VECO earnings call for the period ending March 31, 2021.
"I was an insecure, attention seeking troll," Chrissy Teigen shared to Twitter Wednesday in her apology to Courtney Stodden.
Inside Brampton City Hall, the money tap is running. Against a backdrop of three consecutive property tax freezes, salaries and perks for City staffers have flowed freely. Under Mayor Patrick Brown, who has cancelled or postponed hundreds of millions of dollars in investments for the City to achieve the tax freezes he demands, non-union salaries have gone in the opposite direction, skyrocketing since his election. The pattern of lavish spending on senior staff under Brown has continued even during the pandemic, while thousands of Brampton taxpayers have struggled to make ends meet. The 2020 public sector salary disclosure list, also known colloquially as the “sunshine list”, has a record number of entries for Brampton employees. Last year, 1,002 employees in Brampton earned more than $100,000, up from 919 in 2019 and a dramatic increase from 426 in 2015, the year Jim McCarter, who was hired as an interim auditor general for the City of Brampton to conduct a financial analysis, warned that staff salaries were spiralling out of control. “I believe there are some financial storm clouds on the horizon and some difficult decisions may be necessary,” he wrote in his revealing January 2015 report. McCarter’s analysis of Brampton’s financial fortunes zeroed in on staffing costs as a key problem, noting two-thirds of every dollar spent on City operations was dedicated to salaries. The audit found over 90 percent of property tax revenues each year went to funding payroll costs, and spending on large non-union salaries was a particular problem. “Managing the growth in operating expenses and especially in the City payroll is something that Council and City management will need to pay increasing attention to if they are to make any significant headway in improving annual operating results and replenishing City reserve levels, unless they plan on relying almost entirely on property tax increases,” McCarter added. While Brampton’s senior staff have enjoyed salaries that have far outpaced the private sector and even those at the provincial and federal government level, the city’s pressing needs have been neglected. The infrastructure gap was about a quarter of a billion dollars in 2019 and was projected to reach around three quarters of a billion dollars by 2027. In the three budget cycles since Brown took the helm, the City has done the opposite of what McCarter advised. The number of staff earning more than $100,000 per year has more than doubled in five years and, since 2018, taxes have remained frozen. Brown’s approach to spending the taxpayers’ money is akin to a financially struggling household that refuses to pay for needed repairs and upgrades like a new roof or furnace, while the parents give the money manager at their bank even more compensation to look after their dwindling resources. This irresponsible approach to operating expenses means the storm clouds McCarter predicted are darkening above City Hall. Instead of getting a handle on ballooning staff costs, Brown and his controversial CAO, David Barrick, have spearheaded damaging cuts to the City’s capital budget. Barrick was hired for the City’s top job despite having no experience running even a city department, much less the ninth largest municipality in Canada. He was implicated by the Ontario ombudsman in a fraudulent Niagara Region hiring scandal before he was fired from the local conservation agency following reports of widespread mismanagement and financial irregularities when he briefly ran the organization. Niagara councillors questioned how Barrick was managing the conservation authority’s budget, after he made a number of questionable promotions and handed out lavish perks like expensive vehicle allowances, paid for by taxpayers. Now, under his watch, salaries and benefits for senior staff in Brampton are exploding as the City’s infrastructure is starved of dollars. After a bombshell set of allegations against Barrick by a now former senior staffer (the CAO fired her hours after she publicly shared her allegations) who accused him of widespread corruption, Council voted to investigate his conduct and members of the public have demanded Barrick be fired. Several high profile projects have been left to suffer under his watch. A vital third transit storage facility was recently funded by the provincial and federal governments after Barrick and Brown pulled the money from the City budget claiming the move was to secure an electric facility, but a $150 million request to make it suitable for electric buses remains unfunded. Brampton was given $38 million by Ottawa to help rejuvenate its flagging downtown, suffering from underinvestment and a flood plain designation, but the City has yet to find funds for its portion. Plans pushed by provincial transit agency Metrolinx for a bus rapid transit corridor along Queen Street represent a vital growth project but, again, Brampton has not worked out how to pay for it. One of the biggest complaints by taxpayers and downtown businesses was Brown’s decision to suddenly postpone the Downtown Reimagined project immediately after his election. The City’s share of the plan for a complete makeover of the withering downtown area, in partnership with the Region of Peel, could have reached as much as $50 million. It was supposed to be completed this year. Instead, Brown has failed to explain why he continues to ignore the badly needed investment, and on Friday he added an item to this week’s Council agenda calling on the Region to postpone its upcoming downtown subsurface infrastructure work (repairs and upgrades to sewer and water mains are long overdue) that is moving forward, after Brown postponed the project two-and-a-half-years ago. In the meantime, senior staff salaries inside City Hall, coupled with an expensive revolving door of hirings and firings, are increasing at an alarming rate. Brampton Wards 3 and 4 Councillor Jeff Bowman has seen enough and, on Wednesday, will move a motion ordering staff to complete a detailed analysis of the City’s payroll. He told The Pointer he intends to rein in “the escalating salaries for the non-union salaried individuals who appear on the 2020 Sunshine list.” Bowman says the $100,000 starting point for the province’s annual public sector salary list should be raised in the future, as the baseline to show excessive spending has increased with inflation. “That being said, it still represents a very good salary position for those who earn it compared to the Ontario average salary, and I don't begrudge anyone who has worked hard over several years and has earned merit increases. We have some fantastic people managers at the City. “My issue is with what to me seems like an escalation of salaries far above the cost of living. Everyone deserves a cost of living increase, and it's understood that it allows them to keep pace with inflationary pressures. I have seen in some instances increases double and triple the COL, and higher, as well as what appears to be an increase in the number of people managers combined with a decrease in the number of reports to those managers.” Bowman said he will demand a full accounting of non-union staff spending at Wednesday's Council meeting. “We are getting reports back on organizational separation costs and new recruitment costs. The third piece that is missing to complete the puzzle is the salary costs of managers, advisors and directors. I will be asking for a report detailing all non-union salaried employees on the 2020 Sunshine list, their position, their salary history of the past few years, and the percentage of increase over those years. It's understandable to some degree if positions change as do responsibilities, however it will tell us if, as the McCarter Report suggested in last council, if we have been successful in reducing the high percentage of incoming revenue used to pay management and salaries. If this isn't the case, we need to be transparent about it to the residents, and justify to them why this is.” Of the top 20 earners on Brampton’s 2020 sunshine list, seven have left the City in a stream of workplace changes under Barrick. The top two earners on the list, Al Meneses and Harry Schlange, are no longer with the City and still managed to earn $656,397.82 between them in 2020 because of severance costs. This is hitting taxpayers hard, with the 2020 sunshine list including significant payments to a former CAO, a former acting CAO (Joseph Pittari) and Barrick, the current boss, who earned $322,000 in salary and benefits last year, despite having zero experience in municipal government. He was hired by Brown, who oversaw the committee that recommended Barrick. They have numerous connections through Conservative political circles. Under Barrick, a slew of senior staff have packed up their desks and moved on — this overhaul of senior management has not been cheap. Under Brown, the City hired Richard Forward from The City of Barrie, where Brown had served on council and was a former MP. As commissioner of planning for Brampton, Forward earned almost $235,000. The man who had the same position before Brown’s arrival, Rob Elliott, made $201,000 in 2018. This represents a 17 percent increase. The current director of Economic development, Clare Barnett, made almost $198,000 in salary and benefits in 2020, compared to the $161,700 earned in 2018 by Bob Darling, who held the same position, on top of overseeing the entire culture division (which included overseeing the City's three theatres, its tourism operation and all City-run events). Darling was let go in 2019. Barnett received a 23 percent increase from what was paid to Darling, despite her much smaller role. Barnett’s $17,300 taxable benefit in 2020 could be for a vehicle allowance, something Darling, whose taxable benefit in 2018 was just $760, never received. It’s a pattern under Barrick’s role as CAO, who can give city staff such perks without getting approval from council members. It’s unclear why the City would have been handing out lavish benefits, possibly for taxpayer-funded cars, during the pandemic, when so many residents have struggled to make ends meet and while senior staff have not even worked at City Hall, staying at home throughout most of the emergency. Bowman told The Pointer he wants to find out what bonuses have been paid out to senior staff over recent years and, particularly, last year during the pandemic. James Macintyre, former director of purchasing, departed City Hall in the spring of 2020 and saw his sunshine list entry increase dramatically last year. In 2020, his salary was 13 percent higher than the previous year, with the former staffer earning $197,696.52 the year he left. Similarly, Katherine Kulson, former chief information officer, saw her pay increase 16 percent ($29,281.81) last year and is no longer employed by the City. It’s likely these extra costs to the taxpayer were for severences, as the revolving door under Barrick and Brown continues. Looking at City Hall and analyzing the remaining senior staff, significant pay increases have also been enjoyed by many who have been with the City for years. Alex Milojevic, general manager of transit, is the eighth best paid staffer on the 2020 list, and third highest still employed by the City. Over the past four years, he has been rewarded with handsome pay increases, well above the rate of inflation. Between 2017 and 2018, his salary rose seven percent, increasing a further four percent the following year. In 2020, during the pandemic, Milojevic received an extra $23,426.31, an increase of almost 12 percent. The latest pay bump means Brampton’s general manager of transit earns just $8,069.86 less than the City of Toronto’s general manager of transportation services, a staffer charged with operating a transit network of street cars, subways and the largest electric bus fleet in North America. Bowman wants to know why certain senior staff appear to be getting increases that are not in line with the council-approved salary grid and bonus formula, which is supposed to prevent excessive increases on the backs of unwitting taxpayers. Peter Fay, Brampton’s City Clerk, has also seen his salary continue to rise well above the rate of inflation. His most recent pay rise totalled more than $10,000 (five percent) and means he now out-earns Toronto’s City Clerk. In Toronto, John D. Elvidge earned $202,745.12 last year (he moved into the job on an interim basis late in the year) compared to the $212,556.33 paid to Fay. When combined, the pay increases for Brampton’s best paid bureaucrats are significant. Between 2019 and 2020, the top 20 entries on the sunshine list were paid a combined $553,445.72 more than what they received the year before. Severences were likely a part of this significant cost to taxpayers. Brampton’s leadership team of seven department heads and one CAO saw a total increase of $179,294.93. This figure does not include Barrick, Michael Davidson (commissioner of corporate support services) or Marion Nader (commissioner of community services) who do not have entries for either 2019 or 2020, because their employment began partway through one of those years. The generous salaries for staff at the City of Brampton sit in stark contrast to the reality residents in Peel face. The pandemic has battered local businesses, many of which have been closed almost continuously since last November. According to the Region of Peel, 33 percent of all residents aged 15 to 24 were unemployed at the end of 2020, up from 9.2 percent at the end of 2019. At 12.8 percent, Peel’s overall quarterly average unemployment rate was the highest fourth-quarter overall unemployment rate recorded since Peel-specific quarterly data became available in 2003. Since taking over as CAO, Barrick has made a number of controversial hires with links to his past. Jason Tamming (director of communications) and Robert D'Amboise (assistant director of corporate projects and liaison) are the two most closely linked to Barrick’s troubling history in Niagara. They both were found by the Ontario Ombudsman to have behaved fraudulently in the CAO hiring process, secretly providing interview questions and answers to the preferred candidate. D'Amboise, who joined the City last year, does not yet feature on the sunshine list and Tamming only has one entry at $171,071.99 last year. Barrick, D’Amboise and Tamming were all implicated in the damning 2019 “Inside Job” investigation report by the Ontario Ombudsman, who probed the hiring of former Niagara Region CAO Carmen D’Angelo. Barrick had attempted to pressure senior staff there to hire his boss at the conservation agency, in exchange for influence. Tamming is also one of the names featured at the top of Brampton’s list of payments sorted by taxable benefits. Fifteen individuals inside City Hall took home more than $10,000 in taxable benefits last year, including Barrick, Brown and Tamming. The benefits in Brampton are particularly out of line with neighbouring cities. It is unclear from the sunshine list exactly what the perks include, but Bowman’s request to staff Wednesday could shine some light on the expensive payments. As CAO, Barrick was rewarded with $20,481.55 in taxable benefits, outstripping the $16,371.38 Toronto’s City Manager, Chris Murray, was granted. It was also higher than the $13,676.40 Mississauga’s CAO, Paul Mitcham, received. Most council members inside City Hall, including Brown, seem unconcerned about the ballooning costs for senior staff. During the 2021 budget process, Councillor Pat Fortini, supported by Councillor Martin Medeiros, put forward a motion suggesting a salary freeze for senior staff. They received limited support from their council colleagues and the motion failed. Bowman will see on Wednesday if his colleagues are ready to step up to the plate and back his quest for further information on City Hall’s troubling trend under Brown and Barrick. Warnings about excessive spending on labour costs were made clear in the 2015 report. “While the City’s significant growth over the past 10 years has resulted in an increase of 120 percent in property tax revenue, virtually all of this extra revenue has gone to fund the increase in the City payroll over the same time period,” McCarter’s report states. When the interim auditor general wrote those words in 2015, the faucet was already flowing. Now, six years later, taxpayer dollars are going into the personal accounts of senior staff like never before. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org 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
Secret desperately needed a win over Liquid just to keep their heads above water, but even that looked out of reach for them after they lost the first game of the series.
The TV host announced Wednesday that The Ellen DeGeneres Show will end after the upcoming 19th season
At Mississauga Hospital, a conveyor belt of desperately ill patients are treated by exhausted staff. For more than a year, frontline healthcare workers have performed in a system revealed by the pandemic to be inadequate in many ways. Hundreds of patient transfers out of Peel hospitals are happening because of the region’s lack of healthcare capacity. While Brampton rightly receives national headlines for its decades-long crisis, Mississauga is also in a dire situation, as its population continues to outpace most cities and the number of hospital beds needed to look after residents has not kept up. Mississauga’s healthcare system desperately needs to expand with the rest of the city. Mississauga Hospital was originally built at 100 Queensway West in 1958 to serve a community of villages, farms and townships. A couple of decades later, its sister facility, Credit Valley Hospital, came online in Erin Mills shortly after Mississauga pulled all the smaller burroughs together to become a city. Since then, various projects have been undertaken to expand the two hospitals. In 2018, an expansion at Credit Valley doubled the size of its emergency department, one of several changes that have been made over the years. Even with the piecemeal investment the pressure has grown. Now, a major piece of healthcare infrastructure is set to arrive in the city. The PC government’s latest budget document vaguely promises to rebuild Mississauga Hospital. The project has been in the pipeline since the previous Liberal government, but details are scarce. The demand, however, is crystal clear; it’s something Mississauga desperately needs. “It is difficult to commit to start and completion dates before the winning team has been selected, as this team will include a schedule with its bid submission,” a spokesperson for Infrastructure Ontario told The Pointer, referencing plans to finalize a construction contract in 2023. In 1986, the year after Credit Valley Hospital, the second in the city, was opened, the population of the area now known as Mississauga was 374,005. Estimates from Statistics Canada last summer pegged the population at 769,050. Mississauga’s population has grown 106 percent since 1986, but it does not have four hospitals to accommodate that growth. Instead, Trillium Health Partners (THP), the hospital network responsible for Mississauga, which also operates the Queensway Health Centre in Etobicoke, has a long-term plan. Through renovations and rebuilds, it intends to have a total of 2,000 beds by 2029. According to THP’s most recent annual report, the hospital currently has 1,397 beds across its three facilities. The hospital did not confirm how many were in Mississauga, but THP’s website lists 382 beds at Credit Valley and the University of Toronto’s medical program, which uses Mississauga Hospital as a teaching facility, says it has “827 acute, rehabilitation and chronic care beds”. Combining these numbers for a rough total of 1,209 beds and dividing the figure by Mississauga’s 2020 estimated population shows expansion is badly needed. The city has roughly 1.6 beds per 1,000 residents, above Brampton’s pitiful allocation of 0.9 beds, but still well below the Canadian average of 2.5 per 1,000 residents. “Investments have not kept pace with the growth and changes in [the] community,” THP’s strategic plan admits. It describes the network as “under-resourced for the size and needs of the community”, adding that no hospital system in Ontario will receive more demand for acute services across the next two decades. According to figures maintained by Health Quality Ontario, an agency of the provincial government, Mississauga’s strained hospitals perform poorly. In Ontario, the target time for a patient to be admitted into a hospital bed from the emergency department is eight hours. It is met just 35 percent of the time. Unimpressive as the provincial average may be, Mississauga’s record is worse. February data show Mississauga Hospital hit its target just 26 percent of the time, with an average wait of 17.6 hours to be admitted from the emergency room, while Credit Valley met it just 14 percent of the time with an average wait of 21.8 hours. For comparison, Brampton Civic, the city’s only hospital and the poster child of hallway healthcare, hit its target 17 percent of the time with an average wait of 18.9 hours. By 2041, the communities THP serves are set to grow by 45 percent, an increase that translates into roughly one million new residents. The majority of the population increase will take place before 2035, with 650,000 extra citizens projected in the surrounding communities. This increase will see THP’s catchment rise from 2.2 million to 3.2 million residents by the early 2040s. A handful of throwaway lines in the Ontario 2021 budget offer hope that THP’s plan to deal with its overwhelmed system can be achieved. The latest financial blueprint from Queen’s Park confirmed plans already under consideration by Infrastructure Ontario to send significant funds to the Queensway Health Centre and completely rebuild Mississauga Hospital. “The first conceptual plans for the redevelopment of Trillium Health Partners’ Mississauga Hospital and Queensway Health Centre sites began in 2014 and have continued to progress since that time,” Adam Cotter, manager of major projects and public affairs for THP, told The Pointer. “The redevelopment projects — including a new hospital at the site of the existing Mississauga Hospital, and an expansion at Queensway health Centre — will add new hospital beds and replace existing beds. Details will be shared when finalized. The projects will also free up capacity at the Credit Valley Hospital site.” Details from THP and the provincial government are limited. Tender documents issued in 2017 to create a “master plan” for the Mississauga Hospital rebuild say early plans were completed in 2014 and 2016. “The purpose of this study is to engage broader involvement of the professional design community to explore different Master Plan possibilities and alternative options and thereby achieve greater insight into THP M-site (‘Mississauga Hospital Campus’) development potential,” the tender details explain. Details available through Ontario’s most recent P3 market update show that planning and design contracts for the project have been awarded. According to Infrastructure Ontario, “Trillium Health Partners is following the Ministry of Health’s five-stage approval process for capital projects, which includes submissions related to functional programming, block diagrams and project specific output specifications.” A request for qualified bidders to submit their interest in rebuilding Mississauga Hospital will be accepted in winter 2022, with the contract set to be finalized by 2023. The estimated cost of the project is in excess of $2 billion. “To ensure the integrity of the procurement process, we are not able to confirm cost estimates at this time,” Cotter said. “Once the procurement phase for the project is completed, the cost and contract with the successful bidder will be released publicly following financial close, and will be posted on Infrastructure Ontario’s website.” Infrastructure Ontario provided a similar quote. The bulk of funding for the work will come from the Ministry of Health, but a local share will also be required. This figure has not yet been decided and will be “determined as planning work progresses”. THP has started saving some money for the work, including through a photobook fundraiser to celebrate former Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion’s 100th birthday. The City of Mississauga will likely be asked to contribute, as the local share of a $2 billion capital project for a new hospital could be as high as $500 million. The City would need to look at increasing property taxes, borrowing externally or introducing a special levy, all of which are funded by property owners one way or another. As 2029 rolls closer, the pressure on Mississauga’s two hospitals will only grow. The pandemic has shown the city’s healthcare system on the brink, reliant on patient transfers to other hospitals to survive. The chaos will hopefully never be repeated, but a quickly growing population could put similar pressure on the system in the future. For now, residents must wait for further details to see a contract signed that guarantees shovels will enter the ground for THP’s expansion plans, bringing Mississauga closer to the number of hospital beds its residents desperately need. 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
New York, New York--(Newsfile Corp. - May 12, 2021) - The following statement is being issued by Levi & Korsinsky, LLP:To: All persons or entities who purchased or otherwise acquired securities of 3D Systems Corporation ("3d Systems") (NYSE: DDD) between May 6, 2020 and March 1, 2021. You are hereby notified that a securities class action lawsuit has been commenced in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York. To ...
Broadcast nuggets off the NFL’s schedule release on Wednesday night:
Shares of Grocery Outlet (NASDAQ: GO) fell 18.5% Wednesday following the release of the discount supermarket chain's first-quarter results. Grocery Outlet's net sales decreased by 1% to $752.5 million, driven by an 8.2% decline in comparable-store sales. Grocery Outlet's stock price crashed Wednesday.
'American Idol' finalist Caleb Kennedy has exited the show after a video surfaced of him seated next to someone wearing a hood resembling KKK garb.
Treasury Wine Estates issued a profit warning on Thursday, forecasting a drop in operating earnings for the full year, as the world's largest listed winemaker reels from the impact of steep Chinese tariffs on Australian wine. The company said it expects earnings before interest, tax, SGARA and material items (EBITS) of A$495 million to A$515 million ($382.64 million to $398.10 million) for 2021, down from A$533.5 million a year earlier. The range, however, was ahead of market expectations, Goldman Sachs analysts said, and shares rose 3.5% in a subdued broader market.
The General Assembly already has its own armed police force. But the Republican who sponsored the bill said they can’t protect everyone.
NEW YORK, May 12, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Bragar Eagel & Squire, P.C., a nationally recognized stockholder rights law firm, has launched an investigation into whether the board members of Ferro Corporation (NYSE: FOE) breached their fiduciary duties or violated the federal securities laws in connection with the company’s acquisition by Prince International Corporation. Click here to learn more and participate in the action. On May 11, 2021, Ferro announced that it had signed an agreement to be acquired by Prince for approximately $2.1 billion. Pursuant to the merger agreement, Ferro stockholders will receive $22 in cash for each share of Ferro common stock owned. The deal is scheduled to close in the first quarter of 2022. Bragar Eagel & Squire is concerned that Ferro’s board of directors oversaw an unfair process and ultimately agreed to an inadequate merger agreement. Accordingly, the firm is investigating all relevant aspects of the deal and is committed to securing the best result possible for Ferro’s stockholders. If you own shares of Ferro and are concerned about the proposed merger, or you are interested in learning more about the investigation or your legal rights and remedies, please contact Melissa Fortunato or Alexandra Raymond by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone at (646) 860-9157, or by filling out this contact form. There is no cost or obligation to you. About Bragar Eagel & Squire, P.C.:Bragar Eagel & Squire, P.C. is a nationally recognized law firm with offices in New York and California. The firm represents individual and institutional investors in commercial, securities, derivative, and other complex litigation in state and federal courts across the country. For more information about the firm, please visit www.bespc.com. Attorney advertising. Prior results do not guarantee similar outcomes. Contact Information:Bragar Eagel & Squire, P.C.Melissa Fortunato, Esq.Alexandra Raymond, Esq.email@example.com
Tariq Syed had one goal when he entered his local grocery store at the start of the pandemic: secure the supplies his family needed to survive. Thousands of others had the same idea as COVID-19 had quickly turned from a distant problem isolated in China, to a world-wide threat slipping into every community. Cases of the novel coronavirus were increasing rapidly across parts of Ontario and public health officials shared urgent warnings to the public for everyone to keep their distance from others. News reports indicated a lockdown was imminent. Panicked citizens rushed to grocery stores, stocking up on toilet paper, non-perishable foods, and enough anti-bacterial wipes to supply a hospital. The Mississauga father is a self-proclaimed panic-shopper. The Sunday before Premier Doug Ford declared the first state of emergency in Ontario, Syed stood in line with dozens of others waiting to score a coveted spot in the jam-packed grocery store. Syed had no idea what a lockdown meant. Would grocery stores remain open? Would the daily necessities his family depended on be available? There were so many questions, but nowhere to turn for answers. Inside the grocery store, he remembers the absolute chaos as people surged inside. Desperate shoppers searching for survival were crushed together, an anxious energy surrounding them. Despite the disarray, Syed was focused, he knew what he needed. The story was a little different for his nine-year-old daughter, Hana Fatima. Trying to keep up alongside her hustling father, she couldn’t help but notice some shoppers having a hard time among the stampeding crowds. One shopper stood out to the young girl: a senior struggling to get the groceries she needed and having trouble pushing her cart among the chaotic crowd. Fatima looked up to her dad and asked if they could help. Syed recalls the woman being shocked, but grateful the pair helped her, even bringing her food and other essential items to her car. She couldn’t believe someone took the time to do that, Syed told The Pointer. “They were really happy that I helped them,” Fatima said. Syed believes this moment really impacted his daughter; a small, seemingly insignificant action led to an outpouring of appreciation neither of them could have imagined. That small act of kindness has inspired others to follow Fatima’s example. During the hardest times, looking out for others while your own life is turned upside down, takes a special sense of community. After discussing what had happened with her family, Fatima realized there were two senior residents living on her street that could also use her help. Along with her father, the pair offered their neighbours Syed’s phone number, telling them to call if they needed anything. Helping neighbours out like this made Fatima feel happiness amid the emerging chaos and put a contagious smile on her face. Her parents’ teachings inspired her to act: “You should be kind and helpful whenever you get a chance and just do it without thinking about it much,” she said. From there, Syed’s friends eventually got involved, mimicking Fatima’s kindness in their own communities. The Good Neighbour Project was born. Maduba Ahmad was brought into the mix to help grow the project. The fit was natural. She told The Pointer she knew she wanted to do something when restrictions began to tighten. Bringing a background in project management, she helped set up a hotline and subsequent Facebook page to connect volunteers with those calling in asking for help. Within 24 hours of creating the page, 600 people signed up to help deliver groceries in neighbourhoods across the GTA and surrounding areas. Ahmad said she was inspired to see the organic growth as the demand exploded. “I really did hope in my heart that if I felt such a strong urge to step up, I really truly felt that a lot of healthy, able bodied volunteers would also do it.” Fatima explained that asking for help created a snowball effect. “When their friends saw it, they remembered seniors and people who are struggling in their building, in their neighbourhood, so they decided to go help and then they told their friends,” Fatima explained. One volunteer has done more than 400 deliveries in the last year, she proudly told The Pointer. When Fatima is not busy with virtual learning and is able to help her father shop and deliver groceries, she’s the designated list checker, tasked with ensuring everything her dad calls out is marked off a checklist she makes herself. Neighbours also receive notes, handmade cards, and even flowers at times to show them the pair can be called on if they ever need anything. “She enjoys that part. She probably doesn't enjoy the shopping part as much, but she enjoys going there, taking the bags, talking to them. She really, truly enjoys that.” Syed said it’s been amazing to see his daughter come up with the idea, thinking of others before she thought of herself. He acknowledges this project wouldn’t have grown if it wasn’t for the many “amazing and kind-hearted” volunteers who have come forward to help. “[People] saw there was a need for something like this and they stood up, even though we are all in a pandemic.” While seniors were the inspiration, they’re not the only ones the group serves. Healthcare workers, single parents, those self-isolating, among many others, can contact the project’s hotline if they need assistance. Volunteers are on hand to ask callers what they’re looking for and the neighbourhood they reside in. This information is then shared on the group’s Facebook page to notify available volunteers. There are between four and seven volunteers answering calls, Syed said, depending on the time of day. The project also has chapters in Ottawa and London, created after people learned about the work the Good Neighbour Project and Syed were doing in the GTA and wanted to extend the initiative to their own cities. Syed said the London chapter is run entirely by students. The group isn’t planning on ending the project once the pandemic is over and the more imminent need falls away. Members are looking for ways to grow their outreach. “Outside of the pandemic, there’s always people who need help,” Fatima said. Syed said larger organizations that specialize in non-profit work have reached out to him, sharing ideas on how they can continue spreading their acts of kindness. Neither Syed or any of the volunteers who work with the project have a background in the nonprofit sector, so he’s taking all the help he can. The project is now looking to expand its offerings with “care calls”. The goal is to connect volunteers with those who have faced self-isolation and need someone to talk to. “We’re trying to create this little room online where people can come on a weekly basis and just meet different people,” Syed said. The group experimented with the idea on their first year anniversary, and it was very well received by the seniors who took part. Isolation is always a problem for many seniors. A 2014 report from the National Seniors Council found 50 percent of people over the age of 80 report feeling lonely. Researchers say restrictions imposed because of the spread of the novel coronavirus have only made things worse. As one of the seven volunteers who sits behind the phone lines, Ahmad said she routinely talks with seniors who call in because they’re feeling lonely. Similar connections are made between seniors and volunteers who make their deliveries. “The people we help, they don't have family, relatives, they don't have neighbours and friends that can assist them. But that also means they don't have these people to talk to,” Ahmad said. Being part of the trial, Fatima said she really enjoyed the conversations she had. “It made me happy. It was really fun.” For someone who enjoys talking to people, Syed said, this was a perfect opportunity. Despite her own actions, Fatima is grateful for all the people who have helped grow the outreach in their own community. “I feel blessed and humbled to see so many volunteers coming together… without their kindness this project would have never been possible.” Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @nida_zafar Tel: 416 890-7643 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. Nida Zafar, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Pointer
The government should 'hold their nerve' on public transport spending, a government adviser says.
Tamarack Valley Energy ("Tamarack" or the "Company") announces that at the annual general and special meeting of shareholders held on May 12, 2021 (the "Meeting"), the following individuals, being the eight nominees listed in the management information circular of the Company dated March 30, 2021 (the "Circular"), were elected by way of ballot as directors of Tamarack to hold office until the next annual meeting of shareholders or until their successors are duly elected or appointed, unless such office is vacated earlier in accordance with the Company's articles or by-laws:
Calgary, Alberta--(Newsfile Corp. - May 12, 2021) - Trican Well Service Ltd. (TSX: TCW) ("Trican" or the "Company") is pleased to announce its first quarter results for 2021. The following news release should be read in conjunction with Management's Discussion and Analysis ("MD&A"), the unaudited interim consolidated financial statements and related notes of Trican for the three months ended March 31, 2021, as well as the Annual Information Form for the year ended ...
The energy sector has been disrupted by a major cyberattack. However, I’m still looking to stack Suncor Energy Inc. (TSX:SU)(NYSE:SU) stock. The post Here’s Why I’d Buy Suncor Stock Today appeared first on The Motley Fool Canada.
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The embattled president of the University of South Carolina resigned on Wednesday, days after he delivered a commencement address marred by allegations of plagiarism and a misidentification of the school itself. In a news release, the school announced that the chairman of its board of trustees had accepted Bob Caslen's resignation, thanking him for his service. Harris Pastides, Caslen's immediate predecessor who led the system for 11 years, will serve on an interim basis during a search for a permanent replacement, officials said. The board last weekend refused Caslen's verbal resignation offer. It came as Caslen acknowledged taking two paragraphs without attribution from a speech by Adm. William McRaven, the Navy SEAL in charge of the mission to take out terrorist leader Osama bin Laden. Caslen, who delivered the address to graduates on Friday, had called that an oversight. He also referred to the school as the “University of California” during his remarks. He apologized Wednesday. “I am sorry to those I have let down,” Caslen wrote in a note to the school’s faculty, staff and students. “I understand the responsibilities and higher standards of senior level leadership. When those are not met, trust is lost. And when trust is lost, one is unable to lead.” Caslen’s rise to the presidency in 2019 had been met with criticism. Student and faculty leaders opposed the retired general and U.S. Military Academy superintendent, arguing he lacked qualifications, such as a doctoral degree or university research experience, and knew little about the school. That year, the faculty Senate unanimously approved a no confidence vote. Caslen’s supporters touted his 43 years in the military and five years as superintendent of West Point. He had the support of Gov. Henry McMaster and Republican lawmakers who suggested he could bring federal programs to the school and a share of federal money. McMaster, an ex officio board member, also personally called trustees at the time, urging them to convene a special meeting to vote on Caslen. Donors, including Moore, feared that might amount to undue political influence that could threaten the university’s accreditation. McMaster dismissed those ideas, with a spokesman calling the specter of any undue influence “preposterous.” A spokesman for McMaster did not immediately return a message seeking comment on the resignation. In 2019, trustees voted 11-8 to hire Caslen, in stark contrast to his predecessors’ unanimous approvals. In office, Caslen’s tenure has included other bumps. Last month, he said he took responsibility for the university’s failure to reach out to supporter Darla Moore after her mother’s death, leading the school’s biggest donor to write off the university. Moore, who has donated in excess of $75 million to the school — and for whom the school of business is named — had asked trustees in 2019 to restart its presidential search rather than hire Caslen. ___ Meg Kinnard can be reached at http://twitter.com/MegKinnardAP. Meg Kinnard, The Associated Press
ShutterstockMinutes before her removal from House leadership on Wednesday, Liz Cheney told her colleagues that the nation needed a Republican Party “based on truth,” warning that embracing Donald Trump would “drag us backward and make us complicit in his efforts to unravel our democracy.”Hours later, after House Republicans swiftly stripped Cheney of her leadership position, they managed to prove her point at a hearing on Jan. 6.Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-GA) said to call the insurrection an insurrection was a “bald-faced lie” because the people streaming into the Capitol looked like “a normal tourist visit.” Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ), who has ties to the organizers behind Jan. 6, said law enforcement was “harassing peaceful patriots.” And Rep. Ralph Norman (R-SC) theorized that it was impossible to know if it was actually Trump supporters who stormed the Capitol because no one had polled the rioters.“It was Trump supporters who lost their lives that day,” added Rep. Jody Hice (R-GA), “not Trump supporters who were taking the lives of others.”The embrace of a fabricated version of Jan. 6 was the natural progression following what they did that morning—booting Cheney from her position as the GOP conference chairwoman. And it was perhaps Cheney’s proclivity for telling the truth about Trump, the insurrection, and Republican lies about voter fraud that ultimately sealed her fate.Just don’t tell that to Republican members. If you ask them, you’ll get an assortment of tortured explanations.“It's just the style of leadership,” Rep. Tim Burchett (R-TN) told The Daily Beast on Tuesday.“I felt she pushed too hard to spend more money in the first Trump budget,” Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-WI) said, referring to something that happened four years ago.“Just became too much of a distraction,” Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL) told reporters on Wednesday.In interviews with more than 20 House Republicans this week, it’s clear that most GOP members had become uncomfortable with Cheney continuing to represent them in leadership. But their rationales were often far from coherent, and the real reason why so many wanted to take away Cheney’s megaphone—whether Republicans would like to admit it or even realize it—is that she undermined a key endeavor of the GOP: lying.Every time Cheney defiantly said the 2020 election had not been stolen from Trump, she undercut Republican attempts to change laws making it harder to vote. Every time she laid the blame for Jan. 6 at Trump’s feet, Republicans became a little more uneasy. And every time she referenced “The Big Lie,” she inconveniently suggested that those refusing to acknowledge Joe Biden’s legitimate victory were, in fact, not telling the truth.“The 2020 presidential election was not stolen. Anyone who claims it was is spreading THE BIG LIE, turning their back on the rule of law, and poisoning our democratic system,” Cheney tweeted on May 3, in what may have been the final straw.On Wednesday afternoon, as House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) exited a meeting with Biden and other congressional leaders at the White House, he somehow claimed that he didn’t think anybody was “questioning the legitimacy of the presidential election.”“That is all over with,” McCarthy said.But it’s obviously not. And as The Daily Beast sought explanations from GOP members as to why Cheney had to go, Cheney’s resolute declarations about the election seemed to be at top of mind for many.Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-GA) told The Daily Beast that Cheney had thrown GOP lawmakers “under the bus” precisely because she called out those actively questioning the legitimacy of the presidential election.“If we say we have questions about the 2020 election, then you're somehow enemy to democracy,” Loudermilk said.Republicans Lean Into New Role as Trump’s Willing Hostages Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) expressed a number of issues he had with Cheney even before the election, but he also seemed offended that Cheney would side with Democrats on issues like impeachment, the 2020 election winner, and Jan. 6.“The problem is you can’t have a Republican conference chair who continually recites Democrat talking points,” Jordan said. “You can't have a Republican conference chair who takes positions that 90% of the party oppose.”Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), the overwhelming favorite to take Cheney’s position now that she’s been ousted, told The Daily Beast Wednesday morning that the GOP conference chair—charged with helping Republicans message—needed to “represent the whole team.”“And I believe that she lost the faith of the members of the conference,” Stefanik said.When The Daily Beast asked Stefanik if anything Cheney had said was actually inaccurate or should be controversial, Stefanik revealed her sense of subjective truth.“What she’s saying is not representative of the viewpoints of 70-plus million Americans who voted for President Trump, or for the majority of our conference members,” Stefanik said. “It’s important that we focus on election security and election integrity moving forward, and that’s why you see state legislatures taking action.”It’s that key Republican endeavor—to clamp down on voting—that may truly be the most Machiavellian reason for Cheney’s removal. As Republicans turn to state legislatures for new rules that would make it harder for people to vote, the last thing they need is a GOP leader calling out their own attempts to restrict voting as an unnecessary and naked power grab.Republican lawmakers and operatives appear convinced that voter integrity issues will be a winner for the GOP headed into the critical 2022 elections. John McLaughlin, who served as a top pollster for Trump during the 2016 and 2020 races, told The Daily Beast on Wednesday that based on his data, he believes voting issues could “help defeat” Democratic Sens. Mark Kelly (D-AZ), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Raphael Warnock (D-GA), and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), all up for reelection next November.McLaughlin called it a “fundamental issue” that motivates “Republicans and conservatives but wins big among all voters.For months, the twice-impeached former president has also told allies on Capitol Hill and his advisers that “election integrity issues”—as they call them—have to be a core tenet and litmus test in upcoming GOP primaries, according to three people familiar with the matter. Earlier this year, Trump even went as far as to say that a candidate’s refusal to acknowledge that Biden legitimately won could factor into his decisions when it came time to pick more endorsements.But it’s not just Trump and his allies who see these election issues as a major issue in the GOP. Cheney’s dwindling camp of defenders also saw how her speaking the truth about the 2020 election was a major reason for her removal.“Liz didn’t agree with President Trump’s narrative and she was cancelled,” Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) told reporters on Wednesday. The arch-conservative lawmaker warned that voters would remember in 2022 that Republicans “were unwilling to stand up to a narrative that the election was stolen.”Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), one of Cheney’s staunchest defenders, also told reporters Wednesday morning that what was happening in the GOP conference was “terribly backwards.”“On Day One, you know, when Kevin was spending five or eight minutes, you know, supporting Marjorie Taylor Greene, and then, you know, 12 seconds defending Liz at the end of it, it’s backwards,” Kinzinger said. “It just goes to show that this is all about maintaining power.”Kinzinger added that nothing Cheney has said to date was “controversial, you know, in the truth world,” and he said that Republicans needed to gain power by being honest and engaging voters “like adults and not like the children that we’ve been lately.”“The reality is, you can’t blame people that think the election was stolen, because that’s all they hear from their leaders,” Kinzinger said. “It’s leaders’ job to tell the truth even if that’s uncomfortable, and that’s not what we’re doing.”A House GOP aide aligned with Cheney was even more emphatic Wednesday, telling The Daily Beast that this effort to strip Cheney of her position was about “Donald Trump and his lies. Full stop.”“There’s not a single member that has claimed the things that Rep. Cheney has said are wrong, but she still was removed,” this aide said. “That says more about the state of the conference and its fealty to Trump’s ludicrous BS than it does about her.”One senior GOP aide told The Daily Beast that, while demoting Cheney may help in Republican attempts to restrict voter access, it probably wasn’t the conscious thought of most members to remove her for that reason. Instead, this aide said, it was Republican uneasiness with talking about the insurrection.“Many members don’t even disagree with her views on January 6th—they just don’t want to talk about it publicly,” this senior GOP aide said. “It doesn’t unify the conference or serve the party’s broder message to constantly insert the insurrection into the conversation. It’s the opposite of message discipline.”Cheney’s continued insistence to point out Trump and the GOP’s lies did seem to finally cross a threshold for GOP leaders last week, when McCarthy and GOP Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) finally said they’d had enough with her.Three months ago, when Cheney faced the first campaign to remove her as conference chair, McCarthy was a key reason she kept the position. By a two-to-one margin, the conference voted to keep her in leadership following her vote to impeach Trump and her blistering criticism of his role in fomenting the Jan. 6 insurrection.At the time, House Republicans were largely willing to accommodate Cheney’s views. But since that vote,The consensus among House GOP members changed, and now most agreed Cheney had become a problem, even if they refused to identify why that was the case.Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA)—after first refusing to answer a question about when Cheney had become a problem for Republicans because the reporter was wearing a mask—then asked for the reporter to tell her why Cheney had become a problem.“I’m asking you, you’ve reported on it,” Greene said.Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) answered that question by saying Cheney became a problem “when she voiced her own personal opinions as conference chair.”And Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) refused to meaningfully answer, suggesting that it was a gotcha question.“When did you stop beating your wife?” Massie replied.—with reporting from Asawin Suebsaeng.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Los Angeles Dodgers backup third baseman Edwin Ríos will miss the rest of the season after surgery on his right shoulder. Right-hander Dustin May also underwent Tommy John surgery on Wednesday, sidelining him until at least the summer of 2022. The defending World Series champions announced their decision later Wednesday on Ríos, who has a partially torn labrum. He will have surgery next week. The Dodgers also shut down Josiah Gray, their top pitching prospect, due to a right shoulder impingement. Gray, who was scratched from his minor league start at the last minute Tuesday night, will rest for at least a week before re-evaluation. Ríos got off to a rough start this season with the Dodgers, batting .078 with one homer in 25 games while clearly struggling with his swing. The 27-year-old Puerto Rican prospect made his major league debut in 2019. Ríos appeared in seven postseason games last fall, hitting two homers in the NLCS against Atlanta. He had hoped to land a steady backup role playing third base and first base this year for Los Angeles. Instead, the Dodgers will have to use even more of their depth after the latest setback in their significant early-season injury woes. Along with losing May from the starting rotation, the Dodgers are still without 2019 NL MVP Cody Bellinger, who incurred a hairline fracture in his leg in their first series of the season. There is no timetable for his return to action. Starting pitchers Tony Gonsolin and David Price are still returning deliberately from injuries to bolster what was probably the deepest rotation in baseball before the season. The staff is already short-handed now, with a bullpen game or a spot start likely necessary Monday against Arizona. Promising rookie utilityman Zach McKinstry is also still out with strained right oblique, while key right-handed reliever Corey Knebel likely is out for months with a strained back muscle. The bullpen also is missing Brusdar Graterol (forearm) and Scott Alexander (shoulder) with shorter-term injuries. ___ More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports Greg Beacham, The Associated Press