President Donald Trump returned to the White House Sunday from his golf Club in suburban Virginia. he president's motorcade passed a group of cheering demonstrators at the entrance to the golf club and passed more near the White House. (Nov. 8)
President Donald Trump returned to the White House Sunday from his golf Club in suburban Virginia. he president's motorcade passed a group of cheering demonstrators at the entrance to the golf club and passed more near the White House. (Nov. 8)
WASHINGTON — Disputing President Donald Trump’s persistent, baseless claims, Attorney General William Barr declared the U.S. Justice Department has uncovered no evidence of widespread voter fraud that could change the outcome of the 2020 election.Barr's comments, in an interview Tuesday with the The Associated Press, contradict the concerted effort by Trump, his boss, to subvert the results of last month's voting and block President-elect Joe Biden from taking his place in the White House.Barr told the AP that U.S. attorneys and FBI agents have been working to follow up specific complaints and information they’ve received, but “to date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election.”The comments, which drew immediate criticism from Trump attorneys, were especially notable coming from Barr, who has been one of the president's most ardent allies. Before the election, he had repeatedly raised the notion that mail-in voting could be especially vulnerable to fraud during the coronavirus pandemic as Americans feared going to polls and instead chose to vote by mail.More to Trump's liking, Barr revealed in the AP interview that in October he had appointed U.S. Attorney John Durham as a special counsel, giving the prosecutor the authority to continue to investigate the origins of the Trump-Russia probe after Biden takes over and making it difficult to fire him. Biden hasn't said what he might do with the investigation, and his transition team didn't comment Tuesday.Trump has long railed against the investigation into whether his 2016 campaign was co-ordinating with Russia, but he and Republican allies had hoped the results would be delivered before the 2020 election and would help sway voters. So far, there has been only one criminal case, a guilty plea from a former FBI lawyer to a single false statement charge.Under federal regulations, a special counsel can be fired only by the attorney general and for specific reasons such as misconduct, dereliction of duty or conflict of interest. An attorney general must document such reasons in writing.Barr went to the White House Tuesday for a previously scheduled meeting that lasted about three hours.Trump didn't directly comment on the attorney general's remarks on the election. But his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and his political campaign issued a scathing statement claiming that, "with all due respect to the Attorney General, there hasn’t been any semblance” of an investigation into the president's complaints.Other administration officials who have come out forcefully against Trump's allegations of voter-fraud evidence have been fired. But it's not clear whether Barr might suffer the same fate. He maintains a lofty position with Trump, and despite their differences the two see eye-to-eye on quite a lot.Still, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer quipped: “I guess he’s the next one to be fired.”Last month, Barr issued a directive to U.S. attorneys across the country allowing them to pursue any “substantial allegations” of voting irregularities before the 2020 presidential election was certified, despite no evidence at that time of widespread fraud.That memorandum gave prosecutors the ability to go around longstanding Justice Department policy that normally would prohibit such overt actions before the election was certified. Soon after it was issued, the department’s top elections crime official announced he would step aside from that position because of the memo.The Trump campaign team led by Giuliani has been alleging a widespread conspiracy by Democrats to dump millions of illegal votes into the system with no evidence. They have filed multiple lawsuits in battleground states alleging that partisan poll watchers didn’t have a clear enough view at polling sites in some locations and therefore something illegal must have happened. The claims have been repeatedly dismissed including by Republican judges who have ruled the suits lacked evidence.But local Republicans in some battleground states have followed Trump in making unsupported claims, prompting grave concerns over potential damage to American democracy.Trump himself continues to rail against the election in tweets and in interviews though his own administration has said the 2020 election was the most secure ever. He recently allowed his administration to begin the transition over to Biden, but he still refuses to admit he lost.The issues they've have pointed to are typical in every election: Problems with signatures, secrecy envelopes and postal marks on mail-in ballots, as well as the potential for a small number of ballots miscast or lost.But they've gone further. Attorney Sidney Powell has spun fictional tales of election systems flipping votes, German servers storing U.S. voting information and election software created in Venezuela “at the direction of Hugo Chavez,” – the late Venezuelan president who died in 2013. Powell has since been removed from the legal team after an interview she gave where she threatened to “blow up” Georgia with a “biblical” court filing.Barr didn't name Powell specifically but said: “There's been one assertion that would be systemic fraud and that would be the claim that machines were programmed essentially to skew the election results. And the DHS and DOJ have looked into that, and so far, we haven’t seen anything to substantiate that.”In the campaign statement, Giuliani claimed there was “ample evidence of illegal voting in at least six states, which they have not examined.”“We have many witnesses swearing under oath they saw crimes being committed in connection with voter fraud. As far as we know, not a single one has been interviewed by the DOJ. The Justice Department also hasn’t audited any voting machines or used their subpoena powers to determine the truth,” he said.However, Barr said earlier that people were confusing the use of the federal criminal justice system with allegations that should be made in civil lawsuits. He said a remedy for many complaints would be a top-down audit by state or local officials, not the U.S. Justice Department.“There’s a growing tendency to use the criminal justice system as sort of a default fix-all," he said, but first there must be a basis to believe there is a crime to investigate.“Most claims of fraud are very particularized to a particular set of circumstances or actors or conduct. ... And those have been run down; they are being run down,” Barr said. “Some have been broad and potentially cover a few thousand votes. They have been followed up on."___Associated Press writers Lisa Mascaro and Eric Tucker contributed to this report.Michael Balsamo, The Associated Press
Voici le message qu’il a décidé de partager ce matin sur les réseaux sociaux : Kuei kassinu etshiek Bonjour a vous tous, Toute une semaine d’émotions, pour ma part, j’ai été testé positif à la covid 19. Je fais partie de ses 6 cas au centre administratif. Ce fut tout un choc pour moi, car selon l’enquête épidémiologique des premiers cas du centre administratif, cela touché le secteur où nos bureaux sont, j’étais un contact significatif à degré Faible. Mais je me suis malgré tout mis en isolement pour protéger les gens et ma famille. Je suis allé passer le test malgré que j’avais aucun Symptôme. Ça m’a pris 72h avoir d’avoir mon résultat, 3 jours a penser au oui ou non j’étais porteur du virus et pendant ses trois jours-là. Aucun symptôme, alors je pensais que j’étais négatif mais hélas non. Ce que l’on récent lorsque tu es positif, c’est la honte, la peur et la culpabilité. Vous savez, personne veut attraper ce virus, même moi car ma belle-mère a eu de gros traitement de chimio et radio pour combattre un cancer alors même si nous restons à LTQ jamais nous voyageons, les seul places que nous faisons en ville c’est l’épicerie, pharmacie et CT. Le reste du temps nous étions à la maison.pour justement protéger nos êtres chers. Ma famille viendra tjrs en tête de liste. Mais comble de malheur, j’ai attrapé le Virus à Wemotaci et non en ville alors nous ne somme pas à l’abri du virus. Moi, je n’en veut a personne d’avoir eu la covid c’est comme ça et c’est tout. Ce n’est pas le temps de faire la chasse aux sorcières mais plutôt d’être Solidaire entre nous. Merci aux anges gardiens de Wemotaci, vos tisane et médecine traditionnelle m’ont aidé a passé vers cette douloureuse épreuve de confinement. Le plus dur pour moi été d’être isolé de ma famille mais c’était pour le bien. Pour ce qui est de ma santé, je suis asymptomatique. Je n’ai eu aucun symptôme depuis le début. C’est pour ça que je suis heureux d’avoir passer le test, sinon jamais j’aurais su que j’avais la Covid car j’aurais peut-être pu infecté plus de gens mais je prends tous les précautions possible, Masque, lavages de mains régulier et être à 2 mètres. Hier, nous avons eu le dernier résultat de mes contacts significatifs. Ma belle-mère est négatif, vous ne pouvez pas savoir comment ça me soulage. Aujourd’hui, comme depuis le jour 1, je suis asymptomatique et je ne suis pas un faux positif. J’ai attrapé la Covid-19 et je veux que mon message sert a quelque chose. C’est de dire aux gens de faire attention à eux et d’appliquer le plus possible les mesures sanitaires. Je pries pour les malades car des gens ont des complications et sont hospitalisé. À partir de samedi, ma levée d’isolement sera effectif. Je suis a la fin de mon isolement et contamination!! Selon les infirmiers de santé publique, je serais immunisé pour 3 mois!! Mais dans la vie, nous ne contrôlons pas grand chose, dieu a décidé que je devais passer par cette épreuve. Je l’accepte et surtout je veux que mon cas serve à quelques choses. Faites attention Tsheneskemetnau kassinu etshiekKarine Lachance, Initiative de journalisme local, Ma Côte-Nord
Armanti Edwards is a receiver by trade but a quarterback at heart. The 32-year-old American continues to prepare for his first CFL season with the Edmonton Football Club after the league cancelled the 2020 campaign due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But before coming to Canada, the five-foot-11, 183-pound Edwards was a standout college quarterback — including being at the helm for one of the most famous upsets in NCAA history.Edwards remains convinced he could've played the position professionally."If it was up to me I'd be playing quarterback but I'm the employee, not the employer.," Edwards said during a telephone interview Tuesday. "There's no doubt in my mind I could, otherwise I wouldn't have been playing the position to begin with."My quarterback days are long gone now . . . I've moved on. Obviously at the beginning of my professional career it was very disappointing because that's the position I played since I was six years old and was one of the reasons why I was in love with the game."Edwards enjoyed a successful tenure at Appalachian State, leading the North Carolina school to its second and third straight Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division 1-AA) titles in 2006 and 2007. In the latter year, Edwards led the Mountaineers to a stunning 34-32 upset of Michigan, passing for 227 yards and three TDs while rushing for 62 yards and a touchdown before more than 109,000 fans at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor.Edwards became the first player to win the Walter Payton Award — given annually to the FCS's top offensive performer — in consecutive years (2008-09) and twice overall. He started 49-of-51 college games, passing for 10,392 yards with 74 touchdowns and 33 interceptions while rushing for 4,361 yards (5.8-yard average) and 65 TDs.Edwards was taken in the third round, No. 89 overall, of the 2010 NFL draft by Carolina. But he had twice as many catches (six for 131 yards) as pass attempts (three, completing two for 11 yards) ) over four seasons with the Panthers and Cleveland Browns before being among the Chicago Bears' final 2014 cuts.Edwards was out of football until 2016 when he joined the CFL's Saskatchewan Roughriders as a receiver. He was dealt to Toronto the following year and spent three seasons with the Argonauts — winning a Grey Cup in 2017 and registering career highs in catches (69), yards (1,014) and touchdowns (seven) in 2019 — before signing with Edmonton as a free agent.Based upon his background and experience at quarterback, Edwards wasn't the least bit surprised Sunday when receiver Kendall Hinton struggled mightily in his first NFL start at QB for the Denver Broncos.Denver activated Hinton, a rookie, from the practice roster hours before its 31-3 loss to the New Orleans Saints. Hinton, who played quarterback at Wake Forest before switching to receiver in his senior season, was pressed into action after all four of Denver's quarterbacks went on the reserve/COVID-19 list.Predictably, Hinton had trouble, finishing 1-of-9 passing for 13 yards with two interceptions."There's a lot of hard work and preparation that goes into it," Edwards said. "It takes all of training camp and sometimes even a few games into the season for a starting quarterback to get into sync with everything and everyone."All season you have a quarterback working with his receivers, the running backs and offensive line and now you've got a guy back there who hasn't played the position all season? That's pretty hard."In his younger days, Edwards looked up to former NFL star Michael Vick, a fellow left-hander who routinely made big plays with his arm and legs. At six feet and 215 pounds, Vick was bigger than Edwards. Often in pro football, players are judged more for their physical traits than playing ability."It's all an eye test, that's what today's game is all about," Edwards said. "It's not about what you've done on film, to me personally."And although Edwards said making the transition to receiver wasn't easy, he credits the CFL for reigniting his love for the game."Before I decided to go across the border, I'd pretty much hung up my cleats," Edwards said. "But I didn't want to end my career like that so coming to Canada rekindled that love."I was given the opportunity to actually play the position of receiver in games and that's what helped me to continue to grow."While the cancellation of the '20 CFL season wasn't ideal, it has provided Edwards some benefits. He's had the chance to heal physically and spend time with his wife and their two children (a 15-year-old daughter and nine-year-old son)."At this point and time in my career, I'm in my 30s so I pretty much know how my body responds and I listen to my body," he said. "It's been a blessing to be able to sit down and let my body heal and enjoy my family."But I'm looking forward to getting to Edmonton and playing with a guy like (quarterback) Trevor Harris who's been on playoff and Grey Cup-contending teams before. I know what's at stake and the opportunity we have and that's what I'm looking forward to, (winning) a Grey Cup ring."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 1, 2020.Dan Ralph, The Canadian Press
What happens to the state of business in a city when it loses its largest storefront in the downtown core even earlier than expected? It’s a question being mulled by commerce stakeholders and retail experts, along with the provincial and municipal government, as the COVID-19 pandemic forces the Hudson’s Bay Company to close its downtown Winnipeg location two months earlier than previously announced. “In light of recent restrictions on non-essential retail by the Government of Manitoba, we have made the decision to close this location,” said HBC in a statement to the Free Press Tuesday. “We remain committed to working with partners to find opportunities for this historic location that will have a positive impact on the community.” The iconic Canadian departmental shopping chain had announced in October it would be shuttering the Winnipeg store permanently in February due to a “change in consumer behaviour.” But by late Monday, a “closed” sign could be seen outside the mammoth, 650,000-square-foot store on Portage Avenue and Memorial Boulevard — one of the original six stores for the 350-year-old retailer before it expanded across North America. Now, industry decision-makers and onlookers are scratching their heads about what comes next for the vacant building which has more square footage than almost all other buildings in the city. For some, it’s prime real estate smack dab at the heart of a city that’s presenting an “opportunity” for future growth. While for others, it’s a growing concern about the “sad state of affairs” for brick-and-mortar stores. For almost all of them, however, a mixed-use occupancy that combines residential and commercial aspects appears to be the most sensible direction for the building. “It’s definitely an important moment in time where we can truly shape what comes next for all our businesses in the provincial hub,” said Kate Fenske, chief executive officer of Downtown Winnipeg BIZ. “Of course, this closure does have an impact on several businesses nearby because of their proximity to that space and that’s something we need to prevent from escalating.” Citing statistics from a study conducted by the advocacy and marketing group last week, Fenske said while business is deteriorating downtown, investment in the area continues to rise and so does the possibility of new residents moving in. Upcoming capital projects underway have a combined construction value of nearly $1 billion, according to Downtown Winnipeg BIZ numbers, including the $400-million redevelopment of the Portage Place mall right across from the Bay planned for March, 2021. And at least 18,000 people are expected to call the downtown core their home in the next two years. “While it’s in no way surprising that the Bay chose to close, and it’s sad they’re closing even earlier than planned,” said Fenske in an interview. “How we go from here needs to use all that momentum that we still have going on here and use it for the future.” Lisa Hutcheson, managing partner at retail consulting firm J.C. Williams Group in Toronto, said that’s easier said than done. “Retail shopping definitely works in clusters, I mean that’s the whole concept behind having a mall to begin with — to have several stores conveniently in one place,” she said Tuesday. “But now the real question is, where do we go from here when that concept has itself become outdated and is causing closures like this? That’s difficult to answer.” Hutcheson believes the novel coronavirus “only magnified and worsened the inevitable,” given the overall lack of foot traffic in suburban-style malls and an evolving shift to online commerce seen well before the pandemic. “I do still think that if we found a good blend of mixed-use purpose for the building, it would be of great value,” she said. “It’s just that that’s the type of project which is pretty difficult to convince someone to take on right now.” Last year a company-wide valuation of HBC’s real estate holdings valued the downtown Winnipeg building at precisely $0. Over the years, the company has closed some of the store’s six floors along with its basement, consolidating stock on just two levels. Dayna Spiring, president of Economic Development Winnipeg, said her conversations with the province and the city have given her ample reason to be optimistic. “There’s so much potential here, it’s hard not to be hopeful about what can be done with that space especially with consultation from the community at large,” she said. “The opportunity is massive.” In statements to the Free Press, provincial and municipal spokespersons said both government levels are open to hearing development proposals in the future that “include an adaptive re-use of the building and conservation of the character-defining elements.” A city spokesperson said the mayor is “currently engaged in outreach with community stakeholders in this regard.” But Spiring said she doesn’t believe the building will ever remain the way it is right now. “You’re likely looking at getting rid of the guts and almost a complete reimagination of the space for it to be successful,” she added. “We just have to get through this pandemic first to make those kind of decisions.” Hudson’s Bay Co. continues to serve Winnipeggers at its Polo Park and St. Vital locations, as well as online at thebay.com.Temur Durrani, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Winnipeg Free Press
The Calgary Police Service is still committed to reallocate money to support other crisis response services despite city council's decision to pull from its rainy-day funds instead of the police budget. Police Chief Mark Neufeld had supported giving up $8 million from the 2021 police budget, as long as the funds reallocated lead directly to a drop in call volumes for police officers.Instead, on Thursday council pulled that money from its fiscal stability fund to go toward the community safety framework, which is intended to address gaps in crisis services, outreach services and emergency response, as well as gaps in racially and culturally appropriate services. "Regardless of the source of the funding, the approval of the framework and the commitment of dollars to do that important work is a real win," Neufeld told the Calgary Police Commission during its Tuesday meeting. "But let me be equally clear — CPS proposed initially to reallocate funds to do this work, and we remain completely committed to doing the work."Neufeld didn't specifically say how much money would be committed to the framework, but said more details would be available at the January 2021 police commission meeting. Anti-racism work underwayDeputy chief Katie McLellan also gave an update on CPS' anti-racism work, which is being built out of the city's public hearings on the topic earlier this year. Police had identified six priorities the service is focusing on: * Building a framework with dedicated internal resources to create an anti-racism strategy. CPS dedicated two staff to full-time work leading its anti-racism action committee. * Allocating money to a new call response delivery model, with short term actions including increase support networks, court diversion options and improving crisis triage and working with other agencies. * Conducting an independent review of its school resource officer program, with the report expected by the third quarter of next year. * Evaluating the body-worn camera program, including a look at complaints and use of force incidents. * Developing practices to collect, categorize and report disaggregated race-based data — both relating to citizens and CPS employees. * Researching and implementing an equity, inclusion and diversity tool for CPS policies, practices and reporting — training on that tool is expected to start early next year. "We have lots of things going on … I am optimistic but recognize there's many balls in the air and we need to have that balance, and take time to be thorough and engage and listen to lessons learned," McLellan said. McLellan also presented an update on the service's Indigenous road map, which is focused on addressing calls to action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls calls for justice. Some of the work that's been completed since last year includes the hiring of an Indigenous strategic engagement coordinator, developing and delivering training to create awareness of different ways to respond to administration of justice offences that see Indigenous people over-represented in the carceral system, and participation in the development of the Calgary Indigenous Court.Commissioner Heather Campbell said police have been able to put together a bit of a "dream team" for their anti-racism work, from Indigenous liaison experts to the committee's two leads, and asked what work still needs to be done. "We recognize the need to include members from the community so they bring that objective, different lens to us. In the interim, we really haven't built what we're looking for," McLellan said, adding that they'll be seeking additional subject matter experts and community engagement in the long-term. "We're building the bones and the framework of the plan but the strategy will be longer term."Commissioner Marilyn North Peigan pointed out that the Indigenous court is a "guilty" court, meaning that someone has to plead guilty to enter the system. She said she'd like to see more work happening with diversion and education — something McLellan said is one of the main goals the team is striving toward.
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is threatening to veto a defence policy bill unless it ends protections for internet companies that shield them from being held liable for material posted by their users.On Twitter Tuesday night, Trump took aim at Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act, which protects companies that can host trillions of messages from being sued into oblivion by anyone who feels wronged by something someone else has posted — whether their complaint is legitimate or not.Trump called Section 230 “a serious threat to our National Security & Election Integrity,” adding, “Therefore, if the very dangerous & unfair Section 230 is not completely terminated as part of the National Defence Authorization Act (NDAA), I will be forced to unequivocally VETO the Bill.”Trump has been waging war against social media companies for months, claiming they are biased against conservative voices.In October he signed an executive order directing executive branch agencies to ask independent rule-making agencies, including the Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Trade Commission, to study whether they can place new regulations on the companies.Since losing the presidential election, Trump has flooded social media with unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud. Twitter has tagged many such Trump tweets with the advisory, “This claim about election fraud is disputed.”Tuesday's veto threat is another potential roadblock for the passage of the annual defence policy measure, which is already being held up in Congress by a spat over military bases named for Confederate officers. The measure, which has passed for 59 years in a row on a bipartisan basis, guides Pentagon policy and cements decisions about troop levels, new weapons systems and military readiness, military personnel policy and other military goals.The Associated Press
The Canadian government has a marketplace worth an estimated $25 billion each year. And though it can be a difficult market to break into, countless businesses can benefit from many lucrative opportunities. This includes the businesses of five Indigenous women entrepreneurs who were on a panel this past Wednesday to discuss their stories, including the successes and challenges of landing contracts with the federal government. The event was organized by the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) and its entrepreneurial outreach and navigation program called BeTheDrum. The speakers’ panel, which was held online, was titled How We’re Doing Business with the Government of Canada. Sylvie Ouellette, president and co-founder of Versatil: Business Intelligence and Performance Management, started her company in 2010 in the Quebec city of Gatineau. Ottawa, the Canadian capital, is directly across a river from Gatineau. “So definitely we wanted to see how we could do business with the federal government,” said Ouellette. Her company specializes in data management, business analytics, security and AI intelligence. “This is a big employer here.” Ouellette said simply having the desire to land federal contracts is not sufficient. In order to secure some government deals, previous experience working for the Canadian government is required. This experience can only be obtained through partnerships. “It took us many years to be able to bid on a contract because we had to work with other companies first to get the experience so we could have our own references so that we could bid,” Ouellette said. “It’s complex, even if it’s small amounts.” Julie Lepage, the co-founder of Montreal-based Acosys Consulting Services, said she knew as early as when a business plan was being worked on that federal contracts were worth pursuing. “We saw there was so much potential in doing business with the government that we couldn’t ignore it,” she said. Acosys Consulting Services will be celebrating its 15th year in business this coming February. Winning some federal work though was not an easy path to navigate. Lepage attended numerous workshops and conferences in order to gather information on how the procurement system works for Indigenous entrepreneurs. “That was hard because we were meeting people who were in (in other industries) and they were getting contracts faster,” Lepage said. “For us it was hard because $10,000 in consulting services is nothing. It keeps us employed maybe for a month. It was a puzzle or problem we had to resolve.” Lepage said it took at least four years before Acosys Consulting Services even submitted its first bid to the federal government. And it took until 2018 for the business to secure its first long-term contract from the Canadian government. Her company quickly learned that it’s best to hire an expert in a particular field to assist with a bid proposal, Lepage said. While hiring another individual will result in additional expenses, it can be fruitful if a noteworthy contract is secured. After years of gaining experience in what federal officials are looking for in bid submissions, Lepage and her partner now handle the work on their own. “We learned and now we don’t hire anybody else,” she said. “We know how to answer all of these things.” Wendy Roberts is the president of Ottawa-based Makwa Resources, which specializes in human resources and program development with both public and private sectors. Makwa Resources started 15 years ago and Roberts said in the early years her company also had to rely on big partnerships to secure contracts with the federal government. But now it lands its own deals. “There’s a lot of positive energy that’s floating around,” she said, adding she’s hoping to win a number of contracts prior to the Christmas season. “We’re finding more and more with our government clients that they are listening more. It’s been a very positive reinforcement for us.” As for Janice Larocque, who is Métis and living in Calgary, she is the president and owner of a pair of staffing companies, Fast Labour Solutions and Spirit Omega. Playing by the government’s rules has kept her busy. “Partnerships can work but it does take a while,” she said. “So, if that’s what we need to do to advance, I think we should.” Larocque said she’s had plenty of discussions with those in her industry and a common thought is why there is a need to partner if a business has the capacity to provide a service on its own. “I really think if we start pushing, we don’t have to partner to deliver our services,” she said. Genevieve Cumpson is president of Drapeau Automatic Sprinkler Corp., a leading independent designer and installer of fixed fire protection and detection systems based in Kingston, Ont. “In our industry we’re so regulated with our codes that the government also has to be regulated so we kind of fit together,” Cumpson said. “We’re just very fortunate that we were finally able to be certified as an Aboriginal business.” Cumpson said landing federal contracts has proven beneficial for her company when seeking other work. “For us, working with the government has really actually helped us learn how to put proposals together because they required so much information,” she said. “Sometimes with our private companies we were able to bombard them because we had our structures already set up.” Windspeaker.comBy Sam Laskaris, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Windspeaker.com, Windspeaker.com
Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi Corp's shares fell 7.1% in Hong Kong trading on Wednesday as the company finalised a $3.91 billion capital raising that included the city's largest top up placement. The final price was a 9.4% discount to Xiaomi's closing price of HK$26.15 on Tuesday. Trading of Xiaomi's stock was halted during the morning session before the company released details of the capital raise during Hong Kong's lunch break, when trading is stopped for an hour.
Brandon Sun readers requested specific questions be asked about COVID-19: QUESTION: Dr. Roussin keeps saying there hasn’t been much spread in schools. It’s always a very vague response. Are there actual statistics related to school transmission? MANITOBA HEALTH: Case and contact investigations amongst school-aged children are followed up extensively by medical officers of health and public health nurses. To date, these investigations have revealed very little transmission within schools. It should be noted that there are over 200,000 students enrolled in schools across Manitoba and to date, there have been under 1,500 infections in children 18 and under. This amounts to cases in less than 0.75 per cent in school-aged children in Manitoba. If there was extensive transmission within schools, we would expect to see a higher proportion infected amongst children; overall, the proportion infected in Manitoba since March is approximately 1.2 per cent, or almost twice that of the proportion in school-aged children. QUESTION: Do you keep numbers on how many people have tested positive for COVID but have not needed medical treatment? Or what percentage of positive people have to be admitted to hospital? DR. BRENT ROUSSIN: We know how many total hospital admissions we have and we know duration of stay on average. We keep all those severe outcome issues. We’ve had 1,092 total hospitalizations, and 204 total ICU admissions. And it depends on what you mean by no medical treatment. The total minus that is the ones that haven’t needed admission. Having no medical treatment … whether they’ve attended a physician for outpatient care — no. We wouldn’t have a way of tracking that. Do you have a question about something in your community? Send your questions to email@example.com with the subject line: Readers Ask. Michèle LeTourneau, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brandon Sun
As COVID-19 cases rise, Delhi grapples with getting its residents to follow health guidelines and with concerns that worsening air pollution contributes to the pandemic.
Public health officials insist COVID-19 transmission in schools is limited, but one epidemiologist questions the data — and lack thereof — being used to back that claim. Dr. Brent Roussin has yet to waver from his steadfast belief schools are safe places for K-12 students in Manitoba, despite a provincial test positivity rate that has reached upwards of 14 per cent in recent days. The chief provincial public health officer has repeatedly said, as he reiterated during a news conference Tuesday: “We’re not seeing a lot of transmission in schools.” Amy Greer, an epidemiologist at the University of Guelph, has heard similar rhetoric in Ontario since students returned to school this fall. She isn’t quite as confident as Roussin or the leadership in her home province. “We haven’t really looked,” said Greer, who researches the introduction, spread, dynamics and control of infectious diseases in populations. “If many, many children are asymptomatic, you’re not going to know. You can’t see them. You can’t see that you have an issue if many of those children are asymptomatic, unless you do more targeted surveillance and testing to see what’s actually happening in those classes that have had an exposure.” The general scientific consensus is children under 10 who become infected with SARS-CoV-2 are less likely to become severely ill and spread it to others in comparison to older patients. Early evidence suggested youth are also far less likely to become infected with the novel coronavirus, but growing research shows children are often asymptomatic and thus, infections may go under the radar. Among recent “red flags” for Greer are the results of a new study of common symptoms in children in Alberta, which was published last week in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. The authors analyzed the results of hundreds of children who underwent testing between April and September. Of the 1,987 who had a positive result, more than one-third reported being asymptomatic. That means 36 per cent of students who are infected pass a self-screening test and the preventative “half-measures” — Greer’s definition of the back-to-school approach, citing politicians’ decisions not to cap class sizes or upgrade ventilation systems, despite expert recommendations — are the last line of defence, she said. Meantime, Greer said there are many instances where adults contract the virus and it is difficult to attribute where they became infected. One explanation could be that an asymptomatic student brought the virus home and by the time a parent shows symptoms and the household gets tested, the student receives a negative result because they have recovered, she said. “I’m uncomfortable saying transmission (in schools) is low, because I don’t think we have the right data.” Last week, Ontario unveiled a voluntary testing program for asymptomatic students and staff in regions with high infection rates. A public school pilot in Thorncliffe Park, a Toronto neighbourhood that has a 16 per cent positivity rate, has since found four per cent of the school had COVID-19, including 18 students and one staff member. When pressed about whether Manitoba would follow suit, Roussin said Tuesday such an initiative would require more testing capacity, so the province has no immediate plans to implement a similar pilot. While Greer acknowledged the pilot will result in more data collection, she said contract tracers should ideally be following up with and ensuring all students and staff who have been exposed to the virus get tested, even if they feel healthy. The widespread testing of children for antibodies would also be helpful data to collect to understand how transmission is occurring in schools, she said. Caroline Colijn, an infectious disease modeller at Simon Fraser University, echoed Greer’s comments during a phone call from Burnaby, B.C. “I don’t think any scientist believes there’s a magic COVID eraser in schools.” She suggests investigators document the environments in which school clusters and outbreaks occur to determine what factors contribute to them. Colijn added it is key officials be transparent with families about what’s going on in schools, in order to maintain trust in the pandemic response. Upwards of 330 Manitoba schools have recorded a COVID-19 exposure to date, according to a spreadsheet compiled by an anonymous parent who draws from provincial data, news reports, and crowdsourcing. The spreadsheet has started to beat the province at making exposures public.Maggie Macintosh, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Winnipeg Free Press
Newly minted Regina University MLA Aleana Young asked her first question in question period on Dec. 1, focusing on supporting small business owners during the COVID-19 pandemic. The New Democratic Party MLA is critic for economy, jobs, SaskBuilds and SaskPower. “Things are grim for many of our province’s small business owners, the heartbeat of the economy, and unfortunately, they're currently living in a worst of both worlds scenario. Businesses are being told to stay open, yet their customers are being urged to stay home,” Young said. “While this month should be the busiest for most retailers, the government has concocted a recipe for economic disaster that shuts many out from federal support. Not only are businesses shuttering and people losing their jobs, this government seems to believe its own spin that they haven't effectively shut down the economy. How many businesses, and how long does this government believe they can operate that 50 per cent, at 30 per cent, or at 25 per cent capacity, and for how long? What is this government's plan to help Saskatchewan small businesses?” In reply, Minister of Trade and Export Development Jeremy Harrison said, “The reality is that this government has stepped up with the most comprehensive supports for small business of any jurisdiction in the entire country. “We worked incredibly closely with our business community, through all facets of the pandemic. We came forward with the Small Business Emergency Payment early on in the pandemic, to support small businesses. Sixty-five hundred small businesses took advantage of that program, over $30 million distributed through that process. We then came forward with the Tourism Sector Support Program, which was the benchmark for supporting the tourism and hospitality industries in the entire country. Over $35 million allocated to that program, over 450 businesses supported directly and designed very closely in consultation with the leadership from that industry. The results have been positive. We've seen the lowest unemployment rate in the entire country, by a significant margin. We've seen merchandise exports leading the country in growth. We're going to be continuing and have been continuing to work very, very closely with our business community, and I would encourage the member opposite to stay tuned.” Young campaigned in the election during her last month of pregnancy, and gave birth to a daughter just days before election day. She won her seat in one of the closest races in the election, defeating incumbent cabinet minister Tina Beaudry-Mellor. Young has had her newborn daughter with her in the house at times. Brian Zinchuk, Local Journalism Initiative reporter, Estevan Mercury
Tuesday was the final day for Saskatchewan schools to submit funding applications to the Ministry of Education for the second round of COVID-19 funding. “The second round of COVID contingency funding will ensure schools remain a safe place for students, staff and families,” Education Minister Dustin Duncan said. “These applications are in addition to our $51 million allocated in the first round of applications.” The funding comes from the more than $150 million in the COVID contingency fund for education from provincial, federal and school division savings. The funds will be used for sanitation, furniture and equipment, remote learning (for immunocompromised and other students) and IT costs not associated to remote learning. Applications are expected to be submitted by school divisions, qualified independent schools and historical high schools. The ministry will then adjudicate the applications based on the criteria and will notify applicants in early December. According to the Ministry there is $64 million remaining for the second round of applications in the COVID contingency fund for education. Before school began in September, $51 million was committed toward the first round of funding for school divisions and school applicants for emergent, one-time expenses associated with a safe return to school. Prior to the first funding intake, school divisions spent a combined $30 million on one-time school capital initiatives and preparations for the school year. The Ministry of Education has allocated $10 million for personal protective equipment expenses, of which $3.4 million has been spent to date. In the second round of COVID contingency funding for education applications, recipients of the first round of funding are required to report their detailed use of funds to the Ministry of Education.Michael Oleksyn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Albert Daily Herald
FAITS DIVERS. La Division des enquêtes sur la criminalité financière organisée a procédé le 27 novembre à l’arrestation de trois hommes de Montréal en lien avec le vol d’identité de personnes œuvrant dans le domaine de l’enseignement, de la fraude, de la possession de documents contrefaits, de l’utilisation non autorisée de données relatives à une carte de crédit et de l’utilisation non autorisée d’un ordinateur. Les crimes auraient été commis par Frédéric Lapointe, 41 ans, Rath Pak, 41 ans et Jimmy Saintelien, 39 ans, au printemps 2018 dans plusieurs régions du Québec. Notons qu’au moment des faits, des centaines de vols d’identité de personnes reliées au domaine de l’éducation avaient été signalés aux autorités. L’enquête menée en collaboration avec le Ministère de l’Éducation et de l’Enseignement supérieur avait permis de découvrir que des individus utilisaient les informations volées afin de commettre des fraudes un peu partout au Québec. Rappelons que La Division des enquêtes sur la criminalité financière organisée a notamment pour mandat d’enquêter, en collaboration avec ses partenaires, sur les organisations criminelles qui commettent des crimes envers les marchés financiers et s’adonnent à des stratagèmes frauduleux dans le but de priver le gouvernement d’importants revenus. Elle intervient selon les objectifs du programme gouvernemental d’actions concertées contre les crimes économiques et financiers. Stéphane Lévesque, Initiative de journalisme local, L'Hebdo Journal
St. Albert added 93 new cases of COVID-19 over the weekend, bringing the city’s active total case count to 290. Fifty-eight more people have recovered from the disease. Some 501 people have recovered from COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic and the city has seen a total of 794 new cases. In Sturgeon County, there are 99 active cases and Morinville has 42 active cases. Local numbers are rising along with numbers across the province as Alberta now has the highest per capita amount of infections of all provinces in the country. Over the weekend, Alberta broke the 1,700 mark for new daily cases, with a total of more than 5,000 cases being reported in the past three days. On Saturday, the province hit 1,731 new cases and on Sunday another 1,608 cases were announced. On Monday, the province announced another 1,733 new cases, the highest single-day case climb yet. The province conducted 20,500 tests, with 8.4 per cent coming back positive. There are currently 16,454 active cases with 453 people in the hospital and 96 in intensive care. There have been eight deaths reported in the past 24 hours. “My thoughts are with anyone who knew and loved these individuals,” Alberta Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said. Online learning began for Grade 7 to 12 students across the province Monday and will last until mid-January. Most of the new measures announced last week went into effect Friday. Hinshaw said the province won’t see the impact of these measures for at least two weeks. “There is a lag time between actions and results,” Hinshaw said. The top doctors said she is alarmed by the case rise over the weekend and said all Albertans must do their best to bend the curve. “Each of us must remain more vigilant than ever. We need to bend the curve and lower the number of active cases now to protect each other and the health system,” Hinshaw said.Jennifer Henderson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, St. Albert Gazette
Mask-wearing is becoming mandatory in more and more parts of the territory as COVID-19 continues to spread across the country. Though the N.W.T. has been little affected by the pandemic in comparison to most southern regions of Canada – there is one active COVID-19 case in the territory at present – towns are proactively implementing more protective measures. In Fort Smith, masks became mandatory in municipal buildings on November 26. “As the rate of infection continues to rise across Canada, we encourage all businesses and retail stores in Fort Smith to incorporate a mandatory mask-wearing policy in their place of business,” read the town’s notice. “This added protection will help reassure the community that businesses are safe to access and continue to support local businesses.” Meanwhile, in Inuvik, local businesses like grocery stores have made masks mandatory in recent weeks. As first reported by the CBC, Fort Simpson last week unanimously passed a council resolution on November 23 to make masks more present in the village. Sean Whelly, the mayor of Fort Simpson, said the village was recommending masks specifically in retail environments, which he called the village’s “main points of contact.” “At five o’clock everyone goes out and starts shopping, and it was impossible to maintain that six-foot distance," Whelly said. "We really wanted to highlight the importance of people putting those masks on." Masks in Fort Simpson are not yet mandatory but are strongly encouraged. The council resolution states: “Personal preference is not a valid reason to not wear a mask.” Signs in place at Fort Simpson's Northern Store and Unity Store state the village highly recommends the use of masks. Masks have been mandatory at the village's liquor store since October 16. Whelly said he believed the number of people wearing masks had increased by 40 to 50 per cent since the resolution was enacted. Free masks will now be given out, which he expected to lead to a further increase in mask-wearing.Sarah Pruys and Sarah Sibley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Cabin Radio
L’édition 2020 de la populaire émission Occupation double s’est déroulée majoritairement au Québec, étant donné la pandémie reliée à la COVID-19. La Côte-Nord a été visitée par certains candidats, dont Cintia et Marjorie qui ont confirmé leur relation lors d’une visite dans la Manicouagan. Elles ont eu la chance de visiter le barrage Daniel-Johnson, en plus de passer de magnifiques moments en nature, grâce Fred et Coralie de chez Attitude Nordique et des Innus de Pessamit. C’est au tour de la Minganie d’accueillir des participants, qui ont eu la chance de s’y rendre lors du voyage final. Il a été annoncé que celui-ci se déroulait dans Charlevoix, mais on sait maintenant que la Côte-Nord a également été visitée. Le couple a eu la chance de voir des monolithes, ainsi que de déguster des oursins de mer.Karine Lachance, Initiative de journalisme local, Ma Côte-Nord
WASHINGTON — 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. Under leader Mitch McConnell, the Republican senators will hold great sway in confirming Biden’s nominees regardless of which party holds the majority after runoff elections in January. Biden will have little room to manoeuvr and few votes to spare. As Biden rolled out his economic team Tuesday — after introducing his national security team last week — he asked the Senate to give his nominees prompt review, saying they “deserve and expect nothing less.” But that seems unlikely. Republicans are swiftly signalling that they’re eager to set the terms of debate and exact a price for their votes. Biden's choice for budget chief, Neera Tanden, was instantly rejected as “radioactive.” His secretary of state nominee, Antony Blinken, quickly ran into resistance from GOP senators blasting his record amid their own potential 2024 White House campaigns. Even as most Republican senators still refuse to publicly acknowledge President Donald Trump’s defeat, they are launching new battles for the Biden era. The GOP is suspended between an outgoing president it needs to keep close — Trump can still make or break careers with a single tweet — and the new one they are unsure how to approach. Almost one month since the Nov. 3 election, McConnell and Biden have not yet spoken. “The disagreement, disorientation and confusion among Republicans will make them inclined to unite in opposition,” said Ramesh Ponnuru, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, during a Tuesday briefing. “They don’t necessarily know what they’re for, but they can all agree they don’t like Neera Tanden.” A new president often runs into trouble with at least a few Cabinet or administrative nominees, individuals who rub the Senate the wrong way and fail to win enough votes for confirmation or are forced to withdraw after grueling public hearings. Trump’s nominees faced enormous resistance from Senate Democrats, who used their minority-party status to slow-walk confirmation for even lower-level positions. It’s been an escalation of the Senate's procedural battles for at least a decade. But the battles ahead are particularly sharp as Biden tries to stand up an administration during the COVID-19 crisis and economic freefall, rebuilding a government after Trump chased away many career professionals and appointed often-untested newcomers. Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer praised the expertise Biden's choices will bring to government. He scoffed at Republicans for complaining about Tanden’s penchant for sharp tweets after four years of Trump’s endless Twitter barbs that GOP senators often tried to ignore. “After what all we went through over the past four years, I would expect that almost all of President-elect Biden’s nominees would be widely acceptable,” Schumer said from the Senate floor. Instead, he warned, the "switch is starting to flip” into Republican opposition. To be sure, some key Biden choices will have an easier path to confirmation. Janet Yellen, who would become the nation’s first female treasury secretary, drew few public complaints from Republicans. Many had voted to confirm her in 2014 as Federal Reserve chair. Democrats have their own battles ahead. Biden faces the daunting task of keeping the party's centrist and progressive factions from splintering as he tries to put his team in place. Republicans now hold a 50-48 advantage in the Senate, but if Democrats win both Georgia seats in the Jan. 5 runoff elections, they would wrest control, since the vice-president, which will be Kamala Harris, becomes a tie-breaker. The nomination fights will serve as an early indicator of the approach Republicans take toward Biden as they find their political footing in a post-Trump environment. Trump continues to wield great influence over the party as he is being eased out, and senators, in particular, need to keep him close for the Georgia runoff elections. The president is planning to visit Georgia on Saturday, where two GOP senators, David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, failed to clear the 50% threshold to win reelection in November. Perdue faces Democrat Jon Ossoff and Loeffler faces Democrat Raphael Warnock in a state that flipped to support Biden. McConnell has said almost nothing about Biden’s nominees or next year's agenda as he continues to give Trump the time and space to challenge election results in court cases that have delivered few victories. Instead, he's letting other Senate Republicans, particularly those seen as having White House ambitions, make names for themselves. GOP Sens. Tom Cotton, Marco Rubio and Josh Hawley, among others, have all hurled pointed complaints about Biden's picks. Despite Trump’s defeat, Republicans in Congress may have little incentive to work with Biden. They performed better than Trump, retaining many House and Senate seats they were expected to lose. One lesson Republicans learned from the November election may be to keep doing what they've been doing. McConnell gave a nod toward what's ahead after GOP senators met Tuesday by conference call, forced to abandon their traditional sit-down lunches as the COVID-19 crisis surges and threatens to further disrupt the Capitol. McConnell talked about finishing the remaining few weeks of “this government” and “the new administration” to come. Lisa Mascaro, The Associated Press
New legislation that goes into effect in Alberta Tuesday means some impaired drivers will be slapped with stiff fines, rather than a criminal court trial. The UCP government has implemented legislation related to Bill 21 that includes changes to how impaired drivers are penalized and how things are handled during roadside stops. "The big takeaway is if you're a first time offender, they're not going to be putting you into the criminal justice system," said Const. Dan Kurz with the Calgary Police Service. "You'll be staying within the provincial transportation system." Kurz said for most first-time impaired drivers, the new rules can mean an immediate $1,000 fine, a 30-day vehicle seizure and mandatory impaired driving education, as well as existing measures such as a licence suspension. Criminal and repeat offenders will still face potential criminal charges and other penalties under the new legislation. "If we have cases where there's repeat offenders, if there's collisions, there's personal injury, there's minors in the vehicle, those are aggravating factors that basically say that driver is not eligible for the program," Kurz said. "And so they'll be diverted to the criminal side." The biggest change, Kurz said, is for first-time and non-criminal offenders. "So if you get pulled over and the officer deems you to be eligible to go into the provincial system, what will happen is you'll just get a piece of paper that has your information at the top of it, as well as a QR code," Kurz said, adding that offenders can then log into the Alberta Safe Roads system and address their file immediately, rather than waiting months to deal with it in court. "You can set up an appointment with an adjudicator right on your phone ... you can deal with your file, you can contest the file, you can request time to pay," Kurz said. "So all of that has been taken outside the court. The courts are overworked, they're overburdened. So this is a way to divert a lot of people out of the criminal justice system." The province says allowing police to issue tickets on the spot and impound vehicles for up to a month is a way to administer strict penalties, while freeing up court time and police resources. "Impaired driving files are very, very demanding on police resources. So even if it's just a simple impaired driving file, we've got to tie up maybe two police cars, a few different officers to do breath testing, to deal with tow trucks," Kurz said. "And then we have to deal with the offender for a number of hours, submit paperwork. And then when it comes time to court, we could spend hours in court. I've spent two days in court for a simple impaired driving file. So with this new program, we'll be able to deal with this stuff right at the roadside." But the move has sparked concern among criminal defence lawyers like Ian Savage in Calgary, who calls the new legislation alarming. Savage specializes in impaired driving cases, and says the right to a trial is essential in a democracy. "One would expect that you have the right to fight your case of appropriate circumstance and face your accuser. No, not under this legislation," Savage told the Calgary Eyeopener. "There's an adjudication process. The adjudicators by law are employees of the Government of Alberta. You cannot challenge your accuser so it's a bit of a farce." Savage says the Canadian legal system is based on the presumption of innocence — and that this legislation takes away that presumption. "It's now a presumption of guilt and not only that, your right to contest charges is removed," Savage said. "You're not allowed to subpoena the police officer to any adjudication hearing or cross-examine them. So essentially under their noses, we have become — and I hate to use drastic language — a fascist state." The province says people can pay fines, request more time to pay or request a review of their case online through SafeRoads Alberta. They can also seek judicial review in court. "The point here is that we fought hard from the Magna Carta forward in order to have this presumption of innocence in our legal system," Savage said. "And now the government, under the cover of COVID, under the cover of saving dollars, is taking that away from us in the areas in which people would most commonly come into conflict with the law — and people are just not aware that this is going on." Lowered stats in B.C. Transport Minister Ric McIver says similar measures have lowered impaired driving statistics in B.C. He added that repeat offenders will not be getting away with fines. "You won't be going home with your driver's license and you won't be going home with your vehicle, your vehicle will be seized for up to 30 days, you will get a fine up to $2,000, you'll have to go through a mandatory education program," McIvor said of repeat offenders. Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) has applauded the option for police to impound vehicles on the spot. "The immediate roadside sanction program option for certain impaired driving offenders provides a way to get them off the roads quickly, while ensuring they still face strong consequences for their actions," said MADD CEO Andrew Murie in an emailed statement. "Most importantly, these programs save lives. Similar measures introduced in British Columbia have helped reduce alcohol-related crash deaths by 50 per cent. That is hundreds of lives saved."
Hollywood has churned out plenty of war movies about conflict in the Middle East in the past two decades _ but none quite like "Mosul." (Dec. 1)