Beautiful day by the water while enjoying Summer-like weather in November.
Beautiful day by the water while enjoying Summer-like weather in November.
MILTON, Ga. — In a black face mask and cap, activist Garrett Bess walked up driveway after driveway of million-dollar homes in suburban Atlanta on a recent afternoon, placing a flyer in each door, ringing the bell and stepping away to make a socially distanced pitch to vote for the conservative candidates in Georgia's pivotal U.S. Senate runoff elections.Bess' group, Heritage Action for America, plans to knock on half a million doors before the state's two Jan. 5 contests that will determine whether Democrats or Republicans control the Senate.“Everyone in Georgia knows the candidates,” said Janae Stracke, a colleague of Bess’ who also canvassed the subdivision. "There’s not a lot of convincing to do. They’ve made up their mind. It’s mostly knowing when to vote, how to vote, encouraging them to vote.”This election season, the coronavirus pandemic has upended traditional get-out-the-vote efforts where campaign workers go door to door to encourage people to cast ballots. With people staying at home and limiting contact with outsiders, an extended conversation with a campaign worker who shows up uninvited may actually encourage people to vote for someone else.But it's a sign of how important the two Senate elections are that both parties and independent advocacy groups are going all in on their in-person get-out-the-vote efforts.After the GOP lost the presidential election in Georgia for the first time in 28 years, conservatives are urging Republicans to get more aggressive with their turnout efforts in the state to match the outreach of former Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams.After Abrams lost the 2018 governor's race, she devoted herself to voter outreach, convinced that the state was a genuine battleground if Democrats galvanized young voters, minorities and people moving in from other states. She raised millions of dollars to organize and register hundreds of thousands of voters in the state — efforts credited with helping Democrat Joe Biden win Georgia.Republicans have to catch up, Republican operative Karl Rove told Fox News.“Let’s not kid ourselves: This is a real race,” said Rove, who is leading fundraising efforts for the runoffs.The National Republican Senatorial Committee expects to have 1,000 staffers on the ground in Georgia. For comparison, the Republican National Committee had a total of 3,000 paid field staff across the whole country during the presidential race.Democrats carry their own baggage into the runoff. In many parts of the country, they limited face-to-face campaigning ahead of the Nov. 3 election because of the pandemic, arguing that was the responsible thing to do. But that decision was second-guessed in places such as Florida.The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee plans to spend millions on voter registration and turnout efforts.Outside groups are also hitting the ground, and the in-person appeals will be supplemented with a fusillade of phone calls, text messages, mailers and ads aimed at boosting turnout for the races pitting Republican Sen. David Perdue against Democrat Jon Ossoff and Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler against Democrat Raphael Warnock.Turnout tends to drop precipitously in runoff contests in Georgia. And activists fear there might be even more of a falloff this time, when the excitement of the Trump-Biden race is over. So getting voters to come back to the polls becomes more of a focus than “trying to find new voters or win over voters who voted for your opponent,” said Charles Bullock, an expert on Southern politics at the University of Georgia.Historically, that drop-off has disproportionately affected Democrats, so the party faces strong headwinds heading into January. The Republican candidate has beaten the Democrat in seven out of eight runoff elections since 1992, including two U.S. Senate races.Democrats have reason for optimism after Biden's win, but his margin of victory was tiny — less than 13,000 votes of nearly 5 million cast — and it’s been 20 years since the state elected a Democrat to the U.S. Senate.But groups whose efforts tend to favour Democrats are charged. On Friday, representatives of the Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America went door to door in a neighbourhood just outside Atlanta encouraging people to vote for Ossoff and Warnock.“If we don't get those two seats in Congress, everything we did to flip Georgia blue is not going to help us,” Phyllis Morrow told a couple that pulled over in their car.The African Methodist Episcopal Church in Georgia, which has more than 150,000 parishioners in the state, is asking members to call eligible voters in their congregations, encourage them to vote early and assist with rides if they need help getting to the polls on Jan. 5.Bishop Reginald T. Jackson said Black voters are excited and “realize the eyes of the nation are on Georgia.”"They know people are going to be looking to see whether or not Blacks turn out,” he said.The New Georgia Project, a group founded by Abrams, will try to register some of the estimated 35,000 people who have finished their felony sentences and can requalify to vote as well as some of the estimated 23,000 people who are turning 18 before the runoff, Executive Director Nse Ufot said.Ufot said the group also aims to knock on 1 million doors before the runoff, up from 500,000 before the general election, and is training volunteers to take coronavirus precautions.In Milton, Bess and Stracke were in friendly territory. The affluent, mostly white city about 30 miles (50 kilometres) north of Atlanta showed strong support for President Donald Trump in the November election. The neighbourhood they canvassed last week featured manicured lawns and spacious homes set back from the street.“Oh, you have no problem here,” Holly McCormick, 73, told Bess after he rang her doorbell. The flyers he carried warned that Georgia was the country’s “last line of defence from a socialist takeover.”McCormick called the outcome of the presidential race “rigged” though there is no evidence of widespread fraud in the 2020 election, and she said Trump’s claims of illegal votes made her more energized to vote for Perdue and Loeffler in January.“We have to hold the Senate,” she said.___Associated Press writer Jeff Amy in Atlanta contributed to this report.Sudhin Thanawala, The Associated Press
The P.E.I. government announced Friday the timing of its expansion of its current insulin pump program that will extend benefits to Islanders with diabetes up to age 25. The previous age cutoff for the program was 18.The province will also increase the number of glucose tests strips available through its diabetes drug program from 100 to 120 strips.It's a commitment the province made in its 2020 budget, announced in June. The other Atlantic provinces already cover insulin pumps for those up to age 25. The changes to the programs are scheduled to take effect Jan. 1, 2021."Diabetes [affects] more than 15,000 Islanders, and it is so important that we offer additional support to these individuals so they can live healthy, fulfilling lives without cost as a barrier," said Health Minister James Aylward in a news release.Insulin pumps allow people with diabetes to auto-administer insulin rather than injecting a syringe throughout the day multiple times. According to Diabetes Canada, there are more than 48,000 Islanders living with diabetes or prediabetes and prevalence is predicted to increase to 57,000 in 10 years as the population ages. Age restriction remainsAdvocates for more help for Islanders with diabetes have been calling on the province to lift the age restriction altogether, as Ontario, Alberta, B.C. and the three territories have. There was no mention of that in Friday's release.Aylward also announced a new diabetes strategy for the next four years aimed at three key areas: prevention, detection and management — exactly the same goals the province had for its very first diabetes strategy, in place from 2014 to 2017. "We want to work with Islanders to help reduce the risks of being diagnosed with diabetes; we want to make sure that more Islanders are screened for diabetes; and, we will help Islanders better manage diabetes so they can live healthy and active lives," the 2020-2024 strategy says.In addition to financial assistance, Health PEI's provincial diabetes program offers education and advice to Islanders living with diabetes or those who are at risk of developing it, the release said. Diabetes Canada said in the release it is pleased the province has aligned its goal with the organization's national strategy, called Diabetes 360°, and looks forward to working on it with government. More from CBC P.E.I.
After 46 years running his business, Brian Quinn of Quinn’s Meats in Yarker, Ont. is preparing to retire. He’s hoping to sell the commercial property to someone that will keep the abattoir and meat retail business intact, proving a challenge as fewer young people enter the industry. “The trade hasn’t passed down from generation to generation,” Quinn said. “Pretty much everybody here is in their 50s. There are no young kids stepping up.” Quinn describes his industry as “recession-proof, pandemic-proof and good, solid business.” “We don’t work nights, we don’t work Sundays. It’s a good, solid, full-time job and it pays really competitively,” he said. Still, during his career, Quinn said he has watched as abattoir after abattoir have closed all around him. “When I started there were six within 25 miles,” he said. His clients bring livestock from Perth, Smiths Falls and Frontenac County — anywhere within 100 mile radius, he said. If the person who buys his property does not maintain the abattoir, he said he doesn’t know what those farmers will do. Demand for his services is incredibly high, he explained. “In Eastern Ontario, east of Toronto, every abattoir is booked up a year in advance.” Quinn learned the trade from his uncle and grandfather when he was in high school. After completing a few years at St. Lawrence College in Kingston, he said the business came up for sale so he bought it. “The work is not that hard,” he explained. “It’s just when you mention ‘slaughter house’ or ‘abattoir,’ or ‘butcher,’ it just turns people off. It’s not a bad go. We have a modern facility, heated floors, all the modern equipment, so it’s not as labour intensive as it used to be. It’s repetitive work.” “If you’re working on the kill floor for example, there’s obviously going to be a smell there, and the stuff that goes on with the slaughter of an animal. It’s not a pleasant task by any means, no matter who you are. But it has to be done for the process,” he said. “I think that’s a major thing that people just can’t get their mind passed. That’s just my thinking.” He also cited increasing government regulation as a factor pushing existing business owners out of the industry. “A lot of the plants were older and weren’t up to standard, they weren’t willing to make the financial commitment to [update].” Quinn said that he has essentially rebuilt his entire facility over the years to keep it in compliance. The sale or distribution of uninspected meat is illegal in Ontario. Animals must be inspected and approved prior to slaughter, processed in a licensed facility and then stamped, labelled or tagged with an inspection license. “Most of the older plants that we’re talking about that have closed up, they were built before meat inspection was even compulsory. They were grandfathered in and regulations kept getting stricter and stricter. You either had to get up to standards, or get out,” he said. Quinn’s business, as well as the home on the adjacent property, are listed together for $1.3 million, including all equipment, license, existing inventory, a smokehouse and a stand alone generator. The processing area is suited to the custom cutting of beef, pork, lamb and goat. The retail area includes meat counters and coolers to sell beef and pork by the cut, as well as chicken and other products. According to the government of Canada, the beef industry reached retail sales of $5.4 billion USD in 2018, with beef representing 29.1 per cent of the overall retail Canadian meat sector. The sector is expected to grow by 2.4 per cent by 2023. “Meat substitutes,” or soy-based products such as burgers and grills, meatballs, sausage and other portions represented only $102.0 million USD in 2018. “Nevertheless, the sales of ‘meat substitute’ product categories are all growing faster than sales of most meat product categories… between 2014-2023,” says the federal sector overview of meat in Canada.Samantha Butler-Hassan, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, kingstonist.com
OTTAWA — Champion ice-dancers Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir and Olympic champion swimmer Mark Tewksbury were among 114 athletes, artists, scholars and community leaders named to the Order of Canada.Gov. Gen. Julie Payette's office announced the new honourees Friday morning.Others in the group include Indigenous writer Thomas King, winemaker John Peller, dancer and choreographer Elizabeth Langley, geriatrician Roger Wong, Cree elder Doreen Spence, sports academic Dr. Sandra Kirby, wheelchair basketball coach Tim Frick and ex-politicians Bill Graham and Allan Rock.Moir and Virtue catapulted to national stardom with their gold-medal performances at the Winter Olympics in 2018.They're being honoured for their athletic excellence and for inspiring a new generation of figure skaters."Feeling all wrapped up in emotion ... Upon learning about being invested into the Order of Canada, I couldn’t help but think that as a kid, I would have never known to dream so big," Virtue posted on Twitter."I am humbled by this honour."Tewksbury, who is being named to the top companion rank, won gold in the 100-metre backstroke at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.The 52-year-old Calgary native came out publicly as gay in 1998 and has been an advocate of LGBTQ rights as well as a prominent member of Canada's Olympic movement, serving as chef de mission of the 2012 London Olympic team.He is being honoured for athletic excellence and sport leadership, and for championing human rights.Kirby, a rower at the 1976 Montreal Olympics, is being honoured for her research on athlete harassment and her advocacy for equity, inclusion and safety in sport. Frick coached Canada's women's wheelchair basketball team to three straight Paralympic gold medals from 1992-2000 and four straight world championship gold medals from 1994-2006.He is being honoured for his expertise in coaching and for his contributions to the advancement of parasports in Canada.The Order of Canada is one of the country's highest civilian honours.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 27, 2020.The Canadian Press
TORONTO — A man who drove a van down a Toronto sidewalk and killed 10 people showed no anger toward women during his psychiatric evaluations, court heard Friday.Dr. John Bradford, one of the country's foremost forensic psychiatrists, testified that Alek Minassian's complete lack of anger and emotion is in direct contrast with Elliot Rodger, an American mass murderer he purportedly idolized.Minassian has pleaded not guilty to 10 counts of first-degree murder and 16 of attempted murder. The defence argues the 28-year-old from Richmond Hill, Ont., should be found not criminally responsible for his actions on April 23, 2018 due to autism spectrum disorder. His state of mind at the time is the sole issue at trial, which is being held by videoconference due to the pandemic.After a brief cross examination by the prosecution, Justice Anne Molloy, who is presiding over the case without a jury, took time to ask Bradford several questions."Did he ever talk to you about any degree of hatred or rage directed towards women?" the judge asked."In my contact with him, he didn’t show any anger whatsoever," Bradford said. "I don't think he expressed any particular hatred, other than in the context of what he focused on with Elliot Rodger and why he followed that."Rodger went on a rampage in Isla Vista, Calif., in May 2014, killing six people and injuring 14 others before killing himself. His "manifesto" and his video before the murders focused on his hatred towards women and has found an audience in the bowels of the internet where he is treated as the forefather of so-called "incels," men who are involuntarily celibate.Minassian told police hours after the attack that he killed innocent people as part of an "incel uprising." In that world, incels are on the bottom rung of society, below alpha males called Chads and the women they sleep with, called Stacys, and below them are "normies," or normal people. Minassiand told a police detective he hoped the attack would upend that societal order.But in his interviews with Bradford, Minassian changed his story."He denies that is part of incel although he has been disappointed in the past with his social interactions, but when confronted about being extremely angry, enraged, he denies this now categorically and maintains that he (has) only been disappointed and that he made this up about being enraged," Bradford wrote in his report.Bradford said Minassian told him while he was obsessed with the "incel theme," he was not a follower. "He talked about that theme, but without much emotion," said Bradford, who met with Minassian more than 15 times as part of a court-ordered psychiatric evaluation. Minassian also told Bradford his motivation was due to his anxiety about failing at a new job as a computer programmer he was set to begin a week after the attack. He also said he was motivated by the notoriety the attack would bring, even though he had planned to die in a "suicide-by-cop."Then in later interviews, Minassian reverted to the incel uprising as his motivation. Bradford testified Minassian's affect was flat through their meetings and he showed no emotion when describing in great detail the attack. Minassian also lacks empathy, Bradford testified, but he is not psychotic and, therefore, does not meet the test to be found not criminally responsible.Bradford did leave the door open to a "theoretical" pathway for Minassian to be found not criminally responsible through autism spectrum disorder, but noted he was not of that opinion, partially because he has little experience with that disorder.He said Minassian suffers from no other disorder, is not and has never been psychotic, is not a psychopath and did not have depression despite the suicide plan and a later suicide attempt in jail."This is a unique case of somebody with no autism co-morbidity who carried out a mass homicide and lived who by his own planning would be deceased," Bradford said."I knew that this was going to be unusual. As an expert, I believe my role is to give my opinion and give it as clearly as possible, but also to acknowledge that others may have a different opinion."Another psychiatrist testified that Minassian's autism spectrum disorder left him fixated on mass killings and vulnerable to the ramblings of an American mass murderer.Dr. Alexander Westphal, an American psychiatrist who is set to testify Monday, is expected to be the lone voice to say Minassian is not criminally responsible for his actions due to autism spectrum disorder.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 27, 2020. Liam Casey, The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — Vaccines are now a bright spot of hope on the COVID-19 pandemic horizon. But much about them, and their rollout in Canada, remains up in the air. Here’s what we know so far:What are the leading candidates?Manufacturers Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca have all filed applications to have their vaccine candidates approved in Canada. Under a “rolling submission" process, producers hand over data — from animal tests, for example — as it comes rather than as a complete package.That information includes how the vaccine candidates perform in different demographic groups and data about possible harms and risks.Dr. Supriya Sharma, chief medical adviser at Health Canada, says final data packages for some vaccines are expected as soon as the next few days, and that the vaccine being developed by Pfizer and BioNTech could get the green light next month.Why don’t we know when they’ll be distributed?The Liberal government says the first vaccine shipments should start to roll off tarmacs and port terminals early next year, bound initially for priority groups, including seniors in long-term care homes and front-line workers. But much about the deployment process has yet to be announced.Canada has struck purchasing deals with five pharmaceutical manufacturers, and agreements in principle with two more, paving the way for at least 194 million vaccine doses if all their products are eventually approved. But remaining question marks include which vaccines will pass muster and when and how details of provincial allocations from Ottawa will be nailed down.Meanwhile, the country's limited manufacturing capacity has curtailed domestic vaccine production options and resulted in greater dependence on vaccines made in foreign countries, which tend to prioritize their own citizens.What are the logistical hurdles?Distributing a vaccine poses massive logistical challenges. The unprecedented process involves providing up to two doses of a vaccine — which the leading candidates require instead of just one — to nearly 38 million Canadians spread across a vast country within several months. Ottawa is taking the lead on procurement and overall distribution, but on-the-ground delivery will be handled by the provinces, creating a complex deployment chain.Some vaccines are easier to move around than others. The Pfizer vaccine needs to be transported and stored at -70 C to remain effective, which would slow its rollout, though Ottawa has already purchased some cold storage for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. The Moderna vaccine candidate also requires freezing but not at the same temperature as the Pfizer candidate.AstraZeneca's vaccine is even less finicky about storage temperature but the company said Thursday that promising results from its clinical trials need further validation.Meanwhile the government is trying to contract transport companies for vaccine shipments. On Friday, Trudeau named Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, who commanded NATO troops in Iraq, to head up the Canadian military's role in co-ordinating logistics and lead the vaccine's eventual rollout across the country.Experts believe more than half of Canadians will be inoculated by September “if all goes well,” Trudeau said.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 27, 2020.The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — The federal government is sending $542 million to Indigenous groups to help them set up welfare services for children and families, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday. The Canadian government has been promising to transfer control over child and family services to Indigenous governing bodies so they don't need to rely on outsiders to protect children in First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities. In 2019, Parliament passed a law to reform the system, requiring that children on reserves have access to services equal to those who live off reserves. The legislation also recognize that Indigenous Peoples' constitutional right to self-government includes the right to run their own welfare agencies. "We are keeping our promise to give them the support they need to keep children within their families and their communities, so they can grow up surrounded by the strength of their culture to achieve their full potential," Trudeau said. Child-protection agencies have often removed Indigenous children not just from their parents but out of their communities entirely when workers decide the kids aren't safe — often because a lack of funding left them with few other options. That's broken up families and hurt children's connections to their heritage. Federal census figures say Indigenous children make up more than half the kids in foster care across the country, despite being fewer than eight per cent of the children in Canada. "Behind these devastating numbers, there are real children, real and terrible stories," Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller said Friday in a separate news conference. The new money is for everything from research and expert advice to consultations on how those Indigenous governments will establish and run their own child and family services, as well as to support their negotiations with provincial and federal authorities. Miller said this is an "essential step to correct the errors of the past" and will help unleash the potential of Indigenous young people who have been held back for generations. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 27, 2020. The Canadian Press
More than once during the weeks leading up to the provincial election Premier Moe referred to the province as being a supplier of raw materials to the world, but is this where the province should remain? Over 70% of Canada’s farmland is located in the prairies and historically, Saskatchewan was referred to as the “bread-basket of the world”, but with the shift away from primarily wheat production and the growth of the oil and gas sectors, that title has fallen into disuse. Yet, Saskatchewan remains in the realm of a primary producer. The problem with that status became evident earlier this year when COVID-19 arrived on our doorstep. As a province we are heavily reliant on other districts to supply our finished products and when they run into problems, such as the outbreaks of the coronavirus among their employees, the ripples are felt all along the food chain. But the authors of a new report just released by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives highlights another factor that while many across the prairies realize its happening, may not realize the full extent nor the implications of the trend. For years ‘bigger is better’ has been mantra of our culture, bigger homes, bigger trucks, bigger toys, and this is true of farming as well. Since the 1980’s farmers in Saskatchewan have been encouraged become bigger. Marginal farmland was pulled into production to make for bigger crops. Bigger equipment could complete the farmers work in less time and well, bigger equipment meant that it was possible to work more land, and the cycle continued. The era of broadly distributed land ownership, of food production by small and medium-sized family farms, is fading and the small farm is all but extinct. The number of young farmers in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba has, according to the report Concentration Matters: Farmland Inequality on the Prairies, declined by more than 70 percent, in just one generation—since 1991 (Statistics Canada Table 32-10-0169-01). The report authored by Darrin Qualman, Annette Aurélie Desmarais, André Magnan, Mengistu Wendimu for the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) states that while it remains the case that local families do operate the vast majority of our farms, there are fewer and fewer of those families every year. Thirty-eight percent of the farmland in Saskatchewan is operated and controlled by just 8 percent of Saskatchewan farms or just over 2,400 operations. These 2400+ farms average 9,382 acres in size, though many are much larger. The reduction in the number of small farms, the concentration of farmland and farm income into fewer and fewer large operations, and barriers to entry created by rising land prices (See Farm Credit Canada, Farmland Values Report), all make it more difficult for young and new farmers to enter agriculture, the report goes on to say. This difficulty in gaining access to farmland is therefore, effectively stifling the possibility of farming as a career choice for young Canadians (Qualman, Akram-Lodhi, Desmarais, and Srinivasan, 2018). Farms larger than 10,000 acres make up less than 2 percent of total Prairie farms, yet those very large operations captured approximately 15 percent of gross revenues and net income. On average, these very large farms earned net incomes of more than $820,000 before depreciation. At the other end of the size distribution, farms smaller than 1,000 acres, though they make up 53 percent of total farms, captured just 21 percent of revenues and 18 percent of net income. On average, these farms earned net incomes of just over $34,000 each. Because margins are tight and per-acre net income is low on cattle farms and grain and oilseed farms, a young or new farmer on a small farm with few acres paid for has a very limited ability to pay for additional acres, large farms often have greater capacity to borrow money (on better terms than those usually offered to smaller farms), and as a result unless a young farmer can partner with another, either a family member or another farmer looking to start ‘slowing down’, there is no avenue for him or her to get in and fewer and fewer farm children are returning to the farm. In 2014, for instance, 73 percent of farmland transactions involving an ownership change were between arms-length parties (neighbours), whereas 27 percent were among family members (Magnan and Sunley 2017). The rate of farmland concentration however, is running far ahead of the rate of farm loss. Since 1966, Canada has lost half of its farms, but the number of farmers who control the vast majority of land is far smaller than the numbers above suggest. According to the report, across the Prairie Provinces, farms larger than 5,000 acres, which represents 7 percent of all farms, own 27 percent of all farmland that is owner-operated, also those same 7 percent of Prairie farms that are larger than 5,000 acres, lease 67 percent of government leased farm land and rent or lease 35 percent of all land rented or leased by farmers from non-government farmland owners. So, while it may remain the case that our farmland is owned by local families, it is also the case that most is owned by a very small percentage of families. In 2016, 37,622 farm operations owned about half of all Canadian agricultural land in private hands. Translated into number of people, the authors of the study made a rough assumption that each farming operation included, in some combination of parents, children, spouse/partner, about 2.5 landowners. Thus those 37,622 farm operations become 94,055 people (less than .3% of the Canada’s entire population) own half of the country’s food-producing acreage. The great exit of young people from rural to urban areas is well documented in report after report in Statistics Canada library, but to bring this into a more local perspective, the 1976 census shows the population of the RM of Fish Creek to be 591, by 1981 that number had dropped to 510. (https://archive.org/details/1981939081982engfra/page/n47/mode/2up?q=Fish+Creek+RM) Twenty years later, the population was 382 and while that number is now recorded as 345, in the intervening years it did drop as low as 307 at one point. The report concludes that unless government policies or economic shocks alter these trends, 20 years from now, the area of land operated by small farms will be negligible, and farms larger than 5,000 acres may operate 50 to 60 percent of Prairie farmland (up from about 37 percent today).Carol Baldwin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Wakaw Recorder
TORONTO — Rogers Sportsnet is parting ways with veteran Toronto Blue Jays radio announcer Mike Wilner.The broadcaster announced the split on its Twitter feed Friday. A reason wasn't given for the decision.Sportsnet said Wilner had a "voice that became synonymous with Blue Jays baseball."Wilner, the Blue Jays' first Toronto-born play-by-play broadcaster, became the full-time radio announcer alongside Ben Wagner prior to the 2019 Major League Baseball season. He also called most of the games in 2018 following the retirement of longtime announcer Jerry Howarth.Prior to joining the broadcast booth full-time, he served as a backup announcer and hosted the "Blue Jays Talk" pre- and post-game shows starting in 2002.Wilmer said on a social media post that "his heart is broken," but added he is grateful for getting a chance to "live an absolute dream."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 27, 2020.The Canadian Press
As cases of COVID-19 continue to increase among Edmonton's homeless population, the city's only isolation facility for homeless people is planning to expand. The isolation shelter opened three months ago to provide a safe place for people without a home to recover from the disease. Its location is not publicly disclosed. It has 65 beds but will soon increase its capacity by 40 per cent to contend with capacity issues that could arise in the weeks ahead, said Elliott Tanti, a spokesperson for the Boyle McCauley Health Centre, which operates the isolation shelter. The existing site will expand within the next two weeks, as soon as enough staff can be redirected to manage the new beds, Tanti said Thursday. "It feels a little bit like we're in the eye of the storm right now." Frontline workers are preparing for a possible large outbreak of COVID-19 among people who are homeless. "We did go a very long time without a confirmed case in the inner city, and that is no longer the case," Tanti said. "And so the ramp-up of cases and the pressures on the sector right now, we know will exist for the next two or three weeks. "We have to make arrangements to make sure that we're keeping our staff and the people we serve as safe as possible. That's the bottom line." Site opened in August Homeless people in Edmonton who test positive for COVID-19 — but who don't require hospitalization — are immediately transferred to the isolation shelter. The site began operating in early August after an emergency shelter at the Edmonton Expo Centre closed, leaving hundreds of people looking elsewhere for food, shelter and medical services. The lease on the isolation site was secured by the province through a partnership with a private operator. Out of privacy concerns for the people staying there, the location has never been disclosed publicly. Each resident has an individual room and bathroom and gets three meals each day. Medical staff and security officers ensure patients are safely admitted, monitored and discharged. The shelter was initially designed to house all individuals in the homeless population who were possibly infected but that is no longer the case, Tanti said. In September, shortly after the first outbreak was identified in the city's homeless population, overflow isolation sites were set up across the city for people who developed symptoms, or were considered close contacts, but had not yet tested positive. Those sites are still operating. Tanti said they were opened to ease any potential capacity issues at the isolation shelter. "It's the triaging that I know the medical sector has been doing for months now, but we're doing it now," he said. Exact numbers of patients at the isolation facility are hard to pin down, Tanti said. The number of available spaces fluctuates every day. "It's hectic," he said. "People are coming and going. For example, today we went from zero beds available to 15 beds." Although the numbers are hard to track, Tanti said confirmed and suspected cases have been steadily increasing in recent weeks, in tandem with escalating COVID-19 cases across the province. Convention centre outbreak Plans to expand the isolation facility coincide with an outbreak at the homeless shelter in the Edmonton Convention Centre downtown. On Thursday, there were 12 cases linked to the outbreak. On Friday, acting city manager Adam Laughlin told council the outbreak had grown to 22 cases. "Individuals who tested positive were immediately taken to an isolation space in the facility, before being moved to the Edmonton isolation facility," shelter officials said in a joint news release Thursday. "Additional precautions have been put in place to prevent the spread of the virus. These include enhanced cleaning, signage with distancing reminders and the use of personal protective equipment when responding to overdoses and other medical emergencies." The shelter will remain operational throughout the outbreak. Contact tracing is underway. The convention centre shelter opened on Oct. 30 as a temporary facility. Hundreds of people — including many who spent the summer living in now-dismantled homeless encampments — now rely on the facility each day. The outbreak at the convention centre shelter is the third cluster of cases to develop at homeless shelters in the city. The first outbreak was declared at Hope Mission on Sept. 22 and involved at least 15 cases. A second outbreak, also at Hope Mission, was declared on Nov. 18. As of Thursday, 17 cases had been linked to the second Hope Mission outbreak. Ten cases were active and 7 cases had recovered. Tanti said the sector is hopeful that new health restrictions will cut down on community transmission but many of the health directives are difficult, even impossible, to follow when living on the street. "Being able to socially distance is a privilege. How do you isolate when you don't have a home?"
LOS ANGELES — With many small businesses struggling to hold on during the coronavirus pandemic, Issa Rae believes now is the time to support independent stores more than ever.The creator and star of HBO series “Insecure” strongly encourages people to shop locally as part of Small Business Saturday, a couple days after Thanksgiving. She said the initiative created by American Express, for which she is a compensated endorser, can help give an extra push during the holidays to small businesses who have gone into survival mode.Rae said using “word of mouth” and tagging a business on social media tremendously helps.“Survival is on the line,” the Emmy-nominated actor said in a recent interview. “You’re seeing the pandemic shut down so many businesses and businesses are struggling. I think now is the best time to shoutout some of the places that literally need you to keep their doors open.”While growing up, Rae learned the importance of shopping at small businesses from her grandparents and mother while living in Inglewood, California. As a child, she initially wanted to shop the popular brands, but ultimately saw the value of spending her own dollars in her neighbourhood as she grew older.“For some reason in my mind, it was ingrained that these businesses weren’t good enough because they didn’t have the means to advertise on television," she said. “I felt like we were getting the low brand version of what I really wanted. But as I grew up, I realized — while embracing my neighbourhood — how harmful that perspective was.”On Saturday, Rae will be purchasing products from a few Black-owned businesses including Queen Boutique in Los Angeles. The actor also became a partner and co-owner of a coffee shop called Hilltop Coffee and Kitchen in Inglewood last year.So far, during the pandemic, Rae has watched several businesses close down, which she says “breaks my heart."“These are the people within our community,” she said. “These are the people who are thinking of us first. That is valuable as a consumer to know that you’re in a business owner’s mind.”Jonathan Landrum Jr., The Associated Press
Ontario Premier Doug Ford is lashing out at people protesting COVID-19 lockdown measures outside his house. During his daily briefing, Ford called the protesters "buffoons" and asked them to respect his family and neighbours.
TORONTO — An angry Premier Doug Ford lashed out on Friday at anti-lockdown protesters outside his home, accusing them of intimidating nearby residents and saying their actions wouldn't sway him.His neighbours, Ford said in offering them a sincere apology for getting caught up in the situation, make no government decisions and never signed up to be targets."Stop acting like a bunch of buffoons out there and start respecting the people of Ontario," Ford said at his daily briefing. "This is totally unacceptable that my neighbours are being intimidated, being threatened, and these people, they need to stop."Protesters opposed to measures aimed at curbing the lethal spread of COVID-19 have gathered outside the premier's west-end Toronto home daily. Their actions, he said, are unacceptable."You want to protest me, come down to Queen's Park," Ford said. "You can do cartwheels, you can jump up and down." Ford took aim at Independent legislator Randy Hillier, who did lead an anti-mask and anti-lockdown rally at the legislature on Thursday. Police ticketed Hiller, whom Ford called irresponsible, for allegedly breaking health rules imposed to curb COVID.Hillier's supporters took to social media to denounce the citation and restrictions as unnecessary. Ford, however, said it's unfathomable that some people believe coronavirus disease to be a hoax when in fact the virus is so serious. "Look at the states to the south of us that want to ignore the regulations — they're blowing up," he said. "They have mobile morgues driving around in Texas collecting bodies. If that's not a wake-up call, I don't know what is."On Friday, Ontario reported a record 1,855 new infections, a 25 per cent surge in a day, and 20 new deaths. The province has now seen 109,361 cases, 3,575 of them fatal.Ford defended the restrictions that have shut down many businesses and limited gatherings as public health authorities urged people to stay home except for essential reasons. The measures, he said, were proven effective earlier this year."The proof is in the pudding: When we did it last time, we were down to almost 100 cases, which is unheard of in a population of 14.77 million people." The protesters outside his house, Ford said, were special interest and political groups. Small business owners on his street and elsewhere in the neighbourhood were among those anti-lockdown protests end up hurting, he added.Ultimately, Ford said, the protesters were violating the very tenets of political discourse. "There's an unwritten rule here in Canada: You don't go after people's families and neighbours," he said. "You want to come at me, come at me, and leave my family and leave my neighbours alone."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 27, 2020.Colin Perkel, The Canadian Press
When Royal Newfoundland Constabulary investigators zeroed in on a house as they investigated the James Cody homicide this summer, they found more than $434,000 in cash.Soon after, the Mounties launched a money-laundering and proceeds of crime investigation focused on the owner of the house, Kurt Churchill.Those new details are in court documents filed by the federal Crown and RCMP at provincial court in St. John's.Last month, the Mounties asked a judge to give them permission to hold onto the cash and other potential evidence seized through search warrants in July.On Friday morning, that application was granted, with some minor changes.The money laundering investigation is ongoing, and no charges have been laid.Churchill's lawyer, Robby Ash, declined to comment.According to court filings, the RNC asked the RCMP to take over the proceeds of crime investigation related to the seizure of the money.When they searched 40 Craigmillar Ave. as part of the Cody homicide investigation, police found more than 14,000 $20 notes, nearly 2,000 $50 bills, almost 500 $100 notes, and a combined total of about 200 in $5s and $10s.In addition to the cash, police also seized a money counter, vacuum sealer, cling wrap, and 10 boxes of "seal a meal" storage bags."As a result of the search warrants and the seizure of the [proceeds of crime] and RNC items, in particular the currency seized by the RNC, cash receipts and financial documents, [the Federal Serious and Organized Crime unit] commenced the investigation into Churchill and the possible link between his drug trafficking activities and possession of [proceeds of crime] and money laundering," RCMP Cpl. Laura Purchase wrote in an affidavit.The court filings link the "drug trafficking" reference to Operation Battalion, which saw Churchill arrested and charged in 2014 for his alleged role in a high-level cocaine operation.In 2017, Churchill was acquitted of all charges after his lawyer filed an application over unfair trial delays. The Crown called no evidence.Churchill has no criminal record. He was recently found guilty of threatening a police officer last year, but received a conditional discharge.Lawyers for Churchill and the provincial Crown have been fighting in court over whether he should have to provide DNA to a national police databank as part of that sentence.Churchill won the latest round, and won't have to provide DNA while he appeals his guilty verdict in the uttering threats case. This week, the Crown appealed that DNA decision to the province's top court.Cody was found shot to death on the street near Churchill's Craigmillar Avenue home this July.No charges have been laid in relation to the homicide, and the RNC has not publicly named any suspects.Police have not confirmed what, if any, connection Churchill has to the case.Read more articles from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
A federal judge has reversed a decision turfing Thunderchild First Nation Coun. Michael Linklater. A Thunderchild appeal tribunal panel ousted Linklater for failing to live on the reserve — a move he said violated his Charter rights. In a Wednesday decision, Justice Sébastien Grammond revoked the tribunal panel's call because it didn't consider Charter concerns over Linklater's residency requirements. Applying the Charter to a First Nation's laws is "controversial," but the two also aren't in "complete isolation" from each other, Grammond said. Instead of making any "general pronouncements" on the issue, he aimed to send the matter back to the panel. He said it will have to consider the case again, if the residents who initially raised concerns want to pursue the matter. He also didn't grant Linklater's request to have the court order a vote on residency requirements, because the court doesn't "have a general power to call elections or referenda in (a) First Nation," his decision stated. Linklater said he is unaware of when another tribunal panel will be held, and called the decision "a win." He said the issues raised over his residency were valid, but the matter continues to be an ongoing question in other First Nations. Thunderchild's chief of operations, Winston Walkingbear, did not respond to requests for comment by press time. Grammond's decision noted the First Nation's government supported Linklater’s position. Linklater filed an application for judicial review in August after the tribunal panel pushed him off council for failing to meet residency requirements. In an interview at the time, he also suggested creating a council position to represent off-reserve members. Linklater, who lives in Saskatoon, argued a lack of housing on the First Nation prevents him from living there. In his decision, Grammond noted there's a 400-person wait list for a home on the First Nation. Jonathan Jimmy was one of two band members to raise concerns over the issue to the panel. In August, he said Linklater violated a rule requiring any councillors to move to the First Nation within 30 days of being elected. "If you want to be a leader of Thunderchild, you need to live in Thunderchild," Jimmy said at the time. In September, the First Nation almost held a vote replacing Linklater, but a federal judge halted the process a few days before it went ahead. Linklater was formerly a basketball player with the Saskatchewan Rattlers until he retired in 2019. He was elected to office in 2018 and said he looks forward continuing the role at the First Nation's next council meeting. "I've spoken to the rest of the leadership and there's no hard feelings."Nick Pearce, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The StarPhoenix
Alberta reported 1,227 new cases of COVID-19 and nine new deaths Friday. That brings the number of active cases to a record 14,217. Today is the final day of in-school classes for junior and senior high students in Alberta, and the waiting has begun to see what impact the government's new measures will have, if any, on the COVID-19 outbreak in the province. For the next three weeks, Grade 7 to 12 classrooms will remain empty. Indoor social gatherings are banned, outdoor gatherings are limited to 10 people and access to some businesses will be restricted, while masks will be mandatory at indoor workplaces in Edmonton and Calgary. Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta's chief medical officer of health, asked Albertans Friday to cut back on their in-person interactions with others. "I want to be clear, for the next few weeks every one of us needs to dramatically reduce the amount of contact we have with people outside our own household," Hinshaw said at a news conference. "This weekend, I am asking all Albertans to embrace this challenge. "The decisions each of us make this weekend will help determine whether cases fall or rise in the weeks ahead. So please be wise, be safe and let's all look out for each other." Province to enforce restrictions As the province moves forward with the new restrictions, Hinshaw asked Albertans to cooperate with health-care workers, business people and anyone else enforcing the rules. "I know that the restrictions currently placed on all of us are difficult, but they are not the fault of law enforcement or inspectors who are simply trying to enforce what is in place and to help stop the spread," she said. "I urge Albertans to exercise patience and kindness in the days ahead. If a line is a bit longer than usual or an employee asks you to follow a new policy that is in place, please do not take your frustrations out on these workers. "These new restrictions and measures create extra work and pressures for staff, owners and operators." Kaycee Madu, Alberta's minister of justice and solicitor general, said the province is ready to enforce the new rules. "My expectation is that those who are in violation of the measures that we have put in place would have to be held accountable," Madu said at the news conference. "I think you are going to see a heightened level of enforcement in those cases where there are individuals who are blatantly not compliant with the health measures." Up to 700 additional peace officers will help police and other law enforcement officers administer the new rules, Madu said. 10-day wait Hinshaw says it will be 10 to 14 days before we see if the new measures can dent surging COVID-19 case numbers. Until then, the numbers seem destined to soar as they have through November. On Thursday, the number of active cases in Alberta broke 14,000 while the number of dead broke 500. Public health critics and the most vocal of the province's doctors fear the government waited too long to act. They point to the number of people in hospital and in ICU, which Hinshaw herself sees as key metrics in the battle. Almost everyday those numbers set new records. On Friday, there were 405 people in hospital, 86 of them in ICU. Critics also claim the restrictions do not go far enough, saying if we have to wait 10 days to know for sure, it may be too late to get the disease under control. The active cases in Alberta breaks down among regions as: Edmonton zone: 6,614 cases Calgary zone: 5,164 cases Central zone: 950 cases North zone: 769 cases South zone: 634 cases Unknown: 86 cases The new deaths bring the total to 519. They include: A man in his 80s linked to the outbreak at Rosealta Lodge in the Central zone. He died Nov. 16. A woman in her 90s linked to the outbreak at the Manor Village Varsity in the Calgary zone. She died Nov. 17. A man in his 60s in the South zone who died Tuesday. A woman in her 80s in the Edmonton zone who died Tuesday. A man in his 70s linked to the outbreak at Laurel Heights Retirement Residence in the Edmonton zone. He died Wednesday. A woman in her 90s in the Edmonton zone who died Wednesday. A woman in her 70s in the South zone who died Thursday. A woman in her 90s linked to the outbreak at Extendicare Eaux Claires in the Edmonton zone. She died Thursday. A man in his 90s linked to the outbreak at Revera Bow-Crest in the Calgary zone. He died Thursday.
Il s’agit d’un retour dans sa ville natale pour la propriétaire de ce nouveau commerce, Mylène Jomphe. Elle avait quitté la région il y a quelques années pour aller faire son cours en pâtisserie. Elle a ensuite travaillé pour une usine de chocolat dans la région de Québec. Par contre, l’usine dans laquelle elle œuvrait a fermé. Elle a donc saisi cette occasion pour revenir dans sa région d’origine et ouvrir une chocolaterie. Pour l’instant, il est possible de retrouver 14 variétés de bouchées individuelles. Parmi celles-ci, il y a des produits inspirés de la région comme une bouchée aux bleuets ou à la chicoutai. Il y a aussi 9 saveurs de barres de chocolat. Jusqu’à maintenant la réponse de la clientèle est plus que positive selon Mme Jomphe : « Il y a beaucoup de gens qui viennent à la chocolaterie et on reçoit de bons commentaires de leur part. De plus, le temps des fêtes arrive vite et j’ai beaucoup de demandes pour mes chocolats. » Elle ajoute qu’elle commence aussi à avoir de la demande pour ses produits à l’extérieur et que certaines personnes lui ont même demandés de lancer une boutique en ligne. Pour ce qui est du nom, Niapisca, celui-ci s’inspire en partie d’un monolithe qui porte ce nom sur l’île Niapiskau qui est présente dans la Réserve de parc national de l’Archipel-de-Mingan. Mylène ajoute que son père qui est sculpteur a fait une représentation de ce monolithe surnommé Madame de Niapisca il y a quelques années. Le nom s’est donc imposé de lui-même pour la chocolaterie. Pour celle qui débute dans le monde des affaires, elle explique qu’il y a plusieurs défis. « Je commence à réaliser toutes les choses pour avoir son entreprise. Il y a la production, la paperasse, la comptabilité en plus des commandes et de l’emballage. » Malgré tout, la jeune entrepreneure se montre confiante pour la suite des choses.Vincent Berrouard, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Nord-Côtier
Following a shockingly successful campaign to register P.E.I. children for Dolly Parton's Imagination Library, the P.E.I. Literacy Alliance is trying to raise more money so it can support more kids.The alliance had its initial launch of the Imagination Library last month."We thought it would take a year to encourage people to sign up, but apparently it only took 12 hours," said executive director Jinny Greaves.The program was quickly oversubscribed and the alliance had to shut down registrations. It had funding to support 2,000 children, but the number registered quickly jumped to 3,000.The provincial government stepped in with extra funding to support the 1,000 children on the waiting list.The Imagination Library partners with publishers and postal services to allow one book a month to be delivered to a child's doorstep for just $50 a year. It is aimed at children from birth to age five, with the goal of providing children with a library of their own by the time they start school.The new campaign, Inspire a Love of Reading this Holiday Season, has set a target to raise $150,000 by the end of December, which will be enough to sign up another 1,000 children for three years.Reaching the vulnerableGreaves said the alliance is looking to be more selective with this round of registrations."We really want to reach the vulnerable families," she said."That was our goal all along, was to kind of start there. We were quite overwhelmed and surprised by how quickly — when we opened up that registration — it just filled up."The alliance is hoping to reach a lot of those families through a partnership with food banks.As part of a separate program, the alliance is putting children's books in Christmas hampers. Those books will have a bookmark with instructions for registering for the Imagination Library.There are about 7,000 children under the age of five on P.E.I., and Greaves said the ultimate goal of the alliance is to register every one.More from CBC P.E.I.
Selon un sondage effectué par Equifax Canada, 62 % des Canadiens prévoit dépenser un montant similaire ou supérieur à l'an dernier lors de leur magasinage des Fêtes. À l'inverse, seulement 33 % prévoient dépenser moins qu'à pareille date en 2019. La façon de magasiner sera quant à elle bien différente en raison du contexte de pandémie de la COVID-19. 65 % des répondants prévoient magasiner en ligne cette année. Le sondage révèle également que 56 % des citoyens canadiens ne visiteront pas leur famille élargie cette année. Ce nombre grimpe à 60 % pour les consommateurs de 55 ans et plus. Bien que 54 % des personnes sondées ont préparé un budget en vue de leur magasinage des Fêtes, plusieurs d'entre elles affirment avoir des difficultés à rattraper le retard dans le paiement de leurs achats (33 %) à la suite de cette période de l'année. Un même pourcentage (33 %) éprouve beaucoup d'anxiété au sujet de leur niveau actuel d'endettement personnel. On note aussi que 19 % des répondants regrettent leurs achats des Fêtes lorsqu'ils reçoivent leur relevé de carte de crédit. La COVID-19 a eu des effets sur la situation financière des répondants. 68 % d'entre eux ont dû reporter un achat important depuis le début de la pandémie, que ce soit des vacances (59 %), un projet de rénovation (25 %), l'achat d'un véhicule (22 %) ou d'une nouvelle maison (19 %). 31 % s'entendent également pour dire que leur emploi est moins sûr en raison de la pandémie. «Même si personne n’aime devoir reporter un achat important, les données de notre sondage confirment que la plupart des gens continuent d’agir de manière responsable par rapport à leur endettement, a expliqué Rebecca Oakes, vice-présidente adjointe, Analyse avancée chez Equifax Canada, par voie de communiqué. Le fait de trop s’endetter en période d’incertitude financière peut être stressant. L’optimisme est une bonne chose, mais il est très important de planifier les achats importants.» Par ailleurs, 45 % des personnes sondées disent s'attendre à ce que les finances de leur ménage se stabilisent au cours des six prochains mois.Nicholas Pereira, Initiative de journalisme local, Courrier Laval
In the final part of our series on men’s mental health, the group of men meet each other on zoom for a candid and open conversation about emotional health.