School’s out

Mike Fleury surveys the situation.

The Halifax Regional School Board released a survey this week that is asking teachers to disclose their sexual orientation. The survey, which also questions staff about disabilities and race, asks teachers to identify if they are heterosexual, bisexual, gay or lesbian (No transgendered tick-box? What gives?). Although the board claims that the survey is simply intended to measure diversity in their workforce, they’re also asking teachers to sign it, giving personal privacy a swift kick to the sexual crotch (is there any other kind of crotch?). All this comes on the heels of the Lindsay Willow human rights decision, which forced the school board to apologize to Willow for an incident of discrimination based on suspicions about her sexuality. Even the Nova Scotia Teachers Union, which was also accused of not coming to Willow’s aid during the human rights case, is cautious of the survey. Newly re-elected union president Mary-Lou Donnelly reportedly said, “We don’t know how knowing the sexuality of a teacher will help them in their hiring purposes.” Hiring purposes? Who said anything about hiring purposes? What exactly is going on here?

Dancing around the law

Sensations strip club owner Javis Roberts has announced that in order to get partially around the decision of the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board regarding his club’s liquor licence/ability to offer adult entertainment, a separate, non-licensed section of his club called “The Den” may soon be open for business. Roberts says dancers in The Den will still be restricted from getting completely naked, but they will be allowed to offer lap dances and table dances while wearing almost nothing (think bikini and bra tops). Club management is also seeking clarification on the meaning of “adult” in the Review Board’s ruling, and a clearer definition of what exactly constitutes “adult entertainment.”

Also dancing around the law

The Sunday shopping law has always been somewhat confusing, partially due to its many loopholes. You know—the Frootique loophole, the pharmacy loophole...Now, pending some creative renovations, a brand new Superstore loophole is about to be added to the mix. Man, this law is holier than the Sabbath! The Atlantic Superstore on Barrington Street will open (with limited services and restricted floorspace) on Sunday, June 11, just days before the provincial election (Coincidence? Or a big f-you to the provincial government from frustrated Superstore brass?). At this point, rival grocery giant Sobeys has no plans to attempt a similar manoeuvre, but they have said they’ll be keeping a close eye on the Superstore venture.

Let’s get spendy

City council released the 2006-07 HRM Operating Budget on Tuesday, and spending is up—6.8 percent higher than last year’s budget. Among the budget highlights: More police and firefighters (eight new Halifax Regional Police officers for the north Dartmouth area, eight new firefighters, and “5.5 new RCMP officers.” 5.5? Is this going to be like that Burt Reynolds movie, Cop and 1/2?), $600,000 in new funding for youth recreation programs, and enhanced sidewalk snow clearing in urban areas. Come on, downtown sidewalk plows! Council is scheduled to debate the budget on June 13.

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