1. Baillie forced out by allegations of sexual harassment
Yesterday, on the lunch hour, PC leader and MLA Jamie Baillie cryptically tweeted that he was resigning immediately:
Then, at 3:13pm, the PC issued this statement:
PC PARTY STATEMENT
January 24, 2018
For immediate release
HALIFAX, NS – The following is a joint statement on behalf of Tara Miller, President, Progressive Conservative Party of Nova Scotia and Karla MacFarlane, Caucus Chair, Progressive Conservative Caucus of Nova Scotia.
“This morning, the PC Party of Nova Scotia requested and accepted the immediate resignation of Jamie Baillie.
After becoming aware of allegations of inappropriate behaviour by Mr. Baillie, the PC Party of Nova Scotia promptly arranged an independent, third-party investigator to conduct an investigation.
The investigation has concluded Mr. Baillie breached the Nova Scotia House of Assembly Policy on the Prevention and Resolution of Harassment in the Workplace. The PC Party is committed to a healthy, safe and supportive working environment where all Nova Scotians are treated with respect and dignity. The PC Party does not, and will not, tolerate sexual harassment in the workplace.
Karla MacFarlane will immediately become the interim leader of the party.”
Four hours and 25 minutes
NDP press release, 1:43pm yesterday:
For immediate release.
January 24, 2018
Statement by NDP Leader on the resignation of Jamie Baillie
HALIFAX – NDP Leader Gary Burrill made the following statement on the resignation of Jamie Baillie:
“I want to acknowledge the contribution of Jamie Baillie to politics in Nova Scotia. Though Mr. Baillie and I have different approaches to the key issues before our province, I nevertheless recognize him as a leader of stature who has played a major and significant role in the democratic life of Nova Scotian. On behalf of the NDP, I want to congratulate Jamie Baillie and wish him well in the upcoming chapters of his career.”
NDP Press release, 5:08pm yesterday:
For immediate release.
January 24, 2018
NDP Leader: politics no place for harassment
HALIFAX – The NDP Caucus is deeply troubled by the PC Party’s findings of harassment by their former leader, Jamie Baillie.
“There is no place for sexual harassment or any form of discrimination or harassment in Nova Scotia politics or elsewhere,” said NDP Leader Gary Burrill. “It is important that allegations of this nature be taken seriously and addressed immediately.”
Baillie was asked to resign today after the PC Party confirmed that he breached the Nova Scotia House of Assembly Policy on the Prevention and Resolution of Harassment in the Workplace.
“Over the past year, we’ve seen more and more brave women coming forward about harassment and abuse they face in the workplace,” said NDP Caucus Chair Susan Leblanc. “Powerful men are finally being held accountable, but there is much more work to do to create more equitable systems where no one faces harassment.”
Politics has all the ingredients for sexual harassment to thrive.
Male-dominated power structures. The premium placed on party loyalty. A code of silence. Precarious employment for political staff.
Should we be surprised that it happens? No. The surprise is that it doesn’t happen more.
But what if there is more? I believe there very probably is. Maybe a lot more.
But politicos have ways to keep it quiet. The cone of silence descends. Staff are shuffled around or ushered out. Politicians are allowed to resign quietly. Everyone who knows keeps quiet for the good of the party.
Maybe things are changing. Maybe. PM Trudeau exiled a couple of his MPs before the last election, after allegations surfaced. Good on him. The PC Party of NS heard a complaint, sponsored an independent investigation, and publicly announced the results. Good on them. That’s a model for how to handle it. It must have been difficult, but they did it.
Today I’m thinking of the woman who was brave enough to complain. And the spouse. And the daughters. None of them asked for this or deserved it, and yet it will change their lives.
We need more women in politics. And we need to let the men know that time’s up in politics too.
Reporters are already releasing information that can lead people in the know to whittle down who the possible complainant is (I’m 90 per cent sure who it is, and I don’t regularly work at Province House), which leads me to say:
Just because the usual people are yammering on about it: sure, Baillie hasn’t been criminally charged with anything and possibly won’t be. But his resignation isn’t a breach of process — the PCs can kick anyone they want out of the party, for their own reasons. Baillie was under no obligation to resign from the legislature and could have remained in his seat as an independent, at least until the legislature took action against him.
2. School boards to be eliminated
Just as the Baillie story was unfolding, Education Minister Zach Churchill held a 1pm press conference to announce that the McNeil government was accepting all the recommendations from Avis Glaze. At the same time, the government issued this press release:
Starting today, Jan. 24, government committed to a review of the education administrative system and will act on the recommendations of Dr. Avis Glaze, a world-renowned education consultant, who assessed Nova Scotia’s system.
“This is a moment where we need to press forward together with a focus on those who need us most — our students,” said Mr. Churchill. “We have great people working in the system who are completely committed and dedicated to our kids. It’s our system that’s fractured.”
Dr. Glaze’s report: Raise the Bar: A Coherent and Responsive Education Administrative System for Nova Scotia, contains 22 recommendations.
“I accept the spirit and intent of the recommendations in this report,” said Mr. Churchill.
Here are some of the changes government will do first:
— unify the system by dissolving the seven elected regional school boards and create one provincial advisory council. The structure of the Conseil scolaire acadien provincial will not change
— a portion of the money saved will go to enhance the role and influence of school advisory councils for all schools (or families of schools) in the province to strengthen the local voice in schools
— change the name of superintendents to regional executive directors and enhance their role to focus on student achievement, reporting directly to the deputy minister of Education and Early Childhood Development
— move principals and vice-principals from the Nova Scotia Teachers Union, while protecting salaries, pensions and benefits
— move teaching support specialists (literacy leads, math mentors) out of regional education offices and into classrooms four days a week, with the fifth day dedicated to planning and preparation
— create an independent Provincial College of Educators
As I wrote yesterday, I’m not immediately opposed to the idea of doing away with the school boards, but holy cow, this is a radical change being suggested, then implemented, literally overnight, with no public consultation and no room for a broader public conversation. Even if in the end the abolition of school boards is the right decision (or at least a defensible decision), there’s still no reason this couldn’t have been bandied about for a spell. There are undoubtedly objections that should be aired, and alternative solutions proposed.
And the “savings” claimed by the press release are practically non-existent. As Mary Campbell notes:
I am open to believing school boards “eat up” resources, but wouldn’t this be the place to show us just how many resources they eat up? And is the percentage of administrative staff in the boards outrageously high, compared to boards in other provinces? That would be helpful information too.
Furthermore Glaze’s insistence that money saved by abolishing school boards must be put back into the classrooms sounds good, but wasn’t that the argument behind consolidating the province’s health authorities? Do we really want to use that as a model?
3. Dr. Fingers
“The doctor accused of sexually assaulting multiple RCMP officers is adamant he did nothing wrong,” report Rebecca Joseph and Ross Lord for Global:
Global News identified the doctor as Donald McLeod Campbell, who worked for the RCMP until 2003. The retired doctor also had a family practice at Albro Lake Medical Clinic.
A B.C. lawyer, who is working with some of the complainants, told Global News the alleged abuse included unwarranted cavity searches and groping. David Klien said his clients claimed the doctor was nicknamed “Dr. Fingers” by recruits.
But, in a phone conversation with Global News, Dr. Campbell said he was doing the normal medical exam. He refused to explain further.
“I’d rather not, because you’re starting to ask too many questions,” Campbell said.
4. Matt Whitman does something stupid
Duane and Dean Jones, six-foot-six and six-foot-two, respectively, went to the mall to buy clothes. They asked the clerk a question, only to have Matt Whitman interject, reports Francis Campbell for the Chronicle Herald:
…Whitman asked the brothers if they played for the Hurricanes, the Halifax professional basketball team in the National Basketball League of Canada. When they answered with a resounding no, Whitman said, “Well, you should.”
[Duane] Jones said the incident left him with the sense that some people think tall black men are only good for one thing — basketball.
“That’s exactly it. Here we are being judged simply on our physicality. I’ve been in situations before when people say, ‘hey you black guys, you’re just gifted.’ I refuse to accept that because if I accept I’m gifted in this then I also have to accept that I am naturally less gifted in other areas.”
Duane Jones posted a short video (above) where he makes the comment:
You know, fuck it, I’m just gonna say it: it was Matt Whitman. He’s either really ignorant or he’s just a frickin’ racist. Either one is wrong.
The NSLC this morning issued a Request for Information for cannabis suppliers, noting that:
As recently announced, the government of Nova Scotia has appointed the NSLC as the retailer of recreational cannabis in Nova Scotia, once federal legislation is finalized…
Beginning Summer 2018, it is anticipated that the NSLC will be selling the Following Cannabis Sub-Categories:
- Dried Flowers
- Clones & Seeds
- Oil Extract
- Accessories (Basics)
In order to be ready for the summer launch date, we have a lot of work to do and it is going to happen quickly. For that reason, we wanted to reach out to the supplier community as soon as possible in the process.
If you are interested in supplying the NSLC with any or all the above sub-categories, we want to hear from you!
Neither here nor there, but can we drop the use of “recreational cannabis”? Nobody calls it “recreational alcohol.”
Yesterday, I wrote about how as a teenage boy I discovered the work of Ursula Le Guin and about how that affected me.
Weirdly, Le Guin’s mother’s work would later also become important to me.
I ended up living for many years in Chico, California, in the Sacramento Valley below the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, the site of what is perhaps the best-documented genocide in North America. The Yana and Yahi people once populated the area between the Sacramento Valley and Mount Lassen, and became prime targets of white settlers. The slaughter came to a head in the 1860s and 1870s, when newspapers would give vivid and detailed accounts of massacres of entire villages and publish ads for scalp bounties — ten dollars for “bucks,” five dollars for “squaws,” and two dollars for “papooses.” Raiding parties would regularly roam the hills in search of people to kill, and they did so with abandon. Children were killed alongside adults; “nits become lice” was the justification, although throughout the state, thousands of children were also taken as slaves (slavery of Indigenous children was expanded even as the Civil War raged).
A footnote to the genocide was the story of Ishi. A small group of Yahi — one or two families, it seems — hid themselves away from the white man in Deer Creek Canyon, a desolate wild land with no gold or other minerals that would attract undue attention. There, they built living spaces under the scrub trees, learned to make fires with no smoke that would be noticed, and simply survived. And there they lived, year after year, decade after decade, completely unknown to the outside world, until their population declined to just four people: an old woman (Ishi’s mother), a younger woman (Ishi’s sister), an older man (Ishi’s uncle), and Ishi himself, probably around 45 years old.
In 1908, a surveying team plotting the potential for a dam across Deer Creek went into the canyon and stumbled upon the makeshift camp, and the four fled. Ishi’s mother died at the site, and his sister and uncle were never seen again. So, homeless and with no family, Ishi wandered the foothills for the next three years, finally deciding he had to present himself to the white man. He appeared at a slaughterhouse outside Oroville; I don’t know if he expected to be slaughtered himself, or if that was just a coincidence.
The sudden appearance of a “wild Indian” — who dressed in traditional dress, used stone-age tools, spoke no English, and knew nothing of modern ways — in 20th century America bewildered the white population. But a pair of anthropologists from UC Berkeley — Thomas Waterman and Alfred Kroeber — took Ishi in, and made him something of a museum piece, on display for the tourists.
Ishi had no immunity to the white man’s diseases, and died of tuberculosis in 1916, just five years after moving to Berkeley.
There’s a lot of horrible stuff about this story.
Ten years after Ishi’s death, Alfred Kroeber, himself a widower, married one of his students, the widowed Theodora Jones, and adopted her two children. The couple went on to have two more children, Karl and Ursula. Along the way, Theodora Kroeber revisited her new husband’s time with Ishi. In 1961, a year after Alfred Kroeber’s death, Theodora Kroeber published Ishi in Two Worlds, followed by a co-edited reference book called Ishi the Last Yahi: A Documentary History, published in 1981, two years after her own death.
It’s the latter book, the documentary history, that I poured through in the 1990s. The book helped me understand at least part of the story of the genocide of Indigenous people in northern California by white settlers. I used the book both for its own contents, but also as a guide to find more primary sources in old newspapers kept at the Chico State library. I began to see that the Ishi story was somewhat simplistic — maybe the little band didn’t stay exclusively in Deer Creek Canyon, and maybe they were interacting with other Yana in the valley. And the genocide was much broader than the Yahi story. I was (and am still) particularly interested in the construction of the Humboldt Stage Road, an ambitious bid to link Chico to the silver fields of Idaho, and how that project led to the murder of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Nez Perce and other people along the route.
Tellingly, the first coach ride was escorted by Hiram Good, who had a few years before led many of the raiding parties against the Yahi people back in California. In one of those raids, Good had himself taken an orphaned child — orphaned because Good had killed his parents — as a slave. He named the child Ned, and raised him on his ranch south of Red Bluff, where Ned would tend cattle, do domestic chores, and hunt. A decade or so later, Ned, then about 16 years old, shot Good dead, and was subsequently executed himself for the murder. Think of what must have been going through that kid’s head.
But think also of Ursula, growing up in Berkeley in the shadow of her father’s involvement in the Ishi story. The daughter of famous academics, Ursula went to Europe to pursue a Fulbright scholarship, but dropped those plans when she met and married the historian Charles Le Guin, and hence she changed her name to Ursula K. Le Guin. If she ever wrote directly about her father’s involvement with Ishi, I’m not aware of it, but she did write indirectly about it.
I mentioned The Word for World is Forest yesterday; it particularly resonates with themes from the Ishi story. As its title implies, the novel takes place in a forest world, where the native people are murdered, raped, and enslaved by people from Earth, who invade the planet for its forest riches. One of the characters in the story is an anthropologist named Raj Lyubov, who is bewildered by the people he is sent to study and by his own involvement in the imperialist takeover of the planet, noting at one point, “the anthropologist cannot always leave his own shadow out of the picture he draws.”
The Word for World is Forest was published in 1972, the year after Le Guin’s mother Theodora Kroeber published Ishi in Two Worlds. I’d say that timing speaks to some definite family drama.
Point Pleasant Park Advisory Committee (Thursday, 4:30pm, City Hall) — no action items on the agenda.
No public meetings today or Friday.
A Legal Fiction (Thursday, 12:30pm, Weldon Law Building) — lawyer and author Anne Emery will speak.
Newfangled Exchange Series (Thursday, 2:30pm, Room 2L10, Tupper Building) — a discussion about “the meaningful translation of research to support patient-centred care.”
Signposts in the Sky (Thursday, 7:15pm, Planetarium, Dunn Building) — $5 at the door; reductions for families, but no one under eight years old.
Industrial Ruination (Friday, 3:30pm, Room 1170, Marion McCain Building) — Andrew Parnaby from Cape Breton University will speak on “Roots, Region, and Resistance: Facing Industrial Ruination in Sydney, Nova Scotia, 1967.”
Successful Drug Development (Friday, 1:30pm, Room 226, Chemistry Building) — Brian Fahie will speak on “Analytical Chemistry: The Key to Successful Drug Development in the 21st Century.”
Round Table Discussion (Thursday, 6pm, Room 174, Loyola Academic Complex) — the Women’s Centre hosts an open and in-depth discussion with Audrey MacNevin on the roots of Sexual Violence, how we can address the toxicity of these roots, and how to remedy the attitudes, perceptions, and biases that allow Sexual Violence to persist.
Student Voices: Sexual Violence Prevention and Bystander Intervention (Friday, 9am, Room 422 in the building named after a grocery store) — students from across NS discuss the development of a new bystander intervention training program. RSVP Required.
Mount Saint Vincent
Humour for the Humourless Radical (Thursday, 6:30pm, Room 404, Seton Academic Centre) — comedian and filmmaker Sean Devlin will speak.
Senate (Friday, 2pm, Rosaria Board Room) — I notice that the MSV Senate gets more into the weeds of course offerings than does its counterpart at Dal.
Ancient Automatons (Thursday, 7pm, Alumni Hall) — Courtney Ann Roby, from Cornell University, author of The Written Machine between Alexandria and Rome (2016), will speak.
In the harbour
5am: Itea, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from Liverpool, England
7am: Fundy Rose, ferry, arrives at Pier 9 from Saint John
8am: Asterix, replenishment vessel, sails from Dockyard for sea
3:30pm: Itea, container ship, sails from Fairview Cove for New York
6pm: Perseus N, oil tanker, arrives at anchorage for bunkers from Saint John
We’re recording Examineradio today.