This is basically Grand Theft Auto in real life. What was that person thinking?! Unreal!
This is basically Grand Theft Auto in real life. What was that person thinking?! Unreal!
WILMINGTON, Del. — President-elect Joe Biden's pick to lead the Office of Management and Budget is quickly emerging as a political battle that could disrupt his efforts to swiftly fill out his administration.Some Republicans are expressing doubt that Neera Tanden could be confirmed by the Senate after she spent years attacking GOP lawmakers on social media — and many panned the choice.Arkansas Republican Sen. Tom Cotton claimed Tanden’s rhetoric was “Filled with hate & guided by the woke left.”Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn said Tanden's “combative and insulting comments" about Republican senators created “certainly a problematic path." He called her “maybe (Biden's) worst nominee so far" and “radioactive.”Potential Budget Committee Chair Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., was less hostile, telling reporters, “Let's see what happens." Moderate Susan Collins, R-Maine, a target of Tanden's, said, “I do not know her or much about her, but I've heard she's a very prolific user of Twitter.”Such sentiment is notable considering the GOP's general reluctance to criticize President Donald Trump's broadsides on Twitter. But like all of Biden's nominees, Tanden has little margin for error as she faces confirmation in a closely divided Senate.That could be especially daunting for Tanden, the former adviser to Hillary Clinton and the president of the centre-left Center for American Progress, given her history of political combat.Biden's transition team released a litany of praise for Tanden from figures including Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams.Other Democrats also rushed to defend Tanden's nomination. Former Obama aide Valerie Jarrett said Tanden “grew up on welfare and lived in public housing. She experienced first hand the importance of our social programs. Her extraordinary career has been devoted to improving opportunities for working families. She is an excellent choice to lead OMB.”“Neera Tanden is smart, experienced, and qualified for the position of OMB Director,” added Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown, a member of the party’s progressive wing. “The American people decisively voted for change - Mitch McConnell shouldn’t block us from having a functioning government that gets to work for the people we serve.”On the Senate floor, Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said it's impossible to take Republicans' criticism of Tanden seriously.“Honestly, the hypocrisy is astounding. If Republicans are concerned about criticism on Twitter, their complaints are better directed at President Trump,” Schumer said.At OMB, Tanden would be responsible for preparing Biden’s budget submission and would command several hundred budget analysts, economists and policy advisers with deep knowledge of the inner workings of the government.If Democrats should win runoff elections for Georgia’s two GOP-held Senate seats, Tanden’s job would become hugely important because the party would gain a slim majority in the chamber. That would allow them to pass special budget legislation that could roll back Trump’s tax cuts, boost the Affordable Care Act and pursue other spending goals. OMB would have a central role in such legislation.Top Democrats, Biden included, supported anti-deficit packages earlier in their careers, but the party has since changed. Biden was a force behind the establishment of the Obama deficit commission, which was created to win votes of Democratic moderates to pass an increase in the government’s borrowing cap and was chaired by former Clinton White House chief of staff Erskine Bowles.Tanden shares a commonly held view among Democratic lawmakers that Republicans usually profess concerns about deficits only when Democrats are in power, pointing to tax cut packages passed in the opening year of Trump’s administration and former President George W. Bush’s 2001 tax cut.___Taylor reported from Washington.Zeke Miller And Andrew Taylor, The Associated Press
One man was killed in an avalanche near Mackenzie, B.C., on Saturday, according to RCMP.Two people were snowmobiling in the Power King/Bijoux Falls area when the avalanche happened just before 2 p.m. PT. One of the snowmobilers was buried in the snow, according to a statement Monday.A search and rescue team, as well as avalanche-trained searchers from Prince George, B.C., later found the man dead.RCMP said he was 35 years old and originally from Dawson Creek, B.C. The second sledder was unhurt.The B.C. Coroner's Service is investigating the man's death. RCMP did not release any further details.A "significant" storm left up to 70 centimetres of fresh powder in the area on Saturday. Avalanche Canada said there were "very dangerous avalanche conditions" in the treeline and alpine at the time.
Niagara Catholic District School Board is reporting another case of COVID-19 at St. Martin Catholic Elementary School, bringing the school case count to 10. An outbreak was declared at the Smithville school on Nov. 19. Public health confirmed to Niagara Catholic that the new COVID-19 case was connected to the outbreak. The provincial database that reports on school-related COVID-19 cases in Ontario on Monday identified four of the 10 cases as being infected staff and four as students. The remaining two cases were not immediately unknown as the provincial database lags behind school boards in its case reporting. Over the weekend, District School Board of Niagara announced an individual at Martha Cullimore Public School in Niagara Falls and an individual at Port Colborne High School tested positive for COVID-19. As a result, three classrooms will be closed: two at Port High and one at Martha Cullimore. “As part of COVID-19 case management and infection control protocol, students and staff who had close contact with the individual are being contacted and told by NRPH (Niagara Region Public Health) to stay home and self-isolate,” DSBN said a media release. The board website Monday listed six active cases at four of its schools. There are three active cases in Niagara Falls, two at Prince Philip and one at Martha Cullimore; two active cases in St Catharines, all at Eden High School; and the one in Port Colborne. The provincial database had yet to identify if the cases are staff or student. Custodians at both schools will complete a thorough cleaning as required. A public health inspector and a public health nurse will visit the schools to complete a comprehensive assessment. Sean Vanderklis is a Niagara-based reporter for the Niagara Falls Review. His reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Reach him via email: email@example.comSean Vanderklis, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Niagara Falls Review
MONTREAL — Quebec Premier Francois Legault said Monday he is relieved after an association of Quebec booksellers apologized for removing an online list of his reading recommendations.Legault shared some of his favourite books during a Facebook live video last week as part of a campaign by the Association des libraires du Quebec to promote Quebec literature during the COVID-19 pandemic.While Legault's video remained online, the association said it removed posts detailing the premier's book list on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter on Friday after receiving "a flood of comments.""My intention was never to hurt anyone or censor anything because that goes against the fundamental values of the association and our commitment to freedom of expression,” the group’s director, Katherine Fafard, said in a statement Monday.Fafard, who apologized for what she said was an error, did not say which of Legault’s recommendations drew the comments.A spokesman for the premier, Ewan Sauves, said the association received complaints about one of the titles Legault selected but did not confirm which book it was.The premier's list of 11 books included "Kukum" by Michel Jean, Dany Laferriere's "L'enigme du retour," and "L'empire du politiquement correct" by Mathieu Bock-Cote, a conservative author and columnist. On Sunday, Bock-Cote, whose book title translates as "The Empire of Political Correctness," accused the association of censorship for removing the premier's selections.Legault addressed the controversy Monday afternoon, saying in a Facebook post that he was at first angered and saddened by the decision but was relieved to see his list was back online."We cannot accept a handful of radical activists trampling on our freedom of expression to defend their diktats. That goes way too far," Legault wrote."The beauty of books is that there is room for all voices. Reading transports us to points of view that are sometimes far from our own, but always enrich us. It makes me sad to know that people in Quebec would like to take that away from us," he added.Legault also encouraged people to support Quebec authors, saying that was "the best response we can offer those who want to silence them."Ruba Ghazal, a member of the Quebec legislature with the left-of-centre Quebec Solidaire party, welcomed the association's decision to republish Legault's book list."It's a positive thing that the (premier) shares his readings with us and that we can debate them honestly and openly," Ghazal tweeted. She also suggested that if Legault "enjoys reading intellectuals," he should next pick up Mark Fortier's Melancolies Identitaires, a book that critiques Bock-Cote's work.The Association des libraires du Quebec has 134 members, primarily independent book shops.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2020.Jillian Kestler-D'Amours, The Canadian Press
Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland speaks with Rosemary Barton, CBC's chief political correspondent, about the federal fiscal update and how the government will continue to provide financial support through the end of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The P.E.I. government has set aside $100,000 over the next two years to develop a public art policy for the province.Michelle MacCallum, director of cultural development with Innovation PEI, says it will enable the province to commission and acquire public art for government sites such as hospitals, schools and parks."I love seeing artwork all over our province," she said. "I think about how much it delights and engages and sometimes challenges people when they come upon public art."Different than art bankMacCallum said it will also be another opportunity for Island artists to display their work and earn money from it.She said it will be different from the provincial art bank."This is more specific to sites. So if we were building a new school or some kind of provincial government office building, if you think about it, the building in and of itself is a public entity. But there's nothing, there's no art around it. It doesn't say anything about it, about the people that use it, about what it's for," MacCallum said."So public art is there to augment the site specifically rather than just acquiring a catalog of the best of art, which is what the art bank does."Selected by juryMacCallum said they will consult with architects and developers of potential sites, then put out request for proposals. The art will be selected by a jury.She said there are a few sites being considered, but it's too soon to disclose the locations.More from CBC P.E.I.
TORONTO — Some of the most active companies traded Monday on the Toronto Stock Exchange: Toronto Stock Exchange (17,205.43, down 191.13 points.)Suncor Energy Inc. (TSX:SU). Energy. Down $1.64, or 7.32 per cent, to $20.77 on 26.1 million shares. Bombardier Inc. (TSX:BBD.B). Industrials. Up 3.5 cents, or 7.07 per cent, to 53 cents on 24.4 million shares.Aurora Cannabis Inc. (TSX:ACB). Health care. Up $1.51, or 10.99 per cent, to $15.25 on 21.5 million shares.Hexo Corp. (TSX:HEXO). Health care. Up 29 cents, or 25.44 per cent, to $1.43 on 15.5 million shares.Score Media and Gaming Inc. (TSX:SCR). Telecommunications. Up 26 cents, or 18.31 per cent, to $1.68 on 14.6 million shares.Northland Power Inc. (TSX:NPI). Utilities. Down $1.80, or 3.89 per cent, to $44.51 on 13.6 million shares.Companies in the news: Nutrien Ltd. (TSX:NTR). Down 20 cents to $64.10. Nutrien Ltd. is calling on other members of the fertilizer industry to join its fight against climate change as it launches an agriculture carbon program to drive improved environmental sustainability and boost profits for farmers. The Saskatoon-based company said Monday it plans to use its role as the world’s largest provider of crop inputs and services to help growers plan, plant and track practices to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, trap and store carbon and measure the resulting improvements. It will then help farmers make money from their environmental efforts by facilitating the purchase and sale of carbon credits used by industries to offset their emissions and reduce carbon taxes. Nutrien is to pilot its new carbon program in certain regions across North America in 2021 and plans to later take it to South America and Australia.Bombardier Inc. — 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.Artis Real Estate Investment Trust (TSX:AX.UN). Down 10 cents to $10.72. Artis Real Estate Investment Trust says four trustees have tendered their resignations and both its chief executive officer and chief financial officer will retire as part of a deal reached with private equity firm Sandpiper Group which sought changes at the trust. Under the terms of the agreement, Artis chief executive Armin Martens will retire effective Dec. 31 and chief financial officer Jim Green will retire after the trust's 2021 annual meeting of the unitholders. Sandpiper's slate of five nominees, including Sandpiper chief executive Samir Manji, will join two of the existing trustees — Ben Rodney and Lauren Zucker — to make up the new board. Artis proposed a plan in September that would see it spinoff its retail portfolio into a new real estate trust and focus on its North American industrial and office businesses. The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — Key elements from the federal government's fiscal update, delivered by Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland Monday afternoon:A boatload of borrowing. The federal deficit is sailing toward $381.6 billion this year, but could close in on $400 billion if widespread lockdowns return in the coming weeks, according to the fall economic statement. A big reason for that eye-popping sum is the total cost of Ottawa's response to COVID-19, which amounts to $490.7 billion. That also means more than $8 out of every $10 in federal and provincial support comes from the capital, down from $9 out of every $10 from the July fiscal snapshot.The "Netflix tax." For the first time, Netflix and other foreign streaming giants such as Amazon and Apple TV+ will be subject to sales tax in Canada, according to the fiscal update. The government says GST/HST will apply to all companies that provide digital services — which means Netflix and Airbnb would charge sales tax on subscriptions and reservations north of the border. While the European Union moved to tax digital platforms two years ago, Freeland said Canada is prepared to act "unilaterally if necessary."Work-from-home tax break. Employees working from home with "modest expenses" in 2020 can claim up to $400, based on time spent at the dining-room desk. Canadians can make the claim "without the need to track detailed expenses," and the tax man "will generally not request" confirmation from employers, the economic statement says.Increasing fiscal-stabilization payments. Responding to a call from provinces whose finances have taken a beating, the Liberals say they will increase the maximum payment under a program designed to help provincial governments deal with temporary economic shocks. The cap will go from $60 per resident, set in 1987, to $170 per person and increase with economic growth.Support the troops. The government is also proposing to sign off on an additional $600,000 to top up the Veterans Emergency Fund that would ensure more financial support for veterans whose well-being is at risk "due to an urgent and unexpected situation."All the wage. For businesses, the government wants to bring the wage subsidy back to 75 per cent of company payroll costs and extend the business rent subsidy to mid-March. The Trudeau government had previously extended the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy to the summer, while the adapted business-rent subsidy — revised from a less popular iteration that hinged on landlord participation — was slated only to continue through the end of the year.Clean water for Indigenous communities. The government is pledging to invest $1.5 billion in 2020-21 to work toward lifting all long-term drinking water advisories in Indigenous communities, and $114 million each year after. The Liberals have maintained a years-long pledge to lift all outstanding boil-water advisories for Indigenous residents by March 2021. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said last month that about 95 advisories had been lifted since the party came to power in 2015, but more than 60 remained the last time figures were updated before the pandemic.A $100-billion stimulus. The government plans to spend between $70 billion and $100 billion over the next three years to stimulate the economic recovery from COVID-19. The boon amounts to between three and four per cent of GDP, and will tilt toward a "greener, more innovative" bounce-back, though the details are to be determined.Get retrofit. Ottawa is aiming to dole out $2.6 billion over seven years to help homeowners make their digs more efficient, starting in 2020-21. The cash, channelled through Natural Resources Canada, would take the form of up to 700,000 grants of $5,000 or less to help with projects that could range from energy-efficient heating to solar-panel installations. The upcoming plan, with eligibility retroactive to December 2020, fulfils a Liberal election promise from last year.Cash for families. Looking to boost temporary support for parents, the Liberals plan to provide up to $1,200 per child under six years old for low- and middle-income families that are entitled to the Canada Child Benefit, starting next year. The bump marks an increase of nearly 20 per cent above the benefit's current maximum payment.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2020.The Canadian Press
The Saskatchewan Health Authority has issued eight fines totalling $44,800, including victim surcharges, to people or corporations that have broken COVID-19 public health guidelines since the pandemic started in March. The number of people alone fined is unclear but two corporations are among those hit with charges, according to data shared Monday with CBC News by Saskatchewan's Ministry of Health.Of the total, $32,000 consisted of actual fines while the rest was made up victim impact surcharges.Those fined vary from a Saskatoon homeowner who hosted a private gathering with 47 people when the limit for private meetings was 30 (it's now five), to the pastor of a gospel outreach centre in Prince Albert where singers went unmasked. The gospel centre was cited as a multi-jurisdictional superspreader.Two corporations were also financially disciplined. The data is reflective of the province's approach so far to policing breaches of self-isolation or gathering limit orders, which was to first educate people about the need to follow guidelines instead of going directly to a fine.That era may be coming to an end, however.On Friday, Dr. Saqib Shahab, Saskatchewan's chief medical health officer, said "the time for education is now mostly over," adding that "it is important to report noncompliance."The numbers reported by the ministry are different from those of the RCMP, which issues its own charges under the province's Public Health Act.Between March 1 and Oct. 31, RCMP members in Saskatchewan received a total of 2,912 COVID-related calls for service — an average of 364 calls a month.The vast majority of the calls were resolved "by educating members of the public of the potential health and enforcement consequences that can result from non-compliance with the public health order," an RCMP spokesperson said Friday.However, 42 charges for summary violations were issued under the province's Public Health Act, including for people who held large gatherings or did not self-isolate.
As the number of cases fluctuates almost daily, it can be challenging to determine whether measures will be decreased or more implemented from one day to the next. As of Friday, November 27, there are 13 active cases in the community. As there are more than 10 cases, it placed the Town of Fox Creek on an enhanced status. As well, Fox Creek also falls under the MD of Greenview, which is also under the enhanced status with 83 cases. In addition to the mandatory face-covering bylaw, CAO Kristen Milne issued a public notice regarding the new health measures for town-owned facilities. Due to being in an enhanced area, as of November 27, entry into the town office and the Community Resource Centre is by appointment only. The Community Resource Centre playroom and Community Hall are also closed until further notice, as are the party rooms. Meeting rooms within the Multiplex will remain open; however, they can’t exceed 25 percent capacity. The Fitness Centre is down to a maximum of six people, and guests must pre-book. Another family favourite is the swimming pool; this area will carry a maximum of 35 people at any given time. All sports areas are closed to the public; however, they can still be utilized if participants are from the same household. In the case of those who live alone, they can socialize with two other persons. The sports facilities include the fieldhouse and arena, are by bookings only. For those who have memberships to the Multiplex, usage is free, and for non-members, the cost is $30 per hour. Lastly, the running track will remain open, but again, those who utilize the track must be from the same family or, if living alone, two others you socialize with regularly. Most retail businesses, such as grocery stores, liquor, and pharmacies, are now limited to 25 percent of the Alberta Fire Code occupancy. Dr. Deena Hinshaw signed the Record of Decision for Order 38-2020 on November 24, 2020, which further defines the new provincial health measures put in effect. It states, subject to sections four and five of the order, a person who resides in a private residence must not permit a person who does not live in that residence to enter or remain in residence. The exemptions that would allow entrance would include housekeeping services, health care, emergency response, childcare, home construction, or renovations, delivery, or real estate needs. Those who live alone are permitted to interact with the same two persons in their social circle and permitted within the home. Under Section two of the order, a social gathering is defined as a group of people who come together to move about freely, mix and interact with each other for social purposes rather than remaining seated or stationary for the gathering duration. With that said, there are to be no indoor social gatherings in any setting unless all persons are from the same household and a maximum of 10 for outdoors. Weddings and funerals may still occur but are restricted to a maximum of ten persons or less. Worship services are also limited to 1/3 of the usual attendance. Starting November 30, students in grades seven to 12 will go back to online learning until January 11, 2021. Those in ECS to grade six will remain in school until the Christmas break and switch to online studies from January 4 to January 11, 2021. All restrictions will remain in place for three weeks as indicated by Premier Kenney, at which time, the Alberta Government and health officials will re-evaluate. To keep up to date on COVID-19 numbers and health updates, please visit www.alberta.ca. Vicki Winger, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Whitecourt Press
The new Strathmore municipal building is nearing completion, with the town finding solutions for a few remaining pieces. An update on the project was presented to town council on Nov. 18 by Michael Stamhuis, the town’s special projects manager. The project is now in its “substantial completion” stage, meaning the building and work site are sufficiently completed such that they can now be handed over to, and occupied by, the town. The cost of the building has been updated to total $14.48 million, $130,000 less than the cost projected in mid-October. The final project costs will be more than $400,000 below the funding allocated for the project, reported Stamhuis. A report will be forthcoming presenting suggestions for how this surplus may be allocated. One of the options would be to set aside an amount for any issues that may arise, he said. Some uncertainties remain for the project. “While the project is substantially completed, it is not totally complete; there are some outstanding items,” said Stamhuis, who added these include the installation of audio-visual equipment, signage and furniture. All tenders for furniture and audio-visual equipment have been received, the cost of which is less than the $850,000 allocated for these components. The cost estimate for soft costs and furniture, fixtures and equipment decreased by $21,000, to $2.325 million. The audio-visual equipment was to be stored in a closet within the council chambers, but the consultant said it would generate too much heat to be stored there safely. So, the town is considering either installing a ventilation system for the closet or moving the equipment to the server room. The estimated cost for site servicing and rehabilitation has been revised to $2.599 million, representing a decrease of $16,000 from previous estimates. This reduction is due to a decrease in staff salary allocation (by $6,000) and reconciliation of consultant fees ($10,000). The total cost of the Strathmore Commons and north Kinsmen improvements is $1.675 million, equaling a reduction of $92,000 from prior estimates. The town saved money on soil disposal because the soil from site clearing was used on-site and hauling costs were minimal, resulting in a $92,000 cost reduction. Also during the meeting, a report was presented to council illustrating how the municipal building project resulted in improvements to several of the town’s assets beyond the new building itself. This assessment determined that of the approximately $14.5 million spent on the municipal building project, about $3.1 million can be attributed to Kinsmen Park and other site improvements. As such, about $11.3 million can be attributed to the building itself. According to Strathmore Mayor Pat Fule, this second report gives a more accurate picture of the cost of the new town hall building. “Obviously, some of those assets are tied to the new building, but some of them benefit and are tied to other parts of that project,” he said. The town is planning on having staff move belongings into the new building in late December and begin working there in the new year.Sean Feagan, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times
Shares of the company, which have risen about sevenfold this year fueled by the meteoric rise in demand in video conferencing for work, school or socializing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, fell 5% after the bell, despite upbeat fourth-quarter forecasts. Zoom operates some of its own data centers, but it also relies on cloud computing services from outside vendors such as Amazon.com and Oracle Corp, meaning it must bear costs for free users. "We expect gross margins to be consistent with Q3 into the next fiscal year before starting to improve towards our long-term target margin," Chief Financial Officer Kelly Steckelberg said.
Tensions are rising in Lambton Shores as a contentious plan to tackle gypsy moths goes before council Tuesday, a report one community group is blasting as a “do-nothing” approach. After Port Franks and the surrounding area were ravaged by an outbreak of the invasive insects this summer, some residents mobilized into the Gypsy Moth Citizens Action Group, pushing for a municipally-led insecticide spray to combat the infestation. Romayne Smith-Fullerton, a spokesperson for the group which represents about 4,000 residents in more than 12 subdivisions, says that option was never properly considered by staff and is urging them to reconsider. “(The report) did not investigate, compare or evaluate the merits of a municipally-led spray programme against a privately-organized effort,” she said. “(It) provided council with inadequate information because it assumed one path forward.” The gypsy moth report – originally sent to council Nov. 10 – includes recommendations like creating a webpage to advise residents of resources to combat gypsy moths, and not objecting to any spraying on private properties adjacent to municipal property. Council voted 5-4 to defer the report until Dec. 1, citing the need for more public feedback. But Smith-Fullerton is calling into question the municipality’s openness on the issue. She said her request to present to council on behalf of the citizen’s group was denied without sound reasoning. Both Lambton Shores Mayor Bill Weber and Clerk Stephanie Troyer-Boyd cited COVID-19 safety restrictions as the reason why public presentations are disallowed. At the beginning of the pandemic, many municipalities, including Lambton Shores, amended their procedure bylaws to switch to electronic meetings; including a caveat that public presentations could be denied. But Lambton Shores’ council has been meeting in person since the fall, with the procedure bylaw stating, “the Mayor or Clerk may deny delegations to council during an electronic meeting.” Troyer-Boyd did not respond to a request to clarify if the policy had been extended to in-person meetings. Meanwhile, a transit presentation is on the Dec. 1 agenda. Weber said the presenter is a staff member, adding some presentations have been allowed at past meetings for statutory or Planning Act matters. “COVID is a bit of a convenient excuse to stifle democracy,” Smith-Fullerton said, adding she’s filed a complaint with the Ontario Ombudsman. “I deserve an explanation,” she said. “They’re not playing by the rules as far as I can see. There are inconsistencies in their policy.” Council previously waved the restriction in July, allowing Smith-Fullerton to present virtually on the gypsy moth issue. A written delegation from the citizens' group has been accepted for Tuesday’s meeting. “It’s very weird to feel like this is a matter that is clearly of high public interest … And yet, the person who is the spokesperson for thousands of people right across this municipality, they’re not interested in me speaking to them,” Smith-Fullerton said. “(The group) certainly have put in letters and their position and presentation has been distributed through the agenda,” Weber said. The hot-button issue and report have drawn a swarm of response from the community, with dozens of letters sent to council as correspondence — there are more than 300 pages' worth — with the vast majority advocating for an aerial spray or greater assistance from the municipality. “We need council to develop an all-encompassing bylaw that permits the municipality to treat all the infested trees. Anything less will be unsatisfactory and a waste of money,” writes Port Franks resident David Hilliard. “We call on the municipality … to take immediate and effective action to address the gypsy moth threat before damage is done to our environment and tourism economy,” says a letter from the Grand Bend and Area Chamber of Commerce. Five letters attached as correspondence to the agenda oppose a municipally-led aerial spray, a view shared by the mayor. “I believe this should be a private property matter,” Weber said. Lambton Shores chief administrator, Kevin Williams, who drafted the report, did not answer questions emailed to him by The Free Press about the subject. “Let’s see what happens at Council" Tuesday night, he said. He previously said no environmental assessment on the extent of defoliation caused by the insects was ordered, nor was an egg mass assessment. Widespread spraying of a bacteria — bacillus thuringiensis subspecies kurstaki, referred to as Btk, — to control caterpillar pests has been the route taken in other municipalities in the past, including Sarnia and Pelham, as well as in parts of big cities such as Toronto and Hamilton. Many residents say it’s vital the municipality takes a lead in combatting the caterpillars as they pose serious threats to personal health and Port Frank’s diverse tree canopy. MaxMartin@postmedia.com Twitter.com/MaxatLFPressMax Martin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, London Free Press
LONDON — Britain’s government said Monday that it has decided against holding a public inquiry into the murder more than three decades ago of a Belfast attorney who specialized in defending Irish Republican Army suspects. Patrick Finucane, a 39-year-old attorney, was shot 14 times at his Belfast home by gunmen from the paramilitary group Ulster Defence Association in February 1989. His family has campaigned for years for a public inquiry into allegations that Northern Ireland police and the British army colluded with the killers. Several investigations have concluded that there was state collusion in Finucane’s murder, and the British government has apologized to the family. But last year, the Supreme Court said that all previous examinations into the death were inadequate. Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis said he met the Finucane family on Monday and told them authorities decided “not to establish a public inquiry at this time.” He added that this was because investigations by Northern Irish police and the police ombudsman needed to finish first. Finucane’s son, John, said the British government’s announcement was “nothing short of insulting” after the family waited three decades for an effective investigation into their father’s murder. “The British government at every opportunity will continue to make the wrong decision and put all their efforts into ensuring that the truth of what happened to my father will not see the light of day and they are intent on suppressing that,” he said. Lawmaker Tony Lloyd, with the opposition Labour party, said “it was collusion by agents of the state and … we still need to find out how far that collusion went.” The Associated Press
Alberta and the Wood Buffalo region continues to see active COVID-19 cases. Provincially, 1,609 more cases were confirmed on Sunday bring the total of confirmed cases to 56,444. In Fort McMurray, there were 10 new cases, bringing the active total to 198. Wood Buffalo's rural communities sawone new case, bringing the total to 24 active cases. Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw addressed the deaths of nine Albertans from her Twitter account on Sunday. “While we may be physically separated from each other, I strongly encourage you to reach out to your friends and family and stay connected virtually," she wrote. "We are all in this together — so please reach out to a loved one if you need to.” There were 838 recovered cases in Alberta on Sunday bringing the total recovered cases to 40,219 in the province. In Wood Buffalo, 600 people have recovered, with 520 of those cases in Fort McMurray. Two people have died locally, with the last death reported on Nov. 15. Sarah Williscraft, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Fort McMurray Today
Strathmore has moved to make its fire department more diverse and inclusive by hiring a deputy fire chief to a new recruitment position. Laurie VandeSchoot, the town’s new assistant chief of diversity, inclusion and recruiting, was introduced during the regular Strathmore town council meeting on Nov. 18. VandeSchoot is a municipal government, change management and strategic planning specialist with a 28-year career with the City of Calgary who also consults internationally and locally and instructs at Bow Valley College in Calgary. “Laurie is known for building inclusive and high-performance cultures that strengthens communities,” said Judy Unsworth, Strathmore Fire Department deputy chief, during the meeting. VandeSchoot has experience in diversity services, equity solutions, mental health, public participation, strategic planning and sustainable development, said Unsworth. Furthermore, VandeSchoot leads the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) diversity leadership program, chairs the International Fire Chiefs human relations committee, and is the national co-chair of the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs (CAFC) national subcommittee on diversity inclusion, among other leadership roles. “Under the direction of chief (Trent) West, I am super excited about what we can do here in Strathmore,” said VandeSchoot. “I’m passionate, as you can tell, about diversity and inclusion – it’s kind of my lifeblood. When we talk about diversity, inclusion and recruitment, diversity and inclusion is our purpose, recruitment is where we start from.” Diversity is about more than numbers, she added. “It’s not just about how many people you have that are different, it’s about that sense of belonging, it’s about that sense of inclusion and how we can create a culture of openness, belonging and wellness.” The hiring of VandeSchoot highlights the importance of welcoming all people to Strathmore’s community and environment, said Strathmore town Councillor Denise Peterson. “It shows that we’re not just saying these things, that we’re actually taking action to embrace inclusion and to break down those barriers that we’ve seen.” Peterson added the position will help develop partnerships with Siksika Nation.Sean Feagan, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times
Beginning Dec. 14, if you are not wearing a face covering in the Town of the Blue Mountains (TBM), you could receive a fine. Council has approved its proposed face-covering bylaw at a meeting held Monday. The bylaw will require mandatory face coverings in all indoor and enclosed spaces accessible to the public in TBM. The face-covering bylaw will mimic the provincial face-covering mandate and is expected to be enacted and come into effect on Dec. 14. “Particularly in things like the exemptions, we have mirrored the provincial language,” said Will Thomson, director of legal services for the town. The provincial legislation states businesses and organizations must ensure anyone located in an indoor area on their premises or in a work vehicle must wear a mask that covers their mouth, nose, and chin. The intent of TBM’s municipal bylaw is to shift the obligation from the business owner to enforce wearing a face covering, to every individual person to the greatest extent possible. Under the bylaw, municipal officers will be able to issue a minimum fine of $500 and a maximum fine not exceeding $10,000. TBM council held a special committee of the whole meeting on Nov. 25, which allowed for public and council discussion. Ultimately, the bylaw was carried unanimously at today's council meeting. Council members also unanimously approved the hiring of two, six-month contract bylaw officers with an upper limit of $75,000, which was not included in the current budget. “2020 has been a year unlike any other, in addition to the above responsibilities, our officers have taken on regulating and enforcing business closures during the first wave of the COVID-19; they have enforced crowds, social gatherings and large groups in our public spaces; they have been a constant presence on our beaches during the busy summer months; and have had an active role in ensuring responsible parking and use of our rural recreational resources,” state Thomson in a staff report. TBM currently has four full-time municipal bylaw officers. Through the summer months, the bylaw department had been supplemented with five additional contract staff. “Our officers have been an invaluable resource to our local and business community and have been a calming and reassuring presence as the face of the town since the start of the pandemic,” added Thomson. The two new bylaw officers will be tasked with educating and enforcing all of the town’s bylaws, including but not limited to the new face-covering bylaw. “It only takes one person to not follow the laws to create chaos,” said Deputy Mayor Rob Potter. “Sometimes we can't get an emergency vehicle or a snow plow through and so on. So, we need to be ahead of that game. We can't wait for the problems to happen.” The TBM face-covering bylaw, including exemption and penalties, can be found in staff report FAF.20.201.Jennifer Golletz, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, CollingwoodToday.ca
An outbreak of COVID-19 cases, compounded by repeat power outages and abysmal weather, has forced an isolated Vancouver Island Indigenous community into lockdown.The Ehattesaht First Nation, home to about 100 people, is located on the northwest coast of the island near Zeballos, B.C. On Nov. 14, one positive case of COVID-19 was confirmed in the community following a four day power outage. Within a week, there were 16 cases and now half the residents are in isolation."We are learning some hard lessons and the best advice we can give to communities like ours is just to stay home — it's the only way we can keep people safe," said Chief Simon John in an interview on CBC's On The Island.John says while no one has been hospitalized yet, some people have been moved into hotels to be closer to medical services if they should need them.The North Island Hospital in Campbell River is almost three hours away by car. And the road in and out of Ehattesaht territory, which, John says, is well-maintained by the Ministry of Forests, can still easily be blocked by a downed tree or two.And it's a distinct possibility right now, as the region has been repeatedly battered by high winds and stormy weather in recent days, causing the community to already lose power twice while people are dealing with the impact of the virus.Environment Canada issued another wind warning for B.C.'s north coastal region Monday, warning that winds of up to 100 km/h are a possibility until Tuesday.COVID-19 exposing other issuesJohn said people in the community have rallied to provide food and what care they can for people isolated at home. He said the current situation may have a silver lining in that the pandemic is exposing issues the nation has been up against for years."It's a really good time to move a lot of our situations forward. Like, our health or even our connectivity to the world could change because of this," said John, adding he hopes the B.C. and Canadian government take notice and help.That help, he said, could include improving hydro and internet connections, as well as access to health services.John said the nation would also like to look at options to expand its land base so it can add more housing for its members. At present, he said many people are isolating in close quarters together.Four people in the community have recovered from COVID-19 so far, according to John.To hear the complete interview with Chief Simon John on CBC's On The Island, tap the audio link below:
The family income is not what it used to be, and many parents worry about not having enough money for Christmas. Over decades, society has gotten us all to believe that the more presents under the Christmas tree, the happier the holiday will be, and the bigger they are, makes it that much more significant. This philosophy is not the case, and the meaning behind the gifts and family traditions of the holiday season has slowly depleted. Christmas is not about how much money gets spent on gifts, but instead cherishing the holiday time with family and friends. It should not be about the number of gifts given or received but rather the meaning behind the gift itself. People remember the holidays gathered around the table eating a festive meal, playing games, tobogganing or driving around looking at the Christmas lights. When it comes to the gifts, some children forget who gave them what and as time passes, often forget it was even a Christmas gift as there were just too many. Typically, out of all those wrapped presents, there would be a few they would cherish, play with regularly, and the rest would be put in a toy box or closet, never to come out again. As adults, we remember when our Mothers and Grandmothers gifted afghans or quilts, they made, which have often been kept and used for many years. Our grandfathers or fathers would make dollhouses out of wood and toy cars. Or when your children gifted you that clay ashtray or coffee cup, they made in school. Their faces would light up as you opened it. And why, because it was a unique handmade gift just for you. When it comes to the monetary value, these gifts did not cost a lot. The gifts were cherished because they were all homemade ideas that came from the heart and created by those who love us. With that in mind, you can make the holidays less expensive and more meaningful by being creative. The internet is an excellent source for all sorts of do-it-yourself project ideas, which include step-by-step instructions. Another option is to check the local library for books on gift ideas. Vicki Winger, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Whitecourt Press
WASHINGTON — Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell says that the pace of improvement in the economy has moderated in recent months with future prospects remaining “extraordinarily uncertain.”In remarks released by the Fed on Monday, Powell said that the increase in new COVID-19 cases both in the United States and abroad was “concerning and could prove challenging for the next few months. A full economic recovery is unlikely until people are confident that it is safe to reengage in a broad range of activities.”Powell said while progress on developing vaccines had been “very positive,” significant challenges remained regarding the timing, production and distribution of the vaccines, and it remained difficult to assess the economic implications of this process with any degree of confidence.Powell's remarks were prepared for a joint appearance he will make on Tuesday with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin before the Senate Banking Committee. The hearing is part of the panel's oversight responsibilities required under the multi-trillion economic support legislation Congress passed in the spring..Martin Crutsinger, The Associated Press