McNeil v Mi'kmaq
I would like to thank The Coast for publishing the article by Robin Tress, and suggest premier Steven McNeil should resign as minister of aboriginal affairs ("Colonization over reconciliation in Alton Gas fight," Voice of the City, November 17).
With the Sipekne'katik First Nation going to the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia to protest the government's failure to consult about the Alton Gas storage project, McNeil and his environment minister Margaret Miller make a joke of the federal Liberal government's attempts to reconcile, consult and treat all Indigenous peoples with the respect they deserve.
Although The Coast's article has made McNeil backtrack on government lawyer Alex Cameron's stance that only "unconquered peoples" are owed consultation (!), he is just embarrassed and trying to save face. He cares more about his image than the actual issue. He is a disappointing Liberal on all accounts.
As the Alton Gas project goes forward without genuine Mi'kmaq consent, the same is going on in Standing Rock south of the border, where Indigenous activists have taken a stand for clean water and Indigenous rights vs the Dakota Access Pipeline, which has already desecrated the sacred burial grounds of the Dakota and Lakota.
Indigenous peoples on both sides of the border are standing up for clean water, air and mother earth against the fossilized mentality driving our climate crisis. We should all be supporting them in whatever way we can. —Linda V. Lewis, Halifax
Help the harbour
Dear HRM, please keep what's left of our harbour's shallow water habitat. The continued infilling and loss of this habitat in Halifax Harbour, in order to expand waterfront development space, deserves more attention. Does HRM not realize that other cities throughout the world have realized the mistake in ignoring the value of intact coastal ecosystems (mangroves, seagrass beds, salt marshes) and are now trying to recover what was lost through costly restoration projects?
To give you an idea of what kind of loss we are dealing with, a report from 2001 called "Preserving the Environment of Halifax Harbour" by DFO and HRM stated that as much as 40 percent of seaweed and seagrass habitat had already been lost. Fifteen years later, who knows where this statistic is now? The infilling and corresponding loss of shallow water habitat impacts fish habitat and productivity, as well as limits the provision of other ecosystem services (carbon sequestration, prevention of coastal erosion, protection from storm surge and sea level rise, water filtration and more). We must act quickly. —Jessica Bradford, Halifax
Private and public
The silliness some council members are showing about the word "customer" illustrates the challenges ahead with this newly elected city council, very few of whom have ever held a private-sector management job ("Who got served? Council sets HRM's priority outcomes for 2017 and beyond," City News by Jacob Boon, published at thecoast.ca November 25).
The concept is not hard. On one extreme, you have the do-not-care attitude shown by most government agencies and private-sector monopolies or near-monopolies like Bell Aliant; at the other you have the high-priority customer approach taken by companies like Amazon, who do everything they can to make you want to do business with them. It can take someone two weeks to get their name changed on a phone bill—or a few minutes to process a return of an Amazon purchase.
In companies with a strong customer service culture, employees are rewarded for giving great customer service, but that's virtually impossible to do in government because reward mechanisms are constrained by legislation and by most union contracts. —posted by RedRocketV8 at thecoast.ca
In "Hyped on handmade" (November 17) Allison Saunders meant to list Big Pony's address as 2168 Gottingen Street, not Agricola Street.