June subscription drive
One of the most successful local media outlets is allnovascotia.com, which focuses on business and government news.
One of allnovascotia’s strategies is exclusivity — it’s entirely behind a paywall, and doesn’t allow other reporters to subscribe. As a result, I’m not a daily reader, but I know that allnovascotia’s staff includes some very good reporters, and I know that they sometimes break some important stories.
Why am I plugging another news outlet during the Halifax Examiner’s subscription drive?
Well, because part of allnovascotia’s success is built on getting successful people to subscribe, either directly or through their organizations. A quick read of MLA expense accounts, for example, shows that about half of them expense their allnovascotia subscription. (Last time I checked, and it’s been a while, just two MLAs expensed an Examiner subscription through their office.) For many business people, an allnovascotia subscription is simply a standard expense, like paying the power bill.
I am not at all faulting allnovascotia. It has found a readership willing to pay for its product, and as a result now has one of, if not the, largest newsroom in Halifax. That’s a good thing, and I wish the company and its employees further success.
I will say, however, that it has a narrow focus that caters to the particular interests of the business and managerial class. I know that class is wide and varied, and there are many business people who care both about their own personal wealth and building a society that provides security for everyone, just as there are bureaucrats whose interests extend far beyond the mechanizations of government. But one thing that unites them all is their subscription to allnovascotia.com.
Here at the Examiner, we’re not business-focused, and you’re not going to come to the Examiner to find the details of business contracts and the like, unless there’s a particular aspect to it that we think is important. Instead, we have a broader mission of reporting on issues of public policy, equity, and calling business and government to account. We report extensively on worker issues, the rental and cost landscape for regular people, and on racism and police overreach, to cite just a few examples. Evidently, this kind of reporting does not attract much financial support from the business and managerial class.
I’m just going to say this bluntly: Not enough people who have professional success and security are subscribing to the Examiner. To do our job effectively, we need the financial support of unions, businesses, and government agencies.
If you and your organization value the work of the Examiner, please value it financially, with your subscription. You can subscribe here.
1. Violence against bus drivers
“The heads of local and national transit unions are calling for municipalities to take action as violence against transit drivers increases across the country,” reports Suzanne Rent:
Shane O’Leary, president of Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 508, said so far this year, there have been 22 acts of violence against Halifax Transit drivers. He said the incidents include physical violence and death threats.
Halifax Regional Police laid charges in one of those assaults last week. A 16-year-old youth was charged in an assault on a driver on June 2.
“They are definitely getting more serious and more often,” O’Leary said in an interview. “Right now, the supervisors out there on the road have no power and no authority and we’re not getting adequate response from the police when they show up.”
Rent provides a wide survey of the issues around transit violence. Click or tap here to read “National, Halifax transit unions call for action as violence against drivers increases.”
My sense as a daily bus rider is that drivers are over-tasked.
Drivers should drive, and that’s it. Passengers shouldn’t be speaking with the driver while the bus is moving; it’s a long shift, and drivers’ full concentration should be on navigating busy, narrow, pedestrian-filled streets. There should be signs saying “don’t speak to the driver,” and the driver should be protected by barriers separating them from passengers (as Rent reports, these barriers are on the way).
And drivers shouldn’t be in the fare business. Passengers should be responsible for purchasing tickets themselves, and be spot-checked for proof-of-purchase by fare enforcers. This, of course, requires ticket dispensers, both at terminals and on the buses themselves. Passengers can then enter the bus from both doors, which has the added benefit of speeding up the routes. This is not a radical suggestion; it’s how it already works in many other cities.
Due to a couple of recent violent incidents at the Bridge Terminal, there are now two cops walking around the place all the time. They mostly seemed bored, but I suppose they provide some comfort level to passengers.
While violence against drivers is a real concern that can be addressed by simple concrete actions, we shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that riding the bus remains an exceedingly safe routine. Halifax Transit reports about 19 million passenger trips per year, and it’s exceedingly rare for a random passenger to experience violence.
It’s safe and easy to take the bus. I do it every day, without incident. I recommend it.
2. Financial incentive for doctors
“The province has announced a change to the Need a Family Practice Registry intended to help Nova Scotians in greatest need of a primary health care provider find one sooner,” reports Yvette d’Entremont:
On Thursday, Michelle Thompson, Minister of Health and Wellness, said effective immediately, anyone on the province’s Need a Family Practice Registry can add health information to their profile. The information will be used “to direct them to services, resources, and care options in their community,” according to a news release.
The health profiles will also help support a new incentive for family doctors with an office-based practice and assist with matching patients in greatest need with a family doctor sooner.
Under the new incentive, eligible physicians who accept 50 patients with higher needs from the registry receive $10,000. For every additional patient accepted, they receive $200.
“The reported implosion of the Titan submersible and presumed death of its five passengers is likely to boost interest in Titanic-related history and sites in Nova Scotia,” writes Evelyn White:
As the final resting place for about 150 people who perished in the April 15, 1912 sinking of the luxury liner, Halifax has drawn a steady stream of tourists (and locals) to the West End cemeteries where the dead were interred: Mount Olivet Catholic, Baron de Hirsch, and Fairview Lawn.
Joseph Laroche is the only known Black casualty of the disaster. Born in 1886 to an affluent family in Haiti, Laroche arrived in France, as a teenager, to study engineering. He later married Juliette Lafargue, the daughter of a wine merchant.
By March 1912, the couple had two daughters, Simonne and Louise. With a third child on the way and stymied in his career, Joseph Laroche decided to return to Haiti.
After the cataclysmic collision, Laroche (fluent in Creole, French, and English) ensured that his wife and children were among the Titanic passengers transferred to a life boat. Age 25, he remained aboard the sinking ship, never to be seen again.
Who knows what contributions the ambitious engineer might have made to uplift his embattled homeland had he returned to Haiti?
History has yet to reveal if Joseph Laroche is among the unidentified Titanic victims that were buried in Halifax. But after global press coverage of the OceanGate disaster, here’s hoping that his story, as the sole documented Black man on the iconic ship, is highlighted in the city’s many Titanic-related ventures.
Don’t always have to be on
Sometimes work can be overwhelming. I have several “deep dive” investigations going on at once right now, and it’s impossible to dedicate enough time to all of them. That’s on top of the regular stresses of running a business and the day-to-day reporting. And, I have a personal life, or at least try to have one.
Thankfully, the Examiner has an excellent staff. Iris the Amazing and Suzanne Rent keep the lights on and the machinery running, and the other reporters step up as needed. I don’t know what I’d do without them.
So, I’m learning to listen to my body and mind, and take time for myself when needed. Today’s one of those times. I’m perfectly fine! Just need a day or two of down time. Back on Monday. Sorry for the short Morning File, please subscribe 🙂
Public Accounts (Friday, 9am, One Government Place and online) — 2023 Report of the Auditor General – Investigation of Island Employment Association; with representatives from the Department of Labour, Skills and Immigration, and Nova Scotia Government Employees Union – NSGEU
In the harbour
04:30: MSC Katya R., container ship, sails from Fairview Cove for sea
06:45: Nolhanava, ro-ro cargo, arrives at Pier 41 from Saint-Pierre
08:00: CSL Tacoma, bulker, sails from Gold Bond for sea
09:30: Jasmina D, bulker, arrives at Pier 28 from Becancour, Quebec
10:00: Eagle II, container ship, arrives at Pier 27 from Moa, Cuba
15:00: NYK Delphinus, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from Antwerp, Belgium
17:30: Bakkafoss, container ship, arrives at Pier 41 from Portland
23:00: Nolhanava sails for Saint-Pierre
23:45: Bakkafoss sails for Reykjavik, Iceland
04:30 (Saturday): CMA CGM Hermes (154,995 tonnes), arrives at Pier 41 from Tanger Med, Morocco
Cruise ship Sunday: Viking Neptune, with up to 928 passengers
The garden won’t weed itself.