1. Dal Lousy

It seems so straightforward.  A medical student utters threats and is charged and banned from campus. Good job keeping us safe, Dalhousie!


Oh no, wait.


Would this be the African Nova Scotian student who was charged with animal cruelty and immediately suspended from medical school even though the charges were dismissed with no evidence? And yet, barely a semester later, when the male Dentistry students were found to have spent three and a half years threatening and harassing their female classmates, the university initially declined to suspend them and only eventually removed them from clinic for less than a month, and then only after deep concern for their mental health and possibility of self-harm. And we were informed that there was no university policy that required the men to be suspended and that certainly there was no precedent that demanded it. And these same male Dentistry students were kept anonymous and protected by the institution and given a restorative justice process, and those who objected to them continuing at the school were accused of being on a “witch hunt” and of not understanding restorative justice.


And the whole university then bent over backwards, including their own fee-paying female classmates, to educate them and help them understand their behaviour and why it was harmful. And we were told what a wonderful learning experience was had by all. And the women even took blame for participating in rape culture themselves! And all the men graduated on time, because it apparently only takes less than a month to be totally accountable. That is, everyone except the one who actually blew the whistle. Well anyway, we were told that the restorative justice process was very successful, and not a “soft option,” and it was very important for everyone to not rush to judgment and to give chances and to not ruin careers over one youthful indiscretion for three and a half years. And there were reports and promises of changes because when the Dentistry men threaten their classmates we all have to examine ourselves and the institution after all, because there were so many complex factors in their culture that contributed to them making threats to their classmates, like a competitive environment and all.


But if you’re a Black student? Well, then the university suspends you immediately, even though the charges are dismissed. That was a cat you see, not a mere woman. And of course the article doesn’t mention that the charges were dismissed with no evidence, and only links to the story of Tynes pleading “not guilty,” just so that we understand this Black man is extra violent and bad and already criminal. And it’s not possible at all that those charges could have been racially motivated in the first place, not in a town like Truro where there is positively no racism like people driving around openly in Confederate flag bedazzled vehicles or anything.

Not racist at all photo from Lynn Jones
Not racist at all photo from Lynn Jones

And could the fact that this incident took place in the admissions office possibly suggest that these “threats” took place in the context of Tynes’ fighting to get back into medical school? Is it possible that the stress of being removed from school and being targeted both at his home in Truro and at the institution may have caused him to become frustrated? But there is no concern for the mental health of a Black student facing his career and life being ruined, not like the male Dentistry students. Racism couldn’t possibly cause mental health problems after all. (Mental health problems caused due to racism at Dalhousie? There’s no app for that.) It’s not possible there’s anything else going on with him other than him being dangerous. Black people are very dangerous and violent you see, and should always be treated as a threat. Prison basically is better than counseling for us.


No, Dentistry men are worthy of rehabilitation and nothing is more important than their careers. And women need to help men change and learn and grow. But if you’re a Black man, then you’re automatically threatening and there is no possible way you could be rehabilitated. And there is no restorative justice process or therapy or second chance or healing or understanding or complex factors or education for you. Black men get charged right away and taken to court. Even though restorative justice was developed in Indigenous and Black communities in the first place to confront disproportionate incarceration and criminalization. But I guess I just don’t understand restorative justice the way white people do.

Oh look. If you’re white and you steal drugs from patients you don’t get removed from medical school either. In fact, the medical school will “remain supportive.” But Tynes is banned not only from campus — something that they never could muster up for the Dentistry men (in fact, it took them weeks to remove them from contact with women in the clinic) — but given a 25 km restraining order which effectively bans him from the city. I bet the South End is safe now the Black man has been removed!

Gosh, it’s almost like if you’re a white medical student charged with murder the coverage is more sympathetic.

I’ll quote Darryl Leroux here:

So, after we found out that Dalhousie is willing to do just about anything to ensure that its white Canadian and American male dentistry students who threaten to sexually violate (queer) women can finish their studies, we find out that an Afro-NS student who allegedly threatens Dalhousie staff is treated exclusively through the criminal justice system, which sentences him to draconian conditions, including a 25-kilometre “restraining order” from campus. He’s basically banned from the city where he lived and under house arrest in Truro. This is all linked to previous allegations of animal cruelty that did not turn out to be true, which the article fails to mention (it actually links to the story of him pleading not guilty, not to the fact that the case was dismissed).

Oh, and Dalhousie actually suspended this student from medical school when he was charged with animal cruelty in the first place. Lesson to be learned –> A group of white men making threats to the safety and well-being of women for over three years online are worthy of “restorative justice” or a “learning opportunity” and above all mustn’t face any sanction that will ruin their reputation. In other words, they must be protected by the institution. A black man who is charged with animal cruelty must be suspended, because he’s dangerous. When the charges are dropped, he must remain suspended, because he’s dangerous. When he finally (allegedly) acts aggressively because the institution and his white neighbours have literally ruined his reputation (and future), the institution can pat itself on the back for a job well done.

I’m probably just reading race into all this again, though. No, this story couldn’t possibly have anything to do with racism. We’re just being kept safe.


Update, 11:15am:

This is Tim. El asked me to add an update after I showed her two other other articles.

First is the case of “Charles Edward John Barrons, 22, [who] was arrested Sept. 12 after a man allegedly forced his way into a woman’s apartment, assaulted and threatened a male guest and sexually assaulted her,” reported the Chronicle Herald:

Barrons is charged with break and enter, property mischief, uttering threats, sexual assault and two counts of assault.

He has elected to be tried by a Nova Scotia Supreme Court judge and jury. The June 12 hearing in Halifax provincial court will determine if there is sufficient evidence to proceed to trial.

Barrons remains free on a $5,000 recognizance that requires him to live at an address on Lemarchant Street in Halifax or at his family’s home in Oakville, Ont. He must follow a 10 p.m.-6 a.m. curfew unless he’s in the company of one of his parents, dealing with a medical emergency or studying at Dal’s Killam Memorial Library.

He can’t consume alcohol or drugs or possess any weapons. He also is prohibited from having contact with the two alleged victims and another woman and from being within 10 metres of the address where the incident occurred

[emphasis added]

That’s right: a man accused of actual sexual assault and actual assault is ordered to say just 10 metres from the scene of the alleged incident, while a second man, accused of uttering threats, and not actually harming anyone, is ordered to stay 25 kilometres away. You can draw your own conclusions as for the reasons for the differing orders.

Barron’s case is still before the courts, and the charges against him have not been proven.

Second is this article about why the animal cruelty charges were dropped against Stephen Gregory Tynes:

The Truro case of a Halifax man charged with wilfully causing the death of a cat has been officially dismissed.

The Crown Attorney`s office in Truro offered no evidence in court, so Stephen Gregory Tynes`not guilty plea has been vacated and the charge dismissed.

The Crown told the Truro Daily News they received information confirming significant issues in the case relating to identification.

The Crown is quoted as saying there wasn`t a realistic prospect of conviction, and as such, it`s their obligation to cease the prosecution.

Twenty-nine year old Tynes was arrested over the summer after a woman reported seeing a man on Fairview Drive pick a cat up and swing it into the ground.

[emphasis added]

El tells me that the problem with the identification is that witnesses saw a white man abusing the cat.

Now back to El….

2. Speaking of keeping us safe…

The Halifax police conducted almost 7,000 street checks in 2014.

“The practice is quite controversial in Toronto, where it is called “carding” and people, many black, have been stopped and asked for their ID.”

Not to worry though, Black people, because Halifax police assure us the practice is “not based on race, rather suspicion.” Here is an example of suspicious behaviour:

“‘So it may be we saw black individuals near a building late at night, stopped, harassed talked to them and they said they didn’t work there and they said they were just walking by. That could be a street check,’ he said.”

Note: being outside, being outside at night, being near a building, standing, not working at a building, or walking by a a building are all suspicious behaviours.

To  be fair, there’s not a lot of buildings in the city of Halifax or anything, so standing or walking by one would certainly be a rare occurrence.

Image from
Image from

Children can’t walk by this building though.

Not suspicious behaviours: drug dealing in the South End.

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Image from

Seal: walking at night, doesn’t work there, very suspicious.

The police assure us they’re not in the “harassment business” (important: don’t stand outside the harassment business at night if you don’t work there.)

“We want to be in the business of being able to gather information, try to prevent crime. We want to try to intervene if persons are potentially planning something to show that we’re here and we’re watching.”

For example, people walking by the building late at night could be planning on littering, I guess. 

When I lived in the South End, I used to like to go running late at night in the summer when it was cooler.  My partner, a Black man, would come with me so I wasn’t out at night alone. Since he wasn’t a runner himself, he would run with me for a bit and then wait at the bottom of the hill while I ran repeats. He had to stop coming though, because every time he waited for me the police would drive by and stop and interrogate him about what he was doing there. Because a Black man in running clothes at night in the South End couldn’t possibly be out for a run or anything. And then I’d have to run back and prove that he was waiting for me and that we lived in the neighbourhood. Meanwhile, the neighbourhood was infested by sleep watchers and flashers and public masturbators and what not, but Black people being outside at night were certainly very suspicious.  They should have taken out a 25km restraining order on us just to be safe.


Kirk Johnson probably doesn’t think this picture is so cute though. 

3. Hay, that’s Beary sad

Meanwhile, while Halifax police are questioning people walking by buildings, Baley the hay bale bear was being brutally dismembered!

Image from
Image from Jayme Melrose via


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Image from

After. They stole his bow tie too, what a sin.

Maybe Stephen Gregory Tynes snuck back into Halifax and did it? Are we sure?

I absolutely love the quotes by Jayme Melrose in the article. When life gives you dismembered hay bale bears, make lemonade:

“They were very big and very heavy bales,” said Melrose. “It must have been a team-building activity or some crew of very strong people. I really marvel at the strength and determination of the people who wrecked him.”

To every thing there is a season, turn turn turn:

“We can now use him to mulch our gardens,” said Melrose. “He’ll protect the soil in the winter time and we’ll also turn him into our platform from where we’ll smash our pumpkins at our end of the season Harvest Hootenanny and Pumpkin Smash.”

Maybe someone said it was berry picking season in Nova Scotia and someone mistook that for beary picking season? (Boooooooo.)

YouTube video

Just because there can never be enough Project Grizzly clips.

4. Beds. For Sale. Lightly Used.

Habitat for Humanity got 200 beds from the athletes’ village at the Pan Am Games. Students can get the beds for $125.

“The beds are lightly used, but they have a story behind them.

They were used in the athletes’ village at the Pan Am and Parapan Am games.”

That is a good deal. And the money also goes to a wonderful cause. It’s just, I wouldn’t be so sure these beds are lightly used, if the Pan Am Games are anything like the Olympics.  Quote from that article:

“I’m running a friggin’ brothel in the Olympic Village! I’ve never witnessed so much debauchery in my entire life.”

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Image from

I’m so glad there’s a record of me searching “cats having sex on bed” on Google now.

True story: I volunteered at the Pan Am Games in Winnipeg, and at the end we were cleaning up the athletes’ village and all the mattresses had been dragged into a gym. So of course we climbed up onto the balcony of the gym and jumped onto the mattresses. And then literally a giant cloud of pubic hair arose around us. And the cleaning staff was like, “why would you do that, do you know how many stains we’ve seen on those mattresses?” As usual, I’m just saying.

5. It’s all the film industry’s fault

Despite more job losses in the film industry, Stephen McNeil insists that cutting the film tax credit is necessary because the province “can not afford to keep paying a former incentive of 65 cents on the dollar, when it has to pay for so many public necessary services and programs.”

Because the government is doing such a good job providing those.

Of course the government never subsidizes corporations or anything. 

image from
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1. “The “Bras d’Or Lake Scenic Goat Track”

Cranky letter of the day:

So Michele McKenzie, interim CEO of Tourism Nova Scotia, reports an upswing in the numbers of tourists to the province (Aug. 27 story). This is great news, of course. I am happy that so many of them choose to come and spend their time and money with us in Cape Breton.

So it’s a shame that the beauty and splendour of our island is missed by drivers who, rather than enjoying a leisurely and pleasurable drive on our roads, are forced to navigate the slalom of potholes that lies in wait for them. Here in Inverness County, we have some of the most poorly maintained roads in the province.

The Facebook group “The Potholes of Inverness County” has done much to bring this to the attention of those responsible for keeping the roads passable, and, of course, we understand the funding issues that apparently make the much-needed repaving unlikely in the next five years. And herein lies the disconnect between the aims of Tourism Nova Scotia and the Department of Transportation.

If we are going to try to attract tourists using road designations such as the “Bras d’Or Lake Scenic Drive,” surely the province has a duty to ensure that their visit is at best pleasant and, at worst, not dangerous?

Marble Mountain Road, the “scenic drive” in question, was recently voted in a CAA poll as the third-worst road in Nova Scotia. The recent patching exercise has reduced the number of dangerous holes, but has done nothing to make the road less lumpy. Of the 300-plus signatures collected on a local petition, nearly half came from visitors clearly unsatisfied with their experience.

If an accident occurs due to the condition of the road, who will be responsible? The Department of Transportation for not maintaining the road in a safe condition or Tourism Nova Scotia for luring people into danger?

Either make these tourist roads good, or remove their designation altogether. Or designate them more honestly. The “Bras d’Or Lake Scenic Goat Track,” anybody?

Robert Woodley, West Bay

I of course had to look up the Potholes of Inverness County  (“This group has been created to celebrate the finest, all-Caper, shock-smashing, tire-shredding, teeth-rattling potholes in the county. Please feel free to post photos of your favourites and add some well-constructed prose to convey the magnificence of these monumental failures of the road-makers craft”) and let me tell you, it gets real on that Facebook page.  There’s songs about potholes and everything.

Image from Potholes of Inverness County.
Image from Potholes of Inverness County.

Safety first!

Guess people will need to win the lottery to pay for all the car damage.

2. You should get on this, Tim Bousquet

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This seemingly innocuous article about the Freak Lunch Box mural spawned some pretty harsh commentary. But this exchange is hilarious

diddymacs: We should celebrate all of the city’s history from the year 2000! Let’s build a statue of Peter Kelly!

novaman: @diddymacs …yeah…they could erect it on McNab’s island. Make it about 9 stories high, wearing a robe and hood, outstretched arms and facing towards the Atlantic and call it Father Halifax.

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. Hold it.

    Women are in danger and you’re missing that completely because you’re hyper focussed.

    I fully understand the importance of looking critically at institutions such as Dal to examine how they may treat students or staff differently based on gender, race, sexuality etc.

    This story is fully absent of reports from victims. Unfortunately this situation could have real consequences for the safety of women of all races inside or outside of Dal. A more thorough look at what is happening at Dalhousie in relation to this male student needs to be investigated before jumping to conclusions.

    You wrote that charges were dropped in the case of the cat because of lack of evidence. A common challenge for women trying to prove threats to their safety to the justice system. You highlighted that a witness reported the person who injured the cat was white. This male Dal student could easily be characterized as a white male if someone didn’t tell you he identifies as african nova scotian. You have taken a women’s safety issue and painted it exclusively as racial discrimination because you chose not to look deeper into the details of this situation.

    Is there racism in this city? Absolutely. Should more be done to keep women safe from white males? Hell yeah. Does that mean that in this case, when a male identifies as african nova scotian, that we should assume he’s the victim and the accounts of women don’t matter. No.

    The first voice of women matter regardless of the race or mixed race of any man.

  2. A restraining order that keeps someone under house arrest? I converted metric to miles and realized that here in my small town in Indiana, the person being restrained wouldn’t be able to shop, go to a doctor, get gas for a car, go to the library – and would the restraining order apply if the person were traveling out of the area to obtain these services? Is there a Canadian equivalent of the ACLU? This is nuts.