Enjoying an empty beach on a sunny day in Shelburne, Nova Scotia.
Enjoying an empty beach on a sunny day in Shelburne, Nova Scotia.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu travelled to Saudi Arabia and met its crown prince, an Israeli official said on Monday, in what would be the first publicly confirmed visit there by an Israeli leader as the countries close ranks against Iran. Earlier, Israeli media said Netanyahu had secretly flown on Sunday to Neom, on the Red Sea, for talks with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Reports of the meeting between the crown prince and Netanyahu were denied by Saudi Arabia's foreign minister, Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud.
A perfect storm is brewing for the homeless in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, advocates fear, one that threatens to leave people alone and wandering during the cold winter days.The informal network of daytime supports — a drop-in warming room, the library, the once-monthly soup kitchen — have been cut back or cut entirely due to the COVID-19 pandemic.It's left homeless men and women with few options for basic needs and a growing fear of the cold Labrador winter that's on the way."It's really scary, I'm frightened for this year's people," said Amos Semigak.At 8 a.m. each morning, the town's only emergency shelter closes its doors and sends its clients outside. They're let back in for what the shelter calls "purpose-driven" visits — to access particular services, drink water or use the washroom. But beyond that, the clients are on the street — and in the woods — until 8 p.m., when they can get back into the shelter.On weekends, the Housing Hub is completely closed, and there's no staff to answer the door.Last year, many of those daytime hours could be spent watching TV at the Labrador Friendship Centre's common room, or on the computer in the public library. While some of those services are slowly resuming, others — like the Labrador Friendship Centre — see no easy return until the pandemic has ended.The common room at the Centre has been transformed into a COVID-19 screening area. It's a necessity, according to executive director Jennifer Hefler-Elson, for them to continue safely operating the medical hostel on-site."It was a very difficult decision," she said."We have to have that space to be able to get people to come here, to stay here, and know that they are protected as well, because the people that are coming here are vulnerable as well."Anyone who wanted to operate a warm room this winter would need a properly equipped space and properly trained staff — probably more that usual, due to COVID-19, she said. That's a set of conditions that wouldn't just appear overnight.So instead, many homeless men and women walk along the town's trails, Semigak said, where drinking is a common way to keep warm and pass the time.The remnants of make-shift camps can be seen throughout town, and they've drawn the ire of the municipal government — which wrote to the provincial government last year to complain about a growing homeless and transient population."As a council, we have received complaints of indecent exposure and acts," wrote Mayor Wally Andersen in 2019."Many consume alcohol in public at all hours of the day, and it's common to see an individual passed out on the side of the road or along trails within the community."For the past few months, Semigak has been living in a room in the Labrador Inn, a motel in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, which is being used as overflow space for the town's shelter.For him, that means he has somewhere to stay during the cold days. And, he says, he's been able to avoid the campsites along the trail where drinking is common — a fact he's proud of.But he knows what it's like to be there.Semigak is facing two charges in provincial court, relating to a fire he set in July. Court documents allege he set a fire too close to a forested area within the fire season.Semigak said he set the fire because he had been drinking and had just fallen into water. It was cold outside and was too late for him to access the homeless shelter."I could have perished that night," he said. "What could I do about this? There's nowhere I could go, there's no heat or nothing."He said he was forced into an impossible situation and fears others in the community will face those same pressures this winter."What else is there to do? There's nothing else to do here but [drink]," he said."There's no programs or anything for us people to be doing here." Staff at the Housing Hub shelter in Happy Valley-Goose Bay say they're doing everything they can to accommodate and help the homeless population, but are still struggling with a growing issue.Krystal Saunders, a coordinator and housing liaison worker at the shelter, said it seems like the need exploded earlier this year."We definitely had a rough summer in trying to provide … quality support to the clients," she said. "We didn't want to leave balls hanging in the air, but we were being forced to because we were ran so short staffed, the volume just blew up overnight."Its numbers have fallen — as some people move to other rural areas in the winter — but the shelter is still full, stretched beyond its COVID-19 capacity, and filling rooms at the Labrador Inn."This should be a temporary place for people to stay when they have no housing, and then they should be moving on," added Michelle Kinney, the deputy minister of health and social development for the Nunatsiavut Government. "At the moment, there's very little moving on."Kinney and Saunders said even as clients are making progress, there's limited spaces, long wait lists, not enough funding and not enough options for people trying to leave the shelter's care.It's all adding up to an ongoing cycle: homeless men and women shuffling into the shelter at 8 p.m., and shuffling out at 8 a.m."If there's a snowstorm at 8 o'clock in the morning, you feel really guilty about putting them out through the door," Kinney said. "But we don't have the staffing or capacity from this perspective to do any more about it.""It's a huge issue."It's an issue Dawn Crocker knows all too well.Crocker is a bartender at the Sandbar Lounge in Happy Valley-Goose Bay. She was working the night she last saw her friend, Susanna Rich."I asked her if she had a place to go, she told me she had a place, she was going to a friend's,"Rich was at the bar, but not drinking, Crocker said."She was just a kind soul, she was a peaceful lady. She just wanted to be somewhere where she felt she could be, and be herself."That was Friday night. Monday morning, police found Rich's body on the trail."It still hurts me yet to think about how she died," she said, fighting back tears. "Cold, and alone, and froze to death in a trail. And she was sober that night. She just had no place to go."The RCMP say they can't release Rich's cause of death — and the province's Chief Medical Examiner said there were no instances where hypothermia or exposure was formally registered as a cause of death in the town last winter.But Crocker believes the extreme temperatures caused — or at least contributed to — the death of her friend, and others in the community last year. And so do some of the men who stay at the emergency shelter."I'm hurt about those people that perished here due to the winter cold," said Semigak. "It wasn't right for those people to pass away. We need a proper shelter, we need the Newfoundland government to listen to us people, because we matter too, we matter as human beings.'"People keep freezing outside and dying," added Tobey Noah, a homeless man in the community.Noah's welcome to stay at the shelter, but said he doesn't feel comfortable there because of trauma he's felt over the death of his girlfriend and child, and ensuing struggles with alcoholism.The COVID-19 pandemic has scared him too. In the shelter, he'd have to sleep in a room with three or four other people."I usually just get a tarp and blankets, they usually give me blankets here to sleep outside," he said. "I make a little house, and take boughs and put them inside, and sleep in there."He could stay with family and friends, but he decided to give up his home and move to Happy Valley-Goose Bay to escape some of the demons.Crocker is terrified at the thought of another person dying alone on the trails and has started a project to help people like Noah.She's distributing sleeping bags all across Labrador, in hopes of getting them to people suffering in the cold, but said the issue needs serious attention."It's going so slowly," she said. "It's like staring into the [barrel] of a gun, knowing it's going to go off, but not knowing when…. We need to put things in place now. It should not be this way, it should never be this way."Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
High stress, exhaustion, heartbreak: that is how some high school teachers describe working through the second wave of COVID-19. High school teacher Courtney Scratch worries that the current system isn't working for students or parents, and might be doing them a great disservice."To try to keep up with the expectations that were put both on students and on teachers has just been, honestly impossible," Scratch said. The new quadmester system used by the Greater Essex County District School Board splits the school year into four periods, to allow students to be split into two groups — or cohorts. It makes for longer classes and condensed curriculum. Courses that used to be taught over the course of five months are now being taught in eight weeks."It's virtually impossible in certain cases for the students to keep up," Scratch said. "And the feedback that we're getting from them is that they're just getting through it. They're just scraping by. They're not really retaining anything. It just feels like one hurdle after another."Scratch was assigned to teach mathematics completely online for her first quadmester. She was responsible for two classes and a total of 60 students.'Equity issues'A key challenge for teachers, Scratch explained, is lack of preparation time. She explained that the way the school year is split up, teachers get prep time for only two of the four quadmesters. She said, for her first quadmester, she got none. To make up for that, Scratch said she would wake up every morning at about 4 a.m. to prepare her lessons in time for the start of the school day. She would teach throughout the day, taking her lunch hour to meet with students and speak with parents. Once she got home, she would continue marking assignments and preparing lessons into the evening. "Eventually I would just work until I had to fall asleep and then I'd set an early alarm to get up and do it all again," she said. She said students were asking for more review, more assessments, one-on-one time, and so on, which she often wasn't able to accommodate because there simply wasn't enough time. "One of the things I think is not being discussed enough is the equity issues that arise because of this," Scratch said. "Imagine if these students had a teacher who was only working with 30 students and had prep time during the day. The experience of those students would be getting would be absolutely night and day. So it's really not fair to them that this is what they're getting because of the expectations that were piled up on their teachers."'Breaks my heart'Feeling like she's been unable to give her students everything they need has been "heartbreaking," Scratch said. "I just think about what could I have done differently had I had more time during the day to work with them in small groups, to work with them individually, how much more dynamic my lessons could have been had I been able to plan them," she said. "To think that in any way I have failed to equip them for the next steps of their mathematical journey — it breaks my heart in more ways than I can say."New challengesThat heartbreak and sadness is not unique. Erin Roy, the district president for the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation, says she's heard hearing similar stories from many teachers. "We put our a survey to our members and some of the comments were heartbreaking and brought tears to my eyes," said Roy. In addition to the difficulties around the curriculum, Roy added that teachers are missing the connections and interactions that come during a typical school year, even though they understand the restrictions are to keep everyone safe. "Even our most seasoned teachers, they're somewhat broken because they're not able to do those things."Further to that, Roy explained that teachers are dealing with challenges like never before, "stress on top of stress," from struggles with technology, to dealing with parents who are angered by the challenges the school year has presented for their kids."It's typically the front line worker that's getting that frustration taken out on them. And I feel like that's happening with our teachers a lot," Roy said. Union asking for changesRoy said the union is working to make improvements moving forward. She's calling for better technology for teachers, more technical support for students and parents, more training for virtual delivery of curriculum, and additional attendance counsellors to assist with disengaged virtual learners. She said she's also advocating for the board to reconsider the quadmester teaching model, and to look at other models being used in other parts of the province that might be more successful.For Scratch's next quadmester, she's shifted to in-person teaching, and her schedule now includes preparation time. Having more time to plan "feels almost surreal to feel such euphoria over something that should be an expectation," she said. She's grateful for the time, but also worried for her colleagues who are now in her shoes, experiencing the burden of not having any prep time for the first time.Scratch said she feels the Ministry of Education put the school boards and staff in an impossible situation but said she's hopeful for a solution that can still keep schools safe, while creating a better learning environment. Neither the Greater Essex County District School Board or the Ministry of Education responded CBC's request for comment by deadline.
In The News is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to kickstart your day. Here is what's on the radar of our editors for the morning of Nov. 23 ...What we are watching in Canada ...OTTAWA -- Businesses struggling to pay the bills because of the COVID-19 pandemic will be able to start applying today for a long-awaited new commercial rent-relief program offered by the federal government.The new Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy replaces an earlier rent-support program for businesses introduced in the spring that saw little pickup because it relied on landlords to apply for help.The new program will cover up to 65 per cent of rent or commercial mortgage interest on a sliding scale based on revenue declines, with an extra 25 per cent available to the hardest-hit firms.Federal cabinet ministers will highlight the program during a news conference this morning in which they will also open two initiatives designed to help businesses owned by Black Canadians.The Canadian Federation of Independent Business, which represents thousands of small companies across the country, is welcoming the new rent program as long overdue for firms hard hit by COVID-19.However, it is criticizing the government for not opening it to businesses that would have qualified for the previous rent-relief program, but could not access federal funds because their landlords chose not to apply.\---Also this ... OTTAWA -- N-D-P MP Laurel Collins is reviving a call for the environment commissioner to be a stand-alone officer of Parliament.Collins is pushing a motion at the environment committee to pull the position out of the Office of the Auditor General and make it a separate entity.The Victoria MP says the commissioner needs its own dedicated staff to ensure it can fulfil its mandate.She says the commissioner used to perform up to five environmental audits annually but has just one underway this year and two planned for 2021.The Liberal government of former prime minister Jean Chrétien created the position in 1995, but did not meet a campaign promise to make it an office independent from the auditor general.The motion from Collins is nearly identical to one passed by the same committee 13 years ago but the request was never fulfilled.\---ICYMI ...OTTAWA -- Canada and Britain struck a new trade deal on Saturday, allowing the long-standing partners to trumpet a commercial triumph in the face of the economic devastation wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic.The interim deal beat the looming Dec. 31 Brexit deadline, replacing Canada's current agreement with Britain under the European Union that covers trade between the two countries. Announced amid a virtual gathering of G-20 leaders, the interim pact is a placeholder that buys Canada and Britain another year to reach a more comprehensive agreement while also warding off a no-deal scenario that would have triggered new tariffs on a range of Canadian exports on Jan. 1 But few details were released about the new agreement. Breaking with past practice during trade negotiations, there were no pre-announcement briefings for journalists and no text was released.\---What we are watching in the U.S. ...WASHINGTON, D.C. — U-S President Donald Trump’s campaign has filed plenty of lawsuits in six states as he tries to upend an election he lost to Democrat Joe Biden. The strategy may have played well in front of TV cameras, but it’s proved a disaster in court, where judges uniformly have rejected claims of vote fraud. The latest case ended Saturday, when a federal judge in Pennsylvania said Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani presented only “speculative accusations” and no proof of rampant corruption in the vote. A law school professor says the suits threaten the future of elections because so many Americans believe the claims being made by Trump’s team. Meanwhile, Biden is expected to nominate Antony Blinken as secretary of state, according to multiple people familiar with the Biden team’s planning. If nominated and confirmed, Blinken would be a leading force in Biden’s bid to reframe the U.S. relationship with the rest of the world after four years in which Trump questioned longtime alliances.\---What we are watching in the rest of the world ...LONDON -- AstraZeneca says late stage trials of its COVID-19 vaccine developed with Oxford University were “highly effective’’ in preventing disease. The results are based on interim analysis of trials in the U.K. and Brazil of the vaccine developed by Oxford University and manufactured by AstraZeneca. The drugmaker reported today that no hospitalizations or severe cases of COVID-19 were diagnosed in those receiving the vaccine. “These findings show that we have an effective vaccine that will save many lives. Excitingly that one of our dosing regimens may be around 90 per cent effective,’’ said Professor Andrew Pollard, the chief investigator for the trial.Two other drugmakers, Pfizer and Moderna, last week reported preliminary results from late-stage trials showing that their COVID-19 vaccines were almost 95 per cent effective.\---In entertainment ...LOS ANGELES -- Taylor Swift won her third consecutive artist of the year prize at last night's American Music Awards. She beat out Canadians Justin Bieber and The Weeknd for the top award, while also winning favourite music video and favourite pop/rock female artist. Though The Weeknd lost artist of the year, he still kicked off his all-star week as a big winner: Days before he’s expected to land multiple Grammy nominations, the pop star dominated the 2020 American Music Awards with multiple wins. The Toronto native won favourite soul/R&B male artist, favourite soul/R&B album for “After Hours" and favourite soul/R&B song for “Heartless. The Weeknd didn’t break character throughout last night's three-hour show with his gauze-wrapped face, which matched the vibe of his recent album and music videos where he appears blooded and bruised. He was one of several artists who appeared live at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles for the fan-voted awards show. Others taped performances because of the pandemic.Bieber and fellow Canuck pop star Shawn Mendes opened the show with a performance of their new duet "Monster."\---This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 23, 2020The Canadian Press
Angelique Kidjo and Skip Marley are among several global artists performing social justice anthems for an online fundraising concert celebrating the 75th anniversary of the United Nations. The Dec. 1 event on Facebook Live is called Peace Through Music: A Global Event for Social Justice. (Nov. 23)
Colourful cockatoos, amazons, and macaws in dozens of cages line the walls in each room of a rental house in Delta. A skeleton crew of workers and volunteers tend to the birds, unencumbered by the constant cacophony of chirps, songs and screeches."It's a lot of work," said Jan Robson, a spokesperson for the Greyhaven Bird Sanctuary. "We have 60 birds in there, and they have big cages — and big poop."And now, big problems. Greyhaven is among a long list of non-profits and registered charities in B.C. that are grappling with revenue losses due to COVID-19 and rethinking the traditional fundraising model.Greyhaven has been a refuge for exotic birds for decades. It runs shelters out of two homes and operates entirely on donations, fundraising, and adoption fees to find homes for countless birds, many of whom have been abandoned by past owners.This year, revenues have dropped, making it a challenge to operate on what had already been a tight budget. Marquee fundraising events like its biannual open house have been cancelled, in favour of virtual alternatives.There's been about a 15 per cent decrease in funding, Robson said. "We're trying to raise funds for six months rent for this particular facility," she added. "That's one of those things where we're like, 'How can we make this work?'""When you're caring for over 100 birds, and your money is 15 per cent down, it's a punch in the gut, for sure," she said.'These organizations touch all of our lives'There are more than a thousand non-profits and charities in B.C., a diverse sector that generates billions of dollars in GDP annually. They often fill gaps in under-served communities, providing services for the elderly, people with disabilities, and vulnerable animals.But many are feeling the squeeze. In May, a survey of more than 1,000 organizations found that 23 per cent of operators feared they wouldn't last six months."A lot of non-profits and charities have had to close their doors," said Alison Brewin, executive director of the non-profit Vantage Point."Across the board, for all organizations, they're seeing decreases in their earned incomes, their donations, and their other funding sources."A notable example is the Vancouver Aquarium, which is currently fighting bankruptcy."These organizations touch all of our lives," Brewin said. "We all connect with non-profits and charities across the province, and the vulnerability that's shown up is quite scary."Virtual events not as effective as in-person fundraisersIn the time since Vantage Point conducted the survey, Brewin said many organizations continue to rely on emergency measures, including the federal wage subsidy.Groups like Greyhaven have switched to virtual events to raise funding, but the events typically don't generate the same amount of money.It's a similar trend for larger organizations. The BC Cancer Foundation is down tens of millions of dollars in revenue this year, according to president and CEO Sarah Roth.The foundation's yeatrly headline event, the Ride to Conquer Cancer, would typically generate about $8 to 10 million. This year, the virtual event generated about $2 million.COVID-19 restrictions have also forced the foundation to stop door-to-door fundraising efforts as well, although it says its number of monthly donors has remained consistent.In all, it expects to end the year with about $40 million in revenue, compared to previous highs of around $70 million."Cancer doesn't stop, and neither can we," Roth said. "We just need to adjust, we're being very mindful of our costs."With a vaccine on the horizon, there's hope that traditional revenue streams could be restored. But mounting cases in B.C. means most groups aren't holding their breath quite yet.And with COVID-19 restrictions tightening, the sector isn't expected to rebound anytime soon.The BC Cancer Foundation is anticipating at least another year of its remote model."It's just changed," Roth said."I think there will be a huge appetite to go back to more in-person experiences for sure, and we'll get ready for that."
MONROE, Iowa — This swath of southeast Iowa isn't supposed to be a nailbiter for Democrats.For more than a decade, voters in the college town of Iowa City powered Democratic candidates to Congress. But that changed this month when conservatives who dominate the more rural parts of the district turned out in droves, eager to support President Donald Trump and other Republicans on the ballot.Nearly three weeks after Election Day, a winner hasn't been declared in Iowa's 2nd Congressional District. That's a sign of the unexpected strength Republicans demonstrated in House races across the country, taking down at least 10 Democratic incumbents and dashing Speaker Nancy Pelosi's bold prediction of expanding her majority by double digits.Instead, it appears Democrats made a serious miscalculation in assuming their antipathy toward Trump would fuel victories across the country. They failed to anticipate that Trump's supporters would show up, too, with even greater force than before in rural areas.“It’s the Trump factor,” Jasper County Republican Chairman Thad Nearmyer said on his farm outside Monroe. “People were super excited to vote for the president.”Of course, Trump lost the presidency and Democrat Joe Biden will move into the White House in January after winning nearly 80 million votes nationwide, a historic high. But the enthusiasm for Biden — or for defeating Trump — didn't trickle to other Democrats down ballot.That leaves the party confronting a reckoning over how to move forward. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which supports the party's House candidates, is beginning a “deep dive” examination into what happened.Early interpretations blame a series of missteps. Chief among them was allowing Republicans to portray Democrats as radical, which overtook the party's messaging in some cases on guaranteeing health insurance during a pandemic and rebuilding the economy. Democrats also failed to grow their appeal among some Latinos, particularly Cuban Americans in south Florida.Other strategic decisions are coming under scrutiny. Democrats scaled back in-person campaigning and canvassing because of the novel coronavirus, seeking to protect their candidates and staff, and to model good behaviour during a public health crisis.But that gave Trump an opportunity to rally his supporters. The president's nearly 74 million votes is the second-highest in history and fed massive turnout that helped reshape House races, especially in rural areas.In the final stretch of the campaign, Iowa was seen as competitive. But Trump's visit to the capital of Des Moines two weeks before the election is credited with helping him build momentum to carry the state by 9 percentage points.That dominance lifted downballot Republicans, including Mariannette Miller-Meeks in the 2nd Congressional District. Miller-Meeks' vote total was 15 percentage points higher than the Republican who ran for the seat in 2016, when Trump also won Iowa.The same dynamic helped Republican Ashley Hinson beat first-term Democratic Rep. Abby Finkenauer in northeast Iowa and, perhaps most notably, lifted Republican Michelle Fischbach to unseat 30-year Democratic Rep. Collin Peterson in rural southern Minnesota.“The poison of Trump was deeper into the bloodstream of the electorate than anyone noticed,” said Bradley Beychok, who ran an advertising program for the Democratic super PAC American Bridge targeting Trump in northern swing states.There were few bright Democratic spots beyond rural areas, as the party's congressional candidates around the country fell short.Democrats gave up seats in south Florida and California, and failed to gain any in Texas, despite targeting 10. Rep. Max Rose lost on New York's Staten Island and Rep. Joe Cunningham couldn't win reelection in South Carolina territory that includes Charleston, nor did Utah's only congressional Democrat, Rep. Ben McAdams.That's fueling an intense round of finger-pointing among Democrats. Some say the enthusiasm for Trump was compounded by unease among voters about some of the most progressive ideas that were debated during the Democratic presidential primary, including the Medicare for All health care plan and the Green New Deal to combat climate change.When demonstrations over institutional racism swept the country, many Democrats also struggled to respond to false Republican attacks that they supported “defunding” the police. Voters for months watched Republican ads featuring unrest with narrators ominously attacking Democrats as anti-police, often with little response.“The defund-the-police thing was not helpful at all,” said Democratic strategist James Carville, an architect of Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign.Rep. Pramila Jayapal of Washington, the co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, countered “there is just no way forward” for Democrats unless they confront the central challenges in American life, including systemic racism and inequity. She urged the party to embrace a national truth commission to probe racism in the U.S. along with a group to study reparations.“Running away from these things is never going to work. We have to actually do bold things, brave things,” Jayapal said. “Anybody who thinks that elected officials at any level, especially the congressional level, can or should control the messages and the demands and the urgency of movements that erupt on the street for justice are really fooling themselves about their power and their role."Still, Rep. Henry Cuellar, a Democrat from the Texas-Mexico border city of Laredo, said the combination of suggestions that his party opposed police, embraced socialized medicine and would sacrifice jobs in key industries like oil and gas to combat climate change gelled into a narrative that doomed candidates.“The progressives, I admire their passion, their commitment, their energy,” said Cuellar, who beat back a primary challenger from the left. “Nobody’s trying to silence anybody. All we’re saying is, within the Democratic Party, there will be different thoughts on ways of doing things.”Oregon Rep. Kurt Schrader, one of the House’s more conservative Democrats, was more blunt. He called the debate over defunding the police “toxic.”“Our national brand, with the exception of the president-elect, is in really tough shape,” Schrader said.The Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC which spent $140 million promoting general election Republican House candidates, claimed success tailoring broader attacks on Democrats on issues like defunding the police to individual races.In Rose’s Staten Island district, for instance, ads focused on how his support for demonstrations against systemic racism insulted local police.To help defeat Democratic challenger Christina Finello in suburban Bucks County, Pennsylvania, meanwhile, an ad featured a mom speaking about how funding cuts to police could jeopardize her ability to “pick up the phone and know that a police officer could be there at a moment’s notice.”“We needed to move out of the national, charged language and make this about peoples’ individual lives and how this would affect them,” said CLF President Dan Conston, who also praised GOP efforts to recruit more women and people of colour to run.Ads criticizing the Green New Deal warned of tax increases in many areas, but highlighted the potential impact on the oil and gas industry in energy-rich places where Republicans ousted Democratic House incumbents, including New Mexico and Oklahoma.By contrast, Democrats' focus on health care proved less influential than during the 2018 midterms, after Republicans had unsuccessfully sought the repeal the 2010 Affordable Care Act. According to the AP's VoteCast, a national survey of the electorate, voters' top concern was the pandemic, followed closely by the economy, which favoured Republicans.Democrats needed to further embrace major reforms and “counter messages from the opposition," said Wendell Potter, a former health care industry executive who leads the progressive Center for Health and Democracy, which supports Medicare for All.“You’ve got to make sure people understand that what we’re talking about here ain’t anywhere close to socialism," Potter said.Though Democrats have soul searching ahead, Jasper County Republican Nearmyer notes one GOP advantage will be gone in 2022 — Trump's name on the ballot.“That's one thing that makes me nervous," he said.___Weissert reported from Washington. Associated Press writer Alan Fram in Washington contributed to this report.Will Weissert And Thomas Beaumont, The Associated Press
Health researchers say British Columbians need to find new ways to get active as the pandemic stretches into its tenth month and the province has implemented new limits on some activities.Last week, provincial health officials suspended some indoor group fitness classes until Dec. 7 to try to reduce COVID-19 infections.The continuing uncertainty around how to keep fit safely has thrown some people off exercising entirely, but health researchers in B.C. say it's important to fight against apathy."It's not something to sort of push off," said University of Victoria professor Ryan Rhodes, who studies health psychology and how people approach and do exercise."We have to accept that this is a new reality and find new routines to get our physical activity going," he said.National guidelines recommend Canadian adults engage in 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise per week, or what Rhodes describes as "huffing and puffing," to help prevent a range of diseases as well as bolster mental health.In the spring, both Rhodes and Guy Faulkner from the University of British Columbia worked on different studies looking at how Canadians were exercising during the initial response to the pandemic, which included the shutdown of gyms and recreation centres.Both found an expected reduction in activity, whether going to the gym or just getting outside. Moderate to vigorous physical activity declined on average by 46 minutes per week for adults, according the study Rhodes worked on.Of those who were active before COVID-19, around 20 per cent of them were not during the early days of the pandemic.Those who have stopped exercising and may still be trying to wait the pandemic out before returning are the people researchers like Rhodes and Faulkner are most concerned about."The consequences of inactivity are quite extreme," Rhodes said. Exercise for physical and mental well-beingFor 20 years, Faulkner has studied the effect of exercise on well-being and happiness.Now, in a pandemic with no known endpoint, he says exercise should be a tool to not only stay physically fit, but to bolster mental well-being."Mainly as a positive coping strategy for dealing with the stress of the situation that we find ourselves in," he said.Through their work, both Faulkner and Rhodes have uncovered some interesting trends that have helped people keep moving.Early in the pandemic, Rhodes found that people with dogs more easily kept up with exercise by walking their pets.He also found that people who had exercise equipment at home, bought new equipment, or even turned to YouTube for exercise videos fared better.Faulkner says routines do not need to be complicated. It could be as simple as trying to build in movement throughout the day to reduce sedentary activity.He takes a brisk walk in the morning and at the end of his working day as a sort of faux commute that many people like him have lost by working from home."I think we do need to make a conscious effort," he said.Pick something you likeTurning new routines into habits could be the toughest part, according to Rhodes.His research has shown that an activity needs to be repeated four times a week for six weeks before it becomes a part of someone's lifestyle. It's also important to choose an activity that you actually like doing to help make it stick.Rhodes has studied how cues, such as exercising at the same time each day, can be effective in turning exercise into a habit."Eventually the cue itself promotes the behaviour," he said.
Abolition is a vision that aims to eliminate imprisonment, policing and surveillance, and pushes for the creation of vital systems of care that many of our communities lack. For some, prison abolition and feminism do not go together. As a Black feminist, I believe otherwise. My years of organizing within the Quebec feminist movement, specifically the movement to end sexual violence, have convinced me that abolition is feminist at its core.My experience as a survivor of intimate partner and gender-based violence, moreover, has taught me that the police cannot protect us and that the struggle to end violence cannot be found within punitive and carceral systems.But what does abolition mean for feminist struggles? For starters, it helps to distinguish between abolitionist feminism and carceral feminism. Carceral feminists rely on increased punitive state power in the fight to end violence against women (VAW). They believe that we can stop gender-based violence by putting perpetrators in prisons and imposing harsher sentences.One problem with this position is that it ignores and leaves unchallenged the ways patriarchal and racialized violence is exercised through policing and prisons. This position is also based on the false assumption that the threat of punishment will stop violence from occurring. Whereas abolitionists within the feminist movement centre non-punitive, transformative community-based responses rooted in care, such as investing in life-affirming social services.They call for equipping communities with the tools they need to disrupt and intervene in patterns of harm, but also developing accountability processes for those who enact it.But if we defund the police, who will protect us?One of the most common questions I get as an anti-carceral feminist is "what will we do with rapists?" and "how will we keep each other safe?" After working with survivors and hearing testimonies from women who have been victims of gender-based violence, my answer is simple and straightforward. The police have proven their inability to protect us, which explains why an overwhelming majority of victims do not report their assault to the police.Recognizing the violence and re-victimization survivors face when they report their assault and considering the number of police officers accused and convicted of intimate partner and gender-based violence, many victims believe that reparation cannot be obtained through the criminal justice system.On the other hand, divesting from the police and carceral systems and investing in transformative community-based strategies can create innumerable possibilities for obtaining reparation and healing. Imagine investing in mental health services, shelters and sexual assault centres that are accessible and where Black, Indigenous, Trans, Disabled and other survivors of gender-based violence that face systemic discrimination can seek support.Imagine investing in education, social housing and the creation of unarmed service teams outside the police to address mental health, drug-related crises and gender-based violence. All these efforts would address the root of systemic violence.Alliances between anti-prison and VAW movement?Working for rape crisis centres, along with my own personal experiences with the justice system, have led me to explore abolitionist frameworks within feminist organizing. Unfortunately, there isn't much collaboration between anti-prison and feminist anti-violence movements here in Quebec. Considering the ways in which these two struggles intersect and how sexual violence and other forms of gender-based violence are reproduced by the carceral state, convergence seems necessary.Over time, the Quebec VAW movement has grown through state funding, becoming institutionalized, increasing professionalization and undermining its capacity to effectively address gender-based violence. In the process, there has also been a strong shift toward dependence on punitive responses.These groups also pushed forward governmental agendas that conceptualized sexual violence within a framework of criminal law reinforcing broader trends erasing the systemic nature of gender-based violence. Grassroots movements such as INCITE in the United States, have tied the rise of carceral feminisms to the state's co-optation of women's anti-violence movement by attaching funding to collaboration with law enforcement.Healing through transformative justiceAs a movement, where do we go from here? If we are to move forward, we must start acknowledging how gender-based violence is situated within structures of state violence. Our social movements can't claim to be intersectional and support institutions that enact and uphold racism, sexism, colonialism and violence.We need to mobilize and switch responses to gender-based violence from the carceral state to community-based responses rooted in care. We must invest in transformative approaches to gender-based violence prevention that not only help us heal, but prevent further harm.This is our moment. Black Lives Matter, alongside other racial justice movements have pushed abolition out of the margins. Movements to defund the police have gained unprecedented support across North America. Through abolitionist frameworks, the possibilities for ending gender-based violence are endless.On Nov. 26, Marlihan Lopez is organizing an online event tracing how violence against women movements in Quebec have come to rely exclusively on the criminal punishment system to respond to gender-based violence, thus perpetuating a racist, sexist and violent system. Lopez will present an overview of this history and the impact of carceral feminisms in Quebec, Nneka MacGregor will discuss transformative justice as a tool to address violence and Nathalie Batraville will give an introduction to prison abolition. ASL interpretation and translation provided. Please register here.This column is an opinion. For more information about our commentary section, please read our FAQ. CBC Quebec welcomes your pitches for point-of-view essays. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
A retired curator has come forward to explain how five headstones went missing from a Maugerville cemetery and wound up at Kings Landing Historical Settlement. Darrel Butler, the former chief curator of Kings Landing, said if he hadn't taken them, the stones would have met a very different fate. "If we hadn't, we wouldn't be talking today because there wouldn't have been any tombstones saved," said Butler. The controversy surrounding the stones comes after a family member, looking for his ancestors headstones, found them in an unlikely place: More than 40 kilometres away at Kings Landing. Darrel Butler said he got a call in the 1990s from someone in Maugerville. The owner of the Miles family farm had recently passed away and his surviving son, who had flown in from BC, invited him to scout out the farm for notable items from New Brunswick's farming past. "In that period of time, it was important for us, for Kings Landing to get artifacts, so that we could build a collection that historians in the future would be able to use for study and research," said Butler. Farm equipment made in the early 1800's in Saint John was the obvious choice for the collection. But Mr. Miles directed Butlers attention to the five gravestones. "He explained that his brother, who he said was a priest, about 20 years before this had gone to the old family cemetery," said Butler. "He found the family cemetery all grown over and was really worried about preserving any sense of identity." So, the priest moved the stones to a barn where they sat for decades until the surviving son convinced Butler to take them. "He said nobody's interested in them in my family, I've got to go back to British Columbia," recalled Butler. "He said the best I can do is use them as lawn ornaments on my front yard... ...which my wife won't let me do." Butler said the plan was to break them up and throw them away. So Butler said the Kings Landing collections committee mulled over the idea of saving the tombstones. He says relocating them wasn't controversial at the time, but it was still a sensitive topic.After several discussions, Kings Landing accepted the tombstones in part to save them from being destroyed, but also because it was clear they had been crafted in New Brunswick and had marked the tomb of Loyalists. The fact that no one could relocate the original cemetery also factored into the decision. The stones were then placed on consecrated ground next to the Anglican church at Kings Landing."In our perspective, we saved Loyalist artifacts," said Butler. "And they were important." "If we didn't preserve them, they'd be gone," said Butler. "So that's why we did it."Butler said now that there's another branch of family descendants willing to take care and maintain the stones, they should be returned to mark their original grave sites.According to Kings Landing chief executive officer Mary Baruth, staff are still looking into the acquisition of the tombstones. They plan on contacting the family who want to have them back.
Montrealers who plan to leave the house Monday morning might want to gear up with a tall pair of rain boots. It's a wet and slushy morning in Montreal, after the metropolitan region saw more than 10 centimetres of snow for the first time this year on Sunday. Rainfall that began overnight is expected to continue into the afternoon, Environment Canada says, with a high of 5 C. Several Quebec regions are under a snowfall warning Monday, including Quebec City, Lac-Saint-Jean, Mont-Tremblant and Saguenay."Be prepared to adjust your driving with changing road conditions," the weather agency says. The provincial capital region is also under a freezing rain warning this morning. Environment Canada says highways, roads, walkways and parking lots may become icy and slippery.
In May, the City of Mississauga gnashed its teeth. At the time, it was knee-deep in the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. A number of long-term care homes in the city were in outbreak, with dozens of deaths recorded. Business owners were also hurting, their shuttered bars, restaurants and gyms collecting dust and debt. Inside City Hall, losses were mounting daily. Reluctantly, the City had been forced to let roughly 2,000 staff, mostly part-time, seasonal employees, go from its empty recreation facilities. Help eventually offered by the federal and provincial governments was still months away from materializing. Quietly, while the world was distracted, the Doug Ford PC government was forging ahead with its plans to seismically shift how developers pay for growth. Under the area of development subsidies known as a Community Benefits Charge (CBC), the Province was toying with new rules for planning. These fees are often paid by builders to create enhanced features such as green spaces or other amenities that are built using additional money charged to developers in exchange for project changes that generally create more profit, such as adding additional floors to a condo building. Changes were introduced as one of many initiatives in Bill 108 (More Homes, More Choice) — legislation that was almost universally decried around municipal council tables when it received royal assent in 2019. The Province allowed consultation in May (when Mississauga was preoccupied with its pandemic response) which revolved around parks. Just how much greenspace developers needed to provide for even more new residents that would eventually be housed in expanded projects, was a question that created tension. According to staff reports in Brampton and Mississauga at the time, the proposed changes meant developers would pay less to cities, for the features they have for decades been expected to provide when building large residential projects. Municipalities, under the PC government’s plan, would be worse off, while developers would be further ahead. “At a time when we are grappling with the unprecedented financial impacts of COVID-19, the proposed Community Benefits Charge will leave Council [with] even more difficult decisions,” then City Manager, Janice Baker, told Mississauga Council. Under the current rules, developers have to offer a certain amount of parkland to cities and, if they want to reduce that amount, they have to pay a fee. The CBC proposals limited parkland related contributions to 10 percent of the land’s value for high-rise buildings, meaning the projects with the most residents would offer the least public space per capita. “The proposed CBC weakens the link between population growth and the increased need for services,” a Mississauga staff report earlier in the year stated. In Mississauga, under the current system, high and medium-density developments contribute 74 percent of parkland (either physically or in payments). The CBC proposals meant dense developments would cough up just 31 percent of the funding for the city’s new greenspace, with non-residential and low-density homes (which already have backyards) making up the difference. It seemed illogical. After a passionate response from Mississauga and other cities angered by the prospect of a revenue hit while they are reeling financially because of the pandemic, the PC government has rolled back its proposed changes. Under Bill 197 (COVID-19 Economic Recovery Act) Queen’s Park rapidly back-peddled, returning parkland contributions by developers to the pre-pandemic levels. “The new community benefits charge authority provides local governments with the flexibility to collect funds for any growth-related services required due to higher density residential development, as long as those costs are not being recovered under other tools,” a spokesperson for the Ministry of Municipalities and Housing explained to The Pointer. “A community benefits charge may enable municipalities to recover the capital costs of any service, as long as it is needed to support new growth … the types of services funded through community benefits charges could include parks, recreation centres, affordable housing, child care, cycling infrastructure and others.” “We were very pleased the Province listened to the feedback from municipalities and rolled back many of the proposed Bill 108 provisions around the Community Benefits Charge,” Jason Bevan, director, city planning strategies, told The Pointer. “We look forward to seeing the final CBC regulations on the percentage of land value cap.” The Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) which advocates for the lowest tier of government, said it was “pleased to see the addition of eligible services for development charge recovery being restored” alongside “maintaining existing parkland provisions and the flexibility of CBCs as a tool to recover additional costs”. After a year of consternation for cities, the Province has largely walked back its plans for the CBC. The legislation, initially blasted as a developer freebie, has gradually been softened. Originally, the new legislative changes impacted a range of community features that municipalities have to provide for residents under the development proposals submitted by builders after assembling land for growth. Municipalities were concerned they would have to stretch the funds from the charge to cover features such as libraries, community centres, parks and playgrounds. Responding to feedback, the Province changed tack and protected a range of community features that will continue to be covered by development charges. Specific infrastructure, including libraries and other “soft” services, are covered under the Development Charges Act. Developers will continue to pay for the costs associated with growth. But, realistically, these charges are generally covered by buyers who pay for them through increased unit costs that developers charge when setting their sale prices. It seems much more fair to have the people in a particular new development pay for the surrounding features and services they will enjoy, rather than having property tax payers in general cover the expenses when municipalities have to fund them. At the beginning of October, further regulations were released which made the CBC picture a little clearer still. While the charge is designed to capture certain soft community services not always covered by traditional development charges, there are several areas explicitly excluded. Long-term care, universities, clubhouses or retirement homes cannot be funded using the latest form of CBCs. The new CBC mechanism, brought in to codify an element of development which previously operated as more of a negotiation, comes with strict rules. Cities are tasked, over the next two years, with creating a CBC strategy and bylaw to estimate the amount and type of development where the charge may be used. The strategy should also estimate the increased need for facilities and services as a direct result of developments and the associated growth-related costs. It must acknowledge any grants or subsidies made to help with such projects. A potential sticking point for municipal councils is a cap on the CBC, meaning the charge cannot exceed 4 percent of the value of the lands being developed. If developers disagree with the land valuation, they can dispute it. The likely outcome will see buyers cover any increased costs, as developers across the province won’t have to worry about unfair pricing competition because all builders will have to raise prices. In the end, it will be mostly young buyers who will absorb the additional financial burden for creating enhanced community features they will benefit from. Moving forward, municipalities will also produce an annual report showing how much money is in their CBC and parkland reserves. The reports will detail where money is spent and how projects not using CBC charges were funded. The concept behind the strategy and bylaw is to make costs more predictable for developers and reduce negotiations between individual builders and local politicians. Exactly what community features Mississauga will prioritize under the new CBC system will become clearer over the next two years, as the City draws together its bylaw for the charge. These community standards will best serve the public if they are directly involved and make clear what they want in their neighbourhoods. In essence, as long as cities don’t double charge through other parkland contributions or development charges, they can hit developers with a bill for any growth costs, other than the small list of features that are exempt. The amount is capped under the 4 percent limit, based on the land value. But it still gives high-growth municipalities such as Mississauga and Brampton welcome breathing room as they no longer have to worry about paying for a range of new community features while struggling with the financial damage caused by the pandemic. Smart decision making around the bylaw, with some elements still emerging, should help ensure that as new developments keep springing up across the city, growth will pay for growth in Mississauga. Email: email@example.com Twitter: @isaaccallan Tel: 647 561-4879 COVID-19 is impacting all Canadians. At a time when vital public information is needed by everyone, The Pointer has taken down our paywall on all stories relating to the pandemic and those of public interest to ensure every resident of Brampton and Mississauga has access to the facts. For those who are able, we encourage you to consider a subscription. This will help us report on important public interest issues the community needs to know about now more than ever. You can register for a 30-day free trial HERE. Thereafter, The Pointer will charge $10 a month and you can cancel any time right on the website. Thank you.Isaac Callan, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Pointer
A Saskatoon woman who arranged a performance art piece across the globe has decided to share her story through a unique art exhibit in the city.It's called To Whom It May Concern and features a collection of photographs and letters which address the rise of domestic violence during COVID-19.The project was started by Natalie Feheregyhazi in Toronto a few years ago.Feheregyhazi dressed up in a wedding dress with a white mask covering her entire face. She would sit in various places in the city and write letters to be left where she was sitting.She was given the nickname 'Toronto's Masked Bride' as her identity remained anonymous.Feheregyhazi said the idea to do an art project about a bride had been in her mind for several years prior to the performance art piece but some experiences in 2015 and 2016 inspired the final project.She said one of the experiences happened after a brief conversation with a local artist, Daniel O'Shea, in a shop in Saskatoon."[He] showed me a painting he had done for a friend of his who had recently been murdered in a domestic violence situation," Feheregyhazi said.The woman in question was Beverly Littlecrow, a 36-year-old woman who the Crown prosecutor argued had been a victim of manslaughter at the hands of her spouse Gabriel Faucher in 2016.In 2018, Faucher was found not guilty of manslaughter in the death of Littlecrow as the judges could not rule out the possibility of Littlecrow's injuries having been accidental. The appeal of Faucher's acquittal was dismissed earlier this year."We talked about this painting and he ended up gifting it to me because he said he didn't know what to do with it," Feheregyhazi said. "He felt it was meant to go to me."I really feel like Beverly's spirit has been with this project since that moment."Leaving a dangerous relationshipFeheregyhazi said getting the painting coincided with her leaving a dangerous relationship after she had found out "all sorts of kind of terrifying things" about her partner who she had been with for eight years."It was a whole host of things that had happened kind of simultaneously and when it came to that summer and that spring, I didn't know how to process all of this," Feheregyhazi said. "And that's when all of the pieces kind of came together."She said she knew the bride in the project had to be masked, and had to be voiceless, because she didn't know how to express it otherwise.Feheregyhazi said she didn't want people to know who she was since the project involved her leaving notes around Toronto with real life stories, and she did not want the stories to be brought back to the people they involved.She described the letters she left around the city as love letters, as the experiences she was trying to express in the art piece had to do with abusers being loved by the people they abuse."That conflict, that love is really what keeps us kind of caught in these cycles and I mean it's complicated," Feheregyhazi said. "There are a lot of elements to it and sometimes it's fear and sometimes it's unfortunate conditioning but it's also love."She said she hoped that through writing in this uncensored and spontaneous manner it would bring to light the positive feelings often felt in abusive relationships which make it harder for victims to leave."One day and one moment you're remembering the beautiful anniversary you had or that time when it was snowing, like it currently is in Saskatoon, and you decided to cuddle up and watch five movies in a row and just be loving," Feheregyhazi said."Versus being assaulted, being yelled at, being sexually violated, those are the things that don't get addressed nearly often enough when we talk about domestic or intimate forms of violence."The performance art project took Feheregyhazi to many places including Europe and Africa. She said she met many people, including men and people with mental illnesses, who shared their stories with her."What strikes me is how deep our collective longing for kindness and connection and love is," She said. "Sometimes I didn't catch everything but they would come and identify with the vulnerability of the figure that was just there to kind of listen, it wasn't speaking it created the space for them to share."She said many people came up to her to share intimate and painful parts of their lived experiences with her and she just listened."There was kind of a silent agreement of trust [and] these stories are confessed and shared because no one knew who I was."Taking the mask offFeheregyhazi said the reason she now decided to take the mask off and attach her name to the project has to do with the COVID-19 pandemic."We're living in a situation where since the quarantine went into effect domestic violence has been on the rise," she said. "And this is all happening in very confined, restricted basis."People who are already isolated are even more isolated and have less easy access to help."She said the exhibit in Saskatoon, which runs until Nov. 29, touches on some young women who died in the spring and summer of this year due to alleged domestic violence.One of those women is Tina Tingley-McAleer who was killed in her home in Hillsborough, N.B., in May. Police arrested her partner, Calvin Andrew Lewis, and charged him with first-degree murder.Feheregyhazi said the exhibit also includes on Darian Hailey Henderson-Bellman, a 25-year-old woman from Brampton, Ont., who was allegedly shot to death by her boyfriend Darnell Reid in August.The last woman who is honoured in the art exhibit is Brittney Ann Meszaros. The 24-year-old Calgary woman was found dead in her home in April, and her common-law boyfriend, Alexander Moskaluk, was charged with manslaughter."I really hope [the exhibit] will bring to surface a reminder of who these people were like these aren't just statistics they're mothers, they're sisters, they're friends and they got caught in a situation that for some reason socially we still tolerate to some degree," Feheregyhazi said."I don't know why we mind our own business when we hear something going on or how we've been conditioned to kind of just accept that there's a certain level of violence that women and girls may encounter." The To Whom It May Concern art exhibit is in Saskatoon at 20th Street West at Avenue E and is free to view."I hope people will be moved to ask and demand that these kinds of violences come to an end once and for all."If you need help and are in immediate danger, call 911. To find assistance in your area, visit sheltersafe.ca or endingviolencecanada.org/getting-help. In Saskatchewan, pathssk.org has listings of available services across the province.
A Halifax dance studio hopes that temporarily closing its doors might slow the city's recent spike in COVID-19 cases, and keep it alive in the long run.Some businesses outside the food industry are changing how they operate. This follows the lead of some restaurants and bars who have closed their doors temporarily, without being asked to do so by public health.Haliente Creative Studio on Barrington Street offers salsa, bachata and other styles of classes, as well as social nights for people to practise their moves.But owner Moses Diallo said that even while wearing a mask, physical closeness and the nature of touching hands while dancing increases their risk.On Saturday evening, the day 22 exposure notices were issued by authorities, Diallo announced Haliente would close for the next two weeks.He said even though staff and clients were following public health rules, it felt like a matter of time before someone contracted the coronavirus."It's not an easy decision, but it's one that makes sense and it's better we do this than have an exposure," Diallo said Sunday."Myself, along with many people, have vulnerable individuals in their families and … the risks are just too high at this point."As of Sunday, there were 44 known active cases of COVID-19 in Nova Scotia. Premier Stephen McNeil has singled out young people as driving the recent exposures. He said there are 18- to 35-year-olds going out when they feel sick, and in large groups without distancing.New restrictions also start Monday, where residents in the Halifax Regional Municipality are limited to only five people gathering in a social group without physical distancing, down from 10.Closing down 'is a sacrifice,' says business ownerWhen asked whether the government should mandate that businesses close for a short time to get a handle on COVID-19, Diallo said he's "all for it," since short-term pain is bearable if it brings a long-term gain of keeping the economy open over the next few months.Diallo said they nearly didn't survive the last shutdown, when their studio was closed for nearly five months."The two weeks is a sacrifice that we made in order not to close down forever," Diallo said. "I can't afford to close down for more than a month."The Freedom Kitchen & Closet in Lower Sackville has decided to stop clothing donations for now due to the community spread, while the Fall River Animal Hospital has returned to curbside appointments.Many restaurants and cafés in the Halifax area have either closed entirely or announced over the weekend they are now only offering takeout and delivery. People are advised to check with restaurants before visiting.Paul MacKinnon, CEO of the Downtown Halifax Business Commission, said Sunday he's heard a broad mix of feedback from members about how to navigate the current spike in cases.He said his organization won't weigh in on whether certain sectors should shut down again. But, MacKinnon predicted many owners will close on their own to protect staff and patrons over the next few days, just like in the spring."It's a business decision that the owner has to make. And if they think they're not going to get a lot of business anyway, in some cases, it may actually save some money," MacKinnon said.Although it's a tough situation coming into the holiday season, MacKinnon said the timing actually puts businesses at an advantage because people will be stocking up on presents and gift cards no matter how high the case numbers climb.Also, MacKinnon said most shops and eateries have active online stores or delivery models that they put in place during the first shutdown earlier this year."Hopefully it won't be as big of an impact as it was before. But of course, it's unchartered territory," MacKinnon said.He said there's some "light at the end of the tunnel" with the recent news that vaccines are close to being ready.MORE TOP STORIES
New Brunswick's four ski hills are busy making snow following growing interest in outdoor sports during the COVID-19 pandemic.Pass sales at Crabbe Mountain near Fredericton have increased 15 per cent over last year."General demand with equipment stores is high and people can't keep product on the shelf, so I think there's a big demand for outdoor space, winter activity," said general manager Jordan Cheney.Skiers can expect some changes to the overall experience, including physical distancing at lift lines and limited lodge access for warming up.While face coverings will be mandatory at most times, it's nothing new for skiers already accustomed to keeping their faces warm."We've all bundled up in the cold and worn goggles and face masks," Cheney said. "So with outdoor stuff, it should be very similar to what people have been used to."Early end to seasonThe last ski season came to an early end when the pandemic hit in mid-March. Crabbe Mountain lost about 15 days of operations after New Brunswick shut down all non-essential business to stop the spread of COVID-19.Cheney said the ski hill was still operating with picnic tables outdoors at the end."We were on track to have a record season, so it was unfortunate that it got cut short," he said. "But we were fortunate in that it was at the tail end of the season."With uncertainty around the COVID-19 pandemic, ski areas are rolling out refund and credit policies to assure season pass holders in the event of an unexpected shutdown due to the coronavirus.Mont Farlagne near Edmundston rolled out a guarantee for season pass holders.> "We were on track to have a record season, so it was unfortunate that it got cut short." \- Jordan Cheney, Crabbe Mountain If the Campbellton region moves into the red phase, Sugarloaf Provincial Park will offer prorated refunds based on ski days missed.Poley Mountain in Sussex will offer a prorated pass that will carry over into next season.At Crabbe Mountain, pass holders will have the choice between a prorated refund or credit toward next season.Bubble lifts, lessonsOther New Brunswick ski hills have created similar COVID-19 operational plans, focusing on physical distancing and preventing large gatherings in lines and lodges.Chairs will be loaded within bubbles, instead of loading four people per chair.Danielle Gagné, vice-president at Mont Farlagne, said masks will be required at all times, including on lifts. The one exception will be when going down the hill."When we have a bubble or a family, we go up like normal," she said.Gagné said two people from different bubbles can ride the lift together, provided they wear masks and sit at the opposite ends of the quad chair.At Sugarloaf and Crabbe Mountain, face coverings are recommended but not required while riding the lift. Poley requires them at all times, except when heading downhill.Ski hills are also reducing some group lessons to bubbles.Crabbe Mountain is allowing people to pre-purchase lift tickets online to cut back on lines.Skiers will be able to scan a code on their phones that can be printed outdoors when they arrive. Reduced lodge accessAll four mountains are limiting the amount of space indoors for skiers and snowboarders to get ready and warm up."Space will be made available in our lodge or in our buildings for booting up, but we're just asking that folks don't store their equipment," Cheney said.Crabbe Mountain has purchased a 2,600 square-foot greenhouse with picnic tables for skiers to warm up, since space indoors will be mostly occupied by the ski school and seating for the restaurant.At Mont Farlagne, Gagné said dining will still be offered at seated tables limited to groups of four people.With temperatures dipping below freezing, snowmaking is underway as ski hills prepare to open in early December.Sugarloaf and Crabbe Mountain are both aiming to open for the first full weekend of December.Poley Mountain and Mont Farlagne plan to open a week later on Dec. 11.
The Big Land is set to see some big snowfall amounts, with parts of Labrador under weather warnings as a snowy storm system moves into the region beginning Monday in some areas.Central Labrador is under a blizzard warning, with the Happy Valley-Goose Bay area expected to see the most snow, totalling between 50 to 70 centimetres, to possibly 80 centimetres, falling between Monday to Tuesday evening.Environment Canada also expects wind gusts up to 90 kilometres an hour in the central region.The blizzard warnings extend north through to Hopedale, with those winds persisting and between 25 to 40 centimetres of snow expected, beginning Monday evening. Snowfall warnings for lesser amounts reach up to Nain as well as through to Cartwright and Black Tickle.Much of Newfoundland is under a wind warning for Tuesday, from the Avalon Peninsula, all along the south and southwest coasts, western Newfoundland and areas along the northeast coast bracing for gusts of around 80 km/hr, with stronger gusts up to 110 km/hr expected.The Wreckhouse area can expect gusts up to 140 km/hr overnight into Tuesday.That weather system has prompted Marine Atlantic to delay its Monday day crossings until the evening, but the ferry also advises its evening crossings as well as those on Tuesday could be impacted.Read more articles from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
Regina is welcoming a new mayor and ten council members at tonight's swearing in ceremony.Sandra Masters, the first woman to be voted to mayor's office in Regina, will be sworn in at Regina City Hall tonight at 7 p.m. CST.Five of the ten council members are new: Shanon Zachidniak for Ward 8, Landon Mohl for Ward 10, Cheryl Stadinchuk for Ward 1, Terina Shaw for Ward 7 and Daniel LeBlanc for Ward 6.COVID-19 protocols will be in place during the ceremony. All members will be wearing masks, sanitizing their hands and physically distancing.The ceremony will be live streamed on the City of Regina website.
The vice president of an Island trucking company says it's doing everything it can to keep everyone safe while continuing to follow the changing rules for rotational workers. "As an industry, we're going to do what we kind of have to do to keep the community around us safe," Andy Keith with Seafood Express Transport told Island Morning's Laura Chapin. "It does pose some additional challenges for us, but if we have to do it, we have to do it."Currently, there are around 900 Islanders who are considered rotational workers — including truckers. For them, special guidelines and testing routines are expected to be followed. 'Unprecedented times for everybody'Recently, P.E.I.'s Chief Public Heath office put out a reminder of those rules after a rotational worker visited a number of stores before testing positive for COVID-19.It remains unclear if that rotational worker was a truck driver. But currently, commercial truck drivers who are residents of P.E.I. must be tested three times to be exempt from isolation. There is, however, an exception for those who are only in the province for a few days. The rules "come out quickly and they change quite often unfortunately so that's been a challenge," said Keith. For his drivers, Keith said questions about the guidelines have ranged from do they need to self-isolate from their families to can they go to a doctor's appointment when they're home."With the new rules changes now, its been a little more clear and there's a little more clarity in what they can and can't do," he said. "I think it's unprecedented times for everybody so we're all kind of rolling with the punches at this point."'They should be proud'According to Keith, some drivers have also taken this as an opportunity to increase their workload since the options to socialize during their days off are limited. "A lot of cases our drivers are here and their families are back in their home countries," he said. "They have that optimistic viewpoint to say, 'Well maybe I'll just keep working and work a little harder make a little extra money.'"And for others, Keith said he can understand how it might be tough being a rotational worker during a time where travel isn't recommended. "We're telling our drivers that they're providing an essential service," he said. "They're really the heroes of ... bringing food products to Islanders and to Atlantic Canadian and Canadians as a whole.""They should be proud of what they're doing."More from CBC P.E.I.
There could be a stand-off at a Whitehorse construction site this week over the issue of outside workers.A contractor building a downtown mixed-use apartment building for the Challenge Disability Resource Group plans to bring in workers from Manitoba.Under a Yukon government program the workers will self-isolate while they're on the job. Rob Babcock, who works as a site supervisor for a Whitehorse electrical sub-contractor at the Challenge building, said he's sceptical the outside workers and local crews will be able to completely avoid each other on the project."You know, from my perspective, I just don't see how having people on site with us accounts as self isolation," Babcock said."It goes against everything that we've been doing and I don't know how it's fair if I were to leave the territory to come back. I would have to self isolate, not work for 14 days."The outside workers are coming from Manitoba, a COVID-19 hotspot, he said, and he wonders who will enforce their self-isolation on the job and during their off hours.He said other contractors have told him they won't stay on the site if the Manitobans show up."I myself have told my boss that I will probably do the same, and I imagine most of my guys will also follow me on that, you know, the risk is too much," Babcock said.The executive director of Challenge, Jillian Hardie, said she's confident the self-isolation plan can protect the workers."We're all responsible during this pandemic for ourselves. So with these crews that are coming in on the alternative self-isolation plan, they are responsible to maintain this plan," Hardie said.She said they will not be working in the same areas of the building and will have their own lunchroom and washroom.The out-of-town workers will wear armbands to identify themselves, she said.Hardie said the local sub-contractors also have the right to work elsewhere for the two week self-isolation period.The contractor, Edmonton-based Johnston Builders, asked the Yukon government for permission to use the alternative self-isolation plan at the site and it was approved by Community Services Minister John Streicker, she said.Streicker was questioned by Yukon NDP leader MLA Kate White about that decision in the legislature Thursday."Can the minister explain why he would allow a company to bring in workers from Manitoba with the highest Covid[-19] rate per capita in the country to fly into Whitehorse to work on a construction project?" White asked.Streicker said there have been about 400 applications in Yukon so far this year for the alternative self-isolation plan, but not all have been approved."They can apply for an alternative self-isolation, indicating that they self-isolate, but they can do so on the job site if they prove and can carry that out in such a way as to keep it safe and separate," Streicker said.The government gets an opinion from the chief medical officer of health before the plans are approved, he added.
Ownership changes in New Brunswick apartment complexes that in some cases have been generating eviction notices for tenants in entire buildings is causing anxiety among those displaced.It has led to calls for the province to delay the practice, at least while COVID-19 is surging."We're in the orange zone now," said Tara Cripps, who was told last week by National Bank she, her partner and their five children were being put out of their Saint John home of seven years."We can't even say, 'Hey, can we stay at your house?' We're supposed to be all in one family bubble thing again."She said she's going to need friends to help her pack up."And I'm going to need their trucks and their cars and stuff to move. Is somebody going to call the police and be, like, 'There's multiple people going in and out of this house?'"National Bank recently foreclosed on the Saint John apartment building owned by Cripps's landlord and, on Nov. 12, sent a lawyer's letter to her and her partner ordering them and their children to get out two weeks after Christmas."National Bank requires immediate vacant possession of the above noted property," read the notice from its Fredericton lawyer, Paul White. "On behalf of our client we hereby demand vacant possession on or before Wednesday January 6, 2021."Should you not vacate … it will be necessary for us to make court application to have you evicted and we will be asking for costs on behalf of [National Bank].""I've been here seven years and I've never been late on my rent," said Cripps."I've come to the understanding I need to find a new home. OK. But wait until it's a safer time. Wait until we're not in the orange zone. Wait until it's a little bit warmer. I'm hoping someone at the bank has a heart."The eviction of tenants unable to pay rent was halted by the Higgs government in the early days of the pandemic in March but those restrictions were lifted June 1. Since then, a new type of eviction has emerged as large numbers of New Brunswick apartment buildings have changed hands with some of the new owners wanting current tenants out.Ron Blache-Fraser, a local property manager, said out-of-province investors have taken an interest in New Brunswick income properties as attractive real estate investment opportunities."There's a lot of interest from out-of-town buyers for all sorts of buildings in Saint John because the prices are lower, the returns are better," he said. "It's pretty straightforward."In October, two five-unit buildings on Sherbrooke Street in Saint John were purchased by a group of Vancouver-area investors who paid $470,000 for the properties — 35 per cent above their assessed value. The group then issued eviction notices to tenants in one of the buildings so renovations can be done and rents increased.Blache-Fraser is managing those buildings and said they were in poor condition and needed significant work. He expects rents, which were between $475 and $650 per month prior to the purchase, will climb to $975 for a two-bedroom unit once renovations are complete."We issued notice that we would be doing major renovations and gave tenants three-months notice, which we did not have to do," said Blache-Fraser."They need to be out at the end of January. Some are already leaving and we're in the process of renovating because the buildings are in deteriorated condition." Across the city on Jack Street, an Ontario company bought a pair of 24-unit buildings. In September, it issued eviction notices to tenants in one of the buildings to be out by Nov. 30.That deadline is next week. Although most tenants have gone elsewhere, at least one woman remains. Dave Cormier is her son.He said she has been in the building for 10 years. He said finding a two-bedroom unit for her for the $750 per month she currently pays has been difficult with vacancy rates falling and rents increasing all over Saint John."It's almost impossible unless you've got $1,400, or $1,600 or $2,000 [for rent]," he said."Even $1,100 for a two-bedroom apartment is a lot of money for low-income [people]."Cormier has been speaking with the province about public housing and is hopeful something is happening, but with the eviction deadline just a week away and COVID-19 suddenly spiking in the community, it has been a stressful experience."It's scary. You know, COVID-19 is not making this any easier at all. It might be a little bit easier if that wasn't going on, but it is. And because of that, things are difficult."Last week, a surge in COVID-19 infections across southern New Brunswick caused the province to downgrade communities from Sackville to St. Stephen, including Moncton and Saint John, from the yellow phase to the orange phase of pandemic recovery. That requires the public to limit contacts with people outside of their household bubble.Premier Blaine Higgs was asked Friday if there are any additional protections for tenants in orange-phase areas who are being put out of their buildings. His answer was no."No, not at all," said Higgs. "Not at this time."That causes worry for tenants like Cripps. Her landlord owns multiple buildings and she said the letter carrier who delivered her eviction notice told her he had several others to hand out.A spokesperson for National Bank said it was not involved in other evictions and has already contacted Cripps about allowing her family to stay where it is."Other cases were with other lenders," said Jean-Francois Cadieux. "Our legal external counsel has contacted the tenants. He presented them solutions and informed them that we will not be asking that they vacate their apartment."'Kids can't sleep in a car'But Cripps said the bank's solution involves her making an offer to buy the building. She said she doesn't have a down payment and doubts she could afford the building.She does not want to uproot her children before Christmas but is worried about what comes after, especially if large numbers of other evicted renters are suddenly in the market at the same time looking for a place to live."There are good tenants that are being penalized and now they're being put out," she said."All these families now need to find a home. We're all going to be fighting for an apartment. There are going to be people who are probably going to end up homeless. What are parents going to do? Kids can't sleep in a car."