Roundup: Fans conflicted as world juniors return, Pictou Co. organization raises $300K, COVID update, health-care fix not about money says government

Plus: Weeks after Fiona hit Nova Scotia, telecommunication concerns continue

In December, the world junior hockey championships return to Halifax but a pall hangs over the event.

Police continue to investigate several reports of sexual assaults by former Team Canada members, including a gang rape when Halifax last hosted the tournament in 2003. And details continue to emerge about Canadian management paying out hundreds of thousands to silence victims.

Cheryl MacDonald. Photo: Bruce Murray

Before she was a researcher studying hockey and sexuality at SMU, Cheryl MacDonald was a passionate fan, drawn to major-junior hockey at age nine when her hometown of Moncton got its first team. The world juniors would normally be highlighted on her calendar, but she’s unsure whether she’ll even watch this year. 

“As a hockey fan, you don’t always want to criticize or unpack the uglier parts of your sport,” she says. “We’re starting to know that hockey culture isn’t always a safe and enjoyable space for everybody.” 

In the new issue of Unravel Halifax, Ameeta Vohra looks at how the sport is changing (or trying to change), and offers practical advice for fans conflicted about this year’s tournament.

Frustration with telecommunication companies grows
When the remnants of hurricane Fiona hit the province in September, Nova Scotia Power predictably failed for hundreds of thousands of people, but many were shocked to find their mobile phones and landlines also dead.

In Antigonish, Shawna MacDonald’s 77-year-old mother had no Eastlink phone service for several days, and the company has done little to reassure her it won’t happen again.

“I explained I had purchased her a regular phone, not a portable, to ensure she would have the ability to contact someone in the event she needed assistance,” MacDonald says. “I was given the same rehearsed speech that they were working on the issues, and they would be giving everyone a data top-up to help during the aftermath of the storm. I tried to relay the fact that was useless to my mother as she didn’t have a cellphone.”

Janet Whitman has more for LighthouseNow.

COVID update
The World Health Organization reports 46,396 confirmed new COVID cases around the globe in the last 24 hours. So far, the disease is known to have killed at least 6,555,270 people, including 46,025 in Canada and 572 Nova Scotians.

Michelle Thompson. Photo: Submitted

Health-care fix coming … eventually
Amid news that the list of Nova Scotians waiting for a family doctor has now grown to 105,000 names, the provincial government is reiterating its promise to fix the health-care system.

But don’t look for immediate changes.

“Money is not really an issue,” says health minister Michelle Thompson. “We often hear, ‘There’s no money for this, there’s no money for that,’ but as a government, we’re very committed to investing where and when we can. It doesn’t mean there’s a blank cheque but it means that we know that health care has a lot of problems. It’s going to take money and it’s going to take time.”

Jake Boudrot has more for the Reporter.

Pictou County charity hits financial milestone
Summer Street Industries in New Glasgow, which aims to create work opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities, smashed its fundraising target with a recent golf event, raising $301,000 to support its work.

Organizer Bob Bennett praises donors, and the teams who played on an overcast and dreary autumn day. “We’re always pleasantly happy when the community feels we’re worthy,” he says. “It looked like it was going to rain all day but it was not so bad.”

Steve Goodwin reports for the Pictou Advocate.

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