News

1. Canadian Press layoffs

On Friday, the Canadian Press notified its staff that at the end of March it will be laying off six reporters nationwide, four of whom are in its Atlantic bureau in Halifax.

The four Halifax reporters are Brett Bundale, Aly Thomson, Keith Doucette, and Alex Cooke. All are excellent reporters. I’ve worked side-by-side with Bundale and Thompson and consider them colleagues and friends. I recognized Bundale’s professionalism the very moment I met her; she is irreplaceable to the Halifax reporting scene. I watched Thomson graduate from journalism school and grow into an impressive, top-notch reporter.

The four layoffs in Halifax reduce CP’s Atlantic Bureau to five. Remaining reporters in Halifax are Michael Tutton, Michael MacDonald, and Alison Auld. The bureau also includes Holly McKenzie-Sutter in St. John’s and Kevin Bissett in Fredericton.

The CP grew out of a cooperative venture of daily papers early in the last century, and is now a for-profit corporation. It produces independent reporting so that media outlets in, say, Saskatchewan can publish reporting about events on the east coast, and vice-versa.

Lately, the CP has been the fallback for media outlets cutting their own staff — that is, they could lay off their own reporters and still have “content” (dog, I hate that word) in their papers, newscasts, and websites provided by the CP.

Evidently, however, even that fallback position is being abandoned. Last year, Brunswick News (the Irving-owned newspapers in New Brunswick) ended its CP contract.

It appears that the SaltWire network, which owns every daily newspaper in Nova Scotia, PEI, and Newfoundland, is likewise ending its contract with CP, effective the end of the first quarter of 2019, March 31. Hence the layoffs at CP. (I’ve made inquiries to people who know, but no one will go on the record on this. I’d be happy to be corrected.)

SaltWire has its own reporters across Atlantic Canada, so it can rely on those reporters rather than CP for “content” for its publications. SaltWire has been paying CP for articles that also appear on competing outlets — it’s common to see the same CP story in the Chronicle Herald, the CBC, and CTV — so from a business perspective, why should SaltWire in effect subsidize its competition?

So, arguably, it would make good business sense for SaltWire to repurpose its CP budget to hire more of its own reporters. But I don’t see that happening. Any way you look at it, the CP layoffs are a net loss of reporters. The four laid off CP reporters are therefore yet more victims of Mark Lever and Sarah Dennis’s ongoing hatchet job.

And what is most important is the total depth of reporting. The loss of the CP reporters will make the reporting pool that much more shallow, and hence less informative for the public. The Chronicle Herald isn’t going to step into the void to replace the loss, and no one else much will either.

Let’s hear from former Herald reporter Selena Ross:

Brett is one of the most versatile, enterprising reporters I know – she’s amazing no matter what/where the job – and it’s hard to believe people like this are getting laid off every *two years* (often while raising kids). We can’t afford to lose their work. Subscribe somewhere. https://t.co/ZVk1JlAa4x

— Selena Ross (@seleross) February 8, 2019

Subscribe somewhere.

Of course I’d like you to subscribe to the Halifax Examiner (I know that 90 per cent of the people reading these words right now aren’t subscribers), but if for whatever reason you don’t want to subscribe to the Examiner, please put your money into some other news publication.

2. Yarmouth ferry, secrecy, and a lawsuit

The Alakai. Photo: Halifax Examiner

“The good news for need-to-always-be-even-more-shocked-and-yet-more-appalled columnists is that the Yarmouth ferry is the gift that keeps on giving,” writes Stephen Kimber:

The bad news for taxpayers is that it is also the ferry that keeps on taking.

I’ve been writing about the always-sinking-but-never-finally-sunk ferry service between Yarmouth and assorted ports in Maine since at least 2007.

“Ferry Bad Times in Yarmouth” read the cutesy September 16, 2007, headline in the Halifax Daily News. Passenger numbers that year had “plummeted by a whopping 33 per cent, and locals say the situation is the worst it’s been since the province began compiling statistics in 1990.”

Little did they know.

Click here to read “The Cat can’t come back… to Portland.”

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Tim Houston addresses the PCs. Photo: Jennifer Henderson

Relatedly…

“‘We will form a thoughtful, accountable, humble government that gives Nova Scotians hope,’ Progressive Conservative leader Tim Houston told a crowd of more than 400 attending the party’s Annual General Meeting at the Westin hotel [Friday] night,” reports Jennifer Henderson.

Henderson talked to Houston about the recent changes the cowardly Liberals have made to the Public Accounts Committee, and Houston said:

The structure of the Public Accounts Committee will be effective and a tool for the opposition politicians to ask meaningful questions. What the actual composition of that committee will be — whether there will be more opposition politicians than government members on it — I don’t know but I am open to that. The difference between me and Stephen McNeil is that when I become premier, I want to be held to account.

Comments Henderson: “That ‘trust me’ thing again. Will it be good enough?”

Click here to read “Tim Houston says that as premier he will be accountable.”

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Just after we published Kimber’s column on Sunday, the Progressive Conservatives issued the following release:

HALIFAX, NS – Today, Tim Houston struck a blow against Liberal secrecy and announced the Progressive Conservative Caucus will sue the Liberal government.

“Time after time, this Liberal government has hidden information from Nova Scotians that they have a right to know,” Houston said. “The Liberals will continue their secretive ways until someone stops them. The time is now.”

In May 2016, the PC Caucus submitted a Freedom of Information request asking for the contract between the Province of Nova Scotia and the operator of the Yarmouth ferry. The Liberals refused to disclose the management fee taxpayers pay the company. The PC Caucus launched an appeal of that decision and in December 2018 the Privacy Commissioner ruled that the information should be made public.

A month later, the government defied the Commissioner and refused to disclose the information, saying the only way to force the government to be transparent was to take them to court.

“Nova Scotians should not have to take their own government to court to find out how their tax dollars are being spent,” Houston said. “The Liberals are betting on the fact that most Nova Scotians don’t have the will, the resources or the desire to get a lawyer and begin legal proceedings.”

Liberal defiance of the Privacy Commissioner is only one aspect of a disturbing pattern of secrecy the Liberal government has established:

• Last April, the Liberals blocked PC attempts to call Internal Services Department officials to the Public Accounts Committee to explain a privacy breach that exposed the personal information of hundreds of Nova Scotians.

• In May 2018, the Liberals blocked Department of Justice officials from appearing before Public Accounts following a very critical and damning report from the Auditor General about four jails.

• In September, the Liberal members on the Public Accounts committee used their majority to change the longstanding practice of allowing all three parties in the House to pick topics and decide who will be called before the committee. Last month, the Liberals used their majority to block a physician from appearing before the newly established Health Committee. Earlier in the month, the Liberals restricted the work schedule of the committee to only 90 minutes per month.

• Also in January, the Liberals blocked topics such as the Cape Breton mental health crisis and university funding from coming before Public Accounts

The Liberals refused to comply, in whole or in part, with 80 percent of the reports the Privacy Commissioner issued in 2018.

“The fact is, this government has shown over and over again that they don’t want anyone snooping around, asking questions and finding out what they are really up to,” Houston concluded. “I cannot stand by as they continue to defy the Privacy Commissioner and conceal information they don’t want Nova Scotians to know. That’s why we are taking the extraordinary step of taking the government to court.”

Houston will file a Notice of Appeal at the Nova Scotia Supreme Court (1815 Upper Water Street, Halifax, NS) at 10:00 a.m. on Monday, February 11.

Nova Scotians can sign in support of the lawsuit at www.FightingForAnswers.ca.

The release isn’t clear (maybe the PCs can hire one of those laid off CP reporters to write clear press releases), so Jennifer Henderson followed up with PC PR person Catherine Klimek. “Klimek confirms the action is with respect to demanding answers about the money spent on the ferry, specifically the management fees,” Henderson tells me.

3. John Hamm

John Hamm (left) with MLA Alfie MacLeod. Photo: Jennifer Henderson

In 20014, then-premier John Hamm signed a 25-year lease agreement with a previous owner of the Pictou County mill (now Northern Pulp Mill) that allowed the mill to continue dumping wastewater into the already-polluted Boat Harbour lagoon on First Nation land until 2030. This turns out to have been a momentous decision on Hamm’s part.

“In a wrinkle that highlights the thin curtain between political and private careers in Nova Scotia, Hamm is now Chair of the Board of Northern Resources Nova Scotia Corporation, the umbrella company for the mill’s operating company, Northern Pulp Nova Scotia (NPNS),” writes Jennifer Henderson. “Hamm has been a director of NPNS for the past decade.”

Henderson caught up with Hamm at the Progressive Conservative’s annual general meeting Friday night to ask him if he regretted signing the lease. Three guesses what he said.

Click here to read “John Hamm says he has no regrets about signing pulp mill lease.”

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4. Jackson trial

Photo: Halifax Examiner

(Background on this story here and here.)

I was out of town Friday and so asked Amanda Jess to cover the closing arguments in the Blake Jackson trial. Her notes were so thorough that I’ve cleaned them up with minor editing and to avoid breaking the publication ban on identifying the accuser (I’m using the pseudonym “Sarah”) and posted them here.

That’s it for the trial; Justice Christa Brothers will read her decision on May 8.

5. Another taxi driver charged with sexual assault

On Thursday, Halifax police issued the following release:

Police have charged a taxi driver with sexual assault in relation to an incident that occurred in Halifax over the weekend.

At approximately 5:45 a.m. on January 6 police responded to a report of a sexual assault that had occurred a short time earlier in Halifax. A taxi driver drove a female to a residence in Halifax and sexually assaulted her while she was in the vehicle.

To protect the identity of the victim, we are not releasing the address where the sexual assault occurred.

Friday afternoon, police updated that post:

The charge has been sworn in Halifax Provincial Court for 36-year-old Tesfom Kidane Mengis of Halifax in relation to this sexual assault. He is scheduled to appear in Halifax Provincial Court on February 26, 2019.


Government

City

Monday

Police Commission(Monday, 12:30pm, City Hall) — the commission will consider the Halifax Regional Police Strategic Plan. Reading through it, I came across this section:

Evidence-based policing & research partnerships:

HRP has supported over 30 research projects since 2016, and has become a recognized resource for partnerships and collaboration. Research assistance was provided towards academic and graduate studies and projects that were local, national and international in scope.

In conjunction with local experts and academic partners, HRP created and conducted systematic evaluations of its internal initiatives such as de-escalation and implicit bias training at HRP. This evaluation added to the evidence-based on the impacts of training as well as informed future training development.

HRP supported the development and launch of training in an evidence-based police program, in partnership with Dalhousie University’s Police Leadership Program, and helped design an Evidence-Based Police Training Program for police officers, through Dalhousie’s Police Leadership Program.

Research is important… so good, but I think how that research is conducted and how it effects the culture of policing is what matters. If you have crappy research that everyone ignores in any event, you haven’t accomplished anything. But, still, good!

And that bit about research reminded me of the 99% Invisible podcast episode titled “The Blazer Experiment“:

In 1968, the police department in Menlo Park, California hired a new police chief. His name was Victor Cizanckas and his main goal was to reform the department, which had a strained relationship with the community at the time.

Cizanckas wanted to rebuild trust with the community — and he made a number of changes to improve the department’s image. One of the most ground-breaking and controversial was the new blazer-style uniform he implemented.

For many years, the Menlo Park police had worn some variation of the traditional, pseudo-military, dark blue uniform. But Cizanckas thought that look was too intimidating and aggressive, so he traded it for slacks, dress shirts with ties, and a blazer. Guns and handcuffs remained hidden under the coat. Instead of a metal badge, the blazer sported an embroidered patch that looked a little like a coat of arms.

In their new blazer uniforms, the Menlo Park police looked more like preppy college students (or detectives) than traditional law enforcement officers. Some even sported pocket protectors with the Menlo Park police logo on them that would slide into the pocket of their dress shirts.

But the new look was only the most visible reform that Cizanckas introduced. He also hired new officers with higher levels of education and from non-traditional law enforcement backgrounds. Several of his recruits had attended the Jesuit seminary in Menlo Park. He emphasized community outreach and required beat officers to take on investigative duties that had traditionally been covered by detectives. He also changed the organizational language of the department, using corporate titles instead of military ones. “Sergeants” became “managers,” for example, and “lieutenants” became “directors.” Officers in the department had mixed feelings about all these changes, but the uniform may have been the most contentious.

The podcast goes on to give an exhaustive history of police uniforms before returning to Cizanckas:

For a time, the reforms Chief Cizanckas had implemented seemed to be working. Cizanckas told the New York Times in 1972 that officer morale was up and that community satisfaction with the department had increased. Certainly, his officers looked less intimidating. An early study even suggested that altercations between citizens and police had declined because of the new uniform. The study’s findings were eventually challenged, but not before news of the reform’s success spread, and a few other departments across the country adopted blazer style.

At the same time, the blazer uniform created divisions within the Menlo Park Police Department. Some of the older, more traditional officers missed the dark blue, military-style uniform and all that it represented. Others complained that community members got confused about whether officers were actually law enforcement. Others had problems with the deeper changes to the organization and hierarchy of the department. Many officers quit to take jobs with other law enforcement agencies in the area.

The experiment was ended when Cizanckas moved on. Police culture is a very strong impediment to change.

North West Community Council (Monday, 7pm, Bedford Hammonds Plains Community Centre) — honestly, I’ve lost track of all the proposed developments on the Bedford Highway, none of which will impact traffic, promise. Here’s one of them.

Tuesday

The Ship Victory

Special Harbour East – Marine Drive Community Council (Tuesday, 12pm, City Hall) — a quick meeting before the city council meeting in order to approve land use changes that will allow for the redevelopment of the Ship Victory property on Windmill Road in Dartmouth — the owners of the property, the Valardo family, want to build a 10-storey apartment building at the site.

The Ship Victory is a fascinating place, fitted out to look like the inside of an old wooden sailing ship. I imagine it was a happening place back when the military housing at Shannon Park across the road was full of people. It deserves a good farewell tour.

City Council (Tuesday, 1pm, City Hall) — among other items, staff is recommending that council reject an offer from Soccer Nova Scotia to purchase the Gray Arena in Dartmouth;

As of the application deadline of June 4, 2018, one (1) proposal was received. The offer of purchase is from Soccer Nova Scotia (“the Society”). The Society’s offer includes a purchase price of $42,500+HST with a requested closing date of January 31, 2019. The proposal was evaluated by an inter-departmental review team and scored 52/100 based on the information provided by the applicant.

The review concluded that the operating and capital plans of the Society, as filed in its application, are insufficiently rigorous to ensure a viable, ongoing operation. There is a significant risk that the operations cannot be maintained without the Society re-thinking their plans. In addition, the introduction of another soccer facility in Dartmouth (after the filing of the Society’s application) represents a particular area of concern.

The property is appraised at just over $4 million.

Province

Monday

No public meetings.

Tuesday

Health (Tuesday, 1pm, Province House) — Janet Knox, CEO of the Nova Scotia Health Authority, and her VP of Integrated Services, Tim Guest, will be asked about the accreditation of the authority. Undoubtedly, the Tracy Kitch expense scandal will be discussed.


On campus

Dalhousie

Monday

Rational Polynomials which Preserve the Ring of 2×2 Matrices with Integer Coefficients (Monday, 2:30pm, Room 319, Chase Building) — Keith Johnson will speak. His abstract:

​​​​If $M_2(\mathbb{Z})$ denotes the ring of $2\times 2$ matrices with coefficients in $\mathbb{Z}$ then there are polynomials in $p(x)\in\mathbb{Q}[x]$ for which $p(M)\in M_2(\mathbb{Z})$ if $M\in M_2(\mathbb{Z})$ without $p(x)$ having all integer coefficients itself. $(x^6+x^5+x^3+x^2)/2$ is an example. Describing all polynomials in $\mathbb{Q}[x]$ with this property is an open problem and this talk will describe how much is known so far.

Bring your own $M_2(\mathbb{Z})$.

Senate Meeting (Monday, 3pm, Theatre A, Tupper Medical Building) — I had the agenda but lost it; maybe I’ll swing by to see what’s going on.

Senator Wanda Thomas Bernard. Photo: Halifax Examiner

Black Women in Leadership: Fighting for Change (Monday, 6pm, Room 307, Student Union Building) —Senator Wanda Thomas Bernard will speak.

Tuesday

Information Without Borders Conference (Tuesday, 9am, McInnes Room, Student Union Building) — the topic of the 13th annual student-run conference is “Information Accessibility.” Info and register here.

Board of Governors Meeting (Tuesday, 3pm, University Hall, Macdonald Building) — divestment is on the agenda.

Why entrepreneurship can benefit every student (Tuesday, 4:30pm, Collider, LINK Classroom, Killam Library) — this is a reeducation camp run by chief propagandist Christopher Friesen, who is a cofounder (along with Tony Ingram) at Axem Neurotechnology.

Axem is developing a product that is described as “a brain-sensing headset that measures the quality of mental practice, allowing athletes to track their progress over time and improve their training using the Axem smartphone app.”  It’s the new Mao jacket.

Of course Axem has received a $50,000 grant and $99,960 loan from ACOA in order to develop this socially useful product that is the first order of government concern, way before like social housing or whatever. And, equally of course-y, Axem has been the subject of an Entrevestor column.

Here’s how the propaganda rolls:

Entrepreneurship and education go hand-in-hand. By thinking and acting like an entrepreneur you can develop a range of skills — including, critical thinking, negotiation, resiliency, innovation, and teamwork —  that are important for your own self-development, and critical for employment in a job market that is limited.

Join us for a discussion that will talk about:

• What the entrepreneurial skill set includes, and how you can start developing these important employable skills.

• How can these skills help you in your studies right now.

• How we can encourage students to engage in entrepreneurial development, and why that matters to you!

It will be followed by two minutes of hate.

I think the reeducation camp is limited to profs, who can register here.

Saint Mary’s

Monday

Freedom of Expression on Campus: What are the Issues? (Monday, 6pm, Halifax Central Library) — Mark Mercer will tell us why we need to coddle racists. For once, I wish the so-called “free speech warriors” would advocate for, say, the free speech rights of prisoners. But it’s always about the neighbourhood fascists for these guys, never people who are truly oppressed.

Tuesday

Lynn Jones, Francesca Ekwuyasi, and Delvina Bernard. Photos via: smu.ca; twitter; oxfam.ca

Racial Apartheid & Black Freedom Struggles in Nova Scotia and South Africa (Tuesday, 6:30pm, Room 135, Patrick Power Library) — a panel discussion to celebrate African Heritage Month, with Lynn Jones (Global African Congress, NS Chapter), researcher and filmmaker Francesca Ekwuyasi, and social justice strategist, songwriter and educator Delvina Bernard.

Mount Saint Vincent

Tuesday

James R Shirley: Landscapes from the Soul (Tuesday, MSVU Art Gallery) — a selection of monotypes and pinhole photographs from the collections of Mount Saint Vincent University and Dalhousie University. Until May 19. Information here.


In the harbour

03:30: Dimitra C, container ship, sails from Fairview Cove for sea
05:00: MOL Paradise, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from Colombo, Sri Lanka
05:30: Donington, car carrier, arrives at Autoport from New York
10:00: Artemis, container ship, arrives at Pier 41 from Lisbon, Portugal
11:00: Bomar Rebecca, container ship, arrives at Pier 42 from St. Thomas, Virgin Islands
16:00: Donington sails for sea
16:30: MOL Paradise sails for New York
20:30: Artemis sails for New York

Where are the Canadian military ships?



Footnotes

Such is the logic of airline travel that a trip from Virginia back to Halifax routed me through Toronto last night. The last leg of the trip was flight AC624… er, shouldn’t they have retired that flight number? Seems a good rule: if a flight number has its own Wikipedia page, don’t use it any more.

Thankfully, last night’s AC624 didn’t have such a dramatic ending, but it nevertheless had its problems. No one explained why (squirrels in the engine? they needed to sober up the pilot?), but takeoff was delayed from 8:55pm Toronto time to 11:20pm, then 11:40, and then 20 minutes after midnight. I didn’t get home until 4:30 this morning, and so wrote most of this Morning File at Pearson International.

Have I mentioned that I dislike flying? I think a big contributing factor to my general sense of anxiety and distress about flying is the damn security theatre. There’s no honest need for it, and anyway, if I’m to believe the silly announcements before takeoff, all wannabe terrorists have to do to crash a plane is not put their phones in airplane mode.

I’m convinced that the real purpose of the security theatre is simply to exercise power. The aim is to dehumanize passengers, take every shred of dignity away from them.

On my last several flights, I’ve been told to take off my belt and then pulled aside because I bunched up my shirt tail in order to keep my pants up; yelled at for both not taking my shoes off and for taking them off; irradiated with a body scanner, with my naked image undoubtedly downloaded onto some pervert’s thumbnail drive; poked and prodded; and felt up by a teenage boy while a “supervisor” sniffed through my dirty underwear.

And what is it with the obsessive checking of my boarding pass? On one trip through Stanfield, my boarding pass was checked no fewer than five times from security to boarding. Before I could get in the line for the security theatre, one worker checked my boarding pass. I walked literally just 10 steps and another worker checked the pass again — the two workers could almost touch each other, they were that close. Then I got to the place where everyone frantically takes off their shoes (or doesn’t) and pulls their laptop out, and a third worker checked my boarding pass. I walked the 20 feet through the metal detector and a fourth worker checked my boarding pass. And then it got checked all over again before I could get on the plane. This is not at all unusual. What is the fear here? Answer: there is no real fear; it’s just the assholery built into the system.

But to complain about it makes me a bad person, someone who hates safety and wants the terrorists to win, which is yet another way to dehumanize me.

And all that happens before getting on the dogdamn plane. On the plane itself is a bunch more security theatre — that warning that the plane will blow up if I don’t put my phone on airplane mode, a lecture about “water landings,” and eight dollar beer (which I assume is justified because they fear a drunken Tim will say rude things to the flight attendants, distracting them from tackling a shoe bomber).

In short, I’ve been so dehumanized and insulted that once we actually get around to the flying part, I’m certain that the process will continue and lead to death.


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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. The loss of these professional journalists from CP is something about which we should all be very concerned. The fact Saltwire and Brunswick News have abandoned their membership in CP means they have also abandoned responsible journalism. Everything under Saltwire is just and advertising flyer.
    CP was always the journalism standard for Canada. As a young reporter in the 70s the CP style guide was the bible. It set the standard for Canadian news media.
    So losing CP means we are losing far, far more than a wire service. This is part of Canada’s fabric that is being unraveled strand by strand by unscrupulous, self interested moguls like Lever and Irving.

  2. I look forward to Brett Bundale’s reporting for the Halifax Examiner (if she doesn’t vamoose to more prosperous climes).

  3. Such a simple world you occupy: one in which all society’s ills can traced to a handful of evil malefactors like Sarah Dennis and Mark Lever. If you are genuinely keen to find the villains behind CP’s layoff of Bundale, Cooke, Doucette, and Thompson, a better choice might be Tim Berners-Lee (inventor of the Internet) and Steve Jobs (inventor of the smartphone).

    Their inventions eviscerated the revenue stream that kept local and regional newspapers rolling in cash for most of the 20th Century. The demand for news survived, but the revenue for supplying it evaporated. People who think deeply about the resulting disruption of the news business seem to agree that the impact has been greatest at medium sized regional papers like the Chronicle-Herald.

    I don’t like every decision Dennis and Lever have made, but their purchase of the remnants of the Transcontinental chain (a truly horrendous news organization that was mysteriously exempt from the criticism you and Kimber delight at showering on the Chronicle Herald) was a bold move that may make it possible to provide province-wide news coverage while containing costs. Will it succeed? I have no idea. It’s certainly an uphill battle. I continue to cheer the project on with the same enthusiasm you devote to the uninformed cheap shots that apparently make you feel righteous.

    By the way, Dennis and Lever employ a hell of a lot more journalists than you and CP combined. These workers (if you ever bothered to ask them) can be forgiven for not sharing your fervent wish for Saltwire’s collapse.

  4. The Herald without the Canadian Press copy it relies upon so heavily? It would look more like a flyer than a newspaper.

  5. Flying from Halifax to anywhere in the US (except perhaps the New York airports) is a blasted pain in the butt and it doesn’t really matter about one’s age or appearance. Everyone has the chance to be subject to indignities, scanning, just plain out mean-spirited treatment and unreasonable delays. In order to visit family in the Midwest, I need to budget for at least 8 hours of travel time and that does not include the trip to and from the airport. With all the darned security, one almost always has to run and pray in Toronto that one will actually make the connecting flight because Air Canada does not allow enough time. If I were flying direct , the flight would be no more than 2 1/2 hours; but there is no longer a direct flight. I have little faith in the security measures based on personal experience. In the early days of X-ray scanning of airline passengers in the US, my mother took a flight from the Midwest to New York and carried a pearl handled pistol in her purse. She and her purse went through the scanning machines and yes the pistol was metal.

  6. ‘Security theatre’, and CATSA/TSA employees high on their power to make our lives miserable.

    On a recent departure from Halifax Stanfield, they almost didn’t let my wife through security because she couldn’t explain why the ‘Enter’ key on her laptop was blue (see: https://www.replacementlaptopkeys.com/product_images/images/ibm/thinkpad_r60_laptop_keyboard_key.jpg). Umm, maybe go ask IBM’s designers? Laptop was proven to be an actual laptop (turned on, etc) and was swabbed and ran through the testing devices. So what’s the concern with it’s aesthetics? Ridiculous.

  7. Airport security is the most infuriating thing – but it is a manifestation of the general malaise that Mr. Kaczynski identified – who is ironically the most infamous terrorist from an American/Canadian perspective other than Bin Laden – it starts with the security personnel themselves. The basic industrial model of organization – where an army of low-skilled workers perform a standardized task with the aid of machines someone else owns (whether that’s some rich dude, the government, or “the people” in a communist sense) is dehumanizing. My 90 year old grandmother gets searched – even though a 90 year old woman with bad hips has probably never done anything that can reasonably be called ‘terrorism’ in human history – because one of the sacred tenets of our age is that people are fully interchangeable and do not really exist outside of the role assigned to them by the needs of the system. And so a bored glorified security guard uses equipment that costs more than he will make in 30 years to make sure an old lady that positively radiates kindness doesn’t have a bomb in her purse.

    On a smaller scale, people are afraid of flying (even though it is so much safer than driving that some estimates say that more people died as a result of choosing cars over planes after 9/11 than were killed in the actual attack) because it removes agency – whereas when you are driving, you are responsible for your own safety and the safety of others.

  8. 1) Police officers should wear white shirts, not the black shirts of the Italian fascists.
    The name of an officer should be white on a jacket, not the blue which almost renders the name invisible.
    2) The ‘Ship Victory’ was a popular spot for Burnside workers seeking lunchtime refreshment when no pubs were allowed in the Burnside Industrial Park and the owner was a Liberal, a councillor and former beer saleman who served on the council and the Burnside Industrial Commission and in such roles ensured that colleagues always opposed any application for licensed establishments in Burnside. It all fell apart when the Tories were elected in 1978 and soon after a liquor license was granted to a pub on Akerley Boulevard.
    3) ‘The four laid off CP reporters are therefore yet more victims of Mark Lever and Sarah Dennis’s ongoing hatchet job.’ I disagree. They are victims of a changing media world and the desire for free content.

    1. I disagree – to say that the police shouldn’t wear black shirts because the Italian fascists wore them is to surrender a perfectly reasonable uniform design to the fascists. We lost (and I am not arguing for its resurrection) the swastika to those fucks – the swastika is a wonderfully aesthetic symbol that many sources believe is a portrayal of the motion of the Big Dipper constellation around Polaris throughout the year:

      https://www.modernconstellations.com/allerleiumasvast.html

      It wasn’t associated with anything bad until the Nazis ruined it for at least a few centuries.