1. Liberal advertising
“Elections Nova Scotia is investigating a taypayer-funded mailout that promoted the work of Premier Stephen McNeil’s Liberal government,” reports the Chronicle Herald:
The large postcard-style flyers — all 33,000 of them at a cost of $7,000 — were last week sent to homes in the ridings of Cape Breton Centre, Dartmouth South and Sydney-Whitney Pier. Those three ridings just happen to be the locations of upcoming byelections, which are expected to be called in short order.
Weirdly, the flap brings Andrew Younger to the forefront. Explains the CBC:
Andrew Younger, the Liberals’s MLA for Dartmouth East, accused the NDP of a similar mail-out tactic in 2013 when the NDP was in power.
“This is a caucus communication sent out in unheld ridings,” Younger said. “The NDP did the exact same thing a few weeks ago.”
The NDP mailout arrived on doorsteps after the writ was dropped.
“Well, we’re very confident that we are compliant with what has been the practice of all parties previously and, in fact, even in the past few weeks with the NDP flyer that went out,” Younger continued. “We do feel we are compliant but we will respect whatever Elections Nova Scotia comes up with.”
2. Irving tax break
Halifax council yesterday gave “first reading” to a set of bylaw changes that will ultimately result in a tax break for Irving Shipyard. I explained the Irving deal at length here.
Council first debated the deal a couple of weeks ago, with the majority of councillors falling over themselves to praise the Irvings for bringing jobs to Halifax, for jumpstarting the economy, and for being so darn handsome, while a tiny minority of council thought that maybe we shouldn’t be so quick to bow down to big money.
There was no question that yesterday’s vote would go the same way, but just for the joy of it council spent another hour and a half praising the Irvings for bringing jobs to Halifax, for jumpstarting the economy, and for being so darn handsome, and the deal was approved on a 13-4 vote.
The deal will be finalized at the next council meeting, but only after council again praises the Irvings for bringing jobs to Halifax, for jumpstarting the economy, and for being so darn handsome.
3. Halifax is for sale
Also yesterday, Halifax council once again showed it thinks municipal identity has no or little value.
Council agreed to put construction of the planned Dartmouth four-pad arena out to bid. Which is all well and good — the city is in the business of recreation, residents play hockey and other ice sports, and a need is being met. People will disagree about the cost ($43 million), the size of the ice pads (one will be Olympic sized), the need to close neighbourhood rinks (Devonshire, Gray, Bowles, and Lebrun arenas will close when the four-pad opens), the location of the facility (Commodore Drive, wedged between Dartmouth Crossing and Burnside), and other details, but that’s how it goes; no solution will satisfy everyone, and the four-pad arena isn’t an outrageous plan.
But Dartmouth councillor Darren Fisher made sure to include in the motion a clause that basically everything associated with the arena — the overall complex, each of the ice pads, the concession stand, etc. — be put up for sale for naming rights.
“Look at the BMO Centre,” said Fisher. “Everyone calls it that. No one would think to call it anything else. That has value.”
Actually, I call it “That four-pad arena with the name of a fucking bank plastered on it,” but Fisher is right: corporate branding works. I’m continually amazed at how many people just rolled over and accepted the renaming of the Metro Centre for another fucking bank.
Every financial transaction involves a trade in value. The clerk at the Needs store is delightful and pleasant, but she isn’t just giving me that carton of milk out of the kindness of her heart — I have to place two bucks and change on the counter to make the deal whole.
But it’s not merely a one-on-one trade, a carton of milk for two bucks and change. When I hand over that money, I’m not just buying a carton of milk, I’m buying into a particular dairy system, the convenience store, the clerk’s salary, the cow, etc. We’ve rightly elevated awareness of local products for exactly this reason — we recognize that when we buy locally produced food and patronize local businesses, we’re supporting a particular economy (local farms and local businesses) over other possible economies (factory farms and big box stores).
Likewise, when we sell naming rights to a public facility, it’s not simply a one-on-one trade, a sign of a bank for a couple of hundred thousand dollars. Rather, we’re buying into the economy of finance, banks running the world. We’re trading our corporate identity and everything that goes with it — foremost, democracy and community — for the exact antithesis — the essentially fascist, top-down decision-making of corporations and the perverse values of the finance world.
Darren Fisher is right. Names have value. Our name is our identity. At the doorway to the meeting room, we pick up the sticker reading “My name is ___” and carefully write our name in the blank, before heading in to meet a room full of strangers. Would we put a false name in the blank? Possibly, as a joke, or to go incognito, but if we want to present ourselves, to be true to ourselves, we place our own name in the blank.
Only a fool would sell his identity.
4. Wild kingdom
“A two-year study conducted by scientists at the Atlantic Canada Conservation Data Centre in Sackville found seven pollinators, never before recorded in the Maritimes,” reports the CBC.
The species are:
- Chalcosyrphus anomalus: The sample was collected in the Malaise trap in a treed pen near Pleasantfield. In Canada, it is known to be in Quebec, Ontario and Manitoba.
- Heringia intensica: Previously known only in Ontario and only from a few specimens. A single specimen was collected at Bowers Meadows.
- Microdon megalogaster: This species was collected in the Malaise trap in a Corema barren near Middle Ohio. In Canada, it is known to be in Quebec and Ontario.
- Parasyrphus semiinterruptus: Collected at two sites during the survey. It is widespread in Canada.
- Teuchocnemis lituratus: Collected in the Malaise trap in a Corema barren near Middle Ohio. In Canada, it is known to be in Quebec and Ontario.
- Xylota angustiventris: Collected in the Malaise trap at Cameron Lake. In Canada, it is known to be in Ontario and Quebec.
- Xylota flukei: Collected in the Malaise trap in a Corema barren near Middle Ohio. In Canada, it is known to be in Quebec and Ontario.
1. Narrows bridge
Peter Ziobrowski provides the history and pictures of the two railroad bridges that were built across the Narrows, connecting Halifax and Dartmouth. The first, completed in 1885, was destroyed in the hurricane of 1891. The second, constructed in just a year and opened in 1892, collapsed a year later, on July 23, 1893.
Community Design Advisory Committee (11:30am, City Hall)—the committee will be updated on the progress of the Centre Plan.
Heritage Advisory Committee (2pm, City Hall)—back in 2010, city council approved a $96,878 grant and a $203,033 tax credit for restoration of the facade of the old Freemason’s Lodge on Barrington Street. But staff rejected part of the owners’ application for the money, and now the two sides are haggling over $119,000 of the tax credit.
No public meetings.
Remember when Halifax wanted to get in bed with FIFA and host the Women’s World Cup? Good times:
ZURICH — Swiss authorities conducted an extraordinary early-morning operation here Wednesday to arrest several top soccer officials and extradite them to the United States on federal corruption charges.
The charges, backed by an F.B.I. investigation, allege widespread corruption in FIFA over the past two decades, involving bids for World Cups as well as marketing and broadcast deals.
The three most odiously corrupt organizations on Earth are FIFA, the Commonwealth Games, and the Olympics, in that order. And over the past couple of decades Halifax has tried to deal with each of them.
The NCAA is fourth on the list, but only because its reach isn’t international.
People get stupid about sports, and people with oversized egos get involved, a combination that allows for all sorts of shenanigans.
In the harbour
ZIM Alabama, container ship, arrived at Pier 42 this morning
Bochem Mumbai, Panama City to anchorage for gypsy moth inspection, then sails to sea
Auriga Leader, car carrier, Emden, Germany to Autoport
ZIM Beijing, container ship, New York to Fairview Cove, then sails to sea
Acadian, oil tanker, Saint John to Imperial Oil
The cruise ship Pearl Mist arrived at Pier 22 this morning. It will sail off into the blue yonder this afternoon, its passengers content, and possibly sick.
I’ll be on the Sheldon MacLeod Show, News 95.7, at 4pm.
I tried, unsuccessfully, to write an article yesterday. I’ll try again today, but between recording the podcast and being on the radio, I don’t know if I’ll find the time. Whenever I get to it, it’ll be fascinating, I promise.