That’s the dictionary definition of “indefatigable.”
Here’s the Bousquet definition of “indefatigable”: Jennifer Henderson.
Jennifer is retired. After a distinguished career at the CBC, she could have easily rested on her laurels, and spent her days visiting her grandchildren and playing cards with her friends. And she does. But that’s not all. She has become a one-person dynamo, covering all things Province House and Nova Scotia Power (and more) for the Halifax Examiner.
There is hardly a day that goes by that Jennifer isn’t popping up on my email or text — usually both — wanting to cover this story or that, or telling me I should pay attention to a certain issue. I sometimes jokingly refer to her as my assignment editor, but she truly does keep her nose to the ground and knows what’s coming down the pike better than I do.
Jennifer jumps into press conferences and question periods and contacts sources with the ebullient enthusiasm of a rookie reporter but carrying the skeptical wisdom of experience.
Honestly, I don’t know where she finds the energy. I get tired just watching her.
Jennifer is a good example of how reader support for the Examiner can deepen and broaden our coverage. There’s a ton of stuff we’d be missing were we not able to hire Jennifer, and your subscription money makes that possible.
If you value Jennifer’s work, please value it monetarily with your subscription.
1. Halifax Police
“Halifax police officers aren’t happy with their chief. That much is clear,” writes Stephen Kimber:
After that, however, the situation — including what is really wrong with the force and what actually needs to be done to fix it — becomes murky.
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2. Lemuel Marcus Skeete
“The son of a Black military veteran from Cape Breton who died last week says his father was a ‘kind, selfless person who just wanted to make the world a better place,’” reports Matthew Byard:
The obituary for Lemuel Marcus Skeete said he was surrounded by family members at Ocean View Continuing Care Centre in Dartmouth at the time of passing on Sunday, Nov. 6. His family wrote that Skeete was the last surviving African Nova Scotian veteran of the Second World War.
Skeete was born in Cape Breton on Aug. 13, 1922, and grew up in the Black community of Whitney Pier.
“He was in the military prior to raising a family,” said Skeete’s son, Darcy Skeete, in an interview with the Halifax Examiner. “The war was over in 45, and I’m one of the younger kids, and I wasn’t born until 64.”
Byard goes on to profile the life of a quite remarkable man.
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“On Wednesday, St Barbara Ltd hosted an ‘open house’ in Sheet Harbour to ‘share information about changes and updates’ to its plans for an open pit gold mine in Fifteen Mile Stream, located in the Liscomb Game Sanctuary,” reports Joan Baxter:
Fifteen Mile Stream is one of the three open pit gold mines St Barbara plans to open on the Eastern Shore to ensure continuous gold production once its Touquoy mine is exhausted. The plan has always been to crush the raw ore at those new mines, and truck it back to Moose River on public and private roads, for final processing of the ore and gold extraction…
When Atlantic Gold first submitted the Fifteen Mile Stream mine project to the IAAC in May 2018, it stated that the mine would be a satellite of the Touquoy mine, and would process approximately two million tonnes of gold-bearing ore per year for six years. The ore, according to the original plan, would be hauled 76 kilometres overland on “existing highways” — #374, to Highway 7, through Sheet Harbour and onto the Mooseland Road —from Fifteen Mile Stream to Moose River for final processing. The mine would have a single open pit, and for that, 1.3 km of the Seloam Brook would have to be diverted.
Contrast that with the changes presented in a poster at the open house in Sheet Harbour.
First, there will be four open pits, not just one.
The mine will operate not for six years as originally planned, or seven as St Barbara later said, but for “up to 10 years,” according to a poster at the open house.
The “slurry concentrate” that will be trucked overland to Moose River for final processing will not be dewatered and dry as previously planned.
There will be nine haul roads involving “watercourse crossing structures” rather than the two in original plans.
Nor did the original plans for Fifteen Mile Stream involve any explosives storage at the site. Now, according to the summary of project changes provided at the open house, there will have to be “explosive storage and access road development” at the site.
The poster on changes at the mine says that now the company will have to divert 1.9 kilometres rather than earlier figures of 1.3 km and 800 metres of Seloam Brook into an “engineered” channel.
On Thursday, Nova Scotia reported new 15 deaths from COVID recorded during the most recent reporting period, Nov. 1-7.
The reporting of deaths lags, so none of the newly reported deaths happened during the reporting week, but it’s very likely that there were people who died from COVID during the reporting week, and they’ll be recorded later this week.
In total, throughout the pandemic, there have been 617 deaths from COVID in Nova Scotia, 505 of which are considered Omicron deaths (since Dec. 8, 2021).
The epidemiological summary for October will be released tomorrow, so I can’t now give you details about the most recent deaths. But in general, previous summaries have shown that 90%+ of the deceased are 70 years old or older, and about half lived in long-term care facilities.
Additionally, during the Nov. 1-7 reporting period, 35 people were were hospitalized because of COVID.
Nova Scotia Health reported the COVID hospitalization status as of Thursday:
• in hospital for COVID-19: 34 (6 of whom are in ICU)
• in hospital for something else but have COVID-19: 155
• in hospital who contracted COVID-19 after admission to hospital: 75
These figures do not include any (if any) children hospitalized with COVID at the IWK.
Also during the Nov. 1-7 reporting week, there were 671 lab-confirmed (PCR tests) new cases, which is the lowest weekly new case count this calendar year. However, it’s hard to know what to think about this.
First, many people either can’t get or don’t bother to get PCR tested. My guess is that as COVID has been normalized, more people aren’t bothering, so the case count may reflect that.
An anecdotal example: On Wednesday, I went to the Dartmouth General drive-thru site to get a PCR test (I’m negative). I’ve done this three times through the pandemic, and the previous two times the appointment times were pretty full, and there was a line up of cars when I got there. But on Wednesday, the booking system was wide open, I could pick any time I wanted, and there were no other cars when I got there. Is that because no one has symptoms and so they don’t need to be tested, or is it that they just don’t care enough to get tested anymore? I might be wrong, but I’m guessing it’s the latter.
Second, the continuing high death rate says something. Maybe it’s just that COVID is bouncing around nursing homes and nowhere else, but that seems unlikely; a more likely explanation is that COVID is widespread out in the community and that provides more pathways into the nursing homes.
In any event, here’s the takeaway from Thursday’s data: deaths from COVID are increasing, and are now at a Northwood-a-month level; new hospitalizations are slightly down; and who knows about new cases?
5. Irving profits
“Irving Oil raked in a quarter of a billion dollars in profits in the same year it persuaded Saint John city council and the New Brunswick government to hand it a 25-year tax break, leaked documents show,” reports Jacques Poitras for the CBC:
The company made $250.7 million in 2005, a year in which Saint John capped Canaport LNG’s property tax bill at $500,000.
The cost to the city was estimated at $112 million over a quarter-century.
Poitras says Irving’s profits were detailed in a document that is part of the Paradise Papers leak to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.
6. Abolition Intimacies
The launch for El Jones’ new book, Abolitionist Intimacies, is this Wednesday, Nov. 16, 7pm at Alumni Hall on the University of King’s College campus.
The blurb from Fernwood Press:
In Abolitionist Intimacies, El Jones examines the movement to abolish prisons through the Black feminist principles of care and collectivity. Understanding the history of prisons in Canada in their relationship to settler colonialism and anti-Black racism, Jones observes how practices of intimacy become imbued with state violence at carceral sites including prisons, policing and borders, as well as through purported care institutions such as hospitals and social work. The state also polices intimacy through mechanisms such as prison visits, strip searches and managing community contact with incarcerated people. Despite this, Jones argues, intimacy is integral to the ongoing struggles of prisoners for justice and liberation through the care work of building relationships and organizing with the people inside. Through characteristically fierce and personal prose and poetry, and motivated by a decade of prison justice work, Jones observes that abolition is not only a political movement to end prisons; it is also an intimate one deeply motivated by commitment and love.
You can read Evelyn C. White’s review of Abolitionist Intimacies here.
Fernwood has very kindly extended a special offer for Examiner readers: You can get a 20% discount by preordering the book here, and using the discount code HFX20 on checkout.
7. Empire ransom
On Wednesday, I discussed the ransomware attack on Empire, the Stellarton-based company that operates across Canada as the chains Sobeys, Safeway, IGA, Foodland, FreshCo, Thrifty Foods, and Lawtons Drugs. Friday, the website BleepingComputer provided more info:
While the company is yet to disclose any information linking this ongoing outage to a cyberattack, local media reported that Canadian provincial privacy watchdogs from Quebec and Alberta have confirmed receiving “confidentiality incident” notifications from the retailer.
As the Quebec watchdog told The Canadian Press, such alerts are only sent following incidents where personal information has been accessed in a breach.
Furthermore, based on ransom notes and negotiation chats BleepingComputer has seen, the attackers deployed Black Basta ransomware payloads to encrypt systems on Sobeys’ network.
BleepingComputer was told by multiple sources that the attack occurred late Friday/early Saturday morning.
Photographs shared by Sobeys employees online also show in-store computers displaying a Black Basta ransom note.
Additionally, this week, Sentinel Labs found evidence connecting Black Basta to the Russian-speaking, financially motivated FIN7 hacking group known for deploying POS malware and targeting hundreds of firms worldwide in spear-phishing attacks.
As I read that, if you use Lawtons as your pharmacy, a bunch of Russians now have your health data.
I am impressed that unlike most native English speakers, the Russians understand that “data” is plural.
8. Twitter vs. Mastodon
At first, I thought Elon Musk’s purchase of the platform would be rocky, but ultimately he might improve the service a bit. In the abstract, things like a partial paywall for commercial accounts with very large follower counts may have made some sense — would, say, Lady Gaga bat a single hair of an eyelid to spend a few dollars a month for continued access to her 85 million followers? And there could have been other subtle changes that would improve the user experience — edit buttons and the like — while riskier ventures like video and micropayments might be worth investigating. A clever administrator might have been able to turn the money-losing business around.
But forget about the abstract, and forget about a clever administrator. We are watching a spectacular train wreck.
Now I’m wondering if Twitter will survive at all, so I’ve opened a Mastodon account as a fall-back.
Yesterday, I posted the same poll on both Twitter and Mastodon, asking what users thought of the future of Twitter.
Here are the results as of this morning on Twitter, with 734 people weighing in:
The future of Twitter is:
- It’ll be better — 7.4%
- same as always — 24.9%
- Bankruptcy, but then sane — 35.3%
- No future — 32.4%
And here are the results on Mastodon, with 86 people weighing in:
The future of Twitter is:
- It’ll be better — 1%
- same as always — 16%
- Bankruptcy, but then sane — 38%
- No future — 44%
There’s nothing scientific about this poll, but it’s interesting that at least so far as the respondents to my poll go, people on both platforms are generally pessimistic about the future of Twitter. Not surprisingly, the folks who have already migrated to Mastodon are even more pessimistic.
I’m still discovering the culture at Mastodon, and learning how to best use it. But so far, my impression is that it is better designed for productive discourse, and that design is reflected by a community committed to, well, not being assholes.
I’ve seen complaints about the supposed difficulty of using Mastodon, but that’s silly. It’s easy.
A very quick primer. Unlike Twitter, Mastodon is not a single platform, but is rather a collection of independent servers, called “instances,” that are federated. What that means is you join an Instance of your choosing, and then you can see what everyone in that Instance is talking about, but also whoever you follow in other Instances. In practice, it’s pretty similar to Twitter but there’s no way that a single person like Musk can take control of it. Also, bad actors are weeded out quickly.
I joined the Halifax Social Instance, which is run by a bloke named Peter Smith. Smith seems like a decent fellow, and is running the place responsibly, but if I want, I can migrate my account to some other Instance easily enough. (I don’t see this happening.)
Check it out, if you want. Or don’t. The world will survive without social media.
Grants Committee (Monday, 10am, City Hall) — agenda
Advisory Committee on Accessibility in HRM (Monday, 4pm, online) — special meeting
Halifax and West Community Council (Tuesday, 6pm, City Hall and online) — agenda
Veterans Affairs (Tuesday, 2pm, One Government Place) — Military Transition into Skilled Trades; with representatives from the Department of Labour, Skills, and Immigration; Mainland NS Building Trades; Canadian Armed Forces Transition Centre Halifax; Nova Scotia Community College
How the practice of pathologizing race has influenced our understanding of global lung health(Monday, 12:30pm, online) — Stanja Stanojevic will talk:
The practice of using race or ethnicity in medicine to explain differences between individuals is being called into question because it may contribute to biased medical care and research that perpetuates health disparities and structural racism. A commonly cited example is the use of race or ethnicity in the interpretation of pulmonary function test (PFT) results. The practice has global implication to our current understanding on lung health. In this talk I will review the history of how race came to be used in practice and the underlying sources of differences in lung function, including those that may be captured by race or ethnicity. I will demonstrate how the current practice of PFT measurement and interpretation is biased in its ability to describe accurately the relationship between function and health outcomes. I will summarize the arguments against using race-specific equations as well as address concerns about removing race. Finally, I will propose changes in interpretation strategies and future research that may help to reduce health disparities.
Viola Desmond Legacy Lecture (Tuesday, 7pm, online) — featuring artist and educator Vivek Shraya:
Vivek is an artist whose body of work crosses the boundaries of music, literature, visual art, theatre, and film. Her album Part-Time Woman was nominated for the Polaris Music Prize, and her best-selling book I’m Afraid of Men was heralded by Vanity Fair as “cultural rocket fuel.” She is also the founder of the award-winning publishing imprint VS. Books, which supports emerging BIPOC writers.
A seven-time Lambda Literary Award finalist, Vivek was a Pride Toronto Grand Marshal and has been a brand ambassador for MAC Cosmetics and Pantene. She is a director on the board of the Tegan and Sara Foundation, whose mission is founded on a commitment to feminism and racial, social and gender justice. vivekshraya.com is the digital archive for a living trans artist of colour, featuring her music, writing, visual art, theatrical and film works, from 2002 to present.
‘They always left room’: on writing for an other voice: A Faculty Author Series reading with Luke Hathaway (Tuesday, 12pm, Room LI135, Patrick Power Library) — Hathaway will read from his latest book of poems, The Affirmations; RSVP here
In the harbour
The container ship CMA CGM Jules Verne was in port yesterday. At 176,435 tonnes, it is one of the largest container ships in the world, and I believe the largest container ships to ever call in Halifax
10:00: Lagrafoss, container ship, arrives at anchorage from Reykjavik, Iceland
11:00: Neptune Koper, car carrier, arrives at Autoport from Emden, Germany
13:00: Polar Prince, tender, sails from Dartmouth Cove for sea
15:00: NYK Nebula, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from Caucedo, Dominican Republic
15:00: Lagrafoss moves to Pier 41
15:30: Irving Beaver, barge, and Atlantic Elm, tug, sail from Dartmouth Cove for Saint John
16:00: MSC Rossella, container ship, arrives at Berth TBD from Montreal
17:00: Atlantic Sealion, barge, and Atlantic Beech, tug, sail from Pier 24 for sea
18:30: James Cook, research/survey vessel, sails from Pier 9 for sea
20:00: Tropic Lissette, cargo ship, moves from Pier 42 to anchorage
20:30: Neptune Koper sails for sea
21:30: Tropic Lissette sails for Palm Beach, Florida
12:00: AlgoNova, oil tanker, arrives at Government Wharf (Sydney) from Quebec City
Seriously, this would be a great time to subscribe.