1. Leon Joudrey has died
Joudrey was a decent man, someone who avoided conflict. He liked the woods, worked in forestry, hunted and fished. After his marriage fell apart, he bought a place in Portapique and lived by himself, minding his own business but helping out friends and taking side jobs clearing brush and taking out trees from time to time. People liked him, he liked people. He dated a bit, but he was still suffering emotionally from his failed marriage, so that never went anywhere much.
In a perfect world, or even just in the normal course of events, Joudrey would’ve gone on with his life, found his peace, maybe eventually find a woman he could’ve settled down with.
Bousquet says he has been “reliably told” that Joudrey died of suicide, and that he thinks of Joudrey as the Portapique killer’s 23rd victim.
This is an important story, and has far too much in it for to do justice to here. Among other things, it looks at Joudrey’s role in the narratives surrounding Lisa Banfield, and discusses why he was likely not called as a witness at the MCC.
I was surprised to see CTV report on Joudrey’s death by saying he “has died suddenly” and “his death is not considered suspicious.”
This is old-style reporting on suicide, where the thinking was that any mention of suicide is enough to encourage people to kill themselves. The trouble is that “died suddenly” and “not considered suspicious” are vague phrases that can lead to harmful speculation.
Reporting on Suicide offers recommendations and best practices for media. (The organization is a partnership among heavy hitters including academics who study suicide, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, psychiatry groups, media associations, and schools of public health.) The recommendations include the following:
Report the death as a suicide; keep information about the location general.
Describe warning signs and risk factors, including mental illness, that give the suicide context.
The Canadian Press offers guidelines to journalists writing about suicide as well:
Care is always called for when covering stories that involve suicide. Media outlets have long been mindful of “suicide contagion” — a phenomenon in which coverage of a news story that involves someone taking their own life can heighten the risk of others trying to follow suit.
However, there can be a compelling public interest in the facts that surround cases of suicide…
Perhaps most importantly, don’t shy away. Suicide cannot be ignored. Thoughtful judgment is called for in deciding when and how to pursue a story.
The Talk Suicide Canada hotline is available 24/7 at 1-833-456-4566. You can also call the Nova Scotia Mental Health Crisis Line (1-888-429-8167). And you can find a list of further Nova Scotia resources here.
2. New sanctioned tent encampment site in Sackville
The encampment is set up at an HRM-owned baseball field at the corner of Cobequid Road and Glendale Avenue. The residents were previously at another encampment on private property off Sackville Drive near the Sackville River. There are eight residents at the current encampment, which is the first designated encampment outside of Halifax and Dartmouth.
Rent speaks to people living at the encampment and those supporting them:
Janice [not her real name] said people are being renovicted from apartments in Lower Sackville and rents are increasing to prices many people can’t afford.
“Most places you can’t find a studio apartment for under $1,200,” she said. “People are renting out bedrooms in their apartments. They’re renting out the living rooms. I saw an ad one time they were renting the living room out, they were renting the master bedroom out for a couple. At the bottom it said, ‘also for occupancy, the hallway.’
Janice has been living in tent encampments for at least five months.
Click here to read “Halifax designates new sanctioned tent site in Lower Sackville.”
3. Advocate says plan to cap Nova Scotia Power increases should make provision for low-income ratepayers
“Brian Gifford, a founding member of the Affordable Energy Coalition, told the politicians at the Law Amendments Committee on Monday his group is ‘beyond frustrated’ that the amendments the government is proposing in Bill 212 did not include a change to provide ‘systemic rate relief’ to low-income ratepayers,” Jennifer Henderson reports.
Gifford says Nova Scotia has “the highest rates of energy poverty in the country.”
The current law says all domestic consumers must be treated equally, even though the prospect of rising power rates in a period of high inflation will hit the poor harder than the rich. A ruling by a Nova Scotia court more than 10 years ago said the Public Utilities Act would require an amendment to create a separate program for low-income ratepayers, like one established in Ontario and some US states.
To absolutely nobody’s surprise, a BC court “has granted Northern Pulp what it wanted, namely a six-month extension of the proceedings and an additional $7 million in interim financing, along with $5 million already approved but not yet advanced,” Joan Baxter reports.
As Baxter has previously noted, the bulk of Northern Pulp’s debt is owed to one of its parent companies, Paper Excellence.
In her latest article, Baxter says while the court’s decision is no surprise, the Nova Scotia government’s reaction — or lack thereof — is:
When Northern Pulp asked for a similar extension and for a court-ordered mediation process in the spring of 2022, counsel for Nova Scotia opposed and argued stridently against both the extension application and the forced mediation process led by former Supreme Court Justice Thomas Cromwell, who was requested by Northern Pulp et al.
The mediation process involves Northern Pulp, the province, Paper Excellence, and Hervey Investment BV (Netherlands), which last year filed a lawsuit against the province for $450 million in the Nova Scotia Supreme Court.
This time, counsel for the province, Sean Foreman and Debbie Brown, took no position on the Northern Pulp application.
5. Halifax Water: Two rate hikes in the next six months
The Utilities and Review Board has approved Halifax Water’s application for a rate increase, Zane Woodford reports. Rates will rise an estimated 3.6% “for the average residential family” in December and another 3.6% next April.
The increases cover freshwater, wastewater, and stormwater rates. In his story, Woodford explains why the utility sought the increase.
6. City blasts bill nullifying municipal bylaws as opposition amendment to soften it fails
Zane Woodford also reports on the latest with respect to Bill 225, the proposed provincial legislation that would give housing minister John Lohr the power to “nullify” recent bylaws he thinks “impact housing or development.” (Ain’t democracy grand?)
Lohr said the purpose of the bill is to strike down an amendment to the municipality’s noise bylaw that Halifax regional council passed in August. Council voted 12-5 to change the hours from 7am and 9:30pm Monday to Friday to 7am to 8pm.
But as MLAs on the provincial Law Amendments Committee heard during their meeting on Monday, the bill reaches further than the noise bylaw.
“Bill 225 is not about construction and blasting hours,” Mayor Mike Savage told the [Law Amendments] committee.
“It is about seizing new ministerial powers while striking a political pen through the Charter’s duty to consult the municipality it was designed to help govern.”
There’s a lot packed into this piece: claims of unconstitutionality, outrage, a failed attempt to soften the bill, and (surprise!) a developer who is happy to potentially see municipal regulations gutted.
7. Space for ‘healing’ at former Home for Colored Children site
The assistant manager of a Black business and community hub that is now housed in the former Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children says she hopes the space can be used in a positive way to help the community heal.
Kinney Place in Westphal recently celebrated its grand opening. Tenants include 902 Man Up, Preston MLA Angela Simmons, a salon, and Opus Cafe. A studio lounge is set to open in January 2023. There’s also a seniors’ lounge, an artists’ studio, and additional spaces available for rent to Black businesses and organizations.
“It’s an intergenerational space with a focus on bringing the community together,” said Cheyenne Jones, the assistant property manager for Kinney Place.
Jones’s father was a resident of the home, and she says Akoma Holdings, the organization that now owns the former home’s assets has more big plans.
An ode to maintenance
Maintenance is not sexy, but it’s essential.
That’s one of the takeaways from a think piece I read recently, and keep, well, thinking about it. The story, “The Disappearing Art of Maintenance,” is written by Alex Vuocolo, and appears in Noema magazine. (Noema is published by a thinktank called the Berggruen Institute, which has set itself the modest task of developing “foundational ideas about how to reshape political and social institutions.”)
Vuocolo starts off with the New York City subway system, and its Brightliner cars, which, have outlasted their expected lifespan by 23 years (so far) thanks to the MTA’s mechanics and their “process that relies on the know-how that long-time employees build up over years.” Maintenance, he notes, involves finding potential problems before they become problems:
That’s the difference between maintenance and repair. Repair is when you fix something that’s already broken. Maintenance is about making something last.
I expected the rest of the piece to be along the lines of “everything is disposable/nobody wants to repair anything anymore” but instead what I got was a far more thoughtful and engaging meditation on the relationship between maintenance and the fight against climate catastrophe, the limits of capitalism in prioritizing maintenance, and the denigration of maintenance as a nuisance rather than “a vital and necessary process.”
Maintenance, Vuocolo says, tends to unfortunately only been practiced under austerity. The MTA is underfunded, so it’s got to keep its old cars running, for instance:
Those that can afford brand new things can simply discard what breaks or is no longer useful.
But confronting the climate crisis, should also incorporate an ethic of maintenance — and that’s not easy under capitalism, Vuocolo writes:
Emissions goals are not unlike GDP targets. Both are administered abstractions, somehow all-powerful and impotent at the same time. They reduce action to aggregates and strip human actors of agency.
Maintenance is necessarily more focused on the particular. There is no single all-encompassing maintenance regime. It is always specific to material systems and the labor practices that they require. Best practices emerge at the intersection of production and consumption, service and use, formation and dissolution.
Under capitalism, maintenance is an ambiguous position, almost a kind of limbo. The economics are rarely cooperative. There are plenty of carrots from a technical point of view — make things safer, more reliable, longer-lasting — but often no stick. In the developing world (or budget-strapped transit agencies), sticks are everywhere. Cuba’s beautifully maintained mid-century automobiles owe their longevity to a cruel and arbitrary embargo…
Even when the market isn’t beset by shortages and price spikes, labor dynamics are fundamentally opposed to maintenance. In much of the developed world, labor costs are higher than material costs, which creates incentives to burn through fresh material rather than invest in the labor to use it more efficiently or maintain it for longer-term use.
We’ve all seen this in our personal lives, right? Several years ago, our not-that-old front-loading washing machine died. A local appliance repairman said he could replace the drum, but he didn’t think it was worth it. It might fail again, and we’d be better off just buying a new dishwasher. The thought of this made me sick. It just seemed so wasteful. We asked him to repair the machine. He did. A few months later we had to buy a new one anyway, as he had warned.
I recently read Dana K. White’s book Organizing for the Rest of Us, in which she says cleaning is only daunting if you let it pile up. White says:
Not doing the absolute basics every day means that when you “clean,” you spend hours excavating the kitchen. By the time you’re done, all the cleaning energy you started with is gone… The “big secret” is not top-to-bottom cleaning every weekend. It’s doing the dishes on Monday. And then doing the dishes again on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and even… on Saturday and Sunday.
In other words, maintenance.
We can apply this to our bodies and minds too. My former family doctor, now retired, referred to therapy as “basic maintenance.”
Although maintenance may come to the fore more during periods of austerity, austerity also prevents maintenance. We’ve just been through a decade of historically low interest rates. But instead of spending the money to renew infrastructure, our governments have prided themselves at the end of each fiscal year over how much of their own budgets they have failed to spend (their surplus). Maintenance takes place quietly, out of the spotlight. It’s not sexy. As Vuocolo writes:
The way the world is constructed today is no longer legible, politically or technically. Objects come and go under mysterious circumstances. Cars and trains either run or someone else fixes them. The objects in our lives are shipped to us from faraway lands, and they work until they don’t. Discarded, they get hauled away in the early morning by stinky trucks.
While repair and maintenance may be different, they are related. Vuocolo writes about the “right to repair movement,” which argues for corporations making their products easier to repair. Repair is also personally satisfying, as Clive Thompson, who writes about the intersection of culture and technology, has noted several times. In a 2014 piece in which he calls for a “fixer movement,” Thompson writes that “I started off upgrading a machine and I wound up upgrading myself.”
Repairing something yourself means you’re helping to make the world somewhat less of a toxic ashtray. You’re a rebel and you’re ecological. 🤘🤖
But the best part of fixing one’s electronics, really, is that it confers an intoxicating sense of competence.
One little piece of maintenance practice I’ve adopted from my engineer brother is a first-of-the-month list. It’s a perfect time to do a bunch of tasks that make things last longer. My list is relatively short, and includes soaking my air plants, running the washing machine’s cleaning cycle, making sure the dehumidifier filter is clean, and cleaning the gunk out of the dishwasher filter. Doing them on the first of the month means not having to think about when the last time they were done. And while none of the tasks are particularly challenging, exciting, or fun, doing them together does instill some kind of satisfaction. Plus, hopefully the plants will live long and happy lives, and so will the appliances.
A long season: How baseball fosters intimacy and community
Over the last few summers, I’ve spent many evenings and weekend afternoons listening to baseball games from Kansas City. No, not the Kansas City Royals, but the Kansas City Monarchs (formerly T-Bones) of the independent American Association of Professional Baseball.
Have I ever been to Kansas City or seen a Monarchs game? No. Do I particularly care about the team? Well, I’m starting to, after having listened to lots and lots of games. Could I name more than a handful of Monarchs players? Depends on what day you catch me. (There are a couple of Blue Jays family connections: Vladimir Guerrero Jr.’s cousin Gabriel Guerrero played for the team until he retired in the middle of the 2022 season, and Alek Manoah’s brother Erik Jr. was on the roster a couple of years ago too.)
So, if I don’t really care all that much about the team, why do I listen? Mainly, because of a guy named Dan Vaughan Jr.
And that speaks to the intimacy of radio, and the familiarity that builds over the course of the long baseball season.
Baseball broadcasting on the radio is a particularly intimate form in what is already the most intimate medium. I listen to Dan Vaughan Jr because years ago I started following the Australian Baseball League, and in particular the Perth Heat. With the 12-hour time difference between Halifax and Perth, Heat games were ideal listening on snowy weekend mornings when I’d be out walking the dogs in the woods. Crunch through the snow, listen to games featuring a mix of homegrown Australian talent, minor league prospects, and guys trying to eke another year out of their careers playing ball on the other side of the world. Vaughan and his then-partner Paul Morgan (an Aussie who is married to a Canadian and used to live in Toronto) became weekend companions. And because Mixlr — the app on which they broadcast — had a chat function, I could check in with them and other fans of Australian baseball. When the Australian season ended, I just kept tuning in to listen to Vaughan, now in Kansas. And I’m not the only one. I see Australians popping up in the chat during Monarchs games as well.
You listen to enough games, and over time, you get to know the broadcasters. Vaughan talks about his wife GayMarie, her work as an English teacher and her doctoral studies, and about his pride in his step-children. He brings his dog into the studio. He is a voracious reader when it comes to the history of baseball, in particular the Negro Leagues, and shares what he learns on the air.
I listen to hockey on the radio. Do I feel like I have a particular connection with the guys calling the games? I do not. Baseball is different.
A couple of months ago, the You Are Good podcast did an episode on the 1976 film The Bad News Bears. Co-host Sarah Marshall says she doesn’t understand baseball, and that her brain “actively repels understanding how the game is played.” But, she adds, “as a hanger for a story, I think it’s pretty much unparalleled.”
Baseball also provides an opportunity to spend time together and share stories. I know many people who don’t know much about baseball or particularly care about it, but who still enjoy going out to a ballgame. It is an opportunity for intimacy.
As one of the men on the podcast says, (I confess I could not tell if it was co-host Alex Steed or guest Jason Diamond):
Legitimately, the only closeness I had to any father figures was baseball. Because there’s all this… When you watch baseball with somebody, it’s a lot of quiet time. And I was never a quiet person. So I think understanding that I had to really focus in on the quietness of the game… was like, ‘Oh, I’m really having a moment with my dad or my grandfather here…’ And yeah, it’s not my favourite sport, but I get the deepness of it for some people.
Marshall adds: “You can’t really have those moments when you’re watching a hockey game, can you?”
Since this is the final week of the Major League Baseball season, as the Philadelphia Phillies and Houston Astros battle it out in the World Series, I want to point you to a few articles I’ve read over the course of the season which speak to this sense of continuity and intimacy.
Way back, before the season started, when the Major League owners had locked out the players, Dodgers pitcher Joe Kelly wrote a beautiful ode to baseball in the Los Angeles Times.
For some, all the business and beauty of baseball needs to be summed up in sound bites, tweets and Instagram stories. It’s so much more, which is a lesson I have learned…
You might not think this is an emotional game. Too much standing around. Picking flowers in the outfield. Talk, talk, talk and wait, wait, wait. Then, boom! The heart rate goes up for a few seconds. Then the cycle starts all over again.
That’s the knock. OK. But let me tell you that baseball can elicit the kind of emotions life rarely presents. And just when you think you had figured out those feelings, along comes something you didn’t expect.
I know. It has happened to me.
Baseball has allowed me plenty of wake-up calls. Maybe this is the time for one more for us all.
This should be the reminder that baseball is a book, not a sentence.
In September, Emily Waugh wrote a first-person piece for The Globe and Mail called “Life changes, baseball does not.” (Of course, baseball does change—see next year’s rule changes — but Waugh is referring to something more fundamental.
Baseball, she writes, “is important to me simply because it’s always there:
While those once-in-a-lifetime baseball experiences are stored permanently in my archive of memorable life events, even more valuable are the hundreds and hundreds of less-noteworthy ones in between, many of them spent listening to the soothing voices of Tom Cheek and Jerry Howarth crackling on the radio perched on my grandfather’s lap for the best reception.
And, of course, those classically tedious, otherwise forgettable games that provided a backdrop to conversation with family and friends or a welcome distraction after a demoralizing day at work – in one case a devastating interview for my dream job in my late-20s where the boss had asked me not about my professional qualifications, but if I would like to go out for dinner with him some time. Those games were also a non-judgmental companion in the dark, lonely months of early parenthood – the Jays didn’t know that my struggle to breastfeed my newborn son had me questioning my worth as a mother, or that I doubted if I would ever feel like myself again. They were just, there.
For me, it’s the two things non-ball fans often cite as the worst parts of the game – the relentlessly long season and famously slow pace – that make it so comforting. With 162 games in a regular season (nearly double the NBA and NHL’s 82), the game is always on when I need it and there is no pressure to watch if I don’t. Baseball’s easy, almost droning rhythm creates the perfect atmosphere for keeping my eyes on the game but my heart and mind in the meandering and often rewarding conversations that happen alongside it, whether I’m there at the ballpark or tuning in on the TV.
Waugh also has the courage to admit she missed the Joe Carter World Series winning homerun (her family had tickets to the game) because she instead went to a party hosted by a guy she had a crush on.
In September, the Advocate published a pleasantly meandering piece by John Casey called “Baseball as a first love on the way to gay self-love.” Casey writes:
Solomon Bates [is] a professional pitcher who until recently was in the San Francisco Giants farm system. He was released in August but is still trying to work his way to the big leagues. He just signed with the Sioux City Explorers, a team in the American Association of Professional Baseball, an independent league founded in 2005. This gives him a chance to keep his dream alive.
Bates is also discovering his self-love, and after years of conflict, he came out as gay last month. He did it by meshing the love of the game with the love of himself. He talked about the importance of being your true self and then posted his impressive statistics as a way to say, “Hey, take a look at what I can do.”…
I asked Bates about self-love, and how baseball helped shape his decision to come out. “It took a lot of self-learning and then reaching a point where I loved myself enough to make the decision to come out,” he said proudly. “One reason I wanted to come out was for other baseball players who love the game as much as I do and who might be struggling to see that gay players exist and that they can throw up some good stats.”
It’s spring training in Australia right now. The season opens November 10. Josh Reddick will be playing for the Perth Heat.
Board of Police Commissioners (Wednesday, 12:30pm, online ) — agenda
District Boundary Resident Review Panel (Wednesday, 3:30pm, City Hall) — agenda
Law Amendments (Tuesday, 9am, Province House) — agenda
Legislature sits (Tuesday, 1pm)
Legislature sits (Wednesday, 1pm)
Come Hell or High Water: (Tuesday, 12pm, online event, Click here to register)
Persons with disabilities have unique considerations when it comes to emergencies and evacuations. There are many access and functional needs to consider, particularly relating to communication methods, transportation, sheltering, access to assistive devices, emergency social services, and transition back to the community. Post-disaster audits from disasters highlight the need to improve emergency services for persons with disabilities. Emergency evacuations caused by severe weather are becoming more common, and an aging population means the number of people with disabilities will increase. What can governments, communities, and individuals do to better support persons with disabilities during emergencies?
Learning and Healing Through Art and Communication (Wednesday, 2:30pm, McNally Main 215, SC 301)
In this workshop we connect with our experiences and begin to move into the third stage of the healing process: Expansion and Empowerment, evaluating our beliefs and exploring new perspectives and possibilities. We explore avenues for creating and communicating in safe, meaningful ways, connecting to our trust with ourselves.
Film screening: “Festivals: Day of the Dead, Mexico” (Wednesday, 3pm, Library Classroom, Rm LI135)
Two Decades of Peace Education in N. Ireland: A Retrospective and Possibilities for the Future (Wednesday, 6pm, Loyola 179) — text
The Charitable Irish Society of Halifax is pleased to invite you to a talk by Bridget E. Brownlow, BA, MA, Con.Res.Cert. Director, Experiential Learning, Peaceful Schools International
In the harbour
08:30: NYK Delphinus, container ship, sails from Fairview Cove for Port Everglades, Florida
09:00: USS Gerald R. Ford, U.S. aircraft carrier, sails for sea
10:30: Hamburg, cruise ship with up to 420 passengers, arrives from Sydney, on a 120-day cruise from Hamburg, Germany to Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Canary Islands
10:30: USS Ramage, U.S. naval guided missile destroyer, sails for sea
11:00: USS Normandy, U.S. naval cruiser, sails for sea
11:30: Álvaro de Bazán, Spanish naval frigate, sails for sea
12:00: HNLMS Van Amstel, Dutch naval frigate, sails for sea
12:30: HNLMS De Zeven Provinciën, Dutch naval frigate, sails for sea
13:00: HDMS Peter Willemoes, Danish naval frigate, sails for sea
13:30: FGS Hessen, German naval frigate, sails for sea
16:00: Dynamogracht, cargo ship, sails from Fairview Cove for sea
17:00: Hamburg sails for Flores Island, Azores
17:00: John J. Carrick, barge, and Leo A. McArthur, tug, arrive at McAsphalt from Montreal
18:00: BSL Elsa, oil tanker, sails from Imperial Oil for sea
- Tomorrow is Read Canadian Day.
- I know it is not Canadian, but tomorrow is also the release date for Bob Dylan’s new book, The Philosophy of Modern Song (his first since he won the Nobel Prize for literature). I see the library has eight copies on order.
- I found a Sioux Falls Canaries (another AAPB team) at the Coldbrook Frenchy’s.
- I do not recommend trying to write Morning File while listening to the Fellowship of the Ring audiobook.