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News

1. Arrest at union demonstration

Jason MacLean, vice-president of the Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union, was arrested outside Province House yesterday during heated demonstrations against Bill 1. A police release says:

Shortly after 9 a.m., officers assigned to monitor a protest on Hollis Street were providing assistance to a vehicle that was attempting to exit Province House during which it was blocked by protesters. A number of officers and protesters were on the street in close proximity to each other when one of the officers observed what he thought was an assault on another officer. The officer arrested the 40-year-old Enfield man and he was transported to booking. The man was released on a promise to appear in court at a later date to face a charge of assaulting a police officer.

Assaulting a police officer is of course a very serious charge, but “this is fucking bullshit!” says Carrie Campbell on her Facebook page. “He did not assault a police officer—I was right beside him. He was pulled from a line of people and slammed to the sidewalk.”

Here’s video from the event. The arrest takes place at about the seven minute mark:

2. Bait and switch

The Bryony House Dare to Dream Home Lottery wasn’t a good idea in the first place, but proposing to replace the grand prize of a $1.2-million house with a cash payment of half that is a disastrous move on the charity’s part, sure to undermine future fund-raising efforts.

3. Bus driver groupies

Any regular rider on Halifax Transit has seen the bus driver groupies, the women who hang out at the front of the bus, standing next to the driver, chatting him up the entire route, being a general annoyance, not clearing away to allow passengers to enter, etc. There was an incident on the Beaver Bank bus yesterday, involving a woman jumping in front of the passenger-laden bus and not allowing it to move forward. Police were called—the Chronicle Herald says to the 200 block of Beaver Bank Road, but I’m told it was outside the Harold T. Barrett Junior High School on the 800 block. I’m also told that the woman in question has in the past been one such bus driver groupie.

“There were many phone calls made to Metro Transit about her [in the past],” writes a regular rider of the bus in an email, “as she would not move when you got on the bus, especially riders with strollers etc. Also she dresses what we will call inappropriately.” I’ll omit the salacious details, but the short of it is that the driver and groupie have had some sort of falling out, and for that a bus full of passengers, including young children, had to hear some ugly language and sit through the discomfort of the incident for 20 minutes.

The groupies aren’t the only ones presenting problems at the front of the bus—other drivers and off-duty transit employees also often stand at the front of the bus, getting in the way of passengers trying to enter or leave, and most worrying, talking to the driver throughout the journey.

This is a safety issue. Drivers should be paying attention to the road, not the pantyless groupie or fellow driver distracting them. It’s time for Halifax Transit to adopt the British rule—no talking to the driver when the bus is moving—and enforce it.

4. Deck collapse

Kataleen Webb tells the horrifying story of her fall and injuries to the Chronicle Herald.

The deck collapse may be helping to draw attention to other problematic landlords. The local ACORN chapter is helping to organize tenants, and yesterday held a demonstration outside the MetCap Living office at 35 Highfield Park Drive. Jonethan Brigley, who has rented from MetCap for seven years, has several complaints about the company. Metro reports that:

The supervisor for Brigley’s apartment on Nivens Avenue recently told him management has stopped spraying for bugs, although some units have bed bugs, and it’s now up to residents to supply their own spray to get rid of pests—which he can’t afford.

I’m no lawyer, but I’m pretty sure landlords are required to pay for pest control. Besides, tenants spraying individually for bed bugs doesn’t solve the problem. It just moves the bugs around a building. It takes a coordinated effort, organized by the landlord, not individual acts.

4. Drunken morons

A police release:

Shortly before 1 a.m., officers were called to the construction site of the Nova Centre located at the intersection of Argyle and Sackville Streets in Halifax. Two men were observed climbing to the top of one of the construction cranes within the gated property. Upon officers’ arrival, the men had climbed down from the crane and were standing on the top floor of the building under construction but were unable to find their way out of the structure. Officers climbed to the men’s location and arrested a 23-year-old Halifax man without incident for public intoxication. The second man refused to comply with officer’s directions and pushed one of the officers who was attempting to arrest him. Both men were eventually brought back to safety and no one was injured.

Twenty-three-year-old Darren Andre Pettipas of Linwood was held in custody overnight. He will appear in Halifax Provincial Court today to face charges of resisting arrest and assaulting a police officer. 

5. Wild Kingdom

It’s moose rutting season and so we have yet more moose news, this one on a happier note than the tragedy from Monday. A bull moose was wandering around a St. Croix farm yesterday. “The moose had spent the better part of the morning chasing after the farmer’s cows,” the King’s County News reports.


Views

Photo: Stephen Archibald

1. Downtown

Stephen Archibald looks at old stuff with new eyes.

Photo: The Local Traveller

2. Acadian Village

Local Travellers Gilian Wesley and Drew Moore travel to the historic Acadian Village in West Pubnico.


Government

City

Transportation Standing Committee (2pm, City Hall)—requiring levered door handles and bathroom fixtures is worse than 14 Hitlers.

Gigantic buildings at Quinpool and Robie (6:30pm, Maritime Hall, Halifax Forum)—this is an open house to show the public details about two development proposals. The first involves 28-storey and 12-storey buildings on the site of the Armco building at the corner of Quinpool and Robie, consisting of 201 residential units atop some unspecified amount of retail space. The second proposal is for a 24-storey building on Robie Street, just to the north of the first proposal, with 112 residential units and 81 hotel rooms. I’m not one to say height is always an issue, but the scale of these buildings is enormous—for comparison sake, the tallest building in Halifax is Fenwick Tower, at 32 storeys. Besides height, that’s an awful lot of new traffic generation at the already problematic Willow Tree intersection.

The usual neighbourhood concerns aside, I can’t help but look at the enormous scale of these buildings and think something is seriously amiss in the local housing market. How can these buildings be justified on strictly commercial terms? My suspicion is that real estate investors in Vancouver and Toronto are frightened of their own over-heated markets and so are instead dumping their money in Halifax, which they perceive to be relatively safe.

Province

House sits (8pm-midnight, Province House)


On Campus

Dalhousie

What Happened to Kerouac? (8pm, Dalhousie Art Gallery)—a screening of the 1986 film, which takes a look at the Beats.

Saint Mary’s

Safety Culture Symposium—a two-day event. Details here.

The Masks of Pompeii (8pm, Loyola 176)—Toph Marshall, from the Department of Classics, Near Eastern, and Religious Studies at the University of British Columbia, will talk about 15 plaster masks that survive from Pompeii.


Noticed

Peter Ziobrowski, owner of Halifax Shipping News and provider of ship info below, disagrees with my belief that the cruise ship industry is facing tough times. He points me to this Economist article that says, basically, the industry will make a lot of money by shifting operations to Asia. Maybe. But even if so, that doesn’t mean that Halifax will suddenly have a bunch of Chinese and Japanese tourists.


In the harbour

(click on vessel names for pictures and more information about the ships)

Arrivals

Fulmar, French Navy, Guardex14 to Tall Ships Quay
APL Coral, container ship, Cagliari, Italy to Fairview Cove West
NYK Meteor, container ship, New York to Fairview Cove East
Jan S, container ship, Lisbon to Pier 41
USCGC Spencer, USCG Cutter, Guardex 14 to NC4
Zim Savannah, container ship, New York to Pier 42

Departures

Amazonborg to sea
NYK Meteor to Southampton, England
APL Coral to New York

Of Note

Tomorrow’s Guardex14 exercise simulates a spill response in Bedford Basin.


Footnotes

I’ve been putting off a really interesting historic story for too long. I hope to put some attention to it today, but it requires a lot of time. Stay tuned.

Tim Bousquet

Tim Bousquet is the editor and publisher of the Halifax Examiner. Twitter @Tim_Bousquet Mastodon

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  1. Childish public tantrums? Public service as a jobs program?

    Wow! You may want to leave your prejudices at the door.

    Seems to me the nurses are fighting for workers’ rights. Oh that’s right, in our brave new corporate world workers are easily replaceable machine parts should they become too squeaky or complain too much.

    We’ll definitely get the best and brightest for our public services.

    1. The nurses have a beef and the place to deal with that is in negotiations as professionals, not but ranting and changing and using a bullhorn in the face of a police officer (who is also a unionized public servant). Blocking traffic and acting in a disrespectful manner toward a peace officer is childish and it costs the union credibility. Jessome and her NSGEU thugs put the nurses front and center for a reason, they are the only workers that they represent who the public has sympathy for.

      And yes there are sectors of the public service who do not serve an essential purpose other than to employ people. Communications NS is way over staffed, the multitude of boards both in health and education are wasteful and we have too many people enforcing too many regulations hampering our economy. Going after farm market vendors, guys selling golf balls, roadside flower beds and guys butchering turkeys points is a waste of resources.

      I am not saying this is the fault of the workers, I feel for them. Between the union agenda and the political parties there is very little in the way of hope for progressing and enhancing the civil service. They are under paid, poorly manage, there is a lack of leadership and government does not focus resource allocation. Therefore we under spend in important areas and spend money on agencies, boards and commissions that serve little purpose (this is the jobs program).

      Union chanting and ranting and cries of workers rights in the streets isn’t going to fix anything. The public is sick of the noise, the debt, the high taxes, the over spending and the pathetic services. None of this is the fault of individual workers. It is the entire system including union tactics that is broken.

    2. I agree. It amazes me how some people are seemingly okay with their fellow citizen’s charter rights being removed, as long as we save a buck. Saying “we voted for the Liberals, so there!” is silly and demonstrates a lack of understanding of protection of citizen’s from the mob. Under their logic, the holocaust was totally legit and fine because the Nazi’s won an election.

      1. It’s also an “okay if it’s not me” attitude.
        They say when it turns around and happens to them, “that’s not right because I work hard and deserve it.”
        It’s very predictable.

  2. Man, there sure is some anguished writing in the transportation standing committee report. I don’t think “those being” has been a phrase in common parlance since the 14th century. These are public documents. They should be in plain language. The clerk’s office should hire a first-rate copy editor. They should also update the look of these documents to something that is digital friendly. It looks to me like the format hasn’t changed since the 50’s. Public access is something you have to work at.;

    1. That’s been an issue for me for a while, Barry. I still have a ways to go, but already my site is more accessible than the city’s site. It’s outrageous. They’re still scanning in PDFs, rather than using the original electronic versions that can be read by readers for the visually impaired.

    2. Public documents, but also very precise policy docs. If you want the easy to digest (and misinterpret) version, read the powerpoint or press release. English sucks, frankly, consider the phrases: “Make fast the guns” or “you can’t put too much water in the reactor”.

      I agree entirely on the PDF issue. At least they aren’t using a wooden table in the process, however: http://thedailywtf.com/Articles/Web_0_0x2e_1.aspx

  3. It’s time for the public sector unions to come to grips with reality. Their childish public tantrums will not gain them favor with the public any more than wildcat strikes which cause delay in patient care. Government needs to become more efficient and programs need to meet the needs of our province within our fiscal constraints. We can no longer afford to have the public service be a jobs program. There will not be tax increases, we cannot do that and compete with other parts of North America. Service levels and rates of pay for critical services are both unacceptably low. This means not essential programs must be cut and we must focus resources on critical services. The unions trot health care workers out front but that is window dressing. The real fight it to prevent the elimination on non essential services and the staff reductions that come with them.

  4. “Worse than 14 Hitlers”. What’s so bad about door handles that actually work for people with low hand mobility?

    1. Nothing at all, imo. But it sure gets a lot of people worked up, hence my little joke.