Kimber's Nova Scotia (May 27, 2007)

Kimber’s Nova Scotia

May 27, 2007

What have they got against curling?

Liverpool town councilors might want to re-think their recent decision not to install surveillance cameras downtown. Last Sunday between midnight and 4 a.m., vandals painted the town red.

The back wall of the curling club was covered with what one observer called “child-like drawings and text in mostly red paint demonstrating a hatred for the RCMP… praise for drugs and sexual descriptions.” Other targets included the heritage cemetery wall, a dumpster, the bridge and area businesses.

“We wouldn’t call it graffiti anymore,” says local RCMP Staff Sergeant and art critic Bruno Deveau. “Sometimes, they have tasteful designs; these ones are tasteless.”

Liverpool Curling Club President Greg Thorbourne — who “had to take the kids to Sunday school and it was, like, ‘hide your eyes, kids’” — believes his group will either have to repaint the whole side of its building or replace the siding.

Although Mayor John Leefe reported to council last week that “the idiots … who seek to mar our community with graffiti are people with feeble minds,” he once again rejected the idea of installing cameras to keep watch on the downtown.

The cameras, he said, wouldn’t have captured much of the latest damage because of where it was done.

And so it was done.

Machiavelli alert

Is it possible Stephen Harper’s Tories are so calculating they cut summer student funding to dozens of worthwhile projects just so their MPs could get credit for saving them?

Last week, the story was the cuts. This week it’s what a wonderful job local Tory MPs are doing looking out for their constituents.

Take the Lansdowne Outdoor Recreational Development Association, for example. Last week — thanks to Ottawa’s cuts — “we were facing closure [and] there were nights I never slept,” Dave Leese, the park director, told the New Glasgow News.

This week, Leese is sleeping better because his local Tory MPs, “Peter MacKay and Bill Casey, were instrumental in achieving our goal of staying open.”

Stephen Harper? Calculating? Nah…

Let us compare qualifications

At first blush, defeated former provincial cabinet minister Kerry Morash’s appointment to the National Roundtable on the Environment and Economy by current federal Tory Environment Minister John Baird might seem another example of our business-as-all-too-usual, good-old-boy political patronage.

But Morash is a good choice for the position. He served as the province’s environment minister for three years and also did a stint as chair of the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment. Under his watch, Nova Scotia implemented its first green plan, designated two new wilderness areas and set aside four new nature reserves. In 2006, the non-profit Canadian Council on Ecological Areas presented him with a Gold Leaf Award for his efforts.

What’s more he actually applied for the job. “I’m very excited,” Morash told the Liverpool Advance. “It’s really an honour to be able to take part in something like this.”

And, wonder of wonders, he has some ideas about what he hopes to do. He wants to focus on our role as the “tailpipe of North America,” the jet stream destination for American and Canadian air pollution.

I tell you all of this so you can compare his appointment with that of a recent provincial environmental appointee — Heather Foley Melvin as the head of Conserve Nova Scotia.

Foley Melvin, you may remember, was in the middle of being fired from her short-lived job as Premier Rodney MacDonald’s chief of staff when Rodney offered her the oh-by-the-way consolation prize of running some energy conservation agency that didn’t yet exist. Which fit. Foley Melvin’s environmental credentials were equally ethereal. As were her non-existent plans for what to do once she got the job she didn’t apply for.

Which raises the question: if the premier was so keen on the environment, why didn’t he offer the job to someone like Morash who was not only an unemployed Tory in good standing but someone who also knew something about the issue? Could it be that Morash supported the wrong candidate during last year’s Tory leadership race? Just asking.

Mike? Are you listening? Mike…

Strait Regional School Board member Mike Brown thinks members of the Antigonish Women’s Resource Centre — who run a program called Inspire in Antigonish and Guysborough county schools — are a bunch of “glorified welfare recipients” who are wasting valuable school time that should be used to prepare students for testing.

Testing, he told a board meeting last week, is the only standard by which students and schools are judged.

Ironically, the issue came up during a presentation by the board’s director of programs and student services, who said the program — in which members of the women’s centre talk to adolescent girls about everything from nutrition to sexuality — had been a success, with much positive feedback.

In fact, Lucille Harper, the director of the centre, told the Port Hawkesbury Reporter the program has worked so well other schools have requested the group organize additional programs, and one school even asked them to develop a comparable program for young boys.

Perhaps they should consider creating a program for out-of-touch school board members.

More than just hot air

You may not need a weatherman “to know which way the wind blows,” as Bob Dylan once famously explained, but it helps to have a wind map if you want to translate all that air into useable energy. That’s why the province recently hired a University of Moncton researcher to draw a wind map of the province.

But Yves Gagnon’s map, expected to be completed early this fall, will also almost certainly fan the flames of controversy in Cumberland County. That’s because Gagnon, who completed a similar study in New Brunswick that suggested the area along the border between the two provinces is ideally suited for wind farming, expects to find similar “favourable conditions” on the Nova Scotia side of the Tantramar Marsh and in other parts of Cumberland County as well.

Cumberland County currently has two large-scale wind farming projects in the planning stages and is already embroiled in a messy fight with Pugwash area residents over a new bylaw governing how far turbines have to be located from residential areas.

Still, Gagnon says the idea of a publicly accessible wind map will be good for everyone. While large companies have the resources to create their own maps, he points out, “what Nova Scotia is doing is making the information open to everyone. It’s good for developers who want to build wind farms and it’s good for municipal groups who will know where the best winds are in Nova Scotia.”

What about landowners who don’t want wind turbines for neighbours? Even then, suggests Gagnon, it will help to at least know about potential wind resources on their land so they’ll be in a better negotiating position when approached by a developer.

How much do you need to know to say no?

Colour them purple… again

Less than two weeks after canceling its latest “code purple” alert, South West Health declared yet another one — its fifth since October — because of overcrowding in district hospitals.

Code purple is health-c
are talk for what happens when there are no beds available in a hospital’s normal nursing units, meaning patients needing beds end up warehoused in emergency departments, labour-delivery rooms, kiddie play rooms, rehab spaces or patient TV lounges.

South West Health says it has been “experiencing increased pressure,” largely because there are 56 people currently occupying hospital beds who should be in nursing homes. The problem is that there are no beds available for them there.

Although the department of health recently agreed to fund five beds at Roseway Hospital for patients awaiting nursing home placement, those beds immediately filled up.

Paging Dr. Rodney…

Is anyone else curious about how our premier can be so concerned about the effects of a recent one-day strike by nurses at the IWK that he’s ready — even eager — to legislate away their right to strike? And yet, when it comes to a real health care crisis his Tories have known was coming for at least seven years, his government has been so slow to react and so inept when it does?

Where’s Stone Cold Steve Harper?

A few months ago, the pundits were predicting we’d be in the middle of a federal electoral cage match by now. But the polls — and the sorry performance of the federal Tories — have put an end to that hoped-for bit of spring mud wrestling fun.

Which means the real thing is now the only game in town.

Which brings us to this week’s live event alert.

Tonight, MainStream Wrestling, a low-rent version of the glitzy World Wrestling Entertainment soap-opera smackdowns, returns to the Middleton and District Arena as part of its current tour of Newfoundland and small-town Nova Scotia.

“The tour just keeps getting bigger and better and the fans are more and more excited,” says MSW owner and promoter Devin Chittick, who wrestles as “X-Ray” Kyle Kruze.

Doors open at 7 — opening bell at 7:30.

Featuring a grudge match between Battling Bulldog Scotty Brison and Peter “Doghouse” MacKay… No, really…



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