1. Byline strike?
In yesterday’s Morning File, I cited reader Chris Parson’s Facebook post questioning the Halifax Typographical Union’s lukewarm support for the 13 pressmen the Chronicle Herald locked out Monday. “Parsons goes on to point out that while the reporters and other newsroom employees have much to fear from an unsanctioned job action, there’s nothing preventing them from having a symbolic byline strike in solidarity with the pressmen,” I wrote.
Today, most of the articles in Chronicle Herald have no byline.
2. James Dorsey
James Dorsey, the independent arbitrator who was fired for being independent, has issued an order placing 4,000 health care clerical workers under the control of the Nova Scotia Government Employees Union, which is exactly opposite of what the McNeil government was trying to achieve. Says the CBC:
The 4,000 new union members for NSGEU would mean millions of dollars more in dues to the province’s largest public sector union.
“There’s no way that Mr. Dorsey would have issued an order today if he felt he didn’t have the power to do so,” said NSGEU president Joan Jessome.
On Friday, Dorsey said NSGEU could represent 6,500 health care workers. He then said they could also represent 4,000 clerical workers if they formed a new independent local.
The NSGEU rushed through the changes at an emergency meeting Tuesday night.
Dorsey can’t officially be fired until today’s cabinet meeting, so his order comes while he’s technically still in the employ of the province. He’s hiking in the British Columbian mountains, and so unavailable for comment, although there are reports of unrestrained laughter echoing through the canyons. This is going to be one hell of a court case.
3. Drug drones
The new prison in Pictou County is looking to acquire drone detectors to guard against “drug drones,” which are supposedly being used to ferry drugs from the outside world into prison, albeit the Canadian Press article doesn’t detail a single incident of such technology ever being used successfully, anywhere. My quick google search this morning couldn’t find a successful use of drones for prison drug delivery, either, although a couple of drones have crashed near prisons.
Put this in the “we can afford what we want to afford” category: we’ve got untold millions of dollars for law and order gadgetry and the latest techno-intrusion tools of the surveillance state. Paying people a decent salary? Forget about it.
4. The $48 NSF Fee Library
The headline on the Metro article frightened me: “Halifax councillor proposes finding a new name for libraries.” Oh noes! Surely we would not consider selling corporate naming rights to the intellectual and social heart of the municipality?
Thankfully, no. But councillor Tim Outhit’s suggestion isn’t much better:
“If it’s going to be a community hub, if it’s going to be a technology hub, if it’s going to be a centre of gathering…I think it’s time we start changing the way we think and promote and even call these facilities,” he said.
Yea, sure, let’s ditch the name of the single institution that connects varied human cultures over two millennia in order to sound hip. You just don’t do it. No.
Stephen Archibald gives us a lesson in killicks, “one of my favourite things!”
Gus Reed has an update to his post about accessibility issues at the Old Triangle:
A loyal reader corrects me on the details of accessibility at The Old Triangle:
Re. Old Triangle. I haven’t checked their entrance lately, but I can tell you that they do have an accessible washroom inside. I can’t remember the layout now; it was about two years I was there celebrating a friend’s birthday. It may be on their main floor, which actually may be up several steps. The place is a maze inside. I was going to the washroom and asked the server where it was. She said downstairs. I said I don’t do stairs and had my cane with me. She returned with a key for an accessible washroom very close to our table. I asked her why the washroom was not well marked and why it was kept locked so that you had to (a) know it was there and (b) know to ask for a key. She said they had stopped keeping it open because couples were using it for sex acts, as it is roomy and out-of-sight. I did indeed find the washroom large, as it should be. I asked her to keep it open and they did, at least while I was there. They probably locked it again as soon as my party left.
How many Old Triangle patrons does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
None. Old Triangle patrons screw in the washroom.
Crosswalk safety committee (10am, City Hall)—the committee will look at the proposed 2015-2016 Pedestrian Safety Action Plan. Unfortunately, I can’t easily quote from it because it was posted on the city’s website as an unsearchable PDF, which means it is also not readable by software used by the visually impaired. My observation is that still, in 2015, over half the items posted on the city’s site are still not accessible.
Community Design Advisory Committee (11:30am, City Hall)—the committee will look at the list of suggested “stakeholders” (dog, I hate that word) that will be asked to comment on the Centre Plan. Besides employing useless bureaucratic babble from the 1990s, when you’ve got 71 different “stakeholders” you’re pretty much in nonsensical territory anyway.
Transportation Standing Committee (1pm, City Hall)—the committee will look at a report into a “Pilot Project Pedestrian Vehicle Shared Street Concept [for] Argyle Street.” The report was prepared by the Planning & Design Centre, so it has lots of pictures of people using sticky notes (honest), throws “vibrant” out at every opportunity, and includes an artist’s conception of the new pedestrian-friendly street on which only white people are found. (Yes, that’s a stylized drawing, but our stylizations matter.) According to the report, people started using sticky notes in relation to this plan as far back as 2012. Still and all, this should’ve been done a decade ago, so better late than never, I guess. But it feels like we’re creating a replica of St. John’s George Street, and everything that implies.
No public meetings.
Addiction, eco-crisis and global capitalism (Thursday, 7pm, Ondaatje Auditorium, McCain Building)—Bruce Alexander, Professor Emeritus in the Department of Psychology at Simon Fraser University, is the author of The Globalization of Addiction: A Study in Poverty of the Spirit (2008).
Biomedical Visions (Thursday, 7pm, Dalhousie Art Gallery)—the second day of lectures in the series. Thursday’s lectures are “Modern Research Imaging Techniques” with William Baldridge and “Dalhousie Anatomical Laboratories” with Robert Sandeski.
Assisted reproductive technology policy (Friday, 12:10pm, Room 104, Weldon Law Building)—Dave Snow will speak.
The phosphinoboration reaction (Friday, 1:30pm,Chemistry Room 226)—Steve Westcott, from Mount Allison University, will talk about a word so long that it won’t even fit on the Scrabble board.
Manly impression (Friday, 3:30pm, Marion McCain Building, Room 1170)—Cynthia Neville will talk about “Making a manly impression: the image of kingship on Sottish royal seals of the high Middle Ages.”
Philip Slayton is a retired lawyer who went on to write two best-selling books, Lawyers Gone Bad: Money, Sex and Madness in Canada’s Legal Profession, published in 2008, and Mighty Judgment: How the Supreme Court of Canada Runs Your Life, published in 2012. He’s also president of PEN Canada.
With a biography like that, you can understand how honoured I’ve been with the support he’s given me. Slayton wrote a column about the Halifax Examiner for the Investment Executive Newsletter, and has devoted a chapter in his soon-to-be-published (in May) book about Canadian mayors to my work on the Peter Kelly file.
So I am of course happy to plug his latest book, a novel, Bay Street, about a fictional Toronto law firm. Here’s a long Globe & Mail profile of the novel, but you can see Slayton himself promoting the book, in this video. I’ll buy the book this morning; if anyone wants, we can discuss it over drinks next week.
In the harbour
Oceanex Sanderling, ro-ro container, St. John’s to Halterm
Salt. Lots of salt.