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:
Sunday, May 1
The spring session of the First of the 64th Assembly of the Nova Scotia’s House legislature made history. It all wrapped up just 19 days after it started. And as Stephen Kimber wrote, it didn’t do much either. And that was all part of the plan. “If that sounds both oddly familiar and jarringly disconnected, well, welcome to Nova Scotia,” Kimber wrote.
Monday, May 2
1. Housing Trust of Nova Scotia changing tack, abandoning development plan and buying hundreds of apartments
Zane Woodford reported on Housing Trust of Nova Scotia’s plans to sell its property on Maitland Street and buy hundreds of existing affordable rental units. The nonprofit’s original plan was to create mix-income apartments for its properties between Gottingen Street and Maitland Street. Now that the trust has sold off those properties, its plan is to to buy “several hundred” units from one seller.
Suzanne Rent interviewed a few students at Bicentennial School in Dartmouth about a project they created to raise awareness about sexual violence. The project started from an informal online chat among the Grade 9 students, but with the encouragement of their teacher, they took it a few steps further, selling t-shirts, creating posters, and giving presentations to classmates.
3. Morning File: Project Ploughshares fails to critically interrogate proposed Nova Scotia spaceport
Tim Bousquet recently watched an episode of Space Café Canada with Stephen Matier, President and CEO of Maritime Launch Services and Spaceport Nova Scotia, in conversation with Dr. Jessica West, Senior Researcher at Project Ploughshares and a friend of SpaceWatch.Global.” And Bousquet had some questions.
Matthew Byard profiled Stefan Williams, who owns and operates High Powered Customs, a clothing and printing company that supplies swag to other locally owned Black businesses. “It’s very important to support Black businesses to help the money circulate through the community,” Williams told Byard. “ A lot of Black businesses don’t last due to lack of support from the Black community.”
Zane Woodford reported on the staff report that would go to Halifax regional council on Tuesday. That report proposed the creation of a limited number of city-sanctioned tent sites in response to the housing crisis. But as Woodford learned, advocates for unhoused people worried the recommendation will mean forced eviction for people sleeping in municipal parks.
Tuesday, May 3
1. New study shows getting COVID-19 when pregnant increases risks of hospitalization, premature birth, ICU admissions
Yvette d’Entremont interviewed the senior researcher of a Canadian surveillance study that include a data analysis of 6,012 completed pregnancies between March 2020 and October 2021 in Nova Scotia, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta, and British Columbia. As d’Entremont learned, COVID in pregnant women resulted in more serious disease, higher rates of hospitalization, and higher rates of intensive care unit admissions.
2. Morning File: Rhetoric ramps up over non-resident property tax
Philip Moscovitch has been following all those op-eds from non-residents upset about the province’s non-resident property tax plan announced in the spring budget. Moscovitch knows taxation policy is not his strength, but he wrote, “what I do know is there seems to a lot of over-heated rhetoric about the policy. And he brings back memories of the dreaded Canada Fitness Awards. “Moving your body should be good and fun and not filled with stress,” he wrote.
The CFL has a new Officiating Academy whose goal is to encourage inclusion and diversity in the officiating community. Two of the nine participants are from Nova Scotia. Matthew Byard wrote about Anthony Williams and Vince Williams who will be heading to CFL training camp on May 13.
Wednesday, May 4
Zane Woodford was at Halifax regional council where councillors decided to move ahead with that staff proposal to create designated tent sites for unhoused people in the city. But there were still concerns about the report, and councillors had amendments, too. Woodford reported on the what the final motion looked like.
2. Morning File: What mothers want and need every day, not just on Mother’s Day
From a day of sleep to universal income, Suzanne Rent found out what mothers really want and need every day of the year, and not just this Sunday. Rent also learned about Kindred Works, a real estate development company working with the United Church of Canada to redevelop some of its church properties into housing.
Matthew Byard recently met up with Nicole Johnson, who’s now hosting A Seat at the Table, a one-hour interview show at community radio station CIOE-FM, 97.5 in Lower Sackville. Each week Johnson interviews someone from the Black community about their work and successes.
4. Advocates say gender-affirming health care access crisis in Nova Scotia worsening as barriers increase
This week advocates told Yvette d’Entremont that patients who need to access gender-affirming health care are facing increased barriers, and lives are at risk. That’s after an announcement that one surgeon announced he was no longer offering gender-affirming top surgery procedures, while two specialists who provide letters required by MSI for patients to get their gender-affirming surgery were no longer taking referrals.
Thursday, May 5
1. Morning File: Cheap transit: low fares, high returns
Ethan Lycan-Lang looked at what it would take to get more people to take the bus. “Ambitious expenditures in accessible, reliable, easy-to-use transit — if only we had such a thing, though I admit it’s better than it was — will pay off in the long run,” he wrote. “Or do we care about the long run?” Lycan-Lang also wrote about the leaked Supreme Court document in the US and what that could mean, if anything, for abortion care in Canada.
2. The Tideline: Rocky Horror Show
Neptune Theatre’s production of Rocky Horror Show opens this week. Director Jeremy Webb and actors Allister MacDonald (Dr. Frank N Furter) and Breton Lalama (Riff Raff) squeeze in a chat with Tara Thorne about how they’ve updated (and produced) the show with 2022 in mind. Plus a new song from Nicole Ariana.
After making tweaks to the plan earlier in the week, Premier Tim Houston announced his government would completely scrap the non-resident property tax that was heating up the op-ed pages and radio shows. Yvette d’Entremont had this report that explained Houston’s reasons for dropping the tax.
Zane Woodford reported on a decision by the provincial Utility and Review Board (UARB) to overturn a decision by Halifax regional councillors to deny a development application in Middle Sackville. The developer wanted the property to be a commercial space, but when it didn’t sell, they changed direction to build a four-storey apartment. But local residents weren’t pleased.
Matthew Byard caught up with Cecil Boutilier who spoke to the Examiner back in January about the restrictions at the Dartmouth halfway house where he was staying. Boutilier said he believes that interview was the reason his parole was revoked and he was sent to Springhill. Still, Boutilier said he had “no regrets” about doing the interview.
Friday, May 6
Tim Bousquet spent Thursday at the Mass Casualty Commission where four RCMP officers testified separately. As Bousquet reported, the testimonies from two of the officers, Cpl. Duane Ivany and Cst. Ian Fahie, contradicted each other, while Fahie’s testimony was not consistent with his own previous statement to the commission.
Suzanne Rent spoke with Rev. Betsy Hogan, minister at St. Matthew’s United Church on Barrington Street, about the congregation’s plans to find a partner to redevelop the church. This isn’t a property sale, though. Hogan told Rent they want to work with an organization that will preserve the church sanctuary for continued use, but create a project that will serve the public good. And affordable housing is on the top of their wish list.
From our archives
For two years, Yvette d’Entremont has been covering every aspect of the COVID-19 pandemic. One of her first articles about COVID-19 was this one from March 2020, the early days of the pandemic when we were all just trying to figure out what to do. At the time, d’Entremont interviewed Howard Ramos, a sociology professor at Dalhousie University, who talked about some of those ways we were preparing, including by hoarding toilet paper. Remember that? But d’Entremont also interviewed people who were kind, and finding ways to help others in their community.
In June 2021, d’Entremont was announced as the gold winner in the Excellence in Digital Journalism: Breaking News category at the Atlantic Journalism awards for her pandemic coverage.