By Michael Tutton, The Canadian Press - Wednesday, May 22, 2013 - 0 Comments
HALIFAX – The father of a seven-year-old boy whose mouth was allegedly taped closed…
HALIFAX – The father of a seven-year-old boy whose mouth was allegedly taped closed by an after-school monitor says school officials in Halifax reacted slowly and incompletely to the incident.
Chris Procunier said Wednesday that his wife Jennifer saw impressions from the tape on the boy’s mouth after the alleged incident last Thursday afternoon.
His son was one of 11 students participating in the Excel after-school program at Bedford South School at the time, Procunier said in an interview.
Procunier believes he and other parents should have been informed immediately, even though students weren’t in school Friday because it was a professional development day.
“Our biggest issue is the lack of response from either the school board or the Excel program. There’s been no indication this is being dealt with properly,” he said. Continue…
By Michael Tutton, The Canadian Press - Monday, May 13, 2013 at 4:34 PM - 0 Comments
HALIFAX – A review of the Halifax school board’s handling of the Rehtaeh Parsons…
HALIFAX – A review of the Halifax school board’s handling of the Rehtaeh Parsons case could lead to revised anti-bullying guidelines to help schools prevent a similar tragedy, a panellist said Monday.
“We’re really hoping to move forward and look at how we could prevent something like this from ever happening again,” said Debra Pepler, a professor at York University in Toronto.
“We hope we’ll be able to provide some guidelines so students who struggle are supported and recognized in a different way.”
By The Canadian Press - Wednesday, May 8, 2013 at 5:34 PM - 0 Comments
HALIFAX – The Roman Catholic bishops in Atlantic Canada have sent a letter to…
HALIFAX – The Roman Catholic bishops in Atlantic Canada have sent a letter to parishioners saying Ottawa’s changes to employment insurance are harming some of the most vulnerable residents of the region.
The letter signed by Rev. Claude Champagne, the president of the Atlantic Episcopal Assembly, says the policy changes are creating hardships, particularly for seasonal workers.
The letter says the bishops want to “express our solidarity,” with people who are suffering from losing their benefits during difficult economic times.
The letter acknowledges that some EI reform is needed to curb abuse of the system.
However, the bishops also say the unemployed shouldn’t be subjected to “unrealistic regulations to qualify for assistance when it is needed.”
By Michael MacDonald - Thursday, April 4, 2013 at 6:42 PM - 0 Comments
HALIFAX – As billboards go, it’s as bland as they come, featuring only a…
It’s what the billboard on a major commuter route in Halifax doesn’t show that has some people so riled up.
The advertisement on Barrington Street is for Mount Saint Vincent University’s bid to raise money for its Women’s Wall of Honour, to be erected outside a new research building by December 2014.
The absence of women in the ad has prompted a spirited debate in social media circles and criticism from abroad.
A website headline from New York-based Adweek magazine reads: “Idiotic billboard celebrating women shows three grinning dudes in suits.” The website goes on to describe the advertisement as the “billboard fail of the day.”
By The Canadian Press - Wednesday, March 20, 2013 at 10:58 AM - 0 Comments
HALIFAX – The Halifax Chronicle Herald has confirmed it will stop publishing its Sunday…
HALIFAX – The Halifax Chronicle Herald has confirmed it will stop publishing its Sunday edition next month.
Mark Lever, president and CEO of the 189-year-old daily newspaper, says its Saturday edition and online presence on Sunday will be expanded as of April 20.
Lever says the changes are part of a larger redesign of the newspaper, which includes the addition of new columnists, a greater emphasis on local coverage and closer links with online content.
He says there will be a redistribution of resources but no job losses are expected.
The Chronicle Herald is the most widely circulated newspaper in the Atlantic region and the largest independently owned newspaper company in Canada.
Its Sunday edition first appeared 15 years ago in response to growing competition from the Halifax Daily News, which folded five years ago.
By The Canadian Press - Friday, January 25, 2013 at 9:55 AM - 0 Comments
HALIFAX – A cat who gained world-wide fame when he ran for mayor of…
HALIFAX – A cat who gained world-wide fame when he ran for mayor of Halifax is battling a serious illness.
Owner Hugh Chisholm says Tuxedo Stan is resting at home after undergoing treatment for kidney cancer at a veterinary college in Charlottetown.
Chisholm says Tuxedo Stan was admitted to hospital this week after the discovery of a large mass in his abdomen, which turned out to be a cancerous tumour on his left kidney.
Chisholm says the 2 1/2 year old, black and white cat will continue treatment for renal lymphoma, a type of cancer that is not uncommon in older cats.
He says Tuxedo Stan is receiving hundreds of messages of support through his Facebook and website page from fans all over the world.
The black and white cat ran in last fall’s municipal election to raise awareness about the plight of stray cats in the city, a campaign that was endorsed by talk show host Ellen DeGeneres and CNNs Anderson Cooper.
By Jane Armstrong - Thursday, November 1, 2012 at 7:20 AM - 0 Comments
Stories of violence at a Halifax home for black children spur calls for an inquiry
Former residents of the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children have vivid memories of the three-storey, shingled building outside Halifax. Harriet Johnson was eight years old when, in 1977, a social worker drove her past the pillared gates up the long, steep driveway. “She said: ‘This is going to be your new home,’ ” says Johnson, 43, who was seized by provincial authorities from her New Glasgow home when her alcoholic grandfather—her sole guardian—couldn’t care for her.
Within a week, Johnson was beaten with a belt for wetting her bed. At age 9, she says a staff member raped her in a car behind a Dartmouth junior high school. It was the first of many brutal attacks. “I screamed and screamed and begged him to stop,” Johnson wrote in searing 16-page affidavit, one of scores of signed documents from nearly 100 former orphanage residents, alleging physical and sexual abuse at the provincially funded institution. The oldest complaints stem from incidents that date to the late 1930s.
The affidavits form the basis for a class-action suit, which alleges that provincial authorities and home directors ignored widespread abuse and neglect. Though none of the allegations have been proven in court, the case has stirred up emotions in Nova Scotia, where race remains a touchy—often explosive—subject.
By The Canadian Press - Sunday, October 21, 2012 at 7:31 AM - 0 Comments
Mike Savage won the mayor’s job in Halifax on Saturday in a six-candidate race.
HALIFAX – A former Liberal MP has won the race to be the new mayor of Atlantic Canada’s largest city.
Mike Savage won the mayor’s job in Halifax on Saturday in a six-candidate race that included entrepreneur Fred Connors, software developer Aaron Eisses, comedian Steve Mackie, retired police officer Tom Martin and dietary aide Robert McCormack.
The 52-year-old Savage was the MP for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour for seven years until his defeat in the May 2011 election.
His father John Savage was premier of Nova Scotia from 1993 to 1997 and mayor of Dartmouth in the late 1980s, years before it was amalgamated with neighbouring Halifax.
Savage replaces Peter Kelly, who decided not to seek re-election after 12 years in office.
Amalgamation of the sprawling municipality of 370,000 people, urban sprawl, tax reform, public transit, economic development and government secrecy were the major issues discussed during the mayoral debates.
Savage has said he wants to create a more open and transparent government by shedding the previous council’s penchant for in-camera meetings and secret deals that violated the city’s charter.
The former businessman who was once a vice-president at an executive search firm and a marketing company also wants to focus on economic development, a task made easier by Ottawa’s decision to award a $25-billion shipbuilding contract to the Halifax Shipyard.
By Michael MacDonald, The Canadian Press - Friday, October 19, 2012 at 5:31 AM - 0 Comments
HALIFAX – As of Saturday, the largest city in Atlantic Canada will have a new mayor.
And if the polls are right, former Liberal MP Mike Savage — son of former Nova Scotia premier John Savage — will soon be wearing the chain of office for the Halifax Regional Municipality.
Despite his well-known political lineage, the candidate’s entrance into the election race eight months ago was far from a foregone conclusion.
Savage, the MP for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour for seven years until his defeat in the May 2011 election, admits he had not given a thought to becoming mayor until friends and colleagues started an informal recruitment campaign.
Still, the decision to run did not come easily, he says.
“It took a lot of people talking to me and sharing ideas about what kind of qualities I might have,” he says, adding that former federal NDP Leader Alexa McDonough was among those who made a persuasive case.
“It wasn’t something that I jumped at. It’s something that I came at slowly because it wasn’t something I’d considered before.”
However, Savage is no reluctant candidate.
He has municipal politics in his veins. His father, best known for his ill-fated bid to stamp out political patronage in Nova Scotia, was also mayor of Dartmouth in the late 1980s, years before it was amalgamated with neighbouring Halifax.
“He has enormous name recognition,” says Jack Novack, a professor at Dalhousie University in Halifax who is an expert on local government. “When people go into the booth or vote electronically, that name is going to stand out right away.”
This helps explain why Savage’s popularity was on the rise even before the incumbent mayor, Peter Kelly, announced he was dropping out of the race amid allegations he mishandled his role as executor of a friend’s will.
The bombshell announcement was easily the defining moment of the campaign, coming only two weeks after Savage entered the race to lead the sprawling municipality of 370,000.
“As soon as Peter Kelly decided not to run, then it became about the future and not the past,” said Novack, adding that Savage adopted a classic front-runner strategy, leading a careful, glitch-free campaign.
Novack says Savage has been too careful, failing to inspire voters with a clear vision for the region’s future.
But the professor levelled the same criticism at Savage’s five, lesser-known rivals: entrepreneur Fred Connors, software developer Aaron Eisses, comedian Steve Mackie, retired police officer Tom Martin and dietary aide Robert McCormack.
Part of the problem, Novack says, is that Kelly’s sudden departure from the race left an issue vacuum that was never filled.
“People kind of skirted around the issues,” he says. “I haven’t really seen someone come out and describe a future state that embodies a vision and passion of what we’re going to be … what we’re going to look like.”
Amalgamation, urban sprawl, tax reform, public transit, economic development and government secrecy were all discussed at length during a dozen mayoral debates.
But it’s telling that the only real excitement has been generated by Tuxedo Stan, a pudgy black-and-white cat whose owners have mounted a campaign to raise awareness about stray cats in the port city.
Tuxedo Stan has been endorsed by talk show hosts Anderson Cooper and Ellen DeGeneres. The feline’s Facebook page has 9,000 likes, Savage’s has 347.
One candidate for council recently tweeted: “I’m just glad I’m not running against Tuxedo Stan. He is everywhere these days.”
During his three terms in Ottawa, Savage made a name for himself as a hard-working MP who spent three years working with the human resources committee to draft a plan to fight poverty. The federal government effectively ignored the report.
Savage, a soft-spoken man not given to bombast or flights of rhetoric, said the government’s move last year was an “abdication of responsibility.”
With the sting of that rejection still fresh, Savage says one of his top priorities if elected is creating an anti-poverty strategy for Halifax.
He also says he wants to create a more open and transparent government by shedding the previous council’s penchant for in-camera meetings and secret deals that violated the city’s charter.
As well, the former businessman — he once worked for Nova Scotia Power Inc. and was a vice-president at an executive search firm and a marketing company — says he would focus on economic development, a task made easier by Ottawa’s decision to award a $25-billion shipbuilding contract to the Halifax Shipyard.
More importantly, Savage says a “dysfunctional” council would be transformed into a collegial one.
Savage says that unlike the crusading style of his father, he is “more able to broker solutions, to find compromise with people.”
“Maybe (I’m) a little bit less in a hurry in some ways. But I’m still able to move the ball on things to find ways to get stuff done.”
As the municipal campaign winds down, Savage says the race has been a “serious grind.”
Unlike federal campaigns, which typically last six weeks or less, most of the municipal candidates have been knocking on doors for months.
“This has been a long, sustained conversation with the community about what matters to them,” says Savage. “It’s been quite different.”
Savage, 52, says his bid has also received support from across the political spectrum, marking another contrast with federal politics. Among his backers are Halifax NDP MP Megan Leslie, former provincial Tory cabinet minister Tim Olive and Elizabeth May, leader of the Green party.
By Veronica Simmonds - Thursday, July 26, 2012 at 11:12 AM - 0 Comments
Basement speakeasies, living-room cafés: what Halifax university grads do when they can’t find a good job
Jess Ross graduated from Dalhousie University in 2009, straight into one of the worst economies in a generation. Her degree in anthropology hardly made her a standout in a Halifax job market with an unemployment rate nearing 15 per cent. “My only options were to go back to the job I didn’t want to go back to, work for a catering company, get a master’s degree, or just do something on my own. Which I guess was the moment I tapped into my entrepreneurial spirit,” she says.
She and some friends set up a farm stand on Agricola Street in Halifax’s North End neighbourhood and started selling her homemade, German-style bread. They conduct their business under the table, without concern for the legalities of zoning or taxation.
In doing so, they’re part of a new breed of young and underemployed entrepreneurs in Halifax’s North End. For the past five years, the neighbourhood has become a hotbed of small start-ups operating mostly out of people’s homes or on street corners. Often thought to be a dangerous part of town, the area has long attracted students and artists with its cheap rents. Now, new money in the form of condos and charcuteries is trickling in.
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, May 16, 2012 at 5:50 PM - 0 Comments
The Scene. Peggy Nash was very nearly pleading. ”Will someone in the government,” she asked, “please outline right now what constitutes suitable employment?”
In Ms. Nash’s moment of need it was Ted Menzies, minister of state for finance, who stood. ”Mr. Speaker, I actually have some examples here of what constitutes suitable employment,” he reported.
At last, clarity seemed at hand. ”A mining company in Newfoundland is looking to hire 1,500 people in St. John’s, Newfoundland, through the temporary foreign worker program,” Mr. Menzies explained. “There are 32,500 people looking for work right now. That is why we are trying to make EI more effective to help these mining companies get people to employ.”
What precisely was the minister of state suggesting here? That if you are presently looking for work you might soon be expected to strap on a helmet lamp and make for St. John’s? And are there really only 32,500 people in this country presently looking for work?
There were chuckles of incredulity from the opposition side. Continue…
By Emma Teitel - Friday, March 2, 2012 at 8:40 AM - 0 Comments
The premier’s brother has been an employee of Halifax Metro Transit for over two decades
Haligonians are desperate to see their buses back on the road amid a current Metro Transit strike, but negotiations between government officials and union heads don’t look promising. The ever-unpopular Nova Scotia premier, Darrell Dexter, has so far taken a complete hands-off approach to the strike (which is on the verge of its one month anniversary) and Halifax residents now think they have a pretty good idea why: It turns out that the premier’s brother, Rick Dexter, has been an employee of Halifax Metro Transit for over two decades. And not only is the premier’s brother a bus driver, he is also—as of about a week ago—a scab.
According to a number of Halifax sources, Rick Dexter got behind the wheel of an Access-A-Bus at a city bus depot on February 20th, and tried to drive back to work amid angry jeers from fellow employees, who chanted “scab” as he pulled out of the lot. To complicate matters even further, Rick Dexter ran for vice-president of his union in 2009, urging union members to also vote for his now-premier brother in the upcoming election.
Halifax Councilor Gloria McCluskey, of Dartmouth Centre, has said she’s received numerous phone calls from both transit users and bus drivers suffering from the strike and believes that Rick Dexter’s job is a possible explanation for premier Dexter’s reticence on the issue. The premier’s office, however, was quick to release a statement following the “scab” incident, ensuring Haligonians that his brother’s transit connection has nothing to do with his decision not to interfere with the strike. “The premier is concerned about the impact the strike is having on people, including drivers and their families,” Dexter’s spokesperson said. “Our office is not going to comment on [back-to-work]legislation as it would interfere with the collective bargaining process.”
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, January 30, 2012 at 8:30 AM - 0 Comments
Nathan Cullen says he’s not backing down.
“In fact, we’re doubling down on it,” he told reporters, though he added he is not “married to the details.” ”The particulars of how this thing happens — it can happen in many different ways.”
Brian Topp says he stands by his tax proposals.
After the debate, Mr. Topp said that Canada’s tax system is blatantly unfair and that he will continue to encourage the party to move leftward and go after Bay St. millionaires. “I think he is wrong,” Mr. Topp said about Mr. Mulcair’s views. “His answers show we have a bit of a disagreement here about the direction our party should go in.”
By Aaron Wherry - Sunday, January 29, 2012 at 12:49 PM - 0 Comments
2:16pm. Candidates get 90 seconds for closing statements. They should get five.
Mr. Mulcair name drops Alexa McDonough, Darrell Dexter and Robert Chisholm. He says the NDP must present a “credible” alternative, move “forwards not backwards” (and always twirling, twirling?) and “reach out to those who haven’t supported us in the past.”
Mr. Dewar quotes Tommy Douglas, says the party must “go to the next level” and “build up the grassroots” so that it can “take on the next 70 seats.” He pitches unity and harmony, to realize “Tommy’s dream” and form a government that champions taking “better care of each other.”
Ms. Nash asks “who is the person to bring all this together?” “We need someone with real world experience,” she says, detailing her work at the bargaining table, negotiating child care and same-sex benefits. Says the party needs “real world builder,” referencing the NDP’s success in Toronto and a “proven builder,” referencing her time as party president.
Mr. Topp describes himself as a “bilingual Quebecer who has worked across this country,” who worked closely with Jack Layton as the party built over the last seven years and who worked at the heart of a fiscally responsible NDP government that was reelected four times (he doesn’t say so, but he means Saskatchewan). He says New Democrats don’t have to be Liberals, that, as New Democrats, they can defeat Stephen Harper and, as New Democrats, they can get the job done.
And that’s that. Much better show than the first outing in Ottawa. More discussion to be had on finances, still a bit short on specifics and serious debates (picking on Mr. Cullen is a bit too easy), but this sets up an interesting two months. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, November 9, 2011 at 4:53 PM - 40 Comments
In a speech to a Liberal riding association in Halifax, Stephane Dion considers the history and future of the Liberal party.
In 2008, as Liberal Leader, I did talk about the economy. I truly believed that the main focus of my campaign was the economy. The Green Shift’s subtitle was: “Building a Canadian Economy for the 21st Century.” But because I was promoting sustainable economy, which I strongly believe must be the economy of the 21st century, I was perceived as a one-issue candidate, exclusively preoccupied by the environment. I failed to convince Canadians of the link that exists between economy and environment. And we paid the price.
In 2011, I am sure Mr. Ignatieff talked about the economy in his speeches. But the voters did not hear him, and neither did the Liberal candidates who were so busy campaigning in their ridings. Most of our communications plan was about helping families: housing, daycare, home renovations, family caregivers, tuition fees, etc. In the midst of global economic turmoil, we appeared to abandon the themes of employment and economic security to Stephen Harper’s Conservatives. It seemed that we were trying too much to look like the NDP. Unfortunately, the natural NDP voters chose the original over the copy and many Liberal supporters who were worried about the economy went over to the Conservatives.
By Andrew Coyne - Friday, October 28, 2011 at 11:00 AM - 14 Comments
Keeping meddling politicians out of the shipbuilding contract decision worked. Is there a lesson here?
The Conservatives are most anxious that everyone should know what an independent and impartial process was used to decide the recent competition for $33 billion in federal shipbuilding work. And by all accounts it was. Ministers were kept far away from the file. The task of assessing the competing bids, from shipyards in B.C., Halifax and Quebec, was left to a team of senior civil servants. A “fairness monitor” vouched for their handiwork, with the help of two outside auditors. And so on.
All of which would be a lot more impressive if a) it had not already been decided at the political level that no foreign shipyards would be allowed to compete, reserving the bidding to a handful of high-priced domestic yards, b) it had not similarly been decided in advance that the work would be divided between two yards, meaning two of the three bidders were guaranteed to win something, and c) one of the three, Quebec’s near-bankrupt Davie Yards, had not been shoehorned into the bidding at the last minute thanks to a political decision to extend the deadline. Indeed, it is hard to escape the impression that all this scrupulousness was based less on principle and more on protecting the government from the inevitable blowback from whichever province lost, naming no Quebecs.
But why quibble? It would be a stretch to say the best bid won, but at least the worst bid lost, which is a lot better than these things usually play out. Indeed, the process was such a success some have been moved to ask: why don’t we do this . . . all the time? If it is a good thing to keep politicians’ thumbs off the scales on a major shipbuilding contract, why is it not also a good thing to get the politics out of procurement generally? Not only would it spare the taxpayer needless expense, but it would spare the country the regional resentments, lobbying wars and suspicions of corruption that go with most such decisions.
By John Geddes - Friday, October 28, 2011 at 11:00 AM - 5 Comments
Two contracts. Three provinces—each with a history of feeling slighted by the feds.
The situation could hardly be more packed with political danger. The federal government decides to award $33 billion of shipbuilding work to two shipyards, but there are three bidders. They hail from Nova Scotia, Quebec and British Columbia. Which of the three provinces, each with its own tradition of feeling grievously slighted by Ottawa, will be the big loser? Even when the stakes have been lower and the optics less harsh, the history of granting major federal contracts teaches a dismal lesson. “It’s always horrendous,” says André Juneau, director of Queen’s University’s Institute of Intergovernmental Relations, and a former senior federal bureaucrat who worked on many sensitive federal-provincial files.
But this time, improbably, not nearly so horrendous as usual. Last week’s anxiously awaited announcement was great for Halifax, which won the $25-billion deal to build warships, and very good for Vancouver, which scored $8 billion worth of work on coast guard and other non-combat vessels. Inevitably, that left some in Quebec complaining bitterly. The outcry, though, was oddly muted. “That’s competition for you,” said Yves-Thomas Dorval of the Conseil du patronat, Quebec’s main business lobby group. Elaborate measures taken by the federal Conservatives to make sure they couldn’t be plausibly accused of politically manipulating the outcome seemed to have succeeded in insulating them from the typical fallout.
That tactical victory came at a testing moment in federal-provincial relations. Looming questions about how the money is divided up in the federation threaten, as they have so often in Canadian history, to sour Ottawa’s relations with the provinces and heighten tensions between regions. The key issues involve renegotiating transfer-payment deals for health and equalization. Other touchy matters in play are Ottawa’s plans to redistribute seats in the House of Commons and create a national stock market regulator. The shipbuilding procurement is, in many respects, unique. But one lesson that could apply broadly is that taking elaborate steps to show that decisions aren’t tainted by favouritism pays valuable political dividends.
By Richard Warnica - Monday, September 26, 2011 at 10:20 AM - 1 Comment
The choice of a new Halifax museum’s executive director is stoking old tensions
The Africville Church Museum, a memorial to the bulldozed Nova Scotia town, will open to the public for the first time on Sunday, Sept. 25. The event is the culmination of years of lobbying by African-Canadians. But it comes as members of the community in Nova Scotia are stuck in a sudden and unexpected feud.
The Africville Historical Trust, which oversees the museum, recently hired Carole Nixon as its new executive director. Nixon is an Anglican priest with a university certificate in black studies. She is also, in the words of her detractors, “a Caucasian, British woman from Ontario,” a fact that does not sit well with some black Nova Scotians.
After the hiring was announced, Veronica Marsman, president of the Association of Black Social Workers, and Burnley “Rocky” Jones, a human rights lawyer, wrote a letter to the trust decrying the fact that a black candidate wasn’t found for the job. The letter called Nixon’s appointment “detrimental to the survival and growth of the African Nova Scotia community” and urged the trust to reconsider the appointment. “It really baffles me to think there wasn’t an African-Canadian person in this entire country who could fill this role,” Marsman says.
By Nancy MacDonald, Cigdem Iltan, Emma Teitel, Alex Ballingall and Richard Foot - Tuesday, July 26, 2011 at 10:50 AM - 1 Comment
Hugo Chávez looks to Castro for care, J-Lo and Marc Anthony call it quits, and Shaq gets a new job
He speeds for good deeds
When you imagine the record-holder for the fastest bicycle trip across Canada, you’re probably not picturing somebody’s grandpa. But as of this week, the title belongs to Winnipeg’s Arvid Loewen, proud grandfather of three. The 54-year-old, who has raised more than $1.5 million for Kenyan orphans by cycling, pedalled close to 500 km per day. After 13 days, six hours and 13 minutes, Loewen rolled into downtown Halifax, beating the previous record by more than three hours. In other speeding news this week, David Weber’s attempt to save his unborn baby was rewarded with a huge ticket and a licence suspension. The 32-year-old was driving in rural Manitoba with his wife Genevieve when she went into labour. Complications during her first birth meant natural labour could endanger future babies. Panicked, David hit speeds of up to 170 km/h to get to a hospital. But the RCMP pulled him over twice, earning him $1,000 in ﬁnes. “What would have happened if something happened to my wife, or my baby?” David told the Winnipeg Free Press. “It’s like there’s no compassion anymore.” Baby Anabela was born healthy via emergency C-section.
Shaq to work
It was a good week for retired athletes embroiled in controversy. Shaquille O’Neal was absolved of involvement in a titillating story about a group of gangsters who allegedly kidnapped, pistol-whipped and robbed a man claiming to be in possession of a Shaq sex tape. Court officials deemed the big man wasn’t involved in the incident. Shaq also inked a multi-year deal with broadcaster TNT. He’ll join Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Ernie Johnston on the network’s Inside the NBA program. Then there’s former baseball star Roger Clemens. After being charged with lying to Congress about steroid use, the former Yankee had his trial thrown out after the prosecution submitted evidence that violated a pretrial agreement. Judge Reggie Watson said afterwards a “first-year law student” wouldn’t have made the same mistake. Talk about dodging a knock-down pitch.
By Emma Teitel - Wednesday, May 18, 2011 at 9:20 AM - 3 Comments
A new exhibit at Halifax’s Maritime Museum reveals that gay marriage was performed at sea long before it was on land
When Nova Scotia’s Samuel Cunard founded his iconic ocean liner company in 1840, he had no idea that his massive ships would, in the period following the Second World War, become home to elaborate drag shows and some of the first gay weddings. The little-known history of homosexual stewards on commercial ocean liners—many passed through ports in Halifax, Quebec City and Montreal from the 1950s to 1980s—is revealed in Hello Sailor!: Gay Life on the Ocean Wave, which makes its North American debut at Halifax’s Maritime Museum of the Atlantic this month.
The exhibit, on display until Nov. 27, includes photographs from cruise ships in the postwar period (when Cunard was the dominant transatlantic cruise company) of vintage drag shows, and recorded oral histories of gay sailors from across Canada and the U.K. who sought refuge at sea. There’s also a replica cabin of a 1950s steward, complete with an official uniform turned drag costume.
One of the more surprising revelations is evidence of early gay marriage. According to Dan Conlin, curator of the Halifax museum, same-sex marriage was performed at sea long before it was performed on land. “Oftentimes, two stewards would form long-lasting relationships,” he says. “And crew members would recognize the union officially in a ceremony on-board the ship. They would exchange vows and rings and even move into the same cabin.” That this evolution of gay culture took place on the high seas is no accident. “Economic factors drove these companies to hire large numbers of gay men,” says Conlin. “Passengers enjoyed their witty banter and music shows. [The companies] would gladly turn a blind eye to sexual preference, for profit’s sake.”
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, April 8, 2011 at 6:17 PM - 2 Comments
A dispatch from Jack Layton’s campaign.
The plane emblazoned with his name is taxiing down a runway in Halifax and Jack Layton is talking about sheep. Specifically, he is talking about Dall sheep: a species adept at mountain climbing and often seen perched on high, steep cliffs. He saw some during a trip to Nahani National Park some years ago. And the NDP, he figures, is like the Dall sheep, forever running uphill. “If you put us on a flat surface, we’d fall over,” he laughs. “We’d be in a completely foreign environment.”
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, April 5, 2011 at 11:12 AM - 59 Comments
Several of the peaceful mob participants had registered to attend the Harper event, but they were turned away by RCMP officers. Cara Dawson and Izzy Hirji were among those asked to leave the venue. A Conservative Party of Canada official approached them and indicated they were not welcome because of their involvement in an action that was perceived as a protest by party insiders. Dawson and Hirji tried to explain that it was not a protest and that they had registered to attend the campaign event, but the official could not be persuaded. RCMP Cpl. Tony Fowler of the “O” Division/VIP Security Section told the students the event was by invitation only and they would have to leave.
By Sarah Elton - Thursday, October 21, 2010 at 2:40 PM - 0 Comments
In seaside cities like Halifax, it’s hard to buy fresh local fish. A new co-op is fixing that.
On a warm fall afternoon, a group gathered at the edge of a downtown Halifax parking lot, far from the smell of salt water, to buy fish out of a cooler. Despite the city’s proximity to the Atlantic, it is hard to buy freshly caught fish here. It takes six days for local fish to make it down the supply chain to the supermarket. Now, a group of five fishers has started an organization named Off The Hook in a rebuke to the way fish have been bought and sold in Atlantic Canada. They call it a community supported fishery—a nod to the local food movement’s community-supported agriculture (CSA) direct marketing programs, whereby farmers sell food directly to customers. As with a CSA, individuals join and pay a lump sum at the start of the season. They’re given their share of the catch each week. If there is no catch—as was the case one stormy week this summer—there’s no share. (The fishers did give out more fish later, though the contract says they don’t have to.)
This week, there was plenty to go around and each time a fish was pulled out of the cooler, people gasped at the size. There were foot-long haddock, hake and cod. Members who had bought a full share, for a cost of $60 a week, went home with up to five fish; those with half shares, priced at $30, packed two.
By macleans.ca - Friday, September 10, 2010 at 8:00 AM - 0 Comments
The unsinkable Jan Brewer, the smoking toddler kicks the habit, Pamela Anderson and you
News flash: Carla has a past!
To the surprise of, well, no one, a tell-all book is set for release on the colourful life that model and singer Carla Bruni embraced before settling down as the third wife of French President Nicolas Sarkozy. It’s the tale of “a fast-living adventuress with an obsession with wealth and fame,” a source at Paris publisher Flammarion told the Telegraph. The source promises “explosive revelations” about secret lovers and plastic surgery, and the paper suggests the first couple tremble in anticipation of what author Besma Lahouri has uncovered. Well, maybe. Meanwhile, Bruni’s support for Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, the Iranian woman whose sentence to death by stoning may be upgraded to hanging, won criticism from an Iranian newspaper—and Catherine Deneuve, who called it “counterproductive,” given her past.
By macleans.ca - Friday, July 23, 2010 at 9:00 AM - 0 Comments
The Clintons are pleased to announce almost nothing, Arcade Fire’s class act, and Rowan Atkinson’s cunning plan
If they had a million dollars
Montreal rockers Arcade Fire will match donations up to $1 million to Kanpe, a charity rebuilding family life after the Haitian earthquake. “We’re all family in times like this,” said Régine Chassagne, whose parents were born in Haiti. “Please,” her husband Win Butler urged fans, “take our money.”
For better and worse, check
In 1984, Steve Fonyo ran across Canada, raising $13 million for cancer research, an epic achievement for a 19-year-old with a prosthetic leg. His life since, always in the shadow of the late Terry Fox who attempted a similar feat in 1981, has been a train wreck. He was stripped of the Order of Canada last year after a long battle with addictions and multiple criminal convictions. He’d hoped a planned Aug. 28 wedding would signal a turnaround, but that, too, went off the rails when it was revealed last week that his fiancée, Lisa Greenwood, is serving a jail sentence for theft and assault. Victoria-area business people, who had planned to underwrite the ceremony at the city’s Fonyo Beach, where he’d ended his run, rescinded their offer. John Vickers, executive director of the Victoria Truth Centre, who helped arrange the event, said the couple’s “lives are too complicated at this time for a supported wedding to occur.”