1. Autumn for Hitler

“Police are looking for a suspect in a Dartmouth property damage incident they believe may have been motivated by hate.”

“May have?” That sounds like the evidence is questionable. Some obscure reference, perhaps? Perhaps just a harmless tribute to the Dukes of Hazzard?

Photo of definitely not racist truck taken by Lynn Jones.
Photo of definitely not racist truck taken by Lynn Jones.

Hmmm.  Let’s take a look:

image of car WITH SWASTIKA from haligonia
image of car WITH SWASTIKA from haligonia

According to the article, police are “exploring the possibility that hate was a motivating factor in this incident.” Pardon me, but that doesn’t seem that ambiguous to me. I mean, I guess there’s theoretically some small possibility that the “young white man” was actually spray painting the ancient Sanskrit character on the smashed-up vandalized car (“the vehicle had its lights and windows smashed, tires slashed, and a ‘racist symbol’ spray-painted on the hood,”) but let’s just say that seems like a reach. Like maybe he lovingly slashed the tires and painted a racist symbol on the car?

What’s next, people holding a “Nazi competition” and arguing it’s just honouring the Sound of Music lifestyle? That we need to be “careful about being prejudiced” against the white supremacist traditions? That being a Nazi isn’t about hating Jewish people, it’s about being a rebel? Maybe heritage was the real motivating factor here! Come on, I thought at the very least we were all together on “Nazi =bad” if nothing else. The only thing that makes swastika graffiti even worse is if we start minimizing what the swastika means and pretending that someone who paints such a thing on a car might have any other motivation or meaning than hate. I guess I’m just not understanding what the hesitation is here in acknowledging that.

It’s interesting that like a Muslim kid can bring a clock to school and get arrested on the suspicion of being a terrorist, but a white man can actually paint a swastika, and there’s only a “possibility” that hate might be a factor. Maybe he was just a “misfit.”

Wait, hang on, maybe there’s some credibility to this argument. After all, the Imperial Wizard of the KKK assures us, “We don’t hate people because of their race, I mean, we’re a Christian organization” (italics mine).

Ancona insisted that the KKK is not a hate group, he added that “We just want to keep our race the white race.”

“We want to stay white,” Ancona said. “It’s not a hateful thing to want to maintain white supremacy.”


2. The Maple Leaf Forever…

The Toronto Maple Leafs toured a warship in Halifax, because “The Canadian Armed Forces have much in common with the Toronto Maple Leafs, the most important of which is perhaps the symbol worn on both team’s uniforms, according to the commanding officer of the HMCS Fredericton.”

I don’t know, I’m not sure the Leafs are the symbol of success our military really wants to emulate?

Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images
Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

OMG, hockey jokes. I must be turning extra Canadian now I’m in the U.S.

So anyway, apparently the “most important” thing is wearing the Maple Leaf. Like the military, and sports teams and uh…this guy.


This is a drunk guy wearing a Canada flag tacking a man dressed as a fox. But as long as he’s got the Maple Leaf symbol he’s mostly like the Canadian Armed Forces!

Maybe he’s re-enacting this moment in history:

YouTube video

Okay, moving on, I guess both hockey and the Canadian military share a problem with rape culture too. Go team! That was not one of the comparisons raised in the article.


Wait, but this anti-war baby is also wearing a maple leaf! So I guess he’s like the military too! (Goddamn it, it literally took me an hour and a half searching through photos of anti-war protestors just so I could make this joke. And all I got is a baby! I demand anti-war protestors wear more symbols of the state/sporting jerseys to rallies! Come on protestors, we have a lot in common with the military and sports teams! We march in lines! We pull in the same direction and things! I’m actually shocked there wasn’t a single picture of someone getting arrested at the G20 protests while wearing a Maple Leafs jersey. The hell.)

YouTube video

The commanding officer also joked about the “significant turnover” on both “teams.” Kind of like if someone’s on the team, and pulling together and “bringing courage and energy day in and day out” and then they retire, and then they get abandoned and denied services and benefits.

image from
image from

PS. This angry moose says moose have lots in common with the Mooseheads, because they both fuck up cars. (I swear, that wasn’t my original joke.  I was going to make a joke about charging penalties in the game or something but that’s what came up when I googled “Mooseheads charging” so there it is.)  Weirdly, the Mooseheads will not be visiting a moose sanctuary.

PPS.The moose notes that “charg[ing] the police cruiser, running into the front grill and bumper, stomping onto the hood and smashing the windshield on his way onto the roof” was not hateful.

3. Thinking about “Deadbeat Dads.”

“A review of Nova Scotia child and spousal support program is recommending the province come down harder on parents who are in arrears or refuse to pay what they have been ordered to. That includes taking so-called “deadbeat” parents to court more often when there are payment problems.”

On the surface, this seems like a reasonable and necessary solution. As Georgia Barnwell, coordinator of Women’s Centres Connect! notes in the article, “the maintenance enforcement, the improvements will really add some security to a lot of women’s lives and it’s a good place to start.” There’s no doubt that lack of payment of child support contributes to the disproportionate financial burdens on single mothers that largely impoverishes women.

image from
image from

But even with the good intention of targeting parents who refuse to pay, using the courts — and jail — to enforce child support ends up impacting men who are unable to pay, trapping them in a cycle of poverty and incarceration. Poor (and racialized) men end up (predictably) being disproportionately imprisoned.

This American study observes:

“These parents lack the means to pay their child support debt, yet they experience the full panoply of enforcement measures, including civil incarceration for nonpayment of support. Ironically, low-income noncustodial parents who lack the ability to pay their child support debts are more likely to face incarceration than are the more culpable noncustodial parents who have the means to pay child support but refuse to pay. This is because other routine and less severe enforcement measures, such as wage garnishment, are effective in securing support from those with the means to pay.”

Unable to afford representation, impoverished, addicted, homeless and other marginalized parents end up being imprisoned, just as they are for other crimes. Black/Indigenous men or other racialized men who “fit” the stereotype of “deadbeat dad” and come from communities already economically impacted are also more likely to be seen as deliberately delinquent and convicted. In America,

The employment and labor force participation for less-educated Black men between the ages of sixteen and thirty-four has been on a steady decline over the last two decades, continuing even through the strong economic years of the 1990s. Studies examining the decline attribute most of it to the negative impact that past incarceration and strict child support enforcement has on the labor force participation of young Black men. Notably, the period of declining employment coincides with the growth in incarceration rates and reforms to strengthen child support enforcement, both of which disproportionately impacted young Black men. As of 2002, the incarceration rate for Black men was five percent, and for young Black men it was twelve percent; additionally, approximately twenty-two percent of all Black men were ex-offenders.

image from
image from

As this article on the criminalization of “deadbeat dads” in New Jersey notes,

Nationally, the system has succeeded in raising collection rates from 45 percent in the 1970s, to 61 percent nationwide and 65 percent in New Jersey in 2013. But studies from the Urban Institute, the Pew Charitable Trusts and other groups have found no evidence that incarceration results in more reliable payments. Instead their research pointed to the opposite effect, with jailed parents ending up with reduced earning capabilities and eroded relationships with their children. Indeed, a 2008 study by the Urban Institute found that more than $100 billion owed at the time in child support arrears nationwide was largely uncollectible because the parents had little or no earning abilities.

The problem, critics say, is that the system was created to catch the parents who deliberately run out on their responsibilities, who have the money but refuse to pay. Instead, it can trap the people who struggle to hold a job, stay sober or otherwise keep their lives on track long enough to be the providers they’re expected to be.

‘The reasons these laws are so hard-core is that they were created for the guys who are determined not to pay their child support,” said Jacqueline Boggess co-director of the Wisconsin-based Center for Family Policy and Practice, a non-profit that researches and advocates on issues affecting low-income families. “But those are rarely the guys sitting in jail for this.’

I urge readers to read through the article at the link: “Fathers Behind Bars: Rethinking Child Support Policy Toward Low-income Noncustodial Fathers and Their Families.”

From the conclusion:

The difficulties catalogued above challenge the normative ideal that financial responsibilities to and for poor children can be privatized without undue material hardship. Although child support has a role to play in the universe of programs for poor children, reconsideration of its prominence in family policy is warranted. In cases of serious social and economic disadvantage, even full and timely child support payments are unlikely to lift children out of poverty. Given that reality, policymakers need to examine alternative models that would provide needy children with a more stable public source of resources to ensure their economic security. In particular, it is time to reconsider the utility of assured child support benefits as a safety net in poor families. A child support benefit system that both enforces the obligation of noncustodial parents to provide financial support to their children and supplements that private support with a public benefit providing a minimum level of cash assistance would ensure that the basic needs of poor children are met. Establishing a child support floor–a publicly funded benefit that, coupled with court-ordered child support payments, ensures a minimum safety net–would substantially reduce poverty and the economic insecurity of single mothers and their children.

image from
image from

4.  Not a good day to be a woman

 I was listening to a panel today of women from around the world talking about women and feminism in their cultures and societies. The woman from India talked about women being raped on public transit. The woman from Cuba talked about women being cat-called. As they talked, I was looking through the Halifax news and read about Christopher Garnier allegedly pushing a green bin of “evidence.” Then I read about the ““string of assaults” against women in the South End. And then a rapist on the loose. Had I been on the panel, how would I talk about still living in a city where women can be disposed of like garbage, or where women are attacked “just walking”? The news was just so gruesome this week, I couldn’t imagine going up to writers and asking for commentary like I did last week. What do you say about any of that?
In other news that affects women, faculty at Mount Saint Vincent University voted in favour of a strike mandate.  Linda Mann, the president of the Faculty Association notes that the Mount “boasts the largest percentage of female faculty members in Canada.” For a long-time, it was also the most poorly paid faculty in Canada. Austerity measures in the university also end up impacting women, who are more likely to be non-tenured, underemployed, and in the position of precarious labour.

5. Corny joke of the day…

Dartmouth man Christopher Lee Pickles is accused of defrauding his employer “of about $38, 000 over five years.”

Contacted for a comment, Pickles said:



1. Cranky letter of the day

To the Chronicle Herald:

While watching One on One with Peter Mansbridge interviewing Prime Minister Stephen Harper recently, I must say I was enjoying the rapport between the two.

As I watched, a banner on the bottom of the screen said, “Jean Chrétien says PM Stephen Harper has shamed Canada.” Mr. Chrétien states Mr. Harper is an embarrassment to Canada over the Syrian refugee crisis.

Well, Mr. Chrétien, you do not and will not speak for me as a Canadian. I would like an apology for assuming I would be part of your outrageous statement.

As a former prime minister himself, I would expect Mr. Chrétien would have had more class than to say something so appalling.

I, like a lot of Canadians, are on the fence when it comes to whom we are going to vote for and so look forward to the debates and interviews with the different parties. An informative, respectful get-together is one thing, but that stab in the back of Mr. Harper is totally uncalled for.

Marlene Long, Hubbards

(OMG, if everyone who has ever said Harper shames Canada has to personally apologize to Marlene Long — well, let’s just say that Canada Post would experience record profits from all the apology letters.)

2. Cranky Letter II

To the New Glasgow News:

I notice that Mayor Joe is patting himself on the back for being a good money manager.

A surplus in the water utility? Would that have anything to do with adding on the churches and the Legion? Nah, just good management.

Fire hydrant fees! Take assessment and multiply by .103, assessment goes up and multiply by .104. Good bookkeeping.

An operating surplus? Hint, fix the streets. The surplus is what you should concentrate on. Silly me! I was looking at the total on the bottom of my tax bill.

Innovative bookkeeping: everyone is charged by the household for curbside collection — was charged on your assessment. Now everyone is charged a flat rate, but it is added on the tax bill as an extra.

Purchaser of lot with airplane. Purchaser will be responsible for relocating the airplane. Good selling point. Get in line!

I didn’t know that I had to ask before voting. Will definitely ask Joe to accompany me to the polls next time I vote.

Made a mistake in the budget? Don’t worry, just add it on to Joe Taxpayer.

Joe Taxpayer, aka Edward J. BurkePictou

P.S. – BS doesn’t stand for Bachelor of Science

3. Annual Review

Photo by Robert Devet, Halifax Media Co-op
Photo by Robert Devet, Halifax Media Co-op

Kendall Worth at the Halifax Media Co-op explains why people on income assistance fear the annual review:

“When you receive income assistance, you have to attend your annual review. If you do not attend, your assistance will likely get cut off as a result.

For some who are on income assistance — it just means getting a letter in the mail saying that they need to certain documentation to update the clients file. This means an updated medical report from your doctor regarding your special needs requirements.

For others who are on assistance — it means having to show up at your local Community Services office and appearing in front of your case worker.

If Community Services is going to make any cuts to a client’s allowance, this is when the cuts happen.

The annual review is often a frustrating time of year for people on income assistance. For instance, the review can result in people on income assistance having trust issues with their caseworkers.”

El Jones is a poet, journalist, professor, community advocate, and activist. Her work focuses on social justice issues such as feminism, prison abolition, anti-racism, and decolonization.

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  1. Today seems to be the appropriate day to add an update to the Halifax Examiner Sept 2 story about Memento Farm application for a development agreement to cover the past (13 years) errors by, at least the city, for allegedly charging commercial taxes to a non-commercial property. Furthermore at the planning advisory meeting the planning staff was not forthcoming with this information until a member of the planning advisory cornered staff and they admitted the alleged error. It gets even better because now the city by allegedly charging commercial taxes they possibly have legitimized the illegal business and might be liable, if the city cannot obtain a development agreement on the farm’s behalf.
    Now part 2. The people of Lucasville an African/Canadian community never wanted the farm in their backyard but thought they were powerless as it was by right 13 years ago. Now today they want it gone altogether. After an emergency meeting it was a clear majority of the well attended meeting they were against the development.
    The complexities grow as you have to wonder how the city can be fair to the residents if they do not want a Development Agreement issued. I would suspect the city could be sued by the farm for allowing them to run their business in a way they thought was legal.
    Just today a story was written about this conflict . I suspect the story will grow as time goes by and it doesn’t look pretty in the short term.
    Tomorrow night there will be a North West Community Council meeting that will have a couple of short presentations from myself and a resident affected by the farm. Anyone interested can attend at Acadia Hall 650 Sackville Dr. in Lower Sackville at 7:00 PM

  2. forced collections from fathers who don’t pay also means keeping vulnerable women and children forcibly connected to abusers sometimes. When women on assistance are forced to sue for child support it is just a cost saving measure for govt with often little regard for her or children’s safety.

  3. Thanks for your skeptical take on the issue of “deadbeat dads.“ The notion that the poverty of single mothers could be wiped out if only those fathers would pay their support is a patriarchal and simplistic approach to a complex problem. However, it`s a lot easier and cheaper to announce a crackdown on deadbeats than it is to address issues like pay equity, unemployment, lack of child care, and lack of affordable housing. It`s entirely reasonable to expect both parents to contribute to the costs of their children, even after a separation, but the draconian enforcement of sometimes absurd court orders accomplishes little besides making strange bed fellows of family values conservatives, neo-liberals, and women`s organizations.
    Anyone involved in the family law system can tell you that the process does not work for anyone except lawyers (who consistently oppose initiatives to makes things work better). Meanwhile the federal government, which made the laws, the provincial governments, which enforce the laws, and the courts, which use the laws, all blame each other for problems like uncollected support or unreasonable garnishments.

  4. A brief comment on “deadbeat dads” and the political drive to rid the world of them. The problem with this “drive” is that the statistics on the # of deadbeat dads are not at all reliable in Canada. I’m not at all arguing that the truly “deadbeat dads” shouldn’t be held accountable, just that we don’t really know how many there are. Let me explain.

    I live in Nova Scotia and pay child support in Ontario because that’s where my ex- and son live. The process there, as explained to me by the Family Responsibility Office (the gov’t agency that manages child support in Ontario) and the Canadian Revenue Agency (to whom the FRO sometimes reports) is that my ex- submits receipts I’m responsible for, in whole or part, to the FRO. The FRO then informs me I have a financial obligation and I submit the funds to them (through my bank account as a bill payment) and they send the funds to her. I’ve *never* taken more than 48 hours to submit the payment when I’ve received notice of it. Simple? Straightforward? So it seems. It would seem that I’d not be a “deadbeat dad” by any definition of the term. Except I am recorded as such all of the time. As the FRO explained it to me several times I’m listed as “noncompliant” with the court order as soon as my ex- submits her receipts and I remain listed as such until I submit the funds to the FRO. And over the last decade they have consistently taken 3 to 6 months to tell me that my ex- had submitted receipts to them. And since she usually submits receipts to them every six months that means I spend a substantial part of the year listed as being noncompliant with the court order. I’ve also been told not to submit funds until after I am informed of owing her monies. AND they have, several times, informed the Canadian Revenue Agency that I’m in default so that I did not receive tax returns as the funds were directed to the FRO….and in one case never received ANY paperwork about those funds being owed. It’s annoying enough that they often don’t tell me what the receipts are for but just tell me the total owed, and it is also annoying that there is no mechanism for my challenging the validity of the expenses, but I find it unethical that I’m considered “deadbeat” when I’ve never violated the court ordered expense repayment.

    So, “deadbeat dads” are a political whipping horse. We don’t actually know how bad the problem is, and those who don’t pay should *certainly* be held to account legally, but the topic sure makes a great news story without actually providing insights into how bad the problem is. Personally I’d like to know….I currently don’t trust any of the statistics about it at all.