In the harbour
1. Dentistry school scandal
So far, Dalhousie University has spent $646,217 on the dentistry school scandal, reports the CBC. Of that, $344,669 went to a PR firm, $118,000 was for hiring outside lawyers, $58,181.34 was for “response and management,” $57,771.80 was for support of the Faculty of Dentistry as it appeared before the Academic Class Standards Committee, and $183,100 was for the independent Backhouse review of the scandal.
2. Fatal van crash
Police yesterday issued an update on Friday’s fatal crash in Dartmouth:
On August 9 at approximately 11:20 p.m., a van travelling outbound on Windmill Road struck a car waiting at the lights at Windmill Road and Victoria Road Extension in Dartmouth after the van failed to negotiate a turn. The driver of the car, a 56-year-old Fairview man, sustained life-threatening injuries and later passed away in hospital. The driver of the van fled on foot and was arrested on MacDonald Avenue in Burnside Business Park following a K-9 track. The van was later determined to be stolen from a business on Windmill Road.
As a result of the investigation by the Collision Investigation Unit, 33-year-old Cecil A. Boutilier of Halifax has been charged with dangerous driving causing death, criminal negligence causing death, theft of a motor vehicle, possession of stolen property over $5000, failure to stop at the scene of an accident, driving while prohibited and breach of probation. He appeared in Dartmouth Provincial Court this morning to face these charges.
3. Wage freeze?
“Nova Scotia’s freshly-minted finance minister is asking for a meeting next week with unions as many collective agreements have expired — labour settlements he calls the highest in the country over the last three years,” reports the CBC. “In a letter to unions, Randy Delorey says he wants to discuss a ‘new approach to collective bargaining next Tuesday, but does not spell out what that means.”
I’ve been hearing for months, from many different sources, that the government is going to try to force a three-year wage freeze on unions. A wage freeze would certainly be a “new approach.”
If that’s what’s in the works, get ready for a Wisconsin-style political war.
On the other hand, Michael Gorman, the Chronicle Herald’s Province House reporter, seems more hopeful:
That such a meeting would be offered up with Delorey as the lead is perhaps not a coincidence. The government is facing some extremely challenging collective-bargaining sessions and Delorey has shown himself to be a minister capable of bridging differences.
When he was environment minister, Delorey most notably helped end a standoff by Pictou Landing First Nation members in response to a broken pipe carrying waste water from the Northern Pulp mill to Boat Harbour. Delorey was able to help broker a deal that ended the protest in exchange for the promise of legislation, which was passed during the spring sitting of the legislature, that outlines a plan to close Boat Harbour as a waste lagoon and ultimately remediate the site.
“Maybe that’s why they have a new finance minister,” [Nova Scotia Government & General Employees Union, president Joan] Jessome said when asked about the significance of the meeting with Delorey.
4. Evil weed
This CTV article hilariously speaks to the absurdity of the war on drugs:
RCMP in Prince Edward Island have seized thousands of marijuana plants found mixed in among other crops, which they say some farmers may have unwittingly planted.
The Mounties say it was a call from the public that first led them to a field in Stanchel, P.E.I., where the plants were found in a field of borage, a crop used to make medicinal oil.
RCMP say they believe the marijuana-type seeds were mixed in among the borage seeds planted by [farmer Norman] Cairns and possibly other farmers.
The Mounties spent part of Tuesday scouring his borage fields for the offending plant.
They’ve seized about 3,000 plants so far.
Cairns says he expects the seizures to result in a loss of about $400 per acre for him.
With 60 acres on his farm, that’s an estimated loss of $24,000.
Police say the seeds were mixed at Technology Crops International in Saskatchewan and distributed locally by the company’s plant in Kensington, P.E.I.
Farmers who think they may have marijuana-type plants growing amongst their crops are asked to contact RCMP and to not plow their field, as that will lead to the plants growing back next year.
1. Cranky letter of the day
I visited your wonderful land in May, in particular the breathtaking coastline of Cape Breton Island.
It is hard not to overemphasize the beauty of nature and the magnificence of the views you can enjoy there, as well as the friendship of the people I met.
The purpose of my travel was just for leisure so I indulged in the many treats your territory offered me – I love your lobsters! – and I lingered in the discovery of the rich historical legacy of Nova Scotia – the gorgeous Louisbourg for instance.
But since I’m Italian, I was also interested in tracking down the Caboto (Cabots) Landing spot, which I supposed was part of the Caboto (Cabot) Trail.
(Editor’s note: Some sources believe that explorer John Cabot (Giovanni Caboto) landed at Asby Bay in 1497. There is a cairn and bust commemorating the landfall at Cabots Landing Provincial Park.)
Actually, as it turned out, it is neither part of the trail nor it is advertised in either direction on the trail!
I had done some research by myself before leaving so I knew where to find it, but I was very surprised of such a lack of information about a place that should represent a milestone for Nova Scotia history (and I’m not saying that because of my nationality).
Nevertheless, because of this ‘casual’ wandering in search of the place, I chanced upon the communities of that very northern part of the Island, and I definitely don’t regret to have been diverted from the main trail in search of the Caboto Landing Park.
In a sense, the lack of directions got me involved with the wonderful local people more directly so I’m wondering whether this ‘negligence’ is a way for promoting tourism rather than discourage it.
Well, the reason of my email is not for complaining, but maybe giving a suggestion from a tourist who really enjoyed your island. I modestly think that a better advertisement would drive more people to visit that part of the island, which, in my opinion, is simply superb.
I thought that writing to your newspaper would help me in submitting this idea to sensitive people, interested in promoting their land and sharing its beauty with everybody.
Gabriele Codifava, Winnipeg (formerly from Italy)
Special Events Advisory Committee (9am, City Hall)—the committee is figuring out how to judge grant applications.
Regional Watersheds Advisory Board (5pm, Helen Creighton Room, Alderney Public Library)—there is literally nothing on the agenda. Maybe board members will go over to Celtic Corner and reminisce about the good old days when they actually did stuff.
No public meetings.
On this date in 1811, the cornerstone of Province House was laid.
Have some Halifax TV commercials from the 1980s:
Oceanex Sanderling, ro-ro cargo, arrived at Pier 41 this morning from St. John’s
Nagoya Express, cargo, arrived at Fairview Cove this morning from Dumyat, Egypt
Macao Strait, container ship, Lisbon, Portugal to anchor
The US Coast Guard cutter James arrives in port today for a three-day visit.
Today is podcast recording day — I’m interviewing Morgan Wheeldon, the NDP candidate who was forced to resign because he wrote thoughtful things about Palestine. Then I’ll be on The Sheldon MacLeod Show, News 95.7, at 4pm.
Today’s Morning File is skimpier than usual. It’s a slow news day and the commentariat is silent (except for some silliness from Jan Wong), and I too have nothing much to say.
I also have an early morning interview to conduct for a larger project I’m working on. I’m using these slow summer days to concentrate on that project, which is becoming a bigger story with each passing day. I appreciate readers’ patience and support while I’m doing that research.
The home page graphic for today’s Morning File comes from this guy, who also has a pretty good rant about reporters making up non-stories to fill up a slow news day’s offerings. A non-story, he says, “is worth covering at length because it was apparently a slow news day. Why can’t they just go out and say, ‘You know what guys, there wasn’t that much going on today. Let’s take some callers.’ Something like that, I don’t care how they do it but these non-stories that get covered bigger than the real stories are making me sick.”
Re your comment about the commentariat taking the day off, I’ve posted a piece on my blog (Lilstar2.com) that may be of interest to your readers who are following the federal election campaign.
well, at least the dal gents weren’t shooting lions…..
re: the contracts. No employee under gov’t paycheque should get a paid day unless it is a legal, recognized stat in this province. If you (elected members) are not willing to make a day STAT for everyone, you don’t get it off, and no one I pay wages (taxes) to should get it off.
ya’ll owe me a day’s work for Aug 1.
Just think, if Dalhousie weren’t paying two presidents’ salaries at once when one of those presidents is actually retired, the costs would just about be covered.
The Regional Watersheds Advisory Board agenda does look thin however the information items have substance. One of the reports goes into great detail about the municipality’s participation in the Blue Flag beach program which showcases the attention to water quality and environmental consideration at that location. However Birch Cove beach, the showcase location, is now closed for the 4th time this summer for water quality issues. Also interesting that Government Wharf in Petpeswick Inlet has been closed for nearly a month for the same reason.
While the city can’t really make the water clean perhaps there can be more exploration of the causes of these problems and whether these beaches are viable or not
Spending almost $350,000 on PR is really bad PR.
And as amott4354 says, there has been no accountability from the Faculty of Dentistry. As the task force report made clear, some dentistry profs not only condoned, but actively contributed to the sexist, misogynistic, homophobic environment exposed by the Facebook group. Throughout this mess we have scarcely heard a peep from the Dean of the Faculty of Dentistry, who, remarkably, still holds that position.
Quite a price tag for PR paid out by Dal (actually by taxes for the most part). I am a bit baffled about what seems to be a lack of accountability for the Faculty of the Dentistry School. I think the report plus various media musings make it pretty obvious that the attitude and actions of the students has been about the same for a long period of time and that the faculyt were aware of it, at a minimum, condoning it through inaction. Why are the faculty held blameless or at least not held in any way accountable for any of this nonsense?
I would like to think that it’s long past time for everyone to work together to solve problems we may have.
The ham fisted way the Liberals have dealt with the unions is so egregiously horrendous that it could never make for amicable relations.
Guess why Germany is a powerhouse? Political leaders, corporations and unions all have a seat at the table. Everyone has a stake.
Was that in the Ivany report?