November subscription drive
Yesterday, Philip Moscovitch talked about how when the pandemic came to Nova Scotia, the Examiner “more or less threw the budget out the window, ramped up pandemic coverage, and didn’t put any of the stories behind the paywall.”
That’s true, and since then there have been two other major stories that have required extensive Examiner coverage — the mass murders of April 18/19, and the dispute over the lobster fishery. And you’ll see that the first three items in today’s Morning File are, in order, the pandemic, the lobster fishery, and the mass murders.
Those three stories now take up the bulk of the Examiner budget, and the bulk of my time. Readers see the pandemic and lobster coverage roll out pretty much in real time — we publish pandemic news just as soon as we can get it out, and while Linda Pannozzo and Joan Baxter spend a lot of time and effort on research and writing, we can usually get their lobster investigations out within about a week of them proposing articles.
But since the days after the event itself, the mass murder story has involved more long-term research and reporting. There are a lot of details I can’t get into at the moment, but one thing I can mention is the ongoing court proceedings related to unsealing the search warrants related to the police investigation. The Halifax Examiner is one of six media organizations comprising a consortium that has hired lawyer David Coles to represent us. The other five members are the CBC, CTV, Saltwire, Global, and the Globe & Mail. We started with eight members, but the Canadian Press and Post Media have dropped out of the consortium.
I’m what you would call an “engaged client,” which means that while I trust Coles’ judgment, I read each and every one of the dozens of court filings, I attend every court hearing (in person, if I can, but if not, virtually), and I discuss matters with Coles privately. At one hearing recently, I was pleasantly surprised to hear Coles reading extensively from an analysis of redacted search warrant documents I had written for him.
There’s nothing glamorous or even particularly interesting about this work. It’s mostly staring at paperwork, cross-referencing documents, building a spreadsheet, filling in holes as best I can. But it has taken hundreds of hours of my time, including a few hours yesterday, just reading new documents.
And I’ll be honest: sometimes I think this is just too costly an enterprise for a tiny organization like the Halifax Examiner, and as the Canadian Press and Post Media before us, the Halifax Examiner should just drop out of the consortium and become one of the half-dozen or so media orgs that lurk in on the court hearings and profit off the work others are paying for. But there’s always an underlying sense of duty — this is what an independent investigative media organization is for — and then I stumble on some new revelation that could only come from being that engaged client privy to the court filings.
We’re nearly at that point now, I think. It could be as soon as today, but more likely in a week or so, we may have documentation of a huge new revelation in the story that would not otherwise have come to light had the consortium not engaged in this lengthy and expensive court action. Or maybe the Crown will be successful in kicking the revelation down the road, but because of the extensive documentation and my own analysis, I think I know what the hidden information is, and I can work to report on that outside of the court process.
All of which is to say, this is the work we do. It takes a lot of our time, and a lot of the Examiner’s money. If you support this work, please subscribe. And if you’re already a subscriber or would otherwise like to further help out, please drop us a donation.
The numbers aren’t going in the right direction. Last night, Nova Scotia Health issued an advisory about potential COVID exposure at 16 additional locations; anyone who was at these locations at these times should CALL 811 TO GET TESTED:
- The Stubborn Goat Gastropub (1579 Grafton St, Halifax) on Nov. 15 between 4:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. It is anticipated that anyone exposed to the virus at this location on the named date may develop symptoms up to, and including, Nov. 29.
- The Old Triangle Irish Alehouse (5136 Prince St, Halifax) on Nov. 15 between 6:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. It is anticipated that anyone exposed to the virus at this location on the named date may develop symptoms up to, and including, Nov. 29.
- Cineplex Scotiabank Theatre, “Freaky” (190 Chain Lake Dr, Halifax) on Nov. 16 for 6:45 p.m. showtime. It is anticipated that anyone exposed to the virus at this location on the named date may develop symptoms up to, and including, Nov. 30.
- Head Shoppe Halifax Shopping Centre (7001 Mumford Rd, Halifax) on Nov. 17 between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. and Nov. 19 between 1:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. It is anticipated that anyone exposed to the virus at this location on the named date may develop symptoms up to, and including, Dec. 3.
- Garden Café (5475 Clyde St, Halifax) on Nov. 17 between 3 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. It is anticipated that anyone exposed to the virus at this location on the named date may develop symptoms up to, and including, Dec. 1.
- Head Shoppe Lower Sackville (745 Sackville Dr, Lower Sackville) on Nov 18 between 10:15 a.m. and 12:00 noon. It is anticipated that anyone exposed to the virus at this location on the named date may develop symptoms up to, and including, Dec. 2.
- Shanti Hot Yoga (5508 Spring Garden Rd, Halifax) Nov 18 & 19 between 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. It is anticipated that anyone exposed to the virus at this location on the named date may develop symptoms up to, and including, Dec. 3.
- Barrington Steakhouse (1662 Barrington St, Halifax) on Nov. 19 between 7:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. It is anticipated that anyone exposed to the virus at this location on the named date may develop symptoms up to, and including, Dec. 3.
- Durty Nelly’s Irish Pub (1645 Argyle St, Halifax) on Nov. 19 between 9:30 p.m. and 12:30 a.m. It is anticipated that anyone exposed to the virus at this location on the named date may develop symptoms up to, and including, Dec. 3.
- Halifax Alehouse (1717 Brunswick St, Halifax) on Nov. 19 between 10:30 p.m. to close. It is anticipated that anyone exposed to the virus at this location on the named date may develop symptoms up to, and including, Dec. 3.
- Kai Brady’s aka. The Fickle Frog (5679 Spring Garden Rd, Halifax) on Nov. 19 between 10:30 p.m. to close. It is anticipated that anyone exposed to the virus at this location on the named date may develop symptoms up to, and including, Dec. 3.
- Halifax Shopping Centre Food Court (7001 Mumford Rd, Halifax) on Nov. 20 between 5:00 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. It is anticipated that anyone exposed to the virus at this location on the named date may develop symptoms up to, and including, Dec. 4.
- Cineplex Scotiabank Theatre, Theatre 17, “Honest Thief” (190 Chain Lake Dr, Halifax) on Nov. 20 for 10:00 p.m. showtime. It is anticipated that anyone exposed to the virus at this location on the named date may develop symptoms up to, and including, Dec. 4.
- Cora Breakfast and Lunch aka Cora’s (1535 Dresden Rd, Halifax) on Nov. 20 between 7:00 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. It is anticipated that anyone exposed to the virus at this location on the named date may develop symptoms up to, and including, Dec. 4.
- Boston Pizza (1858 Granville St, Halifax) on Nov. 20 between 7:00 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. It is anticipated that anyone exposed to the virus at this location on the named date may develop symptoms up to, and including, Dec. 4.
- Stillwell Freehouse (2534 Agricola St, Halifax) on Nov. 20 between 9:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. It is anticipated that anyone exposed to the virus at this location on the named date may develop symptoms up to, and including, Dec. 4.
I’ve added the locations to the map of all potential COVID exposures:
It’s not from official sources, but I’m told there will be an alarming number of new cases announced later today.
And, with things going south in both New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, PEI and Newfoundland & Labrador have put the Atlantic Bubble on hold.
So things aren’t great. But a couple of points. I notice that several Americans on my Twitter feed are taking note of Nova Scotia Health’s advisories and praising them. Here’s someone down in Norfolk, I think maybe a friend of my sister:
Whereas contact tracing in the U.S. is basically information-gathering for health departments to gauge need for additional restrictions/public health measures, in Nova Scotia it's "If you saw #Freaky at 6:45pm on November 16 get tested immediately." https://t.co/kvQTGWmMam
— Myles McNutt (@Memles) November 24, 2020
And a doctor in Manhattan:
Imagine living somewhere that releases specific, actionable contact tracing data. Imagine! https://t.co/L3Ozbnsbq4
— Shaners (@ShanersMD) November 24, 2020
Yeah, sure, comparing ourselves to Americans probably isn’t a great idea, but so far at least, Public Health has the ability to do meaningful and useful contact tracing. That’s a good thing.
And in terms of plain numbers, things were far worse in the spring and we got it down to zero:
Of course, we were able to bring the numbers down in April and May because we were in close to total lockdown, and now we, well, aren’t.
Still, we didn’t have a clue about the virus in the spring. The government understandably took a sledgehammer approach and did a lot of things we now know weren’t necessary — like closing parks and beaches, and telling us not to walk out of our neighbourhoods. Remember when they ribboned off benches?
Also in the spring, there was probably too much concentration on things like avoiding gas station pumps and the like. Yes, there can be contact transmission, so don’t give up on cleaning surfaces and washing hands, but we now understand that the greatest risk comes from aerosol transmission, and especially in close contact, long duration indoor situations, like in restaurants and bars.
So, seems to me, we could make more targeted efforts now that would limit those close contact, long duration indoor situations and make considerable headway in this second wave.
And that’s exactly what the Restaurant Association of Nova Scotia is calling for, reports : for the CBC
The Restaurant Association of Nova Scotia is calling for all restaurants and bars in Halifax to close to dine-in customers for at least the next two weeks because of rising COVID-19 case numbers in the area.
Gordon Stewart, executive director of RANS, said the association’s board of directors held an emergency meeting Monday night and decided unanimously to make the closure recommendation to its members and to Public Health.
Stewart said he’ll leave it to the province to decide what geographical area to shut down, based on the current epidemiology. But he expects it to encompass downtown Halifax, which has been the epicentre of the province’s current outbreak of the coronavirus.
Premier Stephen McNeil and Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Robert Strang have scheduled a COVID briefing for 3pm today; I’ll be present for it and live-blog the proceedings on my Twitter account.
2. The lobster fishery
Linda Pannozzo and Joan Baxter continue their deep dive into the lobster fishery.
Pannozzo looks at how the DFO implementation of the Marshall decision dealt a blow to both Indigenous self-governance and community-based fishing. She interviews Dal prof Chris Milley, who along with co-author Melanie Wiber, published a 2007 paper titled “After Marshall: Implementation of Aboriginal Fishing Rights in Atlantic Canada.” Writes Pannozzo:
According to Milley and Wiber, after Marshall there was “an overall Government objective underlying the DFO program” to maintain DFO authority over the fishery and apply federal rules and regulations to it. “This was despite the fact that the Marshall case dealt with a situation where Donald Marshall Jr. had been fishing outside these rules and regulations and had been found by the Court to be within his treaty right in doing so.”
In other words, what was offered to the Bands, and in most cases taken, was commercial access that was bound by most federal fishery regulations, including trap limits and seasons.
Milley and Wiber argue that in implementing the Marshall decision, the government ignored the validity of the Mi’kmaq resource management concept of Netukulimk, which differs from western economic resource management models because benefits are intended for the community as a whole, “not just for the well-being of the individual harvester (or corporation).”
“The system [of Netukulimk] is not based on the premise of ownership, but of relationship and responsibility. If nature does well, then the community does well. If the community does well, then the individuals do well. In the past, the community moved as a whole, worked as a whole and benefited as a whole,” the authors write.
Instead, the government response to Marshall was to “limit” efforts by the Mi’kmaq to self-manage the fisheries, and to “create instead a greater dependence on mainstream Canadian management systems and the prevailing economic objectives defined for the fishery.”
Essentially what the DFO did was impose its own neoliberal worldview on the notion of moderate livelihood fisheries — where the prevailing economic objectives had been to erase the small-scale fishery with the aim of vertical integration and corporatization, and to concentrate the fishery into the hands of a few.
And what is “netukulimk”?
To get a better understanding of the philosophy, Baxter interviewed Kerry Prosper, an anthropologist, respected Mi’kmaw Elder, and Band Council member from Paqtnkek First Nation.
In 2013, Prosper and Martha Stiegman produced a powerful film about netukulimk. Here it is:
In Baxter’s interview with Prosper, I’m struck by Prosper’s uneasiness with “wealth,” by which I take it to mean the unnecessary and excessive hoarding of resources:
If you look at the Marshall case and read in the ruling when they talk about “moderate livelihood,” and just as a side remark, you see that one of the chief justices mentioned that the Mi’kmaq are not allowed to accumulate wealth with this moderate livelihood. And he said that’s kind of a good thing that should apply to all fisheries. It’s stated in there. I remember reading it when I was doing my research. And I guess that’s what it’s all about for all of us, I guess. The accumulation of wealth is a very powerful thing, and it’s a direct cost to sustainability and what our resources are able to support. When I look at ourselves as people, we always want something better for our children. You know, I think this generation probably had the best of all things. I think our previous generations had the best of all the resources — the biggest trees, the most trees, the best of the biggest fisheries, and the best of quotas, and everything. And this new generation is going to be really challenged by trying to sustain what we have.
I know we want something better for them, but I don’t think it’s going to be greater wealth, because I don’t know if it’s going to be there… But I am hoping that young people with young minds have bright ideas, and they are very resilient, and hopefully they can get together and say, “Listen, we’ve got to get together on these things and we’ve got to change our future.”
For some reason that I don’t know, the lords of trade and all of those people who saw the great potential of all these resources here on this land, and knew the vast amounts of wealth that could be made, made their way into the politics, into the government, into building the economy, and began to wrestle away our piece of the pie, and developed their own way of life and living, and kind of put the Treaty and their responsibilities aside.
We’ve published these two articles as prelude to a two-part series coming out later this week. That series will look at the state of the lobster fishery in terms of sustainability.
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3. The mass murders
There is a court hearing today for the media consortium’s application to unseal search warrants related to the RCMP’s investigation into the mass murders of April 18/19.
One of the many things redacted in the search warrant documents was the list of weapons used by the killer — the list was redacted supposedly because releasing it to the public would compromise the police investigation. But now the National Post has unearthed the list in another document — a briefing note to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivered in the days immediately after the murders:
The briefing note to the prime minister, obtained through access to information, shows [GW, the killer] had a “Colt Law Enforcement Carbine,” a semi-automatic weapon similar to the rifles issued to RCMP officers.
He was also carrying a Ruger mini-14, a semi-automatic rifle that was also used during the Montreal massacre. Both weapons were banned by the Liberals in May.
According to the briefing memo, the Colt was sourced to a California gun shop and was illegally smuggled into Canada. The mini-14 was purchased legally in Canada, but it is unlikely it was bought by Wortman who did not have any firearms licence.
[GW] was also carrying two additional pistols; a Glock GmbH semi-automatic pistol and a Ruger P89 semi-automatic pistol, which were both smuggled in from Maine.
So now that the weaponry is in the public domain, how does it compromise the police investigation? Answer: it doesn’t. As I wrote in August:
The killer is himself dead, and so revealing details of the investigation won’t tip him off. And details of the murders have been publicized to basically the whole world, so can there really be anyone else at all that would be tipped off because these investigative details are released? It seems unlikely.
Consider, for example, the weapons the killer used. The RCMP has stated that he obtained some of the weapons in the United States and smuggled them into Canada illegally. OK, so you’re the arms dealer in the US; don’t you already know that you sold the weapons to the killer? How does not releasing the kind and calibre of the weapons “protect the investigation”? Answer: it doesn’t. The claim is nonsense.
I truly believe the Crown’s efforts to keep mundane material in the search warrant documents sealed is merely intended to force cash-strapped media organizations to spend money they don’t have trying to unseal it, so that the media won’t have as much money to pursue other investigative angles related to the story.
In any event, today’s hearing is probably going to be mostly procedural, although I believe there will be a discussion of the “erroneous” information included in the first batch of seven search warrant documents (called ITOs); as I reported last week:
In the hours after the mass murders of April 18/19, the RCMP and Halifax police interviewed 13 people about what they knew about the gunman, who the Examiner calls GW. Four of the 13 people additionally told police about what happened to them during the attacks.
As the police investigation progressed, last month police discovered that some piece of information included in the first seven ITOs was “inaccurate” and “erroneous.”
I provided an analysis of the 13 statements to police; while I didn’t come to any conclusions, I think some of the informants are more likely than others to have been the source of the “erroneous” information.
Today’s hearing starts at 10am. As I say, it’s probably mostly procedural, and it appears we’ll get into the bulk of the arguments over unsealing more of the redactions — including the “erroneous” information — next week in a Port Hawkesbury courtroom. But if anything explosive comes out today I’ll report on it.
Halifax Regional Council (Tuesday, 1pm) — virtual meeting. Zane Woodford is attending and will report on after.
Audit and Finance Standing Committee (Wednesday, 10am) — virtual meeting; no dial-in or live broadcast.
Community Design Advisory Committee (Wednesday, 11:30am) — virtual meeting
Design Advisory Committee (Wednesday, 4:30pm) — virtual meeting
Natural Resources and Economic Development (Tuesday, 2pm, Province House) — Malcom Fraser from Innovacorp and Bernie Miller, Deputy Minister of Business. Info and CART link here.
Breaking down homological cycles of simplicial complexes and the subadditivity property of syzygies (Tuesday, 2:30pm) — Sara Faridi will talk via Zoom.
The work presented in this talk is motivated by the subadditivity property of maximum degrees of syzygies in a minimal free resolution of a monomial ideal. We give some background for this problem, focus on topological interpretations, and discuss cases where the subadditivity property can be proved from this approach. No prior familiarity with free resolutions will be assumed, they will simply lead us to questions in discrete topology. This talk is based on joint work with Mayada Shahada.
Teaching Artists: Working Through the Lens of Civic Practice (Tuesday, 4pm) — Gwenna Fairchild-Taylor and Patrick Maubert will discuss their work as teaching artists in marginalized communities. Info and link here.
ABC’s of Immunity Research in the CHILD Cohort Study: Atopy, Breast Milk, and COVID‑19 (Tuesday, 4pm) — Meghan Azad from the University of Manitoba will talk. Info and link here.
Killer Info: Big Data, the Fallacy of Homicide Stats, and Disrupting the Murder Industry (Tuesday, 6pm) — Michael Arntfield will talk.
In the summer of 2018, the Chief Coroner in Ontario announced an overdue inquiry into so-called “concealed homicides”, or murders that had been improperly categorized, coded, and never properly investigated by police, and which have since ended up in the proverbial dustbins of history. While this was the first such admission of the fallacy of homicide data in Canada, an audit in the United States conducted by the Murder Accountability Project (murderdata.org) had already confirmed that as many as nearly 3000 murders in any given year have been mislead by police every year for at least the last twenty years, with some states having as many as 50% of all murders miscategorized as either suicides or accidents that the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention later confirmed were actually criminal homicides.
Yet, these contradictory records have never been properly reconciled, corrected, and the cases properly investigated, and the offenders for the most part remain at large and unidentified. The rate jumps to nearly 80% on average when tabulating murders committed on Native American lands. These same data, like the case that prompted the inquiry in Ontario, are believed to contain large clusters of serial killers given the often sophisticated counter-measures seen in many cases, and which led to critical misinterpretations by primary investigators as a result of crime scene staging and/or elaborate concealment efforts.
More Powerful Together: Conversations with Climate Activists & Indigenous Land Defenders (Tuesday, 6pm) — launch of Jen Gobby’s new book, with a moderated panel and a spoken word performer. More info and Eventbrite link here.
Workshop: How to find a job in a pandemic (Wednesday, 12pm) — workshop for Dalhousie and King’s students and alumni. Info here.
Safe Space for White Questions ‑ Online Pandemic Edition (Wednesday, 12:30pm) — Ajay Parasram from Dalhousie and Alex Khasnabish from Mount Saint Vincent lead the fourth of a series of free public drop-in sessions; open to all (particularly white identifying people) who would like to come ask a question or two about a wide range of issues generally captured under the banner of “progressive” politics that you would like to better understand. More info and link here.
Epidemiologic contributions to health and wellbeing at the start of life (Wednesday, 1pm) — Stefan Kuhle will talk.
The presentation will provide an overview of Dr. Kuhle’s research program and teaching portfolio. Dr. Kuhle’s research examines etiologic as well as policy-relevant questions on the influence of early life factors on long-term child health. His projects use primary and secondary data with the application of traditional and emerging epidemiologic and biostatistical methods. Examples of highlighted research include the developmental origins of health and disease and their associated costs, the 3G Multigenerational Cohort Study of women and their mothers and offspring, and the vision for a platform for child health research in Nova Scotia. Dr. Kuhle will also describe his experience and philosophy of teaching state-of-the-art epidemiologic concepts to graduate students.
No public events.
Under the Influencers – Entrepreneurs in Rural Communities (Wednesday, ) — webinar featuring alumni who own wine, beer, and cannabis business in rural communities across Nova Scotia.
In the harbour
05:00: Atlantic Sail, ro-ro container, arrives at Fairview Cove from Liverpool, England
06:00: Oceanex Sanderling, ro-ro container, arrives at Pier 41 from St. John’s
07:00: Titus, car carrier, arrives at Pier 31 from Zeebrugge, Belgium
08:00: IT Intrepid, cable layer, sails from Pier 9 for sea
12:00: Oceanex Sanderling moves to Pier 36
15:30: Atlantic Sail sails for New York
18:00: Titus moves to Autoport
19:00: Kyoto Express, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from Norfolk
Rush, rush, rush, all day today.