Roundup: MLA Masland has COVID, fine for scofflaw pastor, rogue wave clobbers fishing boat, making the case for electric vehicles

The coast guard escorted the Fishin' Fionnatic into port after a rogue wave damaged the vessel. Photo: CCG

Plus: Employers talk of a labour shortage, but newcomers find it harder than ever find fair-paying work in Halifax

Public-works minister Kim Masland has COVID-19.

“I do not know how I contracted it. I will provide all of the information I can to public health and work with them to trace all of my contacts,” she says in a recent press release.

She adds that she’s fully vaccinated and is tested regularly, with her most recent negative test on Nov. 11.

Kim Masland

“This shows how contagious the virus is and how important it is to be vaccinated and follow public health measures,” she says. “I am not feeling well, but thankfully my symptoms are mild and I know that the vaccine is preventing me from becoming seriously ill.” Kevin McBain reports for LighthouseNow.

Masland is one of 236 known active cases of COVID-19 in the province, according to the latest government update. Health officials report 20 new cases (eight in the Central Zone, six in the Northern, and one in the Western), with community spread in Halifax and Northern Nova Scotia.

Officials also announced four more school exposures, the most recent in Halifax at École Mer et Monde.

There have been growing questions about why Amherst police haven’t taken any action against Gospel Light Baptist Church in Amherst, which illegally hosted a large event with unvaccinated attendees, sparking the region’s deadly COVID outbreak. In a press conference yesterday, Premier Tim Houston evaded questions about the police non-response, but did share that the environment department has fined Robert Smith $2,422.

“I am upset and concerned by this situation which was preventable and shows a complete disregard for public health measures meant to keep us all safe,” Houston says in a press release. “Because of the actions of a reckless few, we now have a spike in cases related to an illegal gathering in the Northern zone … Those who choose to disregard the law and put others at risk may be fined or possibly face other charges.”

Safe in the harbour
The Fishin’ Fionnatic six-person crew were relieved to make it safely home last month, after a rogue wave clobbered their boat as they fished about 370 km southeast of Louisbourg.

“The fishing vessel had its port-side wheelhouse windows destroyed, as well as damage to communications and navigation equipment, but was still able to make way,” says Fisheries and Oceans Canada spokesman Stephen Bornais. “The crew requested an escort … Waves at the time of the incident were five to six metres and wind speed was over 45 knots.”

Jake Boudrot has the story for The Reporter.

Labour shortage? Or a good job shortage?
Many business owners and advocates continue to lament their struggles finding and retaining workers, but job hunters say there’s not a shortage of labour — there’s a shortage of decent, fair-paying jobs.

Consider Meera Raghava (name changed, due to fears that her candour will hurt her job hunt), a well educated and experienced health-care professional who recently moved here from India. “I was given to understand that being in the country would make it easier for me to find work, and to get permanent residency status for me and my family,” she says.

But that hasn’t been the case. She’s struggled to get her credentials recognized, making it impossible to work in her field. The jobs available to her are far below her experience level, with insultingly low pay. She tells Marianne Simon about it in this recent Unravel Halifax interview.

The case for electric vehicles
Electric vehicles are the automotive future, but they still suffer from a PR problem.

There are a litany of arguments against them: short on range, short on chargers, short on options, too expensive, too high on indirect emissions, and so on. The technology has advanced so rapidly in recent years that most of these criticisms are entirely out of date, or entirely out of context. Yet many motorists’ perspectives are still stuck in the Obama era.

Proponents hope to change those views with test drives and a frank conversation. Hence, the Clean Foundation’s Next Ride program. “There’s no sales pitch,” says Sarah Balloch, transportation manager with the Clean Foundation. “We drive around the province, give people a test drive, and answer their questions about electric vehicles in a no-pressure situation.”

Learn more in Zack Advocate’s recent column for The Pictou Advocate.

Spread the word
Know a community group, good cause, or inspiring local story we should share? Email the editor.

Look for the next edition of the Roundup on Nov. 23.

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