1. Ottawa shooting
Haligonians Paul McLeod and Alex Boutilier, along with King’s J-school alum Kristi Smith and former Coast freelancer Justin Ling were all journalists on the scene yesterday, and did great work.
I don’t have anything else you haven’t seen elsewhere, but read the Breaking News Consumer’s Handbook. I hope Canada doesn’t go stupid.
2. Kicking a poor, sick woman
The Nova Scotia Court of Appeal has overturned a lower court’s ruling ordering the department of Community Services to pay Sally Campbell $28,376 as reimbursement for medical marijuana she purchased in good faith from the Cannabis Buyers’ Club of Canada.
Campbell receives Income Assistance and had argued that her pot purchases fell under a “special need” provision in the law. Back in 2010, Justice Gerald Moir agreed with her, and ordered the department to reimburse Campbell. As the department delayed in paying, Campbell went back to court in 2011, and Justice Suzanne Hood ordered the department to set a deadline for paying Campbell. More than two years went by and the department still refused to pay Campbell, so she went back to court in February of this year seeking a contempt order against the department. As the matter came before the court, Campbell’s application was watered down from contempt to simply seeking a demand for payment, and Justice James Chipman agreed, once again ordering the department to pay Campbell’s medical marijuana bills.
Three different judges had ruled against the department, but still it refused to pay Campbell and appealed to the Court of Appeal. And yesterday, Justices Edward Scanlan, David Farrar, and Peter Bryson ruled in the department’s favour, saying that the Cannabis Buyers’ Club of Canada was not properly registered as a medical marijuana provider, so Campbell has to pay for her own damn medicine.
That’s not a victory for the taxpayer, as preparing for three different lower court defences and one court of appeal brief, plus lawyer time for the multiple court appearances, most certainly cost far more than $28,000. But they sure showed that poor sick woman who’s boss, eh?
You can read the full decision here.
3. Solitary confinement
Andreko Jamal Crawley had previously been in “seclusion” at the Dartmouth jail for nine months, and is now on his fourth week in seclusion since disturbances at the facility last month, his family says. Crawley’s mother, Tanya Crawley, told the Chronicle Herald that her son has a history of mental illness and isn’t being properly medicated. “Locking him up in a cage is not doing any justice for him,” she said.
Increasingly, prisoner rights advocates, health professionals, and the courts are calling solitary confinement straight-up torture. It’s time to end such barbaric practices.
4. Council recap
Last night I published a recap of Tuesday’s city council meeting. That article is behind the Examiner’s pay wall and so available only to paid subscribers. To purchase a subscription, click here.
5. Peter Kelly
The Alberta Labour Relations Board has accepted a complaint from the Canadian Union of Public Employees related to a severance offer to employees by Westlock County CAO and former Halifax Mayor Peter Kelly. The ALRB, is investigating the union’s allegations that Westlock County “demonstrated ‘anti-union animus’ and has interfered with the administration of the union by offering a severance package with[out] prior discussion with the union,” the Westlock News reports.
Told of the investigation, Kelly wrote a letter to the union explaining that he never asked a lawyer if the offer was a good idea, and now that everyone’s up in arms over it, “I have suspended the offer, as it applies to CUPE employees, pending discussion and input from their union representatives.”
The fiasco has prompted former county reeve Ken Mead to consider circulating a petition to recall the entire county council, although he admits such a petition probably doesn’t have any legal authority. Weirdly, Mead’s issue is that the councillors were aware of and in on the severance offer, which he says should have been made by Kelly alone, without council knowledge.
6. Wild Kingdom
Krystol Bell was out running with her dog Fletcher last week when Fletch got caught in a coyote trap. King’s County Register reporter Wendy Elliot explores the loose laws around the placing of coyote traps, including provisions that allow trappers to set them on private property without the property owners’ permission. Fletcher is going to be OK.
Quebec Superior Court Judge Claudine Roy has issued an injunction prohibiting TransCanada from drilling near Cacouna on the St. Lawrence River during the beluga whale calving season. Belugas are endangered. “Long term monitoring of this population has shown that the area near Cacouna is used extensively by females with newborn calves,” writes Stéphane Lair of the Canadian Wildlife Health Coalition. “Consequently, this zone is considered by experts as a key area for the reproduction of this population.”
In her decision, Judge Roy stated that the ministère de l’Environnement du Québec did not respect its own legislation regarding the needs to project endangered species. Judge Roy also commented on the issue that none of the staff involved with this evaluation had sufficient expertise with marine mammals. She also highlighted the fact that the permit was given despite the Ministère de l’Environnement du Québec having not obtained scientific data from Fisheries and Oceans Canada.
1. Fear, curtailing civil liberties and calls for more war
I’m just going to skip over today’s commentary section. I’ll return tomorrow after, hopefully, everyone calms down and realizes that one crazed gunman shouldn’t force us to give up everything that’s good about this country.
Crosswalk Safety Advisory Committee (10am, City Hall)—not much going on today, but this week the city is embarking on its Heads Up Halifax campaign.
Legislature sits (2–6pm, Province House)
Wealth & Happiness (12:30pm, Lord Dalhousie Room, Henry Hicks A&A Building)—John de Graaf, of the New Economy Coalition, will talk on “Shifting from a Politics of GDP Growth to a Politics of Well-being.”
This evening, (7pm Ondaatje Auditorium, McCain building), de Graaf will deliver a more general lecture.
Open Access (4pm, Room 224, Student Union Building)—a panel discussion of the open access movement for free online publication of scholarly research. The panelists are “Julia M. Wright, Professor of English and Associate Dean Research of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, speaking from the perspective of a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council researcher; Geoff Brown, Digital Scholarship Librarian with the Dalhousie Libraries, speaking from the Libraries’ perspective; and Jonathan Crago, Editor-in-Chief at McGill Queen’s University Press, speaking from the perspective of a Canadian university publisher.”
Biochemistry & Molecular Biology (4pm, Theatre D, CRC Building)—David Bazett-Jones, from the University of Toronto, will talk on “Good Fences Make Good Neighbours in the Nucleus.”
Asia and the West (7pm, KTS Lecture Hall, NAB, King’s College)—Roger Ames from the University of Hawai’i at Manoa will talk on “Confucian China in a Changing World Cultural Order.”
Planetarium show (7:15pm, Room 120, Dunn Building)—”Cosmic Clockwork – what makes the Universe tick?” Five bucks at the door.
One of the most influential media sites in the US is Politico.com, started by two Washington Post journalists in 2007. Politico’s business model relies on advertising for revenue.
Wednesday, Politico ran an article headlined “No, BP Didn’t Ruin the Gulf,” written by someone named Geoff Morrell. The piece claimed that “advocacy groups cherry-pick evidence and promote studies that paint an incomplete and inaccurate picture” of the environmental problems caused by the Deepwater Horizon spill.
But as ThinkProgress points out, Morrell was only identified as BP’s senior vice president of communications at the end of the piece, and unlike similar opinion pieces written by environmentalists, Politico didn’t clearly label the piece as “opinion”:
This lack of attribution is a problem, most notably because it tricks readers into thinking they’re getting something they’re not. Readers have to go through ten paragraphs of someone telling them that the environmental impact of BP’s historic oil spill was of “short duration and in a limited geographic area” before they know that the person they’re listening to is one of BP’s top executives.
Why? Why not just put that disclosure at the top of the article? A Politico spokesperson told ThinkProgress that all opinion articles have the attribution and affiliation of the author at the bottom of the page, which looks to be true. But all other articles have an immediate disclaimer that the piece is “opinion.” Why not on this article?
It could have to do with the fact that BP, as other journalists have pointed out, is one of the most frequent advertisers on Politico’s daily email newsletter “Playbook.” A week-long ad in Playbook goes for about $35,000, and BP seems to buy those ads a lot.
In the harbour
(click on vessel names for pictures and more information about the ships)
OOCL Kaohsiung, container ship, Cagliari, Italy to Fairview Cove West
Oceanex Sanderling, con-ro, St. John’s to Pier 41
Mount Kibo to Dartmouth, England
Silver Whisper to Portland
Royal Princess to New York
Both Silver Whisper and Royal Princess arrived yesterday and spent the night due to weather.
The city is buying a bunch of video equipment and a whack of video games for Playstation 4 and Xbox, presumably all for the new library.
Three different lower court defences Justices Gerald Moir, Suzanne Hood, and James Chipman then three more defences at the Court of Appeal Justices Edward Scanlan, David Farrar, and Peter Bryson. That’s a lot of Justices paid to deliver NO JUSTICE to Sally Campbell! The lower court should reimburse the lawyers (and future Justices ?) who represented Sally Campbell as they were found to have done a poor job three times!! It’s ridiculous.