A number of ideas to address and prevent crime were released in a final report today, May 23, by the Minister’s Task Force on Safer Streets and Communities. The report is the result of provincewide consultations and will be used to help government develop a provincial crime prevention strategy. “Task force members have done a tremendous job of reaching out to their fellow citizens,” said Murray Scott, Minister of Justice. “This information will be critical to creating a community based crime prevention strategy that reflects the needs and wants of our communities.” Key issues identified during consultations include the impact of youth crime and the need to ensure youth feel attached and involved in their school and communities. Participants said changing social values were contributing to crime, and need to be addressed through improved access to services, along with support to help parents supervise and appropriately discipline their children. Limitations of the Youth Criminal Justice Act were also identified as an issue. “During consultations we heard very personal stories from people whose lives were touched by crime, along with those who were playing an active role in preventing crime in their communities,” said Oralee O’Byrne, co-chair of the task force. “While we know that there is not a single solution, it is clear that we need to balance prevention with enforcement measures that help people feel safe.” The task force identified actions to both prevent and address crime. Among the recommended priorities are enhancing early intervention programs; improved access to recreation facilities; funding for community crime prevention groups; addressing racism; adding police officers; and stiffer sentencing. “People want to play an active role in preventing crime, but they need the right supports to help them make their communities safer,” said task force co-chair and Halifax Regional Police Chief Frank Beazley. “This report helps set a direction and calls for action by individuals, community leaders, organizations and all levels of government. We did not do this just to point out problems — we wanted to get at the solutions and the community has really responded.” The Minister’s Task Force on Safer Streets and Communities included 25 volunteer community members who held 44 meetings across the province in February and March. Through these meetings and written submissions the Task Force heard from more than 800 Nova Scotians, and also received more than 2,000 hits to its website. The report can be viewed online at www.gov.ns.ca/just .
An independent human rights board of inquiry has ruled that Gordon (Wayne) Skinner’s medical marijuana expenses are to be covered by his employee insurance plan. Mr. Skinner, of Head of Chezzetcook, Halifax Regional Municipality, argued that he faced discrimination in accessing insurance coverage based on his disability. Benjamin Perryman, the board chair, issued his decision on Jan. 30. Mr. Skinner suffers from chronic pain following a motor vehicle accident when he was an elevator mechanic with ThyssenKrupp Elevator Canada. He has been unable to work and medical marijuana had helped his condition over conventional treatment for pain relief. The respondents in the case, the board of trustees of the Canadian Elevator Industry Welfare Trust Fund, had denied Mr. Skinner’s coverage in May 2014. The Canadian Elevator Industry Welfare Trust Plan provides health and related benefits for employees and former employees like Mr. Skinner, working in the unionized sector of the elevator industry. Mr. Perryman concluded that the plan includes conditions and rules for the coverage of medical marijuana as an eligible expense. For example, since medical marijuana requires a prescription by law, it did not fall within the plan’s exclusions. Since medical marijuana was prescribed for pain management, it was accepted that it is a medical necessity and should be covered. Conventional prescription pain management drugs are normally eligible for coverage. Mr. Skinner’s medical marijuana expenses must now be covered by the Canadian Elevator Industry Welfare Trust Plan up to and including the full amount of his most recent prescription. The reimbursement will only be required where medical marijuana was purchased from a producer licensed by Health Canada or a person legally authorized to produce for Mr. Skinner under the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations. The claim must also be supported by an official receipt. To read the full decision, please visit: http://humanrights.novascotia.ca. FOR BROADCAST USE A Nova Scotia man who complained that he faced discrimination by his insurance plan based on his disability, will now have his medical marijuana expenses covered. Gordon (Wayne) Skinner, of Head of Chezzetcook, Halifax Regional Municipality, had a motor vehicle accident while working as an elevator mechanic. He had been denied coverage for medical marijuana, even though it relieved his chronic pain symptoms over conventional treatments. Independent human rights board of inquiry chair Benjamin Perryman ruled that the Canadian Elevator Industry Welfare Trust Plan’s contents supported a strong argument for medical marijuana as an eligible expense. Mr. Skinner’s expenses are to be covered up to and including the full amount of his most recent prescription. -30-
Courtesy of MCTEffectively immediately, new ownership will lead the Columbus Crew, the city’s Major League Soccer franchise, as announced during a press conference at Crew Stadium July 30.Precourt Sports Ventures, LLC, has acquired the team from the Hunt Sports Group for an undisclosed purchase price and is now a 100 percent stakeholder. Anthony Precourt is the managing partner of PSV and attended the press conference as the firm’s representative.Columbus mayor Michael Coleman and Clark Hunt, chairman of HSG and CEO of the Kansas City Chiefs of the NFL, joined Precourt on stage.In the context of that watershed event, Hunt spoke of his family’s role in the galvanizing of Major League Soccer as an American mainstay.“There was one thing that propelled the League on to success, to where it is today. Against the odds, and against the momentum of the League, my family made the decision to build Crew Stadium. And as a result, today there are 14 soccer-specific stadiums in Major League Soccer,” said Hunt.Hunt said his company had only been looking for minority investors in the team when Precourt made the offer to buy the entire franchise earlier this summer.“We were initially very taken aback by his interest, but after we got to know Anthony, we concluded that he was the right guy to lead the Columbus Crew, that he would be a great fit for the city of Columbus, that he would be somebody that would push the team to be successful on the field,” said Hunt.Precourt said his company “will respectfully and diligently try to uphold Lamar’s (Clark Hunt’s father) vision for Major League Soccer and the Crew. And further, we will honor his fan-first mentality.”Precourt used the platform to formally greet the Greater Columbus community and to express his anticipation of working toward success in “a dynamic, growing city with incredible soccer heritage and a passionate soccer supporters’ fan base.”Mayor Coleman agreed by saying “the Columbus Crew is a vital part of the fabric and the future of the city.”He laid out specifics of the role the Crew has played in financially bolstering the city’s bottom line: “$400 million in direct spending, the hundreds of area jobs, the 3.5 million people who have attended soccer matches and other events here, the millions of tax revenue.”The mayor said Precourt assured him during talks in the days preceding the press conference that the team would remain in Columbus.When the panel concluded their remarks and opened the floor for questions, one reporter asked if Precourt had any plans of relocation.Precourt surprised the reporters by saying, “I do live in Northern California now, and I intend to be here on a regular basis. I’m not sure we’ll be moving here full time, but I’ll be here very, very regularly and have a second home here.”Continuing to speak on his vision for the team to succeed athletically, Precourt said, “We have a competitive fire, and our intent is to run this club with a single mission: to create the resources to win over the short run and the long run…We want to be a playoff team every year.”Precourt fielded questions about his ownership style, given that it will be his family’s first journey into sports management after extensive operational experience in finance, natural gas pipelines and facilities.“First and foremost, I want a great culture…I want more horizontal structure where people are empowered. I guess you’d say I’ll be hands-on and attentive and involved, and over time, I will empower our employees to do their jobs well,” said Precourt.Beyond the scope of the business aspects of the acquisition, Precourt was careful to emphasize his goals for fostering a winning franchise that draws fans and gets them excited about soccer in Columbus.“A full stadium is a lot more exciting than a two-thirds-full stadium. There are 17 home games, and we should fill the stadium for all 17 games,” said Precourt.As a father, Precourt has coached youth soccer in U6 and U8 competition, but he said he said he will stay out of the day-to-day soccer operations of the Columbus Crew.Hunt said his company will “continue to be the investor-operator of [MLS franchise] FC Dallas and plan on doing so for many years to come. Like Anthony, we’re a big believer in where Major League Soccer is headed and excited to still be part of the League and to now be a partner of Anthony’s through the League.”