1. Outhouse catches fire
That’s our lead story for the day.
2. Acadian students
A survey of students finds they don’t sleep around so much.
3. Pedestrians hit by vehicles
At 9:15 p.m., officers responded to a hit and run involving a pedestrian which had apparently occurred in Halifax at 5 p.m. The pedestrian, a 21-year-old man, was crossing Main Avenue southbound in the crosswalk at the intersection with Dunbrack Street when he was struck. The driver of the vehicle stopped briefly and then left the scene. The victim was not seriously injured and sought medical treatment on his own following the incident. The vehicle that left the scene was described as a gray PT Cruiser (no plate info) being operated by an elderly white man. The vehicle was last seen travelling eastbound on Main Avenue. Anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact police at 490-5020. Anonymous tips can be sent to Crime Stoppers by calling toll-free 1 800 222-TIPS (8477), submitting a secure web tip at www.crimestoppers.ns.ca or texting a tip – Tip 202 + your message to 274637.
At 8:50 p.m., officers responded to a vehicle/pedestrian collision that occurred at the intersection of Lacewood Drive and Fairfax Drive in Halifax. A 16-year-old male pedestrian was travelling southbound on Fairfax Drive crossing Lacewood Drive when he was struck by a 38-year-old male driver making a left hand turn onto Lacewood Dr. from Fairfax Dr. The pedestrian was treated for minor injuries at the scene by EHS and released. The driver was issued a Summary Offence ticket for failing to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk.
4. Patrick Murphy
Patrick Murphy is still alive. There are probably a couple of hundred Patrick Murphys in this town, but I think this is the former Halifax councillor. He found some stuff from the Explosion.
Parker Donham publishes an important contrary view from an island resident about the killing of Philip Boudreau, the unhelpfully headlined “murder for lobster.” I wonder if I travel in different media circles than Donham, because my knowledge of the case is completely through news reports and yet I’ve always understood that Boudreau was considered by locals to be a bully and a thief who—saying “deserved” is probably too strong a word—should have expected his fate.
My friend Silver Don Cameron has lived on and off Isle Madame, and is now writing a book about the incident. He wrote a short piece for the Globe and Mail about it, including a passage that makes the same points Donham has been saying are missing from media reports:
News reports also described Mr. Boudreau as a fisherman. Well, not exactly. He was a Cape Breton original–a poacher and a thief, a rustic Robin Hood with a deep affection for dogs and children. His rap sheet ran nearly 11 pages, but he was not particularly acquisitive. One neighbour says he would “steal the beads off Christ’s moccasins”–then give the booty away to someone in need. He served some fishing skippers as a conscientious security guard. He was funny and reckless, loathed, loved and feared. In prison, he was diagnosed as bipolar, and his behaviour was curiously child-like and innocent, as if he were surprised at the fury he sometimes aroused. He welcomed a jail sentence in the fall, but he liked to be freed by the spring.
And he taunted his victims. Know who stole your four-wheeler? I did, and I sold it. See this? It’s the knife that cut your traps. You want to do something about it? I’ll burn your house down–with you in it.
How do you deal with an outlaw who intimidates the authorities, goes happily to jail, carves up your livelihood–and laughs at you as he does it?
A word about Cameron. I’ve been meaning to write a review of his latest book, a rerelease of The Living Beach, for some time, but frankly have been a bit awed by him. I wanted to re-read the book and dive into Cameron’s site, TheGreenInterview, and write something somewhat more substantial than my usual flippant comments, but the sheer hugeness of the project has put me off.
Cameron’s book about the Boudreau killing will be his 18th book. Eighteen. Every now and then I consider writing a book, but simply thinking about it exhausts me. I have no idea how one finds the energy and time to write even one book, much less multiple books… but 18? There are giants among us.
2. Ottawa shooting video
Stephen Kimber argues that just as the Justin Bourque evidence was correctly made public, so too should video evidence of the Parliament Hill shooting be made public.
3. Walkable cities
Sean Gillis discusses the problems facing walkers:
There are two main reasons why walking is unsafe or inconvenient. One reason is a lack of convenient places easily reached on foot. In too many communities, drug stores, banks and grocery stores are moving to the edge of town. Instead of a five to ten minute walk to key services on a traditional main street, many people now have a much longer walk to the edge of town. Newer stores and shopping malls also provide a poor environment for those not driving. This is the second reason walking is unsafe and inconvenient: poor infrastructure for people on foot. Picture your typical, modern grocery store: large parking lot, wide arterial road, narrow sidewalks (if any) and too much traffic. For most pedestrians it’s uncomfortable and a little unsafe; for people with vision problems, or who use a walker or wheelchair, it might be completely inaccessible. For decades, most new offices, services, stores and housing across Canada has been built in places where people can’t easily or safely walk. This is a huge problem.
I think he’s talking about Lacewood Drive. Anyway, Gillis continues:
We seem willing to accept pedestrian injuries and deaths, low rates of exercise and low rates of walking, increased greenhouse gas emissions and poor mobility for the many households that don’t have a car. Why? Because cars are convenient–at least for those driving. We have to be clear–cars, in large numbers and especially when moving quickly, are terrible for pedestrians and people on bikes.
4. Yeah, Armageddon!
Roger Taylor wrote an entire column in favour of opening up the Donkin coal mine without using the words “climate change,” “greenhouse gas,” or “global warming.” But why should he care? He’ll be long gone before the worst of the effects of climate change disrupt human civilization. Tough luck, kids.
5. The Ian Thompson Bullshit Generator
I’ve wasted far too much time this morning parsing Ian Thompson’s Chronicle Magazine column. Let me rewrite it for you:
Ivany! Ivany, again! Also: fracking. Yea, fracking will destroy the earth and our children will suffer horribly, but we could really use the money. World-class! “Buy local” is just something we say to shut up the hippies. Let me mumble something meaningless about education so I sound smart. We gotta take the “no” out of Nova Scotia. Sure, Northern Pulp Mill is polluting like crazy, and those fish farms are screwing up the fisheries, but money! As the great philosopher Frank McKenna said, letting people have a say in things is bad for democracy. And Stephen McNeil is handsome and wise. Notice how I’m saying nice things about Liberals? [slyly slips Liberals his resume for the NSBI CEO job] Edmund Burke was a Liberal too, and he also told us democracy was bad for democracy. Robust!
I challenge you to find a meaningful difference between Thompson’s column and the phrases churned out by the Corporate Bullshit Generator. Here’s what I got, my first few tries with it; it could be a Thompson column or slide #6 on a NSBI presentation to the Chamber of Commerce:
• objectively actualize interactive e-markets
• progressively iterate multidisciplinary networks
• synergistically drive low-risk high-yield manufactured products
• rapidiously empower orthogonal systems
• appropriately enable compelling e-markets
About that NSBI job… the position used to be held by Stephen Lund, who before coming to work for NSBI worked at Butterfield Bank in Bermuda. At the helm of NSBI, he oversaw the extension of $9.1 million in payroll rebates for Butterfield Bank to expand in Halifax, but somehow neglected to mention he once worked for the bank. Lund left NSBI in August 2013, heading back to his old stomping grounds and took charge of the Bermuda Business Development Agency. But he abruptly left that job in April for unspecified personal reasons, and headed back to Nova Scotia. Lund was gobbled up by the Irvings and now works as Vice President of the Halifax Shipyard, where he uses his expertise in ladling out public funds to private corporations to design war ships, I guess.
Anyway, in September 2013, NSBI hired head-hunting firm Venor Group to find Lund’s replacement. But, “the [NSBI] board chose to pause the search in the spring,” NSBI spokesperson Cindy Roberts tells me via email. “There was a great deal of focus on the report delivered by the Nova Scotia Commission on Building Our New Economy and then the Tom Traves review of economic development tools.”
Well, after this “pause,” NSBI took the headhunting contract away from Venor and gave it to Knightsbridge Robertson Surrette. Confusingly, Venor still had the position listed on its website last month, so I contacted Venor partner Jeff Somerville to ask what’s up. The company had somehow forgotten to take the post off its site, he told me. “I can’t comment on the process, but if you are interested in the opportunity you should contact Jeff Forbes at Robertson Surrette.”
I don’t think NSBI can meet my contract demands, so I’ll pass on applying.
But follow the bouncing ball. Knightsbridge Robertson Surrette now has the contract for finding a replacement for Lund. A partner at Knightsbridge Robertson Surrette is Lois Dyer Mann, who also, yep, sits on the NSBI board. This isn’t a conflict, Roberts tells me. Knightsbridge Robertson Surrette “was one of the firms from a procurement standing offer list from which the Board sought proposals,” and “the search is being conducted by the NSBI Board Search Committee which is a subcommittee of the board. Lois is not a member of the search committee and was not involved in the selection of Knightsbridge Robertson Surrette.”
All as clean as a whistle.
Lund’s been out 15 months. Honestly, the agency seems to be better run under interim CEO Ron Smith, but the search goes on. A little birdy told me that last week the NSBI board met to consider Laurel Broten’s application for the position. I don’t know how that plays. Broten’s got big Liberal credentials, but she may have drawn too much controversy to herself with her whacked out tax proposals.
I have no knowledge that Thompson has applied for the job, but it wouldn’t be surprising. He was deputy minister at the Department of Economic and Rural Development and Tourism from 2008 through 2011, and so in charge of the NSBI file, and he was appointed to the NSBI board in January 2009. He stayed there until he was brought onto the Chronicle Herald position in September 2011. Last week, he announced he is leaving the paper at the end of the year. Is that because he’s angling for the NSBI position? Who knows. But he’s certainly doing a lot of Liberal ass-kissing and spewing out the bullshit like he wants it.
Public information meeting (7pm, Bedford–Hammonds Plains Community Centre)—to present changes in building heights and densities to the Bedford West area.
No public meetings.
Microbiology & Immunology Seminar (12:30pm, Room 3-H, Tupper Building)—Jenn Corcoran will present on “MK2, Rho and KapB: control of the cytoskeleton by KSHV.”
Senate meeting (4pm, University Hall, Macdonald Building)—here’s the agenda.
Oceanography Seminar (Tuesday, 11:30am, Room 3655, LSC, Oceanography Wing)—Nianzhi Jiao, from Xiamen University, will talk on “The Birth of the Universe: Studying the Epoch of Inflation with the Cosmic Microwave Background.”
I had intended to write a long thing about something else in this spot this morning, but I find I’ve wasted all my time writing about NSBI and such. So instead I’ll just quickly mention that you should check out the Hello Dartmouth site, which Kate Watson may have started, I’m not sure. There’s a small town boosterism feel to the site that for some reason strikes me as endearing rather than annoying.
In the harbour
(click on vessel names for pictures and more information about the ships)
Several readers have sent me links to news reports about the latest Friends of the Earth report card on the cruise ship industry. The worst finding is that the 16 major cruise lines are collectively dumping over a billion gallons of untreated sewage into the oceans every year.
This is bad, but for context, before the Harbour Solutions project came on line the city of Halifax was dumping 180 million litres of raw sewage into the harbour every day. If I did the math right, that’s about 47.5 million gallons per day, or 17 billion or so gallons per year. So, boo on cruise ships, but this single city was doing 17 times worse until very recently. Even now, Canada as a whole dumps 50 billion gallons of raw sewage into the ocean annually, while globally the number is in the trillions of gallons.
Because it’s organic, human waste isn’t so much the problem. Rather, it’s the other stuff we flush down with our sewage: pharmaceuticals, heavy metals, plastics, and so forth, and most sewage plants, including Halifax’s, don’t remove much of that material.
I have a friend who is convinced the world will end not by an asteroid impact or nuclear war or global warming, but rather from the “oceans going septic.” We unthinkingly dump everything and anything into them, he points out, and so one day the entire ocean ecosystem, including its ability to produce most of the oxygen we breathe, will simply up and quit.
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