Today, the NSCC Media class launches its investigative project, “untitled,” which explores the historic injustice done to Black Loyalists who were promised property in Nova Scotia but were never given title to the land they settled. Importantly, the class shows how that historic injustice continues to wrong the residents of North Preston.
Explains the untitled website:
Imagine having a piece of land that has been in your family for generations. Your ancestors were the first settlers on the land, land given to them by the Crown for their support during the American Revolutionary War in the late 1700’s, or as part of their freedom from slavery during the war of 1812.
It wasn’t very fertile land. In most cases it was land that no one else wanted. But your ancestors persevered and along with their neighbours, they eventually made a strong community on that land.
But from the start, there’s been a problem. Unlike others who were loyal to the Crown during the wars, and who were also given land in Nova Scotia, your ancestors were treated differently. Instead of being granted legal title to the land, they were given things called tickets of location and licences of occupation. Documents that gave them access to the land, but not ownership of it.
For many families, including yours, that tentative grasp on the land remains. So today you are in the same situation as your ancestors were two and a half centuries ago. Even though you’ve been paying taxes on your land, you’re not allowed to sell it or legally deed it to your children because it isn’t yours, under the law.
Not having legal title to the land means not having the financial stability that being a landowner can provide. And it means constant uncertainty. Can your land be taken away from you? It has happened. Remember Africville? Without legal title, your family and your whole community are vulnerable.
This is the reality facing many families in several historically Black communities in Nova Scotia. This project takes a look at the community of North Preston, part of the Halifax Regional Municipality. We hope to highlight a historic wrong, show how it’s affecting people today and what residents are doing to help ensure a better future.
This is really good work. The students found documents in the archives that have never before been published. The class won the trust of an understandably wary community, and interviewed residents like Elaine Cain, who has repeatedly hit a bureaucratic brick wall in obtaining clear title to property her family has occupied for hundreds of years.
Without clear title to their property, people cannot sell the property and cannot mortgage it to finance home upgrades or to send their kids to college.
The students also found that officialdom continues to turn a blind eye to the problem.
2. Examineradio, episode #49
This week we speak with Tim Heneghan and Paul Conrod, two researchers with the Right to Know Coalition of Nova Scotia. They’ve just completed a report highlighting how awesome Halifax is when it comes to transparency and openness with regard to the sharing of information with the public.
Also, the provincial government has scrapped proposed changes to the Seniors’ Pharmacare program. Will this be enough to get them a second term, or will Geezergate spell their downfall?
Plus, a renegade cop who plays by his own rules but gets the job done has taken on the whole corrupt system at City Hall. Or at least one city councillor who might’ve said mean things about him on Twitter. Said councillor was forced to apologize after a lengthy meeting at City Hall. What transpired in the meeting? We’re not sure, since Halifax is awesome when it comes to transparency and openness with regard to the sharing of information with the public.
And finally, the bold and innovative team at Stillwell saw their brainchild of a German-styled beer garden on the waterfront get awarded to a more established corporation. Why? Did the winning bidder offer Waterfront Development significantly more money? Were bureaucrats promised unlimited bratwurst through the summer season? We don’t know because Halifax* is awesome when it comes to transparency and openness with regard to the sharing of information with the public.
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* Yes, that’s Waterfront Development, a provincial crown corporation, and not the city of Halifax.
3. Pedestrians struck
At approximately 6:20 p.m. on February 20, police were dispatched to a vehicle/pedestrian collision at the intersection of Queen and South Streets in Halifax. The victim, a 19-year-old woman, was in a marked crosswalk with the green walk light when she was struck by a vehicle turning west onto South Street from Queen Street. The vehicle was driven by a 24-year-old man. The victim was treated by EHS and cleared at the scene with minor injuries. The driver was issued a ticket for failing to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk.
Approximately five minutes later, a second pedestrian was struck by a motor vehicle at the intersection of Brunswick and Cogswell Streets in Halifax. The pedestrian, a 57-year-old woman, was in a marked crosswalk and the vehicle was turning left onto Cogswell Street from Brunswick Street. The driver, a 19-year-old man, was issued a violation for failing to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk.
People in Dartmouth are worked up about signs again.
We spent a gazillion dollars changing the signs, and now we’re going to spend another gazillion dollars changing the signs back again.
“They’ve had a year to prepare, but so far cable companies in Nova Scotia are remaining tight-lipped about new, less expensive cable options they’ve been ordered to provide effective March 1,” reports Yvonne Colbert:
In March 2015, the CRTC ordered cable companies to provide basic, so-called skinny packages for $25 that customers can supplement with individual pick-and-pay channels or small bundles of channels.
Neither of the two big cable companies in Nova Scotia — Eastlink and Bell Aliant — have any information about the changes on their websites and neither is willing to talk about what they will offer next week.
Do people still have cable TV? Huh. Maybe it’s a retro thing, like sporting Walkmans or using typewriters. But I’ve gone full retro: I still use rabbit ears.
1. Audit Nova Scotia Power
It is well past time the Stephen McNeil government and/or the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board ordered a comprehensive, independent audit of Nova Scotia Power’s performance going back to before it was turned back over the private sector.
Has Nova Scotia Power’s role as cash cow for parent Emera led to reductions in maintenance and emergency personnel, and/or a failure to update and maintain the power grid?
2. Cranky letter of the day
On Feb. 5, Parks Canada delivered a shocking and devastating message (‘Parks Canada scraps plans for war monument at Green Cove,’ Cape Breton Post), which flummoxed, disgusted and inflamed the anger of the citizens North of Smokey.
After four years of support from the Canadian government, a proposed veterans’ memorial was tossed to the curb. This was a project the vast majority of citizens from Smokey to Meat Cove had rallied to support. The almost 1,700 members of ‘the People North of Smokey Who AGREE to Having Our Monument at Green Cove’ united the community. Far from splitting the community, the Mother Canada project gave a united resolve to us. The naysayers were mainly from away.
So once again the people North of Smokey have been let down by Parks Canada. The expropriation of land at $6 an acre and the promise of jobs decades ago was the first kick. Now the politicos and mandarins operating out of Ottawa have disappointed and a wonderful project has been disparaged. Hopes have been dashed.
Despite receiving hundreds of postcards from veterans’ loved ones, 10 petitions with 1,115 signatures, a support letter from 60 former Highlands employees still living North of Smokey and despite Parks Canada’s own mandate, which has been in place since 1985, it chose rocks over veterans.
Article 3.2.5 of the Park’s Management Plan states: “Parks Canada must ensure that cultural resources and cultural landscapes are recognized, protected and presented so that the public can learn about and better appreciate the Park’s cultural heritage.”
The armed forces figure prominently in our culture and our veterans are forever on our mind. Putting up a little birdhouse and acquiring a part-time interpreter for visiting dignitaries does not present our cultural heritage.
So this war is not over. Local veteran Ron Clarke showed us the way when he fought against the closure of the Veterans Affairs offices. Parks Canada, which appointed an overseer to guide the Never Forgotten National Memorial (NFNM) Foundation, has to be held accountable for its about face. The decision makers at Parks Canada, along with Environment Minister Catherine McKenna, must provide answers.
To Minister McKenna, I ask did you meet with the NFNM Foundation or local MP Mark Eyking? Have you visited Green Cove? Did the hundreds of postcards from veterans’ loved ones resonate with you? Did the 10 support petitions get read?
I sent you a comprehensive information package. Was that read? Did you consult with other ministers about the opportunities this memorial would bring to employment, families, small businesses, heritage and veterans? Will you come to Ingonish to explain your decision? And, please, don’t have the temerity to tell us it was a Parks Canada decision.
Ray Stapleton, Ingonish Center
Executive Standing Committee (10am, City Hall) — nothing much on the agenda. Without a vote of the full regional council, it’s been decided that “interim” CAO John Traves will hold onto the job until after the election in October.
Police Commission (12:30pm, City Hall) — The commission is reviewing the police department’s operating budget; maybe they’ll hire a bunch of psychics to solve future crimes. You never know.
No public meetings.
Virtual Environments (2:30pm, Rowe 3001) — Jamshid Beheshti, from McGill University, will speak on “Designing Virtual Environments for Children and Teens: Challenges and Opportunities”:
Virtual environments (VEs) provide the unique experience of a sense of being within a 3D space, where the user is involved by interacting with objects. In education, immersion and presence can have strong motivational impact for students, who can actively be engaged in building their own internal models of the world. VEs may also be used as an alternative information retrieval tool by presenting a more engaging browsing environment for children and teens. Creating informational and educational VEs, however, can be perplexing, requiring multitudes of experts, advanced technologies, funds and time. In this presentation the challenges and opportunities in the design process of two different VE projects will be discussed.
Senate (3pm, Theatre A, Sir Charles Tupper Building) — the communications people at Dal make it damn near impossible to find the Senate agendas. Instead of simply posting the agenda on the event page, which would be logical and helpful, they make a separate Today@Dal post a week or so before the meeting with the agenda, and so I have to hunt around for it. Today I can’t find it at all.
The PR professionals at Dal get paid a lot of money, but can’t seem to convey simple event information to the public. The university is a public institution, and what goes on there — especially governance issues like Senate meetings — is the public’s business, but the communications department appears not to give two shits about actually informing the public.
Elizabeth May (5:30pm, Room 105, Weldon Law Building) — in this free and public talk, May will speak about democratic reform in Canada.
In the harbour
NYK Deneb, container ship, arrived at Fairview Cove this morning from New York; sails to sea this afternoon
Bahri Yanbu, general cargo, Norfolk to Fairview Cove, then sails to sea
Harmony Leader, car carrier, Sagunto, Spain to Autoport
Singelgracht, cargo, Portland, Maine to anchorage
CSL Meti, bulker, Brayton Point, Rhode Island to National Gypsum
Atlantic Concert, ro-ro container, Norfolk to Fairview Cove
OOCL Antwerp sails to Cagliari, Italy
Halifaxexaminer.ca hit some resource limits over the weekend, and a lot of people had problems accessing the site. I’ve been working to resolve the issue, but I see the site is still a bit sluggish this morning, and I suspect that some people may still have difficulty accessing their accounts. Thanks for your patience.