News

1. New street checks almost the same as the old

Stephen Kimber writes how even after a ban on street checks and an apology from the police chief, the practice still goes on. As former police officer Maurice Carvery says, “they haven’t stopped; they only changed.”

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2. Alton Gas

That Alton gas site. Photo: Philip Moscovitch

Jennifer Henderson wrote this item.

Nova Scotia Supreme Court Justice John Bodhurtha has dismissed a motion by Sipekne’katik to allow new evidence in the First Nation’s appeal of Environment Minister Margaret Miller’s decision — made four years ago — to approve the development of underground salt caverns to store natural gas.

The First Nation’s appeal will be heard February 18 and 19 in Nova Scotia Supreme Court. Sipekne’katik fears that brine released into the Shubenacadie River from the operation poses a risk to fish and human health.

Several studies by Dalhousie University researchers, as well as an independent study commissioned by the Assembly of Nova Scotia Chiefs, have stated the brine can be safely flushed if the process does not exceed the river’s current salinity levels and it respects the striped bass spawning seasons.

Judge Bodhurtha’s ruling means Sipekne’katik cannot introduce new evidence at next month’s appeal, which is focused on whether the province fulfilled its duty to consult adequately with the First Nation before approving the Alton Project. Sipekne’katik’s lawyer Ray Larkin had wanted the court’s permission to introduce an affidavit from Jennifer Copage, the consultation coordinator for the band, who stated she was “overwhelmed and under-resourced” between 2013-2019 when she was the contact between the First Nation and the provincial government.

Copage said her caseload (with Sipekne’katik, as well as with other First Nations) grew from 60 to 133 active consultations during the period 2015-2018. She says that affected her “capacity” to ensure that consultation between the province and Sipekne’katik was meaningful.

“Our motion to Justice Bodhurtha was to add to the record an affidavit showing that Sipekne’katik did not have adequate resources to engage in the consultation as it needed,” said lawyer Ray Larkin in an email. “The court rejected admitting that additional evidence.”

Here is how Justice Bodhurtha described his primary reason for dismissing the motion and ordering Sipekne’katik to pay all legal costs:

In the circumstances of this case, the admission of new evidence on an issue that is not new, relating to time periods that have already been extensively litigated over, should not be admitted simply on the grounds that it falls within the scope of the duty to consult. To allow the admission of new evidence would usurp the jurisdiction of the decision maker and turn the statutory appeal into a trial de novo [new trial]. In many instances where the duty of the Crown is the issue, applying an expansive approach to new evidence will be appropriate, but this is not one of those instances. The existing record is sufficient for the issue on appeal.”

Alton lawyer Robert Grant argued that the attempt to introduce the affidavit that covered previously disclosed facts amounted to an “abuse of process by re-litigation.”

Sipekne’katik lawyer Ray Larkin says the appeal of the minister’s decision will go ahead despite Justice Bodhurtha’s refusal to admit the most recent statement from Copage. “The appeal is based on the overall adequacy of the Crown consultation and seeks to have the brining permit quashed and an order made requiring the province to engage in consultation and accommodation with Sipekne’katik over any new proposed environmental approval,” explained Larkin in an email to the Examiner.

The reason it has taken four years to get to this point is because of a decision in January 2017 by now retired Supreme Court Justice Suzanne Hood. She quashed a decision by then-Environment Minister Margaret Miller, who had rejected an appeal request. Judge Hood ordered the minister to re-visit her decision because she had not followed the proper procedure in sharing all relevant documents with Sipekne’katik.

This past April, Miller stuck with her original decision to deny the band’s request for an appeal of Alton’s environmental approval. That led to Sipekne’katik asking the Supreme Court for a judicial review of the minister’s decision, which is scheduled for next month.

Meanwhile, Alton is unable to proceed with the project due to the legal manoeuvring and another lengthy wait for a new federal regulation that will allow the company to flush brine (exempting it from classification as a “deleterious substance”) into the Shubenacadie River. Alton Gas spokesperson Lori MacLean said that regulatory process should begin sometime this year.

“The notice of intent for the proposed regulation indicates publishing in the Canada Gazette Part 1 in 2020 followed by a public comment period,” said MacLean in an email. “Here is the information as posted: https://www.canada.ca/en/environment-climate-change/services/managing-pollution/effluent-regulations-fisheries-act/alton-natural-gas-storage-proposed.html

“The starting point for Alton is no harm to the Shubenacadie from project construction or operations,” continued MacLean. “Alton proposes to release brine into a tidal estuary with high ranges of salinity with the tide and rainfall. The brine release process will be closely monitored by regulators including Nova Scotia Environment, the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans, and Environment and Climate Change Canada.”

None of that impresses three Mi’kmaq women who continue to oppose the development. On April 27, Darlene Gilbert, Madonna Bernard, and Paula Isaac will answer contempt of court charges for failing to obey an order that prohibits trespassing at the Alton worksite. The three women claim they have a role and a right to be there as traditional Mi’kmaq water-protectors and Grassroots Grandmothers.

3. Woman files lawsuit over mishandling of rape case

Halifax Regional Police Chief Dan Kinsella announced an internal review into the investigation of a rape case from 2018. Now the survivor, Carrie Low, is filing a lawsuit over the mishandling of the case. Photo: Zane Woodford

Carrie Low, the Halifax woman who says her rape case was mishandled by the HRP and RCMP, is filing a lawsuit, reports Maggie Rahr with CBC.

Low says she was raped by two men after being abducted outside a bar in Dartmouth in May 2018. She reported to police but there were delays, miscommunications and problems with paperwork. Low was also never contacted about an internal review of the investigation that was ordered by chief Dan Kinsella.

Low also learned more information on her case from its lead investigator, who says he tried to investigate but was told to shut down the probe. He was also moved out of the sexual assault team. Low says that investigator believed her “from Day 1.”

And he tried his hardest to investigate, even around supervisors telling him not to. He would push for things, he was doing everything he could for me. And he was being gaslit by his own department.

Low’s lawyers say that investigator has been off on sick leave since and has symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.

4. Feds end negotiations on Owls Head land

Owls Head provincial park. Map: Province of NS

On Saturday, Michael Gorman at CBC reported that the feds ended talks that could have meant the sale of a portion of the Crown land at Owls Head Park to Lighthouse Links (that portion is 17 hectares on which the lighthouse is located). That was good news for those working to protect the park, including Chris Miller, executive director of the Nova Scotia branch of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, who says the province should also stop negotiations for another 285 hectares of land, although he says he doesn’t trust the province to do so.

Yesterday there was a public meeting in Ship Harbour over the delisting and possible sale of the Owls Head Park on the Eastern Shore.

There was no live feed of the meeting (no high-speed internet in the area), but the Eastern Shore Cooperator will have a recording of the meeting on its website some time today.

There are a few very active Facebook groups following the issue, particularly the community responses, including Save Little Harbour/Owls Head Nova Scotia from Becoming a Golf Course, the Eastern Shore Cooperator, and Highway 7 Online-Eastern Shore Nova Scotia.

On Sunday, before the public meeting, MP Sean Fraser shared a long Facebook post on the issue. Fraser says he wants to know if the project can be pursued in an environmentally responsible way and shared a list of questions he’d like answered.

⁃ the development is entirely exclusive to the conservation interest that is being pursued (such as the protection of piping plovers and migratory birds);
⁃ it is possible to identify which lands are most sensitive and protect those portions while allowing portions of lower ecological value to be included in a development;
⁃ it is possible to establish permanent legal protections for additional (and equally sensitive) lands in the region that would further the conservation agenda that motivates the Canadian Wildlife Service’s interest in the area; and whether
⁃ this project could extend public access to an extraordinary local area that is currently closed off to residents.

Chris Trider, one of the organizers of yesterday’s meeting, responded to Fraser’s post:

Rather than lead with a defence of public accountability, public consultation, transparency and respect for the years of assessments that confirmed the listing of Owl’s Head Provincial Park as a Protected property that dates back to 1975, he chose instead to support the applicant and condemn any criticism of his status. I find myself wondering how much money is in this game for the elected officials who seem to be more willing to bend over backwards to accommodate Mr. Gilbert’s request, rather than defend our democracy.

To anyone who reads this or follows the Save Little Harbour/Owl’s Head Nova Scotia From Becoming A Golf Course group’s page I say beware of elected officials that fail in their duty to defend the rights of every citizen. They are cracks in the wall that let in the darkness of deceit and self interest that kills the light of freedom. The more sweetly worded and conciliatory they sound the more we need to step back and consider what is really being said. Or in the case of Sean Fraser’s missive, what is not being said.

Stop the sale. Protect Owl’s Head Provincial Park.

5. Man in hospital after shooting

A 32-year-old man is in hospital after a shooting in the city’s west end yesterday. CTV reports the shooting happened at Connaught and Chisholm avenues at about 11:30 p.m. The man is in hospital with life-threatening injuries. Police didn’t have any other information on a suspect.

The area was closed off to traffic.


Views

1. Unearthing the history of a city burying ground and park

Stephen Archibald at Halifax Bloggers digs into the history of the Poor House Burying Ground and Grafton Park located at the old library at the corner of Spring Garden and Brunswick Streets. Memorial Library was built on the grounds of the city’s poor house. But there are more burying grounds in the area. Archibald says Dr. Jonathan Fowler, professor of archaeology at Saint Mary’s, estimates there are about 20,000 people buried in sites just beyond the old town wall.

A look at the four burying ground beyond the old town wall where 20,000 could be buried. Photo: Archeology Acadie/Facebook

Archibald looks at how Grafton Park – yes, that’s what that space at the Memorial Library was called — evolved over the years. A wall was built here in 1835. In the 1880s, the wall was replaced with a new fence and the area become a popular park in the summer. That diagonal path that is still used as a shortcut has been there for quite some time.

A parade goes past the fire station near Grafton Park in 1925. Below, a look at Grafton Park today. Photos: Nova Scotia Archives,Tom Connors Collection, 1987-218 no 640.1

Archibald lists his suggestions on how to commemorate the dead who are buried here, including by hosting an annual evening in the park and using the name Grafton Park. Archibald also suggests the city plan for old buildings, like Memorial Library, once they are vacated. And Fowler would like to see an archaeology management plan when there are new developments.

2. No satisfaction with Transportation and Public Works

Friday on Twitter, Matt Spurway tweeted out a screenshot of a citizen survey from the Proposed 2020/21 Transportation and Public Works Budget and Business Plan. The survey covers everything from garbage, recycling, and organics collection to bike lanes and cycling facilities. As Spurway points out, people were less satisfied with each one of these categories in 2019 than they were in 2018. The 2019 numbers for sidewalk maintenance, pedestrian safety, winter maintenance, and street/road maintenance are special standouts.

This TPW satisfaction survey follows five pages of “successes” including the launch of the first 40km/hr residential zone, installation of two temporary and 10 permanent bumpouts, the launching of the winter operations standard reviews, and the purchase of “appropriate equipment for sidewalk snow clearing and updated Winter Operations contracts to require sidewalk clearing and salting simultaneously.”

I went through the entire report for some other interesting bits. Here’s are the numbers for pedestrian collisions that happened in an HRM right of way:

Vehicle and pedestrian collisions:

And a look at the number of potholes in streets and roads in the HRM:

Can’t wait for the numbers for 2020!


Noticed

Just like at the grounds of the Memorial Library, there’s a history of the city that lies underneath the land where the Imperial Oil Refinery once operated. Fort Clarence was once part of the larger network of the city’s forts that included the Citadel, Fort McNab, York Redoubt, and Fort Charlotte on George’s Island. I didn’t know about this site and apparently not many people have heard of it either. But Dartmouth historian and archaeological advocate David Jones has been digging up the history of the fort for the past few years.

It’s become something that’s collectively forgotten by the people of HRM. This is a forgotten part of the Halifax defense complex.

The fort was built in 1754 as the Eastern Battery. In the 1790s it was renamed Fort Clarence by Prince Edward, the Duke of Kent, for his brother the Duke of Clarence.  The fort was upgraded in the 1860s. Imperial Oil purchased the land in 1929 for its Dartmouth refinery. The remainder of the fort was buried over in 1941. Jones says he’s also interested in the human history of the fort, including how people there lived and worked (this is the history of the city I enjoy learning, too).

It was part of the fabric of the Dartmouth, Woodside, and Eastern Passage area.

The infilling of Fort Clarence in 1941. Photos: Dartmouth Heritage Museum

The Dartmouth Heritage Museum has photos of the fort that show much of its walls intact during the infilling in 1941. Jones says he suspects a good deal of the fort is still underground. After other talks he’s given on the fort and its history, former workers from the refinery says they remember large parts of the fort being dug up during construction projects on the land. Jones says he’d like to see an excavation of the site, which could mean small test excavations or digging out the fort completely. His pie-in-the sky ambitions include seeing the fort designated as a national historic site. He also says if Imperial does more work at the site, he’d like to see an excavation done.

Jones is giving a talk on Fort Clarence Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Burke Theatre A at Saint Mary’s University.


Government

City

Monday

Executive Standing Committee (Monday, 10am, City Hall) — the accessibility committee wants to be included in discussions about Uber.

Tuesday

City council (Tuesday, 10am, City Hall) — here’s the agenda.

Province

Monday

No public meetings.

Tuesday

Human Resources (Tuesday, 10am, One Government Place) — a discussion about “Inclusive Education and Agency.”

Committee page here.

Natural Resources and Economic Development (Tuesday, 1pm, One Government Place) — reps from the department of Energy & Mines, the department of Environment, Efficiency Nova Scotia, and the Town of Bridgewater will be talking about Efficiency Nova Scotia.


On campus

Dalhousie

Monday

IDEALaw Conference on Law, Social Activism and the Media (Saturday, 9am, Weldon Law Building) — Register this week for panels and workshops to explore how the media, the law, and activist movements all impact and shape each other. Panels include Environmental Racism and the Media with Chief Andrea Paul, Louise Delisle, and Ingrid Waldron; Sexual Assault and the Media with Angel Moore, Maggie Rahr, Jordan Roberts, and Ardath Wynacht; Youth Justice and the Media with Shawna Hoyt and DeRico Symonds.

More info here and here, register here.

Welcome Reception for Deep Saini (Monday, 8am, Tupper Link) — Dalhousie’s 12th president and vice-chancellor will be feted. Don’t wear black face.

Strategies for Dismantling Racial Fragility within Public Institutions (Monday, 12:30pm, Council Chambers, Student Union Building) — a panel discussion with Ajay Parasram, Alex Khasnabish, Cristina Rojas, Gaynor Watson-Creed, and Rachel Zellars. More info here.

Advances in Ligand Design for Bioinorganic Chemistry Applications (Monday, 1:30pm, Chemistry Room 226) — Tim Storr from Simon Fraser University will talk.

On the difference of energies of a graph and its complement graph (Monday, 3:30pm, Room 319, Chase Building) — S. Ahmad Mojallal from HEC Montréal will talk.

The energy of a graphG, is defined as the sum of the absolute values of all eigen-values ofG. In this talk, we study the difference of energies of a (regular) graphGand its complete graph. In particular, we provide the answer to Problem 12 raisedin [V. Nikiforov, Remarks on the energy of regular graphs, Linear Algebra Appl. 508(2016) 133-145]. Moreover, we give a lower bound for the energy of a regular graphin terms of the order and the clique cover number​.

Tuesday

Thesis Defence, Physics and Atmospheric Science (Tuesday, 9am, Room 3107, Mona Campbell Building) — PhD candidate Hongyang Li will defend “Studies of Ni-Rich Positive Electrode Materials for Lithium Ion Batteries.”

Lindsay Hedden. Photo via sfu.ca

Tier II Canada Research Chair Primary Care Candidate Presentation (Tuesday, 11am, Room C266, Collaborative Health and Education Building) — Lindsay Hedden will present “Measuring capacity and understanding access challenges in longitudinal community-based primary care.”

Welcome Reception for Deep Saini (Tuesday, 2pm, Student Learning Commons, MacRae Library, Agricultural Campus, Truro) — buddy’s gonna look at cows.

Saint Mary’s

Monday

Sophie Scholl (Monday, 6pm, Burke Theatre B) — free film screening in German. Details here.

Tuesday

Field Notes (Tuesday, 5:30pm, LI 135) — students present academic work from their 2018-2019 Field School experiences.

Underneath the Dartmouth Oil Refinery: Finding Fort Clarence (Tuesday, 7pm, Burke Theatre A) — David Jones will talk. More info here.

King’s

Monday

King’s Infringement Festival (Monday, 8:30pm, The Pit, Arts and Administration Building) — first night of a week-long festival of student-written and -created theatre and art. Tickets $2 at the door. More info here and  here.

Tuesday

King’s Infringement Festival (Tuesday, 8:30pm, The Pit, Arts and Administration Building) — continues. See above for details.


In the harbour

01:00: Yantian Express, container ship, sails from Fairview Cove for sea
05:00: Atlantic Sun, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from Liverpool, England
05:30: Siem Cicero, car carrier, arrives at Autoport from Emden, Germany
06:00: Tropic Hope, container ship, arrives at Pier 42 from Philipsburg, Sint Maarten
11:30: Siem Cicero sails for sea
15:00: Atlantic Sun sails for New York


Footnotes

Yesterday I saw a friend from high school while I was out shopping. He said one of my tweets changed his mind on a topic. No, it wasn’t about paying living wages, but rather about writers using two spaces after a period (or other punctuation), which is wrong! I have deleted so many extra spaces over my years of editing and it’s interesting how many people still follow the two-space rule, which they say they learned in typing class in high school ages ago when typewriters were still popular. This issue is also very controversial. I got a lot of angry feedback from two-spacers defending their extra spaces. But at least I converted one person to using only one space. Look at me, changing the world one space at a time.

Suzanne Rent

Suzanne Rent is a writer, editor, and researcher. You can follow her on Twitter @Suzanne_Rent

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  1. What does the double-space do that the period does not? I was in a heated argument about this just yesterday in my office because a 29 y/o (!!!) insists on using two spaces. And I am skeptical of the conclusions made by that scientific study because when I come across an extra space, it slows me down enormously (as I get a visceral reaction to seeing someone using the appendix of the typing world). Is it grammatically wrong? Maybe not. Is it completely unnecessary and horribly jarring when all other text read has a single space after the period? Yes.

    It boggles the mind.

  2. In defence of two spaces, which I have reluctantly given up, electronic displays, word processing, and specifically proportional fonts have blurred, but not eliminated, the line between manuscript text and typeset text. In any event, the correct number of spaces – if any – seems more a matter of tradition, as noted in this article: https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2018/05/two-spaces-after-a-period/559304/ It’s not like the Oxford comma, where not using it is clearly, obviously, and definitely wrong.

  3. Regarding a living wage – a Nova Scotian who makes $16 an hour for 75 hours every two weeks and has no deductions has a marginal tax rate of 30%. Capital gains of any amount are taxed far less. This is completely absurd.

    1. The person would earn $31,200 and pay $1,918 in CPP and UI ; federal Income tax $2,399
      and NS Income tax $1,694.
      In Manitoba the provincial tax would be $2,123 and $510 in Ontario and $991 in Alberta.
      Higher provincial taxes on those earning more than $60,000 would enable a lower rate for lower income workers.. Which is not at all likely because Liberals are only interested in ‘the middle class’.