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
The Regina Fire Department responded to a fire at a vacant house near the Brandt Centre on Wednesday afternoon. The fire started just after three o'clock, and by the time fire crews arrived at the 1800 block of York Street, they say the house was already engulfed in flames.No one was injured in the blaze, but the building was significantly damaged. Currently, firefighters believe the fire started on the main floor, but investigators will be returning to the house today to determine the cause.
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
Women from First Nations communities in New Brunswick have a new online store to help find a bigger audience for their art and to make up for sales lost to COVID-19.The site is called Nujintuisga'tijig E'pijig, which means "Indigenous women salespeople or vendors" in the Mi'kmaq language, and currently features 16 artists — but there is room for up to 30.Leona Newkinga, a Mi'kmaw and Inuit woman who lives in Elsipogtog, has her bead work featured on the site. She hopes it can bring a bigger audience to her work."My goal is to reach more people," said Newkinga.She already has pieces with Buffy Sainte-Marie and Jeremy Dutcher, but she'd like her work to go all over the globe."I was thinking to myself, 'Wouldn't that be amazing if, like, one of my pieces were like further than I have ever been?" she said.No negotiations Newkinga started beading about five years ago and said she wasn't very good at first, "so the prices were really cheap."But she honed her skills after a disappointing exchange with a potential customer who was inspecting something Newkinga had for sale at a craft sale."This woman, she says 'Your work is only worth five bucks' and that devastated me because I put hours into it," said Newkinga."I knew I wanted to be at a point where nobody can negotiate prices," and she accomplished that.Newkinga said people seem to have a new respect for Indigenous art in the last few years. "From when I first started out to now, it's the big difference," she said.Newkinga said COVID-19 hurt her income because she runs a business selling Indian tacos at pow wows over the summer, and those haven't happened this year. COVID-19 also put a damper on her creative output."I try not to bead if I'm not feeling good or anything like that, because everything, your energy, is woven into your pieces," she said.But, Newkinga said she's back at it and recently received a sparkling new shipment of beads. She hopes the website will help sell her newest creations.Tahnee Simon started beading after her grandmother showed her how to make a flower when she was in grade school.Over the years, Simon would put her beading aside, but she always came back to it."I could drown in it for like three to four hours and not realize how much time went by," she said."It's relaxing for me."Simon has a full-time job with Mi'kmaq Child and Family Services but decided to bead professionally as a 'side-gig' after a co-worker suggested it. "I was super nervous because, I'm not the one to be the centre of attention or, like, have my name out there," said Simon."It was a big step for me but I'm happy I did it because I love seeing customers wearing my work and it still feels awesome."Simon is happy to be part of the pilot project and hopes people enjoy her work."I thought it was such a great idea to get all Indigenous women names out there and give the public an idea of what we can do," said Simon.If the site takes off, Katherine Lanteigne, director of Women in Business New Brunswick said the project could be opened up to other Indigenous women in Atlantic Canada.
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
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
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
Some New Brunswickers can expect light snow and freezing rain on Thursday.Environment Canada issued a special weather statement earlier this morning for central and northwestern parts of the province. They include: * Campbellton and Restigouche County * Edmundston and Madawaska County * Grand Falls and Victoria County * Mount Carleton * Stanley, Doaktown and Blackville area * Woodstock and Carleton CountyIn central New Brunswick, periods of light freezing rain or rain will start this afternoon and continue overnight."Although amounts are expected to be light, over high terrain, the freezing rain could last several hours," the national weather agency said in a statement.Meanwhile, the northwestern regions will see light snow or freezing rain in the afternoon. This will change to light freezing rain or rain in the evening. "Precipitation is expected to change to showers after midnight," Environment Canada said."In some localities, especially over high terrain, several hours of freezing rain is likely.
Katrina Long knows the pain of losing a loved one to opioids. Her 54-year-old mother, Josephine Mavis Isaac, died from a fentanyl overdose."I hold a lot of grief and guilt about my mom's passing," Long said, fighting off tears."I think I could have done more if I had done something differently."Long said her mother dealt with an alcohol addiction for years, but that escalated to harder drugs after her mom started dating a new man.Long said her mom broke her arm about three years ago and tried her boyfriend's prescription pain medication. She then became addicted to hydromorphone — an opioid used to treat severe pain — and eventually became an intravenous drug user.Long, who has two young kids, said things quickly went downhill after that, especially when the pandemic started.She said her mom ended up getting a total of $6,000 in COVID-19 financial assistance that she didn't qualify for and it basically went to drugs.She died from an overdose within three months.Hope instantly ripped awayLong said she deals with anxiety, which was magnified by her mom's addiction and overdose."I think the hardest thing, when you're dealing with somebody who is dealing with addiction, is that in the back of your mind you always have hope that they'll get better. So, when they pass, that hope is instantly ripped away," she said. Long said dealing with the aftermath has also taken a toll on her and her family."We weren't able to be with [mom] because of COVID, so I wanted to go to the hospital because she was being taken for an autopsy — but we weren't able to see her," she said.It ended up taking about two weeks until she could see her mom, because of pandemic restrictions."The biggest challenge, and what we were scared of, was that we weren't going to be able to say goodbye like we had wanted to," she said.Then there was the daunting task of planning an unexpected funeral during a pandemic, along with going through her mom's house — the place where she died.Long said she had help from her sisters and aunt, but there are many people who aren't as fortunate."We're really lucky that we have each other as a support system because without them it would be definitely really hard, she said.4 suspected overdose deaths in 1 dayFour men — all in their thirties — died from suspected drug overdoses in Regina on Monday.They were all found in different places at different times. Investigators don't think they're connected, police say, aside from fentanyl being believed to be involved in each case."My heart breaks for the families because I know what they're going to be going through," said Long."They're most likely going to feel that they were cheated on their goodbye to their loved ones." The names of the men have not been made public, but Long has a message to their families, along with every other family who has lost a loved one to an overdose."Stick close with your family, get help, go talk to somebody if you need to talk to somebody, because all of the emotions that are going to come up can be a lot for somebody to handle," she said."Don't be scared to ask for help and don't do everything by yourself. Reach out to the people [who] are offering to help because they're going to be your biggest supporters."Long also has advice for people with loved ones who are struggling with addiction."Reach out to them, try to help them, talk to them as much as you can," she said."It has to be the person who wants to make the change, but you can always make sure they know that you love them and just be as supportive as you can."Overdoses more than quadruple in 2020There have been 93 apparent drug overdose deaths in Regina this year — 16 of which happened in November — compared to 21 in all of 2019."I think the numbers obviously reflect that the province has a problem and that the resources that are available aren't enough," said Long.She said she wants to see more supervised consumption sites in the province. The only one is currently in Saskatoon, but it does not receive government funding.Long said she also wants to see a restructuring of provincial rehab facilities and detox programs.She said her mom went to detox and rehab on several occasions, but the treatment never stuck. Long said there was almost always a wait time to get her mom help."When an addict is ready for help, they need help now," she said."They don't need help in 48 hours, or a week, because by that time they most likely went back to using because detoxing is scary."She also wants more compassion not just from the government, but from the community as well."My mom wasn't just a statistic. She was a person and she had tons of people that loved her," she said, noting that a lot of people with addictions are struggling with mental illness or trauma."People just need to be more understanding of people's circumstances and addiction can happen to anybody. It could be your son or daughter, mom or dad, who are dealing with this and try to put yourself in the family's shoes."Province says it is 'taking action'In an emailed statement, the province said it's "taking action to address opioid-related overdoses and deaths."The budget announced in June includes about $1.55 million to establish a new crystal meth treatment facility in Estevan, although the centre may treat people for other addictions as well, according to the statement.The province is also spending more than $1.7 million to fund 28 new detox beds in Regina, Saskatoon, Moose Jaw, Prince Albert, North Battleford and "other potential locations."More than $800,000 is going toward hiring addiction workers in Regina, Saskatoon and Prince Albert.The province has also implemented programs aimed at helping people with addictions, like Take Home Naloxone —which has already distributed more than 5,400 kits so far the year, the statement says — along with Rapid Access Addictions Medicine program, Mental Health and Addiction Services and HealthLine 811.
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
Reaction from various sectors to Saskatchewan's newly announced COVID-19 restrictions ranges from disappointment to criticism of "half measures" to a grudging acknowledgment that something had to be done.The latest measures to fight the spread of the coronavirus, which were announced Wednesday and come into effect Friday, include suspending sports competitions, further limiting gatherings at restaurants and in places of worship, discouraging gatherings beyond immediate households and encouraging mask use for younger children.The new provincial rules suspend "all team/group sports, activities, games, competitions, recitals, practices, etc. … including amateur and recreational leagues for all groups."Kelly McClintock, general manager of the Saskatchewan Hockey Association, said the government advised athletics organizations in the province to re-examine their return-to-play guidelines starting last week, so the decision to suspend all games came as a surprise."We assumed that there would be some more restrictive guidelines put in place this week," he said. "We didn't assume that we'd be shut down completely.… It's disappointing."The new measures do say that athletes under the age of 18 can continue to practise, as long as they're masked, physically distanced, and in a group no larger than eight.McClintock says that will be difficult to actually do under the new regulations."Most teams are anywhere from 12 to 20 players … so I'm not sure how many people will actually take advantage of that from a team perspective," he said. Bob Reindl, executive director of Saskatchewan Athletics, said young track and field athletes will face similar challenges. "Right now in Saskatoon they only have an hour to practise anyways," he said. "So you can only have eight people, and it usually takes an hour for 30 kids to go through. It's going to be difficult."Despite those challenges, Reindl said suspending sports was simply the right thing to do. "It had to be done," he said. "There's no doubt about it. The numbers are high, the government had to do something, and we knew it was coming. Both Alberta and Manitoba already shut down sports in their provinces."Until team sports resume, McClintock is worried about how children will cope with one less outlet to keep fit and spend time with friends. There are over 20,000 minor hockey athletes alone in the province, he said."Kids need the activity from a mental health perspective and a physical health perspective," he said. "Now, that's going to be cut down, and that's the disappointing part." 'Have to be some education' on masks: daycareWednesday's new measures also extend mandatory, non-medical masking to all students, employees and visitors in schools and daycares. Children under three are exempt, but those between the ages of three and 12 should wear a mask if they are able to, the new rules say.Nancy Lautner, executive director of Tykes and Tots Early Learning Centre in Saskatoon, says the guideline threads the needle between keeping kids healthy and not setting a bar that would be impossible for them to meet. "I do appreciate that the province worded the masking policy for the young children the way they did, in terms of saying very young children should wear a mask if they are able to," she said."Some of our three to five year olds are certainly capable of wearing a mask and they won't have an issue with it, but some are not. So I appreciate that they've left that leniency." At Tykes and Tots, students in the before- and after-school programs have already been wearing masks, as have staff members.Now, it will be a matter of educating the younger children on how to mask up — but early childhood educators are experts on teaching hygiene to kids."There will certainly have to be some education that staff will have to do, in the same way that they educate about washing your hands and sneezing into your elbow and things like that," said Lautner. 'Each business is in limbo'Restaurants and licensed establishments such as bars and nightclubs will now have to limit their seating to four people per table, and will also have to maintain a record of all their guests.Shawn Moen, a co-founder of 9 Mile Legacy Brewing in Saskatoon, says the limited financial support in the face of increasing public health restrictions have posed a challenge to his business. "Traffic has slowed significantly," he wrote on Twitter. "We are allowed to stay open (and I'm grateful for the operational flexibility) but our customers are being told to stay home. The result has been a slowdown."And he says programs like the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) and Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS), which are intended to help businesses cover wages and rent, are insufficient."Many public-facing businesses won't have sufficient support from these programs, don't have experiences and products that are portable and will be faced with voluntarily closing due to lack of business or safety concerns," he said. If businesses are forced to shut down by a qualifying public health order, they qualify for additional support through CERS. But for now, in Saskatchewan, restaurants and bars are allowed to stay open. "Each business is in limbo right now [and] they are being asked to close pre-emptively and risk ineligibility for supports or stay open and keep bleeding financially," said Moen. Nurses union 'utterly disappointed'In a statement released on Twitter Wednesday afternoon, the Saskatchewan Union of Nurses criticized the new COVID restrictions for not going far enough, saying its membership is "utterly disappointed" with "half measures."SUN says the limited measures, as opposed to a full "circuit-breaker" lockdown, are not enough to contain the virus and will lead to greater economic disruption and loss of life in the week ahead.
Some gym and yoga studio owners in Newfoundland and Labrador have taken extra steps to keep people safe this week, knowing they could be among the first to close if the province moves back a level.Heather Murphy, owner of Islander Athletics, watched with approval Monday as Premier Andrew Furey withdrew the province from the Atlantic bubble.With cases on the rise in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, she decided to post a new rule for her gym in St. John's — anyone in contact with a person who has travelled within the Atlantic provinces is asked to stay away for two weeks."We've taken it an extra couple steps further and I know that's on us," Murphy said. "I've seen a lot of other studios doing the same kinds of things to really try and prevent a second closure from happening."Gyms and fitness studios were ordered closed in March, and remained shuttered for in-person sessions until late June.It was a devastating blow for many of the small gyms in the province, and Islander Athletics was no exception. They used the break to change locations, with hopes of reopening in a better place. What saved them was the family they'd built within their membership, she said.Murphy checked out all of Islander Athletics' equipment to the members and shifted to online classes. People went home with everything the gym owned. In exchange, she managed to keep much of the customer base throughout the downtime.Now, with small spikes in cases around the province, people like Heather Murphy are again watching the daily updates with anxious eyes.A pair of small towns are dealing with outbreaks, and as of Wednesday afternoon Newfoundland and Labrador had 25 active cases. The school district reopened an elementary school in Deer Lake on Wednesday, after a student tested positive earlier in the week.More than 30 kids in the child's class cohort tested negative.Moda Yoga owner Jill Holden said the actions business owners are taking to prevent the spread are not just about business — they're about doing the right thing."I think we all have a social responsibility to act from a place of kindness and compassion, but not just for ourselves," she said. "That's really what we're about in the yoga practice. We don't just act for ourselves, but for the greater good."Holden's studio has policies simliar to ones in place at Murphy's gym. They've tightened restrictions in recent days, after outbreaks in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick collapsed the Atlantic bubble.Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil announced Tuesday that all fitness and recreational facilities, libraries, museums and casinos would close for two weeks. Restaurants are open only for takeout.In Newfoundland and Labrador, Premier Andrew Furey says he wants to avoid that tangle."We don't want to have to close our businesses here. We want to protect the freedoms we've come to enjoy, while in line with public health measures of course. We want to avoid a full lockdown that we are seeing across the country," he said at Wednesday's briefing."We want to ensure that the local economies can continue to operate as much as possible."Measures put in place by the provincial and federal governments helped small businesses like gyms and fitness centres survive the last lockdown.Holden said she'll oblige any restrictions put in place but she doesn't want to have to rely on those subsidies again."It was difficult and thankfully we got through it," she said. "Having to go through it for a longer period of time again, I'm not sure that's really viable in the long run because these subsidies we've been taking advantage of have been really helping, but I know that won't last forever."Newfoundland and Labrador recorded only one new case on Wednesday, and both Holden and Murphy hope the spread is slowing and a second lockdown isn't in the cards."It's hopeful," Murphy said. "I'm optimistic we'll be able to avoid it."Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
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
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
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
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.
Alberta is about to adopt a new law that would make sweeping changes to the way automobile insurance works, but privacy advocates say a critical aspect of the legislation has so far slipped by with little public attention or scrutiny — the expansion of "usage-based insurance." Among many other changes, Bill 41 would make it easier for insurance companies to monitor drivers' behaviour by collecting detailed data through devices embedded in their vehicles or software installed on their smartphones. The implications of this are little known and poorly understood by many Canadians, says Privacy and Access Council of Canada president Sharon Polsky. She believes the Alberta legislation, which could pave the way for similar laws in other provinces, ought to be more fully considered before changes are made that will be hard to undo. "This bill should be halted in its tracks," she said. "The Government of Alberta and other governments across the country need to update the access and privacy legislation to meet current needs, to genuinely give us a right of privacy and to put us in control of our information." Insurance companies, however, say the legislation is long overdue and would put Alberta more in line with practices that have been in place for years in the United States, allowing drivers to prove their safe behaviour through technological means and thereby save money on their insurance premiums. Government says law will 'increase fairness' United Conservative Party MLAs say the new law would create more options for consumers, especially those who want insurance products tailored to their driving needs. "This is expected to increase fairness in the marketplace and further ensure that consumer costs adequately reflect individual risks and driving habits," Finance Minister Travis Toews said during second reading of Bill 41 in the legislature. To that end, he said the new law "will allow greater ability for industry to provide innovative insurance options … and greater flexibility in applying usage-based insurance." Ron Orr, the UCP MLA for Lacombe-Ponoka, said the legislation means "Alberta drivers will have more choice and control over their own insurance costs." Polsky, however, says many people don't fully understand what they're signing up for when they agree to hand over so much data from their vehicles and smartphones to insurance companies, or where that data could ultimately end up. She also worries the monitoring devices, while voluntary in theory, could be made effectively mandatory through pricing, if drivers who refuse to be tracked face exorbitant premiums. Alberta 'the first' to go this route Some insurance companies already offer discounts to drivers who are willing to allow themselves to be monitored. But so far they are not allowed to sell usage-based insurance in other ways. The new law will allow usage-based insurance "however insurers wish to use it, so long as they can meet the regulatory requirements," said Celyeste Power with the Insurance Bureau of Canada. "Alberta was the first to announce full use of usage-based insurance," she said. "And just afterward, Ontario announced that they were sort of getting rid of restrictions around it, as well. In other jurisdictions, it's not available for use in that kind of broad way." She believes the new law presents an "opportunity for some really cool ideas and cool technology to come to Alberta." For example, she says drivers could opt for a pay-per-kilometre insurance option, where they would have a "way lower" base premium and then pay incrementally for the amount they actually drive. That option, she says, would be especially appealing to younger people who don't drive a lot but drive responsibly. Currently, young drivers face higher premiums as a group, due to the fact that their age demographic is considered to be higher risk by the actuaries who set insurance rates. Power says usage-based insurance is a fairer way to set individual rates. How the tracking works If you agree to the tracking, your driving habits would be monitored either through a device installed in your vehicle or software that uses the GPS, accelerometer and other bits of hardware built in to your smartphone. Power says different companies would track you in different ways, but basically they would keep an eye on things like how fast you drive, how quickly you accelerate, how hard you brake, how often you drive, what time of day you drive, where you drive, and so on. Less driving and better driving behaviour would be rewarded with lower premiums. More driving and unsafe behaviour would be punished with increased costs. She says most companies offer an online dashboard so you can track your own driving data, and even push notifications if you're racking up too many charges, similar to data-overage warnings on your cellphone. In the United States, she says, usage-based insurance has been correlated with safer roads, as it makes drivers more aware of their habits and provides a financial incentive to drive safely — or drive less. But, she says, it's not a product for everyone. "If you don't feel you're a good driver or you're speeding too much down the (Highway) 2 between Calgary and Edmonton, usage-based insurance is not for you," Power said. It also takes some getting used to. "If you think you're an amazing driver and the technology is telling you you're not, yeah, you might be a little bit resistant to it," Power said. "I think it just depends on the person." Data use, privacy and regulation Power says the use of personal data would be directly regulated by Alberta's Automobile Insurance Rate Board (AIRB) and be subject to oversight from the privacy commissioner. But Polsky, with the Privacy and Access Council of Canada, says most people don't understand just how much information is being harvested by these types of monitoring devices. She says some smartphone apps that insurance companies use to track drivers in other jurisdictions require users to keep them running 24 hours a day, even when they sleep. "They want all of it monitored so that we can enjoy more affordable rates based on relinquishing our privacy?" she said. "That is a very, very high price to pay." She also believes privacy laws, both in Alberta and nationwide, are outdated or lack the regulatory teeth to deal with international companies that collect data in Canada but store it in other countries. Alberta's Opposition NDP has also criticized the legislation, saying it gives too much power to the AIRB, which they say is too close with the government and the insurance industry. Numerous people on the AIRB board of directors either work in or previously worked in insurance, and the NDP have also pointed out that Jason Kenney's former chief of staff is now a registered lobbyist on behalf of the insurance industry, among other clients. "Bill 41 is giving the industry more control, giving the lobbyists more control," Edmonton-South West NDP MLA Thomas Dang said during second reading of the legislation. What's next The bill has passed second reading and is at the committee of the whole stage in the legislature, where MLAs can propose and vote on amendments. Additional debate was scheduled for Tuesday evening. It still needs to pass third and final reading to ultimately become law. If that happens, Polsky says, other provinces will likely look at similar laws. "We are now living in a monkey-see, monkey-do political era and the danger is if it's good enough for one jurisdiction, well it must be good enough for another jurisdiction," she said. "So if this is allowed to become 'mandatorily voluntary' in Alberta, it's just a matter of time before it proliferates across the country, at our peril. So it's up to us to understand what's at stake and voice our views to our elected representatives." Power, meanwhile, believes Alberta is leading the way in modernizing Canada's insurance-regulatory system, which she says has lagged behind the United States, where some form of usage-based insurance has been around for the past decade. She also says concerns over privacy and price hikes for people who don't agree to be monitored are overblown. "We haven't seen any examples in the U.S. or any other jurisdictions around the world where the usage-based insurance product essentially became almost mandatory just by the way it's priced," Power said. "It is sort of funny when you think about it," she added. "People are like, 'I don't want something tracking my movement or tracking this or that.' And yet, we carry around our phones all the time and they're tracking absolutely everything we do. "So it's kind of getting to a world now where everything is being tracked, anyway."
Pourquoi certains prodiges mènent-ils une vie désordonnée ? Diego Maradona a toujours été un adolescent rebelle et transgressif.
A report produced by the N.W.T.'s department of industry, tourism and investment offers a peek into the dramatic negative impacts the COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked on the territory's tourism industry.Released earlier this month, "Tourism in the NWT: A Year in Review: 2019-2020" examines the tourism industry's performance from April 2019 through March 2020. The study uses data from several sources, including airport exit surveys, parks permitting reports, and visitor exit surveys.While the territory only saw a modest drop in visitors over that period — about two per cent — the monthly statistics for March 2020, when the World Health Organization declared a global pandemic and the territory closed its borders to non-essential travel, illustrate a dramatic drop.Airport passengers across the territory fell precipitously compared to March 2019. At the Yellowknife airport, the territory's largest, 14,174 passengers transited through the airport in March 2020, a 53.3 per cent drop from the year before.The decline was even greater in regional airport hubs: both Fort Smith and Hay River saw passenger volumes fall by more than 70 per cent, and in Fort Simpson, just six passengers were reported during the month, representing a drop of 99.5 per cent.The report also tracks hotel occupancy in Yellowknife, where in March 2020, occupancy fell to 48.4 per cent, a drop of more than 36 per cent from the previous year. In February, one month before the global pandemic was declared by the World Health Organization, occupancy sat at more than 82 per cent.Food and beverage spending in the territory during the month of March also fell by more than 32 per cent compared to the year prior.While the numbers only capture the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic on the territory's tourism industry, they largely correlate with concerns raised by tourism operators in the territory, many of whom have said they have had to alter or close their businesses during the pandemic.In April, Northwest Territories Tourism CEO Cathy Bolstad told CBC that they had already estimated an $18 million hit to the territory's tourism industry due to the pandemic.In response, the territorial and federal governments have offered some tourism related supports to businesses, in addition to more general COVID-19 relief funding available to small businesses.Territorial operators pivoted to "staycations" to residents during the summer months to cope with border restrictions, but still saw hundreds of job losses across the industry.