Tuesday, Dec. 1

GOOD MORNING – Prime Minister Trudeau promised to plant one billion trees in Canada, and Nanaimo is doing its share by putting 600 plants in green spaces in November. During About 250 trees and 350 shrubs were planted, including Douglas fir, red alder, big-leaf maple, giant sequoia, Nootka rose, Oregon grape and snowberry. Planting trees highlights the city’s commitment to sustainability.

TRAVEL COMMISSION PAYBACK – The federal government is weighing the idea of a bailout package for airlines. But there’s always a catch – travel agencies might have to refund commissions they earned for trips that were later cancelled and refunded by the airlines. CHEK TV’s Joe Perkins talked to Cathy Scott of Departures Travel, about the impact the proposed bailout plan will have on travel agencies. She says the airlines are now asking for commission recalls, money the agencies simply don’t have. “The problem is eight or nine months later after we been paid for these trips, they are asking for us to repay them and the problem for us is that is what we have been using to pay staff and rent and keeping our lights on,” she said. 

$1 MILLION FOR NEW ICU – Nanaimo Regional General Hospital’s new Intensive Care Unit campaign got a real shot in the arm ­– $1 million from the Windsor Plywood Foundation. The Nanaimo & District Hospital Foundation is raising $5 million toward state-of-the-art medical equipment in the new ICU. While our ICU is one of the oldest in B.C., an external review in 2013 found NRGH’s ICU ranks near the top nationally for positive patient health outcomes. 

CAMBIE PARK COMPLETE – Cambie Park in Harewood now has a playground, a half sport court and fencing. Park development was made possible by community volunteers and a number of generous donations, in-kind donations and volunteer labour through local businesses and community groups with a City grant of $25,000 through the Partners in Parks Program. Planning was guided by community volunteers and championed by Cambie Road Block Watch Captain Shirley Gremyachev.  FULL STORY 

Monday, Nov. 30

GOOD MORNING – Eleven pages off the 2020 calendar in this eventful year, and there’s no end in sight. We’re hoping the best for the Christmas season with family and friends, but that may have to be different this year. Even in family units there have been cases of Coronavirus. All the regulations we abide by now, in most cases, can be confusing. For instance, a report about a young school child “in isolation” at home while three other family members go about their everyday routines outside the house. Explain me that. 

FERRIES CANCELLED – Gale force winds forced B.C. Ferries to keep ships in port for a number of morning sailings. The wind also caused numerous power outages. Environment Canada predicted damaging strong winds already this morning along both the west and east coast of Vancouver Island. The Pacific frontal system is bringing southeasterly winds of 70 – 90 km/h over the exposed coastal sections of Sunshine Coast, as well as the Central and northern sections of East Vancouver Island.

RONA ADVISES ON VIRUS CASE – Rona posted a notice on social media over the weekend, advising that a worker at the Nanaimo store tested positive for Coronavirus. “To protect the health and safety of our associates and customers, we proceeded to an extensive cleaning and disinfecting of the premises on Nov. 28 after closing the store. These actions were in addition to the enhanced cleaning and disinfecting measures already in place”, the notice read. The store was open Sunday. The employee’s most recent shift was Nov. 26 and Rona says other staff members deemed to have been in close contact have been put on paid quarantine.

TRAVEL RULES EXTENDED – Travel restrictions and rules to curb the spread of Coronavirus will be extended into January. Public Safety Minister Bill Blair and Health Minister Patty Hajdu said the measures would be in effect until Jan. 21, for travellers entering Canada from a country other than the United States. The ministers said restrictions for visitors crossing the border from the U.S. are in place until Dec. 21, but may be extended. Among the new rules is a requirement for anyone entering the country to self-isolate for 14 days.

MASKS NOT UNCONSTITUTIONAL – Some inconsiderate people are still refusing to wear masks, even arguing mandating them is unconstitutional. Victoria criminal lawyer Michael Mulligan says the constitution does not give people generalized right to do whatever they want. He says ordering everyone to wear masks is no different than any other laws that protects the public. Just like mandatory seat belts, bike helmets and posted speed limits, the government is allowed to implement laws to protect the public and public interests. There are those who still don’t want to wear masks, but it’s the law, he says.

C O M M E N T – Michael Mulligan is quoted about the constitutionality of mandatory mask wearing. I note he is a criminal lawyer. No reference to his constitutional qualifications. His quoting other health matters as precedents to bolster his case like set belts and helmets are likely not relevant in that many years of debate (in Newfoundland at the time we had special parliamentary committees) and many studies were available proving the benefits of those measures before legislation  then debated) were elected. In the case of masks there has been no legislative activity and the science is anything but clear. Funny how non experts can suddenly get quoted as if it was gospel.
Brian Peckford