In the tightly contested state of Florida, emotions are running high.
In the tightly contested state of Florida, emotions are running high.
Prince Wong was still in her mother's womb when the Chinese government reclaimed control over Hong Kong from the British in the summer of 1997. For her 23rd birthday this year, Wong posted a photo of herself on Instagram wearing a pastel-striped paper hat trimmed with pink pompoms. On a recent day, Wong spun a gold ring on her finger in continuous circles as she spoke quietly about the past year of her life.
BUDAPEST, Hungary — The U.S. Embassy in Budapest on Monday condemned an article published by a Hungarian official that drew parallels between American-Hungarian billionaire George Soros and Adolf Hitler and the Nazis.The embassy posted on its Twitter account that it “strongly condemns” statements made in an article equating a debate over the European Union’s bid to bolster democratic standards within its member countries “with the horrific murder of millions of people during the Holocaust.”On Saturday, Szilard Demeter, a ministerial commissioner for culture and the head of the Petofi Literary Museum in Budapest, wrote an opinion piece in pro-government news site Origo referring to Europe as “George Soros’ gas chamber,” and calling Soros “the liberal Führer (whose) liber-aryan army deifies him more than did Hitler’s own.”In the piece, Demeter also noted the conflict over the European Union’s next budget, which Hungary and Poland are holding up over provisions that could block payments to countries that do not uphold democratic standards. He referred to the two countries, both of which are under EU investigation for undermining judicial independence and media freedom, as “the new Jews.”Soros, who was born in Hungary and is a Holocaust survivor, is a frequent target of right-wing Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who opposes Soros’ philanthropy which favours liberal causes.The statements prompted strong reactions from several Hungarian Jewish groups and Hungarian opposition politicians while the Israeli Embassy condemned the article. More than 12,000 people including numerous Hungarian public figures like Budapest Mayor Gergely Karacsony have so far signed a petition demanding Demeter’s resignation.Demeter retracted the article on Sunday following the backlash and said he would delete his Facebook account.In Hungary’s parliament on Monday, several opposition lawmakers inquired how long Demeter would be permitted to remain in his position while others demanded his dismissal. But deputy prime minister Mihaly Varga, who is also finance minister, said that Demeter would remain in his position since he had “admitted his mistake.”“He retracted his article, and he even deleted his Facebook account. He wrote that (his article) could harm the memory of the victims, so he admitted his mistake,” Varga said, and accused the opposition members of parliament of “applying a double standard.”Justin Spike, The Associated Press
Nearly 4,000 BC Hydro customers on the South Coast and Vancouver Island are still without power at the tail end of a rainy, windy overnight storm that brought gusts of up to 100 km/h to coastal areas of B.C.The outages affect customers across the southern and northern ends of Vancouver Island, in the Lower Mainland and on the Sunshine Coast. Earlier Monday, the number of customers without power had approached 20,000.Wind warnings were in effect for much of the day in Greater Victoria, which has been bearing the brunt of a Pacific coastal front. Winds between 70 and 90 km/h were in the forecast for areas of southern Vancouver Island near the Juan de Fuca Strait.At the Sand Pebbles Inn in Qualicum Beach, the wind caused heavy branches and an overhang in the parking area to collapse, crushing the roof of Todd Milligan's car.Weather warnings for other parts of the island were lifted early Monday afternoon, though a special weather statement remains in effect for Metro Vancouver. Gusts sent a large tree crashing into Vancouver's Commercial Drive late Monday morning, downing a number of power lines as it went.BC Ferries cancelled several early morning sailings between the mainland and Vancouver Island due to the weather. Normal ferry sailings have since resumed.Simon Fraser University announced it was closing some buildings and cancelling some services due to the power outage.Earlier wind warnings for western Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast were lifted before 10 a.m. PT.The weather is expected to ease Monday except for Haida Gwaii and the North Coast, where high winds are expected to continue through Tuesday night.
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
NEW YORK — In the land of lexicography, out of the whole of the English language, 2020's word of the year is a vocabulary of one. For the first time, two dictionary companies on Monday — Merriam-Webster and Dictionary.com — declared the same word as their tops: pandemic. A third couldn't settle on just one so issued a 16-page report instead along the same lines, noting that a world of once-specialized terms entered the mainstream during the COVID-19 crisis. The year, Oxford Languages said in the report last week, “brought a new immediacy and urgency to the role of the lexicographer. In almost real-time, lexicographers were able to monitor and analyze seismic shifts in language data and precipitous frequency rises in new coinages." Its Oxford English Dictionary and others found themselves madly updating well beyond routine schedules to keep up. Such publication updates are usually planned far in advance. Because the coronavirus pandemic brought on gargantuan language changes, according to Oxford Languages, “2020 is a year which cannot be neatly accommodated in one single `word of the year.'” Not so at Merriam-Webster and Dictionary.com, both of which also noted enormous shifts toward many other related words but announced just one nonetheless. Pandemic “probably isn’t a big shock,” Peter Sokolowski, editor at large for Merriam-Webster, told The Associated Press ahead of the announcement. “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. John Kelly, senior research editor at Dictionary.com, told the AP before breaking the news that searches on the site for pandemic spiked more than 13,500% on March 11, the day the World Health Organization declared an outbreak of the novel coronavirus a global health emergency. The daily spike, he said, was “massive, but even more telling is how high it has sustained significant search volumes throughout the entire year." Month over month, lookups for pandemic were more than 1,000% higher than usual. For about half the year, the word was in the top 10% of all lookup on Dictionary.com, Kelly said. Similarly, at Merriam-Webster.com, searches for pandemic on March 11 were 115,806% higher than spikes experienced on the same date last year, Sokolowski said. Pandemic, with roots in Latin and Greek, is a combination of “pan,” for all, and “demos,” for people or population, he said. The latter is the same root of “democracy,” Sokolowski said. 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 in the knowing. “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.” The pandemic, Kelly said, made us all worthy of watercooler chatter with Dr. Anthony Fauci as our knowledge grew about all things pandemic, 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. Merriam-Webster began designating a word of the year in 2008, with “bailout.” The company's word of the year for 2019 was “they,” when a shifting use of the personal pronoun was a hot subject and lookups increased by 313% in 2019 over the previous year. Dictionary.com has been in the word of the year game since 2010, with “change.” Its word of the year in 2019 was “existential" in a year that climate change, gun violence, the very nature of democracy and an angsty little movie star named Forky from Disney's “Toy Story 4” helped propel search spikes. Oxford went with two words last year: climate emergency. Kelly, Sokolowski and Oxford Languages 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, Kelly said. “There was no way for us to leave that out of the conversation this year,” he said. Oxford included a range in its report, from “karen” to “QAnon.” But it was all things pandemic that ultimately won the annual word sweepstakes. Jennifer Steeves-Kiss, chief executive for 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.” Leanne Italie, The Associated Press
Windsor-Essex is handling more than a dozen COVID-19 outbreaks across various sectors, including two in hospitals, the local health unit reported Monday. There are now 17 outbreaks across several sectors in Windsor-Essex, including one at Windsor Regional Hospital (WRH) and another at Hotel Dieu Grace Healthcare that were both declared on Sunday. Between the outbreaks and more than 400 active cases, medical officer of health Dr. Wajid Ahmed noted the strain public health is experiencing as the region moved into its first day of the province's red COVID-19 category Monday. Ahmed said resources are "limited" and that the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit (WECHU) is one of the "lowest funded on a per capita basis in the province of Ontario." "There are some disadvantages from a resourcing perspective that we are dealing with but our staff are dedicated and motivated," Ahmed said. "It's a monumental task given what we are dealing with. Just by the case rate, roughly our case rates are similar to what the city of Toronto is dealing with and you can imagine what kind of infrastructure and supports they have." During the health unit's daily briefing Friday, chief nursing officer Theresa Marentette said they are reaching out to the Ministry of Health for additional support and hiring at least 17 new staff members to join their COVID-19 team. The outbreak at WRH is taking place on the 7th floor at the Ouellette Campus after four staff members tested positive. All patients were swabbed on Friday and have come back negative, though a re-swabbing will be performed, the health unit said Monday. Many staff members have also been tested and received negatives at this time. The floor is a medical, non-surgical area that has 60 beds and makes up more than 10 per cent of the hospital's bed capacity, the hospital said in a news release. There will be no admissions or transfers from the 7th floor, unless a patient is being discharged home or for medical necessity. Meanwhile, the outbreak at Hotel Dieu is taking place on the 3rd floor of its rehabilitation tower, the hospital said in a news release Sunday. Three staff and two patients have tested positive for COVID-19 and are associated with the outbreak.More than 400 active casesOn Monday, the health unit reported 41 new cases for the region. Of these, five are close contacts of a confirmed case, five are local health-care workers, five are community acquired, one is an agri-farm worker and 25 are still under investigation. There are 424 active cases in the region, 89 of which were reported over the weekend. The new cases come as Windsor-Essex enters the red "control" zone of the province's COVID-19 public health restrictions framework. The new designation — one stage short of the lockdown tier — comes with further limits on dining and other activities.The number of new cases and outbreaks has put a strain on local public health resources, medical officer of health Dr. Wajid Ahmed said Monday. As a result, he said that anyone who has been in contact with a positive case should start to trace back their steps and develop a contact list before they are contacted by public health to speed up the process. There are seven workplace outbreaks, including: * Three in Leamington's agriculture sector. * One in Lakeshore's health care and social assistance sector. * One in a Leamington place of worship. * One in Leamington's finance and insurance sector. * One in Windsor's manufacturing sector.Two community outbreaks are still active, one at Victoria Manor Supportive Living in Windsor and another at Riverplace Residence in Windsor. Two schools — Frank W. Begley Public School and W. J. Langlois Catholic Elementary School — also remain in outbreak.Begley now has 49 cases, 40 are students and nine are staff members. W. J. Langlois has seven cases, with four students and three staff members confirmed positive. As of Tuesday, Begley will technically be out of its 14-day isolation period, though the school is closed until further notice.Ahmed said that unless told otherwise, students should remain in isolation. He said they are working to discharge cases and students. He also said that the health unit is working with the board to develop a return to school plan that will likely see students incrementally head back to class. There are four long-term care and retirement homes in outbreak, including: * Leamington Mennonite in Leamington with one staff case. * Chartwell Royal Oak Residence in Kingsville with one staff case. * Riverside place in Windsor with 17 resident cases and three staff cases. * Iler Lodge in Essex with 18 resident cases and three staff cases. Meanwhile, officials with the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance say they are preparing for a possible second wave of the virus.Hospital officials told reporters Monday they are watching closely as the number of infections rise In neighbouring regionsBut right now, Chatham-Kent has just 18 active cases of COVID-19, including one hospitalized patient at CKHA.
BRUCE COUNTY – County Coun. Steve Hammell, mayor of Arran-Elderslie, has been asked to be a member of the steering committee for an agricultural plastic waste recycling pilot project. Bruce County’s Transportation and Environmental Services Committee approved the CleanFarms Inc. project for collecting agricultural plastic waste in the county. In October, staff met with two representatives from CleanFarms Inc., a non-profit environmental stewardship organization that operates permanent collection programs for a variety of agricultural plastics across Canada. CleanFarms has 10 years of experience in such programs. The Bruce County bale wrap and twine collection pilot project would be a first for Ontario. The purpose, as stated in a report to the transportation and environmental services committee, “is to build a collection model that will be practical for farmers, cost effective and that can eventually be replicated in other regions of Ontario.” The Bruce County pilot project will be funded by CleanFarms and the Agricultural and AgriFood Canada’s Canadian agricultural strategic priorities program. “This could have a big impact on diverting waste,” said Miguel Pelletier, director of transportation and environmental services. Hammell said his farm does recycle bale wrap (with a different company). He said the pilot program, if successful, would “divert a lot that’s currently being burned.”Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times
WROXETER – Proposed changes to the Conservation Authorities Act have the board members of Maitland Conservation (formerly Maitland Valley Conservation Authority) concerned. At the MC meeting on Nov. 18, the members agreed that they must get loud and push back, making “as much noise as possible” to make sure the government hears their concerns. Among their concerns is “the glaring omission” of watershed management as a core service of conservation authorities. “Watershed management is the main reason that conservation authorities were formed,” according to a summary report prepared by the MC. “The province, municipalities and conservation groups realized that the best way to conserve forests and rivers was to undertake conservation stewardship on a watershed basis.” MC’s chairs and vice-chairs made this point to Jeff Yurek, Ontario’s minister of environment, conservation, and parks, and Huron-Bruce MPP Lisa Thompson when they met at MC’s office last August. Yurek did say that he could add watershed management services as a core service by regulation, according to a report presented to the MC board members. “Tacked on to the recent Government of Ontario omnibus Budget Bill 229 is Schedule 6, a proposal for significant changes to the Conservation Authorities Act. Schedule 6 has set off alarm bells amongst Conservation Authorities and our partners across the province,” a press release dated Nov. 22 from MC said. “The proposed changes will severely curtail the role of Conservation Authorities in watershed planning and management. This will negatively impact our efforts to build watershed resiliency and deliver stewardship, monitoring and flood and erosion safety services to our member municipalities and watershed residents.” Dave Turton, chair of MC, said that the government surveyed the 36 Ontario conservation authorities in 2019. They provided feedback to the province on flood and erosion safety, watershed stewardship, funding, severe weather events other than spring thaws, and water quality. He said they would like Schedule 6 removed, “as it goes against a lot of our thoughts to the province last year.” Yurek sent a letter to conservation authorities on Nov. 5 outlining the Conservation Authorities Act and the Planning Act. These updates, according to the letter, would “improve the consistency and transparency of the programs and services that conservation authorities deliver.” Yurek added that the updates would provide additional oversight for municipalities and the province. They would also streamline conservation authority permitting and land use planning reviews to increase accountability, consistency, and transparency. The anticipated changes are exempt from the public consultation requirements set out by the Environmental Bill of Rights because they are part of a budget. Once the province approves that budget, it will support the Conservation Authorities Act’s changes. During the discussion at the meeting, the board’s opinion was that the Ford government was again trying to change the greenbelt designation in Vaughn. “The government seems to be bending to the developers in and around the Toronto area,” said Turton. “The land development is so vast that all the non-conservation land is used up, and now where do you build?” Added Turton, “We understand that some environmentally-friendly areas are being filled in with dirt for housing construction, etc. This is not right. The Conservation Authorities have used science-based collaborative strategies in decision making and will continue this path.” The greenbelt has been a controversial subject since 2019, when landowner Lucia Milani of Rizmi Holdings approached the provincial government, intending to get the protected status lifted off a 60-acre piece of land in northeast Vaughan. The CBC reports that the campaign has since been closed. The MC encouraged watershed residents to “take a moment to read the material developed by Ontario Nature and the Canadian Environmental Law Association and sign their petition.” You can find it at Ontario Nature Petition. The campaign asks the Ontario government to retain the current mandate of the province’s 36 Conservation Authorities. An excerpt from the campaign letter said, “Ontario’s Conservation Authorities are a unique and widely- respected innovation. They provide a much-valued bridge across municipal boundaries to understand and address environmental concerns, such as flooding. They are ideally positioned to encourage science-based collaborative strategies and decision-making because they operate at the watershed level. “The changes proposed in Schedule 6 will reduce or constrain the mandate of Conservation Authorities, and are therefore contradictory to the interests of the people of Ontario, who are facing enormous risks and costs as a result of climate change and ongoing biodiversity loss.” In a statement on its website, Ontario Nature says, “The vital role of our Conservation Authorities in watershed-based land use planning and permitting must be retained to prevent unchecked development, that puts communities at risk from flooding and other climate change impacts through the loss of wetlands, woodlands, and farmland.” Conservation Authorities’ core role has been under review since 2019 when Ontario committed to its Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan to ensure that conservation authorities focus and deliver on their core mandate. The roles of preparing and protecting against the impacts of natural hazards, maintaining and managing conservation lands, and drinking water source protection are the focus of the review. According to a notice posted on Ontario.ca, consultations have been held with “conservation authorities and a diverse group of stakeholders, including municipalities, the agricultural and development sectors, environmental and conservation organizations, and landowners,” on the appropriate role for conservation authorities. Phil Beard, general manager of MC, said, “I attended the consultation session in London. The majority of presentations were supportive of conservation authorities and their present mandate and services. “However, the government did not release the results of the consultation sessions,” he added. “So, they are the only ones who know what was actually submitted for comments.” “If the government would reveal the results of the consultation sessions, then it would be transparent to everyone that they have or have not taken the consultation sessions into account,” added Beard. Conservation Ontario (CO) recommends the province repeal Schedule 6 because the changes being proposed will create more red tape and higher costs for Ontario taxpayers, as well as threaten the independent watershed-based approach used by conservation authorities in land-use planning, it said in a press release dated Nov. 18. CO is encouraging residents and watershed partners to reach out to the Premier, the Minister of Finance, the Minister of Environment, Conservation and Parks, the Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry and the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, as well as their local MPPs to request them to repeal Schedule 6 of the Bill 229: Protect, Support and Recover from COVID- 19 Act (Budget Measures Act).Cory Bilyea, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Wingham Advance Times
BLYTH – A survey will be coming to mailboxes in North Huron soon to seek input on expanding the North Huron Childcare Services to Blyth. Outgoing Manager of Children’s Services, Valerie Watson, presented her final report to council on Nov. 16, responding to the possible need for expanded childcare services in the town. She suggested a survey would be an excellent way to get more information from residents about the subject. When they completed their 2020-2023 Strategic Planning, the report was requested by council to “explore the feasibility of expanding daycare services in Blyth.” In the report, Watson said that before the COVID-19 closure of childcare programs in March, North Huron’s children programs were consistently full. The electronic waitlist (OneHSN) regularly had numbers in the 70-80 range of children looking for care. The waitlist includes many infants, often put on the list well in advance of needing care, some as soon as they are born. North Huron continues to have approximately 80 children on the waitlist, four of which live in the Blyth area, Watson told council. She suggested the following factors to take into consideration: the number of children requiring care, a suitable location that satisfies the ministry’s licencing requirements, staffing, and funding opportunities. Childcare services are currently available in the Walton, Wingham, Seaforth, Clinton, and Goderich areas. When calculating break-even costs for staffing purposes, the minimum number of children to cover staffing costs would be approximately 16 children. Staff is considering the Blyth Community Centre auditorium as a possible location, saying that it could be utilized as a childcare centre with significant renovations. Childcare staff reviewed that space and offered the following information to council: This space contains a large commercial kitchen area, including a mandatory commercial dishwasher. There is ample floor space to divide up into suitable rooms as required by the Ministry of Education. It has open space around the building that could be developed into the necessary outdoor fenced play space. There are already defined rooms that could be renovated to provide the required staff break area, office, and storage areas. The space being located on the second storey is not ideal. However, clients can access the elevator, and there are appropriate fire evacuation doors and steps. It is also noted the space has a sound heating system and necessary plumbing. Council approved the motion to send out the survey and will consider the results at a future council meeting after completing the study.Cory Bilyea, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Wingham Advance Times
Georgian Bay’s Honey Harbour Public Library is reopening at their new location, but only for curbside pickup, on Tuesday, Dec. 1 following its pandemic-related closure earlier this year. They’ll be open four days a week, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Currently, the library is only handling drop-ins and contact-free pickups at their other locations in Georgian Bay, at the MacTier and Port Severn branches. On Dec. 1, all their locations will transition into curbside service only. The new library is located inside the Honey Harbour Public School at 2586 Honey Harbour Road. Tracey Fitchett, the library’s CEO, said she’s “really excited” to finally be operating out of the new facility, even though the public can’t come in. Official talks about relocating to the public school from their old location began last year. Fitchett said renovations began in fall 2019. Staff were in the midst of moving their things to the new location when public schools were closed provincewide on March 14. Until Friday, Nov. 27, their plan was to open the facility to the public, but they changed their plans out of fear of contributing to the spread of the coronavirus. “The numbers are so high every day and with other areas being in lockdown and potentially a lot of people from the red and grey zones will be coming here to stay at their cottages,” she said. “It’s just added risk to the staff and the people that come into the library.” Georgian Bay falls under the jurisdiction of the Simcoe Muskoka Public Health Unit, currently in the orange zone. No more than ten people can gather indoors under these rules. Curbside pickup will operate the same way it does at the other library locations in Georgian Bay. People can reserve books or movies online or over the phone, then the library will take either a day or up to two weeks to acquire the materials. Renters can then come pick up the materials during open hours and drop them off at the drop box. “It’s a beautiful space,” Fitchett said about the new library. “It’d be nice to have the community be able to come in again.” Zahraa Hmood is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter covering the municipalities of Muskoka Lakes, Lake of Bays and Georgian Bay. Her reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative.Zahraa Hmood, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, muskokaregion.com
TORONTO — Home prices are increasing in Canada’s cottage country as more buyers look to move there full-time, according to a report released Monday by Royal LePage. Prices of single-family recreational homes rose 11.5 per cent to an aggregate of $453,046 in the first nine months of the year, the real estate brokerage said.The data from Royal LePage comes amid an overall uptick in home prices this year, after COVID-19 lockdowns stymied the spring buying season. A rush of demand and a limited supply as the economy reopened this summer and fall meant that home prices were up 15.2 per cent last month in Canada compared to a year ago, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association.Royal LePage chief executive Phil Soper says the number of cottages, cabins, chalets and farmhouses on the market have also dwindled amid the increased demand, at least through September.“Inventory levels are the lowest I've seen in 15 years," said Heather FitzGerald, a Royal LePage agent in Moncton, NB, in the report. While local buyers have moved away from cities and closer to nature, FitzGerald also noted an increase in buyers from Ontario and Quebec. Corey Huskilson, another Royal LePage agent quoted in the report and based in Halifax, said buyers from outside of the Maritimes, "who expect to be working remotely for the foreseeable future, are flocking to the area."Real estate agents in 54 per cent of regions told the brokerage that there was a significant increase in buyers looking to work remotely at a cottage as a primary residence. Eric Leger, a Laurentians-based agent, said in the report that Quebec’s lockdown periods “sparked an urgent desire for many city dwellers, in need of more living space, to relocate to the suburbs and cottage country.” Agents in other provinces noted similar trends, with one agent noting that Alberta-based buyers are competing with people across the country for properties in Canmore.“Highway developments have reduced the drive from Saskatoon to 1.5 hours, which makes working remotely more possible for those who still have to go into the office a few days a week," said broker Lou Doderai in the report.The report says retirees have also bid up cottage prices, with agents in 68 per cent of regions saying more retirees are buying cottages this year compared to last year. "Retiring baby boomers have been putting upward pressure on prices and reducing inventory for the last few years. Retirees are now finding themselves competing against remote workers,” said Bob Clarke, an agent in Ontario's Muskoka region, in the report.“The most common question used to be 'is the property West-facing?' Now my clients' biggest concern is internet quality." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2020.Anita Balakrishnan, The Canadian Press
GREY-BRUCE – As of Monday, Nov. 23, Grey-Bruce entered the Yellow stage of the Ontario Public Health classification system. The change from Green to Yellow means greater restrictions and enhanced enforcement – including operational restrictions on bars and restaurants, sports and recreational facilities, personal care services, retail spaces and other businesses – an outcome that none of us desires, according to Dr. Ian Arra, medical officer of health. Arra added that collectively, it is in our control to change our designation back to Green as soon as we can – but it will take an effort from all of us. As of press time, there were 50 active cases of COVID-19 in Grey-Bruce, plus eight probable cases. Most concerning are the 280 high risk contacts associated with active cases. As stated on the health unit’s website, “It takes a tremendous amount of effort to manage this number of high-risk contacts. This number will keep increasing, unless we limit, starting today, our unprotected encounters with all people outside of our own households.” Two people in Grey-Bruce are currently hospitalized with COVID-19. Although there are no facilities with COVID-19 outbreaks, as of Nov. 24, Grey Bruce Public Health was working with Bluewater District School Board to address a case of COVID-19 associated with Hillcrest Elementary School in Owen Sound. The bus route associated with this case has been deemed low risk. Public health officials will notify anyone considered at high risk, so they can isolate and be tested. There have been 283 cases to date in Grey-Bruce. Owen Sound has had the highest number – 69, while Southgate in Grey County has had 40 (15 of them active), and Kincardine in Bruce County has had 36 (nine active). All municipalities in the two counties have had at least one case of COVID-19. For detailed information on the Yellow category of the framework, please visit the provincial website. It helps to explain the changes resulting from the change from Green to Yellow. The Grey Bruce Health Unit has fact sheets available to assist the public and businesses in understanding these changes. Stated on the Grey Bruce Health Unit website was the following: “We have been seeing a deeply concerning trend of a significant increase in the number of cases locally, and in the number of close contacts of these cases. These findings are indicative of fatigue related to following public health measures. It is important that we re-focus our energy on the basic measures that can keep us safe – the same ones that got us through the spring first wave.” Those measures include: • Wash your hands frequently. • Watch your distance (ideally two metres or six feet). • Wear your face covering correctly (over nose and mouth). • Avoid crowds. • Arrange for outdoor activities instead of indoors whenever possible. • Stay home if you are sick. • Avoid close contact (unprotected contact within six feet of each other) with those from outside your household. • Avoid travel to areas with higher transmission and minimize non-essential travel. • Be kind, be calm, be safe. • Stay informed.Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times
NEW YORK — General Motors will not be taking a stake in the electric vehicle company Nikola, and the company said Monday that it was scuttling one of its marquee vehicles, an electric and hydrogen-powered pickup, after GM pulled technological support from the project.Shares of Nikola plunged 24%.Nikola on Monday released updated terms between the companies for a supply agreement related to GM's fuel-cell system, replacing an agreement signed in September. That deal would have given GM an 11% stake in Nikola.The early agreement would also have allowed Nikola to use GM’s new battery electric truck underpinnings for its electric and hydrogen-powered pickup called the Badger, and its fuel cell and battery technology as well. That is no longer part of the agreement, essentially gutting Nikola's plans for the Badger.Nikola said Monday that it will begin refunding deposits made by customers who wanted first dibs on that pickup.“In a nutshell, the signing of GM as a partner is a positive but ultimately no ownership/equity stake in Nikola and the billions of R&D potentially now off the table is a major negative blow to the Nikola story," said Wedbush analyst Dan Ives. “This went from a game changer deal for Nikola to a good supply partnership but nothing to write home about."There were hints that the partnership was going sideways in late September as a deadline for an binding agreement approached. GM said then that negotiations about its $2 billion role were ongoing, sending shares of Nikola sliding.That announcement came just days after Nikola founder and Chairman Trevor Milton resigned after Hindenburg Research, a company that’s betting Nikola stock will drop, accused Nikola of Fraud.Hindenburg said Nikola’s success was an “intricate fraud,” including a video showing a truck rolling downhill to give the impression it was cruising on a highway, and stenciling the words “hydrogen electric” on the side of a vehicle that was actually powered by natural gas.Nikola denies the allegations and called them misleading. The Securities and Exchange Commission and the Justice Department are reportedly investigating.On Monday, GM spokesman Jim Cain said the revised agreement is more focused. He said the new memorandum of understanding will help Nikola produce its commercial trucks, and help GM commercialize its fuel cell technology.Nikola said Monday that its work on heavy trucks will continue. GM will still be part of a global supply agreement that would integrate GM’s Hydrotec fuel-cell system into Nikola’s commercial semi-trucks.“Heavy trucks remain our core business and we are 100% focused on hitting our development milestones to bring clean hydrogen and battery-electric commercial trucks to market," said CEO Mark Russell.Nikola is based in Phoenix.The Associated Press
VAUGHAN, Ont. — York Region has confirmed 11 cases of COVID-19 linked to a soccer game at a sports facility in Vaughan, Ont. The public health unit says about 25 people played at TRIO Sportsplex and Event Centre on Nov. 11 and 15. It says the players wore masks during the game but not while they were in the change rooms. Most of the cases were Toronto residents, with some from surrounding areas. Team sports were allowed in York Region at the time but screening of patrons was required. The region moved to stricter pandemic restrictions on Nov. 16, prohibiting team sports except for training. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2020. This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship. The Canadian Press
WASHINGTON — After months of shadowboxing amid a tense and toxic campaign, Capitol Hill's main players are returning for one final, perhaps futile, attempt at deal-making on a challenging menu of year-end business.COVID-19 relief, a $1.4 trillion catchall spending package, and defence policy — and a final burst of judicial nominees — dominate a truncated two- or three-week session occurring as the coronavirus pandemic rockets out of control in President Donald Trump's final weeks in office.The only absolute must-do business is preventing a government shutdown when a temporary spending bill expires on Dec. 11. The route preferred by top lawmakers like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is to agree upon and pass an omnibus spending bill for the government. But it may be difficult to overcome bitter divisions regarding a long-delayed COVID-19 relief package that's a top priority of business, state and local governments, educators and others.Time is working against lawmakers as well, as is the Capitol's emerging status as a COVID-19 hotspot. The House has truncated its schedule, and Senate Republicans are joining Democrats in forgoing the in-person lunch meetings that usually anchor their workweeks. It'll take serious, good-faith conversations among top players to determine what's possible, but those haven't transpired yet.Top items for December's lame-duck session:___KEEPING THE GOVERNMENT OPENAt a bare minimum, lawmakers need to keep the government running by passing a stopgap spending bill known as a continuing resolution, which would punt $1.4 trillion worth of unfinished agency spending into next year.That's a typical way to deal with a handoff to a new administration, but McConnell and Pelosi are two veterans of the Capitol's appropriations culture and are pressing hard for a catchall spending package. A battle over using budget sleight of hand to add a 2 percentage point, $12 billion increase to domestic programs to accommodate rapidly growing veterans health care spending is an issue, as are Trump's demands for U.S-Mexico border wall funding.Getting Trump to sign the measure is another challenge. Two years ago he sparked a lengthy partial government shutdown over the border wall, but both sides would like to clear away the pile of unfinished legislation to give the Biden administration a fresh start. The changeover in administrations probably wouldn't affect an omnibus deal very much.At issue are the 12 annual spending bills comprising the portion of the government's budget that passes through Congress each year on a bipartisan basis. Whatever approach passes, it’s likely to contain a batch of unfinished leftovers such as extending expiring health care policies and tax provisions and continuing the authorization for the government’s flood insurance program.___COVID-19 RELIEFDemocrats have battled with Republicans and the White House for months over a fresh installment of COVID-19 relief that all sides say they want. But a lack of good faith and an unwillingness to embark on compromises that might lead either side out of their political comfort zones have helped keep another rescue package on ice.The aid remains out of reach despite a fragile economy and out-of-control increases in coronavirus cases, especially in Midwest GOP strongholds. McConnell has supplanted Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin as the most important Republican force in the negotiations, but he hasn't shown much openness for politically difficult compromises required for a COVID-19 deal that might anger conservatives. Neither have McConnell's warnings of a wave of COVID-related lawsuits against businesses, schools and nonprofits open during the pandemic come to pass, undercutting his demand for blanket protections against such suits.Pelosi seems to have overplayed her hand as she held out for $2 trillion-plus right up until the election. The results of the election, which saw Democrats lose seats in the House, appear to have significantly undercut her position, but she is holding firm on another round of aid to state and local governments.Before the election, Trump seemed to be focused on a provision that would send another round of $1,200 payments to most Americans. He hasn't shown a lot of interest in the topic since, apart from stray tweets. But the chief obstacles now appear to be Pelosi's demand for state and local government aid and McConnell's demand for a liability shield for businesses reopening during the pandemic.At stake is funding for vaccines and testing, reopening schools, various economic “stimulus" ideas like another round of “paycheque protection” subsidies for businesses especially hard hit by the pandemic. Failure to pass a measure now would vault the topic to the top of Biden's legislative agenda next year.___Defence POLICYA spat over military bases named for Confederate officers is threatening the annual passage of a defence policy measure that has passed for 59 years in a row on a bipartisan basis. The measure is critical in the defence policy world, guiding Pentagon policy and cementing decisions about troop levels, new weapons systems and military readiness, military personnel policy and other military goals.Both the House and Senate measures would require the Pentagon to rename bases such as Fort Benning and Fort Hood, but Trump opposes the idea and has threatened a veto over it. The battle erupted this summer amid widespread racial protests, and Trump used the debate to appeal to white Southern voters nostalgic about the Confederacy. It's a live issue in two Senate runoff elections in Georgia that will determine control of the chamber during the first two years of Biden’s tenure.Democrats are insisting on changing the names and it's not obvious how it'll all end up.Andrew Taylor, The Associated Press
LISTOWEL – Despite delays earlier in the year due to the pandemic, plans are moving forward to begin the demolition process of Listowel Memorial Arena (LMA). Council awarded the tender for the demolition of LMA to Waterloo Demolition Inc. for $186,350, HST excluded. North Perth set aside $240,000 for the project in its 2020 budget. Interim Manager of Recreation Amy Gangl said that the timeline for the demolition to take place will be up to the contractor, with the possibility of it proceeding through a phased approach this winter and potentially into next year. Part of the resolution from council was to proceed with a site redevelopment plan. A landscape architect consultant, Shift Landscape Architecture, has been hired by the municipality to assist the Recreation Advisory Committee (RAC), Friends of 59 – a local group that has advocated for the continuation of a memorial at the site in recognition of those killed in the original LMA collapse of 1959 – and council with the process of developing plans for this property. “We did have the consultant participate in last week’s RAC meeting,” said Gangl. “It was a good discussion and all members had a voice and expressed interests and ideas.” The consultants took that information and are in the process of combining it into conceptual designs. “They are hoping to be able to present that back to RAC as well as Friends of 59 to make sure they are on the path that the community would like before bringing it out for public input,” she said. “The forum we are going to use for public input is haveyoursayNorthPerth.ca. That is something to be looking forward to.” Coun. Allan Rothwell serves on RAC and he said one of the recommendations which were raised at the last meeting was the possibility of an outdoor rink. He asked whether parts of the arena could be removed rather than demolished and then reused. Gangl said some items which can be repurposed have been marked for removal. “The boards themselves were not part of that,” she said. “But we’re open to discussion if that were the scenario.” She said the boards may not be in good enough condition to survive removal. “We can take a look at the condition but I suspect they may not be able to meet that level of redevelopment,” she said. The original plan was to have final revisions from the consultant by the end of January but with the process being delayed by COVID, Gangl said they will allow extra time for the process. “We want to make sure we have the public input and the guidance so it is not a rush decision but we also understand the process and the benefit this would have to the community,” she said. “We anticipate in the coming weeks that some conceptual plans will be proposed and sent for input from RAC and Friends of 59 then we will put it out on haveyoursayNorthPerth.ca and we’ll look at how much input we have.” After that process is completed the consultants will have some time to make some adjustments to the final concept before making a formal presentation to council.Colin Burrowes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Listowel Banner
HURON-PERTH - The main goal of the Multicultural Association of Perth-Huron currently is helping new Canadians navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. Gezahgn Wordofa, founder of the association, said they are helping newcomers by getting them to testing centres, even if that means providing rides to Woodstock or London. The association was recently given funding from the federal government through the Red Cross which is allowing them to provide transportation to people who need a ride. “Go get tested… please, if you need us we are here,” said Wordofa. “We have to go get tested. This is very important.” Some newcomers are afraid to get tested because they think COVID is like HIV and there will be a stigma attached to a positive test. “It is not like HIV,” said Wordofa. “African fellows, I’m from Ethiopia, worry because friends might know about their sickness… If they are sick they think HIV is the worst but it’s not HIV. Anybody can get sick with COVID.” For people who want to arrange a ride to get tested the Multicultural Association can be reached at 1-888-910-1583. The association has also been providing masks and teaching people how to wear them. “Some people complain because they don’t have enough masks,” said Wordofa. “They go to shops without masks. Wearing a mask is respectful. If I’m wearing a mask, I respect you. Masks are very important. It doesn’t matter if I am sick or not because it shows respect.” Clinton Springer Sr., a Multicultural Association volunteer, said it’s not only important for newcomers to realize that testing and masking are important, but all Canadians. “They just had a big march in Woodstock and St. Thomas – anti-maskers, that is something which is not just newcomers,” he said. “I think it’s very important to educate all people about the importance of wearing masks. The association supports wearing masks. We support the government mandate of masks. This association supports the restrictions the government put in and now it’s up to us to educate people on the importance of those things.” Springer thinks what the association is doing helping newcomers become part of that Canadian fabric is very important. “They may be newcomers today and Canadians tomorrow,” he said. “It is important we have them in this society. We mend them into this society.” Part of the work the association is doing is helping people who are coming from a different culture with different ethics adapt to being part of Canada. “This organization is about climatization, getting people used to Canadian culture, this is the new Canadian way, let us walk you in,” said Springer. “I call it introducing people to the new Canadian way of life.” He said it’s important for newcomers to understand they have got to adjust to the customs here. “A lot of people say, well back home I used to do this,” he said. “Our education (for newcomers) is like when you go to work for a new company. The company might be a little different than the last one you worked for so you have to adjust and become part of the new company… I’m very blunt when I tell people they are coming into new customs. Some nice people come in with false hopes, false expectations, false dreams… You have people coming to our association with a certain profession. We have doctors who are driving taxis. They have to understand they have to re-train and re-qualify. That is the process here.” The Multicultural Association is starting a youth leadership program to help get the youth more engaged. “The young kids who are coming as newcomers and immigrants who are living here, they are the doctors and lawyers and factory workers – all kinds of workers of tomorrow,” said Springer. “The soil is already here it’s up to us to help till it together.” The association is also looking into doing some empowerment programs for women. “Sometimes you have people coming from countries where some of the females walk behind and in this country, they have got to learn to walk forward,” said Springer. They also want to start a program for men to help males to understand their roles in the home, not as dominant figures but as partners. “Sometimes people come from countries where the man is the dominant force and they have to understand – no, when you come here you are working in partnership with someone,” said Springer. “You aren’t the dominant male and you can’t say I’m from this country, I belong to this country – this woman walks this way. You have to understand the laws.” They hope to get more support locally to help build a community which will be diverse and vibrant. “The support we got from the Red Cross and the federal government is good – our association is very appreciative of that but it is temporary and we need more support,” said Springer. “The more support we get the more services we can provide because we are a growing association. We need the support of Listowel. We need the support of Stratford. We need the support of Woodstock. We need all these communities to come together. We’re Canadians. That’s what we do.”Colin Burrowes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Listowel Banner
New Zealand's workplace regulator has filed charges against 13 organizations or individuals over safety issues a year after a volcanic explosion killed 22 people.
MONTREAL — Bombardier has named veteran executive Bart Demosky as chief financial officer, effective immediately. The company says Demosky replaces John Di Bert, who will be leaving the company.Demosky joins Bombardier after serving in senior roles at some of the biggest names in corporate Canada.He has served as the chief executive of Universal Rail Systems Inc., chief financial officer for Canadian Pacific Railway and chief financial officer for Suncor Energy.Bombardier has been working to transform itself from a maker of trains and aircraft into a company focused on business jets.The company is expected to complete the sale of its railway division to French company Alstom early next year.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2020.Companies in this story: (TSX:BBD.B, TSX:CP, TSX:SU)The Canadian Press
BRUCE COUNTY – Miguel Pelletier, director of transportation and environmental services, told committee members at last week’s meeting that speeding continues to be a problem on county roads. Local police are reporting an increase in people driving above the posted speed limit. The 50 km/h residential zones are of particular concern, Pelletier said in his report. “There isn’t a single thing that works at all times under all conditions … to get people to slow down,” he said. A combination of tools is usually required to achieve long-term traffic calming. County Coun. Janice Jackson, mayor of South Bruce Peninsula, commented on speeding in Colpoy’s Bay. Pelletier said a flashing speed radar sign didn’t work well there, but centreline flex posts were more effective. The report indicated they were becoming less effective over time. In May, the traffic and environmental services committee had approved a two-year trial for centreline flex posts. One area where the new signs were posted was on Bruce Road 9 in Colpoy’s Bay. Flashing speed radar signs were installed in areas of concern for a one- or two-week period, including Inverhuron, Glammis, Mildmay and Wiarton. Pelletier noted the effect isn’t consistent at every location, indicating other measures will be needed in some areas. The flashing signs become less effective over time in places where people drive on the same road daily. Another measure is reducing the posted speed limit. This was done in Whitechurch, from 70 km/h to 60. It appears lowering the speed limit had little effect, but the flashing speed radar signs did. Public education and police enforcement are other measures discussed in the report. Pelletier’s report outlined the process that’s in place for dealing with speeding. It consists of gathering data on speeds and collisions, engineering analysis to identify solutions, implementing the solutions, and gathering more data to confirm if the solutions are working. The county shares the information with lower-tier municipalities. There is a backlog of approximately 10 areas awaiting investigation to develop traffic calming solutions. These will be addressed in 2021. Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times