News

1. SIRT is not equipped to investigate rape by cops

The Serious Incident Response Team (SIRT) is tasked with investigating police, but it has no written policies for preserving rape kit evidence and its investigators have no specialized training in dealing with victims of sexual assault.

Reporter Maggie Rahr brings us the case of Elizabeth (a pseudonym), who says she was raped twice by the same cop. Elizabeth took her experience to SIRT, but the agency is not prepared or equipped to deal with rape allegations, having no understanding of victim support.

Click here to read “Raped twice by the same cop.”

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2. The Archeology of Loss

Drone photo of a clearcut within the boundaries of “the sanctuary” aka the Tobeatic Wildlife Management Area. Photo courtesy Jeff Purdy

Writes Linda Pannozzo:

“We were in wonderful moose country now.”

At least this is how Albert Bigelow Paine described the Nova Scotia landscape he and three others journeyed through in his 1908 book The Tent Dwellers. The book tells the true story of a June trout fishing trip led by two Mi’kmaq guides, Charlie Charlton and Del Thomas, who take Paine and his friend Eddie Breck on a journey that began and ended at Kejimkujik Lake with the ultimate goal of reaching Little Tobeatic Lake.

The four hiked, portaged, and paddled through a chain of lakes — Mountain, Peskowesk, and Peskawa — in what later became Kejimkujik National Park, the Tobeatic Wildlife Management Area, and Tobeatic Wilderness Area. Paine described the “uninvaded wild” and “trackless” bogs and swamps “on the borders of the unknown.”

A lot has changed in a little over 110 years.

It was into some of the same landscape that I recently ventured with Jeff Purdy, the deputy chief of the Acadia First Nation. But instead of portaging and paddling, Purdy navigated his hefty pickup truck over badly potholed logging roads, and instead of describing the Nova Scotia wilderness in contrast to “conventional luxury” and the “comforts of living,” as Paine often did of his trip into the backwoods, Purdy described his relationship to the land in terms its historical and cultural significance.

For Purdy, as we drove over the Mersey River to the western side of Lake Rossignol heading toward the Tobeatic Wildlife Management Area, or “the sanctuary” as he calls it, we were smack dab in the middle of the Mi’kmaq heartland: the beating, life-giving, sylvan domain of his ancestors. Only now, it bears little resemblance to what he remembers as a child.

Today the mainland moose are nearly disappeared, the lakes and rivers are being invaded by chain pickerel — a voracious fish-eating fish that threatens the area’s native aquatic fauna — and the landscape itself —even within the “sanctuary” itself — is mangled and scarred by industrial logging and fragmented by roads.

But it’s not just the ecosystems and species at risk that are threatened by the recent spate of clearcutting on crown land. Purdy believes an untold number of highly significant archaeological sites dating back thousands of years are also at risk of being destroyed.

Pannozzo tours the forests with Purdy, and shows us how industrial logging is decimating not just the trees, not just history, but also the future.

Click here to read “The Archaeology of Loss.”

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I don’t beat the subscription drum very often, but today I must. We’ve just published two gigantic features in less than 24 hours, and there are two more on the near horizon. I’m quite proud of this work, and am beyond happy that we can give writers like Maggie Rahr and Linda Pannozzo a platform for their important, indeed, invaluable work. This is why I started the Examiner.

Publishing this work does, however, cost money. Rahr and Pannozzo should be and are paid for their work, and my time and the Examiner’s resources are expenses as well. And publication of these features comes just as the Examiner is incurring enormous legal costs related to the Glen Assoun file.

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3. Entrevestor’s omissions

“Ocean Sonics, the Nova Scotia-based maker of equipment that listens to and monitors the oceans, has moved into a new headquarters in Truro Heights that will facilitate growth of staff, innovation and sales,” reports Carol Moreira for the Entrevestor column that runs in the Chronicle Herald.

As I’ve pointed out many times, Entrevestor — a family venture of Peter and Carol Moreira — is paid by economic development agencies, including ACOA, to promote companies that the economic development agencies fund. After I pointed out that there’s a fundamental conflict of interest with the column, the Herald for a brief moment put a disclaimer at the end of the column, but that disclaimer long ago disappeared because why be honest with readers?

So Entrevestor is government-financed propaganda. Let’s see if we can guess what the favoured propaganda word is:

“We are constantly innovating. When you have innovative people, you have to keep them interested and improving. You have to keep them innovating and making products and selling,” said co-owner and operations manager Desiree Stockermans in an interview.

If you guessed “innovating” you win a gold star!

Oh, stop being a killjoy, Bousquet. There’s a place for basic business reporting and letting the public know about business expansion.

Well, yeah, except this particular Ocean Sonics expansion is being financed in part by a $214,074 loan from the ACOA, a fact that Moreira fails to include in her bid to inform the public.

Think about that: Entrevestor is paid by ACOA to promote businesses that ACOA finances, and ACOA financed the Ocean Sonics expansion, which is profiled by the Entrevestor column, which fails to mention the ACOA financing.

Propaganda of the highest order.

4. Should’ve read the Examiner


“Halfway through a major construction project down the street, a handful of Quinpool Road business owners are frustrated by the lack of notice they say they received on when it would begin,” reports Elizabeth McSheffrey for Global:

The CN Bridges Rehabilitation Project closed off a portion of Quinpool beginning on April 1, but they told Global News they had less than a month to tell customers their shops would stay open.

Not to argue that the city doesn’t need to do a better job of notification, but those business owners should read the Halifax Examiner. I reported on the bridge reconstruction and road closure way back in November:

The “rehabilitation” — practically speaking, it’s a replacement — of the Quinpool Road bridge across the CN railcut is scheduled to begin in April, with work continuing through August. This will prove to be a traffic nightmare, as all Quinpool Road traffic will be detoured to Chebucto Road. (Maybe take a bus, eh?)

5. Lesianu Hweld

On Wednesday I wrote about the Lesianu Hweld, the taxi driver who was driving his taxi while his driver’s licence was suspended and was therefore denied a renewal of his city permit to drive taxi. Hweld claims ignorance of the suspension and appealed the denial to Halifax council’s Appeals Committee, which considered the issue yesterday.

Reporting for Star Metro, Zane Woodford picks up the story from there:

Hweld brought a series of documents to the committee to back up his arguments, including letters from Access Nova Scotia and the courts. Star Halifax has requested those documents, and was told the clerk’s office is in the process of redacting them for public release.

After taking a break to consider Hweld’s documents, councillors voted in favour of a motion from Coun. Lisa Blackburn to defer a decision on Hweld’s licence till after his court date in July.

“I’m interested to find out what happens on July 2, with the pending court date,” Blackburn said, “and suggest that we perhaps maintain the status quo of his licence being revoked pending the court date, and then reconvene and discuss the outcome of that case and move forward.”

6. Chebucto School

Chebucto School. Photo: Heritage Division, NS Dept. of Tourism, Culture and Heritage, 2005

“The Chebucto School is the focal point for the surrounding local community,” reads the Canada’s Historic Places website:

It is a large 20th century Classical Revival style brick building located on the corner of Chebucto Road and St. Matthias Street in the North End of Halifax, Nova Scotia. The heritage designation applies to the building and the surrounding land it occupies.

HERITAGE VALUE

Chebucto School is valued for its association with the history of education in Halifax, for its association with former students, for its role in the aftermath of the Halifax Explosion, its architect, and for its Classic Revival architecture.

… The Chebucto School was built between 1908 and 1910 to accommodate the increasing number of children living in the North End of Halifax. The school was considered at the time to be the largest and finest school in Halifax. The school closed in 1975 and presently is home to the Maritime Conservatory of Performing Arts.

During the 1917 Halifax Explosion … the school, being a large and relatively undamaged building was used as a triage and first aid centre, morgue, and later funeral home. During this time students were sent to other schools, however the school was eventually returned to its original use…

Architecturally, Chebucto School is an excellent example of twentieth century Classic Revival style as embodied in the building’s formal classical I-shaped configuration, decorative brick pilasters, variety of windows, and brick dentil trim outlining the cornice. It was designed by Walter Busch, son of the famed local architect Henry Frederick Busch who designed many Halifax schools and landmark buildings including the Church of England Institute on Barrington Street. Walter Busch carried his father’s architectural practice and tradition of designing landmark buildings.

But according to an online petition posted by Robert Isbister, the building may be razed:

About 20 years ago the Conservatory bought the building from the City of Halifax for $1. 

Of particular importance is the Lillian Piercey Concert Hall which is known to have some of the best acoustics in the city. The Conservatory is widely used by more than 20 community organizations, none of which have been consulted.  

There are more than 1,000 students and 70 teachers in music and dance.

The Board of Governors [of the Conservatory] has been negotiating in secret with developer Danny Chedrawe of Westwood Developments Limited about moving the Conservatory to Chedrawe’s new building on Almon Street which is currently under construction. Rental of the new space is estimated at $350,000 per year and expensive leasehold improvements would have to be made.  

The future of the Conservatory’s current building at 6199 Chebucto Road is uncertain but it is probable that it would be demolished.

7. We’ll all get rich if we give Cabot Links an airport

Ben Cowan-Dewar, owner of Cabot Links.

“An Inverness Municipal Councillor and the company running the Port Hawkesbury Airport don’t like what they’re hearing about government money for a new airport in Inverness County,” reports Grant McDaniel of the Port Hawkesbury Reporter:

Andrew Alkenbrack, Cabot Links general manager, confirmed to The Reporter they have been seeking commercial air service for the western region of Cape Breton for years. 

We have worked in cooperation with all levels of government, over many years, with the goal of providing visitors from around the world with direct access to the region and the Island’s tourism icons,” he said.

“I’m not overly happy and I’m kind of shocked over the rumours from the last couple of months,” councillor John Dowling said.

“This is money not earmarked for the right cause; that’s how I look at it.”

The day before the June 6 council meeting, Dowling sent a letter to The Reporter that he’s heard from very reliable sources that Cabot is championing the building of an airport in Inverness County, most likely the Strathlorne area. He said he’s hearing that the provincial and federal governments are being approached to provide upwards of $18 million for the venture.

The air traffic, he said in his letter, would “fly in wealthy golfers to Cabot for six months of the year.”

“[Port Hawkesbury] Mayor Brenda Chisholm-Beaton has written both Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil, saying the Inverness project would be ‘negligent, unrealistic and a poor use of taxpayer’s money,’” reports Wendy Martin for the CBC:

Chisholm-Beaton said an airport in Inverness would cater to a specific clientele, rather than bringing in visitors for other Cape Breton destinations.

“It’s more than just Cabot Links. It’s about the Fortress of Louisbourg, it’s about Alexander Graham Bell [National Historic Site], it’s about all of our other wonderful golf courses in Cape Breton,” she said.

“And I don’t think this new airport is capturing that Cape Breton brand. It’s capturing one business’s brand.”

So, there’s $18 million in public money for a Cabot Links airport that caters to ultra rich golfers, but not money for [insert your favourite needy project here].

8. We’ll all get rich thanks to WestJet

“Tourism Nova Scotia has launched a new London taxi campaign in partnership with Canadian airline WestJet,” writes  for Travel Daily:

With a fleet of 14 branded taxis now on the road, the campaign will run for six months.

Incorporating branded tip seats, receipts and videos, the brand awareness campaign will showcase Nova Scotia’s diverse tourism offering spanning outdoor adventure, cultural travel and outstanding gastronomy.

The campaign will include drop-offs to key travel trade and media partners who will be given a sampling of mouth-watering treats, featuring the destination’s famous lobster. Travel trade members will also be encouraged to upload their picture to social media when riding in one of the branded taxis.

“Key travel trade and media partners?” Whatever. Travel writing is just a giant scam. But, er, did this go out to tender?


Government

No public meetings.


On campus

No public events.


In the harbour

As of 6am this morning, the Alakai ferry is still in Charleston, South Carolina.

Friday
04:30: Gerhard Schulte, container ship, moves from Fairview Cove to Pier 27
05:00: CSL Tacoma, bulker, sails from National Gypsum for sea
05:00: YM Moderation, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from Colombo, Sri Lanka
06:00: ZIM Luanda, container ship, arrives at Pier 41 from Valencia, Spain
06:30: Atlantic Star, container ship, arrives at anchorage from Liverpool, England
08:00: Nolhanava, ro-ro cargo, moves from Pier 9 to Fairview Cove
15:00: Horizon Enabler, offshore supply ship, moves from Pier 9 to the old Coast Guard base
15:30: Gerhard Schulte sails for Liverpool, England
16:30: ZIM Luanda sails for New York
17:00: Atlantic Star moves to Fairview Cove
17:00: YM Moderation sails for New York

Saturday
03:03: Atlantic Star sails for New York
07:00: IT Intrepid, cable layer, arrives at Pier 9 from Willemstad, Curacao


Footnotes

There was a sportsball game last night.


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Tim Bousquet

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

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5 Comments

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  1. So let me get this straight: Our Government is in London spending countless thousands on encouraging people to visit here because of our nature, meanwhile they are permitting if not encouraging the destruction of habitat and species with clear cutting everywhere in the province. Right. Just so I am clear nature is a priority.

    1. Correct, just like Halifax promotes itself as a historic destination for tourists while simultaneously offering little to no protection for historic buildings.

  2. The Tobeatic is a treasure. Amazing place. I once paddled there with a guy who had come from Manitoba for the trip. I made a radio documentary for CBC about finding a spot that is now buried in the woods but was once a popular landmark. It is here. https://soundcloud.com/philipmoscovitch/the-search-for-boundary-rock

    Similarly, the Lillian Piercey Concert Hall is an under-appreciated gem. Beautiful room.

    And yes, let’s keep promoting ways to entice super-yacht owners and fly-in golfers while slowly strangling information services many tourists still use heavily.

  3. There is no reason to believe Chebucto School will be demolished, the claim is wild speculation without any substance. Perhaps the Muslim community will use the building, a mosque and a school are at the location.