This date in history
In the harbour
1. Nova Star to be arrested
“A federal court has ordered the seizure of the Nova Star ferry after a Portland company complained that the ferry operator owes it nearly $200,000,” reports the Portland Press Herald:
The order, issued Friday in U.S. District Court in Portland, commands the U.S. Marshals Service to “arrest” the ship, which is the formal way of ordering that marshals take possession of the vessel. Such orders are a common way of seizing assets involving ships when creditors claim they are owed money.
The Portland Pilots, the company that provided pilot services to the Nova Star in Portland Harbor, told the court that Nova Star Cruises hasn’t paid it any money since Aug. 17. The Portland Pilots provided the court with $195,898 in unpaid invoices.
The Portland Pilots charged the company $3,198 for each transit through the harbor, the state-authorized standard rate.
Nova Star Cruises spokesman Dennis Bailey said the company will “fulfill its obligations, like it always has, in the next few weeks.”
2. Macdonald Bridge
I don’t know that this is actually news, but the bridge is open this morning. Evidently the second deck segment was replaced without too much trouble. This bodes well for the next 44 segments.
3. Road mayhem
A police release from Friday evening:
At approximately 6:40 p.m. on Friday, October 30, Halifax Regional Police responded to a collision between a car and a pedestrian at the intersection of Oxford Street and Beaufort Avenue in Halifax. A 19-year-old female pedestrian was crossing Oxford Street at the intersection of Beaufort Avenue when she was struck by a vehicle, operated by a 73-year-old man, that had previously stopped at the opposite side of the intersection. The pedestrian was taken to hospital with non-life- threatening injuries. A decision on charges under the Motor Vehicle Act will be made upon the conclusion of the investigation, which is currently ongoing.
Another police release from Friday evening:
At approximately 9:30 p.m. on Friday, October 30, Halifax Regional Police responded to a vehicle/bicycle collision in the area of Oxford Street at Coburg Road in Halifax. A 19-year-old male cyclist was travelling southbound on Oxford St. approaching Coburg Rd. and attempted a left turn from Oxford St. into a driveway in front of an SUV, operated by a 47-year-old man, that was travelling northbound on Oxford St. The cyclist was sent to hospital with what are believed to be life threatening injuries. Members of the Halifax Regional Police Collision Investigation Unit and Forensic Identification Section are conducting an investigation into this matter. Oxford St. had been closed to vehicular traffic between Coburg Rd and Jennings St for approximately 3 hours but was reopened around 12:30 a.m. on October 31.
From the police department’s end-of-shift email to reporters this morning:
At 6 pm Halifax Regional Police responded to a car pedestrian collision at Tower Road at Inglis Street. The vehicle was turning left from Tower Road to Inglis Street on a green light when they struck a pedestrian in a crosswalk. The 26 year old female pedestrian from Halifax was treated at the scene for minor injuries, the driver of the vehicle, 55 year old male from Stewiacke issued a SOT for failing to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk.
4. King goes to court
The King of Donair in Halifax is suing the Donair King in Vancouver, alleging trademark infringement, reports the CBC’s Elizabeth McMillan:
The statement of claim asks the court to demand the restaurant to destroy its menus, signs, packaging, promotional material and business cards with the Donair King name.
It also asks for punitive and exemplary damages as well as for legal costs to be covered.
Donair King responded, denying all the allegations in a statement of defence.
But to avoid any confusion with the trademark, the company agreed to stop using “Donair King” if the King of Donair drops the legal proceedings.
These donair monarchs are nasty business. There’s no word if the King of Donair will have a royal visit with that Pricke Edward:
5. Long Island arch
“About 50 people gathered at the Fundy Geological Museum [Sunday] to share stories, memories and photos after the collapse last week of the Long Island arch at Five Islands,” reports Bruce Wark:
[Tim Fedak, director/curator at the museum] said the arch itself was created by the erosive power of the tides also wearing away at weak spots.
No one knows for sure when the hole first started to appear, but someone brought a 1936 photo showing Long Island without its now-famous arch.
Eldon George said he remembers going through the arch twice in a rowboat during the 1940s, but it was so small then, he could touch its roof when he stood up in the boat. Over the years, the hole expanded steadily.
“It was impressive how large it was,” Fedak said. “Forty-five feet tall. That’s pretty amazing.”
Stephen Archibald recounts his month, and I come away thinking Archibald lives a fuller, more aware, more engaged life than I do. We inhabit the same universe, but Archibald notices things that pass me by, like, randomly, this observation:
A BIG welcome on the front of the Architecture Building and when you turn around and look up Brunswick Street there is an under celebrated view of the Town Clock. Realized that earlier in the month I had snapped a photo of the clock up George St. Guess those 18th century planners knew a thing or two about siting.
2. Social Services
Something’s broken over at the Department of Social Services, says Stephen Kimber.
Last spring, the Liberals slashed a half a million dollars in funding to “groups that provide actual assistance to those dealing with blindness, deafness, special-needs children, individuals with intellectual disabilities, people with eating disorders, immigrants…” and “also slapped a two-year freeze on income-assistance payments to save money.” But last week Minister Joanne Bernard announced the department will spend up to $2 million on consultants:
But before Bernard throws up her hands — “We do not have the expertise within our own department” — and contracts out solving the problems to consultants who’ve probably never dealt with them, she would do well to listen more closely to those now trapped inside the system.
And those who work with those people on a daily basis.
And use the $2 million to provide actual assistance to help those who can to live independently, and those who can’t to live in dignity.
3. Mother Canada™
Clive Doucet, a Cape Breton native, former Ottawa city councillor, and author of My Grandfather’s Cape Breton, doesn’t take kindly to the Mother Canada™ proposal:
The Park, as it is known locally, is one of the oldest federal reserves in Canada. The land was assembled in the 1930s, partly as a government make work project…
My last trip up was by bicycle and only a few weeks ago. To my pleasant surprise, the battered old Parks Canada interpretative panel had been replaced by a new one but the words had also been changed. Gone were the nature and local history notes. Visitors were now invited to remember those who had fought for Canada in wars abroad. It’s difficult to convey how shocked I felt. My Dad had a chest full of medals from the second war. My father-in-law won the Military Cross in Normandy. I joined the Royal Canadian Naval Reserve on my 16th birthday. But a Highland Park is not the place to memorialize Canadian military courage.
It is in Cheticamp, in St. Joseph du Moine, in Belle Cote, in all the villages along the coast of Cape Breton where the names of the boys who died are inscribed on columns. It is here the annual Remembrance Day ceremonies are held and should be; where the lads who didn’t come home are remembered.
People lost their farms and villages on the Atlantic and the Gulf side of the island to government expropriation so that the landscape and natural world could be preserved for the enjoyment of all Canadians. They did not choose to lose their land but assented because they understood the purpose of the park was larger than their own small farm. It was to protect the natural world and keep the intrusions of humanity’s many excitements beyond the Park’s borders. The little memorial on the French Mountain lookout is small beer compared to the giant on the Atlantic side, but both do violence to the vision that inspired the park’s creation and has brought solace to many.
4. Cranky letter of the day
After I was born at St Rita’s Hospital in Sydney my parents took me home to raise me in Louisbourg.
I don’t know exactly what my parents saw in my future and perhaps they didn’t think that far ahead. I would think they’d want me to do better then them as most parents seem to wish for in their children. I would think they must have hoped I’d be a success some day.
My parents had come from the villages of Big Lorraine and Little Lorraine before moving into the ‘big’ community after being married. So I grew up and went to school there and as a child the years don’t seem to move very fast. The future was far away.
Louisbourg was big in my young eyes: home to a major fish plant that provided work for all, two schools and more. We would spend our summers fishing for mackerel, playing baseball or swimming at the Back Beach. Then we’d head back to school again once the summer was over. A school is really the bedrock of any community. If a community has a school it is rich with children and a future.
But over the years times changed. The large fishplant closed down as did one of the schools. And then people started to leave the small town for work. I don’t think my parents saw this when I was born – that their children would have to leave not only the town but the province.
I have siblings now in Alberta. I was there for a short time myself but I always pined for Louisbourg and Cape Breton. And I was lucky enough to get a job when I came back to Cape Breton, a house and now a family. I now live in Sydney, but my heart is in Louisbourg and I want it to thrive. I want Cape Breton to thrive. I don’t want my children to have to leave here for a better future. I want their better future to be right here. I dream of better things for Louisbourg and Cape Breton.
I envision in the near future a family travelling along the Fleur De Lis trail going through a newly reopened Louisboug Gabarus Road and as they pass through Louisbourg they would stop to admire the view of the harbour on some sunny summer day. They would see lobster boats coming and going in the harbour, as they have done so for eons, and the smell of salty air would permeate their senses. And perhaps thinking they would like to live there. They have children and they want them to have a nice childhood. They think Louisbourg fits the bill. But they need to know things. Is there a doctor, a pharmacy, a school. A community thrives with a school. A community has hope with a school.
I have hope that family will have the childhood I had.
Bill Fiander, Sydney
Executive Standing Committee (10am, City Hall) — I’m not sure why it’s going to this committee, but for some reason the committee will consider council’s motion to allow non-citizens to vote in municipal elections. Municipal Clerk Cathy Mellet, who is retiring soon, wrote the report on the issue:
A jurisdictional scan was conducted on the question of allowing permanent residents (or non-citizens) to run for local office. It is included as Attachment 1 of this report.
The jurisdictional scan shows that matters related voting rights and rights to run for office are very complex within the European Union (EU) due to EU law and reciprocal agreements between countries. As such, EU considerations are not necessarily transferable to local government in Canada.
Ireland, Denmark and Finland have relatively open eligibility for both voting and running as a candidate in local elections but require an extended period of residency for non-resident electors/candidates.
In Japan, New Zealand and the United States, the three (3) jurisdictions outside of the EU where progress has been made in advancing voting for non-citizens in local elections, the questions of voting and candidacy are seen as distinct matters with the focus being on voting rights. In these jurisdictions the move to extend voting rights to non-citizen flows from recognition that permanent residents have a significant investment in decisions related to the local government and school boards and contribute to the communities in which they live. In the literature or debates there is very little discussion about extending the right to run as a candidate, which is more closely reserved as a right of citizenship.
Based on the jurisdictional review the matter of extending voting rights and eligibility to run as a candidate has been handled in a variety of ways across jurisdictions.
New Zealand, as a Commonwealth country with a democratic tradition based on British parliamentary law and a local government act passed by territorial (provincial) authority, is the jurisdiction closest to our own. In New Zealand, non-citizens can vote in local elections but the legislation requires that candidates be citizens of New Zealand. This approach would be consistent with the current direction provided by Regional Council and is, at this time, the recommendation of elections staff.
The fire department has issued a tender for a consultant “to Conduct Site Surveys for Halifax Regional Fire and Emergency (HRFE) Dry Hydrant Locations over a period of 2 years and provide location certificates for each.”
A dry hydrant is ” is a non-pressurized pipe installed at a pond or lake that is in close proximity to an all weather road. Dry hydrants provide firefighters with a way to replenish their water supplies. A fire crew can refill its tanker truck from a dry hydrant which is located near the fire area.”
All well and good, but for some reason Appendix F, which lists the locations of the dry hydrants, has been left off the publicly available tender offer. I suppose this is for the same reason that the city won’t tell us where the street-side fire hydrants are — if people know where our public works infrastructure is, terrorists!! will come and do dastardly things. Be afraid!
No public meetings.
This date in history
On November 2, 1899, the Second Canadian Contingent, consisting of 1,281 volunteers organized into two battalions of Mounted Rifles and an artillery brigade, departed Halifax for the Boer War.
I guess we’re supposed to think these military men were “protecting our freedom” or some such bullshit, but really it was all about empire, one empire stealing another empire’s previously stolen land, and the bravado of ignorant boys thinking the accident of birth placed them in the best country ever and itching at the chance to kick barbarian ass. As the Canadian War Museum explains:
At the height of its power in 1899, Britain viewed the largely agrarian and religiously conservative Boers as backward-looking, and an obstacle to larger British political and economic ambitions in the region. Important British authorities even hoped for a war, which they thought they could easily win, to resolve the Boer problem once and for all by incorporating them into a pan-British South Africa. Matters came to a head in 1899 when Britain began reinforcing its military garrison in South Africa. On 9 October, the Transvaal government issued an ultimatum demanding that this build-up cease. London did not reply, and on 11 October the Boers declared war.
…During the months preceding the war, the English-Canadian press had been full of pro-British and anti-Boer articles, many of them urging Ottawa to dispatch Canadian troops in the event of a conflict.
In the end, [Prime Minister Sir Wilfrid Laurier] bowed to pressure from more populous English Canada, particularly Ontario, and agreed to send troops, but it would not be an open-ended commitment. Canada would foot the bill for a small, all-volunteer force, and pay for its recruitment and transportation to South Africa. Once there, it would become the financial responsibility of Great Britain.
After the fall of Pretoria in June, the war entered its third, longest, and most controversial phase. From then until its end in May 1902 it took on the characteristics of a guerrilla struggle. Boer mounted units called commandos disappeared into vast open spaces of the veldt, their tactics focusing on sudden and bloody attacks and swift withdrawals.
Determined that the most effective means of dealing with the elusive commandos was to destroy the basis of the Boer domestic economy, the British sectioned off large portions of the veldt with barbed wire, anchored by specially-built blockhouses. Columns of soldiers proceeded through each section burning farms and homesteads, and rounding up whatever Boers they could find, mostly women and children, for dispatch to special holding areas, called ‘concentration camps’. Although comparisons with their Second World War German namesakes are grossly exaggerated and unfair (the British were not waging a policy of genocide), administration and public health in the camps were dreadful, and discipline harsh: of a total of 116,000 Boers confined, at least 28,000 died.
A second Canadian contingent arrived in South Africa in the period January-March 1900.
For the most part, however, as the nature of the war changed from large set-piece battles to a cat-and-mouse struggle across the veldt, the new arrivals [i.e., the Second Canadian Contingent] patrolled lines of communication, participated in search-and-destroy missions against Boer commandos, and removed Boers from their lands for transport to the dismal concentration camps.
The reality of the conflict soon sank in for the Canadians. Chris Madsen, writing in the Canadian Military Journal, which is published by the DND, surveys the Canadians’ involvement in what even by the standards of the day were considered by some to be war crimes:
During the early 20th Century, Canadians sent to South Africa to uphold the imperial interests of Empire took part in the crueler side of British policies conducted against the disaffected Boers. Canadian and British soldiers burned living dwellings, destroyed crops and forcibly relocated civilians into internment camps. Farm burning arose as a reaction to the decision on the part of some Boers to prolong the conflict by adoption of guerrilla warfare and then the ensuing counter-response from senior military commanders in the field. While some books have dealt extensively with the recruitment, despatch, and fighting performance of the South African Field Force, Canadian participation in destructive activities and treatment accorded civilian property under military occupation has received only casual mention. Nonetheless, available letters, diaries and published accounts, written before the self-censorship of the world wars, disclose substantial evidence to show that fire was a regular, and, at times, integral feature of the Canadian war in South Africa. Under official British orders, Canadian troops burned farmsteads in counter- insurgency operations…
…Far from unthinking and uncaring instruments of destruction, Canadian officers and soldiers felt reservations about burning farms. And yet, they obediently obeyed lawful orders and grudgingly performed what was asked of them for the sake of eventual military success. Perceptions of right and wrong were left to moral judgment. No matter how technically legal under British interpretations of international law and how operationally justified these actions were, the psychological impact and accompanying ethical tension exacted a lasting emotional toll on those involved. The immediate manifestation was extreme reluctance on the part of most Canadian troops to stay after expiry of the voluntary one-year enlistment period, and, concomitantly, there were consistent demands to go home. The long-term effect was a strong sense of group identification among South African War veterans, who found it difficult to explain their experiences to others. Individuals who left and expected to return as heroes for a good cause instead became haunted by the anguish of the distasteful acts and experiences in pursuit of victory in what they viewed as an unsatisfactory war. Farm burning and similar acts turned the perpetrators into victims as much as the women, children and old people they dispossessed and left to starve in the inhospitable climate of inland southern Africa.
The next wave of farm burning was indiscriminate. Organized columns of troops descended upon areas still offering resistance and destroyed farms in those vicinities on the slightest pretext.
Farm burning did not come naturally to most Canadian troops in South Africa. Looting and unofficial requisitioning were far more commonplace activities
Canadians worked in mixed sections or detachments, usually as or in conjunction with mounted troops. The Strathcona’s Horse, a mounted unit recruited predominantly in Western Canada, burned farms around Helvetia in late August 1900. The official line was that a living dwelling was to be emptied before being burned, and the dispossessed would be left to deal with protecting or transporting possessions. That soldiers helped themselves in the process no doubt happened, particularly in terms of small valuables and money. Trooper Albert Hilder, serving with the Royal Canadian Dragoons, recorded in his diary: “Burning every house and commandeering all the sheep and cattle we could lay our hands on. Also taking all the poultry we wanted and looting the houses.”
In a time prior to the widespread availability of gasoline and other accelerants, an empty house was a somewhat-difficult proposition to ignite since the main fuel sources, such as bedding, wood articles and paper products normally had been removed. Thus, troops customarily brought bundles of hay or straw to throw into the house and then they waited for favourable weather conditions. Rain could dampen fires, whereas dry winds on hot days generally assisted combustion. Depending upon its size and location, a farm took hours and even as much as a day to burn, and longer if the burning of crops was involved. Some troops always remained until the job was finished in case the residents tried to put out the fire or the flames died of their own accord. Livestock such as cattle, swine and sheep that could not be carried off alive were slaughtered on the spot in front of Boer families and then left to rot in the sun.
The farm was the main productive unit in Boer economic and social life, and it was central to the sense of family, community, and religion. It represented years and sometimes decades of toil, investment and sacrifice over a lifetime, and even for future generations.
The psychological impact on Canadian troops engaged in farm burning was equally profound…Lieutenant E.W.B. Morrison, who served with a Royal Canadian Artillery battery attached to Major-General Horace Smith-Dorrien’s brigade, described operations in early November 1900: “We moved on from valley to valley ‘lifting’ cattle and sheep, burning, looting, and turning out the women and children to sit and cry beside the ruins of their once beautiful farmsteads… It was a terrible thing to see, and I don’t know that I want to see another trip of the sort, but we could not help approving the policy, though it rather revolted most of us to be the instruments.”
The nasty nature of farm burning and the concomitant pressure it placed upon the civilian population contributed to the widespread desire among most troops to leave South Africa and return to Canada at the earliest opportunity… Collectively and individually, they decided that their part in the war was finished, the work was disagreeable and the attractions of home and renewed civilian careers were preferred. Someone else could burn farms and chase Boer commandos for the sake of the Empire.
Leaving the scene only partly absolved Canadian troops from the ethical dilemma posed by the farm burning and their conduct against civilians in South Africa. Fundamentally, ethics involve a deep-seated sense of right and wrong.
Canadian soldiers compartmentalized the ethics of what had happened in the field from public and private perceptions of the Canadian contribution to the war in South Africa. It is ironic that the same men who performed such non-Christian deeds against the religious God-believing Boers could be celebrated through prayers and hymns once back in Canada. As husbands, fathers and heroes, they were different persons. Only individual memories, tempered by the filter of time and reflection, contained the truth. In order to balance out ethically the terrible things done near the battlefield, returning veterans found solace in routine, camaraderie and in generally becoming good citizens. Farm burning and the mistreatment of civilians was the secret few veterans talked about when they got together at reunions or get-togethers in the coming decades. Beyond troubled dreams, what happened in South Africa stayed in South Africa…
I doubt many Canadian soldiers could adequately compartmentize their involvement in atrocities. As we’re increasingly understanding, it’s more likely the internal moral conflict expressed itself in suicide, alcoholism, broken families and other social ills.
Still, we must always maintain the fiction that Canadian involvement in war is always glorious, always a moral good, always worth commemorating. Here’s how the Canadian Encyclopedia implores us to celebrate Canadian involvement in the Boer War:
There are dozens of South African War memorials, plaques and statues in town squares, legislature grounds and city parks from Vancouver to Halifax. We pass them now without a glance, forgetting what they commemorate. But for two decades after the turn of the last century, they were important symbols of Canadian pride, around which people gathered every February 27, to say prayers and honour veterans on Paardeberg Day.
Ah, yes, Canadian pride. We should always be proud of our soldiers, no matter what war crimes they committed.
There are two Boer War Memorials here in Halifax. The first is outside Province House; the cornerstone of the monument was laid on October 19, 1901 by the Prince of Wales, who just happened to be visiting town. When the monument was complete in 1902, Canadians returning from the Boer War were welcomed back in Halifax as conquering heroes.
As the city Archives explains:
In the summer of 1902, Canadian Boer War volunteers returned to Canada through the port of Halifax after successfully aiding the British in the Boer defeat. The crowds that cheered on the volunteers’ departure in 1899 celebrated the return of the first Canadian Contingent in 1901 with parades and concerts. The return of the remaining regiments at the war’s end was equally impressive: Halifax organized street celebrations, a parade and a triumphal arch in honour of the volunteer’s military successes, such as the battle of Paardeberg in 1900.
The second Boer War Memorial in Halifax is a ridiculous ornate fountain erected in the Public Gardens, and the less said about that the better.
There is no glory in war — even the victors end up victims of the ghastly business. If we really wanted to honour those veterans, we’d put an end the vile undertaking once and for all.
Thesis defence, English (9:30am, Room 3107, Mona Campbell Building) — PhD candidate Lynne Evans will defend her thesis, “Flannery O’Connor, Tennessee Williams, and Shirley Jackson: Crafting Postwar Maternity as Cultural Nightmare.”
Thesis defence, Pathology (2pm, Room 3107, Mona Campbell Building) — PhD candidate Sara Lahsaee will defend her thesis, “Estrogen Receptor Alpha Signalling Regulates the Expression of the Taxane Response Biomarker PRP4K.”
The New York Times this weekend reported on Ohio’s Issue 3, a ballot measure that, if passed, will make Ohio the fifth US state to legalize marijuana. Well, sort of:
Issue 3, as the proposed amendment is known, is bankrolled by wealthy investors spending nearly $25 million to put it on the ballot and sell it to voters. If it passes, they will have exclusive rights to growing commercial marijuana in Ohio.
That is, the state might legalize pot, but only if rich people can profit from it. There’s a provision for home growers in the proposed law — people over 21 can grow up to four flowering plants — but it appears that the home gardeners would be prohibited from selling to their next door neighbours, or supplying the local medical marijuana dispensary.
I fear this is the way things are going in Canada as well. As I wrote last year, the big corporations supplying Canada’s medical marijuana are gearing up to expand operations to grow pot for recreational users — which would only be profitable if people couldn’t grow and sell their own pot.
As Justin Trudeau brings forward the end to prohibition in Canada, we should insist that marijuana production be as open as a market as possible, akin to craft brewers — reasonable regulation, to be sure, but with the idea that there are low barriers to becoming a producer.
In the harbour
Hoegh Xiamen, car carrier, arrived at Autoport this morning from Salerno, Italy; sails to sea this afternoon
Nanny, oil tanker, Come By Chance, Newfoundland to (presumably) Imperial Oil
CSCC Tianjin, car carrier, Baltimore to Autoport, then sails to sea
Budapest Express sailed to Cagliari, Italy this morning
The cable layer Responder sails to sea
The former Digby ferry, the Princess of Acadia, sails from the old Coast Guard base in Dartmouth today, bound for Sydney, Australia. Peter Zibrowski argues that the Princess of Acadia should be used to replace the Nova Star on the Yarmouth ferry run, but I fear that, er, that ship has sailed.
The last cruise ship of the season, the Seven Seas Navigator (up to 500 passengers) is in port today.
I do hope that marijuana is definitely legalised and decriminalized. I have been looking forward to a chance to try it as treatment for my auto-immune inflammatory disease.
As transplants from Ontario my wife and I had many occasions to note the recourse to consultants by Kitchener city council, providing one more means of transferring public money into private hands.
Thank you for the account of the crimes committed by Canadian and British soldiers in the Boer War. As a child of empire, whose mother was born in the environs of the Cape Garrison in South Africa in 1914, her father being a gunnery sergeant in the British army, I detest the whole sordid history of “accumulation by dispossession” there, here and everywhere. Keep telling it, till the point we get so embarrassed by the monuments and statues we tear them down at last.
As a first generation Canadian I have always been fascinated by Canada’s colonial heritage.
It’s always seemed totally crazy and the Boer War is no different. Is ISIS the new Boers? USA our new colonial master?