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May 2022 - Help rescue thousands of Ukrainians

The grass is getting greener, frogs are chirping, birds are building nests, people are raking lawns and working in the garden and it’s getting warm, but we are not out of it yet. Early in the day on April 24th, I heard a weather forecaster mention possibility of snow for parts of Nova Scotia.

Even though the days are getting longer, and in fact we are two months away from the longest day of the year, then it will be two or three less minutes of daylight every day. Didn’t mean to appear negative, anything but. However as time passes by quickly, within a month, farmers will be cutting silage and getting the balers repaired and ready for another hot summer.

As CoVid restrictions continue to be reduced, we are still in the danger zone. CoVid is still with us, and will be for years to come. Even though we are not in shut-down and have more liberties foremost in our mind we want to stay healthy. I, for one, and many others are going to continue to wear a mask, when in public places. It’s not that I enjoy the mask, but I firmly believe I have a better chance of not catching CoVid. Masks serve two purposes. It protects me. But also reminds others what they should be doing for their own protection and being respectful of others, who might be compromised.

Shopping online has become a way of life, and it is amazing to see how many staff ij grocery stores are going around picking products off the shelves to fill orders that have been phoned or sent in. In the retail sector it is obvious what has transpired in two years. Prior to CoVid visibility of staff seemed like a rare commodity. Now customer service and "there to help" is a common occurrence.

It was heartwarming to attend the Lieutenant Governor presenting the 2021 Community Service Award to the community of Portapique. The turnout of Portapiquers was event, and most encouraging for the longevity of the community was the large number of pre-teen youth. I didn’t do a formal count, but easy to guess youth were 50% of the crowd. The Lieutenant Governor showed is true colours by the attention he paid to the youth present. In fact, there is photo in this issue of he and his wife taken including only the youth.

The war in Ukraine continues to dominate the news and every day people are becoming for appalled at the actions of Russian leadership and army. I agree the ongoing murders are war crimes. The Shoreline Journal has developed a Facebook page, in which we are encouraging communities and individuals do their utmost to arrange hosting of thousands of Ukrainian refugees. As the story on Page 1 in this issue outlines our thoughts, we are hopeful Nova Scotia could be the "new home" for 10,000 to 20,000 new residents.

It is a large target, but in addition to showing our high level of care and compassion, think about how these resourceful people would benefit our economy by helping eliminate worker shortages in all sectors including: agriculture, forestry, hospitality, fisheries, retail, food service, home care and much more.

We suggest you get friends and colleagues to canvass your local community to see how many local residents can billet refugees, and how many Ukrainians can be hosted in each community. (For those who escape war and harm by relocating to Nova Scotia one way of success is for them not to feel lonely and alone). If there are several refugees in a community they will be much more comfortable having colleagues close by.

Reach out to family and friends in other communities. Knowing the resiliency of residents from Colchester and Cumberland, we can be the catalyst to take the initiative province-wide. What an honour it would be for local residents to be recognized to providing safe and welcoming accommodation to thousands of Ukrainians who need our help.

Enjoy the coming warm weather, continue to smile and stay CoVid safe. - Maurice

 


 

April 2022 - Did Democracy unexpectedly find two saviors?

If you think back to last fall, leaders of the FREE World were saying democracy was being threatened. In North America, we relished in the fact, political unrest elsewhere and public demonstrations were increasing, but not here.

We were mired getting to the last stages of the pandemic, while thinking, "Thank heavens people in North America" are not as volatile and unrest of that magnitude would never happen in North America". As credit card bills for Christmas 2021 started arriving, Canada suffered the "Freedom Convoy.

At first it was like a joke, people were rushing to donate $20, $50, or more and waving from overpasses as semi’s motored down 100 series highways headed to Ottawa. Remember those instances?

After three weeks of a paralyzed Downtown Ottawa and similar convoys showing up across Canada, it was no longer a joke. People were worried and scared of the outcome. Revelations about $$$$-Millions of convoy funding coming across the border; some Republican congress-people and senators openly voiced approval for Canada’s "Freedom Convoy" woes, providing a base of support for the Federal Governments drastic action of implementing the Emergency Measures Act. Not everyone appreciated the move, and yes some fed moves were questionable, but within a few days, the convoy was all but over. The scars remained and still linger.

What the Freedom Convoy demonstrates is when people are unhappy, a handful of rebellious people with ulterior motives, such as "overthrow" the government can dupe a stellar organization like the Canadian Truckers Association with the promise to coordinate the "Freedom Convoy" to support apprehensions truckers felt about vaccination mandates. Trucker’s woes were forgotten and the mutiny attitudes grew.

Instead of being a "Freedom Convoy" the initiative evolved into a mutiny causing irreparable harm to Canada’s "peacekeeper" image.

No sooner had the convoy fiasco started settling down, the world faced increased threats of Russian leader, Putin, flexing his ego and trying to convince fellow-Russians, he needed to save Ukraine from various facets of society to be united with former homeland patriots in Russia.

As bad as the current onslaught of bombing, destroying entire cities and killing innocent people is Putin, in one way, might single-handedly became the catalyst to "save democracy from destroying itself". Constant attacks on residential areas and committing "war crimes" woke up the Free World causing the commitment to make NATO more united and stronger.

I do not have a glimmer of support for Putin and his activities. But let’s also remember, Putin needed an adversary to make everything happen.

Enter, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, a former actor and comedian with no prior political experience who in 2019 became the sixth President of Ukraine, scoring a record 73.22% of the popular vote in the run-off against incumbent Petro Poroshenko. President Zelensky has become the face of Ukraine’s resistance against Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invading forces, with impassioned virtual speeches to U.S. Congress and Senate; Canadian Parliament; governments in UK, Germany, France, European Council, NATO and many more.

Putin might have started the jelling, but Zelensky with his impassioned speeches and public appearances is the one who pushed it over the top just as he did in standing up to US President Donald Trump during the infamous taped phone call in 2019-2020.

As a result of individual actions, it might be fair to say the two of them, in their own ways, have quickly united the Free World in ways much faster than leaders of over 30 NATO member countries could conceivably achieve.

I’ll suggest the two of them will go down in history as the "World’s Democracy Savors.

On a separate note, it is interesting to see how the Mass Casualty Commission has somewhat changed its "high handed attitude" and started providing some things family members of victims have been demanding. The jury is still out. If as many allege, will the findings favour the higher ups in government and RCMP, or will it be transparent?

In closing, I would draw your attention to seven feature pages on Renewable Energy in this issue, and our special offer to raise funds for Portapique Community Build-up Project.

Have a great month enjoying April Showers - Maurice  

 


 

March 2022 - Poking head out of "foxhole"

The attitude and aggressiveness some Canadian’s have expressed, one should be weary or afraid to poke their head up out of the foxhole for fear of being criticized, ridiculed or worse. It is catastrophic how we have switched from "peacekeepers" to garnering global attention by holding the capital city, and other parts of this great country hostage for nearly a month.

Yes, even here in Colchester County, I was called onto the mat for a story in the last issue. I have been in this business for nearly 60 years and have seen nothing like the disturbing events which have become more frequent over the last couple of years. Like many Canadians I was proud most of the nearly 38-Million of us maintained our own identity and strived not become overly Americanized.

But not now.

I few empathy for the leadership at the Canadian Truckers Association, whom I feel were "hookwinked" as being the initial purpose of the Freedom Convoy. Yes, truckers did have some reason to complain and demonstrate. A large number of people had empathy for their cause and supported them. As the weeks went by, we learned Freedom Convoy was not organized by the truckers, but by right wing groups who had various objectives including "overthrow the existing government", while attracting $-millions in USA donations. .

I am not saying the existing government does not have flaws, and some big ones, but what evolved is not the Canadian style we are used to. To learn many USA politicians and their followers were supportive of the Freedom Convoy. Many were very visible and open in their support and Millions of USA$$$ were donated to support the cause.

It is embarrassing and very unsettling a large number of Canadian MP’s and some senators were openly supportive of the demonstrators, even meeting publically with them on the demonstration sites. I have many friends who are on the conservative side of the political spectrum and their word to me is "I am very conservative, would never vote Liberal, but I am a Progressive Conservative. I am not supportive of the current Conservative Party".

I am informed from these friends; there is no leadership race for the Conservative Party. It will be a coronation as there does not appear to be anyone who will step forward to take the leadership away from the current leader, who has demonstrated a high level of Trump-like American activities.

I am not taking political sides, but if we keep going down this slippery slope Canadian complacency will destroy democracy and way of life Canada has enjoyed for decades. It is time for all Canadians regardless of political stripe to develop a backbone and wrestle the publicist attitudes away from those who want to make Canada more like the Americans and other "radical rightwing groups" gaining prominence around the world.

Are we going to stand up for democracy and human rights like our forefathers or do we want Canada to go down a slippery slope to be more like the Chinese, Russians and Americans? It will take months if not a couple of years to change the trajectory we are headed. I can’t do it, nor can you, but "we" including all of us can regain control. That is the challenge to you.

Unfortunately, the Mass Casualty Commission has not been gaining support as we had hoped. More and more people are of the belief the Commission’s will not deliver the healing results needed. Even though I have not expressed public opinion on the matter, and have been most supportive of the local people who have had their lives changed forever, but I get calls, nearly every day, from people who are dismayed. Most disturbing to hear them say, "I fear, the commission is looking more and more like a sham.

Essentially it will be a cover-up protecting federal and provincial governments and with results in which the RCMP will be most pleased.

To the deepest feelings of my inner self, I hope all those who are speaking out in dismay are wrong. But the tenacity to deliver different results seems invisible and perhaps non-existent.

Maurice

 


 

 

February 2022 - Are we losing the battle?

The recent surge of CoVid-19 is disturbing, worrisome and causes my blood to boil. Today the 17th, we lost four more great Nova Scotians. The worrisome part is primarily because we have lost our edge, and quickly going downhill as we appear to be losing the battle.

I am not sure who to blame, as there are so many factors to the recent upsurge. To determine why, let’s look at CoVid-19 activity for almost two years, when spring 2020 was the CoVid start on the east coast.

The previous government was adamant what they wanted us to do; expected us to do; directed us to "Stay the Blazes Home". Those few words drive home the point and it stuck with hundreds of t-shirts sporting the message.

For 18 months, most of us did exactly what we were told. It was tough, but we listened. As a result Nova Scotia was the envy across Canada, garnered a lot of attention globally. The prize, we were the leader with less infections, deaths and "long haul" suffers. We were proud being leaders, and appreciated McNeil and Strang seemingly dedicating every moment of their lives to ensure we were as safe as possible.

However, things started to change during the third quarter of 2021. Was it because "just enough" people became anti-vasers; we got tired and took our eye off the ball; were the variants more easily spread causing us to go down a slippery slope, or did health professionals and government leaders take their foot off the pedal?

I am not going to point fingers, nor do I suggest you do, but there are some discouraging facts, or an alignment for a "perfect storm" which was unavoidable.

At this moment my question is "Why has there been a reduction in the emphasis on testing? In the beginning, we were told, testing, testing, testing and more testing is the way to manage CoVid-19.

Most recently, is the lessening of testing, because we do not have the supplies? If that is the case, who dropped the ball? Why weren’t supplies ordered or sourced last August and September?

Was the lack of advance ordering as a result of switching governments? I fear not, or it should not be the onus of elected officials. There are plenty of highly paid professionals in the Health Authority and Department of Health carrying out tasks when new MLA’s were trying to find the office keys.

The lack of testing kits goes back to what was done or not done as far back as September, early October. If a shortage had been anticipated, we should have been then, not mixed in with all the messaging around the holiday season.

This brings to mind another thing which really bothers me. Not once have I heard provincial, federal international government leaders or health professionals explain the correlation between Tuberculosis and CoVid-19.

If you wish to do your own online research simply Google "How many people die of Tuberculosis?" The following are two instant examples, which popped up on my computer screen within seconds:

  1. Tuberculosis (TB) is a disease caused by germs spread person to person through the air. TB usually affects the lungs, but it can also affect other parts of the body, such as the brain, the kidneys, or the spine. A person with TB can die if they do not get treatment.
  2. Tuberculosis (TB) is one of the top 10 causes of death worldwide. In 2018, 10.0 million people fell ill with TB and 1.5 million died from the disease (including 251,000 people with HIV). Over 95% of TB deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries.

You might not like wearing a mask, or constantly social distancing, but pay attention to my prediction: "CoVid-19 is never going away". If you don’t remember, ask your parents or grandparents their fears of TB and how long it was "Top of Mind". Unborn children may be looking over their shoulder and keeping a mask handy when graduating from high school.

Yet undiscovered or to-be developed drugs will cause CoVid-19 to be treated like "the flu".

Maurice.

 


January 2022 - Stay home, be safe

Unfortunately, this Christmas season is not as enjoyable as we hoped, but we have to take guidance from health authorities and avoid large crowds and do not do any non-essential travel. This past week, Nova Scotia has recorded it’s highest rate of Covid-19 infections four days in a row. Sunday, December 19thwas an all-time high with 476 instances from lab results. 43 of the new cases are in the Northern Zone, while the Central Zone, which includes Halifax-Dartmouth reported 333 cases.

In addition to being asked not to travel unless absolutely we best find a good book, or some board games to keep ourselves amused, because sporting venues are being closed, and if it keeps up at the rate we have experienced recently, Premier Houston and Dr Strang will have to come up with a slogan, similar to McNeil’s "Stay the Blazes Home". If you are eligible you need to get your booster shot as soon as possible.

With Christmas only a couple of days away, there is still time to give a family member, friend, work colleague or neighbour the best Christmas present every. Try to convince the unvaccinated to go get their first needle. In some ways it could be a "life-saving" gift if they follow your advice.

Other than worry about Covid-19, the next most frequent word on people’s tongues is "homeliness". The loss of employment due to Covid has caused a rapid increase in the number of people who don’t have a place to stay warm, safe and comfortable. All levels of government – federal, provincial and municipal are scrambling to develop solutions. It will not happen overnight, but the shame of the situation is nobody treated homeliness as a priority, until it reached crisis proportions.

One immediate way to reduce the instances and to ease the burden would be for unoccupied motel and hotel rooms to be used to house the homeless. Yes, property owners would be hesitant to let their rooms, be used for this purpose, but there are ways to negotiate to a winter 2022 solution while new facilities are renovated or constructed. Operators would have to reduce room rates to become affordable. Proper video, photos and other record keeping can track condition of rooms before and after occupancy.

One item which would need to be replaced is the mattresses, but these could be diverted to the new homeless facilities, enabling fixed roof accommodation operators to ensure pristine condition for tourists, when winter is over.

Wind turbine farms development proposed are taking place across the entire province from Yarmouth extremities of Cape Breton, but local resident aren’t keen on the idea. The Wentworth Valley is a hot-bed or emerging proposals and residents are up in arms. Cumberland is seeking legal opinion on whether or not it would be permitted to place a one year moratorium on approval of new wind turbine farms. Colchester is reviewing its wind turbine by-law as it suspects several permit applications will be received in coming months.

A December 4th public meeting at the Recreation Centre in Wentworth drew a large crowd of concerned residents. The meeting was polite and orderly, but certainly was not a friendly crowd in the hall. Most of the audible opposition came from those in attendance, who strenuously objected to a slide on the screen indicating "10 minutes for Questions". The meeting was scheduled for three hours, and there was nearly two hours of the three hour limit remaining once the three Higgins Mountain Wind Farm representatives finished their presentation throwing the floor open to questions.

As the questions keep coming from concerned citizens, one of the Higgins representative keep looking at his watch as if he was not comfortable with the situation and was hoping "to get out of Dodge" as soon as possible. Additional public meetings will be held once the develop has refined the selection of the turbine and does the scientific work.

Back to Covid, students started the Christmas break early and will enjoy two additional days early in January. Many fear Covid surging might continue forcing education to be delivered on-line.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to All - Maurice


 

MMaurice Rees, Publisher
The Shoreline Journal
Box 41, Bass River, NS B0M 1B0
PH: 902-647-2968; Cell: 902-890-9850
E-mail: maurice@theshorelinejournal.com