Canadian-American Business Council President Maryscott Greenwood shares insights regarding how the results of the upcoming U.S. presidential elections can impact Canada’s economy.
Canadian-American Business Council President Maryscott Greenwood shares insights regarding how the results of the upcoming U.S. presidential elections can impact Canada’s economy.
Prince Wong was still in her mother's womb when the Chinese government reclaimed control over Hong Kong from the British in the summer of 1997. For her 23rd birthday this year, Wong posted a photo of herself on Instagram wearing a pastel-striped paper hat trimmed with pink pompoms. On a recent day, Wong spun a gold ring on her finger in continuous circles as she spoke quietly about the past year of her life.
MADISON, Wis. — Joe Biden’s victory in battleground Wisconsin was certified Monday following a partial recount that only added to his 20,600-vote margin over President Donald Trump, who has promised to file a lawsuit seeking to undo the results. Gov. Tony Evers, a Democrat, signed a certificate that completed the process after the canvass report showing Biden as the winner following the recount was approved by the chairwoman of the bipartisan Wisconsin Elections Commission. Evers' signature was required by law and is typically a procedural step that receives little attention. “Today I carried out my duty to certify the November 3rd election,” Evers said in a statement. “I want to thank our clerks, election administrators, and poll workers across our state for working tirelessly to ensure we had a safe, fair, and efficient election. Thank you for all your good work.” The action Monday now starts a five-day deadline for Trump to file a lawsuit, which he promised would come no later than Tuesday. Trump is mounting a longshot attempt to overturn the results by disqualifying as many as 238,000 ballots. Trump’s attorneys have alleged without evidence that there was widespread fraud and illegal activity. Biden’s campaign has said the recount showed that Biden won Wisconsin decisively and there was no fraud. Even if Trump were successful in Wisconsin, the state’s 10 Electoral College votes would not be enough to undo Biden’s overall victory as states around the country certify results. Earlier Monday, Arizona officials certified Biden's narrow victory in that state. “There’s no basis at all for any assertion that there was widespread fraud that would have affected the results,” Wisconsin’s Democratic Attorney General Josh Kaul said in a statement Monday. He noted that Trump’s recount targeted only the state’s two most populous counties where the majority of Black people live. “I have every confidence that this disgraceful Jim Crow strategy for mass disenfranchisement of voters will fail,” Kaul said. “An election isn’t a game of gotcha.” State law gives the power to confirm the election results to the chair of the bipartisan Wisconsin Elections Commission. The position rotates between Republicans and Democrats and is currently held by Ann Jacobs, a Democrat. She signed the canvass statement certifying Biden as the winner over objections from Republicans who wanted to wait until after legal challenges were exhausted. Under state law, the elections staff next sent a certificate to Evers to sign and send to the U.S. administrator of general services — a procedural step since the law says the governor “shall sign” it. Evers did so about an hour after the canvassed results were confirmed. Trump’s legal challenges have failed in other battleground states, including Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada and Pennsylvania. Two lawsuits from others seeking to disqualify ballots in Wisconsin were filed last week with the Wisconsin Supreme Court, which has not taken action. Trump paid $3 million for recounts in Dane and Milwaukee counties, the two largest Democratic counties in Wisconsin, but the recount ended up increasing Biden’s lead by 74 votes. Biden won statewide by nearly 20,700 votes. Trump, during the recount, sought to have ballots discarded where election clerks filled in missing address information on the certification envelope where the ballot is inserted. The state elections commission told clerks before the election that they could fill in missing information on the absentee ballot envelopes, a practice that has been in place for at least the past 11 elections and that no court has ever ruled illegal. Trump also challenged any absentee ballot where a voter declared themselves to be “indefinitely confined” under the law, a designation that increased from about 57,000 in 2016 to nearly 216,000 this year due to the pandemic. Such a declaration exempts the voter from having to show a photo identification to cast a ballot, which Trump attorney Christ Troupis called “an open invitation for fraud and abuse.” The conservative-controlled Wisconsin Supreme Court this spring ruled that it is up to individual voters to determine whether they are indefinitely confined, in line with guidance from the state elections commission. Trump also sought to discard any absentee ballot where there was not a written application on file and all absentee ballots cast in-person during the two weeks before Election Day. People who vote in-person early fill out a certification envelope that they then place their ballot in and that envelope serves as the written record. But the vast majority of absentee requests these days are made online, with a voter’s name entered into an electronic log with no paper record. Disqualifying all of the ballots in Milwaukee and Dane counties that Trump identified during the recount would result in more than 238,000 votes not counting, according to an analysis by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The conservative Wisconsin Voters Alliance sued last week seeking to block certification of the results and give the Republican-controlled Legislature the power to appoint presidential electors to cast the state’s 10 Electoral College votes. The Wisconsin Democratic Party previously selected Biden’s 10 electors as prescribed by law. The signing of the canvass statement on Monday confirmed that Biden receives the state's 10 Electoral College votes from those electors. Another lawsuit filed over the weekend by Wisconsin resident Dean Mueller argues that ballots placed in drop boxes are illegal and must not be counted. ___ This story has been corrected to show the recount increased Biden’s margin by 74 votes, not 87, based on corrected totals issued earlier Monday by Dane County. Scott Bauer, The Associated Press
The streets of Orangeville will have a festive glow for a little longer this year as the holiday season stretches into January. With the pandemic resulting in the cancellation of traditional Christmas events in the town, such as the Santa Claus Parade, those responsible for the celebrations had to get creative. The result was the Holiday Lights Extravaganza, which officially began on Nov. 22 and includes a number of brilliant light displays around Orangeville, with a digital (GIS) map for self-guided tours. “It’s very much something the community needs,” Coun. Debbie Sherwood said at an October council meeting, when the idea was presented. Orangeville Town Hall, Alexandra Park, the Orangeville Public Library and the Broadway Medians will be boasting light displays to ignite the spirit of the season. Additionally, Alder Recreation Centre, Tony Rose Memorial Sports Centre and the Visitor Information Centre will also be part of the Extravaganza. At the Oct. 19 meeting where the idea was presented, members of council shared their approval of the idea, praising the creativity of staff and all involved. “Whatever magic you were able to pull out of whatever bag it was, you’ve done well,” said Coun. Joe Andrews. He noted that this event, as well as having Santa travel around town in the vintage Bickle fire truck, is needed to boost morale at a time when there is so much uncertainty. “We have to come up with different ways to bring our community together,” he said. Along with the bright streetscapes from the town, residents and businesses are also able to add their displays to the map. With no funding required for a parade this year, additional funds were provided for the Extravaganza, including $20,000 each from the Orangeville Business Improvement Area and Orangeville council. Contributions of lights, displays and volunteers were also provided by the Optimist Club of Orangeville. The Holiday Lights Extravaganza will run until Jan. 8, 2021. To add your holiday display to the GIS digital map, visit the map page.Tabitha Wells/Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Orangeville Banner
WARSAW, Poland — The prime ministers of Poland and Hungary are meeting Monday to strategize over their threat to veto the European Union’s next budget and massive pandemic aid package that draws a link between bloc funding and members' adherence to democratic standards.Poland and Hungary have been in conflict with the EU for years over their democracy records and fear they may be targeted by the new mechanism that allows funds to be withheld to any of the EU's 27 members that fall short of the bloc's standards.Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki is hosting Hungary’s Viktor Orban late Monday for talks on their protest strategy for the Dec. 10-11 EU summit that should approve the bloc’s urgently needed aid package and its 2021-2027 budget, totalling 1.8 trillion euros ($2.1 trillion).It will be the leaders' second meeting on the subject in less than a week.Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel said Monday that for her, the rule of law is “the foundation of the European project" and that finding consensus in the summit won't be easy.“We know that we absolutely want to have a result. We also know how difficult that is if all 27 member states can’t agree on that result,” Merkel told a virtual gathering of members of parliaments’ European affairs committees.She said it was up to politicians to come up with results “with which all can live." But she warned that it won't work without compromise “from all sides."Germany is currently holding the EU's rotating presidency and is tasked with finding a compromise that will pave the way for January's scheduled implementation of the financial package.Hoping to mollify the EU's stance, Morawiecki has vowed full transparency of the EU funds spending procedures in Poland.————————Geir Moulson in Berlin contributed.The Associated Press
LISTOWEL – Despite delays earlier in the year due to the pandemic, plans are moving forward to begin the demolition process of Listowel Memorial Arena (LMA). Council awarded the tender for the demolition of LMA to Waterloo Demolition Inc. for $186,350, HST excluded. North Perth set aside $240,000 for the project in its 2020 budget. Interim Manager of Recreation Amy Gangl said that the timeline for the demolition to take place will be up to the contractor, with the possibility of it proceeding through a phased approach this winter and potentially into next year. Part of the resolution from council was to proceed with a site redevelopment plan. A landscape architect consultant, Shift Landscape Architecture, has been hired by the municipality to assist the Recreation Advisory Committee (RAC), Friends of 59 – a local group that has advocated for the continuation of a memorial at the site in recognition of those killed in the original LMA collapse of 1959 – and council with the process of developing plans for this property. “We did have the consultant participate in last week’s RAC meeting,” said Gangl. “It was a good discussion and all members had a voice and expressed interests and ideas.” The consultants took that information and are in the process of combining it into conceptual designs. “They are hoping to be able to present that back to RAC as well as Friends of 59 to make sure they are on the path that the community would like before bringing it out for public input,” she said. “The forum we are going to use for public input is haveyoursayNorthPerth.ca. That is something to be looking forward to.” Coun. Allan Rothwell serves on RAC and he said one of the recommendations which were raised at the last meeting was the possibility of an outdoor rink. He asked whether parts of the arena could be removed rather than demolished and then reused. Gangl said some items which can be repurposed have been marked for removal. “The boards themselves were not part of that,” she said. “But we’re open to discussion if that were the scenario.” She said the boards may not be in good enough condition to survive removal. “We can take a look at the condition but I suspect they may not be able to meet that level of redevelopment,” she said. The original plan was to have final revisions from the consultant by the end of January but with the process being delayed by COVID, Gangl said they will allow extra time for the process. “We want to make sure we have the public input and the guidance so it is not a rush decision but we also understand the process and the benefit this would have to the community,” she said. “We anticipate in the coming weeks that some conceptual plans will be proposed and sent for input from RAC and Friends of 59 then we will put it out on haveyoursayNorthPerth.ca and we’ll look at how much input we have.” After that process is completed the consultants will have some time to make some adjustments to the final concept before making a formal presentation to council.Colin Burrowes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Listowel Banner
The value that Wall Street places on access to billions of bytes of data, rather than old-school stock picking, became abundantly clear Monday as two of the biggest providers of such information become one in the biggest takeover of the year.S&P Global announced that it would acquire IHS Markit, based in London, for about $44 billion in an all-stock deal.Data collection has become pivotal on Wall Street as algorithms and high-speed trading drive global markets. And growth has been explosive for the companies that can provide that information instantly and in bulk.IHS and Markit merged just four years ago to create a $13 billion company. The company has almost tripled in value since then, and is now worth close to $37 billion.The size of the deal announced Monday eclipsed Nvidia's acquisition of rival chipmaker Arm Holdings for $40 billion in September, and Nippon Telegraph & Telephone acquisition of a subsidiary for nearly that much in the same month.The newcomer IHS Markit is being acquired by a company with roots dating back to the 19th century, when Henry Varnum Poor published the History of the Railroads and Canals of the United States to provide transparency for investors.IHS Markit has more than 50,000 business and government customers, including 80% of the Fortune Global 500 and the world’s leading financial institutions.Each share of IHS Markit common stock will be exchanged for a fixed ratio of 0.2838 shares of S&P Global stock. Current S&P Global shareholders will own approximately 67.75% of the combined company, while shareholders of IHS Markit, based in London, will own about 32.25%.The transaction puts IHS Markit's enterprise value at $44 billion, including $4.8 billion of debt.The combined company will be headquartered in New York, where S&P Global is based, with a substantial presence in key global markets across North America, Latin America, EMEA and Asia Pacific.Douglas Peterson, the CEO of S&P Global, will hold that title at the combined company. Lance Uggla, Chairman and CEO of IHS Markit, will become a special advisor to the company for a year after the deal closes.The transaction is expected to close in the second half of next year. It needs the approval of both companies' shareholders.Shares of IHS Markit rose more than 7% at the opening bell Monday. S&P Global's stock was essentially flat.Michelle Chapman, The Associated Press
Georgia's top elections official says a machine recount of votes cast in the presidential race in the state is on schedule to be completed this week (Nov. 30)
PAISLEY – Nature’s Millworks, located on the banks of the Teeswater River, has become a haven for tourists, local artists and crafters in the Paisley area, but come the end of the month, the doors on this special business will be closing. When Helen and Paul Crysler moved to Paisley from Toronto in 2002, they knew they had their work cut out for them with the old mill they’d purchased two years earlier. And they knew they wanted to be part of the community. The second part was easy. Paul said that within a week, he was on two committees. Both he and Helen have been very active in Paisley and area. They’ve been on the local chamber of commerce. Helen is past president of the community choir. Paul served as president of the Walkerton BIA and is proud to have been a founding board member of the Brockton and Area Family Health Team (five communities, all with new clinics, he noted). Then there’s tourism – founding president of Regional Tourism Ontario District Seven, and chair of the Lake Huron Shoreline Tourism Marketing group. “And other stuff,” said Paul. Community involvement came quite naturally. Said Paul, “All the people we met are completely dedicated to the community and it can’t help but rub off.” The first part was more difficult. The former Paisley City Roller Mills, built in 1885, was huge, and basically derelict. “When we moved in, I thought it would be a 15-year project,” said Paul. “It took a bit longer to fix up the building. We’ve done a huge amount of work.” They did all the refurbishing of the building themselves. That includes living quarters, as well as the retail space on the first floor and the gallery on the second floor where art shows and events are held. In the retail space, everything is based on nature, said Helen. And it’s for sale at discounted prices, because in January, the Cryslers will be moving to British Columbia, to be closer to their family – two daughters and three grandchildren. While they’re eager to get on with the next step in their lives, leaving Paisley won’t be easy. “We got to know the artists and artisans – they’re almost like family,” said the Cryslers. Nature’s Millworks closes its doors Dec. 20, and the Cryslers will be able to get their possessions packed in preparation for the move. Until then – drop in, chat, browse and take in one of the loveliest retail outlets in the area. As for the mill, the building sold last week. The Cryslers declined to comment on what will be going in once they leave, but said a lot of people have wanted assurance the integrity of the building will be maintained. For more information about Nature’s Millworks, located at 4575 Bruce Road 1, Paisley (head west at the GoCo station), visit www.naturesmillworks.com.Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times
PARIS — French activists fear that a proposed new security law will deprive them of a potent weapon against abuse — cellphone videos of police activity — threatening their efforts to document possible cases of police brutality, especially in impoverished immigrant neighbourhoods.French President Emmanuel Macron’s government is pushing a new security bill that makes it illegal to publish images of police officers with intent to cause them harm, amid other measures. Critics fear the new law could hurt press freedoms and make it more difficult for all citizens to report on police brutality.“I was lucky enough to have videos that protect me,” said Michel Zecler, a Black music producer who was beaten up recently by several French police officers. Videos first published Thursday by French website Loopsider have been seen by over 14 million viewers, resulting in widespread outrage over police actions.Two of the officers are in jail while they are investigated while two others, also under investigation, are out on bail.The draft bill, still being debated in parliament, has prompted protests across the country called by press freedom advocates and civil rights campaigners. Tens of thousands of people marched Saturday in Paris to reject the measure, including families and friends of people killed by police.“For decades, descendants of post-colonial immigration and residents in populous neighbourhoods have denounced police brutality,” Sihame Assbague, an anti-racism activist, told The Associated Press.Videos by the public have helped to show a wider audience that there is a “systemic problem with French police forces, who are abusing, punching, beating, mutilating, killing,” she said.Activists say the bill may have an even greater impact on people other than journalists, especially those of immigrant origin living in neighbourhoods where relationships with the police have long been tense. Images posted online have been key to denouncing cases of officers’ misconduct and racism in recent years, they argue.Assbague expressed fears that, under the proposed law, those who post videos of police abuses online may be put on trial, where they would face up to a year in jail and a 45,000-euro ($53,000) fine.“I tend to believe that a young Arab man from a poor suburb who posts a video of police brutality in his neighbourhood will be more at risk of being found guilty than a journalist who did a video during a protest,” she said.Amal Bentounsi's brother, Amine, was shot in the back and killed by a police officer in 2012. The officer was sentenced to a five-year suspended prison sentence. Along with other families of victims, in March she launched a mobile phone app called Emergency-Police Violence to record abuses and bring cases to court.“Some police officers already have a sense of impunity. ... The only solution now is to make videos,” she told the AP. The app has been downloaded more than 50,000 times.“If we want to improve public confidence in the police, it does not go through hiding the truth,” she added.The proposed law is partly a response to demands from police unions, who say it will provide greater protection for officers.Abdoulaye Kante, a Black police officer with 20 years of experience in Paris and its suburbs, is both a supporter of the proposed law and strongly condemns police brutality and violence against officers.“What people don’t understand is that some individuals are using videos to put the faces of our (police) colleagues on social media so that they are identified, so that they are threatened or to incite hatred,” he said.“The law doesn’t ban journalists or citizens from filming police in action ... It bans these images from being used to harm, physically or psychologically,” he argued. “The lives of officers are important.”A “tiny fraction of the population feeds rage and hatred” against police, Jean-Michel Fauvergue, a former head of elite police forces and a lawmaker in Macron's party who co-authored the bill, said in the National Assembly. “We need to find a solution."Justice Minister Eric Dupond-Moretti has acknowledged that “the intent (to harm) is something that is difficult to define."In an effort to quell criticism, lawmakers from Macron's party announced Monday they would rewrite the criticized article of the bill, which will be debated by the Senate early next year.Activists consider the draft law just the latest of several security measures to extend police powers at the expense of civil liberties. A statement signed by over 30 groups of families and friends of victims of police abuses said since 2005, “all security laws adopted have constantly expanded the legal field allowing police impunity.”Riots in 2005 exposed France’s long-running problems between police and youths in public housing projects with large immigrant populations.In recent years, numerous security laws have been passed following attacks by extremists.Critics noted a hardening of police tactics during protests or while arresting individuals. Hundreds of complaints have been filed against officers during the yellow vest movement against economic injustice, which erupted in 2018 and saw weekends of violent clashes.Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said out of 3 million police operations per year in France, some 9,500 end up on a government website that denounces abuses, which represents 0.3%.France’s human rights ombudsman, Claire Hedon, is among the most prominent critics of the proposed law, which she said involves “significant risks of undermining fundamental rights.”“Our democracy is hit when the population does not trust its police anymore,” she told the National Assembly.___AP writer John Leicester contributed from Le Pecq, France.___Follow all AP stories on racism and police brutality at https://apnews.com/RacialinjusticeSylvie Corbet, The Associated Press
HURON-PERTH - The main goal of the Multicultural Association of Perth-Huron currently is helping new Canadians navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. Gezahgn Wordofa, founder of the association, said they are helping newcomers by getting them to testing centres, even if that means providing rides to Woodstock or London. The association was recently given funding from the federal government through the Red Cross which is allowing them to provide transportation to people who need a ride. “Go get tested… please, if you need us we are here,” said Wordofa. “We have to go get tested. This is very important.” Some newcomers are afraid to get tested because they think COVID is like HIV and there will be a stigma attached to a positive test. “It is not like HIV,” said Wordofa. “African fellows, I’m from Ethiopia, worry because friends might know about their sickness… If they are sick they think HIV is the worst but it’s not HIV. Anybody can get sick with COVID.” For people who want to arrange a ride to get tested the Multicultural Association can be reached at 1-888-910-1583. The association has also been providing masks and teaching people how to wear them. “Some people complain because they don’t have enough masks,” said Wordofa. “They go to shops without masks. Wearing a mask is respectful. If I’m wearing a mask, I respect you. Masks are very important. It doesn’t matter if I am sick or not because it shows respect.” Clinton Springer Sr., a Multicultural Association volunteer, said it’s not only important for newcomers to realize that testing and masking are important, but all Canadians. “They just had a big march in Woodstock and St. Thomas – anti-maskers, that is something which is not just newcomers,” he said. “I think it’s very important to educate all people about the importance of wearing masks. The association supports wearing masks. We support the government mandate of masks. This association supports the restrictions the government put in and now it’s up to us to educate people on the importance of those things.” Springer thinks what the association is doing helping newcomers become part of that Canadian fabric is very important. “They may be newcomers today and Canadians tomorrow,” he said. “It is important we have them in this society. We mend them into this society.” Part of the work the association is doing is helping people who are coming from a different culture with different ethics adapt to being part of Canada. “This organization is about climatization, getting people used to Canadian culture, this is the new Canadian way, let us walk you in,” said Springer. “I call it introducing people to the new Canadian way of life.” He said it’s important for newcomers to understand they have got to adjust to the customs here. “A lot of people say, well back home I used to do this,” he said. “Our education (for newcomers) is like when you go to work for a new company. The company might be a little different than the last one you worked for so you have to adjust and become part of the new company… I’m very blunt when I tell people they are coming into new customs. Some nice people come in with false hopes, false expectations, false dreams… You have people coming to our association with a certain profession. We have doctors who are driving taxis. They have to understand they have to re-train and re-qualify. That is the process here.” The Multicultural Association is starting a youth leadership program to help get the youth more engaged. “The young kids who are coming as newcomers and immigrants who are living here, they are the doctors and lawyers and factory workers – all kinds of workers of tomorrow,” said Springer. “The soil is already here it’s up to us to help till it together.” The association is also looking into doing some empowerment programs for women. “Sometimes you have people coming from countries where some of the females walk behind and in this country, they have got to learn to walk forward,” said Springer. They also want to start a program for men to help males to understand their roles in the home, not as dominant figures but as partners. “Sometimes people come from countries where the man is the dominant force and they have to understand – no, when you come here you are working in partnership with someone,” said Springer. “You aren’t the dominant male and you can’t say I’m from this country, I belong to this country – this woman walks this way. You have to understand the laws.” They hope to get more support locally to help build a community which will be diverse and vibrant. “The support we got from the Red Cross and the federal government is good – our association is very appreciative of that but it is temporary and we need more support,” said Springer. “The more support we get the more services we can provide because we are a growing association. We need the support of Listowel. We need the support of Stratford. We need the support of Woodstock. We need all these communities to come together. We’re Canadians. That’s what we do.”Colin Burrowes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Listowel Banner
BRUCE COUNTY – County Coun. Steve Hammell, mayor of Arran-Elderslie, has been asked to be a member of the steering committee for an agricultural plastic waste recycling pilot project. Bruce County’s Transportation and Environmental Services Committee approved the CleanFarms Inc. project for collecting agricultural plastic waste in the county. In October, staff met with two representatives from CleanFarms Inc., a non-profit environmental stewardship organization that operates permanent collection programs for a variety of agricultural plastics across Canada. CleanFarms has 10 years of experience in such programs. The Bruce County bale wrap and twine collection pilot project would be a first for Ontario. The purpose, as stated in a report to the transportation and environmental services committee, “is to build a collection model that will be practical for farmers, cost effective and that can eventually be replicated in other regions of Ontario.” The Bruce County pilot project will be funded by CleanFarms and the Agricultural and AgriFood Canada’s Canadian agricultural strategic priorities program. “This could have a big impact on diverting waste,” said Miguel Pelletier, director of transportation and environmental services. Hammell said his farm does recycle bale wrap (with a different company). He said the pilot program, if successful, would “divert a lot that’s currently being burned.”Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times
NEW YORK — General Motors will not be taking a stake in the electric vehicle company Nikola, and the company said Monday that it was scuttling one of its marquee vehicles, an electric and hydrogen-powered pickup, after GM pulled technological support from the project.Shares of Nikola plunged 24%.Nikola on Monday released updated terms between the companies for a supply agreement related to GM's fuel-cell system, replacing an agreement signed in September. That deal would have given GM an 11% stake in Nikola.The early agreement would also have allowed Nikola to use GM’s new battery electric truck underpinnings for its electric and hydrogen-powered pickup called the Badger, and its fuel cell and battery technology as well. That is no longer part of the agreement, essentially gutting Nikola's plans for the Badger.Nikola said Monday that it will begin refunding deposits made by customers who wanted first dibs on that pickup.“In a nutshell, the signing of GM as a partner is a positive but ultimately no ownership/equity stake in Nikola and the billions of R&D potentially now off the table is a major negative blow to the Nikola story," said Wedbush analyst Dan Ives. “This went from a game changer deal for Nikola to a good supply partnership but nothing to write home about."There were hints that the partnership was going sideways in late September as a deadline for an binding agreement approached. GM said then that negotiations about its $2 billion role were ongoing, sending shares of Nikola sliding.That announcement came just days after Nikola founder and Chairman Trevor Milton resigned after Hindenburg Research, a company that’s betting Nikola stock will drop, accused Nikola of Fraud.Hindenburg said Nikola’s success was an “intricate fraud,” including a video showing a truck rolling downhill to give the impression it was cruising on a highway, and stenciling the words “hydrogen electric” on the side of a vehicle that was actually powered by natural gas.Nikola denies the allegations and called them misleading. The Securities and Exchange Commission and the Justice Department are reportedly investigating.On Monday, GM spokesman Jim Cain said the revised agreement is more focused. He said the new memorandum of understanding will help Nikola produce its commercial trucks, and help GM commercialize its fuel cell technology.Nikola said Monday that its work on heavy trucks will continue. GM will still be part of a global supply agreement that would integrate GM’s Hydrotec fuel-cell system into Nikola’s commercial semi-trucks.“Heavy trucks remain our core business and we are 100% focused on hitting our development milestones to bring clean hydrogen and battery-electric commercial trucks to market," said CEO Mark Russell.Nikola is based in Phoenix.The Associated Press
Coast Mountains School District 82 is dealing with a shortage of bus drivers, but some relief could be on the horizon. The shortage is affecting the Terrace area of the school district. Secretary Treasurer Ginger Fuller said that the district was one driver short of the number it needs, and there are no spare drivers. “This is absolutely new to this school year,” she said. “There are lots of other districts in the province that are having issues with busing, whether it’s with a contracted service or with in-house.” CMSD82 contracts all of its transportation services to Diversified Transportation, which also provides services to School District 57 (Prince George), School District 93 (Francophone Education Authority) and Catholic Independent Schools of BC. Fuller attributed the shortage to competition for drivers with the LNG Project in Kitimat, as well as COVID-19. Drivers that show any signs of illness are staying home, and Fuller said the fact that many drivers are older or retired is playing a role. Earlier in the school year, it was possible to combine bus runs without overcrowding because there were fewer students attending class in-person. But with the colder winter weather and more students in class, that option is more difficult now. Fuller said a recent driver illness forced the school district to think outside the box to make sure students from Rosswood made it to class. CMSD used a high school sports bus and a qualified on-call driver to cover the run until the regular driver could return to work, and had a bus on a nearby run pick up some additional students so the sports bus was not overcrowded. “For us it wasn’t an option not to have kids not come to school,” she said. “We took it into our hands to make sure that there was transportation there, outside of our contract.” There could be some relief in December, when another qualified driver is expected to start working. That would mean the school district would have exactly the number of drivers it needs, but still no backup in the event drivers are sick or cannot work.Ben Bogstie, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Interior News
WASHINGTON — After months of shadowboxing amid a tense and toxic campaign, Capitol Hill's main players are returning for one final, perhaps futile, attempt at deal-making on a challenging menu of year-end business.COVID-19 relief, a $1.4 trillion catchall spending package, and defence policy — and a final burst of judicial nominees — dominate a truncated two- or three-week session occurring as the coronavirus pandemic rockets out of control in President Donald Trump's final weeks in office.The only absolute must-do business is preventing a government shutdown when a temporary spending bill expires on Dec. 11. The route preferred by top lawmakers like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is to agree upon and pass an omnibus spending bill for the government. But it may be difficult to overcome bitter divisions regarding a long-delayed COVID-19 relief package that's a top priority of business, state and local governments, educators and others.Time is working against lawmakers as well, as is the Capitol's emerging status as a COVID-19 hotspot. The House has truncated its schedule, and Senate Republicans are joining Democrats in forgoing the in-person lunch meetings that usually anchor their workweeks. It'll take serious, good-faith conversations among top players to determine what's possible, but those haven't transpired yet.Top items for December's lame-duck session:___KEEPING THE GOVERNMENT OPENAt a bare minimum, lawmakers need to keep the government running by passing a stopgap spending bill known as a continuing resolution, which would punt $1.4 trillion worth of unfinished agency spending into next year.That's a typical way to deal with a handoff to a new administration, but McConnell and Pelosi are two veterans of the Capitol's appropriations culture and are pressing hard for a catchall spending package. A battle over using budget sleight of hand to add a 2 percentage point, $12 billion increase to domestic programs to accommodate rapidly growing veterans health care spending is an issue, as are Trump's demands for U.S-Mexico border wall funding.Getting Trump to sign the measure is another challenge. Two years ago he sparked a lengthy partial government shutdown over the border wall, but both sides would like to clear away the pile of unfinished legislation to give the Biden administration a fresh start. The changeover in administrations probably wouldn't affect an omnibus deal very much.At issue are the 12 annual spending bills comprising the portion of the government's budget that passes through Congress each year on a bipartisan basis. Whatever approach passes, it’s likely to contain a batch of unfinished leftovers such as extending expiring health care policies and tax provisions and continuing the authorization for the government’s flood insurance program.___COVID-19 RELIEFDemocrats have battled with Republicans and the White House for months over a fresh installment of COVID-19 relief that all sides say they want. But a lack of good faith and an unwillingness to embark on compromises that might lead either side out of their political comfort zones have helped keep another rescue package on ice.The aid remains out of reach despite a fragile economy and out-of-control increases in coronavirus cases, especially in Midwest GOP strongholds. McConnell has supplanted Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin as the most important Republican force in the negotiations, but he hasn't shown much openness for politically difficult compromises required for a COVID-19 deal that might anger conservatives. Neither have McConnell's warnings of a wave of COVID-related lawsuits against businesses, schools and nonprofits open during the pandemic come to pass, undercutting his demand for blanket protections against such suits.Pelosi seems to have overplayed her hand as she held out for $2 trillion-plus right up until the election. The results of the election, which saw Democrats lose seats in the House, appear to have significantly undercut her position, but she is holding firm on another round of aid to state and local governments.Before the election, Trump seemed to be focused on a provision that would send another round of $1,200 payments to most Americans. He hasn't shown a lot of interest in the topic since, apart from stray tweets. But the chief obstacles now appear to be Pelosi's demand for state and local government aid and McConnell's demand for a liability shield for businesses reopening during the pandemic.At stake is funding for vaccines and testing, reopening schools, various economic “stimulus" ideas like another round of “paycheque protection” subsidies for businesses especially hard hit by the pandemic. Failure to pass a measure now would vault the topic to the top of Biden's legislative agenda next year.___Defence POLICYA spat over military bases named for Confederate officers is threatening the annual passage of a defence policy measure that has passed for 59 years in a row on a bipartisan basis. The measure is critical in the defence policy world, guiding Pentagon policy and cementing decisions about troop levels, new weapons systems and military readiness, military personnel policy and other military goals.Both the House and Senate measures would require the Pentagon to rename bases such as Fort Benning and Fort Hood, but Trump opposes the idea and has threatened a veto over it. The battle erupted this summer amid widespread racial protests, and Trump used the debate to appeal to white Southern voters nostalgic about the Confederacy. It's a live issue in two Senate runoff elections in Georgia that will determine control of the chamber during the first two years of Biden’s tenure.Democrats are insisting on changing the names and it's not obvious how it'll all end up.Andrew Taylor, The Associated Press
ELMWOOD – A pretty dusting of snow added to the charm of Elmwood’s annual tree lighting ceremony on Sunday, Nov. 22. Families gathered in the park by the fire hall for the festivities put on by the Elmwood Chamber of Commerce. There were bags of popcorn and cups of hot chocolate, plus treat bags for the children. Mrs. Claus was on hand to make sure everything went well; Santa had to stay home to make sure the elves stayed on task for getting all those toys finished! Mrs. Claus chatted with the children and posed for photos with many of them. Results of the draw were announced – the big winner of $600 was Cathy McFadden of Elmwood; winners of $50 were Isabel Bell of Chesley, Matthew Engel of Walkerton, Ashley Fairminer, Judith Plante of Montreal, Laurine Zurbrigg of Chesley, Ernie Falkiner of Elmwood, Ruth Ann Schlosser of Hanover, Linda Lamont of Elmwood, Mike Thompson of Waterloo, Rene Dancey of Elmwood, Barry Gateman of Elmwood and Linda Ball of Walkerton. As the sky darkened, the crowd sang Christmas songs. And finally came the moment everyone was waiting for – Brockton Mayor Chris Peabody and West Grey Mayor Christine Robinson counted down the final 10 seconds before the lights came on. The already lovely winter park was instantly transformed into a Christmas wonderland.Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times
WALKERTON – Bruce County was recognized for outstanding work in creative marketing and communications with three Hermes Creative Awards in the video category — a gold for the Grassroots Farm: Choosing to Call Bruce County Home video, a gold for the Bruce Peninsula EcoAdventures: Choosing to Call Bruce County Home video and a platinum for the Welcome Home video. The accomplishment was announced by the county late last week, following Thursday’s planning committee meeting. County Coun. Anne Eadie, mayor of Kincardine, urged her fellow committee members to view the videos – they’re short, only a couple of minutes, and showcase the county beautifully. She noted that receiving the awards is quite an accomplishment, since they’re part of a worldwide competition. Together, the videos inform, educate and generate awareness about Bruce County’s innovative entrepreneurs in energy, agriculture and sustainable tourism. Each video features local entrepreneurs telling their story, guiding potential entrepreneurs to explore life and work in Bruce County communities. The videos, created in partnership with video production company Astrodog Media, promote Bruce County as a place to live, visit and do business. “Bruce County economic development staff work tirelessly to ensure Bruce County’s future is bright,” said Warden Mitch Twolan. “It’s an honour that their efforts — and the quality of their work — have been recognized on the international stage.” According to the report by Kara Van Myall, director of planning and development, Hermes Creative Awards is one of the oldest and largest creative competitions in the world, recognizing the best in creativity from top publications, websites, videos, advertising, marketing and communications programs. The Hermes Creative Awards program is administered by the Association of Marketing and Communications Professionals (AMCP). Judges are industry professionals who “look for talent which exceeds a high standard of excellence and serves as a benchmark … the winners of these awards range in size from individuals to businesses to media organizations to Fortune 500 companies.” Van Myall noted in her report that this is the first time Bruce County entered the competition, competing against 6,000 entries from around the world. This was Van Myall’s last committee meeting. She’s accepted the position of CAO of Saugeen Shores. Van Myall was thanked by committee members for her work on behalf of the county and congratulated on her new position.Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times
Despite the pandemic, P.E.I. restaurants offering takeout and delivery registered some growth in September, according to Statistics Canada restaurant sales data.While there is some recovery from the worst months of the pandemic, the report showed overall restaurant business on the Island is still down significantly — 16 per cent for the month and 23 per cent for the year.That is still, however, better than the national numbers, which were down more than a quarter for both the month and the year-to-date."Operators are happy to be open and not under a lockdown scenario such as we're seeing in other parts of the country," said Carl Nicholson, president of the P.E.I. Restaurant Association.The Statistics Canada report also showed a stark difference in how the pandemic is affecting limited-service restaurants, which are focused more on takeout and delivery, and full-service restaurants.Compared to the same month in 2019, limited-service restaurants showed an actual increase in September, though not as strong as the trends were showing in January and February.Full-service restaurants were still off by 13.7 per cent in September compared to a year earlier, and that was following a summer where sales were cut almost in half.New habits?Nicholson said as the tourism season winds down, dining rooms are still feeling the impact — not just of reduced capacity, but also of far less lunch traffic, with so many working from home. It is too early to know if this is a trend that could linger past the pandemic, he added."It's a matter of whether people have gotten into another habit," said Nicholson."Whether they say, you know, I'm tired of packing my lunch and I want to get out and have lunch with someone."Many restaurants chose not to open this season or closed for the season early, and that has helped the restaurants that have stayed open, he said, because they are getting a larger piece of the smaller pie.More from CBC P.E.I.
WALKERTON – Walkerton Technology Centre opened its doors a month ago, and business is good. Owner Jack Baynham said a lot of people have commented to him that they’re pleased to see him become a part of the downtown business scene. There has been a gap in the area of computer technology, and now it’s filled. Walkerton Technology Centre (walkertontech.ca) provides in-store repair of desktop and laptop computer hardware and software, and Baynham anticipates cell phone repair and computer accessory repair as well. He also offers computer sales, security cameras and a growing inventory of additional technology. Baynham urges anyone with questions about the business to drop in for a chat, phone (519-507-3500) or email him (through walkertontech.ca). Walkerton Technology Centre is open weekdays 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays 9 a.m. to noon. The centre is located on the corner of Durham St. and Road 4 – a location that’s ideal, as far as Baynham is concerned. It’s within easy walking distance of just about everything, has large windows and downtown parking. Baynham, who’s from Chesley, said he likes Walkerton, and the fact he’s filling a badly needed gap in service. He’s in the final stages of completing his degree (in computer science) online, and said he enjoys being his own boss. Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times
The Town of Castor will plow snow for two residents who don’t have full street access to their residences. The request was heard at the Nov. 23 regular meeting of council. A letter was forwarded to council by Castor residents Glen Falkenberg and Vic Steer about snow building up on the alleyway that accesses their properties, just off of 49 Ave on the west side of town. “Would it be possible to have the street in front of our houses plowed out on a regular basis?” asked the letter signed by Falkenberg and Steer and dated Nov. 19. “The last snow storm left some drifts that were very hard to get through and since then there has been another snowfall.” During discussion town staff noted the street mentioned in the letter was actually an alleyway running between two houses and the alleyway in question probably runs for between 50 and 100 yards. Mayor Richard Elhard stated the drifting on the alleyway was “pretty bad” and the two residents wanted to know why it’s not plowed. Town Chief Administrative Officer Christopher Robblee stated that streets and alleys are both plowed but streets are given higher priority than alleys. During discussion councillors stated it appeared the alleyway was the only access these two residents have to their property and it should be considered a road for snow plowing purposes despite the fact it’s not a road. Robblee stated when plowing streets, residential streets are plowed last, and this alleyway would be considered a residential street. Councillors unanimously passed a motion to consider Falkenberg and Steer’s alleyway a street and place it on the appropriate snow plowing list.Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, East Central Alberta Review
GREY-BRUCE – As of Monday, Nov. 23, Grey-Bruce entered the Yellow stage of the Ontario Public Health classification system. The change from Green to Yellow means greater restrictions and enhanced enforcement – including operational restrictions on bars and restaurants, sports and recreational facilities, personal care services, retail spaces and other businesses – an outcome that none of us desires, according to Dr. Ian Arra, medical officer of health. Arra added that collectively, it is in our control to change our designation back to Green as soon as we can – but it will take an effort from all of us. As of press time, there were 50 active cases of COVID-19 in Grey-Bruce, plus eight probable cases. Most concerning are the 280 high risk contacts associated with active cases. As stated on the health unit’s website, “It takes a tremendous amount of effort to manage this number of high-risk contacts. This number will keep increasing, unless we limit, starting today, our unprotected encounters with all people outside of our own households.” Two people in Grey-Bruce are currently hospitalized with COVID-19. Although there are no facilities with COVID-19 outbreaks, as of Nov. 24, Grey Bruce Public Health was working with Bluewater District School Board to address a case of COVID-19 associated with Hillcrest Elementary School in Owen Sound. The bus route associated with this case has been deemed low risk. Public health officials will notify anyone considered at high risk, so they can isolate and be tested. There have been 283 cases to date in Grey-Bruce. Owen Sound has had the highest number – 69, while Southgate in Grey County has had 40 (15 of them active), and Kincardine in Bruce County has had 36 (nine active). All municipalities in the two counties have had at least one case of COVID-19. For detailed information on the Yellow category of the framework, please visit the provincial website. It helps to explain the changes resulting from the change from Green to Yellow. The Grey Bruce Health Unit has fact sheets available to assist the public and businesses in understanding these changes. Stated on the Grey Bruce Health Unit website was the following: “We have been seeing a deeply concerning trend of a significant increase in the number of cases locally, and in the number of close contacts of these cases. These findings are indicative of fatigue related to following public health measures. It is important that we re-focus our energy on the basic measures that can keep us safe – the same ones that got us through the spring first wave.” Those measures include: • Wash your hands frequently. • Watch your distance (ideally two metres or six feet). • Wear your face covering correctly (over nose and mouth). • Avoid crowds. • Arrange for outdoor activities instead of indoors whenever possible. • Stay home if you are sick. • Avoid close contact (unprotected contact within six feet of each other) with those from outside your household. • Avoid travel to areas with higher transmission and minimize non-essential travel. • Be kind, be calm, be safe. • Stay informed.Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times