Roundup: COVID count holds steady, RCMP bemoans policing costs, drive-ins popping up, C.B. man who killed mother gets parole

Nova Scotian towns are seeing their RCMP costs steadily climb. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Nova Scotia continues to have seven active cases of COVID-19, with no new ones announced in yesterday’s government update. To date, Nova Scotia has 71,479 negative test results, 1,080 known COVID-19 cases, and 65 deaths. 

RCMP unhappy with cost of rural policing
A briefing note from the RCMP to federal public safety minister Bill Blair in 2019 reveals unhappiness with the cost of policing and the role of the force in rural Canada.

“Federal policing responsibilities have been and are being eroded to meet contract demands,” the note says. “The program is costly and Government of Canada is not recovering all costs related to policing in contract jurisdictions… There is growing dissatisfaction from contract jurisdictions relating to, e.g., costs, officer vacancies and the resultant impact on community safety.”

Existing 20-year agreements (like the one the RCMP has to provide law enforcement in much of Nova Scotia), see the federal government pay 30% of policing costs of contract jurisdictions with populations under 15,000 people. That percentage reduces to 10% if the area has more than 15,000 people. The agreement expires in 2032. RCMP officials refused to comment on the note or its implications. Keith Corcoran reports for Lighthouse Now.

Richmond Co. killer gets parole
A Cape Breton man who killed his mother and hid her body in 2013 was recently released on parole. In 2015, the court sentenced Merlin Demers-Kennedy to 10 years for manslaughter. When deciding to release him, the parole board factored in abuse he experienced as a child and treatment for paranoid schizophrenia.

“The board acknowledges you have made gains and have acquired skills and tools to identify and manage risk factors,” says the decision. “The board is satisfied… that you have gained insight into your criminality during this sentence. Overall the board believes that you have been engaged and motivated and made measurable and observable changes.” Drake Lowthers has the story for The Reporter.

Drive-in summer
As pandemic precautions keep Nova Scotians out of theatres, drive-ins are enjoying an explosion in popularity. One of the latest pops up several times a month on a ball field in North River, Colchester County. The screenings, which began in April, raise funds for amateur sports and other community causes.

“I came up with the idea in April as I started to think about what else we could do with the grounds,” says co-organizer Darren Crowell, adding that classic films like Dirty Dancing have proven popular. “People can put in their requests and if it’s within our reach, we will get it.” Raissa Tetanish has more for Hub Now.

Photo: Harry Doupe

Reader favourite: The worst stand-up gig ever
Today Mark Farrell is an accomplished comic, writer, and TV producer. In the 1980s, he was just another aspiring comedian trying to get work in Halifax.

Then he was offered $50 for a 10-minute performance: an intermission set at the Metro Centre during a hockey game. It started with an “almost actively apathetic” crowd and then went downhill.

“About a minute into my performance, the Zamboni started,” Farrell recalls. “The driver of the Zamboni didn’t care that I was an inexperienced comic in a gig in which I had no hope… He wouldn’t meet my gaze. I was an obstacle, a particularly nasty patch of ice that had to be smoothed out so the game could continue. He wasn’t going to let any pity for Hacky Hackerson, the comic dying on the ice, prevent him from doing his job.” In this hilariously cringeworthy post, one of Halifax Magazine‘s most-read this year, Farrell recalls the experience.

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This story was originally published in Halifax Magazine.

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