“There was little support for Halifax’s controversial founder at the first public meeting to help determine the future of the statue, park and street bearing his name,” reports Zane Woodford for Star Halifax:
Multiple speakers connected Edward Cornwallis to this week’s finding that Canada has enabled a genocide against Indigenous women and girls.
The Task Force on the Commemoration of Edward Cornwallis and the Recognition and Commemoration of Indigenous History held the first of four public meetings Thursday night, asking Haligonians how to recognize and commemorate Indigenous history and what to do with the statue of Edward Cornwallis and the municipal park and street named after him.
“Having a man’s statue that represents this genocide, to me, is not the way that you would go toward reconciliation,” Denise Pictou-Maloney said at the meeting.
“He’s not welcome here in Mi’kma’ki.”
2. School buses
Yesterday afternoon, the province announced it is ending its school bus contract with Stock Transportation after the 2019-20 school year, for service in HRM:
The Halifax Regional Centre for Education is preparing a request for proposals to determine what options other than Stock Transportation may be available for school bus service in Halifax.
“We heard loud and clear from students and families of the challenges and frustrations they’ve experienced with school bussing this year centreing on the Halifax Regional Centre for Education,” said Zach Churchill, Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development. “Families can be confident that immediate and long-term improvements to strengthen student transportation are on the way.”
More than 8,000 people across the province completed an online school bus consultation survey.
The results showed that respondents outside of the Halifax region were satisfied with the service. Concerns among respondents were strongest in Halifax.
The top three areas of concern were communication, safety and service reliability.
3. Dead whale
“A dead male minke whale has been reported on Queensland beach near Hubbards, Nova Scotia,” announced the Marine Animal Response Society on its Facebook page yesterday:
While minkes are common in Nova Scotia waters, it is important to investigate all dead animals in the effort to learn more about them and potentially why it may have died. A team is en route to further document and sample the animal.
Thank you to those who’ve called to report the animal and share images.
I’m not sure if this is road rage or ‘roid rage or what, but somebody does not like it when other drivers stop for pedestrians. An RCMP release:
The RCMP is asking for public help to identify a man involved in a road rage incident last evening on Nordic Cres., in Lower Sackville.
At approximately 8 p.m., Halifax District RCMP got a call about a disturbance on Nordic Cres. After arriving on scene, police were told that earlier that evening, a woman and a child were in a car, driving on Glendale Dr. The woman stopped at the Pinehill Dr. intersection crosswalk to let a pedestrian cross.
A man driving behind her swerved into another lane, honked his horn and yelled at her. The woman continued driving after the pedestrian crossed and eventually pulled into a driveway on Nordic Cres.
The man who had previously honked and yelled pulled up near the woman and got out of the vehicle. He yelled at her and punched the vehicle he was driving on the hood and roof, causing dents. The man then punched in the air toward the woman and punched the curb, possibly hurting his hand.
Halifax District RCMP would like to speak with the man involved in this incident. His vehicle is described as an older grey Honda Civic with a black bug deflector on the hood. The man is described as white and approximately 35 years old with brown hair.
5. Everyone act quaint!
“Melanie Colpitts says it’s the small things like a welcoming smile that may brighten a tourist’s day,” writes Chris Shannon for the Cape Breton Post:
The director of Aquila Tours out of Saint John, N.B. said upwards of 40 per cent to as much as half of passengers on a visiting cruise ship will take the time to wander their port-of-call rather than book an excursion.
Atlantic Canadian cruise destinations like Sydney need to find ways to engage the guest when they arrive at a shop, restaurant or tourism operation, she said following a panel discussion at the Cruise Canada New England Symposium in Membertou on Wednesday.
“How can you create a ‘wow’ moment for your guests that they are going to be talking about, sharing on social media and spreading the word about the great time that they had here,” Colpitts said.
Shops with outdoor signage welcoming cruise passengers can attract attention, as well as having maps at the port to outline easily accessible sights and attractions in the local vicinity, she said.
Sydney Downtown Development Association has taken steps in recent years to up its tourism game by displaying floral arrangements at participating businesses and having musicians perform at outdoor sites on days when a cruise ship is in port.
“(Cruise lines) want their passengers to interact with local people where they experience life the way they do.” [said Christina Lamey, the port’s manager]
This stuff cracks me up. The American layabouts on the boat supposedly want to see how we actually experience life, but then we put on an affected version of ourselves, prettying ourselves up beyond all recognition, or falling into ridiculous stereotypes like the kiddie porn guy:
If cruise ship passengers want to see how we truly experience life, let’s talk to them about how there’s always money for port developers and economic development managers but never enough for people on social assistance; or how the Chamber of Commerce bigwig pays his employees crap wages and people cleaning the toilets at City Hall don’t have enough money to feed their kids; or…
Come to think of it, there’s real money in local disaster tourism. Halifax tried to profit by celebrating the excruciating burning death of 2,000 citizens in the Explosion, and the Titanic graves are a regular stop for the tour buses. People like death and destruction, and will shell out real money for it.
Maybe we could broaden the spectrum of dark tourism a bit, giving the Americans tours of call centres, where they can speak with real people! with cute accents toiling away at minimum wage by trying to upsell Ohioans into more expensive data plans; or we could provide day excursions by helicopter over once-forested land, showing the tourists the patchwork patterns of clearcuts; or we could take them on ride-alongs with local Black people to experience racial profiling firsthand.
The possibilities are endless.
6. Food fetishization
Food fetishization has reached the zenith of absurdity.
1. Dumbing us down
Stephen Archibald takes a look at three younger buildings that have been torn down or completely rebuilt, all of which happen to be churches — the Christian Science Reading Room, Canadian Martyrs Church, and Our Lady of Perpetual Help at the Mount.
“The Reading Room had been a gem of a building,” comments Archibald; “we can only hope that what comes next is as generous and thoughtful to people passing by on the street.”:
I took this photo in the 1980s, probably not too long after the Reading Room was built as a wing to a small nineteenth-century church. The Reading Room had a square footprint, but only half was enclosed. It appeared as if the structure had been sliced in half, with one side open to the air under a skeleton roof, while the slice through the enclosed part of the building was sealed with a wall of windows.
When it was built, the Reading Room felt very modern and clever, and remained one of the best examples of postmodern style of architecture to be found in Nova Scotia.
Archibald goes on to tell us why we should care about such buildings, then concludes:
I don’t mind change and understand that buildings can lose their usefulness, and churches are particularly problematic. But here were fine, regional examples of three distinct architectural styles, postmodern, modernist, and brutalist. We should expect that when excellence is removed, it will be replaced with excellence. These days it feels like that is not working out for us.
Earlier this year, the government of British Columbia published a commissioned study on money-laundering, Combatting Money Laundering in BC Real Estate, which among many other things tried to get a handle on just how much illegal money is flowing through the Canadian economy.
“In fact, there are few estimates of the flow of monies to be laundered in total for the world or for other countries,” notes the report:
In 2005, FATF suggested that the variety and complexity of money laundering activities made estimating it impossible. A 2015 report from the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC) reviewing the various methodologies used to estimate money laundering flows, which was recently released in response to a freedom of information request, indicated that:
The task of estimating money laundering globally or within a specific country remains very challenging. Analysis has been done on this issue for approximately 20 years; however there appears to be no consensus about which methodology, if any, can be relied on for this purpose.
That is not surprising. Money laundering is by nature secretive and complex, and it innovates rapidly in response to AML efforts. The full range of money laundering techniques is not well understood and is continually expanding. Many known techniques are, by their nature, difficult to distinguish from legitimate transactions.
Admitting that there is a great deal of uncertainty in calculating these things, the report nonetheless went on to use what is called the “Utrecht gravity model of money laundering,” which is considered the best stab in the dark at calculating money laundering, to try to get a handle on the Canadian situation. The report explains:
In essence, application of a gravity model to money laundering involves estimating how much of the proceeds of crime in a given country are laundered within that country and how much flows to each other country in the model. Those flows depend on an attractiveness index based on characteristics that measure how attractive a given country is to money launderers, including GDP per capita, and a distance index that measures how close each pair of countries is geographically and characteristics that measure distance from a cultural perspective. The money laundering in a country is the sum of domestic proceeds of crime that remain in the country plus the flow into the country of monies for laundering from all other countries…
In order to apply the model to Canada, six regions were defined: BC, Alberta, Prairies (Saskatchewan and Manitoba), Ontario, Quebec, and Atlantic (New Brunswick, PEI, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador). Each of the regions was treated in the model as if it were a country in order to determine the allocation of money laundering within Canada.
The report has a long section detailing the limitations of the gravity model, but then gets into the details. The model predicts that there is “likely in excess of $40 billion” being laundered each year across Canada, then breaks it down by region with this chart:
There are lots of ways money is laundered, but real estate is probably the best of them. Developments can be financed through sketchy offshore companies and then ownership shuffled through numbered companies that make it hard if not impossible to identify the primary owner, and sales and rental incomes provide a steady legalized stream of future income.
That, I believe, is the primary reason for the global explosion in construction, and for the resulting boom in housing costs: the entire global real estate market is awash with trillions of dollars in illegal money, the proceeds of the drug and armaments trades and other illicit activity.
There’s a local notion that somehow Peter Kelly was stopping development in Halifax and then Andy Filmore saved us and so we now have a bunch of construction cranes downtown. But that’s not at all what happened. What happened is this: over the past few decades, rich people and crooks (the Venn diagram is, er, telling) found there was no real money to be made through traditional boring but useful investments in manufacturing and provision of services, so increasing amounts of wealth were dumped into the ponzi scheme we call the international finance industry. Then, after the global financial collapse of 2008/09, even finance wasn’t reliable, so the wealth was dumped in stuff like art and wine and of course real estate, and here we are. Halifax is no different than any other place on Earth; the construction boom is pretty much everywhere.
Let me be clear that I don’t think most of our local developers are consciously laundering money. I think some are, and others probably know they’re complicit but turn a blind eye to how their financial backers got their money in the first place. But most are relatively ethical, within the very loose ethical framework that operates. Still, there’s no telling where most of the financing for these projects comes from, nor where the money comes from when buyers come calling.
The problem isn’t so much the local operators or even the international criminals laundering money. The problem is that regular everyday people going about their hapless lives as best they can, working shit-paying jobs and being decent enough citizens, are finding themselves paying increasing rents that make life all but unliveable.
The problem is that the housing stock is just another commodity like art or wine to be traded in a capitalist system gamed against renters by crooks and capitalists generally. And the solution is to build a significant housing stock that is not part of that capitalist system: social housing, co-op housing, non-market based housing, and so forth.
Executive Standing Committee Special Meeting (Friday, 2pm, City Hall) — yet another committee is spending time and money on the Centre Plan, which will be ignored at the first opportunity to please a developer.
No public meetings.
Elisabeth Mann Borgese Ocean Lecture – “The Blue Revolution”: Challenges and Opportunities (Friday, 7pm, Room 105, Weldon Law Building) — Renée Sauvé from Fisheries and Oceans Canada will tell us how we’re all going to get rich forever amen! by killing the oceans, then Ratana Chuenpagdee from Too Big to Ignore, Susanna Fuller from Oceans North, and Sigrid Kuehnemund from WWF-Canada will explain why that’s maybe not such a great idea. More info here.
Mount Saint Vincent
Imagining Black Justice (Monday, June 10, 7pm, McCain Rooms 105-106) — El Jones, Nancy’s Chair in Women’s Studies, hosts four of Canada’s leading Black thinkers and activists in a discussion about state violence, policing, incarceration, Black mental health, and Black feminism.
At a time when street checks are being challenged by Black communities, in the wake of reports on policing and Black incarceration, and inspired by the Movement for Black Lives, we ask the question of what worlds are possible beyond prisons and policing.
In the harbour
05:00: Atlantic Sea, ro-ro container, arrives at Fairview Cove from Norfolk
05:15: Glorious Leader, car carrier, arrives at Autoport from Zeebrugge, Belgium
06:00: ZIM Tarragona, container ship, arrives at Pier 42 from Valencia, Spain
06:00: Ef Ava, container ship, arrives at Pier 42 from Argentia, Newfoundland
06:30: Lomur, cargo ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from Saint-Pierre
12:00: Ef Ava sails for Portland
15:30: Glorious Leader sails for sea
15:30: Atlantic Sea sails for Liverpool, England
16:30: ZIM Tarragona sails for New York
16:30: Lomur sails for sea
18:00: Oceanex Sanderling, ro-ro container, sails from Pier 41 for St. John’s
21:00: MOL Partner, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from Norfolk
I asked Zane Woodford what I’m supposed to call the company he works for. He said the dead tree paper is still called StarMetro Halifax, but the online version is simply Star Halifax. They should hire Bousquet Branding, Inc. for ONE MILLION DOLLARS to come up with a seamless brand identity across multiple platforms. (Do I have the babble down?)
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