I’m Katie Toth, an early-morning reporter and opinionator, and you can follow me on Twitter.
1. A debate the flavour of unseasoned chicken
I wasn’t paying attention to much of the Nova Scotia Provincial Leadership Debate. However, I did feel affirmed when I heard through the grapevine — from a local urbanist who bumped into some other people I know — that it was a real snoozer.
Maybe they had more stage presence, but on the screen, all three men looked like small wooden dolls controlled by talking robots.
“It was an unremarkable debate,” writes Mike Gorman for the CBC, “and that’s probably just what (Premier) Stephen McNeil and his team were hoping for.”
Among political wonks, there’s a theory that if a debate focuses on taking shots at one dude, that can sometimes be perversely good for the guy being raked over the coals. It means we’re talking about them in a frontrunner-ly way, right? This is why PR people are always like “the other candidate” or “the other brand” and refuse to name their competition like they fear conjuring up Voldemort.
Thus, the strategy: McNeil responded to criticisms of his campaign from Burrill and Baillie, but he didn’t return the favour. A Liberal official told Gorman, “If they aren’t talking about their own plans we aren’t going to do it for them.”
A couple milquetoast “highlights:”
• McNeil said that he’d solve the problems of doctor shortages in Nova Scotia by moving to a “collaborative care model” that involved more nurses and nurse practitioners. Baillie said that McNeil was skirting the point, and that while he had years to work with doctors, “you demonized them. You called them greedy.”
Pressed by Burrill about whether there was a “health care crisis” in Nova Scotia, McNeil said, “no…there are challenges.”
• Baillie has been tacking left of the Liberals for much of the election, but he veered to the right when talking about fracking. “I do believe communities should have that choice,” he said.
• Baillie also had some concerns about Nova Scotia’s rollout of federal marijuana legalization — saying the age of 18 is “way too low” to buy weed and we need to “protect our kids,” who are probably skipping first period to smoke on the Halifax Common as you read this.
Meanwhile, it appears McNeil wants to make sure our teachers and unemployed film workers can at least numb their pain with some high-quality edibles, which he says was “never part of the conversation” around legalization, according to Becky Dingwell (who was following the debate for The Coast.)
What McNeil glossed over was the reason recreational edibles haven’t been discussed at length in Canada: they’re not going to be legal. At least, not for a while. According to a recent email from Health Canada for another story I was working on, federal legalization starts only with legal “dried and fresh cannabis, cannabis oil as well as seeds and plants for personal cultivation” — and that’s for a reason.
Following the coming into force of the Cannabis Act, the Government will develop and publish regulations — in line with the Task Force recommendation — to permit the sale of edible products. Once regulatory oversight for these products — such as measures to protect public health and safety, standardized serving sizes and potency, child-resistant packaging requirements, and standardized health warnings — has been developed and put in place, it is the intention of the Government to allow edibles to be sold.
TL;DR -— they’re working on it. But the feds want to start with legalizing non-edible products first, which are a little easier to control and harder for your seven-year-old to confuse with a gummy bear. But hey, if McNeil wants to start a discussion about his favourite pot brownie recipe, I’m all ears.
A Forum Research Poll released Thursday says almost 80 per cent of respondents in Nova Scotia are certain they plan to vote, even though all the major party leaders have unfavourable ratings. McNeil is the most disliked, with a -32 favourability score. Baillie and Burrill both have favourability scores at about -3. That said, support for the Liberals still remains higher than the PC or New Democratic parties.
2. Tires on fire
In Brookfield, community members say they’re not satisfied with Lafarge Canada’s system for burning tires in its kiln. The company says they’re working on building community trust. Francis Campbell has the full report for the award-winning strike outlet, Local Xpress.
3. More from Local Xpress
Chris Lambie reports that overworked Crown attorneys aren’t satisfied with the new hires who were going to deal with sexual assault cases — because they won’t be front-line prosecutors.
4. There’s a three-way race in Queen’s – Shelburne
Paul Withers reports for the CBC:
The South Shore riding is the only seat outside metro Halifax without an incumbent on the ballot.
All three major parties have a claim on the riding, which was created in a 2012 redistribution that merged traditionally Liberal Shelburne with traditionally Tory Queens and elected a New Democrat MLA in 2013.
1. Students need legal recourse over campus rape
So says Charlotte Kiddell, chairperson of Canadian Federation of Students-NS (disclosure: I was a volunteer with the CFS-NS in 2010-11, which now feels like decades ago), in an open letter published in Local Xpress. Kiddell says that the provincial government should write a law about how universities should deal with and track sexual assaults. Instead, she says,
The Liberals have opted to address the issue of sexualized violence on campus in a memorandum of understanding (MOU), a non-binding document that offers no recourse to students should universities violate its terms.
The MOU only commits universities to adopting stand-alone sexual assault policies; it does not commit the dedicated funding for survivor supports, and data collection and reporting that students are calling for. The limited language in the MOU is brief and vague. If offers no clear guidelines for policy development and student engagement, leaving institutions scrambling to develop policy and students clambering to hold administrators accountable.
Getting the message out can be rough for Steven James MacNeil, who’s running in Cape Breton for the Atlantica Party, but he doesn’t mind the confusion of his name with the current premier’s if it gets him some accidental votes: “Hopefully, people get us confused because he’s more popular than me.”
From a story in the New York Times about the Trump-instigated American-student boom: U.S. student applications for Mount Saint Vincent University have more than doubled this year.
Sad desk lunch is on the rise. A new study by Dalhousie University researchers shows that almost 40 per cent of Canadians eat lunch at their desk. And — flouting the stereotypes of time-wealth and underemployed luxury on the idyllic East Coast — Atlantic Canadians actually eat lunch at their desks the most. Sad! You can read the whole Canadian Press article by Lia Levesque in the Globe and Mail here.
Dartmouth Food Crawl is today.
No public meetings.
Getting Things Done (Friday, 9am, Exhibition Room, Medjuck Architecture Building) — this is the final day to see this exhibition showcasing the architecture of Vorarlberg, Austria.
The Icarus Report
(Prepared by Tim)
“The Transportation Safety Board has found that approach procedures, poor visibility and reduced airfield lighting led to the March 29, 2015, plane crash at Halifax Stanfield International Airport that injured more than two dozen people,” reports Cassie Williams for the CBC. The details are frightening:
Just after midnight on March 29, 2015, Air Canada Flight 624 from Toronto approached the Halifax airport in gusty winds and heavy snowfall.
The twin engine Airbus 320 carrying 133 passengers and five crew members then hit some power lines and slammed into the ground 200 metres short of Runway 05. The jet then bounced into the air, where it tore through a navigation antenna.
The plane hit the ground a second time, about 70 metres before the runway threshold. One of its engines and its landing gear were torn off as it skidded along the runway amid a shower of sparks for another 570 metres, according to the Transportation Safety Board.
The TSB said the plane was so heavily damaged in the crash it was “destroyed.”
And then there’s this:
In its report, the TSB said the investigation highlighted several risk factors when it comes to passenger safety. Kathy Fox, TSB chair, said during evacuation of the plane, some passengers exited with their luggage, creating delays.
“It is important that passengers pay attention to the pre-flight safety briefings, review the safety features card and wear clothing that is appropriate to the season,” the report said. [emphasis added]
Um, “you’re supposed to wear a parka, snow boots, heavy leather gloves, and a ski mask on the plane in expectation that the plane will crash in a blizzard and you’ll be stuck on the snow-covered tarmac for an hour” is, shall we say, not helpful advice. It might even be stupid advice. It’s definitely blaming the victim.
Yesterday, there was lots more fun in the air:
• WestJet flight 3421 from St. John’s to Halifax experienced a shit ton (that’s the technical term) of turbulence so dropped from 20,000 feet to 18,000 feet, and only told air traffic control while doing so.
• WestJet flight 3408 from Fredericton to Toronto “declared PAN PAN and informed of an engine failure (left engine)” and made an emergency landing in Ottawa. “PAN PAN” roughly translates as “holy fuck! we all might die! but as horrible as things might be in mere moments, right at this second we’re OK, we think.”
• Two passengers on WestJet flight 520 from Winnipeg to Toronto were “intoxicated and belligerent during the flight. Flight attendants gave both passengers a notice from the captain.” Cops met the passengers in Toronto and brought them to Sweaty Betty’s, where their behaviour fit right in.
• A passenger on WestJet flight 3472 from Montreal to Toronto was “disruptive” and after the plane landed “refused to get off the aircraft.” Cops came on the plane and did that David Dao thing they do.
• There is nothing more ridiculously stupid than purposefully jumping out of a airplane, but yesterday a plane full of wannabe parachutists ran into trouble before they even got off the ground in Dundas, Ontario. “During the takeoff roll, the aircraft veered off the unpaved strip on the west side of the runway. The nose wheel dug into the soft ground and separated from the aircraft. Consequently, the propeller struck the ground and the aircraft ground looped approximately 90 degrees to the right. The left wing made contact with terrain during the ground loop and was significantly damaged. There were no reported injuries to the pilot or the 5 passengers onboard.”
• Er… “a Bell 212 helicopter operated by the Government of Canada – Department of Transport, was conducting sling load operations from the Canadian Coast Guard Vessel Bartlett to the Ivory Light Station on Ivory Island, BC. As the pilot was checking the helicopter’s vertical reference, the pilot’s life vest inadvertently came in contact with the release switch and a first load dropped. Subsequently, the pilot’s left leg pocket seam on the immersion suit engaged the guard and activated the switch on the collective, which caused a second load to drop as well. The loads consisted of non-polluting organic waste and were released on pre-determined safe flight paths. All materials were recovered. An investigation of the aircraft equipment and the ergonomic impact of the pilot’s personal protective equipment is underway.”
• After Westjet flight 3176 from Yellowknife to Calgary landed, a disruptive passenger on sat on the ramp and refused to leave. Calgary cops attended.
• A helicopter taking five passengers from the Spray Lakes Provincial Park in Alberta to a “prepared snow-covered field landing site in Marvel Pass” had a bit of an issue: “During what seemed a normal approach to the field landing site, the aircraft made an uncommanded slow yaw to the right, completing as many as ten revolutions. Simultaneously, the pilot declared he was ‘out of pedal,’ or words to that effect. The pilot landed with the helicopter settling several feet into the snow up to the underbelly of the aircraft.” Hey, but no big deal, the passengers “off boarded” and the helicopter went on to take other passengers on other flights because what the hell, nothing to worry about.
• WestJet flight 1533 from Phoenix to Edmonton was about to land but had to zoom up because some idiot in a recreational plane was two nautical miles ahead and 800 feet below.
• a Zetta Jet from Teterboro, New Jersey to Montreal landed and “hit some of the temporary edge lights before coming to a stop on the runway. Both left gear tires blew out during the event and caused minor damage to the rear fuselage and the left engine cowling. A NOTAM valid at the time of the occurrence indicated that, due to construction work, the width of Runway 06L/24R was reduced to 75 feet and its length to 5000 feet.”
In the harbour
10:30am: Atlantic Cartier, ro-ro container, arrives at Fairview Cove from Portsmouth, Virginia
10:30am: Reykjafoss, general cargo, sails from Pier 42 for sea
11:30am: Baltic Highway, car carrier, sails from Autoport for sea
11:30am: Brotonne Bridge, container ship, sails from Fairview Cove for New York
1pm: Nolhanava, ro-ro cargo, sails from Pier 36 from Saint-Pierre
4:30pm: Vera D, container ship, sails from Pier 41 for Mariel, Cuba
9pm: YM Movement, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from Colombo, Sri Lanka
11pm: Atlantic Cartier, ro-ro container, sails from Fairview Cove for Liverpool, England
11pm: Ningbo Express, container ship, sails from Fairview Cove for Jebel Ali, Dubai
Here’s that cat video you wanted.