Almost every one of us would agree that this is fake, but it's still worth watching! Nice editing work!
Almost every one of us would agree that this is fake, but it's still worth watching! Nice editing work!
WASHINGTON — China poses the greatest threat to America and the rest of the free world since World War II, outgoing National Intelligence Director John Ratcliffe said Thursday as the Trump administration ramps up anti-Chinese rhetoric to pressure President-elect Joe Biden to be tough on Beijing.“The intelligence is clear: Beijing intends to dominate the U.S. and the rest of the planet economically, militarily and technologically,” Ratcliffe wrote in an op-ed published Thursday in The Wall Street Journal. “Many of China’s major public initiatives and prominent companies offer only a layer of camouflage to the activities of the Chinese Communist Party.”“I call its approach of economic espionage ‘rob, replicate and replace,'" Ratcliffe said. “China robs U.S. companies of their intellectual property, replicates the technology and then replaces the U.S. firms in the global marketplace.”Trump administration officials have been stepping up their anti-China rhetoric for months, especially during the presidential campaign as President Donald Trump sought to deflect blame for the spread of the coronavirus . On the campaign trail, Trump warned that Biden would go easy on China, although the president-elect agrees that China is not abiding by international trade rules, is giving unfair subsidies to Chinese companies and stealing American innovation.The Trump administration, which once boasted of warm relations with China's President Xi Jinping, also has been ramping up sanctions against China over Taiwan, Tibet, trade, Hong Kong and the South China Sea. It has moved against the Chinese telecoms giant Huawei and sought restrictions on Chinese social media applications like TikTok and WeChat.China’s embassy in the U.S. did not respond to a request for comment on Ratcliffe’s op-ed, although China has routinely denied many of these allegations in the past.Ratcliffe, a Trump loyalist who has been accused of politicizing the position, has been the nation's top intelligence official since May. In his op-ed, he did not directly address the transition to a Biden administration. Trump has not acknowledged losing the election.Ratcliffe said he has shifted money within the $85 billion annual intelligence budget to address the threat from China. Beijing is preparing for an open-ended confrontation with the U.S., which must be addressed, he said.“This is our once-in-a-generation challenge. Americans have always risen to the moment, from defeating the scourge of fascism to bringing down the Iron Curtain,” Ratcliffe wrote in what appeared to be call for action to future intelligence officials.Biden has announced that he wants the Senate to confirm Avril Haines, a former deputy director of the CIA, to succeed Ratcliffe as the next national intelligence director.“This generation will be judged by its response to China’s effort to reshape the world in its own image and replace America as the dominant superpower," Ratcliffe wrote.He cited several examples of Chinese aggression against the United States:The Justice Department has charged a rising number of U.S. academics for transferring U.S. taxpayer-funded intellectual property to China.He noted the theft of intellectual property from American businesses, citing the case of Sinoval, a China-based wind turbine maker, which was convicted and heavily fined for stealing trade secrets from AMSC, a U.S.-based manufacturer formerly known as American Superconductor Inc. Rather than pay AMSC for more than $800 million in products and services it had agreed to purchase, Sinovel hatched a scheme to steal AMSC’s proprietary wind turbine technology, causing the loss of almost 700 jobs and more than $1 billion in shareholder equity, according to the Justice Department.Ratcliffe and other U.S. officials have said that China has stolen sensitive U.S. defence technology to fuel Xi's aggressive military modernization plan and they allege that Beijing uses its access to Chinese tech firms, such as Huawei, to collect intelligence, disrupt communications and threaten the privacy of users worldwide.Ratcliffe said he has personally briefed members of Congress about how China is using intermediaries to lawmakers in an attempt to influence legislation.Deb Riechmann, The Associated Press
MONTREAL — Two months after the death of Joyce Echaquan in a Quebec hospital, the head of the regional health authority that runs the hospital has been removed from his post.The departure of Daniel Castonguay was announced Wednesday evening in a news release issued by the provincial health minister. The decision was approved after the provincial cabinet saw a report by Lise Verreault, who was appointed in mid-November to study allegations of racism against Indigenous people at the hospital in Joliette, Que., northeast of Montreal.The hospital and its management came under scrutiny in late September after Echaquan, an Atikamekw woman, filmed two staff members at the Joliette hospital insulting her as she lay dying, and other Indigenous people came forward with stories of abusive treatment.Wednesday's press release says Verreault interviewed 18 people as part of her mandate to establish whether the bond of trust had been broken between the health authority's management and the Indigenous communities it serves.Castonguay has been reassigned to aid in the preparation of Quebec COVID-19 vaccination campaign and will be replaced on an interim basis by Caroline Barbir, who is also head of a Montreal's Ste-Justine children's hospital.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 3, 2020.———This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.The Canadian Press
Councillors from local townships met Nov. 25 to digest a massive services delivery review with 12 recommendations for more collaboration that could save upwards of $1.18 million annually. Toronto-based consultant, StrategyCorp., presented 12 initiatives for more intermunicipal partnerships. Their report follows months of work and more than 100 interviews/workshops with councillors and staff. The firm said between operational efficiencies, productivity gains, and $74,000 in more revenue, the implemented strategies could provide that $1.18 million. StrategyCorp principal, John Matheson, said they did not approach the job like auditors but to work alongside staff. He said there is a clear willingness on the part of municipalities for more collaboration. “We’re not saying we found great big problems with waste here,” Matheson said. “We’re saying we were invited to come work with the team, to try and find better ways of doing things and not surprisingly, you spend this kind of effort, that we found some.” The recommendations do not directly address the idea of amalgamation, which was never in the terms of reference for the review. Instead, it tackles where municipalities could improve services with different levels of co-operation, including places where services could be integrated to one provider – whether the County, a special body or a lead municipality. Matheson praised the council for being open-minded about possible improvements and being willing to do a review, as well as creating a safe space for staff to consider different ideas. “What you’ve really done is wiped away a lot of the historical stresses that come out of the air about forced amalgamation. Where people are worried about hanging onto their right to continue providing governance for fear of being stripped away from them by a provincial government,” Matheson said. “There’s lots of different ways to achieve things to the benefit of better public administration, better value for money.” Councillors spent four hours delving into the report and questioning each of its recommendation sections. Coun. Bob Carter of Minden Hills questioned the fire service recommendations only extending to joint training, noting common issues across the municipalities such as succession planning, increased demand and escalating costs. “It seems to me the process for determining what was looked at was not only a quantitative process but a qualitative assessment,” Carter said. Matheson said that is accurate, adding their recommendations focused on improvements that could achieve more for fewer or similar dollars, rather than improvements that could be more costly. He added they decided on the subjects of deeper dives after their estimate of what was most worthwhile after the first phase of the process. “It’s not that theoretically, you couldn’t do more,” Matheson said. “We would just evaluate those opportunities as being a little less ripe in the light of the state of readiness of the organizations.” Next steps The review recommends implementation over several years, but divides recommendations into short, medium, and long-term. It suggests addressing some things, such as communications, economic development and collaborative procurement starting in 2021. The review recommends the County begin implementation of other initiatives like planning, building, septic and bylaw in 2022. Warden Liz Danielsen said the review should be a standing item on the County committee of the whole. She added a special meeting should be called in January or early February to start working through it and the proposed timelines. “We’ve got a lot to absorb and lots to talk about,” Danielsen said. “We need to start thinking about how we’re going to move forward.” Coun. Carol Moffatt said some of the ideas in the report are not new, such as the County having an economic development position. “To me, it seems like some of the reason why some of this collaboration isn’t already happening will be the same reasons why some of it doesn’t move ahead going forward,” she said. “We all sitting around this table today need to really, genuinely understand – that whether and how any of this moves forward depends on the will of each and all of us to conceive something for the greater good. For the benefit of the community.” The Highlander will detail more aspects of the 138-page report in the coming weeks. Significant changes recommended • Roads, bridges, and drainage: Implement capital bundling, allowing contractors to secure multiple projects at once. Formalize joint planning of road maintenance. • Fire services: Integrate fire training and explore a joint-training facility. • Waste management: Approve a working group to standardize waste management processes across the County and/or do a Countywide review of landfills and transfer stations. • Building, septic, bylaw: Explore either shared service agreements or integrate services. • Planning: Create one, central official plan with secondary plans below it. Standardize more of the planning processes across the townships. Create a new County-level planning position to assist. • Economic development: Create a new economic development staff position. • Collaborative procurement: Approve a new staff position for the process and approve a new shared-service agreement. • Integrated digital strategy: Integrate long-term IT planning and municipal IT investment decisions. • Co-ordination of legal services: Hire a county-level in-house municipal barrister and solicitor and approve a shared service agreement for it. • Human resources co-ordination: Explore the benefits of a centralizing human resource information system. Pool benefits together and create shared-service agreements for key HR functions. • Communications: Approve a new central communications position, which would also include grant writing. • Co-ordination: Create a new implementation committee of County council to promote effective collaboration between local municipalities.Joseph Quigley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Highlander
While the world recognizes International Day for Persons with Disabilities, Ottawa was announced as host city for the 2026 Wheelchair Basketball World Championship on Thursday.This marks the first time Canada will host the joint event for senior men and women.CBC Sports and Radio-Canada will take centre stage in providing coverage as the official streaming partners of the tournament.Decorated Paralympian Chantal Petitclerc will serve as honourary chair for the event — which is tentatively scheduled for Aug. 26 to Sept. 5, 2026 and is set to feature 94 games over 11 days."The organizing committee looks forward to delivering an unforgettable, emotionally-charged experience for athletes, stakeholders and spectators while spearheading the evolution of the game in Canada and around the world," said Petitclerc in a news release.Ottawa 2026 will be the largest team sport event for high-performance athletes with a disability in the world. Twenty-eight teams — 16 men, 12 women — will compete for the world championship crowns.WATCH | Ottawa to host 2026 wheelchair basketball worlds:Empowering social changePetitclerc, who was named to the Senate of Canada in 2016, said the opportunity to host the world championship extends beyond the field of play."Ottawa 2026 represents a momentous occasion to unite the world, celebrate the resilience of the human spirit, and champion inclusion," Petitclerc said."Our vision is to host a transformational event that empowers social change by moving people to feel, think and act differently towards wheelchair basketball and people with disabilities. As we celebrate International Day for Persons with Disabilities, we believe Ottawa 2026 will move millions towards a more inclusive world through the incredible power of sport."Canada previously hosted the men's world championship in Edmonton in 1994, the U23 men's worlds in Toronto in 1997, the U25 women's worlds in St. Catharines, Ont., in 2011, women's worlds in Toronto in 2014 and U23 men's worlds in Toronto in 2017."I have personally experienced the thrill of representing Canada and winning a gold medal on home soil," Canadian women's team player Cindy Ouellet said."As an athlete, there is no greater honour than competing at home in front of your family, friends and fellow Canadians."Medal contendersCanadian teams are contenders for gold. The women have won five gold and two bronze medals in the 30-year history of the tournament.Canada's men have reached the podium six times and took the title in 2006.Wheelchair Basketball Canada president Steve Bach says the organization is keen to take on this event."Backed by our rich history of hosting excellence … we will host an unparalleled, world-class event while creating meaningful legacies," Bach said."There is much work to do in the years ahead and we are eager to undertake this journey with all of you."
WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Thursday ordered a lower federal court to reexamine California restrictions on indoor religious services in areas hard hit by the coronavirus in light of the justices' recent ruling in favour of churches and synagogues in New York. The high court's unsigned order, with no noted dissent, leaves the California restrictions in place for now. But it throws out a federal district court ruling that rejected a challenge to the limits from Pasadena-based Harvest Rock Church and Harvest International Ministry, which has more than 160 churches across the state. Last week, the Supreme Court split 5-4 in holding that New York could not enforce certain limits on attendance at churches and synagogues. With a sharp increase in coronavirus cases in recent weeks, California Gov. Gavin Newsom has put most of the state under heightened restrictions, which include a ban on indoor singing and chanting. The Associated Press
ATLANTA — After weathering criticism for certifying President Donald Trump's narrow election loss to Democrat Joe Biden, Republican officials in Georgia are proposing additional requirements for the state's vote-by-mail process, despite no evidence of systemic fraud or irregularities. Two state Senate committees held hearings Thursday to begin a review of Georgia’s voting laws. Republicans are zeroing in on a plan to require a photo ID for ballots cast by mail. Voting rights activists and Democrats argue that the change isn't necessary and would disenfranchise voters. Biden beat Trump by just over 12,500 votes in Georgia, with Biden receiving nearly twice as many of the record number of absentee ballots as the Republican president, according to the secretary of state's office. A recount requested by Trump was wrapping up and wasn't expected to change the overall outcome. Trump, who for months has sowed unsubstantiated doubt about the integrity of mail-in votes, has also made baseless claims of widespread fraud in the presidential race in Georgia. Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and his staff have vehemently rebuffed those claims, stating unequivocally that there is no evidence of systemic errors or fraud in last month's election. Yet Raffensperger and Gov. Brian Kemp, both Republicans who have been publicly lambasted by Trump, have joined the push to require a photo ID for absentee voting. “Voters casting their ballots in person must show a photo ID, and we should consider applying that same standard to mail-in balloting,” Kemp said in remarks streamed live online. Kemp faced accusations of voter suppression during his successful 2018 run for governor against Democrat Stacey Abrams, an election he oversaw as Georgia's previous secretary of state. He vehemently denied the allegations. Kemp faces reelection — and a possible rematch against Abrams — in 2022. Raffensperger also has suggested allowing state officials to intervene in counties that have systemic problems with administering elections and broadening the ways in which challenges can be posed to votes cast by residents who don’t live where they say. The photo ID idea has support among several members of the state legislature, including Republican Senate Majority Leader Mike Dugan. “I don't think there should be different standards for the same process,” Dugan said in an interview. Republican House Speaker David Ralston has been skeptical of voting by mail, telling a local news outlet in April that increased mail voting “will be extremely devastating to Republicans and conservatives in Georgia.” Political analysts have said that typically more Democrats than Republicans use mail-in ballots. Ralston later said he was not talking about his party losing an advantage but the potential for fraud. “We must do everything in our power to ensure votes are not stolen, cast fraudulently or plagued by administrative errors,” he said in a statement this week. Deputy Secretary of State Jordan Fuchs said in an interview with The Associated Press that currently anyone who knows someone’s name, address and date of birth can request an absentee ballot on that person’s behalf. She said that while signature matches provide some security for mail-in ballots, the process should be shored up. One way to do that could be to require a person's driver's license number or a photocopy of a separate form of ID, she said. “We need to secure all avenues that we can of absentee ballots so we never have a candidate run around this state again saying the election was stolen because of absentee ballots,” she said. While Republicans seem ready to press forward with the photo ID requirement during the upcoming legislative session, Democrats and civil rights organizations are raising alarms. With no evidence of widespread fraud or other problems in the election, it doesn’t make sense to talk about measures that could ultimately prove to be barriers to voting, said Andrea Young, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia. “What is the problem that you’re trying to solve?" she asked. “The rule should be first, ‘Do no harm’ when it comes to democracy, and whenever there are more restrictions being put on a process, you run the risk of disenfranchising Georgia citizens.” Young says adding a photo ID requirement for absentee voting would be harmful because “we know that these barriers have a different impact on African American voters, on younger voters and, in this instance, on seniors who have certainly earned the right” to vote. State Sen. Jen Jordan, an Atlanta Democrat, echoed Young’s concerns, saying Republicans were offering solutions in search of a problem. “What this says to me is that they just don’t want people voting," Jordan said. “And they specifically don’t want Democrats voting, or people that don’t support their chosen candidates voting, and they’re going to try to make it as hard as possible." Democrats and voting rights groups have for years sought to decrease rejections of absentee ballots in Georgia, arguing that minorities have been disproportionately affected. Absentee ballots are sometimes rejected because signatures on the outer envelope are deemed not to match signatures in the voter registration system, or because the envelope is not signed at all. An agreement signed in March to settle a lawsuit filed by the Democratic Party spells out a standard process that must be used statewide to judge the signatures. That agreement has been the subject of much of Trump's online ire, and he has incorrectly said it “makes it impossible to check & match signatures on ballots and envelopes.” Ben Nadler And Kate Brumback, The Associated Press
Islanders who would like to donate reusable, non-medical masks can now drop off donations at all eight Access PEI locations across the province. And for Islanders who may need a reusable mask and can't afford one, free masks will now be available at 14 food banks and pantries around P.E.I. Minister of Social Development and Housing Ernie Hudson made the announcement about both organisations in the legislature Wednesday. "For many Islanders, purchasing masks may not fall within their budget. Every Islander deserves access to protection against COVID-19," Hudson said as part of the announcement.> It's great to see that the government is kind of answering the call and getting up to the plate \- Alyssa MacKinnon, co-founder of Mask Central PEIAlyssa MacKinnon, co-founder of Mask Central PEI, said her group helped facilitate the mask donation drop-offs at Access PEI.Mask Central PEI is a Facebook group that helps connect people who want to donate masks with organizations looking for mask donations. MacKinnon said Premier Dennis King and his staff reached out to her group, wondering how they could help get masks out to Islanders as quickly as possible. "We're very excited and we're really overwhelmed with the support that we've been getting," said MacKinnon. "It's great to see that the government is kind of answering the call and getting up to the plate, and implementing getting these masks out to low-income Islanders where they need it the most."Islanders' generosity overwhelming MacKinnon said that since she helped launch the new group just eight days ago, the support and generosity they've gotten from Islanders has been overwhelming. She said that with donation drop-offs at Access PEI locations from Souris to Tignish, the Island is well-covered. "Those, I think, are amazing strides coming not only from us, but from the province and from Islanders to kind of address what low-income Islanders' needs are," said MacKinnon. The 14 food bank locations where people can pick up a donated mask also range across the province. You can see a full list of the food banks and the Access PEI locations on the Mask Central PEI Facebook page.More from CBC P.E.I.
Members of the Yellowknives Dene First Nation demonstrated outside the Giant Mine site Wednesday demanding a federal apology, compensation and a formal role in the remediation of their traditional lands — lands mined without consent, and left poisoned with arsenic trioxide."Our land is spoiled. It's not like what it was. We are fearful of harvesting anything near Giant. We are fearful of fishing in Yellowknife Bay and gathering berries close by. We must travel far to harvest safe foods and exercise our treaty rights. Even after all this, Canada has yet to offer an apology to us," said Dettah Chief Edward Sangris. Yellowknives Dene were displaced from the western part of Yellowknife Bay, a culturally and spiritually significant area for harvesting. The displacement has never provided real economic benefits, Sangris said, even in the remediation stage. Two weeks ago, YKDFN sent a letter to the federal government outlining its demands, but has yet to receive a reply. The First Nation wants a set-aside contract arrangement — one that would make it the only eligible bidder on contracts — that includes water treatment, long-term environmental consulting and monitoring of the project.They're looking for a contract similar to what the Mi'kmaq received for the clean-up of the Sydney Tar Ponds in Nova Scotia. YKDFN launched a website – GiantMineMonster.ca — which links to a petition to the Government of Canada that is sent out by email when visitors subscribe to email updates.Johanne Black, YKDFN's director of treaty, rights, and governance says Canada has to come to the negotiation table to honour their nation-to-nation relationship. "To this day, Canada does not accommodate the depth of our rights and our responsibilities here. Its meagre and frustrating set-aside process for contracts offers us no pathway for creating the skilled workforce we need and the tangible benefits we deserve," she said. According to the website, Giant Mine produced seven million ounces of gold and the companies that controlled the mine made more than $1 billion in profits over the life of the mine, receiving millions in subsidies from Canada.The effect of cultural displacement on YKDFN has wreaked havoc on community and culture, said Black."It still haunts our communities in the social effects that spiralled out from this poisoning of our lands: food insecurity, displacement, intergenerational poverty, loss of meaning, despair, misery, alcoholism, homelessness, suicide. This is Giant Mine's toxic legacy." she said. Black said Canada can put itself on the path to reconciliation with an apology, compensation and by setting a path to economic benefits to the First Nation.Treaty obligations central to YKDFN demands on federal governmentOn their newly launched website, YKDFN outlines the history of how Canada undermined their treaty rights, and eventually poisoned their lands without consent. In 1900, the Yellowknives Dene signed Treaty 8, understanding it to be a peace and friendship agreement that would not affect ownership or control of their traditional lands. It did not include Yellowknives Dene lands on the North of Tı Ndeè (Great Slave Lake). When Canada imposed hunting restrictions, YKDFN led a boycott of the treaty over infringement on their rights and way of life, the website states.This boycott led to the creation of a 70,000 square-mile hunting preserve for the exclusive use of Indigenous harvesters, and to protect harvesting rights from encroachment.Despite this, the federal government removed areas on Yellowknife Bay's western shores, opened it to non-Indigenous hunters and then removed the area, which includes Giant Mine, from the Yellowknife Preserve entirely. The preserve was finally transferred to the Northwest Territories Council and abolished in 1955, with no record of consultation with Yellowknives Dene. Roasting ore on-site caused harmful levels of arsenic trioxide to be released into the air and to seep from tailings ponds, causing at least one documented death, multiple episodes of arsenic poisoning, and the mass death of nearly an entire herd of cattle, according to the website.Yellowknives Dene had always drawn their water from the lake since time immemorial, but were not adequately warned of the risks, said Ndilo Chief Ernest Betsina."The Government of Canada remediation … should invest in a high degree of training and capacity building for our people to monitor the Giant Mine," he said. "The time is now long overdue for our voices to be heard. We want commitments to reconciliation and economic development after what we have suffered from this mine, and we want results," he said. Bobby Drygeese is a councillor in Dettah and chair of the board of directors for Det'on Cho, the First Nation's economic development arm.As a young person, elders and his parents always warned him not to go in the area of Giant Mine because it would make you sick.Now that the mine is closed, Drygeese says it's critical that YKDFN get a "fair share on contracts.""We're going to make sure because we live here, that it's clean and done the right way, because we're the ones that are going to live here. Everybody else, they get contracts, do the job then they leave. We're going to be cleaning it and making sure it's safe for our families, our kids, grandkids and future generations."
Chatham-Kent council supported the opportunity to hire a dedicated recruitment and retention co-ordinator to focus on physician recruitment for the community. “We are proposing that Chatham-Kent fund a part-time recruitment co-ordinator. Our rationale is based on the pressing needs for additional family physicians and the economic benefit a successful program will bring to the area,” said Denise Waddick, co-chair of the Chatham-Kent Physician Recruitment and Retention Task Force. Waddick gave council an update on the one-time $100,000 funding for physician recruitment approved for the 2020 budget. Currently there are 60 family physicians in Chatham-Kent, with each roster averaging 1,500 patients. Of the more than 104,000 health card holders that live in Chatham-Kent, 78,000 have a family physician and about 6,000 are enrolled into a Chatham-Kent community health centre. “So when you do the math and you look at the formula, it looks as though there's about just under 20,000 patients that do not have primary care. And when you base it off of the average patient roster that looks as though we need about 13 additional physicians to address our current needs,” Waddick said. “ We do not have sufficient family physician coverage to provide the Comprehensive Primary Care to its population.” Waddick said her statistics do not include residents that are seeking care outside of Chatham-Kent that may return if a provider is located locally. Chatham-Kent could need up to 25 new physicians in the coming years. Forty per cent of patients are currently patients of a doctor who is over the age of 60. An additional 18 would be needed to fill those roles once the physicians retire. The process to replace one doctor could take up to a year, Waddick explained. The recruitment position will officially be set in stone once the next yearly budget is approved. The recruitment task force was formed in January 2020 as an independent community committee, with representation from the Thamesview, Chatham-Kent and Tilbury District family health teams, the Chatham-Kent community health centers, and the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance. Waddick said because of the pandemic, not all the planned work for the task force could be completed, resulting in the use of only $52,000 of the funds. To date, the task force recruited two new physicians who took over existing practices and one solo family physician who was able to take on new patients. Waddick and her team also lobbied to have Tilbury District Family Health Team designated as an underserved area which gives it the power to add more doctors to its group. The funds are also used to pay a physician's site visits, attend conferences, and used as a start-up subsidy for moving expenses. “The task force also developed unique and creative strategies to mark market practice opportunities in Chatham Kent, with a stronger online presence by developing a website and a social media campaign,” Waddick said about some of the other highlights in their first year. “We established a brand, and an image for recruitment with our community.” Jenna Cocullo, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Chatham Voice
French police are beginning an unprecedented inspection of 76 of the country's mosques as part of a move against so-called 'religious separatism'View on euronews
LRT service on Ottawa's Confederation Line will be suspended between Blair and Hurdman stations this weekend for more work on the track's switch heaters.That eastern section of the line will close Saturday and Sunday. Similar work led to closures over the last two weekends.Last winter, snow accumulation appeared to cause switches on the eastern leg of the Confederation Line to malfunction, one of the key causes of the delays that beset the transit system.The Trillium Line has switch heaters powered by propane and natural gas, whereas the newer Confederation Line's were originally electric. The new heaters being installed will be powered by natural gas.Replacement buses will run in place of trains on that part of the line, while trains will continue to run between Hurdman and Tunney's Pasture stations.
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump's daughter and senior White House adviser said Thursday that she was deposed for more than five hours by attorneys alleging that the president's 2017 inauguration committee misused donor funds — an inquiry Ivanka Trump claimed is a “waste of taxpayer dollars.”The Washington, D.C., attorney general's office has filed a lawsuit alleging the committee made more than $1 million in improper payments to the president’s Washington, D.C., hotel during the week of the inauguration in 2017.Trump’s inaugural committee spent more than $1 million to book a ballroom at the Trump International Hotel as part of a scheme to “grossly overpay” for party space and enrich the president’s own family in the process, the District of Columbia’s attorney general, Karl Racine, alleges.Ivanka Trump, who was deposed on Tuesday, tweeted that she gave attorneys from the D.C. attorney general’s office an email she wrote on Dec. 14, 2016, where she instructed the Trump hotel to charge a “fair market rate," which she said the the hotel did.“This ‘inquiry’ is another politically motivated demonstration of vindictiveness & waste of taxpayer dollars,” she tweeted.Her deposition on Tuesday was first reported by CNN.As part of the suit, the attorneys have subpoenaed records from Ivanka Trump, first lady Melania Trump, Thomas Barrack Jr., a close friend of the president who chaired the inaugural committee, and others. Barrack was deposed last month.Racine has accused the committee of misusing non-profit funds and co-ordinating with the hotel’s management and members of the Trump family to arrange the events.“District law requires nonprofits to use their funds for their stated public purpose, not to benefit private individuals or companies,” Racine has said. “In this case, we are seeking to recover the non-profit funds that were improperly funneled directly to the Trump family business.”The committee raised an unprecedented $107 million to host events celebrating Trump’s inauguration in January 2017, but its spending has drawn continued scrutiny.In a statement, Alan Garten with the Trump Organization said that “Ms. Trump’s only involvement was connecting the parties and instructing the hotel to charge a ‘fair market rate,’ which the hotel did.”The Associated Press
Mayor Jim Watson wants a guarantee that the Ottawa Redblacks and 67's keep playing at Lansdowne Park's TD Place until 2032, according to an open letter he wrote to the business group that owns the teams.Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group (OSEG) runs the commercial sector at Lansdowne and owns some of the sports teams that play there. In its 30-year deal with the city, OSEG had promised to keep the teams at the stadium until 2022.But last month, OSEG — which had been struggling to get enough foot traffic to Lansdowne and lost $11 million last year — said it needed help from the city, as the COVID-19 pandemic had decimated its revenue stream. The group has asked the city to extend the partnership for an additional 10 years to 2054, in order to give OSEG more time to recoup some of its losses.After a nine-hour discussion on Nov. 13, members of the finance and economic development committee approved the changes to the partnership, but the contentious issue is set to go to full council next Wednesday. Among the many speakers at the meeting, representatives of the Glebe Community Association and other public delegates expressed concern about what would happen if the sports teams, which attracted thousands on game days in pre-COVID-19 times, no longer played at Lansdowne.Watson's letter, which he wrote with Coun. Mathieu Fleury in his role as sports commissioner, asks for a response from OSEG by the Dec. 9 council meeting.No one from OSEG was immediately available for comment.Menard drafted his own motionCoun. Shawn Menard, in whose ward Lansdowne Park is situated, called out the mayor on social media for taking credit for his work. Menard said he had written several motions about the Lansdowne situation for council next week, including one to keep the teams in Ottawa.The draft motion, which CBC has seen, calls for any proposed changes to the Lansdowne partnership to "include an agreement by all parties to add an additional ten years to the guarantee that the Ottawa REDBLACKS and Ottawa 67's would remain in Ottawa until after 2030, and ensuring that Ottawa residents will be able to continue cheering on these beloved teams."Menard said he shared the draft motion with several other councillors in a briefing, and gave it to the clerk's office to distribute to "relevant parties, staff and OSEG."However, the mayor said that he'd been "working closely with OSEG on this issue" since the committee meeting and neither he nor Fleury had been made aware of the motion by Menard.Watson said in an email that he is pleased that Coun. Menard supports asking OSEG to commit to fielding the Redblacks and the Ottawa 67s for an additional 10 years — a move intended to ensure the long-term success of the Lansdowne Park Partnership."Further, the letter to OSEG, aimed at clarifying OSEG's position, in no way precludes the ward councillor from bringing a motion to Council on this matter."
MIAMI — Brad Six becomes Santa Claus, pulling his black boots over his red pants in the office of a Miami outdoor supply company. It's hot, so he forgoes the traditional heavy jacket for a lightweight vest and grabs his Santa hat. But before sliding it on, the gray-bearded 61-year-old dons a plastic face shield and then takes his chair positioned behind a plexiglass sheet. "Getting paid is nice, but to get your battery recharged and to really get something lasting out of it requires interacting with the kids — you don’t get a lot of that this year,” said Six, who first portrayed Santa 35 years ago. This is Santa Claus in the Coronavirus Age, where visits are conducted with layers of protection or online. Putting hundreds of kids daily onto Santa's lap to talk into his face — that's not happening for most. The physical attributes that make the perfect Santa align perfectly with those that make COVID-19 especially deadly. “Most of us tick all the boxes: We are old, we are overweight, we have diabetes and if we don’t have diabetes, we have heart disease,” said Stephen Arnold, the president of IBRBS, an association formerly known as the International Brotherhood of Real Bearded Santas. That has spurred creativity in Santa's workshops. Santas conducting in-person visits are using some combination of masks, the outdoors, barriers and distance for safety. Others are doing virtual visits, where children chat with Santa online for prices typically ranging from $20 to $100, depending on the length and extras, such as whether customers want a recording. Some Santas are taking the season off. “Santa safety is our No. 1 concern” and negotiated into every contract, said Mitch Allen, president of HireSanta, one of the nation's largest agencies. He said the pandemic initially dried up his business, but it bounced back, especially online. The average Santa makes $5,000 to $10,000 during a normal season, Allen said. That's a welcome bonus for men often retired on a fixed income, but many Santas say revenue is down as corporate parties and other lucrative gigs evaporated. Jac Grimes, a Santa in Greensboro, North Carolina, gave up home visits, about a third of his business. He did it not just for his own health, but to prevent becoming a superspreader, fearing he'd pass the virus from one family to the next. At a farmers market he annually works, Grimes and his wife dress up as Santa and Mrs. Claus and sit in a parking lot where they to talk to people who remain inside their cars. Some homeowners associations are moving their annual Santa-visitation parties outdoors; Grimes will arrive in his red convertible to greet the crowds from afar. One of the hardest adjustments Santas have made is wearing masks that hide their painstakingly grown beards. “Santa performers are fairly vain people — if they are good,” Grimes said. The virus has many Santas and parents turning to virtual visits, which are booked through each Santa's personal website or agencies like Allen's. That often has Santas turning to their children and others for help mastering the computer skills needed. “It has been a challenge,” said Christopher Saunders, a Santa performer in Tool, Texas, a small town near Dallas. But Saunders and others say virtual sessions are a good if imperfect substitute for in-person visits. Parents fill out questionnaires, allowing performers to personalize their patter, and a side benefit is that the sessions aren't rushed. Many Santa mall visits last no more than two minutes to keep the line moving. “You get a different energy,” Saunders said of the virtual visits. “You can see the child’s expressions, as pure as they are.” Jim Beidel, a Santa performer near Seattle, said knowing the children's personal stories, such as their friends and school, helps Santas sell their Christmas magic. “It really enhances the engagement, the suspension of disbelief, especially among the older children," he said. But even Santas with the best gigs are hurting. Howard Graham usually portrays Santa in the grand foyer of New York's Radio City Music Hall during its Christmas show featuring the Rockettes. That's gone, so he's doing virtual visits and five days with a historic railroad in Pennsylvania. Still, he's taking a financial and emotional hit. “I love what I do ... bringing them (children) a little bit of smiles and hope,” said Graham, who has played Santa at Radio City for eight years. “I am going to do what I can not to change that.” That was also Six's goal as he settled recently into Santa's throne for a three-hour shift at Miami's Bass Pro Shops. As families sat in front of the plexiglass for photos, Six tilted his head so his face shield didn't reflect the camera's flash. He cheerfully waved children around the plexiglass so they could tell him their wish list, keeping them 6 feet (1.8 metres) back. As he wished them a Merry Christmas, an elf swooped in with disinfectant, wiping the plexiglass and bench before the next group sat. Six said the arrangement is “a little easier physically on Santa's back because he doesn't have to pick anybody up, but it's not as enjoyable because Santa doesn't get the interaction he normally gets.” But for families, sitting with Santa, even if behind a shield, is a bit of normalcy in abnormal times. Paul and Sarah Morris and their children, 5-year-old Theo and Sophy, 4, were among the first to visit Six that night. An Air Force family visiting from Hawaii, the Morrises cajoled their children into hugging for their photo. “Stop wiggling,” Theo said, scolding his sister before each sibling told Santa their Christmas wish. Sophy wanted candy; Theo, a remote control Ford Mustang. “This is definitely different," Sarah Morris said of the setup, “but the kids are excited and that's what matters.” Terry Spencer, The Associated Press
Le préfet de la MRC du Fjord-du-Saguenay, Gérald Savard, demande au premier ministre Justin Trudeau qu’il accélère le déploiement de l’Internet haute vitesse sur le territoire dans le cadre d’un plan de relance en tant que priorité nationale. Dans une lettre datée du 19 novembre dernier et adressée au premier ministre et aux députés Richard Martel et Mario Simard, M. Savard affirme que 40% des bâtiments de la MRC ne sont pas ou sont mal desservis par l’Internet, faute de rentabilité possible, une situation qualifiée d’inacceptable. M. Savard mentionne que le service Internet de qualité est une condition essentielle pour le développement économique, social et culturel, en plus de contrer le déclin démographique et la vitalité des communautés. Il poursuit en affirmant que le contexte de pandémie actuelle démontre l’importance de déployer l’Internet pour briser l’isolement, faire évoluer les pratiques dans les entreprises avec le télétravail tout en assurant leur survie. En dépit de l’annonce d’un investissement supplémentaire de 750 M$ s’ajoutant aux milliards $ annoncé lors du budget 2019, M. Savard soutient que trop peu de foyers seront branchés rapidement. Selon lui, un des obstacles au déploiement de l’Internet haute vitesse concerne l’accès aux poteaux alors que les propriétaires s’installent rapidement tandis que les autres doivent affronter un processus bureaucratique long et fastidieux pour obtenir les permis nécessaires. Il ajoute que la stratégie pour la connectivité en vertu de laquelle 95% des Canadiens auront accès à la haute vitesse en 2026 est trop longue.Denis Villeneuve, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Quotidien
Sainte-Anne-de-la-Pérade – Richard Lachance, l'ancien grand président de Cogeco Média est «en réflexion» en vue des élections municipales de 2021 à Sainte-Anne-de-la-Pérade. Celui qui a cédé les commandes de la filiale du géant des télécommunications en 2018 pourrait ainsi prendre la place de la mairesse sortante, Diane Aubut. Aujourd'hui conseiller spécial pour l'entreprise, notamment en ce qui a trait aux stations radiophoniques détenues par Cogeco, M. Lachance soutient être aux premiers balbutiements de sa réflexion. «J'analyse et je réfléchis à tout ça. Je regarde ce qui pourrait m'intéresser», explique-t-il. «Beaucoup de gens m'ont approché. J'étudie et je regarde», ajoute l'homme reconnu pour son dynamisme contagieux. Plusieurs questions mériteront des réponses avant que le principal intéressé ne confirme une candidature. «Est-ce que j'ai le goût de m'investir à un autre niveau? Est-ce que je suis prêt à servir la population? Ça demanderait beaucoup d'heures dans mon cas parce que je m'implique à fond. J'ai connu des ennuis de santé l'an dernier, mais ma condition s'améliore de plus en plus. La santé jouera un rôle déterminant», confie Richard Lachance. Il concède par ailleurs que le contexte pourrait peser dans la balance.Marc-André Pelletier, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Nouvelliste
WASHINGTON — The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits fell as the nation celebrated Thanksgiving last week to a still-high 712,000, the latest sign that the U.S. economy and job market remain under stress from the intensified viral outbreak.Thursday's report from the Labor Department said that initial claims for jobless aid dropped from 787,000 the week before. Before the virus paralyzed the economy in March, the number of people applying for unemployment benefits each week had typically amounted to roughly 225,000. The chronically high pace of applications shows that nearly nine months after the pandemic struck, many employers are still slashing jobs."Thanksgiving seasonals likely explain the drop'' in jobless claims last week, Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, wrote in a research note. “Expect a rebound next week.''The total number of people who are continuing to receive traditional state unemployment benefits declined to 5.5 million from 6.1 million. That figure is down sharply from its peak of nearly 23 million in May. It means that some jobless Americans are finding jobs and no longer receiving aid. But it also indicates that many of the unemployed have used up their state benefits, which typically expire after six months.With layoffs still elevated and new confirmed viral cases in the United States now exceeding 160,000 a day on average, the economy’s modest recovery is increasingly in danger. States and cities are issuing mask mandates, limiting the size of gatherings, restricting restaurant dining, closing gyms or reducing the hours and capacity of bars, stores and other businesses.Most experts say the economy won't be able to sustain a recovery until the virus is brought under control with an effective and widely used vaccine.Many jobless Americans are now collecting checks under two federal programs that were set up this year to ease the economic pain inflicted by the pandemic. But those programs are set to expire the day after Christmas. When they do, benefits will end completely for an estimated 9.1 million unemployed people.The number of people collecting aid under one of those programs — the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, which offers coverage to gig workers and others who don’t qualify for traditional benefits — fell by 339,000 to 8.9 million for the week ending Nov. 14.But the number of people receiving aid under the second program — the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program, which provides 13 weeks of federal benefits to people who have exhausted their state aid — rose by 60,000 to 4.6 million.All told, roughly 20.2 million people are now receiving some type of unemployment aid. (Figures for the two pandemic-related programs aren’t adjusted for seasonal variations.)Still, the Government Accountability Office, a federal watchdog, has concluded that the jobless claims numbers are being distorted by flaws in the way the government collects the data. The GAO said the problem arose because the Labor Department uses state numbers as a proxy for the number of people claiming benefits nationwide. But backlogs in state processing of claims and other data-collection problems have resulted in inaccurate counts, the GAO reported.For months, Congress has failed to agree on any new stimulus aid for jobless individuals and struggling businesses after the expiration of a multi-trillion dollar rescue package enacted in March. This week, though, efforts to forge some limited short-term rescue package have intensified. Democrats have scaled back their demands for a $2 trillion-plus measure by more than half in hopes of breaking the logjam.Democratic leaders have given their support to a nearly $1 trillion package as a “basis” for discussions. This plan would establish a $300-a-week jobless benefit, send $160 billion to help state and local governments, boost schools and universities, revive “paycheque protection” subsidies for businesses and bail out transit systems and airlines. So far, though, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has been unwilling to abandon a $550 million Senate Republican plan that failed twice this fall.President-elect Joe Biden lent his support to the bipartisan effort Wednesday, saying the developing aid package “wouldn’t be the answer, but it would be the immediate help for a lot of things.” Biden said he wants a relief bill to pass Congress now, with more aid to follow next year.Regardless of what happens on Capitol Hill, the promise of a vaccine could help ease the health and economic crises in coming months. In the meantime, with the virus still raging, the economic damage has become increasingly visible. The data firm Homebase reports that its measures of job market health — employees working, hours worked and businesses open — have deteriorated from where they stood in the summer.“We expect conditions to worsen, placing increased pressure on Main Street as small businesses continue to struggle to survive,? Homebase researchers wrote.Likewise, the data firm Womply estimates that 21% of small businesses were shuttered at the start of November, up from June’s 16% rate. Womply also said that consumer spending at local businesses declined 30% last month from a year earlier, marking a deterioration from a 20% year-over-year decline in October.Americans are bracing for the picture to worsen: Thirty per cent of adults surveyed by the Commerce Department from Nov. 11 to 23 reported that they or someone in their household expected to lose income in the next four weeks, up from 23% of those surveyed from Sept. 30 to Oct. 12.Paul Wiseman, The Associated Press
NEW YORK — Poets Terrance Hayes and Natasha Trethewey are receiving honours from the Library of Congress.The Library announced Thursday that Hayes' book "American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin” has won the Rebekah Johnson Bobbitt National Prize for Poetry. Trethewey is being given a Bobbitt prize for lifetime achievement. The Bobbitt awards are presented every two years and named for former President Lyndon B. Johnson's late sister, whose family funds the awards.Hayes and Trethewey, who each will receive $5,000, are two of the country's most honoured poets. Hayes won the National Book Award in 2010 for “Lighthead” while Trethewey won the Pulitzer Prize in 2007 for “Native Guard.” She is also a former U.S. poet laureate.Previous Bobbitt winners include Jorie Graham, Claudia Rankine and Gerald Stern.The Associated Press
At West Coast Helicopters’ office in Port McNeill, Mike Aldersey and his team are excited. Aldersey has been named as the recipient of the Agar/Stringer Award – a coveted award bestowed by the Helicopter Association of Canada on select few Canadians for their outstanding contribution to the industry. In his 42-year long career, Aldersey holds an impeccable record of over 30,000 accident-free-hours as pilot in command. But that didn’t stop him from being “shocked” when he found out he was getting an award. “I didn’t even know I was nominated,” said the 65-year-old pilot, who lives in Courtenay when he is not at his Port McNeill office. “The past recipients of this award are some pretty impressive people in the Canadian helicopter industry so I feel quite humbled and quite proud to be considered to be in that league.” But even for an industry giant like Aldersey, excitement comes along with existential troubles that online conventions bring along. As he prepared to accept his award - which was presented virtually on Dec. 1 - he had a few lingering questions. “How are they going to do this online? Will they just announce my name? Do they expect a speech from me? I don’t know.” Either way, the 65-year-old kept a speech ready, just in case. Aldersey grew up with aircrafts zooming overhead in Trenton, Ontario. Living near an air force base was a strong influence on him as a 10-year-old boy. Even then, Aldersey knew that he wanted to fly in a bush environment as opposed to airline routes. And he got his wish. Aldersey has flown for air ambulance services, forest firefighting across the country, logging industry operations, tourism charters and heli-skiing adrenaline junkies. He’s been a part of many exciting journeys, including wildlife surveys in the high Arctic, rescue missions, and medical evacuations among others. But forest firefighting is an experience that has been the closest to his heart. “Supporting the forest firefighting industry is one aspect that I have quite enjoyed in my career,” he said. That’s also because he can put to good use his specialty in vertical referencing – also called long line work, which includes slinging loaded 50- 100-foot length long lines from place to place. In 1978 he got his helicopter license from Canadore College in North Bay, Ont., and since then he has had the opportunity to work across provinces. But that also meant remote locations and 16 years of being away from home for almost 240 days a year. His wife Paula was “extremely supportive,” and Aldersey makes it clear that without her, they wouldn’t have gotten far in his career at all. Their family of five moved to Vancouver Island in 1993 and since then Aldersey has been the Port McNeill base manager with West Coast Helicopters. “I was able to spend more time with my family.” Now, apart from being home, B.C.’s coast has become the most soothing sight from up above for Aldersey. With bases in Port McNeill, Campbell River, Nanaimo and Bella Coola, he gets to see a lot of the coastline. “I never get tired of the B.C. coast. It’s pretty spectacular and although it’s my daily routine, I still have to pinch myself sometimes.” Along with mind-blowing hawk-eye views from the sky, his career also gifted him some of the most “interesting experiences.” Aldersey has had the opportunity to meet and work with various people who do different types of profound work. “With this type of work – helicopter support– you’re transporting a lot of different industries and people. And it’s like my career, I mean, I’m involved in many many other different careers,” he said. “That’s the beauty of it! It’s a fairly exciting job because you get to see and experience a lot of different jobs along with your own.” A lot has changed in the past 42 years – Aldersey is a grandfather to five, his favourite chopper Hughes 500 is now an MD 500D and the helicopter industry reflects the passage of time too. But even then the adrenaline rush that floods him when he powers his MD 500D for a take-off is still the same. And that’s a feeling that Aldersey is not yet ready to hang up. “Flying has been my passion for 42 years, I still quite enjoy it and I don’t have plans on retiring anytime soon, he said. “We’ll see how much longer I can keep up it.” Binny Paul, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Campbell River Mirror
The government is making good on an election promise by introducing a home renovation tax credit. The non-refundable tax credit announced Thursday allows homeowners to save up to $2,100 in provincial income tax by claiming a 10.5 per cent tax credit on up to $20,000 of home renovation expenses.Eligible expenses include the cost of labour and professional services along with building materials, fixtures, equipment rentals and permits. "This tax credit will make the cost of home renovations more affordable and will help drive Saskatchewan's economic recovery," Deputy Premier and Finance Minister Donna Harpauer said in a news release. The new tax credit was estimated to cost the province $124 million over two years.Renovations must be completed in a Saskatchewan resident's principal home, which must be located in the province, the news release said.Renovation expenses incurred between Oct. 1, 2020, and Dec. 31, 2022, qualify, and the renovations must be substantially completed by Dec. 31, 2022.Eligible expenses include permanent additions to homes, but not items like furniture, appliances, hot tubs, tools or maintenance services like carpet or furnace cleaning.Those applying should claim the credit for renovations on their 2021 and or 2022 personal income tax returns.Qualified expenses incurred between Oct. 1, 2020, and Dec. 31, 2022, over the base of $1,000 but not more than $12,000, can be claimed on 2021 tax returns.Qualified expenses incurred between Jan. 1, 2022, and Dec. 31, 2022, over the base $1,000 but not more than $10,000, can be claimed on 2022 tax returns.The provincial government's news release said the tax credit can be split among eligible family members but the total claim cannot exceed the maximum $20,000.The credit will be administered by the Canada Revenue Agency as part of the Saskatchewan personal income tax system. The news release said the agency is to develop the appropriate forms and filing instructions in the coming months.