It’s April 15, and we have weather.
2. Film tax credit
Screen Nova Scotia has announced the results of a PricewaterhouseCoopers economic impact study of the film industry in Nova Scotia in 2014:
The study reports that in relation to film industry activities in 2014, the Nova Scotia government provided funding of $23.5 million via the former Nova Scotia Film Tax Credit. The report estimates that an annual contribution from the industry activities in 2014 contributed directly and indirectly $179.4 million to the province’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the same year. PwC estimates the industry directly supported 1,600 full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs in 2014, with an average salary of approximately $43,000. Another 1,600 Nova Scotians found income and employment working indirectly for the industry, as service providers or suppliers. The total estimated labour income for those 3,200 workers was approximately $137 million.
Screen Nova Scotia didn’t release the full study, but just the results, and there are interesting reasons for that.
I’m told that PWC was hired, at nearly $100,000, to conduct the study because PWC is the “go-to” firm for government — it’d be difficult for the Liberals to discount the results of a study conducted by the same firm that gives cover to the programs supported by government.
I’m also told that after PWC finished and delivered its report to Screen Nova Scotia, PWC rewrote it to change the numbers downward, but as a gigantic legal battle unfolded, with lawyers threatening other lawyers, the report was rewritten again, reverting back to the original. Some people suspect that the Liberals tried to interfere with the report. Still, I’m told, PWC refuses to allow Screen Nova Scotia to release the full report.
However, someone leaked the report to Local Xpress, which has published it here.
“Among other findings in the report are,” write reporters Michael Gorman and Andrea Nemetz:
- the industry employed 3,200 people in 2014, with an average salary of $43,000. About 1,600 of those jobs were full-time equivalents and 1,600 were indirect jobs.
- the industry has had steady growth over the past two decades, and local production share increased to 88 per cent in 2014 from 56 per cent in 2010.
- individuals working in the screen industry are relatively young, highly educated, entrepreneurial and more likely to have moved to the province from elsewhere compared with the overall provincial labour force.
In an interview with the CBC’s John Laroche, Premier Stephen McNeil held fast to his decision to kill the tax credit:
Some members of province’s film industry say all the changes have led to many people in the film industry leaving Nova Scotia to find work.
“Very proud of the investments we’re going to make in low income Nova Scotians, very proud of the investments we’ve made with the business driving job growth and economic opportunity, those are the things that are being ignored,” said McNeil.
“You can’t do it all, you can’t say that we’re going to subsidize one sector to 65 cents on the dollar and ignore everybody else.”
When Laroche suggested moving on with the interview, the premier refused and said this was a “pet project” of Laroche’s and he appreciated it.
“Proposed changes to the design of the Nova Centre got mixed reviews at a meeting of the municipality’s design review committee on Thursday,” reports Zane Woodford for Metro:
One by one, members of the committee expressed their distaste for the look of the brick, with one, who said he’s a structural engineer, pointing out that it could leak in the future.
Argyle Developments’ Joe Ramia presented the changes to the committee, and argued the brick would make the building fit in better with those around it.
He also told the committee it’s a “very special brick.”
“It is a specialty brick that’s never been used before in this market,” he said, adding that it comes from Boston.
After the meeting, he told reporters he’d be bringing samples of the brick to the next committee meeting.
I’m so going to the next meeting.
“The U.S. Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) has shed a little light on the information Canadian spy Jeffrey Paul Delisle was selling to the Russians,” reports Stephen Puddicombe for the CBC. Delisle was paid $3,000 a month by the Russians to hand over classified Canadian Navy reports.
Puddicombe put a lot of work into this story, filing dozens of Freedom of Information requests with various US federal agencies. The results are a little thin:
The unredacted parts of the documents focus on St. John’s. The U.S. State Department wrote the criminal threat for all Canadian cities is low, except Vancouver which was “moderate.”
U.S. security agencies also warn about violence in the George Street area of St. John’s, recommending American military personnel walk in pairs or in small groups for safety reasons.
They also mentioned concerns about crack, cocaine and ecstasy, prostitution and motorcycle gangs from other provinces that are often in the area.
I would’ve warned the Russians about George Street for half the price.
4. Innovation watch
The most absurd use of “innovation” yet is reported in the Kings County News under the headline “Innovating to decrease sexual violence: Grants for Southwest Nova Scotia groups announced“:
Six new projects with a goal of preventing sexual violence in the Annapolis Valley and South Shore areas received grants April 12 through the province’s Sexual Violence Strategy.
“Important announcement” was what Acadia Students’ Union president Suzanne Gray called the event. Kings South MLA Keith Irving echoed her.
Irving, who spoke on behalf of Community Services Minister Joanne Bernard, announced more than $70,000 in Prevention Innovation Grants for organizations that work with young people.
The Prevention Innovation Grants are part of the province’s Sexual Violence Strategy. A total investment of $1.2 million has been promised.
Community Services says approximately 100 applications were received for the grants, which aim to “support community groups and organizations, including youth and underserved populations such as African Nova Scotians, First Nations, and the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer) community, to reach out to their peers and help put creative prevention initiatives into practice.”
I’m not criticizing the programs, and of course addressing sexual violence should be a high priority. It’s appropriate for government to fund such programs. But how is addressing sexual violence “innovating”? It’s basic human decency, and not at all a new concept.
I guess in order to get government funding for anything, we now need to slap an “innovation” label on it.
1. St. John’s 1966
“It was impossible to unsee the recent images of a car hanging to the side of Signal Hill in St John’s Newfoundland,” writes Stephen Archibald. “The car looked so tiny and foreign against that giant mound of rock. Got me remembering when I worked on Signal Hill in the summer of 1966 (50 years ago but who’s counting). It you are interested, I can show you some snapshots of my youthful adventure.”
This is a fun photo essay. Two pics stand out:
Once we hired a fisherman from the picturesque community at the base of Signal Hill to take us just outside the harbour mouth to watch nets being pulled. Lots of hand labour and lots of fish.
The best game of chance I’ve ever seen was a large table edged by boards with numbered holes. Each hole had a carrot sticking through it. The crowd bet on their favourite carrot and then a rabbit was released. The first carrot to be nibbled won.
I love the framing of that last photo — buddy’s ear, how the spectators’ attention is drawn not to the rabbit but to the betting table, and why aren’t the hole numbers sequential?
2. Leap manifesto
Richard Starr details the alarmist language of the reporting around the Leap manifesto, which was debated at the NDP’s leadership convention last weekend. He points out:
Some of the document’s key bits of “madness” that will be up for discussion by NDP riding associations include:
- respect the rights of First Nations, starting by fully implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples;
- move to 100% renewable electricity within 20 years;
- transition to a fossil free economy by 2050;
- end infrastructure projects that lock us into increased extraction decades into the future;
- end trade deals that interfere with our attempts to rebuild local economies, regulate corporations and stop damaging extractive projects;
- expand non-polluting economic activities such as day care, education and the arts;
- implement a system of universal basic income
- raise new revenue through a carbon tax, higher taxes on large corporations and wealthy and a financial transaction tax.
Despite its rough passage in Edmonton, the manifesto will be discussed by hundreds of riding associations across the country. The results of those discussions will inform the policy resolutions leading up to the next NDP convention in two years. Since the manifesto summarizes so many things on which New Democrats already agree, some discussants may decide to zero in on the pipeline issue and bring forward some ideas that help to solve the dilemma that has so far eluded everyone – how to transition successfully to a low-carbon future in which everyone (with the possible exception of Big Money and Big Oil) is a winner.
I am increasingly thinking we are living in one of those apocalyptic movies, where the nuclear missiles will be launched in an hour, or a comet in route to smashing the Earth to smithereens is detected a few months out and there’s nothing anyone can do about it. If I remember Miracle Mile correctly, when you know the end of the world is imminent, you just have sex with whoever you’re in the elevator with and that’s the end of it. In the case of Lucifer’s Hammer, when you have a few weeks before Armageddon, you follow some religious nut.
But what happens if you find out the end of the world is, say, a decade out? How would have Medieval Europeans acted if they knew, in 1350, that in coming decades half their world would be fallen by the Black Death? What did the Easter Islanders think when they were erecting that last statue?
We don’t really have to guess about how we would react to the certain knowledge of impending doom, because we all have knowledge of our own deaths, which in the scheme of things are imminent. Mostly, we are in denial, and we ignore the sad truth. Some people go on health binges, a desperate attempt to delay the inevitable. A few pray to some sky god and invent absurd afterlife scenarios.
In the case of the coming climate Armageddon, which increasingly looks like it will destroy the bulk of if not all of humanity a few decades out, we are in complete and utter denial. Some literally so — they invent a science that denies the possibility. But mostly we know the truth but just ignore the issue. Like the health nuts, maybe a few people get excited about Earth Hour, as if that will accomplish anything. The churches were discredited long ago, so that’s only an option for the foolish and delusional. But thanks to our adventures in Afghanistan, there’s lots of heroin, so there’s that.
Yeah, sure, let’s build more pipelines and dig up the tar sands. Why the fuck not? Nobody gives a shit anyway.
3. Cranky letter of the day
If you are planning to visit the CBRM solid waste site in Sydney make sure your vehicle is a 4×4.
I made a trip there on April 13, was sent up the hill to dump my trailer and discovered the conditions were deplorable. There was at least 12 inches of mud in some areas.
I realize the weather has been wet lately but as a local contractor paying $80 per ton (and I’m just one contractor) I believe a very small portion of the revenue the CBRM generates from contractors alone should be more than ample to have a dozer go up there and distribute some heavy gravel.
It’s a tough go owning a small business and I think the municipality should seriously look at another option for tipping fees. I feel that $80 dollars per ton is just gouging the small guy. It should be a set rate per load or should go by volume as opposed to weight. For example, if I were to take my trailer to the waste site full of roofing shingles it would be roughly two tons which would cost $160. Now if it were a full load of styrofoam or insulation it might be a quarter ton which would cost only $20. It would be the same volume and it all goes in the same pile on the hill.
I have had numerous discussions with the solid waste manager about this but to no avail.
I don’t know exactly how many contractors are in the CBRM but the revenue generated from just contractors alone on a yearly basis would have to be more than six figures. It could even be higher.
I think this issue should be seriously discussed at a council meeting. This is my opinion only. I can’t speak for any other contractors but I am sure this will raise some eyebrows among other contractors and more importantly it should among the mayor and council.
Paul O’Toole, North Sydney
The Government and On Campus sections are compiled by Kathleen Munro.
No public meetings.
Legislature sits (9am, Province House)
The Road to the NATO Warsaw Summit: How to Strengthen NATO and Enhance European Security (12:30pm, University Hall, MacDonald Building) — Robert Kupiecki will discuss the influence a stronger NATO could have on European security.
In the harbour
Unnamed US Naval Vessel arrives at 9:30am. It might be carrying nuclear bombs, so if you hear a big boom today…
Tokyo Express, container ship, Rotterdam to Fairview Cove at 6pm