1. Mother of all gaudy monstrosities
Parks Canada gave $100,000 to the Never Forgotten National Memorial Foundation, the group that wants to build the above “Mother Canada” memorial at Green Cove in the Cape Breton Highlands National Park, reports the Cape Breton Post:
Friends of Green Cove [a group opposed to the monument] learned about the grant just before going on-air for CBC Radio’s weekend call-in show “Maritime Connection.” A posting on Parks Canada’s website devoted to disclosures of grants and contributions over $25,000 lists a Feb. 7, 2014, contribution of $100,000 to Never Forgotten National Memorial Foundation, the private company that wants to build the Mother Canada war memorial on Parks Canada land.
According to the posting, the purpose given for the contribution was “for the completion of Memorial, two contribution agreements will support the development of a digital communications platform and the market and visitation projection analysis.” A comments section at the bottom of the posting indicated it was a “multi-year contribution 2013-14 to 2014-15.”
“The money was used for web page development as well as a marketing analysis to see what the impact of the project would be on the Cape Breton Highlands,” said [Eddie Kennedy, Parks Canada’s project manager for the Never Forgotten National Memorial Foundation project]. “Parks Canada isn’t putting money into the construction and maintenance of the project, the money was to inform people and for the public consultation as well.
All along, the Never Forgotten National Memorial Foundation has maintained that the monument would be privately funded. Sean Howard, spokesperson for Friends of Green Cove, said the donation means Parks Canada has a conflict of interest.
But Kennedy told the Post that the donation was publicly acknowledged at a meeting in Ingonish in October, which somehow makes it all OK.
“Halifax Water’s unionized workers and the utility are back at the bargaining table after more than a month off the job,” reports the Chronicle Herald. Neither side would give details.
Stephanie Taylor at Metro discusses Halifax councillors and Twitter, complete with a fancy graphic showing how many followers each councillor has and how many tweets they make. Yea, whatever, but how are they doing on Tinder and Grindr?
The Dartmouth Costco will no longer sell tobacco products. After some initial hesitation, the Canadian chain The Flag Shop yesterday announced it would no longer sell the Confederate flag, except for use as props and to collectors.
5. Wild Kingdom
A seal has made its way to Shubie Park, about 10 kilometres upstream from the ocean, reports the CBC:
Andrew Reid of the Marine Animal Rescue Society said a seal making its way inland isn’t that rare as they sometimes pursue fish into freshwater lakes.
“We do occasionally get seals that can make their way inland, usually following rivers and streams,” Reid said, adding there have been a number of seal sightings near Grand Lake this year.
2. Scott Jones
Scott Jones is the gay man who on October 12, 2013 was stabbed in the back by Shane Matheson outside a New Glasgow bar. The attack left Jones paralyzed from the waist down. Last June, Matheson was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
Last night, Jones posted the following on Facebook:
About a year ago, the man who attacked me, Shane Matheson, was sentenced to ten years in prison. Afterwards, people told me they were outraged, that he should have been sent away for longer, that justice had not been served. I told them no sentence could bring back my ability to walk, so what is the difference between ten years and twenty? Every now and then, people come up to me and say horrible things about Shane, and what punishment they think he deserved, and when they do, it frightens me.
I am afraid that the point is being missed. I am scared that we are not acknowledging that what happened to me, and Shane, is a societal problem. I am afraid that we are not recognizing this fact: What Shane did to me is the result of many issues that we, as a society, perpetuate or ignore. It is Shane’s fault, yes, but how did he get to that point? How does anyone get to the point of attacking another human being?
“Act like a man!” “Don’t be a pussy!” “Stop acting like such a girl!” “That’s so gay!” Basically, if you are a guy, don’t show your emotions. Do not cry. Do not show affection to other guys — because if you do, you will be called a girl, gay, or queer. Do not express your sensitive side. Conform and be invisible, and definitely don’t reach out for help when you are struggling with these emotions that society is telling you to keep inside. Let them fester to the point that you bully others, turn to alcohol or drugs to numb the pain, continue to conform by perpetuating homophobia and misogyny, and targeting those who are perceived as being “less than” you (women, First Nations people, queer people, people with disabilities, people with mental illness, etc.).
Some people overcome these societal pressures, sure. But a lot of us don’t, especially when we are not allowed to be who we really are at home or at school. I am sure that Shane struggled to be himself, and that he struggled to reach out for help when he needed it. And I don’t think society made it easy for him. Somewhere between birth and 19 years of age, he was failed. That’s how I see it: If you reach the point where you stab someone in the back, you have been failed. You have been ignored. You have not been supported and you did not get help, and ultimately, I think that’s what he was trying to do when he attacked me — trying to get help. Trying to be noticed.
I am not trying to justify what Shane did. It was his decision, and he consciously decided to attack me. But if we only look at him and not at us — if we point our finger, sentence him to ten years in prison and send him away and avoid the real issues- then we are missing the forest for the trees. We will not learn, and attacks like this will continue to happen.
Yesterday, at a really moving Don’t BE Afraid event in Edmonton, a very wise woman came up to me at the end of the concert and said: “We need to think about the children in society. We need to take care of them, otherwise things like this will happen.” I couldn’t agree more.
Let’s love and take care of each other, and ourselves, every day.
3. Cranky letter of the day
We are writing in response to an opinion letter published in the Oran called “Do Experts Advise Against It?” by Angela MacDougall of Iona. In her letter, she disapproves of addressing the issues surrounding Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual-Transgender-Questioning individuals in the classroom. As a group of 18-year-old students, we feel it is our right to be educated on this important subject.
Ms. MacDougall asserts that there is a higher suicide rate among the LGBTQ community. Specifically, she states that according to the Williams Institute: “…in comparison, a staggering 41 per cent of those who have sex change surgery attempt suicide.” In fact, after verifying the quote on the Internet, the correct version reads: “by comparison, 41 per cent of trans or gender non-conforming people surveyed have attempted suicide.” Obviously, these suicide attempts would occur prior to their transition when they are surrounded by negativity and lack of support. We believe that being LGBTQ is never a lifestyle choice, but is rather a biological fact.
A recent presentation by a transgender person at our school was well received by the students. It is through discussion and sharing that the suicide rate will go down rather than sweeping the issue under the rug as Ms. MacDougall advocates. We feel that these presentations and discussions are necessary to help us understand and better support members of the LGBTQ community. These people are not just a statistic to us, they are our friends, our family members, our neighbors and our coworkers.
English 12 class
City Council (1pm, City Hall)—council today is revisiting the “ditch tax” issue, approving the Hollis Street bike lane, awarding the tender to raze St. Pat’s High School, and OKing the sale of the old Dartmouth City Hall. I’ll be live-blogging the meeting via the Examiner’s Twitter account, @hfxExaminer. (I’m not on Tinder or Grindr.)
In the harbour
The cruise ship Norwegian Gem is in port today, with up to 2,394 passengers.
Last month, a 10-year-old girl drowned in a swimming pool on the Norwegian Gem, as it sailed off the South Carolina coast. “It’s the seventh time that a child has drowned, or nearly downed, on a cruise ship in just two years,” reports lawyer Jim Walker. “The incidents occurred on cruise ships operated by all of the major cruise lines’ ships: Carnival, Disney, Norwegian Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean. None of the cruise lines employed life guards at the time. (Disney subsequently changed its policy after a child sustained catastrophic and permanent injuries requiring lifetime medical care.)”
One passenger said:
“I’m still on the Gem now. And I was right there. On this incident I can blame NCL for their lack of effort. Passengers who were nurses and doctors did all the work while NCL workers watched and looked panicked. They did not know what to do. They kept telling the real nurses and doctors to stay away. I talked to one of the ICU nurses and she said they are handling it all wrong. They told her to move away meanwhile shes yelling at them on what to do. The girl had a pulse. . . . Bottom line, NCL dropped the ball on this on big time. If you weren’t there then don’t say a thing backing NCL. Cause they did absolutely nothing. The passengers came to the rescue. Applaud them. They were fighting for the kid while NCL looked DAZED.”
Another passenger remarked:
“My wife and I witnessed this tragic event right before our eyes while on board the Gem this past week. My wife is a registered nurse and tried to help, but was told ‘they were handling it and to stay away’ . . . she was completely upset with the lack of treatment she witnessed by the staff personnel. That poor girl was being worked on by inexperienced people, pool side for more than 15 minutes before being rushed down to the medical center.
As a parent traveling with 3 kids, I agree it is our responsibility to ‘watch our children.’ However the pool deck was really crowded at that time, and with those crowds it was very easy to lose sight of your kids. The family pool is 5′ – 6′ deep, which is very dangerous IMO for children and inexperienced swimmers. I’m amazed that NCL wouldn’t employ trained lifeguards with that setup.
“The bottom line is an innocent child died, and my heart goes out to the family.”
Elsewhere on his site, Walker details some of the recent drowning deaths of children on cruise ships, and explores the legal liability issue, explaining that the deaths cannot simply be attributed to parental neglect.
You’re invited! The Halifax Examiner turns one year old!
Who: anyone who wants to celebrate the Halifax Examiner
When: Wednesday, June 24, 5–10pm
Where: The Company House, 2202 Gottingen Street