News

1. Shelters

One of the shelters being removed from a park Friday morning. — Photo: Halifax Mutual Aid/Twitter

“The municipality has removed three of Halifax Mutual Aid’s shelters from parks days before its own stated deadline,” reports Zane Woodford:

The municipality removed the shelters on Friday — one from Crathorne Park on Jamieson Street in Dartmouth, one from Victoria Park on South Park Street, and one from Raymond Taavel Park at the corner of Inglis and Barrington streets.

Click here to read “Halifax starts removing emergency shelters from parks days before stated deadline.”

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2. Rankin’s impaired driving

Premier Iain Rankin at the COVID briefing on May 31, 2021. Photo: Communications Nova Scotia

“Watching Premier Iain Rankin score one own goal after another — and then, oh god, no, yet another — on his Liberal campaign last week was fascinating in a rubberneck, train wreck, don’t look now, not again, JUST PLEASE STOP IT kind of way,” writes Stephen Kimber:

By itself, Rankin’s unforced gaffes probably won’t — and shouldn’t — flip too many votes in the election everyone insists is barreling down on our summer. But they do contribute to a growing unease, a sense our premier isn’t quite ready for the job he so desperately wants to keep.

I’m guessing — hoping, for their sakes — Rankin’s inner circle weren’t responsible for strategically leaking his bad news last week. But they, and Rankin himself, are certainly culpable for what happened after that.

Click here to read “Iain Rankin scores unforced error after own goal after…”

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3. Long-term care

The 17 facilities that will receive upgrades over the next five to six years:

“On Friday, Premier Iain Rankin announced plans to spend $96.5 million to renovate 17 long-term care facilities across the province and add 264 new nursing home beds in the long-term care homes in Nova Scotia Health’s Central Zone around Halifax,” reports Jennifer Henderson:

A single tender will go out in August for the new long-term care beds, which will cost $29.9 million, and another 236 beds previously announced last January for the Halifax area. The new beds are anticipated to come onstream two to three years from now.

Meanwhile, officials with the Department of Health and Wellness, who were at the technical briefing in Halifax that took place before the premier’s announcement at a nursing home in Glace Bay, said they predict it will take at least five years before renovations are complete at the 17 other facilities. Renovations will include replacing shared bathrooms and adding more single rooms. 

Click here to read “Province to spend $96.5 million to renovate nursing homes, add new long-term care beds.”

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4. COVID

Photo: Ivan Diaz/Unsplash

There were six new cases of COVID-19 announced over the weekend (one Friday, one Saturday, four Sunday).

Premier Iain Rankin and Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Robert Strang have scheduled a briefing for 3pm today. I’ll be following along on my Twitter feed.

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5. Lasers

Denmark goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel is struck by a laser during a Euro 2020 match.

“UEFA, the governing body of European soccer, has fined the English Football Association €30,000, the equivalent of $36,000, for a fan shining a laser pointer at Danish goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel during Wednesday’s Euro 2020 semifinal match between England and Denmark,” reports Cindy Boren for the Washington Post:

The incident came in the biggest moment of match, as Schmeichel awaited a penalty kick by Harry Kane.

The green light was visible on the television broadcast, shining on the right side of Schmeichel’s face. He stopped Kane’s shot, but the ball ricocheted off him and back to Kane, who put it into the net and sent England into Sunday’s final against Italy. Schmeichel appeared unfazed, and the perpetrator, presumably in the stands in London’s Wembley Stadium, has not been found.

I bring it up because such laser attacks are common experiences for pilots, and they will one day inevitably lead to a catastrophe. Laser strikes on airplanes are reported dozens of time every month in Canada; here are some recent notable experiences:

February 14, 2021:

A Moncton Flight College Diamond DA 20-C1 (C-GJSO) reported a green laser strike while 2000 feet above sea level (ASL) from the 1 to 3 o’clock position from the ground, and it entered the cockpit at the 1 to 2 o’clock position (right-side window). The laser hit the pilot straight in the eyes, and it lasted about 6 seconds. The light was coming from a moving car, south of Salisbury, NB (approximate location is Highway 112).

February 7, 2021:

A Government of Canada, Royal Canadian Mounted Police Eurocopter EC120B (C-GMPT) reported being illuminated from the left-side (LS) cockpit window by a very bright, flashing, green laser at a 30 to 45 degree angle from the ground. The pilot reported multiple, brief exposures. The source was determined with a Forward Looking InfraRed (FLIR) camera and law enforcement was directed to the location.

January 28, 2021:

A Perimeter Aviation Swearingen SW3 (PAG09) from Winnipeg/James Armstrong Richardson, MB (CYWG) to Thompson, MB (CYTH) reported a green, static laser strike while at FL220. The light appeared suddenly from the left side. Brightness was consistent throughout and hit to the left side of the fuselage, below the cockpit window. The duration was 5 to 10 seconds. The pilot sought post-flight medical attention.

June 3, 2021:

Laser attack reported by a Lanaudiair Inc. Cessna 172N (C-GTIR) from Joliette, QC (CSG3) to Joliette, QC (CSG3), while overhead Lanoraie, QC. The laser came from the other side of the St. Lawrence river, in the area of the Sorel port. The pilot was briefly blinded.

Some of the planes attacked by lasers are carrying hundreds of people. They’re typically attacked while taking off or landing at urban airports, with flight paths over heavily populated areas. There are attacks at every airport, including regularly around Stanfield International. The lasers originate from cars, from apartment buildings, from fields, wherever; I’ve never seen a report of the attacker being apprehended.

Lasers are banned around Canadian airports, with penalties up to $100,000 and five years in prison, but the law doesn’t seem to have slowed the pace of such attacks.

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Views

1. Eugenics

Nova Scotia Hospital. Photo: Halifax Examiner

As the Canadian Encyclopedia notes:

Many Canadians supported eugenic policies in the early 20th century, including some medical professionals, politicians and feminists. Both Alberta (1928) and British Columbia (1933) passed Sexual Sterilization Acts, which were not repealed until the 1970s. Although often considered a pseudoscience and a thing of the past, eugenic methods have continued into the 21st century, including the coerced sterilization of Indigenous women and what some have termed the “new eugenics” — genetic editing and the screening of fetuses for disabilities.

Much attention has been focused on the forced sterilization of women in western provinces, but Canada’s first eugenics organization was the Nova Scotia League for the Care and Protection of Feeble-Minded Persons, which consisted of “150 residents of Halifax and Dartmouth,” the bulk of whom seemed to have been middle- and upper-class white women, although the leaders of the group were mostly male doctors.

That group spelled out their concerns wrapped up in pseudoscience, in a pamphlet published in 1908.

Over the weekend, I came across an interesting PhD thesis written by Leslie Elaine Baker in 2015, “Institutionalizing Eugenics: custody, class, gender and education in Nova Scotia’s response to the ‘feeble-minded,’ 1890-1931.”

Leslie Baker is now Leslie Digdon, and teaches History at Saint Mary’s University.

Digdon followed the development of eugenics theory in Nova Scotia in some detail, showing how it was influenced by theoretical approaches in both Britain and New England. Here’s a flavour of it:

Much of the appeal of eugenics was rooted in the comforting assurance that there was a scientific explanation and solution for the increased visibility of the poverty-stricken lower classes that had coincided with rapid industrialization and urbanization…

The linkage between individual, racial and species evolution was further expressed by Dr. O.J. McCully in a Presidential Address read before the St. John Medical Society in 1905 and published in the MMN [Maritime Medical News]. In his address, titled “The Doctor and the Criminal,” McCully urged physicians in particular and society in general to treat criminals “both biologically and socially.” While suggesting that certain physical features were equally prominent in both criminals and the so-called lower races, the physician, following the work of Galton, went further to assert that specific characteristics could visibly identify criminals. High cheekbones, for instance, could indicate that he who possessed them also maintained a higher likelihood of being a sexual offender; protruding or heavy jawlines, large ears, a crooked nose, premature wrinkles and abundance of hair were all supposed markers of inherited criminal tendencies. These physical features, as well as insensitivity to pain, were shared between the “instinctive criminal,” the “lower races” and the “idiot,” categories that McCully suggested merged together.

… McCully suggested that recent research … suggested that “60 percent of criminals have either criminal, insane or epileptic or drunken parents” …

Dr. William H. Hattie, Public Health Officer for Nova Scotia, 1913-1922. From class photo c. 1915-16. Photo: Dalhousie Medical Alumni Association

Digdon showed that eugenic programs extended far beyond sterilization, and the local eugenics movement proposed controlling the bodies of the “feeble-minded” by institutionalizing them:

In the 1917 Report Respecting the Feeble-Minded in Nova Scotia Halifax physician William Harrop Hattie stated that to propose the implementation of sexual sterilization in Nova Scotia, no matter how well it had been perceived to have worked in other locales, would offend the sentiments of the provincial population.

“During his lifetime,” wrote Digdon, “Hattie served as the Superintendent of the Nova Scotia Hospital for the Insane, the Provincial Bacteriologist, the Dean of Medicine at Dalhousie University, Chief Public Health Officer, and was an editor of both the Maritime Medical News and its successor the Canadian Medical Association Journal.”

She continued:

The wide range of positions Hattie held and the causes he was involved with all reflected his belief that science could and should be used to prevent mental defect and improve society. Hattie’s definition of defect seems to have served as an umbrella term that encompassed both individuals whom we would understand today to be mentally ill as well as those who were born with or later developed cognitive or intellectual disabilities. Hattie asserted that all of these individuals posed a danger to society albeit to varying degrees, and all could be prevented if “common sense,” were applied to the “propagation of the human species.” Hattie calculated that the custody and support of “useless members of society” was costing Canada three million dollars annually; however, despite his assertion that controlled reproduction could remove this financial burden he did not advocate the implementation of eugenic sterilization programs. Instead, he argued that the “gentle art of persuasion” might be used to convince individuals “predisposed to psychic disturbance” to avoid marriage and procreation. However, he continued, “when there is evident defect, particularly if any tendency to eroticism is manifest, the safety of the community, as well as of the unfortunate individual, demands segregation in a suitable institution. This costs more than sterilization or the lethal chamber, but does less violence to sentiment.”

In practice, it was institutionalization of mostly girls, in order to “solve” social problems:

The relationship between prostitution (white slavery), venereal disease, and feeble-mindedness rested with the assertion that it was the feeble-minded girls who were lured into prostitution and who, once trapped in the profession, continued to produce feeble-minded and illegitimate children who would prove a danger to and drain on society. The solution was to protect the “normal” middle-class girls from the dangers of “white slavers” by making their parents and brothers aware of the dangers and then to remove the availability of the feeble-minded girls by institutionalizing them. Once institutionalized, feeble-minded girls and women were restricted from reproducing and protected from those with unscrupulous designs on them. Furthermore, without a steady supply of girls, the prostitution trade would dry up, which would remove the danger of men bringing home venereal diseases to their wives and children. That the solution to all of these social problems could be the eugenic evaluation and segregation of women perceived to be unfit is evidence of the newfound faith in medical interventionism in a world that had recently witnessed the advances of the scientific war on disease. The public could be protected from degeneracy through the medical methods of diagnoses, segregation and sterilization.

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Government

City

Monday

Executive Standing Committee (Monday, 10am) — livestreamed on YouTube

Grants Committee (Monday, 10am) — livestreamed on YouTube

North West Community Council (Monday, 6pm) — livestreamed on YouTube; live captioning on a text-only site

Tuesday

Halifax and West Community Council (Tuesday, 6pm) — livestreamed on YouTube

Province

No meetings


On campus

Dalhousie

Cellular and Subcellular Mechanisms of Ventricular Mechano-Arrhythmogenicity (Monday, 2pm) — PhD candidate Breanne Cameron will present her thesis defense.


In the harbour

Halifax
06:00: Tropic Hope, container ship, arrives at Pier 41 from Philipsburg, Sint Maarten
12:30: Kibaz, oil tanker, arrives at anchorage from IJmuiden, Netherlands
14:30: Acadian, oil tanker, sails from Irving Oil for sea
15:30: Pictor, container ship, arrives at Pier 42 from Reykjavik, Iceland
17:00: Tropic Hope sails for Georgetown, Guyana
23:45: Pictor sails for Portland

Cape Breton
04:00: Northstar Commander, utility vessel, sails through the causeway south to north, from Halifax for Montreal
06:00: Viktor Bakaev, oil tanker, arrives at Point Tupper from New York
16:00: Zeynep, oil tanker, arrives at Point Tupper anchorage from Qua Iboe Terminal, an oil platform off the coast of Nigeria


Footnotes

Summer!


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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. Oh FFS’s. Rankin’s DUI’s? That’s going to decide this election? If Nova Scotians are going to give another 4 years to this fucking Liberal party after everything they’ve done, I hope Rankin gets hammered everyday and drives around in his SUV mowing down citizens. They’ll have asked for it.