The subscription drive consultants (two guys at the end of the bar I talked to the other night) tell me that I’m supposed to offer incentives to entice people to subscribe.
So, during the month of November, each new annual subscriber will get a Halifax Examiner T-shirt, here modelled by my friend Lisa Osmond:
But you’re already a subscriber?
Good news! We’ve got special swag just for you:
That’s the new Halifax Examiner travel mug. It’s top-of-the-line swag; world-class swag, even. It’s super-insulated — I’ve had reports that coffee has stayed warm even overnight. And ever so stylish.
Now that $35 value can be yours. An existing subscriber who buys an annual gift subscription for a non-subscriber will get a free travel mug (some conditions apply).
To order a gift subscription and get your travel mug, contact Iris at iris “at” halifaxexaminer.ca, and she’ll set you up.
1. Tidal turbine
“Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Nova Scotia Power have long known that the Annapolis tidal turbine kills significant numbers of fish,” reports Aaron Beswick for the Chronicle Herald:
As a result, Acadia University professor and former Fisheries and Oceans scientist Michael Dadswell is accusing Nova Scotia Power of being in violation of the Fisheries Act and the federal department of not enforcing it.
“Either (Fisheries and Oceans) does not pay attention to its own scientists or they have been in cahoots with Nova Scotia Power all these years to deny the extreme decimation of the Annapolis fish populations,” said Dadswell.
2. Sensitivity training
At yesterday’s city council meeting, councillors heard top managers give three hours of presentations about how great their respective departments are, then went into closed session at 2:15 to discuss citizen complaints against councillors in the wake of the Whitman Twitter breakdown.
I had lunch, and checked back in. Council was still in closed session. I went and looked at some files at the courthouse, then went back to see how that closed session was going. Still no word. I went to the library to check out some material, then back to City Hall. Still in closed session. I crossed the street and sat in the Scotia Square food court to fill out a freedom of information request, went up to Duke Tower to drop it off, then back to City Hall… yep, still in closed session. Metro reporter Zane Woodford, Coast reporter Jacob Boon, and I sat around and played three-dimensional chess. “Queen to queen’s level 3,” I said to Boon, and he looked at me in confusion, not knowing the proper response (queen to king’s level 1), so, feeling imprisoned, I decided to go read some Shakespeare and otherwise while away my evening with my friend Marta.
I’m glad I did. Judging from Woodford’s and Boon’s tweets, council didn’t come out of closed session until 11pm. I’ll let Woodford tell what happened:
After hours of in camera — meaning closed to the public — discussion in council chambers ending late Tuesday night, council voted unanimously to take “group sensitivity training as arranged by the CAO and the mayor.”
In the end, council approved three parts of the original five-part motion, meaning staff will look at a review of the interpersonal behaviour and community representation sections of the code; a review of the code every four years; and a letter to the province to allow more punishments for councillors.
Council voted down a request to have councillors review and sign the code annually, and to look at hiring an integrity commissioner.
3. Loney Bowl
The court-ordered playing of the Loney Bowl was yesterday afternoon.
“The top-ranked Acadia Axemen defeated the Saint Mary’s Huskies 45-38 in overtime in the Atlantic university football final on a cool and blustery Tuesday afternoon at Raymond Field,” reports Glenn MacDonald for the Chronicle Herald:
The teams were scheduled to play each other in the Loney Bowl last Saturday. But on Thursday, Atlantic University Sport abruptly cancelled the conference final over eligibility concerns with Huskies receiver Archelaus Jack.
Saint Mary’s took the matter to court and, on Sunday, a Nova Scotia Supreme Court judge granted the university an interim injunction, which allowed the Loney Bowl to be reinstated.
I’m not even going to try to pretend to understand all the legal arguments made, but it’s worth noting that an interim injunction is not a final court decision. The judge said, in essence, that the game should be played and she’ll come back to the meat of the issue at a later date. I don’t know if Acadia’s victory makes a future court ruling moot, or if this is going to still be heard. I hope the latter, as the state of Jack’s eligibility seems unresolved. Without a definitive court ruling, couldn’t this all happen again?
In any event, at around 4pm, about midway through the third quarter of the game, the RCMP issued this release:
At 7:45 p.m. on November 9, a member of Kings District RCMP stopped a vehicle on Linden Ave. in Wolfville. The vehicle had been driving the wrong way on a one-way street. When the driver got out of the vehicle, a plastic bag containing crack cocaine fell from his clothing and the police officer arrested him without incident for drug possession.
The man was searched incidental to arrest and police located three more bags of cocaine and a bag of marihuana as well. The vehicle was then searched and additional cocaine and marihuana and were located, as well as drug paraphernalia, a knife, and cash. In total, 51 g of crack cocaine and 226 g of marihuana were seized as a result of the traffic stop.
The driver, 20-year-old Daniel Obiang of Wolfville is facing charges of Possession of Cocaine for the Purpose of Trafficking and Possession of Marihuana for the Purpose of Trafficking. He was released from custody later that evening and is scheduled to appear in Kentville Provincial Court on January 16, 2018.
A bag of crack falling out of his pocket? Yeah, that’s totally believable… something tells me that search is going to be contested by Obiang’s lawyer.
But how is the arrest related to the football game? Well, Daniel Obiang is an Acadia University football player (heh, the University took this page down moments after I tweeted it; that’s OK, I archived it here):
Obiang hasn’t had a stellar year. He had four carries for a total of 22 yards in the September 30 game against Mount Allison, and that’s it.
But, while Obiang hasn’t yet been convicted of anything, I have to wonder who his (alleged) customers were. It doesn’t surprise me that there’s a bunch of crack floating around Wolfville — in popular culture, crack is seen as an “urban” (read: black) drug, but even way back when I was in university, upper-class white students were using a lot of crack (and other uppers of all sorts) at the Leafy Campus. I don’t know why that would have changed in the intervening decades.
4. The Christian response to the sexual assault of children
This item includes descriptions of the sexual assault of children.
Roy Moore is the former American judge/current Senate candidate who is facing multiple (five, as of this writing) accusations by women who say Moore, then in his 30s, approached them when they were teenage girls. If true, one of those accusations amounts to sexual assault, another is sexual interference with a girl below the age of consent, and the other three are creepy expressions of sexual interest in girls half his age.
As these accusations became public, people began drawing attention to one of Moore’s dissenting opinions as an Alabama Supreme Court judge:
The Alabama Supreme Court had the opportunity to hear the case of one Eric Lemont Higdon, a man accused and convicted of two sodomy charges due to sexual assault against a four-year-old at Mama’s Place Christian Academy in Clay, Alabama.
One of those convictions was first-degree sodomy of a child less than 12 years old. The other conviction was first-degree sodomy by forcible compulsion. Essentially, the first conviction was for statutory rape; the second for forcible rape.
Higdon’s conviction on the forcible rape charge was eventually overturned on appeal. The state, by way of prosecutor Luther Strange, appealed that decision and the Alabama Supreme Court took the case up for review.
Eight of the nine justices on the panel found that the appeals court had erred. Their legal logic was such that a 17-year-old’s sexual assault of a four-year-old was enough to produce in the mind of the four-year-old, an “implied threat of serious physical injury.” The decision was reversed and remanded and Higdon’s conviction was reinstated.
Roy Moore dissented from that opinion. He wrote:
Because there was no evidence in this case of an implied threat of serious physical injury…or of an implied threat of death, Higdon cannot be convicted of sodomy in the first degree “by forcible compulsion.”
I was sickened when I read about that case. Parsing the definition of the “forcible” rape of a four-year-old is especially perverse, even by Alabama standards, which is why the other eight Alabaman judges ruled that the four-year-old could only understand the situation as a forced assault.
However, in the wake of the current allegations against Moore, “over the weekend, it appeared that Moore still had ample support from the Christian community despite the allegations,” reports Marwa Eltagouri for the Washington Post. One example, explains Eliot Nelson for the Huffington Post:
Bruce Register, 87, a retiree from Dothan, Ala, said that spiritually, the whole controversy was moot.
“I really don’t think someone of his character would have done that. And if he had done it, it doesn’t matter in God’s eyes because he’d have been forgiven,” Register said.
There’s a bizarre tribalism at work here among a segment of the Christian community: When liberals assault women, it’s proof they’re ungodly heathens. When self-identified Christians assault children, it’s proof of God’s grace.
I’m a collapsed Catholic, and a confirmed atheist. I have no idea what’s going on with those tribal Christians, but whatever it is, I don’t like it.
Which brings me to Nova Scotia.
Yesterday, I read about the case R. v G.H.E, a man who faced charges of sexual interference; the victims were his two daughters. The case was heard by Bridgewater Court judge Mona Lynch. In her decision, Justice Lynch explained the facts of the case:
Starting when the older daughter was two to two and a half years old the accused, her father, started touching her for a sexual purpose. At around that same time he tried on two occasions to digitally penetrate her vagina. Then he began to fondle her nude genital area on a regular basis and also exposed his penis and encouraged the older daughter to stroke his penis. He suggested that stroking his penis was special because usually only mommies get to do it and if you do a good job it will grow.
When she was about five or six years old the touching of the accused stopped, however, the continued touching of her, by him, of her genital area continued. His touching of her involved his fingernails hurting her, whether that was penetration or not. There was also one incident of the accused getting in bed and touching her with his penis when she was about eight years old.
While there were no threats of violence, as indicated by the crown, the accused did tell the older daughter that the family would break up if her mother knew.
This horrible world contains monsters who sexually assault their two-year-old daughters.
The decision relates that after the older daughter sought counselling as an adult, the father admitted the assaults, that he blamed it on watching porn, that the girls’ mother “forgave” their father, but that the older daughter has significant trauma she’s still dealing with:
The effect on the older daughter has been significant — she struggles to trust, has difficulty processing stress and has panic attacks. She spent much of her childhood, as she described, screaming inside. She has nightmares, low self esteem, struggles with trust on a physical and emotional level with her husband. She is a new mother and looks at her child and worries for her daughter and nieces. Her father, she says, took her innocence. She looks at photos and sees pain and confusion in her own eyes as a child and she describes being destroyed slowly from the inside. She also describes as a child feeling confused and scared and she felt trapped as a child in a situation too big for her, wanting, her father, or daddy as she said, to just be a daddy. She describes as being broken inside.
Regarding the younger daughter, wrote Lynch:
She did not provide a victim impact statement and I would like the crown to find out why Victim Services did not contact her. She has some vague memories of her father sexually abusing her, but what she describes as positives about her father outweigh any wrong that was done to her.
As for the father, “his work history includes fishing, farming […] and he is very involved in his church … he has positive supports in the community from his pastor and other community members,” wrote Lynch. “His wife and mother both knew about the abuse of the girls and both continue to support him … He is viewed positively by family and church members.”
There is a publication ban on the case. I don’t know the name of the father or the victims, and I haven’t read the court files to know which community or which church this is.
Still, while I appreciate that there needs to be the opportunity for forgiveness, rehabilitation, and support, I fear we are seeing an Alabama level of Christian perversity.
When I look back again, when I look at the threat that if the older daughter said anything that the family would break up. That is a responsibility that should not have been put on a child. I have to look at the manipulation that the accused used with his manipulation to get the older daughter to fondle his penis. He indicated “usually only Mommies get to do this, if you do it right it will grow”. I have to look at the attempted digital penetration of a two-and-a-half-year-old.
Also, I had concern in the report that there seems to be a blaming by both the accused and the accused’s wife for the reporting of the offences to authorities, instead of placing the blame where it belongs, with the accused. It appears from the Sexual Behavior Pre-Sentence Assessment that it was reported when the older daughter went for counselling and the counsellor reported the abuse.
There seemed to be some blame placed on your sister and what you perceive as her jealousy of you, in encouraging the older daughter to report the abuse to authorities.
I understand from listening to the accused’s wife this morning, and from reading the Pre-sentence Report and the Sexual Behaviour Pre-Sentence Assessment, that you and your family would have preferred that there had been no report to authorities and you would have continued to suffer no sanctions for your offences other than what you suffered in your family. That is a very self-centered view, as certainly the older daughter went to get assistance that she needed, and probably needed much before she went. It is not unusual for victims to not report their abuse until they are older, maybe not living in the home where the perpetrator is, and having gained the strength to report the abuse.
Reading between the lines, I think that Justice Lynch was extremely troubled by what she saw as the family and community dynamic. The family and friends forgive the man, because after all, he’s just human. And blame is placed on the girls for their base wickedness of being, well, female. The church embraces the man. He continues to volunteer with some community organization, possibly related to the church, that gives the judge pause:
Leaving the accused in the community to run […] or leaving him in the community not to run […] would not send the message of society’s revulsion of such conduct.
Lynch sentenced the man to 18 months in jail:
There needs to be a message sent to others in the community that we will not accept this type of behaviour.
1. Cranky letter of the day
To the Charlottetown Guardian:
Every year around this time, the Symons Medal and Lecture on the State of the Canadian Confederation occurs in Charlottetown, marking the meetings of the Fathers of Confederation.
Preparations are underway for the annual event, and every year, the Confederation Centre Youth Chorus is invited to perform. Youth aged 8 to 18 years of age take to the stage and sing a rendition of O Canada and the Island Hymn and are given the opportunity to perform a couple of other melodies. But, not this year.
This year’s recipient of the Symons Medal is Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada, and the Confederation Centre of the Arts has opted to “modify its protocols,” thereby eliminating the role for the Youth Chorus. How disappointing.
This is the same youth chorus that was invited to sing at the Vatican in April of this year, yet the Confederation Centre won’t allow the youth, the future of our country, to sing for their own Prime Minister. Ironic given the topic of the theme of the Symons lecture, isn’t it?
Confederation Centre of the Arts: shame on you — you should let the children sing!
Linda MacLean, Stratford
Audit & Finance (10am, City Hall) — the committee is reserving $225,000 from this year’s public art budget for next year’s completion of the Dartmouth Sportsplex. This represents one per cent of construction costs, as is long-standing council policy. It hasn’t yet been decided what the art will be.
Community Planning & Economic Development Standing Committee (Thursday, 10am, City Hall) — a light agenda.
Active Transportation Advisory Committee (Thursday, 4pm, City Hall) — the committee will take up the Vernon-Seymour and Allan Oak bikeway corridors Examiner transportation columnist Erica Butler discussed last week.
No public meetings.
Resources (Thursday, 9am, Province House) — just the per diem-collecting “organizational” meeting.
Standing Committee on Community Services (Thursday, 11am, Province House) — also a per diem-collecting “organizational” meeting.
Thesis defence, Engineering (1pm, Room 3107, Mona Campbell Building) — PhD candidate Mohamad Azadeh will defend his thesis, “Low Cycle Response of Dented Pipelines Subject to Cyclic Axial and Bending Loads.”
RNA Silencing and Lateral gene transfer (4pm, Theatre A, Sir Charles Tupper Medical Building) — postdoc Anna Asman will speak from 4–5pm on “Size Matters: RNA Silencing Processes in Phytophthora infestans,” followed at 5pm by undergrad student Morgan Colp who will speak on “An experimental model for studying lateral gene transfer in eukaryotes.”
Canada-Israel Collaboration for Brain Studies (Thursday, 9am, BRC Boardroom, Life Sciences Research Institute) — kick-off meeting for a Collaborative Research Partnership between Dalhousie University and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. Listen to presentations from both Universities on their research, and join the conversation about collaborative research in the important area of the brain. Details at brainrepair.ca.
The Shape of Information: Constructing a Thesis (Thursday, 12:30pm, Room HB4, Medjuck Architecture Building) — Richard Kroeker will speak.
Thesis Defence, Process Engineering and Applied Science (Thursday, 1pm, Room 3107, Mona Campbell Building) — PhD candidate Marcia English will defend her thesis, “Interactions of Native and Modified Clupeine with Escherichia Coli K-12 and Salmonella Enterica Serovar Typhimurium 14028 Cells and Model Biomembranes.”
Mini Medical School (Thursday, 7pm, Theatre B, Tupper Medical Building) — Constance LeBlanc will speak on “How Doctors Make Decisions”; followed at 8:15 by Gordon Gubitz on “What You Need to Know About Medical Assistance in Dying.”
The Halifax International Security Forum: The Future of Global Leadership (Thursday, 7pm, McInnes Room, Dalhousie Student Union Building) — the panel comprises Bessma Momani from the University of Waterloo and the Balsillie School of International Affairs; General Petr Pavel, Chairman of the Military Committee, NATO; Jonathan Tepperman, Editor-in-Chief, Foreign Policy magazine; and Tawakkol Karman, Nobel Peace Laureate and Founder of Women Journalists Without Chains.
In the harbour
6am: ZIM Constanza, container ship, arrives at Pier 42 from Algeciras, Spain
9am: Forte, heavy load carrier, moves from Anchorage 1 to Anchorage BB (this is the ship that has been carrying the huge oil rig)
11:30am: Oceanex Sanderling, ro-ro container, moves from Pier 41 to Autoport
3:45pm: Don Carlos, car carrier, arrives at Pier 31 from Southampton, England
4:30pm: Grande Baltimora, car carrier, arrives at Autoport from Veracruz, Mexico
4:30pm: ZIM Constanza, container ship, sails from Pier 42 for New York
4:30pm: Oceanex Sanderling, ro-ro container, moves from Autoport back to Pier 41
6pm: Atlantic Sail, ro-ro container, arrives at Fairview Cove from Norfolk
9:30pm: Grande Baltimora, car carrier, sails from Autoport for sea
Midnight: Atlantic Sail, ro-ro container, sails from Fairview Cove for Liverpool, England
I’ll be on The Sheldon MacLeod Show, News 95.7, with Metro reporter Zane Woodford, at 2pm.
“In the midnight of November, when the dead man’s fair is nigh. And the danger in the valley, and the anger in the sky.”
Why is no one concerned that a judge sat two days on the weekend for a privileged sports team? Isn’t that highly unusual?
For an interim injunction, it’s not unusual.
It’s about multiple sports teams, who many people care about. It’s a decision which matters to thousands of people.
Colin May and Parker Donham, Whitman has displayed tendencies towards racism and insensitivity towards racialized minorities on a number of occasions. The word in question, if used by a 90 year old with a grade 8 education – who could be deemed to be out of touch, for those reasons – might be excused, but from a 40 – 50 something politician who presumably has at least a high school education, the use of that word is inexcusable and might actually be intended to show disrespect to a fellow councilor. And if you don’t think Whitman is racially insensitive or worse, just ask my kids.
The voters passed judgement on councillors/candidates 13 months ago, and they’ll have another opportunity in just 35 months. Some councillors need to know when to stay off twitter.
But some people are more moral and therefore more equal, dontcha get it?
I don’t understand. Only 18 months in jail for what he did? How do you justify jailing people for much longer for crimes that pale in comparison?
I don’t agree with codes to punish councillors for voicing opinions inside or outside council. If a councillor is a racist or misogynist or just a foolish arsehole, then the voters are the ones to deal with him/her. I can see such codes being abused by mayor and council to punish maverick councillors who don’t go along with council “solidarity”. I would expect nothing else.
I think codes to protect civic employees from abuse by councillors are fine,although I think municipal employees should expect to be held to account in the performance of their duties at least as rigorously as they would be in a private business. And you do need something like Robert’s Rules for council proceedings or the meetings would never end or get to a point.
But if a councillor is an arsehole on Facebook or Twitter or in interviews to the press, I think that is the business of the voters. I’d want the person to reveal their true colours.
And I would suspect that any code that tried to go too far might well be unconstitutional — a councillor is an elected representative and is beholden to the voters at election time, not to fellow councillors, the mayor, or municipal bureaucrats. There should be rules for removing councillors for, say, major criminal offences or egregious conflicts of interest, but these they should be provincial laws and enforced by the courts. The last people I’d ever trust fairly to enforce something like this would be a municipal council.
Democracy is not supposed to be polite and smooth and all about consensus and solidarity. Were I a councillor and such a code brought in, I’d refuse to obey it if I felt I had something to say that the voters should hear about.
“We live in a free country where people have as much right to express outrageous and ridiculous opinions as moderate ones.” Mr. Justice Ian Binnie, WIC Radio Ltd. v. Simpson, 2008 SCC 40.
How about a case study?
A councillor uses a racist term about a group of people that are, by far, the minority in his district. He makes gestures at an apology but basically just enough so that the people in his district can still think he’s not a raging sociopath. Folks in other districts, upset about his conduct, report him and the summary of his punishment is one extra long day at work for everyone while they meet in private about his words. Years later he is re-elected.
This system sanctions racist speech (by allowing it to go unpunished) and doesn’t give any power to people who don’t live in this councillor’s district at all.
I don’t want a system that allows racist speech from someone representing Halifax (well, from anyone, but especially from them) even if most people in his district are fine with it…
It is not about you. It is about the voters in her/his district making a decision at the polls. Democracy is messy and the two factions on HRM council should stay off twitter for a month and certain councillors should settle differences face to face and in private.
I carry no brief for Councillor Matt Whitman, but to say he used “a racist term about a minority group” without identifying the term is deceptive.
Whitman used the word “Negro.” The term is certainly dated. Many find it offensive. To use it in 2017 requires a certain tone-deafness. But until the 1970s, it was the standard term for people of African descent, a more polite alternative to “coloured people,” and much more polite than “black,” which was then perceived as offensive.
Martin Luther King used “Negro” 15 times in his “I Have a Dream” speech, 34 times in his “Letter from the Birmingham Jail.” Many venerable civil rights organizations used the word in their names.
Malcolm X initiated the change to “black” and “Afro-American,” and by the 1970s, they were widely preferred. A Halifax councillor ought to know that “Negro” is a word to avoid in the 21st Century.
Personally, I think it’s a stretch to call “Negro” a racist term. No dictionary identifies it as such. And to allude to a racist term without identifying it will lead some readers to conclude that Whitman used another word beginning with N, a racial slur with a long and hurtful history. He didn’t.
As to the racial implications of minor variations in the spelling of “marijuana,” surely to goodness Council has more important matters to occupy itself with.
Is there then no act that can disqualify a councillor from representing his district mid term? Or no act that might mean he is unfit to be a councillor even if his district thinks he is?
Also, are we not telling people who might have to decide whether to vote for him or not that there isn’t anything wrong with what he’s saying by not having punishment or reprimand in place?
And I guess you’ll have to excuse my hesitation in using an insensitive term, that I’ve only ever heard used with racist intent, which was last acceptable when my parents were in junior high.
The answer to your first two questions can be found in legislation.
As for your 3rd question you seem to imply that voters are not like you and are not able to make a reasonable assessment of a candidate.
Well, I don’t know what they are but they don’t seem to include things that I’d like them to.
Also, I’m as subject to implicit messages as anyone. I don’t mean to sound like things need to work how I’d like them to or like I think I’m superior to anyone. Sometimes I feel like an idiot when it comes to trying to figure out how other people think, in fact. I am just speaking from my own position. I don’t like what he said and I think it shouldn’t be allowed to go unchecked.
Does Michael Dadswell have a peer reviewed study concerning his claim about “extreme decimation of the Annapolis fish populations” being caused by the the tidal power infrastructure?
“Extreme decimation” statements should require that data exists to enable such a level of destruction to be determined and verified.
Isn’t it wonderful that an Acadian University Biology Professor can use his taxpayer-funded position to rail against renewable, carbon-free energy projects aimed at the existential environmental problem of our era. You have to wonder how Michael Dadswell’s sturgeon will fare if ocean temperatures continue their dramatic rise due to human-induced climate change.
In addition, as if “decimation” is not bad enough at least it is definable, but what is “extreme decimation”?