1. Ships Sputter Here
“Halifax-based Irving Shipbuilding says it is in talks with the federal government over a looming gap in construction of two new fleets of ships for the navy, which the company warns could result in ‘significant layoffs if left unaddressed,” reports Lee Berthiaume for the Canadian Press:
The shipyard wants the government to give it additional work to make sure workers don’t sit idle between when the first fleet of Arctic patrol vessels is finished and work begins on the second fleet of much larger warships.
Work on the Arctic patrol ships is expected to wind down in 2019.
Construction of the warship fleet — which will replace the navy’s frigates and destroyers — won’t start until at least 2021.
I’m so old I remember when building warships was the path to prosperity forever, amen.
Berthiaume goes on to relate a fascinating back story hinting at possible corruption:
The surprise suspension last month of the military’s second-highest-ranking officer has thrown another potential wrench in the mix. Vice-Admiral Mark Norman was deeply involved in the warship project in his previous role as commander of the Royal Canadian Navy.
Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan has said Norman’s suspension was not related to national security, which has left many questioning whether there was any link to the federal government’s shipbuilding plan.
2. Lantz Interchange
The last couple of days I’ve been commenting on the imminent announcement of the approval of a new interchange for the Lantz area, and today Francis Campbell at Local Xpress has more:
“The interchange is a big deal,” [municipal councillor Stephen King] said. “It would be transformational. It would be a reason for people to build and what not. Being so close to metro, a bit more affordable, it would be fully serviced, a pretty nice location in my totally unbiased opinion.”
King attended a school review meeting at Maple Ridge Elementary in Lantz last week and said some of the related scuttlebutt there was about at least two major developers ready to swing into action when the interchange becomes a sure thing.
“One of the developments is geared toward entry-level housing like duplex complexes, which means young families,” King said. “There are very few places in the province of Nova Scotia where there is much growth, let alone young families.”
King said an interchange that will traverse the 102 will open the huge tract of backwoods land to the northwest of the four-lane highway in the Elmsdale-to-Milford corridor.
“We’re talking hundreds and hundreds of lots. We’re not just talking a small subdivision. It opens up commercial possibilities. The other thing it does is it opens up the other side of the highway and the lands over there. You drive between Elmsdale and Milford, there is a hell of a lot of land there. There is just no access to it.”
So in other words, total sprawl.
But besides the issues of sprawl and political spoils, what about money?
Highway interchanges are expensive — when it was built in 2010, the Mount Hope Interchange in Dartmouth cost about $12 million, and that was on land already set aside for that purpose. Given inflation and the land acquisition costs, let’s guess that a new Lantz interchange will cost in the ballpark of $20 million.
That kind of money would go a long way to extending Via Rail’s proposed commuter service from downtown Halifax to Windsor Junction out to Lantz.
But never mind rail, consider simple fairness. Why should Lantz residents get a free-to-them interchange to open up the area for suburban sprawl when rural residents are being asked to pay tolls to twin highways to save lives?
I’d ask the same question about urban projects: Why won’t the Burnside-Sackville Expressway be tolled? Are HRM residents more virtuous than residents of Antigonish?
[UPDATE, 10am: Andrew Younger informs me that the Burnside-Sackville proposal includes tolls. That’s the first I’ve heard on that.]
Understand that I’m against all tolls: If highway infrastructure is needed, we should pay for it out of the highway budget, and projects should be ranked by their need, not political expediency.
3. The secret war over the Dalhousie Mace
This is about story that I can’t write because no one will talk to me about it. It involves the Dalhousie Mace, which, the Dal website explains, is used at convocation (graduation) ceremonies:
The Dalhousie University mace is carried into the auditorium by the University Beadle. The mace was first carried in an academic procession in May 1950 and once placed onstage begins Convocation.
The mace was designed by R.L. de C.H. Saunders, a Professor of Anatomy, and carved by A.H. MacMillan of Halifax. It is made of oak, enriched with silver and enamel, and measures 1.4 metres in length.
I had no idea what the “University Beadle” is, and the first time I saw that I read it as “University Beagle,” which would be great, but alas, since then I’ve learned that the Beadle is a sort of ceremonial church security guard. Yes, the Christians are still running the show at Dal grad ceremonies.
Anyway, the Mace was agendized for last week’s University Senate meeting:
IN CAMERA: Mace Re‐think Project*
Presenter: Peter Dykhuis, Chair, Mace Re‐think Project and Director, Dalhousie Art Gallery
Re: Strategic Priority 4.4 Prepare for Dalhousie’s 200th Anniversary in 2018 and Strategic Priority 5.2 Foster a collegial culture grounded in diversity and inclusiveness
I don’t know what the asterisk is about. Maybe it’s code for “kick Bousquet out of the room.”
I wondered about that “in camera” thing, but I’ve been going to Senate meetings regularly for a while (I have perverse pleasures), so I thought I’d see how it went. Sure enough, however, just after the agenda was approved, they kicked all the non-Senators out of the room. I gathered up my coffee and voice recorders and camera and computer and backpack and jacket and hat and gloves and trundled out to the corridor with the staffers, because apparently talking about the Mace Re-think Project is a top secret affair, something really delicate that you wouldn’t want a reporter to be a fly on the wall for, because next thing you know, he’d be writing about it in Morning File.
Well, I’m nothing if not resourceful, so while waiting in the corridor I used my superpower of googling to learn more about the Mace, and found a Dalhousie Review article written by none other than R.L. de C.H. Saunders, Professor of Anatomy and designer of the Mace, himself. It begins:
THE DALHOUSIE UNIVERSITY
R.L. DE C.H. Saunders
THE design and history of university maces is rather an obscure subject, since no comprehensive study has been made of their origin or evolution. Their similarity to civic and ecclesiastical maces is interesting, in that all would appear to have been derived from the military mace, which later came to symbolize regal authority. Whence it might seem that they were varied expressions of that great movement toward local self-government that has characterized British history since the days of Magna Carta.
Saunders’ description of the Mace he designed is simultaneously hilarious and cringe-inducing:
The Dalhousie University mace has been designed by the author to relate symbolically as the eye ascends its length the proud maritime tradition of the seagirt provinces and the historical heritage of the university that serves them. It is being carved in oak and enriched with silver and enamel, and will be four and a half feet in length.
The lower end, or what is technically known as the button, is adorned with silver ﬁsh in recognition of the source of our economy. It may be noted that the ﬁsh is also an early symbol of Christianity. Above this is a carved circular scene depicting a sea nymph calling across the waves toward the setting sun in representation of the impulse that led navigators to sail westward to our shores.
The roots put down by the early settlers, and the tall trees that ﬁrst met their gaze are formally suggested by a simple grooved pattern extending the entire length of the shaft.
The head of the mace ﬁrst bears the distinctive leaf of the national emblem, the maple. Set above this is a carved circlet of mayﬂowers, simultaneously symbolizing the province and the ﬂowering of the new civilization therein which led to the establishment of the university.
Four robed mediaeval scholars facing the main compass points represent the university faculties and their old world heritage. Each ﬁgure bears a silver enamelled shield emblazoned with either the arms of the University or the province of Nova Scotia. Alternating with these ﬁgures are the rose, thistle, ﬂeur-de-lys. and shamrock, depicting the major racial groups of our country.
The uppermost part of the mace head is surmounted by a ﬁve-rayed Scottish earl’s coronet in recognition of the University founder, the 9th Earl of Dalhousie. This part of the mace will incorporate some oak kindly presented by and felled on the estate of the present Earl.
Gracing the cap of the coronet and therefore set above all is a silver Celtic cross surrounded by the university motto “Ora et Labora”. This type of early cross was chosen as one most beﬁtting a non-denominational institution with Scottish amliations.
In conclusion, it will be seen that the mace in its general design conforms both in pattern and material to historic and academic precedent, while maintaining an originality that is essentially linked with the story of Dalhousie University.
Aha! Putting two and two together — the imperial and racial symbolism of the Mace and the desire to “Foster a collegial culture grounded in diversity and inclusiveness” — I guessed that someone or someones at the university thinks (or Re-thinks) that maybe it’s not a great idea to have a symbol of Imperialism used at graduation ceremonies, especially when we’re supposed to be all about that Truth and Reconciliation business.
And you know what? I’d be on that page. Let’s talk about that, eh? But wait, I was kicked out of the room, and no Senators would break the in camera gag order afterwards.
So, after I trundled back into the hall with my second cup of coffee and voice recorders and camera and computer and backpack and jacket and hat and gloves, I emailed Peter Dykhuis, the Chair of the Re-think Project (that hyphen bothers me, but what are you going to do?), to ask what’s up. His response came a couple of days later:
Thank you for your interest in the Mace Re-visioning project. I have forwarded your email along to Lindsay Dowling in Communications and Marketing and she will be in touch with you regarding your request.
Wait, has the Re-think Project been renamed the Re-Visioning project? I wonder what the consultant charged for the rebranding exercise.
Lindsay Dowling emailed back a couple days later:
I was forwarded your request to find out more about the mace re-visioning project by Peter Dykhuis.
The University has struck a committee to respond to recommendation seven in our Belong report calling on the University to acknowledge and reflect on our rich history and examine the role of the University’s current ceremonial mace in Dalhousie’s induction and convocation ceremonies. The committee’s mandate is to develop a process to commission the design and creation of a new ceremonial device that better reflects the university’s values and diverse community. At this point in time, the committee is still determining how to best achieve this mandate. Once the committee has determined the best approach, we would welcome the opportunity to chat with you about this project further.
This is just silly. It’s perfectly reasonable to talk about getting rid of some stupid made-up mucky muck symbolism invented by a crazed Anatomy prof with a fetish for Scottish royalty, and doubly so since the symbolism is sending the wrong message in the supposed age of Reconciliation. The Mace is utter bullshit. Why would anyone at all give two shits if it was tossed in the MacDonald Hall dumpster and replaced with, I dunno, a drum circle?
Reasonable people — especially academics who say they cherish open dialogue — would have this conversation in the open, would welcome reporters, would want the community to be involved. That way, we would be having adult conversations about things that matter.
Instead, I’m just making fun of pointless and ridiculous secrecy.
4. Put me in coach
This week we have 13 new company & society registrations. We’ve also been noting recent ACOA awards, including this one:
University of King’s College
They’ve gentrified the Wardroom! The University has received a $100,000 grant for renovations to the HMCS King’s Wardroom, the student pub. The full project costs are said to be a cool half-million and change. According to a Signal article, the renovations are already complete:
Gone are features like the foosball tables and the carpeted floor. One key change patrons noted throughout the evening was that it isn’t “dirty” anymore.
“It’s cleaner, more streamlined, doesn’t smell like rank beer from the carpet,” says Faye Campbell, a Wardroom employee who was working the door.
While some students embraced the new Wardroom, others were hesitant. Lucis Tennen, a second-year King’s student, says he “might warm up to it.”
“It seems less personal,” he says. “Like, you come in before and it’s carpeted, there’s a pool table, it’s a little dingy. This seems too nice.”
Best thing about the old Wardroom was the cheap beer. I hope they didn’t gentrify that.
This article is behind the Examiner’s paywall and so available only to paid subscribers. Click here to purchase a subscription.
5. The hilarity continues
“We cancelled our subscription to the Chronicle Herald over a year ago but just moved into a home that still receives flyers which I haven’t gotten around to cancelling,” writes reader Matt Spurway. “I couldn’t help take a quick scan of the community paper and this was the first thing my eyes stopped on to read.”
“I was standing at the time,” continues Spurway. “My knees started to wobble. My vision began to blur. I tried to say something to my wife but I couldn’t tell if the sounds I was making were actual words…
“I’m okay now, thankfully, and although I’m embarrassed to admit what I did, I feel compelled to share my story in the hope that others are spared.”
We all make mistakes, and it seems petty to make a big deal out of one or two (or in this case, at least three) spelling or grammar errors. But the collective volume of the screw-ups is what earns the Herald the title of Shittiest Daily Newspaper in Canada.
Speaking of mistakes, yesterday I mentioned the proposal by north end Dartmouth councillor Peter Mancini to ban plastic bags. His actual name is Tony Mancini. Peter’s another guy. This was a total error on my part — not a “Shittiest Daily Newspaper in Canada”-level error, but an error all the same. My apologies to Tony, Peter, and all the other Mancinis out there, and to readers. I shall strive for better.
1. Cranky Letter of the Day
To the Charlottetown Guardian:
Vis-a-vis the people detained at USA airports, even those with the legitimate entry Green Card.
The first time my young husband and I (we were 20 years old) visited the USA, travelling on the bus from Montreal to Boston, we were stopped at the border. All men with long hair were directed to get off the bus. Having arrived from England shortly before our proposed U.S. visit, my husband, along with several other male travellers, had long hair, as was the fashion for all young British men at the time.
Being rather naive and already feeling a little confused as immigrants we were amazed and a little afraid at this edict. Some, my husband included, were offended by a demand to exit the bus. I can therefore, feel for those Green Card immigrants to the U.S. who were taken aside, questioned, and hopefully all released.
Many years later I too had my Green Card (a rigorous and thorough procedure which gave one permission as a landed immigrant to enter and work in the U.S. — I was not stopped at the border then but welcomed) and worked in New York City. However, when I was refused admission by police to enter Central Park one, stifling hot weekend as it was too dangerous, I felt discouraged. I returned to Montreal and as I had previously and ever since thanked Canada for being, in my opinion, the best and most civilized country in the world.
Hilary Prince, Stratford
No public meetings.
Hydrocarbon Fingerprints (11:30am, Science Building S310) — Dr. Todd Ventura speaks on “Searching for a Hydrocarbon Fingerprint from Earth’s Past Subsurface Biosphere.”
Thesis Defence, Women and Gender Studies (1pm, Loyola 188) — Heather Baglole will defend her thesis, “Speak: Questioning Ethics, Feminism, and Representation in Verbatim Theatre.”
In the harbour
2:30am: ZIM Ontario, container ship, sails from Pier 42 for Kingston, Jamaica
10:30am: NYK Remus, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from Rotterdam
4:30pm: Nolhanava, ro-ro cargo, sails from Pier 36 to Saint-Pierre
6pm: Oceanex Sanderling, ro-ro container, sails from Pier 41 to St. John’s
Episode #99 of Examineradio will be published later today. Also, an article about no sex.
Matt Spurway nailed it! The Chronicle Herald should not be considered a provincial source of news. Historically, it represented integrity and proud journalism. Today, our “provincial paper” can barely form a sentence even with misspellings. ????
This is what the academics are looking into regarding the Earl of Dalhousie :
” Dalhousie’s attention was immediately drawn to the plight of poor settlers and immigrants, then arriving in increasing numbers. Refugee blacks sent from the United States during the War of 1812 posed an urgent problem. To avert starvation among them Dalhousie renewed an issue of government rations until June 1817, hoping that, if then settled on land and given seeds and implements, the refugees might subsist by their own efforts. With the British government urging economy, Dalhousie halved the number of recipients in the summer of 1817 by restricting rations to families who had cleared land and to the aged and infirm. He acknowledged, however, that most of the refugees would long require support, which neither the legislature nor the inhabitants were keen to provide. “Slaves by habit & education, no longer working under the dread of the lash,” he commented despairingly, “their idea of freedom is idleness and they are therefore quite incapable of Industry.” There was talk of repatriating them to the United States or of sending them to join former Nova Scotian blacks in Sierra Leone; they refused to go to the West Indies lest they be returned to slavery.
Dalhousie regarded the destitute condition of the Micmac Indians in much the same light. Critical of their apparent indolence, he was willing to grant lands to be held in trust for those who “shew disposition to settle & plant potatoes.” He endorsed the humanitarian endeavours of Roman Catholic priests and of social activists such as Walter Bromley, while opposing attempts by Bromley and others to meddle with the customs and Catholicism of the Micmacs as “improper” and tending “to defeat the object of settling them.”
British immigrants, too, experienced difficulties establishing themselves, and Dalhousie stressed the long-term advantages of providing initial government aid in rations, tools, and seeds. The obstacles immigrants faced in obtaining land soon convinced him that the substantial fees charged for processing titles, the deficiencies of surveys, the frauds of land-jobbers, and the tracts of unimproved land in private ownership all required attention. The prospect of settling on their own smallholdings no doubt attracted immigrants, but Dalhousie preferred the notion of conveying extensive areas to wealthier proprietors who would then grant long leases to new settlers. As things stood, “every man . . . is laird here, & the classes . . . known in England as Tenantry & peasantry do not exist in these Provinces & probably will not be formed untill a full stop is put to the System of granting lands” and public sale introduced.
Dalhousie was keen to promote improved methods of farming. He established fruitful relations with John Young, a fellow Scot and a Halifax merchant, whose celebrated Letters of Agricola . . . , first published from 1818 to 1821, were later dedicated to him. He prompted a reluctant legislature to spend money on importing seeds and superior breeds of stock from Britain and was patron and president of the Central Board of Agriculture, formed at Halifax. For a time local societies, with annual shows and prizes, were all the rage, but such fashionable enthusiasm proved transitory, and Dalhousie remarked: “There is an obstinacy, an aversion to improvement that may be led but will not be driven in this new world; a slowness that is sickening to a man of the other Hemisphere, who has seen the rapidity with which art & science is bursting upon the intellects of the nations of Europe, & who feels the desire to open the eyes & the energies of men here as there – but it won’t move out of its own pace, & will require the patience of more than one man’s life to do what seems to me within the accomplishment of a very few years.”
Why did Halifax forget to commemorate the 225th anniversary of the departure of free Blacks from Halifax bound for Sierra Leone.
A copy of ‘Clarkson’s Visit to America’ is available at Alderney Gate library and also on line http://blackloyalist.com/cdc/documents/diaries/mission.htm
” January 15th – At Day light calm-Made the signal for every person to repair on board their respective vessels-At 9 a light air sprang up from the W N W-Made the signal immediately for the Fleet to weigh, at 11 all the Fleet under sail-Made the Felicity’s signal to lead the Fleet out of the Harbour-Ordered Captain Coffin to stand off and on till I went on shore took leave of my friends upon the Wharfs and wrote the following letter to Henry Thornton – Halifax January 15th 1792 ”
” January 16th – At 4 P M took my departure from Sambro’s Light house bearing West four leagues, made the signal to Steer S S E for the night, and for the Fleet to form the order of sailing Made the Eleanor’s signal to make more sail, and get into her station. A little before dark I shortened sail to Shew the proportion I meant to carry for the night. At 12 at night fresh gales, with squalls of snow, and a high sea, the Eleanor’s light bore S W to S about one mile distant At daylight shortened sail for the Fleet to close-One of the Fleet missing-Peter Cockburn an infant died this morning-“
Surprised you haven’t mentioned HRM Councillor Matt Whitman’s PC run while “3 months into new mandate,” to quote part of CBC headline. I’m very surprised, and given that PCs have certain bedrock principles, it attributes certain intellectual Council predisposition to Councillor Whitman, fairly or not. While political governance, irrespective of party, interacts and impacts all non-branded governance, it’s very different – and I say negative – to have an elected party-neutral rep declare and campaign for any political party.
Darren Fisher failed to attend the October 2014 Harbour East Community Council meeting two days before he won the Liberal nomination at the Sportsplex. At the meeting the chair announced that Councillor Fisher was unable to attend because of other commitments. Two months later Councillor Fisher chose to attend a Liberal Christmas party function out of the province in preference to attending a regular council meeting. Skipping meetings had no negative effect on his bid to become an MP and it didn’t seem to bother voters. It is common practice for parties to recruit mayors and councillors for higher level political office.
Such a great read, from beginning to end!
With apologies to B.B. King, “Everday” I feel the blues when thinking about the young journalists who are not benefitting from the experience and wisdom of seasoned reporters, editors, photographers, etc. now rightly picketing the Chronicle Herald.
The masterful B.B. here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E4tL-zeVRbk
Cheers is my number one choice for annoying sign off in an email. Cancels out anything good that may have come before it.
maybe a new crest too, with Silverfish and Beagles
RE: Mace Bullshit. Dal is desperate to have as spectacular and shiny a 200th celebration as possible. I suspect they are trying to control the message and have the entire thing remain totally PC, even if it means booting the media from meetings.
I suspect there is more at work than hiding the fact Dal is addressing the mace issue. The recommendation to address its troubling history wasn’t at all secret, and similar efforts to address the legacy of Lord Dalhousie have been publicized, not hidden (e.g. https://www.dal.ca/news/2017/01/19/considering-lord-dalhousie-s-legacy-on-race.html). The current climate is to celebrate such things, not bury them. My guess would be there was discussion about who or what to honour or recognize in the mace, which would be more confidential (e.g. honorary degrees are similarly discussed in confidence).
It’s not impossible that something nefarious is going on, but there are better ways to cover that up than putting an item on a public agenda and going in camera.
The asterisk, by the way, just means there are attachments with additional information available to senators.
When I hear the words ‘urban sprawl’ I think of Westwood Hills. Once a pristine wilderness and now home to environmental warriors living in detached homes on lots of at least one acre and with asphalt roads and long asphalt driveways with kids going to school on a bus whilst the adults commute in SUVs to metro. In many older parts of metro you will find at least 10 detached homes on one acre and kids walk to school.
A quick conversion of the mace screenshots to text so that people can easily read them
THE DALHOUSIE UNIVERSITY
R. L. DE C. H. SAUNnnns“
THE design and history of university maces is rather an obscure
subject, since no comprehensive study has been made of
their origin or evolution. Their similarity to civic and ecclesi-
astical maces is interesting, in that all would appear to have
been derived from the military mace, which later came to
symbolize regal authority. Whence it might seem that they
were varied expressions of that great movement toward local
self-government that has characterized British history since
the days of Magna Carta.
The Dalhousie University mace has been designed by
the author to relate symbolically as the eye ascends its length
the proud maritime tradition of the seagirt provinces and the
historical heritage of the university that serves them. It is
being carved in oak and enriched with silver and enamel, and
will be four and a half feet in length.
The lower end, or what is technically known as the button,
is adorned with silver ﬁsh in recognition of the source of our
economy. It may be noted that the ﬁsh is also an early symbol
of Christianity. Above this is a carved circular scene depicting
a sea nymph calling across the waves toward the setting sun
in representation of the impulse that led navigators to sail
westward to our shores.
The roots put down by the early settlers, and the tall trees
that ﬁrst met their gaze are formally suggested by a simple
grooved pattern extending the entire length of the shaft.
The head of the mace ﬁrst bears the distinctive leaf of the
national emblem, the maple. Set above this is a carved circlet
of mayﬂowers, simultaneously symbolizing the province and
the ﬂowering of the new civilization therein which led to the
establishment of the_ university.
Four robed mediaeval scholars facing the main compass
points represent the university faculties and their old world
heritage. Each ﬁgure bears a silver enamelled shield emblaz-
oned with either the arms of the University or the province
of Nova Scotia. Alternating with these ﬁgures are the rose,
thistle, ﬂeur-de-lys. and shamrock, depicting the major racial
groups of our country.
The uppermost part of the mace head is surmounted bya
ﬁve-rayed Scottish earl’s coronet in recognition of the Univer-
sity founder, the 9th Earl of Dalhousie. This part of the mace
will incorporate some oak kindly presented by and felled on
the estate of the present Earl.
// Final Image
Gracing the cap of the coronet and therefore set above all
is a silver Celtic cross surrounded by the university motto
“Ora et Labora”. This type of early cross was chosen as one
most beﬁtting a non-denominational institution with Scottish
In conclusion, it will be seen that the mace in its general
design conforms both in pattern and material to historic and
academic precedent, while maintaining an originality that is
essentially linked with the story of Dalhousie University.
Thanks! I’ll replace in main text.
No problem. For future reference, there are lots of free optical character recognition software options available on your search engine of choice – takes a few seconds & makes the text much more readable (and without it, people with visual impairments can’t read your content at all!). You could also leave the image and include the converted text as the “alt” tag on the image, if the image itself has visual appeal/utility.