1. Andrew Younger
“Independent candidate Andrew Younger has withdrawn from the provincial election race in Dartmouth East,” reports Michael Gorman for the CBC:
In an interview with CBC News, Younger — a former Liberal cabinet minister — cited health and privacy reasons for the decision.
He said he made the choice in consultation with his wife after the news website AllNovaScotia.com posted a story Tuesday night that released “private family information and health information.”
“While the story isn’t exactly accurate in how it reflects the situation, my family and I have decided that we just don’t want to be the targets of smear campaigns over the next 30 days.”
Younger posted a statement on Facebook, here.
Everything about this story is odd. I’ve heard so many conflicting accounts about “what really happened” that I’ve taken them all with a grain of salt. But certainly Younger was the author of his own problems.
Still, it was interesting watching Younger skillfully attempt to rehabilitate his political career. I was impressed at how he played the long game, patiently waiting out public memories of his personal scandals with a series of policy statements and by positioning himself against his former Liberal party as an independent. He came into the election season as a strong candidate.
Somebody else must have thought so, too.
A peace bond was the basis for the AllNovaScotia.com story. I’ve worked extensively with court documents, and I suppose if I were determined I could figure out how to find filings for peace bonds, but this isn’t something that reporters do on a regular basis. I’ve never seen a local reporter do it before.
Update 9:50am: the CBC has corrected its story, and now says the document was a emergency protection order, not a peace bond, but the point remains the same.
My guess is that a party worker, maybe someone with some personal experience with peace bonds, tipped off reporter Brian Flinn. I wonder who that could be.
Update, 3pm: AllNovaScotia.com contacted me to say that they found they came across the emergency protection order through their normal daily perusal of filings at the Supreme Court. This is a case of cascading errors — the CBC’s mis-reporting of the document as a peace bond, which I repeated, and then my own mistake that emergency protection orders are difficult to find — I have checked Supreme Court filings hundreds of times, but I’ve never seen such a filing. Mea culpa.
2. Kyley Harris
Kyley Harris is back working for the Liberals, reports Jacob Boon for The Coast:
Lying about an assault cost Kyley Harris his job. Three years later, he appears to have climbed back up the career ladder and is once again director of communications for the Liberals.
Harris was working as communications director for the Premier’s Office in 2014 when he was charged with assault after striking a woman in the face during a domestic argument.
Boon goes on to interview sociology prof Ardath Whynacht:
Whynacht says Harris is entitled to live his life. He’s made amends in the eyes of the law and apologized for his actions. He’s not entitled, however, to a very public PR job with a political party hoping to form Nova Scotia’s next government.
“Yes, we should hire folks with a criminal record when they leave prison,” says Whynacht. “But no, we should not give high-profile appointments to privileged and wealthy white men who abuse their partners and lie about it.”
Here’s what I wrote back in 2015, when Harris was hired back as a party researcher:
I’m all for people, even people convicted of assault, getting on with their lives and becoming productive citizens. But gee golly, there are a gazillion communications jobs out there — in advertising, PR, media, whatever — so I’m not sure why it necessary for the Liberals, the governing party, to hire Harris back. The optics are all wrong.
3. Sydney port payments
“Information is a valuable commodity in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality (CBRM) — so valuable it’s kept under lock and key and even our elected representatives have trouble accessing it,” reports Mary Campbell for the Cape Breton Spectator:
Take the way the Port of Sydney Development Corporation (PSDC) has been paying its “partners” in a hoped-for container terminal development, as revealed by a recent freedom of information/protection of privacy (FOIPOP) request by the Spectator.
District 8 Councilor Amanda McDougall says payments like $120,000 to rail operator Genesee & Wyoming and $75,000 to a firm owned by port “developer” Albert Barbusci, which she learned of through the Spectator‘s coverage, seem to contradict assurances council has received that “the CBRM is not footing the bill for the marketing and promotion of the port.”
Such assurances, she told the Spectator by phone on Monday, ring hollow when “you see close to $900,000 being spent specifically for marketing the port.”
Campbell goes on to discuss a trust fund left over from the Sydney Harbour dredging project. The trust fund held about $2.5 million in November 2014, but no one is saying how much is in it today.
Like the Examiner, the Spectator is reader-supported and so this article is behind the Spectator’s paywall. You can subscribe to the Spectator here.
4. Duelling airports
The Port Hawkesbury Municipal Airport is being expanded, reports Adam Cooke for the Port Hawkesbury Reporter:
Celtic Air Services Limited (CASL), operated by Margaree Forks native David Morgan, has signed a letter of intent with the Town of Port Hawkesbury to lease airport property for a new jet reception centre, including a new office and reception area along with 150,000 extra feet of additional hangar space. In doing so, Morgan and his CASL colleagues are hoping to launch what the company president describes as a “white-glove, concierge-style experience” for customers landing at the airport, beginning this summer.
“When they come in, we’re literally going to roll out the red carpet — although I’m not sure if we’re going to have a red carpet or if there’s a Cape Breton tartan on it,” Morgan remarked.
The Port Hawkesbury announcement has folks up in Inverness worked up. They’ve been pining for the expansion of the Margaree Airport.
“I see no problem with the Port Hawkesbury Airport,” Margaree District 2 Councillor Laurie Cranton tells John Gillis of the Inverness Oran:
I see it as an industrial base as compared to what we are looking at in Margaree which would be tourism/resource. I think there’s a big difference there, to bring planes tourism wise, into the Margaree Valley and have them land right next to the Cabot Trail and the Margaree River.
Wait a minute… what about all that white glove, red carpet stuff in Port Hawkesbury?
Gillis goes on to report that Cranton’s assertion of non-concern aside, “the Municipality of Inverness did however withdraw its support for the first time for its annual funding for the Port Hawkesbury Airport, which is actually located in Port Hastings.”
Those hayseed Port Hawkesburians don’t even know where their own airport is.
I don’t know if this is snark or what, but Gillis relates the credentials of the Celtic Air president:
Cape Breton native and President of Celtic Air Services Limited, David Morgan… studied Commercial Aviation at Nova Scotia Community College and he has worked in the aviation industry ever since. He began his career with Can Jet Airlines in customer service and spent time working with First Air both in Ottawa and north in Yellowknife as well as with a family owned airline.
Speaking of airports, how do you get from Halifax to Portland, Maine? A party of two with a car can take the Yarmouth ferry for US$413, or they could leave the car at home and take the new Elite Airways Halifax-Portland flight for US$338.
6. Eight months
The Nova Centre is supposed to be open by January 1, less than eight months from now, and still no hotel operator has been named.
“The story so far in the run up to the May 30 election is that after three-plus years of telling everyone there is no money the Liberals have suddenly found enough cash to make millions worth of election promises, with more to come,” writes Richard Starr:
The media have rightly pointed out that those promises are being paid for through public sector wage restraint. However, all of the attention given to the never-ending list of Liberal promises obscures the fact that election spending notwithstanding, this Liberal budget/platform is a continuation of the past three-plus years of austerity — at least for most of us.
With considerable help from the first phase of the federal infrastructure program, the Liberal budget/platform proposes an overall increase of 3.7%. But some vital areas are not even going to get enough to keep up with inflation — expected to be 2 per cent this year and next. In effect, any area not getting an increase of 2% or more is being cut.
- Department of Health and Wellness gets a 1.8% increase, a small cut in real terms; but
- The Health Authority, which funds hospitals gets only 1.1%, a larger cut;
- Ditto nursing homes;
- Archives, Museums and Libraries get a microscopic increase of 0.3%.
The unkindest cut of all would be to income assistance, down $471,000 from last year’s estimate — or 2.2% when cost of living is taken into account.
Appeals Committee (Thursday, 10:30am, City Hall) — there are two taxi drivers appealing denials of their taxi driver’s licences. I gave the details yesterday.
The legislature and its committees won’t meet until after the election.
Biomedical Engineering Research Day (Thursday, 8:30am, Room 1020, Kenneth C. Rowe Management Building) — presentations by Masters and PhD students, as well as the following talks:
11am: Andrew Pelling will talk about “Disruptive Biomaterials Found in the Grocery Store.”
1pm: Cameron Piron will speak on “Opportunities for the Fusion of Medicine, Engineering and Business.”
Safe and Secure (Thursday, 11:30am, Room 430, Goldberg Computer Science Building) — Mike Chantler, from Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, England, will speak on “My Research Contributions and Plans: Better Understanding People and Data to Make Us More Secure.”
The Long Time: 21st Century Art of Steel + Tomczak (Thursday, 7pm, Dalhousie Art Gallery) — artists Bruce Barber and Paul Wong present; exhibition continues to July 16.
Improving Patient Outcomes (Thursday, 7:45pm, IWK Auditorium) — Erna Snelgrove-Clarke will speak on “Working Together to Improve Patient Outcomes: Using Best Evidence in Practice.”
Thesis Defence, Interdisciplinary Studies (Friday, 10am, Room 3107, Mona Campbell Building) — PhD candidate Olof Kristjansdottir will defend her thesis, “The Role of Culture in Pain-Related Caregiver Behavior: Comparing Canadian, Icelandic, and Thai Caregivers of 6-12-Year-Old Children.”
Fred Fountain is doing something rich people do (Friday, 1pm, Sculpture Court, Dalhousie Arts Centre) — something to do with big money. Couldn’t we just have a wealth tax and democratically decide what to do with the dough instead of celebrating “philanthropists” for kicking down money for we little people?
Pharmacy Thought Leadership Summit Findings (Friday, 2pm, Room 109, College of Pharmacy) — Neil J. MacKinnon will discuss the main findings of the research report for the national Pharmacy Thought Leadership Summit, held in Calgary in 2016.
MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple (Friday, 7pm, Halifax Central Library) — Brian MacKay-Lyons and Talbot Sweetapple will launch the monograph The Work of MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple – Economy as Ethic, by Robert McCarter.
In the harbour
We’ve got two important articles in the works, one from Jennifer Henderson and another from Linda Pannozzo. I was hoping to get at least one of them out before publishing today’s Morning File, but they’re too large to rush. I’ll continue working on edits, and hopefully one or both will run later today.
We’re also recording Examineradio today.