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 29
The first COVID update for the weekend had the hospitalization numbers and new case counts. Tim Bousquet had that report.
Stephen Kimber wrote that Freedom Convoy 2022 could have generated important discussions about how we balance risk and reward and individual freedom in the time of COVID. Instead, it ended up as something else entirely, um, different. This column also generated a heated discussion on the use of the word “crazies.”
Sunday, January 30
Zane Woodford attended Halifax regional council’s budget committee meeting on Friday where there was talk of tax increases and climate change. In this report, Woodford also schooled Coun. Trish Purdy on carbon pricing.
2. HRM lost more beds for the unhoused than it’s gained, but advocates say more beds doesn’t always make for a better situation
Our reporting duo Leslie Amminson and Ethan Lycan-Lang had this report on crunching the numbers of beds for the unhoused in the city. But as they learned, HRM needs more transitional housing, not emergency beds, to make a difference for the unhoused in the city.
In the second COVID update from the weekend, Tim Bousquet had more hospitalization and new case numbers.
Monday, January 31
The reaction to the news that Nova Scotia Power would charge $8 a month on every kilowatt of installed capacity of solar power started rolling in last weekend. Some of the biggest opposition came from companies that install solar power systems in homes across the province. Jennifer Henderson reported on what they had to say.
Jennifer Henderson had this informative story on electric vehicles and what’s lacking in the infrastructure in Nova Scotia. Turns out there’s a big difference in the charges, plus the costs to get a charge are all over the place.
3. Morning File: What’s the word for someone who creates a false reality in order to deny the existence of the real reality?
After readers responded to the use of the word “crazies” in Stephen Kimber’s column, Tim Bousquet asked readers to share their thoughts on what a better word might be to describe the people in the Freedom Convoy. Said Bousquet, “If there’s a better word, I don’t know what it is.”
Monday started off with tragic news. Three Nova Scotians — two men and one woman — were the latest Nova Scotians to die from COVID-19. Tim Bousquet had the first update of the week.
Tuesday, February 1
A couple dozen speakers joined the Board of Police Commissioners first virtual meeting on the police budget. And as Zane Woodford reported, nearly all of them were opposed to an increase.
Matthew Byard had his Black News File for January with a roundup of stories he covered, including those on Brian Johnston, Cecil Boutilier, Lindell Wigginton, the opening of three new offices for African Nova Scotian Affairs, and the official launch of African Heritage Month.
3. Morning File: The life of Lucy Mitchell at the Annapolis County Poor House
Suzanne Rent recently interviewed author Brenda Thompson about the second edition of her book, A Wholesome Horror, which includes new stories on inmates at poor houses in Nova Scotia. Rent learned about the story of Lucy Mitchell, who lived at the only segregated poor house in the province.
There’s yet another delay in the delivery of power from Muskrat Falls, Jennifer Henderson reported. She wrote that a report filed on January 14 with the Public Utilities Board in Newfoundland show that more delays means pushing back on power delivery to Nova Scotia by another two months.
5. Nova Scotia Power delays by one year the start of its proposed charge on ratepayers with solar panels
Just days after lots of backlash, Nova Scotia Power announced it would delay by one year the start of its proposed “system access charge” on ratepayers who install solar panels on their houses or buildings. Tim Bousquet had that news, plus a statement from Nova Scotia Power CEO Peter Gregg.
The Tuesday COVID update from Tim Bousquet had all the data you’re looking for.
More on that solar power proposal from Nova Scotia Power. This time, Zane Woodford reported on responses from Halifax councillors. He interviewed Coun. Sam Austin who said, “We want a serious upscaling of solar over the next couple years as part of HalifACT and that will be impossible if the economics of it get destroyed by Nova Scotia Power.”
Wednesday, February 2
1. Aquaculture Review Board could set problematic precedent with decision on Rattling Beach fish farm, advocates say
Ethan Lycan-Lang and Leslie Amminson were back on their reporting beat, this time with a story about a decision from the Aquaculture Review Board on an application from Kelly Cove Salmon Ltd. As Lycan-Lang and Amminson reported, environmental and community groups weren’t pleased with the decision, saying it didn’t take public concerns into account.
2. Morning File: Province sees the light on Nova Scotia Power’s solar proposal
Midweek, two letters — one from Premier Tim Houston and another from Minister of Environment and Climate Change Tim Halman — were the latest responses on Nova Scotia Power’s solar proposal. Ethan Lycan-Lang had that in his Morning File. Plus, a story on doctors giving their patients prescriptions to visit parks. Nature is healing, right?
Yvette d’Entremont had an in-depth and interesting look at the increase in demand for supports and services for those suffering from eating disorders. d’Entremont also interviewed a clinical therapist who said the “pandemic kind of triggered something” for many people, which is why support organizations are seeing more people, including children and those over the age of 60, with eating disorders.
Such sad news on Thursday as the province announced that six Nova Scotians died from COVID-19. Tim Bousquet had that news, plus other COVID data.
5. Nova Scotia Power to withdraw its proposed “System Access Charge” on ratepayers with solar panels
After days of negative reactions, including from Premier Tim Houston, Nova Scotia Power announced it would withdraw its application for proposed a “System Access Charge” to the Utility and Review Board completely. Tim Bousquet brought us that report.
A a virtual budget committee meeting on Wednesday night, Halifax councillors asked for a list of pros and cons of new climate action tax. Zane Woodford was at the meeting.
Thursday, February 3
1. Morning File: Breaking out of the algorithmic box
Spotify seemed determined to put Philip Moscovitch into a “classic rock” box based on just a few song choices. Moscovitch wrote it was just one way algorithms controlled the content he saw online. So, he started to wonder how to break out of that algorithmic box. After a bit of research, he learned about an app called the Weird Old Book Finder to kick off the “rewilding” process. Could it work? Moscovitch wrote about it in his Morning File.
Tim Bousquet warned us weeks ago that the number of Nova Scotians dying from COVID-19 would stay steady, if not go up. And this COVID update just reminds us that there are people behind those numbers.
Friday, February 4
1. Atlantic Gold pleads guilty to environmental charges; prosecutors propose slap-on-the-wrist fines
Provincial court judge Alana Murphy has reserved decision on whether Atlantic Mining NS Inc., which does business in Nova Scotia as Atlantic Gold, should pay a total of $250,000 in fines and contributions for failing to comply with federal and provincial environmental regulations at its open-pit Touquoy gold mine at Moose River. Jennifer Henderson had that report.
Zane Woodford reported on two presentations and a staff report about the Williams Lake dam at Halifax regional council’s Environment and Sustainability Standing Committee virtual meeting on Thursday. But the HRM doesn’t own the damn; the province does. So, the committee wants Mayor Mike Savage to write a letter to the province telling them to take care of their dam business.
3. Nova Scotia Power wants to charge us for power failures; also, it wants to increase its guaranteed profit
As Nova Scotians prepared for a storm on Friday, Jennifer Henderson did some storm reporting of her own. In this story, she looked at the Storm Recovery charge that Nova Scotia Power is proposing to cover its increased costs due to more frequent storms. This will make you feel some salty fog after reading it.
4. Morning File: Sure, millions have died, but pets!
Tim Bousquet’s been following along with Cape Breton Spectator’s Mary Campbell’s reviews of Annette Verschuren’s Bet On Me podcast. In her latest review, Campbell listened to Episode 12 in which Verschuren interviewed Ikdeep Singh, regional president of Mars Pet Nutrition. All the talk of “pet parents” and the over-the-top compliments had Campbell cleaning the smug off her glasses.
Angela Simmonds, who is the MLA for Preston, announced on Friday that she is running for the leadership of the provincial Liberal Party. Matthew Byard had more on that announcement.
Tim Bousquet ended the week with the Friday COVID update. A man in his 70s is the latest Nova Scotian to die from COVID. Bousquet had that news, plus more.
From the archives
In May 2020, Yvette d’Entremont learned more about the then newly-formed Healthy Bays Network, which was opposing Nova Scotia’s Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture granting Cooke Aquaculture subsidiary Kelly Cove Salmon Limited a new 20-year lease and a 10-year operating licence for its existing salmon farm site in Liverpool Bay. The network was also concerned about Cooke’s plans to significantly expand the Bayswater operation on St. Margarets Bay. But the network also wanted to get the word out that the fight against open-net finfish farms is an urban issue, too.