Roundup: COVID surge continues, the life of a famous Halifax madam, DFO seizes First Nation’s lobster traps, long-term care spending neglects workers
By Trevor J. Adams 16 December 2021 Share this story
Plus: Protecting the ponies — meet the people who love and care for a Newfoundland heritage animal
Nova Scotia’s COVID-19 count continues to climb, with health officials announcing 178 new cases in the latest update. Of the new cases, 113 are in the Central Zone, 55 cases in the Eastern, five in the Northern, and five in the Western. The government hasn’t released a count for known active cases of COVID-19 since last week, citing a data entry backlog. Six people are hospitalized with the disease, including two in ICU.
Pointing to the Omicron variant and this wave’s rapid spread, the Houston government is adding more public health restrictions.
- Masks are now required indoors at public schools where distancing isn’t possible.
- Spectators at sports games and cultural performances can only eat and drink in designated seating areas.
- Except for medical appointments, residents in long-term care can only leave the facility if fully vaccinated.
- Residents in licensed Disability Support Program homes have the same restrictions as people in long-term care.
DFO seizes First Nation’s lobster traps
Between Oct. 5 and 15, Fisheries and Oceans officers seized 409 First Nations lobster traps in Cape Breton’s St. Peter’s Bay area, saying they were unauthorized and improperly tagged.
The move highlights the need for the ongoing legal efforts by the local Native community to protect their treaty rights, says Potlotek First Nation Chief Wilbert Marshall in a press release: “This is exactly why we have filed a case against DFO on the Fisheries Act. This act has continued to infringe on our treaty right to fish for a moderate living and our harvesters just want to earn a living.”
Long-term care funding neglects workers
The provincial government’s recent plan to spend $57 million on long-term care homes doesn’t include any specific measures to improve pay for the industry’s notoriously underpaid workers, which isn’t sitting well with Laura Stewart, president of Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 4919.
“The strategies are good, but … after having worked in long-term as long as we have, it’s still a real big slap in our face,” she says. “It’s like a trickle-down effect. If you start paying what we deserve, you are going to have more people wanting to take the course and be a part of the team. To do this, you have to retain your staff. Give us something to make us stay in this profession, because so many people are leaving.”
The life of a famous Halifax madam
Operating outside the law, Ada Jane McCallum was once one of Halifax’s most influential women, known around the globe for the brothels she ran in Halifax. There are even reports that her name and services were once posted on a public toilet wall in a little town in Russia and another on a billboard in a stadium in Tokyo.
She grew up in poverty, but built an empire by protecting her workers, seeing to their welfare and medical care, and paying them fairly.
Protecting the ponies
The sturdy Newfoundland pony has a storied history in Canada’s easternmost province. Intelligent and hard working, known as the engine of rural Newfoundland, the pony helped settlers carve out a living in rugged rural areas. Families set their ponies to work plowing fields, pulling fishing nets, hauling wood to build homes and wharves.
Today, fewer than 100 remain on the island, and they enjoy considerably less laborious lives. Sherrylee and Morley Peckford are among the people caring for them. They brought two-year old Frankie home to George’s Bay in the fall of 2020.
“I made a small, two-wheel wagon to try Frankie on and he loved it, Morley says. “When the snow came, I made a slide with one seat on it, and he loved that too. I can’t wait to work with him in the woods.”
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Trevor has been a magazine editor and journalist in Halifax since 1998. He's won multiple Atlantic Journalism Awards and was shortlisted for the Tom Fairley Award for Editorial Excellence in 2014.
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