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P.E.I. petting farm re-homing zebus for zoo season

P.E.I. petting farm re-homing zebus for zoo seasonBrudenell Miniature, a seasonal petting farm in Montague, P.E.I., will be getting some new additions this summer: two miniature zebus.Five-year-old Cindy Lou Moo and her daughter Willow are soon being transported to P.E.I. from Cherry Brook Zoo in Saint John, N.B. Paul Matheson, owner of Brudenell Miniature, agreed to re-home the zebus once Cherry Brook Zoo announced its permanent closure at the end of April. "I'm excited. It's going to be a nice addition to the little farm here and the whole idea of bringing them here," Matheson said. According to Matheson, animals are currently being re-homed to other farms from Cherry Brook Zoo. He has agreed to re-home the zebus as well as black Indian runner ducks. Transportation problemsThe zebus were meant to be brought to P.E.I. months ago, but plans to transport them faced delays because of COVID-19. Easing restrictions around interprovincial travel in the Atlantic region have made things easier."I put a post on Facebook ... and within 30 minutes they had somebody else lined up in New Brunswick to take them over," Matheson said. "Now that the bubble is here, there hasn't been an issue."The zebus are scheduled to be transported on July 16. They will be featured at Matheson's farm, along with approximately 150 other birds and animals.Matheson hopes to open the petting farm within the next two weeks. He is waiting to hear back from Health PEI for additional public health guidelines before he opens.More from CBC P.E.I.

Cape Breton campgrounds facing a very different season this year

Cape Breton campgrounds facing a very different season this yearDespite the creation of an Atlantic bubble, there are far fewer happy campers in Cape Breton.That's a problem, especially for campgrounds that rely on visitors from outside of Atlantic Canada.John Bennick and his family own and operate the Arm of Gold Campground and Trailer Park in Little Bras d'Or. Bennick's family has owned the campground since 1975.Most summers, his 135 sites are full of campers from Ontario, Quebec, Newfoundland, and the United States. Some days, he has less than a dozen Nova Scotians renting those sites."I'm just going on a wing and a prayer because nobody outside of the Maritimes is looking to come here and the Americans can't get over the border so I'm in limbo," said Bennick.The campground rents to transient or overnight campers, meaning they only stay a few days. Arm of Gold is only a few minutes drive from the Marine Atlantic ferry terminal and relies heavily on people using the service. With Marine Atlantic limiting capacity, Bennick is seeing a drop in customers.Arm of Gold isn't the only campground in Cape Breton dealing with both a change in the demographics of their customers and  drop in the amount of campers. But some campgrounds and RV parks have been fortunate to have some loyal regular customers. Shane Thompson owns Adventures East Campground and Cottages in Baddeck. His campground has some seasonal renters, so campers rent a spot for the entire summer. Most of those customers are from the nearby Sydney area."The [campgrounds] that have the seasonal campers are all pretty much in the same boat," said Thompson. "We're losing but we're doing better than some of the campgrounds that are basically strictly overnighters.… I can't imagine what they're going through."That doesn't mean business hasn't been difficult in light of the pandemic. Thompson's overnight rentals have plummeted and as a result the campground isn't employing as many people as they normally would, or offering as many services.All of the campground owners who spoke to CBC said they had fewer staff members. Those that remain have new responsibilities surrounding cleanliness and making sure campers are following the rules.Around 99 per cent of Thompson's overnight campers right now are Nova Scotian, which he appreciates. But he said every campground is trying to draw from the same tourist base, which is making the situation difficult.A campground just across the highway from Thompson is seeing a jump in local visitors, at least some of the time. The Baddeck Cabot Trail Campground is getting nearly the same amount of traffic they normally get on the weekends and most of them are from Nova Scotia. On weekdays, though, the campground has seen a 60 to 70 per cent decline in bookings.Owner Daniel Schlemmer said Maritimers seem to be buying into the idea of shopping local. "I know that our campground store is doing very well compared to last year's, we go through the same amount of merchandise and groceries even though we are very less busy so it seems like people are trying to support our store," said Schlemmer.Schlemmer said one of his concerns is just keeping up to date with health and safety protocols. He expressed some disappointment that campgrounds were not alerted by the province before the announcement was made that they could open."[The province] is doing a great job keeping the numbers down but in informing us in what to do and not to do, I think there was a pretty big lack of communications," said Schlemmer.He said he realized he was allowed to open his campground because would-be campers started calling him. Schlemmer is hoping to see better communication with businesses as restrictions loosen.A more subdued experienceKluskap Ridge RV and Campground in Englishtown is also being buoyed by their seasonal customers. Darrell Bernard and his wife have been running the campground for four years. Most of their seasonal campers at the campground are elderly. That led Bernard to cancel their regular events. The campground usually offers programming around Mi'kmaw culture and heritage as well as activities like Christmas in July, karaoke, and musical events. They also have a no-visitor policy. "This is a tough season, I know we're lucky we were able to open at all," said Bernard. Looking to the futureBernard thinks camping is going to pick up in popularity because it's a safe activity to do during the pandemic, but he's still worried for the tourism industry and the economy as a whole.  "We're either going to have to tighten our belts and get used to a new way of life or we're going to have to get used to COVID being part of who we are," he said.As for Bennick, he's accessing some of the federal support for businesses including the $40,000 line of credit. However, he'd like to see some direct help for the tourism season from the provincial government. Bennick believes that if small businesses begin to shut down and there are fewer things for tourists to do, the situation will spiral out of control."It will be interesting to see what the fall brings, I'm afraid there's going to be a lot of businesses that won't be around next year and that's sad."For now, he's hoping the pandemic gets under control so his usual customers can travel again.MORE TOP STORIES:

Indigenous groups paying the price for Russia's massive Arctic fuel spill

Indigenous groups paying the price for Russia's massive Arctic fuel spillIn 2017, the New York Times called Norilsk "Russia's coldest and most polluted industrial city." It may not be getting colder but it's certainly now much more polluted than before.The Arctic town, built on the site of a former gulag, is the site of a massive fuel spill that environmentalists have compared to the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster.On May 29, an aged fuel tank at the Norilsk Nickel plant lost pressure and released 21,000 tonnes of diesel into the Arctic subsoil and the waters of the nearby river Ambarnaya."In modern history, this is the biggest spill that I have ever seen," said Alexey Knizhnikov, a leader with the World Wildlife Fund in Russia. It's the biggest on-land spill in Russia since 1994."The scale of the damage to Arctic waterways is unprecedented," said Dmitry Kobylkin, Russia's ecology minister, in a statement.The incident is an embarrassment for a Russian government that has tried to pursue an environmental agenda in some places while also aggressively expanding industrial operations in the Arctic. It's also a devastating blow to an already withered landscape and the people who rely on it for their way of life."If you look at the country around Norilsk, it's a real dead zone," said Rodion Sulyandziga, an Udege Indigenous advocate and director of the Centre for the Support of the Indigenous People of the North. "It's affected … people's river, reindeer, lakes [and] soil."Historic amount of 'voluntary compensation' requestedThe fallout from the spill has been swift. On June 10, Russian state investigators had arrested three plant managers. A few days later, the mayor of Norilsk was charged with criminal negligence for his delayed response.Even before the arrests, Russian President Vladimir Putin scolded the region's governor in a live television address for learning of the incident only days after the fact, on social media. He also castigated Norilsk Nickel's executives in a widely-televised conference call."If you had changed [the fuel tank] on time there would not have been this ecological damage," he said to a grim-looking quartet of executives, speaking from a field in Norilsk. "Study this as closely as possible inside the company."Norilsk Nickel is the world's largest producer of nickel and palladium. It has made its majority shareholder, Vladimir Potanin, the richest man in Russia.Facing Putin's public disapproval, Potanin said his company would cover clean-up costs, which he estimated at nearly $200 million.But Russia's regulator, Rosprirodnadzor, came in with a higher estimate: $14 million for soil restoration alone, plus a further $2.8 billion for cleaning up the waterways."This is definitely a huge amount. We've never got such penalties for other environmental violations," said Knizhnikov.The company is contesting the request for "voluntary compensation" — which is equivalent to about one-third of one year's profits. There is precedent they may succeed."Very often companies go to the court, and unfortunately, very often, [the] company wins," said Knizhnikov. "It's very likely this huge amount will not be paid."Kobylkin said the company had "every right" to contest the fine in court. But for Knizhnikov, it may be in the company's long-term interests to take a bigger hit."If they refuse to pay big money, they will get [an] even worse image, not only in Russia but on a global scale," he said.Spill undermines Russia's development agendaOne reason the spill has attracted such a severe response, experts say, is its consequence for Russia's own image.Small spills are a chronic issue in the Russian Arctic, according to Laura Henry, a Russia expert at Bowdoin College — just yesterday, Norilsk Nickel reported another one, of 45 tonnes of aviation fuel, from a pipeline to the west of Norilsk. But Henry says, more often than not, they are covered up before they make the headlines.The magnitude of this spill meant images were spreading on social media before Russian authorities were even informed, attracting international attention and marring Russia's environmental image.Vladimir Chuprov, the campaign director for Greenpeace Russia, says it also "hit Putin's image personally."Russia will chair the Arctic Council again next year and Putin has publicly stressed environmentally sustainable Arctic development as a key part of its mandate, he said.The spill has domestic consequences as well. Putin has suggested the economic opportunity posed by a warming Arctic means climate change is "maybe bad for the world but not so bad for Russia," Henry said. The spill — originally blamed on melting permafrost — has undermined that message.It has also thrown into relief Putin's complex relationship with oligarchs like Potanin. Henry said many already complain that Potanin's "special relationship" with the Kremlin has allowed Norilsk Nickel to escape close environmental scrutiny, even as it makes public commitments to sustainability."Potanin is making an incredible fortune off of this company," Henry said. That such a lucrative company failed to update such basic infrastructure "is probably frustrating" for Putin, she said.Russia's other oligarchs may also balk at this setback to their country's environmental image. Bruce Forbes, a researcher at the University of Lapland's Arctic Institute who studies Indigenous land use in Western Siberia, said many companies working in the Russian Arctic are actively increasing the amount of Indigenous consultation and environmental review they perform."They're doing a job like Western countries would have to do if they went into the Arctic [National Wildlife] Refuge," he said."The kinds of processes that need to go on, remarkably, have been going on. But that isn't counting the spills."Indigenous groups bear the brunt of disasterFor the Indigenous people of the region, this spill can be seen as another indication of the "gap between declarations and reality," Sulyandziga, the Indigenous advocate, says."On the one hand, the Russian constitution guarantees Indigenous people's rights but in terms of implementation … it's poor. It's nothing," he said.The Dolgans, Nenets, Nganasans, Evenki and Enets all hunt, fish, and herd reindeer among the lakes and rivers north of Norilsk. But the land has long been poisoned by industrial waste.In 2016, local Indigenous groups noted with alarm that the waters of the nearby river Daldykan had turned blood red, which Norilsk Nickel suggested was natural. They later acknowledged a spill of industrial wastewater was responsible.The waters of that river eventually flow into Lake Pyasino — now so toxic it is almost entirely devoid of fish. The waterways downstream are crossed by the world's largest wild reindeer herd, which has shrunk by more than 40 per cent since 2000."The legacy of the past, it's very destructive," said Sulyandziga. "It is still very dangerous to hunt, to eat."Sulyandziga said once the scale of the environmental damage is clear, work should start on a "working plan for Indigenous people … [to address] access to traditional food, access to traditional activity."But Indigenous people's power to advocate for their interests is weakening. Government crackdowns on foreign-funded NGOs led to Sulyandziga's own Centre for the Support of the Indigenous People's of the North being deemed a "foreign agent" and liquidated by the courts last year.Indigenous activism, as a form of ethnic activism, can be interpreted as separatism, said Sulyandziga."We should be very careful," he said.But in light of this latest spill, Sulyandziga said, Indigenous advocacy is even more important."I believe nature already is avoiding us because something is wrong," he said. "Indigenous people should continue fighting, not only for our cultural heritage but also for our natural heritage."

What's in a word? 'Systemic racism' a roadblock in wake of Perry Trimper incident

What's in a word? 'Systemic racism' a roadblock in wake of Perry Trimper incidentIn a meeting between Innu leadership and Premier Dwight Ball in the wake of controversy over then-cabinet minister Perry Trimper's comments about the Innu, there was a sticking point: are the Innu of Labrador facing systemic racism or institutional racism?Peter Penashue, former Innu Nation chief and federal Conservative cabinet minister, said the difference of opinion was telling."Innu Nation, we were calling it systemic racism because this is not in isolation, this is quite common, it's happening in all of the hospitals, correctional centres, police, social services," Penashue said during a recent interview on racism with CBC News."The premier was insisting on calling it institutional racism, and that was the stumbling block to concluding the communique."Penashue said Ball said it wasn't systemic but it was particular individuals within the systems that are problematic — not the system as a whole."We were saying, 'No, no, it's right across the board."To expedite the process, Penashue said the Innu Nation agreed to drop their term."I found it interesting that a couple weeks ago, the same premier said there is systemic racism in his government," Penashue said."I said, wow, what happened between September and May … six months?"According to the Alberta Civil Liberties Research Centre, systemic racism stems from policies and practices in established institutions which results in favouring one group over another. "It differs from overt discrimination in that no individual intent is necessary," the centre says. Within that form of racism, there's institutional racism: "racial discrimination that derives from individuals carrying out the dictates of others who are prejudiced or of a prejudiced society," and structural racism, which the civil liberties centre says is "inequalities rooted in the system-wide operation of a society that excludes substantial numbers of members of particular groups from significant participation in major social institutions."Penashue said a commitment was also made to review institutions where the Innu Nation says racism exists, but he said he hasn't heard if there's been any progress since September 2019 when the meeting was held. Working group underway: premierBall declined an interview with CBC News about the meeting, and instead forwarded a statement that emphasized the term institutional racism and the government's pledge to fight against it."In collaborating with the Innu Nation, we are establishing a working group that will have a mandate to develop concrete measures to ensure elected officials and government employees have an understanding and appreciation of Innu culture, values and history," Ball's statement said."We are pleased that progress is being achieved on the commitment to ensure Innu people are treated with dignity, equality and respect."Ball said a draft terms of reference is now under consideration by the Innu Nation and the provincial government. He said the plan will be implemented for all government programs and services. "There have been many social efforts, campaigns, and voices that have shone a light on longstanding and systemic racism," Ball said."As a society, we all have to consider the actions we can take to support the ideas and solutions that elevate tolerance and diversity. These actions have to be incorporated in our everyday lives, our workplaces, in the policies of governments and institutions, and our communities."When asked for clarity, a spokesperson from Ball's office said the meeting in question was about the "institution of government, an elected official, and the provision of services to Innu members.""This is not about a divide of institutional and systemic racism," the spokesperson said. In an open letter posted on his Twitter page about Black Lives Matter movement, Ball commended protesters for shining a light on "longstanding and systemic racism."Meanwhile, in a separate interview with CBC News Friday, Ball said, "It was institutional racism at that particular point that was dealt with."He added: "In terms of systemic racism, I've never shied away that as a society we need to deal with this and that racism should never be tolerated in any form."Difference of language but hopeful for better futureNatuashish Innu Grand Chief Gregory Rich said the meeting went well with the premier, but said his staff later indicated there were difficulties with the language surrounding institutional and systemic racism."I think it's both. When the Perry Trimper incident came out, when it was on our agenda, we noticed that systemic racism was part of the government and the fact was there," Rich said."Perry Trimper was commenting on a 'race card' issue. It's in the government and I was surprised that the province denied that."Trimper, who remains the MHA for Lake Melville but is no longer in cabinet, was unintentionally recorded on a voicemail saying that the "race card" is played by Innu people from "time to time."He later apologized and was removed from cabinet.Rich said Indigenous people in Labrador continue to feel the effects of racism in government departments."It's like we're getting a second-hand treatment," he said, citing health care given at Labrador-Grenfell Health.As grand chief, Rich said he is constantly hearing issues from Innu people, and he said an overhaul is long overdue."We need to work together and get an understanding of the different treatment of all races in Labrador," he said."They need to understand where we are coming from. They need to know how racism is affecting us on our lives. It's an emotional distress."Read more by CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

Monday 13th of July 2020 10:21:12

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