Welcome to Weekend File, where you’ll find links to all the articles you might have missed last week. Jump to sections in this article:
Saturday, May 28
Matthew Byard headed to Kentville last week for the unveiling of a mural dedicated to Bryan Gibson, an Olympic boxer who started and operated the Evangeline Trail Amateur Boxing Club in the town. The mural was designed by Jaimie Peerless, one of Gibson’s former students at the club. “I watched as this man, Bryan, pour his life into his boxing club to produce several notable athletes,” Peerless told the crowd at the unveiling of the mural.
Sunday, May 29
1. Bodies of five murder victims weren’t discovered by the RCMP for more than 18 hours after they were killed
Tim Bousquet looked at why RCMP didn’t check for more additional crime scenes in Portapique until late afternoon on Sunday, April 19, 2020. Bousquet detailed the delay and the phone calls from worried family members who couldn’t get a response from their loved ones.
Stephen Kimber’s column this week focused on the Mass Casualty Commission and the “accommodation” given to two RCMP officers during their testimony. Kimber wondered how much those accommodations would hinder the commission’s search for truth, but added the decision to exclude families’ lawyers from direct witness testimony only added to the list of questions about the inquiry. “And that’s unfortunate,” Kimber wrote. “For all of us.”
Monday, May 30
1. Morning File: Cpl. Rodney Peterson is “not tactically sound” and “puts us at risk” says fellow cop Nick Dorrington
Tim Bousquet wrote about Cpl. Rodney Peterson, an RCMP officer who was working the morning of Sunday, April 29, 2020, who failed to log in to the computer system and what that meant. “On that fateful day, Peterson’s failure to log in to the computer resulted in his inability to recognize the killer driving towards him, and then resulted in the rest of the responding officers not knowing where to go,” Bousquet wrote.
The first phase of the municipality’s district boundary review, looking at the number of electoral districts in HRM, found that the municipality has just the right number of councillors at 16. Zane Woodford reported on a recommendation to council’s Executive Standing Committee on Monday to stick with that number. So no one is going anywhere.
Tuesday, May 31
More than 150 people gathered at the Zatzman Sportsplex on Monday night to talk about their opposition to a proposal to infill part of Dartmouth Cove. The waterfront area has a multi-use path along the train tracks connecting Old Ferry Road to downtown Dartmouth and is a popular spot. Zane Woodford was at the meeting and reported on what residents had to say about the proposal.
2. Morning File: Should we be betting on gambling advertising in sports?
Ethan Lycan-Lang loves his sports, but he’s not a fan of all the ads for online gambling that are popping up on sports broadcasts lately. “Sports betting commercials take one of our most embarrassingly base human desires and weaknesses and rub our noses in them,” Lycan-Lang wrote. “They also tempt another generation of problem gamblers.” Lycan-Lang also wondered what’s up with honorary degrees?
Paramedics in Nova Scotia are now following a “direct to triage” approach when they take patients to emergency departments around the province. With the project, paramedics now take low-risk patients to emergency department waiting rooms to be assessed by health care staff, rather than waiting with patients until a doctor takes over care. Yvette d’Entremont had this report on the project and what it could mean for ambulance offload times.
On Tuesday morning Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister John Lohr announced the province was making 37 properties available for new housing development. Zane Woodford has the details of those properties, which are scattered across Nova Scotia. As for the affordability of the sites — as Woodford learned, that’s yet to be determined.
It looks like Nova Scotia Power is catching up on the backlog of solar panel installations. Jennifer Henderson spoke with David Brushett, chair of Solar Nova Scotia, who said the utility is making progress on approving plans for hundreds of stalled solar projects. A few weeks ago, solar companies went public with complaints that plans for projects submitted to Nova Scotia Power for review in January and February weren’t yet processed.
Wednesday, June 1
Of the 1,000 Nova Scotians who suffer an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest each year, only about 6% (60) of them will survive. That’s what Yvette d’Entremont learned this week. But there is a way to improve those numbers. d’Entremont reported from the provincial Standing Committee on Health where experts talked about the importance of teaching people how to recognize the signs of cardiac arrest, and how to perform CPR.
Halifax has a new record, but it’s one the city shouldn’t have. According to a new point-in-time count, conducted by the Navigator Street Outreach Program, on April 7 this year there were 586 people in the municipality without a safe, permanent home. Zane Woodford was at a Zoom panel where that data was presented. “There’s so many people homeless, way more than we’ve ever seen,” Navigator Street Outreach Program coordinator Eric Jonsson said.
Zane Woodford had this story on Halifax councillors voting to spend $445,500 to help Housing Trust of Nova Scotia keep hundreds of homes affordable. The trust is working to buy a portfolio of 295 apartments across the city and asked council for financial help with the purchase.
4. Stormwater charge moving to tax bills, Gray arena, Dartmouth Cove and more: Halifax council round-up
Zane Woodford had the council round-up that included news that councillors moved to put the stormwater right-of-way charge on tax bills instead of charging residents a flat fee on their Halifax Water bills. Also, more on a proposal to infill Dartmouth Cove, plans for Gray arena in Dartmouth, and a vote to start a process to allow two tall towers in the Cowie Hill area.
5. Morning File: Lessons from Iceland on why our cats might need a curfew
Suzanne Rent talked about cats in this Morning File. In particular, cats in Iceland that are outdoors and causing havoc to wildlife, notably bird populations. Should Halifax bring back the cat bylaw? We thought it was a goner! Rent also had a bit on a book by Dr. Allan Marble on the history of medicine in Nova Scotia that included a chapter on the Spanish Flu’s impact on the province.
6. Plaintiff in class-action lawsuit against Canadian Armed Forces ‘extremely optimistic’ about outcome
Matthew Byard interviewed Rubin “Rocky” Coward, one of four plaintiffs in a class-action lawsuit against the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF). Coward told Byard he was “extremely optimistic” about the outcome of the lawsuit. “Good things come not only to those that are willing to wait but those that are ready to fight,” Coward said. “Because we’re not asking them to do this, we’re demanding this.”
7. Visits to food banks up, schools struggling with food program costs, public accounts committee hears
Several advocates spoke about the rising costs of food at the provincial public accounts committee on Wednesday. Yvette d’Entremont had this report on what those advocates had to say, including details on the record number of visits to food banks and how schools have already spent their budgets on food programs, leaving students hungry.
On Wednesday, a draft list of critical minerals was presented during a virtual “Critical Minerals Strategy Engagement Session” hosted by Janice Zinck, the new executive director of the Geosciences and Mines Branch of DNRR. Joan Baxter had this report on that meeting and the draft list, which doesn’t include gold — the only metal that is being mined in the province.
Thursday, June 2
Hello City has been delighting Halifax audiences with its open, supportive, good-natured humour — heck, last summer they were the only pandemic entertainment in town — and friendly, charismatic cast. Six members stop by for their fourth appearance on The Tideline (and sole improv-free visit) ahead of this weekend’s sold-out anniversary show at the Bus Stop. Find out how they all met, got started, and keep going.
2. The parallels between the Norwegian and Nova Scotian mass murders: how commanders responded to unfolding events
Jennifer Henderson reported on a roundtable discussion on Critical Incident Preparedness hosted by the Mass Casualty Commission. That roundtable included Bjorn Ivar Kruke, a professor in risk management at the Faculty of Science and Technology/Department of Safety, Economics and Planning from the University of Stavanger in Norway. Kruke talked about active shooters and how such events are not preventable, but the key is to “assess the risks.”
Ethan Lycan-Lang looked at why churches in Newfoundland are being sold off, and it’s not because of shrinking congregations. And he linked us to a video released by PLANifax on the “special planning area” in Sandy Lake. “(The video) includes some beautiful images of the area that could soon be lost to developments, none of which are guaranteed to be affordable, and none of which the public has any say in,” Lycan-Lang wrote.
Suzanne Rent spoke with Krista McNair, executive director of the Truro Housing Outreach Society, which is opening a new 25-bed shelter that will operate 24 hours. The shelter will be ready this summer and will replace the society’s current 16-bed shelter in downtown Truro. Rent also asked McNair about what homelessness looks like in Truro and Colchester County.
On Thursday, a Nova Scotia Supreme Court justice acquitted the former Halifax Regional Police special constables Dan Fraser and Cheryl Gardner, who booked Corey Rogers in cells the night he died. “While the death of Corey Rogers is sad and tragic, it did not come as the result of criminal negligence,” Justice James Chipman wrote in his decision on Thursday. Zane Woodford had this report on the acquittal.
1. Cabinet ministers on climate change, COVID, the Mass Casualty Commission, and Nova Scotia Power execs’ salaries
Jennifer Henderson was on hand when ministers spoke to reporters after a cabinet meeting on Thursday. Henderson had the news on the delay of the multi-year plan promised by the Houston government to tackle and adapt to climate change, salaries for MLAs and Nova Scotia Power executives, and where the premier thinks we are on COVID-19.
Friday, June 3
A new social media campaign launched on Thursday to raise awareness about eating disorders and to get input from Nova Scotians on what needs to be done. Yvette d’Entremont spoke with Shaleen Jones, executive director with Eating Disorders Nova Scotia, which is leading the campaign as part of World Eating Disorders Action Day on Thursday.
2. It’s been 12 years since Joe Ramia won the contest for the convention centre, and the deal still looks shady af
Tim Bousquet said he’s always thought there’s been something “fishy” about the way the Halifax Convention Centre came to be built on property owned by Joe Ramia. Bousquet recently filed a Freedom of Information request for documents from the provincial Executive Council and Office of the Premier related to the project from December 31, 2006 to December 26, 2011. He told us what he found — and it still seems fishy.
From our archives
Speaking of the Halifax Convention Centre, do you remember when Joe Ramia wanted to sue Heritage Trust? We do. As Tim Bousquet reported in June 25, 2014, Ramia wanted to sue the heritage group and its 27 directors for “tens of millions of dollars” because the group “has consistently acted contrary to its mandate and opposed various development projects within HRM not in line with their objectives.”
“This is clearly an attempt by Ramia to limit public participation,” Bousquet wrote. “The point seems to be to merely cost the defendants a lot of money to hire lawyers. It’s ugly, and it stinks.” Click here to read that story.