News

1. Street checks

Photo: Halifax Examiner

Saturday, young people in Halifax’s Black community led a conversation at the North Library about Scot Wortley’s report on street checks and the effects of street checks on them. After the conversation, there was a march from the library to the police station (and then on to Province House) demanding an end to street checks. At the police station, El Jones read her poem, “Stop Street Checks.”

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The text of the poem is here.

2. Northern Pulp

Northern Pulp Mill. Photo: Halifax Examiner

“The future of a Nova Scotia pulp mill remained uncertain Friday as the province asked for more work on its contentious proposal to pipe 85 million litres of its treated wastewater into the Northumberland Strait,” reports Michael Tutton for the Canadian Press:

The Northern Pulp paper mill has become a flashpoint, with its plan to pump waste into rich fishing grounds pitting forest industry workers against fishermen, environmentalists and even the P.E.I. government — which opposes the plan due to concerns over the impact on lobster harvesting.

In an environmental review released Friday, Environment Minister Margaret Miller said the company must submit a “focus report” with more data in areas ranging from the effluent’s impact on drinking water in Pictou to the potential impact on marine species.

The terms of reference for the study are to be set on April 24, and the company would have up to a year to provide answers.

3. Bay Ferries

(Portland Press)

Writes Stephen Kimber:

Bay Ferries says its Yarmouth ferry service’s real problem has nothing to do with the government’s over-subsidization or its own over-pricing. Blame it on the “nasty” opposition.

Click here to read “Stunting 101: The games Bay Ferries plays.”

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4. Blatchford

Unbeknownst to me, just as I was publishing my “Journalmalism 101” piece Friday morning castigating the Saltwire Network for publishing Christie Blatchford, Mary Campbell was doing the exact same thing in her Cape Breton Spectator. Great minds, etc.

I had included a link to a site that excoriates Blatchford for her horrible writing, but Campbell expounds further on the same site:

Google her name and you’ll soon find “I Hate Christie Blatchford,” a website created by David Brooks, a fine arts specialist with a focus on the works of Van Gogh and a strong distaste for Blatchford’s purple prose which, at the time he launched the site, was gracing the pages of the Globe & Mail. (The critique stopped once Blatchford left G&M for the National Post).

In a section entitled, “The Blatchford Bad Writing Hall of Shame,” Brooks collects some stunning samples of Blatchfordiana, like this quote from a story about the grieving mother of a dead Canadian soldier:

But for once, in the back of that plane, picturing the lanky drink of water who was her young son on his last flight in another Herc, she couldn’t suck it up or push back the tide of emotions.

Brooks divides Blatchford’s oeuvre into five main categories and I’m putting them out there because they could come in handy for those of us who have successfully avoided her for years but may now be tempted to read her in the same way we just can’t resist looking at a wreck on the highway:

You’re welcome.

Click here to read “Bletchford.”

As with the Examiner, the Cape Breton Spectator is subscriber supported, and so this article is behind the Spectator’s paywall. Click here to purchase a subscription to the Spectator, or click on the photo below to get a joint subscription to both the Spectator and the Examiner.
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5. Justin Brake

Justin Brake. Photo: Halifax Examiner

(Background for this story here.)

“Newfoundland and Labrador’s top court has defended the importance of press freedom in a landmark decision in the high-profile case of a journalist charged with contempt of a court-ordered injunction,” reports Holly McKenzie-Sutter for the Canadian Press:

Justice Derek Green vacated an injunction he found was improperly applied to journalist Justin Brake, overturning a provincial Supreme Court finding that Brake’s status as a working journalist was not material to the case.

“The evidence from APTN, which I accept, is that Aboriginal communities have been historically underrepresented in the Canadian media,” Green wrote. “That makes freedom of the press to cover stories involving Indigenous land issues even more vital.”

He also outlined a number of “non-exhaustive” considerations for courts and other parties when determining whether a journalist covering a protest should be included in an ex parte injunction order.

The considerations included considering whether the person is engaged in good faith journalistic coverage, is not actively assisting the protesters, is not interfering with law enforcement and if the matters being reported on are of public interest.

Green noted that “particular consideration should be given to protests involving Aboriginal issues.”

Green decided the previous judge had erred by not considering Brake’s role as a journalist to be a material fact. He vacated the injunction and contempt notices and ruled Brake was entitled to his costs against the respondents.

This is an important victory for Brake, and an important victory for journalism in general.

6. Stadium

The fix is in.

“A significant update came in the new stadium approach, which now includes a partnership with Sport Nova Scotia that would see the goal for any stadium being as a year-round community facility,” reports Philip Croucher for StarMetro Halifax:

As well, SSE founding partner Anthony LeBlanc announced that a framework for an agreement was reached between them and Canada Lands, outlining a potential deal that would see what is now being referred to as multi-use community sports and entertainment hub getting built at the Shannon Park site in Dartmouth.

The other news Saturday was the announcement that a letter of intent was signed between Canada Lands and SSE, outlining the parameters of a potential deal for a stadium.

According to a Canada Lands release issued Saturday, the elements of the deal include the sale of up 20 acres to SSE for a proposed stadium. The statement also said any sale is “dependent on the satisfaction of a number of commitments.”

Those commitments include SSE engaging with the public on the new proposed stadium idea, support from both the city and province, and for input from Millbrook First Nation about this, and what else might be built on the remaining Shannon Park property.

As of this morning, the Canada Lands release does not appear on Canada Land’s website and wasn’t sent to me. Nor has the @PlanShannon Twitter account been updated since June 2018.

Hey, remember this Shannon Park plan released just three years ago by Canada Lands?:

Note the lack of, you know, a stadium. Or even the availability of land for one.

Funny how Anthony Leblanc rolls into to town and all the years’ worth of public meetings, planning, “engagement” and so forth about Shannon Park get tossed right out of the window. I thought this was kind of rude when I first posted it, but now it seems 100% correct:

The “public consultation” about Shannon Park was bullshit

Remember last year when the “public consultations” for the Shannon Park redevelopment were being celebrated?

Here’s how some unnamed scab at the Chronicle Herald wrote about it:

The ‘new’ Shannon Park will feature everything from quiet residential streets to high-rises and commercial space, according to a plan revealed Wednesday at a public meeting.

The long-awaited preferred concept for the redevelopment of the former Dartmouth military base, largely empty for 15 years, also includes waterfront access at several points, an urban centre, 17 acres of green space and an extensive trail and cycling system, according to plans presented by Greg Zwicker, vice-president of WSP Canada Inc. and Chris Millier, director of real estate for Canada Lands Company, which owns the 39-hectare property.

[…]

Dartmouth city councillor Tony Mancini said he likes the concept. “It’s a really exciting opportunity,” he said, “one that can have a huge impact on HRM (Halifax Regional Municipality) and particularly Dartmouth North.”

Mancini said he was impressed with the amount of public consultation in recent months, something that’s increasing in the municipality.

People who thought they were taking part in a meaningful public consultation about the Shannon Park redevelopment. Photo: Darren Fisher. Annotation: Halifax Examiner

And MP Darren Fisher wrote about it in his newsletter:

Where does it stand?
Through public engagement Canada Lands has adopted a preferred concept that fits with the community’s feedback.

They have built around core principles of vibrancy—having a vibrant urban centre, public realm—park and trail system, mobility—walkable space and space for bicycles, land use—using a range of building types and land uses, commemoration—revitalizing and recognizing the history of Shannon Park and its previous vibrancy, and finally utilizing the waterfront.

Here’s a lesson from the Halifax Examiner’s handbook on government bullshit: when someone tosses around the word “vibrancy” with abandon, understand you’re being played the fool.

I don’t know why anyone would ever again get involved with any “public consultation” in Halifax. We’ve learned time and again that they’re almost always bullshit, usually by design but always by outcome. People: Don’t waste your time. Don’t go. You could be doing something far more useful and productive, like watching Netflix or washing the dishes you left in the sink days ago or petting the dog and/or cat, depending on your preference.

Oh, and now Sport Nova Scotia is suddenly all about a stadium. How’d that happen?

The city’s stadium report is due to arrive in June.

7. Erratum

I misreported the names of the Canadian Press reporters who lost their jobs last week. I hadn’t been aware that Alison Auld left her job, which had the effect of saving Keith Doucette’s job.

So the departing reporters are Alison Auld, Brett Bundale, Aly Thomson, and Alex Cooke.

Remaining are reporters Michael Tutton, Michael MacDonald, and Keith Doucette. Bureau Chief Rob Roberts also remains.

That’s right: CP has lost all four of the women who were working in Halifax, leaving four men.


Government

City

Monday

No public meetings.

Tuesday

Halifax Regional Council (Tuesday, 1pm, City Hall) — agenda

Province

No public meetings this week.


On campus

Dalhousie

Monday

Irreducibility of Generalized Stern Polynomials (Monday, 2:30pm, Room 319, Chase Building) — Mason Maxwell will speak. His abstract:

​​We study the irreducibility of two types of generalized Stern polynomials introduced by Karl Dilcher and Larry Ericksen in 2017. The classical Stern integer sequence, remarkable in its own right, was extended in 2007 by  Klavžar, Milutinović, and Petr to the Stern polynomials $B_n(z)$ defined by $B_0(z)=0$, $B_1(z)=1$, and for $n\geq1$ by $B_{2n}(z)=zB_n(z)$, $B_{2n+1}(z)=B_n(z)+B_{n+1}(z)$. Ulas conjectured that $B_p(z)$ is irreducible whenever $p$ is prime; this has been verified for the first $10^6$ primes and various cases were proved by Schinzel and by Dilcher, Kidwai, and Tomkins. In this talk we study the analogous problem for the generalized Stern polynomials. In the process, we survey the theory of cyclotomic polynomials and several important theorems about irreducibility of certain classes of polynomials. We end with a conjecture about reducible generalized Stern polynomials having cyclotomic factors.

Pitfalls and paradoxes in observational epidemiology: How can causal inference methods help? (Monday, 12:30pm, Room 409, Centre for Clinical Research) — Jillian Ashley Martin will speak. Her abstract:

Certain traditional approaches to model adjustment and presentation of results may exacerbate, rather than eliminate, bias and lead to misinterpretation of results. Overadjustment and collider stratification are types of biases that can produce paradoxical findings.  Appropriate interpretation of research findings may be hindered by the common practice, coined the “Table 2 fallacy”, of presenting and interpreting multiple adjusted estimates. This session will provide an overview of how causal diagrams can help identify and address these common pitfalls and paradoxes.

Tuesday

Looking through the eyes of another: What do we know about eye movements and can we use other people’s perceptual input to alter performance​ (Tuesday, 11:30am, Room P4258, Life Sciences Centre) — a talk by Mike Dodd from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


In the harbour

05:30: Euphrates Highway, car carrier, arrives at Autoport from Emden, Germany
06:00: Tropic Hope, container ship, arrives at Pier 42 from Philipsburg, St. Maarten
06:00: Maersk Patras, container ship, arrives at Pier 41 from Montreal
15:30: Euphrates Highway sails for sea
16:00: Maersk Patras sails for sea
16:30: Tropic Hope, container ship, sails for Palm Beach, Florida

Where are the Canadian military ships?



Footnotes

A not inconsiderable part of my daily email and other correspondence consists of messages to the effect of “hey, asshole, how come you’re not answering my email?”

Some things will never change.

I don’t have a copie eidtor today. Send me an email about spelling mistakes.


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Tim Bousquet

Tim Bousquet is the editor and publisher of the Halifax Examiner. Twitter @Tim_Bousquet Mastodon

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  1. The “new stadium” concept is so transparently an exercise in “here is what we have to say to shut everyone up” but the fact remains this is a railroad deal spawned in the minds of a few entitled business guys (and I use the term “guys” precisely) to foist a white elephant money pit on taxpayers of this City.
    Had this process been open and transparent from the get go, there might actually be a business case for this, but it has been backroom all the way. Don’t trust this gang as they have no interest other than their own selfish goals.
    And shame on Canada Lands for falling prey to this.

  2. This stadium shitshow is SO transparent.

    So all of those multi-use fields HRM has been building are useless because all of the sport groups will want to play in a shiny new stadium? This is community buy-in? This makes spending $150 million dollars on a stadium OK?

    I love city hall. It is one of the last architectural treasures in Halifax but if Council decides its a good idea to fund this steaming pile then it should be burned to the ground.

  3. From the Wortley Report :
    ” For example, at a February 2019 meeting with police executives, I was given a one-page document outlining the likelihood of being a victim of violent crime, in the HRM, between 2006-2016. The document highlighted that during this time period:
    • Black residents were more than twice as likely to be the victim of a violent crime than
    their White counterparts;
    • The homicide rate for Black residents (16.86 per 100,000) was six times greater than
    the White homicide rate (2.76 per 100,000);
    • Black residents were twenty times more likely to be the victim of a firearm-related homicide;
    • Black people were twenty-one times more likely to be the target of an attempted
    homicide involving a firearm;
    After I had examined these statistics, one police leader commented that: “These crime data are all
    you really need to know to understand why Black people are over-represented in street check stats.
    Officers are out there fighting crime in the Black community. In many ways we are trying to protect
    the Black community from the violence that takes place there.”
    page 85 : https://humanrights.novascotia.ca/sites/default/files/editor-uploads/halifax_street_checks_report_march_2019_0.pdf

    Seems the media folloed the Wortley narrative and ignored the data, the same way they ignore the data regarding educational attainment results in schools where students are poor, predominantly black, and with a single parent who is predominantly female. Improve educational outcomes and employment opportunities will abound and crime will decline.

    1. Those are discouraging statistics. Ceasefire and other similar initiatives weren’t created in a vacuum. I still think the city needs to go full cctv but I doubt many would agree. Even if we stop street checking everyone and those stats stay the same, what’s the community’s/leaders solution to those #s?