By The Canadian Press - Friday, May 10, 2013 - 0 Comments
HALIFAX – A committee of the Nova Scotia legislature will take a deeper look…
HALIFAX – A committee of the Nova Scotia legislature will take a deeper look at the conduct of a politician who has been charged with assault and uttering threats.
The legislature voted Friday to refer the case of NDP member Percy Paris to its internal affairs committee after Liberal Keith Colwell alleged he was assaulted by another member of the house.
“Yesterday in the house of assembly, I was assaulted and threatened by the minister of economic and rural development and tourism,” Colwell asserted.
“This improper behaviour by the minister was quite clearly an execution of a threat and intimidation, an attempt to prevent me from performing my function as a legislator, elected representative for my constituents and member of this assembly.” Continue…
By The Canadian Press - Thursday, April 25, 2013 at 2:38 PM - 0 Comments
HALIFAX – Nova Scotia Premier Darrell Dexter said he can’t understand why Ottawa is…
HALIFAX – Nova Scotia Premier Darrell Dexter said he can’t understand why Ottawa is ruling out a public inquiry into the case of Ernest Fenwick MacIntosh after Canada’s top court concluded it took too long to bring sex offence charges against him to trial.
Federal Justice Minister Rob Nicholson said Thursday he has no plans for an inquiry, a decision Dexter said his government will try to change.
“The facts of the case are deeply disturbing, so why would you not agree to some kind of review?” Dexter said.
He said the province’s request for an inquiry was not intended to assign blame.
“Whenever there is a failure in a system there is a tendency in that system to want to defend themselves. That’s not the function of a review and that is not what politicians should be doing.” Continue…
By The Canadian Press - Sunday, April 21, 2013 at 1:45 PM - 0 Comments
HALIFAX – Nova Scotia’s premier says he’ll talk to Stephen Harper this week about…
HALIFAX – Nova Scotia’s premier says he’ll talk to Stephen Harper this week about changing the criminal code in response to the death of 17-year-old Rehtaeh Parsons.
Darrell Dexter says in a statement today that the topic will be at the top of the agenda of Tuesday’s meeting.
On Friday, the province’s justice minister said he wants to make the circulation of intimate images without consent a criminal act.
Ross Landry said this would apply in cases where the images are distributed for malicious or sexual purposes.
Parsons attempted suicide on April 4 and was taken off life-support three days later.
Her family alleges she was sexually assaulted at a house party by four boys in November 2011 and a photograph of the incident was distributed.
The RCMP said they looked into the allegations but concluded in consultation with Nova Scotia’s prosecution service there were insufficient grounds to lay charges.
They have reopened the case after receiving what they describe as “new and credible” information.
By The Canadian Press - Friday, April 19, 2013 at 9:27 AM - 0 Comments
HALIFAX – Nova Scotia’s justice minister says he wants the federal government to introduce…
HALIFAX – Nova Scotia’s justice minister says he wants the federal government to introduce a law that would make it illegal to distribute an intimate image for a malicious or sexual purpose without consent.
Ross Landry issued a statement today that says he plans to raise the issue with federal Justice Minister Rob Nicholson next week in Ottawa.
The statement does not say what would constitute an intimate image.
Landry’s demand comes as the province is reviewing the case of Rehtaeh Parsons.
The 17-year-old attempted suicide and was later taken off life-support earlier this month after an alleged sexual assault that her family says was photographed and distributed around her school.
Landry says cyberbullies should be held accountable for distributing intimate images without consent.
By The Canadian Press - Monday, April 15, 2013 at 10:17 PM - 0 Comments
HALIFAX – The Nova Scotia government will launch an independent review of the RCMP’s…
HALIFAX – The Nova Scotia government will launch an independent review of the RCMP’s original investigation into the Rehtaeh Parsons case, Premier Darrell Dexter said Monday following a week of public pressure and international attention on the teen’s death.
But Dexter said the review won’t proceed until the Mounties conclude their current criminal investigation into the alleged sexual assault of the 17-year-old girl.
“While there is an ongoing investigation, one has to be cognizant of the fact that there are certain legal requirements that have to be observed,” said Dexter.
“The important thing is that it will be comprehensive and it will be fully independent.”
By The Canadian Press - Thursday, April 4, 2013 at 1:45 PM - 0 Comments
HALIFAX – Nova Scotia’s NDP government tabled a slim surplus Thursday of $16.4 million…
HALIFAX – Nova Scotia’s NDP government tabled a slim surplus Thursday of $16.4 million in a budget that aims to appeal to the public before an election call that could happen later this year.
Maureen MacDonald’s $9.5-billion budget, her first as the province’s finance minister, is propped up by an anticipated boost of $233.6 million in provincial revenues and another $86 million in departmental spending cuts.
MacDonald said the balanced budget for 2013-14 marks a landmark achievement for a government that initially promised surpluses in each of the last three years but was hampered by global economic forces beyond its control.
“We are back to balance despite three years of modest revenue growth, not through hoping and wishing,” MacDonald said in her budget speech to the legislature.
“There have been some bumps along the way, but collectively we have a lot to show for our efforts.”
Some departments such as Education, Economic Development and Community Services will face cuts. But the Health Department, the government’s largest expenditure, will see a small increase of $51 million, bringing overall spending to $3.9 billion.
The government is also increasing the tax on tobacco by two cents per cigarette as of Friday, a measure expected to rake in $18.1 million.
MacDonald is also offering a smattering of small populist measures, some of which were previously announced in the days leading up to the budget, that are intended to win public favour.
About $5.3 million will go to funding insulin pumps and related supplies for youths up to the age of 19, and another $2.1 million will be spent to expand dental coverage for children 13 and under.
Other measures previously announced include tax breaks that will see 8,000 additional low-income seniors exempt from paying provincial tax and a small business tax rate reduction to three per cent, down by half a percentage point.
The government has also previously announced its intention to drop the harmonized sales tax by two percentage points over two years beginning in 2014.
“Together, we have climbed a steep hill,” MacDonald said. “Together, we will start seeing the hard work pay off.”
Federal revenue sources are also expected to grow, driven by a $124.9 million rise in equalization funding from the federal government.
By The Canadian Press - Monday, March 25, 2013 at 5:19 AM - 0 Comments
HALIFAX – Public health officials in Nova Scotia knew they were dealing with an…
HALIFAX – Public health officials in Nova Scotia knew they were dealing with an outbreak of E. coli five days before they informed the public about it in early January, documents obtained by The Canadian Press show.
The first indication that staff were aware of the E. coli 0157 outbreak appears in two emails sent by the province’s chief medical officer to staff with the Health Department and district health authorities on Dec. 31, 2012.
In one of the emails, Dr. Robert Strang says the Health Department was in the process of gathering more information about the outbreak and officials would meet on Jan. 2 to assess it.
Notes from that day’s meeting, which were released under access-to-information legislation, show that Health Department officials knew there were dealing with seven confirmed cases of E. coli 0157 affecting people ranging in age from 18 to 83.
By The Canadian Press - Saturday, February 23, 2013 at 9:40 PM - 0 Comments
WOODS HARBOUR, N.S. – The father of one of five young Nova Scotia fishermen…
WOODS HARBOUR, N.S. – The father of one of five young Nova Scotia fishermen lost at sea says word that divers found no sign of their bodies beneath a capsized vessel is hard to accept, yet it gives him a sense of closure.
“There’s no need for any more search,” said George Hopkins, whose 27-year-old son Joel Hopkins was among the missing.
Nearby, a dozen cars were parked and a steady stream of family friends came and went, offering condolences as they entered his brightly lit house.
“It wasn’t the result we wanted,” said Hopkins.
“But for me there’s closure knowing the search is over and there’s no hope now of anybody being alive.”
By The Canadian Press - Saturday, January 26, 2013 at 1:30 PM - 0 Comments
[View the story "Moving Morris House" on Storify]
Moving Morris House
Storified by Maclean’s…
HALIFAX – A 249-year-old Halifax home climbed the steep slope of the city’s downtown at a walking pace early Saturday, successfully completing the first phase of a delicate journey to its fresh location and role.
Slated for demolition in 2009, the Morris House was saved by the Nova Scotia Heritage Trust — which bought the structure for one dollar and partnered with housing groups and the Ecology Action Centre to find it a new lot in the city’s north end.
By Sunday, it’s expected to be atop a fresh foundation. The grey-shingled, historic building is slated for renovation and will eventually become a home for nine young people who have experienced difficulties finding housing.
“We’ve imagined this for so long and to have it finally happen is just hard to believe,” said Phil Pacey, chair of the Halifax committee of the Heritage Trust.
By The Canadian Press - Sunday, January 13, 2013 at 12:42 PM - 0 Comments
YARMOUTH, N.S. – Officials in Nova Scotia have called off the search for a…
YARMOUTH, N.S. – Officials in Nova Scotia have called off the search for a fisherman who went overboard Saturday southwest of Yarmouth.
Lt.-Cmdr. Bruno Tremblay, a spokesman for the navy in Halifax, says rescue crews made the difficult decision around 9 a.m. this morning after scouring the waters for more than 14 hours.
He says it’s standard procedure, noting that at this point, “there’s no chance to find him alive anymore.”
Tremblay says the Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre in Halifax was called around 7 p.m. Saturday with reports of a fisherman going overboard.
He says they immediately launched a Cormorant helicopter and a Hercules aircraft as well as two Canadian Coast Guard vessels, which were later joined by more than 20 ships volunteering for the search.
He says RCMP have taken over the investigation into what is now considered a missing person case.
“It’s very sad,” Tremblay said. “We were in touch with the next of kin all along and it was a very difficult decision to do but it’s standard protocols.”
The fisherman’s name has not been released but Tremblay said the boat was named “Row, Row.”
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, December 17, 2012 at 3:09 PM - 0 Comments
Alberta, British Columbia and Quebec already have some form of carbon pricing. Quebec is set to move forward with a cap-and-trade system and Ontario is still, at least on paper, committed to doing likewise (though it obviously remains to be seen who will be in charge of that province this time next year).
As for the other provinces, I’ve asked a few of them: what is the government’s position on carbon pricing, either through a carbon tax or cap-and-trade?
A spokeswoman for Nova Scotia Premier Darrell Dexter responds as follows.
Premier Dexter has not supported a carbon tax approach because energy is often an essential expenditure for Canadian households. Nova Scotia has spent several years looking at cap and trade models, but in 2009 decided to reduce emissions through regulation rather than wait indefinitely for a cap and trade model that was solid enough to merit consideration of Nova Scotia joining. Companies in Nova Scotia that tried to use cap and trade systems found it was not very worthwhile.
When I asked about the possibility of a national cap-and-trade system, I was told, essentially, that the Premier would have to think about it before offering an opinion. (“The Premier would give a considered answer, which would take some time, since that has not been a focus of his environmental or energy policies as NDP leader and then as premier also. There’s not much more we would be prepared to say on that right now.”)
A spokesman for the Manitoba government, meanwhile, offers the following.
Manitoba has taken a number of steps to reduce GHG emissions within Manitoba and abroad. We remain a full partner and continue to observe the progress being made within the Western Climate Initiative (WCI). Last year we publicly consulted on a cap and trade system. The reaction we received was mixed. There are concerns about the potential impacts that a cap and trade system, as proposed under the current WCI framework, would have on Manitoba’s economy.
In January of this year our government introduced a $10 per tonne emission tax on coal and committed to use the revenue generated by the tax to help coal users transition to renewable biomass energy. Already we have seen a significant transition from coal to biomass in rural Manitoba.
In our Speech from the Throne last month, our government committed to bringing in a new mandatory emissions reporting regulation for large emitters. This new standard will bring the threshold for reporting below the current federal standard and will provide Manitoba with important information on the sources and magnitude of emissions in the province.
Manitoba generally supports carbon pricing as an effective means of reducing GHG emissions and transitioning toward a lower carbon economy. Given the relative size of Manitoba’s economy and our lack of point-source emitters, it is difficult for our province to move forward with carbon pricing policies on our own, but we continue to monitor and evaluate actions taken in other jurisdictions.
Manitoba’s preference, in the absence of federal leadership, is to move forward with an approach to carbon pricing that is consistent with jurisdictions across Canada. In our role as Co-Chair of the Council of the Federation’s Canadian Energy Strategy Working Group, Manitoba looks forward to leading a discussion on potential carbon pricing models.
Both the Manitoba and Nova Scotia governments are NDP governments. The New Democrats in Manitoba have a majority and conceivably won’t face another election until 2015. The New Democrats in Nova Scotia have a majority, but will likely face a difficult election in the new year.
The Liberal government in British Columbia, which instituted that province’s carbon tax, could be defeated next year by the NDP, but the province’s NDP leader seems interested in keeping the tax.
By Mika Rekai - Sunday, December 9, 2012 at 6:20 AM - 0 Comments
A few senators suggested Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia join as one. Plenty of others disagreed.
Stop us if you’ve heard this one: by forming a Maritime union, the provinces of Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia will finally have the clout necessary to fix what ails them. When three Tory senators from the region suggested such a merger last week, it was the latest in a long line of failed attempts at provincial matrimony. With a backlash already under way, it’s hard to see this proposal ending any differently.
There’s no question the provinces face huge problems. Unemployment is well above the national average, their populations are aging rapidly, and the region is increasingly dependent on federal support even as Ottawa grows stingy. Proponents of a union say a consolidated bureaucracy would be more cost-effective, and the provinces would not have to compete against each other for investment.
Similar arguments were made back in 1864, when politicians from the Maritime colonies met in Charlottetown to talk about forming a union, but their plans were derailed when Sir John A. Macdonald arrived with a plentiful supply of champagne and a rather larger proposal—the Dominion of Canada. A century later New Brunswick premier Louis Robichaud proposed an Atlantic Canada union (including Newfoundland). Observers thought he was joking. Then in the 1970s, with Quebec separatist sentiment rising, a union was eyed in case the struggling region found itself cut off. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, December 6, 2012 at 12:52 PM - 0 Comments
On Tuesday, Denis Lebel ventured that all of the provinces had been consulted about C-45′s changes to the Navigable Waters Protection Act and that none of the provinces had any concerns. But it seems the Nova Scotia government, having received a letter from Mr. Lebel three days before the bill was tabled, are still working on their response.
A provincial spokeswoman said the province received a letter from Lebel on Oct. 15, three days before the bill went through first reading in the House of Commons. Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal Minister Maurice Smith wrote back to his federal colleague on Nov. 2, saying he would respond to the proposed changes, said spokeswoman Lori Errington. By that point, the bill had passed second reading in the House and was sent to the finance committee for study. The committee passed it with no amendments.
The province still had not responded as of Wednesday, when the House passed the bill for the third and final time. “We’re working on a response from the province, which has taken time because the Act is complex and affects four departments. We’re expecting to send it soon,” Errington said Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the New Democrats quibble with Mr. Lebel’s explanation of what constitutes a navigable waterway.
This follows the government side’s attempt to explain where changes to the act were referenced in the spring budget and the disappearing FAQ. The Conservative argument that the act has nothing to do with the environment is also problematic.
Update 4:37pm. In a statement, Mr. Lebel dismisses the suggestion that the government of Nova Scotia was not informed until October 15.
The Harper Government continues to deliver on our budget commitment to reduce red tape and create jobs. The streamlined Navigation Protection Act will cut red tape that has held up provincial and municipal infrastructure projects like bridge construction and repairs.
The claim that Nova Scotia was not consulted well in advance is completely false. Throughout the summer, all provinces and territories were consulted. On July 5 Transport Canada met with 10 senior officials from Nova Scotia’s departments of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal, Fisheries and Aquaculture, and Natural Resources and there was more follow-up on August 29 and September 13. The Minister’s office was engaged on July 10 and contacted again on September 11. Officials did not express objections or propose any additions to the list of waterways.
My October 15 letter to the Minister Smith referenced these consultations. As well, I discussed the principles for reforming the Act with my colleagues at a Federal-Provincial-Territorial Council of Ministers, shortly before the bill was introduced. The new approach to navigation law will reduce the backlog of applications and ensure that provincial and municipal infrastructure projects can proceed more quickly.
By The Canadian Press - Tuesday, October 2, 2012 at 1:57 PM - 0 Comments
SYDNEY, N.S. – A 77-year-old woman infamously known as the “Internet Black Widow” has…
SYDNEY, N.S. – A 77-year-old woman infamously known as the “Internet Black Widow” has been charged with attempted murder after her husband suddenly became ill while staying at a Cape Breton inn, police said Tuesday.
Melissa Ann Weeks of New Glasgow, N.S., was charged after the accused’s 75-year-old husband was taken to hospital in Sydney, N.S., after a fall on the weekend.
The Cape Breton Regional Police arrested a woman Monday at around noon following an investigation into the health of the New Glasgow man, who they say has since been treated and released.
Weeks, who is also charged with administering a noxious thing, appeared Tuesday in Sydney provincial court. She was remanded into custody until Friday for a bail hearing.
Weeks was sentenced in 2005 to five years in prison on seven counts of theft from a man in Florida she had met online. Investigators in that case said she stole about US$20,000 from Alexander Strategos.
She was also convicted of manslaughter in the death of her husband, Gordon Stewart, who she had drugged and run over twice with a car in 1991 outside Halifax. She served two years of a six-year sentence for that crime.
By The Canadian Press - Saturday, September 29, 2012 at 8:16 AM - 0 Comments
LUNENBURG, N.S. – Thousands of Nova Scotians and visitors from across Canada were on hand this morning for the relaunch of the famed schooner Bluenose ll.
LUNENBURG, N.S. – Onlookers clapped and small boats sounded their horns as the newly restored Bluenose II made its historic relaunch as a light drizzle gave way to a Nova Scotia sunrise early Saturday morning.
Thousands of Nova Scotians and visitors from across Canada donned rain gear and clutched coffees as the 43-metre vessel made its slow descent into the Lunenburg harbour.
The event marked the famed schooner’s official return to the water after an extensive two-year, $15.9 million restoration. Ottawa covered $4.9 million of the cost and the province paid the rest.
The schooner’s entire hull and much of its deck made from Douglas fir have been replaced.
Premier Darrell Dexter was among the crowd that gathered along the waterfront, the same spot where the original Bluenose was launched more than 90 years ago.
“The excitement and anticipation leading up to today speaks of our love of the ocean and our ability to thrive by it,” Dexter said as the vessel made its way down the slipway and into the ocean.
“Future generations of Nova Scotians will now know what it means to have the same pride as their parents, their grandparents and their great-grandparents before them.”
More than 100 boats — from canoes to yachts — bobbed in the waters surrounding the Bluenose II as divers disappeared beneath the surface to detach the supports and chains holding the vessel to a transfer carriage. The schooner towered over the others, even without its two masts, canvas sails and rigging, which will be installed in the coming months. Some of the small boats sounded horns
People, young and old, huddled under umbrellas aloft a hill and a ripple of applause could be heard as a tugboat pulled the vessel across the harbour towards the town’s fisheries’ museum.
Among the thousands of onlookers was Charles Tanner, who was a crew member on the original Bluenose. Tanner was 19-years-old when he worked aboard the acclaimed ship and recalled fishing along the Grand Banks.
Tanner, 92, said the latest incarnation of the Nova Scotia’s sailing ambassador is much different from the first version of Bluenose II, built in 1963 by the Oland family of Halifax to promote sales of Schooner beer. This time, the shipbuilders were able to step back as they worked on the vessel along Lunenburg’s waterfront, and Tanner said that makes all the difference.
“The other Bluenose II was built… in a building, and it’s alright in a building, but you can’t stand and look at it and see what she looks like,” said Tanner, who was born in Lunenburg.
But Tanner was modest about her return to the water, noting it’s something that he’s witnessed hundreds of times.
“It’s nice to see this happening,” said Tanner, sporting a Bluenose ball cap. “I don’t how many I’ve towed down here and put on the slip and took them back off again day in and day out. It doesn’t mean so much to me, but for the younger people, it’s really something to look at.”
The Bluenose II is a replica of the original Bluenose, a fishing and race schooner designed by William J. Roue that won worldwide acclaim for its graceful lines and flat-out speed.
The restoration was carried out by the Lunenburg Shipyard Alliance, Lunenburg Industrial Foundry and Engineering and Covey Island Boatworks, a news release said.
By The Canadian Press - Thursday, September 27, 2012 at 10:10 AM - 0 Comments
LUNENBURG, N.S. – The RCMP say two men wanted after a 16-year-old boy was allegedly sexually assaulted and forcibly confined in southwestern Nova Scotia could be in separate vehicles.
LUNENBURG, N.S. – The RCMP say two men wanted after a 16-year-old boy was allegedly sexually assaulted and forcibly confined in southwestern Nova Scotia could be in separate vehicles.
The Mounties are appealing for the public’s help after a Lunenburg County woman reported that a teen arrived at her doorstep Monday evening chained at his wrists and ankles.
The woman said the youth was in his bare feet at the time and wearing only a hooded sweatshirt.
RCMP Sgt. Allain Leblanc says the public should be on the lookout for two vehicles.
Leblanc says one is a grey 2003 Hyundai Elantra with a Nova Scotia licence plate of FBP 233.
He says the second is a brown 2002 Chevrolet Venture van with a Nova Scotia licence plate of EZG 581.
Investigators say they are looking for 47-year-old David James Leblanc and 31-year-old Wayne Alan Cunningham, who they have charged with forcible confinement and sexual assault.
Leblanc says the boy was taken to hospital and is safe, but he wouldn’t elaborate.
By Noah Richler - Tuesday, September 4, 2012 at 10:01 AM - 0 Comments
Too much of a good thing?
In Nova Scotia, locals will tell you, lobsters used to be poor-man’s food, and prisoners were once fed so much of it that they rioted. In his celebrated essay “Consider the Lobster,” David Foster Wallace states that “even in the harsh penal environment of early America, some colonies had laws against feeding lobsters to inmates more than once a week because it was thought to be cruel and unusual, like making people eat rats.”
In the restaurants of Canadian cities, the experience is the opposite—lobster is purveyed as a luxury food. A bit of claw, or a couple of slices of tail arrive, balanced on a carefully sculpted tower of julienne vegetables and a cappuccino froth, with an altogether heftier bill that comes later. Poached lobster at Vancouver’s C Restaurant will set you back $38. A couple of “lobster spoons,” the morsels braised in butter with vermouth, will cost a diner at Mark McEwan’s restaurant One, in Toronto, $26 before tax and tip, and a lobster carbonara $38.
Compare these dishes with others on the same menus and you will see that plates featuring Atlantic lobster at One sell for more than others featuring lamb or steak tartare, and at C for more than twice the price of “Pacific fish & chips.” And yet lobster is wholesaling in the Atlantic provinces at record low prices. Matthew Theriault, whose lobster-fishing rig Beth and Lyne sails out of Digby, N.S., into St. Marys Bay and the Bay of Fundy, has kept meticulous records that show the price he gets now is down a third since its 2007 peak of roughly $6 per pound. Today lobster is easily available for retail at $5 a pound in Digby and for less than $10 a pound in big city superstores—about the same price as haddock and less than cod, and half or even a third the price of lamb and beef.
By The Canadian Press - Monday, August 13, 2012 at 6:38 AM - 0 Comments
Gus the tortoise celebrated his 90th birthday Sunday with almost 1,000 people at the Museum of Nature in Halifax.
HALIFAX—Gus the tortoise celebrated his 90th birthday Sunday with almost 1,000 people at the Museum of Nature in Halifax.
Museum staff believe Gus, who is barely bigger than a kitten, is the oldest gopher turtle in the world.
They estimate he hatched sometime between 1920 and 1925.
His guests were treated to birthday cake and lemonade, but Gus himself dined on organic blueberries and strawberries.
The fruit was a “special treat” for the almost-century-old tortoise.
Jeff Gray, the museum’s curator of marketing and communications, said Gus usually sticks to a balanced diet of lettuce, berries and bananas.
Gus spent a large part of his birthday in his habitat at the museum, but he came out for a round of birthday wishes. Children sang happy birthday and drew hearts and well wishes on his birthday card, but the real celebration came when Gus went for an afternoon walk.
It Gus’s opportunity to interact with his guests, something Gray said the tortoise loves to do.
“He really does love people… he’s a little slow in the morning getting up but once he gets going by mid-afternoon he seems to really interact well with visitors,” Gray said.
Gus didn’t seem too motivated to walk around, preferring instead to sit and watch his birthday festivities.
But he was treated to lots of inquisitive pats from his younger guests.
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 Mark Richardson - Tuesday, June 19, 2012 at 11:10 PM - 0 Comments
Trans-Canada distance: n/a
Actual distance driven: 4,046 km
THEN: …The original pair of “Pathfinders,”
Trans-Canada distance: n/a
Actual distance driven: 4,046 km
THEN: The original pair of “Pathfinders,” Thomas Wilby and Jack Haney, who made the first coast-to-coast Canadian road trip 100 years ago, set off from Halifax Harbour in rain and drove north on muddy roads.
It can’t have been much fun in the open car, and especially not since Wilby, the British snob, sat in the back and would not have cared for conversation with Haney, the American mechanic who was provided as the car’s driver and caretaker.
The roads that the two would have followed were narrow and unpaved, and no maps existed to show their route. There seemed little need– fewer than 200 cars were registered in Halifax at the time. Instead, the duo were led north by a guide in one of those cars, and they stopped just five kilometres outside of town for a drink at an inn, where the locals’ curiosity was eventually stirred when the guide told them of the long drive expected to Vancouver.
At that, everyone went outside to look at the car, while Wilby considered them with disdain. “Vancouver awoke only vague geographical associations,” he wrote later. “It had no connection with their lives; it suggested a journey to the moon.”
If there was to be a link between Atlantic and Pacific, most people didn’t see cars as the way of providing it. In his book “The All-Red Route,” author John Nicol quotes an editorial from the Halifax newspaper that year:
“Is it reasonable, that the mass of the people, who will never own an auto, will give up the roads they made and practically own to the devil machines? Is it reasonable to believe that the legislature will take the roads of the country people away and transfer them to the rich men who may wish to make motor tracks of them? …
“In this province, where the country is hilly and the roads narrow, if an automobile comes suddenly over a hill in the face of a horse unacquainted with them, 10 men would not keep him from going over the bank with the wagon to which it may be attached. Automobiles have not come to stay. Just wait until they kill a few people by tumbling the wagon in which people are travelling peacefully along. They haven’t come to stay on country roads, and they won’t stay.”
NOW: I drove to Eastern Passage to dip the wheels of the Camaro into the Atlantic. I did this already in Newfoundland, as you can see on this CBC clip, but it just seemed right to do it again, as a tip of the ball cap to Wilby and Haney. You can see today’s video here.
From there, I drove slowly along the old Waverley Road, which was the original road north from Halifax Bay, and dropped in to visit with Dave Munroe, to talk cars and motorcycles for a while. Munroe is a retired motorcycle dealer and former national chair of the Canadian Automobile Association.
It was a relaxed afternoon but perhaps too relaxed – I’d intended to follow the Waverley Road all the way through the countryside to Truro, but realized when I left Munroe’s house that time was getting on; if I followed the old route I may not get to my destination here in the Wentworth Valley before dark.
So just a few kilometres north, I swung onto the main throughway and set the cruise control to 120 km/h. Every now and again, to my right, I could see the old road through the trees.
SOMETHING DIFFERENT … Here I am, topping up my bottle with water from the Atlantic at Eastern Passage, across the bay from Halifax, Nova Scotia.
I’m topping it up because I already had Atlantic water in there from Petty Harbour, Newfoundland, which I’d gathered on the first day of this drive, two weeks ago. You can see the considerably-less-than-graceful video of the historic event here. But I didn’t have as much as I’d started out with.
After putting that quarter-bottle in the car and setting off across Newfoundland, I just left it rolling around behind the seat and forgot about it. I bought other bottles of drinking water since then. And a few days later, I was fumbling around for a bottle of water while driving and, yes, pulled up the ocean water bottle and gave it a healthy swig. Except, of course, it was a very unhealthy swig, full of salt and fish pee. I spewed my mouthful through the open window, although most of it was picked up by the slipstream and hurled back inside the car.
Anyway, today I needed to top up the bottle so that I can pour it into the Pacific. All very symbolic, though it would be more symbolic, of something, if I just spit it into the ocean at Vancouver.
The bottle of salt water is now carried safely in the trunk, and it won’t be leaving the trunk until I get to the left coast.
By Mark Richardson - Sunday, June 17, 2012 at 8:56 PM - 0 Comments
Trans-Canada distance: n/a
Actual distance driven: 3,676 km
THEN:… I’m a hundred kilometres from
Trans-Canada distance: n/a
Actual distance driven: 3,676 km
THEN: I’m a hundred kilometres from the Trans-Canada Highway, on the Atlantic coast here at Halifax. When the TCH was first proposed in 1949 – when the federal government sought to encourage each of the provincial governments to build the highway, since roads are a provincial responsibility – both Nova Scotia and New Brunswick insisted on the route going through their major urban centres; Nova Scotia wanted to include Halifax, and New Brunswick wanted to include Saint John. Neither city was really “on the way” though; each was a detour, and the Act that passed in 1949 specified that the Trans-Canada would follow “the shortest practicable route.” Ottawa did have some say in the matter, since it was agreeing to cover half the cost of construction and didn’t want to pay for unnecessary additional distance.
New Brunswick finally agreed the following year on a route that bypassed Saint John. Nova Scotia held out for two more years until 1952, when in return for skipping Halifax, as Daniel Francis observes in his book “A Road for Canada,” Ottawa agreed to construct the Canso Causeway that linked Cape Breton to the rest of the province.
NOW: I took a side trip today to drive past Peggy’s Cove and look at the lighthouse, which is in serious need of a coat of paint. Just like the Trans-Canada Highway, neither the provincial government nor the federal government can agree on who’s going to pay for this, so it stays unpainted, presenting a shabby front to the half-million tourists who visit each year.
It was a bittersweet day, though: it’s Father’s Day, and my two boys are at home in Cobourg, Ontario, and I should be with them. This is the first father’s day since my eldest was born 15 years ago that I’ve been apart from them.
I’ve travelled a fair bit with both boys, on road trips. My eldest, Andrew, came with me to New York on my Harley when he was 11, and again when he was 12 to Washington, D.C., when we rode there to meet the President. He now prefers to spend time with his friends, but in honour of Father’s Day, he created a Camaro with Minecraft that he sent to me on Facebook. He called me to explain how to look for it – after all, this is all from an entirely different generation.
His brother, Tristan, cut his teeth with me on the bike on a road trip to Mount Washington a couple of years ago, and this year, at 12, will be driving with me in the Camaro out west. I’ll be back to Ontario in time for Canada Day, then Tristan and I will travel together for the rest of this journey. Both of us are really looking forward to this. He sent me a photo today that popped up on my phone, wishing me a happy Fathers’ Day.
Before I left my motel room this morning–a clean room that smelled so strongly of paint that I had to leave all the windows wide open all night long–I read Ian Brown’s words in the Globe, and they rang home across the distance that I’m separated from my own boys.
“Your father stands apart, watching, the one who shows you how life works, who provides context – your instructor, your guide, your tracker, your friend … and finally your companion.”
Road trips are great, but like everything in life, they come with a cost, especially on Father’s Day.
WHAT’S INTERESTING … Archie Chisholm says he’s the only professional hammock maker in the region, and probably the country. He used to work on the line for Ford in St. Thomas, Ontario, but he and Anne retired out here a few years ago to find a more satisfying life.
Now they own The Bay Hammock Company, which I drove past this afternoon on the Peggy’s Cove road and swerved into to check the merchandise. And I wasn’t the only one: “Father’s Day for us is like Christmas Day,” says Archie. “We’ll sell a couple of dozen hammocks today.”
He invited me to lie in one of his creations and as soon as I settled in, I knew I couldn’t leave without parting with $150 to take one home. I didn’t even bother to haggle – I was too comfortable. “And this one is good for the environment,” Archie joked. “The rope is ‘reprieve,’ made out of recycled plastic bags.”
Archie and Anne sold their nearby waterfront home earlier this year and have just moved into an RV that’s parked alongside the hammock construction workshop, where they spin the rope and prepare the wood spreader bars. Once the season is over, they’ll be driving that RV down south and are looking forward to the journey. They’ve already started keeping a blog about it, which you can read here. “It’ll be a big road trip, yes it will,” says Archie. “You can’t beat a road trip. We’re really looking forward to it.”
By Mark Richardson - Tuesday, June 12, 2012 at 5:25 AM - 0 Comments
Trans-Canada distance: 1,262 km
Actual distance driven: 2,017 km
THEN: …The causeway that links
Trans-Canada distance: 1,262 km
Actual distance driven: 2,017 km
THEN: The causeway that links Cape Breton to the rest of mainland Canada is only a few years older than the Trans-Canada Highway, opened officially in August of 1955. Kevin MacDonald remembers being there as an 11-year-old boy, while his mom sold hot dogs to the crowd and his father, a train-ferry engineer at nearby Port Hawkesbury, worried about losing his job.
“I remember the bagpipes,” he recalls. “They were loud!”
Perhaps not quite as loud as they might have been, though. There’s a story, which nobody can prove true or false, that says one of the 100 pipers who marched across the Canso Causeway that day refused to actually blow into his pipes – a protest against the perceived loss of his island’s independence. He was, apparently, a proud Cape Bretoner named Roderick (Big Rod the Piper) MacPherson, and some people say it’s true and others state it’s a misty-eyed fantasy.
Whatever the case, it is true that several hundred people lost their jobs when the causeway was completed and the ferry service ended, including Kevin’s dad, but Charles MacDonald’s position at CN was transferred instead to Sydney the following year. Kevin says he and his
brothersister received a better education for it. And in the end, the towns of Port Hawkesbury and Port Hastings saw more industry come to their area for the improved connection, and more jobs.
Does Kevin have a favourite memory of that August day, 57 years ago? Sure he does.
“The Premier responsible for the causeway, Angus L. MacDonald, had died the year before and so his brother gave a speech for him. His brother was Father Stanley, and he spoke in the traditional Gaelic to the crowd who all understood the language. And he gave them his opinion of what he really thought of the politicians. The people all laughed and cheered and so the politicians, who were sitting behind Father Stanley, all laughed and cheered too. They weren’t from Cape Breton and couldn’t understand anything he was saying – just as well too. And that’s a true story. There’s lots of verification for that one.”
NOW: Peter the truck driver parked his haul of gravel among a dozen other gravel trucks in the line to enter the PEI ferry at Pictou, Nova Scotia. “We haul gravel and sand onto the island, and we’re taking contaminated soil out,” he says. There’s really no sand and gravel on Prince Edward Island that’s good enough quality to build roads or mix concrete, and it must all be imported from quarries in Nova Scotia. But the contaminated soil – what’s that about?
“They found an oil tank was leaking into the ground in Charlottetown and they don’t know how much oil is there. Enough to keep us busy anyway. They’ve dug down eight metres so far and they don’t know when they’ll stop.”
Peter is one of the drivers who take the oily soil to a landfill in Nova Scotia that can process it properly, and their trucks fill the lower level of the ferry. It’s expensive to cross, he says – nearly $130 round trip. Vehicles driving to and from PEI only pay when they leave the island, not when they enter, and it’s more expensive to use the seasonal ferry than the Confederation Bridge – about $20 more. Because of that, people in the know who need to make a round-trip loop will leave the island on the bridge and return on the ferry.
Like the ferries to Newfoundland, and the BC ferries between Vancouver’s Horseshoe Bay and Nanaimo on Vancouver Island, the 22 km-crossing of the PEI ferry is considered to be a part of the Trans-Canada Highway. There’s been a ferry here since 1937, 20 years after the first regular ferry to the island was established near the current site of the Confederation Bridge.
Today, maybe half the 100-or-so passengers are watching Ellen Degeneres on the small ship’s large TV. Reception is better than when two friends of mine crossed on their honeymoon to the island, on the morning of Sept. 11,
19912001. It was horrible, Simon told me later. Everyone knew something terrible had happened but they really couldn’t make it out properly on the news with the snowy reception. When they got to PEI, he said, people heard on their car radios as they disembarked that New York’s Twin Towers had been destroyed, and everybody seemed to drive away in shock.
SOMETHING INTERESTING… They didn’t have Camaros in the 1890s – not even the originals. For that matter, they didn’t have Jeannie Campbell either, but they did have the character she plays, Mrs. Clarke of the general store. Jeannie is an interpreter at the Orwell Corner Historic Village, just off the Trans-Canada Highway about 30 km east of Charlottetown.
Jeannie took the time at the end of her day today to check out the 2012 car and decided she liked it, though she’s going to keep her Honda Civic for now. She says she likes her job, too, and the people she meets every summer, and she’s no stranger to having her photo taken.
“We get a lot of Japanese visitors here,” she said. They come to see Anne of Green Gables and then they come here, too. “They like this place because it’s the same time period (as Anne), and it’s real, too. These are the original buildings from the 1890s.
“They all want to take my picture, and I tell them they can take as many as they want, but I don’t ever want to see them.”
By Mark Richardson - Sunday, June 10, 2012 at 9:31 PM - 0 Comments
Trans-Canada distance: 979 km
Actual distance driven: 1,700 km
THEN: …In 1946, Brig. R.
Trans-Canada distance: 979 km
Actual distance driven: 1,700 km
THEN: In 1946, Brig. R. A. (Alex) Macfarlane (rtd.) and his friend Ken MacGillivray, a former RCAF squadron leader, drove their new Chevrolet Stylemaster, borrowed from General Motors, to Louisburg, N.S. and dipped its wheels in the Atlantic there. Then they set off for the Pacific to become the first drivers to cross the country entirely on Canadian roads.
By doing so, they were awarded the Todd Medal, struck in 1912 by Albert Todd, who would later become mayor of Victoria, B.C. The medal was created to promote automobile use and adventure, and to encourage the connection of Canadian communities to each other by road, instead of just to their markets in the U.S.
Back in 1912, Todd expected that his gold medal would be awarded within five years or so, but it took until 1943 for the final stretch of gravel highway to be completed between Geraldton and Hearst in northern Ontario before it was possible to drive across Canada by road. Even then it was an ordeal, made more difficult by wartime gas rationing, and it took another three years before Macfarlane learned of the medal’s existence and set out on his epic drive.
In the end, it took just 13 days to make the drive from Louisburg, then the most easterly point in Canada (Newfoundland would not join confederation for another three years) to Victoria, with a day’s layover in Winnipeg.
They ran into snow in northern Ontario, and some hairpin turns in British Columbia “gave us several thrills,” reported Macfarlane. He called the road trip “grueling,” but they experienced only two flat tires on the mostly unpaved highways and averaged almost 800 kilometres a day.
The medal was awarded to Macfarlane in Victoria, but not by Todd. The mayor had died in office 18 years previously.
On its back, it names Macfarlane as “First Motorist to drive Auto Across Canada on all Canadian Highways.” MacGillivray was not mentioned because he did not drive the car and was considered only an observer.
I have the Todd Medal with me now, carrying it securely in the car, on loan from Macfarlane’s grandson, Jim. So today, I drove up from Baddeck on a sidetrip to Louisburg, the site of the former French fortress of the 18th century. The fortress was not restored in 1946 but no matter–because the tourist season does not begin until next week I was able to drive right up to the site and pose for a photo in front of the main building. Then I got into the 2012 Chevrolet Camaro convertible, borrowed from General Motors, and set off again for the Pacific.
NOW: I crossed on the ferry yesterday to Nova Scotia and drove down here to Baddeck, and along the way, the highway crosses the graceful Seal Island Bridge to climb up and over Kelly’s Mountain. A sign at the bottom warns that the road rises 240 metres in the next seven kilometres.
Part of the original standard for the Trans-Canada Highway calls for drivers to always be able to see 600 feet (200 metres) ahead of their vehicle, but this is clearly not possible at the curve in the road at the northern end of the mountain, which has a recommended speed limit of 40 km/h. Forward visibility there is perhaps 100 metres. There have been numerous fatal crashes on this mountain thanks to this sharp curve.
Local lore tells that the highway could easily have crossed the water 20 km south where a ferry used to operate, which would have avoided the mountain entirely, but a local politician pressed for the current route in order to benefit from profitable land sales to the government.
Fifty years later and the road still contains this dangerous curve, perhaps the sharpest on the highway in the country. I’ll see if there’s anything similar in British Columbia when I pass through there next month, and get back to this then.
SOMETHING DIFFERENT… I was going to just take a photo of the Lick-A-Chick restaurant that’s outside North Sydney, and mention that apparently Wayne Gretzky went in there a few years ago and bought up all the hats and T-shirts for his buddies, but a friend convinced me to post this photo instead.
I took it here at Baddeck two weeks ago, on the way east to start this Trans-Canada Trek in Newfoundland. I’d met up with my brother-in-law and my niece who were both running in the annual 300-km Cabot Trail relay, and went with them to the wrap party that afternoon at the Bras d’Or Yacht Club.
Halfway through, the winning team – the Maine-iacs, who are perennial champions from, you guessed it, Maine – stripped off without warning and plunged into the lake to celebrate. Then, they had to get out.
There was much cheering and calling from the club’s deck. I walked after with some women from Newfoundland who were still recovering from the sight. “Seventeen naked men, all in one place!” said one. “I’ve never seen so much tackle. I wish I had a photo.”
Well, here it is. The original is available at no charge to any of the Maine-iacs who would like it, maybe to burn it….
By Emma Teitel - Thursday, May 17, 2012 at 7:40 PM - 0 Comments
But they’re not all on board: reports of violence on wharfs have forced the RCMP to intervene
Most people think lobster is too expensive. Not the roughly 900 fishermen in southwestern Nova Scotia whose job it is to haul the crustaceans from the deep. Hundreds of fishermen have been floating their boats idly in and around Yarmouth, Shelburne, and Digby for more than a week, with no plan to resume fishing unless lobster buyers agree to meet their price of $5.50 per pound. The striking fishermen say they receive, on average, between $3.25 and $5 dollars per pound of fish and argue that’s a wage they cannot afford to live on. The 1688 Professional Lobster Fishermen’s Association is leading the protest over what it considers an “unfair” decade-long decline in the price lobster buyers will pay. “We want lobster dealers to make money,” says James Mood, president of the organization, “but we want them to share that wealth with fishermen.”
Mood says that anything under $5.50 per pound is simply not livable, but the buyers won’t budge. “We’ve had one meeting with them,” he says. “It was not fruitful. They say they don’t have a [fixed] price.”
Apparently though, neither do some fishermen who have continued to set traps, raising the ire of the lobster union.There have been reports of violence on some wharfs and the RCMP have been forced to intervene. “There are some people that didn’t honour the strike,” says Mood. “There have been some threats made, some bullying, some badgering, some arguments nose to nose. But we support and believe in democracy. You have the freedom to go fishing or not.”
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…