For Maya Rudolph and Natasha Lyonne, giving comedian Sarah Cooper her own special was a no-brainer. It was also the first production from their new company to hit the airwaves. (Oct. 26)
For Maya Rudolph and Natasha Lyonne, giving comedian Sarah Cooper her own special was a no-brainer. It was also the first production from their new company to hit the airwaves. (Oct. 26)
WASHINGTON — Disputing President Donald Trump’s persistent, baseless claims, Attorney General William Barr declared the U.S. Justice Department has uncovered no evidence of widespread voter fraud that could change the outcome of the 2020 election.Barr's comments, in an interview Tuesday with the The Associated Press, contradict the concerted effort by Trump, his boss, to subvert the results of last month's voting and block President-elect Joe Biden from taking his place in the White House.Barr told the AP that U.S. attorneys and FBI agents have been working to follow up specific complaints and information they’ve received, but “to date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election.”The comments, which drew immediate criticism from Trump attorneys, were especially notable coming from Barr, who has been one of the president's most ardent allies. Before the election, he had repeatedly raised the notion that mail-in voting could be especially vulnerable to fraud during the coronavirus pandemic as Americans feared going to polls and instead chose to vote by mail.More to Trump's liking, Barr revealed in the AP interview that in October he had appointed U.S. Attorney John Durham as a special counsel, giving the prosecutor the authority to continue to investigate the origins of the Trump-Russia probe after Biden takes over and making it difficult to fire him. Biden hasn't said what he might do with the investigation, and his transition team didn't comment Tuesday.Trump has long railed against the investigation into whether his 2016 campaign was co-ordinating with Russia, but he and Republican allies had hoped the results would be delivered before the 2020 election and would help sway voters. So far, there has been only one criminal case, a guilty plea from a former FBI lawyer to a single false statement charge.Under federal regulations, a special counsel can be fired only by the attorney general and for specific reasons such as misconduct, dereliction of duty or conflict of interest. An attorney general must document such reasons in writing.Barr went to the White House Tuesday for a previously scheduled meeting that lasted about three hours.Trump didn't directly comment on the attorney general's remarks on the election. But his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and his political campaign issued a scathing statement claiming that, "with all due respect to the Attorney General, there hasn’t been any semblance” of an investigation into the president's complaints.Other administration officials who have come out forcefully against Trump's allegations of voter-fraud evidence have been fired. But it's not clear whether Barr might suffer the same fate. He maintains a lofty position with Trump, and despite their differences the two see eye-to-eye on quite a lot.Still, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer quipped: “I guess he’s the next one to be fired.”Last month, Barr issued a directive to U.S. attorneys across the country allowing them to pursue any “substantial allegations” of voting irregularities before the 2020 presidential election was certified, despite no evidence at that time of widespread fraud.That memorandum gave prosecutors the ability to go around longstanding Justice Department policy that normally would prohibit such overt actions before the election was certified. Soon after it was issued, the department’s top elections crime official announced he would step aside from that position because of the memo.The Trump campaign team led by Giuliani has been alleging a widespread conspiracy by Democrats to dump millions of illegal votes into the system with no evidence. They have filed multiple lawsuits in battleground states alleging that partisan poll watchers didn’t have a clear enough view at polling sites in some locations and therefore something illegal must have happened. The claims have been repeatedly dismissed including by Republican judges who have ruled the suits lacked evidence.But local Republicans in some battleground states have followed Trump in making unsupported claims, prompting grave concerns over potential damage to American democracy.Trump himself continues to rail against the election in tweets and in interviews though his own administration has said the 2020 election was the most secure ever. He recently allowed his administration to begin the transition over to Biden, but he still refuses to admit he lost.The issues they've have pointed to are typical in every election: Problems with signatures, secrecy envelopes and postal marks on mail-in ballots, as well as the potential for a small number of ballots miscast or lost.But they've gone further. Attorney Sidney Powell has spun fictional tales of election systems flipping votes, German servers storing U.S. voting information and election software created in Venezuela “at the direction of Hugo Chavez,” – the late Venezuelan president who died in 2013. Powell has since been removed from the legal team after an interview she gave where she threatened to “blow up” Georgia with a “biblical” court filing.Barr didn't name Powell specifically but said: “There's been one assertion that would be systemic fraud and that would be the claim that machines were programmed essentially to skew the election results. And the DHS and DOJ have looked into that, and so far, we haven’t seen anything to substantiate that.”In the campaign statement, Giuliani claimed there was “ample evidence of illegal voting in at least six states, which they have not examined.”“We have many witnesses swearing under oath they saw crimes being committed in connection with voter fraud. As far as we know, not a single one has been interviewed by the DOJ. The Justice Department also hasn’t audited any voting machines or used their subpoena powers to determine the truth,” he said.However, Barr said earlier that people were confusing the use of the federal criminal justice system with allegations that should be made in civil lawsuits. He said a remedy for many complaints would be a top-down audit by state or local officials, not the U.S. Justice Department.“There’s a growing tendency to use the criminal justice system as sort of a default fix-all," he said, but first there must be a basis to believe there is a crime to investigate.“Most claims of fraud are very particularized to a particular set of circumstances or actors or conduct. ... And those have been run down; they are being run down,” Barr said. “Some have been broad and potentially cover a few thousand votes. They have been followed up on."___Associated Press writers Lisa Mascaro and Eric Tucker contributed to this report.Michael Balsamo, The Associated Press
Mask-wearing is becoming mandatory in more and more parts of the territory as COVID-19 continues to spread across the country. Though the N.W.T. has been little affected by the pandemic in comparison to most southern regions of Canada – there is one active COVID-19 case in the territory at present – towns are proactively implementing more protective measures. In Fort Smith, masks became mandatory in municipal buildings on November 26. “As the rate of infection continues to rise across Canada, we encourage all businesses and retail stores in Fort Smith to incorporate a mandatory mask-wearing policy in their place of business,” read the town’s notice. “This added protection will help reassure the community that businesses are safe to access and continue to support local businesses.” Meanwhile, in Inuvik, local businesses like grocery stores have made masks mandatory in recent weeks. As first reported by the CBC, Fort Simpson last week unanimously passed a council resolution on November 23 to make masks more present in the village. Sean Whelly, the mayor of Fort Simpson, said the village was recommending masks specifically in retail environments, which he called the village’s “main points of contact.” “At five o’clock everyone goes out and starts shopping, and it was impossible to maintain that six-foot distance," Whelly said. "We really wanted to highlight the importance of people putting those masks on." Masks in Fort Simpson are not yet mandatory but are strongly encouraged. The council resolution states: “Personal preference is not a valid reason to not wear a mask.” Signs in place at Fort Simpson's Northern Store and Unity Store state the village highly recommends the use of masks. Masks have been mandatory at the village's liquor store since October 16. Whelly said he believed the number of people wearing masks had increased by 40 to 50 per cent since the resolution was enacted. Free masks will now be given out, which he expected to lead to a further increase in mask-wearing.Sarah Pruys and Sarah Sibley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Cabin Radio
The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada (all times Eastern): 7:50 p.m. British Columbia is reporting 656 new cases of COVID-19 today, with 8,796 active cases across the province. There have been 16 additional deaths, bringing the total number of fatalities to 457 since the pandemic began. In a joint statement, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix say 336 people are being treated in hospital for COVID-19, and 76 of them are in intensive care. Another 10,123 people are being monitored after they were exposed to a known case of the novel coronavirus. --- 2 p.m. Nova Scotia is reporting 10 new cases of COVID-19. Public health officials say all the new cases were found in the central zone, bringing the province's total active case count to 142. Rapid testing was administered at pop-up sites Monday in both Wolfville and Halifax and no cases were found at either site. A total of 4,138 COVID-19 tests were administered in the province Monday. --- 1:50 p.m. Public health officials in New Brunswick are reporting seven new cases of COVID-19 in the province Tuesday. Chief medical officer of health Dr. Jennifer Russell says there are four new cases in the Saint John zone and three new cases in the Fredericton zone. There are currently 116 active cases in the province, and there have been 508 cases in New Brunswick since the pandemic began. There have been seven deaths and no one is in hospital. --- 1:35 p.m. Manitoba is reporting 282 new COVID-19 cases and a record 16 deaths. The test positivity rate remains high at 13 per cent, and Premier Brian Pallister says restrictions on business openings and public gatherings may have to remain in place for some time. --- 1:10 p.m. Quebec Premier Francois Legault says his government will decide in 10 days whether the province's COVID-19 situation will allow for multi-household gatherings at Christmas. He says an increase in hospitalizations is straining the health-care network, and some hospitals are nearing the limit of how many COVID-19 patients they can treat. The premier says the situation in hospitals and the toll on health-care workers will be the most important factors in determining the plan for Christmas, adding that things are not headed in the right direction. Legault had announced last month that gatherings of up to 10 people would be allowed between Dec. 24 and 27. --- 1 p.m. Another measure to limit the spread of COVID-19 took effect in Yukon today, as masks are now mandatory in all indoor, public spaces. Yukon's chief medical officer of health Dr. Brendan Hanley says everyone over the age of five who does not have a medical exemption will be required to wear a mask. The order imposed under Yukon's Civil Emergency Measures Act carries a fine of up to $500 but Hanley says Yukon residents will first be given a chance to adapt before any enforcement begins. Premier Sandy Silver reports eight new cases of COVID-19 in the territory since the briefing last Tuesday, bringing the total number to 47 since the start of the pandemic. Seventeen cases are still considered active, but none related to community transmission. --- 12:55 p.m. Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam says when looking at people experiencing the most severe illness, older Canadians are more at risk than younger Canadians with pre-existing conditions. She says that suggests after the initial round of vaccines goes to people in high-risk living or work situations, like long-term care centres and hospital staff, the next round of immunizations should be done by age, with the oldest Canadians at the front of the line. --- 12:52 p.m. Manitoba handed out 100 tickets to people not following public health orders last week. The provincial government brought in restrictions three weeks ago to deal with surging COVID-19 case numbers that set strict limits on public gatherings and require non-essential businesses to close. Two churches that held services recently are among the establishments that have been ticketed. --- 12:50 p.m. Newfoundland and Labrador is reporting one new case of COVID-19. The case affects a man in his 50s who returned to the province from work in British Columbia. Health officials say the man is self-isolating and contact tracing is underway. Newfoundland and Labrador has 33 active COVID-19 cases, with 339 cases confirmed since the onset of the pandemic. --- 12:35 p.m. Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister says restrictions on public gatherings and business openings could continue into the winter. Pallister says with cold weather ahead, there's a risk of greater COVID-19 transmission as more people stay, and perhaps gather, indoors. Manitoba's daily rise in cases has levelled off somewhat after spiking last month, but health officials say it is still straining the health-care system. --- 12:25 p.m. Procurement Minister Anita Anand says Canada was one of the first countries to sign a deal to get doses of COVID-19 vaccine from Moderna. She says it was also the fourth to sign a deal with Pfizer, and the first country without the ability to mass produce the vaccine domestically to sign with AstraZeneca. Anand says there has been "significant misinformation" about the doses procured and when they will arrive. --- 11:50 a.m. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the federal government is taking on billions of dollars in more debt to protect Canadians from having to do the same thing. Trudeau says the average credit card interest rate is more than 19 per cent, and that it makes more sense for Ottawa to shoulder more of the burden through the COVID-19 pandemic and economic downturn because it can borrow at rates now close to zero. The prime minister also says his government has no intention to start cutting spending at this time, saying now is not the time for austerity. The fall economic update released Monday proposed $25 billion in new spending to help Canadian businesses and workers make it through a COVID-19 winter promised tens of billions more to help the country recover once the pandemic passes. --- 11:40 a.m. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the federal government is launching efforts to support two more northern communities that are struggling with COVID-19. The Canadian Red Cross is sending specialists to the predominantly Inuit community of Arviat in Nunavut, which has seen dozens of cases. The Canadian Rangers are also being deployed to Hatchet Lake First Nation in northern Saskatchewan, where Trudeau says they will provide health services and support elders. --- 11:35 a.m. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says 80 per cent of the money spent to support and protect Canadians during the COVID-19 pandemic has come from the federal government. The prime minister says that includes tens of millions of rapid tests that are starting to be distributed across the country, as well as billions of doses of yet-to-be-delivered COVID-19 vaccines. Trudeau says Canada is guaranteed to receive some of the first doses of the vaccine produced by U.S. pharmaceutical company Moderna once it has been approved by Health Canada. The Moderna vaccine candidate is one of four currently being reviewed by the department. --- 11:30 a.m. Prince Edward Island's chief health officer says she expects the COVID-19 vaccine to begin arriving in her province in January 2021. Dr. Heather Morrison says discussions are continuing between the federal and provincial governments around vaccine allocation, distribution, procurement and logistics. She says P.E.I. will be following the national recommendations for priority groups to be immunized, but all Islanders who want the vaccine will receive it over time. Morrison says it will take many months for all Islanders to be immunized. She said the arrival date and the actual number of doses will be made public once the details are known. --- 11:05 a.m. Quebec is reporting 1,177 new cases of COVID-19 today and 28 additional deaths associated with the novel coronavirus. According to public health authorities, three of those deaths took place during the past 24 hours and the rest occurred earlier. The Health Department says 719 people are currently in hospital, an increase of 26 from the previous day. Of those, 98 people are in intensive care, an increase of four from the previous day. Quebec has reported 143,548 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic and 7,084 deaths associated with the virus. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 1, 2020. The Canadian Press
The Fort McMurray Knights of Columbus is still hosting its annual Community Christmas meal, albeit with significant changes because of COVID-19 health restrictions. Usually, the free meal brings hundreds of people for food, socializing and singing. Community gatherings are not possible this year, so the Knights of Columbus will serve plates of food for people to pick up and eat elsewhere. Stan Bartlett, an organizer with the Knights of Columbus, said distribution will be at Earls Kitchen and Bar between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Christmas Day. Meals will be given out on a first-come, first-serve basis. “It’s not going to be the big event we’ve done in the last few years,” said Bartlett. “We’re happy we can still do something for people on Christmas Day.” The plates will be pre-prepared to limit the number of volunteers needed for the event. People will have to eat elsewhere and will not have access to the restaurant. “We don’t want to put anyone at risk,” said Bartlett. “People can come in to use the washroom if they need to, but we have to follow guidelines.” The event celebrated its 25th anniversary last year at Father Turcotte School. The first community Christmas meal was held in 1994 at the basement of St. John the Baptist Catholic Church. After 11 years, the Fort McMurray Knights of Columbus took over the event. While the event started as an outreach to homeless and low-income people, it has turned into an event where everyone is welcome, regardless of faith, language or economic status. April’s flood also impacted the Knights of Columbus when the church’s basement flooded, damaging the group’s supplies for events. The group is still working on replacing most of those damaged items. All things considered, Bartlett said he is happy the Knights of Columbus are still able to offer a community meal. “We hope everyone can have a good Christmas this year and we’re hoping we can be a little part of that with an expression of kindness,” he said. email@example.comSarah Williscraft, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Fort McMurray Today
Alberta now has the highest per capita amount of infections of all provinces in the country. Over the weekend, Alberta broke the 1,700 mark for new daily cases, with a total of more than 5,000 cases being reported in the past three days. On Saturday, the province hit 1,731 new cases and on Sunday another 1,608 cases were announced. On Monday, the province announced 1,733 new cases, the highest single-day case climb yet. The province conducted 20,500 tests with 8.4 per cent coming back positive. There are currently 16,454 active cases with 453 people in the hospital and 96 in intensive care. There have been eight deaths reported in the past 24 hours. “My thoughts are with anyone who knew and loved these individuals,” Alberta Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said. Online learning began for Grade 7 to 12 students across the province Monday and will last until mid-January. Most of the new measures announced last week went into effect Friday. Hinshaw said the province won’t see the impact of these measures for at least two weeks. “There is a lag time between actions and results,” Hinshaw said. The top doctors said she is alarmed by the case rise over the weekend and said all Albertans must do their best to bend the curve. “Each of us must remain more vigilant than ever. We need to bend the curve and lower the number of active cases now to protect each other and the health system,” Hinshaw said.Jennifer Henderson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, St. Albert Gazette
CHICAGO — A federal judge on Tuesday struck down two Trump administration rules designed to drastically curtail the number of visas issued each year to skilled foreign workers. The changes applying to the H-1B visa program announced in October include imposing salary requirements on companies employing skilled overseas workers and limits on specialty occupations. Department of Homeland Security officials deemed it a priority because of coronavirus-related job losses and estimated as many as one-third of those who have applied for H-1B's in recent years would be denied under the new rules. U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White in California said the government didn't follow transparency procedures and its contention that the changes were an emergency response to pandemic job losses didn’t hold water because the Trump administration has floated the idea for some time but only published the rules in October. “The COVID-19 pandemic is an event beyond defendants’ control, yet it was within defendants’ control to take action earlier than they did,” White wrote. The U.S. issues up to 85,000 H-1B visas each year in sectors including technology, engineering and medicine. Usually, they’re issued for three years and renewable. Most of the nearly 600,000 H-1B visa holders in the U.S. are from India and China. The H-1B rules announced weeks before the election were part of President Donald Trump's wider agenda to curb nearly all forms of immigration. In June, he issued an order temporarily suspending the H-1B program until the end of the year. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and universities including the California Institute of Technology sued in California, arguing there wasn’t adequate notice or time for the public to comment on the changes. They also said the rules, particularly related to requiring a prevailing wage for visa-holders, would have a drastic impact on new hires and “sever the employment relationship of hundreds of thousands of existing employees in the United States." The University of Utah cited an example where an H-1B employee seeking renewal was paid an $80,000 salary but would have to be paid $208,000 under the new rule. The judge agreed that the federal government didn’t make a case for implementing the rules under the Administrative Procedure Act, which makes agencies accountable to the public by requiring a detailed process for enacting regulations. “Defendants failed to show there was good cause to dispense with the rational and thoughtful discourse that is provided by the APA’s notice and comment requirements,” White wrote. The rule on wages, proposed by the Department of Labor, took effect in October, while the Homeland Security rule on occupations and other issues was supposed to take effect Monday. It also would have placed limits on “offsite” firms that employ and contract out H-1B visa holders to other companies; their visas would have been limited to one year at a time. "This is incredibly important decision to preserve the H-1B program,” said attorney Paul Hughes, who represented the plaintiffs. “This ruling enables those individuals to maintain their jobs and their families in the United States.” The Chamber of Commerce said in a statement that the ruling “has many companies across various industries breathing a huge sigh of relief,” with the visa changes having "the potential to be incredibly disruptive to the operations of many businesses.” Messages left Tuesday for spokespeople with the Labor and Homeland Security departments weren’t immediately returned. The wage rule has prompted at least two other federal lawsuits in New Jersey and Washington, D.C. ___ Follow Sophia Tareen on Twitter: https://twitter.com/sophiatareen. Sophia Tareen, The Associated Press
Brandon Sun readers requested specific questions be asked about COVID-19: QUESTION: Dr. Roussin keeps saying there hasn’t been much spread in schools. It’s always a very vague response. Are there actual statistics related to school transmission? MANITOBA HEALTH: Case and contact investigations amongst school-aged children are followed up extensively by medical officers of health and public health nurses. To date, these investigations have revealed very little transmission within schools. It should be noted that there are over 200,000 students enrolled in schools across Manitoba and to date, there have been under 1,500 infections in children 18 and under. This amounts to cases in less than 0.75 per cent in school-aged children in Manitoba. If there was extensive transmission within schools, we would expect to see a higher proportion infected amongst children; overall, the proportion infected in Manitoba since March is approximately 1.2 per cent, or almost twice that of the proportion in school-aged children. QUESTION: Do you keep numbers on how many people have tested positive for COVID but have not needed medical treatment? Or what percentage of positive people have to be admitted to hospital? DR. BRENT ROUSSIN: We know how many total hospital admissions we have and we know duration of stay on average. We keep all those severe outcome issues. We’ve had 1,092 total hospitalizations, and 204 total ICU admissions. And it depends on what you mean by no medical treatment. The total minus that is the ones that haven’t needed admission. Having no medical treatment … whether they’ve attended a physician for outpatient care — no. We wouldn’t have a way of tracking that. Do you have a question about something in your community? Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line: Readers Ask. Michèle LeTourneau, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brandon Sun
Sixteen more families lost loved ones to COVID-19, Manitoba’s chief public health officer announced Tuesday. Dr. Brent Roussin extended his condolences to the related families, loved ones and caregivers. “Announcing a list such as this impacts all of us,” he said. “It’s a difficult list to read out. It’s a tragedy for all Manitobans. We know these are much more than numbers. These are people who are missed, right now. And we know we can’t continue to read lists such as this daily.” However, the case count and positivity rate for the day did show some indication that critical red public health orders are beginning to have an effect — with slight decreases across the board. “We can see that our case numbers haven’t been escalating. We’ve seen some variability. Today is another day. So we would hope that this is starting to show a more clear trend downwards,” Roussin said. “We know the lag period on this. We would see the early indicators, such as decreasing the amount of contacts per case. We’d see that followed by a reduction in the amount of total cases. And then … reduction in hospital admissions and ICU admissions and, finally, lagging to severe outcomes.” Nevertheless, Roussin continued with his daily messaging. “So we see our numbers, while not climbing rapidly, are still not where we need them to be. These numbers are still too high for us to sustain. Our hospitalizations and ICU numbers are too high,” he said. “We keep sending that message to stay home. To reduce the amount of contacts you have, to really bring the number of cases down rapidly.” Roussin enumerated his daily requests again: only go out for essentials, a minimum of people per household going out for those essentials, limit gatherings outside the home, limit crowding in workplaces, and limit socialization to the household, “This is all our responsibility. All Manitobans have that responsibility. Please step up right now to decrease the amount of contacts,” Roussin said. “It’ll always be true that these restrictions are tough. Pandemics are tough. We’re asking for a lot — for people to avoid things that they feel are very important to them. Things that are very difficult to give up even in the short term.” Roussin emphasized once again the situation is critical, and hospitals are reaching capacity and health-care workers are overwhelmed. One reporter asked where people are catching COVID-19. “We see it in workplaces. We see it in households. We see it in smaller gatherings within households. That’s pretty much where we’re where we’re seeing it right now,” Roussin said. He also said it’s too early to discuss what decisions will be made when the Dec. 11 approaches, the date of expiry for the current public health orders. What will happen with the Christmas school break is also currently unknown. Similarly, the province has not yet decided on a prioritized list for groups who will first receive the vaccine, when it comes. “We’re working on that list right now. We’re working here in the province. We’re working at a national level. We’ll have that list and a solid explanation to Manitobans on that process. But right now, we’ll wait till we have something to announce.” Tuesday’s provincial COVID-19 numbers Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba’s chief public health officer, reported 16 deaths Tuesday, including two elderly people from the Prairie Mountain Health region — a man in his 80s linked to the Fairview Personal Care Home and a woman in her 100s linked the Gilbert Plains Personal Care Home. That brings total deaths to 328 — 1.9 per cent of the 17,107 lab-confirmed cases Manitoba has seen since the beginning of the pandemic. The five-day COVID-19 test positivity rate was 13.1 per cent provincially, with 13.8 per cent in Winnipeg. There were 283 new cases of the virus. One case was removed due to a data correction, making the total 282. • 17 cases in the Interlake-Eastern region • 22 cases in the Northern region • 12 cases in the Prairie Mountain Health region • 54 cases in the Southern Health-Santé Sud region • 178 cases in the Winnipeg health region. There are 9,066 active cases and 7,713 recovered. There are 305 active cases in the Prairie Mountain Health region, with 724 recovered and 18 deaths. One Prairie Mountain Health patient is in ICU, and 10 are hospitalized. Three hundred thirty-eight people are in hospital in Manitoba, with 48 people in intensive care. Laboratory testing numbers show 2,253 tests were completed Monday, bringing the total number since early February to 357,707. » Source: Province of ManitobaMichèle LeTourneau, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brandon Sun
The Deh Gáh Got’îê Koe seniors' complex has reopened in Fort Providence following renovations. Seven additional units for seniors have been created. In a news release on Tuesday, the N.W.T. government said a local contractor and local workers had completed the project, which is designed to help more Elders remain in their home community. “Seniors are a key part of our community. Ensuring that seniors have housing in the community is important to us,” Fort Resolution’s mayor, Danny Beaulieu, was quoted as saying. “This renovation means that more of our seniors can reside in our community and spend time with family and friends.” Ensuring seniors can age in place is a stated priority of Caroline Cochrane's government. Paulie Chinna, the housing minister, said that was "a crucial part of ensuring the health and wellbeing of our Elders."Sarah Sibley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Cabin Radio
As COVID-19 cases rise, Delhi grapples with getting its residents to follow health guidelines and with concerns that worsening air pollution contributes to the pandemic.
What happens to the state of business in a city when it loses its largest storefront in the downtown core even earlier than expected? It’s a question being mulled by commerce stakeholders and retail experts, along with the provincial and municipal government, as the COVID-19 pandemic forces the Hudson’s Bay Company to close its downtown Winnipeg location two months earlier than previously announced. “In light of recent restrictions on non-essential retail by the Government of Manitoba, we have made the decision to close this location,” said HBC in a statement to the Free Press Tuesday. “We remain committed to working with partners to find opportunities for this historic location that will have a positive impact on the community.” The iconic Canadian departmental shopping chain had announced in October it would be shuttering the Winnipeg store permanently in February due to a “change in consumer behaviour.” But by late Monday, a “closed” sign could be seen outside the mammoth, 650,000-square-foot store on Portage Avenue and Memorial Boulevard — one of the original six stores for the 350-year-old retailer before it expanded across North America. Now, industry decision-makers and onlookers are scratching their heads about what comes next for the vacant building which has more square footage than almost all other buildings in the city. For some, it’s prime real estate smack dab at the heart of a city that’s presenting an “opportunity” for future growth. While for others, it’s a growing concern about the “sad state of affairs” for brick-and-mortar stores. For almost all of them, however, a mixed-use occupancy that combines residential and commercial aspects appears to be the most sensible direction for the building. “It’s definitely an important moment in time where we can truly shape what comes next for all our businesses in the provincial hub,” said Kate Fenske, chief executive officer of Downtown Winnipeg BIZ. “Of course, this closure does have an impact on several businesses nearby because of their proximity to that space and that’s something we need to prevent from escalating.” Citing statistics from a study conducted by the advocacy and marketing group last week, Fenske said while business is deteriorating downtown, investment in the area continues to rise and so does the possibility of new residents moving in. Upcoming capital projects underway have a combined construction value of nearly $1 billion, according to Downtown Winnipeg BIZ numbers, including the $400-million redevelopment of the Portage Place mall right across from the Bay planned for March, 2021. And at least 18,000 people are expected to call the downtown core their home in the next two years. “While it’s in no way surprising that the Bay chose to close, and it’s sad they’re closing even earlier than planned,” said Fenske in an interview. “How we go from here needs to use all that momentum that we still have going on here and use it for the future.” Lisa Hutcheson, managing partner at retail consulting firm J.C. Williams Group in Toronto, said that’s easier said than done. “Retail shopping definitely works in clusters, I mean that’s the whole concept behind having a mall to begin with — to have several stores conveniently in one place,” she said Tuesday. “But now the real question is, where do we go from here when that concept has itself become outdated and is causing closures like this? That’s difficult to answer.” Hutcheson believes the novel coronavirus “only magnified and worsened the inevitable,” given the overall lack of foot traffic in suburban-style malls and an evolving shift to online commerce seen well before the pandemic. “I do still think that if we found a good blend of mixed-use purpose for the building, it would be of great value,” she said. “It’s just that that’s the type of project which is pretty difficult to convince someone to take on right now.” Last year a company-wide valuation of HBC’s real estate holdings valued the downtown Winnipeg building at precisely $0. Over the years, the company has closed some of the store’s six floors along with its basement, consolidating stock on just two levels. Dayna Spiring, president of Economic Development Winnipeg, said her conversations with the province and the city have given her ample reason to be optimistic. “There’s so much potential here, it’s hard not to be hopeful about what can be done with that space especially with consultation from the community at large,” she said. “The opportunity is massive.” In statements to the Free Press, provincial and municipal spokespersons said both government levels are open to hearing development proposals in the future that “include an adaptive re-use of the building and conservation of the character-defining elements.” A city spokesperson said the mayor is “currently engaged in outreach with community stakeholders in this regard.” But Spiring said she doesn’t believe the building will ever remain the way it is right now. “You’re likely looking at getting rid of the guts and almost a complete reimagination of the space for it to be successful,” she added. “We just have to get through this pandemic first to make those kind of decisions.” Hudson’s Bay Co. continues to serve Winnipeggers at its Polo Park and St. Vital locations, as well as online at thebay.com.Temur Durrani, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Winnipeg Free Press
Regina– The morning of the Speech from the Throne, Nov. 30, the Buffalo Party of Saskatchewan didn’t have any members taking their seats. But they did have several of their failed candidates speaking on the front steps of the Legislature in a rally that focused on freedom. One person in the crowd carried a sign saying “Unmask the truth,” while another person’s sign said, “Freedom is essential.” Buffalo Party Leader Wade Sira spoke first, noting they didn’t know how many people would show up. (A few dozen did.) “We’re here because even though didn’t win any seats in this election, the first election we ran, we still feel very strongly about where we stood, and that’s rights and freedoms first, and only should be the right of the government. They should always make sure that your rights and freedoms are the number one thing that's preserved and protected.” He said Premier Scott Moe and the Saskatchewan Party government “needs to uphold the law of Canada, which means the preservation of your rights and freedoms should be held at the highest regard.” He said they should “take off the restrictions” with respect to COVID-19. Sira said CTV had reported last week that less than 200 deaths had occurred in Canada where people had died from COVID. “Everything else has relations with other diseases, illnesses. Therefore, we want to make sure that those who are vulnerable to sickness are protected. But everyone else has a right in a free democracy to live their lives, the way they want to live their lives within the law.” “We want to make sure that you the people have the right to decide who you're allowed to associate with, who's allowed in and on your home, and how many. This is a government living in your home, and telling you how to live your life.” He said the Public Health Act had been “weaponized,” and used in an infection of fear, and “control by fear.” “The misinformation that's being broadcast out there, it’s white lies. It's not full truth. They're only saying what is good for them,” he said. Sira said back in Biblical times, the people wanted to be free. “They always try to free them from slavery from the governments are overbearing, throughout history. Every war is about freedom. It’s not about the control of government. We have to end the control of government. “We have to hold the government to a higher standard. We have to make sure that they are protecting us, the free people. Let us live our lives. We know how to manage our health. They don't know how to manage our health. It's not their health. It’s ours.” Sira read out an open letter he had sent to the premier earlier in the day which called for, first and foremost, that COVID restrictions come off. Secondly, they want the province to “denounce the federal government, and Trudeau’s actions in September, about the ‘Great Reset.’” Sira said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was using “the current state of the pandemic to convert Canada into a full socialist country, by implementing the World Economic Forum global reset.” Sira said, “People have to keep standing up and tell the government enough is enough. We want to be free again.” He pointed out he might have to put on his neck warmer to enter the Legislature, adding, “I don’t wear a mask at all.” Phillip Zajac, who ran in Estevan, said, “A long time ago in 2019, if you had the flu, and you were sick, and it was Christmas, you wouldn't go to your senior parents’ home, because you didn’t want them to get sick. We know that. We don't need someone here to say, ‘Don't go to your parents if you're sick.’ “So what I want you guys to do, is it takes people to tell other people, tell people what's going on, because they don't know. Want to talk about fake media, fake news? It happens all the time.” Zajac said he had worn a mask in a hockey rink, carrying his gear down the stairs, and had a hard time breathing. “It's depriving you from oxygen. Putting mass on people who are not sick is not good for our health. It's not good for anybody. So you guys, we are all here. We're gonna keep spreading the word. We all need to do the same. Please do something. Tell somebody and keep talking to people.” Richard Nelson, who had run in Cut Knife-Turtleford, said, “We know who is susceptible to this disease. They're 70 years or older. Ladies and gentlemen, we know where to find people who are susceptible to this disease. They live in long-term care. If you're not 70, and you're not in long term care, please, enjoy your life. Go back to living it, and spend Christmas with your family!” he exclaimed. Brian Zinchuk, Local Journalism Initiative reporter, Estevan Mercury
On Tuesday Lieutenant Governor Russ Mirasty announced that the annual New Year’s Day Celebration at Government House would be postponed. “To help slow the spread of COVID-19 and to support public health guidelines, we’ve decided to postpone our New Year’s Day celebration” the Lieutenant Governor said in a release. “We will monitor the evolving situation and consider hosting a safe event at a later date.” The Lieutenant Governor of Saskatchewan hosted the first New Year’s Day celebration in 1884. The tradition continued until the early 1970s. The event was rejuvenated in 1985 and has been held continuously for the past 35 years. Although the Jan. 1 event will not proceed, you can still visit virtually historic Government House while it is beautifully decorated for the season. Michael Oleksyn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Albert Daily Herald
WASHINGTON — The Justice Department is investigating whether there was a secret scheme to lobby White House officials for a pardon as well as a related plot to offer a hefty political contribution in exchange for clemency, according to a court document unsealed Tuesday.Most of the information in the 18-page court order is redacted, including the identity of the people whom prosecutors are investigating and whom the proposed pardon might be intended for.But the document from August does reveal that certain individuals are suspected of having acted to secretly lobby White House officials to secure a pardon or sentence commutation and that, in a related scheme, a substantial political contribution was floated in exchange for a pardon or “reprieve of sentence.”A Justice Department official said Tuesday night that no government official was or is a subject or target of the investigation. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation.President Donald Trump tweeted Tuesday night: “Pardon investigation is Fake News!”The existence of the investigation, first reported by CNN, was revealed in a court order from U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell, the chief judge of Washington's federal court. In it, she granted investigators access to certain email communications connected to the alleged schemes that she said was not protected by attorney-client privilege. The investigative team will be able to use that material to confront any subject or target of the investigation, the judge wrote.The order was dated Aug. 28, and prosecutors had sought to keep it private because they said it identifies people not charged by a grand jury. But on Tuesday, Howell unsealed select portions of that document while redacting from view any personally identifiable information.As part of the investigation, more than 50 devices, including laptops and iPads, have been seized, according to the document.Pardons are common at the end of a president's tenure and are occasionally politically fraught affairs as some convicted felons look to leverage connections inside the White House to secure clemency. Last week, Trump announced that he had pardoned his first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, even as a federal judge was weighing a Justice Department request to dismiss the case.___Follow Eric Tucker at http://www.twitter.com/etuckerAPEric Tucker, The Associated Press
The Opposition Liberals say a tax that pays for tires to be recycled off-Island is no longer needed because the work is being done on P.E.I.Interim Liberal Leader Sonny Gallant said he noticed the tax after he purchased new tires himself.The charge is $4 per new tire with a rim size of 17 inches or less, and $11.25 per tire with a rim size greater than that."Why are we still charging the tax?" said Gallant.This spring, the province stopped sending tires off-Island for shredding.In the past, these tires were picked up, trucked to Quebec and shredded.Now, a local business picks up and shreds the tires at no cost to the province.Finance Minister Darlene Compton said the program shredding tires on the Island is a pilot project. She wants to make sure it's viable before she'll look at dropping the tax. Compton said she'd like to see the program operate for the next year or so. "The taxes that we charge go back into government programs and services and we want to ensure that the tires that are on the road are looked after when it's time for them to be put aside," Compton said from the floor of the P.E.I. Legislature Tuesday."We will definitely take into consideration the tax being paid by Islanders."The province said it is not only saving money on the pickup and shredding of tires, it is also saving money on the finished product.Transportation Minister Steven Myers said the province purchases those shredded tires to help build new roads.The shredded tires replace class D gravel, the gravel used for the base of new roads."I think it's 60 per cent cheaper than gravel, notwithstanding the fact that we don't import it either," Myers said in June.More from CBC P.E.I.
SALT LAKE CITY — New clues have surfaced in the disappearance of a gleaming monolith in Utah that seemed to melt away as mysteriously as it appeared in the red-rock desert — though it's no longer the only place where a strange structure has come and gone.A Colorado photographer told KSTU-TV that he saw four men come to the remote Utah site Friday night and push over the hollow, stainless steel object.“Right after it had fallen over and made a loud thud, one of them said, ‘This is why you don’t leave trash in the desert,’” Ross Bernards told the Salt Lake City TV station.The group broke down the structure into pieces, loaded it into a wheelbarrow and left.“As they were loading it up and walking away, they just said, ‘Leave no trace,’” he said.The sheriff’s office in San Juan County has said it's not planning an investigation into the disappearance of the monolith, which had been placed without permission on public land. But authorities also said they would accept tips from any of the hundreds of visitors who trekked out to see the otherworldly gleaming object deep in the desert.The sheriff and the Bureau of Land Management, which oversees the land where the object appeared, didn't immediately respond to messages seeking comment on whether they are investigating the removal that Bernards' group photographed.Visitors have left behind a mess of human waste, cars parked on vegetation and other debris, the land agency said. The mysterious structure that evoked the movie “2001: A Space Odyssey” generated international attention and drew plenty of speculation about otherworldly origins, though officials said it was an earthly creation of riveted plates of stainless steel.For Bernards, the visitors' damage to the environment convinced him that the remote area was better off without the structure.“Leave the art to places where art should be and let Mother Nature have her space for art,” he said.Utah isn’t the only place a monolith emerged. A similar metal structure was found on a hill in northern Romania, in the city of Piatra Neamt but has since disappeared, according to Robert Iosub, a journalist with the local publication ziarpiatraneamt.ro.Like the Utah structure, whoever placed the object didn’t follow the proper steps and get a building permit, Mayor Andrei Carabelea said in a Facebook post over the weekend. Still, he took it in stride, joking that some “cheeky and terrible” alien teenagers were likely putting them up around the world.“I am honoured they chose our city,” he said.___Associated Press photographer Vadim Ghirda in Bucharest, Romania contributed to this story.The Associated Press
Newly minted Regina University MLA Aleana Young asked her first question in question period on Dec. 1, focusing on supporting small business owners during the COVID-19 pandemic. The New Democratic Party MLA is critic for economy, jobs, SaskBuilds and SaskPower. “Things are grim for many of our province’s small business owners, the heartbeat of the economy, and unfortunately, they're currently living in a worst of both worlds scenario. Businesses are being told to stay open, yet their customers are being urged to stay home,” Young said. “While this month should be the busiest for most retailers, the government has concocted a recipe for economic disaster that shuts many out from federal support. Not only are businesses shuttering and people losing their jobs, this government seems to believe its own spin that they haven't effectively shut down the economy. How many businesses, and how long does this government believe they can operate that 50 per cent, at 30 per cent, or at 25 per cent capacity, and for how long? What is this government's plan to help Saskatchewan small businesses?” In reply, Minister of Trade and Export Development Jeremy Harrison said, “The reality is that this government has stepped up with the most comprehensive supports for small business of any jurisdiction in the entire country. “We worked incredibly closely with our business community, through all facets of the pandemic. We came forward with the Small Business Emergency Payment early on in the pandemic, to support small businesses. Sixty-five hundred small businesses took advantage of that program, over $30 million distributed through that process. We then came forward with the Tourism Sector Support Program, which was the benchmark for supporting the tourism and hospitality industries in the entire country. Over $35 million allocated to that program, over 450 businesses supported directly and designed very closely in consultation with the leadership from that industry. The results have been positive. We've seen the lowest unemployment rate in the entire country, by a significant margin. We've seen merchandise exports leading the country in growth. We're going to be continuing and have been continuing to work very, very closely with our business community, and I would encourage the member opposite to stay tuned.” Young campaigned in the election during her last month of pregnancy, and gave birth to a daughter just days before election day. She won her seat in one of the closest races in the election, defeating incumbent cabinet minister Tina Beaudry-Mellor. Young has had her newborn daughter with her in the house at times. Brian Zinchuk, Local Journalism Initiative reporter, Estevan Mercury
L’artiste de Baie-Johan-Beetz Chantal Harvey et le Festival du conte et de la légende de l’Innucadie recevront un soutien financier de 33 000 $ de l’Entente de partenariat territorial en lien avec la collectivité de la Côte-Nord. La graveure Chantal Harvey empoche 17 000 $ pour la réalisation de son projet Suite lichen, un assemblage de gravures qui formeront des espaces et des compositions évoquant des lichens dans la nature. Le Festival Innucadie, qui se tient généralement chaque été à Natashquan, récolte 16 340 $ pour Escales Innucadie, un projet qui cherche à faire rayonner des artistes de l’événement partout sur la Côte-Nord. L’Entente de partenariat territorial en lien avec la collectivité nord-côtière, conclue en 2020, réunit le Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec (CALQ), le ministère des Affaires municipales et de l’Habitation (MAMH), Culture Côte-Nord ainsi que les six municipalités régionales de comté (MRC) de la région. Pour le premier appel de projets, les partenaires offrent un total de 149 340 $ à huit artistes et trois organismes artistiques. Ce montant provient d’une enveloppe de 400 000 $, investis par les partenaires, destinée à soutenir des projets de création, de production ou de diffusion favorisant des liens entre les arts et la collectivité.Laurence Dami-Houle, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Portageur
Alberta’s top doctor is telling residents to prepare for a “much different holiday season” this year due to COVID-19. On Tuesday afternoon, Alberta Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said while it is still unknown what restrictions will be in place over Christmas, Albertans should still be preparing gatherings with as few people as possible. “It's been a long, hard year, and I know how important these holidays are,” Hinshaw said. The doctor said Albertans should be forgoing office parties, open houses and large gatherings this year, no matter what the restrictions look like over the Christmas holidays. Holidays with many people gathering together have accelerated the spread of COVID-19. Hinshaw said the province is still feeling the impacts of Thanksgiving and the cases that were diagnosed as a result of many people gathering indoors in groups. “It only takes one person to start an outbreak,” Hinshaw said. “I am encouraging Albertans to begin preparing for a much different holiday season and begin thinking of creative ways to celebrate safely.” She added people can get together virtually or safely outdoors while social distancing. Hinshaw said the lowest risk for spread is to celebrate with your own household and as few other people as possible. Hinshaw's recommendations come as Alberta outpaces every other province for COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people. On Tuesday, the province identified 1,307 new cases of COVID-19 after conducting 15,800 tests. The provincial positivity rate sits at 8.4 per cent. There are currently 16,628 active cases with 479 people in the hospital and 97 of those in intensive care. There were 10 more deaths reported in the past 24 hours. “I know this is a difficult time to grieve,” Hinshaw said.Jennifer Henderson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, St. Albert Gazette
Ottawa's finance and economic development committee approved a revitalization strategy for the ByWard Market on Tuesday — a plan that would see wider sidewalks, a new "destination building," and fewer cars in the downtown neighbourhood. City staff expect the plan to cost $129 million but there's no clear plan yet of who would pay for it. Tuesday's report said funding would come from a combination of sources, including: government, public-private partnership as well as borrowing against assets where it makes sense to do so.The ByWard Market public realm plan has been in development for two years and includes input from local businesses, the ByWard Market Business Improvement Area, public consultations, online surveys as well as comments from local residents, the city's report said.The neighbourhood is currently "struggling," the report said, and the public realm plan intends to physically transform the area "to ensure it remains a place befitting to define Ottawa's image."Among the changes, the plan would see York Street closed to traffic for special events, the expansion of sidewalks and other pedestrian spaces, an incremental reduction to car traffic, more greenery and trees, better lighting, additional meeting spaces and benches, as well as the construction of a "destination building" at 70 Clarence Street.The new facility would provide accessible washrooms, indoor bike parking and, potentially, underground parking, according to the plan. The current ByWard Market Building would however remain the "anchor" for the district. "A key goal of the public realm plan is to shift the perception of the market from a vehicular-oriented space to one where pedestrians come first," said the city's report.City council considers the plan at its next meeting on Dec. 9.