1. On the campaign trail
This item is written by Jennifer Henderson.
No PC “Solutions” for the Environment, say Libs
“The Liberal government recently ordered Northern Pulp’s effluent treatment plant project to undergo a Class II environmental assessment,” states a Liberal Party news release. “Houston, however, has failed to show leadership on the environment. It is a pattern of his. His pandering to big industry is putting our environment at risk.”
The Liberal criticism continues:
“Conservative leader Tim Houston says the science behind the proposals for the re-opening of Northern Pulp is ‘well beyond my pay grade.’ In 2014 he refused to stand against fracking, instead labelling attempts to limit the practice as anti-business.”
The Halifax Examiner asked Houston to respond to these statements from the Liberal party. PC media advisor Catherine Klimek sent the following response:
“Iain Rankin likes to think of himself as an advocate for the environment, however his track record as Environment Minister says otherwise. Mr. Rankin was in charge of the Environment when the Northern Pulp mill was proposing to pour treated effluent into the Northumberland Strait. In 2018, Tim Houston wrote to Mr. Rankin, asking him to raise the bar to a Class II environmental assessment process.
Rankin ignored the suggestion, claiming his review would be good enough. Like Mr. Houston, he stated ‘ I believe this decision must be based on science and the best available evidence. Our existing environmental assessment process will ensure both of those objectives are met’.”
We also asked Houston where he stands today on whether Northern Pulp should reopen. He responded:
“Any new plans by Northern Pulp need to be evaluated through a clear process from the start. The PCs are in favour of a Class II environmental assessment to ensure that any proposal is properly scrutinized.”
Does Houston support fracking for natural gas in NS?
“We will leave the moratorium on fracking in place. We would not reverse the ban on fracking unless and until:
(1) we have world-class regulation that ensures protection of the environment; and
(2) we know that our geology supports a safe process that will not cause any harm to the environment.”
Would a Houston-led PC government commit to closing coal-fired electricity plants by 2030?
“A PC government is committed to 80% of electricity being supplied by renewable energy by 2030. This target will eliminate Nova Scotia’s reliance on coal by 2030. In order to meet our targets for renewable energy use, a PC government will source energy from natural gas, domestic hydro, biomass, wind, Maritime Link, Maritime Link non-firm market price, and other hydro imports.”
This response looks very similar to the Liberal plan to reduce dependence on coal-fired electricity, except the Liberal plan includes solar energy.
By the way, over the past weekend when the wind didn’t blow, Nova Scotia Power’s infographic showed 6% of the electricity produced on Saturday came from burning biomass from the forest. Year-to-date, Nova Scotia Power says 31% of the province’s electricity has been generated from renewable sources — including biomass, which is not technically renewable unless the wood has been sustainably harvested.
No Liberal Solutions for health care, say PCs
Ten days into the election campaign, both the PC and NDP leaders have sent out news releases accusing the Liberals of “silence” around health care issues such as long wait times for surgery, overcrowded Emergency departments, and lack of family doctors.
Both parties have unveiled initiatives around mental health, ambulances, and more operating room time. Later this afternoon Iain Rankin is scheduled to make a statement on health care.
Liberals promise expansion for NSCC
Yesterday, Rankin announced a reelected Liberal government would spend $69 million over the next four years to expand programs offered by 14 Nova Scotia Community Colleges across the province and improve access to the labour market for people who want to acquire skills to work. Rankin made the announcement in front of a multi-unit housing construction site in Spryfield.
“The lack of an adequate supply of housing to meet demand is an issue impacting housing affordability,” said Rankin. “This initiative will lead to more construction trades graduates who are in high demand by developers wanting to build more housing of all types.”
The Liberal plan includes:
• Adding 800 new seats to meet evolving labour market needs. This will include 400 seats in health-related disciplines and 400 in residential construction trades, information technology, and green energy programs.
• Create 6,000 new seats, bringing the total to 10,000, for short- or part-time courses, micro-credential programs, and certifications in disciplines such as smart homes, entrepreneurship, and green design.
• Double the Pathways program from 500 to 1,000 students to create opportunities for upgrading educational credentials for people from diverse or visible minority backgrounds who have recently arrived in Canada or may not have the prerequisites required by colleges and universities. Examples of current Pathways offerings include the Achieve program, English for Academic Purposes, as well as the various Irving Shipbuilding Centre of Excellence programs that have increased the number of women, African Nova Scotians, and First Nations people employed at the shipyard.
There are currently more than 10,000 students enrolled in community college programs and most of the training spots for trades are full and have a waiting list. Rankin said 270 of the 800 new seats will be reserved for training licensed practical nurses (LPNs), who are in short supply and provide the bulk of skilled care in nursing homes.
A spokesperson for the NSCC, Kathleen Cameron, said “an annual survey of College graduates shows that 82% are employed one year after graduation, most in their field of study, with 94% of those employed living and working in Nova Scotia.”
2. Paper Excellence’s very big deal
This Thursday morning is a big deal for shareholders at pulp-and-paper firm Domtar. As Joan Baxter reports in her latest article Paper Excellence’s very big deal, those shareholder “will vote on whether to accept the sale of all the corporation’s issued and outstanding shares of common stock to Paper Excellence for US$55.50 per share in an “all-cash transaction” worth about US$3 billion, or CN$3.77 billion.”
It’s a lot of money, to be sure, but as Baxter reports there are plenty of concerns about the deal, too. Baxter writes:
If the Domtar acquisition goes through, it will give Paper Excellence control over an additional 12 pulp and paper mills in North America, four of them in Canada, as well as nine “manufacturing and converting facilities” in 15 US states. Domtar has “21 manufacturing facilities located around the world” and 6,400 employees “serving more than 50 countries around the world.”
According to Bloomberg, the transaction would “take U.S.-listed Domtar private” and according to the global organization Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) it “would put at its helm a family that’s internationally notorious for both human rights abuses and deforestation.”
Baxter runs through some of the warnings Domtar’s shareholders have received about the deal, including a letter signed by 68 organizations from around the world and a statement from the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF).
While this article isn’t behind the paywall, Baxter’s work takes considerable effort. If you’d like to subscribe to support her work, click here.
3. COVID update: 1 new case
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Only one new case of COVID-19 was announced on Monday. That figure represents totals for the weekend, too, since there the weekend updates are no longer provided. As Tim Bousquet says in his complete update, that case is a close contact of a previous case.
There are now 13 known active cases of the virus in the province.
Here are the scheduled pop-up testing locations for today:
Halifax Convention Centre, noon-7pm
Shore Club, Hubbards, noon-7pm
Cole Harbour Legion, 11:30am-7pm
4. Black MLA candidate’s signs burned
Matthew Byard had this report on the destruction of campaign signs belonging to Tamara Tynes Powell, the Liberal candidate who’s running in the riding of Truro-Bible Hill-Millbrook-Salmon River. As Byard reports, on Sunday night Tynes Powell wrote this statement on her Facebook page:
So sad to see one of my signs be vandalized and stepped on, but hate can not stop hate. Only love can stop hate. I love my community and I will not stop. I will be a part of the change and solution, not part of the problem.
Tamara for MLA
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Women have had enough of being told what to wear
Many women, myself included, will never get to the Olympics or stand atop a podium for a medal, but we all know the ridiculous and sexist game of being told what to wear. If you’re unaware, what women wear has been a hot topic at the summer Olympics in Tokyo. There was the women’s beach handball team from Norway who were fined for wearing shorts rather than bikini bottoms.
Women Olympians are fighting back, though. The women’s gymnastics team from Germany wore unitards during competition rather than bikini-cut leotards.
German gymnast Elisabeth Seitz told CNN, “It’s about what feels comfortable. We wanted to show that every woman, everybody, should decide what to wear.”
Elsewhere in sports, Olivia Breen, a British Paralympic athlete, says she was told at the English Championships this month that her shorts were “too short” and “inappropriate” after she competed in a long-jump event. Breen told the New York Times the day she and other athletes competed was a hot one and male athletes took off their shirts and weren’t pulled aside about that. But after her event, she was approached by an official about her shorts. Said Breen:
She [the official] was just like, ‘I think your briefs are too revealing, and I think you should consider buying a new pair of shorts.’ My first response was, ‘Are you joking?
This year isn’t the only time there’s been an uproar over women’s uniforms at the Olympics. I found this excellent Twitter thread by Kathleen Smith talking about the “Katerina rule,” which was developed after figure skater Katerina Witt wore a costume made from leather and feathers that was labelled as not modest enough.
As Smith wrote in her Twitter thread:
When it’s a sport predominantly watched by old white ladies (figuring skating), the ISU will demand “modesty” in costuming. After all, the ISU literally changed the rules after Katerina Witt’s blue leather & feathers costume caused the old white ladies to clutch their pearls in 1988. It was even dubbed “the Katerina rule” & was focused on keeping her amazing ass covered.
And it’s not just the Olympics. Serena Williams’ catsuit was banned from tennis competition. Google “Flo Jo” and the first suggestion will be her nails, not her win record. Even when we are at the top of our game, we are reduced to what we wear, how we look.
And if it’s a sport predominantly watched by men, well … they’d put us out there completely naked if they could get away with it. Anything to improve viewership. Because in the end, we are still treated as little more than window dressing. A product to dangle in front of men.
The Olympics aren’t the only place where women and girls are told what to wear. Let’s take a look at a couple of news stories just from this year, shall we?
In January, students at Sydney Academy in Cape Breton got a more lenient dress code after students held a protest against the previous dress code. Just a month before the new code was adopted, a girl at the school was sent home for wearing a crop top that showed her midriff. As Tom Ayers with CBC reported, students held a protest outside and 15 cops showed up. Even parents supported changes to the code with one parent, Doug Lionais, told Ayers the code was outdated, adding “that type of dress code is in itself a sexualization practice. It is educating people, both boys and girls, that these parts of their bodies are sexual parts, when they’re not.”
Student Adrian MacDonald told CBC that it was the girls who were punished more often for violations of the dress code.
Meanwhile, in BC in February, Karis Wilson, a student in BC, was sent home for wearing a dress over a turtleneck. Wilson’s teacher said the outfit was inappropriate. Wilson’s mother told CBC Radio West:
[Karis] was told that it could possibly make the male student teacher feel awkward and it could make [her female classroom teacher] feel awkward since it reminded her of a lingerie outfit.
It’s actually a very modest outfit when you actually look at it … I think the initial comments were based on the fact that it had lace.
Why isn’t the real issue that the male teacher might feel awkward looking at a student’s clothing? Here’s the outfit:
Like the students at Sydney Academy, Wilson’s classmates staged a walkout in her support. The dress code for that school’s district was just updated this month. A school year can’t go by without a young girl being sent home for what she wears.
I asked the women on my social media if they had stories about being told what to wear. Here’s some of what they shared:
The first time I was told what to wear I was in grade 6, wearing a spaghetti strapped shirt because it was June and so hot. I was one of few kids wearing a bra, I had to wear a sweater from the office all day! Allie Mackay
Got called out by a higher up for not having a “professional enough wardrobe”. When I explained that 30K/year was barely enough to pay rent, utilities & student loans, he was unmoved. I told him I’d buy better clothes if the co. gave me a clothing allowance. They didn’t. And I showed up as nicely dressed as I could afford to – I just couldn’t afford much beyond what was available at Giant Tiger. I mean, I was BROKE. – Renee McTavish
In the early 80s as the first cohort of women mechanics in the army, we often judged other women for what they wore. People don’t admit this and my women’s studies helped understand it later. -Debbie Adams
School Uniform Girls: Navy blue tunic, white blouse, school tie, navy sock or leotards, navy blue shoes, school blazer or sweater. Boys: Any pants but jeans, any colour, any colour button-down shirt (even plaid), any tie, any shoe but sneakers. – @annwmac
I will never forget the first time someone other than my parents told me I wasn’t dressed appropriately. It was at church and the old bitty didn’t like my coat. To which I responded, that maybe her god cared more about my presence than my clothes. – @nslisa
In the 80s,I worked in Toronto at a company that insisted that all the women that worked for the CEO were required to wear dresses. They were appalled that I dropped off paperwork at his office wearing *gasp* pants. – @eileenb77
I was told early in my career that it was unprofessional to have my (tattooed) shoulders uncovered. I have worn a blazer or cardigan every since.- @AwakenedAngel
You shouldn’t wear black because it ages you. You should wear sexier clothes because it makes you look young. You should wear makeup because it enhances your natural beauty. You should weigh more. You should weigh less. Your muscles are too big. Your butt is too small… – C. MacGillivray
I was in a very abusive relationship with a guy and my clothes were laid out for me everyday. I was to only wear what he told me too, speak when spoken too. It didn’t matter what I did right I always got hit. To this day I wear what I want, talk to who I want. He went bye bye. – Christine Johnson
I was told that by the ex and simply laughed in his fool face. I would double-dog-dare anyone to say it now. I’ve reserved a big middle finger to those folks. @RollingRedRoads
What to wear, how to wear it, what we are too old or too young to wear, what’s too revealing, what’s not revealing enough, and the ever-present admonition to smile. – Dr. Pamela Yates
In 60s at U of Kings College female students weren’t allowed to wear pants in the library. Until I pointed out that as we were all wearing miniskirts at the time perhaps trousers would be a better option. – @jeanmchard
As a teenager, I was told by a woman for whom I babysat on the military base to only wear large tee-shirts, baggy cardigans, and “no tight pants” because she didn’t want her husband’s gaze to be distracted by another female who was younger and hadn’t had kids and body sag yet. I was a kid so didn’t say this out loud, but even then I thought “Honey, that sounds like a “you and him” problem, not remotely my issue.I remember working at Sears tele-catalogue back in the early 90’s and the dress code was very genderized — women must wear panty hose and dresses or skirts and guys must wear ties and other such nonsense. I assume there are still dress codes like this around, which has always surprised me how they can get away with it. Other than that, I’ve been lucky with respect to being told what to wear, apart from my mother telling me in high school that if I dressed nicer, I might get boys to like me. “Fuck those guys” was what I wanted to tell her.
A woman who dressed like Darth Vader with an actual cape told me to style my unmanageable hair and wear it down instead of in ponytails for 30 hour ICU shifts that started at 6am when I was an intern. And try some make up. I don’t even think I responded in words. – @macdoin
I was once advised by a prospective agent that I really should wear heels on stage, as I’m only 5’2” and it would make me look taller and my legs longer and more attractive. When I attempted, I just about broke my neck! How attractive is THAT?! – @cdtellier
And worse — being told by absolute bloody strangers, men, obviously, passers-by on the street, to smile. Smile! I can’t imagine saying that to a passing man or woman or anybody, ever. The nerve…. @bstewart108
You get the picture.
I thought I’d share one of my own stories about being told what to wear. It was a Saturday night at a well-known downtown Halifax nightclub where I worked in the 90s. That evening, a female supervisor gathered all of the female servers and told us the club owner was in the previous night. He passed along the message saying we all looked like “shit” (it was summer and I was wearing a sundress). We were told from then on to wear low-cut tops and short(er) skirts. We were all horrified and angry. Of course, we didn’t look like shit at all. We were wearing what many young women, including those customers at the club, wore at that time. But we weren’t showing enough skin for the owner, who thought this would help us sell more booze. I don’t remember any of us changing our style to look less like “shit.” I certainly didn’t; in fact, I recall wearing pants until I finally gave my notice to quit one night.
Women have heard it all: Your clothing is too tight, too baggy, too sexy, too conservative, too trashy, too boring, too short, too long, doesn’t cover enough, covers too much, you’re showing too much cleavage, not enough cleavage, you dress to young or you dress too old, and so on and so on. It’s downright exhausting. If you don’t like what a woman is wearing, then don’t wear it yourself and stay quiet. Otherwise, here’s what we think about it all:
Perkins House, and some vaccination history
On Sunday, I visited Perkins House Museum in Liverpool, which just opened this month after being closed for about six years for renovations. The house belonged to Simeon Perkins who arrived in Liverpool in 1762 from Connecticut. During his time in the town, Perkins kept a diary of all the happenings from politics to the wind direction on any given day. That diary has 46 years of details. The Chamberlain Society has the diary here.
The museum tour guide, Sandi Zinn, had so much knowledge of this place and was quizzing my friend and me on some of the items in the house, particularly those in the kitchen (I got a few correct). At one point, Zinn told us about the time smallpox arrived in Liverpool and the early attempts to inoculate residents against the virus. Perkins, of course, described this in his diary. Here’s the entry:
My family, say my wife, Lucy, Elize, Eunice, Mary, Simeon and Charlotte are inoculated by Mr. John Kirk, all in the left hand between the thumb and the forefinger, tho not in that loose skin, by making a small incision and laying an infected thread into about three-eighths in length. He then put a small square rag, double and over that a bandage to keep it in place.
Zinn told us many residents were inoculated against smallpox this way. Some lived, while others didn’t. Perkins also recorded deaths in his diary, which you can find here, and many included death from smallpox, but also from the inoculation itself.
This paper by Dr. Stefan Riedel has a very good history of smallpox, including the story of Dr. Edward Jenner and how he discovered the inoculation against the disease, which had been around for thousands of years. As the Riedel writes, Jenner was just 13 years old when he learned that somehow dairymaids were “some way protected from smallpox.” At that time, Jenner was apprenticing with a country surgeon and apothecary in Sodbury, near Bristol, England. It was while at that farm Jenner heard a dairymaid say “I shall never have smallpox for I have had cowpox. I shall never have an ugly pockmarked face.” Jenner would remember that story years afterward.
While Jenner’s interest in the protective effects of cowpox began during his apprenticeship with George Harwicke, it was 1796 before he made the first step in the long process whereby smallpox, the scourge of mankind, would be totally eradicated. For many years, he had heard the tales that dairymaids were protected from smallpox naturally after having suffered from cowpox. Pondering this, Jenner concluded that cowpox not only protected against smallpox but also could be transmitted from one person to another as a deliberate mechanism of protection. In May 1796, Edward Jenner found a young dairymaid, Sarah Nelms, who had fresh cowpox lesions on her hands and arms (Figure (Figure33). On May 14, 1796, using matter from Nelms’ lesions, he inoculated an 8-year-old boy, James Phipps. Subsequently, the boy developed mild fever and discomfort in the axillae. Nine days after the procedure he felt cold and had lost his appetite, but on the next day he was much better. In July 1796, Jenner inoculated the boy again, this time with matter from a fresh smallpox lesion. No disease developed, and Jenner concluded that protection was complete.
It would be almost another 200 years before smallpox was eradicated. Riedel writes:
The process of worldwide eradication of smallpox was set in motion when the World Health Assembly received a report in 1958 of the catastrophic consequences of smallpox in 63 countries (Figure 5 here). In 1967, a global campaign was begun under the guardianship of the World Health Organization and finally succeeded in the eradication of smallpox in 1977. On May 8, 1980, the World Health Assembly announced that the world was free of smallpox and recommended that all countries cease vaccination: “The world and all its people have won freedom from smallpox, which was the most devastating disease sweeping in epidemic form through many countries since earliest times, leaving death, blindness and disfigurement in its wake.”
I don’t know what my point is with all this, but as Zinn told us about Perkins’ children being inoculated against smallpox, even in the most rudimentary way and with no vaccine selfies for social media, I remembered how the efforts of Jenner got us to where we are today, even though the virus is different. Hooray for science.
Heritage Advisory Committee (Wednesday, 3pm) — live on YouTube
In the harbour
04:30: Tropic Hope, container ship, sails from Pier 41 for Palm Beach, Florida
05:00: John J. Carrick, barge, sails from McAsphalt for Holyrood, Newfoundland
05:00: Tavrichesky Bridge, oil tanker, arrives at Irving Oil from Saint John
06:00: MSC Tamara, container ship, arrives at Pier 42 from Gioia Tauro, Italy
13:00: Thunder Bay, bulker, arrives at Gold Bond from Charlottetown
17:30: MSC Tamara, container ship, sails for sea
18:00: Atlantic Condor, offshore supply ship, arrives at IEL from Vancouver
21:00: Atlantic Sail, ro-ro container, sails from Fairview Cove for New York
09:00: Joan Strickland, barge, sails with Atlantic Larch, tug, from Sydport for sea
18:00: Harmonic, oil tanker, sails from Point Tupper for sea
19:00: CSL Tarantau, bulker, arrives at Pirate Harbour anchorage en route for Aulds Cove quarry from Belledune, New Brunswick
I’m wearing leggings and a tank top.