News
Views
Government
On campus
Noticed
In the harbour
Footnotes


News

1. Allan Rowe

Dartmouth South MLA Allan Rowe and his wife Yvonne during an anniversary dinner in 2014. Photo via Rowe’s Facebook page

Allan Rowe, the Liberal MLA for Dartmouth South, has a ruptured aneurysm and remains in intensive care, three weeks after collapsing while shovelling snow, reports Jean Laroche:

The 59-year-old TV host turned politician has been up front about his health in the past. Rowe’s online biography includes details of not only his health, but that of his wife and one of his two grandchildren.

“Yvonne and I, and our grandson as well, have battled a few health issues in recent years. Yvonne being diagnosed with breast cancer and diabetes, myself with prostate cancer and our grandson with epilepsy,” the bio reads.

In contrast, the Liberal caucus has been circumspect in their statements about Rowe’s condition, saying merely that he was recovering and would return.

The spring session of the legislature starts March 26. Besides the probable absence of Rowe, it’s anyone’s guess if Andrew Younger, the MLA for Dartmouth East, will show. Younger has taken a leave of absence to deal with “personal issues.”

2. Colour of Justice

Today, freelance writer Jon Tattrie completes his four-part series for the CBC about a 16-year-old boy convicted of shooting a 15-year-old boy on a basketball court. The case is complex, and Tattrie does a good job of following nuances of the arguments and explaining the significance of judge Anne Derrick’s ruling.

3. Payroll rebates

In its first payroll rebate announcement since Laurel Broten took over as president, Nova Scotia Business, Inc. yesterday said it will give the Royal Bank of Canada $22 million if the company hires 500 people over the next 10 years. The company is to open a “finance-shared services centre to support new digital image cheque processing operations and a number of finance and accounting services” in Bedford, presumably at the former RIM office complex.

The press release continues the old practice of couching the rebates in terms of the additional tax benefits the new positions will bring, but make no mistake: this is an exemption to the tax code that everyone else has to follow.

What I haven’t seen before in NSBI press releases is the additional company cheerleading found in yesterday’s announcement. It’s as if NSBI is now running PR for the RBC:

Last year, RBC donated more than $1.8 million to local charities in Nova Scotia and RBC employees volunteer extensively across the region in support of local communities. The bank continues to bring events to the region including the Nova Scotia Open/RBC Canada Cup.

Payroll rebates aside, it’s not the role of government to be pimping a company’s corporate “charity” and corporate-branded events, which are after all simply advertising and tax dodge strategies.

4. Pedestrian incidents

Police have released the February stats for pedestrians struck by vehicles, which note a stark decline — 14 this February compared to 23 last February. The chart in the report mislabels the month, but by comparing to last month’s report, I can deduce that two drivers were ticketed in the 14 incidents and no pedestrians were ticketed. I note that one of the incidents occurred at the corner of Victoria Road and Park Avenue in Dartmouth, where a marked crosswalk has recently been removed.

5. Jail assault

Police release from yesterday morning:

Police are investigating an assault which occurred [Wednesday] night in Dartmouth.

At approximately 10:40 p.m., there was an assault involving two offenders at the Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility. The victim, a 19-year-old Lower Sackville man, suffered life-threatening injuries and was transported to hospital by EHS. 

This matter is being investigated by the Special Investigation Section of the Integrated Criminal Investigation Division. Investigators have a suspect, a 20-year-old Halifax man, in custody in relation to this matter. The investigation is ongoing.


Views

This never-ending winter is leaving the commentariat with not much to say lately. Thankfully, today 75-year-old D.J. Mallinson steps up to fill the void.

1. Cranky letter of the day

To the Chronicle Herald:

Re: “Gunning for Sundays,” (March 7 letter by Brad Armstrong). I am one of the “forest landowners” he talks about and I pay the taxes. I am also a hunter. What makes him think I want to sit in my house on Sundays while he and his friends go birding or walking all over my property?

I have four sons who hunt with me. Because of family commitments and work, most of the time we only have four or five weekends to get together and hunt during deer season.

Mr. Armstrong, you’d like to take away 50 per cent of our family weekends for your family’s enjoyment. Is your family more important than mine? You already have 48 other weekends for your family outings. We have a hunting camp a seven-hour drive away from our house. I’ve never seen any birders or walkers near the place in 45 years, but we must sit in camp all day Sunday due to people like you and “Friends of Nature.”

There are plenty of parks, walking trails, campgrounds, beaches and large areas with no hunters where you could go. I’m not asking you to give up anything, but you are asking hunters and property owners to give up something.

As far as I am concerned, if I can’t hunt on Sunday, then I don’t want you birding or hiking on my property on Sunday either. I am a 75-year-old hunter, and I have hunted all my life. I feel safer in the woods than I would in downtown Halifax.

We went through the same scenario with Sunday shopping. Why, it was going to be the ruin of us all. Well, after many votes, it was passed and I ask you to show me one person in Nova Scotia today who doesn’t shop on Sundays. There must be some common ground to accommodate us all, instead of “I want this for me and my family and don’t want you to have that for your family.”

D.J. Mallinson, Tusket


Government

City

Appeals Standing Committee (10am, City Hall)—the committee is meeting solely to hear the appeals of three dangerous and unsightly premises citations, two in Harrietsfield and one in West Jeddore.

Design Review Committee (4:30pm, City Hall)—the committee will look at the plans for the St. David’s Church Hall condo development and the reconstruction of the burned out buildings on South Street across from Cornwallis Park.

Public Information Meeting (7pm, Cole Harbour Place)—Metro Premier Properties wants to build a two-storey commercial building at 424 Caldwell Road.

Province

Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs (9am, Room 233A, Johnston Building)—Barry Yhard, executive director of Veterans Emergency Transition Services (VETS) Canada, will address the committee.


On campus

Dalhousie

Thursday

Thesis defence, Physics and Atmospheric Science (Thursday, 9am, Room 2L7, Sir Charles Tupper Medical Building)—PhD candidate Patrick Shea will defend his thesis, “Stochastic Model for surface Diffusion of Organic Molecules.”

Thesis defence, Biology (Thursday, 10am, Room 3107, Mona Campbell Building)—PhD candidate Aurélie Cosandey-Godin will defend her thesis, “Elasmobranch Bycatch In The Canadian Northwest Atlantic And Arctic Adjacent Seas: Composition, Biogeography, And Mitigation.”

Semantic web (Thursday, 11:30am, Slonim Conference Room, Goldberg Computer Science Building)—Robert Warren, a research scientist at the Big Data Institute, will speak on “The Semantic Web: application to Maritime and Ocean Data Management.” The abstract:

It’s been 10 years since the semantic web has been proposed and foundational standards published. The promise of common data formats, the sharing of data application, enterprise, and community boundaries has not quite been realized since then. In this talk I will review the state of the art in the semantic web and highlight how it can be applied to the technical and administrative challenges that the management of maritime and ocean research data poses.

Polymer Translocation (Thursday, 2:30pm, Room 302, Dunn Building)—Gary Slater, from the University of Ottawa, will speak on “Polymer Translocation: A ‘Simple’ Physics Problem Full of Surprises.”

Marine birds (Thursday, 3:30pm, 5th floor Biology Lounge, Life Sciences Centre)—Beth Gardner, from North Carolina State University, will speak on “Modeling abundance and distribution of marine birds in the Western North Atlantic.”

Hysterectomy Complications (Thursday, 3:30pm, Colloquium room, Chase Building, Room 319)—Gordon Flowerdew will talk about “Estimating the Hysterectomy Complication Rate: More complicated than I thought.”

Naheed Nenshi

Naheed Nenshi (Thursday, 6pm, Westin Nova Scotian Hotel)—The Calgary mayor will deliver the annual Carmichael Lecture.

Friday

Thesis defence, Political Science (Friday, 10am, Room 3107, Mona Campbell Building)—PhD candidate Marcella Firmini will defend her thesis, “Retrieving Trudeau: Republican Affinities in the Political Thought of Pierre Elliott Trudeau.”

Healthy Environments for Growing Up (Friday, 11am, Great Hall at Dalhousie’s University Club)—Louise Chawla is giving the keynote address for the Sustainability and Environmental Research Symposium. Her lecture is titled “Healthy Environments for Growing Up: How Do We Evaluate the Contribution of Contact with Nature.”

Unsecured lending terms (Friday, 3:30pm, Mona Campbell 1108)—Andrew Davis, from Acadia University, will speak on “The evolution of unsecured lending terms and information technology.”

Saint Mary’s

Thursday

Living Connections: From Ecology to Economy (Thursday, 3pm, Library 135)—Tony Charles will speak on “Fish and Fishing Forever”; Jeremy Lundholm will speak on “An Ecological Approach to Green Infrastructure”; and Linda Campbell will speak on “Mercury Rising: What is Happening in Nova Scotia Lakes?”

Friday

Thesis defence, Applied Science (Friday, 1pm, SB159)—MSc student Krystal Larivierewill defend her thesis, “Mock jurors made mistakes assigning liability even though the standard of proof and the evidence were clear and precise: Mock jurors set aside the civil standard.”

On Becoming a Mother and Disengaging from Injection Drug Use (Friday, 12:10pm, Room 104, Weldon Law Building)—Fiona Martin, from the Dalhousie Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology will speak. This lecture repeats in the evening, at the Museum of Natural History.

Epigenetic Mechanisms of Memory Storage (Friday, 3:30pm, Life Sciences Centre, Room 242)—Ted Abel, from the University of Pennsylvania, will speak.

Museum of Natural History

Friday

On Becoming a Mother and Disengaging from Injection Drug Use (Friday, 7:30pm, Museum of Natural History)—Fiona Martin, from the Dalhousie Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology will speak.


Noticed

Our Milky Way galaxy is disk-shaped and we’re about two-thirds of the way out from the dense centre. Because we’re in the plane of the galaxy, amongst the stars, it’s impossible to get a good look at the structure of the galaxy — we’re not really sure what it looks like or how many arms it has (probably four, but maybe two or six).

But while we can’t properly see our own galaxy, we can look out and see other galaxies. The nearest is Andromeda, about two and a half million light years away. In January, NASA released a high definition photo taken from the Hubble telescope of a section of that galaxy containing about 100 million stars, and it is stunningly, mind-blowingly amazing. “This is a cropped version of the full image and has 1.5 billion pixels,” notes the release. “You would need more than 600 HD television screens to display the whole image.”

If you can see it on a high-definition TV, do so; otherwise, watch this YouTube video on your full computer screen. By zooming in and across the image, the video begins to convey exactly what 100 million stars means. Each one of the tiny dots is a star, and most of the stars will have planets circling around them. The larger bright spots are star clusters with many, many stars. I could watch this video all day.


In the harbour

The seas off Nova Scotia, 8:15am Thursday. Map: marinetraffic.com

Arrivals

Hollandia, general cargo, to Pier 31
Fusion, container ship, Saint-Pierre to Pier 36

Departures

APL Belgium to New York
CSL Tacoma to sea
Graceful Leader to sea


Footnotes

Thursday is the day we record the Examineradio podcast, which is now available via iTunes.

Tim Bousquet

Tim Bousquet is the editor and publisher of the Halifax Examiner. Twitter @Tim_Bousquet Mastodon

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  1. How about providing well-paying, full-time jobs with yearly cost-of-living raises and recognizing every employee’s contribution to the billions of dollars in profits? Then, those well-paying employees can give to charity all they want. RBC can even internally encourage giving. Those employees can choose which charities are important to them. And, with the tax money that the government will be receiving in terms of payroll taxes from those well-paying jobs (both company and employee), we can have well-funded social programs that meet the needs of those most in need.

    I think that would actually make a great PR campaign, too. I would be more apt to support and work for a company who makes those kinds of commitments. I think it would definitely help to motivate and inspire employees. But it doesn’t get them $22 million in tax rebates. It does, however, make them seem long-term oriented and community minded.

  2. I thought shovelling money to a HIGHLY profitable bank PLUS doing them some free advertising was in the Ivany report….page 51 “Screw the Locals in Favour of Ontario Megacorp”.

    Thanks for the galaxy vid. In the age of Facebook and selfie sticks it’s nice to see a limitless universe outside one’s self.

  3. You got a little Dal in your SMU listings. 🙂

    I would be the last one to rush to the defence of any large bank and their corporate citizenship, but at the same time it is simplistic to dismiss CSR efforts as simply ‘advertising and tax dodges’. There are some nuanced reasons for them. Market expectations of companies have changed, and for many, community and charity involvement is now table stakes. Having feel-good projects as part of a company’s identity helps to motivate and inspire employees, so it plays an HR function. And in some cases, it serves to appease activist stockholders.

    There is also the very basic, ‘it’s the right thing to do’ argument, like with RBC’s Bluewater projects, but I guess very few people would accept that corporations could be that long term oriented and community minded.

    1. Is it really charity if it’s dependent upon getting $22 million in tax rebates?

  4. That payroll rebate would be $4,400 per employee per year (if you started off with all 500 at once and kept them for all that time). It’s almost enough to make you wonder why we don’t just give people money and skip the middlemen.

    1. RIGHT ON! As far back as I can remember, the NS Government has been shovelling huge piles of money into the Deep Desks Drawers of the Commandants of Big Business.

      I challenge any and all those who have supported this assenine profligacy to point to a SINGLE case where Big Business didn’t grab, and at the first opportunity run away, leaving the hapless NS taxpayer worse off than ever.

      At least, if the money was put in the hands of those supposedly employed as a result of this largesse, it would stay in Nova Scotia instead of being pipelined to the offshore tax havens so popular with these WorldCorp pirates.

      We should also remember the PAST HISTORY of the Royal Bank apropos these kinds of schemes, and MORE, how Ms. Reverse Robin Hood fell right into the richest «gourmet» trough in this province.