News

1. Discrimination

Kathy Symington.

A firefighter who says her 18-year career was plagued by sexual harassment is demanding that Halifax Regional Municipality step up to resolve discrimination cases like hers that drag on for years,” reports the CBC:

Kathy Symington has collected 1,400 pages documenting her sexual harassment case against Halifax Regional Fire and Emergency. She said the harassment began in 2000.

“Lots of rude comments, derogatory comments,” she told CBC News. “Do you like oral sex? What’s your favourite sexual position? Things that are very inappropriate.”

Her car was vandalized three times. She suspects the man who asked her about sex also damaged her car.

Symington said once she spoke up, rumours started circulating that she was “crazy” and lying. On one occasion, she says her managers told her she was booked for a physical. She arrived to find out it was an appointment with a psychologist, one of many “traps” she says her male colleagues set for her.

That last bit is familiar. I’ve had discussion with another firefighter who experienced something very similar. I need to write that story.

2. Lobbying

Former Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien

“Jean Chrétien has ignored a letter from Nova Scotia’s lobbyist registrar asking if he lobbied the premier about a port proposal during a recent closed-door session that drew a citizen complaint,” reports Michael Tutton for the CBC:

The registrar of lobbyists, Hayley Clarke, asked the former prime minister about a March 21 meeting in Halifax with Premier Stephen McNeil and Business Minister Geoff MacLellan.

Chrétien is an international adviser to Sydney Harbour Investment Partners, which has been seeking investor support for the Cape Breton container port project. Chrétien is not a registered lobbyist in Nova Scotia, and both McNeil and MacLellan denied he lobbied them or discussed the port project.

That denial was nonsense. As Chris Shannon from the Cape Breton Post reported, the day before he met with McNeil, Chrétien spoke with reporters in Sydney:

He [Chrétien] said he plans to meet with Premier Stephen McNeil today to discuss the Sydney port file. He also believes the provincial government should invest in the container terminal proposal.

“I hope so,” he said.

Continues Tutton:

Duff Conacher, the co-founder of Democracy Watch, said Chrétien needs to clear up the issue before he resumes conversations with politicians in the province.

“He should be showing and documenting that he has not crossed the line that the law establishes that requires registration. If he’s not going to show the registrar, then the police should give him a call,” said Conacher.

The complainant, John McCracken, said Chrétien’s lack of response demonstrates that Nova Scotia’s lobbying law is “toothless.”

McCracken is correct. What should happen now is that the registrar should use her subpoena power to seize documents from both SHIP and Chrétien to establish if Chrétien billed SHIP for his time with McNeil, and use her legal team to charge Chrétien. Oh, wait, the registrar doesn’t have subpoena power or a legal team.

So, if the law has no teeth and can be ignored with impunity, why should anyone register at all? Registering just allows pesky reporters to root around in your business and gives the public the opportunity to know who is pulling strings behind the scenes, and who wants that?

Given that Chrétien has successfully thumbed his nose at the registry, my guess is that the registry is dead in the water. No one will newly register, and current lobbyists won’t maintain their registrations.

3. Whale sanctuary

A still from the film Blackfish.

“Nova Scotia has made the short list for a group planning to build a refuge for killer whales raised in captivity,” reports Aaron Beswick for the Chronicle Herald:

After looking at nearly a dozen sites around the province, the Whale Sanctuary Project has narrowed its choice down to a stretch of coast on the South Shore or a spot in the Pacific Northwest. It is proposing a facility to house orcas and beluga whales retired from aquariums.

“We are very close to deciding a site,” said Lori Marino, president of the Whale Sanctuary Project.

In October 2016, Marino came to speak at Dal, and I asked then-striking Chronicle Herald reporter Chris Lambie to speak with her. He came back with this article:

An organization planning to build a $15-million sanctuary for captive whales is scouting locations in Nova Scotia.

The Whale Sanctuary Project has checked out a dozen sites between Lunenberg and Guysborough that could become a home for between five and eight orcas, belugas and other cold-water cetaceans that spent their lives in the concrete tanks of theme parks and aquariums.

“We’re actually talking about a netted-off area — not a pen or a tank — of at least 65 acres along the coast,” said Lori Marino, a neuroscientist and marine mammal expert who heads the non-profit outfit.

“What we’re going to be giving them is so much more space and depth than they’ve ever had in a tank.”

The group is looking at coves, bays, and sites where they could string nets from the mainland to an island to create the sanctuary.

“We’re trying to find somewhere that is as natural as possible, but also doesn’t interfere negatively with industries or even the animals that are in the water in that area.”

Click here to read the rest of the article.

4. Copper theft

“Officials with Nova Scotia Power say a number of incidents involving copper wire theft were reported during the month of May in Cape Breton,” reports Jeremy Fraser for the Cape Breton Post:

Nova Scotia Power spokesperson Tiffany Chase confirmed the company experienced approximately 20 incidents of theft at different locations across the island, including Point Aconi and Scotch Lake.

In Point Aconi, close to 150-pounds of copper wiring was stolen from a substation located near Point Aconi Road. The incident happened between May 11-14.

The replacement value of the wiring is between $5,000-$8,000.

Meanwhile, in Scotch Lake, a large quantity of copper wiring was taken from power lines near 585 Scotch Lake Rd. Police believe the theft happened sometime between 1 a.m. and 10 a.m. on May 28.

The replacement of the stolen wiring is around $5,000.

5. Bill Spurr rages

Bill Spurr has a terrible boss, so this puppy is going to die.

Having the day before received an email from his boss announcing consolidations and layoffs at some Saltwire papers, Chronicle Herald restaurant reviewer Bill Spurr decided yesterday to visit the Rage Room. The result is the stupidest 18-second video ever posted on the Herald’s site — which is saying something — showing Spurr beating up on what looks like a ceramic puppy.

The article accompanying the video is unbylined, and although nothing indicates that it is, I suspect it is advertorial. Or maybe Spurr is going to charge the Rage Room $200 to post the article on its website. Who knows?

Either way, the article reads:

After dressing in coveralls, a mask like a paintball mask, gloves and a chest protector, customers take a box and peruse walls of neatly filled shelves of stereo equipment, toasters, coffee makers, piggy banks, ceramic cookie jars, china sets, punch bowls, wine glasses and the like.

“I’ve aligned myself with some non-profits and a couple of them own thrift stores and most of my stuff comes from them,” said [manager Terry] LeBlanc. “Ninety per cent of the printers and everything else that’s here, if not more, was all destined for the trash or the recycler.”

You can also bring your own stuff to obliterate in one of LeBlanc’s two rooms.

“People smash figurines, glasses, plates, all your household stuff, even appliances,” he said. “I just recently got a water cooler, a Christmas tree, a fan. You’d be surprised at what people bring in here.”

I don’t know… couldn’t you just drink?

6. PEI politics

Every week or so I like to check in on PEI, and invariably there’s some weird thing going on. Today it’s this:

Environment Minister Richard Brown says he did give a member of the public the middle finger and regrets doing so.

7. Theodore Thugboat

Theodore Thugboat is going to thug-up Saint John Harbour. Photo: panoramio.com

Theodore Thugboat will probably feel more at home in Saint John anyway.


Government

No public meetings.


On campus

Dalhousie

Spring Convocation, Morning Ceremony (Friday, 9am, Rebecca Cohn Auditorium) — ceremony for graduates in the Faculties of Science and Graduate Studies. Honorary Degree Recipient: Robert Frank.

Spring Convocation, Early Afternoon Ceremony (Friday, 12:30pm, Rebecca Cohn Auditorium) — ceremony for graduates in the Faculties of Science and Graduate Studies.

Spring Convocation, Late Afternoon Ceremony (Friday, 4pm, Rebecca Cohn Auditorium) — ceremony for graduates in the Faculties of Science and Graduate Studies.

Saint Mary’s

Why Atlantic Canada is Key to a Successful Immigration Policy (Friday, 7pm, in the theatre named after a bank in the building named after a grocery store) — John Ralston Saul talks about immigration.

King’s College

Reductions and Selections in the Recent Philosophy of Biology (Friday, 3:30pm: Archibald Room, New Academic Building) — Ford Doolittle and Evelyn Fox Keller speak.


In the harbour

10am: Paxi, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from Colombo, Sri Lanka
11am: Berlin Bridge, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from Fos Sur Mer, France
2pm: Acadia Desgagnes, cargo ship, sails from Pier 25 for sea
3:30pm: Tugela, car carrier, sails from Autoport for sea
4:30pm: Nolhanava, ro-ro cargo, sails from Pier 36 for Saint-Pierre
4:30pm: Berlin Bridge, container ship, sails from Fairview Cove for New York
5pm: MOL Partner, container ship, arrives at Bedford Basin anchorage from Norfolk
9:30pm: Paxi, container ship, sails from Fairview Cove for New York


Footnotes

Today’s headline is dedicated to the moderator of r/Halifax.

Tim Bousquet

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

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  1. In the rage room… that fan that was donated… by any chance is that a Montreal Canadiens fan?