1. This Again

Tim already covered the Report of the Task Force on Misogyny, Sexism and Homophobia in Dalhousie University Faculty of Dentistry.

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Authentic re-enactment of Dalhousie School of Dentistry lectures.

Tim mentioned that I ended up being the only person in the report mentioned by name, and referenced a Facebook post I made on my first reading of the report.  This is what I said at the time:

I was reading through the Backhouse report about Dentistry and the culture of misogyny, and there’s my name in the discussion of racism on campus. It was a bit shocking, because in a report where everyone is anonymous there’s like one name cited, and it’s me in reference to the Grad House incident when I was threatened with security and students were threatened with having the [Dalhousie African Students Association] society defunded.

I am obviously very public about addressing racism, so that doesn’t bother me, but it does illustrate the different terms Black women live on. I get threatened and my name is out there in public forever and whatever consequences in terms of job loss, stress, personal attack, being a target, etc. are mine to deal with. But perpetrate homophobic and misogynist violence and you get to be anonymous and never have any of the consequences that WOC get when we speak out. I also note that my name can show up in the report, yet the president never bothered to write back to me at the time even though he received multiple emails from me and others. It goes without saying there was no restorative justice engaged, even though there were extremely traumatic effects on the students involved that had severe mental and emotional consequences and led to actual harm for students. In fact, students involved ended up not being able to complete school due to the stress of the racism they suffered, and now have to fight to get back in. No counseling or resources or care was given to them and they had to leave school completely to get any help.

It’s a year later and none of the recommendations students made were ever taken up by administration and there was no follow up. It shouldn’t take this report for these things to even receive notice, although I doubt even now if the report is read there’ll be any apology or attempt to meet with Black students, even at this late date. The poem I was doing was about appropriation from Black women and the cultural attacks we suffer — that is part of the culture of misogyny the report addresses. That consequences such as policing and loss of resources were threatened and that the university administration (the Student Union, Grad House and Grad Students Association all responded immediately) never bothered to even send an email says it all about how the lives and being of Black women are valued.

The report also acknowledged the unfair characterizations of those who criticized parts of the Restorative Justice process, of the students who chose not to participate, and of the faculty who lodged complaints. Which leads to the question of whether there will be any apologies to those parties and a correction to the report, or if we need another Restorative Justice process to deal with the problems caused by the Restorative Justice process…

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2. Whatever you do, don’t put the blame on you…

Mickey MacDonald blames the closure of Mills department store on homeless people.

“It used to be a place where people would go and hang out down there and used to feel safe. Now it’s becoming more dangerous, especially at certain times of the day,” he said.

“People are getting a little bit fearful of some of the people who are down there.”

Ah, yes, of course it’s all the fault of the “homeless people.” Then MacDonald added this irrelevant little aside, barely worth noticing, which naturally has nothing at all to do with the success of a women’s clothing business or anything:

The store wasn’t his main focus, and MacDonald admits upscale women’s fashion isn’t his strength.

I just can’t get this women’s clothing thing. I can do lots of things, mechanic, lots of things. But women’s clothing is a whole different world,” he said.

Absolutely. I also heard that the reason Peter MacKay quit politics had nothing to do with the Conservative’s diminishing chances in the upcoming election, it was the homeless people on Spring Garden that caused it. They are responsible for all the problems with the Bluenose II as well. It was the homeless people on Spring Garden who cut the film tax credit too. Really, aren’t all our problems nothing to do with incompetence, or poor management, or not understanding the market, or the economy, or, you know, actually knowing anything about the thing you’re doing — it’s all those homeless people’s fault.

That must be why the Halifax Central Library is so unsuccessful. Nobody goes there. (Sarcasm alert for people who don’t read the links.)

Image from Halifax Media Co-op
Image from Halifax Media Co-op

The Shining Lights choir, in case we needed a reminder that “homeless” people are human beings too.

3. In other news, water is wet

Another tourist fell off the rocks at Peggy’s Cove. This is what happened:

“So, he’s on the kind of edge of the rocks, and we’re kind of all around him within 50 metres, in front of the lighthouse.

“In his description, a wave hit him. A very large wave hit him and knocked him into the water.”


Figurative representation of vengeful ocean wave. PG Version:

Image from
Image from

Maybe it was the homeless people on Spring Garden who pushed him. Are we sure they’re not to blame? But really, who knew that the edge of rocks is dangerous and that waves are a thing? Who knows why the rocks are wet, right? It’s particularly shocking because he was, and I quote:

 [An] experienced traveller and an experienced navigator on feet. [Bold is mine.]

Translation: he’s been walking and generally staying upright most of his life.

Perhaps the most surprising thing about this story is that he’s not American. Every time I’ve been to Peggy’s Cove I feel like someone’s said something about how Americans always fall off the rocks. I guess lately it’s been people from Ontario, though.

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This is a representation of how Nova Scotians feel about Americans at Peggy’s Cove.

Nova Scotians don’t play. The article on Global News quotes multiple people keeping it real:

“Walking out on the black rocks* isn’t adventurous. It’s stupid,” said Richardson.

“There’s signs everywhere to stay off the black rocks.* Maybe they should have lifeguards here or a whistle to blow at people that are down at the rocks.”

Morash said it boils down to common sense.

“I don’t see anything else that really can be done. Just don’t go too close to the water, like don’t run into a vehicle on the road,” he said.

Hannam said people need to understand the power of the ocean.

“The rocks are slippery. They’re dark.* They’re close to the ocean. The ocean’s strong. It’s a dangerous place to be,” she said.

* Why you gotta racially profile the rocks?

Okay, to be fair, this happens about two or three times every tourist season, and given that even coffee comes with warning labels that it’s hot, I guess it is a bit surprising that there aren’t fences stopping people from going out too far on the rocks and better rescue equipment (maybe the Bluenose II could finally be useful?). I mean, not everybody is experienced on feet and with thinking with brain I guess.


Cuban baseball players at Peggy’s Cove. Note for tourists from Ontario: not standing on black rocks.

Back to the article from the Chronicle Herald:

Government spokeswoman Tina Thibeau said it takes these incidents and public safety very seriously. “Government is in the process of bringing together a group of stakeholders with various perspectives to review the experience at Peggys Cove,” Thibeau said in a statement Friday night.

The use of the word “stakeholders” in this context makes me laugh. I just imagine them being all, “we need to invite the rocks* and the ocean to the table to discuss our safety concerns and explore their perspective.” It’s like the ocean is taking that whole “Canada’s Ocean Playground” thing too seriously. Like, no, ocean, we meant we get to play on you, not that you toss our bodies into your briny deep and toy with our lives!

* The black rocks aren’t invited.

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Homer can do lots of things.

4. More common sense news…

The RCMP want to remind drivers not to stop for ducks.

They also want to remind Halifax drivers to try to stop for pedestrians.

Halifax pedestrian collision map from
Halifax pedestrian collision map from

A short tutorial.




Image from
Image from

(Holy crap. When you do a search for “Halifax pedestrians,” almost all the images are of horrible accident sites.)

The RCMP added that it’s okay to stop to save ducks if you’re police and need some heartwarming good publicity.

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The Duck family would like to remind drivers to please stop for them, though.

Please stop for Michael Duck as well.

The RCMP also advised drivers to check to see if pedestrians are Black or not, and make a decision accordingly about whether to stop or accelerate. (That’s a joke, ok?)

5.  Halifax Police Furries

At first, the opening line of this article about a police dog gave me pause (paws, haha.)

Halifax police are celebrating the triumphant return of one of their furriest members after spending months in recovery due to an injury.

One of their furriest members, I queried? Surely there’s not much competition since Constable Pierre Bourdages shaved his moustache, I thought.

Image from
Image from

Who is furrier than the dog, really? So because I’m a journalist and stuff now, I googled “Halifax Police Furry” because research:


Um, yeah.

6. Burnside

Allegedly, yard time at Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility was restricted for a couple of days this week because there was an escape attempt. Apparently, a prisoner tried to use bedsheets to go over the fence, but didn’t braid the sheets together so they ripped. Sources inside Burnside say that the prisoner was only doing a six month bid — raising the question, yet again, of how bad conditions must be for someone doing provincial time to risk a serious sentence for escaping.


1. Mother Canada VS. The Lobster

Terrifying image from tourismnewbrunswick.
Terrifying image from tourismnewbrunswick.

I honestly thought letter writer Mardie Scott was being sarcastic when she argued:

On Friday, CBC woke me up with the news that the Ypres society is objecting to “Mother Canada” for the war memorial proposed for Green Cove, Cape Breton. Somehow I can’t imagine that too many commemorated by the society, in their graves, would second that.

I don’t really understand all the fury this idea has stirred up. All across this country we have monuments to generals, politicians, soldiers, miners, athletes, racehorses, dogs, lobsters, and even the nickel. I think people must be watching too many American comedy shows…

Holy shit, there is actually a monument to a lobster. And dogs. (I’m sure I’m the only person in Atlantic Canada who didn’t know about the lobster, hasn’t taken family trips to the lobster, etc.)

Apparently CBC has a whole set of stories on these things.

Oh, we’re still fighting to get a monument to Black people though, of course.

(I can’t imagine people in their graves could second anything, really. Just saying.)

2. Halifax people are my people


Opinion of Grumpy Cat does not represent the opinions of the author or this site. Does represent opinion of Ontario tourists at Peggy’s Cove now.

I know “never read the comments” is good advice most of the time, but I love cranky Nova Scotian comments on certain stories.  In this article on the proposed renovations to Parade Square, Guesswhosback suggests, “Can you at least paint the goddamn lines on the roads first!!!????”

The comments on this article on grasscycling are pretty good too. Kiltnomore says, “I want to know who these people are that ‘worry’ about grass clumps on their lawns.”

There’s also this subversive exchange:

jusstiiittttiiiikl: Just dump it in the street. That’s where my garbage is going to he first time it gets stickered.
hoss44:  @jusstiiittttiiiikl Good idea give us your address & we will all come bye dump it in front of you
SparkGrey: @jusstiiittttiiiikl i prefer saving up a car full then just taking a drive down a 100 series highway and tossing it over one those steep banks.. all gone.

Cool, just don’t stop for any ducks while you do that.


AIDS Activist History Project

Robert Devet from Halifax Media Co-op covers the history of AIDS activism in the 80s and 90s:

In Nova Scotia Eric Smith, a South Shore schoolteacher living with HIV, was banned from the classroom after parents threatened to keep their children at home.

Also in Nova Scotia, Simon Thwaites was discharged from the Navy for being HIV-positive. He successfully fought the discharge in a precedent-setting case arguing that discrimination based on disability is a human rights’ violation.

Both Smith and Thwaites suffered much abuse during their ordeals, but refused to just go away.

Extensive interviews with Thwaites and Smith are now featured on a new website that documents this period. Transcripts and videos of interviews, as well as photos, meeting minutes and so on, all can be found here. The website covers major urban centres in Canada, but in the fight against AIDS Halifax and rural Nova Scotia held their own.

“It is really important for us to remember this period,” says queer activist Gary Kinsman, one of the people behind the project. “This wasn’t just a somber, dismal time, it was also a time when people were able to come together, to show compassion, to go and sit with people who were dying, to show them support and respect, and to make sure that their needs were being met.”



You can still make the second day of Soloicious. 8PM at the Bus Stop Theatre.

The Naked Bike Ride is Saturday at 2pm, 2706 Fern Lane, Halifax.

Happy 4th of July!

Note: American authorities suspect homeless people on Spring Garden of being the culprits.

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El Jones is a poet, journalist, professor, community advocate, and activist. Her work focuses on social justice issues such as feminism, prison abolition, anti-racism, and decolonization.

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  1. El, you kill me! Keep ’em coming.

    “* The black rocks aren’t invited.” – I spit out my coffee laughing.

    Thank you

  2. I need to make sure I understand you. You are seriously equating the giant lobster in the lobster capital of the world with the mother canada knock-off “war memorial” tourist attraction? I think you have nailed it. How very disrespectful to the war dead to be memorialized on the same level as a fishing industry.

    1. To tell you the truth Jean. I would much rather see a lobster statue at Green Cove than that Stalinistic monolith that will need strobe lights to warn aircraft away from the site.

      1. Lynne, I agree with you. I thought the mother canada thing was a spoof when i first read about it – hard to believe this is an actual project. 🙁

  3. Re:Mickey MacDonald blaming homeless people

    Mickey MacDonald’s brother-in-law once removed, Robert Risley, blamed panhandlers for the failure/closure of Maritime Frame-It and the need to move Onyx to Argyle St, next door to his other resto, Bistro le Coq.

    Mind you, two other Maritime Frame-Its, not on Spring Garden Rd, had already failed and the warehouse supplying all three, also owned by Risley, had burned to the ground on Portland Place.

    But, where possible, let’s blame what we can on the homeless/panhandlers.

    1. Normally I just sedate myself Friday night and sleep all through Saturdays but El’s Morning Files have changed that for me

  4. I’m on the side of more warnings, perhaps even barriers at Peggy’s Cove. People not used to the ocean don’t understand how dangerous it is. They have no idea how far waves can reach. It is easy to to dismiss them as idiots, but if they have little to no experience of the ocean, they just don’t know.

    1. I don’t understand why we don’t have life rings along the edge at Peggy’s.
      Of course don’t have a Peggy’s Cove logo on them as that makes them a souvenir. Isn’t that the reason we don’t have any life preservers? Were they taken as souvenirs? To tell you the truth I don’t ever recall seeing a life preserver on the site. We NEED something to throw to a person who is in danger of drowning.

      1. Not to be morbid, but I’ve always assume the people were dead as soon as they hit the rocks. Wave crashes over them, hit head on rocks, water pulls body out to sea. If they were alive, they’d simply swim ashore, no?

        1. Sea Surface Temp is in the 12-14 C range, get banged up a bit, a bit cold, swallow some water could be anything would finish you. Takes a lot of strength and endurance to swim to shore and climb up rocks.

          If you can’t use some common sense and stay of the wet non-white rocks where the homeless lurk in waiting…..

  5. IDIOTS (!!!!!) following wa-a-a-y too closely, and driving at RECKLESS speeds obviously can’t stop regardless of the reason. Let’s not vilify and crucify a CAREFUL driver who avoided maiming and killing a family of ducks. Neither the ducks NOR the driver were at fault! The stupid, inattentive drivers following behind caused this avoidable death and now everyone else is at fault. BTW: Did anyone check the CELLPHONE records of the crash-from behind «innocents»?

    PS: Maybe the RCMP should READ the Motor Vehicle Act before making judgemental pronouncements— «motorists must ALWAYS leave sufficient room to STOP» — period!!!!!

    1. True enough. When I have to stop suddenly (deer, rabbits and porcupine are everywhere out here), I always check my rear view mirror to gauge my options. Its safer to hit poor fluffy than be rear ended by a truck.

    2. Freeman I am supporting your comments. I watch for wildlife myself. I never drive at a speed which wouldn’t allow me to make a stop to avoid hitting them.

      If hit from behind on the highway or anywhere for that matter, I also would insist that the cell phone records of the driver who hit me be accessed to make sure that driver was actually paying attention.