News

1. “The battle doesn’t end” in fighting barriers in the city

Fencing around 6399 North St. blocked the entire sidewalk at the corner of North and Oxford streets on Sunday morning. Photo: James Ross

Zane Woodford talks with Milena Khazanavicius about a fence that is now surrounding a development at the corner of North and Oxford streets. Khazanavicius is blind and she and her guide dog, Louis, were out for a walk on Sunday morning when they came upon the barrier. Khazanavicius tells Woodford about it:

“We go forward, we cross Oxford, smack dab into the fence,” Khazanavicius said. “That fence is taking up the entire sidewalk, including the curb.”

Louis wanted to turn around, but Khazanavicius kept moving forward, feeling the fence along North Street hoping there’d be somewhere for them to get up onto the sidewalk.

Khazanavicius was left with no place to go, stranded in a busy intersection — not “freaking out,” but “highly concerned.”

Khazanavicius, who has been fighting with city staff to have such barriers removed, once again contacted 311 and municipal engineers about the fence. The sidewalks were closed for an emergency, although a municipal engineer never told Khazanavicius what that emergency was.

Milena Khazanavicius and Louis

Khazanavicius is also fighting for changes to the pedestrian push buttons, which are different at every intersection. Khazanavicius made a presentation about the buttons to the Transportation Standing Committee last week. You can watch that here. 

You really need to read Woodford’s article. I wrote about Khazanavicius a couple of years ago when she was part of an event on women with disabilities. She’s taught me so much about barriers in the city and I’m glad she’s fighting them, but she shouldn’t have to.

Click here to read Woodford’s article. 

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2. Gutted Biodiversity Act passed by Law Amendments Committee

Just before Monday’s hearing, the government released the text of the changes to the Biodiversity Act that included entire sections that were blocked out.

Jennifer Henderson reports on the Law Amendments Committee’s vote in favour of wholesale changes to Bill 4, the Biodiversity Act. That vote came after the committee met for more than 11 hours yesterday and heard from more than 45 citizens.

One of the speakers was Lief Helmer, chair of the Mersey Tobeatic Research Institute, who says he’s disappointed by all the changes to the Act.

It’s a sea of red ink. The Act has gone from 50-60 sections down to 18. Many improvements have been removed in response to a divisive campaign. It’s really much diminished.

As Henderson reports:

The motion passed by the Law Amendments Committee (dominated by Liberals) no longer allows the government to issue Emergency orders on private land unless the landowner consents. 

Gone also are the conservation officers who under the previous version of the bill would have enforced the orders and the stiff fines of up to $500,000 for landowners and $1,000,000 for corporations that did not comply with the emergency orders. 

Click here to read Henderson’s story.

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3.  COVID-19 update: zero new cases

Ahvaz, Khuzestan Province, Iran. Photo by Ashkan Forouzani on Unsplash

Tim Bousquet has the latest update on COVID-19, which includes the good news that no new cases were reported on Monday.

You can get tested at a pop-up site. The schedule is here:

Wednesday: Mount Saint Vincent University, Rosaria Hall, 10am-5pm
Thursday: Mount Saint Vincent University, Rosaria Hall, 11am-7pm
Thursday: Wolfville & District Lions Club, 10am-5:30pm
Friday: Wolfville & District Lions Club, 11am-7pm

People who are 75 or over can book a vaccine appointment here.

There’s a COVID-19 briefing at 12:30pm today. Watch it here or on Facebook.

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4. Police union defends cop in video, while advocates want him fired

A still from the video of a Halifax Regional Police officer threatening to shoot a Black man. — DeRico Symonds/Twitter

On Saturday, Zane Woodford reported on a video that shows a Halifax Regional Police officer threatening a Black man during what police later said was a weapons calls. Chief Dan Kinsella released a statement later that night saying the officer in the video was put on administrative duty.

The Examiner received a link to the entire video. 

As CBC reports, a Halifax man has since been charged with several firearm and drug trafficking offences. The man in the video hasn’t been located.

The Halifax Regional Police Association defended the officer in the video, saying he acted appropriately in what was a “dangerous, dangerous situation.” The association’s president Sgt. Dean Steinburg tells CBC:

I can’t understand why the chief … has not come out to reassure the public that this officer was intervening in a very violent and dangerous situation and he was there by himself and he did a commendable job. And I think that’s what will ultimately come out in the investigation.

Halifax advocacy group GameChangers902 called the incident racially motivated police misconduct. Quentrel Provo of Stop the Violence, Spread the Love told CBC he thought he was going to witness a murder on the video and says the officer shouldn’t have spoken the words he did.

There has to be consequences for him [the officer] saying that because it doesn’t matter what situation or what is going on or what kind of call you’re getting called to, as a police officer, those words should not be uttered.

They’re there to serve and to protect. I should not fear for my life being around a police officer if they’re there to serve and protect the community.

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5. Could a ship get stuck in Halifax?

Global’s Paul Brothers talks with Lane Farguson with the Port of Halifax about stuck ships.

The world has been following the story of the Ever Given, the shipping container that got stuck in the Suez Canal.

This morning Paul Brothers with Global News interviewed Lane Farguson with the Port of Halifax, which is watching the backlog caused by the stuck ship, and to see if a ship could get stuck in the Halifax narrows or elsewhere.

The interview is here.

What would the memes be?

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6. Rankin unleashes news about dogs on patios

Barry’s just waiting for the drinks menu. Photo: Unsplash

This morning, the province announced that pet dogs would be allowed on restaurant patios and sidewalk cafes.

In a statement, Premier Iain Rankin says the news is what Nova Scotians and the restaurants want.

We’ve listened to the restaurant industry. They told us this change will help them attract more dog owners who want to enjoy a leisurely meal or a beverage and be able to do so without having to leave their dogs at home. The new rules will still protect food safety and allow restaurants to offer this option if that’s what their customers want.

The decision on whether dogs will be permitted on patios and at sidewalk cafes and how many dogs will be allowed is up to the owners of the restaurant, who will have to follow these rules:

  • pet dogs will not be allowed inside restaurants; they will only be allowed on patios that can be accessed from the street
  • dogs are not permitted to eat while at the restaurant but they can drink water from separate bowls brought by the owner
  • restaurants with dog-friendly patios must post a sign so potential customers are aware before they sit down

I’m not a fan of this idea. I don’t like strange dogs jumping on me. I wrote about this before when I went to Crystal Crescent Beach, which is an on-leash park, yet owners let their dogs run all over the place. I’m expecting some of that poor behavior to head to the patios, too.

Maybe I’ll bring my cat.

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1. Archiving the history of Nova Scotia’s LGBT seniors

Vintage LGBT pins. Photo contributed by Daniel MacKay

You know how much I love archives. Well, the other week I stumbled across the LGBT Seniors Archive at Dalhousie University. This archive just got its start in 2019 and is now collecting materials from senior members of the LGBTQ2S+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer or Questioning, Two-Spirit) community in Nova Scotia.

On Friday, I spoke with Jacqueline Gahagan, the principal investigator at the LGBT Seniors Archive, who is also a professor of Health Promotion at Dalhousie University. She says the idea for the archive was inspired by the federal government’s historic apology to the LGBT community in 2017 for systematic oppression — in which many community members were fired from the military, federal public service, and RCMP — for over four decades. Gahagan says the archive is a “tiny effort to recognize the huge contributions and sacrifices the LGBTQ2S+ populations in Nova Scotia have made to this broader conversation.” Says Gahagan: 

For me, what was really sad and telling in that apology — what about all those people who ended up losing their jobs, becoming homeless, becoming depressed, losing their family connections, who ended their lives prematurely because the onslaught, the discrimination, and the backlash was unbearable for them?

The distinction of seniors here is important because these are the community members who were in their early 20s when the movement was starting in the province in the early 1970s. Now that they’re seniors, Gahagan says it’s important to collect and preserve their stories.

Screen printed patch from a radical cheerleaders demo during the Bush war on Iraq, approximately 2003. There was a March in Halifax. Contributor: Anonymous

The project officially started in 2019 with funding from a grant from the Department of Seniors. That allowed Gahagan to hire an LGBT senior and an LGBT master of Library Sciences student who is a member of the community to start the collection. 

Donations to the archives have included t-shirts, banners, buttons, photos, artwork, advertisements, newspaper articles, audio and video tapes, and minutes from meetings of queer organizations. There’s a community advisory committee that weighs in on concerns from people donating items. Others have donated money through the archives to help the project continue.  

Collection of Out and The Advocate magazines. Contributor: Anonymous

The materials are digitized and available online and eventually people will be able to visit. Gahagan says they’d like to use some of the donations to create displays for event at the libraries or during Pride Week.  

All of the materials that are donated are processed under the Canadian standards of archives, and everything is housed within the Dalhousie University Archives. All materials will be in climate-controlled environments and accessible only by appointment.  

Daniel MacKay is the research assistant for the LGBT Seniors Archive project and calls himself a provincial queer archivist. We chatted on Monday about the work. He sees and helps process all the donations they receive. MacKay says it’s important not only to remember the protests, the marches, and the fights for human rights, but also the fun that was had.

We lived, laughed, and loved a lot, a lot. We had parties, we danced, and a lot of these materials support that fun part. 

I think it’s important to preserve all kinds of history, and we’ve come to a junction of the LGBT history because the history of the organized gay and lesbian movement started in the 1970s at a time when the people involved were in their early 20s. If you do the math, it’s going to be time for those people to be telling their stories before they can’t, and contribute their materials to the archives while they still have the materials.  

MacKay told me about some of the items in the collection and sent me these photos. He says, “In my ideal world, each of  these objects triggers a speculation about what life was like and maybe partially answer that question, or will make that person want to learn more about that question.”   

This ad for Pride Week 1996 was displayed on transit buses.
Activist Lynn Murphy holding the 1995 Halifax Pride Parade Banner.
Leather Community Car Air Freshener that smells like leather.
A report from the United Church of Canada.
The singing group The Secret Furies. The archive also has audio recordings of the group’s performances.

Gahagan says they’re at the end of the funding this month, and she’s asked for and was granted an extension because the COVID-19 pandemic meant they couldn’t go into the community to collect materials.  

She says they’ll continue with that until the end of the year. In the meantime, they applied for another grant to hire a person for a project in which they will gather the oral histories from senior lesbians in the community. 

Gahagan says she hopes the archives will be used by researchers and anyone else who wants to know the community’s history. Says Gahagan:

It’s so important for the next generation to learn what it was like back in the day when being gay got you fired, being gay meant you couldn’t rent an apartment, and being gay meant you got beaten up on the street. We need to understand those people in the LGBTQ2S went out on a limb for us so we can have the kind of human rights legislation — albeit not perfect for a whole bunch of reasons — we’re there, we’re actually on the map. We’ve come a long way. Let’s not forget those struggles and let’s not forget the people who fought those struggles, and celebrate and honour them, and make sure their stories are forever saved for the benefit of all. 

Again, you can search the archives here or see some of the materials posted on the Facebook page.  

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Noticed

Stephen Archibald at Halifax Bloggers has his latest series of photos from around the province in Old Album, Number Eight. All of the photos were taken between 1970 and 1975.

I especially like this photo of Duncan’s Cove. I haven’t been there and have to put it on my list.

Archibald includes a few photos of gas stations from that time, including this one in a Tudor style in Bridgetown. A similar station still stands in Grand Pre.

This Irving station was at the corner of Sackville Street and Dresden Row.

And this one on the Eastern Shore, likely Isaacs Harbour or Goldboro.

And this one on the way to Louisbourg from Sydney. Archibald says: “This store and gas pump was always a spot of brightness. It was looking particularly Edward Hopper-ish on the night I stopped to try and capture the atmosphere.”

See more photos here in Old Album, Number Eight. 

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Government

City

Tuesday

Halifax and West Community Council (Tuesday, 6pm) — live broadcast

Wednesday

Budget Committee (Wednesday, 9:30am) — video meeting, with live captioning on a text-only site

North West Planning Advisory Committee (Wednesday, 7pm) — video meeting; dial-in or live broadcast not available

Province

Tuesday

Human Resources (Tuesday, 10am) — video conference; agency, board, and commission appointments

Legislature sits (Tuesday, 1pm)

Wednesday

Legislature sits (Wednesday, 1pm)


On campus

Dalhousie

Tuesday

Vaccines and pharmacovigilance in the 1940s: Lessons from a massive contamination of yellow fever vaccine (Tuesday, 10:30am) — a lecture by Ilana Löwy from the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research, CERMES-3.

The rapid manufacture of COVID-19 vaccine is often presented as an unprecedented event, but a yellow fever vaccine was produced in the 1930s and massively applied in record time.

Medical historian and biologist Dr. Ilana Löwy will share the fascinating story of the 17D vaccine and how two drastically different approaches to its surveillance led to success in one country and a major health disaster in another.

The structure of ωcomplete effect monoid (Tuesday, 2:30pm) — an ATCAT seminar with Abraham  Westerbaan from Dalhousie University.

Effect monoids are a generalisation of {0,1} and [0,1], of Boolean algebras and the unit intervals [0,1] of commutative unital C*-algebras.  Effect monoids appeared naturally in the study of effectuses: a type of category with finite coproducts 0, + and a final object 1 designed to reason about states s: 1⟶X and predicates p: X⟶1+1.  When composing such a state and predicate, one gets a morphisms 1⟶1+1 that should be thought of as the probability that the predicate p holds in state s.  It’s these morphisms 1⟶1+1 called scalars that form an effect monoid.

Vanilla effect monoids are lousy structures:  not much can be defined with(in) them, or be proven about them, while counter examples hard to find.  This changes dramatically when the axiom of ω-completeness is added (that every ascending sequence in the effect monoid has a supremum.)  Suddenly a rich and well-behaved structure emerges including division, lattice operations, and an abundance of idempotents.  So well-behaved, in fact, that every ω-complete effect monoid can be represented as subspace of the continuous functions C(X,[0,1]) on a basically disconnected compact Hausdorff space X.  For directed complete effect monoids we even get a proper categorical duality.

This is based on joint work with Bas Westerbaan and John van de Wetering:  https://arxiv.org/abs/1912.10040

Wednesday

Safe Space for White Questions (Wednesday, 12:30pm) — live-streamed drop-in session

open to all but aimed at people who identify as white and are interested in working toward collective liberation. Come ask the questions about race, racism, social change, and social justice you always wonder about but feel nervous asking. You won’t offend us (unless you’re trying to—please don’t do that!).

A Sticky Situation: Investigating Structural and Mechanical Properties of Recombinant Pyriform Silk (Wednesday, 4pm) — Jeffrey Simmons will talk.

Resistance as Practice: Acts of AntiRacism Through Architecture & Planning (Wednesday, 7pm) — via Zoom, the inaugural Robert H. Winters lecture series. Panelists Jennifer Llewelyn, Frank Palermo, and Ingrid Waldron

will discuss the structures of institutional racism that they face, and the ways they aim to challenge these systems through their work in areas including restorative justice, community engagement and environmental justice.

More info and registration here.

Saint Mary’s

Tuesday

The Librarian Is In (Tuesday, 3pm) — to answer any of your library- or research-related questions

King’s

Tuesday

Counter Memory Activism Speaker Series (Tuesday, 7pm) — with Tlingit/Unangax̂ multidisciplinary artist Nicholas Galanin. Via Zoom, more info here.


In the harbour

Halifax
07:00: Pictor, container ship, arrives at Pier 42 from Reykjavik, Iceland
10:30: Siem Confucius, car carrier, arrives at Autoport from Emden, Germany
21:30: Maersk Penang, container ship, arrives at Berth TBD from Saint John
22:00; Siem Confucius sails for sea

Cape Breton
09:00: Algoma Victory, bulker, sails from Coal Pier (Sydney) for sea
10:00: Nordorchid, oil tanker, sails from Point Tupper for sea
11:00: Seaways Redwood, oil tanker, arrives at Point Tupper from Arzew, Algeria


Footnotes

Every morning I hear a woodpecker in my backyard and until last week couldn’t see it. Of course, once I did see it I did some research and learned it’s a downy woodpecker. I thought all that hammering was its way of getting to food, but according to this website, All About Birds, the Downy drums instead of singing.

Then I found this article Do Woodpeckers Get Concussions, which explains the anatomy of the birds’ heads. Fascinating stuff.

Anyway, hearing the little woodpecker is now part of my morning routine. I’ve yet to get a photo.

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Suzanne Rent

Suzanne Rent is a writer, editor, and researcher. You can follow her on Twitter @Suzanne_Rent

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  1. It is absolute nonsense to say or imply that dogs are not in restaurants to ensure food safety. In much of Europe dogs are allowed in restaurants and pubs – inside, not just on the patio. People who have a dog usually allow it in the kitchen and dining room and I’m not reading about a rash of hospitalizations from contaminated food. Leave up to the the restaurant owners whether they want to allow dogs on the patio or inside. And for those who are afraid of dog hairs in their food, support dogs are already allowed in restaurants.

  2. I don’t enjoy eating in places with dogs but given that eating out is not a human right I am glad to see the province adopting a free market approach.

    The biodiversity act thing is unfortunate, if unsurprising. Nova Scotia might look like Iceland in 200 years (but with no cool hot springs, northern lights or volcanoes) but for a few more glorious decades some of us will make more money.

  3. I love dogs and always want the chance to say hello to those I pass on my daily walks. I do not, however, want to dine with them, even if we are all outside. If I’m at a backyard bbq at a home with a dog, I expect to have to scan my food for canine hair. I don’t want to do the same when I am paying for the meal. Sorry, restauranteurs with patios, but if dogs are coming to brunch/lunch/dinner, I’ll be going elsewhere.

  4. Gutting the biodiversity Act. That is gruesome. But just look at the recent Saltwire interview with our Premiere. Iain Rankin and the rest of his party speak in such a reasonable manner, Mr. Rankin’s tone is so… mmmm…. “level-headed, practical, realistic…” except that what he says about the environment is complete nonsense.

    If you made a cartoon Martian speaking with an ET voice, saying those things, I think we would all quickly agree it is not reasonable. Yeah, it is not reasonable to allow the rape of Nova Scotia, the looting of our natural resources and the pollution of our very land. Of course not! The “Liberal Party” is well named. A close look indicates they are being very forthright with their little title, “The Liberal Party”. They are liberally allowing local and international multi-millionaires to suck as much as they can from the resources that actually belong to ALL OF US.

    Who is going to stand up to these guys? Ah, there we have it. THAT is the problem with Nova Scotia. Can’t say anything bad. Can’t actually stand up and say, Hey- stop that ! No, the rest of us are just supposed to go along, get along…until one day you wake up and there is no clean water, there are no forests, there are no fish, there is nowhere for you to live reasonably.

  5. “he did a commendable job. And I think that’s what will ultimately come out in the investigation.”

    Funny how that works. It’s almost as if the police association knows that the officer will be cleared before an investigation has even started.

    How much is the deck stacked in favour of the police and how many politicians will fall in line?

    Black Lives Matter? Politicians taking a knee? The police chief taking a knee? We ALL now know it was just a show. What a surprise.

      1. You may want to watch the George Floyd trial there bud. Apparently a video of the murder of a black man still needs a criminal trial to prove innocence or guilt, not a SIRT investigation.

        1. 1) Nobody was injured or killed in this incident
          2) Floyd was killed over an (allegedly) fake $20 bill, this incident was about (allegedly) 2 lbs of cocaine and an illegal gun
          3) I hope you never harm someone while engaging in a lawful activity (do you drive?) and are denied a trial.

        2. Apples and oranges. It insults the Floyd case to compare it to this. Floyd was not engaged in violent behaviour wheres as this case was a known, potentially armed drug dealer. The cop did in fact do a highly commendable job .

  6. I am all for peaceful resolutions to police encounters and better ways of law enforcement. However watching that video it seemed to me that the officer did nothing he shouldn’t have. He was dealing with a potentially armed and dangerous suspect and using polite language was not appropriate. This anti-police trend might have some basis, but there are many tines when police officers have to be and act tough. They are not dealing with “customers”. Every word he used in that context in my opinion was 100% warranted.

    1. I mean, if he WANTS the situation to end in violence then he did exactly what he should have. If he’s trying to avoid that then he could have said something else. Just makes clear what the goal of these encounters is.