I’m Suzanne Rent, a freelance writer in Halifax. I’m filling in for Tim this morning. You can follow me on Twitter @Suzanne_Rent


1. Derogatory comments ignited brawl, St. FX says

Global News reports a brawl between hockey teams from Acadia University and St. FX on Saturday night started after a derogatory comment about a survivor of sexual assault was aimed at one team member.

Officials from St. FX say team member Sam Studnicka was the target of the comment. In the statement, Studnicka says he’s been the target of similar comments for the past three years.

There is no place for such comments within our society. Sexual assault is a very serious issue and there is simply no place for shaming sexual assault survivors, ever.

There’s no mention of how Studnicka and the survivor are connected.

Several members from each team and both head coaches were ejected after the incident.

Phil Currie, executive director of the AUS, says while “chirping” is common between teams, the organization is still investigating the comments.

Based on what I understand, if this is the case, this is well over the line of what one would call chirping.

Kevin Dickie, the executive director of varsity athletics at Acadia University, says the information they found in their own investigation is “not consistent” with the allegations in the statement from St. FX.

2. Call centre firm gets backdated payroll rebate

The owner of a call centre in Sydney is receiving a backdated payroll rebate,  reports Jean Laroche with CBC. 

Anthony Marlowe of Iowa-based Marlowe Companies Inc. took over the ServiCom Call Centre in December after the firm went bankrupt.

Marlowe Companies will receive a payroll rebate of $2.5 million from NSBI, if it meets all its hiring requirements. The rebate will be backdated to Jan. 2, a month early than initially approved by Cabinet.

3. Sackville intersection gets fixes

An intersection in Lower Sackville where a woman died in May 2018 is getting new lights to prevent more accidents, reports Alex Cooke for The Star.

Crews started installing left-hand turning lights at the intersection at the Old Sackville Road and the Beaver Bank Connector.

Sackville-Beaver Bank MLA Brad Johns estimates there is at least one accident at week at the intersection. The issue, Johns says, is making left-hand turns at any direction.

I think that drivers become frustrated and, because of that, they try to rush the traffic.

This is an incredibly busy intersection. Traffic going to and from Highway 101 drives through here, filtering through to residential and commercial areas. I was in an accident at this intersection in 1993. The driver of the car I was in was making a left-hand turn from the Old Sackville Road heading to the highway. Fortunately, no one was hurt.

These changes are a long time coming.

4. LGBTQ students qualify for bursary program

LGBTQ students in Nova Scotia now qualify for an annual bursary offered by Communications Nova Scotia, reports Shaina Luck with CBC.

The bursary program began in 2007 and is open to students in post-secondary studies for public relations, journalism, and photography. The bursary has been open to students who are Indigenous, Black or a visible minority, or who speak French as their first language.

But LGBTQ students weren’t included until faculty and student union officials at Mount Saint Vincent started asking about eligibility. Pamela Lovelace, an adjunct communications professor at the Mount, approached Communications Nova Scotia about making the changes.

I thought this was wonderful. I wanted to send it on to my students. But when I read the eligibility I was a little disappointed to see that youth that identify as LGBTQ or trans were not part of that definition of diversity.

I’m all for programs that promote diversity in local journalism. Three bursaries are awarded each year and the deadline is Feb. 28. Learn more here. Get your applications in!

5. Search on in Nova Scotia for stolen horse

There’s still no sign of a horse stolen from a facility in Calgary and now believed to be in Nova Scotia. Nicole Munro with The Chronicle Herald reported Monday the owners of TC Sport Horses suspect the horse named Valor SR was taken outside the province at the end of January.

According to a comment on the Facebook post TC Sport Horses made Sunday, the new owner of the horse stopped making payments and took the animal to an undisclosed location.

The Facebook post has been shared more than 10,000 times since Sunday. TC Sport Horses posted a follow-up Monday night, thanking people for sharing the information. Commenter Dale March says, “You will get him back. The horse community stands together.”


1. Shopping for pot

I enjoyed today’s column by John Demont at The Chronicle Herald.

Demont visits one of NSLC’s cannabis stores and tells us about his shopping experience.

Maybe it shows my lack of worldliness, or some deep-seated sense of guilt. Maybe it is just going to take a while.

All I know is that when I walk through the cannabis door, I don’t feel like a sophisticate taking his leisure in an Amsterdam coffee shop. I still feel like I’m doing something illicit that requires a fake ID, and wraparound Ray Bans.

I know nothing about cannabis. I’ve never smoked weed and I prefer my brownies with pecans or walnuts, not cannabis. I don’t pass my glass of wine around the room, so why pass around a joint? I also dislike shopping. But maybe I’ll take a run to the cannabis store soon to see what all the fuss is about. I’m up for recommendations. The unwind stuff sounds good. I’ll probably just buy some Kahlua.

2. Ageism in the workforce

CBC News published a personal essay from David A. Wimsett, a project manager who lives in Kentville who says he’s facing age discrimination during his search for a new job. Wimsett, who’s 64, details how potential employers are optimistic when he first applies for jobs. And then he meets with them in person.

The interviewer pauses and looks at me for a moment. “I’m the head of human resources. Please sit down.”

They work hard to maintain a blank expression. They’re trained to do that. But I can see past that right away. Their eyelids drop slightly, almost imperceptibly. So do their inner eyebrows. Few would notice. But I am a project manager. I’ve learned to constantly and carefully observe people to detect subtle, unconscious facial expressions that reveal hidden emotions.

The signs I inevitably get from interviewers are ones of disapproval and disappointment. The decision has already been made: too old. Out of touch with technology and youth. Not with it.

Wimsett also talks about the personal toll of being unemployed. He says he’s used his saving, including those for retirement, to pay his bills and has learned to navigate phone calls from bill collectors.

Of course, not having a job takes much more than a financial toll. It causes me deep emotional distress. It is highly embarrassing. I don’t talk to anyone about it. It can sometimes take me half the night to fall asleep while my mind runs over my situation and I search for options. When I do doze off, I sleep for nine or more hours. I question my worth and abilities. The stress is unrelenting.

I often tweet about job hunting in Nova Scotia, the need for employers to pay living wages, and how the degree requirement keeps many workers out of great jobs. Younger workers with degrees barely make enough to pay back their student loans. Friends, former coworkers and followers on Twitter reach out to me, sending postings for jobs that require a degree, yet pay $12 to $15 per hour. They also tell me how looking for work has left them burned out and damaged their confidence. Many young people who are working for terrible wages create “side hustles” to help pay the bills. My fellow Gen X friends find themselves stuck in jobs for which they are overqualified and they can’t see ways to advance in their careers. They apply for dozens of jobs and never get a response. Like Wimsett, Gen Xers are facing ageism in the workforce, too. Some go back to school to learn new skills, acquiring student debt when they want to think about saving for retirement.

Many are stuck in a cycle of work and finding more work and not getting ahead.

I don’t know what the solution is. Encouraging companies and the municipality to create living wage policies can help. New Westminster, B.C. became a living wage employer in 2011. It was the first city in Canada to do so. A number of employers in British Columbia and Ontario have living wage policies.

Supporting local entrepreneurs by buying their products and services helps, too.

None of this solves ageism that workers like Wimsett face. Many employers hire younger workers so they can pay them less. And every generation is worse off for it.

I’d like to hear from more job seekers of all generations. Tell me about your job search.

Meanwhile, I hope David Wimsett and the friends and strangers who reach out to me find their way. And employers who pay living wages, if you’re looking for talent, I know candidates looking for jobs.


I’m working on a genealogical certificate and was searching family documents on the weekend. During my search, I found a copy of The Halifax Mail from Saturday, July 2, 1938. My family has no mention in the paper, as far as I can tell, and my parents weren’t sure why they had the paper, but I thought I’d share some of the content.

Here’s the front page. Check out the top headline: “Scarlet Letters of Blood Reveal Plot to Kill Stalin.” According to the article, a letter written in human blood detailed plans to kill the Soviet leader. The letter was allegedly written by General Y.A. Tapin just before he killed himself in prison.

Most of the front page news is international with a few local headlines, including this one about the number of holiday visitors to Rainbow Haven Beach.

Other local headlines include the news of a convention for 600 nurses heading to the city. The event was the first of its kind in Halifax in 24 years. There’s no mention of a venue. What was the 1938 equivalent of the Nova Centre?

Also, the city saw a spike in bicycle thefts. Bicycle owners were convinced an organized ring was behind the thefts and asked police to launch a prevention campaign.

An editorial cartoon by Nova Scotian cartoonist and illustrator Bob Chambers.

The port’s first cruise liner of the season was to dock in Halifax that weekend. The visiting ship was the Cunard White Star Line’s Britannic, which was carrying hundreds of tourists from the United States. Britannic made her final cruise in 1960 and was scrapped for metal recovery.

An ad from Simpson’s. Check out the prices.

There are two full pages for Society News. Many of the the stories are about local women getting married or entertaining guests at garden parties.

A syndicated advice column by Dorothy Dix. She was the highest paid female journalist at the time of her death in 1951. The letter writer asked Dix if she should quit her job working in stocks and bonds before she married her fiancé. Dix’s advice: “I think your fiancé will be on the wise, however, to let you go on with your job, because you will be a restless, dissatisfied woman, hard to live with, if he tries to imprison you in a two-by-four flat.”

A column called Halifax Down the Years by a contributor known as Occasional tells the history of the pilot service in Halifax Harbour.

And finally, an editorial calling for the province to organize a training program for drivers in the city. “There are not even places where the beginner may learn; it is not uncommon to see them practicing on residential streets where children play and traffic is considerable; under such circumstances the ‘learner’ is a menace to himself and to everyone who crosses his winding path.”

Some things never change.




Special Transportation Standing Committee (Tuesday, 10am, City Hall) — this meeting is called to move forward the recommendations of a study of the taxi industry, minus the recommendation that cameras be installed in cabs. After the Transportation Committee votes for approval, the proposed changes get kicked up to the full regional council for consideration.

Police Commission Special Meeting (Tuesday, 12:30pm, City Hall) — consideration of the proposed budget, along with the related issue of fees for background checks.

 Halifax and West Community Council (Tuesday, 6pm, City Hall) — the biggest issue on the agenda is the rezoning of the former Ben’s Bakery site.


Budget Committee (Wednesday , 9:30am, City Hall) — consideration of the budgets for departments of Parks & Recreation and Planning & Development, and of the Library.

Public Information Meeting – Case 21859 (Wednesday, 7pm, Sackville Heights Community Centre) — Crombie Developments (the Sobeys) wants to build three apartment buildings between Sackville Drive and Old Sackville Road, north of 685 Old Sackville Road.



Community Services (Tuesday, 10am, One Government Place) — discussion of the ACCESS-Ability Program.

Natural Resources and Economic Development (Tuesday, 1pm, One Government Place) — a per diem meeting.


Public Accounts (Wednesday, 9am, Province House) — it appears the Liberals are going to allow some discussion of the Auditor General’s report.

Financial Management Controls and Governance (December 2018 Report of the Auditor General – Performance, Chapter 2); and Financial Audit Work Results (October 2018 Report of the Auditor General – Financial, Chapter 1)

IWK Health Centre: Dr. Krista Jangaard – President and CEO; Ms. Karen Hutt – Chair, Board of Directors

On campus



Official Launch of Dalhousie’s Partnership with the National Centre for Truth & Reconciliation   (Tuesday, 2:30pm, Indigenous Community Room, MacRae Library, Agricultural Campus, Truro) — RSVP here.

Don Juan Comes Back from the War (Tuesday – Saturday, 7pm, Saturday matinee 2pm, David Mack. Murray Studio, Dalhousie Arts Centre) — directed by Jure Gantar. Tickets $15.


BRIC NS Student Seminar Series (Wednesday , 1:45pm, Room 140, Collaborative Health Education Building) — Martha Paynter will talk about “Perinatal health outcomes of criminalized women in Canada.” Brianna Richardson will talk about “Parental Prevention of Newborn Pain: Exploring educational strategies for promoting parental involvement in infant procedural pain management​.”

The Gendered Realities of Working in Development (Wednesday, 2pm, Room 303, Dalhousie Student Union Building) — panel discussion with Smadar Lavie, SOSA; Didhi Tandon, Oxfam Canada; Naima Imam Chowdhury, the COADY Institute; Hala Nadar, Dalhousie; Rachel Borlase, The Romeo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative; and a live mural drawing by Brave Space.

The Future of Radio (Wednesday, 3pm, in the auditorium named after an oil company, Richard Murray Design Building) — sounds like the academic equivalent of advertorial:

For 50 years Nautel has earned a reputation as a world leader in the design and manufacture of high power, solid state RF products for radio broadcast, navigation, sonar, and industrial applications. On Feb 6th, they’ll be on Sexton Campus for a presentation on their company and how they’re planning to change the future of broadcast radio.

Visualizing and Quantifying Microscopic Biological Tissue Arrangement with Nonlinear Optical Active Molecules (Wednesday, 4pm, Theatre A, Tupper Medical Building) — Danielle Tokarz from Saint Mary’s University will speak.

Can The United Nations Be Saved? (Wednesday, 7pm, McInnes Room, Dalhousie Student Union Building) — Stephen Lewis, Canada’s Former Ambassador to the UN, will speak.

Saint Mary’s


“From Old Quebec to La Belle Province: Tourism Promotion, Travel Writing, and National Identities, 1920-1986” (Wednesday , 1pm, Room 135, Patrick Power Library) — Nicole Neatby will talk about her new book.



What can policy makers learn from the history, sociology and philosophy of science (Wednesday, 12:30pm, Senior Common Room, Arts and Administration Building) — Miriam Poldosky, Director of Science policy at the Canada Environmental Assessment Agency, will give an informal talk. Bring your lunch.

In the harbour

00:01: Nolhanava, ro-ro cargo, sails from Pier 36 for Saint-Pierre
01:30: Tropic Hope, container ship, sails from Pier 42 for sea
04:30: Kivalliq W, oil tanker, moves from Pier 9 to Imperial Oil
05:00: Mol Paramount, container ship, sails from Fairview Cove for New York
05:30: Wisteria Ace, car carrier, arrives at Autoport from Baltimore
08:00: Atlantic Sail, ro-ro container, sails from Fairview Cove for Liverpool, England
11:30: Wisteria Ace sails for sea
16:00: Kivalliq W sails for sea
22:00: Augusta Sun, cargo ship, arrives at Pier 31 from Moa, Cuba


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Suzanne Rent

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

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  1. This sentence in the last newspaper clipping about drivers!

    “There are not even places where the beginner may learn: it is not uncommon to see [drivers] practicing on residential streets where children play and traffic is considerable; under such circumstances, the learner is a menace to himself and anyone else who crosses his winding path.”

    What a great example of the original sense of the word “traffic:” horses, people, carts, wheelbarrows, bicycles, kids, cars, trams, trains, stalls, vendors, a whole world of street life, including the play of children in those streets, which was not worth noting as anything exceptional except in the context of wild drivers imposing on their space.

    Of course at the time this paper was published the word “traffic” was undergoing the winnowing and narrowing of all those uses, down the the current semi-obsolete meaning it has in transportation engineering and the almost meaningless folk usage it suffers under. It was a commercially viable thing to do, to reduce the use of the road and the language we describe it with, but it doesn’t make it any less poignant to see it used in this newspaper clipping, back before most were convinced roads were for cars and that’s it. Back when things were still developing so quickly that nobody had even grown sense of entitlement over the roads that would later come with, say, paying Provincial driver’s licensing fees, which this article also illustrates in it’s new and unformed state.

    Don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone. Interesting find, Suzanne.

  2. The whole roll-out of “legalised” pot was intended to make it seem like a still forbidden pleasure. NSLC goes to great lengths to “protect” children by making sure that they can’t even see into the cannabis area where everything is already hidden from view. Of course, those very same children are wandering around shelves of alcohol which has caused far more harm to children than pot ever did. A good example, of where efforts to protect children should be applied, comes from Manitoba where a special court has been set up for people with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.

  3. It’s no insight that automation is killing jobs and the savings are flowing up the food chain. A shorter work week combined with higher wages could help address that and give us some of the leisure time technology was supposed to create. Note to young people: Find a union with a record of doing its job instead of making work for itself.
    Meanwhile, people like Mr. Wimsett who still have their jobs should watch their backs. Otherwise, by the time you hear the knives being unsheathed, it’s already too late. The older you get, the less you should trust your employer.
    Some people learn they’ve been dismissed only when a security guard appears to watch them clear out their desks. Think about off-site backup for information that belongs to you.

    1. Just wait until AI can do the jobs that middle-class white-collar workers do (or more accurately, let one person do the jobs of ten people). Note that by white-collar I mean a job where people primarily interact with documents on computers or on paper – there is no physical work on a physical product being performed.

      Automation of industrial processes, historically, required investment in expensive machines and robots which themselves require human workers to build them and keep them running. Automation of purely information-based processes will just require a server farm ‘somewhere’.

  4. Ageism is rampant and it is exacerbated by gender. Older men are routinely portrayed in business suits or athletic gear. Older women are portrayed using walkers, canes or in wheelchairs or baking cookies or engaged in housewifely activities…never in business suits or professional attire. So it is no wonder that looking for paying work in Nova Scotia when one is “over the hill, from away and ahem, a woman” is virtually impossible. I was looking for more than 8 years and applied to every darned position that I was even remotely qualified for and some that I was dead on completely qualified for and had only 4 interviews. (The interviews went much like Mr. Wimsett suggested. After one of the interviews, the headhunter suggested that the company needed someone with less experience.) I worked with every job hunting assistance program for immigrants, women and anyone else and revamped my resume, volunteered, cold called and even tried networking. I have skills that Nova Scotia says that they need. But, when I was completely frustrated and bitching to a friend in my profession, he noted that it was understandable, because “I was over the hill, from away and a woman” and that no, I could not remove my credentials off of my resume or change the dates to try to land a position. In the end, I have given up and claimed social security early. I do have a “paying” academic job for which I get respect and an honorarium that works out to less than minimum wage for one term. My experience is hardly unique. I know many older professional women, mostly non-immigrants, who are mucho annoyed that they are always asked to volunteer and they do. But, unlike the older professional men who volunteer, these women cannot find paying work arising out of their volunteer positions. If monies worries were non-existent, most of us would be delighted to volunteer. But that is just not the case.We are all living hand to mouth, worried about housing, food, oil and medicine and for most of us, we can expect to live another 25-30 years. Am I angry? You bet!

  5. The Halifax Mail seems to have taken Stalinist propaganda about treasonous counter-revolutionary “plots” completely at face value. As a result I’m not sure I’d trust anything else on which it reported.

    As to the horse, is there any reason why they aren’t naming the person they believe took it from Calgary to Nova Scotia?