Big headlines from October

Thomas Sylliboy and his wife Frances shared a very special day together on September 20 as Sylliboy was ordained as the first Mi’kmaw deacon.

ANTIGONISH: The Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA) changed a policy that gave eligible patients of St. Martha’s Regional Hospital access to Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD) services.

The health authority’s vice-president of health services said although NSHA had been providing MAiD services throughout the province since 2016 in accordance with legislation, the initial provincial policy became effective August 7.

Assessments and the provision of assisted dying will be made available in a section of the hospital complex at the Antigonish Health and Wellness Centre.

The hospital was previously exempt, as a result of a mission assurance agreement which was developed in 1996 as ownership was transferred from the Sisters of St. Martha. The agreement was made to ensure that the philosophy, mission and values of St Martha’s Regional Hospital would remain the same and the hospital would keep its faith-based identity. That mission assurance agreement expressly forbids assisting suicide, as well as abortion.

ANTIGONISH: Nat Krieger, who is a StFX student, said she usually gets nervous standing in front of people, but as she addressed a crown of nearly 500 people, she indicated that’s not particularly what she’s nervous about.

Krieger was among the nearly 500 people who flooded downtown Antigonish on September 27, bringing an urgency to the issue of global warming. StFX’s climate strike was part of a global series of marches to demand action on climate change and included StFX students, faculty, staff and community members of all ages.

The crowd was dominated by youth and young adults; the individuals who will inherit the environmental disaster created by prior generations.

Demonstrators were equipped with powerful messaging on signs and posters that read: “There is no Planet B,” “Fossil Era Over,” and “The climate is changing, why aren’t we?”

The rally began outside Mulroney Hall, where the large group marched from campus to St. Ninian Street, onto College Street, then to Main Street, where they paused outside of Town Hall to vocalize demands, then continued onto Chisholm Park.

PORT HAWKESBURY: On October 1, investigators obtained a search warrant and arrested 49-year-old James Darren Peters of Lower L’Ardoise. He was charged with two counts of enticing a child from a parent, sexual interference, unlawful confinement, sexual assault, and assault.

According to RCMP spokesperson, Cpl. Jennifer Clarke, Peters held a “protected” position in the community where he had access to youth. The Reporter confirmed Peters volunteered with the 2842 L’Ardoise Army Cadet Corps. As a result, the RCMP reached out to the public in the event there may be more victims. Police are appealing to guardians, parents and youth in the area to encourage anyone who may also be a victim to contact them.

Port Hawkesbury RCMP responded to a call on August 23 that between 5 p.m. and 5:15 p.m., a man approached a nine-year-old boy in the washroom of a department store in the town, forced him into a stall, and pulled the boy’s pants down. The boy was able to get away and he immediately told a family member what happened.

Police and staff at the store searched the area but were not able to locate the suspect on the day of the incident. Police obtained a description of the suspect from witnesses and surveillance photos, and released the information to the public. Tips and information that were received by the police helped to identify the suspect.

Police also learned that a similar incident occurred on August 19 at a department store in Sydney River, for which Peters has also been charged.

TRURO: Independent MLA Alana Paon regained access to her constituency office and hired Truro lawyer Dennis James to assist her on the issue of funding for her office and to respond to allegations that she has not made the office fully accessible.

On October 7, a press release from the Cape Breton-Richmond MLA said Gordon Hebb, Chief Legislative Counsel and Statute Revision Officer, from the Office of the Legislative Counsel, sent James a letter that back rent was being paid by the province to the end of October.

The same day, Paon announced that she had access to the office in St. Peter’s after being locked out for almost three weeks.

In a nine-page letter addressed to Speaker Kevin Murphy dated September 30, James said there is no legal excuse for the Speaker’s Office not to pay rent under the lease.

The essence of their argument is despite the driveway not being paved, Sid Rahey, a property officer for the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal – who investigated the proposed office prior to the Speaker’s Office signing the lease – explained to Paon that compacted gravel could meet the requirements of the building code regulations for barrier-free access. Rahey recommended Paon apply for a variance to the barrier-free regulations as this amounted to a technical non-compliance.

The letter states Paon and the landlord, Janova Incorporated, were given advice on what renovations were required of the office to meet the barrier-free access regulations, Janova met each of the required structural improvements and was not required to pave the parking lot.

The letter also says Paon understood a waiver was given by the HAMC at its meeting of June 12, 2018, under the advice of the Legislative Counsel.

POINT TUPPER: Two of the region’s largest employers want regulators to approve a “very unique” tarriff agreement.

Nova Scotia Power (NSP) and its largest consumer, Port Hawkesbury Paper (PHP) asked the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board (UARB) to consider a deal that would see the utility have control over the mill’s operations.

Peter MacDonald, resource manager with PHP, told The Reporter the Active Demand Control (ADC) rate is brand new in the province, and as far as they know, in any other jurisdiction in North America.

Under the new proposed Load Retention Tariff (LRT), the mill would cease control to NSP, which brings a larger benefit to all the other ratepayers in the province. Along with fuel costs, the mill will pay an additional fixed cost of a minimum of $4 for each megawatt hour (MWh) of power it consumes – which is actually expected to be in the $9-$10 range.

Despite giving up control to NSP on when and what they run, PHP in return, is able to keep the mill at a sustainable level and more certainty around their day-to-day work they don’t have now.

ESKASONI: A First Nations man with deep ties to Chapel Island’s Mission to St. Anne was ordained a deacon on September 20. Such an event is a big moment in anyone’s life but, in this case, it’s a big moment for an entire nation.

Thomas Sylliboy’s ordination makes him the first Mi’kmaq to be ordained to any office of the Catholic Church in over 409 years.

Sylliboy had a long road to that special day in Antigonish. Indeed, it was all the way back in 2012 at the ordination of his friend, Deacon Mike Doyle, that he first mulled over the prospects of becoming a deacon.

The following year, Sylliboy approached his parish priest, Father Martin MacDougall, and asked about the specifics of becoming a deacon. Father MacDougall, knowing Sylliboy’s volunteer history, said the Eskasoni resident was already pretty much doing the work of a man of God.

NEW GLASGOW: Liberal incumbent Sean Fraser held his seat with a 7,517 vote majority, fending off a tenacious fight from Conservative candidate and country music star George Canyon.

Fraser, who will serve a second term in Central Nova, earned a decisive victory in which he never trailed in a single poll, and captured 46.5 per cent of the vote with 20,718 votes cast in his name. Fraser’s numbers, however, were down slightly from the previous election in which he received 58.53 per cent and 25,909 ballots cast.

Fraser indicated he’s been hearing consistently people want federal investments to help the province to recruit family doctors; establish a national pharmacare plan; they want the federal government to advance the fight against climate change; and they want the federal government to make sure it’s not just the wealthy who benefit from economic growth.

Fraser said with the Liberals leading a minority government, he will work with whoever he needs to work with to make sure he continues to serve the interests of his community.

In speaking on what campaign promise he’d like to tackle first, Fraser said the most common issue raised with him on doorsteps was health care.

GLACE BAY: A new face for the Liberal Party will be leading a riding that’s been a Liberal stronghold since the turn of the millennium.

After falling behind early in the evening, Mike Kelloway took 16,097 votes (38.5 per cent) during October’s election, with Conservative Alfie MacLeod finishing second at 14,478 votes (34.6 per cent).

Kelloway replaced outgoing Liberal leader Rodger Cuzner, who won the riding six times since 2000. Cuzner announced his retirement earlier this year.

Just four years ago, Cuzner took the riding with a 25.917 vote majority, netting 32,163 votes as his NDP, Conservative and Green opposition tallied a combined 11,074 votes.

The former MP was a big help during the campaign, Kelloway said.

Before getting into politics, the newly elected MP worked in the extension department at Cape Breton University and served as a special project administrator at the Nova Scotia Community College.

CALGARY, ALTA.: In a critical step on the road to building the $10 billion Goldboro LNG project, the company behind the project, now owns all of Shell Canada’s midstream and upstream assets in the southern Alberta Foothills.

Poised to be the first Canadian company to market LNG off the east coast, Pieridae Energy Ltd.’s Goldboro LNG terminal has the potential to compete with the increased presence of LNG facilities along the U.S. Gulf Coast, with a shorter distance to Europe that can help reduce shipping costs.

In a statement on October 17, Pieridae said they closed the $190 million acquisition, taking ownership of Royal Dutch Shell’s gas assets in Alberta’s Foothills region, providing most of the gas needed to supply the first of two plants at the Goldboro terminal.

Pieridae will also acquire three deep cut, sour gas processing plants; Caroline, Jumping Pond, and Waterton, a 14 per cent working interest in the Shantz sulphur forming plant, and approximately 1,700 kilometres of pipelines.

The Goldboro LNG facility will produce 10 million tonnes per year of LNG, will supply much needed natural gas to Europe and has signed a 20-year sales agreement with German utility Uniper Global Commodities worth approximately $35 billion.

WE’KOQMA’Q: On the one-year anniversary of the death of Cassidy Bernard, approximately 150 people stood along a stretch of Trans-Canada Highway 105 near the We’koqma’q First Nation.

Standing along the road for one-hour-and-12-minutes, one second each for the estimated 4,000 missing and murdered Indigenous women and an extra 365 seconds for every day the family has waited for justice, the group demanded one thing – answers.

Cassidy’s mother, Mona Bernard, indicated its frustrating and difficult waiting for answers.

One painful memory Mona continues to struggle with is the moment she found her daughter’s body.

Returning home from visiting family for a few days, something felt off to Mona when the door was still locked in the middle of the morning, the house was silent, and Cassidy hadn’t returned her calls or responded to text messages.

She discovered Cassidy’s cold body tucked in bed, propped up, with makeup on. Cassidy’s six-month old twin daughters were laying motionless in their crib but were ultimately unharmed.

Darian Cremo said the year has been very traumatic, not just for the family but the whole community, as there is fear and she hoped the rally was able to build awareness and get answers surrounding the death of her first cousin.

HALIFAX: The proposed Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) plant, pipeline and related facilities near Bear Head, Richmond County is not shutting down, says a spokesperson for the parent company responsible for the project.

Micah Hirschfield, senior manager of communications with LNG Limited, responded to Inverness MLA Allan MacMaster’s concerns that the company is no longer working with in-province consultants.

In the provincial legislature, MacMaster raised concerns about the future of the LNG terminal during question period.

MacMaster told The Reporter the project could benefit the area and that news of the office clousre is cause for concern about the future of the project.

Hirschfield said to be very clear, and he cannot stress enough, they are not shutting down the Bear Head project but recent internal decisions eliminated on-site consultants enabling direct project management by their LNG industry-leading experts located in their Houston office.

OTTAWA, ON: After suspending him last summer, the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) officially removed Morley Googoo as Regional Chief for Nova Scotia-Newfoundland.

Consistent with article 17 of the AFN Charter, Googoo is no longer a board member of the AFN and the region must appoint or elect a new member. In the interim, the AFN said it will work with the regional leadership to ensure the interests of the region are addressed.

Last July, the AFN executive committee voted to suspend the former chief of We’koqma’q First Nation.

In a letter dated July 22, which was sent to Googoo, National Chief of the AFN executive, Perry Bellegarde, confirmed that a motion to suspend Googoo was approved by the AFN executive committee on July 21.

According to the AFN, the motion was “in response to allegations of harassment by yourself towards women in your region.”

On September 25, the AFN executive adopted a Code of Conduct as part of its commitment to ensure a safe environment, free of violence, discrimination and harassment.