Hi, Erica Butler here filling in for Tim on this drizzly old Halifax day.


News

1. On Treaty Day, Nova Scotia archbishop apologizes for Shubenacadie Residential School

The Shubenacadie Indian Residential School.

Monday was Treaty Day, and Nova Scotia’s catholic leaders marked it with an apology and request for forgiveness at a special mass in Halifax, reports Nic Meloney of CBC News.

He and Bishop Brian Dunn from the Diocese of Antigonish then knelt in front of the congregation to read a “Rite of Forgiveness.” 

“On this day, we personally and in our roles as leaders of the Catholic Church in Nova Scotia, kneel before the representatives of the Mi’kmaq nation to express our regret, sorrow and apology for the hurts, violence and abuse experienced in the residential school of Shubenacadie, for the participation of the Church in the promotion of misguided policies of assimilation and for our involvement in undermining aboriginal culture, language and spirituality,” the bishops said. 

The Rite’s text went on to address the church’s support of racist practices, and the involvement of church members in maintaining “inhuman and inadequate life conditions” for the Mi’kmaq and “indifference” to their plight.

Meloney goes on to report that the apology and mass were preceded by “listening sessions the church has been holding with Mi’kmaq leaders and Elders since April,” and that it will be followed up by “concrete actions” eventually.

2.  Halifax is getting some campaign financing rules

Photo: Halifax Examiner

If you want to run for council in 2020, you will have some new rules to govern how you raise the money for your campaign. Zane Woodford of StarMetro Halifax tells the tale of Tuesdays’s Committee of the Whole meeting where councillors tweaked and then approved first reading of the new bylaw. Here’s the gist of the new rules:

  • Donations are limited to individuals, leaving out developers and other corporations, unions, and other groups.
  • Individuals can give up to $1,000 to a council candidate, and up to $2,500 to a mayoral candidate, up to a maximum of $5,000 among all candidates in a given year.
  • Each council candidate can spend a maximum of $30,000 on their campaign, and mayoral candidates can spend up to $300,000. The limit for self-financing will be $15,000.
  • Fundraising can start March 1st in an election year and continue to 30 days after the election takes place.

Woodford gives a thorough account of the discussion around the new rules, including objections to the self-financing limit by Councillor Russell Walker, which includes what I hope was an enlightening exchange for the Fairview councillor with Lindell Smith:

Walker said that doesn’t mean wealthy people would be able to buy elections, and said some candidates borrow money to self-finance. He said it could even increase diversity on council because unknown women or minority candidates, who might have trouble fundraising, could borrow that money.

Councillor Lindell Smith rejected that argument, and said the limit levelled the electoral playing field.

“Anyone that can go to a bank and borrow $20,000, $30,000, $15,000, that is a privilege,” Smith said.

“For someone from a marginalized community to be able to go to a bank and say, ‘Can I have $15,000,’ they’re going to laugh at you.”

It’s fair to say that based on last election, the new total campaign limits won’t make much of a difference to the current slate of councillors, though the rules on who can donate might.

Jack Julian and CBC news published a handy chart breaking down the winning campaigns from 2016. The mayor’s campaign spent well under $300,000 (a mere $122,000!)  though almost two thirds of it came from businesses. The highest councillor campaign was Waye Mason’s at just over $20,000, all coming from individuals. Six councillors raised half or more of their campaign financing from businesses: Russell Walker, Matt Whitman, Steve Adams, Steve Streatch, Tony Mancini, and David Hendsbee.

3. Kids are doing “street level robberies” in Halifax

On Monday night, Halifax police responded to two “street-level robberies” or attempted robberies by young teens around 13 to 15 years old. At Robie and Quinpool around 7pm, four teens stole a man’s cell phone. About an hour later, two teens attempted to steal a woman’s bag, produced a knife and demanded money (ultimately leaving empty-handed) at Cogswell and Gottingen. Yup, you read that right. The second, attempted robbery apparently happened within a stone’s throw of police headquarters at Cogswell and Gottingen.

The police news release assures that, “there is an increased police presence in the area.”

4. People want a higher minimum wage

Rally calling for $15 minimum wage in Nova Scotia takes to the streets in Halifax. N.S now lowest in Canada at $11 pic.twitter.com/Rfqfgoe1F4

— Haley Ryan (@hkryan17) October 2, 2018

StarMetro’s Haley Ryan showed up to document a rally calling for a $15 minimum wage on Tuesday. Since Saskatchewan raised its minimum wage by 10 cents to $11.06, Nova Scotia now has the lowest minimum wage in the country at $11 per hour, and $10.50 for “inexperienced” workers, reports Ryan.

Nova Scotia now has the lowest minimum wage in Canada, a distinction protestors called “shame” on during a rally pushing for a $15 hourly wage.

More than 50 people waving signs and carrying a large ‘Fight for $15 & Fairness’ banner rallied on Dalhousie University campus before marching down the streets of Halifax to gather outside the office of Labour and Advanced Education Minister Labi Kousoulis.

“Nova Scotia is in a horrible situation. It’s not pretty, it really isn’t, and if we don’t continue to keep on the backs of our elected officials, and say ‘we’re not putting up with this,’ then they’re going to continue to roll back benefits,” activist Lynn Jones said to the crowd.

5. There’s debate over whether rapid deoxygenation of Gulf of St Lawrence is an emergency

Image Credit: Mariona Claret/University of Washington.  “The Gulf of St. Lawrence has warmed and lost oxygen faster than almost anywhere else in the global oceans,” reads Science Daily release on the study.

Activist Mary Gorman is criticizing House of Commons speaker Geoff Regan for not allowing an emergency discussion on an alarming scientific report showing that oxygen levels in the Gulf of St. Lawrence are rapidly decreasing. Green Party Leader Elizabeth May had made the request for the discussion, reports Norma Jean MacPhee of CBC News.

May told the House of Commons on Tuesday there could be dire consequences if the issue isn’t addressed.

“The emergency is that the death of the Gulf of St. Lawrence is a disaster economically, ecologically and socially,” May was quoted as saying in Hansard.

“The terminus of the moment to save it could be as soon as four years from now which requires real action on an emergency basis.”

Regan responded that May’s request did not fit the necessary criteria for Standing Order 52, which would cause an emergency debate to supercede the already planned proceedings of the House. 

He is quoted in Hansard as saying: “I do not find that this, while there is no question it seems to be very important in interest, I do not find that it meets the exigencies of the strict wording of the Standing Order.”

6. Victim of alleged sexual assault endures five days of testimony

A Nova Scotia woman who is the victim of an alleged sexual assault involving three attackers spent five days testifying in court at the trial of just one of her alleged assailants.

If you can stand it, it’s worth reading all five pieces by Aly Thomson of the Canadian Press (posted by CBC news) just to get a sense of the extent and types of questioning a victim of sexual assault faces in court. Here they are in chronological order:

Woman describes ‘extremely threatening’ scene at British sailor’s sex trial

Woman testifies group of U.K. sailors sexually assaulted her

Complainant in tears after defence suggests sex-assault testimony was ‘scripted’

Woman testifies for fourth day at sailor’s sexual assault trial

Complainant ‘terrified’ prior to alleged attack by U.K. sailors, she testifies

Spoiler for those who can’t make it through: this makes a Senate hearing look like a cake walk. To make matters worse for this woman, she may have to go through another trial yet. Charges against a second alleged assailant were stayed due to his serious illness, but may be brought back within a year, reports Thomson.


Views

1. The CCPA wants a higher minimum wage

Christine Saulnier

Christine Saulnier, director of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives in Nova Scotia, lays out the argument for a minimum wage increase in Nova Scotia, in an op-ed in the Chronicle Herald on Tuesday. Saulnier brings some eyebrow-raising numbers to the discussion, confirming what many have suspected — that about 30 per cent of working people today are earning less in real terms than they were in 1977:

Today, the Nova Scotia minimum wage is worth slightly less than its peak value in 1977 — $11.14 after adjusting for inflation — 40 years ago.

Because it failed to keep up with inflation, the value of the minimum wage eroded in real terms by 28 per cent between 1975 and 2002.

Nova Scotia is consistently ranked as having among the lowest, if not the lowest, average wages in the country, sometimes switching places with the other Maritime provinces to come second or third lowest. Raising the minimum wage to $15 would benefit one in three Nova Scotia workers — about 30 per cent of all workers in the province — who currently earn $15 or less.


Noticed

Council approved a transit lane on Gottingen awhile back, but now it seems Halifax Transit is interested in finding out how people get to the street. Curious.

We’re on Gottingen Street asking people – how did you travel to get here today? Come see us to let us know! #hfxtransit pic.twitter.com/3zIB0KfNrk

— Halifax Transit (@hfxtransit) October 2, 2018


Government

City

Wednesday

North West Planning Advisory Committee (Wednesday, 7pm, BMO Centre, Bedford) — the Seventh Day Adventists want to expand Sandy Lake Academy.

Thursday

Environment & Sustainability Standing Committee (Thursday, 1pm, City Hall) — Richard Zurawski wants to outlaw drive-thrus.

Harbour East Marine Drive Community Council (Thursday, 6pm, HEMDCC Meeting Space, Alderney Gate) — here’s the agenda.

Province

Wednesday

Legislature sits (Wednesday, 1pm, Province House)

Thursday

Legislature sits (Thursday, 1pm, Province House)


On campus

Dalhousie

Wednesday

Thesis Defence, Pathology (Wednesday, 9:30am, Room 3107, Mona Campbell Building) — PhD candidate Dudley Chung weill defend his thesis, “Evaluating the Role of the COP9 Signalosome and Neddylation During Cytokinesis and in Response to DNA Damage. ”

The BRIC NS Student Seminar Series (Wednesday, 2:30pm, Room 266, Collaborative Health Education Building) —  Isaac Bai will talk about “Primary care prescribing patterns for patients on chronic and high dose opioid therapy: an observational study using electronic medical record data.” Brianna Richardson will talk about “Parental Prevention of Newborn Pain: Exploring educational strategies for promoting parental involvement in infant procedural pain management.”

Gaining control over a bacterial endosymbiont – The long way from endosymbiont to organelle (Wednesday, 4pm, ​Theatre A, Sir Charles Tupper Medical Building) — Eva Nowak from Heinrich Heine University in Dusseldorf will speak.

From Africville to Alton Gas: A Pop-Up Book Launch for There’s Something in the Water: Environmental Racism in Indigenous and Black Communities (Wednesday, 6pm, Halifax Central Library) — launch of Ingrid Waldron’s new book.

Thursday

The Mental Health Implication of Offending in Childhood or Adolescence: Results from a Large JurisdictionWide Cohort (Thursday, 9am, Cineplex OE Smith theatre, IWK Health Centre) — Steve Kisely from the University of Queensland and Dalhousie will speak.

Mathematics in the Fine Arts (Thursday, 2:30pm, Room 319, Chase Building) — Larry Ericksen will speak. His abstract:

In this talk, we illustrate how mathematical concepts have influenced the development of the fine arts, from the Parthenon to classical sculpture and numerous famous paintings. The golden ratio and the Fibonacci spiral has been used in art from classical times. Artists from Da Vinci and Michelangelo to Dali and Mondrian have employed these mathematical structures.

In the fine arts and crafts movements, mathematical arrangements of geometric patterns have been used to evoke emotional or intellectual responses. We show how artists have employed mathematical objects to create lattice patterns, mosaic tilings, tessellations, Escher designs, and Penrose tilings​.

How to Engineer a Beer (Thursday, 6pm, Dalhousie T-Room, Sexton Campus) — From the event listing:

Join us on October 4th as we discuss all things beer with Emily Tipton (co-founder and beer engineer at Boxing Rock Brewing Company), Professor Alex Speers (Food Science), and Professor Allan Paulson (Food Science). In addition to the speakers, there will also be live music by Ian Kean, and an opportunity to tour Professor Paulson’s research brewery.

Info here.

Governing Ocean Plastics: Between Action and Anarchy (Thursday, 7pm, Ondaatje Hall, Marion McCain Building) — Jan-Stefan Fritz from the University of Bremen and the German Marine Research Consortium, Brussels, will talk about how best to address governance issues concerning the proliferation of plastics in our oceans.

King’s

Wednesday

Miriam Toews (Wednesday, 7pm, The King’s Co-op bookstore) — she’ll discuss her latest book, Women Talking, with Pauline Dakin.


In the harbour

05:45: Seven Seas Navigator, cruise ship with up to 550 passengers, arrives at Pier 31 from Sydney, the Seven Seas Navigator is on a 10-day cruise from Montreal to New York
06:00: ZIM Constanza, container ship, arrives at Pier 41 from Algeciras, Spain
06:15: Oceanex Sanderling, ro-ro container, arrives at Pier 36 from St. John’s
07:00: Grandeur of the Seas, cruise ship with up to 2,446 passengers, arrives at Pier 20 from Saint John; Halifax is the last stop on a nine-day round trip cruise out of Baltimore
07:30: Algoma Dartmouth, oil tanker, moves from Pier 34 to Pier 31
09:00: Gerrit Braren, container ship, arrives at Pier 42 from Montreal
09:45: Adventure of the Seas, cruise ship with up to 4,058 passengers, arrives at Pier 22 from Saint John; the Adventure of the Seas is on a 10-day cruise from New York to Quebec City
12:00: Catharina Schulte, container ship, arrives at Pier 42 from Lisbon, Portugal
12:30: ZIM Constanza sails from Pier 41 for New York
15:00: Gerrit Braren sails from Pier 41 for sea
15:30: Atlantic Sky, ro-ro container ship, sails from Fairview Cove for New York
15:45: Seven Seas Navigator sails for Saint John
19:00: Grandeur of the Seas sails for Baltimore
19:30: Adventure of the Seas sails for Sydney
21:30: Catharina Schultesails for New York


Footnotes

Still thinking about “Don’t tax the rich: they won’t pay,” by Stephen Kimber, and dreading reading about this:

We had to bring in extra printing plant workers at @nytimes to put out this 8-page 14,000-word historic investigation. https://t.co/ffGDjPAkTk

— carolynryan (@carolynryan) October 3, 2018


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  1. Might be fairer to say that “The terminus of the moment to save” the Gulf of St. Lawrence has already passed. Does anyone believe capital will somehow come to its senses and deny itself a penny of profit in order to save life on Earth as we know it?

  2. The CCPA statement you quite is internally inconsistent. Has Nova Scotia’s minimum wage declined from its inflation-adjusted peak of 11.14 to its current rate of $11? Or has it eroded “by 28 per cent between 1975 and 2002.”

    It can’t be both.

    1. The first stat compares 1977 and 2018. The second stat compares 1975 and 2002. So it could be both.

      Though to be fair, giving successive stats illustrating a similar phenomenon but using different time periods is confusing.

  3. In the 2016 election Councillor Waye Mason received a donation from Jim Spatz.
    Mr Spatz owns a real estate development business in the district Councillor Mason represents.
    Will Mr Spatz or any other person or persons who own real estate development companies be prevented from donating money,goods,services to a council candidate ?
    A person from a minority group may not borrow from a bank but may borrow from a person or group of persons. Muslims don’t borrow from banks; they don’t borrow,in our sense of the word, from any person or organisation.

  4. The thing that bothers me about raising the minimum wage is the amount of that increase that will be captured by landlords, etc. I don’t have any solutions – I am just a dog on the internet – but it bothers me.

  5. Plan B was posting on Facebook that it was closing due to that bus lane taking away parking and unloading zone on Gottingen. Presumably this kind of thing was part of the city plan — businesses will close up, and then the old buildings are ripe for demolition for development/more condos that will have their own off-street parking https://www.facebook.com/PlanBHalifax/posts/1999887423403909

  6. Companies don’t come to Halifax for the high-quality brains. They come here because they figure those brains will work for much less than in other places in Canada. Then they say “The cost of living is so much cheaper here!”, when it’s not.