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:
Saturday, January 22
Tim Bousquet had the first COVID update for the weekend. More hospitalization numbers, more new cases.
Sunday, January 23
Many blame Jennifer Robertson, the widow of the company’s founder, for not realizing Gerald Cotten was a scam artist or, worse, for being a party to his crimes. But Stephen Kimber, who helped Robertson write her memoir, Bitcoin Widow, wondered why journalists aren’t asking investors the kind of tough questions they’re putting to her.
The Sunday COVID update had more data, all reported by our Tim Bousquet.
Monday, January 24
There’s a lot of anxiety around COVID these days, as we all watch the numbers for hospitalizations, new cases, and tragic deaths of Nova Scotians. For months, we were doing so well and were the envy of the world with our collective way to beat down another wave. But this time is different and Nova Scotians are being told we just have to ride out the wave. But is it all we can do? As Tim Bousquet wrote, “We’ve been better than this.”
During a virtual committee of the whole meeting on Friday, councillors heard a presentation on the city’s progress in implementing HalifACT 2050, the ambitious action plan approved in 2020. Back in December, Zane Woodford reported that the plan is woefully underfunded. In this report, Woodford learned Halifax councillors want more accountability from the city’s managers on what they’re doing to implement their climate change action plan.
It was a sad start to the week as the province announced five Nova Scotians died from COVID-19. Tim Bousquet had the day’s update with all the numbers and graphs.
Appointments for kids ages 5 to 11 to get their COVID vaccinations have been open for weeks now, yet only 51% of kids in that age group have had their first dose. Yvette d’Entremont interviewed Christine Chambers, scientific director of both the CIHR Institute of Human Development, Child and Youth Health, and Solutions for Kids in Pain (SKIP), about the reasons parents might not be getting their children vaccinated, such as fear of needles and pandemic fatigue.
Tuesday, January 25
1. No More Excuses: Cecil Boutilier is trying to right his troubled past despite COVID and an overbearing parole system
Matthew Byard interviewed Cecil Boutilier, who was recently on a hunger strike to protest rules around COVID isolation at the halfway house where he’s living now. That was until Boutilier got COVID himself. But Byard also told us about Boutilier’s struggle to keep running his business running as his parole officer put more rules and barriers in place.
For months, we’ve been hearing from restaurant owners who say workers are just too lazy to take one of the many jobs out there — all those workers are sitting at home and collecting the CERB. Philip Moscovitch looked at a recent article about “The Great Realignment” and it turns out those former hospitality workers just moved on to new jobs. Turns out, those whining restaurant bosses just haven’t figured that out yet.
3. New protected status for Tatamagouche water supply means an end to mineral exploration, mining in the watershed
Joan Baxter reported on the news that the province approved protection of the French River watershed, which provides Tatamagouche with its water. What the press release from the province didn’t say about the designation was that it also means no mineral exploration or mining will be permitted in the area either. Baxter talks with Sustainable Northern Nova Scotia (SuNNS) who were “delighted” with the news.
Another five Nova Scotians died from COVID-19. Tim Bousquet had all the details.
Wednesday, January 26
Zane Woodford reported on a motion Coun. Kathryn Morse brought to council’s virtual meeting on Tuesday looking for a staff report outlining “options for requiring large construction projects to be contained on private property rather than being permitted to close sections of public roads and sidewalks.” This could be great news for pedestrians in the city.
2. Morning File: The first rule of fight club: don’t talk about dismantling the state
Wednesday was the big corporate hashtag day we here at the Examiner don’t like to write about. But Ethan Lycan-Lang said discussions around mental health are important any day of the year. Plus, he looks at how Chinese authorities influenced a change in the ending of the movie Fight Club. You may think it’s just one movie, but Lycan-Lang wrote that we need to keep our eyes on the bigger picture.
At the COVID briefing on Wednesday, Tim Bousquet asked chief medical officer Dr. Robert Strang if he was concerned that children now in school who might be exposed to COVID might bring that home to more vulnerable family members, possibly increasing hospitalization rates. Plus, all the COVID details for the day, which sadly include the deaths of three more Nova Scotians.
Council’s heritage meeting met on Wednesday to look at a proposed 10-storey addition to the Waverley Inn on Barrington Street. The committee voted unanimously in favour of a motion to recommend that regional council hold a public hearing on the proposal and approve the alterations to the heritage property. One committee member said the proposal “looks really good.”
Thursday, January 27
1. ‘This town is very racist’: African student in Wolfville speaks out about experience with RCMP, mayor after filing complaint about an assault
Matthew Byard spoke with Sara Micheal, an African student who is living and studying in Wolfville, about an incident in which she said she was assaulted by a now-ex roommate. Micheal told Byard about her experience trying to file a complaint with the RCMP and a conversation she had with the town mayor.
2. Morning File: In defence of keeping your private life private
Suzanne Rent is a private person. She wasn’t sure she wanted to tell you about this, but she thought about it and decided to share with you why a private life is a happy life. You can gossip about her after you read this.
In a joint video conference on Thursday, the municipal, provincial and federal governments announced the Overlook, a new supportive housing project by the Affordable Housing Association (AHANS) and the North End Community Health Centre (NECHC). The building, which is expected to be ready and open in several weeks, will have 65 tenants.
4. “Yacobo O’Hanley” and some other old boys have hurt fee-fees about protecting Tatamagouche’s water supply
Joan Baxter had this commentary on some of the comments shared on an article by CBC about the protected status granted to French River. As Baxter wrote, some of the commenters, who she said are part of the old boys’ network, had direct links to the Warwick Mountain Project, which won’t go ahead now because of the protected status for the watershed. One of those commenters, Yacobo O’Hanley, even weighed in on this article. Oh, Yacobo.
A woman in her 70s is the 142nd Nova Scotian to died from COVID-19. Tim Bousquet told us more about her. Plus, he had new case numbers, hospitalization data, and more.
Nova Scotia Power wants more money from its customers. This week, the utility sent off a general rate application that would see residential customers’ power bills increase by 10% over the next three years. Small businesses could see their rates rise by about 11% over three years. Jennifer Henderson asked NS Power CEO Peter Gregg to explain the rationale for this.
Yvette d’Entremont interviewed Dr. Lisa Barrett to talk about this current wave, people’s fears, and why she believes there’s light at the end of the tunnel and things will look much better this spring. Barrett said she knows Nova Scotians don’t feel like we’re making progress, “but if you look at every three months, we’re headed consistently in the right direction. That’s the way I look at it.”
Almon Street in Halifax is getting a partially-protected bike lane. As Zane Woodford reported, the bike lane is supposed to be part of the city’s planned all ages and abilities (AAA) bike network under its transportation plan, and would stretch from Windsor Street to Gottingen Street. And this week, Halifax regional council’s Transportation Standing Committee recommended unanimously in favour of the plan.
Friday, January 28
After we published Joan Baxter’s story on “Yacobo O’Hanley” and his comments on a CBC article, Tim Bousquet reflected on the moderated comment section here at the Examiner. As Bousquet wrote, “there aren’t so many dumb comments (except from that one guy), and the comment section on the Examiner is generally more thoughtful and respectful than you’ll find on other sites.” But you have to pay to have your say, too. You can subscribe here.
We were lichen this news on Friday. A lichen enthusiast discovered some rare lichens at a site in the Annapolis Valley that was expected to be cut. But after the discovery of the lichens, all of which are species at risk, the province put a hold on the planned cut until a review can be done. Ethan Lycan-Lang had that report, including comment from protesters called the Forest Protectors who’ve been camped out at the site since December 3.
3. 1 COVID death, 88 hospitalizations, 620 new cases reported in Nova Scotia on Jan. 28; weekly recap
A man in his 60s who lived in Nova Scotia Health’s Western Zone was the 143rd Nova Scotian to die from COVID. Tim Bousquet had the Friday COVID update and weekly recap.
From our archives
As Joan Baxter reported this week, there won’t be exploration and mining for gold in the Cobequid Hills now that the province approved protected status for the French River watershed. Baxter has been following this story, and many others on gold mining in Nova Scotia, for years. On May 30, 2018, we published part 3 of by Baxter’s series Fool’s Gold in which she wrote about the Warwick Mountain Project and plans to mine gold in the Cobequid Hills. Baxter’s report included quotes from Garth DeMont, who back then said, “all we need is the discovery of one significant gold vein and the Cobequids will light up.”
In that article, Baxter also reported on the work of Sustainable Northern Nova Scotia (SuNNS) and its plans to advocate against gold mining in the area.
Baxter’s Fool’s Gold series was a silver finalist at the 2018 Atlantic Journalism Awards. You can read Baxter’s entire award-winning series here.