Today’s Morning File is written by Katie Toth. I’m kind of into the idea of just leaving the phrase [fascinating biographical info here] from the template Tim Bousquet made for us, and letting you imagine how great I am.
In the harbour
1. Wind turbine panic
Terence Bay, N.S. residents are a little freaked out about the collapse of an 80-metre wind turbine in Point Tupper last week, CBC reports. The company that owns the wind farm in Point Tupper where the turbine fell is also trying to develop a wind farm in Terence Bay.
Residents had a closed-door meeting last night with Renewable Energy Services last night. The company says it was an isolated incident.
2. Ralph Goodale speaks out about Matthew Hines’ death
Federal public safety minister Ralph Goodale is speaking out about the death of the prisoner in New Brunswick’s Dorchester Penitentiary. Hines was beaten and pepper sprayed until he died in custody in 2015. The Cape Bretoner was 33 when he died.
From the Mothercorp:
In a statement issued Wednesday evening, Goodale said he can’t comment “on the specifics” of Hines’s death because it’s still under investigation by Correctional Service Canada (CSC).
“But let me be clear that there can be no tolerance for inappropriate use of force or other serious misconduct,” he said in the statement.
“Correctional staff have difficult jobs, but any allegation of inappropriate behavior must be thoroughly and transparently investigated, and the appropriate consequences must follow.”
3. North Preston homicide leaves activist rattled
Anti-violence advocate Quentrel Provo told CBC about how the community has been shaken after Tylor McInnis died this week. The CBC adds: “RCMP are looking into whether the death of Tylor McInnis is connected to a string of homicides that shocked people in the Halifax-area in the spring.”
4. Blueberry farmers getting into a … jam
Great news for blueberry lovers, bad news for the people who grow them: CBC reports a glut of berries on the market is leading to some of the lowest berry prices in years. Higher production costs mean that next year, farmers might just sit on some of those berry fields and decline to harvest them, though — perhaps leading to a future berry shortage or a pricier fruit?!? I’m just speculating here, but I say eat ’em while you can.
5. Gay stuff leaves Stellarton police chief feeling confused
In Pictou County, Stellarton’s police chief doesn’t think his residents have the intellectual capacity to comprehend rainbow sidewalks. The sidewalk decorations were proposed by a town councillor this summer. That’s according to a report from the New Glasgow News:
At the June council meeting, Coun. Denise Taylor had requested that a crosswalk in the town be painted in Pride colours to show support for members of the LGBTQ community. “Just to show we’re an inclusive community,” she said.
However, at [a] meeting this week, Police Chief Don Hussher explained why doing so isn’t a good idea. Speaking as the town’s traffic authority, he said the colour of crosswalks across Canada is white. “The reason is all traffic signals from coast to coast are consistent.”
Hussher also said at the meeting that “if we introduce other colours, we have inconsistencies and it causes confusion.”
5. Port Hawkesbury really into Meghan Trainor, apparently
Port Hawkesbury residents are up in arms about a ticket shortage for a Meghan Trainor concert on September 1. The town won a free show sponsored by Air Miles, in case you’re wondering why Meghan Trainor is so into Port Hawkesbury.
1. Xenophobic comments won’t fix racism (duh)
An immigration official has cruelly shot down four Tibetan-Indian women’s dreams of recreating the hit 90s classic Never Been Kissed. The women, who range in age between 25 and 32, had paid a cool $13,900 for a one-year English as a Second Language course at King’s View Academy (a local high school). Now, the school’s director Rina Otero is heading to the media to complain.
She tells Local Xpress that immigration officials may have found it suspicious that the women were going to high school, but that the students had enrolled in a foundation-year ESL class that prepares international students for Canadian universities.
“I think the main deterrent here is that (the four women) are not 17 or 16 or 15,” says Otero, who had planned to charge the women an additional $7,000 to live in her house for the year (which just seems like bad personal boundaries IMHO!). “The bottom line seems to be (that immigration officials believe) they’re not going to return to India if they come to Canada.”
I’m not comfortable making comments about the school. I also don’t want to talk about these women’s visa cases, or their educational goals. They’re likely lovely young women, we all have dreams, it’s hard to know what’s going on without talking to them, and I wish them luck navigating a complex and byzantine border system.
Instead I will focus on these batshit remarks from immigration lawyer Lee Cohen, who thinks going back to high school at 32 is “perfectly normal” and finds it offensive that any immigration officer would even have the gall to raise red flags about it. He’s taking on the case, and he speculated to Local Xpress there was another reason why the students didn’t get their visas accepted:
The visa officer at the Canadian Embassy in New Delhi who dealt with the four women might not even be Canadian, Cohen said.
“In some countries, a lot of the internal politics of that country, the internal biases, whether it’s racial, whether it’s caste, whether it’s economic, whether it’s religious — sometimes they’re at play,” he said.
“We may be dealing with a born-in-Canada Canadian who’s assigned to this post and doing the job. But I have seen situations in the past where decisions are being made about foreign nationals by other foreign nations. So the kind of balance and fairness and rigour that we would expect to go into these kinds of decisions sometimes does not occur.”
So this lawyer’s argument isn’t that these women were unjustly turned down because of Canadian immigration policies, or because of some kind of misunderstanding about why fully grown adults had good reason to go to a high school. No: they may have been turned down because those untrustworthy South Asians — you know, not born-in-Canada Canadians, who have balance and fairness and rigour — can’t do their jobs in the Canadian embassy. Got it.
I mean, no fences no borders, etc etc, here is a poster with a bird on it. But until that day, this comment is ridiculous. You don’t fight xenophobia by…. being xenophobic. #dobetter.
2. Here’s an idea: leave women alone
This anonymous woman says she’s had it up to here with sexual harassment. She threw an iced latte into the face of her catcalled, and I love her for it. Content warning for the NSFW language, depictions of lewd sex acts, and intimidating threats in this one.
3. No Cranky Letter Of The Day
Get out there, folks! Write more letters! Be the change you wish to see in the world.
Beyonce’s Lemonade is screening tonight at Art Bar!
Also in blueberry news, the Blueberry Harvest Festival kicks off today in Amherst, NS.
No meetings scheduled.
PhD Defence, Biology (1:30pm, Room 3107, Mona Campbell Building) — William Carscallen will defend his thesis titled, “The Structure and Function of Polar Marine Food Webs.”
Thesis Defence, Industrial and Organizational Psychology (9:30am, Atrium 101) — Natasha Scott will defend her thesis, “Enjoyment, Values, Pressure or Something Else: What Influences Employees’ Safety Behaviours?”
In the harbour
- The approach to Halifax Harbour, 9:30am Thursday. Map: marinetraffic.com
7:30am: STI Duchessa, oil tanker, arrives at Imperial Oil from Paldiski, Estonia
8am: Atlantic Shrike, cargo, moves from Pier 6 to Pier 8
11am: Pick Up, yacht, Charlottetown to Pier T
4pm: Henriette Schulte, container ship, sails from Pier 42 for sea
7:15am: Nolhanava, ro-ro cargo, arrives at Pier 41 from Saint-PIerre
“Listen here, you kids! yer gonna wait and yer gonna go to the precinct!”
Some kids — sorry, “youths” — last night tried to break into this guy’s house. What did they expect? Who knows, but it probably wasn’t a talking-to. Apparently he told them to wait for the police, and they did, which is rather courteous of them considering they just broke into a home.
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it’s hard to know what’s going on without talking to them, and I wish them luck navigating a complex and byzantine border system.
To make the situation even more difficult there is a complex and byzantine political relationship between Canada and India in regards to Tibet, China, and Tibetans in India. It is possible that Immigration Officers in New Delhi are mistaken or that they don’t want to bother sorting out the implications of this relationship for the women in question. Those interested in clarifying what is at issue might get a sense of the situation from The Canada Tibet Committee, see http://tibet.ca/en/tibet_and_canada T: (514) 487-0665. The CTC would also perhaps be able to say how frequently would-be Tibetan students from India have experienced problems getting visas for Canada.
“The girls have told me because they’re of Tibetan descent, when they appear in front of immigration (officials) in New Delhi, that they’re not even acknowledged” (said the director of King’s View Academy in the Local Xpress story).
I would recommend everybody click on the link to the Local Xpress story on the four women who were denied visas (link in second paragraph under ‘Xenophobic comments won’t fix racism (duh)’).
I don’t know Lee Cohen but whenever I’ve read articles about him I think to myself what important and difficult work he’s doing right here in Halifax. Cohen, “who has dedicated his practice to matters related to immigration, refugees and human rights since 1981” (from 2015 CBC article) is the lawyer Katie Toth is giving lessons on how to fight xenophobia.
He makes himself available to the media for comments and I’ve benefited from reading those articles and learning about immigration issues I would have never otherwise likely known about. I bet he’s thought way more about xenophobia and done more to fight it in his career than I have, or many readers of this story have.
I think Katie Toth’s story under ‘Views’ lacks balance, and I hope to see a future article that’s more balanced on what Lee Cohen deals with.
You certainly don’t fight xenophobia by trying to paint Lee Cohen as “being xenophobic. #dobetter.”
The problem with leftist thought is that you can never be leftist enough. Say one “wrong” thing, even if it’s completely reasonable and suddenly you are a racist or xenophobe.
Something that people who live in a nice, ethnically homogenous place like Canada forget is that just about everywhere other than Western Europe and North America, ethnic conflict is the norm rather than the exception. Diversity + proximity = conflict.
Surely you can’t be serious, Nick, that Canada is “ethnically homogenous”?
Canada as a whole is more diverse than country in Europe, and among the most diverse in the world. Even Atlantic Canada, our least diverse region, is more ethnically/religiously/linguistically diverse than much of Europe, to say nothing of Asia, which doesn’t lack for conflict, despite its countries’ (relative) homogeneity.
Lee Cohen, with many years of immigration experience, said “So the kind of balance and fairness and rigour that we would expect to go into these kinds of decisions sometimes does not occur.”
This is not condemnation of all South Asians not born in Canada, as suggested above. It is a statement of what might have occurred ( and not a statement of what did occur ) by someone with more experience in these matters than likely anyone else in Nova Scotia.
With all of the tremendous work that Lee Cohen has done in Nova Scotia to fight for the rights of immigrants, I am disappointed to read that assessment of his remarks.
Re borders: Do you expect good government health care and religious freedom? Do you like free speech? Do you like due process and more than one party to vote for? Abortion rights? Women’s rights? Do you like living in a country where it’s pretty safe to walk alone at night? Do you like a per capita GDP over $10000?
Those aren’t a reality in most of the world, and I think it’s an incredibly strange attitude for someone who has the privilege of living in a country like Canada to want to abolish borders and presumably import the world’s problems.
This whole “Tim needs a vacation” thing is kind of refreshing. Sort of a win/win. We get a break from our favorite curmudgeon and in the process, learn that this city has even more interesting writers and editors than we realized. Oh, and Bousquet gets a well earned vacation.Thanks Katie and everyone else filling in for Tim.
Tim gets a much-needed break and I finally get to tidy his desk and paint the office. Win/win/win.