Roundup: Election day! Vax stats, gypsum workers unionize, South Shore Olympian recounts Tokyo experience, Pictou Co. law firm winds down amidst controversy

Chief Mike Sack and the team from the Sipekne’katik band office. Photo: Steve Smith/Visionfire

Canada elects a new federal government today. If you haven’t yet voted, polls are open until 8:30 p.m. Check your voter information card to find where you vote (or check here if you don’t have a card). Voting is easiest if you have government ID, but you can still cast a ballot without it, provided you have other documentation or someone who can vouch for you. Learn more here.

Vaccination update
According to Friday’s provincial government update, Nova Scotia had 4,609 known cases of COVID-19 from March 15 to Sept. 16, 2021:

  • 99 (2.1%) were fully vaccinated,
  • 275 (6.0%) were partially vaccinated,
  • 4,235 (91.9%) were unvaccinated.

There were 260 people hospitalized:

  • Three (1.1%) were fully vaccinated,
  • 28 (10.8%) were partially vaccinated,
  • 229 (88.1%) were unvaccinated.

COVID killed 28 people:

  • One (3.6%) was fully vaccinated,
  • Three (10.7%) were partially vaccinated,
  • 24 (85.7%) were unvaccinated.
Photo: Steve Smith/VisionFire

In conversation with Chief Mike Sack
For most policymakers, topics like the fishery are abstract policy issues. 

For Sipekne’katik Chief Mike Sack, born and raised in the Central Nova Scotia first nation, the issues are connected to his working-class roots. Among his blue-collar experience (which includes running his father’s construction company), he’s worked as a fisherman on the waters of St. Mary’s Bay. 

Combine that with his decade experience as counsel and now chief, and he has a unique perspective on the issues around reconciliation and First Nations rights that face Nova Scotia today, a perspective rooted in hands-on experience.

He explains how the federal government’s failure regulate the First Nations treaty-protect fishery is the latest example of Canada’s legacy of systemic racism.

“It’s all part of keeping our people down and keeping them in poverty and not wanting them to rise,” he says. “The same thing goes for the residential school — all of those horrible things that happened … There’s no difference; they have enough authority to change it so our people could fish and sell seafood at a market value, but they won’t do that, so it’s no difference. They’re keeping people in poverty to this day.”

Ameeta Vohra interviews Sack in the first issue of Unravel Halifax.

Cape Breton gypsum workers unionize
The workforce at Point Tupper’s Cabot Gypsum plant here voted overwhelming in favour of joining the Unifor national union.

Of the 51 ballots cast, 41 were in favour and nine against, with one spoiled ballot.

“The union is officially in,” says labour organizer Patrick Murray. “The message was crystal clear. It was nice to see workers come together. It was nice to see the workers united. It was nice to see the results of over 80 per cent of the members that voted … in favour of the union.”

Jake Boudrot has more for The Reporter.

Sarah Mitton. Photo: Submitted

Olympian recounts Tokyo experience
Queens County shot putter Sarah Mitton didn’t get a medal at the recent Summer Olympics in Japan (finishing 28th overall) but already has her eyes on the next golden opportunity.

Every competition is a chance to learn and improve her technique, and she’s already thinking ahead to the 2024 Games in Paris, where she aims to improve on her performance.

“I fell short this year, but knowing that it was there brings me a lot of hope for the future,” she says. “I learned the experience and technical consistency needed to be the best shot putter in the world is a lot more than where I’m at right now, and these experiences really help shape how you’re going to react in these situations.”

Read Kevin McBain’s story in LightouseNow.

Controversy embroils Pictou County law firm
Mac, Mac & Mac is closing its doors amid a bitter legal dispute between partners at the storied New Glasgow law firm.

The move comes after nearly two years of drama, including allegations of criminal harassment against litigation veteran Donn Fraser by two female partners.

Mediation efforts were unsuccessful and an attempt to oust Fraser from the partnership failed. The effort would have required the vote of partner Heather MacDonald, who is married to Fraser.

In another twist, Fraser and MacDonald are now estranged too. Court documents say Fraser is no longer allowed contact with his wife after assaulting her and a police officer in late August.

Janet Whitman reports for The Pictou Advocate.

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