A Saint John housing group has jumped into the city's red hot market for apartment buildings to preserve some lower- cost units for renters.But Rehabitat Inc. warns more has to be done by government to protect tenants and keep neighbourhoods affordable for all groups."Diversity is absolutely essential to a healthy community," said Kit Hickey, executive director of Rehabitat."There is room for all of us."Rehabitat, a private non-profit organization, owns and manages affordable housing units in Saint John.Two weeks ago the organization responded to an apartment building buying spree underway in the city by both local and national investors by stepping into the market itself and snapping up a 12-unit building in the Saint John neighbourhood of Millidgeville.Group pays 54% above property's assessed valueThe group had to pay $780,000 for the building on Lauder Court to compete with prices private buyers have been paying, 54 per cent above the property's assessed value.But Hickey said it had to be done."We thought that it was important that we do our absolute best to acquire the building," said Hickey "We've become increasingly concerned about the lack of affordable housing for the modest income population. We, as others have seen in the recent headlines, [see] properties being purchased, renovated and the rents increasing exponentially." Properties have been in high demand all over New Brunswick this year and that has been driving up prices, especially since late spring. According to provincial government tax records $1.28 billion worth of real-estate sold in the province in June, July and August this year.That's $250 million more than the same three months last year and 36 per cent above what the province had been projecting.Investors buying across CanadaIncluded in that shopping frenzy were more than 100 apartment buildings purchased by investors from across the country. Often prices that buyers paid were substantially above "market value," as set by provincial government property assessors.That has not been a problem for some tenants who have experienced a seamless change in ownership so far.But others haven't been so lucky.Earlier this fall, Moncton's William Morissette was given notice of a 61 per cent rent hike at his apartment.He received a letter on Oct. 1 letting him know his rent would be going up by $460 a month starting Jan. 1.Others, like tenants at 332 Sherbrooke St. in Saint John, were given notice to vacate by new owners by the end of January so renovations on their apartments could be carried out and ultimately rents increased.Province wants to prevent 'ripple' in economy The province has expressed concern about landlords forcing renters to move out during the current surge in COVID-19 cases in southern New Brunswick but has been reluctant to ban the practice and disturb the flow of investment."We want to make sure we don't cause any ripple within the economy or within the whole housing market," Social Development Minister Bruce Fitch said last week about why the province would not temporarily ban the eviction of tenants during the pandemic.All three opposition parties have been pushing against that position.But Hickey believes much more effort is needed on the larger problem of maintaining affordable housing in neighbourhoods, where real-estate prices and rents have been escalating "Many families are facing economic evictions," said Hickey. She said new housing units coming on the market are priced well-above the affordability range for modest income individuals or families."The options are very limited for modest income households."
A Peel police officer faces multiple charges after allegedly leaving three prohibited firearm magazines in the trunk of a police cruiser.Police announced the constable had been charged on Tuesday, but revealed few other details.They said the officer, an eight-year veteran, was investigated by the force's professional standards bureau for 14 months. "The officer reported off duty leaving behind three prohibited firearm magazines loaded with ammunition in the trunk of the police cruiser that he was operating," a news release said.The magazines were not work issued. The officer faces three counts of unauthorized possession of a prohibited device, three counts of careless storage of a prohibited device and one count of careless storage of ammunition.Police say the officer is set to answer to the criminal charges on Jan. 4, 2021, and that a Police Services Act investigation will follow that.
Shawn Mendes, “Wonder” (Island)On his 14-track fourth album, Shawn Mendes is airy, grand, intense and rapturous. It is the sound of a man totally and hopelessly in love.Adoration is baked into “Wonder,” from the almost religious-sounding title track as Mendes sings “I wonder what it’s like to be loved by you," to the last song, where, with a voice shaking with emotion, he sings over acoustic guitar: ”I can’t imagine what a world would be without you." The album's cover captures Mendes ecstatic, floating in waves.Though she is mentioned only once — in the liner notes, thanked right after his family — it's not hard to find the source of this ardour: Mendes’ longtime romantic and quarantine partner, singer Camila Cabello. Whatever happens to this couple in the future, she has inspired a hopelessly romantic set.“Teach Me How to Love” flirts with ’80s disco (with Anderson .Paak on drums) and “305” (the area code to Cabello's Miami) is a candy-colored piece of '60s doo-wop in which Mendes sings to his lover, “If there’s a door to heaven, baby you’re the key.” The lovers are finding a new home to share in “24 Hours” — “It’s a little soon but I wanna come home to you,” he sings.Mendes' falsetto soars with pure glee atop a pillow of strings on the standout “Look Up at the Stars” (where Mendes sings “the universe is ours” in a Coldplay “Yellow” way) and “Always Been You” is both soaring and triumphant. This is music you’d hear in a mall in heaven.The only tune that veers out of the love zone is Mendes’ duet with Justin Bieber, “Monster,” an outstanding moody banger about how early fame messes with you, sung by a rising heartthrob singer-songwriter and an established one.In-demand producer Kid Harpoon, who took Harry Stiles to new heights on “Fine Line,” is all over this gooey album. There's little of the urgency Mendes has shown before — no “There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back” or ”In My Blood" — and “Wonder” is sometimes hard to take during extended plays — especially its pointless intro — but to find fault with it is to find fault with love itself.___Mark Kennedy is at http://twitter.com/KennedyTwitsMark Kennedy, The Associated Press
The proposal to have the former Capital Pointe site be a temporary parking lot for one year has been approved.Regina's new city council voted 6-5 in favour of the proposal. A developer has said it is interested in purchasing the land if it had approval to use it as a parking lot for a one-year term.The city is owed $2.8 million from the property. Councillors Landon Mohl, Jason Mancinelli, Terina Shaw, John Findura and Lori Bresciani voted in favour, along with Mayor Sandra Masters. "I feel that I need to put a little bit of a trust going forward," Findura said. "I would like to see it move forward, get out of that hole." Councillors Andrew Stevens, Bob Hawkins, Cheryl Stadnichuk, Shanon Zachidniak and Daniel LeBlanc voted against the proposal."I think it's a mistake, frankly," Stevens said. "There was such promise with that corner. It really fell short and went from a hole to a buried hole now to a parking lot. And I'm not sure what's worse from a planning perspective. There was absolutely no reason to approve this." Masters said that the city is not in the business of commercial real estate development."I have a bigger fear that if we don't provide what assistance we can in terms of facilitating a sale, that we end up ... we can end up with possession of it for years," Masters said. It was the first time the new council was together. It approved a new meeting schedule and will now meet twice a month instead of once a month. Councillor Lori Bresciani is in her second term. She said from her view, the first meeting went smoothly."Of course, there's the procedural things that take a little bit of time. But I thought overall it was very, very well done," Bresciani said. "Mayor Masters did a great job and actually all of councillors spoke. So I think, again, very inclusive. And at the end of the day, that's what we want."New wellness committee, no more mandatory written statements for delegatesCity council also created a new community wellness committee. The committee will discuss housing, poverty reduction, mental and physical wellness, addiction, discrimination and other social determinants of health and crime. Masters said this is more important than ever during the COVID-19 pandemic and that the city needs to support those combating the increasing number of overdoses. "The city needs to continue to support the services that are providing the [naloxone] kits and arriving on scene for the overdoses," Masters said. She said the city also needs to build relationships with different levels of government for funding initiatives. Masters said a safe consumption site is one of the options the committee could look into. She said she's interested in hearing from Prairie Harm Reduction about the one in Saskatoon."As well as looking at other best practices in other communities for the success stories that they've had or perhaps mistakes that have been made or learned lessons," she said. Stevens said the creation of the committee is symbolic right now and hopes it shows commitment to these issues. "I think what's really exciting about this new council and mayor is that everybody's talking about addictions, social determinants of health and community well-being," Stevens said.Also during the meeting, city council debated the mandatory written statements that previously had to be provided by people hoping to address the councillors.Councillor Stevens brought forward an amendment and said he has worked with people with intellectual disability who have trouble with the written requirement. People did not have to read their written statement verbatim. The idea passed with only Councillor Shaw opposed. Now people wanting to speak to the council will need to tell city administration in advance and will be encouraged to provide a written submission so the city administration can prepare answers, but the written submission is not a requirement. Both the priorities and planning committee and the finance and administration committee were cut, with their responsibilities transferred to the executive committee. The community and protective services committee and the public works and infrastructure committee also merged into a new operations and community services committee.
This December rain in Charlottetown is feeling more like late summer than Christmas.Charlottetown recorded a record temperature early Wednesday morning, beating the mark hit in 1985."The record high today is 10.4, and we are at 13 degrees," said CBC meteorologist Tina Simpkin said at 6 a.m..Early morning temperatures peaked at 14.3 C at Charlottetown Airport at 4 a.m.The temperature will fall only a little over the course of the day, said Simpkin, holding steady around 12 C for much of the afternoon. Overnight the temperature will drop to about 3 C.Tuesday was almost as warm, topping out at 14.0 C, but that was well short of the 1927 record of 16.7 C.While weekend temperatures will be cooler, they will remain a few degrees above the average high of 2.5 C.More from CBC P.E.I.
MONTREAL — National Bank of Canada topped expectations as it reported a fourth-quarter profit of $492 million.The Montreal-based bank says its profit for the quarter ended Oct. 31 amounted to $1.36 per diluted share, down from a profit of $604 million or $1.67 per diluted share a year ago.Revenue totalled $2 billion in the quarter, up from $1.91 billion in the same quarter last year.Provisions for credit losses in the quarter were $110 million, up from $89 million a year ago.On an adjusted basis, National Bank says it earned $1.69 per diluted share for the quarter, in line with its result a year ago.Analysts on average had expected an adjusted profit of $1.52 per share, according to financial data firm Refinitiv.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 2, 2020.Companies in this story: (TSX:NA)The Canadian Press
BUDAPEST, Hungary — The head of the European Parliament delegation representing Hungary’s ruling party is being targeted for expulsion from his political group in the European Union legislature after comparing the group's leader to the gestapo. Members of the European People’s Party have called for a vote on expelling Tamas Deutsch, the head of the Hungarian delegation to the centre-right group. Deutsch is a founding member of Hungary’s right-wing ruling party, Fidesz, which belongs to the European People's Party. In a Monday letter addressed to the leader of the EPP in the European Parliament, Manfred Weber, and delivered to all group members, EU lawmakers referenced their “growing dismay and impatience (with the) increasing radicalization and verbal abuses of certain Fidesz MEPs." The signatories demanded that a vote on Deutsch’s expulsion be held at the group’s next meeting on Dec. 9. Weber, who represents Germany, has been critical of Hungary and Poland’s decision to veto passage of the EU’s next seven-year budget and coronavirus recovery fund, which the two countries oppose due to a so-called rule of law mechanism which would link payment of EU funds to countries’ adherence to democratic standards. Weber had called the veto “irresponsible,” and said if media freedom and judicial independence were upheld in Hungary, the country's leaders had no reason to fear the rule of law mechanism. Deutsch told two Hungarian news outlets last week that Weber’s comments were reminiscent “of the Gestapo and (Hungary’s communist-era secret police) the AVH.” In the letter demanding a vote on Deutsch’s expulsion, EPP lawmakers called his remarks “shocking and shameful.” “Comparing our support for the rule of law with Gestapo or Stalinist methods is an insult to all of us in the EPP group,” the letter reads. Deutsch told pro-government newspaper Magyar Nemzet on Tuesday that the effort to oust him from the EPP was proof that Hungary must “use all means” to prohibit adoption of the rule of law mechanism. The Hungarian delegation to the European People's Party also is facing fallout from the news that another senior lawmaker had attended an illegal lockdown party in Brussels. Fidesz MEP Jozsef Szajer resigned Sunday after police broke up a party that media reports described as a sex orgy. The EPP suspended Fidesz’s membership in 2019 over concerns that it was eroding the rule of law in Hungary and engaging in anti-Brussels rhetoric. In a weekend interview with Belgian newspaper De Standaard, Weber said the EPP would have already made a decision on expelling Fidesz from the group were it not for the coronavirus pandemic. A spokesperson for the EPP confirmed to The Associated Press that Weber had received the letter, and said that it would be up to the EPP’s presidency when to hold a vote on Deutsch’s exclusion. Justin Spike, The Associated Press
OHSWEKEN, Ont. — Provincial police are assisting Six Nations Police Service with a homicide investigation on Six Nations territory just east of Brantford. Six Nations police say the shooting on a driveway in front of a home was reported Tuesday evening. A 27-year-old man died of a gunshot wound. Provincial police say two suspects who were known to the victim left before police arrived, and Six Nations police say there is no apparent danger to the public. An autopsy has been ordered and will be conducted in Toronto. Investigators ask anyone with information about the shooting to contact them. This report by The Canadian Press was first reported Dec. 2, 2020. The Canadian Press
Brown paper packages, white plastic envelopes and large cardboard boxes are spilling beyond the confines of mailrooms and storage rooms at residential buildings throughout the Lower Mainland. With more people turning to online shopping since the beginning of the pandemic, and the year's biggest shopping events clustered within these final weeks of the year, one building manager says the volume of deliveries is presenting new challenges. "Generally most buildings have seen about 100 per cent increase in packages this year alone since the COVID-19 pandemic started," said Matthew Scott, an area manager with FirstService Residential, which manages more than 400 buildings in the Lower Mainland. Some buildings are receiving 70 to 100 packages a day and Scott expects that number will only go up with deliveries from Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Christmas still to come. Scott says front-desk staff in the buildings have learned to be efficient, but processing each package still takes a few minutes. The packages have to be entered into a computer system, which tracks them and notifies residents that their deliveries have arrived. This is done on top of everything else staff have to manage, including approving visitors and overseeing tradespeople."You've got the daily machinations of running a building going on: people looking for trades, people being locked out, people moving, you know, all those other things going on, you need to get these packages out of the way," he said. He says some buildings were receiving so many packages their strata councils decided the concierge would no longer accept parcels, while others put restrictions on the size and weight of packages they will accept.Some higher-end buildings that had the budget decided to hire a dedicated staff person just to handle deliveries."That's all the person does, is receive packages and be prepared to hand them out," said Scott. Canada Post is expecting a significant increase in parcel volumes this holiday season. As a result, it's hiring 4,000 more temporary seasonal employees and adding 1,000 vehicles to its fleet.It's advising people to shop early for their own peace of mind as well as to help retailers, delivery companies, and Canada Post deliver the packages in time. As for how residents can help front-desk staff with the mountain of online shopping packages, Scott advises picking up parcels as soon as possible."Residents can be really helpful with us if they can collect their packages as soon as they get the notification or within 24 hours. You know, that just allows us to free up that space a little bit more."
Newer SUVs and trucks with key fobs top the list of the most often stolen vehicles in Canada, the Insurance Bureau of Canada said Wednesday.The group that represents insurance companies across the country said theft from your own driveway using widely available electronic tools is on the rise across the country, as thieves respond to demand from high-end buyers overseas and street racers here at home.The four-door 2018 Honda CRV with all-wheel drive holds the ignominious title of being the most stolen vehicle in Canada this year, with 350 thefts reported by insurers across the country — nearly one per day. When the 2017 and 2019 models are included in the tally, there were 758 stolen — that's more than two per day.Here's the rest of the list:There is wide variety across the country, too. In Alberta, all of the most-stolen vehicles are versions of pickup trucks: F150s and F350s from Ford, and Dodge Rams."These trucks are attractive to thieves, and oil and gas companies have used them almost exclusively, which has brought a disproportionately high amount of them to the province," the IBC said.In Ontario, however, the list is mostly high-end SUVs from Toyota, Honda and Lexus. Some of those get sold abroad, but many are chopped up for parts, the IBC said. Atlantic Canada had a mix of both, with popular sedans such as the Honda Accord and Chevrolet Cruz mixed in. The most stolen vehicle in Atlantic Canada was the Chevrolet Silverado, which is typically targeted for export by criminal groups.Drivers often worry about something like their window being smashed and their car being stolen that way. But cheap and plentiful tech tools make it far easier to steal a car today. Bryan Gast, national director of investigative services at IBC, said in an interview with CBC News that the biggest trend he's seeing this year is what's known as a "relay attack.""That means they're acquiring your signal from your key fob, cloning your key fob and [then] have the ability to start your vehicle without ever having the original key fob," he said."It's as simple as walking to your front door, seeing if they're able to capture a signal of a key fob that might be inside. They don't go anywhere in your house. They're capturing it from the outside. And they have the ability to technologically clone the device and have the ability to start your car and drive off."New tech 'makes it easy for the criminal'The best tool to fight electronic theft, Gast says, is to not do what most people do — come into their house and leave their keys in a bowl or some other exposed place, just behind the front door. He recommends instead getting a metallic box for the car keys, one that blocks radio frequencies."If you put it in a box, it doesn't emit the radio frequency. Basically, it is in a protective box or a pouch and [criminals] don't have the ability to capture that key fob signal."Cars manufactured since 2008 have mandated some sort of car-immobilizing technology built into them that makes the car not start unless you have the right technologically equipped key, and that has changed the trends in car theft ever since, Gast says. "A lot of the time, as people leave the key fobs in their vehicle, that's where they keep it. They make it easy to hop in, push the button to start and off they go. But it also makes it easy for the criminal, too."There's another built-in vulnerability in something many drivers do as a precaution: when in a parking lot, they double-check their car is locked by hitting the key fob.But a thief in the area with the right technology can clone the fob from that."You're emitting that frequency, which can also be captured," Gast said.A lot of the most-stolen vehicles are higher-end, expensive and large cars that can be hard to acquire outside North America, which is why Gast says a big motivator for theft isn't a criminal looking for a joy ride or to sell it locally. The thief often has a specific request for a specific vehicle and then sets about finding it.Convenient technology is just making it easier, such that currently, a car is stolen somewhere in Canada every six minutes.Theft on the rise in COVIDWhile COVID-19 has led to more cars being parked due to people working from home, it has also led to an increase in one type of car theft, Gast says. Namely, people looking for specific parts and vehicles to be used in street racing events and other reckless driving behaviour."The problem is stealing parts for some of these modified vehicles in the vehicles themselves," he said. "Law enforcement definitely has their hands full."
Transit users won't be able to use a credit card or debit card at fare gates for a second day as TransLink investigates suspicious activity on its online network.The transit authority said Wednesday morning that some of its online services are still down after it disabled them Tuesday "out of an abundance of caution."It said "suspicious network activity" affected some of its information technology systems Tuesday morning. Riders also won't be able to use their credit or debit card at Compass Card vending machines during the outage.TransLink says riders can still use cash at vending machines and will have staff on site to help customers with trouble buying fares. The transit provider says stored value may take longer than usual to load onto a Compass Card. It has also disabled its Trip Planner tool and says riders can use Google Trip Planner in the meantime."We apologize to our customers for this inconvenience," the company said in a statement. TransLink says all other transit services are operating regularly.
Whale sharks are aptly named because they are the biggest shark species in the ocean. They are the biggest fish, and they are second in size only to a few species of whale, which are all mammals. They are gentle giants that can reach lengths of almost 17m (55 feet) and have been estimated at a weight of up to 45,000kg (100,000lbs). Despite their enormity, they pose no threat to humans and they have no intent or ability to hurt one, unless somebody was foolish enough to swim too close to the gigantic tail. When threatened, they simply outswim their adversary, or dive too deep to be pursued. Their food consists almost exclusively of tiny fish, krill, plankton, and fish eggs. They have no teeth and are incapable of biting a person. Instead, they filter water over large combs, like whales, and then it passes out the gills as the food remains inside the mouth to be swallowed. These scuba divers are studying the whale sharks in the Galapagos Islands. The videographer has followed a large, pregnant female as she casually drifts past on the ocean current. A second female appears to the left, on a collision course with the first. Like a freight train in motion, the whale sharks are much too enormous to stop suddenly. The change in fin position and body position suggests that the first whale shark is slowing as much as possible. The second whale shark passes underneath and arcs up in what appears to be an intentional contact. She then wiggles and seems to enjoy a little back scratch on the underbelly of the first whale shark. This is a very rare sight and the seasoned scuba divers are clearly excited. We can hear underwater shouts and delighted laughter as they exchange shocked looks. The diver with the video camera turns it on himself to record his own wonder and disbelief. He tries to for an "OK" sign with his hand but the fact that he is holding a Covid mask (to be worn in preparation for his return to the dive boat) prevents him from doing so and he tries for "number 1" sign instead. Whale sharks are a wondrous sight to behold, even from a distance, but to be in the presence of one, or even two, when they are almost close enough to touch is a life changing experience.
WASHINGTON — The Latest on President-elect Joe Biden (all times local):9:25 a.m.President-elect Joe Biden says he won’t immediately lift tariffs placed by President Donald Trump on many imports from China or break Trump’s initial trade deal.Biden says he wants to maximize his leverage in future talks with the United States' geopolitical rival.Speaking to New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, Biden said, “I’m not going to make any immediate moves, and the same applies to the tariffs.” Biden adds in Friedman's column published Wednesday: “I’m not going to prejudice my options.”Under Trump, the U.S. and China engaged in a yearlong trade war that has been largely frozen since a Phase One deal was reached in January. While some industries have benefited from Trump’s protectionist policies, the policies have been largely panned by the business community and most experts — and most of the cost of tariffs has been borne by American businesses and consumers.Biden tells Friedman an early priority after his January swearing-in will be to restore relationships with allies to strengthen his negotiating position with China. Biden says key to talks with China is “leverage” and in his view "we don’t have it yet.”___HERE'S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT PRESIDENT-ELECT JOE BIDEN'S TRANSITION TO THE WHITE HOUSE:President-elect Joe Biden’s Cabinet picks are quickly running into the political reality of a narrowly controlled Senate that will leave the new Democratic administration dependent on rival Republicans to get anything done.Read more:— Ron Klain brings decades of DC experience to Biden White House— Trump threatens defence veto over social media protections— Disputing Trump, Barr says no widespread election fraud— Senate GOP leader sticking with partisan COVID-19 relief planThe Associated Press
THUNDER BAY — A 26-year-old man facing a murder charge has been sentenced for his role in an unrelated, unprovoked attack of another inmate at the Thunder Bay District jail more than a year ago. Darren Steven Oombash, 26, appeared in a Thunder Bay Zoom courtroom on Monday, Nov. 30, and pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated assault for his part in an assault of another inmate. Ontario Judge Chantal M. Brochu accepted a joint submission for Oombash of two years less a day minus pre-sentence custody. Crown counsel Katrina van Kessel read out facts relating to the Sept. 21, 2019 assault at the district jail involving Oombash and five others where they attacked another inmate who suffers from schizophrenia and mild intellectual impairments, court heard on Monday. “This was brutal, unprovoked six-on-one attack on a vulnerable person,” van Kessel, said, adding the victim still suffers from long term damage to his vision as a result of the attack. Court heard the complainant suffered several injuries after he was dragged out of his cell by Oombash’s co-accused, Jonathan Yellowhead into a corridor area of the jail where he was beaten by six other individuals to the point where he lost consciousness. The entire incident was captured on surveillance video at the jail. Some of his injuries included a concussion, a fractured and displaced orbital bone with hemorrhaging in his sinus which required surgery, a dislocated jaw, swelling, bruising and abrasions to his face. His left eye was also swollen shut. “At the time of his discharge from hospital on Sept. 27, 2019, swelling to his face was still so significant that the injury to his eye could not be assessed,” van Kessel said, adding the complainant has no memory of the attack. Court heard a few mitigating factors laid out by lawyers including Oombash’s limited criminal record which includes two convictions, one for mischief and one for resisting police. His guilty plea was also considered mitigating as it showed a sign of remorse. Defence counsel Mary Bird gave the court a brief background of Oombash's upbringing. He moved to Thunder Bay from Cat Lake First Nation to attend high school. “Unfortunately like many young people who end up in the city, they often end up without employment, without a place to stay and unfortunately he got himself into a little bit of trouble,” Bird said. The lawyer also highlighted Oombash’s parents and both sets of grandparents attended residential schools. Bird also said her client started drinking at the age of 13. “It has become part of his lifestyle unfortunately and certainly led him to be in custody and obviously he wasn’t intoxicated this day, but it has been an issue for him,” she said. Some of the others involved in the attack have already been sentenced according to court documents. Lennox Oren Atlookan was given a three-year jail sentence on July 23 and Brolin Ian Donald Ooshag was sentenced in June to a total of 540 days in custody. Both men received weapon prohibitions orders. Travis Jacob Loon, John Thomas O’Keese and Johnathon Joseph Yellowhead will appear in court next on these charges on Dec. 18. Oombash was also given a 10-year weapons prohibition order and is not to communicate with the victim. He was given credit at an enhanced rate for the time he spent in pre-sentence custody of 653 days which leaves 76 days left to serve. Oombash remains in custody for other outstanding matters including a charge of murder where he is co-accused with Marlene Lou Kwandibens and Terry Nicole Irene Michon. All three are charged with first-degree murder in connection with the 2018 death of Ashley McKay. All three co-accused have had their murder charge committed to stand trial in Superior Court and will appear in court next on Dec. 14 for a pre-trial, according to court documents. There is a publication ban on these matters.Karen Edwards, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Thunder Bay Source
Hanover Deputy Mayor Selwyn Hicks has been elected as Grey County's warden for 2021. “I believe that my credentials speak for themselves. I'm an early riser with a strong work ethic and I have the capacity to build relationships that promote progress,” Hicks said while addressing county councillors during the virtual inauguration session held Tuesday afternoon. The position of warden is voted on by fellow county council members and holds a one-year term. Hicks was nominated for the position by Southgate Deputy Mayor Brian Milne and seconded by Meaford Mayor Barb Clumpus. Hicks was born in South American country of Guyana and moved to Toronto when he was nine. He moved to Hanover in 2003 and he entered politics in 2006, serving as a councillor from 2006 to 2014 and then as deputy-mayor since 2015. Hicks served as warden of Grey County in 2019. He is a lawyer by trade with offices in Hanover and Walkerton, which he operates with his wife of 24 years, Barbara. They have four children: Selwyn IV, Rylee, Connor, and Chloe. At Tuesday’s meeting, Hicks defeated current Grey County Warden Paul McQueen, who is the mayor of Grey Highlands. In the coming months, Hicks says he plans to meet with each lower-tier council representative to build relationships and seek out priorities. “I will also immediately reach out to our provincial and federal representatives to schedule a minimum of one formal meeting each quarter to build relationships and plan how we can work together to address important priorities for the people of Grey County,” he said. “I'm also now a member of the Western Ontario Wardens Caucus," Hicks added. "I have strong relationships from my first year as warden and I plan to continue to build those relationships.” For the coming year, Hicks said he would like to focus on affordable housing, rural broadband programs, and regional transportation. “We've got a number of things on the go. We're still in a COVID environment and we have to figure out how we pull out of this thing together, how to keep people safe, keep our good track record in public health, and take care of our seniors,” he added.Jennifer Golletz, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, CollingwoodToday.ca
LOS ANGELES — Native American tribes and advocates are condemning “Big Sky,” a Montana-set ABC drama, for ignoring the history of violence inflicted on Indigenous women and instead making whites the crime victims.They also have assailed the network and the show's producers for failing to respond to their complaints, which they first made known in a Nov. 17 letter. On Tuesday, the makers of “Big Sky” broke their silence.“After meaningful conversations with representatives of the Indigenous community, our eyes have been opened to the outsized number of Native American and Indigenous women who go missing and are murdered each year, a sad and shocking fact," the executive producers said in a statement to The Associated Press.“We are grateful for this education and are working with Indigenous groups to help bring attention to this important issue,” according to the statement. The producers include David E. Kelley ("Big Little Lies," “The Undoing”) and novelist C.J. Box, whose 2013 book “The Highway” was adapted for the series.Created by Kelley, “Big Sky” stars Katheryn Winnick and Kylie Bunbury as private detectives searching for two white sisters on a road trip who go missing and turn out to be part of a pattern of abductions.With a disproportionate number of American Indians among Montana’s missing and murdered girls and women, the fictional approach represents “at best, cultural insensitivity, and at worst, appropriation,” said the signers, including the Rocky Mountain Tribal Leaders Council that represents all of Montana’s tribal nations.“I’m not at all surprised that they’re doing this because Hollywood’s been appropriating our trauma and our lived experience for years and years and years,” said Georgina Lightning, an actor and longtime activist. “And we’ve always cried about it. We’ve always called it out. But nobody ever cared. Nobody ever listened and nobody cared.”In the November letter, ABC was asked to consider adding an on-screen message steering viewers to information about the entrenched peril facing Indigenous women in North America. They cited “Somebody's Daughter,” a documentary detailing the murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls crisis, as it's known to those fighting the scourge.“This is such an easy fix for ABC to make,” the film's director, Rain, said in a statement. “Indigenous leaders are reaching out to ally and inform, to open a dialogue. They’re not asking for ‘Big Sky’ to be taken off the air,” he said, but instead be used to inform.When no response was forthcoming, the coalition took its effort public and enlisted support from other tribal organizations, including Canada’s Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs and the Great Plains Tribal Chairmen's Association.“Two-thirds of this country doesn’t even know that Native Americans still exist," said Tom Rodgers, president of the Global Indigenous Council and a co-signer of the letter to ABC. “We thought, what a teachable moment.”In response to the producers' statement, a skeptical Rodgers said Tuesday he hadn't heard from anyone connected with the show and called for further details, including which Indigenous partners were being consulted.While more than 5,000 Indigenous women were reported missing in 2016 in the U.S., reporting by The Associated Press has shown the number is difficult to determine because some cases go unreported, others aren’t well-documented, and a comprehensive government database to track the cases is lacking.Advocates, including some lawmakers representing Native Americans, also link the long-standing problem to inadequate resources, indifference and a jurisdictional maze. The rise of the MeToo movement helped give the issue political heft, but Hollywood has lagged in paying heed.While Lightning said she was “a little bit shocked” when she saw a Native American tragedy mirrored in a story but without Native American characters, her years working in Los Angeles meant she wasn’t surprised. Now living in Alberta, she’s in the Canadian miniseries “Trickster,” about a dysfunctional Native family.“There's such resistance” to change in Hollywood, she said. "When you’re used to being one of the good old boys... there's no way they think they’re going to have to conform to the rest of society. It’s such an arrogance.”Native Americans are used to being routinely ignored by American popular culture, registering barely a blip on TV as they're usually seen on only one or two shows, such as Paramount Network's “Yellowstone.” A University of California, Los Angeles, study released this year found that Indigenous actors were cast in six of 1,816 broadcast and cable series roles for the 2018-19 season.But being slighted on the crucial issue raised by “Big Sky” is too bitter a pill to accept, said Rodgers, a Blackfeet Nation member whose Global Indigenous Council, an advocacy group for Indigenous peoples worldwide, helped organize the outreach to ABC.“The one thing we won’t be anymore is ignored. We’re not going to be made invisible, we will not be erased," he said.____Lynn Elber can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and is on Twitter at http://twitter.com/lynnelber.___This story has been corrected to use the accurate pronoun for filmmaker Rain.Lynn Elber, The Associated Press
A former Barrie surgeon has given up his licence to practise medicine and has promised his regulatory body to never apply to register as a physician ever again, anywhere. The agreement arose following a College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO) disciplinary hearing last week. “The agreement to never reapply for registration… is the maximum level of punishment available in this situation,” said CPSO communications advisor Josh McLarnon. The college had earlier launched investigations into Dr. Emad M. Guirguis and his now-defunct Lakeview Surgery Centre on Dunlop Street following complaints. He was found to perform cosmetic surgery that was outside his scope of practice as a physician, not having the proper training and certification. He also engaged in unprofessional conduct through online advertising and communications with a specific patient. In addition to the practice ban, he was ordered to pay $6,000. “Dr. Guirguis has been brought forward to the discipline committee on a number of occasions,” McLarnon added. An investigation was first launched in 2015 resulting in a caution three years later. Another caution was later issued relating to his compliance of the first issue. In one complaint, Guirguis tried to perform bariatric revision gastric band surgery, but decided not to complete the surgery because he encountered extensive scar tissue from previous surgeries. According to documents from the college’s compliance and monitoring department, he perforated the patient’s bowel during the surgery, resulting in ongoing complications. The complainant said he did not communicate or follow up with her after the surgery or provide a refund of her fee. “The committee... was of the view that the respondent’s pre-operative assessment was insufficient,” the decision of the inquiries, complaints and reports committee found. In another report, an independent assessor concluded: “Dr. Guirguis did not meet the standard of practice of the profession in some of the cases reviewed; his knowledge was adequate but basic; his surgical skills were adequate for his limited scope of practice; his judgment was not always adequate, mostly because the brief documentation does not allow a full understanding of his train of thought and exposes omissions or incomplete assessments; and in the reviewed cases his clinical practice, behaviour, or conduct had the potential to expose one patient to harm.” Other assessors, it added, found broad deficiencies in Dr. Guirguis’s practice. In a report from Dec. 14, 2018, Guirguis was cautioned about not providing a full explanation of a procedure to a patient and ensuring the patient had full clarity about what was going to be done following a complaint to the college about the outcome of a cosmetic surgical procedure. According to CPSO documents, Guirguis agreed he has engaged in an act or omission relevant to the practice of medicine that would reasonably be regarded by members as disgraceful, dishonourable or unprofessional. He was ultimately found to have committed an act of professional misconduct. Dr. Guirguis’s certificate of registration expired Sept. 4, 2020. In addition to the clinic, Guirguis was also once a staff general surgeon at Barrie’s Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre. Guirguis did not respond to requests for comment, but according to his Facebook page he is studying for his master's degree in theological studies at Tyndale University College and Seminary.Marg. Bruineman, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, barrietoday.com
NAIROBI, Kenya — In a breakthrough a month after deadly conflict cut off Ethiopia’s Tigray region from the world, the United Nations on Wednesday said it and the Ethiopian government have signed a deal to allow “unimpeded” humanitarian access, at least for areas under federal government control after the prime minister’s declaration of victory over the weekend.This will allow the first food, medicines and other aid into the region of 6 million people that has seen rising hunger during the fighting between the federal and Tigray regional governments. Each regards the other as illegal in a power struggle that has been months in the making.For weeks, the U.N. and others have pleaded for access amid reports of supplies running desperately low for millions of people. A U.N. humanitarian spokesman, Saviano Abreu, said the first mission to carry out a needs assessment would begin Wednesday.“We are of course working to make sure assistance will be provided in the whole region and for every single person who needs it,” he said. The U.N. and partners are committed to engaging with “all parties to the conflict" to ensure that aid to Tigray and the neighbouring Amhara and Afar regions is “strictly based on needs."Ethiopia’s government did not immediately comment.For weeks, aid-laden trucks have been blocked at Tigray’s borders, and the U.N. and other humanitarian groups were increasingly anxious to reach Tigray as hunger grows and hospitals run out of basic supplies like gloves and body bags.“We literally have staff reaching out to us to say they have no food for their children,” one humanitarian worker told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation.“We have been urging, waiting, begging for access,” another aid official, Jan Egeland with the Norwegian Refugee Council, told the AP. “We're ready to go tomorrow. ... It has been heartbreaking to be forced to wait."More than 1 million people in Tigray are now thought to be displaced, including over 45,000 who have fled into a remote area of neighbouring Sudan. Humanitarians have struggled to feed them as they set up a crisis response from scratch.Communications and transport links remain almost completely severed to Tigray, and the fugitive leader of the defiant regional government this week told the AP that fighting continues despite Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed's declaration of victory.It remains almost impossible to verify either side’s claims as the conflict threatens to destabilize both the country and the entire Horn of Africa.“It is critically important to get objective information as to what is going on,” the top U.S. diplomat for Africa, Tibor Nagy, told the BBC. “The active military phase is basically over. I’m not saying the fighting is over. So at this point, the humanitarian phase is the most important one.”Nagy added that “now the danger is this evolving into a long-term insurgency." He also disagreed with Ethiopia's description of the conflict as a “law enforcement operation” to arrest the Tigray leaders, saying that “it was obviously a military operation.” The fighting between two heavily armed forces has seen airstrikes, rocket attacks and tanks.For weeks, the U.N. and others have been increasingly insistent on the need to reach some 600,000 people in Tigray who already were dependent on food aid even before the conflict.Now those needs have exploded, but Abiy has resisted international pressure for dialogue and de-escalation, saying his government will not “negotiate our sovereignty.” His government regards the Tigray regional government, which dominated Ethiopia’s ruling coalition for more than a quarter-century, as illegitimate after months of growing friction as he sought to centralize power.Amid the warring sides’ claims and counter-claims, one thing is clear: Civilians have suffered.The U.N. says food has run out for the nearly 100,000 refugees from Eritrea whose camps close to the Tigray border with Eritrea have been in the line of fire as the fighting swept through. Reports that some refugees have been killed or abducted, if true, “would be major violations of international norms,” the U.N. refugee chief said over the weekend in an urgent appeal to Abiy.These are “extremely vulnerable people” who fled persecution in Eritrea, Egeland said. “It’s been extremely frustrating to lose access and communication.”With infrastructure there and elsewhere in Tigray damaged, the U.N. has said some people are now drinking untreated water, increasing the risk of diseases.In the largest hospital in the Tigray capital, Mekele, staff had to suspend other activities to focus on treating the large number of wounded from the conflict, the International Committee for the Red Cross said.The ICRC, the rare organization to travel inside the Tigray region and its borderlands, has reported coming across abandoned communities and camps of displaced people.No one knows the true toll of the fighting. Human rights and humanitarian groups have reported several hundred people killed, including civilians, but many more are feared.Inside Tigray, and among the majority ethnic Tigrayan refugees in Sudan, people are exhausted.“The world hasn’t seen anything like this year. I have never seen anything like this,” said one refugee who gave his name as Danyo, standing on the edge of a river that people on Tuesday were crossing to seek safety.“When Dr. Abiy came, we saw him as a good thing,” he said. “Our hopes were fulfilled, because his talk in the beginning was as sweet as honey, but now the honey has gone sour.”___Fay Abuelgasim in Hamdayet, Sudan, contributed.Cara Anna, The Associated Press
TORONTO — Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. has agreed to sell its interests in the RiverStone Europe insurance business to a fund managed by CVC Capital Partners.Fairfax says it will receive US$750 million for its stake on Riverstone Europe, once the deal closes, and it is entitled to up to an additional US$235.7 million after closing.The Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System has also agreed to sell its entire stake in RiverStone Europe as part of the deal.RiverStone Europe managing director Luke Tanzer will remain in his role and Nick Bentley, CEO of the RiverStone Group, will continue to serve on the board of RiverStone Europe once the deal closes, Fairfax said in a statement.CVC is making the acquisition through its Strategic Opportunities Fund II.The deal is contingent on approval by regulatory agencies and is expected to close in early 2021.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 2, 2020.Companies in this story: (TSX:FFH)The Canadian Press
A Windsor elementary school outbreak with 49 cases set the "precedent" for asymptomatic COVID-19 testing in the province, according to one expert.Biostatistician Ryan Imgrund, who is based in Newmarket, Ont., and works with a number of public health units across the province, told CBC Radio's Windsor Morning that the outbreak at Frank W. Begley Public Elementary School set the example of what should be done. "At the time that they found those cases, Windsor was not one of those super danger zones like Toronto, Peel and some other areas like that," Imgrund said. "So I don't think it was expected by anyone that a school that is in a lower-risk area would find up to 50 cases ... I think Begley set the precedent for the whole entire province what we should be doing." After three staff members tested positive for the disease, the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit dismissed the entire school on Nov. 17 and advised everyone to get tested. COVID-19 testing was prioritized for the entire school population, with a temporary testing site set up in the school's gymnasium. Overall, 40 students and nine staff members have tested positive. In the same week that Begley was declared an outbreak, W. J. Langlois Catholic Elementary School also went into outbreak and dismissed all students after two positive cases. Testing was prioritized for all members of this group, with a temporary testing site set up in the school, and seven people were confirmed positive. Despite this, and the fact that Begley is the largest school outbreak in the province, Windsor was not included in the launch of an asymptomatic testing pilot project announced last week. Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce said Thursday that the pilot is available for students and staff in the province's COVID-19 hotspots of Toronto, Peel, York and Ottawa. "Right now, the next four weeks are targeting the highest-risk regions," he said at the time. "We're following the advice of public health. If they determine, they provide a recommendation it should be expanded or we should augment the list, of course we will continue to follow that direction and implement it swiftly."Lecce told reporters that 99.85 per cent of students in the Windsor-Essex region remain COVID-free, and he and his staff are in contact with school board and public health officials to keep transmission down.Though Begley remains closed, superintendent of education at the Greater Essex County District School Board Sharon Pyke told CBC News Wednesday that the board is working with the health unit and hopes to announce a reopening date this week. A letter sent out to parents in regards to the outbreak had asked them to have their child tested, even if they were asymptomatic. When asked whether she'd like to see asymptomatic testing in schools available in the region, Pyke said it might be best to spare our resources. "I think that if we can keep on top of doing our self-assessments, I think that we perhaps may be better served in terms of our resources in our area, we want to make sure that we're able to test the people that need to be tested," she said."So do I agree? Any kind of preventative measure is good for anyone so of course I want the best for students, I want the best for our staff. I just want to make sure that they're allocated in the right space and the right spot." An investigation by the local health unit is still ongoing to determine how COVID-19 transmission was so widespread in Begley.