1. Hey, Mama! Examineradio episode #17
Last week, the Friends of Green Cove — a group opposed to the controversial Mother Canada statue proposed for Cape Breton Highlands National Park — revealed that Parks Canada had donated $100,000 to the project’s development. This, despite the fact that the government agency’s role is to evaluate the project’s worthiness. We speak with Dr. Sean Howard, a professor at Cape Breton University and spokesperson for the Friends.
Also joining us is Corey Slumkoski, a history professor at Halifax’s Mount Saint Vincent University. He questions the value of the Never Forgotten Memorial, believing that it takes an uncritical look at war.
And, hey, Happy Birthday, Halifax Examiner!
2. Oathill Lake
Back in 2010, Dartmouth’s Oathill Lake was struggling to stay alive, reports Kate Watson:
The use of fertilizers and road salt in the surrounding area had led to nutrient overloading, and the water quality was suffering. Overstocking of the lake meant that Oathill had become so popular for fishing that the shoreline was being trampled and eroded.
Now, five years later, Oathill is on the road to recovery, and it’s thanks to a committed effort by volunteers from the non-profit Oathill Lake Conservation Society.
The bike and pedestrian lanes on the Macdonald Bridge were closed last night, and will remain closed for the 18-month duration of the bridge reconstruction project. The bridge commission is providing shuttle buses:
The three 17 passenger buses can accommodate wheelchairs and scooters and each bus will pull a trailer that can accommodate 12 bikes. Buses will also have a bike rack attached to the front of the bus. Cyclists will be required to load and unload their own bikes.
The pick-up and drop off location in Dartmouth is 30 Faulkner Street. The location in Halifax is on North Street just below Gottingen.
The initial HHB shuttle schedule will be “load and go” during peak hours (5:30 am – 9:30 am and 3pm – 6:30 pm) and every half hour during non-peak times. The shuttle will travel the Macdonald Bridge when it is open and the MacKay Bridge when the Macdonald Bridge is closed.
4. Richard MacLellan
Richard MacLellan, the city of Halifax’s manager of energy and the environment, has been hired as Queen County’s CAO. MacLellan is best known as the creator of the Solar City program, which has resulted in the city of Halifax having more residential solar water heating systems than there are in the rest of Canada combined. And for his bowtie.
1. Pete Smith
Evelyn C. White tells us about Pete Smith, the trans hero you’ve never heard of.
Smith was born Elizabeth H. Cobbs. In the 1970s, Cobbs was the primary witness against Robert “Dynamite Bob” Chambliss, who was convicted of the 1963 bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama that left four girls dead. Writes White:
Not long after Chambliss was jailed, Elizabeth Cobbs gave voice to another long-held silence in her life. “One of the things I had learned through the years was the value of absolute honesty — especially with myself — and I was having trouble with the things that honesty was telling me,” she said.
And so, having suffered for years with gender dysphoria, Cobbs underwent treatment and transitioned from a female to a male, Petric (Pete) J. Smith. Smith was documented as “being of the male gender” legally, in 1981, and named himself as co-author of Cobbs’s 1994 memoir, Long Time Coming: An Insider’s Story of the Birmingham Church Bombing that Rocked the World.
I can’t tell you how pleased I am to publish a writer as accomplished as is White.
Jesse Brown interviewed me for his Canadaland podcast, for Episode #88, titled “Dirty Halifax,” which is illustrated with a photo of a donair. Hey, I sent Brown to Ace Burger when he was in town, but that donair thing is too funny to pass up, I guess. (One day I’ll write about how the donair wasn’t really invented in Halifax, but I’m not anxious to fell that much-beloved myth.)
Brown is best known as the journalist who broke the Jian Ghomeshi story. Canadaland provides a much-needed critique of Canadian media. Canadaland has exposed how Amanda Lang was taking money from RBC and dating an RBC board member while lobbing softball questions at company execs on her CBC show; how two editors at the Irving-owned Moncton Times and Transcript were hosted at the Larry’s Gulch fishing lodge on the New Brunswick government’s dime in order to meet with provincial liquor corporation execs; and how, according to Glenn Greenwald, the CBC “stonewalled” the Snowden revelations about Canada. I’ve been particularly engaged with Brown’s ongoing coverage of freelance reporter Laura Robinson’s defamation suit against John Furlong, the former CEO of the Vancouver Olympic Committee.
3. Index of the Halifax Index
Stephen Kimber points out that the Halifax Partnership’s plea that we “focus on creating opportunities for recent graduates, both domestic and international, to enter the local labour force” is in direct opposition to the gigantic tuition increases the McNeil government is imposing on university students.
That plea came via something called the Halifax Index, which the Halifax Partnership published Friday, just hours after the fellows on the Reply All podcast were holding up “Key Performance Indicators” as the latest business bullshit term. The Halifax Index was authored by Fred Morley, Halifax’s most successful C student, and Ryan MacLeod, who seems like a nice enough fellow — but get out Ryan! Get out while you still have a glimmer of hope, and before you’re sucked into the black hole of meaningless buzzword-spewing bullshit machines!
And, oh yes, the Chronicle Herald’s walking conflict of interest, Peter Moreira, “contributed” to the Index, and the paper itself is listed as the “Gold Partner” for the Index. This of course makes it utterly impossible for the Chronicle Herald to report honestly on the Index, and sure enough, reporter Brett Bundale’s article on the Index fails to mention both the Chronicle Herald’s financial backing for it and Moreira’s involvement in it.
An Examiner reader who asks to remain anonymous (because the reader has a job that requires interaction with Halifax Partnership) created an Index of the Halifax Index, a simple word count of the document, as follows:
“innovation” — 10
“convention centre” — 2
“Ivany Report” — 0
“Guess what the new bullshit bingo word is?” asks the reader. “It’s a good time to get money from NSBI for a ‘start-up,’ I guess. ‘I work computers, can I start-up?'”
To my great sadness, the word “bold” does not appear in the Halifax Index, which if you think about it is kind of bold in itself — what’d we spend, a quarter of a million dollars on that branding exercise?, and we’ve already left it behind. Bold.
4. A family affair
Peter Moreira’s spouse and business partner, Carol Moreira, is getting in on some of that Chronicle Herald conflict of interest action.
I first pointed out Peter Moreira’s conflict of interest last August:
By publishing a business column without revealing the financial interests the columnist has with the companies he writes about, the Chronicle Herald is in clear violation of widely accepted ethical rules in journalism.
Peter Moreira writes the “Entrevestor” column for the Chronicle Herald. The column appears three times a week, and profiles start up companies. Moreira also owns a company of the same name, and the website entrevestor.com. The website is “partners” with various public economic development agencies — ACOA, NSBI, Innovacorp, and the equivalents in New Brunswick and Newfoundland—and the site promotes the start ups the agencies fund. Some of the start ups also hire Moreira as a writer, to write their business cases and promotional material. The Chronicle Herald also pays him for the column.
In his column, Moreira writes about companies funded by the economic development agencies, and always positively. He never critically examines the agencies or the companies. So far as I can determine, the column has never profiled a company that is not funded by the agencies Moreira “partners” with.
In the wake of my report, Ian Thompson, who was then the associate publisher at the Chronicle Herald, announced that henceforth a disclosure would be attached to Moreira’s column, telling readers that:
Entrevestor receives financial support from government agencies that support start-up companies in Atlantic Canada. The sponsoring agencies play no role in determining which companies are featured in this column nor do they have the right to review columns before they are published.
I don’t think that’s enough — in my book, Moreira shouldn’t be writing about companies he works for at all. But the disclosure was better than nothing.
Since then, however, two things have happened.
First, Carol Moreira and Geoff Davies have taken over writing some of the Entrevestor columns. Carol is the cofounder and owner of Entrevestor, and so she shares the same conflict that Peter has. Davies is presumably an employee (*see update below), so ditto on the conflict.
Second, that disclaimer? It has mostly disappeared, and when it does appear, it has been changed to the following:
Entrevestor.com produces daily news reports on the Atlantic Canadian startup community. It is financed through the sale of advertising and analytic reports to clients in the private and public sectors. This support is specified whenever the name of a client appears.
Well, except there’s last’s Thursday’s Entrevestor column. Written by Carol Moreira, it is an uncritical, brown-nosing, boot-licking “profile” of Innovacorp president and CEO Stephen Duff. The column has no disclaimer.
Entrevestor is directly in the employ of Innovacorp, and yet Entrevestor’s profile of Inovacorp’s president and CEO doesn’t mention that fact.
Oh, by the way, it looks like someone in China has hijacked the Entrevestor site.
Update, 11am: Geoff Davies has contacted me, and explained that he did some contract writing for Peter Moreira.
5. Cranky letter of the day
The statue in Green Cove may not appear the ‘Mother Canada’ figure as advertised.
Garbed in flowing, early medieval cowl-cloak, the proposed monument seems more representative of the mythological Norse Freya, Odin’s wife, herself a preeminent goddess and member of the Vanir, adopted by the Aesir gods and identified as the goddess of love, fertility, beauty and fine material objects.
In the Ynglinga Saga, we are told that she possesses certain plumes of birds of prey which as practitioner of seidr (magic) allows her to assume the role of a Valkyrie (a chooser of the fallen) presiding over the afterlife realm of Folkvangr, whose inhabitants she selects from among the warriors slain in battle.
Perhaps it follows that the great circle forming part of the structure behind her can be thought of as a modern version of Stonehenge?
By extension, and not surprising, the names of our weekdays also hark back to those earlier times with Friday named after Freya, and Wednesday standing for her husband Wodan or Odin). Thursday for Thor, with Sunday’s and (Moonday) Monday’s meaning self evident.
Alex Storm, Louisbourg
No public meetings. There’s not much going on this entire week in government, as Canada Day falls smack in the middle of the week. Ten day holidays abound.
On this date in 2009, Pierre Leon Muise was sworn in as the first Acadian to become a provincial court judge.
Film producer Nelson MacDonald talks about how he got kicked out of Province House:
In the harbour
Pisces Leader, car carrier, arrived at Autoport this morning, sails to sea this afternoon
Singapore Express, container ship, sails to New York
Peter Ziobrowski, who knows everything about ships, has a couple of interesting posts up. One concerns the addition of Halifax to CMA-CGM’s Columbus Loop:
A massive loop, it’s covered by 17 vessels, and will make Canadian stops in both Halifax and Vancouver with a 119-day round trip.
Another of Ziobrowski’s posts concerns the Farley Mowat:
Yesterday [Thursday], the ex-SeaShepard Conservation Society vessel Farley Mowat rolled over and sank in Shelburne. The vessel was arrested by the feds during anti-sealing protests several years ago, and eventually sold. She was towed to Halifax, then Lunenburg, where her topsides were removed. She was then towed to Shelburne.