News

1. Prime Minister says feds will provide $300 million to help with Fiona recovery

Workers on Woodlawn Road in Dartmouth after Fiona, on Monday, Sept. 26, 2022. — Photo: Zane Woodford

Last week, Jennifer Henderson reported for the Examiner on homeowners with uninsurable properties assessing their options after tropical storm Fiona. Perhaps the Prime Minister could be of some assistance.

Speaking in Dartmouth yesterday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a $300-million Hurricane Fiona Recovery Fund to help the East Coast recover from the September storm and build more resilience to similar weather in the future.

According to a release from the Prime Minister’s Office, the new fund will support recovery efforts over the next two years such as:

  • Helping local communities and businesses rebuild and recover more quickly from the impacts of Hurricane Fiona.
  • Restoring the economic activity that local communities depend on by beginning to repair and rebuild critical infrastructure, including fishing wharves and small craft harbours that were damaged or destroyed by the storm. Repairs will ensure that the infrastructure is better able to withstand any future damage.
  • Ensuring the safety of navigation and protecting marine wildlife.

A report from the Canadian Press says the goal is “to distribute the money quickly through the local offices of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, which will work with other federal agencies.” Civil servants, Trudeau said, won’t wait for “all receipts to be in” before disbursing funds.

“We’ve gotten much better at rolling out disaster assistance,” the Prime Minister told reporters Tuesday, “whether it’s been the historic flooding we saw in British Columbia just recently, whether it was more and increasing wildfires, whether it was heat waves, we are seeing more intense, extreme weather events because of climate change.”

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2. Nova Scotia Power update

A Nova Scotia Power truck parked on Woodlawn Road in Dartmouth after Fiona, on Monday, Sept. 26, 2022. — Photo: Zane Woodford

Nova Scotia Power is now reporting 2,286 power failures affecting 7,682 customers as of this morning. The the latest news report I could find, coming from Jack Morse and Natalie Lombard at CTV Atlantic, reported 3,157 active outages affecting 12,249 Nova Scotia Power customers, with most outages in Pictou County, Cape Breton, and Truro.

When Suzanne Rent reported on day 11 — DAY 11 — of the province’s power failures following tropical storm Fiona, Nova Scotia Power was reporting 14,000 households without power in the province. That was Tuesday morning. If you missed Rent’s report, check it out here. It goes far beyond the numbers to check in on Nova Scotians still dealing with power losses from the storm, and what’s holding up repairs.

Nova Scotia Power’s latest estimates say power will be restored around 11pm Saturday — two weeks after the storm — for some Truro and Pictou County households. Those estimates have been moving targets, though, as one Nova Scotian told Rent this week:

Gloria Demers has no faith in the outage map. She told the Examiner on Monday that estimates for restoration of power to her house have changed a few times. Demers lives alone in a house in Truro Heights and said she’s been without power since Friday, Sept. 23 at 10:30pm as Fiona was sweeping over the province.

“I don’t trust it after four or five times of being switched,” Demers said.

This is the point where I’ll remind you that Nova Scotia Power is asking the province’s Utility and Review Board if it can add additional charges to rate payers should future storms require the company to exceed its annual budget. I’m sure a lot of Nova Scotians have extra money lying around after saving a bit on electricity these past two weeks; they’ll probably be happy to send it on to Nova Scotia Power.

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3. Local theatre company wants to help African Canadians break into film industry

Tara Taylor. Photo: Matthew Byard

“A Black-owned theatre company has increased its funding so it can expand a program aimed at getting more Black people involved in the film production industry,” writes Matthew Byard for the Examiner this morning.

Tara Taylor is the founder and chair of the Charles Taylor Theatre & Media Arts Association. Taylor and Fateh Ahmed, the former head of the film department at Centre for Arts and Technology in Halifax, created the program called Breaking Through the Screen for African Canadians.

“He has all the curriculum, and we went after the funding,” said Taylor in an interview with the Halifax Examiner. “In our first year we got $25,000 from Telefilm, and we had five people, five protégés, in the pilot program and they went to work for other productions.”

“There was one who went to Diggstown. She did costume design and learned how to do that on filmset. And the other people did lighting and all that stuff for a documentary called Working While Black.”

“Then, this year we got more funders.”

That new funding comes from the Department of Communities Culture and Heritage and the province’s One Journey Initiative, totalling $205,000 to expand the program. Read about what that money could mean for the program, and future Black filmmakers in the province and their stories, by clicking right here.

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4. Report: DFO failing to protect “commercially valuable” fish

Inshore fishing boats in Caribou Harbour. Photo: Joan Baxter

Fisheries and Oceans Canada is failing to protect endangered aquatic species — particularly those that are commercially valuable — according to a new report tabled in the House of Commons Tuesday.

The 2022 Fall Reports from Environment and Sustainable Development Commissioner Jerry DeMarco found “inadequate staffing, knowledge gaps and a bias against protecting species of commercial value at the department,” reports Richard Raycroft at the CBC. The report also found the federal department has been too slow in assessing whether a species needs special protection, like Atlantic cod in Newfoundland and Labrador, which isn’t listed for special protection despite low populations. Those cod, unlike some potentially at-risk species, have commercial value, and the report found the department appears to go against protecting fish that could be profitable.

“In our view, there shouldn’t be such a bias, because if you take a longer-term view, the economic interest and the environmental interest in terms of protecting biodiversity should coincide,” DeMarco told a news conference Tuesday. “Unfortunately, short-term economic concerns can trump the need for long-term measures to protect a species.”

Even if that species was protected, the audit found Fisheries and Oceans Canada don’t have enough staff to enforce laws that would protect at-risk species.

Unfortunately, that age-old reassuring aphorism — there’s plenty of fish in the sea — doesn’t help the DFO here. It doesn’t help the fish either.

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5. Provincial party poopers?

Homecoming weekend on Larch Street last weekend. Photo: Twitter

On Monday, Tim Bousquet wrote a Morning File in which he asked how it’s possible to stop the seemingly irrepressible youthful rebellion that rolls onto residential Halifax streets every Dalhousie homecoming, following the mess on Larch Street over the weekend. Close corner stores earlier? More police?

How about sanctioning the university itself?

Martin Bauman at The Coast reported Tuesday that Coun. Waye Mason is considering asking council to request the province withhold funding from Dalhousie “until the university takes greater ownership of Homecoming and adopts a more collaborative role with municipal partners.” Bauman cites an anonymous source “with knowledge of the situation,” but the Coast has yet to receive a response from Mason himself.

Though the university has distanced itself from last weekend’s shenanigans, that hasn’t stopped residents, students, and Halifax Regional Police from trying to hold the school accountable.

Dalhousie receives $228.9 million in provincial grants for 2022-23, more than any other university in the province, so sanctions could put some serious pressure on the school. But Bauman reports even if council were to ask the province to step in this way, it’s unlikely they’d take that step.

Nova Scotia’s Department of Advanced Education tells The Coast it has not yet received “any requests from city councillors” regarding the distribution of funds to Dalhousie University. The department adds that withholding government funding “will not benefit students or communities,” noting that many of Dalhousie’s more than 20,000 students “live, study and work in our communities in a respectful and safe manner.”

Take it to the feds, I guess. What about the military? They’re here helping out already aren’t they?

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6. HRP reports stabbing at Halifax high school

A Halifax Regional Police officer blocks a road during the School Strike for Climate Change in Halifax on Sept. 24, 2021. — Photo: Zane Woodford

Halifax Regional Police reported in a release yesterday that a 50-person fight outside Halifax West High School resulted in a stabbing and an arrest Tuesday afternoon.

Police say they were called to the scene at 3:30pm. A “male youth” was stabbed and taken to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. Police also say a suspect has been arrested, but did not relay if any charges have been laid.

HRP are now investigating and are asking anyone with information or video from the incident to reach out.

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Views

Monday print editions of newspapers are ending, but we still need good reporting

Yesterday, Saltwire published an article announcing the end of the Monday print edition for four newspapers in Atlantic Canada, including the Cape Breton Post and the Chronicle Herald. Since this upcoming Monday is the Thanksgiving holiday, when the papers wouldn’t publish anyway, subscribers won’t really notice until Oct. 24. I assume most Nova Scotians won’t notice at all.

Obviously, most of us get our news — what Saltwire CEO Ian Scott calls “content” — through our screens now. That’s partly because print isn’t really an option anymore in Nova Scotia. The Globe and Mail stopped printing in Atlantic Canada in 2017, the same year Saltwire formed after a 19-month newsroom strike at the Herald, and nine years after Halifax’s other newspaper, The Daily News, folded completely.

The reasons for print’s decline barely need repeating: “the internet, ‘free news,’ the collapse of print advertising, the rise of Facebook and Google and Twitter and Instagram and all the rest of the unregulated, untaxed global ad-dollar-sucking, news-stealing behemoths,” as Stephen Kimber summed it up in a 2020 commentary on news media after print. (Postmedia recently announced a similar discontinuation of Monday editions for nine of its papers, citing similar reasons).

Photo: unsplash/Bank Phrom

“We’re responding to the market demand for how and where people want to see their content,” CEO Ian Scott said in Tuesday’s Saltwire article. The Monday print editions, he noted, had the lowest circulation and generated the least amount of advertising revenue.

Really, it’s just good to see Saltwire cutting anything other than newsroom jobs.

“If anything,” Scott added, “this will permit us to focus more on the content, per se, and less on the most expensive channel for distribution that we have, which is, of course, print and physical distribution.”

I have my doubts about how much the company will increase investments in actual reporting, the product that Nova Scotians need and, as the Examiner has proven, will pay for if the quality’s there. Still, one would hope this frees up some money for good local journalism. I repeat, one would hope.

Saltwire won’t lose any potential new customers by abandoning the Monday paper. Even those who still subscribe to the print edition, like my parents, will likely only miss the puzzles, though Monday’s the easiest crossword and sudoku, so even that’s not a huge loss. I can’t speak to the Cape Breton Postbut when I think about a physical copy of the Herald, I think of a leaflet that includes a couple good articles from dedicated reporters and a cutting cartoon from Bruce MacKinnon, drowned in a sea of stories from the newswire and some full-page sponsored-content ads from industry and corporate lobbyists.

I won’t bemoan its loss when the presses inevitably stop running altogether some day, though I do have a soft spot for the printed page.

My girlfriend and I did a stint in Toronto this summer while she worked a short CBC internship. One of our favourite things about living in that dirty, overcrowded, expensive city was the paper delivery. For a short time, we had the Globe, Toronto Starand the New York Times delivered to our door. There’s definitely something to be said for spreading out the paper with your partner and avoiding the harsh blue light of a screen when you’re waking up.

A grainy, disposable photo of Ethan reading the paper in Ontario. Photo: Ethan Lycan-Lang

As much as we enjoyed the print editions and the home delivery, there were drawbacks. Even when done well, it remains a dying medium. Many of the stories were outdated by the time they hit our doorstep at 6am. And even the Globelike so many Saltwire papers, was depending more and more on newswire stories to fill out its pages.

Despite that, I’d probably still have a print subscription to that paper now if it was available, just for the aesthetic experience. And I’d be more than happy to still have a subscription to the Sunday edition of the New York TimesIt’s a weekend treat that’s well worth the money for the amount of leisure reading material you get. Plus the crossword, obviously.

As Nova Scotia continues its slow shift away from traditional broadsheets — the local media landscape now has broadcasters like CBC, CTV, and Global are producing as much meaningful written work as the province’s newspapers — the real hole is in the reporting itself. We’re still trying to find a way to make local journalism work financially. Nova Scotians will pay for quality reporting, and we need quality reporting if we want to know just what the hell is going on in this province.

As a reminder, the Examiner is raising its subscription rates for the first time since 2014. The goal is not only to better pay and support Examiner employees and freelancers (yay!) but to expand our coverage and hire a new reporter.

Existing subscribers can grandfather in the existing annual subscription price of $100, if they renew their annual subscription or upgrade their monthly subscription to an annual subscription before Oct. 15. To take advantage of this opportunity, go here. New subscribers can also lock in the $100 annual subscription rate by going here and clicking on subscription option #6.

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Noticed

A protestor holds a sign outside Province House in Halifax in November 2021. Photo: Leslie Amminson

As housing and homelessness continue to be huge issues in Halifax, the Nova Scotia legislature invited Jim Graham at the Affordable Housing Association of Nova Scotia (AHANS) to come to Province House to give his two cents on what the government can do to relieve these growing crises.

I thought I’d share an excerpt from a report by Francis Campbell in Saltwire Tuesday, which covers one idea Graham had to keep unhoused people, well, housed.

“DCS and community services providers need another partner at the table ⁠— the Department of Health,” Graham said in addressing the House standing committee of community services at which the Community Services Department was represented.

“Our service provider community and the clients they support, need access to a FACT Team,” Graham said.

“FACT stands for Flexible Assertive Community Treatment (FACT) and is a program offered to those over the age of 18 with severe mental illness. It aims to help individuals recover, integrate into the community and increase autonomy. The intensity of treatment is dependent on the needs of the individual. The critical thing here is they have access to professional services.”

Graham said the teams may consist of a nurse, social worker, specialized educator, psychoeducator, occupational therapist and a psychiatrist. 

“This interdisciplinary team goes directly to the person’s living environment. They support those who have a serious mental health disorder, and a high need for services, requiring the support of a caseworker in various areas of their life – finances, social network, housing.

“As a landlord with affordable housing, AHANS can attest to the challenges of all landlords and support workers alike. Trying to keep some individuals stably housed without the kinds of supports I’ve just named, it does not happen. Without it, this revolving door experienced by high acuity individuals will just keep spinning.”

There is a segment of our population, probably every community’s population, that simply cannot make it on their own without some assistance. I mean, none of us can make it totally on our own, but some of us have physical or mental barriers that make it impossible to find and keep adequate shelter independently. 

Shelter beds and waitlists are not enough.

I think Graham sums that up pretty plainly here. If we want to truly help people get off the streets, and not just push them aside, or house them temporarily, we need to accept this and make sure people get the help they need to live with dignity and a permanent roof over their head.

Later in the article, Graham says community service providers have housed 210 individuals since 2020 ⁠— a number that seems appallingly low ⁠— and of those, 96 have returned to homelessness. Nearly half. He told legislators that 90% of those who returned to the streets are “high acuity” individuals.

As the population grows, Graham and other advocates told the legislature the problem of homelessness is only going to get worse, so the province needs to start providing more supports immediately, if only to catch up on the current problem.

If you want to do your part to help the province deal with the homelessness and housing crises we’ve been mired in for years now, the provincial government is currently surveying the housing needs of Nova Scotians. The results of the survey, the website reads, “will not only inform the number of housing units that each community needs, but also the type of housing that needs to be built” in your community. The survey is open until Dec. 4.

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Government

City

Heritage Advisory Committee (Wednesday, 3pm, online) — agenda

Board of Police Commissioners (Wednesday, 4:30pm, online) — agenda

Design Review Committee – Special Meeting (Wednesday, 4:30pm, online) — agenda

Province

Public Accounts (Wednesday, 9am, Province House) — 2022 Report of the Auditor General – Follow-up of 2017, 2018 and 2019 Performance Audit Recommendations

RE: December 2019 Report of the Auditor General: Ch. 2, QEII New Generation Project-Halifax Infirmary and Community Outpatient Centre

November 22, 2017 Report of the Auditor: Ch. 2, Mental Health Services and Ch. 3, Managing Home Care Support Contracts

With representatives from Dept. of Public Works, Dept. of Seniors and Long-term Care, and Nova Scotia Health


On campus

Dalhousie

Wednesday

Herzberg50 Exhibit Launch (Wednesday, 10am, LeMarchant Place) — traveling exhibit, Enterprises of the Human Spirit: 50 Years of Scientific Excellence in Germany and Canada, hosted at LeMarchant Place until Oct 7, Tupper Medical Building Oct 11-14, and Richard Murray Design Building Oct 17-21.

Dalhousie’s 12th Annual Mawio’mi (Wednesday, 10am, Studley Quad) — rain location: McInnes Room. Vendors open 10am, Lunch 11-1pm (while supplies last); Grand Entry 12pm; Powwow 12:30-3:30pm

From the listing:

The Dalhousie Mawio’mi started by a group of Indigenous students wanting to connect and share their culture within the Dalhousie space. Today, the Indigenous Student Centre manages the organization of it with the help of community, students and staff. Each year the big drum, dancers, vendors, and other performers gather to celebrate and share culture on the Studley Quad (McInnes Room Rain Location). This is the largest Indigenous event on campus, with opportunity to meet Mi’kmaq and other Indigenous attendees, take part in culture, purchase from unique vendors and enjoy lunch. Come join us for a great day.

Thursday

Poppy Pin Beading Workshop (Thursday, 10:30am, Ko’jua Okuom, 1st floor, Killam Memorial Library) — two-part workshop led by Michelle McDonald, a beader originally from Sipekne’katik. More info here.

Geophysics…the future is so bright, we have to wear shades (Thursday, 11:30am, Milligan Room, Life Sciences Centre) — 2022-2023 Canadian Society of Exploration Geophysicists (CSEG) Distinguished Lecture Tour, with Rachel Newrick; from the listing:

The world is facing many global challenges: poverty, insufficient clean water supply, hunger and a lack of energy security amongst others. To tackle them, the world needs critical thinkers, who are curious and inventive. Utilizing a variety of skills and technologies, geophysicists play a significant role in helping the world meet the 2030 UN sustainable development goals.

Geophysicists interrogate the subsurface to locate oil, gas, minerals, water, brine, subsurface reservoirs for carbon sequestration, and to improve our understanding of hazards, earthquakes etc.

The thought process that we use in exploration can be used as we look forward to the future, progressing oddities to leads and prospects. The future is bright for geophysicists, and for the world because geophysicists are helping address many global challenges.


In the harbour

Halifax
05:45: Aurora, cruise ship with up to 2,258 passengers, arrives at Pier 20 from Corner Brook, on a 24-day roundtrip cruise out of Southampton, England
06:00: MSC Odessa, container ship, arrives at Pier 42 from Sines, Portugal
07:45: Queen Mary 2, cruise ship, with up to 2,620 passengers, arrives at Pier 22 from Sept-Iles, Quebec, on a 22-day cruise from Southampton, England to New York sails for New York
09:30: ZIM Yokohama, container ship, sails from Pier 42 for New York
10:40: Oceanex Sanderling, ro-ro container, arrives at Autoport from St. John’s
16:15: Oceanex Sanderling, ro-ro container, moves to anchorage #5 (by Dartmouth Cove)
16:30: Aurora sails for Sydney
17:30: CSL Tacoma, bulker, sails from Gold Bond for sea

Cape Breton & North Shore
05:30: Caribbean Princess, cruise ship with up to 3,756 passengers, arrives at Sydney Marine Terminal from Port Alfred, Quebec, on a 10-day cruise from Quebec City to New York
07:00: Ocean Explorer, cruise ship with up to 162 passengers, arrives in Pictou from Charlottetown, on a 15-day cruise from Montreal to Boston
07:30: Borealis, cruise ship with up to 1,685 passengers, arrives at Sydney anchorage from St. John’s, on a 19-day roundtrip cruise out of Liverpool, England
08:00: CSL Argosy, bulker, sails from Nova Scotia Power coal pier (Point Tupper) for sea
09:15: Nieuw Statendam, cruise ship with up to 3,214 passengers, arrives at Liberty Pier (Sydney) from Halifax, on a six-day cruise from Boston to Quebec City
13:00: Homeric, oil tanker, arrives at EverWind from Girassol offshore terminal, Angola
15:00: AlgoScotia, oil tanker, arrives at Government Wharf (Sydney) from Corner Brook
16:00: Caribbean Princess sails for Halifax
17:00: Borealis sails for Gaspé, Quebec
17:30: Nieuw Statendam sails for Charlottetown
18:00: Ocean Explorer transits through the causeway en route to Halifax


Footnotes

  • Aaron Judge hit his 62nd home run of the year yesterday, a single-season American League record. It’s been a great story in a year of great stories for Major League Baseball. Here at home, the Halifax Pelham Canadians pulled themselves back into the Nova Scotia Senior Baseball League Finals Tuesday night with a 2-0 win over Kentville. Kentville now leads the seven-game series two games to one. Go Wildcats!

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Ethan Lycan-Lang

Ethan Lycan-Lang is a Morning File regular, and also writes about environmental issues, poverty, justice, and the rights of the unhoused. He's currently on hiatus in the Yukon, writing for the Whitehorse...

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  1. Link to the survey has already been shared, with a request that each person also share it. Now, I must go take the survey myself.