Roundup: Shooting inquiry needs to dig deeper say victims’ families, COVID still spreading, Pictou mentoring program helps retirees share knowledge, site picked for new care home

"Travelling while Black" uses VR technology to offer audiences a new perspective on racism. Photo: YouTube

Plus: Virtual reality promises to transform the way we work, play, and relate — meet the locals figuring out what it all means

The Mass Casualty Commission, investigating the April 2020 mass shooting and RCMP response, might not be digging deeply enough, say lawyers representing several victims’ families.

“There’s some reservations about the depth to which the commission is focussing on the factual record, the what-happened piece,” says Sandra McCulloch.

Lawyer Linda Hupman agrees, pointing to the inquiry’s unusual rules.

 “We still feel there are a bit too many hoops to jump through for justifying our requests for certain witnesses and the opportunities for cross-examining them,” she says. “But when witnesses are called, we are being given the opportunity to cross-examine them. That’s not been denied to us at this point.”

Janet Whitman has the story for the Reporter.

Into the metaverse
The metaverse doesn’t exist yet, but it’s coming, and it will reshape our lives with virtual reality (digitally generated worlds), augmented reality (a combination of physical and digital worlds, like the superimposed yellow first-down line in football broadcasts), cryptocurrency (digital money), and digital goods.

At least, that’s the promise. While tech entrepreneurs try to figure out how to make their sweet profit, its most useful application may be building empathy.

“Immersion can yield a more compassionate response,” researcher Derek Reilly says, noting a Canadian-American documentary simulation called Traveling While Black (by director Roger Ross Williams), about the risks Blacks faced travelling in 20th-century America.

It’s set at Ben’s Chili Bowl, a safe place to stop and eat. It is far more engaging than watching a movie on flatscreen: being there, looking around the room, seeing the faces, talking to people about their experiences. Once you start, it’s an inescapable empathy builder. 

See the full documentary and read the story by Chris Benjamin in the latest issue of Unravel Halifax.

COVID update
Amid warnings that the disease continues to spread dangerously, the World Health Organization reports 383,558 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.

So far, COVID is known to have has killed 6,254,140 people worldwide, including 39,677 people in Canada and 314 Nova Scotians. World Health Organization officials add that those are only the deaths directly from COVID. When they tally deaths that doctors could have otherwise prevented had COVID not exacerbated an existing condition, the toll skyrockets to 14.9 million.

Passing on wisdom
The Mentoring Plus Strategy continues its mission of sharing knowledge and giving retirees an opportunity to connect with people, recently opening a New Glasgow office.

“This provides space for mentoring sessions and also a place where retired people can connect and interact with others in an open and welcoming environment,” says Geralyn MacDonald, assistant director of the program. “Mentoring Plus offers an opportunity for retirees and near retirees to share their skills and knowledge about their careers and life experiences. Our mentors are local and well-respected in our community. What an incredible resource to our economy.”

Jackie Jardine has more for the Pictou Advocate.

Site picked for new care home
A long-promised new care home for Liverpool is a step closer.

“We have selected a site, though there are lots of details to be worked out,” says Christopher Clarke, chair of the Queens Care Building Society. “Can we buy it? Can we afford it? All those kinds of things.”

The original timeline for the 112-bed project aimed for a ribbon cutting December 2024, however, “due to several setbacks,” organizers are now aiming for September 2025.

Kevin McBain reports for LighthouseNow.

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