1. Pam Lovelace says she ‘initiated litigation’ to force local business to remove sign
It seems safe to say the owners of Beacon Electric, an appliance sales shop in Hammonds Plains, are not fans of their local councillor, Pamela Lovelace. Apparently upset over a zoning decision, they put up the sign above, calling her the district’s “worse councillor” in more than 30 years.
After initiating litigation against these businesses, the text on the sign attacking me was removed today. I await Beacon Electric Ltd and Whirlpool Corporation’s public apology required by Nova Scotia’s Defamation Act. There’s no place for hate in our community.
After 18 months of seeing this hateful message every day, I was forced to take legal action to have it removed. In Nova Scotia, Defamation is not “opinion”, it’s illegal. A published opinion of someone is “Fair Comment” under law but must be proven as accurate, otherwise it’s libel…
The sign remained up until today.
I am hopeful people who are considering a run for Halifax Council in 2024 are not discouraged by this public display of hate. Many thanks to those who have supported and encouraged me to keep working for change. 😊
Here’s to a kinder 2023!! 🥂
* Comments are turned off due to Trolls.
Lovelace also said the sign has affected her children:
My children have been negatively impacted by this public display of hate and while some people think it’s silly, others who might put their name on the ballot in the future, have good reason not to after seeing this hateful commercial sign every day for 18 months.
Lovelace, who appears to have deleted her Twitter account last night, has a history of being vocal about reporting and criticism she doesn’t like. She has said that stories in local media outlets were inaccurate, or complained that they include misinformation. But, when asked to point to specific errors or misinformation (when we make mistakes in this business we like to correct them), has been unable to do so. Misinformation, in these cases, seems to mean coverage she doesn’t like.
This business with the sign seems analogous to me. I have no doubt it is unpleasant to regularly have to drive by a sign saying you’re a terrible councillor. It is likely also maddening, given that the issue that has upset the business owner actually has nothing to do with Lovelace, but with a decision of North West Community Council.
And it is also demonstrably true that women in politics face barriers and are forced to deal with misogyny and other forms of hatred.
Former federal cabinet minister Catherine McKenna faced years of particularly vile threats and abuse, In 2019, the word “cunt” was spraypainted over an image of her face at her downtown Ottawa campaign office. When Lovelace first ran for office, a resident of her district created a horrible video mocking her. The person who made the video owns a local business, and no, I will never use their services.
I am not denying that we have a problem.
But being called the worst (or “worse”) councillor represents an opinion. One might argue that it’s hateful, but it is hardly an example of hate speech. There is no test we can apply to determine who has actually been the worst councillor, though one could make a strong case for Lovelace’s predecessor.
On Instagram, Lovelace said the sign’s message is not a matter of opinion, and that it is defamatory. She writes:
In Nova Scotia, Defamation is not “opinion”, it’s illegal. A published opinion of someone is “Fair Comment” under law but must be proven as accurate, otherwise it’s libel.
Again, how one would prove as accurate that someone is the worst councillor is beyond me. Here’s what the Legal Information Society of Nova Scotia has to say about defamation:
Defamation is communication about a person that tends to hurt their reputation. It causes people who read or hear the communication to think less of the person.
The law doesn’t protect you from a personal insult or a remark that injures only your pride. It protects your reputation in the minds of others, not your feelings.
For example, if someone in a public meeting calls you a nasty word, your feelings might be hurt, but you would have a difficult time showing the communication lowered your reputation in the minds of others.
If someone tells others you cheat in your business dealings, then you would have a much stronger claim that this harms your reputation and is defamatory.
Lovelace says she is awaiting an apology from both Whirlpool Corporation and Beacon Electric, in accordance with Nova Scotia’s Defamation Act. With respect to apologies, the Act says:
In an action for defamation in which the defendant has pleaded a denial of the alleged defamation only or has suffered judgment by default or judgment has been given against him on motion for judgment on the pleadings, he may give in evidence, in mitigation of damages, that he made or offered a written or printed apology to the plaintiff for the defamation before the commencement of the action or, if the action was commenced before there was an opportunity of making or offering the apology, that he did so as soon afterwards as he had an opportunity.
Last night, Tim Bousquet wrote on Twitter:
Beacon Electric says @HRMLovelace is the “worse” (sic) councillor, so she… sues them… This is clearly constitutionally protected speech, and she is just as clearly foolish.
Lovelace direct messaged Bousquet, saying:
Nope, I didn’t sue anyone, Tim. Just enacted NS Defamation law.
I have no idea what enacting NS Defamation law means, but saying “I didn’t sue anyone” seems to contradict the Facebook message, which refers to “initiating litigation against these businesses.” In the comment thread below the Facebook post, Lovelace says twice that she initiated litigation, and says the sign represents “defamation of character.”
In Lovelace’s Facebook post (which sets her location as “at Whirlpool Corporation”), she refers to “hate” along with “public shaming.” This is over the top. Politicians face criticism, and some of it is unfair. There is a difference between that and hate speech.
Lovelace also includes in her Facebook and Instagram posts pleas for “kindness.” As Suzanne Rent has pointed out on more than one occasion, an appeal to kindness is often a way of telling people to shut up.
2. Gomez and Ranjbar head back to residential tenancies
“Stacey Gomez and Marcus Ranjbar will be back before a residential tenancies officer in January,” Zane Woodford reports:
Gomez is asking the residential tenancies officer to award her costs including moving expenses, the difference between whatever rent she’ll pay in the meantime and her rent in Ranjbar’s unit, and the return of the rent she paid in September and October.
She also wants the residential tenancies officer to fine Ranjbar $1,000 for illegally evicting her and another $1,000 for breaching the Residential Tenancies Act sections on renoviction.
“I think that it’s important to send a message to landlords that they can’t just do whatever they want, that there are rules to follow,” Gomez said in an interview with the Examiner.
Ranjbar says he is confident he will prevail.
A local group trying to save the largest wooden church in North America, is throwing in the towel, Gareth Hampshire reports for CBC.
Église Sainte-Marie, in Church Point, Digby County, was built in the early 1900s. It requires extensive repairs, budgeted at some $11 million, and there simply is not enough money to do the work.
Andre Valotaire has been involved with the church for about 25 years. He said it holds significant meaning for the Acadian community and remains an inspiring building in the area.
“It represents the perseverance and ingenuity of the Acadians to be able to build something like this and the legacy it left behind,” Valotaire said.
He continues to check on the building and do minor repairs as the custodian.
“It would be very sad for me to see it go,” he said, adding that he can see the church out the window from his dining room table.
A couple of years ago I interviewed Katy Jean, now a SaltWire columnist, about the church and its significance. She said:
The essential meaning to me is not just it being a church; it’s that nobody has seen anything like it before. Literally. It is the highest wooden church in North America and the only wooden church of that style in the world, and we have it! We have this fantastic and unique building made with Nova Scotian hands for the Acadians. It’s incredible… It is a triumph. It is an example of the Acadians and Catholics rebuilding after disaster.
Here’s one from the unintended consequences file: emergency services in Colorado are clogged up by 911 calls being made automatically by skiers’ iPhones and Apple Watches.
The Colorado Sun reports that the devices detect movements they associate with a car crash, even when there is no emergency:
“We are not in the practice of disregarding calls,” said Trina Dummer, the interim director of the Summit County 911 Center. “These calls involve a tremendous amount of resources, from dispatchers to deputies to ski patrollers. And I don’t think we’ve ever had an actual emergency event.”
The “crash detection” and “fall detection” features on the Apple iPhone 14 and watches automatically call 911 when the devices detect a sudden stop that, in concept, means the user has been involved in a car crash. The technology has been heralded for saving lives, but it’s not meshing well with skiers who can stop suddenly and often fall without the need for emergency help.
All of the automated 911 calls from skiers pouring into ski town emergency call centers this month — with a robot voice sharing latitude and longitude coordinates of a potentially injured party — were about snowy tumbles, not car wrecks.
Reporter Jason Blevins says some 911 call centres are getting 20 to 30 of these calls per day. One person calls it “a tremendous drain on resources.”
Classic: tech company builds something useful, and others are left holding the bag when it produces unforeseen consquences.
Memorable toilets in Nova Scotia
Three Nova Scotia facilities make the cut: the new Jeremy’s Bay showers/washrooms at Keji, the portables at Grand-Pré, and the bathrooms at Georges Island. Bain calls the Jeremy’s Bay facilities “new and dazzling” and adds:
Kejimkujik has set the bar for what we should expect to slowly roll out across the country. Each washroom building holds five private, gender-neutral bathrooms that have lockable doors plus their own toilets, sinks and grooming areas. One bathroom in each building is barrier free, and one is designated for families. Each building boasts three showers, including one that is barrier free.
I also like Bain’s Georges Island write-up:
In the travel writing circles that I belong to, people constantly show off photos of the views from their hotel rooms around the world. In that spirit, I offer the view of downtown Halifax from this public toilet at Georges Island. The site — one of five spots in the Halifax Defence Complex — only became accessible to the public in 2020 after Parks Canada installed a wharf, so this two-unit washroom is about as modern as they come. Wood shingle siding, a solid roof and real doors (with actual locks instead of hooks or sliding latches) stand out, as do the doors that have been painted a tasteful shade of Parks Canada green.
Some of the facilities are memorable for their design (I’m going to go look for the one with the Swiss vibe next time I am in PEI), others for their location: on a boardwalk, say, or deep in the woods along a hiking trail.
It’s a fun piece.
Making art… with bacteria
The American Society for Microbiology has a contest in which scientists create art using bacteria. The theme this year was “Who is your favourite microbiologist?”
You can see the winners here. Definitely go take a look.
In the harbour
11:30: Talia, car carrier, sails from Autoport for sea
13:00: Rt Hon Paul E Martin, bulker, sails from Gold Bond for sea
16:00: MSC Leigh, container ship, sails from Pier 41 for New York
20:30: IT Integrity, supply vessel, sails from Pier 9 for sea
No arrivals or departures.