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Leaders look back on end of emergency session

Fri, 07/03/2020 - 18:10
In the heat of a July Friday, the Saskatchewan legislative assembly finished its spring sitting, about three months after it started. This sitting was a continuation of the sitting that had to be cut short in March because of the pandemic. The house leaders negotiated and decided to bring everyone back in mid-June to pass the budget and complete the legislative agenda. Premier Scott Moe on Friday touted the passing of the budget, indicating he believes it will show the voters which party is best to lead the province's economic recovery from COVID-19. Moe said the sitting was a little more challenging though, because of the gathering and distancing limits due to COVID-19. Only 10 government members could be in the House at one time and Moe said even their caucus meetings had to be divided up into different rooms and video-conferenced together. “It was a different session. And I found that challenging, not to have the same camaraderie and everyone around all of the time and that’s the normal that is here for the time being," said Moe. The Sask. NDP has been saying since the budget was tabled, that there are holes in it in the lack of financial projections in the coming year, but Moe said any lack of clarity in the budget is reflective of a lack of clarity everyone has about the future. “No one knows for sure where our economy is, how it is going to come back, how robust it is going to come back and to what level it is going to come back … and we share that uncertainty with everyone across Canada and around the world," said Moe. The NDP has said the Sask. Party will raise taxes, cut budgets and sell off Crown corporations to balance the budget if it gets into power again. But Moe disagreed, saying he has faith the recovery will come. “We don’t feel that there is going to be a reason for increasing taxes, we don’t feel that there is going to be a reason for any of the NDP are talking about," said Moe. The NDP had asked for another sitting in the fall before the upcoming election, but Moe dismissed the idea, saying there's no need. “The debate that we are going to have in the months ahead is not going to happen in the legislature, it’s going to happen in the communities, on the doorsteps, and in front of the people in this province," said Moe. Meili on the sitting Sask. NDP leader Ryan Meili said having this sitting was really important, that it was a chance to provide some scrutiny and accountability - Meili said it was the highlight of the sitting for him. "That we got to look part-way in and have a better understanding of what it is this government is hiding and be able to communicate that more clearly to the public," said Meili. Meili claims Moe doesn't want to share a lot of his plans, pointing again to the lack of fiscal projections in the budget, and saying the government is hiding how it plans to get back to balance if it wins the fall election. He argues the government will sell off Crowns, will raise taxes, and cut ministry budgets. "We've seen this movie before, we know this is how they operate, they will tell us that everything is going to be fine, that they won't do those things - right after the election the tune will change, they'll tell us 'oh we have to now, we have to take these measures we have no choice,'" explained Meili. There likely won't be a fall sitting before the election, which Meili said is unfortunate. But over the summer he said he'll be out working in his constituency, working on the campaign, and continuing to push for answers on tough questions. "I firmly believe that as we go forward with a plan that Saskatchewan people can get excited about, as we present our vision for the future, and that clear contrast with a government that's out of vision, out of ideas, that we will be very competitive and, really, the main message that we have to say is 'we're ready to do this, we would form a far better government than the incompetent and frequently dishonest governance that we've seen from Mr. Moe,'" said Meili.

Severe thunderstorm watch in effect for areas of southern Saskatchewan

Fri, 07/03/2020 - 17:48
Some areas of the province could see some thunderstorm activity tonight. Environment Canada has issued a severe thunderstorm watch for Moose Jaw, Pense, Central Butte, Craik, Assiniboia, Gravelbourg and Coronach. Conditions are favourable for the development of severe thunderstorms that may be capable of producing strong wind gusts, large hail and heavy rain. Thunderstorms are developing over south-central Saskatchewan along a trough of low pressure. Some of these thunderstorms may become severe this evening or overnight.  

Dr. Bonnie Henry honoured at mural exhibition, picks up Fluevog shoes in Gastown

Fri, 07/03/2020 - 17:02
VANCOUVER - Businesses in Vancouver's Gastown neighbourhood honoured the provincial health officer on Friday with a sneak peek at a mural exhibition featuring her image. Dr. Bonnie Henry visited the new Murals of Gratitude exhibition, which is organized in an alleyway by the area's business improvement association and opens to the public on Monday. There's at least one portrait of Henry alongside paintings of health-care workers, said Walley Wargolet, a board member with the business improvement association. "It really started with thanking our health-care heroes who are getting us through the pandemic," said Wargolet, who owns Dutil Denim. About 40 local artists created more than 60 murals when businesses boarded up their storefronts after the COVID-19 pandemic forced B.C. into a state of emergency in March, he said. "The vibrancy that we come to expect here in Gastown came back because you had all this beautiful artwork as opposed to just plywood." As the province has eased restrictions and businesses have reopened, Wargolet said the Museum of Vancouver helped curate a selection of the murals. They're set to be on display throughout the summer and the museum plans to keep some in its collection once the exhibition is over, he added. While in Gastown, Henry also donned a new pair of shoes she inspired in the wake of the pandemic. Local designer John Fluevog dubbed the two-tone pink leather heels "The Dr. Henry." The province's top doctor has gained scores of fans for her calm demeanour during frequent media appearances, as well as her flair for colourful shoes. The inner soles of the limited edition Fluevog shoes are stamped with a reminder from Henry to "be kind, be calm and be safe," a phrase she has repeated often. The designer's web page for the shoe says Henry has been "an outstanding source of knowledge and reassurance during the current fight against COVID-19." It says all profits from the sale of the shoe will support Food Banks BC. Gastown is a hot spot for tourists and Wargolet said business has slowed while more people are staying home because of COVID-19. But he's hopeful that new patio spaces will encourage people to visit the neighbourhood. He said businesses, restaurants and pubs in Gastown have worked with the city to create about 500 new patio spaces that are set to open next week. This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 3, 2020. The Canadian Press

Canadian Taylor Pendrith one shot back heading into final round

Fri, 07/03/2020 - 17:00
BERTHOUD, Colo. - Canadian Taylor Pendrith is in contention for his first Korn Ferry Tour victory with one round to go at the TPC Colorado Championship at Heron Lakes. Pendrith, of Richmond Hill, Ont., fired a 5-under 67 on Friday to reach 11 under through three rounds - leaving him in a tie for second place only one stroke back of leader Will Zalatoris. Pendrith began the day in sixth after shooting 68-70 in the first two rounds. He followed that up on Friday with his best round of the tournament, going bogey free with five birdies to climb the leaderboard. Zalatoris got to 12 under by shooting 70, while Erik Barnes sits tied with Pendrith after matching him with a 67. Pendrith's best finish this season came two weeks ago at The King and Bear Classic at World Golf Village, where he placed 14th. Pendrith, who earned two victories last season on Canada's Mackenzie Tour, is the top-ranked Canadian on the second-tier Korn Ferry Tour, sitting 49th. Meanwhile, Adam Svensson of Surrey, B.C., has moved into the Top 10 with 18 holes to play. He is 7 under following a 4-under 68, while Vancouver's Stuart Macdonald is 2 over after firing a 75. This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 3, 2020. The Canadian Press

Back to the movies – Saskatchewan theatres once again open their doors

Fri, 07/03/2020 - 16:54
Opening afternoon at the Cinescape Cineplex movie theatre on Eighth Street in Saskatoon was decidedly un-Hollywood; there were no huge lineups, no couples arguing about whether to see a romantic movie or an action flick, no children tugging at their parents’ pant legs, begging for candy and popcorn. It was all very…low key. Only about a dozen patrons came to the theatre for the first showings of “Sonic the Hedgehog” and “The Invisible Man.” Both movies had short runs earlier this year, and were pulled from the big screens when the COVID-19 pandemic hit Saskatchewan and most businesses shuttered their doors in mid-March. Those who did show up though were excited to be there, and to have the big screen – almost – all to themselves. Inder Khra and Kayla Poorman were the first who arrived to see “The Invisible Man,” a movie they both wanted to watch months ago, but never got the chance. “I’m SO HAPPY,” shouted Poorman as she got out of her vehicle. “I just wanted to be back in the theatre,” said Khra. “Like, I wanted to watch it the first time it comes out, so this is the first show I’m going to watch.” “I miss the feeling of just like walking in there and watching the movie. It feels so great,” added Kayla. While Kayla said she was a little bit hesitant about whether physical distancing would be enforced, Khra said he’d viewed the seating chart which showed that just 40 out of 200 seats were available. He also said he didn’t believe cleaning or disinfecting would be an issue since he used to work at the same theatre. “They are going to be cleaning properly. Because I was the one cleaning earlier so I know they’re good people, so they’re going to do their best.” “I’m just excited to get in there,” said Kayla. “I watch all the movies in the theatre,” Khra chimed in. “So, let’s hope more movies come soon.” For now, Cineplex will continue to show recent releases, while Landmark Cinemas will play classic movies like “Star Wars,” “Ghostbusters,” and “Dirty Dancing.”

Hockey Canada cancels 2020 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge

Fri, 07/03/2020 - 16:44
CALGARY - The 2020 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge scheduled to take place in the fall has been cancelled due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic Hockey Canada made the announcement on Friday.          The annual, week-long tournament was set to open October 31 in Charlottetown and Summerside, P.E.I. "Hockey Canada's priority remains the health and safety of all participants and the general public. We believe the decision to cancel the 2020 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge is the safest decision given the ongoing uncertainty of the pandemic at a local level, as well as the international implications associated with this event," Hockey Canada said in a statement. Charlottetown and Summerside will still host the 2021 edition of the event. Russia is the defending champion at the tournament after beating the United States last year in Saskatchewan. The U17 program will continue with its virtual summer camp, with the hope of being able to compete in a local environment in the fall. The remaining 2020 event schedule is still set to run, including the National Women's U18 Championship in Dawson Creek, B.C., in November, the Para Hockey Cup in Bridgewater, N.S., and the World Junior A Challenge in Cornwall, Ont., both in December, and 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship in Edmonton and Red Deer, Alta., that opens Boxing Day.   This report by The Canadian Press was first published on July 3, 2020. The Canadian Press

Siakam says he feels safe in Florida, despite explosion of COVID-19 cases

Fri, 07/03/2020 - 16:17
Pascal Siakam has watched the number of COVID-19 cases climb in the United States, particularly in Florida, where the Toronto Raptors convened more than a week ago. But the Raptors forward feels that, with the team carefully following the NBA coronavirus protocols, he and his teammates are as safe there as they would be anywhere. "Obviously Florida is one of (the U.S. states) that's pretty high at the moment, but . . . the team has been doing a fantastic job in terms of making sure we're kind of isolated, "Siakam said Friday during a videoconference. "Obviously, you're kind of scared seeing the cases rise but you trust the team's going to do everything, the NBA is going to do everything to make sure we're safe." Because of Canadian guidelines that required people arriving from out of country to self-isolate for two weeks, the Raptors went to Naples, Fla., to prepare for the July 30 season restart. Toronto and the 21 other teams in the restart will centralize at Disney World in Orlando between next Tuesday and Thursday. The NBA chose Florida before COVID-19 exploded in that state. There were nearly 9,500 new cases of the virus Friday, a day after topping a record-10,000 new cases. "But at the end of the day, even being home and going to the grocery store is not that safe," Siakam said. "So we've just got to do everything, do our best in making sure we have everything in place for us to be as safe as possible and hopefully we get the season back and it goes as smoothly as possible." Siakam, who was averaging a career-high 23.6 points a night when the season shut down March 11, figures he went three months without playing or even shooting a basketball, his longest break since taking up the game in high school. "During the summertime I usually take like two weeks break tops," he said.   Since the Raptors all went to their various homes during the coronavirus lockdown, the 26-year-old forward said it was great to finally see his teammates last week.   "It kind of feels like training camp again and the beginning of the season, you're excited seeing guys and playing on the floor and stuff," he said. The Raptors are still limited to four players on the court at once, each shooting on their own basket. They'll resume normal practice when they move to Disney World next week. They could be there for up to three months if they have another long post-season run. It's an unprecedented situation, but one OG Anunoby believes the Raptors can adapt to. "I think we're all going through the same thing, so we'll all just adjust as it goes on," he said. "It may be uncomfortable at first but we know these are the circumstances you have to deal with right now. I think yeah, we'll just figure it out as we go." The six-foot-nine Anunoby was having a terrific season when the coronavirus brought the sports world to its knees. He'd been looking forward to the post-season after missing last year's championship run - he had his appendix removed right before the playoffs tipped off. "I wish I could have played, but now I can this year," he said. "So yeah, I'll use it as motivation and hopefully play well, (and hope) we reach all our goals." Anunoby said he spent the three-month break working on shooting, handling the ball and passing. He also spent of a lot of time getting stronger in the weight room. He didn't pick up any new hobbies during the down time, but has enjoyed doing his own cooking. What's his favourite meal to cook? "Depends what I'm trying to eat for dinner," he deadpanned, before adding his favourite meal is shrimp linguine. The NBA restart has been a polarizing issue among players coming amid the racial unrest in the U.S. A few prominent players such as Dwight Howard have said it's not the time to focus on basketball. But the NBA plans to make social and racial justice a theme of the restart, and Anunoby said the players can have an impact. "I think just spreading awareness, letting people know what's going on. . . speaking up, people are doing stuff in their cities and their states," he said. "So just using our platform." The Raptors, who were second in the Eastern Conference when the season shut down, will face the Los Angeles Lakers on Aug. 1 in their first of eight seeding-round games.   This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 3, 2020. Follow @Ewingsports on Twitter. Lori Ewing, The Canadian Press

Rideau Hall suspect owns food business in Swan River, Man.

Fri, 07/03/2020 - 15:52
An image linked to a COVID-19 conspiracy theory was posted to the social media pages of a company owned by a Manitoba man 35 minutes before he allegedly drove a truck through a gate at Ottawa's Rideau Hall. The photo about "Event 201" was posted on social media pages for Corey Hurren's GrindHouse Fine Foods, a company known for selling spicy sausage. "Event 201" refers to a pandemic training exercise that has been used by conspiracy theorists about the global health crisis. Facebook and Instagram accounts for GrindHouse also shared many recent images about COVID-19, with jokes about whether the year could get worse. "I was quite shocked," Swan River mayor Lance Jacobson said Friday after learning 46-year-old Hurren had been arrested in Ottawa on Thursday. Hurren appeared in court Friday afternoon on 22 charges, including possession of a restricted weapon and uttering threats. Swan River, located 385 kilometres northwest of Winnipeg, is a small community where everyone knows everyone, Jacobson added. Hurren moved back to the community about one year ago, said Jacobson. Online posts about Hurren say he grew up in the area. Hurren also worked with the Swan River Patrol of the Canadian Rangers, said Jacobson. The patrol was formed in the community about two years ago, the mayor said. The community is surrounded by two forests and thick brush and the patrol helps in emergencies and with searches. Online posts also say that as a ranger Hurren was involved in a hunt in northern Manitoba last summer for two suspected killers from British Columbia. "I found out a few months later when I went up as one of the instructors for the Wilderness Survival course that the training area used by the Gillam Patrol was only about 10 km away from where the manhunt subjects were found, just on the other side of the highway where we went into the bush," said a GrindHouse post in January. Social media accounts also say Hurren was a veteran of the Royal Canadian Artillery and a resume posted online on tripod.com says he served from 1997 to 2000. The resume adds that Hurren went to Brandon University for computer science in 1994 and trained at Northwest Law Enforcement Academy in 2002. In 2004, he enrolled in distance learning at Red River College in Winnipeg, again for computer sciences. The resume says Hurren worked in both Saskatchewan and Manitoba as a doorman and in bar security before he started in the meat industry in Swan River in 2005. He started his own company there in 2014. The sausage Hurren made through GrindHouse was very popular with local snowmobilers, said Walter Pacamaniuk, reeve of the rural municipality of Mintonas-Bowsman. He said Hurren called the area home for about 10 years before moving to Swan River. He worked at the local grocery store and seemed pleasant, Pacamaniuk added. The reeve said he learned Hurren had been arrested in Ottawa when people called to tell him photos of the truck involved in the attack had Manitoba licence plates. Photos also showed a leather jacket with a logo for the local rodeo inside the truck. Bill Gade, a councillor for the Municipality of Swan Valley West and owner of the local radio station, said Hurren has a wife and children in the community. He seemed like "a nice normal guy," said Gade. The radio station started a GoFundMe page late Thursday to support Hurren's family. Gade said community members want to help his family and don't condone the alleged crime. "His wife and kids woke up this morning and are facing the reality dad's not coming home for a long time," Gade said. This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 3, 2020 Kelly Geraldine Malone and Stephanie Taylor, The Canadian Press

Quebec government suspends all advertising on Facebook during July

Fri, 07/03/2020 - 15:46
QUEBEC - The Quebec government says it is joining an international boycott of Facebook by refusing to advertise on the social network during the month of July. Premier Francois Legault's office made the announcement today in a news release, stating its intention is to show the importance the Quebec government places on the fight against racism. The release added that the government's decision to join the boycott was also made in support of access to accurate information. Quebec is joining hundreds of companies who have decided to suspend advertising on Facebook over concerns the platform is complicit in promoting racism, violence and misinformation. The #StopHateForProfit campaign, run by several groups such as the Anti-Defamation League and the NAACP, accuse the social network of refusing to remove content they deem hateful. All five of Canada's biggest banks joined the boycott this week, aligning themselves with other Canadian brands such as Lululemon Athletica and MEC. "This decision is part of a movement launched to denounce the lack of a proper framework governing the Facebook social network, on which messages and comments circulate that are racist, hateful and discriminatory in nature," the statement from Legault's office read. "Already, a number of financial institutions and businesses, including several in Quebec, have joined the initiative by ceasing all advertising placement on Facebook, and by asking the American company to better manage these kinds of messages." On Wednesday, Nick Clegg, Facebook's vice-president of global affairs and communications, tried to reassure businesses that Facebook "does not benefit from hate" and said the company has every incentive to remove hate speech from its service. He acknowledged that "many of our critics are angry about the inflammatory rhetoric President Trump has posted on our platform and others, and want us to be more aggressive in removing his speech." This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 3, 2020. - With files from The Associated Press --- Facebook and The Canadian Press recently announced a reporting initiative called the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship. Facebook will have no influence over the stories created under the program, which is set to launch in the fall; The Canadian Press will maintain complete editorial independence. The Canadian Press

Don Narcisse used hard work to become one of the CFL’s all-time best

Fri, 07/03/2020 - 15:39
Hard work helped Don Narcisse go from the B team of his high school squad to becoming one of the greatest wide receivers ever to play in the CFL. "I tell kids these days — I have this quote I always say — ‘Hard work beats talent when talent never works hard.’ You don’t have to be the best player on the football team. As long as you go out there and do all the small things, it’s just amazing what can happen," the Saskatchewan Roughriders great said. Narcisse reached the peak in 1989 as a member of the Grey Cup-winning Roughriders team, but it was a long road to get there. Narcisse was born in Port Arthur, Texas and wanted to play football all his life. But at seven years old, he was diagnosed with asthma. "I still remember the day that I had went to the hospital and my mom was just looking at me. They had this mask over my face and I’m looking at my mom and she was crying. She felt like, ‘I wish that was me instead of my son going through this,’ " Narcisse said. But Narcisse said dealing with asthma helped instil an attitude in him to always work hard. "Once I stopped (running), that’s when the asthma would kick back in and I can’t breathe and I’d have to start all over again so that’s why I’d run all day," Narcisse said. "Even if I wasn’t running fast but I was able to (push through) and keep running, I think that empowered me to say never give up. And that was all my life: I never gave up." After his mom, Dorothy, saw her son like that, she told him he couldn’t play sports and wanted him to try out for the school marching band. Needless to say, Narcisse didn’t follow his mom’s advice. Narcisse made his high school’s B team and wouldn’t get a chance to start until his senior year. He didn’t have any college scholarship offers until one of his coaches talked to a recruiter at Texas Southern University, where Narcisse ended up playing. "My first game I was No. 8 on the depth chart. The third game of the season, I was 1-A," Narcisse said. "I got a chance to play at Texas Southern as a starter for the next three years. My senior year, I led the nation — I caught 88 passes for 1,074 yards and 15 touchdowns." During his time at university, his mom sent him $20 every month and he had to find a way to live off of that. Harold Smith, then a Roughriders quarterback, was a Texas Southern alumnus. He was speaking to the players one day and told Narcisse about a tryout in Shreveport, La. Narcisse said his mom sent him $40 — $20 for him and $20 for Smith - so her son could go to the tryout. "So I made it to the hotel and I’m hanging with Harold, the coaches already had a hotel for him, and they had no idea who I was. They thought I was (Smith’s) little brother," Narcisse said. At the tryout, Narcisse caught the attention of the coaching staff in a big way. "There were 400 guys out there trying out,” he said. “It was a two-day camp. After two days, they only wanted to sign four guys and I was one of the guys they wanted to sign." He also tried out for the then-St. Louis Cardinals of the NFL and was one of the last cuts there. The Roughriders reached out to the Cardinals wanting to talk to Narcisse and then, after a short phone call, he was on a flight to Saskatchewan to play with the Roughriders in 1987. "I went into the locker room and they cut the player who was wearing No. 80, and gave me No. 80 and it was history after that," Narcisse said. And history it was. Narcisse went on to catch 919 passes for the Green and White for 12,366 yards and 75 touchdowns. He was inducted into the Roughriders’ Plaza of Honour in 2003 and the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 2010. He caught a pass in all 216 regular-season games he played with the Roughriders. When he was going to break the CFL record for most consecutive games with a catch, he was surprised to see it was a record. "I was thinking that you’re supposed to catch at least one pass every game,” he said. “I had got to 135 and the front office was like, ‘We’re going to have a celebration for you,’ and I was like, ‘A celebration for what?’ … I was like, ‘Is that a record?’ and lo and behold, it was something I was just supposed to do." Narcisse also had his own touchdown dance that become popular - the Narco Strut. "I did it in fun but I used to practise in the mirror,” he said. “I still do it every once in a while. I work out kids and stuff and I still do my little dance there. “I made sure that I didn’t make fun of anybody while doing it but guys on the other team would be like, ‘Don’t let him do that dance.’ " In 1989, the Roughriders found themselves on top of the CFL landscape for just the second time in team history, beating the Hamilton Tiger-Cats 43-40 in Toronto on Nov. 26. "That season was a great season for us. We all played an integral part in the game. You’re looking at the playoffs and we didn’t have all our receivers. It was just guys stepping up, guys you hadn’t seen or heard of, but they’re making plays and that’s what a team is all about," Narcisse said. "It’s amazing because you never know when you’re going to get that opportunity again. I got a chance to drink out of the cup. I’ll never do that again; (there have been) too many people drinking out of that cup. But it was the best time I ever had because I only one won Grey Cup." Narcisse retired in 1999 and remembers the team sent him and his family on a vacation to Mexico as a thank you. "When you play this football game, it’s like you block everything out because you’ve got to have football on your mind at all times because that game can be taken away from you and there’s a lot of things I had to put aside. When I got to spend time with my family, it was worth everything that I did," Narcisse said. After retiring, Narcisse spent many years in Regina and was prominent in providing football camps for kids in the province. "People never thought I would be where I’m at today so I always want to give a kid an opportunity and the message that just because you’re not the fastest, you’re not the strongest, that doesn’t mean this can’t happen to you," Narcisse said. "This is amazing from what I did as a kid. I never got a chance to meet a professional athlete until I was 21 years old and I wanted to give these kids a chance to meet a professional athlete at a young age." In 2018, Narcisse was diagnosed with prostate cancer and moved home to Texas. He needed to undergo 39 days of treatment. His last treatment was in July 2019 and he is now cancer free, "I had so many people that were on my side. When I first found out that I had it, my sister came over to the house and coached me up and said, ‘Hey, you need to use your platform and let people know what’s going on with you,’ and I posted it on Facebook and it was thousands of people hitting me up on Facebook," Narcisse said. "It doesn’t matter what stage it is, if you have cancer, you have cancer and then you have to deal with it and that’s the key with dealing with it. If you keep it inside, that’s going to eat you up. You’re going to be like, ‘I don’t want nobody to know what I’ve got going on,’ and it gets uncontrollable." As he looks back on his career as a member of the Roughriders, he said it’s unbelievable what took place. "Sometimes I have to pinch myself to see if it was a dream," Narcisse said. "I am so glad that I got a chance to play for the Saskatchewan Roughriders. It’s the best thing that ever happened to me in my life. I would not have taken it back for anything. The friends, the fans, the family — it’s just amazing."

Liberal party finished 2019 having spent $43 million, raised $42 million

Fri, 07/03/2020 - 15:22
OTTAWA - The Liberal party spent more than it took in the 2019 election year, raising just over $42 million and spending just over $43 million. Financial records released late Friday show that by the end of the year, the party had $625,865 in assets. All political parties had until midnight June 30 to submit their financial reports for last year. Of the major parties, only the Liberals' 2019 records were available Friday. The New Democrats say they asked for and received an extension, the Conservatives did not immediately reply to a request for comment. The Liberals also finished 2019 with $24.7 million in loans, according to their financial records, against huge election-year donations. Among their biggest expenditures in 2019 were salaries, coming in at $7.95 million. This year, they are covering some of their staffing costs using the COVID-19 wage subsidy program, which is also being used by the Conservatives. This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 3, 2020. The Canadian Press

31 MLB players, 7 staff test positive for COVID-19, or 1.2%

Fri, 07/03/2020 - 15:12
NEW YORK - Thirty-one Major League Baseball players and seven staff members tested positive for COVID-19 during intake for the resumption of training, a rate of 1.2%. MLB and the players' association announced the results Friday as teams resumed workouts for the first time since the coronavirus interrupted spring training on March 12, two weeks before the season was to start. Opening day has been reset for July 23, the latest in baseball history, and the regular season has been reduced to 60 games in the shortest schedule since 1878. The positive tests occurred among 19 of the 30 teams, according to results of the samples sent to the Sports Medicine Research and Testing Laboratory in South Jordan, Utah. There were 3,185 samples collected and tested through the first week of intake testing. Individual players who test positive are not identified by MLB or the union. Cleveland outfielder Delino DeShields Jr. gave the Indians permission to say he tested positive. "I think he's getting frustrated because he's starting to feel better and he wants to get back here," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "He seems to be feeling much better, which is good news. There's just the protocols that you have to follow and he's going to have to do that, and he understands that." MLB and the union established a COVID-19 related injured list with no specific minimum days. There are three reasons specified for placement on that IL: a positive test, exposure to coronavirus or symptoms that require isolation or additional assessment. Philadelphia put infielder Scott Kingery and pitchers Hector Neris, Ranger Suarez and Tommy Hunter on the 10-day IL with no specified injuries on Thursday. The Phillies had seven players test positive for COVID-19 last month, but manager Joe Girardi couldn't answer whether any of the players were among them because of medical privacy. New Red Sox manager Ron Roenicke said on a Boston call there have been "some positive tests" but didn't give any names. ___ AP Sports Writer Tom Withers contributed to this report. ___ More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports Ronald Blum, The Associated Press

Hosting regular season MLB in Toronto “totally different ball game”

Fri, 07/03/2020 - 15:03
The Toronto Blue Jays have been cleared to start their summer training camp at Rogers Centre, but Canada's deputy chief public health officer says hosting other teams there during the regular season would be a "totally different ball game." The Blue Jays, the lone MLB team north of the Canada-U.S. border, received permission from the Canadian government Thursday to use their Toronto stadium during the COVID-19 pandemic for training purposes. A decision has yet to be made on whether Rogers Centre can host games during the regular season, which would involve constant travel between the border. Dr. Howard Njoo, Canada's deputy chief public health officer, said Friday that plan carries risk, and an exemption for the Blue Jays isn't guaranteed. "Certainly we'd have to look very carefully at what proposal would be put forward by Major League Baseball and also the Blue Jays specifically, if they were to entertain the idea of home games and what that would mean for teams coming in," Njoo said. "What types of precautions or preventative measures would be put in place for those players in their home cities? "A lot of states have at the present time quite a high level of activity of COVID-19. ... I think it's a matter of looking very carefully at the plan that would be proposed with respect to the regular season and taking it from there." Training camps were set to begin around the league on Friday, but the Blue Jays are slightly delayed as their players and staff undergo the intake and screening process at their spring training stadium in Dunedin, Fla. Team President and CEO Mark Shapiro said Thursday that two negative COVID tests will be required before anyone can board a private charter to Toronto, which he expects to happen this weekend. Unlike the NHL and NBA, which are planning to play in either hub cities or one large complex once their seasons resume, MLB teams will be travelling for road games against division rivals and teams in the corresponding division of their opposite league. That would mean Toronto would travel to New York, Boston, Baltimore, Tampa Bay, Miami, Atlanta, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. And teams from those cities would come into Canada on multiple occasions as well. "Our priority is really safe-guarding the health and safety of all Canadians," Njoo said. "Certainly there's lots of aspects we have to look at, not just in terms of the Blue Jays but what the risk would be in terms of themselves travelling back and forth, if they were to entertain having home games at Rogers Centre in Toronto, as well as for visiting teams crossing our border. "The Blue Jays are the only non-American team, the only Canadian team in Major League Baseball and I think that needs to be part of the thinking for all of Major League Baseball in terms of how they might actually want to move forward (with) plans for the regular season." The abbreviated 60-game regular season is slated to start July 23 or 24 and last 66 days. Several Blue Jays players and staff tested positive for COVID-19 recently and the team had to close its spring training facility earlier this month after one player showed symptoms of the virus. Florida reported a record-high 10,109 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday while Ontario's new case total for the same day was 153. Because anyone entering Canada for nonessential purposes needs to self-isolate for 14 days, MLB needed a letter of exemption from the federal government to allow for a "modified quarantine." Toronto's players and staff are to self-isolate in the hotel attached to the stadium when not on the field. Canada's chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, said that modified quarantine model will lower the risk of players or staff spreading COVID-19 in Toronto. "Yes absolutely the idea is that any players coming in, in let's say a cohort or bubble quarantine situation, has strict protocols to mitigate risk and not to interact or spread illness to the surrounding community," she said.  Thirty-one MLB players and seven staff members tested positive for COVID-19 during intake for the resumption of training, a rate of 1.2 per cent, the league said Friday. The positive tests occurred among 19 of the 30 teams, according to results of the samples sent to the Sports Medicine Research and Testing Laboratory in South Jordan, Utah.   This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 3, 2020. Melissa Couto, The Canadian Press

NewsAlert: Three dead after float plane crashes south of Edmonton: RCMP

Fri, 07/03/2020 - 14:49
LEDUC COUNTY, Alta. - RCMP say three people have died in a plane crash south of Edmonton. Mounties say they were alerted this morning that a float plane went down in a field in Leduc County. Three bodies were found in the plane. The Transportation Safety Board is investigating. No other details were provided. - More Later - The Canadian Press

Heat’s Olynyk says changes in schedule could conflict with Tokyo qualifying

Fri, 07/03/2020 - 14:02
MIAMI - Kelly Olynyk believes changes to the NBA schedule around COVID-19 could keep players out of next summer's Tokyo Olympic qualifying. That would be bad news for Canada's men's basketball team, which must win its last-chance tournament June 29-July 4, 2021 in Victoria to earn a spot in the Tokyo Games. The 2021 season is set to tip off in December, with the finals running into June - pushed back due to the novel coronavirus that shut down this season on March 11. The delayed season will leave little break for NBA players on teams in next year's playoffs. "It might be tough," Olynyk said on a conference call Friday. "That'll be really, really tough. "It'll probably line up with guys who don't make the playoffs. Obviously, you don't want to be on one of those teams. I didn't even think of that until now, but it'll be really tough for guys to play in that, especially if you start in December. And who knows - it might not even be December." The Miami Heat forward had expected free agency to likely throw a wrench into his availability for qualifying had it happened this year. "Often the reason why guys can't play is because they don't have a contract," the 29-year-old from Kamloops, B.C., said when Miami was in Toronto this season. "It's not easy to walk into one of those things and put your career on the line. And as much as you want to, and as much as you know you'd love to do it, it's tough. It's really tough to do." Olynyk said free agency will similarly impact players' availability next year, as qualifying falls before the free agency period. "You've got to look at your career and your livelihood and your earning potential or your earning window or whatever you want to call it," Olynyk said Friday. "Those are definitely factors. You need that security in your life. "As much as playing for your country is a super prideful thing and guys take that really to heart. . ." Canada was expecting to have much of its NBA talent for qualifying after a groundswell of commitment a few months ago. Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray was the first start to announce his plans to play for Canada. He was quickly followed by Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Dillon Brooks, Dwight Powell, RJ Barrett and Khem Birch. The Canadian men haven't made an Olympic appearance since the 2000 Sydney Games. The Canadian women already clinched their berth for the Tokyo Games.   This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 3, 2020. The Canadian Press

Sales in Lakeland area ‘absolutely crazy’ according to area realtor

Fri, 07/03/2020 - 13:52
Local realtors are seeing unprecedented sales in the Lakeland area of Christopher Lake, Emma Lake, and Candle Lake. Jesse Honch of Coldwell Banker Signature Real Estate believes there is a direct link to the COVID-19 pandemic. "People felt stranded in their homes and so we've seen a big increase in sales up there for year-round properties- those second properties," Honch said. "We're hearing from the buyers up there that they want to have a second place to go if need be." Fuelling the sales are low-interest rates and the ability to purchase a second property with only five per cent down, as long as it's a year-round home. "We've seen quite a few lakefronts sold this year. I actually took one I had to the market and had an accepted offer within three days and that was an $850,000 lakefront property, year-round," Honch said. "So, there's definitely a massive amount of investment in the Lakeland area." The area has also seen a massive increase in lot sales compared to Prince Albert- probably four times more according to Honch. "It's not a reflection of a feasible building market. It's more a reflection of people wanting to have that second location." Over the last seven years or so, properties under $300,000 have made up the majority of sales. This year, Honch said it's the higher-end properties that are selling. "I don't think anyone expected it and it’s been absolutely crazy. The lake realtors, the ones that live in the Lakeland area, they can barely keep up. There is just non-stop activity up there." Historically, Honch said the premier properties have been owned by Albertans, but given the economic climate, many seem to be selling and the buyers are from Saskatoon more often than not. "Some are thriving and have money to spend and some people need the money so they're selling," Honch said. After a stall in the market when the pandemic was declared in March, there's been a flurry of activity over the last 45 days. How long the real estate boom lasts in the Lakeland area remains to be seen. "If you're looking to sell your property at the lake, it's definitely a good time to take it to the market because there are buyers now that haven't been there in the last five years."

Sask. announces one new COVID-19 case, new visitation guidelines

Fri, 07/03/2020 - 13:49
Visitation guidelines for a number of facilities in Saskatchewan will be changing starting Tuesday. In a media release Friday, the provincial government said guidelines for acute and long-term care homes, personal care homes and group homes are being amended. The announcement was made at the same time Saskatchewan reported one new case of COVID-19 and 10 more recoveries. The new case, which is in the far north, increased the provincial total to date to 796. According to the government, two family members or support people can provide assistance to patients and residents of care homes. Only one family member or support person can be present in the facility at a time. However, two people can be present at a time - provided physical distancing can be maintained - for critical care/intensive care patients, end of life/palliative care patients or residents, and maternal services units (maternal and postpartum units, neonatal intensive care units, pediatric intensive care units, or pediatric units). Family members and support people must follow safety requirements that already are in place, including wearing of medical-grade masks, physical distancing, hand hygiene and so on. The new guidelines apply to patients, outpatients, clients and residents in all Saskatchewan Health Authority facilities, long-term care homes and affiliate organizations, personal care homes, and Ministry of Social Services group homes. A look at the numbers The recoveries announced Friday mean there have been 711 reported so far in Saskatchewan. To date, 14 residents of the province have died due to complications from the coronavirus. There are 71 active cases in Saskatchewan. Three people - two in the north and one in Saskatoon - are in intensive care. One individual is receiving inpatient care in Saskatoon. More to come.

Sask. announces one new COVID-19 case, new visitation guidelines

Fri, 07/03/2020 - 13:46
Visitation guidelines for a number of facilities in Saskatchewan will be changing starting Tuesday. In a media release Friday, the provincial government said guidelines for acute and long-term care homes, personal care homes and group homes are being amended. The announcement was made at the same time Saskatchewan reported one new case of COVID-19 and 10 more recoveries. The new case, which is in the far north, increased the provincial total to date to 796. According to the government, two family members or support people can provide assistance to patients and residents of care homes. Only one family member or support person can be present in the facility at a time. However, two people can be present at a time — provided physical distancing can be maintained — for critical care/intensive care patients, end of life/palliative care patients or residents, and maternal services units (maternal and postpartum units, neonatal intensive care units, pediatric intensive care units, or pediatric units). Family members and support people must follow safety requirements that already are in place, including wearing of medical-grade masks, physical distancing, hand hygiene and so on. The new guidelines apply to patients, outpatients, clients and residents in all Saskatchewan Health Authority facilities, long-term care homes and affiliate organizations, personal care homes, and Ministry of Social Services group homes. A look at the numbers The recoveries announced Friday mean there have been 711 reported so far in Saskatchewan. To date, 14 residents of the province have died due to complications from the coronavirus. There are 71 active cases in Saskatchewan. Three people — two in the north and one in Saskatoon — are in intensive care. One individual is receiving inpatient care in Saskatoon. More to come.

Oklahoma State’s Gundy takes pay cut in wake of T-shirt flap

Fri, 07/03/2020 - 13:44
STILLWATER, Okla. - Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy took a $1-million pay cut and had his contract shortened by a year as part of an internal review prompted by sharp criticism from his star running back for wearing a T-shirt promoting a far-right news channel. Athletic director Mike Holder said Friday the adjustments to Gundy's contract were the coach's idea. Holder reiterated his belief Gundy has always treated Black players well a day after releasing a statement saying the review found "no sign or indication of racism" in the football program. Two weeks ago, Canadian running back Chuba Hubbard lashed out at Gundy on social media for wearing a T-shirt promoting One America News Network. Hubbard, a native of Sherwood Park, Alta., who's Black, suggested he may boycott the program; OANN has been critical of the Black Lives Matter movement. "I think it's awakened him or alerted him to the fact that he wasn't as close as his players and he needs to be," Holder said of Gundy. "He's going to change that." Holder said Gundy's rollover contract was reduced from five years to four and the guarantee was cut from 75% to 50%. The buyout also was dropped from $5 million to $4 million. Holder didn't say whether the $1-million pay cut was a one-time arrangement or something that would happen annually. "The changes were offered up by Mike Gundy, and I commend him for that," Holder said. "I think it really demonstrates his commitment to being a better coach. And he wanted to make a statement that assured all players that this wasn't just about talk." Asked about Hubbard being criticized for lashing out at his coach publicly before speaking to him privately, Holder said he was glad Hubbard did speak out. "All the players should be commended for having the courage to speak up," Holder said. "We need more of that in society, not less. That doesn't mean the players are in control. There's a reason that adults are in the leadership positions." Gundy, who is white, apologized after appearing with Hubbard in a video. Gundy also apologized in April after a media session in which he called the coronavirus the "Chinese virus." Last week, the school announced a new diversity council that will include students, athletes and alumni. Holder said he didn't keep track of how many athletes he interviewed following Hubbard's criticism, saying it was about 20. Holder said "the majority" of players interviewed were Black. "The missing link has been a more personal relationship with their head coach," Holder said. "They respect him. He's an excellent game-day coach. But they want more coaching on a personal level. This crosses all racial lines. To a man, our players want a better connection to Mike Gundy." ___ More AP college football: https://apnews.com/Collegefootball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25 The Associated Press

Saskatchewan man charged after fatal multi-vehicle crash in Manitoba

Fri, 07/03/2020 - 13:37
A 56-year-old trucker from Saskatchewan is facing charges after two people were killed and 15 others were injured in a multi-vehicle crash on a Manitoba highway. In a media release, the Manitoba RCMP said the crash happened Thursday at about 11:50 a.m., on Highway 2 about three kilometres east of Fannystelle. That town is about 55 kilometres west of Winnipeg. The Mounties say several vehicles were stopped at a marked construction zone in which work was being done. As the vehicles waited to drive through the construction zone, an eastbound semi didn’t stop and drove into the vehicles. The crash ultimately involved two semis, five passenger vehicles and a motorcycle. A seven-year-old girl from Winnipeg and a 61-year-old man from the RM of St. Andrews in Manitoba were pronounced dead at the scene. The girl was a passenger in one of the vehicles, while the man was riding the motorcycle. Of the 15 people who were injured, six were taken to hospital. Three of those people since have been released. A 22-year-old woman and two girls, ages 10 and 14, are in hospital with serious injuries. The driver of the semi was arrested and charged with three counts of dangerous operation of a conveyance causing bodily harm and two counts each of dangerous operation of a conveyance causing death and criminal negligence causing death. The Carman RCMP is continuing to investigate.

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