The latest COVID-19 news from around Canada on Oct. 13, 2020.
The Fraser Health Authority has declared new COVID-19 outbreaks in its region after staff at two long-term care homes test positive for the virus.It has also declared an end to an earlier outbreak in Surrey.The health authority said it has deployed its rapid response team to PICS Assisted Living Facility in Surrey, B.C., after one staff member became ill.In addition, it said another staff member at Chartwell Carrington House Retirement Residence in Mission, B.C., also tested positive for COVID-19.In both cases, health officials said they are reaching out to families of loved ones living in the homes.Both care workers are self-isolating at home and each facility is working to identify whether other residents or staff have been exposed to the virus, said Fraser Health. It also said enhanced control measures have been put in place at each site including restricting visitors and screening staff and residents for COVID-19 symptoms twice a day.In the same statement, Fraser Health said there are no longer any COVID-19 cases within Surrey's Evergreen Hamlets long-term care facility, and that outbreak has been declared over.More information about COVID-19 in the Fraser Health region can be found here.
The leader of the B.C. Liberal Party has now publicly apologized for sexist remarks made about NDP candidate Bowinn Ma, and though the offending comments were not made by Andrew Wilkinson himself, Ma said she is disappointed by his handling of the situation.On Saturday, a video was shared on social media showing Liberal candidate Jane Thornthwaite saying Ma, 35, used her appearance to charm retiring Liberal MLA Ralph Sultan during a networking event. The comments were made Sept. 17 during a virtual roast for Sultan.In the video, Thornthwaite says Ma is "a very pretty lady and she knows that she's got 'it' and she knows how to get Ralph going."Thornthwaite and Wilkinson both apologized online after the video sparked outrage on social media. WATCH | Thornthwaite says Ma 'knows how to get Ralph going':On Tuesday, Wilkinson tacked a verbal apology onto the end of a press appearance announcing his party's campaign platform for the upcoming Oct. 24 election.During the apology, he said he was immediately embarrassed upon hearing the comments and that he wished he had found a way to intervene and stop Thornthwaite without derailing the festivities for Sultan."Many of us were increasingly embarrassed, to the point of being appalled, but it is hard to stop the train in a social event when you don't know what the next words will be," said Wilkinson.Hours before Wilkinson apologized during the news conference, Ma told CBC the Liberal leader needed to speak up."I don't need Andrew Wilkinson to apologize to me, or to blame his lack of leadership on his female team member either," Ma said on The Early Edition. "He's the one who needs to address British Columbians.""That a man who was vying to be the province's premier would bear witness to the sexism and find it perfectly fine, that's the part that concerned, and continues to concern, me the most," Ma added.Janni Aragon, political science professor at the University of Victoria, said not only were the comments made by Thornthwaite sexist, they were also racial."Because Bowinn Ma is a racialized woman, we actually refer to this as racialized sexism. This trope of the sneaky or hypersexualized woman of colour perseveres and is quite problematic," said Aragon.Aragon said she would have appreciated it if Wilkinson had interrupted Thornthwaite, or steered the conversation away from attacking Ma."I really would have appreciated if the party leader would have put his hand up and said, 'Now let's get back to Ralph,'" said Aragon. "It wasn't just one comment, there were repeated comments."The apology tour for the B.C. Liberals continued Tuesday afternoon as Thornthwaite addressed her hurtful comments at a previously scheduled speaking event before the Capilano Students' Union."I wanted to reiterate that I'm sorry, and there's no one more disappointed in my words than me," she said, adding what she said about Ma was stupid and insensitive.Thornthwaite also phoned Ma soon after the video was leaked and Ma said she appreciated the Liberal candidate reaching out to her.CBC News reached out to Ralph Sultan for reaction and was told he was unavailable for comment.To hear the complete interview with Bowinn Ma on The Early Edition, tap here.
A former longshot Idaho gubernatorial candidate was indicted Tuesday in the murder of Jonelle Matthews, a 12-year-old Colorado girl whose disappearance after a holiday concert in 1984 was a mystery for decades. Jonelle died from a single gunshot wound to her forehead, Weld County District Attorney Michael Rourke said. Jonelle's family searched fruitlessly for years as her picture was printed on milk cartons during a national missing-children campaign in the 1980s.
Australia said on Wednesday it was deeply concerned that Australian writer Yang Hengjun is facing trial in China charged with espionage, adding his treatment fell short of "basic standards of justice". Australia's foreign minister Marise Payne said: "We regret that after a lengthy investigation period Chinese authorities have stated that he has been charged with espionage." "We have seen no evidence to support this charge," she said in a statement, adding Australia "is disappointed and deeply concerned" that China had decided to prosecute him.
WestJet will soon no longer fly to Moncton, Fredericton, Sydney, Charlottetown and Quebec City and drastically cut back its service to St. John's and Halifax.The Calgary-based airline said Wednesday it is eliminating 100 flights, which represent about 80 per cent of the airline's service in and out of Atlantic Canada. The airline also says it is also suspending operations to Quebec City, by removing its flight between there and Toronto.The route cancellations mean that the airline will also shutter its operations in the airports of Charlottetown, Moncton, Fredericton and Sydney. The routes will be cancelled as of Nov. 2."It has become increasingly unviable to serve these markets," CEO Ed Sims said. "Since the pandemic's beginning, we have worked to keep essential air service to all of our domestic airports, however, demand for travel is being severely limited by restrictive policies and third-party fee increases that have left us out of runway without sector-specific support."The decision will put 29 employess on temporary layoff, including: * 5 in Sydney. * 8 in Fredericton. * 8 in Moncton. * 8 in Charlottetown.The moves mean that the entirety of WestJet's service to Atlantic Canada will now be based out of Halifax, with daily flights to Toronto, Calgary and St. John's at least once a day. This time last year, the airline flew 28 different flight routes across the region. As of next month, they will have just three. Except for the Halifax to St. John's flight, no other Canadian city east of Montreal will have a WestJet flight coming in or out of it for the foreseeable future.WestJet says customers with tickets on now-cancelled flights are entitled to travel credits for their cancelled flights, but not a refund, which the airline notes the Canadian Transportation Agency has deemed acceptable given the realities of COVID-19."We fully anticipate returning to the region when the situation improves and will extend the travel credit expiry date beyond the current 24-month window should it be required," WestJet spokesperson Morgan Bell told CBC News.The company says that on top of the cuts in Atlantic Canada, about 100 corporate jobs mostly based at the airline's Calgary headquarters will also be cut.Pandemic walloped demandThe changes come amid the coronavirus pandemic, which has walloped demand for air travel. WestJet typically has about two million paying customers a month on its flights, but since the pandemic began in March, it has only sold about 1 million tickets, total.WestJet was taken private by Onex in a $5 billion buyout last year, so the airline's finances are no longer public. But we do know that other airlines have had their balance sheets obliterated by the pandemic.In its last financial statement in July, WestJet's biggest rival, Air Canada, revealed it burned through between $15 and $17 million a day through April, May and June.Earlier this summer, Air Canada also cancelled 30 routes, the plurality of which were in Atlantic Canada.They also come after previously announced moves by WestJet to lay off 3,333 people across the country, and a deal with pilots to agree to a 50 per cent pay cut instead of even more layoffs."We understand this news will be devastating to the communities, our airport partners and the WestJetters who rely on our service," Sims said. "While we remain committed to the Atlantic region, it's impossible to say when there will be a return to service without support for a co-ordinated domestic approach. Our intent is to return as soon as it becomes economically viable to do so."Monette Pasher, executive director of the Atlantic Canada Airports Association, used the same word to describe the news: "devastating."She's calling on governments to financially help the industry survive the pandemic, calling it an "essential service," moving essential workers and cargo "and getting Canadians home."Despite doling out hundreds of billions of dollars in coronavirus relief packages, the federal government thus far has not come out with an aid package targeted at the aviation industry, and Pasher said, "The time has come to support our sector."Airports in Atlantic Canada are poised to lose $76 million this year, she said."We are worried about our communities on the other side of this [and we are] starting to worry if we are going to have air service."John Gradek, co-ordinator of the aviation management program at McGill University, says it isn't necessarily the case that people in those places should expect to be completely shut out of air travel in and out of the region."There will be a new way of serving Canada's regional markets that will depend on regional carriers rather than national ones," he said in an interview. After Air Canada's cuts in June, a number of regional players stepped up to add flights to fill the gap. "They're smaller airplanes, but more frequent services," Gradek said. "I think you'll see the same things happen."Ultimately, he was not surprised by the move, nor does he place any blame on the company for it."There isn't demand," he said. "People just are not flying."
Grasping for a comeback, President Donald Trump and his Republican allies are intensifying their focus not on Democratic nominee Joe Biden, but on his running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris — arguing without evidence that it’s Harris, the first Black woman on a major party ticket, who would really be in charge if Democrats win the White House. The effort is laced with sexist and racist undertones, and one that is aimed at winning back Republicans and independents who are comfortable with Biden’s more moderate record, but may associate Harris with Democrats’ left flank, despite her own more centrist positions on some major issues. During the past week, Trump told Sean Hannity of Fox News that Harris would assume the presidency within “three months” of Biden's inauguration.
Republican Sen. John Kennedy says some of his Democratic colleagues believe Amy Coney Barrett is lying about being impartial and not letting her personal beliefs influence her decisions.
FREDERICTON — New Brunswick on Tuesday reported six new cases of COVID-19, including one at a special-care home in Campbellton, close to the Quebec border. Dr. Jennifer Russell, chief medical officer of health, said despite just one case reported at the 45-bed Manoir de la Sagesse, authorities are declaring an "outbreak." "Because it's a vulnerable population, we have to declare an outbreak based on the public health risk assessment," she told reporters, adding residents in that home are in shared rooms. She said health authorities are conducting "mass testing" of residents and staff, who she said will be tested every couple of days. "We will continue to do that testing and as cases are identified, their close contacts will be contacted and isolated.” The outbreak comes as public health officials are still scrambling to contain an outbreak at the Notre-Dame Manor special-care home in Moncton, which is tied to at least 19 cases of COVID-19. Five of the cases announced Tuesday are in the Campbellton health region and involve two people in their 60s, one person in their 50s, someone in their 30s and a person under the age of 19, Russell said. The sixth case reported Tuesday is located in the Moncton area and involves a person in their 70s. Education Minister Dominic Cardy said a new case is tied to Dalhousie Regional High School, the fourth case identified at a New Brunswick school in the past six days. The province has 82 active cases, with five people in hospital, including one patient in intensive care. Health officials in the other Atlantic provinces are monitoring developments in New Brunswick, which is part of the so-called Atlantic bubble, inside which residents can travel without restrictions. Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil told reporters Tuesday he was expecting a brief from Dr. Robert Strang, the province’s chief medical officer of health, later in the day. “We’ll wait and see what the details are." Newly appointed Health Minister Leo Glavine said he hopes Nova Scotia stays in the Atlantic bubble. The province has four active cases of COVID-19. Dr. Heather Morrison, chief medical officer of health in Prince Edward Island, urged Islanders Tuesday to avoid non-essential travel to the regions in New Brunswick hard-hit by COVID-19. Newfoundland and Labrador issued a statement on Sunday urging residents to do the same. There are nine reported active cases of COVID-19 in Newfoundland and Labrador and three in Prince Edward Island. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 13, 2020. -- By Sarah Smellie in St. John's with files from Michael Tutton in Halifax. The Canadian Press Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version stated that Health Minister Leo Glavine said he hopes New Brunswick stays in the Atlantic bubble.
A COVID-19 outbreak at a fly-in reserve in Manitoba and increasing infections in First Nations populations in the province has leaders worried. The First Nations population in Manitoba was largely spared of infections earlier this year during the first wave of COVID-19, as leaders imposed travel restrictions and lockdowns. There have been 179 COVID-19 cases among First Nations people in Manitoba, with most in the last few weeks, according to the Manitoba First Nations COVID-19 Pandemic Response Coordination Team.
The City of Summerside has started a major demolition project in hopes of improving its downtown. Four buildings are coming down: the former Royal Bank, Crockett's Jewelry, the former Cooke Insurance building and the Regent, which was once a movie theatre but more recently a bar and restaurant. City officials said some have been vacant for more than a decade and described them as unsightly and dangerous. "We had raccoons sitting in the windows in some of the shops … there was graffiti, there was broken glass," said Deputy Mayor Norma McColeman.McColeman said the city wants to get people downtown and it needs to be revitalized to get them there. "The buildings had to come down," she said.Preparing for future developmentThe City of Summerside purchased the properties and is paying for demolition and site preparation needed for future development. The entire project is expected to cost about $1.2 million, but officials hope to recoup costs once a developer takes over. "We needed to have the ground prepared and development ready, or shovel ready," McColeman said. The city has taken short-term ownership of the land to help with future development, she said, as demolition and the ground work would be a high cost to developers. "We felt we had to move forward on that property," she said. Local historian disappointedWhile some describe the area as an eyesore, a local historian said he would like to have seen some buildings saved. "I'm feeling very sad," said George Dalton, past president of the Summerside and Area Historical Society.> We can't leave it vacant any longer. — Summerside Mayor Basil StewartHe said the project is going to take out two very important buildings. "Crockett's Jewellers and the Royal Bank, now those two buildings were very solid, they should have been saved," he said. Dalton said there should have been more public consultation before the demolition went ahead. Residential and commercial plansThe mayor of the city said specific designs haven't been made yet."We are looking at some commercial space and maybe apartments on top of the commercial space," said Basil Stewart. He said the project will be a "game changer" for the city. With the buildings vacant for so long, the city lost out on tax revenues, Stewart said. "We can't leave it vacant any longer," he said. "You need people in the business area."Stewart said it will be great for the city to redevelop the corner. He said there are developers interested but details have yet to be worked out. Stewart expects construction to begin next spring. More from CBC P.E.I.
Ever since the pandemic darkened theatres earlier this year, sending the entire performing arts world into a catastrophic state of limbo, we’ve seen all manner of creative virtual substitutes: Digital dance seasons, clever musical mashups, a live-captured version of “Hamilton.” Many of these have been good, some great. Yet none have truly matched the visceral experience many of us crave so profoundly: live performance, in a theatre. And honestly, how could anything come close? Well, now we have Spike Lee’s mesmerizing film version of David Byrne’s terrific Broadway concert “American Utopia,” which feels so thrillingly alive, you may actually forget you’re not in a theatre. Or perhaps you'll feel like the stage has somehow been lifted from its moorings and delivered straight to your living room — or, as Byrne might prefer, right into your brain. In any case, this hypnotic film experience is a badly needed shot in the arm for all of us — music lovers, theatre lovers, dance lovers, culture lovers, life lovers. It’s also one of the best concert films in recent memory. Of course, “David Byrne’s American Utopia,” a major Broadway happening that was due to return to the Hudson Theatre this fall, feels like far more than a concert. It's based on Byrne’s music, yes, from his 2018 album of the same name but also other solo work and some iconic Talking Heads tracks. But that’s just the launching point. The show, which one could broadly describe as a reflection on community and connectedness, is filled with pungent Byrne-ian commentary, on everything from brain function to Dadaism to climate change. “Meeting people is hard,” he muses at one point. But he can also get more political, as when he chides Americans for low voter turnout, especially in local elections. A crucial element of the show’s success is its enormously talented multicultural supporting cast of 11 musicians and dancers, who hail from Brooklyn to Brazil. Dressed just like Byrne in silver-gray suits and bare feet, they play fascinating percussion instruments, and also sing and dance; everyone here does double or triple duty. Standouts include the exuberant Bobby Wooten III on bass and the elegant Angie Swan on guitar. Then there's the endlessly inventive choreography by Annie-B Parson, not so much dancing as a holistic system of movement performed joyfully by lead dancers Chris Giarmo and Tendayi Kuumba. “I dance like this because it feels so damn good,” goes the Byrne song “I Dance Like This,” and yes, it does feel damn good, both to watch and to emulate. By the way, go ahead and try to get through this film without dancing yourself. Lee's cameras constantly find new and exciting angles on the action (the cinematography is by Ellen Kuras) — overhead, underneath, behind the performers or half an inch from their faces. And yet we never glimpse a camera, even though 11 operators were involved. The set is spare and stylish, surrounded by shimmering metallic curtains in the same silver-gray as the suits. “I thought, what if we could eliminate everything from the stage, except the stuff we cared about the most?” Byrne explains. “What would be left? ... Us, and you.” Lee has made a few additions to the Broadway show. For example, when Byrne and the cast sing Janelle Monae’s stirring protest song “Hell You Talmbout,” chanting names of Black men and women who died in racial violence or at the hands of police, Lee provides powerful visuals and adds more recent names like Breonna Taylor and George Floyd. As for Byrne, at 68 a remarkable font of quirky energy, he shifts seamlessly from sombre moments like this to ebullient renditions of Talking Heads classics like “I Zimbra,” “Once in a Lifetime,” and “Road to Nowhere.” But nothing gets the audience out of their seats like the rollicking version here of “Burning Down the House.” Chances are you won't stay in yours. On the show's closing day in February — I happened to be there with my sister and cousin — we were given happy news during curtain calls. Byrne announced to cheers that the show would return in September. Then the pandemic happened, and who knows when “American Utopia” will be back. Until that one fine day, let’s thank Lee and Byrne for giving us something a little better — no, a lot better — than merely the next best thing. “David Byrne’s American Utopia,” an HBO Films release, is unrated by the Motion Picture Association of America. Running time: 105 minutes. Four stars out of four. ___ Follow Jocelyn Noveck on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/JocelynNoveckAP Jocelyn Noveck, The Associated Press
President Donald Trump on Tuesday created what he called a “subcabinet” for federal water issues, with a mandate that includes water-use changes sought by corporate farm interests and oil and gas. An executive order from Trump put Interior Secretary David Bernhardt and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler in charge of the interagency water body. The first priority set out by the executive order is increasing dam storage and other water storage, long a demand of farmers and farm interests in the West in particular.
The union representing Prince Edward Island school custodians, administrative support staff, educational assistants and bus drivers shared its concerns on the impact of COVID-19 with a legislative committee Tuesday.So far there haven't been major issues in the school system, said Canadian Union of Public Employees P.E.I. Division national servicing representative Lori MacKay. And on the whole, the union is happy with how the return to school has gone since early September.But she said the situation could change rapidly if the Island starts to experience community spread of COVID-19."When you don't have a model in place that allows for social distancing, it does create challenges when and if there is community spread," she told reporters after the session with MLAs. As examples, MacKay said some buses are still carrying 72 students, and high school students are not staying within cohorts as children in younger grades are. "We hope there is no community spread and things can carry on the way that they have been going in the past six weeks, but we are concerned about the potential, and we expressed that to the committee today," she said.Call for transparency on plansAmong other things, the union is asking the provincial government to share its plans on how it intends to handle a potential second wave of COVID-19. MacKay said that when the province decided to close schools back in March, it didn't give CUPE a heads-up before telling the public. That left union officials unable to answer questions from employees who wanted to know what the closure meant for them.> The more we're staying inside, the greater chance of spread of COVID. —Lori MacKay, CUPE P.E.I. Division president"It's so much better when the communication comes from the top and filters out," she said.With winter coming and students less able to spend time outside on school property, CUPE is also seeking a role in talks on what can be done to help its members feel safe."The more we're staying inside, the greater chance of spread of COVID," said MacKay. "If an employee comes to us and says, 'Do I have the right to refuse work if they have no ability to social distance and if they are not able to guarantee [personal protective equipment]?' then, you know, it's going to be difficult to say that you're safe to report to work."There's also the question of whether snow banks could eventually block entrances now being used by some students so that major doors to the school don't get too crowded. More from CBC P.E.I.
The decision by AUSTRAC, the regulator, formally ends an audit process it ordered https://reut.rs/3lK4kSh more than a year ago to look into whether Afterpay was breaching anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing (AML/CTF) laws. "After considering the report and the response by Afterpay, AUSTRAC has decided not to undertake further regulatory action," the regulator said in a statement on its website. The external audit report was handed over in November last year, which Afterpay said found that it was a "low-risk business" for money laundering.
Virtual reality technology in Windsor will be used to help develop the first all-Canadian, electric vehicle with hopes that it will drive the future of the auto sector. Project Arrow, spearheaded by the Automotive Parts Manufacturers' Association (APMA) of Canada, will be the first original, all-Canadian, zero-emission vehicle in the country, according to a news release Tuesday from the organization. The WindsorEssex Economic Development Corporation's virtual reality CAVE will help engineer the virtual model, while Ontario Tech University in Oshawa builds a physical one. The CAVE is an immersive virtual reality studio for enhanced simulations. "This project will bring together the best of the best of Canada's electric-drive, alternative-fuel, connected and autonomous and light-weight technology companies," reads the news release. On Tuesday, APMA announced that the finalist for the vehicle design is a team from Carleton University's School of Industrial Design in Ottawa. The team beat out 25 other applicants across Canada. Now that a design has been selected, Project Arrow will move into the engineering phase. The CAVE will be used by experts in Canada's automotive supply sector and post-secondary institutions to perform real-time testing and ensure safety standards are met. "The [virtual reality] CAVE is a tremendous asset for our community and partnerships like this put a flag in the ground that Windsor-Essex is the automobility hub in Canada," Stephen MacKenzie, president of the Windsor-Essex Economic Development Corporation, said in a news release. In addition to this, locals have said the vehicle's parts could all come from Canada, with APMA president Flavio Volpe stating that roughly one-third of Project Arrow's parts could be sourced directly from Windsor. "Windsor is the beating heart of the Canadian auto sector, I can think of no other better place to take the first pulse of the Arrow," Volpe stated in the release. Volpe told CBC News that the project allows Windsor to have a hand in the government's call to action to have a zero emissions economy by 2050. "If this inspires someone to launch a Canadian [original equipment manufacturer] or if this becomes a Canadian [original equipment manufacturer], I think everybody wins, including all of the people in the Windsor region who are disproportionately invested in this industry," Volpe said. "If it sounds like a moon shot it's because that's where we aimed it." The virtual vehicle is expected to be unveiled in the beginning of 2021, Volpe said, adding that the physical model should be ready for 2022.
In The News is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to kickstart your day. The poll by Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies is the latest to take the public’s temperature during the COVID-19 pandemic, and comes as governments and scientists around the world are scrambling to find a vaccine. The federal government has also inked a number of agreements with pharmaceutical companies to purchase millions of doses of their vaccine candidates if they prove safe and effective, over fears of a global rush for the drugs.
Some candidates running for office in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality gathered Tuesday in Sydney to protest a new centre in Eskasoni meant to help residents navigate the voting system.CBRM said in a news release Eskasoni voters face unique challenges because of their remote community and language barriers.But candidates who protested at the Sydney civic centre said the kiosk is not authorized by law, it's not fair to the rest of the municipality and it could give the District 3 incumbent, who lives in Eskasoni, an advantage."Other districts have remote areas, like Gabarus, Port Morien, Donkin," said Jeff McNeil, the District 11 candidate who organized the protest. "They, too, should have the same opportunity."The candidates said they do not object to voters getting help with phone or internet ballots, but argued the opportunity should be extended throughout CBRM.At least two candidates for District 3 — Cyril MacDonald and Glen Murrant — said they are filing complaints.MacDonald was the first to raise the issue on Friday when he found out about the Eskasoni help centre. The kiosk will be open every day until Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Elders Centre at 19 Medicine Trail Rd."It's not about Eskasoni," he said. "It's about fair and equal access to the entire municipality."Voting in CBRM is entirely electronic this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Voters can cast a ballot by telephone or internet only.During advance polling, voters with questions can make an appointment to get help at the civic centre in Sydney. They can also use a phone or a computer at the centre.The civic centre will be closed on the last day of polling Saturday, but help centres will be set up at Centre 200 in Sydney, the Glace Bay Miners' Forum and the North Sydney Firemen's Club from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.In a news release announcing the opening of the voter help kiosk, returning officer Deborah Campbell Ryan said Eskasoni voters face unique challenges, including remoteness and language barriers.In addition, she said, Canada Post returned about 21 per cent of voter cards in the community due to incomplete addresses.McNeil said it's not fair to provide help to Eskasoni voters for five days when other voters may need help, but won't have the same opportunity to get to a help centre in a distant community."Those residents that have those issues in disabilities and are on fixed income, that don't have access to a phone or internet, can't make it to those locations to exercise their right to vote," he said."Some people can't afford the taxis to go from New Waterford to Glace Bay or Sydney because it's either pay bills, eat or vote, and fall behind to pay transportation to vote."District 3 candidates speak outMurrant said the help centre doesn't just affect council candidates, it also affects the race for mayor.According to Section 146(A) of the Municipal Elections Act, council has to approve polling stations at least 60 days before the vote and in this case, that wasn't done, he said."It's very clear," Murrant said. "I mean anybody that can read can understand that this just goes against the Municipal Elections Act."Campbell Ryan was not available for an interview Tuesday. In an email, however, she said Section 146(A) of the elections act "has nothing to do with establishing voter help kiosks."Another District 3 candidate, John Whalley, said the Eskasoni help kiosk could be viewed as giving the incumbent an advantage."A better way to look at it hopefully is that it's a change to assist people to vote and so that's a good thing," he said.The incumbent, Esmond (Blue) Marshall, said the new help centre won't give him an edge. He said many older people are afraid of using new technology and others are afraid of going into a polling station during the pandemic.However, he agreed other remote communities should also have access to help."If other people want it, it's not too late to have it now."About 20 people showed up to the protest Tuesday. A handful of candidates tried to get in to see the returning officer, but they were denied access without an appointment.MORE TOP STORIES
With 82 active COVID-19 cases in New Brunswick, some residents of neighbouring Nova Scotia, P.E.I. and Newfoundland and Labrador are wondering whether the Atlantic bubble needs to burst.
The Alberta government has announced plans to cut up to 11,000 health-care jobs in order to save $600 million a year, saying the cuts won’t be of front-line staff such as nurses. The move comes during the COVID-19 pandemic, an economic downturn and an ongoing dispute between the health minister and doctors.