Transport Secretary takes steps in case of ‘unlikely’ no deal

first_imgLast year, two thirds of all public transport journeys in Britain were made by coach and bus last year. That was a statistic Seceratry of State for Transport, Chris Graying, gave at the Confederation of Passenger Transport’s (CPT) Annual Dinner.Chris GraylingMr Grayling attended the event, held at Royal Lancaster London on 31 January, as Guest of Honour and gave the keynote speech.In his speech, he praises buses as “the backbone of our transport system,” and notes the efforts being taken to minimise disruption to coach travel to Continental Europe after Brexit.   “Ultimately, for passenger transport, we would like a liberalised arrangement which enables services to run just as they are today,” he says.“That’s why we’re seeking to avoid any extra burdens or restrictions, which would not be in the interests of the UK, nor, we believe, the interests of the EU.”The Department for Transport (DfT) has been taking steps to prepare for all eventualities, he says. And as such, has now deposited its instrument of accession with the Interbus Secretariat.“This means in the event of a no-deal, the UK will join the Interbus Agreement as an independent member,” Mr Grayling adds.“While a no-deal scenario remains unlikely, these steps have been taken to provide legal certainty; first to businesses which operate international ‘occasional’ services between the UK and signatories to the Interbus Agreement – including EU countries – and second, to provide certainty to passengers using these services if no deal can be reached.”last_img read more

Here’s a Brexit compromise on fish — and both sides would be wise to take it

first_imgAnything less would be an epic failure at the worst possible time. Third, it would ensure zero tariffs and zero quotas on fish and aquaculture products sold from the U.K. to the EU. When I looked at this in government, it was estimated to be worth around £130m every year. But as the U.K. fishing industry recovers and grows over the coming years it will be worth even more.  Similarly, on other areas of the level playing field, the EU wanted to institute ratchet clauses which would see the U.K. automatically punished with tariffs if it didn’t essentially align its regulation with the EU’s in areas such as workers’ rights and environmental law.  The alternative when it comes to fishing is not pretty for either side. The EU would see their access and quota share fall to zero on day one next year. Contrary to popular belief, I’m convinced the U.K. would seek to enforce this strictly, not to mention the fact that the EU is a rules abiding organization.  First, the length of transition from the current quota shares in U.K. waters to new quota shares. The U.K. has been seeking a three-year transition, while the EU seems to want a seven-year one. Five years would be a reasonable middle ground and gives fishermen on both sides time to adjust and prepare — significantly longer than any other sector will have to adjust to the new trading arrangements. But on the U.K. side there would be far too few vessels to pick up the slack, while the fish caught in U.K. waters would not be competitively priced in the EU due to tariffs. Furthermore, the types of fish eaten in the U.K. are often not the same as the types of fish caught in U.K. waters. Where this would leave both the U.K. and EU fishing industries is far from clear, but it is surely a net loss for all involved.  This is not how it was meant to be. Both sides must take their share of the blame for getting us stuck here. But it is now time to step back and get a deal done.  The outcome looks to be a much more sensible and pragmatic arbitration approach. An independent panel will judge if, at any point in the future, either side is gaining an unfair competitive advantage over the other. If it is, the panel will determine appropriate remedies/responses. Arbitration panels determining such unfair competitive advantages are again common in free-trade agreements, and international trade more widely.  As I understand it from conversations with U.K. officials, there are three key points of disagreement on fishing.  Therefore, I would propose that in a scenario where the EU quota share is reduced from the levels agreed at the end of the transition, an independent arbitration panel would determine the economic cost of that loss to the EU and allow the EU to levy tariffs in other areas beyond fishing to compensate.  Furthermore, the areas of persistent dispute throughout this year look to have landed in a good place from the U.K. perspective. There will be no ongoing alignment of state aid rules as the EU originally requested. There will be a common set of state aid principles, a standard approach to dispute resolution and a strong level of domestic enforcement under U.K. control. I’d say much closer to what happens in most free-trade agreements (which is what the U.K. has consistently said it wants) than to the EU’s original proposals.  As a starting point, after the five year transition a 35 percent cut would seem fair. This would be phased in gradually through the transition. This, though, would not be a permanent state of affairs. As with all other fisheries agreements, this would be negotiated on a multiannual basis, so the level of quota shares could change in the future. Third, the two sides disagree about what would happen if in the future that quota share did change or indeed if they failed to reach any agreement over access to waters at some point. This is probably the hardest difference to bridge.  Raoul Ruparel was the prime minister’s special adviser on Europe under Theresa May and was directly involved in Brexit negotiations for three years. Last year he predicted how a Brexit deal would be struck. Being able to catch the fish in U.K. waters is just one part of the equation. Just as important is securing tariff-free access to the EU market to ensure there is sufficient demand and so that fisheries can therefore maximize the value of their catch.  This is not to say we should be dismissive of the political, cultural and regional concerns around fishing. Over a long period, the Common Fisheries Policy has not worked for the U.K. fishing industry, while it has also been slow to reform and address very real concerns around the sustainability of fish stocks.  But it is now time to take the win. There is a deal to be done. Both sides should step back from the brink and realize that this is a sensible outcome for both sides.  Press play to listen to this article Second, it would secure the roughly £100m worth of fish which U.K. vessels currently catch in EU waters. So, while increasing the volume and value of fish caught in by U.K. vessels in U.K. waters, this deal also secures what U.K. vessels catch in EU waters – meaning a significant net gain (and indeed no loss) for U.K. fishermen. LONDON — There are now only 10 days before the end of the transition period and the U.K. and EU are still at loggerheads over what comes next. This proposal would bring a number of direct and indirect benefits.  At a time when both the U.K. and the EU are facing huge health and economic challenges from an unprecedented global pandemic, failing to reach an agreement on their future trading terms would be a damning political and diplomatic failure for all involved. Even more so if the agreement were to founder on the issue of fishing.  These are not numbers to be sniffed at. They will help secure the revival of the fishing industry in the U.K., and do so in a sustainable way. It has been noted many times that the U.K. fishing industry cannot and will not simply grow overnight. Since 1990 the number of fishermen employed in the U.K. has fallen by close to 50 percent. No matter what approach is taken, it will take time for U.K. boats and fishermen to be ready and able to catch more fish in U.K. waters (and EU waters too for that matter).  It will see the U.K. leave the single market; leave the customs union; end free movement of people; end the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice in the U.K.; ensure no ongoing regulatory alignment with EU rules and leave the U.K. free to strike trade deals with any country it wishes. There is no doubt this fully delivers on the referendum result — by any definition. Second, the two sides disagree on the exact amount of quota share for EU vessels in U.K. waters at the end of this transition. The U.K. wants to see a 60 percent cut in the share of fish caught by EU vessels in U.K. waters. The EU wants to see a 25 percent cut.  First, it would see a significant increase in the proportion of fish caught in U.K. waters by U.K. boats and landed in the U.K. That would be a sea change compared with now. Currently, U.K. vessels catch around 40 percent of fish in UK waters in volume terms and 55 percent in value terms. This proposal would see over two-thirds of the value of fish caught in U.K. waters being caught by U.K. vessels. This increase would probably be worth over £140m to the U.K. fishing industry, in terms of the value of the catch.  But, even at this late stage, I believe there is a way through which works for both sides.  Furthermore, the overall free-trade agreement will include a termination clause. If in future, the U.K. attempted to cut the EU’s quota share in U.K. waters too far, the EU would always retain the right to notify termination of the agreement (which would likely trigger negotiations on all issues including fish). Through these mechanisms, a link between fishing and the wider agreement is retained without creating huge levels of uncertainty every time fish is re-discussed.  Voiced by Amazon Polly We should also step back and look at the wider deal on the table. Finally, coming back to fishing, the outcome set out above is a world away from the EU’s original proposal of trying to lock in the status quo indefinitely. I will be the first to say that such an approach was entirely unreasonable and indeed resulted in EU member states and fishermen having unrealistic hopes of what could be achieved by any fair and balanced deal. But, while it has taken some time, the EU has moved a long way from its original position.  In fact, I have been surprised and impressed by what the U.K. negotiating team have been able to achieve. The prime minister, his lead negotiator David Frost and the U.K. negotiating team deserve a lot of credit for their perseverance, especially under uniquely difficult circumstances this year.  It is not sensible for the entire trade agreement to be reopened every time fishing quotas are negotiated. This would create huge uncertainty for businesses across both economies every few years. Equally though, it is clear the EU are unlikely to agree to have no link between fishing and trade going forward. last_img read more

Cooper: Doctor-patient relations cause health disparities

first_imgIn the United States, a black man can expect to die, on average, 10 years earlier than his white counterpart. For black women, that racial gap in life expectancy is five years.Similar disparities along racial and ethnic lines are manifest in rates of illness and infant mortality.“It’s no secret this has been going on for centuries,” said Liberian-born physician and health care researcher Lisa A. Cooper, a Johns Hopkins University professor of medicine. She explored how health care disparities arise out of the doctor-patient relationship in the first talk in the 2008-09 Dean’s Lecture Series at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study.“Eliminating Disparities in Healthcare: The Role of Healthcare Professionals” — with an audience of 75 listening in at the Radcliffe Gymnasium — was also the first of the institute’s traditional science lectures.Cooper contributed to the Institute of Medicine’s landmark 2003 report, “Unequal Treatment: Confronting Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health Care.”Scientists, policymakers, and social scientists have debated the origins of health care disparities for years. Biological differences took center stage for a while, she said, along with class, income, and environmental factors like crowding and pollutants.There were also debates about the effects of stress and discrimination on health care disparities, and behaviors related to exercise and diet.Now at the forefront, said Cooper, are two newer issues: access to health care, and the quality of health care. How are those influenced by race and ethnicity?That question gets to the heart of Cooper’s scholarly pursuits as a social scientist. She and her team of researchers acknowledge the traditional barriers to care, including long-distance travel or gaps in insurance coverage.But they expanded the list of barriers to include cultural beliefs, language, and literacy. She asked, How “culturally competent” are health care providers? How well do they communicate? And what about bias and stereotyping that might — even unconsciously — affect the quality of health care?The Institute of Medicine report surveyed decades of literature on health care disparities. It concluded that clinical care for all races was equal, said Cooper, but that disparities in health outcomes were still “pervasive” — for every illness, every patient population (young, old, male, female, urban, rural), and for every level of care, from expensive acute care to relatively inexpensive preventive care.Her conclusion: We need to study more closely what happens between a doctor and a patient. There have been many investigations of “technical care” in medicine, said Cooper, but few studies of “interpersonal care.”Prompted by the gaps in research, Cooper and her team in the past few years have used a variety of ways to penetrate and examine what happens in those little rooms where a patient and a doctor meet and talk.One of Cooper’s early studies was conducted over the telephone. With the agreement of 65 doctors in 32 primary care practices in Maryland and the District of Columbia, more than 1,800 patients — roughly half white and half black — were surveyed about their perceptions of choice, control, and personal responsibility during consultations with doctors.Not surprisingly, the better the communication, the better the health outcomes. Cooper also uncovered a factor that has emerged in every study since: “racial concordance.” The more a patient identifies with a doctor racially (and visa versa), the better the perception of health care, and the better the health care outcomes.A later study used audiotapes to probe doctor-patient interactions. Researchers timed the visits, and measured factors like tone of voice and the speed of talk (faster is more aggressive). Among the findings: White doctors seem less interested and more hurried with patients of a different race. But “race-concordant” visits were longer, involved slower speech, and involved “a more positive emotional tone,” said Cooper.Was something else going on?Maybe. Cooper was the first researcher to measure implicit bias among doctors, and then blend those findings with how they were perceived by their patients. She measured bias she called so “unconscious” as to be “unavailable to introspection.”Cooper used a modified version of the Implicit Association Test (IAT), developed at Harvard’s Project Implicit. The Web-based test, requiring a rapid-fire pairing of images and words, is the brainchild of Harvard social psychologist Mahzarin Banaji.The bottom line: Despite professed liberal preferences, the doctors scored with the general U.S. population. Around 70 percent revealed preferences for same-race interactions.“There hasn’t been a lot of work in this area at all,” said Cooper, who called for more research on the cultural and racial friction that may negatively affect health care.“You can’t necessarily change an unconscious attitude,” she said. “But you can change what you do about it.”Doctors need better communications skills, Cooper said. Clinical practices need to build more time into visits, for the sake of doctor-patient rapport. And — somehow, she added — more minorities have to be drawn into health care practice.last_img read more

Kruger loses three rhinos on 1 January

first_img9 January 2013 South Africa’s fight against rhino poaching was dealt an early blow in 2013, with three rhinos killed in the Kruger National Park on the first day of the new year. All three rhinos were shot dead and dehorned on 1 January, according to Kruger National Park managing executive Abe Sibiya. “In the first incident, two white rhino were shot and killed on the Houtboschrand section of the Kruger National Park,” Sibiya said on Wednesday. “Indications are that the two animals were shot on January 1 by a poaching group from Mozambique. Their horns were removed and the group escaped.” He said a hunting rifle and two sets of horns were recovered. In the second incident, rangers deployed in the Lower Sabie area of the park made contact with a group of three poachers. “Shots were exchanged and the three managed to escape, but left behind a high calibre hunting rifle and a bag containing a set of rhino horns. In a follow-up operation, the carcass of a white rhino with horns missing was discovered,” Sibiya said. “This is not an ideal way to start the year, but the initiatives that we have put in place, especially the aerial surveillance one, are teaching us a lot and we are making a lot of progress.” No arrests have been made and police investigations are continuing. According to the South African National Parks statistics, a total of 633 rhinos were killed for their horns in South Africa in 2012. The Kruger National Park lost 395 rhinos to poaching in the same period. The North West, KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo provinces collectively accounted for the loss of 197 rhinos in 2012. Source: read more

LinkedIn to Open Up – How It Can Take On Facebook

first_imgAlex concluded (and remember this was mid-January, before Facebook announced its open platform in May):Today Facebook is much more about interactions and staying in touch – on a practical basis – daily. LinkedIn is about staying connected over longer periods of time and leveraging business connections for business purposes. It seems to us that LinkedIn needs to evolve more towards the Facebook model, where people can interact more on the site via profiles. Unlike Facebook, the interactions between individuals on LinkedIn cannot be open to all – but the idea that people interact on the site is important, because this is what keeps them coming back.What do you think about LinkedIn and how it can compete with the increasingly powerful Facebook? 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Tags:#Analysis#web Related Posts Dan Farber talked to LinkedIn founder and Chairman Reid Hoffman on Friday at the Supernova 2007 conference, and was told that over the next 9 months LinkedIn will deliver APIs for developers. It seems that LinkedIn has been hurried onto this open track due to the hype surrounding Facebook’s new open platform. Dan also reports that LinkedIn wants to “create a way for users who spend more time socially in Facebook to get LinkedIn notifications.” Nick O’Neill has a post discussing the ramifications.Of course I agree that opening its platform to developers is the best (the only?) way for LinkedIn to take its service to the next level. Interestingly Alex Iskold wrote about this back in January, and his post then is well worth re-visiting now.Alex first analyzed LinkIn’s current features, then he suggested some new ones that LinkedIn, or external developers via APIs, might want to introduce:Notably absent are features that let the users feel the network. For example, it would be great to see a visualization of all of my connections as a network; and on a map. It would be also great to be able to explore my network, using a visualization technique like Thinkmap. Another more subtle thing that is missing from LinkedIn is the strength of the relationship. Not all of my connections are equal, some are much stronger than others. This is a very valuable piece of information that can help a lot with things like lead generation. It is not easy to capture the strength of the relationship, but even a trivial heuristic like ‘number of times I’ve clicked on someone’s profile’ would be a good start. richard macmanus Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic…last_img read more

Real-World Lessons from Hostage Situations

first_imgLate in August 2017, on a trendy stretch of one of America’s most iconic streets—King St. in Charleston, SC—a fired dishwasher returned to the restaurant where he had worked and shot and killed a former coworker. Announcing, “There’s a new boss in town,” he took another person hostage for several hours until police shot the suspect, critically wounding him.Active shooter events are more common, but workplace hostage situations do occur. In a recent security industry webinar, representatives from the Arapahoe County (CO) Sheriff’s Office said it’s important for an organization’s active shooter planning and training to account for the possibility of a hostage scenario. The two are closely linked, they noted. Hostage events can become active shooting incidents and, conversely, active shooting events can become hostage situations.[text_ad use_post=’125303′]- Sponsor – Although it’s often left out of active shooter training, the officers said it’s important for company protection leaders to cover the actions employees should take in a hostage scenario. They said it’s critical to stress the distinction between the two types of events because how employees respond—and whether they remain safe—depends on it.Trying to escape during an active shooting may be lifesaving, but during a hostage situation, it is likely to cause a situation that is typically resolved peacefully to turn deadly.Some training points:The longer the situation goes on, the better the likelihood that law enforcement will resolve it. Do not lose hope.Do not speak unless spoken to; don’t argue; don’t make suggestions. Do not antagonize the hostage-taker.Make eye contact unless told not to. It’s harder for a hostage-taker to hurt someone with whom they’ve made eye contact.Leave if threatened and told to leave. A store manager should not insist on staying with other hostages, for example.Be observant. If released, you may be able to provide law enforcement with useful information.Try to remain calm. If a hostage-taker is armed with a “bomb,” keep in mind that such devices are typically designed to instill fear and are not usually capable of causing great harm and are typically not as dangerous as victims are likely to think.When rescued, be aware that you may be placed in handcuffs until everyone is identified.Real-World Lessons from Hostage SituationsFrom actual hostage-taking incidents, including one at Discovery Channel when a radical environmentalist, angry at its programming, took several employees hostage at its corporate offices, here are some additional actions that retailers might consider.Conduct annual evacuation drills at main corporate offices, have a defined process for sending out timely communication with instructions on how to exit the building, and pre-assign to each floor a captain to lead emergency evacuations. A representative from Discovery Communications said its staff’s proper execution of the building evacuation plan was critical to keeping staff out of harm’s way.Think about how you would be able to watch and share video from inside your building. Discovery’s security team was able to make live video from internal building surveillance cameras available for police to watch during the course of the siege, information that helped law enforcement successfully conclude the incident. (The suspect was killed, and no hostage was injured.)Keep a record of threats and assess the need to investigate. If a disgruntled customer sends a retailer a threatening note, he or she may just be blowing off steam. But it could also be a precursor to something more serious.In the incident at Discovery Channel, company personnel were aware of the individual who took hostages at their office building. Two years prior, the man was arrested for creating a disturbance outside the building, and had been instructed by a court that he would be jailed for up to 60 days if he came within 500 feet of the building. He also had published a manifesto listing his “demands” regarding the channel’s television programming.After the incident, a Discovery spokesman told the Washington Post that the company was “aware of him but did not take his threats seriously.” Andrew Milne, senior counsel at Garson Claxton LLC, told the Washington Business Journal that companies should maintain a record of any hateful comments by people with issues toward a company or its employees. If you don’t maintain records of such communications, it’s impossible to identify when an individual is persistent or when animosity appears to be escalating, he said.Provide LP and store managers with de-escalation training—it can be critically important. In a hostage event at a community hospital near Fort Stewart in Savannah, GA, staff response was vital in the peaceful resolution of a hostage crisis. Two hostage victims, a nurse practitioner and a technician, were credited with calming the gunman until professional hostage negotiators arrived.“Working together, they maintained the situation, kept the gunman out of the territory where he could harm someone else, and bought time for someone else to get there,” Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Phillips, a senior Fort Stewart commander, told the Associated Press.This post was originally published in 2017 and was updated September 4, 2018. Stay UpdatedGet critical information for loss prevention professionals, security and retail management delivered right to your inbox.  Sign up nowlast_img read more

4 days agoEx-Inter Milan president Moratti: I’d re-sign LA Galaxy striker Ibrahimovic

first_imgTagsTransfersAbout the authorCarlos VolcanoShare the loveHave your say Ex-Inter Milan president Moratti: I’d re-sign LA Galaxy striker Ibrahimovicby Carlos Volcano4 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveFormer Inter Milan president Massimo Moratti says he’d re-sign LA Galaxy striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic.Inter need a new striker after losing Alexis Sanchez to a three-month injury layoff.“Maybe I’d have done something so crazy,” Moratti, referring to Ibra, told Sport Mediaset.“Having said that, there’s a balance that needs maintaining and the players already there have to be respected.“In these cases, all these situations have to be considered.” last_img read more

Video: Michigan Fan Pops Champagne Before Final Play vs. Michigan State, Loses His Mind After Loss

first_imgMichigan fans pops a champagne bottle.YouTube/amskowr1It has been a few weeks since Michigan’s devastating loss to rival Michigan State, so some Michigan fans are coming to terms with things now. It took a while, but maybe the craziest reaction to the loss has hit the internet, via Reddit. With the game appearing to be in hand, an excited Michigan fan (who is stripped down to his underwear, for whatever reason) pops a bottle of champagne. Unfortunately, we now know that he was just a bit premature with the celebration. After Michigan State’s fateful touchdown on the final play, he and his friends absolutely freak out. He also slips and falls on the spilled champagne. The video is quite ‘not safe for work’ for language.A Redditor claiming to be the fan in the yellow shirt answers some questions in the thread about the video.michigan champagneWe can’t really hold the reaction against them. That game was insane. Remember though, everyone, keep the cork in the bottle until the clock hits zero.[Reddit]last_img read more

Algoma Nova Partner Up on ShortSea DryBulk Shipping

first_imgzoom Canadian Algoma Central Corporation and Switzerland-based Nova Marine Carriers have set up a new joint venture that will focus on short-sea dry-bulk shipping for global markets.The JV operating as NovaAlgoma Short-Sea Carriers (NASC) is a 50/50 joint venture between Algoma and Nova Marine Holdings Limited (Nova), the parent company of Nova Marine Carriers.NASC was formed by Nova as an October 31, 2016 carve-out from the deep sea dry-bulk freight business operated by Nova Marine Carriers S.A. In accordance with its agreement with Algoma, Nova has transferred all short-sea commercial contracts to NASC and transferred its interest in NASC and its interests in any dry-bulk vessels of less than 15,000 dwt to a newly formed entity, NovaAlgoma Short-Sea Holding Limited (NASH), as disclosed by Algoma.To complete this transaction, Algoma said that it has acquired a 50% interest in NASH from Nova. At closing, Algoma acquired an interest in the NASC commercial platform and its book of business and an interest in a fleet of 15 short-sea mini bulkers ranging in size from 5,750 dwt to 14,700 dwt.Six of these vessels are wholly owned by NASH and the company has a 50% interest in the remaining nine vessels. In addition to the vessels owned by NASH, NASC currently manages a fleet of 57 short-sea vessels on behalf of other owners, bringing the total fleet to 72 vessels. In addition, NASC is an active charterer of vessels as required to meet the commercial needs of its book of business.“While the vessels we operate in our domestic fleet are considerably larger, our Great Lakes dry-bulk business is a short-sea business and we share many customers and operating principles with global short-sea markets,” Ken Bloch Soerensen, President and CEO of Algoma said.“The global short-sea market is slowly recovering after several challenging years,” said Vincenzo Romeo, Chief Executive Officer of Nova, “but is still in need of further consolidation. Furthermore, it is obvious that both customers and ship owners are seeking commercial partners with the financial strength to meet their need for high quality service and dependability. “The joint venture will be based in Lugano, Switzerland and has offices in Rotterdam and Sofia.The duo said that they have already identified commercial and other synergies between NASC and Algoma, including opportunities to capitalize on prospects to develop mini bulker business within the Canadian market.In January of 2016, Nova and Algoma created NovaAlgoma Cement Carriers (NACC), a joint venture focused on pneumatic cement carrying freighters and servicing global manufacturers of cement products. According to Algoma, NACC has grown to a fleet of nine operating vessels from its initial three ships with three more under construction or in the planning stage.last_img read more

MMIWG Commissioners clarify powers at Membertou hearings

first_img(Commissioners Qajaq Robinson, middle, and Michele Audette, right, speak with reporters in Membertou Tuesday. Photo: Tom Fennario/APTN)Kathleen MartensAPTN NewsCommissioners at the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls clarified their powers Tuesday on the eve of releasing an interim report into their work of the past 14 months.“Our mandate prohibits us from opening cases and investigating them,” said Qajaq Robinson in Membertou, N.S.“That being said, where new information is brought before us we do have the authority to refer this information to the appropriate authorities.”Robinson and Michele Audette spoke to reporters on the second of three days of public hearings scheduled for Atlantic Canada.The mandated interim report will be released in Ottawa Wednesday and mark the half-way point for the commission appointed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.The government has been told it can expect a request for an extension after commissioners complained of a slow start due to personnel, equipment and funding issues.“You’re right, this is a challenge in trying to explain and do what we can with what we have,” Robinson added.Hearings began in September as part of what the inquiry calls the “truth-gathering” phase.Commissioners are listening to families and survivors in “trauma-informed” ways during public and private sessions.They plan to hear from community, police and government officials during the next phase.“We have that capacity to request more information – not to reopen the case – I want to be clear here — but to understand what went wrong,” said Audette.After a slow start momentum is building, they added, noting about 900 people have shown interest in giving testimony across Canada.In the Atlantic region alone that number is now at 120, leading Robinson to pledge more hearings.“It is our intention to get to the other Maritime provinces as well,” she said.The commissioners have orders-in-councils for all provinces and territories and the federal government, giving them the power to compel witnesses and make sweeping recommendations.But the results will be non-binding.“There will be tangible actions that each province and territory and federal government can take as a result of what we learn,” Robinson said, adding it will be up to voters to make sure politicians follow them.“It is the beauty and the complexity of this inquiry,” noted Audette, “that having those 14 jurisdictions gives us the authority of asking questions or investigating or examining.”Critics wonder how the $54-million budget is being spent. APTN News is still waiting for a financial breakdown it requested when the inquiry was in Winnipeg.And it sounds like the Inquiry is still having trouble getting the word out about what it is doing and where.“There’s been a lot of confusion about the pre-Inquiry (sessions) and our process,” said Robinson. “The pre-Inquiry was run by INAC and was separate from this.  We didn’t get lists of names, we didn’t get phone numbers, so attending those pre-Inquiry sessions did not mean that you’re registered automatically for the national inquiry, which is really unfortunate.”That’s why some families are waiting for a call that will never come – so Robinson encouraged them to contact the Inquiry.“We had no means to connect to them. We weren’t given names, phone numbers, contact information.“She says they’ve been trying to find as many of them as possible.“I apologize that the connection wasn’t made, that that information wasn’t shared with us but please come.“The Inquiry is due to wrap up at the end of December 2018, without an extension from the government.Contact Kathleen here: [email protected]last_img read more