Hi, I’m Suzanne Rent, a freelance writer in Halifax, and I’m filling in for Tim today. This is my first Morning File. You can follow me on Twitter @Suzanne_Rent.


News

1. Burnside prisoners protest

The renovated North Unit day room at the Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility. Photo: Halifax Examiner

The Halifax Examiner is covering the prisoner protest at the Burnside jail:
• The statement released by the prisoners can be read here.
• An interview with Jason MacLean, NSGEU President and correctional officer is here.
• A prisoner account about the staffing shortage, the lockdown, and the problems with the change to a direct supervision model can be found here.
•An editorial by nurse and director of Women’s Wellness Within about health care in prison is here.

Over the weekend, El Jones followed that coverage up with an overview of what caused the protest in the first place.

Click here to read “The Burnside powder keg: Broken promises, dehumanizing body scans, unfair solitary confinement, non-working toilets, lockdowns, and more.”

2. Halifax Transit

Halifax Transit’s introduction of its giant paper tickets got quite the play on social media recently. Officials with Halifax Transit say the transition to future payments, which could include a open system with tap-enabled credit and debit cards, is about 18 months away.

Erica Butler tells us that transition may take longer than estimated, especially considering Halifax Transit hasn’t yet done consultations with riders on future payment systems. Also, the new fareboxes to accommodate the giant paper tickets don’t have the technology for tap-enabled debit or credit cards.

Click here to read “The future of Halifax Transit: Giant tickets soon, and better fare systems down the road.”

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3. Is John Lohr the next Maxime Bernier?

No longer Conservative but even more conservative Maxime Bernier.

“Will Nova Scotia’s Progressive Conservatives pull a federal Conservative Party and stagger out of their October 27 leadership convention hopelessly divided between their regular right-wing whingers and their ultra-right-wing whiners?” asks Stephen Kimber:

Could PC leadership hopeful John Lohr — he of the Northern-Pulp-protesters-were-paid, free-speech-for-fanatics, let’s-build-more-statues-to-Edward-Cornwallis, frack-yes(!) wing of the party — emerge as the leader of a breakaway faction of Trump-ish troglodytes. Or — worse — might he ultimately become the PC party’s neither-nor compromise choice as leader after the perceived front-runners batter each other into submission?

If Nova Scotia’s PCs hope to form government after the next provincial election, they would do well to pay close attention to how the coming year unfolds for their federal colleagues — and how it is already unraveling.

Click here to read “Is Tory leader wannabe John Lohr a Maxime Bernier in waiting?”

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4. Parents could take concerns to MLAs, NSTU president says

Taryn Grant at StarMetro Halifax sat down with Paul Wozney, the new president of the Nova Scotia Teachers’ Union last week to talk about his plans for the role. Wozney tells Grant parents who have concerns about education could approach their MLAs, now that the elected school boards are gone:

MLAs have always had the responsibility for public education because it’s a provincial purview. But most people, if they have concerns, typically your local school board representative (was) your best avenue to get answers. If you’re calling your MLA, I know as a teacher, if my principal got a call from an MLA about a parent complaint that would be really gross. Like, nobody called me first? But that’s what parents have been left with now.

The McNeil government announced in January it was dissolving the province’s seven school boards and creating a provincial advisory council of members appointed by the minister of education.

5. More recognition on the way for George Dixon

A portrait of legendary Africville boxer George Dixon will be unveiled Wednesday in Halifax, reports Sherri Borden Colley with the CBC: 

George Grant, a descendent of Dixon, says the portrait will help teach others about Dixon’s accomplishments:

It’s great, long overdue … because our generation (doesn’t) know that much about George Dixon.

George Dixon was the first man ever to win three world titles and the first black man to win a world championship.

6. Students work to preserve Louisbourg history from coastal erosion

This summer, students from the University of New Brunswick are working to preserve 300-year-old human remains found at the Fortress of Louisbourg, reports Alex Cooke with The Canadian Press.

The remains are at Rochefort Point, the historic main burial ground for the Fortress. Parks Canada, which runs the national historic site in Cape Breton, partnered with the students on the project. Parks Canada spokesperson David Ebert says Rochefort Point is about half its original size because of coastal erosion in the area.

As we face climate change and we have bigger storms that have gotten more energy, that can accelerate the erosion problem. But we think that doing this type of work before it’s an imminent threat, while it’s still a lower level threat, we can do this in a respectful manner.

For thousands of years, people across our region have lived their lives along the coast. We’ll see more of our history at risk because of rising sea levels.

7. Zombies suck the brains out of downtown Halifax

Dozens of zombies took over downtown Halifax on Sunday during the 11th edition of the annual Halifax Zombie Walk, reports Emily Baron Cadlof with CTV.

These are generic zombies, not Halifax zombies.


Views

1.  Too much focus on immigration at immigration museum, columnist says

Gord Henderson, a columnist with The Windsor Star, was in Halifax last week and expresses his disappointment with the Canadian Immigration Museum at Pier 21. Henderson says he was especially frustrated with the museum’s focus on immigration. He wanted to learn more about Pier 21’s wartime role. Pier 21 was where Canadian troops, including his late father, embarked ships heading to battle in Europe:

And the tribute to the half million who went overseas during the Second World War? Oh yeah. That can be found in a small harbour front room next to the coat check. I get it. Most of Canada’s Second World War veterans are gone and those who loved them are headed for the exits. It’s much smarter politically, especially for the Justin Trudeau government’s agenda, to focus on those peace-loving folks who arrived here in huge numbers and helped build today’s Canada.

A Canadian immigration museum focusing on immigration to Canada? Imagine that!

Henderson also takes issue with the museum staff, who he says told him the ocean liner Queen Elizabeth was built in 1946. The Cunard ship was launched in 1938 and refitted as a troop carrier. The ship had her maiden voyage as an ocean liner in 1946.

Otherwise, Henderson thinks Halifax is “delightful.”


Noticed

This past May, I decided to write full time. It’s a big step, but one I’m glad I took and frees me to pursue other opportunities, such as going back to school, which have been on my mind for some time. On occasion, I check online job sites for interesting contract opportunities. What I’ve noticed with many jobs are the terrible wages being offered by employers in Nova Scotia. It’s not unusual for employers to require candidates have a degree and a long list of qualifications and certifications. But these employers are paying less than $15/hour, and often about $12/hour. According to Living Wage Canada, the living wage in Halifax is $19.17.

I made this kind of money when I first started working in Halifax after I returned from Toronto. At my first media contract in Halifax, I made $9/hour, which was minimum wage at the time.  I always had to work at least one other job to pay the bills. I eventually made more money, but those first years were tough, exhausting, and often lean.

No wonder young people leave for better jobs and wages elsewhere. I also want to know how many degrees the better paid leaders in these organizations have.

Two other things I notice. Young people aren’t staying in jobs for long periods of time. Traditional career advice often suggested staying in a job for at least two years, so future employers won’t judge you as a job hopper. I don’t think this matters anymore. Job seekers are going where the money is.

And younger people are starting more businesses. Maybe they figure if they’re going to make terrible money, it will be as their own boss. I hope they’re making more than $12/hour. But good for them and we should support them. I think a lot of these businesses add to the cultural landscape of the city, as well.

I know employees just starting out are willing to pay their dues, but they also need to pay their bills. Nova Scotia employers, show them the money.


Government

City

No public meetings this week.

Province

Monday

No public meetings today.

Tuesday

Human Resources (Tuesday, 10am, One Government Place) — no agenda has been posted.


On campus

No public events today or Tuesday.


In the harbour

There are no ships on the Canadian Shield.


Footnotes

I’m off for a snack and a nap.

Suzanne Rent

Suzanne Rent is a writer, editor, and researcher. You can follow her on Twitter @Suzanne_Rent

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  1. ” It aimed to create a regionally and ‘racially’ balanced force of unmarried volunteers aged between twenty and thirty-five, based on the existing militia organisation, with “its war outfit adapted to meet the requirements of active service in a civilized country in a temperate climate.”
    see page 8 footnote: https://scholars.wlu.ca/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?referer=https://www.google.ca/&httpsredir=1&article=1753&context=cmh

    ” The infamous mobilisation telegram sent on 14 August 1914 by Hughes to all officers commanding militia divisions and districts stipulated that ‘no married man will be authorised to proceed to Valcartier without the written consent of his wife.’ This requirement remained in place until 13 August 1915.”
    see page 34 same publication as above