News

1. William Shrubsall and Andy Fillmore

Writes Stephen Kimber:

Is Halifax Liberal MP Andy Fillmore just one more mindlessly reliable yes-vote for whatever Justin Trudeau’s Liberals propose or oppose? Or could he fill what is now a political void and champion a non-partisan attempt to make sure our parole system helps those who deserve it while protecting the rest of us from dangerous offenders like William Shrubsall? T.C. — and the rest of us — are waiting.

Click here to read “Shrubsall: Andy Fillmore’s challenge and opportunity.”

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2. Shambhala

Sakyong Mipham

“Authorities in Colorado have launched a criminal investigation into allegations of sexual assault against prominent Buddhist leader Sakyong Mipham and members of his organization, Shambhala International,” reports ThinkProgress:

The probe by the Larimer County, Colorado, Sheriff’s Office was confirmed by four sources who have spoken to investigators and supported by emails obtained by ThinkProgress.

The investigation, which has not been previously reported, comes after a series of reports published by the advocacy group Buddhist Project Sunshine accused Mipham of sexual assault and child sex abuse — allegations Mipham and Shambhala International vehemently deny.

Law enforcement officials in Boulder County, Colorado, and Halifax, Nova Scotia, told ThinkProgress they do not have open criminal inquiries into the allegations against Mipham, who also goes by the names Osel R. Mukpo and Mipham J. Mukpo.

I don’t know how police decide whether or not to investigate allegations of sexual assault, but the allegations laid out by Project Sunshine seem credible, and I would hope someone at HRPD has at least read the Project Sunshine reports.

3. Jail health treatment

“A Mi’kmaw man in hospital says that the treatment he received in the Prince Edward Island Correctional Facility left him in in fear of his life,” reports El Jones:

Charles Wallace, 42, alleges that he was bullied, called racial slurs, and denied healthcare by correctional officers. After a month of excruciating pain, Wallace was transferred back to Nova Scotia for a court date, and collapsed in the Pictou jail. He has been diagnosed with pneumonia and E Coli poisoning, illnesses he believes were caused by the abuse and neglect he suffered in the jail and by the filthy conditions of the facility. 

Click here to read “Mi’kmaw man says poor treatment he received at the PEI Correctional Facility left him hospitalized and in fear of his life.”

Because of the social justice aspect of it, we almost always make Jones’ work available for everyone to read. Still, it costs money to pay Jones and produce her work; if you support it, please consider subscribing.

4. Link

Big announcement about that Link project this morning. Just to warn you.

5. Lobsters

There’s a lobster boom in Maine, reports the Guardian:

Lobster landings — or the amount of lobster caught — have risen fivefold in the past three decades. Lobster has become a half-billion-dollar industry in Maine. And the reason for the boom, according to scientists, is climate change.

The Gulf of Maine is warming faster than 99% of the world’s waters, rising at three times the global average. That warming has created optimal conditions for lobsters to reproduce and survive into adulthood.

But while the warming waters have resulted in a lobster bonanza, scientists say climate change will ultimately bring a bust to the boom: As the Gulf of Maine continues to warm, that temperature sweet spot for lobsters will continue to move north. That could result in a similar spike in lobsters in Canada, but leave Maine’s industry broken.

The assumption that the Nova Scotian lobster fishery can only benefit from climate change is short-sighted. Climate change has unpredictable consequences and could ramp up faster than predicted. Moreover, the prediction that our lobster fishery will increase production will, I fear, lead to poor management. No one much wants to talk about it, but it’s entirely possible that like cod before it, the lobster population could collapse.

Lobsters stepped in to provide work after the groundfish collapse. But there’s nothing lower on the food chain than lobster; once that’s gone, that’s it.

6. Gordonstoun

Gordonstoun

“Gordonstoun, a highly rated private boarding school, has granted its first ever franchise and the new $62-million school and dormitories will be built somewhere between Bridgetown and Annapolis Royal,” reports Lawrence Powell for the Annapolis County Spectator.

Gordonstoun is an English public school, located in Scotland. It was founded by Kurt Hahn, a Jewish German refugee from the Nazis. Hahn, who was said to have had a “despotic, overpowering personality,” had interesting theories about education; in practice, that meant “the school had a reputation for harsh conditions, with cold showers and morning runs as a matter of routine,” Wikipedia tells me.

I don’t know what Hahn’s class sensibilities were, but over time the school has become a training ground for Britain’s elite. “By the 1970s it was touted as a place for spoilt or wealthy children who needed toughening up — Sean Connery and David Bowie’s sons went, and so did Charlie Chaplin’s granddaughter,” reports Alex Renton for the Guardian. “Physical punishment, strict discipline and cold showers were key to Hahn’s approach to keeping children in line.”

Our queen and future king at Gordonstoun, in 1967.

Famously, Prince Philip and Prince Charles attended. Charles, however, hated the place:

Charles did not feel a good fit at Gordonstoun and later labelled it as “a prison sentence,” calling the school “Colditz in kilts.”

Charles was not as athletic as his father had been — and each morning started with a run (whatever the weather) followed by a cold shower.

It is said that the bunks were hard and the windows in the dormitories were kept open all year round.

To top it off, according to fellow school friends, Charles was relentlessly bullied.

Charles wrote in a letter home in 1963 describing the tough time he was having, it read: “The people in my dormitory are foul. Goodness, they are horrid.

“I don’t know how anybody could be so foul.”

In another, he wrote: “I hardly get any sleep in the House because I snore and I get hit on the head all the time. It’s absolute hell.”

“The school,” continues Renton, “was notorious not just for being tough, but for bullying. The novelist William Boyd, who started boarding there aged nine, described his nine-and-a-half years at Gordonstoun’s junior and senior schools as ‘a type of penal servitude.’”

At $67,000 annual tuition, it’s about as costly as sending a kid to prison.

One former girl student, Kate, related her experience of sexual abuse at the school to Renton, and that led to many others coming forward and to an inquiry not just of Gordonstoun, but of boarding schools across Scotland.

“I started looking at this in 2014,” writes Renton, “after writing a personal account for the Observer of my own preparatory boarding school (that means a residential school for children aged 7 to 13), Ashdown House. Several allegations have been made about Ashdown, detailing abuse, psychological and physical, by staff there over two decades. (Sussex police are still investigating…) Subsequently the many stories I was sent by other ex-boarders and their families gave rise to a series of investigative pieces for the paper, including one into rapes at Gordonstoun.”

No children, not even the children of the elite, are immune from child predation.

Why would we want such an institution in Nova Scotia? Prosperity forever, amen, of course.

“[Annapolis County CAO John] Ferguson expects small businesses will benefit in a big way,” reports Powell at the Spectator:

“The mom and pop businesses will come back,” he said. “When you consider the bedding of 600 beds will have to be changed and rotated probably two or three times a week, and the student uniforms will have to be cleaned two or three times a week. I think there are local businesses that would be interested in dealing with that problem.”

While it is not known what direct revenue advantage the county might receive from the establishment of Gordonstoun Nova Scotia, Ferguson considers its very existence a win for the region.

“Ultimately the economic multiplier of that facility being in our community is exponentially terrific,” he said.

From caddying for tax evaders to washing the shit stains off spoiled kids’ sheets, servicing the rich seems to be Nova Scotia’s strategy for economic development. But as I’ve said many times before, whenever you hear some local mucky muck going on about “economic multipliers,” know that you’re being bullshitted.

The Nova Scotia franchise of Gordonstoun comes courtesy of Edward Farren, a Saint John rich person who supposedly “possesses a network of strong national and international business relationships.” As such, “most of the investment in the project [is] coming from overseas,” Powell assures us.

But of course even though Farren is super connected to super rich people who want to make super investments of their own super money, um, he wants the Nova Scotia government to underwrite the project:

Edward Farren … said the project seeks a $7.2-million loan guarantee from the province in order to leverage funding. In return, the province would receive an annual dividend equal to about $18,000. The province would never have to write a cheque, he said. He said there was potential annual revenue of about $600,000 for the county as well.

“In a Facebook video of the announcement,” reports Anjuli Patil for the CBC, “Farren, responding to a question from the audience, said [he] had spoken to the premier about political support for the project.:

“It doesn’t matter if you’re Amazon locating whether in Atlanta or Toronto, or some small or large business wanting to locate in this county, they want to know that they’re wanted. Most ask for cash up front,” Farren said in the video.

This is the way the world works now: businesspeople don’t just open up businesses and have at it. Now, the local taxpayers have to pony up before any new “private” project proceeds.

Perhaps having perfected the financial pea-and-cup confidence game by reading stadium reports, Premier Stephen McNeil is confusing the issue with a complex rewriting of how math works. Continues Patil:

McNeil said Sunday the province was approached about a loan guarantee for the school development, but it’s out of the question.

“We don’t do loan guarantees,” McNeil said. “I was very straight forward.”

But McNeil said the province is looking at the Municipal Government Act to see if it’s possible for fiscally stable municipalities to borrow money from the Nova Scotia Municipal Finance Corporation “to be able to invest in things that they believe are in the best interest of the people they represent.”

He said discussions about changes can’t happen until the house reconvenes in the spring.

This is particularly rich coming from a premier who hails from Bridgetown, which had to disincorporate after a municipal worker stole the town treasury. Sure, you can roll the pea from under the provincial government cup to under the municipal government cup, but who does McNeil think will cover a default on the school loan? That’s right: the province.

But I guess we now know how the stadium financing scheme will work, too.

7. The Icarus Report

“Airport officials say an American military aircraft made an emergency landing in Halifax early Saturday afternoon,” reports the Canadian Press.

It’s not unusual that planes are diverted to Halifax for mechanical reasons or because of a sick or unruly passenger, but I suppose it is unusual for a US military plane to make an unexpected stop at the airport.


Government

City

Monday

Police Commissioners  (Monday, 12:30pm, City Hall) — this is a special meeting called to review the proposed operating budget for next year.

Grants Committee (Monday, 1pm, Harbour East Marine Drive Community Council Meeting Space, Alderney Gate) — not much going on.

“It’s so nice how they did away with all the power lines and made the sun shine from the north.”

Halifax Peninsula Planning Advisory Committee (Monday, 4:30pm, City Hall) — Dexel Developments wants to tear down the Quinpool Road McDonald’s and build an eight-storey (plus penthouse) apartment building.

Gorsebrook Park – Park Planning Open House (Monday, 6:30pm, CLARI Room, Atrium, SMU) — no details posted.

North West Community Council (Monday, 7pm, Bedford Hammonds Plains Community Centre) — here’s the agenda.

Tuesday

The artist’s rendering of the new development at South Park and Sackville Streets that will include the new YMCA fails to show the buildings behind it and removes the parking meters and utility wires on the street. Graphic: Southwest Properties

City Council (Tuesday, 10am, Acadia Ballroom, Marriott Harbourfront Hotel) — council is considering that $1 million ask from the YMCA.

Joint HWCC, NWCC, and HEMDCC Special Meeting (Tuesday, 6pm, Acadia Ballroom, Marriott Harbourfront Hotel) — a “housekeeping item” about coastal area requirements.

Province

Monday

No public meetings.

Tuesday

Human Resources (Tuesday, 1:30pm, One Government Place) — “Succession Planning in the Public Service.” They do this with elected officials and government managers in the US — who takes over after the nuclear bombs drop?


On campus

Dalhousie

Monday

Lord Dalhousie’s History on Slavery and Race (Monday, 7pm, in the auditorium named for a bank, Marion McCain Building) — much delayed, but here it comes. The Lord Dal panel will issue “preliminary findings” and draft recommendations.

Tuesday

No public events.


In the harbour

05:00: Bilbao Bridge, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from Fos Sur Mer, France
11:00: Tidewater Enabler, offshore supply ship, moves from Pier 9 to Bedford Basin for trials
13:00: East Coast, oil tanker, sails from Irving Oil for sea
13:00: Bilbao Bridge sails for New York

Where are the Canadian military ships?



Footnotes

I had something else to write about but ran out of time. I might write it as a stand-alone piece this morning.


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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. H.E. piqued my interest but I had to go somewhere else for the news.

        Frankly I prefer the Halifax Examiner to be The Intercept of Nova Scotia than a general interest journal.

  1. I don’t know about lobster landings in Maine, but a major factor behind the increase in Atlantic Canada landings has been good management in the form of successive increases in the minimum allowable carapace size.

    Lobster fishers have promoted and supported these measures, enduring short-term pain for long-term gain. It’s an unsung example of responsible fisheries management.