I’m Erica Butler, your friendly neighbourhood transportation columnist, filling in for Tim today while he’s on assignment. 


1. Dal drops disciplinary action against Masuma Khan

Masuma Khan, photo Dalhousie Gazette

In a statement Wednesday,Vice-Provost Student Affairs Arig al-Shaibah announced she would be dropping the disciplinary action against Dal Student Union VP Masuma Khan over her now famous #whitefragilitycankissmyass Facebook post. al-Shaibah gave three reasons for the change of heart, naming the polarized and hateful social media reaction, the lack of “sufficient and proper context” in Dal’s code on free speech and access and inclusion, and the possibility that the Senate disciplinary process may not be right for “these types of situations.”

She also said that her office has “engaged a small team of students and faculty members to advise on and assist in facilitating a campus dialogue series.”

Masuma Khan told CBC yesterday that she has not been invited to the campus dialogue team, and that despite the dropping of the action, the situation is not yet over for her. “The reality is this doesn’t end for me. I’m still getting those hateful messages, I’m still being told to go back, I’m still being called a terrorist,” Khan told CBC.

2. CBC investigation looks into long term care abuse

From a CBC investigation published this morning:

Residents at long-term care facilities in Nova Scotia were physically, emotionally or sexually abused or not provided adequate care in at least 46 confirmed cases over a two-year period, a CBC News investigation has learned.

At least half of those cases involve abuse by a staff member. Physical and emotional abuse, or a combination of the two, were the most common type of confirmed abuse during the period examined, 2015 and 2016. On seven occasions, staff failed to provide adequate food, medical care or other necessities of life. There was one case of sexual abuse by a staff member.

3.  People getting hit by cars

A twitter user reported a pedestrian-vehicle collision last night at Albro Lake near Wyse Road, though it has yet to appear in police updates.

Vehicle/pedestrian collision Albro Lake at Wyse a short time ago, unknown injuries. Use alternate route if possible. #t pic.twitter.com/eigFppN6BY

— I-Witness (@LawsonLeeland) October 25, 2017

And this afternoon city council’s transportation standing committee will get an information report showing that the number of cars hitting pedestrians went back up in the first half of 2017 compared after having dropped for two years. The report says about 40% of those collisions are happening at traffic signals.

4. Ursula Johnson Wins Sobey Art Award

Artist Ursula Johnson performing L’nuwelti’k (We Are Indian), at Intervention and performance art festival, organized by Jennifer Bélanger, Nisk Imbeault, and Amanda Dawn Christie in collaboration with Galerie sans nom, Imago Printshop Inc., Galerie d’art Louise et Reuben-Cohen.
Artist Ursula Johnson performing L’nuwelti’k (We Are Indian), at Intervention and performance art festival, organized by Jennifer Bélanger, Nisk Imbeault, and Amanda Dawn Christie in collaboration with Galerie sans nom, Imago Printshop Inc., Galerie d’art Louise et Reuben-Cohen.

Multi-disciplinary Mi’kmaq artist Ursula Johnson has won Canada’s top award for artists under 40.  Johnson is the first Atlantic-based winner of the Sobey Art Award, which short-lists artists from across the country by region. Unfortunately for us (but happily for Johnson) the Sobey Award has grown recently, doubling its prize offering and moving from its humble beginnings at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia to the National Gallery of Canada.

The ongoing art piece pictured above debuted in Halifax at the Prismatic Festival in 2012:

In the performance Johnson memorialized various Indian Registration and Membership Codes with participation from select volunteers, exploring the correlation of identity associated with these numbers.

The performance was site specific to the library atrium of the Schulich School of Law. The Indian Registration and Membership Codes, such as Status 1, Status 1a., etc. are a direct result of legislations that have been created within the court systems of Canada, and the definition of those membership codes lies in the hands of the lawmakers of this country.

This intervention, where Johnson memorialized the various membership codes with a woven bust, made onsite using the actual person who volunteered according to which code they identified with (Status, Non-Status, “Half-breed”, etc.). Each bust was then out on display in the atrium where they all end up looking almost identical to the one woven before them.

When Johnson was approached by students from the School of Law and they asked what she was doing, she would reply, “Have you heard of the Indian Registry Membership Codes?” one student, placed her briefcase on the floor, crossed her arms and said, “ok, you have 5 minutes!”.

Johnson felt that this conversation needed to be had with the various students who were studying to be the next generation of law makers in Canada’s courts.

5.  The Great Cogswell Screw-Up, Round 2?

The notorious Cogswell interchange, via Google satelitte view, 2017.

City staff and a committee of senior managers are moving ahead with detailed designs for the redevelopment of the Cogswell Street interchange, with a goal to bring a 60 per cent complete design to council by March 2018 for a “go/no-go” decision.  In this piece, which is behind the Examiner’s rather affordable paywall (hey, a girl’s gotta eat!) I make the case for further public consultation and information sharing on the major elements of the plan before we arrive at go/no-go decision point at council.

Having spent yesterday at the Art of City Building conference, I can’t help but think of what a missed opportunity it was that the gathered crowd (over 300 local planners, developers, architects, and enthusiasts) and the gathered experts (among others from New York and Scandinavia, former Toronto chief planner Jen Keesmat) didn’t get a chance to hear about the plans for this transformative and historic city building project, and discuss the strengths, weaknesses, and possibilities therein.

By not engaging like this, we are missing a chance to get people genuinely excited about rebuilding Cogswell. And we are missing a chance to air out important questions that we should be asking ourselves as we proceed.


1. Dalhousie’s creeping overreach

Chris Parsons makes the case in a Coast column that Dalhousie’s use of formal sanctions “to police online speech or off-campus social behaviour” is an overreach of authority for the University.

Our universities cannot, and should not, police the off-campus behaviour of all of its students. They certainly should not decide who to punish based on whether or not south end property owners are upset, the national media is interested or some wiener in grad school is irrationally offended. While much more is at stake in Khan’s case, Dal’s response to both incidents highlights the creeping power of an institution whose leadership now believe that it should police the personal and political lives of its students.

2. Shitty projects versus great projects.

The sessions for this inaugural Art of City Building conference are now online and available to stream.  The one-day conference brought in planners, architects and developers to talk about how we should be building our cities, with the highlight being former Toronto chief planner Jennifer Keesmaat, known for being both well-spoken and outspoken.

At the end of the keynote panel discussion (around 2:07 in the video for Session 1) a local developer expressed frustration at Halifax’s planning process,  and asked Keesmaat for advice on how to get to “yes”.  Keesmaat gives an answer well worth the watch, highlighting the role of the planner as representative and protector of the public interest. And she goes on to talk about how she tried to change the attitude in Toronto’s public office from one where all proposals are treated equally, to where priority is given to those projects that jive with Toronto’s goals.  She asked her staff, “why would we treat someone who brings us a shitty project the same as someone who brings us a great project?”

Her answer to how to get to yes?  Plan better projects.




Community Planning & Economic Development Standing Committee (Thursday, 10am, City Hall) — here’s the agenda.

Transportation Standing Committee (Thursday, 1pm, city Hall) — here’s the agenda.


No public meetings.



Legislature sits (Thursday, 1pm, Province House)


Legislature sits (Friday, 9am, Province House)

On campus



Marie-Claire Arrieta. Photo: Penguin.co.uk

Eukaryotes (Thursday, 9:30am, Room 140, CHEB Building) — Marie-Claire Arrieta, from the University of Calgary, will speak on “Gut Microbial Eukaryotes: A Missing Link in Microbiome Studies.”

Current Trends in Open Access for Research Data (Thursday, 10:30am, Room C266, CHEB Building) — Erin MacPherson, Lee Wilson, and Maggie Neilson will speak. RSVP to Erin.MacPherson@dal.ca

When Discipline and Appeals Issues Arise (Thursday, Noon, Room B400, Killam Library) — In this weirdly relevant talk, Bob Mann will discuss Dalhousie’s judicial system. From the event listing:

Suppose you have a student who, in your opinion, has done something that you feel must be addressed. Who do you call? What could happen? What will your role be? Bob Mann, Manager of Discipline and Appeals, talks about Dalhousie’s judicial system and walks through some of the basic “do’s and don’ts” of being involved in disciplinary matters involving students.

Christine Hanson. Photo: CBC

Dal Law Hour (Thursday, 12:30pm, Room 105, Weldon Law Building) — Christine Hanson, director and CEO of the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission, and former Minister-Counsellor, Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs at the Canadian Embassy in Washington, D.C., will speak.

Rebeca Lane. Photo: Juan Carlos Alvarado

Reflections on Current Challenges Facing Guatemala (Thursday, 2:30pm, Room 1009, Kenneth Rowe Building) — Guatemalan hip-hop artist, activist, and sociologist Rebeca Lane will speak.

Gary Geddes. Photo: sfu.ca

Medicine Unbundled (Thursday, 6pm, room 1009, Kenneth C. Rowe Management Building) — Gary Geddes will speak on “Medicine Unbundled and the Politics of Disease: The Story of Indigenous Health Care in Canada.”

Alison Watt. Photo: Kim Waterman

Alison Watt (Thursday, 6:30pm, Dalhousie Art Gallery) — Watt will read from her novel Dazzle Patterns, a story of the Halifax Explosion.

Over the Line: A Conversation About Race, Place and the Environment (Thursday, 7pm, Ondaatje Hall, Marion McCain Building) — Robert Bullard from Texas Southern University will speak at the first part of this two-part public and academic symposium. Register here.

Mini Medical School (Thursday, 7pm, Theatre B, Sir Charles Tupper Medical Building) — Nancy Murphy will speak on “Drugs of Abuse,” followed by John Fraser speaking on “Opioids and Addictions.”


Over the Line: A Conversation About Race, Place and the Environment (Friday, 9am, Halifax Central Library) — today’s event in this two-part public and academic symposium will begin with a keynote address from George Lipsitz from the University of California at Santa Barbara, and will include presentations and panels from a diverse array of Nova Scotian, Canadian, and American speakers. Register:  https://tinyurl.com/y9qedgop

Voice Recital (Friday, 12pm, Room 406, Dalhousie Arts Centre) — students of Michael Donovan will perform.

Name Change (Friday, 12:30pm, Room 2B08, Tupper Building) — open forum on changing the name of  The School of Human Communication Disorders to the School of Communication Sciences and Disorders.

Molecular Crystals (Friday, 1:30pm, Room 226, Chemistry Building) — Graeme M. Day from the University of Southampton will speak on “Computational Approaches for the Prediction and Design of Functional Molecular Crystals.”

In the harbour

7am: Disney Magic, cruise ship with up to 2,456 passengers, arrives at Pier 22 from Sydney
10am: Malleco, container ship, sails from Fairview Cove for Dubai
Noon: Oceanex Sanderling, ro-ro container, moves from Autoport to Pier 41
1pm: Artania, cruise ship, sails from Pier 20 for Sydney
3:30pm: Tongala, car carrier, arrives at Autoport from Southampton, England
4:30pm: Disney Magic, cruise ship, sails from Pier 22 for New York


Rain’s a-coming.  And I’m not one to complain about warm weather, but all these pumpkins are gonna rot on our stoops if we don’t get some seasonal weather soon.

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    1. It’s from Dal’s schedule of events. I believe it stands for “Collaborative Health Education Building.”

  1. Although I agree that it the charges against Khan were unreasonable, it is pretty funny to watch people’s opinions on freedom of expression whirl about depending on who is facing consequences for what they said.

    I doubt Khan’s views are representative of the Dal student body, if people don’t like her or people like her, they should run for DSU office instead of complaining about it after the fact. Turnout was only 18% last time. The future belongs to those who show up.

  2. Hey, Erica – your article isn’t actually paywalled this time!

    You’ll have to talk to Tim about whether that means you can’t afford to eat…

  3. Universities have absolutely no business in the off campus activities of their students – if a crime was committed, call the police.