November subscription drive

We do this subscription drive just once a year, and by around this point in the month, I never know what more to say.

I suppose there are a thousand different ways to say the same thing, but they all boil down to this: The Halifax Examiner needs your money. Your money is what keeps us in business. Your money funds our investigations. Your money pays the reporters. Your money makes an independent local news site possible.

I assure you, this is a shoestring operation. Consider this: I don’t know what Mark Lever, head honcho of the Chronicle Herald, gets paid, but my best guess is that he takes home more money than the Halifax Examiner’s entire annual budget. That’s right: one executive, who as far as I can see brings nothing of value to the SaltWire network, likely gets paid more than all the Examiner’s reporters, all the investigative costs, all the legal bills, combined.

I spend a lot of time staring at bank statements and projections for future revenue. This morning, I paid down the company Visa bill, the bulk of which reflected legal fees we’ve incurred this year in our quest to pry open the search warrants related to the mass murders. But paying the Visa bill isn’t so simple. I try to get it as close to a zero balance as possible, but I want to leave enough cash in the bank account to pay for unexpected one-offs, like as happened this week, when Linda Pannozzo said, “hey Tim, I can do this project, what do you think?” and I thought, hell yes, that’s a grand idea and it’s a good thing we have a bit of cash to pay for it. So I paid most of the Visa bill, but not all of it. Maybe I’ll be able to pay down the rest next week or the week after, or maybe some other unexpected project will pop up.

And later this morning, Iris and I will do an inventory check on hoodies and T-shirts and order some more in order to meet expected demand for them, but we don’t want to order too many because that would just be a lot of swag sitting in the storage closet, when we could be using the value of the unused swag to pay for more reporting.

These are the kind of money-juggling decisions we make pretty much every day. Which is to say, your money helps us immensely. And when more people give us money, we can do even better work. Please subscribe, or drop us a donation. We appreciate it.


News

1. COVID and filmmaking

Episode #6 of The Tideline, with Tara Thorne, is out!

The Atlantic bubble’s success has extended to the Nova Scotia film industry, one of the first production centres in the world to get back on track, with more lining up in 2021. This week, Tara chats with Screen Nova Scotia’s executive director, Laura Mackenzie, about the province’s current achievements and future potential; and filmmaker Steph Joline, who’s worked on multiple productions throughout these pandemic times.

The Tideline is advertising-free and subscriber-supported. It’s also a very good deal at just $5 a month. Click here to support The Tideline.

I’ve talked with quite a few people who work in film and who have had steady, if reduced, work through the pandemic. It’s been one of the bright spots for Nova Scotia. Let’s hope we can get control of these latest outbreaks so that work isn’t threatened.

I’ve had a technical glitch on the podcast — it works just fine for subscribers, but I’ve been attempting to get a Spotify-friendly stub out, and I’m just running into a problem. I hope to get that fixed today.

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2. Teachers ratify contract

School buses are seen in the parking lot of a hockey arena in Dartmouth on Wednesday, July 22, 2020. — Photo: Zane Woodford

This item is written by Yvette d’Entremont.

Nova Scotia’s public school teachers have voted in favour of a tentative agreement reached last month between their union and the provincial government.

A province-wide electronic vote on the tentative deal reached on Oct. 23 between the Nova Scotia Teachers Union (NSTU) and the province was held Wednesday. Of Nova Scotia’s 9,300 public school teachers, 73% of teachers voted and 94.2% of those teachers were in favour of the tentative deal.

In a media release issued Wednesday evening, the NSTU said that under the new deal, teachers will see a 7% salary increase over four years.

That includes a 1.5% increase effective Aug. 1, 2019, a 0.5% increase on July 30, 2020, and a 1.5% increase on Aug. 1, 2020. That will be followed by a 0.5% increase on July 31, 2021, a 1.5% increase on Aug. 1, 2021, and 1.5% increase on Aug. 1, 2022.

The union said the agreement also gives teachers increased marking and preparation time. Effective Aug. 1, 2021, they’ll get a minimum of 12.5% of instructional time for that purpose. This will be averaged out over the school year.

NSTU president Paul Wozney said this represents a 25% increase in prep time for public school teachers.

“Teachers haven’t seen any increase in marking and prep time for 50 years and this will help to decrease the ongoing demands on teachers’ time,” Wozney said in the release.

The new contract will expire July 31, 2023.

The previous teachers’ contract was imposed through Bill 75 on Feb. 21, 2017. That controversial bill legislated a contract on Nova Scotia’s public school teachers. After a lengthy and contentious debate, it passed third and final reading with all 33 Liberal MLAs voting in favour of the bill and all 17 opposition MLAs voting against it.

That contract expired on July 31, 2019.

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3. COVID-19

Photo by Georg Eiermann on Unsplash

Three cases of COVID-19 were announced in Nova Scotia yesterday. All three were in Nova Scotia Health’s Central Zone and all three are close contacts of previously identified cases, but no further details were privided. There are now 24 known active cases in the province.

Later in the day, Nova Scotia Health issued an advisory of potential exposure to COVID-19 at two Bayers Lake sites:

  • East Side Mario’s (186 Chain Lake Dr, Bayers Lake) on Nov. 14 between 3 p.m. and 9 p.m. and Nov. 16 between noon and 7 p.m.

Anyone present at this location during this time period is asked to monitor for symptoms of COVID-19. It is anticipated anyone exposed to the virus at this location on the above dates may develop symptoms up to, and including, Nov. 30.

  • Sport Chek (215 Chain Lake Dr, Bayers Lake) on Nov. 15 between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Anyone present at this location during this time period is asked to monitor for symptoms of COVID-19. It is anticipated anyone exposed to the virus at this location on the above date may develop symptoms up to, and including, Nov. 29.

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4. Art Gallery

“The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia (AGNS) announced the team of KPMB Architects with Omar Gandhi Architect, Jordan Bennett Studio, Elder Lorraine Whitman, Public Work and Transsolar as winners of the international design competition for the new Art Gallery of Nova Scotia and Waterfront Arts District.”

A lot of people have problems with the waterfront site because they’re worried about rising sea levels related to climate change. As I understand it, the design of all the recent waterfront developments incorporate models for expected sea level rise over the expected life time of the buildings (typically, 40 or 50 years), but I think (I’m no scientist, but still) that those models are probably far too conservative.

For me, the more immediate concern for the waterfront site is afternoon shadows on the boardwalks, so I was happy to see that all three finalist designs were set back considerably from the boardwalk, so hopefully that won’t be an issue — unlike for the Queen’s Marque project, which looks like it’ll put the boardwalk in perpetual shadow after about 3pm every day, as will the proposed Cunard Block development.

I have other concerns, however. I wonder how and why the collaboration with NSCAD fell apart. I wonder who influenced the real estate decisions, and how exactly so. And I wonder if the new building is really just a way to house the ill-conceived Annie Leibovitz collection purchase.

It sure feels like there was a lot of stuff going on behind the scenes, and decisions were made that should have been made more openly, in public and with public input.

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5. RCMP attempted to negotiate with killer

Buried in the most recently released search warrant document related to the mass murder is a short synopsis of the killer’s email history. It’s short because he didn’t use it much — it consists of just seven sent or received messages over the first four months of 2020.

The last of those email messages was one received by the account on April 19, as the murder spree was under way. It was sent by RCMP Sgt. Stephen Power, “indicating that he was with the RCMP and that he was a negotiator and needed to talk to [GW].” Power left contact info for the killer, who evidently did not respond.

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Noticed

Michael Gorman has a (as usual) thoughtful article about the Liberal leadership contest in the time of COVID, which everyone should go read. The CBC helpfully illustrated the story with the first graphic below, but then the Halifax ReTales guy, Arthur, asked “one of these 3 is going to be the next Premier of NS … who are they? wrong answers only,” so I responded with the second graphic below:

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Government

City

Thursday

Active Transportation Advisory Committee (Thursday, 4:30pm) —virtual meeting; agenda and info here.

Youth Advisory Committee (Thursday, 5pm) — virtual meeting; info and agenda here.

Province

No public meetings.


On campus

Dalhousie

Thursday

Reclaiming Power and Place Virtual Read (Thursday, 10:30am) — a group reading of Reclaiming Power and Place: The Final Report on the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (2019). More info here.

Shedding light on a novel sensory system in the vertebrate spinal cord (Thursday, 11am) — Claire Wyart from ICM Brain and Spine Institute will talk. Info and link here.

Project (Thursday, 12pm) — architecture lecture with Tanja Herdt from TU Delft and Milica Topalović, ETH, Zurich. Zoom link here.

Advancing concepts in occupational transitions: Analyzing the micro and macro dialectical using work transition narratives (Thursday, 12pm) — More info here.

Growing your Network in a Virtual World (Thursday, 2pm) — “Dal and King’s students and alumni who are new to networking and starting to build their network (or) familiar with networking and want to further develop their network”, can “join our partners from Halifax Partnership…to grow your professional network!”

If you say “networking” enough times it becomes meaningless. Try it. Register here.

Friday

Wendy V. Norman. Photo via Twitter

The Mifepristone Policy and Regulatory Journey: Addressing Inequitable Abortion Access in Canada (Friday, 12:10pm) — Wendy V. Norman from the University of British Columbia and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine will talk. Zoom link here.

DMAA Alumni Recognition Awards (Friday, 4pm) — the 2020 Dalhousie Medical Alumni Association awards recognize Dalhousie Medical School alumni for their outstanding achievements in research and clinical practice, as well as their contributions to the medical school, our students, and the community. Info and link here.

Cello Masterclass and Q&A With Amit Peled (Friday, 4:30pm) — Zoom link and more info here.

Saint Mary’s

Thursday

Cyborg Futures: Cross-disciplinary Perspectives on Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (Thursday, 12pm) — online discussion with Theresa Heffernan. Info and registration here.

Ideathon (Thursday, 12pm) — in which “an interdisciplinary group of students… entrepreneurial peers…find a problem worth solving and propose an idea worth validating…no experience or startup idea is needed to join!” All that in a “mini one-hour hackathon.” Also: networking. More info here.

King’s

Thursday

Spelling Bae (Thursday, 6pm) — alumni from across the globe compete on Zoom. Tune in to find out why they spelled it like that.


In the harbour

02:30: Algoma Dartmouth, oil tanker, arrives at Imperial Oil from Sydney
06:30: Nolhanava, ro-ro cargo, arrives at Fairview Cove from Saint-Pierre
14:00: Algoma Dartmouth sails for sea
17:00: Oceanex Sanderling, ro-ro container, moves from Pier 41 to Autoport
22:00: Oceanex Sanderling moves back to Pier 41


Footnotes

There’s swag!

Ellen Page, fashionista

Hoodies, for $75, which includes HST and shipping:

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Or, you could get a FREE Halifax Examiner T-shirt with any annual subscription of $100 or more. They come in both mens and ladies styles; subscribe here.

You can also just buy a T-shirt without the subscription, for $25 including HST and shipping:

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Tim Bousquet

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

Yvette d'Entremont

Yvette d’Entremont is a bilingual (English/French) journalist and editor, covering the COVID-19 pandemic and health issues. Twitter @ydentremont

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8 Comments

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  1. I agree. The $200 plus million price tag should NOT slither up like a jellyfish two years after shovel hits dirt for this grandiose project. I guess $130,000,000 seems somehow more palatable to our capital city that still can’t accommodate safe crosswalks, efficient bus routes and parking for all those dirty cars that keep Halifax in business.

  2. The choice of the waterfront for the new art gallery is willfully ignorant and arrogant. The money they will waste pretending the building will withstand the effects of climates change could have been put into the base building. Also they are insulting the collective intelligence of the public with the $130 million price tag. This will be north of $200 million minimum. The “smiling bastards” in the back room are once again laughing at us.

  3. Watched the whole antiseptic four minute and 20 second “video rendering” of the new art gallery and am still wondering: but where does the art go?

    1. I just meandered through & wondered the same. Plus I can easily visualize myself walking into lots of glass in this impressive structure ????????

  4. I seldom get excited about anything Halifax does but I do believe the AGNS et al got this right. It is very exciting, but they will also need world class management and curatorial. And I shudder to think of what might happen to the beautiful old Dominion building, IMO the fairest in Halifax.

  5. My wife and I have started keeping a daily log of the times and locations of where we go outside of the home. It may seem like an overabundance of caution and anal-retentiveness, but without a record, if they announce that there’s a potential infection site two weeks from now, do you know everywhere you’ve been?

    1. If you have a phone, and if you have Google Maps on it, it can track your every movement, if you allow it.

    2. I just keep my receipts – they are all date & time stamped. I don’t have location active on my flip phone because it drains the battery down nor is it active on my laptop because that doesn’t leave the house.