This date in history
In the harbour
I didn’t link to this story when it came out because a couple of missing brothers didn’t seem like a big deal — dog knows, I went “missing” all the time when I was young — but it’s taken a weird turn, so let’s recap. Back in October, police issued this release:
Nineteen-year-old Damien Roy and 18-year-old Bailey Roy were reported missing to police at approximately 8:20 a.m. on October 4. One of the men returned to their residence on Fairfax Drive briefly on October 6 at 3:38 a.m. and neither have been heard from since.
Damien is described as a white man, 6’1”, with a thin build, blue eyes and a shaved head. Bailey is described as a white man, 5’8”, with a thin build, brown eyes and a shaved head. They were last seen wearing camouflage clothing.
There is no information to suggest that Damien and Bailey have met with foul play, however, police are concerned for their well-being. Officers request that Damien or Bailey, or anyone with information on their whereabouts contact Halifax Regional Police at (902) 490-5020.
Over the weekend, the men were found:
Halifax Regional Police have located two missing Clayton Park men.
Nineteen-year-old Damien Roy and 18-year-old Bailey Roy were reported missing to police at approximately 8:20 a.m. on October 4. One of the men returned to their residence on Fairfax Drive briefly on October 6 at 3:38 a.m. and neither had been heard from since.
Today at approximately 2:30 p.m., the two men were located safe in the area of Balsom Road in Bedford.
We thank the public and media for their assistance.
But now, reports Dan Arsenault, the men are missing again:
The two Halifax brothers who were missing for almost six weeks, until their discovery on Friday afternoon, have disappeared into the woods again.
“I’m absolutely worried about them,” Corey Roy said of his sons Damien Roy, 19, and Bailey Roy, 18.
“They’d lost a lot of weight … skinny as skinny can be.”
In an interview Sunday morning, Roy said his sons became interested in survival-related things, such as isolated life in the woods, about two years ago. He said they made about six forays into the woods in the last year or so and one of them, which started in September 2014, lasted about six weeks. In addition, the pair had driven off in sudden, secret runs to Toronto, Montreal and Quebec City.
Survivalism is an odd but otherwise harmless activity that doesn’t threaten anyone else, but the “secret runs” to points west and, well, that moustache, suggest something else is going on here.
2. Green crabs threaten lobsters
“New research is raising more concerns about the potential transfer of diseases from the invasive green crab to lobster in Nova Scotia waters,” reports Paul Withers:
“Our worry is there could be a pathogen transfer and it could damage our lobster industry. We are finding at least two pathogens of concern,” research scientist Fraser Clark says.
3. Cyclists assaulted
A police release from Sunday:
On November 15 at 11:21 a.m., officers responded to an assault on Old Sambro Road near West Pennet Road. Two cyclists were traveling on Old Sambro Road when a vehicle passed them. A disagreement occurred and the vehicle forced the cyclists to stop. The driver confronted the two male cyclists and assaulted both of them. The two cyclists received minor injuries. The driver, a 50-year-old Halifax man, will attend court at a later date to face two counts of assault.
One of those attacked was a member of a Facebook group devoted to local cycling issues. The group is closed and I haven’t spoken with him, so I won’t use his name, but here’s his account of the incident:
Out for a Sunday ride in the cold and riding with [my son] along Old Sambro Road and coming up to the stop sign at West Pennant Road ….. nice ride on the well-known-to-Halifax-cyclists Sambro Loop. We were dressed in reflective clothing, had running lights on, single file on the edge of the road. We get passed by a tanker truck who had to wait until the road was clear and so he slowed and executed a perfect pass by.
Then came a dangerous driver who passed us leaving only a foot or so, my son in front gesticulated with his mittened hand…then things got out of hand. Driver slams on his brakes in an effort to either injure us or “teach us a lesson.” Son has to brake hard then slaps the rear window of car in frustration. Driver veers into adjacent parking and jumps out in a rage and proceeds to sucker punch son in the face; he falls back on the ground, I intervene, also getting punched in the face and fall to the ground, curl up because I think I am about to get kicked in the head whereupon the man quits his assault.
So we took pictures, called it in, dude left the scene but returned 10 minutes later. Police came and were super professional and eventually lead him away in handcuffs. We are pressing charges. We both have swollen faces but nothing worse.
I am posting this for a couple of reasons. One to say everyone be careful, don’t react (as we did) to provocation and also keep your cell phone handy. The other is to ask the Halifax cycling community, how can we at least attempt to effect change in this atmosphere? We are all aware of the aggressivity that is prevalent out there in Halifax in general and on Sambro Loop in specific, especially directed to those of who use these roads for training and recreation. There is no other similar loop for road riding connected to Halifax center.
So I am throwing it out to the community and would very much like to hear your ideas…something needs to change. We suffered an assault, three weeks ago we lost a member of our community to a needless accident, we have all been the recipients of scary and abrasive behaviour — how can we make this different?
1. The Younger Games
You wish he would stop. For his sake. But he doesn’t. Andrew Younger seems constitutionally incapable of not hurtling down the same, self-immolating highway to the hell of political oblivion paved over — and then over again — by gone-but-not-forgotten former NDP MLA Trevor Zinck.
2. Public employee unions
“Stephen McNeil has triumphed in public-sector labour negotiations,” says Graham Steele. “He has succeeded where his four predecessors failed, leaving the unions cowed and powerless.”
Steele says this as a former Finance minister who had locked horns with the unions:
When I became the finance minister in 2009, the world’s financial markets were in turmoil. The economy was weak. We had a structural deficit in the hundreds of millions of dollars, revenue was flat or even falling, and previous governments had run up big debt. There was no room to breathe.
Labour relations were a mess. There were hundreds of bargaining units in a small province. The unions talked only of leapfrog and catch-up between different units. The previous government had set a multi-year wage pattern that the unions wanted to continue. Unions and arbitrators paid no attention to the public’s ability to pay.There was no common sense.
To cut a long story short, the Dexter government caved. The contract went to arbitration, a generous award was made, and the pattern was set that spread through the rest of the public sector.
Clearly there are limits to what can be paid to public employees, and the plethora of bargaining units in the end benefitted no one.
What I fear most about the last decade, however, is not that civil servants were paid too much, but rather that our collective eye was taken off the ball and we’ve learned exactly the wrong lessons. When the NDP Finance minister looks at the smouldering wreck of the global finance industry and concludes, “well, sure, those unions are too powerful,” we’ve got real problems.
It’d be one thing if the McNeil government’s battles with public employee unions were coupled with financial restructuring (say, a provincial bank), rejigging the tax code to reward work rather than wealth, and reeling in the transfer of tax dollars from the middle class to fly-by-night investors selling the moon. But instead, McNeil and company have swallowed the entire neoliberal agenda, attacking working people, slashing public services, and employing the divisive rhetoric of trickle-down economics.
HRM police officials will now consider themselves vindicated in their decision to deploy snipers and military-clad officers toting battlefield weapons at Remembrance Day services. They are not vindicated. It was a repulsive way for a civic police force to behave.
Such reactions to violence do not make us stronger. They make us weaker. They are what terrorists hope for.
I’ve been in no rush to comment on Paris, and what can I offer anyway? Beyond the horrific events themselves, we don’t have any real understanding of who specifically was behind the attacks, what security issues are at stake, and so forth. Very often in the immediate aftermath of such attacks, much of what’s reported in the press and on social media turns out to be incorrect.
I do know, however, that these events are always used to advance agendas — the warped nihilistic agenda of the attackers, but also political agendas of all stripes. Terrorist attacks serve as the political equivalent of the Shock Doctrine, used as the excuse to radically transform our own society, and not to the average person’s benefit.
The enemy is blind, stupid rage, killing for the sake of killing. Let’s not become what we so abhor.
4. Cranky letter of the day
Re: “Courts no place for feeding of any kind” (Nov. 10 Counterpoint). As the fifth child in a family of 14 breastfed children, I feel confident speaking on the subject.
Certainly the learned Gavin Giles is right in defending Judge Gregory Lenehan as a fundamentally good person. But that has nothing to do with the care and feeding of infants. Mr. Giles suggests “there were perhaps better places” than a courtroom to feed the infant. That is a pointless argument: the mother was in the courtroom, not elsewhere, and she had good reason to be there.
When an infant needs feeding, the caring mother feeds the infant. She should not be forced to defer to manufactured restraints imposed by others. Courts may be “serious” and even “solemn” places with lofty “decorum” but their “gravitas” is not disturbed by the quintessentially natural act of a mother feeding her totally dependent infant.
The life-sustaining nature of breastfeeding (which we must agree has quite a long history among mammals) and the importance of familial bonding certainly trump the niceties being defended by Mr. Giles.
It is an issue of taste that he raises — not an issue of any significant weight.
We may not dispute his aesthetic sense, but we can find him in error on the substance of the matter.
Tim Leary, Halifax
Public Open House Pre-Application (6:30, Central Library) — the first public display of a proposal for two buildings at South Park and Brenton Streets. More info here.
North West Community Council (7pm, Bedford-Hammond
Law Amendments (1pm, Province House) — under consideration:
Bill No. 112 – amendments to Children and Family Services Act
Bill No. 117– amendments to Public Inquiries Act
This date in history
The year 1857 saw the so-called “Indian Mutiny” or “Sepoy Mutiny,” in which Indian soldiers across northern India revolted against the British military occupiers:
On the heels of the mutiny at Meerut, sepoys in garrisons across North India — Delhi, Aligarh, Lucknow, Kanpur, Jhansi, Gwalior, and dozens more — rebelled as well. If this were all, the “Sepoy Mutiny” would indeed be an accurate moniker. But the disturbances did not remain contained: as sepoys refused orders and turned on officers, captured the treasury and ammunition storehouses, burned buildings, shed their uniforms, and abandoned their garrisons, they were joined by civilians from adjoining towns and villages. Where this happened, civilians broke open jails, attacked police stations and tax offices, burned the account books and records of money-lenders and magistrates, plundered the property and in some cases persons of those—Europeans and Indian—associated with colonial rule (Bengali middle-men were a particular target). Before long, some 500,000 sq. miles of the northern plains, from Allahabad to Delhi, were in upheaval. What began as a military mutiny in several garrisons of the Bengal Army morphed into or converged with a civilian rebellion.
One of the places besieged by the rebels was Lucknow, and on November 16, 1857 the “relief of Lucknow” by British forces was successful.
The Nova Scotia connection? William Hall.
The son of escaped slaves who had made their way from Maryland to Nova Scotia, Hall was born in 1827 at Horton, Nova Scotia. He went on to work in Samuel Cunard’s shipyard in Hantsport, then went off for the adventures of war and glory, joining first the US Navy in 1847 and then the British Royal Navy in 1852. The Maritime Museum continues the story:
After the Crimean War, Hall was assigned to the receiving ship HMS Victory at Portsmouth, England. He then joined the crew of HMS Shannon as Captain of the Foretop. It was his service with Shannon that led to the Victoria Cross.
Shannon, under Captain William Peel, was escorting troops to China, in readiness for expected conflict there, when mutiny broke out among the sepoys in India. Lord Elgin, former Governor General of Upper Canada and then Envoy Extrodinary to China, was asked to send troops to India. The rebel sepoy army had taken Delhi and Cawnpore, and a small British garrison at Lucknow was under siege. Elgin diverted troops to Calcutta and, as the situation in India worsened, Admiral Seymour also dispatched Shannon, Pearl and Sanspareil from Hong Kong to Calcutta. Captain Peel, several officers, and about 400 seamen and marines including William Hall, travelled by barge and on foot from Calcutta to Cawnpore, dragging eight-inch guns and twenty-four-pound howitzers.
The key to Lucknow was the Shah Najaf mosque, a walled structure itself enclosed by yet another wall. The outer wall was breached by the 93rd Highlanders at mid-day, and the Shannon brigade dragged its guns to within 400 yards (366 m) of the inner wall. William Hall volunteered to replace a missing man in the crew of a twentyfour-pounder. The walls were thick, and by late afternoon the 30,000 sepoy defenders had inflicted heavy casualties from their protected positions. The bombardment guns from Shannon were dragged still closer to the walls and a bayonet attack was ordered, but to little effect. Captain Peel ordered two guns to within 20 yards (18 m) of the wall. The enemy concentrated its fire on these gun crews until one was totally annihilated. Of the Shannon crew, only Hall and one officer, Lieutenant Thomas Young, were left standing.
Young was badly injured, but he and Hall continued working the gun, firing, reloading, and firing again until they finally triggered the charge that opened the walls. “I remember,” Hall is quoted as saying, “that after each round we ran our gun forward, until at last my gun’s crew were actually in danger of being hurt by splinters of brick and stone torn by the round shot from the walls we were bombarding.”
Captain Peel recommended William Hall and Thomas Young for the Victoria Cross, in recognition of their “gallant conduct at a twenty-four-pounder gun… at Lucknow on the 16th November 1857”.
Hall is praised for being an African Nova Scotian who by his bravery rose up the ranks of the British military and was the first black person and the first Nova Scotian to get the Victoria Cross.
But I can’t help noting that the liberation of Lucknow involved killing 20,000 sepoys and their civilian allies. Black people fighting for empire shouldn’t be held to some higher ethical standard than all the white people fighting for empire, but let’s not kid ourselves that Lucknow was a morally pure intervention. It wasn’t.
Racism (6pm, Room 224, Student Union Building) — “The School of Social Work in collaboration with the Black Student Advising Centre, the James Robinson Chair of the Black Canadian Studies and the Association of Black Social Workers, presents the 5th lecture series on “Racism is Killing Us Softly” The event will be in form of a Panel discussion where the Exposition of the Systemic Racism in Education will be discussed.”
In the harbour
Yantian Express, container ship, Norfolk to Pier 41
Bahri Yanbu, ro-ro cargo, Baltimore to Pier 31, then sails to sea
Vera D, container ship, Lisbon to Pier 42
Atlantic Compass, container ship, New York to Fairview Cove, then sails to sea
Barkhald, bulker, Philadelphia to National Gypsum
I’ll be publishing a freelancer’s work later this morning.
About Paris. Horrific and cowardly, with out a doubt. But the thing is, this is part of warfare. Is it not the same thing as French bombing raids and American drone strikes? Certainly seems less sofisticated and so more barbaric. But when people in Iraq and Syria and Yemen see their families and neighbors blown to bits by sophisticated weapons is it any less
BY THEIR WORDS SHALL YE KNOW THEM
Graham Steele says the Dexter government “caved” to the unions. But no one ever says the government “caves” when they agree to demands made by Irving Inc. or the Royal Bank or Emera. Nor is it common to say the corporations ever hold the public hostage. Only unions can do that it seems.
The words used by self-defined “neutrals” clearly mark them as more than that.
The money given to Irving may be viewed as an indirect subsidy to employees; and it is a pittance compared to the billions Harper spent bailing out the pensions of auto workers.
It strikes me that the “gravitas” we are asked to uphold in the courtroom is a very male-flavoured version of decorum. Had women been fully engaged in politics, law making and law-upholding throughout the ages, the sense society has of what constitutes ‘appropriate’ courtroom behaviour would be a very different thing. It was men who decided that all the hallmarks and milestones of mortality – birth, procreation and death – were nasty business that should be hidden in a closet / red tent / back room.
CBC recycling news?
An article about the green crab’s danger to lobster was published in February 2015 I tried to provide a link to the article but it did not work
The Sambro loop is the worst for that sort of behaviour. I don’t know if it’s just a surplus population of rednecks in the area, but I’ve ridden almost every other loop in the within 100 kms of Halifax with nary an incident, but I’ve been yelled at, had bottles thrown at me and cars that swerve deliberately into me on Sambro. Glad the asshole is getting charged.
Thanks for linking to my CBC column. I don’t agree with your summary, though, which is that I concluded the unions were too powerful. I’ve never said that, and don’t believe it. My conclusion is that they weren’t very smart. After they weakened four successive governments with health-care strikes, it shouldn’t have surprised them that someone would eventually come along and say “Enough of this shit. They’re not going to do that to me.” That someone turned out to be Stephen McNeil.
Graham Steele still doesn’t get it. As if the unions had any part to play in the global financial crisis, which they, along with all other working people were then forced by governments, including Steele’s, to pay for. Health care strikes, or any other strikes are the last resort of a union to get what their members need. It is Graham’s spin that they are done to hold the public hostage. The public largely agrees with Steele’s spin because all media, across the spectrum from the herald to the CBC always spins it that way. Bad unions holding the public hostage. Never is it acknowledged by his ilk and media in general that most rights that workers actually have is because of the work of union activists who fought for workers. Good on you Tim for calling Steele on his bullshit revisionism.
I think a big part of the problem is that we focus too heavily on the actual strike and not enough on the cause of it. For instance, if nurses are striking because their patient ratio is too high and they’re working too many hours, isn’t it in the public’s best interest to seriously consider what they have to say and what can be done to solve the issue? I can’t imagine they enjoy having to strike. We also focus too heavily on the supposed inflated pay rates, when, in reality, unions are the only ones who are remotely keeping up with inflation. Instead of attacking unions, we seriously need to start campaigning towards living wages for everyone and a fairer tax scale, both of which would help to solve this whole mess and would give us the funds via taxes to actually pay for the services we need. Poverty itself is a major contributing factor to health problems and other social and environmental issues. Living wages would not only help to pay for the services, but they would, at the same time, lower the number of people in need of them.
You don’t seem to understand how unions work. The “union” doesn’t dictate anything when it comes to collective agreements or strikes. A local elects a bargaining team from its members. Those members, along with a union Employee Relations Officer negotiates terms of a new collective agreement. The employer can 1) accept the terms of the bargaining team, 2) offer alternatives, 3) refuse any or some of the terms, or 4) a combination of both. The employer can say, “This is our final offer” and the bargaining team HAS to present it to the members. If the members vote no, then they can go to conciliation where a mediator helps to bring about an agreement. If that doesnt work, workers can vote to strike (or accept the deal) or the employer can lockout the employees (or accept the offer). During the strike or lockout, BOTH employer and employee feel pressure to get a deal but depending on who triggered it, someone has a bit of an upperhand. Timing is what decides who has that upperhand. Any agreements decided by the employer and local’s team MUST be accepted by the employer at large and the majority of voting members.
At no time does the union ogranization say to workers, “you MUST accept this deal.” At no time does the ERO say to the bargaining team, “I refuse to let you take this deal to the members.” They can only make recommendations. ERO’s regulary say the realistic picture, “You’re not likely to get much more than such and such” or “There isn’t a lot of money at this time.” Employees decide if they will accept a collective agreement and MOST, in my experience, wish to avoid a strike action…as a union member, we hear the hatred people like you, Graham Steele, foment against us in the public.
So when you say UNIONS aren’t very smart, I guess you are saying workers in the province aren’t very smart. I guess you think we shouldn’t advocate for a raise of less than 0. Or that we collectively are somehow different animals from the “doers and the dreamers” of the business world? My question to you is, where is your contempt and anger for the executives and managers running away with the bank. You would have been well aware of Dalhousie’s agreement to pay Tom Traves for three years full salary after retirement for doing absolutely nothing (if you weren’t, then you certainly weren’t doing your job). The current president has the same agreement. You also gave the bank away to Scotsburn and the billionaire Irvings. Did you enter legsilation to reduce the salaries and benfits of provincial MLAs.
You critique nurses and the civil service for being stupid to ask for what they are worth (public employees are NOT running away with the bank in the province) and think union organizations have some runaway greed. Yet Joan Jessome barely makes more than twice her lowest paid employee. Can you say that about the CEOs you funneled money to? Can you even say that about the managers in government whose salaries you controlled?
You show a failure to understand how economies based primarily on consumption work. Paying people less and less, failing to keep salaries up with inflation HURTS the economy, not helps it. If union workers salaries here were gratuitous, then you could call it. But there are NO NSGEU members on the Disclosure forms for the universities…not a one makes over $100,000. But there are thousands of poeple on those lists. So who is overpaid?
I do not know why you were an NDP member. The NDP has always stood for the belief that unionized labour creates and maintains a middle class and stimulates the economy. You clearly don’t think so and think that unions should just take what is offered to them by neoliberal politicians pretending to be union supporters. You were simply a man who got elected in the past…it does not mean that your ideas are right.
One other point. An arbitrator is agreed upon by BOTH parties. The arbitrator looks at the facts presented by both parties to decide a fair agreement. If the NDP failed to present the finances of the province correctly, then that is YOUR fault, not the arbitrator.
Thank you, Grace Junkie, for expressing my reaction, my seething anger at Steele’s piece more eloquently than I ever could. As I groped long after – still do – to characterize it and its intensity that take it above and beyond opinion, “targeted word assassination” keeps recurring.