Wednesday, 23 October 2019

Unusual flooding, erosion, something has changed about the Margaree River in Cape Breton, writes Sam Ainsworth. When local residents start pointing it clear cutting of the Margaree watershed by Port Hawkesbury Paper, the company fights back. An expert report, the local salmon fishers association, politicians all get mobilized to argue that things in fact are just fine. Not so fast, writes Ainsworth, ” The Margaree could be a beacon of light in a very dark history for salmon in this province but the clearcutting must be drastically reduced.”

Lisa Bond explains what it is like to live the much publicized mental health crisis in Cape Breton. “With all of these hurdles facing us on this island, it’s not hard to lose hope. How are we as parents supposed to help our kids if we can’t even get them mental health help in a timely fashion? We can monitor their social media, watch their phones, have all their passwords….. but it still takes a village. We need and deserve access to the specialists that can help our kids.”

This weekend we feature a short gritty film by Grassfire Films, Cape Breton-based filmmaker Ashley McKenzie and producer Nelson MacDonald. The film was shot in 2013 in New Waterford.

In January 2016 the Nova Scotia Advocate did a story on Tom Ayers, striking Chronicle Herald reporter in Sydney, Cape Breton. Almost a year later, with the strike still dragging on, we thought we’d give him another call. Ayers talks about settling into his new daily routine, the impressive support from the community, and how he gained a new understanding of what union solidarity is all about.

Mary Campbell, an independent journalist in Cape Breton, is getting the silent treatment from the person in charge of media relations at CBRM because she is not happy about Campbell’s reporting. Not only is the criticism unwarranted, Campbell suggests, it also makes it difficult for her to do her job. Who is to say what is and isn’t balanced reporting?

The sailors of the Dutch Runner, stranded in Port Hawkesbury, have been fully paid and are on their way home. “This is about five guys sticking together and not accepting what was in front of them,” says ITF inspector Karl Risser. “And it is also about other members of the labour movement stepping up to the plate.”

A ship with a crew of five is stuck in Port Hawkesbury while Karl Risser, an inspector for the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) is trying to resolve issues around unpaid wages, bad working conditions and ship safety. He sees a lot of this kind of thing, Risser explains, and trade agreements like CETA will only make it worse.

Last week we reported that Mainline Needle Exchange in Halifax is facing a budget crunch, this week the news is that its Cape Breton counterpart may well close its doors early next year because the federal government is no longer funding the organization. Time for the province to step up to the plate.