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Certain Miss Vickie’s potato chip brands recalled due to glass in bags

BT Toronto | posted Wednesday, Nov 4th, 2020

Miss Vickie’s Canada is voluntarily recalling a number of brands and bag sizes of its Kettle Cooked Potato Chips after pieces of glass were found in the bags.

The affected potato chips were sold in Ontario, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, and internet sales.

The bags were sold through food vending machines and retail locations such as grocery stores and Costco. The package sizes range from multipacks of 24 grams all the way up to 500 grams

“A small number of consumer concerns related to this matter have been reported to date. One minor dental injury has been reported to-date,” Miss Vickie’s said in a statement. ” Our organization is working closely with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) to coordinate the recall.

A complete list of the products, sizes and UPC codes can be found on the Canadian Food Inspection Agency website.

Consumers are urged to either dispose the affected product or return it to the point of purchase for a full refund.

Canada faces political, economic instability after uncertain U.S. election result

MIKE BLANCHFIELD, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Wednesday, Nov 4th, 2020

Canadian business leaders and political analysts say the morning after election day in the United States brings more political and economic uncertainty for Canada.

American voters — and their northern neighbours — must wait to learn whether they will be getting four more years of an inscrutable Donald Trump or beginning a new chapter with Joe Biden.

The U.S. presidential election remained unresolved Tuesday night, offering no certainty over who would occupy the foreign office most important to Canadian interests.

The cliffhanger had Canadian political observers saying it was too early to know what Canada would be facing for the next four years.

It also meant Trudeau government, as expected, withheld all comment because there was nothing definitive to comment on.

Bessma Momani, an international affairs specialist at the University of Waterloo, says Trump, who many feared would want to declare a premature victory, might expect Canada to say something.

“A big challenge for Canada now is that Trump may want to declare victory before all votes are counted and expect allies to send in their congratulations,” said Momani.

“For those who don’t, like Canada who will want to wait this out, Trump will take this very personally (and) be punitive on trade matters.”

In the wee hours of this morning, Biden preached patience and said everyone must wait for the ballots to be counted. Not long after that, Trump essentially declared himself the winner and said he would take his fight to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Perrin Beatty, the president of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, said uncertainty is not good.

“From a business perspective, people want to know what to expect for the next four years,” he said.

“But we’re simply going to have to wait.”

Early Tuesday night, Biden made strong showings in Republican strongholds of Texas and Ohio. He also came out strong in Florida, a vote-rich state in the U.S. electoral college with 29 of the 270 votes needed for victory, but Trump caught up and The Associated Press declared him the winner in all three of those key states.

The neck-and-neck race intensified.

“It looks like we may be headed to the dreaded scenario: A close race that ends up in the courts, which gets to choose the winner,” said Fen Hampson, an international affairs expert at Carleton University’s Norman Paterson School of International Affairs.

“And it will breed political uncertainty, which isn’t good for Americans or Canadians at a time when our economies are reeling from COVID-19.”

For Americans voting in Canada, the delay was also frustrating.

Houston-born Jennifer Phillips, 30, voted by mail from Vancouver in her native Texas after moving to Canada last year.

“Americans know that issues like COVID, climate change, the global economy, require U.S. participation and leadership. So you know, what happens in America impacts the world,” said Phillips.

Living in Vancouver, she says she has breathed the smoke that has drifted northward from the California wildfires.

“We need a president in office that realizes that things need to change and accept science,” she said.

Democrats push to extend control of House for two more years

ALAN FRAM AND MATTHEW DALY, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS | posted Wednesday, Nov 4th, 2020

Democrats pushed Tuesday to cement control of the House for two more years with perhaps an even larger majority, banking on anxiety over the pandemic, suburban indignation with President Donald Trump and a fundraising advantage.

Early results weren’t conclusive in heatedly contested districts from New York and Virginia to Texas and Arizona. But in one noteworthy but unsurprising finish, Marjorie Taylor Greene, who has espoused unfounded QAnon conspiracy theories, won a vacant seat from an overwhelmingly Republican district in northwest Georgia.

Greene, whom Trump has called a “future Republican star,” has alleged an “Islamic invasion” of government offices and expressed other racist views. QAnon asserts that Trump is quietly waging a battle against pedophiles in the federal bureaucracy and Democratic Party. Greene has since backtracked from her embrace of QAnon.

Scores of both parties’ incumbents from safe districts were easily reelected. Victors included the No. 3 House leaders of each party: Democrat James Clyburn of South Carolina and Republican Liz Cheney of Wyoming.

Republicans were hoping to oust some of the 29 Democrats in districts Trump won in 2016, mostly freshmen, in districts ranging from upstate New York to rural New Mexico.

But nearly all Democratic incumbents in potentially vulnerable districts were outspending their GOP challengers, often by vast margins. Democrats were also aiming millions at Republican-held seats from areas around Atlanta, Dallas, Houston and Indianapolis, and even GOP strongholds like Little Rock, Arkansas, western Colorado and Alaska.

Both parties’ operatives agreed that the GOP was mostly playing defence and would be fortunate to limit Democratic gains to a modest single digits. Democrats control the House 232-197, with five open seats and one independent. It takes 218 seats to control the chamber.

Hanging over the contests were the coronavirus pandemic and the wounded economy, which voters ranked as top concerns, according to AP VoteCast, a national survey of the electorate. The virus has killed 232,000 people in the U.S. and cases are rising in nearly every state, while millions have lost jobs.

Should Democrat Joe Biden defeat Trump and Democrats win the Senate majority, the party would fully control the White House and Congress for only the second time since 1995. They last held the presidency, Senate and House in 2009 and 2010, the first two years of Barack Obama’s presidency.

A larger Democratic majority would make it easier for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., to pass party priorities that include expanding health care coverage and creating jobs with new infrastructure projects. After a two-year run as one of her party’s most effective counterpoints to Trump, the 80-year-old Pelosi is all but certain to serve two more years running the House.

On an Election Day conference call, Pelosi expressed certainty that Democrats will “solidly hold the House.”

A handful of outspoken progressives from safe Democratic districts in New York and elsewhere are assured of winning their elections, making intraparty showdowns likely about how aggressively to pursue a liberal agenda. Even so, moderates seem certain to outnumber the progressives.

For Republicans, a failure to move significantly toward retaking the House – let alone losing seats – would trigger a reckoning about why they remain trapped in the chamber’s minority. A major question would be how to regain suburban voters who have fled the GOP in droves, largely in reaction to Trump’s embrace of racially insensitive appeals, frequent reliance on falsehoods and policies on immigration and social justice that many moderates view as harsh.

As in 2018 when they grabbed House control, Democratic ads emphasized pledges to make health care more accessible, preserve coverage for pre-existing conditions and shield voters from Republicans out to terminate those requirements. Many Republicans say they want to dismantle Obama’s health care law while retaining its coverage for pre-existing conditions, but they’ve not presented a detailed proposal for doing that.

The pandemic has only amplified Democrats’ focus on health care. Trump’s repeated false statements downplaying the virus’ severity have also given Democrats political fodder.

Another GOP disadvantage was that they were defending 35 open seats of lawmakers who didn’t seek reelection, resigned or lost party primaries. There were just 13 Democratic-held vacant seats caused by departures, including one death _ Georgia Rep. John Lewis, the civil rights hero.

This year’s House elections were projected to cost a record $7.3 billion in spending by candidates’ campaigns and outside groups, according to an estimate by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. By mid-October, candidates’ campaigns alone had reported raising $1.7 billion, another record.

Unfortunately for the GOP, the money wasn’t evenly distributed.

All 29 House Democrats in districts that Trump carried in 2016 outraised their GOP challengers, according to an Associated Press analysis of Federal Election Commission reports covering campaign finance through mid-October. In 19 of those races, the Democrats’ edge was 2-1 or more.

The imbalance was nearly as stark among the 42 Democrats who party leaders dubbed “Frontliners” because they seemed vulnerable, qualifying them for extra campaign help. Of that group, 40 amassed more money than their Republican opponent, including 26 who stockpiled at least double their amount.

In contrast, of the 53 Democratic seats that Republican leaders named as takeover targets, Democrats raised more money in 49 races.

Democrats even had an advantage, though less so, among the 37 GOP-held seats they picked as offensive targets. Though most of these seats are held by Republican incumbents, Democratic challengers outraised their GOP rivals in 21 races.

Looking to offset the imbalance, outside GOP groups like the National Republican Congressional Committee and the Congressional Leadership Fund poured millions into tight races in New York, Texas, Georgia, California, Florida and elsewhere.

But the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the party’s House Majority PAC responded in kind, often leaving such spending closely matched.

Should Democrats retain the House majority, it would mark only the second time in a quarter century that they’ve controlled the chamber for two consecutive two-year Congresses. The first period ran from 2007 through 2010, Pelosi’s initial run as speaker.

FAQ: The 2020 U.S. election, explained

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS | posted Wednesday, Nov 4th, 2020

The senate, the house, the popular vote, the electoral college … you may not understand it all but there’s an explanation for everything.

Below you’ll find a list of “explainers,” pieces by the Associated Press that describe the answers to the questions you may have about the U.S. election.

Alleged racism highlights diversity divide in rural Ontario

TINA YAZDANI AND MICHELLE LEPAGE | posted Tuesday, Nov 3rd, 2020

Canadians are leaving large cities like Toronto for smaller towns during COVID-19, according to a study by Remax, but the cheaper housing comes with a heavy price for some racialized families.

People of colour (POC) say they’ve been the target of racism in their new communities and have been made to feel unwelcome and unwanted.

One man, who spoke to CityNews anonymously, moved to a new subdivision in Beaverton, Ont., where his family could afford to buy a house. Since moving to the community, he believes his family has been targeted because they are one of the only POC families in the neighbourhood.

He says it started with some typical neighbourhood disputes — one neighbour wasn’t picking up after his dog, leaving it on the family’s front lawn — but has since escalated significantly. The family claims they’ve been harassed and verbally abused with racial slurs.

“They say you are not a Canadian. He’s calling me a f****** Black Indian,” the man said. “They are telling us ‘get out from here. Don’t live here, get out’.”

Another South Asian family that moved to the community from Toronto this year has had a similar experience.

“[Neighbours are] calling us all types of racial slurs,” says one member of the family, who also preferred to remain anonymous. “We can’t even just come out and drink a little bit of coffee without them trying to instigate and start to bully.”

“In Toronto, we hear all about racism … but we fail to look at how it is up north, the real, actual racism. There are families here going through this and it’s very sad, heartbreaking,” he said.

The families called police but said they did not issue any tickets and only spoke with the neighbours. CityNews spoke briefly with neighbours who denied all claims and did not want to be interviewed.

The local councillor, Ted Smith, visited the neighbourhood to offer his support to the families, but said there isn’t much he can do beyond raising awareness.

“This is a community that we feel is welcoming and it’s very disappointing. No form of racism is tolerated,” said Smith.

Smith said the vast majority of Beaverton is friendly to newcomers but there is room to improve.

Tracking diversity outside Toronto

These alleged acts of racism are highlighting the rural-urban divide when it comes to diversity in rural communities. In an effort to help other families looking to move out of the city, two Toronto researchers have started a project called Ninety Minutes From Toronto.

Drawing from Census Canada data, news reports, municipal websites and by talking to locals, Audra Williams and Haritha Gnanaratna are collecting information about small towns and cities within 90 minutes of Toronto.

“I want people to be able to live somewhere they’re going to feel like they have a community,” said Williams.

The project started after Williams and Gnanaratna began asking themselves if it was worth working so hard to afford living in Toronto during the pandemic since the businesses they wanted to go to were closed and they couldn’t visit their friends either.

“There was no centralized information dump for this kind of stuff,” said Gnanaratna. “Well, there is now.”

The information includes the total BIPOC population in each town or city, and other factors like LGBTQ support, pride events and BLM support, to help people make an informed decision before they choose to move out of the city.

Town of Aylmer declares state of emergency ahead of ‘ anti-masking freedom march’

BT Toronto | posted Tuesday, Nov 3rd, 2020

The town of Aylmer, Ont., has declared a state of emergency ahead of a rally scheduled for this weekend.

The declaration, signed by mayor Mary French, says the emergency went into effect at 2 p.m. Monday “as a result of the potential for civil unrest and service disruptions relating to protests and demonstrations regarding COVID-19 directions, recommendations and orders set out by the Province of Ontario and Southwestern Public Health.”

Aylmer police said in a tweet that the move was in direct response to an “anti-masking freedom march” planned for Nov. 7.

The rally dubbed a “lawful public freedom march” was billed as a family-friendly event and was to take place at the East Elgin Community Centre parking lot.

The rally was to be the second of its kind — the first was held on Oct. 24 — with a focus on what organizers believe to be restrictive government policies and advocating for freedom.

Aylmer has reported the highest number of COVID-19 cases in Oxford, Elgin and St. Thomas counties thus far, with 89 of the 337 cases reported by the Southwestern Public Health Unit on Monday coming from the town.

Canadians await U.S. election in fear, as poll reveals anxieties about aftermath

MIKE BLANCHFIELD, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Tuesday, Nov 3rd, 2020

OTTAWA — Canadians are watching in fear today as their American neighbours vote, capping a campaign marked by voter intimidation, threats of postelection violence, and concern about the potential breakdown of democracy itself.

 

That view is reflected in a new poll from Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies that found a clear majority of Canadians surveyed worry that the United States will suffer a breakdown of its system marked by “social chaos” if no clear winner emerges.

 

That fear is being driven by the assumption that U.S. President Donald Trump won’t accept defeat if he is in fact defeated, or may prematurely declare victory on election night before all votes, including mail-in ballots, can be legally counted.

 

Canadians are not oblivious to a chaotic final weekend of campaigning that saw Republican supporters block highways, including surrounding a Joe Biden campaign bus on a Texas interstate, as gun sales soared, businesses boarded up in cities across the country, and Republican lawyers stood ready to contest the results. 

 

“It’s a bit like watching your neighbour’s roof catch fire,” said Perrin Beatty, the president of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. 

 

“You’re both fascinated and horrified.”

 

The Leger poll found that three-quarters of those surveyed in Canada are worried about the U.S. election, and 68 per cent worry that there will be a “complete breakdown of the political system in the U.S. leading to a period of social chaos.”

 

“Who would have ever thought we would ever ask the question? But that’s where we are,” said pollster Christian Bourque.

 

Four out of five respondents said they were concerned that increased racial tension would lead to protests and violence.

 

The survey of 1,516 Canadians selected from an online panel was conducted from Oct. 30 to Nov. 1. Polls conducted this way do not come with a margin of error, since they are not considered random.

 

The survey delved deeper into Canadians’ anxiety: The possibility of “significant civil unrest or violence” in the streets on election day or the following days worried 77 per cent of respondents; 72 per cent were concerned that Trump wouldn’t accept the election result if he lost; 62 per cent were worried about a stock market crash.

 

Beatty, who was a cabinet minister in the Progressive Conservative government of Brian Mulroney recalled the words of former Liberal prime minister John Turner, who died last month, and whom Mulroney defeated in 1984: “The people have decided, and the people are always right.”

 

“That’s what a democrat does,” Beatty said, and “that will be the test” for the United States tonight.

 

Georganne Burke, an Ontario-based dual Canadian-American citizen who has campaigned for Trump in the U.S., blamed the Democrats for stoking fears of unrest and violence.

 

“The Democrats have a cohort of people that are very violent, and don’t have any problems about rioting and looting,” Burke said.

 

“The Republicans have a cohort of people who talk about their guns, but what they’re going to do is just retreat — move away from participation in American society. And I don’t know which is worse.”

 

Burke is deeply troubled by the chaos she is viewing from abroad, and said the only comparison in her lifetime is the race riots in the late 1960s.   

 

“Cities were burned down and had to rebuild, and some of them never really recovered,” she said.

 

Burke said it was “hype” that Trump would refuse to accept a defeat. 

 

“That’s garbage. Will he be unhappy? Sure, he’ll be unhappy. Will he say outrageous things? Probably. But he’ll leave.”

 

But if Trump wins, that will just embolden Democrats to spend four more years trying to undermine his presidency, she said.

 

The Leger poll left no doubt who Canadians want to win the White House — 80 per cent favoured Biden.

 

Colin Robertson, a retired diplomat who served in multiple U.S. postings, said Canadians have every reason to be concerned about what’s unfolding south of the border, but now is not the time to take sides.

 

“Despite Trump, the U.S. is still the leader of the free world, so any internal turmoil inevitably has collateral damage to the western alliance,” said Robertson 

 

“What can we do? Keep calm, consult with the allies and, as (Prime Minister Justin) Trudeau said, prepare for all contingencies.”

 

Sarah Goldfeder, now an Ottawa-based consultant and former U.S. diplomat under two American ambassadors, said Canadians must be vigilant to guard against the ideological infiltration of extreme, divisive politics into Canada. 

 

“Literally, stores are boarded up across America right now, in anticipation of civil unrest in the streets. And that’s not good for anybody that has a has to do business with the U.S.” 

 

Bruce Heyman, who was Barack Obama’s second ambassador to Canada, said Americans are equally worried but only a “handful” of the 330 million of them are troublemakers.

 

“Canadians should sit back and take note that the United States-Canada relationship is our most important relationship. But Donald Trump has done damage to the trust part of that relationship,” Heyman said.

 

“We have a chance to turn the ship around and head in the direction we were progressing along, regardless of party, Republican or Democrat,” he added.

 

“I hope that we can put this in the dustbin of failed presidencies and bad periods.”

 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 3, 2020.

Mike Blanchfield, The Canadian Press

Trump, Biden cede stage to voters for Election Day verdict

JONATHAN LEMIRE, ZEKE MILLER AND ALEXANDRA JAFFE, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS | posted Tuesday, Nov 3rd, 2020

After a campaign marked by rancour and fear, Americans on Tuesday decide between President Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden, selecting a leader to steer a nation battered by a surging pandemic that has killed more than 230,000 people, cost millions their jobs and reshaped daily life.

Nearly 100 million Americans voted early and now it falls to Election Day voters to finish the job, ending a campaign that was reshaped by the coronavirus and defined by tensions over who could best address it. Each candidate declared the other fundamentally unfit to lead a nation grappling with COVID-19 and facing foundational questions about racial justice and economic fairness.

Biden entered Election Day with multiple paths to victory while Trump, playing catch-up in a number of battleground states, had a narrower, but still feasible road to clinch 270 Electoral College votes. Control of the Senate was at stake, too: Democrats needed to net three seats if Biden captured the White House to gain control of all of Washington for the first time in a decade. The House was expected to remain under Democratic control.

Voters braved long lines and the threat of the virus to cast ballots as they chose between two starkly different visions of America for the next four years. The record-setting early vote — and legal skirmishing over how it will be counted — drew unsupported allegations of fraud from Trump, who refused to guarantee he would honour the election’s result.

Fighting to the end for every vote, Biden was headed to Philadelphia and his native Scranton on Tuesday as part of a closing get-out-the-vote effort before awaiting election results in his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware. His running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris, was visiting Detroit, a heavily Black city in battleground Michigan. Both of their spouses were headed out, too, as the Democrats reached for a clear victory.

Trump, after a morning appearance on his favoured network, Fox News, planned to visit his campaign headquarters in Virginia. He invited hundreds of supporters to an election-night party in the East Room of the White House.

The hardfought campaign left voters on both sides eager to move on.

“I just want it to be done,” said Starlet Holden, a 26-year-old medical biller from Queens, New York, who planned to vote for Biden but spoke for many on both sides of the campaign.

On their final full day on the campaign trail, Trump and Biden broke sharply over the mechanics of the vote itself while visiting the most fiercely contested battleground, Pennsylvania.

The president threatened legal action to block the counting of ballots received after Election Day. If Pennsylvania ballot counting takes several days, as is allowed, Trump claimed without evidence that “cheating can happen like you have never seen.”

In fact, there are roughly 20 states that allow mail-in ballots received after Election Day to be counted — up to nine days and longer in some states. Litigation has centred on just a few where states have made changes in large part due to the coronavirus.

Biden told voters in Pennsylvania that the very fabric of the nation was at stake and offered his own election as the firmest rebuke possible to a president whom he said had spent “four years dividing us at every turn.”

“Tomorrow’s the beginning of a new day. Tomorrow we can put an end to a president that’s left hardworking Americans out in the cold!” Biden said in Pittsburgh. “If you elect me as president, I’m gonna act to heal this country.”

Trump argued, at a stop in Wisconsin, that Biden was “not what our country needs.” He added: “This isn’t about — yeah, it is about me, I guess, when you think about it.”

For Trump, the election stood as a judgment on his four years in office, a term in which he bent Washington to his will, challenged faith in its institutions and changed how America was viewed across the globe. In a country divided along lines of race and class, he often acted as an insurgent against the very government he led, undercutting its scientists and bureaucracy and doing battle with the media.

The nation braced for what was to come — and a result that might not be known for days.

A new anti-scale fence was erected around the White House. And in downtowns ranging from New York to Denver to Minneapolis, workers boarded up businesses lest the vote lead to unrest of the sort that broke out earlier this year amid protests over racial inequality.

Just a short walk from the White House, for block after block, stores had their windows and doors covered. Some kept just a front door open, hoping to attract a little business.

Both candidates voted early, but first lady Melania Trump was set to cast her ballot Tuesday near Mar-a-Lago, the couple’s estate in Palm Beach, Florida.

The candidates blitzed through the battleground states on Monday, with Biden also pushing into Ohio, a state once thought to be safe for Trump. The president, for his part, packed in five rallies, Air Force One streaking across the sky as he drew crowds in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and then back in Michigan again.

His finale stretched past midnight in Grand Rapids, where he had also held his last rally in 2016. It marked the end of an era in American politics, one in part defined by the massive and exuberant gatherings that the president continued to hold despite warnings from his government’s own public health experts to avoid crowds during the pandemic.

The next president will inherit an anxious nation, reeling from a once-in-a-century heath crisis that has closed schools and businesses and that is worsening as the weather turns cold.

Trump in Grand Rapids insisted anew that the nation was “rounding the turn” on the virus. But Dr. Deborah Birx, the co-ordinator of the White House coronavirus task force, broke with the president and joined a chorus of Trump administration scientists sounding alarm about the current spike in infections.

“We are entering the most concerning and most deadly phase of this pandemic,” Birx wrote in a memo distributed to top administration officials. She added that the nation was not implementing “balanced” measures needed to slow the spread of the virus. One recipient confirmed the contents that were initially reported Monday by The Washington Post.

The pandemic has shadowed the campaign, which has largely been a referendum of Trump’s handling of the virus.

In Concord, New Hampshire, 70-year-old Linda Eastman said she was giving her vote to Trump, saying, “Maybe he wasn’t perfect with the coronavirus, but I think he did the best that he could with what he had.”

In Virginia Beach, it was a vote for Biden from 54-year-old Gabriella Cochrane, who said she thought the former vice-president would “surround himself with the brightest and the best” to fight the pandemic.

The challenge of counting a record-setting early vote added a layer of uncertainty to an election marked by suspicions fueled by an incumbent who has consistently trailed in the polls.

Trump, in Pennsylvania, zeroed in on the state’s process to count mail-in votes that arrive after Election Day, vowing that “we’re going in with our lawyers” as soon as the polls close. He tweeted — without evidence — that “violence in the street” could follow the Supreme Court’s decision to grant an extension to count the votes arriving after Tuesday.

Trump offered himself to voters as the same outsider he first pitched to voters four years ago, insisting he’s still not a politician. Presenting himself as the last barrier protecting an American way of life under siege from radical forces, he repeatedly tried to portray Biden, who is considered a moderate Democrat, as a tool of extreme leftists.

Biden, for his part, cast Trump was an incompetent leader in a time of crisis, trying to connect what he saw as the president’s failures in containing the virus and on other matters to the everyday lives of Americans.

Jaffe reported from Pittsburgh. Miller reported from Grand Rapids, Mich. Associated Press writers Will Weissert in Washington and Bill Barrow in Atlanta contributed to this report.

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