News

1. Mass Casualty Commission

Lisa Banfield is flanked by her sisters Janice (left) and Maureen (right) as she testifies at the Mass Casualty Commission inquiry into the mass murders in Nova Scotia on April 18/19, 2020, in Halifax on Friday, July 15, 2022. Photo: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

Lisa Banfield testified in person at the Mass Casualty Commission on Friday. I was in the room and followed the testimony on my Twitter feed, but needed to think about it before writing an article.

In the meanwhile, Stephen Kimber stepped in and asked “What was it that lawyers for the families were so eager to ask Lisa Banfield that they didn’t already know?” and explored the supposed unanswered questions — involving her shoes, the escape from the fake police car, the handcuffs, and her overnight stay in the woods.

That allowed me to think about how she has been vilified on social media and elsewhere. I pondered and processed my thoughts, and wrote about it yesterday — “The witchification of Lisa Banfield.”

I’m glad that article is getting a lot of attention, but I’m dispirited by the attacks on her, the unfairness and just plain meanness of it all. There’s no moving on from this; it gets to the heart of something terrible and rotten about our society. I don’t know what to do with that.

And I fear for Banfield. She’ll be dealing with these unfair and mean attacks for the rest of her life, and they’ll just get uglier.

I’m taking a break from the proceedings today, but you can watch the panel discussion on “Mass Casualties, IPV, GBV and Family Violence: Exploring the Connections” here.

Tomorrow, the commission will release the next foundational document, “Perpetrator’s Financial Misdealings.”

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2. Edward St. house

William Breckenridge speaks at a rally in front of 1245 Edward St. in Halifax on Thursday, May 12, 2022. — Photo: Zane Woodford

“A committee of council has recommended in favour of heritage registration for a Dalhousie University-owned building at risk of demolition,” reports Zane Woodford:

The Heritage Advisory Committee held a special meeting on Friday to consider a third-party request to include 1245 Edward St. in the municipal registry of heritage properties. Despite community opposition, Dalhousie wants to demolish the house, built in 1897, and as the Halifax Examiner reported on Thursday, it has a new permit to do so after an early start last week.

But a heritage registration will complicate the university’s plans.

Planner Aaron Murnaghan told the committee that once the university receives a letter notifying it of the heritage hearing, the property gets some protection.

“The building will be protected from demolition for 120 days or until it’s officially registered by council,” Murnaghan said.

Until Dalhousie gets the letter, it’s technically free to demolish the building. But Murnaghan said the process isn’t that simple.

“My understanding is that there is ongoing abatement processes on the property and as of yesterday, there were still some permits that had not been received by Dalhousie that they would likely need to start the process of actual demolition,” Murnaghan said.

“So it is it is likely that the house will still be standing when they receive notice.”

Click here to read “Halifax committee recommends heritage registration for Dalhousie-owned property.”

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3. Ben Eoin

“There’s been a development in Ben Eoin and it’s a doozy: the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) is suing Ben Eoin Golf Club Limited and 3324714 Nova Scotia Limited, a company connected to Ben Eoin Development Group Inc (BEDGInc), for $3.5 million,” writes Mary Campbell of the Cape Breton Spectator:

Why?

Well, according to ACOA’s Notice of Action, filed with the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia in Halifax on June 2 (and included below), it’s because the agency never approved the sale of The Lakes Golf Club to BEDGInc and, as a result, is entitled to redeem its equity investment in the club.

I’ve covered what I’ve dubbed “the Ben Eoin Shuffle” in ridiculous detail, but the short version is that a lot of public money has been spent over the years in an attempt to turn Ben Eoin into a “four seasons” recreation area. The results have been, shall we say, mixed. The not-for-profit Ben Eoin Ski Hill is an obvious success and a community asset but the other developments—including the golf course, the marina, the “country inn” and the hilltop “subdivision” (read: the $1.1 million road) constitute more dubious achievements.

Campbell does a great job detailing the corporate shell games and property shuffles alleged in the lawsuit.

Click here to read “ACOA Tees Up a Lawsuit in Ben Eoin.”

As with the Examiner, the Cape Breton Spectator is subscriber supported, and so this article is behind the Spectator’s paywall. Click here to purchase a subscription to the Spectator, or click on the photo below to get a joint subscription to both the Spectator and the Examiner.
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4. Paper Excellence

Northern Pulp is a Paper Excellence company. Photo: Joan Baxter

Other than Joan Baxter’s detailed reporting in the Halifax Examiner, there’s been very little media coverage of a gigantic international story: the takeover of much of Canada’s pulp industry by Paper Excellence. The regulatory agencies seem unconcerned about the corporate buyouts and consolidations, which sure look like a monopolization of the industry by a single family with the backing of a foreign government, and the rest of the national press is likewise unfazed.

This weekend, former Green Party leader Elizabeth May gave a shout-out to Baxter’s reporting:

Joan has been writing for the Halifax Examiner. Other than her work, no other journalist or news outlet is tracking a remarkable and ominous story.

Baxter has more reporting on this story in the works. Stay tuned.

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5. Dnipro and the space port

“Russian long-range cruise missiles killed three people in Ukraine’s central city of Dnipro when they hit a space rocket plant and a nearby street, local officials say,” reports Laurence Peter for the BBC:

About 15 people were injured and nearby residential buildings damaged.

Dnipro’s Yuzhmash plant also builds satellites — with one launched into space by Elon Musk’s SpaceX company.

Russia’s defence ministry said the factory made parts for Ukrainian ballistic missiles.

Another two people died when dozens of Russian rockets were fired at Nikopol, south of Dnipro, a regional leader said.

And in the north, Russian rockets hit housing overnight in Chuhuiv, a town near the city of Kharkiv, killing three people, the Kharkiv governor said.

I had assumed the Russians would spare the rocket factory, thinking they could repurpose it for their own needs after the war, but evidently it was playing too important of a role in Ukraine’s defence. Perhaps this indicates that Russia has given up hope of occupying the country as west as Dnipro.

There’s nothing good about any war, and this particular war is an especially heinous display of Russian aggression.

The extent of the damage to the rocket factory is not clear; perhaps it can be put back in operation. In the scheme of the tremendous loss of life through the war, the factory’s role in the proposed Canso space port is immaterial, but it doesn’t seem that that project will be proceeding any time soon.

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6. Urban legends as news

This morning, the CBC published a bizarre urban legend being spread by Dr. Chris Ozere, who practices in Dartmouth:

Through his daily medical practice at the Albro Lake Medical Clinic, Ozere heard a story about the deliberate transmission of the blood-borne virus hepatitis C.

Hep C is not transmitted through sex, or cuddling or coughing, Ozere said.

“So they’re aware that it’s blood where you get this infection from because hepatitis C is not a sexually transmitted disease, it’s blood-borne disease,” he said.

He said he heard that people were “sharing blood.” He wasn’t sure if that meant sharing needles with blood in them, or something else.

“So in the course of my practice, I heard a story about IV drug users passing hepatitis C to each other or to somebody as a favour… the favour being that you get hepatitis C.”

It’s considered a favour because seeking out the cure can reap rewards. Once infected, people can turn to the government to pay for the cure, he said.

Prescriptions for the treatment are taken to a pharmacy where loyalty points can be earned. The points can be converted to things that can be “traded and used.”

It’s just a story, but Ozere believes it is credible.

“If you’re an IV drug user and, you know, they’re desperate for money at times, this is, I think, what they came up with, this notion,” he said.

The Loch Ness monster is “just a story,” too, but is more credible than this.

Also, the Loch Ness monster story doesn’t rely on hackneyed tropes about poor and disadvantaged people.

A very quick scan of the academic literature shows that there is a concern about illicit drug users sharing needles and therefore incidentally sharing blood, and that can spread hepatitis C. But with the exception of a localized social practice in Kampala, Uganda, I see no literature showing that any significant number of people are purposefully sharing blood anywhere else, and especially not for purposes of reward points, even in Uganda.

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Government

City

Monday

Board of Police Commissioners – Special Meeting (Monday, 11:30am, online) — agenda here

Advisory Committee on Accessibility in HRM (Monday, 4pm, online) — agenda here

North West Community Council (Monday, 6pm, online) — agenda here

Tuesday

Halifax and West Community Council (Tuesday, 6pm, City Hall) — agenda here

Open House and Public Meeting – Case 23617, Upper Hammonds Plains Land Use Designation Review (Tuesday, 6pm, Upper Hammonds Plains Community Centre) — Planner: Maureen Ryan, 782-640-0592, ryanm@halifax.ca

Province

No meetings


On campus

Dalhousie

Tuesday

PhD Defence – Biology (Tuesday, 9:30am, online or in Room 3107 of the Mona Campbell Building) — Laura Steeves will defend “Feeding Physiology of Suspension-Feeding Bivalves: Inter-and Intraspecific Plasticity.”


In the harbour

Halifax
05:00: MOL Experience, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from Caucedo, Dominican Republic
06:00: Tropic Hope, container ship, arrives at Pier 41 from Philipsburg, Sint Maarten
07:00: IT Infinity, offshore supply ship, arrives at Pier 9 from Cape Canaveral, Florida
08:00: MSC Shanghai, container ship, arrives at Pier 41 from Asyaport, Turkey
13:00: Vantage, container ship, arrives at Pier 42 from Ensenada, Mexico
13:30: East Coast, oil tanker, arrives at Irving Oil from Saint John
15:00: Atlantic Sky, ro-ro container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from Liverpool, England
16:30: MOL Experience sails for Southampton, England
22:00: Bulk Electra, bulker, arrives at outer harbour from Quebec City to pick up pilot for Sheet Harbour
23:00: Vantage sails for sea
23:00: Selfoss, container ship, arrives at Pier 41 from Reykjavik, Iceland

Cape Breton
05:00: Advantage Spice, oil tanker, sails from Point Tupper for Baybay, Philippines
07:00: Nordsymphony, oil tanker, arrives at Point Tupper from New York
07:30: MM Newfoundland, barge, and Tim McKeil, tug, arrive at Sydport from Halifax
08:00: Archimedes, yacht, sails south through the St. Peters canal
11:00: CSL Tarantau, bulker, arrives at Coal Pier (Point Tupper) from New Orleans
15:00: Advantage Start, oil tanker, arrives at outer anchorage from Girassol offshore terminal, Angola


Footnotes

This is my theme song of late:


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Tim Bousquet

Tim Bousquet is the editor and publisher of the Halifax Examiner. Twitter @Tim_Bousquet Mastodon

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  1. Thank you to Elizabeth May for covering this issue and a huge shout out to Joan Baxter for covering this for all these years.
    The Canadian pulp industry will be monopolized by an Indonesian company with Chinese financing if the Resolute deal is allowed.
    Call your MP and let them know your concerns…..ask them to call the Canadian Competition Bureau to put the kiposh on this deal