EDMONTON — A judge has found an Edmonton woman guilty of manslaughter in the death of her five-year-old daughter. Court heard that the girl died of blunt-force trauma and prosecutors alleged her mother beat her with a belt and a spatula. The woman, who is in her 30s, had been charged with failing to provide the necessaries of life, assault with a weapon and second-degree murder. Justice Avril Inglis says there was not enough evidence to convict the woman beyond a reasonable doubt on those charges. But Inglis convicted the woman of manslaughter because evidence showed that the girl's severe brain injuries were caused by an assault and the only person in the home capable of inflicting them was her mother. The woman is expected to be sentenced in the fall. This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 7, 2021. The Canadian Press
Ronald Smith sounds tired. Despite good news last month, when a bill to resume executions in Montana was unexpectedly defeated, the Canadian on death row in that state is in a sombre mood. Smith, originally from Red Deer, Alta., has been facing capital punishment since 1983 for killing two young Montana men in 1982. "I thought we were screwed," he said in an interview with The Canadian Press from Montana State Prison in Deer Lodge, Mont. "I didn't think there was a chance in hell that this wouldn't be approved. Once my daughter found out, I explained to her which road we were going down and what the probable outcomes were going to be. I was that sure that it was over." All executions have been stayed in Montana since 2015 because the state requires the use of an ultra-fast-acting barbiturate, which is no longer available. There hasn't been an execution in Montana since 2006. Montana's house of representatives passed a bill in February that would have amended protocol to include any substance in a lethal quantity sufficient to cause death. But the senate voted it down 26-24. The execution issue is likely to arise again in two years when the state legislature reconvenes. "Obviously, I'm happy about it, but at the same time it keeps running through the back of my head, 'Oh crap. I'm stuck sitting around here again,'" Smith sighed. "A lot of people look at it and say, 'Well at least you're alive,' but I'm really not. I'm just sitting around like a bump on a log is all I'm doing, and after almost 40 years of this, anything is preferable." Smith, 63, rephrased his response when asked if he would prefer to be executed. "Well, maybe not preferable, but I wouldn't be bothered by it. As soon as I heard what was going on, I accepted it. I went, 'OK, cool. I don't have to deal with this crap anymore.' "I was worried about my family because they were going to take it hard. Personally, I don't care. I've hit that point where I've done enough of this. If they're (legislators) not going to cut me a break, than go ahead and do away with me." Smith and Rodney Munro, both high on LSD and alcohol, shot and killed two Indigenous cousins near East Glacier, Mont., in 1982. They admitted to marching Harvey Mad Man, 23, and Thomas Running Rabbit, 20, into the woods by a highway. They shot each man in the head with a sawed-off .22-calibre rifle. Court heard that Smith and Munro wanted to steal the victims' car. Smith also said at the time that he wanted to know what it was like to kill someone. He was initially offered a plea deal that would have taken the death penalty off the table, but he rejected it. He pleaded guilty and asked to be put to death, but later changed his mind. He has had five execution dates set over the years. Each has been overturned. The victims' families have continued to push for Smith to be executed. Munro took the plea bargain, was eventually transferred to a prison in Canada, and has been free since 1998. "He's been out 23 years and doing well and I wish him all the very best. Had I taken that plea deal, then I'd have been out a long time ago. It's hard not to have that in the back of your mind on a pretty regular basis." Smith said he's content with paying for his crimes, but would like to be transferred to a prison in Canada, where he has a daughter, two sisters, grandchildren and a great-grandchild. "I'm getting pretty much what I deserve for the crime I committed," he said. "If I was in a position where I could see my family on a constant basis, then leave me locked up. I don't care. "It is what it is. I committed the crime." This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 7, 2021. — Follow @BillGraveland on Twitter Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press
The call came in earlier this week, first thing in the morning. It was from Northwest Territories public health officials, and they said it was urgent. "So I call public health and they let me know that my eldest son tested positive for COVID," said Ravan Bedingfield. "Then my heart just sunk." Bedingfield is one of innumerable parents caught in the frightening web of the COVID-19 outbreak at N.J. Macpherson School in Yellowknife. Her 11-year-old son is a student there, ground zero for a cluster of cases reported at the start of the week that has since ballooned into the dozens. As of Thursday, there were 47 COVID-19 cases in Yellowknife. For Bedingfield, the situation has been "heartbreaking," "frustrating" and "mentally exhausting." Thankfully, she said, her two other children — eight and two — tested negative, as did she and her partner, who are vaccinated. But working from home while safely caring for an ill child, homeschooling, constantly disinfecting, and keeping a toddler entertained has been — well, you can imagine. "I don't think I've ever been more furious in my life over this whole situation," said Bedingfield. "But I think it's amazing what you can do when you know you're not alone, like there's other families who are in the same boat." 'He is pretty anxious about the whole thing' Right how, her son has mild symptoms, she said. "So he's feeling kind of crummy, physically, but mentally, he is pretty anxious about the whole thing, and he feels responsible," she said, for possibly passing the virus onto his friends. "It's so hard to explain to a child, 'It's not your fault. You didn't do anything wrong,' but they can't help but take it to heart because they're hurting, and they see their friends hurting, and everybody is nervous and scared." It's also hard easing his worries from two metres away. "You want to be there to, like, even physically comfort your child, you know, but you have to maintain your distance," said Bedingfield. Community spirit shines In this period of fear and uncertainty, though, Yellowknife's community spirit has shone. A Facebook group has popped up offering the pickup and delivery of essential items to isolating residents. Bedingfield said people have been inundating her with messages of support. A friend is doing a huge grocery run that will help feed the family until they're out of isolation. And public health, she said, has been "nothing but helpful." One nurse offered her personal cell phone number so Bedingfield can call if her son's symptoms worsen. "It's incredible the amount of support everybody is giving each other." But Bedingfield also said not everyone isolating right now has the support network — or the employment benefits — she does. "I'm a government employee, so I'm happy that I have those benefits, but my husband doesn't," she said. "I'm sure there are many, many other people who don't have any kind of benefits, and they must be like — I can't imagine how they're feeling." Though it's been just a few days since her son's diagnosis, Bedingfield said one thing she's taken away so far is to take help if it's offered. "I get it. I'm a proud person and I'm often way too proud to accept help," she said. But in cases like this outbreak, she added, saying yes to support can help keep your family fed, and the bills paid. Bedingfield also implored residents to follow public health orders, for the safety and wellbeing of the whole community. "It's all about people," she said. "It's people being responsible and taking care of each other."
The founder of a failed B.C. cryptocurrency exchange has been ordered to pay $535,000 to a man who agreed to sell him 50 bitcoin in 2019 — despite the fact the missing commodity is now worth more than $3 million. According to a B.C. Supreme Court judgment, Michael Gokturk wrote to Scott Nelson in August 2019, two months after Nelson transferred bitcoin into Gokturk's digital wallet at an agreed price of $10,700 a piece. Within months, Gokturk's Einstein Exchange would shut its doors amid a B.C. Securities Commission investigation, a cloud of complaints, lawsuits and debts of $16 million owing to customers. "None of this is your problem and I owe you what I owe you," Gokturk wrote to Nelson, who was asking for the money he'd been promised. "Keep these text messages and email records as proof. I am sorry I have been avoiding you. This has been the absolute worst year of my entire existence. These are not excuses, I just don't know what to tell you besides the truth." 'Wire is being set up right now' The details of the correspondence are contained in a B.C. Supreme ruling released this week. Nelson, a Vancouver technology entrepreneur, sued Gokturk for breach of contract in 2019, asking for either the amount the bitcoin was worth on the open market on Feb. 16, 2021 — $3,084,393 — or the amount Gokturk originally agreed to pay. The Einstein Exchange shut its doors in 2019 after a slew of complaints. An interim receiver found that the company had assets of $45,000 and debts of $16 million.(Yvette Brend/CBC) In coming to a decision, Justice Sheila Tucker found Gokturk had breached a contract that concluded on June 7, 2019, when he sent Nelson a text reading: "BTC received! Thank you. Wire is being set up right now. Will send you confirmation." Tucker said the law required her to award Nelson the amount lost at the time of the breach, not the amount his bitcoin would be worth in 2021, following recent astronomical gains. "Using the date of breach to assess the damages puts the defendant in the position he would have been had the contract been fulfilled, Tucker wrote. "The fact that [bitcoin] is worth more now than it was at the time of the contract does not result in an injustice." 'No one will lose their money here' The judgment comes a year and a half after accountants estimated that the Einstein Exchange had "hard" assets of $30,000 in cash and less than $15,000 in cryptocurrency when the court appointed an interim receiver to take control of the company on Nov. 1, 2019. The same report noted that customers were owed around $16 million, noting Nelson's lawsuit and another call from a creditor who said they were owed $7 million but had not yet filed a claim with the court. A visual representation of the digital cryptocurrency, bitcoin. Bitcoin has seen a massive increase in value, which poses a question for judges trying to determine the value of the loss in a contract breach. (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images) Gokturk spoke to the CBC in January 2018 about a storm of online criticism that accompanied the opening of the exchange. Customers claimed that staff were slow to respond and expressed fear they might lose their money. At the time, Gokturk claimed his team was overwhelmed by the response and demand for digital currency and promised that "no one will lose their money here." Gokturk has filed responses to a number of B.C. Supreme Court claims in the months since the collapse of the Einstein Exchange, arguing that he was not personally liable for agreements made with the company. The responses claim the customers signed agreements acknowledging that "some digital currency exchanges had been the subject of cyberattacks that have resulted in the loss or theft of digital currencies to their users and there is a risk that a similar cyberattack could affect Einstein's services and result in the theft or loss of your digital currencies." According to Tucker's decision, Gokturk's counsel withdrew last November, after which he stopped responding to Nelson's lawyer and failed to attend an examination for discovery. He did not respond to a request for comment through LinkedIn. 'Which date do you use?' Evan Thomas, a Toronto-based litigator with Osler who specializes in digital assets and blockchain, says Tucker's decision is notable because it's one of only a few in a growing body of Canadian law to deal with disputes involving cryptocurrency. He says it's interesting to see judges treat bitcoin as property in the same way as a physical asset like a gold bar. Thomas says courts have also had to grapple with the question of how to determine the value of a commodity that has seen such rapid shifts in worth in recent months. A B.C. Supreme Court judge has ruled that the founder of a collapsed bitcoin exchange must pay $535,000 for breaking a contract to purchase 50 bitcoin.(David Horemans/CBC) In the past year alone, bitcoin has risen from around $13,000 Cdn per unit to highs of nearly $80,000. One bitcoin was worth $68,000 Cdn Thursday. "This has come up before in cases about how do you value bitcoin, a cryptocurrency which is a bit unique in commodities in that the prices can change quite dramatically over relatively short periods of times," he said. "So, of course, there's an obvious question: which date do you use?" Thomas says it's well-settled law that breach of contract disputes assign value at the date the breach occurred — which in Gokturk and Nelson's agreement was June 2019, "when the buyer actually failed to pay the money for the bitcoin." The decision says Nelson doesn't know whether Gokturk sold the 50 bitcoin and if he still has any or all of it in his possession. Thomas says it's easy to see how Nelson might feel out of pocket by $2.5 million, even if Gokturk pays the court-ordered amount. But had bitcoin dropped in value instead of soaring in the interim, Thomas says Nelson likely would not have asked for 50 worthless bitcoin as compensation. "The law says it you're going to make that argument when the price goes down, you have to live by the same argument if the price goes up," Thomas said. "We can all disagree on whether that's fair or not, but that's just what the law is."
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau responds to a recent attack ad from Ontario Premier Doug Ford's Progressive Conservatives blaming the federal Liberals for COVID-19 variants crossing the border. Trudeau says political leaders are under a certain amount of stress and some may choose to point fingers, lay blame and engage in personal attacks.
Three people were hospitalized — and more than 160 seniors have been displaced — after a massive fire broke out at a seniors' residence in St. Albert, northwest of Edmonton Thursday night. Two people were treated for smoke inhalation and were in serious condition, and a third person suffered minor lacerations, officials said, after fire engulfed the Citadel Mews West Continuing Care Facility just before 8 p.m. The building is near the Sturgeon Community Hospital, between St. Albert Trail and Erin Ridge Drive, south of Erin Ridge Road. The fire forced the entire complex to be evacuated and saw firefighters from across the region called in to assist. St Albert Mayor Cathy Heron said many of the displaced residents were living in the extended care wing of the facility. "The priority will be finding space for every one of those residents and making sure they're cared for," Heron said in an interview Friday. Heron, who was at the scene Thursday night, said it was the largest fire she had ever seen and watching residents be evacuated was overwhelming. She commended firefighters for their coordinated efforts to extinguish it and ensure residents were safe. Heron said the offer of donations and care for the displaced residents has been overwhelming. "I love my community and the residents, they have responded with their hearts, which they always do." At least 167 seniors were displaced. Alberta Health Services said about 129 long term care residents and 38 designated supportive living residents were evacuated from the complex. Those numbers don't account for residents of the independent living wing of the complex, AHS said. The evacuated residents were relocated to the St. Albert Inn. Most were accommodated in hotel rooms and others were placed in available beds in other long-term care facilities in the region. The city is working with Alberta Health Services to ensure residents are appropriately cared for and provided transportation, the city said in a news release. Firefighters remained on scene throughout Friday morning, assessing extensive smoke and water damage to the property. In a statement Friday, the city asked for residents to stay away from the scene during the investigation, There's no word yet on the cause of the fire or a full estimate on the damages. Jackson Brown, 17, said he spotted smoke and helped some people leave the building. "All the alarms are going off and there was about four or five of us evacuating everyone, just going door-to-door trying to just get every one out," he said in an interview Thursday night. "Then the firefighters and police got here and of course helped us." Police officers were called to assist firefighters around 8 p.m. Officers blocked off nearby roads and helped residents evacuate the building. Residents were transported by bus to a muster point in the Costco parking lot, RCMP said. The St. Albert Alliance Church has opened its doors to residents until others arrangements could be made. Residents evacuated the Citadel Mews residence Thursday night after a fire broke out that engulfed much of the building. (Submitted by Jackson Brown) Fire crews from St. Albert, Morinville, Spruce Grove, Edmonton and Strathcona County all helped at the scene. A spokesperson for Edmonton Fire Services said some of its firefighters assisted with the blaze. According to the Christenson Communities website, the two Citadel Mews residences combined have about 175 units.
Another case of COVID-19 was confirmed for P.E.I. on Friday, in a person with a recent history of travel. There were also three new sites where Islanders might have been exposed to the virus. The day before, public health officials had announced two more cases of COVID-19 on P.E.I. Thursday, along with three potential public exposure sites. Islanders 50 and over can book an appointment to get the Moderna vaccine at one of 12 pharmacies starting Monday. A P.E.I. man awaiting a second double-lung transplant in Toronto says he worries about contracting COVID-19, since it would almost certainly be fatal. A Green Party MLA thinks Island workers should get guaranteed time off to be vaccinated against COVID-19, just as their right to take time off to vote is protected without them having to fear repercussions. Introducing a hand sanitizer product may have saved P.E.I.'s Deep Roots Distillery.(Sheehan Desjardins/CBC) Prince Edward Island's economy lost 800 part-time jobs but gained 500 full-time ones in April, 13 months after the COVID-19 pandemic started to cut into employment. An increase in business spurred by the pandemic has continued in the spring of 2021, say P.E.I. garden centres. P.E.I. has 10 active cases of COVID-19. There have been 186 positive cases in total over the past 14 months, with two hospitalizations and no deaths. Elsewhere in the Atlantic region: Also in the news These Islanders are currently eligible for a vaccine People over 30. Pregnant Islanders. Front-line workers over 16 who interact with the public and cannot work virtually. People providing health-care services to the public — including optometrists, pharmacists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists — and their support staff. Health-care workers not on the front line needed to maintain health-care system capacity Firefighters, police officers, power-line workers. Residents and staff of long-term care homes. Adults living in Indigenous communities. Residents and staff of shared living facilities. Truck drivers and other rotational workers. You can find more information about how to get a vaccine here. Further resources Reminder about symptoms The symptoms of COVID-19 can include: Fever. Cough or worsening of a previous cough. Possible loss of taste and/or smell. Sore throat. New or worsening fatigue. Headache. Shortness of breath. Runny nose. More from CBC P.E.I.
There's a "dirty little secret lurking under the ocean of Newfoundland and Labrador" and the documentary, "Hell or Clean Water," tells the story of the one man who is trying to fix it, part of the 2021 Hot Docs festival.
Almost three years ago, Bobby Joe MacDonald finally received the call he had been waiting for. After a lifetime of breathing difficulties, he was getting new lungs. "I don't know why we were laughing, but we were all excited, it was 2:30 in the morning, it was crazy, it was the best feeling in the world," said MacDonald, recalling that night. "I didn't even know how to adapt to my new life because I was able to breathe." Now, sitting in a small Toronto apartment 1,700 kilometres from home, there's a sense of déjà vu. MacDonald needs another set of lungs. 'You hope it's the call' According to Health PEI, the chances of needing a double lung transplant in the first place is already rare on the Island. In the past 10 years, only three have taken place. As for how many people have required a second one, Health PEI was unable to disclose that information due to confidentiality. Bobby Joe MacDonald says he was born with pulmonary dysplasia. The P.E.I. man's body rejected the transplanted lungs he received almost three years ago, so he's back on the waiting list. (Submitted by Bobby Joe MacDonald) In MacDonald's case, though, his body rejected the first set. He said the Cytomegalovirus (CMV) virus he contracted in 2020 sure didn't help — it's harmless to most healthy people but worrisome after a transplant. So now, he waits again. "It's scary because you don't know how long you're going to live," he said. "You don't know when you're going to get the call and you always hope when you get any kind of a call, as sad as it is..." His fiancée Sheryl Rozell jumps in: "You hope it's the call from the hospital." 'A second life' On top of the sheer weight of needing organs and acknowledging that someone must die in order for you to get them, MacDonald and Rozell have other pressures. In order to qualify for surgery, the couple is required to stay within a few hours of the Toronto General Hospital. There's the added financial burden of paying for housing in the Toronto area, not to mention the risks associated with COVID-19 of being in Ontario right now. "That's what you gotta do for a second life," said MacDonald. "Gotta go through it." "It's unknown how long we're going to be here," said Rozell. "Once we get that donor, then it's 'boom, boom, boom' kind of thing — but it's just the waiting." 'It's great that he's healthy enough right now to be on the list,' says Sheryl Rozell. 'We're just going to try and keep him that way until we get a donor." (Submitted by Sheryl Rozell) The pair said the province puts up $2,500 a month for living expenses. But according to Rozell, rent alone comes with a heftier price tag. Then there are the costs of food, gas, medication. Fundraising efforts are underway to help the couple as they hunker down, and that helps. To add to their worries, Rozell said people in their building recently tested positive for COVID-19, and that could have dire consequences if either one of them were to contract it. "As funny as it sounds, I'm more scared of the COVID than I am of the transplant," said MacDonald. "If I had COVID, it would kill me, so I don't want to get that at all." 'His biggest cheerleader' Still, even through a shaky video call you can sense the optimism in the air. MacDonald and Rozell cry and laugh almost at the flick of a switch. "There are many things I want to do, dear," said MacDonald. "I want to run again. "I want to run a marathon, to be honest with you." Rozell, on the other hand, remains adamant that "oh God no" will she be running alongside him. "I'll watch from the sidelines," she smiles. "I'll be his biggest cheerleader." 'Be a donor' Ultimately it's a waiting game. MacDonald estimates that without a transplant, he has between two and three years left. "I'm hoping we can do it all again," he says of receiving the call, and reliving that "best feeling in the world." If people could donate, be a donor, a transplant donor — they don't realize how many lives they could save. - Sheryl Rozell As for Rozell, she doesn't seem to be going anywhere any time soon. "I can come home and have a bad day and growl and be cranky and be stressful and be like, 'Oh, where's the wine?'" she said. "And he never has a bad day. He's always smiling." Not surprisingly, they are urging those who are eligible to become donors. "He already had a first shot and it was a beautiful thing and unfortunately it didn't work out," said Rozell. "Now we're getting a second shot, but if people could donate, be a donor, a transplant donor — they don't realize how many lives they could save." More from CBC P.E.I.
OTTAWA — The Canada Revenue Agency is being taken to task by a federal watchdog for not being as up front as it should be over how long it might take to process applications for pandemic aid. The $500-a-week Canada Recovery Benefit is paid out by the agency to qualifying workers who have earned at least $5,000 in the preceding 12 months. In most cases, the application process is quick, but in others, the agency has to do additional digging to verify eligibility. The taxpayers' ombudsperson said his office has received complaints that CRA call-centre agents can't offer a timeline for when verification work will be done, leaving thousands in financial hardship. Francois Boileau said taxpayers should be able to have more details on how long it will take the agency to verify documents so they can plan how to cover their bills like rent. He said complaints to his office have said the agency can take up to 10 weeks to finish the process before issuing a payment. The process differs from one that was used one year ago for the CRB's forerunner, the Canada Emergency Response Benefit. Applications were quickly approved and payments issued with the government opting to do a review after-the-fact to recoup improper payments. With the CRB, the government pushed that verification to the front of the application process, including asking for pay slips or records of employment if the agency couldn't easily confirm that someone met the earnings threshold. Once the documents came in, the agency started the clock. In March, there were complaints that it could take four to six weeks for the process to play out. More recently, it has risen to eight to 10 weeks. The agency had differing timelines referenced on different parts of its website, but updated them to in recent days after Boileau suggested the CRA do so. "The CRA understands that the longer processing times for these recovery benefit applications may place a financial burden on Canadians who depend on these benefits as income replacement," the agency said in a statement. "In some cases, processing times may be extended for unforeseeable reasons." The CRA says the process shouldn't be nearly as long for anyone who filed their 2020 tax return, which would easily let the agency verify income eligibility when an application rolls in. This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 7, 2021. The Canadian Press
Ottawa is reporting 110 new COVID-19 cases and one more death. The load on the city's intensive care units is lightening. Three more people from the area have died of COVID-19. Today's Ottawa update Ottawa Public Health (OPH) is reporting 110 new COVID-19 cases and one more death on Friday. The city has now surpassed 25,000 confirmed cases. Many key indicators that rose to record levels during this third wave of the pandemic are now in decline, though still much higher than what health officials are comfortable with. A graph showing coronavirus levels in Ottawa's wastewater, which peaked in early April, steadily declined for about a month and has recently plateaued. Data for much of March may have been affected by the spring melt.(613covid.ca) Numbers to watch 6.6%: The rate of COVID-19 tests coming back positive has dropped slightly. 0.78: The number of people infected by a single COVID-19 case, or R(t). The spread of the coronavirus is considered under control if that figure is kept below one. 91.1: The weekly incidence rate, a rolling seven-day total of new COVID-19 cases expressed per 100,000 residents. 20: The estimated incidence rate deemed safe to lift Ontario's stay-at-home order, according to one expert. 129: The combined number of patients currently in intensive care in Ottawa, according to the latest updates from local hospitals. All hospital numbers in this section have dropped from the last update. 57: The number of those patients who have COVID-19. 25: The number of COVID-19 patients from Ottawa in an Ottawa ICU, according to OPH. 32: The number of COVID-19 patients from other regions in an Ottawa ICU. 368,616: The number of Ottawa residents who have received their first vaccine dose, an increase of about 15,000 since Monday. 35%: The percentage of Ottawa residents who have received at least one vaccine dose. 27,993: The number of Ottawa residents who have received their second vaccine dose, about three per cent of the city's population. Across the region Public health officials in the Outaouais are reporting 33 new COVID-19 cases Friday and one death. The region is under Quebec's strictest measures, which start to loosen on Monday. The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit reports five more COVID-19 cases and one death. A total of 901 people have now died across the wider region of COVID-19. The Eastern Ontario Health Unit reports 25 more cases. Ontario is under a provincewide stay-at-home order until at least May 20.
What are the markers and icons that signify an Indigenous presence in Montreal? That is one of the many questions a collective of artists plan on tackling as they take a deep dive into the city's Indigenous history as a part of a year-long theatre residency. "Haudenosaunee people have so much history connected to the island," said Ange Loft, a Kanien'kehá:ka (Mohawk) interdisciplinary performing artist from Kahnawake, south of Montreal. Loft, a part of the newly formed Talking Treaties Tio'tia:ke Collective, was selected as the inaugural Indigenous artist-in-residence at Montreal's Centaur Theatre. The residency, which begins in August, will be used to develop a new theatrical performance at the theatre and surrounding grounds with the incorporation of historic research, music, Kanien'kéha (the Mohawk language), large-scale puppetry, verbatim text, and dance. "We use big images and tactile props and stuff because you hit them with the heavy content, but do it in a beautiful, soft, fun and weird way," said Loft, who now lives in Toronto. The focus, Loft said, is on pre-contact governance symbolism and alliance patterns of the Haudenosaunee in the 1700s, such as the Great Peace of Montreal treaty and Dish with One Spoon agreement between Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee nations. Talking Treaties uses symbols and stories of agreement making that were gathered through interview, audio gallery, dance, choral composition, spectacle and arts based research in Toronto. (Talking Treaties) It builds on her work with Talking Treaties, a project she's been running since 2015 in Toronto with Jumblies Theatre. "I say it's an artful way to share Indigenous knowledge," said Loft. "Symbols of governance and alliance-making [are] things that you need to know before you can even start to break down treaties and conversations around that." Centaur's 1st Indigenous artist residency The Centaur Theatre is located in the Old Stock Exchange Building in the heart of Old Montreal. Eda Holmes, artistic and executive director at Centaur Theatre, said in a statement that although Indigenous stories have been essential to Montreal's heritage, they have been missing throughout theatre's half-century history. LISTEN: Ange Loft talks about her new residency with Centaur Theatre It's why the residency was created with new funding from the Conseil des arts de Montréal. "We sought an artist who was knowledgeable of Indigenous cultures and plugged into local Indigenous artistic communities and Ange is that and more," said Holmes. "Her curiosity, imagination and passion, combined with her wide range of talents and years of experience, make her ideal as our first Indigenous artist-in-residence." 'We are still here' The collective also includes Barbara Kaneratonni Diabo and Iehente Foote. Both are also Kanien'kehá:ka from Kahnawake. "I love that it is in Old Montreal. The visuals I see there are mostly the settlers, the statues of the settlers and the architecture of the settlers. It's like we're forgotten," said Diabo, a dancer and choreographer. "I'm hoping that our presence with this is going to re-show people that we've been here. We are still here." Barbara Diabo performs a hoop dance as part of her Sky Dancers piece.(Robert Newton) Foote has worked as an actor, stage manager, costume designer and production assistant in theatre, television and film since she was a teenager. She said the performing arts can be an accessible way to understand complex histories and relationships. "It's visual and it's eye-catching and there's repetition for memory," said Foote. Diabo echoed similar sentiments. "Being a live performance, there will be a sharing of energy and emotions that will touch people at a deeper level that they'll understand things more, feel things more, and remember things more with all these visuals."
A man from the North Battleford area has been charged in connection with a death of Damian Moosomin about a year ago. Denver Roy, 36, is charged with indecent interference with a dead body and accessory after the fact to homicide. Roy is from Sweetgrass First Nation, about 30 kilometres west of North Battleford. Moosomin, 20, was found dead in the backyard of a North Battleford home on May 16, 2020, five days after he was reported missing. A second person who was recently charged was under 18 at the time of the offence and cannot be named in accordance with the Youth Criminal Justice Act. As of May 7, 2021, six people in total have been charged in connection to Moosomin's death. The other four people, charged in April after the Saskatchewan RCMP's 11-month investigation, were: Tye Partridge, 23, from Moosomin First Nation is charged with first-degree murder. Jannay Blackbird, 32, from Saulteaux First Nation is charged with second-degree murder. Stormy Wapass-Semaganis, 23, from Edmonton, Alberta is charged with accessory after the fact to murder. Melissa Semaganis, 41, from Poundmaker Cree Nation is charged with accessory after the fact to murder. The RCMP didn't say when the two most recently charged people are scheduled to appear in court.
A review of the province's rental housing market is ruling out a cap on rent increases in all but the most extreme cases. The report, drafted by civil servants and released, Friday says creating more incentives for the construction of new units is a more workable way to address the supply crunch in the white-hot housing market. It calls for "better protections against unreasonable rent increases" but Executive Council clerk Cheryl Hansen, the province's top civil servant, told reporters that does not mean "across the board" rent controls. "We have discovered that a far more comprehensive approach is required," she said, though in response to a reporter's hypothetical question she said the province was open to restricting extreme increases in the 25 to 30 per cent range. "I would suggest that we do not need to have that across the board." Officials say limiting rent increases to once a year, and requiring landlords to give tenants more notification of hikes, would help alleviate the phenomenon of soaring costs seen in recent months in the province. Earlier this year Statistics Canada reported that rent paid on accommodations in New Brunswick between March 2020 and March 2021 rose 4.8 per cent, the largest increase in the country. Nationally, rents inched up a fraction of that, an average of 0.5 per cent, over the same period. Hansen said Friday that the lowest-income New Brunswickers have seen rents increase by 34 per cent in the last decade while their incomes have risen only 18 per cent. But officials who briefed reporters said a cap on rent increases could have "negative consequences" for the housing market, creating a disincentive for landlords to build new units. They also said rent control tends to benefit higher-income renters the most. Higgs responded to the report within hours, telling reporters he has "sympathies" for tenants who experience "rate shocks." Premier Blaine Higgs said he doesn't believe his stated position on rent controls influenced the report prepared by public servants.(Ed Hunter/CBC ) "I believe there needs to be some protection there for tenants in relation to the frequency and the extent to which a rate could be changed in a span of time," he said. He attributed part of the phenomenon to more people moving to New Brunswick for work and driving up demand for housing, which he suggested has given apartment owners an opening to raise rents. "Did we have some cases where landlords looked at the market and said 'Now's our chance?'" he said. "I don't want people's livelihoods and situations played with just because it's the right time." Sarah Lunney of Acorn New Brunswick, a group advocating for low-income people, said she was disappointed with the rejection of rent control and rejected the rationale. "Saying that rent control disincentivizes development, that's just not a thing," she said. "I don't agree with that. Other provinces [with rent control laws] are still developing housing." The report found there are gaps in access to affordable, adequate, quality and safe rental units.(David Zalubowski/Associated Press) She said restricting rent increases to once a year would not do anything to protect people from big increases. "You would still need some kind of rent control to ensure that when that one time a year comes around, tenants aren't being forced out of their buildings at that time of year." Abram Lutes of the Common Front for Social Justice said he was disappointed the report dismisses the role of non-profit housing. The document quotes a developer saying the non-profit sector lacks the "knowledge and experience" to build multi-unit apartments. "The information in the report is useful in terms of knowing how bad the situation is, but the recommendations are inexcusably inadequate given what's been reported in the document," he said. The report says large rent increases are being driven by a changing rental market: more people are working longer, the population is increasing and older people are downsizing into apartments. Abram Lutes, with the New Brunswick Common Front for Social Justice, pictured earlier this year, was disappointed the report dismissed the role non-profit housing could play in helping alleviate the affordable housing shortage.(CBC) At the same time, a growing number of remote workers are looking for more space so they can have a home office, and the growth of short-term vacation rentals is removing some apartments from the monthly rental market. Meanwhile, shortages of construction workers can slow the building of new apartment stock. "We're not necessarily in a crisis, but a crisis is pending," Higgs said. "We've got a situation we can't ignore." The report says housing is seen as both a human right and as a business. "These truths do not always co-exist comfortably and can polarize conversations." Premier rejects suggestion of influence Higgs said he didn't think his comments earlier this year opposing rent control influenced the report, which despite being drafted by civil servants was described as an independent process similar to a third-party study. "I don't think anyone would suspect that I would feel any differently about putting price controls on the free market. That's a position I've had for a long time," he said. The report does not comment on a proposal pushed by developers to cut property taxes on apartment buildings by removing the provincial portion of the tax. Hansen said that's being looked as part of work on local government reform. Higgs announced a phase-out of the provincial portion of the tax in the March 2020 budget but cancelled it after the COVID-19 pandemic began.
WASHINGTON — Republican Kevin McCarthy is leading his party to an inflection point, preparing to dump Rep. Liz Cheney from the No. 3 House leadership position and transform what's left of the party of Lincoln more decisively into the party of Trump. The GOP leader argues that ousting Cheney has less to do with her very public criticism of the former president's lies about his 2020 election loss to President Joe Biden than her inability to set aside personal convictions and do her job. As conference chair responsible for communicating a unified party message, Cheney has lost the confidence of rank-and-file lawmakers, he said this week. But in tossing aside Cheney, the daughter of the former vice-president and as close as it gets to GOP royalty, and promising a “big tent” to win back power, McCarthy is hollowing out a cadre of lawmakers intent on governing while he is elevating the people and personalities most loyal to Donald Trump. In one stroke, he is amplifying the former president’s false claims about the election and seeking to mend his own tattered relationship with Trump, reasserting himself as Trump’s man in the House. It’s a transformational moment for McCarthy, who resurrected his political career by attaching himself to Trump — who called him “My Kevin” — and is now on a glidepath to become House speaker, second in line to the presidency, if Republicans win control in next year's elections. “There’s a complete changing of the guard here,” said Adam Brandon, president of the conservative FreedomWorks, a tea party group aligned with Trump’s rise. “This started as one thing and morphed into something else: It’s about the future.” The vote as soon as next week is expected to be decisive, showing the power of Trump's reach, particularly on McCarthy. The GOP leader initially criticized Trump's actions after the 2020 election, saying he “bears responsibility” for the deadly Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, the most serious domestic assault on the building in its history. Five people died after Trump encouraged loyalists to “fight like hell” as Congress was certifying his defeat to Biden. In a private call during the insurrection, McCarthy had urged Trump to call off the rioters, only to face the president's rebuke. “The saddest day I have ever had” in Congress, McCarthy said that night, even as he joined 138 other House Republicans in voting to overturn Biden's win. McCarthy stood by Cheney when she faced a February challenge for leading 10 House Republicans to vote to impeach Trump for his role in the insurrection. McCarthy argued that the House GOP needed to stay united against newly empowered Democrats, and she easily survived. But in between the lines, McCarthy was also considering the optics of the moment, according to Republicans who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the private vote. Booting Cheney so soon after the riot would be a bad look for the party, especially when House Republican leaders were also encouraging a unified vote of support for newly elected Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Trump ally who faced reprimand from Democrats over her conspiracy-laden social media rants. The GOP leader counselled Cheney to stay on message, but as she continued to warn the party off Trump's falsehoods, he groomed a newly transformed Trump acolyte, Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., as her replacement. Like McCarthy, she is raising millions of dollars for the GOP as a Trump defender. A last straw was Cheney’s press conference at the House GOP’s retreat in Florida last month when Cheney criticized Trump anew and broke with McCarthy to back a bipartisan commission fully focused on investigating the Capitol attack. “The American people need to know how we got to Jan. 6 — people need to be held accountable,” she said. In an essay in Wednesday's Washington Post, she warned colleagues, “History is watching." McCarthy, who has jetted to Trump’s private club at Mar-a-Lago to win back the former president's support, had already changed his own tune, now saying he did not believe the former president had provoked the Jan. 6 insurrection. Trump has made clear he wants Cheney out. During an event with the conservative Freedom Caucus at Mar-a-Lago ahead of the House GOP retreat, Trump told lawmakers that Cheney and other “RINOs,” including Senate leader Mitch McConnell and Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, must go, according to two Republicans who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the private remarks. RINO refers to those considered insufficiently loyal or conservative — Republicans in name only. In private calls with lawmakers, Trump had expressed similar displeasure with McCarthy, too, according to one of the Republicans. “It's not like the ‘My Kevin’ days,” the Republican aide said. Never fully supported by GOP’s far right flank, the California Republican has laboured to win over the party’s conservatives by embracing Trump and giving the former president’s allies a seat at the table in House leadership. McCarthy was among the first Republicans in Congress to endorse Trump’s presidential campaign and quickly became a close confidant and late-night telephone buddy, often fielding his calls in view of reporters in the Capitol. In many ways, McCarthy had bridged the party’s path to the Trump era years earlier. He recruited the tea party class of Republicans who seized control of the House in the 2010 midterm elections, newcomers who shut down the government during hardball fiscal fights with then-President Barack Obama. Underestimated by Democrats as a legislative lightweight, without a House Speaker Nancy Pelosi-style resume of committee work and policy chops to pass bills, McCarthy revels in outperforming expectations, steadily rising to the top GOP leadership position. But McCarthy has always had other would-be leaders on his heels. After the Freedom Caucus led by Mark Meadows forced former Speaker John Boehner into early retirement, McCarthy withdrew his own bid to become speaker in 2015. The gavel slipped away again after Speaker Paul Ryan retired and Republicans lost House control in 2018. McCarthy has faced potential challenges from conservative Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., the GOP whip in charge of counting votes, though the two are more friendly rivals now, as well as from Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, the de facto leader of the swelling conservative ranks and another Trump confidant. Jordan said McCarthy has done what the others failed to do — bring the Freedom Caucus and conservatives into the fold. While Boehner punished what he sometimes called the "knuckleheads,” and Ryan simply ignored them, McCarthy showers the far right with face time and rank. He made Jordan the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee, the perch he used to defend Trump from impeachment. “He’s going to become the speaker if we take back the House," Jordan said an interview Thursday. McCarthy, who declined to respond to an interview request, has said he wants House Republicans to focus their attention against Democrats, not on internal party rifts. Without Cheney, he may have fewer dissenters to contend with. “The frustrating thing about this is that they’re both right,” said Michael Steel, a former top Boehner aide. “Cheney is correct that President Trump lost the presidential election ... and McCarthy is also right — the job of the Republican leader is to gain the majority and become speaker of the House.” Lisa Mascaro, The Associated Press
Recent developments: What's the latest? Quebec's COVID-19 vaccination age drops to 35 today. On Monday that moves to 30 and one week from today, it's 18. With vaccinations spreading among Canadians, many may now wonder — when will widespread working from home come to an end? WATCH | Bikes are a hot commodity in Ottawa: How many cases are there? The region is in a record-breaking third wave of the pandemic that includes more dangerous coronavirus variants, straining contact tracing and pushing hospitals past their limits. As of Tuesday, 24,998 Ottawa residents have tested positive for COVID-19. There are 1,622 known active cases, 22,859 resolved cases and 519 deaths. Public health officials have reported more than 45,600 COVID-19 cases across eastern Ontario and western Quebec, including more than 42,200 resolved cases. Elsewhere in eastern Ontario, 178 people have died. In western Quebec, the death toll is 201. Akwesasne has had more than 660 residents test positive and 10 deaths between its northern and southern sections. Kitigan Zibi has had 34 cases. Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory has had 11, with one death. Pikwakanagan hasn't had any. CBC Ottawa is profiling those who've died of COVID-19. If you'd like to share your loved one's story, please get in touch. The transfer of COVID-19 patients from other regions to Ottawa hospitals continues. As of the most recent update Tuesday, there were about 35 COVID-19 patients from other communities in Ottawa ICUs. What can I do? Eastern Ontario: Ontario is under a stay-at-home order until at least May 20. People should only leave home for essential reasons like getting groceries, seeking health care and exercising. They should stay within their immediate area and province unless it's absolutely necessary to leave. The vast majority of gatherings are prohibited. Exceptions include small activities with households and small religious services. Tulip bulbs in Ottawa on May 5, 2021, ahead of the official start of the Canadian Tulip Festival.(Andrew Lee/CBC) Golf courses and tennis and basketball courts are among the closed recreation venues. Police checkpoints between Ontario and Quebec are not running 24/7. Officers in Ontario have the power to stop and question people if they believe they've gathered illegally. Ontario has indefinitely moved to online learning. Daycares remain open. Most non-essential businesses can only offer curbside pickup. Access to malls is restricted and big-box stores can only sell essential items. Gyms and personal care services are closed, while restaurants are only available for takeout and delivery. Local health units and communities can also set their own rules, as Ottawa's is doing around playgrounds, Prince Edward County's is doing around travel and Kingston is doing for Breakwater Park. Western Quebec Premier François Legault has said the situation is critical in Gatineau and is asking people there to only leave home when it's essential. Schools, gyms, theatres, personal care services and non-essential businesses are closed until Monday across the Outaouais. Some rules start to loosen that day. Private gatherings are banned, except for a person who lives alone seeing one other household. Distanced outdoor exercise is allowed in groups up to eight people. The curfew is from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. People are asked to only have close contact with people they live with, be masked and distanced for all other in-person contact and only leave their immediate area for essential reasons — under threat of a fine if they go to a yellow or green zone. Distancing and isolating The novel coronavirus primarily spreads through droplets that can hang in the air. People can be contagious without symptoms, even after getting a vaccine. Coronavirus variants of concern are more contagious and are taking over. This means it is important to take precautions now and in the future like staying home while sick — and getting help with costs if needed — keeping hands and surfaces clean and maintaining distance from anyone you don't live with, even with a mask on. Masks, preferably ones that fit snugly and have three layers, are mandatory in indoor public settings in Ontario and Quebec. OPH says residents should wear masks outside their homes whenever possible. People have to show proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test to enter Canada by land without a fine and have to pay for their stay in a quarantine hotel if entering by air. Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms should self-isolate, as should those who've been ordered to do so by their public health unit. The length varies in Quebec and Ontario. Health Canada recommends older adults and people with underlying medical conditions and/or weakened immune systems get help with errands. Vaccines Four COVID-19 vaccines have been deemed safe and approved in Canada. Canada's task force said first doses offer such strong protection that people can wait up to four months to get a second. About 845,000 doses have been given out in the Ottawa-Gatineau region since mid-December, including about 381,000 doses to Ottawa residents and about 165,000 in western Quebec. Eastern Ontario Ontario is vaccinating people age 50 and older at its clinics. People can book appointments online or over the phone at 1-833-943-3900. The province has opened up appointments for people age 18 and up in Ottawa's K1T, K1V and K2V "hot spot" postal codes. Ottawans in the city's priority neighbourhoods above age 18 and Indigenous people above age 16 can check their eligibility online with the city. People who are 40 or will be this year can contact participating pharmacies for a vaccine appointment. Pharmacies can offer walk-in vaccines if they wish. Six Ottawa pharmacies will be offering Moderna vaccines to people age 50 and up. Ontario has a staggered rollout plan to expand its vaccination campaign week-by-week, allowing everyone over age 18 to make an appointment starting the week of May 24. The province expects to have given a first dose to about two-thirds of adults by the end of May. Next week, people as young as age 40 can book through the province. Eligibility is also expected to include a wider range of health conditions and job types, such as transit and grocery store employees. Local health units have some flexibility in the larger framework, so check their websites for details. Some have said they won't have the vaccine supply to cover everyone who becomes eligible right away. Western Quebec Quebec's vaccination plan covers people age 35 and older in the Outaouais, along with essential workers and people with chronic illnesses and disabilities, including pregnancy. It's also doing a staggered expansion, reaching down to children as young as 12 in June. Its next expansion is down to age 30 on Monday. People who qualify can make an appointment online or over the phone. Pharmacists there have started giving shots with appointments through the province. Symptoms and testing COVID-19 can range from a cold-like illness to a severe lung infection, with common symptoms including fever, a cough, vomiting and loss of taste or smell. Children tend to have an upset stomach and/or a rash. If you have severe symptoms, call 911. Mental health can also be affected by the pandemic, and resources are available to help. In eastern Ontario: Anyone seeking a test should book an appointment. Check with your health unit for clinic locations and hours. Ontario recommends only getting tested if you have symptoms, if you've been told to by your health unit or the province, or if you fit certain other criteria. People without symptoms but who are part of the province's targeted testing strategy can make an appointment at select pharmacies. Travellers who need a test have very few local options to pay for one. In western Quebec: Tests are strongly recommended for people with symptoms, their contacts and people who have been told to get tested. Outaouais residents can make an appointment and check wait times online. Call 1-877-644-4545 with questions, including if walk-in testing is available nearby. First Nations, Inuit and Métis: First Nations, Inuit and Métis people, or someone travelling to work in a remote Indigenous community, are eligible for a test in Ontario. Akwesasne has a COVID-19 test site by appointment only and a curfew of 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. Anyone returning to the community on the Canadian side of the international border who's been farther than 160 kilometres away — or visited Montreal — for non-essential reasons is asked to self-isolate for 14 days. People in Pikwakanagan can book a COVID-19 test by calling 613-625-1175. Anyone in Tyendinaga who's interested in a test can call 613-967-3603 and in Kitigan Zibi, 819-449-5593. Tyendinaga's council is asking people not to travel there to camp or fish. Inuit in Ottawa can call the Akausivik Inuit Family Health Team at 613-740-0999 for service, including testing and vaccines, in Inuktitut or English on weekdays. For more information
A COVID-19 outbreak that forced the partial closure of one of Canada Post’s largest mail sorting plants was preceded by a planned party at the facilities.
Nineteen people have been charged after Ontario Provincial Police busted several large cannabis production facilities in southwestern Ontario. The OPP carried out five search warrants at three greenhouses and two residences Wednesday morning in the areas of County Roads 31 and 34 in Kingsville, and Seacliff Drive West in Leamington. Authorities said they seized more than 20,000 cannabis plants, more than 1,400 pounds of processed cannabis, some Canadian currency and equipment. They said the cannabis is likely worth more than $18 million. Eighteen people, with ages ranging between 19 and 72, have been charged with: Possession of cannabis for the purpose of selling. Cultivating, propagating or harvesting cannabis plants at a place that is "not their dwelling-house." The same two charges have been laid against a 19th individual — a 34-year-old man from Mississauga — but he's also charged with possessing "proceeds of property obtained by crime under $5,000." Those accused will appear at the Ontario Court of Justice in Leamington at a later date. OPP say their investigation is ongoing. "To those individuals or groups who continue to profit from these illegal grow operations, the OPP will relentlessly pursue your interests, seize your property and introduce you into the criminal justice system," said OPP Insp. Glenn Miller.
Friday's Saskatchewan COVID-19 case numbers illustrate the unpredictability of the province's pandemic curve. Just a day before, on Thursday, health officials reported 156 new cases of COVID-19 — the lowest daily bump in nearly a month and a half. But the numbers surged on Friday, with the Ministry of Health reporting 295 new cases based on 3,652 tests — the highest single-day increase since 294 new cases were reported on April 15. One new death was reported: a person their 70s from the southwest region. Saskatoon leads in new cases Saskatoon surpassed Regina as the region reporting the highest new daily crop of cases for the third time in the last week and a half. Saskatoon led all areas with 98 new cases Friday, with the Regina area coming in second with 68 new cases. The rest of the new cases were found in the following regions: far northwest (two), far northeast (five), northwest (33), north central (17), northeast (nine), central west (one), central east (10), southwest (nine), south central (seven) and southeast (32). Two regions, the central east and northeast, reported their first cases of the highly transmissible P1 variant. (Government of Saskatchewan) Saskatchewan's seven-day average of daily new cases stands at 221, or 18.0 new cases per 100,000 people. There are 174 infected people in hospital provincewide, including 38 people under intensive care. Vaccine deliveries continue to happen at a strong pace, with 10,530 doses administered on Thursday. Saskachewan is getting closer to its first threshold for beginning to relax or lift COVID-19 public health measures. As of Friday, 69 per cent of residents aged 40 and above have received one dose of vaccine. That's just one percentage shy of the province's Step One reopening target of 70 per cent of people 40 and over receiving a single dose. However, three weeks need to elapse after that threshold is met and vaccine eligibility must be lowered to people aged 18 and over by that time for Step One to be initiated. (Government of Saskatchewan) Currently, only residents in the general population aged 35 and over can book an appointment for a COVID-19 vaccine. On Friday, the province announced that age requirement will be lowered to 32 starting on Saturday. In a scrum with reporters, Health Minister Paul Merriman was asked whether slower first-dose vaccine uptake among people in the 50-to-59 and 60-to-69 age brackets has him concerned about vaccine hesitancy. As of Thursday, 65 per cent and 79 per cent of people in those age groups, respectively, had been inoculated once. One week earlier, on April 29, the percentages stood at 59 per cent and 76 per cent. Meanwhile, despite being eligible for vaccination for a shorter period of time, 47 per cent of people aged 40 to 49 had received one dose by Thursday, up from 28 per cent the previous week. "No, I don't think there's that much vaccine hesitancy out there," Merriman said. "I think some people were waiting and seeing and I respect that. But now that their neighbours or their family members have been vaccinated, we're seeing people in that higher age range that are coming in for the first time." (Government of Saskatchewan)
Frustration. That was the broad reaction to the revelation the BC Centre for Disease Control has been providing detailed information on COVID-19 case counts and vaccinations at a neighbourhood-based level in Metro Vancouver — but not releasing it to the public. "Experts have been asking for this data package for so long, and to find out that it was available but not being shared is really disappointing and really frustrating," said Green Party Leader Sonia Furstenau. The data, originally leaked to The Vancouver Sun, shows a number of different metrics that journalists and data scientists have long been asking for. The biggest immediate story was one some had suspected but the government had only hinted at through the partial data it revealed — positivity rates for the virus in the poorest and more diverse neighbourhoods of Surrey were the worst in Metro Vancouver last week, but the per cent of people vaccinated was lower than richer, whiter areas of the Fraser Valley. It also shows that positivity rates were above 20 per cent in Peace River North last week (the local health area surrounding Fort St. John), while the per cent of people who had been vaccinated was the lowest in the province. "To really understand geographically, especially in the high transmission areas, what the rates were is really important. It's less about modelling and more about equity issues," said Jens Von Bergmann, a data scientist and member of the BC COVID-19 Modelling Group. But the leak also shows a broader story of this pandemic: the public not having the same information as the government to help inform its own personal decision making. "It's frustrating to constantly run into things like this, especially when you see what other provinces provide," said Von Bergmann. Leaked data from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control showed vaccination rates in northwest Surrey were less than many other areas of the Fraser Valley, despite the area having much higher case counts and positivity rates. (BCCDC) What do other provinces provide? B.C. is the only province other than PEI not to provide any data on weekends. It's the only province with a major outbreak that doesn't provide regular vaccine updates by age. On variants, on cases by neighbourhood or positive cases after vaccination: whatever metric you can think of, chances are B.C. provides less information than other large states and provinces. This isn't a question of political debate or ideology, it's the objective truth. Throughout the pandemic, officials at various health authorities and the B.C. Centre for Disease Control have told CBC News the lack of data is primarily a result of two issues: insufficient IT and the government prioritizing many other aspects of the pandemic much more than open and accessible data. In other words: the relative lack of daily data is rooted in B.C. being behind the curve on technology. But the lack of weekly data or any proactive effort to improve access to data through the pandemic is ultimately due to political interest. "I think government has to recognize its responsibility to continuously build and maintain trust," said Furstenau. "Other provinces provide much more granular data than we have shown. That is a way to keep building trust and being able to explain clearly why we're making the decisions we are and what's informing our decisions." 'Transparent as any jurisdiction in North America' At the same time, public data isn't a silver bullet: while Alberta and Ontario provide much more data, they're both struggling with a third wave with much higher per capita case counts and hospitalizations than B.C. "I think in a health emergency like this, what we should be striving for is continual improvement, always looking at how we can be better," said Furstenau. The BCCDC has already said releasing community data "might now be changing" after this leak. Should that happen, it would follow a similar pattern of the province releasing information on municipal data and care-home data: originally saying it wasn't necessary due to privacy concerns, only to reverse its decision after public criticism reached a fever pitch. In the end, it's a reflection of a government led by a premier who said the following on Nov. 18 in response to a question about data. "We're not hiding anything," said John Horgan. "We have been as transparent as any jurisdiction in North America." It wasn't true then. And it's not true now.