Trees glow a bright orange hue, reflecting the colours of the sun.
Trees glow a bright orange hue, reflecting the colours of the sun.
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The Trump administration on Wednesday effectively killed a contentious proposed mine in Alaska, a gold and copper prospect once envisioned to be nearly as deep as the Grand Canyon and could produce enough waste to fill an NFL stadium nearly 3,900 times — all near the headwaters of the world’s largest sockeye salmon fishery.The Army Corps of Engineers “concluded that the proposed project is contrary to the public interest” and denied a permit to build the Pebble Mine under both the Clean Water Act and the Rivers and Harbors Act, the agency said in a statement.The rejection was a surprise. It's at odds with President Donald Trump’s efforts to encourage energy development in Alaska, including opening up part of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling, and other moves nationwide to roll back environmental protections that would benefit oil and gas and other industries.The Corps of Engineers also seemed to signal just a few months ago that after almost two decades of political wrangling, Pebble Mine was on a fast track to approval, a reversal from what many had expected under the Obama administration.But unlike drilling elsewhere in Alaska, the mine proposed for the southwestern Bristol Bay region could have negatively affected the state's billion-dollar fishing industry. Conservationists and even Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., sounded the alarm on the project before the administration changed course again.The CEO of the Pebble Limited Partnership, the mine’s developers, said he was dismayed by the decision, especially after the corps had indicated in an environmental impact statement in July that the mine and fishery could coexist.“One of the real tragedies of this decision is the loss of economic opportunities for people living in the area,” CEO John Shively said in a statement. The environmental review “clearly describes those benefits, and now a politically driven decision has taken away the hope that many had for a better life. This is also a lost opportunity for the state’s future economy.”He said they are considering their next steps, which could include an appeal of the corps’ decision.“Today Bristol Bay’s residents and fishermen celebrate the news that Pebble’s permit has been denied; tomorrow we get back to work,” said Katherine Carscallen, executive director of the group Commercial Fishermen for Bristol Bay.The group wants Congress to pass laws protecting the region. “We’ve learned the hard way over the last decade that Pebble is not truly dead until protections are finalized,” Carscallen said.In July, the Corps of Engineers released an environmental review that the mine developer saw as laying the groundwork for key federal approvals. The review said that under normal operations, Pebble Mine “would not be expected to have a measurable effect on fish numbers and result in long-term changes to the health of the commercial fisheries in Bristol Bay.”However, in August, the corps said it had determined that discharges at the mine site would cause “unavoidable adverse impacts to aquatic resources” and laid out required steps to reduce those effects.Canada-based Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd., which owns Pebble Limited Partnership, said it had submitted a mitigation plan on Nov. 16.Even if the corps had approved the project, there was still no guarantee it would have been built. It would have needed state approval, and President-elect Joe Biden has expressed opposition to the project.Critics saw Pebble Mine as getting a lifeline under the Trump administration. Last year, the Environmental Protection Agency withdrew restrictions on development that were proposed — but never finalized — under the Obama administration and said it planned to work with the corps to address concerns.However, Trump’s eldest son was among those who voiced opposition earlier this year. After senior Trump campaign adviser Nick Ayers tweeted in August that he hoped the president would direct the EPA to block Pebble Mine, Trump Jr. responded: “As a sportsman who has spent plenty of time in the area I agree 100%. The headwaters of Bristol Bay and the surrounding fishery are too unique and fragile to take any chances with.”The president later said he would “listen to both sides.”“The credit for this victory belongs not to any politician but to Alaskans and Bristol Bay’s Indigenous peoples, as well as to hunters, anglers and wildlife enthusiasts from all across the country who spoke out in opposition to this dangerous and ill-conceived project," said Adam Kolton, executive director of the Alaska Wilderness League.Alaska’s two Republican U.S. senators, who support oil and gas development and mining, hailed the rejection of the Pebble Mine permit. Sen. Lisa Murkowski said the decision affirmed her position that it’s the wrong mine in the wrong place.“It will help ensure the continued protection of an irreplaceable resource — Bristol Bay’s world-class salmon fishery,” she said.Sen. Dan Sullivan said he would remain an advocate for good-paying jobs derived from resource development.“However, given the special nature of the Bristol Bay watershed and the fisheries and subsistence resources downstream, Pebble had to meet a high bar so that we do not trade one resource for another,” he said. “Pebble did not meet that bar.”___Associated Press journalist Becky Bohrer in Juneau contributed to this report.Mark Thiessen, The Associated Press
Two special announcements were made at Monday night’s town council meeting to recognize individuals who have made a difference in Fort Frances. As part of the town’s regular Committee of the Whole meeting, Mayor June Caul announced the winner of the 2020 award, along with a special recognition for another deserving volunteer in the community. “This is one of the exciting parts of the job that I get to do, is to actually finally announce the Citizen of the Year,” Caul began. “It gives me great pleasure this evening to announce that our citizen of the year for 2020 is Gabby Hanzuk. This year the Citizen of the Year committee decided to give a second recognition as well. There was a young man who still goes to high school this year and is very involved in the community at a young age, and we felt that he needed to be recognized as well. This young fellow’s name is Ray Calder.” Hanzuk was nominated by Dale Gill, and Caul read a portion of the nomination letter that was submitted to the committee for consideration that highlighted just some of the efforts Hanzuk has given her time to in the past. “Without Gabby’s 30 years of service to Special Olympics, Fort Frances probably wouldn’t have a contingent of athletes,” Caul read from the nomination letter. “Our athletes think the world of her, and she is always their go-to person. As a valued leader of the Voyageur Lions Club, Gabby is always there for meetings and fundraisers. She has been president, treasurer and secretary of our club. Gabby has also been awarded the Melvin Jones award from Lions Club International for her dedicated humanitarian services, as well as a Medal of Hope from the Lions Foundation of Manitoba and northwestern Ontario for her work in the community that gives hope to the lives of the less fortunate.” In addition to her work with Special Olympics and the Voyageurs Lions Club, Hanzuk was also recognized for her time on the board at the Volunteer Bureau and participating in the tax clinics there, as well as her efforts volunteering at the Family Centre. Hanzuk is also the co-ordinator of the Meals on Wheels program, and though that is a paid position, Gill’s letter noted she performs her job well above what is required of her. “She makes sure that our seniors who can’t cook for themselves get a healthy meal every night, even if she has to deliver them by herself,” Caul relayed to council. “Not to mention every one of them get a Christmas goodie bag from her every Christmas. Along the Christmas line, Gabby has volunteered for the Community Christmas dinner for many years.” Caul then took a moment to speak from her own experiences of working alongside Hanzuk, agreeing that she has been a vital part of the Community Christmas Dinners for years. “I know that she is one of the members of her church choir, and that takes added work as well, and that’s all volunteer work,” Caul said. “She also sings on the Choraliers choir at Christmas time every year so, on top of all the things Dale mentioned about Gabby, those are a few extra ones that I know she’s also involved with. So Gabby, it gives me great, great pleasure to name you the Citizen of the Year for Fort Frances 2020.” Calder’s nomination was submitted by a group consisting of Kim McKinnon, Cathy Gagne, Julia McManaman and Erika Handberg, whose letter to the Citizen of the Year committee highlighted the work he did in the early days of the pandemic. “Due to COVID, Canadians were asked to isolate in our homes to protect ourselves and others in our community,” Caul read from the nomination letter. “Only one person per household was allowed in stores to shop for groceries. There were long lineups outside of stores and people were encouraged to wear a mask. Everyone was on edge about how COVID would affect our lives. Ray Calder saw an opportunity to support members of his community. On March 13, 2020, he realized there was going to be community members that due to age, illness or fear, would not be able to get their own groceries. He took initiative to reach out to potential volunteers and organized a Facebook group.” Calder was 16 at the time he created the Rainy River District COVIDelivery Facebook group that served to connect those who were in need of groceries but unable to go to the store themselves, with a volunteer who would pick up their food and drop it off, in one of the earlier examples of contactless delivery in the area. The group would eventually expand to more than 25 active volunteers and complete more than 100 orders in the district. “While working his job as lifeguard at the arena, Ray facilitated the Facebook group to help his local community,” the letter read. “Just a high school student, Ray balanced all the phone calls, messages and organized all the volunteers. Ray helped many community members during a fearful time.” Caul noted that she had a personal connection to Calder that stretched back to before her time as mayor. “When I was still teaching, Ray was in my junior kindergarten class,” she said. “I knew then what a wonderful young man he is and that he will do great things in his life. He is polite, he is kind, he is generous, and he’s just an all around wonderful young man. So congratulations to Ray.” Both Hanzuk and Calder will be officially recognized and presented with a plaque and certificate respectively at a later date. “Once again, congratulations to Gabby and to Ray, our two recipients for this year,” Caul said. “Thank you again to both for all that you do for our community.”Ken Kellar, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Fort Frances Times
Tributes are pouring in for Fred Sasakamoose, who died Tuesday at age 86 after being hospitalized with COVID-19.Sasakamoose was one of the first Indigenous athletes to play in the National Hockey League."We are at a loss today. Fred Sasakamoose was a legend with humble beginnings. He will be dearly missed," the Federation of Saskatchewan Indigenous Nations tweeted."We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Fred Sasakamoose. Fred holds a special place in the history of our great game," tweeted Hockey Canada's Tom Renney.Brigette Lacquette, the first First Nations woman to play for the Canadian women's Olympic hockey team, said Sasakamoose paved the way for Indigenous players across the continent."His story is just simply amazing and to have that perseverance and determination to get to where he [did] … it's pretty crazy to think what he has overcome," said Lacquette, who grew up in Dauphin and whose mother is from the Cote First Nation in Saskatchewan."He's a very humble man, soft spoken, and could really make you feel like you've known him your whole life. [He] was just an amazing person and someone that I'm very glad that I crossed paths with."Sasakamoose's son, Neil Sasakamoose, said in a video on Facebook that his father died Tuesday afternoon, five days after he was admitted to the hospital."The COVID virus did so much damage into his lungs, he just couldn't keep responding," Neil said. "He just couldn't keep up."Sasakamoose played 11 games with Chicago in 1953-54.Later Sasakamoose founded the Chief Thunderstick national hockey championship for young Indigenous players.Former Philadelphia Flyer and Stanley Cup champion Reggie Leach said Sasakamoose inspired generations of young players."A lot of people say he only played 11 games. But those 11 games were everything to our First Nations people," Leach said.Leach said Sasakamoose was passionate about helping kids get on the right path."[He was] the kindest man that you'd ever meet. And so down to earth," Leach said."He treated everybody the same. There was no colour barriers or anything. He just treated everybody the same. And I wish the world would do that also."Sasakamoose also served as a band councillor and chief of Ahtahkakoop Cree Nation. He was inducted into the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame in 2007 and became a member of the Order of Canada in 2018.
St. Albert now has 223 active COVID-19 cases, with 22 new cases being diagnosed in the past 24 hours. On Wednesday, the province released new COVID-19 data, showing the cases in St. Albert continuing to climb. Over a 48-hour period the city added 42 new cases while another 30 people recovered from the virus. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the city has had 647 people come down with the virus On Monday, Alberta surpassed all other provinces for the most COVID-19 cases in the country, totalling 13,166 active cases. At the St. Albert Retirement Residence, active COVID-19 cases are dropping, with just two residents and two staff members currently testing positive from the virus. Overall, there were 52 total positive COVID-19 cases in the residence since the start of the outbreak, with 44 of those recovered and four people who lost their lives. There were a total of 15 staff members who tested positive since the beginning of the outbreak with 13 now recovered. Sturgeon County currently has 95 active cases, with 167 people recovered. Morinville has 33 people currently diagnosed with COVID-19 and 84 recovered. As Alberta reaches 500 COVID-19 deaths, Alberta Health services is bracing for more cases by making 400 ICU beds and 2,000 acute care beds available to COVID-19 patients. On Wednesday afternoon, Alberta Chief Medical officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said the province has reached a grim milestone of 500 deaths, with another 1,265 COVID-19 cases diagnosed overnight. “This is a tragic milestone. My sympathies go out to the loved ones and friends of these individuals who are mourning the lives lost during what is a very difficult time to grieve,” Hinshaw said. The province conducted around 15,600 tests in the last 24 hours with an 8.1-per-cent positivity rate. The nine deaths reported Wednesday occurred between Nov. 7 and Nov. 24 with five of the people having comorbidities. Overall, the province has 13,719 active cases with 355 people in the hospital and 71 in intensive care. Alberta has passed 50,000 COVID-19 infections since the beginning of the pandemic, which accounts for 1.2 per cent of Albertans. As COVID-19 surges, the province has readied even more hospital space. Some of the beds are new, while others are existing beds made available by reducing non-urgent surgeries and moving patients to continuing care centres or other hospitals. "These steps are being taken to make sure that there is sufficient capacity to meet the growing health-care need," Hinshaw said. Effective today, AHS will be changing the rules around visitor access to acute care hospitals that have outbreaks and in communities under enhanced status. This includes having one designated family or support person permitted under specific circumstances. For maternity patients, there is one designated family or support person permitted. For pediatrics and critical care, there are up to two designated family or support persons allowed. For end-of-life visitation, there will be one designated family or support person allowed, with other visitors needing to prearrange with the site. Jennifer Henderson is the Local Journalism Initiative Reporter for Great West Newspapers, covering rural Alberta issues.Jennifer Henderson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, St. Albert Gazette
From learning Inuktitut to appreciating jingle dresses, these videos are a must-watch.
Government and election officials frequently call on shredding companies to dispose of personal and sensitive documents that are no longer needed.But in a suburban county of Atlanta this week, those routine waste removal appointments were twisted into yet another election misinformation story when social media users falsely claimed shredding trucks were destroying ballots and “evidence of voter fraud.”The unfounded allegations continue to spread online as Georgia officials carry out a machine recount of ballots after certified results showed Joe Biden had a 12,670-vote lead over President Donald Trump. Trump requested the recount, which follows a statewide hand tally.L. Lin Wood Jr., a conservative attorney who had unsuccessfully sued in an attempt to block the certification of Georgia’s election results, on Tuesday shared a series of videos taken by a Georgia resident. They showed a shredding truck outside the West Park Government Center in Marietta.“Evidence of voter fraud is being destroyed in Cobb County, GA TODAY,” Wood captioned one of his tweets. “Many people, powerful & not so powerful, are going to PRISON.”The real explanation for the truck’s visit was far less scandalous: a routine shredding of county tax documents.The county tax commissioner’s office, which shares a building with the county’s main elections office, has documents shredded twice a month, according to Ross Cavitt, communications director for the county.“No items from Cobb Elections were involved,” Cavitt told The Associated Press in an email.The false claims built on similar rumours from last week, when the same Georgia resident captured photos and video of a truck destroying election-related waste outside the Jim R. Miller Event Center in Marietta and claimed it was evidence of “ballots being shredded.”After Wood amplified those photos and videos on Friday, Cobb County officials refuted the claim, explaining that the shredding company was summoned to destroy non-relevant election materials, as happens after all elections.“Everything of consequence, including the ballots, absentee ballot applications with signatures, and anything else used in the count or re-tally remains on file,” Janine Eveler, the county’s director of elections and voter registration, said in a statement.Some of the photos shared on Friday appeared to show a trash can with a paper labeled “ABSENTEE BALLOT” inside. But Eveler said that was an inner privacy envelope used by voters to seal absentee ballots, and had “no evidentiary value.” County officials will hold on to the actual absentee ballots, as well as the outer envelopes signed by voters, for two years.Wood did not respond to a telephone call and email seeking comment.Despite the county’s responses, Wood’s tweets with the debunked claims continued to receive massive engagement on Wednesday, collectively amassing more than 200,000 retweets. And a separate Facebook user’s post falsely claiming a shredding company was “hired by Democrats” to destroy evidence was viewed nearly 150,000 times.County officials told the AP they have not seen any evidence of fraud or anomalies in vote tabulation in the 2020 election.“People nowadays, they post stuff immediately without asking any questions and without any proper context, and it spreads like wildfire,” Cavitt said of the false claims.Jude Joffe-Block And Ali Swenson, The Associated Press
Following a lengthy discussion and input from council, the decision to rename the pair of Colonization Roads in Fort Frances has been postponed, for now. A high-visibility item on Monday night’s town council agenda, mayor and council had the opportunity to discuss the movement to rename Colonization Road East and Colonization Road West, following a motion introduced by councillor Doug Judson last week. The impetus for the name change revolves around reports from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and a letter to municipalities from the Ontario Human Rights Council (OHRC). Both call for language pertaining to practices that are considered derogatory or racist, such as the concept of colonization, to be removed from public spaces as an act of reconciliation to Indigenous populations in Canada. A similar motion was introduced and subsequently voted down in 2017. While mayor and council were not against the idea that the names could be changed, it was decided that the town would push the process back, something mayor June Caul recommended and said was partly in response to the exceptional year Fort Frances has seen. “At this time, I believe the diligent way for council to handle this issue at hand would be to table the discussion to a later date, which will give staff an opportunity to plan and full investigate the effects on all residents, businesses and the general public,” she said. “All matters that come to council are investigated by staff, discussed in an executive committee, and then a recommendation is given to council for a decision. This has been a very busy and difficult year as we deal with COVID-19 and a loss of revenue. Now we need to try to develop a balanced budget for 2021, all while trying to determine a tax rate that will not impact our residents any further as COVID-19 continues to affect our community and residents.” While the mayor expressed her concerns surrounding the amount of work that goes into deciding the budget that town staff is already tasked with, she acknowledged that the name change is something that everyone is town should be open to learning about, if not necessarily agreeing with the change itself. “The most important decisions and policies that council should make going forward is to ensure people of all race, colour, religion, gender identity and ancestry be respected,” Caul said. “I hope people would welcome any educational opportunities to learn about the history of unfair and degrading practices not only here in our own community but around world and how those practices bullied and marginalized people for generations and still have an effect on them today. Nothing we do will erase the history of disrespect and abuse inflicted on our Indigenous people, but going forward we should be willing to learn and be understanding and sympathetic. What happened in the past still affects their lives today and will continue to affect people for generations. Our decisions going forward must create a positive outcome for all the people so that our future history does not negatively impact any group.” Councillor Judson addressed council in order to clarify the origins of his motion, and what having a road named “colonization” means to people who are coming to and visiting Fort Frances. “Since 2015, Canadians have been on a swift journey to acknowledge what has been missing in how we understand the words that tell our story,” Judson said. “That year, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission released its landmark report, which exposed, with evidence, the devastating inter-generational impact that ‘colonization’ has had on Indigenous people.” “When I speak to people in the community, and particularly young people with young families, they tell me that Colonization Road is an obstacle to our progress,” he continued. “When I speak to Indigenous people, they tell me that by avoiding conversations about what colonization stands for it looks like Fort Frances is only interested in the upside of reconciliation, such as economic partnership and joint strategies, without internalizing the facts of our history... While many people who think of colonization envision homesteaders moving to the Rainy River District with grants of free land to start a new life, that depiction fails to account for the toll colonization has taken on those who were already here. The choice to frame historical accounts in this way has, itself, been part of the project of colonization.” Councillor Wendy Judson, who is the only member of council who was serving at the time of the previous name change motion, offered her take on the possible difficulties of continuing with the name change at this point in time, though she continues to be supportive of the initiative. “For those of you who are not aware, I was the one dissenting vote in the last term of council to keep the name unchanged,” she said. “My reasons at the time, which remain the same, are that if we want to be seen as a welcoming and inclusive community, we need to make this change... The one concern I do have about renaming the road is that there are many residents and businesses who will have to go to Service Ontario to have their documentation changed, and in the midst of winter and a pandemic, we could possibly see long lineups outside the Service Ontario building.” While Brunetta said there would be ways to deal with this in the event the name change began, such as bringing a Service Ontario representative to a location like the council chambers to keep people out of the cold and assist with process, she reiterated that she supported the name change, whenever it is finally decided. “Changing the name will not change our past, but can change the future,” she said. “We can change how our community is viewed by visitors and neighbours. This is one small step we can take towards reconciliation. It’s short term pain for long term gain. It’s the right thing to do in my mind. I do agree mayor Caul that this is an issue we all need to really put a lot of thought into. we all take our jobs as councillor very seriously, and I would agree to delaying it or deferring it as you say, so we can get more information going forward.” Councillors Andrew Hallikas, Mike Behan, Rick Wiedenhoeft and John McTaggart all voiced their support of the mayors suggestion of not shutting down the conversation, but instead moving it further down the line in order to give it as much time and consideration as possible. The topic will be sent to the Operations and Facilities Executive Committee and the Planning and Development Executive Committees for a decision on when to bring it back before council. In a statement released following the meeting, Judson called the decision to send the item to committee for consideration a “positive development” though he noted it “does not preclude me or any other council member from bringing a resolution forward to our next meeting, on December 14.” “Obviously, there are a number of opinions on this topic and many people have practical questions,” the statement read. “That’s why I decided to defer a vote on my proposed resolution in order to give councillors more time to confer with their constituents and conduct their own independent research... I am confident that the executive committees can develop a proper timeline and process related to the request to rename Colonization Road.” Judson will also be hosting an online panel titled “Colonization in Context” on his Facebook page beginning at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday night. The event will feature a handful of panelists who will discuss the local history of colonization and “enduring impacts of colonization in the Fort Frances area” according to the event page.Ken Kellar, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Fort Frances Times
OTTAWA, Ill. — Canada's watchdog for crime victims is calling on Parliament to overhaul their bill of rights, saying the five-year-old legislation has fallen "far short" of delivering on its promise.Rules meant to amplify victims' voices in the justice system have failed to make them heard following "sporadic" implementation of a regime that needs more teeth, clarity and public awareness, federal ombudsman Heidi Illingworth said in a report Wednesday."The situation of victims of crime has not fundamentally changed since it was passed," she wrote.The previous Conservative government introduced what it called a victims' bill of rights in 2015 that allowed crime victims to get information about offenders in the corrections system and have their views considered when decisions are made about those perpetrators.Illingworth said the legislation should be amended to provide a legal remedy for violations, such as allowing victims to formally challenge authorities on whether their rights have been honoured."There was no right to appeal, there was no right to seek damages," Illingworth said Wednesday in a phone interview.The 2015 statute was an important firs step but "really more of a statement of principles," she added. "It did not give people real rights, because in law you have to be able to have a remedy for rights to be real."The justice system demands heavy lifting from people subjected to a criminal act, including those involved in the 2.2 million crimes reported to police each year."They are expected to report the crime, provide evidence, bear witness, be cross-examined on the stand and relive their traumas over and over again as they tell their truths — yet we provide them with little assistance to do so," Illingworth wrote."Unsupported victims are less likely to come forward. When victims are not treated as full partners in the criminal justice system, the system is less effective."Victims should automatically receive information about their rights, rather than having to ask for it, she said.Up to two-thirds of crime victims do not go to the police, said Irvin Waller, professor emeritus in criminology at the University of Ottawa.Other reforms demanded in the report include a simplified complaint process filtered entirely through the ombudsman's office rather than a patchwork of agencies, more clearly defined obligations for criminal justice officials and more funding to train front-line workers in treating victims with "courtesy, compassion and respect."The ombudsman is also calling for better data collection by courts, prisons and law enforcement agencies to understand police interactions with targeted populations, including Indigenous women and LGBTQ individuals."We know that there’s distrust, and this is especially concerning among communities of colour, racialized communities, Indigenous people. And how survivors of sexual violence are cheated by the justice system has been very, very problematic," Illingworth said.Waller pointed to England and France as models on training guidelines for officials and restitution for victims, respectively. He said up to half of French criminal cases result in restitution payments, access to which should be guaranteed, according to the ombudsman's report.In contrast to Canada, France also grants victims legal "standing" to appeal to courts for review when their rights are not upheld."We are a long, long way behind these countries," Waller said.Illingworth's report further recommends amendments that commit to core funding for community-based restorative justice programs as well as a list of officials who have direct responsibilities to crime victims.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 25, 2020.Christopher Reynolds, The Canadian Press
P.E.I.'s Department of Justice and Public Safety says it is dealing with a spike in people seeking approval to come to the Island.Officials say since the closure of the Atlantic bubble and the chief public health officer's recommendations to not travel during the holidays, the province has seen five-times the amount of inquiries.Justice and Public Safety Minister Bloyce Thompson says the province was bracing for a spike following the announcement P.E.I. was pulling out of the Atlantic bubble because of increased COVID-19 cases in neighbouring New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. He says people need to be patient, adding the province will get through the backlog within the next couple of days. "We've been doing this for almost eight months now and as every announcement comes there's an influx of inquiries, applications," said Thompson. "So to address this announcement Monday we've brought in six new staff to deal with some of the backlog."On Monday, P.E.I.'s chief public health officer announced P.E.I. was pulling out of the Atlantic bubble and said Islanders should only travel outside of P.E.I. for essential purposes or work. 'They haven't received an approval or denial'Anyone who needs to travel to the Island, including residents of Atlantic Canada, now has to apply for pre-travel approval.Island residents do not require pre-travel approval, but will be required to self-isolate 14 days once they return to the Island. Frustrations over the growing wait times spilled over onto the floor of the P.E.I. Legislature Wednesday. Cory Deagle, PC MLA for Montague-Kilmuir, said he had been contacted by a couple that had been waiting 168 hours for a response, much longer than the 72-hour response time the province tries to achieve.The couple is moving from B.C. to his district, and the couple's parents — who have also reached out to him — are his constituents.Deagle said they first sent their letter to the province on Nov. 18, long before P.E.I. pulled out of the Atlantic bubble. He said the couple was asked for more information on Nov. 21. "It's now Nov. 25 and they haven't received an approval or denial letter and they are travelling across Canada," said Deagle.'What they are going to do when they get here?'"They received approval to enter New Brunswick but they don't know about P.E.I. What they are going to do when they get here?"Thompson said he would get the name of the family and follow up immediately to ensure they have an answer before they get to the Confederation Bridge.Deagle said the family is growing increasingly frustrated."These two individuals are travelling across Canada, they said today they tried calling, no one's answering the phone, they tried leaving voicemail but the inbox is filled."Thompson did admit wait times have increased significantly because of the closure of the Atlantic bubble."We will be back to 72 hours very soon," Thompson said from the floor of the legislature. 'I hate making politics out of something so important'But Deagle fired back saying, "You shouldn't have to contact your MLA to find out if you can get approval to come to P.E.I."Thompson then took a shot at his PC colleague."This is a very important question and I hate making politics out of something so important," said Thompson. "I sat beside this member in caucus, I wish he had brought this to me then."In an interview after question period, Deagle said he makes no apologies for raising the concerns of his constituents."The premier has said that we can ask tough questions, even though it's our own party, we can ask tough questions that are important to our constituents and Islanders," Deagle told CBC News."We've never been told one way or another to not do something, if we feel it's important and we want to ask it, we can ask the questions."More from CBC P.E.I.
When Treyton Middleton found out who was suspected of shooting his stepfather in the street outside their home on Saint John's lower west side, he looked him up on Facebook. On Wednesday afternoon, the jury heard that Middleton, now 19, sent a message to the man that night, threatening to round up some friends and kill him. In fact, when Const. Connor Bodechon arrived at 321 Duke St. West to take photos about an hour after the shooting, Justin Breau's Facebook profile is on the computer screen photographed in Middleton's bedroom. Breau, 37, is on trial for second-degree murder in the death of 42-year-old Mark Shatford. He is accused of shooting Shatford at about 4:25 a.m. on Nov. 17, 2019. Despite numerous surgeries at the Saint John Regional Hospital, Shatford died on Dec. 18. During testimony on Wednesday, Middleton said he awoke to banging and yelling in the early morning hours of Nov. 17, 2019. He peeked out of his bedroom and saw two masked men moving through the second-floor apartment where he lived with Shatford, his mother, three siblings, and his sister's boyfriend. Middleton said he followed the men down the stairs and managed to grab one of them at the front door. He said he threw the man to the ground outside and started punching him. As he continued to fight with the man, he saw his mother and Shatford pass by, heading to a vehicle parked on the street. Middleton said he continued to fight with the man until he heard a gunshot. As he turned, he said, he saw Shatford fall to the ground. He immediately went to Shatford's side. He testified that the man with the gun then pointed it at him and his mother and told them to shut up. Middleton said he tried to grab a large wrench that Shatford had dropped, but his mother wouldn't let him take it. As the vehicle pulled away, Middleton said, he threw the wrench at it but missed. What became of the wrench before police seized it in January remains unclear.Middleton and his mother, Melissa Daley, both testified they don't know how the wrench got back inside the apartment. But pictures taken by Bodechon, who arrived at the scene at 5:50 a.m., appear to show the item on top of the fridge. Bodechon took several pictures inside the home, including the one that show's the computer screen in Middleton's bedroom. "I did that on my own," Middleton said of the Facebook search. "I just wanted to see him."It was under cross-examination by defence lawyer Brian Munro that Middleton was asked about sending a Facebook message to Breau not long after the shooting. Middleton admitted sending a message that he was going to round up some people and kill Breau. He was also asked about his actions immediately after the shooting. Middleton said he went to a "buddy's" place but the person wasn't at home. He was repeatedly asked to name the "buddy" but he refused each time. "I'm not answering it," he insisted, before the jury was led out of the courtroom. After a short time — and some discussion in the absence of the jury and Middleton — the jury was brought back in and cross-examination resumed. Middleton was again asked to name the person and said it was his ex-girlfriend, Bella McCutcheon. He told the court that he called her "buddy" because they were not dating at the time. The trial is scheduled to resume Thursday morning.
OTTAWA — Newly released documents show the navy will need help resupplying its fleets at sea even after two multibillion-dollar support vessels are built. The documents obtained by The Canadian Press show that the navy plans to rely on Chantier Davie's MV Asterix and allies to ensure there is no “capability gap” even after the two new joint support ships are finished in next few years. Canada originally planned to buy three new navy support ships when it launched the project more than a decade ago, but cost overruns saw the order cut down to two. The vessels are being built in Vancouver at a combined cost of $4 billion. Yet navy officials have continued to indicate that two support ships are not enough to meet the maritime force's long-term needs, as the government’s policy requires the military be able to operate two fleets at sea at the same time. The fear is that the navy will be hamstrung whenever one of the two so-called joint support ships is out of commission, either for repairs or for some other reason. While the documents play down such a threat, they also acknowledge that to prevent a “capability gap,” the navy will need to rely on the Asterix as well as “sailing with and leveraging allies and partners who have support-ship capabilities.” Canada was forced to rely on allies when its previous two support ships were taken out of service earlier than expected in 2014. Yet such an approach has been criticized as undermining the Canadian military’s autonomy and flexibility, which is why the government decided to start leasing the Asterix from Davie in January 2018 until the two new joint support ships arrived. The vessel is in the midst of a five-year leasing arrangement between Ottawa and the Quebec company, with an option to extend the lease by another five years in 2023. The government could also buy the vessel. Parliamentary budget officer Yves Giroux last week estimated the cost of buying the Asterix at $633 million, while extending the contract could cost more than $500 million. Giroux estimated Asterix’s sister ship, MV Obelix, could cost $797 million. The Liberal government has so far resisted calls to purchase the Asterix or Obelix, despite pressure from opposition parties as well as Davie and the Quebec government. It has instead repeatedly described the Asterix as a stopgap until the two new joint support ships arrive, the first of which is due in 2023. Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan’s spokeswoman Floriane Bonneville repeated that message Wednesday. “Our investment into the new joint support ships will provide the full suite of military requirements for at-sea support that the Royal Canadian Navy requires to do the challenging work we ask of them to protect Canadians,” Bonneville said in an email. “Until the arrival of the two Protecteur-class joint support ships … the RCN is mitigating its gap of at-sea support capability through the interim auxiliary oiler replenishment commercial-based service contract involving MV Asterix and collaboration with Canada’s allies.” In a separate email, Defence Department spokeswoman Jessica Lamirande said a decision on whether to buy the Asterix or extend the lease with Davie “will come in due course and while considering the broader context of the needs of the CAF as a whole.” The Asterix, which was at the heart of the failed prosecution of now-retired vice-admiral Mark Norman, is currently docked in Halifax. Since entering service with the navy, it has sailed on a number of Canadian military missions around the world. Conservative defence critic James Bezan, who has been among those pushing the government to buy the Asterix as well as the Obelix, said it is clear the Navy needs the vessels to be able to function properly at sea. "We believe that Asterix should stay in service, that Obelix should be built and that both (joint support ships) be built so that we have the ability to maintain that blue-water fleet,” Bezan said. “That way we can send the navy out and if one of our supply ships happens to be out of service, we can backfill it with (Asterix or Obelix)." NDP defence critic Randall Garrison said it has long been clear that Canada needs more than two support ships to ensure the navy isn't impaired whenever one is out of service, though he questioned whether the Asterix is the best fit. The military has previously said the new joint support ships have better systems to avoid mines, protect against chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threats, a better propulsion system, a bigger helicopter hangar and more self-defence capabilities. "We've always supported three joint supply ships," Garrison said. "Can the Asterix serve as the third in some capacity even though it has reduced capability? I think we should ask the navy that." Davie spokesman Frederik Boisvert in a statement described the Asterix and Obelix as "a class-leading design which has become the envy of global navies." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 25, 2020. Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press
Millions of Americans are taking to the skies and highways ahead of the Thanksgiving day holiday, posing a risk of a major virus spread around the country. The CDC is asking Americans to limit travel and stay at home this holiday season. (Nov. 25)
COVID-19 outbreak at St. Martin school continues to grow. The outbreak was first declared at the elementary school in Smithville on Nov. 19. Two new cases were added on Nov. 23, bringing the total to four. The Niagara Catholic District School Board said there are now nine cases. The school has been in official outbreak status since last Thursday when the second case was confirmed. The first case was confirmed Nov. 13. NCDSB said since that time, the number of new cases at the school as grown to nine; however not all the cases so far have been linked to the outbreak, as their origin has not been determined. Niagara Region Public Health continues to investigate the situation. Two classes at the school will now be required to self-isolate for 14 days a result of the newly reported cases. Public health said they are not recommending St. Martin close at this time, as the virus is not widespread through the school community. Onsite testing will be available at the school on Thursday for staff who have not yet been tested and will be provided by public health. NCDSB said testing for staff at St. Martin is recommended, but not mandatory, while any parents of students who wish to have their children tested should do so at a an approved testing centre in Niagara.Bryan Levesque, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Grimsby Lincoln News
A gathering of scholars and activists on Wednesday pointed to soaring test positivity rates on First Nations and suggested that Indigenous colonialism in Canada is alive and well and killing Indigenous people in the midst of a global pandemic. The online discussion with Pamela Palmater, Winona LaDuke and host Dr. Niigaan Sinclair, spoke about how Indigenous people are dealing with ongoing colonization, what has or hasn’t changed due to the pandemic, and where Indigenous people and their allies can go from here. “Racism impacts health and we see that particularly here in Manitoba," said Sinclair. "Fourteen per cent is the test positivity rate in Manitoba. They closed schools in New York for a 3% positivity rate. “On First Nations, it is 23%. That means one out of every four people is testing positive on First Nations for COVID-19. This proves that racism kills.” Palmater, a Mi'kmaq lawyer and professor at Ryerson College, advised Indigenous communities to not forget the power of their sovereignty, peoplehood, nationhood, self-determination and that they are collective. “We have to remember that every single person has something to contribute,” said Palmater. “While the land defenders are out there trying to protect our lands and waters, we also need people behind the scenes supporting the land defenders, advocating in international forums and keeping a close eye on what federal, provincial and municipal governments are doing without our knowledge.” While people were focusing on how the pandemic would impact their communities, Palmater noted that governments not only allowed massive industry projects to continue but were changing laws, legislations and regulations to give them multiple exemptions. “We need people from every skill level and every background to do their part in different forums. I believe that it is one of the most encouraging things that I have seen come out of the pandemic,” said Palmater. “When the Indigenous nations and tribal governments took control of their borders despite the restrictions on gathering, they made sure they were still advocating and defending." Palmater said that by exercising Indigenous voices, they are helping to educate, inform and empower people as well as to raise the alarm on what is happening among Indigenous people. The event also functioned as a launch for Palmater’s and LaDuke’s new books. Both works were published by Fernwood Publishing. “Warrior Life: Indigenous Resistance and Resurgence,” is the second collection of writings by Palmater. In the book, Palmater addresses various Indigenous issues such as empty political promises, ongoing racism, sexualized genocide, government lawlessness as well as noting that reconciliation is a lie. Palmater’s book is available now and can be purchased at the Fernwood Publishing website. “To Be a Water Protector: Rise of the Wiindigoo Slayers,” by LaDuke — an American environmentalist and former vice-president candidate — touches on global, Indigenous-led opposition to the enslavement and exploitation of the land and water. The book also acknowledges several elements of a New Green Economy and outlines the lessons we can take from activists outside North America. LaDuke’s book can be pre-ordered now and will be available in the first week of December. Nicole Wong is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the Winnipeg Sun. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.Nicole Wong, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Winnipeg Sun
Two men accused of human trafficking appeared in Saskatoon Provincial Court Nov. 24 and Nov. 25. There is now a court ordered ban on publication of the two men’s names. At their first appearance the court placed a publication ban on the identity of the woman who was allegedly being held captive by the two men. One man is a 23-year-old from Kindersley and the other is a 30-year-old from Saskatoon. The Kindersley man is charged with trafficking persons, material benefit from trafficking, two counts of uttering threats, theft under $5,000, breach of a release order, and breach of a conditional sentence order. He was denied bail. The Saskatoon man is charged with trafficking persons, uttering threats, and two counts of breach of a release order. He was granted bail during a show cause hearing in October. The Saskatoon Police Guns and Gang Unit arrested the two men in the 1500 block of Rayner Avenue on July 2. The Guns and Gang Unit became involved after the Saskatoon Police received a report June 29 that a 23-year-old woman was being held at a residence over a period of time. The Saskatoon VICE Human Trafficking Unit assisted police and warrants were issued for the two men. The Saskatoon man is scheduled to appear in Saskatoon Provincial court Dec. 10 to enter a plea and elect how he wants to be tried. The Kindersley man is scheduled to appear in Saskatoon Provincial Court Dec. 9 to enter a plea. firstname.lastname@example.org Lisa Joy, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter / Battlefords News-OptimistLisa Joy, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Battlefords Regional News-Optimist
Global stocks held near record highs on Thursday, as recent vaccine progress, Joe Biden's U.S. presidential election victory and hopes for further stimulus kept markets bullish. World equities are having their best month on record in November, boosted by positive vaccine announcements and hopes that Biden's administration will deliver more economic stimulus and political stability. Europe's STOXX 600, which is also having its best month on record, up 14.5% in November, was up 0.1% on the day.
MONTREAL — The percentage of COVID-19 cases in Quebec among people over the age of 70 is increasing, but the number is significantly below what was reported during the peak of the pandemic's first wave. However, Dr. Quoc Dinh Nguyen, a gerontologist and epidemiologist at the Universite de Montreal hospital centre, said he's still worried about the rise in cases among the elderly. "It might be slight, but one 85 year old who gets COVID will count for 600 20-year-olds in terms of mortality," he said in an interview Wednesday. "If we use the metric of deaths, even a slight increase in the number of cases is a huge increase in terms of mortality." Data from Quebec's national public health institute indicates 18.4 per cent of Quebecers with active COVID-19 cases since Nov. 22 were over the age of 70, up from 14.9 per cent the previous week. In September, 9.5 per cent of COVID-19 cases involved seniors, while in the first 24 days of November, it was 14.4 per cent. But that number is far below what was reported during the peak of cases last spring, when seniors over 70 years old accounted for 35.2 per cent of total COVID infections in Quebec. More than 90 per cent of people who have died in Quebec from COVID-19 were over 70, according to public health institute data. Many seniors who haven't caught the virus are faring badly as a result of the pandemic and the efforts to slow its spread, said Nguyen, who headed a team of experts appointed by the government last spring to improve COVID-19 prevention measures in long-term care homes. “They are more stressed out and worried about contracting COVID, righteously so because the chances of having a severe form of the disease is much greater,” he said. “So they're very worried, so they really respect this whole idea of social distancing and not seeing anyone, but they're also the most vulnerable to all of these new measures because, as we age, we're more vulnerable to anything that will disrupt our baseline activities.” People who are at the threshold of losing mobility or have few contacts will be more affected by those changes than others, he said. Nguyen said he and other gerontologists are still seeing the effects of the first lockdown in their patients. He said the government needs to do a better job of explaining to older people what activities are risky and how much risk those activities involve. Nguyen said he would also like to see health authorities focus on controlling the number COVID-19 infections in people over 70 and in health-care workers, rather than focusing on schools and the general population. "What we'll remember about COVID is not going to the number of schools that had COVID — it's going to be the number of nursing homes residents who've died," he said. Syeda Nayab Bukhari, program coordinator at the Telehealth Intervention Program for Isolated Older Adults in Montreal, said many people using her services are feeling increasingly isolated as a result of the pandemic. Bukhari said volunteers in the program, which is run by the Jewish General Hospital, have told her that the older adults they speak to are no longer able to see friends, neighbours and family members and that some have lost friends to COVID-19. Mental health is a serious issues among older people, Bukhari said. "Some of them are struggling with other mental health issues, for example, stress, late-life depression, dementia," she said in a recent interview. "Losing that connection with the outside world makes it worse." Health authorities said Wednesday there were 18 private seniors residences where more than 25 per cent of residents have active cases of COVID-19. There are public two long-term care homes where more than 25 per cent of residents have confirmed cases of the disease. But Nguyen said that's an arbitrary cutoff. "The need to reinforce infection prevention control, screening, isolation and all of that starts as soon as there's a single case," he said. "If we get to 25, 50 per cent, it's because something has not been done correctly." Meanwhile, public health officials in Montreal said that hospital facilities — which already have a shortage of workers — will face a particular challenge over the holidays. Sonia Belanger, the CEO of the regional health authority that covers much of central Montreal, told reporters more than 200 health-care workers have active cases of COVID-19, while she said more than 150 are waiting for test results. Quebec reported 1,100 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday and 28 more deaths attributed to the virus, including 12 that occurred in the past 24 hours. The province has reported a total of 135,430 cases of COVID-19 and 6,915 deaths linked to the virus. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 25, 2020. ——— This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship. Jacob Serebrin, The Canadian Press
Regina, Shellbrook – Sports have not been shut down entirely, but games have, and practices are now reduced to eight people. All but the youngest of children are now expected to wear masks when appropriate. Those were some of the latest restrictions the Saskatchewan Ministry of Health announced another round of new restrictions to combat the spread of COVID-19. Those restrictions in many ways do not go as far as some of what has been implemented in Alberta and Manitoba in recent days and weeks. Saskatchewan’s new cases on Nov. 25 came in at 164, but the 7-day average is now 214.3, a relatively levelling off over the last four days. While Manitoba has entered another lockdown, on Nov. 24, Alberta announced that it would soon be closing junior high and high schools, reverting to online learning as of next week, and extending the winter break for all students until Jan. 11. Saskatchewan will be doing neither, as it stands. Premier Scott Moe, who is personally self-isolating after a possible exposure to COVID-19 at a Prince Albert restaurant 10 days earlier, made the announcement via videoconference on Nov. 25. He was joined by Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Saqib Shahab, who was in the Legislature in Regina. The new Saskatchewan measures come into effect at 12:01 a.m., Friday, Nov. 27. Moe said, “Our goal is to find the right balance, on behalf of the people in this province to protect Saskatchewan people from the spread of COVID-19, while at the same time, protecting the Saskatchewan people's jobs and their livelihoods. Our goal is to not shut down businesses, services and activities that ultimately put people out of work, and at times, may threaten their mental health. Our goal is to find ways for those things to operate and to do so safely, so that people can continue to participate in athletics and continue to work, while at the same time, continue to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our communities.” Public gatherings Moe said, “All indoor public gatherings will be limited to 30 people. This includes all types of social gatherings, including weddings, funerals, as well as worship services. No food or drink maybe present or served at these events, and capacity will also be restricted to 30 people at all casinos bingo halls, arenas live performance venues and movie theatres, as well as any other facilities that currently have the capacity of up to 150 people.” He noted that private gatherings in your home are still limited to five people. Restaurants, bars and night clubs will not be shut down, but they will have to space out indoor clientele even more, with limits of four people per table, and three metres between tables unless they have barriers installed, in which case two metres is sufficient. Sports All team/group sports, activities, games, competitions, recitals, practices, etc. are suspended, according to the release on Nov. 25. This includes amateur and recreational leagues for all age groups. Examples include hockey, curling, racquet sports, cheerleading, dance practices in group setting, etc. “All team sports are going to be paused until Dec. 17,” Moe said. “However, athletes under the age of 18 may continue practicing or training in groups of eight or fewer.” Masks strengthened Mask use is now required for all indoor fitness activities, except for swimming. Individual and group fitness activities can continue, but with three metre spacings and limits of eight people in a group. “All students, employees and visitors in schools and daycares are now required to wear a mask, except when they need to eat or drink. And mask use is now required in all common areas of businesses and workplaces,” Moe said. Children ages zero to two years-old are exempt from wearing masks. Children ages 3-12 should wear a mask if they are able to. All employees and visitors in all common areas in businesses and workplaces, even in those areas which the public does not have access (e.g. construction sites, manufacturing facilities). “Large retail stores, must limit their capacity to 50 per cent or four square meters per person, whichever is less,” Moe said. Sports led to school, work infections Shahab explained the reasoning behind the sports restrictions, saying that the nature of play always has a risk of transmission, even if you follow all the guidelines. “But over the last two to three weeks, they were becoming so frequent, and many cases, they were resulting in, for example, in children's sports, multiple cases then being imported into schools. For adult sports, multiple cases and became imported into workplaces. So, it was really important to have that pause for three weeks to slow down transmission in that setting.” Once cases come down, Shahab said the guidelines may be adjusted again. Moe explained how these particular restrictions were chosen, saying, “It would be great if we could just pinpoint or two venues or one or two activities where this spread is occurring, and just restrict those zones. But the reality is, it’s COVID, it’s in our communities, and it has been spreading in a number of different places, both inside and outside of our homes, and that's why we need to enact a number of different measures to get our numbers under control.” As for why the restrictions didn’t go further, such as a complete shutdown, lockdown or circuit breaker, similar to what was done in the spring, Moe said, “We do understand this virus better than we did back in the spring. We do know more about how it is spread. And we know what we need to do to reduce the spread of this virus, to keep ourselves and keep others safe. We need to just slow down a little bit. “The overwhelming majority of Saskatchewan businesses and their employees in this province are operating safely, day to day. So, it would be terribly unfair, and it would have a huge negative impact, to close down all those businesses and put thousands of Saskatchewan people out of work. Yes, that is what we did, temporarily, this past spring. We took a very sweeping, broad brush approach to shutting down businesses, services and activities in our communities,” he said, adding, “But we don’t believe the solution is another wide-scale lockdown. Moe said, “Putting thousands of Saskatchewan people out of work, devastating small businesses and families, ending their livelihoods in many cases; a much better approach for us is to find the right balance; to find ways for us to operate and to do so even more safely than we have. By ensuring, yes, we are following all the existing guidelines that are in place. And by implementing some additional protocols so businesses and services can remain open and can do so safely.” Moe said, “We’re not prepared to look at a shutdown of our economy, in our communities, at this point in time, and we don’t believe it’s imminent that we will have to do a shutdown, here in the province. But, in saying that, if we’re not able to bend the growth and rate of transmission of this disease, obviously, that is a conversation that may come in the weeks and months ahead.” He said the actions taken thus far, and those added today, will hopefully not only flatten the rate of increase of infections, but bend that curve back down. He thanked the business, athletic and worship organizations that took part in recent consultations with regards to these measures. Both Moe and Shahab held out some hope that some restrictions might be lifted in time for the upcoming holidays. One possibility might be some allowable visits to long-term care homes, with multiple levels of personal protective equipment, but we’re not at that point in time, yet. The Ministry of Health is now posting a listing of outbreaks in long-term care homes on the Government of Saskatchewan website. Brian Zinchuk, Local Journalism Initiative reporter, Estevan Mercury
COVID-19. En date du 23 novembre, 3492 cas actifs de COVID-19 (2847 élèves et 645 membres du personnel) étaient rapportés dans 1023 établissements préscolaires, primaires et secondaires du Québec. Par conséquent, un total de 1139 classes sont fermées. Les élèves concernés suivent donc leurs cours à distance. Le nombre total d’écoles comptant un ou des cas positifs rapportés avec diagnostic depuis le début de l’année scolaire est de 1999. Notons que l’on peut consulter la liste des écoles concernées sur cette page publiée par le gouvernement du Québec : https://cdn-contenu.quebec.ca/cdn-contenu/adm/min/education/publications-adm/covid-19/reseauScolaire_listeEcoles.pdf?1600113647 Stéphane Lévesque, Initiative de journalisme local, L'Hebdo Journal
Integrity Commissioner David King has cleared the East Ferris planning advisory committee chairman of conflict of interest allegations, according to a municipal media release issued today. A resident fighting a subdivision plan approval registered a complaint to King six months ago, contending that PAC chairman John O’Rourke had a business relationship with the developer that she argued was a conflict. The media release the municipality issued was in response to an article published by BayToday Nov. 17 that featured the frustrations Maggie Preston-Coles was facing in her effort to oppose the subdivision approval. Preston-Coles, in the article, complained that the investigation was taking too long and she needed the results for her appeal to the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal, while also expecting to take the issue to the Ontario Ombudsman depending on the result. East Ferris, in the media release, stated it wanted to provide “complete and accurate information” to the public about the municipal planning progress because they were not contacted for comment for the Nov. 17 article. Preston-Coles said the municipality should be doing its own studies when considering subdivision proposals, including traffic impact and environmental risks studies. The article didn’t initially make it clear the general practice is to have the developer hire professionals in their field do the studies while municipal staff review them. A clarification line to that effect was added to the story after an East Ferris staff member contacted the reporter. “With respect to the conflict of interest allegation against our PAC member, the Integrity Commissioner’s role is to conduct inquiries into these types of allegations,” the media release stated. “In this case, the Integrity Commissioner has determined that the pecuniary interest is remote or insignificant and he will not be pursuing this matter any further.” Preston-Coles has also complained to LPAT about having three appeal managers, with the latest one not communicating to her since July. That’s when she was told LPAT changed its mind, due to an East Ferris objection, and was not allowing her to add to the appeal her issues regarding the municipality’s official plan and rezoning approval. Meanwhile, LPAT recently asked the municipality to submit a motion to dismiss the appeal entirely. Dave Dale is a Local Journalism Reporter with BayToday.ca. LJI is funded by the Government of Canada.Dave Dale, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, BayToday.ca