News
Views
Government
On campus
Noticed
In the harbour
Footnotes


News

1. Misogynist students

“Dalhousie University in Halifax has launched an investigation into disturbing, sexually explicit Facebook posts attributed to male students in the faculty of dentistry,” reports CBC:

The men were part of a Facebook group called the Class of DDS 2015 Gentlemen. The group was removed from Facebook late last week.

[…]

In one post, members were polled and asked, “Who would you hate f–k?” They were given two names to vote on.

Another post shows a woman wearing a bikini. The caption says, “Bang until stress is relieved or unconscious (girl).”

[…]

Their conversations also include jokes about using chloroform on women.

The words: “Does this rag smell like chloroform to you??” were superimposed on one photo.

In response to another photo of a bikini-clad woman, two members wrote: “Can you tell me what this chloroform smells like?” and “Does this mask smell like nitrous oxide to you?”

At the link, CBC details how the group realized they had been discovered, how they reacted, and what the university is doing about it.

2. Wifi

The city has issued a request for proposals for a vendor to provide wifi in downtown Dartmouth extending to the lower half of Lake Banook, and in downtown Halifax, at Citadel Hill, and along Quinpool Avenue.

Proposed Dartmouth coverage areas:

  • Waterfront Area—below Alderney Drive: bottom of North Street to Canal Street
  • Ferry Terminal Park (included in waterfront area)
  • Alderney Landing (included in waterfront area)
  • Sullivan’s Pond—park bordered by Crichton Avenue, Hawthorn, Prince Albert Road and Ochterloney Street
  • Prince Albert Road—Between Nowlan Street and Cottage Hill Drive
  • Canal Greenway —Prince Albert Road between Ochterloney Street and Pine Street extension
  • Dartmouth Commons—Leighton Dillman Park area corner of Park Avenue and King Street down to Alderney Drive; baseball diamond area on Thistle Street and the Halifax Transit Bridge Terminal area on Thistle Street
  • Birch Cove Beach—see map
  • Ochterloney Street—Alderney Drive to Crichton Avenue
  • Portland St – Alderney Drive to Victoria Road

Proposed Halifax coverage:

  • Waterfront—Casino to the end of the boardwalk at the junction between the Nova Scotia Power Emera Building and the Halifax Seaport Market (there is a large arch sign that says “Halifax Harbourwalk” at this exact location. From the water to the east edge of Lower Water Street.
  • Barrington Street—Duke Street to Spring Garden Road.
  • Argyle Street—Duke Street to Blowers Street
  • Grand Parade Square—Bordered by Barrington Street, Duke Street,
  • Argyle Street, and Prince Street.
  • Citadel Hill—The grassy areas bordered by Rainnie Drive, Brunswick Street, and Sackville Street.
  • Spring Garden Road—Barrington Street to South Park Street
  • Quinpool Road—Robie Street to Oxford Street
  • The areas encompassing Saint Mary’s, Dalhousie and King’s College universities.

The service is also to be provided on the ferries.

Oddly, neither the maps nor the text contained in the RFP delineate the exact areas around the universities to be covered. That seems to be a big flaw in the RFP.

The wifi service is to be “free to users,” but “free” apparently means only in the immediate monetary sense because the RFP allows for, and seems to anticipate, vendor proposals that will bombard users with advertising or, even worse, have “corporate branding.” (Here comes the Scotiabank Wifi….) By any measure, advertising is a real cost to users—the whole point of it is to extract value from users and monetize it. How is that “free”? For myself, my time, my attention, and my psyche, all of which advertising consumes, have value.

In any event, the RFP envisions a 10-year contract with a vendor, with a possible five-year extension.

I don’t know. Maybe a not-so-free-to-users wifi service will be of some use to some people downtown, but it feels like this horse left the barn years ago. Most every coffee shop and bar, and the library, already have free wifi, and the hassle of waiting through a bunch of ads to get on the city’s network will just tick people off.

3. Gottingen Street buildings

Architectural renderings of the proposed Gottingen Street buildings.

The Utility and Review Board has rejected an appeal of the Halifax and West Community Council’s decision to allow for construction of two large apartment buildings on Gottingen Street. This article is behind the Examiner’s pay wall, and so available only to paid subscribers. To purchase a subscription, click here.

4. Joellan Huntley

Joellan Huntley is the woman who suffered a catastrophic brain injury in a car accident. Her family went to court to get an insurance settlement of $1 million, but the province has now taken the family to court, seeking a part of the settlement to cover Huntley’s hospitalization costs. So last week we had the bizarre and outrageous spectacle of the bed-ridden and barely communicative Huntley wheeled into the Supreme Court building to defend against the province’s move.

Yesterday morning, the Chronicle Herald published a front page editorial decrying the province’s action and demanding  it “end this cruel farce.” By afternoon, Community Services Minister Joanne Bernard issued a directive to staff to review the issue, but stopped short of intervening in the legal proceedings.

5. Examiner T-shirts and coffee mugs

I’ll be selling Examiner T-shirts and coffee mugs today, Tuesday, from 4–7pm at Charlies club, 5580 Cunard Street (at the corner of Maynard, behind the old Armoury). Price for either is $20 plus tax ($23 total). But for a mere $7 more you can buy someone a three-month gift subscription and get a mug or T-shirt for yourself for free.


Views

1. Men who hate women

Allison Sparling lists some of the men who hate women.

2. Torture

Torture is a war crime, plain and simple, says Jan Wong.

3. Skating on the Common, old school division

Photo: Stephen Archibald

Anticipating the imminent opening of The Oval, Stephen Archibald breaks out:

…a couple of snapshots of vintage skating on the Commons in about 1966. That’s about all I know; I don’t remember how I came to take the pictures or even why I might have been there.

Folks are skating on the Egg Pond  that was used for wading and punting in the summer. This is now the location of the skateboard park. The mature trees made it feel more park-esqe. The ice was natural—frozen because it was freezing out.

I’m sorry that the Oval was not named The Egg (actually I’m sort of over it).

4. Cranky letter of the day

To the Chronicle Herald:

I went to see the new library; it is awesome. I was to call my son when I got there to meet up with him. At the front desk, I asked where the pay phones were. One librarian asked another, who asked another, who concluded that the new $58 million library does not have any!

I was shocked—the old library had two on the bottom level. And the branch I usually go to—Woodlawn, a new branch, has a public pay phone inside. I heard one staff member say, “Well everyone has a cellphone.” Not everyone, not me.

[…]

Is it just me, or do you not think that this new, expensive library built “for everyone to enjoy” should have at least one public pay phone? If I had been in on the planning, it would have been a given.

 Kathleen Richardson, Dartmouth


Government

City

Halifax and West Community Council (6pm, City Hall)—there are public hearings for the proposed Daffodil Place expansion and for a proposed change in bylaws that will allow Dalhousie University to expand the amount of space used by rooftop mechanical units that exceed height restrictions from 10 percent of roof coverage to 30 percent of roof coverage.

Province

Human resources (10am, Room 233A, Johnston Building)—Duff Montgomerie, Deputy Minister at the Department of Labour and Advanced Education, will be asked about benefits for firefighters.


On campus

Today

King’s College

Mark Sampson (Tuesday, 7pm, Wilson Room, New Academic Building)—Wilson will read from his second novel, Sad Peninsula, which was published this year. The novel “takes the reader across oceans and decades, outlining the boundaries between seduction and coercion, between love and destruction, between a past that can’t be undone and a future that seems just out of reach.”

Tomorrow

Dalhousie

Magic Trip (Wednesday, 8pm, Dalhousie Art Gallery)—”the definitive end of the Beat Era and the beginning of the1960s counterculture is documented in this extraordinary film about Ken Kesey’s Merry Pranksters’ cross-country bus trip in 1964; Neal Cassady was literally at the wheel.”


Noticed

We’ve gone a couple of days without a report of a pedestrian hit by a vehicle, which unfortunately is news in itself—we were at two a day for about a week there. I fear when the foul weather returns we’ll see another spate of such incidents.

A couple of insightful readers have sent me interesting links that seem to illustrate an aspect of pedestrian incidents we haven’t much discussed: the class divide.

On the driver’s side of the equation is a 2012 study conducted by Paul K. Piff, a researcher at the Institute of Personality and Social Research at the University of California, Berkeley. Explains the New York Times:

In California, where the study was conducted, state law requires motorists to stop at crosswalks when pedestrians are present, allowing them to cross the road. Mr. Piff said his team selected a specific crosswalk to observe, then had a pedestrian appear on the edge of the curb as a car approached. As the pedestrian stepped into the road, a researcher marked down the driver’s reaction to the pedestrian. This was done with 152 drivers.

The team also watched a four-way-stop intersection over a week, noting how likely drivers were to cut in front of others when it was not their turn to go. In their observation of 274 cars, the researchers found that the more expensive ones were more likely to jump their turns in the four-way rotation, Mr. Piff said.

In addition to describing drivers’ behavior in both locations, the researcher was to indicate the sex and age of each driver as well as the age and appearance of the cars, with a “1” signifying beat-up, low-value cars and a “5” given to top-of-the-line models from the likes of BMW and Mercedes-Benz.

Mr. Piff said about eight of every 10 cars “did the right thing.”

“But you see this huge boost in a driver’s likelihood to commit infractions in more expensive cars,” he said. “In our crosswalk study, none of the cars in the beater-car category drove through the crosswalk. They always stopped for pedestrians.”

The study also found that male drivers were less likely to stop for pedestrians than were women, and that drivers of both sexes were more likely to stop for a female pedestrian than a male one.

“One of the most significant trends was that fancy cars were less likely to stop,” said Mr. Piff, adding, “BMW drivers were the worst.”

Piff includes that study with others for his TED Talk: Does Money Make You Mean?

Last Thursday in this space, I linked to a LSE lecture by Danny Dorling, who was talking about inequality. Afterwards, a reader told me that Dorling is a patron of RoadPeace, a UK organization dedicated to road safety. The group’s webpage explains:

Why RoadPeace?

Because

  • A road death is not a normal death—it is sudden, violent, unexpected, and premature
  • Every day, 5 people die on the roads in the UK and 3900 die worldwide
  • 1 in 75 of us is bereaved through a road crash

Losing a loved one in a crash is devastating. Lives are shattered, and some never recover from the trauma. Family breakdown, job loss, depression and even suicide are the unfortunate consequences of losing a loved one in this way.

Despite this

  • Crashes are still seen as unfortunate ‘accidents’, instead of preventable collisions
  • Society tolerates road death and disability as an acceptable price to pay for increased motorisation and convenience
  • Crash victims do not have the same rights or support as other victims of crime or trauma.

We have been campaigning since 1992 to change this.

Brigitte Chaudhry describes  the dismissive treatment of the relatives of road crash victims and why RoadPeace was set up:

A road death is not like a normal death.  It is a violent death – as violent as murder, and like murder, totally unexpected.  The bereaved need help, care and support at such a terrible time, especially as they face unfamiliar procedures – inquests, investigations and hearings – where knowledge of what is going on, and what their rights are, can prevent further suffering. Although well-structured support is almost automatically available to victims in other situations, the victims of road death seem to be totally ignored: they are left without any assistance – sympathy even – without proper information of how their loved ones died, and, apparently, without any rights.  The often totally innocent death of a loved one appears to be a matter of little or no importance: this diminishes them, their life appearing to be devalued because a motor vehicle was the weapon.

In perhaps the majority of cases someone has caused their death by breaking the law, yet relatives are expected to accept the occurrence as ‘an accident’, and not to expect a proper investigation, information about proceedings, or a serious prosecution of the driver responsible for the death.  If they protest they are dismissed as vindictive and accused of being vengeful. Not only are they faced with the horrendous fact of a loved one’s – often their child’s – violent death, but with an attitude to those deaths which borders on the obscene and which cannot possibly be acceptable in a civilised society.  This leaves the bereaved shocked and bewildered; it also causes deep emotional wounds.

A group of this sort is badly needed in North America, where road carnage is far higher than in Europe.

Dorling got involved with RoadPeace after he gave the lecture, Roads, Casualties and Public Health: the Open Sewers of the 21st Century, where he outlined his argument:

Every century comes with a major public health warning about the harm that we inflict on ourselves. In Britain in the nineteenth century it was the diseases we spread by tolerating open sewers. In the twentieth century it was tobacco that we slowly learnt to love then fear. In the twenty first century it is the way we tolerate how cars are allowed to travel on our roads.

My basic argument is quite simple. The argument comes not from being a road safety campaigner: it comes from being somebody who has spent a large part of his career looking at what it is that kills people at different times in our history. Every century has had a major killer. In the nineteenth century it was open sewers and poor public health which led to all kinds of disease being widespread. In the twentieth centur y the major killer, not just through lung cancer but also through heart disease and other routes, was tobacco – what is called the “tobacco epidemic”, and we are seeing the kind of down stroke of that now along with the prevention of smoking in public places. In the twenty-first century the public health epidemic is and will be more roads. This is the argument. The question is: how long will it take us to recognise this and how slow will we be to treat it in this way? Obviously we have a long and proud history of campaigning but as yet road safety has not been put on the same kind of pedestal as public health once was and tobacco still is.‘

In the talk, Dorling lays it out plainly in great detail: just as open sewers were of greatest danger to the poor, and just as working class and poor people are most likely to die from tobacco-related illnesses, so too is there a gigantic inequality issue related to road deaths. In Britain, the poorer, the younger, and the more female you are, the more likely you’ll be hit and killed by a car.

The Halifax police have stepped up their reporting on pedestrian incidents, and that’s good, but so far that reporting has only considered the age and sex of the driver and pedestrian. I think we should start collecting information on the make and age of car, and the incomes of the drivers and pedestrians as well. This would make an excellent thesis project for a grad student.


In the harbour

The seas around Nova Scotia, 5:30am Tuesday. Map: marinetraffic.com

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

High Fefeli, tanker, Saint Jean, Quebec to anchor in Bedford Basin
Perseus Leader, car carrier, Emden, Germany to Autoport, then sails for New York
Oceanex Sanderling, con-ro, St. John’s to Pier 36
Hoegh Kunsan, car carrier, Sagunto, Spain to Autoport


Footnotes

I’ll be selling Examiner T-shirts and coffee mugs today, Tuesday, from 4–7pm at Charlies club, 5580 Cunard Street (at the corner of Maynard, behind the old Armoury). Price for either is $20 plus tax ($23 total). But for a mere $7 more you can buy someone a three-month gift subscription and get a mug or T-shirt for yourself for free.

Gift Subscriptions now available!

This is a special deal good only for the month of December. Buy a gift subscription for someone else (or yourself) and get newly minted Halifax Examiner swag—a T-shirt or a coffee mug. Here’s the deal:

• Buy a three-month gift subscription for $30 and get a piece of swag.

OR

• Buy a one-year gift subscription at the discounted price of $100, and also get a piece of swag.

Click here to purchase your gift subscription. For the three-month gift subscription use the discount code Holiday90. For the one-year gift subscription, use the discount code Holiday365. Once payment is made, we’ll follow up to get details.

No credit card? No problem. We also accept cheques, email transfers and PayPal. Just email subscribe@halifaxexaminer for details.

Tim Bousquet

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

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  1. On the topic of pedestrian-driver collisions, a quick look at the January – November 2014 collision stats report seems to indicate that the *drivers* are much more likely to be male (64% of drivers involved were male, versus 48% of HRM as a whole) but that pedestrians aren’t overly likely to be female (54% of pedestrians, versus 52% of HRM as a whole).

  2. RE: Cars and Pedestrians

    “The car is not only an object of convenience, beauty, and status. It is also a cultural and psychological object, associated with the driver’s internal mental and emotional dynamics, our ego. Cars are an extension of the self, they are ego-laden objects that can be used both positively and negatively to get our own way on the road. The automobile offers us a means to exercise direct control over our environment. When we enter the car we use it as an outlet for regaining a sense of control. Automobiles are powerful, and obedient. They respond instantly and gratifyingly to our command, giving us a sense of well being that comes with achieving control over one’s environment.

    What happens when someone thwarts our sense of freedom? For example, while driving along in a pack of vehicles, a car in the left lane suddenly darts into your lane just ahead of you. Your foot automatically lifts from the gas pedal and taps the brakes, just enough to maintain distance. At this point, aggressive drivers feel thwarted because they were forced to alter what they were doing. That driver forced you to lift your foot two inches. “What a moron. What an idiot.””

    http://www.drdriving.org/articles/

  3. Not thrilled with the tone of some of the comments here bashing Evan. You might not agree with a post, but the name calling and belittling of someone is not appreciated. A lot of the responses to people with Evan’s point of view seem to take on the same tone that those people like to condemn when they are on the other side of the fence. Having said that, I now look forward to being called a “crybaby, rape apologist, etc”….

  4. I am glad that Evan has changed a conversation about men training to be medical practitioners who use anaesthesia joking in public about using anaesthesia to rape women to a conversation about some software developer having hurt feelings because “#NOTALLMEN!” Because as we know, the right of men not feel like generalizations are being made about them is far more important than the right of woman to not be afraid that their medical practitioner will sexually assault them while they’re unconscious.

    Yo Evan, you got any feelings about ethics in video game journalism?

    1. Wait. What?

      There’s s blog post shitting on men because they’re men. That’s all I was annoyed with. I didn’t change anything. I left twitter because of that nonsense and still can’t avoid it.

      I don’t support the dentistry students. But I also don’t think their actions should be held against me until I die having not raped anyone. Because privledge.

      I can just as easily say “every woman will potentially lie about being raped” and assume every woman is part of the 8% until proven otherwise. Its technically true. Its also unfair to the majority of women who don’t lie.

      But, double standard and whatnot.

    2. Chris902 you have captured the problem very well, and so concisely. No matter what restorative justice or other ‘penalties’ these men endure, I wouldn’t want anyone I know sitting in their dentist chair.

      Dear Evan, I’m not holding the dental students’ behaviour against you. Thanks for participating in the discussion but I wish you wouldn’t yell (your first post, which, apparently, isn’t about anything on the Halifax Examiner page).

    1. That was great. I wasn’t expecting it when I clicked on your link — I almost didn’t click — and it changed my mood. So thank you!

  5. And by the way, we middle-aged old farts spent a lovely afternoon Saturday exploring the new library and were blown away by the design, great and small. Such attention to detail and comfort. Loved it!

  6. “We want comments that are productive and extend the conversation, and will not tolerate or approve name-calling or disrespectful interaction between commenters.”

    Slipping a bit today.

  7. Putting aside Evan’s offended and delicate sensibilities for a moment, I’d like to bring attention to a hitherto unmentioned fact about Tim Bousquet. He seems to be a Jethro Tull fan, judging by the title of today’s Morning File: “Skating away on the thin ice of new day” The album War Child (1974) featured a song called “Skating Away on the Thin Ice of the New Day.”

    1. “fan” might be too strong of a word here. I grew up as a white dude in the United States in the 1970s, so there’s a cultural context that I simply can’t escape. That said, I do think “War Child” is probably the strongest Tull album. Flame away.

      1. The same applies to me, except that I was a white guy in the Maritimes. There are certainly some good songs on “War Child”, with the exception of “Bungle in the Jungle”, but I also like some of the album “Aqualung,” and the 1972 compilation album “Living in the Past.” I haven’t listened to the one song, two LP sides “Thick as a Brick” in about 30 years, and I don’t know whether I could face it now.

        1. You have taken me in one giant leap back to the Jethro Tull concerts at Maple Leaf Gardens in the mid 70s – think it was ’73/’75/’77 – hadn’t thought of them in years. Thanks for the memories 🙂

  8. Evan, you need to stop being I’m Not That Guy and start listening. I don’t hate men. But I hate what male privilege does to women. I hate rape culture. I hate the casual dismission of women as equal and autonomous free human beings. And I hate the phenomenon whereby men who protest too much about what wonderful caring men they are *immediately* ride in to derail honest conversations about male arrogance, patriarchal assumptions of control over women and their bodies, and the invisible privilege in which men swim in our culture, every day.

    Or, more briefly, what James said.

    1. I try listening. And I get lambasted even when I agree.

      I literally lost a job for supporting equality because apparently some people are more equal than others.

      But I have privilege so am not allowed to disagree with the stereotyping of half a species.

  9. There’s a new public payphone in the plaza in front of the library – available 24 hours a day.

    The attention to pedestrian and car crashes is appreciated.

  10. Evan, the point of her blog post is to say that it doesn’t matter what “kind” of person you are, there are still men of those “kinds” that do hate women.

    I don’t take Ally’s post as saying that all men hate women. Just that there are ways in which we allow women to be hated, even if we don’t call it that or recognize it that way.

    Every time this topic comes up I get that instinctive, reactive flinch of “oh god, please don’t say or write or tweet the wrong thing here” because it can feel frustrating and as though you’re being called a bad guy even though you don’t do anything wrong. Why paint all guys with the same brush? Because we all have a part to play (it sounds like you already are playing your part, so just keep it up!).

    Accept that women (and many other groups of people) have been treated like NON-humans by people who look like you and I pretty much forever. They are inherently afraid and they shouldn’t be.

    Ally’s strong words clearly had an effect on us and I applaud her for that.

    Next time you feel frustrated because you think you’re being painted with the same brush as a rapist or woman-beater, just think about how frustrating it would be to actually be raped or beaten and then have people around you make jokes about it.

  11. I’m with Kathleen Richardson!

    The cybernerd airheads who designed the «New Library» which «desperately needed» a recording studio for the garage-band and err… «popsicle» microphone crowd; WiFi; and brain-rotting, time-wasting «gaming terminals», could never be expected to understand CIVILISED conveniences like a Public Telephone. Those types can’t even sit through a 1-hour concert without ignorantly revving-up their «communication devices» multiple times to the distraction and annoyance of everyone around them. A the rate we’re going we should soon see WiFi-guarded, iPod actuated toilets!

    The «New Library» sounds like the kind of place I’d want to ESCAPE FROM, not plan to spend any more time in than it takes to grab a book and RUN to the nearest phone booth or coin-op lavatory!

    1. It does seem like a curious oversight, although it could be that the provision/wires are there for public telephones and Bell-Aliant hasn’t come around to install the phones yet.

  12. Are you familiar with the concept of white privilege? Male privilege works the same way. Of course you didn’t ask to be born a man. But you benefit from it. And while you may be the kindest, sweetest, most amazing guy on the planet (clearly not, because MY fella is, but maybe you’re close!) because of the actions of a few rat’s asses like these guys, you might encounter suspicion from some women who have suffered in perhaps invisible ways because of these toadstools. Be patient. Keep being kind, tolerant and understanding. When people know you personally, such labels disappear. Hopefully just like when you get to know a woman, you think of her as not a ‘neo-feminist’ who hates men, but as Christine, or Joanne, or Natasha….

    1. I know plenty of women who I wouldn’t call a neo-feminist. I know plenty who really are feminists. And there are plenty who actively campaign against men in the name of equality.

      Look at the article; it goes as far as saying “Men who say they don’t hate women hate women. ”

      WTF?

    1. To elaborate further, this whole “If you’re not with me you’re against me” thing doesn’t really work.

      I can support your message. I can agree with you. I can literally punch out any man who I witness laying a hand on a woman (and have)

      And that’s not good enough. I’m a man, therefore inherently evil. It’s becoming the norm to shit on men /just for being men/ and I’m getting sick of it.

      1. If you are one of the men who stand up for women and confront those who do hate women then don’t worry about it.

        How did this conversation go from talking about misogynist comments and actions of Dal students to Evan’s feelings?