“Nova Scotia is the only province in Canada where women must obtain a physician’s referral before making an abortion appointment,” reports Brett Bundale for the Canadian Press:
Advocates say Nova Scotia is now one of the most difficult provinces in the country in which to access abortion, with women requiring a referral for a surgical abortion, lengthy wait times for the time-sensitive procedure and no provincial coverage for medical abortions using pills.
The province also has no private or free-standing abortion clinics located outside of a hospital. Halifax’s Morgentaler clinic, where women had to pay out-of-pocket, closed in 2003.
The Termination of Pregnancy Unit at Halifax’s QEII Health Sciences Centre — where more than 85 per cent of the province’s abortions are performed — will only book appointments for women who are at least eight weeks pregnant.
With few doctors prescribing the abortion pill Mifegymiso — and no universal coverage of the costly medication in the province — women seeking to terminate early pregnancies are forced to wait.
“Nova Scotia is one of the worst places in Canada to get an abortion. The situation for abortion access is extremely grim,” said Darrah Teitel, public affairs officer for Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights.
2. Burning Tires
Lydia Sorflaten, Fred Blois, Jim Harpell, Kendall McCulloch and Allan Sorflaten have requested a Judicial Review of the Department of Environment’s approval of tire burning at the Lafarge cement plant in Brookfield.
A hearing has been scheduled for the matter on September 5, at 11am.
3. Drone wars
Pleiades is a Halifax company that has received over half a million dollars in financial assistance from ACOA.
Pleiades sells the Spiri Robot, a fully programmable, autonomous, flying robotic device that Pleiades sells for $2,400. Rather, Pleiades would sell it for $2,400, except that, according to Pleaiades’ webpage, “production has been delayed while we address a faulty component. Estimated shipping is now July 2017.” But here we are into August, and the company is still taking pre-orders.
Yesterday, another Halifax firm, Raised Performance Media, filed suit against Pleiades, naming both Pleiades and president Patrick Edwards-Daugherty and chief operating officer Francis X. Taney Jr. as defendants.
According to the suit, Pleiades contracted Raised Performance for various high-tech components for the drone, in September 2014 — just as Pleiades was securing the ACOA support. Reads the suit:
Indeed, the contractual relationship between the Parties resulted following considerable discussion and negotiations. This included the Defendants’ representations regarding Pleiades’ support from government agencies including, but not necessarily limited to, the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (“ACOA”) for specific projects in which RAISED PERFORMANCE was being retained. Consequently, a masters service agreement was negotiated between the Parties and executed in October 2014.
The companies entered into two separate agreements. The first called for Pleiades to pay Raised Performance $1,200/day to a total of $40,800 for something called a “UX” project. The second was for $124,928 in return for Raised Performance’s assistance at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. In November 2014, says the suit, Edwards-Daugherty approved the budgets and told Raised Performance whether the ACOA funding was secured or not.
The suit claims that Pleiades never got ACOA funding for the two projects, and so wouldn’t pay Raised Performance. The suit goes on to claim that Edwards-Daugherty and Taney “lulled” Raised Performance along with promises of payment once the correct invoices were given to ACOA, but that payment never occurred. Raised Performance says it is owed $197,182.20 before interest.
Pleiades, Edwards-Daugherty, and Taney have not responded to the suit, and the allegations have not been tested in court.
Still no drone, though.
4. A million dollars worth of innovations down the toilet
In more ACOA news, the agency is suing 2nd Act Innovations and Buell Technologies for the following losses:
2nd Act “developed the Ortis4 platform, which helps small and medium-sized businesses to efficiently organize, store and retrieve documents,” wrote Peter Moreira, who never saw a start-up he didn’t like and who is paid to promote those start-ups by the same government agencies that fund the start-ups.
And Innovacorp dropped $150,000 into the innovative project, so I guess we’ll be writing that off soon too.
5. Nazi sympathizer
Someone scrawled racist graffiti on the Citadel Hill retaining wall that runs along Brunswick Street near the town clock. As seen on a Global News clip, the graffiti includes support for the KKK and the white supremacists who were marching in Charlottesville over the weekend.
6. Joe Ramia’s Sailboat
Patrick Dunsworth of Lower Sackville has filed a lawsuit against Nova Centre developer Joe Ramia and businessman Robert Salah for injuries Dunsworth says he sustained while working on Ramia’s 40-foot Beneteau sailboat, the Jamilé, which was at the Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Club.
Dunsworth says Salah hired him on August 4, 2016 to clean the boat before Ramia hosted “a business outing” on it. Alleges the suit:
On or about 6pm, Mr. Salah, who was at that time preparing the inside area of the Sailboat, informed Mr. Dunsworth that he had to depart and instructed Mr. Dunsworth to ensure that the power was turned off and the cabin door was locked before leaving.
At or about 9pm, Mr. Dunsworth attempted to descend the stairs to the interior of the Sailboat to turn off the power as instructed. As he did so he slipped on a cleaning cloth left on the stairs.
As a result of slipping on the cleaning cloth, Mr. Dunsworth fractured his ankle and lost consciousness. When Mr. Dunsworth awoke, he attempted first aid on himself and attempted to use the Sailboat’s onboard VHF radio to summon help. He could not operate the VHF radio successfully.
Sometime in the morning of August 5, 2016, Mr. Dunsworth was able to call out to an unknown sailor that had docked his boat near the Sailboat. Mr. Dunsworth was then transported to hospital for assessment of his injuries.
Ramia and Salah haven’t yet responded to the allegations, which haven’t been tested in court.
As part of the federal government’s sesquicentennial celebration, Stats Canada is releasing “snapshots” of statistical data. For example, we now know that “there are 3,285 business locations producing maple syrup. Quebec leads the way with 3.71 locations per 10,000 population compared to the national average of 0.93.”
Yesterday, Stats Canada release the bar numbers:
In Canada, there are a total of 5,222 bars or 1.49 bars for every 10,000 Canadians. Newfoundland and Labrador has 3.87 bars per 10,000 population, followed by Quebec (2.66) and New Brunswick (2.26).
Looking at major cities, St. John’s has the most bars per 10,000 population at 3.35, followed by Sherbrooke (3.21) and Saint John (2.85). Oshawa has the least, with 0.42 per 10,000 population, followed by Guelph (0.53) and Winnipeg (0.57).
Establishments per capita captures one aspect of the bar culture, but it misses a lot. For instance, in Halifax there are gigantic “destination” bars like The Dome complex or downtown bars more generally, and not so many neighbourhood pubs. So just as many people (or more) may be going to bars, but they’re all going to the same relatively few bars, not lots of bars scattered around the city.
8. Peggys Cove
Peter Richardson, who operates Peggy’s Cove Boat Tours (Richardson likes the apostrophe; the map-making people don’t), took the above photo of tourists walking out onto the black rocks and even into the water near the lighthouse, risking being swept away by rogue waves, which, despite their name, aren’t so infrequent.
While searching Twitter for Peggys Cove photos, I found these tweets:
Tourists, when they're not at Peggy's Cove. pic.twitter.com/kvony2Lj5G
— Andy Bowers (@evilpez4) August 14, 2017
9. Killer sharks are encircling Nova Scotia
And if the waves don’t kill the tourists at Peggys Cove, maybe Hilton the 12-feet, five-inches-long, 1,326-pound male white shark will:
Incidentally, my theory is that Hilton is in search of Savannah, a young, 460-pound, eight-feet, six-inches long female white shark who’s swimming around Ecum Secum lately.
Hilton and Savannah join two other white sharks near Nova Scotia: George, a 700 pound, nine feet, eight inches long male off Saint John; and Betsy, a whopper of a female shark at 1,400 pounds and 12-feet, seven inches long who’s off Canso.
Maybe the sharks are looking for Joe Ramia’s boat, a shark vs shark thing.
Stephen Archibald lived in Charlottesville, Virginia when he was six years old, and went to the local public school. He writes:
Notice that we are uniformly white? That would be because schools in Virginia were “separate but equal,” in other words, segregated. Brown vs the Board of Education, the Supreme Court decision that desegregated schools in the south, was handed down six months after our little Thanksgiving charade.
I realize now that my young classmates would experienced years of turmoil as the Virginia government tried various schemes to fight integration. In 1956 Charlottesville closed its schools for whites rather that have them accept black students.
I was oblivious to these issues.
I grew up in Virginia, in Norfolk, about 170 miles from Charlottesville. I’m somewhat younger than Archibald… they closed the public schools in Norfolk, too, a few years before I was born, rather than integrate them.
I grew up in a city (and state, and region) that was starkly divided racially. I remember when the first black family moved into our neighbourhood, on a cul-de-sac around the corner from our house. There were four houses in the cul-de-sac, and after the black family moved in, each of the other houses went up for sale; no white family would buy, so each house was sold to another black family. There was a little black enclave right around the corner, but I never met the kids, and we never played baseball or football together at the vacant lot down the road.
It wasn’t until I was around 16 or so that I realized that the black neighbourhood across the tracks — it was actually on the other side of the railroad tracks — had a higher economic profile than my own neighbourhood. The black neighbourhood was where the increasingly successful black middle class lived.
In my early 20s I moved to Richmond, the capital of the Confederacy. I lived a block away from the Robert E. Lee statue on Monument Avenue, in a shitty little apartment building on the corner of Allen Avenue and Grace Street. We had rats under the kitchen sink and in the walls. The working girls hung out on my front porch, beckoning customers, but with a bit of friendly persuasion and some booze, I got them to more or less keep the noise down after midnight so I could sleep.
In retrospect, it was odd living just a block away from the celebrated Monument Avenue and the Robert E. Lee statue. But while thanks to my mom (who taught me as best as a mom from Georgia could to not be a racist asshole), I grew up with a belief that I was not racist, I was a product of the south and all the ingrained attitudes that came with it.
Truth be told, I was too ignorant and incurious to explore the meaning of the Lee statue beyond “that’s weird and kind of gross.” (I remember a friend showed me a garage that was the former stable for Lee’s horse, Traveller, which was for some reason something we were supposed to care about.) I didn’t know many black people, and certainly not well enough to have conversations about such things. That’s my loss, and truly, my shame.
My path would lead me to a better understanding of these issues. It’s a path I hope I’m still on — while I don’t think I’m still incurious, addressing the ignorance is a lifelong project — but cultural racism runs deep. It’s not something washed away with a wave of the hand or a law against discrimination or even a lifelong path of curiously addressing the issue.
Southern culture is foundationally racist. It is expressed in a million unstated ways that aren’t questioned by most people. The call for “states rights” is a nod to being able to legally discriminate against black people and deny them the right to vote, no matter what the federal government says. Ronald Reagan started his presidential campaign in Philadelphia, Mississippi, the site of the murder of three civil rights workers in 1964, precisely because Reagan knew his “states rights” rhetoric hit a receptive racist chord — a chord that has erupted into a full orchestra during the Trump presidency. Throughout the south (and elsewhere), restaurants post signs saying “we reserve the right to refuse service to anyone,” which is a backhanded reference, saying that the owner rejects the Civil Rights Bill of 1964 and other legislation that requires all businesses to be open to people of all races. Racism is expressed openly and casually among white people who toss around the n-word with regularity and without second thought. It is expressed in unspoken social cues, in the way people interact in schools and workplaces, in government policies, in the goddamned pulpits.
Robert E. Lee and the other Confederate generals are celebrated in monuments not out of some vague respect for “tradition,” but rather for the specific fact that they were fighting for the right to enslave and buy and sell black human beings. As with the Cornwallis statue in Halifax, the Lee statues went up at a specific time — just as Reconstruction was ending. Reconstruction was the 10-year period when northern troops occupied the south, and when democratic processes were being built. Black men were elected to Congress. Things seemed hopeful. But then the KKK arose, and a reign of terror began. Blacks across the south were lynched; those who weren’t were terrorized into submission. To mark the victory of the terrorists, statues to the Confederacy were erected everywhere. The northern troops withdrew, Reconstruction was abandoned, the rebellious states were readmitted to the union, and Jim Crow and ongoing racist policies became the norm in the south — right up to the present. That is what those statues represent.
I recognize that racism exists everywhere, but it has a particular and a particularly ugly expression in the south. I don’t know if that racism can ever be overcome. I hope it can, and I’m heartened by the anti-racists taking to the streets in Charlottesville, but this battle will take generations to fight. I know one thing: racism can’t be overcome by the generosity of white people (although that is needed as well); it will take black people taking their rightful place in the world, by whatever means, until white people give up all that bullshit.
I’ve been to Charlottesville dozens of times. As a kid to visit Monticello (before Sally Hemings was discussed accurately). As a high school student to visit the UVA campus as a possible college destination (I chose Virginia Tech instead). As a college student to party — I saw the Talking Heads’ Stop Making Sense tour in Charlottesville. I vaguely remember having some job that took me to Charlottesville, but for the life of me I can’t remember what it was. I once saw a UFO flying above Interstate 64 near Charlottesville.
Back then, Charlottesville was an elitist town full of the privileged children of white gentry. It felt like the epitome of everything that was wrong with the south, even more so than Richmond did, which is saying something.
But that was decades ago. There’s progress. When I visit Norfolk nowadays, it’s a much more cosmopolitan city than I remember. Black people are fairly represented in the political class, although the corporate and monied elite are mostly white. Neighbourhoods are still segregated, but not so much as they were when I was a child, and some of the black neighbourhoods are doing quite well. The workplaces and even some of the bars and social spaces are integrated to a degree that would shock my teenager self.
I don’t know enough about current-day Richmond to comment — I fear it will only come into the future kicking and screaming — but I really don’t know.
And then there’s Charlottesville, where the ugliness of the last week was in reaction to people urging the city council to take down another statue honouring Robert E. Lee.
Those fucking statues.
I say take ’em all down. And if that means battles in the streets and confronting nazis and their fascist president, so be it. Whatever it takes to break that rotten culture.
Halifax Regional Council (Tuesday, 10am, City Hall) — here’s the agenda.
Halifax Explosion 100th Anniversary Advisory Committee (Wednesday, 3pm, HRM Archives, Burnside) — here’s the agenda.
No public meetings until September.
PhD Defence, Electrical and Computer Engineering (Wednesday, 9am, Room 1016, Kenneth C. Rowe Management Building) — Meftah Mohamed will defend his thesis “Interactive Navigation and Control of Neurosurgical Robotic Systems.”
PhD Defence, Psychology and Neuroscience (Wednesday, 1pm, Room 3107, Mona Campbell Building) — Fiona Davidson will defend her thesis “Impact of Sleep on Daytime Functioning and Response to Treatment in Children with ADHD.”
In the harbour
5:30am: Faust, car carrier, arrives at Autoport from Portbury, England
8am: YM Essence, container ship, sails from Fairview Cove for Bremerhaven, Germany
10:30am: NYK Terra, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from Colombo, Sri Lanka
1pm: Pinara, container ship, sails from Pier 41 for sea
8:30pm: Faust, car carrier, sails from Autoport for New York
I’ll be live-blogging city council today, but I won’t get there until after lunch.