By Aaron Wherry - Friday, July 16, 2010 - 0 Comments
Still no responses to my call for economists, statisticians, city planners and the like to step forward with a defence of the Industry Minister’s census changes. So let’s open it up a bit: is anyone from a conservative-minded organization or advocacy group willing to step forward and defend this decision as sound and just?* I welcome any and all submissions (email@example.com).
In the meantime, add former clerk of the Privy Council Alex Himelfarb, pollster Frank Graves, the chief economist of the Greater Halifax Partnership, the French Language Services Commissioner of Ontario, the executive director of the Société franco-manitobaine, the editorial board of the Halifax Chronicle-Herald and provincial officials in Quebec, BC and PEI to the listen of complainants.
*This post originally, and innocently, named a few potential examples of organizations that might comment. One—the Institute for Liberal Studies, which is actually directed by a guy I knew in high school—has noted that its educational and charitable status actually precludes it from commenting. Apologies for any confusion that could have resulted from my mentioning them here. I’ve also deleted all names so as not to otherwise make it seem like any sort of specific challenge. As you were.
By macleans.ca - Thursday, July 1, 2010 at 10:40 AM - 0 Comments
Parliament Hill festivities, Government House luncheon, and Human rights concert
Monday, June 28 • Halifax
3:00 p.m. Official arrival, Garrison
3:55 p.m. Mi’kmaq cultural event, Halifax Common
By Rachel Mendleson - Wednesday, April 28, 2010 at 2:00 PM - 1 Comment
Some are being dismantled and shipped to places like Canada
When Joe McGuinness decided to open an authentic Irish pub in Halifax, the Dubliner says he “spared no expense trying to duplicate the atmosphere.” Everything that appoints Durty Nelly’s—from the light fixtures to the chairs to the mahogany bar—was shipped over from the Emerald Isle. But while business booms at the Halifax establishment—in its first year, sales exceeded $2.5 million—pub culture in Ireland is fading away.
Increasingly, exported replicas of Irish pubs, which have been cropping up everywhere from Estonia to Dubai, are a homage to what was, rather than what is. Thanks to anti-smoking legislation, changing habits and the economic downturn, the country’s traditional gathering places have seen better days: since 2001, domestic drink consumption has fallen by 21 per cent; 833 pubs have closed in the last three years; in the past 18 months, 15,000 industry jobs have disappeared. Kieran Tobin, chairman of the Drinks Industry Group of Ireland, recently described 2009 as “the worst year for our industry in living memory.”
By Tom Henheffer - Thursday, April 15, 2010 at 2:00 PM - 0 Comments
A premium industry on the rise
Insurance is big business in Nova Scotia. According to a recent Conference Board of Canada study, the industry directly contributed about $470 million in GDP to the provincial economy in 2008, and is expected to grow by 25 per cent in the next three years. With around 4,500 people (up 20 per cent since 2005) currently working for one of more than 360 insurance businesses, Halifax has the second-highest concentration per capita of insurance employees of any Canadian city (only Regina has more). And the jobs pay well, too. The average insurance industry worker in Nova Scotia earns $51,000, which is 38 per cent higher than the provincial average. “It doesn’t make a lot of noise but it’s been one of the fastest growing sectors of our economy for a long time,” says Fred Morley, chief economist with the Greater Halifax Partnership, an organization dedicated to attracting new companies to the city.
An insurance hub since the early 1800s, Halifax has the infrastructure needed to encourage and maintain growth. Being centrally located between Toronto, London and New York, Halifax provides workers the opportunity to live in a low-cost region and be just a short flight from major business capitals. That’s helped entice large international companies—including Admiral Insurance, a British firm—to set up shop. Richard Nason, an associate professor of finance at Dalhousie University, says insurance is one of the few industries that hires students straight out of school, making Halifax—with its six universities—a hotbed for new talent. A real benefit for an industry that, as noted in the Conference Board’s report, is faced with an aging workforce.
And, says Nason, the city is a great place for young workers to settle down, offering a small-town setting with big-city benefits. “You get to have your cake and eat it too,” he says.
By Sharon Dunn - Wednesday, February 24, 2010 at 1:03 PM - 15 Comments
On two major U.S. networks, women now anchor the evening news. CBC might want to think about that.
It was 1976, and I had just been hired as a television news anchor and staff announcer at CBC’s Halifax station. Only 22 years old, I had been put through a complicated audition process beforehand—anchoring both the six and 11 o’clock news, including at-the-board weather and interviews, then turning around the very next day to host early-morning radio at 6 a.m., and the afternoon show at 4 p.m., before racing back to the TV studio to anchor the six and 11 o’clock newscasts all over again. Over a 24-hour period, I was a one-woman band—all a test to see if a woman could keep up to the “rigours of the job,” as management put it, something I suspect a male announcer had never been asked to do. It seemed to be a set-up to ensure I’d fail, but when I refused to be reduced to a withering heap on the floor, the bewildered CBC bosses reluctantly confirmed my position on staff, and my trial period was over. I had made it—the first-ever female CBC staff announcer in the Atlantic provinces. (By that time, Jan Tennant had held the distinction in Toronto for five years.)
I was a pioneer, and pioneering was not to be easy. Criticism abounded from within the ranks: male announcers were aghast, managers were still leery, even some female employees expressed their displeasure (“women shouldn’t be reading the news”; “they aren’t credible”; “their voices are too shrill”). This was a time when the only shows women hosted were afternoon-tea-type programs about flowers and food and arts and crafts—shows I abhorred. The most widely held belief, even among those who begrudgingly accepted my appointment, was that my time in TV would definitely be short-lived—women anchors would surely be out of a job as they aged, well before they reached 40.
Four years later, when I moved to Toronto to anchor CBC’s flagship 6 o’clock TV news, I realized things weren’t much better when one Toronto manager told me that women shouldn’t be anchors because “men become credible as they age and women just get old.”
By Aaron Wherry - Sunday, January 24, 2010 at 1:55 PM - 208 Comments
With 51 precincts reporting specific estimates—restricting the count to media-reported figures and, where available, police counts—it’s possible to account for approximately 21,000 anti-prorogation protestors at yesterday’s rallies. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, January 15, 2010 at 2:40 PM - 32 Comments
Reviews of Michael Ignatieff’s university tour are in from the Winnipeg Free Press, Concordia Journal, McGill Daily, Varsity, Hamilton Spectator, Toronto Star, National Post, Montreal Gazette, Metro Halifax, Halifax Chronicle-Herald and Maclean’s OnCampus. Susan Delacourt reported from stops at Nova Scotia Community College and Dalhousie. At least one attendee so far has come away quite unpersuaded.
While Liberals were pleased with the event, one attendee was unimpressed. Burlington Conservative MP Mike Wallace came for the last 30 minutes and dismissed Ignatieff’s answers to students’ questions, saying he could say anything he wants because he does not have the responsibility of being prime minister.
By Jonathon Gatehouse - Thursday, December 3, 2009 at 12:50 PM - 2 Comments
A huge country being stitched together 300 m at a time
Storytime was starting to make me feel inadequate. Fourteen of us sitting in a shuttle bus, torches in hand, sharing how we came to be carrying the Olympic ﬂame through the streets of Halifax. Alistair, from Musquodoboit Harbour, who has spent the last 37 years stocking grocery store shelves and working for local charities, rewarded with a spot by his store manager when their Sobeys won a contest for selling the most Coke (a torch-relay sponsor). Lynn, who has watched proudly from Halifax as her brothers and sisters have gone off to serve in Canadian peacekeeping and military missions around the world, trying to put her feelings about winning a space in the relay lottery into words.
“My brother emailed me from Malaysia: ‘Now it’s your turn to shine,’ ” she says, tears welling in her eyes. Andrea, a sponsor’s pick, overjoyed just to be ﬁtting into the white, nylon track suit, eight days after giving birth to her son Maxime. (So determined to be on hand for the moment that she had convinced her obstetrician to induce her if labour didn’t start on its own.) And Barb, whose eloquence about carrying the Calgary ﬂame along Nova Scotia’s eastern shore in 1988 won her an RBC essay contest, and a second go-round at age 74. “I remember being so excited. My heart was pounding, I could hardly breathe,” she says. “Of course, back then you ran a kilometre, not a measly 300 m.”
The deserving—and the journalist—gathered at the Halifax Citadel in the pre-dawn darkness. We squeezed around a table in a barrel-vaulted, whitewashed barrack room for the pep talk and brieﬁng. The longest-ever domestic torch run—12,000 participants covering a 45,000-km route, in 1,036 communities over 106 days—demands military precision; numbered “insertion points,” the timely arrival of key-wielding attendants to “activate” your torch, a carefully ordered convoy of police, sponsor trucks, media vans and shuttles. But its lifeblood is enthusiasm. Shannon, the bubbly Vancouverite who has taken a year’s leave from her job as a preschool teacher to host and herd the relay runners, encourages us to high-ﬁve, hug, even perform end-zone victory dances at the exchange points (“kissing the ﬂame” in Olympic-speak). Just be mindful not to set your toque ablaze. “I want you to be as Canadian as maple syrup today,” she exhorts. “Get gooey. Let the moment stick to you. Always be sweet.” Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, November 24, 2009 at 1:30 PM - 19 Comments
Gerald Keddy, yesterday. If anyone ever stops Nova Scotia farmers from hiring migrant labourers to harvest their crops, they would destroy a lot of businesses because unemployed Nova Scotians don’t want those jobs, says Gerald Keddy, the Conservative MP for South Shore-St. Margarets. ”Nova Scotians won’t do it — all those no-good bastards sitting on the sidewalk in Halifax that can’t get work,” Mr. Keddy said Monday.
Gerald Keddy, today. Conservative MP Gerald Keddy is apologizing for referring to some unemployed Haligonians as “no-good bastards.” Keddy, MP for the Nova Scotia riding of South Shore-St. Margaret’s, issued a statement Tuesday saying he was sorry for the “insensitive comments.” ”In no way did I mean to offend those who have lost their job due to the global recession, nor did I mean to suggest that anyone who is unemployed is not actively looking for employment,” he said.
By Paul Wells - Friday, November 20, 2009 at 3:47 PM - 0 Comments
CPAC’s second In Conversation With Maclean’s town hall, colloquially known as Coyne and Wells On the Road, took place in Halifax last week. With a distinguished panel of guests, we tackled the situation in Afghanistan and what Canada should do next. Here’s a tightly edited recap of our conversation.
By Paul Wells - Tuesday, November 10, 2009 at 7:59 AM - 7 Comments
Andrew and I are in Halifax tonight to debate Canada’s Afghanistan deployment with a sterling roster of guests. We’ll see you at the Neptune Theatre at 8 p.m. if you’re in town, or you’ll see us at 7 p.m. Eastern on CPAC if you’re following along on the teevee.
By Rachel Mendleson - Thursday, September 24, 2009 at 2:20 PM - 4 Comments
Local merchants, not social services, take on panhandlers
For retailers who set up shop on Spring Garden Road in downtown Halifax, staying in business is literally an uphill battle. Thirty thousand fewer people live in the regional centre now compared to 50 years ago. And tourists who visit the city’s waterfront must tackle a steep climb to access the 500-m shopping strip. Which explains why, when Spring Garden Area Business Association (SGABA) manager Bernard Smith began hearing complaints from shoppers about panhandlers several years ago, he listened. And though his attempts to propel the city and province to action have been largely unsuccessful, he says, “We’ve made our own infrastructure to deal with the situation.” On top of hiring private security guards to keep beggars from blocking sidewalks, Smith began paying panhandlers to water the flowers or shovel the snow. Before long, he found them jobs in recycling depots. “We’ll give him steel-toed boots, gloves, a hard hat—whatever it takes to get that guy employed,” he says. In several cases, the SGABA has even paid the security deposit on an apartment.
Despite these efforts, panhandling persists; it often takes more than a job offer to get those with addiction or mental health issues off the street. So recently, another group of Halifax merchants began touting an approach that’s less carrot and more stick: a bylaw against aggressive panhandling. According to Paul MacKinnon, executive director of the Downtown Halifax Business Commission, such legislation would impose a fine on those who heckle or touch passersby, and for repeat offenders, jail time. “We want to make [panhandling] a bit more uncomfortable.” Continue…
By Tom Henheffer - Thursday, September 24, 2009 at 12:00 PM - 1 Comment
Willis was awarded $81,000 for enduring the stench of sewage
Halifax farmer Allison Willis woke up to the smell of raw sewage every day for 19 years. “You know what s–t smells like. It was terrible. I had to keep my windows closed. I couldn’t go outside.”
The odious odour ended last year, when a nearby sewage treatment plant that had been polluting the lake near Willis’s property was closed. But that wasn’t enough for Willis, 70. He sued the city of Halifax, demanding compensation for the years he was unable to enjoy his property. Last month a Nova Scotia court awarded him $81,000 in damages. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Sunday, August 16, 2009 at 9:19 PM - 22 Comments
The Globe dismisses the faithful’s efforts.
Jack Layton says he is offering Canadians a new way of thinking. But the policies approved at the NDP conference in Halifax this weekend are not new to New Democrats.
The more than 1,000 delegates endorsed action to prevent violence against aboriginal women. They endorsed enshrining childcare into law. They endorsed investment in environmentally friendly jobs. They endorsed ending rules that prevent homosexuals from donating organs. In the end, there were more than 50 policies approved. But there was little to raise the eyebrows of the party’s socialist founders.
By Aaron Wherry - Sunday, August 16, 2009 at 8:44 PM - 3 Comments
Jack Layton sends the faithful home.
We will undo the legacy of neglect and inequality that the old thinking of the last three decades has left us. We ask all Canadians to join us, to imagine the Canada we will build together.
In our Canada, the unemployed get the EI benefits and the training that they need. In our Canada, First Nations, Inuit and Metis are full participants in the new economy. In our Canada, new Canadians are given help to find good jobs and they don’t have to fear, when they travel abroad, that their passports will be seized and their government will deny their identity. In our Canada, government protects citizens from the totally unfair practices of banks and credit-card companies. In our Canada, the disabled are treated with dignity and respect. In our Canada, families have access to affordable early-childhood education. In our Canada, climate change is tackled with tough limits on polluters, and a new energy economy, with technologies built here, creating jobs here, and exported to the world.
That’s the Canada we want.
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, August 14, 2009 at 2:24 PM - 7 Comments
Twenty minutes into the NDP convention business and we’ve got a request that everyone celebrating a birthday or anniversary this weekend be recognized and a rant against Barack Obama’s “regime.”
CPAC has never been more entertaining.
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, August 14, 2009 at 1:45 PM - 16 Comments
Ed Broadbent rallies the faithful in Halifax.
At the federal level it is the Liberals and Conservatives who mismanaged the economy and created the crisis of inequality by slashing programs and imposing regressive taxation. Their policies will perpetuate the status quo. Our task, once again, is to lead the struggle. We must restore the dream for social justice. But this isn’t just a dream. We now know it is both ideal and possible to create a Canada that is healthier in every respect; a Canada with more involvement by our citizens; a Canada where neighbours are seen as friends, not as competitors; a Canada in which babies born the same day in Cape Breton and Calgary will have equal opportunities in life. Our task as New Democrats is to demonstrate, show and persuade Canadians that with more equality this kind of Canada is possible. Let’s get on with the job.
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, August 14, 2009 at 11:45 AM - 2 Comments
Here is a piece from this week’s print edition on the state of the NDP. Several dozen sentences ensue, just one of those having anything to do with the fact the party may or may not change something about its name.
Even by the normally quixotic standards of the NDP, it has been a strange year. For a fleeting moment in December, it appeared Jack Layton was going to be a cabinet minister in a coalition government. By the end of June, Michael Ignatieff had a deal instead with Stephen Harper, and the Prime Minister was addressing the party in Parliament’s far corner as the “Bloc Anglais.”
The leader of the NDP, now six years into his tenure, remains relentlessly enthusiastic. “It was a fascinating eight months,” Layton says, explaining himself next with duelling metaphors. “I always say to folks: get ready, I’m a long-time sailor; I don’t go tacking back and forth to try to catch the lightest little gust of wind. When I ran for leader, I laid out a plan and I said it’s like a construction project. You’ve got to start with the foundation and you build, brick-by-brick, block-by-block.”
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, August 13, 2009 at 10:56 AM - 18 Comments
Jack Layton lets slip the NDP’s secret plan to win the next election.
Premier Dexter’s victory is an inspiration to New Democrats from Halifax Harbour to Vancouver Bay. But the road to victory in Nova Scotia – just like Premier Doer’s in Manitoba – was long.
They built slowly with good candidates, sound new policies, and focused discipline. Critics often said they had no chance of winning. They say the same thing about federal New Democrats.
But we know that victory will not happen overnight. We are pursuing a similar strategy of incremental growth.
By Rachel Mendleson - Friday, June 12, 2009 at 8:00 AM - 1 Comment
Melvin hired a publicist and set up a site to celebrate his lifestyle
Since he got out of jail last November, convicted drug dealer Jimmy Melvin Jr., 27, a member of a notorious Halifax crime family, has been the centre of attention. His release reawakened a long-standing feud with a rival clan—an apparent turf war that has spanned decades. In the past five months, he has survived two attempts on his life, shootings that landed him in hospital and on the front page. Now, amid the publicity, he has launched his own website, aptly named RealLiveStreetShit.com.
Famous for all the wrong reasons, Melvin Jr. is the son of purported clan patriarch Jimmy Melvin Sr., also a convicted drug trafficker. Since the ’80s, the Melvins are thought to have periodically done battle with the Marriotts, another known crime family. The recent spate of violence began just days after Melvin Jr.’s release, when his father and a Melvin associate were shot. (Both survived.) The next month, Melvin Jr. took two bullets. In February, Terry Marriott Jr., the son of alleged rival leader Terry Marriott Sr., was killed. Melvin Jr. was shot again in April, and on May 23, bullets hit his father’s home.
By Brian Banks - Thursday, June 11, 2009 at 8:30 AM - 5 Comments
Canada’s highland heritage
Cabot Trail/Cape Breton Island The Cabot Trail should be on every driver’s bucket list. The 300-km loop around the Cape Breton Highlands passes through Cape Breton Highlands National Park, down the Margaree River valley and along Bras d’Or Lake. For much of that distance, it’s nothing but a winding ribbon of asphalt with rock walls on one side and the ocean on the other. No wonder Lonely Planet rates it one of the world’s best road trips. You’ll also encounter plenty of colour and culture: Lobsterpalooza, a month-long celebration of seafood and seafaring (through June 30); Silver Dart Centennial Aviation Week, in Baddeck (June 14-20); and the Festival of Cape Breton Fiddling in St. Ann’s (Aug. 15-16).
Halifax International Busker Festival (Aug. 6-16) Professional street performers and busker circuits were more of a novelty when the Halifax International Busker Festival began in the mid-1980s, yet even today the festival still ranks among the world’s best. Credit three factors: top talent, an intense format where scores of performers blanket a half-dozen downtown stages day and night for 11 days, and Halifax’s geographically compact downtown waterfront, which fosters a really good street party. The latter attribute also makes Halifax a great location for other summer events, including: the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo (July 1-8); the Tall Ships Nova Scotia Festival (July 16-19); and the ICF Canoe Sprint World Championships, the largest international sporting event ever held in Atlantic Canada, at Lake Banook, Dartmouth (Aug. 12-16).
By Ken MacQueen - Thursday, April 30, 2009 at 11:40 AM - 919 Comments
Halifax is dumping raw waste again, after a new plant failed
The beaches of Halifax Harbour opened last summer for the first time in years—a fleeting environmental victory unlikely to soon be repeated. Halifax is again dumping human waste into the harbour after the failure of a key part of its $333-million sewage treatment system. It may take a year to repair the plant after a power outage caused a valve to fail in January, flooding the building with seven million litres of sewage. City officials will open an electronic black box this week that may reveal who is responsible for repairing the facility, which opened in late 2007.
The plant failure is seen as a setback by Ecojustice Canada (formerly Sierra Legal), an advocacy group that ranks the generally dismal waste water treatment record of Canadian municipalities. “Plants deal with power outages all the time so Halifax should have been prepared,” says Elaine MacDonald, a senior scientist with Ecojustice. Halifax, Montreal, Victoria and St. John’s, Nfld., were all assessed failing grades in the group’s 2004 National Sewage Report Card. It estimated 200 billion litres of raw sewage is dumped annually. “Municipal sewage is the single largest source of pollution into water in Canada and it gets very little attention,” she says.