1. Quad C
“China Communications Construction Company International Holding Ltd, or CCCCI, the overseas investment and financing arm of China Communications Construction Company (CCCC), is poised to buy the Canadian construction company Aecon for $1.5 billion,” reports Mary Campbell:
CCCC is, of course, “Quad C,” the company our port promoter Albert Barbusci says may build a $1.5 billion mega-container-ship terminal in Sydney harbour. (For the record, nowhere, in any of the coverage I’ve seen, has anyone referred to the state-owned CCCC as “Quad C.” Apparently, it’s a private nickname between the company and Barbusci. Also, why does everything cost $1.5 billion?)
Campbell opens her article with a warning that it is long, and indeed it is. It’s obviously the product of much research, through which Campbell explores the business operations of CCCC. It’s a fascinating read, and worth the time. The gist of the first part of it is that China is locking in construction loans to government-subsidized projects around the world because (as I read it) those governments want the short-term political benefit of building new stuff that supposedly serves their citizens, but the deals are stacked against those governments and often end in vast indebtedness with little real new public works projects to show for it.
Many of CCCC’s overseas projects are in Africa and Asia and are part of China’s “One Belt, One Road” or OBOR program, which Port of Sydney CEO Marlene Usher explained to the Post this way in 2015:
…China currently has a “one belt, one road” strategy to bring its goods through the Suez Canal to Europe and North America.
That’s an interesting take on the massive infrastructure project announced by the Chinese president in 2013, but not one shared by most analysts. Here, for example, is Joshua Kurlantzick, a senior fellow for Asia at the Council on Foreign Relations:
Beijing plans to spend and raise as much as $1 trillion in an effort to create a vast new road and rail infrastructure, energy projects, and other needed infrastructure across many parts of Eurasia and even in Africa and parts of Western Europe.
And it is much more than simply a “strategy” for moving goods, as Jane Perlez and Yufan Huang explained in the New York Times earlier this year:
The massive infrastructure projects…form the backbone of China’s ambitious economic and geopolitical agenda. President Xi Jinping of China is literally and figuratively forging ties, creating new markets for the country’s construction companies and exporting its model of state-led development in a quest to create deep economic connections and strong diplomatic relationships.
Do a Google image search for OBOR and you get lots of results, all of which look basically like this:
As you can see, it’s not just that Sydney, Nova Scotia is not on the map, it’s that the entire North American continent is conspicuously absent.
The point of all this research was to get a sense of what CCCC’s purchase of Aecon means for the Port of Sydney. Campbell’s conclusion:
But the idea that Barbusci and Sheehy, who speak no dialect of Chinese, know nothing about construction and have no experience running a port were actually trying to negotiate with CCCC is kind of terrifying. CCCC is going to come out on top of any deal it negotiates and if the company is still somewhere in the picture locally, it would be wise for us to remember that.
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2. Black in Halifax
Metro’s “Black in Halifax” continues, today with Halifax Examiner contributor El Jones writing about the harassment she receives:
Because I am Black and a woman and I talk about racism, that makes some people angry. When people get angry, the way they want to let me know racism doesn’t exist is by calling me racial slurs or calling me misogynist names or leaving violent comments. That will show me, I guess.
When I talk about racism in Halifax, some people take it personally. People know that racism is bad, so what they hear when I talk about the ways race affects our lives is that they are being called a bad person. And since they are not a bad person, I must be wrong. And since I’m wrong, I deserve to be attacked or followed around or bullied and harassed. I deserve to be silenced or even hurt.
But racism isn’t just something that exists in some other place that you think of as where “real” racism is, like the American South. Racism isn’t some mythical thing like dragons.
The people who leave me hundreds of messages with racial slurs or the people who threaten me or the people who dehumanize me aren’t mythical either. It’s your husbands or your sons or your brothers telling me how they want to shut me up.
Also in the series: Perry King profiles basketball standout Lindell Wigginton, Tristan Cleveland says the roads in East Preston are unsafe to walk on, and Jayde Tynes interviews Joee Smith about being Black and queer.
3. Cop charged with voyeurism
A Halifax police release from yesterday:
Halifax Regional Police (HRP) today charged Constable George Farmer with one count each of voyeurism and breach of trust.
All matters took place while the officer was on duty between November 23 and December 3, 2017 in the 700 block of Bedford Highway in Bedford. The officer was arrested today and released with conditions. He is scheduled to appear in court in Halifax on January 16, 2018.
“Any time a police officer is charged with a criminal offence, it is disconcerting, not just for our employees, but also the citizens and communities we serve,” said Jean-Michel Blais, Chief of Halifax Regional Police. “We recognize that matters of this nature undermine public trust, which our employees work hard to build and uphold everyday. Breaching that trust is unacceptable and comes with consequences.”
Cst. Farmer, who has 11 years of service with HRP, has been suspended with pay in accordance with the Nova Scotia Police Act.
At this point in the investigation, the matter is believed to have compromised the privacy of multiple victims.
“We can’t discuss the details of the offence, but I can confirm that as soon as we became aware of the matter, we initiated a thorough investigation,” said Chief Blais.
The matter first came to HRP’s attention through an internal complaint, which evolved into a criminal investigation. SiRT has been advised of the matter.
The police release doesn’t give any more details, but the 700 block of Bedford Highway contains the Esquire Hotel, among other businesses.
4. Halifax cops investigate Newfoundland cop
Halifax police were recently in Newfoundland to investigate an allegation of sexual assault against a member of the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary, reports VOCM News, which evidently knew the name of the suspected cop but didn’t release it:
The Nova Scotia Serious Incident Response Team has confirmed that officers were in the province conducting interviews and investigating a complaint from the Conception Bay South area that dates back a number of years.
Because of the nature of the complaint, VOCM News will not be naming the officer or the alleged victim.
Chief Boland says he received a complaint from a member of the public alleging inappropriate conduct by an RNC officer. He says due to the gravity of the allegation he contacted the Department of Justice and requested that an outside agency conduct a thorough and independent investigation.
The Nova Scotia SiRT is overseeing the investigation in conjunction with Halifax Regional Police.
5. Garnier trial
The murder trial of Christopher Garnier continues, which is being followed by Canadian Press reporter Aly Thomson (the linked article contains explicit details):
Christopher Garnier told a police interrogator he heard Catherine Campbell’s final breaths, and he was haunted by “seeing her, hearing her” gasp for air as he struggled to remember details of the night she died.
“I could hear her take her last breaths,” Garnier told RCMP Cpl. Jody Allison on Sept. 16, 2015, hours after the police officer’s body was found face down in thick brush near Halifax’s Macdonald Bridge.
“I don’t know how this happened… I’ve been trying to remember what happened.”
6. The Icarus Report
“The pilot of an Air Canada jet was left with blurred vision when someone aimed a laser at the aircraft during its approach to Pearson International Airport,” reports Bruce Campion-Smith for the Toronto Star:
The incident — one of a spate of laser strikes last month involving flights into Pearson — is yet another reminder of the dangers of these devices, federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau told the Star.
1. Stephen Archibald goes to the dark side
Same pretty pictures and all, but now Stephen Archibald is sponsored by the Vorarlberg State Tourist Board.
I know that’s common practice in the tourism industry and with travel writers, but it’s always struck me as contrary to basic journalistic principles. Still, Archibald is to be congratulated for acknowledging that he was hosted by the people he wrote about — far too often, almost always, travel writers don’t disclose those arrangements.
The problem with sponsored trips is that travel writers know they’ll get more invitations and more paid-for trips if they don’t report critically on the places they visit. Conversely, travel writers know the invitations will dry up if they tell the bald truth about the places they visit. So, it’s all rose coloured-glasses.
Archibald, for instance, went to Vorarlberg and completely ignored the gnome scandal. Reported the Washington Post:
Last weekend in the mountainous Austrian state of Vorarlberg, 400 gnomes disappeared. Nobody knows where they have gone. But everyone knows it’s down to politics.
With regional elections set for Sept. 21, the left-wing Social Democratic Party ordered 20,000 gnomes called “Coolmen” earlier this year. The gnomes, toting sunglasses and campaign signs, were the party’s last-ditch effort to prevent an electoral defeat in Vorarlberg. About 400 of the gnomes were attached to lampposts on Saturday as alternatives to traditional posters, but their mass disappearance by Sunday morning was conspicuous.
“I suspect our rival party OeVP [the Austrian People’s Party] to have removed the gnomes,” local Social Democratic Party leader Michael Ritsch told The Washington Post on Tuesday. Ritsch has filed a complaint, and the state’s police forces have launched an investigation.
First you ignore the missing gnomes in Vorarlberg, and next thing you know you’re writing about the beautiful sunrises as seen from Kumsusan Palace in Pyongyang.
For the record, I paid for my own trip on the Yarmouth ferry.
Investment Policy Advisory Committee (Thursday, 11:30pm, City Hall) — I wrote about this yesterday. And congratulations to the two readers who caught the Casablanca reference.
Transportation Standing Committee (Thursday, 1pm, City Hall) — the committee is insisting that a protected bicycle lane be placed on Hollis Street.
Harbour East Marine Drive Community Council (Thursday, 6pm, HEMDCC Meeting Space, Alderney Gate) — here’s the agenda.
Public Information Meeting- Case 21094 (Thursday, 7pm, St. Peter’s Anglican Church Hall, 3 Dakin Drive, Halifax) — Clearwater Seafoods wants to build a parking garage on the Bedford Highway.
No public meetings.
Resources (Thursday, 10am, One Government Place) — the committee will be discussing “Large Private Non-Industrial Landowner Group,” and who can that be, heh? Also, related, “Forest Management on Private Lands.”
No public meetings.
Holiday Dogs (Thursday, 11am, Dalhousie Student Union Building) — the event listing:
Put on your ugly sweater and come meet some adorable dogs. Bring your friends and take the cutest holiday card photo the world has ever seen! Afterwards, find your professional photos on the Facebook event page.
$2+ donations in support of Dalhousie Medical School’s annual Euphoria Variety Show (charity TBA).
The Promise and Perils of Contemporary Therapeutics (Thursday, 12pm, Room 109, College of Pharmacy) — Jean Gray will speak.
Thesis Defence, College of Pharmacy (Friday, 9am, Room C266, Collaborative Health Education Building) — Masters student Nicholas Relja will defend his thesis, “Study of Jadomycin Pharmacokinetics and Anti-Breast Cancer Activity in BALB/C Mice.”
Chemical Synthesis of Bioactive Molecules (Friday, 1:30pm, Room 226, Chemistry Building) — Andrei Yudin from the University of Toronto will speak.
12th Portia While Gala Concert (Friday, 7:30pm, Faith Tabernacle, 6225 Summit Street, Halifax) — featuring the Dalhousie Health Professions Chorale and the Sackville Concert Band. Tickets $15. Info here.
Thesis Defence, Applied Science (1:30pm, Room 310, Science Building) — Masters student Joseph Zachary MacDougall will defend his thesis, “Investigations of Inoculation of Sugar Beet (Beta vulgaris L.) with Gluconacetobacter Diazotrophicus and Gluconacetobacter Azotocaptans.”
In the harbour
5am: YM Essence, container ship, sails from Fairview Cove for Bremerhaven, Germany
5:30am: George Washington Bridge, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from Norfolk
8am: Beothuk Spirit, oil tanker, sails from Pier 9 to sea
11am: ZIM Tarragona, container ship, sails from Pier 42 for New York
5pm: George Washington Bridge, container ship, sails from Fairview Cove for Dubai
I think we’re recording Examineradio today.