1. Wankers disrupt indigenous ceremony
On Canada Day, some indigenous people and supporters held a ceremony at Cornwallis Park, where, as Adina Bresge reports for the Canadian Press:
Organizer Rebecca Moore said dozens of people were gathered around the statue of Edward Cornwallis as British Columbia-native Chief Grizzly Mamma shaved her head in a ceremony to mourn the atrocities committed against Indigenous Peoples.
These folks have every right to express their take on what Canada Day means to indigenous people. As related via social media, the ceremony was thoughtful and peaceful. But it was too much for a group of self-described “boys” who descended upon the ceremony to disrupt it.
The boys showed up waving a
Union Jack Red Ensign (thanks to each every one of the 14,000 readers who wrote passionately in to report the error), and went on to assert the supremacy of “Western Civilization.”
They are part of a group called “Proud Boys.” According to the group’s Facebook page:
The Proud Boys are a fraternal organization of Western Chauvinists who will no longer apologize for creating the modern world. Our values centre on the following tenets:
Pro-Free Speech (1st Amendment)
Pro-Gun Rights (2nd Amendment)
Glorifying the Entrepreneur
Venerating the Housewife
Reinstating a Spirit of Western Chauvinism
We do not discriminate based upon race or sexuality. We are not an “ism”, “ist”, or “phobic”. We truly believe that the West Is The Best and welcome those who believe in the same tenets as us.
*We are by no means prudish Victorians. We merely believe that this energy is better spent going out, meeting women, getting married, and having children.
I particularly like that they have to put an asterisk next to “masturbation,” and then further explain it. I’m trying to imagine the meeting of the minds and the great intellectual debate that occurred as the founding Proud Boys debated and hammered out their political philosophy:
Toby Jefferson: Minimum government!
Constitutional delegates: Rah!
Bubba Madison: Maximum freedom!
Constitutional delegates: Oh yeah! we like our freedom!
Johnboy Adams: Closed borders!
Constitutional delegates: Here! Here!
Alex Hamilton: Anti-masturbation!
Constitutional delegates: wait, what?
What a bunch of wankers.
The wankers apparently went around town drinking to their success afterwards.
Two of the wankers are members of the Canadian Armed Forces, reports Bresge.
2. Mary and me
On Friday, Mary Campbell and I announced a collaboration between the Halifax Examiner and the Cape Breton Spectator:
Now, readers can subscriber to both news sites for $15. That’s a savings of $5 were you to subscribe to both sites independently. The hope, though, is that readers who have subscribed to one or the other site will now upgrade to a joint subscription.
The “extra” five dollars that we receive will be dedicated to new projects that will be published by both sites. It will provide a fund to hire freelance reporters to work on province-wide projects or stories that don’t take place in Sydney or Halifax, and for investigative costs.
The collaboration between the Examiner and the Spectator will expand the type of coverage you’ve come to expect from both sites. It is, I hope, the start of a collaborative model that can be expanded to support other journalistic initiatives in the Maritimes.
I interviewed Campbell for the Examineradio podcast. You can listen to the podcast here:
I don’t have time to unpack it this morning, but writing for the Canadian Press, Brett Bundale says that Halifax is now “booming,” and points to all the construction downtown as proof.
I’d merely point out that construction can reflect a lot of things, including, sure, a demand for housing, but also a bloated housing market, out-of-control speculation, a place the wealthy can stash their money, and more.
Construction is just one measure of an economy’s health, and a not very good one at that. Better measures would be salaries, purchasing power, housing conditions and cost, health, environmental quality, and general happiness.
1. The Ministry of Truth
Is it always a bad idea to get governments involved in journalism?” asks Stephen Kimber:
I hesitate to disagree with Tim Bousquet, the editor of The Halifax Examiner, my colleague and boss. But in this instance I do. Not completely, but significantly.
Kimber is discussing my statement that “it’s always a bad idea to get the government involved in journalism,” which I made in reaction to the proposal by News Media Canada for a $350 million annual fund administered by the federal government and doled out to the selectively chosen worthy media outlets.
Kimber agrees that that particular proposal is wrongheaded, but he goes on to propose a Canada Council for Journalism, akin to the to Canada Council for the Arts:
There’s an application process. Proposals are vetted by arm’s length peer review panels. The process has evolved and been refined over the years, and is now more inclusive and diverse than it once was. Again, it’s not perfect, but it has helped nurture and support many Canadian creators.
This article is behind the Examiner’s paywall. Click here to subscribe.
I’m not convinced. From my own selfish perspective, I know that I could not get a job at a mainstream news outlet in Canada, so it’s highly unlikely that a review panel made up of my “peers” who come from those same outlets would fund me, and just thinking about the paperwork and buddying up to and buying drinks for people I don’t like just to gain access… well, that all exhausts me. Frankly, I don’t have the social skills for it.
But more generally, we’re once again in the business of deciding who is and who is not a journalist. And that will inevitably lead to government officials deciding who can have (and can’t have) access to press conferences and communications, who gets to use (and doesn’t get to use) the “public interest” exemption to get freedom of information fees waived, who has status (and doesn’t have status) in court cases, who gets to use (and doesn’t get to use) the “responsible journalism” defence in libel actions, and on and on.
And since I’m on the subject (I think Kimber would agree with me here), I’d like to point out one aspect of the News Media Canada proposal: the $30,000 per journalist subsidy that is the core of it. There are lots of problems with this. For instance, as Jesse Brown points out, if the program is adopted, we’ll be paying $30,000 of the salary for such reprehensible “journalists” as Margaret Wente.
But forget those issues; my bigger concern is the people doing the grunt work in journalism — the daily reporters slogging through courthouses and covering traffic accidents and calling up government communications offices and the like. These reporters’ work provides the bulk of what shows up in the daily newspapers, and yet many of them aren’t even paid $30,000, and most of them are paid only a pittance more than $30,000.
Mark Lever and Sarah Dennis are right now trying to pay their reporters less money. That’s what the newsroom strike at the Chronicle Herald is all about. Moreover, their goal is to lay off reporters, and now that they have an effective monopoly in print journalism in Atlantic Canada, they’ll undoubtedly further reduce their newsrooms.
But if the News Media Canada proposal gets adopted, they’ll be handed $30,000 per reporter. Will that money go to raises for reporters? Fat chance. Will it go expand the newsrooms? Not likely. Rather, the money will go straight to the Herald’s bottom line, and so to Lever and Dennis personally.
All the philosophical issues about journalism aside, that’s my biggest problem with the News Media Canada proposal: it amounts to a transfer of wealth to the already wealthy. If we must subsidize journalism, we should at least tie it to salary — i.e., you’ll get a $30,000 subsidy for the reporter, but only if the reporter is paid at least $60,000 and has job security, a pension, decent working conditions, and is on track for regular pay raises.
It’s clear to me that the News Media Canada proposal was written by a bunch of rich dudes who either (as in Lever’s case) have never worked as a reporter or have never experienced the real economic crunch that is the everyday reality of most working reporters today.
2. Maple Leafs
Stephen Archibald finds maple leafs everywhere.
City Council (Tuesday, 10am, City Hall) — today, council is addressing only one issue of substance: a proposal by councillor Steve Craig to repeal Administrative Order #35. And what, you may ask, is Administrative Order #35? Some background:
Once upon a time, city staff could approve contracts up to half a million dollars all on their own, assuming the money was in the various department budgets. But anything over a half a million dollars had to be approved by city council. There’s was one exception, however:
During the summer months (July and August) and for occasions when a regular Regional Council meeting has been cancelled or the regular schedule creates more than eight (8) business days between Council meetings, the CAO or his designate, may approve the award of contracts…
As I reported back in 2011, this was a contributing factor in the Washmill Underpass fiasco, where then-CAO Wayne Anstey approved an $8.1 million contract while council was on vacation, and didn’t bother to tell council about it for another six months.
Administrative Order #35 revoked the CAO’s summer signing authority. Craig’s motion will un-revoke it, bringing us back to the glory days.
Federation of Canadian Municipalities Advisory Committee 2018 Conference (Wednesday, 3pm, City Hall) — exactly what it sound like.
North West Planning Advisory Committee (Wednesday, 7pm, Sackville Public Library) — here’s the agenda.
No public meetings.
Plakoglobin (Wednesday, 4pm, Room 170, Collaborative Health Education Building, Halifax) — Qinyan (Andy) Song will speak on “Structural Characterization of the Interaction Between p53 and Plakoglobin.”
Bridging the Divide: Engaging States and Armed Groups in the Protection of Children (Wednesday, 7pm, Paul O’Regan Hall, Halifax Central Library) — Roméo Dallaire will speak.
In the harbour
4am: Torm Atlantic, oil tanker, arrives at Imperial Oil from Montreal
5:30am: Tortugas, car carrier, arrives at Autoport from Southampton, England
5:30am: Port Stewart, oil tanker, sails from Irving Oil for Saint Michael’s, Maryland
6am: Oceanex Sanderling, ro-ro container ship, arrives at Pier 41 from St. John’s
6am: Pinara, container ship, arrives at Pier 42 from Valencia, Spain
9:30am: Atlantic Sky, ro-ro container ship, sails from Fairview Cove for New York
7pm: East Coast, oil tanker, arrives at Irving Oil from Saint John
I took the weekend off, more or less. I may do that again.
No copyeditor this morning; please be kind.