Glen Quann, a 60-year-old London man, is dead following a collision on Highway 401 earlier this week, the Ontario Provincial Police said in a news release. The crash, which occurred around 11 a.m. Monday, took place after Quann's vehicle and another collided in the eastbound lanes of Highway 401, east of County Road 42. The passenger in Quann's vehicle was brought to hospital with life-threatening injuries. The driver and passenger of the other vehicle were not injured. At the time, police closed the eastbound lanes of Highway 401 at County Road 42 for several hours to complete an investigation. An investigation is still ongoing and police ask that anyone with information to contact the Ontario Provincial Police at 1-888-310-1122 or the Chatham-Kent detachment at (519) 352-1122. More from CBC Windsor
Some small businesses in rural P.E.I. are feeling the local love this year, thanks in part to a social media group called Support Local P.E.I.Cathy Donnelly started the group in April 2020 after someone asked her for a list of P.E.I.-owned and -operated businesses. She said that before she even finished creating the list, more than 200 people were wanting a copy, so she decided to create a Facebook group instead."I was always a supporter of local businesses, but with the [COVID] shut down it really struck me that, as businesses were being forced to shut their doors, many businesses were at risk of being shut down permanently," Donnelly wrote."People look to local businesses to support their sports teams, to donate to fundraisers, etc. Now, they needed our help."Donnelly said the page also helps show Islanders don't need to leave P.E.I. to get what they need."Farmers to supply meats, vegetables and of course potatoes, Island artisans for unique one-of-a-kind gifts, clothing stores, print shops, computer repair, accounting services, restaurants, bake shops and more," Donnelly wrote.'It's been dramatic'Margaret McEachern, who owns Knit Pickers in Mayfield, P.E.I., was one of the first businesses to join the Support Local P.E.I. group.She said the number of locals coming to her shop has grown since she started posting in the group."It's been dramatic, for me, most of my social media followers were from away and all over the world, but not too much locally," McEachern said. "When COVID hit, and the support local group opened up right about that time, as more and more people were joining, what I was finding is more and more people, local people, were connecting with me through social media, were interested in events." McEachern said those local connections mattered, as she faced a summer with limited tourist traffic on the Island, usually the mainstay of her business. "About 90 per cent would have been visitors, perhaps 10 per cent local and that certainly has shifted," McEachern said."Even in terms of the customers that I'm doing for Christmas now, it's almost all local. So that's really cool. People are really engaged and really supportive of the whole support local idea." Not just retailMcEachern said the group applies beyond just retailers. "It's also involving catering, for instance The Yellow House over in North Rustico caters events, and if you're having an event, hire a local musician," McEachern said."Support the local farmers or me. I'm also supporting local shepherds because the wool is local."McEachern said the group has also helped her build connections with other small businesses on P.E.I., and she has even started "knit nights" that bring locals into the shop. "The drop in income from visitors this summer, of course, is dramatic, but the support from locals has enabled me to stay open and to carry on," McEachern said."So without that, without the support of the local people, it would be a real challenge." 'Still surprised'Brenda Doiron is also feeling grateful for the support of the Support Local P.E.I. group.She opened The Makers Place in 2019, next to her home in Rusticoville, P.E.I., featuring the work of 25 artisans, including products she and her husband make."My first year I had no idea what to expect, but the majority of my customers were visitors, with some locals mixed in," Doiron said. "But this year, the local support was fantastic. A really conscious effort to support local."Doiron said her business is actually up this year, compared to last. "Crazily enough, better, being as 2019 was my first year, so the word wasn't out," Doiron said. "Then, with the real drive to support local this year made a huge difference. I am still surprised, every time I open the door, at the amount of people that are out looking for handmade, Island-made goods." 'Beautiful surprise'Last year, Doiron closed the shop at Thanksgiving, but is staying open weekends until Christmas this year, thanks to the increased local support."It's at peak now, it's the Christmas season," Doiron said. "But I do think it will continue, to some degree, because there's been a lot of great discoveries on the Island this year."Doiron said she wasn't sure what to expect of 2020."I was very unsure of even opening, because it was early COVID times, certainly not where I am now with people coming in and enjoying the shop as much as they are," Doiron said. "So it's just been a really beautiful surprise. I so appreciate it all."More from CBC P.E.I.
ST. MARY’S – The Municipality of the District of St. Mary’s’ newest councillors have asked staff to explore making pension plans available to elected officials. The move would be a first for St. Mary’s, where councillors have been responsible for looking after their own retirement savings. But, said district one Councillor Courtney Mailman, “It’s kind of nice to be breaking new ground.” Mailman, district two Councillor Charlene Zinck and district three/five councillor, Warden Greg Wier – all newcomers to council – spearheaded the notion at the committee of the whole meeting on Nov. 18. “Because myself, Warden Wier and Councillor Zinck are all under retirement age and we all have full-time jobs, we wanted to look at the possibility of investing back into a retirement plan,” Mailman said. “Warden Wier had mentioned it to me and I expressed an interest, and he had mentioned it to Councillor Zinck and she expressed an interest, and then the other councillors were on board with looking into it.” Still, she added, “the sole responsibility for this would fall on us. We are not expecting, you know, a 50/50 split or a matching from the municipality. This is just something that we thought we would look into. We may all go ahead, or one of us may, but it would set a precedent for the future, for full-time working councillors to have that option.” Chief Administrative Officer Marvin MacDonald confirmed that staff are now working on the initiative. “We just got direction to go ahead and pursue it,” he said. “It [a pension plan] would just be through a bank. It would basically be an RRSP kind of thing.” It’s not clear what, if any, management costs the municipality might incur as a result of such a scheme. Currently, the Municipal Government Act in Nova Scotia does not require elected representatives to “buy in” to the one or more types of pension plans that are mandatory for, and administered on behalf of, town and city staff. In St. Mary’s, councillors, the warden and deputy warden don’t receive salaries, per se, but active “remunerations” set in each year’s operating budget. In the fiscal year ending March 31, 2021, each St. Mary’s councillor will earn $13,043; the warden, an additional $8,300; and the deputy warden, a further $5,929. Regarding any future pensions, Mailman said, “It would be taken off our income as councillors and then just go out into some form of investment for us to have down the road.” Before that, MacDonald said, “We’re going to get somebody in to talk to us about it. The councillors can ask questions directly then.”Alec Bruce, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Guysborough Journal
Premier John Horgan has revealed a new slate of cabinet ministers who will lead B.C. through the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the economic fallout. The cabinet includes some new faces at the helm of major portfolios like finance and education, while some NDP party stalwarts will remain in charge of ministries like health."The pandemic has turned the lives of British Columbians upside down," Horgan said in a news release after Thursday's swearing-in ceremony. "We have come a long way together, but we have much further to go. This skilled, diverse team is ready to continue our fight against COVID-19 and build an economic recovery that includes everyone."The NDP are returning to power this fall with an unprecedented majority for the party, holding 57 of 87 seats in the legislature. The new executive council is gender-balanced, with an equal number of men and women in cabinet positions, and includes 20 ministers and four ministers of state.Perhaps the least surprising news out of Thursday's cabinet announcement was that Adrian Dix will stay on as health minister, after helping guide B.C.'s pandemic response from the beginning. Mike Farnworth is still public safety minister and solicitor general, Bruce Ralston remains as energy minister, and George Heyman stays on as minister of the environment. Selina Robinson is the new finance ministerDavid Eby will remain as attorney general, but he will also take on a new portfolio as housing minister, which was formerly paired with municipal affairs under Selina Robinson's watch.Robinson has moved on from that role in the new government, taking on the high-profile finance posting, as the province struggles to keep an even fiscal keel during the turmoil caused by the pandemic. She steps in where Carole James left off before retiring from politics this year."I have tremendous trust in her capacity," Horgan told reporters after the new cabinet was sworn in.Although James is no longer serving in politics, the premier revealed she will continue to serve as a personal adviser to him for a fee of $1 a year."I offered her five bucks for a five-year contract; she said 'I'll take it a year at a time,'" Horgan joked.Ravi Kahlon will also join B.C.'s effort to rebuild from the pandemic as the new minister for jobs and innovation, with an additional responsibility for economic recovery folded into his portfolio."We have had a cross-government approach to recovery since the beginning, but Ravi will be the point person," Horgan said.Rob Fleming is out as education minister, heading up transportation and infrastructure instead. Newbie Jennifer Whiteside is his replacement in the education portfolio.Horgan denied that Fleming was shifted out of education in response to conflict over reopening schools during the pandemic."[I'm] very proud of the work he's done, but I wanted to move him on to other things," Horgan said.Meanwhile, Sheila Malcolmson is taking on the tricky portfolio of mental health and addictions, following Judy Darcy's exit from provincial politics. Malcolmson enters her new role as drug overdoses are killing five British Columbians every day.Some of the other new faces include former Tofino mayor Josie Osborne, who becomes the minister of municipal affairs, and Mitzi Dean as minister of children and family development.Full cabinet for the new NDP governmentPremier: John HorganAttorney General (and Minister Responsible For Housing): David Eby * Parliamentary Secretary - Anti-Racism Initiatives: Rachna SinghAdvanced Education and Skills Training: Anne Kang * Parliamentary Secretary - Skills Training: Andrew MercierAgriculture, Food and Fisheries: Lana Popham * Parliamentary Secretary - Fisheries and Aquaculture: Fin DonnellyCitizens' Services: Lisa BeareChildren and Family Development: Mitzi Dean * Minister of State for Child Care: Katrina ChenEducation: Jennifer WhitesideEnergy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation (and Minister Responsible for The Consular Corps of British Columbia): Bruce RalstonEnvironment and Climate Change Strategy (and Minister Responsible for Translink): George Heyman * Parliamentary Secretary - Environment: Kelly GreeneFinance: Selina Robinson * Parliamentary Secretary - Gender Equity: Grace LoreForests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development: Katrine Conroy * Minister of State for Lands, Natural Resource Operations: Nathan Cullen * Parliamentary Secretary - Rural Development: Roly RussellHealth (and Minister Responsible for Francophone Affairs): Adrian Dix * Parliamentary Secretary - Seniors Services & Long Term Care: Mable ElmoreIndigenous Relations and Reconciliation: Murray RankinJobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation: Ravi Kahlon * Minister of State for Trade: George Chow * Parliamentary Secretary - Technology & Innovation: Brenda BaileyLabour: Harry Bains * Parliamentary Secretary - New Economy: Adam WalkerMental Health and Addictions: Sheila MalcolmsonMunicipal Affairs: Josie OsbornePublic Safety and Solicitor General: Mike Farnworth * Parliamentary Secretary - Emergency Preparedness: Jennifer RiceSocial Development and Poverty Reduction: Nicholas Simons * Parliamentary Secretary - Community Development & Non-Profits: Niki Sharma * Parliamentary Secretary - Accessibility: Dan CoulterTourism, Arts, Culture and Sport: Melanie Mark * Parliamentary Secretary - Arts and Film: Bob D'EithTransportation and Infrastructure: Rob Fleming * Minister of State for Infrastructure: Bowinn Ma
If the novel coronavirus was going to affect an industry in 2020, horse racing was a strong contender. Though it's a major money-maker in the province, generating $2.3 billion of Ontario's GDP, in the past it relied on people having a little extra money to spend, and coming together en masse on race day to place bets. At the beginning of the summer race season, things didn't look good, admits Lakeshore Mayor Tom Bain, who is on the executive of the horse racing association.But once the Lakeshore Horse Racing Association was allowed to have 100 people in the grandstand in Leamington, wagering ended up being as strong as ever."Certainly we were pleased with the comeback that we had and we were able to end up having a very positive season," said Bain. According to Bain, on any given Sunday this summer, the average total wagered was around $24,000. Key to that was online betting. "This year we did do all the simulcast wagering and we got out to a vast market. So maybe next year, hand in hand we'll bet yet again higher than ever," said Mark Williams, president of the association.Williams said people from as far away as Nova Scotia were betting on races in Leamington.This year's season went from early August to the end of October. The association is asking Ontario Racing to add two more race dates next year, but Williams is not optimistic that will happen. Meanwhile, those who depend on the local horse racing industry for their livelihoods are betting on a good year next year. Waverly Livingston is a stable hand at Woodslee Farms where she takes care of race horses and horses who are retired. She says without the local industry she would lose her job."I would have a very hard time finding another job, and there are only so many other farms ... in the area that take people," said Livingston.She is one of three employed at the stables owned by Don and Anita Leschied. Leschied says he spends between $500 and $1,000 a week keeping his horses."One of my first part time young ladies is now a veterinary technician who stayed in Essex County," said Leschied. "We are the second or third largest agricultural industry of the entire agricultural component in the province of Ontario," said Leschied.Leschied adds that the horse racing industry in Essex County, Chatham-Kent and Lambton county employs 10,000 people. More than 45,000 Ontarians owe their permanent jobs to the horse racing and breeding industry, according to research paid for by Ontario Racing.
Although the Italian government says it won't make a COVID-19 vaccine compulsory - there is growing hesitation among Italians over its safety.View on euronews
SHERBROOKE – If a good deal of politics is learning how to soothe savage breasts, then a background in music wouldn’t be the worst thing a budding municipal councillor could offer. Courtney Mailman, the new district one councillor in the Municipality of the District of St. Mary’s, says staff and colleagues could not have been more accommodating. “I have a lot to learn, but I’ve really enjoyed it so far. I’ve been doing some municipal training, and the councillors who were already there have been very helpful and willing to share their knowledge.” That’s a good thing for the music therapy graduate from Acadian University and current Recreation Director at High-Crest Sherbrooke nursing home. Otherwise, she might have had to pull out her guitar or roll in her piano. “I also sing,” she laughs. Mailman is one of four rookie councillors who were either acclaimed (as she, Greg Wier and James Fuller were) or elected (as Charlene Zinck was) into office in the October municipal election. Her reasons for throwing her hat into the ring are clear. “Being a municipal councillor is a new role for me and I am excited and eager to take on this new challenge,” she says. “My main priority is to get to know the people and businesses in my district, to hear their ideas and concerns and to represent them to the best of my ability. Integrity and transparency are important to me and I plan to work hard for my community. I look forward to partnering with other committees and agencies for the betterment of the Municipality of St. Mary’s.” She comes by these commitments honestly enough. Born in Halifax and raised in towns and communities across the province, the 37-year-old’s parents emphasized the importance of giving back. “My dad always told me not to complain about something if I’m not going to do anything about it,” she says. “He always said that if I wanted change, I should jump in and be a part of that.” To this end, perhaps, she’s worked for The Salvation Army as a community services liaison in Kentville, where a big part of her job was advocating for clients and building community partnerships. She also administered its food bank and Christmas hamper programs. “Plus, my family has fostered children since I was 15 and I had always been very involved and invested in the children who came to stay in our home,” she says. Sure, but why local politics now? Between her job and volunteering, her husband Kyle and their dog Tillie, it’s not as if she hasn’t enough to do. “Believe it or not, I wanted to take a more active role,” she says. “I want to be a voice for the people in my district, in the development of our community.” And in these fractured times just about everywhere, that might be music to many ears. Alec Bruce, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Guysborough Journal
Europe's drugs watchdog said on Thursday it expects to receive the first application for conditional marketing approval for a COVID-19 vaccine "in the coming days", the latest step towards making a shot available outside the United States. The European Medicines Agency (EMA) did not name the company it expects to file the application, but Pfizer Inc and BioNTEch are the most advanced in the regulatory process among the three companies that have published late-stage trial data for their vaccines. The companies applied on Nov. 20 for U.S. approval and the UK said it has asked its medical regulator to assess the vaccine for its suitability.
As COVID-19 cases continue to climb in Nova Scotia's central region, and with most of the new cases in the 18 to 35 age range, many are wondering about the role of universities in making sure students are following the Public Health guidelines.Two off-campus Dalhousie University students tested positive for the virus over the weekend and a house party on Edward Street with about 60 people took place Friday night. It was broken up by Halifax police and one $1,000 ticket was issued."I live in a university community and there are definitely more parties going on than that one," said Michelle Scully, a third-year Dalhousie student who lives off campus in Halifax.Scully said while she receives emails about Public Health guidelines from the school, at no point has Dalhousie told students there would be academic consequences for not following Public Health protocols."If people continue to have such large gatherings, I think they need to enforce further consequences," she said.Verity Turpin, Dalhousie's acting vice-provost of student affairs, said the university expects its students to "share that responsibility" for keeping the university and surrounding Halifax community safe and healthy, which includes avoiding large gatherings such as parties."In the case of any event off campus, I think it's important to recognize that at Dalhousie, we look at our students as independent adults," Turpin said. "They are responsible for following all of the laws in our province when they decide to come back and live as part of our community."Turpin said the school is in constant contact with students, such as sending out emails and notifications from the Dalhousie app about Public Health guidelines, as well as advisers and faculties speaking directly with students about the requirements.St. FX, Acadia address off-campus partiesOther universities in the province have made an effort to crack down on large student gatherings during the COVID-19 pandemic, even if those students are living off campus.Both Acadia University and St. Francis Xavier University required students to sign a code of conduct form, telling students they would face discipline or academic consequences for breaching health protocols. These universities both have in-person classes this semester.At Acadia, the university president, Wolfville's mayor and the student union president went door to door, visiting houses and speaking with students directly about following Public Health guidelines. Turpin said student ambassadors from Dalhousie did similar door-to-door visits in neighbourhoods surrounding campus.St. FX has also taken away practice and training privileges for student-athletes after a large off-campus party. St. FX said at the time students found to have violated the school's code of conduct could face suspensions. The university also did its own investigation into the event.A Saint Mary's University spokesperson said in a statement on Tuesday that "a SMU community member" tested positive for COVID-19.Cale Loney said in an email on Wednesday that the university has been sharing the health protocols with students and that "violation of those protocols can be subject to discipline under the university's code of student conduct."Dal's Faculty of Health takes more direct approachWhile Dalhousie as a whole has not made clear that there will be academic consequences for those who disregard the COVID safety measures, the Faculty of Health decided to do just that last month.Dean Dr. Brenda Merritt said students in her faculty, roughly 1,500 of which take part in on-campus learning this semester, were given an honour statement this semester.In it, students had to agree to stay up to date on and follow the current health requirements, and failing to do so "could result in dismissal or suspension on the grounds of professional unsuitability.""We felt strongly that this is part of our identity as health professionals and health researchers that we should be doing this," Merritt said."We did hear some feedback from students that they wanted something like this, they wanted their peers to be accountable, so to raise the feeling of safety on campus and in clinical placements."These students are also using an in-house COVID pre-screening app before they attend any face-to-face classes. Merritt said so far, these students seem to be following the rules."From what I'm hearing, they are really communicating well with each other about it and calling each other out on things," she said."They are taking this very seriously. They know that if we have an outbreak on campus, their programming stops."Merritt said there is a "rippling effect of a shutdown," which would mean pharmacists, nurses and other health students would not graduate on time, causing "a big strain" on the healthcare system.85 of November cases in ages 18 to 35A spokesperson for the province said that of the 118 cases reported in November as of Tuesday, 85 were people between the age of 18 and 35. The province could not offer a breakdown of how many of those cases are university students.Halifax Coun. Waye Mason has been calling for more fines to be given out to those involved with the Edward Street party — which he adds were "probably" Dalhousie students — and that the university needs to step up."Dalhousie has to take responsibility, both for helping to address the policing issues that happen in the neighbourhood around the university, and in going out and educating students when they are off campus about what the expectations are," he said."Unfortunately this year Dalhousie chose not to participate in funding Dal Patrol or going out with the police to knock on doors in the problem neighbourhoods. I think that's certainly something that the neighbours, and I, would like to see happen again."During Tuesday's news briefing, Premier Stephen McNeil said there will be stronger enforcement for illegal gatherings going forward, "including a $1,000 fine for every person who walks through the door.""All of the universities have been supportive and we will continue to work with them," he said. "It's a critical demographic that we will need to be vigilant on and keep on top of."MORE TOP STORIES
Cape Breton Regional Municipality and the federal government have thrown the Port of Sydney Development Corporation a lifeline.The port is facing a $600,000 deficit this year after the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the cruise ship season.CBRM council has voted to allow the port to use reserve funds created by the dredging of Sydney Harbour in 2012, but two councillors questioned whether the port administration has first done enough to cut costs and increase revenues."My problem ... is that to basically turn over all that money and it can just be gone if nothing else is achieved," District 10 Coun. Darren Bruckschwaiger said during discussion of the port's finances at CBRM's inaugural council meeting on Tuesday.District 8 Coun. James Edwards said he supports the port, but he was the only councillor to vote against allowing access to the special reserve fund."There was some pertinent questions asked, but I think there was lots of opportunity for more explanation," he told reporters afterwards.The federal, provincial and municipal governments and Nova Scotia Power created a $38-million fund to dredge Sydney Harbour eight years ago to accommodate larger cargo, coal and cruise ships.There was some money left over after the project finished and the port has been allowed to use it for various purposes.Some of the money was supposed to be used to fix the shore-based navigational aids that were no longer aligned with the newly dredged channel, but eight years later, the Coast Guard has still not undertaken that work.The Coast Guard said in an email that the navigational aids in Sydney Harbour currently mark the channel safely and it will maintain them in future.The federal government had required the port to set aside $800,000 of the $1.1 million remaining in the reserve fund for navigational aid costs, but has since given its approval to use that money to cover this year's deficit.Port CEO Marlene Usher said cruise ships and passengers supply the majority of the port's revenues, but there have been none this year."Hopefully we will get some cruise [ships] next year, but at this point I'm not very optimistic," she said.Some staff have been laid off and others have taken a 20-per-cent pay cut or foregone raises.Usher said there is no fat left to cut, but the port needs to remain open to take delivery of gasoline, diesel and heating oil for all of Cape Breton."Fuel vessels come in every week and if we don't have the doors open and the lights on, that would be catastrophic for the island," she said.If not for the pandemic, the port's current finances would be at least as good as last year's, Usher said."You'll see when we present our audited financial statement at our AGM that we were $700,000 over budget, to the good, so we've been responsible and we'll get back there," she said.Cruise ship traffic is booked in Sydney up to 2026 and it will return eventually, she said, but in the meantime the board has to find new revenues to ease reliance on one industry.'Need to diversify'"We need to diversify that area," Usher said. "We need to make the port a part of downtown and downtown a part of the port."For example, extending the boardwalk would allow pedestrians easier access to shops on the dock that are normally open for cruise ships.Meanwhile, the port is losing revenue after announcing the opening of its second cruise ship berth earlier this year.Usher said there are vessels that would use the new dock, but there are unexpected difficulties with power at the facility.A new financial plan will be presented to council in the new year, she said.MORE TOP STORIES
Many Nova Scotia businesses took a serious hit from the lack of tourists over the usually busy summer tourist season and now many are fearful locals are spending their dollars online with big retailers.Halifax Mayor Mike Savage said he hopes consumers see the benefits of contributing to the local economy as the holiday season unfolds."I think we should look on this as our opportunity to support our community by supporting local business, by not ordering everything online from you know who," he told CBC Radio's Information Morning on Wednesday.Communities throughout the province have launched campaigns encouraging shoppers to buy local. Savage pointed out that many local businesses offer online shopping as well, including restaurants that sell gift cards.Jordi Morgan, vice-president Atlantic at the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, said the pandemic is taking a toll on businesses in Nova Scotia.He said sales at this time of year are critical for many businesses, which regard it as a turnaround point for their year-end figures. The federation has conducted surveys and found that many businesses are under stress. "People are really feeling it's wearing on them in a serious way," Morgan told CBC Radio's Mainstreet."So along with the economic repercussions and worries about consumer spending and debt and staffing, and all the other things that go along with running a business, there are mental health considerations."Morgan said he's glad the province didn't follow in the footsteps of other jurisdictions that allowed larger stores to stay open while smaller establishments had to close. He said he's hopeful the province provides greater clarity when decisions are made regarding restrictions on retail activity.Like Savage, he also wants consumers to look at local online options rather than heading for more established internet retailers. "I can't emphasize how critical it is to the success of our community and our province for people to look at these local enterprises as assets, and what they can do to support the assets," he said.With the city losing $900 million in tourism revenue in 2020, buying local is more vital than ever, said Ross Jefferson, CEO of Discover Halifax."When you do support local, we know that more of our money stays here in our community. It stays here in Atlantic Canada and it stays here in Nova Scotia," he said. In smaller communities like Yarmouth, the pandemic has spurred many businesses to explore new business models. Rick Allwright of the Yarmouth and Area Chamber of Commerce told CBC News that many businesses there have found opportunities in the current crisis. Some have taken their businesses online while others have begun offering delivery in order to survive."There's some, even though they're not ready to be fully online stores yet, they're taking orders over the phone or taking orders even through social media channels," said Allwright. His organization launched a Love Yarmouth campaign earlier this year and Allwright said the plan is to keep it going throughout the holiday season. People supporting the campaign are asked to spend $25 in their community that they would otherwise spend with a big online retailer. Allwright said 250 people have already taken the pledge and he hopes more will come on board. The campaign is aimed at all local businesses and not just smaller, independent ones. "Our campaign is really about spending money locally. If that happens to be with the big box chains in town ... that's not a problem," he said."They're still supporting our local economy. They're still employing local people."MORE TOP STORIES
Pourquoi certains prodiges mènent-ils une vie désordonnée ? Diego Maradona a toujours été un adolescent rebelle et transgressif.
The lawyer representing Chantel Moore's estate says the disciplinary actions ordered by the Edmundston police chief against Insp. Steve Robinson are "a good start" but the lawyer will also ask to have the New Brunswick officer suspended for a period without pay.T.J. Burke said Police Chief Alain Lang essentially validated the formal complaint that accused Robinson of "laughing and smirking" while speaking to a CTV reporter on June 4, hours after Moore was shot dead by an officer who went to her apartment for the purpose of conducting a wellness check. Robinson has been ordered to take the 12-lesson Indigenous Canada course, offered online by the Faculty of Native Studies at the University of Alberta."That's something that every high-ranking officer in the country should have already," said Burke, who was informed of the sanctions against Robinson on Nov. 17. According to Burke, upon completing the course, Robinson is also ordered to meet with a "Madawaska Maliseet elder" to discuss "what he discovered on his journey for knowledge and to discuss the impact of his comments in the media."Furthermore, Robinson is required to take media relations training and must recommend cultural awareness training options for other employees of the Edmundston police force. All steps must be completed by Dec. 31, 2020.In an email statement to CBC News, a spokesperson for Edmundston police said Chief Lang could not comment, as "per Section 22.1 of the New Brunswick Police Act (NBPA), repository of disciplinary and corrective measures are confidential."'Policing is being scrutinized': lawyerBurke said Robinson's behaviour embarrassed police forces across the country. "Laughing and chuckling on TV after a young woman was shot by one of his constables?" Burke said."We're in an era where policing is being scrutinized as a result of many things. One is the disproportionate amount of Black, Indigenous and people of colour who are being arrested by officers, who are being incarcerated by the courts and measured in the context of systemic discrimination." When asked how long a suspension without pay he would ask for from the New Brunswick Police Commission, Burke said he'd be looking at other cases. The average person might think a week would be appropriate, Burke said, but precedent might suggest two or three days is more realistic. "That's going to hurt him financially a little bit."More importantly, Burke said, it would send a message of deterrence."Other police officers will understand that when you get in front of a television camera and you're going to be broadcast all throughout the province, the Atlantic region and the country after a serious police intervention situation … you shouldn't be smirking and laughing about your officer's conduct," Burke said. "It's offensive to the highest degree."Robinson apologized for his conduct back in June, and a statement was published on the City of Edmundston website."I understand that my reaction on camera caused frustration and concern. I sincerely apologize if it was interpreted or perceived as recklessness or lack of compassion. This is absolutely not the case. I have deep sympathy and express my condolences to the victim's family, friends and to the Aboriginal community," Robinson said.'I'm hoping they might call on me to guide this person' Imelda Perley, an instructor at the Mi'kmaq-Wolastoqey Centre at the University of New Brunswick and organizer of a healing walk in Moore's memory, said she welcomes the suggestion that Robinson meet with a Wolastoqi elder.She would even like to be chosen to help.> They need to be humble enough to admit they don't know anything about us. \- Imelda Perley, speaking about police"I wish [the police would] call on us, those who have been working in cultural awareness, to talk about how to heal systemic racism," said Perley. "I'm hoping they might call on me to guide this person through … awareness, humility, sensitivity, competency and, ultimately, safety."Perley said there are Indigenous courses available in New Brunswick and she would have liked to see Robinson take one in his own province.Perley said there's a lot more that police could do to promote a positive ongoing relationship with Indigenous communities. "They need to be humble enough to admit they don't know anything about us," she said. "You can't just do this through an online course. You can't just download information and think it's going to change you."Robinson "should come to our community and our council fire. Come for a drive in our communities. Come see our children, who play with limited playgrounds. Come see where there's no sidewalks. Then you'll see what health threats we face, and not assume you know what's best for our well-being."
A discovery earlier this year by two sisters in Florida has revealed new photographs of a historic but little-known New Brunswick car.The Maritime Singer Six was assembled at a purpose-built factory in east Saint John in 1913 and 1914. None of the cars survive today, and only two photographs of the luxury vehicle were known to exist. Brian Chisholm of Saint John has been researching the history of the Maritime Singer for more than 30 years. "It was a monster," said Chisholm. "It was a 50 horsepower car. It had 36-inch wheels, it weighed way more than any regular car."It was also expensive, selling for $3,000. By comparison, Henry Ford's then plentiful Model T had a 20 horsepower motor and cost about $600.Chisholm had exhausted most avenues for his research. He'd combed newspapers from that time for ads and articles and even has the names of the five registered New Brunswick owners. The provincial archives in Fredericton had little to add.Then came some dogged detective work from 2,700 kilometres away in Florida.Gail Middleton Zellars and one of her three sisters were going through a box of items last January. They had been saved by their late mother.Included was an album of photographs and quality, extra-large negatives that belonged originally to their grandfather, Ottie White. The century-old pictures showed men in fur coats on a winter trip in an open car. In some of the photographs they are seen shovelling the car out of deep snow. A banner along the side of the vehicle says "Maritime Singer Six, St. John to Halifax.""I love history," said Middleton Zellars. "I love to look through things. I love family history. And I thought, well, that's pretty neat. And I was going to research it and see if I could find anything about it."The lack of online information about the car proved a major roadblock. It was only when she turned to Facebook that she discovered one of the images in her collection was the same one in the cover photo on Chisholm's personal page."So I thought he must be very interested in this. I decided to Facebook message him.""I clicked on it, and I thought, Oh, I don't know this person," said Chisholm. "And then I saw the photographs."When I looked at them I almost fell out of my chair."The collection of photos show the car and the Rothesay Avenue Maritime Singer factory.They also document a publicity stunt designed to promote the Maritime Singer as a durable and reliable car, more than powerful enough to push through packed snow and winter storms when other cars were put away between December and April. Ottie White was the driver-mechanic on the venture. He was accompanied by James Pullen, and by Dutch Ervin, the St. John Standard reporter who was documenting the trip for readers.The trio left New Year's Eve 1913, and arrived in Moncton 12 hours later after ditching three times in –24 C temperatures.But it was the next section that nearly bested both the car and its occupants. That trip, from Moncton to Amherst, took 28 hours."As the automobile struck the drifts the clouds of snow were thrown up over the front of the car and she plowed through for a few yards, only to sink deeper in the snow and sink, stuck solid," wrote Ervin.On occasion, they would seek help from a farmer to drag the car back onto the road using a team of horses.Fifty-eight hours after leaving Saint John, the men finally arrived in Halifax, suffering from exhaustion and frostbite. They were treated in hospital before resting up and hitting the road again, travelling through the Annapolis Valley to Digby and on by ferry back to Saint John.Chisholm and Middleton Zellars each had missing elements of the story.After the gruelling winter car trip, Ottie White went to Europe to serve as a lieutenant in the Canadian Expeditionary Force in the First World War.Chisholm retrieved his war records from Veterans Affairs Canada and sent them to Florida, along with the newspaper accounts of the Halifax trip. He learned that on White's return from the war he moved to the U.S., getting married in 1920 to Ethel Ault of Tennessee. The couple then moved to Florida, where Ottie eventually operated an auto parts business.Middleton Zellars wondered if there was something that could be done with the photographs. Chisholm put her in touch with Joshua Green, photo archivist at the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick, who showed immediate interest and was thrilled to learn the collection included the original negatives.Middleton Zellars conferred with her three sisters in Pennsylvania, Virginia and Vermont. Like her, they were excited to have the opportunity to make the donation. "It's just fantastic they were able to make their way back here," Green said of the photos, which have already been integrated into the collection. "This is as good as you're ever going to get for that."
The Department of Fisheries and Oceans says enforcement officers are going back to St. Marys Bay in southwestern Nova Scotia where they seized hundreds of lobster traps on the weekend in an area used by Mi'kmaw fishermen.Todd Somerville, DFO's director of conservation and protection for the Maritimes, said 500 traps were seized for a variety of violations."Untagged gear, improperly configured gear, gear that hadn't been tended in a while. There was gear where dead lobsters were found. Over 6,000 lobsters, live lobsters, were returned to the waters as well," Somerville told CBC News."When we seize the gear, it's for a good reason."DFO said the hundreds of traps it seized were in a very small area of St. Marys Bay and there's more gear in the water it did not get to this week because of bad weather.Somerville said the operation will continue."The officers are eager to get back out there and make sure more work can get done," he said.Sipekne'katik traps seized, says chiefDFO did not seize every trap they checked.The vast majority they returned to the water had a Mi'kmaw communal food, social and ceremonial tag. They are regulated by DFO and band members get three traps.Some of the seized traps — it's not clear how many — belonged to the Sipekne'katik band's rights-based moderate livelihood fishery.Chief Mike Sack said many of the traps that were seized belong to his community. "Not all of them, of course, but the ones that were there and they're part of our livelihood fishery. We're in a process of getting those traps back," he said.Area closed to commercial fishingThe band's moderate livelihood fishery was launched this fall. It has not been authorized or approved by DFO. The area is currently closed to commercial fishing, which is scheduled to open next Monday.Sack said he's waiting to see evidence of improper practices tied to the moderate livelihood fishery."I don't think it will be the case. We're keeping a close eye on our people and making sure that they comply with our rules and regulations, which are close to DFO," Sack said.In 1999, the Supreme Court of Canada recognized the treaty right of Mi'kmaq to fish for a moderate living regulated by DFO. The rules have never been defined.In September, Sipekne'katik said it would no longer wait and launched the self-regulated fishery in St. Marys Bay.It's a small-scale operation, with around 10 band members allotted 50 trap tags each.Sack said replacement moderate livelihood tags were issued to band members Wednesday."It's like they're trying to clear the way for the commercial industry days before the season starts. And that doesn't sit well with us," Sack told CBC News. "We're not going anywhere. We'll be back later today. We'll be fishing and we'll keep fishing until the lobsters move out of that area."Seizure justifies concerns, says commercial repColin Sproul, a spokesperson for commercial fishermen, welcomed the DFO operation.He said it confirms their long-held concerns about out-of-season fishing in St. Marys Bay by the Sipekne'katik band."We're really pleased to see the minister finally take action and we feel really vindicated, given that the enforcement actions showed so many violations of basic fishery conservation law,' Sproul said."But we're really disappointed that the minister chose to wait so long to take the action because it's allowed so many relationships to be fractured in our communities. And it's also taken away any fair chance to make a living for my members in St. Marys Bay this fall."Sproul blames out-of-season fishing for lower commercial catches in St. Marys Bay — a claim DFO denies.DFO: 'Our officers have been very active'Since 2017, commercial fishermen have complained about lobster fishing by the band in summer when the season is closed.In August, a judge convicted a lobster pound owner in the area of illegally selling lobster supplied and harvested under communal food, social and ceremonial licences by members of Sipekne'katik First Nation.The Crown called it a "black market" operation that threatened conservation.Somerville said that case and others — including the big trap seizure — shows DFO is acting to protect the stock."I would suggest our officers have been very active over the last few seasons on this matter," he said. "There's been a lot of effort placed into this and not all of our activities are visible. A lot of the investigative work isn't obvious or overt to the public."MORE TOP STORIES
Islanders in long-term care are exploring the world without leaving their bedrooms.Health PEI is the first government agency to bring Rendever's virtual reality platform to residents in long-term care homes.Rendever is a Boston-cased company that offers virtual reality (VR) technology designed for older adults and seniors."What we've built is a platform that allows residents to put on these VR headsets and they can go pretty much anywhere in the world," said Kyle Rand, CEO and co-founder of Rendever."They can go back to their childhood home, they can go check off a bucket list item. They can go skydiving. They can go on a hot-air balloon ride. We can even bring them to the International Space Station. But most importantly, they can do all these things together."Ten pairs of the headsets are now in use in West Prince, in O'Leary and Alberton."Wow! Now that was fun," said Eva Rogerson, chair of the hospital foundation in O'Leary, after she tried it out Wednesday.Rogerson sat in an upholstered chair, with the goggles held in place by wide, comfortable head straps. Inside the headset, she was looking at a field of wild mule deer, somewhere in the western United States. She could hear the sound of hooves as the shy animals approached. She reached out to try to touch one."Takes you right into the real-life experience, in the midst of it," said Rogerson.In these days of pandemic isolation and loneliness for some seniors, health-care providers in West Prince see more than just pretty pictures in the new technology.The goal was fighting social isolation, said Paul Young, Community Hospital West administrator. "The feedback from patients and residents has been overwhelmingly positive." Staff use a tablet to monitor sessions and encourage participants to speak with one another about what they are feeling and experiencing.The technology lets seniors "take a walk" down any street, anywhere in the world. So some West Prince seniors are using the technology to drop by the rural farmhouses where they once lived.> We could really improve the quality of life for our people. — Eva Rogerson, O'Leary Community Health Foundation"We ask them where they'd like to go today and off they go," said Pam Corrigan, recreation manager of the Margaret Stewart Ellis Home in O'Leary. "We use it pretty near daily, depending on what we're doing."Staff in West Prince are now talking to the Rendever team in Boston about creating more virtual tours based in Prince County, perhaps offering strolls along local fishing wharfs and trips to potato fields at harvest time."Where people have dementia, their world is so small," said Rogerson."If I was a fisherman or a farmer, to be able to take me back in time where I could see myself hopping on a fishing boat or working at a potato field, we could really improve the quality of life for our people."VR easy for seniors to useWhen Rand started Rendever about four and a half years ago, the belief was that older people might not take to technology like this. Not so, he said."All they have to do is put the headset on and everything is controlled by a tablet. So staff members in the community, or family member or a volunteer — they control the entire experience," he said."You put on the headset, physical space doesn't matter, you can be socially together."Health PEI has run more than 2,400 sessions with participants spending 59 hours in VR, according to Rand.O'Leary Community Health Foundation purchased the technology with assistance from the federal and provincial governments.More from CBC P.E.I.
Alexco Resource Corp. says production has resumed at its Keno Hill silver mining properties in Yukon, seven years after the company shut down its Bellekeno mine.In a news release on Tuesday, the company says milling operations at the site are now underway, and producing lead/silver and zinc concentrates.In a statement, Alexco CEO Clynt Nauman calls it a "significant milestone on our journey toward establishing Alexco as Canada's only primary silver producer."There are now about 150 employees working at the mine site, according to the company, with the majority of them from Yukon and B.C.Production planned at three other operationsThe company is now processing ore from the Bellekeno mine, and the plan is to ramp up production at two other operations — Bermingham and Flame and Moth."The majority of surface infrastructure and mill projects are nearing completion, including the recent commissioning of the Bermingham water treatment plant," the news release says.Alexco has said that the Bermingham deposit is comparable to the types and grades of silver first found at Keno Hill almost a century ago.Alexco's Bellekeno silver mine was in operation for two years before the company shut it down in 2013, because of low commodity prices. According to the company, Bellekeno produced about two million ounces of silver and 20 million pounds of lead and zinc concentrate each year while in operation.
Following an auditor general's report that found Ontario's pandemic response is being driven by political staff atop a command structure developed by a U.S. consulting agency, Premier Doug Ford is insisting that medical experts and Ontario's top doctor are calling the shots.A tough-talking Ford fired back at Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk Wednesday after her report raised questions about how the government is making crucial decisions on lockdowns, school closures and other measures that are affecting the lives and livelihoods of millions of Ontarians."To say that [Chief Medical Officer of Health] Dr. Williams wasn't leading this response, it just isn't right. It's actually wrong," Ford said at his daily media briefing."Dr. Williams has been riding shotgun with me from day one."That's in contrast to the findings of Lysyk's 231-page report."The Chief Medical Officer of Health did not lead Ontario's response to COVID‑19," the auditor said.Command structure led by political staffAccording to Lysyk, the government's command structure is being led by political staff, not public health experts.At the top of this structure is the Central Co-ordination Table, which is co-chaired by the government's cabinet secretary and the premier's chief of staff. Lysyk writes the table "does not include key public health officials, such as the Chief Medical Officer of Health and key representatives of Public Health Ontario (although they have been invited to attend meetings)."Ford countered by accusing Lysyk of overstepping her office's mandate for monitoring financial accountability and questioned her capacity to critique how the government handles a medical emergency."I'm really glad the AG just got a health degree and became a doctor over the last year or so," the premier said sarcastically.Infectious diseases specialist Dr. Michael Gardam says the report shows that Public Health Ontario has been "sidelined" by the Ford government during the pandemic."And so a lot of decisions were made, I would argue, for political reasons," Gardem told CBC Toronto.As for the involvement of Ontario's chief medical officer of health, Gardam believes the position is too close to the government to provide "arms-length" medical guidance."It's very hard for that role to be outspoken and maybe publicly disagree with the government," Gardam said.Consulting firm hiredThe report also revealed the Ford government developed its command structure by hiring an outside consulting agency. The firm is not named but CBC Toronto has confirmed it was U.S.-based McKinsey & Company.According to the auditor general's report, the government hired McKinsey at the outset of the pandemic to create an organizational structure for the pandemic response, at a cost of $1.6 million. McKinsey also assisted the government with its COVID‑19 recovery planning at a cost of $3.2 million. Of that, $942,000 was spent to provide feedback on the child care and school reopening plans, said a spokesperson for the education minister.Asked about the exact nature of its work with the government, and if its advisers have expertise in public health, McKinsey responded with a statement saying, "While we cannot comment on the details of our work, we can confirm that we supported the government of Ontario for a finite period in 2020.""McKinsey, like so many other organizations in Ontario and Canada, is committed to supporting the humanitarian and economic response to the COVID-19 crisis," the statement said.NDP 'deeply horrified' by AG's reportMeantime, opposition parties at Queen's Park were quick to pounce on Ford in the wake of the report's release.Sara Singh, the NDP's deputy leader, said her party was "deeply horrified" by Lysyk's findings, and she chided the premier for telling citizens that he listens to public health experts."Every single day, the premier got up here at one o'clock and reassured Ontarians that he was following the advice of the chief medical officer, when in fact, today, what we learned is that he lied," Singh told reporters Wednesday."And so, when it comes to the appointment of Dr. Williams, we, and I'm sure many Ontarians, have real concerns."Ontario Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca was also critical of the way the Ford government structured its pandemic response and he too laid the responsibility at the premier's feet."He has neglected repeatedly to listen to public health leaders. He has neglected repeatedly to be clear and level with the people of Ontario," Del Duca said. Echoing the critiques in Lysyk's report, Ontario Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner said the government's moves have led to "delays and confusion" in the pandemic response."The government can't spin their way out of this report," Schreiner said."It is clear that they spent millions to create a dysfunctional structure, where decisions are being driven by politics and not public health."
SHEET HARBOUR – As president of the Sheet Harbour Heritage Society, Wendy MacKenzie, possesses a natural curiosity and a love for treasured artifacts. Give her a mystery and she gets to work. At MacPhee House Museum, MacKenzie was presented with a small Yardley soap box and the treasures inside, dated 1945, incited her curiosity as to who the rightful owner of the objects may be. She was surprised to discover they were descendants of Joseph Howe, the renown Nova Scotian journalist and premier for the colony of Nova Scotia from 1860 to1863. The first item inside was a smaller box containing a WWII King George VI war medal presented to citizens of the British and Canadian Commonwealth who served full time in the Armed Forces and Merchant Navy 1939-1945. The medal had a ribbon attached in the colours of the Union Jack and the note included read Carl A. Crowell. The second item, loose in the larger box, was a mosaic broach. Folded beside the broach was a handwritten note – “Mosaic broach given to Lillian Crowell by her mother’s cousin - Dorothy Howe Wilson, Weymouth, England in 1945.” There was an antique appraisal for $65 – which MacKenzie surmised may have been for insurance purposes. The investigator got to work by googling Carl A. Crowell and then looking for him under Nova Scotia historical vital statistics, but found nothing. She turned her attention to Lillian Crowell and when finding her obituary Mackenzie says, “…she was my link and was listed as Alice Lillian Crowell – who went by Lillian.” Lillian, MacKenzie discovered, was the daughter of Elizabeth Howe and great-great-great-granddaughter of Joseph Howe. This extraordinary lineage made the find even more interesting and intriguing for the president of the heritage society. The connection with Howe … “made me even more curious and determined to return the items to who I felt were the proper owners.” Through Lillian’s obituary, MacKenzie found Carl’s middle initial should have been an ‘E’ for Ensley – not Ainsley as written in the note with the medal. The medal owner was Carl Ensley McLaughlin Crowell. His parents, Ensley and Sara (who was from Scotland), had met in London during WWI and after the war they married and returned to his hometown of Ellershouse, Nova Scotia. Carl served during the Second World War and earned the medal. “Lillian’s obituary stated she was survived by a brother, Lloyd. I Googled his name and got a phone number. I called and left a message about the broach and the medal and mentioned Carl Crowell and Lillian Crowell and asked if Lloyd was related. An hour and a half later Lloyd’s wife, Pat, returned my call,” MacKenzie says. “I knew I had them then! Pat explained that Lloyd was Lillian’s only surviving sibling out of eight children.” MacKenzie related the story of the mosaic broach and the note and offered it to Lloyd and Pat as she felt they were the rightful owners. “They were grateful to accept it. I asked them if they knew of Lillian and Carl’s children as I’d like to return Carl’s medal.” Pat momentarily left the phone and returned with a civic address for Earl Crowell – Lillian and Carl’s son. “He lives on the 224,” Pat said. Mackenzie, taken aback, replied that she too lived on the 224. As Pat had provided the address, MacKenzie visited Earl Crowell – his father’s war medal in hand. “Earl was both pleased and astounded to see the medal and broach,” MacKenzie said. “During our conversation I told him I had found the Howe connection and he said to me, ‘Oh, yes, I am the great-great-great-great grandson of Joseph Howe.’ “He offered the medal to our Sheet Harbour Heritage Museum but together we decided it was more appropriate to donate it to the legion in Windsor where Carl E. Crowell and his wife, Lillian, had lived in nearby Ellershouse,” MacKenzie said. “I contacted Carrie, the manager of the Hantz County Branch 9 Windsor Legion and Earl and I offered it to them for display.” The legion was pleased to accept this piece of history connected to one of their veterans. The next day the medal was sent for permanent public display and the mosaic broach was sent by courier to the descendants of the original owners. Pieces of history are written by those who take the time to ask the questions and find and record the answers. Janice Christie, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Guysborough Journal
Few students have been in class in Deer Lake this week, as anxiety levels remain high over COVID-19 despite public health officials and the premier urging parents to stay calm.Elwood Elementary closed Monday and Tuesday after a student tested positive for COVID-19, the first case in Newfoundland and Labrador's school system. But barely anyone showed up to the two other schools in the town that remained open on those days.Only 10 of about 280 students at Xavier Junior High showed up for class on Tuesday, and only 10 out of 230 attended Elwood Regional High School the same day.Xavier Junior High student Kara Pinksen, 11 was among those who stayed home the first two days of the week. Pinksen said there were only four other students in her class on Wednesday, instead of the usual 24."It was really stressful because I didn't know what to think of it," Pinksen told CBC News on Wednesday, after finishing school for the day."I think everything is going well, and we're still having classes as normal."She said she has to be extra cautious now that COVID-19 is close to home, adding she knows two people in her community — a friend and the mother of the friend — who tested positive and are currently isolating."I feel like some people are a bit more cautious and are super careful. Some people are quarantined again and self-isolating to make sure that they didn't catch it. Then there's some other people that don't think much of it and they have to make sure they still wear their mask and everything," she said. "I have a feeling that it's all going to be fine, but I know that we still have to be careful and everything."On Wednesday, Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Janice Fitzgerald said everybody in the affected cohort from Elwood Elementary has been tested and there have been no other positive cases found in that group. The school reopened Wednesday, with the one class affected remaining at home with virtual learning in place.'Take a deep breath'In the face of increased absenteeism, Premier Andrew Furey —who is also the MHA for district that includes Deer Lake — asked parents to remain calm, saying COVID-19 protocols in place for schools have proven to have worked over the last few days. "I think that people should be reassured that isolating cohorts within schools work, and it will allow a continued, orderly, calm approach to education and life with COVID-19," Furey said during Wednesday's COVID-19 briefing. Furey said he, too, would feel the same anxiety as the parents who are trying to navigate COVID-19 clusters in their communities while preparing their kids for school. Furey, who has three school-aged children, wants parents to take comfort in public health's protocols keeping people safe and being the "envy" of the rest of the country."They have the results to prove it," said Furey."Just be calm and public health officials will be in contact with you if they need to. If you don't hear from them then your contacts didn't need to be traced. But, if you're fearful, and you feel like your child is developing symptoms, always reach out to 811 to seek advice."Elsewhere in the province parents are also choosing to keep their kids home from school.At Fatima Academy in St. Bride's, a spokesperson from the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District confirmed there was "low" attendance on Wednesday but didn't provide specifics "due to the size of the school."Furey said he couldn't speak to specific families, but again reiterated COVID-19 protocols in schools have been working. "I think people not sending their children to school, they should pause and take a deep breath, and I understand their anxieties, but they should have every confidence in Dr. Fitzgerald and her public health team that have proven, that have earned their stripes, that they implemented these protocols with the safety of children as the number on priority," he said. Schools prepared for virtual learningNLESD CEO Tony Stack echoed the premier's comments.Stack told CBC News the NLESD has had great communication with public health and continues to follow the advice provided to them. Stack said Dr. Fitzgerald told the NLESD there would be "bumps in the road along the way" but the school district is confident with where things stand that it isn't necessary to alter school operations.Schools are ready to move to online learning if necessary, Stack said, and the affected class at Elwood Elementary has already shifted to virtual learning. "We get stronger and stronger every day in preparation. Our schools are prepared to pivot. We've practiced this, we've got professional learning behind it," he said. Stack said Chromebooks are beginning roll out to students. The laptops were ordered ahead of the start of the new school year in case classes shift online for students in Grade 7 to Grade 12. He said the school district is hopeful the laptops will be distributed before the Christmas break.Read more articles from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador