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1. How many people of colour go to Dal? The school can’t say.

A CBC investigation has found that many universities in Canada don’t collect information on students’ race, which can be a problem if schools are touting their diversity or trying to tailor services to students of colour. (Mount Saint Vincent is one exception to this trend, having asked students to voluntarily self-identify since 2013.)

According to the report, Dalhousie was asked for information on students’ race and said  “Students may choose to self-identify” their race when they apply to the school, but “this is optional and so the number we have is not reflective of our student population.”

This reads as pretty lazy.  If you think the numbers from self-identification aren’t accurate enough to be useful, then why are you asking students for the information? Conversely, if the numbers do have enough relevance to keep asking students how they identify, then why are you holding out on the public broadcaster?

I read through the report and pulled out other Nova Scotian universities’ responses:

Acadia University: 3.6 per cent of students were a visible minority in 2016-2017.

University of King’s College: 1.8 per cent of students were Black and 1.3 per cent of students were Aboriginal in 2015 (the most recent year the data is available).

Mount Saint Vincent University: 158 students were Aboriginal and 233 were Black in 2016/2017. For the sake of consistence, if we take those numbers and the number of full-time undergraduates listed here, we calculate six per cent and 10 per cent, respectively. But the actual percentages are likely smaller than that, as the Mount has many part-time students and these numbers appear from the report to be all students of colour, not just full-time students.

Cape Breton University, Saint Mary’s University, Mount Allison University, Saint Francis Xavier University: these schools don’t collect student data based on race.

For some reason, NSCAD University is not included in the report. Grr.

2. Many people may have been exposed to measles

Public health officials are trying to reach hundreds of people who may have made contact with a person who has a laboratory-confirmed case of measles, reports Sherri Borden-Colley for the CBC this morning. The person flew on a WestJet flight from Toronto on March 10 and was travelling internationally.

In February, officials announced that seven cases of measles had popped up in the province. They also suspected a traveller brought the disease into the area.

Don’t forget to get vaccinated — and remember your booster shots, folks.

3. Local tenders

Halifax Transit is looking for a contractor to clean its buses every 90 days. The contractor also needs to be “able to provide service calls to clean mishaps (vomit,urine, feces, spills, etc),” which is just the most adorable way to describe “mistakes people made that make us all regret existing,” IMHO.

Computer news: the Halifax Regional Water commission apparently “has a very aged and fragile Engineering Approvals application which, for various reasons is not due for replacement right now.” Sounds ominous! They’re looking for a developer to work on “an interim solution” which they have devised.

4. SPCA gets more money to sterilize cats

The SPCA in Nova Scotia has received a grant that will help the charity control the population of feral cats. The animal-control group will use the money to expand its spay-neuter-return program, which takes feral cats, humanely neuters them, gives them an ear tag, and then sends them back into the wild with their kitty-cat friends.

On that note, meet Tyson, a three-year-old cat in a foster home who’s waiting for you to adopt him:

5. Halifax campaign finance rules are a joke

In some U.S. municipalities, even people who work for businesses that do business with a city can’t donate to municipal elections. Halifax allows any person, union, or business entity to donate to municipal election campaigns — and they can donate as much as they want!

In provincial elections, the CBC’s Jack Julian notes, only individual donations are allowed. And in federal elections, which also only allow individual donations, those gifts can’t exceed $1,550 each.

All this is relevant right now because HRM Council will discuss a proposal today for the Armco tower, which would be a very tall 29-story condo building at the corner of Quinpool and Robie. Community activist Janet Stevenson, who is opposed to the tower, says councillors who got money from the developer building the tower should recuse themselves from the conversation: “I believe there’s an inherent conflict of interest.”

Council is expected to discuss the tower, give the proposal a First Reading,  and schedule a public hearing for further discussion.


1. Who is the jerk refusing military-issued ID at bars?

From a recent Love The Way We Bitch in the Coast, two lovebirds (one from the Navy) were getting ready to imbibe at a local establishment on Spring Garden:

After getting settled in our booth we were approached by a waitress and asked to present our IDs when ordering drinks. Promptly we showed our IDs, me a driver’s licence and him a military ID. We ran into an issues at this point, the waitress was convinced my boyfriend’s military ID card was not “an official government ID” and he was denied a drink.


I can honestly say neither one of us is hyper pro-military, but I have respect for his job and the conditions he accepts that go with it, but we have had pretty opposing experiences to this everywhere else when he uses military ID and I feel rightly so.

What gives, bartenders? Isn’t the military as government as it gets?


Gracie May Glasgow, a matriarch of the North Preston community, has died. Born in 1919, she lived through major changes to civil rights in Nova Scotia and across the globe. She leaves a legacy of more than 178 great-grandchildren. People said good-bye in a packed funeral on Saturday at the Saint Thomas Baptist Church.




City Council (Tuesday, 1pm, City Hall) — Tim popped off about Queen’s Marque yesterday. Also, there’s the Armco thing I mentioned.


Open House/ Public Information Meetings – Case 20594 (Wednesday, 1:30pm and 5:30pm, Gordon R. Snow Community Centre, Fall River) — GFC Management wants to build a retirement home on the old Carr Farm. More info here.

Halifax & West Community Council (6pm, City Hall) — a lot of not-so-controversial issues on the agenda, including Councillor Shawn Cleary’s motion:

That Halifax and West Community Council request a staff report regarding the opportunities and challenges related to implementing a policy ensuring applicants in a land use matter must have no arrears in municipal taxes on a subject property prior to and during consideration of an application.

Western Common Advisory Committee (Wednesday, 6:30pm, Prospect Road Community Centre) — agenda here.



Veterans Affairs (Tuesday, 2pm, Province House) — On the agenda: the Nova Scotia Health Authority and the Nova Scotia Operational Stress Injury Clinic. Derek LeDuc, the Health Services Manager, will be asked questions.


Public Accounts (9am, Province House) — Kelliann Dean, deputy minister at Municipal Affairs, will be asked about financial oversight of municipalities. Expect lots of questions about King’s County.

On campus



Machine Learning (Tuesday, 11:30am, Room 430, Goldberg Computer Science Building) — PhD candidate Stephen Kelly speaks on “Emergent Solutions to High Dimensional Reinforcement Tasks with Tangled Program Graphs.”

Symmetric Lenses (Tuesday, 2:30pm, Room 319, Chase Building) — Bob Rosebrugh will speak on his joint work with Michael Johnson, “Universal Updates for Symmetric Lenses.”

YouTube video

The Long Road to Justice: The Viola Desmond Story (Tuesday, 6pm, Room 307, Dalhousie Student Union Building) — a screening of the documentary followed by a panel discussion on the legacy of Viola Desmond.


Step Away from the Equations (Wednesday, 12:30pm, MA 310) — Christina Pagel, from University College London, will speak on “The Softer Side of Mathematics – Stepping Away from the Equations.”

Lipids (Wednesday, 4pm, Theatre A, Sir Charles Tupper Medical Building) — Scot J. Stone will speak on “Acyltransferases and Lipid Storage.”

Putting Arts to Work (Wednesday, 6:30pm, Room 1009, Rowe Management Building) — A panel discussion featuring arts professionals, followed by a networking session and reception. Panel includes Courtney Hebb, Robert Chisholm, Jenny Benson, and Alexander Campbell.

The Seventh Continent (Wednesday, 8pm, Dalhousie Art Gallery) — Austria/France/Germany, 1989. Director Michel Haneke’s (The White Ribbon, Caché, Amour) first theatrically distributed film details the tale of an average family whose final shocking act explores the nature of violence.

Saint Mary’s


YouTube video

Lagaan (Tuesday, 7pm, McNally Theatre) — A screening of the Oscar-nominated film.


No public events.

In the harbour

4am: Atlantic Star, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from Norfolk
4am: Alpine Venture, oil tanker, sails from Imperial Oil for sea
6am: Vega Omega, cargo ship, arrives at Pier 42 from San Juan, Puerto Rico
7am: Oceanex Sanderling, ro-ro container, arrives at Pier 41 from St. John’s

CMA CGM La Scala. Photo: Halifax Examiner
CMA CGM La Scala. Photo: Halifax Examiner

11am: CMA CGM La Scala, container ship, arrives at Pier 41 from Port Klang, Malaysia
11am: Adriatic Highway, car carrier, sails from Autoport for sea
11:15am: Atlantic Conveyor, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from Liverpool, England
3:30pm: Agios Minas, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from Norfolk
4pm: Atlantic Star, container ship, sails from Fairview Cove for Liverpool, England


Here’s a space donut.

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  1. A brief objection to a troubling statement about data: “If you think the numbers from self-identification aren’t accurate enough to be useful, then why are you asking students for the information?”

    1. The only way to get better data is to ask. When you first start asking, your data might not be useful, but over time you systematize data collection and get a better picture.

    2. Just because data isn’t representative doesn’t mean it’s not useful. Data may be useful in individual cases but not in aggregate, e.g. in this case for consideration for targeted scholarships and bursaries.

    There /are/ good critical questions to ask here, like “Dal’s been around for 200 years, how do they not yet have this figured out?”.

  2. Today is the 20th anniversary of the resignation of Premier John Savage. Five years earlier on March 16th Liberal leader Vince MacLean resigned as leader of the Nova Scotia Liberal Party and Dartmouth mayor John Savage was the hot favourite for next Liberal leader.
    Rules re municipal elections are set by the province and obsessing over donations is a huge mistake. Councillors are doling out tens of thousands of dollars each year to organisations in their district, buying votes with our money …. see here
    and here :

    1. And in an election year a councillor who is reoffering can send money from her/his District Capital Fund to an organisation right up to nomination day. Last year nomination day was September 13th and by then the municipal election campaign is well underway.
      Here is a list of some of the funding by councillors re-offering :

      Hendsbee August 16 – Lake Echo Community Assoc ..for a sign $9,999.99
      ” August 31 – East preston Rec Centre ….sign letters $329
      ” September 5 W Chezzetcook Rec Socy ….$1,000

      Mancini August 22 Dock system at Shubie Canal $4,500
      ” August 31 Commodore Park flagpole $3,544
      ” September 8 Banook Canoe Club canoe $4,000

      Mason August 16 Schmidtville Heritage …signage $6,137
      ” August 16 Halifax Cycling Assoc….picnic tables, bike racks $5,419
      ” September 7 Park to Park ….benches & signs $4,500
      ” September 30 Gorsebrook …park improvements $11,322

      Mosher During September 6-20 Coun. Mosher .. over $41,000 to district

      Walker During August 19 – September 22 Coun. Walker .. over $60,000 to
      district projects

      Adams During August 31- September 12 Coun. Adams ..over $14,000

      Whitman August 30 Crosswalk flags… $200

      Johns Sept 8 & 9 $16,000 to defibrillator, ball, field, paving parking lot

      Details of all spending here starting at page 53 …

      1. There “may” be a difference in councilors attempting to make a good impression on prospective voters (aka citizens) and developers attempting to make a good impression on prospective councilors. Especially when the developers are attempting to influence the process in their favour.

        1. ‘making a good impression’ may well apply to developers. A developer has one vote in her/his district.
          A councillor funding school playgrounds with taxpayer money is influencing thousands of voters in her/his district. Giving money to yacht clubs and canoe clubs buys middle class voters.
          The Halifax-Dartmouth District Labour Council gave $5,000 to one candidate and and 4 other labour friendly organisation/persons giving $5,100 to the same candidate is trying to buy more influence than a developer who donates a couple of hundred dollars.

          1. Despite the sleazy nature of all of this, it’s completely within the rules. If you have the time and energy: start a petition stating exactly what rules should be applied to distribution of District Capital Funds. Don’t make it all froo-froo and crappy, either. None of that: “It’s abhorrent that Councillors are allowed to do this and we want a rule precluding them from doing so.” Instead be specific and objective, like “The undersigned move to preclude use of District Capital Funds 90-day prior to a municipal election.”

            Also, I believe it’s the Halifax Cycling COALITION. They are a bunch of plucky, sexy folks that push for increasing the safety and profile of cyclists all across our fine city. Do you hear that enchanting bike-bell? It’s the sound of freedom and the guaranty of wicked summer tan… albeit with pretty drastic tan-lines…

  3. Re: campaign rules

    Lets call campaign contributions from developers what they are: bribes.

  4. Re: Feral kitties.
    Seems that many animal lovers have more respect for the lives of feral cats than they do for song birds, because it’s a simple fact that feral and free run domestic cats are decimating the song bird population. Not sure how people rationalize this paradox, but to each their own I guess.

    1. Did you miss the part where it’s a campaign to spay and neuter the cats? That means they won’t be able to make kittens any more. No paradox at all. It’s a longer term plan that is already showing results in reducing the feral cat population. The SPCA also takes in many of the cats and adopts them out, but not all are friendly enough for this.

      “Domestic” cats (pets) allowed to run loose is a different issue.

  5. “The emergency department at South Shore Regional Hospital from 2:30 p.m. on March 12 to 9 p.m. on March 15.” 6.5 hours he/she waited?