News Digest: April 3-7

Other local news as reported by other media.

Trailer Park Boys appeal to government to save film tax credit (CBC Halifax)

Mike Smith, Robb Wells and John Paul Tremblay, also known as the famous Trailer Park Boys trio, took to the Internet as their television personas to rally support to stop any cut that might be made to Nova Scotia’s Film Tax Credit. Though Diana Whalen, Nova Scotia’s finance minister, claims that companies who receive the tax credit do not pay taxes, others disagree. The actors’ public service announcement, viewed hundreds of thousands of times and counting, encourages the public to contact Whalen and ask her to reconsider the possible cut.

‘Something to experience:’ Caution tape, sculpture used to challenge art gallery visitors in Halifax (Metro News)

John Greer’s retroActive, a show currently being shown at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia (AGNS), places art in the space in ways that challenge the gallery’s visitors, an example being his use of caution tape across doors to force viewers into different positions. Visitors crouch, bend and travel through the gallery to see his work. Greer is a professor at NSCAD University who has also won the Governor General Award.

Winter clinic closures leads to blood shortage in Atlantic Canada (Global News Maritimes)

Due to a challenging winter, Canadian Blood Services had to cancel 60 clinics this past year in Atlantic Canada. Canadian Blood Services says it is short 2,300 units of blood from what it expected to collect. Because blood is perishable, the poor road conditions and bad weather caused problems for transportation of both donors and deliveries.

Street snowboarders are riding high in Halifax (The Coast)

Jibbing, a subgenre of snowboarding, is done by taking a snowboard to the streets for your winter ride. Ian MacArthur and friends take their boards in search of poles to ride and the ideally formed snowbanks for a smooth ride. The stormy winter has provided more spots than previous ones with consistent heavy snowfall, and despite having boarded on the West Coast, MacArthur still enjoys coming home to explore the East Coast landscapes.

Canada beats Finland to win world curling bronze (News 95.7)

This year, the Canadian curling team made the move to the podium, beating out Finland to win the bronze medal at the Sunday morning game of the world men’s curling championship in Halifax. The team played a confident game in front of a 2,801 person crowd at Scotiabank Centre.

Senior Internet user urges others to stay safe online

Jerry MacInnis, 75, talks about his Internet experiences.

Jerry MacInnis is 75 years old and online. He uses the Internet mainly for emailing, checking his Facebook and playing games. He’s part of the fastest growing group of Internet users — seniors.

MacInnis uses his Facebook to contact friends on holiday and emails his brother who lives on the other side of Canada, but he still prefers the telephone more than writing to each other online.

“I’m a face-to-face type person,” he said.

Though MacInnis enjoys using his computer to play games, unlike many users, he avoids interacting with strangers.

Numbers from Statistics Canada show that approximately 70 per cent of seniors online are accessing the Internet every day. A 2007 study says although seniors are the fastest growing group of users, younger users make up the majority of people active on the Internet.  

While there are want ads popping up on Kijiji from seniors who are seeking Scrabble partners, companions and help with day-to-day activities, MacInnis isn’t looking for friends online. He urges seniors to be careful and wary of what they do with their time on the Internet. 

“You never know what you’re getting yourself into. That’s my biggest fear. [They] try to be friends with you and take you for everything that you’ve got,” MacInnis said.

Junk mail, scams and spyware come in many forms, and for those not familiar with the Internet some of these hazards can be hard to recognize.

In the hopes of avoiding potential risks and online challenges there are resources available that provide advice for senior Internet users.

The government of Canada’s Get Cyber Safe website offers advice to seniors for online safety, explaining security software and the potential for scams in seemingly private emails.

The RCMP also has guides for users about online activity, safely shopping online and avoiding possible phishing scams — scams where criminals or bots try to collect personal and confidential information.

Although users like MacInnis choose to protect themselves by staying away from strangers online, there are precautions and education available to allow senior users to safely enjoy the Internet.





Road Salt: What it might mean for the Public Gardens

Halifax locals may be praying for salt covered streets in hopes of some much needed traction, but could more salt now mean less grass later?

Icy sidewalks have been causing challenges for everyone, as the only pathways to be seen are made of snow and ice, and if you chance a section of concrete, it’s probably covered in salt.

There may be longer term effects Halifax residents will need to take into account. What will all this salt mean for the Halifax Public Gardens?

With the enormous amounts of salt that has been dumped on our roads this year, after it all melts our public green spaces may be looking a little more brown than green this spring.

The Halifax Public Gardens, which is currently closed, is surrounded by a thoroughly salted and treacherous chunk of sidewalk. Although the walkways inside the park are not salted, the wind and melting water will spread the road salt into the enclosed space.

One of the city’s main methods of de-icing is salt-spray, which can travel up to 150 feet from the trucks dispensing it. The spray is a mix of salt and water, which creates a brine that is used instead of direct salt in some cases.

The salt can be damaging to lawns, because it soaks up the water and nutrients the lawn and plants need to survive, resulting in browning and potentially starving the plants.

Although the city has been experimenting with other methods of melting the ice, the salt and brine spray continues to be used in large amounts.

This may also cause browning of the needles on the coniferous trees inside the Victorian garden, as well as the lawn and plants.

The garden’s Victorian style features signature serpentine beds, deciduous and coniferous trees, and annual and perennial flowers. But the park has held more than just plants over the years.

The middle entrance on Spring Garden Road leads to the Horticultural Hall, a building erected in 1847, and in 1859 a rink was installed inside the grounds.

Although the 16 acres of land no longer hosts a rink, the land boasts 122 different species of trees as of 2008, many of which line the periphery of the gardens.

With snowfall warnings still in effect and a cold forecast continuing, it’s possible the late April opening date may be later than usual.

“The staff that will be responsible for removing the snow from the gardens are the same ones currently working on our streets and sidewalks,” said Tiffany Chase of the HRM Public Affairs Office.

Chase says the park “would not be a key priority at this time.”

Perhaps a break from shoveling is in order, and Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. Marjorie Willison will be presenting at the Friends of the Public Gardens’ Special General Meeting, highlighting how vegetables are featured in the Gardens.

Documentary portrays challenges of Algonquin people in Canada

Barriere Lake reservation joins in solidarity in Martha Stiegman’s Honour Your Word.

Martha Stiegman’s documentary Honour Your Word screened at the Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre, on Monday.

The 59-minute film, first released in 2014, follows the struggle of the Algonquin people of Barriere Lake, Ont., and their demands Canada honour its word and promises made in the 1991 conservation deal.

The film portrays the Algonquin people in their community, their homes, at school, and at the protests, all of which are intended to be peaceful.

Honour Your Word film poster (Photo:
Honour Your Word film poster (Photo:

Stiegman also spoke about collaborating with the Algonquin people. The film is her fifth documentary on the subject of indigenous struggles.

“I hope it leaves you as inspired as I was,” she said.

Stiegman first interacted with the Algonquin people during a highway protest where she witnessed police brutality against the protesters.

“I had never seen them tear gas children and the elderly before,” she said.

The film shows the members of the reserve holding signs asking to stop arrests and the unsolicited use of pepper spray and batons by police.

“I felt a responsibility to those people after meeting them that day,” said Stiegman.

Protests on the highways near the reserve are ongoing to remind the government it is Algonquin land and shouldn’t be subject to logging and government-funded development.

Many of the interviewed indigenous people in the film told stories of being arrested or hurt while trying to protect their ground; some moved to tears in testimonials about the potential loss of their land.

The people are fighting for the next generation and protection and conservation of their culture, their land, and their safety.

CORRECTION: March 10, 2015 | An earlier version of this story misspelled Barriere Lake and incorrectly identified it as being in Alberta.