In the harbour
1. Chronicle Herald strike
Negotiations between the Chronicle Herald and its newsroom union started last Friday and were continuing at least through yesterday. No one is telling me what’s being discussed or if any progress is being made, but just the fact of the negotiations is encouraging, as previously management had conditioned negotiations on complete capitulation of the union to its demands.
Today marks the 130th day of the strike.
Meanwhile, the union posted this story on its Facebook page Monday:
The Chronicle Herald’s scab workforce has sunken to a new low. Today, an un-bylined story about the Alton gas protest contains quotes from New Democrat MLA Lenore Zann that were supposedly given in a telephone interview. Trouble is, Ms. Zann didn’t knowingly give an interview to the CH.
We hope that Newsroom VP Brian Ward will have a word with the un-named scab who wrote this story and remind him of the paper’s newsroom ethics policy.
If they need a refresher (after all, it has been 129 days since the real newsroom was booted out on strike), here’s how ethical journalism works.
When conducting interviews for news stories, journalists must clearly identify themselves and the news outlet they are working for so people understand they are being interviewed and that their quotes could end up in print. It is unethical for a reporter to misrepresent himself to get an interview subject to talk. It is also unethical to use quotes obtained by such methods in a news story and state that they were given in an interview when, in fact, the subject didn’t know he or she was being interviewed.
Back when the Chronicle Herald abided by its own newsroom ethics policy, a reporter could be disciplined, possibly fired, for such unethical conduct. The reasons for this hard line are well understood: Without ethical journalistic conduct, how can the public ever trust a word a newspaper publishes?
Without the public’s trust, a newspaper is nothing.
The followup was posted later in the day:
So, you know that post we made earlier about The Chronicle Herald scab who misrepresented himself to MLA Lenore Zann?
Well, one of our striking HTU journalists (you know, the real kind, not the scab kind) did some digging and traced the call back to ********insert drumroll please****** none other than CH scab Bruce Lantz!!!!
Lantz called Zann with some song and dance about knowing her father and once working at the Truro Daily News way back when. Hearing this, Zann instantly thought she was speaking to someone trustworthy from her community. What scabby Lantz failed to tell the MLA was that he was a scab for The Chronicle Herald.
He even had the gall to quote Zann in his un-bylined story and state that her words were given to him in an interview, even though he knows and the paper knows that this information was obtained through deception.
This sort of disgraceful, misleading and fraudulent conduct has no place in any newsroom, let alone the newsroom of Nova Scotia’s provincial daily paper of record.
We urge CH management to settle this strike now, show this hack the door, and get the real journalists back to work before this newspaper completely destroys its reputation.
2. Unique Solutions
Last week I noted that Unique Solutions, the company that has gobbled up $5.6 million in funding through Nova Scotia Business Inc, had somehow secured $1.7 million in new financing in recent weeks. Last night, I was forwarded a letter from CEO Tuoc Luong to shareholders that explains Unique Solutions has “raised $1.7 million in the form of a convertible secured senior note. This funding has been raised as a bridge loan that is part of our larger objective to raise a total of $10 million. This funding provides sufficient funding for up to approximately 4 months of operations while we continue fundraising….The bridge financing will only support the business through August. We must raise the additional needed capital before then to continue operations.”
“US$10 million is required for us to execute the current plan, which includes the capital outlay for ‘hard tooling’ required for mass production of the new handheld scanner and the initial roll out of the handheld scanner to early customers,” says Luong.
As I wrote in March, I have been unable to find a patent for the hand scanner, and Luong wouldn’t answer my questions about it. More importantly, is there a market for such a thing? As one shareholder wrote to me in a private message:
This may be a “new” product but it’s the same mistake this company has historically made: investing in technology before they have determined the market for it or figured out how to sell it / distribute it. Same ol’, same ol’. Spending money on tooling in advance of test orders is amateur hour — although a particularly common approach for engineers!
Funny that the investors they have spoken to are wary considering how much money has already been blown by this company. Luong says it’s important they understand their investment would be for the “new” strategy — uh, except that it’s not.
You can read the latest letter to shareholders (you’re one!) here.
You know who else is a shareholder? Chronicle Herald columnist Peter Moreira, who has written favourably about Unique Solutions in his column, but who hasn’t told readers about the collapse of the company or its share value. As I’ve written before, this strikes me as borderline investment fraud:
As Moreira is an investor with direct knowledge of the company’s financial position, his failure to convey that knowledge to Chronicle Herald readers is at best a disservice to those readers, and at worst dishonesty in order to protect his own investment. The failure to tell readers of the company’s falling financial position also underscores Moreira’s continued conflict of interest as a paid promoter for start-ups while writing about the same companies for the Chronicle Herald.
I wrote that paragraph in November 2014. It’s been 20 months, and Moreira still hasn’t informed his readers about Unique Solutions’ true position.
But then again, neither has any other business reporter in Nova Scotia besides the Examiner. Think about that: $5.6 million in taxpayer money has gone kaput, down the drain, and the entire “investment” is now entirely worthless, and no one at the Chronicle Herald, the striking Local Xpress publication, CBC, allnovascotia.com, or Metro has written about it.
“A lobster fisherman in southwest Nova Scotia says this season, which ends at midnight tonight, may have been the best in a decade,” reports Nina Corfu for the CBC:
Bernie Berry, captain of the lobster boat Ready To Go and president of the Coldwater Lobster Association, said it’s too soon to calculate official landing numbers.
But he estimates fishermen in the two lobster fishing areas that make up southwest Nova Scotia — from Halifax all the way down the South Shore to just south of Digby Neck — likely landed almost 75 million pounds of lobster this season.
The 2015-2016 season is “one of the best, if not the best” in the past 10 years, Berry said.
Strangely, just as I was posting this item I got a Google News alert for an article headlined “Ocean and Coastal Acidification off New England and Nova Scotia,” published in the June 2015 issue of Oceanography. The article is coauthored by 25 researchers, mostly American, but including Helmuth Thomas at Dalhousie. The full article isn’t posted online, but here’s the abstract:
New England coastal and adjacent Nova Scotia shelf waters have a reduced buffering capacity because of significant freshwater input, making the region’s waters potentially more vulnerable to coastal acidification. Nutrient loading and heavy precipitation events further acidify the region’s poorly buffered coastal waters. Despite the apparent vulnerability of these waters, and fisheries’ and mariculture’s significant dependence on calcifying species, the community lacks the ability to confidently predict how the region’s ecosystems will respond to continued ocean and coastal acidification. Here, we discuss ocean and coastal acidification processes specific to New England coastal and Nova Scotia shelf waters and review current understanding of the biological consequences most relevant to the region. We also identify key research and monitoring needs to be addressed and highlight existing capacities that should be leveraged to advance a regional understanding of ocean and coastal acidification.
4. Cycling infrastructure
“Halifax seems to be on some sort of cusp for cycling,” writes Examiner transportation columnist Erica Butler, as she surveys the great strides that have recently been made in planning for cycling infrastructure.
This article is behind the Examiner’s paywall and so available only to paid subscribers. Click here to purchase a subscription.
5. Lower speed limits on Spring Garden Road
“Did you know there were 208 pedestrian accidents in Halifax last year, more than half a dozen on our road alone?” writes John Mckiggan in an email. Mckiggan is half of the McKiggan Hebert law firm on Spring Garden Road. I don’t know why he uses a capital K for the law firm name and a lower case k in his name name in his email to me, and it’ll cost me $450/hour to ask him, so that little thing will just remain a mystery, OK?
But anyway, Mckiggan has written a blog post about lower speed limits:
New York streets are a hub of automobile & pedestrian traffic. Mayor Bill deBlasio recently enacted several changes in various parts of New York including a “slow zone”. In effect, this was a dramatic decrease in the speed limit in areas where there were significant number of pedestrian/auto accidents. As a result of many of these changes, in 2014, pedestrian accidents were at the lowest levels in history.
We all understand the slower a vehicle is traveling, the easier it is for them to stop, but the facts back this up. In fact, a study conducted by the New York firm, Transportation Alternatives showed that at 48 km, a car has a 20% chance of killing a pedestrian, but at 32 km, that drops to 2% (after you convert American miles per hour to Canadian kilometers per hour). This is an important statistic that we should heed.
APPLIED ON SPRING GARDEN
There is clear evidence that shows that higher speeds result in greater fatalities. Reducing the speed limit, which has already proven to be successful in NYC, is the most logical way to prevent pedestrian injuries and fatalities.
Halifax City Council has already approved a plan to improve and upgrade Spring Garden road. Changing the speed limit on Spring Garden from 50km to 30km will save lives and help reduce injuries. It will provide pedestrians with the peace of mind knowing our elected and appointed officials care enough to pay attention to their concerns.
In practical terms, I don’t know how anyone drives faster than 30 on Spring Garden Road as it is, but Mckiggan has started a petition to legally lower the speed limit on the road to 30 km. You can sign it here.
Stephen Archibald chronicles his very full month of May. Of the photo above he notes:
Here I am not noticing my reflection while photographing a native warrior candle holder on a Government House mantle.
2. Cranky letter of the day
To the Kaieteur News (Guyana):
About two weeks ago I visited a certain branch of Scotia Bank to change a cheque issued to me by my employer who has an account with said Bank. The Clerk undertaking the transaction queried whether I had an account with the Bank and in the absence of me not having one I was required to pay a charge of G$500. Of course, this was very upsetting and seemed unfair, I queried from the Clerk the basis for the charge but she was unable to provide any basis. She was able to advise however, that the charge was effective about two weeks before my visit and that there was a notice of the wall about the new charge.
I have a number of queries with respect to the reasoning behind the imposition of this charge the most important being whether it is consistent with Banking and Financial laws. While I am no such expert, I find that the charge seems not only arbitrary and a penalty but it appears unreasonable. It seems unreasonable for a number of reasons. It is basically forcing Guyanese to join that Bank in order to avoid paying the charge — otherwise we face a penalty which is this charge; it is forcing employers and entrepreneurs to have an account at each Bank or at some other Bank in Guyana so as to avoid employees or business partners having to pay the charge when personal cheques are issued to them — this cannot be good for small businesses. The very nature of the charge seems to be a money making mechanism and not genuinely rooted in the provision of service.
I also envisage a number of spin-off effects one such being the negative impact on business transactions as the issuer of the cheque may be tasked with including this charge in the value of the cheque as it seems unfair to have a business partner or employee pay a penalty because that person does not have an account at Scotia Bank. It may also cause persons to move their accounts to other Banks which do not apply such a charge as in effect the charge will be transferred to the Scotiabank account holder. I am thinking that the latter should have been a priority consideration of the Bank while considering the imposition of this charge.
Disgusted citizen (name supplied)
North West Planning Advisory Committee (7pm, that four-pad arena in Bedford with the name of a fucking bank plastered on it) — Shelley Dickey Land Use Planning wants to turn a six-unit seniors housing, er, house at 15 Brenda Drive in Kingswood into a seven-unit seniors housing house. Sure, maybe, but you’d think they could at least move the recycling bin before taking a photo of the place for the their application, eh?
Public Accounts (9am, Province House) — Joanne Munro, CEO of Service Nova Scotia, will be asked about the Registry of Infrastructure Renewal.
Social Responses to the “Big Lift”: Panel Discussion (11am, Halifax Central Library) — the panel will feature research from a team of local and international scholars about the impact of bridge closures to traffic flow, the public’s and media’s use of social media in response to the bridge reconstruction, and the results of two large surveys of public attitudes towards the bridge re-decking.
The event is sponsored by the Liberal booze scandal of the 1970s.
CaNOE’s 2nd Annual Ocean Literacy Conference & AGM — Registration closes today (conference runs June 9, 7pm to June 11, 5pm, Kenneth C. Rowe Management Building) — says the event listing:
The Canadian Network for Ocean Education (‘CaNOE’) invites educators, scientists, communicators, artists, and industry to join the growing network of individuals working to advance ocean literacy in Canada. As a part of Halifax’s popular ‘Oceans Week’, author and marine educator Dr. Elin Kelsey will give a free public keynote on ‘Ocean Optimism’, this year’s conference theme. Events include discussions, workshops and field trips highlighting Nova Scotia’s ocean connections in food, research, tourism and more.
In the harbour
4am: Acadian, oil tanker, arrives at Imperial Oil from Saint John
6am: Mona Lisa, container ship, arrives at Pier 41 from Valencia, Spain
6am: Nansen Strait, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from Rotterdam
6am: ZIM Barcelona, container ship, arrives at Pier 42 from New York
9:15am: Grandeur of the Seas, cruise ship, arrives at Pier 22 from Bar Harbor with up to 2,446 passengers
4:15pm: Mona Lisa, container ship, sails from Pier 41 to sea
4:30pm: Nansen Strait, container ship, sails from Fairview Cove to sea
5pm: Tombarra, car carrier, arrives at Pier 31 from Southhampton, England
7pm: Grandeur of the Seas, cruise ship, departs, sails from Pier 22 to sea
8:30pm: ZIM Barcelona, container ship, sails from Pier 42 to sea
9am: FS Monge, the white French rocket tracking ship that’s been tied up at Pier 20 next to the Farmers Market, sails to sea
10am: New Breeze, oil tanker, arrives at Imperial Oil from Paldiski, Estonia
I’ll be on The Sheldon MacLeod Show, News 95.7, at 1pm.
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I am very concerned the drivers on Spring Garden Road will now feel compelled to somehow speed up to 30 km/hr.
Re : Seniors Residence in Hammonds Plans.
Is Shelley Dickey the spouse/daughter of Mitch Dickey, HRM Major Projects Planner,Planning Applications, Western Region ?
They both reside at the same home in Dartmouth
Wife. Supposedly no conflict of interest.
According to this conversion site, $500 Guyanese = $3.15 Canadian.
😀 That stuff happens all of the time, that is how they deal with us mean trolls!
Where’s the local accident data to back up McGoofyass’s rationale for lowered speed limits? Let me guess, it doesn’t exist and this is a PR stunt for a starving lawyer.
What this city needs is professional help, and I don’t just mean that sarcastically
Listen to this interview with Janette Sadik-Khan, and understand why we suck.
Over a year ago I commented on a CH business article regarding Unique Solutions, and linked to The Examiner analysis. An hour later they had deleted all comments on the article and had closed commenting.