1. Carrie Low
Zane Woodford was at the Nova Scotia Police Review Board hearing on Monday where Carrie Low testified into the Halifax Regional Police investigation into her sexual assault in 2018. As Woodford writes, Low reported that assault to police, but they continued to mishandle the case.
“This feels like my last step for me in trying to hold police accountable for their negligence in serious sexual assault like mine,” Low told reporters. “And I’m looking forward to the conclusion of this, to be honest, so I can try and put … this aside and work on healing and moving forward.”
A Nova Scotia Police Review Board began Monday looking at the way Halifax Regional Police, and one officer in particular, handled her case. That officer, Const. Bojan Novakovic, was the first to respond in 2018. He was later docked eight hours pay for neglecting or failing to properly or diligently perform a duty.
Low’s lawyers had to go to court to even get to that stage, after her initial complaint was dismissed because it didn’t meet a six-month deadline.
Justice Ann Smith ruled in 2020 that the complaint should go ahead, and Halifax Regional Police conducted an internal investigation. They narrowed the complaint to Novakovic, and found him in disciplinary default.
Unsatisfied with the finding against Novakovic alone, Low’s lawyers appealed that disciplinary decision, triggering the hearing.
Tim Bousquet is at the hearing today and will have a story later. In the meantime, click here to read “Carrie Low testifies at hearing into Halifax police investigation of her sexual assault.”
2. Dos and don’ts of dog doo-doo disposal
“After picking up 50 discarded bags full of dog poop in just 10 minutes of walking along a neighbourhood trail, Dr. Tony Walker took matters into his own hands,” writes Yvette d’Entremont.
In addition to collecting the bags and disposing of them in a garbage receptacle, the Dalhousie University professor sat down and penned an article, “What not to do with dog poop.” His piece was published in the latest edition of the journal Science of the Total Environment.
Walker’s research includes a focus on plastic and microplastic pollution and the policies that can reduce it. He believes many people mistakenly believe so-called biodegradable bags are compostable. They’re leaving dog waste-filled bags on trails with the expectation they’ll eventually disintegrate.
But in the absence of industrial composting facilities only available in a few jurisdictions, these bags aren’t compostable and lead to environmental and human health problems.
“Because I’ve worked on these plastic policies for so long, I’ve done a lot on human behaviour and human perceptions, consumer perceptions, of using plastic products… Many are pitched as biodegradable, whether that’s plastic packaging, grocery bags,” Walker said in an interview Monday afternoon.
Walker provides a good rundown of all the ways in which dog poo and the bags people put it in are harmful to us and the environment. So, dispose of the poo properly!
This item is written by Yvette d’Entremont.
The province announced on Monday that two supportive housing options are now available for urban Indigenous women and children at risk of homelessness in Halifax Regional Municipality.
In a news release, the Department of Community Services said it had provided the Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre with more than $1 million in annual funding for Sage House (which has room for nine women) and a fourplex in Bedford.
Sage House is getting $681,080 in annual funding, while the fourplex will receive $366,763 a year. The department said the Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre will ensure culturally relevant programming and wraparound services are available at both sites.
“We know first-hand that cultural support is a cornerstone in the effort to break the cycle of homelessness for Indigenous people,” Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre executive director Pam Glode Desrochers said in the release.
“There has been a lot of progress in recent years cultivating these supportive housing strategies which continues to result in positive outcomes for our community. We are grateful for this project funding and our partnership with the provincial government.”
Support and programming at the two sites include Elder support, life skills training, parenting support, cooking classes and other food programs, access to mental health and addictions support, and cultural ceremonies and traditions.
The province said renovations were recently completed at Sage House, and residents are now at both sites.
“We need a variety of solutions for people experiencing, or at risk of, homelessness -solutions that meet their individual needs,” Community Services Minister Karla MacFarlane said in the release. “Addressing people’s cultural needs will be an essential part of this project’s success in helping them maintain their housing.”
The Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre has another transitional supportive housing program in Halifax called the Diamond Bailey Healing Centre. That facility receives $1,699,300 annually for 42 co-ed units for urban Indigenous people.
“This past February found me traveling, by bus, from Halifax to Sydney, Cape Breton Island. During the stop in New Glasgow, I thought about Viola Desmond (1914-1965), the African Nova Scotian beautician whose 1946 arrest in the town — for defying segregation at the Roseland Theatre — has been widely documented and whose likeness graces the front of a $10 bank note,” writes Evelyn C. White.
However, it was during the nearly five-hour ride after New Glasgow that I reflected, seriously, on Desmond’s grit and determination as a trail-blazing entrepreneur.
In addition to founding, in the 1940s, the first school in the nation to train Black women in cosmetology, she had also developed her own line of beauty products. Indeed, she was en route to Sydney to deliver customer orders when her green Dodge broke down and thus propelled her into Canadian history.
“At that time, it was almost unimaginable for a Black woman, or any woman for that matter, to obtain a driver’s license, buy a car and take business trips alone on the back roads of Nova Scotia,” noted Wanda Robson, about her sister, in Viola Desmond: Her Life and Times, the 2018 book she co-authored with Graham Reynolds, professor emeritus at Cape Breton University.
“Many of the roads [Viola] travelled were not paved and there was no causeway connecting the mainland to Cape Breton,” Robson continued. “[Crossing] the province could take several days. This, in my view, is testimony to Viola’s independence and self-confidence.”
White interviewed Robson’s husband, Joseph, about how he met Wanda and their journeys together. And she writes about the final resting place of the two sisters that is marked with a shiny new black granite headstone in Camp Hill Cemetery.
As always, a lovely read by White.
5. Dr. Lynn Jones appointed to Order of Canada
On June 30, Dr. Lynn Jones was appointed to the Order of Canada “for her leadership in the Canadian labour movement, and in advancing equity, justice and human rights in her province and abroad.”
Dr. El Jones was at a ceremony in Truro on Monday where Dr. Lynn Jones talked about being an appointee to the Order of Canada. Jones said, “when they offered me the Governor General, this award, I was truly shocked. I had mentioned that it’s only in Canada where you challenge the government on a daily basis and do protests … and they turn around and say, ‘we’d like to give you an award for that.'”
Congratulations, Dr. Jones. Well deserved.
Celebrating Pride in small town Nova Scotia
On Saturday, a friend and I visited the Historic Gardens in Annapolis Royal. As we were leaving, we noticed people with Pride flags and asked if a Pride parade was happening. And sure enough, there was, so we found a spot on St. George Street to watch.
That got me thinking about Pride events in small town Nova Scotia, which seem to have increased in recent years. There certainly was a good turnout in Annapolis Royal, a town of about 500. Businesses were busy and people were having a good time. And all summer, there are events scheduled for communities across the province (you can see a list here).
On Monday, I spoke with Niko Steenken, who is the president of Annapolis Royal Pride. He’s been in the role for the last three years, although he’s worked on various Pride events for the last 21 years. Steenken moved to Annapolis Royal with his family in 1998 when he was still a teenager.
Steenken said organizers sent out a warning about the day’s heat, which was forecast to feel like 45 degrees with the humidity. Still, even though attendance was slightly lower than last year’s parade, he said the day was “fantastic,” adding about 1,000 people showed up.
“We were still beyond anything I could have imagined 20 years ago in my high school years,” Steenken said. “I can’t complain about anything. This weekend is proving yet again that this community is willing to stand up and include everybody, which was not my experience growing up here. I spent most of Saturday crying because it makes me so happy to see this community stepping up the way that they do.”
There were other events all weekend, too, including a comedy show, events for kids, a church service, a dance, movie screenings, and other fundraisers. Steenken said they didn’t focus on one gender, one age group, or one section of the rainbow flags, deciding instead to make Pride a community event for everyone.
He said organizers did get a “fair amount” of vitriol over the last number of months of planning, but they had zero incidents during the events on the weekend. Steenken said they had about 15 volunteers, all retired military, police, or firefighters, who were on hand in case anything happened.
“It was really important for us to represent who our community is and stand by that,” Steeken said. “I still can’t believe I can say this, our police chief here in town has been one of our biggest allies from Day 1. Twenty years in Pride and I’ve never said that before. But the police chief and staff in town have gone well above and beyond to make sure everyone felt safe.”
And local businesses have been supportive, too, including a grocery store that donated so much food for a fundraiser for the local firehall that Steenken said there’s enough left for a second fundraiser.
Steenken said he remembers well the days of growing up in the town and coming out. That’s back when the Westboro Baptist Church in the U.S. was having rallies against the queer community and when Matthew Shepard, a young gay man from Wyoming, was beaten, tortured, and killed. Steenken told me he was removed from his own church in his last year of high school.
“It wasn’t that people were nasty. It was, I believe anyway, people didn’t have the experience or knowledge to be appropriate. I can say that now that I’m looking at my 40s and not my 20s. Three years ago when I joined [Annapolis Pride], I went into town the night before and every flagpole from the courthouse to the market had a Pride flag on it. And I never thought I’d see one. For a queer kid who grew up here, it’s meant the world.”
Steenken said he hopes every small town across Nova Scotia hosts their own Pride events.
“Even if that means ours never gets any bigger, to see the impact it’s made in our small town and knowing it could potentially have that impact in all our small towns,” Steenken said. “Queer people have always existed in these small towns. It’s just the first time a lot of us feel comfortable to come out.”
Meanwhile, the first Pride parade on the South Shore took place in Bridgewater on Sunday. Steve Ellis is the chair of Lunenburg Pride, an organization that started in 2016 and has hosted Pride events in the community. He said organizers decided last year they’d host their first parade in 2023. There were 43 floats in the parade, which Ellis described as “phenomenal.”
“It exceeded our expectations and then some,” Ellis said in an interview. “I couldn’t believe it. Down on Empire Street and especially on King, there were rows deep of people. I estimated there were definitely hundreds who came to watch. It was amazing.”
Ellis said he and other organizers were expecting some vitriol, and while they had a “handful” of comments online, they still received far more support.
“We actually even prepared for people to show up in person and shout stuff and none of that happened,” Ellis said.
Ellis said Lunenburg Pride is already working on ideas for next year’s parade. And they’re also hosting events through the year to continue to support members of the 2SLGBTQ+ community.
“That’s where this week’s worth of events will bleed into the rest of the year because people will know there is this group,” Ellis said. “That’s one of our goals for the next 12 months is to really make sure people know we’re here for other reasons than celebratory reasons.”
Ellis said the positive turnout in Bridgewater showed that Pride is not just a city event.
“When we had our events last year, it just showed a need and a desire to have more of a rural, somewhat toned-down celebration. Now, I say that and we have six days of events, so that isn’t toned down. But it’s not as big and flashy as Halifax, and that’s intentional,” Ellis said.
“It’s so validating when you plan an event and you don’t know how it’s going to go and then you see so much love and support. I encourage your readers to look us up online and come check out our other events.”
You can check out events for Lunenburg Pride here.
Eastern Shore Pride events are set for Aug. 21 to 27. That event was inspired by an open house Brenda Hattie hosted at her Salmon River Bridge home in 2019.
“We ended up with my backyard full of cars and cars down on the road and around the corner. My house was a revolving door for about a day. I was like, ‘wow man, there are a lot of queer people out here,’” Hattie said.
Wayne Collette who owns Ship Shape Barbershop was at that open house at Hattie’s place, and suggested the community host a Pride event. Collette formed a committee in 2021 and Allan Banks, who is one of the owners of Harbour Breezes Daylilies in the Head of Jeddore, helped get the word out in the community. There have been Pride events every year since then, and Hattie now serves as the chair. She said they have a “motley crew” of people on the committee.
“I like that there are non-queer people who want to help and support us. I think that’s good,” Hattie said. “I feel like it’s good to have a cross-section of folks on our committee who are involved in all sorts of things. I like that diversity.”
This year’s events include a flag raising, a dance, drag bingo, a seafood boil, a mix-and-mingle, a tour of Harbour Breezes Daylilies, a story hour at the Musquodoboit Library, a Pride supper at Memory Lane Heritage Village, and a variety show, a Pride market, and a meetup, boogie boarding, and picnic at Martinique Beach. (You can find the events here).
There was a parade the last two years, but not this year. There’s no admission for all but three events, although donations are welcome at the free events. Funds raised will go to Eastern Shore Pride, the Rainbow Refugee Association of Nova Scotia, and the food pantry at the Old School Gathering Place in Musquodoboit Harbour.
The group does host other events, such as trivia nights, book readings, and drag shows, throughout the year. They also collaborate with a group in Sheet Harbour that hosts Pride events as well.
“I also don’t like having just one flash-in-the-pan kind of thing, myself,” Hattie said. “I feel like we need to do outreach and do stuff all year round and we need to be visible not only to our own community, but to others who may be coming through.”
Hattie said it’s important for smaller communities to host Pride events, and that if communities build the events, people will attend.
“I’m determined the best way to address some of the hateful stuff that’s going on is not to waste my time on it and do what I need to do to keep folks safe, which is very important to me,” Hattie said. “But I think you have to spread the love even more so.”
You can find a full list of Pride events for across Atlantic Canada here.
Another summer and more pets are being left in hot vehicles
We’re not even halfway through July and I’ve already seen social media posts about people calling police because someone left a dog in a car on a hot day. This happens every year, of course.
I think of this issue like I do when people ignore warning signs like the dozens at Peggy’s Cove warning people to stay off the black rocks. Yet, people still wander out there. People can’t assess risk very well, but in the case of pets in cars, it’s the pets that suffer the consequences because they can’t open the vehicle doors to get out.
So, on Monday, I spoke with Jo-Anne Landsburg, who’s the chief provincial inspector with the Nova Scotia SPCA, about this issue.
“It’s a little bit challenging for us and a little bit frustrating because it’s the same message every year,” Landsburg said in a phone interview. “Already this year, we had several occurrences where people have left their animals in cars and we’ve had to go and either rescue them or try and find the owner. We issued summary offence tickets as a result.”
The fine for those tickets is $697.50, although it doesn’t seem to be a deterrent. Const. Nicole Gagnon, a spokesperson with Halifax Regional Police, sent along these stats about how many summary offence tickets were issued to owners who left their pets in hot vehicles: 2021: six tickets; 2022: four tickets; and 2023, as of Monday, three tickets.
Landsburg said pet owners tend to underestimate how long they’ll leave the pet in the vehicle.
“They do tend to think, ‘Oh, I’m just running in to have a bite to eat or I’m going to run in and pick a couple of groceries up. But those things, as we know, can be prolonged, and 10 minutes turns into 20 minutes and 20 minutes into a half hour. And the dog ends up suffering as a result.”
Landsburg said she’s been in the role at NS SPCA since 2013, and in that time there have been cases where pets have died after being left in hot vehicles.
“We’re just very early into July and we’ve had some very warm temperatures. I don’t know if it creeps up on people. One minute we’re cold in June and the next minute we’re hot in July and people are just not thinking,” she said. “Regardless, we need to be mindful that our pets could suffer.”
Landsburg said generally the people who leave pets in hot vehicles are, for the most part, good pet owners who travel with their pets often.
“The pet goes with them wherever they go. Because we live in Nova Scotia, maybe nine months out of the year, it would be okay to leave the animal for a short time in the vehicle. When it gets to summertime, that’s when things really change,” she said. “Maybe they think they’ve got it handled. ‘Well, I left the windows down,’ which doesn’t actually work.”
Landsburg said the NS SPCA has done tests of what happens to pets in hot vehicles and they learned a vehicle heats up quickly, even when the windows are down. She said they’ve done temperature readings on the seats and found the seats where pets are sitting can reach 50 degrees. And animals tend to sweat through the pads on their feet.
“To be sitting on a seat that’s 50 degrees in the sun, we would all know how unpleasant that would be,” Landsburg said.
Landsburg said heat stroke can set in as little as 20 minutes. Once a dog’s temperature reaches 40 degrees, they will start to get into trouble. There are a few factors that increase the risk of heat stroke for an animal besides the heat and the humidity outside. Landsburg said they also look at the age of the pet, as well as the breed.
For example, some dogs with short snouts or pushed-in faces, such as pugs or shih tzus, already have challenges with breathing capacity.
“In hot weather, they don’t have the ability to pant or cool themselves, so it’s going to be even more challenging for those dogs to rid themselves of the hotter temperatures,” Landsburg said. “When we look at those dogs, it will be less time for them.”
And it’s not just hot cars where pets can get into trouble. Landsburg said they often rescue dogs that have been left tied up outside away from shaded areas and with no water. She said they already had to seize one dog this year that suffered heat stroke because it was tied up in a yard with no shade.
Landsburg said it takes time to cool down a pet that has heat stroke. That means cooling them down slowly, putting them in a room with air conditioning, letting them have a drink of water, and putting cool water on their belly.
The simple solution is to leave your pets at home or take them inside when you park your vehicle. And if anyone sees a pet in a hot car or tied outside with no shade, Landsburg said to call local police and the local offices of the Nova Scotia SPCA, which will provide tips on what to do. You can find more information on the Nova Scotia SPCA Enforcement page on Facebook here.
Halifax Regional Council (Tuesday, 10am, City Hall and online) — agenda
Board of Police Commissioners (Wednesday, 4:30pm, online) — agenda
Regional Centre Community Council (Wednesday, 6pm, City Hall and online) — agenda
Health (Tuesday, 1pm, One Government Place and online) — EHS Offload Times; with representatives from Department of Health and Wellness, Emergency medical Care Inc., Nova Scotia Health Authority, and International Union of Operating Engineers Local 727
The State of Global Peace Today (Tuesday, 1pm, Halifax Central Library) — panel discussion; tickets and info here
In the harbour
06:30: BBC Virginia, cargo ship, arrives at Pier 9 from Milford Haven, Wales
08:00: NYK Nebula, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from Antwerp, Belgium
08:00: IT Infinity, offshore supply ship, sails from Pier 9 for sea
08:30: One Falcon, container ship (146,287 tonnes), arrives at Pier 41 from Colombo, Sri Lanka
08:30: Warnow Master, container ship, sails from Pier 42 for sea
15:00: NYK Nebula sails for For Lauderdale, Florida
15:00: TRF Mongstad, oil tanker, sails from Irving Oil for sea
15:00: AlgoScotia, oil tanker, arrives at Imperial Oil from Corner Brook
18:00: BBC Virginia sails for sea
23:30: One Falcon sails for New York
Everyone should have summer off. We would just wear our bathing suits all the time and eat Freezies and hot dogs.