In the harbour
1. Northern Pulp
“Pictou Landing First Nation is taking its Northern Pulp appeal to the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia,” reports the Chronicle Herald.
2. Susan Aglukark abandons Mother Canada™
Inuk singer and Order of Canada officer Susan Aglukark is no longer listed as an honourary patron of the Never Forgotten National Memorial Foundation, the group behind the controversial Mother Canada™ proposal.
This article is behind the Examiner’s paywall and so available only to paid subscribers. To purchase a subscription, click here.
Nova Scotia Business Inc. has offered the India-based tech firm iGATE up to $3,422,800 in payroll rebates in exchange for setting up an office in Dartmouth. Those promised 300 jobs would’ve fit nicely into the Nova Centre, but we’re not expanding Burnside for nothing, ya know.
In 2013, RBC in Toronto laid off its tech workers and outsourced the jobs to iGATE, which then brought in temporary foreign workers, explained the CBC:
Dozens of employees at Canada’s largest bank are losing their jobs to temporary foreign workers, who are in Canada to take over the work of their department.
“They are being brought in from India, and I am wondering how they got work visas,” said Dave Moreau, one of the employees affected by the move. “The new people are in our offices and we are training them to do our jobs. That adds insult to injury.”
The foreign workers who are taking over the RBC work in Toronto are employed by a multinational outsourcing firm from India – iGATE Corp. – which has a contract with the bank to provide IT services.
The two companies have been working closely since 2005. There is an “RBC Offshore Development Centre” in the iGATE facility in Bangalore.
NSBI spokesperson Mel Rusinak “said the arm’s-length Crown agency had no concern in extending the rebate to iGATE,” reports the Chronicle Herald:
“NSBI’s payroll rebate only applies to new jobs created for Nova Scotia residents,” she said in an email. “The federal government has changed its regulations on temporary foreign workers and companies must abide by them, including iGATE. Today’s news is the expansion of a Canadian centre with Nova Scotian jobs.”
Also in 2013, the CEO of iGATE was fired “for failing to disclose a relationship with one of his employees,” reported the trade journal Information Age:
The company had hired outside legal counsel to investigate claims that Phaneesh Murthy had engaged in the relationship, it revealed yesterday, as well as an accusation of sexual harassment.
The investigation, which is ongoing, has reached the finding that Mr. Murthy’s failure to report this relationship violated iGATE’s policy, as well as Mr. Murthy’s employment contract,” the company said in a statement.
“The investigation has not uncovered any violation of iGATE’s harassment policy.”
Murthy has faced sexual harassment claims before. In 2002, while he was a director and global head of sales at Indian IT giant Infosys, he was accused by a employee in the US of “an ongoing campaign of sexual harassment and pressur[ing] her to engage in a sexual relationship with him.”
Infosys settled the case out of court for $3 million and Murthy stepped down from the company.
At the time, Murthy said he was being extorted, but he later quietly settled the claim out of court.
And earlier this year, the French firm Capgemini acquired iGATE as part of its expansion into North America. Last month, Shelley Oldham, an executive in Capgemini’s Melbourne, Australia division, sued the company and its former chief executive, Paul Thorley, alleging sex discrimination, reports the Australian Financial Review:
Ms Oldham claims she was denigrated, marginalised and sexually discriminated against while her male colleagues including Deepak Nangia, who replaced Mr Thorley as chief executive and was hired not long after her, were given preferential treatment.
Ms Oldham also makes accusations against Mr Thorley, who she claims made impugning comments about her professional skills and spoke to her in a derogatory tone in front of colleagues.
She accuses Mr Thorley of encouraging a hostile working environment for women including by referring to the need to promote women in leadership at the company in negative terms as a “feminist campaign” that could “reflect badly on him”.
Ms Oldham also claims Mr Thorley expressly declined to promote a highly capable woman to manage large deals because they wanted a “big deals guy” and that he reduced her involvement in senior management decisions and excluded her from events and key discussions that were relevant to her area of responsibility and projects she was leading.
The allegations have not been tested in court.
But this is one of the many problems with NSBI: there’s no ethical filter in the decision-making process. All that matters is someone promises to create a job in Nova Scotia, and all past misdeeds are forgiven, no matter how outrageous, no questions asked. It doesn’t even have to be a past misdeed: NSBI knowingly invested $7.9 million into Origin Biomed, a company actively hawking a quack homeopathic product. As I wrote in April:
No matter what the possible export sales income from Neuragen may have been, the Nova Scotian government should not be in the business of promoting quack medicines. Tens of thousands of people were sold a bogus product, costing those people millions of dollars, and that scam — there’s no better word — was facilitated and financed by Nova Scotia Business, Inc. Is there no oversight body to investigate this? Where is the auditor general? Where is the provincial Office of the Ombudsman? Do any of our elected representatives care? What about minister of health, Leo Glavine?
4. This lighthouse doesn’t matter
The National Trust for Canada has announced the winners of its This Lighthouse Matters contest, as follows:
Last month I opined at great length about why such contests are bad for our society. The takeaway message is this: the Margaretsville, Boars Head, Parrsboro, St. Paul, Baccaro, Point Prim, Brier Island, Grandique Point, Marache Point, Jerseyman Island, Peter’s Island, Paddy’s Head, Port Bickerton, Terrance Bay, and Medway Head lighthouses are doomed, simply because their supporters didn’t have the social media connections that supporters of the winning lighthouses had. Never mind historic worth, architectural value, or natural beauty — we’ve decided which lighthouses to save, and which to abandon, based on how many Twitter follows neighbours of the lighthouses have.
5. El Jones
I only bring this up because of today’s CBC article about El Jones’ plans to take a writer-in-residence position at the University of Iowa. We’ve discussed the Iowa posting; it’s a tremendous opportunity for Jones, but of course her departure from Halifax is bittersweet.
I’ve been paying Jones to write Morning File on Saturdays, and her posts have been a great success with readers. I can’t pay her what she’s worth, and certainly not the full-time wage she needs to stay in Halifax, but I’ll continue to pay her and publish her on Saturdays for as long as she wants. And should she find she can’t devote the time or attention writing Morning File requires (believe me, it’s harder than it looks), she’ll always be welcomed back in the future.
Lezlie Lowe thinks 22 degrees is hot, but this California boy is still cold.
2. Mother Canada™
The arbiters of high art who sit on the Calgary Herald editorial board say if you don’t give your own money to Mother Canada™, you hate veterans:
We don’t see a problem with federal money being injected into the project. After all, this is about the soldiers who fought for our country. And because it is about them, Canadians from across the country should be willing to put a hand in their pockets and donate some money privately to the cause.
To quibble over a memorial for people who unhesitatingly gave their lives for this country is petty and mean-spirited and dishonours their memories.
Wednesday, Examiner reader Sean Ryan made the snarky comment that “The answer to stopping this statue is clear: someone needs to write a blog about why it perpetuates rape culture, and then they need to tweet about it. Project canceled, and home in time for supper.” And Pam Rubin took the bait.
3. Cranky letter of the day
Recently, while on our way to Cape Breton, our family stopped at the Windsor Visitors Bureau, which, to our dismay has moved from the beautiful location we remember down by the water.
After picking up a new map and some local info, we decided to walk down the street to one of your popular restaurants, the Spitfire. We noticed at the bottom of Gerrish Street a sign welcoming visitors to the beautiful town of Windsor. I wish we could agree but beautiful isn’t quite the word that comes to mind.
While we saw interesting old buildings, met some very friendly people and stopped at a few downtown shops, we were left with one impression that couldn’t be overlooked. Downtown Windsor’s main street and sidewalks have an abundance of one thing — dirt!
There is dirt everywhere.
Have the sidewalks and roads downtown ever been cleaned? Is there no program in your town to keep sidewalks, curbs and roadways free of dirt, cigarette butts and litter? Where there is dirt there will be litter and where there is litter there will be foul odors.
Why not shovel, sweep or vacuum and then hose off all the dirt on your sidewalks and roads?
As many of our communities in New Hampshire do on a regular basis, try a sidewalk litter, dirt removal and rinse program. Follow that with a coat of new paint on your street lines and curbs and you’ll be amazed how different your downtown will look.
We do like Windsor, but if you want to make a really good impression with visitors, please clean up your downtown sidewalks and roadways. Communities that are known far and wide for their cleanliness always pay attention to the small details.
Hillsboro, New Hampshire, USA
No public meetings.
In the harbour
Grande Napoli, car carrier, arrived at Autoport this morning, sails to sea this afternoon
BBC Skysails sails to sea
Nolhanava sails to Saint-Pierre
Oceanex Sanderling sails to St. John’s
Toes go in first.
But this is one of the many problems with NSBI: there’s no ethical filter in the decision-making process.
Yet, as the line above says, ‘The allegations have not been tested in court.’
Do you feel should they be basing their funding decisions on allegations of misconduct?
People who are, say, accused of murder, are typically suspended from their jobs until the matter can be sorted out. Politicians step aside when being investigated, like that. No one owes iGATE shit. This is a GIFT to them. Nothing wrong with holding back until we get a handle on who they are.
I think you buried the lead on the Aglukark story.