News

1. Police data collection

Photo: Halifax Examiner

The police board has approved a motion to ask Halifax Regional Police for a plan to implement a Wortley report recommendation that would see racial data collected on all police stops, including traffic stops. Currently, that data is only collected for street checks, and shows that Black Haligonians are six times more likely to be stopped or surveilled in a street check.

As Zane Woodford explains in StarMetro Halifax:

Street checks refer to the police practice of either stopping someone and asking for their identification or observing someone they already know from afar and entering that information into a database. But as Wortley noted in his report, that data does not include traffic stops or other types of police stops.

“During the consultation process, it became clear that many community members were expressing concerns about police stops rather than what, technically, the police define as a street check,” Wortley wrote. “In other words, during public discussion and debate, police stops are often conflated or confused with street checks.”

Wortley noted that boxer Kirk Johnson was subjected to a traffic stop, not a street check, in the infamous case that became synonymous with racial bias in policing in Halifax.

To try to reduce that confusion and paint a clearer picture, Wortley recommended police collect more data “in order to truly examine and monitor racial bias in police surveillance practices.”

2. Attempted sextortion stopped by women who would have none of it

This item is written by Jennifer Henderson.

Jonathan Benoit Boudreau will appear in Provincial Court next week (Sept.24) to answer one charge of extortion police allege took place in Halifax on May 9 of this year.

The 36-year-old man is accused of texting nude photos to a 22-year-old Halifax woman and demanding she send additional photos or he would post to social media those he had already obtained without her knowledge or permission. There is a court-imposed publication ban to protect the identity of the complainant.

Information detailed in the search warrant indicates Boudreau and the 22-year-old woman were acquainted, having briefly parked in the same lot, but had never dated. The warrant says one of the photos texted shows the complainant lying on a bed with her breasts exposed. Another shows her nude back and buttocks.

Here is part of the text conversation from May 9 detailed in the search warrant between the unidentified individual called LNU and the female complainant we will call W:

W then receives picture number 3 which shows her wearing only a green thong and lying on her side, but her face is not shown.

W: “stop sending me shit”

LNU: “more of you”

W: “Leave me alone”

LNU: “more of you”

W: “Leave me alone”

LNU: “One pic”

W: “Blocking you now. Goodbye.”

LNU: “Leaking”

W: “All right, I’ll call the cops then”.

LNU: “I’ll tell you who sent:

W: “Okay, go ahead. whatever you guys are doing is still illegal.”

LNU: “send one bra pic I delete”

W: “Nope. In Canada it’s illegal to threaten to send someone’s photos to force then into doing something.”

The woman refused to be blackmailed and called police who traced the texts to a phone number the court document alleges belonged to Boudreau.

This information was obtained from a search warrant Halifax Regional Police used to obtain access to his cellphone, IPad, and other electronic devices. The search warrant also makes reference to an ex-girlfriend of the accused who complained to police the day previously — May 8,2019 — that she had received anonymous text messages from someone demanding she send photographs of herself or the individual would leak some he/she claimed to possess. At that point, the woman blocked the caller.

On July 19 of this year Boudreau was charged with one count of extortion. Employees at Taz Records on Brunswick Street says he left his job there about four months ago and moved to New Brunswick.

3. Police to review botched sexual assault investigation

The Halifax Regional Police issued this release late Monday afternoon, in response to reporting done by Maggie Rahr for the CBC about a “deeply flawed 18-month police investigation” into a violent kidnapping and rape.

Today Halifax Regional Police issued the following statement in relation to an ongoing sexual assault investigation as discussed in recent media reports.

“Halifax Regional Police has a number of investigators, along with RCMP officers, that form a specialized integrated Sexual Assault Investigative Team. When concerns of this nature are expressed, we take them very seriously.

“As the investigation is currently ongoing, we are not in a position to discuss specifics. However, we can confirm that an internal review is being conducted to look into the exact circumstances at the direction of the Chief of Police. The intent is to examine our response to the criminal complaint, and review the steps taken, the timeline of these steps and whether things could have been done differently.”

Carrie Low, the victim of the assault, was in court Monday morning with lawyers from the Elizabeth Fry Society to try to have complaints over police handling of the investigation reviewed by the Office of the Police Complaints Commissioner. As Rahr had reported Friday, the office had rejected looking at Low’s complaint because “it had come too late, past the six-month limit dictated by the Nova Scotia Police Act.”

As the CBC’s Shaina Luck reported late Monday, the Fry Society legal team is arguing that the six- month time limit applies from the date of the failures outlined in the complaint, and not the original event causing the investigation. Luck reports:

For Low, she feels a one-year time limit that rolls through the last action in the investigation would be more appropriate than a hard six-month limit. 

“In sexual assault trauma, we need time to process what really actually happened and we need time to seek therapy, seek counsel, seek all these things. We don’t have that ability in the first six months,” she said. 

Low said it was only recently that she has found enough stability in her life to seek change in the justice system, but she always knew she wanted to speak out on behalf of others. 

“I knew from the beginning when I went to the emergency department it wasn’t just about me, it was bigger than me. It was my daughters. It was for other women. I had to report this.”

4. Immigration program inspires immigration fraud

Angela MacIvor reports on a CBC investigation looking into companies offering illegal access to the Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program, whereby employers can apply to fast-track the permanent resident status of an immigrant employee they hire. Except, as MacIvor reports, some companies are offering fake jobs to qualify for the program, bankrolled by immigrants themselves. Reports MacIvor:

In theory, businesses apply to it to find workers for positions they cannot otherwise fill. The difference from other programs that grant permanent residency is that potential immigrants deal directly with employers, with little government oversight of the recruitment and negotiation process.

The problem is that so-called “ghost” agencies are taking advantage of weaknesses in the program. They convince immigrants to turn over sometimes tens of thousands of dollars, paying off select companies to hire the person for no pay or to simply forge their payroll.

5. Lord, please, no. (And probably not.)

While the currently predicted path of Hurricane Humberto bypasses Nova Scotia, the Canadian Hurricane Centre is warning that the path could change over the course of the week, reports Philip Croucher for StarMetro Halifax. Thankfully, Humberto missed the already devastated Bahamas, and is currently tracking out into the Atlantic.

6. Shearwater purchasing department fraudsters convicted

These jerks stole $2 million from the government. Blair Rhodes reports for the CBC:

Two Nova Scotia men have been convicted of bilking the Department of National Defence out of about $2 million as part of a scheme to buy and sell parts at exorbitant prices and without competitive bids to the former heating plant at Canadian Forces Base Shearwater in Eastern Passage, N.S.

Bry’n Ross was a purchasing agent for the base and he repeatedly steered contracts to his friend, Harold Dawson, who owned four companies that bid on government contracts.

Evidence at the trial for the two men found Dawson formed the four companies to create the impression there was a competitive bidding process for the supply contracts.

7.  Bills piling up for South Park crane evacuees

The collapsed crane preventing South Park evacuees from returning home. Photo: @mattdagley

The CBC’s Anjuli Patil reports on the experience of one of the South Park street crane collapse evacuees, after the frustrated resident made a detailed social media post about her situation on Saturday. Although resident Rebecca Carole and her partner were ordered to evacuate, they have not received any official updates or information on the situation. As Patil reports, although the company responsible for the crane, W.M. Fares, has publicly stated their intention to help evacuees “as a gesture of good will”, they have yet to provide any financial help to Carole, who says she has already spent about $1500 on accommodations since her sudden evacuation.


Views

1. The Art of City Building

Art of City Building conference at Central Library, with Mary Rowe speaking. Photo @ebkent

When organizer Tara Wickwire decided to show a clip from the 1991 NFB film Remember Africville to kick off the Art of City Building 2019 conference yesterday at the Central Library, it was fitting that the clip she chose was in turn taken from a much earlier NFB film, the 1971 Encounter on the Urban Environment, which documented an astounding week-long event which brought 12 experts from various fields to Halifax to help the city solve some of its more intractable problems. I say it’s fitting because the spirit of events like the Art of City Building, now in its third year, is rooted in something like Encounter on the Urban Environment. Bring in some outsiders, let them have a look around, and hear what they’ve got to say.

Stephen Kimber was a young reporter during Encounter, and recalled the event this past January in the Examiner.

Of course, the clip Wickwire chose was also fitting for the reason she chose it. Remembering Africville is an appropriate thing for any gathering of planners and social technocrats in Halifax, because planning and social technocracy is exactly what brought about the forced relocation and dispossession of Africville residents, now a nearly universally recognized mistake. And there’s really no better description of what happened at Africville, and its almost immediate consequences, than former resident Daisy Carvery’s explanation to the visiting experts during the Encounter proceedings.

You can check out videos of all the Art of City Building 2019 speakers here.

The roster includes a few locals, such as Pamela Glode-Desrochers enticing the audience with the promise of a stunning new Mi’kMaq Friendship Centre at the base of Citadel Hill. There’s stigma around the Mi’kMaq community in Halifax, said Glode-Desrochers, and “this building is going to blow that apart.”

Other key takeaways:

  • Gondolas are not the wackadoodle transportation idea you might have thought they were.
  • E-commerce is not killing retail in Canada, so stop saying it is.
  • The Valencia, Spain waterfront has a public swimming pool, so why shouldn’t we?
  • Locals first, tourists will follow.
  • “We do not make place, place makes us.” (Lucy Tukua)

Noticed

Heads up, now might be a good time to spot a Great Blue Heron in the Public Gardens.  A Reddit user posted this pic, taken Saturday, of one about to eat lunch.


Government

City

Tuesday

Regional Council (Tuesday, 10am, City Hall) — here’s the agenda. It’s a doozy of a meeting.  Here are some highlights:

Centre Plan: a public hearing on the massive and complex Package ‘A’ will take place starting at 6pm.

Transit fares:  Reconsideration of a staff recommendation to officially look into “the feasibility of implementing a fee for access to Halifax Transit Park and Rides.” Later in the meeting will be the second reading for revisions to the transit fare bylaw, which increase transit fares, but preserve the seniors category.

The Khyber building: Councillor Matt Whitman has asked to bring forward an information report on the progress of the 1588 Barrington Street Preservation Society, who are in the midst of planning and fundraising to follow through on their community takeover of the Khyber Building. Interesting to note that the Khyber Building will net the city more in general tax revenues this year than the convention centre, despite the fact that the city has provided some tax relief to the organization, reducing their $50,000 tax bill to about $10,000. All taxes for the convention centre will go towards the convention centre reserve, to help cover convention centre debts.

Convention Centre: Council is being asked to “revise the business case” for the Convention Centre, by making sure every possible penny of tax revenue collected, including what the city owes to the province, will go into the Convention Centre reserve, and not be available for general revenue, or, presumably, paying the province.

There are also requests for crosswalks, street renaming, a plan to collect dog poo, a request to allow “artisinal vending” in Dartmouth, and a motion from Matt Whitman to “prioritize ride sharing”.

Wednesday

Audit and Finance Standing Committee (Wednesday, 10am, City Hall) — here’s the agenda.

If required – public hearing continuation (Wednesday, 1pm, City Hall) — here’s the agenda again.

Public Information Meeting – Case 22288 (Wednesday, 7pm, East Dover Community Hall) —

Application by David Cahill to enter into a development agreement for a commercial recreation, low impact eco-tourism development on PIDs 40853376, 40065195 off Highway 333, McGraths Cove. More info here.

Province

Tuesday

Veterans Affairs (Tuesday, 2pm, One Government Place) — Canadian Youth Remembrance Society.

Wednesday

No public meetings for the rest of the week.


On campus

Dalhousie

Tuesday

Food System Failure — Why Food is a Forgotten Policy Option (Tuesday, 12pm, Room 1020, Rowe Management Building) — a panel discussion with Jamie Baxter, Megan Bailey, Sara Kirk, and Sara Seck. From the listing:

The right to food is enshrined in international law, while ending hunger is explicit as the second of 17 global sustainable development goals. Yet 4 million Canadians experience food insecurity, diet-related chronic diseases are increasing, and climate change is threatening food supply and production as well as traditional ways of life for many communities across Canada. These complex issues point to a failure of the food system but why isn’t anyone talking about this failure in the run up to the Federal election?

In this panel, four speakers will discuss the challenges and opportunities for our 21st century food system, from the perspectives of health, sustainability, economic development, corporate responsibility and law. In doing so, they will address the question, what are the policy levers for a fair, affordable, sustainable and healthy food system for Atlantic Canada?

Streamed live here.

Senator Doug Black (Tuesday, 1:30pm, Room 207, Weldon Law Building) — will talk about Senate business, effects of recent legislation on Eastern Canada, the Canadian economy, and current energy issues.​

Kleisli Double Categories II (Tuesday, 2:30pm, Room 319, Chase Building) — Robert Paré will talk. He says:

I will continue my case study of double categories arising from monads and comonads. I will look at companions and conjoints, double functors, and horizontal and vertical transformations, all motivated by the Kleisli construction.​


Wednesday

Stuff You Need to Know as a Knowledge Creator from Educators to Researchers and Beyond (Wednesday, 12pm, Room 114, Centre for Clinical Research or online) — more info here.

SURGE and OTN Discover Coding (Wednesday, 12:30pm, SURGE Sandbox, Room 2660, Life Sciences Centre) — the first of a series of one-hour lunch coding workshops. Info here.

Thinking Outside the Tetrahedron:  Rational Design of Inhibitors of Racemases and Epimerases (Wednesday, 4pm, Theatre A, Tupper Medical Building) — Stephen L. Bearne will talk.


In the harbour

05:30: Columbia Highway, car carrier, arrives at Autoport from Emden, Germany
07:30: Albatros, cruise ship with up to 830 passengers, arrives at Pier 20 from Sydney, on a 33-day roundtrip cruise out of Bremerhaven, Germany
07:30: Norwegian Gem, cruise ship, with up to 2,873 passengers, arrives at Pier 31 from Sydney, on a seven-day cruise from Quebec City to Boston
07:30: Star Pride, cruise ship with 254 passengers, arrives at Pier 23 from Bar Harbor, on a 12-day cruise from New York to Montreal
08:30: Gerhard Schulte, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from Liverpool, England
09:45: Anthem of the Seas, cruise ship with up to 4,180 passengers, arrives at Pier 22 from Bar Harbor, on a nine-day roundtrip cruise out of New York
10:00: Oceanex Sanderling, ro-ro container, arrives at Pier 41 from St. John’s
11:00: X-Press Makalu, container ship, arrives at Pier 42 from Lisbon, Portugal
11:30: Columbia Highway sails for sea
16:30: Gerhard Schulte sails for New York
17:45: Norwegian Gem sails for Saint John
19:00: Albatros sails to St. John’s
21:30: Star Pride sails for Charlottetown
22:00: YM Moderation, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from Norfolk
23:00: Anthem of the Seas sails for Saint John


Footnotes

Sometimes you just need to go find a Great Blue Heron.

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2 Comments

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  1. Has anyone asked Councillor Whitman how many shares he has in Uber or is conflict of interest defunct in the age of Trump?

  2. The whole point of the Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program is to let businesses hire foreign workers at the wages they want to pay, not to fill skill gaps. In the rest of Canada employers have to at least prove they tried to hire a local worker, and prove that they will pay their immigrant workers competitively. The CBC can’t even get the basic facts right about this awful program.