News

1. Street checks

Photo: Halifax Examiner

“No one in authority seems willing to apologize for the decades of ‘disproportionate and negative’ impact street checks have had on Nova Scotia’s black community,” writes Stephen Kimber. “Worse, no one seems to be committed to finally ending them once and for all.”

Click here to read “Street checks: Who’s sorry now? Not the premier, not the justice minister, not the police.”

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2. Johnny Mac

El Jones profiles boxer Johnny Mac, who is training for his first professional fight:

On the day I go to the gym to meet Johnny, it’s lunchtime. The gym is exactly what you’d imagine: men punching bags, two men sparring in the ring, music blaring and boxers grunting and yelling. I’m on the phone when I walk in, and I don’t tell the person on the other end where I am. They hear the noises in the background and panic, thinking someone is being killed.

So it’s an environment you wouldn’t expect to see a boxer with his boyfriend. But today, Johnny has brought his partner, Creed Matton, to watch him train.

Johnny is, as far as he knows, the first out gay male professional boxer in Canada. He knows the image of the boxing world, the stereotypes about masculinity. But, he says, he’s not afraid. “I’ve lived in fear,” he tells me.

Click here to read “The redemption of Johnny Mac: The Cape Breton fighter, Canada’s first openly gay boxer, is training for his first pro bout.”

3. Nova Centre hotel and assessments

In October 2018, the hotel at the Nova Centre was still under construction and no operator had been named. Photo: Halifax Examiner

The non-existent hotel at the Nova Centre has long been something of an obsession of mine. In October 2017, I interviewed Jan deRoos, a convention centre hotel expert, about it. deRoos walked me through the economics of convention centre hotels, and then I asked how the multiple delays in the Nova Centre construction might affect things:

I told deRoos that Nova Centre developer Joe Ramia has claimed to have a deal with a hotel operator, but said he’d leave it up to the operator to make an announcement. I don’t believe him, I told deRoos, but if Ramia has secured an operator, how long before a hotel opened would an operator make such an announcement?

“A year,” answered deRoos. “You’d want that long to work with the convention centre operator for joint promotions and advertising.”

It would be possible, said deRoos, to get a hotel up and operating in less than a year, but he estimated that the Nova Centre hotel would require at least 150 employees. “You don’t want to poach most of those from competitors, and management positions will take time to recruit the right people. I’d say it’d take at least six months.”

I told deRoos that Ramia has missed multiple deadlines for opening both the convention centre and the Nova Centre, and that two years’ worth of conventions secured for the new convention centre had to be cancelled or rebooked in the old, existing convention centre.

“That would give a potential operator great pause,” said deRoos. “The hotel is ultimately tied to the convention centre, so you want to make sure the operation is viable.”

Even then, he said, once a hotel is opened it will take about two years before all marketing can bring in enough guests to make it successful.

That was in October 2017. In March 2018, Roger Taylor, who is both a Chronicle Herald reporter and Joe Ramia’s one-man cheerleading squad, broke the news that Ramia had secured the smallish boutique hotel chain Sutton Place as the operator of the Nova Centre hotel. The next day, March 15, 2018, Sutton Place issued a press release stating that:

Finishing work on the property will begin immediately, with a grand opening scheduled in Spring 2019.

It surprised me that Sutton Place thought it could get the hotel up and running so quickly, but it fell just within deRoos’s one-year time frame, so maybe. I kept going by the building and trying to look in, but the windows were papered over, so I had no idea if actual construction was going on. Mindful that deRoos said it would take six months to fully train a hotel staff, I’ve been going periodically to the “careers” page of Sutton Place’s website, but keep coming up with zero results for Halifax.

Frustrated, in October 2018 I asked City Hall for a list of all the active building permits in the Nova Centre, and spokesperson Nick Ritcey responded as follows:

The development permit number remains the same for the Nova Center #133700.

The updated plans, which include the hotel portion, were submitted on July 27, 2018 – the permit has been renewed and expires on August 24, 2020.

Building officials have confirmed there is interior framing ongoing in the hotel portion of the building.

There are also permits issued for various leaseholds:
Permit #159090 – Bank of Montreal
Permit #165550 – Rogers
Permit #161233 – Grant Thorton
Permit #161477 – Pepper Financial
Permit #164913 – NSLC Select

So there was a building permit, but how much work was actually going on? I called Sutton Place and asked them, and a nice spokesperson said a construction manager in Halifax would call me back with a construction update; he never did.

Remembering that Sutton Place had announced the hotel would have a grand opening in Spring of 2019, I stopped by the Grafton Street Glory Hole on March 19, 2019 (two days before the start of spring) to have another look. By then some of the butcher paper that had covered the walls had fallen down, and I could peep in:

Maybe it’s the front desk of the new hotel?

It didn’t look like much was going on. While I was peering in the windows, I happened upon a couple of construction workers outside on a smoke break (totally violating the new smoking bylaw, but so it goes). When are you going to finish? I asked. One of the workers made a little raspberry sound, “ssssthmp… five years?” he answered. I told him I was told the hotel was going to open in the spring. He told me that they were only currently working on three floors of the building, and there are 18 floors; he shrugged.

I felt kinda bad. I hadn’t identified myself as a reporter — the conversation was entirely unplanned, just happenstance — and as I didn’t want to create problems for him, I didn’t write about it. But now that Halifax ReTales has put it out there, I feel like my brief conversation with the construction worker is fair game:

The Sutton Place Hotel in the Nova Centre announced last spring to open this spring is now delayed until early 2020

Assume this means delayed for its partner restaurants Moxie’s and Chop Steakhouse

— Halifax ReTales (@HalifaxReTales) April 22, 2019

The hotel is problematic for a lot of reasons. That it doesn’t have a swimming pool is a big concern, I’m told. But even with that, if the convention centre is going so, er, swimmingly, wouldn’t it make sense to fast track the construction and start raking in those room fees? It feels like something else is going on…

Which brings me to the city’s revenue collection from the Nova Centre.

The city’s Convention Centre account, from a report prepared by Bruce Fisher, the city’s Manager of Financial Policy and Planning.

You’ll recall that in April 2018, city staff announced that the city’s rosy projections that the convention centre would “pay for itself” with increased property tax collected from the Nova Centre complex (which is not how this is supposed to work, but whatever) went south. I reported at the time:

The city expected to have a $1.8 million deficit on its Halifax Convention Centre account this year, but that figure has nearly doubled — to $3.5 million. And a revised analysis of the account (above) shows that what had been a projected $5.89 million surplus after 10 years is now a $17.78 million deficit. That’s a swing of $23.67 million.

But that was just the first shoe to drop. The second potential dropped shoe was on the assessment side of things.

The month before, in March 2018, I reported that Joe Ramia was appealing the $200 million assessment on the Nova Centre. So far as I can tell, that appeal is still working its way through the three-step appeal system (first to an internal review by the Property Valuation Services Corporation, then to an independent appeal board, then to the Utility and Review Board); I can’t see either the PVSC or Ramia backing down on this, but as of last week the appeal hadn’t yet reached the UARB.

If Ramia is successful, then that will mean that property taxes generated by the Nova Centre will be lower than even those conveyed by city staff in April 2018. That is, the loss could be a heck of a lot larger than $25 million.

And therefore, I’ve been keeping an eye on the assessments.

In March of this year, a few days before I spoke with the construction worker outside the non-completed hotel, I received these assessment figures from the PVSC:

AAN 10782627 (hotel) $33,000,000
AAN 10782600 (parking) $7,055,400
AAN 013121364 (convention centre) $165,547,200
AAN 10782635 (retail) $3,616,700
AAN 10782619 (office) $31,109,200

Total assessed value: $240,328,500

Note that the assessed value of the Nova Centre has increased from 2017’s $200 million. I wondered how that would translate into property taxes; it was like pulling teeth, but here’s what city spokesperson Brendan Elliot eventually told me:

The original tax estimate for Year 1 was $7.325m. In 2018-19 the total tax bill was $6.916m.

The original tax estimate for Year 2 was $7.8m. In 2019-20 the current estimate is $8.4m.

Bruce Fisher, the city’s tax person, was apparently willing to provide a detailed accounting, but it all had to be vetted by higher-ups at City Hall, so I kept pushing. Eventually I was given this chart:

On the surface, it looks like the Nova Centre tax revenue is doing better than expected, but I feel like I’m being played here. There’s no clear explanation of what “Year 1” is, and it very well might be a moving target. I suspect that the “original estimates” for Year 1 were for something like 2014, when the Nova Centre was first supposed to be open, and now staff is comparing that to 2018, four years later, with no consideration for inflation.

Here’s what I’d like to get, but it hasn’t been offered: the detailed projected assessments and resulting tax revenue behind the April 2018 chart above.

And none of those figures suggest what will happen to tax revenues should Ramia succeed in his assessment appeal. Neither do they reflect the now-certainty that the hotel won’t open this year.

I’m throwing all these numbers out there today so that everyone can work off the same page.

4. Non-aggressive aggression

The Halton Police Department has an armoured vehicle that looks like this, and it looks like it will be the one Halifax po-po are going to get too. Except Halifax’s will come equipped with an eight-foot battering ram.

Last Monday, when I wrote about the Halifax police getting an armoured vehicle (dog, was that only a week ago?), I noted that the staff report explaining the purchase, written by Inspector Jim Butler, “bends over backwards to suggest that this is not, you know, a tank, but rather a touch-feely vehicle designed to ‘safely remove people from dangerous situations’ and that ‘there is no weaponry or aggressive equipment on ARVs.’”

How’s that “no weaponry or aggressive equipment” on the vehicle going?

Well, Friday, the city issued a tender offer for the thing. The tender seems to be written so tightly that only one possible vendor (this one) could meet the qualifications, but that’s an issue for another day. Today, I”m struck by the requirement for the vehicle’s equipment and layout, including:

• Armoured rotating roof hatch with gun port. Should not significantly alter roof height when not deployed

• A minimum of 3 gun ports per side. 1 roof hatch and 1 rear door. Total of 8 ports

• Front mounted powered ram with height control, capable of conducting mechanical breaches. Minimum 243cm (96”) long with a lift range from 60cm (24”) to 182cm (72”)

So it won’t have weaponry or aggressive equipment, but it will have eight gun ports and an eight-foot long battering ram.

5. Jail

Mary Campbell of the Cape Breton Spectator turns her attention to the Cape Breton Correctional Facility, and reporting thereof:

When I saw the headline “Life in lockup“on the front page of Tuesday’s Cape Breton Post I was impressed — a full, front page story (and two additional pages inside) exploring life in the Cape Breton Correctional Facility? SaltWire actually doing a valuable “deep dive?” Excellent.

And then I read it.

Reporter Sharon Montgomery-Dupe managed to explore every corner of the Cape Breton Correctional Facility without encountering a single inmate. It’s actually pretty damn impressive.

Campbell reviews all the issues El Jones has raised about jails — substandard food, that most prisoners are on remand (that is, they have not been convicted), the usurious phone system, and the disproportionate imprisonment of Black and Indigenous people. On that last, Campbell comments:

How you can pen three, full-page articles about a Nova Scotia correctional facility without even mentioning this issue is beyond me.

But how you could pen three, full-page articles about a Nova Scotia correctional facility without speaking to a single person who is either incarcerated now or has been incarcerated in the past blows my mind.

Surely journalistic “objectivity” demands that someone other than the people running the jail be asked about life in the jail? These articles simply give the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval to the status quo at the Cape Breton Corrections Facility. They could have been written by the superintendent himself. In a way, they kind of were.

Click here to read “Jail is…Great?”

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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5. Grabher

Image from cbc.ca

Lorne Wayne Grabher Vs. Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Nova Scotia as represented by the Registrar of Motor Vehicles is scheduled for a three-day hearing at Supreme Court, today through Thursday.

The case is being heard by Justice Darlene Jamieson, who is a relatively new Supreme Court judge, appointed to the bench in November by then-Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould. At the time of her appointment, the Justice Department published this biography of Jamieson:

Following her graduation from Saint Mary’s University with a B.A. (summa cum laude) in 1985 and the Schulich School of Law in 1988, Justice Darlene Jamieson was admitted to the Nova Scotia Bar in 1989. She began her practice with Wickwire Holm and later formed the boutique firm Merrick, Jamieson, Sterns, Washington & Mahody with several colleagues in 1998. The firm has twice been named a Top 10 Litigation Boutique in Canada by Canadian Lawyer magazine.

Justice Jamieson has appeared before all levels of court in Nova Scotia and before the Supreme Court of Canada. Her practice focused on commercial and construction litigation, insurance defence, product liability and employment law. In 2006, she was appointed Queen’s Counsel, and in 2018, she was named a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers. Justice Jamieson takes pride in having been recognized by her peers over the years, most recently being selected as “Litigator of the Year – Atlantic” and as one of the “Top 25 Women in Litigation in Canada” by Benchmark Litigation. On four occasions, she was named a “Lawyer of the Year” by Best Lawyers. 

Until her appointment, Justice Jamieson was President of the Law Reform Commission of Nova Scotia. She chaired an exciting initiative to create the Justice and Law Reform Institute, the first institute of its kind in Atlantic Canada, located at the Schulich School of Law. Justice Jamieson has also volunteered actively in her community, serving on the boards of national and local organizations including Imagine Canada, Avalon Sexual Assault Centre, and the National Association of Women and the Law.

Justice Jamieson has received numerous awards for her commitment to community, equality and diversity, including the YWCA Women’s Recognition Award, the Dress for Success Women of Distinction Award, and the Elizabeth Fry Rebel With a Cause Award. In 2007, Justice Jamiesonreceived the Frances Fish Women Lawyers’ Achievement Award, recognizing her dedication to the advancement of women in and through the legal profession.

Justice Jamieson is an avid reader and golfer. She enjoys travelling and spending time with her spouse, Allan, at their cottage on the Northumberland Strait.

Justice Darlene Jamieson

I can’t but wonder why somebody with so many evident talents would want to become a judge. Jamieson has gone from “Lawyer of the Year” to “Judge of the Stupidest Case in Canada” in just six short months.

I’m also envisioning the guffawing among whatever backroom group doles out the upcoming cases… “OK, Chipman gets the murder trial, Wood gets the cybercurrency… let’s give this licence plate thing to the new judge, what’s her name again?” [shots all around].

Whatever Jamieson’s decision, I have no doubt it’ll be well-reasoned and based on existing case law. I also have no doubt that the entire point of the lawsuit is to sow discord in order to feed the politics of resentment. That means, should Jamieson rule against Grabher (which to my untrained legal eye seems likely), there will be an appeal. There’s potentially endless money channelled through the right-wing Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms to bring this thing all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada, if necessary.


Views

1. Easter Bunny

“I was curious to read about Court commentary on whether the Easter Bunny is real,” writes Halifax lawyer Barbara Darby. “Canadian courts have definitely ruled on this matter, although often in some very sad factual circumstances.”

Darby details several of those cases, including Bonitto v. Halifax Regional School Board, that weird case involving Sean Bonitto handing out gospel tracts at Park West School. The Easter Bunny comes in as a side note:

For the instruction of Mr. Bonitto’s children, Park West has accommodated his beliefs. The judge explained:

Mr. Bonitto has been welcome to attend the school regularly to accompany or transport his children, and to attend meetings with teachers and administration. The school has accommodated his request that his children not be exposed to materials or teachings which run contrary to his fundamentalist Christian beliefs, by allowing them to be exempt from sessions, activities and materials relating to things like Halloween, the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus, the occult, magic, homosexuality and transgender issues. Mr. Bonitto’s wife, Pamela Bonitto, testified that the school had been 100% cooperative in accommodating that request.

“Let’s be clear,” comments Darby, “there is no equivalency between bunnies, the occult, and homosexuality or gender identification.” Maybe not, but I kind of like the idea of a gay or non-gender binary Easter Bunny witch.

Darby explores several other cases worth reading, ending with the 2017 case, R. v. Menzies:

This was a drug bust involving a group of friends who pooled their money to purchase narcotics and alcohol for an Easter party. The accused said “There was an amount set aside for streamers, as well, and to hire a person dressed as the Easter Bunny to entertain the group.”

“Curiouser and curiouser,” said Alice, who later met the March hare.


Noticed

There are a bunch of dinosaurs in Alberta.

I’m inclined not to play into geographical politics. Even in the “reddest” U.S. states, something like 40% of voters go Democratic, and in the supposedly progressive blue states, an alarming percentage goes Republican.

Whenever one of my friends says they’re “boycotting” this or that state, or the entire United States, I ask them who exactly they think they’ll hurt: the white suburbanites who couldn’t care less if my friends go spend money in the city, or the majority black, Democratic-voting city dwellers who might actually be helped by my friend’s tourism money?

And not just urbanites. In Arkansas, the primary victims of the flatly racist state legislature are the rural black counties in the Arkansas Delta. I highly recommend visiting Arkansas and touring the Delta; you’re find some beautiful local culture, cuisine, and music, and buying a meal here and there, spending some money in a honky tonk, will help some people in need of all the financial support they can get.

(That’s not to say targeted and purposeful boycotts can’t be useful; the boycott of North Carolina in response to anti-trans policies enacted by the state legislature achieved the desired result of getting those policies reversed. But boycotts don’t do anyone any good if the powers-that-be that are the target of the boycotts aren’t even aware of the boycott.)

Likewise, in my travels across Canada and other parts of the world, I’ve discovered good and bad people everywhere. And as with souls, no place is forever damned, and no place is forever blessed. The sinful can be redeemed, the righteous fall.

So now that I’ve said I won’t, let me play geographical politics.

Alberta has long perplexed me. I visited Alberta one summer. Flew into Calgary and watched the end of the Stampede, Greyhounded it to Edmonton to stay with family in a lefty neighbourhood, walked to downtown a couple of times, got a rental car and went to see the prairie and the dinosaurs, stopped by Lethbridge and Head Smashed In, drove through Banff and dipped my toe in Lake Louise, before heading to points west. Seemed like a lovely place. One visit doesn’t make me an expert, but I’d go back.

Still, what is it with the politics of the place?

I remember we Maritimers being lectured about our “culture of defeat” by at least one Albertan, and reading op-ed after op-ed about how Alberta is rich because the people work so hard (unlike we in the have-not provinces), in my view a curious take for people lucky enough to live atop an oil field. Were Newfoundlanders once lazy, then hard-working, and now lazy again?

The Albertan election brought forward some commentary that drew out these issues. One was Jen Gerson, who I guess is supposed to be the young, hip take on Albertan conservatism. In a post-election Canadaland episode, Gerson tried to explain the anger of Albertans to Jesse Brown:

What I think people in the rest of Canada… don’t understand is that things suck here. They suck bad. And they have sucked very bad for years.

People kind of understand in a general sense that as a result of the lower oil and gas prices that the economy in Alberta has been really suffering, but what they don’t necessarily see is the human impact of that suffering.

Like there was a suicide spike after 2015. There is an entrenched opioid crisis in Calgary, one of the richest cities in the country. You know, during the polar vortex, I literally saw people out in minus 40 degree weather begging on highway medians and that became a common sight on the way to dropping my kid off to daycare. Like I’ve run into countless times now in grocery stores in seemingly well-off suburbs where people, all of their credit cards and all of their Interac cards were being declined.

These were things that you didn’t traditionally see in cities like Calgary five or six years ago, and now they’re just really, really common and they’re common in ways that impact ordinary people and ordinary lives. What that’s left with is a population that’s extremely stressed out, extremely desperate, and very, very angry.

As I was listening to Gerson, I couldn’t help but think: Welcome to Nova Scotia!

Suicide “spikes” are bad, but I’d argue that a suicide rate that never spikes because it’s constantly high is even worse. And I don’t know why Calgary being “one the richest cities in the country” makes the opioid crisis any more painful, or why we should feel worse for people begging on the streets of Alberta than for people begging on the streets of Halifax, or why getting your credit card declined in a grocery store in a “seemingly well-off suburb” is worse than not even trying to use your credit card in a grocery store in hardscrabble Dartmouth because you know damn well it’s going to be declined.

If Alberta sucks, what about Nova Scotia? But we haven’t been electing openly racist and homophobic premiers.

It’s worth reviewing the Albertan past, and that’s what Andrew Nikiforuk did in a pre-election piece he wrote for The Tyee, “The Coddling of the Alberta Mind,” in which he detailed the ups and now-down of the oil industry and the failure of Albertan people and governments to live in reality, before concluding:

In the current election campaign, no politician wants to pony up and tell the truth. 

It wasn’t foreigners or bad actors who created Alberta’s failings; it was Albertans and their damn greed and lack of strategic planning. 

Albertans share the blame for the 2014 oil price collapse with U.S. tight oil producers (price discounts and lack of pipelines clobbered Permian producers too), and Albertans share blame for the province’s collective failure to add value to bitumen. (The more value you add, the fewer pipelines you need.) 

Albertans, and only Albertans, share the blame for not collecting their fair share and saving for a rainy day.

So stop your whining and end the blame game. Cowboy up and own your oil-based problems, and recognize that the Alberta government has not responded competently to structural changes in oil and gas markets. 

Recognize you’ve got both revenue and spending problems that could be a death spiral for the province.

Admit that exporting carbon-rich oil comes with high risks and that exporting more oil and building more pipelines will increase those risks.

And stop pretending that business as usual will dig Alberta out of the hole it has dug for itself. 

It’s hard, remembering the truly asshole-y lecturing Albertans gave Maritimers not that many years ago, to have sympathy for current-day Alberta’s plight. It’s even harder to have sympathy when the formerly rich, now put-upon Albertans demand not just simple charity and government assistance for those suffering the most — which is clearly called for — but that we restructure the entire national and indeed world economy and ignore the existential issue of our time, climate change, so that the boom in oil prices can continue forever. It’s harder still to have sympathy when that Albertan put-uponness translates into support for bigotry.

And yet, here we are.

I recall a 2017 opinion piece by Globe & Mail columnist Gary Mason, “No one should feel sorry for Alberta.”

“This idea of Alberta as this poor, woe begotten, economic basket-case is a myth, one that opposition politicians here like to trade on,” wrote Mason. “But it’s a fairy tale”:

Think about this: if Alberta introduced B.C.’s level of taxation — which is the second lowest in the country — it would bring in $8.7-billion in revenue. That pretty much takes care of the province’s deficit right there, without having to make any adjustments to expenditures — which Alberta politicians throughout the years have shown a reluctance to do.

Even bringing in a modest 5-per-cent sales tax would be worth, by most estimates, around $5-billion – which would make serious inroads into their fiscal problems.

But that is considered heresy in Alberta. So instead, politicians and others here moan and whine about how horrible things are, how awful the province is being treated by Ottawa and other jurisdictions, all of which is only adding to the province’s woes.

It’s a joke.

If “success” is rebuilding the oil economy, Jason Kenney will surely fail. It’s just not going to happen.

However, if “success” means stoking the fires of resentment and encouraging the demands of entitlement such that Albertans never come to grips with reality, Kenney might well succeed.

I don’t think the past election was the endgame for Alberta. The crisis of the provincial soul continues; give it a year or two and see if those “ordinary people and ordinary lives” can look the devil in the eyes and reject him. Alberta is a big and broad province, and those outside the oil industry, those living in the northern equivalent of the Arkansas Delta, can also wield political power, and we should support them.

There’s still a chance for redemption for Alberta.


Government

City

Tuesday

Transportation Standing Committee (Tuesday, 1pm, City Hall) — staff is suggesting that the committee approve 2.8 kilometres of bike facilities and right-of-way changes along the Hollis/Water Streets loop and on George Street and Terminal Road.

Notably, the recommendation calls for putting the Hollis Street bike lane back on the west (right) side of the street. It also calls for pedestrian bulbs and detailed treatment of bus stops.

The suggestion is to go slow, implementing some minor part of the changes over each of the next several years, as budgeting allows. The first part, changes to Hollis Street, will cost about $750,000. The rest hasn’t been costed out yet.

I’m going to throw this out there because no one else has suggested it: now that the street has been made one-way and the bike lane created, Lower Water Street is too wide. The width of the one traffic lane encourages speeding. But besides that, the extra width provides an opportunity to put in back-in angle parking along the west (left) side of the street. This would about double the number of parking spaces on the street and also serve to narrow the one traffic lane and so slow down the through traffic.

Heritage Advisory Committee (Tuesday, 3pm, City Hall) — the committee is having its look at the Centre Plan.

Eastern Passage Common (Tuesday, 6:30pm, Tallahassee Recreation Centre, Eastern Passage) — a look at proposals for a upgraded park.

Wednesday

Special Events Advisory Committee (Wednesday, 9am, City Hall) — Ross Jefferson of Destination Halifax is going to make a presentation. A real toe-tapper, I understand.

Community Design Advisory Committee (Wednesday, 11:30am, HEMDCC Meeting Space, Alderney Gate) — the committee is having its look at the Centre Plan.

Western Common Advisory Committee (Wednesday, 6:30pm, Prospect Road Community Centre) — the committee is looking at bridge options for the Nichol’s Lake Train.

Province

Tuesday

Natural Resources and Economic Development (Tuesday, 1pm, One Government Place) — the committee is going to be discussing shale gas development (fracking) in Nova Scotia because now that the offshore has played out, we need to find some other way to continue to profit from the burning of fossil fuels and destruction of the world. Simon d’Entremont, the deputy minister at the Department of Energy & Mines, and Sandy MacMullin, the executive director of the Petroleum Resources branch of the Department of Energy, will be lobbed a bunch of softball questions.

Wednesday

No public meetings.


On campus

Dalhousie

Tuesday

A First Lecture on Software Design Patterns (Tuesday, 12pm, room 430, Goldberg Computer Science Building) — Robert (last name unknown) will

present an abbreviated version of his first lecture on software design patterns. He will discuss the benefits of object oriented programming over procedural programming, what makes experienced programmers better at their jobs than new programmers, and how design patterns can help new programmers bridge the experience gap. He will cover the categories and scopes of design patterns, and will present the Singleton pattern. The lecture will complete with an in class exercise where students attempt to implement the Singleton pattern and then code review one or two attempts.

Wednesday

Public Workshop on International Organisations and Digital Diplomacy: the EU, UN and NATO on Social Media (Wednesday, 9am, various locations) — from the listing:

This all-day workshop will feature more than a dozen speakers from international organisations and universities in Belgium, Canada, England, Germany and the US. A limited number of places are available for the public to attend some/all of the panels at no charge, although advance notice is required.

For more info and to register, contact this person.

Investigating signal transduction and cancer in a Drosophila model (Wednesday, 4pm, Theatre A, Tupper Medical Building) — Esther M. Verheyen from Simon Fraser University will speak.

Saint Mary’s

Tuesday

Climate Change in a World of Inequity: 2019 Earth Day Public Lecture (Tuesday, 7:30pm, Atrium 101) — Tony Charles will speak.

Wednesday

4th Annual Enactus Saint Mary’s University Gala (Wednesday , 6pm, Loyola Conference Hall) — Enactus is one of those groups that thinks we can solve all the world’s problems by doubling down on capitalism, the source of all the world’s problems. “We utilize the power of conscious capitalism for positive change,” proclaims the organization’s webpage.

It’s the Homer Simpson philosophy of the world: “Here’s to alcohol: the cause of, and solution to, all of life’s problems!”

Anyway, if you want to “network with the team,” put on your semi-formal to formal attire, pony up 60 bucks ($10 for students, $20 for alumni), and talk to a bunch of people you’d probably want to strangle were you not drinking, here’s your chance.


In the harbour

16:00: JPO Aries, container ship, sails from Pier 41 for New York
18:00: BBC Kwiatkowski, cargo ship, moves from Pier 9 to Bedford Basin anchorage

Where are the Canadian military ships?



Footnotes

Between other stuff I’m doing, I’m slowly reading the Mueller report.


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  1. On the armoured vehicle issue – I wonder if one of the warmongers — *ahem* I mean, distinguished visitors— to the annual Halifax Security Summit (https://halifaxtheforum.org) cast their gaze toward the park in front of the Westin Hotel last year, saw the assembled rabble, and the decided lack of armoured intimidation equipment, and whispered in someone’s ear that such a carefree approach to squashing the peaceniks simply would not do in a modern capitalist democracy? My money’s on some dude from one of those ironically-named “think tanks”, like the “Freedom Institute” or the “National Democratic Institute”…

  2. You are spot-on about Albertan politics and mindset, and that was also a great column in The Globe. The great irony is that they claim to want small government, but then scream that Government Has To Do Something when their beloved free market screws them over.

  3. “Anyway, if you want to “network with the team,” put on your semi-formal to formal attire, pony up 60 bucks ($10 for students, $20 for alumni), and talk to a bunch of people you’d probably want to strangle were you not drinking, here’s your chance.”

    Now that’s why I pay $10 a month for a subscription.

  4. Great piece on Alberta. It’s amazing how they’ve fooled themselves into believing that as Albertan’s they’re supporting the rest of the country (especially the Maritimes). Every individual in that province pays/contributes far less than the equivalent maritimer at the same income level. The only ‘extra’ money coming out of that province is related to bitumen royalties. Those have nothing to do with an Albertan taxpayer anymore than bowater’s stumpage fees or John Risley’s lobster monopoly has to do with my t4s. Their oil extraction is not only subsidized by the rest of us but we’re also bearing the brunt of extreme weather and sea level rise.

    Also don’t ever wish for reverse angled parking. With city drivers bumper to bumper, you’ll have someone wanting to reverse when it’s impossible to do so.

  5. Note the lack of data for bicycle usage on Hollis. The numbers are so low that HRM has been very quiet about the data they collected. In my experience traffic on Lower Water moves slightly faster than a snail.
    The supporters of a dedicated bike lane care less about the cost.
    Pedestrians on Dartmouth Common are looking forward to the erection of signage indicating bthat they have priority over all other users of the pathways; a priority spelled out in legislation almost a decade ago.

  6. Let’s hope Judge Jamieson puts paid to this disingenuous, self-righteous crusade masquerading as a civil rights issue. Guaranteed, if Lorne Grabher’s name was “Schitzpanz” he wouldn’t be so proud to flaunt it all over the place. The fact is he thought that “Grabher” was an awfully cute, cheeky vanity plate and when the powers that be didn’t agree he turned it into something else. What a tiresome waste of time and money.

  7. re: the Easter Bunny
    A Mensa friend pointed out to me the other day that, unlike the Nova Centre, bunnies do not lay eggs.

  8. This armoured vehicle business has had me feeling sick for over a week, and today it looks even worse with the new details revealed here. I was in Belfast in the early ’90’s before the peace accord. The RUC were patrolling the streets in armoured Land Rovers with gunmen standing in a roof hatch. Those vehicles were far less aggressive looking than what is proposed here, but their presence was chilling to say the least. This was in what was essentially a war zone at the time, and the presence of the ‘good guys’ felt more menacing than whatever threats lurked below the surface. There is simply no justification for this sort of projection of power in a peaceful society such as ours.

    While I applaud the efforts of some councillors to stop this project, it seems there is a serious structural failure in our system of governance if our elected government is unable to stop or even debate an important issue such as this. If in fact this is totally beyond the reach of civilian government, perhaps the new chief can be selected on the basis that they cancel this project or open it up to a meaningful discussion. Then our leaders should seek to change the governance structure so that such a situation cannot arise again.

  9. The link to the biography of Judge Jamieson is inaccurate. She did not graduate from the Schulich School of Law in 1988 because Dalhousie Law School was not ‘purchased’ by Seymour Schulich until October 2009 when vanity overcame the businessman and the $20,000,000 stuffed in his trousers was weighing him down when stepping into an airport limousine causing him to delay the private jet departure for Halifax. Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on your view of the purchase, he was not flying on a Boeing 737 Max.
    https://www.dal.ca/news/2009/10/14/schulich.html

  10. Having noted an uptick of people who look, well … like me, going in and out of downtown hotels (prompted, I’d venture by The Color Purple musical at the Neptune), I recently walked past the non-existent Nova Centre hotel and thought about its rising non-existent hotel, restaurant, etc. revenue.