News

1. Northern Pulp issues layoff notices

This morning’s press release from Northern Pulp:

Jennifer Henderson will have more on this shortly.

2. Council’s budget committee opts in favour of menstrual products for municipal facilities

Lorelei Nicoll

Zane Woodford looks at councillor Lorelei Nicoll’s proposal to get menstrual products in municipal facilities. The proposal is closer to becoming a reality but Nicoll has concerns about how the program will be budgeted.

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3. Rankin: New forest guide still a priority

Iain Rankin. Photo: Twitter

Lands and forestry minister Iain Rankin tells CBC’s Michael Gorman the province is still committed on implementing the Lahey Report on forestry practices. There was a delay in releasing a new forest management guide in December after Northern Pulp announced it would close its mill this month. The guide is part of a larger report by University of King’s College president Bill Lahey. Rankin says the committee working on the guide will meet next month and he expects the guide to be completed early this year. He says the priority now is the transition period for those workers at Northern Pulp who will be laid off.

I know a lot of people are waiting for the guide, but in fairness to industry, there has been some significant change in their lives.

I still believe that we can have significant process by the end of this fiscal year when we’ll be evaluated [by Lahey on our progress on achieving the recommendations].

4. Yarmouth woman talks about being drugged at Halifax bar

Josée Saulnier spent a few days recovering from the symptoms. Photo: Josée Saulnier/Facebook

A young woman from Yarmouth is talking about her experience being drugged at a Halifax bar last weekend. Josée Saulnier tells Aya Al-Hakim at Global News she was at The Dome on Friday night when she started feeling unwell. She and her friends took a cab and during the drive Saulnier started experiencing tremors.

I’m like there’s something wrong we need to call 911. I was crying. [When I was in the ambulance with the paramedic] I needed to hold his hand because my vision also wasn’t there, I couldn’t see straight, I was seeing double.

At the ER at the QEII, Saulnier says she wasn’t asked to do any testing for drugs, but she was told to wait for the drug to leave her system. She documented her recovery in several videos on her Facebook page.

Dr. Kirk Magee told Global in an email statement drugs used in drinks aren’t tested.

From the physician perspective, the priority is treating the patient by allowing her/him to detoxify safely, regardless of how they came to be there. They may note on the patient record that it is suspected a patient has been drugged but that would be confidential and it is not recorded in our system that way.

As for the police, Saulnier says she’s made a report, but HRP doesn’t keep track of drink tampering. Cst. John MacLeod says cases are investigated.

5. Friends of Masoumeh Ghavi pack up her apartment

Mandieh Ghavi (Left) and Masoumeh Ghavi (Right). Photo: Instagram via Global

Friends of Masoumeh Ghavi packed up her Queen Street apartment this week. Ghavi was one of 57 Canadians killed two weeks ago when Iranian forces shot down Ukraine International Flight 752. Ghavi’s younger sister, Mahdieh, was also on the flight. Masoumeh was studying engineering at Dalhousie, while Mahdieh was starting studies this month.

Ali Hamidi tells Jack Julian at CBC cleaning the apartment was a duty to Masoumeh’s family. He says he will keep the belongings in storage for now.

To be honest with you, I didn’t have the courage to talk about this stuff [with them]. I just asked them, ‘I could take care of those?’ and I’m just doing it.

6. New stamp honours Colored Hockey League

One of the teams with the Colored Hockey League, which ran from 1895 to the 1930s and started 22 years before the NHL. Photo: Canadian Encyclopedia

Canada Post is unveiling a stamp today that will commemorate the Colored Hockey League, which played in the Maritimes between 1895 and the 1930s, the Canadian Press reports. 

The first team in the league was the Dartmouth Jubliees and there were teams in other communities like New Glasgow and Charlottetown. The teams couldn’t play at local arenas until white teams were finished their seasons.

The unveiling of the stamp will take place the Black Cultural Centre in Cherrybrook.

The Canadian Encyclopedia has a writeup on the league here.

I’m not sure if the correct title is Coloured Hockey League or Colored Hockey League. I’m seeing both used in various references. The Canadian Encyclopedia uses Coloured Hockey League while a book on the league, Black Ice, uses Colored. Does anyone know which one is correct?


Views

Shaping the rules around roadside memorials

The city is asking people to fill out a survey about roadside memorials. You can find the survey here . It will be online until Feb. 2. Last June, council got into a heated debate about a bylaw for the roadside memorials. As the survey mentions, there are currently no rules regarding roadside memorials, which are placed near where someone was killed in an accident.

The survey questions cover the proposed size of the memorial, ghost bike memorials for cyclists killed in accidents, the length of time a memorial can stay on the side of the road, and the removal of memorials that aren’t in compliance with the rules, become a safety issue, or are removed because of construction.

Yesterday, I chatted with Holly Everett, professor in the department of folklore at Memorial University in St. John’s. She was still digging out from the weekend’s storm, but we talked about her book, Roadside Crosses in Contemporary Memorial Culture, the first book of its kind to look at this topic.

Everett says growing up in Texas, she got used to seeing roadside memorials, usually in more rural areas or along busy highways. But then she started noticing them showing up in downtown Austin, including in medians and busier intersections.

I thought that was very interesting. I was used to seeing them by the road in the middle of nowhere.

Everett studied 35 memorials in Austin. She drove around the city taking photos of the memorials and used newspapers archives to research the stories behind them. She also interviewed those who created some of the memorials, including family or friends. She says the memorials were similar in structure and size, around three feet in height. Many were white crosses decorated with flowers, snow globes or toys. Others were decorated with personal items belonging to the victim. And in some cases, the memorials included pieces from the wreckage of the crash like a broken brake light.

In her work, Everett says she found such memorials were universal, although the style depended on the belief system of the victim and the family constructing the memorial. In Mexico, Everett says such memorials are created as a way to encourage travelers to pray for the victim’s soul. In Greece, she says, these memorials become a shrine. (Phil Moscovitch wrote a great piece on roadside memorials he saw while travelling in Greece last year).  Everett says in some cases the memorial became a stand-in for the person who died, with the families decorating the memorial for the victim’s birthday or for Christmas.

Holly Everett wrote Roadside Crosses in Contemporary Memorial Culture. Photo: Contributed

The reasons why families wanted such memorials varied. Some simply wanted to acknowledge that a loved one had died at that spot. Other saw the memorials as a way to reduce the number of accidents, particularly on stretches of road that were known to be dangerous. Still, others she spoke with said when they visited the site they felt close to the person who was killed. Everett talked with those who visited the memorials who said they provided a way to grieve and remember the victim besides going to a cemetery. Everett says that was the case for the friends of one young student killed.

For some people, that will be a section of the road they will have to pass all the time. It will be a spot that will be problematic. It’s a universal human impulse to mark that spot, to say to people something happened here and I’m trying to deal with it.

Some of the roadside memorials Everett studied, including a ghost bike in memorial of a cyclist who was killed. Photos: Holly Everett.

Everett also looked at the laws surrounding roadside memorials. She says time limits on how long memorials can stay up are common; usually one to two years. Families and friends are encouraged to go through official channels to create and install a memorial that has a standard look. When she first started researching the memorials in Austin, they were actually illegal there. Of the 35 she studied, only two were official memorials connected with memorial programs with MADD (the Nova Scotia chapter of MADD has a roadside memorial program, which covers site location, cross installation, dedication ceremonies, and visitation). One of the memorials Everett documented was installed at its site in 1997 and is still there. The regulations, Everett says, certainly have good motives behind them, including concerns about the memorials being a distraction to drivers. In Texas, some of the memorials are built to break away on impact if they were hit by a car. Another concern is that those installing the memorials might be injured stopping alongside busy highways. Everett says she was concerned for her own safety when she stopped to take photos of the memorials in Austin.

In 2010, George E. Dickinson and Heath C. Hoffmann, both professors of sociology and anthropology at the College of Charleston, published Roadside Memorials in the United States, which looks at the regulations for memorials in all 50 states. Dickinson and Hoffman found that 23 states had official policies around roadside memorials. Iowa and Minnesota had some guidelines, while Montana follows the Montana American Legion Highway Fatality Marker Program that places a white cross at the site of a fatal traffic accident. That program has been running since 1953. Some counties, cities, and other precincts within some states had policies of their own. Illinois and Washington had a Driving Under the Influence (DUI) Memorial Sign Program.

Of the 23 states that have an official policy, 11 require families to go through an application process to put a memorial in place. None of the states had money in their department of transportation budgets for installation, maintenance, or removal of the memorials.

Some of the state-sanctioned roadside memorials signs used in the United States. Photo: George E. DIckinson, Heath C. Hoffman/Roadside memorial policies in the United States

Their study also found confrontations around memorials, including one place in Massachusetts.

A cross, carved by the deceased man’s father, was erected to commemorate the fatality of his 17-year-old son. The home owners who live near the site where the cross is erected want it removed because it reminds them of the horror of the accident and the night they went to the aid of the accident victims. The parents of the deceased teen are going through mediation with the neighbours with the hope that negotiation, in contrast to an adversarial civil court process, will help the opposing parties arrive at a solution amenable to all.

Hoffman and Dickinson found, too, that states often struggled to balance sensitivity to grieving families with the safety of drivers.

Roadside memorials are illegal but we try to be sympathetic during the initial grieving period. These are mostly funeral wreaths or flower baskets, occasionally a small cross. If the grieving person moves the memorial to the right-of-way line we will not bother it. Finally, a respondent from a southern state said, ‘Though we do not allow the permitting of these types of memorials, we are sympathetic to the families affected by these tragic accidents, and therefore do not actively pursue removing these types of memorials when they first appear, unless they are potential safety hazards or affect our routine maintenance operations.”

Everett says jurisdictions often have trouble figuring out what regulations worked best and the rules don’t often stop the number of roadside memorials that go up. She says the policies that are most successful are those that offer some variation.

It’s important to be open to with the families and be aware these memorials are important to them for different reasons and different periods of time. Grief is unpredictable and unruly.

No matter what regulations are in place, people are going to do their own thing.

I also found this website, Roadside Tribute, where families can share photos of roadside memorials. The site was created by Jim Hill, a mechanical engineer, who, according to the site, has “a passion for improving road safety as well as providing a means of comfort for those grieving the loss of their loved ones.” The site is a way for families to see memorials online without having to visit them and protect images of the memorials when they are taken down or not maintained. There’s only one roadside memorial photo from Canada and it’s in Tracadie (although it’s incorrectly labeled as in British Columbia). As the site says:

This is a tribute site of the memory of Kory Mattie, 16, of Linwood and his friend, Nicholas (Nico) Landry, 17, of Monastery. It was result of an trial in which William Byron Fogarty was convicted of driving under the influence of Valium.


Noticed

I like writing and researching about women in the workforce for many reasons, including that I am a woman in the workforce and I talk to many women about their own struggles in finding work. So, I was interested to learn about a talk coming up at the Halifax Central Library on Monday night where Miia Suokonautio, executive director of the YWCA Halifax, will talk about how to make workplaces women-friendly.

Miia Suokonautio, executive director of the YWCA Halifax. Photo: Miia Suokonautio.

I spoke with Suokonautio this week about her talk, which will include a look at some of the research the YWCA has done, in particular through its Shift Change project. Through this three-year study, which is funded by the Department for Women and Gender Equality, Suokonautio says they are looking at how to get more women into the trades. Women represent about 4% of the trades workforce, a number that hasn’t changed in about 20 years. Suokonautio say they focus on the trades for women because the jobs offer a family-sustaining income, there’s security because they are union jobs, and often the employers want women in their workforces.

Suokonautio says while many CEOs and top managers want diverse workforces, in this project they are working with shop stewards and supervisors in particular because those are the managers who would be working with women in the trades day to day. She says they found parallels in research on women and housing in which they found the biggest differences for women came through establishing positive relationships with landlords and superintendents, who, like shop stewards, are the staff women deal with on a daily basis. Through the project, they’ve met and worked with a number of shop stewards and supervisors who met in focus groups to talk about issues like harassment and safety. Suokonautio says they are also now working with two employers.

We’re talking about a cultural change on the shop floor. That’s a hard thing to do. What we’re trying to do is build champions. There is an absence of champions who are supervisors.

The talk is at the Halifax Central Library at 6:30 p.m. It’s free to attend.


Government

City

Thursday

Transportation Standing Committee (Thursday, 1pm, City Hall) — Here’s the agenda.

Youth Advisory Committee (Thursday, 5pm, Power House Youth Centre, 1606 Bell Road) — Here’s the agenda.

Friday

Budget Committee – Contingency (Friday, 9:30am, City Hall) — Here’s the agenda.

Province

No public meetings today or tomorrow.


On campus

Dalhousie

Thursday

Prevention research across the cancer control continuum: Optimizing patient and health system outcomes (Thursday, 12pm, Theatre C, Tupper Link) — Robin Urquhart will talk.

Given the complexity of cancer and its rapidly changing landscape (e.g., earlier detection, more personalized and targeted therapies, increased survival), progress in cancer control needs research that moves beyond disciplinary silos and focuses on primary, secondary, tertiary, and quaternary prevention. Research must also address the gap between what we know and what we do. Otherwise, our ever-increasing knowledge will not benefit our patients and populations.

The Politics of Happiness: Creating Well-being in a Worried World (Thursday, 7pm, Ondaatje Hall, Marion McCain Building) — Peter Bevan-Baker from the Green party of Prince Edward island will talk about how

Our world is changing at a pace and in ways that humanity has never before experienced. In the face of this change, we are struggling to find ways to live well together — which is revealed in the unravelling of many systems critical to our continued secure and successful inhabitation of planet Earth. Correcting two fundamental relationships — how we live together as an interdependant global human family; and how  collectively we live in harmony with the Earth — are the central questions of this extraordinary time.

Friday

Francesca Kerton. Photo via mun.ca

Chemistry of Renewable Carbon (Friday, 1:30pm, Chemistry Room 226) — Francesca M. Kerton from Memorial University will talk.

New tools and strategies for managing berry crop pests (Friday, 1:30pm, SLC Program Room 219) — Justin Renkema from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada will talk.

Women’s Rights and the 17th Century High Commission for Ecclesiastical Causes (Friday, 3:30pm, Room 1170, Marion McCain Building) — Tim Stretton from Saint Mary’s University will talk.

Saint Mary’s

Thursday

Bystander Intervention Training (Thursday, 4pm, LA 178) — a workshop for SMU’s Sexual Violence Awareness Week.

Friday

Winter 2020 Convocation (Friday, 10am, McNally Theatre Auditorium) — Morning ceremony for business undergraduates and graduate degrees in the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research in Business.

2:00pm — Undergraduate programs in the Faculty of Arts and Faculty of Science, and graduate degrees in the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research in the disciplines of Arts and Science.

Mount Saint Vincent

Thursday

No public events today.

Friday

Sunetra Ekanayake: Botanical Watercolours (until Sunday, MSVU Art Gallery ) — the last weekend to see this exhibition of botanical watercolours.


In the harbour

06:30: CSL Tacoma, bulker, arrives at National Gypsum from Portsmouth, Maine
07:00: Nolhan Ava, ro-ro cargo, arrives at Pier 27 from Argentia, Newfoundland
11:00: Hansa Meersburg, container ship, arrives at Pier 42 from New York
15:30: Morning Calypso, car carrier, arrives at Autoport from Southampton, England
16:00: MOL Partner, container ship, sails from Fairview Cove for New York
22:30: Hansa Meersburg sails for Kingston, Jamaica
23:00: Navigare Pars, oil tanker, arrives at Bedford Basin anchorage from Baton Rouge, Louisiana


Footnotes

In last week’s footnote, I joked that my Christmas tree was still up and I was going to put Valentine’s Day decorations on it. Well, I did just that when I was bored on the weekend. My daughter asked for a white tree a couple of years ago. It looks quite retro, I think. I like to sit by it and sip a Pink Lady and eat some sort of dessert made with Jell-O and fruit.

It’s coming down this weekend …

Suzanne Rent

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

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  1. Early in my term as an MLA, I became involved in helping a family place a roadside memorial for a son/brother who had been killed on the highway. Thanks for the thoughtful piece you published today, which touches on the issues of grief, memory, and safety that I learned about back then.

    The Department of Transportation had declined the family official permission to place a memorial. We went ahead and did it anyway. It was a very meaningful process for the family. The Department was kind enough to leave the memorial alone, at least for a while. I watched for it every time I was on that stretch of highway.

    After a few years, it was gone. I don’t know why — removed, or wear and tear, or something else. At that point the family had moved on and didn’t feel the need to replace it. So in the end, everyone (the family, DOT) got what they needed, and it felt right.

  2. It is aggravating to see that Northern Pulp continues to blame the province for the “decision not to extend the deadline” for closing Boat Harbour to effluent. That “decision” is 100% on Paper Excellence as they had five years to deal with this and did nothing. They should have started all this when that notice was given, not try to use political influence and fostering community conflict. Shame on Northern Pulp for not owning up to this and trying to point fingers.

  3. Who designed the hockey stamp?? Most likely a local graphic designer who’s not getting recognition for their work. These things don’t just make themselves, y’know.

  4. I have tears in my eyes after looking at the faces in the photo of the black hockey players and what appears to me to be a complexity of emotions in those faces. I’m trying to imagine how it would have felt to know that they “couldn’t play at local arenas until white teams were finished their seasons.” I can only imagine how those kinds of experiences in daily ordinary life could fuel generations of hopeless rage. Thank you for sharing this beautiful photo.