LONDON — The British government appointed a vaccines minister on Saturday as it prepares to inoculate millions of people against the coronavirus, potentially starting within days.Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Conservative lawmaker Nadhim Zahawi will oversee the country’s biggest vaccine program in decades.The U.K. medicines regulator is currently assessing two vaccines — one developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, the other by Oxford University and AstraZeneca — to see if they are safe and effective. The Guardian newspaper reported that hospitals have been told they could receive the first doses of the Pfizer shot the week of Dec. 7, if it receives approval.The U.K. says frontline health care workers and nursing home residents will be the first to be vaccinated, followed by older people, starting with those over age 80.Britain has ordered 40 million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, enough for 20 million people, and 100 million doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.In all, the U.K. government has agreed to purchase up to 355 million doses of vaccine from seven different producers, as it prepares to vaccinate as many of the country’s 67 million people as possible.Decisions about which, if any, vaccines to authorize will be made by the independent Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency.Pfizer and BioNTech say their vaccine is 95% effective, according to preliminary data. It must be stored at ultra-cold temperatures of around minus 70 degrees Celsius (minus 94 Fahrenheit).The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine can be stored at conventional refrigerator temperatures, and is also cheaper than its main rivals. But some scientists have questioned gaps in its reported results.Oxford and AstraZeneca reported this week that their vaccine appeared to be 62% effective in people who received two doses, and 90% effective when volunteers were given a half dose followed by a full dose. They said the half dose was administered because of a manufacturing error, and they plan a new clinical trial to investigate the most effective dosing regimen.The British government hopes a combination of vaccines and mass testing will end the need for restrictions on business and everyday life it imposed to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Britain has had Europe’s deadliest COVID-19 outbreak, with more than 57,000 confirmed virus-related deaths.The prime minister said this week that officials hope to inoculate “the vast majority of the people who need the most protection by Easter.” But he warned that “we must first navigate a hard winter” of restrictions.A four-week national lockdown in England is due to end Wednesday, and will be replaced by three-tiered system of regional measures that restrict business activity, travel and socializing. The vast majority of the country is being put into the upper two tiers.The restrictions have sparked protests, with police arresting scores of people at an anti-lockdown demonstration in London on Saturday.Several bottles and smoke bombs were thrown as anti-mask and anti-vaccine demonstrators scuffled with officers in the city's West End shopping district. The Metropolitan Police force said 155 people were arrested.Johnson also faces opposition to the measures from dozens of his own Conservative Party’s lawmakers, who say the economic damage outweighs the public health benefits.Bur Cabinet minister Michael Gove said the restrictions were “grimly” necessary to avoid the health system being overwhelmed this winter.Writing in The Times of London, Gove said there are currently 16,000 coronavirus patients in British hospitals, not far below the April peak of 20,000. A rise in infections would mean coronavirus patients would “displace all but emergency cases. And then even those.," he said.“If, however, we can keep the level of infection stable or, even better, falling, and hold out through January and February, then we can be confident that vaccination will pull the plug on the problem,” Gove wrote.Jill Lawless, The Associated Press
Hatter Joe Miller has had just about every obstacle thrown at him by life, but no matter what, he always pushed through. His book, “Who Am I: A Little Book of Hope,” gives the reader an in-depth look at where he came from and everything he persevered through. Miller was born in India about 85 years ago and was an orphan. He was born to an upper-class Indian teenager who was roughly 15, and his father was a European soldier who was fighting there at the time. His mother could not take care of him, so he was given to a friend of hers who had other children. He was then given to a convent on Aug. 15, 1935, the day he acknowledges as his birthday. “My dad doesn’t know exactly how old he is or even who his parents are. He doesn’t know what his real name is,” said Mark Miller, Joe’s son. Though he had been through so much at such a young age, Joe’s journey was just beginning. He was adopted out to a woman named Ms. Miller, who used him for labour and physically abused him. “He was basically a slave,” said Mark. “She beat him unconscious. One day he woke up and just ran away.” Joe travelled 9,000 miles on foot over the next five years of his life, a trek he started at maybe five years old. “He stole food to stay alive – he did what he had to do to wake up the next day,” said Mark. “He ended up in a British Air Force camp where he befriended a man named Nelson Taylor. “He was adopted by the Taylors, and on Boxing Day of 1945 he arrived in England.” With the Taylors, Joe was finally able to learn essential skills like reading and writing. Joe’s first job was as with the London Electricity Board, and he eventually met his wife Beryl while in England. The couple are happily married to this day and live together in Medicine Hat. They have two kids and four grandchildren. “Through so much, Dad was always able to pick himself up and keep on going through so much adversity,” said Mark. “He’s done so much over the years and we’re so proud of him.” The book is the first half of Joe’s story and takes the reader up to the point where he and Beryl have their first child. The second part is in the works and does not have a set release date. The cover features a photo of Joe when he was seven or eight years old, and the black handwriting over the photo is his, written at a young age. Joe started writing in 1957 and has worked on the book sporadically over the years. The Miller family met a writer recently who connected with the story and has worked on it with the family since. Joe’s book was released Friday and the Miller family is waiting for the listing to appear on Amazon. People can buy physical copies there, and it will also be available on Kindle E-Reader. To stay up to date with the book and its sequel, search for ‘Who Am I’ on Facebook and look for book’s cover.Mo Cranker, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Medicine Hat News
York Regional Police has launched its annual holiday RIDE program in the hopes of convincing people not to drink and drive."We consider a suspected impaired driver a crime in progress and you should never hesitate to call 911," Cecile Hammond, deputy chief of the force, said on Friday night at a news conference in Markham.The program, which began on Friday, runs until New Year's Eve. Police have laid more than 1,600 impaired driving-related charges in York Region this year. More than 4,400 calls have been made to police from citizens reporting impaired drivers in 2020. Police have investigated two fatal crashes this year in which alcohol or drug impaired driving is believed to be a factor.The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted the police service to change its RIDE program somewhat and the community should expect to see RIDE spot checks in places this year where they may not have been previously. Those places include back roads and residential neighbourhoods, which police said impaired drivers are using to avoid police."We know that the locations where people often consume alcohol have changed as bars, clubs and restaurants have been either closed or have reduced capacity," Hammond said."If you still feel that drinking, or using drugs, and getting behind the wheel of a vehicle is worth the risk, despite the high probability of being caught, the criminal charges, the criminal record, the legal fees, insurance costs and the embarrassment that will follow, what about the possibility of killing innocent people?" Hammond asked.Hammond said drivers need to make the right choice.'Just don't get behind the wheel,' says woman who lost dadNirusha Mahendram, a woman who lost her father to impaired driving, also spoke at the news conference. Her father, Mahendram Sellathurai, 68, was killed on Dec. 31, 2019 at about 7:20 p.m. His death came the day before her 30th birthday.Stanley Choy, 40, was travelling nearly 200 km/h with more than twice the legal limit of alcohol in his system when he struck Sellathurai's car. Choy was sentenced to seven years in prison, Hammond said. "The trauma doesn't end. The suffering does not end," Mahendram told reporters in front of a check spot in Markham. Four months earlier, she had lost her mother."That night had just practically changed my entire life for me. My goals, my future, any life plans that I had had been shattered in a moment," Mahendram said."The only word I can hang onto is the word hope, hope for change, the hope that the police officers here, and those of you who are watching, help to make sure that everyone gets home safe," she added.For anyone who is considering driving even the slightest bit impaired, she said: "Don't. Just don't get behind the wheel."She said her father was a "kind, loving" man who was hard working and a "go-getter who would not let an opportunity slide by." He was always smiling and would never argue, she said.Her father had been out getting groceries and had stopped to grab dinner for the family before he was killed.Mahendram shared her story just metres away from where her father was killed and where police set up its first stop check of the RIDE campaign.Jennifer Neville-Lake, who lost her three children and father to a impaired driving crash in 2015, was also at the news conference to lend her support for the campaign.
Wife of OPP Const. Marc Hovingh, Lianne Hovingh, spoke at his funeral Saturday and read an email from the son of a family friend. Const. Hovingh died last Thursday in a shooting that also left a civilian dead in Gore Bay, Ont., on Manitoulin Island.
OTTAWA — There was a strong message conveyed to cabinet ministers last week as senators grilled them on the Trudeau government's bill to expand access to medical assistance in dying.We told you so.Ministers were repeatedly reminded that when the federal government introduced its first bill in 2016 to legalize doctor-assisted death in Canada, senators warned it was unconstitutional and predicted it would be struck down by the courts. A majority of senators voted at that time to drop the central pillar of the bill: that only those whose natural death is reasonably foreseeable should be eligible for an assisted death.The government rejected the amendment and senators ultimately backed down. But, as they'd predicted, the near-death provision was subsequently struck down in a Quebec Superior Court ruling in September 2019.Now, some senators are convinced the bill introduced to bring the law into compliance with that ruling is also unconstitutional. And they're pondering how far they should go to protect the rights of Canadians seeking access to medically assisted death.All legislation must be approved by both houses of Parliament. The Senate can defeat a bill outright, although that has rarely happened.If the Senate amends a bill, it is sent back to the House of Commons to decide whether to accept or reject the changes. The Senate can dig in its heels and insist on an amendment rejected by the Commons, potentially leading to legislation ping-ponging back and forth between chambers without resolution.In practice, however, because senators are not elected, they generally acquiesce to the will of the Commons, as they did on the 2016 assisted-dying bill.But some senators argue that a different standard applies when fundamental constitutional rights are at stake."If it's a very clear violation of a constitutional right, I think we have the right, the moral obligation even, to stick to our position and to insist (on amendment)," says Sen. Pierre Dalphond, a former Quebec Appeal Court judge who sits with the Progressive Senate Group.Dalphond is highly skeptical that the government's latest assisted-dying bill, C-7, is constitutional. He's awaiting further explanations from the government before making a final decision.Appointed in 2019, Dalphond was not in the Senate when the chamber last debated medical assistance in dying legislation. But some senators who did live through the 2016 debate seem particularly determined not to let history repeat itself.Conservative Sen. Claude Carignan believes Bill C-7 violates the guarantee of equality rights in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms by specifying that people suffering solely from mental illnesses will not be allowed access to an assisted death. He thinks the proposed two-track approach to eligibility — one set of rules for people who are near death and more restrictive rules for those who aren't — is similarly problematic."I think the government has created another bill that will have to come back … in two or three years after a court challenge," Carignan says.He believes the government is determined to proceed cautiously on assisted dying and is quite content to have the courts force its hand every step of the way. The trouble with that approach, in his view, is that it forces vulnerable people who are suffering unbearably from serious illnesses to spend time, money and energy fighting for their rights in court."That's really tough. So I think if we want to protect those people we have to insist and say, 'Look, don't go there another time.'"Fellow Conservative Sen. Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu is hopeful the Senate will propose, and the government will agree, to a compromise this time: amend the bill to remove the mental illness exclusion but give the government one or two years to come up with guidelines and safeguards before that part of the law goes into force.He said that could "be a good compromise" that would avoid a potential standoff between the Senate and the government over the issue.Dalphond is inclined to support such a compromise because it would force the government to act on the issue, rather than leave it to be discussed, possibly without resolution, during a promised parliamentary review. That review must grapple with other thorny matters, such as whether to allow advance consent for assisted death, as well as access to the procedure for mature minors."We have an opportunity maybe to straighten things up now. Why wait another one, two, three years? … People will be suffering during that period."The composition of the Senate has changed considerably over the past four years so it's not yet possible to gauge whether the current crop of senators will go as far as — or further than — senators did in 2016 to protect charter rights. There are certainly many senators who are passionately opposed on moral grounds to any expanded access to assisted death, and especially opposed to extending it to people suffering solely from mental illnesses.But senators with extensive legal backgrounds — both veterans like Carignan and more recent appointees like Dalphond — who grilled ministers last week during committee hearings on the bill all questioned its constitutionality.The most recently appointed senator, Brent Cotter, a prominent legal ethicist and former senior public servant in Saskatchewan, pointedly asked Justice Minister David Lametti whether he believes senators have a duty to ensure legislation is constitutionally valid.Lametti did not answer and Cotter concedes it's a question he's wrestling with himself."The nice thing about the Senate is, on the one hand, I do think we have to advance our viewpoint on the basis of principle and we have much more luxury to do that in a less partisan Senate," says Cotter, a member of the Independent Senators Group."And on constitutionality, it's quite possible that senators need to be firm … But at the same time I don't think we have the right to overreach because we are involved in a role where we are appointed, we are not elected by constituents and we need to be respectful of the electoral process that leads to government according to law."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 29, 2020.Joan Bryden, The Canadian Press
Baby spinach sold under the brand Fresh Attitude is being recalled in New Brunswick, Quebec and Ontario due to possible salmonella contamination.The Canadian Food Inspection Agency issued a notice on Friday and says the product may have been distributed in other Atlantic provinces.The recall includes the 312-gram package with a best before date of Dec. 4, and the 142-gram package with best before dates of Dec. 4 and Dec. 5.The recall was triggered by VegPro International and is being investigated.The food inspection agency says people should check to see if they have the recalled product and throw it out or return it to the store.Food contaminated with salmonella may not look or smell spoiled but can lead to infections. Young children, pregnant women, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems are at the highest level of risk.Short-term symptoms can include fever, headache, vomiting, nausea, abdominal cramps and diarrhea, while long-term complications may include severe arthritis.There have been no reported illnesses linked to the recall.
The Sûreté du Québec have arrested three Montreal men in connection with a data breach that affected thousands of teachers across the province.Frédéric Lapointe, 41, Rath Pak, 41, and Jimmy Saintelien, 39, are each facing charges of fraud, identity theft, possession of counterfeit documents, unauthorized use of credit card data, and unauthorized use of a computer.The provincial Treasury Board announced on Feb. 19 of this year that hackers had accessed the personal records of as many as 360,000 active and retired teachers.The data was contained in a provincial government database, which appears to have been accessed using a stolen user ID and password.The trio's alleged crimes date to the spring of 2018, and occurred "in several regions of Quebec," provincial police said in a statement.The investigation was carried out jointly by the SQ's financial crimes unit and the Quebec Education Ministry.Julie Deslauriers, a kindergarten teacher in Montreal, was one of thousands who received a notice from the government last summer indicating her personal data may have been stolen."I'm more prudent now than I was, more careful about everything," she told CBC News. "I change my passwords more often."Deslaurier said it's a relief that arrests have been made, but said she hopes police have tracked down everyone involved.A union representing 7,500 English-language teachers in Quebec said the incident will leave a lasting impression."You end up having mistrust with the government," said Heidi Yetman, president of the Quebec Provincial Association of Teachers. "You would suspect that your data would be in good hands, and that's not the case."The hard feelings have been exacerbated by the fact that delivery of the notices warning teachers of potential identity theft were delayed by as long as five months.The government has attributed the delays to the COVID-19 pandemic.The province is paying for five years' worth of credit protection for the teachers whose data may have been accessed.
A series of devastating typhoons in the Philippines has prompted a Calgary couple to bring more light to those affected by making and selling lantern kits and donating the funds to disaster relief.This year, the annual typhoon season in the Philippines has left thousands homeless and has created what may be a long-term humanitarian crisis.Eric Dizon and his wife, Love, had the idea of making and selling "parol kits," which is a traditional Filipino lantern shaped like the Star of Bethlehem. "We had an idea of making a parol kit, the Filipino Christmas lantern as a kit wherein people can buy it and families can make it, especially for this Christmas," he told CBC's Mike Symington."This year it's been kinda tough, we had two super typhoons, we heard it on the news, and we also have friends and family, friends here in Calgary, whose families were affected," he said.Dizon says they all need to find happiness and peace right now, so if that means using their heritage to find strength, they should do it."What better way to have family gathered together and make this star, which symbolizes hope and peace," he said.His wife, Love, says each kit has everything you'll need to make an authentic bamboo lantern and that it should take you around an hour to complete."So from wires to cardboard, we provide glue sticks to elastics … so, yeah, everything in a bag is complete with Christmas lights too," she said.So far the kits have been flying out the door.Girlie Salaido, who purchased 10 of the lanterns, says that building them takes her back to when she was a child in the Philippines."My son who basically grew up here [in Calgary] while doing it I'm sharing the stories of when I was young and so it just brings back all the fond memories from back home," she said.The couple have sold more than 200 kits at $20 each, which are available to purchase through their Facebook page.With files from Mike Symington and The Homestretch.
The end is in sight for thousands of Islanders who have had to adjust their daily commute to and from Charlottetown because of the Capital Drive construction project.The project, which began in early November, was expected to take up to five weeks to complete.Traffic has been detoured, causing congestion in residential areas such as Lewis Point.The closure was needed to replace twin stormwater culverts under Capital Drive.Scott Adams, the city's manager of public works, estimates up to 25,000 vehicles would normally travel along Capital Drive every day.He said if everything continues to go well, it should reopen to traffic by the end of next week. "We've been very fortunate this year, the weather has been excellent for this time of year," he said."So Monday we're looking at concrete curb going in and then, the following two to three days, asphalt. So we're hoping by the end of next week, Capital Drive will be reopened to through traffic."More from CBC P.E.I.
Residents in the Moodyville area are calling on the City of North Vancouver to “preserve the character of their neighbourhood” with the proposal of a new development they say is set to “cast a shadow” over their homes and lives. The public will have the chance to once again voice their concerns or support for the Cascadia Green redevelopment at 402-438 East Third Street and 341-343 St. Davids Ave. next week. After a robust discussion at the Nov. 16 general meeting, council voted to move forward with a public hearing on the developer’s application to change the land use and permitted height in the city’s official community plan and zoning bylaw, which would allow the development to go ahead. The proposed changes would give the developer permission to increase from four storeys to five storeys as well as add a commercial laneway and extra retail and office spaces to the development. The proposed 5,516.5-square-metre mixed-use development includes three separate buildings: the West building, a four-storey building along East Third Street with 82 market strata residential units, including ground-floor live-work townhouse units; the East building, a five-storey mixed-use building with 71 market strata residential units, 14 commercial retail units, office spaces and a childcare facility on Level 1, and the North building, a four-storey mixed-use building with 16 market strata residential units. In the report prepared for council, staff said they supported the OCP amendment, stating it would “increase the commercial component in the development to provide significant amenities to the Moodyville area.” Staff also highlighted the inclusion of childcare, improvements to active transportation infrastructure and intersections, and housing pilot programs were all consistent with the City’s policy framework. "The form of development has also been evaluated and considered appropriate in the site context," the report states. "On balance, the proposed application will support the continued growth of Moodyville into a more sustainable neighbourhood - environmentally, socially, and economically." Members of the surrounding community already voiced both grievances and support for the developer’s proposal at a town hall meeting in November 2019 – with more than 85 comment sheets and emails submitted after the event, with 23 expressing opposition and 62 expressing support. A virtual town hall was then hosted in July this year, to provide an update on changes to the proposal which resulted in a further 316 comments. Those in support have praised the project for offering relatively affordable housing, with a Rent-to-Own and Affordable Home Ownership Program, its pedestrian orientated design and the proposed mix of neighbourhood retail and restaurants. Residents in opposition are hoping council will make developers stick to the original plans. More residents came forward to speak against the OCP ammendments at the Nov. 16 council meeting, echoing the same key concerns about the heights, size, and shadow impacts of the three buildings. Residents in opposition fear the massive development will impact traffic, on-street parking, privacy and noise in area. The community is also worried the development would put pressure on Ridgeway Elementary, which is already at capacity. Jeff Murl, an East Fourth Street resident, said the current plan being proposed dramatically altered the “density, form and character” of the neighbourhood. Murl argued the change was not “marginal” and the new plan proposed five times the residential density and 10 times the commercial density of the OCP. “What is proposed is seeking to overwrite the hours of work and consideration of public input already encapsulated in the OCP,” he said. Murl said the neighbourhood was not “looking to be an experiment” when it came to the activation of a laneway behind their homes, suggesting the nearby TransLink bus depot site, zoned for commercial, was the better retail development option. Fellow resident Brian Charleton, who bought into the neighbourhood in January, said he was previously aware of the four-storey development before purchasing, but was astounded to find out the potential height changes could mean he’d have an almost 70-foot building towering over his home in the future. “The only time we will see direct sunlight is during the summer solstice, all other seasons of the year we will be shaded,” he said. Staff say since consultations with the community a number of changes have been made to the application, highlighting the North building has been redesigned in order to respond to the neighbouring houses along East Fourth Street, site circulation has been improved to significantly calm traffic surrounding the site, and the childcare space is now located at the breezeway, away from East Fourth Street. But East Fourth resident Melissa McConchie, who has written twice to the city to voice her concerns and spoke at Monday’s meeting, said the adjustments weren’t good enough. “We’re not anti-development but this proposal is just way too big for our neighbourhood and it will have a significant negative impact on my family and the other families who live on this street,” she said. “Particularly because we’re on the south side of Fourth Street, these buildings are literally directly in my backyard – our duplex is going to disappear in a sea of buildings. “If approved, this will turn our quiet, residential street into a busy commercial zone with 30,000 square feet of commercial space along Third Street, St. Davids Avenue and our laneway.” She said the community just wanted “city council to preserve the family character of this street.” “This is a great neighbourhood and it would be a tremendous shame to see it completely overhauled when the official community plan already provides the roadmap for how to balance the need for new development with the impact on existing residents,” McConchie said. At Monday’s general meeting, the vote to move to the public hearing was carried five to two. Coun. Jessica McIlroy was happy to move forward, saying she’d like to hear more from the public and staff on the development. “We have heard concerns from members of the public about the project, but I feel that the application has gone through the necessary steps to move to a public hearing,” she said. Meanwhile, Coun. Holly Back was “quite concerned” about moving the application forward. She had similar issues with the project as the community, including a fifth storey being too high, future overcrowding at the local school, and the increased size of the development compared to the original plans. With similar concerns about the heights and size of the development, Coun. Don Bell, who had also previously opposed the project, voted against moving forward to a public hearing, agreeing with the community that the development would change the area’s character. “I think this project is too dense for that site and too massive in terms of form,” he said, mentioning he also wasn’t convinced it was the right spot to introduce a commercial laneway. “I think the project is, you know, attractive and I would have liked to have seen it kept within the OCP limits.” The virtual public hearing has been set for Nov. 30. Click here to register and for more project details.Elisia Seeber, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, North Shore News
CHARLOTTETOWN — Prince Edward Island has announced two new cases of COVID-19, doubling the number of active cases in the province. Health officials say the patients are both males between the ages of 10 and 19.One of the new patients is a student at Charlottetown Rural High School, who travelled on bus numbers 23 and 3 on two days last week. He also plays for the Sherwood Minor Hockey Midget A Central Team 2.Officials say there were also potential exposures at a Wendy’s Restaurant and a Needs Convenience Store in Charlottetown. Meanwhile, the second patient recently travelled to P.E.I. from outside of Atlantic Canada and has been self-isolating since he arrived.Health officials say he traveled to the Island on Air Canada flight AC7462 from Toronto to Charlottetown on Nov. 26\. They are advising passengers on the same flight to get tested if they have any symptoms.A spokeswoman for the Health and Wellness Department says there are four active cases in the province. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 28, 2020.The Canadian Press
Squamish Public Library is set to permanently acknowledge its location on the traditional territory of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Nation through a commissioned artwork. The library is inviting artists from the nation to submit designs for a vinyl window covering for the front of the library building and the children’s area. "The intention is for the artwork of a Squamish Nation artist to publicly and permanently acknowledge the library's location on the traditional territory of the Squamish Nation,” Rachel Bergquist, public services librarian, said. "This art commission aims to celebrate the art, traditions, culture, and land of the Squamish Nation through the unique vision of the artist.” She said windows of the library offered the opportunity for a large-scale showcase of art, visible to library patrons, passersby, and the hundreds of people who use Squamish Transit. "We have so many visitors to our town and the library really is a hot spot for people looking for directions, bathrooms, and other resources," Bergquist said. "So, it’s just exciting to have the opportunity to have that public acknowledgement facing outward to both the people who are living in our community, but also those people who are passing through who might not have as much of an understanding of where they are.” The library is searching for a design that will feel like an integrated part of the building and still allow for some visibility through the windows, with the final image to be printed on cut-out frosted vinyl in monochrome white and grey. “We wanted something that still allows for us to see outside and allows the natural light in,” Bergquist said, on the choice of frosted vinyl. “We want people inside the library to be able to see the world around them. Sitting inside the library, looking out that window, you can see the Stawamus Chief.” The chosen artist will receive $5,400 for the digital file of their commissioned work and the library will arrange for the production and installation of the final product. Acknowledgement and information about the art and artist will also be installed along with the window covering. Bergquist said artworks received will be reviewed by a selection committee of library staff, the director of library services and be shown to Squamish Nation Elders for their blessing. She said the library team was excited to see the designs artists submit and were available for any questions artists may have about the project. The public art project was made possible by a Community Arts and Culture Enhancement Grant from the Squamish Arts Council and capital funding from the District of Squamish. The submission deadline is Dec. 15, 2020, at 5 p.m. The successful artist will be announced early next year, and it’s hoped the installation will occur in spring. All proposals must be submitted to Rachel Bergquist or dropped off at the library at 37907 Second Avenue, Squamish, B.C. Find the full call for artists here. Elisia Seeber, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, North Shore News
With COVID-19 once again spreading through parts of Nova Scotia, the province is taking a different approach to testing for the virus than it did during the first wave.Capacity at the province's microbiology labs has been building since the early days of the pandemic, different types of tests have become available in recent months, and the province's current outbreak is affecting a different demographic — all contributing to the strategic shift.When COVID-19 first arrived in Nova Scotia, testing was restricted mostly to those with multiple symptoms and close contacts of known cases. Now, public health has a much broader call for testing, including to Halifax bar staff and patrons.At Friday's COVID-19 briefing, Nova Scotia Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Robert Strang said the new strategy is because of the prevalence of asymptomatic spread among the 18-35 age group in Halifax — the current epicentre of Nova Scotia's outbreak."With no symptoms, the only way to find people infected with COVID-19 is to test them," said Strang.This kind of widespread testing wouldn't have been possible during the first wave because of lab capacity.In March, the province's microbiology labs were able to complete only 200 and 250 COVID-19 tests per day.That capacity has been gradually building, and last month Strang said the province could handle 2,500 daily tests, although it was averaging far less than that. On Thursday, lab technicians completed a record-setting 3,109 tests in 24 hours.Even the opposition Progressive Conservatives offered some praise for the numbers, saying in a news release the uptick appeared to be "an indication that the need to extensively test is being taken seriously."PC leader Tim Houston said he remained disappointed that testing hadn't ramped up sooner, "but I am hopeful that the government has now turned the corner."Still, there are more people waiting for tests than the province can administer and process in a day. Strang said that as of Friday 8,000 people had identified themselves as bar staff and patrons in need of testing, creating a backlog.Everyone who has requested it will get an appointment and results, eventually, said Strang, but they may have to wait. Some of those people — like those who have been notified of a potential exposure that requires testing — are being asked to self-isolate while they wait.Strang asked for patience."We're very much building the plane and flying it at the same time when it comes to this asymptomatic testing as part of our outbreak response," he said.Nova Scotia's testing has also broadened with the introduction of rapid tests, also called point-of-care tests. While the rapid tests are more likely to yield false results than a standard lab test, experts say the data from widespread rapid testing can provide valuable insight into the spread of the virus, and inform decisions about public health restrictions and guidelines.Since last weekend, when the first rapid-testing site popped up for a few hours in an empty nightclub, rapid testing has attracted thousands of people to locations around Halifax. Strang said that as of Friday, 2,700 rapid tests had been administered. From those, at least 11 potential cases were identified, but positive results from a rapid test aren't counted in the official provincial tally of COVID-19 cases until they've been verified by a lab test. The province has not consistently reported results of followup lab tests.What's still to comeWith the recent detection of COVID-19 in wastewater in Wolfville, N.S., the province is setting up a rapid-testing site there on Monday. Strang said the research findings are not definitive, but Public Health will test that population as a precaution.Rapid tests were deployed in long-term care homes for the first time on Friday to volunteers, employees and designated caregivers.Strang described it as "serial testing" that will be repeated every two weeks. It launched at three Halifax-area homes and will eventually expand provincewide, he said."This is part of our effort to monitor, reduce and prevent the spread of COVID-19 in long-term care facilities, and none of us need a reminder about how important that is," said Strang. Earlier this week, Premier Stephen McNeil said rotational workers might also be targeted for rapid testing in the near future. On Friday, he said travellers coming in from outside Atlantic Canada could eventually be targeted, too.McNeil pointed to a pilot program underway in Alberta that's screening incoming international travellers to reduce quarantine time, and a recent pilot program for rapid testing by Air Canada at Toronto's Pearson airport."We won't be opening up to the rest of Canada any time soon," said McNeil.But, he added, rapid testing "would have to definitely be part of that opening up."MORE TOP STORIES
One man's trash disposal invention might be your new kitchen treasure.Victor Nicolov, University of Victoria engineering alumnus and CEO of B.C.-based Anvy Technologies, is the creator of a new home waste disposal system that was recently named by Time magazine as one of the top inventions of 2020.Every year, the magazine releases a list of inventions, selected from nominations submitted by its staff that, according to a statement, "are making the world better, smarter and even a bit more fun."Nicolov's product is also making it less smelly.Called the Sepura system, it is similar in function to a garburator in that it is a garbage disposal unit that sits under the kitchen sink. Users simply toss food scraps into the sink and they go down the drain into the Sepura unit.What is different about Nicolov's unit is that it separates and collects solids in an odourless, sealed bin under the sink. LED lights indicate when the bin is full, at which point the contents can be easily removed and emptied for composting or collection."It's a convenient way to get rid of food waste at home, but at the end of the day you are being eco-friendly about it," said Nicolov during an interview on CBC's All Points West. "The idea there is to keep as many solids out of the drain as possible," he added.Not only is this easier on the environment, Nicolov said it can also be easier on household and municipal pocket books because solids are often behind problems that arise in plumbing and sewage systems.In a news release from the engineering department at UVic, where Nicolov studied mechanical engineering, he is quoted saying the recognition from the iconic American magazine represents about two years of hard work by a whole team.Until COVID-19 restrictions went into effect, Nicolov ran Anvy Technologies from an office on campus.
Pour la première fois depuis le 25 septembre, la Gaspésie et les Iles-de-la-Madeleine passent sous la barre des 100 cas actifs de COVID-19. La péninsule rapporte 12 nouvelles infections, samedi, toutes dans la communauté. Il faut remonter au tout début de la deuxième vague, alors que la Baie-des-Chaleurs était touchée par une importante éclosion dans ses communautés et ses résidences pour ainés, pour retrouver un tel nombre de cas actifs en Gaspésie-Îles-de-la-Madeleine. Avec 12 nouvelles infections et 20 guérisons, la péninsule gaspésienne passe sous le cap des 100 infections actives, 95 personnes étant toujours porteuses du virus. Parmi ces nouvelles infections, six se retrouvent dans la MRC de Bonaventure. La MRC du Rocher-Percé rapporte de son côté 5 nouveaux cas, tandis qu’une seule personne de plus a reçu un diagnostic positif dans la Côte-de-Gaspé, où la COVID-19 frappait fort il y a une dizaine de jours à peine. La santé publique se dit confiante d’avoir réussi à juguler les éclosions dans les milieux de vie pour ainés, comme le Manoir Saint-Augustin de Gaspé. «La région a connu plusieurs éclosions dans des milieux fermés, où le virus frappe très fort, particulièrement dans les centres pour personnes âgées. Plusieurs sont maintenant résolues, ou presque.», soutenait le directeur de la santé publique gaspésienne, Dr Yv Bonnier-Viger, au Soleil mercredi. —— INSCRIVEZ-VOUS à notre infolettre «L’Est aujourd’hui», qui vous livre chaque mercredi nos meilleurs reportages et des inédits sur les régions de l’Est-du-Québec. (https://www.lesoleil.com/infolettres/inscriptions)Simon Carmichael, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Soleil
COLUMBIA, Mo. — Sarah Fuller made history, but her barrier-breaking kickoff was the only highlight for Vanderbilt as Missouri dominated the Commodores 41-0 on Saturday.Fuller became the first woman to participate in a Power 5 conference football game when she kicked off to start the second half. Fuller delivered a low kick that bounced to the 35-yard line, where Missouri pounced on it. She never got the chance to attempt a PAT or field goal, as the Tigers (4-3) rarely allowed the Commodores (0-8) to cross midfield in the Southeastern Conference game.Larry Rountree rushed 21 times for 160 yards and three touchdowns. Connor Bazelak completed 30 of 37 passes for 318 yards. Running back Tyler Badie had seven catches for 102 yards and scored on a 1-yard run in the second quarter. True freshman quarterback Brady Cook got his first snaps of the year in mop-up time and threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Damon Hazelton.Vanderbilt gained just 196 total yards against a stingy Missouri defence that has held three of its last four opponents to 10 points or less. Ken Seals completed 11 of 19 passes for 79 yards. Keyon Henry-Brooks rushed 15 times for 64 yards but lost a fumble in Missouri territory to end a rare promising drive for the Commodores to open the third quarter.Fuller, a senior goalkeeper on the Vanderbilt soccer team, joined the football team this week after helping the Commodores win the Southeastern Conference Tournament last weekend. COVID-19 protocols and restrictions left Vandy football coach Derek Mason with a limited number of specialists available against Missouri. Mason reached out to soccer coach Darren Ambrose for some help, and Fuller agreed to give the sport a try.THE TAKEAWAYMissouri: Senior linebacker Nick Bolton is making a bid for All-SEC and All-American honours. Bolton finished with nine tackles, a sack, two tackles for loss and a pass breakup against Vanderbilt. He has 76 tackles on the season.Vanderbilt: An otherwise forgettable game will be remembered for Fuller’s participation. No woman had appeared in an SEC football game or for any Power 5 team. Women have played college football at other levels. Liz Heaston became the first woman to score with two extra points for Willamette in NAIA on Oct. 18, 1997. Katie Hnida was the first woman to score at the Football Bowl Subdivision level with two extra points for New Mexico on Aug. 30, 2003. April Goss was the second with an extra point for Kent State in 2015. Tonya Butler was the first woman to kick a field goal in an NCAA game for Division II West Alabama on Sept. 13, 2003.UP NEXTMissouri: The Tigers are scheduled to play Arkansas at home on Saturday.Vanderbilt: The Commodores visit Georgia on Saturday.___More AP college football: https://apnews.com/Collegefootball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25Joe Walljasper, The Associated Press
A North Vancouver not-for-profit is hoping to make the lives of hundreds of residents impacted by COVID-19 a little brighter this festive season with a surprise gift but is calling for a little bit of help to get the job done. North Van Cares has just launched its Holiday Helpers initiative and is asking the community to nominate someone they know on the North Shore who is senior, immuno-suppressed, isolated, bereaved or just needs a little extra cheer this year, to receive a special gift pack. The initiative has a lofty goal of handing out up to 300 presents to residents who are nominated. "We’re specifically looking for those folks who would never ask for help but could use a little extra joy this season," Jacquie McCarnan, the founder of the not-for-profit organization, said. "We all know people who give so much of themselves and never ask for anything. Those are the people we want to help." She said seniors and immuno-suppressed folks who may not have family around to help out this holiday season are their main target. "It’s not a charitable thing for the needy, it’s more a pick me up for people who just need a bit of joy," McCarnan said. McCarnan launched North Van Cares in March when the pandemic first hit hard as a Shopping Buddies initiative to help seniors get groceries and prescriptions during quarantine. “The reason I started North Van Cares is because my own parents, who live in Ontario, are 88 and 90, and they’ve never accessed social services and they wouldn’t even have a clue how to do that or how to get their groceries delivered,” McCarnan said. She said as she thought about her own parents, she realised there must be people on the North Shore having similar issues and set out to help them. From there the not-for-profit blossomed, and McCarnan has since created two T-Shirt campaigns, with nine North Shore neighbourhood designs, which have raised more than $2,000 to help support a variety of groups, including Backpack Buddies, North Shore Rescue, North Shore Black Bear Society, Neighbhourhood House, and the Greater Vancouver Food Bank. Profits from more recent T-shirt sales will also go towards the Holiday Helpers initiative. All the Holiday Helpers gifts will be North Vancouver-inspired and include donations from the community. The gifts will also have a handmade card created by local students – with the surplus of cards set to be delivered to residents at seniors’ homes in the area for Christmas. McCarnan said the initiative had already received a bundle of donations, so the gifts would “have really lovely surprises for so many.” “There are so many people who are going to be so lonely these holidays because they’re not going to be able to have their families come and visit like in the past,” she said. “I just thought, so what can we do to cheer them up?” For anyone who’d like to contribute, the group is still accepting donations. A donation of just $20 means they can add another nominee to the list. To nominate someone to receive a Holiday Helper’s gift pack go to Nominate a Neighbour. Nominations close Dec. 15. Elisia Seeber, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, North Shore News
Fifty Evraz steelworkers in Regina received layoff notices on Friday and hundreds more could be laid off by mid-January."It's been a trying year for us and our members here in Regina," said Mike Day, president of United Steelworkers Local 5890, which is the union associated with the Regina steel plant."COVID started in March. I think it was around that same time we had a cyberattack on the company. And then we had this," Day said. "It's just seems like it's one thing after another in 2020, like many other places."The New Year will not fare much better for many more workers. By mid-January, Evraz says the jobs of up to 500 employees will also be deemed redundant. Day said USW Local 5890 is used to seeing 30 or 40 people being laid off."But when you're starting to get the guys that have worked here now for 20 years, it's been a long time since the layoff notices have come out and their names have been on it. It's tough."Evraz said the restructuring is necessary to help deal with the struggling state of the steel industry.Day said the pandemic is largely to blame, along with the prolonged slump in the energy sector and what he calls government inaction in promoting Canadian steel for projects across the country, including pipelines."We're directly related to the oil and gas sector. Our No. 1 product is this pipe. So when there's no contracts because there's no product or there's no projects going on, it's hard for us right now."Day said the union was confident the company was going to get a contract for a northern Alberta project, but he said a foreign company is going to get the work."When we've got projects that are being built in Canada and they're not using Canadian project, Canadian labour and Canadian material … it's very concerning to the steel industry," Day said.The layoffs will mostly affect the tubular division of the plant, which makes pipelines for the oil and gas industry."To put it in perspective, at this time last year we were almost at 700 members in tubular, and by the middle of January, I expect this to be just shy of 100 [workers] unless something comes up," Day said.He doesn't see a turnaround in the near future and doubts all the jobs will come back."I don't see our numbers ever climbing to that where it was a year ago."And with a struggling economy, it will be hard for laid-off workers to find jobs."Not a lot of places are hiring and especially hiring that are … comparable wages and benefits to what the guys get here. So it's going to be a real financial struggle for a lot of places in the city."Day said the union is hoping to reach out to Don Morgan, the province's minister of labour relations.He also hopes having U.S. president-elect Joe Biden coming to the White House will mean better trade relations and more opportunities for the Canadian steel industry.
There are two new cases of COVID-19 and one recovery in Newfoundland and Labrador on Saturday, bringing the number of active cases in the province to 32.The first reported case is a woman between the ages of 60 and 69 living in the same household as a previous case. She is a resident of the province and the case is connected to the Grand Bank cluster, but the woman is not a tenant of Blue Crest Cottages.The second case is travel-related, a man aged 50-59 who recently returned home to the province from the United States.The two cases are not connected, with both individuals in isolation and contact tracing underway.As a result of the travel-related case, the Department of Health is advising passengers who travelled on Air Canada Flight 7480 from Montreal to St. John's on Wednesday to get tested out of an abundance of caution.The two new cases bring the province's total number of cases to 333. Since the pandemic began, 297 people have recovered from the virus, with four reported COVID-19 related deaths.In total, 61,832 people have been tested for the virus — up by 512 since Friday. The province saw it's largest single-day increase in testing on Friday, when 742 people were tested in 24 hours.Earlier in the week, the province's department of health asked anyone who had visited a bar in the Halifax area in the past two weeks to get a COVID-19 test.3 cases with unknown source now travel-relatedPublic health provided an update on the three cases announced Friday with unknown sources. All three cases are travel-related.The first case reported in the Eastern Health region is related to travel from Europe, while the second case in the region is related to travel from Asia. Although both cases are located in the Eastern Health region, the cases are not connected.The third of four announced cases on Friday is a close contact of a worker who returned to the province from work in British Columbia. The individual is located in the Western Health region, and is not connected to the recent cluster in Deer Lake.Outbreaks at 3 Alberta work sitesThe Department of Health was also notified of outbreaks at three Alberta work sites by the Public Health Agency of Canada, as there are workers from the province who work at the sites.There are outbreaks at the Cenovus Energy Foster Creek oil sands project, the Cenovus Energy Christina Lake oil sands project and the Syncrude Canada Aurora mine site.Rotational workers returning from these sites must undergo a full 14-day isolation period and contact 811 for testing.As part of Friday's COVID-19 briefing, Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Janice Fitzgerald repeated her warnings against mass gatherings over the upcoming holiday season."This has the potential for a perfect storm as the threat of COVID and Christmas collide," she said Friday, adding the next four to six weeks will be a true test for the province.Fitzgerald has stated in previous interviews that health officials will be closely watching the early weeks of the new year as people return to the province from holiday travel.Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
PARIS — Tens of thousands of critics of a proposed security law that would restrict the filming of police officers protested across France on Saturday, and officers in Paris who were advised to behave responsibly during the demonstrations repeatedly fired tear gas to disperse rowdy protesters who set fire to France's central bank and threw paving stones.The mood was largely peaceful, however, as dozens of rallies took place against a provision of the law that would make it a crime to publish photos or video of on-duty police officers with the intent of harming their “physical or psychological integrity.”Civil liberties groups, journalists, and people who have faced police abuse are concerned that the measure will stymie press freedoms and allow police brutality to go undiscovered and unpunished.“We have to broaden the debate, and by doing that, we say that if there were no police violence, we wouldn’t have to film violent policemen," Assa Traore, a prominent anti-brutality activist whose brother died in police custody in 2016, told The Associated Press.She was among at least 46,000 people who packed the sprawling Republique plaza and surrounding streets carrying red union flags, French tricolour flags and homemade signs denouncing police violence, demanding media freedom or calling for the resignation of French President Emmanuel Macron or his tough-talking interior minister, Gerald Darmanin.The crowd included journalists, journalism students, left-wing activists, migrants rights groups and citizens of varied political stripes expressing anger over what they perceive as hardening police tactics in recent years, especially since France’s yellow vest protest movement against economic hardship emerged in 2018.Violence erupted near the end of the march as small groups of protesters pelted riot police with small rocks and paving stone. The officers retaliated with volleys of tear gas, prompting minor scuffles. Rioters then set fire to the facade of the central bank and to police barricades; in the melee fire trucks struggled to reach the site.Macron's government says the law is needed to protect police amid threats and attacks by a violent fringe.But the chief editor of French newspaper Le Monde, Luc Bronner, argued at the protest that the law against publishing images of officers is unnecessary.“There are already laws that exist to protect civil servants, including police forces when they’re targeted, and it’s legitimate – the police do a very important job," Bronner said. “But that's not what this is about. It’s about limiting the capacity of citizens and along with them, journalists, to document police violence when they happen.”While journalists have been the most outspoken over the security bill, it could have an even greater impact on the efforts of non-journalists who film police during aggressive arrests, notably minorities who can try to fight police abuse and discrimination with a few seconds of cellphone video.“There were all those protests in the summer against police violence, and this law shows the government didn’t hear us... It’s the impunity. That’s what makes us so angry," protest participant Kenza Berkane, 26, said.Berkane, who is French and of North African origin, described being repeatedly stopped by police for identity checks in the metro or while going to school. while white friends were allowed to pass. “We ask ourselves, when will this stop?”The cause has gained renewed importance in recent days after footage emerged of French police officers beating up a Black man, triggering a nationwide outcry.Macron spoke out against the video images on Friday, saying “they shame us.”Video that surfaced Thursday showed the beating of music producer Michel Zecler, following footage of the brutal police evacuation Tuesday of migrants in a Paris plaza. The officers involved in the beating of Zecler were suspended pending an internal police investigation.An internal letter from Paris Police Prefect Didier Lallement called on officers to use “probity, the sense of honour and ethics” when policing Saturday's protests, which were authorized by authorities despite France's partial virus lockdown.Through most of the march police hung back, chatting while holding their helmets or watching silently as protesters shouted “Shame!” at them.The crowd was overwhelmingly peaceful, but some in the unruly minority came equipped with gas masks and helmets.Article 24 of the proposed security law criminalizes the publishing of images of police officers with the intent of causing harm. Anyone found guilty could be sentenced to up to a year in jail, and fined 45,000 euros ($53,000).Many protesters, police and journalists have been injured during protests in recent years, including several Associated Press journalists.Prime Minister Jean Castex announced Friday that he would appoint a commission to redraft Article 24, but he backtracked after hearing from angry lawmakers. The commission is now expected to make new proposals by early next year on the relationship between the media and police.___Alex Turnbull in Paris contributed to this report.Angela Charlton And Thomas Adamson, The Associated Press