“The city has dropped its Integrated Mobility Plan (IMP), a hefty 193-page document designed to help Halifax achieve its Regional Plan target of reducing the share of trips we all make in private vehicles,” reports Erica Butler:
In 2006, council set a goal to reduce vehicle trips down to 70 per cent of trips by 2031, but in the past decade, we have been headed in the opposite direction.
Council will discuss the plan at Tuesday’s Committee of the Whole section of the meeting, which means all councillors will get to weigh in on the plan with looser limits on speaking time than at the standard part of the council meeting.
First things first: this is a priorities plan, not a legal municipal bylaw. Even if council endorses it whole hog with no changes on Tuesday, its chances of actually being implemented will come from later decisions, mostly having to do with what we pay for, and how and when we pay for it.
That doesn’t mean there won’t be a lot to discuss Tuesday. Right in the plan’s basic principles, there are some ideas that will be hard for some Halifax residents, and possibly councillors, to swallow.
Under this plan, congestion, traditionally considered the enemy of city planning, is actually a tool we can use to help power the shift toward transit and active transportation. The IMP may be the first official document in Nova Scotia that acknowledges the well-accepted phenomenon of increased road capacity leading to increased demand for and use of said road, in the medium to long term. In short, this principle should mean no more road widening to accommodate private vehicle lanes in Halifax. (Roads might get widened, but for bus lanes, not car lanes.)
Under the IMP, traffic is no longer anathema. It’s just a natural part of the transportation ecosystem.
Butler goes on to provide a deep analysis of the plan, its strengths and weaknesses.
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The Committee of the Whole meeting starts at 9:30am. It’s impossible for me to get Morning File published and to arrive at a 9:30 meeting on time, but I’ll get there as soon as I can and live-blog the proceedings via the Examiner’s Twitter account, @hfxExaminer.
2. The Mill
“Northern Pulp wants author Joan Baxter and her latest book placed squarely on the Christmas naughty list,” reports Francis Campbell for the Chronicle Herald:
Baxter was looking forward to signing copies of The Mill: Fifty Years of Pulp and Protest at Coles in New Glasgow on Saturday afternoon.
But the event was cancelled after an apparent attempt by the company that runs the Abercrombie Point Mill in Pictou County to scuttle the book-signing.
“In my opinion, this book is a non-factual rhetoric-filled account of the mill and its history and, quite frankly, something that is offensive to anyone who has an association to the mill,” company communications director Kathy Cloutier wrote in an email that was dispersed to Northern Pulp employees and forwarded to retired mill workers.
Remarkably, Coles cancelled a scheduled signing for The Mill.
You can purchase Baxter’s book online here. I believe — I’m not certain — that it’s also at Bookmark on Spring Garden Road. I’ll swing by and buy it on my lunch break.
3. Black in Halifax
Metro Halifax continues its weeklong Black in Halifax series. Today, Jayde Tynes interviews black designer Duane Jones, a NASCAD grad who started the Art Pays Me brand; Yvette d’Entremont interviews Senator Wanda Thomas Bernard; Zane Woodford interviews councillor Lindell Smith; and mayor Mike Savage plays Mayor Mike Savage.
In another Black in Halifax article, d’Entremont interviews former council candidate Carlos Beals, who says that changes in the electoral districts have made it more difficult for black candidates to win in North End Dartmouth:
He said in his view, Dartmouth North was split in a way that weakened his community’s already marginalized voices.
“They separated and cut communities in half, and oftentimes our most vulnerable communities have been cut in half,” Beals said.
In 2012, Halifax went from 23 districts to 16 in a boundary review. The district that includes Dartmouth North used to stretch south to the Macdonald Bridge. The new district stops just before Albro Lake Road, and the area past that is all part of the Dartmouth Centre district, which includes the downtown.
“Now you have the Lahey area and Highfield Park in one district and Demetreous Lane and surrounding areas a different district,” he said.
I don’t know if Beals could have won in the old Dartmouth North district, but he’s absolutely right about this: the effect of reducing council sizes was to further marginalize marginalized communities, and — importantly — this was done on purpose. I wrote about this at the time; in one article, I reviewed the history of the large vs. small council size debate and concluded that “In the 18th and 19th centuries, it was plainly stated that district size reflected a concern for protection of the rights and privileges of the propertied class; elites don’t much use such plain language nowadays, but I’d argue that just below the surface is a business class disdain for the rabble, much as it always was.”
Before the number of councillors was reduced, I warned:
Reducing the number of councillors necessarily means reducing the number of people whose concerns are heard at council. And who’s that going to be? You guessed it: poor and marginalized people. The best financed and most connected citizens already get heard before the rest of us, a trend that will only get amplified if each councillor represents a larger population.
Before the 2016 election, I reported that the change in council size had had its predicted effect, especially for women:
One issue is that smaller Black communities get lost in an overwhelmingly white district. But the bigger issue that in order to win in a large district, the successful candidate must have lots of time, money, and connections — and for the most part, the people who have lots of time, money, and connections are white men.
This was perfectly illustrated by the change in gender diversity on council after the number of councillors was reduced from 23 to 16 in 2012 (that change brought a corresponding increase in the size of each district). Before the districts were enlarged, nine of 23 councillors, or about 40 per cent, were women. After the districts were enlarged, just four of 16 councillors, or 25 per cent, are women.
Two of those four women elected in 2012 — Gloria McCluskey and Jennifer Watts — were incumbents. Both decided not to reoffer in 2016, and so now we have just two women councillors — 12.5 per cent.
It’s true that for the first time since amalgamation, HRM has a Black councillor, Lindell Smith. That speaks first of all to a very good candidate, but also to an incredible campaign organization, a district (even in its larger geography) that leans progressive, and, frankly, the weakness of the other candidates in the race. So it’s not impossible to elect a Black candidate, at least in the north end, but it’s very, very hard and requires a bit of luck. Like Beals, I doubt it’s possible anywhere else in HRM.
Again, this was by design. The entire purpose of making council smaller was to silence marginalized communities.
4. Garnier trial
The trial of Christopher Garnier for the murder of Catherine Campbell continues, and Canadian Press reporter Aly Thomson relates what was on a video shown to the jury, in which Garnier is questioned by RCMP Cpl. Jody Allison:
A sobbing Christopher Garnier insisted he “never wanted to hurt anybody” during a police interrogation hours after he was arrested in the killing of an off-duty police officer.
“I didn’t want to sleep with her. I love (my girlfriend) so much. Now she’s never going to want to see me again,” he said on the video…
At one point, Garnier said to Allison through tears: “I never wanted to hurt anybody.”
Garnier told Allison that he was a hard worker.
“I worked so hard to try and make my parents proud and to provide for (my girlfriend) so I can start a family,” said Garnier.
5. Daniel Perry Sampson
“The last man ever to be executed in Halifax will soon receive a headstone thanks to a national organization dedicated to making sure all Canadian war veterans receive a proper burial and final resting place,” reports CTV:
Two weeks ago CTV News brought you the story of Daniel Perry Sampson, an unemployed black labourer who was put to death after being found guilty of murdering two white boys in 1933. After two trials and appeals all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada, Sampson was hanged behind the courthouse in March of 1935.
An appeal for mercy from the father of the boys was ignored, as was Sampson’s military service in the First World War. The family has always said he returned far different than the man who enlisted.
Lawyer Barbara Darby provides further details:
In REX v. SAMPSON, Nova Scotia Supreme court, 1934, an African-Canadian man Daniel Sampson was charged with murder of Bramwell Heffernan, and was convicted to a death sentence. The court considers with the question of whether “mere words” were sufficient to find that man was provoked to act in a moment of “passion,” when there was no actual physical assault that provoked him. Kids threw stones at Mr. Sampson, but he was not hit by them. The court focuses on the trial judge’s instruction to the jury about the events. Here is Mr. Sampson’s statement:
“STATEMENT TAKEN FROM DANIEL F. P. SAMPSON AFTER BEING WARNED” 14-12-33
“DANIEL F. P. SAMPSON (coloured) age 49 yrs. states as follows. I live at 76 Market street, Halifax, N.S. On the morning of July 19th, 1933, I left my home for Flag Pole hill picking berries. I walked out the St. Margaret’s Bay road and crossed the upper dam at the head of Chain Lake opposite the Prospect road. I went up past Riley’s shack to Flag Pole hill. After passing this shack about a mile I started picking berries. I picked until I got about three quarts of blueberries. I then returned to the railway track and walked towards Halifax until I came to the road which I came in on which led to the main highway opposite the Prospect road. When I came to the highway I walked towards Halifax until I came to a path leading to the middle dam of Chain Lakes. (I could not tell what time this was as I had no watch). I went down this path and across the dam to the railway and went west on the railway to a stream. I saw a man and a woman at this stream. I do not know who they are. I got a drink of water and started up the track. When I got on to the track I saw two boys they were walking towards Halifax I did not know who they were.
I passed them on the track after I passed them they started to make fun of me and called me names and began firing rocks at me. I did not pay any attention to them. I just kept walking up the track a short way and picked some berries. I returned back down the track to the stream where I got another drink. The man and woman were not there when I went back the second time. About a month previous to July 19th, 1933, while going down the path between the highway and the middle dam on Chain Lakes I found a large knife by the side of this path. I hid it. When I went down this path on July 19th, 1933, I got this knife and put it in my pocket there was a sharp point on this knife and I wrapped paper around the point so that it would not cut me. After having my second drink I started down the track towards Halifax and saw these two boys they began calling me names; these boys were wearin blue overalls and white blouses and had berry tins. The first name they called me was coon, nigger and baboon face and kept firing stones at me. They kept moving all the time towards Halifax. I took my time and walked slowly down the track these two boys kept on calling me names and throwing stones. I let on that I was not noticing them. I got alongside of them they were on the right hand side of the track hunched down picking berries about eight feet from the track. I passed them and they started calling me names and throwing rocks. I lost my temper then and went back to the boys did not move, I went over to them took the knife out of my pocket and stabbed the biggest boy in the back. He ran down the track screaming. I then stabbed the other boy twice. I then threw the knife in the woods towards the lake. I then went back up the track to the path leading over the middle dam to the main highway and went to my home at 76 Market street Halifax. The knife just shown to me is the knife which I stabbed these two boys with
“This statement was given of my own free will and accord, and was read over to me before being signed by me.” (signed) Daniel P. P. Sampson X His mark
“Witnesses: W. M. Beazley, Thos. W. McKay.”
The court on appeal concerned itself with whether Mr. Sampson was provoked, so that the conviction could have been for a lesser charge, manslaughter and not murder. One appeal judge notes that Mr. Sampson’s conduct should be considered in the context of his “low mentality.” “He was thus particularly susceptible for this reason and by reason of his race to the insults offered to him and perhaps might not unreasonably be presumed to have lost control of himself so as to justify a finding of manslaughter.” This judge would order a new trial, with the jury being instructed to consider that Mr. Sampson was not an “ordinary man” because of this “low mentality.” His race is not further mentioned, but the judge states that “it must now as a matter of law be ungrudgingly conceded that mere words may constitute an effective provocation,” which seems at least to imply that the racist content of the words was relevant.
It’s clear that Sampson — a man of “low mentality” who signed his name with an X — didn’t write the confession he signed, and probably couldn’t even read it.
6. Residential construction
The amount of money invested into new residential construction continues to increase. Stats Canada figures released yesterday show that in the third quarter of 2017, $719.2 million was spent in Nova Scotia, an eight per cent increase over the same period in 2016.
Nationwide, the increase has been 9.1 per cent, driven mostly by booming residential construction markets in Alberta (12.2 per cent increase) and Ontario (8.8 per cent increase).
Special Audit & Finance Standing Committee (Tuesday, 9am, City Hall) — an allocation of $600,000 for snow removal for old people.
Halifax Regional Council (Tuesday, 9:30am, City Hall) — here’s the agenda.
North West Planning Advisory Committee (Wednesday, 7pm, Sackville Public Library) — mostly Bedford West zoning changes.
Community Services (Tuesday, 10am, One Government Place) — the committee will discuss the Nova Scotia Sexual Violence Strategy.
Public Accounts (Wednesday, 9am, Province House) — the committee will be questioning someone (who isn’t yet announced) from the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture about seafood exports.
Woodwinds Recital (Tuesday, 11:45am, Room 406, Dalhousie Arts Centre) — students of Patricia Creighton, Brian James, Suzanne Lemieux, and Eileen Walsh will perform.
Developing Catalytic Reactions One Step at a Time (Wednesday, 1:30pm, Room 226, Chemistry Building) — Jennifer Love, from the University of British Columbia, will speak.
Remembrance and Action on Gender-based Violence (Wednesday, 2pm, Room 310, B Building, Sexton Campus) — Dalhousie’s Women in Engineering Society (WiE) hosts a ceremony and candlelight vigil to commemorate the victims of 1989’s École Polytechnique Massacre, and to encourage action that ends gender-based violence and supports women in male-dominated fields like engineering.
In the harbour
5:30am: Tirranna, car carrier, arrives at Autoport from Southampton, England
6am: Jona, container ship, arrives at Pier 41 from Lisbon, Portugal
7am: Spica, container ship, arrives at Pier 42 from San Juan, Puerto Rico
3pm: Forte, heavy load carrier, sails from anchorage to the Sable Island field
4:30pm: Tirranna, car carrier, sails from Autoport for sea
5pm: Jona, container ship, sails from Pier 41 for sea
I’ve been working on an article for a week. Maybe I’ll finish it today, maybe tomorrow.