November Subscription Drive
November is the Halifax Examiner’s annual subscription drive. We ask you to subscribe and support this publication. In turn you get news, commentary, and more. There’s a sweet subscriber perk in the works too, but you’ll have to trust me because I can’t tell you anything about it yet, before it is all confirmed.
At subscription drive time, we like to draw attention to some of the work the Examiner has done. Often, these are the hard-hitting investigations that reveal corporate malfeasance, injustice, and so on. But today, I want to highlight Suzanne Rent’s series on women over 50 making a difference outside the corporate world.
We get a lot of lionizing of people making it in the corporate world. There’s a place for that, but the place shouldn’t be everywhere. We also live in a society that places a premium on youth. (To digress for a second, when I was editing a screenwriting magazine I realized no screenwriter ever wanted to give their age, for fear of being seen as too old.)
So, Rent’s series is an excellent corrective. It’s also a pleasure to read. I have written a lot of profiles, and they are deceptive. A good profile is very hard to write, but part of the skill of writing it is making it seem almost effortless. Rent does this well.
1. Group wants Dartmouth Cove protected from infilling
“A group of residents working to protect Dartmouth Cove from infilling say that area should be included in a proposed infilling bylaw that will go to Halifax regional council this week,” Suzanne Rent reports.
A proposed bylaw coming to council today aims to restrict infilling in the Northwest Arm. But the group Save Dartmouth Cove argues that Dartmouth Cove should also be included.
On Friday, Save Dartmouth Cove shared this post on its website, writing that the “stark absence” of Dartmouth Cove in the proposed bylaw is an “evident oversight”:
“While the Northwest Arm’s situation has received significant attention, it’s disheartening to note that the proposed bylaw makes no mention of Dartmouth Cove, a vital and beloved part of our community.
“The priority of the Northwest Arm’s proposed infill in this bylaw, while Dartmouth Cove remains unmentioned, raises a compelling question. Why should one proposal for infill be addressed within the bylaw, while another equally concerning proposal affecting Dartmouth Cove is left unaddressed?”
Click or tap here to read “Group wants Dartmouth Cove to be included in proposed infill bylaw.”
2. EverWind makes its case to Colchester Municipal Council
Joan Baxter reports on EverWind’s upcoming presentation to Colchester Municipal Council tonight, for approval for massive new wind farms. First, some background:
It’s not the company’s first attempt to get the Colchester mayor and councillors on board.
Just five weeks ago, two men appeared before the council to present plans for the 16-turbine, 98-megawatt Kmtnuk wind project that EverWind and Membertou First Nation’s Wind Strength company are proposing for Colchester County.
As for the new proposed project, here’s what Baxter writes:
The massive 58-turbine, 340-megawatt Windy Ridge wind project would stretch from Folly Mountain in the west, north almost to Highway 246 that links New Annan with Wentworth, and then on its eastern side it would abut the Kmtnuk project near McCallum Settlement just to the west of Highway 311.
For comparison, Nova Scotia’s largest existing wind farm, the 102-megwatt South Canoe facility in Lunenburg County, has only 34 turbines.
The turbines EverWind intends to use at its Kmtnuk and Windy Ridge sites will be up to 125 metres tall, with blades over 81 metres long. To put that in perspective, the height of the Angus L. Macdonald Bridge is only 103 metres. The distance between the water of Halifax Harbour and the bridge deck at centre span is just 47 metres.
Click or tap here to read “EverWind ups the PR pressure as it seeks support for its massive wind projects in Colchester County.”
Coun. Kathryn Morse wants HRM to take action to protect the hemlocks in Hemlock Ravine from the wooly adelgid. The tiny creatures have been laying waste to eastern hemlocks in Canada and the U.S. Most of Nova Scotia’s hemlocks are expected to die as a result.
Morse is bringing a motion on hemlock protection to council today, Suzanne Rent reports:
Morse writes that the [hemlock protection] plan “should include best practices for treatment, with a special focus on older hemlocks in HRM, and include funding sources to develop and implement the plan.”
Morse is also asking that funding for management of woolly adelgid be included in HRM’s upcoming budget.
There are hemlocks in several parks in HRM, including Shubie Park, Fleming Park, Point Pleasant Park, and Hemlock Ravine Park, which is in Morse’s district.
Click or tap here to read “Hemlock Ravine Park with no hemlocks? Councillor wants to protect eastern hemlock in Halifax from woolly adelgid.”
“Colin MacDonald, the cofounder of Clearwater, is asking for an order to strike significant portions from Elizabeth (Liz) LeClair’s statement of claim in which she alleges he sexually harassed her over a five-year period,” Suzanne Rent reports.
LeClair alleges she was sexually harassed by MacDonald while working as a fundraiser for the IWK Foundation. The allegations have not been tested in court.
In a notice of motion from MacDonald’s lawyer, Nancy Barteaux, dated Nov. 3, MacDonald alleges LeClair’s statement of claim “contains opinion, evidence, argument, irrelevant information, and allegations against non-parties in violation of Nova Scotia Civil Procedure Rule.”
As well, he alleges parts of the statement of claim are “obviously unsustainable as they are statute barred by the Nova Scotia Limitations of Actions Act.”
Significant sections of LeClair’s statement of claim are stricken out, as are several lines in which MacDonald is referred to as a “major” donor to the IWK Foundation.
In the first few paragraphs that detail LeClair’s allegations about MacDonald’s sexual misconduct, there are sentences crossed out that reference him as a “wealthy and powerful donor” who was 31 years older than LeClair.
Click or tap here to read “Colin MacDonald wants portions of Liz LeClair’s allegations of sexual misconduct stricken from statement of claim.”
5. Important journalism costs and its absence costs more
In his weekly column, Stephen Kimber makes the case for the importance of independent, adversarial journalism, as well as the cost of its absence:
In the late 1960s, Nick Fillmore’s The 4th Estate set out to become — and did become for close to a decade — “an independent second viewpoint [to the staid, stolid monopoly daily Halifax Herald], and a questioning voice in print in our city and province.” His work mattered and helped change our city for the better at a time when it needed changing.
Much has changed — can you say the internet, digitization, the corporatization of media, the infotainments of news, the decimation of the mainstream media advertising model, etc., etc.? — in the more than 50 years since The 4th Estate’s first edition.
But one thing hasn’t changed. There is still — perhaps now more than ever — a pressing public need for determinedly independent voices like Fillmore’s and Bousquet’s, journalists who are prepared to hold the powerful to account, no matter the cost in time, money, and energy.
That’s worth thinking about, especially during the Examiner’s November subscription drive.
Click or tap here to read “Important journalism costs; its absence costs even more.”
6. Lobster fishery safety crackdown
We are two weeks from the launch of the region’s largest lobster fishing season, and “federal and provincial authorities are ramping up fishing vessel inspections in Nova Scotia,” Paul Withers reports for CBC.
Transport Canada has served notice that its marine inspectors want to see written safety procedures on board and proof crew members are familiar with them…
In addition to written procedures, Transport Canada inspectors will be looking for records of safety drills conducted on board the vessels, and that crew members have participated in those drills.
The province is also “seeking proof of annual inspections of hoists on board fishing vessels” Withers writes. It’s a requirement that “has been in regulations for years, but never exercised for lobster vessels,” leaving some captains surprised.
7. Bachman and Cummings sue former Guess Who bandmates for false advertising
In a Morning File last August, I asked the question: “If no original members of April Wine are left, is it still April Wine?” I was thinking generally about bands that tour with few, or even no original members.
On Friday, Brad Wheeler of the Globe and Mail wrote about Randy Bachman and Burton Cummings, frontmen for the classic Canadian rock band the Guess Who, suing their former bandmates over use of the band’s name. Ownership of the name is not in dispute; it belongs to drummer Garry Peterson, who trademarked it “surreptitiously” after the band broke up. Instead, Cummings and Bachman are suing for false advertising.
Wheeler writes that the current, Peterson-led “quasi-cover band” recently “released an album, Plein D’ Amour, which incongruously lives on streaming services alongside such classic albums as Share the Land and Wheatfield Soul.”
From the article:
The lawsuit claims [bassist Jim] Kale and Peterson have recently been removing images of Cummings and Bachman from the landing pages of music streaming platforms and replacing them with pictures of the current band. The suit additionally alleges the defendants have been using songs written by Cummings and Bachman to promote the current band without obtaining proper licenses.
“They’re not saying they’re a tribute band,” the 80-year-old Bachman said. “They’re saying they’re us, and it’s a joke.”
Trooper and Toronto continue to tour, with no original members, making them, arguably, tribute bands.
Meanwhile, Wheeler notes, Bachman “has recently resurrected Bachman-Turner Overdrive with no original members save for himself.”
1. The museum of Internet Artifacts: Looking back while resisting nostalgia
The first YouTube video. The first spam email. The first website. The dancing baby. The first livestreamed concert. The first online pizza delivery ordering site.
These are among the artifacts collected and presented by coder Neal Agarwal, in his latest project, Internet Artifacts.
Before getting to the artifacts, a few words about Agarwal and his work. His website, neal.fun is a delight. Agarwal is a 25-year-old coder with a talent for making simple, quirky games, visualizations and other fun stuff. Visiting neal.fun, I realized I’ve seen or played many of his creations, without realizing they were all his.
There’s the Password Game, which pokes fun at websites with increasingly absurd and opaque password requirements. Ten Years Ago allows you to see what certain websites looked like well, 10 years ago. Here’s Amazon. Look at all that white space!
One of my favourites is The Deep Sea, an illustrated journey down to the depths, that gives you a sense of the awe-inspiring scale of the ocean and the amazing creatures living at different depths.
I was thinking about why Agarwal’s stuff works so well, in contrast to so many websites, apps, and systems that simply do not (either accidentally or deliberately). First, his games and other curiosities are simple. You can figure them out quickly, with few or no instructions. The Auction Game presents you with artworks sold at auction, and asks you to guess how much they went for. There’s a little box where you enter a number, and then you get the answer. You’re assigned points based on how close you are. Who Was Alive? also has a simple text box as the game’s mechanic. Enter a year, see a (Eurocentric) list of names of famous people who were alive at the time, and how old they were. (1912 is a real downer of a year in terms of who was born and in their young childhood: Eva Braun, Milton Friedman, Ronald Reagan, Josef Mengele… but we also get Akira Kurosawa, Simone de Beauvoir, Salvador Allende, and Frida Kahlo.)
In an interview with Business Insider, Agarwal said he’s trying to recapture some of the fun he felt being online as a kid:
I would always go down these long rabbit holes. Almost all the sites I visited were by solo creators or small teams of people. It felt like much more of an independent web. As I watched all that go away, I kept feeling that this probably isn’t how it should be. There should be more people creating fun stuff on the web.
This brings me back to Internet Artifacts. The setup is extremely simple: you click the right arrow, and each page brings up an artifact, playfully displayed on a cartoonish museum plinth. The items are arranged chronologically, starting with a map of Arpanet, the precursor to the internet (1982), and ending with Steve Jobs walking out onto a stage to announce a “widescreen iPod” and “breakthrough internet communicator” — the iPhone (2007). If you don’t want to click all the way through, you can go by year, or bring up a catalogue of all the artifacts and jump to whichever you want.
I always think it’s fascinating to look back at moments whose significance was completely unforeseen at the time. The first YouTube video (“Me at the Zoo”) features YouTube co-founder Jawed Karim standing in front of an elephant enclosure and telling us elephant trunks are very long. (He struggles to remember the word “trunk.” It’s 19 seconds long.
Then there are the things that we have simply forgotten didn’t exist, because they have become so ubiquitous. Last year, when we were visiting my mother in Greece, I saw the travel guide we’d used back in 1989. It advised arriving in popular places — especially those in small towns — early in the day, because rooms sell out quickly, and you may have a hard time finding a place to stay. Right, I thought. We didn’t always plan where we were going to stay in advance. This is a fundamental change in how many of us travel, and yet I had completely forgotten how it used to be. It seemed shocking that we’d just turn up and hope to find a room.
Online pizza ordering is ubiquitous. When you look at PizzaNet!, Pizza Hut’s first online ordering website (1994), you realize that right, this was once new and janky, and it took a while to figure out how to make it work. Agarwal writes:
[PizzaNet] was only available to those in the Santa Cruz area. It was responsible for one of the first online web purchases — a large pepperoni and mushroom pizza, with extra cheese.
Despite making a cameo in the 1995 Sandra Bullock movie The Net, PizzaNet grew slowly. After customers ordered food and drinks on the site, the nearest Pizza Hut would still confirm each one by phone, leading the LA Times to dub the idea as “half baked.”
Part of the pleasure of this kind of site, of course, is remembering things you’d forgotten. Sometimes it’s also a reminder of things that were annoying as hell, or just baffling. Why did people lose their minds over the Dancing Baby?
And, of course, there is the nostalgia element. A couple of weeks ago, when Tim Bousquet wrote about Schoolhouse Rock, an Examiner reader wrote in the comments, “I have very mixed feelings about this commercial appealing to nostalgia.” I understand and appreciate that and I do think a lot of the appeal of neal.fun, and projects like Internet Artifacts is nostalgia. I also think it’s important to resist that. After all, if we look back on Dancing Baby internet as a simpler time, we erase the fact that a lot of folks in the Dancing Baby era were lamenting the loss of a simpler time decades before that.
I came into early adulthood with a determination to not succumb to nostalgia, and I’ve mostly succeeded. (Maybe this is in part because I grew up in a house that had a copy of the book The Good Old Days — They Were Terrible!) Mind you, for a while I was so determined to resist nostalgia that I dismissed pretty much anything associated with my childhood and youth as garbage — but that’s its own kind of affectation too.
On October 16, Marc Maron interviewed Rob Halford of Judas Priest, for Maron’s WTF podcast. Halford is “still screaming my tits off at 72,” he tells Maron. Judas Priest recently completed a 50th anniversary tour, and they have a new album coming out in spring.
But Halford is more than aware that a large chunk of the audience wants to hear the old stuff, because it takes them back to their youth:
When you go on stage with a band called Judas Priest, you know, everybody in that room wants to hear a song that you wrote in 1980. They don’t give a shit about anything else. They want you to sing “Living after midnight, rocking to the dawn.” And if you don’t provide that opportunity, you better just, you know, it’s going to be bad… Do not piss off an angry 50-year-old metalhead from Georgia… “Where’s fucking ‘Breaking the Law’, you asshole!”
Halford tells Maron nostalgia is “that 50-year-old guy with the Bud Light, saying, “Play fucking ‘Breaking the Law’!” That’s nostalgia… It’s not the best kind of nostalgia, but I’ll take it.”
So, enjoy Internet Artifacts if it’s your thing, indulge in a little nostalgia if you like, but let’s keep some perspective too.
Halifax Regional Council (Tuesday, 1pm, City Hall and online) — agenda
Audit and Finance Standing Committee (Wednesday, 10am, City Hall and online) — agenda
Special Heritage Advisory Committee (Wednesday, 3pm, online) — agenda
Board of Police Commissioners (Wednesday, 4pm, HEMDCC Meeting Space, Alderney Gate and online) — agenda
Advisory Committee on Accessibility in HRM (Wednesday, 4pm, online) — agenda
License Appeal Committee (Wednesday, 4:30pm, online) — agenda
Case 2023-00851: Drop-in Open House (Wednesday, 5pm, Chocolate Lake Rec Centre) — application requesting an amendment to the Halifax Mainland Municipal Planning Strategy to construct two multi-unit residential buildings at 41 Cowie Hill Road.
Western Common Advisory Committee (Wednesday, 6:30pm, Prospect Road Community Centre) — agenda
Health (Tuesday, 1pm, One Government Place and online) — Home Care and Community Care; with representatives from the Dept. of Seniors and Long-Term Care; Victorian Order of Nurses Canada; Nova Scotia Nurses Union; and Canadian Union of Public Employees
Public Accounts (Wednesday, 9am, One Government Place and online) — Adaption, EMO funding and preparedness for emergency disasters, output based pricing systems for industry: with representatives from the Dept. of Environment and Climate Change; Dept. of Municipal Affairs and Housing; Dept. of Public Works; and Emergency Management Office
Machine learning for the quantification of drug response in cancer (Wednesday, 9:30am, Room 3-H1, Tupper Medical Building) — Arvind Mer from the University of Ottawa will talk
King’s in Conversation – a new webinar series (Wednesday, 6pm, online) — from the listing:
Canadian news media respond to the Online News Act (Bill C-18)
– what it means for Canadian news media, how this affects their editorial work, what innovative workarounds news outlets are relying on to engage audiences, reflections on the importance of social media for connecting to audiences, and what the average person can do to stay connected and support their preferred news outlets in Canada.
Panelists include Emma Gilchrist, Editor-in-Chief, The Narwhal; Jennifer Hollett, Executive Director, The Walrus; Karyn Pugliese, Editor-in-Chief, Canadaland; Tai Huynh, Publisher, The Local; Matthew DiMera, Founder, The Resolve
Mount Saint Vincent
Leading from a Race Conscious Lens (Wednesday, 12pm, online) — Barb Hamilton-Hinch from Dalhousie University will talk; RSVP here
Opening reception: Pole-Vaulter’s Collective, Intermediate Dye & Print class (Tuesday, 5:30pm, Anna Leonowens Gallery) — more info here
Urban Meadows Project Update (Tuesday, 4pm, Atrium 340) — will also include a Mi’kmaq Medicine Garden; more info here
In the harbour
08:00: Zhen Hua 23, heavy load carrier, moves from Pier 41
15:00: NYK Nebula, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove west end from Cartagena, Colombia
20:00: Acadian, oil tanker, sails from Irving Oil Woodside for sea
22:00: Torm Agnes, oil/chemical tanker, arrives at Imperial Oil #3 from Antwerp, Belgium
15:00: Algoma Victory, bulker, sails from Nova Scotia Power (Point Tupper) for sea
16:00: Barcelona Spirit, crude oil tanker, sails from EverWind for sea
18:00: CSL Flexvik, bulk carrier, arrives at Aulds Cove quarry from St. Georges, Bermuda
21:00: CSL Kajika, bulker, sails from Aulds Cove quarry for Tampa, Florida
23:00: Algoma Value, bulker, arrives at Canso anchorage from Norfolk, Virginia
After writing about Rob Halford, I switched from listening to Lykke Li to listening to Judas Priest. I actually respect it when bands don’t play the hits. Surprise me.