This afternoon, former residents of the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children and premier Stephen McNeil will be releasing the terms for the restorative inquiry looking into 70 years of horrific psychological, physical and sexual abuse at the publicly-funded Dartmouth orphanage. The inquiry is part of the $34 million settlement for over 300 former residents that was reached with the province. That settlement came from a 14-year legal battle—headed by Halifax lawyer Ray Wagner—which was this week announced as a finalist in the Public Justice Awards’ “trial lawyer of the year.” An award for such serious crimes might seem tasteless, but Public Justice aims to shine a spotlight on any cases of powerful institutions being held accountable for the abuse they’ve inflicted. Wagner and his team are in good company amongst the other finalists, including prominent cases from across North America like the exploitation of migrant Indian workers rebuilding after Hurricane Katrina (David v. Signal International), a landmark case in how prisoners with mental health issues are held in solitary confinement (Disability Rights Network of Pennsylvania v. Wetzell), the massive lawsuit against the United States government misusing Navajo land (Navajo Nation v. U.S.) and the wrongfully convicted young men known as the “Central Park Five.” The winners will be announced at an awards gala July 13 in Montreal.
In other legal news, it’s time to bake some brownies. The Supreme Court ruled yesterday that medical marijuana is legal in all forms. Before today, Canadians using medical marijuana were restricted to smoking. Now, all manners of incredible edibles are available to help ease your pain legally. Health minister Rona Ambrose is “outraged” by the decision, clinging to the “rigorous safety reviews and clinical trials” marijuana hasn’t undergone with Health Canada as reason enough to keep patients suffering. Aside from the added benefits not smoking has on one’s lungs, edible cannabis products tend to produce a healthier, longer-lasting high for patients. On a related note, be sure to check out our recipes for cannabis cinnamon buns (and weed lube).
Mic Mac Mall is launching a “Pet Patrol” program starting this weekend, where paid “brand ambassadors” will patrol the mall’s parking lot looking for dogs locked in hot cars. Remember, locking dogs in hot cars is Halifax’s favourite summer pastime. If you do have a dog and a hot car to lock that dog in, try to do it in a public space where brand ambassadors can smash your car’s windows and quickly shame you for your actions.
Lenore Zann officially kicks off her run for leadership of the provincial NDP with an event this afternoon at the Economy Shoe Shop. The NDP’s annual general meeting takes place tomorrow. Zann, the NDP’s deputy house leader and MLA for Truro-Bible Hill-Salmon River-Millbrook, is one of three potential leaders now vying for the orange crown. Sackville-Cobequid MLA Dave Wilson and former MLA Gary Burrill are also in the race for leadership. Rumours have circulated that a defeat in this fall’s federal election could cause MPs Peter Stoffer or Megan Leslie to join the provincial race. Interim NDP leader Maureen MacDonald has already stated she isn’t interested in the position. Whoever earns the party’s nomination won’t be announced until February of next year, after voting during the leadership convention weekend. Zann’s party kicks off at 2pm in the Argyle Street eatery.
Halifax doesn’t always score so well in terms of goofy can-do optimism, but last Saturday was off the charts. It was 100 In 1 Day day, our city’s take on the international activism movement, and even the cruel weekend rain couldn’t stop the party. Our video collaborating friends at PLANifax made a short film to celebrate #100In1Day: The best way to get in the spirit is to watch the video and get inspired to do your own public project.
+ a basket of Sure Things
This weekend is yours!
Warning: Watching this video may give you the 100 In 1 Day spirit, like a civic-minded version of The Ring.