1. CTV charged
“CTV Atlantic is facing a charge of breaching Canada’s Youth Criminal Justice Act for broadcasting video showing two youths accused in a 2014 violent home invasion in Cole Harbour, N.S.,” reports the CBC’s Jack Julian:
Christa Thompson, a Nova Scotia Legal Aid lawyer for one of the underage accused, said her client called her Aug. 25, one day after he appeared in Halifax youth court to enter a guilty plea.
“He had been seen on the news by various people in his life. The client reported to me, questioning me, basically wondering if he actually had been broadcast,” Thompson said Thursday.
“It showed my client, along with one of his co-accused, walking out of the courtroom with sheriffs, being escorted to the elevator where they would be taken down to cells,” Thompson said.
Police spokeswomen Theresa Rath refused to discuss details of the case until after a court date in February. She confirmed police investigated the complaint and ordered a corporation to appear in court in relation to an alleged breach of the Youth Criminal Justice Act.
If the charge is true, it was a jaw-droppingly dumb decision on CTV’s part.
Will CTV itself report on this? Steve? Jackie?
Yesterday, the city’s Design Review Committee approved the design of the two proposed buildings at the corner of Sackville and South Park Streets, despite a staff recommendation that the committee reject the design. The new buildings will replace the old CBC and YMCA buildings; the northern 13-storey building will host a new YMCA facility with condos above, while the southern 16-storey building will be ground-floor retail with condos above.
The height of the buildings wasn’t an issue for the committee — city council gave an exemption to height restrictions on the site so long as the buildings hosted a YMCA facility. At issue was the bulking of the buildings, especially the lack of a “step back” from the Paramount building behind. The staff report goes into great detail (scroll to the end) about staff’s problems with the proposal.
I was there for most of the meeting but had to leave just before the committee voted. It was clear to me, however, that the committee would accept the design. The short of it is that anything at all would’ve been acceptable to the committee because the YMCA will get what the YMCA wants.
Understand I’m not personally expressing an opinion about the building design. Honestly, I see pluses and minuses in it.
But it’s clear that the buildings reflect a financing scheme for the YMCA facility: the buildings had to be higher, and had to be bigger, to sell enough condos to pay for the expanded gym facility. I wonder, though, will any of that YMCA money go towards improvements over at the hardscrabble Y facility on Gottingen Street? Or does the money just go to subsidize southenders’ rec time?
I understand why the Y pursued this financing scheme. It makes sense: real estate is where the money is.
Many years ago, when interest rates were sky-high, I helped a little nonprofit get its books together. Back then, many nonprofits could live on their endowments — with a sufficiently large amount of money in the bank or in stocks, interest alone could pay for operational costs. (The same thing applied to many universities in the US.) I came to see this as a bad thing: it led to institutional drift, sloth, and getting away from the nonprofits’ mission. Far better, I thought, for nonprofits to have to continually go to the public and ask for grants and donations; that would keep the nonprofit on purpose, and if the public didn’t want to continue to fund a nonprofit, maybe it no longer served a social function. Moreover, I saw nonprofit administrators and other charity workers embrace what I now call “the financialization of everything” — that is, they adopted the world view of neoliberalism. This world view, I thought, would do much social damage and in the end negate the social good brought about charities.
I have some of the same thoughts now when I see nonprofits chasing real estate money. It’s a far more complex discussion than the bloated endowment funds of old (which evaporated thanks to the Greenspanization of the world). I wouldn’t expect nonprofit managers to even understand, much less think about, the long-term implications of a condo overbuild, or funding their operations on a simple land deal. Still, I don’t think this bodes well down the line.
Obviously I’ll have to expand on that some time.
3. Yarmouth Vanguard
Jennifer Vardy Little, managing editor of the Transcontinental Media’s papers in the south of the province, announced yesterday that the Yarmouth Vanguard, the Digby Courier, and the Shelburne Coast Guard will soon be merged into one paper to be called the Tri-County Vanguard.
Litte promised no cuts to editorial staff, but didn’t mention advertising or production staff.
It’s sad to watch these old local papers go into history.
Tuesday, I castigated the Liberals for their disconnect between the federal and provincial wings of the party in regards to austerity:
To his credit, Justin Trudeau campaigned against the failed policies of austerity, and his election was widely understood to be a reflection of popular rejection of austerity.
There is, however, a complete disconnect between the federal Liberal Party and its provincial counterparts in terms of austerity — while Trudeau wisely rejected the austerity policies that swept the western world’s governments after the financial collapse, Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil has double-downed on the same discredited policies. McNeil is slashing social spending, increasing university tuition, attacking unions, and otherwise implementing the austerity policies that work for the benefit of the 1% and impoverish everyone else.
Liberals, figure it out. You can’t both reject austerity and embrace it at the same time. Either Trudeau is right and McNeil is wrong, or vice-versa.
But it’s not just the Liberals who have this problem. The Chronicle Herald editorial board, which has been rah-rahing McNeil’s austerity agenda (see here, here, here, and here, for example), today lends support to Trudeau’s anti-austerity budget with a editorial headlined “Bring on the stimulus spending“:
For most Nova Scotians, the sooner stimulus spending begins, the better. We heard positive news on that front after a meeting this week between Premier Stephen McNeil and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
While political watchers warn that the pair’s common Liberal roots don’t necessary mean a flood of federal money is headed this way, we are optimistic that the federal government’s spending will translate into help with much-needed infrastructure projects in Nova Scotia.
Chronicle Herald editorial board, figure it out. You can’t both reject austerity and embrace it at the same time. Either Trudeau is right and McNeil is wrong, or vice-versa.
And if you maintain that you can do that — that somehow it’s OK to support austerity provincially and reject it federally, please show us your tortured logic. At the very least, you should acknowledge that that is in fact what you’re doing.
2. Dartmouth High
Lezlie visits her alma mater.
Graham Steele thinks protests are pointless:
I’ve been watching Nova Scotia politics very closely for 18 years, and I can’t think of a single example where a straight line can be drawn between a placard-waving, flag-flying, bullhorn-blaring protest at Province House and a change in government policy.
I think most such protests are a waste of time, if the objective is to try to get a government to do something, or to stop doing something.
I can’t help feeling that certain frequent flyers, especially the public-sector unions, organize protests at Province House only because it’s what they’ve always done.
They do it out of habit rather than conviction.
As Steele tells it, legislators either politely talk with protestors while ignoring their message, or skip right over the “politely talk with” part and get right on to the ignoring. Better, he says, for people upset about policy to, well, politely work in the shadows:
Persistence is the steady tap-tap-tap of interactions between citizens and politicians that tell the politicians they’re doing the wrong thing.
On the street, in the grocery store, in the coffee shop, in their office, over the phone.
Nothing flashy or loud, but repeated.
Not just one person, but many.
Not rude or aggressive, but firm.
Not just one phone call, but regular phone calls.
Not just one e-mail, but a steady stream over time.
I don’t have time to get into this this morning — I slept in to 6:30, yikes! — but some day I will expand on my thoughts about how the street protest has always been a bit unseemly for the prim and proper. Check out the comments on Steele’s article lambasting dirty protestors and the like — the exact sentiments were expressed against, say, the suffragettes.
Since stiff lip legislators and the equivalent of soccer hooligans among the rabble don’t see value in street protests, does that mean they’re a waste of time? Hardly. It’s precisely the uncomfortable presence — the women in black, or hippies, or filmmakers, whoever — publicly, rudely breaking out of socially acceptable rules of conduct and speech, that legitimizes the movement.
Street protests are annoying, to be sure. They’re the burr under the social saddle — but no one gets rid of the pain to the horse by ignoring the burr; sooner or later, you have to take the saddle off and address the problem, or you shift your weight to accommodate it, or just accept it and hope horse and rider can hobble along a bit farther without doing anything about it. But ignoring the burr isn’t an option.
Steele is wrong: you can drop your head and look elsewhere or get a police escort to avoid the crowd, but you can’t ignore the street protest. It’s impossible.
Does that mean street protests work? In terms of immediately affecting pending legislation, most often not. But in terms of legitimizing a political view over time, most definitely. This has been the lesson over and over and over again, from the anti-slavery Quakers to the suffragettes to union organizers to the Algerian revolutionaries to the anti-war hippies to Occupiers inserting language about the 1% into the social discourse: no legislator ever passes a demonstration and changes his mind to vote the way the protestors want. But over time, the protests shift the social gestalt, and sooner or later the protestors’ views become mainstream, and the responsible, prim-and-proper upper crust legislators either accede to the protestors demands, shift the legislative balance to accommodate their point of view, or figure out to hobble on for a bit, all the while deriding the protestors.
I say, Bring on the protests.
4. Cranky letter of the day
The Jan. 14 opinion piece by Cape Bretoners Andrew Parnaby and Lachlan MacKinnon revolved around the mural in Whitney Pier — the steel plant silhouetted against a fiery sky, painted on the side of the old Dollar Store.
But nowhere was the name of the artist given.
Would you run a column describing or reviewing a book without giving the name of the author?
Taiya Barss, Halifax
EDITOR’S NOTE: Created by local artist Keith Baldwin, the mural was funded by the Friends of Neville Park Society.
Audit & Finance (10am, City Hall) — Auditor General Larry Munroe will release his “Performance Review of the Management of Halifax Regional Municipality’s Reserve Funds.”
No public meetings.
Charlie Hebdo (3:30pm, McCain 2116) — “A panel discussion marking the one-year anniversary of the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris. Speakers include Christopher Elson, Vittorio Frigerio, Amal Ghazal, Vincent Masse, and Jerry White.” The discussion will be in English.
This date in history
On January 15, 1792, 15 ships carrying 1,196 Black Loyalists left Halifax for Sierra Leone. Sixty people died in the crossing.
In the harbour
Dinkeldiep, Saint-Pierre to Pier 42