1. Examineradio #37
This week we speak with former Members of Parliament Peter Stoffer and Megan Leslie about why they think the NDP took a hit in last month’s federal election, their expectations for the new government, and what their plans are now that they’re out of office. Also, is Rob Anders still a complete dickhead?
Plus, it was a lousy week for now-ousted Liberal Chief of Staff Kirby McVicar. First, a tape comes out where he offers disgraced MLA Andrew Younger’s wife a job in exchange for Younger’s cooperation in making an ugly legal issue go away. Then he discloses private medical information about Younger at a press scrum. Premier Stephen McNeil accepted his resignation Tuesday and now claims the matter is behind him. We’ll see.
2. Pedestrians struck
On November 28 at 8:24 p.m. Halifax Regional Police responded to a pedestrian/vehicle collision at the intersection of Dunbrack Street and Farnham Gate Road. A vehicle travelling south on Dunbrack Street turned right onto Farnham Gate Road and struck a 36-year-old male pedestrian who was crossing in the crosswalk. The pedestrian was transported to hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries. The 59-year-old male driver was issued a ticket for failing to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk.
On November 29 at approximately 2:35 p.m. Halifax Regional Police responded to a car/pedestrian collision at the intersection of Alderney Drive and Ochterloney Street in Dartmouth. A car turning onto Alderney Drive from Ochterloney Street struck a 38-year-old female pedestrian who was crossing in a marked crosswalk. The pedestrian was transported to hospital with non-life threatening injuries. The male driver of the car was charged with failing to yield to a pedestrian in a marked crosswalk.
Both of these incidents are classic right-turn-on-red incidents, and rebut the notion I often see expressed of “why can’t pedestrians look both ways before crossing?” The pedestrian is waiting for the light to change, gets the green, looks to make sure no one is speeding through the intersection, and then follows the rules of the road and starts walking across. Very often, there’s not a car at all at the intersection when the pedestrian starts walking, but a driver will pull up to the red light, do a “California stop,” and make the turn without looking for pedestrians.
This is very often the case for left-turning drivers on a green light as well.
Sure, there are careless pedestrians, but in the recent rash of pedestrian incidents, most of the cases involved turning vehicles and almost all of the drivers have been charged.
3. Pandering to vets
Councillor Brad Johns wants to give free parking to veterans: “I think it says a lot to be able to do that for our veterans,” he said.
Heck, why stop there? If we so want to honour veterans, why not exempt them from paying property taxes?
Look, many veterans face real struggles reintegrating with society — a society that is too often dismissive of their plight. We very much have a duty to veterans, but feel-good pandering avoids the real issues.
And that, I think, is the purpose of such “initiatives” as Johns’. Empty sloganeering and meaningless gestures masquerade as “doing something” for veterans without requiring us to face up to our own responsibility for breaking soldiers’ psyches and having the kind of public discussion around the lasting effects of war that is necessary to bring understanding and a bit of healing to veterans.
We can’t continue to beat our chests, swing our dicks around, and send other people to fight our wars and at the same time acknowledge that we’re breaking those we send to war. That’s why the most jingoistic and war-mongering governments are also the governments that do the very least for their veterans — if actual concern for fighters entered the equation, we’d be less likely to send them to war in the first place. Instead, we “honour” them with feel-good free parking, but no one will get serious about fully funding psychological treatment or family supports.
4. Missing people
There have been a lot of missing people in the news over the last week.
The public has the best of intentions, and people want to help out, so I understand the interest in news articles about missing people. We should, however, keep in mind that very often (not always) people reported as missing are facing mental health issues, or a bad family situation, or are simply kids going through childhood struggles.
I don’t know exactly what my concerns here are. Maybe I should just ignore them, but I have vague worries that in our zeal to “help out,” to fully publicize missing persons cases, we sometimes are harming the missing people more than we intend.
I especially worry about runaway kids, whose names and visages will forever be on the internet as problem-plagued children. In some cases — for example, recently a particularly pretty young girl became known as a repeat runaway — I fear we are setting them up to be preyed upon by those who take advantage of such situations. In other cases, that internet cache will follow the children into adulthood, affecting their future employment opportunities, their relationships, their place in the community.
In the case of adults, often there are life issues the public doesn’t know about, or deep depression. Maybe it makes sense to get the missing person info out there as fast and as broad as possible in order to find the person and get them help, and deal later with the effects the publicity will bring. Maybe.
1. Rainnie Drive
The real answer to the “Rainnie” question is not Rainnie, but Gottingen. Ghosn claims a Gottingen Street address would “adversely affect” the Pearl’s “marketability and ultimately the profitability.”
He isn’t the first. Back in the 1980s, residents of Gottingen north of Young Street petitioned to have their street renamed to the meaningless Novalea Drive, just so no one would confuse their fine middle-class neighbourhoods with the public-housing-social-service-drug-addled-boarded-up-and-well … black district to the south.
That — and not historic significance — is behind Grafton’s argument, too. Historic significance? Gottingen Street celebrated its 250th anniversary last year.
Dan Leger walks us through the muddy politics of shipbuilding in Canada.
Stephen Archibald tracks down the history of the cast iron gates to the Public Gardens, noting that they were manufactured by the Macfarlane company in Glasgow, Scotland:
When I sent photos of our gates to Macfarlane enthusiasts in Scotland their first comment was why are they installed backwards? That got me noticing that most iron gates have their high point in the middle. Not the way we do it in Halifax.
No public meetings.
Law amendments (1pm, Province House) — the following legislation is being considered:
Bill No. 112 – Children and Family Services Act (deferred from previous meeting)
Bill No. 118 – Heritage Property Act (amended) (with representation)
Bill No. 127 – Labour Standards Code (amended) (deferred from previous meeting)
Bill No. 128 – Labour Standards Code (amended) (no representation)
Bill No. 129 – Securities Act (amended) (no representation)
Bill No. 130 – Community of Sackville Landfill Compensation Act (amended) (no representation)
Bill No. 131 – Maintenance and Custody Act (amended) (with representation)
Bill No. 133 – Motor Vehicle Act (amended) (no representation)
Bill No. 134 – Liquor Control Act (amended) (with representation)
Bill No. 135 – Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Resources Accord Implementation (Nova Scotia) Act (amended) and Offshore Licensing Policy Act (repealed) (no representation)
Bill No. 136 – Motor Vehicle Act (amended) (with representation)
This date in history
An exchange recorded in the minutes of the November 30, 1971 Halifax council meeting shows just how different our politics were four decades ago:
STATEMENT — ALDERMAN STANBURY
The following statement was read by Alderman Stanbury resulting from the Alderman being charged with a conflict of interest
Because of my request to Council that they consider the brief submitted to them last February from the Halifax Homeowners Association, containing some well considered ideas toward holding the tax line for 1972, I have been charged with a conflict of interest.
The essence of the charge is that I am both a member of Council and President of the Halifax Homeowners Association.
Even if I would like to believe that the Alderman Spoke in haste, these are serious accusations and need to be responded to in an equally serious manner. In future the Mayor and this Council should insist that such charges be pursued in a proper manner.
Using the media, and not meetings of Council or the Courts to levy such accusations, is neither just, nor in the best interests of the City of Halifax.
I carefully considered Alderman MacKeen’s accusation and have sought knowledgable advice. It is their opinion and my con- clusion, that I have ng conflict of interest, nor shall I resign as either an elected member of Council, or as President of the Halifax Homeowners Association.
The charge of conflict of interest to me implies, financial gain, or deliberately supressing the best interests of the City of Halifax, for personal motives. This is Egg true —— an Alderman can be objective and conscientious, while at the same time participate in other community orientated organizations.
In conclusion, I find it interesting to note, that on the two occasions that I stood for election to this Council, it was a well publicized fact that I was,(in the good company of His Worship the Mayor) an executive of the Homeowners Association.
Let us stop debating nonsense and get down to better management of the City of Halifax, who in these critical times demands meaningful and positive thinking from each and every member of its elected representatives.
Margaret Stanbury Alderman, Ward VI
Deputy Mayor MacKeen then read the following statement:
The only conflict of interest described in the City Charter is the conflict of interest that deals with personal or financial gain.
It is a very narrow definition and if one wishes to adopt this narrow definition they are entitled to do so.
However, there are conflicts of interest other than those of a financial nature. It is this conflict of interest that I wish to discuss.
There can be a conflict of interest regarding objectivity. I don’t believe that in serving as President of the Homeowner Association, the Alderman can be objective. The fact of the matter is that she isn’t.
We have her referring to apartment dwellers as “birds of passage”. Such a statement is not objective, it is derogatory, insulting, and without logic. Because the Alderman holds public office, she should not draw a distinction between any citizen, she should not classify them. She has done so.
The Alderman should not have the conflict of interest which exists when she gives priorities to one group of citizens does. In referring to the Homeowners Association, she says “those that have a priority, an obvious one, should be listened to.” No point of view should have priority other than the merits of its logic and the case that can be made for it. It will be a terrible day for this city and democracy if we govern because we believe that a certain group has priority. We are elected to govern for all. If we don’t, then we have a conflict of interest.
The Second Vice-President of the Homeowners Association has stated that they helped elect the Alderman. He then inferred that it would be ridiculous to expect that, having become elected, the Alderman would not serve the organization. She must serve the City first. She can belong to the Homeowners Association, she can be sympathetic to their point of view, but she must always have the right to choose another point of view — the point of view that is best for the City. As President of the Homeowners Association, she doesn’t have the right to make the choice. That is a conflict of interest.
In serving as President of the Homeowners Association and the City, the Alderman is serving two masters, that is a conflict of interest. As President of the Homeowners Association, the Alderman has raised doubts, serious ones, vis—a—vis this group and her position as Alderman. These doubts will remain as long as she hides behind a literal interpretation of her position. She should not do so.
If she would resign as President of the Homeowners Association, she would gain the admiration and respect, not of one particular group, but of all citizens whom she is called upon to serve as an Alderman.
Should she not resign as President, then many will feel that her dedication to the Homeowners Association is greater than her dedication to the City. She should not allow herself to be put in this position by hiding behind a narrow and technical definition of conflict of interest.
His Worship the Mayor ruled that there is no legal conflict of interest and that the matter was no longer before City Council. No further discussion took place on the matter.
Standbury was an interesting character. Here’s her obituary, from 2006:
STANBURY, Margaret — 93, Halifax, passed away on Monday, November 27, 2006. She was born in Saint John, N.B., and was a daughter of the late Hugh Cannel and Nell Cannel. The family moved to Montreal, then Vancouver, before settling in Halifax in 1935. Margaret married the late John Stanbury during the Second World War. During the war she taught at Sea Gate School on Quinpool Road in Halifax. After the war, she started her own preschool in her home on Connaught Avenue in Halifax. Hundreds of Halifax children attended her preschool for the next 40 years.
Mrs. Stanbury was elected to the Halifax City Council in 1971 by a landslide. She was the third woman ever elected to council. She served as an alderman for eight years and in 1975 was elected Deputy Mayor of Halifax. In 1972, she elbowed her way into an all male hockey game between local politicians and reporters. The politicians included Premier Gerald Regan, leader of the opposition, John Buchanan and Mayor Walter Fitzgerald, “she didn’t back down because it was an all male game” said Fitzgerald, “she was a gamer”. Another comment was that Alderman Stanbury made a life of stick handling through arenas few others would enter.
Margaret Stanbury was a key player in Halifax’s social and political life for 50 years. In her earlier years she was a repertory actress in New York, Montreal and Vancouver. Along with teaching and dancing she planted in children a healthy appreciation of the theatre. In 1965, she began a successful theatre for and by children. She was not only the founder but the director and producer. The performers were from her drama classes and included future stars like Sally Braley, solo dancer with the Metropolitan Opera and Christopher Banks of Stratford. In 1964, her production of Snow White drew 8,000 people and in 1965, Hansel and Gretel attracted 10,000. She also produced Beauty and the Beast with former Alderman Gerry Blumenthal playing the beast. The Montreal Standard in 1965 included a two page write up on the Stanbury Theatre. In the 1960s she was pioneer director of children’s TV plays both on CJCH-TV and CBC-TV.
Through her preschool and theatre, Margaret passed on her other love, animals. She began and was first president of the Kindness Club of Halifax, which respected all forms of life. She wrote and told stories for a weekly column and radio show on CHNS, followed by CJCH-TV’s Kindness Corner which helped find homes for stray dogs and cats.
She was opposed to abortion rights:
Judging by a 1974 report, Standbury appears to have been opposed to transit:
City Council has revealed by their allocation of funds, that encouraging transit is of lower priority than catering to the needs of the private automobile. Margaret Stanbury surruned up this attitude and showed a complete lack of understanding of the situation, when she said that “congestion is caused by those dreadfully huge buses”.
The same year, she expressed frustration with heritage preservations: “I am so sick of this damn view from Citadel Hill I could scream,” she said.
In 1977, Standby unsuccessfully tried to ban smoking in City Council chambers.
As for Deputy Mayor David MacKeen, here’s his obituary from 2007:
MacKEEN, H. David – 74, died November 20, 2007, in the Halifax Infirmary, QEII, after a lengthy illness. Born in Halifax, he was the only son of the late Hon. Henry P. MacKeen and the late Alice (Tilley) MacKeen. He was educated at Tower Road School in Halifax and Rothesay Collegiate School in New Brunswick, and received his Bachelor of Art degree from Dalhousie University in 1954.
After more than a decade in the insurance business, first at Northern Life Insurance and then at Westmount Life, he was Executive Director of the Canadian Council of Christians and Jews from 1975 to 1980, and Executive Assistant to the late Hon. Edmund Morris, Minister of Fisheries and Social Services from 1980 to 1986. He was appointed to the National Parole Board in 1986, where he worked until his retirement in 1996.
Mr. MacKeen was actively involved in political and community affairs throughout his life. He served as an alderman for the City of Halifax, representing Ward 3, from 1969 to 1974, and was deputy mayor for the City of Halifax from 1972 to 1973. Mr. MacKeen served on a number of boards and committees while on city council, including the Halifax School Board, the Downtown Planning Commission, and the Halifax Forum Commission. Over the years, he also served on the boards of many volunteer community organizations, including the Nova Scotia Civil Liberties Union; the Nova Scotia Association for Advancement of Coloured People; the John Howard Society; the Halifax Youth Foundation; Nova Scotia Committee on Family Violence; the North End Work Activity Project; Ogilvie Tower Day Care Centre; Halifax Youth Clinic; the Devonshire Centre; the North End Criminal Justice and Diversion Project; the Micmac Friendship Society, and the Nova Scotia Festival of the Arts. He was a member of the Nova Scotia Delegation of Ministers’ Conferences on Aboriginal Rights; the Young Offenders’ Act, and president of the Halifax Police Boys and Girls Club. An active Tory party member all his life, he served in nearly every possible party role.
After his retirement, he served as a palliative care volunteer for the Northwood Hospice. David’s wit, compassion, political savvy and free spirit will be sorely missed by his family and his wide circle of loyal friends. He is survived by his son, Henry David Cameron (Shona Kinley) and their children Ewan David and Kirsten Shona; his daughter, Judith Alison (Scott Shapiro), Ann Arbor, Mich., and their children Liza Alice and Henry David, and his sister, Judith Tilley Moreira. He will also be missed by beloved dog, Duffy.
It’s interesting that Margaret Standbury, a woman fighting the exclusionary old boys club in Halifax, was in some ways, perhaps many ways, far more conservative than her self-identifying Tory colleague, David MacKeen.
As you can see, Canada is still in the world of the sane, or at least restrained, with no statues over 30 metres.
The Mother Canada™ proposal, however, comes in at 24 metres, which while not up with the mega statues, is ambitious enough. Wiki has a list of all large statues around the world, and should we build Mother Canada™, it will join the ranks of these other 24-metre statues:
Worker and Kolkhoz Woman, Russia:
Heiwa Kannon of Funaoka Park, Japan:
The White Buddha statue of Long Son Pagoda, Vietnam:
Tambun Tibetan Temple Buddha, Malaysia:
Binxian Dafo, China:
Say what you will about these other 24-metre statues, but even with their oversized egos, their builders seem to have managed to keep a sense of beauty about their creations. I’m not sure I would call any of them “gaudy.”
Contrast them with Mother Canada™:
Still, there might redeeming value in Mother Canada™. Just think what it would do for cell coverage on the Cabot Trail if we stuck an antenna array on her head.
In the harbour
Cenito, chemical tanker, Beaumont, Texas to Imperial Oil
APL Oregon sails to sea
[deep thought here]