News

1. Shitty landlord

Yesterday, Dal Legal Aid issued the following press release:

DALHOUSIE STUDENTS EXPLOITED BY LANDLORD

A trio of current and former Dalhousie University students, Hayley Inglis, Mackenzie Cornfield, and Kavita Kreuger, say that Nova Scotia needs stronger tenancy laws to protect students after a recent Small Claims Court decision ruled in their favour.

Ms. Inglis, Cornfield and Kreuger lived in a rental unit owned by Duncan MacAdams in the South End of Halifax. Mr. MacAdams testified that he rents to approximately 70 tenants, many of whom are students. Ms. Inglis applied to terminate her lease in December 2020 because the conditions of the rental unit were so bad that she experienced a significant deterioration of her health.

“I developed insomnia, anxiety and breathing issues while living in the unit,” says Ms. Inglis. “Rodents would scurry around my feet while I sat at my desk studying. It got so bad that I used to have to check my bed sheets for rodent droppings before going to sleep. The employees of my landlord would enter the apartment without notice, even during the COVID-19 pandemic and sometimes without masks. On one occasion, an employee walked in on me as I was getting out of the shower and wearing only a towel. I would not have been able to finish my semester if I had stayed in that apartment.”

The landlord challenged Ms. Inglis’ application to terminate the lease and so Ms. Inglis went to Dalhousie Legal Aid Service for help. In a decision released on August 9, 2021, Adjudicator Micheal O’Hara found that the conditions of the unit caused Ms. Inglis anxiety and that she provided a proper medical notice to quit. O’Hara wrote at paragraph 32 of the decision,

“In addition to that letter, it is clear that the Landlord was aware and has been aware of a rodent issue for a considerable period of time. While Mr. MacAdams gave high praise to his pest control contractor, the reality is that Ms. Inglis had mice crawling around her bedroom to such an extent that she kept a flashlight with her every night, she frequently could not sleep, on one occasion she accidentally walked over or kicked a mouse in her room (killing it in the process), and on many occasions found mice droppings either in her bedroom or in the other rooms.”

Adjudicator O’Hara also found that the landlord has been breaking other rules around leases. Mr. MacAdams and his employees admitted in Court to charging prospective tenants a $75 application fee, collecting first and last month’s rent as a security deposit and requiring international students to pay a security deposit of three months’ rent if they do not have a guarantor – practices which are all illegal under the Residential Tenancies Act.

Mr. MacAdams also made unauthorized withdrawals during legal proceedings from both Ms. Kreuger’s and her father’s bank accounts. “He had no right to make those withdrawals” says Kreuger. “After we terminated the lease, I put a temporary block on his authorization to withdraw rent from my bank account. Mr. MacAdams waited until the block expired and then withdrew the rent anyways. I responded by putting a stronger block on his withdrawal authorization but he then he dug up my father’s banking information from a previous lease.”

“Unscrupulous landlords are preying upon students all across Nova Scotia,” says Mark Culligan, Community Legal Worker at Dalhousie Legal Aid Service. “We receive numerous phone calls from students every year about illegal leasing practices and the situation keeps getting worse. The law is very clear that these leasing practices are illegal, but landlords just keep ignoring tenants’ rights. Nova Scotia needs a system of landlord licensing or administrative fines to disincentive these bad landlords.”

Ms. Inglis and her roommates believe that the City and the Province need to do more to strengthen tenants’ rights. “There is such a massive imbalance of power between landlords and students currently in Halifax. It’s just not right that landlords should be able to get away with breaking the law for years on end without having some sort of fine or having some sort of restriction placed on their ability to continue renting to students.”

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2. COVID

Nineteen cases of COVID-19 were announced in Nova Scotia yesterday.

Most of the cases are among young people in the Amherst and Halifax areas, with four schools notified of school-connected cases Wednesday — West Highlands Elementary (Amherst), E.B. Chandler Junior High (Amherst), Caledonia Junior High, and Joesph Howe Elementary. Joe Howe is closed through to the end of the day today; the others have no enhanced Public Health measures.

There’s also a fifth case in the outbreak at Valley Regional Hospital in Kentville. Dr. Strang said Tuesday that the hospital outbreak “started with some cases in the community,” and there have been a few exposure advisories issued for the Kentville area, including at Meadowview Community Centre (across the street from the hospital), Paddy’s Brewpub, T.A.N. Coffee, Half Acre Cafe, and (last night), the Yoga Barn in Centreville.

I’ve posted all the potential exposure sites on the map below; you can zoom in and click on the icons to get details about each site.

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3. The ENTIRE WORLD is watching Cape Breton Regional Municipality

Photo: NASA

Mary Campbell uses her Cape Breton Spectator to provide detailed reporting all things Cape Breton Regional Municipality, and this week she takes a deep dive into a contrived “controversy” about a proposed waterfront development in Sydney.

It’s a long, and frankly, not very interesting story for anyone outside Sydney about the CBRM council refusing to roll over for some mucky muck. You can go there are read the details, if you’re so inclined, but I’m always delighted when Campbell calls bullshit, as she does when other wannabe mucky mucks talk about government getting in the way of business blah blah blah. Campbell:

This is a very specific take, offered by Adrian White in Tuesday’s edition of the Post:

Cape Breton is again in the international news for all the wrong reasons. Our municipal council looks like they are totally inexperienced when it comes to managing relations with established business leaders and developers.

I feel pretty confident in assuring White that the world is not watching.

And luckily for him, I doubt anyone outside CBRM is reading his thoughts on how unionized labor is responsible for Cape Breton’s struggling economy. (Note to self: send White a “Happy Striketober” card.)

Mary: you are wrong! Now that this story is amplified by the Halifax Examiner with its international reach (my sister in New York subscribes, and some guy in England thinks this publication is about the British banking firm Halifax), the ENTIRE WORLD is watching the inexperienced CBRM council poorly managing relations with established business leaders and developers.

Continues Campbell:

Danny Ellis isn’t an argument anyone put forth, he’s just Danny Ellis, a man who has managed a couple of his own quiet deals with CBRM — renting the municipal land underneath his waterfront beer garden and turning a public meeting room at the Civic Centre into a restaurant — and yet, there he is in the Post complaining about how difficult it is to do business in CBRM.

I can’t even.

Click here to read “Bad for Business?”

As with the Examiner, the Cape Breton Spectator is subscriber supported, and so this article is behind the Spectator’s paywall. Click here to purchase a subscription to the Spectator, or click on the photo below to get a joint subscription to both the Spectator and the Examiner.
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Views

1. People with Disabilities

The opening of the viewing deck at Peggys Cove, Oct. 18, 2021. Photo: Communications Nova Scotia

Gus Reed went to Peggy’s Cove Monday for the opening of the new barrier-free viewing platform, and observes that:

It’s pretty nice for aesthetics and accessibility.  It doesn’t have a lot to do with Peggy’s Cove the fishing village of 65 years ago (I was there in 1957), but then again, Peggy’s Cove is now more of a gift shop village and a destination for 700,000 tourists than a place where Cod comes ashore.

I take the deck as a promise.  The treatment of People with Disabilities is more complicated than what a ramp will solve, but it’s a start.

Reed then rolls back and takes the broader view:

Hardly anyone knows what ‘Ableism’ is, let alone how to spot it in action.  Low expectations and paternalism are trademarks of Ableism, and misunderstanding is its best friend.  It has worked its way into every corner of Nova Scotia  It’s seldom malicious, usually just clueless.  Sometimes it even masquerades as being helpful.
I just finished up my list of seven things to do right away:
  1. Adopt the Disability Tax Credit as the single definition of ‘Disability’
  2. repeal any law or regulation that permits paying People with Disabilities less than minimum wage
  3. Stop relying on ‘restorative justice’ when adjudicating Human Rights cases.
  4. Make the Disability Tax Credit Refundable
  5. Rethink “Undue Hardship”
  6. Standardize and require sex and rights education  for ‘Social Enterprise’ establishments and group home operations.
  7. End Nondisclosure agreements in human rights settlements.

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Noticed

Women of My Lai village shortly before their deaths. Photo: Wikipedia

Colin Powell died Monday, and the re-writing of history began before his body was placed in the ground.

The tributes all understandingly prominently discussed Powell’s “weapons of mass destruction” speech before the UN. That speech, which was basically a litany of lies and bullshit, made the Iraq War possible, and led to the death of hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis.

But the tributes to Powell fell over themselves in describing Powell as being duped, that he was given misinformation and bad intelligence, he was just a good man trying to do right. Tragic, really.

But, consider the My Lai massacre, which history.com concisely explains:

The My Lai massacre was one of the most horrific incidents of violence committed against unarmed civilians during the Vietnam War. A company of American soldiers brutally killed most of the people — women, children and old men — in the village of My Lai on March 16, 1968. More than 500 people were slaughtered in the My Lai massacre, including young girls and women who were raped and mutilated before being killed. U.S. Army officers covered up the carnage for a year before it was reported in the American press, sparking a firestorm of international outrage.

Although not the most powerful, Powell was among those U.S. Army officers who worked to cover up the massacre.

I listened to three podcasts about Powell — On The Media, The New Yorker, and the New York Times’ The Daily. That’s about an hour and a half of supposedly in-depth discussion about Powell, and yet there was not one word about Powell’s role in whitewashing the My Lai massacre.

Historian Jeffrey J. Matthews details the military’s attempt to cover up the massacre, and Powell’s involvement in that cover-up, and then notes:

Powell’s small but unhesitating contribution to the My Lai cover-up is hardly surprising. His superiors had clearly set the example. Little in Powell’s personal development or professional training prepared him — much less encouraged him — to critically assess and consciously challenge his leaders. Moreover, to have done so would have derailed his promising career.

In late 1968, [Maj. Gen. Charles] Gettys forecast Powell’s long-term future: “It is difficult to say at such a young point in his career that this young officer has general officer potential, but I am certain that he will be a general officer, that he possesses the necessary qualifications, and time and experience will develop his demonstrated potential to the point that he will be promoted to general officer rank.”

The fact that Powell’s promising career trajectory started by refusing to “critically assess and consciously challenge his leaders” during the Vietnam War gives context to his failure to likewise critically assess and consciously challenge his leaders in the lead up to the Iraq War. They’re of a kind.

My Lai informs the UN speech, gives it context. And refusing to even acknowledge Powell’s role in the My Lai coverup, even if only to discount it, is bad history, and bad journalism.

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Government

No meetings


On campus

Dalhousie

The Basest of All Modern Warfare’: Privateering and Enslavement in the Caribbean, 1739–1763 (Friday, 3:30pm, Room 1170, McCain Building and online) — Chris Baldwin from the University of Toronto will talk.

Mount Saint Vincent

Look through the lens of newcomer families in Nova Scotia (Friday, 1pm, the Oval, Halifax Commons) — This outdoor photo gallery organized by the Early Childhood Collaborative Research Centre aims to bring awareness to newcomer families’ experiences accessing programs for children, and to share the participants’ ideas for creating a more inclusive community. Rain date Saturday October 23, same location. More info here.

King’s

Antigone (Friday, 5:30pm, the Quad) — free performance by the King’s Theatrical Society; rain date Saturday October 23


In the harbour

Halifax
7:20: Grande Florida, car carrier, arrives at Autoport from Gioia Tauro, Italy
11:15: Atlantic Star, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from Norfolk, Virginia
15:30: Boarbarge 37, semi-submersible barge, moves from Halifax Shipyard to Bedford Basin
15:30: Grande Florida sails for sea
16:00: Selfoss, container ship, arrives at Pier 41 from Portland
16:30: Oceanex Sanderling, ro-ro container, sails from Pier 41 for St. John’s
16:30: Nolhanava, ro-ro cargo, sails from Fairview Cove for Saint-Pierre
21:30: Atlantic Star sails for Liverpool, England
22:30: Selfoss sails for Reykjavik, Iceland

Cape Breton
16:30: Maria Desgagnes, oil tanker, sails from Government Wharf (Sydney) for sea


Footnotes

I’ve been out of sorts of late, so a not-great Morning File. I’ll strive to do better.


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Tim Bousquet

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

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  1. Crimes against humanity

    Colin Powell also had direct involvement in the murders of thousands in the American wars against the people of Panama and El Salvador.

    1. Citations Needed pod did a great take on Powell too, including good coverage of the My Lai massacre. Listened to this right after getting into a heated discussion with hubs who was being smug about what an arse Powell was — I was innocently holding the line that it was still important that he was the first African American yada yada. Don’t tell hubs he was right, he’s smug enough about my bad takes.

  2. Perhaps we should stop calling them landlords and start calling them house hoarders. We have a housing emergency in this country and house hoarders are making it worse. The federal government appears to be committed to the highest per-capita rate of immigration in the G7 while we have the lowest per capita housing stock in the G7. There is no way to control prices in such a scenario – we will not see affordable housing until immigration and new housing completion are brought in line.