“About a dozen demonstrators rallied in front of the former Bloomfield school in Halifax Friday morning asking that affordable housing be built at the rundown site,” reports Suzanne Rent:
As Zane Woodford reported in February 2021, Banc Investments Ltd. purchased the property from HRM for $22 million…
Conditions of the purchase included that the development have below-market-value housing, and that the site be developed within five years with a deadline of January 2026. But to date, the site remains untouched.
Sam Krawec is one of the other demonstrators calling for HRM to take back the property. Krawec, who lives nearby, said “the only way we’re going to fix the problem is by taking direct action.” He said the Bloomfield School site has “so much potential.”
“It could be social housing. It could be public housing or cooperative for people of mixed-income backgrounds. It could be mixed-use. We could have green spaces, we could have child care. There’s so much we could do,” Krawec said.
“We need to take it back from Banc Developments and use it for the people who need it most. I think the city should just expropriate it without compensation.”
“On November 29, 2019, just five months into his new job, Halifax police chief Dan Kinsella stood before an audience of the city’s Black community at the Halifax Central Library, bemedaled in his dress blues, and offered an historic apology,” writes Stephen Kimber:
Ironically, Kinsella’s highlight-reel apology was probably one reason for his undoing.
But only one. Among many…
There were others, of course, especially inside the force, who almost certainly resented Kinsella for apologizing on their behalf for actions they believed were routine and reasonable.
That may help explain last year’s overwhelming vote — 96.6% of the 84% of rank-and-file officers voting — of no confidence in his leadership.
It’s worth noting that union members’ laundry list of two dozen grievances against the chief began with this: “consistent lack of support for officers both publicly and internally.”
That is barely disguised code for the chief’s apology.
“Last week, the New York Times The Daily podcast featured reporter Sydney Ember’s investigation into the increase in “near-misses” (which really means “near hits”) of aircraft at and near American airports. It’s worth listening to. Ember’s background reporting found that:
The incidents — highlighted in preliminary F.A.A. safety reports but not publicly disclosed — were among a flurry of at least 46 close calls involving commercial airlines last month alone.
They were part of an alarming pattern of safety lapses and near misses in the skies and on the runways of the United States, a Times investigation found. While there have been no major U.S. plane crashes in more than a decade, potentially dangerous incidents are occurring far more frequently than almost anyone realizes — a sign of what many insiders describe as a safety net under mounting stress.
So far this year, close calls involving commercial airlines have been happening, on average, multiple times a week, according to a Times analysis of internal F.A.A. records, as well as thousands of pages of federal safety reports and interviews with more than 50 current and former pilots, air traffic controllers and federal officials.
I have a reporter’s interest in systems failures. When there is a tragedy, there is rarely a single cause. The April 2020 mass murders in Nova Scotia, for example, reflected policing failures that dated back a decade, combined with a public that wouldn’t challenge a perceived wealthy white man, an institution that didn’t learn from past tragedies, leadership weaknesses that should’ve been rooted out long before the crisis happened, and a communications bureaucracy more concerned about covering its own ass than with warning the public. Change any one of those things, and maybe the murders wouldn’t have happened at all, or the death toll would’ve been reduced considerably.
And so it is with airline safety. Ember speaks of a “Swiss cheese” system of overlapping layers of safety protocols — air traffic controllers, pilot training, airport technology — such that while a problem might be able to slip through one layer, the next layer will catch it (we saw a similar analogy with COVID preparedness).
The problem, however, says Ember, is that for a variety of reasons, the “holes” in each layer of protection are getting bigger: the best-trained air traffic controllers are retiring out all at roughly the same time, the pandemic resulted in fewer pilots flying fewer hours and so resulting in less experience, and technology not installed, ironically because airports are saving money by not installing the equipment with the excuse that they’re waiting for the next generation of technology to be developed.
I’ve long had an interest in air safety. For one, I’m afraid of flying. Yes, I know that’s irrational, but it’s just the case, resulting from a general fear of heights (I won’t walk across a bridge, or step out on a balcony), and if you ever sat next to me on a flight, you wouldn’t be ridiculing my very real phobia.
But my phobia aside, it is kind of amazing that these enormously heavy and complex machines, built and maintained by very fallible humans, and directed through the skies by people with bills to pay, broken marriages, various addictions, and other worries mundane and disturbing, aren’t crashing into each other or the ground regularly. Really, it speaks to a system that works beyond any rational expectation, and so there are undoubtedly lessons that can be applied to other systems.
Still, I don’t think it’s enough to say “well, the system works, so I’m not going to bother worrying about it.” The time to worry, or at least to pay attention, is before the failure becomes painfully obvious in the form of a terrible tragedy. And so Ember’s reporting is important; by critically examining the system’s shortfalls, she may be helping to avert the next air disaster.
Ember examined and discussed the U.S. context. I wondered: what about Canada? Is there a similar increase in near misses above our airports?
In the past, I have been criticized for taking what some perceive as an alarmist, if tongue-in-cheek, approach to this concern, with what I’ve labeled as the “Icarus Report,” and while, well, that might be fair criticism, I shouldn’t have been scared away from reporting on the issue.
Having listened to Ember, I decided to revisit air safety in Canada by looking anew at Transport Canada’s CADOR’s report of air traffic incidents. In particular, I looked at “separation” issues; in the U.S., explained Ember, a near-miss is an incident when two planes are separated by less than 1,000 feet vertically or less than three miles horizontally. I’ve asked Transport Canada if Canada uses the same definition, but that agency refused to answer the question.
But the CADORs reports are full of “loss of separation/(near) midair collisions” incidents. It didn’t take me long to find one at Halifax Stanfield International Airport, on Aug. 9, described as follows:
CADORS Number: 2023AO836
Occurrence Category(ies): Airprox/TCAS alert/loss of separation/(near) midair collisions
Occurrence Time: 1235 Z [9:30am Atlantic Daylight Time]
A Jazz de Havilland DHC-8-402 (JZA8021) from Deer Lake, NL (CYDF) to Halifax/Stanfield, NS (CYHZ) had less than the required separation with the lead aircraft, an Exploits Valley Air Services Ltd. Beech 1900D (EV200) from Gander, NL (CYQX) to Halifax/Stanfield, NS (CYHZ), on final for Runway 23. No impact to operations.
The DHC-8-402 has a capacity of 78 passengers and four crew. The Beech has a capacity of 19 passengers and two crew.
I asked Transport Canada what I thought were simple and basic questions:
I would like more detailed information about this incident — what is the “required separation,” and what was the actual separation? In other words, just how close did these aircraft come, and what altitude and distance from the airport? How was the situation resolved?
More generally, is there a resource for finding more detailed explanation of CADOR incidents?
After three days, I got a non-response:
Transport Canada is aware of the incident and has no additional information to provide other than what is available on the Civil Aviation Daily Occurrence Reporting System (CADORS). The department is reviewing the circumstances of this incident and will take appropriate action if non-compliance with the regulations is identified.
Transport Canada collects aviation occurrence information through the CADORS. The purpose of the system is to provide initial information on occurrences involving any Canadian-registered aircraft as well as events that occur at Canadian airports, in Canadian sovereign airspace, or international airspace for which Canada has accepted responsibility that includes events involving foreign registered aircraft.
More information on CADORS is available on Transport Canada’s Web site, at: https://tc.canada.ca/en/aviation/publications/aviation-safety-letter/issue-2-2021/civil-aviation-daily-occurrence-reporting-system-cadors.
Senior Communications Advisor, Media Services | Conseiller principal en communications, Services médiatiques
Transport Canada | Transports Canada
Government of Canada | Gouvernement du Canada
This is not how you reassure the public that the system is working. I’d go so far as to say that keeping the details of what Transport Canada itself describes as a “near miss” secret is indicative of an air safety system that has something to hide and is afraid of scrutiny.
So far, I have only taken a cursory look, but there are several other recent incidents also described as “near misses.” Is the frequency of such incidents increasing, paralleling the U.S. experience? I can’t yet say. That will require further reporting, but also an air safety regulatory regime that is more open to public scrutiny and willing to release information to reporters.
As they say, there’s never certainty in Hurricane forecasting, but all indications are that Lee will make landfall somewhere in Nova Scotia Sunday.
“The most likely location for any initial landfall at this point appears to be Nova Scotia, based on model consistency, but it is too soon for any high-confidence landfall forecast a week from now,” wrote Jeff Masters and Bob Henson yesterday.
The good news is that because Hurricane Franklin and Hurricane Idalia have kicked up so much deep-water cold water, Lee will both slow down and lose intensity before it reaches us. Again, too soon to say for sure, but by then, Lee will probably be a post-tropical storm. Still, Fiona was a technically a post-tropical storm with hurricane-force winds when it hit Nova Scotia, and it caused enormous damage.
You don’t have to wait until Saturday to buy your storm chips.
Saying no to fascism
Twitter has passed the tipping point into being a vehicle for unrestrained hate and lies, and I can no longer in good conscience use the platform as I have in the past. For the time being, I’ll continue to post links to Examiner articles, but that’s it. No more long threads on this or that news item, no more commentary, no more displays of my flawed personality.
I’ll be criticized, for sure. Some will say I’m too late to disengage, or that I should give up on even linking. Perhaps. But over a decade or so, I built up over 50,000 followers, and that was an excellent platform for spreading news and bringing readers to the Examiner. I’ve hesitated to make the decision to give that up.
On the other hand, probably some people will say I’m being silly, that regardless of who else is on Twitter I should use the platform to reach the maximum number of people. And certainly, while Twitter was never a great platform, activists and “regular people” MacGyvered it for their own needs.
Jack Dorsey didn’t create it for that purpose, but people figured out how to use Twitter for things like the #metoo and #BlackLivesMatter hashtags, which were important social movements. But could that happen again? I doubt it. If the first #BlackLivesMatter hashtag had been posted today, the first 14,000 responses would be from white supremacists and Nazis paying $8 to be forefronted, destroying any chance for the development of a movement. Not that it’s materially the same, but I see my own work similarly getting drowned out by the reprehensibles.
I’m particularly concerned about, alarmed by even, how Twitter will be used to promote anti-democratic and fascist forces in the 2024 U.S. elections. I can’t be an accessory to that.
And so, if you’re still there, for the time being you’ll still be able to find my links to Examiner articles on Twitter, but I’m not going to otherwise interact with you. Sorry, but I won’t answer your questions there, won’t engage with you. I won’t do anything that can in any way impart anything of value to the platform.
That doesn’t mean you can’t reach me. I’m posting on the “alternative” social media platforms. They all have functionality issues, but so far I’ve found Bluesky is most intuitive for me and the community is conducive to reasoned conversation. I’m at @timbousquet.bsky.social. The big drawback is that Bluesky is still in beta mode, and is by invite only, so both are limiting.
So, mostly at the urging of Phil Moscovitch I’m also active on Mastodon, at @TimBousquet@mstdn.ca. That’s where I’ll be doing the active social media reporting — the COVID threads, reporting on court cases, and so forth.
I should note that the Halifax Examiner still has a Twitter account (@hfxExaminer) and is on Mastodon as well (@HalifaxExaminer@mstdn.ca). You can find all the other Examiner reporters on the pinned Examiner Mastodon post.
And the best way to keep abreast of the Examiner’s work is to sign up for email notification of the daily Morning File.
Grants Committee (Monday, 10am, online) — agenda
Investment Policy Advisory Committee (Monday, 12pm, City Hall) — agenda
African Descent Advisory Committee (Monday, 6pm, HEMDCC Meeting Space, Alderney Gate, and online) — agenda
In the harbour
05:00: Zaandam, cruise ship with up to 1,718 passengers, arrives at Pier 22 from St. John’s, on a 10-day cruise from Montreal to Boston
05:45: Atlantic Star, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from Liverpool, England
08:00: Amera, cruise ship with up to 835 passengers, sails from Foundation Wharf for sea
08:00: Atlantic Swordfish, barge, moves from Imperial Oil to IEL
08:30: Zuiderdam, cruise ship with up to 2,364 passengers, arrives at Pier 20 from Bar Harbor, on a seven-day cruise from Boston to Quebec City
09:00: GPO Grace, heavy lifter, moves from anchorage to IEL alongside Orion, crane ship
09:15: Acadian, oil tanker, arrives at Irving Oil from Saint John
10:00: HMS Portland, sails from Dockyard for sea
16:00: Tropic Lissette, cargo ship, arrives at Pier 42 from St. Thomas, Virgin Islands
16:30: Atlantic Star sails for New York
17:45: Zaandam sails for Bar Harbor
17:45: Zuiderdam sails for Sydney
22:30: Seaborne Quest, cruise ship with up to 540 passengers, sails from Pier 23 for Charlottetown
05:00: Baie St.Paul, bulker, sails from Coal Pier (Sydney) for Lower Cove, Newfoundland
07:00: Norwegian Pearl, cruise ship with up to 2,873 passengers, arrives at Sydney Marine Terminal from Charlottetown, on a seven-day cruise from Quebec City to Boston
08:00: Jewel of the Seas, cruise ship with up to 2,573 passengers, arrives at Liberty Pier (Sydney) from Halifax, on a 17-day cruise from Amsterdam to New York
12:30: Runner, oil tanker, sails from EverWind for sea
13:30: Brightway, oil tanker, arrives at EverWind from Liza Unity offshore platform, Bahamas
16:30: Norwegian Pearl sails for Halifax
20:00: Jewel of the Seas sails for New York
Shipping is going to be a mess next weekend.