Roundup: COVID keeps climbing—43K Canadian cases, art blooms in Pugwash, another plaudit for fiddler, MLA fights drunk-driving prosecution

Natalie MacMaster. Photo: Renee Doiron

As of yesterday (Nov. 11), Nova Scotia has two new cases of COVID-19, raising the total of known active cases to 20. A government press release says the new infections are in the Central Zone and are close contacts of a previously reported case but aren’t linked to the Clayton Park cluster.

Nationally, Canada currently has 43,177 known cases of COVID-19, according to the latest federal government figures. The majority of those are in Quebec (11,450), Ontario (10,631), and Alberta (8,755).

Stacey J. Gomez

Focus on the future
The Halifax Independent Filmmakers Festival returns today, running online until Nov. 15. Organizers aim to give a platform to emerging and under-represented talents like Guatemalan-Canadian filmmaker Stacey J. Gomez, who debuts her short film 20 Nawales.

“I hope it resonates with people’s experiences,” she says. “I identify as Mayan K’iche’, but I know I am not the only one that feels some of the things that come out in the short film… It’s really important to have the voices of people here in Nova Scotia, especially of marginalized communities like Black and Indigenous people… We don’t often hear those voices because of structural racism that exists throughout different institutions. That’s why I think it’s important to take up space within the film industry and community and find the supports we, as racialized communities, need.”

She tells Ameeta Vohra about it in this new Halifax Magazine interview.

Art blooms in Pugwash
The new Pugwash Open Air Gallery recently opened, featuring seven pieces of art at sites around the village. Pugwash Communities in Bloom spearheaded the idea, organizers drawing inspiration from a similar project they saw in Quebec.

Local artists have embraced the concept. “We had to slow down the project,” recalls Norene Smiley. “We had over 50 submissions from artists we invited.” Raissa Tetanish has the story for The Light.

Natalie MacMaster named to Order of Nova Scotia
Acclaimed Cape Breton fiddler Natalie MacMaster has earned another plaudit, one of six people recently named to the Order of Nova Scotia.

“These six exemplary Nova Scotians have made significant and meaningful contributions to this province,” says Lieutenant-Governor Arthur J. LeBlanc. “They are most deserving of this honour that recognizes their achievements and efforts to help others.” The Reporter has the details.

Hugh MacKay

MLA fights drunk-driving prosecution
There will be a Nova Scotia Supreme Court hearing next year to determine whether Chester-St. Margaret’s MLA Hugh MacKay is successful in stopping the prosecution of his latest drunk driving charge before it gets to trial. MacKay alleges “abuse-of-process” by the Crown and wants a stay of proceedings.

MacKay previously admitted to driving drunk during the 2019 Thanksgiving weekend, during an alcoholism relapse following years of sobriety. He registered blood alcohol readings more than twice the legal limit, was fined $2,000, and subjected to a one-year Canada-wide driving prohibition.

The current criminal charge against MacKay hasn’t been tested in court and he’s presumed innocent. He resigned from the Liberal caucus February 23, citing a wish to reduce “any further disruption to the important work this government is doing.” Keith Corcoran reports for LighthouseNow.

Need to know
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This story was originally published in Halifax Magazine.

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