I’m having computer problems, and so this is a short version of Morning File.
1. Who are we building bike lanes for, anyway?
“After the announcement about $25 million in funding towards a minimum bike grid for central Halifax and Dartmouth, there was a lot of talk about who would benefit from such an investment,” writes Erica Butler:
One of the main numbers that got thrown around was 1%, a perfectly good statistic supplied by Statistics Canada, as far as it goes. It refers to the 1% of working people over age 15 in HRM that reported their main mode of commuting to work was by bike during the 2016 census.
If you follow Councillor Matt Whitman (assuming he allows you to follow him), you will see that “the 1%” gets mentioned a lot in his social media feeds, apparently alluding to the term as coined during the Occupy Wall Street movement, which during the protests referred to the richest 1% of Americans, who own about 40% of the country’s wealth. I guess Whitman’s idea is to paint people riding bikes as wealthy elites.
It’s a clever joke, but the reality is likely very different. A study out of Simon Fraser University surveying people in three mid-sized Canadian cities including Halifax, found that the lower the household income, the higher the rate of bike-riding as primary mode of transportation.
It appears unlikely that 1% of people who bike to work in HRM are the same 1% controlling an outlandish share of our wealth.
Because it’s an important discussion addressing misconceptions about who cycles and who we’re building cycling infrastructure for, I’ve left Butler’s column available for all to read. But you should consider subscribing anyway; your subscription supports Butler’s work.
3. Tidal turbine
“The Nova Scotia government appears to be in no rush to take action on a massive tidal turbine it ordered removed from the Bay of Fundy in April,” reports Jean Laroche for the CBC:
Energy Minister Derek Mombourquette told reporters Thursday the former Cape Sharp turbine is fine where it is for the time being.
“It’s not spinning,” he said Thursday. “It’s in a safe state.”
“There’s no threat to marine life and we continue to look for solutions to eventually retrieve [it].”
Conditions to remove the turbine are best in the spring or fall, but Mombourquette refused to say if the province would try to bring it to the surface this fall or next spring.
But as Darren Porter points out, “They have no equipment on it to determine if it’s spinning; people just have to take their word… No one in the industry , academia, or at force can or will answer exactly what equipment is monitoring it to determine it’s not down there turning.”
Nova Scotia Business, Inc. (NSBI) wants to help Nova Scotia business sell stuff in China. No surprise there — the mantra of “exports” has been driving economic policy for the past couple of decades because the thought is that selling exports amounts to importing money from away and therefore jobs! jobs! jobs! for buddy down at the dock, even if John Risley gets the bulk of the dough.
Anyway, as part of the China outreach, explains a Request for Proposals (RFP) issued this morning, NSBI is looking for someone to “establish a web presence for our organization within China… The website will be used as a marketing tool and will not require an e-commerce component.”
All well and good, but I found this part interesting:
NSBI is seeking a Proponent with the expertise to navigate China’s digital restrictions … (free of links to blocked sites…).
I guess that means Tiananmen Square Lobsters won’t be benefitting from the new website.
I suppose I’m being difficult. But does it concern us or not that China has created a parallel internet, with increasing state controls over what people can view?
In the west, we wring our hands over whether it’s appropriate to kick 8chan off the internet, but in China, Google is blocked. YouTube is blocked. The New York Times is blocked. The list goes on.
These restrictions may in part be for commercial reasons — blocking western company websites helps domestic companies gain market share — but the primary reason for the restrictions is ideological: the Chinese government does not want its citizens to have accurate information about Tiananmen Square, about Tibet, about the concentration camps for Uighurs.
China is a wonderful country with a fascinating culture. Their government is shit.
But you know, there’s money to be made, so…
No public meetings.
No public events.
In the harbour
07:00: Oceanex Sanderling, ro-ro container, moves from Pier 36 to Pier 41
07:00: AIDAvita, cruise ship with up to 1,582 passengers, arrives at Pier 22 from Charlottetown, on a 32-day cruise from Montreal to Hamburg
07:30: Ocean Force, ro-ro-container, arrives at Fairview Cove from Big Stone Beach, Delaware
14:00 Advance II, oil tanker, arrives at anchorage from IJmuiden, Netherlands
16:00: ZIM Luanda, container ship, arrives at Pier 42 from Valencia, Spain
16:30: Ocean Force sails for sea
19:30: AIDAvita sails for Saint John
No cruise ships this weekend.
I’ve started a vacation but am obviously still writing. My hope is to finish one more article this weekend, and then actually unplug next week. We’ll have guest writers for all of next week’s Morning Files.
I see all your emails.
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