1. The 1%
“Did you know Canadian taxpayers earning more than $250,000 annually — them’s the “one per cent” to me and thee — paid $6.8-billion less in federal taxes in 2016 than they did in 2015?” asks Stephen Kimber:
But… uh… wait a minute. Didn’t Canada’s shiny new Liberal government create a whole new bracket in its first 2016 federal budget — increasing taxes on the above-the-sky income of our top earners by four per cent, from 29 to 33 per cent — explicitly to make our richest and most powerful contribute something closer to their fair share of the costs of running the country? During the 2015 election campaign, you may recall, Justin Trudeau’s Liberals confidently projected their new tax rate would generate an extra $2.8 billion a year.
Instead, Ottawa ended up with $9.6 billion less in the treasury than it had expected.
Kimber’s columns are usually for subscribers only, but we made this one available for everyone. Even so, you should still subscribe — it costs real money to pay Kimber and publish his work.
2. Bruce MacKinnon goes viral
Saturday’s editorial cartoon. https://t.co/pd879IKKVM
— The Chronicle Herald (@chronicleherald) September 29, 2018
Chronicle Herald editorial cartoonist Bruce MacKinnon’s reaction to the Kavanaugh hearing drew the attention of the Washington Post:
Some social media users have called his image powerful and brilliant, disturbing and necessary, with one adding: “I can barely breathe myself.”
In MacKinnon’s cartoon, blindfolded Lady Justice is shown being pinned by Republican hands, her scales of justice lying on the bed and her mouth covered. The art references how professor Christine Blasey Ford has described being sexually assaulted in 1982. In her Senate Judiciary Committee testimony on Thursday, Ford repeated her allegation that Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh was the attacker who covered her mouth during an assault when both were Maryland prep-school students. Kavanaugh has denied the accusation.
“I watched Dr. Ford‘s testimony,” MacKinnon tells The Washington Post’s Comic Riffs, “and felt like I was being strangled the whole time by the emotions it evoked.”
MacKinnon’s cartoon had been retweeted thousands of times by Saturday afternoon.
“As a cartoonist, I deal in symbols, and Lady Justice is a powerful one,” said MacKinnon, adding that it seemed to him that the Republican members of the committee wanted “to smother justice before it had a chance to be heard.”
3. Drinking and smoking in parks
“As all corners of the country prepare for a seismic shift in how and where people consume marijuana, several cities are considering whether it would make sense to legalize drinking alcohol in parks as well — a move an expert said would bring antiquated laws in line with the way people already behave,” report Nicole Thompson and Alanna Rizza for the Canadian Press:
“I think a lot of people who want to have a bottle of wine in a public park on a Sunday are probably going to be doing that anyway,” said Mitchell Kosny, interim director of Ryerson University’s School of Urban and Regional Planning.
The idea of legalizing alcohol in parks and on beaches has come up in Toronto and Vancouver, both of which are in the midst of municipal elections and both of which are in provinces that will allow people to toke in public come Oct. 17.
Premier Doug Ford has said he plans to sit down with Tory, whom he described as being “all for drinking in the parks now,” to consult on the issue.
“The laws here in Canada on this field are much more conservative,” said Kosny, adding that in parts of Europe as well as Australia, drinking in public is accepted and common.
“There’s much more openness to drinking in public parks than we see in Canada.”
And yet here in Halifax, we’re doubling down on prohibition, outlawing smoking cannabis in all parks and on trails, and keeping the liquor ban in place.
Sure, reasonable restrictions are appropriate; we don’t need people toking up or downing shots in playgrounds, but the total ban is paternalistic government at its worst.
As I’ve written before, when I visited Germany I saw how alcohol could bring parks alive:
In the former East Berlin, in a working class neighbourhood, is something called the Volkspark am Weinbergsweg, a park that had only recently been reclaimed from drug dealers. Now, the park is amazing, with a wonderful playground for children, some sports fields, a small treed area with benches and outfitted for chess and table tennis, as well as a sprawling lawn, seemingly permanently dotted with picnickers. I visited the park both in the daytime and at night — it was always crowded.
The secret to the success of Weinberg Park is a small building, a cafe, built into the hillside. A stone porch extends from the front of the building, out over the lawn, and holds maybe 30 tables. People in the neighbourhood come by for a light dinner and drinks. I had some nice locally brewed beer. Some couples purchase a bottle of wine and bring it out to the lawn for their picnic. The cafe provides the critical mass that makes the park safe, and so the park is a success.
We don’t need booze everywhere, and not all parks are good candidates for such operations, but where appropriate, why not?
Oh, speaking of bans, I’ve wondered whether Halifax’s new bylaw banning smoking on city sidewalks and parks will apply to provincial and federal property.
I asked Parks Canada the following question:
What is Parks Canada’s policy with regards to smoking cannabis in National Parks? I imagine the usual indoor restrictions that apply to tobacco will apply to smoking cannabis as well, but what about outdoors? Specific to Halifax, will people be able to smoke on Citadel Hill? (That is, the slope of the hill, not in the fortress itself.)
Spokesperson Audrey Champagne got back to me with a rather vague response:
As a federal agency, Parks Canada supports the Government of Canada’s initiative to legalize non-medical cannabis possession, sales, and consumption. It is important to note that the current laws related to cannabis consumption and possession will remain in place until new legislation comes into force.
Parks Canada places are found in all of Canada’s provinces and territories as well as adjacent to or within dozens of communities. The Agency regularly monitors provincial, territorial and municipal laws and regulations and adapts operations where this is necessary. Parks Canada is continuing its work to ensure that the Agency is prepared to apply all relevant legislation and regulations relating to cannabis once legalization comes into effect.
Parks Canada will continue this work in the coming weeks and ensure the Agency is well-positioned to implement the appropriate legislation once legalization comes into effect. The Agency’s final plan will be shared in the coming weeks.
For more information about cannabis in Canada, please visit: canada.ca/cannabis.
If they can’t simply say “no,” I’m taking it as a “yes” — go toke up on Citadel Hill.
I also asked the province, “after cannabis becomes legal, will people be able to smoke cannabis on provincially owned property like the Province House lawn, the waterfront boardwalk, etc?” Spokesperson Andrew Preeper got back to me with this response:
Generally speaking, the Smoke-free Places Act applies to provincial property no differently than it does other public spaces, unless otherwise specified in the Act (like on school grounds, in provincial parks and on provincial beaches). The details of the act are at www.novascotia.ca/smoke-free-places. Municipalities may pass additional bylaws that further restrict the use of cannabis in public places – in that case, the stricter rules apply.
That seemed to me to be a non-answer, so I followed up: “to be clear, as I read this, people will be able to smoke cannabis on the boardwalk and on the Province House lawn. Is that correct?” Preeper responded again:
If you’re asking in the context of HRM’s new bylaw, we haven’t yet reviewed it so we can’t comment on how or if it restricts smoking on provincial property. Unlike federal property, municipal smoking bylaws can apply to provincial properties. The Smoke-free Places Act specifically states it does not affect any other authority (including a municipal council) to regulate, restrict or prohibit smoking. It also specifically says if there is a conflict between the act and another authority, the more restrictive authority prevails.
More generally (and where another authority has not put stricter rules in place), it’s very difficult for me to give a broad ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to a specific property, as smoking may be permitted and not permitted on different areas of the same property. For example, many areas of a boardwalk could be within 4 metres of an entrance or 20 metres of a playground. If the outdoor provincial property is not specifically mentioned in the Act and the person is not within the restricted boundaries of entrances, air intakes, playgrounds, etc., then yes, they can smoke on that part of the property.
But again, without having reviewed HRM’s new bylaw, we can’t say definitively whether provincial properties are included.
As the internets say, IANAL, but the way I read this is you’re probably not going to be able to smoke cannabis on the waterfront (smoking on the actual boardwalk is already banned due to fire concerns), but you’ll be able to head over to Province House and toke up with Joe Howe or that murdering imperialist Boer War dude.
4. Miss Grass
There’s a lot of money in cannabis.
Halifax native Anna Duckworth (granddaughter of peace activist Muriel Duckworth) was a freelance writer for The Coast when I worked there. I always got along with Duckworth, and was happy to see her leave town to find her own path. And that she has.
Duckworth is now living in Los Angeles and with fellow publisher Kate Miller is now producing a magazine called Miss Grass. Writes Heather Cabot for Forbes Magazine:
By the time Miss Grass went live, Miller had teamed up with Anna Duckworth, former managing editor of The Alpine Review magazine in Toronto and former head of content for the California-based cannabis wellness brand Dosist. Duckworth now serves as cofounder and editor-in-chief of Miss Grass. The duo set out to create the “Goop” of cannabis, a destination highlighting the social and wellness uses of marijuana through the lens of luxury and self-care. Like Goop, Gwyneth Paltrow’s mega business, Miss Grass offers glossy editorial content, a highly-curated online product shop, along with events including this week’s cannabis and beauty panel in Brooklyn and an upcoming yoga class and benefit sponsored by Beats by Dre and deejayed by a cannabis for epilepsy activist in Manhattan. (Goop recently made its own foray into cannabis and wellness with a partnership with marijuana retailer MedMen inside its boutique on trendy Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Venice.)
Goop, alas, publishes downright dangerous health misinformation, so let’s hope the Miss Grass–Goop analogy only goes so far.
5. Highway death
Sunday morning, the RCMP issued this release:
At 1:32 a.m. this morning, Halifax District RCMP responded to a single-vehicle collision on Highway 102.
Initial investigation has determined that the 2002 Lexus es300 left the road after the driver attempted to avoid an animal in the roadway. The passenger, a 27-year-old woman of Halifax, was pronounced deceased at the scene. The driver, a 27-year-old woman of Halifax, was transported by EHS to hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
6. Fenwick MacIntosh
“The apparent return to Canada of a Maritime man with a notorious past is leading to many questions, and at this time, very few answers,” reports CTV:
CTV News has learned Fenwick MacIntosh has been released from a prison in Nepal and ordered out of the country.
The 75-year-old MacIntosh has been incarcerated in Nepal since December 2014 after he was arrested by police on suspicion of sexually molesting a 15-year old boy.
MacIntosh had been accused by a number of young men in Canada of similar offences. The first complaint against him came in the 90s and dozens more followed, all alleging offences in the 1970s.
By that time, MacIntosh had already moved to India.
It wouldn’t be until 2007 that the former Nova Scotia businessman was finally arrested on 43 sex-related charges and returned to Canada.
He went through two Canadian trials beginning in 2010, and was eventually convicted of indecent assault and gross indecency against young males.
Those convictions were thrown out after the courts decided it took too long to bring MacIntosh to trial. Once he was free, MacIntosh went to Nepal.
Maritimers’ response to a magnitude 3.1 earthquake is downright cute, says this California boy.
“It was the vending machine for cheese that confirmed we had arrived in a special place,” writes Stephen Archibald:
This was our first evening in the Bregenzerwald, and the vending machine was outside a small village dairy, because local people get nervous if they can’t get cheese at all hours. Over the next three days, many more cheesy stories would unfold.
Archibald goes on to tell us about the delightful district of Vorarlberg in Austria, and details the cheese-making process, from cow to table. It’s fun blog post.
Coincidentally, last week the Every Little Thing podcast published an episode about the history of cheese. It’s NSFW.
“My #metoo stories involve no movie stars, no prospective chief justices, no A-list journalists,” writes Lezlie Lowe:
Off the top of my head? One’s a teacher, another an electrician, another a heating contractor. Their actions range from inappropriate touching, to slamming me against a wall and once down an embankment, to attempted rape.
And those are just three of the men I am still in touch with. You read right — in touch with (well, one’s dead, but I attended the funeral). Sometimes women shut out the men who assault them. Sometimes they don’t, or won’t, or can’t.
And no, I didn’t report these assaults. The reasons, in order: I was drinking. I was embarrassed and blamed myself. I was 16 and was convinced no one would believe me.
It is these everyday men, in everyday places and situations, doing what they must believe are everyday things to the women in their lives, who must learn differently. These men represent the bulk of the problem.
North West Community Council (Monday, 7pm, Bedford Hammonds Plains Community Centre) — here’s the agenda.
City Council (Tuesday, 10am, City Hall) — I’m flying to Toronto tomorrow morning on a secret mission (a not-so-big reveal will be announced later this week), so I’ll miss tomorrow’s meeting.
In my absence, council will move to discuss a new campaign finance bylaw, which outlaws contributions from corporations, unions, and associations, and sets an absurdly high $2,500 campaign contribution limit on individuals.
The bylaw also places limits on campaign spending: $304,200 per candidate for the mayoral election, and an average of $28,400 per candidate for council elections. Few (if any) council elections have seen that limit reached, while Mike Savage is the only mayoral candidate to have in the past exceeded the proposed limit.
My biggest problem with the bylaw is that it contains weak reporting requirements. Candidates won’t have to say who gave them money, or how much, until 60 days after the election. This does no one any good — I’d like to know who’s funding a campaign before I cast my vote. There’s no reason we can’t have an immediate reporting requirement: the very day a contribution is made, the candidate should announce that contribution on the city’s election website.
In other business, council will also forward the smoking bylaw, and staff is recommending that council nix the idea of changing the name of Forest Hills Parkway to Sidney Crosby Parkway:
Sidney Crosby does not presently meet the existing policy criteria for commemorative naming because he has not yet retired from his field of endeavor.
I endorse this non-street renaming. I can only remind people that Central State University found itself in the awkward position of having to de-name a university building previously named for the formerly beloved Bill Cosby, who had donated a couple of million dollars to the University, after Cosby proved himself to not be so loveable after all.
City policy is that stuff can’t be named after people until they’re dead and a stake has been hammered through their heart to make sure (that’s Section 3, subsection iii, item b), but even then we’ve had to reconsider some of these dudes (it’s always dudes) when they come back to haunt us (sometimes the stake doesn’t work). We’ve unceremoniously pulled down Cornwallis because he was a murdering thug, a fate that should probably be meted out to many of the other statues, first off that murdering imperialist Boer War dude at Province House. (We actually have two statues for murdering imperialist Boer War dudes; the second is in the Public Gardens. Yes, let’s pull down that one too.)
And we’ve got an entire neighbourhood with streets named after murdering imperialist dudes — Stairs Street, Stanley Street, Livingstone Street, Columbus Street. (I think Merkel Street must be named after a murdering imperialist dude too, but when I google I keep getting Angela. And I have no idea who Kane or Hennessey were. You can make up your own minds about Cabot Street and Sebastian Street.)
My point is, opinions about people change. When I was a kid, I laughed and laughed at Fat Albert, which I now see is wrong for several reasons; I’m more than a little embarrassed for my five-year-old self, to be honest. Likewise, the white folk who ran this place in the early 20th century thought it was a great idea to throw up statues and name streets after murderous imperialist dudes, and now at least some of us think that wasn’t so great an idea after all.
I don’t think we should name stuff after people at all. People inevitably turn out to suck.
Streets should be numbered, or lettered. First Street, Eight Street, 134 Street, Avenue F, like that. Or they should describe all the cool stuff that was bulldozed in order to build the street: Mi’kmaq Village Lane, Old Growth Forest Avenue, Grandma’s Grave Boulevard.
Law Amendments (3pm, Province House) — the following bills will be discussed:
Bill No. 39 – Cemetery and Funeral Services Act and Embalmers and Funeral Directors Act
Bill No. 49 – Gaming Control Act
Bill No. 51 – Halifax Convention Centre Act
Bill No. 55 – Region of Windsor and West Hants Municipality Act
Bill No. 58 – Municipal Government Act and Halifax Regional Municipality Charter
Bill No. 63 – Nova Scotia Provincial Exhibition Commission Act
Bill No. 67 – Securities Act
Legislature sits (Tuesday, 1pm, Province House)
Premature deaths in Australia (Monday, 12pm, Room 409, Centre for Clinical Research) — Steve Kisely from Dalhousie and the University of Queensland will talk about “Why do Australians with severe mental illness die 20 years prematurely? A retrospective nation-wide cohort study of colorectal, cervical and prostate cancer screening.”
The size of self-similar sets and measures (Monday, 3:30pm, Room 319, Chase Building) — Kathryn Hare from the University of Waterloo will speak. Her abstract:
In this talk, we will investigate various ways to quantify the size of self-similar subsets of R and the self-similar measures concentrated on them. Of particular interest will be measures that arise from overlapping iterated function systems, such as Bernoulli convolutions or m-fold convolutions of Cantor measures. These measures have been of interest to mathematicians for more than 80 years and yet fundamental questions remain open and surprising discoveries are still being made.
Whose nation? Navigating a new era in Crown–Indigenous relations (Tuesday, 12pm, Room 1011, Rowe Building) — from the event listing:
Indigenous communities have long sought political recognition and nationhood, but only recently have the affairs and governance of Canadian Indigenous peoples been recognized for containing some of the most pressing policy questions of our time, including questions about water governance, health practices, and self-determination. In May 2016, Canada officially removed its objector status to the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, indicating the Crown’s intention to reset its relationship with Canadian Indigenous peoples. A new relationship, created on the principles of Nation to Nation governance, must be supported by a strong policy framework. In the coming years, Indigenous and Crown leaders will navigate through law and policy to determine how to address issues concerning resources, identity, autonomy and culture. This discussion focuses on some of the obstacles and opportunities decision-makers face as they try to reform our system of governance.
G.R.I.T. Resilience Training (Tuesday, 12pm, Room 1198, McCain Building) — sounds like some woo-woo nonsense to me.
Orange Shirt Day (Monday) — they’re asking people to wear an orange shirt in solidarity with residential school survivors. I get the sentiment, but these solidarity things can go terribly wrong.
In the harbour
Midnight: Saga Sapphire, cruise ship with up to 748 passengers, arrives at Pier 23 from Ponta Delgada, Sao Miguel Island, Azores; the Saga Sapphire is on a 28-day round-trip cruise out of Dover, England, and stopping in various Canadian locales so the Brits can see how quaint we are.
0:30am: YM Express, container ship, sails from Fairview Cove for Rotterdam
8am: Veendam, cruise ship with up to 1,350 passengers, arrives at Pier 22 from Bar Harbor; the Veendam is on a seven-day cruise from Boston to Montreal (Sydney)
8am: Blue Moon, pony aficionado Dick Duchossois‘s yacht, arrives at Museum Wharf from Charlottetown; amazingly, Duchossois is still alive at 96 years old and still watches the ponies run, but his yacht is nowadays mostly leased out to other super-rich dudes.
9am: Crystal Symphony, cruise ship with up to 1,095 passengers, arrives at Pier 20 from Saint John; the Crystal Symphony is on a 10-day cruise from New York to Montreal
1pm: Saga Sapphire, cruise ship, sails from Pier 23 for Sydney
6pm: Veendam, cruise ship, sails from Pier 22 for Sydney
8pm: Crystal Symphony, cruise ship, sails from Pier 20 for Quebec
I don’t have a copy-editer today; please be kind.
I’ve decided to start appending the following plea for your money to Morning File.
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