Thomas’s ‘pilot project’ sounds great from here . . . Hockey gang coming through again; Sopotyk fund tops 100 grand

It seems so simple in theory . . . make semi-truck driving a trade, just like plumbing and electrical work and heavy-duty mechanic. If someone wants to be a truck driver, they would have to attend a trade school, one like Saskatchewan Polytechnic, aka SIAST, or the Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies (SIIT). . . . Candidates would be eligible for student loans.

Why not? Are there any politicians out there who are paying attention?

As Scott Thomas puts it: “The trucking industry needs to have its drivers treated with more respect.”

You will recall that Thomas’s son, Evan, died in the crash involving the Humboldt Broncos’ bus almost three years ago. In the aftermath, Scott has been advocating for changes to driver training, including turning it into a trade, something that he refers to at the moment as a “pilot project.”

Jaskirat Singh Sidhu, who was driving the truck that pulled into the path of the Broncos’ bus at a highway intersection, is serving an eight-year sentence and is eligible to apply for parole in September. Thomas has been in email contact with Sidhu and his family, and, in fact, has written in support of Sidhu not being deported.

“Jaskirat Sidhu took his semi drivers job as a second job to put his wife through dental hygiene school,” Thomas says. “No one should have a second job as a semi-driver operating in a part of the world he has never been before. His second job should have been selling 50/50 tickets at a Flames game, not in charge of a lethal weapon rolling down a highway!”

As Thomas has pointed out time and again, the trucking industry “needs federal regulation just as our rail lines and skies are federally regulated . . . our highways should be as well for commercial trucking purposes.”

The point, of course, is to increase accountability in the trucking industry and to make our highways safer.

I happen to agree wholeheartedly with Thomas. I live on a plateau a couple of km north of the Trans-Canada Highway just east of Kamloops. I can see the highway from our back deck and the eye test tells me that truck traffic has really, really increased over the past few years.

So all Thomas needs now is for a courageous politician or two or three to throw their support behind this “pilot project” and get things rolling.

Surely there are some of those out there, aren’t there?


Sopotyk
Kyrell Sopotyk: Zamboni driver.

The GoFundMe page that was started on Sunday afternoon in support of Kyrell Sopotyk and his family has surpassed $100,000. Sopotyk, 19, played two seasons (2018-20) with the WHL’s Kamloops Blazers. From Aberdeen, Sask., he was left paralyzed following a snowboarding accident on Friday at Table Mountain, which is near North Battleford. . . . The GoFundMe page was started by Kathleen Zary, the mother of Blazers F Connor Zary, who has been friends with Sopotyk since they were youngsters. . . .

On Nov. 25, Jon Keen, the Blazers’ play-by-play voice, tweeted that he had asked Sopotyk what he was up to during the pandemic. The response: “I’m working at the rink in Aberdeen. You get ice whenever you want and I get to drive the Zamboni.” Sopotyk even supplied Keen with photographic evidence that he, indeed, got to drive the Zamboni. . . .

As of Monday, 10 p.m. PT, 1,268 people had donated $129,274. The GoFundMe page is right here.


Opinion


As the AHL gets ready to begin play next week, it has become obvious that the Calder Cup that goes to the winner of its playoff champion won’t be awarded for a second straight season. . . . Instead, the league reportedly will feature the top four teams in each division meeting in best-of-three series to decide division champions. Those ‘playoffs’ will last a week. . . . What this means, of course, is that the AHL season is being held for developmental reasons only. . . . That is exactly the purpose of the WHL’s decision to “commit” to a 24-game schedule. It isn’t at all concerned with declaring a champion; it is all about playing games for developmental purposes.


Judy Battista of nfl.com posted an interesting story on Monday. It starts with this . . .

“A paper published Monday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated that during the season, the NFL found that transmission of the virus that causes COVID-19 occurred in less than 15 minutes of cumulative contact between individuals — the timeframe the CDC initially used in its definition of close contact. That led the NFL to redefine what made a close contact high risk — factors like masking and ventilation — findings that the CDC and the NFL hope will be broadly applicable to the public to limit the spread of the virus, especially in schools, long-term care facilities and high-density essential workplaces, like manufacturing centers.” . . . The complete piece is right here.


Clint


THE COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

CBC News — Manitoba reports 113 new COVID-19 cases, 5 more deaths.

CBC News — Sask. reports 239 new COVID-19 cases and 1 more death. Province aims to vaccinate all nursing home workers and residents by end of March.

CBC News — 2,000 students from two Edmonton high schools are being sent home due to COVID-19. More than 700 students and staff already in quarantine.

Richard Zussman, Global BC — There are 1,344 new cases of COVID in BC over 3 days. That is from Fri to Sat 527 new cases, Sat to Sun 471 new cases, Sun to Mon 346 cases, There has been a total of 64,828 cases in BC. . . . There are 328 people in hospital with COVID, up 13. There 68 in ICU, down 6. . . . There have been 26 additional COVID deaths over the past 3 days. There have been 1,154 deaths in BC due to COVID-19.

Richard Zussman, Global BC — The sense I am getting from this briefing is there is nothing more many people can give in the fight against COVID. And that is what makes this so terrible. The majority of people in BC are fighting the battle for those unwilling (or unable) to change their behaviour.

CBC News — Ontario is reporting 1,958 new cases of COVID-19, including 727 cases in Toronto, 365 in Peel and 157 in York Region.

CBC News — Quebec is reporting 1,203 new cases of COVID-19. The province is also reporting 43 additional deaths, 12 of which occurred in the last 24 hours.

CBC News — N.B. reports 27 new cases of COVID-19 and one more death.

CBC News — No new cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Nova Scotia. The number of known active cases in the province is down to 15, the lowest number since early November. No one is in hospital because of the virus.

CBC News — N.L., with no new COVID-19 cases for 3rd straight day, eyes St-Pierre-Miquelon outbreak.

CBC News — Nunavut is reporting 2 new cases of COVID-19, both in Arviat, for a total of 17 known active cases in the territory. A news release from the Nunavut government says: ‘All individuals are asymptomatic, doing well and are isolating.’

Public Health Agency of Canada, Monday, 4 p.m. PT — Total cases: 753,011 . . . Active cases: 62,447 . . . Deaths: 19,338.

CNN, Monday, 2 p.m. PT — 25.2 million people in the United States have tested positive for coronavirus.

CNN, Monday, 2 p.m. PT — 420,000 people in the United States have died from coronavirus.

——

The U of Alabama-Huntsville hockey team has postponed games scheduled for Thursday and Friday at Minnesota State. AUH next is scheduled to play on Feb. 5 and 6. . . .

The NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes, with six players on the COVID-19 protocol list, now have had four games postponed. The latest game to be scrubbed was scheduled for tonight (Tuesday) against the visiting Tampa Bay Lightning. . . . You will recall that the Dallas Stars, who played their first game on Friday, lost their first four games to postponements after having 17 players test positive during training camp. . . .

The NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks have placed F Alex DeBrincat and D Adam Boqvist to the COVID-19 protocol list. . . .

The U of Michigan shut down all athletics programs for at least two weeks over the weekend. On Monday, the U of Maine announced that it was pausing all of its athletic teams at least through Feb. 4. . . .

The NBA postponed Monday’s game that was to have the San Antonio Spurs playing the Pelicans in New Orleans. Neither team would have had eight players available for the game. . . . The NBA now has had to postpone 22 games. . . . Kawhi Leonard and Paul George of the Los Angeles Clippers won’t play tonight (Tuesday) against the Atlanta Hawks due to protocols. ESPN reported that the two didn’t travel to Atlanta with the team on Monday. Interestingly, both played in a 108-100 victory over the Oklahoma City Heat on Sunday.

The Colorado College Tigers men’s hockey team has had a player test positive so its weekend series against the Denver Pioneers has been scratched. . . .

The Interlake Minor Hockey Association, which is based in the Interlake region of Manitoba, has cancelled its 2020-21 season. “Unfortunately,” the association said in making the announcement, “this is not at all what any of us were hoping for, but it is what it is and we can only move forward from here and start looking towards next season.”


——

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Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


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One thought on “Thomas’s ‘pilot project’ sounds great from here . . . Hockey gang coming through again; Sopotyk fund tops 100 grand”

  1. I always enjoy your column, dating back to when you started at the Leader Post. Very good points on the trucking industry, living in Chicago now, to be honest, Canadian truckers don’t really have a reputation for being great drivers (the shortest way across Canada goes through Minneapolis, Chicago, and Detroit before re-entering at Windsor, after heading south from Winnipeg). The problem is finding those politicians who will step out and think for themselves. A friend said “Independent thought is dead” in reference to politics. In other words, you just go along with what the leader of your party says. This is a problem in both countries right now. I live in the US, as you probably have figured out who this is (Nebraska), and grew up in Canada. I also lived in Ontario for a few years recently, and contracted Chronic Lyme Disease, which can not be treated by MDs in Canada. People are dying over this, I’ve met two people in person who lost a family member or close friend (the latter was in her 20s) because they could not get care in Canada. I have been writing politicians in regards to this for some time, but I literally have gotten no response. I really miss the days when you could send a letter and expect some kind of response.

    Like

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