1. Clayton Miller
Back in July, Wagner’s law firm held a press conference to publicize “new evidence” in the Clayton Miller case: the videotaped testimony of Bryan McDonald, a Cape Breton Search & Rescue captain, who said he and his team of 10-15 people searched the area where Clayton’s body was later found, but found nothing.
I thought it was odd that this testimony was videotaped (why couldn’t McDonald show up at the press conference and speak for himself?). But I published the videos of McDonald (here), and expressed considerable skepticism about them. Wagner, however, promised three more press conferences over the “coming months,” which he said would reveal more information, but so far there have been no further press conferences.
Yesterday, however, the Serious Incident Response Team released a review of McDonald’s video statement, noting:
The individual that was interviewed and provided this information to the Millers [McDonald] is known to SiRT to be elderly and unwell. As a result, SiRT determined an attempt to interview him would be contrary to the public interest. The known evidence shows he is mistaken about his recollection. SiRT is unable to explain his comments. Whether he has confused this date with another search (there was a search on May 28, 1990 for an 84-year-old male with the same last name, but different first name) or his evidence is the result of influence from others, is a matter SiRT is unable to determine.
As a result of the determination that there is no evidence to suggest a formal or informal search for Mr. Miller occurred on May 5, 1990 at the Nest there is no reason to consider any further investigation into this matter.
SiRT reminds the public of its previous conclusions:
Clayton Miller was not beaten or killed by anyone. The doctors of the day said that at the time.
Two well respected forensic pathologists repeated those conclusions in 1994. Dr. Bowes repeats those opinions, and confirms death by hypothermia based on newly understood science. The evidence does not support any other suggestions about his cause of death.
SiRT has examined the facts of this matter thoroughly. We have looked behind rumours and speculation for evidence, and what can be proven. We are convinced, that there is absolutely no evidence that any police officer caused Clayton Miller’s death. Rather, the evidence proves his death was caused by the unfortunate mixture of youth and alcohol.
Clayton Miller’s death was a tragedy, and one which has affected his family deeply. That is understandable. While there is nothing this report can do to change that, what it can do is assure the public that as an independent body, with no allegiance to anything other than the truth, we have determined that Clayton Miller’s death was an accident. There are absolutely no grounds to consider any charges against any police officer.
I doubt the Miller family and their supporters will accept this finding or any other finding that doesn’t conclude Clayton was killed by police.
2. Masuma Khan
“A student at Dalhousie University is facing disciplinary action for a Facebook post she wrote about Canada 150 celebrations, after another student complained that her post discriminated against white people on the basis of skin colour and ancestry,” reports Simona Chiose for the Globe & Mail:
Masuma Khan, a vice-president of the Dalhousie Student Union, wrote the post on June 30, in response to another post by the Nova Scotia Young Progressive Conservatives (NSYPC). The NSYPC message criticized a motion by the student union not to participate in Canada 150 celebrations on July 1 and to label such events “an act of colonialism.”
The student union “should prioritize advocating for student issues, not attacking Canada,” the Conservatives’ message said.
“At this point, f*** you all,” Ms. Khan responded. “I stand by the motion I put forward. I stand by Indigenous students. … Be proud of this country? For what, over 400 years of genocide?” She signed off with the hashtags #unlearn150, #whitefragilitycankissmyass and #yourwhitetearsarentsacredthislandis.
On July 5, Michael Smith, a graduate student in history, filed a written complaint about Ms. Khan’s Facebook comments, alleging that “targeting ‘white people’ who celebrate Canada Day is blatant discrimination.”
After conducting an investigation, Dalhousie’s vice-provost of student affairs, Arig al Shaibah, concluded that Ms. Khan violated its code of student conduct which prohibits “unwelcome or persistent conduct that the student knows, or ought to know, would cause another person to feel demeaned, intimidated or harassed.”
“The choice of language and tone used in the Facebook post … was very concerning,” the university said in its submission to the discipline committee, a copy of which was obtained by The Globe and Mail. Beginning “a post that addresses peers … with expletives … cannot be defended as merely passion for social justice.”
The matter would’ve been resolved “informally” had Khan agreed to attend counselling, but she says she did nothing wrong so has hired a lawyer.
I want to say something about precious white snowflakes, but instead I’ll leave this to El Jones:
Remember the Dalhousie Dentistry men who kept a Facebook group for nearly four years sexually harassing women, threatening to chloroform women and rape them, talking about “hate fucking” women, and commenting vilely on their pictures were found to not be in violation of the code of conduct. But a brown Muslim woman who says “ass” while challenging colonialism and racially charged attacks is disciplined.
3. City Hall registry
“At the next meeting of Regional Council, councillor Shawn Cleary will ask for a staff report on the creation and maintenance of a municipal lobbyist registry to keep track of the people and businesses trying to influence HRM,” reports Jacob Boon for The Coast.
I discussed the need for such a registry in 2015:
[Chris] MacInnes, incidentally, is vice-president of the public relations firm Group m5; he took that position in August of 2012. m5 seems to be something of a Liberal clubhouse: after Mike Savage was turfed out as the Liberal MP for Dartmouth in the 2011 election, Savage went to work for m5 until he ran for mayor of Halifax in 2012.
Readers may additionally remember m5 for its failed attempt to lobby the city to hire its client to poison Dartmouth’s lakes. As the Examiner reported in February:
The city’s Environment and Sustainability committee yesterday rejected a proposal to use an herbicide to kill weeds in Dartmouth’s lakes, reports Chris Benjamin, but not before:
Councillor Lorelei Nicoll expressed dismay that the name of Jamie MacNeil — the m5 Public Affairs VP who recommended using herbicides — was made public in the staff briefing. MacNeil lives in Nicoll’s district. “It was very unfortunate to see the individual from District 4 identified in this briefing note,” she said. “When he asked to understand the process I did not say ‘are you OK with having your name made public?’ … I hope that never happens again.”
According to the briefing note, MacNeil had approached the council on behalf of an m5 client, Lake Management Services. Nicoll did not say why the public should not be fully aware of the involvement of either a herbicide company, its PR firm, or the PR firm’s VP. Regardless, the city’s Deputy Chief Administrative Officer, Mike Labrecque, apologized for telling the public the truth.
The committee’s recommendation to instead use annual mechanical harvesting of the weeds will next go to the full city council.
Whatever pull m5 thought it might have with the city thanks to its past relationship with Savage, it didn’t work. The city ultimately decided to use an underwater weed mower to address the lake problem.
But Labrecque committed the cardinal sin of showing how PR firms work behind the scenes to try to land contracts for their clients. The incident shows why we need a lobbyist registry for City Hall.
Yesterday, I noted that the secret powermasters at the provincial and municipal governments who put together a secret bid for Amazon are keeping the whole thing, er, secret. But, as Colin May points out, similar bids offered by U.S. cities are completely public. For example, reports the Boston Globe:
The City of Worcester is digging deep to woo an Amazon headquarters, with a proposal to offer up to $500 million in local property tax breaks.
The incentive package would be spread out over 20 years, according to a copy of the 60-page bid, released Tuesday night.
Now how hard was that? Will making the bid public mean the sky will fall on the City of Worcester? I think not. But the citizens of Worcester are fully informed, and now can take whatever action they deem necessary to reward or reprimand their bureaucrats and politicians for giving away a half-billion dollars in tax breaks.
Meanwhile, the city of Little Rock, Arkansas took out a full-page ad in the Jeff Bezos-owned Washington Post in the form of a “break up letter” to Amazon:
WE NEED TO TALK.
It’s not you, it’s us.
We know, we know, when you originally sent out your offer for cities to send in proposals for your future HQ2, we were all over it.
After all, you’re Amazon. You’re smart, sexy, and frankly, incredibly rich. And thanks to our booming business environment, tech-savvy workforce, diverse, creative culture and flourishing downtown, there are a lot of reasons why we’d be great together.
But when we started really thinking about what our future would look like, we realized it would probably never work out between us.
You want 50,000 employees for your new campus. We have a sizable, resourceful workforce, but if we were to concentrate them here, it would be a bummer. Our lack of traffic and ease of getting around would be totally wrecked, and we can’t sacrifice that for you.
You want on-site mass transit at HQ2. Here, there are many transit options that fit our city perfectly, and thanks to our compact urban footprint, many of our residents can easily get to the office on foot, on a bike or just by a quick drive. It would be cool if we could offer that, but we simply can’t do that just to make you happy.
Amazon, you’ve got so much going for you, and you’ll find what you’re looking for. But it’s just not us.
We’re happy knowing that many great companies find our natural good looks, coupled with our brains for business, irresistible.
If another expansion opportunity comes up and you’re ready to join the visionaries, dreamers, romantics and the idealists who know that bigger isn’t always better, give us a call. We would love to find a way to make “us” work out.
We wish you all the success in the world.
With that, Little Rock did more to promote its town than all the hundreds of other cities, including Halifax, that fell over themselves to put together absurd (half a billion dollars!) bid packages for Amazon.
“We saw cities hocking their arms and all their economic development money in this,” Little Rock mayor Mark Stodola told reporters.
And San Antonio, Texas mayor Ron Nirenberg wrote an open letter to Amazon noting that “blindly giving away the farm isn’t our style.”
5. Another cool thing ruined by someone holding the camera the wrong way
Look, when some dude jumps into the harbour to save a bird entangled in a fishing line, and you happen to be on the boardwalk with your phone thinking you’ll later upload a video of the event to YouTube, hold the damn phone horizontally!
Despite the entire experience being ruined by a video with two giant black bars on either side, Nic Meloney caught up with the dude who jumped in the harbour and wrote a piece about it for the CBC.
1. Cranky letter of the day
One might think of a 100th anniversary as being historic, remarkable, and definitely worth a grand celebration. Here we are, October 17th, one day after the 100th anniversary of the first ferry to tie up at the brand new pier in Port Borden.
Not many can say that their community was named after a Prime Minister. But yet this community has sat silent, as we had this grand celebration called Bridgefest.
Someone has truly missed the boat. And no, I don’t want to be part of this town.
Oh yes, and happy 100th birthday to the town of Borden.
Danny Howatt, Cape Traverse
No public meetings.
Legislature sits (Friday, 9am, Province House)
Redox Flow Batteries (Friday, 1:30pm, Chemistry Room 226) — Fikile R. Brushett from MIT will speak on “Connecting System Targets with Material Properties: Application-informed Fundamental Science of Redox Flow Batteries.”
Contemporary Africans in Timeless Africa: West Africans’ Engagement with Ideas of Africa in America, 1925-1945 (Friday, 3:30pm, Room 1170, Marion McCain Building) — Philip Zachernuk will speak.
Exoplanets and the Search for Habitable Worlds (Friday, 7pm, McNally Theatre) — Sara Seager from MIT will speak. Alas, the talk is sold out. Seager’s abstract:
Thousands of exoplanets are known to orbit nearby stars with compelling evidence that all stars in our Milky Way Galaxy likely have planets. Beyond their discovery, a new era of “exoplanet characterization” is underway with an astonishing diversity of exoplanets driving the fields of planetary science and engineering to new frontiers. The push to find smaller and smaller planets down to Earth size is succeeding and motivating the next generation of space telescopes to have the capability to find and identify habitable worlds. The ultimate goal is to discover planets that may have suitable conditions for life or even signs of life by way of atmospheric biosignature gases.
In the harbour
3:30am: Spica, container ship, sails from Pier 42 for sea
5am: Budapest Bridge, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from Fos Sur Mer, France
7am: Celebrity Summit, cruise ship with up to 2,100 passengers, arrives at Pier 20 from Sydney
7am: Nolhanava, ro-ro cargo, arrives at Pier 36 from Saint-Pierre
7:45am: Crown Princess, cruise ship with up to 3,674 passengers, arrives at Pier 22 from Saint John
10am: YM Movement, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from Colombo, Sri Lanka
11am: Budapest Bridge, container ship, sails from Fairview Cove for New York
11:30am: Oceanex Sanderling, ro-ro container, moves from Autoport to Pier 41
4:30pm: Nolhanava, ro-ro cargo, sails from Pier 36 for Saint-Pierre
5:45pm: Crown Princess, cruise ship with up to 3,674 passengers, sails from Pier 22 for Sydney
6pm: Atlantic Sky, ro-ro container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from Liverpool, England
6:30pm: Celebrity Summit, cruise ship, sails from Pier 20 for New York
9:30pm: YM Movement, container ship, sails from Fairview Cove for New York
I have an early morning reporting thing I have to do, so a bit abbreviated today.
For today’s Examineradio, I interviewed former premier Darrell Dexter. Check the home page this afternoon.