News

1. Steve Craig

Steve Craig won the byelection for MLA in Sackville-Cobequid. (Preliminary results are above.)

The district has long been solidly NDP, so a PC victory is notable, but I wouldn’t read too much into it. The NDP candidate, Lara Fawthrop, didn’t have Craig’s name recognition, and Craig is more on the “progressive” side of the Progressive Conservative party than most of the mouth breathers who ran for the party leadership last time around. The most telling thing about the election, I think, is the Liberals’ poor showing.

(As an aside, I already see people blaming the Greens for the NDP loss. Cut it out. It’s not up to the voters to fall in line behind your party loyalty; it’s up to the candidate and the party to win over the voter. No one owes you a vote.)

I remember that in 2012, I interviewed all the candidates for the Sackville council seat; Craig was by far the most intelligent and savvy, and I wasn’t surprised when he won the seat. On council, he’s been mostly about good governance — he didn’t go far enough in his role as chair of the police commission, but he did at least talk about asserting commission power over the police force.

Craig doesn’t strike me as a party man — he’s too independent of mind to take marching orders behind the leader, I think — but as Graham Steele argues, even the best are corrupted by the system. It’ll be interesting to see how he performs at Province House.

2. Choo-choo a no-go

“One councillor’s commuter rail dream has been stopped dead in its tracks,” reports Zane Woodford for Star Halifax:

After an in-camera discussion on Tuesday, Halifax regional council voted unanimously to direct staff “not to pursue commuter rail service further … due to the infrastructure requirements and associated financial implications, as well as operational considerations and restraints.”

“Obviously this is not a good day for me or my district or development or people,” [Bedford councillor Tim] Outhit said after the vote.

“I believe what we had was a chance to do something with commuter rail that was transformational.”

Outhit said the federal and provincial governments were supportive of commuter rail, but they couldn’t come to a deal with CN.

“We just couldn’t agree to the terms and conditions that CN, who owns the track, would want,” he said.

3. Data points

One data point:

Photo: Rasmus Tonboe/ Twitter

“Rapidly melting sea ice in Greenland has presented an unusual hazard for research teams retrieving their oceanographic moorings and weather station equipment,” reports The Guardian:

A photo, taken by Steffen Olsen from the Centre for Ocean and Ice at the Danish Meteorological Institute on 13 June, showed sled dogs wading through water ankle-deep on top of a melting ice sheet in the country’s north-west. In the startling image, it seems as though the dogs are walking on water.

The photo, taken in the Inglefield Bredning fjord, depicted water on top of what Olsen said was an ice sheet 1.2 metres thick.

A second data point:

The average global temperature in May was 1.53 degrees F above the 20th-century average of 58.6 degrees F, making it the fourth-hottest May in the 140-year record (May 2016 ranking as hottest May to date), according to scientists at NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information. Last month was also the 43rd consecutive May and 413 consecutive month with above-average temperatures.  

A third data point:

“Scientists believe that global sea levels could rise far more than predicted, due to accelerating melting in Greenland and Antarctica,” reports Matt McGrath for the BBC:

The long-held view has been that the world’s seas would rise by a maximum of just under a metre by 2100.

This new study, based on expert opinions, projects that the real level may be around double that figure.

This could lead to the displacement of hundreds of millions of people, the authors say.

A fourth data point, from yesterday’s city council meeting;

Young people are going to start tearing stuff down.

4. Kitch

Tracey Kitch. Photo: Career Women Interaction

“Former IWK Health Centre CEO Tracy Kitch has elected trial in provincial court on charges of fraud over $5,000 and breach of trust,” reports Michael Gorman for the CBC:

Kitch was not in Halifax provincial court on Tuesday, but her lawyer, Joel Pink, estimated the trial would take three to four weeks. Pink declined to comment as he left the courtroom.

“There’s nothing to report today,” he said.

Trial dates are scheduled to be set July 2, at which point an official plea is also expected.

Crown attorney Peter Dostal said the expected length of the trial reflects the intention of calling between 25 and 35 witnesses and the need to go through “a fair amount of documents.”

5. Convention centre

The Grafton Street Glory Hole entrance to the convention centre. Photo: Halifax Examiner

“Local businesses hoping to recoup sales losses incurred during the construction of the Halifax Convention Centre may have to wait a little longer than expected to see their returns,” reports Elizabeth McSheffrey for Global:

When the Argyle Street centrepiece opened a little more than a year ago, it brought the hope of financial redemption for some neighbouring restaurants, which saw foot traffic decrease while the 120,000-square-foot facility was being built next door.

But the convention centre is expecting a quiet summer, with just one event booking in the month of July and none in August, prompting some concerns that lucrative lunch hours could soon become fewer and farther between.

But the convention centre was going to make us all rich!

6. Panglossian vox pop at the Herald

In contrast to the above business owners complaining that the area around the convention centre is dead, Heather Laura Clarke  did a streeter for the Chronicle Herald — “We asked a random assortment of Halifax residents what their thoughts were on Halifax’s population, business, innovation, and infrastructure growth, and the direction our city is headed” — and every last person she talked to, all nine of them, had nothing but positive things to say.

I was especially gobsmacked by this guy:

I don’t expect everyone to think that the Nova Centre is a crime against architecture — wait, I do expect that — but I guess opinions can differ. Still, “one of his favourite buildings he’s ever seen” [sic]? I mean, OK, maybe he’s never been to Paris or Venice or New York, but there’s more interesting architecture to be found in Spryfield, not to mention by simply walking around the south end.

Dylan Corkum: you gotta get out more, buddy.

‘s streeter is found in a Herald section called “Connect Collaborate Prosper,” which is found on the website under the heading “More.” Mostly, it’s filled with “sponsored content” — from Mediacorp Canada Inc.; the Forest Lakes development; and of course, from Duggers — along with fawning pieces from Heather Laura Clarke with headlines like “Northwood employees thrive on warmth of relationships“; “Employees attracted to Emera’s innovative opportunities“; and my favourite, “Entrepreneurial spirit flowing through Clearwater employees.” I like this interest in employees, but I’d argue they’d be helped more if Clarke clamoured for a living wage or better union protection.

We all gotta eat, I suppose.

* On Thursday, I was made aware that


Government

City

Wednesday

Public Information Meeting – Case 21982 (Wednesday, 6:30pm, Dartmouth North Community Centre) — a small rezone at 20 Sea King Drive (near Albro Lake). More info here.

Thursday

Transportation Standing Committee (Thursday, 1pm, City Hall) — Tim Outhit has a problem with the #91 bus going down Oceanview Drive.

Active Transportation Advisory Committee (Thursday, 4pm, HEMDCC Meeting Space, Alderney Gate) — agenda

Point Pleasant park Advisory Committee (Thursday, 4:30pm, City Hall) — here’s the agenda.

Youth Advisory Committee (Thursday, 5:30pm, Youth Power House, 1606 Bell Road, Halifax) — agenda.

Province

Wednesday

No public meetings.

Thursday

Community Services (Thursday, 10am, One Government Place) — the committee will discuss “protection of confidential information.” Witnesses are Tracey Taweel, the deputy minister at Community Services; Vanessa Chouinard, the executive director of policy and newfangledness; and Maria Lasheras, the chief information access and privacy officer.

Health (Thursday, 1pm, Province House) — Janet Hazelton of the Nova Scotia will discuss the Nursing Potential Report.


On campus

Dalhousie

Wednesday

The structure of yeast Ddi2 reveals its role in an oxidative/chemical stress response pathway (Wednesday, 4pm, Theatre B, Tupper Medical Building) — Stanley Moore from the University of Saskatchewan will speak.


In the harbour

As of 6:30 this morning, the Alakai ferry is still in Charleston, South Carolina

Wednesday
08:00: USCGC Biscayne Bay, U.S. Coast Guard ice breaker, sails from Old Coast Guard Base for sea
08:25: Grandeur of the Seas, cruise ship with up to 2,446 passengers, arrives at Pier 22 from Bar Harbor, on a nine-day, roundtrip cruise out of Baltimore
10:00: Oceanex Sanderling, ro-ro container, arrives at Pier 41 from St. John’s
14:00: JSP Levante, cargo ship, sails from Pier 31 for sea
18:30: Grandeur of the Seas sails for Baltimore

Thursday
05:30: Atlantic Sky, ro-ro container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from Liverpool, England
08:00: Zaandam, cruise ship with up to 1,718 passengers, arrives at Pier 22 from Sydney, on a seven-day cruise from Montreal to Boston
11:30: Oceanex Sanderling, ro-ro container, moves from Pier 41 to Autoport
16:00: Atlantic Sky sails for New York
16:00: Zaandam sails for Bar Harbor
16:30: Oceanex Sanderling moves back to Pier 41


Footnotes

I’ll be on The Sheldon MacLeod Show, News 95.7, at 2pm.


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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. As to the comments made by one individual in the article titled Panglossian vox pop at the Herald the suggestion by the writer at the Examiner to Corkum that you gotta get out more, buddy.was so well put.
    Thank you for that. If some right thinking persons were to comment on the asinine comment by Corkum it would not have been pretty.

  2. 15 out of 17 members of council voted for the resolution on net zero emissions. That is the important news.

  3. When the CN railway was built no one could have predicted how vastly Halifax and its neighbourhoods would change. Most of the area along the track is now a green belt. The recent decision made by government officials and internationally owned businesses to run FREIGHT cars through the railway and not COMMUTER trains is just wrong! If this proceeds, 3 kilometre or longer trains, with multiple engines to pull them, will stop and start as they line up the train cars – and the noise and pollution from this will vent directly into the existing green belt neighbourhoods along the Northwest Arm. CN and Halterm have publicly said the longer the trains the better!

    Secondly, no one so far has asked “What exactly is in those freight cars? “ How much of the cargo is dangerous ? This decision sends volumes of unknown shipping cargo through residential neighbourhoods. Are there toxic gas products, or other dangerous cargo in those freight cars? How will this be verified? Who will verify it?

    Third, the decision to allow Halterm and CN to do this benefits DEVELOPERS who have willfully built expensive high-rises downtown which are still largely empty or being purchased by non-Canadian citizens or part time residents. Of course other people have qualms about buying them because they are built along a truck route! This decision allows developers to more easily sell those condos, but it also just moves the problem around to another neighbourhood.. i.e. the long-time neighbourhoods where people have resided for decades.

    What other city in the world – with aspirations to be “World Class” – would start running dangerous freight trains through its most green and beautiful part of the city ??

    1. Dangerous caro has moved through the port for almost as long as the port has existed.
      The containers have labels denoting the nature of the dangerous goods.
      A downtown bar has dangerous goods.

      1. The fact that dangerous cargo has always moved through the port doesn’t mean there should be more of it, especially on old rail track in some cases mere meters from homes. Your comment that a downtown bar has dangerous goods – are we to assume you wrote this in the Timber Lounge while downing a Scotch and soda?

  4. Is CN getting so much traffic on those tracks these days that it can afford to play hardball in negotiating new deals?

    1. They are likely obligated to allow other traffic on their rails, but they don’t have to like it and have lots of experience playing slow and unfair.

      A relationship starting off with a quasi-judicial hearing isn’t really a good idea.

  5. My favorite part about the Nova Center is how, when viewed from citadel hill, it seems like there was money to pay the architects to make the right side of the building all curvy and modern, but the left side is just a rectangle.