Roundup: 5 new COVID cases, more power for Councils, Lunenburg MLA draws heat over bank closure, Antigonish fights cuts to reading-disability services, remembering Donald Sobey

The government reported five new cases of COVID-19 in Nova Scotia yesterday (all in the Central zone), for a total of 24 known active cases.

Nova Scotian labs completed 1,989 tests on March 23 and 284,114 since the second wave of the pandemic began in October.

As of March 23, health-care workers have dispensed 71,733 doses of COVID-19 vaccine in the province, with 21,648 Nova Scotians getting the second dose that completes inoculation. According to the latest federal government figures, Nova Scotia is last in the country in vaccination rates.

Changes to local government
The Rankin government announced yesterday that it’s amending the Municipal Government Act and the Halifax Regional Municipality Charter in a bid to create “more transparency and increased accountability.”

These proposed amendments will require municipalities and village commissions to have codes of conduct that meet provincial standards and appoint an independent body to receive and investigate alleged breaches.

Emily Lutz. Photo: Twitter

Emily Lutz, president of the Nova Scotia Federation of Municipalities, welcomes the move. “We’ve heard loud and clear from our members that they want legislation with more teeth,” she says in the government press release. “The Nova Scotia Federation of Municipalities supports legislative changes that provide clear measures for municipal councils to support elected officials in ethical and effective governing.”

The amendments will let local governments sanction members who have breached the code of conduct, allow in-camera discussions about breaches, and give additional regulatory power to the municipal-affairs minister.

Federal cuts to reading services worry Antigonish government
Municipal officials in Antigonish are speaking out against federal cuts to services for people with reading disabilities, and calling on the Trudeau government to restore the funding.

“[In] this day and age in 2021, when the Town of Antigonish is trying to become more accessible, to take that funding away and have the library take the onus on buying those rights to those books, I think is counter-productive,” says Mayor Laurie Boucher.

Drake Lowthers has details for The Reporter.

Susan Corkum-Greek

Concerns over rural bank closure
Conservative candidate Susan Corkum-Greek is lambasting Lunenburg Liberal MLA Suzanne Lohnes-Croft for her silence over the closure of Royal Bank in New Germany, leaving residents of the village without a local branch.

Lohnes-Croft “decided there was nothing to be done,” Corkum-Greek says in an email to LighthouseNow. “She did not share this information with community stakeholders. Nor did Ms. Lohnes-Croft think to raise the issue, much less attempt to leverage the fact her government provided RBC with $20 million in payroll rebates just five years ago.”

Keith Corcoran has more for LighthouseNow.

Life in a historic Halifax brothel
For as long as there’s been a Halifax, there have been sex workers here, often staying discreetly out of the public eye, allowing ordinary folk to feign ignorance.

One of those workers was a woman named Claire, who worked in the city in the 1960s. She left historians a rare treasure, writing the self-published memoir White Boots: Sex For Sale Trade in Halifax. Halifax Magazine historical columnist Dorothy Grant found it in the non-circulating collection at Halifax Central Library.

“The 67-page memoir is an honest self-portrayal, coupled with a number of human-interest yarns and intriguing accounts of the team she worked with and the men who patronized them,” Grant says. “She describes the people she worked with as loving, lonesome, and generous women. She also discloses that when one woman became pregnant and didn’t want to have an abortion, her friends at the brothel raised money to help her keep her child.”

Learn more in this Halifax Magazine post, originally published December 2018.

Donald Sobey

Remembering Donald Sobey
Pictou County business magnate Donald Sobey died yesterday at age 86.

In 1957, Sobey followed his brothers and father into the family grocery business, helping to build it into the national behemoth Empire Company. He was a member of the Order of Canada and a Canadian Business Hall of Fame inductee.

In addition to his corporate success, he’s noted for his philanthropy, donating to numerous artists and organizations, endowing scholarships, and funding the Sobey Art Award.

“Donald was someone who cared deeply for his community, giving his time, energy, and resources to support so many important causes,” Empire chair Jim Dickson says in a press release. “The impact of his generosity will certainly be felt for generations.”

Jackie Jardine reports for The Pictou Advocate.

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This story was originally published in Halifax Magazine.

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