For a man obsessed with winning, President Donald Trump is losing a lot.He’s managed to lose not just once to Democrat Joe Biden at the ballot box but over and over again in courts across the country in a futile attempt to stay in power. The Republican president and his allies continue to mount new cases, recycling the same baseless claims, even after Trump’s own attorney general declared the Justice Department had uncovered no widespread fraud."This will continue to be a losing strategy, and in a way it's even bad for him: He gets to re-lose the election numerous times," said Kent Greenfield, a professor at Boston College Law School. “The depths of his petulance and narcissism continues to surprise me.”In an Associated Press tally of roughly 50 cases brought by Trump's campaign and his allies, more than 30 have been rejected or dropped. About a dozen are awaiting action. Trump has notched just one small victory, a case challenging a decision to move the deadline to provide missing proof of identification for certain absentee ballots and mail-in ballots in Pennsylvania.Trump has refused to admit he lost, and this week posted a 46-minute speech to Facebook filled with conspiracies, misstatements and vows to keep up his fight to subvert the election.Five more losses came Friday. The Trump campaign lost its bid to overturn the results of the election in Nevada and the Michigan appeals court rejected a case from his campaign. The Minnesota Supreme Court dismissed a challenge brought by GOP lawmakers. And in Arizona, a judge threw out thrown out a bid to undo Biden’s victory there, concluding that the state’s Republican Party chairwoman failed to prove fraud or misconduct and that the evidence presented at trial wouldn’t reverse Trump’s loss. The Wisconsin Supreme Court also declined to hear a lawsuit brought by a conservative group over Trump’s loss.Thursday dealt another blow in Wisconsin, where a split state Supreme Court refused to hear Trump’s lawsuit seeking to disqualify more than 221,000 ballots in the state’s two biggest Democratic counties, alleging irregularities in the way absentee ballots were administered. The case echoed claims that were earlier rejected by election officials in those counties during a recount that barely affected Biden’s winning margin of about 20,700 votes. Trump filed a similar lawsuit in federal court late Wednesday.Judges in battleground states have repeatedly swatted down legal challenges brought by the president and his allies. Trump's legal team has vowed to take one Pennsylvania case to the U.S. Supreme Court even though it was rejected in a scathing ruling by a federal judge as well as an appeals court.After recently being kicked off Trump's legal team, conservative attorney Sidney Powell filed new lawsuits in Arizona and Wisconsin this week riddled with errors and wild conspiracies about election rigging. One of the plaintiffs named in the Wisconsin case said he never agreed to participate in the case and found out through social media that he had been included. The same lawsuit asks for 48 hours of security footage from the “TCF Center,” which is in Detroit.The issues Trump’s campaign and its allies have raised are typical in every election: problems with signatures, secrecy envelopes and postmarks on mail-in ballots, as well as the potential for a small number of ballots miscast or lost. Election officials from both parties have said the election went well, and Attorney General William Barr told The Associated Press on Tuesday that the Justice Department uncovered no evidence of widespread voter fraud that could change the election's outcome.Trump's lawyers responded by criticizing Barr, who has been one of the president's biggest allies.Greenfield says their criticism speaks volumes. “It goes to show how vehement their ability to overlook reality is," he said.Failing to gain any traction in court, Trump and his allies are now turning to events with Republican lawmakers and rallies in states like Pennsylvania, Georgia and Michigan where they can use unfounded claims of fraud to incite the president’s loyal base.At a rally in Georgia on Wednesday, Powell and another pro-Trump attorney, Lin Wood, suggested that Republican voters sit out of the two January runoff elections that will decide control of the Senate because of the potential for fraud. And in Michigan, Rudy Giuliani, Trump's personal lawyer, urged Republican activists to pressure, even threaten, the GOP-controlled Legislature to award the state’s 16 electoral votes to Trump despite Biden’s 154,000-vote victory.In his video posted Wednesday, Trump said there were facts and evidence of a mass conspiracy created by Democrats to steal the election, a similar argument made by Giuliani and others before judges that has been largely unsuccessful. Most of their claims are rooted in conspiracy theories about voting machines that are not true, and affidavits by partisan poll watchers who claimed they didn't get close enough to see ballots being tallied because of safety precautions in the coronavirus pandemic. Because they couldn't see, they argued, something untoward must have happened.“No, I didn’t hear any facts or evidence," tweeted Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, a Democrat, after watching the video Wednesday night. “What I did hear was a sad Facebook rant from a man who lost an election."___Associated Press writers Scott Bauer in Madison, Wis., David Eggert in Lansing, Mich., and Jacques Billeaud in Phoenix contributed to this report.Alanna Durkin Richer, The Associated Press
Produits Forestiers Résolu (PFR) a remis 100 000 $ aux Fondations du Domaine-du-Roy et du Centre Maria Chapdelaine, soit 50 000 $ chacun, suite à une vaste campagne de sollicitation menée auprès de ses fournisseurs, à défaut de pouvoir tenir son annuel tournoi de golf depuis 2012. « Je tiens à remercier très chaleureusement le PDG de Résolu, M. Yves Laflamme, d’avoir même en temps de pandémie tenu à ce que son entreprise soit à nos côtés pour prendre soin de la santé des gens de la région. À quelques mois de son départ à la retraite, je tiens à souligner sa grande implication auprès de la Fondation », a affirmé le président de la Fondation, Marc-André Levesque. Ainsi, ce sont 620 500 $ qui ont été amassés par PFR depuis 2012 dans le cadre de cette campagne. En guise de remerciements, la Fondation du Domaine-du-Roy a remis une plaque commémorative à Yves Laflamme pour souligner son engagement exceptionnel pour la santé de la population de la région. Sous sa gouverne, de 2018 à 2020, c’est plus de 265 000 $ que les campagnes de financement de Résolu ont permis d’amasser pour la Fondation.Julien B. Gauthier, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Lac St-Jean
A 35-year-old Dawson Creek man was killed Saturday, November 28 when he was caught in an avalanche while out snowmobiling north of Mackenzie. Police and rescue personnel were called to the scene in the Powder King-Bijoux Falls area beginning shortly before 2 p.m. They said two snowmobilers were in the area at the time and one was buried in the snow. The victim's name was not provided. "The BC Coroners Service has conduct of this incident and is currently investigating to determine the facts surrounding this death. No further details are available at this time," RCMP said in a statement. On the previous Friday, Avalanche Canada had issued its first forecast of the season and had put the danger rating for the North Rockies at high for treeline and above and considerable for below treeline. "There was a pretty big storm that pass through the area, almost a week long storm," Avalanche Canada warning service manager Karl Klassen said Monday. "And that storm just started breaking up on Saturday, there was a fair amount of wind and quite a bit of new snow. Temperatures were quite warm and then they cooled off and those are kind of classic conditions for pretty significant avalanche danger. "We rated the danger as high, we told people to expect large avalanches on all aspects and all elevations given the amount of wind and snow and the temperatures that were occurring at the time." The high rating is one level below extreme and is used when conditions are deemed to be very dangerous. Travel in avalanche terrain is not recommended when the rating is in place although Klassen said it can be done with proper training and experience. "Even when the avalanche danger is high or even extreme, there are places in the mountains where avalanches just don't occur so as long as you can recognize that terrain and stay on that terrain, you'd be fine," Klassen said. "But again, just to stress, it's not something you (should do) without getting some training, getting some experience and gaining some knowledge and making a good trip plan before they leave." Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, he said avalanche courses remain available. Theory is being learned online or in smaller class sizes and with greater physical distancing and masks once outside for the practical part. To find a class, go to avalanche.ca and click on the learn tab. Thanks to an influx of federal funding, a three-person field team has been working in the region during the winter months since December 2019. Klassen said forecasts for the region will be issued four times a week this season, up from three times a week last winter.Mark Nielsen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince George Citizen
Les interventions policières auprès des personnes en détresse psychologique sont en constante augmentation de 5% à 8% annuellement au Québec. S’il n’y a pas plus problèmes de santé mentale qu’auparavant, c’est plutôt parce qu’on fait davantage confiance aux agents lorsqu’il est temps d’intervenir. « On fait plus souvent appel aux policiers, car on connait mieux leurs mandats et leur type d’intervention dans les cas de santé mentale », explique le sergent Benoit Richard. Sur les 700 000 appels effectués chaque année auprès de la Sûreté du Québec, environ 20 000 d’entre eux concernent des problèmes de santé mentale, où les agents sont confrontés à des individus en crise. Dès leur entrée à l’École nationale de police du Québec, les futurs agents suivent la formation de désescalade, une technique d’intervention auprès des personnes dont l’état mental est perturbé, favorisant un dénouement pacifique. Une fois entrés en poste, les policiers doivent suivre des formations continues. À titre d’exemple, la SQ figure parmi les groupes tests d’une toute nouvelle formation, la REMP, Réponse état mental perturbé, qui sera offerte dès janvier 2021. Stratégies « Lors des interventions, il faut adapter son langage à chacune des situations. Ce qui est le plus important, c’est de prendre son temps. Il faut aussi s’assurer que la personne a le temps de s’exprimer et qu’elle soit en mesure de nous faire comprendre ce qui l’a emmené à être dans une psychose afin d’en arriver à un dénouement pacifique. » Lorsqu’ils interviennent auprès d’une personne en crise, les agents doivent agir en fonction de la loi sur la protection de la personne, leur conférant le droit de l’emmener contre son gré dans un établissement hospitalier si celle-ci met clairement la vie d’autrui ou la sienne en danger. Intervenants sociaux Si les intentions de la personne sont moins claires, les agents font appel à des organismes de soutien ou d’aide psychosociale. « Lorsqu’une personne n’a pas un geste immédiat, le pouvoir du policier est de demander aux services d’aide en situation de crise s’ils peuvent venir l’évaluer, afin de savoir si elle représente un danger immédiat pour elle ou pour autrui. Si cette personne est évaluée de façon récurrente, on pourra être en mesure de trouver un moyen d’offrir un soutien à la personne, que ce soit un suivi psychosocial de la part d’un CLSC, du système de santé ou d’un organisme communautaire. » CAS DE SANTÉ MENTALE : TROP DE PERSONNES MALADES SONT JUDICIARISÉES, CROIENT DEUX CRIMINALISTES Deux avocats criminalistes de la région, Jean-Marc Fradette et William Langlais, déplorent que le système judiciaire soit devenu la principale avenue pour prendre en charge les personnes atteintes de problèmes de santé mentale. « Le problème, c’est qu’il y a beaucoup trop de gens qui sont évalués comme étant criminellement responsable et apte à comparaitre, quand selon moi, ils ne devraient pas l’être », affirme le criminaliste William Langlais. Il croit notamment qu’un système de santé débordé est en partie responsable de cette surreprésentation. De son côté, le criminaliste Jean-Marc Fradette croit que le système judiciaire devrait être un dernier recours, et non l’option privilégiée, pour traiter les personnes souffrant de problèmes de santé mentale. « Ces gens-là n’ont pas besoin de casier judiciaire », déplore-t-il. « Lorsque le psychiatre rencontre le patient, après seulement quelques jours, il va bien. Il est médicamenté, il a bien mangé et il est beaucoup plus stable. Il est à son meilleur jour. Devant lui, il voit quelqu’un qui est redevenu calme. Cette personne veut se montrer sous son meilleur jour et à hâte de sortir. Et cette personne est déclarée criminellement responsable. Le psychiatre est dans l’obligation de le libérer. Mais dans les jours suivants, il peut cesser sa médication et redevenir comme avant », ajoute Jean-Marc Fradette. Policiers pas assez formés Jean-Marc Fradette estime que les policiers sont formés pour désamorcer des situations d’urgence, mais pas suffisamment pour intervenir dans des situations de santé mentale. Selon lui, ils auraient avantage à être accompagnés par des intervenants sociaux. « Ils ne sont pas des spécialistes de santé mentale, ils sont des spécialistes de situation de crise de manière générale. Trop souvent, ils enveniment la situation notamment en dégainant leur arme. Qu’est-ce que ça fait? La personne se sent encore plus en détresse. Elle se dit que les personnes qui arrivent sur les lieux pour l’aider sont en train de sortir leur arme et elle risque commettre des actes criminels, comme des voies de fait. » Justice réparatrice Pour pallier cette surreprésentation, le Programme d’accompagnement justice santé mentale (PAJ-SM) a été créé dans le but de déjudiciariser les personnes aux prises avec des problèmes santé mentale. Il s’agit d’un projet-pilote, qui pour l’instant est offert dans 14 districts judiciaires au Québec, dont Chicoutimi. Il sera bientôt offert à Roberval.Julien B. Gauthier, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Lac St-Jean
Canadian dairy farmers will receive over $1.4 billion in the next three years from the federal government to compensate for recent trade deals. On Saturday, Marie-Claude Bibeau, minister of agriculture and agri-food, announced the funds as part of a $1.75-billion trade deal compensation package granted to the sector last year, which will be rolled out significantly faster than originally announced. The money was first slated to be distributed over eight years, not three. Canada’s poultry and egg sectors, which, like dairy, are supply-managed, will also receive compensation to the tune of $691 million over the next 10 years, said Bibeau. That accelerated timeline has been welcomed by dairy farmers, who say they need to adapt to a transformed market, despite criticism from observers who argue the compensation is an unnecessary use of taxpayer dollars. “(The funding) allows farmers to really make plans right now,” said Dave Taylor, a Courtenay, B.C., dairy farmer and member of the BC Dairy Association’s board. “There are so many areas on our farms that this money could be going towards to help our farms prepare for what’s ahead.” For instance, he said farms will likely start facing increasingly stringent environmental and climate standards best met with more efficient farm management technologies. These can also improve working conditions, making it easier for farms to find and keep workers — an endless challenge. Each farm will receive an annual payment that reflects the size of their milk quota, a measure of the farm’s size. For instance, a farm with 80 cows will receive a direct payment of about $38,000 each year, according to a statement by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. In total, about $468.5 million will be disbursed for each of the three years to approximately 10,300 dairy farms. Unlike most agricultural products, dairy products are supply-managed commodities in Canada, a regulatory mechanism that is designed to prevent excess milk from flooding the market and pushing dairy prices below a financially unsustainable threshold for farmers. A key part of the system is milk quotas, which are used by the Canadian Dairy Commission — the Crown corporation administering the supply management system — to control how much milk each farm produces. The system also depends on using high tariffs to protect dairy producers from imported milk products — everything from artisanal cheeses to dry milk powder — that are produced more cheaply abroad, including in the U.S. Those tariffs have proven contentious in Canada’s three most recent trade agreements: the Canadian-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the Canada-U.S.-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA). Each one increased the amount of dairy that can be imported into Canada. According to the Dairy Farmers of Canada, these new agreements — the most recent, CUSMA, only came into force in July — have already had an impact on the sector. In the last three years, for instance, cheese imports from Europe have been as high as 99 per cent of the 5.3 million kilograms allowed under CETA. And U.S. industrial cheese imports are already at 50 per cent of the total amount allowed under CUSMA, despite the pandemic. Once the three trade deals are fully phased in, the federal government expects imports to be equivalent to about 10 per cent of Canada’s milk production. For Taylor, the compensation package is about more than the trade agreements. “It encourages the next generation that the government does believe in us,” he said. “Maybe this is the last of the bleeding from future trade deals. It encourages me that, when other trade deals come around, (the federal government) will hold firm and say, ‘No. Dairy has given up enough already.’” Not everyone is convinced. “The COVID open bar seems to extend beyond just helping people who are in need; it is also there to help asset-rich dairy farmers,” said Sylvain Charlebois, director of Dalhousie University’s Agri-Food Analytics Lab. “(The federal government) is labelling it as compensation. What I’m seeing is a clear path towards subsidizing a sector that is heavily protected by a supply management regime.” The entire $2-billion trade deal compensation package — $1.75 billion in direct payments to farms and another $250 million for an on-farm innovation program — is misguided, Charlebois said, because the sums reflect predicted losses, not real ones. Unlike the supply management system designed to keep milk prices high enough for farmers to break even and compensate them for actual losses, he said the trade deal compensation package doesn’t reflect conditions on the ground. That could end up driving too much milk production and keeping too many “underperforming” farmers in the industry. Taylor, the dairy farmer from Courtenay, B.C., disagreed. “If a farm is not economically viable, this compensation is not going to help,” he said. “A farm like that really needs to transition, revitalize and innovate … farms really need to keep investing, we really need to keep pushing forward to adjust to the future.” In the U.S., where dairy farms aren’t controlled through supply management, the milk supply has regularly exceeded demand, pushing down prices and forcing smaller farmers out of business. The result has been an increasingly consolidated sector, with the number of U.S. dairy farms — overwhelmingly family farms and key drivers of rural economic activity — falling by half between 2002 and 2019 even as milk production increased, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. But that’s not Charlebois’ only critique of the compensation funds. Cheeses and other processed products are also being imported, not just liquid milk, he noted. That means processors — artisanal cheese makers, for example — are being hit harder by the trade deals than dairy farmers. Dairy processors can draw on a $100-million compensation fund created in response to the CETA trade deal, Bibeau said in a written statement. She also noted demand for dairy products also remains strong in Canada, growing by almost six per cent since 2010. Still, for Taylor, the compensation funds reflect more than just innovation and sales. They’re about a need to maintain rural well-being and resilience in Canada’s food system — a need that has been made more visible since March, and that he hopes will be reflected in further supports for farmers across multiple sectors. “For me, COVID just flags the need to have strong food production locally, and I hope the government knows that,” he said. “I’m obviously a little biased because I’m producing food, but I want all of our lines of food — whether it’s vegetables, or beef, and on and on it goes — that we have security in that area.”Marc Fawcett-Atkinson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, National Observer
EDMONTON — Alberta is offering more of its Rocky Mountain landscapes to coal mining after rescinding a decades-old policy that protected them. In documents released earlier this week, Alberta Energy is giving miners until Dec. 15 to bid on nearly 2,000 hectares on the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains.Surface mining on those lands would have been prohibited under the former coal policy rescinded in May, said Ian Urquhart of the Alberta Wilderness Association."Unfortunately, it isn't surprising."The leases will add to the land already leased for coal, which stretches in an almost unbroken swath for nearly 60 kilometres north from the Crowsnest Pass in the province's southwest corner. "There isn't much left there," he said. Alberta Energy spokesman Kavi Bal said any mine proposal is subject to review."A coal lease does not mean that a coal project has been approved or exploration has been permitted." If the proposal is large enough, it is subject to a federal review as well. The United Conservative government has said it seeks to encourage increased export coal production. The province and the federal government are currently considering a proposal for a mountaintop removal coal mine in the Crowsnest Pass area. More proposals are expected. Most Alberta coal is used for steelmaking, not power generation.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 4, 2020.The Canadian Press
TORONTO — Calgary featherweight (Mean) Hakeem Dawodu will face Shane (Hurricane) Burgos at UFC 257 on Jan. 23.It's a high-profile card given it marks the return of Conor McGregor, the former UFC featherweight and lightweight champion. The Irish star takes on Dustin (The Diamond) Poirier in a rematch of the September 2014 fight that McGregor won by first-round knockout.The UFC 257 location has yet to be announced.Dawodu (12-1-1) has won five straight since losing his UFC debut by first-round submission to to Danny (The Hatchet) Henry in March 2018. The 29-year-old Canadian is coming off a split-decision victory over Zubaira (Warrior) Tukhugov at UFC 253 in September.Burgos (13-2-0) had his three-fight win streak snapped last June in a decision loss to Josh Emmett. Burgos, ranked 12th among 145-pound contenders, is 6-2-0 in the UFC.In other Canadian UFC news, light-heavyweight Misha Cirkunov has suffered an undisclosed injury in training. His Dec. 19 bout against Ryan (Superman) Spann will now take place early in 2021.Cirkunov, a Toronto native who trains in Las Vegas, is ranked 10th among 205-pound contenders while Spann is No. 12. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 4, 2020The Canadian Press
Ahead of a looming year-end deadline, only 1,785 out of about 20,000 short-term rentals in Toronto have registered with the municipality. With fines beginning at $1,000 for both property owners and host platforms, the race is on to come into compliance. Matthew Bingley reports.
The Regina Police Service and the Saskatchewan Coroner's Service have recovered human remains that are believed to be Patrick Thauberger's. Patrick Thauberger was 53 when he went missing in September 1997. His disappearance has remained a cold case until now. Police says the remains were found in rural Saskatchewan. Further investigation and forensic examination will confirm whether or not they belong to Thauberger. Police arrested Patrick's brother Joseph Thauberger, who is now 78, on Sunday. Joseph is charged with first-degree murder in Patrick's death. He is also charged with uttering threats to a woman between 1997 and 2014.According to the Saskatchewan Association of Chiefs of Police missing persons database, Patrick was last seen at the bus depot in Regina.The database says Patrick was travelling by bus from Winnipeg to Edmonton, when he stopped in Regina to visit relatives. He never arrived in Edmonton. Police have no other information for the public at this time.
MEXICO CITY — Sometimes Latin American dance tunes on the radio — salsa, cumbia, ranchera — bring a little cheer into the emergency room of Mexico City’s Ajusco Medio hospital, which is operating well over normal capacity because of the coronavirus pandemic.Dr. Marta Patricia Mancilla, head of the emergency unit, says the upbeat soundtrack is a distraction from the routine at the packed hospital, where some people have kneeled at the doors of the emergency room, praying for relatives suffering from the disease.It has been eight months since the city-run Ajusco Medio hospital was named as one of the few exclusively COVID-19 hospitals in the city of almost nine million, and empty beds are rare.“The worst is still to come,” Mancilla said.“And unfortunately, it is going to catch us very tired,” she said of medical personnel who have been working constantly while themselves vulnerable to the disease. Almost 2,000 health care workers are confirmed to have died of the disease across Mexico.The toll is psychological and physical, and is as clear as the numbers written on an erasable whiteboard in the office of Dr. Alejandro Avalos, the Ajusco Medio hospital's director: total patients are at 122% capacity, intensive care is at 116%, and the emergency unit at 100%.“We haven't been below 100% since May,” said Avalos, whose hospital — a government facility that treats patients for free — has been temporarily expanded to meet the waves of coronavirus cases. Citywide, occupancy at hospitals was 69% this week.Yet as full as the city's hospitals are, its streets are also once again thronged; in some more central parts of the metropolis, almost everyone wears a face mask, but in other poorer, outlying areas, fewer people do.The situation has officials worried. Millions normally gather each year for the Dec. 12 holiday of Mexico's holy Virgin of Guadalupe day, and huge family gatherings are the norm for Christmas in Mexico.It drew an urgent appeal from President Andrés Manuel López Obrador on Friday, who decreed an expansion of 500 more hospital beds in Mexico City and pleaded with Mexicans to stop crowding the streets and stay home in December.“In this month, December, there are traffic problems, there are growing numbers of vehicles in the streets,” the president said. “Right now, we cannot act like this.”López Obrador announced new hiring to help exhausted medical personnel. “There is a lot of tiredness, fatigue,” he said.At least 13,800 people have died of COVID-19 in Mexico City alone, according to official data. Authorities say the number is probably higher in part because of limited testing, especially in the early months of the pandemic.Methods have improved since the city's hospitals were overwhelmed in May and June, when patients were treated in hallways and relatives of the dead were not even allowed to enter the hospital to identify the bodies. The case fatality rate has dropped significantly at Avalos' hospital, but along with the improvements there has been an emotional cost.“Our way of thinking has changed,” Avalos said. “We have learned to weep with people, to suffer with people, to understand people better.”On Friday, the mayor didn't raise the city back to the maximum alert level as some had expected, and employers had feared because it would have required business shutdowns. But Sheinbaum said some measures that were in place during the previous maximum alert would resume, including urging people to isolate themselves voluntarily, suspending non-essential local government activities and authorizing checkpoints to limit the number of people entering the capital’s colonial-era downtown at one time.Health care professionals' patience appears to be wearing out. Last week a group of doctors and nurses at the La Raza state hospital, one of the city's largest, signed an open letter threatening to stop treating COVID-19 patients unless the city declared a partial lockdown, as it did in the spring.“If it was bad in May, now it's worse,” said one doctor who signed the letter, and who asked not to be identified for fear of reprisals. “There are fewer doctors," he said, due to infections, or doctors simply taking leaves of absence because they can't face the pressure, fear and overwork.Just as bad, the anesthesia medications needed to successfully intubate patients and keep them on ventilators are running out. “It's shameful to say that some patients have to get their own PCR tests and find a hospital that will take them, because there are no beds” at the free government hospitals, he noted.López Obrador has rejected any kind of strict lockdown, saying such measures smacked of “dictatorship.”There are some victories; at the Ajusco Medio hospital, one of the 36 patients on ventilators has been disconnected from the machine and is recovering. A baby was born, separated from his mother who has COVID-19.The hospital has set up tents outside to detect and triage arriving patients; some can be sent home with medications, others admitted. That has allowed the hospital to greatly increase the number of people it treats.But the signs of wear are clear: the hospital's CT scan machine is being repaired, after having performed about 4,500 lung scans in recent months to detect coronavirus damage.The psychological toll is also clear for patients, even those who survive.María Eugenia Ortiz, 51, and her husband — they were both infected — came to the hospital for their third checkup since being sent home with medications. She chose to endure the disease at home because she was terrified of the hospital. At her worst moments, she struggled to breathe. Fourteen of her friends and relatives have died of the disease.“Everything would go black and I would feel like I was floating,” Ortiz recalled. “My chest was empty and cold.”Now, Ortiz feels more confidence in the doctors.“Before, the doctors wouldn't help you, there was more fear, we didn't know what to do,” she said.But attitudes change slowly; medical personnel still question whether city residents are taking the pandemic seriously enough.“We are getting more and more fed up,” said the doctor at the La Raza hospital who himself was infected. “In Mexico, what is killing people isn't the disease itself so much as the lack of information, the poor handling of the pandemic and people's ignorance. Seeing full shopping centres is discouraging, after working a 24-hour shift.”Mancilla, the emergency director, said: “There is a feeling of 'why do we keep risking ourselves if people aren't paying attention.' This is getting out of hand, and it is hard to keep going on like this.”Maria Verza, The Associated Press
Due to an increase in COVID-19 cases, Kingsville will be closing its town hall to walk-in visitors starting Monday, a news release from the town said. Anyone looking to make an in-person visit must book an appointment and visitors will need to wear a mask and complete a screening check-list before entering the building. "It's important that we take these additional actions now to help stop the spread of the virus in our community," Kingsville Mayor Nelson Santos said in a news release Friday. Staff at the town hall will continue to respond to the public via phone and email. Residents submitting physical documents will be able to do so at the night deposit box at the town hall or mail the package to 2021 Division Rd. N., Kingsville. In the news release, the town said it will continue to monitor the local pandemic status and follow the guidelines laid out by the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit (WECHU). As of Friday, the region has 424 active cases.
WASHINGTON — The Pentagon has appointed two close allies of President Donald Trump, Corey Lewandowski and David Bossie, to a defence advisory board, continuing a post-election purge in the final weeks of the administration.The acting secretary of defence, Christopher Miller, who was installed by Trump on Nov. 9 after he fired then-Defence Secretary Mark Esper, said in a written statement Friday that nine members of the Defence Business Board had been replaced with the appointment of 11 new members.Lewandowski and Bossie are among Trump's most vocal supporters. The nine other appointees are Henry Dreifus, Robert McMahon, Cory Mills, Bill Bruner, Christopher Shank, Joseph Schmidt, Keary Miller, Alan Weh and Earl Matthews.“These individuals have a proven record of achievement within their respective fields and have demonstrated leadership that will serve our department and our nation well,” Miller said.The Miller statement initially said the nine individuals removed from the board had been serving in ”expired positions," implying they were overdue to leave. But later the Pentagon amended the statement to say some board members had been “terminated.” It gave no reason for the firings.The board's charter says members are appointed for terms ranging from one to four years, with annual renewals.The board's charter says members must possess “a proven track record of sound judgment and business acumen in leading or governing large, complex private sector corporations or organizations and a wealth of top-level, global business experience in the areas of executive management, corporate governance, audit and finance, human resources, economics, technology, or healthcare.”The role of the Defence Business Board, which was established in 2002, is to provide the secretary of defence and deputy secretary of defence with independent advice and recommendations on overall Defence Department management, business processes and governance from a private-sector perspective.Lewandowski was Trump’s first of three campaign managers in 2016, and both he and Bossie were regulars on the campaign trail with Trump this year.Bossie was brought on as part of a 2016 campaign team shakeup to help Trump defeat Hillary Clinton. He briefly fell out of favour with Trump aides over his involvement with political groups that sought to fundraise off Trump’s name but did not benefit his reelection campaign. He found his way back into Trump’s orbit earlier this year thanks to his vigorous advocacy of the president.—Associated Press writer Zeke Miller contributed to this report.Robert Burns, The Associated Press
Construction is set to begin in early 2021 on the proposed Strathmore Solar Farm after it received a major regulatory approval. A proposed 40.5-megawatt (MW) solar facility, Strathmore Solar Farm will be sited on approximately 320 acres of municipal property in the town’s southeast, located south of the Trans-Canada Highway and east of George Freeman Trail (RR 251). The project was started by Solar Krafte Utilities Inc., a Vancouver-based company with seven solar farms built or proposed across southern Alberta. Solar Krafte has partnered with Capital Power, an Edmonton-based power generation company, which is providing up to $55 million in capital investment, conditional on successful permitting and regulatory approval. On. Nov 27, the solar farm passed the last major regulatory hurdle in the public regulatory review process, when the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC), the primary provincial utilities regulator, granted it a power plant approval and a connection order. While the project is being funded by Capital Power, Solar Krafte will continue to be involved for the life of the system, said company president Mark Burgert. “That’s what we do with everything we’ve built,” he said. “Where the capital comes from and how the ownership is allocated is really irrespective of how we build a reputation and how passionate we are about everything we build.” Construction on the project will start in 2021, with an expected date of completion in 2022, according to information on Capital Power’s website. But for several months already, the procurement of some of the key elements for construction has been underway, said Burgert. The project has most of its permitting complete, but still requires some electrical permits. “They come very late in the game,” he said. “But aside from those, everything is permitted here.” The companies will also be working to ensure all conditions set by the town’s development permit are met. All construction work for the project will be contracted. Some of the companies used will perform general construction tasks, such as driving piles, that are not specific to the solar industry, while others will perform more specialist tasks, explained Burgert. “It’s a hybrid approach.” The project will be like Solar Krafte’s two existing plants near Vauxhall, Alta., but there may be some subtle differences, he said. “The modules, inverters or substructure can change slightly, depending on everything from the geotech and solar conditions, to any site-specific conditions that come into play.” There could also be differences because of costs, as supply chain dynamics affect module pricing between several providers, noted Burgert. “But, fundamentally, it’s the same system,” he said. Burgert anticipates the lease with the Town of Strathmore for the project site will commence soon. The project is slated to have a significant economic impact to Strathmore, as it will provide economic diversification and revenue from the lease and property taxes, said Doug Lagore, Strathmore CAO. “We’re very pleased the AUC has given the approval and now we can proceed,” he said, adding the project will also create recognition for the community across Alberta.” The announcement comes at a fortuitous time, when communities across Alberta are suffering from the COVID-19 pandemic and a general downturn in the overall economy, including disruptions in the oil and gas industry, said Lagore. “This is perfect timing for our community,” he said. “It is going to provide us with some additional revenue right away and we’re really looking forward to them becoming a huge corporate partner in our community.”Sean Feagan, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times
Some Strathmore and area students have returned to at-home learning. Under new provincial rules, students in Grades 7-12 returned to at-home learning on Nov. 30, while students from kindergarten through Grade 6 will continue attending school in person for the time being. The changes were announced on Nov. 24, alongside several other public health measures aimed to address increasing COVID-19 case numbers across the province. Golden Hills School Division (GHSD) anticipated a possible shift away from the classroom, and prepared accordingly, said superintendent Bevan Daverne. “Now it’s just a question of getting the details worked out and making sure the students have what they need, for a really smooth transition on Monday,” he said on Nov. 27. Daverne said he appreciates the support of parents throughout the pandemic and hopes the new policies supports them. “Part of the rationale for K to six staying in school is a continued support for parents who need to attend to work in or out of the house,” he said. “Our junior (and) senior high students are a little more independent and are able to manage potentially without a parent in the household.” Following the two-week holiday break, all students, from kindergarten through Grade 12, will have a week of at-home coursework from Jan. 4 to 8. Then, as per the current plan, all students will return to physical school the following week, on Jan. 11. The week of at-home learning provides an isolation period for students who may have met with family and friends over the holidays. “Then if we return to school, we potentially avoid some of the disruption that positive cases and (subsequent) isolation might cause within the schools,” said Daverne. But given the changing nature of the pandemic, this plan could be adjusted. The Ministry of Health and Alberta Education could continue with Grades 7-12 learning at home, have all students continuing their education from home, or have everyone return to school, said Daverne. For the older students, learning at home will be different that last spring, when schools were shut down in response to the initial spread of the virus. “About a quarter of the work that we would normally do in school is what was being managed at home,” he said. “But this time, we will be covering everything at home that we would at school.” In the spring, as part of Alberta Education’s mandate, marks were not affected by the shutdown, and students who were on track to pass before the shutdown would pass. But now, students will be expected to do the work associated with their course load and will be assessed on that work, through marks and evaluation. “It all counts this time,” said Daverne. There will be a stronger link between students and the school this time around as well. “We’re going to have stronger virtual connections,” he said. “Students will hear from their teacher (and) connect with their teacher, doing what would be normally done in their scheduled class time.” For students with Christ the Redeemer (CTR) Catholic Schools, class will be live-streamed, with students going from online meeting to online meeting (on Zoom or Google Meets), instead of classroom to classroom, said superintendent Scott Morrison. CTR staff have gained expertise about conducting at-home learning after 150 teachers volunteered to pilot livestream teaching to start this year. “We’ve gained incredible knowledge about the dos and don’ts of live streaming and the technology, and how to support the teachers in doing it,” he said. “We’ve learned a lot and we feel quite prepared.” Both school boards have invested into technological materials and infrastructure. For example, CTR has used provincial and federal funding to purchase 500 new Chromebooks last year, and plans to do the same this year, said Morrison. Also, five full-time information technology (IT) positions are employed by CTR. “They offer direct support; we’ve got a hotline for parents if they’re having technological difficulties,” he said. “We also have online guides for parents and students on how to use both live streaming and Google classroom, the web-based system we use to organize documents.” GHSD and CTR have worked together to meet the challenges of the pandemic and the changing response to it, added Morrison. “The cooperation between our school boards is exemplary,” he said. “We’ve often had long discussions about decisions and come to conclusions together about the best way to support our kids.”Sean Feagan, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times
The Strathmore and District Agricultural Society has started a new tree sponsorship program that will see dozens of commemorative elm trees added to its grounds. Residents and groups can recognize or commemorate individuals in the community by sponsoring the planting of rows of Brandon elm trees at the ag grounds, to be called the Row of Honour. The trees will help beautify the area, said Ryan Schmidt, general manager and CEO of Strathmore and District Agricultural Society. “Brandon elms are long-lived trees that grow very tall with a lovely canopy; they will really transform the look of our grounds.” Brandon elm are cultivars of American elm (Ulmus americana) but are more upright. They grow to about 49 feet (15 metres) at maturity, live for about 80 years or more, and have wide environmental tolerances, including growing in dry conditions and urban areas. The idea was proposed by Dale Johnson, a local arborist, because he had some people he wanted to honour, said Schmidt. “We talked about it and decided it would be a great idea to put forward, as we know there’s lots of heroes around here that deserve recognition.” Each sponsor will select a person they wish to honour, and a tree will be planted with an accompanying post and plaque to commemorate them. “So, it could be someone that has passed away and has a tree planted in their memory, or someone who is still with us they just want to appreciate,” he said. Some of the people who will be recognized will be those who have played a role in developing the agricultural society and the Strathmore Stampede, he said. But the program is open to anyone. The cost of sponsoring each tree is $1,000, which covers the cost of the tree, and its planting and lifetime maintenance. Eagle Lake Nurseries is providing the trees at cost, which typically retail for about $600, and the planting and maintenance is also being provided at cost by local arborists. “That makes it all possible for that price,” said Schmidt. The planting is being planned in two phases, with trees being planted in the inner grounds in the first phase and at the grounds’ entrance in the second. A few trees have already been planted, thanks to Johnson. The next plantings will happen in the spring, but the project will be open for multiple years. The trees in the inner grounds will line either side of the walkway between the admission building and the grandstands. “You’ll be walking down a path between these rows of trees with the canopy above you – it will be beautiful.”Sean Feagan, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times
A request from a long-time Port McNicoll resident could present a winter activities opportunity to people living along 1st Avenue. Joyce Burns is asking that the sidewalk/trail along the entirety of the busy road be plowed for safe winter use. She presented her case through a letter that Coun. Sandy Talbot read to other council members at a recent council meeting. "The mental health benefits of having it plowed is that young families can still walk and run it safely as can all the people that use it,” Burns wrote. “They will be able to use it to teach them how to cross-country ski safely when the conditions are good. “The kids that catch the buses on 1st Avenue will have a safe place to walk to get back and forth and also when they're waiting for their buses,” continued the letter. “With COVID still around this winter, people will be able to get out and enjoy the sidewalk/trail, like they have in spring and summer. They will see wildlife and birds and even a decorated Christmas tree on the sidewalk trail to brighten their day.” Burns also said in her letter that she’d counted eight sidewalks in Port McNicoll that she believes are plowed. “They plow Talbot (Street) to Davidson (Street), a two block section,” she noted in her letter. “Why not all the way down 1st Avenue? I'm hoping there will be a positive outcome to this. I don't expect it to be as wide as it is now. If it is plowed like the rest of the sidewalks, that would be great." Talbot said she had no problem supporting the request considering the cost the township would incur. “I think sometimes we have to think outside the box and there will be an increase in cost if there's an increase in service level,” she said. “It's well-utilized. Other people have trails in other communities and they make skating rinks out of them so they're multi-purpose uses.” Coun. Paul Raymond supported the idea, but also brought forth concerns. “We have a growth of young families down by that area and they are increasingly using the road or the trail in summer time,” he said. "My only concern with cleaning the trail off is that in winter we have motorized vehicles ripping up and down there. What happens if we open it up and see some destruction because of these vehicles? I think we have to put some more thought into the whole thing.” Mayor Ted Walker, who also backed the request, said the snowmobile issue could be mitigated by a 'No Snowmobiles' sign as is done in other areas. “I'd be open for a one-year trial,” he added. Where Talbot had a few peers in her corner, Coun. Barry Norris was at the other of the spectrum on the issue. “Seriously?” he asked. “Why don't we clear the whole trail then? It makes no sense. I'm sorry we're not here to turn around and allow all of this? We're talking about a two-mile sidewalk to allow a couple of pedestrians to walk it. “I don't support it one iota,” continued Norris. “I think there is a policy in place as to what sidewalks we actually do and I doubt this is actually going to be covered under it.” And not to mention the costs of having to maintain it with sand, he said. “There's more to it than just clearing it off,” said Norris. “What's the rough cost on it?” Staff didn’t have an immediate answer as to how much it would cost to clear the two-kilometre pathway and were asked to bring back a report to a December meeting for a final decision. When asked for her reaction to council's decision, Burns wrote in, "I'm hopeful that council will go ahead with plowing 1st Ave., but if not, that will be alright ... I'll try again for next year."Mehreen Shahid, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, OrilliaMatters.com
Surveillance footage of ballot processing on election night in Atlanta is fueling a false social media narrative of “suitcases filled with ballots” hidden under a cloth-covered table and tallied without supervision, even as top state officials confirm election workers followed standard procedure.The video showed regular ballot containers on wheels — not suitcases — and both a state investigator and an independent monitor observed counting until it was done for the night, finding no evidence of improper ballots, state and county officials said on Friday.That hasn’t stopped President Donald Trump, his campaign, his lawyers and his supporters from sharing the video with false fraud accusations in a spate of Facebook and Twitter posts that have racked up millions of views in less than 24 hours.Here’s a look at the facts around this viral video:CLAIM: Poll workers and partisan observers were told to leave Atlanta’s State Farm Arena on election night, but four election workers stayed behind, pulled suitcases full of ballots out from under a table, and scanned them after hours without any supervision.THE FACTS: The video doesn't show evidence of fraud, much less the “SMOKING GUN” evidence that Trump's legal team claims on social media.No one told observers they had to leave, and both an independent monitor and an investigator oversaw the vote count, according to state and county officials. Confusion arose when election workers thought they were done for the night, but then were instructed to continue scanning ballots. But investigators who reviewed the entire surveillance tape confirmed it showed “normal ballot processing,” according to Gabriel Sterling, a top official in the secretary of state's office.The video, which shows clips of surveillance footage from a room where ballots were counted, began gaining traction online on Thursday after volunteer Trump attorney Jackie Pick presented it for state senators during a hearing at the state capitol.Pick claimed it showed a staff member telling partisan observers to leave the facility for the night about 10:30 p.m. After observers were “cleared out,” she said, four election workers stayed behind, pulled suitcases of ballots out from underneath a table, and counted them for two hours with no witnesses present.Fulton County Elections Director Richard Barron refuted those claims on Friday, saying in a public meeting that no observers were ever told to leave the facility.According to Barron, staff members who had been opening and flattening ballots for scanning started leaving the facility as their duties concluded.Other election workers started to pack up, Sterling told The Associated Press in an interview. They put prepared ballots back in boxes and away under a table “to close out for the night.” Members of the media and Republican observers began to leave the building too.Then, the supervisor onsite got a call from Barron, who instructed the team to continue scanning the ballots that had already been prepared. They pulled the same boxes of ballots back out, and resumed scanning, Sterling said.“These aren't magical ballots,” Sterling told the AP. “They didn't show up out of some other room."Georgia law § 21-2-408 permits observers to stay in the room the whole time, but doesn't require it for counting to take place.After a short period when observers weren't present, an independent state election board monitor arrived to oversee the scanning at 11:52 p.m., Barron said. A state investigator arrived at 12:15 a.m. Both individuals remained at the facility until the count concluded for the night, he said.The Georgia secretary of state’s office said it was aware of the late-night counting, and confirmed that both its investigator and an independent monitor observed scanning “until it was halted for the night.”The office said it had launched an investigation into why partisan poll observers left before scanning ended.The president’s team is “intentionally misleading the public about what happened at State Farm Arena on election night,” Sterling tweeted Friday. “They had the whole video too and ignored the truth.”___Associated Press writer Kate Brumback in Atlanta contributed to this report.Ali Swenson, The Associated Press
Alberta’s top doctor is reminding Albertans that the COVID-19 virus is spreading across the whole province, not just in large urban centres. On Thursday afternoon, Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said COVID-19 cases are rising and spreading in rural communities. The warning came on the same day the province broke another daily case record with 1,854 new cases found in the past 24 hours. “COVID-19 is not a Calgary problem or an Edmonton problem. This is a provincial problem within a global problem,” Hinshaw said. Hinshaw said in the spring rural communities were less impacted than urban areas by the virus' spread, but right now, cases are growing in the north, central and south zones, with one third of all active cases outside of the province's two major cities. COVID-19 doesn’t care where you live or what your postal code is, Hinshaw said, and she reminded residents it just takes one case in a community to cause an outbreak. On top of spread, Hinshaw said it may be more difficult to access services for serious outcomes in rural areas, including being further away from health care and intensive care beds. On Thursday, the province saw 1,854 new cases of COVID-19, the highest single-day case climb yet. “Anyone who contracts the virus needs our support,” Hinshaw said, reminding residents to not stigmatize those who have come down with COVID-19. In the last 24 hours, the province has conducted 19,600 tests, with 9.5 per cent coming back positive. There are currently 17,743 active cases of the virus in Alberta, with 511 people in the hospital and 97 in intensive care. “These numbers are very concerning and I know that AHS is watching them closely,” Hinshaw said. In the past 24 hours, 14 deaths due to COVID-19 were reported. “Sharing the number of lives lost is a little more difficult each day because I know the pain and sadness their deaths cause for their families and friends left behind,” Hinshaw said. On Nov. 24, the province announced new restrictions to help curb the rapid spread of COVID-19 in the province, with most of the restrictions kicking in on Friday and Monday. Jennifer Henderson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, St. Albert Gazette
Canada will open its 2022 World Cup qualifying campaign March 25 at home to Bermuda, the first of a possible 20 matches the Canadian men will have to play if they are to book their ticket to Qatar.The qualifying draw, which was held in mid-August, was fleshed out Friday with exact dates by CONCACAF. Several previous qualifying road maps were rendered useless by the pandemic, with international match windows coming and going without play.The top five teams in the region, which covers North and Central America and the Caribbean, skip the first two rounds and go directly to the final qualifying round-robin round.The other 30, including 72nd-ranked Canada, will battle it out to see which three join No. 9 Mexico, the 22nd-ranked Americans, No. 47 Jamaica, No. 51 Costa Rica and No. 64 Honduras.After opening Group B play against No. 169 Bermuda, the Canadians play March 28 at the 193rd-ranked Cayman Islands and June 5 at No. 200 Aruba before wrapping up first-round play June 8 at home to No. 141 Suriname.The six group winners advance to the second round, with the Group B victor facing the winner of Group E (which consists of No. 84 Haiti, No. 149 Nicaragua, No. 170 Belize, No. 175 Saint Lucia and the 203rd-ranked Turks and Caicos Islands) in a home-and-away series.Should Canada survive the first round, it will open the second round June 12 at the Group E winner before hosting the rematch on June 15.Success in the second round would mean the Canadian men open the final round-robin in September at home to Honduras, away to the U.S., and home to the A/F winner.In October, the Canadians would visit Mexico and Jamaica and host the C/D winner before closing out 2021 play in November at home to Costa Rica and Mexico.Canada would then visit Honduras, host the U.S. and visit A/F, all in January 2022, before closing out in March 2022 at Costa Rica, home to Jamaica and at C/D.The top three teams will qualify directly to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. The fourth-placed team qualifies for the FIFA Intercontinental Playoff, scheduled for June 2022.Canadian venues will be announced at a later date.Coach John Herdman is looking at holding a camp in January, as the team has done in recent years.The Canadian men, who are co-hosting the 2026 World Cup along with Mexico and the U.S., have only ever qualified for one World Cup — 1986 in Mexico where they exited after failing to score in losses to France, Hungary and the Soviet Union. 2022 CONCACAF World Cup QualifyingFirst RoundMarch and June 2021 (four match-dates)Group A: El Salvador, Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, Montserrat, U.S. Virgin Islands.Group B: Canada, Suriname, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Aruba.Group C: Curacao, Guatemala, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Cuba, British Virgin Islands.Group D: Panama, Dominican Republic, Barbados, Dominica, Anguilla.Group E: Haiti, Nicaragua, Belize, Saint Lucia, Turks and Caicos Islands.Group F: Trinidad and Tobago, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Guyana, Puerto Rico, Bahamas.Second RoundJune 2021 (two match-dates for home-and-away series)Group A winner vs Group F winnerGroup B winner vs Group E winnerGroup C winner vs Group D winnerFinal RoundSeptember, October, November 2021; January and March 2022 (14 match-dates)A round-robin features the three second-round winners along with Mexico, the U.S, Jamaica, Costa Rica and Honduras. The eight teams will play each other home and away, with each country playing 14 matches. Follow @NeilMDavidson on Twitter This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 4, 2020Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press
The federal government is laying plans for the procurement and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. The approval of a vaccine by Pfizer and BioNTech is said to be imminent. The second vaccine in line for approval in Canada is from Moderna. The Canadian military will have a role to play in vaccine distribution and a dress rehearsal is planned for next week to make sure doses can get to every corner of Canada. Various provinces have started spelling out their plans as well. Here's a look at what they've said so far: — Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Andrew Furey announced the members of a COVID-19 vaccine logistics team for the province at a news conference on Friday. The team will include Health Minister John Haggie, Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Janice Fitzgerald, Cmdr. David Botting of the Canadian Armed Forces, Indigenous Affairs Minister Lisa Dempster and Municipalities Minister Derek Bennett. Furey said the team will be ready to administer the vaccine to the province's most vulnerable people as soon as it becomes available, but did not specify who may fall into that category. — Nova Scotia The province's chief medical officer of health says he will release a detailed plan for the distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine once Ottawa shares more information. Dr. Robert Strang says there is no certainty yet about the availability of a vaccine, but expressed hopes an initial supply will trickle into Nova Scotia early in the new year. Strang says the plan will include tight control of the supply and clear rules dictating who can be first in line for immunization. He says he's waiting for more federal guidance on issues ranging from priority groups to transportation and storage logistics. — Quebec The province says it will be ready to start rolling out its vaccine plan as of Jan. 1. Premier Francois Legault says that public health officials have already settled on the list of priority vaccine recipients, but details have not been released. Legault says the province is also working to put the necessary infrastructure in place to support a vaccine rollout. That includes obtaining fridges capable of maintaining the extremely low temperatures needed for the Pfizer vaccine. Quebec has also tasked assistant deputy health minister Jerome Gagnon and former provincial public health director Dr. Richard Masse to oversee the province's vaccination effort. — Ontario Premier Doug Ford is among the leaders calling on Ottawa to provide more clarity as officials work to develop a provincewide vaccination strategy. Health Minister Christine Elliott has said Ontario will receive 1.6 million doses of the new vaccine from Pfizer and 800,000 doses from Moderna in early 2021, although federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu said such details were still in the works. Ford has named former general Rick Hillier, who served as chief of defence staff, to oversee the province’s vaccine rollout. Nine others were named to the provincial vaccine task force on Friday, including medical experts, the province's chief coroner, former Toronto police chief Mark Saunders, Ontario Regional Chief RoseAnne Archibald and bioethicist Dr. Maxwell Smith. The province had initially said it would develop its vaccine plan by year’s end, but earlier this week Ford said the province would be ready even if the vaccines arrive sooner. He has urged Ottawa to provide detailed information on potential vaccine delivery. “We need a clear line of sight into the timelines of the shipments,” Ford said. — Manitoba Government officials say they've been assembling the necessary people and equipment to set up a large-scale "super site" to deliver the vaccine as soon as it is available. Premier Brian Pallister says the province has also purchased the necessary supplies to administer two doses of the vaccine to every person in the province. The first freezer able to store the Pfizer vaccine at low temperatures has been delivered and installed, with another four on the way. As the vaccine supply from the federal government expands over the coming months, the province says it will become more widely available in a larger number of sites, similar to a conventional vaccination campaign, such as the annual flu shot. -- Alberta Premier Jason Kenney says Alberta expects to start getting COVID-19 vaccines in the first week of January. High-risk patients and health workers will get them first. Kenney says his government has struck an interdepartmental team to roll out the vaccines from 30 different locations in the province. Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta's chief medical officer of health, has said the province is expected to receive 680,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine early in the new year, a figure not yet confirmed by the federal government. — British Columbia The provincial health officer says seniors in British Columbia's long-term care homes and hospitals will be the first to get immunized starting in the first week of January with two vaccines. Dr. Bonnie Henry says vaccines by Pfizer and Moderna will be the first to be rolled out after approval by Health Canada. Henry says B.C. health officials are working with their federal counterparts on ways to facilitate the delivery of vaccines as they anticipate various challenges that could come up in the immunization process. More details will be provided about the province's vaccine plan next week. — Yukon Premier Sandy Silver says the territory has been in discussions with various levels of government on a vaccine rollout plan. He says the goal will be to provide vaccines to elderly people and health-care providers. Silver says rural and remote communities should also get priority status in northern regions, a fact he says he's emphasized with federal authorities. The premier says he has joined the other provincial and territorial leaders in pushing for a national strategy to distribute the vaccine. Silver says the Pfizer vaccine could cause logistical problems for remote communities because of its cold-storage requirements, but those issues may not apply to other vaccines under development. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 3, 2020. The Canadian Press