News

1. Muskrat Falls delayed again

A Nalcor Energy schematic of the Muskrat Falls project.

“The Muskrat Falls megaproject that is already more than two years late in delivering hydroelectricity to Nova Scotia needed to meet renewable energy goals has hit another series of speed bumps,” reports Jennifer Henderson:

Work on the additional two generating units needed to deliver hydro from Labrador to Nova Scotia will take a month longer than forecast a month ago, calling into question whether this province will receive any power by July 1st. That was the latest ETA given by Nova Scotia Power to the regulator here.

Henderson goes on to report that there are software problems on the Labrador-Island Link, which brings power from Labrador to Newfoundland, the first step on its long journey to Nova Scotia. It’s unclear what effect those software problems will have on delivery to Nova Scotia, but reading between the lines, that delivery might be pushed into the fall.

Click here to read “More delays at Muskrat Falls hydro project.”

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2. Illegal dumping

Illegal dumping in HRM in 2018. Photo: Crime Stoppers

“With bylaw amendments headed to Halifax regional council on Tuesday, staff are proposing increased fines and enforcement to deter illegal dumping in the municipality,” reports Zane Woodford:

The amendments to Bylaw S-600 Respecting Solid Waste Resource Collection and Disposal are before council for first reading. They add new language defining illegal dumping and litter, new powers for municipal compliance officers, and double the maximum fine from $5,000 to $10,000.

I was amused by the section that dealt with proving someone had illegally dumped:

The amendments also create a reverse onus system, something cribbed from Cape Breton Regional Municipality’s illegal dumping bylaw, where identifying information found in illegally-dumped waste, like a name on a utility bill, is used to determine the culprit. Then it’s on that person to prove they didn’t dump it.

That is the scenario laid out in Arlo Guthrie’s song Alice’s Restaurant:

Well we got there
And there’s a big sign, and a chain across the dump
Saying “Closed on Thanksgiving”
And we had never heard of a dump
Closed on Thanksgiving before
And with tears in our eyes
We drove off into the sunset
Looking for another place to put the garbage
We didn’t find one
‘Til we came to a side road
And off the side of the side road
Was another fifteen-foot cliff
And at the bottom of the cliff was another pile of garbage
And we decided that one big pile is better than two little piles
And rather than bring that one up we decided to throw ours down
That’s what we did and
Drove back to the church
Had a Thanksgiving dinner that couldn’t be beat
Went to sleep and didn’t get up until the next morning
When we got a phone call from officer Obie
He said “Kid
We found your name on an envelope
At the bottom of a half a ton of garbage and
Just wanted to know if you had any information about it”
And I said “Yes sir, Officer Obie
I cannot tell a lie
I put that envelope under that garbage”

Click here to read “Halifax staff channels Alice’s Restaurant to propose crackdown on illegal dumping.”

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3. COVID-19

Ahvaz, Khuzestan Province, Iran. Photo by Ashkan Forouzani on Unsplash

There were eight new cases of COVID-19 announced over the weekend — six on Saturday and two on Sunday.

There are 29 known active cases in the province. Two people are in hospital with the disease, one of whom is in ICU.

The active cases are distributed as follows:

• 4 in the Halifax Peninsula / Chebucto Community Health Network in the Central Zone
• 4 in the Dartmouth/ Southeastern Community Health Network in the Central Zone
• 10 in the Bedford/Sackville Community Health Network in the Central Zone
• 3 in the Cape Breton Community Health Network in the Eastern Zone
• 1 in the Inverness, Victoria & Richmond Community Health Network in the Eastern Zone
• 3 in the Cumberland Community Health Network in the Northern Zone
• 1 in the Colchester/East Hants Community Health Network in the Northern Zone
• 1 in the Annapolis and Kings Community Health Network in the Western Zone

Two cases aren’t ascribed to a community health network.

Nova Scotia Health labs completed 3,685 tests Saturday.

No pop-up testing has been scheduled. But you can get tested at the Nova Scotia Health labs by going here.

Vaccination numbers aren’t provided on the weekend.

Here are the new daily cases and seven-day rolling average (now at 2.6) since the start of the second wave (Oct. 1):

And here is the active caseload for the second wave:

Saturday night, Public Health issued the following potential COVID exposure advisory:

Anyone who was on the following flight in the specified rows and seats should visit https://covid-self-assessment.novascotia.ca/en to book a COVID-19 test, regardless of whether or not they have COVID-19 symptoms. You can also call 811 if you don’t have online access or if you have other symptoms that concern you.
  • Air Canada flight 624 departing from Toronto on March 3 (10:00 p.m.) and arriving in Halifax (12:05 a.m. March 4). Passengers in rows 2-16, seats A, C and D are asked to immediately visit https://covid-self-assessment.novascotia.ca/en to book a COVID-19 test, regardless of whether or not they have COVID-19 symptoms. All other passengers on this flight should continue to self-isolate as required and monitor for signs and symptoms of COVID-19. It is anticipated that anyone exposed to the virus on this flight on the named date may develop symptoms up to, and including, March 18.

I’ve updated the potential exposure map to include the flight but to remove several advisories that have expired:

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4. More delays for booking a vaccination appointment

We’ll see how it goes today with the new procedures, but at 7:19am, it doesn’t look good, with an estimated wait time of over an hour:

To be fair, the system is probably being overwhelmed with looky loos like me.

And later this morning, a friend tells me that they got an elderly relative registered successfully in about an hour.

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5. Hope?

Premier Iain Rankin at the COVID-19 briefing, March 2, 2021. Photo: Communications Nova Scotia

“We have a new provincial government that at least seems to be making the right progressive noises,” writes Stephen Kimber. “COVID-19 vaccines are headed our way. And spring is in the air…”

Click here to read “Can we finally hope to hope?”

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6. Abbie Lane

Suzanne Rent has written an interesting and fun portrait of Abbie Lane, who was a whirlwind in Halifax’s civic and political life in the 1940s and 50s:

[Jean Lane] Duncan was six years old when her mother got a job as the woman’s editor at the Halifax Chronicle, where she reported on the social events in the city, from parties to weddings.  

Abbie Lane later worked at CJCH, which was then on the top floor of the Lord Nelson Hotel, where she was a woman’s commentator.  

“She’d go off to the radio station for her program, which I think was at 10:45 in the morning,” Duncan says. “If I was home sick in bed, I remember she’d always end the program with ‘This is Abbie Lane. Good morning, ladies.’ And then she’d say, ‘Good morning, Jean,’ which thrilled me.” 

Duncan says her mother was an advocate for the city’s poor and she served as the president of the Halifax Welfare Bureau for six years. She was on the city’s civic planning committee, which spent and helped draft Halifax’s master plan. Over the years, Lane’s contribution to the community would include her role as president of Zonta Club of Halifax, president of Halifax Women of Rotary, president of the women’s branch of the Women’s Press Club, and a member of national board of directors of the Canadian Mental Health Association. Lane served as provincial president with the Imperial Order, Daughters of the Empire. In 1959, Lane represented Canada at an international women’s conference in Bogata, Colombia.  

Duncan was in Grade 6 when her mother decided to go into politics. She ran in a by-election in Ward 2 after the death of Charles Hosterman in 1951. 

“I think women have a big role to play in the community and I decided to play mine,” Abbie Lane told reporter David MacDonald of Macleans. 

Click here to read “Abbie J. Lane: A daughter’s stories of a woman ahead of her time.”

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Government

City

Monday

Investment Policy Advisory Committee (Monday, 12pm) — virtual meeting; dial-in or live broadcast not available

Board of Police Commissioners (Monday, 12:30pm) — live webcast

North West Community Council (Monday, 7pm) — live webcast, with captioning on a text-only site

Tuesday

Halifax Regional Council (Tuesday, 11am) — live webcast, with captioning on a text-only site

Province

Monday

No public meetings.

Tuesday

Health (Tuesday, 9am) — live broadcast with closed captioning; Yarmouth & Area Chamber of Commerce representatives discuss local efforts to welcome doctors to the community

Legislature sits (Tuesday, 1pm) — more info on how to watch here


On campus

Dalhousie

Monday

OmiSoore Dryden. Photo: omisooredryden.com

Critical Race Theory – A Needed Analytical Skill in Health Research (Monday, 12:30pm) — OmiSoore Dryden will explain

Critical Race Theory provides important and necessary tools for conducting research and engaging in health practices allowing for engagement with complex racial concepts, while also challenging racism, specifically anti-Black racism. Anti-Black Racism is defined as “policies and practices rooted in Canadian institutions such as education, justice and health care (including research) that mirror and reinforce beliefs, attitudes, prejudice, stereotyping and/or discrimination towards Black people” (Dr. Akua Benjamin). Critical Race Theory (CRT) offers the field of public health a paradigm for investigating the root causes of health disparities. Based on social justice principles, CRT encourages the development of solutions that bridge gaps in health, housing, employment, and other factors that condition living. In this presentation I outline the central tenets and uses of critical race theory and its application in two research projects – #GotBlood2Give / #DuSanÀDonner, Black gay and bisexual men’s experiences with Canadian Blood Services; and DontCountUsOut! a community-informed, culturally sensitive approach to health promotion for African Nova Scotian communities with an initial focus on COVID-19 pandemic.

Tuesday

A categorical framework for gradientbased learning (Tuesday, 2:30pm) — Geoffrey Cruttwell from Mount Allison University will talk.

Many artificial intelligence systems use variants of the gradient descent algorithm to help them “learn”. (For examples of such variants, see https://arxiv.org/abs/1609.04747). In this series of two talks, we’ll see how many of these variants can be unified in a single categorical framework. The categorical tools we will use to build this framework include categories of parameterized maps, categories of lenses, and reverse derivative categories. The first talk will focus on introducing these three categorical structures, while the second talk will put the structures together and show how many of the gradient-based algorithms which are used in practice fit into the resulting framework.

This is joint work with Bruno Gavranovic, Neil Ghani, Paul Wilson, and Fabio Zanasi.​

Saint Mary’s

Monday

A Lived Experience: The Intersection of Languages, Gender and Identity in Translation (Monday, 9am) —Yingjun Chen will talk via Teams.

Rohini Bannerjee and Christina Myers, with the cover of the book Big: Stories about Life in Plus-Sized Bodies

Big: Stories about Life in Plus-Sized Bodies (Monday,12pm) — online discussion with author Rohini Bannerjee and editor Christina Myers

Tuesday

The Librarian Is In (Tuesday, 3pm) — to answer your library- or research-related questions


In the harbour

01:00: MSC Rochelle, container ship, sails from Pier 41 for Montreal
01:00: Tropic Hope, container ship, arrives at Pier 42 from Philipsburg, Sint Maarten
05:30: Grande Halifax, car carrier, arrives at Autoport from Valencia, Spain
06:00: MSC Donata, container ship, arrives at Pier 41 from Montreal
10:15: Acadian, oil tanker, sails from Irving Oil for sea
11:30: Grande Halifax sails for sea
11:30: Augusta Sun, cargo ship, sails from Pier 31 for Bilboa, Spain
12:00: CSL Tacoma, bulker, sails from Gold Bond (National Gypsum) for sea
15:00: Tropic Hope sails for Palm Beach, Florida
15:00: MSC Donata sails for sea
16:00: MSC Sariska, container ship, arrives at Pier 42 from Sines, Portugal
16:00: Algoma Verity, bulker, arrives at Gold Bond (National Gypsum) from New York


Footnotes

Just as we go to publish, I’m alerted that more of the redacted search warrant documents related to mass murder investigation will be re-released with more un-redactions. I don’t think there will be terribly much of interest in the latest un-redactions, but we’ll see.

I’ve been in a hyper-administrative mode lately, working on three very large projects on the business side of this enterprise.

The first was applying for the Qualified Canadian Journalistic Organization status, which was successful; I wrote about it here. (I’ve also filed the related paperwork so that Examiner subscribers can qualify fo the subscription tax credit, but I haven’t heard back yet.)

The second took an enormous amount of work, both from me and Iris the Amazing, and we were successful with that as well. It involves a project that starts later this month, and I’ll have details about it at that time, but it involves hiring an editor/reporter.

And I’m working on yet another project, which again has me looking at spreadsheets and doing some long-range planning. I won’t know how it goes for another six to eight weeks. If we’re successful, I’ll let you know.

All this work is intended to put the Examiner on a stronger financial footing and more important, to get more reporting done. Basically, it’s about securing bridge funding, enough money to bring more reporters on board immediately, with the aim of getting more subscribers to pay for their work by the time the the bridge funding runs out.

So despite the government subsidy money and other temporary funding we might secure, the Examiner’s long-term success is still entirely dependent on subscribers. If you support the work we do, please subscribe. Thanks!

Tim Bousquet

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

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  1. Logged in at 9am. No wait and booking took no longer than 5 minutes then a confirmation email a few minutes later. Yeah!

  2. I am among the legions of antiquarian tax payers whose avoidance of the deadly coronavirus is based partly on the vaccine ,- now as I keyboard this note , after 100’s of busy signals & failed on line efforts- it looks like a shot in the arm is booked. I await the actual moment where someone needles me !