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:
Sunday, February 20
Last week’s Postmedia purchase of Brunswick News won’t make New Brunswick’s newspapers better. And it won’t do anything to solve Postmedia’s ongoing debt crisis. Or save Saltwire from itself. But Stephen Kimber said, maybe that’s a good thing.
Monday, February 21
On the weekend, a group called the Nova Scotians For Freedom held what they called a Nova Scotia three-day open air town hall convoy. Tim Bousquet and Yvette d’Entremont were there on Saturday, and Bousquet went back on Sunday. They got some photos and reported on the rally, which was much smaller than one held the week before.
Suzanne Rent interviewed former “Moon Girl” Charlene Boyce about the thesis she wrote on the Misty Moon, the iconic bar that lived in three locations in the city. In her thesis Boyce wrote that the Moon lives as part of the city’s historic and cultural identity, and for many mixes music and memories of a city long gone.
Tuesday, February 22
1. Morning File: The inquiry into the Nova Scotia mass murders begins today; here are some of the questions we have
Tim Bousquet attended the first two days of the Mass Casualty Commission, but before that started he had a list of issues the Examiner wants clarity on.
Matthew Byard met with hip-hop artist Alex Ross to talk about his album, Family Over Fame, and his two clothing lines, which he’s been promoting on billboards and bus ads across the HRM. Ross told Byard, “We wanted to show Black youth and Black businesses that anything is possible in terms of showing your face on a billboard.”
3. ‘Life has prepared me for this moment’: Angela Simmonds on her bid for the Nova Scotia Liberal leadership
Matthew Byard interviewed Preston MLA Angela Simmonds about running for the leadership of the Nova Scotia Liberal Party. “I think one of the things about me is I will definitely be able to inspire people, and I hope to bring different people to politics and to the party,” Simmonds told Byard.
4. 3 COVID deaths, 352 COVID-related hospitalizations, and 263 new cases (over 2 days) reported in Nova Scotia on Feb. 22
Tim Bousquet had the first COVID update for the week, which included details on the two men and one woman who were the latest Nova Scotians to die from the virus.
The provincial standing committee on natural resources and economic development held a live-streamed hybrid meeting, with MLAs in the legislative chamber at Province House and witnesses appearing by videoconference, to discuss “protecting employment in the transition from coal.” Zane Woodford was there and reported on what he learned.
Wednesday, February 23
1. The first day of the mass murder inquiry was dominated by a condescending and offensive panel on mental health
Tim Bousquet live-tweeted from the first day of the Mass Casualty Commission, which included several mental health experts on the “Panel on Human Impact—Broad Reach and Effects on Wellness.” Bousquet was intrigued at first, until the first expert spoke about bringing casseroles to neighbours. Said Bousquet, “it went downhill from there.”
2. Morning File: Accidents don’t happen by accident
Philip Moscovitch looked at the word and subject of “accidents.” He recently listened to a podcast with author Jessie Singer, who wrote the book “There Are No Accidents.” Moscovitch said, “…one of the things I found particularly interesting was Singer’s insistence that blame too often leads us to look at the last link in the chain of events leading to tragedy — without doing anything to break the chain itself.”
Twenty Haligonians spoke at the Halifax regional council’s budget committee meeting on Wednesday where they shared the message of no more money for the cops. Chief Dan Kinsella spoke next and talked about “unique complexities” to policing in Halifax. Then Kinsella asked that the meeting move in camera. Zane Woodford, who’s been covering these police budget debates for years, and live-tweeted this one, said, “This is the first time I’ve seen it happen in camera.”
In news that surprised many Nova Scotians this week, the province announced it was lifting all COVID restrictions on March 21. Tim Bousquet was at what may have been the last COVID briefing. This report included his exchanges with Premier Tim Houston and chief medical officer Dr. Robert Strang on COVID-related deaths, and lessons about resourcing for hospitals.
Thursday, February 24
The sixth annual Halifax Black Film Festival kicked off on Thursday and lead programmer Joyce Fuerza joined Tara Thorne from Montreal to break down this year’s program, which includes 73 films from more than a dozen countries. Screenings run online until Sunday.
2. Morning File: Are you happy and you know it?
Suzanne Rent wondered what happiness really means and how you find it in this Morning File that made a few people unhappy.
Zane Woodford learned that council’s heritage committee would leave no stone unturned as it recommended that Spryfield’s Rocking Stone be added to the municipal heritage registry. Rock on.
Municipal employees who refused the COVID-19 vaccine will be back to work on Monday after the HRM made an announcement on Thursday, following the province’s news that all COVID restrictions were being lifted March 21. Zane Woodford had that report.
5. 0 COVID deaths, 350 COVID-related hospitalizations, 187 new cases reported in Nova Scotia on Feb. 24
There were no new deaths from COVID-19 announced on Thursday. Tim Bousquet had the update, though, with all the other data on hospitalization, vaccinations, and more.
Friday, February 26
Suzanne Rent spoke with local filmmaker Ian Wilson about a documentary called Deserted that he directed and narrated. The film focuses on food deserts in Nova Scotia — areas that lack easy and healthy access to food. Wilson and his team interviewed several Nova Scotians who live in food deserts. Wilson told Rent, “I didn’t know how badly some people have it. For me, this was very eye-opening and I really learned a lot.”
2. Morning File: Making a list, checking it twice
Ethan Lycan-Lang looked at the mixed reactions to the news that COVID restrictions would be lifted in less than a month. As he wrote, “We’re only just recovering from that wave of the pandemic, and now we’re lifting all restrictions. Behaviour that was only recently worthy of public derision will soon be legally and socially (for the most part, I think) acceptable. It’s all a bit confusing.”
3. Pharmacists, nurse practitioners to provide collaborative health care in pilot project at two Nova Scotia pharmacies
Yvette d’Entremont was at a virtual announcement on Friday in which Nova Scotia Health (NSH) interim president and CEO Karen Oldfield announced a new pilot project called “Pharmacist Walk-In Clinic +.” The project, which will have pharmacists and nurse practitioners collaborating on health care, will launch at two test sites — a Lawtons pharmacy in Truro and another Lawtons location in New Glasgow.
Halifax Water submitted an 820-page application to the Utility and Review Board (UARB) on Friday, looking for an approval to raise rates in September 2022 and April 2023. As Zane Woodford reported, the municipally-owned utility wants “to maintain the current level of service to customers, recognize additions to utility plant in service, and continue investment in water, wastewater and stormwater infrastructure.”
Halifax Regional Police won’t be getting the budget increase they requested. Zane Woodford was at Halifax regional council’s budget committee on Friday where councillors voted in favour of a smaller than requested increase in spending, 0.5%, and sending the budget back for revisions.
6. 2 COVID deaths, 335 COVID-related hospitalizations, 170 new cases reported in Nova Scotia on Feb. 25; weekly recap
The last COVID update had news about two COVID deaths: a man and a woman, both in their 80s and both who lived in Nova Scotia Health’s Eastern Zone. Tim Bousquet had the update.
From our archives
As the province announced that all COVID restrictions would be lifted on March 21, we look back at the first article in which we wrote about coronavirus. It was this Morning File from February 28, 2020 by Tim Bousquet and Joan Baxter, who were writing about COVID-19.
Bousquet had listened to this podcast from The Daily and this explainer from the Guardian that he found helpful in understanding the coronavirus, the threats of it, and the likely outcomes. Bousquet wrote: “The short of it: unless some surprise treatment emerges, this will probably become a global pandemic along the lines of the Spanish Flu of 1918, with it abating somewhat in the spring and summer and then coming back in full force in the fall.”
Meanwhile, Baxter joined a media teleconference from Ottawa that week where Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, and Deputy Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Howard Njoo, were updating journalists and fielding questions about the latest on the novel coronavirus.
The province announced the state of emergency on March 22, 2020, almost two years to the day restrictions will be lifted next month.