whether she is breathing,” she wrote. Larry Neumeister, The Associated Press
A Calgary police constable's emergency injunction to stop a documentary on police brutality from airing has been denied. Filmmaker Marc Serpa Francoeur said he and co-director Robinder Uppal were pleased to hear the injunction was rejected."Obviously, we feel the allegations are 100 per cent baseless," he said, shortly after the decision by a Court of Queen's Bench judge in Calgary on Tuesday afternoon.Const. Chris Harris alleged Lost Time Media, the production company behind feature-length documentary No Visible Trauma, edited an audio clip from his body-worn camera to make it seem as if he was instructing a recruit to cover up an instance of police violence. Harris is also suing the film's production company for defamation.Francoeur says he and Uppal stand by how the incident is shown in the film.CBC News has reached out to Harris's representation for comment. The film, which investigates cases of excessive force involving the Calgary Police Service through arrest footage and interviews with former officers, is set to have its Alberta premiere at the Calgary Underground Film Festival on Wednesday online, or Sunday at the Globe Cinema. A shorter version of the film, titled Above the Law, has been streaming online on CBC Gem since July — that version of the film does not include the scene featuring Harris. Francoeur said when that version aired, no concerns about the accuracy of the shorter film were raised by Calgary police. Concerns centre around audio following violent arrestThe concerns centre around a seven-minute clip from the full-length documentary posted online that shows an Indigenous man, Clayton Prince, running from police after a traffic stop. The clip shows dashcam footage of Prince lying facedown on the ground and putting his hands behind his head. Officers rush toward Prince, and one officer drops to his knees and begins to punch Prince in the back of the head. Then, the dashcam video is shut off. A later dashcam video shows Prince being taken into custody, alongside audio of Harris speaking with a young recruit in the background — but Harris disputes that the audio used in the documentary is accurate. In the documentary, Harris says in a subtitled clip, "What you saw here did not happen." The recruit giggles and responds, "That's policy, yeah, I know." Harris then says: "Guys decide to dispense some street justice. If that guy in the white van was videotaping us, this would not do very well because buddy is surrendering, he gets down on the ground, and he gets fed a whole bunch of cheap shots." Harris isn't identified and is just referred to as a veteran CPS officer. 'Did' versus 'should'But Harris said he didn't say "What you saw here did not happen," but actually said, "What you saw here should not happen."Harris said in an affidavit that the audio from the documentary was provided to two audio experts working independently from one another, one of whom was also given the original Calgary police audio recording. Harris said the audio experts told him the volume on that disputed word was lowered in the documentary, which makes it harder to hear. Harris's statement of claim argues he was teaching the recruit that the officers' behaviour during the arrest was not OK, and said that the clip is falsely subtitled in a way that damages his reputation and career. Francoeur said the filmmaking team emphatically denies that the audio was changed in any way to alter what was said."We are very confident that we can provide expert testimony to reject that … we take very, very seriously the onus to communicate clearly," he said.Francoeur said the audio that Harris's team has submitted seems to have removed the lower frequencies of the word in question, something they say is misleading and intend to question in court. Francoeur said they will be launching an online fundraiser to cover their court costs. The statement of claim said on Nov. 14, Harris's legal team sent a letter to the production company's legal team, demanding the film be edited to change that subtitle and to include commentary that indicates Harris was trying to train the recruit. Francoeur said he and his co-director offered to remove the subtitle in question and blur Harris's face, but Harris did not consider the offer adequate. Harris is seeking a total of $150,000 in damages, and a declaration that the clip from the movie was published "maliciously."Prince suffered broken ribs and a collapsed lung, and a key punctured the side of his neck. One officer in the case was convicted of assault, while two others were acquitted.Harris, who has been with the Calgary Police Service for eight years, testified at the trial that during Prince's arrest he tried to get his fellow officers to stop their attack by yelling "YouTube alert" in hopes they'd be scared a member of the public was recording the violent arrest. Francoeur said Harris also testified that he didn't submit notes about the incident at least in part because "they could have negative consequences for the other officers involved."
The N.W.T.'s environment department is warning Yellowknifers to be careful while out for walks after a number of coyote sightings were reported over the weekend. According to a spokesperson, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources' (ENR) North Slave office received calls of coyote sightings in Yellowknife on Sunday, Nov. 22.One coyote was spotted near the Tin Can Hill area, while a "large coyote" was sighted in the Forrest Drive/Con Drive area, according to the spokesperson.While some reports on social media warned residents of wolves sighted in the area, the spokesperson said that the department has not received any reports of wolf sightings near Yellowknife."Large coyotes can look very similar to wolves," they said in an email. "ENR cannot be sure if the animals sighted are coyotes or wolves unless our staff sees the animals."Yellowknife is a wilderness city, and with freeze-up, it is easier for wild animals to cover longer distances, sometimes making their way into town. As with all wild animals, coyotes and wolves generally avoid humans, although they may be aggressive toward domestic dogs."If you spot a coyoteThe department says that any sightings of large wildlife within Yellowknife city limits should be reported to the North Slave office at (867) 873-7181.If you're approached by a coyote or wolf, the department says: * Never turn your back on the animal; * Make yourself appear as large and agressive as possible; * Shout in a loud voice and/or clap your hands; * Wave your arms and throw objects (not food) at the animal; * Move towards an area of activity.People should also make sure their dogs are on a leash when walking them late at night or early in the morning, according to the department.Other safety tips include: * Not feeding wildlife or leaving food outdoors, including pet food; * Teach children about animal safety and what they should do if they encounter wildlife; * Carry a personal audible alarm, a bright flashlight, and/or a stick or broom handle; * Walk with another person and their dog, when you are walking a small dog.
Recently there has been an informal change in health directives in the Saskatchewan Rivers School Division when a student tests positive for COVID-19. Last weekend Saskatoon Public Schools changed their guidelines where entire classes have to isolate after a single positive case in a class. Saskatchewan Rivers School Division director of education Robert Bratvold explained that they have been following a similar guideline in their division for over a week. “There is some variation but essentially the increase in community cases increased demands on the Health team so much that they cannot do the full contact tracing in a classroom. Now when a case occurs, all the students and staff in that classroom are sent home for isolation,” he explained. For example, when Saskatchewan Rivers announced a series of cases on Sunday each of the classrooms in in Debden Public School, Ecole Arthur Pechey School in Prince Albert, John Diefenbaker Public School and Carlton Comprehensive High School all had affected classrooms isolate. When a case was reported at Carlton on Nov. 2 only close contacts were placed on 14 day isolation. Schools in the division have remained open when a case has been detected in a classroom. There was also an outbreak, which means more than two cases in the same location, declared at the Global Sports Academy in Carlton on Nov.13. Another outbreak in the division was declared at W.P. Sandin School in Shellbrook on Oct. 30. The other active school outbreak is at the Prince Albert Catholic School Division’s Ecole St. Mary High School and was declared on Oct.24. All of these outbreaks are still listed as active by the province. Outbreaks have to declared over by an SHA Medical Health Officer before they can be removed from the list. According to a n SHA release sent out Tuesday, eight per cent of all infections come from educational institutions. Cases are more likely teachers or staff and test positivity is higher in the 14-year-old to 19-year-old age range for students. The Ministry of Education and Ministry of Health were not available to comment as to whether isolating whole classrooms is a provincial policy as of deadline. Saskatoon Public Schools has a similar policy. “I cannot speak to the potential that this becomes a provincial practice, but I can foresee that as a possibility in the not too distant future.” The Prince Albert Catholic School Division was also not available for comment before deadline.Michael Oleksyn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Albert Daily Herald