1. Coal plants open until 2050
Jennifer Henderson reports:
The recent deal struck between Ottawa and the Province of Nova Scotia to shrink the province’s carbon footprint has been touted as a “win-win“ by Premier McNeil. Consumers will dodge a direct and visible Carbon Tax bullet on electricity, gasoline, and home heating oil in favour of less visible (and purportedly smaller) price increases under a cap-and-trade system to be set up by 2018.
The big win for Nova Scotia Power is Ottawa’s decision to allow limited use of the Province’s coal-fired plants up until 2050.
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2. “Indian status”
Reporting for the New York Times, Craig S. Smith examines the struggle of indigenous people in Nova Scotia wanting to obtain “Indian status” under the Indian Act:
LITTLE BRAS D’OR, Nova Scotia — John Brennick opened a box in his antique-filled house here to reveal a sleek sealskin pouch that a forefather stuffed with precious papers more than a century ago. On a nearby table lay the most important document: an 1818 land grant from Britain’s King George III, its wax seal still bright orange and largely intact.
There is no doubt that Mr. Brennick’s ancestor, Francis Young, existed, and there is little about who he was: a prosperous resident of Indian Village, as Nova Scotia’s Little Bras d’Or was once known, who Anglicized his name in order to win the land grant.
Assuming a British identity helped him avoid the fate of his indigenous kin who were being crowded onto reserves. But erasing his native heritage also deprived generations of his line from enjoying treaty rights as Indians, the name by which Canada’s First Nations are still legally called today.
Many of Mr. Young’s descendants are lobbying now for recognition as Mi’kmaq, the indigenous nation on Canada’s Atlantic coast to which Mr. Young had ancestral ties.
3. Waterfront destroyed
“The municipality’s Design Review Committee approved the massive Queen’s Marque project for the Halifax waterfront during its meeting on Thursday, despite concerns from municipal staff about multiple aspects of the project,” reports Zane Woodford for Metro:
The developer requested 13 variances to land use bylaws in the area, and the committee allowed all of them to go forward, unanimously approving the development with no conditions. Municipal staff recommended all but one, for streetwall height on Lower Water Street.
“We’re very pleased with the Design Review Committee’s learned and thoughtful consideration of the entirety of the project,” [Armour Group CEO Scott] McCrea said after the meeting.
At 450,000 square feet, Queen’s Marque will be about half the size of the Nova Centre, but twice as ugly. Worse still, it essentially privatizes the boardwalk by way of two “expansive gates” that will guard a tunnel through the building (à la the Grafton Street glory hole).
Members of the Design Review Committee are:
Rick Buhr, Chair — director of design at Bird Construction
Rob Leblanc, Vice-Chair — CEO of Ekistics
Malcolm Pinto — namesake of Malcolm PINTO Engineering
Catherine Courtney — project engineer at the DND
Kevin Conley — Landscape Architect at PWGSC
Noel Fowler — architect, who also worked to bring us the beauty of the Nova Centre
Anna Sampson — architect
John Crace — a designer at the appropriately named Drastic Measures Design + Communcation
Matt Neville — urban planner
Emmitt Kelly — according to his LinkedIn page, he manages the Nova Scotia government
History will record that these are the men and women who facilitated the destruction of the Halifax waterfront, bringing Upper Canadian concrete and glass right down to the waterline:
4. Elmwood also to be destroyed
Were that not enough, the same Design Review Committee members yesterday also OKed the demolition of the 1820s-era Elmwood apartment building across from Cornwallis Park, because we really need another shitty six-storey condo complex. As I predicted yesterday, the committee members stroked their chins, OKed the plan but suggested a few minor changes, and then congratulated themselves for how wise they are. Reports Woodford:
As a result, the developer made some changes to the streetwall and building façade on South Street. Those changes included removing a canopy that hung over the sidewalk and replacing it with awnings over what will be patio-like spaces in front of whatever businesses move into the ground-floor commercial space.
“I like what [is] happening at the street level better than before,” said committee member Anna Sampson.
Next up for destruction: two more of the historic buildings on South Barrington.
I lament the loss of the historic buildings, but more so because there’s no upside to this destruction: the crappy buildings going up in their stead won’t last even 30 years. Nobody is going to get off a cruise ship or take the ferry over and stand in awe of a six-storey schlocky concrete monument to quick money.
Good-bye historic Halifax. I’m glad I caught the last of it.
5. Dead herring
“Waves full of dead herring have washed up on more and more beaches in Digby County, N.S., over the past week and a half as the mystery continues about what is killing the fish by the thousands,” reports Paul Palmeter for the CBC.
5. Scotsburn sold
“Nova Scotia ice cream company Scotsburn Cooperative Services Ltd. says it has reached an agreement to sell its business to Quebec dairy giant Agropur Cooperative,” reports the Canadian Press.
6. Student walkout
Students at over 50 high schools in Nova Scotia will walk out of their classes today at 12:45 in support of their teachers, who start a work-to-rule job action Monday.
I interviewed student organizer Kenzi Donnelly for today’s Examineradio, which will air on CKDU, 88.1 FM, at 4:30pm, and will be published as a podcast at about the same time.
1. Elizabeth Watson
Christina Macdonald points us to the 1779 ruling of the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia in the case of Watson alias Phillis v. Proud:
Elizabeth Watson was born free in the United States. She was brought from Boston and sold as a slave under the name of ‘Phillis’ in Nova Scotia. Abused by her owner, William Proud, a butcher, she sued for unlawful confinement and £100 in damages. Watson’s witness, Elizabeth Read, gave a signed statement that she had known her as a free woman in Boston, and her parents as free people also. Proud’s witness was Samuel Laha, a previous owner. He swore that he had bought ‘Phillis’ in Boston and sold her to Elias Marshall in Halifax, prior to her being purchased by Proud. The court returned ‘Phillis’ to Proud.
2. Natural gas
Richard Starr raises an important point related to the federal-provincial deal over coal plants and carbon emissions (News, #1 above):
The Nova Scotia Liberal doomsday scenario — higher gas taxes — could also come into play even if the government fails to embrace the more ambitious NEG/ECP goals. The fly in the ointment would be liquefied natural gas. If both of the already approved LNG plants in the Strait areas go ahead, the province’s annual emissions would increase by 25%, jeopardizing both the 2020 provincial target and the 2030 federal goal.
The odds of these two LNG facilities becoming real are long. But as the province works out the details of cap and trade it will be interesting to see where LNG or other new major emitters would fit in, and how the government squares its promotion of LNG with its aversion to carbon pricing of petroleum products. The process will also be a test of the Liberals’ commitment to cutting GHG emissions. Will they be content to stand pat on the success of policies introduced by Conservative and NDP governments or will they set new targets and introduce credible policies to achieve them?
The proposed Canso Strait plants aren’t directly related to the Alton Gas dispute, but I’d argue that the same issue is at play. As I said to Bill Turpin the other day:
I don’t know anything at all about the specifics of the Alton project, so can’t speak to the merits of the band’s case pro or con.
However, I fall in Bill McKibben’s camp. He writes:
In other words, if our goal is to keep the Earth’s temperature from rising more than two degrees Celsius — the upper limit identified by the nations of the world — how much more new digging and drilling can we do?
Here’s the answer: zero.
That’s right: If we’re serious about preventing catastrophic warming, the new study shows, we can’t dig any new coal mines, drill any new fields, build any more pipelines. Not a single one. We’re done expanding the fossil fuel frontier. Our only hope is a swift, managed decline in the production of all carbon-based energy from the fields we’ve already put in production.
McKibben didn’t specifically mention digging caverns in salt deposits to facilitate moving natural gas, but surely he would agree that the Alton project adds to the fossil fuel infrastructure that is destroying the planet.
3. Eastern Passage high school
Graham Steele defends his decision, as NDP Finance minister, to approve the Eastern Passage high school, which was criticized in the most recent auditor general’s report:
For better or worse, we exercised our political judgment on the Eastern Passage high school. We knew the costs and consequences of our decision. Everything in Wednesday’s [auditor general] report was discussed at length around the Treasury Board, cabinet and caucus tables.
I’m kinda fascinated by the Eastern Passage example. I (somewhat) know the local politics, unlike the situation in the valley and Tatamagouche, where I have zero knowledge of local issues. I think the NDP does deserve criticism for EP: the local politicians at both the city council and MLA level were NDPers (Becky Kent in both positions, and then Jackie Barkhouse at council), and undoubtedly there were caucus conversations about the school. But I don’t think that completely explains the school. There is also the simple fact that it’s a long drive (for the urban area) from EP to Cole Harbour, and EP is a growing community with a growing sense of identity, and so wanted its own school. Far more important, however, were the race and class dynamics involved, and nobody much wants to talk about that. So I guess I’m saying that in order to get the school, all three had to come together — the race & class issues, the sense of resentment and self-identity in a growing community, and the party politics. I wonder if there are similar local dynamics in the valley and Tatamagouche cases.
Other commenters pointed at the absurdity of the much earlier decision to build two high schools essentially two blocks away from each other in Cole Harbour. That’d be a wonderful subject for a student thesis. (Maybe it’s already been written?)
4. Canadian smug
Canadians shouldn’t be smug about events happening south of the border, says John DeMont.
5. Cranky letter of the day
Anyone living in rural Nova Scotia must be very discouraged with the lack of response from the DOT for the latest snowstorm (Nov. 30).
My company is on a 100-series road and as of 9:15 a.m. Wednesday we had not seen any more than one plow go down the road – at 6 a.m., not to return.
Besides the snow build-up there are areas that are down to one lane due to trees blocking the road from lack of tree cutting within the road boundaries.
If I hear one more lecture that companies need to step up to the plate and generate growth from a minister or government think tank (I use this term loosely) I am going to lose it!
How dare they dictate to business on health and safety mandates when they can’t look after their own responsibilities for road maintenance!
How dare they tell industry we must create economic growth when we can’t get customers to our door due to poor road conditions!
I suspect that most if not all industry does not and cannot afford to pay their staff for snow days. Furthermore, the workers cannot afford to take a day off if they are unable to get to work due to road conditions.
No work, no pay, no taxes, no growth! Pretty simple!
Absolutely fed up in Pictou County.
Andy MacGregor, RR4 New Glasgow
No public meetings.
Thesis Defence, Interdisciplinary Studies (10am, Room 3107, Mona Campbell Building) — John Davie will defend his thesis, “A Methodology for Classifying Factual Research Problems.”
Ebola (12pm, McCain 2198) — Edward Zvekic of the Bo District Ebola Task Force and Shelly Whitman of Child Soldiers Initiative will speak on “Development in Times of Crisis: The 2014/15 Ebola Outbreak in Sierra Leone and its Legacies.”
The Case Against Medicare (12:10pm, Room 104, Weldon Law Building) — Colleen Flood of the University of Ottawa, will speak on “The Constitutional Case Against Canadian Medicare and Why It May Succeed.”
Queer Invisibility (12:30pm, Room 2021, Marion McCain Building) — Lisa Goldberg will speak on “Using Caring Science as a Framework for Understanding Queer Invisibility in Nursing.”
In the harbour
6am: Itea, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from Liverpool, England
7am: Great Eastern, oil tanker, arrives at Imperial Oil from Port Arthur, Texas
7am: Oceanex Sanderling, ro-ro container, moves from Autoport to Pier 41
11am: Nolhanava, ro-ro cargo, arrives at Pier 36 from Saint-Pierre
Noon: Breaux Tide, offshore supply ship, sails from the old Coast Guard base for the offshore
3:30pm: Itea, container ship, sails from Fairview Cove for New York
6pm: Nolhanava, ro-ro cargo, sails from Pier 36 for Saint-Pierre
8pm: Oceanex Sanderling, ro-ro container, sails from Pier 41 for St. John’s
7am: CMA CGM Dalila, container ship, arrives at HalTerm from Port Klang, Malaysia
The November subscription drive was very successful! We got about twice the number of new subscribers than I had hoped for.
I can’t thank all the new (and continuing!) subscribers enough. Your subscriptions will help us to continue the work we’ve done for the past two and a half years and increase the offerings in coming months. The larger budget will allow us to hire more freelancers for a range of issues and, starting in January, expand the Examiner’s coverage of campus issues — more on that soon.
For the approaching holiday season, we’re going to offer various premiums for gift subscriptions to the Examiner. I’ll work on that over the weekend and have details on Monday.