Welcome to Weekend File, with links to all the articles you might have missed last week. Jump to the days:
Sunday, August 21
Matthew Byard spoke with the organizers of the Peace Basketball Tournament that was taking place in North Preston and Halifax last weekend. But this wasn’t just about basketball games; there were also workshops and “peace talks” to talk mental, physical, and emotional peace. As Miranda Cain, one of the tournament’s organizers, told Byard, “the basketball is just a ploy to get the people in the door. Once we have them in, then we move on to the real work.”
Did the RCMP commissioner attempt to unduly interfere in a police investigation? Or did local Mounties try to unduly control the narrative? Those are the questions at the heart of recent parliamentary hearings. They’re also the subject of Stephen Kimber’s column this week.
Monday, August 22
1. Morning File: Nova Scotia has had two recent mass murders. Are we failing to recognize the warning signs of a third?
Pierre Poilievre shook hands with Jeremey Mackenzie at a campaign event in Nova Scotia last weekend. Press Progress has reported that Mackenzie is a “far-right extremist.” Tim Bousquet said it was “probably true that Poilievre hadn’t previously talked with Mackenzie,” but he had more questions and concerns about Mackenzie himself.
Tuesday, August 23
1. Morning File: Those darn kids today. And yesterday. And decades ago
Complaining about “kids these days” has been going on since what seems like the beginning of time. Philip Moscovitch has another term for it: old fartism. “I used to challenge old fartism when I’d see my peers, usually high school friends, engaging in it on Facebook or elsewhere. (Now I’m more likely to mute, ignore, or unfriend, if it is egregious enough),” Moscovitch wrote. He got into some of the historic examples of “kids these days,” including complaining about their terrible music.
On Thursday, the all-Black cast of Hood Habits debuted their show at the Lighthouse Arts Centre. Matthew Byard caught up with the cast during their recent dress rehearsal to learn about the show, which is based on a graphic novel by former CFL player Curtis Bell. Byard spoke with Tara Taylor, who wrote the musical using the real-life journal entries in Bell’s book. “I was reading this thing and I was crying. I was disgusted, I was not shocked, I was just perplexed,” Taylor said. “These are real stories that nobody wants to admit happens.”
Wednesday, August 24
1. Surplus properties for affordable housing, cooling centres, construction noise, and more from Halifax regional council
Zane Woodford was at council’s meeting where they voted to sell off more than a dozen properties, declaring them “surplus,” classifying them as either “remnant,” “extraordinary,” or affordable housing. Also in Woodford’s roundup: details on possible cooling centres for the city, a bylaw amendment requiring construction noise to end earlier, Kearney Lake’s health, and HRM writing a letter to the feds about abortion access.
Suzanne Rent saw some recent social media posts with Colin J. Muise posing in clever costumes designed to look like famous Nova Scotia landmarks, including the Town Clock and The Wave sculpture. Muise’s photos have been shared hundreds of times, so Rent talked to him about his work. He’s designing new costumes, including one of the Tuft’s Cove smokestacks. He is keeping another costume idea a secret, though.
3. Morning File: Quiet quitting: the new “no one wants to work anymore”
Quiet quitting is the latest term in the battle between workers and employers. And while quitting is in the phrase, quiet quitting doesn’t mean workers are quitting at all. Suzanne Rent looked into the phrase’s meaning, and she learned about its opposite: quiet firing. Plus, she wrote a bit on all the support around a former CTV senior anchor’s grey hair.
Zane Woodford was at Halifax regional council’s Special Events Advisory Committee. Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS) president and CEO Allan Reid, and vice president of business administration Céline Séguin, made a pitch for Halifax to host the 2024 JUNOS. The awards come with a cost, though. The HRM would contribute $750,000 while the province would spend $1 million.
5. New: Priced Out Resource List
As part of our PRICED OUT series on the housing crisis, we compiled a list of housing and related resources across the province. There are details on housing supports, food banks, and other services, all broken down into regions. This list is a work in progress, so if you have a listing you’d like to add, email Suzanne Rent.
About two weeks before students, teachers, and staff head back to class, the province announced its back-to-school plan. And it’s a “return to normal” for September. Jennifer Henderson attended that announcement where the Education Minister said she’s “following the advice of Public Health.” In her story, Henderson also wrote about concerns about the province moving to private health care, plus more on vaccination updates, and the latest on the status of the new Halifax Infirmary.
Thursday, August 25
Annick MacAskill has crafted a beautiful ode to a common but still stigmatized subject matter: pregnancy loss. Shadow Blight considers the pain of pregnancy loss through the classical myth of Niobe, whose grief for her dead children was so monumental she turned to stone. MacAskill speaks to the process of crafting and presenting such intimate, personal thoughts, and the lack of popular culture on the subject, among other things.
2. Halifax heritage committee wants to protect university properties, but Dalhousie doesn’t want registration
Halifax regional council’s Heritage Advisory Committee wants the HRM to register a number of buildings on Halifax university campuses. While some of those university staff are open to the idea, Dalhousie University administration are not so hot on the idea. Heritage planner Seamus McGreal told the committee he’s already met with Dal staff, who “requested that no Dalhousie building proceed to municipal heritage evaluation.”
Nova Scotians who want to take advantage of rebate programs for solar panels, electric vehicles, or energy audits on their oil-heated homes have until the end of next year to do so. Jennifer Henderson was at a question period this week where Minister of Environment and Climate Change Tim Halman said they wanted more Nova Scotians to sign up for these programs. “Continue to apply,” Halman said. “We need to continue to invest heavily in those programs. The climate emergency requires us to do that.”
4. Morning File: The JUNOS: put our money where the music is
A day after Zane Woodford wrote that the HRM is putting a bid in for the 2024 JUNOS, Ethan Lycan-Lang wanted to share his two cents on why we can do better than the usual award show. A few of his suggestions include retiring the broadcast and showcasing all kinds of talent in venues around the city. “Music isn’t a competition,” Lycan-Lang wrote. “It either makes you dance or it doesn’t. It moves you or it bores you. A statue of metal doesn’t change that and is therefore unnecessary. The award should just be the invitation to Canada’s biggest celebration of music.”
Tim Bousquet spent the week at the Mass Casualty Commission where RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki was testifying over two days of the inquiry. Bousquet said he realized Lucki has no understanding of the police response to the events unfolding in Portapique the night of April 18, 2020. “There are three possible responses to this,” Bousquet wrote. “There can be a peasants’ revolt against the RCMP, or Lucki can resign, or the prime minister can remove her. In any case, Lucki must go.”
Yvette d’Entremont interviewed Kathryn Stone, whose research found that climate change disproportionately affects women and their mental health. Stone told d’Entremont that in order to ensure women’s health and safety, there’s “a clear need” for climate policies on adaptation and mitigation that reflect the unique needs of women. “The climate movement has been really disproportionately white and male for a really long time, and that needs to change.” Stone said.
Matthew Byard interviewed Renise Robichaud, a social work student at the Université de Moncton, who wants to interview Black mothers about their experiences with the child welfare system and the Department of Community Services. Robichaud told Byard there’s no local data on Black mothers’ experiences, and she’s hoping by starting to collect that data, it’ll inspire higher-ups to do the same.
Coun. Tony Mancini brought a motion to Halifax regional council’s Transportation Standing Committee’s meeting where he asked for a staff report “that outlines opportunities and challenges related to public safety in the Halifax Transit system and options to mitigate these challenges.” Mancini brought up the idea of having Halifax Regional Police officers on some of Halifax Transit buses and at terminals. “And don’t get excited, folks on Twitter,” he said.
Friday, August 26
“Silly,” “completely stupid,” and “offensive” are just some of the words Philip Moscovitch heard from vendors and customers when he asked them about the province’s new Nova Scotia Loyal program that launched last week. Moscovitch found out what the program is missing. He spoke with Alison Lynes, a marketing coordinator with the Brewery Market, who said the program is good-hearted but misses the mark: “We do want people to buy local and I’m glad people are thinking about it. But the way that this program is structured doesn’t make any sense.”
2. Morning File: Don’t call the cops on people simply because they don’t meet your standards of social behaviour
Tim Bousquet wrote about his experiences taking the bus. Sure, there were “incidents”, he said, that weren’t really that bad. “A few times, I’ve told some asshole rider to shut the fuck up. Twice, I’ve positioned myself between a woman and someone acting inappropriately towards her, and that was the end of it,” he wrote. Does that mean there should be cops on the bus? His suggestion: “Maybe try speaking with people, or just ignoring them.”
Yvette d’Entremont attended a media conference where chief medical officer Dr. Robert Strang asked Nova Scotians to continue to take COVID-19 seriously. “I am concerned that over the past few months we have collectively become too complacent and unconcerned about COVID,” Strang told reporters. “Surely we are not where we were in 2020 or 2021 or even last spring, but COVID is still a significant issue that requires our collective attention and action.”
A note from Iris the Amazing and Suzanne Rent:
This is our last Weekend File! Iris and I have put together 60 of these Weekend Files since we started in 2021. But don’t worry: we have something in the works to help you catch up on articles you may have missed through the week. We’ll keep you posted!
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