There’s more weather.
2. Teachers strike
The Nova Scotia Teachers Union has called a one-day strike for Friday, issuing the following statement yesterday morning:
The complete lack of respect displayed by Stephen McNeil and his government towards teachers, students and their families has left NSTU members with no choice but to initiate a one-day province-wide walk-out on Friday, February 17.
“In the entire 122 year history of the NSTU, our members have never faced a more anti- education Premier than Stephen McNeil,” says Liette Doucet [president of the NSTU]. “The legislation he introduced yesterday limits teachers’ right to strike, erodes their ability to negotiate a fair contract and prevents them from advocating for reforms to improve learning conditions for their students. The result is the first province-wide teacher strike ever in Nova Scotia.”
Teachers will use the day to ensure government MLAs know the full impact of the McNeil government’s actions on Nova Scotia’s public education system and public sector workers in the province.
“We believe this legislation is unconstitutional and we owe it to our colleagues past, present and future to take this stand. Stephen McNeil says he wants to hear from teachers, so on Friday teachers will spend the day ensuring the Premier and his Liberal caucus get the message — his government’s bully tactics can no longer be tolerated.”
Protests continue outside Province House.
Jennifer Henderson will be reporting from Province House today, and I’ll take over later in the day.
h/t Redditor hopkindz for reminding me of the Simpsons vid.
3. Court Watch: mental illness and “not criminally responsible”
This week, in her weekly recap of provincial court matters, Christina Macdonald explores the “not criminally responsible” ruling in the Codey Hennigar case. You’ll recall that Hennigar killed his mother and grandparents last year, and has been diagnosed with schizophrenia.
As with Vince Li (now named Will Baker), the man who beheaded another man on a Greyhound bus, Hennigar will be released from custody when and if he is found to be no significant danger to the public.
Macdonald also discusses the legal issues of people who represent themselves in court, and the Markel Jason Downey decision.
This article is behind the Examiner’s paywall and so available only to paid subscribers. Click here to purchase a subscription.
1. An 18th Century Moment
“This story has never been told before because it is geeky, difficult to communicate, and my photos are awful,” writes Stephen Archibald, so you know what follows will be wonderful:
In my last blog I talked about some buildings at the corner of Prince and Granville Streets which were demolished in 1983. I had gone downtown on a Sunday morning to take one last look and watch a big backhoe pull them down.
The building on the corner was wood but had a brick firewall separating it from the wooden structure next door. Because of several big downtown fires in the 1850s, the city outlawed new wood construction in this district after 1860 so these building predated that regulation. As the firewall was peeled away the silhouette of an even earlier building was exposed (follow the arrow).
When more was revealed, I realized that I was seeing the outline of a house that had previously been on the site. Nothing of it remained except the shadow captured by its neighbour.
There are more photos at the link, which Archibald explains in detail:
And here is what got me so excited: a two story building with a gambrel roof ( like many barns). I could also make out that at some point a lean-to had been added to the back.
But it is common to see older building shapes revealed during demolitions, why the fuss over this one? Because folks, this is the only time I’ve seen a gambrel roof preserved and I don’t recall any buildings of this form surviving into my long lifetime. Yet the earliest illustrations of Halifax, after its founding in 1749, show many buildings that must have been identical to my silhoutte discovery.
Archibald goes on to compare historic renderings of 18th century Halifax to the silhouette he momentarily glimpsed.
“The partisanship in the legislative chamber means nothing on the street,” writes Graham Steele:
To the contrary, it can come across as mean-spirited, even bullying.
As I’ve written before, the Achilles heel of the McNeil government is its hubris.
The McNeil government is composed of good people doing their level best with tough issues, but the hubris peeks out at the most inopportune moments.
Hubris peeks out from behind the legal language of Bill 75.
Bill 75 was always going to be a bitter pill for teachers to swallow, but the government could have helped it go down more easily.
All it had to do was incorporate the gains negotiated in the third round of bargaining.
Instead, Bill 75 rolls back those gains, most notably on the relatively meagre wage increases.
The premier’s explanation — that Bill 75 reflects the tentative agreement that got the most support from teachers — is utterly disingenuous.
3. Cranky letter of the day
Following the U.S. election, I would like to say a few words on the spreading use of the phrase, “state of the …” whatever, even here in Canada.
No such terminology can be found on the BNA Act. Only the U.S. uses such terminology, since it is a union of various states.
For Canadian premiers to adopt such verbiage is just silly. (May we expect, “state of the unincorporated townships or neighbourhoods or whatever,” to follow? God forbid.)
Sadly, for our politicians to imitate our southern neighbours erodes the valuable differences shared between our neighbours and us.
And they are even now more to be valued when those neighbours have been so badly trumped.
Colman O’Hare, Charlottetown
Have a Calabash Nebula:
Community Planning & Economic Development (9:30am, City Hall) — Mayor Mike Savage wants the city to work with the United Way on an anti-poverty strategy.
Active Transportation Advisory Committee (4pm, City Hall) — I don’t know why they’re meeting, because there is absolutely nothing on the agenda. Maybe they can shovel the sidewalks around City Hall.
Fall River Water Service Extension Open House (6:30pm, Georges P. Vanier Junior High School, Fall River) — Rescheduled from February 13.
Public Information Meeting – Case 20401 (7pm, St. Peter’s Anglican Church Hall, Halifax) — more Bedford West rezoning.
No public meetings.
Cancelled: Resources (9am, Province House) — the Maple Producers Association would have been asked questions, but now they’ll have to unquestioningly enjoy their sugary goodness.
Law Amendments (8:30am–8pm, Red Chamber, Province House) — the public will have its say on Bill 75.
Undoubtedly there will be action on Bill 75, but the details have yet to be scheduled.
Note: as of publication, Dalhousie University has delayed opening until 10am. Check Dal.ca for updates.
Blind Date with a Book (11am, Killam and MacRae Libraries) — Apparently they’ve got some “discreetly wrapped books” sure to “quicken your pulse”:
If you’re looking for mystery, fantasy, poetry, romance, or… science fiction, the Killam and MacRae libraries are where you’ll want to be. Blind Date with a Book wants to set you up with the book of your dreams, featuring sharp and witty profiles better than anything you’ll find on Tinder. Just come to the lobby of the Killam Library (Studley Campus) or the MacRae Library (Agricultural Campus) on Valentine’s Day. Check out the display of discreetly wrapped books and peruse the descriptive tags. You’re sure to find one that quickens your pulse.
Chronic Disease (2pm, CHEB C140) — A mystery guest will speak on “Scotland – New Scotland: Advances & Dances in Research, Innovation and Health System Improvements for Chronic Disease.”
Public Policy and Environmental Advocacy (7pm, Ondaatje Auditorium, McCain Building) — Lois Corbett, from the Conservation Council of New Brunswick, will speak.
Concerto Night (7:30pm, Sir James Dunn Theatre, Dalhousie Arts Centre) — the Dalhousie Symphony Orchestra and student soloists will perform popular concerti and arias. Fifteen dollars.
Welcome to Africville (10am, Africville Museum) — RSVP to email@example.com.
Analogue Inhibitors (1:30pm, Department of Chemistry) — Stephen L. Bearne will speak about “Designing Substrate-product Analogue Inhibitors for Racemaces and Epimerases.”
Cape Breton Gothic (3:30pm, Room 1170, Marion McCain Building) — Edward Michalik will speak.
Poetry Slam (7pm, The Muse Cafe and Pub, 1252 LeMarchant Street) — Rebecca Thomas hosts.
Brazil and Canada (1pm, Library LI135) — Rosana Barbosa will talk about her new book, Brazil and Canada: Economic, Political and Migratory Ties, 1820s to 1970s.
Nothing that we know about.
In the harbour
5am: NYK Constellation, container ship, arrives at Bedford Basin anchorage from Rotterdam
9am: Hafina Malacca, oil tanker, arrives at Imperial Oil from IJmuiden, Netherlands
10:30am: Yantian Express, container ship, sails from Fairview Cove for New York
11am: ZIM Haifa, container ship, arrives at Pier 41 from New York
11:30am: Ningbo Express, container ship, moves from anchorage to Fairview Cove
2pm: Allise P, container ship, arrives at Anchorage from Rotterdam
3:30pm: Oregon Highway, car carrier, sails from Autoport for sea
6pm: STI Virtus, oil tanker, sails from Imperial Oil for sea
I’m finally back in town. You folks got a lot of snow.
Between the snow and the battle between the teachers and the government, there doesn’t seem to be much more going on. Which is just as well, I suppose, as being stranded in the States has left me exhausted. Even with the miracle of the internet, it’s hard to stay on top of local happenings at such remove.
But we do have lots of things lined up for publication. They just take time (and in one case, legal review) to get to and today I’m playing catch up. We’ll get this ship up and running again…