Edward Blake Rudkowski was a member of Nunatsiavut, and before that the Labrador Inuit Association, for 34 years. He ran successfully to represent Labrador Inuit living outside the land claim as an ordinary member in 2017, was re-elected in 2018 and was named the Speaker of the Nunatsiavut Assembly, the legislative branch of the Inuit government. That was, until Nov. 20, when Blake Rudkowski was told he was no longer a member of Nunatsiavut, his status as a beneficiary was revoked and he could no longer hold the political office he had been elected to. Blake Rudkowski told SaltWire Network he was told he didn’t meet the eligibility requirements and was just over 17 per cent Inuit. According to the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement, there are a number of requirements that can lead to a person being a beneficiary, including that a person is one-quarter Inuit, is a descendant of someone who settled permanently in the land claim area prior to 1940 with no Inuit ancestry or is adopted by a beneficiary. “To be clear, they didn’t tell me I wasn’t Inuit,” he said. “They said I wasn’t Inuit enough.” He says he would like to know what formula they use to come up with that determination, and what factors were taken into account to determine it. He’d also like to know why that number matters more than what was determined when he was first accepted as a member of the Labrador Inuit Association 34 years ago. His status as a beneficiary of Nunatsiavut had been challenged two years ago and he’d been going through the process ever since. “Immediately after the election, literally the day after, there were two challenges to my membership eligibility,” he said. “I’d been dealing with this behind the scenes since then.” He said the two people who challenged his membership were political rivals — one a person he had beaten in an election and another a former politician — and the timing of it seemed curious to him. “It felt like membership was being used as a tool of political retribution,” he said. Having Nunatsiavut beneficiary status challenged is like coming in as a new applicant and is a daunting task that, successful or not, can take up a lot of time. In 2013 an amendment was made to the Nunatsiavut Beneficiaries Enrolment Act that allows any member to challenge the membership of another. Blake Rudkowski said this allows people to try to use membership as a tool to try to harm their enemies. “What this does is it allows someone who is a malcontent or has a beef with someone else a vehicle to exact some sort of retribution. At minimum, even if it's not successful, it can cause someone a significant amount of mental anguish.” What this has created, Blake Rudkowski said, is a climate where some people are afraid to speak up about issues they have with the government for fear they may have their rights as a beneficiary stripped away, or at the very least have it challenged. When he was in government, it appeared there were an increasing number of memberships being challenged, he said, to the point where people were asking whether a full review was underway. He said he also heard complaints that the process was inconsistent, which he believes to be the case. “You have a lot of cases where it’s one brother in, one sister out, one cousin in, one cousin out, so there’s an inconsistency across the board which speaks to the fact that maybe there’s a problem with the process. That’s been a long-standing critique of many beneficiaries, there’s an inconsistent application of the rules.” Blake Rudkowski said he doesn’t know what steps he’ll take next, and while it appears his career as a politician in Nunatsiavut has come to an end it won’t be the last time people see him the political arena. The Nunatsiavut Government put out a statement Monday about Blake Rudkowski’s removal, saying he was removed from the government once his eligibility as a beneficiary had been revoked. “First Minister Tyler Edmunds reminds beneficiaries of the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement that the Nunatsiavut Government plays no role whatsoever in determining the membership of any individual,” the statement read. “The beneficiary enrolment process is independent from the Nunatsiavut Government.” SaltWire asked to speak to someone with the Nunatsiavut Government about the requirements and the process, but an interview was not available before deadline.Evan Careen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Telegram
OTTAWA — Kawartha Dairy Limited is recalling certain ice cream products in Ontario due to "possible presence of pieces of metal," Health Canada says. The Kawartha Dairy flavours affected by the recall are: Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ice cream in both 1.5 litre and 11.4 litre packages, and Mint Chip ice cream in 1.5 litre and 11.4 litre packages.Health Canada says consumers should not eat the four recalled products, and retailers, restaurants, and institutions should not sell or use them.Recalled ice cream should be thrown out or returned to the location where it was purchased.Health Canada says the recall was triggered by the company on Sunday, adding the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is conducting a food safety investigation, which may lead to the recall of other items.There have been no reported injuries associated with eating the recalled flavours as of Sunday.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2020.The Canadian Press
Mono Council met on November 17 of this year, in what was one of the most conten-tious and lengthy Council meetings to date.Councillors discuss a number of planning issues as well as a lengthy in-camera session on related issues and By-law Enforcement.The meeting opened with a presentation from the Fung Lou Kok Institute of Taoism, regarding their Niagara Escarpment Comis-sion (NEC) Development Permit Review. This issue has been ongoing since 2015 and concerns the applicant’s request to change their Cemetery Site Plan to allow for the site to be converted from plots to columbarium. As well, they want to beautify the site of the Cemetery, which will better conceal it from 5th Sideroad and the homes to the east of the site.The beautification is to include a new vehicular archway and the planting of numerous trees on the site as well as adding a pedestrian walkway and benches. Evans Planning Inc, the designated plan-ners, have been working closely with NEC and Town Staff to bring about the develop-ment changes. The currently approved site plan, calls for 1,575 flush mounted cemetery plots in the 2-hectare property. The eventual, total number of niches, in the columbarium plan will be 15,134. In a March 2016 Council Recommendation, the total number of niches was to be 1,507.In the plan seen November 17, the North-east corner of the cemetery would accom-modate 37 columbarium, housing 1,277 niches in place of 363 plots. The entrance archway would be reduced in size, with no lighting on either the arch-way or the columbarium and the landscap-ing to shield the view from the 5th Sideroad would be done.The plan also showed that there would be no impact on groundwater conditions and monitoring is a part of the Development Per-mit, regardless.A traffic study sowed no negative impact on road operations, however, a hidden drive-way sign would be installed on 5th Sideroad. In regards to the need for increased capac-ity, the current design has had limited suc-cess and the application will provide land-scape improvements and add phased long term capacity.Despite this, opposition was seen from several residents and some members of Council. The primary resident concerns centred around this being a Trojan horse, designed to allow for a massive commercialization of the site, seemingly in opposition to the NC guidelines.With niches in the GTA selling for upwards of $7,000, this was seen as a money-making incentive to open the cemetery to a larger Taoist community than the local one.Locally, the community is estimated to be 1,800 people living within an hour’s drive of the site. The residents’ arguments are that this does not take into consideration the larger general population of Mono, also within an hours drive.They argued that with the GTA there are approximately 15,000 in the Tao community and that this is who the project is aimed at. The fact that the occupants of a cemetery are all deceased did not seem to enter into any-one’s agenda.Councillor Manktelow was the most ada-mant of the councillors in his opposition. In his mind, a large cemetery was not appropri-ate in the, “rolling hills of Mono, the smaller the better.” Councillor Nix, who supported the presen-tation, pointed out that the Town was not the governing body, but we’re merely being asked to say yes or no to the NEC concern-ing the design proposal. He did however, say that although he has no issues with the proposal, the NEC guide-lines stipulate that it is allowable as long as it serves the size of the community. He asked who the community were and where do they come from? He asked if the NEC agreed with the estimated 1,800 person community num-ber. His primary concern was as to whether or not the proposal was in accordance with the NEC. This is of particular interest, as the NEC is the deciding body and their decision overrides any municipal one.Wayne Haddock, local resident, was of the opinion that Mono had more than enough cemeteries at present and that as only 11 burials had occurred in the past 35 years that the need for expansion was simply not there. He felt the traffic study did not look far enough in the future and cited existing water supply issues on the site already, with water already being trucked in, to support events. He supported maintaining the status quo.Dr. David Emery, a neighbour across the road from the site, had other opinions. He stressed that this was an exception to an approved NEC use and he felt that it was not in the best interests of the community at large. Dr. Emery stated that he has a problem with nimbyism, defined as, “the practice of objecting to something that will affect one or take place in one’s locality.”He stated that he has had no previous problems with the Taoists, yet does not agree they should receive special privileges. He was clear to point out that he is accept-ing of all cultures and religious beliefs and as a Canadian would not want to see any form of prejudice perceived in his objections. Nevertheless, he purchased his property to enjoy a quiet rural lifestyle and this applica-tion will affect his property. His argument is that of the Trojan horse, mentioned earlier and the fact that it does not meet the needs of either the Tao community or the greater Mono one. He feels that the application should be rejected and that the applicant should be allowed to come back when they can demonstrate an actual need.Councillor Nix reiterated his opinion that the numbers were not relevant, since it was not the Town that was building this, but the Tao Institute. If they overestimated the size it was their problem. He went on to question the opinion that this was unusual stating that Mono already had numerous similar undertakings, such as the Hockley Valley Resort, the Goodyear Scout Camp, the Buddhist Monastery just north of the Tao Institute and the Nordic Ski Club at Monora Park. He said that all the current discussions had still not changed his mind.In the end Council drafted a resolution saying they supported the first Phase of the project with a number of changes, including a limit of 365 niches and the landscaping being continued on the east side as well as the South. They also made the total number of plots remain the same as the 1987 permit at 1,575, including the niches and the pro-posed arch was acceptable. As well, it spec-ified that the NEC confirm that the develop-ment was acceptable within their guidelinesPeter Richardson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Orangeville Citizen
LONDON — Dave Prowse, the British weightlifter-turned-actor who was the body, though not the voice, of arch-villain Darth Vader in the original “Star Wars” trilogy, has died. He was 85.Prowse died Saturday after a short illness, his agent Thomas Bowington said Sunday.Born in Bristol, southwest England, in 1935, Prowse was a three-time British weightlifting champion and represented England in weightlifting at the 1962 Commonwealth Games before breaking into movies with roles that emphasized his commanding size, including Frankenstein’s monster in a pair of Hammer Studios horror films.Director George Lucas saw Prowse in a small part in “A Clockwork Orange” and asked the 6-foot-6-inch (almost 2-meter) actor to audition for the villainous Vader or the Wookie Chewbacca in “Star Wars.”Prowse later told the BBC he chose Darth Vader because “you always remember the bad guys.”Physically, Prowse was perfect for the part. Yet his lilting English West Country accent was considered less than ideal and his lines were dubbed by James Earl Jones.Prowse donned Darth Vader's black armour and helmet for “Star Wars” (1977), “The Empire Strikes Back” (1980) and “Return of the Jedi" (1983).He expressed some regret that, thanks to Vader's mask, “I can walk around with complete anonymity."“All actors crave recognition and I’d like to have some like Luke Skywalker and Han Solo,” he told The Associated Press in 1980. “Fortune tends to follow fame.”Lucas said Prowse “brought a physicality to Darth Vader that was essential for the character.”“He made Vader leap off the page and on to the big screen, with an imposing stature and movement performance to match the intensity and undercurrent of Vader’s presence," the director said in a statement on the official “Star Wars” website.“David was up for anything and contributed to the success of what would become a memorable, tragic figure. May he rest in peace.”Prowse also worked as a trainer for other actors, helping Christopher Reeve prepare to be the Man of Steel in hit 1978 film “Superman.”Prowse was also known to a generation of British children as the Green Cross Code Man, a superhero in road safety advertisements during the 1970s and '80s.Prowse suffered from arthritis for many years and campaigned to raise money for research into disease. In 1999 he was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II for his services to charity and road safety.He was a regular at “Star Wars” fan events but was banned from official conventions by Lucas in 2010 after the pair fell out.Mark Hamill, who played Luke Skywalker in the “Star Wars” films, tweeted that Prowse was “a kind man & much more than Darth Vader.” Hamill said the actor "loved his fans as much as they loved him. RIP.”“Shaun of the Dead” director-writer Edgar Wright also paid tribute to Prowse on Twitter.“As a kid, Dave Prowse couldn’t be more famous to me; stalking along corridors as evil incarnate in the part of Darth Vader & stopping a whole generation of kiddies from being mown down in street as the Green Cross Code man,” he wrote. “Rest in Peace, Bristol’s finest.”Prowse is survived by his wife Norma and their three children.Jill Lawless, The Associated Press
Les skieurs et planchistes se sont rués vers les abonnements de saison aux stations de ski Mont Sutton et Bromont, montagne d’expériences. Alors que la saison est encore loin de se dessiner, les abonnements tout temps, pour les deux destinations, se sont écoulés. À Bromont, il reste seulement quelques abonnements pour les soirées tandis qu’à Sutton les seuls abonnements encore disponibles sont les Passes 5 jours. Par prudence, ne sachant pas comment se déroulerait la saison avec la pandémie de COVID-19, les deux stations ont choisi de vendre une quantité limitée d’abonnements et elles ne rendront disponibles que quelques billets journaliers. «C’est une question de choix d’entreprise. Si on vend trop d’abonnements, ce n’est pas mieux, on va être obligé de rembourser les gens», souligne Charles Désourdy, président de BME, qui espère que les premières pistes soient ouvertes à la mi-décembre. L’entreprise a mis de 10 à 15 % moins d’abonnements en vente, mais se garde l’option d’en vendre davantage une fois la saison bien lancée, selon le déroulement des activités. «On avait un bon rythme de prévente par rapport à l’an passé, mais avec la distanciation et les restrictions aux remontées mécaniques qui limitent nos capacités, on doit mettre fin à la vente d’abonnements pour se garder un peu de marge de manœuvre pour la saison, confie Jean-Michel Ryan, PDG de Mont-Sutton. Il faut commencer la saison correctement. Ensuite, on verra.» «Un privilège d’avoir une saison» «C’est un phénomène qu’on retrouve dans la plupart des stations, note M. Ryan. On sent que les gens veulent être dehors, qu’ils veulent skier et profiter de l’hiver. C’est un privilège cette année de pouvoir avoir une saison, alors il faut en profiter.» Il n’y aura donc pas d’excès de prudence cette année pour éviter tout risque de fermeture en raison de la pandémie de coronavirus. Les usagers seront mis à contribution pour que la saison se déroule rondement. «On parle de responsabilité conjointe. Il faut tout faire pour avoir une belle saison tout le monde ensemble», ajoute le PDG de Mont Sutton. Au jour le jour Le nombre de billets journaliers dépendra de l’achalandage à la station. Il se pourrait qu’il n’y en ait pas du tout à Bromont au début de la saison. Chose certaine, il faudra l’acheter en ligne en choisissant la date de visite. Pour rendre l’expérience plus agréable et peut-être accueillir plus de détenteurs de billets journaliers, les deux stations ouvriront le plus de versants possible au début de la saison, même si ce ne sont que quelques pistes qui seront skiables. Ainsi, les usagers seront dispersés dans les différentes remontées mécaniques. En temps normal, un versant ouvre lorsqu’un nombre précis de pistes sont prêtes. Manger dehors En plus de limiter les remontées mécaniques à une bulle familiale ou une personne par chaise, les stations doivent prévoir une capacité d’accueil de 50 % dans les chalets. Ceux-ci seront uniquement utilisés pour se réchauffer. Il ne sera pas permis d’y manger ni d’y laisser des effets personnels. Les bottes devront être chaussées à la voiture. Les skieurs et planchistes pourront tout de même se sustenter... en restant dehors. À Bromont, des camions de rues seront disposés sur le site pour offrir nourriture et boissons chaudes. À Sutton, un service de restauration extérieure se prépare. Cynthia Laflamme, Initiative de journalisme local, La Voix de l'Est
NEW YORK — On Dec. 31, China reported a cluster of pneumonia cases of unknown origin to the World Health Organization. By Jan. 31, WHO declared an outbreak of a novel coronavirus a global health emergency. Come March 11, the world was facing down the COVID-19 pandemic.Parents sat children down to explain what a pandemic is. Related terms usually restricted to medicine and science stormed into everyday conversation. Over time, we were pandemic baking and pandemic dating and rescuing pandemic puppies from shelters.All of which led Dictionary.com on Monday to declare “pandemic” its 2020 word of the year.Searches on the site for the word spiked more than 13,500% on March 11, senior research editor John Kelly told The Associated Press in an interview ahead of the announcement.“That's massive, but even more telling is how high it has sustained significant search volumes throughout the entire year. Month over month, it was over 1,000% higher than usual. For about half the year, it was in the top 10% of all our lookups.”Another dictionary, Merriam-Webster, also selected pandemic as its word of the year earlier Monday.Kelly said pandemic beat out routine lookups usually intended to sort more mundane matters, such as the differences between “to, two and too.”“That's significant,” Kelly emphasized. “It seems maybe a little bit obvious, and that's fair to say, but think about life before the pandemic. Things like pandemic fashion would have made no sense. The pandemic as an event created a new language for a new normal.”Lexicographers often factor out routine lookups when evaluating word trends.The pandemic, Kelly said, made us all worthy of watercooler chatter with Dr. Anthony Fauci as our knowledge grew about aerosols, contact tracing, social distancing and herd immunity, along with the intricacies of therapeutic drugs, tests and vaccines that can help save lives.“These were all part of a new shared vocabulary we needed to stay safe and informed. It's incredible,” said Kelly, who works with a team of lexicographers to come up with words of the year based primarily on site traffic.Asymptomatic, furlough, non-essential, hydroxychloroquine and a host of other pandemic-related words saw massive increases in lookups as well.Jennifer Steeves-Kiss, chief executive officer of Dictionary.com, said one key ingredient in the hunt for the site's word of the year is sustained interest over time. Pandemic met that standard.“This has affected families, our work, the economy,” she said. “It really became the logical choice. It's become the context through which we've had dialogue all through 2020. It's the through line for discourse.”The word pandemic has roots in Latin and the Greek pandemos, meaning “common, public.” Breaking it down further, “pan” means “all” and “demos” means “people.” As evidenced in a medical text by a Dutch-born physician, Gideon Harvey, pandemic entered English in the 1660s in the medical sense, Kelly said. He noted that “demos” is also the basis for the word democracy.A pandemic is defined by Dictionary.com as a disease “prevalent throughout an entire country, continent, or the whole world; epidemic over a large area.” Its broader sense, as evidenced in its roots, can be used thusly: “A pandemic fear of atomic war.”Dictionary.com also noted other worthy search trends beyond the pandemic. After the May 25 death of George Floyd under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer, words around racial justice experienced spikes, including fascism, anti-fascism, defund and white fragility.“There was no way for us to leave that out of the conversation this year,” Kelly said.Leanne Italie, The Associated Press
NEW YORK — If you were to choose a word that rose above most in 2020, which word would it be?Ding, ding, ding: Merriam-Webster on Monday announced “pandemic” as its 2020 word of the year.“That probably isn't a big shock,” Peter Sokolowski, editor at large for Merriam-Webster, told The Associated Press.“Often the big news story has a technical word that's associated with it and in this case, the word pandemic is not just technical but has become general. It's probably the word by which we'll refer to this period in the future,” he said.The word took on urgent specificity in March, when the coronavirus crisis was designated a pandemic, but it started to trend up on Merriam-Webster.com as early January and again in February when the first U.S. deaths and outbreaks on cruise ships occurred.On March 11, when the World Health Organization declared the novel coronavirus outbreak a global pandemic, lookups on the site for pandemic spiked hugely. Site interest for the word has remained significantly high through the year, Sokolowski said.By huge, Sokolowski means searches for pandemic on March 11 were 115,806% higher than lookups experienced on the same date last year.Pandemic, with roots in Latin and Greek, is a combination of “pan,” for all, and “demos,” for people or population. The latter is the same root of “democracy,” Sokolowski noted. The word pandemic dates to the mid-1600s, used broadly for “universal” and more specifically to disease in a medical text in the 1660s, he said.That was after the plagues of the Middle Ages, Sokolowski said.He attributes the lookup traffic for pandemic not entirely to searchers who didn't know what it meant but also to those on the hunt for more detail, or for inspiration or comfort.“We see that the word love is looked up around Valentine's Day and the word cornucopia is looked up at Thanksgiving,” Sokolowski said. “We see a word like surreal spiking when a moment of national tragedy or shock occurs. It's the idea of dictionaries being the beginning of putting your thoughts in order.”Merriam-Webster acted quickly in March to add and update entries on its site for words related to the pandemic. While “coronavirus” had been in the dictionary for decades, “COVID-19” was coined in February. Thirty-four days later, Merriam-Webster had it up online, along with a couple dozen other entries that were revised to reflect the health emergency.“That's the shortest period of time we've ever seen a word go from coinage to entry,” Sokolowski said. “The word had this urgency.”Coronavirus was among runners up for word of the year as it jumped into the mainstream. Quarantine, asymptomatic, mamba, kraken, defund, antebellum, irregardless, icon, schadenfreude and malarkey were also runners up based on lookup spikes around specific events.Particularly interesting to word nerds like Sokolowski, a lexicographer, is quarantine. With Italian roots, it was used during the Black Death of the 1300s for the period of time a new ship coming into port would have to wait outside a city to prevent disease. The “quar” in quarantine derives from 40, for the 40 days required.Spikes for mamba occurred after the January death of Kobe Bryant, whose nickname was the Black Mamba. A mass of lookups occurred for kraken in July after Seattle's new National Hockey League franchise chose the mythical sea monster as its name, urged along by fans.Country group Lady Antebellum's name change to Lady A drove dictionary interest in June, while malarkey got a boost from President-elect Joe Biden, who's fond of using the word. Icon was front and centre in headlines after the deaths of U.S. Rep. John Lewis and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg.The Merriam-Webster site has about 40 million unique monthly users and about 100 million monthly page views.Leanne Italie, The Associated Press
A Penetanguishene councillor wants staff to draw out a timeline to be included in the new graffiti removal policy. "I congratulate Andrea (Betty) for the report on the graffiti policy," Coun. Brian Cummings said at a recent meeting. "But the problem I still have is that our Municipal Law Enforcement (MLE) policy and procedure manual has no timelines in it. We can do whatever we want to make these bylaws, but we have no timelines involved in correcting the graffiti or any of our bylaws. "I did ask for a timeline to remove graffiti, because it's very important that it gets removed immediately so it doesn't encourage more graffiti in town," he added. Betty, director of planning and community development, said the policy for the bylaw enforcement department does not have timelines, however, the property standards bylaw has some strict standards and rules. "There are some timelines for the removal of graffiti once the notice has been given from the town," she said, not specifying what the timelines were, and later admitting it requires clarity. "Each occurrence and complaint can vary and rely on outside sources." Having said that, Betty added that staff could take a look at that policy procedure on that bylaw, since it's about eight years old and worth a review. "We should have some sort of timeline on this," said Cummings. "I agree with the procedure, but there should be a timeline to the procedure." A quick look at the MLE policy and procedures document available online shows there are no timelines around notices of contravention issued under bylaw. CAO Jeff Lees said it would be useful to refer the item for review.Mehreen Shahid, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, OrilliaMatters.com
NEW YORK — The co-author of the million-selling “Game Change” has a book of his own coming about the 2020 election.Simon & Schuster announced Monday that John Heilemann is working on a “dramatic, first-hand account” of Joe Biden's victorious campaigns over his Democratic Party rivals in the primaries and over President Donald Trump in the general election. Heilemann had collaborated with Mark Halperin on “Game Change,” about the 2008 race, and on “Double Down,” about 2012.Halperin has since faced multiple allegations of sexual harassment. He was dropped by Showtime, where he and Heilemann hosted the political series “The Circus,” and a planned book by the two authors on the 2016 campaign was cancelled by Penguin Press.Heilemann's new book, currently untitled, draws on three decades of covering the former vice-president, who was Barack Obama's running mate in 2008 and 2012. The publication date is not yet scheduled.“I first met Joe Biden in 1986 when I was in college and he was getting ready to run for president the first time, and I’ve been following his ups and downs, his triumphs and tragedies, ever since,” Heilemann said in a statement. “The story of how, against all odds and against the apocalyptic backdrop of America in 2020, Biden rallied in the winter of his life to defeat Trump — and, in the eyes of many, to save the country — is one of the great political tales of this or any age, and I’m thrilled to have a chance to tell it.”Screen rights have been acquired by Showtime, where Heilemann still hosts "The Circus." The HBO adaptation of "Game Change" won five Emmys and three Golden Globe awards.Heilemann is national affairs analyst for NBC News and MSNBC and co-founder of the political video platform The Recount. He is also the author of “Pride Before the Fall: The Trials of Bill Gates and the End of the Microsoft Era,” which came out in 2001.His current project adds to the list of books expected on the 2020 race, which includes works by Maggie Haberman of The New York Times and by Ryan Lizza of Politico and co-writer Olivia Nuzzi of New York magazine.Hillel Italie, The Associated Press
Shelburne Council’s recent 1.6 per cent residential tax increase projection may be un-appealing to residents in the short term, but Councillor Steve Anderson says its much need-ed for responsible future planning. Anderson noted that Shelburne has several major infrastructure projects that must be dealt with and these projects are very costly.Steve said not having a tax increase just to appease voters is, in his mind, not responsible.Somewhere down the line, someone is going to have to pay for that lack of an increase. What’s important is that you’re able to show the public that they are getting value out of that tax increase, according to Steve. Having the best underground water and sewage pipes in the world does not appease the public, they cannot see underground in-frastructure. It is something they expect to be there, it is a given. A dog park or a tennis court is something tangible that they can appreciate and use. This budget is doing that with money being put to-ward the cricket pitch, community garden, res-toration of Jack Downey Park and even a tennis court. These are tangible projects that residents have asked for and make the tax increases more palatable, while allowing Council to deal with the big infrastructure issues. In addition, the new bus service in town will be expanding and there are plans for a major marketing push to make everyone aware of the service. Apparently, the Shelburne stop, is the most popular in the entire system. With this push, comes plans for more fre-quent service and even weekend runs. In addi-tion, Go Transit discussions are still on the ta-ble with the support of Solicitor General, MPP Sylvia Jones. The reception from Go was very positive.At the moment, the two proposed routes, by the advocates, are both not viable.None of the proposed roads are built to handle the traffic and they are not owned by the Town. Amaranth is dead set against any route running through their roads and ultimately, it is a Pro-vincial decision, not a Town one.Recent talks with MPP Sylvia Jones left things somewhat murkier still, as she said that first Shelburne needed to get the County on board before involving her office. The Coun-ty most recently were less than enthusiastic to proceed saying they would prefer to wait until a County Municipal Comprehensive Review, (MCR), was completed, before moving forward. That study and any subsequent decision would easily put construction 10 years away or more.A10 ORANGEVILLE CITIZEN | NOVEMBER 26, 2020 Shelburne Councillor comments on need for tax increasePeter Richardson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Orangeville Citizen
'We all need to consider whose life we might be gambling with' during holiday celebrations because of the coronavirus, says World Health Organization director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
Indigenous communities in Wood Buffalo say they've been preparing for school shutdowns and they are ready to have an influx of students learning from home. Ron Quintal, president of the Fort McKay Métis Nation, said he's relieved three of his kids won't be travelling to school in Fort McMurray anymore. Internet in rural Wood Buffalo can be limited, but Quintal said the nation is providing students with laptops or Wi-Fi if needed. "We've done everything we can to make sure that going virtual is a reality in our household," he said. Fort McMurray has significantly more cases of COVID-19 than Fort McKay. Quintal said there have been just eight cases of COVID-19 in the community over the course of the pandemic. Fort McMurray has had almost 700. "You're constantly having to worry and have that anxiety," Quintal said. The community has used a security gate, temperature checks and COVID-19 testing at the health centre. "When it comes to your kids, protection is paramount," said Quintal. "We will take every precaution." The Northland School Division will see an additional 90 students start at-home learning as a result of the provincial government's new COVID-19 regulations. Nearly 630 students in rural Wood Buffalo will be learning from home and 1,291 will stay in class. Nancy Spencer-Poitras, superintendent of the Northland School Division, said about 40 per cent of the students in rural Wood Buffalo don't have access to the internet, and that an internet connection isn't always reliable for the other 60 per cent. So teachers have got creative — sending kids lessons on memory sticks or sending students homework packages. In some cases, where necessary, the school has provided students with Chromebooks as well. Spencer-Poitras said the district has the benefit of being smaller, meaning schools have been able to be flexible in response to the pandemic. Throughout the school year, more students have returned to class as parents become more comfortable. "We've been very fortunate with our communities being as diligent as they are that we have not had a lot of cases," she said. She said the numbers of students in class are always in flux, depending on how many cases the community has. "You might go from 100 kids being in the school down to 20," Spencer-Poitras said. "Our job is to ensure that programming continues for our students at all times." She said the Christmas break is welcome for the teaching staff though, because they are getting fatigued. "We don't have a lot of substitutes to begin with," said Spencer-Poitras. Calvin Waquan of Fort Chipewyan has a seven-year-old son in Grade 1. For the majority of the school year, his son is in class, but it fluctuates depending on community COVID-19 cases. "We're so remote that it's not really a big, big problem up here," Waquan said. But the class size isn't what it used to be. "My boy comes home and he tells us there's three kids in class," Waquan said. "Not as much as there normally would be." When he does his schooling from home, he gets booklets from the teacher that he can finish at his own pace. Janet Richards had been frustrated with her son's school in Conklin, but she said she's seen improvement this year. "I did send Levi to school [in person] this year because he really, really wanted to go," Richards said. She said there isn't much for him to do in Conklin, and she's a single mom, working a full-time job. Levi wanted to go to school, and it made sense for the family. Richards caught COVID-19, and now she and her family are isolating at home. Levi's teacher has sent him work packages and called to check-in. Richards said because her son is happy at school, she will likely be sending him back in December when the isolation is over.
A crash early Saturday morning on Pitts Memorial Drive in St. John's killed one woman and sent a man to hospital, say police.In a press release late Monday morning, the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary said officers responded to the collision around 2:50 a.m. Saturday to find one vehicle in the area of the off ramp of the Commonwealth Avenue exit. There was one vehicle involved in the accident.Police said the woman was pronounced dead at the scene, while the man had non-life-threatening injuries and was taken to hospital.The cause of the collision is still being investigated and police ask anyone who saw it happen or may have dashcam video to contact police or Crime Stoppers.Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
From the bench on her front porch, Jan Jang had a perfect view of the small cove just over the bank from her St. Chad’s home. The home, originally from the nearby Flat Islands, was floated to the area in the 1950s. From her perch, the British Columbia resident could trace the likely path the house took when it entered the cove. It would have likely entered the cove pulled by a singular boat and around Damnable Island in the centre before being hauled out of the water and eventually into its current place. Jang and her husband Ed purchased the property shortly after a vacation to the province some 12 years ago. "We saw the view and we knew immediately,” she said. Saltbox in design with white siding and black trim, the home sits in the middle of a gravel road. On a nearby hill, there is a flagpole, a cracked concrete foundation holding it in place. The back of the property has a small garden and wooden archway covered in overgrown vines. “That is the common house (of the time),” said 85-year-old former Flat Islands resident Everett Saunders. “I didn’t know what a bungalow looked like until I left.” The Flat Islands were amongst the earliest reported settlements in Bonavista Bay, with the first mention of residence recorded in 1806. The community was made up of four islands, Flat Island, Coward Island, North Island and Berry Head. Families with the surnames Hallett, Dyer, Morgan, Samson and Saunders, amongst others, built a life there, 21 miles from Bonavista in the middle of Bonavista Bay. There were two churches — a Church of England Church on Flat Island and the Methodist Church on North Island. Each island had a school, while there was a post office with a wireless telegram and a nurses station on Flat Island. The fishery ruled on Flat Islands as people made their living at the height of the Labrador fishery. There were often 25 to 30 schooners in the nearby waters. In the 1920s, the islands had some 900 full-time residents. Resettlement began in 1954 when the first home was floated to Glovertown. Others were disassembled, moved and then reconstructed at their destination. The collapse of the Labrador fishery forced families to move to the mainland for steady work. By 1957, most of the population was preparing to leave. Saunders left in 1958 and headed for St. John’s. In 1979, he moved to Eastport and he has been going back to the island ever since. His parents moved to Eastport, while others made lives in places like Glovertown, St. Chad’s, Burnside and St. John’s. “There was a lot of living on the island,” said Saunders, who left when he finished school at the age of 17. “It was quite different.” It was Thanksgiving weekend when the Jangs happened across the place that would become their longtime summer home. They were frequent visitors to the province and spent their time renting places while travelling around the island. It got to the point when they were visiting so frequently they decided it would be in their best interest to buy a summer home. They had finished a stay in St. John’s and were headed towards Lark Harbour on the west coast when Jan had the impulse to go to the Eastport Peninsula, where they had visited before. There, they stumbled upon St. Chad’s and fell in love with a quaint home along the shore of a secluded cove. It had a faded ‘House For Sale’ sign on the lawn. “We looked at each other, we looked at the view and we looked at the house,” said Jan, recalling the moments before their decision to buy. After some renovations, they were ready to make it their five-week Newfoundland home every summer for a dozen years. The house was built by Stephen Hallett in the early 1900s, although Jan isn’t sure of the exact date. It was 1958 when it was floated from Flat Island across Bonavista Bay and into St. Chad’s. A picnic table dedicated to The Dickers sits on the site. Several years ago, Saunders took the Jangs out to see where the house had been. For a couple of years, Saunders showed off his boyhood home while running a tour boat business out of the Eastport. His family home is gone now, but he still routinely makes day trips to the area for berry picking or just to walk around. When he ties his boat to the old family wharf and takes his first steps on the island, the world he knew plays out in front of him. He knows the location of every rock and the beginning of every path. He remembers Mr. Decker, his apple tree and how he'd get angry when Saunders and his friends would swipe an apple or two. If someone asks to head out, Saunders is sure to take them for a run to the islands. Lately, people have requested passage to the islands as they seek to say goodbye to loved ones. Saunders figures there have been three or four occasions where he's accompanied people as they scatter the ashes of those who once called the Flat Islands home. Saunders understands their wishes. “It was a great place," he said. "I'm so contented when I'm out here." The Jangs knew that type of contentment in St. Chad’s, but they sold their home earlier this fall. It wasn’t something they wanted to do, but health issues had made it increasingly difficult to travel the long distance between British Columbia to Newfoundland. It was a bittersweet decision, but one they felt was necessary. They’ll miss their Newfoundland haven. “We loved the house,” said Jan Jang. “It was a dear little house.” Nicholas Mercer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Central Voice
Moderna Inc. said it would ask U.S. and European regulators Monday to allow emergency use of its COVID-19 vaccine as new study results confirm the shots offer strong protection — ramping up the race to begin limited vaccinations as the coronavirus rampage worsens.Multiple vaccine candidates must succeed for the world to stamp out the pandemic, which has been on the upswing in the U.S. and Europe. U.S. hospitals have been stretched to the limit as the nation has seen more than 160,000 new cases per day and more than 1,400 daily deaths. Since first emerging nearly a year ago in China, the virus has killed more than 1.4 million people worldwide.Moderna is one of several companies to have already submitted partial data to a "rolling review" process offered by Health Canada. Rather than presenting regulators with a complete package of trial results, the would-be vaccine-makers file data and findings as they become available. Canada has been looking at Moderna's first results since mid-October.Canada has a different approval process than the United States and European countries, meaning that Moderna and Pfizer do not have to apply or reapply at each step. Instead, they have to submit their newest data and findings.Moderna created its shots with the U.S. National Institutes of Health and already had a hint they were working, but said it got the final needed results over the weekend that suggest the vaccine is more than 94% effective.Of 196 COVID-19 cases so far in its huge U.S. study, 185 were trial participants who received the placebo and 11 who got the real vaccine. The only people who got severely ill — 30 participants, including one who died — had received dummy shots, said Dr. Tal Zaks, the Cambridge, Massachusetts, company's chief medical officer.When he learned the results, “I allowed myself to cry for the first time,” Zaks told The Associated Press. “We have already, just in the trial, have already saved lives. Just imagine the impact then multiplied to the people who can get this vaccine.”Moderna said the shots’ effectiveness and a good safety record so far — with only temporary, flu-like side effects — mean they meet requirements set by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for emergency use before the final-stage testing is complete. The European Medicines Agency, Europe’s version of FDA, has signalled it also is open to faster, emergency clearance.WHAT COMES NEXTThe FDA has pledged that before it decides to roll out any COVID-19 vaccines, its scientific advisers will publicly debate whether there’s enough evidence behind each candidate.First up on Dec. 10, Pfizer and BioNTech will present data suggesting their vaccine candidate is 95% effective. Moderna said its turn at this “science court” is expected exactly a week later, on Dec. 17.RATIONING INITIAL DOSESIf the FDA allows emergency use, Moderna expects to have 20 million doses ready for the U.S. by year’s end. Recipients will need two doses, so that’s enough for 10 million people.Pfizer expects to have 50 million doses globally in December. Half of them — or enough for 12.5 million people — are earmarked for the U.S.This week, a different panel of U.S. experts, established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, will meet to decide how initial supplies will be given out. They're expected to reserve scarce first doses for health care workers and, if the shots work well enough in the frail elderly, for residents of long-term care facilities. As more vaccine gradually becomes available in coming months, other essential workers and people at highest risk from the coronavirus would get in line. But enough for the general population isn't expected until at least spring.Outside the U.S., Zaks said significant supplies from Moderna would be available later, “in the first quarter” of next year.“Obviously we are doing everything in our power to increase the capacity and accelerate the timelines,” he said.Both Moderna's and Pfizer's vaccines are made with the same technology, using a piece of genetic code for the “spike” protein that studs the virus. That messenger RNA, or mRNA, instructs the body to make some harmless spike protein, training immune cells to recognize it if the real virus eventually comes along.ASTRAZENECA CONFUSIONAstraZeneca last week announced confusing early results of its vaccine candidate from research in Britain and BrazilThat vaccine appears 62% effective when tested as originally intended, with recipients given two full doses. But because of a manufacturing error, a small number of volunteers got a lower first dose — and AstraZeneca said in that group, the vaccine appeared to be 90% effective.Experts say it’s unclear why the lower-dose approach would work better and that it may just be a statistical quirk.A larger U.S. study of the AstraZeneca candidate still is underway that should eventually give the FDA a better picture of how well it works. The FDA has said any COVID-19 vaccine would have to be at least 50% effective.Meanwhile Britain’s government will have to decide whether its U.K. data is sufficient for an early rollout there.STILL IN THE PIPELINEJohnson & Johnson also is in final-stage testing in the U.S. and several other countries to see if its vaccine candidate could work with just one dose.Both the J&J and AstraZeneca vaccines work by using harmless cold viruses to carry the spike protein gene into the body and prime the immune system.The different technologies have ramifications for how easily different vaccines could be distributed globally. The AstraZeneca shots won't require freezer storage like the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.Candidates made with still other technologies are in late-stage testing, too. Another U.S. company, Novavax Inc., announced Monday that it has finished enrolling 15,000 people in a late-stage study in Britain and plans to begin recruiting even more volunteers for final testing in the U.S. and Mexico “in the coming weeks.”Vaccines made by three Chinese companies and a Russian candidate also are being tested in thousands of people in countries around the world.____The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.Lauran Neergaard, The Associated Press
BRUSSELS — NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Monday that the military alliance is grappling with a dilemma over its future in Afghanistan, as the United States starts pulling troops out while attacks by the Taliban and extremist groups mount.More than 17 years after taking the lead on international security efforts in Afghanistan, NATO now has around 11,000 troops from dozens of nations there helping to train and advise the national security forces. Most of the personnel are from Europe and other NATO partner countries.But the alliance relies heavily on the United States armed forces for air support, transport and logistics. European allies would struggle even to leave the country without U.S. help, and President Donald Trump’s decision to pull almost half the U.S. troops out by mid-January leaves NATO in a bind.“We face a difficult dilemma. Whether to leave, and risk that Afghanistan becomes once again a safe haven for international terrorists. Or stay, and risk a longer mission, with renewed violence,” Stoltenberg told reporters on the eve of a videoconference between NATO foreign ministers.Under a peace deal between the United States and the Taliban — without the involvement of other NATO allies or the Afghan government - all foreign troops should leave Afghanistan by May 1 if security conditions on the ground permit.“Whatever path we choose, it is important that we do so together, in a co-ordinated and deliberate way,” Stoltenberg said, on the eve of a videoconference between NATO foreign ministers where the organization’s most ambitious operation ever will be high on the agenda.Trump’s unilateral decision to leave only 2,500 U.S. troops with the mission had allied military planners scrambling, as they tried to work out whether NATO could continue to operate in Kabul, and other major cities. NATO diplomats say that for now they have enough “enablers” to get the job done.Afghan officials also fear that a rapid reduction in American troops could strengthen the Taliban’s negotiating position.NATO defence ministers are likely to make a final decision about the future of the Resolute Support Mission in February, after President-elect Joe Biden takes office. European diplomats expect the tone to change under Biden, but probably not the U.S. intention to leave Afghanistan as soon as possible.The uncertainty comes amid a sharp rise in violence this year and a surge of attacks by the Taliban against the beleaguered Afghan security forces since the start of peace talks in September. Islamic State militants have also struck this month, notably in a horrific attack on Kabul University that killed 22 people, most of them students.“We have seen over the last months and weeks several attacks,” Stoltenberg said. “Some are conducted by Taliban, some attacks ISIS claimed responsibility for. But what we know is that the Taliban is responsible for attacks and the level of violence is far too high.”Even U.S. Ambassador to NATO Kay Bailey Hutchison said: “We do not think the Taliban is keeping its word under the agreement. The violence is too high, and the Afghan people and the Afghan soldiers have paid a heavy price.”But despite the surge in violence, and deep uncertainty cause by the U.S. drawdown, the peace agreement appears to be an opportunity too good for NATO to miss.“We now see an historic opportunity for peace. It is fragile, but it must be seized,” Stoltenberg said. “We see an unpredictable and difficult military and political situation. But at least there are now talks.”Lorne Cook, The Associated Press
LONDON — Britain’s culture minister thinks the Netflix TV series “The Crown” should come with a disclaimer: It’s a work of fiction.Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden weighed in amid criticism of the historical liberties taken by the drama about the British royal family.“It’s a beautifully produced work of fiction. So as with other TV productions, Netflix should be very clear at the beginning it is just that,” Dowden told the Mail on Sunday newspaper. “Without this, I fear a generation of viewers who did not live through these events may mistake fiction for fact.”Dowden is expected to write to Netflix this week to express his view. Netflix did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Associated Press.Questions of historical fidelity were not a major issue during earlier seasons of the show, which debuted in 2016 and traces the long reign of Queen Elizabeth II, which began in 1952.But the current fourth season is set in the 1980s, a divisive decade that many Britons remember vividly. Characters include Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, whose 11-year tenure transformed and divided Britain, and the late Princess Diana, whose death in a car crash in 1997 traumatized the nation.Former royal press secretary Dickie Arbiter has called the series a “hatchet job” on Prince Charles, the heir to the British throne, and his first wife Diana. The troubled relationship of the couple, played by Josh O’Connor and Emma Corrin, is a major storyline in the series.Diana’s brother, Charles Spencer, has also said the show should carry a notice that “this isn’t true but it is based around some real events.”“I worry people do think that this is gospel and that’s unfair,” he told broadcaster ITV.Some Conservatives have criticized the program’s depiction of Thatcher, played by Gillian Anderson. Britain’s first female prime minister, who died in 2013, is portrayed as clashing with Olivia Colman’s Elizabeth to an extent that some say is exaggerated.“The Crown” creator Peter Morgan, whose work also includes recent-history dramas “The Queen” and “Frost/Nixon,” has defended his work, saying it is thoroughly researched and true in spirit.In a 2017 discussion of “The Crown,” Morgan said “you sometimes have to forsake accuracy, but you must never forsake truth.”Steven Fielding, a professor of political history at the University of Nottingham, said the suggestion that “The Crown” carry a disclaimer was “reasonable and yet pointless.”“It invariably doesn’t have an effect,” he said. “There are studies that show that people believe fiction when it’s presented as fact — even if you tell them it’s not fact.”Fielding said it was no surprise that Charles and his allies were annoyed with the heir to the throne’s depiction as “a bit of an idiot.” But he said making a fuss about it only amplifies the attention.Historians are used to railing at inaccuracies in dramas such as the Academy Award-winning “Darkest Hour,” which included an invented scene of Winston Churchill meeting ordinary Londoners on an Underground Tube train during World War II.“Mixing historical fact and fiction has been around since Shakespeare. This is not new to films, it’s not new to TV,” said Fielding, co-author of “The Churchill Myths,” which examines Britain’s wartime leader in popular culture.“I don’t recall the culture secretary complaining about the ridiculous presentation of Winston Churchill in ’Darkest Hour,” he said. “Because it went with the myth, with the idea of Churchill the hero, nobody complained."“Nobody’s bothered if fact and fiction are all mangled up, so long as it’s saying nice things,” he added.Jill Lawless, The Associated Press
A lawsuit filed by a Yellowknife businessman claims the person who helped him immigrate to the city never returned a $50,000 deposit and owes him another $75,000 for breaching a currency exchange contract.A Nov. 12 statement of claim was filed by Shengtang Wang and names Liang Chen and his Burnaby, B.C. company, C.L. Pacific Immigration Consulting Ltd.Wang, who's also known as Tony, operates NorthernSky Films, a 360° dome theater in a Yellowknife plaza, billing itself as the city's newest attraction. He's suing Chen for $125,000 and a further $250,000 for aggravated and punitive damages. None of the claims have been proven in court.Chen told CBC News he plans on filing a statement of defence and counterclaim this week. CBC News reached out to Wang through his lawyer for comment, but the request was declined.Wang is being represented by the same lawyer as a Chinese woman who successfully sued Chen for more than $185,000 in damages after she claimed she was forced to withdraw from the territory's business stream of the nominee program. That matter went to a default judgment earlier this month after Chen did not file a statement of defence or appear in court.Claim says 'investment deposit' never returnedAccording to Wang's statement of claim, he immigrated to Canada from China in 2015. He too applied to the business stream. Successful applicants are provided with a letter of support from the territory toward their application for a work permit from the government of Canada.In 2017, Wang hired Chen to help him with the immigration process. The agreement included a $50,000 "investment deposit" which would be returned to Wang if he received a work permit and invested the amount of money necessary under the terms of the nominee program.The claim said that once those conditions were met, Chen was to return the deposit within a day.It also said Chen asked Wang to pay the deposit directly to him, rather than his company.In January 2019, Wang's application to the nominee program was approved and he was issued a work permit. He claimed he asked Chen several times to return the deposit but he failed to do so.Currency contractThe statement of claim also alleged Chen breached a currency contract with Wang. In Nov. 2019, Chen asked Wang if he would exchange Canadian currency for Chinese currency as a favour.Wang was to send him 396,000 yuan in exchanged for $75,000 Cdn. Wang sent him the Chinese currency but claimed Chen never paid him.B.C. court rules against ChenChen and his Burnaby, B.C. company were also successfully sued earlier this year by a family that hired him to help them immigrate to British Columbia.According to court documents, the family sued Chen and his company for negligence, breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty after their immigration applications were denied. They hired him in 2013 to help immigrate to Canada through the province's nominee program. In March 2016, Chen submitted their application. The family claims they heard nothing back from Chen for months, despite requesting an update.Three years later, the family learned a decision had been made about their application. They found out later that Immigration Canada had sent six letters between January 2017 and December 2018 to Chen about their application, which the family claims he never relayed to them. They were informed their applications had been withdrawn from the province's nominee program because they failed to provide the documents that were requested. The family said it reached out to Chen, but he did not respond.The court case went to default judgment in May in B.C.'s Supreme Court after Chen did not file a statement of defence.When CBC reached Chen over the weekend, he said he was experiencing some financial trouble at the time and was unable to travel down south when the case went to court because of the pandemic.
2400 $. 3500 $. Qui dit mieux? 4500 $. Alors qu’il y a une quasi-pénurie de chiots chez les éleveurs et dans les SPCA, ces adorables petites bêtes se vendent à des prix exorbitants sur les sites de petites annonces. Ceux qui œuvrent dans le secteur des animaux domestiques ne se gênent plus pour dénoncer ce qu’ils qualifient d’«usines à chiots modernes» qui font vraisemblablement aujourd’hui des affaires d’or. Les prix élevés s’expliquent par une demande qui dépasse largement l’offre. En ce moment, les éleveurs responsables – ceux qui sont respectueux de la génétique, du comportement, que l’animal est vacciné et qu’il est en bonne santé – ont des listes d’attente pour les deux prochaines années, résume Jean-Marc Léveillé, le président d’ANIMA-Québec, une organisation qui certifie les élevages. «Si un éleveur est capable de répondre à la demande, c’est parce qu’il y a une femelle quelque part qui fait de la gestation en quantité industrielle pour pouvoir produire des chiots, tranche-t-il. L’opportunité se traduit par de l’abus.» Acheter ces animaux à travers les petites annonces, «c’est la pire façon d’entretenir ce qu’on appelle les usines à chiots», a estimé M. Léveillé en entrevue, une opinion est partagée par les nombreux intervenants du secteur, dont plusieurs SPCA, avec qui La Presse Canadienne s’est entretenue. Les usines à chiots recrutent désormais des particuliers qui agissent comme des sous-traitants qui conservent une part des ventes. «On va te prêter une femelle, illustre Jean-Marc Léveillé. On va la mettre en gestation. Vous allez voir des petits chats ou des petits chiens apparaître. Ça va être l’fun.» Cette proposition, bien que ludique, passe toutefois sous silence le fait que les femelles seront «drôlement malmenées» avec plusieurs portées chaque année. Alors, quoi faire si on veut un animal domestique? «Notre recommandation, en ce moment, c'est de ne pas adopter», répond le Dr Michel Pepin de l’Association des médecins vétérinaires du Québec du tac au tac. «Tous les chiens que vous allez retrouver sur Kijiji et Les Pacs, c'est toujours assez suspect, affirme-t-il. Et les chiens sont beaucoup trop chers pour ce qu'ils valent en ce moment.» Acheter un chien chez un «bon éleveur» a généralement pour avantage qu’il est suivi par un vétérinaire. «Chaque race à ses problèmes, a expliqué Dr Pepin. Les chiens sont suivis jusqu'à l'âge de deux ans. Ils ont eu des radiographies. Il y a un certificat comme quoi ils sont en santé. Souvent, il va être déjà stérilisé. Il va y avoir des garanties aussi. Tu vas avoir son arbre généalogique. Tu sais qui est le père, la mère.» Et ce n'est pas que la génétique, renchérit Dr Pepin. «Il y a tellement de problèmes depuis quelques années de chiens qui mordent, d'agressivité. C'est parce que ces chiens ont été élevés parce qu'ils sont beaux, mais les comportements, on s'en sacrait. S'ils n'ont pas vu d'enfants, ils n'ont pas vu d'humains avant deux, trois mois, ils ont été vendus rapidement quand ils sont jeunes, ça va être des bombes à retardement.» Plusieurs annonces actuellement disponibles sur Kijiji, une plateforme de petites annonces en ligne qui se décrit comme étant «la plus grande au Canada», devraient soulever des drapeaux rouges selon Jean-Marc Léveillé d’ANIMA-Québec. Par exemple, le cas d’un vendeur offrant un croisement entre un Border collie et un Caniche royal à 3500 $. «Orienté sur le look, un prix hors norme et aucune information sur l’élevage, les vaccins, les problèmes, le caractère», a-t-il noté. Et que dire d’une autre annonce où «Jp» de Saint-Eustache vend pour un prix «non négociable» de 6000 $ une femelle Bouledogue français qui n’est pas opérée. «Possiblement vendue pour cause de tares génétiques. Aucune alimentation fournie. Prix dérisoire. Ne devrait pas dépasser les 2500 $.» Les prix demandés pour des chiens sur les petites annonces sont ridiculement élevés de l’avis de plusieurs éleveurs qui soulignent aussi que les acheteurs n’ont «aucune idée» de ce qu’ils achètent réellement, même si on leur dit que c’est un chien pure race. «C’est comme si qu’on disait qu’une auto vaut 400 000 $, s’insurge Julie Sansregrets, une éleveuse de Braques hongrois, à Saint-Lazare, à l’ouest de Montréal. C’est démesuré. Ça ne vaut pas ça. La seule raison pour laquelle ils sont à ce prix-là, c’est à cause de la demande.» Selon elle, un chien croisé «ne vaut pas plus de 500 $», soit l’équivalent de ce que les soins vétérinaires coûtent environ. Quant à un chien pure race, lorsque ça en est vraiment un, il pouvait coûter environ 2500 $ avant la pandémie, a-t-elle indiqué. L’écart de prix s’explique par le coût de l’achat de sperme, payer pour le service d’accouplement du mâle, l’étude de l’arbre généalogique du chien, rémunérer l’aide d’autres éleveurs et organiser un programme de socialisation rigoureux. Elle suggère aux futurs acheteurs d’aller se renseigner sur le site du Club canin canadien à propos de ce qu’ils doivent rechercher chez un éleveur. Louise LaBranche, une éleveuse de la région de Sherbrooke, tient un discours similaire, estimant être «choquée» de voir les gens se faire avoir. Selon elle, les petites annonces, «c’est le festival des usines à chiots, des éleveurs de fond de cour». «Ils ne font pas de tests génétiques, lance-t-elle. Ces gens-là, ça accouple. Je viens d’aller faire un examen à Québec. J’ai fait deux heures et demie de route pour tester un mâle qui va être reproducteur.» À notre demande, Kijiji, a calculé que les recherches des mots «chaton», «chien» et «chiot» ont augmenté de 106 % à 141 % lors de la première vague de la pandémie. Un peu comme la courbe des cas de COVID-19, les recherches ont par la suite diminué durant l’été avant de réaugmenter presque d’autant au cours des derniers mois. En entrevue avec La Presse Canadienne, Kent Sikstrom, un porte-parole de l’entreprise torontoise, a d’abord dénoncé les «individus sans scrupules, les fraudeurs, les criminels», qui opèrent des usines à chiot. Il a indiqué que Kijiji impose des frais pour publier ce type d’annonce, ce qui, dit-il, permet d’identifier les vendeurs et décourage les personnes malhonnêtes puisque ces dernières seraient réticentes à fournir leurs coordonnées de paiement. De plus, la plateforme a recours à l’intelligence artificielle pour repérer les annonces suspectes et qu’une équipe de modérateurs travaillent également dans l’ombre. Bien que Facebook, un autre joueur majeur dans le secteur, interdit l'achat ou la vente d'animaux sur sa plateforme «Marketplace», M. Sikstrom a expliqué que Kijiji veut offrir un endroit aux «innombrables» refuges, éleveurs et familles où ils peuvent publier une annonce pour trouver un toit à leurs animaux. Le porte-parole a toutefois été incapable d’identifier un refuge ou une SPCA qui publie des annonces sur son site. Il a d’abord cité ANIMA-Québec, qui n’est pas un refuge et dont le grand patron assure n’avoir «pas du tout travaillé» avec Kijiji au fil du temps et qui «décrie fortement toute vente d’animaux sur Kijiji». M. Sikstrom a ensuite nommé la SPCA de l’Ontario, avant de préciser que l’organisme diffuse une campagne éducative. En fait, toutes les SPCA du Québec et tous les éleveurs avec qui La Presse Canadienne a discuté du sujet ont dénoncé les sites de petites annonces. La SPCA de l’Ontario a pour sa part refusé d’accorder une entrevue et de dire si elle croit que Kijiji devrait permettre la vente d’animaux. Dans une déclaration écrite en anglais, l'organisme confirme que Kijiji fait la promotion de ses programmes, ses services, ses événements spéciaux et des animaux mis en adoption sur son site web dans le cadre d'un partenariat. La SPCA a aussi indiqué qu'elle conseille Kijiji et qu'elle est satisfaite du travail fait par l'entreprise pour promouvoir des façons responsables de reloger les animaux. - Texte de l'Initiative de journalisme local.Michel Saba, Initiative de journalisme local, La Presse Canadienne
Here's the latest for Monday November 30th: GAO finds states concerned about supplies to administer vaccines; TSA reports 1.2m traveled on Sunday after Thanksgiving; Supreme Court hears case over census; White House reveals its 2020 Christmas theme.