Roundup: Mountie suspended for drinking and driving, First Nations fishing resumes in C.B., saw mill operators seek log supply, COVID continues to spread
“We have made progress, but not enough ... Part of being a first means you’re hopefully not going to be the last,” says Angela Simmonds. Photo: Bruce Murray
Plus: Claudia Chender and Angela Simmonds are challenging the status quo in Nova Scotian politics
David J. Cullen, an RCMP officer from Bridgewater, is suspended with pay after admitting to drinking and driving.
According to court records, he registered breathalyzer readings of 140 and 150 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood driving in Bridgewater on March 17. The legal limit for a fully licensed driver is 80.
Cullen was fined $1,500 and is forbidden to drive motor vehicles in Canada for one year. It’s unclear how that will affect his work as a police officer.
“An internal code of conduct investigation has been initiated and is ongoing,” RCMP spokesman Const. Guillaume Tremblay says in an email. “Const. Cullen’s duty status will be continuously assessed throughout both the court and internal processes.”
Challenging the status quo
Nova Scotia has never elected a woman premier, but Angela Simmonds and Claudia Chender are working to change that, as they pursue the leadership of the provincial Liberals and NDP respectively.
Motivating Simmonds is a desire to confront the racism and sexism she’s seen throughout her career, most recently as executive director of the Land Titles Initiative.
“I was in a position where I could make some changes, but also wasn’t at the top to enforce the changes,” she says. “It’s hard to work within those boundaries and not be able to create legislation for change. My frustration was that we are building relationships and having conversations, but we’re not changing the minds of people who are developing these policies in other departments.”
Chender sees the same obstacles.
“There are barriers we can certainly break down for women, gender queer folks, and all kinds of people who face challenges and are marginalized,” she says. “It made sense that I continue to push our vision forward: a Nova Scotia where governments work for everyone.”
COVID still spreading worldwide
The World Health Organization reports 566,814 new COVID-19 cases globally in the last 24 hours.
The real number of ill people is likely much higher though, as many jurisdictions (including Nova Scotia) are withholding daily data, making it impossible to get a full picture of the disease’s spread.
Dr. Tara Moriarty, director of an infectious diseases research laboratory and professor at the University of Toronto medical school, recently estimates that Nova Scotia has about 24,000 new cases per day, a figure about 20 times higher than the government’s lab-confirmed figures.
So far, COVID is known to have has killed 6,243,038 people worldwide, including 39,293 people in Canada and 314 Nova Scotians.
First Nations fishers back on the water
Federal officials say they’ve reached an “interim understanding” with Cape Breton’s Potlotek First Nation, allowing the community to resume a “moderate livelihood” fishery, and selling their catch under a livelihood fisheries plan.
Potlotek Chief Wilbert Marshall believes the Native and commercial fisheries can coexist peacefully.
“Building relationships with local fishers who we are working alongside of is important to our harvesters,” says Potlotek Chief Wilbert Marshall. “Many of our community members have family ties in surrounding communities outside of Potlotek, and we work and do business in the surrounding communities, all which makes it even more important to fishing in harmony with one another.”
Saw mill operators seek log supply
Nova Scotian saw mill operators say they’ve lacked a steady supply of saw logs since the Northern Pulp plant in Pictou closed after failing to meet environmental regulations.
“It’s very slow,” says David Emery of Dave’s Lumber in Salt Springs. “I can’t get enough wood. I usually operated nine or 10 months a year. I produced only seven months last year, and I’m already a month behind this year.”
Compounding the industry’s woes, the loss of the local pulp market has made woodlot harvesting less profitable. “There’s no one to buy low-grade pulp,” he adds. “It was one of our main (products) and we don’t have it. It’s nice to get everything you can out of a tree.”
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