1. Syria and Halifax
“As evacuation efforts stalled in Aleppo, nearly 200 people gathered in a Halifax park on Sunday to raise awareness of the plight of people caught in the middle of the deadly civil war in Syria,” reports Zane Woodford for Metro:
Men, women and children, many of them new Canadians, gathered in Victoria Park holding Syrian flags with the word ‘Freedom’ printed on them. Young children held signs reading, “STOP THE KILLING IN SYRIA,” HELP MY FRIENDS,” and “SAVE PEOPLE IN ALEPPO” written in Arabic and English.
In 2013, soon after the Syrian civil war started, many in Halifax’s Syrian-Canadian community demonstrated against Syrian president Bashar al-Assad. At the time, Mohamed Masalmeh, co-founder of a group called Justice and Freedom for Syria, estimated that three-quarters of the local Syrian-Canadian community were opposed to Assad. A notable exception was Roy Khoury, then the owner of the two Mary’s Place Cafés (he sold the Spring Garden Mary’s Place to non-Syrian owners a couple of years ago; I can’t determine who now owns the Robie Street café). In 2013, Khoury told reporter Mackenzie Scrimshaw that the anti-Assad demonstrators were just a few malcontents and that the majority of the local Syrian-Canadian community supported Assad.
Clearly, Syrian refugees who have come to Halifax are solidly in the anti-Assad camp. The number of people at Halifax protests against Assad has grown from a few dozen in 2013 to around 200 yesterday. Obviously, the pain of the war weighs heavily, especially on refugees who have experienced it firsthand.
The refugees will change this town for the better, I think. It’ll be interesting watching the social dynamic in coming years.
2. Examineradio, episode #92
This week with speak with Ryan Delehanty, the Atlantic Assignment Editor for Accessible Media Inc., about the province’s — and the city’s — slow march toward genuine accessibility for all its citizens.
Also, the McNeil government and the Nova Scotia Teachers Union agree to head back to the bargaining table just as the public sector union roundly rejects the latest offer from the province. Plus, Viola Desmond to be honoured on the $10 bill and Peter Kelly’s probation continues.
I’ve had a request to have the podcast transcribed for people who are Deaf or hard of hearing. I’ll look into it, but I’m concerned about the expense. Do readers have suggestions?
3. Animals stranded at Stanfield
“A manager from a pet store in Gander is calling on Air Canada to deliver animals to her that have been left idle at an airport on the mainland for days,” reports radio station VOCM in St. John’s:
It’s been four days since a number of small animals arrived in Halifax en route to a local Gander pet store. Terri-Ann Crisby is the Manager of Pet Central Pet Store in Gander.
She says the animals were supposed to arrive days ago.
She says they ordered a number of live animals from Montreal that were supposed to be sent out on Wednesday but bad weather forced a delay. When Air Canada was contacted Crisby says they told her the animals would be put on the next flight but they only made it to Halifax where they have remained since.
Crisby was worried for the animals so she contacted Petsmart in Halifax which sent a representative to give the animals food and water.
Air Canada says that extreme weather and a high number of passengers during the holidays delayed the animals’ departure but Crisby says she called Air Canada and they told her the animals are less of a priority than people’s luggage.
She says the man told her baggage needs to go first, and if there’s room the animals can go, but Crisby argues the animals are not the same as normal baggage and should be sent off before they die.
4. Tim Woods
Lean Six Sigma is a methodology that relies on a collaborative team effort to improve performance by systematically removing waste, combining lean manufacturing/lean enterprise and Six Sigma to eliminate the eight kinds of waste (muda): Transportation, Inventory, Motion, Waiting, Over production, Over processing, Defects, and Skills (abbreviated as ‘TIMWOODS’).
The Lean Six Sigma concepts were first published in a book titled Leaning into Six Sigma: The path to integration of Lean Enterprise and Six Sigma by Barbara Wheat, Chuck Mills, and Mike Carnell in 2001. Lean Six Sigma utilizes the DMAIC phases similar to that of Six Sigma. Lean Six Sigma projects comprise aspects of Lean’s waste elimination and the Six Sigma focus on reducing defects, based on critical to quality (CTQ) characteristics. The DMAIC toolkit of Lean Six Sigma comprises all the Lean and Six Sigma tools. The training for Lean Six Sigma is provided through the belt based training system similar to that of Six Sigma. The belt personnel are designated as white belts, yellow belts, green belts, black belts and master black belts, similar to judo.
For each of these belt levels skill sets are available that describe which of the overall Lean Six Sigma tools are expected to be part at a certain Belt level. These skill sets provide a detailed description of the learning elements that a participant will have acquired after completing a training program. The level upon which these learning elements may be applied is also described. The skill sets reflects elements from Six Sigma, Lean and other process improvement methods like the theory of constraints (TOC) total productive maintenance (TPM).
Such bureau-babble always fascinates me. For a variety of unknowable sociological reasons, this particular brand of babble was taken up by the gestalt of the bullshit industry just as it was most receptive to… a judo analogy? Which is weird, because 2001 was almost the precise moment when the western world’s love affair with Japanese business models soured as that country’s “lost decade” faded into a seemingly permanent status of stagnation and anemic economic growth. The judo master can’t even tie his own shoes.
Seems to me, if we’re looking to peddle some bullshit to corporate honchos, we should build a lexicon of buzzwords and useless analogies that promise to emulate the world’s fastest growing economy in 2016, which is India’s. The advantage here is that there are a bunch of Hindi terms that no one in North America has ever heard of before, so we can make up all sorts of crazy shit about them and the gullible honchos will fork over serious cash for training courses. Judo, schmudo. Break out some yuddhakalā, and teach the mid-level managers the importance of viravidyā; hell, you could probably build a six-week lesson plan around svarakshākalā alone, and sell some derivatives besides. Imagine the fun you could have explaining the meaning of Durga to the procurement department.
Anyway, it’s neither here nor there, but I’ve lazily tried to understand the etymological origins of my family name. Best I can figure, it’s probably a derivative of an Old French term that meant something like “small group of trees,” so roughly equivalent to the English family name Woods or Groves. So, I’ve thought that if I ever ditch this job and take up my fantasy career as a barbiturate-addicted science fiction writer, I would use the pen name “Tim Woods.” I’ll be the most efficient, waste-free, barbiturate-addicted science fiction writer ever.
1. Stephen McNeil: are Nova Scotians just parking their votes and keeping score?
My own unscientific, un-poll-tested view is that McNeil’s broad support in the polls during his years in office was always more shallow than deep, more reluctant than heartfelt, more apparent than real… And now?
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2. Cranky letter of the day
The new program to replace the AEP will soon start — a two-hour session per week for 14 weeks and open to the public in general.
How in God’s name can two hours per week replace a program that took five eight-hour days to do in detox?
Alcoholics and addicts have deep, dark issues to deal with and will certainly not open up in such a public forum, they have to be in a safe environment and feel comfortable to open up to anyone.
I have talked to people who worked in this field for many years and they all state these changes just don’t make any sense. At no time were they involved with any discussions on the changes. Front line workers have a wealth of knowledge but are left out in the cold regarding important decisions.
The term “evidence base” is mentioned often. I have one question: where is this evidence coming from? For instance in British Columbia when a person leaves detox there are dozens of safe places to go. They can stay, take programs, in some cases for months on end. The Nova Scotia government has no safe places but will send people home stating this is the best treatment for addiction. When evidence base is mentioned, please include all the facts.
It is obvious people making these changes know little about addiction and the changes could be dangerous to people fighting this disease. Treatment for addiction has never been broken in this province — why recreate the wheel? I ask, anyone who’s had a problem or knows someone else who has, stand up against these changes and be heard. Like any chronic disease, addiction should be treated with care and compassion, not with the flippant manner shown in these changes.
This is just another way to cut costs. The health minister should take a close look at what is going on and the advice he is provided with. The process of addiction has never changed and the process of recovery has not changed. I suggest that those giving this advice get their nose out of a book and get out in the field, see what really goes on in detox. I’m sure you will not be in a hurry to change a thing.
I believe everyone is affected when it comes to addiction. Please call your MLA, let government know you won’t stand for these cuts. God forbid you or a family member may need what was offered in a detox unit.
Grant Polley, Abercrombie
This 1988 exchange between the cigarette-smoking, booze-swilling broadcasters Peter Gzowski and Jack Webster is great fun. I was especially taken by Webster’s answer to the question, “What will it be said of you after you’re gone?”:
When the next generation of reporters are gathered around, they might say of Webster, “well, he was a bit of an old twit. But he tried to be a reporter, he tried to be fair, and he certainly was a very useful irritant on the body politic. And he set a good example to those with critical capacity, and that it is to be agin the government, regardless of who the government is.”
h/t Ellen O’Neill
Police Commission (12:30pm, City Hall) — a few items of note:
— former commissioners Fred Honsberger and Mike Morash are bringing their proposal to jump start the commission to the meeting. The short of it is they want to commission to actually do stuff besides congratulating cops for doing a good job and rubber-stamping budgets. I’m reading their proposal now, and will report back in the new year.
— the establishment of a Halifax Regional Police Foundation (HRPF). Back in 2013, it was discovered that Mary Louise MacDonald, then the Benefits Administrator for the Halifax Regional Police Association (the police officers’ union), had stolen about $623,000 from the association, “employing various techniques, including using a chequing account that was intended for HRP’s Annual Employee Gala.” This was money that a trusting public donated to the cops, evidently unaware that most “give to the policeman’s ball!” solicitations are outright fraud.
MacDonald attempted suicide after the bank alerted the cops to the fraud. She subsequently claimed she stole the money to feed a gambling addiction. Last year, MacDonald was convicted on two counts of fraud and sentenced to two years in prison; additionally, the union has a civil judgment against her for $620,830. “It is embarrassing for a member of the police family to have committed the crime,” union president Mark Hartlan told judge Flora Buchan. “We’re supposed to be protectors, yet we can’t protect ourselves.”
[Insert here a snide remark about how the cops are more than capable of levelling charges when someone defrauds the Policeman’s Ball but are incapable of levelling charges when someone defrauds a dead woman and a bunch of charities…]
In any event, in the wake of that disaster, former commissioner Philip Reid said that maybe some tighter financial controls should be put on donations intended to benefit the cops, and so he suggested the formation of the HRPF, which would be either a registered charity of its own or a newly created division under the umbrella of the existing Community Foundation of Nova Scotia. Either way, says the staff report, “This Foundation would be used to fund ancillary community-based programs and projects. Examples of such specific support would be the purchasing of electronic equipment for after-school community programming, sports equipment and other supplies to enhance existing or nascent programs. Support would not be provided for sponsorships of community groups and entities, but for specific initiatives and purchases.” Apparently the cops will have to pay for their own Ball. The foundation would be funded through the sale of Halifax Regional Police swag, McGruff the Crime Dog T-shirts and the like.
Today, the commission will get the ball rolling on the proposal, agreeing to start studying it.
— Ted Upshaw, the Public Safety Officer, will give an update on the recent spate of shootings, presumably meaning how the community has responded to the shootings.
No events on our radar.
In the harbour
5:45am: Maule, container ship, moves from Anchorage to Fairview Cove
6:30am: CSL Tacoma, bulker, arrives at National Gypsum from Savannah, Georgia
11am: Baltimore Highway, car carrier, arrives at Autoport from Bremerhaven, Germany
Noon: Silia T, oil tanker, sails from Bedford Basin Anchorage for sea
10pm: Baltimore Highway, car carrier, sails from Autoport for sea
Cal at Strange Adventures (Prince & Water Streets, across from the Maritime Museum) tweets:
— Strange Adventures (@strangeadventrz) December 15, 2016