Cape Breton Regional Police have voted 86 percent in favour of a tentative contract. However, the deal doesn’t include measures to ensure salary and legal fees are paid if an officer is suspended while facing criminal charges. Union Local president Sgt. Robert MacMullin says management refused to entertain any discussion on the matter. The issue came to a head last fall after Const. Ron Williams was convicted on charges of breach of trust and obstruction of justice. Williams only got pay for the first 60 days of his suspension, which began in August 2011. MacMullin adds full details on the collective agreement won’t be disclosed until both union and management sign the contract. The union had recommended its members accept the deal.
The Cape Breton Regional Municipality does not plan to challenge a decision to give a Leitches Creek man large amounts of financial data free of charge. Joe Bushell is looking for detailed information on municipal council and staff salaries and the amount of money that’s spent on each vendor the municipality does business with. In August, the province’s acting freedom of information officer ordered the CBRM to comply with the request from Bushell. Carmen Stuart also ruled that the CBRM had not met its duty to assist and had not calculated the 780 dollar fee estimate for gathering the information fairly and accurately. Municipal Clerk Deborah Campbell says the CBRM will comply with the ruling because it would cost taxpayers more to appeal it. Meanwhile, Bushell says he’s glad the municipality isn’t contesting the decision and adds he expects this is just the beginning of a lengthy process of delving into the CBRM’s books.
The Emergency Department at the Northside General Hospital is unexpectedly closed until 4:00 this afternoon. The Cape Breton District Health Authority says the closure is necessary because the Department has reached patient capacity. District spokesperson Lynn Gilbert says closing an Emergency Department because it’s full is rare, but adds it has happened in the past. She adds a combination of patients being discharged or transferred should allow them to clear the backlog by this afternoon.
Union protesters are gathered outside the Nova Scotia legislature again today as the Liberal government fast-tracks its controversial Health Authorities Act. Some blocked traffic outside Province House as police moved in quickly and could be seen handcuffing at least one protester and putting him in the back of a police van. The proposed bill will roll nine health authorities into one and streamline collective bargaining by spelling out which union will represent nurses, technologists, administrative and support workers. Union leaders and the opposition have been critical of the government over the move, accusing it of dictating to workers and being undemocratic. However, Health Minister Leo Glavine says other public sector workers don’t get to choose the union that represents them either. Meanwhile, the Opposition Tories say they want the Liberals to split the bill into two parts, one addressing the amalgamation of health boards and the other dealing with the labour provisions. The NDP say they can’t support the Liberal bill. The government has scheduled the legislature to sit until midnight in order to push the bill through second reading.
A Sydney doctor facing a single count of sexual assault is due back in court today for a preliminary hearing. 65-year-old Dayananda Kodagoda is accused of committing the offence in Sydney in August of last year. He remains free on conditions including that he not perform examinations on female patients without another female in the room. The Cape Breton District Health Authority says the condition also applies when the doctor is working at any of the District’s hospitals.
A Future Uses Study for the former Holy Angels High School and Convent site in Sydney has been completed. Community development corporation New Dawn Enterprises commissioned the study in August of last year to look at possible uses for the buildings. It was carried out by Toronto-based Lord Cultural Resources. New Dawn says the study concludes that there’s a local need for social innovation, art and culture centres. The organization also notes that great strides have been made in transforming the former High School into the New Dawn Centre for Social Innovation in the past year. It adds there are now more than a dozen tenants in the building. New Dawn says the study also reveals that the adjoining former convent building needs substantial renovation and the effort to raise money to carry out the work will now get underway.
The price of gas took a big jump, overnight. Gas went up by 3.7 cents a litre and now goes for a minimum of $1.36.3 in Cape Breton. Meanwhile diesel went down by 1.6 cents a litre and now costs a minimum of $1.28.2.
All six people charged in the beating of a homeless man in North Sydney made court appearances, yesterday. 48-year-old Shawn Curtis Jack suffered serious injuries in the July attack and was sent to hospital in Halifax for treatment. 22-year-old Cory Patrick Richard Blinkhorn faces counts of attempted murder, aggravated assault, wearing a disguise in committing an offence and impersonating a police officer. He’s elected trial by judge alone. 25-year-old Kyle William Nichol is charged with attempted murder along with aggravated assault, wearing a disguise in committing an offence and two counts of breaching court orders. His next court appearance will be for a plea hearing. 34-year-old James Darren Clarke from North Sydney will be returning to court next month for a bail hearing. He’s accused of hiding a wrench that police say was used in the attack, and is also facing a charge of attempted murder in the case. 47- year-old Gordon William Bobbitt is also charged with attempted murder and obstruction and is the only accused to have been granted bail. 22-year-old Jennifer Lynn MacLeod from Boularderie is charged with aggravated assault, wearing a disguise in committing an offence, and obstruction of justice. All five are due back in court on October 24th. A16-year-old North Sydney girl who can’t be named because of her age is facing charges of aggravated assault, wearing a disguise in committing an offence and two counts of breaching court orders. She’s scheduled back in youth court on Oct. 21 for a pre-trial conference.
One of the people charged in connection with the July beating of a homeless man in North Sydney is due back in court today to set dates for a preliminary hearing. 22-year-old Cory Patrick Richard Blinkhorn faces counts of attempted murder, aggravated assault, wearing a disguise in committing an offence and impersonating a police officer. Blinkhorn is one of six people who were charged after 48 year-old Shawn Curtis Jack was found bleeding in a North Sydney parking lot. Jack was taken to hospital in Halifax to be treated for serious injuries.
Victoria County RCMP have released the name of a woman who was killed in a crash on the Trans Canada near Baddeck, earlier this week. 45 year-old Kerry Lynne MacKenzie from Middle River died on Monday afternoon when her vehicle was struck from behind and was pushed into the path an oncoming tractor trailer. Two other drivers involved in the collision west of Baddeck were not injured. The accident remains under investigation.