1. Police kill Dartmouth man
“Nova Scotia’s Serious Incident Response Team is investigating after a Halifax Regional Police officer shot and killed a man in Dartmouth,” reports Zane Woodford:
In a news release, police said they went to Carleton Street in Dartmouth for a “weapons call involving a male armed with a firearm” on Saturday night at 8:35pm.
“The suspect barricaded himself in a residence on Carleton Street in Dartmouth. Officers set up containment on the residence,” police said.
“While attempting to arrest the man, he confronted the officers with a weapon and an officer discharged a service weapon. The male was found deceased in the residence.”
They said a 59-year-old man is dead, and SIRT is investigating. (A relative of the deceased has contacted the Examiner to say he was 64 years old, not 59. This article is updated to reflect the uncertainty. The relative did not relay the man’s name.)
Language matters. The police release reads:
Halifax Regional Police have referred an incident involving the discharge of a service weapon that occurred earlier this evening to the Nova Scotia Serious Incident Response Team (SiRT). A 59-year-old man is deceased, and SiRT is investigating the incident.
Note that all agency is removed from the police: there isn’t even a cop involved, just a weapon was mysteriously “discharged,” with no indication that there was a person who pulled a trigger.
Woodford knows how to read through such obfuscation and reports it coherently: “a Halifax Regional Police officer shot and killed a man.”
The police referral to SIRT was announced late Saturday night, soon after the killing. On Sunday, there were two of the perfunctory media notices from the end of the shifts of watch commanders, stating that there were no calls of note.
But on Sunday, the police comms team was energized. Typically, they’ll issue one but more likely no releases on a weekday, but yesterday afternoon there was a flurry of four releases, in addition to the two watch commander notices. They were for a robbery, another robbery, a man taking photos of children, and a series of sexual assaults.
As I’ve said before, I think the entire police blotter should be public record, as it is in every jurisdiction in the U.S. with no apparent problems; the secrecy around such matters in this country is typical government paternalism — “we’ll decide what you need to know.” But given the lack of such transparency, it’s evident that the police communications apparatus is now being used for PR purposes: “we don’t just kill people in their houses.”
2. Rev. Wallace Smith retires
“On Sunday, Rev. Wallace Smith preached his final sermon as senior pastor of St. Thomas Baptist Church in North Preston,” reports Matthew Byard:
Smith is the first and only ordained minister from North Preston to serve in the role of senior pastor of that church. And on Wednesday, after serving in that role for 21 years, Smith will retire.
Smith’s family, including his wife Frances, several of his siblings, children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, as well as Lieutenant Governor Arthur J. LeBlanc, the area’s city councillor David Hendsbee, and NBA star Lindell Wiggington, were among the hundreds in attendance Sunday at Smith’s last service.
“I won’t say it’ll be the last time Rev. Smith preaches from this podium, but it will be the last time as senior pastor of St. Thomas Baptist Church,” said Smith’s son, Wallace Smith Jr., while introducing his father.
Then Smith began his final sermon.
“Praise the Lord, Church,” he began to a resounding response from the congregation. “Somebody shout, ‘Hallelujah.’ Say, ‘Praise the Lord.’ It’s good to be in the house of the Lord. Amen. God is good.”
3. Mass Casualty Commission
Today’s proceedings of the Mass Casualty Commission have been cancelled, and proceedings resume Wednesday. I spent the entire day yesterday writing an article related to the latest documents released by the commission, but obviously didn’t finish. I hope to have that out this afternoon.
4. Should conservation officers have shotguns?
A few years ago, the following anonymous letter was sent to the Sydney courthouse (misspellings and odd grammatical structure in original):
To Whom It May Concern:
You recently stole $391.91 from me , I don’t tolerate legalized steeling by way of fines Or any other method , The repercussions from this will be very costly for the prov. Gov. In the thousands of $ in damages , Also registry of motor vehicles will pay for sticking their nose in where they shouldn’t have as they did once before , apparently they didn’t learn the last time ,they will get it this time. Whats it going to take for you to learn ?? You cannot go around sticking your greedy hand out for free money from everyone and expect their will be no pay back ,some of us don’t tolerate having hard earned money Stolen from them so trust me when I say your going to pay 10 fold ,let this be a lesson to you ,try an learn from it . Two game wardens were seconds away from losing their lives That day because the man was a weapons expert and was well armed. If the unnecessary Harassment continues against the hunters in the future, expect it
That letter was included in a packet of information provided by the Nova Scotia Government & General Employees Union to the Department of Environment, which argued that conservation officers (COs) should carry long guns (specifically,12-gauge shotguns). The COs now carry 9mm pistols.
To be sure, most of the arguments for carrying shotguns are animal related. The union argues that COs often dispatch injured deer, moose, and bear, and have other encounters with such animals that require the use of a weapon, and the pistol just isn’t up to the task, especially when some distance from the animal is warranted.
Some examples of such encounters were provided:
• after a CO inspected bear bait sites, he was returning to his vehicle when he happened up a 300-pound bear coming up the bank from the highway. “The CO stopped and made noises and hand gestures; the bear didn’t seem too concerned and headed up the bank towards the CO. The bear then stopped approximately 40 feet from the CO and stood on its hind legs, sniffing the air, and reluctant to turn around. The CO waved his arms and began to shout; the bear eventually turned and headed across the highway making woofing sounds and clicking its teeth. This incident ended well, but could’ve very well have gone bad. The time the CO was only armed with a sidearm and knew if there was a confrontation the CO was at a disadvantage, and a shotgun would’ve been beneficial.”
• responding to a bear complaint, a CO came to a residence where a sow with cubs had moments before been trying to enter a residence. The animals were gone, but the CO would not have been able to be safe with just a pistol.
• one CO responded to an injured moose in the Cape Breton Highlands. Armed only with a pistol, the CO couldn’t get close enough to dispatch the creature, and it wandered farther into the woods. The animal couldn’t be found, and since it was potentially a public hazard, the next day a helicopter was used to find and dispatch the moose, at great public expense.
• responding to an injured deer “near a busy part of town” (the town isn’t named), a CO tried to put down the animal with their pistol, but the deer kept moving. It took “several shots” to euthanize the animal, which both prolonged the deer’s suffering and “created a poor public image as there were bystanders present.”
There are many more such examples provided by the union.
But far more distressing is the union’s view that COs need long guns because other people are increasingly highly armed. Some examples:
• 911 received a call about some yahoo driving down a gravel road, shooting a rifle from his truck. Because it was hunting season, a CO was called out — “[Cape Breton Regional Police] had previously indicated they wouldn’t respond to hunting-related complaints including shots fired at night “jacking” unless a CO was unavailable.” In this instance, however, the police did respond, with the CO entering the road from one end, and the police entering the road from the other, meeting in the middle. Due to the complex road system, the shooter eluded both, but the CO couldn’t help but notice that the cops were armed with carbines, while he just had a pistol.
• on Sept. 16, 2017, the RCMP responded to a shots fired complaint, and thinking it could be hunting related, asked for a CO to be present. The cops weren’t allowed to enter the woods without body armour and carbines, while the CO just had a pistol.
• in one highly redacted instance, three COs and one RCMP responded to a poaching incident and seized some ATVs. While they awaited for a tow truck to arrive, the armed “locals” were “unhappy,” constructed a “barrier,” and a “standoff” ensued. “The standoff was a tense one hour and had the locals started shooting we wouldn’t [have] had a chance with only a sidearm available.”
• “A CO with 18 years of experience has been involved in approximately 100 successful decoy operations and everyone involved had a long gun except the COs. On dozens of these operations suspects were known to be violent and made threats towards COs, some of these suspects were associated with bike gangs, were in and out of prison numerously, and prohibited to possess firearms, etc.”
• twice, COs were called in relation to long gun reports in provincial parks in HRM.
• in a 2017 incident during a moose hunt, “COs received information that singled out a CO and if the CO stopped the wrong guy they want to kill the CO.”
Interestingly, in a 2015 memo in which she agreed that COs should carry shotguns, Jennifer Innis, then the Assistant Director of Enforcement with the Department of Natural Resources (and now an HR consultant), specifically mentioned COs involvement in “active shooter” cases — on the recommendation from the Department of Justice, three COs were trained by the Halifax police in active shooter responses, but the training is mostly useless if the COs only carry side arms.
Only New Brunswick and Nova Scotia don’t arm their COs with shotguns; every other jurisdiction in Canada either provides the weapons and associated yearly training, or allows the COs to carry them on their own. But the Nova Scotia Department of Environment has rejected the union’s call for such. The issue is now under appeal by the union.
I don’t like the arms race that occurs between law enforcement and the public. I would hope that the Mass Casualty Commission would seriously explore how to keep high powered weapons out of the hands of the worst among us, but that’s a discussion for another day.
But shotguns? Why is this even an issue? It’s a reasonable request, and should be approved.
I should note: the union’s request for providing shotguns to the COs was initiated long before — many years before — the COs were transferred from the Dept. of Environment to the Department of Natural Resources, which happened earlier this year. As Joan Baxter reported, that shift presents all sorts of potential conflicts of interest and the move seems to reflect a pro-industry bias on the part of the Houston government that is worrying, to put it mildly.
In that context, if the proposal was to arm the COs with carbines and body armour, I’d feel differently about the issue.
5. Bullshitter of the week: Aileen Murray
“I could barely listen to consultant Aileen Murray as she shared her Economic Development Strategy with CBRM council on Tuesday because I’d read the presentation as I drank my morning coffee and spent the next few hours in a slough of despond over having chosen the wrong career,” writes Mary Campbell of the Cape Breton Spectator:
Why did I not become a consultant? Why do I spend my days trying to ferret out facts and understand the world around me when I could get paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to stand at podiums offering municipal councilors piercing glimpses into the obvious like:
You need to work cooperatively with other levels of government.
You need to attract and retain new residents.
You need to make sure international students have places to live.
I could do this job, I know it.
Campbell offers other insightful, er, insights, from Murray:
I could set five goals and then provide a weirdly specific number of “strategic actions” to achieve them:
I could give an example of a goal: “Grow the economic potential of CBRM’s strategic advantages in tourism,” I’d say, not entirely coherently.
Then I could give advice on achieving that goal: “Attract investment,” I’d say, “foster entrepreneurship and address workforce development,” I’d say. “D’uh,” I’d say.
It goes on.
As with the Examiner, the Cape Breton Spectator is subscriber supported, and so this article is behind the Spectator’s paywall. Click here to purchase a subscription to the Spectator.
6. Speed tables
The city has issued a tender for the construction of 30 “speed tables” on seven streets in the urban area.
“Speed tables are midblock traffic calming devices that raise the entire wheelbase of a vehicle to reduce its traffic speed. Speed tables are longer than speed humps and flat-topped, with a height of 3–3.5 inches and a length of 22 feet. Vehicle operating speeds for streets with speed tables range from 25–45 mph, depending on the spacing,” says this website, and that’s about 40 – 40 kph, which is basically the speed limit plus a bit on the streets being considered, which are:
Slayter Street between Albro Lake and Thistle: 6 tables
Isleville Street between Duffus and Bloomfield: 5 tables
Northwood Terrace between Bloomfield and North: 1 table
Creighton Avenue between North and Cogswell: 5 tables
Maynard Street between Cogswell and North: 6 tables
Fuller Terrace between North and Bloomfield: 3 tables
Liverpool Street between Connaught and Windsor: 4 tables
You can find all the locations for the speed tables here.
Halifax and West Community Council (Tuesday, 6pm, online) — agenda
District Boundary Resident Review Panel (Wednesday, 3:30pm, City Hall) — agenda
Human Resources (Tuesday, 10am, One Government Place) —appointments to agencies, boards, and commissions
Health (Tuesday, 1pm, Province House) — vaccine booster shots, with Jeannine Lagassé, Kathleen Trott, and Dr. Robert Strang
In the harbour
03:30: MSC Tamara, container ship, sails from Pier 41 for Barcelona
06:00: ZIM Monaco, container ship, arrives at Pier42 from Valencia, Spain
06:30: Norwegian Pearl, cruise ship with up to 2,873 passengers, arrives at Pier 22 from Sydney, on a seven-day roundtrip cruise out of Boston
07:00: CSL Tacoma, bulker, moves from anchorage to Gold Bond
07:30: Vantage, cargo ship, moves from Pier 36 to Pier 41
09:00: Nieuw Statendam, cruise ship with up to 3,214 passengers, arrives at Pier 20 from Saint John, on an 11-day cruise from Boston to Quebec City
11:45: Vantage sails for sea
15:00: East Coast, oil tanker, sails from Irving Oil for sea
15:30: MOL Charisma, container ship, arrives at Pier 41 from Norfolk
16:30: Norwegian Pearl sails for Portland
16:30: ZIM Monaco sails for New York
19:30: Nieuw Statendam sails for Corner Brook
22:00: MOL Charisma sails for Dubai
01:00: Radcliffe R. Latimer, bulker, arrives at Aulds Cove quarry from Sydney
06:00 Front Polaris, oil tanker, sails from Point Tupper for sea
07:00: Nordbay, oil tanker, arrives at Point Tupper from New York
07:45: Zaandam, cruise ship with up to 1,718 passengers, arrives at Sydney Marine Terminal from Halifax, on a seven-day cruise from Boston to Montreal
16:00: CSL Argosy, bulker, arrives at Pirate Harbour anchorage from Sydney
17:00: Zaandam sails for Charlottetown
I’ve got nothing.