1. Andrew Younger
Yesterday, Andrew Younger issued the following statement:
This morning I met with the Premier and Chief of Staff concerning my current temporary leave of absence from my Cabinet responsibilities, the purpose of which was to deal with personal matters.
I understand the issue of pay has become a distraction for the Premier and our government, therefore I will not receive my ministerial pay during the leave.
There have been numerous media reports concerning the fact police believe a criminal assault was committed against me. A significant portion of the information reported as fact in the news and social media about the incident police allege to have occurred against me has been inaccurate and speculative, which is unfair to all those involved in this matter and those close to them.
I do not plan to comment further on this matter. I would ask media to respect my privacy on this issue, and refrain from speculation.
This is classic Younger. No, you don’t get to accuse the media of inaccuracy and then refuse to say, exactly, what was inaccurate. I’ve commented on this before: often, when people don’t like the factual reporting of news, they turn around and accuse the media of lying, without being specific. I’ve had a particular such instance with Younger, back when I started reporting on city council for The Coast. Younger called my editor and requested a meeting of the three of us. We met for coffee at the Wired Monk on Hollis Street, and Younger complained about “inaccuracies” in my reporting. I had brought my notebook, and wanted to be able to write down Younger’s specific complaints so I could check them against my articles—heck, we all make mistakes, and if I get something wrong I want to correct the record. But Younger had no specifics. He just went on and on about “inaccuracies,” I’d ask for examples, and he’d continue on vaguely about inaccuracies. I soon realized he wasn’t complaining about my factual reporting but rather about the tone of my reporting, so closed my notebook. Walking back to the car, I looked at my boss, shrugged, and said, “fuck him.”
Accusing the media of “inaccuracies” is serious business. If Younger makes such a claim, he better damn well say exactly what those inaccuracies are, and document it.
2. Racist toy monkey
The Chronicle Herald interviewed Truro’s deputy mayor, Raymond Tynes, who says that a toy monkey sold at Christmas Discounters is an example of continued racist attitudes. The monkey is “dressed up as a rapper wearing a T-shirt with the words black music and a dog-tag on it that says hip hop. And when you press a button, the monkey plays R & B artist Usher’s hit song Yeah and dances,” wrote reporter Sherri Borden.
“I’m looking at this and I’m thinking there they are depicting us as monkeys again,” Tynes told the paper.
3. EAC audited
The Ecology Action Centre was targeted by Harper government’s increased auditing of environmental groups, but was given a passing grade. Still, “we take a little more care. We converse more and we call our charity lawyer more often before we speak out on issues and maybe we back off stuff we wouldn’t otherwise have backed off of,” EAC director Mark Butler told the CBC.
4. Fatal fire
“At least” two people were killed in a house fire in Wyse Corner last night (on the Old Guysborough Road past the airport), and a man was arrested in Milford, a half hour away, after he rammed his car into a police vehicle. The unnamed man was arrested in relation to the fire.
5. Top employer
Last month the Chronicle Herald reduced its newsroom staff by about a quarter through a process that seemed to pit employees against each other. It was an ugly, drawn-out fight with the employees’ union and bitter feelings remain. But, no worries, yesterday the Chronicle Herald was named as “one of Atlantic Canada’s top employers for 2015.” Amazing, that.
The selection was made by Mediacorp Canada Inc., which publishes trade publications for Human Resources professionals. “A blue-ribbon Academic Advisory Board oversees the selection criteria for each year’s Canada’s Top 100 Employers competition,” Mediacorp explains. “The distinguished panel members, drawn from universities across Canada, have each written or edited a major human resources textbook in Canada.” This year’s “distinguished” panel members are Daniel Ondrack, a professor emeritus at the University of Toronto, and Andrew Templer, a prof at the University of Windsor.
Ondrack ended his career in 2004, making $158,208.54 that year, and now seems to clutter up the hallways while shuffling between consulting gigs. Templer, who was paid $159,793.92 in 2013, co-authored a textbook called Labour Relations, no doubt a socialist pamphlet of some sort. Good to know these guys are on top of the local labour relations scene.
Like me, Stephen Archibald is a fan of the the 99% Invisible podcast, and uses a recent episode about city flags as a launching point to examine our own rather shoddy municipal banner (above). I call that our Toucan Flag, and I keep meaning to head over to the flag store to buy one to perversely decorate my home office; it violates four of the five rules of vexillology (flag design):
1. Keep it simple
2. Use meaningful symbolism
3. Use two to three basic colors
4. No lettering or seals of any kind (take note) .
5. Be distinctive
There’s a new flag being flown nowadays, which Halifax Magazine editor Trevor Adams was tweeting about yesterday, but it’s not the official flag. Even that violates the rules.
Archibald puts out the plea: will someone please design a proper city flag?
2. Looking back
The CBC’s Jean Laroche and Graham Steele look back at 2014 at Province House.
Parker Donham takes Irwin Fefergrad, the Registrar of the Royal Ontario College of Dental Surgeons, to task for “waltzing before the cameras and bloviating about matters of which he has no first-hand knowledge,” that is, the Dal Dental School mess.
Back when CBC broke the story, executive producer Nancy Waugh issued a statement explaining why the broadcaster wasn’t releasing the names of the participants in the Class of DDS 2015 Gentlemen Facebook page. Explained Waugh:
Among our reasons:
First, while we know names, we don’t know the full extent of each member’s involvement in the group, or which ones were knowing participants in its discussions and activities. This isn’t clear from the material in our possession.
And we know that naming names could have serious implications for the personal and professional futures of the people involved. It’s not a decision to be taken lightly or on incomplete evidence.
Second, CBC News doesn’t want to influence the current investigation at Dalhousie University, which is in possession of this same information and is the proper authority to determine responsibility.
That seemed reasonable at the time. But is it still? The “serious implications” for the men involved are now just a fact: no matter what happens, the scandal will be following them and their classmates around for the rest of their careers. Yesterday, rightly or wrongly, some of the other provincial regulators followed Ontario’s lead and indicated they would take some action related to the Dal situation. And this won’t simply go away; the public is engaged and, again, rightly or wrongly, the men will be followed into their professional lives. As for giving the university time to investigate, it’s been four weeks.
My understanding is that the CBC, the Globe & Mail, and The Coast have all been given 40 pages worth of screen shots of the Facebook page going back to 2011. Why not just publish the whole thing, names included, and let the public debate be informed by actual firsthand facts? We don’t now know, but the full record might even provide some needed context that will show that some of the men were not active participants, or tried to walk back the worst of the behaviour. And, it will show who the worst of the offenders were.
CBC should now publish the screenshots, without redaction, besides of course the names of the women, who are victims.
4. Cranky letter of the day
…A few special notes worthy of mentioning to the parents of Thorburn bantam B players: To the gentleman who intentionally side-checked me as we were walking by each other and did not acknowledge doing so. To the constant chants throughout the game of “give it to them.” To the coach of the opposing team who showed great sportsmanship by flashing “the middle finger” from the bench to all of us, in front of the players and our young children who were present. Finally to the guy I stood behind at the canteen during intermission, who reminded his 13-year-old son that this is why God made elbows, so use them. “I want to see you throwing elbows.” Wow! Thank you for making me realize that when I see an ice bully, it is not the youth at all, but a parent forcing these kids to be ice violent.
I am very proud of our team players for hanging in there and resisting the urge to fight back–and especially our coaches who insist on coaching them to play clean hockey and to walk away from confrontations.
To the coaches and parents of the opposing team: you should feel considerable shame from your comments and actions. You definitely sour the sport of hockey. Please try to remember that these are our children who want nothing more than to have fun playing hockey and not having to worry about being intentionally injured while doing so. This is not the UFC. Children do live and learn by example.
Darcy Rafuse, Parent of Pictou Maripac
Appeals Standing Committee (10am, City Hall)—bylaw officers have been busy citing demolition scenes.
Community Planning and Economic Development Standing Committee (2pm, City Hall)—the committee will discuss how the city might support affordable housing initiatives.
Harbour East–Marine Drive Community Council (6pm, Nantucket Room, Dartmouth Sportsplex)—at issue is the proposed development of the “Hammerling” lands at the southwest side of the intersection of Portland Street and the Circ. Three apartment buildings, of 10, nine, and four storeys are proposed.
Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs (9am, Room 233A, Johnston Building)—Major Tim Dunne will talk about commemorating soldiers who served in Afghanistan.
Planetarium show (7:15, Room 120, Dunn Building)—the “Christmas Star — Fact or Fiction?” show was such a hit they’re bringing it back for an encore performance. Five dollars or its equivalent in gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
I got answers to my questions for Greater Halifax Partnership, but they didn’t come in until after I finished work yesterday so I haven’t had time to even read them, much less think about them. But here they are:
In the harbour
ZIM Qingdao, container ship, Valencia, Spain to Pier 41, then sails for New York
ZIM Haifa, container ship, New York to Pier 42, then sails for Kingston, Jamaica
Asian Emperor, car carrier, Fawley, England to Autoport, then sails for New York
Bahri Jazan sails for Livorno, Italy
I have a dentist appointment today. I wonder what we’ll talk about.