1. Yarmouth town council unanimously supports universal basic income

Two large round planters with yellow and pink tulips sit outside a red brick building with a tall tower with a clock at the top and a glass window entrance. Two lampposts are also outside the entrance and a tree is close to the front of the building.
Yarmouth Town Hall. Credit: Town of Yarmouth

“Yarmouth town council recently voted unanimously in favour of a resolution to support a guaranteed basic income,” Suzanne Rent reports.

This isn’t the first time the issue has come up at council. A previous resolution was defeated in February, with only two councillors voting in favour. One of them was Coun. Gil Dares, who spent 35 years in the RCMP, where, he tells Rent, he saw “too many times the first-hand effects of poverty.”

Rent writes:

Dares also pointed to other pilot projects around basic income, including one in Ontario that was cut short by Premier Doug Ford. And he pointed to Nova Scotia’s child poverty rate, which is the highest in Canada. Dares said he believes the concept of a basic income is “gaining steam.”

“So many people are worried it’s going to be a huge drain on the taxpayer. But the cost of poverty in this country ranges from $73 billion to $86 billion now,” Dares said. “Poverty costs us money. If you can lift people out of that… it boils down to almost cost neutral.”

Click or tap here to read “Yarmouth town council passes resolution in support of guaranteed basic income.”

A few days ago, I noticed this interview in the Sydney Morning Herald with Everald Compton, a 92-year-old long-time professional fundraiser, chair of a group called Longevity Alliance Australia, and a one-time supporter of conservative Australian prime minister John Howard, who says he has moved “to the centre of politics” from the right.

He’s also a supporter of a universal basic income that would be payable to all Australians. Compton says:

For all my life, there’s been a stigma attached to those getting money without work attached – the whole “lifters and leaners”, “dole-bludgers” and “welfare cheats” thing – and most of it is unfair. We must get away from this. The whole Universal Basic Income idea was designed in the Scandinavian countries and in those parts of the nations where it has been applied on a trial basis – in parts of the US and Canada, Finland, India, Iran, Uganda and so forth – it works. So here, instead of having an entire welfare apparatus expending huge resources to work out who qualifies for payments, who doesn’t, and trying to catch cheats, your starting point is that everybody gets it. You no longer need people who need money to fill out 25 pages for someone else to go through to decide. So the first virtue is simplifying the system and supporting everyone, including the people who don’t qualify for payments now and fall through the cracks for all sorts of reasons… It also enables people who are in a job that they don’t like to break out and learn a new profession while they’re living on their UBI…

What’s been proved in places where this has been applied is that once people know they are to get a monthly remittance from the government, they are more inclined to try and set up their own business rather than go to work because they have the confidence to take risks. It helps with mental illness and the overall social benefits of a happier society are massive.

Compton also makes the point that it’s not absurd to give the money (he proposes $500 a week) to people who don’t need it, because it will be taxable anyway. Another reason, which he doesn’t state, is that when you give richer people a stake in social programs, even if they don’t need them, they tend to support those programs.

Unfortunately, Compton’s plan falls into the category of what Halifax writer Mary-Dan Johnston called “neoliberal bullshit UBI” (which I wrote about here), in that he pairs it with a low flat tax and seems to think it will be a replacement for all other social supports and an opportunity to gut the social service bureaucracy.

I suspect we will get some form of UBI eventually. Let’s hope it’s the good kind.

2. Citizen Scientists of Southwest Nova to meet with DNRR about Goldsmith Lake

A map that shows a bright green outline over a forested area in Goldsmith Lake and Corbett Lake. An inset in the map shows in green where the wilderness area is located in relation to the larger Annapolis County. The legend shows symbols that indicate where blue felt lichen, frosted glass whisker lichen, black ash, recognized old growth forest, and multi-age stand forests are all located. To the right of the map are several photos, including one of a bird sitting on a branch, a snake, and different closeups of trees.
Credit: Shanni Bale

This item is written by Suzanne Rent

Five members of Citizen Scientists of Southwest Nova will meet with officials from the Department of Natural Resources and Renewables’ Old Growth Forest team in the Goldsmith Lake area today. The groups will check out species at risk in the area, including 12 Frosted Glass Whiskers, a lichen recognized by the province as an indicator of old growth.

Citizen Scientists of Southwest Nova Scotia have created a proposal for a Goldsmith Lake Wilderness Area, which includes 3,900 hectares of Crown land on the South Mountain in Annapolis County. Within that area there are two lakes, as well as headwaters of the Roundhill River and Tupper Brook, patches of recognized old growth and other areas of high conservation value old forest. Plans to harvest the area were put on hold this winter.

“I look forward to showing DNRR’s team some of what we’ve found and learning about how they identify old growth forests,” said Lisa Proulx with Citizen Scientists of Southwest Nova in a press release about today’s meeting. “I think we all agree that old growth forest should be protected. It’s critical to preserving biodiversity. But there’s not a lot of agreement in the literature about where exactly you draw the line between old forest and old growth forest.”

Citizen Scientists of Southwest Nova has already submitted the proposal for the wilderness area to the Department of Environment and Climate Change. They also introduced the plan to visitors at the Save Our Old Forests booth at the Annapolis River Festival in Bridgetown on July 15. 

For more information, visit Save Our Old Forests on Facebook.

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3. North Preston Day of Celebration

A young Black woman with long dark hair in two braids and wearing a red t-shirt and black shorts stands next to the flat bed of a truck. On the flatbed is a young Black man in a white hoodie, black shorts, and holding a bunch of black and red balloons. Behind the two people are cars parked on the side of the road.
Miranda Cain, right, with Corvell Beals at the North Preston Day Celebration. Credit: Matthew Byard

Matthew Byard reports on the annual North Preston Day of Celebration, held last Saturday. The event started in 2008, one of a number of activities organized by the non-profit Women With a Vision, founded by the mother-daughter team of Vivian and Latoya Cain.

Byard writes:

[Vivian] Cain said the first three North Preston Day Celebrations included a small parade, which was attended by only a handful of close family members.

As more people started getting involved in 2011 and 2012, the event picked up steam. Cain said the North Preston Day Celebration is now a free, all-day event, open to everyone, complete with barbecues, bouncy castles, prizes, breakfast, musical entertainment, ​​and a gaming and cooling centre for seniors inside the North Preston Community Centre.

This year’s event was the first to feature vendors, including many Black-owned businesses.  

Latoya Cain died in 2020, and Vivian said her memory continues to motivate her:

“It was so hard when she passed,” Cain said in an interview. “It’s still hard.”

“I worked hard because I didn’t want to think about her, and I just kept busy, busy, busy. That kept my mind so that I wouldn’t have to, you know, be crying and… It helped me.” 

Click or tap here to read “Women with a Vision: North Preston mother continues annual celebration in honour of late daughter.”

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4. Dalhousie appoints Kim Brooks as new president

A smiling white woman with short grey hair and wearing a black pinstriped blazer over a pale blue dress shirt. She is standing in front of a building with tall glass windows.
Kim Brooks was appointed as Dalhousie’s 13th president and vice‑chancellor. Credit: Dalhousie University

Dalhousie University has appointed Kim Brooks as its new president and vice-chancellor. Brooks is “the first woman and openly queer person to hold the job,” CBC says. Brooks is also the Halifax Public Libraries board chair. She is the university’s third president in four years.

The Halifax Examiner will be publishing an in-depth interview with Brooks, by Evelyn C. White, later today. So check back for that.

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5. Donair costume auction

Costume that looks like a donair, with foil wrapped around the bottom, and silver arms.
Alberta’s donair costume.

The Province of Alberta is auctioning a donair costume. Yes, you read that correctly.

From a story published today in the Guardian:

At some point over the last decade, the Canadian province of Alberta acquired a costume consisting of a silver jumpsuit and a lifelike depiction of a giant pita bread stuffed with meat…

According to the auction site, the costume measures 56in in length and comes with a silver body suit for an “authentic tinfoil look” – a nod to purists who maintain that a donair must be wrapped in foil when served.

It should be noted that the costume is a representation of a donair with (horrors!) lettuce.

The current high bid, as I write this, is $6,019.73, from King of Donair.

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6. Nova Scotia Senator Michael MacDonald violated ethics code with convoy remarks

Headshot of a middle-aged white man in a jacket and tie, wearing glasses. He is in front of a Canadian flag.
Senator Michael L. MacDonald Credit: Senate of Canada

Senate ethics officer Pierre Legault has ruled that Conservative Nova Scotia senator Michael L. MacDonald violated the institution’s ethics code, Nicole Munro reports for SaltWire.

Munro writes:

Legault said he received nine separate written requests from senators who believed the Conservative Cape Breton senator’s comments made in February 2022 may have been in violation of the ethics and conflict of interest code for senators.

“There’s a hell of a lot more than truckers. There’s a cross-section of Canadians that said we’ve had enough of the bulls–t and duplicity and the lies and the social management and the bullying and the control freaks and everything else,” MacDonald said during his rant caught on video.

MacDonald went on to call his wife a “Karen,” a pejorative term used to describe an entitled middle-aged white woman, and say he didn’t want the self-described Freedom Convoy to leave Ottawa.

“I’m so sick of the entitlement of this country and this f—ing city, everybody around this city with their six-figure salaries and 20-hour weeks and their bulls–t nonsense,” said the Louisbourg-born senator.

MacDonald refused to comply with the inquiry.

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‘Objectively shitty’: what the fragmentation of social media means for academics and journalism

A youngish middle-aged presenting woman with long blonde hair pulled back and glasses, stands holding copies of a book. She is dressed in black, and the book is called How to Tame Your PhD.
Dr. Inger Mewburn, Professor and Director of Researcher Development at The Australian National University Credit: LinkedIn

I’ve always had this thing about owning my own means of production. I have my own domain and use it for my email, (I do have Gmail too, but it’s essentially my junk folder), I have my own (woefully out of date) website, and I save all my work locally instead of relying on something like Google Docs. (Yes, I back up those local files, both to a local disc and to the cloud.)

Years ago, I remember reading an article that included a piece of horrendous advice: It encouraged people to scan their critical documents, like receipts needed for tax purposes, upload them to Evernote, and then shred the originals.

Evernote is now so thoroughly enshittified that the desktop app, which you need to export your notebooks, won’t even open on my computer because it says it needs me to be online for it to work. Note: I am online. Perhaps terminally so.

A text box with the Evernote logo and the words "Could not connect to server. You need to be online to register or perform an initial sync. Please check your internet connection." Below are two boxes: "Quit" and "Try again."
Enshittification level: complete.

At times, I’ve felt woefully old-fashioned for doing this. I know of writers who decided social media platforms were powerful enough that they didn’t need alternatives. And, for awhile, they were probably right. Social media platforms were also a great way to come to the attention of people who might want to hire you. Prolific tweeters have landed book contracts, just like bloggers used to.

But the enshittification and fragmentation of social media is putting an end to that.

Last week, I came across this piece on the Thesis Whisperer blog, by Dr. Inger Mewburn. Mewburn, who teaches at the Australian National University, said she no longer recommends using social media as a tool for career advancement, or a way for academics to publicize their research. Reading her blog, I was struck by how much of what she said was true for media organizations — particularly Halifax Examiner-scale media organizations — as well.

Mewburn says social media “has helped me get good jobs and be promoted to professor at ANU,” and she has taught other academics how to use social media. But no more:

I’ve long been uncomfortable with this situation as a teacher of social media. Should I keep teaching people how to do this objectively shitty thing?

Mewburn says she has “shelve[d] my social media course for now and think about what the best way forward should be.”

Facebook has been a horrible way to promote her work for about eight years, Mewburn writes, because even if people sign up to receive updates from her, very few actually will see them unless she pays Meta (Facebook’s parent company). And, like most academics, she does not have an advertising budget. This situation is going to get even worse once Meta rolls out its verification scheme, which will require users who want to be verified to shell out hundreds of dollars a year.

But it was the collapse of Twitter that really made Mewburn think it was time to look for new approaches. She writes:

The enshittification of social media has been going on for years, but has become more visible with the agonisingly slow death of Twitter. I deleted the Twitter app after Elon took over and fully embraced the fractured social media landscape. On my phone I now have three Twitter like platforms – Mastodon, BlueSky and Threads – in addition to Instagram, LinkedIn and Facebook. ‘Promote your work’ on social media is now an endless game of cut and paste with no time left over to talk to people.

Once the work is on a platform, it’s a crapshoot whether someone sees it with the possible exception of Mastodon. Mastodon and the whole fediverse concept, where people run the platforms instead of corporations, is a really great idea. I want it to work. But the dirty secret is: people bloody love the algorithms. They make platforms more… fun. But they also control what you do and see.

There are always ways to ‘game the algos’, but you have to ask yourself: what’s the point? Once enough people work it out, they they will only move the goal posts…

How many platforms are too many? A future of feeding a bunch of different platforms with ‘content’, and being always present to talk to people, is not sustainable for most working academics, including me.

What’s true for academics, as Mewburn describes it, is also true for social media and local or non-national news organizations. Examiner editor/publisher Tim Bousquet currently has accounts on six social media sites. (“It’s annoying,” he says.) As Mewburn writes, if you’re cutting and pasting to feed each one, that becomes a chore. It’s no fun, and it doesn’t allow you to engage with anyone in any meaningful way.

I don’t have any big solutions here. I think people will find one or two platforms they are comfortable with and stick with those. I know writers who have just gone back to using Facebook to connect with people. I happen to like Mastodon. Twitter was never more than a blip in the social media ecosystem, but because it was a great way to track news in real-time and connect with sources, a lot of journalists hung out there. There’s a lot of buzz about Meta’s new social media platform, Threads (no thank you), but I don’t think any meaningful Twitter replacement is going to emerge.

In Canada, this is happening as Meta and Alphabet (which owns Google) have started not only refusing to link to Canadian news stories, but are also actively preventing some media from posting links to their own stories. (Some outlets say they can’t share their stories on Facebook anymore.)

Find media sources you trust, save them in whatever way works for you (bookmarks, RSS feeds, email subscriptions to newsletters) and check them to see what’s new. The future, in the short-term anyway, is likely to require you to come to us, because it will be harder for us to come to you through other channels.

Also, of course, subscribe to the media you want to support.

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Everything is great for Nova Scotia Loyal on social media

Waves breaking on a rocky shore. Text says Nova Scotia Loyal. Built for Nova Scotians by Nova Scotians. Being Nova Scotia Loyal means... Traditional, Modern. Give Nova Scotia Loyal a bond!
Give Nova Scotia Loyal a bond!

I feel kind of bad for whoever is running the Nova Scotia Loyal social media accounts.

They’ve got to try and drum up interest for this ill-defined initiative that nobody seems to understand. Is it a marketing program? A loyalty plan? Will there be redeemable points involved? Who knows?

I’ve written about Nova Scotia Loyal before, here (when they ran a confusing and ill-advised survey), and here, (when they were confusing farmers’ market vendors).

I decided to check in on the Nova Scotia Loyal social media feeds to see how things are going. Folks, they are trying really hard to drum up engagement. Post after post features a question along the lines of “What are you doing for Canada Day,” or “What’s your favourite spot to get ice cream” — and it’s just a blank wasteland of no replies. Or very few replies. On Instagram, the ice cream question had one reply: a heart emoji from Masstown Market, which was tagged in the post.

Nova Scotia Loyal Instagram post showing a woman in a field with flowers. Text reads "Bring Flowers to Someone Day" and "Where is your favourite place to pick up a bouquet?

Nobody replied to this one. Over on Facebook and Twitter it’s the same.

July 1 tweet from Nova Scotia Loyal. Text: "How are you celebrating this day? Watching fireworks? BBQing? A beach day? Tag us or upload a photo to our online scrapbook and let us know..

Not much happening in the comments here. No retweets either.

Then there’s this recent post:

A Twitter post from Nova Scotia Loyal, with two pictures. On the left, cones filled with french fries. On the right, an older couple in a field with a tractor and harvested potatoes. Text reads: "This might spark a debate among french fry lovers... but we're looking for some action in the comments!" There are no comments.
Twitter post from Nova Scotia Loyal.

Saying “we’re looking for some action in the comments” smacks of desperation. Still no comments, though.

But wait! Here’s the same post on Instagram:

Cones of french fries in an Instagram post from Nova Scotia Loyal. Text says, "This might spark debate among french fry lovers... but we're looking for some action in the comments!"
Action in the comments.

This one had five comments! Reader, because I am willing to waste my time for your benefit, I looked up the five commenters. One seemed to be a member of the general public. Here’s how the other four break down:

  • 1 employee of the Department of Economic Development
  • 1 Buy Local Development Officer with Perennia
  • 1 Taste of Nova Scotia communications person
  • 1 NSCC tourism instructor

Not a whole lot of engagement there.

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Active Transportation Advisory Committee (Thursday, 4:30pm, online) — agenda


No meetings

On campus


Community Day 2023 (Thursday, 10am, Dalhousie Agricultural Campus, Bible Hill) — back after a 3-year hiatus

In the harbour

05:00: Atlantic Sky, ro-ro container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from Norfolk, Virginia
06:00: MSC Zlata R, container ship, arrives at Pier 42 from Sines, Portugal
06:30: Liberty of the Seas, cruise ship with up to 4,414 passengers, arrives at Pier 22 from New York, on a four-day roundtrip cruise out of New York 
06:45: Zuiderdam, cruise ship with up to 2,364 passengers, arrives at Pier 31 from Sydney, on a 41-day cruise themed as “Art,” from Rotterdam to Boston
08:30: Zaandam, cruise ship with up to 1,718 passengers, arrives at Pier 20 from Sydney, on a seven-day cruise from Montreal to Boston
10:30: One Grus, container ship (146,694 tonnes), arrives at Pier 41 from Colombo, Sri Lanka
11:00: Oceanex Sanderling, ro-ro container, moves from anchorage to Autoport
13:00: MSC Zlata R sails for sea
15:30: Zaandam sails for Bar Harbor
15:30: Morning Concert, car carrier, sails from Pier 9 for sea
15:30: Zuiderdam sails for Portland
16:00: MSC Shay, arrives at Pier 42 from Baltimore
16:00: Atlantic Sky sails for Liverpool, England
17:00: Oceanex Sanderling moves to anchorage
18:00: Liberty of the Seas sails for New York
18:30: CSL Tacoma, bulker, arrives at Gold Bond from Savannah, Georgia

Cape Breton
08:00: USCGC Hollyhock, coast guard cutter, transits through the causeway, en route from Quebec to Halifax
14:30: AlgoScotia, oil tanker, arrives at Government Wharf (Sydney) from Corner Brook
16:00: Bass, bulker, arrives at Point Tupper coal pier from Sikka, India


  • I absolutely think more women’s clothes should have pockets, but also after years of overstuffing my pockets I’m starting to think a little bag for carrying stuff around might be nice and practical.

Under the general supervision of the Captain-In Charge, you are in complete charge and responsible for the safe and efficient operation and navigation of the passenger/vehicle ferry between specific points in Near Coastal II Home Trade III, directing the crew in all phases of their work and ensuring the ferry’s trip schedules are maintained.

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

Suzanne Rent is a writer, editor, and researcher. You can follow her on Twitter @Suzanne_Rent and on Mastodon

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  1. I want to be a Senator from NS when I grow up. Get paid a pile of $ for not doing much of anything. I would be able to say anything I wanted to say and if someone ever objected and requested that I explain myself I would be able to just ignore the request.

  2. I was passed by the Nova Scotia Loyal pick up truck today driving down the 102 towards Wolfville, complete with its own NSLoyal vanity plate.

  3. A slight clarification is that Frosted Glass Whiskers lichen is often found in forest with a high continuity over time…older forests…areas continually forested… not necessarily “Old Growth” forests which is a defined roper noun term and an official designation in NS. It’s also a standard that not all continuously forested areas meet.
    The federal government has a document that calls it an ‘indicator of old growth’ (which you’ve correctly indicated in a previous article) but I’m not sure that the province recognizes it as such in any documents. That federal document was produced in 2011 when we only knew about it in a few stands in Cape Breton. Our knowledge of this species has expanded greatly since then to sites all over NS in a variety of conditions and habitat types but all in forests with high continuity over time.

  4. “I’m so sick of the entitlement of this country and this f—ing city, everybody around this city with their six-figure salaries and 20-hour weeks and their bulls–t nonsense,” said an actual Canadian Senator. A Canadian Senator who has 21 vacation days in his 128 day work year that he is paid $170,000 to do. Senator Michael MacDonald says he was “drunk”. I think he meant to say he was “a ludicrously hypocritical douchebag”.

  5. Why does “everyone, everywhere, all at once” have to be the model for news distribution. It never was before the internet. We used to be content with the circulation numbers of our various publications–big and small. The Toronto Star had theirs and the Kings County Advertiser had theirs–as does the Halifax Examiner now. And that was enough. No one asked us why we were not doing more–not our readers nor ourselves. We assigned ourselves a task. We did it. That was enough to carry us through to the next edition.

  6. Money is just an abstraction we use to keep track of who gets to use what stuff. Giving people UBI will not create more stuff, it will just shift the ability to buy stuff down the income spectrum. This is arguably a good thing, but the real winners would be people who own properties – can you imagine what rents would be like if everyone had an additional 2 grand a month to spend on rent?