Highlights of this day in history: Nazi Germany bombs English town of Coventry during World War II; 'Moby-Dick' published; Nellie Bly begins globe-trotting trek; Leonard Bernstein makes conducting debut; Composer Aaron Copland born. (Nov. 14)
Highlights of this day in history: Nazi Germany bombs English town of Coventry during World War II; 'Moby-Dick' published; Nellie Bly begins globe-trotting trek; Leonard Bernstein makes conducting debut; Composer Aaron Copland born. (Nov. 14)
WASHINGTON — Disputing President Donald Trump’s persistent, baseless claims, Attorney General William Barr declared the U.S. Justice Department has uncovered no evidence of widespread voter fraud that could change the outcome of the 2020 election.Barr's comments, in an interview Tuesday with the The Associated Press, contradict the concerted effort by Trump, his boss, to subvert the results of last month's voting and block President-elect Joe Biden from taking his place in the White House.Barr told the AP that U.S. attorneys and FBI agents have been working to follow up specific complaints and information they’ve received, but “to date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election.”The comments, which drew immediate criticism from Trump attorneys, were especially notable coming from Barr, who has been one of the president's most ardent allies. Before the election, he had repeatedly raised the notion that mail-in voting could be especially vulnerable to fraud during the coronavirus pandemic as Americans feared going to polls and instead chose to vote by mail.More to Trump's liking, Barr revealed in the AP interview that in October he had appointed U.S. Attorney John Durham as a special counsel, giving the prosecutor the authority to continue to investigate the origins of the Trump-Russia probe after Biden takes over and making it difficult to fire him. Biden hasn't said what he might do with the investigation, and his transition team didn't comment Tuesday.Trump has long railed against the investigation into whether his 2016 campaign was co-ordinating with Russia, but he and Republican allies had hoped the results would be delivered before the 2020 election and would help sway voters. So far, there has been only one criminal case, a guilty plea from a former FBI lawyer to a single false statement charge.Under federal regulations, a special counsel can be fired only by the attorney general and for specific reasons such as misconduct, dereliction of duty or conflict of interest. An attorney general must document such reasons in writing.Barr went to the White House Tuesday for a previously scheduled meeting that lasted about three hours.Trump didn't directly comment on the attorney general's remarks on the election. But his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and his political campaign issued a scathing statement claiming that, "with all due respect to the Attorney General, there hasn’t been any semblance” of an investigation into the president's complaints.Other administration officials who have come out forcefully against Trump's allegations of voter-fraud evidence have been fired. But it's not clear whether Barr might suffer the same fate. He maintains a lofty position with Trump, and despite their differences the two see eye-to-eye on quite a lot.Still, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer quipped: “I guess he’s the next one to be fired.”Last month, Barr issued a directive to U.S. attorneys across the country allowing them to pursue any “substantial allegations” of voting irregularities before the 2020 presidential election was certified, despite no evidence at that time of widespread fraud.That memorandum gave prosecutors the ability to go around longstanding Justice Department policy that normally would prohibit such overt actions before the election was certified. Soon after it was issued, the department’s top elections crime official announced he would step aside from that position because of the memo.The Trump campaign team led by Giuliani has been alleging a widespread conspiracy by Democrats to dump millions of illegal votes into the system with no evidence. They have filed multiple lawsuits in battleground states alleging that partisan poll watchers didn’t have a clear enough view at polling sites in some locations and therefore something illegal must have happened. The claims have been repeatedly dismissed including by Republican judges who have ruled the suits lacked evidence.But local Republicans in some battleground states have followed Trump in making unsupported claims, prompting grave concerns over potential damage to American democracy.Trump himself continues to rail against the election in tweets and in interviews though his own administration has said the 2020 election was the most secure ever. He recently allowed his administration to begin the transition over to Biden, but he still refuses to admit he lost.The issues they've have pointed to are typical in every election: Problems with signatures, secrecy envelopes and postal marks on mail-in ballots, as well as the potential for a small number of ballots miscast or lost.But they've gone further. Attorney Sidney Powell has spun fictional tales of election systems flipping votes, German servers storing U.S. voting information and election software created in Venezuela “at the direction of Hugo Chavez,” – the late Venezuelan president who died in 2013. Powell has since been removed from the legal team after an interview she gave where she threatened to “blow up” Georgia with a “biblical” court filing.Barr didn't name Powell specifically but said: “There's been one assertion that would be systemic fraud and that would be the claim that machines were programmed essentially to skew the election results. And the DHS and DOJ have looked into that, and so far, we haven’t seen anything to substantiate that.”In the campaign statement, Giuliani claimed there was “ample evidence of illegal voting in at least six states, which they have not examined.”“We have many witnesses swearing under oath they saw crimes being committed in connection with voter fraud. As far as we know, not a single one has been interviewed by the DOJ. The Justice Department also hasn’t audited any voting machines or used their subpoena powers to determine the truth,” he said.However, Barr said earlier that people were confusing the use of the federal criminal justice system with allegations that should be made in civil lawsuits. He said a remedy for many complaints would be a top-down audit by state or local officials, not the U.S. Justice Department.“There’s a growing tendency to use the criminal justice system as sort of a default fix-all," he said, but first there must be a basis to believe there is a crime to investigate.“Most claims of fraud are very particularized to a particular set of circumstances or actors or conduct. ... And those have been run down; they are being run down,” Barr said. “Some have been broad and potentially cover a few thousand votes. They have been followed up on."___Associated Press writers Lisa Mascaro and Eric Tucker contributed to this report.Michael Balsamo, The Associated Press
“Eddie’s Boy,” by Thomas Perry (Mysterious Press)The hitman known as the butcher’s boy is back, forced out of retirement at age 61 to confront an implacable old enemy who wants him dead.Thomas Perry first introduced him 38 years ago in his Edgar Award-winning debut novel, “The Butcher’s Boy,” but until now, the character has reemerged only twice — in “Sleeping Dogs” in 1992 and “The Informant” in 2011.The new novel, “Eddie’s Boy,” finds him in England, posing as retired American businessman Michael Shaeffer. He’s enjoying life with a charming yet spunky aristocratic British wife until someone discovers his secret and sends a small army of killers to snuff him out.Shaeffer flees to Australia, only to discover that his unknown enemy has managed to track him there. So, he jets to America to find out who has put a contract out on him and to put a stop to it. In his wake, he leaves a trail of dead bodies across much of the English-speaking world. Perry breaks the action-packed narrative with reminiscences about the protagonist’s early life, when a small-town Pennsylvania hit man named Eddie, who spent his off hours operating a fine butcher shop, taught the boy both trades.If fans of Perry’s novels think the plot of “Eddie’s Boy” closely resembles the last two butcher’s boy books, they’d be right, but the saving grace is in the differing details, including how Shaeffer confronts the challenge of engaging in combat with a fit but aging body.Although the butcher’s boy is not — and never been — a likeable character, Perry expects us to admire the skill and meticulous care with which he works. And there is certainly much to admire in the skill with which Perry works, from his flawless plotting to his tight and muscular prose style.___Bruce DeSilva, winner of the Mystery Writers of America’s Edgar Award, is the author of the Mulligan crime novels including “The Dread Line.”Bruce Desilva, The Associated Press
China successfully landed a spacecraft on the moon's surface on Tuesday in a historic mission to retrieve lunar surface samples, Chinese state media reported. China launched its Chang'e-5 probe on Nov. 24. The mission will attempt to collect 2 kg (4-1/2 lbs) of samples in a previously unvisited area in a massive lava plain known as Oceanus Procellarum, or "Ocean of Storms".
The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit reported 62 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday as officials warned that sharply increasing case numbers are bringing the public health system to the brink of collapse.The unit's capacity is being stretched to the limit as it also faces a range of outbreaks in schools, long-term care centres, and now hospitals —and tries to monitor a high number of possible contacts from them."We will be on the verge of collapsing the public health capacity and also the acute care system capacity now that we have two outbreaks in the hospital system," said Medical officer of health Dr. Wajid Ahmed in reference to outbreaks declared at Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare and Windsor Regional Hospital. The health unit is dealing with 14 outbreaks at workplaces, schools and health care facilities.WECHU CEO Theresa Marentette said nurses who are doing contact tracing are following about 1,000 contacts."Every outbreak that we report, every case is a further stretch of our resources," she said.There is also demand placed on public health resources due to cases in schools, Marentette said. There are 25 schools where cohorts of students have been dismissed due to COVID-19, she said.Ahmed said the region is at risk of entering the strongest stage of restrictions — a lockdown — though there is no specific threshold for entering that stage.He said he hopes to avoid further restrictions but action may be needed if cases continue to increase.7 days a weekThe health unit has been running seven days a week since March, adding new staff and trying to use every resource possible -- including from the province -- to handle the pandemic, Marentette said."All of that is helping but it continues to be a lot," she said."Sixty-two new cases in a day is incredible."The new cases of COVID-19 reported Tuesday bring the active case total in Windsor-Essex to 427.The health unit also announced the death of a man in his 90s who was living at a long-term care home. He is the 80th person in Windsor-Essex to die of COVID-19 since March.The figures come a day after Windsor-Essex entered the red "control" zone, the second highest tier in the province's COVID-19 restrictions framework.Testing capacityDespite the surge in new cases, Dr. Ahmed said that, according to the most recent epidemiological data, those tested for COVID-19 are receiving their results in about 24 to 48 hours.Windsor Regional Hospital's Ouellette Assessment Centre, one of two testing sites in the region, has a capacity of nearly 500 tests on weekdays and just over 300 daily on weekends. That capacity has been increased in the last two days by 66 swabs on weekdays and about 40 on Saturdays and Sundays, the hospital said in a statement. 17 cases connected to Hôtel-Dieu outbreakMeanwhile, the COVID-19 outbreak at Windsor's Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare has grown from five to 17 cases, hospital CEO Janice Kaffer told reporters Tuesday.Five of those who tested positive for the novel coronavirus are patients, while 12 are staff members. All of the cases are connected to an outbreak that was declared on Sunday in a section of the hospital's rehab unit. Kaffer said test results for all patients affected have come back and hospital officials don't anticipate more cases.Windsor Mosque closedWindsor Mosque announced Tuesday it is closed temporarily due to a COVID-19 case.The Windsor Islamic Association said in a Facebook post Monday night that someone who attended prayer Friday at the mosque on 1320 Northwood St. has tested positive for the disease.While the mosque is closed, the association said it will undergo a "thorough disinfection." Anyone who attended prayer at the mosque is asked to monitor for symptoms. Snapshot of COVID-19 cases in Windsor-EssexOf the 62 new cases announced region-wide Tuesday, 16 are close contacts of a confirmed case, 11 are local health-care workers, six are community acquired, one is an agri-farm worker and 27 are still under investigation. Overall in Windsor-Essex, there are seven workplace outbreaks: * Three in Leamington's agriculture sector. * One in Lakeshore's health care and social assistance sector. * One in a Leamington place of worship. * One in Leamington's finance and insurance sector. * One in Windsor's manufacturing sector.Two community outbreaks are still active: one at Victoria Manor Supportive Living in Windsor and another at Riverplace Residence in Windsor. Two schools — Frank W. Begley Public School and W. J. Langlois Catholic Elementary School — also remain in outbreak.There are five long-term care and retirement homes in outbreak: * Village of Aspen Lake in Tecumseh with one staff case. * Leamington Mennonite in Leamington with one staff case. * Chartwell Royal Oak Residence in Kingsville with one staff case. * Riverside place in Windsor with 17 resident cases and three staff cases. * Iler Lodge in Essex with 18 resident cases and three staff cases.
SILVER SPRING, Md. — U.S. construction spending jumped 1.3% in October, the fifth straight monthly increase, again on the strength of single-family home building.The October gain follows a strong upward revision to 0.5% in September, from a previous estimate of a 0.3% gain, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday. It's the largest increase since a 2.8% jump in January, before the coronavirus pandemic all but shuttered the U.S. economy. Spending in October was stronger than economists had expected.Single-family home building has been a consistent bright spot for months as a lack of new homes has pushed builders to ramp up projects. Single-family home construction rose 5.6% in October, helping to boost a 2.9% increase in total private residential construction for the month.Nonresidential private construction fell 0.7%, with the category that includes hotels and other lodging falling 3.1%.Spending on government construction projects increased 1% after generally lagging for months, possibly due to budget restraints by state and local governments as the pandemic wiped out large amounts of tax revenue. Construction of roads, schools and public safety projects all increased.During the first ten months of 2020, construction spending is up 4.3% over the same period last year.Matt Ott, The Associated Press
Two battleground states, Wisconsin and Arizona, certified their presidential election results in favour of Joe Biden, even as President Donald Trump's legal team continued to dispute the results.Biden’s victory in Wisconsin was certified Monday following a partial recount that only added to his 20,600-vote margin over Trump, who has promised to file a lawsuit seeking to undo the results.Gov. Tony Evers, a Democrat, signed a certificate that completed the process after the canvass report showing Biden as the winner following the recount was approved by the chairwoman of the bipartisan Wisconsin Elections Commission. Evers’ signature was required by law and is typically a procedural step that receives little attention.“Today I carried out my duty to certify the November 3rd election,” Evers said in a statement. “I want to thank our clerks, election administrators, and poll workers across our state for working tirelessly to ensure we had a safe, fair, and efficient election. Thank you for all your good work.”The action Monday now starts a five-day deadline for Trump to file a lawsuit, which he promised would come no later than Tuesday. Trump is mounting a longshot attempt to overturn the results by disqualifying as many as 238,000 ballots. Trump’s attorneys have alleged without evidence that there was widespread fraud and illegal activity.Biden’s campaign has said the recount showed that Biden won Wisconsin decisively and there was no fraud. Even if Trump were successful in Wisconsin, the state’s 10 Electoral College votes would not be enough to undo Biden’s overall victory as states around the country certify results.Earlier Monday, Arizona officials certified Biden’s narrow victory in that state.Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs and Republican Gov. Doug Ducey both vouched for the integrity of the election before signing off on the results.“We do elections well here in Arizona. The system is strong,” Ducey said.He did not directly address Trump’s claims of irregularities but said the state pulled off a successful election with a mix of in-person and mail voting despite the pandemic.Hobbs said Arizona voters should know that the election “was conducted with transparency, accuracy and fairness in accordance with Arizona’s laws and election procedures, despite numerous unfounded claims to the contrary.”Biden is only the second Democrat in 70 years to win Arizona. In the final tally, he beat Trump by 10,457 votes, or 0.3% of the nearly 3.4 million ballots cast.Even as Hobbs, Ducey, the state attorney general and chief justice of the state Supreme Court certified the election results, Trump lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Jenna Ellis met in a Phoenix hotel ballroom a few miles away to lay out claims of irregularities in the vote count in Arizona and elsewhere. But they did not provide evidence of widespread fraud.“The officials certifying have made no effort to find out the truth, which to me, gives the state Legislature the perfect reason to take over the conduct of this election because it’s being conducted irresponsibly and unfairly,” Giuliani said.Nine Republican state lawmakers attended the meeting. They had requested permission to hold a formal legislative hearing at the Capitol but were denied by the Republican House speaker and Senate president.Trump berated Ducey on Twitter Monday night, asking, “Why is he rushing to put a Democrat in office, especially when so many horrible things concerning voter fraud are being revealed at the hearing going on right now.”Elections challenges brought by the Trump campaign or his backers in key battleground states have largely been unsuccessful as Trump continues to allege voter fraud while refusing to concede.There is no evidence of widespread fraud in the 2020 election. In fact, election officials from both political parties have stated publicly that the election went well and international observers confirmed there were no serious irregularities.___Bauer reported from Madison, Wis.; Cooper and Tang reported from Phoenix.Scott Bauer, Jonathan J. Cooper And Terry Tang, The Associated Press
Deux mamans et amies de longue date de Jonquière viennent tout juste de lancer leur nouvelle entreprise appelée Iris & Folk. Audrey-Anne Nadeau et Geneviève Potvin-Lavoie créent ensemble depuis peu des vêtements pour bébés et enfants majoritairement unisexes, d’inspiration vintage et qui sont faits pour durer, qu’elles vendent sur Etsy. Les deux femmes se connaissent depuis la 6e année du primaire. Elles ont toujours été dans la vie l’une de l’autre. Âgées aujourd’hui de 29 et 30 ans, elles ont toutes les deux deux enfants des mêmes âges. C’est Geneviève qui a eu l’idée de lancer une entreprise en création de vêtements. Celle qui a étudié en design de mode a longtemps cherché à lancer une entreprise. Elle s’est réorientée et travaille aujourd’hui comme travailleuse sociale, mais cherchait un projet pour mettre sa créativité de l’avant. Lorsque’elle a imaginé sa marque de vêtements pour enfants, elle a tout de suite pensé à son amie Audrey-Anne, qui a accepté sur le champ de faire équipe avec son amie. Les compétences des deux femmes se complètent à merveille: Geneviève a davantage des habilités en couture, tandis que son amie s’occupe du côté de la mise en marché, avec entre autres les photos et les réseaux sociaux. Tout s’est rapidement mis en place. « Notre entreprise a vu le jour il y a quelques semaines. Nous faisons des vêtements de bébés et pour enfants. Ils sont souvent évolutifs, d’un style qui se rapproche du vintage. Nous sommes aussi à l’écoute de l’environnement, on prend par exemple tous nos tissus ici dans la région », explique Geneviève, lors d’un entretien par visioconférence avec Le Quotidien. Elles créent ensemble ou modifient les patrons et magasinent les tissus à deux. Audrey-Anne coupe le tissu et Geneviève s’occupe de coudre. Elles utilisent leurs enfants comme modèles et publient les résultats sur Instagram et Facebook. Leur entreprise a rapidement évolué. Les deux femmes voulaient, avec leur projet, combler un besoin qu’elles avaient remarqué en tant que mamans. « On veut le plus possible que nos vêtements soient unisexes, pour qu’on puisse le passer à l’enfant suivant. On choisit des couleurs qui vont autant aux garçons qu’aux filles, comme l’avoine ou l’émeraude. Même notre pièce qu’on considérait plus masculine, notre pantalon à bretelles, je l’ai essayé à ma fille et maintenant je le veux pour elle », admet en riant Audrey-Anne. La vente des vêtements se fait sur Etsy, où l’on retrouve près d’une dizaine de produits. Un jour, elles imaginent ouvrir leur propre site Web, mais pour l’instant, cette plateforme leur convient parfaitement. Les jeunes entrepreneuses sont agréablement surprises de la réponse des clients. Un lancement de la boutique avait été annoncé sur leurs réseaux, ce qui leur a permis de conclure une trentaine de ventes dans les deux premières heures de sa mise en ligne. Depuis ce temps, les ventes continuent de s’accumuler, assez pour que certains morceaux soient en rupture de stock. Leurs attentes sont dépassées, ce qui les réjouit. Bientôt, les amies lanceront de premiers vêtements pour femmes. Un ensemble en laine mérinos, comme celui fait pour enfants, sera sur le marché pour les mamans. Également, les entrepreneuses ont déjà commencé à magasiner pour la collection printemps-été, qui devrait offrir plus de morceaux que la précédente. Toutes les informations concernant cette nouvelle entreprise se retrouvent sur sa page Facebook ainsi que sur Instagram.Myriam Arsenault, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Quotidien
The Canadian Alliance for Skills and Training in Life Sciences recently awarded scholarships to 32 students at three Maritime universities in support of the growing bioscience sector.A recent study by the alliance found about 2,000 Islanders working in the sector, and that there was a need for more."There is definitely a labour challenge in the sector, in particular on P.E.I.," said alliance executive director Christopher Gillis."The biosector here has seen unprecedented growth."The recipients of the $5,000 scholarships are second-year students in co-op programs at UPEI, Acadia and Université de Moncton.Bioscience has become an important sector of the P.E.I. economy, said Gillis. There is a high demand currently for production and manufacturing technicians. About 65 per cent of positions advertised recently are in this area, he said. The industry is also looking for quality control analysts and research scientists.The Canadian Alliance for Skills and Training in Life Sciences is a partnership between industry, governments and post-secondary institutions, which came together to ensure that the industry has the talent pool it needs to grow into the future.Funding for the scholarships came from the federal government, including ACOA, and the provincial government on P.E.I.More from CBC P.E.I.
Les propriétaires de véhicules maniaques de propreté, même en hiver, disposent maintenant d’un nouveau service à L’Anse-Saint-Jean, avec l’ouverture de Lave-auto CG, au 166 route 170, tout près de l’épicerie Bonichoix. Le couple formé de Pierre-Luc Côté et Audrey Gagné a décidé d’investir l’été dernier dans la construction d’un nouveau garage commercial afin d’offrir aux citoyens du Bas-Saguenay la possibilité de nettoyer leur véhicule en libre-service ou encore avec l’aide d’un professionnel attitré pour le lavage intérieur et extérieur, explique en entrevue Audrey Gagné, copropriétaire du commerce. « Il y a déjà eu un service de lave-auto, mais depuis quelques années, ç’a disparu, puisque la personne qui l’opérait a décidé d’arrêter. Il y a beaucoup de véhicules au Bas-Saguenay pour utiliser ce type de service », explique Mme Gagné. C’est avec ce potentiel de marché que M. Côté et Mme Gagné ont fait construire, sur le terrain adjacent à leur résidence, un imposant garage de 28 pieds par 40 pieds sur dalle de béton. Selon l’offre de Lave-auto CG, un propriétaire d’auto ou de camionnette a la possibilité de nettoyer lui-même son véhicule en réservant une période de deux heures pour accomplir la tâche. Le tarif inclut les produits de nettoyage, l’utilisation d’équipements comme une laveuse à pression, balayeuse, la disponibilité d’eau chaude, des seaux, brosses, linges d’essuyage, etc. Le tout dans le confort d’un bâtiment chauffé. La formule libre-service est disponible sur réservation 24 heures à l’avance, en raison des obligations de la Santé publique, les lundis, mercredis et vendredis, parmi l’une des cinq plages horaires, ainsi que le samedi à 8h et 10h30. Mme Gagné ajoute que la formule professionnelle est disponible sur réservation 72 heures à l’avance, selon quatre types de lavage. « Pour l’offre de ce service, on a embauché Richard Rousseau, de Rivière-Éternité, qui était capitaine du bateau-mouche. L’été dernier, il n’a pu travailler en raison de la COVID-19 », affirme Mme Gagné. Relève À en juger par leur dynamisme, le couple Gagné-Côté est en voie de constituer une partie de la relève d’affaires au Bas-Saguenay. En entrevue, M. Côté explique que l’investissement de 80 000 $ pour le garage ne constitue par l’unique motivation pour aller de l’avant. L’an dernier, il a acquis une route de distribution de pain et de produits laitiers opérée autrefois par Sylvain Dallaire, qui dessert tout le Bas-Saguenay entre Petit-Saguenay et Laterrière. Depuis cette acquisition, M. Côté a négocié la distribution des produits Vachon. Quotidiennement, il doit livrer ses victuailles dans 45 commerces du secteur, de sorte que le garage utilisé pour abriter son camion peut être utilisé et rentabilisé en cumulant les vocations de garage et de lave-auto. S’ajoute à la liste le fait que Pierre-Luc Côté et Audrey Gagné ont acquis la majorité des parts du restaurant L’Est Anse Ciel. « J’ai acheté les parts de mon beau-père Antonin Côté, dernièrement. Je suis propriétaire avec Pierre-Luc ainsi qu’avec Caroline Martel, Bruno-Pierre Houde et Jean-Éric Lavoie », explique Mme Gagné. La pandémie actuelle limite les heures d’ouverture du restaurant, sauf que l’établissement continue d’opérer à certaines heures avec le service de nourriture prête à emporter. L’ambition des entrepreneurs ne s’arrête pas là puisque M. Côté envisage également de lancer une entreprise de réparation et de remplacement de pare-brise mobile chez les clients au printemps prochain.Denis Villeneuve, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Quotidien
Council members told staff to keep the blended tax rate for 2021 low – with requests ranging from zero to “two or three” percent. As it presented by staff, the draft budget contained a three percent increase in the Southgate levy for capital projects, which would likely be a two percent in the blended tax rate. CAO Dave Milliner asked council for direction at the end of the special meeting on the proposed capital budget held on Tuesday, Nov. 24. Coun. Michael Sherson said his ideal would be to give residents a zero increase this year. Coun. Barbara Dobreen said she didn’t want to see township reserves depleted to keep the increase “artificially low.” She suggested a 1.5 percent increase – “keep it under two (percent) for sure.” Deputy-Mayor Brian Milne asked if the 2020 impact of growth was known. The more building in the township, the more property owners to share the burden of the tax levy. Treasurer Liam Gott said it would be a few weeks before he had final figures but he expected 2020 added about $159,000 in taxation dollars based on the value of building permits issued (lower than the $280,000 projected). The deputy-mayor said that while a zero increase is desirable – “I don’t think that it’s reasonable or even responsible.” “Our costs are going up,” he said, naming fuel, hydro, insurance and payroll. Given that, he said he’d like to see something around 2.5 to 3 percent. At that point, the treasurer asked whether councillors were talking about the increase for local use or the overall or “blended” increase that includes taxes Southgate collects and passes on to the county and the school boards. At this stage in the budget process, council has seen and discussed capital costs, with the operating budget still to be seen. Coun. Martin Shipston said that a 2.5 to three percent increase would be reasonable, and not leave residents paying more down the road to make up for a lower increase in 2021. Coun. Jason Rice said he would like to see a zero increase. Coun. Dobreen had mentioned the Cost of Living increase for employees, which would be based on the inflation rate of 0.7 percent. Coun. Rice said that maybe for one year, township employees could do without the COLA increase. ”I’m not going against them (staff) – they do a fantastic job,” he said. “It’s this year, this specific year – this pandemic we’re dealing with,” he said. “It’s not our money in this time of need,” he said. He said many Southgate residents never get a Cost of Living increase. Deputy-Mayor Milne said perhaps this was the year to pull back on COLA or “step” increases based on performance and years served. He said that council needs to see the operating budget estimates to make its final decision. To achieve zero would take cuts to services, he said. “What services are we going to cut back on?” “Fuel, hydro, insurance – other expenses like that we have no control over and we have to pay." Coun. Rice asked the CAO for his reaction. Mr. Milliner replied, “if I didn’t hear a comment from council like that I would be surprised.” He did speak in defence of merit or “step” pay increase, adding that he himself is not affected by that policy. Mayor John Woodbury said that council had to balance the need for restraint in the present moment with the risk of postponing needed changes and mortgaging the future. “Overall, two to three percent is acceptable,” he said.M.T. Fernandes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Dundalk Herald
Germany, France and Britain urged the Trump administration in late October to reconsider broad, new sanctions against Iran’s banks, arguing that the move would deter legitimate humanitarian trade and hurt the allies’ common interests, diplomatic correspondence shows. Germany’s Bundesbank also kept a multi-billion-euro deposit facility open for Iranian banks, including two that faced fresh U.S. sanctions, giving Tehran a much-needed banking lifeline at a time its access to the global financial system was largely cut off, according to central bank data and interviews with bankers, Western diplomats and officials. The behind-the-scenes pushback to Washington and the extent of Germany’s support to Iranian trade in the face of U.S. sanctions have not been previously reported, and shed new light on the divergent approaches to Iran taken by President Donald Trump and the U.S. allies.
Check out this jaw-dropping footage of a herd of bighorn sheep in Glacier National Park. It looks like a BBC documentary!
While COVID-19 numbers in the Prairie Mountain Health region remain at a plateau, as with the rest of the province, two deaths were reported Monday linked to the Fairview Personal Care Home. That brings the region’s pandemic-related death toll to 16. A spokesperson with Prairie Mountain Health reported that there are 26 residents who have tested COVID positive at Fairview, as well as 12 staff. Six deaths are now associated with the Fairview outbreak. As well, two schools in the Brandon School Division announced over the weekend there are cases of COVID-19 — Vincent Massey High School and J.R. Reid School. The public letter related to J.R. Reid School does not contain the usual line, "The infection was not believed to be acquired at school." Nevertheless, the province’s chief public health officer, Dr. Brent Roussin, continues to maintain there isn’t "much transmission in schools." Because Roussin has never divulged statistics, The Brandon Sun followed up with a question to Manitoba Health. We asked for those numbers, but they were not available by deadline. Meanwhile, Roussin is telling Manitobans to obey public health orders to bring fatality numbers down. Saturday’s daily provincial bulletin announced the death of a child under the age of 10, and Monday saw two deaths also unrelated to the elderly — a man in his 30s and a woman in her 40s, both from the Winnipeg health region. "We continue to announce many deaths every day. Today, again into the double digits. I think we all know that we can’t continue along these lines. We have to bring these numbers down," Roussin said. Roussin acknowledged the restrictions the province has instituted are hard. "We’ve heard from a number of Manitobans that they want these restrictions lifted. Again, it’s not a matter of wanting these restrictions. I don’t think anyone wants these restrictions in place," he said. "It’s what the consequences of lifting them ... the consequence of lifting these restrictions right now is a much longer page of Manitobans that we lose with this virus, overwhelming of our health-care system, more strain on our health-care workers." He said while all Manitobans don’t want the restrictions, none want the consequences. Manitoba numbers appear to have reached a plateau, with daily numbers lingering between 300 to 400 for days. These numbers indicate the worst-case scenario — with no restrictions and no buy-in by Manitobans – won’t come to pass. Modelling predicted the province could reach a peak of 1,000 COVID-positive cases per day by Dec. 6. So far, it seems that model won’t become reality, but Roussin said it’s not enough to plateau. The numbers still need to come down. Contacts still need to be kept to only essential contacts.Michèle LeTourneau, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brandon Sun
It’s been a different year for Gander Fire Rescue. Normally, members’ calendar would be filled with things like handing out Halloween candy to children at the hospital or opening the fire hall for tours. However, things like that were scuttled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Still, the fire department was hoping to do something this year. With that in mind, some members of the department came up with the idea of collecting winter clothing for children. “We just thought we were going to get jackets and stuff, but people were asking if they could donate certain items and we said, ‘Certainly, go ahead,’” said Addison Quilty, Gander Fire Rescue’s assistant deputy fire chief. The department’s goal was to collect the same number of winter clothing as there are fire hydrants in Gander. That set their aim at 427 pieces of clothing. They didn’t care if it was mittens, gloves, toques, jackets or boots, as long as the department was able to get what they aimed for. It turns out they got all of those things in abundance — they’ve collected 432 pieces of clothing. “We’ve been really impressed,” said Quilty. “We’re still getting things now.” The pandemic has changed the way organizations handle donated items, and Gander Fire Rescue is no different. The department put a pair of bins outside the fire hall and once an item was placed in the bin, it stayed there for 24 hours. When it entered the building, the clothing was cleaned again. In the next little while, the department will start bagging up what they’ve collected and delivered it to the Salvation Army. From there, the church’s community and family services division in Gander will distribute the items where they are needed. “The Salvation Army is certainly very grateful for that kind of partnership with us, to be able to provide that kind of practical donation to help people for the cold winter months,” said Maj. Rene Loveless, public relations and development secretary with the provincial Salvation Army. “That's fabulous.” Loveless said he was impressed with the number of items the Gander fire department collected in a short period. Ensuring children have adequate clothes for the winter months, which can be harsh at times in central Newfoundland, was at the heart of the Gander Fire Rescue clothing drive. To see that effort to help children was something that stood out for Loveless. “It’s a beautiful thing, really,” said Loveless. The department isn’t done collecting clothing just yet. They’ve set a deadline of Dec. 6 and then they will stop collecting. In the meantime, their final number could be even higher by the time they call it off next week. “People are still not afraid to help others out,” said Quilty. “It is a good thing to see.” Nicholas Mercer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Central Voice
When Nikita Toms hears a knock on the front door of her King’s Point home, there are a couple of things it could mean. The first is that it could be the courier dropping off a Christmas gift. The second thing it could be is another courier delivering a piece of her four-year-old daughter Peyton’s Make-A-Wish bedroom makeover. Sometimes, the courier shows up with a mixture of both. When that happens, Nikita is always sure to separate gifts from makeover items. Either way, they’re both equally welcomed by the youngest Toms. “It’s exciting to her,” said Nikita. Pieces for the bedroom renovation have been coming for the past month. The makeover includes a new bedroom set, the repainting of walls with a giant rainbow — Peyton’s aunt and uncle are painting her room — and a host of other upgrades to reflect her love of unicorns and rainbows. Make-A-Wish Canada breaks wishes down into three categories. There are travel wishes, celebrity wishes and item wishes. With the COVID-19 pandemic still going strong, the travel and celebrity wish categories became impossible to fulfill. Some of the children making those wishes chose to wait until they could travel again to make them happen, while others switched their wishes to item wishes. “Some of the wishes have been reimagined,” said Dave Walsh, development co-ordinator with Make-A-Wish Canada in St. John’s. The pandemic meant a shift in the way Make-A-Wish Canada does things. Normally, the foundation would have a team that would assemble and makeover a gift like Peyton’s. However, for safety reasons, the foundation has been sending the items to the family and having them assemble it themselves. “We’ve been forced to do things at a distance,” said Walsh. Make-A-Wish Canada is fulfilling three other wishes in addition to Peyton’s in the province. The other three are all video game-related. All are currently receiving pieces of their gifts. “It’s kind of nice, too,” said Walsh. “They feel like Christmas wishes.” Peyton was one of those who decided to reimagine her wish. A big Disney fan, she had originally wished to visit Disneyland, but that wasn’t possible under current conditions. With travel a no-go, the young girl gave it some thought and decided she wanted a bedroom makeover with an emphasis on two things in particular. “She wanted anything to do with rainbows and unicorns,” said Nikita. Peyton finished two years of chemotherapy to shrink a benign tumour on her jaw that was the size of a baseball in February 2018. Then, her parents Nikita and Jake, marvelled at her strength as she did three chemo sessions a month and 72 treatments over the two years. “She was a lot stronger than we were,” said Nikita. Seeing the bedroom slowly come together with the help of the family has been great for her parents. And, obviously, for Peyton. As pieces of the room continue to trickle in, the family hopes to have everything assembled in the next couple of weeks. “(Peyton) well deserves it,” said Nikita. Nicholas Mercer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Central Voice
WASHINGTON — American factories grew at a slower pace last month and there are concerns that surging coronavirus infections will endanger an economic recovery. The Institute of Supply Management, an association of purchasing managers, reported Tuesday that its manufacturing index dipped to 57.5 in November from 59.3 in October. Any reading above 50 signals that manufacturing is expanding. The ISM index plunged in the spring but has since bounced back and now shows factories on a six-month winning streak. New orders and production grew more slowly last month. Hiring actually dropped, reversing a gain in October. New export orders grew faster. Sixteen of 18 industries surveyed reported growth last month, led by apparel and mineral manufacturers. The U.S. economy collapsed from April through June and has since been recovering. But a sharp increase in infections is raising fears that the recovery will lose momentum as state and local governments issue lockdown orders and Americans stay home on their own to avoid infection. “For now, the manufacturing sector appears to be weathering another round of virus outbreaks fairly well,? Rubeela Farooqi, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics, wrote in a research note. “However, the outlook is uncertain given targeted restrictions and shutdowns, at home and abroad, could disrupt activity and weigh on demand.? Paul Wiseman, The Associated Press
The Alberta government is hiring an outside contractor to review the reasons for an increase in the number of people receiving benefits from disability programs such as Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped.The $75,000 review will look at AISH, Persons with Developmental Disabilities (PDD) and Family Supports for Children with Disabilities (FSCD). According to the document provided to potential bidders, work was set to start Nov. 30 and wrap up by Dec. 23, though the timeline could be extended by three weeks if required. "The caseloads of programs that serve disabled Albertans are increasing," the document said. "The project will enhance understanding of the external and internal factors that are related to these increases and how government can better align policy, program design and delivery with these factors."The findings of the project will be considered as part of the ongoing requirement to review the efficiency and efficacy of all government programs and will support the province's planning and decision making process."The contractor is expected to suggest "practical and feasible recommendations to improve the financial sustainability of the programs."Community and Social Services Minister Rajan Sawhney was not made available for an interview. In a statement to CBC News, her press secretary Jerry Bellikka said the contract is part of the government's commitment "to review the efficiency and efficacy of all government programs" and "will support the province's planning and decision-making process."He said the successful bidder will be named and a timeline set once the contract is finalized. Marie Renaud, the NDP critic for community and social services, said she was alarmed by the narrow scope of the review, the lack of consultation and the short timeline, particularly in light of comments made by Premier Jason Kenney and his staff in September.After Kenney mused about needing to look at growing case numbers, Matt Wolf, his executive director of issues management, followed up with tweets suggesting thousands of AISH recipients might not meet the definition of being "severely handicapped" because they have anxiety or ADHD. Renaud said she thinks the government is using a tactic it has tried before to justify changes to eligibility requirements. "The evidence we've seen with this government is that a lot of these panels and reviews are really a way to give themselves cover for the next steps that they're going to take," she said.According to the bidding document, the successful proponent will look at internal government data, socio-economic information and past reviews. There is no indication they are expected to hold consultations with people who use the program or their families. Renaud said the programs in question are old and could use a review, but not in the way the government is attempting. She thinks the contractor's findings will be used to justify cuts in the February provincial budget.
MONTREAL — Supremex Inc. says it is closing its Edmonton facility and cutting 39 jobs in a move to reduce costs.The envelope maker says the cuts represent about five per cent of its total workforce.The move is expected to result in annual cost savings of about $2.4 million, before taxes.The company says the savings will begin to materialize in the current quarter and throughout the first three quarters of 2021 as operations wind down in Edmonton. Supremex says it will take a one-time charge of about $2.5 million, before taxes, on its fourth-quarter results.The company operates 13 facilities across six provinces and three facilities in the United States employing a total of about 850 people. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 1, 2020.Companies in this story: (TSX:SXP)The Canadian Press
A city councillor is hopeful Calgary could soon join the ranks of cities with bylaws against harassing women in public places.Ward 7 Coun. Druh Farrell said the City of Calgary has a responsibility to support the well-being and safety of all people in public spaces.So, she'd like to see the city engage with Calgarians on the issue of street harassment and draw up a bylaw to help control it.She said street harassment includes unwelcome comments, gestures and actions forced primarily upon women by people who aren't known to them. Typically, they are sexually charged comments which are disrespectful, alarming or insulting."It's most frequently an attack, a verbal attack on women but it's also against many LGBTQ people," said Farrell."We certainly see that harassment happening in Calgary."Widespread problemShe cites a Statistics Canada report that found one-in-three girls and women were victims of unwanted sexual behaviour in the previous 12 months.Farrell has a motion which will be discussed at council's priorities and finance committee on Tuesday.As per council's screening process, if the motion is properly drafted, it will go on to be discussed at a city council meeting later this month."With all of our bylaws, we look at education first and then establish a social norm. It's not OK to harass strangers on the street," said Farrell.Her motion states that other Canadian cities including Edmonton, Vancouver and London have already passed bylaws to regulate street harassment.> Statements like this from governments essentially saying we hold ourselves accountable for your safety and we're going to work towards it, I think that they make a difference. \- Andrea Silverstone, SagesseThe executive director of the Sagesse Domestic Violence Prevention Society, Andrea Silverstone, said a bylaw is a step toward increasing public safety."Everyone can relate to an experience of feeling harassed or an experience of doing something different to try and experience greater safety on the street because they don't believe that it might exist because of their gender or their sexual identity," said Silverstone.She said street harassment is an example of coercive control which can erode a person's feeling of safety, even if they haven't been hit or threatened.That kind of harassment can make women or targeted people rethink the choices they make about where they go for dinner or where they choose to work because they may feel unsafe. "I think that you can't underestimate just how pervasive a lack of a sense of personal safety is on the streets and how it can actually relate to all aspects of one's life," said Silverstone.From her vantage point, it's important that government realizes it can play a role in helping all citizens feel safer and welcome in public places — a bylaw can be a piece of that puzzle."Statements like this from governments essentially saying we hold ourselves accountable for your safety and we're going to work towards it, I think that they make a difference."Farrell's motion calls on the city to assess Calgary's jurisdiction to draw up a defensible bylaw to address street harassment.If council approves it, there would be a report back to council by administration by the first quarter of 2022.
Gambler First Nation first came to The Brandon Sun’s attention in May. An off-reserve member, Darlene Gerula, sent the Sun an email describing a variety of issues with leadership she believed placed on-reserve members’ lives at risk. Among these concerns was the use of Akwaton multipurpose wipes, the product of a company the leadership at Gambler was hoping to purchase. Health Canada recalled the wipes in late June because the product both expired in 2015 and contained polyhexamethylene guanidine hydrochloride, an ingredient not approved for use in Canada. In the months since Gerula’s email, the Sun has met and spoken numerous times with several Gambler members and heard their stories. This is part two of a three-part series. GAMBLER FIRST NATION — The drive into Gambler First Nation, which is along the Assiniboine River valley approximately two hours northwest of Brandon, unveils a visually idyllic location. Vern Kalmakoff — an off-reserve member and longtime Brandon businessperson — drove this Sun reporter to the reserve. As he approached the heart of one area on the reserve with houses, he pointed out Chief David Ledoux’s "compound," as some Gambler members call it. The large well-kept lot includes two impeccable-looking houses, a shed that looks better than the surrounding homes of Gambler members, and many, many vehicles — several all-terrain vehicles, a motorhome, a pontoon boat and assorted other vehicles — while two horses hang out at the rear. Surrounding the compound are other members’ houses which, upon entry, are practically unliveable. The Sun visited several. Some were unfinished, though clearly older and not new builds. This year was the first since at least 2012 that a new house had been built, according to former Chief Gordon Ledoux and several other Gambler members. In one, the plumbing was in such disrepair, pipes were held up with a laundry detergent bottle. One had zero plumbing, and has not had water for two years. Our first stop was to visit Sean Ledoux, David Ledoux’s brother, where Sean, frail and frightened, showed a video he had taken in February. Sean maintains he is terrorized by his brother. On Aug. 20, Sean received a communication from the income assistance administrator, Tara Tanner. "I am writing this letter to remind you that the house you are living in is not safe and was deemed condemned. You have gotten letters and notices stating this as well. I am asking you to please find another dwelling that is considered safe for you to live in," she wrote. But Sean has nowhere to go. The Gambler First Nation reserve is the only home he knows. "You have been multiple letters from Housing Department, Sims and Company as well as verbal notices from Social," wrote housing manager Dana Tanner on Oct. 28. Sean and his other siblings, the now-deceased former chief Gordon and Roxanne Brass, suggested David wants the house condemned because there are problems with the electrical wiring, which he allegedly installed himself. Sean, as well as several other members, say that duplex was gutted and rebuilt roughly 10 years ago before Sean moved in. General problems appear to be mostly cosmetic — broken windows and the remains of a small fire when Sean was assaulted. The Sun has a January 2017 letter from Manitoba Justice stating: "Please note that we have also advised Gambler First Nation that you should not be responsible for the damage that was done to your home during the criminal incident and that they should be recovering the money from the offender that caused the damage to your property." To this day, the damage to Sean’s home has not been repaired. In the video Sean made, he walks out his front door at Gambler First Nation and pauses at his duplex unit’s neighbouring door. The video records the sound of rushing water behind the padlocked door. Sean trudges, in -40 C weather, to the back of the duplex, demonstrating how he must turn off the water from its source at the water tank, or the water will run out. He trudges back to the front of the duplex, and pauses at the door, padlocked by the band leadership. Silence. He re-enters his own home and turns on his taps. No water. He trudges back to the rear of the duplex, turns on the water supply, trudges back to the front, pausing at the neighbouring door, again. Again, the sound of rushing water. He re-enters his unit and, now, he has water. But he can’t leave the water valve on the tank open because the water for the two units will run out. That’s reason for concern because if the water runs out, there’s no telling when the tank will be refilled. Many houses on the reserve require a water truck to fill water tanks. Sean recorded the whole process a second time. This was the only way, he thought, that he could prove the remarkable and frightening treatment his own brother David visits upon him. And that’s just one story of several. The week of Nov. 16, after two weeks without water delivery, Sean was admitted to hospital for terrible stomach pain. It’s not the first time he has gone without water for long periods of time or the first time he has been admitted to hospital. His former neighbour — his and David’s niece, Lisa Marie Ledoux — has her own story to tell. An off-reserve member of Gambler, Lisa Marie accepted an invitation from David and his wife Rose to work in the community in 2016. She took on the role of National Native Alcohol and Drug Abuse Program worker. She was also offered the duplex unit neighbouring Sean’s. Lisa Marie told the Sun of a toxic work environment, similar to Darlene Gerula’s account. "They were constantly calling me in and reprimanding me and calling me out at meetings and putting me down. They were really horrible with the staff, and I didn’t like it," she said. Lisa Marie said she also didn’t like how the trio — which includes Coun. Kellie Ledoux, David’s daughter — treated members, and what they were doing as leaders in the community. She reported them to Canadian Accreditation Council. She said there was an investigation, but no followup. "That made them retaliate even more," she said. "They started putting restrictions on my programs until I couldn’t run them. When I finally left, if I ran a program, they had to be there overseeing, and nobody wanted to be around them. So nobody would come. They weren’t letting us spend our program dollars on the programs. They cut all the programs. I don’t know what they were doing with the money if they’re not spending it on the programs." The Sun sent questions to the accreditation council to learn whether a former Gambler staff member made reports about alleged issues related to programming and programming dollars. We asked if the Canadian Accreditation Council received such reports, and whether an investigation was carried out and, if yes, what was the outcome. We also asked if an accreditation staff member named Nadine Lafferty heard the chief’s wife, Rose Ledoux, state outright that she moved money out of Jordan’s Principle funds and used those funds in unrelated areas. "In following with CAC’s processes, we were satisfied that Gambler First Nation Health Centre was meeting the requirements of the standards and was following what was in the purview of CAC’s accreditation during their accreditation," stated chief operations officer Amanda Ellis. "As per our agreement with Gambler First Nation Health Centre, we are bound by confidentiality for any other matter and therefore cannot speak to anything other than their current accreditation status. They are currently in the process of accreditation." Asked whether there is an on-site visit related to use of funds, board member Cheryl Whiskeyjack stated by email: "There is an onsite. We don’t assess the use of funds however." Lisa Marie quit her position in May 2018, and collected employment insurance until finding a job in Brandon. Meanwhile, at home, she and her uncle Sean would go a week at a time without water. Being without water was the last straw for Lisa Marie. "I can’t live like this. I need water. I need to use the bathroom. I need to wash my dishes. I need to clean my house and shower. It just got to be too much," she said. During her absence from the reserve, the leadership padlocked her door with its own lock, while her belongings were still on the premises. A new housing agreement states that if a member is going off reserve for more than five days, they must notify the band. Lisa Marie saw Sean’s video, which he posted to Facebook, and thought her place was flooding because of a broken pipe. She had friends and family help her break the padlock. "I didn’t want to go there alone. I knew that they (David, Rose and Kellie) would give me trouble. All the taps are on and they were running, and that’s why he (Sean) kept running out of water and it sounded like it was flooding." Kalmakoff said two RCMP cars, with two officers in each, were there in a flash, within 20 minutes. "With sirens going," said Brass. RCMP charged Sean with breaking and entering — one of several acts he believes are intended to intimidate him to leave his unit, he said. An Oct. 21 court date was cancelled due to weather, but he said he has been pressured by RCMP multiple times to admit his guilt. He also said he was told he had to attend a meeting at a church to "take responsibility for his actions." Lisa Marie said she called the RCMP Feb. 26, the day after her uncle was charged, to tell them she was entirely responsible. "I did it," she said. "It was my place." She left that message with one officer at the Russell detachment. She was told she would get a call back. She never did. She tried calling several more times, but the officer she needed to speak with was never in. The RCMP have a different perspective. "Russell RCMP has fully investigated the matter to which you refer. In no way do RCMP officers try to influence the outcome of an investigation. It is our job to gather evidence and follow where that leads. When we have gathered enough evidence to determine what happened, we provide our findings to the Crown," stated Manitoba RCMP media relations officer Tara Seel by email on Nov. 26. "You have been provided a lot of information that we, as law enforcement, cannot speak to directly for several reasons: the Privacy Act, the case is before the courts, investigative process, to name a few. However, we do feel the need to provide some clarity on a few points that you mentioned. We cannot provide names of complainants or those involved in an investigation who are not charged with an Information sworn before a court of law." Seel stated RCMP received a complaint on Feb. 25 from the band’s bylaw officer, who personally witnessed the event in progress. "Several witnesses from the community also contacted investigators and corroborated this information, having also seen the event personally. Names of those seen committing the act were provided to investigators. We cannot provide you with names of everyone we spoke to concerning this matter, but we can confirm many people were spoken to throughout this investigation," Seel stated. Darlene Gerula and her husband, Greg Wakin — a retired Winnipeg Police Service officer — dispute the RCMP statement. They say Gambler does not have a bylaw officer. Gerula said Harlene Swain, who was the housing manager at the time, witnessed the event. "You refer to a restorative justice meeting that was scheduled and did not take place. I can confirm that is the case," Seel further stated. "However, for several reasons, including COVID-19, that meeting was cancelled. Restorative justice often needs people to come face-to-face as part of the process, and this is just not the time for those types of gatherings. I will add that since then, no other restorative justice meetings with the Russell RCMP have taken place for any investigation." Wakin said he spoke with Michelle Funk, a restorative justice facilitator with the John Howard Society, after Sean asked Wakin to represent him. "She said, I’ve been trying to get information on this case and I can’t get anything. There’s something fishy going on. And I told her that Sean’s in the dark, the RCMP have been harassing him, telling him they’re going to pick him up and telling him to say that you’re sorry, you did this, and you are guilty of it," Wakin said. Wakin told her Sean was not guilty of anything, but police keep coming to his door and harassing him. According to Wakin, Funk told him she would look into it. "We talked after that and she said that she was going to cancel everything, because I said, number one, Sean doesn’t want to go to this. He’s not going to plead guilty, and he didn’t commit this offence. So he doesn’t want to go, he doesn’t want to be harassed anymore." Wakin said he told Funk he hoped the RCMP were not going to go to Sean’s door in future. According to Wakin, Funk said she would make sure that didn’t happen anymore. "And she did everything. She did all that and that was the end of it. It wasn’t cancelled because it COVID. It was cancelled because of the way the RCMP handled it," Wakin said. When The Sun reached Funk by phone, she denied knowledge of the matter, including the people involved. "I do not know what you’re referring to," she said. "I cannot confirm or deny anything, she added when asked if she had spoken to Wakin. "I am unable to talk about my work in this capacity." Wakin maintains Harlene Swain, Gambler’s housing manager at the time, stirred up the issue. "She saw people in front of the house, but there was no offence. The homeowner was there trying to get into her own suite, to get her property and get access to her suite. So, whatever you saw, wasn’t a break and enter. It was the owner of the suite trying to get access to it. It’s just so ridiculous. It’s gone so far for nothing. There was no offence. There was no criminal intent," Wakin said. Lisa Marie has also tried to remove her name from the address at the reserve with Manitoba Hydro, to no avail. To this day, she receives Hydro bills for her side of the duplex unit. The Sun has a photo of the October bill. The relationship between the RCMP and the First Nation is unclear, as is the relationship between the band and Manitoba Hydro. When the Sun was asking questions of the RCMP in October related to Gambler, as well as David and his close family, we received a call from the policing organization. On that call, concern was expressed that the Sun was targeting David, who sits on the Prairie Mountain RCMP’s Safer Communities Committee. The RCMP did confirm, however, that a report was made to them concerning allegations related to sexual and physical abuse at Gambler. The question posed involved the Ledoux family members — David, Rose and Kellie. "However, for privacy reasons, we will not confirm who made the report or who these allegations are related to as these allegations are still being investigated and remain allegations at this point," stated Seel. Ronnie Ducharme, who hasn’t had water at his house for two years, also has Manitoba Hydro issues. While he was away at Brandon University, the leadership tried to take his house, he said. Roxanne Brass, David’s sister, was present when Ducharme spoke with the Sun. She said this allegation is truthful, but that the members of Gambler who were offered the house declined the offer to take over the home. "They (band members) won’t do it because they won’t do that to him (Ronnie)," Brass said. This report of attempts of a house being seized is supported by other similar reports, based on interviews with the Sun. "I had no control over my electrical, my power, and they racked it up. I was a student, and they didn’t pay the bill. I had no control over my hydro bill because they were in charge of it. They sent me the bill afterwards. But they paid that off now, they cleared that up — after I argued over it," Ducharme said. During that time, however, the housing manager sent him a letter dated Dec. 31, 2019. "The band will be removing the transformer from the pole, therefore there will be no Hydro at this location. I will inform you of when this will be taking place and you will have 7 days to remove your personal belongings from the property," Gambler’s then housing manager Harlene Swain stated. The Sun sought clarification via email from Manitoba Hydro. Manitoba Hydro stated, "as this appears to be a matter between the band and one of its members. Manitoba Hydro is not in a position to comment." A further question about which entity the transformers belong to has gone unanswered. Questions about Lisa Marie’s billing situation also went unanswered. Part three of this series on Gambler First Nation will appear in the Sun later this week.Michèle LeTourneau, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brandon Sun