OPENFILE: NSCADs gotta know when to hold ’em

If you like NSCAD, the current situation has been hard to talk about. It is kind of like having a friend—smart, accomplished, successful, arguably world renowned— with a gambling problem. A smart friend, who you admire, who is about to lose her house because she is running out of money and time. NSCAD has $21 million annual budget, a $19 million dollar debt, and has run deficits of $1.4 million last year and $2.4 million this year. The NSCAD Board itself projects a read more


Are you now, or have you ever been, a member of Occupy NS?

I’ve always been interested in the way the public makes itself heard by the people we elect. When I moved back to Halifax to go to university, I dove right in to the discourse—from the Common Plan, to municipal reform, then going to the Dalhousie campus plan meetings—all before the Christmas of my first year. I remember saying to my father how exciting it was to live somewhere big enough to be able to do interesting things, but small enough read more


Finger pointing and passing the buck; just another day at City Hall

“Camouflage is a game we all like to play, but our secrets are as surely revealed by what we want to seem to be as by what we want to conceal.” —Russell Lynes Unlike the last month or so, this time, when I write “there’s nothing to report about council,” it’s not because our elected municipal government was meeting in secret, but because they didn’t meet Tuesday night. Nevertheless, council landed back in the news with a resounding thud Tuesday. read more


OccupyNS Eviction Coverage and Opinion – A Summary

Some reading for those that wish to know more: Start with Bethany Horne’s excellent summary of issues around the camp. Read Parker Donham’s summary of a Senseless and Unnecessary Use of Power.  Surf his site for more feedback. Read and listen to Tim Bousquet’s of the Coast’s interview with Mayor Peter Kelly, and then read Dan Arsenault from the Herald’s interview.  Both show the power and frustration of politico’s slavishly sticking to the talking points. Finally, we go back to Parker’s site to read read more


From the Facebook page of Peter Kelly, Mayor

This dialog, take from Mayor Peter Kelly’s public Facebook page, was captured around 9:55pm the night of November 11, 2011. Update – it has not been deleted, the nice folks at the Mayor’s office have only deleted the stuff on the top page, not the commenting on the Remembrance Day photo album.  That is now 280 comments long. I have taken care not to edit this, at all.  Not one bit.  I think it speaks for itself, that the 193 read more


Defence of the Status Quo nothing new in “Slackers”

I grew up a navy brat, fed a steady diet of Napoleonic War era novels like Hornblower, Aubrey Maturin, and Sharpe. But I also grew up reading Canadian novels from another era, the Battle of the Atlantic.  Hal Lawrence’s Bloody War and James Lamb Corvette Navy are two books that capture the experience of a colony becoming a nation, a token force becoming a world renowned navy. Reading these, I learned something later reinforced by Stephen Kimber’s book on Halifax during the read more


HRM District Proposals – the good, the bad, the ugly.

The fat is in the fire now!  People are seeing that downsizing from 23 to 16 councillors will really redefine the representative districts boundaries.  People can see what they will gain, and what they will lose.  Staff quietly put the proposed boundaries for the smaller 16 representative council online late Friday, at quitting time or there abouts. This meant that alert internet nerds (like me) were able to break this story and have a field day dissecting the two proposals before the read more


UARB decision is just the first step, and not the most important.

Today, the Nova Scotia Utility Review Board (UARB) ordered Halifax Regional Council reduced from 23 to 16 district representatives, plus the Mayor. The last few months of scandal and ethical challenges has lead to a feeling that this Council, as a government, is no longer functional.  Unlike a parliament or a legislature, they cannot pull the plug and move to an election, Nova Scotia municipal elections are fixed, and the next is October 2012.


HRM and the AG Report – What You Can Do

If HRM Council must act quickly to restore public confidence in our elected government. The path forward difficult (I wrote about it here), but Council must work to resolve this in a way that shows that politicians are responsible for their actions, and elected politicians will be held accountable. A LOT OF COUNCILLORS ARE ON THE FENCE. You can play a role in helping raise the pressure on councillors to act in our best interests by letting them know what read more


What Should Happen Now?

Well, tomorrow council is meeting, behind closed doors, to discuss what the heck they are going to do now with the concert scandal report. What should happen is a process that is clean and transparent, free of concerns of impropriety and manipulation. The first thing council needs to do is move back into the public eye.  Not after a lengthy debate, and regardless of what the over cautious lawyers in HRM’s employ might say.  Peter Kelly is not a staffer read more