Welcome to Weekend File, where you’ll find links to all the articles you might have missed last week. Jump to sections in this article:
Saturday, February 5
Tim Bousquet had the first COVID update for the weekend with the new case numbers and hospitalization data.
Sunday, February 6
Zane Woodford looked ahead to what was on Halifax regional council’s agenda this week and had this report on the status of polygraph testing. As Woodford wrote, a staff report written by acting human resources executive director Laura Nolan, acknowledged the tests are unreliable and recommended the use of the tests be stopped by the end of September.
In his weekly column, Stephen Kimber said the best option would be to make the private utility public again. And after that whole debacle with the solar proposal, Premier Tim Houston said “no option is off the table, Kimber said don’t bet making Nova Scotia Power public will be an option.
The second COVID update for the weekend had more new case numbers and more hospitalization data. Tim Bousquet had that all here.
Monday, February 7
1. Morning File: We shouldn’t have knee-jerk reaction to protests we don’t like, but that doesn’t mean we can’t take any action at all
Tim Bousquet said he was of mixed mind about the protests in Ottawa, adding that the province’s recent expansion of its ban on road blockades was overreach. But that doesn’t mean we have to stand by and do nothing at all. Bousquet said: “Yes, the world isn’t perfect, and we need to push to change it, including through protests, even those that occupy streets. What we shouldn’t do, however, is reject the social compact completely.”
2. Failed opportunity: an open letter addressing how the Halifax Board of Police Commissioners missed the mark on public engagement
We published an open letter signed by some five dozen individuals and several organizations, decrying the actions of the Board of Police Commissioners who decided last week to recommend in favour of the increase requested by Halifax Regional Police chief Dan Kinsella.
3. 3 COVID deaths, 374 COVID-related hospitalizations, 313 new cases announced in Nova Scotia on Feb. 7
Three women were the latest Nova Scotians to die from COVID-19. Tim Bousquet had the details in his daily update.
Richard Preston was one of the names the public suggested be the new name for Cornwallis Street in Halifax. Matthew Byard had this story on the man behind the name who started the African Chapel, the African United Baptist Association of Nova Scotia, and the African Abolition Society.
Joan Baxter had this fascinating interview with Dirk Baur, a professor of finance at the University of Western Australia in Perth, who wondered about ways to speculate on gold without digging it out of the ground. Baur told Baxter, “The mining really only makes sense for people who like to look at gold, and jewelry and stuff. But a lot of the gold that is mined ultimately ends up in vaults underground often…”
Tuesday, February 8
Wanda Robson, the sister of Viola Desmond, died this week. Robson worked hard to bring Desmond’s story to light, and she was a staunch advocate herself. Matthew Byard spoke with Tayte Douglas who was one of the young authors of The ABC’s of Viola Desmond. Douglas shares what she learned from Robson when they met in 2017.
Zane Woodford was at a virtual meeting on Monday night where residents expressed concern about how a proposed development in Dartmouth with “attainable” housing would affect the Eisner Cove Wetland. The development hasn’t yet been approved and the developer doesn’t think residents are justified in their concerns.
Nova Scotia Power is seeking a 3.3% increase in each of the next three years. Jennifer Henderson reported that might be forgivable, but what isn’t is the proposed change in how the company would finance capital projects like power lines in a new subdivision or a new wind farm. As Henderson wrote in this story, that proposal would shift millions of dollars in costs to ratepayers while upping the revenue for Nova Scotia Power shareholders.
4. Morning File: Don’t teach crows to pick up cigarette butts
Philip Moscovitch talks with an expert on hybrid events about what events might look like post-COVID. And he wrote about a Swedish company that is teaching crows how to pick up cigarette butts and why that is a terrible idea for the birds. Pick up your own butts!
In the first major announcement of new construction since the Progressive Conservatives took office, Barbara Adams, Minister of Seniors and Long-term Care, issued a call for suppliers interested in building 500 new single rooms in nursing homes across the Halifax Regional Municipality. As Jennifer Henderson reported, the announcement came as hundreds of seniors, some in hospital, wait for new beds.
Zane Woodford was on the council beat on Tuesday where Halifax councillors voted to stop using lie detector tests on municipal employees. As Woodford learned, that process will take several months, though, with the testing ending in September 2022.
Tim Bousquet had your Tuesday COVID update with all the data.
Wednesday, February 9
Halifax councillors disagreed on how much the municipality should pitch in for the $130-million new art gallery on Halifax’s waterfront. AGNS asked Halifax in 2020 for $7 and councillors said they’d consider the $7 million, but the request didn’t make it into the budget. Now, councillors are considering a $3 million contribution, although Coun. Shawn Cleary wants that bumped back up to $7 million. Zane Woodford broke that all down in this report.
2. Morning File: Choosing the news that makes the headlines
Ethan Lycan-Lang was checking out the BBC’s website this week when he was looking at international coverage of the trucker convoy. He took notice of what headlines were highlighted on the website. It was a bit of mix of convoy stories, rumblings in the royal family, and tensions at the Russia-Ukraine border. Lycan-Lang said: “No matter what a news site chooses to lead with, there’s always a repercussion for the choice made.”
Tim Bousquet lived tweeted the COVID briefing on Wednesday and there was a lot of news to share. Premier Tim Houston announced CCAs in the province were getting a raise, and Dr. Robert Strang announced a three-phase plan for easing of the restrictions. Bousquet had all the details here.
For some great news for the week, continuing care assistants in Nova Scotia got an immediate 23% raise this week. Premier Tim Houston made the announcement during the COVID briefing on Wednesday. Yvette d’Entremont had this report on the wage increase, plus comments from CUPE and what the raise means for CCAs.
Thursday, February 10
1. Nova Scotia ratepayers will pay $169.4 million this year for the Maritime Link, despite lack of significant energy deliveries
Jennifer Henderson had this report on the 94-page decision issued by the Utility and Review Board (UARB) on Wednesday. That report said that after four years of delays, ratepayers are still receiving only a portion of the Nova Scotia Block from Muskrat Falls, and that consumers have paid $205.5 million to buy other sources of replacement energy over the past four years.
Joan Baxter had her latest series on gold mining in Nova Scotia. In part 1 of her three-part series, Baxter looked at Anaconda’s plans to mine for gold on the Eastern Shore. The company doesn’t even have a mine yet, but the positive PR campaign is already out in full force.
3. Morning File: What’s up with women’s wellness and white supremacy?
Suzanne Rent has always been skeptical of the wellness industry. She long thought it was a scam, preying on vulnerable women. But she recently learned there’s a pipeline from the wellness industry to white supremacy, and there are journalists and researchers who are keeping track of it all.
4. 1 new COVID death, 362 COVID-related hospitalizations, 365 new cases reported in Nova Scotia on Feb. 10
A woman in her 80s who lived in Nova Scotia Health’s Central Zone was the 165th Nova Scotian to die from COVID-19. That news was announced on Thursday. Tim Bousquet had more, plus other data in this update.
Friday, February 11
In part 2 of her three-part series on gold mining in Nova Scotia, Joan Baxter reported on Anaconda’s aims to avoid a federal impact assessment for its proposed open pit gold mine, but some say the whole regulatory process in Canada is “rigged.”
2. Morning File: The “convoy” originates in a sophisticated strategy to change our society for the worse
There was a protest at MP Sean Fraser’s office on Thursday. The poster used to advertise the protest had crude graphics and text. That’s on purpose, said Tim Bousquet: “Think what you will of your dumb ass uncle going on about ‘freedom’ on Facebook — he probably really is just a dumb ass — but understand that this entire ‘convoy’ thing originates in a sophisticated strategy to change our society.”
3. A child in Nova Scotia has died from COVID-19; 355 COVID-related hospitalizations; 389 new cases; weekly recap
The week’s COVID updates ended on a tragic note as the province reported its first death of a child from COVID-19. The child was between the ages of five and 11 and is the 169th Nova Scotian to die from COVID, and the 59th to die since December 3.
Parking fines in Halifax may be going up for the second time in the last couple of years. Fines are now $35, up from $25 (and $30 up from $20 if paid early). But Zane Woodford learned this week that council wants to hike fines again from $35 to $45, or $40 if paid early.
5. Atlantic Gold sentenced to $250,000 fines and penalties after pleading guilty to federal and provincial environmental charges
Provincial court judge Alana Murphy sentenced Atlantic Mining NS, which does business in Nova Scotia as Atlantic Gold, to pay a total of $250,000 in fines and contributions for failing to comply with federal and provincial environmental regulations at and around its Touquoy open pit gold mine in Moose River. Joan Baxter had more in this report.
From our archives
Two years ago today, Suzanne Rent attended The Black Hair-Story of Nova Scotia: What’s Your Hair Story? at the Sackville Public Library. The session, hosted by hairstylist Samantha Dixton Slawter, was part of the library’s celebrations for African Heritage Month. Dixon Slawter’s been working for years to have better Black hair care in Nova Scotia. She told Rent, “I think we need to be recognized and we’ve not been, especially in Nova Scotia. Not just Black stylists, but the consumer. The Black consumer has been devalued, too. For me, I want people to know we are beautiful, too. We own beautiful, too. That’s what I want people to know.”
You can read about that in this Morning File from February 12, 2020.