News

1. Halifax cop accused of using police database to investigate his girlfriend’s ex-husband

Photo: Halifax Examiner

I reported yesterday:

A Halifax police officer used a police computer database to improperly investigate his girlfriend’s ex-husband, alleges a lawsuit filed in Supreme Court Wednesday.

The details of the allegations are at the link, but the oddest part of the story for me is that the regulations that govern the Police Act essentially make it impossible to enforce the act in some cases. At issue is Section 29 of the Regulations:

Complaint made more than 6 months after occurrence

29   If a complaint is made more than 6 months after the date of the occurrence that gave rise to the complaint, the complaint must not be processed.

As I wrote:

[This] presented a Kafkaesque legal impossibility to [Terry] Atkinson [the complainant in this case] or to anyone else who wants to file a complaint against a police officer: If you don’t learn about a police officer acting improperly until six months after the fact, you have no recourse under the Police Act and the police officer will face no criminal charges or disciplinary action.

Surely, that wasn’t what was intended when the legislature passed the Police Act?

2. Jail operations

Photo: Halifax Examiner

“On Wednesday morning, I attended the Public Accounts committee meeting at Province House,” writes El Jones:

Deputy Minister of Justice Karen Hudson, Chris Collett Executive Director of Correctional Services, and provincial Director of Correctional Services Sean Kelly were answering questions about the Auditor General report from May, 2018.

Among other concerns, the report revealed jails were not following the rules around solitary confinement, and that staff lacked training in mental health and suicide prevention. 

Click here to read “Corrections officials came to Province House for questioning; here’s how they answered.”

3. No one much cares that we’re destroying the planet: Cecil Clarke edition

CBRM mayor Cecil Clarke. Photo: Mary Campbell

“Cecil Clarke is not the only anti-carbon tax politician in the current landscape; in fact, he’s arguably just the homegrown version of a familiar figure on the political scene — the ‘Canadian conservative’ who, as Dalhousie economist Lars Osberg puts it, has ‘successfully framed’ the federal government’s carbon-pricing system as a ‘job-killing tax’ whose implementation will ‘hurt the economy,’” reports Mary Campbell for the Cape Breton Spectator:

Clarke is our Doug Ford. Our Scott Moe. And those are comparisons he’s actively courted…

But he’s also the mayor of the Cape Breton Regional Municipality (CBRM) and a candidate for the provincial PC leadership — and, if successful, the premiership of the province — so his views on emissions are worth examining, especially during a week when both the province and the feds have announced details of their carbon pricing plans.

Campbell gets into the details of the various federal and provincial carbon plans, and that’s worth reading, if only to understand that Stephen McNeil’s plan is wanting. But then Campbell cuts to the chase:

So why am I coming down like a ton of bricks on poor Cecil Clarke?

Frankly, because I think climate change is real, that it is caused by human beings and that controlling our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is our only chance of mitigating its effects. I think it is going to be one of the most important issues he would have to deal with if he were one day to become premier and therefore, I think he (and anyone else hoping to lead a party or a province) should be prepared to do something more than decry “job-killing carbon taxes.”

I also think he knows this — his second term as mayor of the CBRM began in the wreckage of the 2016 Thanksgiving floods, the result of one of those extreme weather events — a 225mm rainfall — we’ve been told will become more common as the planet warms. Clarke saw firsthand the millions of dollars in damage done to the municipality by the floods, particularly in the Southend of Sydney. And he was in the mayor’s chair when a consultant told CBRM council that flood mitigation work could cost as much as $24 million but could never completely solve the problem.

But the phrase “climate change” doesn’t appear anywhere in Clarke’s platform. Instead, under “Resource Development,” he makes five promises, four of which involve encouraging fossil fuel development.

Click here to read “Clarke on Carbon Pricing: Ready to Lead?”

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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4. Coady fraud charges

James Edward Marlow. Photo: Facebook

An RCMP release from yesterday:

The RCMP has laid charges in relation to an allegation of fraud at the Coady International Institute at St. FX University. James Edward Marlow, 53, of Lower South River has been charged with Theft Over $5000 and Fraud Over $5000. The charges stem from a complaint that was made to Antigonish RCMP in July of 2018. 

Marlow was arrested without incident on September 27 and the charges were laid on October 2. Following his arrest, he was released from custody on conditions. He is scheduled to attend Antigonish Provincial Court on December 19. 

The investigation is ongoing.

Marlow is the former finance director at the Institute, reports Frances Willick for the CBC:

In recent court documents filed in a parallel civil case, Marlow admits he forged invoices, requisitioned cheques and then deposited the money into his personal account.

Marlow worked at the school’s Coady International Institute — a centre that trains professionals from around the world in the field of international development — until he was fired on July 19.

In the lawsuit filed in August, the university claims damages of at least $243,000.

In a statement of defence filed this month, Marlow neither admits nor denies the amount of misappropriated funds alleged by the university, but says he will make reparations.

5. Cannabis monopoly protection

“There’s not a crackdown [on cannabis dispensaries] happening,” RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Jennifer Clarke told Stephen Kimber a couple of weeks ago.

“The reality is medical dispensaries have always been technically illegal, but largely tolerated service providers,” continues Kimber:

What’s changed? Why the major crackdown now?

In a word, legalization.

Impending legalization has resulted in a spike in the number of medical dispensaries opening. Some of these pot entrepreneurs clearly hope the government will eventually loosen its recreational sales monopoly, opening up the field to already-in-place private operators like themselves. In the meantime, some of them may not be all that picky about asking for customers’ prescription paperwork. That may create competition for the government monopoly, especially if the government’s pot prices are higher than what the market is charging. Hence the in-advance crackdown that is not a crackdown.

Kimber was writing in the wake of raids on the Chronic Relief Medical Dispensary on Quinpool Road and CannaClinic on Dresden Row. I hadn’t then seen the paperwork filed with the court that justified those particular raids, but now I have — and they’ve taken an interesting turn.

As we’ve seen, police raids on cannabis dispensaries follow an investigative script: a detective parks outside a dispensary and sees people coming in and out buying stuff. Through a window, or maybe through an open door, the detective sees jars of cannabis on a shelf. The detective uses the power of Google to find the dispensary is advertising cannabis for sale. All that information is then used in a search warrant application the detective files with the court. A judge or justice of the peace then signs off on the application (if such an application has ever been rejected, I’m unaware of it), and soon after a bunch of cops descend upon the dispensary, workers are arrested, product seized.

Those search warrant applications have been pretty much boilerplate. I feel like I could write one myself, they’re so predictable. Just switch out the names of the dispensary, cite a different weedmaps page, and you’re good to go.

But the search warrant applications related to the Chronic Relief Medical Dispensary and CannaClinic — filed by RCMP Constable Karl MacIsaac on October 11, six days before legalization — each contained a paragraph I had not previously seen in such applications:

In the next few weeks, cannabis marihuana will become legal to possess and consume (with restrictions) and will be available for purchase in Nova Scotia and across Canada. It should be noted that when cannabis marihuana does become legal, the only authorized retailer in Nova Scotia will be through the Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation. It will still be illegal for Storefront Marihuana Dispensaries to sell cannabis marihuana.

In other words: we gotta protect the government monopoly.

Both applications were approved by Justice of the Peace Bruce McLaughlin, and the same day 10 people were arrested at the dispensaries, and a bunch of weed and cash was seized.

Since I’m always asked… the spelling “marihuana,” with the H, reflects the spelling in the criminal code, so that’s the spelling cops use. I’m not a taxonomist, but I’m pretty sure “cannabis marihuana” is redundant.

6. Sewage Plant Estates

Cogswell interchange. Photo: unfocusedphotos.com

“An international urban-design firm is working on a report examining the municipality’s plans for the long-awaited Cogswell redevelopment project,” reports Zane Woodford for StarMetro Halifax:

When regional council approved the 60 per cent design in June, a group of 23 organizations, ranging from development groups to cycling and transit advocates, wrote to councillors looking for more public consultation and more flexibility in the design of the project.

That group was also offering to help pay for a review of the design by Gehl, a New York- and Copenhagen-based urban design firm.

Halifax has agreed to consider the recommendations made in the Gehl report, due in mid-November, as part of the 90 per cent design.

“Gehl are well known for their understanding of what makes public spaces great,” municipal spokesperson Nick Ritcey said in an email.

Hopefully, Gehl will tell us to blow up the casino and parking garages. The new Cogswell neighbourhood will have a sense of place if there is a waterfront park and easy, unobstructed access and sightlines to the harbour. But if the harbour view is obstructed and the only way to get there will be to dodge through dank and antifreeze-stained parking garages and around the garish casino, then the neighbourhood will be rightly known as Sewage Plant Estates.


Views

1. Clocks

Photo: Stephen Archibald

Stephen Archibald has a post about Halifax clocks, but he buries his own involvement with a city clock way down:

The Marriott was designed by architect Andy Lynch, and he also did the Bishops Landing development and included a clock tower there as well. 

In my memory, I had something to do with there being a clock on the Marriott Hotel. We co owned our house with the hotel’s architect Andy Lynch. When he was working on preliminary designs for the building I mentioned the Ordnance Yard clock had been on that site and got him a photo for a reference.

I was familiar with the clock because I was on the planning team for the present Maritime Museum and learned that in the early 1960s the museum had been housed in another building in the Ordnance Yard. The museum collected the clock works when the tower was demolished.


Government

No public meetings.


On campus

Dalhousie

Using the Hydration of Zirconium MOFs to Develop New Functional Materials(Friday, 1:30pm, Room 226, Chemistry Building) — Barry A. Blight from the University of New Brunswick will speak.

p-orderings, Fekete n-tuples and capacity in ultra-metric spaces (Friday, 3pm, Room 227, Chase Building) — Keith Johnson will speak. His abstract:

This talk will describe how constructions originating in the study of integer valued polynomials can be used to compute some invariants of subsets of ultra-metric spaces which are of interest in analysis.

Forms of Argument in Early China: A Mohist Philosophical Legacy (Friday, 3:30pm, Room 1130, McCain Arts and Social Sciences Building) — Douglas Berger from Leiden University, Netherlands, will speak.

Vladimir Putin: For and Against (Friday, 3:30pm, Room 1170, Marion McCain Building) — Norman Pereira and Denis Kozlov will speak.

Mount Saint Vincent

Friday

Networked Gothic: The Twenty-First Century (Friday, 2pm, Keshen Goodman Library) — Karen MacFarlane will speak.


In the harbour

05:30: Siem Cicero, car carrier, arrives at Autoport from Davisville, Rhode Island
14:00: Tidespring, British naval vessel, arrives at Dockyard from Portland, England
15:30: Siem Cicero sails for sea
16:00: Alexandra, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from Norfolk
16:30: Nolhanava, ro-ro cargo, sails from Pier 36 for Saint-Pierre
18:00: Oceanex Sanderling, ro-ro container, sails from Pier 41 for St. John’s


Footnotes

I’ve made big progress in planning our next Halifax Examiner party. Deets soon.


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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. Regarding the terms marijuana/marihuana and their supposedly racist origins: I am normally against political correctness because often, the purpose of politically correct language is to make rational discussion impossible – when an issue is debated in PC terms only one outcome is possible.

    I’m actually on board with retiring the m-word and just calling it cannabis because this particular instance of political correctness does not impair discussion. I’d personally like to call it the Devil’s Lettuce, but I am afraid that some day, satanists will be a protected group and I might be retroactively guilty.

    If I’m ever prime minister tho…

    1. I struggle to come up with anything more useless and moronic than a football stadium. Why don’t they just shred the tax dollars I send in? A 10 acre bowling alley? The worlds largest pancake? A smokers’ colony? A dog park so amazing, dog owners leave the rest of HRM’s parks alone? A maypoll big enough that we might all participate annually? A centre for head injury recovery? There are a lot of absolutely idiotic ideas for that great space that are cheaper than a football stadium. I don’t care if there are no tax dollars used in any way -which of course would never happen. If there are people who want to build one, let them buy land in an industrial park where it belongs. Heck, put it next to one of the premier’s new industrial park health clinics so they can use the parking.

  2. Lots of conflicting explanations offered out there for the marijuana/marihuana spelling question. According to at least one reliable source, US drug enforcement authorities changed the traditional spelling of “marihuana” in official communications to create a connection in the public mind between drug use and Mexican-Americans. Hideous but unsurprising if true.

  3. It scares the crap out of me that Cecil Clarke is a front runner in the PC leadership race and if successful very likely to be the next Premier given the mounting backlash to the Liberals. He is totally backward and simply riding the current populist wave which brought Ford I to office. We are in for disastrous times.

  4. I did not vote for Cecil Clarke for PC leader because he runs CBRM like one big secret fiefdom and secrecy in the governance of Nova Scotia would not change for the better.
    Not voting for him because of his position or lack of a position on climate change is quite ludicrous. No political party in Canada is proposing the drastic changes required to fight the worldwide issue of climate change.

  5. It doesn’t surprise me that private cannabis shops are being raided to protect the government monopoly on retail sales. After all, they’ve been chasing bootleggers of booze for decades now to protect the government monopoly on retail bottle sales. I’m glad that Tim, like this Tim, believes that the structure for the sale of both cannabis and booze, from production through wholesale through retail, should be through private enterprise. Away with the government stores.