News

1. Green Fund

This item is written by Jennifer Henderson.

Three years ago Nova Scotia rejected imposing a carbon tax on gasoline and home heating fuel and chose a cap-and-trade program to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by the same amount.

Companies such as Nova Scotia Power, Irving Oil, Wilson Fuels, and Lafarge Canada that don’t comply with “caps” or steadily declining limits on how much carbon they emit must buy carbon allowances offered at auctions twice a year.

During the first year of cap-and-trade, most of those allowances were free. In 2021 — the third year of the program — companies purchased more than 1.5 million carbon allowances. Their sale generated nearly $45 million for the province’s Green Fund. Yesterday, the province announced $9 million worth of investment resulting from the Green Fund. Below is a condensed version of what was announced, obviously there are millions more yet to be spent with another auction set for June.

Green Fund allocations

$5.5 million for four programs administered by Efficiency One:
• $1.5 million for three years for the Off-oil Retrofit Incentive Pilot, which requires all oil heating equipment and the oil tank to be removed and replaced with an electric-based heating system
• $1.5 million for three years to expand the Industrial On-site Energy Manager Program, which provides energy management support, to include larger electricity consumers
• $1.5 million for two years for the SolarHomes for Not-for-profits Program to expand rebate eligibility to include churches, food banks, and other registered non-profit organizations
• $1 million for two years for the Apartment and Condo Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Program to provide incentives for installing smart charging stations in new and existing condominiums and apartments.

$3.5 million for two programs administered by the Clean Foundation:
• $2 million for three years to extend the Black, Indigenous, People of Colour (BIPOC), and Mi’kmaq Energy Training Pilot launched in 2021 to train people to become energy advisors and clean energy tradespeople
• $1.5 million for the Next Ride Electric Vehicle Engagement Campaign Program to allow Nova Scotians to learn about and test drive an electric vehicle.

In February, Jason Hollett, associate deputy minister for the Department of Environment and Climate Change, told an all-party legislative committee the cap-and-trade program had achieved its goal of keeping gasoline prices from rising by more than one cent a litre compared to 11-cents a litre by 2022 under the federal carbon tax. Power rate increases were held to 1% compared to a forecast 8%. After its initial three-year period, Hollett said the cap-and-trade program is now undergoing a review to see if it should be adjusted or replaced.

The average price of a carbon allowance was $21.09 per metric tonne in November 2021. How many allowances each registered company purchased is not available or reportable to the public because of “commercial confidentiality.” Each company is required to measure its carbon emissions and have that total verified by an independent third party each year. Those results will be published in May.

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2. RCMP officer charged with assault

Photo: flickr/waferboard

A Nova Scotia RCMP officer has been charged with assault. Zane Woodford reports:

SIRT’s report said the organization received a call from the RCMP on February 2 about an incident, alleged to have occurred on January 26, involving a member of the RCMP’s Northeast Nova District.

“Information obtained during the investigation included a statement from the [affected person], statements from eight police officers, and five civilian witnesses. The notes of three police officers and a video were also reviewed and considered,” the SIRT report said.

“This investigation has led to the conclusion that there are sufficient grounds to lay two charges against Constable Aaron Brown.”

Brown, 41, is expected to appear in Sydney provincial court on May 17.

Click here to read Woodford’s story.

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3. Talking anti-racism in hockey

Bradley Sheppard. Photo: contributed

Matthew Byard recently spoke with Bradley Sheppard, a retired veteran from Cape Breton, who also works as a diversity and inclusion consultant. Sheppard started hosting online sessions with Sports PEI after a young Black hockey player said he was repeatedly taunted with racial slurs at a hockey tournament in Charlottetown. Byard writes:

Five minor hockey players from PEI were suspended and ordered to take anti-racism training in response to that incident. Last month CBC reported that at least some of the players had since filed appeals.

“For them to appeal, it tells me that they don’t see there’s anything wrong with that,” said Sheppard in an interview with the Examiner. “And therein lies the reason why I’m approaching these organizations.”

Sheppard is a diversity, equity, and inclusion consultant who owns and operates Sheppard Diversity Training. He said he’s currently in talks with Hockey PEI to have similar, but in-person, meetings with its members once COVID restrictions are lifted.

“I actually reached out to Hockey PEI [first] because when I saw what was going on over there … I thought about the young Black individual and what he and his family were going through,” Sheppard said. “But I also thought about the climate on the island and why this happened.”

“My role is basically I’m a community advocate. I have lived experience and I’ve been through this. I retired from the military after 20 years. I’ve experienced racism on the basketball court, in the locker room, and I know what that feels like, right? I know Black people in PEI who play the sport, who I love. And so, for me, I’m thinking about them, too.”

Byard learned that Sheppard is now working with Hockey PEI to host in-person sessions with that organization.

Click here to read Byard’s story.

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4. The Tideline, Episode 71: The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Rachel Brosnahan as The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.

Okay, I don’t watch The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, but Tara Thorne and her friends do. On this week’s episode of The Tideline, the trio break down the show, which is now its fourth season. Here’s the episode write-up:

Amy Sherman-Palladino is both a thrilling and confounding creator of television—best known for Gilmore Girls, she also helmed a single season of the much-missed Bunheads, and has seen the biggest success of her long television career with The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, a 1950s-set series starring Rachel Brosnahan as an upscale New York woman who becomes a (gasp!) stand-up comedian. Tara is joined by her friends Denise Williams and Holly Gordon for a dissection of the just-aired fourth season, including all the Gilmore universe people who showed up (some VERY unwelcome), Susie’s sexuality, ASP’s blind spots as a writer, production budgets, and that time they were spoiled for Gilmore by the Warner Brothers studio tour. Plus a new song from Don Brownrigg!

Click here to listen for free.

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5. “You have to advocate for yourself”

Photo: National Cancer Institute / Unsplash

Taryn Grant at CBC has this story about Ashley Nightingale, a 36-year-old mother of two who lives in Hubbards, and her long ordeal with the province’s overloaded health care system and getting a diagnosis of a rare form of breast cancer.

Nightingale found a lump in her breast and at first thought it was a blocked milk duct from breastfeeding. But as the pain increased and became unbearable, Nightingale, who doesn’t have a family doctor, went to ERs to get help where she was misdiagnosed a few times. One doctor diagnosed Nightingale with mastitis, breast inflammation caused by infection.

Nightingale was in so much pain a mammogram couldn’t be done, so she had an ultrasound, which led to a biopsy that came back clear. Still, as Grant writes, the pain persisted and got worse. Nightingale went to an ER again where a doctor said they suspected cancer. A confirmed diagnosis came after a couple more painful biopsy procedures. Grant reports:

Nightingale said it was by dint of her own persistence that she finally got an answer that explained all her symptoms: Stage 3 inflammatory breast cancer, a rare and aggressive form of the disease.

“You have to advocate for yourself,” the 36-year-old said.

“If someone says there isn’t [anything wrong], and you believe there is, you really need to push and take charge of your own health as a patient.”

Grant contacted the IWK Health Centre and was told in a statement that inflammatory breast cancer is often confused with mastitis as the symptoms are the same. Nightingale, meanwhile, has already undergone chemotherapy and expects to get a mastectomy and radiation. She tells Grant she is staying positive, focusing on her family, adding, “Is chemo going to work? Is the mastectomy going to work? Is radiation going to work? How long do I have?”

Two weeks ago, after I wrote this story about getting a mammogram and learned how the number of annual screenings dropped by half in 2020 because of COVID-19 shutdowns, I wondered about the people out there who didn’t get a mammogram and may have breast cancer and don’t know it yet. Of course, many other screenings at clinics were cancelled, too, so who knows how many people are walking around with yet-to-diagnosed illnesses that could have been confirmed and treated much sooner.

How will an already overloaded system ever catch up?

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Views

No one wants to work harder for terrible people these days

Work harder? You’re probably working enough. Photo: Jordan Whitefield/Unsplash

Last week I lost a few moments I’ll never get back when I read an article in which Kim Kardashian, who’s famous for being famous, shared some advice for women in business: “Get your f—ing ass up and work. It seems like nobody wants to work these days.”

Kardashian was rightfully slammed by many on social media. The comments caught my attention not because it was said by a celebrity (don’t listen to celebrities), but because we all hear some version of this from some people, especially over the last couple of years as labour shortages hit the restaurant business in particular, with bosses saying people are lazy, don’t want to work, and don’t want to give up that sweet ol’ lucrative CERB. Never are other factors considered — like a lack of child care options, crappy pay, angry and abusive customers, or, you know, exposing yourself to a deadly virus. And as I wrote in this Morning File last year, a lot of people just decided to work at other jobs.

We also hear this work hard line from the people who make those top leaders lists, which I never buy into. They’re often the celebrities of their local business communities, but I always have more questions for them, such as: what do you pay your employees? What is the turnover rate? and so on. There’s always a lot of hard work going on behind the scenes in an organization by people whose names will never make any kind of top list.

The line “no one wants to work these days” is just a way to shame people for their circumstances. I’m not afraid of work, and I know others aren’t afraid of work either. But people no longer want to work for someone who will exploit their talent, pay them crap wages, and keep them on a cycle of never getting ahead. It’s hard work just to get by these days! It’s hard work being poor! It’s hard work doing two or three jobs just to pay the bills! This doesn’t make for a good Instagram post, though. (Really, if you meet a potential boss who whines, “no one wants to work these days,” that’s a big red flag.)

Some people’s hard work pays off faster, especially for those with privilege, connections, and money. We have all seen people get gigs they neither deserve nor worked hard to earn. They simply knew someone, or knew how to talk their way into the job. It’s like that saying about pulling up your bootstraps. It’s always said by someone whose bootstraps had some help being pulled up by someone or something else. In some cases, those people got a whole new better pair of boots that are warm, have great treads, and don’t leak. And they never acknowledge this. They only credit their own effort.

I remember several years ago when I was looking for a new gig in a new industry. I scheduled several interviews with people in that job, and met with each of them in person. The men I met with said they got into the job because they were lucky or knew the recruiter. Meanwhile, the women I met with all said some version of “you’ll have to work twice as hard because you’re a woman.” After the fury subsided, I thought if I — a very privileged white woman — will have to work twice as hard, how much harder will someone else without that privilege have to work just to be noticed?

But I have another problem with all this talk about no one wanting to work these days. This talk creates a world in which we’re only valued for our work and how much we can produce. We don’t need to work all the time to have value.

We see this most commonly in our language and we’re all guilty of it. We ask people, “what do you do?” Or if someone asks us how we’re doing, we’ll say, “Oh, I’m so busy!” like if you weren’t busy you’d have no value. I especially see this with parents who will say they didn’t get around to their to-do lists, yet managed to work their jobs while keeping small humans alive. That is more than enough.

Then there are the “side hustles,” those jobs people do on the side to make some extra money. While it sounds slick and cool, it just means people can have a full-time job and still not make enough to get by. And when someone has a hobby at which they excel, they’re often told to make it into a side hustle. You can’t enjoy hobbies anymore without someone suggesting you need to make money from it (you don’t).

On Saturday, as the wind whipped around the buckets of rain, I spent most of my day inside. I did a bit of work that morning and went out to get groceries, but that afternoon and evening I spent on the sofa, napping or watching movies from the 80s on Netflix. Later that night, I texted a friend and said, “I didn’t do anything today.” But I did do something. I rested. And that has value, too.

This is why living wages are important. No one should be working two or three jobs just to get by. A living wage can help people pay their bills and take care of their families while leaving time for the fun stuff: time with family or friends, leisure, and hobbies you don’t need to make into a side hustle just to survive. In fact, living wage calculations include a social inclusion expense for this reason. Here’s the description from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives – Nova Scotia 2015 calculation guide on living wages:

The social inclusion category is about lessening stigma, and allowing family members to participate fully in the life of their community. It could include expenses such as school supplies, reading materials, minimal recreation and sports fees, children’s birthday gifts and a small budget for entertainment (e.g. tickets to a movie, fees for a museum).

We’ve learned a lot about work over this pandemic: that people who work incredibly hard make little money; that work consumes our lives in ways that are unhealthy and burning us out; that we don’t need to be productive all the time; and that we all have a right to enjoy other things in life, too.

I love to see it and I hope we can keep up with the momentum because it’s sure as hell better than any advice coming from a Kardashian.

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Noticed

On Tuesday, Alexander Panetta at CBC had this article about the US Senate passing a bill to make daylight saving time last all year. And that might mean Canada will follow suit. Panetta writes:

The U.S. Senate on Tuesday passed the bill with total support by both parties, by unanimous consent, which could mean sunnier evenings year-round — and less-sunny mornings in winter.

The bill was introduced by Sen. Marco Rubio who has been a vocal proponent of this move for a while, and who has made clear his hatred of the existing practice.

He grumbled a year ago that people were about to lose an hour’s sleep with the clock change and ridiculed the concept.

“Everyone’s gonna be upset. It’s just dumb,” he said in a video posted online.

“[It’s] one of the stupidest things we do every single year. … To move our clock forward and clock back. It makes no sense.”

A Democrat, Kyrsten Sinema, was presiding over the chamber as Rubio proposed the measure and when nobody objected she pumped both fists in agreement and said, “Yes!”

Ontario has already decided to stop changing the clocks twice a year, if Quebec and New York State make that decision, too.

Then on Wednesday, CBC meteorologist Ryan Snoddon shared this tweet in which he illustrates what permanent daylight saving would mean for sunrise and sunset times in December and January across the Maritimes.

I am enjoying having more light in the evenings now, but as a morning person, I wouldn’t be a fan of sunrises at 8:30am.

Of course, there were comments on what this would all mean for everyone, everyday. Someone suggested if we had permanent daylight saving, school starts should be delayed by an hour, so kids aren’t walking to school in the dark. Others said we should wait until we’re back on standard time and then never change the clocks again. Still another commenter suggested we adjust the clocks by only 30 minutes in November and leave it at that. And many others said just pick a time and stick with it.

In 2021, Mike Antle, a circadian rhythms scientist in Calgary, shared this Twitter thread on why Daylight Saving Time would be worse in the winter. In the thread, Antle said, spring forwarding by an hour each March is more “insidious” than losing an hour of sleep:

Think of the last time you had a bad night sleep. You feel bad the next day, but the next night if you sleep well, you’ll feel fully recovered from that bad night. But when we spring forward, we often feel bad for weeks. Why does losing that hour have such a profound effect?

It is because we are shifted into a state of permanent jet lag with the time change. Your circadian clock follows dawn. The dawn on March 13th in Calgary is at 6:53am, but on DST the next day it is at 7:51am.

Your circadian clock is still following the sun, but now the sun is delayed relative to your work and school schedule. In the spring, our dawn gets earlier day by day. It is April 9th before dawn again occurs at 6:53am. At this point your circadian and social clocks are realigned.

This is what the spring forward time change affects you so much more than just losing an hour of sleep. It is actually a state of circadian misalignment that isn’t correct for ~2-3 weeks.

So if you hate the time change in March, and if it affects you for a few weeks, you’ll really have a hard time with DST in the winter. The March time change is not just losing an hour of sleep, it’s circadian misalignment for ~3 weeks. Winter DST will be misalignment for 5 months.

How about we spring ahead until the real end of this pandemic? Or do we fall back to the Before Times?

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Government

City

Active Transportation Advisory Committee (Thursday, 4:30pm) — virtual meeting

Province

No meetings


On campus

Dalhousie

Thursday

Estrogen signaling Downregulates SOX17 During the Development of Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (Thursday, 11am) — Ankit Desai from Indiana University will talk

Friday

Guardian Angels and Sacrificial Lambs: COVID-19 and Migrant Workers (Friday, 12pm) — online talk with Constance MacIntosh; close captioned

Recent Advances in the Synthesis of SF5-containing Molecules (Friday, 1:30pm) — online talk with Jean-Francois Paquin, Laval University

Saint Mary’s

Thursday

No events

Friday

Speaker Series on Women in Sport & Health (Friday) — Online student-organized speaker series featuring seven pre-made 15-30 minute videos created by women working in sport and/or health. Video posted today in which students reflect on the major themes presented by the speakers.

The “Good” the “Bad” and the “Irresponsibles”: Alexander Peter Reid and His “Utilitarian, If Sordid” Discussion of Eugenics in Nova Scotia, 1875-1913 (Friday, 12pm, Room AT 101) — Leslie Digton will talk


In the harbour

Halifax
10:00: East Coast, oil tanker, arrives at Irving Oil from Saint John
11:30: CMA CGM Alexander Von Humboldt, container ship (176546 tonnes), arrives at Pier 42 from Colombo Sri Lanka
14:30: Oceanex Connaigra, ro-ro container, moves from Pier 41 to Autoport
16:30: Nolhanava, ro-ro cargo, arrives at Fairview Cove from Saint-Pierre

Cape Breton
06:00: Limerick Spirit, oil tanker, arrives at Point Tupper from Canaport (Saint John)
17:30: Algoma Integrity, bulker, sails from Aulds Cove quarry for sea


Footnotes

I started thinking about where I might go on a little vacation. I guess Facebook knew and shared this ad with me. Expedia.ca thinks my dream vacation is in a sleep pod.


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Suzanne Rent

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

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3 Comments

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  1. Re “make daylight saving time last all year”, YAY!
    l like the idea of picking a time and sticking with it too.

  2. Great piece on the supposed value of being relentlessly “productive”. Milton said something about this once. But my all time favourite on the subject is the essay “The right to be lazy” by Marx’s son-in-law Paul Lafargue. Again, nice work on a topic that few beside the noble folks at the Examiner would ever think to consider.

  3. I couldn’t agree more with Suzanne about rejecting the demand to work harder for employers. I’d take it a step further. Better not to work for an employer at all. No, I don’t mean everybody being their own entrepreneur. (Save us!) I mean workers being owners (and managers), where workplaces are co-operatively organized, so that worker/owners decide for themselves what to produce, how much to produce, how work is divided, how much they pay themselves and how pay is distributed. Easily said, I know. But to hell with “employment”. Two hundred years plus of wage slavery is enough, don’t you think? Democracy is a half-baked idea until it includes the workplace.