News


According to my weather app, we’re in for a colder stretch the next few days, but today will be another springlike afternoon. While you wait for things to warm up, grab a coffee and check out today’s stories…

1. COVID-19 Update: new details on vaccine rollout

Just before we get to the newest information on the vaccine rollout, let’s take a quick look at the numbers from yesterday’s COVID-19 report.

One new case of COVID-19 was announced in the province Tuesday, a Sydney area man whose case is related to travel outside Atlantic Canada. There are now 21 known active cases in Nova Scotia. No hospitalizations.

Nova Scotia’s planned vaccine rollout by age cohort.

Now, to the vaccine update. Tim Bousquet has the details:

“Seventy percent of adults in Nova Scotia should receive their first dose of COVID vaccine by around mid-May.”

That information was related to reporters in a not-for-attribution technical briefing this morning. The briefing was called to update figures and plans because the federal government has given a better indication of the number of doses expected to arrive in Nova Scotia through the summer. Officials made clear that the projections are not exact beyond a two-week horizon, but the new numbers are considerably higher than what the province expected in January.

In January, officials expected about 140,000 doses of vaccine by the end of March; that number is now over 200,000 — but, crucially, 80,000 of those doses are Pfizer vaccine to be delivered in the last week of March.

But the bulk of the increase in vaccines comes over the next three months:”

No vaccine has yet to be approved for anyone younger than 16, so children don’t factor into this distribution plan. It’s hoped a vaccine could be approved for children about the time that a first dose has been given to all N.S. adults who want one. Officials said Tuesday that public opinion polling in Nova Scotia shows that more than 75% of people say they want to get vaccinated.

That’s all well and good, but the best laid plans of public health officials have gone awry before — online booking hangups and delayed shipments, anyone? And even if shipments do come in on time and all runs smoothly, there’s still the question of whether we as a province have the capability of getting vaccine doses delivered and administered to the public quickly and efficiently as they come in. Right now, Nova Scotia is already lagging behind other provinces in rolling out the vaccine (though Bousquet writes we’re likely to start catching up by April 2, at which point the province expects all those who’ve already received their first vaccine dose at the time of this report will have received their second.)

Bousquet’s full report from yesterday is pretty comprehensive. Check it out for more details on how vaccinations will be booked as more of us become eligible to get them, what types of vaccines will be available, and what’s being done to ensure there are enough clinics developed to administer new doses, among other things.

You can also read about current testing and vaccination appointments.

The Halifax Examiner is providing all COVID-19 coverage for free. Please help us continue this coverage by subscribing.

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2. Propaganda campaign has pressured province to amend and “gut” the recently introduced Biodiversity Act bill

No matter how often you see it, this clearcut in Cumberland County never gets any less horrifying. Photo: Joan Baxter

Joan Baxter continues her stellar coverage of resources and the environment issues in Nova Scotia. Today, she’s focused on the forestry.

Specifically, she’s railing against “the all-out, no-holds-barred, province-wide — and very expensive — propaganda war against the Biodiversity Act that has been waged by Forest Nova Scotia, the lobby group for some very large industrial forestry interests, and a so-called “coalition” of “concerned private landowners.” So what’s this “propaganda war” looked like? And what impact has it had already? For starters, Bill 4 — the Biodiversity Act as it was introduced by the provincial government on March 11 — has already had a few alterations made to it. Here’s what Baxter has to say about it all:

“Not even two weeks after the Bill was introduced, Premier Rankin’s office and the Department of Lands and Forestry caved to the pressure. Late Tuesday afternoon they announced changes to the Bill 4 that“remove biodiversity emergency orders, offences and fines from the act, and limit the scope to Crown lands unless permission is given on private lands.”

“The next step in the legislative process is law amendments, where the committee will hear further feedback from stakeholders and individuals,” said yesterday’s press release.

In other words, the Biodiversity Act — which was first introduced in 2019 after extensive consultation with forestry industry groups, private landowners and environmental groups, then withdrawn and revised to appease industry, then reintroduced in 2021 — didn’t even make it through the legislative process that is essential in any democracy, before a poisonous industry-led campaign to kill the Bill led to its gutting.

Not a healthy precedent.

Nor does it bode well for any other legislation that governments bring in to protect the environment or tackle climate change, if it is so easy for powerful industries to spend some money to spread misinformation and poison public opinion to get a law rewritten or withdrawn before it’s even had its day in the legislature. 

In the article, Baxter investigates Forest Nova Scotia and the new, mysterious group calling itself the “Concerned Private Landowner Coalition.”  Spoiler alert: it’s not a coalition of actual concerned private landowners. The executive director of Forest Nova Scotia admitted that much in an interview with CBC last week. Conservationist Cliff Seruntine also created a YouTube video that Baxter includes in her article, outlining how Forest Nova Scotia has used social media to make the coalition seem legitimate and to spread propaganda villainizing the Biodiversity Act.

Looking at the group’s website, Facebook page and Twitter account, all of which popped up just this month, you’ll see a steady stream of messages calling the Act a government takeover of private property and an attack on private landowners and their rights. The bill was actually put forward “to provide for the stewardship, conservation, sustainable use and governance of biodiversity in the Province, as part of an integrated framework of legislation.” 

For a look at the actual facts about the Biodiversity Act, the ways activists are trying to combat propaganda, and a deeper look at the private interests behind this forestry lobbying push, check out Baxter’s full article. It’s not the first time she’s pulled back the curtain on shady lobbying practices in this province. Just last month, Baxter wrote twice about the questionable lobbying efforts of Atlantic Gold — here and here — whose mining operations near Moose River currently face 32 environmental infraction charges.

For most of 2021, Baxter’s covered the environmental concerns surrounding open-pit gold mining, especially those surrounding Atlantic Gold’s operations and plans. But it seems that, whatever the resource extraction, there’s always some private interest trying to obfuscate, misinform, downplay concerns or mislead the public. Forest Nova Scotia’s propaganda push isn’t groundbreaking.

It takes resources to cover resources, especially when our reporters are facing teams of well-funded lobbyists and PR reps trying to hide or spin the truth about operations in this province. So I’ll end with Tim Bousquet’s message from Monday’s Morning File:

“The Halifax Examiner has gone all-in in terms of covering resource issues in Nova Scotia. We have lots more planned. I like to think we’re providing the best critical media look at such issues in Nova Scotia. All of this takes considerable resources, and we could do so much more with more support. If you support this work, please subscribe, or drop us a donation. Thanks!”

Further reading

If you like this article, you might also be interested in some further reading, like another Joan Baxter article that deals with her frustrations with public relations in government. The article is from January and, aside from being a vent for all journalists who’ve had to go through the sometimes painful communications process to talk to an expert or an accountable party, it’s also a good look at how organizations — public or private — use teams of professionals to control or hide information.

Additionally, check out these recent Examiner articles from Linda Pannozzo and Bob Bancroft for a clearer picture of how biodiversity benefits our forests and wildlife — as well as the potential environmental impacts of leaving biodiverse regions unprotected.

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3. Province House round-up

Extinction Rebellion rallies outside Province House on March 23, 2021. Jacob Fillmore is in the center of the photo, the navy blue jumpsuit with reflective tape. Photo: Jennifer Henderson

These items are written by Jennifer Henderson

Activist on hunger strike to meet with Lands and Forestry minister

Jacob Fillmore will meet with Lands and Forestry Minister Chuck Porter today. Fillmore is the 25-year-old man who has been camped out in front of Province House for the past 18 days refusing to eat solid food until the Liberal government takes action to protect the endangered mainland moose.

A group of close to 100 people held a peaceful noontime rally in front of Province House yesterday in support of Fillmore’s action. About half were from Extinction Rebellion, an environmental group whose members blocked logging roads in Digby County for weeks last fall to prevent clearcutting on Crown land licensed to Westfor because it included significant moose habitat. A judge recently issued a permanent injunction against future blockades in that area but refused to grant a blanket order limiting demonstrations near other Crown lands.

Portapique: questions about RCMP services review

The entrance to the Portapique Beach Road blocked by the RCMP as they conducted their investigation into the mass shooting that began there on April 18, 2020. Photo: Joan Baxter

Question Period was lively yesterday. Claudia Chender, the NDP MLA for Dartmouth South, inquired about the progress of a review begun by the Department of Justice into RCMP services contracted by municipalities nearly a year after the Portapique tragedy:

Chender: “Within the past year, members of the public have expressed concern regarding the RCMP more broadly. Their handling of the mass shooting at Portapique, their approach to conflicts around the fishery in southwest Nova, and concern over daytime raids in Dartmouth and Halifax which saw police vehicles racing neighbourhood streets and surrounding a building adjacent to a school. When I wrote the Minister in December to ask about the promised review of policing services, he indicated that what the Department was engaged in was an internal committee that is conducting a preliminary analysis.

Mr. Speaker, given the seriousness of these concerns, will the premier commit to a transparent and accountable public review of all policing services separate from the Mass Casualty Commission?”

Premier Rankin: “All those events are extremely serious and we need to make sure we are reviewing what took place during those events. There is a contract with the RCMP throughout the province and there is a certain amount of time left in that contract. We want to make sure we have the best possible service to protect public safety and have the required training to deal with complex situations, so if there is an alternative Mr. Speaker, we will consider that… I await the Review to see what the terms are before making a decision on how that will work.”

Vaccination distribution delays

The COVID-19 vaccine. Photo: Communications Nova Scotia

Progressive Conservative Opposition leader Tim Houston was critical of how long it is taking for the province to distribute the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to people in Nova Scotia:

Houston: “Mr. Speaker, Nova Scotia has administered the fewest vaccinations per capita in the country. In Nova Scotia, there are more doses in the refrigerator than in the arms of Nova Scotians. My question for the premier is why is Nova Scotia still struggling to get first doses into Nova Scotian arms?”

Rankin: “Facts matter in this conversation. The fact is there are 36,000 doses going out to clinics this week for utilization. There are 21,000 doses that are being held in freezers and all accounted for, for their second dose. We need to continue to prioritize, keep our eye on the ball, ensuring we roll out the vaccines according to our age cohorts, descending down. We intend to get our shots into Nova Scotians by the end of June.”

Concerns about ER staffing in Musquodoboit and Eastern Shore hospitals

The Conservative MLA for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley, Larry Harrison, questioned Health Minister Zack Churchill about what, if anything, is being done to find doctors to staff emergency rooms at the Musquodoboit Valley Regional hospital and the Eastern Shore Memorial hospital. The ER at the Musquodobit Valley hospital in Harrison’s riding was closed Monday and Tuesday this week and is rarely open on weekends. That ER was closed half the time in 2020, and the coverage at the ER at the Sheet Harbour hospital is also sketchy.

Harrison: “When you layer in the ambulance response times, what has developed is an emergency medicine desert that covers from Musquodoboit Harbour to Truro to Sherbrooke. Not the most densely populated area of the province, but an emergency call in this area could wait up to two hours to get to an emergency room… is the Minister comfortable that residents of Colchester County and Eastern Shore are left in this position and if not, will changes be made?

Health minister Churchill: “We are moving to having an ambulatory emergency system that is based on patient outcomes and not just response times. That’s in line with recommendations from the Fitch report…yes, offload issues remain and we have directed the Health Authority to work with the department to address those offload issues. They are affecting response times but we are at the cusp of some important transformations to our ambulance system that are going to help us save more lives here in Nova Scotia.”

Homes and Special Care Act amendment

Also at Province House yesterday, NDP leader Gary Burrill introduced an amendment to the Homes for Special Care Act. In line with federal standards for nursing homes proposed by the Canadian Health Coalition on Monday, the NDP amendment would ensure government funding for new nursing homes and new residential care facilities to be built in the future would be reserved for community or non-profit operators. Privately- owned nursing home businesses would not be eligible for government funding for new builds.

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4. Amendments to Land Titles Clarification Act and HRM Charter

Lauren Grant, manager for the Land Titles Initiative. Photo: Jennifer Henderson

Here’s a story that you’d think you’d find in a history textbook rather than today’s news. Jennifer Henderson reports:

Justice Minister Randy Delorey introduced amendments yesterday to the Land Titles Clarification Act and the HRM Charter that will make it easier for Nova Scotians in five predominantly Black communities to get a mortgage or sell their homes. 

For more than 300 years, many African Nova Scotians have had no clear title to land passed down through generations of families living in North Preston, East Preston, and Cherry Brook/Lake Loon in HRM, and Lincolnville and Sunnyville in Guysborough County. 

The issue of unsettled land titles was the subject of the Nova Scotia Community College’s Journalism program’s award-winning project, “untitled: The Legacy of Land in North Preston.” That project brought broader public awareness to the issue, which in turn kickstarted legislative action to resolve it.

The current legislative amendments continue a process begun in 2017 which paid for the cost of land surveys and managed to clear 200 claims — but there are still an estimated 600 disputes outstanding. 

“This is a very big deal which for families has been persisting for centuries,” explained lawyer Lauren Grant, the manager for the government’s Land Titles Initiative.

“Without clear title to the land, you are limited in what you can do. So our families don’t have the ability to mortgage their land, bequeath their land; they don’t have the ability to sell their land,” said Grant. “So that has a great impact on their life. You can’t leverage your land for greater economic prosperity, which further inhibits the growth of our African Nova Scotian communities.”’

Amendments are meant to help resolve property disputes on lots that have no clearly defined boundaries, as well as reducing red tape and financial barriers for properties in the Prestons and Cherry Brook, so they will no longer need city approval to develop subdivisions. The government will also create a staff position to help expedite the land claims process.

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5. Appeal hearings, overturned decisions and approvals: we’ve got all your HRM development news this morning

A photo of Hogan Court in Bedford, looking southeast, from the staff presentation to the community councils last month.

Zane Woodford was hard on the development beat yesterday. Here’s the first of three stories from him on what new buildings could be popping up around your community. This one’s out in West Bedford:

“The Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board (UARB) has overturned decisions by two Halifax community councils to deny a proposal to add build more housing in a growing area of the municipality.

During a joint meeting in November 2020, the municipality’s Halifax and West and North West community councils voted against a proposal from Cresco Holdings Ltd. — the developer behind subdivisions like the Parks of West Bedford and the Ravines of Bedford South — to add more residential space to its project on Hogan Court, in the Larry Uteck area on the west side of Highway 102.”

The Examiner reported on the development in December, when the developer appealed the community council decisions. The property falls within the jurisdictions of Halifax and West Community Council as well as North West Community Council, so both bodies voted on the proposal at a joint meeting on Nov. 30. Both councils voted it down for slightly different reasons, but the main concerns were lack of active transportation and accommodation for transit and pedestrians, as well as, among other things, stormwater management and increased traffic.

On Tuesday, the UARB sided with Cresco, overturning the community councils’ decision.

You can read that article here.

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6. Meanwhile, on Brunswick Street…

2267 Brunswick St., centre, and St. Patrick’s Church, right.

Here’s another development appeal, though this one has yet to be decided. The property in question is located between two heritage properties, St. Patrick’s Church to the south and Huestis House to the north. Woodford reports:

“The province’s highest court heard an appeal Tuesday from the Heritage Trust of Nova Scotia, which asked the court to shrink a development proposal for Brunswick Street by two storeys.

The Heritage Trust appealed the Halifax and West Community Council’s July 2019 decision to approve a development agreement with developer Adam Barrett’s Brunswick Street Developments Ltd. for a 42-unit, eight-storey residential building at 2267 Brunswick St.”

That appeal was dismissed in June 2020 by the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board (UARB). Woodford continues:

“The Heritage Trust’s argument centred around a municipal policy that directs the community council ‘to consider a range of design solutions and architectural expressions that are compatible with abutting registered heritage properties.’”

The height of the proposal is incompatible with that of the church, the Heritage Trust argued, so the community council must not have considered that policy.

The UARB disagreed, writing, the “Heritage Trust has not met the burden on it to demonstrate, on the balance of probabilities, that the decision of Council to approve the development at its final proposed height did not reasonably carry out the intent” of the policy.”

In 2015, the developer had originally applied for a 13-storey building, but amended that to eight storeys after concerns that the height would be incongruent with the steeple of St. Patrick’s Church next door.

So does a new eight-storey residential building belong sandwiched between two century old heritage properties in the North End? Check out Woodford’s full piece for more details on the arguments for and against.

For now, we’ll have to wait for the appeal panel to file a written decision on the matter in the coming months.

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7. Development finale: Fairview proposal moves along — and other council news

A concept rendering of United Gulf Developments’ proposal for Main Avenue and Titus Street in Fairview — Lydon Lynch Architects

The third and final installment in the Zane Woodford development trilogy for today’s Morning File. He writes:

“A development proposal for the corner of Main Avenue and Titus Street in Fairview is moving ahead following a vote by Halifax regional council on Tuesday.

United Gulf Developments wants to build a six-storey residential and commercial building on six lots at the corner, with 119 housing units, 3,330 square feet of commercial space, and parking for 178 cars and 67 bicycles. There are currently two single-unit dwellings on the site and two multi-unit dwellings — a total of 11 homes.

Four of the lots are zoned for this kind of development, under the Dutch Village Road Mixed Use zone, but two of them fall just outside, so the developer applied for bylaw amendments to allow the proposal. The developer is asking for more height and lot coverage than permitted as of right.”

“The area has a mix of services, is walkable, is well served by transit; and is a good location for mid-rise, multi-unit development,” Gillis wrote.

The councillor for the area, Kathryn Morse, has her concerns though.

She thinks the proposal needs revisions. Among other things, she’s worried that because the design would cover 100% of the lot, it would prevent future street expansion or active transportation infrastructure in the area. (Suzanne Rent actually spoke with Morse about the same issue last week, including part of the conversation in her March 16 Morning File.)

In a discussion with council, Morse moved amendments to reduce lot coverage from 100% to 75% and “asked for a another staff report reviewing the Dutch Village Road Mixed Use zone in general, citing concerns about lot coverage.”

The amendments, and the motion as a whole, passed. The proposal will now go to a public information meeting, then two readings at council, with a public hearing before the second reading.

Woodford also writes about a Schmidtville conservation grants program, and growing plants on the strip of grass between the sidewalk and the street. (Now I can fail to keep plants alive by the sidewalk, as well as inside the house!)

You can read that article here.

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8. A writer’s experience with endometriosis shows how health care fails Black people

Participants in the Tuskegee Syphilis Study. Photo: U.S. National Archives and Records Administration

Halifax writer Evelyn C. White contributes a story of her experience with endometriosis and how it illustrates the way health care can fail Black people. She expertly weaves her own account of doctors dismissing her pain (assuming she had an STI or extreme menstrual cramps) with historical incidents of anti-Black racism in medicine — like the treatment of Henrietta Lacks and her family, and the notorious Tuskagee Syphillis Study (participants pictured above) where several hundred Black men suffering from the disease were intentionally denied treatment.

It’s a great read for two reasons: I think it takes what’s a pretty abstract concept for a lot of people — anti-Black racism in health care — and shows us what it looks like and how it affects a large group of our fellow citizens. But also, it’s just really well-written.

Here’s an excerpt where White describes the nature and pain of endometriosis. It’s brief, but it really evokes a visceral reaction. I’m always in awe of writing that makes me feel something physically, or relays what it is to experience something you’ve never known and never can know personally:

Nearly 200 million women around the world suffer from the disorder in which the endometrium — tissue that lines the womb —grows outside of the uterus and attaches in the pelvic cavity (and sometimes elsewhere). Unable to exit the body, the displaced uterine tissue can become inflamed with cysts and adhesions that trigger excruciating pain during menstruation.

Note to male readers inclined to tune out now: Imagine a sledge hammer pounding on the lower right quadrant of your abdomen and multiply the agony ten-fold. Then jab the same spot repeatedly with a red-hot poker.That’s the torment I endured for three days a month for 15 years. Given the prevalence of endometriosis, chances are high, fellas, that there’s a woman you care about who is afflicted with the malady. As Etta James put it: “Roll with me, Henry.”

It’s not all that graphic, but it is all that powerful. Check out the full piece here.

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Views

A small group of anti-maskers makes no splash as Nova Scotians stay committed to public health

Photo: Julian Wan / Unsplash

Like a lot of freelancers, I work a second gig to help pay the bills. That second gig has changed a few times over the past year — pandemic layoffs are real — but for the past few months I’ve been bartending on the weekends to help make rent.

This last Friday, management at my restaurant forwarded an email from the Restaurant Association of Nova Scotia that warned us about anti-maskers who’d been protesting in establishments in HRM. Here’s an excerpt:

“Anti-Maskers are coming into restaurants in pairs or small groups and not wearing masks and refusing to leave. They are shouting out messages like Freedom of Speech and Human Rights Act. It appears their intent is to engage in confrontation and they are filming on their phones. Three reported cases in Halifax this past weekend and there will be more as there are social media groups popping-up all over the country encouraging people to do this.

Police have been called every time but in two cases they were gone and the third they talked the person into leaving with no repercussions to the individuals involved.”

My heart broke a little bit when I read about that. From the beginning, even in the darkest, most uncertain days of this pandemic, Nova Scotians have bought into the necessity to be socially responsible and take precautions to protect each other through this emergency. I’d see videos of store clerks and grocers — people who needed to hang on to employment but couldn’t work safely from home — getting yelled at mercilessly for suggesting someone should wear a mask for everyone’s protection. But those videos weren’t from home. Here in Nova Scotia, I was often heartened by the consideration and public responsibility people showed when going out and about. No eye rolls, no huffing and puffing, no misplaced attacks on frontline workers. Just a gracious understanding that this was something we had to get through, but also that it was something we could get through together.

(To be fair, there were some anti-mask protests in Halifax last year, as Yvette d’Entremont reported for the Examiner. But they were outliers.)

Just like everyone else (I imagine) I hate wearing a mask and I find a lot of restrictions annoying, but I knew fellow Nova Scotians were going through the same precautions so that we could keep each other safe and healthy and get out of this pandemic alive as soon as possible. Now, with mass vaccinations getting closer and closer, and a possible (cautiously optimistic here) finish line in sight, it was especially aggravating to read that some people were actively protesting measures that are keeping us safe, allowing us to keep businesses open and reopen borders with the Atlantic provinces. I don’t know why, but it made me feel so bitter.

A sign painted on a home outside of Earltown, Nova Scotia. Photo: Suzanne Rent

But the weekend came and went and we didn’t have any altercations, nor did I hear of any anywhere else. There were a few social media posts and online videos from a small rally against COVID-19 restrictions in Halifax, but mostly it passed without a fuss and media across the country ignored these loosely co-ordinated protests.

It made me realize how proud I am of the job we’ve done as Nova Scotians; a handful of people flouting health precautions could give me an emotional reaction, when other places in North America have largely ignored health and safety guidelines and have suffered as a result.

The New York Times put out a story today that says research shows U.S. media has tended to be more negative in its COVID-19 coverage than other publications around the world, including scientific journals. So rather than add to that negativity and talk about a small number of outliers putting their neighbours at risk, I figure I’ll add a little positivity here. As someone who’s had to work in public since the start of the pandemic, I just wanted to say:

Thank you. We’ve made it through a tough year so we can get to an easier one.

Herd immunity could be just around the corner. Until then, hang tough and keep that mask on when you’re indoors, or get outside and enjoy the spring weather. The days are only getting brighter, literally and figuratively.

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Noticed: baseball’s back!

There was a baseball stadium on the Wanderers Grounds in the early 20th century. Photo: NS Archives

The last two days I got to toss a baseball around for the first time this year. I know that many of you (other than Philip Moscovitch) would rather spend an entire day on a 15-person Zoom call than read about baseball — much less watch it — but spring training’s wrapping up and I’ve started doing my annual research to see what the season holds.

By far the most interesting thing I’ve read about are the experimental rule changes that will be coming into effect in the Minor Leagues this year, to see if they’ll be viable for eventual implementation in the Majors.

The two that stick out most to me are the introduction of game clocks to speed things up and robot umpires to try to increase accuracy in calls. I’m all for clocks to push the game along. I’ve been a huge baseball fan all my life, but even I can find it pretty long and drawn out these days. If something’s not done soon, baseball players will have to clock in for a full 8-hour shift to play 9 innings before the decade’s out. If clocks and timers mean I can watch the World Series without seeing the sun rise, I’m all for them.

Robot umpires on the other hand… I see a serious flaw. If a manager wants to argue a call, all he’ll have to do is give the ump a paradox and wait ’til his head explodes. Plus, how can you design an out-of-shape robot?

Mostly I’m just happy the National League isn’t adopting the designated hitter for good after last year. If you don’t already know what that means, I won’t explain it now because you’ll never care.

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Government

City

Wednesday

Budget Committee (Wednesday, 9:30am) — virtual meeting; captioning on a text-only site

Heritage Advisory Committee (Wednesday, 4pm) — virtual meeting; dial-in or live broadcast not available

Thursday

Audit and Finance Standing Committee and Audit Committee (Thursday, 10am) — live webcast of the Audit and Finance Standing Committee; live webcast of the Audit Committee

Transportation Standing Committee (Thursday, 1pm) — live broadcast of audio and all PowerPoint presentations

Active Transportation Advisory Committee (Thursday, 4:30pm) — virtual meeting; dial-in or live broadcast not available

Youth Advisory Committee (Thursday, 5pm) — virtual meeting; dial-in or live broadcast not available

Harbour East Marine Drive Community Council (Thursday, 6pm) — more info here

Province

No public meetings.


On campus

Dalhousie

Wednesday

Supporting Linguistic Diversity in Teaching, Training, and Facilitation (Wednesday, 10am) — online interactive workshop, $50

Adult learning environments in Canada have become increasingly culturally and linguistically diverse over the last decade. Linguistic diversity in the classroom –​ whether that means different languages, dialects, and/or levels of comprehension across the same language – ​can pose new challenges to the way we serve learners and also open new educational horizons and possibilities.

In this interactive workshop, you will learn a range of techniques, strategies and tools to support linguistic diversity in your teaching, training or facilitation context, and more effectively achieve learning outcomes for learners of all linguistic backgrounds.

Separating Home and Work Support Group (Wednesday, 12pm) — online session

Speak Truth to Power: First of the Firsts, Black Women Leaders in Public Service (Wednesday, 5pm) —Mayann Francis, Wanda Thomas Bernard, Yvonne Atwell, Lynn Jones, and Marelene Clyke

will provide an unapologetic rigor of our racial and gendered history and an assessment of the institutional and cultural structures that have shaped the way we operate in today’s world.

More info and registration here.

Reinforcing Sameness, Static Bodies, Static Interventions: Reimagining Diversity and Inclusion in Social Work Education, Classrooms and Practice (Wednesday, 5:30pm) — panel discussion via Eventbrite with Lana M. MacLean, Shirley Chau, Audrey R. Davis​, Edward Ou Jin Lee, Marva Ferguson, and moderator Marion Brown. With closed captioning. More info and links here.

Dalhousie School of Architecture presents first pan-Canada lecture series (Wednesday, 6pm) —

The Canadian Council of University Schools of Architecture (CCUSA) has initiated its first pan-Canada lecture series in response to COVID-related restrictions on traveling and large gatherings, inviting students and practitioners across the country to join the conversation.

The 12 schools of architecture agreed upon “diversity” as the theme for this year. The school are taking turns to present two lectures a month starting on the west coast and moving across Canada.

More info and registration here.

SpeedFaithing Event (Wednesday, 7pm) — online Q&A with Dalhousie Multifaith Chaplains.

Thursday

Scorpionflies, Bed bugs, and Ducks: Exploring Polygamy and Sexual Violence in Canadian Legal Policy (Thursday, 12pm) — Zoom lecture by Tasia Alexopoulos

Lewis R. Gordon. Photo from the listing

Irving Glovin Lecture: “Africana Jewish Studies” (Thursday, 7pm) — with Lewis R. Gordon from the University of Connecticut

Saint Mary’s

Wednesday

SMU in Action: Building Resilience During the Covid-19 Pandemic (Wednesday, 4pm) — virtual event featuring Robert Summerby-Murray, Tony Charles, and Crystal Witter.

Thursday

The Future Conditional (Thursday, 12pm) — In this online talk, Eric Henry will discuss his new book and his research on how English is spoken, taught, studied and perceived in China.

King’s

Wednesday

Rameau’s Nemesis: Music, Nature, and Society in the Writings of Rousseau (Wednesday, 7:30pm) — virtual MacLennan Lecture with Brandon Kornoval from the University of British Columbia

How did music contribute to the philosophical and critical projects of Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712–1778)? As composer, professional copyist, and critic, Rousseau’s passionate preoccupation with music throughout his life inspired numerous texts, from his early proposal for a more ‘democratic’ system of music notation, through the Lettre sur la musique française, articles on music for the Encyclopédie and for his own Dictionnaire de musique, and his polemical exchanges with the leading contemporary French composer and theorist, Jean-Philippe Rameau (1683–1764). These writings highlight key concerns raised in the two Discourses, along with the Essai sur l’origine des langues that originated with the Discours sur l’inégalité, revealing an intimate relationship between Rousseau’s interest in the origins and evolution of music, and in the origins of, and prospects for, civil society. Animating these accounts was Rousseau’s conception of nature and the natural (Konoval 2017), a critical concern that framed Enlightenment debates over the relationship between natural order and social order, and between art—especially music—and science.

Halifax Public Library

Illustration from the Halifax Public Libraries listing

Thursday

Anne & Aretha: Kindred Spirits (Thursday, 7pm) — Zoom event; from the listing:

In 2014, the famously private singer Aretha Franklin (1942-2018) declared her admiration for Anne of Green Gables and expressed her desire to visit the province that inspired the novel.

Halifax writer (and Examiner contributor) Evelyn C. White will explore the unlikely bond between the Queen of Soul and the red-haired protagonist of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s signature work.


In the harbour

07:00 – BBC Edge, cargo ship, sails from Pier 9 for Portmouth, Maine

07:45 – Nolhavana, ro-ro cargo ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from Saint-Pierre

10:00 – Siem Hanne, offshore supply ship, sails from Pier 9 for Istanbul

10:00 – Atlantic Sun, container ship, sails from Pier 9 for sea

10:30 – MOL Glide, container ship, sails from Pier 9 for sea

15:00 – Imedghassen, container ship, sails from Pier 9 for sea

21:30 – Atlantic Sun, sails for New York


Footnotes

If only American media had taken the same approach to covering Donald Trump that Canadian media took to covering recent anti-pandemic-restriction rallies.

I’d really recommend the Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks to anyone who hasn’t already read it. It’s a pretty solid introduction to anti-Black racism in health care and, on top of that, it’s just a fascinating story. Both the science and the personal history of the Lacks family are riveting.

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Ethan Lycan-Lang

Ethan Lycan-Lang is a Morning File regular, and also writes about environmental issues, poverty, justice, and the rights of the unhoused. He's currently on hiatus in the Yukon, writing for the Whitehorse...

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  1. Questions about the vaccine rollout that I want to hear:

    How are we ensuring people in, say New Glasgow, who are apparently told to go to Truro or Antigonish, are able to get shots? Like, older people who may not be safe to drive, who may not have family to drive them?

    Or older family who have a touch of agoraphobia? Or who have to drag an oxygen tube? What if they don’t want to go, slogging along with their apparatus, and “line up” which is the perception that people have, even when they have to book?

    What are we doing about the people who “might just wait for the Johnson and Johnson because it’s only 1 shot.”

    All three of these are examples from my own family.

    1. As more vaccine becomes available, there will be plenty of pharmacy clinics, all around the province. Already more than 50 have been approved, and there are more in the pipeline.

      For those who can’t leave their houses, there will be mobile vans delivering vaccine, but this is further down the road, so to speak, as the effort is to vaccinate as many people as possible as quickly as possible, and that means the primary focus is on clinics.

      The J&J vaccine is approved, but there’s no indication that it will land in Nova Scotia any time soon. Just getting one shot of the Pfizer or Moderna provides high protection against severe illness, so you could conceivably just get the one. The second shot, however, provides longer-term protection. And that’s likely to be the case with the J&J in any event — we’re going to be getting shots for many years into the future, looks like. Your relative should get whatever vaccine is available as soon as possible.

      1. I don’t like the shift rule, as it will reward the swing-from-the-heels trend stressing exit velocity & launch angle, strikeouts be damned. From a sabermetric point of view, it makes perfect sense for optimal offensive output… but it makes the game less watchable. Balls in play are becoming rarer and rarer. My (futile) hope with shifting defences was a return to “hit ’em where they ain’t” baseball, though in truth, that pre-dates my parents’ era of baseball, let alone my own.

        As for the others Ethan mentions, I’m all for the pitch clock and objective strike zones and wholly against the DH in the NL. (Though I fear it’s only a matter of time for the latter…)

        Obviously the least important topic in today’s Morning File, but about the only one upon which I feel qualified to offer commentary.