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, April 3
1. A Tragedy of Errors: how RCMP mistakes, missteps, and miscommunications failed to contain a mass murderer
Tim Bousquet chronicled what happened in Portapique on April 18, including how police didn’t seem to believe the killer was driving a fully decked-out RCMP replica car, and Lisa Banfield’s condition when she came out of the woods the morning of April 19.
Monday, April 4
In his column, Stephen Kimber wrote that the Nova Scotia Mass Casualty Commission is now doing what it needs to do — methodically assembling facts and evidence about what happened during Canada’s worst modern mass shooting and exploring the many larger issues the tragedy requires us as a society to confront. The rest of us need to let it do its job because there are more documents — and revelations — to come.
2. Electrifying politics: NDP, Liberals to introduce bills that will change how Nova Scotia Power operates
Last week, NDP House leader Claudia Chender introduced four bills in the legislature that could change the rules under which Nova Scotia Power has operated since it was privatized in 1992. Jennifer Henderson reported on the “what ifs” the bills could mean for ratepayers in the province.
3. Morning File: Missteps, Mistakes, and Miscommunications
In his first Morning File of the week, Philip Moscovitch dove into the details of Tim Bousquet’s report on what happened in Portapique that weekend in April 2020. Moscovitch also wrote about old baseball cards, and the city’s hunger for Popeye’s chicken.
4. Thriving in the Maritimes: Black Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and PEI advocates look to strengthen connections
Matthew Byard spent some time in PEI recently where he met Black organizers and advocates from Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and PEI at the offices of the Black Cultural Society of Prince Edward Island. Together, those advocates are talking about ways of strengthening Black community connections throughout the Maritimes.
Joan Baxter looked at the latest on Northern Pulp. On April 1 in British Columbia Supreme Court, Justice Shelley Fitzpatrick issued an order that forces Nova Scotia into a “mediation” process in the BC court, where Northern Pulp and six related companies have been enjoying creditor protection since June 2020. But as Baxter wrote, the lawsuit is against the people of Nova Scotia, who will be paying the price.
Zane Woodford reported on the announcement by the Department of Municipal Affairs and Housing that it’s giving more than $200,000 to a Habitat for Humanity project in Spryfield that will create 70 affordable homes. As Woodford reported, the money will go toward pre-construction costs at Habitat Way, Habitat for Humanity’s housing project off Drysdale Road.
Yvette d’Entremont interviewed the authors of a new research paper that looked at the under-recognized role community pharmacists played in providing primary health care during the pandemic. The study’s lead author told d’Entremont community pharmacists are “unsung heroes” in this pandemic.
Tuesday, April 5
1. Morning File: Well-behaved women are rarely quoted properly
Philip Moscovitch wrote about a couple of podcasts he’s been listening to lately, including one he describes as a “tour through common misconceptions — from baby carrots not being actual, you know, baby carrots, to the origins of the quote “Well-behaved women rarely make history.’”
Cst. Craig Hubley spent the morning of Sunday, April 19, 2020 driving around in his truck with his service dog Dux, and looking for a man in the midst of a killing spree. With his truck low on gas, Hubley stopped at the Irving Big Stop in Enfield to get gas and found himself next to the killer, and shot him dead. In this report, Tim Bousquet detailed how that morning unfolded.
3. Halifax council votes to cut off Reg Rankin’s salary as executive director of landfill monitoring committee
Zane Woodford had this report on Halifax regional council vote to stop funding the former councillor Reg Rankin’s salary as executive director of the community monitoring committee for the city dump. As Woodford wrote, the move is part of council’s effort to clean up governance issues with the Otter Lake Community Monitoring Committee (CMC).
Seniors aged 80 and older, nursing home residents, and seniors in other group settings will soon be eligible for a fourth dose of vaccine to help reduce the impact of COVID-19. Yvette d’Entremont had more details.
Wednesday, April 6
Yvette d’Entremont had this story on a collaborative study between researchers at Dalhousie University, Cape Breton University and University of Toronto that looked at the “ongoing systemic disaster” of homelessness in Nova Scotia during the pandemic’s early months. The researchers told d’Entremont they hope their work will inform future disaster responses.
2. Morning File: Reopening and rediscovering community theatre
Ethan Lycan-Lang wrote about his acting debut in a community theatre production of Romeo and Juliet. Lycan-Lang took on the role of Paris, and told us what he learned. His first lesson? Acting is hard. “It was fun, but I should stick to writing,” he wrote.
Matthew Byard had another story from PEI. This one focused on Ryan Maxwell, who as a youth was the only Black player in PEI. He now coaches his daughter’s minor hockey team in Charlottetown. But Byard also wrote about the history of the Black community on the island, including a story on a Black neighbourhood known as The Bog.
Zane Woodford looked at Bill 137, which Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister John Lohr introduced in the legislature on Wednesday. The bill includes amendments to the Halifax Regional Municipality Charter designed to create a smoother process to get more housing approved. As Woodford wrote, Lohr called the bill “bold,” but Coun. Waye Mason said he finds “the whole thing depressing.”
Thursday, April 7
As the number of cases of COVID continue to rise in Nova Scotia and across the country, a wastewater surveillance project in the province might get more funding to study the amounts of virus in wastewater. Yvette d’Entremont reported on what the study can tell us about patterns and how much COVID is in our communities.
Jennifer Henderson reported on that folky video with Premier Tim Houston and Dr. Robert Strang, in which they encourage Nova Scotians to get back out there while still being kind, wearing masks, and keeping their distance. The video was released on Wednesday, as case numbers continue to rise in the province. And not everyone is pleased with the PR campaign.
Suzanne Rent is not a fan of language used to “empower” women. Words like superwoman, warrior, and girlboss. Turns out, plenty of other women dislike this bullshit, too, especially the girlboss concept. Rent wrote about all this nonsense language and found out more about the origins of the girlboss.
Friday, April 8
1. Private member’s bill seeks to limit the use of non-disclosure agreements in cases of harassment, discrimination
Jennifer Henderson reported on a private member’s bill that seeks to restrict the use of non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) in circumstances where people have been the victims of harassment or discrimination. Supporters of the bill say the NDAs have long silenced survivors of harassment.
Tim Bousquet wanted to know what kind of training crisis negotiators get after reading that the negotiators on the job during the April 2020 said the killer had killed himself. Bousquet also looked at the most recent — and scant — data on COVID in Nova Scotia.
Matthew Byard recently attended the opening The Secret Codes: African Nova Scotian Quilts at the Confederation Centre of Arts in Charlottetown. The exhibit includes quilts gathered from creators in Black communities across Nova Scotia. Byard spoke with curator David Woods, as well as Myla Borden, about the beautiful works of art and what they mean to Black communities.
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