October snowfall in Winnipeg covers road and trees.
October snowfall in Winnipeg covers road and trees.
For a man obsessed with winning, President Donald Trump is losing a lot.He’s managed to lose not just once to Democrat Joe Biden at the ballot box but over and over again in courts across the country in a futile attempt to stay in power. The Republican president and his allies continue to mount new cases, recycling the same baseless claims, even after Trump’s own attorney general declared the Justice Department had uncovered no widespread fraud."This will continue to be a losing strategy, and in a way it's even bad for him: He gets to re-lose the election numerous times," said Kent Greenfield, a professor at Boston College Law School. “The depths of his petulance and narcissism continues to surprise me.”In an Associated Press tally of roughly 50 cases brought by Trump's campaign and his allies, more than 30 have been rejected or dropped. About a dozen are awaiting action. Trump has notched just one small victory, a case challenging a decision to move the deadline to provide missing proof of identification for certain absentee ballots and mail-in ballots in Pennsylvania.Trump has refused to admit he lost, and this week posted a 46-minute speech to Facebook filled with conspiracies, misstatements and vows to keep up his fight to subvert the election.Five more losses came Friday. The Trump campaign lost its bid to overturn the results of the election in Nevada and the Michigan appeals court rejected a case from his campaign. The Minnesota Supreme Court dismissed a challenge brought by GOP lawmakers. And in Arizona, a judge threw out thrown out a bid to undo Biden’s victory there, concluding that the state’s Republican Party chairwoman failed to prove fraud or misconduct and that the evidence presented at trial wouldn’t reverse Trump’s loss. The Wisconsin Supreme Court also declined to hear a lawsuit brought by a conservative group over Trump’s loss.Thursday dealt another blow in Wisconsin, where a split state Supreme Court refused to hear Trump’s lawsuit seeking to disqualify more than 221,000 ballots in the state’s two biggest Democratic counties, alleging irregularities in the way absentee ballots were administered. The case echoed claims that were earlier rejected by election officials in those counties during a recount that barely affected Biden’s winning margin of about 20,700 votes. Trump filed a similar lawsuit in federal court late Wednesday.Judges in battleground states have repeatedly swatted down legal challenges brought by the president and his allies. Trump's legal team has vowed to take one Pennsylvania case to the U.S. Supreme Court even though it was rejected in a scathing ruling by a federal judge as well as an appeals court.After recently being kicked off Trump's legal team, conservative attorney Sidney Powell filed new lawsuits in Arizona and Wisconsin this week riddled with errors and wild conspiracies about election rigging. One of the plaintiffs named in the Wisconsin case said he never agreed to participate in the case and found out through social media that he had been included. The same lawsuit asks for 48 hours of security footage from the “TCF Center,” which is in Detroit.The issues Trump’s campaign and its allies have raised are typical in every election: problems with signatures, secrecy envelopes and postmarks on mail-in ballots, as well as the potential for a small number of ballots miscast or lost. Election officials from both parties have said the election went well, and Attorney General William Barr told The Associated Press on Tuesday that the Justice Department uncovered no evidence of widespread voter fraud that could change the election's outcome.Trump's lawyers responded by criticizing Barr, who has been one of the president's biggest allies.Greenfield says their criticism speaks volumes. “It goes to show how vehement their ability to overlook reality is," he said.Failing to gain any traction in court, Trump and his allies are now turning to events with Republican lawmakers and rallies in states like Pennsylvania, Georgia and Michigan where they can use unfounded claims of fraud to incite the president’s loyal base.At a rally in Georgia on Wednesday, Powell and another pro-Trump attorney, Lin Wood, suggested that Republican voters sit out of the two January runoff elections that will decide control of the Senate because of the potential for fraud. And in Michigan, Rudy Giuliani, Trump's personal lawyer, urged Republican activists to pressure, even threaten, the GOP-controlled Legislature to award the state’s 16 electoral votes to Trump despite Biden’s 154,000-vote victory.In his video posted Wednesday, Trump said there were facts and evidence of a mass conspiracy created by Democrats to steal the election, a similar argument made by Giuliani and others before judges that has been largely unsuccessful. Most of their claims are rooted in conspiracy theories about voting machines that are not true, and affidavits by partisan poll watchers who claimed they didn't get close enough to see ballots being tallied because of safety precautions in the coronavirus pandemic. Because they couldn't see, they argued, something untoward must have happened.“No, I didn’t hear any facts or evidence," tweeted Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, a Democrat, after watching the video Wednesday night. “What I did hear was a sad Facebook rant from a man who lost an election."___Associated Press writers Scott Bauer in Madison, Wis., David Eggert in Lansing, Mich., and Jacques Billeaud in Phoenix contributed to this report.Alanna Durkin Richer, The Associated Press
South Korean authorities urged vigilance on Saturday as small coronavirus clusters emerged in a third wave, centred in the Seoul area, with infections near nine-month highs. The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) reported 583 new coronavirus infections, down from the 629 reported on Friday, which was the highest since the first wave peaked in February and early March. This wave of infections is different from the first two, which were driven by large-scale transmission, said KDCA official Lim Sook-young.
A Strathmore resident has been recognized for her extensive efforts volunteering for the community. Marlys Lein was nominated for the 2020 Stars of Alberta Volunteer Awards, a yearly award given to volunteers who have made a large impact on their community. While Lein was not ultimately selected as an award finalist, her impressive contributions were recognized by a certificate and letter from Leela Sharon Aheer, Alberta’s Minister of Culture, Multiculturalism and Status of Women. A resident of Strathmore for over 40 years, Lein has contributed to numerous organizations in town. One of her current efforts is volunteering with the Strathmore Pickleball Club, which was founded in 2015 after the hosting of the Alberta 55+ Summer Games. Lein’s work with the club, including organizing playing venues, purchasing equipment, booking instructors and helping players has helped it to grow, said Louise Bleier, a volunteer with the organization. “We started literally from nothing and we’re over 100 members now.” Lein was also instrumental in helping to plan for the possible construction of permanent, dedicated pickleball courts and to repair the town’s existing courts, added Bleier, who wrote the nomination. “She’s volunteered hundreds and hundreds of hours over the past 40 years, and it’s improved the quality of life in our community,” said Bleier. “Her initiative and leadership are incredible.” By working with the club, Lein said she was “just promoting a game I really love … trying to get all different people exposed to it,” she said, adding she hopes the club’s membership continues to grow, especially from among the town’s seniors. While matches are sidelined by the COVID-19 pandemic for now, membership is $35 and available through the organization’s website, strathmorepickleball.ca. Lein also serves as president of Strathmore Regional Victim Services Society, which provides 24-hour crisis response to victims of crime and tragedy, and is in her sixth year volunteering with the organization. Lein helps the organization continually move forward, said Linda Stead, treasurer. “She always steps forward and does what she can for us,” said Stead. “She’s a hard worker and when she takes something on, she gets it done.”Sean Feagan, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times
President-elect Joe Biden says that the most recent jobs report is "dire" and that there is no time to lose in crafting a rescue package as millions of people have lost their jobs or have seen their incomes slashed during the pandemic. (Dec. 4)
TORONTO — Some of the most active companies traded Friday on the Toronto Stock Exchange:Toronto Stock Exchange (17,520.97, up 122.95 points.)Suncor Energy Inc. (TSX:SU). Energy. Up $1.63, or 7.64 per cent, to $22.97 on 27.3 million shares. Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. (TSX:CNQ). Up $1.44, or 4.69 per cent, to $32.15 on 17.7 million shares. Aurora Cannabis Inc. (TSX:ACB). Health care. Down 54 cents, or 3.74 per cent, to $13.89 on 16 million shares.BlackBerry Ltd. (TSX:BB). Technology. Up $1.27, or 13.23 per cent, to $10.87 on 12.4 million shares.The Green Organic Dutchman Holdings. (TSX:TGOD). Health care. Down four cents, or 12.12 per cent, to 29 cents on 11.3 million shares.Hexo Corp. (TSX:HEXO). Health care. Down 13 cents, or 8.67 per cent, to $1.37 on 9.6 million shares.Companies in the news: Crescent Point Energy Corp. (TSX:CPG). Up 24 cents or 9.9 per cent to $2.67. Crescent Point Energy Corp. says it is cutting its capital spending budget for 2021 because of the ongoing volatility in oil prices. The Calgary-based company says it plans to spend between $475 million and $525 million next year, trimming $25 million from a preliminary budget it released with its third-quarter results report in late October. A year ago, the Saskatchewan-focused oil and gas producer budgeted $1.1 billion to $1.2 billion for 2020 capital spending, but that was reduced twice during the year and was pegged at about $665 million in September. Crescent Point says it expects annual average production of about 110,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day in 2021, down from average output of about 120,000 boepd this year.Capital Power Corp. (TSX:CPX). Up $1.84 or 5.5 per cent to $35.44. An environmental think tank says Alberta will meet its goal to eliminate coal-fired electricity production years earlier than expected thanks to recent conversion announcements by utility companies. The Pembina Institute welcomed news from Capital Power Corp. of Edmonton on Thursday that it will spend nearly $1 billion to switch two coal-fired power units to gas at its Genesee generating facility west of the city as part of a plan to stop using coal entirely by 2023. Capital Power says direct carbon dioxide emissions at Genesee will be about 3.4 million tonnes per year lower than 2019 emission levels when the project is complete. In November, Calgary-based TransAlta Corp. said it will end operations at its Highvale thermal coal mine west of Edmonton by the end of 2021 as it switches to natural gas at all of its operated coal-fired plants in Canada four years earlier than previously planned.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 4, 2020.The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — Anthony Rota is marking his first anniversary as Speaker of the House of Commons by, as he puts it, having his throat slit.He's having surgery this coming week to remove his thyroid gland, which was damaged by radiation treatment he received almost 35 years ago for the first of two bouts of Hodgkin lymphoma.But it seems a perversely fitting conclusion to a tumultuous year in which Rota has presided over Canada's first-ever pandemic Parliament.He has been forced to oversee an unprecedented overhaul of Commons operations to allow for hybrid sittings, with some 80-odd MPs in the chamber and the other 250 or so MPs participating virtually and voting remotely."It's not what I signed up for but it is what it is," Rota said in an interview."It's been an interesting trip, I gotta tell you. It's been an interesting challenge."Rota's debut as Speaker was always bound to be a baptism by fire, riding herd on a Commons in which the governing Liberals hold only a minority of seats — a surefire recipe for hyper partisanship and cliffhanger confidence votes.But no one could have imagined all the normal operations of the chamber would be upended by the advent of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic in mid-March.These days, when he sits in the Speaker's chair, Rota has to pay attention not just to the MPs sitting physically distanced from one another in the chamber but to three different computer screens. They show him how much time the current speaker has left, who's up next, and the names of all 338 MPs who signal him with a little, blue "raised hand" feature when they want to talk.He has to repeatedly remind MPs to mute or unmute, speak louder, activate their cameras and adjust their headsets so interpreters can hear them properly. He's had to chide MPs for using partisan backdrops or displaying props (in one case, a dog in an MP's lap), or being improperly attired while speaking or voting online.He's even had to instruct MPs driving in their cars to pull over before voting."One of the things you've got to remember too is we really did start from scratch and we were in uncharted territory so we didn't really know how things were going to go," Rota said."We're constantly adjusting it."Indeed, House technicians are currently doing test runs with a new voting app that aims to make electronic voting easier and faster.Fortunately, Rota has always been a tech geek. Even in high school, he was building electronic devices and fooling around with computers before they were "in vogue.""I just enjoy the challenge … My interest in technology is something that has made this (pandemic Parliament) interesting," he said.Rota credits the Commons' IT team, which he says worked night and day, for pulling off what has been a remarkably smooth transition to hybrid sittings, despite some glitches.Liberal and opposition MPs alike believe Rota's fascination with new technologies has made him ideally suited to the role of Speaker in these unprecedented times.They also praise his calm, good-humoured and patient approach to refereeing proceedings in what most seem to feel is a non-partisan manner, even though he's a veteran Liberal. He has represented the northern Ontario riding of Nipissing-Timiskaming since 2004, except for a four-year hiatus after being defeated in the 2011 election.Conservative House leader Gerard Deltell declined to comment on how Rota has managed the Speaker's job. But the House leaders for all other parties in the Commons were unstinting in their praise."It is a complex task to establish a virtual Parliament," Bloc House leader Alain Therrien told The Canadian Press."The challenges were numerous and we were able to find in Mr. Rota a collaborator anxious to implement effective solutions to the problems that we encountered. In all my interactions with Mr. Rota, I have dealt with a man of great kindness, fairness and respect."NDP House leader Peter Julian said it normally takes a new Speaker a year or two to become "seasoned," a task infinitely more complicated for Rota because he had to simultaneously deal with a minority Parliament in the midst of a "once-in-a-century pandemic.""I think Anthony just basically got thrown into the deep end … You would think that that would have been an impossible hill to climb but he's done it admirably."Julian said Rota's ability to remain affable and "very, very calm" has helped all MPs cope with the intensity of the pandemic and minority Parliament.Similarly, veteran Green MP Elizabeth May said Rota is a "lovely person" who has been "a calming influence when things are out of control." He can be firm when necessary but is gentle when he chides MPs for bad behaviour and rarely loses his temper, she said.Rota was elected Speaker one year ago, largely because the Conservatives threw their votes behind him in a bid to defeat the previous Speaker, Liberal MP Geoff Regan, whom they considered overly partisan.Despite the partisan machinations that won him the job, May said: "Against the odds, Anthony has managed to maintain what I think is being accepted by all sides of the House as a non-partisan hand in all this."Government House leader Pablo Rodriguez, who used to be seat mates with Rota back when the Liberals were in opposition, said Rota has never been particularly partisan. "He's a gentleman. He's likable. It's hard not to like him. Again, he's not partisan. That's why he has the respect of everyone on both sides of the House," Rodriguez said."He's a great human being and that reflects in the way he treats people and how he's able to motivate people just by being who he is."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 5, 2020.Joan Bryden, The Canadian Press
President Donald Trump's frantic effort in the courts to delegitimize an election he lost has come no closer in a month to reversing any results.Lawyers for Trump and his allies have asked judges in several states to take the drastic and unprecedented step of setting aside President-elect Joe Biden’s wins. They have filed new cases and vowed to press on with appeals.But the quantity of affidavits, lawsuits and claims made by Trump belies that they are spurious or often repetitive of arguments already rejected by judges and elections officials, some of them Republicans.Here is a look at where the legal action stands in several key states:ARIZONAA judge on Friday threw out a Republican bid to undo Biden’s victory in Arizona, concluding the state’s GOP chief failed to prove fraud or misconduct in her challenge of election results in metro Phoenix. The judge also noted the evidence presented at trial wouldn’t reverse Trump’s loss in the state.Judge Randall Warner dismissed Arizona Republican Party Chairwoman Kelli Ward’s challenge of ballots in metro Phoenix that were duplicated because voters’ earlier ballots were damaged or could not be run through tabulators. Poll observers called to testify by Ward said they witnessed problems in the processing of duplicated ballots, but the judge said those problems were pointed out to election workers, who then fixed the mistakes.Warner wrote “there is no evidence that the inaccuracies were intentional or part of a fraudulent scheme. They were mistakes. And given both the small number of duplicate ballots and the low error rate, the evidence does not show any impact on the outcome.”Courts there had already dismissed four other cases. Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, a Republican, certified Arizona's results Monday. In a touch of symbolism, he declined a phone call from Trump while signing the certification papers. Lawyer Sidney Powell, who was recently kicked off Trump's legal team and has been pushing wild conspiracy theories about the election, has also filed a lawsuit there.PENNSYLVANIATrump has lost repeatedly in Pennsylvania, collecting a series of stinging rebukes from Republican-appointed judges. The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last week upheld a district judge's dismissal of a key lawsuit argued in an error-filled performance by Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani.“Voters, not lawyers, choose the president. Ballots, not briefs, decide elections,” wrote Circuit Judge Stephanos Bibas, nominated by Trump.The district judge, Matthew Brann, wrote of the complaint, “One might expect that when seeking such a startling outcome, a plaintiff would come formidably armed with compelling legal arguments and factual proof of rampant corruption." Brann, a member of the conservative Federalist Society, noted that the campaign did not provide that evidence.Trump's lawyers have vowed to ask for review from the U.S. Supreme Court anyway.MICHIGANSix cases brought by Trump and Republican allies in Michigan have either been rejected or dropped. On Wednesday, Giuliani appeared at a public meeting with lawmakers and urged activists to pressure, even threaten, the GOP-controlled Legislature to “step up” and award the state’s 16 electoral votes to Trump despite Biden’s 154,000-vote victory. A Michigan appeals court turned down an appeal Friday from Trump’s campaign in a challenge to how absentee ballots were handled in Detroit and other issues.WISCONSINThe state’s Supreme Court on Thursday refused to hear Trump's lawsuit seeking to overturn his loss in the battleground state. In a divided decision, the court didn’t rule on the merits of the claims but said the case must first wind its way through lower courts. Trump wants to disqualify more than 221,000 ballots in the state’s two biggest Democratic counties, alleging irregularities in the way absentee ballots were administered. In urging the Supreme Court to hear the case, Trump’s lawyers said they didn’t have enough time to start in a lower court. Trump’s attorney Jim Troupis said he would immediately file the case in circuit court and expected to be back before the Supreme Court “very soon.”Trump's campaign filed a similar lawsuit in federal court Wednesday.The Wisconsin Supreme Court also declined Friday to hear a lawsuit brought by a conservative group over Trump’s loss.____Associated Press writers Scott Bauer in Madison, Wis., David Eggert in Lansing, Mich., Jacques Billeaud in Phoenix; and Ed White in Detroit contributed to this report.Nomaan Merchant And Alanna Durkin Richer, The Associated Press
In a reversal of an earlier vote, today Strathmore town council passed a mandatory face covering bylaw requiring residents to wear masks when visiting indoor public spaces. The bylaw takes effect immediately. According to Strathmore Mayor Pat Fule, council worked with administration to make the bylaw the best solution for the town. “They made adjustments and amendments to make this is a more palatable bylaw that will still protect a lot of people in Strathmore,” he said. “We’re regular people caught in a really irregular health crisis, and I just hope the public will support all the councillors who have tried to make the best decision they can for the community’s health and safety.” The bylaw requires masks to be worn in all indoor public places and public vehicles, unless the person is separated from other persons by an installed screen, shield or other barrier. Businesses must also display signage at their entrances requiring people to wear masks. Anyone breaking either of these rules is liable to a fine of not less than $50. The bylaw also notes that if circumstances represent a “marked endangerment” or “increased risk of endangering public health,” a larger fine is possible. Under the bylaw, a proprietor may refuse entry to his/her business or ask a person to leave an indoor public place or vehicle and may request assistance of a peace officer. The officer can also issue a violation ticket requiring a court appearance of the person breaking the rules. The bylaw will be enacted when the number of COVID-19 cases in Strathmore exceeds 20, as reported by Alberta Health Services. However, town council may activate the bylaw at any time by resolution. Once enacted, the bylaw will be reverted once the number of cases in Strathmore is less than 20 for 14 consecutive days. The bylaw has several exemptions. Children under five years of age are not required to wear masks. Additionally, people with medical conditions or disabilities preventing them from wearing a mask are exempt. Also exempt are people who cannot use or wear a mask safely without assistance. Under the bylaw, people are not required to provide proof to an employer, business operator or proprietor of any exemption. People are exempt during certain activities, such as eating or drinking while seated at a business offering food or beverage services, during athletic or fitness activities, or while receiving services impeded by masks. The bylaw does not apply to schools and businesses already undertaking face covering measures through provincial guidelines, corporate requirements and recognized provincial professional bodies.Sean Feagan, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times
Twelve people have died in a COVID-19 outbreak at a hospital in London, Ont., that has seen dozens of staff and patients sickened. As of Friday, the outbreak at University Hospital, which began on Nov. 10, was tied to 48 cases among staff and 64 in patients."We are doing everything in our power to keep this number from growing but trying to keep the pandemic out of a hospital is a challenge," said Dr. Paul Woods, president of the London Health Sciences Centre, which oversees the hospital. He said the hospital remains open and safe for emergencies, but has been redirecting some admissions to another facility.The outbreak began in a single unit and has since spread to five other parts of the hospital.That disruption could last through December, hospital officials said. The network has made several measures to control the growing outbreak at the hospital.It has limited movement of staff and patients between different parts of the hospital and directing staff to "work-quarantine" -- meaning they can't have social interactions outside of work.The health network has also reduced activity at the hospital to only urgent and emergent services.It said it has continued to work with Middlesex-London Health Unit to implement measures as part of its response to limit transmission.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 4, 2020.This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship. The Canadian Press
Canadian dairy farmers will receive over $1.4 billion in the next three years from the federal government to compensate for recent trade deals. On Saturday, Marie-Claude Bibeau, minister of agriculture and agri-food, announced the funds as part of a $1.75-billion trade deal compensation package granted to the sector last year, which will be rolled out significantly faster than originally announced. The money was first slated to be distributed over eight years, not three. Canada’s poultry and egg sectors, which, like dairy, are supply-managed, will also receive compensation to the tune of $691 million over the next 10 years, said Bibeau. That accelerated timeline has been welcomed by dairy farmers, who say they need to adapt to a transformed market, despite criticism from observers who argue the compensation is an unnecessary use of taxpayer dollars. “(The funding) allows farmers to really make plans right now,” said Dave Taylor, a Courtenay, B.C., dairy farmer and member of the BC Dairy Association’s board. “There are so many areas on our farms that this money could be going towards to help our farms prepare for what’s ahead.” For instance, he said farms will likely start facing increasingly stringent environmental and climate standards best met with more efficient farm management technologies. These can also improve working conditions, making it easier for farms to find and keep workers — an endless challenge. Each farm will receive an annual payment that reflects the size of their milk quota, a measure of the farm’s size. For instance, a farm with 80 cows will receive a direct payment of about $38,000 each year, according to a statement by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. In total, about $468.5 million will be disbursed for each of the three years to approximately 10,300 dairy farms. Unlike most agricultural products, dairy products are supply-managed commodities in Canada, a regulatory mechanism that is designed to prevent excess milk from flooding the market and pushing dairy prices below a financially unsustainable threshold for farmers. A key part of the system is milk quotas, which are used by the Canadian Dairy Commission — the Crown corporation administering the supply management system — to control how much milk each farm produces. The system also depends on using high tariffs to protect dairy producers from imported milk products — everything from artisanal cheeses to dry milk powder — that are produced more cheaply abroad, including in the U.S. Those tariffs have proven contentious in Canada’s three most recent trade agreements: the Canadian-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the Canada-U.S.-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA). Each one increased the amount of dairy that can be imported into Canada. According to the Dairy Farmers of Canada, these new agreements — the most recent, CUSMA, only came into force in July — have already had an impact on the sector. In the last three years, for instance, cheese imports from Europe have been as high as 99 per cent of the 5.3 million kilograms allowed under CETA. And U.S. industrial cheese imports are already at 50 per cent of the total amount allowed under CUSMA, despite the pandemic. Once the three trade deals are fully phased in, the federal government expects imports to be equivalent to about 10 per cent of Canada’s milk production. For Taylor, the compensation package is about more than the trade agreements. “It encourages the next generation that the government does believe in us,” he said. “Maybe this is the last of the bleeding from future trade deals. It encourages me that, when other trade deals come around, (the federal government) will hold firm and say, ‘No. Dairy has given up enough already.’” Not everyone is convinced. “The COVID open bar seems to extend beyond just helping people who are in need; it is also there to help asset-rich dairy farmers,” said Sylvain Charlebois, director of Dalhousie University’s Agri-Food Analytics Lab. “(The federal government) is labelling it as compensation. What I’m seeing is a clear path towards subsidizing a sector that is heavily protected by a supply management regime.” The entire $2-billion trade deal compensation package — $1.75 billion in direct payments to farms and another $250 million for an on-farm innovation program — is misguided, Charlebois said, because the sums reflect predicted losses, not real ones. Unlike the supply management system designed to keep milk prices high enough for farmers to break even and compensate them for actual losses, he said the trade deal compensation package doesn’t reflect conditions on the ground. That could end up driving too much milk production and keeping too many “underperforming” farmers in the industry. Taylor, the dairy farmer from Courtenay, B.C., disagreed. “If a farm is not economically viable, this compensation is not going to help,” he said. “A farm like that really needs to transition, revitalize and innovate … farms really need to keep investing, we really need to keep pushing forward to adjust to the future.” In the U.S., where dairy farms aren’t controlled through supply management, the milk supply has regularly exceeded demand, pushing down prices and forcing smaller farmers out of business. The result has been an increasingly consolidated sector, with the number of U.S. dairy farms — overwhelmingly family farms and key drivers of rural economic activity — falling by half between 2002 and 2019 even as milk production increased, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. But that’s not Charlebois’ only critique of the compensation funds. Cheeses and other processed products are also being imported, not just liquid milk, he noted. That means processors — artisanal cheese makers, for example — are being hit harder by the trade deals than dairy farmers. Dairy processors can draw on a $100-million compensation fund created in response to the CETA trade deal, Bibeau said in a written statement. She also noted demand for dairy products also remains strong in Canada, growing by almost six per cent since 2010. Still, for Taylor, the compensation funds reflect more than just innovation and sales. They’re about a need to maintain rural well-being and resilience in Canada’s food system — a need that has been made more visible since March, and that he hopes will be reflected in further supports for farmers across multiple sectors. “For me, COVID just flags the need to have strong food production locally, and I hope the government knows that,” he said. “I’m obviously a little biased because I’m producing food, but I want all of our lines of food — whether it’s vegetables, or beef, and on and on it goes — that we have security in that area.”Marc Fawcett-Atkinson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, National Observer
EDMONTON — Alberta is offering more of its Rocky Mountain landscapes to coal mining after rescinding a decades-old policy that protected them. In documents released earlier this week, Alberta Energy is giving miners until Dec. 15 to bid on nearly 2,000 hectares on the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains.Surface mining on those lands would have been prohibited under the former coal policy rescinded in May, said Ian Urquhart of the Alberta Wilderness Association."Unfortunately, it isn't surprising."The leases will add to the land already leased for coal, which stretches in an almost unbroken swath for nearly 60 kilometres north from the Crowsnest Pass in the province's southwest corner. "There isn't much left there," he said. Alberta Energy spokesman Kavi Bal said any mine proposal is subject to review."A coal lease does not mean that a coal project has been approved or exploration has been permitted." If the proposal is large enough, it is subject to a federal review as well. The United Conservative government has said it seeks to encourage increased export coal production. The province and the federal government are currently considering a proposal for a mountaintop removal coal mine in the Crowsnest Pass area. More proposals are expected. Most Alberta coal is used for steelmaking, not power generation.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 4, 2020.The Canadian Press
California certified its presidential election Friday and appointed 55 electors pledged to vote for Democrat Joe Biden, officially handing him the Electoral College majority needed to win the White House.Secretary of State Alex Padilla's formal approval of Biden's win in the state brought his tally of pledged electors so far to 279, according to a tally by The Associated Press. That’s just over the 270 threshold for victory.These steps in the election are often ignored formalities. But the hidden mechanics of electing a U.S. president have drawn new scrutiny this year as President Donald Trump continues to deny Biden's victory and pursues increasingly specious legal strategies aimed at overturning the results before they are finalized.Although it’s been apparent for weeks that Biden won the presidential election, his accrual of more than 270 electors is the first step toward the White House, said Edward B. Foley, a law professor at Ohio State University.“It is a legal milestone and the first milestone that has that status,” Foley said. “Everything prior to that was premised on what we call projections.”The electors named Friday will meet Dec. 14, along with counterparts in each state, to formally vote for the next president. Most states have laws binding their electors to the winner of the popular vote in their state, measures that were upheld by a Supreme Court decision this year. There have been no suggestions that any of Biden's pledged electors would contemplate not voting for him.Results of the Electoral College vote are due to be received, and typically approved, by Congress on Jan. 6. Although lawmakers can object to accepting the electors' votes, it would be almost impossible for Biden to be blocked at that point.The Democratic-controlled House and Republican-controlled Senate would both vote separately to resolve any disputes. One already has arisen from Pennsylvania, where 75 Republican lawmakers signed a statement on Friday urging Congress to block the state’s electoral votes from being cast for Biden. But the state’s Republican U.S. senator, Pat Toomey, said soon afterward that he would not be objecting to Pennsylvania’s slate of electors, underscoring the difficulty in trying to change the election results through Congress.“As a practical matter, we know that Joe Biden is going to be inaugurated on Jan. 20," Foley said.That was clear in the days after the election, when the count of mail ballots gradually made clear that Biden had won victories in enough states to win the Electoral College. It became even more apparent in late November, when every swing state won by Biden certified him as the winner of its elections and appointed his electors to the Electoral College. Trump has fruitlessly tried to stop those states from certifying Biden as the winner and appointing electors for the former vice-president.He made no effort in deeply Democratic California, the most populous state in the nation and the trove of its largest number of electoral votes. Three more states won by Biden — Colorado, Hawaii and New Jersey — have not yet certified their results. When they do, Biden will have 306 Electoral College votes to Trump’s 232.Trump and his allies have brought at least 50 legal cases trying to overturn the results in the swing states Biden won — mainly Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. More than 30 have been rejected or dropped, according to an AP tally.Trump and his allies have also raised the far-fetched notion that Republican state legislatures in those states could appoint a rival set of electors pledged to Trump.But state Republican leaders have rejected that approach, and it would likely be futile in any case. According to federal law, both chambers of Congress would need to vote to accept a competing slate of electors. If they don't, the electors appointed by the states' governors — all pledged to Biden in these cases — must be used.The last remaining move to block the election would be the quixotic effort to vote down the electors in Congress.This tactic has been tried — a handful of congressional Democrats in 2000, 2004 and 2016 objected to officially making both George W. Bush and Trump president. But the numbers were not enough to block the two men from taking office.Michael R. Blood And Nicholas Riccardi, The Associated Press
THUNDER BAY — A 62-year-old man who falsely claimed to be COVID-19 positive while under arrest for violating court orders was sentenced on Friday for one count of conveying false information, failing to provide a breath sample and failure to comply with conditions of an undertaking. Arnett Langfried appeared in a Thunder Bay Zoom courtroom on Friday, Dec. 4 where he was sentenced by Judge Peter Bishop to 50 days of pre-sentence custody, which was enhanced to 75 days for all three charges. During his sentencing hearing, Langfried told the court he had not been tested for the virus despite telling police during his arrest on Oct. 15 he had received a positive test result for COVID-19 days before. Langfried came to police attention after the vehicle he was driving was reported to police for erratic and aggressive driving, Crown Attorney Stella Vallelunga said Friday, Dec. 4. Police conducted a traffic stop on Highway 11/17 near Shabaqua where they informed the driver of the reason for the stop and requested his driver's licence. The driver provided an expired out-of-province licence which alerted police the motorist was under court orders to not be driving. Police also observed the vehicle had two different licence plates on it. Officers advised Langfried he was under arrest for breaching his recognizance and placed him in the back of a police cruiser. Officers then spoke with a woman who was seated in the front passenger side of the vehicle who was reluctant to give police her name. Court heard police were making efforts to arrange for an alternate ride for the woman but she insisted on staying with Langfried. Once she provided her name and date of birth, police were notified her name came back as a missing person from the Peel Region area. Officers notified police in Peel. The woman became extremely uncooperative with the police and began screaming at officers she wanted to stay with her husband, court heard. While Langfried was in the back of the vehicle, he told police he had tested positive for COVID-19 in Newmarket days prior. At one point, Langfried and the woman began to verbally abuse the police by using profanities, court heard. Langfriend also pulled his mask down while speaking with police and officers observed an odour of alcohol from his breath. While police were searching his vehicle they found a full can of beer. Police asked Langfried for a breath sample to which he refused. He was also on court-orders to have zero milligrams of alcohol inside his body outside of his residence. Langfried’s lawyer, Sharon Scharfe, informed the court her client's poor behaviour that day was partly be attributed to his concern for his girlfriend. The couple also had a cat inside the vehicle who had gotten out on the highway and both individuals were distracted and upset about what had happened, the lawyer said. Court also heard a background of Langfried's criminal history including a conviction of an attempt to commit murder using a firearm in 2011 for which he received four years and eight months at a Saskatchewan penitentiary. He was also ordered to pay a $2,000 fine and received a one-year driving prohibition for failing to provide a breath sample. Langfried apologized for his actions in court.Karen Edwards, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Thunder Bay Source
The federal government is laying plans for the procurement and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. The approval of a vaccine by Pfizer and BioNTech is said to be imminent. The second vaccine in line for approval in Canada is from Moderna. The Canadian military will have a role to play in vaccine distribution and a dress rehearsal is planned for next week to make sure doses can get to every corner of Canada. Various provinces have started spelling out their plans as well. Here's a look at what they've said so far: —Newfoundland and LabradorPremier Andrew Furey announced the members of a COVID-19 vaccine logistics team for the province at a news conference on Friday.The team will include Health Minister John Haggie, Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Janice Fitzgerald, Cmdr. David Botting of the Canadian Armed Forces, Indigenous Affairs Minister Lisa Dempster and Municipalities Minister Derek Bennett.Furey said the team will be ready to administer the vaccine to the province's most vulnerable people as soon as it becomes available, but did not specify who may fall into that category.—Nova ScotiaThe province's chief medical officer of health says he will release a detailed plan for the distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine once Ottawa shares more information. Dr. Robert Strang says there is no certainty yet about the availability of a vaccine, but expressed hopes an initial supply will trickle into Nova Scotia early in the new year.Strang says the plan will include tight control of the supply and clear rules dictating who can be first in line for immunization. He says he's waiting for more federal guidance on issues ranging from priority groups to transportation and storage logistics. —QuebecThe province says it will be ready to start rolling out its vaccine plan as of Jan. 1.Premier Francois Legault says that public health officials have already settled on the list of priority vaccine recipients, but details have not been released. Legault says the province is also working to put the necessary infrastructure in place to support a vaccine rollout. That includes obtaining fridges capable of maintaining the extremely low temperatures needed for the Pfizer vaccine.Quebec has also tasked assistant deputy health minister Jerome Gagnon and former provincial public health director Dr. Richard Masse to oversee the province's vaccination effort. —OntarioPremier Doug Ford is among the leaders calling on Ottawa to provide more clarity as officials work to develop a provincewide vaccination strategy.Health Minister Christine Elliott has said Ontario will receive 1.6 million doses of the new vaccine from Pfizer and 800,000 doses from Moderna in early 2021, although federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu said such details were still in the works.Ford has named former general Rick Hillier, who served as chief of defence staff, to oversee the province’s vaccine rollout.Nine others were named to the provincial vaccine task force on Friday, including medical experts, the province's chief coroner, former Toronto police chief Mark Saunders, Ontario Regional Chief RoseAnne Archibald and bioethicist Dr. Maxwell Smith. The province had initially said it would develop its vaccine plan by year’s end, but earlier this week Ford said the province would be ready even if the vaccines arrive sooner. He has urged Ottawa to provide detailed information on potential vaccine delivery.“We need a clear line of sight into the timelines of the shipments,” Ford said.—Manitoba Government officials say they've been assembling the necessary people and equipment to set up a large-scale "super site" to deliver the vaccine as soon as it is available.Premier Brian Pallister says the province has also purchased the necessary supplies to administer two doses of the vaccine to every person in the province.The first freezer able to store the Pfizer vaccine at low temperatures has been delivered and installed, with another four on the way. As the vaccine supply from the federal government expands over the coming months, the province says it will become more widely available in a larger number of sites, similar to a conventional vaccination campaign, such as the annual flu shot.\--AlbertaPremier Jason Kenney says Alberta expects to start getting COVID-19 vaccines in the first week of January.High-risk patients and health workers will get them first. Kenney says his government has struck an interdepartmental team to roll out the vaccines from 30 different locations in the province.Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta's chief medical officer of health, has said the province is expected to receive 680,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine early in the new year, a figure not yet confirmed by the federal government. —British ColumbiaThe provincial health officer says seniors in British Columbia's long-term care homes and hospitals will be the first to get immunized starting in the first week of January with two vaccines.Dr. Bonnie Henry says vaccines by Pfizer and Moderna will be the first to be rolled out after approval by Health Canada.Henry says B.C. health officials are working with their federal counterparts on ways to facilitate the delivery of vaccines as they anticipate various challenges that could come up in the immunization process.More details will be provided about the province's vaccine plan next week.—YukonPremier Sandy Silver says the territory has been in discussions with various levels of government on a vaccine rollout plan. He says the goal will be to provide vaccines to elderly people and health-care providers.Silver says rural and remote communities should also get priority status in northern regions, a fact he says he's emphasized with federal authorities. The premier says he has joined the other provincial and territorial leaders in pushing for a national strategy to distribute the vaccine. Silver says the Pfizer vaccine could cause logistical problems for remote communities because of its cold-storage requirements, but those issues may not apply to other vaccines under development. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 3, 2020.The Canadian Press
TORONTO — Chris Voth's sexuality cost him a job with a professional volleyball team overseas four years ago. The Winnipeg native, who has never named the team nor country, was told outright that the club wasn't interested in having a gay player. The 30-year-old came out publicly seven years ago because he hoped to be a role model for young LGBTQ athletes, and given the chance to go back and change that, he wouldn't. But Voth was disheartened to learn that the majority of gay athletes still don't come out, and that homophobic language on the field or court remains rampant — and Canada is among the worst offenders."That was disappointing, because I always like to think that we're a bit more further ahead up north (compared to the U.S.)," said Voth, recently home from coaching in the Netherlands.The former national team player was responding to two studies released Thursday by Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. The first study analyzed survey responses from 1,173 lesbian, gay and bisexual people aged 15 to 21 living in Canada, the U.S., Britain, Australia, New Zealand and Ireland. The study found that about 48 per cent of Canadian youth who come out to teammates reported being the target of homophobic behaviour, including bullying, assaults and slurs — and it was more prevalent among Canadian youth than Americans (45 per cent). Among females, 44 per cent of Canadians who've come out to teammates reported being victimized — more than any other country surveyed by Monash's Behavioural Sciences Research Laboratory. "It's easy for Canadians to dismiss the data and say, 'No, no, that's not in our country. We're inclusive and welcoming. And we're known around the world for being friendly and polite and nice,'" said lead author Erik Denison, who's Canadian. "Canada has been a laggard globally, full stop. There's no other way to say that."Young people who came out were significantly more likely (58 per cent versus 40 per cent) to report they’d been the target of homophobic behaviors in sport settings than those who didn't, the study found. Every study over the past 15 years has shown that LGBTQ kids play sport at lower rates than straight kids, Denison said, and while there's a perception that the gap is more prevalent in boys than girls, that's not accurate. "And seeing these big gaps in participation, I can only use the word alarming," said Denison. "We're really alarmed about both discrimination in sport, and the fact these kids are avoiding sport. "Because the No. 1 thing we could be doing to reduce rates of suicide and self-harm is encouraging these kids to become active in safe and supportive environments."Numerous studies have shown that suicide attempts and ideation about suicide are significantly higher in LGBTQ kids.Voth's experiences as an out athlete varied wildly. The 30-year-old believes discrimination cost him spots on several pro clubs, contract negotiations inexplicably stalling with no explanation. On the other hand, when he signed with a pro team in Finland, he was "the first gay person that any of them had met. And only a month-and-a-half later, we were the first pro volleyball team to walk in a pride parade. So it can really go either way."Voth said LGBTQ youth are doubly impacted, losing out on the mental health benefits that come from being part of a team. The second Monash study investigated why some athletes use homophobic language.Denison pointed out that while there are "homophobes, racists and sexist people everywhere," they tend to control their behaviour around others. "The opposite is happening in sport. In sport, the culture is very supportive of homophobic language being used," he said. "Canadian sport has three official languages: French, English and homophobic language."And while most people believe it's slurs aimed at opponents during games, their studies found that homophobic language is being used at practices, in the locker-room, and at social events, as jokes and banter. "And we're not just talking about words like 'gay,' we asked about much more severe language,'" Denison said.He is working with the University of British Columbia among other schools around the world on a program aimed to train team captains to be leaders on this issue, because coaches can't necessarily create change, it's more effective when it comes from an athlete's peers.Denison said that Volleyball Canada is the only national sport organization in the country that has done work specifically targeting homophobia, and it occurred around the same time Voth came out publicly."I don't want to denigrate what the NHL (among other leagues) has done, but at the end of the day, the NHL is a professional sporting organization, they're ultimately a business," Denison said. "It's up to Hockey Canada, it's up to Soccer Canada, it's up to Rugby Canada, it's up to those bodies and provincial bodies as well to be driving change."The Canadian Olympic Committee has done anti-homophobia social media campaigns, mall installations, and regularly marches in pride parades across the country.Pro sports teams such as Toronto FC and the Toronto Raptors host annual pride games.Denison said his research, however, has shown those initiatives do little to reduce homophobic behaviour and language among fans. He'd rather see pro teams work with teams and programs at the grassroots level to hold their own pride games, among other initiatives."What we've seen is that when amateur-level teams hold pride games, the players on those teams use half the homophobic language than those who don't hold these events," Denison said. "These events are really good at getting those conversations going around 'Hey, guys, what kind of language do we actually want on our team?' That's where we can change those norms and culture, we think quite effectively."Denison pointed out that there are openly-LGBTQ people in entertainment, government, and major corporations, but by comparison, they largely remain invisible in sports, particularly on the men's side, and have since David Kopay came out in 1975 after he retired from the NFL. He's believed to be the first pro athlete to come out. Michael Sam became the first publicly gay player to be drafted in the NFL. He signed with the Montreal Alouettes after being released by St. Louis, but abruptly left after playing one game. Brooklyn Nets forward Jason Collins came out in 2013, and former Major League Soccer midfielder Collin Martin followed suit in 2018. Collins has retired, and Martin plays in the USL, and there have been no active gay players in any of the five major North American sports leagues since. Women's pro sport has been a different story. Sports power couple Sue Bird and Megan Rapinoe are two of the numerous out athletes in the WNBA, NWSL, and other women's leagues. For Denison, Canada's track record is particularly disheartening."It's quite embarrassing for me as a Canadian researcher who happens to be down in Australia now to see that Canada is a laggard. Because I'm a proud Canadian, and I think Canadians have a reputation for being friendly and inclusive. "But it looks like either Canadians have been ignoring this issue, we're not aware of this issue, or worse, maybe there's some deliberate resistance to do anything about this problem."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 4, 2020.Lori Ewing, The Canadian Press
MONTREAL — Amid a worsening COVID-19 situation and with another region moving to the maximum alert level on Friday, Quebec's opposition parties called on the government to allow the province's public health director to be questioned over the pandemic. The opposition demand for a hearing with Dr. Horacio Arruda came as it was announced that the eastern part of the Lower St. Lawrence region — including Rimouski and Matane — would be under red-zone restrictions as of Monday. Dr. Sylvain Leduc, the regional health director for the region, said COVID-19 cases had jumped in the past week. He said more than 20 cases a day in the region of 200,000 people would be enough to trigger a red-zone designation, but it's recently been far beyond that, with a record 45 cases reported on Wednesday. Leduc said community transmission is occurring in bars, restaurants, parties, workplaces and schools, contributing to 27 outbreaks. "When there is a transmission that is sustained in all environments, it always ends by reaching our most vulnerable people," he said. "Ultimately, it ends with deaths, but also hospitalizations." It was because of pressure on the province's strained health-care network and rising COVID-19 infections that the government of Francois Legault decided Thursday to cancel a plan to permit holiday gatherings over four days at Christmas in red zones. That reversal intensified Quebec's opposition parties' demands on Friday to hear from Arruda in a parliamentary committee before the legislature adjourns on Dec. 11. Arruda has said he's willing to appear, but no date had been set, and after next week the legislature does not sit again until February. Opposition Liberal Leader Dominique Anglade also called for the government to announce a public inquiry into its handling of the pandemic. "Meeting with Dr. Arruda is a first step, but it cannot be the only step. We need an independent inquiry," she told reporters Friday in Quebec City. "We are living through probably one of the most important crises in the history of Quebec, we need to make sure that there is a public inquiry to answer all kinds of questions." As of Friday, the province had reported a total of 147,877 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 7,183 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic. It has had more cases than any other province and accounts for more than half the total COVID-19 deaths nationally. Meanwhile, Quebec reported 1,345 new COVID-19 cases and 28 additional deaths linked to the novel coronavirus Friday. Montreal recorded the most cases with 453, with the Quebec City, Eastern Townships, Lanaudiere and Monteregie regions all reporting more than 100 cases. The province's Health Department said 24 more people were hospitalized with the virus for a total of 761, with two fewer cases in intensive care for 97. A Quebec government-funded health institute reported Friday the number of COVID-19 cases among those 80 and older has been increasing over the past three weeks, with the virus increasingly striking those at a higher risk of hospitalization. The Institut national d'excellence en sante et en services sociaux said in its latest weekly projections that COVID-19 hospital capacity should be sufficient in Montreal in the coming weeks as well as in Quebec as a whole. But it cautioned the situation remains tenuous in some outlying regions, due to COVID-19 outbreaks in elder care. Overall, the number of new cases in Quebec last week, ending Nov. 29, was up 12 per cent compared to the previous week, with the jump concentrated largely in the greater Montreal area. Health Minister Christian Dube said the latest institute forecast is a departure from relative stability in recent weeks. “In recent days we have seen worrying signs of the situation worsening, especially with regard to hospitalizations in certain regions," he said in a statement. "The decision we made to no longer allow Christmas gatherings in the red zone reflects our desire to take no risks, in support of our teams in the health and social services network." Dube also issued a decree beefing up staffing for the upcoming COVID-19 immunization campaign by allowing students enrolled in health programs and other health-care professionals to get the necessary training to administer vaccines against influenza or COVID-19. The health minister said the agreements with professional orders allows the province to add a few thousand people to administer doses. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 4, 2020. Sidhartha Banerjee, The Canadian Press
WASHINGTON — The Pentagon said Friday it is pulling most U.S. troops out of Somalia on President Donald Trump's orders, continuing a post-election push by Trump to shrink U.S. involvement in counterterrorism missions abroad. Without providing details, the Pentagon said in a short statement that “a majority" of U.S. troops and assets in Somalia will be withdrawn in early 2021. There are currently about 700 troops in that Horn of Africa nation, training and advising local forces in an extended fight against the extremist group al-Shabab, an affiliate of al-Qaida. Trump recently ordered troop drawdowns in Afghanistan and Iraq, and he was expected to withdraw some or all troops from Somalia. Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, had said on Wednesday that the future structure of the U.S. military presence in Somalia was still in debate. The adjusted U.S. presence, Milley said, would amount to “a relatively small footprint, relatively low cost in terms of number of personnel and in terms of money.” He provided no specifics but stressed that the U.S. remained concerned about the threat posed by al-Shabab, which he called ”an extension of al-Qaida," the extremist group that planned the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States from Afghanistan. “They do have some reach and they could if left unattended conduct operations against not only U.S. interests in the region but also against the homeland,” he said. “So they require attention.” Noting that Somalia remains a dangerous place for Americans, he said that a CIA officer was killed there recently. The acting secretary of defence, Christopher Miller, made a brief visit to Somalia last week and met with U.S. troops. Depending on what remains of the U.S. presence in Somalia when he takes office Jan. 20, President-elect Joe Biden could reverse Trump's drawdown or make other adjustments to reflect his counterterrorism priorities. The U.S. military also has a presence in neighbouring Djibouti on the Bab al-Mandab Strait. Rep. Jim Langevin, a Rhode Island Democrat, criticized the Trump pullback in Somalia as a “surrender to al-Qaida and a gift of China.” Langevin is chairman of the House Armed Services Committee’s Intelligence and Emerging Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee. “When U.S. forces leave Somalia in response to today’s order, it becomes harder for diplomats and aid workers to help people resolve conflicts without violence and loss of life,” Langevin said. “With upcoming elections in Somalia and conflict raging in neighbouring Ethiopia, abandoning our partners could not come at a worse time.” Langevin said China will use the opportunity to build its influence in the Horn of Africa. The Pentagon said the drawdown in Somalia does not mark the end of U.S. counterterrorism efforts there. “As a result of this decision, some forces may be reassigned outside of East Africa,” it said. “However, the remaining forces will be repositioned from Somalia into neighbouring countries in order to allow cross-border operations by both U.S. and partner forces to maintain pressure against violent extremist organizations operating in Somalia.” It added: “The U.S. will retain the capability to conduct targeted counterterrorism operations in Somalia, and collect early warnings and indicators regarding threats to the homeland.” The nature of the threat posed by al-Shabab and the appropriate U.S. response has been a matter of increasing debate in the Pentagon, which has been looking for opportunities to shift its focus toward China as a greater long-term challenge. A Defence Department watchdog report last week said U.S. Africa Command has seen a “definitive shift” this year in al-Shabab’s focus to attack U.S. interests in the region. Africa Command says al-Shabab is Africa’s most “dangerous” and “imminent” threat. Robert Burns, The Associated Press
More than half of men and women in the territories have experienced at least one sexual or physical assault since the age of 15, according to a Statistics Canada report released this week. The data were collected before the pandemic, in 2018, as part of a survey aimed at finding out more about gender-based violence. Statistics Canada defines gender-based violence as violence "committed against someone based on their gender identity, gender expression or perceived gender." The recent report's results don't include intimate partner violence."This is not news," said Pertice Moffitt, an Aurora College researcher who specializes in sexual violence. "Unfortunately, we have a legacy of physical and sexual assault and it's very prevalent among rural women and particularly here in the North."The Statistics Canada report says that in the territories, 52 per cent of women and 54 per cent of men reported having been sexually or physically assaulted at least once since they were 15 years old, and that 7.8 per cent of both men and women had experienced violence in the year leading up to the survey.Higher proportion in North than in provincesThese proportions are much higher than those in the provinces, where 39 per cent of women and 35 per cent of men reported at least one assault since the age of 15.Moffitt suggested that these findings reaffirm the harmful effects of colonialism and patriarchy on society. "We have this history of oppression and unhealthy relationships," she said. "The way women were treated by men, so that patriarchy, and then the historical trauma, of course, from residential school and what happened in residential school and the intergenerational impact of that."The report also says LGBTQ2+ people and women with physical or mental disabilities were among those most likely to report having been sexually assaulted since age 15. It says about half of Indigenous women (48 per cent) and men (50 per cent) reported this as well, proportions similar to Indigenous people in the provinces. The report says more than half of non-Indigenous people in the North also reported an assault since age 15: 56 per cent of non-Indigenous women and 55 per cent of non-Indigenous men. In the South, these proportions were much lower: 38 per cent of non-Indigenous women and 35 per cent of non-Indigenous men.Studies suggest underreportingStatistics Canada notes that studies suggest intergenerational trauma from colonization and residential schools have led to a "normalization of violence," which could have led to underreporting assaults."There is fear and shame about reporting, and particularly about sexual violence," said Moffitt. "And then there is judgment."Women and men were most likely to report having been assaulted since age 15 in the Yukon (61 per cent of both women and men), while reporting was least prevalent in Nunavut, with 42 per cent of women and 46 per cent of men saying they had been assaulted. In the Northwest Territories, 52 per cent of women and 55 per cent of men reported violence since age 15.'We need to consider trauma-informed approaches'COVID-19 put some people in dangerous situations, said Moffitt. Directions to stay home meant that women and children may be stuck inside with their abuser. Moffitt said research indicates that bad experiences in childhood can lead people to violence, and that "as we think about solutions and what we can do, we need to consider trauma-informed approaches ... or those adverse childhood experiences that have caused trauma." She said talking goes a long way."We need to continue always, with young girls and young boys, talking about consent and talking about sexual violence awareness."
The Regina Police Service and the Saskatchewan Coroner's Service have recovered human remains that are believed to be Patrick Thauberger's. Patrick Thauberger was 53 when he went missing in September 1997. His disappearance has remained a cold case until now. Police says the remains were found in rural Saskatchewan. Further investigation and forensic examination will confirm whether or not they belong to Thauberger. Police arrested Patrick's brother Joseph Thauberger, who is now 78, on Sunday. Joseph is charged with first-degree murder in Patrick's death. He is also charged with uttering threats to a woman between 1997 and 2014.According to the Saskatchewan Association of Chiefs of Police missing persons database, Patrick was last seen at the bus depot in Regina.The database says Patrick was travelling by bus from Winnipeg to Edmonton, when he stopped in Regina to visit relatives. He never arrived in Edmonton. Police have no other information for the public at this time.
A Fort St. James man has been fined $1,000 for flying a drone while out on a hunting expedition. Paul James Hesse was issued the penalty on November 9 in Fort St. James Provincial Court. He was also prohibited from hunting for one year and assessed a $150 victim surcharge. The outcome stems from a complaint conservation officers received on Sept. 22, 2018. The next day, officers attended a cabin on Marie Lake, southwest of Fort St. James, where they seized the drone along with a harvested bull moose. After securing a search warrant, they gathered photos and videos from the machine and forwarded the matter to Crown prosecution. Conservation officer Richard Keenan-Toop, who was the lead investigating officer on the file, said it was the first conviction for the offence in British Columbia. The Wildlife Act was amended in July 2016 to make the use of drones while hunting illegal. "It was definitely a different one and definitely a learning experience for the Conservation Officer Service for sure," Keenan-Toop said. "But it's not something we see very often, thankfully, because hunting with a drone completely defeats fair chase for wildlife." However, Connie Morrisey, a native court worker in Fort St. James who helped Hesse put together a defence against the charges said he never actually used the drone for actual hunting. Instead, she said he was using it to get images of the cabin and a route planned for a trail from big Marie Lake to little Marie Lake, but because he was at the cabin as part of a hunting trip, he was charged. "The minute you leave your house to go hunting to the minute you get back to your house, that's considered a hunting expedition," Morrisey said. "He did not use it to hunt but he flew it when he was at the cabin." She said Hesse uses the drone for work purposes and had it with him in camp. When he came back to Fort St. James, his father picked him up and went to the cabin. "He said 'I know you can't use it for hunting but if I had known you can't even have it one you, I would've went home, dropped the drone off and went out," Morrisey said. As part of the prohibition against hunting for a year, Hesse is also prohibited from accompanying other hunters and the drone was forfeited to the Crown. Mark Nielsen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince George Citizen