News

1. Acadia and Rick Mehta

“The university {Acadia] had good reasons to fire Rick Mehta,” writes Stephen Kimber:

But by conflating and commingling those reasons with specious arguments about its own reputation and seeming to accept the notion Mehta shouldn’t be allowed to share his wrong-headed rants on social media or challenge and provoke his students, Acadia has given Mehta a worm-wriggle for his own bad behaviour.

He will undoubtedly try to use it. We shouldn’t let him get away with it.

Click here to read “Rick Mehta: Acadia clarifies, commingles, confuses.”

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2. Tufts Cove

“This is one of the dirtiest beaches I’ve ever encountered.” On #WorldCleanUpDay, @EcologyAction chose to clean a beach in Norris Cove. They discovered a thick layer of congealed oil.https://t.co/NJq1a2OtAG

— The Star Halifax (@thestarhalifax) September 15, 2018

“The Ecology Action Centre partnered with Greenpeace Canada on Saturday to help clean up a beach and conduct “Plastic Polluters Brand Audits” in the Dartmouth neighborhood of Tufts Cove,” reports the Canadian Press:

The audits, held by Greenpeace Canada in a number of World Cleanup Day events across the country, aim to identify the major corporate contributors to plastic trash.

But on top of plastic trash, Ecology Action Centre policy director Mark Butler says the group has found a large amount of oil covering the beach’s rocks and shoreline at low tide.

Butler says he’s been doing beach cleanups for 23 years and describes Tufts Cove as “one of the dirtiest urban beaches I’ve encountered in the (Halifax Regional Municipality.)”

Meanwhile, just across the harbour, people were swimming, reports Silas Brown for StarMetro Halifax:

Just after 2 p.m. on Sunday, about 30 people jumped into the harbour to kick off The Big Jump, a free urban swimming event originated by Anika Riopel to raise awareness for the idea of a permanent swimming site on the waterfront. It would include the same regular water-testing measures and protocols followed at other public beaches.

3. Street checks

Scot Wortley

Today, the police commission will be given an update on criminologist Scot Wortley’s street check research. You’ll recall that despite numerous studies demonstrating that street checks (or carding, or stop-and-frisk, or whatever else you want to call them) are inherently racist, the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission hired Wortley to, I guess, see if Halifax’s street checks somehow bucked the trend.

Wortley has previously studied police street checks in Kingston, Ontario, where he found — spoiler! — that “Kingston police stop a disproportionate number of young black and aboriginal men.” Wortley is respected in his field and has published many peer-reviewed studies; there’s no reason to think he won’t do a thorough job in Halifax, even though some in the black community argue that studying the issue to death is insulting. As J-school student Julia-Simone Rutgers wrote for The Coast:

[T]his isn’t a new question, but it keeps getting asked. Black and other racialized peoples are habitually asked to prove their lived experience of racism to white institutions and populations. Time and again, the response they’re met with is aggressive, indifferent or ineffectual to actually produce change.

But here we are, and here’s the update on Wortley’s research in Halifax:

Since the last written update to this Board, Professor Wortley has visited Halifax for a week in May. During this visit, we focused on focus groups and meetings with the RCMP and HRP. We meet with all levels of policing in separate focus groups. For HRP this included the crime analyst, detectives in major crimes, sergeants, patrol officers and Chief Blais. All meetings were viewed as informative and the participants were very cooperative.

We also met with RCMP visiting several detachments including Sackville, Tantallon, North Preston and Cole Harbour. Again, all meetings were well attended and informative.

In July, Professor Wortley visited Halifax for another week of focus group meetings. During the 11 community meetings held since the commencement of this research, it was found that there was not a prominent youth presence for input. As a result, the focus groups scheduled in July were targeted specifically toward youth to ascertain their very unique perspective. Group meetings were held in Uniacke Square, Mulgrave Park, East Preston and North Preston. All meetings were well attended and informative. In addition, we met with the community group 902 Man Up.

During all of the trips to Halifax Professor Wortley has been working closely with Chris Giacomantonio at HRP to attain and compile data sets for examining the 11years worth of data collected. The data from the RCMP is included as well. Professor Wortley continues to work with this data as it is a very large amount of data to interpret.

Going forward we have launched an online survey on September 6, 2018, seeking additional information from community on their experiences with street checks and the police. The survey may be completed by anyone who has knowledge of or direct experience with these issues. It was decided that there were likely many people who could not attend community meetings therefore the online survey is a chance to acquire more targeted information. It will be running for approximately 3 months and be found at: https://humanrights.novascotia.ca/survey.

The preliminary report will be completed in November and we will be setting up meetings with stakeholders for a final consultation. The final report will be released publicly in early January. There will be additional information made public around this final release, once we are closer to that time.

And by February the report will be sitting on a shelf in the back office of some unknown functionary at City Hall, collecting dust.

4. Barrington Street Greenway Extension

City staff is recommending a “temporary” northern extension of the “multi-use pathway” along Barrington Street. The path now ends at the Macdonald Bridge, and the extension would bring it to the Devonshire Avenue bike lane. The staff report explains that:

Barrington Street between North Street and Devonshire Avenue has been reduced from four lanes to three since May, 2018, to facilitate the replacement of a retaining wall by the Department of National Defense. This report recommends maintaining three travel lanes in this area until spring 2019, in conjunction with providing transit priority at the Barrington Street and North Street intersection. This will allow staff to monitor the impact of three lanes on a permanent basis.

In the 1970’s, plans were made to widen Barrington Street to 4 lanes between the Macdonald and MacKay Bridges based on projected traffic volumes. Today’s traffic volumes do not meet the 1972 projections that were expected to be achieved by the early 1990’s.

It is predicted that the overall impact on buses, trucks, and traffic will not be significant. This is because the current four lanes are very narrow and do not provide adequate space for the large volumes of trucks and buses that use this section of Barrington Street.

All well and good, I guess, but I’ve never much cared to walk along that stretch of Barrington Street — I’ve always felt that I was hemmed in between a bunch of trucks on one side and a cliff on the other. Maybe they can make it work.

There’s a strange curiosity about this that the staff report and seemingly everyone else has missed. The area in question was the site of the original Richmond train station, which was destroyed in the Explosion. Stephen Archibald wrote about it in 2016:

Imagine my excitement about 1975 to discover a remarkable survivor on Barrington Street, just north of the Macdonald Bridge. There, on one of the busiest streets in town, were some sections of iron railing, the last remnants of the Richmond Train Station. The railings were on top of a retaining wall built beside the Terminal, that was famously destroyed in the 1917 Explosion.

A post-Explosion photo, in the Public Archives of NS collection, shows the railing and the giant train shed, with its roof collapsed.

Public Archives of Nova Scotia

The last remaining section of this railing was removed in the 1980s. Oh well.

I think Archibald was wrong here (a phrase I use with trepidation). After he published his piece, I noticed a broken down section of iron fencing that to my untrained eyes looked very much like that in the photos. It obviously hadn’t been maintained — it was part of the general collapse of the retaining wall that was impetus for the rebuilding. But now it’s gone.

Or I could be the mistaken one here. Regardless, maybe some sort of plaque or other remembrance of the train station can be built into the trail extension.

5. Chronicle Herald

The Chronicle Herald website is down.

Note to our readers: our website is currently experiencing outages and our team is working to solve these issues as soon as possible. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause – we’ll post updates here as they become available.

— The Chronicle Herald (@chronicleherald) September 16, 2018


Government

City

Monday

Board of Police Commissioners (Monday, 12:30pm, City Hall) — see news item #3 above.

Public Engagement | Imagine Spring Garden Road (Monday, 6pm, Atrium, Dresden Row Market, 1535 Dresden Row) — From the event listing:

In partnership with the Spring Garden Area Business Association, we’ve installed a stoplet on Spring Garden Road. Stoplet = bus stop + mini park.

This temporary project adds more space and amenities to the sidewalk to improve comfort for pedestrians and transit passengers. We are testing ideas and seeking citizen feedback to help shape major investments in the future of the street. Together we can make one of Halifax’s great streets even better.

The stoplet has been installed on the north side of Spring Garden Road between Birmingham Street and Dresden Row and will remain in place until Fall 2018. This is a pilot project to test some ideas for the Spring Garden Streetscaping project which could start construction as early as 2020.

We are hosting a public engagement session on September 17th from 6-8 p.m. at the City Centre building, 2nd level (outside of Cora’s and Pete’s Fine Foods) to discuss the stoplet and ask for public feedback.

Public Information Meeting (Monday, 7pm, the four-pad arena named for a fucking bank, Bedford) — Sandy Lake Academy, which is run by the Seventh Day Adventist Church, wants to expand its operation at 435 Hammonds Plains Road.

Tuesday

Special Joint Community Council Meeting [HEMDCC, HWCC, & NWCC] (Tuesday, 9:30am, City Hall) — here’s the agenda.

Halifax Regional Council (Tuesday, 10am, City Hall) — we’ll finally get that Events East business plan discussion. Also, the final vote on implementing the new smoking ban.

Province

Monday

Law Amendments (Monday, 3pm, Province House) — to be discussed:

Bill No. 2 – Develop Nova Scotia Act
Bill No. 4 – Corporations Registration Act
Bill No. 10 – Liquor Control Act
Bill No. 13 – Day Care Act
Bill No. 16 – Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Protection Act
Bill No. 22 – Canadian Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act
Bill No. 27 – Animal Protection Act
Bill No. 29 – Labour Standards Code

Texts of the various bills can be found here.

Tuesday

Legislature sits (Tuesday, 1pm, Province House)


On campus

Dalhousie

Monday

Thesis Defence, Pharmacology (Monday, 9:30am, Room 3107, Mona Campbell Building) — PhD candidate Hirad Feridooni will defend his ​​thesis, “The Impact of Age and Frailty on Cardiac Function in Health and Disease Conditions in Naturally Ageing Mice.”

Critical Community Supports (Monday, 12pm, Room 409, Centre for Clinical Research) — Grace Warner will speak on “Preliminary Results from a Realist Review on How Case Management Can Improve the Use of Critical Community Supports in the Last Year of Life.”

Thesis Defence, Chemistry (Monday, 1:30pm, Room 3107, Mona Campbell Building) — PhD candidate John Noël will defend his ​​thesis, “Phase Change Materials for Thermal Energy Storage.”

Mathematics of Emergent Behaviour (Monday, 3:30pm, Room 319, Chase Building) — Theodore Kolokolnikov will speak. His abstract:

There are many examples in nature where individual particles following simple rules can lead to complex and beautiful overall patterns, often given a vague name of “emergent behaviour.” Some examples include sand piles, biological swarms (from bacterial aggregation to school of fish, murmuration of starlings…), Bose-Einstein Condensates at atomic level, and many others. We discuss several such systems, how they lead to new and interesting mathematics, and how mathematics can in turn help to obtain novel insights about the original system.​

Tuesday

Policy Matters: Policy Issues in Housing an Aging Population (Tuesday, 12pm, Room 1011, Rowe Management Building)

Saint Mary’s

Monday

New “SMU Café” launches (Monday, all faculties) — oh boy. This is a “networking” exercise for (primarily) business and management schools and branded by RBC bank. It involves something called “Ten Thousand Coffees,” which is explained as:

These schools are providing their alumni and students with the opportunity to join their private communities on Ten Thousand Coffees. Alumni and students will get matches to meet for a “coffee” based on career goals, skills and interests. Whether it’s career advice, job shadowing, or a mentoring chat – participants can get matched based on what interests them most. Students and alumni will be matched based on their career goals and will be provided with simple, step-by-step instructions on how to network effectively.

Fairly often — like maybe once a week if I actually check my email — some earnest J-school student or newly arrived freelance writer emails me to introduce themselves, present a resume, and asks if we can “meet for coffee to explore freelance opportunities,” or some such. My immediate internal response is “No, fuck you. I don’t need to see if you know how to drink coffee. Pitch me a fucking story.” I of course respond much more diplomatically, if I respond at all.

The reason I don’t want to have coffee — or worse, a beer — with prospective freelancers is that such networking necessarily leads to the horrible lack of diversity found in newsrooms. Basically, newsrooms are full of editors who look like me, middle aged white guys, and they tend to hire either younger versions of themselves or young white women who know how to drink with middle aged white guys.

If you want to work for me, pitch me a story. From your pitch, I can tell lots of things: whether you understand what the Examiner is about, what issues it covers, and its perspective; whether you can write; whether you have an understanding of the subject at hand, or at least a plan for getting to that understanding. That’s enough for me; I don’t need to see if you use cream or soy with your double cap whatever. In other words: the work should speak for itself, personalities aside.

I recognize that young people could benefit from mentoring, but valuable mentorship is a rare and magical thing. It just happens; you can’t plan for it, and especially not when RBC sticks its ugly corporate nose into the tent.

And don’t tell me that networking and mentoring can be structured to specifically address the lack of diversity. I know how academia works. The hiring committees mostly aim to hire people who look like the members of the hiring committee, and even if someone gets through that filter, they’re expected to socialize at job interviews. It’s not enough to defend your research work, teach a class as a guest lecturer, and be interviewed by the department; no, the applicant then has to go to dinner and drinks with the department to prove that they know how to hold the right dinner fork, make the right kind of small talk, hit just the right tone on social matters, flirt just enough, but not too much. You’ve got to prove that you can be part of the club.

Networking by its very nature is exclusionary. Regardless of their abilities, those who have different cultural or social backgrounds or are socially awkward or introverted or are wary of the dominant culture are going to have a harder go at it than others.

Paul Smith (Monday, 10:15am, in the theatre named after a bank in the building named after a grocery store) — CFA Institute President and CEO will speak.


In the harbour

5:30am: Glorious Leader, car carrier, arrives at Autoport from Southampton, England
5:30am: YM Enlightenment, container ship, sails from Fairview Coe for Rotterdam
7am: Disney Magic, cruise ship with up to 2,456 passengers, arrives at Pier 22 from Sydney
7:45am: Zuiderdam, cruise ship with up to 2,364 passengers, arrives at Pier 20 from Bar Harbor
8am: Veendam, cruise ship with up to 1,350 passengers, arrives at Pier 30 from Bar Harbor
8am: Hugh R. Sharp, research vessel, arrives at Pier 9 from St. John’s
3:30pm: Pegasus Highway, car carrier, arrives at Autoport from Zeebrugge,  Belgium
4pm: Disney Magic, cruise ship, sails from Pier 22 for Saint John
4:30pm: Zuiderdam, cruise ship, sails from Pier 20 for Sydney
4:30pm: Glorious Leader, car carrier, moves from Autoport to Pier 27
5:30pm: Pantazis L bulker, arrives at anchorage from Gijon, Spain
5:45pm: Veendam, cruise ship, sails from Pier 30 for Sydney
6pm: Vega Virgo, container ship, arrives at Pier 31 from Willemstad,  Curaçao
9:30pm: Glorious Leader, car carrier, sails from Pier 27 for sea
11pm: Pantazis L bulker, sails from anchorage for sea
11pm: Pegasus Highway, car carrier, sails from Autoport for sea


Footnotes

I’m in court all day today.

Tim Bousquet

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

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