Kimber's Nova Scotia (June 24, 2007)

Kimber’s Nova Scotia

June 24, 2007

Vince’s very bad week

Occasional Cape Breton regional municipal councilor — and more-time Halifax computer teacher — Vince Hall “visited” Sydney last week to testify at a Utility and Review Board hearing into whether the municipal council should be downsized.

Hall — who chaired a CBRM boundary review committee that two years ago self-interestedly recommended the municipality maintain its16-member council — spent four grueling hours on the witness stand Monday, two of them face-to-face with his nemesis, Mayor John Morgan, who was representing a citizens’ group that wants council downsized.

On several occasions, Hall complained to review board chair Roland Deveau about Morgan’s questions. Despite the chair’s admonishments, Morgan managed to slip in that Hall had a history of bullying municipal staff. And while Morgan didn’t mention Hall’s other recent missteps — like having the municipality underwrite his university education, for example, or missing budget meetings supposedly because he was ill but when he was actually teaching in Halifax — he didn’t have to.

After his testimony, reporters pressed Hall on whether he’d be returning to Halifax to teach this week. “No comment.”

But then Hall’s bad week got worse.

On Thursday, the Post reported he’d been charged with impaired driving in connection with an incident last month near his new, sort-of home in Halifax.

An emotional Hall, who was convicted in 2001 for an alcohol-related driving offence, confessed he’d been “rightfully stopped… I regret and am sorry for the embarrassment that this will cause my family and friends.”

With his track record, Hall should consider running for Halifax regional school board when that hallowed body is revivified next year.

You’ll learn to love it… no, really…

If you want to know how serious the doctor shortage is in Digby, consider this.

Late last month, town council met in special session to OK shelling out nearly $7,000 to lure an Australian husband-and-wife physician team to set up shop in Digby — even though town officials already knew the doctors were only prepared to commit to staying in the community for four months, and even though the husband is a palliative care specialist who didn’t want to do emergency room shifts or set up a general practice.

The town’s need for doctors is so acute — after this Thursday, there will be just one doctor in the Digby hospital’s ER rotation — councilors convinced themselves they could convince the couple to stay if they could only get them here for four months.

In the end, the deal fell through.

They didn’t get either doctor, but they saved $7,000.

‘Well, I was Grade 6 valedictorian…’

While Amherst residents post signs on utility poles singing the praises of Bill Casey — “Hurrah for Bill Casey, hero in parliament,” reads one poster on Main Street — the editor of the Bridgewater Bulletin is advising his local MP, Gerald Keddy, and Keddy’s fellow Atlantic Canadian Tory parliamentarians, to “dust off their résumés.”

The issue, of course, is the Atlantic Accord. While Casey broke ranks with his Conservative colleagues over the offshore deal, Keddy and the other regional Tory MPs decided to remain inside the Tory tent.

That makes Keddy, in the biting words of the Bulletin editorial, “one of those politicians who has forgotten who elected him.”

What makes the Bulletin’s blast so significant is the fact that, two years ago, the paper praised Keddy “for being a man of principles” for voting against his party and for same-sex marriage.

Now, it says he and the other Tories, who decided to “represent the hard line taken by his party” instead of the interests of their voters, “have collectively snubbed their noses at the voters from this region.”

No wonder Stephen Harper no longer seems quite so eager for an election.

Catch and release

Three Mile Plains residents are being terrorized by a gang of young thugs who steal, then vandalize or destroy “anything that can’t be pinned down.” Townsfolk are so “fed up,” says West Hants Warden Richard Dauphinee, they’re “ready to take back their community.”

The youths appear to take whatever they want — trucks, ATVs, bicycles, lawn mowers, chainsaws — and then systematically destroy them. The Hants Journal reports that one stolen truck was “found in the woods, gutted and burned, while another was left wedged against a door at the Three Mile Plains School with the accelerator left running.”

One resident, who owns a machine repair business, reports vandals stole three ATVs from his shop, which is located on his parents’ property. His mother is now “scared to death; she’s afraid to go to bed at night.” Though the man says he isn’t frightened, he didn’t want his name published.

Windsor RCMP are rumoured to be about to make some arrests, but the machine shop owner isn’t optimistic anything will change. “It’s not the RCMP at fault here,” he notes. “I can’t imagine how frustrating it is for them to finally catch the little buggers, arrest them, bring them to court and then see them out on the street doing whatever they want.”

Warden Dauphinee, who says he knows of at least one senior who sits on his porch with his rifle, is concerned that if residents decide to take action themselves, “the wrong people will be behind bars.”

Citizen journalism 101

For those of you who didn’t get to attend last week’s public hearings into the proposed Whites Point quarry project — you did plan to go, didn’t you? — the Digby Courier has published a helpful guide to what’s available on the web.

First, a quick primer: a company called Bilcon wants to develop a 120-hectare quarry on Digby Neck, from which it plans to ship two million tons of rock a year for the next 50 years to New Jersey, which is — apparently — rock-less. Some locals support the project and its promise of jobs. Many more do not, claiming it will destroy their property values and way of life.

The Courier reports that the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, which is conducting the environmental review of the project, is posting complete transcripts of every word from every witness — — within 72 hours. The agency’s web site also includes more than 50 “advance summaries” of what presenters said they planned to say at the hearings.

For a shorter and more timely — if more biased — version of events, Courier reporter Jonathan Riley recommends former CBC producer (and area resident) Andy Moir’s Stop-the-Quarry blog —

Moir doesn’t claim to be even-handed, or even single-mindedly devoted to his task. “There is so much more,” he wrote at the end of the second day of hearings, “but I plan to get out to enjoy the sunset.”

Ah, the country life.

Ecology Action Centre has a quarry blog too —

— but Riley says it’s only sporadically updated.

If you really want to know what’s going on, he adds, “the best way… is to show up in person.” If you go on Friday, you’ll see Green Party leader Eliz
abeth May, who’s scheduled to testify that day.

Facebooking the music

It’s an unsanctioned but tolerated tradition that dates back decades. On a sunny day in June, students at Park View Education Centre and Bridgewater High School skip classes for an afternoon of fun and frolic at Crescent Beach.

But this year, the fun got out of hand. A few students broke into a cottage, made a mess and then made off with the owners’ booze, munchies, plastic cups and toilet paper, not to forget a rubber dinghy.

This being the age of social networking, more than two dozen students not only photographed each other having their way with the stolen goods but also posted the pictures on Facebook, conveniently using the software to identify each individual in each photo, thus making it easy for police to track them down.

Though the students were initially charged with possessing stolen property, officials came up with what they say is a more meaningful punishment — the 30 students had to spend another day at the beach, this time cleaning up.

“It was a very good lesson learned,” suggests RCMP Const. Wendy Sparrow. And the lesson learned? “You really have to be careful who you hang out with.”

Funny, I thought the lesson was: be careful where you post the evidence.

Don’t call a call centre a… call centre

We’re sorry. Truly. Last week we said that global call centre giant Minacs was setting up shop in Port Hawkesbury, replacing disappearing global call centre giant EDS.

But Jeff Williams, vice president of marketing and sales with Minacs, takes “great umbrage” at having his firm referred to as a call centre. “I think we do a lot more than just call centre functions on behalf of our customers,” Williams whined in an interview with the Port Hawkesbury Reporter. “A call centre as a definition is a little too narrow for it.”

What name would he prefer? Well, in its story, the obviously chastened newspaper now describes Minacs as “an international business process outsourcing company.”

Uh, right… We’ll stick with call centre, thanks all the same.

And, by the way, we’re still holding.


  1. OMG – Are, IS THIS Community, This Area of Nova Scotia totally Brain Dead, Ignorant, Apathetic?

    Backwoods-Backwater Hillbillies IMO – IsMyOpinion after googling This Area after Reading the Halifax, Chronicle Heralds Dec. 20-21, 2010 News regarding the Sentence handed down by Nova Scotia “appointed” Judge.
    Judge Alan Tufts. gave IAN STEPHENS a 30-Month Suspended Sentence, provided he abides by the house arrest, curfew and other conditions. After IAN STEPHENS Plead GUILTY To, DANGEROUS DRIVING CAUSING BODILY HARM, That paralyzed Amy Paradis, 16 years old! She broke four vertebrae after being the passenger in a joyride on Dec. 26, 2009. JOYRIDE? STEPHENS was 23. Paradis was 15-16 years old.


    * N.S. Driver Who Paralyzed Teen Gets House Arrest * (UNREAL,IMO JUDGE TUFTS SHOULD BE REMOVED FROM “SITTING- ON, THE NS BENCH ”

    How many Nova Scotia Judges and Police, Lawyers ARE part of, invested in, The NS Cocaine – V. Lucrative Illegal Drug and Alcohol Industries?


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