Nova Scotians living in mining communities pay tribute to miners who lost their lives on the job as part of Miners’ Memorial Day ceremonies. Each year, on June 11, Nova Scotians gather to remember miners killed or injured on the job and help preserve the province’s rich coal-mining heritage. “Miners’ Memorial Day is an important reminder of Nova Scotia’s history,” said Brooke Taylor, acting Minister of Environment and Labour. “The day also serves as a reminder for government, employers and employees to renew our commitment to protecting the health and safety of all workers throughout the province.” Formerly known as Davis Day, Miners’ Memorial Day began in memory of miner Bill Davis, who was killed in New Waterford during the mining strike of 1925. Every year, the United Mineworkers of America organizes Miners’ Memorial Day events throughout the province.
The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, headed by Leila Zerrougui, highlighted concerns over both pre-sentencing detention in the criminal justice system, as well as the detention of asylum seekers and immigrants, at a press conference in Ottawa on the conclusion of a 15-day visit to the country at the Government’s invitation. The team stressed that such detention affected marginalized persons the most.“Detention on remand disparately impacts on vulnerable social groups, such as the poor, persons living with mental health problems, Aboriginal people and racial minorities,” the team said. In addition, they said, Canada’s vast geography often made access to legal counsel difficult for such people, even though the right to counsel is enshrined in law.In regard to the detention of immigrants, the team expressed concern over several aspects of detention under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) that hampered the ability of immigrants to seek release from detention, including the lack of a requirement for counsel for their first review hearings. The UN Working Group’s visit, which was mandated by the Geneva-based UN Commission on Human Rights, included stops at 13 detention centres throughout Canada. In addition to talking to Government officials and representatives of non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the members interviewed approximately 150 detainees.The Group will present its final report on Canada to the Commission’s next session, which opens next March in Geneva. It has conducted previous fact-finding missions in countries as diverse as Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, Iran, Mexico, Peru and the United Kingdom, it said, and last year visited China, Latvia and Belarus.