1. Logging and climate change
“The federal government isn’t properly reporting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions caused by the logging industry,” reports Joan Baxter:
As a result, the government is mischaracterizing Canadian forests as a “carbon sink,” when in fact the logging industry is one of Canada’s highest GHG-emitting industrial sectors — responsible for releasing more carbon into the atmosphere than does electricity generation, and almost as much as does exploitation of the oil sands.
That’s the finding of a report, “Logging emissions update,” published this morning. It is authored by Michael Polanyi of Nature Canada and Jennifer Skene of Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).
2. Artists with disabilities
“The producers and guests of a new TV show about artists across Canada who identify as disabled say they hope the show changes people’s misconceptions about the lives of people with disabilities,” reports Suzanne Rent:
Disrupt debuted its first episode on AMI this week. The first season of the show includes four episodes.
Ryan Delehanty works with AMI in the Atlantic region and developed the concept for the show. He connected with Rachel Bower, a documentary filmmaker, who also works on CBC’s Land and Sea and a documentary called The Noodle Group for CBC Gem.
“Ryan reached out to me because I had worked with him on a few Our Community documentaries, which is a lovely and watchable documentary series on AMI,” Bower said in an email to the Halifax Examiner.
“Ryan also knew I would be interested because I founded and I’m on the board of a charity for artists with disabilities [JRG Society for the Arts].”
Bower, Delehanty, and artist curator April Hubbard met last summer to work on the show concept and what they wanted to achieve with the program. That included having mentorships for filmmakers who identified with disabilities.
“We had paid roles for these mentorships,” Bower said. “Two camera assistants, two assistant directors, a sound assistant, a set decorator assistant, as well as a post production assistant.”
Rent speaks with several of the artists profiled, including Mike Dow, a blind hip-hop artist, shown in the video above.
We can hear the children making their way through the woods well before they reach the grove of hemlock trees, this place they call “Base Camp One.” They sound happy, excited, their voices a chorus of youthful exuberance, as they head to school for another day of adventure, learning, and fun in the forest.
Welcome to the Pictou County Forest School.
It’s a bitter morning in late April, but the kids, abuzz with that energy that creaky old souls (like me) can only marvel at, seem oblivious to the cold.
So does Scott Ross, who founded and runs the non-profit school, which is open even in winter months. Ross has already told me there is no bad weather, just bad clothing for the weather.
This being Tuesday, Ross says it is the day for “goslings” — children between the ages of four and seven. Wednesdays are for children eight to 11 years called “foxes,” and Thursdays are for the “wolves” — young people 12–14 years.
Today, 11 goslings are making their way to Base Camp One in the heart of the hemlock stand, where there is a fire pit, an outhouse, and a canvas tent.
Before the children gather on the porch of the tent, drop their backpacks and start on the day’s activities — tracking, fort building, animal and insect identification, and a dizzying diversity of outdoor pursuits and games — they pause and form a circle around a particular hemlock, their “gratitude tree.”
Yesterday, Nova Scotia reported 12 more deaths from COVID.
All of the newly reported deaths occurred before the April 24-May 1 reporting week (that is, before April 24), but that doesn’t mean there weren’t deaths in the reporting week. The reporting of deaths lags, so for example, the previous week’s “0” death count was an undercount, with deaths occurring that week only being reported now.
Similarly, while there are no “new” deaths reported in the most recent April 24-May 1 reporting period, there most probably were deaths in that week, and they’ll be counted in future reports.
In any event, in total through the pandemic, 853 Nova Scotians have died from COVID, 366 of whom have died since July 1, 2022.
The ages and vaccinated status of the most recently deceased will be reported on May 15, but in general, 90%+ of the deceased were 70 years old or older, and totally unvaccinated people are dying at twice the rate as fully vaccinated people.
Additionally, during the April 24-May 1 reporting period, 16 people were hospitalized because of COVID.
Nova Scotia Health reports the COVID hospitalization status as of yesterday, not including the IWK):
• in hospital for COVID: 11 (fewer than 5 are in the ICU)
• in hospital for something else but have COVID: 59
• in hospital who contracted COVID after admission: 26
Oh, and the flu season is just about over, with just four lab-confirmed cases in the first half of April, and no hospitalizations or deaths.
5. Arrests in burning of Pride flag
The flag was traditionally signed by 2SLGBTQIA+ students at graduation each year. It had been removed from the cafeteria, taken outside, and burned.
In a media release Friday morning, Halifax District RCMP said when they responded to the school for a report of mischief on April 21 they learned that one youth, assisted by two others, had taken down the flag and brought it outside where it was burned.
Police said the incident was recorded by one of the youths.
6. Poaching shuts down hydro dam
“An influx of unauthorized elver harvesters prompted Nova Scotia Power to shut down one of its hydro dams last month, and the facility remains on reduced hours because of ongoing illegal fishing at the site,” reports Paul Withers for the CBC:
The hydro dam in Head of St. Margarets Bay, at the mouth of North East River, has been the scene of nightly fishing for elvers, before and after the legal fishery was supposedly shut down on April 15.
7. The Icarus Report
On the same day last month — April 24 — two passengers created problems for flights coming into Halifax.
As reported by Transport Canada:
• an Air Transit Boeing 737 Max from Jamaica to Halifax “reported a disturbance in the cabin during arrival” at Halifax. “The pilot requested police at the gate. No other details provided.” Police came to the airport, and the plane landed safely.
• a Porter flight from Toronto to Halifax conducted a missed approach “due to an issue with a passenger.” No further details were provided, but the pilot attempted a second time and landed successfully.
The criminalization of mask-wearing is flat-out racist
It’s hard to believe CTV published this utterly irresponsible article, by reporter Shannon Paterson:
While mask wearing has all but disappeared at most Metro Vancouver shops and restaurants, security experts say there is one group that’s still consistently donning them: criminals.
“We are seeing a lot of people who are up to no good keeping masks on, and I’m sure it’s to aid in their ability to do what they want to do,” said James Blight with Paladin Security.
And what evidence is there for this mask-wearing crime wave? A single incident:
Last week in Richmond, two men wearing masks were caught on surveillance video trying to steal bags from patrons of a popular seafood restaurant. They were chased down by staff who managed to retrieve a stolen bag, but RCMP say the masked men have not been identified.
While most people have abandoned mask-wearing, plenty of vulnerable people continue to wear masks for their own safety, and others wear masks out of concern for the vulnerable people. Paterson is essentially criminalizing those people.
The COVID-deniers and anti-maskers talk a lot about “freedom,” but their concerns about the freedom to do as one chooses to do does not extend to people who choose to wear masks. Mask wearers have been physically attacked and insulted, and now that attitude is morphing into a broader criminalization of mask-wearing.
And one can’t miss the racial aspect of this criminalization.
There’s nothing new about antagonism for mask-wearing, nor the affects of that antagonism on racialized communities. During the influenza pandemic of 1918-19, the city of San Francisco instituted (admittedly, overly aggressive) mask mandates during two major waves of the pandemic in 1918. Then, reports the New York Times:
On Dec. 17, 1918, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors reinstituted the mask ordinance after deaths started to climb, a trend that spilled over into the new year with 1,800 flu cases and 101 deaths reported there in the first five days of January.
That board’s decision led to the creation of the Anti-Mask League, a sign that resistance to masks was resurfacing as cities tried to reimpose orders to wear them when infections returned.
On Jan. 25, the league held its first organizational meeting, open to the public at the Dreamland Rink, where they united behind demands for the repeal of the mask ordinance and for the resignations of the mayor and health officials.
On Jan. 27, the league protested at a Board of Supervisors meeting, but the mayor held his ground. There were hisses and cries of “freedom and liberty,” Dr. Dolan wrote in his paper on the epidemic.
Repeal came a few days later on Feb. 1, when Mayor Rolph cited a downturn in infections.
But a third wave of flu rolled in late that year. The final death toll reached an estimated 675,000 nationwide, or 30 for every 1,000 people in San Francisco, making it one of the worst-hit cities in America.
And that wave killed Black San Franciscans at a far higher rate than it did white San Franciscans.
And as with the 1918-19 pandemic, COVID has affected racialized people at greater rates than white people, so it makes sense for Black people to continue to wear masks. My completely anecdotal observation in Halifax is that Black people are wearing masks on the bus at much greater rate than are white people.
But even when mask mandates were law in 2020, Black people were harassed and criminalized for wearing masks, as the above video shows.
In 2021, two Asian women in New York City were attacked by a hammer-weilding assailant because they were wearing masks.
But despite that racialized attack, in March of this year, New York Mayor Eric Adams said that people entering bodegas should take their masks off so criminals can be identified by security cameras. This makes no damned sense at all: it presumes that criminals intent on committing an actual legal felony — an armed robbery of a bodega — will abide by a restriction against mask-wearing that so far as I can tell isn’t even a municipal bylaw. “Oh, I was going to shove this sawed off shotgun up the clerk’s nose and demand all the money in the till, but now that I have to show my face first, I won’t do it,” is simply not something that happens. But the lasting impression that people wearing masks are likely criminals does happen.
Here in Halifax, I’m a bit sheltered by the larger world, so when in the pre-pandemic years I started seeing mostly Asian students wearing masks on the bus, I initially found it, well, foreign. But I googled around and learned that it’s commonplace in many Asian countries for people to wear masks in public, especially if they’re not feeling well, as a courtesy to others. This struck me as kind, and reasonable.
It now strikes me that given its large population of people from Asia and of Asian descent, many mask-wearers in Vancouver will be disproportionately Asian or of Asian descent, and so Paterson and CTV are effectively criminalizing racialized people for behaving in ways they understand as responsible.
How has it come to this? How is it that mask-wearing has shifted from a symbol of mutual care and not-difficult shared protection to a presumption that the mask-wearer is a criminal?
In the harbour
05:00: Atlantic Star, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from Norfolk, Virginia
07:15: Nolhanava, ro-ro cargo, arrives at Pier 42 from Saint-Pierre
08:30: FWN Atlantic, cargo ship, sails from Pier 25 for sea
16:00: Vistula Maersk, container ship, arrives at Pier 42 from Montreal
16:00: Endurance, cargo ship, arrives at Pier 27 from Moa, Cuba
16:30: Nolhanava sails for Saint-Pierre
16:30: Atlantic Star sails for Hamburg, Germany
18:30: Oceanex Sanderling, ro-ro container, sails fro Pier 42 for St. John’s
04:00 (Saturday): CMA CGM T. Roosevelt, container ship (140,000 tonnes), arrives at Pier 41 from Tanger Med, Morocco
09:00: Lillesand, oil tanker, arrives at anchorage from Teesport, England
11:00: Sheila Ann, bulker, arrives at Pirate Harbour anchorage from Tampa, Florida
13:30: Baie St.Paul, bulker, arrives at Coal Pier (Sydney) from Montreal
Looks like it’s going to be a nice weekend. I’m going to garden.