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posted byEditor - View profile

July 19, 2010

What stories need coverage in August?

Halifax News

What events and issues in Halifax and the surrounding communitiy need coverage?  Include your ideas here and the Halifax Media Co-op will do its best to find a writer to cover it!


Boat Harbour

Pictou Landing First Nation is filing a lawsuit against the province of Nova Scotia.



Migrant Farm Workers

I'd still love to see a story on migrant farm workers in the province. 

United Steelworkers' Union Conference in Halifax

August 16-18, the United Steelworkers' Union is meeting in Halifax:



Shipping, military, cruise ships

I think it'd be good to have more stories that dig into the realities and effects of the industries that fuel Halifax - shipping, cruise lines, the navy, etc. Every now and then there are high-profile incidents like the Maersk Dubai incident (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maersk_Dubai_incident), but the whole industry raises questions like: what are conditions like for those who work on the ships? Are there Flag-of-Convenience ships that dock in Halifax Harbour? If so, what are the implications of such ships? What kind of military operations are the naval ships deployed from Halifax Harbour used for? What are the environmental impacts of these industries?

Labour law in N.S. and Farmer's Dairy

Sorry if this is a dup - suddenly this window jumped off the screen and I could not recover it.

There is no anti-scab legislation in Nova Scotia.   The Farmer's Dairy workers are locked out.  I was on the line last week and there are scabs actually running the production and still driving big rigs in and out of there.   It was sickening.   I thought to myself - my gawd, I've slipped into Norma Rae.

I think some education around the gaps in labour law in N.S. would be great with the Farmer's Lock out providing colour and specifics.   There is also a boycott which everyone should kow about as I,  for one,  used to make sure that I bought Farmner's products since it was a Farmer "co-op". In addition, I know (for one example - we'll contact some unions I kow there are others) that the Sherbrooke Village folks have been in barginaing for over two years and cannot get a first contract.  there is no first contract abitrationion N.S. and they have no way to force a contract on the employer if they do not want to bargain in good faith.

Anyway, I think some coverage of the poverty of labour legislation in N.S. would be great with some realtime labour "disputes" as an example would be great and now is a good time.

I would actually be happy to help write this story or provide some suggestions for interviews etc.

citizen media conference in Montreal

I think it might be interesting to cover the event and possibly interview a few of the panelists who have come from out of Montreal to learn about their projects and share with readers.

NS Air Show and Canadian Army "Camp Canada"

HMC could probably take some interesting angles on this:


Traffic Tickets and Speeding fines prey on the poor

Last winter (unluckily) I attended traffic court in Dartmouth, N.S.,  a couple of times.    While at plea court,  I found it interesting that people were there to plead guilty and not to get a court date to fight the ticket.  

It appears (though I did not interview anyone, and they were mostly young men) that this is one more way that the poor/working poor have to pay more. . .   The reason (it appears) that people are there and plead guilty (at plea court when they could just have paid the ticket that afternoon and avoided the court cost) is to get time to pay the ticket - this results in a higher cost than just paying the ticket in the first place. . . but I guess if you need months to pay (and tickets were generally in the $50-$500 range) then you have to go to "tell it to the judge".  This adds $30-50 court costs onto the ticket. (I think, I did not investigate)  

Anyway,  I thought it would make an interesting story, as I don't think it is one person ( at least not in Nova Scotia) but a large number of people that showed up for the plea evening. . .  and then plead guilty - all asking for the maximum time to pay.

I think to cover the story it would just mean showing up at traffic court, watching the proceedings and finding people that would be willing to be interviewed about their tickets and plea.  I have never seen this covered anywhere else. . .  so I may be mislead about the increased costs - certainly it costs in terms of time to show up - I never saw anyone refused the max time to pay - so why can't you just get the time when you go to pay the ticket - why give a month or so to pay,  and then let people have 6 months when they show up at plea court?

Another interesting thing that I learned at trial court is that even if the police officer does not show - as long as they contacted the prosecutor with a "reasonable excuse for their absence" before the trial,  the judge sets a new trial date.  They do not let the "accused" know. . .  I saw one man who had come from Nfld to fight the ticket (this was at trial,  not at plea court) and his date was put over because the cop was "on a course". . .  He explained tht it was a big hardship for him to come to N.S. for the trial and so the judge let him pick his own date anytime in the next 12 mnths (when the judge was sitting) but of course that was not very satisfying (this man was a professional but still it is onerous) Only one person "got off" because the cop was a no-show and no excuse. . .   Also there were several "small errors" on my ticket and again the judge said that a wrong time, (by over an hour - I could prove I was at work at the time on the ticket) and wrong car colour,  were not sufficient to throw out the ticket.

I am thinking maybe, in many ways,  traffic court is a bit of a scam, undemocratic and maybe even doesn;t folow tyhe usual porinciples of justice. . . !  And of course it is the poorest who suffer the most.

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