1. COVID update: 745 new cases, 48 in hospital

a man getting a COVID-19 vaccine
An immunizer gives a COVID-19 booster shot at a clinic at the Halifax Forum on January 6, the first day of mass immunization clinics for booster shots. Photo: Communications Nova Scotia

Looking at the number 745 seems like a relief after a few days of new case counts over 1,000.

Tim Bousquet has the COVID update here.

Public Health estimates there are  6,636, although as Bousquet writes we know there are many more positive cases out there. Here’s the new case breakdown by Nova Scotia Health Zone.

• 459 Central
• 128 Eastern
• 95 Western
• 63 Northern

There are 48 people in hospital and nine of those patients are in ICU.

There’s also a new hospital outbreak at Inverness Consolidated Memorial Hospital. Fewer than five patients tested positive there. And here are the details on the ongoing outbreaks at other hospitals:

• Halifax Infirmary — four new cases, for a total of 16 patients
• New Waterford — six new cases, for total of 11 patients
• Victoria General — one new case, with a total of fewer than five patients

Click here to read Bousquet’s full update.

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2. Accused of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl and later fathering her child, former Halifax cop Brian Johnston is expected to resign as pastor of Zion Baptist Church in Truro

Brian Johnston as a new recruit to the Dartmouth Police in 1980. — Photo: Halifax Archives

Matthew Byard had this story about Brian Johnston who is expected to step down as Pastor of Zion Baptist Church in Truro after the Halifax Examiner reported on a pending lawsuit against the Halifax Regional Police in which he is implicated. Byard writes:

Contacted by the Examiner, Johnston declined to comment on the allegations in the lawsuit.

The lawsuit alleges that in the early 1990s Johnston, then a police officer with the former Dartmouth Police Department, forced a 13-year-old girl to perform oral sex on him while he was on duty in a police vehicle. At the time, the girl was living in Sullivan House, a group home for sexually exploited youth.

In court documents, the girl is identified by the initials X.Y.

The lawsuit alleges that about a year after being sexually assaulted by Johnston, X.Y. was sexually assaulted by another police officer, Wade Marriott, of the RCMP. The Examiner has yet to uncover any present-day information on Marriott.

In or around 2005, X.Y., then an adult, was still in contact with the Juvenile Task Force. The suit alleges that when X.Y.’s main contact retired, Johnston, who was then both a detective with the Halifax Regional Police and pastor at Zion Baptist, became her main contact.

The suit alleges that as X.Y.’s and Johnston’s relationship “escalated,” Johnston “began coercing the Plaintiff to engage in further sexual activities with him, including sexual intercourse,” often while he was on duty.

X.Y. alleges that in 2006 she became pregnant and that Johnston is the biological father of her child.

The Examiner is investigating a number of angles of this story. If you know anything, please get in touch with us.

You can click here to read Byard’s story.

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3. Fireworks

Fireworks against a night sky
Photo: Elisha Terada/Unsplash

Aly Thomson at CBC reports on the renewed discussion about fireworks after a horse at a farm in Canning was spooked by fireworks on New Year’s Eve and had to be euthanized after suffering a compound fracture after running away.

Pam Levy, a horse owner in Middle Musquodoboit, started a petition and a Facebook group in response to the loss of that horse. Levy told Thomson she spent hours on New Year’s Eve trying to keep her own horses calm as fireworks went off in the community.

I think something just snapped at that point with me and I was so angry that this was all happening.

In that petition, Levy said, she is pushing for a complete ban on fireworks, but knows not everyone will buy into that. She said she’d like to see more education around the negative consequences of fireworks. As she told Thomson:

Hopefully the end result would be just for people to kind of have a look at why as a culture, we feel like it’s OK to put people and animals at risk.

Along with hoping that there would be some sort of way to police this, we would also hope it would cause people just to stop and think that maybe there’s something a little bit more important than setting off their fireworks.

I live in Fairview and people here love their fireworks. On any given night, for any reason, someone will set off fireworks. It could be a Monday at 7pm. On New Year’s Eve, the fireworks started here at 6pm and went on until the wee hours of the morning. I expect fireworks on New Year’s Eve, but not for hours on end.

There was a pretty heated discussion about the fireworks on the community Facebook page after someone posted this: “Really fireworks at 5:30. You loser have nothing better to do. I get last night everyone was celebrating the new year. Fireworks every night is not necessary. Please grow up.”

The replies range from “someone just enjoying life” to those reminding others that fireworks make people and pets scared and anxious.

I’d say a lot people are not anti-fireworks. They are okay with fireworks at the right place and right time. But it seems too many other people don’t know where and when that is.

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4. IWK top doc more concerned about flu, RSV than COVID in kids

A sign outside the IWK Health Centre shows the direction of the children's emergency department and the children's building.
Signage outside the IWK Health Centre in July, 2021. Photo: Yvette d’Entremont

Elizabeth McMillan at CBC interviewed Dr. Andrew Lynk, who is the head of pediatrics at the IWK Health Centre, and said there have been “few very” children in hospital at the IWK or elsewhere in the province because of COVID-19. Lynk tells McMillan he’s more concerned about risk the flu and other common viruses pose for kids. McMillan writes:  

During his recent shifts at the children’s hospital in Halifax, he said there were two children, one of whom was very young, admitted for a few days.  

“The ones that we have admitted have been mild and brief for the most part. It’s not to say that a child with certain high-risk factors couldn’t get quite sick from it, but we’re certainly not seeing that,” Lynk said.  

He said some children contracted COVID-19 in the community and screened positive while visiting the hospital for unrelated appointments, but there has been no spread. 

Lynk told CBC he and colleagues from across the country met this week and they’re seeing a “slight uptick” in the number of children being admitted to hospital because of COVID-19, most cases, including those with Omicron, can be managed at home.  

McMillan continues: 

By comparison, he said 100 to 200 children — including infants — are admitted every year after becoming sick with RSV, a highly contagious respiratory virus that is particularly dangerous to babies. It’s most common in the winter months and can lead to bronchiolitis, a potentially serious lung infection. 

On top of those cases, some of which end up in intensive care, Lynk said there are about 70 children admitted to the IWK with influenza.  

“About 10 of those will regularly end up in the ICU and occasionally we lose a child from the flu every year. We’re not seeing anything like that with COVID,” he said. “Compared to RSV and flu in children, COVID is certainly very mild.” 

Lynk had advice for parents, including getting their children vaccinated, having them wear three-ply cloth or medical masks, and teaching them proper hand washing techniques.  

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What marketing, advertising, and social media get wrong about most women’s lives

a collection of 19 photos showing women running or standing with their arms outstretched in a field or pasture. Only one is Black, and most of the others have long wavy hair. Some are wearing funky hats and billowy dresses. One is wearing a tutu and toe shoes, for pete's sake.
Are you woman who has spun in a field while wearing a dress?

Last week I was searching for some stock photos for a project I’m working on and couldn’t help but notice all the photos of women spinning in fields. I thought to myself, “I can’t recall a time I spun in a field.” Sure, I was horseback riding in a field in November. And in September I was helping a farmer pick beans in a field. But there was no spinning. And there was certainly no flowing hair or dress.

All of these unrealistic photos got me thinking: How else are women depicted in marketing, advertising, and social media? What other unrealistic and inaccurate depictions of how we live our lives are out there? So, I put a call out to the Women of Twitter and asked them, “Tell me, what does advertising, marketing, and social media say about women’s lives that is absolutely NOT accurate, at least in your life. I have some thoughts, but I am curious to know yours.”

And here’s a roundup of some of what the Women of Twitter shared (I used names and/or Twitter handles in the responses:)

All women love pink

Two photos. Pink letters on a wall read "Pink vibes only". Someone has scrawled on a wet sand beach "Good vibes only."
Pink or good. Take your pick. Photos: Unsplash

Sarah White said this: “That we need special pink everything, and because they’re special and pink we should pay more. Especially razors.”

If you’re a woman, you know that many items marketed to us come in pink. But as White pointed out, pink items often come with a higher price tag for items similar to those sold to men. Yes, like razors. This is known as gender-based pricing or a “pink tax.” Here’s what Healthline wrote about the pink tax, which isn’t a tax at all:

It’s an “income-generating scenario for private companies who found a way to make their product look either more directed to or more appropriate for the population and saw that as a moneymaker,” explains Jennifer Weiss-Wolf, a lawyer, vice president for the Brennan School of Justice at NYU School of Law, and co-founder of Period Equity.

“I think the motivations around the pink tax come more explicitly from a classic capitalist stance: If you can make money off of it, you should,” she continues.

Yet pink tax is not a new phenomenon. Over the past 20 years, California, Connecticut, Florida, and South Dakota have released reports on gender pricing in their states. In 2010, Consumer Reports highlighted the matter nationally with a study that found, at the time, women paid as much as 50 percent more than men did for similar products.

The issue was delineated more finely in 2015 when the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs released a report about price disparities for 794 comparable products from 91 brands sold throughout the city.

The report examined five different industries, such as personal care products or senior/home healthcare products. These encompassed 35 product categories, such as bodywash or shampoo. In every single of those five industries, consumer goods marketed to women and girls cost more. The same was the case in all but five of the 35 product categories.

Researchers looked at 106 products in the toys and accessories category and found that, on average, those intended for girls were priced 7 percent higher.

The most egregious upcharges, however, were among personal care products.

For example, a five-pack of Schick Hydro cartridges in purple packaging cost $18.49, while the same count of Schick Hydro refills in blue packaging cost $14.99.

Women like all sorts of colours and we don’t like being charged more for similar products men get for less.

All women want children

@AnnTeefa1 said this about that: “You’re not a “real” woman until you’ve given birth. Long ago, I got engaged and posted it on FB. IMMEDIATELY, the targeted ads I started seeing on that platform were for diapers & baby clothes. I’m child free by choice & hate having this narrative driven down my throat.

Ellen @all_about_ellen had this to say: “As someone child free by choice, it’s the positive pregnancy test celebration for me. I would not be celebrating.”

@MsLibby replied with this: “Or that you’re only truly fulfilled in life if you have a child.”

Darlene MacNevin wrote: “I have never once taken a pregnancy test hoping for it to be positive.”

To which @SarahJMWood replied: “I wish they’d have ads with women excited for a negative test.”

The pressure for women to have children is pretty intense. There are STILL news stories out there in which women have to explain why they don’t want children. And when they choose not to have children, the reasons are no one’s business.

Lady Negative said all sort of other expectations happen when you have a kid: “The expectation I guess that immediately after giving birth, you are to lose the weight gain from it, that multitasking is just so easy, make up/hair “goals”, pink everything, etc etc etc.”

Here’s what Sarah O’Toole said about those expectations for mothers from marketing and social media: “That my children unfailingly listen and cooperate with my every command cheerfully called out to them while I prepare and serve a six course meal which everyone joyfully tucks into!”

All women have spotless homes and white furniture, even when they have children and pets

Two photos of things that supposedly make women ecstatic: Dancing on the beach, and a pristine white kitchen.
She’s dancing with joy because she has a pristine white kitchen to go home to. Photos: Unsplash

This makes no sense to me and is terribly impractical. I have a kid and two cats who wreck my stuff. There is no way I am getting a white sofa. I have been coveting a blue velvet sofa I saw and I am waffling on that decision because, you know, cats and a kid. Honestly, my senior cat pooped on the floor as I was writing this Morning File. I will not be getting any white furniture.

But a lot of advertising thinks women just love cleaning up after everyone and keeping our homes pristine.

Here’s what Rosemary @hiking60 said about this: “Marketing would have us believe that women are always ecstatic while doing housework, grocery shopping and during every moment of parenting. Your happiest moments are when your kid spills something all over the place.”

Sherry Osbourne had this to add: “It seems to think that I drink way more frou-frou coffees on my white couch with a perfectly aligned coffee table.”

Janice Babineau shared: “All white furniture and a pristine clean kitchen. Why and how?!”

And Mary Dixon responded with: “especially when you own a large and adorable golden retriever…”

And Dr. Erin MacLean said: “Working from home means a tray with a laptop, a beautiful coffee in a beautiful mug on a lovely couch with a pink cashmere throw beside a window with a view.”

If your house is a mess now, that’s okay! Neovagina Evangelion takes umbrage at the idea: “that we can’t have rooms with our clothes on the floor, our cars can’t be a mess, our walls not riddled w artist alley prints, no open pizza boxes.”


All women laugh when they’re eating salads

Three photos of women, two white and one Black, laughing delightedly with their heads thrown back while they eat salad. Or maybe they're choking.
Are they laughing or choking? Photo: The Daily Banter (original source unknown)

I never thought about this, but a few women mentioned it. Katerr wrote: “It really overestimates how much I enjoy salad and bowel-regulating yogurt.”

Amanda Graham said: “I don’t laugh when I see salad. Why is this still all over the internet?”

And Michelle McCann said, “I’ve never, ever smiled at a salad.”

We don’t smile at salads. We may like salads, but please put some good ingredients in them.

All women are on a diet or want to be on a diet

Three photos. An empty plate with a sad face drawn on it, on a pink table. A sad black dog looking at a olate of sweets. An avocado on a pink table with a measureing tape 9also with pink numbers) wrapped around it.
Sad, plate, sad doggy, and a sad avocado that worries about its fat content. Photos: Pinterest

Sandra Currie-Samson tweeted this in response to my question: “Starving yourself on a lifestyle diet eating food you can’t afford or tastes like dirt will make all your dreams come true. Blech.”

And @AnnaHalifax wrote: “That women are ‘better’ at multitasking, that exercise is for the purpose of losing weight, and that we should feel guilty for eating ‘bad’ foods.

That brings me to all the fad diets and wellness products sold to women like detoxes and cleanses. Apparently, the wellness industry thinks women don’t have livers or kidneys to do the detoxing for them. We all know how damaging these wellness scams and fad diets can be for women’s self-esteem and their health. I am all for nutrition and exercise, but much of this wellness stuff is dangerous and a waste of money.

All women menstruate and have fun when they’re on their periods

Here’s what @milapolitical had to say about this: “I keep getting ads for menstrual products cause the assumption is that all women menstruate.”

Of course they don’t, and for all sorts of reasons that aren’t anyone else’s business.

Katie O added this: “That having your period is fun! *Cue the jump in the lake with a white bathing suit on.”

This was from Melanie Kennedy: “I’ve never once gotten my period and thought, “Damn, I have to go horseback riding immediately.”

From Melted Snow Girl: “Go spin in a field whilst wearing a white dress, then go horseback riding! All white women LOVE that esp while experiencing debilitating cramps and gushing blood from our nethers.”

And from Michelle Helliwell: “Being on my period has never made we want to do cartwheels on a beach, wear white pants and skip through a field or do anything that [doesn’t] involve Advil and chocolate and savoring my salty mood.”

Sarah Kate Marsh said this: “That no one told us there are different strengths of tampon? I’m sure a roomful of men thought that one was GENIUS…”

And from Krista Rose: “Some marketing genius’ answer to “there’s not enough real conversation about menstruation”. Head. Desk.”

From Angela: “The commercials for feminine hygiene products really goes over the top to make us think we are super heros. That’s the last thing I want to hear when it’s that time of the month!”

From @SarahMJWood: “Also why is the liquid always blue (in North America). Can we show red liquid?”

All woman want to look a certain way (see very feminine)

This was a popular comment too. Here are some of the replies I got:

From Vickie Gray: “That I have kids. That I have long hair. That I wear makeup. That I socialize with other women and care what they think of my clothing. That I care what men think of my clothing. That if all of the above is not true, I must not be hetero.”

Krista Rose: “That my fingernails are always long and polished and my hands are super soft despite all the housework I do.”

Mrs. Thomas: “Social media tells me that I must pay to do yoga, that I want to be a yoga coach, or yoga therapist. And that I need to wear clothes for the older woman.”

@mdlepoole: “That my skin looks old/needs repair since I turned 30 (currently much older than 30)”

From @lynesworld: “That I need to have fake eyelashes and contour the hell out of my face to look younger and beautiful.”

From Carol Moore: “Jeans/pants mostly come in styles that have a slimming panel and butt shaper/ lifter!! Omg who cares?”

Canadian Sadie wrote this: “That “women of worth” wear only high heels (or Keds with jeans and a blazer). Because stilettos are a viable method of transportation when you have to walk 20 blocks to work.”

From Keri Hardman: “That I have unlimited time, interest, and funds to spend on unrealistic hair styles and makeup. Nope. Nope. Nope.”

Yvonne shared this bit: “That the wrinkle cream being used on the 19 year old model will convince me to rush right out and buy it.”

And women are told we should look a certain way even when we’re doing things that require a more practical outfit. Here’s what Dr. Ardath Whynacht said: “That you are supposed to elegantly wade into a still lake (or the ocean) when you get a new dress and then stand there, contemplatively (or frolic in the surf if you are at a beach). Or leap across a dock at the cottage, smiling, while wearing Keds (or similar) shoe with no socks. It’s like sliding your foot into a cheese grater. No one does that.”


We all know who we’re supposed to look nice for. As Maureen McCarthy wrote: “That my value is measured in how attractive I might be to any and all random men.”

All women marry schlubs who can’t take care of themselves

Four insulting memes about husbands and marriage. One says "I'm not sure which is harder to raise, hunbands or kids." One makes a joke about self medicating and shopping to fill a loveless marriage. One shows a bride kicking the groom into a lake and says "Some marriages don't last long." The fourth shows a man with a pained expression because he had to stay at home alone with the kids for an hour.

Susan Jerrott shared this bit of wisdom: “I hate when media implies that all women marry incompetent men and just smile and roll their eyes while picking up the slack. Not my experience, nor the experience of my close friends.”

I read a couple of essays about this over the holiday break. First, there was this essay by Heather Havrilesky in the New York Times. The headline read “Why marriage requires amnesia: Do I hate my husband. Oh for sure, yes, definitely.” In the story, Havrilesky writes about a trip she took with her family and how she had to manage every aspect of it, from the planning to making sure everyone, including her husband, was in a good mood.

And secondly, there was this essay in The Atlantic by Honor Jones who wrote about leaving her husband after caring for him and their children for years.

Jill Filipovic had a lot to say about both of those essays in her essay called “The straights are not okay,” which includes her thoughts on the “dispatches from the confines of heterosexual marriage,” as the subhead said. Like Jerrott, Filipovic married a supportive partner. But many women still face the expectations their mothers and grandmothers did and find themselves doing all the work. But it doesn’t have to be that way She writes:

And a really great marriage to a really great partner can also avoid so many of these pitfalls, but it doesn’t happen by accident. Just about everyone on the planet wants to feel as though their life has a purpose, that they are loved and valued, that they are safe and secure, and that they are capable of reaching their potential. Doing the work of cultivating purpose, forging deep and loving human connections, providing for yourself, and rising to challenges before you seek out what you hope will be a lifelong partnership will put you on much more solid ground, and hopefully allow you to walk shoulder-to-shoulder in a partnership. Don’t marry anyone who doesn’t have a proven track record of loving you well, embracing the other people who love you, pushing you to reach your potential, and establishing themselves as a warm home open to you, no matter where in the world you are.

All women drink wine to cope with life

3 images. Two women hold cans of rose wine called "She Can", which comes in cans and is drunk with straws. An old advertising image of a smiling blonde woman from the 40s with a glass of wine, who says "The people who make screw-top wine bottles are the real heroes." A woman's hand reaching for a pink cocktail on a pink background.
Oh, come on. Women own corkscrews too, you know. Photos: Pinterest

You probably have seen the memes circulating on your social media implying women need wine to cope with their lives.

@SarahMJWood wrote: “Ads and tv shows … make it seem like women are always in groups and always drinking wine.”

And Melanie Kennedy said this: “And the most damaging, imo, is that the only way I can cope with my life is through drinking wine.”

I agree the wine mommy culture can be incredibly damaging. It really shouldn’t be marketed as a way for women to cope. Women want better supports like child care and better wages.

All women disappear and are irrelevant as they get older

Images from Pinterest of makeup and fashion tips for women over 40, also known as "older women."

This one came up A LOT.

Michelle Hebert wrote: “That I ceased to exist once I hit 40, unless it’s because of incontinence or to be told what I should absolutely never wear as an “older” (ie, > 35) woman.”

@NSAmyAnderson wrote: “That you have to feel worse about yourself as you age….”

Kristin Welbourn said: “That at 55 I am no longer a sexual being. That I must take on the role of a wise but silent person.”

And Colleen O’Dea replied with, “I’m neither wise or silent! :)” (She is quite funny, though)

@ErynWhy wrote: “That aging is shameful and its effects should be avoided at all cost. Fuck that noise – my laugh lines are gorgeous and I want more silver hairs!!!”

And there was this from Barbara Pottie Holmes: “Thinking that “anti-aging” anything interests me. I’m quite keen on continuing to age, all the while looking like myself – just older.”

I am 51 and just feel like life is really getting good! A lot of women feel the same, despite what the ads say.

All women want candles that smell like Gwyneth Paltrow’s vagina

Gwyneth Paltrow, wearing white, in front of her vagina wall, which has concentric layers of pale pink, medium pink, and red roses. Superimposed on this is a phot of her candle labelled "This smells like my vagina".
Someone should tell Gwyneth it’s sexy to stand up straight. Photo: everywhere

This one was shared by Corrine Cash and may need some explaining. Here’s what she wrote: “That we want to own a candle that smells like Gwenyth Paltrow’s vagina.”

If you don’t know, Gwyneth Paltrow has a wellness website called goop where she sells all sorts of nonsense products like jade eggs you put in your vagina for reasons I don’t understand. And yes, she sells candles that smell like her vagina. They also cost $99! EACH! What does the penis candle smell like?

I don’t want to know, but it’s probably cheaper.

@SarahMJWood said this: “There are a lot of ads and products that are supposed to make women think their vaginas should smell like flowers, or summer, or a breeze rather than accepting or learning what a normal body scent is. You don’t see the same marketing aimed at the scent of sweaty balls.”

Paltrow isn’t the only one selling this stuff to women. In my Twitter thread, Musically Inclined said, “That women’s “stinky crevices” need a lot of attention… there’s a new ad on cable TV for a special new deodorant called Lume (loomey) and I couldn’t believe my ears…”

This Lume is almost $60 a tube.

All women talk nonsense language

Four pink neon signs, lit up. The first one reads "and breathe." The second reads "life is beautiful." The third says "live colorfully." The fourth says "I want it all."
You can have a beautiful life, as long as you remember to breathe, live colorfully, and want it in pink neon. Photos: Unsplash and Pinterest

Okay, this is my personal beef of marketing and social media: that women speak in nonsense language about our souls and authentic selves and that we call ourselves superwomen, supermoms, and girl bosses who love pink and glitter and want to tattoo inspirational quotes like “just breathe” on our bodies.

I wrote about this before in a Morning File called Bullshit and Bafflegab. I only ever hear coaches, wellness marketers, and self-help gurus speak like this. In reality, we talk in plain language — and often use bad words. All of this nonsense language is meant to make marketers and “experts” sound smarter than they are. Women aren’t buying it.

And finally …

All women want to have it all

A photo of a blonde white woman with wavy hair, sitting on a sofa with her dog. She's got a white fur cushion that matches her dog. She's got a reflective glass coffee table with pale pink lit candles and a white ceramic pineapple. She's wearing a pale pink handknit sweater and tight black jeans with holes in the knees.
She’s obviously got it all. She’s got a cushy sofa, and a white fur cushion that matches her fluffy white dog. She’s got a reflective glass coffee table with pale pink lit candles and a white ceramic pineapple. She’s got porn star waves in her dyed blonde hair. She’s got a pale pink handknit sweater. Too bad she hasn’t got jeans without holes in the knees.

Women have been trying to live up to the “have it all” philosophy for years. And it sucks. Iris the Amazing put it best when she wrote this: “That we can have it all. I don’t want it all, that’s why I make choices. And where would I put it anyway?”

Michelle McDuff responded: “I’d have to clean it!”

No one can have it all. Men don’t have it all and no one expects them to. We can have it pretty good and that looks different for every women. And many women can have it better with the right supports. But no one can have it all and that’s okay.

This was a fun piece to write. Women are different and have different goals, lives, ideas, families, likes, and wants. You’d never know it based on what people and companies try to sell us. And marketing, advertising, and social media leave out so many women, including Black women, women of colour, trans women, single women, and older women.

Oh, a big thank you to Iris for digging up all of the photos and making them into fun collages!

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A man with a horse on a lead rope stands next to a roadway. The horse is eating grass while the man smiles for the camera.
Angel and Robin Clayton. Photo: Eastern Shore Cooperator/Facebook

Residents of East Petpeswick Road and Musquodoboit Harbour on the Eastern Shore started this petition in support of their neighbour, Robin Clayton, who is at risk of losing his rescue horse, Angel. It turns out, someone in the area filed a complaint about Clayton and now he may have to find a new place for her to live. The petition says, “Most residents of this community are greatly saddened by the news that there is a possible chance that Mr. Clayton may be forced to remove Angel from his property, and from our community.” As of writing this Morning File, more than 3,000 people have signed the petition.

Richard Bell with the Eastern Shore Cooperator first reported on the story and the petition here. Clayton told Bell he had horses for 30 years and got Angel in 2015, building a small barn for her and letting her graze on the lawn. Since then, Angel has become a beloved member of the community. I mean, look at her!

But all the trouble began on December 3, when Trevor Oliver, a compliance officer with HRM’s department of Buildings and Compliance, paid Clayton a visit. Someone in the area had complained about the state of Clayton’s property, although Clayton said no mention of Angel was made when Oliver first showed up. AS Bell writes in the Cooperator:

After Oliver inspected the buildings, he issued three separate “Municipal Compliance” Orders, all dealing with “lack of exterior maintenance” under HRM Charter, Part XV Respecting Dangerous or Unsightly Premises.” Clayton says he had no problem with making the necessary repairs, and Oliver’s orders gave Clayton until June to finish most of the repairs.
But on his way out, Oliver surprised Clayton by telling him that the locations of Angel’s corral and barn were in violation of a specific HRM bylaw, and that he was going to have to move the horse. Writing the dimensions on his business card, Oliver said the bylaw required the corral and the barn to be at least 50 feet from the side lot line, at least 300 feet from the wells of the houses on either side of his property, and at least 300 feet from Petpeswick Inlet. But Oliver did not issue a formal compliance order.
Oliver came back the following week to see if Clayton had completed the maintenance on his doorstep. “He told me I hadn’t got rid of the horse yet, and that he was going back to do the paperwork,” Clayton said.
Bell outlines the details around the zoning problem. He writes:
Clayton’s house is within a Fishing Village Zone (FV) that was designed to preserve and protect the fishing communities within HRM. Like all forms of zoning, however, it is always possible that the city would be willing to make an exception.
Under the FV regulations (section 9 of the bylaws), properties must still comply with section 7.10 of the bylaws, which reads as follows:
An HRM bylaw that says: Notwithstanding the provisions of Section 7.2, where an agricultural use is permitted in any R-6 Zone, and where any barn, stable or other building intended for the keeping of domestic fowl or other animals is to be erected, no structure shall: (a) Be less than fifty (50) feet (15.2 m) from any side lot line; (b) Be less than three hundred (300) feet (91.4 m) from any residential dwelling or potable water supply except a dwelling or water supply on the same lot or directly related to the agricultural use; and (c) Be less than three hundred (300) feet (91.4 m) from any water course or waterbody

Bell continues:

Clayton’s barn is less than fifty feet from a side lot line. It is unclear at this point whether the barn is more than 300 feet from “any residential dwelling or potable water supply” on the two abutting lots. And the barn is also less than 300 feet from Petpeswick Inlet.

Clayton was on Information Morning on Thursday telling host Portia Clark about Angel and the whole situation around the complaint. Clayton’s story about first meeting Angel, who is a 14-year-old Tennessee Walker, and then bringing her to his home after she was rescued from a kill pen is so tragic and sweet. Clayton said he was surprised by all the community support and said his neighbours love Angel. They often drive by when Clayton’s out riding or walking Angel and when they roll down their car windows and Angel will poke her head in looking for apples or carrots.

Clayton also told Clark he’s done some work on his property since Oliver’s visit, but doesn’t know what will happen with Angel if he can’t keep her.

That is still up in the air. I guess if I had to I could maybe board her somewhere, but that is pretty expensive. A lot more than having her at your own home.

Clark told listeners they contacted the HRM to get a response about Angel and the bylaws, but hadn’t heard back by the time Clayton was on the air. I reached out to them, too. In an email, spokesperson Brynn Budden said, “The information from compliance is currently under review by staff, and a determination has yet to be made.”

I am rooting for Clayton and Angel and I hope to see them riding on the East Petpeswick Road in peace.

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No meetings

On campus

No events

In the harbour

07:00: Oceanex Connaigra, ro-ro container, moves from anchorage to Pier 41
13:00: NYK Constellation, container ship, sails from Fairview Cove for Port Everglades, Florida
13:00: Lagrafoss, container ship, arrives at Pier 42 from Portland
17:00: Oceanex Connaigra sails for St. John’s
Midnight: Lagrafoss sails for Reykjavik, Iceland

Cape Breton
07:00: Nordic Thunder, oil tanker, sails from Point Tupper for sea
12:00: Mia Desgagnes, oil tanker, sails from Government Wharf (Sydney) for sea


Everyone was talking sauerkraut this week after learning Lunenburg-based M.A. Hatt and Son Ltd would no longer produce its Tancook brand. I LOVE sauerkraut. On Twitter, Michelle McCann started this thread asking others who had eaten and loved sauerkraut. Lots of Nova Scotians hadn’t tried it or even heard of the Tancook brand. As kids, we ate it with hotdogs and a side of mashed potatoes.

But there are lots of Nova Scotia delicacies I didn’t know about for years. Take Hodge Podge. I didn’t learn about this until I was in my 20s. And when I tried it, I wasn’t a fan. I’m also not a fan of boiled dinner, which we had all the time as kids. I don’t like donairs either.

Give me sauerkraut any day.

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

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  1. How much of the story about Robin Clayton and Angel is about gentrification ? And what is the point of shiny homes and manicured lawns if there is no warm and loving heart within them… “Old Nova Scotia” may appear forlorn and tattered to some, but it often holds the kindest hearts of people living gently.

    They deserve to be here as much as the rest of us, and in many cases we might all learn something from them. How something ‘appears’ is not necessarily how it ‘is.’ The shiny and new are not going to have a lot of value in the bleak future we are all facing. But love will mean everything.

  2. Hi Suzanne,

    Yes what is with the constant fireworks in Fairview? We live on the peninsula off Windsor St and on a bit of a hill overlooking Fairview. NYE was constant! And during the summer too. So aggravating.
    Fireworks dont bother our dog (she just barks at them or ignores them), but we have friends whose dog is absolutely terrified.
    Signing the petition now!

  3. My daughter, who lives in London UK, is picking up her first puppy today – a Welsh corgi she is naming Hodgepodge. It reminds her of home. We used to call it hotchpotch in Scotland, which is the same thing.