1. Councillors OK more money for rec centres

Building with a curly yellow waterslide on the outside
The Canada Games Centre. Photo: Google Street View

Zane Woodford reports on yesterday’s municipal budget committee meeting, where Parks and Recreation was on the agenda.

In addition to approving an increase to the department’s budget of 4.8%, to $32.8 million, the councillors also recommended an additional $3 million in funding, much of it to cover the deficits of recreation centres.

Woodford writes:

Collectively, they’re finishing fiscal 2020-2021 more than $6 million in the red, and the losses are expected to continue this year. The municipality, as the owners of these facilities, has to pay off their deficits anyway, so councillors agreed on Wednesday to consider budgeting for those deficits for 2021-2022.

The Halifax Forum and Canada Games Centre typically break even, but require additional funding this year.

This is unlike me, but I’m feeling somewhat optimistic about a new approach to public services. An end, or at least a lessening, of the idea that everything should be run like a business, that those who run public services are CEOs, that individual “business units” are supposed to make money. Putting more money into recreation facilities just seems smart. It’s the kind of thing a municipality is supposed to do. You don’t have to sell naming rights, or charge enough to recover your costs, thereby making your facility inaccessible.

Anyway, you should read Woodford’s full story, which looks at all the other issues the budget committee dealt with, including an annual $250,000 to Discover Halifax, to promote the municipality as a tourist destination.

This story is for subscribers only. If you don’t subscribe already, you can change that by subscribing right here.

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2. Question Period highlights

Photo: Halifax Examiner

This item is written by Jennifer Henderson.

These are the highlights from yesterday’s Question Period at the legislature:

Ambulance times

Gary Burrill, NDP leader: Every day paramedics are stuck at emergency departments not doing what they were trained to do because they’re waiting and waiting and waiting to be able to discharge responsibility for their patients. Here are some of the average offload times recorded at various hospitals last year:

Cobequid, 71 minutes; Dartmouth General, 62 minutes; Halifax Infirmary, 91 minutes. Mr. Speaker, 91 minutes!

Does the premier think something is deeply and systemically wrong with the health care system when paramedics are routinely spending an hour and a half to offload their patients?”

Premier Iain Rankin: The member knows that there is a ministerial directive to ensure that the offload times are limited to 30 minutes. We have the recommendations from the Fitch report, most of which are actually already under way in anticipation. We’re going to continue to work with experts and make sure that we are maximizing efficiency and improving the system.

Of course, there are pressures across our system. We’re going to continue to invest in infrastructure in places, including increased outpatient centre access through Bayers Lake, which those [opposition] parties voted against. We’re going to continue to make those key investments and continue to look at how we can improve services across the province.

Burrill: On September 29th of last year at 6:30 in the morning, Anne MacPhee’s husband, Kelly MacPhee, collapsed at their home on Craigmore Drive just by the Armdale Rotary, about six minutes from the QEII. Anne called 911. It took the ambulance around 40 minutes to arrive. In the course of that 40 minutes, Anne called 911 repeated times, but still no ambulance. Mr. MacPhee passed away before the ambulance arrived. Mr. Speaker, we know that ambulance response delays indicate systemic problems in health care as a whole.

What systematic solutions does the premier propose in response to this experience as it has been related today by Mrs. MacPhee?

Minister of Health Zach Churchill: We can all just imagine the turmoil in those final moments of life. Responders did get there in 34 minutes. There are currently two investigations ongoing related to this specific case. One is a clinical investigation, which will help us determine whether the outcome could have been prevented, and the other investigation is operational to determine which factors in the system at large impacted the 34-minute response time.

Of course, we want the extend our condolences and sympathies to the family and inform the family that these investigations are ongoing. I know that the family met with representatives from EMC, including Dr. Travers, as well. We will know more about this case as those investigations unfold.

What’s in a name?

Tim Houston, PC Leader: Over the past year, of course, Nova Scotians have hung on every word that the government sent out over the pandemic. They were searching for information and they were searching for certainty in an uncertain time.

On September 25, 2020, a Communications Nova Scotia (CNS) release let Nova Scotians know that “government is extending virtual care.” That, of course, means the government of Nova Scotia extends virtual care. Again, in December, a virtual medicine press release announced that “government is further extending access to virtual care.” Of course, the government of Nova Scotia.

Just yesterday, a news release went out about virtual care. It was issued by CNS, but it started with, “The Rankin government is continuing to make virtual care…” That is a not so subtle change in the way that Communications Nova Scotia puts their releases out.

My question for the Minister of Communications Nova Scotia is: Who issued the directive to include the phrase “the Rankin government” in COVID-19 press releases?

Minister for Communications Nova Scotia Tony Ince: Communications Nova Scotia is non-partisan and has legislation and guidelines in place for governing its public communications. These guidelines state that releases cannot use the names of political parties. The premier leads the government, and the use of his name in releases is consistent with these guidelines.

Houston: Seems the minister might have found a slight technicality there, I guess. The premier has gone out of his way to accuse opposition and media [and] others of politicizing the pandemic whenever we dare to ask questions about it, yet it appears that unlike the previous premier, this premier is the one who wants to use all levers of government to, in fact, politicize messages.

I remind the House that the Public Service Act respecting the Office of Communications Nova Scotia clearly does state that official government communications should not be used to promote partisan interest — and that is exactly what is happening here.

My question to the minister of Communications Nova Scotia is: Now that he knows the term “the Rankin government” is certainly being used to promote partisan interests, will he put a stop to it immediately?

Ince: We are not using this — as I said, the premier leads the government. The use of his name is in releases and is consistent with the guidelines.

What about the kids?

Kendra Coombes, NDP MLA for Cape Breton Centre: In Nova Scotia, more than 75% of mothers of young children are in the workforce. However, in CBRM there are licensed child care spaces for less than 25% of children four years and under. Ms. Raven Nickerson-Hache has been on the wait-list for child care for more than a year.

This government has been taking advantage of women’s unpaid care work for far too long. I believe our former premier called it organic child care. We need urgent investment in universal, affordable public child care.

Can the premier explain why this budget does not invest a single new dollar in child care?

Rankin: Indeed, we did invest over $100 million in this very important sector for families across the province. We believe in the concept of ensuring that we have universal child care in the province. That’s why we’ve engaged the federal government to learn more about their plans and how they would be rolling out such a system.

We’ve invested $60 million now, which is annual, to ensure that all four-year-olds in the province have access to a public system. We continue to look at ways that we can enhance more and more people entering into early childhood education by supporting our Nova Scotia Community College, and we’re going to continue to have conversations to ensure that we support this sector.

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3. COVID-19 update

Reader Laura Kenney created a Maud Lewis-inspired hooked rug with a COVID theme.

Nova Scotia recorded two new cases of COVID-19 yesterday. Both are related to travel outside Atlantic Canada.

Here are your rapid testing locations for today and tomorrow:

Thursday: Mount Saint Vincent University, Rosaria Hall, 11am-7pm
Thursday: Wolfville & District Lions Club, 10am-5:30pm
Friday: Wolfville & District Lions Club, 11am-7pm

Remember, if you can’t make it to a rapid testing site, you can always get a test at one of the regular sites, even if you are asymptomatic. You just have to book your appointment first, as opposed to rapid testing, which is walk-in.

Tim Bousquet has all the latest graphs and potential exposure advisories here.

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4. Deadly consequences: long ambulance wait times

Last fall, Kelly MacPhee had a heart attack. MacPhee’s wife, Anne, called 911. While the couple’s home is less than a 10-minute drive from the Halifax Infirmary, no local ambulances were available, so one was sent from Mahone Bay. But before it could arrive — and half an hour after the 911 call — MacPhee died.

In a story published yesterday, Jennifer Henderson looks at the long wait times Nova Scotians face when they call an ambulance.

Walter MacPhee and his mother Anne MacPhee at their Halifax home. Photo: Jennifer Henderson

She writes:

[Anne] MacPhee wants the government to put more money into solving the problems that have led to congested emergency rooms in HRM that prevent paramedics from off-loading patients in a timely fashion.

She has read the recommendations in the Fitch Report — a now two-year-old review of the Emergency Health Services system that said paramedics were spending so much time shuttling patients between hospitals and nursing homes they were often unavailable when called out on a true emergency. She asked whether her husband Kelly would have had a better death if the current government had acted sooner on recommendations it received in 2019 and is beginning to implement tomorrow, April 1.

“The final 30 minutes of his life were filled with terror, as he repeatedly asked, ‘where are they and what is taking so long’?,” recalled MacPhee. “Could his death have been prevented, or at least could he have died with compassion and comfort, with care provided by trained paramedics? I will never know.”

Among the findings in Henderson’s story: Ambulances are waiting an average of 91 minutes to unload patients at the Halifax Infirmary. That’s an hour and a half of sitting around, when the ambulance could be in use elsewhere.

I also noted in the story that the province has “purchased four passenger vans to transfer people between community and regional hospitals, as well as nursing homes.” This makes sense.

I have been lucky enough to not need the services of an ambulance for emergency care, but I do remember being transported once from the Infirmary to the VG in one and thinking that surely this was not the best use for the vehicle.

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5. Sir John A Macdonald High School and Tallahassee Community School get new names; Rocky Lake Elementary stays the same

The soon-to-be Bay View High School. Photo: Wikipedia

The  Halifax Regional Centre for Education announced the renaming of two schools yesterday. Sir John A. Macdonald High School in Upper Tantallon will become Bay View High School, while Tallahassee Elementary in Eastern Passage is changing its name to Horizon Elementary School. (I am waiting for the local Facebook groups to implode when they hear the news.)

After review, a third school, Rocky Lake Elementary, will not change its name. When I read that I thought what the heck is wrong with “Rocky Lake” but it turns out it was a temporary name assigned when the Bedford school opened last September. (Fun fact: There are 57 Rocky Lakes in Nova Scotia.)

In a nice piece of process transparency, HRCE provides links to the reports on the name changes, so I took a look at the one for Sir John A/ Bay View, the one closest to where I live.

The preamble notes why the name is being changed:

The historical facts highlight Sir John A Macdonald’s extreme violence inflicted on the Indigenous peoples of Canada. Understanding the on-going effects of the Indian Act and Intergenerational trauma, we as a people need to make sure our future generations feel equal and protected. Our school must be a safe space for all, but a school bearing this name alienates Indigenous students. Students, families and community members have confided in me that having the name Sir John A Macdonald prevents them from participating in school spirit events and feel excluded as a member of the school community.

Nearly 500 people submitted naming suggestions. Here is the breakdown of the groups:

Reading through the suggested responses is interesting. The report includes all of the suggestions, broken down by which of the above groups they came from.

Some of the students were having fun, suggesting the school be named for a popular gym teacher, or Trailer Park Boys character Jim Lahey. Frankie MacDonald makes the list too. And, of course, there is Schooly McSchoolface.

I was interested to see how many people suggested Mi’kmaw names. One suggestion was to name the school for Elsie Charles-Basque, the first Mi’kmaw woman to hold a teaching licence in Nova Scotia.

54 people expressed their displeasure with the process by proposing Sir John A. Macdonald (and misspelled variants) as the name of the school.

Parking lot with ocean in the background
View of the bay from Bay View High School. Photo: HRCE

But by far the most popular suggestion — 140 of the 460 responses — was to name the school after Jadon Robinson, a 17-year-old student and football player who died in a car crash in 2015. (Interestingly, the most popular suggestion for Tallahassee Elementary was also the name of a student who died tragically: Kerri-Lea Dixon, who was murdered at age 12, in 2006.)

The committee tasked with recommending a new name though, decided to discount all individual names. The report says:

1. We believe that no one person could encompass all our school’s diversity.
2. We were concerned, based on the number of entries of people’s names, that the vetting process would not be effective in ensuring authentic inclusivity.
3. Also the decision was made based on HRCE policy: 1.3.1 Schools may be
given a name that reflects the geographic location or the local community in
which the school is located.

I can understand this. It would have probably helped the process though, if this had bee made clear before soliciting suggestions — about half of which were for individual names.

Bay View High School was chosen out of five finalists, the others being Bay View Academy, Horizon View High School or Academy, Storms End High School, and  Tantallon Education Centre.

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6. New Tideline podcast with Christy Ann Conlin

This item is written by Tim Bousquet.

Episode #23 of The Tideline, with Tara Thorne is published.

Christy Ann Conlin — author of Heave, The Memento, and Watermark — pulls stories from the earth that surrounds her in the Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia. She takes a rip into the city to chat about The Speed of Mercy, her new novel that spans multiple timelines, about “the unbearable cost of childhood betrayal and what happens when history is suppressed, our past is forgotten—yet finding the truth can change the future.” Her insights into generational trauma, the pain women carry, and being a working writer from the “sandwich generation” are all here. Featuring bonus content for the Thelma & Louise hive!

This episode is available today only for premium subscribers; to become a premium subscriber, click here, and join the select group of arts and entertainment supporters for just $5/month.

Philip here: I heard Conlin read from this book last fall, before it was published, and it sounded great. Really looking forward to reading it and hearing this interview.
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7. Sexual harassment complaint thrown out over mistake made by Human Rights Commission

The CBC’s Frances Willick has a story this morning that I suspect we will be hearing a lot more about.

Willick introduces us to Christina Shupe, who went to the commission in 2018, saying she had been sexually harassed by Wyatt Redmond, who she worked for at a recycling depot on Herring Cove Road. From Willick’s story:

Staff at the commission investigated the complaint over three years, and the case was finally referred to a board of inquiry — the final stage in the complaint process, which involves a trial-like public hearing with witnesses and cross-examinations.

But last week, Shupe’s case was dismissed because the employer named in the complaint, Beaver Enviro Depot, does not legally exist.

While the building where Shupe worked on Herring Cove Road in Halifax has signs outside bearing the name Beaver Enviro Depot, the business is registered as 2557617 Nova Scotia Limited.

If you thought this error would be easy to correct, you would be wrong. Complaints filed under the act cannot be amended, and it is now too late to file a new complaint, because that has to be done within 12 months of the alleged discrimination.

This was an easily avoidable failure in process.

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1. No, natural gas is not a bridge fuel that will transition us to green energy

An unfinished concrete bridge in the forest.
Still from the documentary Suspension.

On Monday, Tim Bousquet wrote at length about the liquified natural gas plant proposed for Goldboro.

Bousquet notes that Pieridae Energy, the LNG plant’s proponent, has said nothing in its environmental assessment applications about where the gas to be liquified at the plant and shipped to Europe will come from.

In those documents, he notes:

There is no mention of the sourcing of the gas except to say it will be fed with gas from the Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline (M&NP).

That pipeline was built a couple of decades ago in order to service Nova Scotia’s offshore gas. Gas from the Sable Island field was delivered via subsea pipelines to the Sable Offshore Energy Project (SOEP) plant in Goldboro, where the gas entered the M&NP. There are a couple of laterals to the pipeline — one goes to Halifax and feeds the Heritage Gas lines in the city and Nova Scotia Power’s Tufts Cove plant, another goes to Saint John. But those laterals were almost immaterial to the main purpose of the pipeline, which was to sell Sable Island gas to New England. The pipeline crosses the international border at Saint Stephen, New Brunswick/ Baileyville, Maine, with an ultimate destination of Dracut, Massachusetts, outside Boston…

But now that the Sable Island field has played out, the M&NP pipeline has lost its primary purpose.

Enter Pieridae. In 2014, Pieridae filed an application with the US government to reverse the direction of the M&NP pipeline in order to deliver natural gas from New England to Nova Scotia.

It appears likely that the natural gas will come from fracking the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania.

One of the things that struck me reading Bousquet’s piece is that in some ways the M&NP is a case study in precisely why natural gas is not a bridge fuel to transition us from coal to renewables. Nobody is likely to build expensive infrastructure — and recall that Pieridae has asked the government for close to a billion dollars — and then happily abandon it because it was merely built as a transition.

Think about the M&NP pipeline — it was built only two decades ago, in some cases (as I wrote about here) over the opposition of locals.

Land cleared for a pipeline
Construction of the Maritimes and Northeast Pipeline. Photo: Department of Lands and Forestry

My family moved to Nova Scotia around the time the pipeline was being built. Talk of Sable Gas and the riches that would flow from it was ubiquitous. And yet here we are, looking for a new use for the thing, environment be damned.

Premier Iain Rankin supports the Goldboro LNG plant, on the basis it makes environmental and economic sense. In response to a question from Tim Bousquet, Rankin reiterated his support, saying that natural gas is a more environmentally-friendly choice than coal, and part of a transition to an economy built on renewables:

So this facilitates the world getting off coal. And I think it’s a very important environmental initiative to be part of and impacts our economy here and allows us to bring in more revenue to spend on fighting climate change, transitioning to electrifying our transportation system, bringing our buildings to net zero. So I acknowledge there’s differences of opinion and natural gas is something that is cleaner than coal.

Is natural gas really cleaner than coal though? In a Mother Jones story from last year, Rebecca Leber writes:

The claim that natural gas is environmentally-friendly is disingenuous. Though it was once seen as the lesser of two evils compared to coal’s high carbon pollution, we’ve learned over the past decade that natural gas has come at a high cost. We’ve vastly undercounted the amount of methane escaping from these operations by as much as 60 percent, reporting from the Environmental Defense Fund shows, as the industry has been largely left to regulate itself.

A report from the Columbia University School of International & Public Affairs Center on Global Energy Policy published in 2019 raises the question of whether the bridge fuel argument is “under fire.” The authors, Akos Losz and Jonathan Elkind, note that there are all kinds of problems with the data showing natural gas is cleaner than coal. They write:

For the past decade or so, the gas industry has made a case that gas can be a critical factor in the ongoing energy transition as a bridge fuel, primarily by displacing more-polluting coal (as well as some oil) in the energy system…

Methane leaks, flaring and venting, which are receiving steadily greater attention in recent years, have the potential to undermine the environmental bona fides of natural gas, however. Methane is a highly potent greenhouse gas with a warming potential that is roughly 30 to 90 times greater than that of CO2, depending on the timescale of the assessment. While global understanding of the methane leakage problem is still limited, an International Energy Agency study indicates that the methane emissions associated with oil and gas operations worldwide are probably quite significant, totaling about 2.4 billion tons of CO2 equivalent…

The gas industry’s green credentials are also increasingly called into question due to its highly visible gas flaring activity, which has been growing fastest in the United States.

The Columbia paper cites a report from Global Energy Monitor on how increased use of natural gas could undermine progress on climate change. The report, released on July 1, 2019, was widely covered in the media, including in this CBC article by Don Pittis. (I assume Rankin didn’t read it.) Pittis writes:

Effectively, the report warns that rather than being an environment-friendly product that can help solve our climate problems, gas is the new coal.

The explosion in spending on planned new liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities — the vast majority in the U.S. and Canada — combined with new calculations for leakage from the LNG supply chain called fugitive gas — means the world may soon turn against gas in the same way it turned against its solid fuel relative…

Karen Tam Wu, regional director for the Pembina Institute in British Columbia, where Canada’s giant LNG project has already got the go-ahead, is sympathetic to countries trying to move away from the polluting effects of coal. But she said the so-called rush to gas may turn out to be a wasteful intermediate step on the essential path to low-carbon energy.

She’s afraid that in pushing LNG, B.C. is wasting money it could have spent competing with the rest of the world in developing better renewable technology.

And where did this bridge fuel narrative come from, anyway?

According to DeSmog, which tracks fossil fuel industry PR and misinformation, the idea of natural gas as a bridge fuel is little more than industry propaganda. In a piece published last February, Dana Drugmond writes:

The bridge fuel sales pitch was invented by the American Gas Association [AGA] in 1988 and has had a lasting impact on the gas narrative,” the Food and Water Watch report states. The report cites a 2017 paper by sociology scholar Dr. Anthony Ladd, who writes, “First crafted by the American Gas Association in 1988 to help ‘green’ the public image of the natural gas industry — just as the first scientific warnings about global warming were emerging — the clean energy bridge fuel discourse has been innovatively used to champion the use of natural gas, as well as nuclear power, based on their lower CO2 emissions than coal or oil.”

Ladd’s historical accounting of AGA originating the bridge fuel claim is confirmed by Washington Post archives from 1988: “Michael German, vice president of planning and analysis for the American Gas Association, refers to natural gas as a bridge fuel — the least harmful alternative while the world looks for other, longer-lasting solutions to the ‘greenhouse’ effect.”…

Stanford research and science historian Ben Franta, who studies the history of climate science denial and fossil fuel disinformation campaigns, told DeSmog that the industry’s promotion of gas as “clean” is rooted in efforts to avoid regulations restraining fossil fuel use.

I do recall from my archival research that by the end of the 1980s and beginning of the 1990s, fossil fuel interests were discussing the promotion of natural gas as an industry-friendly alternative to reductions in fossil fuel use,” Franta said. “It was, in a sense, part of the industry’s counterproposal to discussions of reducing fossil fuel production and use. That counterproposal basically said: instead of binding agreements to reduce emissions, let’s switch to natural gas, focus on efficiency, and carry out more research. The industry was successful in promoting these terms, which in practice have yielded expanded fossil fuel production, increased emissions, and ever-worsening damages.”

The whole thing is a testament to the power of a good disinformation campaign. And now, more than three decades after it was launched, we’re still being taken in.

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2. CBC Radio 2-part series on Shambhala and the broader issue of sexual abuse and spirituality

Shambhala logo

CBC Radio’s Tapestry devoted its last two episodes to the Shambhala sexual misconduct story, and to the broader issue of sexual abuse in religious organizations and spiritual communities, why it keeps happening, and the long-lasting effects of the trauma of abuse when it occurs in the context of religious communities.

In Part 1, host Mary Hynes speaks to people who have spent years looking into the allegations of abuse within Shambhala, including accusations against its leader, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche. She also interviews Shambhala board member Phil Cass. (One thing I was surprised to learn: Cass said Shambhala is an organization of 9,000 members, which is vanishingly small.)

Carol Merchasin, who has investigated accusations of abuse in spiritual communities and in US corporations, says Shambhala’s response has been abysmal — worse than much of what she has seen in corporate America. For his part, Cass says the group has definitely not “circled the wagons” and that they are training leaders “in the right use of power.”

When Hynes asks Cass if the Sakyong is planning to teach again, Cass says that he is, but outside of the context of Shambhala. But he is still featured on the Shambhala website, in its section on teachers. Here is the bio on that page, in full:

Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche is unique in that he bridges two worlds—Asian and Western—having been brought up in both cultures. The Sakyong is the eldest son of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche and the incarnation of Mipham the Great, a renowned Nyingma scholar and meditation master. As part of the Mukpo clan of eastern Tibet, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche descends from the Tibetan warrior-king Gesar of Ling.

In the West, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche serves as temporal and spiritual director of Shambhala, a global network of meditation and retreat centers. The Sakyong—literally “earth-protector”—is a “dharma king” and lineage holder of Shambhala, a tradition that emphasizes confidence in the enlightened nature of all beings, and teaches a courageous life, based on wisdom and compassion. He also holds the Kagyü and Nyingma lineages of Tibetan Buddhism.

Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche was born in 1962 in Bodhagaya, India, to Lady Könchok Palden. He received an initial Buddhist education in India, later joining Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche in England and North America. As a young man, the Sakyong studied with great masters His Holiness Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche and with HH Penor Rinpoche. He is married to Khandro Tseyang Palmo, daughter of His Eminence Namkha Drimed Rabjam Rinpoche, head of the Ripa lineage.

Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche has written a number of books, including the national bestseller, Turning the Mind into an Ally, Ruling Your World, Running with the Mind of Meditation, and The Shambhala Principle. He is also an avid poet, artist and athlete. Through the Sakyong Foundation, he engages in supporting organizations and projects whose activities exemplify the vision of Shambhala. He travels extensively, teaching throughout the world.

Nothing to see here. Move along.

Part 2 is called “Survivor-Centred Solutions: #MeToo and Spiritual Abuse”, and it asks:

Why is sexual abuse being reported across so many spiritual and religious communities around the world? What tends to happen to survivors who speak out against their spiritual leader? And how can you listen to abuse survivors who choose to remain silent?

As with just about everything on Tapestry, these are thoughtful and engaging conversations. There’s a lot of pain involved too, as people grapple with questions about the value of teachings and to what degree they can be separated from individuals.

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Map of North America with pins for locations
The Halifax Examiner is one of 10 publications across North America (two of them in Canada) selected to participate in LION Publishers’ and the Google News Initiative’s GNI Startups Lab.

Tim Bousquet announced yesterday that The Halifax Examiner has been chosen as one of 10 digital media startups to participate in the LION Publishers/GNI Startup Labs program.

This is a big deal for the Examiner, which was selected from among 150 applicants.

Bousquet writes:

Well, I’m a couple of weeks into meetings with the Startups Lab folks, and I’ve already learned a lot and have thought about how to better structure some of our business processes. Next week, I’ll be paired with a business coach, with whom I’ll work up a business expansion plan. A few weeks from now, they’ll provide funding to hire a new employee — I have some pretty specific ideas for that position, but I first want to work through those ideas with my coach. We’ll advertise the position when the job description is firmed up.

The funding is for six months’ salary, and the goal is that by the end of that time the new position will have helped the Examiner attract enough new subscribers to make the position permanent. In real terms, the new position will result in more and better editing and reporting, and take much of the business side of the operation off of my shoulders, freeing me up to do more reporting. You know I don’t like the lingo, but it will point us towards “sustainability.”

So, big changes coming. But some things will not change:

The Examiner is not going to bombard you with advertising, pop-up ads, or slick PR speak — in short, no bullshit. We’re here to report, period.

And the Examiner will remain a subscriber-supported enterprise. We’ll certainly make use of other financing where and when we can, but such financing will never replace the core business model, which is providing important and useful reporting for readers such that they want to support the Examiner with their cash.

So please, if you haven’t already, please consider subscribing and helping the Examiner through this next growth stage.

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Budget Committee (Thursday, 9:30am) — contingency date

Women’s Advisory Committee (Thursday, 4pm) — virtual meeting; dial-in or live broadcast not available

Harbour East-Marine Drive Community Council (Thursday, 6pm) — live webcast, with caption on a text-only site



Legislature sits (Thursday, 1pm)

On campus



Internal Borders and Health Crisis in the EU: Is Covid a Threat to Schengen? (Thursday, 11:30am) — talk and Q&A with Ngo Chun Luk, researcher with the Centre for European Policy Studies in Brussels

Just the Facts or Fool’s Gold: Trust and Uncertainty at the SciencePolicy Interface (Thursday, 1pm) — panel discussion via Zoom with Lisa Barrett, Stefanie Colombo, Bernie Miller, André Picard, and Katherine Fierlbeck

Scientists, academics and medical doctors are among the most trusted people in our society. This trust has been particularly relevant during the pandemic when politicians leaned heavily on chief medical officers and researchers from a variety of disciplines for policy advice.

Yet as the end of the pandemic nears, trust in science has taken a hit. The TH Chan School of Public Health at Harvard has recently commented that a number of factors have undermined public trust in science, including the rapid evolution of COVID-19 science, mixed messaging from leaders, political interference, competing ideologies and interpretations and a torrent of misinformation.

The purpose of this April Fools Day panel is to explore the mystery and discipline at the science-policy interface. We are particularly interested in how scientists present research, identify uncertainty, provide advice and communicate with policy makers and the media. What is the appropriate role for scientists and universities when we are confronted with consequential risks with high levels of complexity and uncertainty? What role does civil society play in ensuring the integrity of the research community and their work?​

Ion transport in thyroid hormonogenesis (Thursday, 1pm) — online seminar with Peying Fong from Kansas State University, College of Veterinary Medicine



No public events


The Requiem by Maurice Duruflé (Friday, 12pm) — video broadcast on YouTube by the King’s Chapel Choir, directed by Paul Halley, with chamber orchestra Ensemble Regale; performance dedicated to all Nova Scotians who have lost their lives to COVID-19 in the first year of the global pandemic.

In the harbour

Now expanded to include Cape Breton!

05:40 Atlantic Sea, ro-ro container, arrives at Fairview Cove from Liverpool, England
06:00: MSC Annick, container ship, arrives at Pier 42 from Sines, Portugal
06:30: Nolhanava, ro-ro cargo, arrives at Fairview Cove from Saint-Pierre
07:00: Sikania, bulker, arrives at anchorage for inspection from New York
13:00: Sikania sails for sea
15:30 Atlantic Sea sails for New York
16:00: Nolhanava sails for Saint-Pierre
16:00: MSC Annick sails for New York

Cape Breton
12:00: Seaways Redwood, oil tanker, sails from Point Tupper for sea


I do not participate in any fantasy sports leagues, but this year I did join the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League. It is admittedly a niche pursuit.

Happy Easter to those who celebrate.

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Philip Moscovitch is a freelance writer, audio producer, fiction writer, and editor of Write Magazine.

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  1. Wouldn’t it be great if government were NOT run like a business.

    The rec department started free swim lessons for all a few years back. What an amazing initiative. How do you quantify an underprivileged child’s chance to improve themselves and their parents to not worry about choosing between a child’s development and paying the rent.

    Opportunities for all citizens not just the ones who can pay. Capitalism as a model for government has been a cancer on society for 40 years now. Time for it to end.

  2. Rankin showing his true colours quickly.
    How susceptible he is to a doing the bidding of
    lobbyists for industry.

  3. Regarding the human rights case, there must be many options available, and it is odd that the lawyer for the board of inquiry did not mention any. They could have continued with the inquiry given that the mistake was immaterial, the commission could start a new board of inquiry and resubmit the request, or the commission itself could appeal to the NS supreme court – I think there would be many grounds given that natural justice has been denied. I wish some other lawyers would chime in on this but this is just ridiculous. The complainant should not need to do the appeal, but if it comes to that, lawyers fees could probably be generated from a Gofundme page.

    Someone please have every male minister in cabinet write this on the board 100 times until they get it.