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 12
Jennifer Henderson kicked off our weekend with this report on the province’s request for proposals for large-scale wind and solar projects. The goal is to have the wind and solar projects generate 350 megawatts of low-cost renewable energy and reduce the province’s greenhouse gas emissions by more than one million tonnes annually.
Sunday, February 13
In his weekly column, Stephen Kimber wrote about the “freedom” convoy in Ottawa, but also wondered what happens next. As he wrote, “we still need to have a serious conversation about more complicated issues like science and policy and politics, and how they connect and don’t.”
Joan Baxter had part 3 on her series on gold mining in Nova Scotia. This article casts a look backwards and across the ocean, to West Africa, where Anaconda’s CEO Kevin Bullock and many Canadian gold miners did well for themselves before turning their attention to Nova Scotia’s gold. Part 1 is available here, and part 2 here.
Suzanne Rent had part 1 of a three-part series on Milena Khazanavicius, a woman from Halifax who is blind, and advocates to make the city and province more accessible. In this article, Rent reports on Khazanavicius’s work to make sidewalks around construction sites in HRM safer, not just for people who are blind and partially sighted, but for all pedestrians.
Monday, February 14
Tim Bousquet was at the convoy rally in downtown Halifax last Saturday. There were people draped in Canadian flags and some were singing O’ Canada. It was all very Canadian. But Bousquet wrote in his Morning File that there’s more to it: “Do not underestimate the ‘convoy.’ It is fascism, and it is emboldened.”
Jennifer Henderson had this report on Emera’s record profits for 2021. Earnings per share were up 11% from $2.68 in 2020 to $2.81 in 2021. Emera earned $723 million in profit; Nova Scotia Power made $241 million profit, an increase of $20 million from 2020.
3. 7 COVID deaths, 356 COVID-related hospitalizations, 158 new cases reported in Nova Scotia on Feb. 14
Tim Bousquet’s first COVID update of the week included details on seven Nova Scotians who died from COVID-19. Bousquet, as always, had other data too.
Tuesday, February 15
In part 2 of her series on Milena Khazanavicius, Suzanne Rent looked at the ways in which the health care system is inaccessible for people who are blind and partially sighted. Khazanavicius has been advocating for accessible prescriptions and appointment reminders.
Matthew Byard recently met with Fidel Franco to learn all about Black in the Maritimes, a podcast, website, and media platform dedicated to sharing diverse voices from Black people living across Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and PEI. “We try to bring knowledge and tell stories about those that are not heard and their point of view,” Franco told Byard.
Halifax cop Const. Steven Mason is facing a charge of sexual assault. Zane Woodford had that report.
4. Morning File: 10,000 steps and other persistent bullshit
Philip Moscovitch debunked some bullshit this week. 10,000 steps? Eight glasses of water a day? Those are marketing schemes that have been around for a long time. But Moscovitch also looked at why it’s so hard to convince people this stuff is bullshit.
5. “We want to amplify as many voices as we can”: Blacklantic shares stories of the Black experience in Atlantic Canada
Matthew Byard talked with Clinton Davis and Hillary LeBlanc about their new podcast, Blacklantic, in which they share stories from Black people living in Atlantic Canada. “You cannot speak to one person and get ‘the’ Black Experience, and that’s why we want to amplify as many voices as we can,” Davis told Byard in an interview.
Halifax regional council held a virtual committee of the whole meeting on Tuesday to consider three options for a new commercial tax system. Zane Woodford was there and reported on how Halifax councillors voted to change their commercial tax system.
7. 6 COVID deaths, 361 COVID-related hospitalizations, 226 new cases reported in Nova Scotia on Feb. 15
Four women and two men were the latest Nova Scotians to die from COVID-19. Tim Bousquet had more details, plus plenty of other data and details on testing locations.
Almost two years into this pandemic, Yvette d’Entremont continues reporting on COVID-19. In this article, she wrote about Nova Scotia Health (NSH) expecting to see more Nova Scotians experiencing long-COVID, and the supports and resources for those who are suffering from the long-term effects of COVID-19.
Milena Khazanavicius has always been fearless. In part 3 of the series, Suzanne Rent learned about the ways in which Khazanavicius makes fun and adventure — including the circus and the theatre — accessible.
Wednesday, February 16
Ethan Lycan-Lang looked at some of Canada’s most enduring myths — like hockey, and politeness. But the convoy in Ottawa got him thinking about those myths. He wrote: “Maintaining a society of peace, order, and good government, one of nice, polite people, isn’t an inherent birthright of being Canadian. It requires hard work, honesty, and a willingness to address problems and poisons in our society as they arise. Not to ignore them until they go away.”
Zane Woodford broke down the latest changes in Halifax Transit routes, including its flagship routes. And Halifax councillors talked about removing fares one day a week this summer.
3. 3 COVID deaths, 361 COVID-related hospitalizations, 223 new cases reported in Nova Scotia on Feb. 16
Tim Bousquet had the midweek COVID update here.
Yvette d’Entremont attended the province’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts on Wednesday where members of the union representing paramedics told stories about burnout, low wages, and poor working conditions. One paramedic shared that “we’re beyond code critical. We’re at code disaster.”
Thursday, February 17
1. Morning File: Keep wearing your mask if you want to because it’s no one’s business
Suzanne Rent is pro-mask. Not everyone is, of course, but in this Morning File she defends the rights of people who want to wear masks even after mask requirements are lifted.
2. Doctor wrongly accused of child pornography offences suing Halifax police, seeking millions in damages
Dr. David Barnett, a family physician in Dartmouth, was arrested in December 2020 on suspicion of possession and distribution of child pornography, but charges were never sworn because the arrest turned out to be a case of mistaken identity based on a clear error. Now Barnett is suing several Halifax Regional Police officers for $3 million. Zane Woodford reported on the lawsuit.
3. 2 COVID deaths, 367 COVID-related hospitalizations, 242 new cases reported in Nova Scotia on Feb. 17
Another day, another COVID update from Tim Bousquet. This one included details on two men in Nova Scotia who died from COVID-19.
Halifax’s auditor general Evangeline Colman-Sadd said the municipality should be conducting its own monitoring of the Otter Lake landfill. Zane Woodford was at council’s Audit and Finance Standing Committee during a virtual meeting on Thursday where Colman-Sadd presented her office’s audit of HRM’s solid waste operations.
Friday, February 18
1. ‘Repurpose on purpose with purpose:’ Upper Hammonds Plains plans to turn its historic fire hall into a space for youth
Matthew Byard talked with residents of Upper Hammonds Plains and their efforts to turn a historic fire hall into a centre for young people. The fire hall was once the home of Canada’s only all-Black volunteer fire department.
Evelyn C. White has an inspiring and heartbreaking story about her friendship with Anne and Tom, two young children she met when she was living in Denmark.
3. Morning File: True police reform requires defunding police
Tim Bousquet wrote about Dr. David Barnett’s lawsuit against the Halifax Regional Police. Barnett is suing several officers for $3 million after being wrongly accused of child pornography offences. Bousquet wondered about that $3 million and defunding the police: “[Chief] Dan Kinsella will not tell city councillors, ‘oh, we need $3 million more because we ruined a guy’s life.’ Rather, it will be all about operational costs and such.”
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) released its national Rental Market Report on Friday, and reported that the vacancy rate in October 2021 in Halifax was 1%. That’s down from 1.9% the year before, and matches 2019’s figure. It’s tied for the lowest vacancy rate in Canada, along with Victoria, BC and Peterborough, Ont. Zane Woodford had the details.
5. More funding on the way for child care centres as the province moves towards $10 a day child care
Yvette d’Entremont reported on a funding announcement from Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Becky Druhan on Friday. That funding will include a $1 million one-time grant for child care centres to help support rising operational costs and offset the freeze on parents’ fees.
Zane Woodford was at a virtual meeting where regional councillors voted to add $924,700 to their budget adjustment list for consideration at the end of their budget building process. As Woodford learned, that money would be an ongoing annual expense used to hire new staff in Planning and Development to process and approve building permits.
From our archives:
Zane Woodford joined the Examiner team just over two years ago. One of his first stories was this one when Halifax Regional Police Chief Dan Kinsella asked the board of police commissioners for a $1 million increase in the police budget to create eight new sergeant positions “to better serve the community.” Woodford has been covering news about Halifax Regional Police since then, as well as following Halifax regional council each week, and more.