1. Chronicle Herald
“Unionized Chronicle Herald employees — who’ve been on strike for more than four months — announced Sunday eight reporters and columnists are being laid off by the company,” reports David Irish for the CBC:
Ingrid Bulmer, president of the Halifax Typographical Union, said those members were notified this weekend after the union received a list from the company on Friday.
“When we were talking to them [Herald management], they mentioned they had found new efficiencies and when we asked what those were and what that meant, they said there will be an additional eight layoffs to the 18,” Bulmer told CBC on Sunday.
A man was shot yesterday morning in North Preston. A RCMP release from yesterday:
Police are investigating a shooting in North Preston.
At 4 a.m. this morning, police were called to a shooting on Johnson Rd. in North Preston. A 20-year-old North Preston man had been shot and was transported to hospital by EHS with serious injuries.
The investigation is in its early stages and is being led by members of the General Investigation Section of the Integrated Criminal Investigation Division. Members from Halifax District RCMP, RCMP Police Dog Service and RCMP Forensic Identification Services are assisting with the investigation.
Haley Ryan, reporting for Metro, adds:
It’s still “too early to tell” what the shooting was related to, [RCMP Staff Sergeant Dave] Thibeau said, when asked about possible connections to Toronto raids that reportedly “eradicated” the street gang Heart of a King with 53 arrests in what police called Project Sizzle.
Heart of a King has been involved in murder, weapons and gun trafficking and prostitution, Toronto police said, and evolved out of North Preston’s Finest gang.
3. The DNR company men
In March, the Halifax Examiner published Linda Pannozzo’s investigation into biomass harvesting, “Feeding the Fire.” Pannozzo followed that up in April with “Biomass, Freedom of Information, and the Silence of the DNR Company Men,” which looked at how information is controlled and managed in the Department of Natural Resources, and how her investigation was purposefully frustrated by public officials. On Friday, Panozzo followed up those articles with an open letter to Catherine Tully, the province’s Freedom of Information officer.
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4. Examineradio, episode 64
This week, in our ongoing series profiling the ever-more-crowded slate of candidates for the municipal election, we speak with District 8 contender Brenden Sommerhalder.
We also chat with Halifax Typographical Union veep Frank Campbell about the breakdown in talks between the Chronicle Herald and the striking workers.
Plus, city council debates innovative disruptions to the transit system, a provincial election may be on the horizon, and Russell unveils plans to make Examineradio more listener-friendly.
5. The death of satire
Matt Brand, who I interviewed for Examineradio, has re-posted his satirical article “Steele Group launches Hondas not Homes campaign.” You’ll recall that on Steele’s behalf, lawyer Nancy Rubin sent Brand a cease and desist letter threatening legal action. Brand is now represented by David Fraser.
Brand points out the delicious irony that Rubin is “the president of the Canadian Media Lawyers Association, known as Ad Idem — Advocates In Defence of Expression in Media.”
Anyway, apparently on Fraser’s advice, Brand has a ridiculously long disclaimer on the piece, and has “added a gold stamp emblazoned with the word ‘satire,’ which is meant to indicate the article is indeed a satirical work.”
I’ll dig a grave today, and we can all unceremoniously dump the rotting corpse of satire in the hole.
Geoff D’eon recalls the night in 1987 when Muhammad Ali showed up at the Halifax Forum:
Then, the most extraordinary procession started. Hundred and hundreds of people lined up to pay their respects, to touch his hand.
Young, old, black, white. Mostly, they struggled to find words.
One after the other, slowly and deliberately, he cupped their wide-eyed faces in his hand. Some of them wept openly, overcome by the enormity of the moment.
“I love you, Muhammad,” one man said, tears streaming down his face. I can still see that face.
On and on it went. Everyone who wanted an autograph got one. The procession of devotees lined across the Forum floor, and up the bleacher aisles, filing around the mezzanine.
No pushing. Just awe and reverence. Muhammad Ali was here, in the house.
Incidentally, Evelyn White will be writing a tribute to Ali for the Examiner; we’ll publish it Friday, the day of his funeral.
1. Motherhouse Lands
Ron Foley Macdonald went to the public information meeting about the proposed development of the Motherhouse Lands above Mount St. Vincent:
The current development proposal, from Southwest Properties, promises all sunshine and lollipops. They would create a Spring Garden Road style commercial and office strip of eight and twelve-story buildings, surrounded by a ‘mixed’ range of residences crowned by a single twenty story ‘signature’ building, which was, interestingly enough, not there in the last public meeting. I guess that’s what Southwest considers progress.
The breathless exposition by the developers formed the first part of the meeting, as they described how great their plans were. Minutes from the City’s Core! Park and water features! Close to all the amenities! Stable and long-term residences all around! Wonderful neighbours! Dynamic retail opportunities! Etc Etc Etc!
What the concerned members of the public came to hear, of course, was something else altogether. Of the thirty or so speakers, only three had nice things to say about the project. The rest unloaded their concerns: traffic, schools, environment, over-development, the usual ground-level lamentations of those whose role in these meetings is ultimately to be ignored in the greater scheme of things.
I understand people in the area being opposed to any development of the Motherhouse Lands — it’s a gigantic stretch of forest basically in their backyards. There will be charges of NIMBYism and critics will be condemned for being against growth and progress and such, but all that aside, even if we concede that in theory the Motherhouse Lands are well situated for development, there are two gigantic issues that stand out in my mind.
The first is transportation. As MacDonald points out:
Traffic is perhaps the city’s Achilles Heel. The developer cited three major traffic studies stating that there would be no impact (remember what I said about these “studies”). This is clearly delusional. You might as well say the Moon is made of green cheese.
The Bedford Highway is already beyond capacity, and yet each new development along the road gets a pass in the traffic studies. Some of the developments — an eight-storey building here, a six-storey building there — are considered too small to significantly add to the traffic, but the cumulative affect isn’t considered. The Motherhouse Lands proposal, however, calls for 1,803 residential units. Without a new approach to transportation, traffic will only get worse. I’d be more open to this development if a commuter or light rail system were in place.
The second issue is the housing bubble. No one has adequately explained the construction boom in Halifax. The best argument I’ve heard is that the we’re still reeling from the recession and so people in their 20s and 30s aren’t moving up the economic ladder like they used to; instead of buying the house in the suburbs, they’re staying longer in apartments or buying low-end condos in the city. I’m told that the number of housing starts reflect this reality — single family detached homes are way down, apartments and condos are way up. But as plausible as that sounds, I haven’t seen concrete numbers to back it up. Instead, I attend government meetings where new single family housing developments are proposed and approved. Maybe someone can provide some better information.
Regardless, it certainly feels like a bubble. The population isn’t increasing at anywhere near the rate of new construction. I think sooner or later the bubble will pop and we’ll be left with a bunch of half-completed buildings and completed buildings won’t be maintained — much of the new construction is crap, and will deteriorate quickly.
So I don’t think it’s crazy to worry that the Motherhouse Lands proposal, no matter how good it might look on paper, will become a failed development.
2. Grand Desert
Liane Heller takes the 401 bus to Grand Desert, and along the way meets a lot of kind and interesting people.
3. Cranky letter of the day
Well, I wish I could take back my Liberal vote.
Why, you ask? As usual politicians come and knock on your door every election year with their smiley faces and handshakes, promising to do well by you.
The next time you see them is four years later with the same smiley face. This time, though, you’re fed up and you tell them to get to hell off your doorstep.
No matter the government’s stripe it’s always the same sell to us seniors. We’re going to look after you, increase your pension and the CCP and, yes, give you assistance with your home so you can stay in it longer and not be a burden to the government.
But when you apply the red tape it takes another four years and it’s time to vote again.
Still, when the candidate leaves you believe them. In the meantime I’m 72 I’m still working. Why? Because I have no company pension and cannot live on $975 a month – my combined Old Age Pension plus CCP.
Like many thousands of seniors over the years I poured thousands of tax dollars into the government coffers employment insurance and thousands into Canada Pension. Think about having worked for 55 years and still at 72 paying income tax.
One would think that our government would look after the people that built this country with sweat and hard work? Let’s give millions to a war that will never be won and we’ll do the old mushroom trick with the seniors by keeping them in the dark and feeding them horse manure.
The government is even ignoring our own First Nations residents, many of whom are living at poverty level and in squalor. When there a crisis the government will fly up, pat them on the back and, like the seniors, return at election time. Until then hold on.
I’ve been around a long time and we have to find a government that thinks of Canadians for more reasons than simply soliciting your vote.
Don M. Dickson, Sydney
Please help me find my pants
So as the title states, I lost my pants Friday night. They’re charcoal Calvin Klein chinos. Inside my pants are my wallet and cell phone. I was staying at the Marriott harbour front, I blacked out and don’t know where I would have taken my pants off. Had security check the tapes at the hotel and I indeed was pants less when I arrived back. Any guidance would be greatly appreciated.
Public information meeting (7pm, Maritime Hall, Halifax Forum) — Because there aren’t enough crappy apartment buildings in the neighbourhood, WSP Canada wants to build a seven-storey building at 2710 Agricola Street, at the corner of May Street.
No public meetings.
“Mitochondria and the Origin of Eukaryotes” (4pm, Theatre A, Tupper Building Link) — Toni Gabaldon, from the Centre for Genomic Regulation in Barcelona, will speak. I might actually go to this.
In the harbour
5am: Atlantic Sail, ro-ro container, arrives at Fairview Cove from Norfolk
7am: UASC UMM Qasr, container ship, arrives at Pier 41 from Port Klang, Malaysia
7am: Algoma Dartmouth, oil tanker, moves from Pier 34 to Fairview Cove to fuel Atlantic Sail
7:30am: Aniara, car carrier, arrives at Autoport from Southhampton, England
8am: Keoyang Majesty, wood chips carrier, arrives at Sheet Harbour from Tuzla, Turkey (pilot will board the ship off Halifax Harbour)
11am: Eagle Madrid, oil tanker, arrives at Imperial Oil from Providence, Rhode Island; there’s a hazard warning on the ship as it’s carrying Hydrogen Sulfide
11am: New Breeze, oil tanker, sails from Imperial Oil to sea
3pm: Atlantic Sail, ro-ro container, sails from Fairview Cove to sea
4pm: Aniara, car carrier, sails from Autoport to sea
4pm: Asian Moon, container ship, sails from Pier 31 to sea
4pm: UASC UMM Qasr, container ship, sails from Pier 41 to sea
3pm: OOCL Washington, arrives at Fairview Cove from Cagliari, Italy
I ran into Stephen Maher last night and we drank 14,321 beers, more or less. Hilarity ensued, but it’s all off the record.
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