Sipekne’katik chief 'optimistic' about newly appointed fisheries minister, Joyce Murray

Federal Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan has invited Nova Scotia First Nations to launch ‘authorized’ moderate livelihood fisheries this year, provided those harvests take place during the commercial season. As Elizabeth McSheffrey reports, Sipekne’katik First Nation Chief Michael Sack isn’t pleased by the conditions, and says his community will go ahead with their own fishery plans.

The chief of Sipekne’katik First Nation in Nova Scotia says he’s looking forward to a clean slate with the newly appointed fisheries minister.

MP Joyce Murray, who represents Vancouver Quadra, was named minister of fisheries and oceans when Justin Trudeau unveiled his new cabinet Tuesday.

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Joyce replaces Bernadette Jordan, who lost her re-election bid in the riding of South Shore—St. Margaret’s in the September election. Jordan had come under fire for her handling of the lobster fishery dispute along the south shore between commercial and Indigenous fishermen.

Sipekne’katik Chief Mike Sack told Global News on Wednesday he is encouraged that the new minister is not from the area.

“It should be more of an unbiased opinion, in my mind,” he said.

“There should be no reason why she should have to worry about anybody’s feelings in her neighbourhood.”

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The Sipekne’katik First Nation argues that a 1999 Supreme Court of Canada decision affirming its members’ treaty right to fish allows them to harvest lobster year-round to earn a “moderate livelihood.”

But the court has also said the government can regulate that treaty right for conservation and other limited purposes. Federal regulation dictates that the area where the Sipekne’katik First Nation fishery is operating in southwestern Nova Scotia — LFA 34 — is open for lobster fishing from the last Monday in November until the end of May.

In September 2020, the band launched a self-regulated lobster fishery outside the federally regulated season, which led to violence and the burning of a lobster pound that stored Indigenous catch.

Sack was arrested in August of this year by Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) officers for being “party to the offence of (an) unauthorized fishery,” but Sack said at the time that his band members would continue to fish in St. Mary’s Bay whether Ottawa liked it or not.

Sack said since the federal election, he has been “waiting patiently” for Trudeau to name a new minister. He adds he plans to reach out to Murray soon for a one-on-one chat.

“I’m hoping that she just follows what’s set out in the treaties,” he said.

“I just want to remain optimistic and am hoping to get in front of her right away.”

Sack said he spoke to DFO on Monday to reiterate the urgency of getting their fishermen back on the water.

–with files from Graeme Benjamin and The Canadian Press

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Winnipeg on track to see 80% rise in vacant building fires, according to city numbers

WATCH: A jump in vacant building fires in Winnipeg this year is sparking safety concerns. As Global's Brittany Greenslade tells us, such blazes are on track to increase by 80 per cent in 2021.

Officials in Winnipeg are calling on vacant building owners to do more to secure their properties after the city has seen a spike in fires in empty buildings this year.

Numbers from the city show fire crews have been called to 133 fires at vacant buildings so far this year, up from 82  in all of 2020 and 81 for the entirety of 2019.

That means the city’s on track to see an 80 per cent increase in “exceptionally dangerous” fires this year, said Mark Reshaur, assistant chief of the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service.

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“These fires are having a big impact,” Reshaur told Global News.

“Because these buildings are unoccupied and often boarded up, the fires inside them burn for longer, they are deeper-seated in the structure, and they are burning much more intensely throughout the entire building as opposed to confined to a room of origin.

“So when we get to the fire it’s because the fires broken out through a window or through the roof and the community’s seen it, and by then it’s too late.”

Reshaur said the longer a building sits vacant, the more dangerous it is for firefighters. There’s more chance a floor might fall through, and the risk that a roof might collapse increases because flames are able to rip through holes punched into walls where copper pipes and wiring has been stolen, threatening the building’s structural integrity.

And because certain areas of the city have more vacant buildings than others, Reshaur said it’s often the same fire crews getting called to the more dangerous blazes.

According to the city, there are currently 570 buildings listed as vacant in Winnipeg, with the overwhelming majority concentrated in the North End and West End.

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The William Whyte neighbourhood alone has 70 structures listed as vacant.

Winston Yee is the manager of community bylaw enforcement services with the City of Winnipeg.

Yee said the number of buildings officially labeled as vacant in Winnipeg is constantly in flux, with city staff removing on average between 200 and 300 from the list every year.

But hundreds more are also added, he said.

According to Yee, the office relies on tips from the public and also works with community organizations, police and the WFPS to help locate vacant buildings.

Once a building is listed as vacant bylaw officers start annual structural and safety inspections and Yee said they work with owners with the goal of getting the spaces re-occupied.

But there are also financial penalties for owners of long-term vacant buildings and buildings found to be out of compliance, Yee said.

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Owners are charged just over $1,200 if deficiencies are found during an inspection, on top of the $600 levied for the annual inspections. There’s also a $2,000 fee for a permit to board up a building, which increases every subsequent year it remains empty.

“So if you’ve got a vacant building for five or six years, it could be an annual fee to continue to have that building boarded, well over $10,000,” Yee said, adding officers also have the ability to further fine building owners who are not responsive.

Anecdotally, Yee said most building owners want to work with bylaw officers, and not all vacant properties that end up with fires were previously on the city’s list of vacant buildings.

That’s why both Yee and Reshaur note it’s important for Winnipeggers to report vacant buildings in their neighbourhoods.

“If you see a building that’s insecure, if you see people coming and going, if you see boards removed from the window, if you see illegal dumping, report it right away,” Reshaur said.

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Ultimately though, Reshaur said it’s up to vacant building owners to make sure the property is safe.

“They need to be going and taking a look at their vacant properties and making sure the building is secure and they need to be re-securing it,” he said.

“Don’t wait for a phone call from us at two in the morning to say the place is on fire. You need to be getting out there on a proactive basis and checking your properties and making sure they’re secure.”

–With files from Brittany Greenslade

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

OPP investigating tires slashed on at least 21 vehicles in Mount Forest, Ont.

Wellington County OPP are asking for the community’s help in identifying those responsible for slashing the tires of at least 21 vehicles in Mount Forest, Ont.

The force said they received a complaint Wednesday at 1:45 a.m. from someone who had their tires slashed.

“Officers attended the area and observed approximately 15 other vehicles on Main Street and Wellington Street that had multiple tires slashed,” OPP said in a news release.

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Officers searched the area but did not make any arrests. Police added that as of 11 a.m., they continue to receive calls regarding vehicles with similar damage.

All of the vehicles were either parked on the street or in parking lots, OPP said.

Anyone with information or video surveillance is asked to call OPP at 1-888-310-1122.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Asbestos Manitoba's top workplace killer: Safe Work

Safe Work Manitoba is launching a new campaign aimed at reducing the deaths and serious injuries caused by the province’s number one workplace killer: asbestos.

Jamie Hall, Safe Work’s COO, says most people would assume that accidents like falls or electrocution would cause the most deaths, but asbestos accounts for a whopping 33 per cent of workplace deaths in Manitoba.

“Most people are surprised to hear that asbestos still is an issue,” he said.

“And it’s not only an issue, it’s the number one cause of workplace fatalities in Manitoba and across our nation.”

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Asbestos — which was used in the construction of many homes and buildings built before 1990 — can be found in thousands of building materials, Safe Work’s campaign says, and most workers who have died from exposure to asbestos fibres have been in the construction industry.

“It’s (in) those buildings that were built in the 60s and 70s now that we are tearing down and renovating,” said Hall.

“It’s that asbestos that was used, and it may be safe if undisturbed, but the fact that we’re disturbing that asbestos now is causing it to be a significant concern.”

Safe Work’s “It’s best to test” campaign encourages business owners — as well as homeowners — to book an appointment with professionals to make sure asbestos is taken care of during any renovations or demolitions.

 

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

OPP officer facing assault charge in connection with incident in St. Jacobs: Waterloo police

Waterloo Regional Police say an OPP officer was arrested over the weekend in connection with an incident that occurred on the first of the month in Woolwich.

Police say Const. Ken Araujo, who has been a provincial police officer for 14 years, was arrested on Oct. 23 and charged with assault.

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A spokesperson for the OPP told Global News that Araujo works out of the highway safety division in Mississauga.

“He has not been suspended, and there has not been a determination regarding any alteration of duties,” OPP spokesperson Bill Dickson told Global News in an email.

They say the incident occurred on Oct. 1 near Highway 85 and Sawmill Road but declined to provide any further details.

Police say he was released on an undertaking and will appear in court on Dec. 9.

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“As the matter is currently before the court, the Waterloo Regional Police Service will not be releasing any further information in regards to this incident,” Waterloo police stated.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

New Kingston initiative offers perks to those who choose to build green structures

The City of Kingston is moving forward with a new green initiative.

What the city is calling the green standard community improvement plan offers incentives to property owners who build structures that minimize greenhouse gas emissions while also meeting the requirements of Ontario’s building code.

The city says buildings account for approximately 40 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions in Kingston, or more than 1,100 tonnes each year.

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“If we’re serious about lowering our carbon footprint, we need to look at how we build. This program recognizes and addresses the additional costs involved in green building,” says Julie Salter-Keane, manager of the city’s climate leadership division.

This program could help avoid up to 800 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per year if successful, the city said.

Salter-Keane says the benefit is the result of years of work and research.

“We learned first-hand what the barriers are to constructing more efficient structures, and we have developed a program that addresses those concerns,” she said.

Staff are planning a full launch of the initiative in early 2022.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Rescue operation for trapped workers at Quebec mill enters 2nd day

More than 24 hours after a multi-storey scaffold collapsed at a Quebec paper mill, rescue crews continue to search for two workers trapped in the debris.

Quebec provincial police, who are supporting the rescue operation, say rescuers still have not made contact with the two workers but that it remains a rescue operation.

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The incident took place shortly after 1:30 a.m. Tuesday at the Domtar mill in Windsor, Que., about 150 kilometres east of Montreal.

On Tuesday afternoon, mill manager Sylvain Bricault said the rescue operation was complicated by the amount of debris from the scaffold, which was as tall as the mill.

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Another worker who was injured in the collapse was transported to hospital and is expected to survive.

The workers are employed by a contracting firm that is doing major work at the mill.

© 2021 The Canadian Press

O'Toole faces caucus to discuss next steps on mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations

WATCH: O'Toole stays mum on COVID-19 vaccine status of Conservative candidates

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole faces his caucus today to discuss what to do about its position around mandatory vaccinations, and what that means for unvaccinated members.

The issue is top of mind as an all-party committee decided last week that members of Parliament will need to be double vaccinated against COVID-19 or have a medical exemption to take their seat in the House of Commons.

That puts O’Toole in a challenging spot as he refuses to disclose how many of his 118 members are fully vaccinated while he also opposes any return to a hybrid Parliament.

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His own caucus members feel differently about the issue, and what Conservatives should do next.

Alberta MP Ron Liepert says he has no problem telling people he’s double vaccinated and believes the issue has become a distraction.

“We don’t have the luxury of sitting here as an opposition party arguing about whether you should be vaccinated or not,” he said before entering Wednesday’s meeting.

“We should be doing what constituents ended up sending us here to do, and that’s to hold this Liberal government to account.”

British Columbia MP Mark Strahl says Conservatives must be clear like they were during the election campaign when they opposed vaccine mandates and said those who are unvaccinated should have the option to take rapid tests.

“I think we need to be very clear that we are still opposed to Justin Trudeau’s mandate without reasonable accommodations for people who are unable to be vaccinated. That needs to be very clear in everything that we say,” said Strahl, adding he has constituents who risk losing their jobs because of such policies.

Trudeau has said people with legitimate medical reasons for being unvaccinated will be exempt from vaccine mandates for federally regulated workers and air and train travellers.

Alberta MP Glen Motz said Wednesday he doesn’t think it should be up to the party leader to disclose personal health information. An analysis by The Canadian Press shows at least 80 Conservative MPs report being vaccinated against COVID-19, with two saying they can’t because of medical reasons.

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Among the Conservatives who believe in keeping their vaccination status private is newly elected Ontario representative and former leadership contender Leslyn Lewis.

Lewis has been an outspoken critic of vaccine mandates and last week also posted on social media about vaccinating children against COVID-19.

She said parents question doing so partly because the shots don’t guarantee against transmission of the virus.

Public health experts say there is overwhelming evidence the immunizations prevent serious illness, hospitalization and death.

“The media and the power structure expect me to sit in the back of the bus. I won’t!” tweeted Lewis, who is Black, after her message about vaccinating kids against COVID-19.

“They will try to paint me as a reckless lunatic in order to lynch me into silence. I will always tell Canadians the truth, (and) no bully or threats will succeed against us!”

© 2021 The Canadian Press

Alec Baldwin movie set shooting: Authorities give latest 'Rust' investigation findings

WATCH LIVE: Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza and Santa Fe district attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies hold a joint news conference.

On Thursday of last week, 42-year-old cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was shot and killed by actor Alec Baldwin after he fired a prop gun on the New Mexico set of the film Rust. Director Joel Souza, who was standing behind Hutchins, was also wounded but has since recovered.

Information about the incident has been slowly trickling out, but some details are fuzzy and others are unverified. It’s still unclear how the gun misfired, why it had potentially damaging projectiles in it, or what, exactly, Baldwin was doing when the gun went off.

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Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza and Santa Fe district attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies will hold a joint news conference on Wednesday to discuss the ongoing investigation into the shooting incident on the movie set. (You can watch live, top.)

According to court records, the gun Baldwin used was one of three that a firearms specialist, or armourer, had set on a cart outside the building where a scene was being rehearsed.

Assistant director Dave Halls then allegedly grabbed a gun off a cart and handed it to Baldwin, indicating that the weapon was safe by yelling “cold gun,” court papers say. But it was loaded with live rounds, according to the records. Both the armourer and Halls have provided statements to the police.

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Baldwin, 63, who’s said to be incredibly distraught by the incident, described the killing as a “tragic accident.”

It remains an active, open investigation.

With files from The Associated Press

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

'Civil war' has spread throughout Myanmar, United Nations envoy says

WATCH: UN fears 'imminent attack' in Myanmar after army build-up

The outgoing U.N. envoy for Myanmar says “civil war” has spread throughout the country and the international community should consider measures aimed at replacing the military junta’s leaders with people who are more constructive and want to find a peaceful solution to the army’s ouster of the elected government.

Christine Schraner Burgener, whose 3 1/2-year term ends Sunday, said in an interview with The Associated Press that the measures could be sanctions imposed by individual countries or by the U.N. Security Council, “but it’s up to them.”

She proposed the idea of holding “an all-inclusive dialogue” to the deputy commander-in-chief, Vice Senior Gen. Soe Win, on July 16 but never received a response and has not heard from the military since September. She said she thinks the military is determined to win exactly as it did in the past — “but this is not the case anymore, and I hope it will not be the case again.”

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Myanmar for five decades had languished under strict military rule that led to international isolation and sanctions. As the generals loosened their grip, culminating in Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi’s rise to leadership in 2015 elections, the international community responded by lifting most sanctions and pouring investment into the country.

The Feb. 1 coup followed November elections which Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party won overwhelmingly and the military rejects as fraudulent. Since the military takeover, Myanmar has been wracked by unrest, with peaceful demonstrations against the ruling generals morphing first into a low-level insurgency in many urban areas after security forces used deadly force and then into more serious combat in rural areas, especially in border regions where ethnic minority militias have been engaging in heavy clashes with government troops.

On Sept. 7, the National Unity Government, the main underground group coordinating resistance to the military which was established by elected legislators barred from taking their seats when the military seized power, called for a nationwide uprising. Its “people’s defence forces” known as PDFs operate in many areas and have received training and weapons from some armed ethnic groups.

The PDFs and ethnic armed groups are now up against Myanmar’s military, one of the largest in Southeast Asia with a reputation for toughness and brutality from years of jungle warfare. Although many Western nations maintain an arms embargo against Myanmar, there is no U.N. arms embargo, and the military buys equipment from countries such as Russia, China and Ukraine.

Last week, Schraner Burgener called what’s taking place in Myanmar an “internal armed conflict,” using words from international law.

But in Monday’s AP interview, she said, “We have everywhere violence, it’s not controlled anymore, and the scale of violence is very high. And, therefore, I would say, `yes, a civil war.”’

Unlike the generals’ coup in 1988, when people were killed or put in prison and the military conducted business as usual, Schraner Burgener said this time “the PDFs will not give up.”

She said people are not yielding, the PDFs are getting more military support from the ethnic armed groups, the U.N. has heard around 4,000 soldiers have defected from the army, and so far neither the United Nations nor the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations, which includes Myanmar, has accepted the coup.

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The U.N. has heard that many soldiers are on the ground conducting “clearing operations” in northwest Chin state, Schraner Burgener said, reminding the world that the military’s “clearing operation” in Rakhine state in 2017 saw villages burned down, widespread rapes and more than 700,000 Rohingya Muslims flee to neighbouring Bangladesh.

“We heard also from the ground that it will be difficult for the army because Chin region is a very mountainous region, and the Chin people are very determined to defend themselves,” she said. “So, I fear that we will have victims on both sides, and it will be terrible.”

With both sides so invested in armed struggle, what could really have an impact to restore peace?

Schraner Burgener said the U.N. Security Council adopted a presidential statement in March calling for a reversal of the coup, upholding democratic institutions, a halt to violence and the release of Suu Kyi and other arrested officials. But the U.N.’s most powerful body has not adopted a legally binding resolution on the military takeover and escalating violence.

The U.N. envoy said the Association of Southeast Asian Nations has shifted “from a position of non-interference to say that the reputation of ASEAN is also important, and therefore they didn’t allow the commander-in-chief to participate at the ASEAN summit” which ends Thursday..

“This is quite a strong message, and clearly, we hope that the solidarity in the region will stand with the people” who overwhelmingly elected Suu Kyi last November, she said.

Schraner Burgener said she is in regular contact with the ASEAN envoy to Myanmar, Brunei Second Foreign Minister Erywan Yusof, whose visit has not taken place because he was told he couldn’t meet Suu Kyi.

“I think this is the right decision from the ASEAN special envoy, but I still hope that certain dialogue will be possible” with the military leaders, though “for the moment, I’m very skeptical,” she said.

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The U.N. envoy said she also met privately with Suu Kyi 15 times before the February takeover, and “I am really still convinced that she wanted only the best for the country, and she had to deal with the army, otherwise we would have the coup before.” The military-installed government has not let Schraner Burgener visit since it seized power.

She said she is in constant contact with China, which has “an important role in the region,” and doesn’t want to see it destabilized. “So, therefore, I still count on China — that they will make the right decisions for the people and the stability in the region.”

What would the right decisions be?

“Well, I think it must be several measures concerted from the international community, which can maybe lead to a decision to change the leaders of the army to people who are hopefully more constructive and want a peaceful solution,” she said, mentioning sanctions as well.

While the coup has left Myanmar in a civil war, Schraner Burgener said there is one positive result.

The majority ethnic Bamar people — also called Burmans — and the ethnic minorities have “a better understanding of each other,” she said, and “there is more unity in the country.”

She said the ethnic minorities helped those fleeing, gave them shelter and she is already hearing from the Bamar “that they are very sorry that they didn’t help … the Rohingyas, more in the past.”

If Myanmar can revert to a democratic path, Schraner Burgener said, she hopes in the next five to 10 years the country will have a multi-ethnic government where minorities are protected by law, the citizenship law and constitution are reformed, “and that we have a federal structure in the country where everybody has the same right.”

© 2021 The Canadian Press

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