Former U.S. Consul-General James Dickmeyer explains what Canada stands to gain or lose from the outcome of the U.S. Presidential Election.
Former U.S. Consul-General James Dickmeyer explains what Canada stands to gain or lose from the outcome of the U.S. Presidential Election.
BUENA VISTA, Ga. — Across the grounds of a south Georgia courthouse, scores of masked and socially distanced voters bowed their heads in prayer for the 260,000-plus Americans who have died from the coronavirus.Then Democratic Senate hopeful Raphael Warnock took the microphone, promising to push for more economic aid for businesses and people affected by the pandemic and touting Democratic plans to combat long-standing racial and wealth disparities highlighted by the crisis.A day earlier, Vice-President Mike Pence campaigned with Warnock’s opponent, Sen. Kelly Loeffler, and her fellow Republican senator, David Perdue. But in heavily Republican north Georgia, there were only scant mentions of the public health calamity that helped lead to President Donald Trump’s defeat: aid programs that passed Congress months ago and a vaccine that is still weeks — or months — from mass distribution.“Before the end of this year, we’re going to see 40 million vaccines all across America,” Pence predicted, attributing the possibility to “the leadership of President Donald Trump.” His crowd -- distanced only in certain seating sections and many not wearing masks -- roared as the vice-president added a kicker: “We’re in the miracle business."It's two starkly different worlds on display in Georgia, where the national political spotlight is shining on twin Senate runoffs that will determine which party controls the chamber at the outset of President-elect Joe Biden’s Democratic administration. Republicans need one more seat for a majority; Democrats need a sweep on Jan. 5.For Republicans, the pandemic is secondary in a runoff blitz defined by dire warnings about what it would mean if Warnock defeats Loeffler and Perdue falls to Democratic challenger Jon Ossoff. Democrats, meanwhile, are more than eager to discuss COVID-19 and its economic fallout. The messaging differences bleed over to the two sides’ public health protocols, as well. The approaches largely track the fall presidential campaign, when Trump wanted to talk about anything but the virus, while Biden centred his pitch around Trump’s handling of it.The November results in Georgia explain why neither side is deviating. Biden clipped Trump in the state by fewer than 13,000 votes out of more than 5 million cast. But Perdue led Ossoff by about 100,000 votes, finishing just short of the outright majority Georgia requires to avoid a runoff. Warnock led Loeffler in a separate special election. Both sides share a common conclusion: Each party has a pool of potential voters approaching 2.5 million. It’s just a matter of which side can coax more to cast ballots in a second round.Republicans’ reprisal will depend again — in part — on generating enthusiasm via in-person campaigning, even as coronavirus cases spike nationally. Trump has announced plans for a Dec. 5 rally in Georgia, after weeks of speculation about whether he’d come amid his continued refusal to concede to Biden. As with the president’s October blitz of rallies, there’s no suggestion that his Georgia event will include social distancing or require masks, as recommended by public health officials.Neither Perdue nor Loeffler echoes the president’s mockery of public health standards. But so far in the runoff campaign, they’ve held multiple indoor events with no social distancing and without compulsory masks. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, appearing with Loeffler, drew hundreds of suburban Republicans to the Cobb County GOP headquarters, surprising organizers and crowding the facility to the point that some voters left without attempting to enter.Florida Sen. Rick Scott drew a similar throng to a restaurant in suburban Cumming for an event with both Georgia incumbents. Days later, Scott said he had tested positive for COVID-19 and had been exposed the same day he travelled to Georgia. Loeffler later announced her own positive test, as well, though consecutive negative tests followed in subsequent days, leading her to end a brief quarantine.Loeffler acknowledges the pandemic in her standard speech by highlighting her and Perdue’s votes for the spring economic relief package.Warnock and Ossoff counter with almost exclusively outdoor or virtual campaigning. Warnock has, however, held outdoor photo lines that do not involve social distancing.“We’ve seen no real national public grieving because it is the kind of death that doesn’t show up in one fell swoop,” Warnock said in Reynolds, where he campaigned under an outdoor picnic canopy. “We see no real recognition of what is happening. ... Meanwhile, we’re having a debate about science. Wearing a mask is somehow a political statement? No, it’s not a political statement. It’s common sense.”Ossoff launched the second round of campaigning with a statewide tour of drive-in rallies similar to those Biden used after Labor Day. Ossoff went into isolation in July after his wife, an OB-GYN, contracted COVID-19. His ads frequently show him greeting voters in masks.The two Democrats have also criticized Loeffler and Perdue for well-timed stock trades after a series of private congressional briefings on the then-burgeoning pandemic.“While you were sheltering in, she was sheltering her investments,” Warnock said in Buena Vista.A recent Ossoff ad says Perdue “profited from the pandemic” instead of “preparing our country.”Senate ethics officials and the Justice Department have found no legal wrongdoing in either Georgia senator's financial activity.Ossoff also has sought to tie Perdue’s loyalty to Trump back to the pandemic. The president has spent weeks asserting baseless claims of voter fraud in Georgia and other battleground states Biden won, without Perdue disputing the claims.Trump's foot-dragging on an orderly transition, Ossoff said in an interview, has hampered Biden’s ability to organize a governmentwide coronavirus response.“What Sen. Perdue should be doing, if he had the people’s best interest at heart and not just his own,” Ossoff told The Associated Press, “is encouraging the president to recognize reality.”___Associated Press writer Ben Nadler contributed to this report from Atlanta.Bill Barrow, The Associated Press
VICTORIA — British Columbia's top doctor has a message for people who don't follow a provincial order to wear a mask in indoor public spaces: order takeout, shop online or stay home.Dr. Bonnie Henry said Friday she was saddened after hearing about store and restaurant employees facing aggressive customers who refuse to wear masks as COVID-19 numbers rise."I remind all of us about the severity of this illness and the fact that we have people who are suffering in our hospitals right now, and their families are suffering too," she said. The RCMP say they arrested a shopper at a Walmart in Dawson Creek this week after he allegedly assaulted an employee who asked him to wear a mask.B.C. set another single-day record with 911 cases of COVID-19, Henry said, adding that a total of 30,884 cases have been diagnosed in the province.Eleven more people have died, bringing the number of fatalities to 395, while a record 301 patients are in hospital.Some faith leaders have questioned Henry's order to ban even limited gatherings at churches, temples and other faith locations while restaurants and bars remain open.Henry said outbreaks have occurred in multiple faith locations despite safety measures in keeping with what is happening around the world."I'd like to be clear that these locations are not doing anything wrong," she said, adding COVID-19 precautions were being followed at the majority of worship places."These are not decisions that we make lightly," she said."We are facing a storm surge, and that is something we are facing globally."Henry said events that were safe even a few weeks ago now threaten the most vulnerable people who attend them as well as entire communities.However, she said most faith leaders understand the measures as they support their congregants from a distance."It is a cruel irony in many ways that when we most need to be with people, that is the most dangerous thing that we can do with this level of transmission we are seeing in communities across the province."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 27, 2020.The Canadian Press
VANCOUVER — The Mountie who says he warned against arresting Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou by boarding her plane when it landed in Vancouver says he made his own decision to come into the airport and help that day. Sgt. Ross Lundie agreed under cross-examination at a B.C. Supreme Court hearing Friday that the RCMP members making the arrest in December 2018 did not ask him to be present that day.But he said when the arresting officers called him the night before the incident asking for advice, he suggested they arrange a meeting with Canada Border Services Agency officials for the next morning and decided he would attend."It was obviously very important from what I'd heard," Lundie testified."Were you concerned that by asserting yourself, that would assist in avoiding some kind of major problem between CBSA and RCMP?" Meng's lawyer Richard Peck asked."I wanted to ensure that went smoothly as well, yes."Lundie, an officer with national security experience based at the airport, said he believed it was important to keep CBSA in the loop because he understood they had their own mandate and responsibilities.His testimony is part of an evidence-gathering hearing in Meng's extradition case where her lawyers are gathering information to bolster their allegations that Canadian officials improperly collected evidence against her.Meng is wanted on fraud charges in the United States that both she and Huawei deny. Meng's lawyers allege that an early plan to arrest her aboard the plane was changed to allow for a "covert criminal investigation" under the guise of a routine immigration exam at the behest of U.S. authorities. Ultimately, Meng would undergo screening by border officers for nearly three hours before she was informed of her arrest and right to counsel.Border officers working at the airport that day have testified they had their own concerns about Meng's admissibility to Canada and deny the allegations made by her lawyers. Lundie told the court that he always discourages his officers from conducting arrests aboard flights unless there is an immediate public safety concern. Meng herself didn't pose any risk to his knowledge, he said, but planes are tight spaces and there can be dangers. It's safer to conduct an arrest in the gate, border screening area or elsewhere, he said. Lundie testified the arresting officers phoned him the night before the arrest while they were driving to the airport to confirm if Meng would be on the flight. That's when he learned of the plan to board the plane, he said.Peck suggested that couldn't be. Phone records show that the arresting officers' boss, Sgt. Janice Vander Graaf, phoned them later that night after speaking with her own superior, whom court has heard was the source of the plane-arrest plan. If Vander Graaf's records are correct, then Lundie couldn't have learned the arrest plan when he said he did, earlier that evening, Peck suggested. "My final suggestion is that you're confused in your memory," Peck said. "OK," Lundie said. Court has also heard that phone records suggested Lundie did have three-minute phone call with a national security Mountie in Ottawa with knowledge of the case that night. Lundie said he has no memory of the call.The hearing will continue on Dec. 7. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 27, 2020.Amy Smart, The Canadian Press
The Saskatchewan Health Authority is recruiting retirees and volunteers to help with contact tracing investigations, according to a health authority spokesperson.The SHA has more than 350 staff trained for contact tracing, the spokesperson said. But as COVID-19 cases and the number of close contacts rise, the investigations take longer to conduct.So the health authority is recruiting more contact tracers, including retirees and volunteers, in anticipation of a potential surge in cases."Our contact tracing system is certainly under strain," health authority CEO Scott Livingstone said during a news conference Thursday."A single positive case each and every day provides hours of work for contact tracers over the two-week time period" after a positive result, he said. "But that work can grow exponentially when you factor in the number of contacts."As of Thursday, Saskatchewan averaged 214 new COVID-19 cases per day over a two-week period. Each case had about seven or eight close contacts on average, which creates 32,000 total hours of work over the two-week period, said Livingstone.He noted that the average number of contacts is down slightly from recent weeks, but the health authority is planning an effective contact tracing strategy in case the province approaches 450 cases per day.Early in the pandemic, the provincial government authorized retired nurses to obtain emergency licences through the Saskatchewan Registered Nurses Association, the regulatory body for the province's nurses. The most recent licence was issued Thursday.The association is working with the health authority on the workforce plan, and shares its emergency practice licence list every week with the SHA "and other employers," an association spokesperson said.Once nurses retire, they are no longer part of the Saskatchewan Union of Nurses. But if issued an emergency licence, they are unionized temporarily, said SUN president Tracy Zambory."It is just extremely important that the resources are given to [contact tracing] that it requires," she said."It's about resumption of health-care services, and pulling back on some of the slower areas so that the human resources can be freed up to be able to assist in contact tracing."'Real consequences'Contact tracing aims to identify COVID-19 cases before they can unknowingly spread the illness throughout the community, explains Dr. Cory Neudorf, a public health physician and University of Saskatchewan professor of community health and epidemiology.Finding close contacts means they can self-isolate and be tested sooner."You interrupt that chain of transmission, and you can start to get a handle on the pandemic," he said. The health authority's announcement that contact tracing investigations are taking longer signifies that Saskatchewan residents are not following public health rules as closely as they should be, or that COVID-positive people are visiting public spaces, says Neudorf.Time-consuming investigations can also make it tougher to find contacts and curb the spread of COVID-19, because people may forget who they met and where they went over time, he said.But the strain on contact tracing also has consequences for the overall health-care system as well, Livingstone said Thursday.A finite number of workers are trained to do contact tracing, so some health-care workers have been moved around the health-care system to conduct investigations. But that is only a Band-Aid solution, says Neudorf."As the outbreak progresses, and you start getting a lot of COVID-19 cases in the hospital, those workers need to be brought back to care for the COVID-positive patients," he said. "You can't be using the same stuff for both purposes, so that's only a short-term fix."Redeploying staff also causes disruptions in other health-care services, he added.Saskatchewan residents can help reduce the length of contact tracing investigations by only going out in public for essential reasons, regardless of what the province's public health rules allow, to reduce the number of close contacts, Neudorf said.When people do go out, they should mind physical distancing and wear a mask, he added.Neudorf also suggests keeping a weekly list of where you go, who you see and when, especially if you have to be in public often. Such lists help tracers easily track contacts down, should a person test positive.As of Friday, 2,237 COVID-19 cases in Saskatchewan are under investigation by public health officials.
SANTÉ. Dans le cadre de la Semaine nationale de sensibilisation aux dépendances, les centres de réadaptation en toxicomanie Portage souhaitent rappeler l'enjeu majeur que représente la crise des opioïdes, aggravée par le contexte de la COVID-19. «L'isolement et l'anxiété causés par les mesures sanitaires nécessaires pour contrer la pandémie ont sans équivoque aggravé leur situation déjà précaire, menant à une augmentation de la consommation d'alcool et d'autres drogues. Par exemple, en Ontario, on constate une augmentation de 25 % du nombre de décès par surdoses pendant les trois premiers mois du confinement, pour un total de 621 décès. Face à une prolongation assurée de la crise sanitaire, il est plus important que jamais de soutenir les personnes aux prises avec une dépendance et de les informer des services spécialisés adaptés à leur situation», indique-t-on en rappelant que la crise ne date pas d'hier. En effet, le rapport du Centre canadien sur les dépendances et l'usage des substances, paru en juillet dernier, témoigne de la gravité de la crise alors qu'il montre que le nombre d'hospitalisations causées par des intoxications aux opioïdes a augmenté de 27% au cours des cinq dernières années et que 3 823 décès ont été enregistrés en 2019, un taux de 10 décès par 100 000 habitants. Constatant cet enjeu majeur depuis quelques années, le Comité de santé et sécurité de Portage a pris la décision d'équiper tous ses centres de naloxone et de former ses intervenants pour qu'ils soient en mesure d'administrer ce médicament, qui peut inverser les effets d'une surdose. À propos de Portage Depuis 47 ans, Portage a aidé des milliers de personnes aux prises avec des problèmes de toxicomanie à vaincre leur dépendance. L'organisme gère des centres de réadaptation en toxicomanie à Montréal, à Prévost, à Québec et à Saint-Malachie. Stéphane Lévesque, Initiative de journalisme local, L'Hebdo Journal
PHILADELPHIA — President Donald Trump’s legal team suffered yet another defeat in court Friday as a federal appeals court in Philadelphia roundly rejected the campaign's latest effort to challenge the state’s election results.Trump’s lawyers vowed to appeal to the Supreme Court despite the judges' assessment that the “campaign’s claims have no merit.”“Free, fair elections are the lifeblood of our democracy. Charges of unfairness are serious. But calling an election unfair does not make it so. Charges require specific allegations and then proof. We have neither here,” 3rd Circuit Judge Stephanos Bibas, a Trump appointee, wrote for the three-judge panel, all appointed by Republican presidents.The case had been argued last week in a lower court by Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who insisted during five hours of oral arguments that the 2020 presidential election had been marred by widespread fraud in Pennsylvania. However, Giuliani failed to offer any tangible proof of that in court.U.S. District Judge Matthew Brann, another Republican, had said the campaign's error-filled complaint, “like Frankenstein’s Monster, has been haphazardly stitched together” and denied Giuliani the right to amend it for a second time.The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals called any revisions “futile.” Chief Judge D. Brooks Smith and Judge Michael Chagares were on the panel with Bibas, a former University of Pennsylvania law professor. Trump’s sister, Judge Maryanne Trump Barry, sat on the court for 20 years, retiring in 2019.“Voters, not lawyers, choose the president. Ballots, not briefs, decide elections,” Bibas said in the opinion, which also denied the campaign's request to stop the state from certifying its results, a demand he called “breathtaking.”In fact, Pennsylvania officials had announced Tuesday that they had certified their vote count for President-elect Joe Biden, who defeated Trump by more than 80,000 votes in the state. Nationally, Biden and running mate Kamala Harris garnered nearly 80 million votes, a record in U.S. presidential elections.Trump has said he hopes the Supreme Court will intervene in the race as it did in 2000, when its decision to stop the recount in Florida gave the election to Republican George W. Bush. On Nov. 5, as the vote count continued, Trump posted a tweet saying the “U.S. Supreme Court should decide!”Ever since, Trump and his surrogates have attacked the election as flawed and filed a flurry of lawsuits to try to block the results in six battleground states. But they’ve found little sympathy from judges, nearly all of whom dismissed their complaints about the security of mail-in ballots, which millions of people used to vote from home during the COVID-19 pandemic.Trump perhaps hopes a Supreme Court he helped steer toward a conservative 6-3 majority would be more open to his pleas, especially since the high court upheld Pennsylvania’s decision to accept mail-in ballots through Nov. 6 by only a 4-4 vote last month. Since then, Trump nominee Amy Coney Barrett has joined the court.“The activist judicial machinery in Pennsylvania continues to cover up the allegations of massive fraud,” Trump lawyer Jenna Ellis tweeted after Friday's ruling. “On to SCOTUS!”In the case at hand, the Trump campaign asked to disenfranchise the state’s 6.8 million voters or at least “cherry-pick” the 1.5 million who voted by mail in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and other Democratic-leaning areas, the appeals court said.“One might expect that when seeking such a startling outcome, a plaintiff would come formidably armed with compelling legal arguments and factual proof of rampant corruption,” Brann, a member of the conservative Federalist Society, wrote in his scathing ruling on Nov. 21. “That has not happened.”A separate Republican challenge that reached the Pennsylvania Supreme Court this week seeks to stop the state from further certifying any races on the ballot. Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration is fighting that effort, saying it would prevent the state’s legislature and congressional delegation from being seated in the coming weeks.On Thursday, Trump said the Nov. 3 election was still far from over. Yet he said for the first time he would leave the White House on Jan. 20 if the Electoral College formalizes Biden’s win.“Certainly I will. But you know that,” Trump said at the White House, taking questions from reporters for the first time since Election Day.On Twitter Friday, however, he continued to baselessly attack Detroit, Atlanta and other Democratic cities with large Black populations as the source of “massive voter fraud.” And he claimed, without evidence, that a Pennsylvania poll watcher had uncovered computer memory drives that “gave Biden 50,000 votes” apiece.All 50 states must certify their results before the Electoral College meets on Dec. 14, and any challenge to the results must be resolved by Dec. 8. Biden won both the Electoral College and popular vote by wide margins.___Follow Maryclaire Dale on Twitter at https://twitter.com/MaryclairedaleMaryclaire Dale, The Associated Press
The federal government is laying plans for the procurement and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, inking contracts with seven potential manufacturers and saying six million doses could arrive in the country in the first quarter of 2021. The most recent development from Ottawa came Friday when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tapped former NATO commander Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin to lead the national distribution effort. But various provinces have started spelling out their plans as well. Here's a look at what they've said so far: —Nova ScotiaThe province's chief medical officer of health says he will release a detailed plan for the distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine once Ottawa shares more information. Dr. Robert Strang said Friday there is no certainty yet about the availability of a vaccine, but expressed hopes an initial supply will trickle into Nova Scotia early in the new year.Strang said a detailed provincial plan, to be released once the federal government has shared more specifics on its end, will include tight control of the supply and clear rules dictating who can be first in line for immunization. He said he's waiting for more federal guidance on issues ranging from priority groups to transportation and storage logistics. —QuebecThe province will be ready to start rolling out its vaccine plan as of Jan. 1, say senior politicians. Premier Francois Legault said Thursday that public health officials have already settled on the list of priority vaccine recipients, but did not release details. Legault said the province is also working to put the necessary infrastructure in place to support a vaccine rollout. That includes obtaining fridges capable of maintaining the extremely low temperatures needed by one of the most promising potential vaccine options, currently in development through pharmaceutical giant Pfizer.Quebec has also tasked assistant deputy health minister Jerome Gagnon, and former provincial public health director Dr. Richard Masse to oversee the province's vaccination effort. —OntarioPremier Doug Ford is among those leaders calling on Ottawa to provide more clarity as officials scramble to develop a provincewide vaccination strategy.Early speculation on the number of doses the province could receive was put to rest earlier this week when federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu said such details were still in the works. But Ford has forged ahead, naming former chief of national defence Gen. Rick Hillier to oversee the province's vaccine rollout. Hillier said on Friday he hopes to have a plan developed by year's end, while Ford urged Ottawa to provide detailed information on potential vaccine delivery. "We need a clear line of sight into the timelines of the shipments," Ford said.—AlbertaThe province's top medical official has said she expects to receive 680,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine early in the new year, a figure not yet confirmed by the federal government. Dr. Deena Hinshaw has also said a number of hurdles and unknowns remain as the province works to devise its vaccination scheme. "These (vaccine) numbers, of course, depend on many factors,'' Hinshaw said on Nov. 18. "They depend on the final pieces of the trials that are underway going well. They depend on ensuring that the safety and the effectiveness of the early vaccines can be assured. All of those checks and balances must be cleared."On Friday, Hinshaw said the province is working with Ottawa to get vaccine, but it is "a bit of a moving target" on when vaccines might be available."But our goal is that whenever vaccine is available, we will be ready to start immunizing individuals on that highest priority list."—British ColumbiaProvincial health officials announced on Wednesday that a vaccine strategy for the province is already in the works. Dr. Bonnie Henry, the province's top doctor, said Dr. Ross Brown of Vancouver Coastal Health will join the group working to organize the logistics around the distribution of vaccines.Henry said front-line workers as well as those in long-term care homes will likely have priority for vaccinations.She cautioned that while the province has contracts with vaccine makers, there can be challenges with offshore manufacturing."It's very much focused on who is most at risk and how do we protect them best," Henry said. "There's a lot of discussion that needs to happen."Henry said the province hopes to have vaccines in hand by January.—YukonPremier Sandy Silver told the legislature on Wednesday that the territory has been in discussions with various levels of government on a vaccine rollout plan. He said the goal will be to provide vaccines to elderly people and health-care providers.Silver said rural and remote communities should also get priority status in northern regions, a fact he said he's emphasized with federal authorities. The premier said he has joined the other provincial and territorial leaders in pushing for a national strategy to distribute the vaccine. “How confusing would it be for 13 different strategies right across the nation?” he said. Silver said the Pfizer vaccine could cause logistical problems for remote communities because of its cold-storage requirements, but those issues may not apply to other vaccines under development. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 27, 2020.The Canadian Press
Olympic champion wrestler Erica Wiebe feels it's time to get back on the competition mat.She and teammate Amar Dhesi of Surrey, B.C., intend to represent Canada at a December World Cup in Belgrade, Serbia, unless the COVID-19 virus derails those plans.It's been almost nine months since the two Canadians competed in the Pan American Olympic qualification tournament in Ottawa. Wrestling in front of zero fans in mid-March, they punched their tickets to the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. Less than two weeks later, the Summer Olympics were postponed until 2021.Wiebe is ready to navigate the pandemic pitfalls and complications of international travel to reboot her competitive journey to Tokyo."It's been really crazy because in my 10 years on the Canadian national team, I've never not competed for this long," said the 31-year-old from Stittsville, Ont."I'm wrestling and training better than I ever have. I've just taken so much time to develop, to really dig into some technical and tactical skills. The training volumes are so different compared to when we're traveling to Europe every month. "When I think about competing in Serbia in three weeks, it's really exciting to just see where I'm at, to experience a competitive environment and go through that process."The reigning Olympic champion in the 75-kilogram class trains in Calgary. Dhesi, a 25-year-old who wrestles in the men's heavyweight division, is currently training at the University of Ohio."All this training doesn't doesn't actually prepare for the real thing on the mat," Dhesi told The Canadian Press from Columbus. "I need to get in front of a real referee and stand beside a real opponent, blow the whistle and see what happens. I'm just grateful Canada is letting us go."The tournament Dec. 12-18 in Serbia's capital city was initially the world championship. With some countries unable or unwilling to attend, it was downgraded to a World Cup.Both Wiebe and Dhesi say there will be enough high-calibre opponents to warrant travelling there.Wrestling Canada wrestled with risk and reward in deciding the World Cup was an option for the Canadian team. Some athletes chose not to go. "We've had athletes that training wise are probably ready to go and compete in Serbia, but don't feel comfortable doing so," high-performance director Lúcás Ó’Ceallacháin said."We haven't forced anybody to do that. We have some athletes that still live at home, that have elderly relatives that live with them that will be considered high risk."Canada's six-person contingent will consist of Ó’Ceallacháin, Wiebe, Dhesi, their coaches and an athletic therapist. Wrestling Canada used the return-to-competition assessment tool developed by Own The Podium and the Canadian Olympic Committee, as well as consulting medical experts, to determine how safe it was for Canadian athletes to compete in Belgrade."They are precious cargo," Ó’Ceallacháin said. "We take it very seriously how we're going to take care of them."Serbia has been very good at providing extensive documentation in terms of what their plans are and what they're going to do. We feel they're doing everything they possibly can."We're full of trepidation, anxiety, but we're also excited to get back at it."Ó’Ceallacháin says he also sought advice from Canada's winter-sport teams already competing in Europe, as well as the Canadian judo team that travelled to Guadalajara, Mexico, and Budapest, Hungary for competition in recent weeks.Wiebe intends to take part in Alberta's rapid-testing pilot program for international travellers at the Calgary airport upon return.That could shorten her quarantine from the required 14 days if Wiebe tests negative.Competing in Belgrade means she won't spend the holidays with her family in Ontario."It's a really big sacrifice that's really important for me right now," Wiebe said. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 27, 2020.Donna Spencer, The Canadian Press
Vancouver’s council made history this week by asking the federal government for an exemption from Canadian drug laws to decriminalize possession of drugs for personal use. Council voted on the motion the same day the BC Coroners Service reported 1,386 people have died so far this year of an overdose, with deaths increasing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. So what happens now? The day after the vote, Mayor Kennedy Stewart met with Dr. Patricia Daly, the chief medical health officer for Vancouver Coastal Health, and Adam Palmer, Vancouver’s police chief. In both meetings, the mayor spoke about “next steps on decriminalization and how we would begin to gather critical local input into our request for the federal government,” Alvin Singh, the mayor’s chief of staff, told The Tyee via email. When the motion was being discussed Wednesday, people who use or have used drugs told council over and over again “nothing for us without us,” emphasizing that people who use drugs need to be part of the conversation. “This input is critical both now, before we send the official request, and afterwards if we get a positive answer,” Singh said. Stewart plans to “touch base” with Patty Hajdu, the federal health minister, sometime in the next few days. But getting federal approval could be a tough sell. In September, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he doesn’t support decriminalization as a solution to the overdose crisis. Hajdu took a similar position earlier this year. The city will ask the ministers of health and public safety and the attorney general for an exemption to the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act’s provisions on possession of drugs for personal use within the city. Section 56 of the act grants the health minister the power to issue an exemption from any part of the legislation “for a medical or scientific purpose or is otherwise in the public interest.” It is the same mechanism the city used to establish North America’s first supervised injection site in 2003 and, more recently, to allow health-care providers to prescribe alternatives to street drugs as a part of safer supply measures. Guy Felicella spent 30 years in the Downtown Eastside addicted to heroin before entering recovery in 2013. He’s now a drug policy advocate and a peer clinical advisor for the BC Centre on Substance Use. He said decriminalization has “been pushed for decades, but to actually have some momentum — it’s a powerful moment in Canadian history.” For decades, Canadian society has been moving towards treating drug use as a health issue instead of a criminal justice issue. But despite that shift, people who use drugs are still being charged with offences like possession or possession for the purposes of trafficking — even for relatively small amounts of drugs — and serving jail time. The Vancouver Police Department says officers now rarely charge people for possession, and the force’s chief, Adam Palmer, has publicly supported decriminalization. However, people who use drugs say police continue to regularly confiscate illicit substances. Felicella said it all has to stop. As Vancouver moves forward on getting an exemption, Felicella warned of “criminalization by another process,” such as fines, alternative charges like possession for the purposes of trafficking, or drug confiscation. “Maybe they don’t arrest people for simple possession 97 per cent of the time, but they sure take their drugs,” Felicella said. “They’ve been doing this for decades.” The Vancouver Police Department says it is not “general practice to seize drugs from people using them,” but officers must confiscate drugs if they find them during a search for an investigation. However, people who use drugs and advocates who work with drug users say police constantly take drugs away from people. To replace the drugs, people are making risky choices, like sex work or committing petty crimes like shoplifting or car break-ins. Criminalizing people also pushes drug use into the shadows, Felicella said, and with a poisoned drug supply, that’s putting people’s lives at risk. “It’s so freaking stressful when you’re down there and you have cops following you around,” Felicella said. “It’s just a mental toll, physically, emotionally and mentally.” An option known as drug court — where people charged with drug-related crimes can avoid jail time by entering a drug treatment program — also needs to stop, Felicella said. “Having a judge sentence you to go to drug court is really putting treatment in the [category] of punishment,” Felicella said. “When that fails, and the treatment fails as well, it sure doesn’t make you want to go back the second time to try it again.” In opposing decriminalization, Trudeau has said it’s not “a silver bullet” and his government is prioritizing other interventions, like expanding safe supply — prescribing drugs to people to replace tainted illicit drugs. Felicella said decriminalization needs to go hand in hand with more access to safe supply and treatment options for people who want to stop using drugs. Currently in B.C., there’s a six- to eight-week wait to get into a treatment program if you or your family can’t afford to pay tens of thousands of dollars, Felicella said. He said his own journey to recovery only happened after he was diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, and was able to get therapy to deal with trauma. Felicella still goes to a therapist regularly, but he said it’s not an option available to people who can’t pay out of pocket. Karen Ward, a drug policy advocate who works with the City of Vancouver, told council that decriminalizing drug possession could also help break down barriers that still exist with prescribing safe supply. “Doctors... are going to feel a little bit more able to prescribe [safe supply],” Ward said. “There’s hesitation there, despite all the power they have in society — they’re hesitant to be associated with drug users.” Felicella said safe supply takes people out of the constant grind of having to hustle to find the money to buy illicit drugs. The relationship between the police and Downtown Eastside residents is as bad as it’s ever been, said Felicella. He called on police to “stand down” in the neighbourhood, where many residents use illicit drugs regularly while also living in poverty and with chronic health conditions. “People still feel the same fear of the police,” he said. “Police show up in the alleys and people are like, ‘Oh, my God. What’s gonna happen?’” The VPD says it devotes special resources to keep people safe in the neighbourhood, connect homeless people with housing and provide support to sex workers. “There continue to be calls for service from citizens and businesses for police help for violent crime and property crime,” spokesperson Simi Heer wrote to The Tyee in an email. “We expect officers to deal with property crime, street disorder and violence.” While the department supports decriminalization and chief Palmer wrote a message of support for the mayor’s motion, Felicella said he is at times confused by the force’s decisions. “One minute they’re creating a task force to make sure people are safe, and then the next thing they’re harassing people on the street and moving them along. And then the next thing, they wanted to decriminalize drugs,” he said. “Hopefully, if this passes at a federal level, we can change the direction for many people.”Jen St. Denis, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Tyee
Peterborough County politicians are shocked by the tragic death of a one-year-old baby boy who was fatally shot on Thursday after being abducted by his father from a home in Trent Lakes. “There’s now a mother out there without a little boy and I would expect grandparents without a grandson … it’s just a tragic series of events,” said Joe Taylor, former warden of Peterborough County and mayor of Otonabee-South Monaghan Township. The incident began at about 8:48 a.m. Thursday when Peterborough County OPP officers were called to a location northeast of Bobcaygeon in Trent Lakes after a 33-year-old father abducted his son in what police called a domestic dispute involving a firearm. The baby was found dead of a gunshot wound in his father’s pickup truck after it collided with an OPP cruiser on Pigeon Lake Road, east of Lindsay, which was followed by altercation in which three officers shot at the man. Emily Poulin, executive director at Victim Services of Peterborough Northumberland (VSPN), said since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s been a huge increase in the need to help high-risk victims of domestic violence. While there are many tools the agency offers, as well as several service providers that do work in tandem to try and support these high-risk individuals in both Peterborough city and county, Poulin said there also needs to be prevention of domestic violence. “With COVID, we’re seeing a lot of differences in the way people are arrested and released, because they don’t want to overcrowd the jails, but when you’re talking high-risk offenders, more has to be done on that end,” she said. “It can’t all be on the victim to try and stay safe. There should be more measures put in place to try and keep offenders from doing this in the first place.” Lisa Clarke, executive director at the Kawartha Sexual Assault Centre, said in just six months of the pandemic, their crisis services at the centre have doubled those of the MeToo movement in 2017 and 2018. “There are alarming rates of sexual and gender-based and internet-partner violence happening in this community, and the Kawartha Sexual Assault Centre encourages all families and friends to check in and support and listen without judgment, to those who may be experiencing family violence in the home,” she said. There are many barriers for people living in rural areas to seek services, Clarke said. “Everybody knows everybody and so it can feel like reaching out means that family and friends will know what’s happening in the home. Our services are confidential and can be anonymous. We recognize that those are the types of services needed for people in rural areas to reach out and we have many survivors each year reaching out from more rural areas of our region,” she said. What happened is incomprehensible, Poulin said. “I mean it’s an absolute tragedy what happened and my heart goes out to the family and friends,” she said. The loss of a life, but particularly the loss of a young life, is heartbreaking, said Andy Mitchell, deputy warden of Peterborough County. “It’s a really, really tragic event and my heart is heavy and sorrowful for all of the folks that are being impacted by this,” he said. Trent Lakes Mayor Janet Clarkson said the outcome of Thursday’s incident is extremely unfortunate. “It’s hard to say when it all comes out, just exactly what happened,” she said. Taylor said he believes the community is going to do what they can to support the family in this time of need. “There’s no point in trying to understand it, or rationalize it, or explain it, or make any sense out of it,” he said. “It’s just really, really sad.” The Kawartha Sexual Assault Centre’s 24/7 crisis phone line is 1-866-298-7778. Their new 24/7 crisis text line is 705-710-5234. VSPN’s toll-free number is 1-888-822-7729 and its website is at victimservicespn.ca/. Marissa Lentz is a staff reporter at the Examiner, based in Peterborough. Her reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Reach her via email: firstname.lastname@example.orgMarissa Lentz, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Peterborough Examiner
CALGARY — Alberta is giving 700 more peace officers the power to enforce COVID-19 restrictions as hospitalizations for the virus continue to climb in the province. "We are not asking these officers to stop cold their day-to-day priorities or to harass responsible Albertans going about their everyday lives," Justice Minister Kaycee Madu said Friday, as Alberta reported 1,227 new COVID-19 cases and nine more deaths. Police officers and health inspectors also have the ability to enforce the rules. Federal data shows that as of Friday, Alberta had the highest seven-day infection rate in Canada with 209 cases per 100,000 people. Alberta has 405 COVID-19 patients in hospital, including 86 in intensive care. A week ago, there were 55 patients in intensive care with COVID-19. Postponing surgeries is one of the ways the province is freeing up space to accommodate more people severely ill with the virus. New measures came into effect Friday to help blunt the spike in cases. Private indoor social gatherings are banned, capacity limits have been imposed on stores and students between grades 7 and 12 switch to remote learning on Monday. Fines for breaking the rules range from $1,000 to $100,000 in extreme cases that make it to court. When asked whether there would be crackdowns on anti-mask rallies, Madu said police will make independent decisions. "But as minister of justice, my expectation is that those who are in violation of the measures that we have put in place would have to be held accountable."Alberta's chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, said she is disappointed to hear about Alberta Health Services inspectors being verbally abused. "Nobody deserves that, least of all the people who are working to keep all of us safe," she said. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 27, 2020. Lauren Krugel, The Canadian Press
Tichina Arnold and Tisha Campbell are hosting the Soul Train Awards for the third consecutive year. The duo, who are also producers for the show, which airs Sunday, Nov. 29, say “as Black women, we wanted to make sure that we are celebrated.” (Nov. 27)
OTTAWA — A spokesman for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says his office accidentally sent out an account of a phone call with Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole that hadn't happened yet.The premature account of the call Friday said Trudeau chided O'Toole about Conservative MPs downplaying the deaths of Albertans and comparing the novel coronavirus to the flu.Alberta MP Rachael Harder shared a newspaper column on her Facebook page this week that pointed out provincial statistics saying that just 10 of 369 Albertans who had died of COVID-19 as of mid-November were otherwise healthy. And Ontario MP Dean Allison described COVID-19 as "influenza" in a talk-radio interview.After the call, the Conservatives said Trudeau raised neither of these incidents with O'Toole.And a second read-out of the call from the PMO, after the call had actually taken place, dropped all mention of the matter.It said simply that the two leaders had discussed "the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as vaccine distribution in Canada," along with issues related to president-elect Joe Biden’s incoming administration in the United States.The Tory leader went into the conversation with proposals for how Canada can improve its relationship with the U.S. under Biden.In a letter to Trudeau, O'Toole said responding to the COVID-19 pandemic must be the first priority, including ensuring a continent-wide response to vaccine supply, the production of personal protective equipment and managing the border.O'Toole said after that must come dealing with the threat posed by China, and that Canada should seek to join an existing dialogue among the U.S., Australia, India and Japan to oppose Chinese military expansionism. The letter also talks about the Keystone XL oil pipeline, a project that outgoing President Donald Trump approved but Biden opposes. O'Toole said it must be made clear to Biden the project is important to Canada's view of the bilateral relationship with the U.S.The letter cites a need for a collective effort on combating climate change, and a call to modernize the binational defence agreement known as Norad, which would include having Canada join the ballistic missile defence program. A copy of O'Toole's letter to Trudeau was obtained by The Canadian Press."This period of transition to the incoming Biden administration represents a unique opportunity to advance Canada's interests and values on the world stage," O'Toole wrote in the letter. "It is my sincere hope the Canadian and U.S. governments can work together for the mutual benefit of both our peoples who have endured so much this past year."A Conservative read-out after the call said the two leaders concluded their chat by mutually "reaffirming the importance of eliminating COVID-19 and by wishing their families well."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 27, 2020.The Canadian Press
Some online requests for COVID-19 tests got lost in the "technical glitch" involving fax machines that contributed to a backlog of requests, CBC News has learned."We are investigating and do no believe this is widespread," Public Health spokesperson Bruce Macfarlane said in an emailed statement late Friday.It's unclear whether those affected will now drop to the bottom of the wait list.As of Friday at 4:30 p.m., the backlog stood at 690 people — 350 in the Saint John health region (Zone 2) and 340 in the Fredericton region, said Macfarlane.He did not say what the backlog was at its peak.The number of people self-isolating has reached 1,760 — 1,000 in the Saint John region, 386 in the Moncton region (Zone 1) and 377 in the Fredericton region. All three regions are in the orange phase of COVID-19 recovery.Contact tracing has established links between at least two of the regions, Macfarlane confirmed, without elaborating.He did not say how many of those in isolation are health-care workers, but there was "upwards of about 74" in the Saint John area alone on Thursday, Russell had said."Some" of the people isolating "may be waiting on their Day 10 test if they got caught in the fax backlog," said Macfarlane.New goal to clear backlogDr. Jennifer Russell, the chief medical officer of health, had hoped to have the backlog rectified by Friday, at the latest.Public Health now anticipates clearing the backlog by the end of the weekend, said Macfarlane.Processing capacity continues to be expanded, he said.Another testing queue has been established at the Capital Exhibit Centre in Fredericton, and another assessment site will be operating within the city limits "very shortly."In Saint John, an additional assessment site is now operating at St. James the Less Church, 1750 Rothesay Rd., and additional queues have been set up at the Ropewalk Road location.Why faxes are usedDuring Wednesday's COVID-19 news conference, Health Minister Dorothy Shephard told reporters that a "technical glitch" earlier this week had delayed online test requests getting through to schedulers.On Thursday, Russell revealed that it "had to do with fax machines" in the Fredericton health region, Zone 3."My understanding is that's been resolved," she added.Asked for more information about the glitch, Macfarlane said only: "There was some backlog created by fax machine but largely was the result of an increase in demand for COVID-19 testing."The online registration forms for COVID-19 tests are received by the designated testing centres by fax, said Macfarlane.Asked why faxes are used, he replied: "With assessment centres being set up and taken down throughout the province on a as needed bases, fax machines have been used in this infrastructure due to their ease of mobility and for confidentiality."He did not elaborate. The Department of Health has electronic medical records. The transition program to an e-health system was implemented in 2012.Positivity rateNew Brunswick's COVID-19 positivity rate between Nov. 11 and Nov. 25 was 0.9 per cent, said Macfarlane.That means of the 690 backlogged, waiting to be tested, about six will likely test positive.By comparison, the national positivity rate is 3.1 per cent. Across Canada, 5,967 cases were reported Friday.
The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada (all times Eastern):7:04 p.m.Nunavut is reporting four new cases of COVID-19, all in Arviat. The territory says it now has a total of 151 active cases of COVID-19. The Government of Nunavut says it will spend $1 million towards community food programming, including extra funding for communities affected by the pandemic. The government says its message to people is to stay well, stay safe and stay home.6:49 p.m.Health experts have warned that COVID-19 cases in Saskatchewan could climb to more than 10,000 by early next month.The Ministry of Health has released a presentation delivered to physicians at a town-hall meeting last night about the virus's current spread and possible trajectory.Information updated to Nov. 20 indicates that, based on the recent average rise in positive tests, the caseload could hit 10,000 in the first week of December if there is no further intervention.The data also states that as of Monday, the number of active cases and hospitalizations had gone up 400 per cent in the last 30 days. It forecasts that in four to six months, acute care demand for COVID-19 patients could account for half of all available beds and the need for intensive care could be five times total capacity.The Saskatchewan Health Authority says it is working to validate the data and will share more information next week.\---6:34 p.m.COVID -19 infections keep surging in B.C. with the latest peak at 911 new positive cases.Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says there have also been another 11 deaths for a total of 395 deaths since the pandemic started.There have been three more outbreaks in long-term care or assisted-living facilities, bringing to 54 the number of sites that have outbreaks.More than 10,000 people are under active health monitoring, while 21,304 people who were infected are considered recovered.\---5:30 p.m.The Alberta government is empowering 700 more peace officers to enforce COVID-19 public health orders. Justice Minister Kaycee Madu says fines for breaking the rules can range from $1,000 to $100,000 in extreme cases that end up in court. New rules announced this week include a ban on private social gatherings and capacity limits in stores.Alberta reported 1,227 new infections on Friday and nine more deaths. Chief medical officer Dr. Deena Hinshaw says 405 people are in hospital, including 86 in intensive care. She says one way to free up space for the growing number of severely ill COVID-19 patients in hospital is to postpone surgeries.\---3:52 p.m.Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe has tested negative for COVID-19.He was tested Monday after eating at a restaurant in Prince Albert where the Saskatchewan Health Authority says someone there was positive with the virus.Moe's office says he will remain in isolation at his home in Shellbrook until Sunday, as per the advice from public health.He will be in Regina Monday for the opening of the legislature and delivery of the throne speech.\---2:54 p.m.Saskatchewan is reporting four more people have died from COVID-19 and says there are 329 new infections in the province.Health officials say those who died were 70 and older.The Ministry of Health reports the seven-day average of daily cases sits at 268.There are 111 people in hospital and 16 receiving intensive care.As of Friday, no team sports are allowed in the province and capacity at public venues like churches, movie theatres and casinos is limited to 30 people.The measures are part of the latest round of restrictions Premier Scott Moe announced earlier in the week to stem the virus's spread while avoiding a second shutdown of non-essential businesses.\---2:44 p.m.Manitoba is cracking down on retailers not following public health orders as health officials say COVID-19 is starting to impact vulnerable populations at a higher rate.Officials announced 344 new cases and 14 more deaths.Dr. Brent Roussin, the chief provincial public health officer, says there is significant community spread in lower-income neighbourhoods and among the homeless population.He discouraged people from leaving their homes for any non-essential reason and cautioned retailers against trying to find loopholes in the health orders.The province issued a $5,000 ticket to a Winnipeg Costco this week for selling non-essential items.\---1:57 p.m.Nova Scotia is reporting nine new cases of COVID-19, all in the central health zone, which includes Halifax.The province now has 119 active cases of novel coronavirus.Health officials say one new case identified today is at Bedford South School, which is a pre-primary to Grade 4 school in the central zone.Starting today, ongoing voluntary testing is being introduced to monitor, reduce and prevent the spread of COVID-19 in long-term care.\---12:51 p.m.Newfoundland and Labrador is reporting four new positive cases of COVID-19, for a total of 31 active cases across the province.One of the individuals is a man in his 60s in the eastern region of the province whose infection is related to another identified case.A man and a woman in their 50s in the eastern region and a woman in her 40s in the western region have also tested positive. The source of those three infections is under investigation.\---12:48 p.m.New Brunswick is reporting 12 new cases of COVID-19, bringing its number of active cases to 114.Public Health says seven cases are in the Saint John area, three are in the Moncton region and two are in the Fredericton area.All three health regions are under the province's heightened "orange'' pandemic alert level.Dr. Jennifer Russell, the province's chief medical officer of health, says there should be no non-essential travel in and out of these zones.\---12:10 p.m.Nunavut's chief public health officer says four members of the Canadian Red Cross touched down in Arviat today to assist with a COVID-19 outbreak. Dr. Michael Patterson says the team will help with isolation and contact tracing in the community of around 2,800 people.The Government of Nunavut has also announced it will give $1 million to municipalities for community food programs as the territory heads into its second week of a lockdown.Nunavut is currently under a territory-wide, 14-day lockdown to curb the spread of COVID-19.\---11:40 a.m. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Major-General Dany Fortin has been tapped to lead the Canadian military’s role in coordinating logistics for distributing a COVID-19 vaccine across the country.Fortin most recently served as the chief of staff for the Canadian Joint Operations Command.He was also commander of the NATO military training mission in Iraq from November 2018 until last fall.The announcement follows days of criticism over the Trudeau government's vaccination strategy and uncertainty about when Canadians might have access to an eventual vaccine.\---11:24Ontario is reporting 1,855 new cases of COVID-19 in another record-high daily increase.Twenty more Ontarians have died from the virus. Health Minister Christine Elliott says new infections remain concentrated in the Greater Toronto Area, including 517 more cases in Peel Region and 494 in Toronto. Provincial data say the seven-day average for infections in the province is 1,489 per day.\---11:13 a.m.Quebec is reporting 1,269 new COVID-19 infections and 38 more deaths linked virus, including nine that occurred in the past 24 hours.Health officials said today hospitalizations decreased by six, to 669, and 90 people were in intensive care, the same number as the day prior.The province says 1,236 more people recovered from COVID-19, for a total of 119,727 recoveries.Quebec has reported 138,163 COVID-19 cases and 6,984 deaths linked to the virus since the beginning of the pandemic.\---11:02 a.m.Nunavut is announcing four new cases of COVID-19, all in the community of Arviat. This brings Arviat’s total number of cases to 119. Three more cases in Arviat and Rankin Inlet are now considered recovered. There are 151 active cases of COVID-19 in Nunavut.\---This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 27, 2020.The Canadian Press
EDMONTON — A study looking at 646 wildlife deaths on railway tracks in Banff and Yoho national parks in Alberta and British Columbia has found that train speed was one of the biggest factors.The research, published earlier this week in Nature's Scientific Reports, studied animals killed by trains between 1995 and 2018: 59 bears; 27 wolves, coyotes, cougars and lynx; and 560 deer, elk, moose and sheep."The top predictor was train speed," said lead author Colleen Cassady St. Clair, a biological sciences professor at the University of Alberta. "More animals died where trains were travelling faster."Next was distance to water, then the (amount of) water near the site and then curvature in the tracks."Train speed and track curvature, she said, make it difficult for wildlife to detect trains, while being close to water — particularly a lot of water — hinders their ability to get off the tracks before being hit.The study builds on a five-year research project funded by Parks Canada and Canadian Pacific Railway from 2010 to 2015 that focused on grizzly bears being struck by trains in the same two parks. It concluded that giving grizzlies better travel paths and sightlines along the railway was the best way to keep them safe.Cassady St. Clair said she hopes the latest study "will make it possible to identify types and locations for mitigations that will reduce the problems for all wildlife, not just grizzly bears."The research concludes effective mitigation could address train speed and the ability of wildlife to see trains, especially at curves in tracks near water.Canadian Pacific noted in a statement Friday that the company has worked with Parks Canada for the last decade to learn more about how wildlife interacts with the railway."CP has engaged with Parks Canada and the University of Alberta throughout this program to ensure the mitigation measures CP implemented were based on science," it said.The statement didn't address whether the company would consider reducing train speeds.Co-author Jesse Whittington, a wildlife ecologist for Banff National Park, said trains are one of the leading causes of death for animals in the two parks."The trains (that) travel through Banff and Yoho national parks kill almost 30 animals a year," said Whittington, who added that animals use rail lines for travel and access to food.The latest study, he said, helps Parks Canada understand where wildlife are getting killed, why they are getting hit in that location and the time of year when they are most likely to get hit."Mortality risk was highest in areas where animals had difficulty detecting trains and where they had difficulty escaping trains," he said. "Animals had challenges detecting trains where trains were travelling fast and in areas with high curvature."Trains can be surprisingly quiet when they are travelling downhill or coming around a corner."Whittington gave as an example an adult female grizzly bear killed by a train in September. She was in an area with a steep slope next to the Bow River."There were few places for her to get off the tracks."The latest study also found that grizzly bears were more likely to be killed in late spring when, Whittington noted, water in the Bow River is often higher. Other carnivores and ungulates were more likely to get hit by trains in the winter."When we have deep snows, we'll often find elk and deer along the tracks."Whittington said some of his Parks Canada colleagues have been working to enhance travel routes for animals away from the rail line by creating more trails through the forest. The agency's fire crews have also been working to create better wildlife habitat throughout the park with prescribed fires."We have a lot of thick shrubs and deadfall that has accumulated over the years that makes it difficult for animals to travel across the landscape," he said. "To date, we've cleared over 50 kilometres of wildlife trails throughout Banff — both in areas around these hot spots and in other areas that are pinch points. "We're hopeful that will help."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 28, 2020.Colette Derworiz, The Canadian Press
The N.W.T. office of the chief public health officer has confirmed a positive COVID-19 test in Yellowknife related to a non-resident worker in the territory on an exemption.An investigation found just one contact, who is now isolating. According to a press release Friday, the worker had travelled into the N.W.T. and self-isolated when required.There is no identified risk to any flights as the individual was outside of their infectious period when they flew in.According to Dr. Kami Kandola, the territory's chief public health officer, all high-risk essential workers are now tested when they arrive in the N.W.T. These include health-care workers, dentists, RCMP, correctional officers and anyone else who is working "in closed and highly vulnerable settings."Because the individual is believed to have contracted the virus outside of the territory, the case will not be included in the N.W.T.'s totals.
POLITIQUE. C’est à l’occasion d’un conseil national tenu en mode virtuel que les membres de Québec solidaire ont voté en faveur d’un bouclier anti-austérité permettant de générer de nouveaux revenus pour l’État québécois. Une mesure souhaitée qui vise à protéger les travailleurs du Québec en évitant une nouvelle période d’austérité. «Il est inimaginable que le Québec revive une autre vague d’austérité! Notre système de santé est déjà en miettes, nos écoles sont déjà en ruines… voyons donc, on ne peut pas se permettre de couper encore! C’est impensable. Il nous faut un bouclier anti-austérité, pour protéger les familles contre des hausses de tarifs, il nous faut des nouveaux revenus pour éviter de rejouer dans le film d’horreur de l’austérité», insiste Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois en proposant un impôt spécial de pandémie sur les grandes corporations, un impôt sur les grandes fortunes et une taxe sur les grands pollueurs. «Pour nous, c’est important qu’on n’attende pas la fin de la crise de la COVID-19 pour mettre les gros pollueurs industriels au pas et qu’on investisse cet argent-là dans la transition écologique. On l’a dit hier, la crise climatique ne prend pas de break pendant la pandémie. Adopter une taxe sur les pollueurs, c’est faire preuve de courage», ajoute Manon Massé en précisant que le bouclier anti-austérité proposé par Québec solidaire devrait permettre d’aller chercher autour de 9 G$ annuellement. Ce qui permettrait un réinvestissement massif dans les services publics et des mesures pour relancer l’économie. «Les Québécoises et les Québécois ont fait leur part. Ils ont déjà payé pour la crise. Ils ont déjà fait assez de sacrifices. C’est au tour de ceux qui en ont profité de faire leur juste part et de payer la facture. Les grosses entreprises et les grandes fortunes doivent payer pour la crise sanitaire et financer le réinvestissement historique dans les services publics dont le Québec a besoin», souligne Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois. Stéphane Lévesque, Initiative de journalisme local, L'Hebdo Journal
All of Fort Chipewyan’s stop signs are now in Cree, Dénesųłiné and English. Mayor Don Scott says similar traffic signs will be put up across the region next year, including in Fort McMurray. The signs are part of an effort to promote the Indigenous languages of the Wood Buffalo region. In a video announcing the news, Scott said boosting Indigenous languages is part of the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action. “This has always been a diverse region, and our rich culture and heritage make it truly a special place to call home,” he said. This is the first municipal initiative promoting Indigenous languages, although they are not the first Cree and Dénesųłiné signs in Fort Chipewyan. The community has welcome and grocery signs in the three major languages at the K’ai Tailé Market and outside the Athabasca Delta Community School. “Our languages are slowly disappearing because of the effects of residential schools,” said Teri Villebrun, councillor for Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation (ACFN), in an interview. Fort Chipewyan was the site of the Holy Angels Residential School, which closed 1974. Between 1880 and 1953, 89 students died at the school. “These signs recognize the needs of promoting our Indigenous languages.” Villebrun said people are excited about the new signs in a community that has centuries of history to share. Founded in 1788, Fort Chipewyan is Alberta’s first European settlement. It was established as a trading post and named after the Chipewyan people already living in the area. “We do really have a sense of pride in our community,” she said. “It’s our traditional land of the Dene, Cree and Métis and we are so proud of our culture.” According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), three-quarters of Indigenous languages in Canada are “definitely,” “severely” or “critically” endangered. The most recent data on languages spoken in Canada comes from the 2016 census, which found only 20 per cent of First Nations people could converse in an Indigenous language. This is a six per cent drop from 2006. “If we continue down the current path, First Nations languages, like many Indigenous languages around the world, may be lost,” states a 2019 report from the Assembly of First Nations. “It is essential that drastic actions are taken to offset the erosion and loss of First Nations languages.” The municipality has posted to its website its own efforts and resources on meeting the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action. An October 2019 report commissioned by the municipality also surveyed the attitudes First Nation and Métis leaders had towards their place in the region. At the time, the report found the administration of the day was “proactive” in incorporating the calls to action into its organizational structure, but was lagging on delivering, or lobbying for, basic services in rural communities. email@example.comSarah Williscraft, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Fort McMurray Today
The city says the light instillations are a collaboration with Mohawk Council of Kahnawake to spark interest in the Mohawk's history.