1. Chronicle Herald talks resume
“Unfair labour complaints have been withdrawn in the year-long strike at the Halifax Chronicle Herald, paving the way for the resumption of negotiations next week,” reports the Canadian Press:
In a news release Tuesday, the union for 55 striking newsroom workers at the paper said it withdrew an unfair labour complaint related to the year-long work stoppage.
“We withdrew the complaint to engender bargaining,” said Ingrid Bulmer, president of Halifax Typographical Union local.
Ian Scott, the Herald’s chief operating officer, said the union had put forward new proposals to address remaining issues in the dispute. Scott said those points relate to workplace efficiencies and staff severance.
2. Commuter rail
“Work is well underway to try to make commuter rail service a reality for Halifax,” reports Michael Gorman for the CBC:
Yves Desjardins-Siciliano, president and CEO of Via Rail, told a Halifax Chamber of Commerce luncheon on Tuesday the Crown corporation and municipality have been working on the plan, which he called “a conversation,” for more than a year.
He told reporters Via and the municipality need to finalize an operating plan that looks at capacity, traffic schedules and pricing, then bring it to CN, the railway owner, for approval. Desjardins-Siciliano said the work is headed in the right direction and he expected the owner would be open to the idea as long as there are no conflicts.
“The freight industry is important in Canada — it’s $400 billion of goods that move by train in Canada, so we can’t do anything that will impede that competitiveness.”
Reporting for Local Xpress, Francis Campbell has an interesting discussion of how the decision to build P3 schools in the 1990s is playing out now in terms of school reviews. I don’t have anything to say about that, but down in the article comes this:
A long-talked-about Highway 102 interchange for the Lantz area, between the Elmsdale and Milford exits, is set to become a reality, with local MLA Margaret Miller ready to make the announcement in the next couple of weeks.
Stephen King, an East Hants municipal councillor, said the interchange will bring a deluge of residential and commercial development and that it would be ill-advised to close any area schools.
Every time I see a new highway interchange built in a rural area, I think there are some behind-the-scenes real estate dealings in the works, and a developer must have special access to the political decision-makers. I mean, that’s how it’s worked for the last 60 years, right?
I wonder who’s profiting on this.
I was trying to find a film clip to illustrate this section — surely, there must be a movie about a smarmy real estate developer who murders and bribes his way through the statehouse to get a highway interchange built by his vast holdings, a sort of interstate version of Chinatown — but either my knowledge of pop culture is waning or there is no such film. I can’t believe it’s the latter…. readers?
Justice Patrick Murray has found Codey Hennigar not criminally responsibly for the deaths of three of his family members, reports the CBC:
The bodies of Clifford William “Bill” Ward, his wife Ida and their daughter Ann were found on Jan. 7, 2015, in the burned-out remains of the elder Wards’ home on the Old Guysborough Road in Wyses Corner, N.S.
Hennigar was subsequently charged with three counts of second-degree murder. But the prosecution and defence argued he was not criminally responsible due to his schizophrenia, and called expert evidence in December to try and convince Justice Patrick Murray.
On Tuesday, Murray agreed.
1. Low income transit passes
Examiner transportation columnist Erica Butler reviews the proposal to make the low income transit pass pilot program permanent, discusses its strengths and weakness, and suggests how it can be improved.
This article is behind the Examiner’s paywall and so available only to paid subscribers. Click here to purchase a subscription.
2. Six steps for making the Birch Cove Lakes Wilderness Park a reality
Chris Miller gives advice to City Hall.
3. Heart of stone
Stephen Archibald runs with a metaphor, connecting his backyard septic field to US presidential advisor Steve Bannon.
4. Two Countries
Starr and Saillant address the demographic and economic challenges of Atlantic Canada, without what Starr labels the “magical thinking” of the Ivany Report. I disagree with most of Saillant’s prescriptions, and some of Starr’s, but at least they are in the realm of the rational. In comparison, “clap louder” — the prevailing economic theory of Nova Scotia — is utter nonsense.
Still, stepping back, I have two thoughts. First, are the forecasted demographic and economic trends inevitable? I mean, anything at all could happen to upend history, economic trends, and actuarial tables: there could be an American civil war, wide epidemics, robots displacing all work, or more positively, a massive change in immigration patterns or the invention of affordable nuclear fusion. Nothing is set in stone.
Second, even if the demographic trends continue, are they really that bad? Sooner or later — very soon, by my reckoning — we’re going to have to build an economy that doesn’t rely on perpetual population growth, and probably not even on GDP growth. Moreover, let’s be honest: the reason the business class doesn’t like the demographic changes is they don’t want to pay higher wages. There’s an equilibrium about these things: if there aren’t enough young people to clean the bedpans in the nursing homes, either nursing homes will move elsewhere or nursing home owners will have to pay decent wages to bedpan cleaners. As we’ve seen for some time, labour is mobile — our young people are already leaving for Toronto for jobs. If we want to reverse that trend, maybe we should pay them more to work here in Nova Scotia.
City council (9:30am, City Hall) — budget deliberations continue, today with the Office of the Auditor General, the Library, Parks and Recreation, the CAO’s office, the lawyers, HR, and Finance and geeks.
North West Planning Advisory Committee (7pm, the four-pad arena named for a fucking bank, Bedford) — not much on the agenda.
Public Accounts (9am, Province House) — Deputy Minister Kelliann Dean will be asked about sustainable transportation programs. Everyone who attends will drive a car to the meeting.
Viral Control (4pm, Theatre A, Sir Charles Tupper Medical Building) — Jennifer Corcoran will speak on“Viral Control of Autophagy Reprograms Processing Body Dynamics.”
Fear and Desire (8pm, Dalhousie Art Gallery) — a screening of Stanley Kubrick’s 1953 film.
A ficticious war in an unidentified country provides the setting for this drama. Four soldiers survive the crash-landing of their plane to find themselves in a forest six miles behind enemy lines. The group, led by Lt. Corby, has a plan: They’ll make their way to a nearby river, build a raft, and then, under cover of night, float back to friendly territory. Their plans for getting back safely are sidetracked by a young woman who stumbles across them as they hide in the woods, and by the nearby presence of an enemy general who one member of the group is determined to kill.
Gender and Intersectionality (1pm, Library LI135) Albert Mills will talk about his latest book, Insights and Research on the Study of Gender and Intersectionality in International Airline Cultures.
In the Harbour
3:30am: CMA CGM Melisande, container ship, sails from Pier 41 for sea
5am: Dalian Express, container ship, sails from Fairview Cove for New York
6:30am: Itea, container ship, sails from Fairview Cove for Liverpool, England
5pm: Clipper Marlene, cargo ship, arrives at Pier 27 from Baie Comeau, Quebec
I’ll be on The Sheldon MacLeod Show, News 95.7, at 2pm.