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February 2011: News in brief

Students take a stand, cops put out hands, fracking canned

by Halifax Media Co-op

Sixty people stood in the rain to declare solidarity with Libyans fighting for freedom. // photo by Moira Peters
Sixty people stood in the rain to declare solidarity with Libyans fighting for freedom. // photo by Moira Peters

Cutting School

The NDP government announced cuts to school boards across the province, stipulating that the deepest cuts must be to "administration costs and consultant fees." School boards will also have to absorb rising utility costs as well as any pay increases for staff. Teachers have been without a collective agreement since July 2010.

Farmland Re-zoned

Kings County councillors voted 6-5 to re-zone 150 hectares of prime farmland for development despite intense opposition and concern about food security. Opponents asked agriculture minister John MacDonnell to intervene and staged a demonstration at the Halifax Farmers Market.

Deportation Stayed

The Chaudhry family have won the right to have their application to stay in Canada re-reviewed. The family’s lawyers appealed the initial decision to deport the Pakistani natives, arguing that deportation would not be in the best interest of the couple’s three children. Over 100 people showed up to support the family at their February 16th hearing.

Asylum-seekers Jailed

Two men seeking asylum, reportedly of North African origin, were jailed when they were found on board a Swedish ship docking in Halifax Harbour.

Libyan Connections

Haligonians rallied in solidarity with the Libyan uprising against Colonel Moammar Gaddhafi. Meanwhile, the HMCS Charlottetown departed Halifax Harbour amid a media chorus of "humanitarian crisis." Critics questioned the rationale of sending a Western military presence in Libya in the context of decades of self-interested, destructive foreign interventions in dozens of sovereign states, generally under humanitarian pretexts.

Police Ask for Budget Increase

Halifax Regional Police asked city council for an 8.25 percent funding increase for the upcoming year to offset costs of wage increases, overtime and wiretapping, among other expenses.

Shocking Profits

Emera, Nova Scotia Power's parent company, posted record profits for 2010. The province’s main source of power made $121.3 million in profit by the end of 2010, up $12 million over 2009. The privatized utility jacked power bills by 5.66 percent in January.

Frack Off

Inverness County Council passed a resolution to support a province-wide ban on slickwater hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

New Bus-iness

After some concern that the project would not go forward because of its cost, Halifax Regional Council approved the construction of a major new bus terminal on the Dartmouth side of the MacDonald Bridge worth $12.1 million. The terminal is the busiest transit point of the municipal bus system. Last month Council approved a subsidy to suburban sprawl for an approximately equal amount despite the project in question going millions of dollars over budget.

Students March

Students took the streets of Halifax, Wolfville and Pointe de l'Église to protest rising tuition fees in Nova Scotia. The average student debt after graduating from an undergraduate program in the province is $31,000.


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