The meeting starts at 1pm. I’ll be live-blogging via the Examiner’s Twitter account, @hfxExaminer. Here are some of the bigger issues:
Voith Canada Inc.—$1,348,912 for two propellers for a ferry. This is part of a plan to replace and expand the ferry fleet. The first new ferry in this plan, the Christopher Stannix, is now in service. The second, which will begin to be built next year, will replace the Dartmouth III. Each boat has two propellers, which take 11 months to be constructed, so these will be finished just as they’re needed for the new boat.
City staff and city council are wringing their collective hands over a proposal first put forward by former councillor Jackie Barkhouse to align the city’s public reporting with the province’s requirement that public agencies like universities, hospitals, and crown corporations publicize the name and salary of each employee making over $100,000—the so-called “sunshine list.” To get to that point, staff is recommending that the city ask the province to designate the city and its dependent agencies (Water Commission, Library board, etc.) as named entities under the Public Sector Compensation Disclosure Act.
No doubt, tomorrow we’ll see all sorts of ridiculous arguments about privacy, but this is just silly. Already, every provincial employee paid more than $25,000 is listed on the Public Accounts website, and has been since at least the 1990s. You can go to the site yourself and see how much your neighbour who works for the province makes.
As it should be. Public employees are paid with the public’s money, and so the public should have the right to access that information. It’s a quirk of history and bureaucracy-growing that there are a host of provincial agencies whose employees aren’t covered by Public Accounts—the payments to the agencies themselves are, however. Anyway, the province should extend the full accounting to all public agencies, whether crown corporations or city governments. Failing that, the city should start its own public accounts website mirroring the province’s, and list every salary and expense, and that should be the end of it.
The staff report mentions that there are about 300 city employees who make over $100,000. I don’t think this is necessarily a big deal. People should get paid well, and if they’re doing a job that requires that kind of salary, well, that’s a fair expense. If the salaries are defensible, defend them. If they’re not, change them. But by hiding behind a wall of secrecy and not publicizing these salaries, the city breeds distrust.
The Utility and Review Board is conducting a review of the number of city councillors and the boundaries of council districts. You’ll recall that council was decreased from 23 to 16 members for the 2012 election.
Staff’s recommendation to council is that it tell the UARB that everything is working well enough, and there’s no reason to make anything but three very minor changes to the existing districts.
Powers of the Chief of Police
Since revisions to the Police Act in 1996, HRM’s four chiefs of police have been signing various documents committing the city to financial commitments, “some of which occur on a daily basis,” but apparently in violation of the city charter. To address that situation, staff is asking council to adopt changes in administrative orders that will make long-standing procedures legal.
Je ne parle pas Francais
Aider à faire Halifax une ville monde-cass, conseiller Darren Fisher rencontrera le français et manger des mégots de porc et boire du vin, en essayant de les convaincre de tenir des congrès ici.
Likely, council will vote to ask the province to allow non-citizens with permanent residency to vote in city and school board elections.
I’m an immigrant who got permanent residency, and then citizenship. The path isn’t always simple, but is always time-consuming, and even more so due to bureaucratic cuts made by the Harper government. Others may not want to get citizenship for personal or family reasons, but want to contribute to the community they live in. Allowing permanent residents to vote will perhaps make them feel more a part of the community, which may lead to them staying in Halifax.
Still, it’s all dependent on the province doing something, so council’s vote will probably be mostly symbolic.
Multicultural Advisory Committee
Councillor Linda Mosher wants to create a Multicultural Advisory Committee.
The public hearing for proposed changes in the Solid Waste system will be held at 6pm. This is not for the very controversy proposal to extend the life of the landfill, but rather for more limited changes for how green waste is handled and to require clear garbage bags.
Seven names will be added to the list of names that could be used for public streets or parks. Some are quite interesting:
Alvina Mae Perrier:
Mrs Perrier was born in West L’Ardoise in 1908. She and her husband raised their fifteen children on Lower Water Street, Halifax. Mr Perrier died just before the 15th child was born. Shortly after the death of her husband she received a gift of a Singer Sewing Machine from Ms Annie Dexter, a local radio host, who had heard of Mr Perrier’s passing and the number of children Mrs Perrier now had to look after.
Although Mrs. Perrier had many of her own children to look after she would receive bolts of flannelette from the Nuns at St Mary’s School which she would turn into diapers for struggling families in the neighbourhood. She made her children their winter jackets out of blanket coats purchased from the Army Navy Store. Any leftover material was used to make jackets for other neighbourhood children who needed a warm jacket.
Once Mrs. Perrier’s children were grown she went to work at St Thomas Aquinas housekeeping for the priests. After that she moved to St Patrick’s Parish where she worked with Father Joseph Mills. She assisted Father Mills with his endeavours for the homeless including getting Hope Cottage started.
In addition to her work with the homeless she also was involved in the L’Arche Movement. L’Arche is an international federation of faith-based communities creating homes and day programs with people who have developmental disabilities. Started by Jean Vanier in the 1960s, Mrs. Perrier became involved in the 1980s and was instrumental in developing a Halifax Charter. She helped organize many retreats at Mount St Vincent.
Arthur Harrison Eisenhauer (most commonly known as Harrison) was born in 1885, the son of Samuel and Sarah Eisenhauer of Hammonds Plains.
In 1927 he was hired as a Forest Ranger (aka Game Warden) with the Provincial Forestry Department for the local Hammonds Plains area.
On November 29, 1931, while he and a colleague were checking on a complaint of Sunday hunting in the Kearney Lake area he was beaten by illegal hunters with the butt of a rifle. With serious head wounds, he was taken to the Victoria General Hospital in Halifax. He died while still in the hospital on December 12th and is buried in St Nicholas’ Anglican Cemetery in Hammonds Plains.
Following the death of Mr. Eisenhauer, murder charges were laid against 3 individuals.
Mr. Saulnier passed away in Spryfield in 2008 at the age of 61. He was a devoted Santa’s helper who portrayed Santa in the Spryfield Santa Clause Parade and the Spryfield Mall for 29 years. In 1990 Mr. Saulnier had collected many artifacts and photographs pertaining to the history of Spryfield and surrounding communities. In 1990 he was the founder of Mainland South Heritage Society and the local historian and genealogist. Local teachers called upon Peter to talk to their classes about the history of their communities. He constructed many miniature replicas of the local historical buildings of Spryfield, which are currently on display at the Captain William Spry Library. As well, he was an active member of the Maritime Civic War Living History Association and the Urban Farm Museum Society of Spryfield.
Ruth Goldbloom (b 1923) was a philanthropist who co-founded the Pier 21 museum in Halifax. She was born and raised in New Waterford, NS, to immigrant parents. Their immigrant experience influenced her throughout her life and was a major factor in her helping to found Pier 21. As Chair of the Pier 21 Foundation, Ruth raised $9 million in donations for the original restoration of Pier 21, and she spearheaded the $7 million Nation Builders Campaign. She became the first Jew to Chair Mount Saint Vincent University’s board, which was a Catholic women’s university at the time. She was the chancellor of the Technical University of Nova Scotia in the 1990s and fundraising chair for the Halifax area United Way.
Mr. Landry was born in 1933 and became a fire fighter. On October 1978 Mr. Landry, with the aid of his fellow fire fighters, but without the aid of his breathing apparatus, rescued a baby boy from a burning home on Federal Ave, Halifax. Upon arriving on the scene the crew was informed that there was someone trapped inside. Mr. Landry realized that there was no time to wait for a ladder to gain access to the building. Landry climbed up a trellis and onto a small overhanging porch roof. He then jumped from the roof and grabbed the rain gutter above. Hand over hand he moved his way along the gutter until he reached the window where a child was trapped. He broke the window with his helmet and climbed in. The room was completely black from the smoke. Landry felt his way around the room and found the crib. He managed to find the baby and gave it mouth to mouth as he attempted to exit via the window. When Landry reached the window his mates had a ladder in place and he handed the baby to firefighter Les Power.
Constable Charles Fulton:
Born in 1896, Fulton joined the Halifax Police Force at the age of 24. During the First World War he served overseas with field artillery. Because of his excellent record for service to his country, Fulton received the Military Medal.
At the young age of 28 Constable Fulton was shot while trying to apprehend a suspect on July 14, 1924.
Police were attempting to capture a bandit gang of thugs who had been terrorizing the city and suburbs. The battle began in the morning and raged on all day across the city. Every available police officer and constable in the city were sent out with orders to shoot to kill. One of the suspects was cornered near St. Thomas Aquinas School when he turns his gun on Constable Fulton, and instantly killed the policeman.
A 25 year old man was eventually taken into custody and confessed to the shootings. He had 3 accomplices a 21 year old male and two teenage girls.
Fulton was the first Halifax police officer killed in the line of duty.
Born in Halifax in 1908, Isabel showed an early interest in art, design, music and gardening. She was educated at Mount St Vincent Academy and the Nova Scotia College of Art before proceeding overseas for study at Heatherley’s in London. When World War II erupted Isabel immediately became involved. She helped organize a Service Canteen and later became Secretary of the Ajax Club (to improve the social life of the sailors stationed in Halifax). In 1942 Isabel enlisted in the Women’s Royal Canadian Navy Service. She was appointed commanding officer of the HMCS Comestoga with the responsibility of training 6,000 wrens. In recognition of her valuable service she was invested with the Order of British Empire in 1944.
Two years after Isabel resigned from the Navy, she was appointed Director of the Ontario Training School for girls with the task of training 1200 delinquent children. After six years she felt she had contributed all she could for these girls. The Navy, at this time, was requesting her return to the Royal Canadian Navy as a Commander R.C.N. Reserves on the Staff of the Chief of Personnel to assist in the creation of a permanent force of the R.C.N. Wrens. This assigned was completed in three years.
In 1959 she set out to explore the correctional facilities in various parts of Europe. On her return in 1960, she was appointed Superintendent of Canada’s Federal Prison for Women at Kingston, ON.
In 1966 she resigned her position and in 1967 she was requested by the Ontario Alcohol Drug Addiction and Research Foundation to do a short study of the narcotic addiction in Metro Toronto. After two years she compiled a report which advocated the treatment of those with narcotic addiction as sick people not as criminals. Miss Macneil was also a member of the Elizabeth Fry Society, a Council member of the Canadian Corrections Association and a member of the American Corrections Association.
The missing auditor general’s report
The auditor general’s report on the Washmill Underpass fiasco was initially supposed to be released in April. Eight months later, still no report. I’m told it’s being tied up by the city’s legal staff, which tells me this is going to be one “holy hell” report. An the more time that goes by, the worse the situation appears.
Tomorrow, council is going into secret session to discuss a “private and confidential report” produced by the Audit and Finance Committee and related to “A matter pertaining to an identifiable individual or group.” I’m not sure that this involves the Washmill report, but it sure looks like it.