Tim is otherwise occupied, so today’s Morning File is written by guest writer Katie Toth.

Good morning, Halifax. I’m a sleepy reporter and writer and you can follow me on Twitter.


1. What makes a disability?

A Nova Scotia woman can’t get a federal income tax break for her hard-of-hearing toddler because he has hearing aids, so the problem, according to the federal government, is solved!

Pam Darnoff, a Liberal MP from Ontario, thinks that’s ridiculous. “You’re covered for a wheelchair, which assists you in movement,” she said to the CBC. “But you’re still paralyzed.”

Charlotte Waters, from Lunenburg, started a petition to reframe how hearing impairment is measured for federal tax purposes. She wants tests to be conducted with in a normal setting with some ambient noise, which people have to deal with every day, rather than in a quiet room.

There’s some interesting discussion over whether Deafness is considered disability or identity. But I think we can have those discussions while also making sure this kid and his mom are entitled to a cool $250.

2. Halifax parents stand by teachers who might strike

pusherAfter these things happen, someone is always like “Woe betide these violent striking ruffians! How can they be so selfish — who will think of The Children!”

Not in Halifax, at least not so far. Metro’s Zane Woodford reports:

Shannon Hansen told Metro he’s “not really” concerned about the strike vote by teachers.

“I think they’ve got a lot of valid concerns,” he said.

Teresa Kelsie told Metro she supports teachers, and believes they’re the most important people in children’s lives, apart from their parents.

“If it comes to the fact that they’re not being paid enough for the work to do, they have to do what they have to do,” she said.

Over 100 per cent of teachers voted over whether to strike (substitute teachers who are working the day of the vote are allowed to vote) on Tuesday. 96 per cent of teachers voted in favour of striking if necessary. Now there’s a “cooling period” but if a contract is not reached, then teachers could strike on December 3.

In more solution-oriented strike-related news, Halifax’s outside workers just got a contract.

3. Will the Cogswell Interchange die already?


Swear to the heavens, a friend recently told me about the history of the Cogswell Interchange and I thought it was some kind of joke. But nope, Halifax really built an on-ramp in 1971 as part of “grand plan for a waterfront expressway,” then never built the expressway, but left it there like some kind of Sarah Palinesque Bridge To Nowhere for decades. WOW, you guys.

Anyway, in an information session last night, an official said the interchange may soon be coming down, in a move that would make Jane Jacobs proud. By soon, I mean like, soon in Nova Scotia Development Time, so — not super soon at all? And again from Zane Woodford in Metro:

Project director John Spinelli told the crowd that more public consultations will start in early 2017, and the 60 per cent design completion threshold will be crossed between April and June, at which point council makes a decision on whether to proceed.

The plan is to create up to 1,600 residential units to house up to 2,500 residents, create six acres of development, six acres of street space, four acres of public space, and three kilometres of bike lanes.

You know what would be be funny? If the interchange got torn down and replaced by a gaping hole as part of a “grand plan for development and public space and bike lanes,” then the plan never happened, but we kept the hole for 40 years. Can we please do this just for the irony? I think it would be worth it.

4. More cheese, please

The disconcerting dearth of nacho cheese at the [redacted] $48 NSF Fee Centre [editor’s edit: we’ll call it the name of a fucking bank the day the fucking bank pays us $200 per usage to call it the name of a fucking bank, and not a day before] has become an international cause célèbre, nabbing the attention of Sports Illustrated.

The CBC’s intrepid Haydn Watters first reported that the decision to cut the cheese…

…has some cheese lovers pretty ticked off, including Joey Maxwell, a Halifax Mooseheads hockey team season ticket holder.

“It shocked me … I thought it was B.S. that they didn’t offer the cheese anymore,” he told CBC Radio’s Mainstreet. “I don’t understand the need to subtract something that makes something more edible.”

5. Crime news

A Kentville man faces more than 20 charges of sexual violence involving children, and a Halifax man will stand trial for second degree murder in a fatal Dartmouth shooting.


1. How about we cool it with the austerity measures?


So suggests Jordan Brennan an economist with Unifor and the CCPA. This guy’s writing is, er, dense. But it’s an intriguing read; Brennan points out that even the International Monetary Fund and other international finance organizations have doubled back on whether austerity really leads to economic growth. But rather than taking the cue from the big boys, Brennan says, Nova Scotia’s Liberals continue cutting services to pay off debt instead of focusing on job growth. Boo hiss.

2. Cranky Letter Of The Day

Courtesy Cabot Links
Courtesy Cabot Links

Inverness has a swanky golf clubbing and hoteling sitch going on now, and Invernessers have — well — FEELINGS ABOUT IT. The latest of some of the back-and-forth, from the Inverness Oran:

I am addressing this letter to Anton Selkowitz. Anton, I have known you for a long time now, and on a personal level, I have no issues. However, your continuous rants in our local newspaper regarding Cabot Links are…well…to be blunt, making me sick.

Before Inverness had golf courses on our shores, they had a dump and pigeons covering most of the land. Now there is a beautiful golf course with buildings to accommodate the people who come from all over to golf. Local businesses are making more money and people overall are excited about their hometown. Houses are sprucing up and there is a feeling of pride in the air – and you are doing nothing but carping at every detail!

If we lived in a perfect world, Anton, I would love to see more green fields and if I could, I would cut down half of the trees that have grown in their place, but we do not live in a perfect world, do we?

P.S. You went over the top, Anton, when you embarrassed Dougie Cameron at a public meeting and felt so damn good about it you put it in a letter for all to see. That is disgusting! Dougie Cameron is as fine a gentleman as you would want to meet. He and his wife have quietly been the best of volunteers in this community and respected throughout. How dare you even try to put yourself in his shoes? How much volunteering have you done, Anton, and just who appointed you Lord and mayor of all things here?

Crisi B. MacLellan


I can’t with this photo, taken by a friend in Brooklyn, New York. I can’t:



No meetings scheduled.

On campus


PhD Defence, Mechanical Engineering (10am, Room 3107, Mona Campbell Building) — Daniel Cluff will defend his thesis, “NiTi: An In-Situ Investigation of Sintering From Elemental Powders.”

Thesis Defence, Industrial Engineering (11am, MA 310, 5269 Morris Street) —Rayan Omar will defend his thesis, “Manufacturing Planning and Shop Floor Congestion Analysis in Multi-Product Networks.”

Alana Cattapan
Alana Cattapan

Egg Donation (1pm, Room 1028, Kenneth Rowe Management Building)Alana Cattapan will speak on, “Egg Donation, Choice, and Feminist Futures.”

The American Mathematical Monthly (2:30pm, Room 319, Chase Building) — Scott Chapman, editor of The American Mathematical Monthly, will speak on “Monthly Past, Monthly Present, and Monthly Future.” The abstract:

For over 115 years, the American Mathematical Monthly has served as Mathematic’s most widely read journal for general audience papers. The Monthly holds a unique niche amongst journals in the Sciences, as its articles are intended to inform, stimulate, challenge, enlighten, and even entertain; Monthly articles are meant to be read, enjoyed, and discussed, rather than just archived. The long history of the Monthly does not just include papers which had significant impact on both the research and teaching communities, but its articles can be used as a mirror which reflects the trends and attitudes of not only Mathematicians, but academics in general.

In this talk, I will briefly cover the history and accomplishments of the Monthly. I shall then look at three papers, one from the past pages of the Monthly, another that has recently been published, and a third which will appear over this coming summer. I will close with a brief discussion of some of the topics fueling the ever changing world of academic publishing.

Basement Apartments (3pm, International Development Studies House, 1376 Le Merchant) — Pablo Mendez will speak on  “Basement Apartments: The Hidden Link Between Economic Structure and Residential Built Environment in Vancouver.” His abstract:

Until this summer, Vancouver’s economy appears to have relied for more than two decades on the creation of a bustling consumption-oriented landscape in order to attract external speculative investment to the city’s real estate markets. This in turn required being able to retain in the city both a middle-class population with sufficient disposable income to sustain the leisure and consumption sector and a low-waged population of service workers residing in close proximity to that sector’s workplaces. In this talk I argue that, by facilitating the retention of these two crucial segments of the population in the city, basement apartment rentals were quietly central to Vancouver’s outward-faced economic model. 

Mini Medical School (7pm, Theatre B – Tupper Link Building) —  Two Presentations:
“Wellness in Aging — 80 is the new 60” by Graeme Bethune, followed by “Endoscopy: A Cruise Through the Alimentary Canal” by Mohsin Rashid.

After the Sands (7pm, Ondaatje Auditorium, McCain Building) — Gordon Laxer will speak about his book, “After the Sands: Energy and Ecological Security for Canadians.”

The Law of the Sea (7pm, Room 104, Schulich School of Law) — Tore Henriksen, from the Arctic University of Norway, speaks on “The Arctic Ocean, Environmental Stewardship, and the Law of the Sea.”

In the harbour

The sea around Nova Scotia, 9:15am Thursday. Map: marinetraffic.com
The sea around Nova Scotia, 9:15am Thursday. Map: marinetraffic.com

6am: ZIM New York, container ship, arrives at Pier 41 from New York
6am: Oceanex Sanderling, ro-ro container, arrives at Pier 41 from St. John’s
6:30am: AIDAmar, cruise ship, arrives at Pier 20 from Ponta Delgada, Azores with up to 2,686 passengers
7:45am: Caribbean Princess, cruise ship, arrives at Pier 22 from Sydney with up to 3,756 passengers
9am: Bougainville, French naval ship, sails from NC5
11:30am: Oceanex Sanderling, ro-ro container, moves from Pier 41 to Autoport
4:30pm: Caribbean Princess, cruise ship, sails from Pier 22 for Sain John
4:30pm: Oceanex Sanderling, ro-ro container, moves from Autoport to Pier 41
10pm: ZIM New York, container ship, sails from Pier 41 for Kingston, Jamaica

7:15am: Nolhanava, ro-ro cargo, arrives at Pier 36 from Saint-Pierre
8:30am: AIDAmar, cruise ship, sails from Pier 20 for Portland


These are miniature cows. (HT HuffPost Hill, your best source for US politics animal vids.)

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  1. Re the Nacho Cheese Incident: If one was inclined to check, I bet you dollars to donuts there ain’t any actual cheese in that goop. Also, if I didn’t see the CBC tagline, I would have assumed this article was written for The Onion. Jus’ sayin’.

  2. Some proofreading would have been nice for this edition. Multiple jarring errors, the most odd one being this:
    “Over 100 per cent of teachers voted over whether to strike (substitute teachers who are working the day of the vote are allowed to vote) on Tuesday”
    Some aliens voted too? Teachers in another time/space dimension?

    1. As Katie noted, substitute teachers who were teaching on the day of the vote were also allowed to cast a vote, hence the “over 100 per cent” figure.

      This is repeated in a TC Media article.

    2. Haha, it’s a little confusing! Basically — as I understand it — substitute teachers are allowed to vote if they’re working on the day of the strike vote, but don’t count towards what the Nova Scotia Teacher’s Union generally counts as their number of voting members, so the percentage added up to more than 100%. Not that I would jump off a cliff if all the other reporters were doing it, but Metro used similar language in this article.

      1. I saw that, and was wondering if you’d been taken up in some Trumpian exaggeration, but thought, no… then perhaps math might not be your strong suits, but again, that math isn’t that hard… then I figured it out.

    3. Jodi:

      Toth explains it briefly in the article, but is easily verifiable by clicking through the links she posted and that are in the Metro article. The NSTU calculates voting percentage in a kind of eccentric way: substitute teachers do not count towards quorum but are allowed to vote if they meet certain criteria. The above 100% voter turnout has been mentioned in dozens of other places of the last few days in coverage of the strike vote, if a morning file reference to it in a discussion of different aspect of the negotiations is the first you’ve heard about it I may suggest reading more widely before getting mad online.

      You can find the rules for eligibility to vote in a strike vote on page 91 of the NSTU’s by-laws: http://www.nstu.ca/data/OPsSeptember2016.pdf

      Basically eligible voters are:
      – all NSTU members in the bargaining unit in permanent, term and probationary contracts.
      – NSTU members on leave or with “active reserve” memberships.
      – Substitutes working on the day of the vote.

      I presume that the reason that the total percentage was calculated using only non-substitutes to count eligible voters is because no one knows in advance exactly how many substitutes are going to be working on a given day (and how many of them qualify to vote as active reserve members or who are otherwise qualified to vote).