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Law flaws

Mike Fleury goes on a shopping spree.

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Nova Scotia’s anti-Sunday shopping law: Law, or meekly-enforced suggestion? Discuss. Personally, we’re inclined to go with “suggestion” after the events of last week. The Atlantic Superstore on Barrington Street first skirted the Sunday shopping ban on June 11, and consequently kicked the floodgates wide open—as in, province-wide. Last week, Sobeys responded to the Superstore venture by opening six of their locations on Sunday, including their store on Queen Street. Sunday shoppers at that store were given a coloured floor plan showing exactly how the business had been subdivided in order to get around that pesky annoyance commonly known as “provincial legislation.”

Wait, did we say “store”? We meant “mall.” The floor plan flyer featured the store’s newly-christened title, the “Sobeys Queen Street Mall.” Technically, the “store” is now operating as a mall, with 11 separately incorporated businesses operating inside, including such enterprising new boutiques as the “Sobeys Retail Fish Store Ltd.” and the “Sobeys Frozen and Dairy Foods Ltd.” On Wednesday, the provincial Justice Department announced they would launch a review into the Sobeys situation, just to make sure the grocery giant is staying somewhere in the vast grey-area of legality.

Unruffled, Atlantic Superstore announced plans to open even more of their grocery stores this coming Sunday, including several additional locations in Halifax, Dartmouth and Bedford, and in rural areas such as their market in Yarmouth. It all goes to prove the old adage: laws were made to be broken —or at least sidestepped and undermined until they’re no longer relevant. Yeesh.

Ethically confused

Halifax regional councillors have been included in a municipal policy that is designed to protect whistleblowers. The policy, which has been on the books since March, acts to protect municipal employees from intimidation and harassment or professional retribution should they choose to speak publicly about wrongdoing among their colleagues. The new rules received wide support at council, but some HRM councillors have said the city should go one step further and appoint a full-time ethics officer to address any ethical questions and concerns that may be raised by municipal staff.

Ballers go bye-bye

Halifax has had some recent success in attracting large-scale sporting events, from the 2003 World Junior Hockey Championships to the 2004 IIHF World Women’s Hockey Championships (and who knows, we may even get those Commonwealth Games everyone keeps talking about). Perhaps it should come as a surprise, then, that a long-established Halifax sporting tradition will come to an end next year. The Canadian university men’s basketball finals have been held in Halifax every year since 1984, but last week, Atlantic University Sport, an organized collective of Atlantic Canadian universities, was soundly outbid by Carleton University and Capital Sports Properties Inc., granting Carleton University the hosting duties from 2008 to 2010. The Halifax bid team offered $220,000 to host the event; Carleton ponied up $400,000 (the money pays for travel expenses and television coverage). The four-day tournament will have its Haligonian swan song in March of 2007.

Slam dunk your junk. Email: mikef@thecoast.ca

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