Stats Canada recorded Cape Breton’s unemployment rate at 17.3% last month. The three month moving average was more than two percentage points above figures from both the previous month and January of 2015. There’s was little change at the provincial level last month, as the seasonally adjusted jobless rate notched up by a tenth of a point to 8.6%. Nationally, there was little change last month as jobs losses in Alberta, Manitoba and Newfoundland and Labrador offset a net gain in Ontario. Statscan says that more people entered the job market in January while the national unemployment rate went up slightly to 7.2%.
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The Crown and defence have made their closing arguments at the second degree murder trial of Thomas Ted Barrett. The 40 year-old Glace Bay man is charged in the death of Brett Elizabeth McKinnon, of Glace Bay, whose remains were found in 2008, two years after she was reported missing. In his summation, defence lawyer Brian Bailey said that the Crown has not proven its case against Barrett beyond a reasonable doubt. He also said that police failed to investigate other possible suspects who could have killed McKinnon. In addition, Bailey attacked the credibility of Crown witnesses by saying that they were all taking drugs. In its closing, the prosecution argued that a number of witnesses say that Barrett strangled MacKinnon. The Crown added that all of the witnesses were afraid of Barrett and didn’t come forward until they were contacted by police. Justice Robin Gogan says she’ll deliver a verdict in the case on April 4th.
Sydney native Ray Ivany has announced that he’s planning to step down as President of Acadia University in Wolfville. Ivany suffered a heart attack in October and says that his recent health issues have led him to speed up his retirement, with a plan to step down in June of 2017. His second term as President of Acadia was due to end in 2019. Ivany made headlines in recent years as the chair of a commission on rebuilding the province’s economy, producing what’s widely known as the Ivany Report. Prior to taking up the presidency at Acadia, Ivany held administrative positions at the Nova Scotia Community College and what is now Cape University.
The Nova Scotia Health Authority says that there’s a limited impact to services at the Northside General Hospital today after an overnight fire at the facility. The authority says that the fire broke out at around 4:30 this morning in a laundry room, triggering a fire alarm and sprinklers. There were no injuries, but the Health Authority says that there was fire damage to a small dryer room and smoke and water damage in the main laundry. The fire marshall’s office says that the fire was accidental and was caused by the spontaneous combustion of linen. The ER is now open, as is outpatient Blood Collection, which is located next to the Laundry, though outpatient blood/specimen collection has been temporarily relocated to a nearby room. The Health Authority says that laundry service will see some delays as staff clean up the affected area. An update is expected to be provided later today.
Parks Canada has decided to withdraw support for the proposed Mother Canada monument at Green Cove in the Cape Breton Highlands National Park. The agency says that the project can’t move forward because of a number of outstanding issues, including funding, a final design and an agreement on how funding will be structured for construction and maintenance. The $25 million dollar project was a private effort by the Never Forgotten National Memorial Foundation, and would’ve featured a large statue, known as Mother Canada, commemorating Canadian soldiers who died overseas. The proposal raised environmental and political concerns among its critics, while proponents said that the idea was a fitting tribute to fallen soldiers and would provide an economic boost to communities in northern Cape Breton. In a press release this afternoon, Sydney-Victoria MP Mark Eyking says he’s always supported the idea of the monument so long as it met all of the criteria, and the required private funding was in place. Eyking adds that he hopes the foundation will consider another location in Cape Breton as a possible site for the monument.