1. Another shooting
Last night, police sent the following email to reporters:
At approximately 7:15 pm Halifax Regional Police responded to reports of gun shots being heard in the 5000 block of Drummond Ct in Halifax. Additional calls were received from members of the public who provided a description of a vehicle that was seen fleeing from the area shortly after the shots were heard.
The description of that vehicle was a white-coloured Hyundai hatchback with one or more of the windows smashed out. Several HRP vehicles attended the area and located a vehicle matching the description in the area of Gottingen St and Charles St in Halifax.
The driver of the vehicle was suffering from gunshot wounds. The driver, a 20 year old man from Halifax, was attended to by HRP and EHS paramedics who transported him to hospital with what are believed to be non-life threatening injuries at this time.
The investigation will be conducted by members of the Integrated Criminal Investigation Division. There have not been any arrests at this time, however, investigators are seeking two suspects described as:
1) a black male, approx. 5’10”,wearing blue jeans, long sleeved black shirt, a black hood facemask.
2) a light skinned black male, wearing blue jeans, a jacket with hood and gray trim no mask or gloves
Ian Fairclough, writing for Local Xpress, gives more details of the Gottingen Street scene:
The victim was hit in the upper body.
The car’s two driver’s side windows appeared to have been shattered, and there were what looked like holes from shotgun pellets on the driver’s door and in the door frame above the windows.
A bloody white towel or shirt was near the centre line of the road, near the car. Blood had run down the outside of the sill below the driver’s door.
Police haven’t released the name of the victim, and say they can’t yet determine if last night’s shooting is related to shootings in April that killed four people.
2. Economic forecasts and austerity
The Conference Board of Canada has issued its economic forecast for Nova Scotia, predicting that:
Real GDP growth will average 1.7 per cent over the next five years.
Recall that the Liberal budget-slashing and union-busting is based on Finance Minister Randy Delorey’s forecast that GDP growth will be just 0.8 per cent annually. So who are we to believe: the politically neutral Conference Board of Canada or a political party pushing an austerity agenda?
3. Economic forecasts and lobster
Meanwhile, reports Paul Withers for the CBC:
Export Development Canada is predicting two years of “spectacular” growth in exports for Nova Scotia thanks to a lower Canadian dollar, a stronger U.S. economy and a new-found Chinese appetite for the province’s seafood.
“We are seeing spectacular growth compared to the rest of the country,” said Peter Hall, chief economist for the federal Crown corporation which lends to Canadian exporters.
Hall was speaking Tuesday at a meeting of the Halifax Partnership. He predicts agri-food exports — which make up 40 per cent of the province’s total exports — will grow by nine per cent this year and five per cent in 2017.
The growth is being driven by lobster sales.
“The Chinese middle class is growing by [the size of the] Canadian population every year. That increase in wealth is increasing their appetite for things that we have in Canada that are of a higher value. There is an exponential increase in demand for lobster in China.”
But the Australian rock lobster fishery might provide a cautionary tale. The West Australian reported in January:
Local prices have fallen dramatically recently after Chinese authorities unexpectedly closed the “grey channel” through which WA rock lobsters are imported.
Chinese demand accounts for the lion’s share of sales for the prized seafood, 99 per cent of which is exported, and the industry is scrambling to fill the void.
So-called because it sits outside official trade routes, the grey channel for WA rock lobsters flows through Hong Kong but has been notoriously susceptible to the whims of the Chinese Government.
There are plans to fully liberalise the trade as part of an agreement between Canberra and Beijing, but it is expected to be years before the deal is fully implemented.
One read on this is that the Chinese government is using the lobster market as a bargaining chip in negotiations for a trade agreement with Australia, and in the meanwhile is increasing Canadian imports to make up for the shortfall.
Or perhaps not. Maybe Peter Hall is correct, and this is all about the growth of the Chinese middle class and its demands for more lobster. Is there a downside there? Again, consider the collapse of the Australian rock lobster fishery. Back in 2014, the following forecasts were made:
China has emerged as a key market for Western Australian rock lobster, accounting for close to 100% of exports, said a Rabobank report on the Australian seafood industry.
Rock lobster is Australia’s second largest seafood export after salmonids.
This higher market share has come hand in hand with a change in the type of product exported, said Rabobank.
In the 12 months leading up to August 2011, 66% of production was in live form. This had increased to 92% for the 12 months up to August 2014.
Australian rock lobster exports are forecast to reach AUD 476 million ($418m) in 2014-2015, a jump from the near AUD 400m of 2009-10.
It seemed just a few years ago that West Australia boasted some of the healthiest fisheries in Australia and the world. The Western Rock Lobster fishery was the jewel in the crown, being Australia’s highest value fishery and the first in the world to gain Marine Stewardship Council certification as an allegedly environmentally sustainable fishery. Managed since the 1960s, the rock lobster fishery has the longest-running management plan of any fishery in Australia. It was the pride and (financial) joy of the WA Department of Fisheries.
But all this changed recently as the number of juvenile lobsters plummeted to the lowest in 40 years of study. And still worse, this recruitment failure remains unexplained scientifically.
The Fisheries Minister, Norman Moore, responded to this dive in juvenile lobsters by cutting lobster catches to only 5,500 tonnes for this year and the next two — by restricting the number of pots and days fished. Catches usually average 11,000 tonnes each year. The drop in catches has lead to a 40% fall in the number of lobster boats since 2006-7 and communities up and down the WA coast are feeling the effects.
I understand the enthusiasm in Nova Scotia for lobster exports. The fishery employs a lot of people. It brings in needed export revenues (supposedly, but my guess is that most of the dough is parked in Cayman Island banks and on John Risley’s yacht). And, moreover, there’s nothing else much left to fish.
Still, we’re seeing the southern limits of the Atlantic lobster habitat move northward at an alarming rate. Right now this is benefitting Nova Scotia, but in the long run, could the fishery skip over the province entirely in its ever-northward march? And, even if the fishery doesn’t move, is collapse or near-collapse possible? Our own history with ground fish and the Australian experience with rock lobster suggest it is.
Oh well, here comes a bikini whale:
“A union official working at Irving Shipbuilding’s Halifax Shipyard says workers at the site have concerns, after scaffolding fell in high winds yesterday,” reports Stephanie vanKampen for the CBC:
According to the Nova Scotia Department of Labour, it happened while workers were dismantling the scaffolding.
High winds caught the plastic wrap that was around the scaffolding and blew it over, causing it to fall away from HMCS Toronto.
In an email, a representative for Irving Shipbuilding said no one was injured and the navy frigate, which is undergoing a mid-life refit, was not damaged.
Unifor/MWF Local 1 business agent Zibby Kwiatek told CBC News the scaffolding collapsed around lunchtime, when fewer workers were on the site.
“If it was during working hours, we would have casualties,” Kwiatek said.
5. Steven Douglas Skinner
Steven Douglas Skinner, who had been charged with the first-degree murder of Stacey Adams in Lake Echo in 2011, and who has been on the lam ever since, has been arrested by Venezuela police and is being extradited back to Canada.
Back in 2013 much ado was made about the donation by the Mintz family of Toronto of the “Leibovitz collection” to the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, and yet the collection seems not to have made its way to Nova Scotia, and there’s no word on when, if ever, it will be displayed.
Last October, I told readers everything I could find out:
I’ve been chasing this story for a while, and no one will go on the record about it. But here’s my suspicion: The Mintz family, who are making the donation, want a tax write-off for it, but can’t secure one.
In July, acting on a tip, I sent this request for information to the Canadian Cultural Property Export Review Board, which rules on tax write-offs for artistic donations:
My questions are in regard to the Secretariat to the Canadian Cultural Property Export Review Board. It is my understanding that the Review Board reports to the Minister of Canadian Heritage, and in that respect makes recommendations for certifications for tax exemptions and value of art.
In particular, I’m interested in the Annie Leibovitz collection of photography, which is intended as a gift from Al and Faye Mintz of Toronto to the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia in Halifax. It is my understanding that the Cultural Property Export Review Board has made (possibly repeated) rulings on the tax exemption status of the collection.
Can you confirm the above? Also, may I please have a copy of the ruling(s)? And for context, can you direct me to a link or otherwise provide background information about the role of the Cultural Property Export Review Board in regard to assessing cultural benefit of art, in particular regard to how art should have a Canadian cultural element?
I received the following response:
The content of Board meetings and decisions that relate to taxpayer information cannot be made public. It is protected under the Income Tax Act, the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act. As a result, the Review Board cannot discuss specific cases.
Well, OK. So I can’t know exactly what’s going on here, but as I see it, there are three conflicting interests at stake: the Mintz family’s understandable desire for a tax break, the money-troubled Leibovitz looking for some form of recompense, and the AGNS, which seems to have overreached to promote an American artist’s work donated by Toronto gazillionaires instead of focusing on the more mundane but more appropriate mission of building a interesting collection to a scale that is affordable and attainable in a Nova Scotian context.
Over the intervening months I’ve attempted multiple times to advance the story, and have put another reporter on it as well, but could get no more information.
Today, Ron Foley Macdonald, who has worked as the Film Curator at the museum and has connections to the board, also zeroes in on the Canadian Cultural Property Export Review Board, but with a slightly different angle — he looks at how lack of certification of the Leibovitz collection has deprived the museum of potential government grant money:
What I have learned through my contacts is that the key to the Leibovitz mess lies in an allegedly independent Federal Agency with the rather unwieldy handle of The Canada Cultural Property Export Review Board (CCPERB) which reports to the federal Department of Heritage. This agency designates Canadian organizations to preserve cultural property and make it accessible to the public, provides tax incentives that encourage Canadians to donate or sell important cultural property to designated organizations, awards grants to help with the purchase of cultural property, regulates the export of cultural property, and regulates the import of cultural property. It also assigns values, and issue tax credit certificates.
For example, if you or I would want to sell a painting we owned by the Arthur Lismer (of the Group of Seven and a World War One resident of Halifax), the CCPERB could weigh in, and possibly deny our attempt to sell said painting to someone in another country, on the grounds that it would not be in the national interest.
What may have happened in the Leibovitz situation is in fact the reverse. The CCPERB was presumably asked to certify the collection for the AGNS. Apparently certification also guarantees a matching grant from the Department of Heritage for handling and processing the work. In the case of the Leibowitz photos, all 2,000 of them, we’re talking about somewhere between two and twenty million dollars.
Here’s where the glitch comes in. Because Leibovitz isn’t Canadian, the CCPERB turned the request down. The AGNS suddenly had a collection with no extra money or resources. A slam dunk suddenly turned into a disaster…
The whole issue is shrouded in mystery and murk….
One thing is certain. The Leibovitz bequest, once seen as something of a miracle for the beleagured AGNS, which suffered through a major flood in January 2009, and has a reputation for not working all that well with other galleries and artisans in Nova Scotia, is now a major millstone. After raising expectations, there is really nothing but unanswered questions surrounding the whole affair.
The Leibovitz bequest mess almost certainly cost [former director] Ray Cronin his job. It has also besmirched the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia’s long-term reputation. As a public gallery, it owes Nova Scotians an explanation.
Whether we see the explanation before we see the Annie Leibovitz photos that were donated by the Mintz family is an open, ongoing question.
How something that began with such goodwill could end so badly casts a long shadow of over the whole of Nova Scotia’s cultural sector. Questions of accountability and competence are at the heart of the matter.
2. Cranky letter of the day
We are the “Colindalers”, and are writing in support of Bill Dunphy’s recent op-ed pieces advocating that wind turbines be restricted to inland, sparsely inhabited places and that Municipal Council institute a new by-law establishing a one or two-mile buffer zone along the coast, to preserve the stunning beauty of the coastline for the benefit of Cape Bretoners, its visitors and its tourism-dependent economy.
We, the “Colindalers,” are a still-growing group of concerned residents and owners of more than 600 acres of land in Colindale. We have recently stated our collective opposition to having 16-storey wind turbines erected in our neighbourhood. Some of us are year round residents and some of us are not, but all of us are united in our passion to protect the natural beauty of our waterfront community.
For some of us who live here year round, Colindale has been our home since birth, and our coveted land has been in our family for generations. We consider ourselves privileged to be the stewards of this beautiful property and to preserve its unique charm. We want to continue the tradition of passing it on to our descendants in its current enjoyable state.
Many of us who “come from away” have deep family roots in Cape Breton and are proud of our Celtic heritage, although this might not be obvious from our last names which have changed over the generations. We travel from as nearby as Port Hawkesbury and Sydney and as far away as the west coast or the USA. Some of us have been coming for decades to visit family and friends, and many of us have countless fond memories of family get-togethers, picnics and lobster dinners, hikes, bike rides and scenic drives along the picture-perfect coast and, of course, those stunning summer sunsets. Colindale is a microcosm whose pristine natural beauty and unobstructed views of the coastline is a rarity in today’s world which is increasingly populated by man-made structures. Unfortunately, due to work, family and other obligations many of us are not fortunate enough to live in Colindale year round. However, this reality does not minimize our passion for the area.
Hopefully, readers will view this letter as more than just another personal interest story, but a warning shot to other property owners in coastal communities where much natural beauty and personal enjoyment is at stake. Opinions received from individuals with decades of experience selling real estate in Cape Breton’s waterfront communities indicate that property values will be seriously impacted. After all, why would someone pay good money to buy a property close to the ocean if there is a wind turbine close by?
Over the past three weeks, many of us have voiced to the project backers and various levels of government that having wind turbines next door will seriously impact the enjoyment of our property, lower the quality of life for current and future residents, and hurt property values.
We Colindalers are not a classic case of “not in my backyard”, and we do not wish to export this project into the backyard of another community. We suggest relocating the Colindale project to one of the many more suitable uninhabited areas of Inverness County where the impact on the natural beauty of the area, property owners and tourism will be much smaller. By our estimates, the developable portion of our quaint waterside community (at roughly 10 square km) accounts for less than approximately 0.3 per cent of the land in Inverness County. Surely, many more suitable places exist.
In Ontario, close to 100 townships and counties have deemed themselves unwilling hosts of wind turbines, according to Ontario Wind Resistance. Approximately a decade ago, many well-intentioned people there were seduced by the allure of wind turbines. Since then, many who lived close to them share stories of regret, of being unable to enjoy their property during the day or at night, of having to abandon their homes due to health worries, and of lawsuits initiated by honest people who are forced to sue to recover lost property values. It would be wise for those of us in Inverness County to learn as much as possible from the mistakes in Ontario and not repeat them. The good news is that it’s not too late.
At this point, we stress that none of us oppose green energy and that all of us support reducing green-house gas emissions and wind turbines, per se. However, wind turbine projects should not be put up anywhere in the name of Green Energy. Projects need to be “socially” responsible. Projects which impose material costs on neighbouring property owners should be road-blocked and relocated.
Left unchanged, the proposal put forward by the Chestico Museum generates a win/lose outcome. Moving it elsewhere would enable the museum to preserve its profit stream and allow us to preserve Colindale. In the past, people in the area successfully relocated a proposal to install an unsightly cell phone tower and we have seen legislation installed to protect us against fracking. Insulating ourselves from wind turbines is no different.
In closing, we support Bill Dunphy’s view that Inverness County could go a long way to preventing future conflicts by enacting a by-law that establishes a one- or two-mile buffer zone along the entire coastline (with perhaps some exceptions in uninhabited areas where tourists would not see them and nearby property owners might not oppose them).
Property owners in the area wishing to support our view of protecting Colindale’s beauty are welcome to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Colindalers (Bradford Verge, Concetta Verge, Francis Morris, Carol Morris, Crystal Morris, Nolan Morris, Brodie Morris, Eilidh Beaton, Helen Smith, Donna MacDougall, Robert Taylor, Marjorie Taylor, Donna Stein, Michael Stein, Peter Stein, Burton Leach, Patricia Leach, Geoff Crickmay, Wanda Crickmay, Emily MacDonald, Phylis Burke, John Shebell, Melinda Shebell, Gerard MacDonald, Laura MacDonald, Norman MacDonald)
City council (1pm, City Hall) — in response to MLA Iain Rankin’s private member’s bill that would limit the height of the cells at the Otter Lake dump, Halifax city council has called an emergency meeting to, I dunno, complain about it, I guess. Council has no power to overturn the legislation, but we’ll get to hear councillors play to the camera for a few hours. In particular, this will be a David Hendsbee v Reg (dad of Iain) Rankin showdown, with drool and Latin flying everywhere. Alas, I have other obligations and can’t catch all the fun.
Legislature sits (1-5:30pm, Province House)
ATGL (4pm, Theatre A, Sir Charles Tupper Medical Building) — Robin E. Duncan, from the University of Waterloo, will speak on “Something for everyone: New insights on the glycerolipid metabolizing enzymes ATGL, AGPAT4, and HRASLS1.” Bring your own glycerolipid metabolizing enzyme.
The Night of the Hunter (8pm, Dalhousie Art Gallery) — the 1955 film directed by Charles Laughton:
One of the most eerie and unique of all Noirs, The Night of the Hunter sees Robert Mitchum chasing down his stepchildren in search of a cache of cash. James Agee scripted; Shelley Winters and Lillian Gish also star.
Royal Nova Scotia Historical Society
Immigration (8pm, Theatre at Pier 21) — Andrea and Charles Bronfman will speak on “Immigration to Atlantic Canada: Historical Reflections.”
In the harbour
3:30am: Dalian Express, container ship, sails from Fairview Cove for New York
4am: NYK Rumina, container ship, sails from Fairview Cove for Southhampton, England
5am: Serena P, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from Rotterdam
5:45am: Asian King, car carrier, moves from Pier 31 to Autoport
6am: ZIM Shanghai, container ship, arrives at Pier 41 from New York
8:30am: Marina, cruise ship, arrives at Pier 22 from Boston with up to 1,252 passengers
Noon: the US Coast Guard icebreaking tug Neah Bay sails from Pier NC5 to sea
4:30pm: Asian King, car carrier, sails from Autoport to sea
4:30pm: ZIM Shanghai, container ship, sails from Pier 41 to sea
6:30pm: Marina, cruise ship, sails from Pier 41 to, er, if tomorrow is Thursday, must be Sydney
11pm: Arctic Breeze, tanker, sails from Imperial Oil to sea
I’ll be on The Sheldon MacLeod Show today at 1pm.
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