1. Angela Parker-Brown
“Angela “Angie” Parker-Brown, the Truro woman who used eye-gazing technology to write a book about her journey with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), passed away Friday night with family members by her side,” Matthew Byard reports:
In September, Parker-Brown held a book launch for her book Writing With My Eyes: Staying Alive While Dying on the front lawn of her home in the Black neighbourhood known as The Island in Truro…
Parker-Brown’s book was published by Pottersfield Press. In a statement, Lesley Choyce, Pottersfield’s publisher who taught Parker-Brown at the Transition Year Program at Dalhousie University, said Parker-Brown “was one of the most inspired and inspiring authors I ever had the pleasure of working with.”
“She will be truly missed and I feel privileged to have been her publisher,” Choyce wrote.
Angela Parker-Brown was 50.
2. Emergencies Act report reaches very Canadian conclusion
Last week, Ontario Appeal Court Judge Paul Rouleau released his Public Order Emergency Commission Report, in which he found the use of the Emergencies Act to end the occupation of downtown Ottawa by protesters was justified. But that justification comes with several caveats, and that’s not a bad thing, Stephen Kimber argues:
The Emergencies Act mandates that an inquiry be held after it is invoked. Rouleau essentially says the government did the right thing, but if there had been better preparation, and if others (hello Doug Ford) had done their jobs properly, we never should have gotten to this point. Kimber writes:
An election-bound Ontario Premier Doug Ford did his best to shunt responsibility, and blame, for the crisis onto the federal government. The Ontario government, Rouleau wrote acidly, “could have also provided the people of Ottawa with a clear message that they had not been abandoned by their provincial government during a time of crisis.” It failed.
It was those failures upon failures, Rouleau suggests, that allowed the social media-amped protests to get so out of hand that there was, in the end, no choice but to use the federal government’s emergency powers to regain control of the situation.
I think he’s right.
But I also agree with Rouleau that “reasonable and informed people could reach a different conclusion.”
Building permit fees in Halifax have not gone up for 25 years, but that’s about to change, Zane Woodford reports:
Building permit fees are going up 25% on April 1.
Halifax regional councillors voted for the increase, which will bring in an additional $1.45 million in annual revenue for the municipality, during a budget committee meeting on Friday. The motion passed unanimously.
Kelly Denty, executive director of Planning and Development at HRM, brought the idea forward to councillors as an option to raise some extra revenue for 2023-2024. Councillors have been looking to a long list of those options to lower the coming increase to the average tax bill.
“Building permit fees haven’t been adjusted in 25 years, one of the things we did just after amalgamation and left them,” Denty told councillors.
Compared to other cities, HRM’s fees are among the lowest, Denty said, and well below the median.
But will housing minister John Lohr veto this bylaw, as he has others?
Click here to read “Halifax councillors vote to hike building permit fees by 25%.”
In the article, Woodford also looks at arts and culture groups reacting to potential arts funding cuts, and council’s considering spending nearly half a million dollars on planning consultants.
On Wednesday, the society announced that Vanessa Fells was hired for the role of advisor of equity and access. The society also announced that Marla Brown will be taking on the role of director of equity and access.
“What both of those positions do is they will work closely with the executive team of the Barristers’ Society, [which] helps to regulate the legal profession,” Fells said in an interview.
“It’s to make sure that the legal profession is accessible and reflects all of the different equity-seeking peoples within Nova Scotia, so that whether the person is African Nova Scotian, or Indigenous, or a person with a disability, or somebody that has immigrated here from another country, that the legal profession understands what those challenges will be, legally, but also that they have individuals that come from all of those diverse backgrounds.”
5. Jim Nunn
Jim Nunn has died. Nunn was a familiar face at CBC for decades, having served as the host of CBC News Nova Scotia at Six, Land and Sea, and Marketplace. He retired from CBC in 2009.
“Jim was quite the character. He was known to many in Nova Scotia as this great journalist but ultimately people who knew him really well, he was a great man,” Nunn’s brother, Bruce, told CBC News.
Bruce said his brother’s broadcast career started on the knee of their father “at the microphone of CJFX radio in Antigonish … so Jim got into the business very early.”…
Geoff D’Eon, Nunn’s executive producer from 1988-93 when he was anchor of First Edition, said Nunn was a “fearsome and fearless journalist.”
“He had a really terrific journalist brain … he’d always ask really probing and sometimes impertinent questions and I personally felt he was a terrific broadcaster and CBC and Nova Scotians were lucky to have him as host of the show,” D’Eon said.
Come for the tributes to Nunn as a journalist and fine person, and stay for the clips of him interviewing John Dunsworth and Alice Cooper, who, Patil writes, “grabbed him by the throat and threatened to tear his eyeballs out and throw them across the studio.”
When Nunn announced his retirement, Parker Donham wrote:
His command of Nova Scotia politics is without equal in journalism…
Jim is a stalwart and loyal friend, one of my closest. He has the wit to conceive the exact right question for skewering the pompous and powerful, and the guts to ask it without fear of personal consequences. This hasn’t always served him well with CBC brass, but it served Nova Scotians and Canadians damned well for three decades.
Jim Nunn was 72.
6. Donair snub
The New York Times Spelling Bee game does not accept the word “donair,” John DeMont informs us at SaltWire.
The Spelling Bee works like this: You get seven letters, arranged in a pattern with one letter in the middle, and you have to make as many words as you can using them. However, the words have to contain at least four letters, and every word has to use the middle letter.
One day last week, the letters were R A O D I C N, with D in the middle.
“This is an outrage,” decried the Twitter account for King of Donair, the Halifax-based chain that lays claim to introducing the snack to Canada in 1976.
The KOD’s fury, like much of the online ire, was fake news, I discovered when I contacted the business’s owner Nick Nahas the other day.
He turns out to be a word puzzle maniac, the kind of guy who does the NYT’s Sudoku, mini-crosswords, and Wordle daily, as well as the Spelling Bee, which he completes in friendly competition with his mother…
Nahas, as a regular, knew that the puzzle accepted a broad range of words. A month or so ago, he learned that the vittle that has long sustained his family was not among them…
When I called, he laughed in a good-natured way, then said, “I do get it.”
OK, so this is all fun and silliness, but the thing is, the Spelling Bee — like crosswords — plays a role in reflecting what’s seen as common knowledge. Only the Spelling Bee is a far worse offender than the New York Times crossword, in this regard. (Lots of words acceptable for the crossword are not accepted by the Spelling Bee.)
The thing with the list of what’s acceptable because it’s “common knowledge” is that it skews so heavily to the western. Pick pretty much any Italian food, and it’ll be an acceptable Spelling Bee word. But what about delicious momos? Or West African staple fufu? Or other words that really are not obscure, like neem, for goodness’ sake?
The same day that the Spelling Bee snubbed donair, it also refused dozens of other words that are in the dictionary, including cardoon (a very bitter green you can actually buy in Halifax! I don’t recommend it, though), and ordinand.
Other words that were not accepted in recent bees: killick, inulin, plebian, lepton, unpeel.
So don’t take it personally, Halifax.
Ezersky has actually written that the food words are the ones he gets the most complaints about. Allow too many “obscure” ones and people complain that they couldn’t possibly know them. Tighten it up too much and people complain about that. I am in the latter camp, and say “Fuck you, Sam Ezersky” at least a couple of times a week while doing the Spelling Bee.
7. I still have no idea what The Pier does
I’ve been reading about port stuff for something I’m going to write for Thursday (stay tuned!) and so I realized I had missed the one-year anniversary of The PIER (yes, written like that).
The Port of Halifax issued a press release back in November, so I figured I’d go read it and see if I can finally figure out what The PIER does… but nope.
Here is the release in its entirety. Maybe you can figure it out:
November 28, 2022, Halifax, Nova Scotia – The PIER, Canada’s first living lab for transportation, supply chain and logistics, officially marked one year of operations last week.
“The PIER champions innovation in supply chain transparency, sustainability, decarbonization and port connectivity,” said Andrew Black, Director of Innovation. “The PIER helps the Port of Halifax to become more efficient, sustainable and reliable.”
The PIER is a member-driven organization that advances projects in transportation, supply chain and logistics. Throughout the year, PIER members advanced projects with several notable programs including the Ocean Supercluster, Sustainable Development Technology Canada, the Ocean Startup Project, and Innovative Solutions Canada.
The PIER continues to regularly welcome dignitaries including the German Ambassador, the Governor of the Bank of Canada, and the Minister of Transport Canada.
The transportation-sector living lab hosted several large-scale events this year, including:
Community of Practice for Living Labs session with Transport Canada and National Research Council Canada
CDL (Creative Destruction Lab) Atlantic Fall Ocean Session
Economist Impact’s World Ocean Tech & Innovation Summit opening reception
Member Days held on May 2, 2022 and October 19, 2022
The PIER currently has 41 members, six Founding Partners, and two Industry Partners with additional partners and members expected to join in the upcoming year.
About The PIER:
The PIER (Port Innovation, Engagement and Research) is a global showcase for sector innovation in transportation, supply chain and logistics. Through bringing together a complementary mix of operating partners, innovators, tech companies and researchers, The PIER creates a context where partners collaborate and innovate to develop solutions.
15-minute cities: walkable urban centres are open-air prisons, apparently
A couple of weeks ago, during one of our regular Examiner Zoom meetings, Zane Woodford and Yvette d’Entremont both asked me if I’d followed the ridiculous discourse around 15-minute cities. I had no idea what they were talking about, other than a vague notion that the 15-minute city is an urban planning ideal whereby you can meet your basic needs within 15 minutes of your home.
During our meeting, I went over to Twitter, and looked up 15-minute cities. Well. It seems it didn’t take long for some people to take the idea that it would be nice if you had services available near you in a walkable city — you know, like the way cities actually were for centuries, before the car drove sprawl-style development — and turn it into the notion that the government plans to imprison us.
The usual loud-voice anti-vaccination, anti-trans, pro-gas stove voices are prominent (hello Theo Fleury et al) in pushing this unhinged notion. (I know, I’m just a stooge, and once it actually becomes possible to live my life within a small radius, I will be FORCED to do it.)
Even worse are the people who I am guessing 95% of the time couldn’t give a shit about Jews or the Holocaust, but now feel that creating walkable cities is akin to being trapped in a ghetto before being shipped to a concentration camp. No, I am not joking.
I refuse to link, but trust me, I saw a tweet that said this:
With everything being turned into 15 minute cities, it’ll end up like The Handmaid’s Tale where you’re practically a prisoner but there’s one monitored shop for basics and that’s it.
Everything else will have gone.
Erin Anderssen of the Globe and Mail wrote about this 15-minute city mania last week, including the Edmonton protest from the image above:
The city just wants more people to be able to walk to their local grocery store, [senior Edmonton city planner Sean Bohle] said, as protesters circled him, hurling questions. Wasn’t the government really just trying to restrict private car ownership? No, Mr. Bohle answered, but building more bike lanes might mean fewer parking spaces. Why didn’t the plan specifically promise never to barricade people into districts? “We didn’t consider that,” he said, straight-faced. “There are infinite things the plan will not do. We’re not going to neuter your chinchilla, for example.”
Opponents of the 15-minute city structure say this European concept doesn’t translate well to the layout of North American city design and could potentially cause further inequality. But that’s a more academic debate around urban planning, economics, and gentrification…
More than a few critics on social media — especially TikTok — have taken over the idea by saying any renewed push for the 15-minute city is simply a way to control citizens, track movements, limit mobility, and eventually create prison-like zones.
I can understand people being wary of change. But I am completely baffled by people who seem to think that the way they live now is somehow not the result of social engineering, but that any attempt to change those structures is.
Turn off, tune out, drop out
Over a year ago, we decided to drop our Netflix subscription. How much stuff were we actually watching? Not much. The thing is, there were lots of movies and shows we could or might want to watch. And it was somehow comforting knowing they were available. But did we actually watch them? Not really.
The last time we shared a password with someone was to watch the most recent season of Sex Education, and it irritated me so much I regretted it. (Don’t get me started on Gillian Anderson’s character writing the first draft of a book and then doing publicity interviews four months later.)
We also don’t subscribe to Crave, Disney+, or… anything really, other than Spotify. At first it’s a bit like being in school when the kids are all talking about something you haven’t seen, but then it’s liberating. You know what? I haven’t got a clue what The White Lotus is about, and I don’t really care. Oh, is there maybe a new season of Russian Doll? Whatever. One of us does have a password-sharing arrangement that allowed us to watch Our Flag Means Death, so that was great. But it was also not essential.
I finally got fed up with Twitter and stopped being active on there. I still have an account, I’ll post links to my work from time to time, and I’ll go see whatever people are saying about said work. On the one hand, not being active on Twitter means I don’t get to be among the first to shake my head at the stupidity of the 15-minute city discourse. On the other hand, it means I’m not annoyed first thing in the morning when I look at it, and I’m blessed with colleagues who can point me to crap like this if I need to see it. Also, it eventually filters down to other platforms. There were a few people discussing the 15-minute thing in my corner of Mastodon over the weekend. The discussion has a very different flavour from Twitter though, ie, less stupid.
The thing is, there is no shortage of stuff out there to watch free. And I am also fine with paying to rent digital copies. Kanopy, available through the library, gives us five free views each per months. Tubi is full of classics I never watched and would like to catch up on. (Also schlock. Lots of schlock.) CBC has Gem, if you can stand seeing the same ads over and over and over again. There are lots of video-on-demand indie films you can watch, and films available through festivals, and on and on and on and on.
Part of my job involves keeping up to date with stuff. But needing to keep up to date also becomes an excuse for being overly reliant on various forms of media. Enough.
Halifax Regional Council (Tuesday, 1pm, City Hall and online) — agenda
Budget Committee (Wednesday, 9:30am, City Hall and online) — agenda
Heritage Advisory Committee (Wednesday, 3pm, online) — agenda
Veterans Affairs (Tuesday, 2pm, One Government Place and online) — agenda-setting
Public Accounts (Wednesday, 9am, One Government Place and online) — https://nslegislature.ca/legislative-business/committees/standing/public-accountsNova Scotia Community College – Annual Report, Skilled Labour Shortage and Continuing Care Assistants Recruitment Initiatives and Programs; with representatives from the Departments of Advanced Education; Labour, Skills and Immigration; Seniors and Long-Term Care; and Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC)
Myths, Facts, and Advances in treating Cancer: A Radiation Oncology Perspective (Wednesday, 7pm, online) — Dal Mini Medical School
Devastation Explained: Understanding Disaster in Syria and Turkey (Wednesday, 7pm, Halifax Central Library) — panel will discuss how the consequences of this natural disaster are not only ‘natural;’ with Serre Hakyemez, University of Minnesota; Joshua Landis, University of Oklahoma; Nesi Altaras, from Turkey and Montreal; and Cihan Erdal, Carleton University; moderated by Rylan Higgins, Saint Mary’s
In the harbour
06:00: MSC Bhavya, container ship, arrives at Pier 42
11:30: AS Felicia, container ship, sails from Pier 41 for sea
12:30: AlgoTitan, oil tanker, sails from Imperial Oil to sea
14:30: Zim China, container ship, arrives at Pier 41
16:30: Lumen N, oil tanker, arrives at Tufts Cove
17:00: Onego Bayou, general cargo, arrives at Pier 27
13:00 Ardmore Seawolf, oil/chemical tanker, sails from Everwind 2 to sea
- Proceeds from today’s Morning File will be going towards paying our unexpected vet bills.
- This is my first time doing ships. Usually Tim Bousquet sends them along and I paste them in, so I hope I haven’t made any terrible mistakes.