Danny Cavanagh, president of the NS Federation of Labour, reflects on workers’ safety on the anniversary of the New Waterford mine disaster,101 years ago. “It’s time to ensure that laws like the Westray Bill are actually enforced, and to enact policies and legislation that are more than “feel-good” laws that remain nothing more than good talking points for politicians.”

Nova Scotia is one of Canada’s most emissions-intensive provinces. Peggy Cameron wrote an open letter to Stephen McNeil pleading to change that. “You need to say “no” to highways and pipelines that increase our use of fossil fuels. Then you need to tackle this short list: increase renewables for Nova Scotian use, not export; shut down coal-fired generating plants; incentivize regenerative agricultural practices; stop clear-cutting and pesticide-spraying; promote afforestation and value-added production; establish a province wide integrated transportation network; and create a net-zero-carbon building programme.”

This week’s featured video is Cottonland, a 2006 documentary about recovering addict Eddie Buchanan and the damage the prescription painkiller oxycontin is doing to his friends and neighbors in Glace Bay, Cape Breton. It’s also about the shutting down of the coal mines. And it’s about a bunch of exceptional people, loving parents, funny, with big hearts. They’re also thieves who do or did terrible things.

Back home the American owner of the Donkin mine is facing a mine closure, a potentially very costly dispute with shareholders, lawsuits, and a general move away from coal. No wonder its shares tumbled by 80 percent in 2015.

The safety record of US coal mines operated by the new owner of the Donkin mine is worrisome. That’s why unionization is crucial. “When there is no union there and a worker speaks up, I would hope that the company would listen, but they answer to their shareholders. They have to make money, and sometimes they sidestep these issues.”