1. Housing Trust

Architectural renderings of the proposed Gottingen Street buildings.

“The Housing Trust of Nova Scotia is changing up its strategy, moving to sell its property on Maitland Street and buy hundreds of existing affordable rental units,” reports Zane Woodford:

The trust, a nonprofit founded by developer and consultant Ross Cantwell in 2009, used to own two nearby properties between Gottingen Street and Maitland Street, with plans for two mixed-income apartment buildings. The plan was to have half the tenants pay market rent to subsidize the other half paying more affordable rent.

For reasons Woodford gets into in the article, that plan has been abandoned. He continues:

“We expect that a private developer will take title to that property and develop it and hopefully work with the different government programs to have some number of affordable units, but we can make a bigger impact by picking up existing units,” Angela Bishop, strategic planner with the trust, said in an interview with the Halifax Examiner.

“We’re looking at existing buildings, 30 to 40 years old, that have more reasonable rent structures due to their age. We’re not looking at the cost structure that’s associated with new development. And when we acquire those assets, we’re going to be able to maintain the levels of affordability and essentially bring an asset from the private sector into the nonprofit sector where its affordability is, of course, better protected.”

There’s a deal in the works now for the trust to buy “several hundred” units from one seller. The buildings are “in walkable communities close to little economic centres” across HRM. The sale is expected to close early this summer.

Click here to read “Housing Trust of Nova Scotia changing tack, abandoning development plan and buying hundreds of apartments.”

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2. Teenagers create sexual violence campaign

Three white teenaged students and their teacher on a bench, wearing matching black t-shirts
From left, Athena Woodford, Meredith Gall, teacher Wendy Driscoll, and Neil Rissesco at Bicentennial School in Dartmouth. Photo: Suzanne Rent

“A group of Grade 9 students at Bicentennial School in Dartmouth are wrapping up the school year having learned more about sexual violence, assault, and harassment with a project they created in their class,” reports Suzanne Rent:

In October, the students, including Athena Woodford, Meredith Gall, and Neil Rissesco, were talking in an informal online class group chat with their classmates when the one of the students brought up the subject of human trafficking in Nova Scotia. All of the students are in Wendy Driscoll’s citizenship, social studies, and English language arts class. 

“We all knew a little bit, but no one had the same knowledge, so it was up to what your home life was like and how much you were looking up on it in your own time,” Gall said. “When we all started having discussions, people were learning, people were talking, people were sending what they knew, and sending articles.” 

With Driscoll’s encouragement, the group decided to create a project to increase awareness of sexual assault, sexual harassment, sex trafficking, hypersexualization, and sexism. They decided the project, which they called 903 Increasing the Conversation, would fit well with a service learning project that is part of Driscoll’s class. Service learning is part of the class curriculum and involves students meeting learning outcomes while addressing a need or challenge in the community.

Click here to read “Dartmouth junior high students create project to raise awareness about sexual violence.”

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3. Ploughshares goes to space

In mid-April, I received notice that the next “episode of Space Café Canada will feature Stephen Matier, President and CEO of Maritime Launch Services and Spaceport Nova Scotia, in conversation with Dr. Jessica West, Senior Researcher at Project Ploughshares and a friend of SpaceWatch.Global”:

Three, two, one….liftoff? Canada is getting closer to having its first domestic space launch capability. As CEO of Maritime Launch Serves, Stephen Matier is the driving force behind Spaceport Nova Scotia, a new commercial space complex on Canada’s east coast. With the help of the Ukrainian-built Cyclone 4M rocket, Matier intends to launch Canada into the global space industry,

What will Spaceport Nova Scotia and the operation of Maritime Launch services mean for Canada and the commercial space industry? How will it create the safe and environmentally sustainable Canadian commercial space market envisioned by Matier? Tune in and learn what the future could look like, how we’ll get there, and how the space industry in Canada is changing.

I had questions.

Ploughshares organizations in the U.S. are associated with anti-nuclear protestors. Some of these people are my friends. I know a nurse, Chris, who has taken a vow of poverty — not because she likes being poor, but rather because she doesn’t want her taxes to be used for nuclear weapons. She regularly goes to protest at the Nevada test site and gets arrested. She’s been jailed more times than she can count. She is a lovely person, but also a deeply serious person.

Chris and the other anti-nuke folks I know are not particularly supportive of big tech or corporate endeavours. They’ve created a little community in California on a small farm. They hold useful jobs — a carpenter, a lawyer, a mechanic, a school teacher — but their earnings go into running a local charity that promotes non-violence. Every Saturday morning for decades, a few of them have shown up on a downtown corner for a silent peace vigil They hold signs and get ridiculed by passersby for an hour or so (this can be quite frightful during the more active stages of whatever war the U.S. is waging).

The Plowshares movement (with the American spelling) was the subject of a 2015 profile by journalist Eric Schlosser, who explained:

The first Plowshares action occurred on September 9, 1980, when the Berrigan brothers, Father Carl Kabat, Sister Anne Montgomery, and four others walked into a nuclear-warhead plant operated by General Electric in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. The activists had brought hammers, and when they found two missile nose cones designed to house nuclear warheads they set out to fulfill the Biblical injunction in Isaiah 2:4: “And they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.” When security officers arrived, the intruders stopped hammering the nose cones and didn’t resist arrest. Philip Berrigan emptied a vial of his blood on some nearby blueprints…

Like American military operations, subsequent Plowshares actions were given names: Good News Plowshares, Prince of Peace Plowshares, Sacred Earth and Space Plowshares, Kairos Plowshares Two. During Trident Nein, in July, 1982, two nuns and five accomplices broke into the General Dynamics Electric Boat shipyard, in Groton, Connecticut. Four of them paddled by canoe to a Trident submarine, climbed on the sub, hammered its missile hatches, poured blood on it, and rechristened it the U.S.S. Auschwitz with spray paint. Philip Berrigan encouraged Plowshares supporters to use their own blood as part of the ritual, often carried in baby bottles, “to symbolize the death of innocent human beings.”

Schlosser credited Plowshares with bringing attention to the bizarrely under-secured nuclear arsenal in the U.S. and for being the impetus to the “nuclear freeze” movement.

So what of the Canadian organization of the same name, albeit different spelling?

“Project Ploughshares is the peace research institute of The Canadian Council of Churches that works with churches, governments, and civil society, in Canada and abroad, to advance policies and actions to prevent war and armed violence and build peace,” the organization explains on its website:

Project Ploughshares provides expertise and analysis to the council and its members on peace and security issues, and assists them in shaping an ecumenical response to those issues.

The work of Project Ploughshares is rooted in the ethics of Christianity – namely: peace, reconciliation, and justice – but Project Ploughshares grounds its research in careful analyses of facts and presents its findings in reasoned, public-policy language.

On its publicly available tax returns, The Canadian Council of Churches does not name Project Ploughshares as one of its projects, but the Ploughshares website says that “Project Ploughshares has a broad and engaged constituency in Canada, which includes nine sponsoring churches and a donor constituency of approximately 5,000 individuals.”

One of Project Ploughshares’ projects is “Space Security,” with the objectives of:

  • Engage with other civil society organizations to encourage the Canadian government to support policies that prevent the weaponization of space.
  • Raise awareness of the challenges facing outer space security.
  • Build support for a multilateral space security treaty or policy instrument as the basis of an effective regime for space activities.
a woman
Dr. Jessica West, Senior Researcher with Project Ploughshares. Still from Space Café video

I wondered what this has to do with building a spaceport in Nova Scotia — does God himself want a spaceport in Canso? I don’t say this dismissively. I think there could be a deeply philosophical (and even spiritual) discussion about the uses of technology for the promotion of peace, and how to properly control technologies, including space technology, for the benefit of humanity within the framework of the ethics of Christianity (however that’s defined). So I emailed West to ask her:

I’m a reporter in Halifax, and have been following Maritime Launch Service’s proposal for a spaceport in Canso, N.S.

I see you’re part of a conversation with MLS president Stephen Matier later this month (I’ve registered to listen in).

This is interesting. I’d like to speak with you about the proposal, your understanding of it, why you support it, and how that aligns with Ploughshares’ values. I’m particularly interested in the claim that a spaceport can be “environmentally sustainable.” Would you be available for a short interview sometime Thursday or Friday?

She responded:

I’m actually learning about it through the event, and this is one of the questions that I will be asking. I’m sort of in the same boat as you, I have questions but not answers at this point. I’m also interested to hear how this fits within the broader industry, where the industry is headed etc. Not too many launching states/companies speak to sustainability (yet).

But this is definitely a big development for Canada and worth talking about, from the perspective of NS, Canada, and also the international perspective (which is more my area of research).

I understood that to mean that West would not be available for an interview, and so I waited for the Space Café. It was held last Friday.

Unfortunately, throughout the hour-long conversation, there was no mention at all of Project Ploughshares’ values or how they align with the Maritime Launch Services’ proposal for a spaceport in Canso. As you’ll see, there was an exchange about something called “sustainability,” but one in which the word had no meaning at all. And certainly, the ethics of Christianity never entered the conversation. (You can watch it here.)

It was in essence, a PR presentation for Matier.

a rocket flying above the Earth
In its promotional material, MLS uses this illustration of the Cyclone 4M rocket that it proposes to launch from Canso.

West asked Matier about the unproven technology of the Cyclone 4m rocket that’s proposed to be used in Canso. Matier responded:

Well, I’m going to back up just a bit. You know, we are going to do a suborbital launch as early as the middle of next year with a soon-to-be-announced a launch vehicle. So we can gain some of that flight heritage in working with our federal partners. So that’s kind of the plan there and try to follow that. And the reason for that is because it takes so much smaller amount of infrastructure to be able to do that, you know, so once we finalize the terms of that agreement will be we’ll be sharing them with the public as well.

Well, this was new. In the chat function, Canso resident Jim Geddes asked, “Has MLS submitted their plans to start with a different rocket to the Nova Scotia EA branch [Environmental Assessment] for review?” The question wasn’t put to Matier, but this in no small question — the Environmental Assessment process has been going on for several years, all based on the particular Cyclone 4M rocket with its particular fuel and its particular launch capabilities, stages, and so forth. Is MLS going to suddenly switch out to a different kind of rocket that’s never been part of the local regulatory review? We don’t know.

Then Matier turned to the question about the Cyclone 4m:

With regard to the Cyclone 4M, which is what the vehicle is, not the Cyclone 4 — it’s a modification to one of the original variants and that that vehicle is comprised of all TRL level nine hardware stuff that’s flown before. So TRL nine is the highest — that’s the stuff that has flight heritage. So the upper stage is an improvement on the Cyclone 3, for example. So the Cyclone 4 upper stage is an improvement or modification on proven hardware. The Cyclone 2/ Cyclone 3 family upper stage has flown 228 times previously. So it’s not exactly something that hasn’t seen some flight experience. Our first stage comes out of Zenit technology that is also being used for the Anteres rocket as we speak. So for the last ten years, the Anteres rocket — the first stage — has been manufactured by my colleagues in Ukraine. And that vehicle is is there they do the core of the current engines used in the Antares rocket — they’re using Russian [inaudible], so what we’re doing instead is mapping in proven uh, Zenit, other engine technology that also has a flight heritage going into that first stage. So as you can see, what we’re building is basically known quantity, proven hardware being integrated into a launch vehicle that has seen flight experience at that component level to bring that forward.

This is the equivalent of going to a junk yard and collecting various engine parts from Fords, Chevys, Hondas, and Volkswagens, duct-taping them all together, and saying all the components are “road proven” so the newly built vehicle will work just fine, no worries. Besides, the Wiki article on the Antares tells us that: “Out of 16 total launches, Antares has suffered one failure. During the fifth launch on October 28, 2014, the rocket failed catastrophically, and the vehicle and payload were destroyed. The rocket’s first-stage engines were identified as the cause for the failure. A different engine was chosen for subsequent launches, and the rocket had a successful return to flight on October 17, 2016. The 2022 military attack on Ukraine by Russia is likely to have an impact on the future of the rocket.”

a man
Stephen Matier, president of Maritime Launch Services. Still from Space Café video

Matier then explained the potential market for MLS:

We’ve gone away as an industry from, you know, 10-, 15-ton satellites that are in a geosynchronous orbit that are going around the equator. Now we’re looking at constellations — hundreds, if not thousands of satellites that are going to be in low-Earth orbit like a thousand kilometers up instead of 20,000 kilometers out there that are revolving around the earth in what we call constellations or clusters of satellites. And it’s that opportunity that I think is what is presented best for the Spaceport Nova Scotia because of the range of inclinations that we have. You look at it, you look out from the launch site location, and you look due south to thousands of kilometers of open ocean to almost due east, thousands of kilometers of open ocean. So it’s that wide range of inclinations and that’s where people are wanting to put their satellites today. They’ve gone away from geo, now they’re looking at polar, sun synchronous, inclined orbits, where these constellations then are all moving around and talking to each other and up and down and providing that global network of broadband or imaging.

There are enormous political, environmental, social, and scientific implications, involving competing values, about satellite clusters such as Starlink. This would have been an excellent opportunity for a person funded by the Canadian Council of Churches and employed by Project Ploughshares to explore those implications and how the MLS proposal fits into them, but West didn’t even blink.

West did ask about “sustainability,” however, as follows:

West: This will lead us into the question of sustainability, but we’ll start with financial sustainability. And there’s a question about eight launches a year and whether or not that is conducive to sustainability.

Matier: Oh, for us it’s it’s fantastic for us, from a financial sustainability, yes. You know, what we need to be successful is significantly less than that. So from an investor perspective, you know, it’s a very good return on investment for eight launches per year in a fairly short order. And especially when you’re using the Cyclone 4M, that medium class launch capability can carry five tonnes of payload to low-Earth orbit and that five tonnes represents quite a few satellites. One satellite is 150 kilograms. So we’re talking, you know, 20 or 30 of these satellites on board one launch at a time. The going price for us, what we’ve posted is that a launch of a Cyclone 4M is a US dollar $45 million per launch. So eight launches per year, there’s a there is a significant return on investment, paying for the launches and paying for the rockets themselves.

West: The question about financial sustainability can lead us into other discussions on sustainability. And I know on the website and publicly Maritime Launch talks about being a sustainable space launch company. What does that mean? What does that mean for you? What does that look like?

Matier: Well, I talk about it in four distinct areas. One is kicking off with the construction of the facility itself. You know, we are looking to do this as much as we can in a carbon neutral fashion, taking advantage of the nearby wind farm for power generation, using battery systems for storing energy and the use of powering our facility. Looking at passive solar and carbon capture technologies with concrete, which is in Nova Scotia an important piece that’s already in place with the Carbon Cure, for example. So there are a number of areas associated with how we’re actually going to even build a facility that we want to be mindful of and be as carbon neutral as possible. And then when you’re looking at the operation of the facility, we’ll be implementing an environmental management system that will be certainly compliant if not certified in ISO 14,000 sense. That really is looking at that, you know, say what you’re going to do, do it, you’re going to improve it, or how are you going to operate and manage your facility in an environmentally friendly way? … not just awareness and not just compliance, but stewardship. That is the idea. How we use the water. Do we need to retain water? Minimizing the use of water in the flame trench, those kinds of things. So actually how we operate our facility is another important part of this thing. So then you’re now know the next part. The third part then is looking at the launch vehicle itself. You know, the launch kerosene is considered to be kind of a green propellant compared to some of the others. We are looking at alternative technologies for the other launch vehicles that I can’t talk about much at this point, but you’ll be hearing about them soon, in short order. But your launch vehicles themselves have relatively small footprints relative to — because of the kerosene they use, there is a pollutant component, but that kerosene is also mixed with oxygen. And the kerosene is not just the everyday run of the mill kerosene. It’s called RP1, rocket propellant one. And what makes it rocket propellant one is it is synthesized with a factor of ten less sulfur, which is the main pollutant in kerosene. So we’re using a high grade kerosene. We’re burning it with oxygen. So you get really good combustion. So there’s much less of an imprint from that quantity of kerosene compared to the typical kerosene you use in a motor boat or home heating. The upper stage propellants, of course, are using hyperbolic propellants, and the industry would love to replace those. There are some really exciting new technologies that are coming, but those are used in orbit..

West: I know the question of sustainability is also not just like an individual company issue. It’s sort of industry-wide and it’s certainly a really big focus of space activity. So like, is this a topic of conversation? Is this something that the launch industry as a whole is looking at? You know, are there plans to make space launch greener and more sustainable down the road? I know someone else asked about reusability, and so that’s sort of a part of that conversation. But what else is happening at an industry level when it comes to linking sustainability to space launch and space access?

Matier: Yeah, the reusability is an interesting piece that has really just been demonstrated recently by Space X with the fly back boosters, etc. You know, whether that’s truly demonstrating something, you know, the amount of effort that goes into repurposing that at that stage for reuse, one could really wonder whether it’s environmentally making much of a difference or not. Yes, the material the aluminum is certainly going to be reused, but all the processes that go into that reuse really does have a carbon footprint as well. You know, I can drive you right back to the space shuttle program. And virtually every launch of a space shuttle required almost $100 million investment to get that space shuttle ready to fly again. It was almost new, basically every time we flew. So reusability is overused in some sense. And it’s not quite proven, but it is certainly a place we need to go. You know, there’s no doubt about that. There are some green propellant technologies that are on the horizon. There is even some in Canada I can’t tell you about, but I think you’ll be learning about soon that has some real green aspects to it that I think is going to be very powerful as far as the hyperbolic propellants. There is some testing on what’s called hydroxyl ammonium nitrate as a hyperbolic propellant that actually is considered to be greener. It’s just the title of it is scary as heck to me. But there is a lot of interest in coming up with greener, greener propellants, for sure. For  the future in the reusability of launch vehicles is certainly a goal as well.

West: Now you have my interest piqued and you can’t tell me about green fuel from Canada. So maybe that will be a topic for another Space Café Canada sometime down the road if we can learn more about what’s happening.

This is, in a word, bullshit. It’s voiding “sustainability” of all meaning, reducing it to a touchy-feely nonsense. At very best, Matier’s argument is that although he’s going to burn up an awful lot of kerosene, a greenhouse gas, every time he launches a satellite, that gas will burn more efficiently than the gas in your motor boat engine, which produces infinitesimally less GHG, so the launches will be “green.”

This would’ve angered me, but I was too amused by the ridiculous discussion about tourism.

West: Where will there be an opportunity to view launches for the public? … Am I going to be able to watch?

Matier: If it’s a day launch or even a night launch, you will be able to see it fly by, even from Halifax. So yes, you’ll see it streaking across the sky now, you know, so local to the facility there in the communities of Canso, Hazel Hill, Little Dover, clearly they’re going to be able to see it going south, you know, Torbay and down the coast. You’re certainly going to be able to see it from Cape Breton Island looking south. You’re going to be able to see it out on the ocean, away from the safety zone around the site. You’re going to be able to see it absolutely visible very much. And, you know, the night launches are especially interesting because the streak across the sky is very much visible — we’ve seen launches here in Nova Scotia, from Virginia that have gone into orbit…

Three to five days before a launch, there’s going to be people coming from the community, from around the globe, from across Canada, are going to want to see a rocket launch. So there’s going to be that tourism opportunity. I think people are going to want to come and witness the rocket launch from Canada for sure. So, you know, at that point, it may get a little crowded in the community but as I said, you’ll be able to see it from pretty far away as well. So leading up to that launch, there is going to be just the visitors to the area that are going to want to come see it, you know, and then following the launch, they’re going to want to start exploring the province as well in Atlantic Canada and, you know, the region itself as well.

They can join the throngs of people coming to the Halifax Convention Centre who are now making Nova Scotia a tourism paradise, I guess.

But if thousands of satellites are going to be launched, won’t that mean that satellite launches will be so routine as to be utterly unremarkable? There are a handful of heroin addicts who watch trains, and those same three or four cars parked at the end of the runway at Stanfield every morning, but no one would call a train station or an airport a tourism destination.

I could go on, but I’ll end with two points.

First, there was a lively and welcome presence of a handful of people from Canso with pointed questions about the MLS proposal, but they were mostly ignored.

Second, I still can’t parse the role of a religious organization like Ploughshares in uncritically promoting a satellite launching operation without seriously interrogating the ethical questions it raises.

We need more thoughtful Christians.

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4. Disability rights issue continues in court

Beth MacLean. Photo courtesy Alice Evans.

This item is written by Jennifer Henderson.

The Houston government’s attempt to challenge a decision by the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal last fall — one that could improve the lives of thousands of people with physical or mental disabilities — received another setback last week.

The first setback came less than two weeks ago when the Supreme Court of Canada rejected the province’s request to hear an appeal. The second setback comes in the form of a six-page decision from a Human Rights Board of Inquiry written by retired lawyer Don Murray.

Murray’s job is to find ways to fix or remedy the “systemic discrimination” against disabled people that resulted from a Human Rights complaint brought forward many years ago on behalf of Beth MacLean, Shelia Livingstone, and Joey Delaney. All three spent many years institutionalized at the Nova Scotia Hospital. The human rights  complaint was filed by the Disability Rights Coalition on their behalf and others.

Last October, the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal found that despite clear wording in the Social Services Act that applies to “people in need,” income assistance and services such as housing were regularly denied to people with disabilities.

“Institutionalization, wait lists, and forced relocation from an individual’s community of preference are each proven manifestations of the systemically discriminatory policies and practices followed by the Province since 1998,” reads the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal decision. “However none of the effects are the actual differential treatment… the effects are instead outcomes that were created by some of the systemic policies or procedures exercised by the Province.”

Six months ago, the wait list of disabled people waiting for services such as income assistance, housing, medical care, or skills training stood at about 1,800, according to information provided to a legislative committee from the Department of Community Services. Many of the requests are from people who have been waiting years for an upgrade to their situation.

The decision from the Nova Scotia court noted in cases involving discrimination, the province is entitled under the Human Rights Act to “justify” or explain why it should be permitted to treat people differently. A hearing will be held in October to hear that argument.

Murray’s decision places limits on the scope of the argument the province can make. For example, the province had wanted to argue it should be permitted to impose “reasonable limits on the provision of services” — probably the preface to a claim it would cost more than the province is prepared to spend to provide homes and services to disabled people in their own communities.

Significantly, and to the Houston government’s credit, the province will not challenge the part of the court ruling that said people can no longer be forced to live in institutions as a condition for receiving income assistance or government services. Premier Tim Houston and Community Services Minister Karla MacFarlane continue to say they are committed to reducing the number of people housed in large institutions and have increased the Disability Support Program by $54 million this year. However, that is only a small fraction of the spending that would be required to reduce the wait list.

In his written decision outlining the scope of the next phase of this tortuous legal process, Murray refused to allow the province to address what he called the “symptoms” of the problem (e.g. the wait lists for services like housing and employment supports) rather than the practices and policies the NS Court of Appeal blamed for the underlying causes for the discriminatory treatment. Instead, he says:

It is therefore my view that any justification offered by the Province under s.6(f)(i) and (f)(ii), and s.6(i) of the Human Rights Act must:
— identify the policies and practices that produced the adverse outcomes (unnecessary extended institutionalization, wait times, obligation to relocate, and loss of dignity);
— justify each of the impacts of those policies that have not yet been acknowledged (unnecessary extended institutionalization and loss of dignity).

Murray continues:

Any justification offered by the Province may certainly address how manifestations of disadvantage — such as wait times, or compelled relocation to access services — were created. The justifications may include an explanation as to why those discriminatory effects were contemplated as a preferable choice by policy makers and policy implementers. Contextual evidence about the circumstances in which those policy decisions were made would certainly be relevant.

Claire McNeil, a lawyer for the Disability Rights Coalition says, “Unless those underlying policies and procedures are addressed in terms of a systemic human rights remedy, the problem of discrimination will continue to work to the disadvantage of the protected group.”

Murray says the objective of the Human Rights Board of Inquiry that begins next October 3 is two-fold: to determine whether the province can justify denying services to disabled people under exceptions permitted under Section 6  of the Human Rights Act, and if it cannot, he must find and order a solution to end the discrimination.

So far, the needle has barely moved for hundreds of vulnerable people waiting for the process to conclude.

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5. 19 days

“It was pushing 11pm on the night of April 22, 2022, and everything that was going to be done — however little of that there might have been — was now well and truly done,” writes Stephen Kimber:

Inside the legislature, Premier Tim Houston thanked everyone “who made this session move along so smoothly” and wished MLAs “a safe and healthy and prosperous and productive summer. We will see you back here in the fall,” he said, adding for good measure, “I can’t wait.”

No one believed a word of that last sentence.

“The motion is that the House now adjourn to meet again at the call of the Speaker,” Speaker Keith Bain quickly chimed in. “All those in favour? … Contrary minded? … Thank you… The motion is carried… We stand adjourned.”

The spring sitting of the First of the 64th Assembly of the Nova Scotia’s House legislature was history.

Just 19 days after it began.

If that sounds both oddly familiar and jarringly disconnected, well, welcome to Nova Scotia.

Click here to read “Political accountability meets ‘the permanent campaign.’”

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No meetings


Halifax Regional Council (Tuesday, 2pm) — virtual meeting



No meetings


Community Services (Tuesday, 10am, One Government Place) — Housing Options for Cape Breton, with representatives from Cape Breton Island Housing Authority, Cape Breton University, and Dept. of Municipal Affairs and Housing

On campus

Mount Saint Vincent


Wicked Bodies (Tuesday, 7pm) — virtual screening and discussion of documentary series; from the listing:

A project dedicated to holding space and bringing a more compassionate lens to disordered eating in the queer community. These free events welcome 2SLGBTQIA+ folks, community service providers, scholars, students, healthcare providers, and the general public to a screening and facilitated discussion of Wicked Bodies — a toolkit to help to reduce stigma, generate hope, and invite more open conversation among 2SLGBTQIA+ folks struggling with disordered eating, eating disorders, and body dysmorphia.

In-person screening Thursday, May 26, 7pm, room EVR104

Info and registration here

In the harbour

06:00: Vivienne Sheri D, container ship, arrives at Pier 42 from Reykjavik, Iceland
08:30: Algoterra, oil tanker, sails from Imperial Oil for sea
08:30: Atlantic Sail, ro-ro container, sails from Fairview Cove for Hamburg, Germany
14:00: Vivienne Sheri D sails for Portland
16:00: MSC Brianna, container ship, arrives at Pier 41 from Montreal
18:00: Tropic Lissette, cargo ship, sails from Pier 42 for Palm Beach, Florida

Cape Breton
01:00: Indigo Sun, oil tanker, arrives at Point Tupper from Ras Lanuf, Libya
14:00: Mia Desgagnes, oil tanker, arrives at Nova Scotia Power (Sydney) from Corner Brook


[insert your own pithy observation here]

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  1. I’m no rocket expert but I kept reading Mr. Matier referring to “hyperbolic” propellants, e.g….
    “There is some testing on what’s called hydroxyl ammonium nitrate as a hyperbolic propellant …”

    Does he mean a hypergolic propellant?
    This is one in which the components include their own oxidant (i.e. liquid oxygen is not required) and spontaneously combust on contact. For example, the Walter HWK engine in the WW2 German Messerschmitt Me-163B rocket fighter used concentrated hydrogen peroxide with hydrazine hydrate, methanol and water to propel it to speeds of up to Mach 0.85.

    1. The fuel MLS is required to use in the upper stage is Unsymmetrical Dimethylhydrazine (UDHM). Mr. Matier never says the actual name of the fuel, only referring to the family of fuels. This fuel is referred to as The Devil’s Breath. Most countries have phased it out or are phasing it out. It is extremely dangerous to work with and is a known carcinogen.

  2. Check out Ivan Semeniuk’s feature in Saturday’s G&M, ROB: “Mari­time Launch goes pub­lic with plans to build Canada’s first com­mer­cial space facil­ity in rural Nova Sco­tia.”
    Ivan sure drank the Cool Aid.
    I’d love to see your (and Joan’s) reaction.


    1. I followed that… but it’s basically a nothing burger, imo.

    2. When the article first came out, this statement was in it: “Its proposed launch facility has passed environmental reviews and won regulatory approval.” I reported this false information to the paper. After checking today, that statement has been replaced with: “An environmental assessment of its plan has won approval from the province with accompanying conditions.” The article also states some people remain apposed to the facility. Actually over 400 local people remain apposed. There are far more local people opposed to the project than in favour of it.

  3. Wow, where can I sign up to invest?

    The ‘project’ ticks off all the boxes of a SCAM. Poor grammar, bad science, basically illogical as presented. Why does NS always attract these guys?

  4. Writing as a Canso-loving, spaceport-skeptical, train-watching thoughtful Christian, I was surprised by the throwaway slur against rail fans.

    I can only assume that you have never closely observed my fellow railway enthusiasts, as the stereotype of the emaciated young heroin user is hardly the first impression a typically well-fed trainspotter makes.

    Forget rocket launches – for real entertainment come down to the Irving by the Bedford farmers market and check out some intermodal action, the happily increased frequency of the Ocean Limited, and maybe even a test train or rail grinder!

      1. I know – it’s to railfans as “Mazes and Monsters” is to Dungeons and Dragons players.

  5. The fact that this insanity is proceeding even though it looks like Russia wants to annex everything east of the Dnieper river – and will probably succeed – is, well, very Nova Scotian. What part of Ukraine do those rockets get made in?

      1. Sorry for not using the Ukrainian transliteration for the river Chernobyl almost ruined rather than the Russian one. I’m not sure if you’re correcting me or telling me where the alleged rockets are being made.

          1. Well, Dnipro is mostly on the side that is likely not going to be part of Russia in a couple months. I just feel bad for the people involved, from the Ukrainians being slaughtered to the Russians who are dying because their generals stole the money needed to equip them properly.

            I had hoped for a sliver of a silver lining, where this war at least means there is no rocket launch facility in Canso (as much as I love rockets, it just isn’t responsible to promote these grifts). I do note a certain disparity between interest in the plight of Ukranians, who are pale-skinned and blonde, and Yemenis, who are brown-skinned and have black hair, with some irony.

  6. “We’re burning it with oxygen.”
    Wow, this makes it sustainable? Is oxygen not required for burning of any kind?
    You know the idea of sustainability is bullshit when it is framed as a financial concern, as in: we will blast tons of rockets into space and make a boatload of money therefore it is sustainable. And no mention of how the war in Ukraine might interfere with rocket production? How come they didn’t mention that with every launch $20 dollar bills will rain down on the lucky locals.

    1. The V2 rocket was “green”, it used liquid O2 and alcohol from 30 tons of fermented potatoes as its fuel.

      Amazon sells Estes rocket kits for $30, we should buy one of those and use it to randomly disperse $20 bills in Cape Breton. It would be cheaper.