L:R: Shaye Anderson, Minister of Municipal Affairs, Premier Rachel Notley, Danielle Larivee, Minister of Children’s Services, and Irfan Sabir, Minister of Community and Social Services.
By Sheldon Spackman
Alberta Premier Rachel Notley announced today that the Government has created a new Ministry. The Ministry of Children’s Services, which aims to fix long-standing child intervention problems. Provincial officials say the Notley government is focused on creating a child protection and intervention system that serves the needs of Alberta children and families and is accountable for the protection of children.
Three ministers were sworn into new roles at Government House in Edmonton on January 19th. Danielle Larivee from the constituency of Lesser Slave Lake will serve as Minister of Children’s Services. She most recently served as Minister of Municipal Affairs. Shaye Anderson from the constituency of Leduc-Beaumont will serve as Minister of Municipal Affairs. He will also join Minister Larivee on the Municipal Governance Committee. Also, Human Services will be renamed “Community and Social Services” and will continue to be led by Minister Irfan Sabir from the constituency of Calgary-McCall.
Click here to watch today’s announcement and swearing-in ceremony:
(Photo courtesy of the Alberta Government)
After the storm: residents of Atlantic Canada and eastern Quebec survey damage
A day after post-tropical storm Fiona left a trail of destruction through Atlantic Canada and eastern Quebec, residents of a coastal town in western Newfoundland continued to pick through wreckage strewn across their community, easily the most damaged area in the region.
Photos posted on Sunday from Port aux Basques show homes and outbuildings smashed or submerged on the shoreline, the result of a record-breaking storm surge that swamped a residential neighbourhood.
Police received reports that two women had been swept into the ocean as their homes collapsed early Saturday. One woman was rescued by local residents, but the status of the second woman remained unclear.
Meanwhile, Nova Scotia Premier Tim Houston was expected to survey some of the hardest hit areas of Cape Breton, where Fiona’s wrath left many homes badly damaged.
Despite downed trees and widespread power outages, some Cape Breton residents decided to carry on with milestone events Sunday.
Samantha Murphy, 35, said she was going to proceed with her wedding at a church in downtown Sydney, followed by a reception meal prepared by a caterer with a generator.
Sitting in a hotel lobby with her three bridesmaids, she was wrapping floral arrangements and waiting for her hairdresser to arrive as she contemplated Fiona’s unwelcome visit.
“I think it’s going to be more romantic with candlelight,” she said in an interview. “We’re going back to when there was no power. Our family is around and let’s celebrate our love.”
Murphy said she was determined to proceed with her wedding on Sunday after the COVID-19 pandemic forced her to cancel her previous plans.
On the north shore of Prince Edward Island, another area ravaged by Fiona, lobster buyer Leigh Misener pointed to what was once his office on the Covehead Wharf.
On Sunday morning, it lay upside down about three kilometres away on a front lawn.
“That’s our building,” Misener said with a laugh. “Stop by anytime.”
Despite his wry humour, he said it was heartbreaking to see the destruction. The wharf is now an ugly vision of smashed buildings and upturned soil, as if an earthquake shook the place. Where the buildings once stood now lies a foundation littered with weights used for lobster traps and an anchor sitting in the rubble.
“The whole wharf’s gone,” Misener said. “Everyone’s going to hurt from it.”
Judy Profitt, who lives a few kilometres away on Brackley Beach, pointed to the Covehead Bridge and a now absent landmark — a small dune that once stood next to the bridge.
“It’s my favorite dune, but it’s just been sheared off,” Profitt said, her voice breaking with emotion.
“I had taken a picture of that dune. After my husband died, (it was) laser-etched on his tombstone. To look at that dune now, it’s just such a sad sight.”
In eastern Quebec, officials were heading to the storm-battered island chain of Îles-de-la-Madeleine, where high winds and storm surges caused flooding and road closures.
Provincial Public Security Minister Geneviève Guilbault confirmed that 30 and 40 people were forced to leave their homes, but no one was hurt.
“We’re going into recovery mode,” she told reporters in Quebec City.
Guilbault said one of two underwater telecommunication cables linking the islands with the mainland — dubbed COGIM 1 — was damaged by Fiona, but she said the other remained intact.
Guilbault said the Quebec government has worked hard to lessen the impact of storms that have worsened with climate change, saying millions of dollars have been invested in slowing coastal erosion.
“As it’s an island, the problem is fairly chronic around the island and in eastern Quebec in general,” she said.
As for Fiona, the big storm moved into southeastern Quebec on Sunday, with Environment Canada saying it will continue to weaken as it tracks across southeastern Labrador and over the Labrador Sea.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 25, 2022.
Michael MacDonald, The Canadian Press
N.W.T. man among finalists in international astronomy photographer contest
By Emily Blake in Yellowknife
A man from Yellowknife is gaining international recognition for a photo capturing a stunning display of dancing green aurora lights over the Cameron River.
Frank Bailey was the only Canadian among the finalists in the Royal Observatory Greenwich’s 2022 Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition. His time-lapse photo taken outside the Northwest Territories capital landed him the runner-up spot in the Aurorae category.
“I was of course thrilled, but also humbled at the news given the quality of the entries this year,” he said. “Once the overall standings were made fully public, it sunk in really quickly that this was a significant achievement and shows that I am heading in the right direction with my photography.”
The annual competition is the largest of its kind and showcases space and sky photography from astrophotographers around the world. More than 100 winning and shortlisted images from this year’s entries are currently on display at the National Maritime Museum in London, featuring planets, galaxies, skyscapes and other celestial bodies.
Gerald Rhemann from Austria was named the overall winner for his photo of Comet C/2021 A1, commonly known as Comet Leonard.
The top spot in the Aurorae category went to Filip Hrebenda for his photo titled “In the Embrace of a Green Lady,” showing the lights reflected in a frozen lake above Eystrahorn mountain in Hvalnes, Iceland.
Bailey’s photo, titled “Misty Green River,” was taken last September using a 15-second exposure. He said the photo was taken looking up the river toward the riffle as mist rose off the water.
Bailey, who has lived in Yellowknife for 18 years, said he first photographed the aurora when he and his wife, Karen, lived in Yukon in the early 1980s.
He said he likes to enter competitions to get feedback on his photography.
“As for future goals, I have always said it would be a good retirement job,” he said, noting he and his wife have dabbled with making sellable products such as calendars and producing prints for friends and family.
Another photo Bailey took of the aurora over the Cameron River, which he submitted to the National Wildlife Federation’s photo contest in 2020, was selected for use in a holiday card collection.
He said three of his aurora photos received a bronze award from the Epson International Pano Awards in 2021.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 24, 2022.
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