NEWS

1. St Barbara shedding its Nova Scotia gold mine

Aerial view of a deep open pit at the Moose River gold mine with gravel roads spiralling down to the depths that are filled with turquoise coloured liquid, treed landscape in the foreground, and the grey waste rock hill in the upper right.
One of St Barbara’s “non-core” assets is its Touquoy open pit gold mine in Moose River, Nova Scotia. Credit: Raymond Plourde / Ecology Action Centre

With the stroke of a corporate pen, Australia’s St Barbara Ltd intends to shed its troubled gold mines and mine properties — including those in Nova Scotia operated by its subsidiary Atlantic Mining Nova Scotia — by handing them off to a new junior mining company it will create,” writes Joan Baxter.

The new company will be called Phoenician Metals, and it will inherit what St Barbara calls its “non-core assets.”

These include its gold mine in Papua New Guinea and its Atlantic Mining Nova Scotia operations in Nova Scotia, including the Touquoy open pit gold mine in Moose River, three more proposed mines on the Eastern Shore, numerous properties it is already selling off, and many thousands of exploration claims.

St Barbara itself plans to merge with another Australian company, Genesis Minerals, to create Hoover House, and focus on gold mining projects in the Leonora district of western Australia.

The new junior, Phoenician Metals, will be “dedicated to extracting value” from the non-core assets, says St Barbara.

Click here to read the article, which is for subscribers only. You can subscribe here.

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2. Supreme court upholds review board decision

A man wearing a blue and white checkered shirt speaks to a man in a blue suit seated to his left.
Halifax Regional Police Constables Kenneth O’Brien (left) and Brent Woodworth speak before a July 2020 sitting of the Police Review Board in Enfield. Credit: Zane Woodford

“A Nova Scotia Supreme Court justice has upheld a decision finding a Halifax Regional Police officer breached his code of conduct during a 2018 arrest,” reports Zane Woodford.

Constables Kenneth O’Brien and Brent Woodworth arrested Adam LeRue and his partner Kerry Morris in February 2018.

The officers first threatened to ticket the couple, sitting in their car with a pizza, for being in a park after hours. When LeRue refused to provide identification, the officers escalated the situation and arrested both of them. They released Morris and held LeRue overnight.

LeRue and Morris filed a complaint against the officers, alleging “systemic discrimination,” “unlawful, wrongful imprisonment, arrest, detention,” and more. The police found the officers did nothing wrong.

The couple appealed that decision to the Nova Scotia Police Review Board. As the Halifax Examiner reported in June 2021, the board found O’Brien breached the code of conduct in “stubbornly and unnecessarily exercising what he saw was his authority.” The board dismissed the complaint against Woodworth.

Hoping to have the decision overturned, O’Brien filed for a judicial review in Nova Scotia Supreme Court.

As Woodford report, the case was heard on Dec. 29 and a decision was released on Tuesday. You can click here to read about it all.

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3. Cape Breton University students struggle to find housing

Sign reading Cape Breton University
International students are a major revenue source for Cape Breton University. Image: cbu.ca

Josefa Cameron at CBC has this story about several international students at Cape Breton University who are struggling to find a new place to live after a fire destroyed their previous home and killed their roommate.

Their friend and roommate, Rajesh Kumar Gollapudi, died in the Dec. 17 fire. He was a 33-year-old business analytics CBU student who leaves behind a wife and daughter in India, according to Siddharth Balachandar, one of the students who lived with him at 222 Park Street. 

The cause of the fire is still under investigation, according to Nova Scotia’s Office of the Fire Marshal. 

CBU put the students up at the Travelodge hotel in Sydney for free until Jan. 3. They are now responsible for their own accommodations. 

Some of the students are moving in with friends who live in crowded homes, which could pose more fire safety threats. Balachandar, who also works at the Sydney Call Centre, opted to continue to stay in the Travelodge with a friend, which he says is more costly, but safer. 

“After this incident, we don’t want to risk any of [those] sorts of accommodations and we don’t want to go to a crowded place again,” he said in an interview with CBC.

Balachandar told CBC even more international students have arrived since the fire and are starting the winter semester at the school. In an open letter, CBU said it’s addressing the issue by capping enrolment for high-demand classes and changing application intake times.

As Cameron reports, international students at the university pay $18,915 and $19,580 in tuition, about double what Canadian students pay at $9,810.

Damanpreet Singh, president of the Cape Breton University student union, said that many international students feel they’re being exploited by the university.

“We are paying a lot of fees and we are not getting the proper environment to study here,” he said.

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4. Missing equipment kit

A dark green backpack with two silver band of fabric forming a criss-cross at the top. On the front of the bag is a badge that says EHS, Emergency Health Services, Nova Scotia.
A photo of what the missing EHS bag looks like. Credit: EHS

On Tuesday, Emergency Health Services (EHS) sent out a press release asking for the public’s help in finding an equipment kit that went missing in Lower Sackville around 3am on Jan. 2.

The kit is the size of a large carry-on suitcase and has shoulder straps. It is made of green/teal canvas with black vinyl on the bottom and has two white stripes that make an X and an EHS patch on the front.

The kit contains medication that can be harmful if used by people who are not trained healthcare professionals. If someone finds the bag, they should immediately call EHS at 1-888-346-9999, or any RCMP detachment or local police so the medication can be secured safely and returned.

EHS notes that if anyone ingests the medications, they should call 911.

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5. Accessible parking spots

The painted drawing of a person in a wheelchair on a paved parking spot.
An accessible parking spot. Credit: Jakub Pabis/Unsplash

Disability rights advocate Paul Vienneau was on CBC’s Mainstreet on Tuesday talking about people illegally parking in accessible parking spots. I missed the interview, but Emma Smith has this story with bits of Vienneau’s interview, too (You can listen to the entire segment on Mainstreet here). Smith writes:

The penalty for stopping or parking in an accessible parking zone without a permit is $100 if people pay within 60 days. Paul Vienneau wants to see that fine increased to $300.

He lives on Spring Garden Road, and said he regularly sees drivers use the few accessible spots in his neighbourhood as loading zones.

It’s especially a problem among delivery drivers with companies such as SkipTheDishes and Uber Eats, he said.

“Nobody is literally going to die immediately if people abuse the spaces. But people will give up trying to go out and live their lives because it’s like putting up a set of stairs where there was a ramp,” he told CBC Radio’s Mainstreet Halifax.

Vienneau lives on Spring Garden Road, so he sees this happening often, including when his parents come to visit. Vienneau has even approached people he sees using the parking spots illegally, so he wants clearer signs. Smith writes:

Changes to downtown parking have created less on-street parking, meaning more people are parking where they shouldn’t be, he said.

He wants to see larger and more visible accessible parking signs with the fine clearly indicated. 

“It takes away any excuse for people to do that,” he said.

As for the fines for parking in the accessible spots, CBC reached out to Skip the Dishes and Uber Eats, but didn’t hear back. A spokesperson with the Department of Public Works told CBC it encourages drivers to “respect” the proper use of the parking spaces. And HRM said it issued 52% more tickets in 2022 for drivers illegally parking in these spots than it did in 2021.

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VIEWS

We can’t manifest our way to a better life in 2023 or any other year

A piece of orange paper with the note "what you seek is seeking you" sits on another piece of pink glittery paper.
If you want to manifest a better year, there are a lot of grifters selling you lists of ways to do it. Credit: Maja II/Unsplash

We’re a few days into January and people are working hard on their New Year’s resolutions. And social media it’s making it easier to remind us what those resolutions should be and how to get there.

On Monday, Yvette d’Entremont sent an ad to me that was making the rounds on her social media accounts. It’s from Gabby Bernstein, who according to her website is a international speaker and “spiritual junkie.” It’s $37 to sign up for the challenge, although I checked on the post and it seems several people signed on and didn’t get a link after they paid the money. Here’s the ad:

An ad for a 21-day manifesting challenge. In the photo in the ad, a woman with long blonde hair, and an off-the shoulder black top, holds up her hands as if praying.
Need a challenge? Take this 21-day manifesting one for a better 2023!

I’ve written about these kinds of programs before and this one is filled with the same bullshit language like “cultivate your abundance” and “be a magnet for what you desire.” All of this list seems meaningless. What the hell does “pay attention to the driftwood” mean? Why can’t these people speak in clear, practical language with actual instructions on how to reach a goal? I guess that list wouldn’t sell as well.

Ever since d’Entremont sent me this ad, I keep getting more of Bernstein’s ads on my Facebook feed. Here’s what one says:

Manic manifesting happens when we try to control our manifestations. It leaves us feeling frantic and burned out. In this low-vibe state, we block our manifestations. 

I don’t know what that word salad means.

Now, I love making goals for myself and trying new things. Sometimes they work out, and sometimes they don’t (hello, pole dancing). I already have a few new things I’d like to try this year. And I like to hear people working on their own goals as opposed to listening to people bitching about those other people who are trying. If you tell me about something you want to do, I’ve got your back.

Still, what the hell do the instructions in this manifesting list all mean?

Bernstein isn’t the only one pushing this manifesting stuff. In early 2022, Roxie Nafousi, the “queen of manifesting,” published a book Manifest: 7 Steps to Living Your Best Life. It was a huge hit. Her seven tips are:

1. Be clear in your vision
2. Remove fear and doubt
3. Align your behavior
4. Overcome tests from the universe
5. Embrace gratitude without caveats
6. Turn envy into inspiration
7. Trust in the universe

Sounds similar like Bernstein’s list, right? Just manifest a list and you have a bestseller on your hands.

Manifesting is not new. It has other names: the law of attraction, positive thinking, and so on. There have been other books selling these concepts such as The Secret, which was published in 2006. It’s no secret this stuff has been around for a long time. Napoleon Hill published his book Think and Grow Rich in 1937. It includes, you guessed it, another list: this one is 13 steps to riches.

The self-help industry has long been full of this kind of stuff that basically says if you just have good thoughts, good things will come your way. Anna Katharina Schaffner wrote about it in Psychology Today about this history of all these self-help concepts. She writes:

There is evidence that optimistic thinking is better for us than pessimistic thinking, and that positive mindsets and attitudes can, to a certain extent, lead to more success, fewer health and relationship problems, and generally better outcomes in life. The father of positive psychology, Martin Seligman, for example, has written extensively on that topic. Seligman holds that pessimistic thinking and what he calls “learned helplessness” are responsible for various health problems, shorter life spans, worse achievements, and more catastrophes in our lives—in that expecting them to happen can become self-fulfilling. [i] The benefits of visualizing positive aims and us achieving our desired outcomes in our mind, too, have been extensively researched.

However, those advocating manifesting make much more extreme claims. Often, their works rest on dubious esoteric beliefs that are allegedly based on principles from quantum physics (although no solid evidence has ever been provided to bolster these claims).

As Schnaffner writes, many of these books became popular when the world was a mess. Hill’s book was published during the Great Depression. Nafousi’s book was published during the COVID pandemic. And Bernstein’s 21-day manifesting program comes out when we’re still in that pandemic. These books, as Schnaffner writes, provide a way to daydream when everything around us is falling apart. But these concepts do more damage, too. Here’s Schnaffer again:

The problem as I see it is this: While reading these kinds of books may make us feel temporarily hopeful, perhaps even giddily expectant, reality will inevitably catch up with us. We will end up feeling worse, not better, when our promised riches fail to arrive. Not a single one of our problems will have been resolved. We will have learned nothing new about ourselves, and gained no useful insights that may help us genuinely improve. Overestimating our psychological malleability and our individual agency, and underestimating the economic and social structures in which we are embedded, moreover, comes at a cost. When things don’t work out the way we hope, we end up feeling guilt and shame.

I know people who love this kind of stuff. They manifest or draw vision boards and write their affirmations each morning. But if it works for them it’s because they’re already set up in a life that puts them in a place to “manifest” good things. They already have privilege and access to lots of good stuff. They have more than the basics of a good life. They never credit that for their success, though.

But I’ve seen people get taken in by these schemes, too. And they’re often vulnerable and looking for ways to fix their ill health, their financial issues, relationship issues, or more. They need a lot more than what these books and programs can promise. And they’re often victims of systemic failures.

While a lot of people have goals, great goals, not everyone has the same starting line. It’s easy for some to “manifest” good things than it is for others. For example, you could manifest good health for yourself, but what if you live in a food desert and have a modest income and can’t afford a gym membership or the cab fare to get to a grocery store for fresh veggies?

Privilege plays a huge part in how we can reach our goals. That goes for me, too.

But the idea of manifesting bothers me for other reasons, too. A lot of the self-help industry is marketed toward women. It’s a way to keep women “nice” and doesn’t solve any systemic issues women face. The self-help industry places the responsibility, blame, and burden solely on the woman to manifest, draw a vision board, or write affirmations of what she wants instead of fighting for and demanding things like equal pay, access to child care, and an end to sexual discrimination and harassment from larger systems. And it pushes women to manifest to “have it all:” the nice big house, the big paycheque, the great guy, the perfect kids, the perfect career, and so on.

For a lot of people, manifesting sounds a lot nicer than marching the streets for what we really deserve. And a hell of a lot of people want women to be nice, to ask for things in a nice way. No doubt, someone will tell me I wasn’t very nice for even writing about all of this.

What’s really frustrating is we already know about the ways to make people’s lives better like living wage policies or, you know, providing housing for people. But those are a harder sell for too many people. They don’t sound as sexy. Can we manifest the people with the guts to do actually do these things?

On a related note, one of the few accounts on Twitter I still like to follow is that of Mallory Demille. She lives in British Columbia and in her spare time, she likes to call out wellness influencers and their suspicious marketing and scams.

This week, she shared a list of red flags we should watch out for in the wellness industry. They’re pretty good and include some of the terms Bernstein and other self-help gurus include in their own marketing. You’ve likely heard some of these before, but they keep making the rounds. Here’s her list of things in the wellness world to be suspicious of in 2023:

  • Influencers selling supplements 
  • Made-up wellness “coaching” titles 
  • Influencers convincing me I have a problem and then pitching me their “solution” 
  • “Coaches” with zero relevant credentials 
  • Fear mongering marketing 

Here’s her wellness marketing red flags for 2023, terms she says are “buzzy, but meaningless:”

  • “detox/toxins” 
  • “cleanse” 
  • “superfood” 
  • “all-natural” 
  • “immune boosting” 
  • “chemical-free” (reminder water is a chemical) 

Demille does good work. As she points out, there are even coaches for coaches now. Anyone can make a certificate and sell it to people saying they can be a coach, too. It’s all a big multi-level marketing scheme (she predicts coaching the coaches will be one of the bigger schemes for 2023, sadly). Much of what she talks about is the same kind of stuff being pitched in this manifesting program.

Demille’s lists of red flags are a far better bet to follow this year than any manifesting list you’ll find.

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NOTICED

Looking ahead 100 years from 1923

Paul Fairie, the researcher and instructor at the University of Calgary who collects old newspaper clippings and shares them on his Twitter feed, has a new collection this week. In past threads, Fairie has shared old newspaper clippings about a history on the war on Christmas, a history of kids these days are too rude, or a history of nobody wants to work anymore.

This time, Fairie shares clippings from newspapers published in 1923 where people shared their predictions on what the world would look like in 100 years, so 2023.

You can read the entire thread here, but I thought I’d share some examples.

Maybe this is why “no one wants to work anymore.” Electricity has let us down.

An old newspaper clipping that has the headline "no more hard work by 2023." Dr. Charles P. Steinmetz, the electrical expert, believes that th etime is coming when there will be no long drudgery and that people will toil not more than four hours a day, owing to the work of electricity.
He visualizes an amazing transformation in life in 2023. Every city will be a spotless town. That is to be the work of electricty, also.

Clearly that “spotless town” bit doesn’t apply to Halifax where, as Tim Bousquet wrote, Argyle Street is a filthy disgusting mess.

Up next, men will have curls and women will blacken their teeth! I don’t think that would be a good look for me.

An old newspaper clipping with the headline: We should worry.

The text says. "good night! It is now predicted that by the year 2023, only a mere stretch of a century ahead, women will probably be shaving their heads. And men will be wearing curls. Also, the maidens may pronounce it the height of style in personal primping to blacken their teeth. Won't we be pretty?

The newspaper business will be long dead:

An old newspaper clipping that says, "In a reading a forecast of 2023 when many varieties of aircraft are flying thru the heavens, we do no begin the day by reading the world's news, but by listening to it for the newspaper has gone out of business more than half a century before."

We’re going to live until we’re 300 years old! I’m still a baby at 52:

An old newspaper clipping that says, "a scientist says a century from now the average length of human life will be 300 years. Quite a change. We of today have been living that about once a month."

Still waiting for the 1000-mile-an-hour freighters:

An old newspaper clipping that says "by 2023, there'll be no mail between New York and San Francisco. Pittsburg and London concerns will record, on talking films, orders from merchants in Perking, and 1000-mile-an-hour freighters will make deliveries of goods before sunset. Watch-size radio telephones will keep everybody in communication with the ends of the earth.

You can read the whole thread here.

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Government

No meetings


On campus

No events


In the harbour

Halifax
05:00: Hyundai Faith, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from Colombo, Sri Lanka 
06:00: Rossi A. Desgagnes, chemical tanker, arrives at anchorage from
08:30: Conti Courage, container ship, arrives at Pier 41 from Valencia, Spain
09:00: AlgoNorth, oil tanker, sails from Imperial Oil for sea
14:30: Conti Courage sails for New York
15:30: Asian Dynasty, ro-ro cargo, sails from Autoport for sea
16:00: Hyundai Faith sails for New York
16:00: MSC Sariska, container ship, arrives at Pier 41 from Sines, Portugal
18:00: Puka, cargo ship, arrives at Berth TBD from Moa, Cuba
21:00: Atlantic Sail, ro-ro container, arrives at Fairview Cove from Liverpool, England

Cape Breton
15:00: Shelia Ann, bulker, sails from Coal Pier (Sydney) for sea
15:00: CSL Tacoma, bulker, moves from Sydney anchorage to Coal Pier
22:00: Front Classic, oil tanker, sails from EverWind for sea


Footnotes

I tried to manifest a chocolate bar, but I only got the semi-sweet baking chips in my cupboard.

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Suzanne Rent

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

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