Today’s Morning File is written by Katie Toth. Tim will return tomorrow.
November Subscription Drive
Tim announced this morning that Stephen Kimber is joining the Examiner.
This is fantastic news and is yet another reason to subscribe. Your subscription helps underwrite quality journalism. Click here to purchase a subscription.
1. Public-private partnership was expensive; also, sky is blue
Preston Mulligan, reporting for the CBC, writes that the province “will spend $85.9 million to buy 12 of the 13 schools it currently leases from Scotia Learning Centres, a price tag the Department of Education says is cheaper than continuing with the lease agreements.”
Wait…so you’re saying…public-private partnerships are more expensive, and that we don’t necessarily benefit from selling off public assets in the long term?
When asked for a statement in response, the Nova Scotia Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives merely sent a cassette tape with nothing on it but mirthless, ironic laughter.
2. Investigation accuses Nova Scotia Hospital of abusing disabled man
In a “summary of facts” about a September 4th incident at Nova Scotia Hospital, a health department investigator says hospital staff abused a 31-year-old man.
Matthew Meisner has been in lockdown for 10 years at the hospital’s Emerald Hall, where he’s watched by two full-time staff. He is autistic and has mood disorders. From Elizabeth Chiu, reporting for the CBC:
The report said the head of the night shift heard banging coming from Meisner’s room at about 4:40 a.m. His bathroom had been locked to prevent him from banging the toilet seat and waking up other patients. Meisner was found naked, covered in feces, and banging his head and hands on Plexiglas, the report said. His head was bleeding.
Meisner often bangs his head on the walls and has to wear a helmet to protect his skull. Night shift workers allegedly restrained Meisner for two hours — twice as long as they are legally allowed without a doctor’s approval — and put his head in a pillowcase. A day shift worker filed a “serious incident report” when they saw what had happened.
Meisner’s mother Tracey, who has been fighting for better treatment for her son, says she’s not surprised and that the report describes a “culture of abuse.”
3. Edible plants
Nova Scotians interested in foraging food from nature will now have a guide, thanks to a new smartphone app, reports Nina Corfu for the CBC:
The app, called Useful Nova Scotia Plants, was developed by software engineer Gordon Isnor and Marian Munro, botany curator at the Nova Scotia Museum.
The free app features an alphabetical listing of plants using their English names, full screen photos, and details such as which part of the plant is edible, possible recipes, and cautions.
Users can search by name or browse the directory using the photos.
4. Honouring the horrors of war by threatening to kill people
“Those organizing a Christmas craft show that’s forced the Sydney Remembrance Day ceremony to a different venue say they’ve been receiving threats and now fear for their safety,” reports CTV:
Home Crafters president Susan MacDonald says members have been dealing with verbal threats and hate mail over the last 48 hours.
“We’re scared,” MacDonald said. “If we are getting this kind of negativity and hate mail now, what’s it going to escalate to?”
For 29 years the crafters have been filling Centre 200 on the second weekend of November. This year the show falls on Remembrance Day. It’s the first time the dates have coincided since veterans began using the building for their ceremony.
The fair is at the centre of a controversy because Remembrance Day ceremonies have been moved to a smaller venue, meaning fewer people able to pay their respects. MacDonald is blaming miscommunication for the mix-up.
1.”The Alabama of accessibility rights in the twenty-first century”
That’s Nova Scotia, according to Parker Donham’s latest Contrarian blog post, which you should read in full.
He says after a two-year consultation period, the McNeil government has proposed a new Accessibility act that would involve a lot more consultation and not a lot more action. As Donham puts it:
The last thing Nova Scotia needs is more consultation, suggestions, opinions, advice, or setting of priorities and objectives about accessibility. These are human rights. We need clear, enforceable standards coupled with an effective mechanism for their enforcement. Indeed, they are long overdue.
In place of standards and enforcement, the McNeil government has given us a bill requiring an economic impact study of every proposed accessibility standard. No other basic human right is subject to such equivocation. We don’t ponder the economic impact of right to vote, to express a political opinion, or to worship as we choose. We enforce rights—unless the rights holder has a disability.
2. How many people have you slept with?
I’m not being rude; that’s actually the title of this op-ed in The Coast, where Jen Nagle argues it’s time to end slut-shaming.
3. Cranky letter of the day
Yesterday, students’ groups across the country protested to reduce tuition fees and drop student debt, largely organized by the Canadian Federation of Students. Students in Halifax were a big contingent, bringing out about 600 to protest rising costs for student education.
Erin Brown, for the Dal Gazette, posted a pretty cutting account of their march from the Killam Library to Province House:
The students’ chant at the time was something along the lines of, “Drop our fees, we’re sick of mac n’ cheese,” as the group passed a young man shivering in a fleece sweater, empty Tim’s cup in hand, asking for spare change for food.
The contrast of students complaining about eating KD, and [a] young man begging for something to eat, turned my stomach.
I thought I would catch a moment of a student offering change, maybe even just a hug, but I saw nothing. I watched nearly 500 students who were marching for social equality turn a blind eye to a young person right in front of them, who is one of the most vulnerable victims of our society’s economic inequality.
It made it difficult to cover the rest of the march because the cheers for equality all seemed very hollow.
…It’s true: “education is not just for the rich and white,” but students are not the only members in Halifax who are “tired, hungry and poor.” With all of the talk of camaraderie at today’s march, students should recognize that there are many others facing the same issues they are, but with far fewer resources.
As we say on The Twitter, “whoa if true.” But also, be nice to people guys! (In the interest of disclosure, I was a volunteer women’s liaison with the Nova Scotia chapter of the CFS in like, 2011 or something. Wayyyyy back)
Examineradio producer and Cubs fan extraordinaire Russell Gragg may be out of commission this morning.
Point Pleasant Park Advisory Committee (4:30pm, Office and Maintenance Building, Point Pleasant Park) — here’s the agenda.
Port Wallace Public Meeting Notice – Open House (open house at 6:30pm; “formal presentations” at 7:30pm, Auditorium of École le Carrefour, 201 Avenue du Portage, Dartmouth) — The blurb:
Alternative development proposals will be presented for a 53-acre land parcel and for a 500 acre parcel, both located on the east side of Lake Charles, between Waverley Rd. and Hwy. 107. The parcels are illustrated on the attached map. Representatives of the developers will be available to respond to questions regarding the development proposals and municipal staff will be available to respond to questions regarding the approval process and to design guidelines being prepared.
The map above shows the area to be developed. See the full-size map here.
Like “reform,” “developed” is such a loaded term, implying forward progress. Maybe we need a new word.
No public meetings.
Mapping Urban Areas (5:35pm, Room 1011, Kenneth C. Rowe Management Building) — Matthew Novak, from Saint Mary’s University, will speak on “Comparing Field Data Collection with Commercial Datasets in Mapping Urban Areas.” His abstract:
A wealth of data is needed to properly understand and manage the complexity of urban areas. Using Halifax as a case study, this talk examines the benefits and issues of securing data on urban retailing from commercial providers or collecting the data through field work using smartphone technology. Attention is paid to smaller, independent stores since many commercial datasets may overlook these establishments. The talk concludes with a discussion of incorporating the data into a Geographic Information System (GIS) for use in managing and analysing the spatial component of the information.
Palliative Care (6:30pm, Potter Auditorium, Kenneth C. Rowe Management Building) — David Dupere will speak on “Everything You Need to Know about Palliative Care in 2016.”
Molecular Electronics for Chemical Sensors (8pm, Chemistry Room 125) — Timothy M. Swager, from MIT, will speak. Reception afterwards in Room 225.
Pseudo Science and Academic Freedom (7pm, in the theatre named after a bank in the building named after a grocery store) — a panel discussion on whether academic freedom should protect the teaching and dissemination of views mainstream science judges harmful.
In the harbour
2:30am: ZIM Barcelona, container ship, sails from Pier 41 for Kingston, Jamaica
3:30am: NYK Delphinus, container ship, sails from Fairview Cove for Southhampton, England
6am: Oceanex Sanderling, ro-ro container, arrives at Pier 41 from St. John’s
11:30am: Oceanex Sanderling, ro-ro container, moves from Pier 41 to Autoport
3pm: Bristol Bay, US Coast Guard vessel, arrives at Tall Ship Quay
4:30pm: Oceanex Sanderling, ro-ro container, moves from Autoport to Pier 41
Don’t forget that the Halifax Regional Police were sent on a high-profile chase through Dartmouth…for a pig named Kevin Bacon: