An illustration of that shows the back of a woman who is looking out a large window. The second half of the photo shows three women of colour sitting at a table and talking an painting. The text says "creating communities of care."
Credit: Creating Communities of Care


1. Ernest Fenwick MacIntosh

A concrete building is seen on a grey day. The sign says "The Law Courts, Nova Scotia Court of Appeal, Supreme Court of Nova Scotia." There are three flags — two Nova Scotian and one Canadian, in the centre.
The Law Courts in Halifax in February 2020. Photo: Zane Woodford

“Accused pedophile Ernest Fenwick MacIntosh is appealing a court decision that said he can’t countersue his accusers,” reports Zane Woodford.

Robert Michael Martin, Dale Robert Sutherland, Weldon MacIntosh-Reynolds, Alvin MacInnis, Barry Alexander Sutherland, and Jeffrey Allan Hadley launched a lawsuit against MacIntosh in 2019. The six men alleged sexual battery, false imprisonment, and intentional infliction of mental injury.

MacIntosh filed a statement of defence in early 2020 denying the claims. He then attempted to amend that statement in 2021 to countersue the plaintiffs for defamation. He alleged that the accusers’ statements to police, politicians, and media were defamatory.

In November 2022, Justice Patrick J. Murray ruled against MacIntosh. Murray sided with the plaintiffs. They argued that MacIntosh hadn’t filed the countersuit in time and that the limitation period on any alleged defamatory comments had passed.

On July 6, MacIntosh filed notice of appeal in Nova Scotia Supreme Court. Now living in Quebec, MacIntosh is representing himself.

As Woodford writes, MacIntosh said he was kept from the courts because of COVID-19 restrictions and because he has cancer.

Click here to read “Ernest Fenwick MacIntosh appeals decision saying he can’t countersue accusers.”

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illustration provided a 3D graphic representation of the coronavirus
Illustration: CDC

This morning, Tim Bousquet tweeted out the COVID data for June:

  • The May report had listed just one death from COVID; that’s been revised upwards to 12. In June, there are eight COVID deaths reported, but that will also likely be revised upwards in future reports.
  • The reporting of deaths is so delayed as to make the monthly reports meaningless. Remember that we used to get *daily* updates that were mostly accurate.
  • In June, 65 people were hospitalized because of COVID, down from 77 in May.
  • Over the past year (from July 1, 2022-June 30, 2023), 404 Nova Scotians died from COVID. Here are the hospitalization and death rates by age group.
A table showing data about hospitalizations and deaths from COVID.
  • Over the same period, 70 people died from influenza.

In related news, as reported by Alex Cooke at Global, Nova Scotia Health and the IWK Health Centre dropped their COVID-19 masking requirements in some areas of both facilities as of Monday. Masks are still required in high-risk areas, though.

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3. Grief, bereavement, and emotional wellness supports

Three people sitting at a dais in front of a crowd.
From left to right, commissioners Leanne Fitch, Michael MacDonald, chair, and Kim Stanton deliver the final report of the Mass Casualty Commission inquiry into the mass murders in rural Nova Scotia in Truro, N.S. on Thursday, March 30, 2023. Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darren Calabrese

The provincial government is looking for community organizations to help develop and deliver programs to offer grief, bereavement, and emotional wellness supports to residents in northern Nova Scotia. The development of such programs was one of the recommendations made by the Mass Casualty Commission in its final report. That recommendation reads:

The Commission recommends that (a) By May 1, 2023, the Governments of Canada and Nova Scotia should jointly fund a program to address the public health emergency that exists in Colchester, Cumberland, and Hants counties as a result of an unmet need for mental health, grief, and bereavement supports arising from the April 2020 mass casualty. (b) This program should be developed and implemented by a local multidisciplinary team of health professionals with the ability to draw on external resources as needed. (c) The program should provide concerted supports on an urgent basis and transition to long term care over time. (d) Mi’kmaw communities should have the opportunity to participate in the program either on a joint or an independent basis. (e) The program should be funded to carry out needs and impact assessments in 2023, 2025, and 2028.

In a news release from Monday, the province said the community organization would work with “government, Nova Scotia Health, other health system partners” on the new programs. The programs would first be offered to residents in Cumberland, Colchester and East Hants, who were most affected by the mass casualty, and then will be offered across the province.

Community organizations that are interested in taking part will have until Aug. 25 to submit a proposal. Funding will be up to $800,000 for the first year, and up to $1.5 million in the second year.

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4. It’s not the heat; it’s the humidity

The seven-day weather forecast for Halifax showing mostly rain and clouds for Wednesday to Sunday and sun and clouds for Monday and Tuesday next week. The "feels like" temperatures range from 29 degrees to 34 degrees. Sticky!

“A combination of moisture from the tropics, blocking in the atmosphere and above-average sea surface temperatures all spell a rare humidity event in Atlantic Canada this week,” writes Rachel Modestino, a meterologist with The Weather Network.

Dewpoints in mid-to-high 20s is about as high as it gets for Atlantic Canada, and all week long these values are present. This translates to stubborn humidex values in the 30s from here on out, which had already been recorded on Monday.

The longevity of this event is the most surprising. Humidex values in the Maritimes are expected to hover around the low to mid 30s for at least 7 days, while regions in Newfoundland island may tease the 40s.

The humidity peaks into Wednesday where Gander may possibly challenge the all time record of 40.2 back in 1975.

Modestino says we can expect more of the same for early next week.

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5. Chignecto Isthmus

A map showing Nova Scotia and New Brunswick with a circle showing the area between the two provinces containing the Isthmus.
Graphic: Chignecto Isthmus Climate Change Adaptation Engineering Feasibility Study

“Federal Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic Leblanc is warning provincial governments in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia that federal funding to help protect the Chignecto Isthmus may not be available should they fail to meet a Wednesday deadline for a federal program,” reports Silas Brown with Global Halifax.

“There is no other obvious federal programs that would contemplate investment in a program like that as we stand here today,” Leblanc told reporters in Moncton on Monday.

Applications to the Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund — the program Ottawa has offered to use to help pay for improvements to the Chignecto Isthmus — close on Wednesday. The federal government has offered to pay for half the project that would raise and repair aging dikes that protect the narrow, marshy strip of land that connects the two provinces. The estimates for the project peg the cost at about $300 million.

“We think a 50 per cent offer of partnership is very important but we have a couple of days to get it right or my fear is that the government of Canada will not be in a position (to offer funding) because there is no other program that would contemplate support like this,” Leblanc said.

Premiers in both provinces have said the offer isn’t good enough and argue that the federal government should cover the entire cost. New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs sent a letter to Leblanc earlier this month arguing that the Constitution places the responsibility for the stretch of road under federal jurisdiction and says they’ll look to the courts.

Brown also interviewed a constitutional expert who said while Higgs may be legally right, a court likely won’t provide the solution he wants:

Nicole O’Byrne, a professor in the faculty of law at the University of New Brunswick, says the latter section is the more useful of the two, since it allows the federal government to step in and take over projects that fall beyond the capacity of an individual province or are of national importance. For example, in the 1960s the federal government paid for 85 per cent of implementing Medicare in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia to get the project up and running, recognizing neither province had the ability to foot the whole bill.

“If a project is too big for provinces to handle and it’s not going to get done because the provinces don’t have the fiscal capacity then the federal government is obligated to step in,” she said.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who was in the city for the North American Indigenous Games on Monday, told Todd Battis at CTV Atlantic that funding the isthmus project was a shared responsibility, and the feds and provinces “work together on big things all the time for the benefit of people:”

[Trudeau] pointed to recent health-care agreements, as well as cutting child-care fees in half, as examples of the provinces and federal governments working together effectively to make the lives of Canadians better.

“We just disagree, for example, on the need to fight climate change and put more money back in people’s pockets.”

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Communities of care for Indigenous, African Nova Scotian women who experience domestic violence

An illustration of that shows the back of a woman who is looking out a large window. The second half of the photo shows three women of colour sitting at a table and talking an painting. The text says "creating communities of care."
Credit: Creating Communities of Care

Sarah Tremblay is the manager of the gender-based violence strategy at the Elizabeth Fry Society of Mainland Nova Scotia. She’s been in that role for almost two years, and with the society for four years.

But she’s also one of the participants in a new podcast under the umbrella of a larger project called Creating Communities of Care Through a Customary Law Approach, which was launched in 2019.

The project partners are Nova Scotia Association of Black Social Workers, The Mi’kmaw Legal Support Network, Elizabeth Fry Society of Mainland Nova Scotia, and the Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre. All of these organizations do important work with Indigenous and African Nova Scotian women, but Creating Communities of Care put them all together to, as its website says, “provide structured, systematic and integrated services.”

The podcast, which launched in June, is one of the new projects under Creating Communities of Care. The episodes feature the work of each partner, and there’s also an episode on the importance of culturally-specific services and programming to address the issue of gender-based violence. So far, five episodes have been released and a sixth and final one will be published next Monday. Here’s the official description of the podcast:

In an effort to address the barriers and gaps in care experienced by African Nova Scotian and Urban Indigenous women in Kjipuktuk (Halifax, Nova Scotia), four organizations banded together to provide culturally-specific programming to address the issue of gender-based violence as it appears in these two communities. Inspired by Indigenous customary law and Afrocentricity, these programs aim to address the failures of our inherited colonial systems by connecting women with other members of their community in spaces where their culture is integrated into the care they receive. Although this project has seen huge successes so far, there is still much to learn, and much more work to do.

Tremblay is part of episode four, which is titled How the System Turns Victims into Criminals. On that episode, she talks about the work of the Elizabeth Fry Society of Mainland Nova Scotia. Episode one is called “Where We Started” and looks at “the overlapping contexts and systems that contribute to the victimization of African Nova Scotian and Urban Indigenous women in Kjipuktuk, Mi’kma,ki.”

Episode two, meanwhile, focuses on women in the African Nova Scotian community. Episode three is about the urban Indigenous community. And episode five, which was released yesterday, focuses on culturally-specific programming.

On Monday, I spoke with Tremblay about the podcast and the larger work of Creating Communities of Care.

“We’re hoping to get some awareness for Creating Communities of Care for supporters as well as women who may need support. So, if they see themselves and want to access our services, I’m really hoping this will showcase that for them,” Tremblay told me in an interview. “But also I’m really hoping the general public is just made aware of the issues women face. We know, for example, that Indigenous women and African Nova Scotian women, we have the statistics, they are under-protected and overly criminalized.

Here are some stats talked about in the introductory episode:

  • Of Canada’s total female adult population, 4.3% are Indigenous 3% are Black. However, racialized women are the fastest-growing population in provincial and federal prisons. Indigenous women, in particular, are the single fastest growing population in Canadian prisons. 
  • 2021 Stats Canada report said that in 2020 and 2021, Indigenous women made up 42% of female custody admissions in provincial and territorial institutions. The number is 40% in federal custody admissions.

The background page on the Creating Communities of Care website provides some more stats, for example, how Indigenous and African Nova Scotia women face disproportionate amounts of violence, and how the criminal justice system is not only unresponsive to the needs of these women, but also is disproportionately harsher on them, too.

A young smiling woman with long dark hair and wearing a red, black, white, green floral dress. She's also wearing a silver necklace.
Sarah Tremblay Credit: Contributed

While each episode focuses on the work of one of the partners in Creating Communities of Care, they also feature Indigenous and African Nova Scotian women who share their own stories, and the particular barriers women in each community face. For example, Black women are less likely to report abuse because they may face more harm and want to protect their families.

In episode two about the African Nova Scotian community, we hear from Tina Marie, a fashion and costume designer, who talks about the abuse she survived from the father of her children, and how she got out. René Boudreau from the Nova Scotia Association of Black Social Workers talks about her work and the work of Creating Communities of Care. Boudreau offers the clients she works with a fun activity like painting, and it’s in these workshops that women start sharing their stories and talking about gender-based violence in the African Nova Scotian community. That’s a program Tina Marie took part in herself, and where she started making personal connections with other women who shared their stories, too.

Episode three features an Indigenous woman named Angela, who now works with the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission. She talks about a previous workplace and how she wasn’t given the same opportunities and often faced barriers to do her work. That inspired Angela to create something different for the next generations. Meanwhile, Denise, a victim support navigator with the Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre talks about the programs at the centre, including the Circle of Sisters, and how the centre supports Indigenous women and provides a sense of home.

It’s interesting to learn more about the work of the people at the partner organizations. We know the names of these organizations, but they’re often so busy working on the frontlines, we don’t really get a chance to learn exactly how they do their work and what needs to change in systems. Tremblay said the project was a chance for her to learn more about this work, too.

“A lot of us can be quite humble and really being able to listen to the work everyone is doing is nice. Even though I partner with these folks and meet with them monthly, it was nice to get a fuller picture of the work that’s being done,” Tremblay said.

The stories in the podcast are powerful and I hope they encourage other women to come forward with their stories and get support. But we also get to learn about these women as people, their ancestries, their goals, how they reconnected with their communities, and not just the violence they experienced.

Of course, there’s the issue of funding, and programs such as the The Mi’kmaw Legal Support Network rely on grants to do the work. Tremblay said that service is specifically for Indigenous women who are victims or for offenders.

“There is no system currently set up in which Indigenous women trust,” Tremblay said. “I hope the general public is made aware of these very serious issues and is willing to engage in support to better support Indigenous and African Nova Scotian women.”

As for what we can all do besides listening to the podcast and learning more about Creating Communities of Care, Tremblay suggests writing letters to your elected officials about supporting Creating Communities of Care, and its partner organizations.

“It’s unfortunate the way our current systems are set up. I definitely learned a lot. This is my first social work job, so I learned a lot about the ways things work and the way things should work,” Tremblay said. “The biggest thing I learned is the resiliency of our women and how they continue to put themselves forward to create real change. It’s really quite remarkable.

I’ll leave the last thought for Tremblay about the project and the podcast and what she hopes it will accomplish:

“I saw a quote recently that said we tell people to provide themselves with self-care, but what they really need is community care. That’s what we’re supposed to do,” Tremblay said. “As human beings, we’re not meant to do this alone; we’re meant to do this as a part of a community. Being able to do this work is really quite remarkable.”

You can learn more about Creating Communities of Care Through a Customary Law Approach here and listen to the five episodes of the podcast here.

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A blue neon sign that says work harder
Work harder? Maybe, maybe not. Photo: Jordan Whitefield/Unsplash

On Sunday, Karen K. Ho, a Canadian journalist who’s a senior writer at ARTNews in New York City, shared this tweet:

Two people, a close relative and a previous editor, recently told me to essentially stop beating myself up because of how I was comparing myself to people I know who have won Pulitzers, published books, or work at newspapers of record. “You have accomplished a lot.”

I was floored by this as I follow Ho and admire her work. She went to Columbia and works in New York City! I also like the doomscrolling bot she created: a Twitter account where she tweets out reminders to sign off from the website, to stop slouching, and drink a big glass of water. “You can log off for the night. This garbage website will still be here tomorrow,” says one of the most frequent reminders on the feed.

I shared Ho’s tweet to my own timeline with this comment:

I feel this a lot too, but then remember I started working in media in my early 30s. And now I’m in my 50s and still want to accomplish a lot, but feel tired, too!

And a few moments after that, Ho sent me a message. I won’t share the details here, but we had a great chat and it was a reminder that not everyone spends their time on Twitter yelling at each other.

Ho’s tweet seemed to strike a nerve with others, too. We all have goals and want to succeed, however that success may look. Still, there are times — and I do this myself — when we think we should have accomplished more. Like I said in my tweet, I am in my 50s; maybe I should have done more? So, we spend time comparing what we achieved to what others achieved. Social media, of course, doesn’t help with any of this.

I was almost 30 when I went to journalism school. I spent my 20s working in bars and going to school part time to get degree #1. I chose journalism because I love good stories, have a lot of questions, and even more curiosity. I knew no one in the business. And, of course, the media biz was on shaky ground even then.

In my first year at journalism school in Toronto, I almost quit. I was several years older than most of my classmates, who seemed full of energy. I was the only Maritimer. I felt out of place. Who was I, this bartender from Halifax, to think I could do this too?

Then one day — Nov. 13, 2000, I remember it well — one of the instructors told the class that we should achieve everything in our careers before the age of 30. By that time, she said, we’d have responsibilities like mortgages and families that would mean we couldn’t pursue jobs or career goals as easily. I said to a classmate, “well, I guess I have two days to do this.” And then in my last week of school, I learned I was pregnant.

That tidbit of advice was foolish, of course, and suggests career accomplishments are for the young. Sure, having adult responsibilities makes careers harder, but not impossible. It just means you have to rethink how it all looks.

Still, more than 20 years later, I still wonder, like Ho did in that tweet, have I done all I want to do? Maybe I could write a book? What would I even write about? Would anyone read it? We beat ourselves up about our own accomplishments more than anyone else could.

Amil Niazi, a columnist with The Cut, wrote this column, Losing My Ambition, back in March 2022 (I heard her talking about this on a CBC show last week, although I can’t remember which one). “I have abandoned the notion of ambition to chase the absolute middle of the road: mediocrity,” Niazi writes.

The story will sound familiar, especially to a lot of women. Working really hard, but seeming to get nowhere. Being passed over for promotions or in interviews. Watching far less talented people getting promoted instead. Taking pay cuts to be more strategic to only get more work for less pay. Realizing in your 30s that you’re close to your peak earnings and, as Niazi writes, it’s “downhill from there.”

Niazi is a woman of colour, so that adds another layer of structural inequality to the picture.

But Niazi, now the mother of two children, had a revelation when COVID-19 hit:

Parenting and work were no longer separated; everything congealed into a sticky, uncomfortable mess that felt impossible to escape. But this chaos was also revelatory; many of us finally saw the mask of security fall away. Work continued to place profit over people despite the unprecedented and overwhelming nature of what was in front of us. Parents, mothers in particular, were expected to maintain both their jobs and their roles as caregivers at the same time, without faltering at either. The remaining picture was bleak but honest, imploring us to take a radical and clear assessment of what was working and, most important, what wasn’t.

We live in a hustle culture and our lives and worth are measured by how much we can produce. As Niazi wrote, we have to work because, you know, we have bills to pay. But some people’s work pays off easier and faster than others for all sorts of unfair and crappy reasons.

I’m not sure what the point of this bit is. Random thoughts inspired by someone’s tweet. Maybe I’m having a midlife crisis and you’re all part of it now! I like having goals; they keep me focused. But maybe we should all go easier on ourselves and give ourselves some credit for what we have accomplished, and more importantly, remembering we’re more than our achievements.

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Public Information Meeting – Case 24598 (Tuesday, 7pm, Sackville Heights Community Centre) — Application by Armco Capital to amend the development agreement for Sunset Ridge to add 73 townhouse style units within 15 new buildings along the southwest side of Sackville Drive, between Margeson Dr. and Crossfield Ridge, Middle Sackville.


Audit and Finance Standing Committee (Wednesday, 10am, online) — agenda


No meetings

On campus

No events

In the harbour


6:30: One Owl, container ship (146,412 tonnes), sails from Pier 41 for Dubai

Cape Breton
12:00: Cartagena, bulker, arrives at Sydney Bulk Terminal from Wilmington, North Carolina


Cartoonist and writer Gabrielle Drolet wrote this essay about Barbie for the Globe and Mail, and how she changed her mind about the iconic doll after visiting the Barbie Expo in Montreal. It’s a good read.

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

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  1. I keep yammering on about this. Much as I hate to agree with Houston and Higgs, and perhaps their reasons are not the same as mine, I do think preserving the Isthmus of Chignecto and the associated infrastructure (rail, power, road) are a federal responsibility, much like the bridge to PEI and the St Lawrence Seaway. Although *maintaining* today’s necessary new work may in the future also be a responsibility of the two provinces (I don’t know how much Quebec and PEI contribute towards the maintenance of their respective connections) certainly both of those projects were federally funded.
    Under the terms of Confederation the rail link with the rest of Canada must be maintained. Let’s update that to include power lines and the Trans-Canada Highway to honour the spirit of that agreement. They cannot be maintained if the land on which they rest is under threat from climate change.