1. Bullshitters of the week: NSBI and Tanya Shaw
The Engage 2015 Conference is being held today at Saint Mary’s University today:
This year’s event will help Atlantic Canadian companies and post-secondary education students learn how to develop innovative, global-focussed businesses backed by world-class research and development resources that exist in Atlantic Canada. The outstanding speakers, highly interactive sessions and abundant networking opportunities over the first one and a half days will culminate in Business After Hours and Export Camp, two events designed to deliver practical advice and face-to-face meetings with decision makers from large multi-national companies and government who can help you and your company excel in a global marketplace.
[bold in original, italics added to highlight the bullshit]
Basically, you can pay 200 bucks to go the Stubborn Goat and drink with a bunch of self-important people who have an inside route to government money.
There’s a lot of funny shit about this conference. My jaw dropped when I saw the session titled “Finding Success: the Irving Oil Story.” I mean, what possible lesson could any college student learn from the Irving story? Rip off an impoverished province, demand government money for your every endeavour, attack your employees and bust unions, and live a life of luxury while everyone on the planet — including your wife and kids — hates you? I guess if that’s your thing, sure. Good luck with that, students.
The show stopper, however, is today’s 11:30am “Lessons From the Trenches Closing Panel,” featuring, among others, Tanya Shaw. Here’s how the program describes Shaw:
As founder and Executive of Unique Solutions Design Ltd., Tanya Shaw has spent her career providing strategic solutions to many aspects of “individuality” and “fit”. Her technically savvy nature, tenacity and sharp business acumen have resulted in the development of numerous products and applications that provide both resolutions and revolutions, related to shopping, body measurement and body data. Through her leadership, passion and vision, Unique has garnered international attention having been featured prominently in publications such as the New York Times and People Magazine and on Good Morning America, The Today Show, CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360, The Gail King Show and numerous other television shows, print and online publications.
Tanya is considered an inspiring and leading technology entrepreneur having won numerous awards throughout her career including:
- Junior Chamber International Outstanding Young Canadian of the Year Award
- CATA Alliance Sarah Kirke Award – Top Canadian Woman in Hi-Tech
- Top 40 Under 40 Award
- Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year, Atlantic/Emerging Category
Tanya has served as an active Director on several Boards throughout the years and is currently on the Board of the Diocesan Franciscan Society as well as the Faculty of Management Advisory Board at Dalhousie University.
Tanya attended Dalhousie University’s internationally recognized Costume Studies Design Program, graduating in 1991. She also attended Saint Mary’s University, studying Commerce. Tanya is honored to be a member of the 2010 class of Henry Crown Fellows at the Aspen Institute.
Of course, the demonstration of Shaw’s “sharp business acumen” is that she has acquired $5.6 million in funding through Nova Scotia Business Inc for Unique Solutions.
NSBI won’t make public the value of its portfolio. Think about that: your tax dollars are going into private businesses, but you have no right to know what that investment is worth. Regardless, judging by the write-down in a community development investment fund that is public, I figure NSBI’s $5.6 million investment is now worth less than a million dollars. It appears that nearly that entire “investment” has evaporated. You can read my detailed analysis of Unique Solutions here. (Also, you can read how the Chronicle Herald purposefully failed to tell its readers about the collapse of the company, here.)
Unsolicited, private investors in Unique Solutions have contacted me and told me that their investments are worthless, that the company won’t give them up-to-date financial information, that the company is being managed in California and its office in Burnside is just a front to maintain a fiction that it’s still a Nova Scotia company. If NSBI contests this, they can prove it wrong by making public the value of its shares in Unique Solutions.
But, back to the Engage conference, here’s Shaw lecturing students on “lessons from the trenches.” How does this happen? Oh, I see… Nova Scotia Business Inc is an “event partner” of the conference.
The McNeil government is using smoke and mirrors to try to convince us that it is keeping energy rates low. A Department of Energy release from yesterday:
Energy Minister Michel Samson released Our Electricity Future: Nova Scotia’s Electricity Plan, the province’s 25-year electricity plan today, Nov. 9, at the NSCC Waterfront Campus in Dartmouth. The plan reflects findings from the year-long Electricity System Review, which heard from more than 1,300 Nova Scotians and technical experts.
Under the plan, Nova Scotia Power could face penalties of up to $1 million annually if it does not meet performance standards. Penalties will not impact rates, but will be paid for by shareholders.
Power bills have two parts. The general rate charged by Nova Scotia Power and a base fuel cost. Through legislation, government will bring in a new three-year rate stability period, from 2017-19, during which power rates will be known by Nova Scotians upfront. To achieve this, Nova Scotia Power will have until April 30 to request a change to the general rate for non-fuel costs during this period.
The company must also file a plan to lock in prices to reduce volatility in the cost of fuel over the three years.
Clearly, the goal is to lock in electricity prices next year so that there is no increase before the 2017 election. McNeil thinks voters are dumb. He might be right.
“Via Rail is considering launching new regional routes to service Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and in particular, a route between Moncton and Halifax,” reports the CBC:
“If we could get Maritimers to choose Via for a third of their trips within the service area that we service today and those that we will plan to service next year, it would be a very successful business,” [Via president Yves] Desjardins-Siciliano told CBC’s Maritime Noon.
That seems quite ambitious. I’d probably take that evening train to Moncton occasionally, tho.
4. Taxi driver
“A taxi driver in Halifax convicted of sexual assaulting a female passenger is asking the city to reinstate his cab license,” reports Metro’s Stephanie Taylor:
Ahror Mamadiev, 43, was handed a conditional discharge on Sept. 2, after he was found guilty of sexually assaulting a woman while dropping her off home on Aug. 18, 2014, according to a staff report.
[T]he case is headed back to Thursday’s appeals standing committee, after a report said lawyers filed an appeal that “advised (Mamadiev) had technically not been ‘convicted’ as the court in sentencing had imposed a conditional discharge.”
I don’t think Mamadiev will prevail on this.
It’s important that people trust the taxi service, and that bad drivers get removed quickly.
Also, in Nova Scotia, we have cab and liquor licenses, but drivers licences.
A 200 million-year-old prosauropod dinosaur has been discovered at Wasson Bluff on the Fundy coast.
1. Bus data
The city says a real-time bus data system — that is, GPS on buses telling us exactly where the bus we want to catch is — will be operational by summer. Well, maybe: we’ve been made so many promises, and let down so many times, it’s hard to believe any such claim. We’ll see, I guess.
Regardless, once the system is up and running, riders won’t have to stand in a snowbank in an ice storm for 20 minutes waiting for their buses. Instead, they can sit at home or in their offices, and watch a smart phone app to see where the bus is, then dart out to the stop in time to catch it. A huge plus.
And an added bonus, says Erica Butler, is that we’ll finally have hard data about which buses are late on a consistent basis:
Right now, our system sure feels like it’s off-schedule more than it’s on. But by this time next year, we will have evidence showing exactly where and how much it’s off.
Then we can ask our planners and decision makers to actually fix the problems at the root of our frustrations.
2. Mother Canada™
Last week, the Friends of Green Cove met with the provincial Liberal caucus to discuss the Mother Canada™ proposal. Parker Donham tells us what they said.
Remember also that eating and drinking of any kind are not tolerated in courtrooms. Never in my 30 years of practice have I ever seen a judge, clerk, lawyer or a witness break out so much as a candy bar.
Of course judges, clerks, lawyers, and witnesses are adults who can stave off a hunger pang for an hour or two without screaming and making a fuss. Linda Mosher’s lawyer is essentially saying that mothers of newborns shouldn’t be in court.
4. Cranky letter of the day
It is bad enough that West Hants council is wasting our tax dollars for another, unnecessary fire department because they couldn’t “play nice” with one which was already proven and there.
Now they are wasting more of those precious dollars on a fancy four-page brochure telling us what a wonderful job they are doing.
Talk about “closing the barn door after the horse got out.”
Bill Gregory, Burlington
House sits (1pm, Province House) — Pomp! Circumstance!
This date in history
On November 10, 1811, Robert Barry Dickey was born in Amherst. He went on to become a lawyer and was appointed to the Legislative Council of Nova Scotia.
The Canadian Encyclopedia explains that Dickey was just another Maritimer looking for handouts from Upper Canada:
As a delegate to the Charlottetown Conference and the Quebec Conference in 1864, he was strongly opposed to Nova Scotia joining Confederation. He believed that the financial terms offered by Canada to Nova Scotia were unjust. He continued to fight for better terms and only converted to support of the union when Canada offered more lucrative subsidies in 1866. He was appointed to the Canadian Senate in 1867.
Baffin Bay (11:30am, Room 8007, Life Sciences Centre) — Calvin Campbell will speak on “Marine Geological Hazard Research in Baffin Bay.”
Ocean Variability (11:45am, Room 3655, Life Sciences Centre) — Anna Katavouta will speak on “Non-Linear Coupling of Scales of Ocean Variability and Implications for Downscaling.”
Darren Greer (4:15, Killam Library, Archives and Special Collections Reading Room, 5th Floor ) — explains the properly written event listing (librarians get this stuff right):
Darren Greer is the author of three novels and a book of essays.
He grew up in several towns in Nova Scotia, including Greenfield and Liverpool, and studied literature at the University of King’s College, Halifax, as well as Carleton University, Ottawa.
Greer’s first novel, Tyler’s Cape, was published in March 2001 to critical acclaim and was on the bestseller list of the Halifax Chronicle-Herald. Still Life with June was nominated for the Pearson Readers’ Choice Award at The Word On The Street, Toronto, in 2003 and is the Winner of the 2004 ReLit Award.
Goran Stanivukovic (3pm, Room LI135 Patrick Power Library) — Goran Stanivukovic will talk about his latest book, Knights in Arms: Prose Romance, Masculinity and Eastern Mediterranean Trade. Bring a shrubbery.
NASA has published a video showing just how big the International Space Station is:
It is the largest and most sophisticated object ever built off the Earth. It has taken numerous spaceflights and over a decade to construct. The International Space Station (ISS) is currently the premiere habitat for humans in Earth orbit, and an amalgamation of sophisticated orbiting laboratories that have examined everything from the formation of new materials and medicines created in microgravity — to the limitations of the human body — to the composition of the universe. This month, the ISS is celebrating 15 years of continuous human habitation. The ISS has been visited by astronauts from 15 countries, so far, and has international partners led by NASA (USA), Roscosmos (Russia), CSA (Canada), JAXA (Japan), and ESA (Europe).The featured animation shows the piece-by-piece construction of the ISS from 1998 to 2011. Spanning the length of a football field, the ISS can be seen as an unusually bright spot drifting slowly overhead by anyone who knows when and where to look.
Pretty cool, but when I was a kid I was told that by now we’d have this:
In the harbour
Ningbo Express, container ship, Cagliari, Italy to Fairview Cove
Tombarra, car carrier, Zeebrugge, Belgium to Autoport
Advantage Anthem, oil tanker, arrived at Imperial Oil from Quebec early this morning; sails to sea this afternoon
I take stat holidays off, so no Morning File tomorrow.