News

1. Crowns

Writes Stephen Kimber:

After a crazy week of blind-siding legislation, insults, distortions, bluster, meaningless committee hearings and more fact-free moments than you’d find in a Trumpian White House, the province and its Crown attorneys are right back where they began — at the bargaining table. Well, not exactly as illustrated…

Click here to read “Stephen McNeil and the Crowns: Magic realism meets reality.”

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El Jones has a somewhat different take on the Crown issue:

On Friday, lawyers for the province’s Crown attorneys and for the government met in court as the government pursued an emergency injunction to force the prosecutors back to work. The government has declared the strike by Nova Scotia Crown prosecutors “illegal.”

Outside the courtroom, Crown attorney Rick Woodburn said:

“They will take away and smash and trample on our rights. And the question is whose rights are going to be trampled next.”

Jones points out that this is the very same Rick Woodburn who prosecuted the protestors at the Atlantica conference in 2007, calling the protesters “anarchists.” As well, Woodburn was the prosecutor who brought the Occupy protestors to court in 2011.

In 2018, another now-put upon Crown, Adam McCulley, prosecuted union activists who protested outside the Canada Post offices on Almon Street.

While she supports them, Jones find it rich that Woodburn and the other Crowns are now calling for “solidarity”:

If the McNeil government is willing to attack nurses, teachers and lawyers — people with social power and influence — there is little hope for people with much less power, resources, or ability to organize. Eroding the bargaining rights of Crown attorneys sends a message to all workers in this province, and we should all be concerned.

It is perhaps an irony, though, that after they are legislated back to work, Crowns will continue to prosecute anti-capitalist protestors, labour organizers, and land defenders.

Woodburn is wrong, however, in formulating his call for solidarity as though the trampling of rights begins with the Crowns. The question is not only “Whose rights will be trampled next?” but also “Whose rights were trampled before?”

It was the protestors a decade ago and more who were fighting these very policies and sounding the alarm about the erosion of the public sector, the attacks on workers’ rights, and austerity policies that cut funds from public services. Woodburn angrily demanded jail time for protestors to send a message and set an example for other protestors. And now he himself is an illegal protestor.

In this, he and other Crowns would perhaps do well to remember Martin Niemoller’s warning. I have made some adaptions:

First they came for the anarchists, and I prosecuted them.

Then they came for the Occupy protesters, and I prosecuted them.

Then they came for the union organizers, and I prosecuted them.

They they came for the land defenders, and I prosecuted them.

Then they came for me, and there was no one left to say anything. 

Click here to read “The Crown attorneys are singing a new tune now that the Neoliberal state is attacking them.”

2. Tidal Power

This turbine is similar to the version by same manufacturer planned for deployment in Minas Passage

“The dream of commercializing renewable energy from the world’s largest tides got a new lease on life last week,” reports Jennifer Henderson:

The Nova Scotia government amended a law to give three tidal developers permission to pursue the goal.

The first project to test the powerful tidal waters of the Bay of Fundy, a $20 million-plus venture between Open Hydro and Emera, ended with the abandonment of a 1,000-tonne turbine on the ocean floor in 2018. Incentives to developers under the Marine Renewable Energy Act were set to expire next December 2020. Those incentives offered berth-holders at the demonstration site near Parrsboro a rate of 53 cents per kilowatt hour (kwh) — a rate more than four times higher what Nova Scotia Power currently pays to generate electricity — over a 15-year period.

Amid pleas from tidal developers working to secure financing in the tens of millions of dollars, Energy Minister Darren Mombourquette has introduced changes to the Act that would extend those generous incentives while acknowledging it could still take “decades” for a new industry to develop.

“Through these amendments, government will issue new power purchase agreements to developers at the Fundy Ocean Research Centre for Energy (FORCE),” said Mombourquette. “FORCE is the world’s leading tidal research facility and the companies there are doing ground-breaking work. Once their projects are operational, the developers at FORCE will continue to have the ability to sell electricity to the utility for up to 15 years.”

Click here to read “Tidal power update: new legislation clears way for three new projects, but a tidal power industry is still ‘decades’ away.”

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3. Kicking the saving-the-world can down the road

Today, the legislature’s Law Amendments Committee will take up Bill 213, the Sustainable Development Goals Act, which replaces the Environmental Goals and Sustainable Prosperity Act (EGSPA) of 2007.

Former PC cabinet minister Mark Parent was the, er, parent of EGSPA, and got all-party agreement on a sweeping list of environmental targets that were to be met by 2020. The new bill ignores most of those targets, but does address greenhouse gases, mandating emissions by 2030 be 53% below the levels that were emitted in 2005, and that by 2050 Nova Scotia’s GHG emissions will be “net zero,” “balancing greenhouse gas emissions with greenhouse gas removals and other offsetting measures.”

There are a lot of things to criticize in this bill, but I want to stay with GHG emissions. The government sells the targets as ambitious, and compared to most North American jurisdictions, it is. But it’s still not enough. We could wrangle about percentages and meanings all day long  — what does “other offsetting measures” mean? — but the simple fact is any measurable target is beyond the mandate of the current government. The year 2030 may as well be 2200 as far as the McNeil government goes.

Long-term targets are necessary, but what we need are more immediate targets — how much will GHG emissions be reduced this year, next year, the year after that, and the following year?

Once power starts flowing from Muskrat Falls (next year, likely), the province will see a big drop in GHG emissions from electrical generation. That’s good, but it’s also a plan long in the making. I don’t see that there’s any further concrete action on the climate change front.

We’re just kicking the can down the road.

4. Nova Scotia’s most successful tourist attraction removed

The last piece of the fallen crane is removed from the construction site on South Park Street. Photo: NSTIR

The Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal issued a press release Saturday:

Workers successfully removed the final pieces of the crane that were lying on the top storey of the Olympus building today, Oct. 26.

The tower transition piece of the counterjib and turntable are now safely on the ground. The cabin was removed yesterday, Oct. 25.

With the removal of the sections today, workers will now take steps to evaluate the damage to the building and ensure debris and other materials on top of the apartment building are removed or secured. That work is estimated to take a few days.

Once an assessment of the Olympus building is complete, more information on next steps will be shared. The building assessment will also help inform any decisions by Halifax Regional Fire and Emergency regarding status of the evacuation order still in place for a number of addresses in the vicinity of the Olympus building.

Work crews now move into the final phase of the operation, which involves dismantling and removing the heavy-lift cranes and proceeding with site clean-up. 

5. Sickly cruise ship passengers

The AIDAdiva is one of four cruise ships in port today (see “On the Harbour” below), collectively carrying more than 10,000 passengers. Many of those passengers will be sick.

Last week, I noted that the AIDAdiva pulled into Halifax three times since September 1, and each time had a bevy of norovirus on board. Gus Reed helpfully noted that:

The AIDAviva has a dozen or so wheelchair accessible cabins — behindertenfreundlich — as they say. So that German tourist sitting next to you in his wheelchair on the deck at some tony restaurant on Argyle Street probably just came off the boat. Willkommen!

If you’re worried about Norovirus, you know Germans have a thing for hygiene — putzfimmel.

So even though the guy with the wheelchair has rolled over all the vomit in the ship’s elevator, you can rest assured that it’s safe to get behind him in the salad bar lineup because he certainly washed his hands before digging into the radishes.

Oops! I forgot, even though there’s a Human Rights order 13 months old and you just spent a bundle in taxes upgrading Argyle Street, the washroom is down a set of stairs and unavailable to that nice man who suddenly looks a little pale.

Your chief public health official doesn’t care, the food inspectors don’t care, the Human Rights Commission doesn’t care, the Justice department doesn’t care and the restaurants certainly don’t care.

You remember those special throwup sinks they had at the Hofbrauhaus when you went to Munich two years ago. You hope they have them downstairs. You’re feeling a little queasy……

To that lovely observation, we should additionally consider that cruise ship passengers impact our health care system in other ways. Reports John McPhee for the Chronicle Herald:

[M]any sick passengers are ending up at the Halifax Infirmary emergency department, exacerbating an already acute overcrowding problem and leaving Nova Scotia taxpayers to foot unpaid medical bills. 

“The minute I’m driving to work and I hear there’s a big cruise ship in, I think, oh great,” said an emergency department staff member in a recent interview.

The staffer, who asked to remain anonymous, said it’s not unusual for the ER to handle at least five cruise ship passengers a day during high tourist season. 

“The big problem is the majority of them are travelling without insurance. So we have set up in our emergency department, we actually have a debit machine because our physicians weren’t being paid at all.”

It’s gotten to the point where the department has nicknamed a regular cruise ship visitor “Dialysis of the Seas” because so many passengers who aren’t getting the routine kidney disease treatment are treated there. 

Other common conditions among cruise ship passengers are pneumonia and sepsis. 

“It amazes me how acutely ill these people are. Sometimes they come off the ship intubated and go off to the ICU (intensive care unit),” the staffer said. 

“Two weeks ago, the cruise ship health director shows up with five patients, all in ambulances. Sometimes they’re lined up down at the dock. It’s insane. It’s driving us all crazy.”

6. The Hotel Barmecide

The Grafton Street Glory Hole, with the convention centre and empty hotel above it. Photo: Halifax Examiner

The “world-class” Sutton Place Hotel is to open in the Nova Centre “in the first quarter of 2020,” we’re told, so by April 1. Yet here we are five months out, and beyond a director of sales and marketing, no positions in the hotel have been advertised.

The Barmecidal Feast

My reference to Barmecide comes from The Story of the Barber’s Sixth Brother in Arabian Nights. It tells the tale of Schacabac, a beggar, who discovers the mansion of the Barmecides, “famed for their liberality and generosity.” The porters tell Schacabac to go in and beg of Barmecide himself, and Schacabac enters the stately building, finds an old man sitting on a sofa, and asks for food. The story continues:

“What, you are dying of hunger?” exclaimed the Barmecide. “Here, slave; bring water, that we may wash our hands before meat!” No slave appeared, but my brother remarked that the Barmecide did not fail to rub his hands as if the water had been poured over them.

Then he said to my brother, “Why don’t you wash your hands too?” and Schacabac, supposing that it was a joke on the part of the Barmecide (though he could see none himself), drew near, and imitated his motion.

When the Barmecide had done rubbing his hands, he raised his voice, and cried, “Set food before us at once, we are very hungry.” No food was brought, but the Barmecide pretended to help himself from a dish, and carry a morsel to his mouth, saying as he did so, “Eat, my friend, eat, I entreat. Help yourself as freely as if you were at home! For a starving man, you seem to have a very small appetite.”

“Excuse me, my lord,” replied Schacabac, imitating his gestures as before, “I really am not losing time, and I do full justice to the repast.”

“How do you like this bread?” asked the Barmecide. “I find it particularly good myself.”

“Oh, my lord,” answered my brother, who beheld neither meat nor bread, “never have I tasted anything so delicious.”

“Eat as much as you want,” said the Barmecide. “I bought the woman who makes it for five hundred pieces of gold, so that I might never be without it.”

After ordering a variety of dishes (which never came) to be placed on the table, and discussing the merits of each one, the Barmecide declared that having dined so well, they would now proceed to take their wine.

Having enjoyed the illusionary feast, Schacabac feigns to get drunk on the illusionary wine. And then:

At this the Barmecide, instead of being angry, began to laugh, and embraced him heartily. “I have long been seeking,” he exclaimed, “a man of your description, and henceforth my house shall be yours. You have had the good grace to fall in with my humour, and to pretend to eat and to drink when nothing was there. Now you shall be rewarded by a really good supper.”

Then he clapped his hands, and all the dishes were brought that they had tasted in imagination before and during the repast, slaves sang and played on various instruments. All the while Schacabac was treated by the Barmecide as a familiar friend, and dressed in a garment out of his own wardrobe.

The lesson here is that if we just play along with the illusion, we will eventually be rewarded with the reality.

Except, the tale then takes a dark turn:

Twenty years passed by, and my brother was still living with the Barmecide, looking after his house, and managing his affairs. At the end of that time his generous benefactor died without heirs, so all his possessions went to the prince. They even despoiled my brother of those that rightly belonged to him, and he, now as poor as he had ever been in his life, decided to cast in his lot with a caravan of pilgrims who were on their way to Mecca. Unluckily, the caravan was attacked and pillaged by the Bedouins, and the pilgrims were taken prisoners. My brother became the slave of a man who beat him daily, hoping to drive him to offer a ransom, although, as Schacabac pointed out, it was quite useless trouble, as his relations were as poor as himself. At length the Bedouin grew tired of tormenting, and sent him on a camel to the top of a high barren mountain, where he left him to take his chance. A passing caravan, on its way to Bagdad, told me where he was to be found, and I hurried to his rescue, and brought him in a deplorable condition back to the town.

It’s the history of Halifax in two acts.


Views

1. An American flies Air Canada

My friend Ruth has the most delightful East Texan accent. I could sit around all day and listen to her speak, nodding and asking questions in hopes of hearing more of that melodious twang. Seriously, I’ve never met anyone with a more beautiful voice. Some years ago, however, Ruth ran off with a fellow and they now live happily in, er, Ohio, I think; I fear (but don’t know) that her distinctive song has been muddied with that Midwestern blandness. But I will forever read her emails in that voice I so cherish. She writes:

Due to their sale on air fare to Europe, and my appreciation for a free drink with dinner not offered on U.S. airlines, this infrequent flier may have discovered at least part of why Air Canada is not doing so well.

When I made reservations for a flight to Venice and back in October, I paid up in advance of course. Evidently that does not a binding contract make in your Canadian Air.

When I flew out of Pittsburgh, the short flight to Toronto was delayed. These things happen, so I didn’t think hard things about the airline, more about the error-filled life sometimes brought on by our capricious world. It was a hard ask of 75-year-old legs, but I duly sprinted the length of the airport in Toronto when — after a deplaning delay piled on top of the flight delay — I arrived at the very time my next flight was scheduled to board for the flight to Zurich.

A little the worse for wear, I made that flight, which departed late as well.

Zurich airport is a nightmare. To get to my next flight, to Venice, I got to bore underground and under the seeming ten miles that take passengers from intercontinental flight gates to the merely international ones, for nearby European destinations. Helpful signs along the way advised me that my gates were a mere ten minutes’ walk.

Some people pay to get exercised. I guess I had paid for this opportunity, as well.

I did not take the opportunity of further workout offered, when it occasioned that to use the internet in Zurich, I would have to make a return walk of five minutes to authenticate my valid boarding pass for the Free WiFi.

The trip was good, my plans in Venice included the low-priced water bus into the city, and really things went well.

Then I came home via Air Canada.

The day preceding my return flight, I received their email informing me my flight from Frankfurt to Toronto would proceed as scheduled. Problem: I had booked a flight from Vienna.

After getting through to the Air Canada call center for problems of American/Canadian passengers, I discovered that the flights I’d contracted and paid for last July had been replaced without input from me. Instead of leaving early from Venice, which would have landed me in Pittsburgh on a fall afternoon for a pleasant drive in fall foliage, I now left mid-afternoon from Venice and arrived late in the night. The love of my life would also not get to enjoy the foliage drive we had planned. I got to tell him that the next evening, change of plan — he would have to drive to Pittsburgh to pick me up in the middle of the night. He did not drop me. He’d manage.

When my mid-afternoon flight arrived in Frankfurt, a bus ride to the endless airport there took about thirty minutes and we arrived at that airport at the very time that the flight to Toronto was announced to board. The gate was of course another long sprint away, and my aging legs made it without totally giving out. They had become disenamoured of this old body, though. I use the Canadian spelling with reason. Disenamored would be too simple for the way my legs ached.

On board, we got a promising menu, and I could look forward to dinner. We were being offered Kai yang chicken with coriander and sweet chilli sauce, bok choy and rice. Look forward to until the air hostess informed me that she was arriving at the seat I’d been assigned without my consent too late. There was only pasta left.

I told her I did not want pasta. (I also do not like dessert, so the chocolate cake made up for nada, not one whit.)

For my prepaid dinner, I got a small salad. The two beers were gratis, which kept me from beginning to be truly unpleasant.

Once again, Toronto’s extensive airport was a challenge. My legs truly were starting to buckle and I had difficulty getting onto the final escalator to my final flight back to Pittsburgh, in the long night I was just beginning.

Thankfully, I got some sleep. When the love of my life picked up these remnants of his adventuress, we were too glad to see each other to be the mess Air Canada had visited on its customer.

I am home, I am recovering, I will always love Canada and someday will get to Halifax where I have a valued friend in Tim Bousquet.

We will drive there. 

Ruth has a place to stay, so long as she agrees to talk a lot.

2. YMCA pays shit wages

The YMCA is hiring a Recreation Program Leader. Job qualifications include having a degree or diploma relating to Recreation /Education/Child Studies or related Experience, and having first aid accreditation. Skills required are listed as follows:

  • Minimum 1 year working with large groups of children in a recreational program
  • Organizational and time management skills
  • Works to create a child-centered program
  • Working knowledge of conflict resolution skills
  • Knowledge of age and stage of development of school-age children
  • BehaviouralManagement
  • Flexible working style
  • Self-directed and self-motivated
  • Ability to work independently and as a team member
  • Must have strong interpersonal, administrative and communication skills

But don’t expect full-time work. This job is for 27.5 hours/week.

Pay? $12/hour, 45 cents above minimum wage.

Young people: Nova Scotia hates you. Move to Ontario already.


Government

City

Monday

Executive Standing Committee (Monday, 10am, City Hall) — here’s the agenda.

Accessibility Advisory Committee (Monday, 4pm, Boardroom 1, 3rd Floor, Duke Tower) — nothing too exciting on the agenda.

Task Force on the Commemoration of Edward Cornwallis and the Recognition and Commemoration of Indigenous History (Monday, 6pm, Zatzman Sportsplex, Dartmouth) — a facilitated conversation circle to discuss how the Halifax Regional Municipality should recognize and commemorate Indigenous history. RSVP here. More info here.

Public Workshop – Peninsula South Complete Streets (Monday, 6:30pm, Halifax Central Library) — info here.

Public Information Meeting – Case 22462 (Monday, 7pm, Maritime Hall, Halifax Forum) — Shawn and Michelle Cleary want to expand the Maple Tree Montessori from 14 to 20 children under care. The Clearys are the directors of the day care centre. More info here.

Tuesday

Budget Committee and Halifax Regional Council (Tuesday, 9:30am, City Hall) — Regional Council agenda here. Budget Committee agenda here.

Task Force on the Commemoration of Edward Cornwallis and the Recognition and Commemoration of Indigenous History (Tuesday, 6pm, Mi’kmaq Native Friendship Centre, Halifax) — a facilitated conversation circle to discuss how the Halifax Regional Municipality should recognize and commemorate Indigenous history. RSVP here. More info here.

Province

Monday

Law Amendments (Monday, 11am, Province House) — see #3 above.

Legislature sits (Monday, 6pm, Province House)

Tuesday

Human Resources (Tuesday, 10am, One Government Place) — a per diem meeting.

Legislature sits (Tuesday, 1pm, Province House)


On campus

Dalhousie

Monday

Noon Hour Strings Recital (Monday, 11:45am, Room 406, Dal Arts Centre) — with students of Leonardo Perez and Shimon Walt.

Lifting automorphisms of power series from characteristic p to characteristic 0 (Monday, 2:30pm, Chase Room 319) — Daniele Turchetti will talk. The abstract:

Let $k$ be an algebraically closed field of positive characteristic $p >0$. Lifting problems ask when objects defined over $k$ come from objects defined over a local ring $R$ with unique maximal ideal $\mathfrak{m}$ such that  $R/\mathfrak{m}=k$. In this talk, I introduce lifting problems for finite order automorphisms of the ring of formal power series $k[[t]]$. We will see that this problem becomes very difficult when $R$ is of characteristic $0$ and the order of the automorphism is divided by $p$. In fact, it is very much related to the theory of wild ramification of ring extensions, a branch of algebraic number theory that has lately undergone very fast developments. I will not go into the technicalities of this theory, but rather show with examples some of its features,by solving positively lifting problems for automorphisms of order $p$ and showing negative results about liftings of elementary abelian subgroups of Aut$(k[[t]])$.

Tuesday

When the Dust Settles: How Do We Hold People to Account After Disasters? (Tuesday, 12pm, Room 1020, Rowe Management Building) —  panelists are Lori Turnbull and Kevin Quigley from Dalhousie University; Bruce Campbell from York University; Paul Kovacs from the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction; and Jennifer Quaid from the University of Ottawa.

Natural disasters, industrial failures, cyber and terrorist attacks generate intense popular interest and scrutiny. These events raise difficult questions about whether or not enough precautions were put in place to guard against these events. Yet given the complexity of modern systems, it is becoming increasingly difficult to hold people to account for failures: there are just too many people and organizations involved. In a highly interdependent setting, what should accountability look like and how do we achieve it?

Free, no reserved seating, live streamed here.

Forward, Upward, Onward, Together: A Cultural Evening in Support of The Bahamian People (Tuesday, 6pm, Dalhousie University Club) — from the listing:

Hurricane Dorian struck the Bahamas in September 2019 instantly devastating lives and communities across the islands of Abaco and Grand Bahama.

The Dorian Relief HFX group is a Bahamian student and alumni-lead initiative, which has partnered with the SMU Humanitarian Relief Fund to present Forward, Upward, Onward, Together: A Cultural Evening in Support of the Bahamian People. All proceeds will support the Ranfurly Homes for Children in Nassau, Bahamas.

The Bahamian spirit is one of unity, vibrance and resilience. With the support of Bahamian artisans, Dalhousie and Saint Mary’s Universities, Dorian Relief HFX is excited to share a unique part of Bahamian culture. You can learn more about the event on our EventBrite Page.

From the Caribbean to Canada, we have all been touched by Hurricane Dorian. Please join us as we remember those that have been affected, whilst celebrating the strength and beauty of the Bahamian people.

Guided by the Bahamian Motto, we must move “Forward, Upward, Onward, Together”. ​

Tickets ($10 minimum) and donations here or at the door.


In the harbour

05:00: YM Evolution, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from New York
05:30: Atlantic Star, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from Liverpool, England
05:45: Regal Princess, cruise ship with up to 4,271 passengers, arrives at Pier 22 from New York, on a five-day roundtrip cruise out of New York
06:00: AIDAdiva, cruise ship with up to 2,050 passengers, arrives at Pier 20 from Quebec City, on a 10-day cruise from Montreal to New York
06:15: Hoegh Bangkok, car carrier, arrives at Autoport from Emden, Germany
07:00: Silver Whisper, cruise ship with up to 466 passengers, arrives at Pier 23 from  Sydney, on a 20-day cruise from Montreal to San Juan, Puerto Rico, thus ending the ship’s seasonal stay in Canadian waters
07:15: Caribbean Princess, cruise ship with up to 3,756 passengers, arrives at Pier 31 from Sydney, on a 27-day cruise from Quebec City to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, also ending its Canadian season
09:00: Pengalia, container ship, arrives at Pier 42 from Portland
09:00: Puze, oil tanker, sails from Imperial Oil for sea
11:30: Hoegh Bangkok sails for sea
14:30: AIDAdiva sails with all its sickly passengers for Bar Harbor
14:30: Pengalia sails for Argentia, Newfoundland
15:00: BW Raven, oil tanker, moves from anchorage to Imperial Oil
15:30: Atlantic Star sails for New York
15:30: YM Evolution sails for Rotterdam
16:30: Caribbean Princess  sails for Saint John
17:45: Regal Princess sails for Saint John
17:45: Silver Whisper sails for Bar Harbor
22:00: Augusta Sun, cargo ship, sails from Pier 28 for sea

Where are the Canadian military ships?



Footnotes

Long week ahead.


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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. Hotel Barmecide reminds me of the Halifax Convention Centre and of the stadium “without a local team” illusion -white elephants serving adventurers so they make money with our money and Indebtedness. Anyway entertaining/enlightening article!
    Mario

  2. The Halifax YMCA should be ashamed to offer pay as low as that for those qualifications as high as that. I think Tim is right, the Halifax YMCA pays shit wages.

  3. Is “American Ruth” our Joe the Plumber?

    The question, always, is “compared to what”? Sure, Pearson Terminal 1 is huge, but its spacious and well signed. As nice as any major US airport, certainly nicer than Newark, LaGuardia or O’Hare.

    Did American Ruth ask for a golfcart? Any airline (or, airport, via the airline) would be happy to provide “mobility assistance”. Is she expecting that sometimes since the last time she flew airports have gotten smaller? Or she has gotten younger? Did flying PanAm also entitle you to a quick trip to the ortho surgeon for knee touchups?

    Air Canada can’t be held responsible for the eTa weirdness transiting Canada, or the Schengen area weirdness getting into Europe, or eTa and US Preclearance getting back home. Does American Ruth think that other airlines have some magic to avoid security, customs, and immigration?

    Air Canada under-catering flights is reprehensible; I grant their meals are not up to historical or international first class. But, this is not 1967, and an Trans Atlantic economy seat on Air Canada is not a pod – or bungalow – flying to your sugar daddys compound in Singapore.

    Changing routing at (not the last minute; when did American Ruth check their reservation?) isn’t fun, but its a lot less not fun than being a WOW or Thomas Cook customer.

    Flying across the ocean and across multiple international borders is not a trivial endeavor. One needs some reasonable expectations, and be prepared to take care of #1.

    1. Very well said. A plane is just a very fast bus and my days of flying around the world without a passport and not paying the fare are long gone.

  4. As you pointed out on Twitter, Monday to Friday 7:30am to 9:00am and 12:00pm to 5:30pm is actually 7 hours a day, or 35 hours a week. Yet it says it pays for 27.5 hours. Also it screws up the whole day because you have from 9 a.m. to noon to fill until you go back to work, rather than just getting you to go in at 7:30 a.m. or whatever for an eight hour shift. Is there some unstated explanation for this? Also agreed, the qualifications and experience required should mean more than a measly $12 per hour. You’d be better off financially working in a bar or restaurant and getting tips.

    Also contract position, so not even the minimum benefits package…probably not even a turkey at Christmas.

    Reminds me of many years ago in Ontario I saw an ad in a newspaper for a position that required not only a university degree and experience, but fluency in Japanese. It paid only a little more than minimum wage. So it isn’t always better up there.

  5. American Ruth’s experience with Air Canada is much like mine. Flying Air Canada out of Halifax to visit relatives in the States is always an adventure…Prior to departure, there are regular changes in itinerary as to whether one is flying through Ottawa, Montreal or Toronto. Then, there are frequent adjustments on the day of travel, necessitating rapid sprints through the airport and occasionally pulling one’s hair out in Customs trying to make one’s flight. One wonders who in Air Canada is figuring the time necessary for connecting flights. Sometimes I am lucky enough to arrive in the US on the same day as I departed, if I leave in the wee hours of the morning and sometimes I arrive the next day…I keep hoping for a fast ferry from Halifax to Boston so I could avoid flying and transfer to Amtrak to visit family.