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Local MLA disappointed in provincial officials for voting down amendment

The MLA for Inverness says he doesn't understand why provincial officials voted down an amendment intended to help sexual abuse victims.

Allan MacMaster says he introduced an amendment that would allow sex abuse survivors to take their case to civil court, regardless of when the abuse happened.

The governing Liberals have said it would be too complicated, and those retroactive laws don't exist in other provinces.

MacMaster tells The Hawk the Justice Minister, Lena Diab, was aware similar legislation is in place elsewhere.

"The only reason that she seems to be saying that is because I believe the government was embarrassed when victims of Fenwick Macintosh came forward with an open public letter in the Chronicle Herald earlier this week.

MacMaster says it isn't a political issue and government officials should do the right thing.

He says he doesn't understand with they keep voting down the amendment, including Cape Breton-Richmond MLA, Michel Samson, who MacMaster says once supported these retroactive changes.

Samson says his position on the subject hasn't changed.

"I pushed to have amendments made that would remove the time limitations as many other provinces have done," he says. "Our bill has done that, now there is a question of whether it should be made retroactive, there has already been a commitment from the Premier and the Minister of Justice to do just that."

MacMaster says the amendment is dead for now, and will likely remain so while the Liberals are in power.

He is calling for Minister Diab to resign over the issue.


St. Anne Centre officials won't receive provincial funding for new building

Officials with St. Anne Centre in Arichat say their request for a new building has been turned down by provincial officials.

They say a feasibility study for a new community and nursing centre was submitted to provincial officials in 2012.

In a response health minister, Leo Glavine, said that provincial officials did a study of long term facilities for replacement in 2011 and St. Anne's wasn't one of them.

Glavine said they are currently developing a renovation plan for nursing homes, and St. Anne Community and Nursing Centre may be included.

Officials with St. Anne's say they have a number of renovations that need to be done in lieu of a new building, and they will be pushing to see those completed.


Locals set to receive awards at inaugural ceremony Thursday

There are a number of local winners in the Cape Breton Partnership's first-ever Vital Cape Breton Excellence Awards.

The awards were created to honour Cape Bretoners between ages 16 and 40 making a significant impact in their community or workplace, and employers who create rewarding opportunities for young people.

Celtic Colours Artistic Director and Mabou native, Dawn Beaton, will receive an award in the indvidual category, along with Mabou community playground committee chair, Melanie Beaton.

Cabot Links co-founder and managing director, Ben Cowan-Dewar is getting an award in the employer category, and Port Hawkesbury YMCA Youth in Action coordinator, Krista Lee, will be honoured in the employee category.

The awards will be presented at Centre 200 in Sydney Thursday night.


Toronto lawyer working with local sex abuse survivors to amend law

A Toronto-based lawyer says he supports a local MLA in his bid to have provincial legislation amended to better protect victims of sexual abuse.

Allan MacMaster, the MLA for Inverness, has introduced an amendment to legislation that would allow sex abuse survivors to take their case to court, regardless of when the abuse occurred.

The amendment was voted down by the majority Liberals; they say making the law retroactive would be too complex and other provinces don't allow it.

Jonathan Rosenthal, a lawyer who works with sexual abuse victims and an adjunct professor at Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto, tells The Hawk what provincial officials are doing is wrong.

"(They're saying) let's forget about every single victim of sexual abuse that was abused before the date that this legislation came into place," he says. "It's just wrong- it's wrong on so many levels."

Rosenthal says sex abuse victims need to be treated a bit differently.

He says survivors typically take a while to bring allegations forward, and the laws should be changed to reflect that fact.

Rosenthal says provincial officials are wrong when they say the laws of other provinces don't allow sexual abuse victims to make civil claims without time limits, because laws in Newfoundland, Saskatchewan, B.C. and Ontario are retroactive.

He says he's been working with MacMaster and abuse survivors in the Quad Counties to try to help get the amendment passed.

Local abuse survivors ran a full page newspaper ad to appeal to officials with the provincial government to pass the amendment.


Richmond Co. man convicted of criminal harassment scheduled for sentencing

A man from Richmond Co. found guilty of criminal harassment is expected to return to court Thursday.

Adam Roger Joseph Cormier, 34, pleaded not guilty plea to the charge.

RCMP arrested the L'Ardoise man in relation to a number of incidents in Richmond Co. in the summer of 2012.

Cormier's trial started in June; it wrapped up in July.

The judge in the case delivered a guilty verdict in October.

He's scheduled for sentencing in Port Hawkesbury Provincial Court; the hearing was adjourned Nov. 13.


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