News

1. Liberals Jordan, Zann lose seats to Conservatives

Signage outside a polling station in Dartmouth, N.S. on Election Day, Sept. 20, 2021. Photo: Zane Woodford

Zane Woodford reports on the results of Monday’s federal election that saw the loss of two Liberal seats in Nova Scotia. Woodford writes:

Two of the party’s now-former MPs won’t be part of that government. Cabinet minister Bernadette Jordan, who has faced criticism from both sides for her handling of the fishery dispute, lost her seat in South Shore-St. Margarets and Lenore Zann lost her seat in Cumberland-Colchester.

Click here to read Woodford’s complete summary of the results. 

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2. Tony Ince talks new Liberal-NDP Black caucus

Matthew Byard recently talked with Liberal MLA Tony Ince about several topics, including his role as opposition critic for the Office of African Nova Scotia Affairs, Pat Dunn, and the formation of a Liberal-NDP Black caucus.

Here’s what Ince told Byard:

Angela Simmonds, Ali Duale, myself, and Suzy Hansen are coming together to form a bit of a Black caucus, so to speak, coalition, and we are coming together so that we can collectively try to move any of the issues for our community together.

Ince told Byard he, Duale, Hansen, and Simmonds are just starting to meet and strategize, but it will be interesting to see how they can work together for the Black community.

Click here to read Byard’s full interview with Ince.

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3. Kinsella promises ‘fulsome review’ of police raid on homeless camps

A Halifax Regional Police bicycle officer with his name tag covered forms part of a chain to allow a wagon full of arrested protesters to leave on Aug. 18, 2021. Photo: Zane Woodford

Zane Woodford was at the Halifax Board of Police Commissioners meeting on Monday, the first since the police evicted people living in parks and deployed pepper spray against protesters at the former Halifax Memorial Library on Spring Garden Road.

As Woodford learned, Halifax Regional police chief Dan Kinsella faced a lot of questions about those evictions:

First, newly sworn-in Commissioner Harry Critchley tabled a petition with more than 2,000 signatures calling for an “independent, civilian review of the Halifax Regional Police’s actions on August 18, 2021, in coordination with any related reviews or investigations that may be ordered by HRM Regional Council.”

The board will discuss that petition, with a motion to come, at the next meeting, scheduled for Oct. 18.

Following Kinsella’s monthly update to the board, Coun. Lindell Smith, the chair, asked Kinsella to talk about the events of Aug. 18. Kinsella instead talked about what the police are doing about the tents and emergency shelters now.

“We continue to work with HRM service providers and others in an effort to provide alternatives to the housing crisis that we’re obviously all faced with,” Kinsella said.

Kinsella also faced questions about officers not wearing name tags and other officers wearing thin blue line patches. Kinsella himself is also facing a complaint. You can read all of that from Woodford here.

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4. COVID update: 55 new cases

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Tim Bousquet has the COVID update for Monday when 55 new cases were announced. Remember, that’s a three-day total. There are now 129 known cases in the province. Eight people are in hospital, although none are in ICU. Here’s the breakdown of the new cases:

• 34 are in Nova Scotia Health’s Central Zone — 24 are close contacts to previously announced cases, 3 are related to travel, 7 are under investigation
• 13 are in the Northern Zone — 11 close contacts, 2 under investigation
• 5 are in the Western Zone — 2 travel, 2 close contacts, 1 under investigation
• 3 are in the Eastern Zone — all travel

As always, Bousquet has all the vaccination data, demographics, testing, and potential exposure advisories.

Click here for the complete article.

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5. PRICED OUT: Addressing the Housing Crisis

On Thursday, I’m hosting a virtual community session to hear your stories and ideas for our series PRICED OUT: Addressing the Housing Crisis. We have limited availability, so you have to register here. The session starts at 6pm and is via Zoom. I’ll send you the link Thursday afternoon.

If you can’t attend, you can always call or text our message line at 1-819-803-6215 or email us at housing@halifaxexaminer.ca.

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Views

Grifters present

A LulaRoe leadership event in January 2020. Photo: LulaRoe/Facebook

This weekend, I was listening to Pop Chat on CBC and host Elamin Abdelmahmoud, entertainment reporter Kevin Fallon, and culture writer Amil Niazi talked about a new documentary called LulaRich, which tells the story of LulaRoe. If you don’t know — and I didn’t know until I heard this show — LulaRoe is a multi-level marketing strategy or MLM that sells leggings (the official pants of the pandemic, by the way) and other women’s clothing.

The four-part documentary reports on the rise and fall of LulaRoe —  the company is still in business, though, after investigations and lawsuits — and how women got sucked into what some of them called the “cult” of it all. Women sold their breast milk to fund inventories of leggings, or went into huge debt. Other women lost homes and marriages.

I haven’t watched LulaRich yet, but I’m sure you’re familiar with the formulas of these MLMs. Maybe you have been approached by someone to join an MLM. I’ve received Facebook messages from former schoolmates who wanted to tell me all about their “new business.”

I remember my first introduction to MLM was when I was just out of high school. My friend and her boyfriend were hosting a “party” to tell us all about their new business. From what I remember, it was all crap they were selling. I remember thinking, ‘Wait, you want me to recruit people to sell this shit?’ I hadn’t heard of MLMs then, or pyramid schemes. I didn’t buy into it (and my friend dumped that guy).

It doesn’t matter what the product is because these schemes are all the same. But the episode of Pop Chat had a good discussion on their appeal, particularly for middle class suburban women. These schemes are easy to make fun of with all their “girl boss” language of toxic positivity. You know what I mean: the live, love, laugh empowerment culture promoted largely to women. There’s almost something evangelical about these groups. The big flashy events with music and preaching — it’s easy to make fun of, and I do it too. I really dislike all this stuff!

As Fallon said about LulaRoe, “it wasn’t just this thing I think a lot of us maybe misogynistically made fun of. All these silly women, selling their leggings and the leggings were ugly and oh, what a scandal. It actually was a very dark and targeted scheme that really ruined the lives of thousands of women.”

MLMs have been around in some form for a long time. Think Avon and Mary Kay. But social media and the culture of “influencers” (that’s a whole other article) changed the game for these MLMs. They can find an audience much faster. I always see them on my Facebook feed. There’s Beach Body, Monat, Arbonne,  Scentsy, Pampered Chef, and so on. These schemes aren’t just selling products; they’re selling a lifestyle — one that is coveted by many, but impossible to achieve. As Niazi said in Pop Chat:

They say ‘if you sell these leggings your house will also be clean in photographs. Your children will also be perfectly dressed. Your husband will drive a Range Rover and so you will. So, the aspirational aspect of social media, which is what it’s completely about, let’s be realistic. It’s about selling our lives to each other and companies and it’s a sick centipede of buyer-be-bought.

As I mentioned above, the company still operates despite all the investigations. Apparently, diehard LulaRoe consultants are still going, and they’re leaving one-star reviews of the documentary to bring the series down.

I always noticed the schemes appeal to middle class moms who are trying to raise kids, keep a home, and look great doing it. And part of me gets the appeal. When you join these companies, there’s a chance for trips, girls’ nights out, new friendships, adult conversations, fun, and more importantly, a place to belong. That can be a huge draw for moms at home who not only want to make some extra money for their families, but also stay connected to the world beyond their roles as mothers. I also think women give these companies a shot because they don’t feel supported in traditional working environments, where the ceiling for advancement can be as low as the pay.

As Niazi said in Pop Chat, these companies prey on those same women who aren’t supported by larger systems:

I’m just so glad in many ways the pandemic has revealed the precarious state of affairs for any parent … but particularly moms are in a rough way and they have been for a long time. Millions of women have left the workforce since the pandemic began because it’s completely untenable to try and maintain a career and homeschooling, or digital schooling, or just being home for your small kids all of the time. It’s impossible. And when people talk about getting those women back to work with no semblance of a plan, with no national child care plan, with no national health care plan … we are just talking about such empty promises and how are those any different than the promises LulaRoe was making to these women. Moms are desperate to provide for their families, but also to stay home. They want to be there for those crucial early years and that’s their right and they’ve been put in the position where they have to choose between paying their bills, buying food, and taking care of their kids and that’s not a fair choice for anyone to make. And, of course, they fall for get-rich schemes or pay a little now, get a lot later because that’s also the same thing the government is selling them…there are so many gaps in the social structure for moms and we have created this problem and predatory companies come in to offer the solution. And so of course they are who are targeted and they are who fall for it. They really are in an impossible situation and there are no easy answers.

This was a good discussion on MLMs. I can see how they are so predatory, so it’s important to support women and moms in other bigger ways.

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Noticed

Grifters past

Munyon’s cures were homeopathic remedies created by James Munroe Munyon. These samples are at the apothecary at Sherbrooke Village. Photo: Suzanne Rent

On Saturday, my kid and I visited Sherbrooke Village on Saturday; it was the last day of the museum’s season (we even dressed up in costumes just like the guides do!)

Anyway, as part of the tour we learned a bit about the apothecary at the village, which includes cabinets of medicines, all of which were donated to the museum by Dalhousie University (Dr. J. Gordon Duff, who died in 2014, was one of the doctors behind outfitting the Sherbrooke apothecary with many of its artefacts).

But the medicines in that caught my attention were the products by Munyon’s, including the female cure. Only 25 cents!

When I got home, I did some searching and found this:

At the turn of the 20th century one of the infamous snake-oil salesmen was James Monroe Munyon who promised a “homeopathic” medical treatment in the curing of any disease. Having exhausted his luck at various professions among them being teaching, law, social work, publishing and song writing he founded his Homoeopathic Home Remedy Company in the early 1890s.

Establishing his headquarters in London in 1897, he challenged all people to find “positive cure” through the usage of his remedies. If you had a kidney problem try Munyon’s Kidney Cure, which analyses in 1907 was 100% sugar. If you were suffering from asthma his asthma medicine (sugar and alcohol) would be your cure. His catarrh cure was made up of sodium bicarbonate, salt, borax, phenol and gum and Munyon’s Pile Ointment was a farthing’s worth of soft paraffin.

Even though he was fined heavily by the United States officials as misbranding his “cures” he carried on his business with gusto. In 1903 he opened a luxury resort and hotel called the Hygeia, on a island he owned off of North Palm Beach, Florida which attracted wealthy invalids. One of the attractions of the place was the ready supply of Paw Paw Tonic, a cure-all made from papaya. The resort burned down in 1917 and a year later Munyon died of an apoplexy while having lunch at the Poinciana Hotel. His obituary in the New York Times quoted him as having said he started out with “virtually no capital except ambition and a belief in letting folks know about it”.

The Sun Sentinel in South Florida wrote about that island as part of its Sound Off South Florida project in which they investigate questions sent in by readers (the question asked was “What do we know about the hotel/bar on stilts that housed/fed commercial fisherman and blue collars that burned down (early 1900s) Munyon Island?”. Here’s what the Sentinel found out:

[Munyon’s] five-story Hygeia Hotel, named for the Greek goddess of health, included resort and spa activities, the aforementioned “fountain of youth,” and a seemingly never-ending supply of Munyon’s Paw-Paw Elixir.

The snake-oil salesman then began his ad campaign, a blitz of full-page ads in East Coast newspapers declaring the healing powers of his elixir. The marketing of the resort and its elixir went so far as to include an official song, penned by Munyon, entitled “Down Where the Paw-Paw Grows,” the last verse of which went: “Munyon’s Isle all hearts beguile/Down where the paw-paw grows/There’s joy for each at gay Palm Beach/Down where the paw-paw grows.”

Munyon laid out his grand plans for the island in a contemporaneous newspaper account, saying, “Before long we will have gondolas, sailing the waters around the island and passing under Japanese bridges and Venetian columns. … People from all over the world will come here to enjoy the climate and drink from my fountain of youth.”

In 1913, Munyon’s son Duke went into business with him, according to a Tropical Sun article, and the massive expansion of the hotel began. Duke “formed a syndicate of northern capitalists” who paid to clear land on the north end of the island to build private winter homes for the wealthy, according to the article.

But those plans never came to fruition. The Hygeia Hotel burned down in 1917, and Munyon died the next year.

As for that “female cure,” I couldn’t find any information on it. Women would like equal pay and clothing with pockets. Let’s start there.

From medicines to leggings, the grift never ends.

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Government

City

Tuesday

Halifax and West Community Council (Tuesday, 6pm) — on YouTube, with captioning on a text-only site

Wednesday

Heritage Advisory Committee (Wednesday, 3pm) — on YouTube

Province

No meetings


On campus

Dalhousie

Tuesday

The Fundamental Theorems of Calculus and Zinbiel Algebras (Tuesday, 2:30pm) — J.S. Lemay from Mount Allison University will explain

how an integration is constructed from a Zinbiel algebra precisely when said integration comes equipped with a derivation, and that together they satisfy the two fundamental theorems of calculus. Thus we obtain an equivalence of categories, which therefore provides an equivalent characterization of Zinbiel algebras in terms of the fundamental theorems of calculus.

Wednesday

Moral leadership and courage from different perspectives (Wednesday, 7:30pm) — online panel discussion

The first in a series of lectures on Leadership in Times of Conflict and Crisis. Join General Roméo Dallaire and world experts in PTSD, children’s rights, war crimes, humanitarian law, and peacekeeping for a series of important conversations about leadership and moral dilemma during times of conflict and crisis…[including] former child soldier Michel Chikwanine, former UN Force Commander Roméo Dallaire, and the Executive Director of the Dallaire Institute for Children, Peace, and Security Dr. Shelly Whitman.

Saint Mary’s

Tuesday

Black Business Initiatives: Access to Capital Markets | Overcoming Barriers for Black Businesses (Tuesday, 12pm) — Zoom webinar


In the harbour

Halifax
05:00: NYK Rumina, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from Caucedo, Dominican Republic
11:00: Augusta Unity, cargo ship, sails from Pier 31 for Balboa, Spain
15:30: Acadian, oil tanker, arrives at Irving Oil from Saint John
23:00: MSC Weser, container ship, sails from Pier 41 for sea

Cape Breton
07:45: My Lady, yacht, arrives at St. Peter’s from Halifax
12:00: Siem Pilot, offshore supply vessel, sails from Liberty Pier (Sydney) for sea
13:30: CSL Tacoma, bulker, arrives at Point Tupper from Baltimore


Footnotes

I want to send a thank you to Helen,  who was our guide at Sherbrooke Village. She was lovely, funny, and very knowledgeable. Here’s me in my circa 1860 outfit.

Leggings are more comfortable.


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Suzanne Rent

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

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  1. The, You Better Get in On This Now, MLM approach is directed at our basest instincts.
    Fear of not being part of the family and being left behind as a result.
    I am still friends with the guy who convinced us that Jewelway was our path to, not just riches, but salvation. Oh well, live and learn. My wife still loves the ring.

  2. An interesting note from another podcast I listened to that was looking critically at LulaRich — there is no mention / interest in the sourcing of the products. The leggings are clearly made in China, in spite of the mythology of the owner producing these “little ‘buttery soft’ leggings that women just love!” But the question of exploitation of labour that mirrors the exploitation of women’s aspirations on the sales end, is never examined… on this Amazon network production. Imagine.